24 Jun Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 42
[Series of Master Shen-Long expounding on the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Transcendent Wisdom) Heart Sutra]
(Last week we ended with, “Your mind is clear and without pressure and not only that, you are purified of defiling illusion and you also do not bring any distress to any other person involved; then it is the real thing. If you can use this concept to face your life and death, then life and death to you is merely an illusory dream.”)
Chinese people have a statement: “People die and become ghosts.”
What is the condition of a ghost? It is greed.
The greedier a person is, the more one’s mind is unclear. When one cannot attain one’s aim of greediness, then one gets angry. After getting angry for a long duration of time, one is in a daze and unable to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad. One becomes obviously aware of this, but one cannot do anything about it, except continuously follow one’s greedy thought. Every one of us has experienced this and is familiar with the word “greed”. Like today, if the cuisine is tasty I will eat two more mouthfuls even if it might cause me to have an upset stomach which does not matter because I have already consumed the food. Secondly, the stock market; if our stock prices rise two to three points then we are very happy, and this is also greed. Tomorrow if the market collapses then it leaves it for later to consider. If the stock price remains high, we get anxious again. You just experienced this kind of delightful enjoyment a moment ago, and you are anxious again that this pleasure or happiness will soon be lost; this is called “worrying about personal gains and losses”. If you can be how we explained you can let go a bit of all materialistic phenomena, feeling, thinking, mental formation, and consciousness; then this worry about personal gains and losses would probably not exist. Then your living will be very pleasant; this is true living. Just a moment ago that situation was not “living”, it is called “dying”. Every day you die at least once, because unhappy matters occur every day. Therefore, life and death are very interesting because it is next to you every day and leads you by the nose every day.
Since it is a dream, why do you not want to have a good dream?
Instead you insist on having a dream with life and death, dream of gain and loss?
It is not worth it. Then there are people that would say: Regarding life in the universe, we need to be disillusioned with everything and let go of all.
To be disillusioned with what? To be disillusioned with everything does not mean dropping everything, as deserting your family and children, go to the deep mountains to practice cultivation by shaving off your hair and wearing a cassock (kasaya) to be a monk or nun. No, nothing of this sort. This is for special person and it is another kind of circumstance. To be truly “disillusioned with everything”, one sees clearly the sequence of events of matters and sees clearly the truth about the life in the universe.
To “let go” means to do everything without pressure.
Some say: “No, I cannot do it. I cannot let go, I have responsibilities. The whole family relies on me. If I do not make money how can they survive?”
This is known as making life difficult for yourself. If you are making money and providing for the entire family, if your breadth of mind is disillusioned with all and let go, your whole family will not be opposed against you; instead, you function to everyone’s delight and satisfaction. Friends around you, when they look at your face, will naturally be influenced by you. When they see you, they will feel comfortable like receiving the caress of a warm Spring breeze, and certainly they will not have any unwell feelings. This is precisely the reason we have constantly mentioned to provide happiness to all living beings. All living beings do not necessarily only point to humans – phenomenon rises from the concatenation of cause and effect in harmonious unity. The “harmonious unity” precisely is the concatenation of cause and effect gather together, this is the requirement, to have cause and the requirement gather together to form a phenomenon. For instance, every one of us who sits here, we all have different facial appearances, different ways of thinking, different personalities; we are the combinations of the concatenation of cause and effect.
Some people are pleasing to the eye and some people are offensive to the eye.
Why? It is because you are affected by the phenomena and you have attachment to it.
Sometimes when we see someone as an enemy on a narrow road; sometimes we see someone who looks very familiar.
Why is it this way? It is the result of your past life affinities plus conditions. You have both good affinities and bad affinities.