四宏誓愿

众生无边,

大悲观世音也受挫。

但摩诃萨不视众生为众生,

因而度无边众生。

Sentient beings are numberless,

Even compassionate Avalokiteshvara feels demoralised.

But because Great Sages do not see sentient beings as sentient beings,

She is able to save all sentient beings.

 

烦恼无始无尽,

大行普贤也灰心。

但摩诃萨不视烦恼为烦恼,

因而断无尽烦恼。

Afflictions are endless,

Even steadfast Samantabhadra gives up.

But because Great Sages do not see afflictions as afflictions,

He is able to cut them all.

 

法门无量,

大智文殊也不及。

但摩诃萨不视法门为法门,

因而学无量法门。

Dharma Gates are unsurpassable,

Even wise Manjusri is stumped.

But because He does not see Dharma Gates as Dharma Gates,

He is able to learn them all.

 

佛道无上,

大愿地藏也叹气。

但摩诃萨不视佛道为佛道,

因而成无上佛道。

The Buddha Way is unattainable,

Even determined Ksitigarbha shakes His head and sighs.

But because Great Sages does not see the Buddha Way as a Buddha Way,

He is able to attain it.

  

NUS Buddhist Society is the most important institution to keep alive in the whole of the University. Why? Because out there, there are countless people suffering, committing acts that will result in suffering, die in pain and suffering, and be reborn in pain and suffering. NUS Buddhist Society is struggling to at least touch a few of these people each year, and transform their lives. Every life that is transformed is a miracle. Every student that sits down to meditate and fall in love with the Dharma is an Earth-shaking Bodhisattva already in the making.

 

This year’s BSnite marks the 29th year that it is continuing to make such miracles. When BS shuts down, the Hells will wail and the devas will cry tears of blood. Thanks to your efforts, BS has lived through another year! Sadhu sadhu sadhu!

 

But what about next year?

 

I have heard this question since the 25th MC.

 

“What about next year?” It’s always a nail-biting question.

 

The race is forever on, to look for successors, people of passion, to inspire them, fire them up, to involve as many people as possible so that you can take your pick of people to hand your good work to.

 

If you are not touched by the Dharma, why not? Is it because NUS Buddhist Society has not catered to your needs? Is it because of your own lack of urgency to learn it? Is there something repulsive of the Dharma that turns you away?

 

There is an old parable:

 

There once was a man being chased through the forest by a pack of ravenous wolves. Seeing a dry well, he leapt straight in.

 

Alas! At the bottom of the well was a nest of venomous snakes, hissing in hunger. Luckily, there was a branch halfway down the well, and he grabbed on to it to stop falling.


 

Alas! At the edge of the branch was a rat, gnawing on the branch with its teeth.

 

Alas! There were fire ants crawling up the branch towards his hand, their bites dreadfully painful.

 

Hmmm… Strange. Why are there ants? Ah! Nearby was a beehive dripping with honey, and the ants were attracted by the dripping sweetness.

 

Hanging on to the branch, the man craned his neck sideways, straining out his tongue, hoping to have a drop of honey fall into his mouth.

 

Above, below, and right in the middle, the man was surrounded by certain death, but all he cared about was that drop of sweet honey.

 

If you are already touched by the Dharma, next time you go to the canteen, open your eyes wide and take a good look around you. How many people in this canteen, at this moment, would go to hell when they die? How many would suffer regret, remorse, hatred, fear and discomfort when they are on their deathbed? 99%? 300 in number? Yet how many at this point of time don’t know, and don’t care? How sad can it be?

 

Can we afford for Buddhist Society to stop serving ourselves and the needs of others?

 

30th Management Committee… Please Stand Up!

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