Pure Mind, Pure Land —
A New Lifestyle for World Harmony
Ven. Jian Hu
Chung Tai Chan Monastery, Taiwan
Chung Tai Zen Center of Sunnyvale, California &
Buddha Jewel Monastery, Seattle, Washington, USA
Harmony on Earth?
• Paradise, Heaven, Utopia, Eden
• In Buddhism: Pure Land, nirvana, Buddha Land
• What makes a Pure Land?
 People: in harmony, free from sorrows and
delusion, beyond death and rebirth
 Place: no suffering, crimes, injustice, poverty …
• In Zen Buddhism, we believe Pure Land can be
realized here on earth.
Buddhism in China
Buddhism has been a great force for harmony,
inner peace, culture, and art
Mount Emei, Sichuan Province, China
Buddhism in China
Yungang Grottoes, Shanxi Province, China, 460~525 CE
Buddhism in China
Five Bodhisattvas, 534~550 CE, Chung Tai Museum
Buddhism in China
Diamond Sutra (in Chinese), the oldest dated printed book in the world
Buddhism in China
Thunder Peak Pagoda by West Lake, Zhejiang Province, China
A Chung Tai Story
Everyone coming together do something worthwhile
—the power of harmony
Founder, Grand Master Wei Chueh
Chinese Zen, or “Chan” lineage
“WHEN OUR MINDS ARE PURE,
OUR LAND IS PURE.”
—Vimalakirti Sutra
“When our minds are pure,
our land is pure.”
• Case 1: If our land is impure, then our
minds are impure.
– What are the problems of our current world?
– What are the causes?
• Case 2: To build a Pure Land, we need to
purify our mind.
– How to purify our mind?
– How does “pure mind” lead to “Pure Land”?
Fundamental Buddhist Principles
I. Pure mind (bodhi mind, pure awareness)
II. Causality (cause and effect, karma)
III.Dependent Origination (interdependence)
IV. Emptiness
These are the tools for understanding
and solving our problems.
Pure Mind
Zen Story
• Three-feet long chopsticks
(or, how people eat
in heaven and hell)
I. Pure Mind
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an impure mind
And suffering will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
—The Buddha, Dhammapada (1:1)
I. Pure Mind
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts.
With our thoughts we make the world.
Speak or act with an pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart.
—The Buddha, Dhammapada (1:2)
I. Pure
Pure
Mind
Mind
• What is an “impure mind”?
• A mind is impure if it is polluted with the
“Three Poisons”:
1. Greed
(desire, craving)
2. Anger
(hatred, annoyance)
3. Ignorance (delusion, misunderstanding)
• The Three Poisons are in all of us.
I. Pure Mind
• What is a “pure mind”?
• A mind free of the Three Poisons
– SHARING instead of GREED
– KINDNESS instead of ANGER
– WISDOM instead of IGNORANCE
• This is the “bodhi mind”, our true nature, which
is also present in everyone.
Causality
I.Pure
PureMind
Mind
What isisaa“pure
mind”?
• What
“pure
mind”?
•• A
Three
Poisons
A mind
mindfree
freeofofthethe
Three
Poisons
–
insteadofofGREED
GREED
– SHARING
SHARING instead
–
instead
ANGER
– KINDNESS
KINDNESS instead
ofof
ANGER
–
insteadofofIGNORANCE
IGNORANCE
– WISDOM
WISDOM instead
• This is the “bodhi mind”, our true nature, which is
• This is the “bodhi mind”, our true nature,
also present in everyone.
which is also present in everyone.
II. Causality
• Cause and effect: Fundamental principle
of nature
• Karma: Action
• Must consider consequences of our actions
• Impure mind  bad karma  suffering
• Pure mind  good karma  happiness
II. Causality
• Analysis of Problems and Suffering
– Family
– Education
– Crimes & War
– Business & Economy
– Starvation, waste of food, meat eating,
– Global warming
Zen Story
Master Zihu caught a thief
II. Causality—Family Problems
• Desire: can become overly demanding of one’s
spouse or children.
• Anger: impatience with them
• Ignorance: failure to understand what they are
going through.
• Result: frequent misunderstanding, frustration,
conflicts, miscommunication
II. Causality—Education Problems
• Greed: purpose of education is to make
money?
• Anger: rebellious against learning,
teachers
• Ignorance: what the true value of
education is.
II. Causality—Education Problems
• Incredible food, napkin, paper waste at every high
school
• Unable to deal with pressure and stress (high school
suicides)
• Do not write well (West & East), twitterese
• Unhealthy food served in cafeterias
• California budget: “make us dumber, not safer”
1980: 17% on education, 3% on prisons
Now: 9% on education, 10% on prisons
• Failure to see education as long-term investment on the
well-being of a society
II. Causality—Crimes & War
• Greed
– Wanting money, control, land, resources,
people
• Hatred
– Personal or national vengeance
• Ignorance
– Misunderstanding of each other’s intentions
and needs
II. Causality—Crimes & War
• E.g. Taiwan & China
• Same peoples, same culture, same language,
same heritage
• 60 years of “cold war”, endless time and
resources wasted (1.5hr flight  whole day)
• Finally, hope of cooperation this year
• Buddhism: China  Taiwan (1940s)
Now, Taiwan  China (2010?)
II. Causality—Crimes & War
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this
world.
By compassion alone is hatred appeased.
This is a law eternal.
—The Buddha, Dhammapada 1:5
II. Causality—Business & Economy
• Greed and deceit: maximize profit as 1st priority
– Corporal corruption: blinded by profit
– Enron, Lehman Brothers, Bernard Madoff,
Washington Mutual Bank (option ARM) …
• Anger: crushing opponents
– Lawsuits
– Unethical tactics
• Ignorance:
– What customers really want
– Success ≠ profit by any means
II.
Hunger&&
II.Causality—World
Causality—World Hunger
Over-eating
Over-eating
•
•
•
•
1 billion people overweight
1 billion people hungry
Greed: eating for flavor, not need
Ignorance:
– School cafeteria promote unhealthy
eating habits
– Animal suffering
– Where food come from, how they are
made
– More later
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
• Greed  dissatisfaction  more greed
• Hatred  vengeance  more hatred
• Ignorance  foolish behavior  suffering 
anger
• In all cases, the problems start with selfish
interest, and ignorance of others’ needs.
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Anger
Vengeance
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Ignorance
Foolish
behavior
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
Ignorance
Anger
Foolish
behavior
Vengeance
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
Ignorance
Anger
Foolish
behavior
Vengeance
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
Ignorance
Anger
Foolish
behavior
Vengeance
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
Ignorance
Anger
Foolish
behavior
Vengeance
II. Causality—Positive Cycle
• Reverse the negative cycle with:
– Pure mind, right understanding
– Sharing, kindness, wisdom
• Why?
– To rid of suffering
– To attain happiness
and harmony
• Why don’t we do it?
Zen Story
• “Nobody confined me.”
–Third Patriarch of China
II.
Causality—Vicious
Cycle
II. Causality—Vicious Cycle
Greed
Dissatisfaction
Ignorance
Anger
Foolish
behavior
Vengeance
II. Causality—Positive Cycle
Sharing
Satisfaction
Understanding
Kindness
Benevolent
behavior
Forgiveness
Dependent Origination
III. Dependent Origination
• Also known as:
– Conditional co-arising
– Interdependence
– Interconnectivity
• Understand the causal relationships we have
with all things in life
• The key to turn suffering into happiness
III. Dependent Origination
This is here because that is here
This exists because that exists.
This is gone because that is gone.
This perishes because that perishes.
—The Buddha
III. Dependent Origination—
Business
• Maximize own profit: greed and ignorance
• Google, Amazon.com and Twitter: maximize customer
experience
• TOMS shoes: charity is part of biz model
• 75 Green Businesses
• Disciple donates large % profit from green biz to Zen
center
• Take into account interdependence, should we
maximize: mutual benefit? Customer satisfaction? Self
and the environment?
III. Dependent Origination—
Economy
• MicroFinance (Muhammud Yunas): based on trust,
helping the most needed, empowering local people,
self-sustaining (*e.g. two Berkeley girls help China)
• Sustainable economy  must take responsibility for
the environmental
– Zero or positive impact for all our endeavors
• Denmark experience: world leader in wind and
renewable technology
III. Dependent Origination—
Education
• The purpose of education
– To make $$$?
– Confucius: become a virtuous person, serve the country
– Buddhism: Education for enlightenment and service
• Pu Tai Schools (Elementary—High School)
– Education of mindfulness and right understanding
– Core: Respect, kindness, harmony, and truth
– Knowledge: languages, culture, science, world-view
III. Dependent Origination—
III. Dependent
WarOrigination—Education
& Crimes
• War on terrorism:
– Fighting hatred with hatred (vicious cycle)
– Do not get to root of the problem
• “Three Cups of Tea” –story of Greg Mortenson
– Fight terrorism one school at a time
– Iraq war costs $2 billion a week, how many schools
would that build?
– Counter hatred with compassion and wisdom
III. Dependent Origination—
Global Warming
• “American way of life”—“the good life” ?
– The way we eat
– The way we use and waste resources
– The way we dispose and pollute
– self-destruction and destruction of earth
– Not sustainable
– Not true expression of equality and freedom
III. Dependent Origination—
Global Warming
• Current (U.S.) utility policy demanded: cheap,
reliable, ubiquitous energy for users
– Which ignored: energy efficiency, CO2
emission, better energy management, clean
fuel alternatives, and enormous problems for
our children
– Problems: air pollution, asthma, acid rain,
deforestation, bio-diversity loss, global
warming
• “Dirty Fuels System” –Thomas Friedman
III. Dependent Origination—
Global Warming
• Fuels from hell: coal, natural gas, oil
– From underground, limited, pollute earth
• Fuels from heaven: solar, wind, hydro
– From above ground, unlimited, clean
• Clean Fuels System
– Smart grid energy management
– Little or no poisonous waste to nature
– Everyone’s responsibility
Energy 2.0: every household an electric generator
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
Be like the honeybee
That draws the nectar from the flower
Without diminishing its beauty and fragrance
—The Buddha
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• Master Sengzao: “The sky and the earth are of my same
root; all things are of my same body.” 天地與我同根,萬物與我同體
• Strict regulations on cutting trees
• Encourage creation of parks, forests, bridges
• Many Zen teaching takes place while planting trees
• Prohibits polluting the environment. E.g. spitting on living
grass or water source is prohibited.
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• Killing  land becomes barren, weaken useful herbs
• Stealing  frost and hail, locust and pests, famine
• Carnal indulgence  wind, rain, and dust calamities
• Lying  surroundings become stinky and dirty
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• “When eating meat, think of it as eating the flesh of your
own child.” –Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha
• The Buddha once sacrificed himself for a pregnant deer,
which moved a king to forbid hunting in Deer Park.
• The great Buddhist King, Ashoka, widely planted forests,
forbid meat in the royal kitchen, and set up animal
hospitals.
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• Chung Tai Chan Monastery
– Community of nearly 2000 people,
monastic and lay
– Simple, thrift, sharing, reuse everything lifestyle
– Wash garments by hand, sun-dried
– Organic veggie farm: 40~70% of food
– Kitchen waste becomes fertilizer
and soap
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• Chung Tai Chan Monastery
– Carpool network across Taiwan
– New green classroom
building at Pu Tai School
– 223 Solar panels provide
110% electricity at Calif.
(20k sq ft) center
– Annual Green Action Day,
with interfaith panel
III. Dependent Origination—
Buddhism on Environment
• Spiritual health 
physical health &
environmental health
• Inner Pure Land
 External Pure
Land
• Silent meditation:
key to purity & peace
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat-Eating and World Hunger
• Problems:
– Junk food cheap, health food expensive
– Demand for cheap meat  great strain on
environment and great suffering for animals
– Top killers in developed countries: heart diseases,
cancer, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure (not
crime or terrorists)
– Exorbitant medical expenses
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat-Eating and World Hunger
• Greed: excessive demand from environment
• Ignorance: total disregard for:
– Environment
– Other living beings
– Natural course of things
– The effect of our actions
• Buddhism: view food as medicine
III. Dependent Origination—
Mindfulness Eating
This offering is the fruit of many’s work and care
Reflecting on my conduct, am I worthy of a share?
Be wary of the poisons, the foremost being greed
Seeing food as medicine, I take only what I need
Solely for cultivation, to realize the Buddha Way
With gratitude I accept, this offering today.
—Five contemplations before a meal
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat Eating & Health
Greed
Great demand for
animal flesh
Fat, cholesterol
causes heart
diseases, cancer,
stroke, high blood
pressure, etc.
Mega-farms (factory
farming)
Crowded
space for
cheap
meat
Massive manure
pollutes water,
land, and air
Grow
faster for
cheap
meat
Many diseases: bird-flu,
hoof & month, SARS,
Mad Cow, Salmonella
and E. coli, H1N1, etc.
Growth hormones,
antibiotics, enter
human body
Exorbitant medical
expenses
Human suffering
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat Eating & Animal Suffering
In-fighting,
debeaking, branding
Greed
Mega-farms
Great demand for
animal flesh
Crowded space,
grow faster
Natural lifespan of
chickens: ≥7 years;
farms: 6 weeks
Growth drugs and
excessive demand
for eggs, milk, and
flesh
Hens forced to lays
260 eggs/yr instead
20
Weak heart, lungs,
and organs, chronic
pain
Massive
extermination: 23
million chickens/day
killed for food (U.S.)
Cows forced to milk
10x natural capacity
Unethical
treatment, great
animal suffering
Feeding dead
animals to
themselves
Never see sunlight or
turn around; living in
own feces
Many diseases
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat Eating & Earth
Greed
Great demand for
animal flesh
Meat eater uses 20x
resources vs. a
vegetarian (≥50%
crops for livestocks)
1 billion people
malnourished,
largest % ever in
human history
Mega-farms, factory
farming
Feed animals grains
instead of grass
Deforestation,
extinction of species
(1 acre lost every
second)
Earth suffers:
livestock industry
pollutes more than
transportation
Produce methane
and other green
house gases
Nitrogen fertilizers
depletes soil and
pollutes earth
3x the damage to
earth: trees lost,
burning, livestock
farming
III. Dependent Origination—
Meat Eating
• So many inter-related problems with one false
belief: we are meat-eaters.
• The question is not whether animals can reason
or talk, but: CAN THEY SUFFER?
• With that we destroy our health, the health of
life forms on earth, and the health of the planet.
III. Dependent Origination—Go
Vegetarian
Carnivore
Herbivore
Human
Sharp claws
Flattened nails or hooves
Flattened nails
Sharp front teeth (tearing)
Blunt front teeth
Blunt front teeth
No flat molar
Flat molar (grinding)
Flat molar (grinding)
Small salivary glands
Well-dev’d salivary glands
Well-dev’d salivary glands
Strong acid in stomach
20 times weaker acid
20 times weaker acid
Intestine 3~6x body length
Intestine 10~12x body length
Intestine 10~11x body length
Handle fat & cholesterol
??
HEART ATTACK
III. Dependent Origination—
Go Vegetarian
• Anatomically, physiologically, and
historically, humans are primarily
herbivores (studies from Stanford, Harvard, etc.)
• If difficult to change eating habits, start
with Go Vegetarian One Day A Week
III. Dependent Origination—
Go Vegetarian
• “The biggest step people can take to help combat global
warming would be to stop eating meat.” —Chairman of
IPCC, United Nations
• The meat industry contributes more than 18% of all the
greenhouse gases, more than all air, land, and water
traffic combined. —United Nations
• Actually, it causes much more: 51% of all GHG—the
biggest contributor to global warming. —World Watch
III. Dependent Origination—
Go Vegetarian
• If everyone goes vegetarian for just one day, the US
would save:
– 100 billion gallons of water
– 1.5 billion pounds of crops fed to livestock
– 70 million gallons of gas
– Reduce 1.2 million tons of CO2
– Etc….
• Starting on the right foot, everything falls into place:
healthier, ethical, no animal cruelty, eco-friendly, solves
world hunger.
III. Dependent Origination—
Go Vegetarian
• Solution for energy crisis: difficult, high-tech
– Change from Dirty Fuels System to Clean Fuels
System requires countries, local governments,
utilities, businesses, and households to work together
• Solution for livestock problem: simple, no-tech
– Go vegetarian (1-day, 2-day, 3 … day a week)
• But both requires everyone to get involved
Emptiness
Emptiness
• “It is neither this nor that, but it can be this or
that.”
• Emptiness—Snap out of fixed concepts and
beliefs
• Green house gases are not bad—they are crucial
for our survival—just keep in balance
• Problems are not bad, they make us wiser
Emptiness
• Less is more
• Benefit the self by benefitting others—
the Bodhisattva Way
• When the self is empty, the self becomes
infinite, all-embracing, completely open
Zen Story
These budding green bamboos
Are the body of the Buddha;
Those vibrant yellow flowers
Demonstrate the prajna wisdom.
Nature continuously speak the Dharma to us.
—Master Huizhong, Tang Dynasty
Emptiness —
Learning from Nature
• Lotus effect: self-cleaning wall paint
• Algae (diatom): grow bio-silicon cells
• Green plants: turn CO2 into starch;
CO2  bio-degradable plastics
• Learn from shells (mineral scaling), starfish (bio-lenses),
sea sponge (fiber-optics), bacteria (batteries), spider
(silk), locust (collision avoidance), gecko (self-clean
adhesives) …. (ref: Janine Benyus, Biomimicry)
Emptiness —
Learning from Nature
• Green chemistry, instead of (harmful) industrial
chemistry
• Fertile agriculture: earth more fertile even as we take
from it (ecosystems do this naturally; perma-culture)
• Integral approach—many functions together, minimal
resources
• 3.8 billion years of R&D, 10+ million species are our
teachers
• Are we on top of the food-chain?
• Crisis  Hope (wisdom of emptiness)
Zen Story
Bodhidharma and the Pearl
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
V. From pure mind to Pure Land
Pure mind, pure awareness
Right understanding
Pure actions (karma)
Pure world (harmony)
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
Key concept: turn from a mind that is
self-centered
to a mind that is
centered on sharing
(well-being of others)
• But is this satisfying on a personal level?
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
• A mind that is not focused on the self is,
ironically, the happiest.
• Healthy mind 



physical health,
inner peace,
harmony with others,
Pure Land.
• At all levels: person, family, business, society,
politics, global affairs
VI.
From
pure
mind
to
Pure
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
Land
• Family level: communication and understanding
• Business: fulfill people’s needs first, profit model
follows
• Society: focus on education, giving back what I
gained
• Globally: governments cooperate to serve citizens of
the world
• Result: A lifestyle that makes world harmony
possible.
Zen Story
Layman Pang
• Pang: “Difficult! It’s like spreading ten buckets of sesame
seeds on top of a tree!”
• Wife: “Easy! I see the Buddha’s meaning on every blade
of grass.”
• Daughter: “Neither easy nor difficult; when I’m hungry, I
eat; when I’m tired, I sleep.”
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
• The right way is actually, the most natural way
• When the starting point is right, everything falls into
place.
• Prajna wisdom:
– The highest form of giving is non-giving: to give
without thinking that you’re giving
– The perfection of kindness is when nothing can cause
anger—the mind is always at peace.
VI. From pure mind to Pure Land
• Example: Chung Tai Chan Monastery
– Puli, Taiwan, founded by Grand Master Wei Chueh
• A Buddhist community of 100+ monasteries and Zen
centers, 1200+ monastics, and hundreds of thousands
of disciples
• Living according to the bodhisattva principle: attain
enlightened wisdom and to share that wisdom
Pure Mind, Pure Land—
A New Lifestyle for World
Harmony
(Actually, this way of life existed
since the dawn of civilization)
Many thanks to Ven. Jian Wei, Ven. Jian Tan,
Ven. Jian Ying, Ven. Jian Zong, Jian Shu, and Ven. Jian
Ren feedback and suggestions; and Diana Ma for
technical consultation.
Most of the photos are taken by Ven. Jian Nian
Powerpoint design by Charlene Tse
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Pure Mind, Pure Land— A New Lifestyle for World Harmony