Thursday, July 9, 2009

Experiential Validation

How do I attain experiential validation rather than being a parrot repeating what I heard and read?

Someone posed this question to me, and I really do not know how to answer this. But based on a student of Ven. Master Hsuan Hua, this is what he said: -

“You will know that it is an experiential validation when it is spontaneously arising, i.e. uncontrived. Only you alone will know that. And when you have the experiential validation, it shows through your actions, writings, thoughts, speech, etc. If you seek experiential validation, firstly we need to be sincere. Ven. Master Hsuan Hua used to say, “If your heart is sincere, there will be a response”. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are not blind people, they can hear our cries. Put in effort in cultivation. Don’t think so much of merits when you do something good. Do it sincerely.

Recently I was checking some of my old diaries and came across some old draft letters that I wrote. And I can’t believe today that I actually wrote those things when I was only so young. Yes, I used to be very na├»ve and sometimes even foolish. But I was very sincere and dedicated in my dharma pursuit. When I got a copy of the Ksitigarbha Sutra published by Syarikat Dharma, I actually wrote a letter to thank the donor. It was sponsored by a family in KL. Can you believe that? Who actually will write to thank the donors or sponsors nowadays for the dharma books received by them? I think hardly anyone does that. But I did.

And there was another draft letter that I wrote, but did not actually send it. It was something I wrote to Ven. Master Hsuan Hua. I wrote him of my desire to be his official student and told him that I have actually started to informally regard him as my master. At that time, we don’t have blogs, so no one else could have read my diary. It was safely kept away. I did not correspond with City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to arrange for Master’s visit. And it really did not occur to me at that time, but recently when I checked the date of that draft letter and the date that he gave the refuge ceremony to me and a few friends, it was about one year. Hence, after about 12 months from the date I wrote the draft letter to him, he actually visited Malaysia and I became his official student then. Is it just purely coincidence? Repeating what the Master said again: if your heart is sincere, there will be a response. But I have still much to learn. What do I know?”

With that, he apologized if there is anything wrong with his answer and left. Well, I don’t know about you but I feel satisfied with his answer. There is definitely precious dharma here to be learned.


As I write this blog, it occurs a few minutes ago that the first story is really about sincerity, and the second story is about guru devotion (i.e. pleasing the teacher's holy mind by one's practice of dharma). It dawns on me then that before we have guru devotion, there must be sincerity in seeking the Way. Without sincerity, there is a risk whatever devotion one may have towards one's guru will just be pure attachment. Hence sincerity precedes guru devotion. And once you have guru devotion, you have the root of all blessings. With guru devotion, not to even talk about validating experiences, even spiritual realisations will not be far away. Hence, one must have sincerity first.

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