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Venerable Master Hua's Talks on Dharma Volume Two 

化老和尚开示 Lectures by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua



The Six Great Principles Are in Fact the Five Precepts

When you are cultivating, you should be able to "pick it up" and "put it down";
that is, be serious about what you're doing.



People who delight in reciting the Buddha's name join the Recitation Sessions. Those who like to investigate Chan attend the Chan Meditation Sessions. People who do not like to recite the Buddha's name or sit in Chan meditation take part in the Lazy Session or the Sleep Session. The names "Lazy Session" and "Sleep Session" are very fresh, but there's a lot of meaning behind them.



Lazy Session: You want to be really lazy, but in fact, you can't. You don't do anything, but then your mind starts to work, generating random thoughts. Your random thoughts are suddenly in the heavens, suddenly on earth, suddenly among the hungry ghosts, suddenly in the hells, suddenly among people, and suddenly among gods. Right in people's minds, the "transmigration machine" is created. The mind starts up this machine, and it goes around and around. You want to be lazy, but instead you just waste more brain power and energy. Then you become even more tired and lazy, and you feel that everything is even more meaningless and boring.



Sleep Session: When you are asleep, you dream. In your dreams, you may suddenly strike it rich, and then suddenly be poor again. Perhaps you suddenly become a prominent official, but then just as suddenly you're a beggar. Or you may dream of tigers and venomous snakes. In your dreams, you can't even sleep well, so you can't have a Sleep Session either.




This is a case of people not knowing how to apply effort, so no matter what they do, they feel it's no good. People who know how to apply effort enjoy whatever they do. They enjoy investigating Chan and reciting the Buddha's name. Even when they relax or go to sleep, they continue to apply effort.




At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, there are five different schools of practice: the Chan School, the Teaching School, the Secret School, the Vinaya School, and the Pure Land School, and you can choose to cultivate whichever you wish. You have a lot of freedom, and you shouldn't feel embarrassed. If you want to be lazy and sleep, that's good, too. If you're lazy, you won't go out and steal things, so you're holding the precepts. If you go to sleep, you won't murder people or take life, so you're also holding the precepts. If you recite the Buddha's name, investigate Chan, study the teachings, practice the Vinaya, or cultivate secret dharmas, you are also holding precepts! Thus, when you study in the Five Schools, you are holding the five precepts--no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no false speech, and no intoxicants. If you are working at cultivation, you won't violate the precepts. Outwardly, you don't appear to be holding them, but you are in fact holding them without trying to. Although you don't call it "holding precepts," you are holding them. Therefore, applying effort in this way is also very good.




Because of this, regardless of what you cultivate at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, you have a lot of freedom. No one will order you around, because this is a democratic country, and this Way-place should be the most democratic of the democratic, and the freest of the free. So whatever you want to cultivate is fine, as long as you are able to "pick it up" and "put it down" when you culti-vate; that is, you work seriously, with single-minded concentration. That's the right way.


(一)不争,就不会杀生。杀生就因争心作怪, 一争就你死我活,死伤无数。
(二)不贪,就不会偷盗。为什么要窃盗他人之 物?就因为贪。你要是没有贪心,就算人 家给你,你也不会要,所以要把贪心去除 ,才不会偷。
(三)不求,就不会有淫欲心。淫欲心就因为有 所求,女的求男朋友,男的求女朋友,都 是追求异性。不单求,还要“追”求,就 好像把头削得尖尖的,往里头钻。若是无 所求,还有什么淫欲心?英俊的男人有什 么用?漂亮的女人也只是个盖肉的臭皮囊 ,有什么值得贪恋的?假若无所求了,淫 戒就不会犯。
(四)不自私,就不会打妄语。人打妄语,就因 为怕失去自己的利益,自私心作怪,所以 骗人撒谎,想令人不认识自己。
(五)不自利,就不会犯酒戒。人为什么喝酒? 就想迷乱自己的身体心性,弄得它恍恍惚 惚,以为自己成了神仙,在天上逍遥。喝 醉酒又会骂人,又会为所欲为,又增长淫 欲心。有人想用酒来助血气流通快点,喝了酒可以忘记一切,好像抽鸦片烟一样过瘾。这都是自利心作怪,所以才去喝酒。


As to the Six Great Principles of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas:
1. If you don't contend, then you won't kill. Killing occurs because thoughts of contention take control. When you start contending, you have the attitude of "Get out of my way or die!" The casualties that result are beyond count.
2. If you are not greedy, then you won't steal. Why do you want to steal others' things? It's because of greed. If you are not greedy, then even if people want to give you something, you won't want it. So you should get rid of greed, and then you won't steal.
3. If you seek nothing, you won't have thoughts of lust. Thoughts of lust arise because you seek something. Women seek boyfriends, and men seek girlfriends. Not only do they seek, they plunge headlong into the pursuit as if nothing else mattered. If they didn't seek anything, then how could they have thoughts of desire? Of what use is a handsome man or a pretty woman? They are just stinking skin-bags containing flesh. Are they worth hankering after? If you seek nothing, you won't violate the precept of sexual misconduct.
4. If you're not selfish, then you won't tell lies. People tell lies because they're afraid of losing personal benefits. Overcome by selfishness, they cheat people and tell lies, hoping to hide their true face from others.
5. If you don't seek to benefit yourself, then you won't violate the precept against taking intoxicants. Why do people take intoxi-cants? It's because they want to mess up their bodies and confuse their minds, bewildering themselves to the point that they think they've become gods or immortals, enjoying them-selves in the heavens. Once intoxicated, they will scold people and do as they please, and their lustful desires increase. Some people also want to use intoxicants to speed up their blood and energy circulation. After taking them, they forget everything. It's as exciting as smoking opium. It's all because they are overcome by the wish to benefit themselves that they take intoxicants.





Thus, these six principles are just another name for the five precepts. Why don't I talk about the five precepts? It's because everyone is so used to hearing about the five precepts. If I say to a person, "Don't kill, don't steal, don't engage in sexual misconduct, don't lie, and don't take intoxicants," he'll reply, "I already know that! Why should I listen to you?" So I changed the names to be: don't contend, don't be greedy, don't seek, don't be selfish, don't try to benefit yourself, and don't lie. Actually, everyone has also heard these terms before and understands them, but very few can truly practice them. That's why I'm reminding everyone:

Don't contend means don't kill;
Don't be greedy means don't steal;
Don't seek means don't engage in sexual misconduct;
Don't be selfish means don't tell lies;
Don't try to benefit yourself means don't take intoxicants.




A talk given on December 5, 1982,
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas


法界佛教总会 . DRBA / BTTS / DRBU