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 expounds on the saying ‘a clear mind leads to the discovery of the true nature’. We constantly recite the phrase ‘a clear mind leads to the discovery of the true nature, and one’s cultivation in Buddhism shall reach fruition’. In other words, it means that you understand all truths about this world. Then, what do we understand about this world? Firstly, all substances have birth and cessation. Look at the property you’re living in. Although it’s built, one day, it will deteriorate. Or look at the car you’re currently driving or anything else you’re using; it will be destroyed one day. In Buddhist terms, it will return to emptiness. That’s why, at the end of our life, everything is like a dream. Secular people embroil themselves within fame and wealth and can’t get out. And they live in constant suffering because of it. Only those who practise Buddhism understands these principles, and so their mind is in a state of non-birth and non-cessation. That’s how their mind becomes indifferent and devoid of rights and wrongs.
One must clear their mind to discover the true nature, that is, to see through life and death. When you understand that when somebody died, but they haven’t truly died because their spirit still lives on, then you would be enlightened to the importance of cultivation. Many people cultivate halfway and still don’t fully understand its importance. The most important part of cultivation is to get you to become enlightened about the truth of life and death, which is that there is no life and death, so you see through it. Secondly, you must understand that karmic causes and karmic consequences are what induces a beginningless cycle of repeated birth and cessation. What is karma? It is the relationship of how one actions in any shape or form leads to an associated consequence. So how does it induce a beginningless cycle of repeated birth and cessation? It’s the concept of how you might have something today and lose it tomorrow. And then have it again and lose it again, and the cycle repeats. Just like in a household, a family might be in harmony one day and start to argue and fight each other on another day. That’s why negative karma follows us and doesn’t leave us.
Many people say that they don’t have any negative karma. That’s impossible. It follows your body closely and doesn’t leave you. If you are not a cultivator, then it will only accumulate. Why is it that many people’s health gets worse? It’s because they didn’t cultivate, so their negative karma increases. That’s why you must use the right mindset to view everything in the Human Realm conversely. What does that mean? If a lack of cultivation will cause negative karma to accumulate, then conversely, those who cultivate well will be able to decrease their levels of negative karma. That’s how one views it with the right mindset. If one’s mindset isn’t right, then they would think, “I’m not going to cultivate since my negative karma will increase anyways.” Just like when some people have to repay their mortgage; otherwise, the interest will increase. Since they think that they would never be able to repay it back, they neglect it, and the interest accumulates. That’s a negative mindset. That’s why one must repent their negative karma. Reciting sutras could eliminate a lot of negative karma, but one mustn’t create new karma. Then both one’s blessings and wisdom will increase.
You must take note that the higher the level of negative karma that one has, the less wisdom one possesses. When a person constantly argues or is depressed and hurt, they’ve already lost their wisdom, and they can’t think of any solutions. So how could you reduce your negative karma? The simplest method is to stay in control of your body, speech and mind. Don’t let your tongue, actions and thoughts create more negative karma. In other words, you know that you still have negative karma, so you can’t let it continue to grow too quickly. Otherwise, the Bodhisattvas and Dharma protectors won’t be able to bless you because you have too much negative karma that’s covering your wisdom-life. That’s why you must control it.
Master once said before that seeing, hearing and perceiving the things in the Human Realm is useless in the cultivation of Buddhism. Whether you know or don’t know about it is meaningless. Master asks you, when you are about to leave the Human Realm, there are still many things that you don’t know. Just like how there are still many countries that you’ve never been to. But you still have to die. That’s the principle. The countries that you’ve been to or not been to doesn’t have any effect on your life and death.
Buddhists must really cultivate to gain real wisdom. Don’t let your mind fluctuate too much. ‘Real cultivation’ means that you must do it thoroughly and sincerely. All cultivation will bring about the appropriate response. In other words, you will get whatever you cultivate. If you are a pure child, then pure and goods things will come to you. If you practise almsgivings like Dharma almsgiving, wealth almsgiving and fearless almsgiving, then you will also have other people give to you. That’s the ‘response’. If you are pure and your mind is like a Bodhisattva, then the Bodhisattvas would quickly sense your compassion and would use an even greater power of compassion to help you, so they respond. After they respond, they would disperse all impending calamities. Then that person would be free of calamities. What’s the meaning of dispersing? Originally, the person was destined to encounter a calamity, and they can’t escape from it. But subsequently, due to one’s efforts, the calamity is dispersed and its negative impact minimised. It’s that concept. In reality, destined calamities can’t be eliminated completely.
Buddhists must learn to control their emotions and have respect for their master and the Dharma. They must also be true to their vows and sincere.
The world is changing every day, so everything is impermanent. We must use wisdom to ‘make something out of nothing, turn something into nothing, transform one’s thoughts, and borrow the fake to cultivate the real’. In other words, although we have an inherent nature in the Human Realm, we don’t see it, and we’ve lost our sense of direction. So we must cultivate our real Buddha-nature in this defiled world. That’s the meaning of ‘making something out of nothing’.
The second line is ‘turn something into nothing’. That ‘something’ refers to the greed, hatred, delusion, arrogance and doubt that we have, and we must gradually get rid of it so that it turns to nothing. Develop a Bodhi mind to resolve the mind that bears hatred. ‘Transform one’s thoughts’ is about changing a negative and unwholesome thought into a positive and wholesome one. For example, if you’re upset, you must learn how to stop continuing to be upset and be happy again. Finally, what does ‘borrow the fake to cultivate the real’ mean? Our ‘fake’ temporary bodies only last around a decade, so we must borrow this body of ours to quickly do more wholesome and meritorious deeds and quickly learn Buddhism to become enlightened. If we didn’t have a physical body, then we would only be spiritual beings. Spiritual beings can’t do concrete things. Whereas if we have a physical body, we can do many concrete things.