Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Dharma Master Hsin Tao

Love and Compassion as Core Values of the New Era
Ven. Dharma Master Hsin Tao

I am very happy to come to Iceland and share with you how I have realized love and compassion in my own life, and why the values of love and compassion are so important for this world.  I experienced the hardships of war in my childhood, and this taught me to strive for ways of alleviating suffering and helping people to achieve happiness, so that the people of this world can live together in peace, love and friendship.

I was born during World War 2nd, in a poor village in northern Burma. I was separated from my parents around age 4, and entered a Burmese guerrilla army at age 9 as a child soldier.  Seeing all the people who were displaced by the war, my heart felt very sad and heavy.  I wished that there could be more happiness in the world, and not this much suffering.

One day when I was teenager, I heard the chanting of the holy name of Guanshiyin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion.  It deeply touched my heart, and made me understand what it means to have a heart of compassion for others. It was a moment in which compassion and the power of love completely merged – making me realize that this whole world of ours is deeply interconnected, that it is one living body in all of its diversity.

Ever since that experience, I made up my mind emulate Guanyin`s compassion in “saving people from suffering” myself and help this world change for the better.
How to be compassionate? What to do to really help people? I myself found out through the practice of Ch’an meditation, which helped me to settle and purify my heart and mind.  It is this inner purity that gives birth to true love and compassion.  The practice of Ch`an makes us discover that we are all one deeply interconnected body. It makes us realize compassion, joy and freedom from attachment. In the past thirty years of teaching Ch’an meditation, I have led students to understand the nature of reality through contemplation, to become unbound and free by observing the nature of our heart and mind, and then to give back and devote themselves to others.

I have traveled all around the world to spread my faith in this kind of governance – namely achieving inner peace of heart and mind, which gives birth to compassion, to unwavering self-sacrifice and devotion.  It is this eternal promise that can transform the world into one real body of interconnectedness.

With the rapid development of the internet, people have become more separated, since they lack direct, personal interaction. Virtual interactions driven by personal interest have taken the place of a wholesome partnership based on harmony and mutual benefit.
From now on, we must change to let love and compassion become the values of the new era!  We can start from Ch’an meditation to recover the spiritual connections among us.  Through Ch’an we can uncover freedom and balance of our heart and mind.  When our heart is at peace, everything that happens will be harmonious.  This is very important for the world!  

“Governance by harmony” is to understand the actual needs of co-existence in its diversity. It means the ability to create co-existence based on love.  It is similar to the interdependence and co-existence of all the things in the biosphere.  We must accept the fact of our mutual dependence and coexistence in order to be able to transform the many conflicts in our world. 

I have created the “The Museum of World Religions” as a platform to promote “respect, tolerance and love” among religions and to strive for their peaceful co-existence.  The Museum is also a venue for Life –Education, in children and students are taught a life based on the values of caring for self and others. Currently I am planning a “University of Life and Peace” with the mission of further fostering “Love and Peace”.  In this interdisciplinary university we want to equip students of all ages with the caring attitude, insight and knowledge to address the pressing issues of our times and help find solutions, to cultivate peace. Please join us in giving birth to this ““University of Life and Peace”!

My deepest thanks go to the hosts and organizers of this important Forum.  May it contribute to spreading love and compassion to all the ends of the World.

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