What Kind of Way-place Is the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas?
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is not very different from other Way-places, except in its principles of not contending, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal gain, and not lying.
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has just been founded, and everything has not gotten on track yet. Sometimes things are quite a mess, and the visitors who come don't quite understand our rules here. Some of the Buddhist ceremonies have not been performed very well. The people who have come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are a mixture of good and bad, virtuous and evil. The bad ones set an example for the good ones to see, and vice versa. They take one another as models, speak Dharma for one another, and learn from one another's experiences. Not only are people this way, but the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas also serve as models for each other, and so do the heavenly demons and externalists.
Since this is a new Way-place, many Dharma-protecting spirits who haven't worked here before sometimes try to be lazy, and don't know how to handle things. Similarly, when people first move to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, they don't know how to take care of things, either. That's why many heavenly demons and monsters have tried to stir up trouble and take advantage of the situation.
However, imperfection is the beginning of perfection. The conduct of people who live at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas needs to be virtuous. People who lack virtue cannot live here, because they'll always feel uneasy. Virtuous people, on the other hand, feel peaceful in mind and body, and very much at ease here. Judging from people's feelings, we can know what kind of place the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is. The Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Dharma-protecting spirits are pleased with virtuous people, but the demons, who are upset by them, try to drag them away from here. They use their demonic powers and tricks to confuse and cast spells on them. Even the unintelligent animals and insects want to show off their skill and cause mischief at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
In this world, wherever there is good, there is also evil, so we should follow the saying:
Follow what is good;
Change what is evil.
Go forward along the Way;
Retreat from what is not the Way.
Every person should possess right knowledge and right views. Right knowledge and right views means not contending, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal gain, and not telling lies. If you come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas with a big ego and a sense of great self-importance, you're finished here.
At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the dragons have to coil up, the tigers have to crouch down, and everyone must follow the rules. You should emulate your ancestors' virtuous conduct and your own good roots and not waste them. Don't come to the mountain of treasures without recognizing it, and return empty-handed. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is not very different from other Way-places; the only difference lies in the emphasis on not contending, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal gain, and not lying.
A talk given on the evening of April 15, 1983,
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas