Extracted from the website of Buddhist Vajrayana Charity Funds Association and translated (要勇於承認錯誤和改正錯誤) into English:
One Must Courageously Admit Mistakes and
It is not frightening that a person makes mistakes, it is ‘good’ as long as one can courageously correct them. It is impossible not to make any mistakes in one's life. Sometimes, mistakes are merely caused by one's moment of omission, which do not contribute towards much loss. However, if one does not admit mistakes, one may have violated ‘Extreme View(邊見)’, ‘Evil View(邪見)’ and ‘View of Clinging to False Views(見取見)’ of the ‘Five Views’(remark: ‘Five Views’ means five kinds of mistaken perception), and the consequence will be beyond control. Buddhism places great emphasis on the virtue of ‘Admitting Mistakes’, the so called ‘Not worried if thought arises, only afraid if late in awakening’. When the Nagarjuna Bodhisattva was young, he made two very grave mistakes. Firstly, he secretly slipped into the palace and had pleasures with beautiful ladies of the palace, and secondly, he wanted to set up his own religious sect and faction. Later, he realised that he had made mistakes. After repentance, he embarked on the journey of learning Buddhism. Since then, his whole life changed, and he attained great achievement. This is a good evidence of ‘courageously admit mistakes and correct mistakes’.
During the journey of learning Buddhism, one must recognise that one is just an ordinary person. One must not insist that I am always right and others are always wrong, insist on debating with others what is ‘right or wrong’, defending one-sidedly and making assertions that I am the only one who is right, this is the wrong attitude and wrong way of thinking. In fact, it is a mistake by not ‘admitting mistakes’. It is obvious that one is wrong, as the sayings go: ‘Won’t admit mistakes even when beaten to death’, ‘Rather die than admit to a mistake’. This results in going round in the same place, or falling deeper and deeper into a state of depravation, what a pity! This kind of attitude is ‘self-stubbornness’ which shows that one is without any root of benevolence and without wisdom. Those who have real wisdom can courageously admit their own mistakes and correct their own mistakes. This is the act of wise men, as they recognise the imperfections of this world, and committing mistakes act as our ‘anti-Bodhisattva’. Hence wise men take pride in admitting and correcting mistakes. The people of this world who have spiritual upbringing in general, often have this good sentence hanging at the tip of their tongue: ‘By admitting one's mistake half the mistake is already corrected’. Making a mistake is not shameful, what is shameful is not to correct the mistake once made, resulting in losing the opportunity to accumulate good virtue, what a pity! There is no difference of large or small in size when admitting mistakes, all that required is honesty; whether one can truly confess and change, depends upon if we have enough courage, so called ‘People are not sages, how can one make no mistakes; recognise mistakes and correct them, such is a great virtue.’
Although we may learn Buddhism, recite Buddhist Sutras, cultivate dharma, etc, may have over 10 to 20 years of experience, may feel that one has grasped all of Buddhism, where we begin to speak with pride and contentment, with an air of expertise and power, in fact, we only know a bit and understand half. Not knowing is not a shame, sages would also say ‘I don’t know’ and then diligently practise and learn. Buddhism is like the vast ocean, measureless and boundless, one cannot be fully self-contented!
One must have the wisdom of self-understanding, and should not be overtly arrogant and too self-opinionated. Before Nagarjuna Bodhisattva practised Buddhism, he felt that he had mastered the knowledge of the world and he was very self-contented. Later, when he finished learning the Buddhist sutras and scriptures of Hinayana, and managed to win debates against the non-Buddhists and some Hinayana lecturers, he felt that he was even more superior, and became even more arrogant. Not only did he attempt to set up his own sect as a founding master, he even drew up new precepts, and formulated a new style dharma robes for his followers to wear. Such behaviour and thinking were so pitiful and the consequence must be very frightening. Luckily, at the time, he was initiated and awakened by the Great Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, and was brought to the Dragon Palace to extensively read the Mahayana Buddhist sutras and scriptures. Thereafter, Nagarjuna realised that Buddhism was such profound and deep, that he was over arrogant in the past, and that his knowledge of Buddhism was indeed far too shallow and superficial. If Nagarjuna had not courageously admitted his mistakes and corrected them, he would have become ‘a pseudo Buddhist cult’, and would not have become a true Great Bodhisattva (Nagarjuna Bodhisattva).We may be blinded by ignorance or we may have the habits of selfishness that lead to making mistakes. The main point is not to immediately correct them, but to realize mistake and learn what is wrong before correcting them and review oneself carefully; to courageously admit one's own mistakes is a type of cultivation.