Proper Dharma Seal, December, 1984

To Prevent A Nuclear Holocaust,
People Must Change Their Minds

By the Venerable Abbott Hsüan Hua

Translated by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien

The current world situation is as follows. Our world is composed of numerous countries; the countries are made up of a great number of fami­lies; and the families contain many people. That means that every single person is interrelated with the entire world. If the individual people are good, then the world is good; but if the in­dividuals which make it up are bad, then the world is bad. The goodness or evil begins with individuals' minds.

Our world has now reached the point that we cannot be sure in the morning whether or not there will be an evening; Our entire planet could very easily be destroyed in one day. In a nuclear holocaust, the fate of mankind would be like the fate of ants that drown when the ground is flooded with water. People would com­pletely disappear, with no survivors. People are concerned about overpopulation, food shortages, pollution, and so forth, but they neglect the most important question: whether from moment to moment, human beings will continue to exist. About that problem, people are unbelievably short­sighted. It is as if they were caught in a dream from which they are unable to wake. But we should wake up quickly and resolve upon changing our minds right away from the evil to the good.

Why do I say that people's minds must change? The mind is what controls people and leads them through rebirths in the Ten Dharma Realms. If one has a single thought of good, one can ascend to the heavens. In a single evil thought, one falls into the hells. A single thought deter­mines whether one remains an ordinary living be­ing; with a single thought of cultivating the Buddhas' Way and benefiting others, one is an Enlightened Being, a Bodhisattva. A single thought of seeking the truth within oneself by returning the light of the mind to illumine with­in, in order to cultivate the Way and end one's own birth and death, makes one an Arhat or a Sage Who is Enlightened by Conditions. There­fore, whether this world is good or not depends upon the thoughts in the minds of each and every person.

Just as the world is composed of countries, the countries composed of families, and the fami­lies composed of individual people, so, too, each person is made up of a great many polluted thoughts. If people can change their evil thoughts into good ones‑‑if they can diligently cultivate morality, concentration, and wisdom and eradicate greed, anger, and stupidity‑‑then their world will be a good one. If each and every person would turn his or her mind around in that wav so that it would he good instead of bad, then the entire world would be good. That is the method for improving the world. Even if only some people change and rely upon the Buddha­Dharma to cultivate the Way, then the evil people in the world can "borrow the light" of the good people, and this world will escape destruction.

This is an extremely important and essential principle. All of us should resolve our minds upon making the world truly peaceful and happy. It is right at that place where we need to make the change.

Each person is guided by his mind, just as each family is guided by the head of the house­hold and each country is guided by the head of the government. If our minds are bad, then ill­ness and disasters will befall us. Similarly, if the head of the household does not manage the family's affairs well, the family will suffer, and if the leader of the country is unable to serve its citizens well, the country will encoun­ter difficulties. In each case, the leader has not fulfilled his responsibilities. Therefore, each and every one of us should return the light of our minds to illumine within in order to recog­nize our own shortcomings and errors. We should not keep going along the wrong road. If we have made mistakes, then we should repent of them and reform, and then there will be no more errors.