Changing Violence into Compassion
by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Today, science is extremely advanced, something new and ingenious is taking place all the time. Civilization is advancing each day; each day there are new discoveries. But no matter how much we discover, we do not reach that which is the ultimate, which is to say that there is no way to stop. Science that is advanced today will be arcane five hundred years later! Advance science five years later will become arcane once again with the passing of yet another five hundred years, and "new" science occurs then. We think what is in the past is arcane but five hundred years later, everything considered new now will be arcane. There is no end to science or philosophy, we just run farther and farther away. There will be no end.
Although science and philosophy are advancing, the benefits they bring to humanity are no more than the harm they do. In other words, they do more harm than good. The damage they do is no more than the help they provide to humanity. Things were not so progressive before and fewer people died then. Now that science is developing more and more quickly, more and more people will die in the future, to the extent that the human race becomes extinct altogether! If the human race becomes extinct, what is the use of science and philosophy? It would be absolutely useless!
Although science and philosophy have made progress, they have not put an end to the world's disasters. For example, all kinds of strange illnesses have emerged. Scientific advancement has not made these diseases disappear. This is one thing. The other thing is war. The more that science advances, the more serious warfare becomes. Precision weapons become more and more accurate, with the aim of killing fellow human beings! Wars between countries, wars between families, and wars between individuals--when will brutality end? You defend yourself against me; I defend myself against you. You want to destroy me and I want to destroy you too. Both are destroyed. The day when both are finally destroyed, everyone shall have nothing to do.
Not only are wars difficult to put an end to, but floods happen mysteriously and fires are prevalent. All day long we hear fire trucks screaming louder than anything else. Tornados and hurricanes strike, down on who knows how many people at once? A few days ago, Taiwan had a casualty of several hundred from typhoons. Earthquake is another form of serious disaster that everyone is afraid of. Many people are afraid of earthquakes. Though science may be advanced, it cannot put an end to these disasters. As we take a good look at these situations, we see that if we want these disasters to cease, we must investigate the truths in life. When we understand life's truths, we will know the origin of these disasters. To prevent these catastrophes, we must change our faults and be good, renewing ourselves. How did these disasters come about? It is by the force of our collective karma. When everyone's karma comes together, various disasters occur and are impossible to eradicate. This is due to the force of collective karma.
Speaking of karma, only Buddhism thoroughly understands the origination of karma, the idea of karma. This is why we must make a resolve to become a monk or a nun now and study the Buddha-dharma until we understand it clearly. We can then use the Buddhist spirit of great compassion to save all beings, making all world disasters evaporate into nothing. This is how we can save the entire human race. We must now set our goal on letting go of all that is typical in the world and study the transcendental dharma. While there are people who are wild about competing to invent murder weapons, strangely enough, there are also people who want to become monks and nuns to study ways to avoid killing. This shocks everyone. I hope in their shock, people will reflect and reflect once again. May they learn to refrain from taking life.
Since the world is made from the human mind. Warfare will be ubiquitous when people enjoy killing; peace will reside in the world when people cherish life. It is a good start that there are westerners who have come now to learn and practice this religion that prohibits killing. I hope people in the East and West will turn their war interests into compassion, hatred into kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity, and come together to study Buddhism. This is the start of an awakening for people in the west. I hope that some future president in the west will become a president who supports Buddhism.