July 29, 1973, Sunday noon

On Everything Being a Test

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua


[Upon the Master’s return from a trip to South America ]

All of you good and wise teachers!

All of you have received the aid of the Buddha’s light. Therefore, upon my return from South America , I see that you are still very sincerely coming to Gold Mountain Monastery to study Buddhism.

In studying Buddhism, do not have an attitude of dependence. If you have an attitude of dependence, you will never be able to stand on your own. Therefore, my trip to South America was also a real test for all of you. I spoke a verse for you some years ago. Although the verse contains only twenty characters, you should never forget it. Remember it every day, every hour, every minute and every second. What does the verse says?

Everything’s a test

To see what you will do.

Mistaking what’s before your face,

You’ll have to start anew.

Do you want to start anew? Ask yourselves. Your teacher cannot end your birth and death for you. The Sangha, the Dharma, the Buddha—they cannot end your birth and death on your behalf. You yourself have to end your own birth and death. Stand on your own. Do not have an attitude of dependence. Do not be like young children always demanding milk or candy, expecting your parents to spoon-feed you.

This time, when I went to South America for an extended period of time, you were being weaned. That was a test to see if you could still survive. It’s been over four months, but you haven’t starved to death. Many of you have developed a little skill in standing on your own. However, some of you have sizably increased your skill in being lazy, as well. You should increase your skill of independence, but you should decrease your skill of being lazy. Then you will accord with the Middle Way.


Timely Teachings, page 9.