V 6-48 Be Determined to Cease One's Unlimited Afflictions 无尽烦恼誓愿断
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.
If you want to start changing your character, you must first learn how to adjust your frame of mind and learn how to adjust from pessimism to optimism. For example, you are unhappy about an incident, and the reason is that your husband didn’t properly cultivate. He didn’t understand that he has to be careful of sowing karmic causes, and that’s why he’s now suffering from the consequences. So you adjust your sour mood by saying that you wish that he could pull himself through and completely change himself afterwards and not be afflicted by that incident again. Every person’s shortcoming is like that; after a while, they’ll forget about the tragic mistakes they made and repeat it. Many people call Master and say, “Master, now I know why it’s so difficult trying to save others.”
Take note; we must learn to adjust our frame of mind; we must cultivate ‘paramita of forbearance’. What is this ‘paramita’? It means wisdom. In other words, we must cultivate the wisdom of forbearance. Why should we forbear? It’s because we want to eliminate our karmic obstacles. Why should we forbear? It’s because we karmically owe the person a lot from the previous life. Why should you feel like you’re forbearing? You shouldn’t; you should feel obliged to repay your karmic debts. When you’re repaying karmic debts, it’s natural to feel upset. It’s easy when you’re trying to take advantage of others, that’s why you must learn to forbear when repaying karmic debts. Just like when you’re paying back your mortgage, you would feel upset. But you shouldn’t be thinking like this. That’s because when you borrowed money, you have already sowed this karmic seed. That’s ‘paramita of forbearance’. You must learn to clear your mind about this matter. The key to forbear is to clarify your mind, that’s paramita of forbearance. If you’re stubborn about the issue, it means you lack wisdom.
You must realise that everything that happens and exists now will gradually become the past. Just like the innumerous number of sand in the Ganges, our afflictions are unlimited. There’s no limit. When this affliction is gone, another appears. Think about your experiences, aren’t your afflictions like footprints on sand? When a wave comes, all the footprints on the sand gets washed away, what’s the big deal about it? You’ve already overcome so many hardships to get to where you are now, what’s there to be afraid of? Haven’t you endured a lot when you were young? Like many of you elderly readers, you might have even experienced war before, aren’t you still living now?
Many people came (to Australia) in refugee transport ships. At the time, many ships sank. Those people had no choice but to gamble their lives on the rough sea; they didn’t even know whether they would make it or not, aren’t they pitiful? Lots of people lost their lives. Those who arrived in Australia and finally started to recite sutras and learn Buddhism, what is there to be afraid of? It’s because you haven’t learnt properly, that’s why you’re afraid. It’s because you have not wholeheartedly applied what you learnt in your daily lives. You gain from self-cultivation. When you propagate the Dharma to benefit others, and no matter who tells you to stop, you do your own thing and properly commit meritorious deeds, in the end, aren’t you doing it for yourself?
Take note, those who are tolerant will not suffer from any ailments with their heart. Those who are intolerable will feel that their hearts are blocked. One’s mind must be as broad as the ocean and cleanse themselves of the defilements daily with wisdom. Where is your wisdom? Your wisdom is like a bar of soap; you should use it to cleanse your mind and soul regularly. It’s because you’re awakened, you’re very meticulous to the details when you think of a problem. For example, we will inevitably die one day, but when you do die, you must think of going to where Guan Yin Bodhisattva is. So when you’re still alive, you must think of completely reforming yourself and properly cultivate your mind. Life will inevitably end, who doesn’t? One your mind is clear, then you could remain calm when you have to deal with something. Those who propagate the Dharma bear heavy responsibilities, those who live only for themselves die without meaning.
Take note; Bodhisattvas also depend on karmic affinity in saving others. If the person has a deep karmic affinity with the Bodhisattva, in other words, that person has followed that Bodhisattva and has done a lot of propagation to benefit others; then they will receive even more blessings from the Bodhisattva. You must understand, you must make sure your spirit is pure. In other words, you must be able to settle down; when you become a disciple, you must learn great compassion and great wisdom. You must aspire to become more intelligent and wise, and could think things clearly and willing to give. That can be considered as great wisdom. If after you become a disciple, you disappear, then you won’t receive Master’s blessings. Here’s an example, after you’ve become a disciple, it’s like giving you a cap, where this cap could only be worn for a year. People usually go to a place to renew their caps, but you don’t come to renew it. Then your cap would be worn out until you throw it away. In the end, this cap can’t protect you from the wind and rain, while others regularly renew their caps.
When you become a disciple, you must also aspire to observe the precepts. “If Master had clearly said that something mustn’t be done, then I will be firm not to do. Master once said that my life was spared, so I must properly cultivate my mind and recite sutras. I won’t care what happens, nor could I manage it. If I do, I might lose my life. I must observe the precepts. I mustn’t watch what I want to watch; I mustn’t do what I want to do. I mustn’t use what I want to use.” For example, for many of you here, if you walked on the road and saw a 50 dollar note landed beside your feet, what would you do? Maybe half of you would pick it up, as it was lost by somebody else. In reality, it’s not a crime if you picked it up, but from the perspective of one’s level of spirituality, it means your level of spirituality is low.
You must learn to have some self-respect. When you badmouth others, it’s a sign of disrespecting yourself, because what follows is that you’ll get scolded and badmouthed. Also, when you scold and badmouth others, you look very primitive. You mustn’t distort the truth, in other words, if everything you said were accurate accounts, it doesn’t matter if you say it, even if you were wrong. That’s because it’s the truth, so you won’t be incriminating yourself. If you distort the truth and make a bubbly account, then that’s wrongdoing. Let’s say a person wanted to badmouth somebody, so they slandered. Afterwards, the person explained that they did it for the victim’s sake. If you compare this person with somebody who directly points out other people’s flaws, who’s better? Also, one must respect their masters. Wise people will accept the criticisms of their master, while those who are not won’t listen, and they’ll suffer in the end.
Everything in this world can’t be attained; that’s the truth of this universe. When it’s gone, it’s gone. Even when you have it, it’s only temporary. Could you guarantee that you can possess something for a whole lifetime? Even if we saved a critically-ill person, and they live for a few more years, and they don’t practise Buddhism nor recite sutras, then when they encounter a calamity, they can’t be saved, and they will one day pass away. What’s most important is self-cultivation, this foundation is most important. Our mind must be pure; in our daily lives, we must isolate ourselves briefly from the outside world and meditate. These meditational isolations are for us to empty our minds and not thinking about anything, only focusing on reciting sutras, so that we can feel peaceful and relaxed. Even if it’s for one hour, it’s still good. Close the door shut, and sit inside the room just reciting sutras, that’s called meditational isolation, it’s to empty our mind.
In reality, meditational isolation is to completely put aside all distracting thoughts that we have for one minute, five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour etc. When you’re reciting sutras, you’re only thinking about Guan Yin Bodhisattva, that’s meditational isolation. Also you mustn’t talk, nor take phone calls, you must put aside and forget about everything. Every time you recite a sutra, stop briefly and empty the mind. Then continue reciting another, you don’t think about anything. You must cultivate and train this thought process. If you’re successful at doing this, then when a calamity comes, your mind can concentrate and immediately invoke Guan Yin Bodhisattva to resolve it. Guan Yin Bodhisattva will enter into your body and help you resolve it. If your mind is too distracted, because your mind is filled with contaminants, you wouldn’t have the energy nor concentration to invoke Guan Yin Bodhisattva to enter into your mind.