V 3-13 Study Buddha’s Attitude and Buddha’s views; Practise the Way of Mercy and Compassion
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.
Spiritually awaken sentient beings far and wide. A person who could spiritually awaken sentient beings far and wide already possesses the wisdom of Buddha. They’re not simply interested in saving themselves, but also in saving others, that’s a manifestation of Buddha’s wisdom or the spirit of Buddha in their body. To spiritually awaken sentient beings is to put it to practice. To learn from the Bodhisattvas of the Third Ground, one must put what they learnt to practise. When you’re learning to be a Bodhisattva in the human realm, you must constantly apply it to realise the goal of spiritually awakening sentient beings. Only by putting what you know into practice, would you show your true knowledge in this field. And only truly beneficial and great things are appreciated when it has been applied. That’s why it’s so important. When one wants to cultivate the Way of the Bodhisattva in the human realm, one must constantly think about how they will apply what they know, and study more from how Bodhisattvas save and spiritually awaken others. For example, “Today, I went to awaken others spiritually and encountered a setback, no problem at all, tomorrow I’ll think of another way on how to spiritually awaken more effectively.” During this process of trial and error in saving somebody, you also spiritually awaken yourself. Only by doing, would your knowledge of what you do become more thorough, then you would develop greater comprehension and deeper insight to be completely liberated. Only then could you become a Bodhisattva and spiritually awaken others. Hence there’s a saying ‘Rescue oneself before rescuing others’.
‘Desire to cure the boundless mental afflictions of sentient beings from the roots’. In other words, Bodhisattvas must have a belief that they will cure all the mental afflictions that plague sentient beings from the roots. That’s because the most difficult to control within a person’s mind is their mental afflictions. Is there anybody in this world who doesn’t have afflictions? Everybody does, that’s because the human realm is a realm of afflictions. When Bodhisattvas spiritually awaken sentient beings, they must have faith; they must cure sentient being’s mental afflictions and illnesses from the roots. Anything harmful to others or themselves must be removed completely. People who don’t know how to repent, or control themselves, or awaken and realise, can’t be considered as a wholesome human being. To desire to cure the boundless mental afflictions of sentient beings from the roots is first to cure one’s mental afflictions. To save others, you must first save yourself; you must first cure your mental illness. If your mental illness isn’t cured, how could you go and cure other people’s mental illnesses from the roots? One must first rescue themselves by eliminating their mental afflictions and liberate their body and mind from the entanglements of love, desires, life and death of the human realm. In other words, with the wisdom of Buddha, one should liberate their body and spirit above love and desires found in the human realm and conquer the shackles of life and death.
That’s because love and desires would cause you to experience life and death. If you harbour no love nor desires, then there’ll be no life nor death. If you no longer possess love nor desire, in reality, you have liberated from life and death. Is there anything that could bind you anymore? The thing that is most effective at binding you is the thing that you love or desire. To free from it, you must first eliminate the desires and remove any love from yourself. In the human realm, love is but a by-product from the interaction of karmic causes and conditions. In reality, the people and the children who you love has a karmic affinity with you that was passed down from the previous lifetime. And in this lifetime, your karmic conditions have brought you together once more. Just like when hosting a banquet, a lot of people who you haven’t seen for a long time became and there are people who you liked, but are you able to make them stay forever? When the banquet finishes, everybody departs. That’s why one must learn to be open-minded, all of it is false, could you keep them with you forever? They will depart when they have to depart; everything is empty. All the desires of the human realm are false. What’s left is the suffering of being apart from those you love, which you must then face. When it’s explained like so, perhaps it would make it easier for you to understand. Everything is formed by the interaction of karmic causes and conditions. One must learn how to liberate themselves; one must remove their desires completely. Everything is fake, you must think clearly, then any restraints would naturally disappear.
Don’t think that you’re special nor think that you’re helpless, there’s nothing special. When we appeared in this world, we’re here to borrow this platform to have a go at completing our karmic journey. Life is just like a banquet. From morning to night, every day is like a journey of life. When you wake up, put on your suit and look refined and courteous, that is like when we were young. In the afternoon, you grow very tired, that like when you’ve become old. At night, you no longer have any energy and goes to sleep; you’ve departed, that’s like the end of one’s life. Everything is fake; don’t treat it as if it’s real. To learn Buddhism is to learn about absolute truths. Only the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas can explain the principles that encompass the universe and space. The Buddha-Dharma talks about the source. That’s why one must liberate their body and mind from the entanglements of love, desires, life and death of the human realm, and then single-mindedly pursue the intellectual abilities of the Buddha realm. Master could elaborate more about it, but due to time constraints, he could only quickly tell you what it means briefly. ‘The pursuit of the intellectual abilities of the Buddha realm’ in other words, means that when you’re learning to be a Bodhisattva, you must focus wholeheartedly to use one’s wisdom and virtues to think about how Bodhisattvas save and spiritually awaken sentient beings. In layman terms, it’s to become fully aware of the virtuousness of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, and think from their perspective, how should one achieve the goal of saving and spiritually awakening others?
Only by doing so, could you cultivate an empty and expansive wisdom of compassion. What is an expansive wisdom of compassion? Imagine that you’re in a completely empty space, it has nothing inside and there’s nothing to see. But in this empty space, you must cultivate a virtuous skill, a wisdom of compassion, in order words, you must have a sympathetic mind and wisdom, even though everything is elusive and empty. Master has told you before that when the false is treated as real, then the false becomes real. When the real is treated as false, then the real becomes false. Everything is blurred between real and illusion. What is empty also have illusionary objects inside. For example, when somebody approaches you intending to con you, don’t they first give you something real to lure you in? One must use the false to cultivate the real.
Cultivate an empty and expansive wisdom of compassion, and thoroughly cure the illnesses of sentient beings stemmed from their boundless afflictions. It’s because you possess sympathy and wisdom; that’s why you can treat their afflictions. What must we depend on to resolve their boundless afflictions? It depends on the Bodhisattva’s compassionate mind; only mercy and compassion can save and spiritually awaken sentient beings. Also, it must be complemented with wisdom. When Master saves someone, doesn’t he use wisdom? Depending on the person’s level of understanding, he’ll use a different method to teach and enlighten. One must possess a boundless sympathetic and grieving mind that only thinks about how to benefit sentient beings. A Bodhisattva’s mission in the human realm is to save and spiritually awaken sentient beings. Whether it’s one person, one hundred people or one thousand people who come, a Bodhisattva will try to save as many as they can and not discriminate or act choosy. They harbour a boundless heart of wanting to benefit all sentient beings.
In a silent and tranquil environment, mentally contain one’s body and mind. In other words, when you feel that you’re mentally tranquil and you’re in a peaceful environment, one must mentally contain one’s six sense bases. This peaceful environment doesn’t denote having to be in a place with absolutely no sound. It’s just a place where you feel at ease and in peace. Why is it that some people can still recite sutras in a busy environment? Why are there people who can’t find peace if there is even the slightest bit of sound in the background? A tranquil environment is to help your mind become still; silence is the stillness of your mind. Do you understand? There’s a saying called ‘A calm mind naturally makes you feel cool’. If your thoughts are filled with the Buddha-Dharma, then it means you only have Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in your mind. Cultivate according to your religion and your Master’s teachings, and use the three powers of forbearance, resistance and will to concentrate your mental powers. You must assimilate and integrate the Bodhisattva’s level of spirituality within yourself. You want to become a Bodhisattva, so you have a goal. Therefore, you must use the powers of forbearance, resistance and will to concentrate your mental powers.
When a person is scolded and does not fight back, it’s a display of forbearance. When a person says you’re bad, you have to prove that you’re good. When a person says you’re unable to do something, you have to prove that you’re capable of doing it, that’s willpower. One must transcend above the desire realm’s mental boundaries. Because you possess resistance, forbearance and willpower, because your thoughts are filled with the Buddha-Dharma, because you behave according to your religion, because you mentally contain your body and mind, and you’re in a quiet environment and possess a boundless merciful and compassionate heart, because you possess a compassionate and wise mind, that’s why you could cure all the empty and illusive afflictions of the human realm, that’s why you are freed from the shackles of love, desires, life and death. After you have liberated from these shackles, then you would transcend above the mental boundaries of the desire realm, and rise to a level of spirituality of the four sagely realms. Do you understand? Your level of spirituality can reach the level of the four sagely realms in the human realm, but one must learn the level of spirituality of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
Master has another name for this world called ‘World of Appearance’. It displays the form of karmic conditions. People typically say that ‘something is showing its true colours’, which means it’s showing its original form. Why is it called ‘World of Appearance’? It’s because, in your previous lifetimes, everything you did in this world would show your inherent form. One must harbour a mind that encompasses the universe, which is the Bodhisattva mind, which can accommodate all different kinds of minds. If you use a universe encompassing mind, then you would display your inherent form in this world of appearance, and use it to live every minute and every second.
You must understand that in the concept of possession, for example, you possess this world, possess the human realm, possess riches or anything else, only contentment is the most outstanding trait, in the eyes of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. In other words, all the wealth and material goods that we possess in the human realm, only contentment is the most outstanding trait. Do you understand? What Buddhas and Bodhisattvas teach is the Buddha-Dharma that’s practical in the human realm. Only after you possess contentment, could you truly possess. It’s because you’re content, so you cherish the thing you possess, and become happy. Today, you possess a husband. If you’re content with him, then you would feel that he’s really good. Be content with anything you have; then you’ll truly own it.
If you’re not content, then you would feel that the other person is quite detestable and become unsatisfied with anything they do. As a result, you would lose the person. That’s why one must possess contentment to truly possess. That is Master’s words of wisdom; you must properly learn; these are all basic principles as a fellow person. Contentment leads to happiness, which leads to frequent happiness. Contentment leads to true possession. Although you’re not wealthy, you possess a Dharma-treasure. It’s called ‘auspiciousness’. What is ‘auspiciousness’? When your mind is filled with hope that things will become auspicious, and you say to yourself, “I am content, I am content, I am content.” Say it three times, for example, “I am content with my house, I am content with it, I am content with it,” then you afflictions will disappear, and you truly possess your house because you no longer feel you need to change it. When you’re content with your house, you’ll feel very happy living there as you believe it’s yours, so you have truly owned it.
If you’re not content with your house and you put it on sale, then this house no longer belongs to you, and you’ll lose it. At the same time, when death draws near, what you have to face, is a lifetime’s worth of burden created from one’s evil and unwholesome conduct as it will all appear. Just like iron will rust, you’re born like iron and corrode like iron. It’s because the rust on the iron stems from the corrosion of the iron. Unwholesomeness stems from the person, while also depraves the person. A person’s unwholesomeness is created by the person themselves to create obstacles for themselves. Let’s take a smoker for an example, the habit of smoking was created by the person themselves, and then they develop lung cancer. It’s the person who rots their own body. In other words, the unwholesomeness found on the person is entirely created by the person themselves, which then perpetuates a vicious cycle of self-harm.