The Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Sutra says,
If people wish to understand
All Buddhas of the three periods of time,
They should contemplate the nature of
the Dharma Realm.
Everything is made from the mind alone.
All principles are manifestations of the mind. All Buddhas of the three periods of time are also manifestations of the mind. In general, everything is made from the mind.
People can create heavens, and they can also create hells. Practicing the Ten Good Deeds creates the heavens; while practicing the Ten Evil Deeds creates the hells. The mind can also create people, asuras, animals, and hungry ghosts. That’s how wonderful the human mind is. The myriad changes and transformations are not beyond a single thought, hence the saying, “Everything is made from the mind alone.”
Every thought that arises in our minds is completely seen and known by the Buddhas. However, we like to “cover our ears and steal a bell”－we try to fool ourselves. We think the Buddhas won’t know, or the Bodhisattvas won’t know, or the ghosts and spirits won’t know－no one will know. When we think like that, we dare to do all kinds of muddled things that harm ourselves as well as others, and end up making serious mistakes.
In Buddhism, we should protect our places of cultivation and consider it our personal duty to make Buddhism flourish. We should not create bad karma in a place of cultivation. We should understand that all things are made from the mind. Therefore, Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Developing Virtue Secondary School, and Instilling Goodness Elementary School of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas all take the Six Guidelines of not fighting, not being greedy, not seeking, not being selfish, not pursuing personal advantage, and not lying as their school motto.
A talk given on April 12, 1984