On the subject of “a mishmash of Buddhism and externalism,” most Asian Buddhist groups don’t like to openly distinguish the deviant from the proper, which allows those who are “a mishmash of Buddhism and externalism” to get more out-of-hand every day. Ill-intended and depraved, they cheat people out of their money and deceive them into committing acts of lust-while wearing the Buddha’s clothing and eating the Buddha’s food. I’ll bring up a couple of well-known cases. One is a female teacher in the Sikh religion of India. She calls herself a “Budda-in-the-world” and goes about transmitting a “Guanyin Dharma-door of “instant enlightenment and liberation right in this life.” The Master's stern criticism of her is:
Many people are confused by her all because they are greedy. When one takes refuge in the Triple Jewel, the text of the ceremony states very clearly,“I would rather give up my life than to ever take refuge with heavenly demons or externalists.”The deviant things she says are the words of deviant demons and externalists, and all of it is designed to cheat people. If you believe that stuff, you are really idiots-complete dolts-and you are all boring your way into the hells.
Quite a statement—“boring your way into the hells.” The Master doesn’t mince words. He always “points straight to people's minds.” His “needle pricks blood” in order to break through living beings’ ignorance and confusion.
In the “Opportunities and Conditions” chapter of the Sixth Patriarch Sutra is this statement: “Prior to Awesome Sound King it was possible. After the time of Awesome Sound King anyone who claims to have gotten enlightened on their own without a teacher belongs to the externalists who believe in spontaneity.” The meaning of this passage is that before the time of Awesome Sound King (the first Buddha) it was possible (to get enlightened by oneself). But after that Buddha Awesome Sound King, if one certifies oneself as being enlightened, rather than having a teacher transmit the Dharma to one and certify one's level of accomplishment, that is the externalist path of spontaneity.
Also in the Shurangama Sutra’s our Clear Instructions on Purity” the Buddha said: “How can thieves put on my robes and sell the Thus Come One, saying that all manner of karma one creates is just the Buddhadharma? They slander those who have left the home-life and regard Bhikshus who have taken the complete precepts as belonging to the path of the Small Vehicle. Because of such doubts and misjudgments, limitless living beings fall into the unintermittent hell.”
The other one is a certain “Supreme Master”－a “lotus-born living Buddha” with “vast spiritual penetrations” who eats meat, drinks alcohol, and plays around with women. The Master's critique of him is:
“Alas! In the evil time of the Dharma-ending Age,living beings’blessings are slight; it is difficult to train them. Far indeed from the Sages of the past!Thier deviant views are deep. Demons are strong,the Dharma if weak; many are the wrongs and injuries. Hearing of the door of the Thus Come One’s Sudden Teaching, they hate not destroying it as they would smash a tile.[Song of Enlightenment] In the Dharma-ending Age people are not able to distinguish between deviant and proper. You need only look to see: does he have any greed, any any seeking, any selfishness, or any self-benefitting in his mind? Is he lying and cheating others all day and all night long? Idon't know what this person is. I call him a demon runt.”
These heavenly demons and externalists are right out of the Shurangama Sutra “Fifty Skandha Demons.” If one becomes very familiar with the content of the Fifty Skandha Demons, then one will not go astray in cultivation. For example, in the “Four Clear Instructions on Purity” in the Shurangama Sutra, the Buddha said:“After my extinction, in the Dharma-ending Age, these phantoms and apparitions will abound, spreading like widefire as they surreptitiously cheat others. Calling themselves Good Knowing Advisors, they will each say that they have attained superhuman dharmas...They say that they have attained what they have not attained, and that they have been certified when they have not been certified...These icchantikas destroy the seeds of Buddhahood.” This is referring to these externalists. They all claim that they themselves have already become enlightened. Not having received any certification of their enlightenment, they say that they have; not having attained the Way, they say that they have. People who tell those great lies destroy the seeds of Buddhahood. They cut off their good roots forever. Also in the middle roll of The Buddha's Treasury Sutra the Buddha predicts that in the Dharma-ending Age the evil demons will assume the appearance of Shramanas and will teach living beings deviant paths. The Sutra says:“Shariputra! The evil demons are now concealed in the bodies of those who aid Devadatta in destroying me (the Buddha), the Dharma, and the Sangha. Because a Thus Come One with great wisdom is in the world, those corrupt demons cannot succeed in doing great evil. In the future, evil demons will take on the appearance of Shramanas (left-home people), enter the Sangha, and say all kinds of deviant things, causing many people in turn to become deviant and to speak deviant dharma...The Buddha foresees that things like these, designed to destroy the Dharma, will happen in the Dharma-ending Age.” In the Dharma-ending Age, with living beings’ blessings so scanty and their wisdom so superficial, quite a few “demonic Sanghans” are inspired to “come into the world to save the multitudes.” Under the guise of Buddhism they transmit deviant dharmas on a massive scale, taking beings into their “retinue.” How can one help but grieve!
The contemporary High Sanghan Elder Master Hsu Yun once said, “This is the Dharma-ending Age. Where can you go to find a Good Knowing Advisor? It's better to read the Shurangama Sutra until you are thoroughly familiar with it. Then your cultivation will be secure and you will have a chance to be saved. By putting a stop to deviant conditions, your own body and mind can enter the Buddha's knowledge and vision and with that achieved, you will not go down the wrong road!” See how much emphasis the Patriarchs place on the Shurangama Sutra! This Sutra is a “demon-spotting mirror” to use in cultivation. It is a sutra that every Buddhist disciple should use his sweat and blood to protect and uphold. As to how to tell the difference between Buddhas and demons, between the deviant and the proper, the Master gives some very clear advice:
If you are able to refrain from getting involved
in sights, sounds, smells, taste, touches, and mental
dhamas, then these skandha demons cannot do
anything to you. If you don't have any greed,
hatred, or stupidity, then you have conquered
these skandha demons. Being without the faults
of selfishness, pursuit of self-benefit, fighting,
and seeking, no demon can do anything to you.
Actually Buddhas and demons exist in a single thought. If a person does not have thoughts involving greed, seeking, selfishness, and lying, then these different kinds of demons will not manifest. It's said, “When there are superior people within, superior people will come; if there are petty people inside, then petty people will be drawn there.” That's the principle of “the myriad dharmas are created from the mind alone.” The Master has a verse:“When the nature is in samadhi, the demons are subdued and every day one is happy. When false thoughts do not arise, then every place is peaceful. To stop the mind and put thoughts to rest is to be truly wealthy and honored. To completely cut off sexual desire is to be a true field of blessings.” That is the very best method for subduing all demons.
I hope all of us students can “slice down demons when demons come, and slice down Buddhas when Buddhas come.” All good dharmas and all evil dharmas are brought about by our own false thinking. We should “not dwell anywhere.” It should be that “if you do not think you have become a sage, then it is a good state. But if you think you have become a sage, you will be vulnerable to deviant influences.
To be continued