Our only pain is forgetting that we are God. Meditate and think: "Who are we?" We could not be this physical body -- Impossible! How can you use earth to make a human being? After some thinking, you will know that we are God, Buddhas, living in this world; then we'll have no more pain. It doesn't matter even if we have pain. Since we are God, a Buddha, we can take suffering without any problem; and we can live peacefully under any situation, and accept anything. Why should we mind since we are God?
Just like when a king goes to battle, or to investigate the situation of his subjects, he dresses himself as an ordinary person, in ragged clothes. However, he knows that he is the king, so he has no feelings of inferiority. Should some people capture him, or steal his passport and money, would he feel anything? Perhaps he would feel upset for a while; but he knows he can regain them later, because he is the king, the ruler of the nation, and the whole nation belongs to him.
During Emperor Chien Long's voyage to Southern China, he also ran into many difficulties, because he mixed with people like everyone else. However, later he would go back to being the king again, and his status would not be changed. His self-confidence would not vanish just because he had no money, neither would he turn into an ordinary person because he wore ragged or common clothes. His spirit could not possibly be contaminated by the commonplace environment and thus become common people too. Similarly, our only pain is that we do not know who we are. Think about it when you meditate, and you will know! All suffering will vanish; we will not be bothered even when someone scolds us, or treats us badly or nicely. They virtually cannot contaminate or influence us. Therefore, if some people still say others are bad, or complain about being mistreated by others, then they are wrong!
I am different. Because I know you are walking on the wrong path, I drag you back. I scold you because I see it very clearly. I have walked that path before, so I know you will run into trouble if you waver to the right or deviate to the left. So I say, "Come back!" and drag you back. Therefore, I pull you back from everywhere, and keep tuning you. I keep grabbing and calling. When you fall down, I call you back, as if I were scolding people. The truth is, this is only a method of working. You don't know the way, yet you keep pulling each other downwards. I am familiar with this road; I know it is better to go by this way, better to go straight ahead, that you will fall down by leaning to the right a little bit and stumble if you deviate to the left a little bit.
I am not blaming anyone, I am not frustrated, I am not upset. I am only doing my job because I am the guide! Because you don't know who you are, you are frustrated, angry, blaming others, not contented, complaining and worried. This is different. Do not say that Master is exactly the same as us ?She also scolds people, She also gets mad. Not at all! It doesn't concern me at all.
As I am the guide leading the way, I must do my job perfectly. Some paths are very dangerous, very long, so I have to care about the people. Having to care for so many people, naturally I will be nervous. It would be strange if one didn't get nervous having so many children. (Laughter)
From that movie, you could see that so many things could go wrong when only six persons ventured out to explore the new area. Even an ordinary path is so difficult. The path going back to heaven is far more remote and difficult than hiking mountains. And you are not experienced. When the guide (in the movie) saw that the two kids were about to fall, he scolded and yelled loudly, "Don't do that!" Was he angry? Did he hate those two persons? No! Under such circumstances, it was his natural reaction. Understand? It would be odd if he didn't yell, if at that moment he was still speaking very gently and slowly. (Master imitated.) (Laughter) People were going to fall, yet he would be saying, "Please take it easy, okay?" Do you feel that would have been all right?
You all understand very well, only that you cannot make use of it. You always like to compare with others: "Master pampers him. I do the same as he does, why does Master say I am wrong?"
Do not compare with others, as the situations are different, the levels of the persons are different, and so are their states of mind. For instance, there is no hatred in his heart when he scolds you, but you are mad at him when you scold him. The actions look the same superficially, but the state of mind within is different. I observed it very clearly, so I scolded one of them but not the other. Don't say: "I scolded him just like he yelled at me, but Master only scolded and punished me not him. That is not fair."
You do not realize your own greatness because of your ignorance. Therefore, you easily get mad, hurt, frustrated, blame others, and easily shed tears. Should you know that you are the king, people's actions just cannot bother you. You wouldn't feel inferior and get hurt. Understand!? (Everyone answers: Understand!)
The only difference is that some people know that they are one with God ?they are God, and this physical body is only the temple of God. Others do not know, so they suffer. Because they are suffering, the people who know have to painstakingly teach them. They won't suffer anymore when they also understand. But these people are few! Most people are in pain and they still struggle with the suffering. They do not ask themselves or think about the cause, the origin of this suffering.
Suffering is not created by circumstances; poverty does not give us pain. It is because we do not know that we are God. If we know that we are God, that heaven and hell belong to us, the whole universe is ours, and that eventually we will return to that glorious and happy place, then it is nothing even if we are poor here. We fear not hunger or death, we can accept any situation, because they are not ours! Temporary suffering is nothing. We have eternal security. We know where our home is. No matter what happens, eventually we will reach home.
The only cause of suffering is ignorance, nothing else -- not poverty, not wars or disasters. Nothing else can bring us suffering; the only cause is that we don't understand. Perhaps after getting enlightenment, our body still ails, and we are aware of the ailment. However, it won't make us suffer or feel that desperate. Therefore, the only cause of suffering is that we do not know who we are.
Why do so many enlightened masters spend so much effort teaching people? Because these people need it. The enlightened masters can still remember their own suffering before they are awakened; so they teach people with great compassion, telling them how to avoid the suffering: "I was also in this shape before. Now you follow me to do it this and that way, and the suffering will soon disappear."
An enlightened person does not need to teach anyone. He already knows, and he has "eaten" fully! Why should he care about anyone? However, now that he is well-fed, and knows how painful hunger can be, he "cooks" for those who are starving. Of course you are not obliged to cook since you have eaten enough. No one forces you to do it, but you sympathize with and pity them, knowing how painful it can be from your own experience. Therefore, you work hard to cook for them; it doesn't mean you need to do it.
Enjoying pleasures is not our purpose in becoming renunciates here. However, occasionally, I let you enjoy some pleasures as appropriate. The strings on your musical instrument would break if they were too tightly adjusted. You would not be able to play it anymore, and it would sound awful. This applies to all kinds of things. Even an Olympic marathon runner would die if he were to run incessantly! Not even a champion can bear it. Do everything in the middle way.
Many people do not understand and question me for letting you enjoy pleasures here. Sure you should meditate and chant God's name all twenty-four hours. (Master and everyone laugh.) We can do it also, but everyone would be dead after one week! (Master and everyone laugh.) This is also good. Then we wouldn't have to clean the roof or build the walls. There wouldn't be any need for anything, not even the kitchen. This is also good. Should we do it this way? How about starting tomorrow? No food or drink all twenty-four hours -- no pleasures and no sleeping? (Everyone laughed and said: No!)
We can try it. Never mind! We will eventually reach home anyway. We work, we do our best to meditate, we endeavor to think of who we are; and this is enough.
Let me tell you, perhaps we are already enlightened! Why should we run so fast? Where can we push the enlightenment to? The enlightenment could be here, or in the rear. We keep running straight ahead, and get no result. Think carefully, see where the enlightenment is, and then grasp it. Don't close your eyes and only recite God's name everyday, not eating or drinking anything, just because you are anxious to become a Buddha.
There was a person who lived in a practicing center, but was too lazy to do any work. He thought that he should meditate twenty-four hours a day worshipping God, and worldly work was not for him. "Digging earth, planting trees, preparing meals ?these jobs are too worldly, no way! Spiritual practitioners should be more holy and noble." Therefore, he left and went into the desert to meditate everyday. A week later he crawled back because he was hungry! It was nighttime when he knocked on the door. The chief monk would not open the door, and asked who it was. The person said that he was the so-and-so probationary monk.
The chief monk said, "Oh! That so-and-so probationary monk no longer exists! He has become a Bodhisattva or an angel. He is no longer in this world!" Then, the chief monk just locked the door and went to sleep, leaving the so-and-so probationary monk sitting outside for the whole night on the staircase.
It was winter, and he was very hungry and cold. The chief monk saw him again when he opened the door in the morning. The probationary monk admitted his mistake, and the chief monk said, "While you are still living in this world and have this physical body, you have to work and earn your own living." Then he understood.
We are not angels yet! Of course we can also go to the Himalayas eat air and drink ice water. (Laughter) One or two days later, we turn into ice (laughter) ?nothing to do, very simple. However, since we have chosen to practice in this secular world, we should exert greater effort in all aspects.