09 Feb Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 88
(Last week we ended with, “Only when your purified mind is without defilements, then you are immutable, and in the state of being fixed and undisturbed to act according to the predestined affinity. Other than this, obtain peace of mind through chanting Amitabha, and encourage others to obtain peace of mind through chanting Amitabha. This way you and others relax.”)
It is not that we do not help all beings; do not be mistaken about this. It is not before a common person learns the Buddha’s way and without eradicating the unenlightened condition that one does not help all beings. One must be under no circumstances and must not misunderstand this.
Many people comment, people who chant (mindfulness) Amitabha are very selfish, they go to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land and do not care about people anymore. This is superstition. This kind of talk is like a kindergarten kid’s language, they have no comprehension of the Pure Land Buddhism theory and method.
To put it bluntly, only by encouraging one to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha is the major cause and effect in the practice of giving genuinely. Because:
Chanting Amitabha is the cause, and becoming Amitabha is the effect,
The “cause and effect” co-exists simultaneously.
The purpose is to awaken all beings to attain Buddha-enlightenment in perfection. To help one become an Arhat is not good enough, to help one to become Bodhisattva is not good enough and to help one to become Buddha is the fulfillment of the whole.
Therefore, a common person has a narrow mind capacity to what extent? It is like a frog at the bottom of a well.
The frog at the bottom of a well considers things like chicken feathers and garlic skins as trivial matters. Since everyone behaves like the frog at the bottom of a well, then that is no problem, just encourage everyone to chant Amitabha.
What does Amitabha represent? When the frog jumps up to the top of the well and sees the pureness and brightness of the boundless mountains, rivers and earth; this precisely chanting Amitbha.
Encouraging to “chant Amitabha” so that in the future one can jump out from the bottom of the well and see the outside world with such incredible beauty; this is truly helping one. All other methods do not work. All remain living aimlessly at the bottom of the well. In the well:
One jump below the water represents the Three Lower Realms (Hell, Hungry ghost, Animal).
Jumping above the water is the Three Upper Realms (Buddha, Asura, Human).
However, one has not broken away from this well from beginning to end.
The Three Realms (Triloka – the universe divides into three worlds of karmic rebirth as Desire–includes the 6 heavens of desire, Form–includes 18 heavens, and Formless–includes 4 heavens.) is like this well. The Sutra states that:
The Three Realms (Triloka) is like the parable of the burning house in a world of suffering.
Staying in the well is like staying in a burning house. Water and fire are merciless and are more disastrous than this well. At the bottom of the well there is at least water when the fire comes.
One wants to jump out, how to jump out?
Only reply to the method of chanting Amitabha.
Many people say: “This chanting Amitabha is no need, I have a higher natural capacity so I shall cultivate in the method of “bodily unity in the form of worship, oral unity in chanting, and mental unity in faith, all three in correspondence with the Buddha”; or I cultivate myself in the right practice of Zen meditation.
What are those people? These people have no understanding of their own capability levels. They do not know that their afflictions have not even eliminated one grade. They are lost in the teaching of a sect.
What is the teaching of a sect? It is the form and external appearance or conduct of Shakyamuni Buddha’s method (wisdom of Buddha).
Why do you not think what kind of natural capacity are we, can we cultivate ourselves in Zen meditation practice?
Regarding “cultivate ourselves in right practice” we do not understand, how can we enter meditative concentration?
To practice Esoteric Buddhism, the “body, mouth and mind” are in an uproar the whole day, how could it unite with Buddha?
To have “bodily unit in the form of worship, oral unity in chanting, and mental unity in faith, all three in correspondence the Buddha” requires one to be purified of defiling illusion. More directly speaking, it is hard to reach that state even chanting the name of Buddha. Why? As a matter of fact, chanting Amitabha exceeds cultivation of oneself in right practice Zen meditation or learning the method of Esoteric Buddhism; it is just that the method is simple, therefore all Buddha and Bodhisattva teach you to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha.
Nowadays, people have the wrong idea about it. The method of the Pure Land school is for old folks like grandmas and grandpas to do but this is wrong. It is so convenient and everyone can do it, even ants, mosquitoes or bugs can cultivate.
Can ants, mosquitoes or bugs cultivate the method of “bodily unity in the form of worship, oral unity in chanting, and mental unity in faith, all three in correspondence with the Buddha”?
Can ants, mosquitoes or bugs cultivate oneself in Zen meditation practice by sitting?
It is impossible. Therefore, do not miscomprehend this.
The attainment of Pure Land Buddhism is to bring 41 grades unenlightened conditions to perfection, to eradicate 41 grades of unenlightened conditions, and have Buddha attainment of the Perfect Teaching School (Mahayana). Those methods of “cultivate oneself in Zen meditation practice by sitting”, or to be “bodily unity in the form of worship, oral unity in chanting, and mental unity in faith, all three in correspondence with the Buddha”; their levels are no more than eradication of a few grades of unenlightened conditions; it has not perfected the state of Buddhahood of the Perfect Teaching School. If you are truly clear about the theory and method, when you cultivate the practice of giving, to encourage people to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, your nirvana merit and enlightenment virtue is infinitely boundless.
If you are unclear with this, your lack in confidence and persuasion of others to chant Amitabha, others will not believe. Why? The penetrative power of your physically and mentally energy is not strong enough and others will not believe. The power of drawing is not powerful enough.
卷 (六) 布施波羅蜜
(上星期講到: 只有你內心清淨沒有汚染，你不變 – 「不變隨緣」，可以；「隨緣不變」，可以。其它的？自己安心念佛，勸別人安心念佛，你也輕鬆，他也輕鬆。)
井底之蛙，做些事情 – 雞毛蒜皮。大家都是井底之蛙沒關係，勸他念佛。