V 1-23 Discussion of the Differences between Benevolent deeds and Meritorious deeds again 再谈善事和功德的区别

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.

今天给大家谈谈“功德”。我们天天讲功德,那么功德到底是什么?为什么善事和功德是两个概念?为什么功德能把你的业障消除,而你做的善事却不能把你的业障消除。为什么做同样一件事情有的是功德,而有的是善事呢?

Today I will discuss with you about ‘merit-virtues’. We are constantly talking about merit-virtues, but what is it? Why are benevolent deeds and meritorious deeds different? Why can meritorious deeds help eliminate karmic obstacles, whereas your benevolent deeds can’t? Why is doing the same thing sometimes considered meritorious while sometimes it’s considered benevolent?


见证到佛性即功德。用白话讲,就是你做一件善事,如果是从内心发出的,而且是用本性具有的佛菩萨的佛性来做这件事情,就是功德。你能证悟到做这件事情的佛性,也就是说你在做善事的时候,你能证悟出来,你能感受到,这是菩萨做的事情,那就是佛性,你见证到了佛性,你也做了这件事情你得到了回报,你是不是见证了佛性?你在人间做一小时的佛,你所做的事情就是功德,你在人间做半个小时的佛菩萨救度人,你所做出的事情全部是功德。比如你今天给大家说法时,你当时感觉自己像菩萨一样在救度人,你从内心觉得他很可怜,我真的要救他,你与他讲的所有的话,做的事就全部都有功德。然而如果因为他是你的亲属或朋友或你因带有私心和自身利益,尽管你讲得很努力,但全部都是善事,了无功德。

从本性来看,见证了你的佛性加上你的应用,也就是说你在人间做任何事情时,做佛菩萨的事情时都是功德。要记住,如果这个人具有佛菩萨的佛性,而且证悟了佛菩萨的佛性,然后又实践了佛菩萨的佛性,就是功。

When you have realised your Buddha-nature, what you do becomes meritorious. In other words, when you perform a benevolent deed, and it stems from your sincerity, and you manifested the Buddha-nature while performing it, then it becomes meritorious. You were able to realise your Buddha-nature of doing the deed. In other words, when performing a benevolent deed, and you can sense that this is something that Bodhisattvas do, then you can ascertain that this feeling stems from the Buddha-nature, then it means you have realised it. If you acted like a Buddha for one hour in the human realm, then everything you did in this period is considered meritorious. If you acted like a Bodhisattva for half an hour in the human realm saving and spiritually awaken others, then everything you did in this period is considered meritorious. For example, today you talked about the Dharma. At that time, you felt like you were the same as Bodhisattvas trying to save others. You felt pity towards them; you genuinely wanted to save them. So everything you and did is meritorious. On the contrary, if you harboured selfish motives in doing so for example, if they were your friends and relative, even if you put a lot of work into it, it’s just considered a benevolent deed, not a meritorious one.

From the perspective of one’s inherent nature, it’s about realising your Buddha-nature plus also how one then applies it. When performing any deed in the human realm, when one does something that resonates with the Bodhisattvas, then it’s meritorious. Please take note, when one can realise their own Buddha-nature and apply it in the real world, that’s merit.


什么是德?德就是平等,一个人有了平等心,他才能散发出大慈大悲的光。如果没有平等的心,你怎么能散发大慈大悲的光?观世音菩萨如果没有一种平等的心,怎么会下来救度娑婆世界的芸芸众生?观世音菩萨就是因为有这个慈悲心,有这个德,而且是平等的德,才下来救度众生。所以功德的“德”字很重要。

What are the virtues? Being equitable is a virtue. One must possess an equitable mind for one to emanate an aura of great compassion and great mercy. If you don’t have an equitable mind, how could you do so? If Guan Yin Bodhisattva was not equitable, how could she come down to this world of endurance to spiritually awaken every sentient being? It’s because Guan Yin Bodhisattva possesses a merciful and compassionate mind, and she possesses the virtue of equality, that’s why she came down to save sentient beings. That’s why the virtues in ‘merit-virtues’ are important.


见性是功,平等是德。见到本性叫功,平等了,有平等心你的德性就出来了。内心谦逊是功,就是一个人的内心要谦虚,要卑下,也就是说你从内心发出的东西一定要谦虚,谦虚就是功德。外形于礼,就是对外讲究的是礼貌,讲究的是礼仪,给人家看到非常有礼貌、有礼仪,那就是你的德性,实际上这就是菩萨在教我们做人的道理,内心要谦虚而对外要懂礼貌,你们修行之人的言行一定要注意,不要给人家看不起。

Viewing one’s nature is the merit; equality is the virtue. If you can witness your inherent nature, that’s merit. When one possesses an equitable mind, your virtues will become prominent. Our mind must be humble, if the deeds performed are based on our humility, that’s also considered meritorious. Your external form must show etiquette. What we pay most attention about in someone’s outward appearance and behaviour are their politeness and etiquette. If one can maintain proper courtesy and etiquette, then that’s a virtue. All of these principles to become an upright human were taught by the Bodhisattvas. Internally we must be humble, while externally we must appear courteous. As a cultivator, you must pay attention to what you say, don’t give others an opportunity to look down on you.


理解平等,平等是靠理解的,能理解这个平等建立在什么基础上,实际上你已证悟到佛性,即证明和悟出了这个道理,就是用一种你认为是修心修行的方法来悟出这个佛性。实际上求福报并不是功德,这一点一定要分清楚,求福的人得人天福报,许多人不会求功德,只会求福报。例如在观音堂求菩萨保佑我的孩子啊、身体啊、财运啊等等,这都是求人天福报,但这不是功德。人天福报、业障是同时往前走的。比如:你身上有业障,也做了很多善事,你求人天福报希望有一个孩子,等你有了孩子出生后,这就是给你的福报。而你的业障却丝毫没有减少,你不能说我做了很多好事把我的业障也消除,那是不可能的。

You must understand equality; equality depends on one’s understanding. If one can understand where equality should be founded upon, then one has already realised their Buddha-nature and has comprehended the principle. You must use a cultivational method to gain comprehension of one’s Buddha-nature. In truth, when one seeks worldly blessings, they don’t gain merit-virtues. You must be clear about this point; people who seek worldly blessings will obtain worldly blessings. Many people don’t seek for merit-virtues, only for worldly blessings. For example in Guan Yin Hall, many people pray for blessings on their children, on their health, on their wealth luck etc. These are all classified as worldly blessings, not merit-virtues. Worldly blessings and karmic obstacles work at the same time. For example, your body has karmic obstacles, and you perform a lot of benevolent deeds. You pray for worldly blessings, wishing you have a child. When you have given birth to a child, then this is your worldly blessing, yet your negative karma has not reduced by the slightest. You can’t say that you did a lot of good deeds and this has eliminated your karmic obstacles. That’s impossible.


真正的功德是悟出来之后,用佛性去做每一件事情才可称为功德,一定要悟出来之后,也就是悟出这个道理之后。如果你没有开悟,你说我用佛性去做每一件事情,这是空的。比如:师父今天帮一位老人家求菩萨给她延寿,如果我没有开悟,我在帮老人家求菩萨时,因为她对我好,经常帮助我等等,这时我求的不是功德,因为在我心灵深处没有以一种观世音菩萨大慈大悲的心和精神来救她,只是我觉得她很可怜,年龄又这么大了,我就替她求求吧,这只能称为善事,不能称为功德,而且求的效果也不大。

True meritorious deeds only come after awakenment. Only when one utilises their Buddha-nature to perform their deeds would it be considered meritorious, it must be after when one has awakened. In other words, it happens only when one has awakened to the principles. If you haven’t awakened, and you said that you used your Buddha-nature to perform every deed, then these are empty words. For example, today, Master has helped an old lady pray to the Bodhisattvas to extend her lifespan. If Master hasn’t awakened, when Master helped the old lady pray to the Bodhisattvas because she treated Master well or helped Master before etc., at this moment when Master prays for her, it’s not considered meritorious. It’s because, in the depths of Master’s soul, it lacks the greatly merciful and greatly compassionate spirit of Guan Yin Bodhisattva to help her. Master only felt pity towards her since she was old, and thus decided to help pray for her. That can only be considered as a benevolent deed, not a meritorious one. Also, the effectiveness of the prayer won’t be as great.


这就是嘴巴说用佛性去帮老人家求菩萨延寿,但是我真正的本性中却没有用一种真正的观世音菩萨的慈悲心去做。你们知道师父是怎样求的吗?师父在求菩萨帮老人家延寿时,因为这位老人家现在在修心修佛,她年纪这么大了,才刚刚开悟开始修心,请观世音菩萨慈悲再给老人家的本性佛性多一点时间,让她多活一点时间,可以让她证悟更多的智慧,证悟佛性,证悟让更多的人相信观世音菩萨。如果这样求,你的本性里面真正的佛性就出来了。要把自己的一切杂念全部扔掉,不要沾有一点点的私心,要从内心深处启发你的佛性,然后去做每一件事情,才能称为功德。一个人要证悟,要具有佛性的德,还要具有佛性的功,加起来才具有佛菩萨的功德。

In this case, although verbally, Master has said Master had used his Buddha-nature to help the old person pray to the Bodhisattvas to extend their lifespan, Master’s inherent nature was devoid of Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s compassion and mercy in his action. Do you know how Master prays? When Master prays to the Bodhisattvas to extend an old lady’s lifespan, it’s because she is cultivating their mind and practising Buddhism. She is so old and who only just awakened and started cultivating her mind. Hence I would pray to Guan Yin Bodhisattva to give her inherent nature and Buddha-nature a bit more time, let her live a bit longer so that she could realise more wisdom, realise her Buddha-nature and make more people believe in Guan Yin Bodhisattva. If the prayer was performed this way, the Buddha-nature within the inherent nature is manifested. You must discard all distracting thoughts and not be tainted by any selfish motives. You must arouse the Buddha-nature within the depths of your mind, then every deed that you perform will be considered as meritorious. A person must self-realise, they must possess both merits and virtues of the Buddha-nature then their deeds will be meritorious.


念念无滞,即你的念头,你思想里想的任何事情已经根本没有一点阻碍了。也就是说你的脑子完全可以控制你自己,你的思想当中没有任何阻碍了。当你没有阻碍时就常见本性了,当你的念头没有杂念的时候,你就能经常看见自己本性的东西,只看见自己的本性没有用,还要加上佛性的应用。比如:一个人知道自己现在是在做菩萨的事情,但仅仅保护好我自己的形象,保护好我的语言,保护好我自己的思维是不够的,因为你没有去应用,没有把菩萨这么好的经文,这么好的思维,这么好的行为去教大家,你没有把菩萨的思维应用到你的生活中,所以你就不是佛菩萨,你做出的这些事情就没有功德。

‘Every thought is unobstructed’ – Every intention and thought of anything that arises from your mind are basically unobstructed, and you can fully control yourself with your mind. When you have no mental obstructions, then you can constantly be in tune with your inherent nature. When your thoughts no longer consist of any distracting thought, you’ll be able to gain access to the sub-divisions of the inherent nature. Just accessing one’s inherent nature is not enough, you must also apply the Buddha-nature. For example, a person knows that they are performing deeds that Bodhisattvas would do, but simply safeguarding their image, their verbal conduct and their thoughts are not enough. It’s because they haven’t applied their Buddha-nature. They didn’t teach others about the Buddhist scriptures, the wisdom of Buddha, nor Buddha’s code of conduct. If you don’t apply Bodhisattva’s wisdom into your everyday life, then you are not behaving like a Bodhisattva, so the deeds you perform do not gain merit-virtues.




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