V 11-20 Real Cultivation only occurs when the Mind has no Hindrances 心无罣碍 才是真修
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.
Buddhists shouldn’t, at one point, act fervently towards the Buddha-Dharma and then at another point, be sceptical towards it. For example, in the beginning, when somebody had recently encountered Buddhism and started to propagate, they suddenly feel how great the Bodhisattvas are and cry out and say, “I’ve finally found a treasure.” But then when they start to develop some obstacles within their mind, that start to slander the Buddha-Dharma, or slack in their cultivation or even abandoning it. That could be compared to mood swings, in one day, you’re happy, then the next day, you’re sad, then the next day, you’re giggling again. It makes you unpredictable, and you are like the tall grass that sways in whatever the direction the wind blows. That’s why Buddhists shouldn’t be very happy one day and feel that the world is beautiful, but then in another day, you become extremely sad and feel that the world can’t be saved.
Many people live their lives in this polarising state. Sometimes, they have a good dream and view it as an encouragement. Then suddenly, they feel like tormenting themselves by constantly criticising themselves internally. No matter what happens, major or minor, they only think about what they want to pursue. “I’ll be happy if I buy a big house.” “I’ll be happy if my child could attend a prestigious university.” “If my wish comes true, it doesn’t matter if I die.” Humans are constantly living and dying within these kinds of desires. They let themselves experience sadness, anger, depression, doubts, unrest, yet they don’t know how to change their mind into a Buddha-mind.
Some Buddhists recently started reciting sutras and feel that they are incredible and could feel themselves becoming enlightened. They think that they are the Buddha or Bodhisattva reborn, and feel that they could control the universe. Don’t say that there aren’t these kinds of people, these kinds of people are everywhere. When you give them a chance, they get swallowed up by their pride and look down others. They would also adulterate their thoughts with various worldly desires for fame and wealth. In reality, their mind has already neglected the precepts. They have already started to experience auditory and visual hallucinations. What are auditory and visual hallucinations? It’s when one hears or sees something imaginary and think that it’s real, but in reality, it’s not real. You see everybody pursuing wealth, and so you do the same. In the end, all of them met an unfortunate end, and you also follow. Everybody around you is buying shares, so you also do the same using a lot of your money. In the end, the share price tanked. Others still had plenty of money left, but you have none left, so you go and commit suicide.
Deviations could happen anywhere, and when a deviation occurs in the mind, and one have thoughts if wanting this and that and those thoughts are related to the spiritual world, the spirits will look for them. For example, thought like, “I don’t want to live anymore, I want to go to heaven,” or “Why is life so difficult, is there a way for me to make money?” If any spiritual beings hear that, then they will occupy your body. That’s because you have a request, so they have come to answer it. That isn’t the same as Bodhisattvas answering prayers. It is your inner demon that’s starting to occupy your mind and body. One shouldn’t think that because they have made a lot of mistakes, they should continue to act recklessly, ignorantly and foolishly. Proper students should transcend the mundane and enter a sage state. In other words, one should abandon all afflictions and things that move one’s mind and transcend it to enter a thought process of a sage. In reality, it’s to enter a Bodhisattva’s thought process. That’s why proper students and disciples should follow Master step by step to properly practise Buddhism and cultivate their mind.
A mind that doesn’t develop delusional thoughts is pure. In other words, when a person doesn’t think about something that they could never gain, then their mind is pure. All of their thoughts that arise are of a Bodhisattva’s, and they could be fair, selfless and compassionate without any mental obstacles or hindrances. Only this kind of person doesn’t have any greed, hatred or delusion, and be in a state akin to a lotus flower – pure, flawless and innocent. Think about people nowadays, are their minds innocent? Males, females and children constantly like to deceive others. They don’t tell what they truly feel of the truth but say whatever is convenient for them. They have to bear with their inner turmoil whilst externally, while they constantly create sources of suffering for themselves. These kinds of people are foolish and ignorant.
Master wants you to understand about the last texts of the Heart Sutra ‘jie di jie di, bo luo jie di, bo luo seng jie di, pu tis a po he’. The meaning is ‘Oh Bodhisattva, oh Bodhisattva, one who possess great wisdom shall reach the other shore’. In other words, only when we possess the Bodhisattva’s wisdom could we use it to enter into the Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality and reach the other shore. Only when one possesses that wisdom could you be free. To illustrate this using an example, imagine yourself driving back home from work, and you want to get there earlier. You have your freedom, while others have their freedom. If you drive on the road freely while neglecting about other cars or the traffic light signal, then you would reach your destination slower than usual or even get into a car crash. Is that right? If you want to freely come and go, shouldn’t you uphold some disciplinary rules in your mind in order to drive freely? True freedom is the freedom after upholding some disciplinary rules, and not the freedom where you could do whatever you like. Otherwise, not only do you not get the freedom you want, it may also cause additional problems. That’s why you must practise Buddhism while abiding by reason and the laws. That way, you could come and go freely.
Everybody is putting a lot of effort into cultivating their mind. If you don’t, could you go to heaven and freely come and go? It seems like it came, yet it also seems like it’s gone, it’s called the Thus Come One. You must know your mind; it mustn’t have obstacles. “I must be sincere towards others and not harm them. Otherwise, I would be very upset. I must be able to remain in good conscience when doing anything. I won’t owe you nor harm you.” That’s a mind with no obstacles. How did your mind develop obstacles? It’s because you wanted to take advantage of others. If you never thought nor want to take advantage of others, then you would be able to converse with others freely. If one day, you befriended somebody because you wanted to gain something from them, then you won’t be able to articulate yourself clearly because you would be shy to state your true aim. People must learn to free themselves from mental hindrances. The Heart Sutra states so, to be free is to first possess a mind with no hindrances.
What is life? Many people may say that it’s like a dream. But Master disagrees with that saying. Life is not a dream, but a place where we wander between dream and awakenment. In the dream, you must create a good, kind-hearted and compassionate environment. When you wake from your dream, that's when you could return to your home. What is the purpose of a lifespan? Many people say that one’s lifespan is to witness the change of eras and dynasties. Recently, a person who was born in the year 1921 passed away. He experienced the Qing dynasty, the Republic of China and up to the present times. He has witnessed many changes to power, but in his lifespan, he has only seen the conflicts and attachments of the Human Realm. While what is the true purpose of our lifespan? It’s to serve other sentient beings and learn to live for them like our great Gautama Buddha. He had devoted his whole life for other sentient beings and help them find a way to liberate from suffering. That is the Buddha-Dharma that he had left with us that we are still benefitting from to this day.