Updated: Mar 20, 2021
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 the Buddha-Dharma, there’s a cultivational method called ‘Convenient Five-Vehicles Liberation method’. So what are the five vehicles? It’s the Human vehicle, Heavenly vehicle, vehicle of the Disciples, Pratyekabuddha vehicle and Bodhisattiva vehicle. Any one of these vehicles could help you attain Buddhahood, but it requires cultivation. These are the convenient five-vehicles liberation methods. That’s why Buddhahood must start from the Human Realm or Heavenly Realm. Some people may ask, “Since the worldly blessings in heaven is greater than in the Human Realm, why do the Bodhisattvas keep going to the Human Realm to save and spiritually awaken sentient beings there? Why don’t they stay in heaven to save the sentient beings there?” Let Master ask you, do happy people pray to the Bodhisattvas more or do people, who live a hard life, pray to the Bodhisattvas more? It will definitely be the latter. There’s a lot of suffering in the Human Realm while the sentient beings in heaven are too blessed, so it isn’t easy for them to reach Buddhahood.
The Sixth Patriarch once said, “The Buddha-Dharma is in the world; one is inseparable from the world to awaken. If one leaves the world to seek the Bodhi, it’s the same as looking for a rabbit with horns.” The first line means that people in the world are confused, and their thoughts are inverted; that’s why the Buddha-Dharma is in the world. Why is ‘one inseparable from the world to awaken’? Think about it; it’s because when you see people become lost and confused, would you begin to awaken. It’s because you haven’t left this confusing world, and that’s why you could feel this confusion, and from it, you awaken. If you leave this world, how could you awaken? Master asks you, if you didn’t suffer, would you think about cultivating your mind? If people can get everything they want every day, would they think of kowtowing and reciting sutras? That’s the principle; that’s why ‘one is inseparable from the world to awaken’.
If you separate yourself from the world and try to seek the path of Bodhi, then it’s the same as looking for a rabbit with horns – impossible. That’s why you won’t be able to become a Buddha or a Bodhisattva; that’s because there are no sentient beings for you to spiritually awaken. That’s why the Sixth Patriarch said, “The Buddha-Dharma is in the world; one is inseparable from the world to awaken. If one leaves the world to seek the Bodhi, it’s the same as looking for a rabbit with horns.” Now, do you understand it?
As a human, our physical body or presence is the fundamental component of being a Buddha. That’s why we can only succeed in our cultivation in the Human Realm. If you didn’t have a physical body, how could you attain Buddhahood? That’s why those who want to become a Buddha must come to the Human Realm. Why did Gautama Buddha come to the Human Realm? In reality, before he came to propagate Buddhism, He was already a Buddha in heaven. Guan Yin Bodhisattva was already a Bodhisattva of the Tenth Ground – a Buddha. She came to spread the seeds of compassion and was born as Princess Miao Shan. Jigong Bodhisattva was already a Buddha in heaven; why did he come to the Human Realm to manifest things for other sentient beings to see? That’s the principle. It’s very difficult to attain a human body; you must cherish it. Now that you own a human body, if you don’t borrow the fake and cultivate the real to become a Buddha, then that’s such a pity. Many sentient beings don’t possess a human body. Have you seen the video of the dog that extended its front legs and bowed before the Buddha? Have you seen the news of the cow who escaped from the slaughterhouse and ran to the nearby Buddhist temple, not willing to leave? It must have thought to itself, “Bodhisattvas, please save me, don’t let them kill me.” But there’s no choice. There was a video that went viral of a pig that knelt down and cried. If a person has been reborn as an animal, then they have no way to escape. That’s why it’s very difficult to attain a human body.
There is a saying called ‘it’s difficult for the rich and esteemed to learn Buddhism’. Why should they become monks? But it’s when they suddenly awaken when they lost everything; that’s when they are willing to become monks and bear with the hardships of cultivation. It’s only when they suffer that they think of improving themselves. Otherwise, they will never put in any effort. In India, there was a billionaire who donated all of his wealth and became a monk. Why did he do that? To become a monk is to discard all false-forms and make one feel that they truly have nothing left, and everything is empty. That way, their mind won’t harbour any mental hindrances, and they won’t be hindered.
To illustrate it with examples, when poor people divorce, they would go their separate ways very quickly. But when rich people divorce, they would constantly argue with each other about how their assets should be divided, and they won’t go their separate ways easily. Isn’t it just for that bit of wealth in the Human Realm? That’s why it’s difficult for the rich and esteemed to learn Buddhism. Because there is both happiness and suffering in the Human Realm, that’s why one thinks of cultivating. At times of hardships, we would think of cultivating and improving ourselves. At times of happiness, we would be grateful for the Bodhisattvas’ blessings and cultivate. If a person only eats honey all their life, would they know what sweetness is? They won’t. Only people who ate salty food before knows what sweetness is. Is that right? The Human Realm is filled with all sorts of joys and sorrows.
The Heavenly Realm is more blissful than the Human Realm; that’s why cultivation is difficult there. That is why Guan Yin Bodhisattva came to the Human Realm to spiritually awaken people. When Gautama Buddha came to the Human Realm, did you know how much hardships he experienced? When Guan Yin Bodhisattva came to the Human Realm, for the sake of manifesting compassion, when her father’s medicine lacked a certain medicinal ingredient, she sacrificed one eye for him out of filial piety because the doctor said that they needed it in order to create difficulties. When she passed away, she obtained another form that has a thousand eyes. When these Bodhisattvas descend, every one of their actions is to let us feel the compassion and mercy of the Bodhisattvas and feel how great the Buddha-Dharma is so that we can get out of the suffering of life and death. That’s why it’s very commendable when a rich person chooses to cultivate their mind. They would cultivate until when they are pure and free from the attachments of wealth and family. That way, when they pass away, they have no hindrances. So they have no pain.
At the time, Guan Yin Bodhisattva possessed thirty-two forms. She would transform to whatever form was appropriate to propagate the Dharma to the sentient being She wanted to awaken spiritually. For example, if you were a doctor, She would become a doctor. If you were a business person, then She would become a business person. No matter what form you are, She would become the appropriate form to awaken you spiritually. Aren’t people of the same profession become friends easier? Whereas a difference in the profession makes one feels like a world apart. Master works in the media industry, so he would have an easier time connecting with other people of the same profession easier. If Master propagates the Dharma, he would have an easier time connecting with others who propagate the Dharma. ‘Birds of the same feather flock together’. Today, we are all Buddhists, so we would be with other fellow Buddhists having food together, becoming friends and discussing Buddhism.
In the past, many young people at the radio station didn’t have much to say when they phoned their parents. Now that they are Buddhists, they would talk about Buddhism when they call their parents. “Mum, how many times did you recite that sutra?” Since they have similar interests, their bonds deepen. Learning Buddhism should be done in a group, where everybody shares the same interests. When Guan Yin Bodhisattva save us, She is also using the appropriate form to do so. Many daughters try to spiritually awaken their mothers, but in reality, it might be difficult for them to heed their words. But because the Bodhisattva resides within the daughter and makes her practise Buddhism, it influences her parents. So as a result, when the daughter propagates to them, they begin to recite sutras. In reality, Guan Yin Bodhisattva resided in the daughter’s body to let her spiritually awaken her parents. Many parents listen to their child. That’s the principle.