14 Mar Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 29
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “Money, do we want it? It is to follow your natural affinity. You cannot demand it. The more you demand, the more you suffer.)
All of you here, some are rich people in exile, some people are under the status of riches and honors their whole life, and some are entrepreneurial and self-supported. Are you not all living exhausted?
If you feel exhausted, you have a problem.
If you feel spiritually unsatisfied, you have a problem too.
If you feel you have enough money, are living well and can finally relax, then you have an even deeper problem.
Why? You do not understand the facts about the universe.
Nowadays we speak the so-called: “fortunate people who do not appreciate their blessings”. This “blessing” is not what we talk about in general. For blessings come in several kinds: one is “blessed virtue”, one is “blessed reward” and one is “good fortune mixed with annoyance”. “Blessed virtue” is when a person does good deeds with benevolence, and alms give one’s wealth to do good deeds benevolently. Some people are wealthy but do not have benevolence. This “benevolence” is not talking about kindness; it means one has greedy intention towards oneself and others. A smart person knows that all materiality is unreal, and knows to develop spiritually is real, one knows what one needs to do and is a number one smart person. However, there are too few smart people in this world.
Why are there so few? Most of them are confused by materiality and deluded by phenomena.
After one is deluded, if one still has “blessed reward” left, then you have good fortune displays with afflictions. So, you are a person who possess good fortune display with annoyance plus wisdom that is good. “Blessed virtues”: the function of “virtue” refers light. Your mind is bright, having money is good, but your bight mind has a kind of pleasantness – to be called “blessed virtue” that is different from “merits and virtues”. Merits and virtues are a higher; it is when one who does not enjoy one’s own blessed reward and gives it to others to enjoy.
Who is like this? The perfect insight of being master of one’s self Bodhisattva, as Guan-Yin Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara), Da-Shi-Zhi Bodhisattva (Mahasthamaprapta), and all those like Wen-Shu Bodhisattva (Manhushri), Pu-Xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra), Amitabha, Shakyamuni Buddha; those people’s “blessed rewards” are indeed huge.
The “blessed rewards” of Buddha exceedingly extend everywhere of the universe, but he does not keep for himself and alms give it to all living beings. Therefore, Amitabha who built the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land, such a wonderful place that he does not keep for himself and instead, gives it to all living beings to enjoy. The merits and virtues of this kind of person, “merit” means pure mind and equality, when one has equality and purity will emerge “light”. This “light” is infinite and boundless in brightness. Therefore, the “blessed reward” of Amitabha is named as Infinite Light and Infinite Life.
The “blessed reward”, that is one class lower, one enjoys the blessed reward. The “blessed reward” is the same as materials and money, which will eventually all be used up, but it does have the virtue also.
What kind of virtue? One can help all living beings.
Then what is “blessed reward”? It is similar to what all of you have, but not rewarded completely.
What is it? In your past lives if you had repaired bridges and roads, practice giving to help others, and in this life others will help you. If past lives you practiced money giving, you will have wealth in this life. If in past lives you practiced medicine giving, in this life when you are sick there will be people to look after you. If in past lives you practiced the teaching of the Buddha giving, in this life you will receive the blessed reward of intelligence and wisdom. These blessed rewards can also be used up.
The last one is called “good fortune mixed with annoyance”, which means you have a good material life displayed with annoyance, as there are thousands of knots in one’s mind. When there is good material enjoyment, many things are not to one’s liking.
You ask the one, what is troubling you? Even one oneself does not know.
Is one knotted on the inside? It seems to be knots, but it also seems as though there are not any.
Therefore, a Chinese person would generally speak to another person, “You have such good fortune”. Honestly speaking, you must not celebrate with it. Your mind has annoyance, and you have things that are not to your liking and contrary to your wishes, then this is serious.
We just mentioned about spirituality and materiality from a moment ago until now, what is it? We realize that we ought to try and become perfect insight of being the master of one’s self Bodhisattva.
The precondition of being the master of one’s self is to have Prajna (wisdom). Prajna is achieved when you have learned to become purified mind of defiling illusion; if you do not learn and merely envy others, that will not work.