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.
When we encounter setbacks and failures in our daily lives and our practice of Buddhism, how should we continue? When encountering setbacks or failures, many people blame and resent others. One must understand that the chains that bind their body and mind are actually created from the trap that they make for themselves. Why does somebody encounter setbacks and failures? Don’t blame others, start by thinking whether it was due to your way of thinking. It’s the trap that you made for yourself, you’re the one who rushed into it, and it was your wishful thinking that led you to experience the bitter taste of failure. Recall all the calamities and tribulations you faced in the past, when you were in the midst of it, you couldn’t think out of it. Not only that you couldn’t think out of it, you already feel upset and frustrated. So, who had created this suffering for you? It was your own entrapment. So how did we entrap ourselves? It’s because you have locked yourself up. What is this lock? It was your greed, resentment and foolishness that had locked up your body and mind.
When people encounter setbacks or failures, they don’t have the energy to change it into a positive and motive force, but let themselves be engulfed in negativity and engage in self-harm. In other words, when people face difficulties, most of them would become mentally obstructed and may have thoughts about committing suicide, or curse themselves, or constantly think of taking revenge. Where do these negative emotions come from? They come from you. Everything, your suffering, will not reduce one tiny bit, and that’s because it stems from negative energy. When you aren’t capable of recognising something is wrong, then you won’t recognise the trap that you set for yourself. When you don’t know that you’ve locked yourself up, that’s when you suffer the most. That’s why Buddhists must keep a sense of shame within themselves. They must constantly feel that they have wronged others. Some people are devoid of gratitude and shame; they change from being open and upright to treating others with servile flattery. What’s the point? Originally the person is somebody who speaks from their heart and mind, originally they are very serious in practising Buddhism, but because their mind harbour some constraints, and they don’t have a sense of shame, they start to treat others with servile flattery. Because they want to gain something from somebody, they must treat them with servile flattery. They also can’t look up to themselves; it’s because their body and mind are bound and suffered a heavy hit.
‘If the practitioner is tangled’, in other words, if we behave as if we are constrained. ‘Then it’s as if though they’re shackled’, if you don’t know how to use Buddhism to look beyond it, then it’s as if you’re shackled, and all that’s left is a corrupted soul. Master hopes that every one of you can properly think about it, why shouldn’t we become slaves to ourselves? Why is it do we feel like we can’t lift our heads? We had bound ourselves; we have tangled up our body and mind. Our mind has become enslaved by somebody else, that’s why we treat them with servile flattery. Whenever we want to achieve a certain motive, we become enslaved by someone.
That’s why one must understand the principle of wholesome and unwholesome karma. As we live in this world, we must understand about karma. If you don’t, then the current you will not benefit from anything. If you know about wholesome and unwholesome karma, think about it, you are your past you. What you experience now is a connection point between your past and your current self. Think about it; the past has already passed, right? Now, you must do new things, so aren’t you at a connection point? We are doing new things, yet we’re also repeating the things we did in the past. In reality, you are the object that’s connecting everything.
What have you gained? Everything you possessed in the past has disappeared. What have you lost? You haven’t done anything yet, what have you got? That’s the connection; it’s the connection that makes you perpetually trapped in the never-ending spiral of life and death. Because you did many things in the past, and it has passed, now you have started to repeat it all again. For your future, you are beginning the cycle now. If you do wholesome deeds, you’ll reincarnate in heaven, if you do unwholesome deeds, it will add on with the unwholesome deeds you did in the past, so you’ll reincarnate in the Underworld and hell. That’s why the thoughts and behaviour that we possess now is just a karmic consequence and attraction of past-life karma.
Here’s a simple example, if you were a female in your previous life, then even if you are a male in this lifetime, you would still do many feminine things, you would continue to be attracted to and attract the same things as your previous lifetime. In other words, your mark from the previous life hasn’t been completely removed. So in this lifetime, you would still do many feminine things like your previous life, you understand? Your karmic retribution is a continuum of the karmic retribution of the previous life. That’s why, the karmic consequence that you experience now is from the actions that you did in the past life, and in addition to the deeds that you in this lifetime, the karmic consequence of the deeds will be experienced in the future of this lifetime or the next lifetime. Don’t think that we have absolutely nothing in the human realm. You think that you didn’t take anything with you when you were born, but in fact, you have already brought enough. Just like the bad habits that you had cultivated when you were young, the consequence of that is that it has created a lot of the suffering you experience now.
Do you agree that the bad habits that you’ve learned when you were young have caused a lot of trouble in your marriage? You were unreasonable when you were young, so you continue to be unreasonable after you’re married, am I correct? You were rude and unreasonable when you were young, so after you’re grown up and have to make a living, you’re still rude and unreasonable in the workplace. Isn’t this a kind of continuum of karma? That’s why it becomes a reason which creates a future karmic consequence. In other words, the things you attracted and your karmic retribution, for example, the wrongdoing that you did when you were young, you now feel the effects from it, am I right? Then what kind of karma will this create in the future? Is it wholesome karma or aggregate karma? It’s because that is an attraction of the karmic cause you sowed in the previous life plus also the deeds you committed in the present life.
Master repeat once more, Buddhism in plain terms is very simple, in the past, the karma that you sowed have not concluded yet so it will continue. The karmic causes you sowed and the habits you developed when you were young has decided what kind of karmic consequence you’ll experience in the future. If a young girl is very understanding and modest, she would be smooth-sailing when she’s older. If a girl is very stingy, intolerant and stubborn, then she’ll encounter many obstacles when she’s older. Am I right? If the parents dote their child, how would they behave well when they start working?
When they get bullied, they can go home and cry all they want. If a person is big-hearted from when they were young, then they would act magnanimously when dealing with other people and things. So, in the workplace, a lot of things would be very accessible to them. In other words, your consequence was created from the habits that you’ve cultivated when you were young and also in your previous life. Do you understand? That’s why don’t treat ‘karma’ as some abstract theory. It’s not abstract; it could be changed from your self-observation and experience. It’s because after you have started to observe the cause and effect that occurs in your everyday life and your experience, you would realise how it affects you.
In the past, Miss Zhou was very stubborn, but now that she thinks about it, most of the losses that she suffered stemmed from her stubborn personality. It’s due to the cause of her bad temper that had created the consequence she’s currently experiencing. Am I right? You must observe, then you’ll know that one’s experiences are created by oneself and is not isolated from oneself. When you were young, you didn’t eat right, that’s why now that you’re older, you get indigestion when you eat something bad. Why does Xiao Ma’s father have such a critical illness? It’s because he didn’t take care of his prostate gland. When it was still a minor problem, he didn’t treat it, so now it has caused an even greater problem, am I right? It’s because you have sowed the cause in the past and hence you will experience the consequence of the present. He needs to go to A & E in the hospital and have to suffer a lot, all of it was created by himself. At times when you’re ill, if you regularly care of yourself or heeded Master’s advice or went to have a health check earlier, then perhaps you could’ve avoided having to experience such pain now. That’s why cause and consequence is not a concept; you must treat it as something integral and fundamental to your daily lives.
Why is he successful? It’s because he had sowed the seeds of success. Why is this person popular and everybody likes him? It’s because he had sowed the seeds of popularity. Why is this person so healthy? It’s because he had sowed the seeds of good health, he trains his body and eats healthily. As long as we live, we are responsible for everything we do, and everything ceaselessly repeats itself. Why do you feel happy when practising Buddhism? It’s because you know that you’re sowing seeds of becoming a Bodhisattva, that’s why you are filled with Dharma bliss and constantly feel happy when practising Buddhism. It’s because you have sowed a wholesome seed, and so it will bear a wholesome fruit (consequence). That’s why you must observe everything from the perspective of cause and consequence. When you experience hardships, conflicts in your relationships, an ill body, all of these experiences must be observed from the perspective of karma. Then you won’t be upset about it, and there won’t be any complaints. You would feel that there’s nothing to be angry about, everything is cause and consequence, and beyond that is just another cycle in repeat.