For countless eons, living beings have been together undergoing misery, happiness, cold, and hunger. It's not known how many ages this has been going on, but they are still not weary of the world, in which they suffer all kinds of misery without experiencing any real joy. Accustomed to it and accepting it as normal, they think it's better than the Land of Ultimate Bliss. They keep lingering and forget to return home. Each person undergoes all kinds of suffering without realizing it, and cannot bear to part with the suffering. They are so deeply deluded that they take suffering to be bliss, turn their backs on the Way, turn away from enlightenment and unite with defilement. To turn away from enlightenment means to go against the bright, enlightened nature. To unite with defilement means to join with the six sense objects and the five desires, and to forget the truth of the pure origin. This is truly sad.
I don't understand anything except that the Saha world is a lot of suffering. There are the three sufferings, the eight sufferings, and the limitless sufferings. As soon as they're born, children know to cry—that's suffering. Whether it's Easterners, Westerners, red people, black people, or white people, there isn't any child who doesn't cry at birth. They all know how to bawl in misery. But once they grow up, they forget about the suffering, and fall in love with money. Those green bills entice people until they are so head over heels in their infatuation that they will engage in murder, robbery, licentious conduct, and false speech. Nowadays people all look up to money. Ancient money was made of gold, silver, and copper. Now we use paper money--how is that different from the paper money burned for ghosts? The Chinese character for "money" is described in the verse:
Two spears contending over gold, the killing energy is high.
For its sake, everyone chatters too much.
Those who know how to use it can transcend the Triple Realm.
Those who don't will have difficulty escaping
their evil retribution.
Two people armed with spears are ready to fight to the death, in a struggle for gold. Countries fight with countries, families fight with families, people fight with people, and each person fights with himself, also for the sake of gold. Why do we fight even at the cost of our lives? People clash like fire and water because everyone wants to seize the wealth of the others for himself. Wealth is number one, and sex is number two. There is a saying, "When it comes to my house and my land, my wife and children, I'll never surrender to anyone." People all regard these things as the basic necessities and vital force of life. Without them, they think life is meaningless. They are so infatuated by them that they care about nothing else. They've forgotten the teachings of the sages, and are deluded by wealth and sex.
The desire for fame is slightly less. As for food, everyone likes to eat good things. If it doesn't agree with their taste, then they cannot swallow it. They indulge the desires of the palate, always cooking up different gourmet dishes of fowl, fish, and meat to fill up that hole. Slaving for the appetite, they appease it with delicacies from the hills and sea. If the food is not cooked to their liking, they rage like thunder, more violent than the atomic bomb. Someone says, "Wealth, sex, fame, and good food I can do without, but I must get enough sleep." You see how tightly people grab onto these five roots of the hells, without letting go? Is this not suffering?
The poor have suffering within suffering, the wealthy have the suffering of decay, and there is also the suffering of process. People are so attached to the three kinds of suffering that they cannot relinquish them. Why do they subject themselves to such suffering? Basically there are no problems in the world, but people stir up trouble for themselves. There is a poem entitled "Moon in West River" which puts it well:
Wealth and honor are but a springtime dream at dawn.
Merit and position are a wisp of floating cloud.
The blood relations of the present are temporary.
Love and affection soon turn to hate.
Don't drape your neck with golden chains,
Or bind the body with shackles of jade.
With a pure mind and few desires, transcend the world.
The scenes of happiness are originally yours.
We come to the world empty-handed, and we leave it empty-handed, too. We can't bring anything with us, and we can't keep anything. Our sons and grandsons have their own blessings, and we shouldn't slave on their behalf. If we make a lot of money to leave to our children and grandchildren, that means we look down on them. If we aren't being fools (literally "dumb melons"), we must be bitter melons.
"If we raise our children to be as capable as their parents, why should we leave them money?" We would simply be belittling them as not being able to stand on their own feet. We become parents in order to repay debts, and we become children in order to collect debts. Living beings don't realize that, and think it's a lot of fun. "If children grow up to be less capable than their parents, why should money be left to them?" No matter how much you give them, they will waste it all, and it will flow away like water. Would you call that being a dumb melon or a bitter melon? Money is false. Why do you create karma for its sake?
→To be continued