V 10-10 Old Feuds are the Root of all Karmic Obstructions 宿怨是孽障的根
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.
In our society, currently, everybody is pursuing wealth and fame. If you can’t control yourself, you will quickly be drawn into this whirlpool of karmic forces. Then your mind will quickly develop attachments. Because everybody is doing it, you would think, “So why can’t I also do it?” Then attachments develop. Master asks you, everybody has a compassionate mind, so how could a compassionate mind develop attachments? In the same way, how do love develop attachments? When you love somebody, sometimes it’s easy to forget and move on when the love relationship is over. But why do some people get obsessed and can’t get it over with? There resides a principle in this.
That’s because, between different people, there exist varying degrees of karmic affinity. Like in cultivation, some fellow Buddhists have a deep karmic affinity with each other. When it’s deep, a phenomenon will occur. “I think that it will be fine if I make contact with him. Nothing will happen between us.” Alright, then the power of love exceeds her expectations, and she can’t control herself. When you develop attachments, “Oh, he was that person in my previous life. No wonder I really like him.” The power of these kinds of wild fantasies exceeds your expectations, and you will quickly fall into obsession. That’s attachment. “I can’t leave him. If I don’t see him today, I’ll get depressed.” That’s how these things occur. It’s due to a power that exceeds what one can resist.
For example, when you go to the Guan Yin Temple and see a fellow Buddhist there who you really like, your eyes will keep looking at him or her. You can’t control yourself. You’re not yourself anymore. That’s what happens when the power exceeds your expectations, and you don’t have the power to resist. It’s due to old feuds. Master tells you, you are not capable of resisting this kind of power that’s because the old feuds had accumulated over many lifetimes. “I like her. I just want to see her.” After you have reached a certain level in your cultivation of Buddhism, your karmic obstructions will appear.
Every one of you possesses old feuds. Some of you have a good relationship with this person, while some of you have a good relationship with that person. Everybody thinks that they’re great. Sometimes they would speculate that person was this or that in their previous lifetime. If they treat them well, they are considered a wholesome karmic affinity. If they treat them badly, they are considered an unwholesome karmic affinity. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with this statement. A bad relationship is an unwholesome karmic affinity. But sometimes, wholesome karmic affinities could turn into unwholesome karmic affinities due to your actions. Do you understand? It’s a kind of force that nobody could resist. It causes you to think only of yourself and not others, and you’ll gradually turn into a selfish person.
When you enter a particular stage in your cultivation, karmic obstructions will appear. In other words, when people are cultivating their minds, many jealous people are already waiting for them. That’s why one must rely on their resolve to practise Buddhism. Of course, if no master is guiding you, then you might know next to nothing in your path of practising Buddhism. Then you might be entangled by your negative karma and become a careless cultivator. Think about it, don’t you meet different kinds of people in society? Are you precautious towards them? If you don’t take precautions, you will know next to nothing, and you become easily scammed and entangled in negative karma. For example, you meet somebody you want to awaken spiritually. But then you end up falling in love with them. In reality, they are there to ruin your cultivation.
Did you understand that example? You really like the person. In reality, they are your karmic obstructions to ruin your cultivation. When you were little at school, haven’t you been in that kind of situation before? You listened attentively to the teacher in class, but then a bad student came around and told you to hang out with them after class. Afterwards, you gradually became a bad student yourself, and this unwholesome karmic affinity was formed. Predestined karma is what create all the hardships you encounter in life and cultivation. When they tell you something, you become easily swayed. That’s because they had a karmic affinity with you in your past life. So you are persuaded to do what they do as well. Why do many people have relationship problems? Why do many people have issues with their careers? Why do many people have health problems? It’s all due to their predestined karma.
Suggestible people typically can’t withstand it due to a lack of composure. Some aren’t easily swayed, and that means they are composed. While there are others where when you recommend different schools of cultivation, they will go and learn that Dharma door, and then this Dharma Door. And they will quickly follow and learn from somebody else. Where do composure and the power of concentration come from? It comes from one’s resolve and the power of vows. “I must learn Buddhism. I must follow Master and properly practise it. I know that this is a good Dharma door.” When you are resolved, you won't get swayed no matter what others might say. If you aren’t resolved, and you don’t really understand the Dharma Door that you’re learning from, you will be susceptible to what others might say. Some people intended to go and awaken somebody spiritually but ended up being converted themselves.
You must understand, if you lack composure in your cultivation, your mind will never remain steady. Then it’s easy for you to slack, and you will fail due to your insincerity in cultivation. Everybody’s foundation in cultivating and practising Buddhism is different. Master asks you, is your foundation the same as others? Some people have practised Buddhism in their previous life, some people encountered Buddhism early in their present life, while some people just recently encountered learnt Buddhism. In reality, it is dependent on their foundations.
Because everybody’s foundation is different, they have no grasp of the non-self nature of the arising and cessation of their karmic affinities. What does that mean? When one encounters a karmic affinity, it arises and then ceases. During this process, you don’t understand how to control it. Many people suffer when they are going through a divorce. At the time, they were fixated on having a divorce. Then, the next day, after they had calmed down, they didn’t wish to divorce anymore and wanted to tell their partner about it. But they were hesitant to speak out their mind, and their partner was unwilling to accept what they said. That is the non-self nature of karmic affinities and are old feuds. That’s why the arising and cessation of karmic affinities is something you can’t control. When the karmic affinity appears, you can’t control yourself and develop affection towards this person. Then when the karmic affinity ceases, that’s when you will separate. No matter how much you persuade them not to divorce and leave you, they insist on doing so. There’s no self-nature.
A person’s karmic affinity is like rootless grass. When the wind blows, it will be blown away, and that’s the end of it. When grass has roots, even if you cut them, they will regrow. That’s why when one’s karmic affinity approaches, some people get caught quickly into it. Karmic affinities could be said to be relationships, like the love relationship between a man and a woman or the family relationship between the parent and child.
For example, if you have given birth to a child today, then your karmic affinity has appeared. You are then tied up, and you lose your time. For you to be able to take out some of your time off to listen to Master’s class is already not easy. In typical circumstances, how would you be able to take time off? You have to feed your baby, change their diapers, and do other chores. When your karmic affinity appears, could you escape? It will bind you up. When you see someone you like, although you try to stop thinking about them, “I’m a Buddhist. I must restrain myself and stop thinking about him.” But you’re still thinking about him. You can’t help it; that’s karmic affinity.
Some people want to avoid their karmic affinity but can’t. Master will teach you how to resolve the karmic affinity, that is, not to show up. If it’s clear that you will encounter the person, then don’t show up. Don’t go to places where the person goes to frequently. You avoid every chance that you might meet the person. That is to hide from the person completely. Then on the spiritual level, recite the ‘Mantra to Untie Karmic Knots’ and the ‘Heart Sutra’ to resolve the karmic affinity. It’s difficult. It’s something you desire, yet you have to keep thinking of methods to get rid of it. Isn’t that hard? Many alcoholics could resist drinking the bottle of beer in front of them. Why is that? That’s because they know they will be driving afterwards. They had been fined before for drink driving, so they’ve learnt their painful lesson. But some alcoholics still drink before they drive, and they don’t care even if they might be caught and fined. That is life.
Master tells you, there’s no trouble in this world; only mediocre people bring trouble on themselves. Many karmic affinities exist in this world; initially, they had no connection with you, you could completely resolve them all. But you pursued it, and you got yourself caught in it. To illustrate with an example, after a woman was divorced, she could’ve lived a simple and peaceful life. But suddenly, a man that she liked appeared in her life. She thought it was a fateful encounter, so she sought him and eventually got tied up with him. In the end, no matter how much she wanted to break up with him, she couldn’t get out. So they quarrelled, and their relationship went into a stressful stage. That is a binding affinity. After learning Buddhism, you must untie affinities. Untying affinities is not to tell you to divorce, nor is it to ask you to ignore and act indifferently to your spouse. It’s to tell you how to resolve unwholesome karmic affinities.
How to resolve them? Look out for yourself, do more, speak less. All troubles that happen are brought from people’s thoughts. These people are mediocre. Capable people will never think about any problems or afflictions; they only think of solutions. Mediocre people only think about problems. “How should I do resolve this? How should I resolve that? If so, how would they treat me?” They keep bothering themselves. On the contrary, a wise Buddhist would think, “How is that connected with me? I trust that they won’t treat me like that. Things will get better after a couple of days.” They won’t stay anxious with bothersome thoughts that make them feel agonising. That’s just making a fuss about nothing.