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Thank you for coming to celebrate Kwan Yin Chan Lin’s 23rd Anniversary here in Singapore.

This conference is part of the celebration. If you look around the world these days, you realise that it changes very fast. When I was young, I used to study anthropology. And if you study primitive societies or if you look back at human history, you will find that things change but they used to change very very slowly. However, now, it changes very fast, very fast. So, to keep a Zen Centre going even for 23 years, it seems like a short time, but actually it took some effort. It took sincere effort. Whether the world changes fast or slow it doesn’t make any difference in terms of suffering. The Buddha taught about suffering and taking away human suffering. My teacher Zen Master Seung Sahn used to say that human being all want a good situation. Right? Everybody here, who doesn’t want a good situation? But there is a problem. And the problem is that even if you get a good situation, you can’t keep it. That’s the deeper meaning of when the Buddha saw a sick person, an old person and a dead person. The Buddha had a good situation but he understood that he couldn’t keep it. So I’m going to tell you a good situation story. A long time ago in china there was a very famous Taoist master. He practiced the highest form of Taoist practice. A very simple style that allowed you to live for a very long time. So this master lived to 500 hundred years old and he attained such a high level that he only had to eat once every hundred years and when he did eat, he only ate a very very small amount of food. His meal consisted of one drop of dew. And this dew always would collect on the same pine tree. Once every hundred years, he would fly through the air to this pine tree and drink that one drop of dew. And then he will fly away. This master was also very lucky. But he didn’t understand why he was lucky. Actually he had very good karma because underneath this tree, lived a great bodhisattva. This bodhisattva noticed that every hundred years, this Taoist master would fly to the tree to drink the dew and then fly away. He watched this happen several times and he had a good idea. Just before the next hundred years was up, the bodhisattva climbed up the pine tree and took a little salt and put in the drop of dew. He then climbed back down the pine tree, sat and waited. Before long, the Taoist master flew to the pine tree and drank the dew. Just then, he tasted the salt. In his mind he thought, “Yum!” and at that moment, he fell out of the tree and broke his leg. The bodhisattva stood up, walked over and said, “Understand? No matter how wonderful your situation, still, you must suffer.” And the Taoist master said,” Oh thank you, thank you. Thank you for you teaching.” So this is the human beings’ usual thinking. You know, we want a good situation. Maybe we even want to be a Taoist master who can live forever. But everybody, everybody directly experiences that this is not possible. But then, they forget about it, and then they go out drinking; and they are dancing; and they are having fun online playing games. They forget. But the bodhisattva, he couldn’t forget. The suffering hit him very hard. Then what to do? What are we? What is the human being? So my teacher always said, “Human beings, they want a good situation but they can’t keep this good situation.” In Buddhism we call this emptiness. But emptiness is not an abstract philosophical concept. It sounds abstract, sounds philosophical but it is not. It lives in your guts. It is the same for the Buddha. Then what? What can we do? It is very interesting what the Buddha did. He didn’t get more wives; he didn’t buy a bigger condo; he didn’t start drinking. He didn’t even start exercising. He left. He sat underneath the Bodhi tree and looked inside. So this is really important. Because what this means is

we have the same situation. good sex. But you got to do something. The Buddha set up a special situation for himself so that he could pay attention closely. then you’ll notice that it actually doesn’t work. Even the Buddha said. What is important is. Actually. we have a bad feeling and it is our job to take that away for everybody else. and ourselves too. It’s not about getting a good situation. to help them let go of their misunderstanding. went out and taught human beings. Inside. So it is very important to do something. That’s your original human beings’ job. The Buddha said the reason why we suffer is because we misunderstand what life is about. So just like this Taoist master. find your true self and help the world. It doesn’t work.he didn’t move to a library. “You already understand. He directly experienced the suffering. “I can’t do it for you. What I said or what any of these people said is actually not so important. good food. Then BOOM! So us too. Finding your true self is the solution. That’s our job. My teacher used to say. good job. what do you do. So this paying close attention is very important. It is about helping the world. And to do that. We think outside circumstances are going to make us happy. If only people could understand how wonderful I am and if I was famous. This comes from experience. But if you pay close attention to your life. if I can get enough rest. It’s not about some special teaching. Then Boom! He understood something. So that’s why the Buddha got up from underneath the Bodhi tree. We want something. What do you mean I already understand? I don’t understand anything! But what he really meant was your original true self. do it! . What he did was to start looking inside. Only look inside…look inside…look inside…. even a good Buddhist or Taoist situation.” Very simple. When he was practicing. you have to do something. So how to get out? Actually getting out is not the solution. That’s what human beings think. and help the world. there weren’t many diversions. everybody thinks like that. and that is finding out what you truly are. Because somebody else’s understanding isn’t going to help you in the end.” You have to do it. And this responsibility comes from the fact that human beings are suffering so much. It’s about finding out who you really are. But it doesn’t work. You actually have to experience it yourself.” I always thought that was stupid. then I would be happy. Ok? All right. then I’ll be happy. Very simple. Then you use this to help the world. it is a big responsibility. it’s not about some special situation. There is something that does work. He got up to help them. your Buddha nature already understands what’s going on but you don’t believe it! You think I can get some kind of good situation and I won’t suffer. That’s our job! So Zen means. “Find your true self. We do too.