We are already in the light!
Students are led in recollecting the good qualities of Master Jih-Chang:
In our lives, we have already directly encountered such a warm, splendid, glorious and mighty heart. He is incomparably precious be it in the heavens or on earth, and if you “feel” him (his teachings), you will have the ability and strength to get out of cyclic existence. You are not alone in walking this path, he is always accompanying us, always with us. Be it in the birth state, intermediate state or death state, he is always with us.
He perfected all good qualities, eradicated all faults and cultivated all virtues in order to help us. From developing the spirit of enlightenment, completing the collection of merits and sublime wisdom, until finally attained Buddhahood, he had done all these for us. Do you believe that in this cyclic existence of sufferings, there is already this illuminated and glorious light shining upon us? You are already in the light!
In fact, the Dharma works of Master Jih-Chang can neither depend on one person nor a few people. It is certainly the collaborative earnest efforts of all the disciples who have the virtuous affinity of walking the stages of the path to enlightenment. Everyone has to do his part and contribute at the source, even if it is a meagre bit of shimmering light, it is still contributing to a vast, bright and powerful source. It is an illuminated spot where Dharma will start to be propagated in future and reach greater heights. That is the law of dependent-arising. Phenomena do not exist outside of causes and conditions. Master Jih-Chang’s works are for numerous people, numerous people. Due to the collective virtuous causes and conditions, we are able to gather together. So when the meritorious conditions gather at this point, make good use of our merits and virtues to work towards our own salvation.
I have to transform myself to become Bodhisattva, become Buddha, to repay the kindness of Master. As in the mundane world, I am unable to repay him. You may ask what should I repay him with? All the goodness in my whole life, because they are given by him. Everything! So what must I do? I have gone through a full round of thought from heaven to earth, how do I repay the kindness of Master? I have to develop spirit of enlightenment! Venerate my teacher with this beautiful spirit of enlightenment, from offering the conventional spirit of enlightenment to the ultimate spirit of enlightenment, and even more so right up till Buddhahood.
I hope life after life, we are able to walk this path together, to be able to follow Master forever, bringing the Mahayana doctrine to many worlds, to continue learning, continue propagating. For Master Tsong-Kha-Pa’s teachings, this bright lamp, wish that we are able to hold it firmly in our hands, life after life holding firmly on to it, till it become a giant blazing torch, become a sun wheel, able to lit up the whole universe, able to illuminate the cyclic existence. To let the sentient beings who are struggling in the ocean of sufferings, be guided by this light, able to find their hope, their refuge and the path of ultimate happiness – the path of eliminating sufferings and achieve happiness.
At this instance, even though we are thousand miles apart, our hearts still stayed close together as one. This magnificent Dharma Event, allowed us to assemble here once again and at this particular moment, think of the same person, sing the same Insightful Praise and shed the same tears. As before, that illuminated, glorious and great compassionate heart continues to shine upon us, keeps us accompanied, just like the way we always think of him. The ten directions Buddhas, like a mother unwaveringly care for her child, selflessly and compassionately always caring for all the sentient beings. Please bear this in mind, “Learn Lamrim earnestly, learn Lamrim happily, and persevere in learning Lamrim”, these will make Master Jih-Chang very happy as we are in this big “Lamrim” family. I missed all of you!
Master brought up a lot of questions in the Lamrim, actually he wanted us to reflect on ourselves so that we are able to identify our own affliction and problems. Master’s dharma voice could do wonders, it would break off our (non-virtuous) behavior, instantly cut away all our afflictions, and immediately cause the person to feel remorse. You said that we rely on one another’s persuasion, sometimes this persuasion could clear the affliction, sometimes not even 3 hours of persuasion could clear the affliction, even until midnight, it could not make any change. We do not have a sharp weapon to counteract our affliction, but the merits of our Master’s speech could immediately subdue the afflictions once the sentient beings hear it, like the heavenly Gods pouring nectar droplets to disperse our afflictions, clearing away the dust, making the air fresh and crisp again.
If we can make listening to Buddha’s teachings our habits, what we rely on in our lives will be the Dharma, and the refuge we take in our lives will also be the Dharma. What is taking refuge? That is when you encounter anything you could not resolve, what comes into your mind will be the “Dharma”. What is thinking of “Dharma”? What if you are unable to arise such thoughts? Just pick up Master’s discourse recordings and listen to it whenever you encounter any difficulties, always listen to Lamrim. Develop the habit of listening to the Dharma persistently. What is persistence? That is when you encounter any vexing or worrying matters, you will think of using the Dharma to solve your problems. How do you use it? It is through listening (to Master’s discourse recordings), discuss or contemplate the Dharma. In brief, let your heart be connected with the Buddha’s teachings, be connected with the Dharma, then your life will be different.
In conclusion, earnestly learn Lamrim, persevere in learning Lamrim, happily learn the Lamrim. Your life will change because of this commentary and Master who had proclaimed and propagated it – made enormous and tremendous changes. I feel that you already have the life changing chips for the current life, already have it, you already have these chips and how are you going to use it? Make full use of it by applying it into your daily lives. Listen to the Lamrim persistently and apply it in your daily lives. When I visit you again next year, you will be very happy to tell Master, “Master, I have submitted a good piece of result to you this year”.
Translation and review by: Eunice Tan, Jasmine Ng & Chiang Sheau Huey