V 1-32 Essentials of Learning Buddhism – Words of Wisdom (2) 学佛要旨——智慧语（二）
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.
First, let me explain the line ‘After realising one’s nature, the light of wisdom is revealed’. ‘Realising’ is to discover, ‘nature’ here refers to our inherent nature. Only after realising one’s inherent nature, your wisdom is revealed. What’s the meaning of ‘unseen nature’? That is when you behave shrewdly, only focusing on short-term gains and ignore the consequences. What’s the meaning of ‘seen nature’? It’s to understand everything you think inside your mind and discover your inherent nature. Those who don’t understand will not be able to find it. Do you think that a drunk person would be able to find their inherent nature? Many people remain unawakened because they remain confused.
Anyone who performs good deeds will surely be rewarded with prosperity. If one has yet to be prosperous, it is because they still have negative karma left. Once the karma is removed, they will be prosperous.
Anyone who commits evil deeds will suffer misfortune. If one has yet to be struck with misfortune, it’s because they still have positive karma left. Once it dries up, they will be struck with misfortune.
A truly benevolent person will certainly prosper. If you do good things but haven’t received positive karmic rewards yet, it means that you still have a lot of negative karma left that were accumulated in the previous life. Once your disasters and hardships completely end, and your positive and negative deeds are offset entirely, then you will receive blessings. You will prosper.
However, the precondition is that you must possess benevolence. Without it, even when hardships are over, you won’t prosper. If you performed many good deeds and still haven't received positive karmic rewards, it means there are remaining disasters that await. It’s because you must have committed many malicious deeds in the previous life and it hasn’t been fully resolved yet in the present life. If a person committed many malicious deeds but still have yet to receive karmic retribution, it must be because they still have blessings left from the benevolent and meritorious deeds they did in the previous life. That’s why it’s still not time for them to face retribution yet. But when the time of retribution comes, they will certainly encounter misfortune. Why do crooks, murderers and arsonists still live a good life? It shows that in their past, or their ancestors, or in their previous life, they have accumulated a lot of positive karmic affinities and karmic rewards. This positive karma is significantly greater than the negative karma they are creating at the moment, that’s why they won’t encounter misfortune yet. However, their positive karma will be depleting. Once it’s used up, they will suffer. We reap what we sow.
One should let go of their hatred, as it hinders the mind. Hatred leads to anger, while hindrances are in the form of anxieties, worries, grief, jealousy etc. For example, if a person detects any discomfort regards to their skin, people who possess a hindered mind might think whether or not they have contracted cancer; while a positive-thinking person might think that they’ve just been bitten by an insect and it’s nothing serious. Thus they can control their thoughts from thinking negatively.
A person’s state of mind determines their life. Many people have the order in reverse, letting their body dictate their mind instead. We can illustrate this using an alcoholic person as an example. When the urge to drink arises, their mind clearly knows that they will drive very soon and shouldn’t be drinking. But their body craves alcohol, and so they drink. As a result, they might get fined by the police or get into a car accident. That’s why our mind must be the one in control, not our body. The bodily needs can include a desire to drink alcohol, sexual desires and other distracting thoughts. These are the kind of influence that the body has that could dictate our rational thoughts. Ultimately, humans are classified as animals that possess higher intelligence. That’s because our spirit is more refined and have the capacity for higher levels of spirituality in the state of mind. That’s why we must make use of our mind to exercise restraint on ourselves so that we will not make mistakes.
A person should regularly develop remorse, as that will lead you to reflect and improve yourself. You should compare yourself with good role models, and that will help you develop remorse. But remember this, don’t compare other people’s strong points with yourself. For example, if that person is good at something, then it means I’m bad at it. That would lead to distracting and selfish thoughts.
A person should regularly develop gladness. You must use wisdom to overcome your afflictions, to overcome your sadness and to overcome your hardships. That’s why you must regularly develop gladness, think that you are already more fortunate compared with others. That is so that your mind develops an attraction to positive karmic affinities, to harmony, and then you will emanate a positive energy field around you.
A person should regularly develop compassion and mercy as it develops wisdom. Being compassionate is to bring happiness to others while being merciful is to help eliminate the suffering of others. Showing concern towards others regularly and always thinking about the other person are signs of a compassionate and merciful mind. Another manifestation of a compassionate mind is that the person will not show anger and show friendliness towards others. Hatred is frightening. It’s because it can destroy all the progress that you did in regards to meritorious deeds and moral cultivation. It also brings trouble and unrest. Thus, there’s a saying that ‘When the flame of anger is evoked, all merits burn to ashes’. Also, ‘One hostile thought opens up millions of doors that lead to karmic obstacles’. That means hatred will attract a variety of karmic obstacles for you to encounter.
‘Act in accordance with karmic conditions to eliminate past karma, and refrain from creating new karma’. When you are experiencing the karmic consequences created from your past karma, you can only act in accordance with the karmic conditions. When you are acting in accordance with the karmic conditions, you must learn to act in accordance with positive karmic affinities and resolve negative karmic affinities. When you are cultivating, you must refrain from creating new karma. Otherwise, while past karma has not been completely removed, new karma piles up on top, making it even more difficult to eliminate in your future life, or even be the cause of your continual downfall.
Cultivation of the mind, in fact, isn’t just simply cultivating the mind, but to also develop positive affinities far and wide. If there’re no affinities, then there is nobody there to support the development of your cultivation.