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.
When Master helps others, he feels that he gained and not suffered a loss. Whereas for ordinary people, the thought of helping others like buying food for others, treating others well etc., seems to be a kind of incidental expense. The people nowadays seek reciprocation. That is the difference of level of spirituality. When one hasn’t achieved a certain level of spirituality, when you help somebody, your mind becomes upset. That’s because, in the process of helping a guy, you would think, “Oh, I’ve done so much yet he still doesn’t understand me.” Then you would say to him out loud, “Hey, do you know that I’ve done everything for you for free?” and your distress shows on your face, right? You have to understand that helping others is to help oneself. Do you know what you gain from helping others? You will gain unlimited wisdom and further develop your potential of awakening.
Do you know how grateful others are when you help them? When you’re in need, a lot of people will come and help you. When Master teaches and makes you aware of this higher level of spirituality, you’ll find a path of compassion. It’s only when you understand the principles that this path will appear. If you don’t understand it, then this path would never appear, you understand? When people lose their jobs, they get depressed, what they don’t realise is that it implies that there might be a better job waiting for them. When many families are separated, they don’t know that it implies that an even better family is waiting for them. But, it also depends on whether you have any worldly blessings, whether you have any virtues, or whether you are cultivating faithfully. If so, then the Bodhisattvas will help resolve your problems.
The theories that you learnt and your level of spirituality must be consistent. In other words, if you have learnt a lot of Buddhist theories but your level of spirituality hasn’t reached the same stage, then you won’t learn well to become a Bodhisattva. Many people are busy learning theories and able to articulate well and explain the background of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas in detail and explain about this sutra and that sutra, but at the end of the day, what they learn are theories and not how to become a Buddha. When your level of spirituality hasn’t reached the level of Bodhisattva’s, then what use is there from learning? You must understand a principle when you learn Buddhism and learn to be a Bodhisattva - you must not simply learn the sutras but also their level of spirituality. That’s because the Buddhist theories only become applicable beyond a certain level of spirituality. What is spirituality?
Spirituality is invisible and intangible. It is founded upon the understanding of theories, and through the maturation of one’s thoughts, one can cultivate their mind to a certain level of spirituality. Take note; you must apply what you’ve learnt; if you don’t, then it’s the same as having not learnt it before. That’s why Feelingly-Realisation is very fine, just like a person’s feelings. Here’s an example; you have all experienced love before. When you like somebody, and that person is standing behind you, you would sense their breathing; you would feel that they’re looking at you from behind, that is the so-called ‘fineness’ that Master is talking about, you understand? It’s something that you feel. You could feel that when you are bowing before Guan Yin Bodhisattva, Guan Yin Bodhisattva is looking back at you, and you could feel that Guan Yin Bodhisattva cares about you. That is ‘Feelingly-Realisation’.
One must intensely feel the brightness within one’s mind. In other words, when a person is learning Buddhism and cultivating their mind, they will possess an intense brightness as they understand that only Guan Yin Bodhisattva could save their family. “I have faith that no matter what happens in our household, I must properly recite sutras, I must persevere.” That is a sign of brightness within their mind. If they don’t have this brightness, they would be disappointed and feel a sense of hopelessness, unable to know what to do next, and lose their goal in life. Afterwards, just like how you drive a car towards a cliff, and you see a sign at the front with the words ‘There are no more roads beyond this point’, if you decide to keep driving forward, then you will fall, you understand?
Buddhists must have a goal. One must feel that Guan Yin Bodhisattva cares about us. If you could feel an intense brightness within your mind and understand, then this is called ‘Awakenment-to-Spirituality’. When you are awakened to a level of spirituality, then you have gained that path. If you know how Bodhisattvas think, then you’re a Bodhisattva. Just like because you know what your child is thinking, you gain a very important factor in understanding your child. Just like how many mothers know what their child thinks as they have awakened to certain principles. For example, “I mustn’t act too aggressive nor overly strict to my son; it’s because his personality is like this and that.” As a result, you’re awakened to the principles and the Way, so you’ll forgive him and treat him nicely.
Feelingly-Realisation will change, whereas ‘Awakenment-to-Way’ isn’t prone to change. The feeling that you have when you recite sutras can change like sometimes you feel that you recited well, and at other times you might feel that you recited poorly. But ‘Awakenment-to-Way’ doesn’t change easily, so what is it? It’s a saying that means when you become awakened to a principle or a certain path and feel that it is a path that you’re prepared to see through because you think that it’s right, then it won’t change easily. Do you understand? Awakenment is to put the profound Buddhist theories into practice, to learn all the profound theories expounded by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and use it in your daily lives. It’s doesn’t mean anything if you could eloquently express it, the true test comes when you encounter a situation that would cause ordinary people to act impulsively.
Just like when you see your child throwing a tantrum when you return home, are you able to remain patient? Patience must come from within, and it comes from awakenment to the principles (about remaining patient). If you don’t, you’re unable to remain patient. If you haven’t awakened and you’re just forcing yourself to be patient, then you’ll just get sick in the end. Signs of heart disease and high blood pressure would appear. Master likes using real-life examples to illustrate. It’s also like when one is coughing, although they don’t want to cough and tries to hold it in, after a while, they can’t hold back anymore and coughs harder. It’s not something you can forcefully hold in, but you only did so because you didn’t understand the medical reasons and factors of the cause.
Behaving like a proper human being is like so. One must first understand the reasons why they must practise self-restraint for them to do so willfully. If not, and one is forced to do so, how could they manage? This is ‘awakenment’. Then, from one’s internal and external conditions, it would mutually guide one to ‘Verified-Awakenment’. In other words, as we learn Buddhism, learn to be a Bodhisattva and learn the Buddha-Dharma, there must be resonance between the internal and external. In other words, our outward behaviour and disposition must harmonise together. Like for example, if one looks humble, then they must truly be humble as well on the inside. Just look at how fake people act nowadays. On the surface, this person is smiling and says, “Hey, how are you? Long time no sees, I miss you…” Then after a brief moment, they quickly change their attitude. What it means is that their mind and behaviour are not consistent.
When you truly see somebody you like, one’s mind and behaviour must be consistent. For superficial matters, you might as well not do it. When Master talks about this, the people below might think, “Yes, I’m just as so. I don’t like him because I just don’t like him.” Master says, “Even if you don’t like him, you must still like him. That’s because he’s a sentient being. You must view sentient beings like our parents and our child, they are the world to us, and we are one of the countless sentient beings. Why don’t you like him? If you don’t like him, it means you are prejudiced; it means you haven’t learnt Buddhism properly, you understand?”
What is ‘Verified-Awakenment’? It means that it’s an awakenment that you’ve verified. For example, “I have verified that Master Lu’s Buddhist practice is great. I’ve awakened to the principles. I must properly study, properly cultivate, etc.” That is ‘Verified-Awakenment’. While ‘Awakenment-to-Way’ doesn’t come externally, internally, or anywhere else. What is it? For example, if you’ve pondered about something and in one moment, you thought that the cause was because of this reason, and then in another moment, you thought that the cause was because of that reason etc., then that is not an ‘Awakenment-to-Way’. It isn’t something that comes from anywhere. ‘Awakenment-to-Way’ is an awakenment to an eternal and unchanging principle and truth. For example, because Guan Yin Bodhisattva is eternally in the process of saving us after we start to recite sutras, the Bodhisattvas would become concerned of us. This is an eternal and unchanging truth, am I correct?
While we are going through our daily lives, one must understand the eternal and unchanging principles, they are ‘Formation-Existence-Destruction-Emptiness’, and ‘Birth-Old Age-Sickness-Death’. When you understand it, then you have possessed the absolute truth, that is ‘Awakenment-to-Way’. At the time when Gautama Buddha was still a prince, and from inside his carriage within the city walls, saw that the elderly suffered from starvation, illnesses and were close to death, Gautama Buddha was very sad. Buddha said, “I saw how pitiful those people were, so I resolved to find a path that would let people no longer die eternally. It’s because seeing them go through birth, old age, sickness and death had made me too sad.” As a result, Buddha found a path that could let people live eternally. Although the mortal body can die, the spirit will never die. Buddha had discovered the path that cultivates the spirit to transcend over life and death, that is the greatness of Buddha.
What does Master teach? He teaches you how to undertake a great venture, he teaches you about the principles that you must awaken to, and these principles are eternal, indestructible and unchanging. Could the process of ‘Birth-Old Age-Sickness-Death’ be changed? Could the process of ‘Formation-Existence-Destruction-Emptiness’ be changed? When you look at the elderly aunties and uncles, do they look like so when they were born? That’s why when one is still young, one must be mindful of when they become old. And when one is old, they must show concern of the young. The problem is that the older generation reminisces about the times when they were young and thought about how well they treated others. While the younger generation would think that the older generation is unfairly treating them. So, this generates conflicts. How could we bridge this gap? Just think, one has been busy constantly over one’s whole life and gained nothing. We come and go like the wind. Just look at how old you are now, your body is also in a bad shape, aren’t you sad? At night, when you’re sad and unable to sleep, you’ll realise that everything is fake.
‘Feelingly-Realisation’ must also manifest a feeling of harmony between the mind and body in one’s cultivation. There is a saying that ‘life is but a single breath’. When one strives for vindication, one’s breath becomes irregular and so develop anger. In the end, this person may abandon their path of vindication and it’s because they’re out of breath. In reality it is a kind of energy field. Isn’t happiness a kind of energy? Isn’t sadness a kind of energy? People live within an energy field, from the words of a fortune teller, they would say that people lives within a lifespan of energy. Energy has a lifespan. After energy has reached a certain point, it will disappear, and it will said to be ceased. Many astrologists in ancient China would help the emperor see the fortunes of kingdoms from the stars and say, “Emperor, this nation’s energy lifespan has ceased.” At the time, Empress Dowager Cixi said, “Our Qing dynasty’s energy lifespan has ceased.” The energy lifespan can change. For example, if you got angry because you thought somebody was criticising you, and then that person tells you, “I’m not about you, I was talking about how well you performed, you misunderstood.” “Oh, really?” Then your anger subsides and your energy field will change. Some people become happy because they thought they had won the lottery. But then when they notice that they got the numbers wrong, they become disappointed and their energy field changes immediately. That’s why this energy is very important.