V 11-19 Change One’s Habitual Behaviour; Reach Fruition in One’s Buddhist Cultivation 转换习性 成就佛果
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.
If somebody is plagued with illness, suffers from bad health or if their lifespan is very short, it indicates that they had committed deeds of killing in their past life. Master teaches you that if you find that your health is bad, and your illness isn’t caused by a fractured bone or the cold and flu, but something related to your organs and is something that could be fatal, then you should perform more life liberations and recite more ‘Amitabha Pure Land Rebirth Mantra’, more ‘Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ and Little Houses. That’s because that illness could kill you. If you encounter different kinds of obstacles and things don’t go smoothly, then it means that you have already hurt others and caused harm. In other words, in the past lifetime, you had definitely oppressed others or hurt others out of jealousy. That’s why you encounter so many problems in the present life.
If in the current lifetime, you would suddenly lose money when you have just made money, for example, having your money cheated away, then it could be related to the sexual pleasures you had in the past lifetime. When a person’s thoughts are filled with sexual pleasures, then they would quickly lose money. That’s when a person violates the precept of sexual misconduct; then they would lose money. Money and sexual desires are related. When a person indulges themselves in sexual desires, their career will go downhill, and their wealth luck decreases.
Master wishes that you know how to repent and change your habitual behaviours. If any of you could listen attentively in peace and could sit orderly like a Bodhisattva, then it’s an indication that you are properly practising Buddhism. Practising Buddhism is about changing one’s unwholesome habits and personality, which are habitual behaviours. In the past, could you sit quietly? Was it very hard for you to change your shortcomings? Putting people aside, even animals have their habits. Think about it, many animals have habits, and it’s very hard for them to change it. That’s why Master wants you to cultivate daily and reflect on the Bodhisattva’s precepts; then you will change your habitual behaviour. Before doing something, ask yourself whether Bodhisattvas will act in the same way you do. When you want to scold somebody, ask yourself whether Bodhisattvas will scold at others. When you start to hate somebody, ask yourself whether Bodhisattvas will hate others. If you think like that every day, then your mind will gradually be at peace. That is how you change your temper.
When you find somebody detestable, think about how the Bodhisattvas are compassionate, would they find somebody hateful? Think about the kindness that others had shown to you; think about how difficult it may be for others. So why can’t you change the unwholesome karmic affinities to wholesome instead of changing wholesome karmic affinities to unwholesome? Why couldn’t you just be patient for one moment and look at other’s good points? That’s the deep-rooted bad habit of humans. When they are happy, then they will forget everything. But if they’re upset, then they will point out other people’s flaws. Isn’t that behaviour the same as animals? Buddhists must learn how to transform their unwholesome karmic affinities to wholesome. Before you married, the couples had a wholesome affinity with each other. But after marriage, it gradually turns unwholesome. Don’t contribute to the unwholesome affinity that exists; otherwise, it will end in a divorce. Instead, you have to gradually resolve it and convert back to a wholesome affinity again. People are foolish when it comes to that. Something that could clearly be resolved personally ends up having to be resolved in court. Something that could clearly be resolved by mutual understanding and forgiveness ends up being spread to everybody around them, and in the end, both parties lose face. Something that could clearly be restrained was not, and in the end, both parties become a laughing stock. That is ignorance.
If the mind is pure, then any thoughts that arise would not be impure. Master hopes that you strive to be pure, be kind-hearted, and be steady. If you could sit still, then it is quite similar to meditation. Many people ask Master, what is zen-meditation? If you could properly sit and stay focused on what Master is teaching without dozing off, then that is zen-meditation. Think about it, are you able to concentrate right now? Just a moment ago, your thought was distracted, but now you concentrate, isn’t that zen meditation?
You must know what the effect of repentance is very big. Repentance is just like how you tell others, “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” You could move the heart of the other person, and cry. That’s because they know that you also know about their perspective and circumstance; that’s why they are moved. That’s called repentance. “ I was wrong in the past. I shouldn’t have done that and caused you pain.” You have to repent about the action that you made and repent about the consequences that you’ve caused. And then use the Bodhisattva’s pure view to observe all the things in the world. That is the Dharma. Many people ask Master, “What is the Dharma?” If one could use the Bodhisattva’s thoughts and energy to observe everything and live their sense of values, then that’s the Dharma.
Use the Buddha-Dharma’s pure view in your daily life, and use the ‘way’ that you know in your every moment. The ‘way’ is the Buddha way that you know about. The ‘way’ is also the principles of how you live your life or the path and direction you are taking. That’s why you must combine what you’ve learnt in Buddhism with the ‘way’ of which you are living your life, and then you would be enlightened and able to practise it in your daily life. In plain terms, you would use the mind of a Bodhisattva to benefit other sentient beings in the Human Realm.
Think about it when one of you married couples get into an argument. If you’re a wise and awakened Buddhist, then you wouldn’t argue. You would say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong,” even if it clearly wasn’t your fault. As long as you apologise, then, in reality, you’re already walking on the Bodhisattva's path. That’s because they could see that you’re a compassionate person, a patient and diligent Bodhisattva. They understand that even though it’s clearly not your fault, you are still willing to apologise and make amends. They would feel embarrassed. In reality, it is best for one to correct their own flaws. No matter how others scold at you or point out your flaws, they could never help you change. It’s only when somebody understands that they were wrong that you could go and help them.
These Buddhist theories are the foundation. One must use a Bodhisattva mind to benefit and help others so that they understand that Bodhisattvas exist in this world, and finally, fulfil one’s Bodhi-way. For example, let’s imagine yourself setting a target to forbear with your husband for half a year to a year. If you could achieve that, check whether your husband has also changed. Also, you would be living while immersed in the state of your Buddha-nature. What does it mean? It means that you possess the Bodhisattva’s way of living wisely. Currently, after many people have learnt Buddhism, they no longer scold at others, or spread gossip, or commit unwholesome acts, or hate others. They do things conservatively. They are immersed in the state of their Buddha-nature; their cultivation is maturing in the Human Realm. That’s why it’s difficult to attain fruition.
Next, Master discusses how every phenomenon that occurs and everything that exists have a karmic link. When you are happy, there’s a karma link. When you are sad, there’s also a karmic link. People are bound by their karmic links; they can’t abandon it nor liberate from it. Think about the times when married couples really hate each other to the point they want to separate, but when they do, they find it difficult to live alone. There’s a lot of mental struggle involved. That’s why karmic links are chains that can’t be cleanly cut. How should one become aware of the karmic kinks? It is to raise one’s level of spirituality. In other words, when somebody can’t think clearly, they are living while being chained down by the karmic affinity. If you could think clearly, then it means you’re at a high level of spirituality. “I don’t mind, I’ve already thought about it clearly. You can do whatever you want; I’ll follow your will.” If one is selfless, their mind is so broad that they could fit the heavens and earth.