Poisonous Creatures of all kinds
And evil birds and beasts,
Watching their young
Each hiding and protecting
Yakshas raced to the sport
Fighting one another to eat them,
And, having eaten their till,
Their evil thoughts grew more inflamed.
The sound of their quarreling
Was dreadful to the extreme
From the sentence, Yakshas and evil ghosts/Eating human flesh to the last of this section And the sound of their quarreling/Was dreadful to the extreme discusses the first of the Five Quick Servants, namely, deviant views. Li Mei and Wang Liang, and Yakshas have a shadow, but no material form. They do things in a very sneaky manner, not out in the open. So they are like people with deviant views who do things in a very shadowy, dark manner. They don't see the sky. They don't see the light.
Eating human flesh/ Human flesh here represents good retribution. If you do good deeds, you gain good retribution; if you do evil deeds, you gain evil retribution. This represents good retribution. Eating human flesh represents the denial of cause and effect. The human flesh is being devoured by the Li Mei, Wang Liang, and the Yakshas. This is like people with deviant views who deny the existence of cause and effect. They say, "You need not be afraid of cause and effect." In this way, it is as if they arc "eating" the good retribution. They eat it all up so there is no more. "There's no cause and effect so don't worry about it. There is no hell. There is no heaven. What is all this about creating offense karma? Do what you like! There are no offenses and there is no merit. The world is a free place. Do whatever you want to do. If you want to kill, kill. If you want to steal, go ahead. If you like the opposite sex, well, do as you, please...Don't worry about it. If you can cheat people and get away with it, more power to you. If you get your wine to drink, what's the problem? There's nothing in .the world finer than drinking wine, anyway. Why worry about all that stuff?" Hah! This is called Eating human flesh, taking all the good retribution and eating it right up. Would you say this was extreme or not? These verses represent deviant views.
Poisonous creatures of all kinds/ Snakes, scorpions, etc. And evil birds and beasts/ wolves, all kinds of evil animals and fierce birds like hawks who eat deer. Hatching their young from eggs Each hiding and protecting their own/ the birds who protected their young, and didn't let anyone see them. The animals gave birth to their young and protected them, too. If someone saw them they might steal and eat them. So they hid them. This is also an analogy for cause and effect in the world. Where there is a cause, there is certainly bound to be an effect. You could say that the effect is hidden in the cause. As you plant the cause, although the effect does not manifest at that time, still it is hidden there and in the future will certainly manifest. Where there is a cause, there will be an effect and this is what is meant by the word in the text "hidden." That effect is certain to be manifested and will not be lost, and that is what is meant by the word "protected". The cause will not be lost. This is an analogy for cause and effect and so if you plant a good cause you will reap a good fruit; if you plant an evil cause you will reap an evil fruit. It's for sure. No matter how you try, you can't get out of cause and effect. It remains, as it were, "hidden and protected."
Yakshas raced to the spot/ each trying to get ahead of the other Fighting one another to eat them/ because there weren't too many things to eat and there were a lot of yakshas, they had to fight to get something to eat. This represents the denial of cause and effect. They think that there is no cause and there is no effect. So they fight with one another to eat them. And, having eaten their fill/ This line represents the accomplishment of their deviant views. Before their deviant views have become reality, they simply have thoughts of deviant views. Now their deviant views have manifested in reality and they eat and are filled. Their evil thoughts grew more inflamed/ Once their deviant views have become realized, then they increase. Day by day, their deviant views increase. Day by day they grow larger. The sound of their quarrelling/Was dreadful to the extreme./ They fought, they argued. There is a saying.
Debating, the thoughts of victory and defeat
Stand in contradiction to the Way;
Giving rise to the four-mark mind,
How can samadhi be attained?
The four marks are the mark of self, of others, the mark of living beings and the mark of a lifespan. Once there is the mark of self, then there is the mark of others. The mark of self plus the mark of others turns into the mark of living beings. Once there are living beings, then there is a lifespan. You can't attain samadhi that way. The sound of their quarrelling represents the deviant debates carried on by those who deny cause and effect. Basically there is no principle in what they say but they make it sound like there is. Was dreadful to the extreme/ Terrifying, just horrifying. This line represents people who, hearing these deviant debates, become confused. Once they are confused, they create evil karma. Creating evil karma they fall into the three evil paths: the hells; the path of hungry ghosts, and the path of animals. So, it is really scary. Terrifying to the extreme. What is terrifying? The three evil paths. This is because once you fall into them it is hard to get out again. Perhaps, some special causal condition will enable you to get out, but still it's very, very hard.
Were squatting on
Sometimes leaving the ground
A foot or two,
As they wandered to and from
Amusing themselves freely
as they Wished.
These verses represent the third of the Five Quick Servants, that is, views of unprincipled morality.
Kumbhanda ghosts/ These are ghosts, which look like winter melons. They haven't any head and they haven't any feet. They are round. They are also called Yen Mei, and they stay far away from people except when people are asleep. Then they go and sit on them. When you wake up they run far away. When you go to sleep they come to, get you. They are like great big melons who sit right down on you and make you feel like you can hardly breathe. You can't talk and you can't move. You're paralyzed. They have a dharma they do to cause you to be unable to speak. You can stare out into space but you can't say anything. Some people even get crushed to death by them. Kumbhandas represent the views of unprincipled morality.
Were squatting on high ground./ This represents the six heavens in the realm of desire, which are like "high places." In non-Buddhist religions, they keep the cow and dog, and pig and chicken precepts and, through keeping to their unprincipled morality they cultivate the ten good acts and thereby gain rebirth in the various desire heavens.
1. The heaven of the four kings.
2. The heaven of the thirty-three.
3. The suyama heaven.
4. The tushita heaven.
5. The nirmanarati heaven.
6.The pamirmitavashavartin heaven.
Sometimes leaving the ground/A foot or two/ Sometimes, not all the time. This represents those non-Buddhists, who, relying on unprincipled morality, cultivate the Way. One foot off the ground represents ascending to the form realm to be born in the Four Dhyanas. Two feet off the ground represents their ascending to the formless realm to birth in the four formless concentrations.
As they wandered to and fro/ "To" represents those being born in the form and formless realms. "Fro" represents those returning to be born in the desire realm again. Within the Three Realms: desire, form, and formless realm, sometimes we are born in the upper realms and sometimes we turn and fall into the lower realms. Thus, people in this world are in an extremely dangerous position. We are like motes of dust, suddenly high, suddenly low, suddenly up, suddenly down. In the burning house of the Three Realms, if you do deeds of merit and virtue, you will be born in the heavens. If you create offenses, you will fall into the hells, or turn into art animal, or a hungry ghost. So it is very dangerous. The motes of dust float with the wind. They go where the wind blows, from one place to another. People float with the wind of their karma. The karma you create, if good, will enable you to be born in the heavens. If you create evil karma, you fall into the hells. Karma's wind blows us around and around from place to place. That is what is meant by the sentence of text "As they wandered to and fro" in the Three Realms. Amusing themselves freely means just doing whatever they feel like doing, that is not following the rules. Freely means being lazy and doing what you like. They played and sported in the Three Realms thinking it a lot of fun when actually it is very dangerous. This line represents people not understanding true principle and having no real happiness. All their happiness is nothing more than a kind of shallow amusement. Like going to a play. Is the pleasure of watching a play ultimately real or not? Does it last? It's entirely false.
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