09 May Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 106
(Last week we ended with, “Currently, we, the common ones, abide by precepts are eager for all surrounding neighbors to know because you want to hear their praising, then you will become exceedingly happy. This is self-intoxication.”)
Strong conflict exists in our society, like being a vegetarian who is in a bad mood after seeing other people eat vegetarian food. One will question:
Do you eat in accordance with the teaching of Buddha?
Are you sure your vegetarian food did not mix with meat products?
Do you cook with vegetable oil?
Did you add green onions, ginger or garlic in it?
Did you add cooking wine?
I came across too many. When I was a vegetarian, people asked me all of these questions.
I said: “Oh, it is like this, I do not eat now.”
Others then said: “Go without food; this is impressive!”
I said: “Yeah, because the way you question me so, I dare not eat anymore!”
He thought since I would not eat it means that I have attained enlightenment. No, I explained to him that I will not eat because of his way of expressing. That is why I dare not eat. So, his whole family was fearfully surprised and in a state of not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
I remember being a vegetarian before, some people have regulations: one is a vegetarian by oneself to stipulate others to be vegetarian. Others who are not a vegetarian is like they are committing a heinous crime. This behavior causes one’s parents, brothers and sisters to have misunderstandings about Buddhism like, “Buddhism only forces people to be vegetarian, forbids us to eat meat or other meat-related products, and other religions do not have this kind of enforcement meaning.” No, they do not know what Buddha teaching is.
Today we talk about the “moral precepts”, a person to observe the precepts must obtain the embodiment of the precepts in the heart of recipient. I just talked about the fundamental essence which refers to no thought arises in the mind, no discrimination, and no attachment; these are the embodiment of the precepts. Once you attain it and you know inherently no-discrimination and no-attachment in yourself-nature radiance, you then observe the precepts and truly accept the phenomenon of enlightenment.
“Precept” is exactly the phenomenon. Everyday life you do according to circumstances, whether being a vegetarian or a meat eater is not important; the key is whether there is thought arising in your mind.
There is no doubt being a vegetarian is good. Why? Currently meat products are contaminated, the sea is also contaminated, the river is also contaminated and everywhere you turn is contaminated. Eating three meals is like in taking poison and thus being a vegetarian is better.
Are vegetables contaminated? Yes, agricultural pesticides, air, water, ground and fertilizer are contaminated.
Is it possible to not eat? I think there is no way.
The saints above and Arhat are able to not eat because they enter a state of intense concentration. How can an ordinary being do it? In this case, we use a convenient method which is no discrimination and no attachment and acting in accordance with conditions.
The genuine precepts are acting in accordance with conditions. Whether to end abstinence, faults that require special restraint, strictly adhering to the precepts, or breaking the precept, you do it skillfully and easily by acting in accordance with conditions.
The “moral precepts” are for disciplining yourself. I am repeating and emphasizing this point, no need to have thought arising in the mind to control another person and let everyone grow affliction which breaks the precept. To be present are the experienced practitioners who have nurtured the Buddha teaching for more than ten years. You shall be more relaxed and unrestrained with this problem. Do not put anything in mind when another does something, such as: What about that family? Also, what about who? Also, what about him? No need to put it in your mind. You are busy enough. Every day you live in an abyss of suffering entirely. Every day you are busy enough combating your own erroneous thinking and attachments, who has time to care about others.
Following the statement by Master Yin-Quang (印光大師):
Mind your own business; do not mind others.
If you do it right, then everything is fine. Then let me tell you something, the moment our body and mind has purified of defiling illusion, with regards to all beings, a phenomenon will be discovered. It turns out that all beings are a Buddha or Bodhisattva. If you feel this way, congratulate yourself because it means that you have compliance with moral precepts.
卷(七 ) 持戒波羅蜜