Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. 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】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Please take note: whether you can succeed in a wholesome manner is dependent mainly on your karmic affinity and not your capability. No matter how much effort you put in or how capable you are, you may still fail. This is because blessings and karmic rewards in the human realm are formed from a combination of karmic causes and karmic conditions. You must have a certain karmic cause to precipitate a particular karmic condition. Only in the presence of positive synthesis of causes and conditions could you succeed. Remember, to succeed in a wholesome manner, you must consider carefully on whether the causes and conditions have ripened, not whether you have the energy and capability to manage or resolve the matter in hand.
Please take note: We must constantly think about impermanence. In other words, we must constantly remind ourselves that nothing lasts forever in this world, and the fact that they are not long-lasting, they are not real. The world has always been impermanent and the notion of “self” is non-existent. Thus, don’t develop any attachments.
When disaster befalls on us, we mustn’t panic. We must have faith; even if it was a pre-determined karmic consequence, you could still change it. Predetermined karmic consequences are the events in your life that can be foreseen by a fortune-teller. It is known as “fate”. For example, a fortune-teller predicts that you are bound to encounter a tribulation when you reach a certain age. This is referred to as a predetermined karmic consequence. Having said that, with unwavering confidence, you will be able to change it. For example, changes will take place if you perform more good deeds, make great vows, be more generous in almsgiving and perform the recitation of scriptures enthusiastically. Therefore, a predetermined karmic consequence can be transformed provided that we are diligent in performing recitations of scriptures and practising Buddhism. We should not ask for divine assistance or seek psychics for help. As Buddhist practitioners, this is something we should avoid. Instead, we should place our focus on our cultivation and have unwavering faith that the Bodhisattvas will be able to change your karma.
Also, our mind mustn’t be lured. When we claim that we won’t be lured nor tempted by money, yet our mind thinks; otherwise, it goes to show that our speech and thoughts are not congruent. Tell me, how many people can resist monetary temptation? Would you pick up a banknote that lands on your feet while you walk along the street? Are you able to resist something with good prospects of gain? Once you are lured, you will have to bear the karmic consequences that follow. What are you going to do when the karmic consequences befall? If you can maintain an unwavering state of mind towards all your encounters in this world, you will be regarded as a noble person who has entered into a state of a sage, and on the path to sainthood. Only Eighth Ground Bodhisattvas can achieve the stage of formlessness and effortlessness as they possess the true power of concentration to be resolute. Buddha was also originally a mundane person who had crossed over to sainthood in gradual steps, just like how a petty person can change into a magnanimous person and how a stingy person can change to become generous. The practice of almsgiving is the best remedy to help curb our greed. A person who is generous in giving will be able to overcome their greed. Conversely, an insatiable person will be unwilling to give. We have to learn to apply the appropriate methods to help us overcome our shortcomings and bad habits.
No matter how the external conditions change, our mind must not change. Whenever something bad happens or when the external conditions become undesirable, how do we rid ourselves of distracting thoughts and maintain a state of unwavering?
Firstly, you must possess mindfulness of wisdom. That is to observe the things around us with wisdom mindfully. Understand the doctrine of impermanence and that everything around us is temporary and will not last forever. When wisdom is applied in analysing a problem, you will gain wisdom in turn.
Secondly, you must possess mindfulness of the suffering in hell. Whenever you are about to commit a bad deed, think about the karmic consequence of descending into hell. Thus, you’ll learn to restrain yourself. For example, if I deceive others or mistreat them, I will have to think about the kind of sufferings that I will have to endure in hell.
Thirdly, recite Buddhist scriptures and repent. When we are preoccupied with distracting thoughts and feel perturbed, we should concentrate on reciting Buddhist scriptures and repent earnestly. Our afflictions will naturally be eliminated this way. Only with sincerity and wholeheartedness when performing recitations can we distance ourselves from karmic obstacles, inner demons and other sources of afflictions. When performing recitations, we must be focused. Otherwise, it won’t be efficacious. If we are distracted by random thoughts while performing recitations, the quality of our recitations will be adversely affected, and we will be disconcerted. Therefore, we have to be diligent when performing recitations.
Beside insincerity, the factors that could render your recitations ineffective are external factors like taking non-vegetarian food and the five pungent spices - onion, garlic, leeks, scallion and asafoetida. Why aren’t we allowed to consume foods with a pungent smell? That’s because such foods contain stimulants which can affect our brain cells, triggering our appetite and arousing our sexual desire. Consequently, such effects will impede the reciter’s accomplishment in their cultivation.
Observe the following points for effectiveness in recitations:
1) The synergy of our mind and energy (qi) – During recitation, we must unify our state of mind and energy.
2) The synergy of our sound and energy (qi) – We must unify our voice and energy during recitation.
3) The synergy of our body, mind and energy (qi) – We must also unify our body, state of mind and energy.
These are the three factors for effective recitations.