The basic cause of the world's demise
Venerable Master Hua's talk on August 22, 1993 in Burlingame
We disciples of the Buddha must not crave new experiences, nor be overly curious and always seeking for the unusual and the unobtainable. The ancients said,
"The ordinary, every-day mind is the Way."
They also said that,
"People follow the Earth, the Earth follows Heaven, Heaven follows the Way, the Way follows Nature."
Anything done in a forced manner will not bring a response with the Way. Therefore, no matter what we do, it is better to let things take their own course, and not be artificial and pretentious. Some people may have been studying Buddhism all their lives, but their greed is greater than anyone else's. I don't know what kind of Buddhism they have been learning. As Buddhists, at all times and places, and no matter what we do, we should let events take their own course, and not be contrived or artificial. We must not be greedy or contentious. We shouldn't always be seeking things while we study Buddhism. Neither must we be selfish, not after self-benefit. Above all, we must not lie. If we can avoid telling lies, we are planting down the roots of sincerity.
Those of you who have parents at home should show them filial respect. Families where siblings dwell together must live in harmony, and not fight among yourselves. Once you start to quarrel, the family looses its atmosphere of warmth and happiness. Look around us : families in every country of the world are falling apart ! Families split up and go their separate ways, people no longer get along peacefully and happily. The ancients said,
"Man and woman together form the fundamental relationship among humans."
We should however, be satisfied with our family and not be discontented; otherwise, you will quarrel every day. A family like this, although it exists, lacks an atmosphere of warmth and happiness. This feeling of kinship and joy does not permit us to be discontented. In some families, people feel always dissatisfied, and discontent with each other. They ask, "Why was I born into such a family !" There is an atmosphere of enmity at home. Then people blame others for their problems, until finally the husband and wife get a divorce. In this way the situation becomes :
"fathers don't resemble fathers, and sons don't act like sons; wives do not act like wives any longer."
There is no peace in the home then, not even for a single moment. The family fights day and night. The marriage of people who don't share the same mind or the same resolve will soon fall apart. Do you realize how many people are getting divorced these days ? There are many more of them than married people. Divorce itself is bad enough, but the consequences of divorce are destroying every country in the world. The source of the destruction of the world lies in disharmony between married couples, which brings about all of the disasters that we experience.
Why do these natural disasters and calamities occur ? Simply because there are too many divorces filling the world. A divorce breaks up the family and the children who come from these families can easily become "troubled adolescents." These youngsters lack a mother and father at home, and thus they have no way to learn to become productive and stable in society. Children with single parents or without parents are pervasive now in the world.
Such children grow up unrestrained, and because there in no way to teach them properly, they learn to kill people, destroy property, take drugs and act out their every selfish desire. In this way, the nation can no longer resemble a nation, and the world is no longer like a world. After you investigate the cause of this phenomenon, you will see that it is because married couples don't know how to manage their family business and think only of getting divorced when problems arise.
Natural disaster and calamities, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires, epidemic plaques, and wars will start to occur more and more frequently. Furthermore, countless numbers of people will drown or be injured in airplane crashes, train collisions, and shipwrecks. The cause for all these calamities is divorce between couples. Once people get divorce Yin and Yang in the world fall into disorder. Then nothing goes smoothly any longer, and the world gets out of shape.
So if we want to understand what turned the world bad, we have to investigate its source. We have to search for the place where it went wrong. The answer is the disharmony among married couples. We failed to respect each other and forgot all about the proper courtesy between husband and wife. People these days talk about freedom, but the more we demand liberation, the farther our behavior strays from the standards for humans. It gets to the point, where people are no better than animals. Therefore, the age has gone bad. All of you must clearly understand this point ! It shouldn't be the case that after you study Buddhism for several tens of years or for all your life, you still can't find the root cause for the corruption of this world.
When the relationship between husband and wife goes wrong, seen from above, it's due to a lack of filial respect for parents. Because of quarreling and fighting, we are unable to truly be filial to our parents or steadfast in service to our country. Seen from below, the children that come from quarreling families all become troubled adolescents. The damage brought on above leads to damage in the next generation, so the problem is interrelated.
All you Buddhists, to really understand where the world goes bad, you should know that externally, things turn bad first between husband and wife. Internally, the problem begins with our bad minds. If the minds of people are rotten, then the outside environment grows abnormal, and does not accord with the rules. You can take a look around wherever you go to see if this is true - if a family is out of order and full of conflict, the society won't be peaceful, and the country will not bring forth any talented people or people of worth.
Does anyone have a comment ? I don't know whether you feel that what I said makes any sense or not ?