Guan Yin Citta Singapore Class date: 29/12/2019. Credit: Ms June Wong.
WHAT ARE WE LEARNING TODAY?
1. Ignorance - how it traps us in the cycle of rebirth.
2. Learn the importance of Self-Awareness - THE KEY to reach the Buddha within our mind and discover our true nature.
3. The karma for Wasting Food.
Q1: What is the reason for one to be ignorant?
A1: Ignorance stems from one’s failure to practise self-reflection (反省自己Fǎn xǐng zì jǐ). Everyone should practise self-reflection on a daily basis when they are back at home. Contemplate about what wrong have you done and what others have given up for you.
In today’s world, everyone utters about how many good deeds they have done and how many people they have helped but has never pondered about the mistakes they have committed.
Cross reference 1 <IGNORANCE)>
DO NOT BE ENTANGLED IN THE RIGHT AND WRONG (是非Shìfēi) OF THIS WORLD. HOW TO BREAK FREE FROM IGNORANCE
Master Jun Hong Lu: Like how I always tell you, the most important thing that a Buddhist practitioner should learn is to never allow ourselves to be entangled (不要把自己缠住Bùyào bǎ zìjǐ chán zhù). Things can be right and wrong in this world. A person who gets himself entangled in the web of right and wrong is clearly someone who fail to cherish. They fail to cherish the brief life they live in this world. That is why they continue to compete against others. Think about how short your life is. You will have to be broad-minded (心胸要宽广Xīnxiōng yào kuānguǎng), just like the sea. To achieve this, you will have to accord with conditions (随缘Suíyuán). The right and wrong in this world will only increase your afflictions (烦恼) not wisdom.
How do we overcome ignorance? You have to be righteous (心要正). Like I always tell you, ‘With the right mindset, you let the Buddha be your guide; with a deviant mindset, you let the demons become your guide (心正佛做主，心不正魔做主). How do we achieve a righteous mind then? You will have to fill yourself up with everlasting positive energy. To do this you will have to have the line of thought of Bodhisattva (菩萨的思维) e.g. treating everyone with compassion.
Cross reference 2 <IGNORANCE)>
Wenda20190203B 05:59（An Excerpt）
Cross reference 2 <IGNORANCE)>
Wenda20190203B 05:59 An Excerpt） (Master Jun Hong Lu call-in radio program)
HOW TO BREAKTHROUGH IGNORANCE
Caller: Master, how many types of ignorance that a person needs to eradicate?
Master Jun Hong Lu: What do you think? The bad habits of a person are innumerable! 84,000! That is why we say there are 84,000 Dharma methods to help them. In our daily life, there are those who are people who consume the meat of sentient beings, while Buddhist practitioner makes vows to practise full vegetarianism in their effort to observe the precepts. This itself had eradicated the ignorance of eating meat. The monastics for e.g. had to observe more than 300 precepts….
Caller: May I ask, is it through observing one particular precept we are able to eradicate one particular type of ignorance (守一个戒律就会破一种无明)?
Master Jun Hong Lu: That is right. The more precepts you are able to observe, the more ignorance you are able to eradicate.
Caller: That’s why Master Lu keep telling us that the stricter we are in our keeping to the precepts, the easier it is for us to break through ignorance and be enlightened.
Master Jun Hong Lu: Yes. You have to rely on your effort in keeping the precepts in order to break through ignorance. When you can’t tell what’s right and wrong in the beginning, you should start by observing the precepts. This is because, at this time, greed, hatred and ignorance in you have obscured your calm inherent nature resulting in your inability to discern and giving rise to a bias mind (分别心).
Cross reference 3 <IGNORANCE)>
Wenda20180427 01:17:10 (An Excerpt) (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
UNDERSTANDING IGNORANCE IN THE 12 LINK OF DEPENDENT ORIGINATION
Caller: Master, in Buddhism in Plain Terms, it was mentioned that ignorance is the cause for a lot of our wrongdoings in life. Please enlighten us.
Master Jun Hong Lu: One’s ignorance is due to the existence of such state one’s past life. For e.g. your spiritual foundation in your past life was unstable, you committed a lot of wrongdoings - all these would cause you a lot of deep-rooted bad habits (无明习气) in this life. In fact, ignorance is the consciousness that results in rebirth. Let me quote you an example: for a blind person, ignorance to him is his inability to see light. However, when someone tells him about it, for e.g describing to him the nature of the sun, out of a sudden he could see it through his mind-eyes. That is what it means by breaking away from ignorance.
In fact, ignorance is when you shut the door to your mind. Ignorance can cause you to become depraved, your days will be gloomy, you lose your wisdom and the light in your life. You can see the manifestation of ignorance in our everyday life. For e.g. our attachments (执著), our refusal to acknowledge the superiority of others, the thought that we are always right. That is why Buddha says all sufferings stem from ignorance (一切痛苦都产生于无明).
Caller: That’s right. Ignorance is the first link in the law of Dependent Origination.
Master Jun Hong Lu: Due to a person’s ignorance, he develops a lot of prejudice, and opinion about others. Often times, if you understand someone, you will not think that he always had preconceived notions or stubborn? That’s the origin of our sufferings.
In fact, ignorance spans over our rebirths in three lives (三世轮回). The fact that we fail to comprehend this, that’s why we are trapped we continue to transmigrate through three lives. This is indeed pitiable. The objective of Buddhism teachings is to eradicate ignorance to reveal our Buddha nature (真正的佛性)
Disclaimer: Source from the Internet (Not from Master Jun Hong Lu)
Perhaps the most profound part of the Buddha’s teaching is the description of how this wheel of life, death and rebirth continues rolling on. The insight into all the links of the chain of existence is expressed in what is called the Law of Dependent Origination.
According to the Buddha: It is by their not being able to comprehend the Dependent Origination, that people are entangled like a ball of cotton, and not being able to see the Truth, They are born into conditions that are dismal and dreary, where confusion and prolonged suffering prevail. And, they do not know how to disentangle themselves to get out.
There are twelve links in this Law of Dependent Origination.
The first two have to do with causes in the past life which condition birth in this one (Ignorance and Mental Formation).
The first of these links is 1.Ignorance. Ignorance means not knowing the truth, not understanding the Dharma, ignorance of the Four Noble Truths.
2. Mental Formation is conditioned by ignorance; because we do not understand the truth, we are involved in all kinds of actions. The force of ignorance conditions the next link in the chain: volitional actions of body, speech, and mind motivated by wholesome or unwholesome mental factors.
3. Rebirth consciousness; that is, the first moment of consciousness in this life. Because ignorance conditioned the energy of karmic activity in our past life, rebirth consciousness arises at the moment of conception.
Because of the first moment of consciousness in this life arise the whole 4.mind-body phenomena.
Finally, because of the mind-body phenomena arising, the 5.sense spheres develop. This is during the development of the embryo, before birth.
The five physical senses and the mind, which in turn conditions the 6.arising of contact, contact between the sense organ and its appropriate object: the eye and color, the ear and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste, body and sensation, mind and thoughts or ideas.
Conditioned by the senses, contact comes into being. Because of the contact between the eye and color, the ear and sound, and the other senses and their objects, 7. There arises feeling. Feeling means the quality of pleasantness, unpleasantness, or neither pleasantness nor unpleasantness involved in every mind moment, in every moment of contact. Whether it is contact through the five physical sense doors or through the mind, the feeling is always present.
Because of feeling arises 8.Craving. Craving means desiring, hankering after objects. What is it that we desire? We desire pleasant sights and sounds, pleasant tastes and smells, pleasant tactile sensations and thoughts, or we desire to get rid of unpleasant objects. Desire arises because of feelings. We start hankering after or wishing to avoid, these six different objects in the world. Feeling conditions desire. Desire conditions clinging. Because we have a desire for the objects of the six senses, mind included, we cling, we latch on to, we become attached.
9. Clinging is conditioned by desire. Because of clinging, again we get involved in karmic formations.
!!! Repeating the kinds of volitions, which, in our past life, produced the rebirth consciousness of this life. So, feeling conditions desire, desire conditions clinging, and clinging conditions the continual actions of…
10. Becoming, creating the energy that is the seed for rebirth consciousness in the next life. Because of these karmic actions resulting from grasping, again there is birth.
Because there is birth, there is 11.decay, pain, suffering, and 12.death. Therefore, the wheel goes on and on.
The Buddha’s objective is to help us discover the way out of this cycle of conditioning.
However, there is nothing we can do now about “being” or this mental-body phenomenon. That is conditioned by past ignorance and having taken birth. Therefore, there is no way to avoid contact. There is no possible way of closing off all the sense organs even if that were desirable. If there is contact, there is no way of preventing feeling from arising. Because of contact, the feeling will be there. It is a common factor of mind!!! But, it is right at this point that the chain can be broken.
When pleasant things arise, we do not cling. When unpleasant things arise, we do not condemn. We are free to break this chain, to free ourselves from conditioned reactions. It takes powerful mindfulness in every moment!!! NOT to allow feelings to generate desire.
!!! When there’s ignorance in the mind, “feeling conditions desire”.
If there is something pleasant, we want it; something unpleasant, we desire to get rid of it. However, if instead of ignorance if there is wisdom and awareness, then we experience feeling but do not compulsively or habitually cling or push away.
If the feelings are pleasant, we experience them mindfully without clinging. If unpleasant, we experience them mindfully without condemning. No longer do feelings condition desire!!! Instead, there is mindfulness, detachment, letting go.
!!! So you want to know how this chain is undone??
When there is no desire, there is no clinging; without clinging, there is no mental formation of becoming. If we are not generating that energy, there is no rebirth, no disease, no old age, and no death. We become free. No longer driven on by ignorance and desire, the whole mass of suffering is brought to an end.
Every moment of awareness is a hammer stroke on this chain of conditioning. Striking it with the force of wisdom and awareness, the chain gets weaker and weaker until it breaks. What we are doing here is penetrating into the truth of the Law of Dependent Origination, and freeing our minds from it.
WAY TO BREAK THROUGH IGNORANCE:
1. To be righteous (‘with the right mindset, you let the Buddha be your guide; with a deviant mindset, you let the demons become your guide (心正佛做主, 心不正魔做主.)
2. Keeping the precepts
3. Understand the 12 Links of Dependent Origination.
The manifestation of Ignorance:
2. Refuse to acknowledge the superiority of others
3. Being always right.
Q2: What is your understanding of this verse: “Bodhisattvas are indifferent to the worldly affairs but focus on self-awareness as one with self-awareness would be empathetic and able to feel for all sentient beings”? (菩萨不觉于世，只觉自己 因觉自心者，即为觉一切众生之人Púsà bù jué yú shì, zhǐ jué zìjǐ.Yīn jué zì, jí wèi jué yīqiè zhòngshēng)
A2: To be indifferent to the worldly affairs (不觉于世) is to be oblivious towards things in the surrounding. Self-awareness is to be concerned about one-self (只觉自己) and to focus on attaining enlightenment.
Cross reference 1 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
BUDDHISM IN PLAIN TERMS (Vol. 11 Chapter 35) - An excerpt
KARMIC FORCE STARTS FROM ONE’S MEMORY
Master Jun Hong Lu: Chase away the “thief in our mind (六个“贼”)”- the six thieves - eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and consciousness. When Bodhisattva mentioned about the ‘outflows of the body’ (身体有漏), the outflows are from these six aspects. When the eyes see, nose smells, the mouth speaks there is an outflow of energy. The ears also go with the ears. What about our mind? How does outflow happen in this sense organ? The outflow is in the form of energy (气场). There are numerous pores on our body. If we are not careful in safeguarding it, there will be energy outflow. We will have to chase away the "six thieves in our mind”. Only then we will not be affected by form, sound, smell, taste, touch nor reasoning. When our consciousness is not affected, it means we do not develop any feelings towards material things in the human realm (不会产生感情). Hence, we have to be on guard of these “six thieves” so that they are not able to steal anything from us.
Cross reference 2 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
Wenda20171210B 20:52 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
BODHISATTVAS ARE INDIFFERENT TO THE WORLDLY AFFAIRS BUT FOCUS ON SELF-AWARENESS AS ONE WITH SELF-AWARENESS WOULD BE EMPATHETIC AND ABLE TO FEEL FOR ALL SENTIENT BEINGS”
Caller: In Buddhism in Plain Terms Volume 1 Chapter 5, it mentioned, “Bodhisattvas are indifferent to the worldly affairs but focus on self-awareness as one with self-awareness would be empathetic and able to feel for all sentient beings”? Master Lu, please enlighten me on this as I don’t understand this phrase.
Master Jun Hong Lu: “To be indifferent to the worldly affairs” (“不觉于世”) means that Bodhisattva understands the mind, and sees the true nature (明心见性); not concerned about the worries of the Five Desires and its sense organs (五欲六尘).
“One with self-awareness (“觉自心”) does not mean that one only cares about oneself. It means to be awakened in one’s mind.
Cross reference 3 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
Wenda20150424 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program) - An Excerpt
SEE ONLY OUR OWN MISTAKES, NOT THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS
Master Jun Hong Lu: “Not to see the faults of others means while our cultivation is not up to the mark, we should not focus on the faults of others for the time being. We should focus on cultivating ourselves first. This is the way of Theravada.
Caller: That is to focus on our own spiritual cultivation then…
Master Jun Hong Lu: … then start to help others.
Caller: That is to ensure that we ourselves are liberated.
Master Jun Hong Lu: That’s right. There are many who are sub-par in their cultivation, why is that so? It’s because they focus on the faults of others every single day! This is what it means by “only seeing the faults of others”. Instead what you should be focusing on is “see only your own mistakes, not the mistakes of others”. This means, you always feel that you are in the wrong while others are always right. By doing this, you are observing the precepts (守戒了). Do you understand?
Cross reference 4 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
shuohua20140502 17:53 如何自我反省
shuohua20140502 17:53 (Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
Caller: How should we go about encouraging fellow Buddhist friends to constantly examine and reflect upon themselves (反省和检讨自己Fǎnxǐng hé jiǎntǎo zìjǐ)? This is something I need to practise as well to ensure there will not not be any inflation of ego. Otherwise, we may go on the wrong path.
Master Jun Hong Lu: That’s right. It is very simple. How do we practise self-reflection? Let me ask you, how do you keep yourself clean? You do wash your face and brush your teeth every morning, don’t you? Hence, you should allocate a certain amount of time to do self-reflection. Before you offer incense and perform recitation in the morning, reflect upon yourself “Have I done anything wrong today?” “Have I been greedy today”? “Was I ignorant today?” “Did I feel any discontentment today?” “Did I cause anyone any harm today?” “Was I able to practise endurance today?” Think about all these; and ask yourself “Did I behave like a Bodhisattva today? This is what self-reflection is all about. Do it twice a day. Just like in the western religion, it is like a confession and repentance. It is of the same logic.
Cross reference 5 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
(Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program)
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MIND (修心) AND BEHAVIOURAL CULTIVATION (修行)
Caller: Between mind and behavioural cultivation, which one should come first? Or, does one complement the other?
Master Jun Hong Lu: It is a common belief of many that they should cultivate their behaviour first - when their behaviour is appropriate, their mind transform positively too. However, there are also others who believe that the opposite is true. In my opinion, mind cultivation should come first followed by behavioural cultivation. Hence the phrase “mind and behavioural cultivation (修心修行)” it was never expressed the other way around. One’s mind is of the utmost importance. If your mind is unhealthy, all your behaviour, line of thought speech will be unwholesome. However, in the case where your speech, line of thought and behaviour is virtuous it may not necessarily be that you are able to discern or you understand your mind and see your true nature (明心见性).
Cross reference 6 <SELF-AWARENESS)>
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Discourse to his disciples around the world (An Excerpt)
Master Jun Hong Lu: As a Buddhist practitioner and my disciple, you at least have to know if you are pure (知道自己是否干净). You will have to frequently examine if your mind and body are pure. Many people are unaware of this. The purity of our body and mind is extremely important. Just like you will have to wash your face every day. If you feel that your body is filthy, you know that you need to shower and make sure that you are clean. If you fail to do so, very soon, you will not even know what filthiness is all about. As a Buddhist practitioner, every day, we will have to ensure that our line of thought is pure too (思维弄干净). When you are unsure, chances are you will make mistakes and you will start to have a lot of troubles and distracting thoughts (杂念).
HOW TO PRACTISE SELF-AWARENESS?
1. Chase away the 6 thieves in our mind
2. Focus only on our faults, not on others.
3. Constant self-exam “Did I behave like a Bodhisattva toddy?”
4. Ensure line of thoughts is pure.
Q3: How would you understand “Impartial spirit of compassion (同体大悲)?
A3: Human beings are, by itself, a unification as each and every human body is originated from a primordial soul (由一个元灵出来). If you try to feel from your primordial soul (用元灵感觉), you are are in fact feeling all sentient beings in this world. If you are able to distinguish between the rights and wrongs of your actions, you will be empathizing with all sentient beings. Thus, this is referred to as ’‘impartial spirit of compassion’ ((同体大悲).
Q4: Wasting food will‘diminish’one’s _________!
A4: Wasting food will “diminish” your longevity! There are many wealthy people who are very generous in giving but skimp on their expenditures. By doing so, they are not being stingy but treasuring their blessings. They are well aware that such blessings are hard to come by.
Cross reference 1 <Karma of Wasting Food)>
PROVIDING TOO MANY UNNECESSARY THINGS TO A CHILD WILL DEPLETE HIS KARMIC REWARD; THERE WILL BE RETRIBUTION FOR WASTING FOOD; BUDDHIST PRACTITIONER SHOULD CHERISH THEIR GOOD FORTUNE; MASTER LU CHERISHES ALL HIS DISCIPLES
Caller: When parents splurge on their children, buying them things that they do not need, will this deplete their child’s as well as the parent’s karmic reward?
Master Jun Hong Lu: It will. This shows that the person does not cherish his blessings and his fortune will be depleted as a result. Why Buddhist practitioners cherish their blessings and never waste their food? Look at those old monastics at the end of their meal, they even pour some water into the bowl, give it a rinse and drink it. This was the forest tradition in the olden days.
In the past, Buddha taught his disciples that “..all offerings they receive from others are hard-earned; they save the food just so that they can offer to you, the monastics, how can you throw it away? If you do not have this bit of compassion, how can you even talk about spiritual cultivation, not to mention attaining Buddhahood!”
Caller: That day I saw at the school canteen that many students threw their half-eaten food away.
Master Jun Hong Lu: All this will be calculated and recorded. I once saw a person who will throw up whenever he ate something. I then saw that once in his past life, when he was a child, he was on a boat that carries a lot of foodstuffs. The boat was about to reach the shore and this kid was playing and jumping around. In the end, the boat overturned. The retribution he received this life is that he cannot take in any food as he will throw up whenever he did so. As a result, he lost so much weight that he looked like a skeleton. This is the retribution that I always warn you about. Do you understand?
Cross reference 2 <Karma of Wasting Food)>
FOOD WASTAGE WILL RESULT IN DEPLETION OF GOOD FORTUNE AND SHORTEN ONE’S LIFESPAN
Caller: When a person wastes food, it will result in the depletion of his good fortune or shortening of his lifespan?
Master Jun Hong Lu: It will result in both. When you do not have good fortune, do you think you will get to live a long life?
Cross reference 3 <Karma of Wasting Food)>
wenda20140615B 00:59 (An excerpt)
HOW TO ELIMINATE THE KARMIC OBSTACLES CAUSED BY FOOD WASTAGE
Caller: There are new practitioners said that when we pass away and descend, we will be checked if we have the history of food wastage when we were alive. Can we recite the Eight-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance on the first and fifteenth of the Chinese calendar month or special days to repent for the negative karma from wasting food?
Master Jun Hong Lu: Yes you can. If you are still having concern about it, it shows that it had already entered your Eighth Consciousness, hence you will have to eliminate them.
Caller: How do we go making our prayer request?
Master Jun Hong Lu: It’s very simple. Just mention “...eliminate karmic obstacles.” You just need to speak from your mind on this issue; there is no need to verbalise them. You just need to say, “May Bodhisattva help me to eliminate my karmic obstacles.”
Q5: “Both plants and animals are living beings. Why consuming meat is considered an act of killing while eating vegetables and fruits are not considered so and neither it is considered breaking the precepts?
A5: Though plants are living beings too, but they have neither awareness, feelings nor movement. Hence, they are regarded as non-sentient beings (无缘众生）. When we pick the fruits, cut the branches or leaves from a plant and it will continue to grow. However, this is not the case for animals. When harmed, plants will not dodge but animals will - hence the latter is regarded as ‘sentient beings’; they are lives brought upon by the Five Aggregates (五蕴）; they have feelings, flesh and blood and they are susceptible to the cycle of rebirth. When we talk about not committing the act of killing, it means not killing sentient beings （众生）, namely animals.
-- Source: Master Lu’s Book “Be Vegetarian and Perform Life Liberation” 吃素戒杀放生