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Verse on Proper Energy

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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By Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua.
Candles 1.jpg
Given in instruction to the Students of Instilling Virtue School.
Translated by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien
Edited by Bhikshuni Heng Ch'ih
From the 1984 May issue of Vajra Bodhi Sea.

To have "proper energy" means not to have deviant energy. Within proper energy there is no energy of fighting. If you fight with people, you don't have proper energy. If you become steamed up, like steam coming from a pot on the stove, then you do not have proper energy. A11 of you students need to understand from the time you are young how to nurture proper energy in yourselves. Then strange ghosts and demons will not dare to bully you. Why not? It is because you will have proper energy, and the deviant cannot overcome the proper. Deviant energy cannot conquer proper energy, and so proper energy is itself a mantra. It is a magic spell, a protective mantra, and a protective talisman. How can you become unafraid of anything? It will happen because you have proper energy. Why will strange ghosts and demons fear you when they see you? It will happen because you have proper energy. Everyone should have proper energy. Students especially should have proper energy. You certainly must not smoke marijuana. You certainly must not take LSD. You certainly must not smoke dope. You certainly must not steal things. Proper energy is very important, and you should remember that. The verse on proper energy says:

Our will is like vajra,
and our mind is like stone.
A hundred trials do not bend us,
and we preserve our integrity.
The proper energy of heaven and earth
is our muscles and bones.
It vastly and completely
fills the cosmos.

OUR WILL IS LIKE VAJRA, AND OUR MIND IS LIKE STONE. Our will and spirit are as solid as vajra, and our mind is as hard and tough as iron. A HUNDRED TRIALS DO NOT BEND US, AND WE PRESERVE OUR INTEGRITY. If we have proper energy, then no matter what trails or tribulations we encounter, whatever calamaties or misfortunes may befall us, we don't need to let them break us. We don't have to be defeated by them. No matter what person or authority may be oppressing us, we won't go under. Because our will is as solid as vajra, no matter what adversity confronts us, it won't destroy us. We will be able to smash through everything, and will not be smashed by anything. When our will is like vajra and our mind is like stone, in whatever we undertake we must reach our goal. Our will is to succeed.

A HUNDRED TRIALS DO NOT BEND US, AND WE PRESERVE OUR INTEGRITY. We need to preserve a most pure and lofty character. It is something we need to cultivate. We must not fail to pay attention to our character. What we ordinarily do makes our character. The Chinese words for "character" contain the word p'in ( ). P'in is a picture of three mouths. It refers to three people making a critique of you, evaluating you as being either good or bad. That means that if you have a good character, then everyone will make a favorable judgement concerning you, but if your character is not good, then everyone will judge you unfavorably. For that reason, while you are students, you definitely must cultivate your character. Virtue of character is most important. If you cultivate your character and are attentive to it, then you are truly good students.

What should one's character be like?
A single mustard seed should not be lightly given to people. Nor should a single mustard seed be lightly taken from people.

We should not casually give people gifts of even a blade of grass, and we should not casually ask people for even a blade of grass or a piece of paper. That is, we should not be greedy, and we should not try to get on the good side of people by giving them things. We should have character. We should not be fawning and phoney and wishy-washy. We need to have backbone and determination, and go on to be great heroes, great knights, and stalwart individuals. We should not let ourselves be useless people in the world. A hundred trials do not bend us; and we preserve our integrity. We should preserve the integrity we have in all situations. To have integrity means to be very much in accord with the rules, very orderly and well-behaved.

THE PROPER ENERGY OF HEAVEN AND EARTH IS OUR MUSCLES AND BONES. We want to set good examples for others, be people who are outstanding among our peers. We don't want to be people who are too soft and useless. For that, we need proper energy. If you simply act tough and hard but lack proper energy, and have a deviant energy about you, then you are useless. We definitely must have proper energy.

IT VASTLY AND COMPLETELY FILLS THE COSMOS! This is still referring to proper energy, energy which is very great, vast, and expansive. that vast, enormous energy completely fills the universe. It fills up heaven and earth. Mencius talked about it. He said, "I WELL NURTURE MY VAST, GREAT ENERGY."

One of his disciples asked, "What is the meaning of 'vast, great energy'? Its a new term and we don't understand what it means."

He said, "IT IS HARP TO SPEAK OF." Its difficult to talk about it. THAT ENERGY IS GREAT TO THE UTMOST." There is nothing bigger than it is. "AND it is MOST SOLID." Its extremely firm. What method does one use to nurture that energy? One employs rectitude. One uses a straight mind to nurture that energy. "AND WHEN NURTURED WITH RECTITUDE WITHOUT HARMING, IT THEN COMPLETELY FILLS ALL BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH." That energy can entirely fill all the space between heaven and earth. THAT KIND OF ENERGY MATCHES RIGHTEOUSNESS AND THE WAY." It accords with what is right, and accords with virtue in the Way. It fits perfectly with the Way and righteousness. Therefore, that means it is produced from the Way and from righteousness. It is not obtained by stealing and cannot be acquired by force. It requires that you apply effort at ordinary times, making sure that everything you do and say is in accord with the Way and with righteousness. You need to be in accord with the Way and with 'righteousness to have that vast, great proper energy.