Practicing Makes The World More Civilized
Columbia University, NY,USA. November 3, 1989.
In case we do not know where to open the gate of wisdom, we may search for some expert. That's all there is to it, so simple and so matter of fact. We don't need to make anything become so mystical, so difficult, so hard to believe and unreachable. If I can reach this wisdom, you can. I have not proclaimed that I have reached the whole wisdom in order that you praise me or give me a lot of presents or something. I just say so in such a way as you would say you are a M.D., because you have graduated from a medical school and in order that people know so that they trust you and that you may help them. I say this in order to set an example for you, to give you hope, to give you inspiration, that you too can do it.
Sometimes people criticize me for saying that my disciples always praise me, saying that I'm a Buddha, I'm a what and what. For a long, long time I never said I'm what and what. But people always heard from my disciples. Then they came and attacked me for what I did not say. "What? You are a Buddha? How can You be? How dare You be?" So many questions like that arose many times.
So I'm fed up. I'm tired of being humble. I say, "I'm a Buddha. So what? What's the matter with it?" so openly. But after you've become a Buddha, you become very Normal, very lovable, very cute. Nothing great, nothing very special happens, just that you discover your own treasure and your own power, and you use it. What is the big deal about discovering your bank account that you have forgotten about? There's no virtue, no great thing about spending your own money. Everyone knows that.
Similarly, there's no great thing about discovering your own power and your own wisdom, and using them for the benefit of yourself and for anyone who needs it. Apart from this discovery of your own wisdom and power, you are ordinary. You just add more power, that's all. Whatever other people do, you do. They walk, you walk. If they sleep, you sleep; they eat, you eat; they work, you work. It's alright. You're like before. You are now just extra-charged by extra power.
It is similar to the case of a medical student. After he has graduated from medical school, he becomes a M.D. Now, he didn't change anything, did he? The look, the outlook are the same, the friends are the same, his activities are the same, and his behavior won't change. What has changed is that he has extra knowledge, extra talent, extra abilities to help others, including himself and his family, with his medical expertise. People make Buddha become a very mythological figure, a very great being, a very mystical figure, that no one can understand, no one knows, no one can touch, no one can see; make Christ become the world owner, and no one else can attain His level. This is wrong. This is incorrect information.
Just because you have discovered your lost treasure, it doesn't mean you will change anything in your habits and behavior. You will not become a wooden statue or a stone Buddha. You will have similar feelings, you have the same power of reasoning, you still have the same capability to work in your job, if not better. You can serve the society with more power, more vigor, more clear-sightedness and more concentration. Apart from your physical ability to contribute your talents to society and the world at large, you have the invisible wisdom which can be manifested and used as the power to supply blessing, encouragement and joy to the people around you.
So, for these reasons we can see that no one should deny enlightenment, no one should deny the right to their own wisdom and power. Wisdom is something very intangible, invisible; but it can be felt once we want to use it. We cannot see it but we can feel it when we turn on the light. We can use it when we turn on the fan, television or all the apparatus. That's how we know electricity exists.
How do we know God, wisdom or the Buddha Nature exists? We know by the manifestation of this power. We discover this power and then we put this power into use. We use this wisdom for useful purposes, useful things. Just like electricity is invisible, but we can turn it into light, into the power for a record-player and use it in a refrigerator, fan and all kinds of useful things. Now if we have this inborn wisdom, we can use it and make it into anything we want, including to build our own heaven. Then no need for God even.
Therefore, sometimes, people who are very enlightened or completely enlightened, for example, like the case of the Zen masters, after they get enlightened, they speak in such aloof terms like, "There is no God. There's no one. Or they say, "I'm just drinking tea," or something like that. They never express much emotion about God or the divine being. It is difficult to understand them and we may sometimes mistakenly address them as atheists; but it is not so.
Similarly in the case of the Buddha, after He was completely enlightened, He even denied that there's any God. He used another name, Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodha. It means the highest Buddha. The highest Buddha or the highest God are similar things. The highest Buddha or the highest God live within us. That is the wonder of all wonders. That means what? Do you know? That means that we are God, we are Buddha. If the Buddha doesn't live in here, who else then? The owner is a Buddha, so we are the Buddha, we are God. It's easy to speak, to tell, to repeat; it's not easy to realize that.
Therefore we humbly or arrogantly live everyday without realizing our true person. So we suffer, we feel burdened, we feel lonely, we feel desperate, we feel helpless. It is because we do not know our great status - that is the real Self, the God or the Holy Spirit that dwells within ourselves. Know you not that you are the temple of God and the Holy Spirit dwells within you. Also, Lo and behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.
Buddha said, Buddha is in your heart. It means Buddha is within yourselves. If the Buddha is within yourselves, then we are the Buddha. What else? There's no one else in here, only Buddha lives in here. Then we are the Buddha, is that not so? If no one else lives inside, only the Spirit of God, the Kingdom of God, then we are the Kingdom of God, we are God. It's very logical, even without enlightenment. We can not argue about this.
The next step is to find this Kingdom of God, to find this power of the Almighty which is hidden within ourselves. Now that I have found it, I might inform you. If you want to find it, then I will offer you my service, free of any condition.