Master Lu: Buddhism In Plain Terms

Master Lu | Buddhism in Plain Terms | Episode 2 | Control your thoughts, let go and cultivate the mind

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

My fellow Buddhist friends, Buddhist friends from all around the world and also the disciples of Guan Yin Citta Dharma Door, Good evening everybody.

Today, I would like to touch on Buddhism in plain terms.

True spiritual cultivation is not about seeking something external. Instead, it is the cultivation of your mind. Whatever your mind has received, it will surely reflect on the external appearance. When your mind fails to receive tolerance, forgiveness or happiness, you will appear fierce and aloof. Many people appear to be indifferent because deep down they couldn’t figure things out. They fail to observe the discipline of expression. There is such a discipline, when you see what you are not supposed to, you can’t allow your excitement to be written all over your face. Those unwholesome things, once you look at them and the joy is reflected on your face, then you are wrong.

Those who observe the precept should know the mind is not affected by the appearance, neither should it be affected by the precepts when being disciplined becomes their second nature. Just like when you stop your car at the red light. Will you still think that you are following the rules? When you see red light, you may think “Why do I stop here?”. Why don’t you try moving and see what will happen. We should actively cultivate our thoughts by not thinking about it.

What does that mean? When you have no thoughts, that’s when you are truly cultivating your thoughts, having no thoughts here means you are devoid of any thoughts and you have to be active to practise it, to cultivate the thought. In other words, only when you have no thoughts, can you actively cultivate this very thought. If you are filled with thoughts, how do you cultivate these thoughts? “Not observing precepts in your heart.” What does that mean? If you cultivate while having thoughts then you are not observing the precepts in your heart.

Hence, this is not the right path. The right path allows you to let go of afflictions and see the true nature of things where there are neither worries nor obstructions in the mind.  The mind is not attached to any form which means there is no notion of the mind. Some people ask if a person has the notion of the mind. A true cultivator has no obstructions in their mind, there is no such mind that I am going to cultivate. However, there are people who’d say that “I want to cultivate my mind with my utmost sincerity”. They say this because they are not sincere enough. That’s why they need to emphasise their sincerity when it comes to cultivating the mind. Do you understand? If you are already a devoted practitioner, would you still say that “I will cultivate with my utmost sincerity?”. If you are a good person, would you still need to prove to others? You are a good person, you don’t need to make the announcement: “Hi the good man is here.”

Please remember there are certain criteria for good and morality. What is good? It means the absence of evil thoughts and greed towards others. This is what good is about.  Have you been greedy today? Will a greedy person be wholesome? If you mistreated someone today, you hated someone badly, do you think you are a kind person? Hence, there is a term “fake do-gooder”. Such hypocrisy.

So, what do merit and virtue mean? What is the standard of morality? When you argue and fight with others, are you a virtuous person? No, you are not. That is why some people say “You are immoral”.  Being immoral means a lack of morality. This is how “morally wrong” comes about. When a person claims that you lack morality, that’s because you are morally wrong. Just like some people who have no furniture in their house. But you have no morality. You are morally wrong.

This is how immorality comes about. Hence, you should practise Buddhism without having the notion of it, which means, spiritual practice has become your second nature. You should not even feel that you are cultivating the mind since you are already on the path of cultivation, you are already a good kid, you already know how to recite Buddhist scriptures. You don’t need to tell people that you are a practitioner.  Similarly, you are doing good deeds. Why do you need to tell others that you are a good person?

As Buddhist practitioners, we should live by the precepts. Ultimately, to abide by the precepts is not an easy task, just like giving is not easy to practice. What is the true meaning of giving? When you feel that you have the right to this item, you simply refuse to give it away. It is the same logic as having a shortcoming if you refuse to deal with it, you will have to live with it. If you enjoy bad-mouthing others, and you refuse to give up this bad habit, you go on bad-mouthing others all the time, then you become an evil person in the end. Hence, when it comes to spiritual practice, how can we be successful? How can we accomplish this path of cultivation? It all comes down to your mind.

Many people do not even have basic morals, they are crooks. Though still alive, they are no different to those in hell. Think about it. Are we like this?  We scold others and they scold back. We hate others, and the feeling is mutual. We suffer when we hate others. That’s right! It’s typical of a scene in the underworld. When you are berated, you become angry, you are back in the underworld again. Just like this, you have been revolving in and out of the underworld, and with the final judgement, hell is exactly where you end up. Hence, just a thought can determine if we are a Buddha or a demon. That’s how it goes.

Please do not hold a Buddhist book in your hand and say those sacred words of the Buddha but at the same time, commit numerous negative karma of speech and taint your own Buddha-nature and virtue. Thus, the true sense of giving is to let go of the notion of self, there is no self. Where is the notion of self. What have I got? Saving face is a form of attachment. Sometimes I deliberately put some of you down in front of many people. This is to train you to let go when you make a mistake, you don’t think that you deserve to be criticised? If you feel embarrassed and go red,  it shows that you have yet to let go of yourself. You are still attached to your views and its arrogance. Firstly, we have to get to know ourselves well. What type of person are you exactly? Are you a good person, Or you are neither good nor bad? Maybe you are a bad person? You should evaluate yourself as such. So don’t be petty-minded with others and don’t sweat the small stuff. In fact, there is a price to pay for every petty thing that we get mad with. Only through understanding others can we move our karma in the positive direction. Only through lending a helping hand to others, can we be spared from adversities, slander or negativity. Hence, think about it, when you help others won’t they help you in return? Consequently, you will not meet with adversities in life. When you help others wholeheartedly, who will slander you? When you steer away from evil thoughts and intentions, what you reap is the fruit of kindness. Correspondingly, you will be loved by others, helped by others and they will correct their own mistakes. Sometimes we should avoid being judgemental.

“This person made a wise move”; ”This person is wrong”. For any problem, do not take it to heart when a person holds on to a view of what’s right and wrong, their comments must be wrong. I can tell you, nothing they say is right.

How do we know? “He is a real pain in the neck”. Do you believe he’s like this all the time? No one is 100% good or bad. As Buddhists, we should learn to forgive. We must not judge others with our evil knowledge and thoughts because if our view is biased we will misjudge people. If you can’t take control of your heart and fail to see others with a balanced point of view,  you will be looked down on by others in the end. When you misjudge people they will surely have their share of comments to make about you. “He is always rude, uncultured”. The hatred and jealousy in you drives your desires and selfishness. Do you understand? With the grudge you hold against others, you hurt them gradually, you will lose your peace of mind.

Superficially, we see some people who are very well-kept in their dressing but not their heart, as it is impure. The essence of taking refuge in the right path is to control our thoughts and the motion of your mind. Only do the right things; otherwise, the moment a thought arises, you have broken the precepts. Hence, you have to be mindful of the precepts every single moment and with that you will never become a stranger to yourself. For example, you went for some grocery shopping today, you were very disciplined and you never thought of taking anything without paying.

Now let me give you a scenario. If you were buying something today and there was a thought flashed by “I don’t think I should pay for this”. Then imagine how uneasy you would feel – the next moment your hands would tremble with cold sweat, you’d look around nervously and when you walked to the exit and saw the electronic sensors you’d be even more panicky. You’d be afraid that your misdeed might be seen by others. Obviously, your thoughts have been set in motion. If your mind is under control, do you think you will still be scared? So when one breaks the precepts, in actual sense, he is destroying his dignity. For one who observes the precepts, kindness is natural in them. So, a man of greed is a man of many desires. The desires within a person will definitely breed the greed in them over time. Needless to say, greed and desires are the cause of our mental suffering. Thus, those who give and help others can gradually let go and see the reality of things

In this world, the many unwholesome thoughts that occupy our mind have made this world and your inner world become filled with vexations and desires. Thus, sometimes when a desire arises, it may cause us to err and we feel remorseful and guilty. But, we still need to take responsibility for our mistakes. Sometimes, when we feel bad for failing someone, just by reciting the Eighty-Eight Buddhas Great Repentance alone will not resolve the problem. Many, in their younger days had done others wrong. The pain will remain in their hearts forever.

So I hope you understand that we need to be committed and resolved to be kind to sentient beings. The inherent noble qualities of a human being is indispensable.  So where can we find our moral qualities? In its excellence at being human, respecting the elders and loving the young, putting others before oneself, avoid telling lies, and helping others. These are moral qualities. When people say that your accomplishment in Buddhist practice is commendable, it means that you are a person of moral integrity. Think about it – a person of moral integrity is less likely to have vexation and thus able to stay away from misfortunes. If what you have done, in modern context is open and above board, then there is no way that misfortune will happen to you. If you have done a lot of things sneakily that cannot be brought to light, your misdeeds will ultimately be exposed one day and you will be in trouble then. These are the problems that I wish to touch upon. I want to tell you today how to make sense of these problems.

Since e-learning is readily available now I can get in touch with all of you more often through the Internet and TV. Hopefully, through this, you will be able to grasp the true essence of the Dharma.

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