Buddhadharma is a vast sea of wisdom. To achieve enlightenment, where should you start?

Grandmaster JinBodhi teaches us many ways to make life happier and more beautiful, including the value of gratitude and the importance of morality and credibility. In addition, Grandmaster emphasizes how to view life from a higher perspective and face wealth, fame and fortune with a unique mentality.

Through vivid and humorous stories, Grandmaster guides us to apply Buddhadharma daily and use universal principles to succeed in all aspects of life, including career, family, parenting, and friendships.

【You will learn】

  • The importance of showing filial piety to parents
  • Ways to enhance your sense of happiness
  • How to treat wealth, women, fame, and gain
  • The meaning of independence at the age of 30
  • The story of the nonreturnable merchant
  • The story of two brothers
  • Advice for youth
  • How to maintain wealth

【Featured aphorisms】

  • Along with love, loyalty and morality, gratitude is of fundamental importance in life.
  • Have an aspiration in mind first, and the methods will follow.
  • Cultivate your morality and credibility before age 30 in order to achieve independence.
  • Life is like a movie. You are both an actor and the audience. To see life from multiple perspectives is to be liberated.
  • All good virtues are based on filial piety.
  • Some people are smart, while some are stupid; some are born tall, while others are short; some are fat, and some are thin.
  • Imperfections make up this perfect world.
  • Compassionate people focus on people’s strengths rather than their shortcomings.
  • A wise person accepts what exists first instead of demanding changes. They give first instead of taking.
  • When setting goals, keep a broad and flexible vision rather than fixating on a narrow goal that cannot be changed.
  • Wealth in life must be supported by merit.
  • Good virtues are born of compassion.


Do you feel tired? (No.) If you feel tired, please raise your hand. It is worth it. People vary physically. But the tiredness is worth it. Last time, I said it is a rare opportunity to practice here. During practice, we may feel some aches and pains which annoys us, right? However, if we aim to gain health, wisdom and enlightenment, we should let go of feelings of fatigue and pain. Learn to accept the pain, tiredness and soreness. Because we have the higher pursuit of reaching enlightenment.

Do you still remember the content of my last teaching? Prepare a microphone, I want to check if you still remember; a few points is fine. Let me see if you still remember the key points. I just go with the flow. My wish is that if I reach a bit of enlightenment, I will share it so you may reach it as well. This way you will have fewer spiritual obstacles. With fewer spiritual obstacles, you will discover your life is more at ease. I speak with the flow and later forget what I said. So, how much can you remember? Can you give me a hint?

(Master, I remember the illumination of the body, mind, heart and consciousness.)

Very good. Here is a prize for you. A lapis lazuli bracelet for you. Does anyone else want to speak? We have already mentioned the 3 key essential points of the last teaching.

(Master, I like the concept of giving. Giving brings us lots of happiness and dharma bliss. By giving, we can help more people, remove all our obstacles and gain prosperity.)

Very good. You spoke very well. (Thank you, Master.) A treasured mala for you. OK, next.

(Hello, Master.) Hello. (What I want to share is: If my family wants to have good progeny, it starts with us. First, we should be grateful and show filial piety to our parents.)

Wonderful. You get a prize. Here, a big-beaded mala for you. OK. Next.

(Hi, Master. I am Juan-Xi, dharma brother of Juan-Xiang. I have heard lots about you but it doesn’t compare to seeing you in person and being close to you.)

OK. Welcome, please speak.

(Master talked about reverence, compassion, gratitude, and how kneeling for one hour eliminates 10 years of negative karma. Wow, I knelt until “my feet disappeared.” Thank you, Master.)

You don’t seem to remember much. Only your foot pain and eliminating negative karma. You still get a prize. His thoughts are flexible and adaptable. Such people are suited for business. He can’t memorize, but he is quick and flexible. He is more suited for business, not being an employee. As an employee, if your boss asked what you did yesterday and you forgot, you would be fired. No one questions the boss. This is fate.

OK. Thank you for recalling and your reminders. I remember I discussed the essential basis for being a human. Looking at ties of friendship, morality and enlightenment, what is the fundamental element of all? Whether it is becoming a buddha or bodhisattva, or any religious practice, or which school you go to, it all doesn’t matter. They are like makeup on your face. Most importantly, you should have a grateful heart. I like these people. Those who are loving and loyal.

Some say we should let go of all our feelings; that in itself is a higher mental state. All my teachings are arranged and taught by levels. First, let us be able to apply the essentials of Buddhadharma. It begins with being sensible. Leave enlightenment aside. First, learn to be sensible.

Many people aren’t even loving or loyal. After being raised by their parents, some people leave when they grow up and never come back, even when their parents are sick or dying. Seeing this really breaks my heart. What about us? After growing up, you don’t take care of your parents. Will you get married? Have kids? You would be quite blessed if your kid doesn’t harm you in any way. Unfilial people will receive retribution. Their own children will torture them. Today your children torture you, but ask your conscience: How did you treat your parents?

These are the basic virtues of being human. Without this basis, don’t even try to learn Buddhadharma. It is useless to learn it. Why would you get prosperity, wisdom and auspiciousness without any reason? How can it be possible when you are a vile, ungrateful character? Whether you light incense, offer flowers or donate money, you are expecting something in return. You are expecting to make a fortune or get a romantic relationship. You are making an exchange. It is useless.

I have heard people say, “I have built a few temples, why do I still feel uneasy?” With the crimes you have committed, you think Buddha will protect you because you donated and built temples? No. He is just and fair. He is pure and wise, treating all sentient beings with equanimity. This does not mean he will protect you because you made offerings to him. Some say, “I have donated a few thousand dollars and I still had a car accident.” You are alive, uninjured, and can still speak; all that is Buddha’s protection.

Your afflictions and pain still occur, but think about how many sins you have committed. You violated human laws. You committed murder and arson, stole things and embezzled money. You should have been executed 100 times over, right? But you have only lost some money and got divorced. Yet you still grieve that you didn’t get a perfect ending. Your sins have already eroded your body. How can it be perfect?

Amongst everything, I care most about having a grateful heart. Be grateful to your parents, teachers and those who have helped you. In our life, which people have helped us the most? It is our parents. If you don’t understand this, don’t even think about becoming wealthy. Even if you do get rich, it won’t end well. You may be rich today and in jail tomorrow. Or rich one day and broke the next.

Whenever you die, if you are peaceful in body and mind, that is a true state of achievement. Even when you are old, you are still carefree, peaceful, and have money to spend — that is true prosperity, is it not? You are healthy, carefree and living a long life with financial freedom, right? You are loved and have love to give. That already is happiness. This person has a perfect life. Such a perfect life is hard to achieve. Yet at the same time, it is also easy to get. How can we get it easily? Start with learning to be grateful.

Who should we be grateful to? Who should we be grateful to first? Our parents. Start with being grateful to our parents. Second is to be grateful to our teachers. Whether they teach us knowledge, skills or morality, we should be grateful to all. Don’t ask me what gifts you should give them. I won’t teach this in detail. With gratitude, you will naturally come up with a way. Be it visiting, greeting, helping, caring for, or giving money, all these could be your methods.

Just like when you encounter someone you are drawn to, you will naturally find a way, without any teaching. One day in a park, I met a boy who liked a girl very much. I was meditating nearby, about 10 meters away. We were all under the shade on the grass with nothing blocking us. He and his girlfriend sat on a plastic cloth. He said, “My dear, let me peel an apple for you.” The girl said, “OK, but don’t pick a large one.”

After finding a small apple, he realized he had forgotten to bring a knife. The girl said, “I knew it, you don’t really love me. If you love me, why did you forget to bring a knife?” I saw the boy was embarrassed; his face was flushed. “My dear, wait.” Then a cute gesture occurred: He used his teeth to peel the apple. Wow, human teeth also have this function. One minute later, although it didn’t look good, the apple was peeled. However, it wasn’t sliced; it would usually be sliced with a knife. So, he bit off a piece. “Here you go, dear.” No one taught him this. But because of love, a way automatically opened.

With the right intention, methods arise by themselves. Right? No teachings needed. Try this out yourselves, OK? I suggest you ask your children to take a video of it. When you become old, you will be happy rewatching it. Record it while you still have teeth, in case they fall out in a few years. Then seeing this video will make you very happy, right? So, if you have a wish, a method will naturally arise.

Let’s come back to the topic of our gratitude to our parents and benefactors. With gratitude, people will feel happy and break through many obstacles. Each of us is a child of our parents. Raise your hand if you don’t have parents. Are you a robot? Everyone has parents, right? Many people have unhappy relationships with their parents. Does anyone hold grudges or anger against their parents? Or you haven’t communicated with them for a few years? Anyone? Anyone want to raise their hand? Forget it. If you speak, I am sure you won’t be able to control your emotions. You will have a breakdown. Your story must be sad and miserable.

Many misunderstandings are caused by the children. To prove my point, raise a child of your own. Within 3 years, the grudges between you and your parents will disappear. Someone said, “Master, you asked me to respect my parents. It is the right thing to do, but I can’t do it.” Why? “Because my parents are unfair.”

She meant her parents treated their children differently. “Most of our family property was given to my elder brother and sister. They gave me very little.” I won’t go into details here. If you are the parents and have children, wouldn’t you think carefully about the distribution of inheritance? Whoever thinks about distributing the inheritance must be miserable. They want to be fair. Why do they want to do that?

A lady once told me she disliked her mother. I asked her, “How old is she?” She said, “She has passed and I still dislike her.” I asked, “Is it because she didn’t give you any inheritance?” She replied, “She did.” “Then was it unfairly distributed?” “It sounds fair, we each got one million. She had 3 million saved.” “That seems fair.” She replied, “But I did the most work. I took care of her when she was sick. I bought her new clothes for Lunar New Year. Since I took care of and loved her more, she should have given me more.”

What do you guys think? Was the mother fair or unfair? Being filial to our parents should be in our nature. While you are taking care of your sick parents, you want more inheritance so you give extra care, but your parents don’t give you more. Then you are disappointed and hate them. I told the lady to do more chanting. I doubt she listened to me at that moment. I said, “Chant some more. Let’s talk again after you calm down.” I couldn’t make it clear to her; she didn’t want to accept it. She was unreasonable. She argued forcefully for me to accept her point. You cannot argue with a person obsessed with their own ideas.

In a later chanting class, where I didn’t teach as in depth as this, she cried and said, “Master, I forgave my mother.” Oh, not bad, at least you forgave your mother. If she attended more chanting classes, she woud say, “I was wrong.” She forgave her mother and felt she was compassionate enough. “Master, I got it. You taught so well that I forgave my mother.” In my heart, I said, “You lack punishment.”

Humans mature very slowly. My teaching plan is to first inspire your basic human nature, your humanity. Second, through Buddhadharma, we gain wisdom on how to deal with some of the necessary aspects of life, such as raising children, romantic relationships, and how to deal with work and your boss. And what mindsets to keep when dealing with your parents and social situations. You may wonder, “Is this Buddhadharma?” Call it whatever dharma you want. I believe it all arises from a compassionate heart. I must tell you what I know.

Due to these teachings, those who are unemployed will find a job, families in conflict will transform into peaceful and happy families, single people will be able to get married, those who didn’t know how to raise kids will become good parents. They are liberated from their afflictions. This inspiration from Buddhadharma allows our life to become more harmonious and complete. Also, it helps those who are lost to find their life direction.

The essence of being human is gratitude. Start with gratitude toward your parents. Be grateful to your teachers. Be grateful to those who’ve helped you.

The next mental state to achieve involves how we look at wealth, lust, fame and personal interests. We obtain a bit of liberation and then we reach this intermediate stage; in life, just when you have gained some success, trouble comes. People with power and money, will they continue to be greedy for more? How do people face these issues? Many middle-aged people were smart and good at business when they were young. They are already rich yet they want even more. They have made billions, but are still greedy for more. They want their companies to be listed on the stock market.

A practitioner once told me about his big business. He is already very rich. He earns billions annually. He said to me, “Master, I am so busy.” I said, “You practiced pretty well before, didn’t you? I haven’t seen you in a while, why do you look so worn out?” “I am worried to the point of insomnia.” “You are so rich and still can’t sleep?” “Someone suggested we have our company listed after seeing it do so well. Master, what do you think?”

His facial expression showed that he believed it was a good opportunity. I said, “Tell me your age.” “53.” I replied, “And you are prepared for 56 to be your end?” “No! Master, why do you curse me this way?” “I am not cursing you. It is the result of your behavior. This way I have time to hold a memorial service for you in advance.” “Oh, I see. Master can’t bear me getting richer, right?” I said, “I can’t bear you being deceived by others.”

Ignorant people without morality or any noble pursuits, who only pursue money or lust, will surely be destroyed because of it. “You already earn lots of money, and if you pay your taxes and are kind to your employees, you are already happy. Content people are always happy. Be content and you will be happy and carefree. You are discontented. You are already a billionaire, and you still want more.”

Listed companies all want to put others’ money into their own pockets. My friends, it is just like stealing. Is it easy? Have you stolen money before? No. So, you don’t know the feeling. If you steal or rob, is your mind calm? The principles are the same. Are you calm about taking others’ money for your own use? If you are unwise, you may be calm, but in actuality, it is very dangerous. This behavior shows excessive greed.

So, I remind everyone that contentment brings everlasting happiness. “You need to be content. You are already very wealthy. You should strive for a higher mental state. Otherwise, you will only pursue money. Why do you want to have your company listed? Why earn so much money?” “I don’t know. Money just came.” “This is the moment that you should learn.”

When we don’t have money, we need to work hard. I also tell young people to work hard. However, once we have money, we need to know when to stop. Buddha said, “When we should be attached, be attached; when we should let go, let go. Then we can be liberated, at ease, and happy.”

What is “letting go”? Letting go of your greed. Because if you continue, ahead is a cliff where you will fall to a gruesome death. If you fall, not only does death await but you would be smashed to pieces. How treacherous! Thus, Buddha told us, “If we are greedy, we will lose; if we give, we will gain.”

So, we often say: The more we give, the more we get. Greed brings loss. It sounds simple. Mice are greedy. As a result, they lose their heads to the mousetrap. A thief stealing from the cash register has his arm cut off by the guard. These are all losses due to greed. Someone has an affair; they are caught and burned or stoned to death. It is so dangerous.

What is more important? Your greed or your life? Of course it is your life. In the end, most importantly, you need to protect your own existence, right? If you don’t have the wisdom or even understand the concept, and continue being greedy at the cost of your life, you will die a graveless death. Thus, at the intermediate stage, I advise everyone to see through and let go.

Some reaching middle age say they still haven’t gotten what they deserve. By 30, one should be established in life. A man said, “I am 30 and have nothing. I have no house or car, but lots of debt. How can I establish anything? I have no place on Earth.” Then I told him what his karma is. “You don’t have the virtues or the broad mind to have those things. No one hires you because you cheat and lie.”

I told him what the right way of life is, before I taught about letting go and being content and happy. This latter example is about failing in your pursuits. I am teaching you ways to manage. Manage what? Your mind. Your mind determines everything about you.

Compassion should be the first thought in your mind. Some will ask what comes after compassion? Trustworthiness. For those who want to accomplish in life, be it facing your life, job, career, friends or family, what does a person need to establish at age 30? It is not a house or a car. These are valueless. What should be established are one’s principles of conduct, virtues and trustworthiness. Establishing moral values.

Next is to establish your trustworthiness. In the past, even thieves and bandits had their own rules. For example, they couldn’t rob women, or kill kids, couldn’t beat or rob seniors. They had such rules. If a bandit killed a senior for the old man’s gold necklace, the bandit would be killed by the rest of the gang. Even bandits have moral codes to follow. “We became bandits because we were starving. We rob the rich only to feed ourselves. But now you are killing innocent people. It will not be tolerated. You are a murderer, so we must punish you. You violated the rules of the gang.”

Even thieves have their moral principles to follow. What about you? At age 30, one should establish one’s moral values and code of conduct. You should be clear about what you should and shouldn’t do. If you are a driver, your main ability is driving. The next thing you need to do is not harm any beings. Next, you don’t drink alcohol. You are a driver, going very fast on a highway. Be it with a motorbike or any larger vehicle, an accident would result in disability or death. So, you don’t drink alcohol, right?

Don’t do drugs. You should know what you shouldn’t do, right? Don’t harm any living being. Many drivers are very kind. When we went driving up to the mountains, the driver stopped after seeing a snake on the road. He used a stick to help it move faster, moving it down the slope. Then he drove on. I was so touched. The driver was so kind. The mountain gods will protect him. For over 30 years, he has always driven safely on the mountains. He loves all sentient beings, and they love him as well. You didn’t know this, but the energy of the being you love will protect you.

At 30 we establish virtues and trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is faith and accountability. The Chinese say, “There is no such thing as an honest businessman.” Have you heard this before? Everyone concluded all businessmen are dishonest. Dishonest businessmen cannot achieve large success. Their mental state is too low. Dishonest how? Say, vegetables per pound are bought at $1 but sold at $10. They earn 9 times the cost, right? Take away labor fees and they still earn $8. You earned a large profit, but through dishonesty. Markets do this, so you do it too.

True big businessmen aren’t dishonest like this. When their social status and assets reach a certain level, they will discover they have wasted a lot of time. They have made money but through bandit-like means, so they feel ashamed. They need to establish trustworthiness next. Thus, after reaching a certain level, many big enterprises rush to do charity to prove their goodness. Why do they do this? If not, they will be stuck mentally. Eventually, no one will care about your wealth. Regular folk might admire your 200 million, but amongst the wealthy, you are still poor. “Ignore him, he is a cheater. His money came from selling drugs. His money is dirty, earned through thievery. He is immoral.”

Thus, businesspeople have to establish trustworthiness at a certain point. Using different ways to prove they are honest and kind. Many big entrepreneurs do true charity work, but lots do it for selfish gains. But the result is still charity. Why do they do so? To establish trustworthiness, to let their partners and the public know that they are accountable.

In North America, it is very satisfying to shop in large malls. Someone says, “I need a gown for tonight’s dinner. I will buy one, wear it to dinner and return it later.” “Sorry. I want to return this product.” The shop will take it back. Their shop doesn’t sell subpar products. If you are unsatisfied in any way, they will refund you.

A Hong Kong native opened a shop. When I entered, she was so kind, treating me like family. Her kindness really touched me. The owner was such a sweet talker. I only wanted to buy a hanger. She was so warmhearted that, in the end, I bought 2 hangers and 3 plastic tubs. All because of her warm kindness. Even after paying and leaving, I was still happy. When I returned home, I opened the package and 2 pieces broke off. The hanger broke before being used. I wanted to return it. I returned the ladder so easily.

I went back to the shop owner. I said, “Hi, I came back.” Seeing the things in my hands, her face turned gloomy. She wasn’t welcoming anymore; instead, she was cold. “What is the matter?” I said, “It broke before it was used.” She said, “Impossible.” I said, “Don’t be so serious. Are you unhappy today? I just want to exchange it.” “No exchanges. Look, it says right here: ‘No Returns or Exchanges.'”

On her messy counter was a small sign which read: “No Returns or Exchanges.” She would not exchange it for me. “Yesterday, you were so friendly. Today…” She said, “When I am selling goods, I am friendly. If you return this, who will I sell it to?” It sounds reasonable. But I still couldn’t use the hangers, so I left them in her shop. Can such a person make a fortune? (No.) She feels happy, though. She feels much richer than her mom, who was only a laborer.

“I have earned so much doing business.” She felt happy about not taking returns. She told her husband that she scolded away 2 customers who came to return goods. This is her mental state. She feels happy even while doing the wrong thing. “I achieved a lot today, right? I turned them away, they left their products behind as well, another win.”

Do you realize the major malls earn money from us for life? They are trustworthy. Later, we began buying everything at the big stores. There is a guarantee. That is called trustworthiness. Is a broadminded boss like this also compassionate? Yes. Once compassion is learned, anyone can apply it to their daily lives and work. Businesspeople, engineers, government officials, artists. Housewives too. To live with compassion is to live nobly. Interacting with these people, we feel comfortable and auspicious, right?

What about the Chinese shop owner? The happiness I felt when first meeting her was quickly lost. It is like stealing money. After the first time, what next? What if it were a gold watch you sold me worth tens of thousands of dollars? It is fake or broken and you refuse to give a refund. Infuriated, a hotheaded youth might start a fire or shoot you. It is easy to get a gun in some places. Have you thought about what kind of consequences you will face?

See clearly and let go. To be consistently happy, be content. By age 30, establish your ethics and beliefs.

This is the teaching for the second stage of our cultivation. The teachings for the third stage are about transcending. The credentials to hear them are: Over 50 years old, experienced at least 3 breakups and one divorce. If you haven’t been divorced, the teachings will be harder for you to learn. They have lost money, been laid off over 10 times, and are not very good-looking. These people are qualified to learn more advanced dharma.

What do they learn? How to look at life from a higher mental state. At this level, life is like an illusion. It is like a movie made by a director; this movie has nothing to do with you. You can see the different sides of a matter and their fundamental root. That is the state of great liberation and nearing the state of the highest wisdom.

All the wealth, lust, fame and personal interests we pursue are like soap bubbles. They are very beautiful. You think they are pearls, but one touch and they disappear. You all know earning money isn’t easy, right? Small income is used for practical matters. We can’t save much each month, as it is used to pay for rent, food, clothing, tuition or to see a doctor. Not much saving. However, after you have saved lots of money, it would be pitiful to die without spending any of it.

Why do you risk your life to earn so much then? Some say it is to give to their children. The children are really “great.” The daughter does drugs and the son gambles. They will use all means to spend the money you have worked so hard for, almost to the point of stealing. They will spend it in the way that hurts you most. Such children were raised by you. Buddha said wealth and desires are like “flowers in a mirror, moon in the water.” You can see and touch them, but they are all illusions.

This third mental state is about illusions. This mental state is hard to reach and explain. It’s not for a class like this. The Buddhadharma in this retreat is an intermediate level of mental state. I hope you don’t treat my dharma teachings like words in a textbook. Instead, I hope I have given you inspiration. You can contemplate on it upon returning home. Then you can apply it. If you don’t contemplate on it, you won’t be able to apply it. If you can apply it, then the dharma becomes valuable.

In today’s class, I discuss the topic of being filial to parents. Filial piety is the most important virtue. It is the foundation of all virtues. Some say these ways are ancient. Not at all. As long as humans exist, get married and have children, never forget this principle. If we let it go, we will get retribution right away. It is causality.

How you treat your parents will be copied by your children. You can’t imagine what your children will become, or how your daughter or son-in-law will “torture” you. If you don’t show filial piety to your parents or parents-in-law, someone in the future will become your family and treat you cruelly as well.

How do you treat your parents-in-law? If you “whip” your parents-in-law 10 times daily, your future daughter-in-law will “cut a piece of flesh” from you daily. This is causality or karma. If this sin keeps accumulating, it will automatically be passed to your daughter-in-law or a person close to you. Worst case is your children will become the “demons” torturing you. The debts will multiply.

It is as if you stole $1 from someone, and a $1 debt becomes a $100,000 debt. It is terrifying if it comes upon us. The consequence of this karma is usurious. When it comes time to collect the debt, what is claimed isn’t money but your life. Your life will be harmed or become the gambling stake. That’s the most horrific.

I remember I reminded you to show filial piety to your parents. Have you gone back to visit or sent them a greeting? Nowadays, communication is very convenient, you can message and greet them with an app. It is better to talk or video-chat with them. You will feel closer to each other. You can see your parents’ health, their physical and mental states. It is better to video-chat with them. Also, it can’t be fake. Don’t ask me what methods you should use. It must be genuine. With sincerity, you will naturally find your own way. Just like the boy who fed his girlfriend the apple, right? With genuine love, you will naturally find a very good method. You have to be genuine.

I know of 2 brothers. The elder brother is a businessman and has made a fortune. He donates to many causes and always helps the poor. His business has kept growing. He is based in Hong Kong. When I got to know him a few years ago, the annual profit of his business was $20 million. Excluding all expenses, his pure profit was $20 million. I told him, “You still need to give more.”

He is very sincere and has the foundation of compassion. “I will carry out whatever Master guides me to do. Master always wants the best for me.” I said, “Of course.” He applied compassion to his everyday life. He would keep lots of coins on hand. If he met people in need, he would give them money. Natural disasters occurred, he tried to give more money. A few years later, his annual profit reached over $100 million.

One day, this elder brother brought his younger brother to visit me. “Master, please give him some guidance. He always feels that his fate isn’t good. Is there something wrong with his feng shui or clothing colors? Master, give him some guidance. How can he earn some money? I have used many methods and lent him lots of money. Nothing has worked and he has lost money.”

I observed the younger brother’s features, the look in his eyes, his hair and complexion, and the veins popping on the backs of his hands. I said, “Your brother has got quite the personality.” The younger brother said, “I stand up against unfairness.” The elder brother said, “He is hot-tempered and often loses control.”

I said, “If you lose your temper for integrity, it is OK.” Hearing this, the elder brother’s face flushed. “It is still better to lose your temper less.” Sometimes, I take a more subtle approach when asking, but that day, I asked very directly: “Are your parents still alive?” “Yes. Dad is paralyzed due to a stroke. Mom is OK.” “The elder brother is busy with business, what does the younger brother usually do?”

When I said this, he asked, “Master, what do you mean?” “If the elder brother has work to do, can the younger brother take care of the parents?” “Master, we are asking about how to transform our lives and our fate. Master doesn’t need to worry about the care of our parents.”

I said, “This is where the problem lies. Are you able to or not?” The elder brother started to cry. He said, “I have given him 500,000 HKD every year as salary to take care of our parents. But he quit after a month. He said he wanted his own future. He wanted to do business and date people. He dated 3 girls in a year and spent everything.” “Your money isn’t easily earned. Your parents still aren’t being taken care of, right?”

It has been like this for over 10 years. The younger brother only knew how to spend money, but can’t make a penny. His elder brother gave him millions to start a business. He failed at everything he attempted. He just didn’t have the morals and virtues. Later, the elder brother said, “When I wasn’t around, not only did he not take care of them, he almost hit our father and cursed at our mother. If he took care of our parents, it would only hasten their deaths.”

I said, “Such people can’t become wealthy. How can he keep money?” I told the younger brother, “Filial piety is the foundation of all virtues. You should think about how you are going to face your parents. Do your parents treat you well?” “No.” “Go and think about it. Once you understand, then you can transform. If you never come to a realization, your fate will only worsen.”

The elder brother is kind, just and compassionate. He said, “My approach is very simple, but the number of clients and orders keeps growing.” Everyone wants to shop at a place with a kind, ethical and compassionate owner. No one wants to deal with a wicked and crafty person. A trustworthy person will surely be auspicious and carefree. They cannot be judged by the amount of money they possess. People who aren’t compassionate or trustworthy will have lots of trouble.

Compassion can create many beautiful things. We mentioned people who are obsessed with their own thoughts or ideas, and who force others to act according to their wishes. They say they pursue perfection in the things they do. That thought itself is ignorant. Perfection lies in the fact that the world is filled with variety. There are people who are quick-witted, slow-witted, tall, short, heavy, slim. They form this wonderful kaleidoscope of a world. If everyone looked the same, the world would lose its fun.

Seeking perfection in others is in itself a mistake. A perfect world is made up of various imperfections. If we look at everyone with a magnifying glass, everyone has their shortcomings. When a compassionate person looks at a person’s faults, they learn to view differently, to treat kindly, to forgive and utilize well.

Only a mad person would order others to become heavier, slimmer or smarter. They ask for turtles to run as fast as rabbits. A turtle, at wits’ end, climbs atop an electric scooter, but it is still not enough. They ask the turtles to stand up as well. That is impossible. The beauty of turtles lies in the round shell on their backs. It is impossible for them to be the same as rabbits.

Only wise people accept, blend in with, and understand this world. Being able to understand this world is true wisdom. Wise people first learn to accept, not request. They learn to respect and give, not gain.

What I have taught still belongs to the intermediate level. Starting with our understanding of this concept, respect our parents, we’ve become more peaceful, at ease, and less obstructed. Our wisdom has become less obstructed. Even though we haven’t gained great wisdom or reached true enlightenment, at least when we understand this primitive, basic moral concept, our lives become less obstructed from now on.

Fortune, lust, fame and self-interest are like reflections in water. Filial piety is basic morality. Loving and honoring your parents is the foundation of your life’s success.

Because filial piety is the foundation of virtues. Many youths and adults worry a lot about their future. They are most worried about whether they will have a job and food, or have a family. Some adults, after reaching a certain age, still haven’t achieved anything. They worry about their future even more.

When I talk to youth, I ask them to have a wish or life goal. Some ask, “Is it like wanting to be a doctor?” It doesn’t have to be specific. You may just wish to improve healthcare and work in the medical field. When you graduate from medical school, you may not become a doctor. But you may work in the medical field. Some might research, produce parts or sell medical equipment. They’re all related to medicine. Once our mind is set firm on a life goal, it’s good and bad at the same time. You end up selling medical equipment instead of being a doctor. So, you die by suicide. That is wrong.

Your life goal is your life direction. It should be macroscopic, not specific. Some firmly choose to be a dentist. That is troublesome. Some might succeed under this pressure, but some might fail. Many children who died by suicide had a goal that was too specific. They were motivated, but the setbacks of a goal too specific can cause mental damage. So, we need to have a macroscopic life goal to guide us.

Second, have a set of principles of personal conduct. In Buddhism, the precepts are the principles that guide what can and cannot be done. What things we need to do more of. Like, do more good deeds and practice more compassion. Don’t do things that go against reason and Nature. We need to have a set of principles by which to conduct ourselves. In ancient times, this part was called “establishing virtues.” Establishing the standards and degree of virtues.

When you have a macroscopic goal with good, noble and moral standards, only then can you establish a career. It needs the foundation first. Building a high-rise requires a lot. First, we need land, then all of the building materials, such as doors, windows, glass, locks, cables and pipes. Even a small house needs building materials. It can’t come from nothing. To establish a successful career, the first and foremost supporting quality is virtue.

Let’s go back to a previous example: The refund that was refused in that small Chinese shop. She was establishing her career. The boss of the large mall was also establishing his career. Different moral standards will result in huge career differences after 10, 20 years. Let’s say that at the beginning, they both had $10,000. In 10 years, the person of low virtue is making a profit of one million. Higher virtue person’s money has already grown to 10 or 30 million. The longer the time, the larger the difference. In 20 years, the careers of those of higher virtue will have become huge, and their money may be in the billions.

The money of those of low virtue has barely reached 10 million, but they think they are rich. However, others who started at the same level have achieved even greater success. The shop owner can only buy 2 houses but she feels she’s remarkable, as she’s much better off than her grandpa, who couldn’t even own a house in the countryside. She thinks herself to be amazing, and becomes very arrogant.

Thus, only after we have established our virtues can we build our career. We must first have the vital supports to hold up our career. Some say others have become wealthy only to be incarcerated or killed; they ask why. Those people are smart, bold, observant, and capable of sales and management, but they lack virtues and morals. My words may be hurtful.

When our merits and virtues are abundant while we own huge assets, our hearts are pure, calm and easeful. I once watched a movie called The Man in the Iron Mask. The twin brother of the king was put in jail and wore an iron mask. It’s a tale of a fake and a real king. One was picked to replace his twin brother, the actual king. One important minister taught the twin brother everything about how to be a king.

When walking on the gold floor, don’t say, “Wow, it is gold.” When wearing the king’s clothes, don’t say, “Wow, it is so beautiful.” Don’t be amazed or make a fuss over everyday things. Think: “This is what I should walk on.” Also, don’t be solemn, be casual and at ease. Seeing beautiful women, don’t say, “Wow, so beautiful.” Don’t make a fuss over the little things, there is more yet to come. Think like a king: “These are nothing.” He learned those mannerisms.

A king creates his reign and owns the whole country, how can he be excited by merely walking on gold-paved floor? He should feel that it is a normal happening. An ordinary person won’t ever use a white jade cup as a drinking cup. He would offer it to his ancestors on the altar, too afraid to use it. However, it is completely normal for a king to use a jade pot for urine. He feels that as the king, he represents Heaven and owns the whole world. “All the things and people in the world belong to me. What is there to fuss about?” He can contain the weight of the world spiritually, truly believing it to be his.

If we saw a tiger escaping his cage, everyone would be scared, right? Even seeing a large dog, we would be scared, right? However, if the owner comes and says to the animals, “Come, sit down, stand and salute”, then the dog and tiger will follow and carry out the orders. The person has ownership over the animals. Strangers would be frozen in fear just from seeing a large dog, let alone a tiger. However, the owner can ask the animal to come, sit down, roll over.

Yesterday, I met a local boy whose dog can say “I love you.” His sister said “I love you” to the dog daily; it learned to imitate the sounds. The dog was trained to speak a human language. It is a small dog. A big dog would be scary, right? Strangers would avoid it out of fear. However, the owner can order it around and pet it.

So, when you own this world, you can do whatever you want, being free and at ease. When you are not the true owner, you will become overwhelmed and arrogant. “I have so much money, I want to try everything. I have never done drugs before, I will try it. I want to know how being drunk feels.” Once they start on this path, they will be ruined, there is no coming back.

When people truly have the fate of owning this world, they won’t ruin or waste the world. His great fate and virtues support him to have such great power. Not everyone can step on gold-paved floor or sit on the king’s throne. A famous singer is destined to be on stage, entertaining audiences. If it is not your fate and you go on stage, you would be so scared, you would have a heart attack. People who are meant to be singers, they enjoy it. Born actors or actresses love to talk or sing in front of audiences. They are not scared at all.

So, a fate of prosperity is supported by merits and virtues. Without this support, if you happened to become rich, what would happen to you tomorrow? If an ordinary person is prosperous for life, could they still pass away peacefully? If they can still pass peacefully, if they weren’t killed or didn’t die in jail, they are truly fortunate. They avoided misfortunes. They must have had merits and virtues. It is like that.

Not all prosperous people are blessed. I shouldn’t have mentioned this. When discussing this, some may ask, “If a dishonest person without any merits, through his abilities and intelligence, earns a lot of money, is that another form of merits?” Yes. When I was young, my master told me each person has their own fate. Everyone’s fate is unique. He taught me how to tell a person’s fortune from their bone structure.

He told me we can tell fate by touching the hand bones. “Oh, this person is very prosperous.” The feeling of one’s bones is inborn, not the result of practicing martial arts. When he felt a person’s hands, he could tell that “his fate is 50 grams of gold”. Or “this person’s fate is 500 grams of silver”. Sometimes, he felt nothing from them. It is often like this. He didn’t need to know the person’s expression or who he was. He could tell by touching. Why? Only he knew.

You are born with a certain fate of prosperity. In the future, you will earn that amount of money in your career, receive that amount of prosperity, including your family and love relationships, longevity, and more. These are all components of your overall fate. If your fate is “50 kg of silver”, you are in the middle class. Say, you have a good job with a relatively high income, like advanced computer designers and engineers, but compared with the corporation’s boss, your “50 kg of silver” means nothing.

Let’s say you are smart and cunning and turned your fate into “500 kg of silver.” At “50 kg”, your life savings totaled “500,000 kg of silver”, but now you have transformed it into “5 million kg”. I am sorry to say it, but danger is coming. Like riding an elevator with a capacity of 15 people. But the alarm rings with 3 people in it; 2 people have to get off. It only works with one occupant.

When what you earn surpasses your predestined fortune by 10 times, it will surely set off the alarm. After hearing the alarm, if you don’t change or adjust, or there is no one to guide or help you, your life will fall apart. You turned your 10 million into 100 million, but mark my words, soon you will be penniless and may experience family turmoil or even death. You can risk your life for wealth, but you are not always able to spend it after getting it.

Why do we practice? What is the main thing we cultivate? We cultivate our virtues and our minds. Their expression is compassion. With compassion, virtues arise. Do you have gratitude? Do you respect and love your parents? When the King of Hell checks over your deeds, he will examine to see if you have virtues. “Did you show filial piety to your parents?” You say, “Yes.” You had the thought but no action. “Send him to hell and whip him 800 times.” You will be punished this way.

If you behaved like this, can you have a good fate? With filial piety as the foundation, we can be accountable and giving. We don’t cheat, kill, abuse alcohol or drugs, or engage in sexual misconduct. Everyone has desire, but too much and it turns to greed. Desiring wealth, lust, fame and personal interests has a limit. If we are not content and don’t stop where we should, we will be in danger. Such stories abound.

So, in our life, we should have limits on the things we do, including earning money. In the environment in which I grew up, I lived among Tibetans, Buddhists and Muslims. I knew some businesspeople who were Muslim. After they had earned money that was multiple times more than our salary, they first donated some to their mosque, then took 10% of their income and made it into small change to give to the poor.

They had this habit of making posters notifying people ahead of time. The poster would read: “Mr. Smith will be at a specific location at a specific time to give you a surprise.” People would know someone would come to give out money. They changed the big money notes into small change to throw while driving. Those less fortunate would pick up the money; they weren’t ashamed, they were happy.

Many shop owners also picked up some to receive good luck. They wished to share in the good fortune. It was mostly poor people who picked up the money. I think this practice is very good. When I asked my master, he said they must have been guided by an enlightened person. In the future, they would become even more wealthy. To others, they say they are dispersing wealth. In their minds, they are dispelling disasters.

Say, an ordinary person only earns $1,000 monthly, but this year, they earned hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. What does “dispelling disasters” mean? They respect Heaven and Earth. If Heaven and Earth decide to punish you, you will lose everything. How do we respect them? Since you have earned so much money, you should give out some.

It must be done after you have paid your taxes. You disperse after paying taxes. Too much money is trouble. Take 10% or more to disperse. After you give out the money, you become safe. Deities will protect you. All creatures in Nature will protect you. Whether you understand or not, these are true stories I witnessed. They became smarter as they did it more. Meeting them, I noticed they were very peaceful. Their products are good and not expensive; the price is lower than the market one. You will like doing business with them. They are all very diligent.

Many virtues arise from compassion. Through dispersing money, they increase their merits and virtues. Say, their fate is that of earning 10 million. This way, their earnings can constantly increase, as they keep dispersing money. After they have earned money, they remember others and give to the poor. Some even buy clothes to give to beggars. You can’t even imagine, but it is what truly happened. I really admired them after I saw it.

Good fate is supported by accumulated merits and virtues. Without this foundation, the taller the building, the easier it will fall. If it is a short house, and the house’s foundation isn’t firm, the chance of the house collapsing is small. The higher it gets, the easier it collapses. Many countries want to build the tallest building in the world. This thought is dangerous. When strong winds blow, we can hear the windows rattling. At these times, if we stand above the 60th floor, did you know you can feel the building shake?

Has anyone lived in a very tall high-rise before? It is terrifying. With this shaking plus an earthquake, it will fall down. The higher, the more dangerous. Wealth, power and status are all the same. It is common for a baby to fall, and they don’t get hurt much, right? If a tall adult falls down, the person easily gets injured. Shorter people don’t get injured as easily.

It is the hardest to hold on to things such as immense power and wealth; we don’t have enough merits and virtues to attract and control them. When our wealth and power reach a certain level, we actually lose control of them. It is like flying a kite. Within 50 meters, you can still hold on to it. Beyond 300 meters, you can’t even see it clearly; it can be broken or blown away at anytime. You will lose control. If a building is too high, it is also dangerous. It will break down at anytime, for any reason. Can money be controlled if you have too much of it? No. Everything will go out of control if there is too much.

Thus, we start to learn how to gain a more liberated state of mind, to see through the nature of wealth, lust, fame and personal interests. We should learn to accept whatever we encounter and have gratitude. When gratitude arises and increases, you will be content and happy. “Happy” means you are willing to accept the status quo. If you think, “I can create even more wealth”, please forget that idea and learn to let go. If it is too high or far, you will lose control.

It is like owning a small company or shop, doing small business. The owners are in fact very happy. However, when business reaches a certain level, it is easy to lose control. Once it becomes a listed company, you can’t control it at all. If you don’t earn money, you will be criticized by the netizens and stock investors. If your company doesn’t earn money, they will sell their stock. They buy your company’s stock hoping you will earn money. If you can’t, they will scold you. Once things get big, the control is lost.

When your career or life reaches that height, the intermediate level or above, I want to tell you the truths of matters and the concept of fundamental liberation. When we reach this level of learning, we can easily gain health and wisdom. (Got it.) We start knowing that absolute ownership isn’t always the best. Possession and excess are harmful. There are many things we can’t own, such as weapons or guns. They are dangerous. We know drugs are dangerous, but you just want to try them. Then you will lose all your family and fortune.

Thus, we must understand our mind and our own nature. Our wisdom allows us to see through these matters with crystal clarity. Though simple, truths are truths. We absolutely don’t touch or own things we shouldn’t. If you do, you will be destroyed. You aren’t meant to own them. Owning something, we need to be content. When we are content, we understand that we don’t get what is not ours. Being content, we can let go. Let go of what we should let go.

If people over 50 years old start to fall in love, that is really dangerous. If a 50-year-old man loves a 20-year-old girl, he is looking for trouble. In terms of emotions, thoughts, values and habits, those people aren’t compatible. It is like they are from 2 different dynasties. If you dated a person from the Qing dynasty, you would be scared to death. You can’t love each other, but you can respect. Respecting isn’t like love, it has distance. With respect, you keep appropriate boundaries. There is distance. Keeping the right distance is true respect. Love is more intimate.

Knowing these truths, not only are we happy and content, but we can also let go. Don’t pursue or obtain what you shouldn’t. Letting go is liberation. However, this still isn’t the highest mental state. This is the mental state of an ordinary person. Achieve it and you no longer have danger. It is a good thing.

Wealth and status are supported by merit and virtue. You should have a noble life goal. Establish noble ethics, morals and behavior. Letting go begets liberation. Those who are content are consistently happy.