From last issue: The Paramita of Morality has ten advantages.
4. One will not retreat from one’s vows. This is the most important advantage. One vows, “I will seek the Buddhadharma no matter how hard it is. Even if I starve to death or freeze to death, I’m not going to retreat from my Bodhi resolve.” One makes this vow, “If no one makes offerings to me, that’s the very best thing!” One shouldn’t be greedy for offerings. When one receives a little offering from someone, one shouldn’t be thinking all day long, “I must have virtue and be quite a cultivator! Oh! People are making offerings to me!” That’s wrong! One should make vows to seek the Buddha Way, giving up one’s head, eyes, brains, marrow, flesh, hands, and feet, and even one’s very life the way that Shakyamuni Buddha did. One should make such vows for Bodhi and never retreat from them; never turn back. One should not be like Shariputra, who tried to practice the Bodhisattva Path, but quit after the person for whom he had plucked out his eye flung his eye on the ground because it was the wrong one. That’s just retreating! In the Buddhadharma, the harder things get, the more determined one should be not to retreat. That’s the proper attitude for a true seeker of the Buddha Way, but it’s not easy! All of you Good and Wise Advisors! Seeking the Buddhadharma is the hardest thing there is to do. One cannot accomplish it by being fired up for five minutes and then cooling off.
5. One will dwell securely in proper conduct. One will abide peacefully in a state of tranquility. In everything, one must practice proper, not deviant, conduct. Proper conduct means benefitting others. It does not mean benefitting yourself. If you are always climbing on conditions, you do not have proper conduct. If you do not climb on conditions, your conduct is proper. This is called dwelling securely in proper conduct.
6. One will cast aside birth and death. One should relinquish birth and death. One shouldn’t hold on to birth and death, thinking, “My life is so valuable. I have to make nice offerings to my body. I can give it good food to eat, buy some vitamins to nourish it, or buy some nutritional supplements to make my body stronger.” Ha! You want to make it strong? Well, it certainly won’t make you strong! It may get stronger, but the stronger your body gets, the weaker your wisdom becomes. If your wisdom is weak, then even though your body is strong, it is a false strength, because your wisdom-life does not grow, and your wisdom does not increase. Therefore, you must cast aside birth and death altogether. The matter of birth and death is unimportant. If you live, you live; if you die, you die. Look upon it as very ordinary. At the same time, you must cultivate. If you don’t cultivate because you think, “Birth and death are no problem!” then you will keep getting born and dying and never be able to end birth and death. You must see birth and death as unimportant and yet still cultivate the Way. Only then will you be able to end birth and death. That’s called casting aside birth and death.
7. One will long for and delight in Nirvana. One thinks, “What I delight in most is the Dharma of Nirvana.” Nir means “not produced” and vana means “not destroyed.” One upholds the precepts in order to obtain Nirvana.
8. One will obtain an unfettered mind. What is meant by an unfettered mind? Your mind originally has a lot of wisdom and you have brought forth a great Bodhi resolve, but you get tied up by greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt, as well as by the view of a body, one-sided views, views of unprincipled morality, views of grasping at opinions, and deviant views. These are Ten Fetters which bind up your mind. Once it is tied up, wisdom cannot come forth. Obtaining an unfettered mind means gaining liberation. You have liberated your mind.
9. One obtains supreme samadhi. This supreme samadhi power is different from ordinary samadhis. This samadhi power is very powerful! No commotion can disturb one because one has samadhi! It’s an inconceivable kind of superior concentration.
10. What is the tenth advantage? One will not lack the wealth of faith. If you have faith, then you have a kind of treasure. If you didn’t have faith, you would be poor. If you don’t believe the Dharma Master when he lectures on the Dharma, then you won’t be able to bring forth the Bodhi mind. If you can’t bring forth the Bodhi mind, you are poor. It’s the same as being poor.
The tenth advantage is that you will not lack the wealth of faith. You will not be deficient in the riches of faith. Your wealth of faith will be very full and abundant. Being full of faith is the same as being wealthy. These are the ten advantages of holding the precepts. If we were to go into detail, a great deal more could be said. This has been a general explanation.
To be continued
In the Buddhadharma, the harder things get, the more determined one should be not to retreat. That’s the proper attitude for a true seeker of the Buddha Way,