Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Disclaimer: My translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation based on my understanding of his teachings. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写，都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. I am not an enlightened being like Master Lu, but I will treat his teachings with my utmost respect and do my best to convey and translate it to the best of my (limited) abilities for my friends and people who can’t read Chinese. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Regarding the question of the occurrence of doomsday, doomsday is classified as a great tribulation. This great tribulation will definitely occur one day, but when? We don’t know. It’s because the ambience of the tribulation hasn’t taken form yet, which indicates that there are still many good people in this world who are performing good deeds, virtuous deeds, cultivating their mind, reciting sutras and saving others. There once were many predictions predicting that doomsday would occur in the year 2000. Currently, it’s already the year 2010, so at the very least it has been postponed by ten years. Master has said this before; a great disaster is a great tribulation, a lesser disaster is a lesser tribulation. Regarding lesser tribulation, to the person, if they died or they have been severely affected by the disaster, then it’s likened to doomsday to them. If a plane was going to crash soon, then to the passengers inside the plane, it’s already doomsday for them. We must cultivate our mind as much as possible, so when a tribulation approaches, the good people like us can live. People who die during tribulations are basically people who aren’t considered good (from the perspective of the Buddha-Dharma) nor are people who cultivate themselves.
Let me use an analogy. Among the victims who died during an earthquake, some of them might be good, but at most they are people who were wronged, and can’t really be considered as a good person. A good person will definitely not die during a tribulation. For example, when the earthquake occurred, there were twenty children who didn’t go to school, so they avoided the tribulation. Or when the plane crashed, a child was able to survive. What does that show? There are also cases when a person suddenly became sick and was unable to get on board the plane, soon after the plane crashed. Do these kinds of people count as a good person? It shows they are blessed; they have great worldly blessings, great broad-mindedness and merits. Master won’t keep advising you. You must do the best of your ability to practise (Buddhism), so when you do encounter a tribulation, you remain safe and secured.
Master isn’t here to scare you, even if you were constantly by my side, it’s not certain that Master can save you. When you encounter a tribulation, it all depends on your efforts in cultivation and your merits. When that time comes, if the Bodhisattvas can save you, then you’ll be saved. If they can’t, you’ll pass away regardless of whether you’re a male, female, elderly or a child. You must introspect yourself and everything you’ve done up till now. Have you been cultivating your behaviour? Have you been cultivating your mind? How’s your progress? Do you still have any desires? Then you’ll understand. If you kneel in front of the Bodhisattvas, and still praying for the well-being of your family members, or praying for a good income, career to be smooth-sailing, get rich etc., these are all considered as cultivating for worldly blessings and practising Theravada Buddhism. In a moment, Master will explain everything in detail regarding these problems. For now, it’s just a foreshadow of what’s to come.
Firstly, Master will explain to you, a lot of desires attract suffering. The more desires a person has, the more they will suffer. Today, they wanted to gain something but didn’t. Tomorrow, they want to gain something else but couldn’t. Here’s an example, what is Master’s desire? Master wants to save more people, but Master couldn’t, and so Master feels sorry. What are your desires? Maybe the environment of your workplace could be better and not get fired. Afterwards, when somebody has this kind of desire, they will begin to suffer. Life can be characterised as ‘a process of constant fatigue through life to death’. In other words, you experience constant fatigue when you’re alive, and you also feel fatigue during the days you know that you’re about to die. When a person is about to die, they feel a lot of grief; they can sense that their life is over and they feel very tired. Many novels and movies also depict this. When a person lies in bed in their final moments, they say, “I’m very tired about my life, I want to go.”
From another perspective, few desires promote inaction. In other words, a person should have fewer desires and view their actions as inactions. To relieve themselves of attachments, this way, their body and mind feel liberated.
Andywin08 commentary on the concept of inaction:
In one of the core philosophies of traditional Chinese culture Taoism, a core ideology is the concept of the ‘Tao’ or the ‘Way’ 【道】. The connotation of it is ‘naturalness’, ‘acting in accordance with the principles of nature’, thus there is ‘action through inaction’ 【无为而无不为】. Understanding this, it’s easier to conceptualise how fewer desires mean that we aren’t enslaved to our desires and force ourselves to do things that go against our will but done for the sake of attaining what we desire. Instead, we feel completely natural. Whatever we do, it feels like we haven’t purposely done it because everything is natural. Thus, this is referred to as action through inaction.
People shouldn’t be obsessed with trivial matters that occur in their everyday life, as this leads to an ‘unsettling mind’. In other words, the person’s mind will never be in a constant dissatisfied or discontented state, nor would it constantly loathe contentment. Would you loathe something that you have gained? Take a look, when a businessperson receives their purchase orders, they become very busy and works hard to fulfil their orders. Once it’s all over, they start to pray for more. If the person simply prays to gain more and prays more for their well-being, then it will increase their potential of committing unwholesome deeds. It’s because when people pray for their selfish desires, their mind will attract unwholesome thoughts, and these unwholesome thoughts stem from ‘greed’. Once a person possesses both greed and hatred, they can do anything unrestrained. Everybody must pay respects to their master and adhere to their principles. You must pay respect to Master, and the Buddhist practice. Please cultivate yourself properly.
Do you know where merits come from? Here’s an example. When Master has published an essay or article on my blog, and there are people who click on it, write their essay or article about, or share it with other people, all of this count as meritorious deeds. Mr Liang has written two books, ‘First is fate, second is fortune, third is feng shui’ and ‘Heaven-Earth-Man’, how great the merits gained from this doesn’t need to be said. As long as people read Mr Liang’s books, his merits and worldly blessings will automatically increase. That’s why as long as a person preaches, or write their personal experiences about their practising of Buddhism, their worldly blessings will automatically increase. That is the karma of worldly blessings. Worldly blessings depend on the karmic causes we regularly sow. You must write down your experiences about reciting sutras and saving others. It’s likened to planting a road sign at an area that has many complicated roads; it can help point people who are lost to the right direction. This way, you cultivate worldly blessings and refine your virtues. At the same time, people who see and read these books and gain valuable insight from it will also develop a karmic affinity with you. People who read Master’s books would have then developed a karmic affinity with Master. People who read your written experiences will also develop a karmic affinity with you.
Many people want to get help from a noble-minded person, Master now explains to you where do these noble-minded people come from. Noble-minded people are attracted to your life through your act of giving. When a person performs giving, they are sowing the karmic cause that attracts noble-minded people. When a person helps others, they might not have thought that one day, they will help you in return. The more they do to help others, at the same time they will receive more help from others. When you received help from somebody, doesn’t it mean that you’ve encountered a noble-minded person? They come from how you act as a moralistic person. There was once when a person wanted to go abroad, there was an issue with their passport. Unexpectedly, somebody who they helped before worked at the immigration office, so they helped resolved their issue. This is considered an affinity with noble-minded people, it all happens unexpectedly. Master tells you, whoever you encounter in life, you mustn’t look down on them. Perhaps one day, they would become somebody of high importance. Snobbishness must be removed, you must be good towards everybody. So is this a Buddha-Dharma? This is also a Buddha-Dharma, this is also a teaching on how to develop affinities with noble-minded people.
Following on, Master tells you, when you are serving offerings to Buddha or a poor person, are the worldly blessings gained the same? Some people say it’s not the same, while others say it’s the same. In actual fact, you haven’t analysed it thoroughly enough. If you possess a Buddha’s mind and Buddha’s insight, if you have cultivated to a certain level of spirituality in your cultivation of mind and behaviour, when you offer to Buddha or a poor person, they are the same. Equality is manifested inside your mind. Today, you paid respects to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, you then bought apples and shared it with poor people, your mind is equitable. When practising Buddhism, an equitable mind is very important. Why is it that in the Buddha-Dharma, they call children ‘little Bodhisattvas’? And the elderly ‘old Bodhisattvas’? It’s because you don’t know when they will cultivate successfully and truly become a Bodhisattva. Surely if they haven’t become a Bodhisattva yet, it doesn’t mean you can mistreat them? You must use the right mentality to view these things, and worldly blessings become boundless and unlimited. People who serve offerings to Buddha, Bodhisattvas and virtuous people will attract great worldly blessings.
There are some people who just cultivate their wisdom and not worldly blessings. To cultivate wisdom is to recite sutras, but not willing to take action to perform deeds. They recite sutras every day and don’t come out to help others. The most they can cultivate up to is arhathood, that is Theravada Buddhism. I can see that many of you are like this. You recite sutras very well, but you don’t spiritually awaken others. When listeners successfully call into my radio programme and ask questions, it’s the best opportunity to perform meritorious deeds in spiritually awakening people. An opportunity grasped is an opportunity to accumulate merits. Everybody must know how to cultivate a fertile field of worldly blessings, which is to plant the seeds that sprout worldly blessings into the field inside your mind. If you don’t know how to do so, then you won’t be blessed, your mind will be empty. If you’re not willing to perform benevolent deeds, not willing to help others and only know how to recite sutras, what’s the difference between you and people who leave the home-life to cultivate? People who leave the home-life and go up the mountains to cultivate is because their want to be peaceful, and want to avoid being overwhelmed by the afflictions of society, and don’t want to interact with laypeople. That’s why the karmic affinity between arhats and sentient beings are very little. Just cultivating yourselves alone is not enough. Another type is that you dedicate your life to saving sentient beings, but they don’t cultivate wisdom. There are many Buddhist practices which focus on performing benevolent deeds, but they don’t have wisdom. They don’t know the reasons why they do it. This is also not good.
A very good type of cultivation is called ‘Inspecting consequence to draw inferences to the cause’. In other words, by being knowledgeable about what karmic cause will create what kind of karmic consequence, then before something has occurred, first visualise that the consequence has happened. Here’s an analogy, today when I treat you well, I already know how you will treat me (the consequence). There’s a saying that ‘sentient beings fear consequences, Bodhisattvas fear causes’. Bodhisattvas are afraid of sowing karmic causes because they already know full well what the karmic consequences would be. Humans, on the other hand, would do something first, then when negative consequences occur, they become scared. When you have faith in Buddha, when you are performing any benevolent deeds or meritorious deeds, you must first think about your karmic consequences, and then decide whether you want to initiate this karmic cause. That is a good method. It’s because when you initiate a karmic cause, you usually don’t know what the karmic consequences are. But when you already know what the karmic consequences and then decide whether to initiate it or not, the mindset is completely different.
For example, you get scolded by your spouse every day, they have sown this karmic cause. Thus there will be one day when you will scold back or oppose them. If you scold at them every day, think about it, if you keep doing this, there will be a day when they will pack their luggage and leave. When you have thought about this consequence, you won’t scold at them again. You won’t sow this karmic cause. Today if we slander somebody, we must understand that if that person finds out, what would the consequences be. This way, you won’t slander the person.
Master has mentioned a few times about the difference between benevolent deeds and meritorious deeds. Today, let me tell you if you perform any deeds that manifest your inherent nature and do it sincerely, then it’s considered as meritorious. There must be equality when practising Buddhism. This equality doesn’t just refer to equality between every person, but also an equitable state of mind. That’s most important. You must treat everybody who you encounter with an equitable mind. If I decided to speak with somebody with a beautiful voice for longer and speak with somebody who sounds like an elderly lady shorter, then this is inequitable. Even if an old lady calls, and she couldn’t speak clearly, Master must help her properly. Everybody must learn to treat everybody and anything they encounter with an equitable mind. This behaviour is considered virtuous.