There are all kinds of strange occurrences in this world, too many to count. The reason there so many weird events is that people are curious. Due to people's curiosity and liking for strange things, all the bizarre things appear in the world. Once they appear, they fascinate and delude people, causing them to lose control and forget who they are. Once they forget themselves, their families, countries, and everything else fall into disarray.
Once there is chaos, sensationalists start manifesting spiritual powers, causing people to run around in a frantic and deluded search for supernatural phenomena. People who crave spiritual powers and seek spiritual experiences are simply being influenced by external states. They are influenced by these states because of their curiosity.
Curiosity is nothing but greed. Whenever something bizarre happens, if you look into its origin, you'll find that it's simply greed manifesting in strange forms. Someone who is not greedy won't need to act special to show people that he has spiritual skill and can do miracles. People are mesmerized by these strange events out of greed. Strange events are not proper. Demons do improper things, while Buddhas do proper things.
Nowadays, many people have lost true knowledge and views, and if you speak true Dharma, they cannot accept it. It goes in one ear and out the other. On the other hand, if someone talks about perverted and defiled things, they will always remember it. This is their greed acting up. Why doesn't anyone remember the respectable things? Because they think such things won't benefit them in any way. Actually, these are the things that bring true benefit.
In this world, we all pay attention to what is false and overlook what is true. We mistake a thief for our son. If you speak honestly, people don't listen. If you flatter them, they are pleased.
True words are hard on the ear,
but help one's cultivation.
Good medicine is bitter to the taste,
but cures the illness.
Most people are not receptive to the truth, and they do not want to take good medicine. If the medicine is a little bitter, they grimace and complain, "This tastes awful!" But if you don't take the medicine, you won't get well. That's how it is in this day and age. When we discuss the doings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, some people don't want to listen. If we were to talk like demons, saying, for instance, that men and women can be promiscuous and that rules are abominable, some people would be very happy to listen, because they don't want to follow the rules. But these are vulgar ideas.
Some people come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, but find that they cannot take it, so they run away. They don't want to devote themselves to the Dharma. People who wish to dedicate their lives to the Dharma will not leave even if you scold, beat, or kick them. They feel that the True Dharma is here, and they want to be near it. The Fifty Skandha-demon States which we are investigating is extremely important in the present time. If we want to propagate the Buddha's teachings, we must be truly dedicated and not be greedy for petty gains. If we smile with delight when someone gives us an offering, we have no self-respect.
A talk given on April 19, 1983