Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master
Hsuan Hua on
Translated by the Buddhist Text Translation Society
REPENTANCE AND REFORM:
Lecture 28 continued
Seeing the scholars and common people of Canton, Shao Kuan and the four directions assembled on the mountain to hear the Dharma, the Great Master took his seat and spoke to the assembly saying:
"Come, each of you Good Knowing Advisors! This work must begin within your self-nature. At all times, in every thought, purify your own mind, cultivate your own conduct, see your own Dharma body and the Buddha of your own mind. Take yourself "across", discipline yourself, only then will you not have come here in vain. You have come from afar to attend this gathering because we have karmic conditions in common. Now all of you kneel and I will first transmit to you the five-fold Dharma body refuge of the self-nature, and then the markless repentance and reform."
Kuan is the present day Ch'u Chiang. Students and common people from the
four directions went to Nan Hua Temple on Pao Lin Mountain to hear the
Great Master explain the Dharma.
Master said, "The work of sitting in Dhyana meditation, the mind
ground Dharma door, must arise from within your self-nature. Every thought
must be correct, not deviant, because proper thoughts purify the mind,
while improper thoughts defile it. You personally must cultivate this
Dharma door; no one else can do it for you. Your own Dharma body is simply
your self-nature, and the Buddha is within your own mind. If you take
yourself "across" by receiving and keeping the moral precepts,
you will not have wasted your life. We meet here because karmic conditions
from former lives have ripened. Now,
put your right knee on the ground and I will transmit to you the five-fold
Dharma body refuge and the markless repentance and reform."
The assembly knelt and the Master said. "The first is the morality, refuge which is just your own mind free from error, evil, jealousy, greed, hatred, and hostility."
Pay attention! The morality refuge is just to have no thoughts of right and wrong, good and evil. In order to keep the precepts you must absolutely not be jealous, nor should you be aggressive, like a bandit.
“The second is the concentration refuge which is just your own mind which does not become confused when seeing the marks of all good and evil conditions.”
If the mind remains unperturbed in all states, good or bad, that is
the concentration refuge.
“The third is the wisdom refuge which is just your own mind, unobstructed and constantly using wisdom to contemplate and illuminate the self-nature, doing no evil, doing good without becoming attached, and being respectful of superiors, considerate of inferiors, and sympathetic toward orphans and widows.”
Do not obstruct yourself with feelings of inferiority, but use wisdom to destroy ignorance so that you may view the self—nature. Refrain from evil and practice good but do not become attached to the idea of merit. Emperor Wu of Liang built temples, gave sanction to Bhiksus for the Sangha, and gave vegetarian luncheons, but he was attached to his merit, and so Bodhidharma said, "You have no merit at all!"
If you do good, forget about it. Don't run
up to the Heaven of the Thirty-three (Devas) and shout, "I gave
$500.00! I gave $1,000.00! My merit is higher than the heavens!" This
is to be stupid like Emperor Wu and is not wisdom.
Respect your father, mother, teacher, and
elders and never speak of their faults. Do not be like the boy who
testified against his own father. The
police asked the father if he had stolen a sheep:
"No", said the father.
"What do you mean 'no'?" cried
the boy. "I saw you kill that sheep, eat it, and sell the wool. How
can-you deny that you stole it?"
This is wrong. If you know that your
father is guilty, when the police come you should run! Refuse to testify!
This is called "respecting your superiors."
Be considerate to those beneath you. Don't
be mean to little children and unsympathetic to widows. Mencius said,
"A child without a father is an orphan and an old woman without a
husband is a widow." Orphans and widows deserve pity and support.
"The fourth is the liberation refuge which is just your own mind which is not dependent on conditions, does not think of good or evil, but is free and unobstructed."
Is this clear? The absence of a
self-seeking mind is liberation! If you are self-seeking, you can't put it
down and so continually scheme and plot. To be liberated, do not grasp at
good or evil.
"The fifth is the liberation of knowledge and views refuge which is just your own mind not dependent on good or evil conditions, not dwelling in emptiness or holding onto stillness. You should then study this in detail, listen a lot, recognize your original mind, and penetrate the true principle of all the Buddhas. You should be in harmony with (lit. unite-the-light) and welcome living creatures; lacking the idea of self or others, arrive directly at Bodhi, the unchanging true nature."
In the Chinese text, the word "sink" is a misprint, which should read "dwell on". If you say, "I will sit here and not study anything. I am empty!" Your state is useless and dull like the emptiness inside a rubber ball. Such emptiness is not the emptiness of the void. These people sit all day thinking of nothing and doing nothing. At mealtime they eat, and at bedtime they sleep and do not even dream. This is a pitiful waste of time.
You should study this in detail and listen to Sutra lectures. Those who dwell in emptiness and hold to stillness claim to study Buddhism. They do not listen to lectures or study Dharma, but if you ask them they say they know it all.
be in harmony (lit. unite-the-light) and welcome
living creatures. What does this mean? All lamps give off
light, but have you ever known lamplight to fight with lamplight? Has a
lamplight ever said, "You are brighter than I am! This is no good. I
am going to put out your light!" and then hit the other lamplight? Or
the other lamp says, "Your light is too small. Either make it bigger
or move out!" There is none of this between lights. Do you
understand? This applies to everyone in the world. You practice your way
and I will practice mine, "without chafing or hindering each
other." You cannot decide that someone's reputation is too dazzling
and try to ruin him so that your own name will shine.
It is permissible for others to be jealous of me, but I am not jealous of anyone. The better you are, the better I like it. The more success you have the happier I am. Not being jealous is being in harmony.
You might say, "I am in harmony with him, but he is not in harmony with me." If you were truly in harmony with him, you wouldn't know that he wasn't in harmony with you. Do you understand? If you are in harmony with him, how can you know that he is not in harmony with you? He won't harmonize? That's no problem. Just continue to be in harmony with him.
Welcome living creatures: if you like Great Vehicle Buddhism, I will explain the Great Vehicle; if you like the Small Vehicle, I will explain the Four Noble Truths; if you like the Bodhisattva Way, I will explain the Six Paramitas and the Ten Thousand Conducts; if you like the Arhat dharmas, I will explain the Twelve Conditioned Causes. This is called harmonizing and welcoming living creatures, responding to the individual needs of men. Heng Ching looked in the dictionary and found that "welcoming living creatures,” means to help other people. However it is not just to help them, it is to induce them to leave suffering and obtain bliss.
...Lacking the idea of
"self or other", arrive directly
at Bodhi, the unchanging true nature.
Having helped one person you cannot say, "I have taken a Bhiksu
across!" I have now crossed over three bhiksus and two bhiksunis and
they have left home. How great is my merit? If you think like this you
don't have a dust-mote of merit. Once you have done something the affair
should be forgotten. If you lead people to Buddhahood you should not be
attached to the merit gained from having taken living beings
the Diamond Sutra says, "I must take all beings
"across" to Nirvana...and yet not a single living beings has
been taken across to Nirvana.”
You recite the Diamond Sutra
from morning to night, and do not understand its meaning in the least.
"Look at ME!" you say. There is still "me", and
"me" comes before everything else. What Diamond Sutra
do you recite anyway? The Diamond Sutra speaks of having no
mark of self, other living beings, or a life because all dharmas are empty
marks. Is there anything more wonderful? If you truly understand, you
arrive directly at Bodhi, the unchanging true nature. This is called the
liberation of knowledge and views refuge. You have been liberated from
knowledge, views, and attachments.
With no self or others,
Being without the mark of self is just Contemplate-Independence Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara). Not falling into emptiness or existence, you can see the Buddha.
"Good Knowing Advisors, these refuges are within each of you. Do not seek outside. I will now transmit the markless repentance of the three periods of time and to purify the three karmas.”
regret and turning away from past misdeeds, and reform is
refraining from error in the future. If you receive it with a sincere
mind, this repentance and reform can wipe away the offenses of the past,
present, and future. Purify your mind, and receive my transmission, which
will purify the karma of your body, mouth, and mind.
"Good Knowing Advisors, repeat after me: May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, that is, in every thought, unstained by stupidity and confusion. I now completely repent and reform of all bad karma done in the past out of delusion and confusion. May it be wiped away at once and never arise again."
Defiled by delusion, turned by stupidity,
you soon become stupid. It is most important, in every thought, not to go
down the road of stupidity but give rise to wisdom instead.
Bad karma is created out of ignorance. Completely repent and reform of all offenses: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, greed, hatred, stupidity, filthy language, lying, harsh speech, and slander, and in a ksana they will be wiped away. Do not again give rise to offenses of stupidity and confusion.
disciple, in past, present, and future thought, that is, in every thought,
be unstained by arrogance and deceit. I now completely repent and reform
of all bad actions done in the past out of arrogance and deceit and other
such offenses. May they be wiped away at once and never arise again."
Only knowing there is you;
Unaware that there are others.
is looking down on everything: "In the heavens and below, I alone am
honored." Deceit is lying; it is also mad pride, thinking that you
are indispensable, number one in the entire world. "I am the highest;
the Chairman, the King, and even the President cannot compare with
me." Unstained by arrogance, unturned by deceit, you will not become
an arrogant and deceitful person.
"May this disciple, in past, present, and future thought, that is, in every thought, be unstained by jealousy. I now completely repent and reform of all bad karma done in the past out of jealousy and other such of tenses. May they be wiped away at once and never arise again."
Jealousy is the very worst thing! Cultivators see someone who is more intelligent than they are and become jealous; they see someone who learns faster and become jealous; they see someone sitting "thus, thus unmoving" and become jealous; they see someone eating more food and become jealous; they see someone drinking more tea and become jealous; they see someone sleeping more and become jealous, even to the point that when someone has been sick for a long time they think, "Why can't I get sick, too?" Don't be defiled by jealousy and you will not become a jealous person.
"Good Knowing Advisors, what I have spoken is the markless repentance and reform. What is repentance and what is reform? Repentance is to repent of past errors, to repent so completely of all bad karma done in the past out of delusion, confusion, arrogance, deceit, jealousy, and other such of tenses, that they never arise again. Reform is to restrain from such transgressions in the future. Awakening and cutting off such offenses completely and never committing them again is called repentance and reform.
"Common men, stupid
and confused, only know how to repent former errors and do not know how to
reform and refrain from transgressions in the future.
Because they do not reform, their former errors are not wiped away
and thus will arise again in the future. Since former errors are not wiped
away and transgressions are again committed, how can this be called
repentance and reform?
“Good Knowing Advisors, as you have repented and reformed, I will now teach you to make the four vast vows. Pay attention and listen well.
I vow to take “across” the limitless living beings of my own mind.
I vow to cut off the
inexhaustible afflictions of my own mind.
I vow to study the
immeasurable Dharma doors of my own nature.
I vow to realize the
supreme Buddha Way of my own nature.”
--To be continued—
You must vow to take across the beings within your own heart, to cut off the afflictions, and to study the Dharma doors. There is nothing higher than Buddhahood. Vow to realize it.
THE EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA SUTRA
A new translation sponsored by The Buddhist Text Translation Society
Essential for a true understanding of the
Buddhadharma, this Sutra explains filial conduct, the principles of cause
and effect, expedient devices, and methods of cultivation. All the subtle
meanings are made remarkably clear by the Elder Dharma Master Tripitaka
Master Hsuan Hua Who explains and interprets this Sutra with authority as
only one who has mastered its doctrines can.
The Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra with the Master's commentary has been translated by Dharma Master Heng Ching, who is Director of Translations for the Vajra Bodhi Sea Publication Society. Dharma Master Ching's qualifications as a translator of Buddhist Texts are exceptional. A graduate of the University of Washington where he studied with the eminent Buddhist scholar Professor Edward Conze, Dharma Master Ching has made Buddhist studies his central concern for over eight years. He is fluent in both classical and modern Chinese, French, and has studied Sanskrit. Most important, for several years he has been an outstanding disciple seated, below the platform of the Elder Dharma Master Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua, and has investigated many important Sutras there. He personally attended upon the Master at the Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra Assembly, and has fashioned his translation following the Master's instructions.
This is a rare opportunity. Lucid and authoritative translations on Mahayana Buddhist Scriptures in Western languages are scarce. This first will begin in issue twenty-six of Vajra Bodhi Sea. Don't miss it.