The tenth consists of the habits of litigation and the mutual disputations which give rise to covering. From them there are produced a look in the mirror and illumination by the lamp. It is like being in direct sunlight: there is no way one can hide. Because these two habits bicker back and forth, there come into being evil companions, the mirror of karma, the fiery pearl, exposure of past karma, inquests, and other such experiences. Therefore, all the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon covering and name it a ‘dark villain.’ Bodhisattvas regard covering as they would having to carry a mountain atop their heads while walking upon the sea.
What is the tenth habit? It’s litigation and mutual disputations. Litigation refers to lawsuits and court cases, mutual suits and arguments by defense attorneys. What is the crime involved in litigation? It’s covering. Covering means that neither party tells the truth. You say you had reasons and I say I had reasons. The husband says he is right and the wife says she is right. A divorce case is one example. The husband lists the wife’s faults and the wife discusses the husband’s faults. Actually, neither of them is right. If either one was right, then there wouldn’t be a divorce case. As soon as you are right, it implies that the other person is wrong. But if you are tolerant and forgiving, then no problems arise. But if two people each insist on his or her own point of view, then they will go try to find an attorney to argue their case.
They pass it to a lawyer, probably thinking that the lawyer will starve without any court cases. And so you make something out of nothing and stir up things so that you can pay some attorney fees so he can earn his livelihood. The attorney says, “Good! You two want to go to court. That’s good business for me!” That’s why lawyers really like it when people have to go to court and seek them out to act as defense attorneys. Fifty dollars for this presentation and a hundred dollars for that one. Or perhaps two hundred dollars or three to five thousand. It depends on how much the case is worth to you. He can fix his own prices as he pleases. That’s what litigation is about. “Mutual disputations”: You state your reasons and I state mine.
Which give rise to covering. Why do people go to court? Because they aren’t frank with each other. You put on a front toward me and I wear a false face in front of you. When we take off our masks then we can discuss the issues frankly. But actually, when the issues are discussed, we still wear our masks. We hide things. We cover. When we are clearly wrong and have no principle to stand on, we hide the fact and find principles to argue. When we are clearly wrong and have been unreasonable, we hide the fact and describe ourselves as being reasonable. That’s what covering is like. From them there are produced scrutinizing and illumination by the lamp. Scrutinizing is like looking into a mirror. This implies that those who liked to go to court when they were alive will go to a hell like this where there is an offense-spotting mirror. In this offense-spotting mirror, all the things you did while alive are reflected just like on a movie screen. Frame by frame, everything shows up. The movie completely exposes your actions. “Illumination by the lamp”: Once this lamp is lit, then everything is illumined and you have no place to hide. It’s like being exposed to the sun. It is like being in direct sunlight: there is no way one can hide.
The karmic obstacles from previous lives and the karmic obstacles of this life bicker back and forth. And so there come into being evil companions. Not only evil friends, even relatives are included. The mirror of karma, the fiery pearl. In the hells there is an offense-spotting mirror and also a fiery pearl. Exposure of past karma. No matter what offenses you committed in your previous lives, they will all show up. Inquests, and other such experiences. You don’t want to admit it? But there’s nothing you can say. That’s why Bodhisattvas don’t get involved in litigation.
Because of that, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon covering, that kind of habits and behavior and name it a ‘dark villain.’ Bodhisattvas regard covering and the litigation involved as they would having to carry a mountain atop their heads while walking upon the sea. How could that be possible? There’s no way to do that. And so Bodhisattvas don’t get involved in litigation.
What are the six retributions? Ananda, living beings create karma with their six consciousnesses. The evil retributions they call down upon themselves come from the six sense organs.
What are the six retributions? Ananda, this is true of all living beings. These six retributions come from karma created through the six consciousnesses: eye consciousness, ear consciousness, nose consciousness, tongue consciousness, body consciousness, and mind consciousness. The evil karma brought down by the karma these consciousnesses create requires that retributions be undergone. Exactly where does the evil karma get created? It comes from the six sense organs. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind create it.
What are the evil retributions that arise from the six sense organs? The first is the retribution of seeing, which beckons one and leads one to evil ends. The karma of seeing intermingles, so that at the time of death one first sees a raging conflagration which fills the ten directions. The deceased one’s spiritual consciousness takes flight, but then falls. Riding on a wisp of smoke, it enters the unintermittent hell.
Above, causes based on ten habits were discussed. Because of the causes generated by these ten habits, six kinds of interactive retributions are called down and have to be undergone. Why are they called six interactive retributions? It is because the karmic offenses created involve all six—there is a mutual relationship among them. For example, when the eyes look at mundane defiling objects, in the various kinds of karmic offenses that result, the eyes took the lead but the other sense organs—ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind followed along in the mistakes. The leading offender is the one that started it all, but the others were also involved. They helped to create the karmic offenses.
However, as was explained before, the Buddhas of the ten directions all said that realization of Buddhahood comes about because of the six sense organs and falling into the hells comes about because of them too. The Buddhas of the ten directions, using different mouths but the same sound, told Ananda that. And so here we need to realize that about these six interactive retributions. Basically these six could lead us to Buddhahood. It is just because we are unable to use them that they turn out this way. Based on the truth—the nature of the Treasury of the Thus Come One—we create falseness.
Creating falseness, the three subtle marks create in turn the six coarse marks. Once the six coarse marks come into being, they go on to create limitless, boundless marks. Thus we say that there are 84,000 karmic obstacles. Why do we create so many karmic offenses? It is all because we are not in control, and we follow the states of the six defiling sense objects. We are unable to return our hearing to hear our own nature so that the nature can realize the unsurpassed Way. And so we race out after the six defiling objects. And the first one we pursue is seeing. Thus there is the retribution of seeing.
To be continued