Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. 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】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Affliction is Bodhi. Where do our afflictions come from? The first one comes from what we see with our eyes. The second one comes from what we hear with our ears. The third comes from what we smell with our nose. The fourth comes from what we taste with our tongue. The fifth comes from what we touch with our body. The sixth comes from what we think with our minds. These are called the ‘Six faculties’ in the Buddha-Dharma. When somebody feels troubled, others may tell them that it’s because their six faculties are impure. For example, if you see something that you can’t bear the sight of, then don’t you become bothered by it? When you hear somebody had talked behind your back, don’t you become bothered by it? When you taste something bitter or awful, don’t you become bothered by it? When a part of your body touched something that shouldn’t be touched, don’t you become bothered by it? When somebody passes by you, and you smell a strange odour emitted from them, don’t you become bothered by it? When you start thinking about things you shouldn’t be thinking of, doesn’t it create afflictions? Like thinking about somebody you don’t want to see but have to see in the next day. These are all indications that your six faculties are impure. But if you could use these fix faculties wondrously, then you would find that these six faculties have supranormal powers.
Many Bodhisattvas worshipped in temples have supranormal powers, like clairaudience and clairvoyance. If we talk about other beings from other realms, a dog’s nose is very sensitive and can smell aromas that people can’t sense. That can also be considered a supranormal power. Or for example, when somebody can taste what kind of tea or what’s inside their drink. Or those coffee-connoisseurs who can taste that their coffee in a shop is different from another. That’s a wondrous use of their senses, and can be considered a supranormal power. When somebody mocks you, how do you stop yourself from getting angry or upset? It’s all in your mind; your thoughts can command your six faculties. When you have an affliction, and you transform it, then it becomes Bodhi, which is wisdom. That’s why affliction is Bodhi. If you don’t have have any afflictions, then you won’t learn how to transform it into your wisdom.
A person’s body is inherently empty, but your spirit isn’t empty. Our bodies are empty because it will disappear in a hundred years, the flesh will become liquid, and all that’s left is your bones. Look at our history, no matter how heroic, how rich, or how great a person is, all they are left is ash. How can you keep your body maintained? It’s empty. Only your spirit exists. That’s why you must keep your spirit clear and awake.
For example, if you place glass prayer beads on the table, then as long as there’s a light penetrating through it, then the light will be refracted into the colours of the rainbow. But even if there’s no light, the glass prayer beads are still clear. In other words, it depends on the right external conditions for it to have a transformative effect. When you look at the beads, it may seem colourful under the sun, but in fact, it has no colour. Our spirit follows the same principle, and it will transform according to external conditions, in other words, our karmic conditions. When these karmic conditions disappear, then your spirit is clear.
To illustrate this with another example, you must have a pen at hand for you to draw. There’s must be a karmic affinity at that moment of having the pen in your hand for you to do so. If a woman wants to marry, she must first find a partner to do so. If you want to cultivate, and you don’t have a good teacher, how could you cultivate well? A clear bead is still clear, but it could radiate different colours when the external conditions are met.
Master will now discuss something very important. Many people might ask, what’s the aim of learning Buddhism? Master replies that the aim of learning Buddhism is to become a Buddha. Then, what’s the aim of becoming a Buddha? The aim is to save sentient beings. Then, what’s the aim of saving sentient beings? It’s to become a Buddha. So it goes back in circles. We become a Buddha to save sentient beings, and we save sentient beings to become a Buddha. Master descended to the Human Realm to save and propagate to sentient beings. After he’s done, he will return to heaven again as a Buddha. And the Heavenly realm he ascends to will be higher than the previous one because of the boundless merit-virtues he had accumulated.
To illustrate this with an example, if you fight in an army, you could become promoted. Do you know people become a battalion commander? It’s when you are one of the sole survivors of the battalion you were in, so you get the chance to get promoted. Then you’re in charge of new recruits. You must put in a lot of effort, and you have to go to the harshest environments to train. Master was transferred to the lower realms to save sentient beings. When his mission is accomplished, he will return back up to an even higher realm. Although he is not there yet, his level of spirituality is higher than what it was originally. The speed at which Master access other people’s Totems is a lot quicker. In reality, all change to our external environments is a kind of trial. If you can pass the trial, then you have improved over your previous self. It’s a dialectic. It’s not to say you should act foolishly in the Human Realm, and that when you pass a test, then you will level up. You must proactively look for meritorious deeds to do. So you must properly cultivate.
Master discusses how you should propagate to sentient beings. You want to learn Buddhism and become a Bodhisattva, then how should you do it? What’s the aim of doing so? There are two kinds of propagation. The first kind is one with a motive, and the second kind is one without motive. Both kinds are good. Master advocates doing both. Whether you do good deeds with a motive or not, they are still considered good. It’s just that from certain points of view, doing things with no motive is considered better.
For example, when you see an attractive young woman, you decide to approach her to propagate. Although you don’t think of any unwholesome thoughts when you’re propagating, you are more motivated to propagate to her since you find her attractive. That’s considered as propagation with a motive. Propagation without motives is one where you are indifferent and are not mindful of who it is, and regardless of whether they are old or young, ugly or attractive, you’re still in a wholesome state of mind to save them. If you speak less because you’re talking with an old mother, and speak more because you’re talking to a young lady, then it can be said that you were motivated by something. Learning Buddhism is to learn how to refrain our mind from sinning, our tongue from sinning and our eyes from sinning.
If the karmic conditions are right, then you go and propagate. If not, then don’t. But when the karmic conditions are right again, then you will propagate to them again. That’s why when the karmic conditions are not met; then you don’t propagate to them temporarily. Gautama Buddha had been propagating the Buddha-Dharma for forty-nine years and experienced many hardships. Under the Bodhi tree, he and his disciples propagated the Dharma together. As a result, all of his disciples ascended to heaven and became Bodhisattvas. Gautama Buddha’s resolve is so great. What was the reason why Gautama Buddha went through so many hardships? It’s to save sentient beings. For this goal, he became a Buddha. After he became a Buddha, he still had to descend to save more sentient beings. After saving more sentient beings, he accumulated even more energy and merit-virtues, and so he became a Buddha again. It’s like when you do good deeds; you are selected as a role model. Then when you’re the role model, you do even more good deeds, so you are selected as a role model again in the following year. Isn’t the principle the same?