13 Jan Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 15
(Last week we ended with, “You only need to compose your mind, try to have a mind unmoved and undisturbed by any phenomena for one, two, or three seconds. So, give it a try.”)
Since birth until now, we have never composed our mind. Most of you have experienced the method of chanting Amitabha, the true way of chanting Amitabha is to chant in your mind.
What does that mean? Your mind is precisely without fluctuation, using the name of Buddha to stop your afflictions; this is chanting Amitabha. The more advanced level is to have a better understanding of Buddha name.
For instance, what does Amitabha mean?
Mitameans quantity or capacity,
It is infinite enlightenment.
To be enlightened in what? “Enlightenment” is represented by brightness—Infinite Light, Infinite Life, and Infinite Wisdom.
Use the representation of Infinite Life and Infinite Wisdom of your self-nature to correct your afflictions. Using this method after you understand the meaning of Amitabha, if you have afflictions then thinking that you originally are infinitely pure, infinitely bright and have infinite life, then there is nothing to be worried about. It will turn.
In that case, what is the more advanced method of chanting Amitabha? The more advanced method of chanting Amitabha is having thoughts with neither “greed, resentment, ignorance, arrogance”, nor “delusional thoughts, attachments and afflictions”. This is called “chanting Amitabha”. If you can keep this condition for 24 hours, then you are a Buddha.
In fact, it is extremely simple. It is only that all of you have not given it a try. The moment you try, you encounter many different situations that cause you to withdraw and you immediately turn it down. For example, you comfortably chant Amitabha now and the telephone rings. The person at the other end tells you something that you need to look after and then your mind starts to become unsettled. All of these are trivial matters that cause disturbances.
During this era, all of you have not been through the disruptions of war or severe struggles (e.g., famine, disastrous revolution events etc.) of great afflictions. Your body is not deficient of the five senses (vision, hearing, smell, taste, and body functions). Time passes fast, and our gathering has happened in our past life as well. In this life, we are back again.
How many times has this happened in our past lives? Countless times, and this happens once again.
Why? The energy field gives a new lease of life, to refresh again.
If living your life in enlightenment, your life will transform and become a wisdom life like, with wisdom living phenomena. If just merely living life, it is the living phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness or death”.
I feel that the Prajnaparamita Heart Sutraoffers us major instructions to practice cultivation without using wisdom which is impossible to attain. Basically, eminent monks and great virtuous masters who practice cultivation and confirm the Buddha truth through the ages all have one identical phenomenon which is to seek no gain.
Look at the Master Hong-Yi (弘一)of our modern times. He was an artist in his youth and talented in every aspect. He lived an unconventional lifestyle with freedom and ease and was married with two wives and he later became a Buddhist monk. As an artist, whatever he studied he became an expert; as a monk, he was also an expert and attained the highest level. He is our best example. Before we engaged in cultivation practice, we also lived a very colorful life. After we practice cultivation, we still live a very colorful life. But his state of mind changed. He chants Amitabha in accordance with the monastic discipline of Ritsu as established by Monk Dao-Xuan (道宣)of Nan-Mountain Ritsu. Ritsu’s monastic moral precepts are very hard to endure by the public. Even drinking water requires a special filtered bag made of the finest flax fibers to filter the water.
Why? Because he does not have the heart to harm the germs in the water. Therefore, he abides by the moral precepts so strictly.
In the Ritsu School, there is no contact with the female public. If a man came down a stairway and saw a female, he would walk in reverse and return. Chief Master Monk Xu-Yun of the Lanying Temple in Taiwan is a genuine Ritsu follower. When I was younger, I visited him and paid respect in his small living room, and no females could be present.
Why are Ritsu’s monastic disciplinary moral precepts so strict? It forces you to let go of your body and mind, so that afterwards you have purified to a certain level that chanting Amitabha or worshipping the Buddha will have the right effects.
Practicing in accordance with the Ritsu disciplinary way is very inconvenient for the public.
Why? It is truly inconvenient. We can watch and study their shown phenomena.
How to study? Practice in our human society and treat our human society as an enlightenment place (Bodhimanda). The enlightenment place is an environment of no discrimination. You treat your daily life as a place for enlightenment and this way of cultivation is called Paramita, which is the way to detach from suffering and obtain happiness.