Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, VM, DMs, all the wise advisors, Amitaufo!
I am Chinfa, and this evening is my opportunity to practice speaking Dharma. I would like to share some stories this evening about learning from the Guanyin Boddhisatva.
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to talk to DM Jin Fan who happened to be in CTTB for a few days after many years in Taiwan. He mentioned to me that in the monastery in Liu Guei (六龜), there are many snakes all the time, sometimes hanging on the ceiling of the Buddha Hall. He shared with me the story that one evening he was meditating at one end of his bed and then he saw a snake moved slowly along his bed and then went into the blankets. So he decided to let the snake having his bed for the night, and he continued his meditation. A few weeks later, I met DM Sure at the Berkeley monastery and mentioned to him this story and my admiration for DM Fan’s fearlessness. DM Sure smiled and shared with me that in the back of the Gold Coast monastery where he usually stayed, there were many trees about a man’s height which usually have snakes hung around the branches. When he took his walk in the back, the snakes were not disturbed or showing any hostile attitude to him. Well, these two DMs taught me a deep lesson about Guanyin Boddhisatva’s teaching of being fearlessness. My understanding is that when a person has no fear, he does not project any negative energy, and hence other beings like snakes do not respond with negative energy which normally will result in attacks.
幾週前，我有幸有機會與在台灣多年而恰巧 囘聖城幾天的 近梵法師交談。 他提到在六龜的道場一直有很多蛇，有時由於氣候的原因以及地處山中，佛殿的天花板上會掛著蛇。 他與我分享了一個故事，有一天晚上，他在床尾打坐，後來他看到一條蛇沿著他的床慢慢移動，然後鑽進了被窩裡。 於是他決定讓蛇在床上過夜，然後他繼續打坐。 幾週後，我在伯克萊道場遇到了恆實法師，並向他提到了這個故事以及我對近梵法師無畏的精神非常欽佩。 恆實法師微笑著告訴我，在他常住的黃金海岸道場的後面，有很多大約一個人高的樹，樹枝上通常掛著蛇。 當他在後面散步時，蛇沒有受到干擾，也沒有對他表現出任何敵對態度。 這兩位法師深刻的軆現了觀世音菩薩的無畏教義。 我的理解是，當一個人沒有恐懼時，他就不會投射負能量，因此其他生物（例如蛇）不會做出負能量反應，而負能量通常會導致攻擊。
We have fear because almost all of us have many “self-limiting assumptions (SML)” which were usually impressed upon us by our parents or society as we grew up. I remembered that shortly after I moved to CTTB, I was invited to give a seminar in San Antonio, TX to a group of high ranking corporate officers. Usually, I would ask each person to draw a picture expressing “who am I?” on a large piece of paper. After they finished, I asked them hung their art pieces on the wall and to go around to enjoy the art show. One picture attracted me and others were a picture of a man with his neck chained to a post. So, after the art show, I asked people to share what they saw, and not surprisingly, about 85% of the people also identified themselves with this picture though each person is chained by different things, be it location, job, family, etc. All of these elements are SLAs which produce various kinds of fear. So, to be fearless like DMs Sure and Fan mentioned above, we need to break our SLAs, as part of the cultivation process, in order to walk the life without fear.
我們之所以會感到恐懼，是因為幾乎所有人都有許多“自我格局”，這些“自我格局”通常是我們成長過程中父母或社會給我們留下的框架。 我記得我搬到聖城後不久，就受邀在德克薩斯州聖安東尼奧市為一群公司高管舉辦研討會。 通常，我會要求每個人在一張大紙上畫一張表達“我是誰？”的圖畫。 結束後，我讓他們把自己的作品掛在牆上，然後去欣賞藝術展。 其中一張畫吸引了我，這張畫是一個男人的脖子被鉄鏈鎖在柱子上的圖畫。 藝術展結束後，我讓人們分享他們所看到的，毫不奇怪，大約85%的人也認同這張圖畫，儘管每個人都被不同的事物所束縛，無論是地點、工作、家庭等等。 所有這些束縛都源自于“自我格局”，它們會產生各種恐懼。 因此，要像上面提到的 實法師和 梵法師一樣無所畏懼，我們需要打在破我們的 “自我格局” 作為修行過程的一部分，以便在生活中無所畏懼。
When we first moved to CTTB, we were asked to teach a class to the 10th grader at Girls school which, at that time, had 5 students. We felt that, in order to prepare them for their future, we decided to help them to learn to see their SLAs and then breaking them. At the time, my book entitled “The Art of Business” just published, and I brought it to the classroom to show it to them. They were all very impressed with the new book. Then I popped the question : “Would you like to be an author too?” They answered in unison, “Who, me?” I said, “Yes, you!” You see, they all have the SLA of that a 10th grader is too young to write a book. At the time, they just began to think about is how to get into the college of the choices. However, they had very little knowledge on what kind of college they really want to get in. Our method was asking them all kind of questions (such as which universities would you like to go? How much do they cost? Can your parents afford them? What are your options if your parents could not afford them? Etc.) for them to find their answers, collecting information, and analyzing the data, then make their educated selections. We taught them an approach to problem-solving which could be applied in solving any life problems. At the end of the school year, they had a much better ideas on the kind of universities they want to go and how to be admitted. By the time they were 11th graders, 4 of them decided to begin writing a book on their research results with the title of the book called “Crossing the Road – a guide for college bound chicken”. The book was published when they began the 12th grade. Well, what happened was that the 11th grade students helped to do publicity for them with newspaper and radio interviews and several high schools actually purchased many copies of their books. Wow, 10th graders wrote a book on how to get into the college for 12th graders. The 4 authors broke their SLAs and all went into the universities that most fitting for them and now on a life path of their own choosing. Well, when we break our SLAs, we can look at ourselves from a new light and see, perhaps for the first time, the many wonderful aspects of ourselves.
當我們第一次搬到 CTTB 時，我們被要求為女校的 10 年級學生授課，當時該班有 5 名學生。 我們為了讓他們為未來做好準備，我們決定幫助他們學會了解他們的”自我格局”，然後打破它們。 當時我的書《領導的藝術》剛剛出版，我把它帶到教室給他們看。 他們都很讚嘆這本新書。 然後我提出了一個問題：“你也想成為一名作家嗎？” 他們齊聲回答：“誰，我？” 我說：“是的，就是你！” 你看，他們都有自我格局，認為 10 年級學生還太年輕，無法寫一本書。 我們的目標是幫助他們打破 這自我格局。 當時，他們開始關心的就是如何可以進理想的大學。 然而，他們對自己真正想進入什麼樣的大學知之甚少。我們的方法是問他們各種各樣的問題（比如你想去哪所大學？要花多少錢？你的父母能負擔得起嗎？如果你的父母買不起，你有什麼選擇？等等）讓他們找到答案，收集信息，分析數據，然後做出有根據的選擇。 我們教給他們一種解決問題的方法，可以應用於解決任何生活問題。 學年結束時，他們對自己想去什麼樣的大學以及如何被錄取有了更好的了解。 當他們11年級時，他們中的4人決定開始寫一本關於他們的研究成果的書，書名是《過馬路——大學入學指南》。 這本書是在他們12年級開始時出版的。當時我們在教十一年級，教她們如何通過報紙和廣播採訪幫助這本書做宣傳，幾所高中購買了很多他們的書。 哇，十年級學生寫了一本關於指引十二年級學生如何進入大學的書。 這四位作者打破了他們的自我格局，都進入了最適合他們的大學，現在走上了自己選擇的人生道路。當我們打破 自我格局 時，我們可以從新的角度審視自己，也許是第一次看到自己竟是如此的多彩多姿。
Another fundamental aspect of Guanyin Boddhisatva’s teaching is that of “deep listening” (倾听). During the last 20 years at CTTB, we’ve had many opportunities to listen to parents and students alike. We normally do not provide any advices except when requested. We do ask questions so as to clarify what the other party was talking about for us and for them. By offering our time, they felt they were understood and hence are able to reflect and to understand their own internal struggles. Several young people continue to contact us about their current problems many years after graduation.
觀世音菩薩教法的另一個基本方面是“倾听”。 在 CTTB 的過去 20 年裡，我們有很多機會傾聽家長和學生的心聲。 除非有要求，否則我們通常不提供任何建議。 我們往往會提出問題來確認談論的內容。 通過提供我們的時間，他們感到自己被理解，因此能夠反思和理解自己的內心掙扎。 一些年輕人在畢業多年後仍繼續與我們聯繫，談論他們當前的問題。
Indeed, I have found that many of the most successful people that I’ve met are deep listeners. For example, Mr. Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, is a good example. The first time I met Mr. Moore was in a restaurant in Hawaii. After we had lunch with another mutual friend, the two of us had coffee and talked for another 90 min. During this whole time, his curious blue eyes never left my face and patiently answered all of my questions.
事實上，我發現我遇到的許多最成功的人都是深刻的傾聽者。 例如，英特爾創始人之一的戈登·摩爾先生就是一個很好的例子。 我第一次見到摩爾先生是在夏威夷的一家餐館。 與另一位共同的朋友共進午餐後，我們繼續喝咖啡，又聊了 90 分鐘。 在這整個過程中，他好奇的藍眼睛從未離開過我的臉，耐心地回答了我所有的問題。
The 3rd fundamental aspect of Guanyin Boddhisatva’s teaching is that of “universal door”. Meaning there are many doors. One may also interpretate it as there is always another way!
Here is a story. The son of a friend of mine wanted to go to medical schools after he graduated from college. One day he told his Dad that he will not be able to enter any of the 4 medical schools in Texas. My friend asked his son why? His son said that the admission to all these medical schools require two conditions: namely, a GPA above 3.6/4 and getting a certain score on a standard test. Well, his son’s GPA is only 3.2 and hence he failed automatically. As a very successful entrepreneur, the dad refused the answer and told his son to make an appointment with the deans and ask them one question. Well, the son came back a couple of weeks later and told his dad that all of the secretaries of deans refused to make such an appointment. The dad then told the son to bring a box of chocolate to each secretary and ask them a favor to tell him what time the deans usually come back from lunch and all each secretary has to do is to tell the dean that “this young gentleman wants to ask you one question with less than 2 minutes of your time”. Well, each dean did stop to listen to his question which was: “I really, really want to get into your school. However, my GPA was only 3.2. So, what do I need to achieve in the test in order to make up for my deficiency in the GPA?” As educators, each dean did give him a number for the test and he got admitted to all of the 4 medical schools. He later became a well-known dentist in Austin, TX.
這是另一個故事。 我一個朋友的兒子大學畢業後想去上醫學院。 有一天，他告訴父親，他將無法進入德克薩斯州的四所醫學院中的任何一所。 朋友問兒子為什麼？ 他的兒子說，這些醫學院的錄取都需要兩個條件：即成積要在3.6/4以上，並且在標准考試中獲得一定的分數。 嗯，他兒子回答說他的GPA只有3.2，所以他已無法達到所需標准。 作為一名非常成功的企業家，父親拒絕了這個答案，並讓兒子和院長們預約一下，問他們一個問題。 好吧，兩週後兒子回來告訴他爸爸，所有的院長秘書都拒絕這樣的要求。 爸爸建議讓兒子給每位秘書帶一盒巧克力，請他們幫個忙，告訴他院長通常什麼時候吃完午飯回來，每個秘書所要做的就是告訴院長“這位年輕人想要用不到2 分鐘的時間請教你一個問題”。 好吧，每個院長都停下來聽他的問題：“我真的真的很想進入你們學校。 然而我的GPA只有3.2。 那麼，我需要在標准考試中取得什麼成績才能彌補我GPA的不足呢？” 作為教育工作者，每位院長確實給了他一個最低考試分數，他被全部四所醫學院錄取。 後來他成為德克薩斯州奧斯汀市的一位著名牙醫。
The above story illustrated the third key teaching from the Guanyin Boddhisatva, namely, the notion of “universal door”(普门) which I interpret as “there is always another way!”. Indeed, as one continues to break one’s SLAs, you will see doors begin to open up!
上述故事說明了觀世音菩薩的第三個關鍵教義，即“普門”的概念，我將其解釋為“總有另一條路！”。 事實上，當一個人不斷打破自我格局 時，很多門就會開始敞開！
The statue of Guanyin Boddhisatva is usually depicted with a thousand hands in which each hand has eyes. Hands are interpreted as actions and eyes indicated wisdom. In other words, all actions of the Guanyin Boddhisatva are guided with wisdom. And the three key teachings mentioned above represent the core wisdom. To conclude, what we learned from the Guanyin Boddhisatva is to “utilize wisdom guided actions to tackle problems we will encounter in life”.
觀世音菩薩的像有一千隻手，每隻手都有眼睛。 手代表行動，眼睛代表智慧。 也就是說，觀世音菩薩的一切行為都是以智慧為指導的。 而上述的三個關鍵教義代表了智慧的核心。 總而言之，我們從觀世音菩薩學到的是“用智慧引導行動來解決我們人生的問題”。