又什麼黑教、白教、黃教、紅教……都變成了顏色不一樣，把人的眼晴都弄得眼花撩亂，連黑的也不知道是黑的，白的也不知道是白的。所以我要說人所不敢說的話，你們誰如果不高興的話，那沒有關係，我不在乎的 !我是專門破人邪知邪見的 ! 」
Although the Buddha mentioned the Dharma's demise many times, still, the fact that the Buddha tried to curtail the demise of the Proper Dharma is clearly evident in such passages as the one in the Nirvana Sutra where he said "During the Dharma Ending Age there will be 120,000 Great Bodhisattvas who will uphold the Dharma and keep it from extinction." From that we should be able to recognize the Master's "not permitting the Dharma's demise"--isn't that really the great kind and compassionate mind of the Thus Come Ones?
The Master made an even more painful remark:
When the Dharma becomes extinct, it is the Sangha itself that becomes extinct.
Virtue in the Way should be cultivated,but people won't cultivate it.
Those who are honest and sincere are ridiculed.
Those who are false and cunning receive praise and precedence.
To make the entire world pure and fresh and to awaken beings forever from their three-layer-deep stupor,
Diligently remind the young Sanghans that
The spreading and flourishing of my teaching depends on the Bhikshus.
In Buddhism there can't be just 99%. If even one part of Buddhism is false, then it is no longer "Proper Dharma." And so we must distinguish clearly, because in temples there are both "deviant dharmas and externalists." There's a saying in Buddhism: "I would rather not get reborn for a thousand years than to enter the paths of demons for a single day." If we lack the wise vision found in the Four Clear Instructions on Purity, we may join the retinue of demons without even realizing it.
This student will take this opportunity to present seven points that are essential in distinguishing the proper from the deviant.
1. A religious teacher who promotes swapping marriage partners, promiscuity, and perverse practices as bait to entice disciples and as means to save the world is deviant.
2. A religious teacher who appeals to people's greed by claiming that he can employ talismans, incantations, and gods of wealth to make them rich is deviant.
3. A religious teacher who advocates direct or indirect killing of beings and eating of their flesh and who claims he can save the souls of the creatures being eaten by means of talismans and incantations is deviant.
4. A religious teacher who tries to impress people by practicing all kinds of weird asceticism and passing it off as undergoing suffering for the sake of living beings is deviant.
5. A religious teacher who uses special psychic and spiritual powers and miracles to attract curious people is deviant.
6. A religious teacher who distorts the stages of Buddhist practice and gives a twisted interpretation of the meaning of faith, understanding, cultivation, and certification, setting himself up as a religious authority, is deviant.
7. A religious teacher who sets himself up as the leader of his own sect without any authentic basis in the principles of Buddhism is deviant.
Section One: Proper Dharma and Dharma Ending
Once a disciple made this inquiry, "The Master often says:
Truly recognize your own faults.
Don't discuss the faults of others.
Others' faults are just my own.
To be one with everyone is called Great Compassion.
And so why is the Master always openly criticizing others in Vajra Bodhi Sea (the monthly journal of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas)? Isn't that a case of saying one thing and doing another? The Master answered:
The one who will fall into the hells is me, not you. If what I say is true, then it's not gossip; if it's not true, then I will definitely fall into the hells. If someone says great cultivators are not subject to cause and effect, then the retribution for that is 500 lives as a fox.
If I deny cause and effect--calling black white and white black, calling right wrong and wrong right--saying things that are not so, then I will go into the Hell of Plowing Tongues. If I haven't spoken incorrectly, then I have no offense. Mencius said: "I don't like to debate, but I have no choice. If the teachings of Yang (Zhu) and Mo (Zi) aren't put to rest, then the teachings of Kong Zi [Confucius] cannot flourish. "Why do I like to talk about what's right and what's wrong? It's because in Buddhism there are entirely too many rights and wrongs!
There's the black teaching, the white teaching, the yellow teaching, the red teaching--they've become all kinds of different colors that confuse the eye. It's gotten to the point that the blacks don't know they are black, and the whites don't know they are white. And so I like to say things that others don't dare to say. If any of you are offended, it doesn't matter--I'm not concerned. I specialize in breaking through people's deviant knowledge and deviant views.
From the above passage we can recognize the depth of the Master's compassionate mind, which couldn't bear to see living beings suffer. The so-called great kindness and compassion that borders on being harsh is actually an expedient used to teach and transform living beings. The Master once wrote a verse that clarifies his determination:
If I speak the truth,
Then I'm not afraid of being beaten or scolded.
Kill me, I have no fear.
What inhibitions are there in liberation?
Elder Master Hsu Yun said imperial scholars are Confucian criminals; monks are Buddhist criminals. He also said, "The demise of the Buddhadharma is wrought by its own disciples, not by any other teaching. What defeated the Six States was the Six States themselves; it wasn't the State of Qin. What finished the State of Qin was Qin itself; it wasn't the Six States."
These various manifestations of the Dharma's decline can be perceived everywhere--such things as monks with wives, precepts sashes turning into secular clothing, laypeople ascending the high seat, and so forth. There's also Upasaka Ouyang Jingwu who, based on his own opinions, wrote A Discussion of the Many Spurious Aspects of the Shurangama, which is an attack on the Shurangama. Dharma Master Yuan Tsan says that the Avatamsaka, the Perfect Enlightenment, the Lotus and other sutras as well as the Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana are all fraudulent. These are signs of the Dharma Ending Age.
The Master repeated his instructions about protecting and supporting the Proper Dharma many times:
In Buddhism all the sutras are very important, but the Shurangama Sutra is even more important. Wherever the Shurangama Sutra is, the Proper Dharma abides in the world. When the Shurangama Sutra is gone, that is a sign of the Dharma Ending Age. When I explained the Shurangama Sutra, I said, "In the Dharma Ending Age, the Shurangama Sutra will become extinct first. Then gradually the other sutras will also become extinct." The Shurangama Sutra is the true body of the Buddha; the sharira of the Buddha; the stupa of the Buddha. If the Shurangama Sutra is false, then I am willing to fall into the unintermittent hell, stay there forever, and never again come back to the world to see all of you. Whoever can memorize the Shurangama Sutra, whoever can memorize the Shurangama Mantra, is a true disciple of the Buddha.
In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha said to the Venerable Kashyapa:
In the past when I was a king named Possessing Virtue, in order to protect the Proper Dharma, I went to war against those who wanted to destroy it, and I lost my life. After I died, I was born in Akshobhya Buddha's land and became his foremost disciple... Kashyapa! Those who protect the Proper Dharma receive such rewards of infinite merit and virtue. Because I protected the Proper Dharma, I now am endowed with all kinds of physical hallmarks and have perfected a vajra indestructible body.
The Dharma itself isn't Proper, Image, or Ending; these are merely distinctions that exist in people's minds. The Master's view is that any time people work hard at cultivation is a time when the Proper Dharma abides. If no one cultivates, if no one reads, recites, and memorizes the Shurangama Sutra, then that's the Dharma Ending Age. That's because the Shurangama Sutra's "Four Clear Instructions on Purity" which discuss killing, stealing, lust, and lying and its "Fifty Skandha-Demon States" that expose the very bones of all the heavenly demons and externalists, both say flat out that when people don't hold the precepts, then that's the Dharma Ending Age; whenever there are precepts, there is Buddhadharma. In l990, in a serious talk given at the Labor Hall in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the Master said that the Dharma Ending Age results from the laity singling out individual left-home people to protect and support. What did he mean? The Master said:
Left-home people go off to live alone in their own temple and act like kings, like dictators, like emperors. The laity lack the "Dharma-selecting eye" and go about protecting here and protecting there until they protect people right into the hells. In the Proper Dharma Age, everyone lives and cultivates together in large monastic complexes. In the Dharma Ending Age no one wants to live in large monastic complexes. It's one person per temple. You have your way of doing things, and I have mine. And this throws the laity into a real quandary. They see that a certain monk is good-looking and decide to protect his Dharma, so they set him up with his own temple. Then they notice another monk who's not bad and build a temple for him. Protecting here and protecting there, they cause the left-home people to get greedy for benefits to the point that they return to lay life.
To be continued