Here is the Dharma talk that will be read at the Candlelight Ceremony held for three evenings starting on the lunar new year. There’s nothing particularly complicated about it, or so profound that only scholars would understand. Instead, it’s fairly straightforward, and uses small words 🙂
But. In the doing, in the application, it’s pure gold. As the talk says, the benefits of actually doing this are beyond imagining. We have to keep trying, even when we think we have it down. For if we keep entrusting everything to this fundamental Buddha-nature within us, this great furnace, the entire world will turn upside down.
2021 New Year’s Dharma Talk
We hold the Candlelight Ceremony to help brighten this light
we all have within us,
the light of mind.
This light is always there, lit,
even in the rain and wind,
even if the earth itself should crumble away.
Everyone, no matter who they are,
has this light of mind,
this lantern shining forth.
The existence of Buddha-nature guarantees that
we have this flame within us.
But we have to be working at relying upon and trusting this Buddha-nature,
otherwise, it’s as if our candle isn’t lit.
It has to be shining forth,
then it can truly function.
This isn’t an ordinary light, though.
If it’s lit over here,
it also comes on over there.
Thus, a parent’s light can also help guide their children.
This light is always on, wherever we go,
but sometimes certain states of mind will cover it up,
so that we feel lost in darkness.
At those times, if we happen to see someone else’s bright light,
ours will also start shining forth.
In this way, we’re helping each other to live brightly.
This pillar of mind, this light, is our captain.
It’s like the center of a small grindstone for grain;
without the center pin,
the top and bottom stones would just slide across each other,
and never be able to produce anything.
So you can’t be careless about this center, this pillar.
Grasp it firmly,
and in whatever you encounter,
wherever you might go,
entrust it all there and keep observing.
When some problem or disaster confronts you,
it almost always happens suddenly, doesn’t it?
Thus, it’s easy for anyone to be shocked or unsettled by what happened.
But, we have to take that uncomfortable situation and those feelings,
and work to transform them into something clear and pure.
We have to take muddy water,
and turn it into clear, clean drinking water.
Within your family, there is an inherent connection between parents and children.
So if you work at relying upon and bringing forth your fundamental mind,
your ancestors too will become brighter and will become unstuck,
able move forward and evolve.
Likewise, for your children, too,
the habits and views that cause them suffering will lose their grip,
and they will become wiser and kinder.
Just one person in a family brightening this candle of mind
creates virtue and merit beyond anything you can imagine.
Just this one candle can brighten all of you,
and fill the entire area around you with light.
Although here at the Candlelight ceremony
we are holding small candles made of wax,
with your deep sincerity,
they can light the true candle within you.
Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha
Homage to our Inherent Buddha
Homage to Shakyamuni Buddha, the manifestation of our true teacher