16 May Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 4
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “In fact, his demonstration can be achieved by everyone; we simply do not have this kind of enlightenment education from childhood.”)
Our ages are about the same, and we are all without this kind of enlightenment education.
Were there any parents who ever told a child: “You need to get enlightened, stop acting confused and deranged daily?” No, there were not. Especially in the past, supplies were not plentiful, except for high ranking officials and prominent people which was another situation; the average person was impoverished, busy trying to fill their bellies with three meals daily, and had the time to chant Amitabha to practice cultivation.
In addition, we did not have proper understanding about Buddhism:
Who would know the meaning of chanting Amitabha?
Who would know the meaning of cultivation practice?
An average person only thinks to practice cultivation which means one does not do bad deeds. “Chanting Amitabha” is a chanting activity for the old generation like our grandpa and grandma with nothing to do. Thus, turning it into superstition belief.
Therefore, I wish everyone can recognize the Buddha teaching in a brand-new way. This is most important.
If you still have a traditional superstitious concept:
- If you worship the Buddha Bodhisattvas, they will protect me; this is superstition.
- If you think that participating at various Buddhist ceremonial assemblies and reciting Sutras will have merits and virtues; this is superstition.
You try to explain “merit and virtue” but one does not even understand what that means.
“Merit” is being purified of defiling illusions. “Virtue” is the impact after being purified.
If your mind is unpurified while participating in the Buddhist ceremonial assembly, there is no merit and virtue; also, there is no blessing reward that arises from good deeds. “Blessing” refers to no wisdom, but one has kind intention.
Before a person stated: ” One’s blessed virtues and wisdom should be equally distributed”. For example: “An elephant is adorned with necklaces and ornaments, while an Arhat trails through doors with an empty bowl”.
The Arhat has wisdom but he ignored the cultivation of his blessed virtues in past lives, so when he trails through doors with his bowl, although he has wisdom, he receives no food. The elephant belongs to the animal world, it has attained an extreme karmic reward. Pu-Xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra) rides on a white elephant with six-tusks, adorned with necklaces and seven jewel ornaments, expressing its good karmic reward, and has the glory of seven treasures (identical to a Buddha). This indicates that wisdom and blessed virtues are not well-distributed. Therefore, when wisdom and blessed virtues are evenly distributed, one is the same as Buddha, and to have a mind perfectly level it is called, “nirvana merits and enlightenment virtues”.
Everyone needs to remember that virtue is the impact of merit.
The Way (Dao) is the truth of the universe world.
What is the universal truth?
Originally there is not a single thing, where can dust (afflictions) be provoked.
So, it is without discrimination, delusional thoughts or attachment; this is the truth of the universe.
The function of the “truth” is exactly “light or illumination” representing universal illumination, and penetration ability on all. If we had this kind of teaching as a child, it would make a great difference for all of us now. Whether noble or lowly in one’s occupation, one who knows how to cook would become chefs, one who knows how to paint would become artists, one who likes doing repair work would become repairmen to repair windows and doors, and one would become an engineer or lawyer; among all professions there would exist no discrimination. Our mind would be different, if our mind was happy there is no worry.
Specially, humans have deep attachment to the phenomena of “birth, aging, illness and death”; and always think that “life and death” are real, that “aging and illness” are real. Everyone must have experienced some form of illness before, like catching a cold and we all know what illness feels like. However, “Birth” most people have forgotten. “Aging”, we will all gradually progress into an older state. “Death”, we have all been through it before but have now forgotten and currently do not have feelings about it. Only, we see people die around us.
When one dies, what to do? Burning the dead body.
Where does the dead soul end up? We do not know.
If we had the enlightenment concept when we were young, then the phenomena of “birth, aging, illness or death” are within our control.
How to control? When your mind is purified of defiling illusion, then birth phenomenon ceases.
What is “birth”? It is a delusional thought.
Everyone thinks now, what was the first thought you had waking up in the morning?
Every person is different. The first thought initiates, it is the “birth”; waiting after this thought is substituted by the next thought, this thought “extinct” means the death of this thought. After the extinction then the second thought has risen again. Each thought is very brief, goes instantly and therefore, “an instant” is also known as the phenomena of “birth, aging, illness and death”.
What is “illness”? There is the start of having variation; when the variation does not go well it is called “illness”.
Therefore, the phenomena of “birth, aging, illness or death” is from the morning’s first thought to the dreams at night, 24 hours non-stop. Having phenomena of “birth, aging, illness or death” in our life is normal; from past unlimited existences of the world period to the present without ever ceasing, our bodies and minds are total exhausted from it.
羅漢有智慧，但是沒修福，去沿門托缽; 雖有智慧，托不到一盤菜。大象- 畜生道，福報不得了。普賢菩薩騎的六牙白象；掛瓔珞，是表示它福報好，有七寶莊嚴。這就是「智」跟「福」沒有平均。所以智福平均的時候，就跟佛一樣，心是平的，那個叫「功德」。