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.
Cultivation of the mind and the practice of Buddhism is not easy. How does one correct and reform their behaviour? Cultivation of the mind is to reform the shortcomings within the mind. Cultivation of behaviour is to correct their behaviour. Many people’s behaviours are poor, the things that people think about are also equally bad. Then how do we cultivate? Recently, many people had given feedback that when they have cultivated their mind to a certain degree, they encounter some problems. Firstly, one must have faith to cultivate. If the person doesn’t even have faith about their cultivation, then they won’t attain the desired effect. You recite sutras every day, you pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva every day, if you still think to yourself, “Would I be able to do it? Would it be efficacious? Would I encounter demonic obstructions? Would it like this or that? Etc.,” Master tells you that this is not a good mindset to cultivate. Many people don’t attain the desired effects because of this. There’s nothing else to speak of. If a person can’t control their desires or their thoughts, then it means that person is uncultivated.
What is the cultivation of the mind? It is to deeply excavate the most original inherent nature and then properly cleanse it. Everybody must understand a principle; whether we are going on with our everyday lives or doing something, we must act in accordance with our conscience. So, where is your conscience? Why is it that some people’s conscience is very bad, while some people’s conscience is very good? It’s because your conscience and inherent nature have already been contaminated by the worldly defilements. You are no longer your original inherent nature.
Master will now talk about fundamental-inherent intelligence. A person must excavate out their wisdom from their deepest recesses of the soul, that’s called fundamental-inherent intelligence. It’s also known as prajna wisdom. Only you know where you completely excavated the deepest wisdom out, that’s Bodhisattva’s wisdom, only with it can you cease afflictions stemmed from ignorance. What are afflictions? The Bodhisattvas say afflictions are Bodhi. In reality, after you have resolved afflictions with wisdom, it is transformed into Bodhi. Many people know how to talk, they can explain the myriad of phenomenon, they can talk about this; they can talk about that. Does this indicate that the person has prajna wisdom? No, it doesn’t, it’s called ‘post-consequence-intelligence’. In other words, only when an incident has occurred, then the person knows, this is called ‘post-consequence-intelligence’. It is also not easy. Just like in the story ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’. Zhuge Liang can predict and forecast the future, while Cao Cao only realises after something has occurred, that’s a difference in wisdom.
In reality, the prajna that we seek is something that comes with pinnacle wisdom, plus also after attained prajna wisdom; there is nothing that you can’t do, you can resolve any problems. Some people pursue a human realm’s kind of wisdom (which we call shrewdness or cleverness), so what they enjoy and gain is a limited kind of wisdom. Only the wisdom that is emanated out from one’s inherent nature is unlimited. What is cleverness? What is wisdom? Master has mentioned this before, being clever doesn’t mean that one is wise, but if one is wise, they are clever. There are different grades to wisdom, where the true and pinnacle wisdom is prajna wisdom. The human realm’s kind of wisdom is just average wisdom and isn’t categorised as the highest class.
Cultivating the mind is like chasing the sun, only by following and moving towards the direction of the sun, would you be able to avoid the shadow throughout your life. It’s because you are chasing after the sun, that is bright, and that is a great Way. If what you chase are shadows, then you will never be able to see the sun. When a person is cultivating their mind, cultivating the dharma, and cultivating their Buddha-nature, if they go down the wrong path, then they won’t find what is right and illuminating in their path of cultivation.
One must regularly introspect deeply; they must be able to inspect their mind; in other words, inspect their thoughts. It’s because you have intentions, that’s why your thought is produced. For example, when you want to go out to do something, you should introspect whether what your thoughts are right, and your actions are right. If you hate somebody, you should introspect why you hate the person, why are you treating them badly. It’s about using your conscience as a balance scale. Introspect deeply into your mind, which is to look for your inherent nature. Then realise that miracles are happening at a regular occurrence around you. If you typically ponder, nothing will happen.
Here’s an example, when people are quarrelling, they don’t have the mindset to introspect and superficially look on the surface that the other person has cheated their money and they’re very angry as a result, and they begin to hate and want to sue them in the following day. Thoughts like, “How dare he swindle me?” But if you look deeper and use your inherent nature to observe this event, you might think, “Forget it, it’s only a few thousand yuan, that person is also pitiful. He will suffer from karmic retribution after he cheated me, plus also it’s because he’s poor, that’s why he’s out to cheat others. Regardless, although he cheated me, I can still live normally, if he continues the way he is, eventually he will get caught and taken away. Forget it, that person is pitiful; I’ll treat it was spending money to resolve a calamity.” You saw your inherent nature right? A miracle occurred right? You would unexpectedly forgive somebody who treated you badly. You would unexpectedly forgive somebody who had cheated and hurt you. That’s a miracle. If you frequently look into what’s hidden inside the deepest part of your mind, you’ll understand that you must forgive that person.
People must do things according to their conscience, if you frequently peep inside your inner mind, you’ll discover that many miracles occur. “It’s clear that he treats me badly, but I’ll treat him well. It’s clear he hates me, but I’ll treat him well.” There are times that, when somebody’s wife got her wallet stolen, if the husband was petty, then he’ll constantly mumble about it. If the husband uses his inherent nature and conscience to observe this incident, then he’ll realise that his wife got her wallet stolen, she’ll be upset the most. Doesn’t she know how to get upset? If the husband could comfort her instead, wouldn’t that be better? That’s how we should act normally. If you want somebody to treat you well sincerely, then you must sincerely treat that person well. Why must you make the person who had made a mistake to feel even more upset? Us Buddhists shouldn’t make others feel upset; if you make others feel even worse, then you’re not a Bodhisattva.
A married couple made a reservation to see me. The husband constantly scolded at his wife; Master mentioned that their daughter was pitiful and she cried. Master told the husband that it wasn’t easy for a woman to marry him. How did conflict arise in their family? They were unfortunate for two years already, the cause was because of a car accident, and then they went to a hospital to examine their health condition. The doctor told them that he could find them a lawyer to file a lawsuit, and they would be able to claim a good sum of money. The husband became greedy, and his wife quickly suffered from depression. Now the lawyer told them because his wife also got depression, they could claim even more money. People mustn’t get greedy.
Master said to the husband, “Whether you have any money or not, you already know. Your wife is a medical specialist; you should know that she could’ve earned a lot of money in the last two years. Even if you won, all the money would’ve already spent in legal fees.” When Master mentioned this, there were clear about it; Master asked them if they weren’t in a court battle, what did they lose? They replied that they wouldn’t lose anything. So Master told them that from that day onwards, they should stop the legal battle, and be liberated from it and be relieved from their afflictions. Master save people by doing this. When the married couple left, they were happy. It’s because when during the legal battle, they required a medical examination, and the doctor would constantly remind and talk about the process, making them get angry every time, that’s why they can’t mentally cope with it anymore.
Master mentioned this before; you must look further beyond the present situation. Only by clearing the dark clouds could you see the clear sky. Many people are covered by dark clouds and could never see the clear sky. Learning Buddhism in our everyday lives, you must always clear away the dark clouds. Women shouldn’t constantly chatter non-stop; people who talk too much is like a boat with lots of holes. When people sit on your boat wanting to be friends with you and see that water is leaking through the holes, and the boat will eventually sink, they will leave. That’s why people aren’t willing to be best friends with people who keep chattering away. It’s the same for both men and women, don’t talk so much. If you have free time, then recite more sutras. Master is sharing with you a profound philosophy; he hopes that you have the ears to hear.
Many of you may have heard of ‘dhyana concentration’. Dhyana concentration is a profound way of cultivation. The Buddha-Dharma calls it samadhi, bright-clear-clouds. What are bright-clear-clouds? It’s another term for cultivating to the heavenly realm. When one meditates, their spirit can ascend to heaven, but this heaven is still within samsara. Samadhi is Sanskrit, it’s known as right bearance. You have to bear with everything in the human realm while possessing the correct thoughts, the correct ideas and the correct methods to bear with it. That is samadhi. Dhyana concentration is one way of cultivating, but this method is easy to deviate. When you are meditating and immersed into Dhyana, you don’t know where to apply your concentration. Women should focus on the ‘tanzhong’ while men should focus on the ‘dantian’.
‘Tanzhong’ is located in the centre point between the two nipples, when meditating, women should focus their intention in that area. While the ‘dantian’ is located around three finger widths below the belly button. Master doesn’t advise you to learn Dhyana concentration, but you must understand it. Dhyana concentration is the highest level of concentration single-mindedly. When many people meditate and practise Dhyana concentration, their mind is more distracted than what it normally is. True cultivators shouldn’t sleep for more than eight hours; the monks in monasteries don’t sleep for more than six hours. A person’s wisdom would gradually decline amid their sleep. A person who frequently has a lethargic sleep won’t have wisdom. An obese person also won’t have wisdom. The ‘essence’ of the human realm is useless. Samadhi is the pivot of cultivation of the mind and behaviour.
Buddhists must observe precepts; the precepts help people to cease afflictions. It’s because people who listen and look a lot have a lot of afflictions. If you don’t listen, you don’t look, and you don’t speak, then afflictions are ceased. The education of Buddhism and cultivation of the mind must be tailored to you. You should cultivate the Dharma door that is suitable for you. This leads on to what Master wants to talk next. Firstly, all Dharma doors are equal; all 84000 dharma doors are equal. This is what the Bodhisattvas say. Secondly, they reach the same goal by different means, and there are none that is better nor worse. All 84000 dharma doors are about ascending to heaven and completing one’s cultivation, but which one is quicker? Which one is more suitable for you? Which one could save you? Which one is immediate of use to you? Which one delays your progress? Do you think you can practise any single one and ascend? Do you think that every doctor can cure your illness? Don’t compare dharma doors as if you’re at a beauty pageant. Everybody has their strong points, some are sweet, some are poised while some are beautiful, plus also everybody’s aesthetic point of view is different and changes with time, just like how the shape of cars is constantly changing.
Then, how do you know which Dharma door is suitable for yourself? First, it should be something you are accustomed to doing. Secondly, it should be efficacious for you. Thirdly, you should be able to use it freely. Fourthly, you should be able to use it effectively. Once you have chosen, then you should practise it single-mindedly, then you would be able to learn about that dharma door completely. At present, many listeners feel uncomfortable as if they forgotten to do something when they haven’t recited sutras that day. That’s what it means by making sutra recitation a habit. It’s because when they recite sutras, they feel free, it’s efficacious, their family wellbeing is good, their career is smooth-sailing, and their children are obedient.
Next, Master will talk about spiritually awakening sentient beings. What does it mean? After one has cultivated their mind for a decent amount of time, how should one spiritually awaken others? It’s to practise the spirit of the Mahayana school; it’s to give the dharma to others, it’s very important. One must learn how to awaken others spiritually; it has requirements. Firstly, the propagator must first cease their afflictions, then secondly, they must refrain from developing greed. Thirdly, they have to give rise to a compassionate mind and lastly, they must be well-established in the Way of the Buddha.
Recently, a listener told Master that he had dreamt of the end of the world, just like the movie 2012. There were hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters, where everybody were sucked into the hurricane, including himself. When he was inside, he unexpectedly thought of Master and cried, “Master Lu!” As a result, Master appeared and said a lot of things and saved him. When he woke up, he could clearly remember what Master said, But when Master asked him during the call, he forgot. In the period of Dharma decline, calamities will frequently occur, so one would be even more determined to cease their afflictions.
Afflictions are endless, so one must uphold vows to cease it. As long as a person keeps their ‘human’ frame of mind, their afflictions are endless and eternal. Buddhists must learn to cease afflictions, to do so, they must learn to observe the precepts, concentration and wisdom. The desire to cease afflictions is the foundation of doing so. Afflictions are brought the person themselves, Buddhists must learn to develop wisdom.
All arising from conditioned causations in this world, there is none that doesn’t inspire our nature of realisation. Don’t be afraid when something unexpected occurs, when it does occur, you must be brave to confront it, then you will awaken to many things. That’s when you encounter different karmic conditions and affinity, don’t be afraid. But of course, one would prefer to encounter positive karmic affinities than negative karmic affinities. That’s because negative karmic affinities will hurt you, that’s why Master frequently say, you shouldn’t touch what you shouldn’t touch, you shouldn’t look what you shouldn’t look, you shouldn’t listen to what you shouldn’t listen, you shouldn’t do what you shouldn’t do. If you do, afflictions will arise, and trouble is stirred. A person must be self-dependent and shouldn’t depend on others because others are not dependable. Cultivation of the mind is the same.