Being Vegetarian and Reciting the Buddha's Name are
Only Ways to Protect the Nation and Quell Disasters

by Great Master Yin Guang

To talk about protecting the country and ending disasters, we must know how to protect the country and how to end disasters. There are two means to reach these goals. One is temporary, while other is long-term. If we can be vegetarians and recite the Buddha's name constantly in the hopes of protecting the country and quelling disasters, then our sincerity will wrought infinite merit. Sincere prayers for the time being are effective to some extent too. But it would be best if we can protect and quell by being vegetarians. If we are vegetarian and recite the Buddha's name, then the power of vows will persist, deviant energy will dissipate while proper energy will grow. With fine intentions, kind words and good deeds, the nation will naturally be protected and disasters will naturally not occur.

Ancient texts say that sages do not get cures for contracted illnesses but get cures for not yet contracted illnesses; do not get cures for existing disturbance but get cures for not yet existing disturbances. Cures for existing disturbances are ineffective; cures for not yet existing disturbances are effective. Curing a nation is the same as curing a sickness; some cure the symptoms, while some cure the source. Curing a sickness is to cure an existing disturbance. To effectively cure an existing illness, we must cure the symptoms first; treat the head for a headache; treat the feet for aching feet. Once the symptoms are gone, then cure the source, making the body's energy and blood circulate smoothly. Recovering to health at the source, one will be energetic and apply oneself with vigor.

Nowadays our nation is at the brink of danger. Therefore I believe that to cure the nation, we must cure both the symptoms and the source. The best way to cure using this two-prong approach is to recite the Buddha's name, do good deeds, avoid killing, be vegetarians and understand deeply the cause and effect of the past, present and future. The fate of our contemporary world is that the various disasters, consequences of hardship, we face are a result of much evil in the past. We know these types of evil retribution are a result of past causes of doing evil. To avoid painful consequences, we must eliminate the causes of pain. We can eliminate causes of suffering done in the past by reciting the Buddha's name and repenting. If we do not plant causes of pain now, we can avoid consequences of pain in the future.

What are the causes of suffering? They are the three poisons of greed, hatred and delusion. What are the causes of goodness? Helping others. If everyone understands the law of cause and effect, then we will avoid all evil, do all kinds of good. Disasters have no way to enter. Unfortunately people nowadays do not understand the law of cause and effect. Therefore they are full of selfishness and are willing to do any evil. They are only concerned about themselves but not others. We should know that helping others is just to help ourselves; hurting others is just to hurt ourselves. Consequently, I always say, cause and effect is the law with which sages rule the world and Buddhas save living beings. Abandoning cause and effect for discussions on how to govern a nation and how to bring peace to the world is as ridiculous and impossible as fishing on trees. The Buddha said, "If we wish to know the causes of our past lives, simply look at what we face in this lifetime. If we wish to know the results of future lives, simply look at what we do in this lifetime." If everything we do in this lifetime is evil, then how can we avoid evil consequences in future lives? We will certainly face the fallouts of being in a family that is unkind in this lifetime. One text says: "Do good and a hundred auspiciousnesses appear. Do ill, a hundred calamities befall." This principle is the same as the law of cause and effect spoken by the Buddha. Fallouts are beyond retribution, proper; they may not be personal retribution. What I enjoy in future lives is my personal celebration or catastrophe. Retribution beyond the personal may be celebrations and catastrophes for offspring, who take on what their ancestors have accumulated.

People do not understand cause and effect and think that people escape karma after death; there is no more favorable or unfavorable consequence. This is the most misleading view for future generations. We must know that after death, people's consciousness does not become extinct. If people realize that their consciousness does not get extinguished, then they will certainly enjoy doing good and not dare to do evil. If they believe that death is the end all and be all, then they will indulge in the present, avoiding no evil or doing every evil.

This type of extremely evil behavior is the result of annihilistic views. If people can avoid all evil and do every good, then the world will naturally be at peace and people will be happy. However, this is still not the most ultimate idea. What is the ultimate practice? Recite the Buddha's name to become reborn in the West, to become liberated from birth and death. At the same time, we must reduce deviance, maintain sincerity, unite the family, living up to one's role. That way not only will the fate of the nation turn, but disasters will disappear too. Today's disasters are a result of everyone's collective karma. If people all recite the Buddha's name and do good, then collective karma can turn and the fated catastrophe will be gone too. For example, during the Battle of Shanghai on January 28, families that recited the Buddha's name enjoyed many miracles. Individuals who cultivate alone can attain responses, not to mention what will happen when a group cultivates. Therefore, a national disaster can also be averted by everyone reciting the Buddha's name sincerely.