The sixth is to be mindful of repaying the Buddha's kindness—to be mindful of the Buddha's compassion in teaching the Dharma. Only because of the Dharma door of repentance we are able to start anew as people, cultivating various good dharmas with gratitude, thus fulfilling every deed.
The seventh is to contemplate that the nature of offenses is empty. This makes clear the fundamental quality of karmic obstruction. The Avatamsaka Sutra states, "Offenses arise from the mind, therefore we must repent from the mind. When the mind is extinguished, offenses also die. When both the mind and offenses extinct, that is called true repentance and reform." Our behavior consists of the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind. The conditions for any action result from "the arising of a thought and the movement of will." From one thought of ignorance, we create various offenses. Therefore, reform must occur in the mind. Living beings create offenses that appear to harm others, but the greatest injury is to one's inherent nature. The guilt that results from offenses is like lacerations to one's nature. Yet another film of contamination is added on top of one's self-nature. Therefore, don't be depressed or regret any more when you repent and reform, and change your faults. "Recollect that all thoughts of the past" defile the self-nature. One must not be attached to them, but let them go, after one repents and reforms.
The Great Master, the Sixth Patriarch, described "the markless repentance and reform" in the Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra: "May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by ignorance and confusion. May these be wiped away at once and never arise again. May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by arrogance and deceit. May these be wiped away at once and never arise again. May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by jealousy. May it be wiped away at once and never arise again."
However, the Sutra of Contemplating the Dharma of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's Conduct also states, "The multitude of offenses, like frost and dew, can be melted by the sun of wisdom." Although offense karma has no form, it occludes the inherent nature like a covering of frost or dew. Sincere repentance is likened to the light of wisdom—sunshine that melts frost and dew.
The power of repentance is inconceivable. The Repentance Dharma of the Bodhimanda of Compassion says, "The six destinies of the wheel of transmigration gradually distance themselves from the mountain of Nirvana. How could you reach the ultimate in the One Vehicle if you have been sinking in the sea of birth and death, creating karma that resembles layers upon layers of dust, and doing all kinds of misdeeds? Without relying on the repentance's blade of wisdom, it will be difficult to escape the dense net of karmic consequences. Since we have created offenses with the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind, or erred because of the six senses of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, we are trapped by the net of karma and drown in the sea of birth and death. Consequently, we continue to transmigrate in the cycle of the six paths. The blade of a repentance's sword of wisdom is incomparably sharp, slashing apart the dense and tough net of karma so that we are able to jump out of the sea of birth and death, reach the shore of nirvana, and attain true ease and peace.
To be continued