Time : Saturday 2pm-4pm
Platform : ZOOM Cloud Meeting
Topic of Discussion : Knowing When Not To Act You Can Live Your True Self
On 27 June 2020, Guan Yin Citta, Singapore held yet another online Buddhism in Plain Terms (BIPT) Group Study (in English). The topic of the week was: knowing when not to act, you can live your true self.
With aid from a thought-provoking atmosphere, participants contemplated the objective and essence of practicing Buddhism and Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door. Master Lu states that it is to gain wisdom, change our lives for the better, and ascend to the Western Paradise. With 84,000 dharma doors, finding the one that is most suitable for you is paramount. Thereafter, one should be steadfast and single-minded in learning the teachings of that chosen dharma door. Participants reflected that as a modern, convenient and ingenious method applicable to daily life, Guan Yin Citta is truly a great dharma door as shown by the many authentic sharings by practitioners from various walks of life during this week’s session. Indeed, given that dharma practice is one that is grounded in karmic affinity, all Buddhist friends were grateful to be part of this journey in spiritual cultivation with so many others in the group study.
Let us now look at some comments from participants:
“I found it inspiring to attend today’s group study and would encourage other Buddhist friends to join us in this session and personally experience the joy, be encouraged in spiritual cultivation and gain wisdom — we need this most in our daily lives. I gain more and more each time I attend these sessions and I always leave looking forward to the next one. Deepest gratitude to the Greatly Merciful and Greatly Compassionate Guan Yin Bodhisattva and Master Lu for giving us such a wonderful Dharma door.”
📚 Join us in our next session. Please contact Loh sx/Woan Yi sx for more information
⏰ Date and time:
Saturday 4 July 2020
Please click here to download the Summary Slides shared during the Group Study:
Buddhism in Plain Terms – Episode 4 (Part 1)
TOPIC: HOW TO APPLY THE BUDDHA’S TEACHINGS IN OUR DAILY LIVES
Today, I would like to continue with Buddhism in Plain Terms. Buddhism in Plain Terms helps us become enlightened and see our true nature and enables us to understand the profound teachings of the Buddha and apply them in our daily lives.
Today, I would like to touch on how we can apply the Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives, so that we can be free of inner vexations. Some verses in the Buddha’s teachings are steeped in philosophy. The Buddha often advocated the practice of Dharma as part of real life. Your state of mind determines your speech and behaviour meaning that the thoughts on your mind will decide your words and conduct.
There is not only a single path in life. Many people are in despair because they have come to the dead end of a road and they think they have no other road to take, so they choose to end their lives. Buddhist practitioners must distance themselves from grief and pain. Grief and pain are a form of test to us, sometimes they will be over in no time, sometimes they will last for some time, but everything will be over eventually.
There are many paths in the practice of Buddhism, and more often than not smooth roads are more crowded, but everyone flocks together. Think about it, no matter what problem you are facing, make a good choice of the road you want to take, but take your own road. As long as you are brave and make an effort, meaning that you must have the courage and persevere with strength, as well as wisdom in your thinking and you are determined and never waver, you will definitely be successful.
Many people don’t have the right conditions for life, so they miss many opportunities. This is common in life. When there is no affinity, so be it. There is nothing you can do when you have missed the boat. It’s no use feeling regretful and miserable. When we have gone a long way and look back at the people and things in the past, many things have long been lost in your memory.
Therefore, a true life refers to the times when you are still innocent and unaware of the reality in life – this is a beautiful time. But once you have come of age and gotten involved in interpersonal conflicts, your life is full of vexations and sadness, because you no longer experience that kind of purity, only the treachery and trickery of the human world.
So I hope you will all aspire to change your destiny, not by chances but by your state of mind. For people who have a good state of mind, everything will change for the better. For people with an unhealthy state of mind, no matter what they do, even if it is something good, they will not have peace of mind. Thus, everyone must understand these concepts.
Master Jun Hong Lu’s related discourses (cross references):
< HOW TO APPLY THE BUDDHA’S TEACHINGS IN OUR DAILY LIVES >
A Collection of Best Discourses by Master Jun Hong Lu
(Section 4, Topic 2, The Objective of Buddhism Studies)
WHY PRACTISE BUDDHISM
Faith in Buddhism is a great truth in the universe despite many people believing that it is a pursuit meant for the older generation.
From taking up faith to being completely enlightened, it is a perfection of awakening which is the state of ‘unsurpassed and supreme enlightenment (无上正等正觉)’ of Buddhahood.
To learn Buddhism is to learn the reality of the universe and life. Upon understanding the workings of the universe, we shall then gain wisdom.
Practising Buddhism is not simply about wishing for a life of safety and peace or to be blessed with good health. Its ultimate objective is to gain great wisdom (大智慧) as it is only by the virtue of wisdom that we can be liberated from our vexations and break through our delusions.
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas regard the mundane world as the realm of troubles and vexations.(人道称为“烦恼道”)
In fact, birth is the beginning of our vexations, from being ill to facing financial limitations and worrying about our children’s education, etc. These are all real-life issues that can haunt us for the rest of our lives.
The objective of Buddhism studies is to allow us to gain wisdom, eradicate our worries and break through our delusions (开智慧，断烦恼，破无明). Buddhist monks and nuns cultivate themselves on withdrawing from all worldly affairs.
The practice of Guan Yin Citta, on the other hand, allows us to change our life for the better.
Wisdom is humanity’s highest line of thought and the role of Buddhism is to reinstate this innate wisdom and virtue of ours (佛法就是恢复我们本有的智慧德能).
A Collection of Best Discourses by Master Jun Hong Lu
(Section 4, Topic 2, The Objective of Buddhism Studies)
THE OBJECTIVE OF DHARMA PRACTICE AND CULTIVATION
What is the purpose of Dharma practice and cultivation?
A lot of us have the answer: To attain rebirth in Western Paradise.
However, specifically, to what extent should one cultivate so that he can be reborn in Western Paradise?
How can this be achieved?
What will happen if our level of cultivation is just mediocre?
Many may not have the answers.
In fact, to attain rebirth in Western Paradise is a very lofty aspiration and thus not easily achievable. Citing a familiar example, a person will be put through an assessment that determines the path along which his soul travels after death, whether to the Netherworld or Hell, Heaven or Western Paradise.
Dharma practice and cultivation are akin to the preparation for university admission tests. Likewise, seeking rebirth in Western Paradise is similar to seeking admission into the world’s most prestigious universities like Harvard and Oxford. This is extremely difficult for most people. A more realistic goal would therefore be the domestically renowned universities, ordinary national universities and provincial universities, etc. which mirror Heaven, Asura and the Human realm, respectively. While persevering in our pursuit towards the highest goal, we should set our sights on the more realistic one – Heaven. The higher the level one is able to attain within the 33 levels of Heaven, the longer he will be able to remain; the closer to the Human realm, the more likely he will descend to the lower realms. Thus, each and every one of us must strive to ascend to a higher level in Heaven.
Master Jun Hong Lu’s discourse in the Guan Yin Hall
TRUE DHARMA IS ONLY POSSIBLE WITH TRUE BELIEF
HOW TO DETERMINE IF THE CULTIVATION METHOD WE ADOPT IS BASED ON THE PROPER DHARMA TEACHINGS?
As Buddhists, we should have true faith. What does true faith mean? It is about having proper beliefs that comes from a sense of realisation within oneself. When we completely understand that good has its reward and evil has its retribution, we would not do any evil, as we are convinced that negative consequences will surely come about. This is the mindset of a person who has Buddha in their heart. The realisation that comes from within them is regarded as true faith – it is the mindset that guides us to be inclined towards kindness. Sadly so, in the quest for and upholding of what they perceived as true faith, many people fall onto the wrong path which leads them to delusional belief instead.
Delusional belief is a habitual belief where one embraces another’s point of view if it confirms existing prejudices. For instance, someone is planning to contend against another. A person with delusional belief strongly believes that such contention is necessary as what is right is worth fighting for; it is only fair that everybody should get a share to their rights and for what it is worth, it should not be made exclusive to just one specific person. When delusional beliefs results in someone doing wrong incessantly, that person is said to have bewildered belief. In fact, anything that causes the minds of sentient beings to be bewildered and distorted are regarded as delusional beliefs.
How do we differentiate true belief and delusional belief?
The following are some characteristics of true belief:
No. 1 – it should guide us to be inclined towards kindness
No. 2 – its aim in cultivation is to uncover our true nature (innate nature) to eliminate greed, anger and ignorance.
No. 3 – it is able to help sentient beings to be liberated from ignorance and delusion – this is true Buddhist teachings.
In fact, true Dharma forms part of the understanding of a proper Dharma Door. It enables us to gain wisdom and realisation; with realisation we will be enlightened and attain the state of Buddhahood. Guan Yin Bodhisattva, also known as ‘True Dharma Brightness Tathagata’, marks that true Buddhist teachings will have to be at the core of one’s being as a prerequisite for the attainment of Buddhahood. We have to cultivate with the aim of uncovering our innate nature and eliminate greed, anger and ignorance, find a method to help sentient beings to be liberated from ignorance and delusion, and help ourselves to be inclined towards kindness at all times.
Using Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door as an example, we may use the following three methods to determine whether Guan Yin Citta is a proper Dharma Door.
No. 1 – does Guan Yin Citta encourage everyone to be inclined towards kindness?
No. 2 – does Guan Yin Citta aim for everyone to cultivate and uncover our innate nature, and teaches that we must have a good conscience? Does it teach everyone the importance of eliminating greed, anger and ignorance and not to engage in thoughts and acts of such nature?
No. 3 – does Guan Yin Citta guide and help everyone to find liberation in the midst of ignorance and delusions? In the past we did not understand many principles of life and was ignorant of many things. However, after learning Buddhism, have we thus been liberated from our ignorance and delusions? Many people have learnt to see through and understand the nature of things after learning Buddhism — they have understood and verified the truth of dharma.
If a particular sect is constantly accusing others of being improper, distorting their words, slandering them and misusing various Buddhist teachings so as to suppress them or certain situations, then they are not an upright dharma. All Dharma Doors can be likened to doctors who help us to find a road to liberation. The only difference is that along our journey of learning Buddhism, each one of us needs to identify the method that is most suitable for ourselves, and that would be the best doctor or Dharma Door for us.
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Discourse (Question 119)
WHAT IS THE TRUE ESSENCE OF GUAN YIN CITTA DHARMA DOOR?
Question: When introducing Dharma to people, if we are asked what the true essence of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door is, how should we answer it?
Answer: The true essence of Guan Yin CittaDharma Door is the true essence of Buddhist teachings, because Guan Yin Citta has been propagating and introducing Buddhist teachings to all sentient beings. The teachings of Guan Yin Citta is in line with that of Dharma, which emphasise that everything is characterised by suffering, emptiness and impermanence.
The aim of Guan Yin Citta is to help people achieve enlightenment, remove vexations, overcome ignorance and gain wisdom, be liberated from one’s own constraints and attain the desired state of mind.
Using Ingenious Methods to Help Sentient Beings and Establish Kind Affinities with All
A Collection of Best Discourses by Master Jun Hong Lu
In Buddhism studies, why should we be single-minded and diligent in our method of cultivation?
Once you have identified the dharma door that is most suitable for you, it is important that you learn and cultivate the teachings with diligence and steadfastness.
This is just like entering university: it is impossible for us to learn all of the hundreds of disciplines. We can only set our mind and focus on learning a subject that can allow us to successfully graduate and benefit from it in depth, a subject that can lead to personal tranquillity and growth.
Only then will we be able to learn well, gain expertise in the field, and finally become a learned person.
WHICH DHARMA DOOR YOU LEARN IS DICTATED BY YOUR KARMIC AFFINITIES
Caller: Master Lu, can you explain the saying, ‘fate brings people together no matter how far apart they may be’ (有缘千里来相会)?
Master Jun Hong Lu: Karmic affinities are as such, regardless of whether you are hundreds or thousands of miles apart, we will be brought together following Master’s teachings. There are people that come here from very far away with the sole purpose of learning my teachings.
When persuaded to practise various dharma doors in the past, why did these people abstain from participating but upon encountering Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, they gained wisdom and started learning Buddhism? It is because they have predestined affinities with Guan Yin Citta. For those who practise other dharma doors, it is also all because of their karmic affinities.
MASTER JUN HONG LU’S DISCOURSE ON DHARMA PRACTICE AND SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION
Caller: Master Lu, I am very touched by one of your sayings. Let me read it out for all, “In every age, there will be a large batch of Bodhisattvas who have attained enlightenment. They attained enlightenment because each and every one of them was quietly cultivating mind, introducing Dharma to people and helping all sentient beings while others were indulging in the enjoyment of life. When others have not been able to understandthe true essence of this world, they have already grasped the true essence of life. So, when others start seeking the true essence of life after experiencing pains, they would have become Bodhisattvas.”
Master Jun Hong Lu: Let’s take Lu Xun (鲁迅, China’s greatest modern writer for most of the 20th century) as an example. Some people asked him what makes him a great writer? He replied, “I just spent all my time at work while others use theirs for drinking coffee.” It’s as simple as that. When others are indulging in the enjoyment of life, we are practising Buddhism and performing recitation; it will then be our turn to enjoy when others are suffering. That’s the logic behind it.
DHARMA PRACTICE IS THE WAY TO END SUFFERING
Spiritual relief can only be achieved when one is free from suffering. When a person starts cultivating through practice of Dharma, they will be able to overcome their suffering gradually and will begin to feel that they are progressing consistently with incremental elimination of karmic debts over time. By maintaining such a positive mind set, they will be able to progress in their cultivation for sure.
The wonder of practising Buddhism is that it helps to stop you from re-visiting the painful past and prevents you from dwelling on those troubles indefinitely.
Most importantly, it frees you from suffering. By taking the first step, you have already relieved yourself partially from suffering and progressed in your state of mind.
At this juncture, Master would like to share some words of wisdom with you. To liberate yourself from worries, you have to understand the true meaning of life and learn to let go of all undesirable things and people around you. Once you are able to let go, you will be able todiscard the burden that weighs you down forever.
Today, you will attain immeasurable Dharma joy if you understand the true meaning of life, cultivate your mind through practice of Dharma, performing life liberations and making vows.
GOOD SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION CAN ELIMINATE A LOT OF KARMIC OBSTACLES
Master Jun Hong Lu: Some people are really pitiable, they don’t even have a chance to set up Buddhist altars at home as their husbands are opposed to the idea. Don’t you think this is a karmic obstacle? They simply don’t have the luxury of doing so. Our karmic obstacles can hinder us in many ways. On your path of practising Buddhism, if you do not have a Buddhist altar at home as yet, how miserable is that? Why are enlightened people able to eliminate such substantial amounts of their karmic obstacles?
In fact, it is an embodiment of a form of energy(能量体的体现). People who are good in their spiritual cultivation are able to gradually eliminate considerable amounts of their karmic obstacles – something that will not be experienced by those who do not do well in this aspect.
SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION IN THE SIZE OF KARMIC OBSTACLES WITHIN TWO YEARS DUE TO ACTIVELY HELPING OTHERS
Caller: Master Lu, please help me check on the status of my lotus flower in Heaven as well as my health condition. I was born in 1968, the year of the Monkey. I will carry the burden of my own karma.
Master Lu : Your lotus flower has bloomed. It looks very good. This could be due to the fact that you have helped a lot of people discover and believe in Buddhism.
Caller: Yes, I am in the Dharma Propagation Team of our branch. We spread Dharma in our neighbourhoods, as well as in the areas of Singapore Waterloo Guan Yin Temple.
Master Lu: That’s right, that is the reason the size of your lotus flower is so big. It is the size of a soup bowl in a restaurant!
Caller: What colour is it?
Master Lu: It is an off-white colour, just like the colour of a bowl.
Caller: When I first started practising Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door about two years ago, you said that the percentage of my karmic obstacles was about 70-80%. However, over the past two years, as I have been actively introducing Guan Yin Citta to people, you told me that my karmic obstacles had reduced to only 18%.
Master Lu: That is very good! Yes, it is because you have been introducing Guan Yin Citta to people. Had you not done so, improvement would not have taken place at such a speedy pace.
CULTIVATE SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IN PRACTICAL TRAINING; HELP OTHERS AS WE PRACTISE ALONG
Caller: Master Lu, we have been cultivating our mind and conduct for quite a while but we are still not sure if we are able to put it to use. When nothing happens, we seem to be well-versed in theory, but there are still critical moments in life where we fail to do the right things. Though we understand moral principles in the course of spiritual development, unwholesome thoughts such as jealousy still arise, Master, is it a test of our cultivation to gauge the level of our cultivation? How do we rid ourselves of unwholesome thoughts?
Master Jun Hong Lu: It is very simple. When one hasn’t attained thorough awareness, one may understand the principles in the theoretical aspect but it doesn’t mean one has complete understanding when it comes to reality.
For example, after you have got a bachelor degree, you still need work experience to get a good job. Similarly, when it comes to cultivating your mind, you need to put it into practice daily. If you don’t interact with people, you would not know how to be tactful and tolerant when dealing with people.
Once you start quarrelling with others, anger arises in you. If you know nothing about being tactful and tolerant, you would have been cultivating in vain.
This is because you have not practised what you have learned. (So we really must try to practise them in everyday life…) Yes, while you practise cultivation, you need to enrol yourself as a volunteer and be exposed to different kinds of people including people who are weird. Learn to deal with people with tolerance and diplomacy. This is the so called “ Practical”.
Master Jun Hong Lu’s Discourse (Question 132) November 1, 2016
HOW DO WE APPLY BUDDHIST PRINCIPLES INTO OUR DAILY LIVES
Question: How do we put to use what we have learned – to apply Buddhist principles into our daily lives and to live a life as Buddhists?
Answer: Whatever we encounter in our lives, we must always think about how we should react from the perspective of Buddhism. Do not be hasty in making decisions to avoid committing any mistakes. Think before you act. Think and act only if justifiable – your actions should correspond with your words.
How do we integrate Buddhist cultivation into everyday life?
Number 1: Be Calm
Number 2: Contemplate
Number 3: Watch your speech
Calmness yields wisdom and contemplation makes every word spoken wise.
HOW DO DHARMA CULTIVATORS SHIELD AND BLESS THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS (庇荫家人)?
Caller: When a Dharma cultivator lives within a household, the family is protected. To what extent can blessings be imparted to our family members? Is it measured by the amount of negative karma that has been eliminated, or is it another standard?
Master Jun Hong Lu: ‘Shielding family members at home’ could be explained in the following example: When you diligently and profoundly practise the Dharma to such an extent that your family members perceive you as having attained Buddhahood.
It in turn transforms them to being more cultured and less quarrelsome. Such a transformation is a form of shelter for them. Another type of blessing is when family members are influenced by your ACTION, and then follow suit to become Dharma cultivators themselves.
By taking this path, their negative karmic debts can also be quickly eliminated. ’Shielding or Protection’ does not mean you are able to use your aura to bless them. However, you can use your aura, virtues, kindness and good deeds to influence them towards cultivation of the Dharma.
THE BEST AND MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO ENCOURAGE OUR FAMILY MEMBERS TO BEGIN PRACTISING BUDDHISM IS BY THOROUGH SELF-REFORMATION
Caller: The best and most efficient way to encourage our family members to begin practising Buddhism is by thorough self-reformation. Is that correct?
Master Jun Hong Lu: Indeed, through self-reformation, you are actually leading by example (以身作则). When your family members witness how you are just like a Bodhisattva, they will wish to learn to be the same. This is good as they have you as a model that they may emulate.
Caller: Thank you, Master Lu.
< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享