December 1, 1973 | Saturday evening
Ven. Master Hsuan Hua
Someone is asking about the meaning of “patience with beings”, “patience with dharmas”, and “patience with the nonexistence of people and dharmas”. The first is this: If sentient beings scold you, beat you, or kill you, you are able to patiently bear it. What is patience with the Dharma? [Editor’s note: In this case, the Master is interpreting fa as “the Dharma” meaning the Buddha’s teaching, rather than as “dharmas” meaning phenomena.] Take a look at the Buddhadharma—it’s as deep as the great sea. If you were impatient, you would not be able to study the Buddhadharma. You would say, “There’s so much Buddhadharma. I could never study it all.” That shows a lack of patience with the Dharma. Patience with the nonexistence of beings and dharmas is a state of mind in which one does not see even the smallest dharma come into being or perish, such that people and dharmas are both empty.
Patience with beings requires that one understands the emptiness of people. When you reach the state in which you see people as empty, you can attain patience with beings. When you also see dharmas as empty, you attain patience with dharmas. When people and dharmas are both empty and gone, you have patience with the nonexistence of beings and dharmas. One sees not the smallest dharma come into being, and not the smallest dharma perish. This kind of state can only be borne in one’s heart; it cannot be expressed in words. Do you understand? You do? You must have realized the emptiness of people and dharmas, right? I fear that you are so lazy about practice that after studying, you still don’t know anything
Timely Teachings, pages 97 - 98.