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 answers a few questions that some of you may have. How big is the trichiliocosm? How long has samsara existed? How far apart are the Buddha and the demon? These are all things you like to hear, so now Master will expound it in this chapter. Firstly, the Buddha and the demon is only a thought apart. You are all human beings. When you develop the thought that you want to be a wholesome person, and you want to become a Buddha, your consciousness is connected to the realm within the trichiliocosm where the Bodhisattvas reside. Then you possess the prerequisite requirement of reaching fruition in your cultivation in the current lifetime. Isn’t it thought that drives action? Then aren’t you going to start liberating yourself from samsara? That’s why one’s thoughts are important. For example, when married couples argue, they won’t talk about divorce in the beginning. But then somewhere in the arguing process, they begin to develop the thought of divorce. Alright, they argued for a hundred times, and then from the one hundred and one time, they then start to explicitly talk about having a divorce. From then onwards, they threaten each other about divorcing whenever they argue. Then on their three hundred and one argument, they then do file for a divorce. That’s why a single thought is like a knife; it can cut through all wholesome karmic affinities. You have to believe that these thoughts are the beginning of the end of your affinities.
How far apart are the Buddha and the demon? When you are practising Buddhism, aren’t you a Buddha? But if you deviate and not practising it wholesomely, aren’t you a demon? When you go shopping and see somebody’s wallet fell out of their pocket, if you’re a Buddha, you will think about alerting the person. But if you’re a demon, you would think of taking it with you. Isn’t the difference just a single thought? You should know that the difference between wholesomeness and unwholesomeness, good and evil, praise and blame, gain and loss is but a single thought. That’s why Master prefer that you are all foolish than recklessly developing thoughts. People view the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas as foolish beings. For example, “Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, that person was very evil, and so they were sentenced into the Hell Realm to be punished. They are already being throwing into the oil pots, why do you still want to save them?” The Buddhas are foolish because they are compassionate. Buddhists shouldn’t be too meticulous. ‘Man proposes, God disposes’. People who are too meticulous and crafty are unwanted. Nobody wants to help them, and so they will suffer in the end.
Take note; a single thought could take a person to heaven or hell. A single thought could also transform the darkness within our mind into the light. A person who can’t think clearly would think of committing suicide. Then when a single thought of the Bodhisattvas saving them develops, they immediately see the light again and don’t want to die. When you children don’t think clearly and get upset, and you have a thought, “I’m going to pray in the Guan YinTemple and recite sutras. The Bodhisattvas will definitely help me,” you immediately see a ray of hope. When you go and have a health check, the doctor might say, “You might have cancer. Your health report will take three months before it comes out.” If you recite sutras daily, you will feel grounded. If you don’t recite sutras, you will be anxious all day. Then when you finally receive your health report three months later, it may have shown that you didn’t have cancer at the time of checking, but because you were fearful every day for the past three months and your immune system was compromised, you really developed cancer. The principle is like so.
Greed, aversion, delusion, arrogance and doubt are all developed from a person’s thoughts. Many people know that the three poisons greed, aversion and delusion are serious, but arrogance and doubt can also ruin a person severely. Everybody has a shortcoming of liking to doubt others. If you’re capable, could you not develop doubt towards others? Who doesn’t suspect others? For example, you’ve just placed an object on the table, but then it disappeared. You then suspect the honesty and loyalty of others. Because of doubt, how many people were wrongly sentenced to death in the past? Arrogance is when somebody thinks that they are above others. The people nowadays are selfish and filled with greed, hatred, delusion, arrogance and doubts towards others. Aren’t their brains defiled?
Because we’ve discovered our Buddha-nature, we now understand that thoughts of greed, hatred, delusion, arrogance and doubt are bad. And if we don’t eliminate these thoughts, then it will fester within our mind. Greed, hatred, delusion, arrogance and doubt are empty things. It can’t be observed nor quantifiable. If you don’t believe it, then could help show Master a bit of your greed or hatred? They are things that only exist mentally. “I really hate him. I really want that thing. Since he got it, I’m going to destroy it so nobody can have it.” Many people are very opinionated because they think that they are privileged or because they are beautiful. Also, people harbour doubts within their mind. These five things are all forms of mental behaviours. That’s why the Bodhisattvas refer to them as empty things.
People of the secular world are very susceptible to being led by their thoughts. We are also regarded as secular people. Today we want this, tomorrow we want that, today I can visit this beautiful young lady, tomorrow I can visit that handsome young man, etc. Every day we are led by our desires. When you can’t give birth, you do whatever you can to give birth. But then when the child was born, they can’t live long. Master once observed the Totems of two children. One of them was in a coma and hadn’t woken up for a long time. Master prayed to Guan Yin Bodhisattva on behalf of that child, and he woke up. Another child had hope, as his life could still be extended, but when Master saw his condition, he told the child’s parents, then he wouldn’t live much longer. A few days later, that child did pass away. We humans are always led by our thoughts every day. They are led by their thought of earning more money or earning more fame; they do this every day for their whole lifetime. Then, in the end, they finally realise that everything is just a dream, and nothing lasts long.
After you know about the principles of Buddhism, then you realise there is no difference between any person. In reality, everybody is the same; everybody bears hardship in the Human Realm. There’s a saying called ‘If the poor doesn’t help the poor, who else could they rely on?’. Also, there’s a saying ‘Both born of the same root, why torment each other so cruelly’. When you harm others, isn’t it the same as harming yourself? Many husbands don’t hesitate to scold at their wives, in the end, isn’t it the same as scolding at themselves? That’s because, in a few days time, the wife will find something to scold back at them. Many women also say hateful remarks towards men constantly, then the men will take revenge soon after. So aren’t you just hurting yourself? Why are you hurting others? Those who hurt others behind their backs have a mental problem.
Buddhists should understand that there is no difference between the self and others and should harbour no attachments and no desires. No matter what happens, don’t be attached. If you have it, you have it. If you don’t, forget about it. You should learn not to dislike and avoid things. When you encounter something difficult, don’t avoid it, and don’t dislike others. All of it in your mind is just a single thought. When you dislike others, it’s because of a single thought. When you really don’t want to see them, it’s also just a single thought. If you see the other person as an equal to you, wouldn’t things be better? The suffering of sentient beings is your suffering. That’s the true way of practising Buddhism; then you would have the focus of spiritually awakening an incalculable amount of sentient beings. You could only do that if you find everybody loveable. That is the wisdom of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.