108 Tips for Life - Dharma Words from Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Introduction When we feel lost and unsure in life, we often seek advice and answers. Frequently, Venerable Master Hsing Yun would be sought to give advice or words of encouragement. Accordingly, he has narrated 108 Dharma words based on his life experiences. He hopes that these will inspire right mindfulness, and help people realize that “you are your own master,” that you must bear the consequences of your own deeds, and that the future lies in your own hands.

Opportunity seldom knocks twice; seize the moment. Every day is a good day, every place is a good place.

Monetary wealth is never truly yours. Ultimately, it is your health, honor, blessings, personality, and kind deeds that are truly yours.

Be perfectly willing in all your endeavors and never forget your initial resolve; a magnanimous mind bears greatness.

In  this world, “having” can be a burden. Once the mindsets of “appreciation” and “interconnectedness” are cultivated, we shall be able to appreciate everything in this world and never feel poor.

Never compare, never fuss, never fear adversity, and never fear suffering, for these are the foundations of success, fortune, and happiness.

Find nourishment in being busy. Get busy with giving others faith, get busy with giving others joy, get busy with gaining acceptance from others, and get busy with keeping in harmony with others. A win-win situation will be well within reach.

Even sages are criticized. Regard criticism, slander and aggrievement as nutrients for life, for these are conducive conditions for personal growth.

All things are created by causes and conditions; when we give others causes and conditions, they will do the same for us.

All the joys and sufferings of this world occur as a matter of course; just as the saying goes, “Through hardships to the stars.” No success comes without years of hard work.

From a seed grows infinite number of fruits. The smallest stream may one day turn into a grand ocean. Even kindness in form of the smallest waterdrop must be reciprocated.

You are important, he is important, and I am unimportant, because it is a true blessing to be able to sacrifice, to give, to be of service, and to be at a disadvantage.

Constantly transvaluate your values; right view and right thought can help you make the right decisions on personal relationships. There is no need to be overly attached to everything.

“You are important and I am not. You are right, and I am wrong. You enjoy happiness, while I embrace suffering. You can obtain, while I forsake.” This mindset can be a marvelous revolution for self-reform and self-improvement.

Benevolence and righteousness are the core of Chinese culture. It is important to be benevolent and to volunteer, because these are the principles of a bodhisattva who relieves the suffering and hardship of others.

Unawareness can be a bliss. There is no need to know everything in this world, as it can also be an enjoyment not to take notice of certain matters.

Forge ahead in doing what is right; it should be our goal to give others convenience and oblige them. It is important to cultivate affinity instead of enmity.

To have a sense of shame is to verge on courage. It is important to have a sense of shame, introspection, and remorse, for these make us better people.

Do not get engrossed in personal favors, for human emotions are impermanent and may change any time. It is up to ourselves to determine what is right and what is not with our wisdom.

Time is money, life as a human is precious. Utilize your spare time productively, because time is wealth, and time is life. Life is made whole when we are adept at making every second count.

A happy outcome for all is best. Do not humiliate others; proper human conduct is displayed in giving others our blessings, our services, and our support.

Dharma will find a way. What is Dharma? Patience, compassion, detachment, wisdom, friendliness, tolerance, and respect are all forms of Dharma.

Anger does not solve problems; distinguishing yourself does. This means to strive forward, to work hard, to aspire, to do good, and to help others.

Be self-confident, for even scrap metal can be turned into steel; though the choice of becoming gold or jade lies in your own hands. Gold must first withstand the furnace of refinement, and jade the skillful hands of craftsmanship. As long as you keep trying, there will be hope for a better future.

Play your role well, nothing matters more than acceptance by people. A good person is one  whose deeds are praised by people at large.

Buddhists who regard the Buddha as their role model of compassion, selflessness, non-attachment, and carefreeness need not worry about never attaining buddhahood.

Every cause, whether good or bad, creates a condition. By accepting these conditions without discrimination, we will be able to succeed.

Being used by others gives us value. Those who are willing to be at a disadvantage and help others are the true winners.

Do not be greedy, or ignorant. Being ignorant is alike being unreasonable, which would be inhumane.

In this world, everything is mine, yet nothing is mine. Cherish what comes to us, and wish others well if it goes to them; opportunity always comes to those who cherish their blessings and are willing to develop good affinities.

To be a good person means to do no evil, and do good deeds. To abstain from the corporal misdeeds of killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; the spoken misdeeds of lies, misleading speech, harsh speech, and gossip; the spiritual misdeeds of greed, aversion, and ignorance means that the Ten Wholesome Deeds are being observed.

Relationships are like dancing Tango: sometimes you lead and sometimes you follow. It is no defeat when others to take advantage of you .

It is better to develop affinities than make enemies. Practice the Three Acts of Goodness: do good deeds, speak good words, and think good thoughts. Exercise the Four Givings: give others faith, give others joy, give others hope, and give. Strive for the Five Harmonies: individual well-being, family harmony achieved through deference, interpersonal harmony achieved through respect, social harmony achieved through cooperation, and world harmony achieved through peace.

Refusal should be made with sympathy, subtlety, and the proposal of an alternative: Resourceful people always find various solutions. There will always be a way.

Heaven and hell are all in a moment’s thought; each one of us could go back and forth between heaven and hell recurrently per day. A kind heart that does kind deeds will surely subsist in heaven.

The vast emptiness can embody everything, just as there needs to be emptiness in order to contain fullness. Similarly, in life, the mind needs to be devoid of distractions before there is room for virtue.

We must discipline ourselves by remaining righteous, virtuous, and pure of thought, for ultimately we can rely only on ourselves, not others.

Hope is strength; the future will doubtless be better than the present, so be diligent.

Before any ideal can be realized, we must first have aspiration, in turn a promising future then becomes within reach.

Never go back on your word, keep your promises. Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Good health, safety, affinities, and joy are more important than money; a heart that cherishes and nurtures life’s blessings makes one wealthy.

You must give before you gain; you must sow before you reap. Do not overlook any chance to do a minor good deed, nor indulge in any minor bad deed, because anything minor will eventually turn into something major.

We are all creating history, therefore we must establish ourselves in merit, in virtue, and in speech. What kind of history would you like to leave behind in life?

Do not run away from your problems; when your mind is filled with virtue, a bright future awaits.

Live a carefree life; let the mind be free of troubles, empty of fear, and far from inverted thoughts of delusion.

You must believe in cause and effect, for the rule of cause, condition, and effect is the Truth of the universe.

Resolve is an essential part of life, which can be strengthened by listening to, contemplating, and practicing the Dharma.

Opportunities arise in rare moments of time; seize those moments. Good causes and good conditions all exist in the here and now, do not relinquish them readily.

To love means to cherish, to be compassionate, to be of service, to be tolerant, to be wise, and to be respectful. One who knows what love is will not turn against people.

Reconciliation is no trivial matter; willingness to help is a virtue.

Sentiment and righteousness are the cornerstones of life, being able to help others brings value to life.

Extravagance is a waste; frugality is the only way to live.

Just as a tree teeming with plum blossoms all trace back to the same root, the relationship between causes, conditions, and effects is endless. By thinking kind thoughts and cherishing your blessings, you will surely be fortunate.

Start anew, start today, and start with yourself. Do not shirk responsibilities, do not procrastinate, and do not rely on others.

Patience is power, patience is wisdom, patience is magnanimity.

Instead of challenging others, challenge yourself by renouncing your selfishness and bad habits; a bright future shall lie ahead.

Spread joy around the world, and live in joy.

Be brave enough to face hardships and challenges. Nothing is difficult in the face of determination.
Be the one to start doing good deeds, be the one to start speaking good words, and be the one to start thinking good thoughts.

Be your own mentor. Only when you are strong will problems be solved.

Happiness is in the here and now. Experience your happiness, and think well of it.

We must have faith, especially in ourselves; only those who have faith in themselves will feel happy and fortunate.

We must maintain a stance of moral righteousness and justice. Do not be moved by emotions, do not be moved by gains, and do not be moved by forces of authority.

Consider past causes and future effects for all matters you encounter; uphold right mindfulness; do not be overly suspicious.

Be a person of moral integrity; do not fuss over disputes of right and wrong, do not covet indecent wealth, and do not fall prey to illusions of fame and gain.

Stay joyful and compassionate. Be firm in principle, and calm in the face of matters.

Do not respond to injustice and aggrievement with anger; success is not a dream as long as you are honest, sincere, diligent, hardworking and promising.

Picking up and letting go; one must learn to do both with ease. It is just like a suitcase – pick it up when you need it, and put it down when you don’t.

To gain acceptance by others, one’s manners, diligence, responsibility, and service should not be amiss.

As a member of the community, I realize that it plays a part in everything that I have become.

Laugh when it is time to laugh, speak when it is time to speak, and act when it is time to act. Seize the moments.

Follow conditions, follow your role, follow your heart, and follow your community. The ability to follow and oblige all conditions makes one joyful and at ease.

Help others succeed through your service and dedication. Realize the self through diligence and hard work.

Humble acceptance of criticism and admitting one’s faults is a virtue; nothing bad will come out of doing so, and is the only way to self improvement.

Attainment is only made difficult when one chooses to be discriminate, dubious, and intractable. Rather than being unduly doubtful and suspicious, one may as well focus resolutely on the right path to truly connect with the Way.

Do not worry. There is boundless joy in life as long as we live in hope.

Stand firm and be a good person, think good thoughts, and be kind; storms and harsh weather will not be enough to arouse fear.

Take every opportunity to do good deeds, think good thoughts, and speak good words. This way, good causes and conditions will naturally follow.

It is important to be kind to others; it is even more important to let others see you as their mentor and friend.

No giving, no gain. Do not be stingy. Willingness to develop affinities will broaden your connections.

Giving is not always done with money. A smile, manners, words of compliment, acts of service, and creating good causes and conditions for others are also ways of giving.

There is merit in diligence and no benefit in neglect. In order to become the best of the best, we must first examine our merits and faults.

Do a handful of good deeds, speak a mouthful good words, show a face full of smile; and have a heart full of joy. These makes us the truly wealthy ones in this world.

The accomplishment of good things requires persistence and willpower. Never give up halfway. To be a good person, one must be tolerant and patient; do not yield to one’s temper or fear adversities.

Only by relinquishing the previous step can you make the next one forward. Success comes from allowing others to take advantage of your abilities. Without attachment to rigid rules but selfless sacrifice, life will become better and better.

Do not accuse others falsely. Treat others with tolerance, but treat yourself with strict discipline. This is what spiritual cultivation is.

You can be short of anything, as long as that thing is not loving-kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity. Increase only good deeds and kind intentions, never greed, aversion, or anger.

Do not take troubles of personal relations to heart, and never bring your unhappiness and resentment into tomorrow.

Rise above the occasion; do not let the feelings of injustice or being wronged bother you; time will do justice by revealing a person’s true heart.

Any animosity that exists in this world can be resolved with joy and smiles, with which nothing in the world is unresolvable.

Instead of being sad and depressed, face reality with courage. The Three Primary Virtues-wisdom, benevolence, and courage can help achieve great things.

A humanistic Bodhisattva is one who can take on the world’s sadness, sorrow, suffering, and troubles; and is always willing to help others.

Take control of your time, make good use of your space, and harmonize human relations.

Discover joy and purpose in work; find wisdom and enlightenment in books.

Do not take your anger out on others; a superior man is one who never repeats the same mistakes. The bigger your heart, the greater your achievements.

 Dharma is sought within respect. In the same manner, one who respects others will be respected. Trust people and never doubt them.

Do not reproach others; tolerance and magnanimity is the best. First assess your own abilities before you even reproach others.

Don’t be nervous. Relax. As long as there is sense and reason; as long as there is Dharma, nothing is unresolvable.

Practice the act of giving praise, compliments, and joy to others, for its benefits are wondrous and inexhaustible.

The three Primary Virtues consist of wisdom, benevolence, and courage. Wisdom is prajna, benevolence is loving-kindness and compassion, and courage is Bodhi; Dharma and worldly knowledge are all present.

The Three Acts of Goodness are; do good deeds, speak good words, and think good thoughts. The first represents truthfulness, the second virtue, and the third beauty; the ability to accomplish all three makes one eminent and respectable.

Never bring your troubles to bed, and never take your worries into tomorrow. The wise cast all troubles and worries into the ocean.

Love, when sublimated, becomes compassion which sees no enemies or oppositions; when opposition is absent, troubles will naturally disappear.

Do not abide in form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharma. Abide in kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity; abide in the Six Perfections.

Let he who tied the bell on the tiger take it off. We must improve ourselves, better our character, know when to turn around and make a change. Turn confusion into enlightenment, sadness into joy, ignorance into wisdom, and defeat into victory. The ability to turn matters around will certain make life so much different.

Accept hardships and adversity, for it is a lesson that makes us better; by facing and overcoming hardships, we are then able to grow and improve.

There are four type of friends: ones like flowers, ones like scales, ones like mountains, and ones like the Earth. Do not hold grudges against your friends. Friends are direct, friends forgive, and friends listen well.

Within a relationship, while heated battles are not good, cold wars are also inappropriate. Friends help, forgive, trust, and understand each other. This is the true meaning of friendship.

In order to succeed, directions must be clear, matters must be clear, reasons must be clear, and communication between people must be clear.

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