Buddha statue Floating Lanterns near Honolulu
Buddha's Message for 2012
Listen to this talk:
Buddha's Message for 2012 (23 min.) MP3
Transcript of a talk delivered by Brother ChiSing
January 8, 2012 - Dallas, Texas

Thank you so much for your wonderful practice tonight. I could feel the blessings of love and light, life flowing amongst all of us through our mindful intentions. My message is very simple tonight. Just to renew our vows, to rededicate ourselves to our truest intentions and perhaps some of us had some New Year resolutions that are in harmony with these intentions and these vows.

Simply it boils down to taking refuge in the Buddha and in the Dharma and in the Sangha. Now, of course these Three Jewels, these Three Refuges, these Three Precious Gems are actually universal realities. So every tradition and religion has their own way of expressing these Three Jewels. For example in Christianity, the jewel of the Buddha is represented by Christ or God or the Trinity and the jewel of the Dharma is represented by the teachings, the scriptures, the Gospel and the very lifestyle of Christ, and also the Ten Commandments, all boil down to the two commandments of love God and love your neighbor as yourself. And the Sangha Jewel is represented in Christianity perhaps as the Church, the body of Christ, the community of saints, the fellowship of all believers and all those who live a life in harmony with God.

Download: 2012
Twelve Spiritual Practices

So if you're from a different tradition, maybe Judaism or Islam or Hinduism or another tradition, you can use your imagination and see how these three Jewels are universal and represented in your own tradition as well. And of course for those who are not religious and prefer a secular approach to life, you know that the Buddha is the representation of the universal truth that is in the universe that is embodied by all those who live the life of wisdom and compassion and the Dharma is a representation of the universally reality of the principles of truth and the way things are in the universe, the spiritual realities and the spiritual principles and the spiritual laws of the universe. Which if we practice them, open us to wisdom and compassion and power and enlightenment, love and joy and peace. And the Sangha Jewel is a representation of the universal reality that we are all connected and that we all inter-are. This is the truth of inter-being and that we all are part of the universal community of all who are on the path of enlightenment.

Now of course, there are those who are on the path of enlightenment in a conscious way, in an intentional way, and it can manifest as this right here in this room, those who have gathered together to intentionally, consciously practice the Dharma of truth to become Buddhas of wisdom and compassion. But there are also those in our world who are on the unconscious path of enlightenment and they are also part of our community. Maybe they don't know it yet. They don't realize yet they are part of the Sangha and maybe they act out of this ignorance and this delusion, acting out in ways that go against the harmony of the world community. Out of ignorance and delusion, they act out this ignorance that they are actually a part of the precious holy Sangha. But because they don't realize it they don't act it out they act out other things and maybe all of us at one time or another in this life have acted in such a way too. Right? We have acted out of ignorance, out of delusion in ways that do not express the holy Sangha that we are and maybe in previous lifetimes (laughs) if you believe in reincarnation. We have acted out in such ignorant and deluded ways too. So there is no room for judgement against those in this lifetime who may be living out and acting out of ignorance and delusion who do not yet realize that they actually are a part of the Sangha and that they are actually on the path of Dharma and that their destiny is to become Buddha. They may not realize it yet, but we cannot judge them because even in our own lives we have had moments either in the past or maybe in parts of our lives, different parts of our lives, you know maybe there's a part of us that is pretty enlightened... We come to sangha we do our meditations, we do our community service and we live a life that is for the most part in harmony with the path of enlightenment. But there are little parts of us, you know, maybe the way we talk to our dog or maybe the way we yell at our friend or our loved one or maybe the way we drive on the highway. Sometimes little bits and pieces of the not so in harmony parts of us come out in different times and not just in the past but even in the present. So we have no place to judge because we also have places of ignorance and unenlightenment roaming around in our consciousness and in our lives as well.

So when we look at those in the world who may be acting very, very ferociously out of harmony with the Sangha, and the Dharma and the Buddha, let us not judge them but rather see that they are aspects manifested of our own self because there is only one self. Oneself growing up together in different bodies, but only one self in many many forms and they are just simply our self an aspect of our self acting out of ignorance and delusion. The same self that we are also a manifestation of and so we cannot judge them. We just simply hold them in our mindfulness and we pray for them and we bless them knowing that as we bless them, we are also blessing ourselves because we are not separate. As we bless them we are blessing those parts of us that they are acting out.

In the practice of the Dharma as we realize consciously and intentionally that we are Sangha and that all beings are part of Sangha. Not just human beings but trees and fish and chickens and cows and microbes and the ozone layer, everything is part of the Sangha. Everything is the Sangha. And those of us who are on the intentional, conscious path of Sangha, we live that out and embody it so that it can spread across the world so that all beings can wake up to this truth. This is the ideal of the Pureland. It is a blueprint for our mission in life.

You see, Amitabha Buddha is simply a reminder to us that when you become a Buddha, you don't just bliss out into Nirvana and that's it (laughter). You know. No the Buddha Amitabha is a reminder that when you become a Buddha, you become an activist. So becoming enlightened is to become active in the universe to become actively creating a place of peace and well -being for all beings, to create a Pureland wherever you are. So that beings can enjoy an easier way toward a life of enlightenment and peace because it's not so easy in our world, on our planet Earth. It is not easy. Enlightenment has become very difficult. Compassion has become very difficult. Wisdom has become very difficult. Peace has become very difficult. So our mission as Buddhas to be, as baby Buddhas growing up, our mission as an expression of Amitabha on the Earth is to make it easier.

So through our words and our actions and our thoughts, you see, manifestations of the body, speech and mind. You know, through these enlightened activities, we can create a Buddha field, a Dharma field, a Sangha field of love and light and life. So that people, who come close to you, in relationship to you, may be at work or in family or here in the Dallas Meditation Center or even on the highway in traffic will feel your radiance and have some sort of influence from the way you just are in your thoughts, in your words, and your actions. This field of body, speech and mind, enlightened body, speech and mind, they will feel that and somehow it'll make it easier for them to feel that influence and to flow with it in harmony with your path of enlightenment. This can happen even when you don't even realize it. You know there are conscious intentional thoughts words and actions but there is also just the radiance of our being. Just by being who you are in the world makes a difference. Even if you don't say a single word today in this community, yet the way you sat, the way you breathed, the way you walked, the way you opened your heart, the person sitting right next to you or behind you or in front of you may have had their heart opened a little better, a little more, a little easier because of your practice and your presence. Even if you didn't even say hello even if they don't know who you are. And this center cannot even exist without you. Maybe even if you're here just once in a while, but every time you come and practice and you give your donation and you do volunteer work, you are supporting the Buddha field, the Pureland, the energy of enlightenment that is growing here at the Dallas Meditation Center.

So you are making a big difference even here. And this center is touching many more lives than just the amount of people in this room right now. Because every life that is touched through the center here, that life is touching other lives outside the center. It's like a ripple effect across the planet and you just don't know. I hear probably more stories than most people here because you know people email me directly usually but I hear stories all the time. Someone was going to commit suicide they came to the Sangha and they changed their mind and they saw hope. Maybe another person telling me about how they were just completely depressed for several months because of one of their children dying, but because of the support of the Sangha they were able to have hope again and come out of the depression and become active again in the world instead of being closed off in hibernation.

You just don't know. Just by being who you are is already so much. You know Thich Nhat Hanh says "a flower doesn't have to do anything except be a flower to fulfill its mission on the Earth." Just to be a flower to be fragrant to be beautiful and to express itself as a flower, a simple flower, is enough and it beautifies the whole world. You as a human being as an expression of Buddha nature in physical form, you don't have to do anything except just be who you are and that is enough to light up the whole world. But that's the trick isn't it to be who you really are, because most of the time we're acting out of being who we are not. Out of ignorance and delusion we act out of an identity that is not truly who we are. It is a program that has been passed down generation after generation through our ancestors, our family, our society, media, what others tell us what we're supposed to be, but that's not really who we really are.

Through meditation through mindfulness through taking refuge in the Sangha and the Dharma and the Buddha, or whatever your spiritual practice is, whatever tradition... by doing that you open up to who you really are. You'll awaken to who you really are and when you awaken to that, as you awaken to that, then your activities of body, speech and mind begin then to reflect that truth of who you really are and begin to manifest through all of your activities of enlightened thought, word and deed. But without practice it is very difficult to know who you truly are and act and embody that truth. That is why we need the help of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and the help of the Dharmas that are available to us and the Sangha. Through this help it's a little easier, and through our being helpful in the world it becomes easier for all beings.

So entrust yourself to the infinite light, and maybe you call that infinite light the Buddha, or Amitabha, or some other symbolic name or person who embodies this. Doesn't matter cause what matters is the quality that is true. The truth. The truth that is within and beyond the Buddha. The truth that is within and beyond the Christ. The truth that is within and beyond all symbols. Get to the core essential truth of what Buddha is pointing to. That is what matters. And of what the Dharma is pointing to, and what the word sangha is pointing to. Once you awaken to that essential truth beyond words, to the reality, then you start awakening and you start embodying it in your life, and you become Amitabha, and you create the Pureland here and now.

This is the year 2012. I believe it's one of the most important pivotal years in the history of humanity. This is the wake up year. This is the year of determination. I think of it as like a pivotal year because whatever we do from this point forward is going to determine what kind of future our planet will have. I think that this is the last year that we have to really make collective changes. Because whatever we do up to this point, this year, I believe, is a sign of what is to come. It's sort of like the point of no return basically. This is the year of the point of no return. So if we want to reverse global warming, if we want to reverse global pollution, and if we want to reverse the trend of industrialization, and any other trends that may be negative in the world, if we want to reverse those, this is the year to reverse it.

Now I know most of us are saying to yourself, well, what can I do about global warming, what can I do about global pollution, what can I do about global governments and trends? You know, I feel helpless. Well as an individual many of us do feel helpless and that's part of the despair that we're collectively feeling as a species. I mean I think, every time you feel depressed this year, try to remember that your depression is not just about you as an individual. Try to connect your depression to the collective depression of the planet, because there is a despair amongst millions of individuals on the planet today, because as individuals we feel very helpless to make the changes necessary. However I want to give you encouragement that you can actually have a positive influence even as an individual, even if you just change your consciousness and transform your mind and feelings, you are actually sending out a radiance into the collective atmosphere that is added to by others doing the same thing around the planet. So even though as an individual you may feel helpless and you don't know how you can possibly make any changes, yet if you just change your own consciousness, change your words, your thoughts and your actions, and the radiant field around you, you add to this collective field of energy around the planet as we all add to that field and that field will then help make the changes that our necessary.

But we can't just make changes only as individuals. We have to do it in connection to this field around the planet. This collective consciousness, this collective human store consciousness, whatever you want to call it. It is a collective energy. And as that field shifts and changes, then it influences governments, heads of state. It influences trends. It influences the way things are going. And it even probably may influence the weather. Who knows? But I believe that we're all connected. All of this is connected... physical, mental emotional and spiritual, individual and collective... We're all connected.

So I do believe that this is the pivotal year in history. Whether literally or not, I don't know. But symbolically, definitely. And if not this year, in the next few years. Scientists will agree with me and have already spoken out that this time period, between the year 2000 and the year 2020, in this time period is the critical years on the planet. What we do now makes a big difference for the future of our planet. Whether we're going to head toward global disaster or global awakening is up to us. So this year I encourage you to recommit yourself to the Buddha the Dharma and the Sangha. Rededicate yourself to the path of enlightenment, to becoming one with Amitabha, and co-creating the Pureland on Earth, and to practice the twelve practices. Remember we had that sheet on the 11 practices? Well it's the same practices just add one more (laughter) of your own choosing. So let's have 12 practices that we dedicate ourselves to this year in the year 2012. Then let's celebrate on December 21 2012. Hopefully we'll have reason to celebrate by then but it depends on us this year. For the next 11 to 12 months of our practice what are we going to do? And you're not doing it alone you have the support of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and you have our support.

Transcribed by Kristine James

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