Saving the World from Calamities

Ven. Master Hsuan Hua


Let’s investigate a grave problem.  Every problem falls within the scope of good and evil, cause and effect. The law of cause and effect says that good people win and evil people lose. As it is said, “Planting melons, one harvest melons; planting beans, one harvests beans.” It is because of this principle that the world has not been ruined. If good people lost and bad people won, there would be no justice. When there is no justice, the world will be destroyed; it will be the end of the world.  

How do we keep this world from being destroyed? By improving human minds. When human minds are wholesome, there will be bright light throughout the world. Bright light is just wisdom.  Wise people are righteous. Their actions are great, bright, and proper, not motivated by selfishness.  In everything they do, they want to bring happiness to all humankind. Since they don’t discriminate between races or nations, the whole world becomes one great family. The people of today are not like the ancients. They are selfish and often seek to benefit themselves at the cost of the sacrificing the benefit of the whole.  

That is why this world has become darker, stupider, and more dangerous with each passing day. It is on the very brink of destruction. It is only hanging on by a hair. If no one tries to save it, we will all perish together and no one will survive. Well, how do we save it? As the saying goes, “Refrain from all evil, and practice all good.” Everyone turns towards the good, and away from evil. From the national leader down to common citizens, if everyone can use the light of wisdom to shine through the darkness of stupidity, this dark world will become bright and wars will turn into peace.  

Presently, we are living in the long, dark night of delusion. Since the long night is pitch black, we need some light. Darkness makes people gloomy, while light makes people happy.  Whether there is darkness or light depends on the good and evil in our minds. The world is destroyed because of the mind, and it is also created because of the mind. We who study the Dharma have to get rid of the false mind and keep the true mind. And so the Buddha dharma is the precious raft that can save the world’s people. It is also the precious mirror that can make people’s minds more wholesome.  

Everything in this world has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. For example, television can keep people updated on national and international affairs. There’s a saying, “A scholar doesn’t need to go out his door to know the affairs of the country.” This is the advantage of having a television, but there are also disadvantages.  Television is often a bad influence on children.  It teaches them how to cheat and behave in unprincipled and harmful ways, causing problems in the family and disturbing the peace of the society.  Such children become juvenile delinquents who make trouble everywhere they go.  If they go on to become political leaders in the future, how can there be peace in the world?  This is the harm caused by television. For the sake of protecting the next generation as well as the people of the future, we should not allow our children to watch television. The best solution, which nips the problem in the bud, is not to buy a T.V. set in the first place.   

The world has now become extremely polluted and defiled. What can we do about it? As members of the human race, we have to begin with ourselves. We should purge ourselves of our bad habits and faults, and purify our minds of greed, hatred, and stupidity. By setting a good example, we can influence others to do the same.  Before we can be good models and exhort others to do good, we have to make sure that our own conduct and thinking is completely correct.  Otherwise, everything we say will be futile and of no help to the situation.  

Someone who feels responsible for the welfare of the entire world is motivated by compassion for all people. Shakyamuni Buddha, for example, underwent tremendous suffering in his past lives when he was cultivating the Bodhisattva Way . Why did he do so? He wanted to influence living beings to cultivate the Dharma, so that they would be able to leave suffering and attain happiness. As I often say, “To endure suffering is to end suffering; to enjoy blessings is to diminish blessings.” You should all take this as your motto.  


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