October 11, 2012

Student: What does propagating the Dharma mean?

Master: The propagation of Dharma does not concentrate on a particular form: books, videos, conversations or talks. Truly, it is in your mind. People might think they can propagate the Dharma by e-mailing Buddhist associations and sending videos to everyone. I think this is one way. You can go to Amazon to buy my books and give them to people. This is a way of propagating the Dharma, too. You can talk to your friends about Buddhism, your master or your practice. This is another way to propagate. However, if you don’t know how to propagate the Dharma in your mind, within yourself, how can you convince people that it is good?  Your efforts will be very shallow; they will only be on the surface. Sometimes you cannot even convince yourself. You may tell your husband, wife, kids or friends that practicing Buddhism is very good; but then you might wonder if what you’ve said is true. This happens. Let’s say a single thought represents a single person. If we can create two, then three, and then many persons, it means we are propagating the Dharma. One, two, three, four and more positive thoughts: this is what I mean by propagating the Dharma. You should propagate the Dharma first in yourself. How can you increase your positive thoughts? It is in your mind. You alone can generate the right thoughts for yourself; this is propagating. You can propagate the Dharma by having someone learn the right path, which is not exclusively Buddhism. The right path is a path by which you can purify yourself. It is a path that can make you become a better person, lead you to the truth and liberate you. Buddhism is one right path that can help people to liberate themselves, but it is not the only right path. Zen practice is one way, but it is not the only way. Understand this concept, and your mind will open.