What can we say, then, of persons who are devoting themselves to Buddhism? Surely they should not forget the debts of gratitude they owe to their parents, their teachers, and their country.
But if one intends to repay these great debts of gratitude, one can hope to do so only if one learns and masters Buddhism, becoming a person of wisdom. If one does not, one will be like a man who attempts to lead a company of the blind over bridges and across rivers when he himself has sightless eyes. Can a ship steered by someone who cannot even tell the direction of the wind ever carry the traveling merchants to the mountains where treasure lies?
If one hopes to learn and master Buddhism, then one cannot do so without devoting time to the
task. And if one wants to have time to spend on the undertaking, one cannot continue to wait on one’s
parents, one’s teachers, and one’s sovereign. Until one attains the road that leads to emancipation, one
should not defer to the wishes and feelings of one’s parents and teachers, no matter how reasonable
they may be.
There are times when one can be a loyal minister or a filial child only by
refusing to obey the wishes of one’s sovereign or parents. And in the sacred scriptures of Buddhism it
is said, “By renouncing one’s obligations and entering the Buddhist life one can truly repay those
obligations in full.”
For ordinary people like us, whomever we may take as our teacher, if we have faith in him, then
we will not think him inadequate in any way.
In a scripture called the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha says, “Rely on the Law and not upon
persons.” Relying on the Law here means relying on the various sutras. Not relying upon persons
means not relying on persons other than the Buddha, such as the bodhisattvas Universal
Worthy and Manjushrī or the various Buddhist teachers.
The Lotus Sutra is the only bright mirror we should have, and that through it we can understand the heart of all the sutras.