The Seventh Vow: To Request the Buddha to Reside in this World

The main purpose of the sixth vow is to introduce Buddhism to all people. If we hope to have accomplishment in our cultivation, the vow request to request the turning of the Dharma Wheel is not enough. Have you seen anyone attain enlightenment simply by listening to a talk on the sutra only once or twice in his or her lifetime? If this could happen, then enlightenment would be attainable only when the Buddha was in the world and unobtainable when he was not. However, with our limited abilities we cannot do this, so we need to request the Buddha to reside in this world. In other words, we need a teacher who is with us every day so that we can be under their constant guidance and thus be able to reach enlightenment.

Years ago, Master Chin Kung was asked by Professor Lee about his aspirations. He told him that he wished to travel around the world encouraging others to practice Buddhism. He nodded and told Master that this was good, that he could achieve but that he could not help others to do so. Master asked why. He replied that Master could only propagandize. He said that he had lived in Taizhong for more than thirty years and many people had attained achievement. He went on to explain that if he had not lived in Taizhong but had simply visited to lecture once or twice a year then nobody would have had any achievement. To be able to help another, there needs to be a existing achievement. Without this affinity, even a Buddha cannot help us. By traveling around the world propagating Buddhism, we meet many people but the affinities with them are lighter. Staying in one place to conduct regular teachings needs stronger affinities.

Master has benefited greatly from his travels as he has been freed from the concept of home. Every day he was either on the road or in a hotel. Where is his home? No home at all. Although he has placed to give talks, he usually does not stay there for longer than a few weeks. The shattering of the idea of home has proven to be an escape for him.

If we want to reach any achievement, we need to request the Buddha to remain in this world. The Buddha himself is no longer here but his followers are, be they monks and nuns or laypeople. Those who are knowledgeable and virtuous can be invited to reside in our town or city to give teachings. In this way, we will be constantly under their guidance. it is easy to provide for masters of virtue and character because they lead simple lives. However, the lecture hall should look magnificent so that the listeners will like it and will thus develop respect for the way place. However, if the appearance of the hall is mediocre they might look down on the way place. People will often focus on appearance and pay less attention to content. Although a person who knows the true of things does not attach much importance to appearance, a splendid and imposing looking lecture hall is necessary for people to see initially.

Although the lecture and cultivation halls are very impressive, the living quarters of the monks and nuns are very simple. If we look at the temples in China, we will understand. Even the head monk lives in a small room. The luxurious exterior rooms are only for laypeople and visitors. By carefully observing this we will know the right manner we need to have and the right methods we need to adopt. Doing so properly will enable Buddhism to take root, grow, blossom and bear fruit wherever we live.

From the above, we can see that among the Ten Great Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, the first seven are for a Bodhisattvas vows and conduct and the last three are the ways to dedicate all merits.