V 3-12 Cultivating the Wisdom of the Bodhisattva Realm 修菩萨界的智慧
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
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 explain about the Bodhisattva realm in detail, and explain each line that originates from the Bodhisattva realm to you. Bodhisattvas could enter into an extremely deep state of concentrative meditation. In other words, when they enter into an exceptionally high level of spirituality, there are completely and entirely concentrated. It is a level of spirituality that surpasses the level of spirituality found in Bodhisattvas of the First Ground. Dhyana concentration isn’t a typical cultivation practice. Dhyana concentration is concentration with wisdom. The cultivational practice is about knowing how to cultivate and how to practise.
One must use the Buddha-Dharma’s wisdom of ‘Encounter-Contemplation-Cultivation’ as the foundation; one must learn Buddha’s highest level of spirituality, and use the highest level of the Buddha-Dharma to reflect upon one’s cultivation. The wisdom of ‘Encounter-Contemplation-Cultivation’ is to use one’s encounter and contemplation to cultivate one’s base of wisdom. It’s to use the Buddha-Dharma’s most basic principles as the foundation of cultivating the mind. If one accumulates all the resources of blessings and virtues and is prepared to benefit sentient beings far and wide, then one’s mind has already reached the same level as a Bodhisattva. Why should one still undertake this course of action? It’s because you’re already a Bodhisattva, you can choose not to descend, save and spiritually awaken sentient beings. But because your mind has already reached a very high level of spirituality of a Bodhisattva, the identity of a Bodhisattva is no longer what they think about, nor concerned of. All they care about is to save sentient beings. Just like how before we go on a rescue mission, we prepare all the equipment and tools to do so, thus we ‘accumulate all the resources of blessings and virtues to prepare ourselves for benefitting sentient beings far and wide’.
When Master descended from the realms of the Buddha-Bodhisattvas to save and spiritually awaken sentient beings, Master must be mentally prepared. He must prepare how he will cultivate when he arrives in the human realm, how he must forbear, how he can overcome difficult situations, and have mercy and pity towards sentient beings. After Master has arrived in the human realm, he has experienced an uncountable number of hardships that have led him to experience the impermanence of life at a tender age. Once we’re in the human realm, we must be mentally prepared and have all the resources prepared; in other words, we must possess energy. To accumulate all the resources of blessings and virtues to prepare ourselves for benefitting sentient beings far and wide is to take the Bodhisattvas’ presents and gift it to sentient beings. What kind of present is it? It’s the blessings and virtues that we give to sentient beings. What Master brings are things that can help everybody enjoy good health, bring harmony to families, and the potential to help people with critical illness recover back to normal etc. That is how we collect the blessings and virtues of sentient beings far and wide.
As a Bodhisattva who descended, one must carry with them the blessings and virtues of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas to benefit sentient beings. Only by giving away this energy of blessings and virtues to sentient beings would one enter directly into a Buddha’s state of mindfulness, thus there are no hindrances. It’s because you’re mentally prepared because you’re a Bodhisattva, not only did you practise self-cultivation so you won’t be entrapped in samsara, you also thought of how to benefit sentient beings. You prepared your resources of blessings and virtues ready to help sentient beings and decided to come down to the human realm to save and spiritually awaken them. So your level of spirituality moves towards the realm of a Buddha, as your thoughts are completely selfless and only concerned of descending to save sentient beings. That’s why your level of spirituality could rise.
The more you think about helping sentient beings in samsara, and the more merciful and compassionate you become, the greater the energy that you possess and the greater your fruition becomes. Then you can directly enter into Buddha’s state of mindfulness in Dhyana cultivation with no hindrances. The Buddha’s state of mindfulness is a kind of mental domain. When a person has a high level of spirituality, they have no hindrances. For example, there’s a couple. One of them recites sutras while the other one doesn’t. The level of spirituality of a person who recites sutras is high and likes performing benevolent and meritorious deeds. While for the other who doesn’t recite sutras, he/she will create a lot of obstacles to hinder other people from performing benevolent and meritorious deeds. When a Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality has reached Buddha’s state of mindfulness, then they can directly eliminate all obstructions. How do obstructions get eliminated?
If you stood on top of a small house and the building in front of you is taller, then you wouldn’t be able to see anything past the building. It’s an obstruction; if you can’t see beyond something, it means you’re obstructed. After you have climbed to the top of a mountain, then there is no obstruction blocking your view, the view in front of you is flat. If you let go of everything, and you have no afflictions, then your level of spirituality will naturally increase, and your obstructions disappear. To eliminate obstructions is to stand from a taller viewpoint so that obstructions are reduced. The higher one’s level of spirituality, the fewer the obstructions that one encounters in their daily lives. If one is open-minded and can see everything clearly, then one will realise how insignificant we are.
When you’re sitting in the plane and looking down at the ground from the sky, don’t the cars look like cockroaches and ants? While houses look like matchboxes? And look at how tiny people are. It’s because you’re up in the sky, that’s why you see that everything is tiny. If you sat inside your house, you would feel that the house is very big and act proudly. But when you’re looking at your house from the sky, it’s as small as a matchbox, what’s there to be proud of? You must possess this kind of thoughts and views, you understand?
The Bodhisattva’s high level of spirituality is the bright ground, a source of brightness. A Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality is very high; their eyes can see things very understandably and clearly. No matter what others say, their mind is very clear and understanding. When somebody says that one hears and encounters the right Dharma, one must understand that hearing and encountering are two different concepts. Encounter here means it’s a moment when your wisdom is awakened, and your eyes see, and your ears hear with wisdom, in other words, your seven apertures are completely opened, so your wisdom emanates completely. There is wisdom within an encounter; it means you understand the principles. Hence it’s called an ‘encounter’. When Master speaks to you about the Dharma, if you don’t understand when you listened, then that’s just hearing.
If you understood the Dharma that Master spoke, that’s called an encounter. It’s two different concepts. What the Bodhisattvas of the Sravaka realm and Pratyekabuddha realm talk about is this, an encounter is basically about understanding the principles, thus encounter. To cogitate about the thought processes of the Dharma, that is what Bodhisattvas do to think about the realm of the Dharma. The realm of the Dharma that Bodhisattva refers to is just a name for what we call the human realm, which is our world. What are the thought processes of the Dharma? The thought processes refer to the mental plane of one’s level of spirituality. The things that you think and cogitate are referred like the thought processes of the Dharma. So what one must do, is to surpass your current Dharma thought process of an object, so that you can control that object.
One must analyse and awaken to the absolute truths and its principles. What the Bodhisattvas want you to analyse and resolve and the principles that you thought were true but is not. Bodhisattvas have a duty to resolve and awaken. For example, some cultivators are very attached, when you tell them how good Master’s Buddhist practice is, they would think they’re already practising it. They’re already reciting sutras, they’re already doing this and that, if they act arrogantly, then it means they’re entrapped inside mentally. They think what they’re doing is correct; they think that it’s the true principles, that’s why they’re attached in their pursuit.
When a person makes a mistake, it’s because they think that they were right, and that’s why they did it. Even if you’re unhappy today and have an opinion of somebody, that’s also because you think that you’re right, is that correct? You feel that what you know is right, then a Bodhisattva is there to help you analyse it, awaken you then make you understand that what you know is not the absolute truth. Why is it that some people who practised for a long time would start to deviate? It’s because they think that they’re right. They think that they learnt the absolute truth because they think that they’re right. If the action that you performed was truly right, then there’s an accumulation of merit-virtues. If it deviated, you'd create karma. That is what Master is trying to convey to you about the Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality in helping one to analyse and resolve the concerned beliefs and make you become awakened.
Act selflessly for the sake of the Dharma. For the sake of propagating the Buddha-Dharma, one must forget about themselves and give it their all to save others. Then one cultivate according to the Buddha-Dharma and cultivate blessings and virtues far and wide. Why do Bodhisattvas still have to cultivate blessings and virtues far and wide? Aren’t blessings and virtues objects that belong to the human realm? Why is it still necessary to cultivate blessings and virtues in heaven? It’s because blessings and virtues come from the human realm when you cultivate the Way of the Bodhisattva in the human realm, it’s like how we wish to study what kind of degree, there are different levels or advancements. You can still cultivate the Way of the Bodhisattva; the problem is whether you could cultivate successfully or not.
If you didn’t cultivate the Way of the Bodhisattva well, perhaps in your next life, you would still have to reincarnate as a human. It’s because the level of spirituality is different. When you pursue a level of spirituality that is too high, if you didn’t cultivate well enough and failed, then you would lose your basic qualifications too. Many people recite ‘Amitabha Buddha’ as they wish to go to the Western Pure Lands, and after some time, they think that they could to the Western Pure Lands. They think that if just before their death, they recite ‘Amitabha Buddha’, then Amitabha Buddha would come. But if before one’s death, one’s spirit is scattered or one is in a coma and so unable to speak, think and feel, how could one still recite ‘Amitabha Buddha’? That is the manifestation of your negative obstructions obstructing you from reciting ‘Amitabha Buddha’. This kind of negative obstruction stems from one’s previous lifetime and hinders one from going to the Western Pure Lands. The reason is that you haven’t eliminated your negative karma completely. That’s why you aren’t able to achieve the condition where you’re able to recite ‘Amitabha Buddha’ near the hour of death so that Amitabha Buddha come to receive you.
When Buddha-Bodhisattvas taught about reciting ‘Amitabha Buddha’ near the hour of death, there are requirements involved. One must be in a state of happiness with no debts and no illnesses before one’s natural death. In this condition, when you recite ‘Amitabha Buddha’, then you can ascend to the Western Pure Lands. If you committed many bad deeds and your negative karma is significant, if you thought that you could liberate life and death by reciting ‘Amitabha Buddha’, then that is a delusion. It’s impossible as it violates the principles of cause and effect and karma. How could one ascend with significant karmic obstructions and karmic debts? For example, you incurred a debt of $100,000.00 in Sydney, and you decided to flee. But no matter where you go, you’re still unable to escape from the law. The Buddhist practice that Master imparts to you is to teach you how to eliminate your karmic obstructions and repay karmic debts. Only then could you return ‘home’ (here, home refers to the land of the Buddha). That’s why ‘The Amitabha Sutra’ says, “One mustn’t be insufficient in wholesome roots, blessings, virtues, and causal connections to attain birth in the (Buddha’s) land.”