Thay talks to volunteers (8)
I would like to continue my talk to all volunteers. Everything I said before was to share with you how we can serve actively and positively. Today’s talk is about how we change our views.
We normally don’t notice from which angle we tend to view things. It’s very easy for us to see people like this or like that, but we never ask ourselves how we came to this viewpoint.
If we talk to a rich person, we see that he’s rich. But from what angle do we look at him to think that he’s rich? Obviously from the financial angle. If we see that he’s very sentimental, then we have seen him from the sentimental angle. In the previous talks I shared with you, I said that we should see people from the view that they are the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or those who will become Buddhas, or reincarnated bodhisattvas in the future. When we can see from that angle, can recognize that karma-cause sowing, we will be Buddhas or bodhisattvas for sure.
Therefore, changing our viewing angles is changing our entire spiritual universe. Sometimes we get mad when we see someone doing something bad. It was because we could not see things from a bodhisattva’s viewing angle. Bodhisattvas do not see mistakes or wrong-doings in sentient beings. They see from an educational viewpoint: how to serve people so they are touched and want to change for the better.
Therefore, changing our viewing angles is changing our whole lives. With wrong views, our lives will always go the wrong way. Some people are blessed with many good things and enjoy them, then gradually thinking they are royalty. However, their views are still not regal, but low in understanding and knowledge.
Thus, our views can help us live and become enlightened. What is self-cultivation? It is constantly elevating our views, so they become higher and wider day after day. Views that cannot change can choke us. Views go hand in hand with physical conditions and internal energy. So if you sit in front of a computer all day, watch movies or the same shows all the time, you will get stuck. For example, if you keep watching movies or film series that keep repeating stories of revenges, stealing or robbing, you will gradually identify with the main characters, enjoy them and accept their views.
One way to change our views is to read books or noble teachings written by the sages, to listen to lectures of those with high levels of consciousness. But we tend to get stuck in the habit of not moving and going beyond our vision levels. That habit goes along with our sitting still, but it does not mean sitting in meditation. It just means that we keep sitting in one place to surf the internet and absorb the facts or information that really do not improve our minds. Movements like bowing meditation exercises help us change our scopes and levels of vision. We keep standing up, kneeling down, touching our heads to the floor, with body crouching like a fetus in a womb. When standing up again, we become the objects of our bows. Thus, bowing meditation is the fastest way to change our outlook and understanding. Our eyes see things above when standing up and below when our heads touch the ground. Hence we change the level of vision from the lowest to the highest. When doing so continuously, the body language will also make us change our views.
When you climb mountains or stand on the second floor balcony looking out, or sit on the floor, you will see how your views change. Try to do all kinds of things to be in touch with the infinite space outside, and to get yourselves out of stagnation. Little things like these can add up to make a big difference. These are essential conditions to help us change. Nobody can sit still all the time and change their views. Our bodies need to move, to walk up and down. Some people only go to the beach and breathe in and out deeply a few times for their minds to open up far and wide. The same thing can happen with mountain climbing.
Changes therefore require shifting the position of our eyes and bodies. Body language affects us. Then we also have to absorb the knowledge and teaching from those much more elevated than us, from the accomplished and highly intellectual people. Looking from the viewpoints of these people, we will begin to change ourselves.
Dear volunteers, when giving services, we change our views from being self-centered to caring for others, for people who are not related to us at all. There lies the spirit of serving. When we really care for total strangers, we have the bodhisattvas’ minds.
Who is a bodhisattva? That’s a person who treats all strangers like family members, or loved ones. We should have the consciousness of a bodhisattva when giving services. We should treat everyone like our family members, and look at them with loving eyes. But don’t just look without doing anything! After looking, we have to really step forward and take their hands to guide them. That means that, after changing our views, we have to change our hand positions. Only when we open our hands can we hold theirs.
All the changes of a person, from an ordinary one to a volunteer, involve view changing and hand holding. Our views must extend far and high; and our hands must be opened to hold others’. All these are very realistic.
In summary, you should do the following things:
- Practice bowing meditation exercises: very easy, since you don’t have to go anywhere.
- Go up the mountain, go to the beach, and walk regularly. Don’t let the habit of sitting still in one place harm you, preventing you from really seeing things. Practice CK10.
- Try to sit on the ground once in a while. You can sit in the woods, on the beach, or in the yard so that when you stand up, you change your views. Walking up the mountain is good too.
- Read the sutras, Buddhist teachings, and profound philosophies; contemplate their elevated thoughts.
- Look at yourselves as Kwan Yin Bodhisattva; then look out from Kwan Yin’s position.
- Finally, open your hands to hold people’s hands, and tie good knots with them.
This is a profound change from inside us, not from the outside. We will begin to see the volunteer path more beautiful and more spacious.
Thank you all so much for listening.