V 11-50 One must mention about Virtues in Cultivation 修心要讲德 学佛要讲本性
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.
One should act in accordance with their conscience and virtues. As long as you think that it’s the right and wholesome thing to do, you should do it. You should get rid of your bias and biased thoughts like, “That’s what I think it is. I don’t buy it. I’m not going to accept it.” Aren’t that signs of attachment? No matter how you don’t accept it, what’s passed is passed. When it’s passed, it’s gone.
Master tells you a story. There was a man holding on to a very valuable antique base walking down the street. Suddenly, it was accidentally knocked over, and it shattered. The man ignored it and just kept walking as if nothing had happened. People around him whispered, “What a shame. Such an exquisite item had been destroyed.” Others scolded him, “That man’s crazy.” Some even went up to him and said, “Your antique broke; why are you ignoring it?” Do you know how that man replied? He said, “The things have already shattered. Since it’s shattered, it’s no longer valuable, so why should I keep thinking about it? Would you still stay upset and pick up the broken pieces?” You see, if it’s gone, then you should get rid of it from your mind. Things that’s passed is passed, it’s finished, it’s gone. If you keep being mentally attached to it, it would only increase your afflictions.
Now comes the main topic in this chapter. It’s already mentioned before; one must first get rid of their bias when learning Buddhism. Although the Buddha-Dharma is the same for everybody, why do some cultivators achieve Buddhahood while others seem like they’re possessed? Those who are possessed by their inner demons all have an emulative character. People who are very emulative are very likely to be possessed by their inner demons.
“I must become like that. I’ve lost face. I’m a leader, but others don’t treat me as the leader and are looking down on me.” Take note; emulative people are very susceptible to being possessed by their inner demons. Do you understand? An emulative mind isn’t considered bad, but it will turn into an attachment if it's too much. They become too attached to their ego. If an emulative person uses their competitiveness in cultivating and spiritually awakening other sentient beings far and wide, this kind of person will receive boundless merit-virtues.
Why do emulative people improve so much in the beginning when they just started to practise Buddhism? It’s because they work very hard out of a competitive mindset, so they could abandon a lot of things to awaken sentient beings spiritually. But then, why do they become possessed by their inner demons? In the beginning, a competitive mindset isn’t bad. They indeed do many meritorious and virtuous deeds, but after they are put on a pedestal where everybody compliments them, they begin to grow arrogant and look down on others. They think that they’re amazing and they’ve cultivated very well. They think that they’re well-known and popular, so they begin to lose themselves. They think that they’re already a Bodhisattva, and they already feel proud when they take other people’s calls.
After a while, when they see anybody doing better than them, they begin to grow jealous and can’t tolerate how others have exceeded them. “I’m upset if you’re better than me. You can’t be better than me. You can only be worse." These are the principles of how somebody could end up possessed by their inner demons after cultivating for a period. They always feel that they have the most wisdom. So when they see others exceed them, they develop thoughts like, “I cultivated correctly, my way is right. They are wrong. Even if they do a few meritorious deeds, what does that matter? When I did it, he wasn’t even here.” So they feel sour when they see other people’s successes. When they see others well, they get upset. Take note, that is how people start to become possessed by their inner demons.
A good cultivator always remains happy regardless of who cultivates well. If they see others exceeding them, they would say happily, “You’re so good! I must learn from you; I’m happy for you.” Do you understand? Bad cultivators seek satisfaction at other people’s expense and like to badmouth others behind their back. How does that count as cultivating? Who does he think he is? When I started cultivating, he wasn’t even around! In the past, it was me who led others to kowtow together when Master wasn’t here. Why does he think he has the right to kneel on the main prayer rug? In the past, it was me who was the first to light the incense…etc. If Buddhists badmouth others doing better than them, then it means they are not far from being possessed by their inner demons. Buddhists mustn’t badmouth others.
When some people see Master coming over, they would immediately say, “Let me move the chairs.” When Master leaves the room, they immediately say, “You go and move the chairs.” Do these kinds of things happen? Definitely, 100%. That’s the prelude to being possessed by their inner demons. That also includes when people grow jealous of others or start to badmouth others. They are already living as if they’re in the Asura Realm. The sentient beings of Asura Realm are jealous of others easily.
In the past, when we go out and take photos, some people are good at it. When they see others taking photos, they would say, “Why don’t you let me take the photos? Look at how bad you’re doing it.” Buddhists must control and manage their every single deviated and distracting thought. We mustn’t pick on other people’s shortcomings and attack others. That’s because Buddhists are already developing the foundations of becoming a Bodhisattva. Buddhists should be strict towards themselves. If you badmouth others, you will increase your negative karma. That’s why if you’re attacking somebody who is already learning Buddhism or sowing discord between fellow Buddhists, then you are already walking on a path of evil.
You shouldn’t attack others. You have to understand that they must have put in a lot of effort and made sacrifices in order to attain their current level of success. If somebody stays unmoved when they look at others of the opposite sex, they must have suffered before. That’s why they don’t dare to be attracted. Why do some women say that they will never date again? That’s because they married and divorced a few times before, so they think that there’s not a single good man out there. They suffered badly, so they don’t dare to get into a relationship again. Why do some men say they won’t date other women? It’s because they suffered before. Everybody always has at least one aspect of theirs that they want to change. That’s why if somebody succeeds, they must have put in work. So don’t be jealous of others. Today, why is he the boss and not you? Why is he the manager? It’s because he had put in a lot of work and made sacrifices.
In this world, as long as you identify yourself as a cultivator, it implies that you’re imperfect. That’s because you are currently cultivating and improving yourself. Nothing is perfect in this world, so how could there be a perfect human? So if you complain about other cultivators, aren’t you acting crazy? You clearly know that nobody’s perfect, yet you continue to complain about him and her. Humans are inherently imperfect, so why complain about them?
As long as you say that you’re learning Buddhism, it definitely implies that you’re imperfect. Some people go to monasteries and complain about how some Buddhist monks still have greed, hatred and delusion. If you say it, then you are committing deeds of unwholesome speech. People are inherently imperfect because they haven’t cultivated well. If you see Buddhist monks that way and you begin to feel afflicted and lose confidence in the Buddha-Dharma, then it means your inner demons have obstructed your mind. Some Buddhists learn very well, yet they still develop bias and like to pick on other people’s shortcomings. Even though they might have sufficient reason, but in the end, they can’t attain Buddhahood that way. They will only gradually become possessed by their inner demons.