If the Buddha did not speak of this, who would have recognized or even imagined these things? If we had never heard what the Buddha had said, how could we know about these situations? If we had not read the Buddha's sutras, how would we know and be aware of these truths? If you've never read a Sutra spoken by the Buddha, then how could you learn about these matters?
If we continue our hankering for love and pleasure, being greedy for love and sex and other such pursuits of illusory pleasure, then we will forever remain stupid and confused. You will always be confused and will never wake up.
It is only to be feared that one mistake has led to another for ten thousand kalpas, through thousands of lives: You make one mistake after another, all the while being attached to this illusory human life. A human body is hard to obtain and easy to lose: it is not easy to acquire this human body and once you lose it, it is difficult to get it back. Good times soon pass and cannot be brought back. Pleasant times pass quickly. Youth is an example. When the time has passed, it is impossible to get it back. The road is dark and gloomy: the path of the future is dark. And separations last a long time. I must endure evil retribution in the Three Paths by myself: in the three evil destinies of the hells, the hungry ghosts, and the animals, you yourself must answer for what you've done. The pain is unspeakable; it is unbearable to the extreme. Who would stand in for me? No one can go to the hells or become a hungry ghost or an animal on your behalf.
Even discussing this subject chills my heart. Even writing this essay chills my heart. We, therefore, must halt the flow of birth and death. We must make a deep commitment to quickly cultivate the Way, resolve the mind on Bodhi, and halt the flow of desire and of birth and death. Get out of the ocean of love and desire: get out of the emotional love and desire. Save ourselves and save others: you should save yourselves and others so as to leave sufferings and attain bliss and reach the other shore together. Together we should reach the other shore of non-production and non-extinction. Of all things throughout distant kalpas past, this is the most extraordinary achievement, yet one only needs to begin: for beginningless eons until the present, this is the greatest of meritorious works, and yet it lies within a single move. This is the sixth cause and condition for resolving the mind upon Bodhi: being mindful of the suffering of birth and death.
What is reverence for our own spiritual nature? It is that right now, in a single thought, I can directly be one with Shakyamuni Thus Come One, without any difference at all. Why is it, then, that the World Honored One realized proper enlightenment an infinite number of eons ago, yet we are still muddled, confused, and upside down, still only ordinary people? The Buddha, the World Honored One, has also perfected infinite spiritual penetrations and wisdom and the adornments of merit and virtue, while we have only an immeasurable amount of karmic ties and afflictions and are bound to birth and death. Our minds and natures and his are one, but our confusion and his enlightenment are as far apart as the sky and the abysmal deeps. If we calmly contemplate this matter, how could we not be ashamed? It is as if we had dropped a priceless pearl into a mud puddle, considering it as worthless as a broken tile, neither cherishing nor esteeming it. We should therefore use an infinite number of wholesome Dharmas as an antidote to our afflictions. By cultivating virtue, we gain merit, and the virtue of our nature can then appear. Thus we wash the pearl and set it up high, where it now releases a penetrating radiance that outshines everything. Then we can say that we have not been ungrateful to the Buddha's teaching and have not failed our own spiritual nature. This is the seventh cause and condition for resolving the mind upon Bodhi.
The seventh is reverence for our own spiritual nature, which is the Buddha's nature. The Buddha's nature is also our spiritual nature, because the Buddha and the living beings are the same. Why is it that the Buddha has such great wisdom? Why is it that we are still sostupid? The Buddha has accrued merit from cultivating virtue, and itallows the virtue of his nature to appear. When you have accomplished virtuous conduct through cultivation, the wisdom of your inherentnature will manifest. If you don't reform and polish your originalnature, then it won't manifest itself. Consider the analogy of a table.When a tree has grown to maturity, it can be cut down and sawedinto wooden boards, which can be used to make a table, a usefulpiece of furniture. However, you can't say that the tree is a table; youcan only say that the tree can be used to make different kinds ofhousehold utensils and useful equipment. If you don't know how touse it, you can only use it as firewood; but if you know carpentry,you can build different kinds of furniture or any other types of thingsthat you wish.
To be continued