Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra – Excerpt Fifty

Honor the sages and respect the virtuous. Have compassion and loving-kindness.

“Honor the sages and respect the virtuous.” We should honor, admire, and emulate the sages of this world and beyond. We need to respect the people of virtue and good deeds in this world. We need to do our best to help others accomplish good deeds. “Respect” refers to innate virtues coming forth. This is true virtuous behavior.

The Avatamsaka Sutra teaches us to rejoice at the meritorious deeds of others. The effect is to end our afflictions of jealousy, anger, and hatred from infinite kalpas. If we become jealous when we see a virtuous person or when we see a good deed, we are committing an offense. The Buddha taught us to be happy when we encounter good people and good acts. In addition, we should do our best to help a person accomplish his virtuous actions. Helping others achieve goodness is the same as achieving our own goodness. Self and others are not two. When we rejoice at those who cultivate virtues and goodness, we will have the same karmic results.

“Have compassion and loving-kindness.” There are different types of compassion. In this world, people’s compassion is based on love and is emotional. To those they like, they show compassion. To those they dislike, they do not show compassion. This kind of compassion is called love-affinity compassion. It is based on worldly love.

The compassion of bodhisattvas is called dharma-affinity compassion. The bodhisattvas know that all dharmas are equal. The compassion that one has for sentient beings should be the same that one has for oneself. This compassion is based on a profound and true principle.

The compassion of Buddhas is called great compassion. It arises entirely from a pure mind, an impartial mind, and a mind that knows everything is one entity. This is true compassion and lovingkindness.

We must broaden our minds: everything in the entire Dharma Realm is ourselves.

We should nurture a mind of compassion and loving-kindness. This is the source of true happiness. If we want happiness, the root is compassion and loving-kindness. We should put ourselves in the position of others. When we think of ourselves, we should also think of others and of all the beings in the universe.