02 Sep Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 63
(Last week we ended with, “All Buddhist scriptures exist for its own purpose. If you only recite the Sutra without knowing its purpose, and without knowing its true meanings then it is called superstition. This is called religion.”)
Early Christianity can still be counted as education, but it is a religious superstition now. Early Islam was also an education, but it is a religious superstition now. Early Buddhism was the same. In early times, it was the education of wisdom, but now it is a religious superstition. It is a superstitious belief that in life, good fortune results from previous goodness, and evil fruit is from previous evil deeds. It is a superstitious belief that we need to build a temple, donate money and a person will be exceedingly rewarded. This is superstition. Therefore, after seeing the real phase of the universe, especially the reality of the world, we should do introspection:
Why recite Sutras for a long time, and the body and mind cannot reap the benefits of it?
Why chant (mindfulness) Amitabha for a long time, and a person does not have Buddha moved to respond?
This is precisely, not knowing how to chant. Why do you not know how to chant?
Your secular concept is too heavy.
Buddha teaching is not. Buddha’s concept is purity, equality, enlightenment and compassion. If you can have one grade of purity, then you will correspond with the Buddha one grade. A secular person does not have purity, equality, enlightenment and compassion. One only has “delusion, heterodox and defilement”, which is not “enlightenment, right views and purity”.
“Delusion” is deluded in phenomena. “Heterodox” means a person’s thinking activity is all greed. “Defilement” is contaminated. Now people are becoming worse with each generation. Think about the generation of our past, fathers, grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents, even back to the beginning of the Qin dynasty. At that time, the phenomena of people were different, and their heads were very clear. Although it appeared the country was very pedantic, you are mistaken, their brains were very clear. It looks very free now but all are in a confused state of mind. The appearance of modern people seems to be very comfortable and very real. It is not bad; one does whatever one pleases. In fact, one’s living phenomena has become lost in material society. People before were not like this, they used to live in a spiritual society and the material was very bitter before. I remember an old gentleman I knew before who scrimped and saved.
He said, “I am here to be a human (人). The Chinese character is written with two slanting downward brush strokes. The moment when these two strokes happen precisely means “gains and losses”. With regards to the thinking of “gains and losses” one needs to let go.”
He said, “Do you know why? For a lifetime to have suffering like this, if you are unable to let go this thinking way of “gain and loss”, then you are without a good day to live.”
This is the old man’s wisdom! In ancient China people constantly emphasized wisdom; this is the fundamental wisdom. People of today are not; the modern person during their childhood enjoys one’s blessed reward and will enjoy to a certain extent after growing up, one follows the crowd blindly. One enjoys the blessed reward confusedly and after enjoying it, one goes to the Three Wretched Realms (hell, hungry ghost and animal). Ancient people were not like this; ancient people came here to be disillusioned with everything, let go of all, and to get enlightened. Where will they be born in the future? They are born beyond the Threefold Worlds (Triloka – the universe is divided into three worlds of karmic birth as desire, form and formless); this is the difference.
Therefore, a person who does not see the ruling of cause and effect, when practicing cultivation is also cultivating blindly and practicing foolishly. They are entirely in the state of confusion. In modern society, its chaos is concealed and the chaos of ancient society was superficial which was much easier to deal with. Modern society is not, and now it is concealment and especially, individualism. If an individual speaks unpleasantly to hear, it is a crime. That is you can commit crimes at will that follow one’s own wishes. What does “crime” mean? The Chinese character for “crime” is “罪 zui”, which is made up of the character for “eye” or “目 mu” and the character for “not be” or “非 fei”, it is:
Do not look what is contrary to propriety,
Do not speak what is contrary to propriety,
Do not listen what is contrary to propriety.
To talk about this, people say this is very pedantic. Why is it pedantic? One feels that this matter they are unable to do by themselves. He cannot do it and thinks it is pedantic because his secular concept is excessive.
You have listened to me just mentioning a secular concept. Again, I just mentioned and now mention it too; a total of three times. This secular concept is the number one major barrier in cultivation practice. The secular concept is the first major obstacle to cultivation practice. The secular concept, if you cannot remove it, does not work. Do not say when it comes to practicing cultivation, that all life phenomena are tied by this secular word, which has clutched you by the throat, and pinched you by the nose entirely. The secularization of every life is different; every custom is different. Getting worse and worse, the minds of men are getting worse and the secular world is getting worse. In the end, people are completely without an innate sense of right and wrong, the conscience is completely controlled by worldly affairs.
今天講卷 (四 ) 空、假、中三觀
佛法不是，佛的觀念是清淨、平等、覺悟、慈悲。如果你能有一分清淨，就跟他一分相應。世俗人，沒有「清淨、平等、覺悟、慈悲」，沒有的。他只有「迷邪染」，他不是「覺正淨」。「迷」是迷在現象。「邪」：思想行為都是貪。「染」是汚染。現在這些人，一代不如一代。想想我們過去老一代的，父親輩、祖父輩、曾祖父輩，曾祖父大概到前清了。那時候人的現象不一樣，腦袋很清楚。雖然看起來，覺得它 – 這國家很迂腐，那你搞錯了，他腦筋很清楚。現在看起來很自由，亂了都是這樣。現代人的生活表相上看起來，過的蠻舒服很實在，還不錯，想幹嘛就幹。實際上，他的生活現象，是迷在物質社會。以前人不是，以前人生活在精神社會，以前物質很苦。我記得以前認識的老先生省吃儉用。
什麼叫「罪」？中文上面一個「目」、一個「非」，目非 – 非禮勿視，非禮勿言，非禮勿聽。要講到這個，人家講這很迂腐。為什麼迂腐？他覺得這事，他自己做不到；他做不到就認為是迂腐。因為他的世俗觀念過度了。