V 1-19 The Buddha-Dharma and the Maintenance of Health 佛法与养生
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.
Let me discuss how to maintain health using the Way of the Buddha-Dharma. You must regularly practise visualisation, which is to use your mind’s eye to look at your own body. That is very beneficial to your body.
Visualisation of the head: Regularly visualise your head as being mentally clear. A person’s head must be clear, regularly talk about the Way (of the Buddha-Dharma) and you remain clear-headed.
Visualisation of the heart: Regularly visualise your heart being red and surrounded by red blood.
Visualisation of the lungs: Visualise your lungs as white and clean, feel that it’s white and your lungs will get better. When you smoke, or have lingering water inside the lungs or suffer from inflammation in the lungs, it becomes black.
Visualisation of the kidneys: Visualise that your kidneys are temperate, not hot. When the kidneys are overly hot or cool, then the urinary system will develop problems.
Visualisation of the essence: The essence must be firm (sperm for men). For women, it’s vigour. For men, the essence is the sperm cells. The essence must be firm. Firm doesn’t literally mean firm, but it’s for your natural constitution to firmly retain your essence. Our natural constitution is very important; many men have eyes that look dispirited or a lack of vigour; in fact, it’s because their essence is bad. If the essence is bad, then it has a negative effect on their energy levels. If the essence is not firm, energy levels are weak. If men do not have unwholesome thoughts, their essence would be very strong, and they have a lot of vigour. People with dispirited eyes indicate that their essence is not firm.
Visualisation of the stomach: Regularly visualise that your stomach is gentle. At normal times, refrain from eating too much or too little.
Visualisation of the liver: Visualise that your liver operates smoothly. The liver is very important; it’s the place that breaks down old or damaged blood cells so it must operate smoothly. If you regularly visualise it, then the formation of gallstones will reduce. Medical science once mentioned that when people are over the age of twenty, their gallbladder will develop gallstones.
Visualisation of the intestines. Regularly visualise that your intestines are soft and moist. If it isn’t moist, then the disease will likely occur. It must always be moist and lubricated.
Visualisation of the spleen: Regularly visualise that your spleen is very healthy. If it’s unhealthy, it will create a lot of side-effects.
In conclusion, visualise a clear head, white lungs, red heart, temperate kidneys, firm essence, gentle stomach, moist intestines, smooth-operating liver, healthy spleen, and dissolving gallstones.
You must regularly think that ‘we are skilful at nourishing our great and righteous energy so that it fills up all between heaven and earth’. Everybody must maintain their energy levels, but you must certainly maintain great and righteous energy. You must be a virtuous person to receive the right energy found between heaven and earth. Our feet must be planted on the ground while the crown of our head faces the sky to receive the energy around us. We must possess a great and righteous disposition.
How should we recite mantras for it to be effective? Reciting mantras is reciting Buddhist scriptures. Short scriptures are known as mantras, while long scriptures are known as sutras. When reciting mantras, the voice must be soft; intentions must be boundless and perceive it as mysterious and profound. When reciting sutras, thoughts must be pure; the mind must be peaceful, the sutra must be heard clearly. The effect is the best when reciting sutras while the mind is calm. When you use boundless intentions to recite sutras, your intentions are expanded to be boundless and limitless.
Why is it not compulsory to understand the sutras? It’s because it’s mysterious and profound, and very difficult to analyse. It is like a code; you don’t have to understand what it says, just reciting it is alright. The core mantras of Bodhisattvas isn’t something that mortals can comprehend, likened to relaying code over a telegram, you don’t have to question why the code numbers are arranged in the way that it is and what it means. If your understanding is incorrect, it would negatively affect the effectiveness of the recitation instead. You can only phonetically transcribe it; you mustn’t translate it. Sutras and mantras are the true words of the Bodhisattva; how could anybody use the wisdom of the human realm to explain? People who recite sutra must seriously take note that you can only phonetically transcribe it, and use the phonetic sound of each character. When senior monks explain about sutras and mantra, they are only explaining the superficial meaning of it. How many people can comprehend the true meaning embedded within the Bodhisattvas' sutras and mantras?
Why is the effect of each person’s sutra recitations different?
1) Each person’s karmic causes and consequences are different, so their level of negative karma is different. Thus this leads to differences in effectiveness in recitations. The greater the negative karma, the less effective the mantra recitation would be.
2) Differences in thoughts: When reciting sutras, differences to what you think during the process will lead to differences in the effectiveness. The more your mind wanders and distracted during the recitation, the less effective it becomes.
3) Differences in vocal sounds: Difference in the vocal sound you make when reciting sutras causes differences in the sound waves emitted. Thus the effectiveness of the recitation is different. There must be vocal resonation when performing recitations, like how you can hear the surging waves of the sea. For example, when your health is bad, there is a lack of energy in your voice when reciting. When you are happy, you become even happier, so the recitation effect is greater. When you openly chant, in the beginning, your eyes should be wide open because you want to integrate your thoughts, your mind and your spirit with the external environment. In other words, you must open your eyes at the start of reciting sutras because the scriptures act as a conduit between heaven and earth to help you unite with nature. Afterwards, a ray of light will appear in front of your eyes, that’s why you should start reciting with your eyes opened. Then gradually, as you recite, slowly close your eyes. If you want your recitations to be effective, you must be a state where your body and mind has forgotten about everything else. In other words, you must recite until your mind no longer thinks, your body becomes empty, your concept of ‘self’ has disappeared, then you would integrate with heaven and earth as one.
How to perform recitations of sutras so that it show effects?
1) You must suit the remedy to the case. If the sutra that you recite doesn’t suit the problem that you want to deal with, then it won’t have any effect,
2) You must relax, be at peace and smile gently. When reciting sutras, you must recite until you are filled with Dharma joy and elated.
3) You must visualise, listen to your voice. When you are reciting sutras and concentrating, visualise Guan Yin Bodhisattva, and then listen to your voice, listen to the pronunciation of each character, then your mind won’t be distracted.
4) Visualise that you are empowered by innumerable golden bright lights emanated by the Bodhisattvas. You must visualise that the lights penetrate throughout your whole body. That is to integrate reality and the Buddha-Dharma. Wisdom is like a group of light. The mind is usually scattered and hard to form into shape. Your cleverness and intellect are like a group of light; if it’s scattered and there are many distracting thoughts, wisdom won’t develop. If you want wisdom, you must first be able to calm yourself down. Only when you’re calm, could you gather the lights of wisdom together.