01 Jul Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 108
(Last week we ended with, “Therefore, my feeling is that if you chant Amitabha sincerely, you will get full marks for the “Five Precepts”, then “false speech” will not happen and there will not be any violations. Also, you will not break the precept of theft. After removing “theft and false speech”, then “excessive sexual misconduct” will vanish”).
“Greediness” is the root however, after a long time with mindfulness of Amitabha the mind is fixed, and greediness is also gone. Greediness and aversion belong together, and “aversion” is when one cannot get the thing that one desires for resulting in anger, then ill-will is gone.
There is an old saying, if you truly and honestly chant (mindfulness of) Amitabha, then you observe the “Five Precepts” completely and also the “Three Refuges” – to return and rely on “enlightenment, right understanding and right views, purity”. In that case, is not the mindfulness of Amitabha precisely to return and rely on “enlightenment, right understanding and right views, purity” and this attains the full mark too. This is the best and convenient method among all convenience.
Whether you follow a vegetarian diet or not, it is your own decision. If you feel a vegetarian diet is according with circumstances which does not bother other people or family members and it is very convenient, then go ahead. If you feel a vegetarian diet would inconvenience others or even bother yourself, then let go of it and be mindfulness of Amitabha whole-heartedly.
The discourse of Buddha has never stated that a person who eats meat cannot go and be born to Amitabha Pure Land, or only one who follows a vegetarian diet can go; nothing of this sort.
Chanting (mindfulness of) Amitabha covers one either has superior, medium or inferior roots (natural capacity) universally, regardless of one is sharp or dull in quality.
After you chant (mindfulness of) Amitabha to have a purified mind of defiling illusion, then there is no discrimination with regards to whether one follows a meat or vegetable diet. Meat and vegetables are both formulated by certain chemical equations.
Do you know why eating meat is encumbered with faults? It is because when you eat meat it does not feel well in the mind. This will come for your payment in a future life. It has nothing to do with the meat itself, which is only the transformation of materiality, it is because the soul has not been released. The soul thinks if you eat me today, the next life term I will eat you, and this is how reincarnation started. People should not be mistaken by the problem which is neither about meat nor vegetables.
Killing vegetables also has the feeling of pain, will it have retribution? Of course, it has retribution; we should not even step on grass.
Therefore, all beings are extremely attached and like to hold onto trivial things without letting go. If you figure it out, it turns out that the rivers, mountains, the earth and all beings are manifested from our own mind. Therefore, you need to start from the root to cultivate yourself in the right practice.
What is the root? It is your thought arising in the mind.
What is the root of thought arising in the mind? It is discrimination, attachment and erroneous thinking; precisely these three. After reducing these three, then there will be peace on earth. The external living will let nature takes its course. Oneself will also follow the predestined affinity. You will have mirror-like clarity about everything around; this is the self-mind that observes the precepts as the “precept of prohibit vicious mind”.
I repeatedly explained that the “moral precepts” are not regulated by Buddha Bodhisattva, or the nation, or the communities; it is the standard of your innate sense of right and wrong in the mind, it is the standard of your self-nature’s pure radiance.
After false speech, the next is “alcohol intoxication”. “False speech” comes in four kinds: “talking nonsense, improper remarks, double tongues, and evil mouth”.
Improper remarks are sweet talking to the ear and dishonest rhetoric.
Double tongues incite disharmony.
An evil mouth is to curse at people.
If your mind has purified of defiling illusion, you do not break it.
Regarding “alcohol intoxication”, there is an old saying:
Alcohol does not intoxicate a person, one intoxicates oneself.
It is fine if you take alcohol as medication, such as an elderly person during a cold winter night who drinks a bit to improve blood circulation; this is fine. When we want to improve our health, can one improve the blood circulation with a bit of hard liquor during the cold winter? Yes, it is fine. However, you should not drink alcohol excessively. When you drink excessively you get drunk or if you are not drunk but pretend to be drunk and behave wildly, this is not allowed. Why? By borrowing alcohol and pretending to be uncontrollable to relieve your own unhappiness through piles of garbage words, others do not like to hear it and even you do not like to hear it. There are too many forms of this behavior that when bonded together commission an offense to the world of hell.
“Greed, aversion, ignorance, arrogance and suspicion” causes “killing, stealing, excessive sexual misconduct, false speech and alcohol intoxication” bonded together commission an offense which ends up in hell.
“Arrogance” is self-intoxication which inherently comes with that I am better than or superior to you, you are lesser or lower than I, this is troublesome. This self-intoxication causes an unpeaceful society phenomena; in fact, it is a power struggle. In our society from the highest class to the lowest class, there is no one that does not struggle. Before, there were still kindhearted ordinary people however, in the present even kindhearted ordinary people all need to fight and scheme against each other. Why? To survive in this environment, one needs to fight. Therefore, this is indeed a sturdy struggling society.
Refer to the Buddha scripture which has stated very clearly:
The beings in the period of degeneration and extinction of the Buddha teaching have the nature of sturdy struggling.
To what kind of extent? After reaching one’s death is unlikely to back out of it, arriving to the destiny of hell and one fights as usual.
We need to think it over regarding “killing, stealing, excessive sexual misconduct, false speech, and alcohol intoxication”, or “greed, aversion, ignorance, arrogance and suspiciousness”. There are still “suspicions” which is the most serious one, having suspicions regarding the teaching of Buddha, the human world, and beyond the worldly and everything. Regarding oneself also exists suspicion, let alone about other people. To harbor suspicions on top of struggle, does it not a portray our society today struggling from suspicion.
On the scripture of Buddha:
Suspicion is the biggest hindrance of Bodhisattva’s advancement.
If a Bodhisattva has harbored suspicions, then they are incapable to become Buddha. One who is suspicious about the words of Buddha then all beings have suspicions about the teaching of Buddha or Bodhisattvas.
Description from the Infinite Life Sutra:
There are about one hundred million Bodhisattva who have receded from attainment of Annutara-Samyak-Sambodhi (Supreme Perfect Enlightenment) – the state equal as Buddha.
After hearing this method of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha, a common person can all go to be born as the lowest inferior rank to Amitabha Pure Land, titled as Avaivartika Bodhisattva who enjoys the non-retrogression meritorious competence from cultivation enlightenment. Some Bodhisattvas have receded from the position they attained previously. They were startled by this because of this method of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha has been unheard, hence! What does this unheard refer to? It is not to hear from somewhere externally, it is not to feel through the senses like this; none of that. It is from your self-nature.
Mindfulness of Amitabha is the cause and becoming Amitabha is the effect.
The Buddha-nature of your self-nature is to be the “cause and effect”, by means of the resulting Buddhahood of Amitabha is to be the “cause and effect”. Both interact mutually, the cause and effect are intertwined bringing the so-called method of chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha to perfection.
Why would one recede? Precisely these Bodhisattva are skeptical about Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching. From here we can detect whether the good natural capacity of the individual is deep-seated or not. When one has no doubt of the Buddha’s teaching, that is a person with a solid good natural capacity. In fact, no suspicion is precisely “compliance with moral precepts”. To have suspicion is breaking the precepts”.
卷(七 ) 持戒波羅蜜
所以還是一句老話，你真的老老實實念一句阿彌陀佛，「五戒」守滿，「三皈」也滿 – 皈依「覺、正、淨」。那念佛不是就回頭依靠「覺、正、淨」了，也滿了。這個法門「方便中的方便」。
起心、動念的根本是什麼？分別、執著、妄想，就這三個。這三個減輕了，那好了，天下太平。外面一切生活隨緣，自己對自己隨緣。自己，清清楚楚、明明白白，沒有一件事不知道，這就是自心守戒 – 「心戒」。
為什麼會退？就是這些菩薩對釋迦牟尼佛講的話有懷疑。這就看出善根是不是深厚。講善根深厚 – 是對佛講的話，沒有懷疑，其實不懷疑就是「持戒」。懷疑就是破戒。