The mind has no fixed purpose. It flits hurriedly from place to place like a traveling peddler. Our bodies have no fixed shape. We continually exchange them as if we were moving from room to room in a house. We have had, and lost, more bodies than there are particles of dust in a billion worlds. We have cried more tears at parting than all the water in the billows of the four seas. The stacks of bones rise higher than mountain peaks. The heaps of corpses are vaster than the earth.
If the Buddha did not speak of this, who would have recognized or even imagined these things? If we had not read the Buddha's Sutras, how would we know and be aware of these truths? If we continue our hankering for love and pleasure, we will forever remain stupid and confused.
It is only to be feared that one mistake has led to another for ten thousand kalpas, through thousands of lives. A human body is hard to obtain and easy to lose. Good times soon pass and cannot be brought back. The road is dark and gloomy and separations last a long time. I must endure evil retribution in the Three Paths by myself. The pain is unspeakable; who would stand in for me? Even discussing this subject chills my heart.
We, therefore, must halt the flow of birth and death, get out of the ocean of love and desire, save ourselves and save others, and reach the other shore together. Of all things throughout distant kalpas past, this is the most extraordinary achievement, yet one only needs to begin.
This is the sixth cause and condition for resolving the mind upon Bodhi.
The mind has no fixed purpose: We can't make up our own mind, if we can make up our mind and be still, then we will not have false thinking; therefore, it flits hurriedly from place to place like a traveling peddler. It goes everywhere trying to drum up some business, today in this place, tomorrow in another place, selling his goods all over the place.
Our bodies have no fixed shape. Our bodies have no fixed appearance. This life we are a bit taller; next life we are shorter. We continually exchange them as if we were moving from room to room in a house. This body is not our own; it is like a house. So it is said:
The human body is much like a house,
The mouth is the door; the eyes are its windows.
The mouth is like the door of the house, it breathes in air. The eyes, nose, and ears are like windows, allowing fresh air to go through. Therefore the nose has two nostrils that breathe in air when the mouth is closed.
The four limbs are like the four corner-posts.
So the four limbs, the two arms and the two legs, are like the four pillars of the house.
The hair is like thatch on the house.
Don't wait until it falls to run about in haste! Take care of your health while it is still good. Do not wait until sickness overcomes you. Then it may be too late and you won't have a house to stay.
Our body is like a house, but although it is a house, it has a "host" and the "host" is the mind. But the mind cannot make decisions; it listens to deviant ideas and continually engages in false thoughts. When a false thought arises, the mind flits hurriedly from place to place. We keep on changing as if moving from house to house. This life we stay in run-down hut; next life we stay in a high-rise apartment. So the text says: "We continually exchange them as if we were moving from room to room in a house." We have had, and lost, more bodies than there are particles of dust in a billion worlds. You have come and gone countless times; therefore it is not easy to count all the bodies in which one has been born and which afterward died.
We have cried more tears at parting than all the water in the billows of the four seas: No one can count all the tears people have shed in sorrow and suffering when they are separated from those they love.
The stacks of bones rise higher than mountain peaks: Mountains are tall, but the piles of discarded bones surpass their height. The heaps of corpses are vaster than the earth, more numerous than the blades of grass and the trees on earth. The bodies we have had are more than the particles of dust in the earth.
To be continued