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 this chapter, Master expounds on how we can return to our inherent state. That is the state where we don’t experience outflows to our essence, energy and spirit. When there are no outflows to our essence, energy and spirit, in reality, that is the precondition to attaining liberation. What is considered liberation? Liberation is where one no longer have lingering feelings about something. To liberate, one must first know about the power of concentration. The power of concentration is where one remains focused and can keep themselves steady no matter what they encounter. Even if something calamitous occurs, one remains calm and have the power of concentration. That way, they will develop wisdom. In traditional Buddhism, they speak about Zen- concentration. That is training to keep you calm and peaceful regularly. That is Zen-concentration. Regardless of what one encounters, one remains calm, and in the end, one remains in a state of concentration. There is a process to this. Wisdom and Zen-concentration rely on each other to exist, neither can be excluded. Even if one can remain steady, it doesn’t mean that they have wisdom. And if one shows some wisdom, it doesn’t mean that they have the power of concentration. That’s why concentration and wisdom are closely related. When our body and mind can truly concentrate, then wisdom will develop.
How should one behave? How should one act? How one’s thoughts develop requires a level of power of concentration. Some people are respected because of the things they did and do. When they are lured with money, they are indifferent. When they are tempted with something delicious, they are also indifferent. They are indifferent towards anything they encounter. That requires a level of power of concentration. Many women begin to feel infatuated when they see a handsome guy. It means they have no power of concentration. Many men start to feel light-headed when they see a beautiful young lady. These men are usually looked down on. That’s why concentration is significant. It represents a person’s disposition. Many people ask what’s your disposition like. What they are asking about is how steady your mind is. When you are looked down on, it indicates that there is a problem with your disposition.
Master wants you to learn how to concentrate and calm yourself down truly. When you can completely concentrate, then you will develop wisdom. That’s why liberation is difficult, but that is necessary to liberate. ‘When the body and mind are still, wisdom will develop’. Many people’s minds can become still, but their bodies can’t remain still. Also, many people’s bodies can become still, but their minds can’t remain still. Just like when you are sitting in class, your mind is somewhere else thinking of other things. That is akin to your body looking like it is remaining still, but your mind has gone elsewhere. Master has strict demands of you; otherwise, many cultivators will be sifted out. Even if a person can concentrate, they must also possess wisdom, just like how a bird requires a pair of wings. One wing represents concentration, and the other represents wisdom. If a person only has concentration but lacks wisdom, they are like a bird with only one wing, quickly falling. Likewise, if a person only has wisdom but no concentration, it’s like a bird that has lost its balance. That’s why one must possess both concentration and wisdom to liberate themselves.
Master will now elaborate ‘concentration’ in greater detail. What is concentration? Those who can concentrate will be indifferent and remain steady no matter what they encounter. Nothing can shake their mind, and they’re not afraid of anything. What is there to be fearful of in this world? Failed marriages, breakups, loss of assets, the departure of your children? Your mind becomes steady because you know that everything is empty. Everybody has to forbear with it; it’s just that everybody’s ending is not the same. Just like how we know that everybody will eventually die, but the way they’ll die is different, like how other people’s children stay with them for longer while your child suddenly passes away. Nothing is worth the shock. All of it is karmic affinity. When you know about this, then your mind will become steady. You will calm down when you know that you will pass away from your illness. That’s because you know everybody will eventually die; it’s just that your time has arrived. You calm down and think about what you would want to do before you die. Many people’s fear, depression and affliction develop because they’re mentally unprepared. They thought that their situation would only improve and they would gain even more. That’s why they will lose even more. When something suddenly happens, and one is unprepared for it, one will mentally collapse.
Master tells you, don’t be afraid of anything because your mind has concentrated. The mind must be in a state of immovable suchness where nothing could attract you because to you, coming to the Human Realm is just a trip. Think about it; there must be something that could move your mind. Some people are moved by fame, some by wealth, some by their children, some by their property. If you can’t think of anything that could move your mind, then you have succeeded. Nowadays, everybody has at least one thing that could move their mind. That’s why Master advises not to be greedy about anything, and then your mind will concentrate. If your mind can’t concentrate, you won’t distinguish what is right or wrong in any situation. For example, when somebody gives you a return and your mind moves, then you won’t distinguish right and wrong immediately. When somebody gives you some money to praise them, you’ll do it. Like in many elections in Taiwan, some candidates give their citizens some form of benefit, choosing them. Originally, they might have had a negative opinion of the candidate, but they start to praise the candidate after receiving some benefits. It is clear that one of the candidates has a morally upright character, but the citizens begin to criticise them. That’s the result of one’s mind being defiled by gains. Because you have a motive, that’s why you make mistakes and can’t distinguish between right and wrong. That’s why one mustn’t become entrapped by gains.
When a person’s mind can’t concentrate, they wouldn’t know what they should and shouldn’t be doing. For the sake of some small gains, they could harm others and do things that they shouldn’t do or don’t do things that they should do. That’s why those who can’t concentrate will always be doing things that they will regret later on in life. No matter what you encounter, you must first settle your mind down and think about how should you act. “If I act this way, what harm would I inflict on others? If I do this, would I be able to face myself, my parents and the people around me?” When you are deciding what you should do, you must think about any potential occurrences. If something unexpected occurs, would you be able to resolve it with a positive attitude? Masters wants you to become a Bodhisattva and not simply pray for the Bodhisattvas’ blessings. Master wants you to be able to protect yourself. People only meet with mishaps because they can’t protect themselves. That’s why you mustn’t make mistakes and do regrettable things. If you don’t want to make mistakes, you must know what you should and shouldn’t do. You must be able to distinguish between right and wrong. How do you do that? Your mind must settle down first and concentrate.
Some people are streetwise, but that’s no use. If you are smart and streetwise, sometimes you might use it to commit misdoings like taking advantage of others or trying to scam others. Look at all those highly educated people. Those who rob ranks, break safes, hack into other people’s computers are all highly educated and smart. But this kind of intelligence is indecent. It’s used to commit crimes. Because you are streetwise, you could develop many things to take advantage of by seizing every chance. As a result, afflictions and troubles will follow like a shadow. Think about it, when you think up a brilliant plan, you might feel that you’ve resolved the problem, but doesn’t your afflictions increase in the end? For the sake of resolving a problem, many husbands lie to their wives. But afterwards, their wives see through their lies, so don’t the husbands have more afflictions? That’s why, aren’t you better off being down to earth?
Master had said that being streetwise lacks the power of concentration. A person who is capable of concentration will develop great wisdom. People who are witty possesses only minor wisdom. They will walk down the wrong path as they lack the power of concentration. How could somebody not walk down the wrong path with their marriage, relationships and body in their whole life? It’s because they could settle their mind down. That’s why Master tells you to be in zen-concentration when you’re reciting sutras. Take a look, those who could sit still possess the power of concentration. If a person can’t sit or stand still and have to keep fidgeting and moving their bodies around, do you think that person has the power of concentration? Do you think that person could cultivate successfully? Does that person act like a Bodhisattva? When you sit down, you should act like a Bodhisattva. “Here I am at the Guan Yin Temple. I will sit quietly and still reciting sutras.” Then you recite for an hour undistracted. That’s what it means to have the power of concentration. If you sit down and your mind is constantly distracted by other thoughts like what other scheduled tasks you have or what you want to do afterwards, you won’t cultivate well.
Master has many old disciples that are like that. They can’t settle down. One moment they are doing this; the next moment, they are doing that. They can’t sit or stand still. Where is their wisdom? Where is their self-cultivation? When Master went to socialise with others, when others could speak for an hour, Master would listen to them quietly for an hour. Think about it, when somebody speaks and boast about themselves for an hour, Master could listen at one side without saying a word. Then finally, when somebody introduces Master to them, that person realises that he’s Master Lu. Then he feels embarrassed. Why must people boast and brag about themselves? You must remain steady and concentrate so that your mind possesses wisdom.