09 Feb Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 93
(Last week we ended with, “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.”)
I encountered a person who cultivated the practice of giving before, how does he do it?
First, he would search out his most favorite object in his mind, then he set it on a table and look at it every day. Eventually, one day he became disillusioned with it and initiating practice of giving it away. After initiating practice of giving it away, his body and mind was purified of defiling illusion, he felt that the burden was finally gone, and the pressure finally lifted; this talks about the materiality.
Further talking about the affliction in the mind, he exposes his inner afflictions. He examines them daily and at the end, he thinks it over that all of his hopes and efforts come to nothing. Since it was wasted effort, then he let it go.
About worldly possessions; first, you let go of your most attached to worldly possessions. It is not necessary that you need to donate to others; this is not what I mean. You just do not have this attachment in your mind, must have no attachment with regards to worldly possessions then it is all right.
But some people are not this way. Some say: “I would rather practice of giving to this person, than that person whom I do not like.”
No, this way of doing is no good. That means you must reduce this discrimination in your daily life. In fact, once completed, removing attachment, discrimination, and delusional thinking is solved all at once. This is not a short time thing, after a long time of cultivating the practice of giving then you can remove all afflictions, this is called the perfection of Generosity.
If you only do a song and dance externally, this is not enough. You need to get rid of your inner afflictions, also to get rid of the secular idea; even letting go of your life. To let go of your own life is not easy. In ancient times, it was said that:
Self-sacrifice for others, die for a righteous cause.
This is not easy to achieve.
I remember when the Manchurian Qing (Qing dynasty) was overthrown, there was a martyr named Tan Si-Tong (譚嗣同 a Qing writer and politician, and one of the Six Gentlemen martyrs of the unsuccessful reform movement of 1898), who wrote this poem when he sacrificed his life for the country (cause):
I am facing death by the blade with equanimity and facing the heaven above with smile;
How many people in this world can be such as I.
This is remarkable, he shed his blood and laid down his life for a just cause. Even though he could escape from this, he did not want to sacrifice others, so he heroically sacrificed his life as a martyr.
What does this mean? This is an act of dying for the righteous cause.
Many people expressed: “He should have been able to escape it, then he would have had a second chance to accomplish his reform movement.”
No, he was not. In his poem: I am facing death by the blade with equanimity and facing the heaven above with smile, viewing death as a way to return home, most people cannot do it.
Therefore, he then said, how many people in this world can be such as I.
Those martyrs of revolutionary times like Qiu, Jin (秋瑾 famous female martyr of the anti-Qing revolution) were all remarkable. If they truly cultivate oneself in right practice, even though they did not put their faith in Buddhism and did not think of cultivation, they all followed the teaching and acted accordingly. What kind of teaching were they following? They followed the teaching of ancient saints and sages. They had truly done it, this carried out the steps of “firm belief, comprehend with wisdom, implement and verify into the state of nirvana”, they had fully “implemented”.
“Firm belief”, they truly believe the teaching of the ancient saints and sages.
“Comprehend with wisdom”, they truly had undertaken the teaching of ancient saints and sages as their way of thinking and truly implemented.
“Verify into the state of nirvana”, dying for the righteousness cause as the reward of the various stages of attainment, the humaneness and rightness attainment. This kind of person at the time of death, if one is without any thought of aversion and resentment, one will ascend to the realm of Heaven to be a deity. If one retains any thought of hate and discontentment, then one will end up as the King of the hungry ghost world, the same as Yue-Fei (1103-1142, Song dynasty patriot and general).
Before, a friend of mine who was on night duty as the messenger of the netherworld went to the hungry ghost world. He saw the General Yu-Fei still fighting the troops of the Jin Dynasty. Shortly after, there was the Revolution of the Wu-Chang Uprising of 10th October 1911 (that was led by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen—our nation’s father with the Xin-Hai revolution and the fall of the Qing dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China). The battle started in the hungry ghost world first, and shortly after, the same type of judgement would begin in our world of living.
I have heard lots of these kinds of stories. I knew a Buddhist monk who told me: “Many things before it happens in our human world, the spirits of the hungry ghost world would appear in my dream and make a request.”
He saw many people, young and old with bloody faces, broken legs, heads hanging, all shapes or forms pleading to him: “You do have to remember, make sure at such time to perform the religious ceremonies to help our souls find peace. “
The Buddhist monk answered: “Okay, no problem.”
Shortly after his dream, there was a serious car accident; the dying ones were the same people who came in his dream. So, he performed the “Chanting Amitabha Ritual from Morning, Afternoon to Night, 24 hours” non-stop to help these souls find peace! This is also a form of interaction to respond to people’s need. If this monk did not have disciplined efficacy in accordance to the Buddha-truth, then the hungry-ghost world would not come to him for help. This is also a form of the practice of giving.
卷 (六) 布施波羅蜜
「證」，成仁取義 – 證果，也是果，仁義之果。這種人死的時候，如果沒有瞋、恨念，到天界做神。如果有恨念、不平，到鬼界做鬼王，跟岳飛一樣。