Disclaimer: My translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation based on my understanding of his teachings. 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】. I am not an enlightened being like Master Lu, but I will treat his teachings with my utmost respect and do my best to convey and translate it to the best of my (limited) abilities for my friends and people who can’t read Chinese. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Today, Master will talk about realisation feelingly. In the past, I have briefly mentioned this before. It’s a Way of realisation; it’s how you realise a principle feelingly. It’s all theoretical when one reads the sutras. Everybody recites sutras every day, that’s all theory, although you understand its meaning and you know what it does, but do you know what its true purpose is? In reality, you haven’t put it into practice, you haven’t gone to comprehend feelingly, you only recite sutras, and you haven’t applied it in your everyday lives. In other words, every Wednesday you come and listen to Master’s class, then when you return home, you don’t apply what Master taught about the Buddha-Dharma into your everyday lives. In other words, you haven’t realised feelingly; you haven’t truly received the Buddhist classics. If you don’t apply it in your cultivation, then the Buddhist classics to you are nothing but an illusion.
The principle is simple; the Buddhist sutras had been passed down for thousands of years. If they were all stored at the Tripitaka library, and nobody goes to take it, nor recite it, then you will never realise feelingly about it, and you won’t know what’s the purpose of the sutras, and you won’t know how it can be applied in your everyday lives. Then it’s just like admiring a great writer’s literature works; you might just read it superficially and then put it to one side. If you act like that, how can you benefit from it? Many people like to read many books about cultures or information or novels and absorb what they read. Master hopes that things that occur in novels don’t appear in a person’s actual life. At the same time, people also learn a lot from listening to others, while there are people who constantly chatter meaninglessly. When you ask them what they talked about, they can’t remember and have forgotten about. There wasn’t concrete or real experience.
That’s why those who truly know how to learn and great listeners, they listen and observe what others say and do, and from it, they assimilate all the beneficial things from others. Why is this person able to forbear? And why does that person throw a tantrum immediately they get agitated? Why is a person like this and why is that person like that? You can assimilate a lot from observation. You attend Master’s lesson every Wednesday, and after you listened and returned home, you’re back to your normal state, you get angry when you’re angry, you become sad when you’re sad. Then what uses are there for going to class? You must keep everything you learnt to heart; you must use action and practise what you’ve learnt. No matter how many sutras you learn and memorise, and recite ‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’, if you continue to do unwholesome deeds, then would the sutras still be efficacious? That’s impossible.
‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ is for the people who are ignorant about the unwholesome deed that they had done, only when they are in that state, would reciting ‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ be effective. It’s because you don’t know what you’re committing is a sin, so reciting Great Repentance can resolve that negative karma. Do you think that reciting Great Repentance today and then go rob a bank tomorrow is going to help your negative karma be resolved? What kind of nonsense is that?
You must realise feelingly about what you’re doing. If you don’t, then your sin isn’t that great, as the saying goes, ‘Ignorance can be forgiven’. It’s that principle. But if you know something is unwholesome, for example, when you know that you’re boasting, you say to Guan Yin Bodhisattva, “Guan Yin Bodhisattva, I’m reciting Great Repentance now,” do you think that it’s going to work? Reciting ‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ will not eliminate the negative karma of the wrongdoings that you are already aware that’s unwholesome. Don’t think by repeating the same mistakes over and over again, would Great Repentance work. Like robbing a bank today, reciting Great Repentance tomorrow, rob somebody else and recite Great Repentance again, what kind of thinking is that? That’s delusional thinking.
‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ is about repenting for the wrongdoing you’ve committed in the previous life and the past and resolve the negative karma created from it. It doesn’t mean that future wrongdoings and unwholesome deeds can be repented and have the negative karma resolved, that won’t happen. Master gives another example; when you use a pencil to write on a new piece of white paper and use a piece of rubber to rub out the lead, the paper still looks clean. But when you write for the second and third time, when you rub the lead away, how would this piece of paper look?
Would this piece of paper still look like what it originally looked? That’s why reciting ‘Eighty-eight Buddhas Great Repentance’ must be sincere, when you recite it, you must feel regretful and hurt and feel that you mustn’t repeat it now that you are aware and wish for Guan Yin Bodhisattva to offer them solace. Only by doing so, would it be efficacious. It’s not a medical patch, where when you’re hurt, you apply the patch on it, then tomorrow you get hurt again and apply another patch. Then get into another accident and get hurt every day, it’s because eventually, the medical patch would be ineffective. The principle is the same.
The people nowadays are like that. Today they do something wrong and think that reciting sutras will eliminate the negative karma from it, and then repeat the wrongdoing the next day. Do you know? That’s a crime. For example, when you do something wrong and get arrested, the person might say, “Because you are a first-time offender, I won’t punish you nor fine you today.” When you return home, you should recall the past pain and let it serve as a warning for the future. But instead, after a few days, you commit the wrongdoing again. This time, when you’re arrested, sorry, you’ll be fined and jailed. That’s why you must understand this principle. When you learn Buddhism, you must apply its teachings in your everyday life. If you learned Buddhism for a long period, but you don’t apply it, then that’s an illusion, it’s empty, it’s something created from distracting thoughts, it’s not real, and it won’t be able to resolve any problems.
When you use the Buddhist classics to cultivate Buddhism, if you cultivate wholeheartedly, you will develop a kind of sensation, that is realisation feelingly. In other words, when you properly recite sutras and cultivate the mind, that’s akin to applying the teachings of the Buddhist classics and the Buddha-Bodhisattvas, you’ll develop a kind of wondrous sensation, that’s realisation feelingly. When you enter this kind of state, the sutras that you recite become efficacious. For example, after you’ve recited the sutra, you can feel a change, your mind is clearer, so you’ve benefited, you no longer feel upset.
Humans are composed of two components; one is their physical body and the other is their spirit or soul. No matter how healthy a person is, if their spirit is dead, then they want to commit suicide. In other words, a good body to them is meaningless. If a person is weak, but they possess a strong spirit (strong-willed), then they can be victorious even against cancer, other physical illnesses and all other sufferings that they experience in the world. In other words, the spirit conquers the physical body. That’s why one must cultivate both mind and body. One must use their physical body to perform wholesome deeds and help others in whatever way they can; then they’ll benefit. One should also use their spirit to awaken others and guide others etc. spiritually. Once you see and become aware of something, you can ultimately feel and realise it. Before you recited sutras, you were upset. Then after reciting, if your mind becomes clear, it means you have sensed a transformation. “Oh, I should let go, then I’ll be happier and won’t become afflicted.” If you undergo this change, it means you’ve improved.
Next, Master will talk about sensations, and there are many. Some are not good, take impetuousness for example. When somebody is impetuous, they regularly say things like, “Oh, what should I do about this? Oh, I’ve already invested my money into that. Oh, what will happen if I don’t do this thing well?” That’s impetuousness. There are also sensations of peace, calmness, security, happiness etc. When you feel secure, you are secured. When you feel happy, you are happy wherever you go. When a person is plagued by afflictions, they are afflicted. When your mind isn’t clear, then, in reality, you are a person with a mental health problem. All phenomenon in this world is all created by affinities and conditions.
It’s because you’re unable to see the absolute truth of life, that’s why you wonder why you are the way you are. Don’t ask why, there is no why in this world, only affinities. Only unreasonable people will wonder why somebody took advantage of them? Why do they treat that person well when that person treats them unwell? There is no why. When you do realise why, you’re already two feet in the grave. There are also people who don’t know why even when they die. Master just explained about sensations; in reality, it’s a kind of experience, where you sense the thing that you receive. That’s why one must cultivate the mind until one experiences it, and the experience enters deep into one’s mind. In other words, one must cultivate until they can become happy constantly and devoid of afflictions.
For example, when you went to Master’s class, you had many afflictions in your mind. After the class, if you become happy, it means your experience has entered into your mind. Here’s another example, if you came to class and then dozed off, after you wake up, you’ll feel drowsy. This also enters into your eighth consciousness and your mind. When you feel drowsy, you’ll also continue to feel drowsy after you return home. When you feel very happy, you have benefitted, you know you can use the Buddha-Dharma to help resolve your difficulties. So you continue to retain this feeling back home; in reality, it has been retained inside your mind and not lost. But then, how long can this feeling last for inside your mind? Just like perfume, a spray of high-quality perfume smells concentrated, and the fragrance lasts for a long time, while low-quality perfume smells weak no matter how much you spray, and you can no longer smell it after you exit the house.
Whether you can keep what Master teaches to heart is most important. Some people sit in the class whose mind fly off somewhere else. If your mind can receive the learning of the Buddhist scriptures and allow it to give guidance to your life, your mind will open up. How so? When one is happy, their mind is opened up. Would people who lock their eyebrows and entangled in afflictions be happy? Their mind is closed and can’t be opened; they become constantly depressed. Why do children nowadays get depression? It’s due to the influence of their family from a very tender age. When their parents are unhappy and constantly quarrel, how could the child not be depressed? When they become older, they would think what’s there to be hopeful about in life, and their personalities deviate to one of two extremes. One is where they lose their temper and breaking things when they’re agitated, and the other is depression.
Take note, Master’s not saying that the existence of something can change you, but to teach you how to change your mindset, change your thoughts and how to feel the energy of the Bodhisattvas. After you recite sutras and your thoughts have changed, it means that your thought has moved to the direction of the Bodhisattva’s thoughts. It’s because when you feel that the Buddha-Bodhisattvas are saving you, you become happy, then you are awakened to a level of spiritual and Way. Here’s a simple example; many scientists and researchers drill into a subject intensively. They can study a single topic for 365 days a year and unable to come out of it. Then one day, they finally understand and succeed, would you be able to feel the joy that they experienced? They have reached a certain mindset; they had invented something so only they would be happy. If you don’t learn Buddhism, how would you be happy? You haven’t reached the level of spirituality of a Bodhisattva. You think that you’re only giving by helping others, you don’t feel that by helping others, you are gaining.