I have chosen to translate The Selected Lectures of Master Fa-Fang because of his superb treatment of the human condition. The lectures are a way of understanding the nature of our minds through a variety of Bodhisattva practices and Buddhadharma approaches that instruct us how to live a more compassionate and tranquil existence.
The Buddha teaches us that the spiritual and physical realms reside within us as one being. When we live in harmony with the spiritual and the physical world, we can lead more fulfilling lives. Today, however, individuals seem to care more about the material world, and so we tend to neglect our spiritual counterpart. We harbor anxieties, and our lives suffer the ills of a material world that seldom makes sense. We find ourselves looking for answers to and quick solutions for problems that originate from within. The law and the moral code alone cannot be the answer to these ills. Rather, a better relationship between the individual and his or her inner self would be more beneficial. Through the cultivation of the mind, we can come to the realization that everything that the material world offers is fleeting and empty of substance.
I believe that the lectures of Master Fa-Fang teach us to understand our own minds, which, at times, might seem to be as unpredictable as the weather. As he points out, everything that a human being does in this world reflects on his or her life and on the lives of others. The possibility of chaos can ensue at any moment, for our lives can spin out of control and our own selfishness can devastate our humanity. Master Fa-Fang explains that Buddhism is not a magic antidote to an individual's moments of either suffering or happiness but, rather, a way of learning to be compassionate first to ourselves and consequently to others. Through this realization, we can learn to detach ourselves, however gradually, from the ills and attachments of the material world, and, thereby, gain insight and wisdom.
Dharma Master Lok To
Young Men's Buddhist Association of America
May 15, 2001 (Buddhist Year: 2546)
Bronx, New York