V 10-3 When the Mind is Empty, Everything is Empty 心空一切皆空
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.
When you are listening to Master’s lecture, and none of you is resting one leg on top of the other, isn’t that cultivation? Do you see any Bodhisattva statues sitting with one leg resting on top of the other? When you are sitting upright and orderly, isn’t that cultivation? When you are cultivating well, others would think that you look dignified and magnanimous. When men have subtleties of a woman and women have subtleties of a man, then it implies a balance of yin and yang. In the past on destiny reading, it expounded that guys with subtleties of a woman are very good while women with subtleties of a man are very capable. Old men that looks like an old aunt usually have good relationships with others. Master mentioned it not to teach you how to observe things metaphysically but to tell you to learn to relax and know how to integrate cultivation into your daily lives. Isn’t it good to see people orderly sit while keeping their feet on the ground and take note earnestly?
The lectures are the same in Heaven when Gautama Buddha teaches. The only thing different is that all the listeners are Bodhisattvas that reside in the Western Pure Lands. The Buddha gives them wisdom, and everything that the Greater Bodhisattvas say is entirely understood. When the Bodhisattvas see that everybody’s face look different, for the sake of mutual respect and for everybody treating each other as though they are the same, everybody’s face is that of a Bodhisattva. There is no differentiation between males and females. Why is there no differentiation between males and females in the higher levels of Heaven? It’s because there’s no desire in the Four Sagely Realms, then are no sexual desires. If everywhere you go is littered with gold and jade that are as common as pebbles and stones, would you still pick it up? The principle is the same.
You must learn that when we are cultivating ourselves, we mustn’t do things intentionally. We must completely turn it into a natural habit and behaviour. When you are practising Buddhism, are you practising it naturally, or are you forcing yourself to do it? When you are practising Buddhism, you will notice that your mind is in a state of flux, where sometimes it’s like this, sometimes it’s like that. Your mind changes according to what you see. You have all heard of the stanza that expound that the mind is like a mirror, right? When it sees something bad, the mind becomes bad. When it sees something good, the mind becomes good. When it sees something dirty, the mind becomes dirty. The mind is like a mirror. When it faces something good, then the mind reflects goodness. That’s why the mind is illusionary and always changing. Today, one thinks of this. Tomorrow, one thinks of that. The mind keeps on thinking this and that, why is that? It’s because it’s a mirror. One is unhappy because they are thinking about unhappy thoughts, which is why it’s reflected on their mind. And one is happy because they are thinking about happy thoughts.
Master tells you, the mind is illusionary and changing just like a slideshow. That’s why what you can see might not be real. That’s because your inherent nature is like a mirror. If it faces impure things, then your mind becomes impure. But in fact, these impure things are fake, isn’t that right? It’s not the real you, right? If it focuses on real things, then your mind is good. If it focuses on bad things, then your mind turns bad. If your mind is focusing on wholesome things, then you are accepting wholesome things. Everything is illusionary; that's why your mind is also illusionary.
You must understand that when your mind is empty, everything becomes empty. If we don’t look at the bad or the good, then our mind is completely empty. Master asks you, is your mind the original version? For example, in a room with many people, there are both good and bad people. But if the room is filled with bad people only, then the room becomes a den of evil. If the room is filled with good people and fellow Buddhists, then the room is likened to the Guan Yin Temple. The room is still just a room, but how could this room be perceived as good or bad? That’s because bad things have entered into your mind, so you see the room as unwholesome. If the room is filled with fellow Buddhists, then what you see is a room where kind-hearted people gather. Master asks you, is the room empty? When there are no people. Now we have driven all the bad people out of the room and also all the people we think are good. That’s because what you think is wholesome may not be completely wholesome, do you understand? The Buddha-Dharma expounds that one should not think about wholesome or unwholesomeness in order for their mind to be empty. Many people don’t understand. They think that it’s correct not to think about unwholesomeness, but why did the Bodhisattvas tell us not to think about wholesomeness as well? That’s because wholesomeness is also an illusion.
Some people ask, “When I promote something to somebody, am I doing an act of kindness?” Yes, it is. But is it completely wholesome? No. That's because they want to make money, isn’t that right? Even between couples, when a person wants to marry, isn’t that wholesome? Yes. But the motive might be because they want their spouse to buy property for them, buy a car for them, or buy other material objects for them. Is that wholesome? That’s because there’s a kind of wholesomeness that is pure, and it doesn’t harbour any shred of selfish motives in it. “I just like you. Even if you have no money, I’ll still marry you.” That is pure wholesomeness. If there are Buddhists who harbour kindness that have a degree of selfish motives behind it, then it isn’t pure kindness and would not be perceived as wholesomeness. That’s why the Buddha-Dharma expounds that one shouldn’t think about wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. That way, you are likened to driving away all the people and things that you thought were good. And when you also drive out all the bad people as well, then the room and our mind become empty. That way, we are truly wholesome. Master is illustrating it as an example, do you understand?
‘When confused, one pursues the Dharma. When awakened, the Dharma follows them.’ What does it mean? When a person is confused, and their values are inverted, and they don’t understand what they are cultivating, they are being led by Dharma. “Oh, that Dharma door looks decent. I’ll go and cultivate it.” Because they are lost and ignorant, they have just learned and practised Guan Yin Citta for a few days and began reciting sutras. They then hear about other Dharma doors that are good. So they go and learn the other Dharma door. These kinds of people are confused. ‘When awakened, the Dharma follows them.’ When you are completely awakened and understanding, all Dharma doors follow your will. “I am practising the right way, the right Dharma, all Dharma doors have something in common, and all have their good points and advantages.” This is when Dharma follows your will. Master is talking about more advanced topics, which, as a Buddhist, you should be aware of. Many people go and tell others how good Guan Yin Citta is and how Guan Yin Citta is about reciting Little Houses. That’s why people misunderstand it. What are Little Houses? It’s not articulated clearly. Some people in the past said that Little Houses is Guan Yin Citta. How is Guan Yin Citta about Little Houses? The Buddha-Dharma that you learn and hear from Master is called Guan Yin Citta. It’s about revitalising your soul. Reciting Little Houses is just homework. It’s not the same. Every Dharma door has its own set of principles and values.
‘Hundreds of different rivers flow to the same sea in the end’. Buddhists should be tolerant and broad-minded. Regardless of what we have learnt, all wholesome deeds that we do are due to our good morals. Regardless of what Dharma door we have learnt, in the end, it is still categorised as the Buddha-Dharma. No matter how many Dharma doors there are, it’s still known as the Buddha-Dharma. No matter how many more medical tools, children’s hospitals, cancer hospitals and maternity hospitals there are, it’s still known as medical treatment. You must understand, when you have learnt something, it’s like following a river. As you gradually follow it, you will end up at sea in the end.
Many people say, “When we end up at sea, have we reached the end?” Take a look. Does the sea have a limit? It’s actually the real beginning. So Buddhists should gradually learn as though following a river until finally, the sea meets all rivers, and you enter into the sea of Buddhism. Then you can truly comprehend how vast the ‘sea’ is. It’s boundless and unlimited. That is the Buddha-Dharma. That’s why when you first learn before you encounter the true face of the Buddha-Dharma, you would think that your ‘river’ is so vast and think that it’s the greatest. But when you finally reach the sea, you realise that the Buddha-Dharma is boundless.
Master wishes that there will be a chance where some very enlightened individuals would join his class with other venerable monks. Those venerable monks can truly and thoroughly understand what he says because they have previously learned it from other Buddhist theological institutes. Some even wrote a letter to Master as feedback about the class. Can you write one? After you hear it, it goes in one ear and out the other ear. When you hear it, you’re very happy. But you treat Master’s lectures as though he’s reciting poems. When practising Buddhism, you must truly take it to heart. You must clear up your mind and see your nature. By truly understanding, you become fearless.