V 11-14 Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s Great Wisdom from acting on His Vows 普贤行愿大智慧
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.
Many people asked Master, “Master, why is there a saying ‘one who lays down the butcher knife becomes a Buddha at once’?” Some people also asked, “Master, why is there a saying ‘those who liberate a hundred million small animals will become a Bodhisattva’?” It only applies under the condition that if you’re very pure, you don’t have much negative karma and you are not creating new unwholesome karma; then if you liberate a hundred million small animals then you can become a Bodhisattva. If you’re liberating yet at the same time, you keep doing bad things; then it’s useless even if you liberate a thousand million animals. Think about it, if a person is willing to spend money out of their pocket to perform life liberations and have liberated a hundred million small animals, then would you view that person as good or bad? That person definitely won’t think of crafty thoughts. They’re already afraid of karma; they already know that they must perform life liberations. Those animals or creatures are still considered sentient beings, so they must save them. If a person could liberate a hundred million animals, then isn’t that person a Bodhisattva? That’s the concept of the saying ‘those who liberate a hundred million small animals will become a Bodhisattva’. If a person could go wholesome deeds over twenty-four hours a day, then what time is left for them to do unwholesome deeds? When a person has liberated a hundred million small animals, they have already transcended the average level of spirituality of a human being. Is that anyone of you who is wealthy who is willing to use your money to perform life liberations?
In Melbourne, there is a Chinese Fishing Association that has a lot of members. Currently, it’s the age of Dharma decline; they don’t know about karma and karmic retribution. Currently, karmic retribution happens very quickly and will occur in the present life. Think about it, in only a small country like Australia, how many people who fish fall into the water and get swept away by the waves? These people are pitiful. Master has pondered, we have been propagating Buddhism up till now, the number of people that we have successfully spiritually awakened is still not enough. Like those members in the fishing association, they are also our target that we should propagate to. That’s why we must put in more effort.
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s fifth great action-vow is ‘to follow and rejoice in merit-virtues’. Every day, we praise others with the saying ‘your merit-virtues are boundless’, what does ‘to follow and rejoice in merit-virtues’ mean? There are two types of meritorious deeds. The first type is mundane meritorious deeds with outflows. Master does not hesitate to say that the meritorious deeds that many people do have outflows. Do you know what the meritorious deeds with outflows are? They are like charitable activities, building bridges and fixing roads, building temples and monasteries, making offerings to monks, etc. All of these activities are categorised as meritorious deeds with outflows. Now, do you know? That’s why performing meritorious deeds are difficult. Why is it that when Emperor Wu of Liang from ancient China built a lot of temples, it was considered that he didn’t accumulate any merit-virtues? Why did the Patriarch Bodhidharma tell him that he does not have any merit-virtues? It’s because they have all flowed out. He only built the temples, fixed the bridges and roads in the Human Realm, and his aim wasn’t pure, that’s why his merit-virtues flowed out. That’s why wholesome deeds are meritorious deeds with outflows; they aren’t perfect.
There’s also another type called supramundane meritorious deeds with no outflows. What are meritorious deeds with no outflows? It’s to liberate life and death and cultivate the six paramitas broadly. Master has already mentioned the six paramitas and blocking the six sensory faculties in the previous chapters. To speak plainly, every time you want to do any wholesome deeds, you must hold the reins of your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and thoughts so that your wholesome thoughts and actions become meritorious. Many people feel proud after they’ve done some minor thing, and they like to boast about what they’ve done, afraid that others don’t know about it. “Do you know that it was me who cooked that dish? There’s this ingredient and that ingredient in there. Try it; it’s very delicious.” They talk non-stop. Or when they invite somebody over to dinner, they say in the end, “If it wasn’t for me, I bet nobody would invite you.” Do these people exist? Yes. These people don’t keep in control of their mouth, eyes, body and thoughts. All the meritorious deeds they do have outflows.
When people see something bad on the internet, they would be curious and linger there for longer. Please take note, if you clicked into it and it’s still buffering, hurry and stop it and get out of it. That’s the best method as you won’t create new negative karma. If you watched it, then your mind has received it. When you hear somebody say, “Let me tell you, if you use my method, you will make money…” Then you should reply, “Don’t tell me about it, I don’t need that much money.”
Many people come up to Master and say, “Master, did you know? You could register your name as a trademark and do some kind of vegetarian restaurant business.” Master immediately doesn’t want to hear about it anymore. If you don’t listen to it, then it won’t enter your mind, and you won’t be moved by it. Then you have succeeded. Buddhists must seal away their ears, close their eyes, their nose shouldn’t go and small the roast flavours of barbequed meat or fish, their mouths shouldn’t casually or recklessly speak, and their minds shouldn’t be distracted. Buddhists must be pure. One should be firm on not looking at what shouldn’t be looked and not listening to what shouldn’t be heard.
You must learn to block out your six sensory faculties and cultivate the six paramitas broadly; then you would successfully accumulate merit-virtues with no outflows. Those who are capable of doing meritorious deeds should diligently do so. Those who aren’t capable of doing meritorious deeds should rejoice the meritorious deeds done by others. In other words, if you are capable yet you don’t use it to help others, then that’s considered a sin, and there are outflows. Is somebody tripped up beside you and you don’t help them to get back up, then you’re not a Bodhisattva. Many people may have concerns like, “If I help them get back up, and they suddenly blame me for pushing them over and want to sue me, what should I do?” Master asks you, “ If somebody tripped up beside Guan Yin Bodhisattva, what would She do?” Don’t concern yourself with other things; everything can be made clear. Even if they sue you, so what? It could all be explained clearly. You are just a good person who did an act of kindness. If you are capable, but you don’t use your abilities, then you are not a good person. If you properly use your abilities, then you are someone who can make a difference.
Master tells you if you don’t have the power to help others and do good deeds, then what should you do? You should follow and rejoice other people’s meritorious deeds. If a fellow Buddhist propagated and converted many people to Buddhism, you should congratulate them and rejoice. “You have spiritually awakened so many people, congratulations. You are so capable, I must learn from you.” “You’re cultivating so well, how many years have you been a vegetarian? You’ve spiritually awakened so many people.” These are all words of rejoicing. If your mouth only utters useless or meaningless words, then even the Dharma protectors in heaven can’t stand it. Why can’t you say words of praises or goodwill? If you badmouth others, it means you’ve got some kind of mental illness. Master mentioned this before, don’t badmouth others. Otherwise, what part of you looks like a Bodhisattva? How could you ascend to heaven? Is there anything in this world that you can get used to? Is there a single day where you are completely satisfied? From when you were little till now, which day did you feel completely satisfied? You should get over it.
Those who are powerless should rejoice in the deeds of others, that’s also a form of cultivation. You mustn’t let thoughts of jealously or slander develop in your mind. Why is there the vow of ‘to follow and rejoice in merit-virtues’ in Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s ten great action-vows? If you see somebody doing something good, you praise. If you see somebody doing something good, you do it. If you see any activity that helps others, you join. That is to ‘follow and rejoice’. That way, you will accumulate merit-virtues. Do you know why you shouldn’t be jealous of others or slander them? That’s because when you’re jealous, you will attract ghosts. They indulge themselves in the jealousy towards others. In the past, there’s a saying that you should boast about any fortunate things that happened to you. If you do it regularly, then the ghosts would hear it and ruin your good fortune. But also, if you keep complaining and telling others about your misfortune, you will become even more unfortunate. Ghosts love litigation. They love to argue, but they can’t linger in the Human Realm for too long as they don’t belong there. So how do they argue with you? They do so by dragging you into the Underworld at night. When people experience nightmares, most of the time is because their spirit had been dragged down by the ghosts.
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s sixth great action-vow is ‘to request the turning of the Dharma wheel’. When Buddha was expounding the Dharma, every word came from His Bodhi-mind, and every sentence followed according to His heart. When mothers talk to their child teary-eyed, they speak like a Bodhisattva, as everything they say came sincerely from their Bodhi-mind. What is the Bodhi-mind? It is the most compassionate state of mind.
If you could listen attentively to every word Master or the Bodhisattvas say and keep it in good memory, so it goes deep within your subconsciousness, what are the benefits? It will form a wondrous Dharma, and you will be able to think clearly about many things as you will think of many wondrous mental methods to fulfil your path. The wondrous Dharma would resolve many afflictions of the Human Realm.
The time of Shakyamuni Buddha has ended, and the time of Maitreya Buddha will appear in the future. In the interim period, it is the patriarchs and venerable monks who expound the Dharma on behalf of the Buddha. That includes people who remain in the secular world like Master, who persuades others to do good and transforming them to become wise. That’s why in the age of Dharma decline, it’s the representatives of the Bodhisattva who expound the Dharma. They would accumulate an incredible amount of merit-virtues. That’s why when somebody propagates the Dharma to others, that meritorious deed is incredible. For example, if somebody praises somebody is incredibly great, isn’t that person considered a really good person? If somebody’s financial situation is incredible, wouldn’t that mean they possess an incredible amount of wealth?
Samantabhadra Bodhisattva’s sixth great action-vow is ‘to request the Buddha to remain in this world’. ‘The time of Shakyamuni Buddha has ended, and the time of Maitreya Buddha will appear in the future’, then what is ‘to request the Buddha to remain in this world’? How does one do so? You don’t know who’s a Bodhisattva, so how could you make that request? You should know, it’s your mind who’s the Buddha now. Maitreya Buddha hasn’t arrived, and Shakyamuni Buddha has gone, who can act as the Buddha? It’s your mind. Your mind is the Buddha. When you act using your inherent Buddha-nature, then you’re a Buddha.
For those who haven’t encountered the Buddha-Dharma, as long as their mind is in a pure, calm and collected state, then they could discover the Buddha that exists within them. That’s why when a person is calm, they could think of different solutions. For example, if a kind person suddenly got angry and want to pursue in conflict with the other party, when they calm down, they would think about whether it’s necessary. They would think that the other party is actually quite pitiful, everybody has their own problems, right? When they think that way, the Buddha within their mind manifests itself. That’s why one must always think that the Buddha is always in the world residing in their mind.
Every person’s mind contains contaminants and defiled things, so do you. But you’ve witnessed that Buddha has attained nirvana, and He has already pointed a bright path for you. What is nirvana? It’s a kind of enlightenment that transcends the high level of spirituality in the world and has gone to another realm. So what should us humans do? We must learn to liberate ourselves. If you could recite Buddha’s name or the Buddhist scriptures daily, then you are requesting the Buddha to remain in this world. Do you recite sutras daily? Yes. If so, then aren’t you inviting the Bodhisattva into your mind every day? When you recite sutras, your mind is linked with the Bodhisattvas, and it becomes purer. And pure thoughts will continue ceaselessly in your mind as you keep reciting.
As long as somebody learns Buddhism and recites sutras, then pure and kind-hearted seeds have already been sown inside their mind, and the thoughts that develop are wholesome. Just like when you plant a healthy seed, the plant and fruit that grows from it will be healthy. So when they do, Buddhism is constantly printed within their mind. In Su Dongpo’s time, there was a patriarch called ‘Fo Yin’, the meaning is that the Buddha is constantly printed within one’s mind. When you badmouth others or feel that the other party is detestable, is the Buddha printed within you? ‘The Buddha within one’s mind is the same as all sentient beings; there is no difference’. If your mind contains the Buddha, then your mind also contains sentient beings. That’s because the Buddha loves and protects all sentient beings. All sentient beings of the Human Realm, Animal Realm and other realms, Buddha, and the Bodhisattvas are, all the same. There is no difference. When a person’s thought is unwholesome, they become and act like an animal. When a person’s thought is wholesome, they become and act like a Bodhisattva. Think about it; don’t humans regularly behave like animals? Even if it’s just a dog, why do they also prostrate before the Buddha?