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.
There’s a phrase in the ‘Diamond Sutra’ that says ‘to give alms without mindfulness of forms’. To illustrate an example, let’s say a person donated 3000 dollars. After he donated, he wrote down his name as ‘anonymous’. When his friends visited him one day, he took out the newspaper and said, “You see this anonymous person who donated 3000 dollars? Well that’s me.” You see, this person wanted to practise almsgiving without attachment to forms, but in the end, he was eager to take credit for it. That’s called ‘almsgiving with attachment to forms’. Everybody is mindful of appearances. For example, you gifted a flower bouquet to a friend, and on a card, you wrote ‘From the person in love with you’. In reality, the recipient could easily tell who sent the flowers. The one who sent the flowers was indifferent about it, but the recipient was mindful of it. The Buddha-Dharma is about dialectics. You should be able to express it naturally as if you’re walking on the ground. Almsgiving without attachment to forms possesses the spirit of great fearlessness and compassion. Everybody must take note; the spirit of great fearlessness and compassion is about wholehearted sacrifice without care. That’s called almsgiving without attachment to forms, for example, like donating money without leaving a name nor being mindful that you’re doing a good deed.
Every time Master visits a temple and donates money; he never leaves his name on the donation records. If he leaves his name, then he’s considered as being attached to forms, and the merit-virtues he accumulates will be a lot less. For example, if a teacher asks the class, “Who cleaned the classroom and made it look so spotless? Who cleaned the blackboard so well?” If nobody replied, the teacher would follow on and say, “Whoever did it is a good child, I’m thankful to him or her.” “Teacher, it was me who cleaned it.” Is it good? Yes. After mentioning what he’s done, it’s over. That’s why, when you’re performing meritorious and wholesome deeds, don’t be attached to forms.
In the ‘Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance’, there’s a Buddha called ‘Constantly Diligent Bodhisattva’. Do you know his story? For the sake of saving a single person, he reincarnated many times. He constantly went to where that person was and tried to spiritually awaken him. If he failed that lifetime, then he would try again in the following lifetime. This happened many times, and that’s why he’s called ‘Constantly Diligent Bodhisattva’. He is a very courageous and wise Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas have this kind of spirit, and they save others ceaselessly and possess faith. If you failed on a task, then you would keep doing it until you succeed. That’s the essence of diligence. Would you consider yourself as diligent?
You can never make enough money, but your lives are very short. You should make use of your time to cultivate your mind; you can temporarily put aside everything else in the Human realm. Just think about all your glory in the past, is it still there? But if you don’t have accomplishments in the past, and you just properly recited sutras up to the present, then there won’t be any pain when you pass away. That’s because there won’t be any afflictions or sadness; there’s nothing for you to miss. To pass away without illness is very difficult to achieve, it depends on your meritorious deeds and capabilities.
It’s not easy for Master to see you. Every disciple will make mistakes, and also do good deeds. When Master talks about your shortcomings, in reality, it’s to temper your ability to control yourself. You must possess a state of mind that’s willing to bear with other people’s criticism so that you become more mentally mature. Take note, learn to control yourself and allow yourself to be trained by any external stimuli. Negative external stimuli are the best to train a person’s mind. For example, if a bully tried to make you unhappy, yet you keep yourself happy, then they become angry and unhappy. If you were unhappy, then they would be happy. This is considered a preliminary state of mind in the practice of Buddhism.
To see whether a person is one who comprehends one’s inherent nature, you have to see whether they are willing to spiritually awaken sentient beings. Those who can spiritually awaken others are awakened, person. If you lived deep in the mountains, then you’re not an awakened person. That’s because you only care about cultivating yourself, so you seclude yourself in the mountains. Those who only rely on themselves to train will find it very difficult to realise their Buddha-nature. Only when you’re spiritually awakening sentient beings, could you gain more wisdom to satisfy your spirit. If your wisdom doesn’t grow when you’re with others, it indicates you will never develop into your prime. For example, it’s only when you’re with many people could you learn a lot. If you don’t make contact with anyone and have always lived in the mountains from a young age, you would be a person who lacks any wisdom because you did not make contact with any states of mind. Where could a person who doesn’t understand anything go? Do you understand?
Awakened people must go and spiritually awaken sentient beings. When a person isn’t awakened, everything they speak of doesn’t seem right. You may not understand what Master means. Is he saying that all unawakened person is good for nothing? When you aren’t learning Buddhism, then you’re good for nothing. You don’t know anything, and you make mistakes easily. You think arguing with others is correct; you think fighting a legal battle with others is correct. Although you’re clearly bill, you’re ignorant of it and ignorant of why you became ill. If you don’t know anything, then you’re good for nothing and unawakened. People nowadays aren’t even willing to smile in front of others despite being at a distance away. How many of you here are willing to give away your smile? Everybody looks indifferent or fierce.
When a person has attained realisation, then they understand this world and about karma. But there are some people who, after knowing a few Buddhist teachings, think that they finally see through everything, and they feel that shouldn’t bother doing anything. This kind of attitude is negative. They think that they realise the suffering of human lives, they’ve understood about the inherent nature, and how meritorious deeds are empty in the end, and so they don’t do it.
That’s called almsgiving with attachment to forms. After they’ve discovered their inherent nature, they see how suffering is inherent with life, and so since everybody dies in the end, so they indulge themselves with everybody else. This kind of thinking indicates that their inherent nature is not yet pure. If a person’s inherent nature is impure, even if they ascend to heaven and enjoy their blessings there, it’s only temporary. When a person hasn’t fully resolved in committing themselves completely to save and spiritually awaken other sentient beings, then even if they do a good deed, the happiness they experience from the act is temporary. It is considered a limited awakenment.
Just like when firing an arrow at the sky, it will shoot upwards. But with that weak kind of force and power, the arrow will quickly fall from the sky. It’s because they lack stamina, and have not understood the real truth about one’s inherent nature. That’s why once they have experienced all their heavenly blessings, then they will return to the Human Realm. When they are reborn as a human again, they’ll be ignorant again. When you’re aiming with that bow, you’re aiming at an illusionary object; it’s not solid. In the Human Realm, everything you learn is illusionary, and that’s because you’re living in an illusionary and empty world. The inherent nature of suchness is like the sun, and your karmic obstacles are like dark clouds.
The dark clouds can hide the sun. The sun is your inherent nature; once the dark clouds pass, then your inherent nature is revealed again. Sometimes, people are kind-hearted; that’s when they’re like the sun. But when they are filled with resentment, then that’s when dark clouds are hiding their inherent nature. When couples argue and hit each other in an act of impulse, they might feel regretful afterwards. That’s when the dark clouds have passed, and their inherent nature is revealed again.
Some people realised that they have things to repent and apologetic about after cultivating their mind and practising Buddhism. You must understand that when others help you, they’re doing it for your sake, and you should enjoy it. When you think about how others are helping you, you should be happy. When you see the sun being obscured by the dark clouds, is it really? Actually, it only looks that way from the position you’re standing in and the perspective you’re viewing at the sun
If we were somewhere else in the world and look at the sun from a different angle, would the sun remain obscured? There is a saying called ‘To get out of the shadows’ which means to get out of what you don’t want to think about, or the things that make you upset and open up yourself. These words come from the Bodhisattva, and they are words of wisdom. When a person is experiencing difficulties and unable to think clearly, it means that there are dark clouds covering up your sun. But from another perspective, your sun is still shining brightly.
Take note; any problems can be resolved by viewing it from a different angle or perspective. These are all words of wisdom from the Bodhisattvas, why don’t utilise it? Just like when you try to contact a person, you can choose to call them via mobile, or you can send them an email. There are many ways to resolve a problem, but you decide to be stubborn and not think clearly. This is a typical attribute that everybody has. Bodhisattvas and deities always have some method, and they can always think clearly. No matter what hardships you face, for example, developing cancer, as long as you think that Guan Yin Bodhisattva will save you, it will definitely be efficacious. Even if your condition is serious, it will improve.
There are times when you should act as if you’re in a dreamlike state and not be too knowledgeable. That’s because in this illusionary world, what you understand is also false, but when you understand something, you should understand using a Bodhisattva’s state of mind. You should understand all the wholesome things because it will bring you happiness. And not understand all unwholesome things because it will harm you. Do you prefer happiness or harm?
Lastly, the inherent nature is the source of all merits and capabilities, and the potential is limitless. In India, there’s a river called the Ganges. Gautama Buddha likes to mention about the ‘countless sands of the river Ganges’ in many sutras. It means that if you could effectively use your inherent nature, then you possess wisdom that’s incalculable like the sands of the river Ganges. But what’s a pity is that your inherent nature is hidden away, defiled and can’t be seen.
If you utilise this hidden energy, then you can change anything. You won’t even need to fear to get ill. A person’s hands and brain are very agile, and it can manipulate anything. We must be able to excavate our potential and purify our spirits—those who don’t are foolish, just like those who are unwilling to learn. Take note, learning Buddhism is to learn the wisdom of the Human Realm. In reality, the Bodhisattvas’ teachings are best used in the Human Realm. Listening to it is like bathing under the universal light of the Buddha-Dharma. Would you still get angry or upset?