The Root
A talk by the Venerable Master Hua

What is the origin and the root? The origin refers to the fundamental energy everyone needs. Everyone must be sustained by this primal energy. The root is filiality towards one's parents. Our parents are our origin. They have birth to us and so we owe it to them to be filial. If you are filial to your parents, then you are a true believer in the Buddhas. If you aren't filial to your parents, then you do not truly believe in the Buddhas, either.

Take a look at the world around you. Those who really know how to be filial to their parents wish to benefit the entire world in every move and deed and word. If people can be filial to their parents, then the righteous energy of heaven and earth will be preserved. If one isn't filial, then heaven and earth are filled with deviant energy. Being filial means that you must sincerely be attentive in every thought. Be very respectful towards your parents in your thought. One's parents are living Buddhas at home. If your parents are still living, you have the good fortune of being able to still serve them.

Being filial means you must make them happy. Do things that please them as much as possible and avoid doing things that pain their hearts. Cause them to be happy at all times. In Chung Kuo there was a man called Lao Lai Tze whose parents were still living when he himself was over eighty years old. He used to dress up in colorful clothes and perform for his parents as if he were a little child, jumping around and turning somersaults to entertain parents and make them happy.

In general, one's most basis duty is to be filial to one's parents. If one doesn't behave filiality, one has forgotten one's roots. When I was still a novice in Manchuria, a lot of people wanted to take refuge with the Triple Jewel under me. When they took refuge, I had a requirement. It was that every day they had to bow to their mother and father. That's because I bowed to my parents from the time I was twelve, as if people wanted to take refuge with me I thought that my requirement was the least they could do to show their sincerity.

The thing that makes me happiest is when people are filial to their parents.

It's said:

Heaven and earth regard filiality as being
what is most important and foremost.
If one child is filial,
the whole family is peaceful.
Filial children have filial children,
And all the filial ones can become bright sages.