The Buddha's light shines everywhere. The light of the Buddha's wisdom illumines all living beings' minds, purging them of greed, hatred, and delusion. That light dispels the darkness and eradicates 84,000 bad habits and faults. We are studying Buddhism because we want to get rid of greed, hatred, and delusion, and cast off our attachments.
"Why haven't I seen the Buddha's light?" you ask.
Isn't studying the Buddha's teachings and uncovering our wisdom seeing the Buddha's light? If you don't understand the teachings and studying them only makes you more confused, it's because you haven't renounced your bad habits and faults. You can't say that the Buddha's light doesn't shine everywhere. If you don't develop your wisdom and hang on to your greed, hatred, and delusion, then even though the Buddha's light shines everywhere, it can't shine on you. It neither shines nor doesn't shine; it shines without shining. When the light of your wisdom appears, just that is the Buddha's light shining everywhere. Before your own wisdom light has come forth, for you the Buddha's light doesn't shine everywhere.
The Buddha's light is like the electricity from the power company. The cables and switches may be installed in the house, but if we don't switch on the lights, the house will remain dark. Why? Because the power isn't connected. As soon as we flip on the switch, the lights go on and the darkness is gone. Our mind can be compared to a light switch. If we turn on the switch in our mind, the Buddha's light will shine forth. If we can't flip the switch, then even though the Buddha's light is there, it can't connect. This is a simple analogy, but it conveys the principle. Everyone should quickly turn on the switch in his or her mind and receive the guidance of the Buddha's wisdom light. That's what it means to be illumined by the Buddha's universal light.
A talk given on July 4, 1980