While we have only an infinite amount of karmic ties and afflictions and are bound to birth and death: Think about your karma in this life. The various relations you have with other people create karmic conditions that tie you up. You are tied up by such karma, obstructed by afflictions, and bound by birth and death.
Our minds and natures and his—the Buddha's—are one, but our confusion and his enlightenment are as far as the sky and the abysmal deeps. The Buddha is enlightened; we are still confused. Like the sky and a deep abyss, confusion and enlightenment are very far apart.
If we calmly contemplate this matter, how could we not be ashamed? Calm your mind down and think, "The Buddha is already a Buddha with great wisdom, while we are still stupid and confused; we are really not great people, great heroes, outstanding individuals. Shouldn't we be greatly ashamed?"
It is as if we had dropped a priceless pearl into a mud puddle. Our spiritual nature is like a priceless pearl buried in mud. We go about considering it as worthless as a broken tile, neither cherishing nor esteeming it. We should see our own spiritual nature as important and should respect and protect it.
We should therefore use an infinite number of wholesome Dharmas as an antidote to our afflictions. If we perfect our merit, we can go to heaven. If we commit many offenses, we will go to hells. Therefore we should do all good and avoid all evil. Once we have accumulated many meritorious deeds, we can eradicate our afflictions. By cultivating virtue, we gain merit, and the virtue of our nature can then appear. Through virtuous conduct you can make your spiritual penetrations and wisdom appear.
Thus we wash the pearl and set it up high where it now releases a penetrating radiance that outshines everything. Its light reaches everywhere, outshining all other lights. If we do this, 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.
What is repenting of karmic obstacles and reforming? The Sutras say that to commit one duskrita causes us to fall into the Nirtaka Hell for a period equal to a five hundred year lifespan in the Heaven of Four Kings. Duskrita are small offenses, yet we receive such retribution. The retribution they bring is indescribable.
Now we constantly break the precepts by everything we do in our daily lives. With each meal we take and with each drop we drink, we transgress the shila. A single day's transgressions are beyond reckoning. How much more numerous are the transgressions committed during kalpa after kalpal! They are unspeakably many.
Moreover, it is said of those who receive the Five Precepts: "Nine out of ten preceptees will transgress them." Few admit their errors; most conceal them. The Five Precepts are the Upasaka Precepts; yet we fail to perfectly uphold even these, not to mention the Shramanera, Bhikshu, and Bodhisattva Precepts.
What is repenting of karmic obstacles and reforming? "Repenting" concerns past errors, while "reforming" is to refrain from future violations. The power of repentance and reform is inconceivable. The Sutras say about the precepts that to commit one duskrita: A duskrita is a minor defiling offense. Yet for committing one duskrita, we must go to the hells for a period of time equal to five hundred years in the Heaven of the Four Kings; only then the offense will be atoned for.
Duskrita are small offenses, yet we receive such retribution. Serious offenses evoke even more suffering, like the Ten Major Parajika offenses or the Sangha-vashesa offenses. The retribution they bring is indescribable. The retribution we must undergo for serious offenses is unimaginable.
Now we left-home people constantly break the precepts by everything we do in our daily lives, whether we are walking, standing, sitting, or lying down. With each meal we take and with each (Do not delete "each". There is an error in the hard copy) drop we drink, we transgress the shila. We are not in accord with the Vinaya.
A single day's transgressions are beyond reckoning. How much more numerous are the transgressions committed during entire lifetimes, in kalpa after kalpal! They are unspeakably many. It is even more impossible to count the offenses committed in each life throughout such a long time as that.
To be continued