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“Wherever the Buddha goes, whether to a country, a city, or a village, people will be moved and will benefit.” “The Buddha” here refers to the Buddha’s teachings. “Goes” refers to implementation. “Wherever the Buddha goes” refers to the places where the Buddha’s teachings are implemented. From a place as large as a country to a place as small as a village, if the people there truly practice the Buddha’s teachings, they will change for the better. Those who receive the Buddha’s teachings will have a change in disposition, go from being evil to being virtuous, from being defiled to being pure, and from being improper to being proper. This is the achievement from implementing the Buddha’s teachings.
“All the lands will be enveloped in peace and harmony.” “Peace” means to acquiesce and not go against. Specifically, it means that people understand and accord with the teachings. When everyone abides by and follows the laws, society will naturally be harmonious.
“The sun and moon will shine clear and bright. Wind and rain will come when needed. Disasters and epidemics will not occur.” These describe the presence of favorable climatic, geographical, and social conditions.
Nowadays, natural disasters occur more and more frequently around the world. It is worthwhile for us to reflect deeply on this. Where do disasters come from? The Buddha said: “Dependent rewards change according to proper rewards.” Proper rewards refers to the human mind. Dependent rewards refers to the environment. When the human mind is good, wind and rain will come as they are needed. When the human mind is not good, disasters will occur frequently. Therefore, if we can accept the Buddha’s teachings and practice accordingly, it is certain that “the sun and the moon will shine clear and bright, and wind and rain will come when needed.”
In Chinese history, we read that when there was a major disaster in the nation, the emperor would cleanse his mind of impurities, abstain from all enjoyments, and maintain a vegetarian diet. He would seriously reflect on himself, “What faults do I have? Why has such a major disaster occurred?” When a disaster occurred, the emperor reflected on himself, thought about his faults, diligently ended wrongdoings, practiced virtuous conduct, corrected his wrong ways, and made a fresh start, all in the hope of changing the will of Heaven. This makes sense. This is absolutely not superstitious action. It is very rational.
If everyone accepts the Buddha’s teachings and practices accordingly, cleansing one’s mind and changing one’s behavior, all the lands will naturally be harmonious and peaceful.
Only after people live in harmony, will we have a favourable climate. Then nature will also be harmonious and peaceful. “The sun and the moon will shine clear and bright. Wind and rain will come when needed.”
During Great Master Lianchi’s lifetime, there was a drought one year in Hangzhou. The governor of Hangzhou requested Great Master Lianchi to pray for rain for the local people. Great Master Lianchi said, “I do not know how to pray for rain. I only know Buddha-
“The country will flourish and the people will enjoy peace.” “Flourish” means that manufactured goods and food are abundant. People will have sufficient food and clothing, so body and mind will be at peace, and everyone will be at ease and happy.
“There will be no need for soldiers or weapons.” There will be no wars.
“Virtue will be revered and benevolence will be promoted.” “Virtue” is morality. “Revered” means to respect and follow. “Benevolence” means putting oneself in others’ positions: “Do not do to others what you would not want to be done to you.” When everyone praises morality highly, and abides by laws and follows rules of conduct, society will naturally be peaceful.
“People will practice courtesy and humility. There will be no thieves or robbers in the country. There will be neither injustice nor resentment.” These are the few requirements in terms of human affairs that must be fulfilled for families to be happy, societies to be harmonious, and countries to be prosperous. “Courtesy” means that people respect and yield to one another. Social order will naturally be good. As it is said, “No doors are shut at night.” “There will be neither injustice nor resentment” means that judicial trials are fair.
“The strong will not dominate the weak.” This sentence means that everyone is able to respect one another regardless of status, wealth, or academic achievement.
“People will naturally get their fair reward.” Everyone will be happy with their roles.
41 From Great Learning.—Trans.