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宣化上人講 Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
國際譯經學院記錄 Translated by the International Translation Institute











This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, claims he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. When he comes to see that good person who seeks cleverness and skill, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma. In an instant, he may appear to be a Bhikshu, enabling that person to see him as such, or he may appear as Shakra, as a woman, or as a Bhikshuni; or his body may emit light as he sleeps in a dark room.

You can see how formidable these demonic states are. This person, unaware that he is possessed by a demon, has no idea a demon is helping him. He claims that he has reached unsurpassed Nirvana. He claims to have obtained the truth of Nirvana, the wonderful fruition of Nirvana.

[January 1983]

Yesterday someone mentioned a certain person who recited the Buddha’s name and then suddenly started jumping around, as if dancing. He was possessed by a demonic spirit. He didn’t know what was happening, and he thought, “Wow! I’ve entered samadhi.” He was like a rambunctious kid; he hopped about like a bunny.

When he comes to see that good person, the cultivator who seeks cleverness and skill, he arranges a seat and speaks the Dharma for that good person who seeks to be clever and skillful.

In an instant, very briefly, he may appear to be a Bhikshu, enabling that person who seeks clever skill to see him as such. Or he may appear as Shakra—Lord God, as a woman, or as a Bhikshuni. When the person seeking cleverness and skill sees him going through such transformations, he thinks, “He must be Guanyin Bodhisattva!” He has no idea that it is a demon. That’s why you shouldn’t get carried away by any state you see, no matter what it is.

Or his body may emit light as he sleeps in a dark room. When people who do not understand the Buddhadharma see that, they marvel, “Wow! His body emits light! If he isn’t a Buddha, he must be at least a Bodhisattva or an Arhat!” They do not realize that the person is possessed by a demon king that is manifesting spiritual powers in order to delude the cultivator.

Therefore, as ordinary people who do not truly understand the Buddhadharma, we should not be turned by the things we see, no matter what they are. Don’t become moved and run off after those states. How should you treat them? Look upon them as if they didn’t exist. Seeing those things should be the same as not seeing them. Be neither elated nor disgusted. If you become elated when you see a demon, then you have been turned by the demon’s state. If you get disgusted, then you have also been turned by the demon’s state. How should you act? Just maintain the Middle Way, neither liking nor disliking it. See as if you haven’t seen, and hear as if you haven’t heard. You shouldn’t say, “That was a fine state! I’d like to see that again!” If you have that thought, you have made a mistake.

[January 1983]

Demons are very smart. They see what you’re greedy for and use that to tempt you. Therefore, cultivators don’t need to recite any particular mantra or practice any particular dharma. Just be honest and true; don’t contend, don’t be greedy, don’t seek, don’t be selfish, and don’t pursue personal gain. If you put your shoulder to the grindstone and cultivate diligently, no demon can bother you. But as soon as you become greedy or you start scheming for advantages and shortcuts, it’s easy for demons to possess you. Demons are very wise; they can see what level of cultivation you’ve reached and know what methods should be used to lure you. As for choosing a person to possess, that’s not a problem, because the person is only a false front for them. They use the person, and they use various methods to entice and delude you. If a cultivator is unselfish and doesn’t think about benefiting himself, he will not be afraid of any demon.

To be continued


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