Buddhism in Plain Terms


< Buddhism in Plain Terms < 白话佛法共修分享    

Guan Di Bodhisattva also known as Qie Lan Bodhisattva (伽蓝菩萨). He is a symbol of loyalty and justice, a Bodhisattva who upholds the right dharma (正法)with awe-inspiring righteousness. Master Lu says, “We should learn from Guan Di Bodhisattva as He is the exemplary man of righteousness and a great Dharma Protector”. 

This coming Tuesday, 18 June 2024 (13th day of the 5th lunar month) is the birthday of Guan Di Bodhisattva. To commemorate this special day, let us all ask ourselves, in this Age of Dharma Decline, 

“How do we uphold and protect the dharma?”

As Buddhist disciples, it is natural for us to think that protecting the dharma means to protect Buddhism by subduing those who are out to harm the dharma or obstruct our dharma propagation effort. But did you know that the greatest evil is your own inner obstacles? 

This week’s pack titled “What does Protecting the Dharma means to you?” explores 10 ways, one-by-one to offer you an understanding that protecting the dharma starts from working on yourself. We will offer insights on what a Buddhist disciple should do in his effort to uphold and protect the precious dharma, which includes: 

🤺 Setting high standard for yourself in your spiritual cultivation

🤺 Do not go looking for faults in others, but look for faults in yourself

🤺 Putting the dharma into practice with so much patient endurance (忍辱) that you reach a non-returning state (不退转之地)

🤺 Overcoming your negative temperaments so that you can help others more effectively

🤺  Avoid committing negative karma of speech in dharma propagation. You cannot imagine how gravely is the karma of making another person’s lose faith in the Buddha’s teachings (段人慧命)

Want to learn more? Read on!



Caller: How should each of us, the disciples of Guan Yin Citta, uphold our Dharma Door well and do what is right as a Dharma Protector?

Master Jun Hong Lu: First and foremost, you should lead by example. This is of paramount importance so that others feel as if you are a Bodhisattva in this human realm. Everything that you do must accord with the path of rightness (如理如法), just like how a Bodhisattva would. If you fail to act like one, essentially, you are not upholding the dignity of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door.

Everyone knows about the long-standing unblemished track record of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door. Whatever we do, we bring benefits, not disadvantages, to the country and its people. Hence, it’s not surprising to see that our dharma door is adored by everyone. It’s a must that all of you uphold Guan Yin Citta and never tarnish its reputation.

Caller: It’s the responsibility of every disciple of Guan Yin Citta to uphold this dharma door.

Source: Shuohua20160527  23:58, Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program



Master Jun Hong Lu: Once, there was this person who kept an adorable parrot as a pet. One day, a friend of hers dropped by to visit her. The guest asked, “Is the parrot sick? Why does it keep coughing and look so miserable?”

Upon hearing this, the owner of the parrot became extremely anxious and as soon as her guest left, she took the parrot to see a veterinarian. After a thorough checkup, there was no sign of any sickness whatsoever. So, why was it that the parrot coughed?

Eventually, it was discovered that the parrot was not coughing but merely mimicking the lady owner’s cough whenever she was aggressively puffing away a cigarette .

As a Buddhist practitioner, we must understand that in this day and age, it is common for people to focus their attention on others, just like the aforementioned lady owner of the parrot who had thought the problem of the cough lied in the parrot itself, only to find it was her own.

Typically, people would point fingers at others whenever things go wrong, oblivious to the fact that the actual problem may lie in themselves. This is because they have this long-standing notion that they are infallible (以为自己不会做错事情). Hence, they will never be able to recognise their faults, much less correct them.

As the traditional Chinese culture says, ‘If one is not upright, how can they correct others (己不正,焉能正人)?’ It goes without saying, in spiritual cultivation, we need to work on our own cultivation, before being critical of others. What the parents do at home would have a direct influence on their children. If the parents behave like a Bodhisattva, their children are surely little Bodhisattvas. Thus, to inspire others to follow your path, you must behave like a Bodhisattva.

I would like to advise all of you who are going around propagating the dharma to understand one principle: To be able to spiritually awaken others, you must first carry yourself like a Bodhisattva. If you aspire to influence your husband to follow in your footsteps to practise Buddhism, your conduct must resemble that of a Bodhisattva as only then would he be inspired by you. This exemplifies that the power of role models is immeasurable (榜样的力量是无穷的).

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s World Buddhist Fellowship Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 14 December 2015



Master Jun Hong Lu: As Lord Buddha was about to enter nirvana, sobbing and kneeling before Him, His disciples asked, “Lord Buddha, what shall we do without you?”

The Lord Buddha said, “Let the precepts be your foundation and regard them as your teacher” (以戒为本,以戒为师). Do you understand what I mean now? The precepts are a form of self-discipline. A person who abides by the precepts is virtuous because he understands the importance of upholding morals and hence, he will not err.

You may find some people singing praises like, “He is such a good child and so is the other one”. You may wonder, “Why do they say so?” They will reply, “This is because the child is an embodiment of traditional moral values (有传统的道德).

How does a person’s morals come about? It has to do with his adherence to the precepts. Whenever I bring my disciples along in my dharma propagation activities, outsiders will be impressed to see how they appear through the way they sit, stand and speak. It is not surprising to hear compliments such as, “The disciples of Oriental Radio are amazing!” Where do you think such self-discipline stems from? This is only possible by the strict observance of precepts (靠守戒来的). And, why do you think I am so strict on all of you if not for the purpose of making sure that all of you can abide by rules of discipline?

So, if you aspire to attain an elevation in your spiritual cultivation (心灵的提升), especially those of you who set out to achieve spiritual growth, you must observe the Five Precepts (五戒). If it is something that you can’t even adhere to, how is it possible for you to abide by the Theravada Precepts, Mahayana Precepts or the Bodhisattva Precepts?

I will share with you the Bodhisattva Precepts (菩萨戒) in the future and explain to you what it takes to keep to these precepts as a Bodhisattva. As for now, I see that you are not even close to keeping to the precepts as a human and you really need to work harder on your spiritual cultivation.

If a person can’t even observe the Five Precepts, there is no way that he would be able to take on the form of a human being in his next life. Those who are unable to observe the Five Precepts will lose the opportunity to gain rebirth as a human being; for them entering into the Three Evil Realms (三恶道) as an animal, hungry ghost, or worse-still, descend to hell becomes inevitable.

Let me make it clear to all of you: As a Buddhist practitioner, if you can’t even comprehend the Buddhist theory (佛的理论) and the Way of the Buddha (佛的道), you will very soon lose interest in your Buddhist practice.

Assuming you dedicate your entire life solely to reciting the Little Houses, without any explanation or guidance whatsoever from your Master, I can assure you that the majority of you will find it difficult to stay on course, and at some point, many of you will even stop performing recitation of the Buddhist scriptures.

As a matter of fact, Buddhism is profoundly philosophical and it is absolutely not just about performing recitation. In fact, we should avoid becoming like a little monk who merely recites Buddhist scriptures with his lips, not his heart. This is something that a Buddhist practitioner should understand.

When you eventually make it to heaven, listening to Bodhisattva delivering the dharma is the same. At this point, your Buddhism knowledge is far too shallow. I can assure you that you will realise there is so much that your Master has not talked about when you get to listen to the major Bodhisattvas deliver the dharma in heaven.

Not every master is completely perfect but only the Lord Buddha is. Make it a point to delve into the perfect and unhindered wisdom of Buddhism (圆满无碍的佛法) as only then can you attain the unsurpassed and supreme enlightenment (无上正等正觉).

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 11 Chapter 10



Master Jun Hong Lu: As the Buddhist saying goes: “To be free of desire in the midst of desire is like lotus flowers blossoming in fire” (“欲中离欲,火中生莲”). In other words, it is extremely difficult to stay away from desire when you are in the midst of it, much like the lotus forming in the fire of a Buddhist oil lamp.

Indeed, this is also the reason why many practitioners fail in their adherence to the Five Precepts. For lay practitioners, achieving this requires much more effort and energy in comparison to the monastics. For monks and nuns, they practise at a monastery, which provides a quieter and purer environment. They have no contact with the outside world, and so no distracting or fanciful thoughts will arise.

On the other hand, lay practitioners like us are susceptible to external influences due to their necessary contact with the outside world, which breeds all kinds of thoughts. Therefore, it is very difficult for a lay practitioner to cultivate, as they must exercise restraint in everything.

I often say this: If you want to remain unwavering, you must observe precepts. In addition, whilst observing the precepts, you should also adopt “compassionate tolerance” (慈忍). Anyone who wants to stick to the precepts and rid themselves of their bad habits must practise compassionate tolerance. For example, if you can sympathise with and feel pity for someone whom you gravely dislike, you would have displayed compassionate tolerance – as your hatred goes away the moment your compassion arises.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 1 Chapter 12



Master Jun Hong Lu: I hope all of you will go all out to give. What can you give? Your heart, of course! You need to go all out in being kind to others, in being generous, patient and in maintaining a peaceful state (禅定). Unfortunately, all of you are lagging far behind.

Let me make it very clear to all of you: Be unceasingly diligent (精进不已), that is, you must be unstoppable as you forge ahead. After some time, one fine day, when your karmic obstacles are exhausted, and your karmic reward has come to fruition, you will ascend to a point of non-regression (登上不退转之地). In other words, it is absolutely possible for your karmic obstacles to be wiped out.

Just today, a caller who had made a prior appointment with me asked whether it was possible to minimise the pain at the the point of his death. I responded, “First and foremost, you must be diligent in your practice. Make it an unstoppable quest so that your karmic obstacles will gradually be cleared. As long as there is still a karmic obstacle, you will experience pain when you pass away”.

What can we do to be karmic obstacle-free? That’s simple. Assuming you have 53 shortcomings but you tackle them bit by bit every day, you will surely be able to eliminate them all.

In the past, say, you had 180 shortcomings, and from now onwards, you make sure you overcome each and every one of them. During this period, if you keep reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance daily to eliminate your karmic obstacles and you avoid committing new karma, that’s it, that’s the end. Gradually, you will no longer be laden with karmic obstacles.

This is why I am telling all of you, in this case, when the karmic reward ripens (果报成熟了之后), you will reach the state of non-regression (不退转之地). As a matter of fact, the day you become a Bodhisattva, you will never backslide in your practice. This is what I intended to put across to all of you today. If you aspire to become a Buddha, you should never ever regress in your practice (不能退转) because the moment you do, all your prior effort will go down the drain (前功尽弃).

It’s my hope that in your spiritual cultivation journey, all of you have your daily goals to work towards. Ask yourself, “What’s my goal for today?” For example you tell yourself, “I will learn to practise patient endurance. I will check on myself whether I will get upset when my husband reprimands me or when I have been wronged (冤枉)”. Set yourself a daily goal and keep practising it until you eventually become a Bodhisattva.     

If you can still smile  even after being scolded or remain indifferent after being criticised, do you think you will suffer from high blood pressure? Conversely, if you bottle up your emotions, you will still fall ill. When you can’t contain your emotions and they stew inside you, there will be a kind of energy that will wreak havoc in your body and you are bound to have health problems. Hence, while waiting for the day to come when you can be karmic obstacle-free, you must put in your best effort every single day.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Volume 9 Chapter 35



Master Jun Hong Lu: Robert is a renowned psychologist in the United States. One day, he was making his way to a subway station during the evening peak hour when he stumbled upon a shabbily-dressed man, lying in the middle of the stairs. The man looked like he had passed out with his eyes shut, and was motionless. The bustling commuters did not seem to notice him.

Robert was greatly appalled. He stopped in his tracks to find out what exactly had happened. Ironically, the moment he stopped, many others followed suit and very soon, a small crowd started to build around the man. A man went to get him food while another lady went to buy him water. Soon the subway patrol was notified who then called for an ambulance. A few minutes later, the man came around and while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, he had a bite of the food.

Why was it that the shabbily-dressed sick man who was lying in the middle of a subway station stairs went unnoticed by the commuters in the beginning?

Robert is of the opinion that in a fast-moving crowd, people will often go into a state of self-absorption and their mind will switch-off information that is perceived to be irrelevant. Not surprisingly, they will also overlook people around them who need help.

That said, if someone breaks the cycle, some of the people around him will follow suit. Once this takes hold, the momentum will start to build up where more and more people will join the ranks and here lies the chance for the world to change for the better.

From environmental concerns to mental health issues, it all began with a small group of people calling for more awareness and attention. Similarly, when a person starts to practise Buddhism, more will follow suit. When compassion becomes universal, there will be more compassion in this world. If everyone advocates for peace, the world will be a more peaceful place.

Confucius once said, “A gentleman makes demands upon himself before making demands upon others”. This means that we need to have good morals and values in whatever we do, before we can expect the same from others. 

It is said in Buddhism that it is much easier to change oneself than changing others. The power of role models is infinite. 

I know of a lady Buddhist friend whose husband was unconvinced when she started to learn Buddhism, thinking that she would never change her bad temperament. Contrary to his belief, this lady Buddhist friend was so determined to show her gratitude towards him, so much so that she could tolerate whatever he verbally hurled at her. On top of this, she was able to accommodate whatever happened in the family.

Half a year later, her husband confided, “My wife is a completely changed person. She is like a Bodhisattva. So, I must also make an effort to diligently practise Buddhism”. This exemplifies the power of role models. If you can transform yourself to become more kind and compassionate, only then would more sentient beings in this world become likewise.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Public Talk, Spain, 14 May 2016



Question: We are so hard-pressed for time in this Age of Dharma Decline. Those who are not into spiritual cultivators will be led by the nose through life by their destiny and the force of karma. Having said this, Buddhist practitioners will still be affected by their fate and collective karma (会受天时共业的影响).

For example, many fellow practitioners will, around the same time, lose momentum in their cultivation or enter into a phase where they are confronted with various impediments in their Buddhist practice or dharma propagation drive. As Buddhist practitioners, how should we come together as a team to mutually support each other so that we can collectively quell the collective karma and ride through all stumbling blocks that may come our way?

Answer: Spiritual cultivation is never a walk in the park. Just like it is common for us to trip over something when we walk, so how is it possible that we expect no obstacle while walking on this path of spiritual cultivation? You need to make it a point to consistently study  Buddhism in Plain Terms and always contemplate, “What are your reasons for living?” As and when a problem arises or when conflict between Buddhist practitioners crops up, always think, “I am a Buddha or I want to become a Bodhisattva in the future, so how can I scold others, be jealous of others or worse-still, harm others?” This is a type of mentality and state-of-mind.

Think of ways to keep close contact with positive people. Look for a Practice Centre or groups within a Practice Centre to check out the true cultivators. Find those who are diligent, those who are not into seeking illicit gains or creating troubles. Establish a friendship with these people and follow in their footsteps. When I’m in town to deliver dharma talks, you should join in. All of these are positive conditions (增上缘). They are the contributing factors to your vigour in spiritual cultivation to ensure that you will never backslide.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s World Buddhist Fellowship Meeting, Hong Kong, China, 20 June 2015



Master Jun Hong Lu: Why are the monastics able to preach by example?

They give others a sense of dignity (庄严) and wherever they go, people around them would lower their volume and present themselves in a dignified manner.

For example, in front of the monastics, people will never crack jokes. This is a kind of infectivity (感染力). At times, this emotional infectivity surges. How so? When eminent monks deliver their speeches, they are touching the listeners’ hearts with their raw emotions (真实的感情). Why are they exceptional in their speech?

It is not a technique, but rather, it is driven by the real emotions within them. They are anxious and so eager that everyone can practise Buddhism. They understand the importance of doing so and how chanting sutras and mantras can transform a person. This is the kind of genuine and positive energy that has the ability to influence others (感染别人).

When we help  others, we have to speak the truth (说真话). We have to influence others with our real experience from the bottom of our heart to convey our deepest gratitude to the Buddha.

There are people who display hypocritical shows of affection (虚情假意). Do you think they are able to bring true joy and happiness to others? It is impossible. Unless the happiness and joy come from deep down, you would never be able to have any influence on another person’s state of emotion.

A person who is good at delivering others is a kind and compassionate person. A person who is good at promoting the teachings of Buddhism never speaks from his own perspective. More importantly, he speaks about the thoughts and feelings of others (别人的心声). His mind is filled with thoughts of sentient beings, and it is never about his selfish desires.

From the perspective of psychology, if you are troubled by something, it is best that you speak up about your negative emotions. Just be direct and tell someone, “Hey, I am troubled by something today. I am unhappy”. People around you can then render help and support.

Alternatively, you may insist on putting up a tough front, and continue smiling and appear to be in high spirits, when in reality, you are suffering from an internal breakdown; you may even tell your friends and relatives, “I am fine. Although something happened, I am optimistic about it. I…”, but others will be able to tell right away that you are faking happiness, and they will not feel a single tinge of joy from you.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Episode 27, 28 March 2020



Master Jun Hong Lu: Every Buddhist practitioner must learn to form positive affinities. Propagating the dharma to sentient beings is never easy. Recollect those days when you had yet to find faith in Buddhism, it was equally challenging for others to introduce Buddhism to you, but having stepped foot into the gate of dharma, you are now immersed in dharma bliss. Hence, you must embrace such a beginner’s mind in your quest to save sentient beings. As a matter of fact, I can tell you that the process of forming positive affinities and dharma propagation is also a test of your faith in learning Buddhism.

Though the process comes with trials and tribulations, it is only in such circumstances that you will come to recognise your restlessness and a host of shortcomings such as the lack of patience and compassion. In fact, it is the best opportunity for you to overcome these negative temperaments.

Once you have rectified these shortcomings, and overcome a series of hindrances in your quest to help others to be awakened spiritually, the merits accrued from your Buddhist practice will become increasingly substantial, and your Bodhi mind will become increasingly pure, paving the way for you to ascend to a new level in your dharma propagation drive. 

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Daily Words of Wisdom, 18 May 2021



Caller: Sometimes when performing totem reading Master detected tell-tale signs that Buddhist friends have inadvertently committed negative karma of speech in their effort to propagate Buddhism. It’d be great if Master could give some examples of speech karma (口业) that we should avoid when sharing the dharma with others – something that can serve as a warning for all of us.

Master Jun Hong Lu: That’s simple. You commit negative karma of speech the moment you say, “If you don’t practise Buddhism, you will descend to hell!”. Or “If you backslide (不学), you will sink into hell!”. Do you think it is even alright to say all these?

When you say, “You will lose your life!” or “You will face a lot of challenges in the future!”, aren’t you wishing others bad luck with these comments? You are literally decimating their spiritual lives (把人家慧命都弄掉了)! How can you do that? Do you think it is right to make such reckless remarks?

Caller: Not at all.

Master Jun Hong Lu: Here you are saying, “You have negative karmic affinity with your wife. To quell it, you must diligently recite the Buddhist scriptures’’, when the other party is not even buying what you say. They may even rebuke, “How do you know?”. The fact that you are not me (Master), naturally they will doubt you.

When you say, “Sexual relationship is strictly prohibited”, the other person may counter argue and rebuke, “If that’s the case, what’s the point of having a wife?” If you press on and are insistent on sharing with them the dharma from the level of a Bodhisattva, without taking into account their level of spiritual cultivation, aren’t you creating negative karma of speech?

When you cause such confusion and make others criticise you behind your back, you are as good as causing trouble for Bodhisattva.

Caller: In that case, we should contemplate the causes and conditions (善观因缘) and tailor our dharma sharing based on the individual’s’ unique circumstances (根据不同的人的情况来说). Is it right to say so?

Master Jun Hong Lu: That’s correct.

Source: Wenda20180624A   56:46, Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program



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