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.
Everybody possesses feelings and senses. The makeup of the human body is incredibly miraculous, as these feelings and perceptions are completely controlled by our state of mind. Due to such a configuration, our mind controls all of our bodily functions and abilities. Hence, as long as our mind is focused, the effects of these functions and abilities will be fully exhibited. Conversely, if our state of mind is loose and unconsolidated, the use of our bodily functions and abilities will be disabled.
As devotees of Guan Yin Bodhisattva, what source of strength do you rely on? The answer is mental power. When you have mental power, you can transform it into faith. Without faith, you’ll never be able to achieve success. Without faith, you will never be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel nor prospects. That’s why faith is an extremely important factor in the cultivation of the mind. It’s because you have faith, that’s why you can charge forward courageously. When you don’t have faith, you will never to be able to do anything well. For example, a family is on the verge of breaking apart. If the couple wishes to preserve their relationship and keep the family intact, they would need to rely on their faith and mental power to sustain and support themselves from within. They would need to adopt the belief that their relationship will take a turn for the better and their marriage will develop in a positive direction. However, the question of whether this sense of faith can be maintained will depend on their sensory perceptions, and this calls attention to their past and future endeavours. Nevertheless, the most important factor lies in whether the person is cultivating their mind or not. A person who cultivates their mind will undeniably possess faith and hope, whereas a person who doesn’t, is devoid of such aspirations. Indeed, feelings and sensory perceptions are but void and illusory.
Today, I would like to expound on the idea of favours and humiliation. In actuality, these are examples of an appalling phenomenon. For example, a person who is perpetually being doted on will have to live in trepidation towards the possibility of being unloved and abandoned in the future. Let me offer another example of an ordinary employee that was suddenly promoted to a managerial position. It is likely that in that instant, he would be shocked, yet happy. However, this is also a form of consternation. Hence, being pampered and humiliated are both forms of disquietude which brings about the greatest sense of misery within our psyche.
As the saying goes, “remain indifferent to granted favours or humiliation”. In other words, if today I am promoted by my superior, I remain unmoved. If tomorrow I am reprimanded by my superior and being demoted from my position, I will also remain unmoved. This is a good mentality to adopt as you won’t be subjected to manipulation by feelings of happiness and sadness that come along with the rise and fall of prestige, respectively. Hence, don’t allow misery to stay inside your mind.
Usually, when one is presented with favours or humiliation, it results in a large internal contrast. Let me further explain the idea of favour and humiliation in this context. Humiliation does not completely refer to mere shame and dishonour, but also an emotionalism when you fail to accomplish a certain task. Receiving favours would normally refer to a person of a relatively lower status or situation lacking in substantive value being suddenly elevated to a higher status. In such a scenario, one may mistakenly believe that they are receiving genuine affection and thus be pleasantly surprised. However, these feelings of pleasure are only temporary. In the movie, “Man with a Million”, a destitute character living from hand-to-mouth was presented with a one-million-pound banknote. However, the banknote was still eventually returned to its rightful owners. When somebody encounters a favourable situation, they might get startled and wrongly believe that the world has given them a pleasant surprise. However, what comes after is a sense of loss, and once that is experienced, they will once again become extremely disconcerted in consternation. For example, the emperor promotes you to a Grand Chancellor, a position in feudal China equivalent to that of the prime minister, as your predecessor had failed in carrying out his responsibilities. If you do not have the required innate abilities, you will live in daily trepidation upon taking up this role, not knowing when you’ll be replaced. Who knows? Maybe your fate would be even more tragic than your predecessor as you run the risk of possible execution. Therefore, don’t believe that what you have temporarily obtained is inherently good, as this is a display of ignorant consternation.
When favours come, you are happy; when it leaves, you are desolate. When humiliations come, you are sad; when it leaves, you are relieved of a heavy burden. If your mind is in this state of perpetual flux, you will never be able to obtain inner peace. After all, everybody wishes to lead a life of serenity. However, if your mind is always susceptible to such sudden fluctuations, how will tranquillity be achieved? For example, a person in good health may trouble and toil over work-related matters, obsessed with thoughts about how the boss and colleagues treat them with negative bias or are preoccupied with work hurdles. On the other hand, a person struck with severe illness may lose their job and be freed from work worries but be afflicted with vexations from their health issues. In that case, when will our mind be settled and at peace?
Without inner serenity, one is temperamental and moody, leading a life that seems sick all the time. Despite being free from physical sickness, it is apparent that you have developed a sickness in your mind. Why? It’s because when others compliment you, you become fearful. When others criticise you, you become fearful. Nowadays, everybody is very sensitive. When they hear a compliment, they would think to themselves whether the other person is being sarcastic. Isn’t this a sign of mental illness? That’s why modern society is promoting the importance of both physical and mental health. Solely possessing physical health is insufficient, as it must be complemented with mental health. Thus, we must view being favoured and humiliated indifferently. If today you lose your job, it is alright as you may find another one. If today you are diagnosed with an illness, it is also alright as you will be able to be treated and get well.
A person who is free from concerns is a truly selfless person. This may be hard to understand and reconcile in one’s mind — why is a person who’s free from concerns considered to be selfless? Looking at it from a different perspective, being free of concerns would mean being free from self-serving thoughts and a notion of self. If you are constantly filled with concerns about yourself, such as your work, your future, your family, etc., aren’t these concerns inherently selfish? One must learn to see things from a flipped perspective. If somebody is filled with concerns, the person would have heavy tendencies towards selfishness. If Guan Yin Bodhisattva came to the human realm with constant thoughts about other Bodhisattvas in heaven while saving sentient being, or if She ‘s thinking about when She will return after enduring hardships, how will the Bodhisattva be able to achieve their goal? Many monastics had vowed to save sentient beings. For this noble cause, they chose to cultivate as Buddhist monks and nuns and wished to return to the human realm in their next life to save even more sentient beings. Indeed, this is also a form of altruistic devotion.
A person who is free from concerns is a truly selfless person. Through such altruistic devotion, one becomes unconcerned with themselves, unconcerned with their family obligations, career, prospects, wealth, etc., and they are truly practising the virtue of giving. Only those who are willing to give freely are truly selfless, and in helping others, we should aim to practise altruistic devotion. If you help others with the motive of using them for your personal gains such as wishing for reciprocation in the future, either to the benefit of yourself or your family members, isn’t this form of aid inherently selfish? It is because you have concerns for yourself and family members; you tend to wish to gain favours from helping others. This is also known as aid with strings attached. Did the famous Chinese soldier, Lei Feng, who had helped so many people, did so with thoughts about himself? Did he think about any returns for his deeds? This is known as helping others with a mind free of hindrances where compassion and mercy are displayed unconditionally with absolute altruistic devotion.
It is only those who genuinely free themselves from concerns who can become truly fearless. Firstly, you must be selfless to be fearless. This is because only those who can relinquish their hold on everything will have nothing left to fear. It is a common plot for movies for bad guys to kidnap the victim’s child because they know they could take advantage of the victim’s feelings of concerns for the child, thus achieving their aims. From another perspective, if your child or family member was kidnapped, would you feel concerned? How can you show great fearlessness under such circumstances? As a matter of fact, this is a misconception. When you have cultivated a spirit of selflessness and fearlessness, and you’re doing well in your cultivation, you will receive protection from Bodhisattva. Your children and family members wouldn’t be kidnapped but instead, be safe and sound. If your family isn’t safe and sound, it indicates that your cultivation is falling short and you lack blessings, which leads to suffering and chaos among your family members. Only those who are fearless can be the “movers and shakers”, and it is only such people who may truly take on the great responsibilities from the heavens.