V 11-22 A Forbearing Mind starts from Zen Concentration 忍辱心 是禅定的开始
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.
A person who is practising Buddhism and has matured must grasp on a sense of justification. This ‘justification’ isn’t something that one uses to explain themselves or put into action, but it’s something that resides in an honest person’s mind. When a person feels that they are justified mentally, then they’re willing to be patient. A person who is patient will never be unsuccessful with what they want to achieve. If a person is still impatient, it means that they still haven’t grasped a true understanding of the Buddha-Dharma. In other words, the Buddha-Dharma can’t blend with their mind. That’s why when the Bodhisattvas expounded about the ‘six paramitas’, they especially emphasised two points. One is the act of giving, and the other is the act of forbearance. When a person is willing to give, then they would possess a mind of forbearance. If a person could remain patient and forbearing, then their mind will gain completeness. That’s why the key to the success of cultivating the mind lies with forbearance. A person’s patience is limited. We regularly hear others say, “My patience is limited.” Master shall now categorise forbearance as three different kinds.
The first kind of forbearance is forbearing intentional harm when somebody intentionally harms you. They know that they’re hurting you and you also know, and you forbear with it. No matter how much humiliation they’ve caused you, your mind is still peaceful. That’s because you know that the sky will eventually clear after stormy weather. All you have to do is be patient for a moment or period, and it will pass. That’s why when your mind is peaceful, your mind will gain a Buddha-treasure that will help you succeed in the cultivation of Buddhism. Those who could forbear is equivalent to somebody who possesses a Buddha-treasure, and this treasure could help them be successful. So it’s a kind of worldly blessing.
The second kind of forbearance is forbearing with natural changes. For example, somebody is afraid of the heat. When it gets too hot, they become irritable. If a person’s mood changes according to the weather, then it means that person can’t forbear or lacks patience. For example, if a person was very happy at the start of a party, but then the sky starts to darken, or if they experience hunger or thirst or natural disasters and then can’t forbear with it, then it will cause them great harm.
One must be patient when they’re cultivating their mind and practising Buddhism, that’s the third kind of forbearance. Those who have recently started to practise Buddhism may not experience Dharma-joy immediately, and their efforts not yet bear fruit. That’s because cultivation is hard. When a person has recently started cultivating, they lack forbearance because they feel that it’s hard and bitter. To illustrate this with an example, when a monk has just arrived at a monastery, they would have resentments. “Why do I have to wake up so early in the morning? Why must I sweep the floor and chop wood?” If they want to gain the Buddha-Dharma, then they will forbear with it all.
Because cultivation is very hard and bitter, it’s only when one gets on the right track would they gradually feel that it’s no longer bitter but sweet. To illustrate this with an example, when you are sitting in one of Master’s lectures, you don’t feel that it’s hard. Why is that? That’s because when you’re sitting there and listening, your mind and brain are at peace. You are gradually learning a lot of things, and at the same time, you are oblivious to any changes in the external environment. When you are not affected by external afflictions for a long period, you feel a kind of sweetness and Dharma bliss. That’s when somebody has recently started to learn Buddhism; they feel that it’s very hard. They could be thinking of things like, “I’m really unhappy. Originally I could go out and have fun, why do I have to be here? Originally I have a lot of time to indulge in good food and the joys of life, why do I have to learn Buddhism?” These kinds of Buddhists would not have any Dharma bliss. That’s why the third kind of forbearance is the forbearance required to cultivate one’s mind and practise Buddhism. Regardless of whether one finds their own path after practising Buddhism, they must gain Dharma bliss for themselves.
To illustrate it with an example, today, you want to go to Canberra, but you don’t know the way to get there. You kept driving round and round and wasted a lot of time. But when you have found the main road to get there, you would keep driving along with it. There are no more obstacles, and you keep driving forward, and you’re happy about it. Practising Buddhism is the same. We constantly change, sometimes we learn this very well, sometimes we learn that very well, then after learning for a period, we start to procrastinate. One moment obstacles come, and you’re unhappy when you were talked about behind your back. Then in one moment, you become tired after reciting a lot of sutras, and then you feel lost. That’s why when you have found your path; you must properly learn. If you could utilise these three kinds of forbearance, then you would gradually be able to liberate yourself from the sea of suffering. If a person could forbear with other people’s harm and humiliation towards them and could forbear with the natural changes around them like the weather, hunger, thirst, natural disasters, and could also forbear with their cultivation and practise of Buddhism, then they would gradually develop the ‘non-birth forbearance of Dharma’. It means that they don’t develop a feeling of needing to forbear.
Whether a person is successful in their practice of Buddhism depends on their wholesome roots and worldly blessings. If you can learn and practise the Buddha-Dharma, then it means that you certainly have wholesome roots. If you are willing to learn and practise the Buddha-Dharma, then it means that you certainly have worldly blessings. In the Buddha-Dharma, there’s a phrase called ‘Sufficient with worldly blessings and karmic affinities’. In other words, if you are a blessed individual, and you are morally upright, then you will understand the Buddha-Dharma. It’s because you have the karmic affinities, that’s why you possess the foundation of learning and practising Buddhism. To illustrate this, many blessed individuals are very wealthy, but they don’t recite sutras. Also, many morally upright individuals don’t learn Buddhism. That’s because they don’t possess the right karmic affinities, that’s why they can’t encounter the Buddha-Dharma, or if they do, they don’t want to learn. So they would be expending their life. They would occasionally do a few good deeds, and then gradually use up their wholesome karmic rewards. They don’t have the karmic affinity to learn the Buddha-Dharma. That’s why if you have wholesome roots and worldly blessings, then you will definitely receive blessings to be able to learn and practise the Buddha-Dharma.
In Buddhism, there is no saying of gain or loss. That’s because Buddhists understand that they hadn’t brought anything with them when they were born, so they won’t lose anything when they die. You can’t take anything with you in death. So there is no gain and no loss. We have nothing. The Bodhisattvas frequently reveal things for us and help us. Their sutras frequently provide guidance for us. It is us who’s unwilling to accept their guidance. The Bodhisattvas expound that we must be magnanimous, compassionate, mellow and have a sense of propriety. These are what the Bodhisattvas said to us, but why do we still make mistakes? That’s because we don’t put their words to heart.
Master tells you, Guan Yin Citta is Guan Yin Bodhisattva’s Dharma door. What it teaches us is how to transform one’s mind. It’s because our mind has been corrupted by material desires and worldly defilements. It because our pure-hearted and kind-hearted mind from our youth has changed into a mind of greed, hatred, foolishness, jealously and insatiable desires. In reality, the Bodhisattvas tell us to use our greatest patience to change our corrupted mind. If a person lacks the patience to reform themselves, then they will never succeed. Think about it, if a person wants to be successful but they lack patience, would they succeed? Patience is, in fact, a concentrative state of mind. In the Buddha-Dharma’s terms, patience is zen-concentration. Because you have the power of concentration, that’s why you have patience. Why do some people panic when they encounter something unfavourable while some people could still remain steady? That’s because some people have a mind of zen-concentration while some don’t. Where does it come from? Those who have it comes from their determination to practise the spirituality level of the Bodhisattvas/ When one’s level of spirituality is high, then they would possess zen-concentration.
To illustrate this with an example, if a person isn’t greedy, then they would think, “What I embezzle is destined not to be mine. If I take it, it might cost me dearly, so I won’t. What’s destined to be mine will be mine eventually. What’s not destined to be mine will never be mine.” That’s a kind of spirituality. If somebody thinks that way, they won’t compete with others. So even if they lack something materially, they would still be very happy mentally and spiritually because they minimise their worldly joys. Think about it, drinking, smoking, playing about are all worldly joys. These kinds of joys will never give you a long-term sense of happiness. When a person is very depressed, they would go and have a few drinks. It might relieve their sorry for a short while, but then they will worry even more afterwards. When a person drinks and dines with others, they say what they want, and they feel free. But afterwards, when they’re sober, they might regret what they said while they’re still drunk and it might have created a lot of problems for them afterwards. Think about it, how many times do people say the wrong things when they’re drunk? When somebody has promised you something whether you were all drinking, they may forget about it when they've woken up. In the end, it only gives you more stress and harm.