27 Nov Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 74
(Last week we ended with, “Shakyamuni, who was a Buddha ages ago, came to our Earth to take material shape 3,000 years ago which was his 8,000th time. He already eradicated all 41 grades of the unenlightened condition and perfectly attained Buddhahood. He manifested 3,000 years ago and he had the connection with all beings of our Earth. Even though his body had already undergone illusory transformation, however, the Buddha teaching is preserved in the world.”)
The degeneration and extinction of the Buddha teaching has 9,000 years still. Therefore, the teaching of Buddha remains in the world for 9,000 years. But one year is worse than each year, nowadays, Buddhism is not a Buddhism at all, everyone who is wise can see it.
Buddha teaching emphasizes “the root of all phenomena is the mind”. What is the mind? It is pureness, equality, enlightenment and compassion. If you stray away from these four general principles, then it is not the teaching of Buddha, it becomes a philanthropic enterprise; all beings do not benefit from it. Why? When the phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness and death” comes then it is goodbye.
I just spoke about, “To eradicate one grade of the unenlightened condition, to realize one grade of embodiment of truth (Dharma Body)”, phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness and death” fundamentally do not exist and is completely without hindrance. Even time and space both have no way out with you, then how can there be phenomena of “birth, aging, sickness and death” existing.
Someone says, the age when you see the truth of the universe when you have “eradicated one grade of the unenlightened condition, to realize one grade of the embodiment of truth (Dharma Body)”; you will retain your appearance at that age. This is correct; I have seen one like this. I have seen a true enlightened one, even at the age of 80 years old still maintain the appearance of 30 years old and will have the same appearance even when they reach more than 1,000 years old. This is difficult for ordinary beings to believe. Why? They do not have this experience and do not have such feeling.
Since, one is capable of “the eight phases of the Buddha’s life – descent from Tusita, entry into womb, birth, leaving home, subjection of Mara, attaining perfect wisdom, preaching, nirvana”; one can then explain the Twelve divisions of the Mahayana Canons, to transmit the Buddha teaching and help infinite beings. For example, Jin-Shan Living Buddha (金山活佛) is familiar to many people. In the early years of the republic of China era, he helped and enlightened all beings. He stayed at the Jiang-Tian Buddhist Temple at Jin-Shan, Zhen-Jiang city of Jiang-Su Province. His biography indicated that he and Monk Tai-Cang (太滄和尚)lived in the same monastery. Monk Tai-Cang described: Jin-Shan Living Buddha wore a thick cotton padded jacket during hot summer days, and never bathed but always had a body fragrance of sandalwood. He did nothing ordinarily; he spent most of his time chanting Amitabha, especially chanting Amitabha aloud at midnight! He practices Zen Buddhism. He chanted: “Who is chanting Nan-Mo (homage to) Amitabha”. I heard someone still knows his sound but I have never heard it myself. This chanting tune is an outpouring from the tranquil sea of his self-nature, it is not the way of an ordinary person chanting. Why does he chant loudly in the middle of every night? He wanted to awaken all beings.
Then, who is chanting Nan-Mo (homage to) Amitabha? Of course, it is Amitabha chanting Amitabha.
Every one of us is Amitabha; “the self-nature Amitabha chants self-nature Amitabha”. He also pays attention to this. Therefore, when we chant Amitabha we must not look down upon ourselves, to speak of one’s karmic hindrance is very serious. What is karmic hindrance? The erroneous thinking, attachments, discriminations and affliction are called karmic hindrance. You turn these, attain purified of defiling illusion, equality, enlightenment and compassion is called chanting (mindfulness) Amitabha.
You need to transform quickly non-stop. You cannot say that I think about it, there no such thing; this is called “skill of cultivating oneself in right practice”. “Quick transforming” is the skill. “Transforming” means to cultivate. After fully understand, you very relax every day. Once erroneous thinking, attachment, affliction, or greedy thought returns chant the name of Amitabha to turn it away. For a long while, the chanting skill can unite with Buddha for 24 hours, then the body and mind will free yourself of worldly worries enormously and have no more pressures. Life without pressures is a kind of joy people of today cannot experience; few who devote oneself to spiritual development have this experience. Why? The genuine one who cultivates oneself in the right practice does not interconnect whatsoever with the world. One who is in contact with all beings in the world, and works in walks of life; however, one is physically and mentally purified without defilement. In addition, if you chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, and truly eradicate the unenlightened condition, then that kind of joy is called beyond description. Who am I? You have already let go.
This phrase: Shattering the existence of open space (all doubt), who has awakened to the truth; awakening to the truth precisely is Prajna, which is precisely self-nature purity, equality, enlightenment and compassion. Who enters this cognitive sphere? Even the “self-I” has let go also.
If you still have the notion of “I have awakened to the truth”, then there remains attachment, your unenlightened condition has not eradicated yet. The one who has eradicated the unenlightened condition does not have “self-I”. The “self-I” has already let go, then “awake to the truth” also has let go, “attachment to the reality of phenomena” also let go, “attachment to the concept of the ego” let go. After letting go of attachment to the self and phenomena, then you relax.
Since we live in the world, we have forgotten about our past reincarnation, what to do in this life is completely unknown, what to do in the future is completely unknown, and where one goes after death is also unknown. If shattering the existence of open space (all doubt), by then you know there exists no various karmic transmigrations of re-birth and death. It is not like how you only live to a certain age then die, enter a mother’s womb in preparation for rebirth into this world again, there does not exist various segment. After you have eradicated the unenlightened condition, it is the transformation-body. When people appeal with need, you can manifest an appearance to help.
For example, if you have 30 years predestined affinity with someone, you will then manifest in appearance for 30 years. Shakyamuni Buddha came to this world, in Perfect Rest at the age 79, he assumed material form on Earth for 79 years. In addition to Shakyamuni Buddha, there are innumerable Transformation Bodies of Buddha on Earth, many more than our population of five billion.
卷(五 ) 慧海圓融
那既然能夠「八相成道」，他就能夠講《十二部經》，轉法輪，渡無量眾生。舉個例子：金山活佛，各位聽過？金山活佛在民國初年渡化眾生，他是在鎮江、金山江天寺，在那裡住過。傳記上寫太滄和尚跟他在一起住。他大夏天穿大棉襖，身上也不洗澡，一股檀香味。平常什麼事都不做，念佛，尤其半夜高聲念佛。他禪宗的。他念「誰念 – 南無阿彌陀佛」。那個調子聽說還有人會，我們是沒聽過。但是那音調，那是從自性清淨海中流露出來，不是一般人念的。他為什麼在半夜念？喚醒一切眾生。
那「誰念 – 南無阿彌陀佛」？當然是阿彌陀佛念阿彌陀佛。