V 3-15 When Desires are Great, One's Intentions are Scattered; Learn to take Control of One’s Life
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.
People with scattered thoughts would possess a depressed outlook. The more scattered one’s thoughts are, the more they’ll be unable to possess something. For example, you went shopping and decided that you must buy a jacket. But when you looked around, you were choosey and picked and tried out different jackets. Yet, you couldn’t decide which one to buy. So, in the end, you became depressed. Am I correct? That’s why when a person’s thoughts are scattered, a depressed outlook would gradually be formed within them.
A person with bad karmic affinities would easily become foolish. Here’s an example; there’s a woman who failed in her love relationships. As she gets older and meets people, she would ask them to introduce somebody nice to her, and even if they have some flaws, it’s okay. Don’t you think that’s foolishness? Because her karmic affinities are bad, she decides that anybody is acceptable to her. Karmic affinities don’t just represent the relationship between spouse, but could also represent one’s relationship with their children, their teachers, their classmates etc. You are already learning Buddhism, so why do you hate some people?
That is all caused by one’s karmic affinities, when it’s bad, one’s foolishness rises and start to become unhappy and easily irritated. When something gets stolen, or one gets fined, their foolishness increases. There was a guy who regularly received parking penalty fines, so he hates parking enforcement officers. One day when it was raining, he saw an officer preparing a parking fine ticket. So, he wore a cap and a surgical mask and rushed in front of the officer then immediately lowered his mask and spat into the officer’s face. Afterwards, he fled away. Isn’t that foolish behaviour? Because his karmic affinities are bad, so he was regularly caught with penalties. He doesn’t blame himself, only others. One must understand that hatred borne from karmic affinities could cause one to become foolish.
People with many obstructions are so due to a lack of mindfulness of the Buddha. It’s because your mind isn’t mindful about the Buddha, that’s why your obstructions become greater. Who in the human realm do not possess afflictions? One should regularly be on guard first. One must understand that everybody is afflicted, so one must be on their guard about it. Even before a potential affliction arises, build a firewall against it. Don’t wait until when it happens, and then you become afflicted again, you suffer again and resent again. Why did something like that happen to me? In reality, there were many signals that you overlooked. If for example, you smelled a dish that stinks a little, you should watch whether the people near the food would eat. If something ate it and immediately had an upset stomach, then you know that you shouldn’t eat that. That’s what it means to have a sense of prevention.
When a level of spirituality is naturally reached, then one will encounter the conditions of it. Because you have taken preventative measures, so when you reach a certain level of spirituality, you will encounter the conditions of it, you understand? For example, your health is in bad condition. But before your health got worse, you had already prepared some medicine so when you caught the disease, you would take medicine and immediately get well, so there’s no need for you to see a doctor. So, you must understand that when something suddenly happens, even if it’s sudden, you would immediately know what’s the cause of it. For example, it may be foreign spirits or a trigger of a karmic obstruction; you immediately realise how to resolve it, so you’ll quickly eliminate your karmic obstructions and foreign spirits.
You must remove your materialistic desires, which are the five kinds of desires, and eradicate your indulgences with the six defilements. Master has already explained before, so will not go any further today. We are born in a world of mortal defilements, so what we indulge are indulgences of the mortal defilements. The things that make us happy, like the food we enjoy or earning some money, these are considered as indulgences of the mortal realm. One must retrain themselves. Many old uncles become happy when they see a lot of young women around, that’s also considered a mortal defilement. One must control themselves from being at the level of spirituality of the six defilements. Many people become gluttonous when they see many foods they like, that must also be restrained. All of the things in the human realm are defilements, so one must control it. Do you understand?
The six defilements create six different realms. One’s level of spirituality is formed based on your desires in the world of mortal defilements. Even if you’re in the world of mortal defilements, if your level of spirituality is high, then you can reach the spirituality of a Bodhisattva. People with different levels of spirituality view the world differently, and so their mentality is at different states. You can be in the mental state of an arhat, or you can be in the mental state of an ordinary person. Although you’re in the human realm, you can enter into the level of spirituality of a sage or an evil person, am I correct?
‘Action stems from desire; excess desires lead one to become foolish. Casual causes of concern lead to a disruption of one’s flow of energy’. ‘Action stems from desire’ means that when somebody takes action, it is due to their desires that motivate them to take action. Nowadays, if people have no desire to do something, they won’t do it. Because somebody wants to go shopping, that’s why they take action. It’s because you want to be in love, that’s why you take action. It’s because you want to make money, that’s why you take action etc. All of this is because of desires, without it, who would want to move? You are now following Master to learn the Buddha-Dharma is also because of desires, what kind of desires you may ask? Desires like after learning Buddhism, your health will get better, your career will get better etc. ‘Excess desires lead one to become awakened’ – excess desires will lead you into a state of delusion and gradually cause you to become foolish.
Many emperors were surrounded by women, and in the end, they become foolish and scatter-brained and no longer cared about state affairs. People with excess desire will be deluded and afterwards, become foolish and don't know what they’re doing. That’s why you mustn’t have too many desires; you must reduce it. ‘Casual causes of concern’ - whether you become concerned easily and casually, it is related to your energy flow. If it flows well, then you’re happy and tolerable towards a lot of things. ‘Lead to a disruption to one’s flow of energy’ – if your energy flow is disrupted or deviated, it would cause blockages to your thought process and making you unable to think clearly. Thus, you become upset and sad. Getting angry is a sign of a deviated energy flow. One’s energy flow must be right, and that would make your mind think about things clearly.
Master regularly say that people who forgive themselves frequently will never gain Heaven’s forgiveness. Only when you are strict with yourself like, “How could I act so wrongly again? I’m regretful towards Guan Yin Bodhisattva”. That way would Heaven forgive you. Just like when you’re on a public bus, and you stepped on somebody’s foot, and you say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that was an accident…” then the person would forgive you. If instead, you said, “It’s not my fault, the bus is fully packed, who told you to put your foot there…” Could you imagine what the result would be? Perhaps the other person would then punch you. A person who easily forgives themselves will never receive the Bodhisattvas’ forgiveness. If a person doesn’t forgive another person sincerely, then their mind will never attain peace. You must truly forgive others. Otherwise, your mind will remain in a state of unrest.
In reality, ‘ordinary’ is the true expression of life. If a person says, “I’m very ordinary, I’m fine with anything,” in reality they are somebody who truly owns life. One must understand the principle that we must be ordinary; they should remain in their post and do things without boasting about what they did to gain other’s favour. Do things with a frame of mind that everything is ordinary. Life is impermanent, birth and cessation happen in an instant, you understand? In an instant, a life is lost, while in another instant, another small life is born. Don’t be deceived by the mirages and illusions that you encounter. Think about how many people will die in 3 months. They go in and out of the hospital and in a blink of an eye, three months have passed, and an originally live adult suddenly disappears. Isn’t that like a mirage?
One must understand that those who can control themselves will possess freedom; in other words, they will be their masters. When you’re feeling gluttonous, and you want to eat something and can’t restrain themselves any longer, then it means that they couldn’t control themselves, and they are not their masters. Sometimes you must grit your teeth to restrain yourself. Those who can’t control themselves become slaves to the desires manifested from their physical body. People who can control themselves are masters of themselves.
The ‘Diamond Sutra’ said that the mind of the present couldn’t be grasped, the mind of the future can’t be grasped, and the mind of the past can’t be grasped. The three minds can’t be grasped, so one must completely let go of their past, present and future. Let go mentally, and your resentment will become distant from you. Because you couldn’t let go mentally, your hatred will always reside in your mind. Once you’ve let go, you let go of your hatred, then your hatred will disappear. Sometimes when you lose your temper and take action, it creates a regrettable tragedy and calamity. Those who can abandon their affliction are true cultivators of the mind. What’s the point of retaining all those afflictions inside your mind? Isn’t there already enough going on inside it?
You’ve stored everything that happened to you inside your memories, but when you try to recall something, most of the things that you remember are foul and negative events. All the bad things that happened are all remembered while most of the good things that happened are mostly forgotten. Would a person who have completely stored all the hatred, resentment and feelings of vengeance inside their mind be considered a good person? Do you understand? One must learn to think clearly and let go. Those who can let go is a good Buddhist. Master will end his talk here.