續前期：August 19, 1975年 8月19日星期二下午
末法時代你不要說殺他，叫他不信佛；你就不殺他，你說你信佛了，我給你叩三個頭，那你可以先信了吧？「你給我叩頭幹什麼？」這個人哪，末法時代他就不容易信佛。信信，他也就向後轉；信了兩天半，沒有到三天呢！他就向後轉了。他說：「I amvery tired」tired，tired（累了），你看！這是末法人的根性，就這樣子。你耳提面命說：「Not too much talking.（別講太多話了！）」 Too much talking.（講話太多了！）你叫他不要做什麼，他一定要做；你叫他要做什麼，他一定不要做，末法時代的眾生就是這樣。
Continued from last issue: Tuesday, August 19, 1975
Now, in the Dharma-ending Age, you don't even have to threaten a person with death. You just have to say, "Don't believe in the Buddha," and they quickly reply, "Okay, fine." You don't have to threaten them, just tell them to quit believing and they will. It's very difficult to promote faith.
Calculate it for yourself: How many people are there in the world? Among the entire human race, how many people believe in the Buddha? You can lecture the Sutras to these believers every day and they will still waver between doubt and faith. You can conduct a small experiment. Try this. Invite a person out to a movie. He'll accept on the spot and away you go. Then try asking him to a Sutra lecture. He will say, "Ohhh...sitting there for two hours is nothing but suffering and tedium. It's not half as much fun as a movie!"
That's the Dharma-ending age for you. You needn't threaten them with death. You can simply say, "If you believe in the Buddha, I'll bow to you three times." And what do you think happens? They snap, "You go believe in the Buddha yourself. Why bow to me?" In the Dharma-ending Age it is difficult to believe in the Buddha. People may believe for a while but then they retreat. They may believe for two and a half days, but before the third day rolls around, they turn back and say, "I'm tired of Buddhism." Tired. See? That's the basic make-up of people in the Dharma-ending Age. You suggest to him gently or tell him directly, "Don't talk so much!" and he'll continue to talk, talk, talk too much! That's the way it is. If you tell them not to do something, they insist on doing it. If you tell them to do something, they will insist on not doing it. That's the way beings are in the Dharma-ending Age.
In this age, the Dharma will disappear. The first Sutra to disappear will be the Shurangama Sutra. That is why those who study the Buddhadharma should first investigate the Shurangama Sutra. As long as someone understand this Sutra, the Buddhad-harma will not become extinct. As long as there is someone who can recite the Shurangama Mantra, the demon kings, the heavenly demons and those of externalist teachings will not dare come into the world to play their tricks and to make trouble. The Shuran-gama Mantra is the most miraculous mantra for helping the world. The Shurangama Sutra is the primary Sutra which protects and supports the Proper Dharma.
The Shurangama Sutra will disappear first, and then no one will be able to recite the Shurangama Mantra, because it is too long. For example, many among us have been studying it for over a year and still can't recite it. Basically, the Shurangama Mantra should take six months to learn. The Sanskrit "Shurangama" is transliterated into Chinese as leng yan, and those who study it are said to be "leng," that is, in a daze, for half a year while memorizing it. Here in the West, we have people who have been "leng" for one, two, and even three years, and still have not come out of their "daze."
The Shurangama Sutra and the Shurangama Mantra will be the first to disappear. The last Sutra to disappear will be The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra.
When the Amitabha Sutra has become extinct, only the six-syllable vast name "Na-mo A-mi-to-fo," will remain in the world. It will last another one hundred years and save limitless living beings. After one hundred years the six-syllable vast name will lose two syllables and only "A-mi-to-fo" will remain for another hundred years and then they will disappear. At that time people will be undergoing extreme suffering. They will have no blessings at all. What they eat will be like horse manure. The food will have no nutritive value, even the natural foods. No matter what one eats, it will be harder to swallow than horse manure. Why? Because the people will have no blessings. When the Buddha was in the world the water that people drank was more nourishing than the milk we have today. Why does today's water lack nutritive properties? It's because now the people don't have such great blessings.
At that time, people will be as tall as dogs. When their suffering reaches its peak, things will start getting better, and the eon will begin to "wax." We are presently in an eon of "waning." This means that every one hundred years the average lifespan of human beings decreases by one year and their average height by one inch. When it has decreased to the point that an average lifespan is ten years, and an average height is about the size of our present-day dogs, people will have sexual desire as soon as they are born and they will also be able to commit murder. That's how rotten they will be. But at that time, the eon will begin to wax, and every hundred years people's lifespans will increase by one year and their height will increase by one inch. When the average lifespan has reached eighty-four thousand years—would you call that a long life?—it will begin to decrease once again. When the average lifespan has waned to eighty thousand years, the next Buddha, the Venerable Maitreya, will appear in the world. Whoever wants to meet him at that time should work hard right now.
To be continued