09 Feb Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 92
(Last week we ended with, “In the ancient stories of the Twenty-Four Tales of Filial Piety (dutiful stories considering Chinese ancient tradition), one of the stories mention one filial piety guy who slashes his own flesh and offers it to cure his mother’s illness; this kind of behavior cannot be achieved by an average ordinary person. Why not? Because one has not become Buddha.”)
After becoming Buddha, knowing that the universe is an illusion, the flesh of the body is also an illusion, and the mind is an illusion. Awareness of the body and mind are all illusions; one can cultivate the practice of giving.
Therefore, people constantly ask: “Should I cultivate the practice of giving first or become Buddha first?”
My advice is you should become Buddha first.
Then, what is the fastest way to become Buddha?
Chant Amitabha to become Amitabha; become Amitabha first, cultivating the practice of giving in the future will be easy.
Take a hundred existence world-periods to cultivate excellent marks as Buddha.
Why do we need to cultivate this? All beings, you want to help them, if you are born with the appearance unacceptable by them, then they do not trust your words. Therefore, Buddha and Bodhisattva spend a hundred existence of world-periods to cultivate the good marks, to have adorned by excellent characteristics.
We look at Guan-Yin Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara) with infinite compassion and infinite mercy, looking at her features is so glorious. You cannot say appearance of an ugly person to claim one to be Guan-Yin Bodhisattva (Aavalokitesvara), right?
She follows the habit of all beings, maybe when Guan-Yin Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara) goes to the hungry ghost world, her manifested appearance is different. She appears as the King of the ghosts, a scary appearance, maybe this scary appearance is accepted in the world of the hungry ghost. In this case, what do you think about when Di-Zang Bodhisattva (Ksitigarbha) goes to Hell to help all beings there, does he manifest light illumination in perfection? No, he manifests the appearance as the hungry ghost.
In this case, Buddha or Bodhisattva come to our world manifest with radiance and body marks that please: it is their practice of giving. So, they cultivate their radiance and body marks that please, which they practice of giving to show us. What he says, we all obey. After one becomes Buddha they will have this ability, as:
Should by whatever form/appearance to be helped, he shall manifest in whatever form/ appearance.
If we are a common person, it is very difficult to be that way. When you persuade others to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, if one looks down on you with a disgusting expression, as saying with your kind of look to persuade me to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, forget it. Is it so?
Practice of giving: first cultivate the practice of giving away all affliction from your mind. Practice of giving away does not mean to increase other people’s afflictions, people must not misunderstand this. It is to throw away afflictions, and also to throw away the thought of practice of giving, let go all and without having the practice of giving impression.
Therefore, one must be the “Essence of Three Conditional Wheels is non-existence”:
- Non-existence of self or targeted person: No attachment to phenomenal characteristics of a person, means letting go of the practice of giving
You see, I have helped him but he is now devoid of gratitude, so these persons are all damned. We have often heard stories like this, for instance, practice of giving to a so and so Temple, afterwards there was a big argument, starting the complaint. I have heard too many cases like that. It is all because one has not let go of the person’s image – the practice of giving object, in addition, also the self-image, self-body and mind also need to be let go. The pole in the Temple was donated by “me” needs to be let go. Bringing up this subject, as mentioned, who donated this? “I” donated. Although one does not speak outwardly, inside the mind naturally has this thought. So that Temple pole is of course donated by me, also needs to be let go.
- Non-existence of phenomena: In addition, about the practice of giving money.
Have you seen the money? Yes, you have. The image of money needs to be let go, which means all materialistic object needs to be let go.
- Non-existence of the idea of non-existence: After letting go of both previous ones, then even the thought of letting go needs to be let go; this is important. The thought of letting go must be removed fully and completely.
Using what kind of method to remove it completely? It still is by chanting Amitabha. If re-arising thought in the mind, you can turn it around by chanting Amitabha. After turning it around, then you will be accustomed to doing the practice of giving.
(一) 人空：不著人相，放下布施的對象。你看我幫助他，現在忘恩負義了，這些人都是該死。我們常聽到這個事情，譬如說：布施給某某廟宇，後來大家鬧翻了，開始抱怨。我聽到太多了。這都是沒放下人相 – 布施的對象，還有自己，自己也是個相，自己身心也要放下。這柱子是「我」捐的，要放下。說起來誰捐的「我」捐的。雖表面不講，心裡面是自然有。那個柱子，當然是我捐的；也要放下。