Many years ago, a disciple approached Master Yi Yun Gao (H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III) seeking guidance on how to apply Buddhist wisdom to navigate worldly affairs. In response, Master Yi offered some insightful advice, which was later compiled into a book entitled “Selected Philosophical Sayings About Worldly Matters”. The following are translations of excerpts from the book.
What makes the sun the greatest thing man has ever known? It is admired for providing light and warmth for all the beings under it. A truly great person is one who is willing to sacrifice his own benefit for the well-being of others.
A city does not need all the food a province produces, but that much food is far from enough to feed the whole country; it needs all the food the country can produce. The strength of an individual is nothing compared with collective strength.
The respect a person enjoys comes from his devotion to the well-being of other people. A swimming pool is admired in summer because it provides relief from the heat.
A person is established in character only when he truly knows himself.Why? It is difficult for a person to be aware of his own flaws, just as he cannot see his own back, though it is in plain sight ofother people.It is quite natural for a person to hide his own flaws, but overdoing it will alienate the person from those around him.When the person realizes this and feels ashamed, he turns to seek knowledge and adhere to moral integrity so as to establish his own character and win the respect and support of other people.
Deliberation is needed before one makes a move, but no conclusion is to be drawn from deliberation alone. It has to be tested in action. Suggested moves are not to be adopted in haste, nor are they to be rejected out of hand; they are not to be dismissed even when tests have proved them worthless, for in this case an inquiry into their legitimacy has to be made. When a rainbow is blocked from view by clouds, it does not mean that there is no rainbow out there.
What to do to beat your equal in battle? Attack him where he is most vulnerable with concentrated force and victory will be yours. A piece of wood with a sharp end can break another piece of wood that is just as hard as the wood you use to attack.
Intellectual and material resources work in opposite ways. Intellectual resources are limitless; the more they are tapped, the broader they grow in scope. Impermanent in nature and limited in quantity, material resources last but a short time, and the more they are consumed the sooner they are exhausted. The truth is that the former is non-quantifiable and thus infinite and everlasting while the latter is quantifiable and therefore diminishing and exhaustible.
Nestled in the central-eastern region of China lies the Zhangjiajie National Park, a sprawling park that is part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, featuring several protected areas that boast breathtaking natural wonders. The park, covering an area of 18.59 square miles (48.15 sq km), has been recognized as a GANP (Global Geoparks Network) Ambassador Park, and it is no surprise why it has earned such an honor. The park is home to the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, which served as the inspiration for the film Avatar, making it a must-see destination for tourists and nature lovers alike.
One of the most remarkable features of the park is its dense forests, deep ravines, deep canyons, unusual peaks, caves, and pillar-like rock formations that are scattered throughout the area. These pillar rock formations, which are made of quartz-sandstone and formed by physical erosion caused by the abundant rains, are the park’s most renowned attraction. They are not typical limestone-eroded pillars and are unique to the Zhangjiajie National Park.
The mountainous terrain, the lush forests, and the rolling clouds combine to create breathtaking scenery that inspires various forms of artwork, from literature to paintings, and even films. The landscapes created by the mountains and the pillar-like rock formations are the epitome of Chinese landscapes.
Visitors to the park have the opportunity to experience the splendor of the national park through various means, including hiking, biking, and taking a cable car or elevator. Two record-holding features in the park that help visitors experience the splendor of the national park are the Bailong Elevator and the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge.
The Bailong Elevator, affectionately known as the “hundred dragons sky lift,” is the world’s tallest outdoor lift, and it carries around 50 people at a time up 1,070 feet (326 m) in less than two minutes. From the top, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
The Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge is the longest and highest pedestrian glass bridge in the world, stretching across 1,410 feet (430 m) at a height of 980 feet (300 m). Walking across the bridge, visitors can experience the thrill of walking on glass while enjoying panoramic views of the canyon and the mountains beyond.
The five most spectacular sights are the unusual peaks, deep canyons, beautiful waters, thick forests, and mysterious caves.
The scenery of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park
The peculiar peaks refer to the 3,000 or more mountain peaks made of quartz sandstones. The three representative peaks are Camel Peak, Drunk Stone Peak, and Five Finger Peak, which are elegant and magnificent.
The deep canyons refer to 32 canyons, each more than 2,000 meters in length. The most famous ones are Jinxi Canyon, Shentang Canyon, and 10-Li Gallery Canyon.
The beautiful water refers to the more than 800 waterscapes in the scenic area, including streams, springs, lakes, pools, and waterfalls.
Caves of different shapes can be found here. The most outstanding is Yellow Dragon Cave, which contains beautiful stalactites.
The rural landscapes also attract a lot of visitors. The local farmers are hospitable and you may visit their homes.
Zhangjiajie is picturesque to visit at any time of the year, but April to October is recommended, as winters are cold and the tourist areas are less accessible. But when is it best to go? It depends on the experience you’re looking for.
For weather, September and October are the best times to go, when the weather is clear and comfortable.
The national park is busy year-round except for winter from December to February. The peak season is from May to October.
The short period from early-November to mid-November is considered to be the perfect time with good weather and without heavy crowds.
Yuanjiajie (‘Yuan Family Territory’ 袁家界) contains “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain“. It is the most popular sight in Zhangjiajie. Yuanjiajie is a butte (steep-sided platform mountain), surrounded by higher peaks, grotesque rock pillars, and deep valleys. The highlights of Yuanjiajie include the First Bridge under Heaven, Avatar Hallelujah Mountain, and ‘Lost Souls Platform’.
The easiest way to get up to Yuanjiajie is by the famous Hundred Dragon Elevator (Bailong Elevator). But we don’t recommend it (unless you arrive before 7 am or descend before 4 pm) due to typical 2-hour lines for the 2-minute ride. A 1–1½-hour hike is a better way if you are fit.
Tianzi Mountain (‘Heaven Son Mountain’ or ‘Emperor Mountain’ 天子山Tianzishan) offers the best chance of photographing a sea of clouds, mainly during spring or early autumn.
Don’t miss the cable car up to this area. The 30-minute ride will take you through the towering formations and give you the opportunity to take great fly-by photos.
If your time permits, you can visit Ten-Mile Gallery where you can take a monorail train. After the train, you can hike up to Tianzi Mountain.
Gold Whip Stream (Jinbian Xi 金鞭溪) is a brook at the foot of the towering mountains. It is about 7½ km (4½ miles) long, about two hours’ walk.
It is an easy and relaxing walk along the stream. It gets quieter as you walk farther from the shuttle bus stop.
The 400-meter-high cliff by Gold Whip Stream is spectacular, especially at sunset. One thing to watch out for is the wild monkeys along the stream.
Zhangjiajie National Park is an extraordinary destination that should be on every nature lover’s bucket list. It’s a place where visitors can connect with nature, experience the thrill of adventure, and marvel at the beauty of the world around them. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor to China, Zhangjiajie National Park is a must-see destination that will leave you breathless and in awe of the natural wonders of our world.
ZHANGJIAJIE China most Amazing National Forest Park (Avatar floating mountains). Best by drone
Over 2,000 years ago, Shakyamuni Buddha came to the Saha world, established Buddhism, and began to spread the Buddha Dharma. Now, the karmic conditions related to the good fortune of living beings have matured, and the contemporary Buddha H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has come to our world once again to bring more Dharma to us. The Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Great Compassion Empowerment Dharma is the Dharma that His Holiness has brought to us this time.
When a Dharma Master practices this Dharma, it can convene people, empower them, and lead them into a supernormal state. The purpose is to eliminate negative karma, improve one’s health, and increase spiritual mentality. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III has transmitted the Dharma to a few qualified Rinpoches and Dharma Masters, and these Rinpoches and Dharma Masters have hosted the Dharma Assembly many times around the world.
I have participated in the assembly four times so far. The first time, I heard many people crying, singing, or laughing, and some walking around, but I myself didn’t experience any specific motions. I was kind of disappointed. The second time, I had very strong feelings. When the assembly just started and everyone was chanting the Great Bright Six Syllable Mantra, I began to cry and couldn’t control myself. I kept on crying and crying, and it seemed like I cried out all my sorrows and pains in my life. Then I started to sway my body, shake my head and neck. The third and fourth time I joined the assembly, I had more motions and stronger expressions. I still cried hard at the beginning, then I sang the name of Namo Dorje Chang Buddha III, swung my two arms, and spun around. I bent my neck backward so hard, and I even lay down on the floor feeling so peaceful and comfortable, feeling the energy flowing through my body. I did all those without any intention from my mind. I felt the assembly was too short to end. Every time after the assembly, I felt my whole body loosen up, and I was so relaxed and rejuvenated.
The assembly actually has two parts. One is held inside, such as a conference center or grand hall in a hotel, where the master performs the Dharma. The second part takes place outside, where living beings are released from captivity.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III emphasized many times in the Dharma discourses: “The concluding practice of the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Great Compassion Empowerment Dharma is the finest, the best. Were it not for its concluding practice, I would not advocate practicing this Dharma. I all the more would not transmit this Dharma in this world. Why release captive living beings? All living beings have been our family members since beginningless time. They are the same as humans. It is just that their degree of intelligence and appearance are different from those of humans. Still, their consciousness is the same as that of a human. That is why in real life, we see that some animals can even rescue people, some can do math, some can sing, and some can dance. I even saw a dog that was able to play a highly difficult piano melody. Moreover, the dog played it very precisely. We must help them and rescue them. Furthermore, we must not even slightly harm any living being. We can only rescue them.
Because the Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Great Compassion Empowerment Dharma is based on the power gathered from the greatly compassionate mind of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, at the end of each Dharma assembly, the one performing the Dharma must lead the attendees in a concluding practice to release captive living beings, do good deeds, and help other people. It is best to conduct the concluding practice on the same day. If there is not enough time, doing it on another day is also acceptable. However, the concluding practice must be completed within fifteen days.
People who attend an Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva Great Compassion Empowerment Dharma Assembly should make offerings. However, in order to comply with the Dharma, it would be best if they personally helped the Dharma assembly staff arrange that the monetary offerings received at the Dharma assembly be spent on the main subject of the Dharma assembly—the concluding practice of releasing captive living beings, helping other people, and doing good deeds— as well as on the related expenses of the Dharma assembly, such as renting the site, transportation, meals, and lodging for the master performing the Dharma and those accompanying the master.”
Today is the auspicious occasion of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva’s holy birthday, and on this special day, I offer my sincere prayers: May the great Bodhisattva bless all living beings with a life full of auspiciousness, prosperity, and happiness. May the compassionate energy of Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva radiate throughout the world, bringing peace, harmony, and love to all sentient beings.
Guan Shi Yin (Avalokitesvara) Bodhisattva is a revered figure in Buddhism who has achieved the level of marvelous enlightenment, possessing the same qualities as a Buddha. According to sutras, Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva is believed to be the manifestation of an ancient Buddha called True Dharma Brightness Tathagata and is considered the king of great compassion. The Bodhisattva tirelessly works day and night to help all beings in the Three Spheres, accumulating boundless merit.
Guan Yin is one of the most widely depicted figures in Chinese temples, with thousands of different incarnations or manifestations. Typically portrayed as a graceful woman dressed in flowing white robes and a hood, carrying a small vase of holy dew, she stands tall and slender, emanating selflessness and compassion. She may be depicted in various forms, such as seated on an elephant, standing on a fish, nursing a baby, holding a basket, or with multiple arms and heads. Her main goal is to alleviate the suffering of all beings.
Guan Yin is often portrayed riding a mythological animal known as the Hou, similar to a Buddhist lion, symbolizing her divine power over nature. She is usually depicted barefoot, while on public altars, she is flanked by two acolytes: a barefoot, shirtless youth known as Shan-ts’ai (Golden Youth) on her right, and a demure maid known as Lung-nü (Jade Maiden) on her left, holding her hands together inside her sleeves.
Guan Yin’s birthday is celebrated on the nineteenth day of the second lunar month, which falls on March 10th this year. She is considered a model of Chinese beauty, and being referred to as a “Guan Yin” is the highest compliment for grace and loveliness.
There are many legendary stories and folk tales about Guan Yin, which have been collected and passed down through generations.
Willow Guan Yin, left hand has a jar containing pure water, and the right holds a willow branch.
According to legend, during a period of severe drought and corruption in the Zhongzhou area of China, Guanyin Bodhisattva came to enlighten the people and show them the path to righteousness. With her compassion for all living beings, she took out willow branches from a jade bottle and poured nectar into the fields. Suddenly, it rained heavily, relieving the drought and bringing new life to the parched land.
The Willow Guan Yin’s willow branch represents her ability to heal and soothe, while the jar of pure water symbolizes her power to purify and cleanse. Her actions during the drought represent her willingness to help those in need and her desire to alleviate suffering. Her message is clear: no matter how dire the circumstances, there is always hope and a chance for redemption.
According to legend, a fearsome monster with the head of a dragon and the body of a turtle that dwelled in the East China Sea. This monster was known to cause great havoc and destruction, leaving the people in constant fear and anxiety.
The people’s prayers were answered when Guanyin Bodhisattva heard of their plight. Being the embodiment of compassion, Guanyin Bodhisattva arrived in the East China Sea, he rode on the back of the dragon-headed monster, showing no fear, and subdued it with his magic power. From that day on, the people lived in peace and safety, free from the monster’s threat.
In honor of Guanyin Bodhisattva’s courageous act, the people erected a statue of him standing on the dragon-headed monster, enshrining it as a symbol of his boundless magic power and compassion for all living beings.
According to legend, Guanyin Bodhisattva traveled to Luoyang City and took out a precious mirror. She claimed that as long as people paid three Wen coins, they could see their past and future lives from the mirror. The people eagerly lined up and took turns looking into the mirror. They were all surprised to see their past and future lives reflected back at them.
However, when Guanyin Bodhisattva revealed her true form, the people saw different expressions on her face. Some saw an angry face, some saw a fierce face, and some saw a joyful face. The people were confused by these different expressions.
Guanyin Bodhisattva warned all living beings not to think that their evil deeds would go unnoticed. She urged them to do more good deeds instead. It is absolutely true that one cannot escape karma. Evil will be rewarded with evil, and good will be rewarded with good.
According to legend, there was a time when people living on the coast of the East China Sea lacked manners and etiquette. Guanyin Bodhisattva, being the compassionate deity that she is, decided to intervene and provide enlightenment to these people.
In order to do so, Guanyin Bodhisattva transformed herself into a beautiful fisherwoman and began to teach the people about the importance of etiquette and manners. She also promised to marry whoever could recite the Buddhist scriptures that she taught them.
A young fisherman named Ma Lang was determined to gain the Bodhisattva’s favor and started to diligently study the scriptures. Eventually, his hard work paid off, and he was able to recite the scriptures flawlessly. Impressed by his dedication, the Bodhisattva decided to imparted him with further enlightenment. At the wedding night, the Bodhisattva left the house with sudden death.
Ma Lang realized the fishwoman was actually Guanyin Bodhisattva, he carved a statue of Bodhisattva looking like a fisherwoman and enshrined the statue in his house.
According to the legend, Dogen, a Japanese monk who had just returned from studying in China, found himself in the middle of a terrible storm while sailing near the coast of Nanming. Fearing for his life, he prayed silently to Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of compassion, to protect him from the storm.
Suddenly, he saw a miraculous sight. A beautiful and serene figure of Avalokitesvara appeared riding on a lotus leaf, floating on the sea. The Bodhisattva’s presence calmed the storm, and the wind and waves stopped. Dogen was filled with wonder and gratitude, and he knew that he had witnessed a great miracle.
After he landed safely, Dogen decided to commemorate this miraculous experience by creating a statue of Guanyin as he had seen her on the lotus leaf. He had the statue enshrined in the Nanming Guanyin Temple, where it became an object of veneration for countless devotees.
Avalokitasvara, Guan Shi Yin in Chinese, means the Perceiver of World’s Sounds. The Lotus Sutra says: “Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, heavenly voice, the voice of the sea’s tide—magnificent, rich and harmonious surpassing all worldly sounds.” The bodhisattva always help all beings in danger and distress and is willing to bear the pain of all beings. If we hold the bodhisattva in our hearts and call on her sincerely, she will always respond.
May the greatly loving and compassionate Namo Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva bless all beings!!!
Kazuo Inamori, born in 1932 in Kagoshima, Japan, was one of seven children. During his elementary school years, he showed a strong interest in science and machines, particularly those in his father’s printing shop. However, in the sixth grade, he contracted tuberculosis, which led him to read a book by a Buddhist monk, sparking his interest in religion. When Inamori was young, his father took him to see a monk who advised him to recite “Namo Amitabha Buddha” every day. He has been chanting it every day since then without interruption.
According to Inamori, the initial 20 years of life should be dedicated to learning, growing, and preparing for entry into society, while the following 40 years from age 20 to 60 should be focused on working hard and contributing to society. He also maintains that at least 20 years of preparation are necessary to face death.
At the age of 65, Inamori decided to shave his head and embrace Buddhism. His intention was to rediscover the meaning of life and prepare for death.
The philosophy of Dr. Kazuo Inamori, who founded Kyocera, centers around the mission “to do what is right as a human being.” This concept is included in all decision making, emphasizing the importance of fairness and diligent effort.
When Inamori’s start-up business faced dissatisfied employees who demanded regular salary increases and guaranteed bonuses, he spent several days and nights negotiating with them. This incident made him realize the importance of securing the future of his employees. He adjusted the company’s business philosophy to be “a place to protect employees’ self and their family’s material and spiritual life.”
In Buddhism, there is a saying called “self-interest and altruism.” It emphasizes that if one wishes to benefit oneself, they must also benefit others. This philosophy encourages individuals to not only focus on their own interests but also consider the well-being of others. As a leader, I often encourage my employees to lend a helping hand to others during business operations.
In Japan, there is a saying that goes, “Human affection is not for others,” implying that treating others kindly will ultimately bring rewards. However, Mr. Inamori disagree with the notion that Buddhism is incompatible with capitalism and corporate profits. In fact, he believe that conducting business operations based on Buddhist principles is far more admirable than conducting business solely for profit.
Inamori founded KDDI with the lofty spirit of devoting himself to society and the world, leading to its success as the second-largest communication company in Japan after NTT.
In 1985, Kazuo Inamori founded The Kyoto Prize, which is considered Japan’s most prestigious private award for lifetime achievement in the arts and sciences. The prize is bestowed upon individuals who have not only excelled in their respective fields but also contributed significantly to the advancement of human knowledge, culture, and spirituality.
In 2010, at the age of 77 and with no prior experience in the industry, Inamori became chief executive of Japan Airlines. The following year, he returned the carrier to profit and led it out of bankruptcy. He relisted it on the Tokyo stock exchange in 2012. Inamori changed employees’ mentality by printing a small book for each staff member outlining his philosophies, emphasizing the company’s dedication to their growth, explaining the social significance of their work, and outlining Buddhist-inspired principles for how employees should live.
Kazuo Inamori holds the belief that the universe has an expectation for us when we are brought into the world. While it may be a question beyond human wisdom on how we should live in accordance with this expectation, he firmly believes that the only answer lies in “enhancing the mind”.
He has often expressed his desire to depart from this world with a heart that is kinder and more beautiful than when he was born.
When asked about his future goals in a 2002 interview with the New Sun, Inamori answered, “As long as I live, I would like to continue to contribute to the material and spiritual happiness of humanity and society.”
Taoism is an ancient Chinese philosophy that emphasizes living in harmony with the natural world and embracing simplicity. Its teachings have had a significant impact on both Eastern and Western cultures, including the field of psychology. One prominent figure in psychology who was influenced by Taoism is Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who founded analytical psychology.
Jung’s complex concept of “the Self” is one of his most significant contributions to psychology. The Self represents the totality of an individual’s psyche, including both conscious and unconscious elements. According to Jung, the Self is the goal of the individuation process, a lifelong journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
In ancient China, there were eight prominent figures in Taoism, and Lu Dongbin was the most popular one. Besides being a renowned Taoist, he was also a skilled poet and scholar. Throughout history, many legendary stories and folk tales have been told about him.
One interesting story was recorded in a Buddhist book called JiaTai Pu Deng Lu (嘉泰普灯录), which has also been documented in several other books, including XinShi Heng Yan (醒世恒言). Although there are some variations, the main points of the story remain the same. H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III also told this story in his dharma discourse: Expounding the Absolute Truth through the Heart Sutra.
Once, Lu Dongbin asked his master, “Master, why did you only save me for a thousand years?”
His master replied, “It’s difficult to teach all living beings. People’s habits are deeply ingrained, and they constantly change. Most living beings find it challenging to learn our Taoism.”
Lu Dongbin countered, “Master, I disagree. We are powerful beings. Are we afraid it will be difficult to liberate them? Let me go down and liberate people for you. I will free a thousand souls every year.”
His master warned, “You may go down to Earth, but be careful not to provoke the monks. Some cannot be trifled with.”
Lu Dongbin descended from the South Gate of Heaven on an auspicious cloud and saw the golden light of Huanglong Temple in Shanghai, China. Zen Master Huanglong was teaching the Heart Sutra and explaining Prajna principles. Lu Dongbin decided to listen in and transformed himself into a fly, sticking to the door.
However, Zen Master Huanglong was a powerful monk who knew Lu Dongbin was eavesdropping. He stopped teaching and instructed his attendant to remove the “person who stole our Dharma.”
Enraged, Lu Dongbin revealed his true form, brandishing his Qingfeng sword and accusing Zen Master Huanglong of insulting him. Lu Dongbin told Zen Master: “I am the great Taoist Immortal LU Dongbin.” Huanglong found it amusing and called Lu Dongbin a “ghoul guard” who would eventually die in vain.
Lu Dongbin drew his sword, but Zen Master Huanglong remained unperturbed, blocking the sword with his sleeve. Lu Dongbin knelt before the Zen master, feeling ashamed.
Huanglong proceeded to teach Lu Dongbin sudden enlightenment dharma, explaining that “speech is cut off, and mind is silenced.” As a god, Lu Dongbin was able to grasp the teaching quickly and had an epiphany.
After his enlightenment, Lu Dongbin wrote a gatha containing the line, “Since I met Huanglong, I realized that I mistakenly used my mind in the past.”
In Buddhist teachings, it is said that even the highest Taoist practitioner can reach heaven, but still remain in the realm of the birth and death cycle. However, if one can realize and abide in the original nature, then they can break through this cycle and achieve liberation. The original nature refers to the pure dharma body of all sentient beings within the three spheres of existence (triloka), which is united with the universe. It has no form, shape, physical body, or appearance. All living beings possess this original nature equally, which is the same as the dharma body of the Tathagata or dharmakaya. It neither comes nor goes, and is neither excessive nor lacking. It is immaculate, free from any notion of cleanliness or dirtiness.
Su Shi was a prominent figure during the Song Dynasty, renowned for his literary, artistic, calligraphic, pharmaceutical, and political contributions. He was also one of the most notable poets of his era and was known by his courtesy name, Zizhan, and his pseudonym, Dongpo Jushi (東坡居士 “Resident of Dongpo”). Su Dong Po is the commonly used name to refer to him.
In the realm of Chinese literature, Su Shi is widely recognized as a highly accomplished figure, having produced some of the most well-known poems, lyrics, prose, and essays.
Su Dongpo was a close friend of an esteemed monk named Foyin, and the two often practiced Zen meditation together. There were many stories about the two.
Buddha and Cow Dung
One day, Su Shi decided to play a prank on his good friend Foyin. He asked him, “What do I look like in your eyes?”
Foyin replied, “In my eyes, you look like a Buddha.”
Su Shi then asked, “Do you know what you look like in my eyes?” Foyin replied that he did not know.
Su Shi gleefully exclaimed, “In my eyes, you look like a pile of cow dung!”
Upon returning home, Su Shi shared his victory with his younger sister, Su Xiaomei. However, she frowned upon hearing this and told her brother that he had lost the exchange. She explained that if a person has Buddha in their heart, they will see the Buddha’s qualities in everything around them. Conversely, if a person has impure thoughts and feelings, they will see everything as dirty and unpleasant. She pointed out that Foyin’s heart was pure, while Su Shi’s was not.
Eight winds and a Fart
Su Dongpo was not only a renowned literary figure but also a Buddhist disciple who regularly practiced meditation.
One day, after a particularly serene meditation session, Su Shi felt that he had made a significant realization. He decided to capture his experience in a poem, which read, “Sitting still on the lotus platform, even the eight winds cannot move me.”
Curious about the authenticity of his realization, Su Shi asked his servant to deliver the poem to Zen Master Foyin, who resided in the Jinshang Temple across the river.
Upon receiving the poem, the Zen Master smiled and wrote two large characters on a piece of paper, which he instructed the servant to take back to Su Dongpo.
Excited to receive feedback from the Zen Master, Su Dongpo eagerly unfolded the paper, hoping to see praise for his state of practice.
However, instead of receiving the expected validation, Su Dongpo was infuriated to see the two characters “fart” written on the paper. Without hesitation, he boarded a boat and crossed the river to confront Zen Master Foyin.
When Su Dongpo arrived at the Jinshan Temple, he found the Zen Master waiting for him on the shore. In a loud and accusatory tone, Su Dongpo asked, “Great monk! You and I are best friends. If you don’t appreciate my poems and my practice, it’s fine. How can you slander me?”
The Zen Master remained unperturbed and asked, “How did I slander you?”
Su Dongpo then showed him the word “fart” written in the poem.
The Zen Master burst into laughter and exclaimed, “Ah! Didn’t you say ‘Eight winds cannot move you’? How come just one fart was enough to blow you over the river?”
The “Eight Winds” refer to the eight worldly concerns: gain and loss, honor (fame) and disgrace (dishonor or infamy), praise and ridicule (censure, blame or criticism), pleasure and suffering (pain). Eight situations that normally preoccupy and sway unrealized people. To be unmoved by these Eight winds is a mark of a true buddhist practitioner.
Around a 2-hour drive from downtown Chengdu lies one of the most marvelous ancient wonders of China, the Leshan Giant Buddha, also known as Lingyun Giant Buddha. Carved into a cliff-face along a peaceful river, this imposing figure, at 71 meters (over 200 feet) in height, dates back over a thousand years and is the largest and tallest stone Buddha statue in the world.
Carved in the 8th century during the Tang Dynasty, the Leshan Giant Buddha was built during a peak period of Buddhist culture in ancient China. The sculpture depicts Maitreya, a very popular Buddha in the Tang Dynasty. The sutras say that when Maitreya comes into world, the world will be at peace. The female Chinese female sovereign Wu Zetian even proclaimed she was the reincarnation of Maitreya and was a strong advocate of Maitreya sculptures being built as a way to maintain her rule. People liked to carve Maitreya sculptures and believed that Maitreya would bring light and happiness into their lives in the future.
This remarkable historic site was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It is an amazing and immense religious relic that was built over a period of 90 years from 713 to 803 AD. The statue was constructed at the confluence of three rivers notorious for their turbulent waters; it was hoped that the Buddha’s presence would help calm the rivers’ waters.
Hai Tong’s Legacy
The Buddhist monk Hai Tong was concerned about the safety of the local people who earned their living around the three rivers. Many people traveling by boat in the area were killed by the turbulent waters each year before the Leshan Giant Buddha was created. Hai Tong decided to carve a statue of Buddha beside the river and believed that this sculpture would appease the river gods and keep the locals safe.
He had begged for over 20 years to accumulate enough money needed to build this statue. During this hard period in his life, he refused official help because the parties who offered it didn’t just want to help him but wanted to gain personal profits from the project. He even gouged out his eyeball in protest against the local authorities. These officials backed off after this behavior. Fortunately, Hai Tong’s disciples continued his work after he passed away and finally completed the sculpture in 803 AD after 90 years of hard work.
There is a cleverly designed drainage system behind the Buddha’s head and between his two ears. This important design aspect is the reason why the great Buddha of Leshan has not eroded despite having existed for thousands of years. The “spectacle”
Interestingly, there haven’t been any shipwrecks since the Buddha was built. Many stones were actually removed from the cliff and transferred to the rivers during construction, which made the waters calmer and safer than before. The project didn’t end after the Leshan Giant Buddha was finished.
Buddhism had been one of the most important religions in ancient China and many other people built statues around the giant Buddha to thank the gods . Numerous small Buddhas were carved around this huge statue. People even excavated the cliff tombs of the Han Dynasty around the Leshan Giant Buddha. Multiple historic sites make the Leshan Giant Buddha particularly important for archaeologists and researching people’s lifestyles in ancient times.
With the most sunny days and beautiful scenery, April and October are the best months of the year to travel to see the Leshan Giant Buddha.
There are two ways for visitors to see the Giant Buddha. One is to walk down from the top near the head and end at its feet. This involves some waiting in line, sometimes for hours on particularly busy days, and larger crowds, as well as many narrow and steep stairs, but offers you a more intimate perspective of the Buddha. This up-close view will allow you to appreciate the statue’s enormity; its shoulders spread over a width of 28 meters (as long as a basketball court!) and its pinky toe is large enough for a person to sit on.
The other option is to view the statue from a boat on the river immediately in front of it. The boat trip allows you to get the best and fullest front-facing view of the Buddha from a distance and is ideal for those who prefer not to wait in line and climb the stairs. The cruise takes around 30 minutes there and back, stopping for several minutes in front of the Buddha for visitors to appreciate the statue and take pictures. It’s best to sit on the right side of the boat, as the Buddha will end up being on that side once you arrive.
On Saturday, February 4th, the streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown were filled with the sounds and sights of the Chinese New Year parade. Thousands of people gathered to celebrate and enjoy the festivities.
The entire Chinatown was decorated in traditional Chinese style, adding to the already lively atmosphere. Street markets sold traditional Chinese goods and food, and the sounds of live music filled the air.
The parade, which started at 5 PM, was a highlight of the celebration. Floats, marching bands, and performers made their way through the crowded streets, bringing the excitement and energy to a whole new level. However, rain, showers and winds also joined the parade. That brought little bit uncomfortable to the crowds.
One of the highlights of the parade was the traditional lion and dragon dances, performed by skilled dancers dressed in colorful costumes. These dances are believed to bring good luck and prosperity for the new year, and the crowds were enthralled by the displays.
In addition to local performers, marching bands from Southern California and Oregon also made the journey to San Francisco to participate in the parade. The diversity of performers added to the already rich cultural atmosphere, and showcased the strong connection between the different Chinese communities across the United States. Despite the rain and showers, the spirit of the event was not dampened, and it was a beautiful tribute to the start of a new year.
As a proud Chinese, I was thrilled to participate in the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Living in the United States is a privilege, as this great nation has an open heart that accepts and embraces diverse cultures. I hope to see the US play a leading role in promoting peace and harmony globally.
Recently, I stumbled upon breathtaking plum blossoms while taking a walk. These delicate flowers evoked feelings of warmth and joy, reminding me of the arrival of spring. In Chinese culture, plum blossoms, beyond just being a physical flower, have become a symbol of perseverance and resilience in the face of harsh winter conditions. This significance was achieved through the extensive descriptions, sublimations, and chanting by literati and scholars over the ages. In ancient China, plum blossoms were considered a lucky symbol and were welcomed as a sign of the arrival of spring during the New Year.
When I was a child, my father taught me to recite the poem “Ode to the Plum Blossom” by Zedong Mao, reminding me to be fearless and strong like the plum blossom that blooms amidst harsh winter conditions. I really like the poem, and can still remember it.
Ode to the Plum Blossom
—to the tune of Bu Suan Zi
By Zedong Mao, December 1961
Wind and rain escorted Spring’s departure,
Flying snow welcomes Spring’s return.
On the ice-clad rock rising high and sheer
A flower blooms sweet and fair.
Sweet and fair, she craves not Spring for herself alone,
To be the harbinger of Spring she is content.
When the mountain flowers are in full bloom
She will smile mingling in their midst.
But after many years of struggles, I realized that bravery and strength aren’t always enough, especially in managing relationships and family. As a wife and mother, I learned the importance of being magnanimous, compassionate, forbearing, and not rigid. I have since embraced the peaceful and compassionate philosophy of Buddhism.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III, the contemporary Buddha, wrote a poem “Plum Fragrance in the Holy Land.” He broke from traditional poetry styles, instead opting for surreal techniques to directly convey spiritual essence.
To the Tune of “Jiang Jun Song”
Plum Fragrance in the Holy Realm
Reveal her icy bearing and proud bones,
See how plum blossom commands the scene,
The crowd of beauties suddenly lacks color,
Seductive peach has lost its looks.
A few casual strokes,
So many eons of wind and dust.
The smoke and fire of the human world all disappears,
Leaving only a pure fragrance from the paper,
It wafts over me, awakening my mind.
The smile of the enchanted dream still remains,
Buddha Vajradhara has come
Three times to this world.
To this Buddha Land of merciful compassion
That great one has brought purity,
Feelings of the brush,
Traces of the brush,
One smile in the wind and dust,
Now the wind and dust,
So many eons of wind and dust.
The Buddha also created an ink painting to accompany the poem. The poem delves deeper into the artist’s thoughts, while the painting provides a visual representation.
The plum blossoms depicted in the paintings symbolize the artist’s state of mind, embodying inner beauty refined from impurities. The brushwork, casually applied, was accomplished with an unfettered hand and detached mind, free of the slightest artificiality. It is a seemingly ever-changing work. Its charm, tone, transitions, and depictions represent the highest level of Eastern ink-and-wash paintings. A transparent layer of lighter ink on top of darker ink is clearly visible, imbuing the painting with a pure and fragrant air and providing the viewer with a feeling of comfort and ease.
The plum blossoms created by these skilled pens are eternal. While natural blooms may come and go, Buddha’s compassion remains steadfast.