V 3-46 Discussion of ‘Conditioned Arisal’ and ‘Affinity Cessation’ in the Buddha-Dharma 谈佛法中的缘生缘灭

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.

我们人所有的事情都是因和缘和合而成的。也就是说你今天所有想做的一切,所有听到的一切,所有做的一切,都是一个缘分。今天你为什么要到东方台来?因为你跟东方台有缘,因为你跟佛菩萨有缘。因为东方台跟佛菩萨有缘,所以有这么一个观音堂,所以你们与菩萨有缘,所以你们才和合而来。对不对?你为什么跟他好?因为你跟他合得来。前世的缘,再加上今世的续,才叫续缘。比如你在上辈子和他好了三年之后跟他不好了,跟他分手了,这个缘就没了。那么你这辈子到了这个时候,和他好了三年左右也会和他分手,缘也没了。明白了吗?

Everyone is created, or become who they are, by the interaction and formation of their karmic conditions and affinities. Everything you think, everything you hear, everything you do is a kind of karmic affinity. Why did you decide to visit the 2OR radio station? It’s because you have a karmic affinity with the 2OR team and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that are there regularly. Because there is a karmic affinity between the 2OR radio station and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, that’s why there’s a Guan Yin temple inside. That’s why there’s an affinity between you and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas there, and you get together as a result of it. Is that right? Why do you treat somebody well? Why do you get along well? That’s because a positive affinity existed between you two from the previous life, and it merely continued on in the current life. It’s a continuation of the affinity. For example, let’s say in the previous lifetime, you got along well with someone you loved for three years, and then you got into an argument and broke up. Then that affinity has ended. Then in the current life, you met up with them again and got along well for around three years, but in the end, you broke up again. So the affinity has ended. Do you understand?

今天有的事情,明天可以没有。你今天被人家诬陷,说不定过几天就给你平反了;你今天被人家说不好,也许过几天人家又会说你好了。对不对?今天人家说“你要当心,你可能要出大事情”,这可能代表着你后天一定会出大事情吗?也不代表你一辈子会出大事情。缘分会转换的。听得懂吗?比如你过去做过一件不好的事,但是你现在改邪归正了,那你的领导也会对你很好的。道理都是一样的,都是一个因缘。今天有因,才会有这个缘;明天没有这个因了,这个缘分也就没有了。今天你喜欢他了,他才会跟你好;明天你不喜欢他了,就不跟他好了。

Something that happens today may be gone tomorrow. If you got caught in a trap by somebody today, maybe some other person will help redress the situation. Somebody may badmouth you tomorrow, but maybe they will compliment you after a few days. Is that right? When a fortune teller tells you to be careful, and you might encounter a serious issue, would what they say really become a certainty? Affinities are subject to change, do you understand? For example, if you have committed unwholesome deeds in the past, but you have reformed yourself and now lead a respectable life, then your employer or senior would continue to treat you well. The principle is the same; it’s all a kind of karmic affinity. It’s because a karmic causation exists, and so an affinity would arise when the conditions for it to manifest meet. But it will also be gone if the conditions for it to be gone have been met. If you like somebody and treat them well, then they will also treat you well. If you suddenly dislike the person, then you will no longer treat them well and start to distance yourself from them.


你们小青年就是这样的,今天看见这个人喜欢了,就喜欢跟人家多说话,自己也打扮得漂亮一点。过几天不喜欢了,就随随便便,自己也不打扮了,这就是没有缘分了。所以因缘没有了,什么都没了;因缘有,什么都有。今天你有命的因缘,因为你有这个命,所以你可以延续在这个世界上生活,这就是你的缘。今天你这个命没了,那你这个缘也没了,因为你不能在人间继续跟人家接触。如果你是菩萨来人间,因为你在人道的缘没有了,最后你只能给人家膜拜,而不能跟人间的人沟通。

All of you young adults are like that. When you see somebody you like, then you will talk more with them and also dress up to look smarter or look more beautiful. But when you lose interest with them in a few days, you become more casual about it, and you don’t dress up. It indicates the lack of karmic affinity between you. When the karmic affinity disappears, everything associated with it disappears. If a karmic affinity exists, then the things associated with it will exist. Because you still have the karmic affinity of being alive, you could continue to live in this world. Because you have a life, you can continue with all the affinities that you currently have. But if you lose your life, then you can’t continue with your affinities because you can’t make contact with the people in the Human Realm anymore. If you’re a Bodhisattva that came to the Human Realm, then since you have disconnected from the people in the Human Realm, you might only get worshipped, but you can’t communicate with them.


为什么佛菩萨能永远留在人的心中?因为观世音菩萨和其他的菩萨经常到人的心里去,菩萨可以在梦中、可以在平时都能指导你,所以菩萨永远不生不灭。而人走了就走了。过去母亲对你好得不得了,但是母亲走了。你当时很难过,想到母亲过去对你怎么好怎么好,你会痛不欲生。但是几年之后,因为母亲没有在人间对你继续好下去了,缘分已尽,所以你慢慢地就会忘记。这个缘就没了,这个果也没了,法也灭了。如果是刚刚死掉的母亲,孩子跟刚刚死掉的母亲当时瞬间离开的感情和十年之后孩子对母亲的感情,你们说是一样的吗?因为这个十年她没有跟你接触,她跟你因缘已断了,所以什么都没有了。你们听得懂吗?

How do the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas stay permanently within the hearts of so many people? It’s because they have a strong karmic affinity with them, or regularly visit them in their dreams, or give them guidance, and so they are eternally in a state of non-birth and non-cessation. While when a person dies, they are gone. Your mother might have treated you very well in the past, but then she passed away. At the time, you were very sad and depressed. Every time you recalled the pleasant moments you shared, the pain doesn’t seem to go away. But after a few years, because your mother can no longer continue the affinity with you in the Human Realm, the affinity between you will eventually cease. You will gradually move on. The affinity is gone, the consequence is gone, and the Dharma has ceased. If a mother has just passed away, would the feeling of the child be the same to another person whose mother died over a decade ago? Because she hasn’t been in contact with you for over a decade, your affinity has ceased, so there’s nothing associated with it left. Do you understand?


所以学佛、做功德要续缘,要不停地做呀,一停就没了。爸爸妈妈对孩子也是这样。要好,要一直好,那你一辈子才算好。做一点好事很容易,但是要做一辈子好事就不容易了,对不对?相信一天佛很容易,相信一辈子就不容易了。像有些人身体不好时来拜佛菩萨,虔诚得不得了,左叩右拜;过几天身体好了,连人都不见了。你说这种人跟佛菩萨有缘分吗?

That’s why one must constantly be practising Buddhism and performing meritorious deeds to continue the affinity with Buddhism. If you stop, then things will gradually cease. It’s the same with how parents treat their children. If you plan to do something good, you must keep doing it so that your overall life seems wholesome. Doing a momentary good deed is easy, but doing it consistently for your whole life is difficult. Many people seem very sincere in praying and worshipping the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas when they have fallen ill or meet some kind of misfortune. But when they get better or when their circumstances have improved, then they are nowhere in sight. Do you think that these people have a strong affinity with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas?


很多人让师父看,问师父:“台长,我过去为什么那么好,而现在怎么一下子不好了呢?”我告诉他:因为你过去在这段时间之前,你一直在信佛,而且信得很虔诚。就是因为你在上辈子这个时间,比如34岁之后,你不拜佛了,你不念经了。你就应该知道,所以你这辈子在34岁之后你的缘分就结了,你就不会好,你就开始倒霉了。你们今天做工、打工、吃苦,为了什么?都是为了这个缘。是个什么缘呢?就是这个钱。这个钱能够续缘,能够买东西生活。为了自己的孩子,为了所有的生活,你必须续这个缘,对不对?所以你们吃再多的苦也觉得认了。但是如果你们上辈子做了很多功德,说不定你这辈子这个缘,同样是赚钱但是不会赚得这么辛苦了。

Many people asked Master to check their Totem and said, “Master, why was everything good in the past, while currently, everything is bad?” He replied, “It’s because in the past life, around that same period, you’ve been practising Buddhism constantly and was very sincere. But when you were up to around your current age in the previous life, for example from the age 34 onwards, you stopped praying to the Buddhas and stopped reciting sutras. Then you should know why from your current age of 34 onwards, you started to experience misfortune as your karmic affinity ceased. Why do you work and endure hardships? What for? Everything revolves around the term ‘affinity’. What is that affinity? It’s money. Money is also an affinity that can be continued. It can be used to buy things for your children, for your family and to live. To live, you must continue this affinity, is that right? That’s why no matter how much hardship you endure, you will accept it. If you had performed many meritorious deeds in the previous life, maybe in this life, it would create karmic conditions that allow you to make money much easier.”


“既然这辈子这么辛苦为了续这个缘,那我也认了。因为我上辈子不好,所以我这辈子只能受苦了,那我也只能认了。”但是必须要好好地学佛来改变你这个缘,就是让你吃苦的缘,改变成不吃苦,让我受伤的心灵改变成不受伤。这也叫随缘。很多人对随缘非常的偏见,说:“台长,我跟我老公吵到现在。那我就随缘,我们分手好不好?”随缘不是这么说的。随缘是随善缘,化解恶缘,而不是叫你去随恶缘。如果自己家里有点事情了,不开心了,马上一张脸板出来给人家看。你今天造了这个因,对不起,以后人家都不理你,说你这个人很自私,你就结了一个恶缘。人家为什么要看你这张脸呢?你不好为什么让人家也不好呢?这就叫种恶缘。你家里有人不开心了,你马上就给人家脸看,这就是一个自私自利的人。

“Now that I know that I have to endure so much because it’s a continuation of the past affinity, then I will just accept it. Because I wasn’t good in my previous life, that’s why I have to suffer in this life. Then all I can do is accept it.” But you must properly practise Buddhism to change your karmic conditions. In other words, you much change the conditions that make you suffer into conditions that make things easier for you. You must adapt your soul with the conditions so that you no longer get hurt by it, that’s called ‘going with the flow in accordance with karmic conditions’. Many people have very extreme views on this concept. They say, “Master, since my husband and I have always been arguing with each other, then I should just go with the flow and break up with him. Is that okay?” Going with the flow isn’t like that. Going with the flow is about acting in accordance with wholesome conditions and resolving unwholesome conditions. It’s not about acting in accordance with unwholesome conditions. If something unpleasant happened in your family and you’re upset, your face would immediately look sour in front of them. The consequence of that is that they might give you the cold shoulder and say that you’re very selfish. Then you have formed an unwholesome affinity. Why must others see your sour face? If you’re upset, why must you make others feel the same way as you? That kind of behaviour is akin to planting a seed of unwholesome affinity. A person who gives unpleasant looks to their family members when they are not happy with them is a selfish person.


要记住,因缘像一条铁链,它是生生灭灭的永远的缠住你。因缘像一条铁链,这辈子你跟他好了,下辈子就继续跟他好;这辈子跟他不好了,下辈子再来还债。你逃都逃不掉,全锁在一起。所有的家里的人,说不定上辈子是你的老婆,这辈子是你的孩子。上辈子是你的爸爸,这辈子是你的嫂嫂了……就是这么一根锁链缠在一起,生生灭灭,生生不息。你们谁能挣脱,谁能摆脱这种铁链呢?摆脱不了的。师父现在教你们的就是要摆脱铁链,摆脱你们自己的苦难和烦恼。大家要明白,生生世世的这种因缘是没有尽头的,无明也是这样。

Take note; karmic affinities are like metal chains, it will entangle you eternally no matter how many times you die and reborn. If you treat somebody well in the current life, you will continue to treat them well in the next life. If you don’t treat somebody well in the current life, you will have to repay karmic debts to them in the next life. There is no escape from this as everybody is chained together. In one’s family, somebody who is your child is the current life might have been your wife in the previous life. Your sister-in-law in your current life might have been your father in your previous life. It is this metal chain that has entangled you all together for all eternity. Are there any one of you who can escape from these chains? There’s none. So Master is currently teaching you how to escape from these chains and escape from your suffering and afflictions. Everybody must understand, there is no end to these kinds of affinities. Ignorance is the same.


生生世世这个铁链你没有办法摆脱,你永远会有无明习气。因为你不学佛才不明白,你永远沉沦在这个铁链当中,你永远脱不出来,所以你在这个人道就永远会有无明。无明就是你不明白。哪有一个孩子生出来就明白的?你前世是一个菩萨也好,你前世就算没有做多的好事,你下辈子投人了,你一投到人间,你能明白吗?你连走路都不会,你能明白什么?你不是又拥有了无明吗?所以你就没有办法止尽,也就是说没有办法让你在人间的任何烦恼可以停止,可以让它到尽头(就是到底了)。大家能明白吗?所以无明跟老死一样。一个人无明尽、无老死尽,就是一直没有尽头的--老了,死了,再出生,再老了,再死了……师父给大家讲,许多领导人说话很有哲理的。

Since you can’t escape from these eternal chains, you will always develop habitual behaviour formed by ignorance. If you didn’t learn Buddhism, then you’ll never understand, and so you will always be pulled deeper within the net of chains, which makes it harder for you to escape. So you will always be ignorance in the Human Realm. Ignorance is the state of not knowing. Is there a child who knows everything in the instant that they are born? Regardless of whether you were a Bodhisattva or someone who didn’t do many good deeds in your previous life, when you were born, did you know anything? You didn’t even know how to walk, how could you know anything? So weren’t you ignorant? That’s why you have no way of ceasing it, nor the afflictions that you develop. Do you understand? That’s why ignorance is the same as old age and death. ‘Non-cessation of ignorance, non-cessation of old age and death’, a person is constantly stuck in the cycle of life and death. Many motivational speaks and leaders give a very philosophical view of things.


比如过去说的《愚公移山》的故事:这座山我挖不完,我让我的儿子挖,儿子挖不完,让我的孙子挖,子子孙孙是没有尽头的。实际上讲的道理也是一个轮回呀,对不对?所以无明会跟老死一直到无尽。无明是不明白,会跟着老死。因为你一辈子不明白,你就一直无明;因为你会老、会死,你一直无明,它就跟着你到老死。很多老人家活了一辈子什么都不懂,最后就这么死掉了。他知道什么?什么都不明白就走掉了。所以无明跟老死一直走到底了。如果他下一辈子又投人了,他又开始无明了,又不明白了,又跟着下一辈子跑了……人就是这么生生世世轮回。

There was a story called ‘Yu Gong Yi Shan’. It tells a story of an old man called Yu Gong, who was determined to get rid of a mountain that was blocking their route to the town. Everybody around him laughed and said that it was impossible. Yu Gong replied, “If I can’t excavate the mountain, then my children will. If my children can’t complete it, then their children will. There is no end to my future generations.” In reality, the moral of this story is akin to samsara, is that right? Ignorance and old age and death will always be together with you with no end in sight. Because you will grow old and die, you will always be ignorant. Many elderly people are still ignorant despite having lived for so many decades. If you are reborn as a human again in the next life, you will begin your life again with ignorance. You will not know anything again and live your life again nor knowing. Humans live like so eternally trapped in an endless cycle of life and death.


要认清缘起观。什么事情你都要明白,我们要学会一个方法来改变自己身上的毛病,就是要记住缘起观。什么意思呢?就是看什么问题都要看到缘起。“哦,这个缘分来了”,“哦,这个事情来了”,你再去做。“哦,这个缘起了。有一个缘分来了,我要当心,而且这个是恶缘。”你们知道善恶缘是怎么来的?恶缘来了挡都挡不住的,善缘来了挡也挡不住的。所以让你们知道缘起。“起”就是起动,任何的缘分刚刚开始的时候叫缘起。为缘分能够产生智慧。如果你经常想到缘起观,你就能产生智慧,就是你经常想到:“哦,这个事情原来不能做。是恶缘来了,我要当心了。”那么你就会产生智慧来抵抗它,知道要念经了,我要当心了,我要和领导搞好关系了。对不对?一个善事来了,我开心了,这个缘分来了,你也能产生智慧。

One’s observation of conditioned genesis must be clear, we must learn a method of reforming one’s shortcomings, and that is to remain clear when observing the conditioned genesis of all things. What does it mean? It’s the ability to see the source of whatever that happens. “Oh, this thing happened, and it caused this karmic affinity or condition to appear. I must be careful since this karmic affinity seems to be of an unwholesome nature.” Do you know how does wholesome and unwholesome affinities develop? Whichever one of them appears, nothing can stop it. That’s why you must be aware of the conditioned genesis. ‘Genesis’ means the beginning. Whenever an affinity begins, we call that conditioned genesis. Any affinity can develop wisdom. If you regularly think about the conditioned genesis, then you will develop wisdom. In layman terms, you’ll regularly think of thoughts like, “Oh, so I shouldn’t have done that as it formed an unwholesome affinity. I must be careful.” Then you’ll develop the wisdom to resist it, and you know that you should recite sutras and be careful so that you can maintain a good relationship with the other person. Is that right? When a wholesome affinity appears, you’re happy about it, and you can still develop wisdom.


所以要明白,要看破缘起。什么意思?就是不单单要认识缘起,而且要看破它。什么叫看破呢?这个缘分开始来了,我要把它看破。明白吗?把它看破,就像看破红尘一样,你要看破这个缘来了是多长时间。比如你跟孩子就这么一段缘,从你生出来到你以后走,就这么一段时间。你看破了,你就不会去想太多了。你看不穿,你就觉得“哎呀,生生世世这个孩子会怎么样怎么样跟着我,晚年我会靠他们养我。”不会的。这位老人家天天求菩萨让孩子能回来,希望在他走之前让孩子能够和妈妈好起来。菩萨慈悲,给这个老人家缘分,他求成功了,孩子求回来了。问题是你虽然把这个冰箱买回家了,但是你是买到农村了,这个农村连电都没有,你的冰箱怎么用呢?你把孩子求回来了,但是你没有把孩子的心结解开,你求回来了只能更增加你的烦恼,那就由善缘转为恶缘了。听得懂吗?

So you must understand it and see through the conditioned genesis. What does that mean? Don’t simply know about the conditioned genesis but to see through it, just like seeing through the mundane world. For example, you and your child have an affinity together since you are together as a family member. But you only possess the time from when you were born to when you die. If you see through the affinity, then you won’t overthink about it. If you don’t see through it, you might think thoughts of how your child will or might treat you, and you will think that you will depend on them to take care of you when you’re old. There was an old man who regularly prayed to the Bodhisattvas so that his son would return to his side and make up with his wife before he passes away. His prayers were heard, and his son was by his side. But there was a problem. An analogy is that although you have bought a fridge, it’s being used in a rural house where there’s no electricity. So how could you use the fridge? Although you have prayed and your son has returned to you, but you haven’t resolved the grudges in your son’s mind, so he would only increase your afflictions if he’s close to you. Then the wholesome affinity has changed into an unwholesome one. Do you understand?


所以要记住,要超脱十二因缘的束缚。束缚就是绑住你了。因为有很多的因缘。我曾经给你们讲过十二因缘,今天在这里就不多讲了(十二因缘:无明、行、识、名色、六入、触、受、爱、取、有、生、老死)。要善待缘,要善用缘。把这个缘要很善地对待它,然后要以缘起观念再看破它。首先要把这个缘分的起落都要看到,然后要把它看破。举个简单的例子:有一个人喜欢你了。先想到这个人喜欢我可能是缘分,刚刚想一想之后马上要明白,要知道如果这个缘分继续下去是要出事情的--看破它了,不能要。这就叫先要依缘(就是依照这个缘分走),然后要把它看破。

Take note that you must free yourself from the entanglements of the twelve kinds of karmic affinities. Master has expounded about the twelve kinds of karmic affinities so he won’t go further in this chapter. (The twelve kinds of karmic affinities are ignorance, activity, consciousness, name and form, six sense faculties, contact, feelings, love, grasping, becoming, birth, old age and death. This is elaborated in an alternative Buddhist page: http://www.drbachinese.org/vbs/publish/321/vbs321p017.htm). You must treat your affinities well and make good use of it, then observe the conditioned genesis of it all and see through it. You must see the rise and fall of the karmic affinity and see through it. For example, let’s say that somebody fancies you. First, you must be able to identify that there might be a karmic affinity between you and that person. Once you have thought about how the affinity might progress, and if this affinity was to be maintained, what might be the result. See through it; then you might think that you shouldn’t set it in motion. In other words, you allow your mind to first imagine how things may go if acting in accordance with the karmic conditions and then see through it.


比如孩子生出来了,到人世间了,“哎呀,他是我的命呀,我的命呀”。等到孩子长大了,结婚了,就不要你了。这个缘分就破了。如果这个孩子从小生出来你就知道:“总有一天这个孩子会离开父母,去过他自己的生活。”那你就对孩子随便一点、放开一点、不要太执著的对孩子,那你以后就不会有太多的伤心、太多的烦恼、太多的牵挂了。如果人家做了什么事情对你好、对你不好都是一个缘分。你把这个缘看破了,不就没了吗?所以叫看破、放下。要看破了,才能放下。举一个简单例子:这个氢气球往上飞的时候,不得了啦,真的会飞上天。你把它扎一个洞,气没了就掉下来了。这不就叫看破、放下了吗?想不通的人才看不破,想得通才放得下。你们听得懂吗?

For example, when your child was just born into this world, you may have thoughts like his life is a part of yours. But when this child has grown up, married and has their own family, then they will be detached from you. That affinity is then broken. If instead, you have already realised that there will be a day when your child will leave you and live their own life, then you will have a more casual and laid-back approach towards your child and won’t be too attached. Then you won’t experience too much hurt, afflictions or lingering feelings in your relationship with your child. Anything that somebody does to you, regardless of whether it’s good or bad, indicates that a kind of karmic affinity exists between you. When you see through the affinity, then you won’t be attached to it. That’s the meaning of seeing through then letting go. Only by seeing through can you let go. For example, when a helium balloon rises into the sky, it seems like an incredible sight. But if there’s a hole in the balloon, and all the air has escaped, then it will fall back down. Isn’t this a good analogy of seeing through and letting go? Only those who are stubborn can’t see through, while those who can think clearly could let go. Do you understand?


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