While reading some of Master Hua’s reflections, I came across this story:
There is a story about when the students from mainland China first came to Taiwan. Because they were fleeing for their lives, none of the students, except maybe one or two, remembered to bring their diplomas. When they applied for college in Taiwan, they were at a loss when asked for their diplomas. So they searched everywhere to find a sample diploma. When they found a real one, they forged copies. They submitted the counterfeit diplomas to the Department of Education, and were then allowed to take the entrance exams and enroll in college. However, when someone submitted his authentic diploma to the Department of Education, they thought it was false. They said, “Everyone else’s diploma is clean and well-kept. Why is yours all creased and torn up? You must have forged it and made it old and dirty-looking on purpose so that people wouldn’t be able to tell.” So they refused to accept it. All of you, think about this: the fake ones are considered real, and the real one was thought to be false.
-Master Hsuan Hua, from “The Traditions of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas: Excerpts from the lectures of the Venerable Master Hua.”¹
Made me think.
What do we think is real today?
Is it really?
¹ In Memory of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. Vol I. Burlingame, CA: Buddhist Text Translation Society,1995. 152.