Who are the superstitious intellectuals? They are people who are learned and have social status. In order to save money, they decide not to hold funerals, weddings, or birthday celebrations. Such people do not listen to anyone but the law. What is meant by common and prevailing superstition? It refers to regarding worldly things as real and taking one's body to be the "true self." For the body's sake, people greedily pursue wealth at the expense of others, going to any length to obtain it, either by fraud or by force, creating karma in many ways.
How can we eliminate superstition? We must start by destroying ignorance. Making use of what is false to cultivate what is real; turning consciousness into wisdom; refraining from greed for any material things, becoming a disciple of the Buddha; entering sudden enlightenment through gradual cultivation—all of these are part of eliminating superstition. To destroy ignorance, we must first recognize what ignorance is. That is, we must thoroughly examine ourselves. Isn't everything controlled by the mind? Do we know where the mind is and what it is like? Does it really have full control over our bodies? The mind does not want to get old, but we are aging with every year, every month, every day, every hour, and even every moment. It does not want to die; but when the time comes, even if we have successful families and careers and a houseful of children and grandchildren, no one can keep us from dying. And there is nothing we can do, except let the tears flood our eyes. At that time, our pain is like that of being stabbed in the heart with a knife, or that of a live turtle having its shell ripped off, or that of a horse being flayed alive; death is unavoidable. These explain that our mind does not have real control over our life; it is merely filled with greed, anger, and stupidity and only knows how to create karma. When we truly understand, we will be able to separate ourselves from it. By following the maxim of “Do no evil, and practice all good," naturally we will stop killing living creatures merely to satisfy our appetite and will eat only vegetarian food. Thus, gradually, we will do away with ignorance, and what is left will be understanding. Only in this way can we make use of what is false to cultivate what is real and ultimately become enlightened. With no more superstition, we can continue on the path to reach liberation.
- To be continued