Jian Deng

Venerable Master Jian Deng (seated), Abbot of Chung Tai Monastery in Taiwan, visited Buddha Jewel Monastery recently with five other Chung Tai masters to transmit the Three Refuges and Five Precepts. His attendant (left) is Ven. Master Jian Qi.

“How to Discover True Wealth”

Dharma Talk at Buddha Jewel Monastery of Seattle

March 16 was a very momentous day for the Buddha Jewel Monastery of Seattle. Venerable Jian Deng, the Abbot of the Chung Tai Chan Monastery in Taiwan and five masters came to Buddha Jewel for a special visit. Ven. Jian Deng transmitted the Three Refuges and Five Precepts and delivered a Dharma talk on “How to Discover True Wealth.”

During the Abbot’s services, 15 people formally became Buddhists and another 18 men and women took Five Precepts in advancing their Buddhist practice. Significantly, most of these new lay followers began their Buddhist practice during the past three months. On behalf of Grand Master Wei Chueh, the founding master of Chung Tai, Ven. Jian Deng acted as the Precept Master during the Transmission of the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts Ceremony. He encouraged all the new Buddhists and upasakas and upasikas to continue to uphold the guideline of doing no evil, performing good deeds, and purifying one’s own mind.

After the Transmission of the Three Refuges and Five Precepts Ceremony, Ven. Jian Deng gave a Dharma talk on discovering “true wealth.” We are all taught to pursue wealth and win respect since childhood. However, being rich and powerful doesn’t necessarily translate to true wealth. He cited the example of Bernard L. Madoff, former chairman of the NASDAQ stock exchange, who defrauding thousands of investors for almost $65 billion. Although Madoff became very wealthy and influential, he was brought down by his dishonest behavior and now faces prison for the rest of his life. That is, he achieved his goals, but it led to unwanted consequences. Why?

Ven. Jian Deng pointed out that it’s all right to pursue wealth; however we should always take the causality of that pursuit into account. The reason why we always suffer and can’t get what we want is that we don’t have the right understanding of the true nature of life.

So how does one discover true wealth? Ven. Jian Deng said that we first should first understand our true nature, which is unborn and undying. We then see that everyone is equal, and also by the law of causality, which is at work everywhere and at all times, we are interconnected and our every action affects everyone. This means we cannot just think about “my benefits,” but instead how to benefit others as well as ourselves. In summary, understanding the two important rules: our pure Buddha nature, and our interdependent karma relationships, we will know how to achieve our goals without unwanted effects. That is “true wealth.”

There were about 90 participants attending the Dharma Talk. Among the dignitaries honoring the Dharma Talk were Daniel Liao, Director General, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Seattle and Andrew S. L. Lin, director of the TECO Culture Center as well as many artists from around the Seattle area.

Buddha Jewel Monastery offers Zen Buddhism classes for adults as well as children. The Abbot and Dharma Masters there, along with the president of the Dharma Support Association, Frances Goldman, invite people of all ages to come to the Monastery and enjoy the learning and meditation opportunities.

Please check the Buddha Jewel Monastery website buddhajewel.org for the latest offering of services and special events.

Contributor: Ven. Jian Du.

Photo credit: Frank Kliewer.