The Superior Person Tends to His Basics

by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

November, 1983 at Gold Wheel Monastery, Los Angeles, California

We are living in unfortunate times, the world has temptations so strong that people are lost in money and dizzy over profit. As science advances by the day, people have forgotten the essentials. During such unfortunate times, if we recognize our circumstance and not follow it and merge with its flow of mud, then we can change our fate and be a lucky person. What are the essentials to being human?

Confucius said, "The superior man tends to his basics; his basics arise out of Tao. Actually, filiality and brotherhood are the fundamentals of humaneness." The essentials to being human are just filiality and brotherhood. Everyone has forgotten their roots in the West. They basically do not know what filiality and what is brotherhood. Like a tree with roots dug out or exposed, this tree will collapse. People who do not understand filiality and brotherhood are like those trees without firmly implanted roots. How can they become useful people?

The superior man must tend to his basics and be filial to his parents at home and respect his older siblings. One should help with the operation of the household rather than be lazy. If we can find our essentials, then we are lucky people who stand out among the crowd during this time of unrest and misfortune. Kids, you should be "the strong candle in a fierce wind; the refined gold in the blazing fire." The bigger the wind, the brighter this candle burns. People are absurd and crazy while you are not enticed by materialism and do not merge with the flow of mud. Like refined gold that is not afraid of being smelted by fire, its quantity remains the same no matter how it is burned. This is because this gold is pure and true. You should be like true gold that cannot be damaged in the fiercest of fires.