V 11-49 Abstain from the Three Poisons and Act Wisely by Acting in Accordance with Conditions
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.
Cultivating Buddhists have two kinds of goal, which are long-term or short-term. Then, what is the long-term goal of cultivation? It’s for attaining Buddhahood. What is the short-term goal? It’s for helping us eliminate karmic obstructions and increase our worldly blessings and wisdom. It’s about taking back control of our life.
How does a Buddhist practise Buddhism without deviating? First, one must learn to feel unrestrained. They must enjoy practising it to feel unrestrained. Otherwise, you won’t feel free, and your mind would feel hindered. Take note; many people feel mentally shackled the longer they cultivate until a point where they don’t know where to place their feet or how they should speak. They feel as though they are being gossiped behind their back or being viewed with disdain. When their cultivation leads to a feeling of restraint, then their mind will gradually develop weird thoughts. What are these thoughts? “Why should I cultivate? Whose sake am I cultivating for? Why do I still have afflictions after cultivating?” In reality, they are sprouting out issues for themselves. It indicates that their mind is mentally obstructed.
When cultivators do that, and they can’t think right today and can’t think right tomorrow, it means they can’t control their thoughts. On the contrary, those who can control their thoughts could cultivate right. It’s because they feel indifferent about everything, “He’s cultivating, I’m also cultivating. If I cultivate badly, he will forgive me. If he cultivates badly, I will forgive him. It doesn’t matter; I’m cultivating anyway.” That way, you will feel free when cultivating.
If you regularly have hindered thoughts, your thoughts will develop more mental obstacles. Mental obstacles are more serious than hindered thoughts. For example, if a child was mentally hindered, then the most they have are clouded thoughts. But if a child was mentally blocked, then aren’t they considered disable? When your thoughts are blocked, then you will continually have dark thoughts and begin to become misguided. If one continually have dark thoughts, they would feel depressed, yet they don’t wish to speak it out. That way, it will disrupt their normal mental state of cultivation, and it would make them feel uncomfortable.
When you start to feel that you’re not cultivating will and you’re developing more afflictions, in reality, it means that your mental state of cultivation is being disrupted. An example of this is when you visit the Guan Yin Temple, and you don’t want to see anybody because you think they’re fake. Inner demons would fester your mind. Master regular tells others that if you see people as Bodhisattvas and are pleasing to the eye, then the Buddha resides in your mind. If you see people as demons or unpleasant, then the demon resides in your mind. Buddhists mustn’t view others as unpleasant. You must grit your teeth and continue to practise Buddhism properly.
Buddhists must kick the habit of developing the three poisons. What are the three poisons? They are greed, hatred and delusion. They are very powerful, and any one of them could ruin a person. It’s because somebody can’t think clearly about things that they do foolish things and end up in jail for the rest of their lives. When people see others are wealthier than them, they feel upset. “Why don’t I have money?” So some of them may end up selling drugs, then get caught and executed. Their life then ends. That’s why you must get rid of greed, hatred and delusion.
You must learn the ‘three teachings’ of observing precepts, concentration and developing wisdom. Observing precepts seem difficult at first, but it’s not compared to developing wisdom. Those who could observe precepts strictly, like not losing temper, not hating others, and not looking at others with disdain, would gradually develop concentration power. If you can’t concentrate, it means you haven’t observed precepts well. You can’t develop wisdom because you haven’t observed precepts, and you are filled with thoughts of hate. A person who could concentrate can smile no matter how much they are gossiped about or scolded. They would react kindly and feel no stress about it. “What’s there to be stressed about? Is the sky falling? Life is like a dream. I only have this much time in my life. Why should I make myself feel exhausted about these worldly desires and worldly defilements?”
First, to observe precepts, you must learn that one’s body, speech, and mind mustn’t go against one’s inherent nature. Your mouth shouldn’t be used for scolding, your body mustn’t do anything unwholesome, and your mind mustn’t develop unwholesome thoughts. Practising concentration is about remaining in the same mental state as one’s self-nature and inherent nature. What are they? It means that no matter what you encounter, you must calm down and use your conscience and inherent nature to react to it. Then you would definitely feel peace. To put it plainly, you must empathise with others and put yourself in their shoes. When you start to hate others or when your thoughts start to become clouded, you should think, “If I was him, would I feel the same way? Yes.” That way, you will understand them without going against your inherent nature. Because you are using your inherent nature to deal with everything that happens, that’s why it can stay steady. No matter what Buddhists encounter, they must use their conscience and inherent nature as their guard.
Act wisely by acting in accordance with conditions is very important. What does it mean? It means going things according to the will of others, don’t go against them, be indifferent, and your wisdom will develop. Then you won’t conflict with others. Look at those who are embroiled in litigation, marital and domestic disputes. It’s because they are not willing to be agreeable and always fighting; that’s why the outcome is a mess. People like them are foolish and lacks wisdom. The more foolish one is, the more hate they develop, which intensifies their foolishness. Everybody must understand these principles. Learn to let go and think broadly and clearly. Those who think others are stupid are stupid themselves. That’s why one must act wisely by acting in accordance with conditions. For example, if your boss likes doing something, you should do the same. Then it means you are wise. Why is that? It’s because those who go against the boss will be fired, but you remain. The boss knows you understand him, so he decides to let you stay. Isn’t this a kind of wisdom? That’s why one must act wisely by acting in accordance with conditions.
No matter how many laws there are in this world, they still can’t restrain those who want to commit crimes. No matter how many precepts there are in the Buddha-Dharma, they still can’t restain those who want to learn Buddhism and become wholesome. Are there many precepts? Very. Those who are afraid of learning have fled, but it still can’t restrain those who truly want to learn and practise Buddhism. If a person has enough confidence to practise Buddhism, they would still practise it no matter how difficult it is. That’s the principle. People who want to be wholesome are unafraid of the precepts. “I am learning Buddhism now. No matter how many precepts there are, I’m not afraid. That’s because I want to cultivate my mind. I want to learn from the Bodhisattvas. To do so, I must get rid of all my bad habitual behaviours. That’s why no matter how many rules and precepts there are, I’m not afraid.” Buddhist monks have over 200 precepts to observe. Master only have around a dozen precepts that he wants you to observe. Like sit properly when you sit, don’t laugh too loudly, don’t look at things that shouldn’t be looked at, don’t listen to things that shouldn't be heard, don’t think about things that shouldn’t be thought etc. Isn’t that all there is? Also, you should treat your seniors with respect, and you should be single-minded when practising Buddhism and recite more sutras. These are all precepts. No matter how many precepts there are, you must understand it can never restrain those who truly want to be wholesome and practise Buddhism.