The modern world is made up of many countries. Each country is made up of many families. Each family is made up of many people. Therefore, each person is very closely related to all the other people in the world.
If the minds of the people in the world are pure and free of defiled thoughts, this world will certainly be peaceful and free of war. On the other hand, if every person's mind is defiled, the world will consequently go bad. Everyone knows this principle, but no one applies it. We all know it clearly and yet go against it. That's truly pitiful!
That which is called “good” begins with the mind,
That which is called “bad” also begins with the mind.
The modern world has already reached the point of impending death, when one cannot be sure in the morning whether there will be an evening! Why is this? It's because the planet is on the verge of blowing up; the danger has reached an extreme. Why is the earth about to blow up? Because it has been oppressed by the violent forces of the three poisons: greed, anger, and stupidity. If the earth is destroyed, the human race will certainly not survive.
But the people of the world still refuse to face this situation. They still pass their time in drunkenness and die in a dream, totally oblivious to the crisis. Some are only concerned about what lies before them and have no regard for the future. They worry that the human population is increasing daily, and that there are people with no food to eat, no clothes to wear, no houses to live in, and no energy supply; they think that those are the most serious problems. Actually, those are relatively minor problems which will naturally resolve themselves in time.
Our birth and death is really the big problem. One minute we're here, but the next minute we're gone. In the twinkling of an eye, the suffering of separation while alive or when nearing death comes upon us. But people all treat this serious problem with indifference, as if it were a dream. Where did we come from when we were born? Where will we go when we die? We have no idea. Even if we understood the situation, what could we do? There's only one way to save ourselves, which is to correct our faults and go towards the good, to reform ourselves. We shouldn't be so selfish and greedy for personal profit. Be kind and compassionate and do everything for the sake of other living beings. We should imitate the spirit of the Bodhisattvas.
Each person's behavior is controlled by his thoughts, which cause him to enter the Ten Dharma Realms. With one good thought, one can be born in the heavens. With one evil thought, one can fall into the hells. It's said,
To put it simply, with one thought to benefit living beings, you are a Bodhisattva. With one thought to benefit yourself, you are a living being. With one thought of turning the light inwards to reflect on yourself, you are an Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha. The choice is yours. If you turn your back on enlightenment and unite with defilement, you are a common person. If you turn your back on defilement and unite with enlightenment, you are a Sage. It's as easy as turning your hand over.
Whether the world is good or bad also depends on a single thought. If every person's mind is good, the world will abide eternally. If every person's mind is bad, the world will be destroyed. This is the law of nature. Buddhism exhorts people to go toward the good, to understand cause and effect, to create abundant wholesome merit and virtue. That is, if people refrain from contention, greed, seeking, selfishness, self benefit, and lying, the danger in the world will naturally become peace. It's said, "Everything is made from the mind alone." The mind can create the world, and it can destroy the world. The mind can create the heavens, and it can create the hells.
Families are made up of people, and people are made up of idle thoughts. If you change evil idle thoughts into good idle thoughts, you become a good person. If you change good idle thoughts into evil idle thoughts, you become a bad person. That's the pivotal point between being a good person and a bad person.
Cultivators should diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi and wisdom, and put greed, anger, and stupidity to rest. Those are basic requirements. People who study the Buddhadharma should first of all abstain from all evil, and offer up all good conduct. That is a basic requirement. If everyone can really practice in that way, the world will become good, the auspicious energy will increase, and the violent energy will decrease. If the universe is filled with auspicious proper energy, then the earth will not blow up.
How can we make the world peaceful and stable? There is only one way: to come to a Way-place of the Proper Dharma to study the Buddhadharma, reform your faults, and renew yourself. If everyone mends his ways and becomes good, the world will be free from the three calamities and the eight difficulties, and all people will live together harmoniously, without greed or contention, in a world of Great Unity.
I hope the people who have no religious faith will, for the sake of the family, the country, and the world, renounce greed and do some work for the welfare of society. You should realize that money is an external thing which you did not bring with you at birth, nor can you take with you when you die.
If the light of the good people can counteract the darkness of bad people, this world will be free of the violent forces of the three poisons and will not be on the verge of extinction. Although this principle is very simple, it requires a profound effort to apply it successfully. All of you! You must begin with the mind and reform the world, changing hostility into harmony and bringing peace to the world.
The master of each person is his mind. If the mind is corrupt, the body will be plagued with sickness and prone to accidents and disasters. We must reflect within and examine ourselves. If we have faults we should hurry and repent! It is said,
Offenses that fill up the skies are dissolved by a single thought of repentance.
But you must sincerely repent if you want to quell disasters. You can't treat it as a joke, doing evil during the day and repenting at night, thinking you can quell disasters. With that kind of attitude, instead of getting rid of your offenses, you only increase their severity. Why? It's because you deliberately break the law, and therefore, you cannot be forgiven.