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 of other 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.
H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III’s Selected Philosophical Sayings About Worldly Matters
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