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NAMOAMITABHA

PrintedanddonatedfbrfTeedistributionby

TheC00rati0Repblic0fHwaDzaS0ciety
2F,No333-l,Sec4,HsinYiRoad,Taipei,Taiwan,R.OC
Tel:886-2-2754-7l78Fax:886-2-2754-7262

Website:www.hwadzan.org.tw

E-mail:hwadzan@hwadzan.tw
Thisb00kisf0rfIeedistribti0nItis0trsale
PrintedinTaiwan

2000Copies;20l2October
HZ50-07-0l

Contents
l

Introduction

FirstLesson:LearningtoCreateDestiny
5

Mr.KongIsAccuratePredictions
MasterYunguIsAdviceonChangingDestiny

ThePrincipleofChangingDestiny

I5

TheWaysofChangingDestiny

26

ToSurpassDestiny

69

SecondLesson:TheWaystoRefOrm
TheReasonstoRefOrm
l29

ASignfOrGoodFortuneandMisfOrtune
TheWaystoRefOrm
AShamefUlHeart

I35

AFearfulHeart

l50

ADeterminedCourageousHeart

l67

TbreeMethodsofPracticeinRefOrming
CbangingthroughBe}Iavior

l73

CbangingthroughReasoning

l75

ChangingffomtheHeartandMind

200

TheDesiredResultofRefOrm

223

TbirdLesson:TheWaystoCultivateGoodness

APamilyThatAccumulatesGoodDeedsWill

Have

AbundantProsperity

TenAccountsofVirtuousPeople

234

UnderstandingGoodness
HowtoRecognizeGoodness

263

TheDefinitionofGoodness

266

PracticingtheTenGoodDeedsWhenConditions

305

Arise

FourtbLesson:BenefitsoftheVirtueofHumility
ArroganceInvitesAdversityWhileHumilityGains

36

Benefit

HumilityandModestyAretheFoundationfbr

377

GoodFortune

Appendix:Liaofan>sFourLessons

382

TheTen-recitationMethod

447

Notes

448

Glossary

459

Translator)sNotes

InCaI1gmgDesKm;VenerableMasterChinKung
speaksofrecitingMrXiaLianjuscompilationofthe
hirLibStJrMasterCbinKunghassaidtlIat
recitingtl1eAmiaaSmrHofwhichseveraltransla
tionsareavailableontbeInternet,isanexcellent
alternative.

WeareusingtlIeC}Iineseconventionofplacingthe
familynamefirst,tobefOllowedbythegivenname
courtesyname,orsobriquet.Thesetermsareexplainedonpage86.
WeapologizefOranyerrorsandwouldbemostappreciativeifyouwouldbringthemtoourattention.
PleaseemailusatsilentvoicesOO@lIotmail.comorfax
usatl-8l5-927-O359

Respectfully>
SilentVoices

l5February2OO2

Introduction
Tl1ebookLonfbJrLessoIswaswritteninthe

sixteentlIcenturyinChinabyYuanLiaofanwithtbe
hopethatitwouldteachhisson,YuanTianqi,about
destiny,howtodifferentiategoodfrombad,howto
correcthisfaults>andhowtopracticegooddeedsto
cultivatebothvirtueandhumilityAsanembodiment
ofhisteacl1ings)Liaofanwaslivingproofoftheir
benefits)fOrhehadchangedhisdestiny.
Learningtore-createdestinyhaslongbeenofinteresttothosewhobelievethatwealthorpoverty)long
lifeorshortlife-everytbingisdestinedPeoplewlIo
accomplishedgooddeedsintheirpastliveswillnaturallyen]oywealthyandlonglivesnow,whilethose
whocommittedbaddeedsintbeirpastliveswillundergodeprivationsandshortlives.Howeverthereare
exceptionsDestinycanbechanged
Ifwewereoriginallysupposedtoen}oywealtl1and
longevityinthislifetime,buthavecommittedexcessivebaddeedsthenwithoutwaitinguntilthenextlife
wewillbecomepoorandhaveshortenedlives.Ifwe
wereoriginallysupposedtoundergopovertyandhave
sl1ortlives,buthaveaccomplishedexemplarydeeds
wewillbecomewealthyandhavelonglives.History
providesmanyexamplesoftlIis.
AltlIougbeverytbingtlIatwehavetogotlIroughin
thislifeistlIeresultofourthoughtsandbehaviorin
ourpastlivesandhasbeenpredetermined,itisnot
l

rigidWecanstillmodifyitwithourcuITentthouglIts
andbehavior

AsBuddhistswearetauglIttorefrainfromevil,to
dogood,andtopuriourminds.TlIisistbeDlarma
Seal>ourcriteriatodeterminethegenuinenessof
Buddhistteachingsortruths.Buddhistsutrasaddress

principlesandlogicandarespokenbyfivetypesof
peopleTlIeyarel)BuddhasinourcaseBuddha
ShalWamuni,2hisstudents,3heavenlybeings
immortalsand5)manifestedbeings

AslongaswhathasbeensaidconfOrmstotheBuddlIasteachingsanddoesnotcontradictthem,the
Buddl1aswiththeirgreatbroad-mindednesswillrecognizetbemassutras.Tlms,weslIouldregardand
respectasasutra,anyworktl1atconfOrmstoBuddl1ist
principles

Tl1isappliestoLjonFbzrLessonsfOraltl1ough
itisnotaBuddhistsutra)weneedtorespectand
praiseitasoneTl>isisespeciallysofOrtl1isbookfOrit
wascertifiedandadvocatedbyMasterYinGuangthe
thirteenthPatriarchoftlIePureLandscl1oolInthe

earlypartofthetwentiethcenturyhededicatedhis
lifetoitspropagationandwasresponsiblefOrprinting
millionsofcopiesasweIasstudying)practicing>and
lecturingonit.NotonlycanithelptoserveasafOundationinourlearning,butmoreimportantlyitcan
alsoserveasafOundationfOrnon-Buddbistsinhelp-

ingtlIemlearnhowtocbangetheirdestinies
Tl1ereismuchtolearn,includingprinciplesand
2

metl1ods)allofwhicharecoveredinthisbookAl-

thoughitisrelativelyshort)itsimpactcanbesignificant.Tl1erefOreifwewishtochangeourdestiniesor

totrulyachieveattainmentthrouglIthepracticeof
Buddbism,wewoulddowelltoaccordwithitsguidanCeo

Tl1erearefourchaptersorlessonsinthisbookTlIe
firstlessonof<<LearningtoCreateDestinyisabout
thelawofcauseandeffectThesecondlesson,<The

WaystoRefOrmisdevelopedfromunderstanding
causalityTbisthirdlessonofTheWaystoCultivate
Goodness),istheprimarylessontlIatofcultivating
andaccumulatinggoodness.Itisbasedonfeeling
regretandrefOrmingourfaults.TbefOurtlIlesson
TlIeBenefitsoftlIeVirtueofHumility,)istlIeconclusionforthebook

TheFirstLesson:

LearningtoCbangeDestiny
Inthislesson)Liaofantoldbisson)Tianqi,aboutlIis
personalexperiencesandthoseofotl1ers.Wanting
TianqitodohisbestinpracticinggoodnessandendinglIisincorrectbehavior,tore-createandcontroll1is

destinyandnolongerbeboundbyit,LiaofantauglIt
himtheprinciplesofwhythingslIappenandhowto
clIangethem.Forexample,asPureLandpractitioners,
ifweareabletofOllowtlIismethod,weareassuredof

attaininghappy)fUlfillinglivesandofbeingreborn
intotheWesternPureLand

Mr.Kong>sAccuratePredictions

MyfatherpassedawaywhenIwasyoung.
Mymotherpersuadedmetolearnmedicine
insteadofstudyingandpassingtbeimperial
examinationsbecauseitwouldbeagoodway
tosupportmyselfwlIilehelpingothers.Per-

haps,Icouldevenbecomefamoustl>rough
mymedicalskills;tlIusfulIingmyfather)s
aspirationfOrme

InancientChinathepurposeofstudyingandpassing
theimperialexaminationswastobecomeagovernmentofficial.Thus,tostopstudyingfbrtheexaminationswastogiveupanychancetoworkinthegovernment.Acareerinmedicinewouldenableoneto
5

lIaveaskillthatwouldprovideagoodlivinginadditiontolIelpingotlIers
AtthattimeteachersdidnotchargeafeebutacceptedwhateverwasofferedWealtlWfamiliesgave
more;poorfamiliesgaveless.Aslongastl1estudent
wassincereinl1onoringtheteacherandrespectingthe
teachingstheamountgivenwasunimportant.Tbe
sameappliedtophysicians.Theirgoalwastosave
lives)todotl1eirverybesttomakeotl1erswellTl1e

paymentfOrtheserVcesrenderedwasatthediscretionoftl1epatient.Bothteachersandphysicianswere
dedicatedtolIelpingothersandwerel1iglIlyrespected.
Oneday>Imetanelderlybutdistinguished
lookinggentlemanattheCompassionate
CloudTemple.Hehadalongbeardandthe
lookofasage.Iimmediatelypaidmyrespectstol1imHetoldme:<Youaredestined
tobeagovernmentofficialNextyear,you
willattaintherankofLearnedFirstLevel

SclIolarWlIyareyounotstudyingfOrthe
examination?))Itoldhimthereason

Thissegmentisaboutaturningpoint:Liaofans
opportunitytolearnhowtochangehisdestinyIt
describedhismeetinganelderlygentlemanwhohada
handsomecountenanceandwastallwithanelegant
celestialair,andwhodidnotlooklikeanaverage

person.Liaofannaturallypaidhisrespectstohim.
BecausetheelderlygentlemancouldfOretelltl1efu6

turehelmewthatLiaofanshouldhavebeenstudying
andneededtodosoassoonaspossible.l
IaskedtheelderlygentlemanfOrhisname
andwlIerehewasom.Hereplied:My
familynameisKongandIamfTomYunnan
prov1nce.Ihaveinl1eritedaverysacredand
accuratetextonastrologyandprediction.
Tbetext,writtenbySlIaoziiscalledtlIehpeIr5ramGIymgebIKBy
mycalculations)Iamsupposedtopassiton
toyouandteachyouhowtouseit>)

ShaoziwasasclIolaromtheSongdynasty2He
wasawell-knownandhig}Ily-respectedintellectualof
histimeTlIesacredtextonastrologyisanin-deptl1
booktl1atbasbeencompiledwitl1othersintotl1e
CbmpbIFeraSIIs.3
ThecontentofShaozi)sbookiscompletelyinaccordancewiththeprinciplesinJCmaeBDoAof

CaJ1gandpredictstlIefuturethrougl1mathemati-

calcalculations.Thepredictionsintl1ebookcover
numeroussubjectsincludingchangesincountries

andtlIeworldTheprosperityordeclineofadynasty,
thegoodfOrtuneormisfOrtuneofanindividualcould
allbecompletelyextrapolatedommathematical

calculations.ThisbookofprofOundknowledgeis
basedonaprecisescienceandisbothlogicaland
credible.

EverybodyandeverythinghasasetdestinyBuddlIa
7

Shalq/amunitauglltusthattl1isisduetotl1elawof
causalityAslongaswegiverisetoacause,beita
thought,word,oract,aresulttbatisasetdestinywill
fOllow.OnlywlIenthemindisdevoidofthoughtcan
wetranscendtl1epredeterminationoftbemathematics.Whyarepractitionerswitl1highlevelsofacl1ievementoftenabletotranscend?Havingattainedthe
levelofOneMindUndisturbed>theirmindsdonot

giverisetoanythoughts.Aslongaswehavethoughts)
ourfateswillremainboundbythemathematics.A
higl1lysldlledpersonisabletoaccuratelypredictour
futurestl1rougbcalculations.
OurlivesaredestinedArhatsorotlIersageswitl1a

higherlevelofspiritualenlightenment,wholIave
alreadytranscendedsamsam>thesixpathsofexistence)areabletotranscendtheirdestiny
Arethel1eavenlybeingsintheRealmofFormand
RealmofFormlessnessabletotranscendtheirfate?

Yes>fOrintlIeirstateofdeepconcentration,the
mathematicscannotaffecttl1em.But)tbistranscen-

denceisonlytemporary.OncetheylosetlIeirstateof
deepconcentrationandgiverisetothoughts)theyare
againboundbymatl1ematics.TlIisiswhytheyhave
neverbeenabletotranscendsamsara.

Iftl1estrengthoftl1eirconcentrationenabledtlIem
totranscendsamsaraandadvancetotbeninthcon-

centrationleveltobecomenon-regressiveArl1ats,then

tl1eywouldnolongerbeboundbytbematl1ematics.
OnceweunderstandtlIeseprinciplesandlmowtl1at
8

everythingisfated)wewilllookattlIisworldwitha
non-discriminatorymind.Wewillnotfeell1appyin
favorablecircumstancesorunl1appyinunfavorable
circumstances

IinvitedMr.Kongtomyl1omeandtoldmy
motheraboutl1im.ShesaidtotreatlIim

wellAswetestedMr.KongIsabilityatprediction,wefOundthathewasalwayscorrect
wbetheritwasfOrbigeventsorfOrminor

everydaymatters.Ibecameconvincedof
wl1athehadsaidandagainbegantothinkof
studyingfOrtheexaminationsIconsulted
mycousinwhorecommendedMr.YuHaigu,

wlIowasteachingatthehoIeofafriend5
andbecameMrYu)sstudent.

LiaofaninvitedMr.Kongtohishouseandbeinga
filialsontoldlIismotlIeraboutlIimShesaidtotake
goodcareofMr.Kongandrecommendedthatthey
testhim.Whensomeonetellsussomething,wewould
usuallywanttochecldtsvaliditybefOrebelievingit.
WhenLiaofandidsoandfOundMrKong)spredictionstobeaccurate,hebecamenaturallyconvinced
andheededhisadvice.

Mr.Kongthendidsomemorecalculations
fOrme.Hetoldmethatasascholar)Iwould

beplacedfOurteenthinthecountyexamination,seventy-firstintheregionalexamina9

tion,andnintl1intheprovincialexamina-

tion.TlIefOllowingyear,Iplacedexactly
whereMr.KonghadsaidfOrallthreeexaminations

MrKongtoldLiaofanthathewouldrisethrough
severalstagesofexaminationstobecomeascl1olar.In
thesecondyear,theresultsoftheexaminationswere
exactlyasexpected
FromMr.KongIspredictionsfOrMr.Liaofan,we
canseetbateverythingisdestined.Everyday,every
monthwhenandhowwewilllive,wl1enandhowwe
willdie.Regardlessofhowwetrytoplanoreven
scheme,ordinarypeoplecannotescapeomthis
reality.

Itl1enaskedlIimtomakepredictionsfOrtlIe
restofmylifeMr.Kongscalculations
sl1owedthatIwouldpasssuchandsucha
testinsucl>andsuchayear,theyearthatI
wouldbecomeacivilscholar,andtheyear
thatIwouldreceiveapromotiontobecome
anImperialScholar6Andlastly,Iwouldbe
appointedasamagistrateinSichuanprovInce

AfterholdingthatpositionfOrthreeanda
halfyears,Iwouldthenretireandreturn
home.Iwoulddieattheageoffifty-three
onthelthdayoftlIeeighthmonthbe
l0

tweenonetothreeo)clockinthemorning.
UnfOrtunately>Iwouldnothaveason.I
carefUllyrecordedandrememberedeverytbingtbatbeSaid
Theoutcomeofeveryexaminationturned
outexactlyaspredictedMrKonghadalso
predictedthatIwouldonlybepromotedaf
terreceivingarationoftwohundredfiftyninebuslIelsofrice.7However)IlIadreceivedonlytwentybushelsofricewlIenthe
CommissionerofEducation,MrTu,rec-

ommendedmefOrapromotion.Isecretly
begantodouI)tthepredictionNevertl1eless
itturnedouttobecorrectafterall,because

Mr.Tu>sreplacementturneddownthepromotion

Itwasnotuntilsomeyearslaterthatanew
EducationCommissionerMr.YinreVewed
myoldexaminationpapersandexclaimed,
<ThesefiveessaysareaswellwrittenasreportstotlIeemperor.Howcanweburythe
talentsofsuchagreatsclIolar?

Wl1enLiaofan>ssalaryreac}1edalmosttwentybusl1ofrice.Mr.TuaDDrovedisDromotionaon
elsofrice>MrTuapprovedlIispromotion.Liaofan
begantodoubtthepredictions.Howevereitherdueto
apromotionoratransfer,Mr.Tuwasreplacedby
anotl1erpersonwhodisagreedwitbLiaofan>spromoll

tionandoverruledit.

ItwasafewyearslatertbatanotherofficialMr.
Yin,wentthrougl1thepapersofthosewholIadfailed
tlIeexamination.Thesepaperswerekeptandre-read
occasionallywiththel1opeoffindingtalentedindividualswhol1adbeenoverlookedHereadLiaofan)s

papersandwasveryimpressedwithtbem,sayingtbey
wereaswellwrittenasofficialrecommendationsfrom

governmentofficialstotheemperor.ObviouslyLiaofanwasverylmowledgeableandhispaperswereextremelywellwritten.
Tl1enewcommissionerwantedtl1emagistratetoissueanorderfOrmetobecomea

candidatefOrImperialScholar8underhis
authority.Afterundergoingthiseventful
promotion,mycalculationssbowedtl1atI
hadreceivedexactlytwobundredfifty-nine
bushelsofrice.Fromtl1enon)Ideeplybelievedtl1atpromotionordemotionwealtl1or

povertyallcameaboutinduetimeandthat
eventl1elengthofone)slifeispre-aITanged
Ibegantovieweverythinginadetacl1ed
mannerandceasedtoseekgainorprofit
Wecanseetl1atMr.Tuwasanexceptionalperson
fOrhel1adwantedtopromoteLiaofanassoonashe
readtheexaminationpapers.However,l1isreplace-

mentoveITuledthepromotion.Itwasbecausetl1ese
twopeoplehaddifferentopinions
l2

Liaofanwasobviouslyveryta>entedFromthiswe
learnthatevenatalentedpersonisstillboundby
destinyWhetherdestiny>time,orcauseandcondition,everythingispredeterminedLiaofan}Iadtowait
untilanothergovernmentofficialreadhispapersfor
theproperconditionstomatureinordertoreceivehis
promotion

Fromt}]enon,Liaofanwasawakenedandhetruly
understoodAllofourencountersinlifC)whetber

goodfortuneorbadfOrtune>goodluckorbadluck,
wealthorpovertyallaredestinedOrdinarypeople
cannotchangetbis.Ifwearenotsupposedtohave
something,noamountoftryingtoholdontoitwill
succeedfOrlongConversely,wewillnaturallyreceive
whatwearesupposedtoItisnotworththeeffOrtto
dow}Iatiswrongandtoriskallinthehopeofattainingself-satisfaction
UnderstandingthisLiaofannoIongerhadany

thoughtsofdemandorofgainandloss.Hewastruly
atpeace.Wecansaythatatthispointhewasa<perfectordinaryperson.Today)peoplecannotevenmeet
thisstandardfOrordinaryperson.Why?Ourmindsare
impureandfilledwithwanderingthouglIts.Liaofan
didnothavewishfillwanderingthoughtssincehe
alreadylmeweverythingthatwasgoingtohappenin
hislife.AncientsagessaidthatawIseandvirtuous
personlmowsthateverytlIingincluding<{onesipand
onebite))isdestinedHoweverfOolishpeoplerelentlesslypursuethingsthatarealreadydestinedtobe
l3

tbeirs.

OrdinarypeopleareboundbytheirfateAttbis
timeLiaofanonlyknewthatlifewasdestined.Hedid
notyetknowthattherewasavariableandtlIatby
practicinginaccordancewithtrueprinciplesand
methodshecouldchangel1isdestiny.Inthisway>l1e
couldattainwhateverhewishedfOr,ashebecamethe
masterofhisfuture.

Forexample,ifwewisbtoattainwealth,wepracticethegivingofwealthToattainintelligenceand
wisdomwepracticetlIegivingofteaching.Toattain
lIealthandlongevity,wepracticetlIegivingoffearlessness.Tl1isisthecorrectwaytochangeourdestinies.ByfOllowingtherig}1tprinciplesandmetlIods
wecanevenattainSupremeEnlightenmentmucl1less
worldlyenjoymentandbappiness.

AfterbeingselectedasanImperialScbolarI
wastoattendtheUniversityatBeijing.Dur-

ingmyyearlongstayintlIecapitalmyinterestinmeditationgrewandIoftensatinsilence,withoutgivingrisetoasinglethought
Ilostinterestinbooksandstoppedstudying.

Liaofanwasnowmeditatingdaily.Fromtbiswe
canseel]owpeacefulandquietl1ismindlIadbecome.
Wbenthemindistranquil,wisdomwillnaturally
ariseTl1ewisdomofmostpeopleisnon-functional
becausetheirmindsarenotpure.Liaofanwasableto
remaincalmbecauseheknewlIisentirefutureHe
l

lmewthatitwasuselessevento thinkaboutitWitb

outwis}1fUlthouglIts)}1ismind naturallybecamesettled.

De

St

Cha

rI

Pl e

n c

T he Pr

ThefO<lowingyearIwenttoNanjing.BefOre
IwastoentertlIeNationalUniversitytbere)
IpaidavisittoMasterYungu,avenerable
ZenmasteratQixiaMountain.Wesatin

meditationfacetofaceintheZenhallfOr

tbreedaysandnightswithoutsleep
MasterYungusaid;(<Thereasonwhyordinarypeoplecannotbecomesagesisbecause
ofwanderingthoughts.Inourthree-day
meditationIbavenotobservedasingle
tl1oughtariseinyou.WbyP>

IrepliedthatMr.Konghadclearlypredicted
theentireoutcomeofmylife.Ihadseen
thattlIetimeoflife,death,promotionand
failurearedestinedT}IerewasnoneedfOr

metotbinkofanything.Themastersmiled
andreplied:<<ItlIoughtyouweresomeoneof
remarkablecapabilities!NowIrealizeyou
areanordinaryperson!)>
l5

LiaofanandMasterYungusatfacetofaceintbe
meditationl1allfOrtlIreedayswithoutfatigueorsleep.
How?Becausetheydidnotbaveanywandering
tboughts,theywereabletoconservealloftlIeirenergyMasterYunguthoughtLiaofantobeextremely
youngtohaveacl1ievedthisdifficultandrarelevelof
cultivation.

OrdinarypeopleareunabletobecomeArhatsorattainbig}Ierlevelsofachievementbecausetl1eyhave
toomanywanderingt1oughts.TheAmsa5mrH
tellsus:Allsentientbeingshavethesamewisdom
andvirtuousabilitiesastheBuddha;but,becauseof

wanderingt}IoughtsandattaclIments,sentientbeings
areunabletouncovertheseabilities.>)Sothecauseof

notbeingabletobecomeasageisourwandering
thoughts

Feelingconfi1sedbywhatMasterYunguhad
said,Iaskedl1imtoelain.Hetoldmethat
anordinarypersonsmindisfOreveroccupiedbywanderingandimaginarytlIoughts
sonaturallylIisorherlifeisboundbythe
matl1ematicsofdestiny.WecannotdenytlIe
facttl1atdestinyexists,butonlyordinary
peopleareboundbyit.

Destinycannotbindthosewhocultivate
greatldndnessorthosewhohavecommitted
flagrantwrongdoingsSinceIbadlivedmy
lifejustasMrKonghadpredictedanddone
l6

nothingtochangeit>Ihadbeenboundby
destiny.Thus,Iwasatypicalordinaryperson

Takenaback,IaskedMasterYunguifwe
couldchangeourdestinies.Heanswered:
Wecanre-createourowndestinyandseek
goodfOrtune.Itisthetrueteachingandis
fOundintlIeBSmgBandtheBooA
SmU9
MasterYunguexplainedthatifonehasnotyetattainedthestatewitlIoutwanderingthoughts,tlIenone
isstillatthemercyoffateWhy?IfapersonlIad
reachedthestateofnowanderingthoughtheorsbe
wouldbavetranscendedtbecontroloffateDidLiao-

fanreac}IthisstateofnowanderingtlIought?No.He
simplydidnotwishtotbinkaboutanythingbecause
l1erealizedthefUtilityofdoingso!Buthestilll1ad
wanderingthoughts.Hestillthought:((Idonotneed
tothinkaboutanything.MydestinyhasbeenfOretold;
thus)Iclearlyknowmywl1olelife.Havingyetto
reac}Itl1estateofnowanderingtboughtwearestill
boundbyourfates.

ProfOundlydeepconcentrationisnotachievableby
ordinarypeopleinourworldW}IentheZenPatriarcl1
MasterHuangBiwasinthisstateofdeepconcentra-

tion,hewasabletobreakthrought}Iedimensionsof
timeandspace.Atthispoint,thepastpresent,and

fi1tureallbecomeone;thus>everytlIingisperfectly
l7

visible.UsingmatlIematicstodeducethefl1tureis
achievablebyordinarypeopleinthisworldHowever>
theyareunabletoactuallyseethepast,present,and
fUture.ItrequiresdeepconcentrationtoreaclIthe
stateofbeingabletoseetlIefuture.Thisisonly
achievablebybeingswithdeepconcentrationbeyond
thethirdstageofsagehoodinTlIeravadaBuddlIism.
MasterYungutoldLiaofanthatalthoughordinary
peopleareboundbydestiny>itcannotcontroltlIose
w}1ohaveaccomplislIednumerousexemplarydeeds.
Neithercanitcontrolthosewhohavecommitted

manyflagrantoffenses.Liaofanhadbeenboundby
Mr.Kong,spredictionsfOrtwentyyears.Hel1addone
notlIingtocbangethemandsohewasindeedan
ordinarypersonApersonofgreatvirtuealsohadaset
destinybutlIeorshehaschangedit.T}1esameapplies
tothosewbohavecommittedexcessiveoffenses,fOr

theytoohavecl1angedtheirdestinies.Wecanseethat
Liaofandidnotcultivateeitherextremelygoodorbad
deedssincehislifeaccordedsocompletelywitlIwhat
lIadbeenpredicted
Canfatebechanged?Canweescapeit?Yes.ToescapeistotranscendAltlIoughtherearevariablesin
thesetnumbersMr.Kong,eitliernotlmowingabout
thevariablesornotknowinghowtocalculatetl1em
hadpredictedjustt}IesetnumbersSincetl>evariables
arewithinourcontrol,wecanre-createourowndes-

tinies.WecanseekourgoodfOrtune.
BefOremeetingwitlIthemaster,Liaofandidnot
l8

lmowabouttlIesevariables.DidtlIemasterbelieve

thattlIesetnumbersensfed,thatthefuturecouldbe

calculated?Yes.Befbreapersonachievesthestateof
nowanderingthoughtheorslIeisboundbydestiny/)
MasterYungucompletelyacknowledgedtherealityof
predestination.However,Buddhismisnotaboutpredestination;itisaboutre-creatingdestinyWecan
onlydependonourselvestodotlIis>tobecomeawakened;nooneelsecandothisfOrus.

(Were-createourowndestiniesandseekourgood
fOrtune.),SinceLiaofanwasascholarhelmewtlIe

teacl1ingsofConfuciusandsotl1emastercitedprinciplesfromtheBofSmg3andtheBooksmIy
toawakenhimMasterYunguunderstoodtheseteaclIings,andconfirmedtlIattlIeywereimportantand
true

IntheBuddhistteachingsitiswrittenthat
ifwewishfOrandseekwealth,ahighpositionasonadaughterorlonglifewecan
attainitSincetheBuddhatoldusthatlying
isoneofthegreatesttransgressionswecan
beassuredtlIatBuddhasandBodlIisattvas
wouldnotdeceiveus.

AsBuddl1ists,welearnthatinseekingwealthone
willattainwealthandinseekingclIildrenonewill
attainchildren.Evenifwewerenotmeantto}Iave

childrenintl1islife)uponpracticinggoodnesswecan
haveaclIildWelearnedomthetextthatLiaofan
l9

wasnotmeanttohavealonglife;lIewassupposedto

dieatfifty-three<butlIeliveduntiltheageofseventyfOur>Bycultivatingaccordingtotheteachings,we
willattainwl1ateverweseekBuddhismencouragesus
tore-createourdestiniesratherthanbeconstrained

bytlIem.

ZhangjiaLivingBuddhal0said,(<InBuddhism,allof
oursincerepleaswillbeanswered)}Heexplainedthat
mostpeopleareunabletoattainwlIattheywantbecausetheydonotaccordwiththeteachings.Ifwe
understandtheprinciplesandmetl1ods,andhave
soughtsomethinginaccordancewitl1tl1em,tl1enwe
areassuredofreceivingaresponsetooursincere

requests.Ifwedonotreceivethedesiredresponse
afterhavingaccordedwiththeteachings,itisdueto
ourkarmicobstaclesOncewelIavesuccessfUlly
eradicatedtl1eseobstacles,wewillgainthedesired
results.AsZ}langjiaLivingBuddhasaidwithproper
seeMng,wecanreceiveeverytlIing.
Onceweunderstandthefimdamentalprinciples,
wewillunderstandthateverythingintl1iswor!dand
beyondarisesfromtbemindandclIangesaccordingto
ourperceptions.IfweseektobecomeBuddhas,we
willbecomeBuddhas.IfweseektobecomelIeavenly
beings,wewillbecomeheavenlybeings.Everything
accordswiththemindTbedpamsaaStJZrtellsus:

WeslIouldobservethenatureoftheDharmaRealm

aseverytlIingiscreatedbytbemind)>TherefOre,the
wayofseeldngistoaccordwitlItlIeprinciplethat
20

everytlIingarisesomthemindandiscbangedbyour
perceptions

Tbeteac}Iingsoftl1eBuddhaareappropriateand
perfect.Tl]enifweseekyoutlI,health,eternallifein
accordancewitl1theseteachings,canweattainthem?
Certain>y!Intl>iscase,MasterYunguonlytaught
Liaofansomeoftherelatedprinciplesandmethods
becauseLiaofanwasnotveryambitiousandonly
soughtfame,wealth,andprestige.
MasterYungutoldlIimtlIatlyingisoneofthe
worsttransgressionsinBuddlIism.TlIerearefOur
fUndamentalprecepts:nokilling)nostealing,nolying,
andnosexualmisconduct.Since,nolyingisoneof
tlIeseprecepts,bowcouldtlIeBudd}Iaeverdeceive
us?T}Ius,themasterspokethetrutbwhen}Iesaid
tl1atwlIetherapersonsoughtchildrenwealth,orlong
lifeallcouldbeobtainedWewillseethatasLiaofan

lIadstrictlypracticedaccordingtothemaster>sguidanceheobtainedwhathesought.
ItoldMasterYunguthatIl1adlIeardthat
Menciusoncesaid:(<Whateverissougl1tcan
beattainedTl1eseekingiswithinourselves.))
Thisreferstoinnerqualitiessuc}Iasvirtue
integrity)andkindness.Theseareallvalues
wecanworktowardHoweverwhenit
comestooutsidefactorssuchaswealtlI
fame,andprestige>howcanweseektoattainthem?Tl1emasterrepliedtlIatMencius
2l

wasright>buttl1atIhadmisunderstoodlIis

meanmg

Enhancingourintrinsicqualitiestobecomesages
andvirtuouspeopleiswithinourcontrol.Buthowdo

weseelKfame)wealthandprestige?AlthouglItl1ese
areexternalbenefits>theyarealsoattainablethrough
seeking.ItwouldseemtlIattheyweredestinedbecauseifwearenotsupposedtolIavesometlIing,how
couldweseekit.Thisistbegeneralunderstandingof
destiny,aconstantinpredestination.TlIeconstantis
thecausethatwehavecreatedinourpastlivesand
tberesulttlIatweshouldreceiveintbislife.Most

peopledonotknowtlIattherearevariableswitlIinthe

constantsandtbattheresultswillchangewitl>the
additionofvariables.Fame,wealth,andprestigeare
indeedattainable.

MasterYungusaidthatMasterHuineng)ll
thesixthPatriarchoftlIeZenschooltaught:
AlltlIefieldsofmeritarewithinonesown
lIeart.IfoneseeksfiFomthetruemind

withinonecanbeintouchwithallthatone

wishesfOr/>Byseekingwithinourselves,we
willnotonlyattaintheinnerqualitiesofvirtue,integrity,andkindness;wewillalsoattain<externalbenefitssuchas>wealthfame

andprestige.Tobeabletoattainbothinner
qualitiesandexternalbenefitsisinvaluable.

22

Whetberattainingsomethingoutsideofourselves
sucbasmaterialobjectsorinsideourselvessuchas
virtues,westillneedtoseekfromwithin,omthe

mindSeekingfTomtbeoutsidewouldbefUtile.Why?
Tbeoutsidefactorisaconstant;itcannotchange.The
mindisavariable;itchangesFortwentyyearswhen
comparedtoordinarypeopleLiaofan)smindwaspure.
Notlmowingofthevariables,}IismindaccordedcompletelywithtbeconstantsandhislifelIadunfOlded
exactlyaspredicted>withouttheslightestdeviation.
MasterYunguelainedthattheseekingisinourselvesVirtue,morality,kindness)andintegrityareon
tl1einsideandarethecultivationofvirtuousconduct.

Pame,wealt}I,andprestigeareontbeoutsideandare
tlIeenjoymentsinlife.TobeabletoreceivebotlIkinds
ofbenefitsisofgreatvalue.AsissaidintheApaZamsaaStJZrHnottobehinderedintlIematterofplIe
nomenaorprinciples)istl1eultimateandperfect
en>oymentTlIisisthegreatperfectionofeverytlIing
goingaswewish,whenwearesatisfiedwitlIeverything.Thisistobeliberated;itistodoallt}IatisbenevolentandnobleaswewishIfwecannotattain

suchwonderfUlresults,tlIerewouldbenopointinour
practicing

BuddhismisneitlIernegativenorpassive;itiseminentlyrealisticandpracticalToday)manypeopletalk
aboutpracticality.Well,tlIereisnothingmoresotlIan
Buddl1ismfOritaddressesreality)sometl1ingtruly
attainableItiscrucialthatweunderstanditsimpor23

tancesoastoderiveitsbenefits.Thetruthisthat

peoplelIavemisunderstoodBuddhism,andthuspeoplehavemisseditsbenefitsIfweareabletopersonallyeenencetbebenefitswewilllmowthatofall

teachings,Buddhismisanunsurpassed)profOund,and
completeeducation.ItisdefinitelynotoutdatedItis
asappropriatenowasitwasthreethousandyearsago
anditisfittingfOrallpeoplewlIetherintlIeeastorin
thewest.

MasterYunguthentoldmethatifonedoes
notrefIectinsideonesownheart;but,in-

steadblindlyseeksfame>fOrtune)andlong
lifeomoutsidesources,nomatterl1owone

scl1emestopursuethem,onecanonlyattainatmost)whatbadbeendestinedSeek-

ingfTomtheoutside,onemightlosebotl1
innerpurityandwhatonewasdestinedto
have;thus)theseekingwouldl1avebeenin
vaIn

As<<ordinarypeople,))canweattaineverythingwe
want?No.Whenweobtainsomething,itisbecause
wearedestinedtobaveit.Onlywhenwereceivewhat
wearenotdestinedtohavecanitbesaidthatwe

bavegainedwlIatwesouglItItdoesnotcountwlIen
wereceivewhatwearesupposedtol1avefOrwewould
havegaineditregardless.
Wel1aveallheardofthosewlIomademillionsof

dollarsinthestockmarket.But,tlIesepeoplesimply
24

receivedwlIattlIeyweresupposedtohave.OtherswlIo
arenotdestinedtomakemoneywilleventuallyloseit
intbestockmarket.Noteveryoneprofitsfromit.
Likewise,moneywonomgamblingissometlIingthe
gamblerwasmeanttohave.EventlIethiefwasmeant
tohavewhatwasstolen.Ifhewasnotsupposedto
haveit,bewouldhavefailedinbisattempttostealit.
<Ifhedidnotstealtl1eitemswouldhavecomeffom
anotbersource.>

TlIeancientssaidthatapersonofnoblecharacter
andintegrityisbappytobesucl1,butitisnotworth
tl1eeffortfOrafOoltobeso.Why?Becauseeachwill
notbeabletoescapetl1eirowndestiny,tl1econstant.
Ifwecouldjustunderstandtheprinciples,wewould
allbecontentwitlIwlIatwel1aveInthisway>we
wouldenjoyfulfillinglives,societywouldbestable
theworldwouldbepeaceful,andtherewouldbeno
moreconHictsorwars

BuddhismteachesustoseeksomethingnotdestinedinourlivesnotwithintlIeconstant.Wl1atwe

attainfromseekingcomesfromtlIevariable.Howdo
weseek?FromwitlIin!Wehavenotbeenabletoseek

awakeningandtodevelopgreatvirtuefromwithin
becausewedonotyetunderstandtheprinciple.We
havebeenseekingfTomwitl1out:worldngandeven

schemingeveryday.Butinseeking,weneedtofOllow
therigl1tpatb,fOrevenifwel1avetlIemetlIod)t}Ie
plan,andtl]emeans,wewillmerelyattainw}1atweare
destinedto.Ifwearenotsupposedtohaveit)wewill
25

notgetit
Allthatweattainedwasdestined,ourconstants

Liaofanunderstoodthattberewereconstants;so,he

didnotworryorseeldnanimproperway.He>mewl1is
destinyHelmewthattogiverisetowandering
thoughtsortousewhatevermeanspossiblewas
doomedtofailureifitwasnotsupposedtobe.Seeking
omwithout,wewillbetotallyatalossbecauseour
mindswillbeimpureandwewillonlyobtainwhatis
destinedHowcouldwenotgiverisetoafflictions
whensucl1seekingisfrustrated?Fortwentyyears,
LiaofanconfOrmedtoMr.KongIspredictions.He
maintainedastateofcontentmentandamindof

purity.HelIadnowishtoseekanytl1ingfOrhefeltthat
everythingwasdestined
Ordinarypeoplewl1odoeverythingpossibleinseelKingthingsfTomwithoutwillfindtbattheirlmowledge

andeenencesareincomparabletotl1oseofLiaofan
becausehehadacl1ievedpeaceofmindOrdinary
peoplewillenduplivingwithafflictionsandunsettled
minds.Wl>atevertl1eyattainissometlIingtheyare
supposedtohave;thus,theysadlylosefrombotlI
witl1inandwithout.
f Cha

De St

Wa

The

ToAcknowledgeourFaults

MasterYungunextaskedaboutMr.Kong)s
26

predictionsfOrtlIerestofmylife.IlIonestly
told}IimeverythingHeaskedifIfeltthatI
deservedimperialappointmentsorason.Reflectingonmypastdeedsandattitudes,IanswerednoIdidnot.TlIosewhoreceivedim-

perialappointmentsal>badtheappearance
ofgoodfOrtunebutIdidnot.
IalsodidnotworktowardsaccumulatingvIrtuestobuildupmygoodfOrtune.Iwasvery
impatientandnarrow-minded,andwould
showoffmyintelligenceandabilitiesbyputtingothersdown.IbehavedasIpleasedand
spokewithoutrestraintThesewereallsigns
ofscantgoodfortuneandvirtue.Howcould
Ipossiblyreceiveanimperialappointment?

MasterYungudidnotdirectlyanswerthequestion.
Ratber,heaskedLiaofanaquestiontoteachhimto
reHectandtofindthecauseofhisfaultsandsuffer-

ings;todeterminewhetherl1edeservedanimperial
appointmentornot,andwlIetlIerlIedeservedtohave
asonOfcourse)thediscussionbetweenMaster

YunguandLiaofandidnotonlyincludethesetwo
questions,buttoLiaofanthesetwowerethemost
important.T}1erewasnoneedtomentiont}1erest.

Liaofantl1oughtfOralongtimeaboutwhatthemaster
hadaskedHethenhonestlyansweredthatnolIe
deservedneitberanimperialappointmentnorason.

Onl1ishonesty,Mr.YouXiyininhiscommentary
27

onDonfbJrLessoIsstated:Honestyisthe

fOundationindevelopingvirtueIfapersonlIidesor
glossesoverlIisorl1erfaults,orcoversupmistakes
howcanhisorberfUturebepromising?))Whenweare
honestandencounterbenevolentteachers,tl1eywill

takecareinguidingus.Ifwearedishonestandarrogant,tl1eywillsmilebutwillnotseriouslyteachus.
Liaofandeeplyregrettedhisfaultsandt}Iisbecame
t}Iekeytochanginghisdestiny.HetoldMasterYungu
that}Iedidnotdeserveanimperialappointmentbecausehedidnothavetl1eappearanceofgoodfOrtune
thatwasveryimportantfOrgovernmentofficials.Citizenswillsufferunderthereinofanofficialthatlacks

goodfOrtune,butbenefitwl>entl1eofficiall1asit.
Uponexaminationofancientsocialsystems,wesee
tbateducatedandlogicalpeopledidnotquarrel.We
canalsoseetl1atsomeemperorswereverywise.For

exampleEmperorTaizongoftl1eTangdynastyl2was
extremelylearned,broadminded,andadmiredbythe
people.Heasked:Whatissogoodaboutbeingan
emperor?TobeoneisagraveresponsibilityIfyou
wisl1,youcantakemyplace))Astheemperor,l1edid
notenjoyorusel1ispositiontointimidateotl1ersbut
servedthepeopleandenabledthemtoenioyl1appiness.Alsotobetterservetl1epeople,hefOundcapablescl1olarstoworkonbel1alfoftlIeempire.

Al>cannggovernmentofficialsl1avetl1eappearance,orsigns,ofgoodfbrtune.Liaofanatthistimein
hislifehadverylittlegoodfortuneandwasunableor
28

unwillingtocultivateanyThus,bedidnotevenhave
theappearanceofagovernmentofficialandconsequentlywasinadequatetoserveortolead
Next,Liaofanexplainedthatbewasveryimpatient,
intolerant,andundisciplined-threeseriousfaults
Beingimpatientandbad-temperedgivesustheappearanceoflittlegoodfortune.Beingnarrow-minded
rendersusunabletotolerateothers.ThesebadqualitieswouldcauseapersontoimproperlysuperVse,
lead,orjustlyserveothers.
Also,heanMyadmittedthathewasselfindulgent
andlikedtoshowoffhisintelligence.Hedidwhatever
l]ewishedtoThisisalsosometbingnotreadilyenduredbyothersHewasindiscreetandirresponsible
inhisspeechandlackedconsiderationfOrothers.All
thesefaultsbringmisfOrtuneratherthangoodfOrtune.
Peoplewhotrulyhavegoodfortunearekind
lIeartedl1onest)andtolerant.TheirspeeclIandmannerarecalmanddignifiedConfUciussaid:$<Wit}Iout

dignity,oneisunabletoinspireothers.)>OnlywitlI
dignityandtheabilitytoinspirerespectareweableto
effectivelyinteractwit}Iothers.Liaofanadmittedthat

wlIenlIewasyoung,}IesimplywasnotcalmordignifiedandcitedthisasoneofthereasonsthatlIelacked

goodfOrtuneandwasthusundeservIngofanimperial
appointment.

TlIereisanoldsayingtbatLifespringsom
thedirtoftheearthwlIileclearwateroften

29

harborsnofishTlIefirstreasonwhyIfelt
thatIdidnotdeserveasonwasthatIwas

obsessiveaboutcleanliness.Thesecondrea-

sonwastl1atwhileharmonyisthecultivator
oflifeIwasquick-temperedTlIird)altlIougbloving-kindnessisthecauseoffertilityandharshnesstlIecauseofsterility,Iwas
selfishlyconcernedaboutmyreputationand
wouldnotsacrificeanythingfOrotbers
ThefOurthreasonwasthatItalkedtoo

muchandthiswastedalotofenergyFifth,I
dranktoomuchAndsixth)Ididnothavea

sonbecauseIoftenstayedupallniglItand
wastedmyenergyAsidefTomtl1eseIhad
manyotherfaultsthatweretoonumerousto
mention

Fisl1aregenera>lynotfOundinclearwater.Why?
Tl1eyknowthatwhentheyareseentl1eyareeasierto
catchThesaymgalsopointedouttlIatnothingwould
growwitboutdirt.Liaofanhadanexaggeratedfearof
thingsnotbeingclean.Beingcleanandneatisagood
quality;}]owevertobeoverlysocanbecomeanobsession.Itisnotgoodwhenonecannottolerateeventhe
slightestbitofdirt.ThiswasonereasonwhylIedid
notdeserveason.

HarmonycanhelpafamilytoprosperandfriendlinessisconducivetowealthLiaofan>sbadtemperwas
oneoftl1ereasonshewasnotwealtlIyandthisplaced
30

hisfamilyinaprecariousfinancialsituation.Also)he
waseasilyangeredbytheleastprovocationandcould
nottolerateanytlIingdispleasing.Tobehaveintbis
mannerresultedinalackofgoodfOrtuneandtl1iswas
anotlIerreasonhedidnotdeserveason.

Loving-kindnessiscaringfOrothers.LiaofanunderstoodtlIeprinciples)butwasunabletoactonthem.
W}Iy?Hewasaveryunkindperson!Heovervaluedbis
ownreputationandwasunwillingtohelpothers.This
wasanotl1erreasonwbyhedidnotdeserveason.Also
hetalkedtoomuch,wbichwastedalotofenergy.

Liaofancameupwithsixmainreasonswhyhedidnot
bavechildren.Thefirstthreewerebeingobsessive
overcleanliness>beingquick-tempered)andlacking
lovingkindnessThesewereomtbeaspectofinten
tion,ortbemind

TlIenextthreeweretalkingtoomuch,drinkingand
stayingupallnightTbeywerefTomtheaspectof
behaviorortbebody.Helikedtotalkandcriticize
others.HeindulgedingossipingaboutotlIer)sfaults
andwasargumentativeTheseharmthebodyand
exhaustonesenergy.Healsolikedtodrinkexcessively
andtl1isharmst}1emindandtirestl1espirit.Finally,
besaidhedidnotdeserveasonbecausehespentl1is
nightstalkingwithfriendsdrinking,l1avingagood
time,andnotbotheringtolookafterhislIealth
Byrealizingthathehadsomanybadhabitsand
faultsLiaofanbonestlyadmittedandregrettedallhis
flawedbehavior.Toaclmowledgeallofone)soffenses
3l

withouthidinganythingistoregretanderadicate
one>skarmicobstacles.Thismustbedonesincerelyto
beeffective.Awakeningisachievedwbenweareable
toidentifyourfaults.Cu>tivationisaccompIisbed
wbenwehaverealizedthesefaultsandcorrected

themSincemostpeopleareunawareoftbeirmistakestheyarenottrulycultivating.TherefOre,the
firststepistorecognizeourbadhabitsLiaofanwasso
unusua>becauseonceMasterYunguquestionedhim;
hewasabletocarefUI>yreflectandtodiscoveral>his
faultsThisishowhewasabIetochangehisfUture
fromthenon.

Howwasheabletodothis>Andwhyareweunable
todoso?CompIetelyunawareofourbadhabits,we
areofcourseunabletocorrecttI]emLiaofanwasable

toreflect,uncover)andchangeallofhisimproper
behavior.Inthisway,heattainedwhatbesought.On
theinside,heattainedvirtuousandcaringconduct,
andontheoutsidewealthandchildrenHedidnot

seekfromwithoutWedidnotseehimbowingand

burningincenseinfrontofAvalokiteshvaraBod}Iisattvatoseekchildren,fame,andwealthButtoday,

peop>eseekwhattheywantbymerelygoingthrough
thefOrmalitiesofblindlywors}Iiping.Theydonot
understandtbeprinciples.Theyseekwhattheydesire,
butjustgoingthroughthefOrmalitiesisthewrongway
todosoandwilIleadtofailure.

Dayandnight,weseecountlesspeoplegoingto
temples,burningcandlesandincensewhileaskingfor
32

wealthandchildrenbasicallytoattainwhattheir
destinyl1adalreadyensuredthemofreceiving.Intl1eir
ignorance,theywouldthinkwhattlIeyreceivedwas
grantedbytlIegraceofbeaven.Practitionersneedto
understandtherealityandtoseekinaccordancewith
tlIeteaclIings.AsMasterYungusaid,itistogainfiFom
bothwitbinandwitlIout.Intbisway,wecanattain
wbateverweseek

MasterYungusaid:(Accordingtoyouthen)
therearemanyothert}Iingsinlifeyoudo
notdeserve,notonlyfameandason!Those
whohavemillionsofdollarsinthislifeculti-

vatedthegoodfOrtunewortbyofthat
amountinthepast.ThosewbohavethousandsofdollarsmustalsolIavetbegoodfOrtunewortlIyofthatsum.Those,wbodieof
starvation,wereinfactmeanttodieinthat

manner.Thekarmicresulttodayissimply
thefTuitoftlIeirowndeedsandbasnothing
todowithexternalpowers.

ThisadvicefromtlIemasterismostimportantand
mustnotberegardedasmeresuperstition.Ifwedoso,
itisduetoourdelusionandinabilitytobelievewl1at
thesagesbavetoldus.MasterYungutaughtLiaofan
tohonestlyreflectwithinanddoingtl>isenabledhim
torecognizebismanyfaults.Tl>egreatestvirtuous
deedisthatwerecognizeandchangeourmistaken
behavior.
33

MaldngofferingstoinfinitesagesisalsoagreatvirtuousdeedButwelearnfromtheirBLbStJnH
thatitisevenbettertoturnbackfromdelusionandto

conscientiouslycultivate.Cultivationistocbange
ourselves.Theancientsagesregardeditastl1egreat
virtueofregrettingandrefOrming
MasterYungutoldLiaofanthatapparentlyhefelt
thereweremanytlIingsinlifethathedidnotdeserve
notonlyasonoranimperialappointment.Attaininga
higlIgradeintheexaminationsandtberesultantimperialappointmentbothreliedontlIecultivationand
accumulationofmeritfromonespastlives.Weneed
therightconditionstobavemillionsofdollarsor
socialpositionThesearenotrandomlyattained
InBuddl1ism,itissaidt}1atfOrustopossesswealt}1
inthislifeweneededtohaveextensivelypracticedthe
givingofwealtlIinourpastlives.CanwefOrcenature

togiveuswealth?Impossible!Totrytodosowillbring
disasterandmisfOrtune.<NeithermisfOrtunenorgood
fOrtunecomewitlIoutreasonsandconditions;we
incurthem.)l3
Tl1eancientswhocreatedCl1inesecharactershad

greatwisdom.TbetwocharactersfOrgoodfOrtune),
andmisfOrtunedifferonlybyalittle.This
illustratesthatasmalldiscrepancyleadstoaserious

error.Alltl1isl1elpsustounderstandcauseandeffCct.
Whenweseekfame,wealtb>andprestigeinaccor-

dancewithtbeteachings,wewillfindthateverytlIing
isattainable.
34

<<MillionsofdollarsrepresentswealtlIoftheupper
class.$(Thousandsofdollars))representswealthofthe
middleclass.Becauseofthegoodcausesplantedin

pastlives,somepeoplewillpossessgreatormoderate
wealthThosewhostarvetodeathcommittednumer-

ousoffensesintheirpastlivesBeingmiserlytheydid
notpracticegiving.TodayunfOrtunately,manysucl>
peopleareunwillingtodotheslightestofgooddeeds
ortogiveevenalittle.W}Iileencouragingothersto
givetlIeydonotfOllowtheirownadviceTheywill
undergopovertyinfuturelifetimes.Wereapwhatwe
SOw

Ourlivesarenotcontrolledbyexternalpowers.The
mastersaidthattheheavensdonothingmoretlIan

punislItlIosewhoarebadwithtlIesufferingthey
deserveandrewardthosewhoarekindwiththegood
fOrtunetheyhaveearnedSomepeopleassumethat

everytlIingisarrangedbythewillofheaven;but,tlIis
isnotso.Thetruecauseofeverytl1ingtlIatl1appensto
usisourthoughtsandbehavior.Heavendoesnothave
anyplansfOrus.Withtruewisdom,wewil>clearlysee
thetruthTobewealthywithagoodsocialpositionor
tobepoorwitlInonealllieswithinus.
orexampleifapersonbasaccumulated
enoughmeritsandvirtuestolastal1undred
generationstlIenheorslIewillhaveahundredgenerationsofdescendants.Onewho
accumulatesenoughmeritsandvirtuesto
35

lasttengenerationswillhavetengenerations
ofdescendantstoliveoutthatgoodfOrtune.
TlIesameappliestothreeortwogenerations.Tl1osewhohavenodescendantshad
toolittlemeritsandvirtues.

TlIistalksaboutt}Iedestinyofhavingornothaving
children.IfwelIaveaccumulatedenoughmeritsand
virtuesfOralIundredgenerations,thenwewillhavea
hundredgenerationsofdescendants.MasterYin-

GuangoftenpraisedConfUcius,wbocultivatedthe
virtueofalIundredgenerations.ConfUciusconstantlythoughtofbenefitingthecountryanditspeople,withoutthesliglItestthoughtofhimself.Hededicatedhislifetoeducationandpassedonhisidealsand
bopestohisstudents.Hewasthegreatesteducatorin
Chinesehistory.
Tberehavenowbeenoverseventygenerationsof
Confucius)descendantsandbiscurrentdescendant,

Mr.KongDecbeng,isstillrespectedbypeopleall
aroundt}IeworldNotonlytheChinesebutot}Iers
arealsocourteousandrespectfulwarmlywelcoming
himuponhearingtbatlIeisthedescendantofConfUciusFromthis)itbecomesevidentthatbyplanting

goodseedsorcauses,wereapgoodharvestsorresults.
InLiaonbfbJrLessonswereadthatwlIenwe

accumulateenoughmeritsandvirtuesfOrtengenerations)wewillhavetengenerationsofdescendantsto
enjoythatgoodfOrtuneThroughoutClIinesebistory,
36

emperorstriedtoestablishdynastiesthatwereableto
reignfOrmanygenerationssuchastheQingdynasty
thatlastedfOrtengenerations.But,iftheirancestors
hadnotaccumulatedenoughmeritsandvirtuesthen

itwouldhavebeenimpossible
Todaypeopledonotlmoworbelievethis.TlIey
tbinkalltl1eyneedisabiligoodpoliticaltactics,and
lmowledge.Buttheyarewrong.Virtuesaccumulated
byourancestorsplusourvirtuousconductfTomour
pastliveswillresultinlIavingadditionalvirtuous
peoplebeingrebornintoourfamilies,assuringits
continuation

Similarlyhowmanygenerationswillafamilybusinesslast?InTaiwan,thereisachainofmedicalstores

called<<UniversalCompassionHall))tlIatoriginatedin
BeijingBytheaccumulationofvirtuesandmeritsit

hasbeeninbusinessfOroverahundredyearsandl1as
beenpasseddownthroughsucceedinggenerations
Compassionateancestorswl]osedrivingambitionwas
tosavelivesfOundedit.Unconcernedaboutprofits,
tl1eyonlywantedtomakeenoughtoliveverysimply.
Tl1eirgoalwasnottoenjoyacomfOrtablelife,butto

benefitsocietyandtohelpthosewhoweresuffering.
WitlIthisobjective,tlIeywereabletofOundabusinessthatlIaslastedoverahundredyears.Ifthedescendantsdonotdeviate{Tomtheirancestorsobjectives,tl1ischainwillcontinuefOreverTheywillnotbe
liketlIosewholackmeritsandvirtues,andfindtlIeir

businessesgoingbankruptafteronlyafewyears.
37

SomepeoplemayonlylIaveenouglImeritsandvirtuestolastfOrtwoortlIreegenerationsofdescendants.Tl1eClIinesesaythatofthethreeseriousof
fensesofbeingunfilialhavingnodescendantsisthe
mostcritical.l4Tl1islackofmeritsandvirtuesresults

innothavinganydescendants
Intbepast,peoplewereextremelyconcernedabout
this,buttodaytl1ingsareverydifferent.Manycouples
donotevenwanttohavechildren,t}Iinkingtheywill
betoomuchtrouble.Also,wenowbavesocialwelfare.
Whotakescareoftheelderly?Countriesdo!Withno
needtorelyontheirchildrentoprovidefOrtbem
whentheybecomeolder,manycouplesl1avedecided
thattl1eyneednothavechildren.Theycanretirein
tlIeirsixtiesandcollectsocialsecurityeverymonth
fromthegovernment.
Tbisispossiblebecausetoday)ssocialwelfaresystemismucl1bettertl1anwhattranspiredinthepast,
whentheelderlylIadtodependontheirchildrenfOr
support.Now,moregovernmentsarelIelpingtocare
fOrtbeelderly.Thissystemismorefilialtllanmany
childrenare!However<clIildrenneedtoremember
that>tbelawofcausalityremainsunclIanged
lTustasonestoresupgrainagainstleanyears,one
raiseschildrenagainstoldage))hasbeenacommonly
heldideaInhiscommentary,MrYousaid:(Sages
transcendingthisworldconsiderthecultivationof
endingdesiresandattachments,eradicatingdelusion
toattainwisdom>andtranscendingtheordinaryto
38

reachsagehoodtobetheutmostvirtueandmerit.
UnfOrtunately,thislevelofattainmentisnotunderstoodbyordinarypeople/)

ThisideaofraisingclIildrenagainstoldagestillexiststoday.Usuallywhenyoungpeoplegiverisetothe
compassionatehearttobecomemonksornuns)their
familyandfTiendstrytbeirbesttostopthem.Not
understanding,tlIeythinktlIattheirbiggestconcernis
notbavingdescendants.Buddhismlooksintothepast,
present,andfUture,andunderstandsthetruthoflife

andtheuniverse.Ordinarypeopleseeonlyatiny
portionoftheuniverse.Ofthisportion,theyhaveonly
witnessedthehumanrealmOftl1isrealmtl1eyonly
seethepresent.Tl1eydonotseethepastortl1efuture;
tberefOre,theyareunabletoperceiveasclearlyas
BuddhasandBodhisattvasdo.

Whensomeoneinafamilybecomesamonkornun
itistrulythemostjoyousoccasionfOrthisisanoutstandingpursuit.Howevermonksandnunsmust
sincerelypracticeinrenouncingworldlylifefOrifwe
donotachieve)wewillfalIintotheTlIreeBadPaths.

InBuddl1ism)itisoftensaidthatanofferingofone
grainofriceisasgreatasMtSumeruandnottranscendingthecycleofbirthanddeathinthislifetime,

consignsmonksandnunstorepaythedebtasan
animal<inthenextorfOllowinglives>.
AsPureLandpractitioners,wehavetoachievea
certainlevelofattainmentandtotranscendsamsara

toberebornintotbeWesternPureLandTberavada
39

practitionersneedtoreaclI,attheleast,tbelevelof
Stream-enterer,whichisachievedbyseveringvarious

wrongVews.ItisthelowestofthefOurstagesofsagelIoodinTl1eravadaBuddhism.Attbispointofattainmentpractitionerswillcontinuetoberebornintotbe
l1eavenandl1umanrealmsfOrsevenmoretimes.In

thisway>theyareassuredofattainingthestateof
Arhatalthougl1itmaytakethemalongtimetodoso
ButbynotfallingintotheThreeBadRealms,theyare
consideredtohaveachievedattainment.

AccordingtotlIiscriteriontheminimumstandard
toaclIieveattainmentinMabayanaBuddhismistorid
ourselvesofaportionofourattachmentstoseverthe
eighty-eigl1tkindsofdeviatedtboughtsandviewsIf
wecannotseverthese,wehavenotyetacbievedattainment.Mahayanapractitioners)whosuccessfUlly
severthemreacbtlIeInitialBeliefStage.Theravada
practitionerswl1osevervariouswrongv1ewsreacl1tl1e
stageofStream-enterer.
Withouttheseaccomplisl1ments)wewillstillbere-

incarnatingwithinsamsara,stillrepayIngourdebts.
Formonksandnuns,thismeanswewillhavetorepay

everysingleofferingfromtlIrouglIouttheuniversetl1at
wasenjoyedduringthetimeweweremonksandnuns
TlIeseofferingsgivenbypractitionerstomonksand
nunsweregivenineectationofrewards.
IfTl1eravadapractitionersareabletoacl1ievethe
levelsofStream-entererorifMal1ayanapractitioners
areabletosevertheeigl1ty-eigbtkindsofimproper
40

thouglItsandviews,tlIosewl]ohavemadetheofferingswillreceivegoodfortuneThen,thereisnoneed
fOrustorepaythembecausetheylIavebarvestedfTom
thefieldsofmerit.UsingtheserequirementsastlIe
standard,suchattainmentisnotattainablebymonks
andnunsofthisgeneration.
However)thereisstiIlanotlIerway:toseekrebirth
intotheWesternPureLandOtherwise>attainmentis
notpossible.IfwecannotgotothePureLandwewill
haveaclIievednothing.SeekingrebirthintothePure
LandisactuallymucbsimplerthanseveringtlIe
eiglIty-eightkindsofimproperthoug}Itsandviews
becausewedonotneedtoseverthemall,butcan

carryourremainingkarmawithus.Aslongaswel1ave
faitb)vows,andpractice<morallivingandconstant
mindfulnessofBuddhaAmitabha>>l5wewillachieve
attainment.TheBuddhaelainedthistousinthe
DHjrBLbStJbHandtheAmraaSthaTberefOre
whenwerenounceworldlylifetobecomemonksor
nunswemustacbieveattainment.

ToRefOrmFaultsThorouglIly

<(Nowtl1atyourecognizeyoursl1ortcomings
youneedtodoallt}Iatyoucantochange
andcorrectyourmisdeedsthatcausedyou
nottol1aveachildornottobecomeanim-

perialofficial.
4l

MasterYungutaughtLiaofanlIowtocorrectl1is
badhabitsandslIortcomings.Sincehelmewwbat
t}1esewere,themastertoldllimtodoeverythinghe
couldtoimproveMrYousaidinhiscommentary,
(<Eachofushasourfaultsandweaknesses,butifwe

areabletocalmlythinkandfindeveryoneofthem,
wewilllmowwheretobegin.
Changingourconductandimprovmgourselvesis
truecultivationItisbynomeansjustafOrmalityof
recitingsutras,prostratingbeforetheBuddha,or
chantingmantras.Tohavecultivatedanentirelifetime
andstillbemiredinsamsaraistol1avesimplygone
througlItlIeformalities.Porotbers,fOrmalitiesexemplifytheteachingssotbattheymightseethemand
begintoawaken.Forus,theyserveasremindersof
theteachings.
Forselfcultivationhowever,importanceisnot

placedonthefOrmalitiesbutratlIerondiscoveringour
faults.Tl]isisawakeningTocorrectourfaultsisto
improveinourcultivation.TherefOre,themostimportantpointisfOrustobecalmintrospective,andbe
watchfUlofourconductaswelookfOrourbadhabits

andfaultsWhenwelmowtlIese)wewillknowwhere

tobegin,whattocorrect,andlIowtoproceedWecan
tlIenconcentrateanduseallofourenergytorefOrm.
In}IiscommentaryMr.YoulIasprovideduswith
someexamples<(Wecanchangefromamiserlyand
greedypersontobecomeonewboisgeneroustot}1ose
inneed)wasoneoftl1em.Whenwearemiserly)we
2

areunwillingtogivetoothersWhengreedy,weare
alwaystryingtogainwlIatwedonotlIaveIfwefind
thatwearehabituallydoingthis,wecanbecome
generousthroughthepracticeofgiving.WhatI}Iave
andothersdonotIcanunreservedlygivetothem
uponrequest.Orbetteryet,wbenIseeotherswho
haveanurgentneed,Icantaketheinitiativeand
simplyprovidethemwithwhattbeyneedTlIisistlIe
cultivationofgoodfOrtunethrouglItbefirstoftbree
kindsofgiving)thatofgivingwealth
ThissecondldndofgivingisteachingandispracticedwhenwebelpothersbysharingourskillSor
wisdomIfwearegoodatwhatothersarenot>wecan
enthusiasticallyteachtothemsotheywilIIavethe
skilloruncovertlIeirwisdom.Thethirdkindofgiving>
thegivingoffearlessnessishelpingotherstobecalm
andsecureinbothbodyandmind.Itistol1elprelieve
theiruneasinessandtheirfears.Forexample,ifsomeoneisafiFaidtowalkhomealoneatnight,wecan

accompanyhimorhersoheorshewillnolongerbe
apprel1ensive
Today,manyyoungpeopleserveinthearmed
fOrcestoprotecttheircountriesfrominvasionThisis
anotherformofthegivingoffearlessnessbecause
soldiersprotectacountryanditspeopleandmaintain
thepeacebynotallowingharmfTomforeignfOrcesto
befallitspeople.WecanseethatthescopeoftlIese
t}Ireeldndsofgivingisextensive.WitlIthegivingof
wealthwegainwealthWiththegivingofteaching,
43

wegainintelligenceandwisdomWithtl1egivingof
fearlessnesswegainhealthandlongevity.
Inmanycountries,fTeeingcapturedanimalsisanotherfOrmofthegivingoffearlessness.However

manyimproperpracticeslIavearisenbecauseofthis.
Sincemanypeoplewishtofreecapturedanimals
othersl1avegoneintothebusinessofcapturingthem.
Freeinganimalsinthiswayisnottbegivingoffearlessnessbutsubjectsthemtoharm.IfwedidnotlIave
theintentionofeeinganimals,otherswouldnot
capturethem.WewoulddowelltothorougMyunderstandthesituationsotlIatinourattemptstobekind>
wedonotinadvertentlycausel1arminstead
Insomecountries,wecanproPerlypracticetl1is
givingbyfreeinganimalsthatwefindwhenshopping
inthefoodmarket.WedOsointl1eknowledgetl1at

tbeywillbeabletosurvIveoncetheyareeedTl1isis
genuinecompassionandkindnessfOritissavingthose
insuffering.Howeverweneedtobeawaretl1atmany
petsbopssellanimalsthataredomesticallyraisedand
tberefOrewouldbeunabletosurvIveontl1eirown.If

theywerefreedtheywoulddieandourgoodintentionswouldbecometransgressions.
TherefOreweneedtoconsidertheconsequencesto

everythingtbatwedoWhenwedooccasionallyfind
animalsinafOodmarketandbuyt}Iemtosetfree,tlIe

properwaytodosoistochanttbeTbreeRefUgesof
theBuddha,theDharma,andtheSangba,andtl1en
cl1antaBuddl1a)sname.Inthisway,wearesav1ng
44

theirliVeS.l6

ThecommentarynexttalksaboutclIangingfroman
angryandagitatedpersontoonewhoiscalmEasily
givingintoangerorbecomingirritatedisamajorfault
andwasonethatLiaofanhadThemasterencouraged
himtoremaincalminsteadWbenweareableto

accomplis}Itbis,wewillnaturallybegentleBoth
BuddhaShakyamuniandConfuciusstressedtbis
importantqualityofourvirtuesThestudentsofConfUciuspraisedhisfivevirtuesofgentiliI,kindness,
respectfi1lness,tbriftinessandhumilitythatheexlIibitedtowardseveryoneandeverything.ConfUciusdid
notliveanextravagantlifebutoneofsimplicity.Being
courteousandhumble>beneverargued>alwaysaccordedwitlIothers,andwasamodelofmoralexcellence.

TlIecommentarycontinueswith,Tocl1angefTom
apersonwl1oexaggeratesandisboastfUltoonewhois
modest.Whenpeopleexaggerate,weautomatically
doubtwl1atevertlIeysay.Asaresult,itisdifficultfOr
themtowinourconfidencebecausebasically,theyare
dislIonest.Therefore,weneedtobemodestandhon-

estinalltl1atwesayanddo
<Tochangefromapersonwhoisflightyandimpatienttoonewhoissettled.>Ifwecanremaincalm>we

willattainpurityofmindTochangefTomaperson
whoisarrogantandinsolenttoonewhoiscourteous.

Therereallyisnothingtobearrogantabout.Ifwe
accomplishedsomethingsuccessfUlly,itwasourre45

sponsibilitytodosoIfwedidnot,wes}Iouldbecorrectedandtoldhowtoimprove.Buddl1asandBodl>isattvas,w}Ioareenlightenedbeings,respecteveryone
andeverything)asdidConfUciusandMenciusGiven
tbatwearefarbehindtheminattainmentorunder-

standing,weneedtoregardotberswithrespectand
courtesyfOrthesearenaturalvirtues.
TocIangeomapersonwhoislazytoonewlIois
diligent.>)BeinglazyisaseriousafflictionfOrthepersonwillnotsucceedinanything.Insteadwewoulddo
welltobepurposefUlandenergetic.OneofBuddha
Shakyamuni>sstudents)Anurudd}IawaslmownfOrbis
laziness.Afterbeingreproachedbytl1eBuddba,he
resolvedtogowithoutrestfOrsevendaysandnigl1ts.
Duetohisent}Iusiasm)}Iedamagedhisvision.The
Buddhacompassionatelytaugbthimt}Ie<<Illuminating
theDiamondofDelightfulObservationSamadbi,))a
fOrmofdeepconcentrationthatenabledl1imtoseefar
betterthanbefOre.Consequentlyl1ewasabletosee
oneBuddhaland,anareatbatiscomprisedofone
billiongalaxies.
Wealsoneedtobeinspiredwithenthusiasmand
determination.Notbingisaccomplisl1edtl1rougl1laziness.NotonlyareweunabletosucceedinourpracticeandlearningofBuddhismbutwewillalsofailto
accomplishanytlIinginourdailylives.Inancient
timesortoday,intbeeastorintlIewestnoonehas
becomesuccessfultl1roughlaziness.Diligenceisthe

goodcausefOrMahayanapractitionersandBodlIisatt46

vas

(<Tochangefromapersonwboiscrueltoonewho
iscompassionateTochange{Tomapersonwhois
cowardlytoonewboiscourageous,AsbeingoverIy
fearfUlisanotberseriousfault,wecaninsteadendeavortobeconscientiousandresoluteLiaofanad-

mittedtohavingallofthesefauIts.Wewoulddowell
tobemorelikehimanddoeverythingwecantoim-

proveourselves
Next)themastertaug}ItLiaofanseveralessential
pointsfOrhiscultivation.
Youneedtocultivatevirtueandtolerance,

andtoregardot}Ierswithgoodwillandcompassion.YoualsoneedtocarefOryour
lIeaIthandconserveyourenergyandspirit.

First,MasterYunguencouragedLiaofantoaccumulatemeritsbyavoidingallthatwasbadandembracingallthatwasgoodThisisourfOundationfOr
improvementinBuddhismandinworldlyteachings.If
wedonotearnestlyaccumulatemeritsandvirtuesby
avoidingevilandpracticinggoodnesshowcanwe
lIopetobe<<tlIosewhohavethousandsofdollarsor
tl1osewhohaveaccumulatedenougbmeritsand
virtuesfOrahundredgenerations?)Anentirecountry
respectedConfUcius.TheentireworldrespectedBuddhaShakyamuni.ThefOrmeraccumulatedgreatmeritsoftheworldThelatteraccumulatedgreatmeritsof
theuniverse.
47

Second,wecanstrivetobetolerantofotbersaswe
broadenourmindsandhearts.Ifwedonot,wewill

encountermoreafflictionsandthiswillpresentfUrtherobstaclestoourcultivationWecultivateawaken-

ing,propertboughts,andpureminds.Ifwecannot
attainpurityofmind,tbenwewillnotbeawakened
ThiswillresultindeviatedthoughtsProperandgreat
enlightenedthoughtsrelyonthefOundationofpurity
ofmindWeaccomplishthisthroughtolerance.
Thereisnoneedtobeoverlyseriousortocriticize
everytbing.AswelearnintheD/amondStJZm><All
phenomenaareillusorylikedreams,mirages,bubbles
andshadows),Nothingisreal.AstlIeancientssaidall
phenomenaareasfleetingasclouds.Tbereisnothing
worthyofangerordispute.Thereisnopointindwellingont}IingsfOrthiswillbinderourcultivationof
purityofmind
Thereiseverypointinbeinggentleloving,and
peacefi1l.FailingtobesowasLiaofansbiggestproblem.Wecanstrivetopracticeloving-kindnessand
compassionforeveryoneandeverything.TheBuddha
taughtthatthesearenon-discriminatoryandaretobe
heldequallyforall.ConfUciusalsotaugl1toflovingkindness,explaining,(Thebenevolentpersonhasno
enemies.IfwecannotacceptanythingtlIatiscontrarytowl1atwethink)t}Ienweareneitherkindnor
compassionate.Conflictsimplydoesnotexistwitl1in
tIeheartoflovingkindnessThisisalsowl1atismeant
inBuddhismasgreatcompassionandiswhatweneed
48

tolearnandpracticetotrulybenefitourselves.
Int}IePureLandsutras,wereadabout(<OneMind

UndisturbedThisstateisunattainableifanything

existsinoppositionTo}Iaveoppositionistohavea
mindofdifferentiation.MasterHuinengsaid,<<Originally,ourtruemindcontainednothing>Ifthemind
stillclingstoevenonewanderingthought,thenitis
nott}IetruebutanillusorymindThepureanduncontaminatedmindwillnothaveopposingt}Iougbts
WhentherearenomoreopposingtlIoughts,thetrue
mindcanbeuncovered>purityofmindcanarise,and
wewillattainOneMindUndisturbed

TbestatesofOneMindUndisturbedandConstant

MindfUlnessofBudd}IaAmitaMIabeginfromhere.In
ConstantMindfnlnessofBuddl1aAmitabhainitially
t}IemindrememberstheBuddhaanddoesnotfOrget
Afterprolongedcultivation,weceaseIesslycontemplatetheBuddhaIfwehavebeenchanting(<AmituofOfOrmanyyearsandhavenotyetreac}Iedthe
stateofConstantMindfUlness,weneedtodetermine
wheretlIeproblemIiesandcorrectit.
Wbenwel1aveeliminatedourobstacleswewillbe
abletoacl1ievethisstateandbeassuredofrebirtbinto

thePureLandRegardlessofourstateofcultivation,
wewilllmowwlIenwebaveachievedit.Thereisno
needtoaskotlIers.

Wl1enwearerebornintotbePureLandthrough
thestateofConstantMindfulness,wewillbereborn

intotheLandwhereBotlISagesandOrdinaryBeings
9

DwellTogether.Withtl1estateofOneMindUndisturbedinMindfilness,wewillberebornintothe

LandWl1ereEverytbingisTemporary.Withthestate
ofOneMindUndisturbedinEnlightenment,wewill
berebornintotheLandofTrueRewardThelevelof
attainmentweacl1ievedetermineswlIichlandwewill
bereborninto.

TherearealsodifferentlevelsintlIestateofCon-

stantMindfUlness;thus>tbereareninelevelsofbirth

PeoplewlIoarerebornintothehighertbreelevelsof
birtlIareabletopassawaywbenevertl1eywishAtthat
time,theycangowitboutanyillnessandmaybe
standingorseatedIftheydonotfeellikeleavingtl1is
worldyet,theycanstaylonger.Everythingcanbe
acbievedatwill.Peoplewboarerebornintotl1emiddlethreelevelsofbirthareabletolmowafewmonths

inadvancewhentheyaregoingtopassaway.Again,
theymayleavetlIisworldstandingorseatedIntlIe
lowerlevel,peoplewillknowseveraldaysinadvance
oftheirdeatb,buttl1eymaybecomeillbefOretl1eir
timeofdeath

PeoplereachingthestateofOneMindUndisturbed
haveevenhigherabilitiesTherearetwolevelsofOne
MindUndisturbed:MindfiIlnessandEnligl1tenment.
Theselevelsarenotachievablebyordinarypeoplelike
usinonelifetime,whereas,ConstantMindfulnessis.
TberefOre,inthislifetimewecanattaintl1estateof
ConstantMindfulnessinwl1icbwewillhavetlIeabil-

itytopassawayatease,toleavewheneverwewish
50

T}Iisistoberebornintothehigherthreelevelsof
birtlI,intotheLandWhereBothSagesandOrdinary
BeingsDwellTogetherandtocarryourremaining
Mrmaalongwithus.
ThemastertoldLiaofantbatheshouldcarefOrhis

healthandconservehisenergyandspirit.Because
Liaofanlikedtositupallnightanddidnotlmowhow
totakecareofhimself)lIeneededtopayspecialattentiontocaringfOrlIishealthandenergy.
<<Liveasifeverytbinginthepastdissolved
yesterdayandabrand-newfUturebeginstoday.Ifyoucanaccomplisl1this,thenyouare
apersonbornanewapersonofvirtueand
sincerity

EverythingtlIathappenedyesterdayisinthepast.
Donotdwellonit.Ifwedo,itisasifwehavecommit-

tedorundergonetlIemagain.TodosowillleaveadditionalimpressionsintheAlayaConsciousnessTherefOre,letbygonesbebygonesandfOrgetthem.TlIe
importantthingistocorrectwhatisinthepresentand

wlIatwillbeinthefutureDoubtsandregretsare
afflictionsthatareconditionsorcausesofgriefand
distressthatdisturbthebodyandmind
TheBuddhatauglItusnottodwellonthepast.We
readinMrYouIscommentarythattl1isisthekeyto
changingdestinyforthePerfectPeopleThePerfect
PeoplearetlIosewitlIlIigherlevelsofwisdomandwbo
areawakenedTlIerearesixstepstoaccomplis}Ithis,
5l

beginningomtheneedtocultivateandaccumulate
meritsandvirtuesandculminatinginbecoming<a
personbornanew,apersonofvirtueandsincerity.>
Thesearethekeystochangingdestiny.
Mr.Yousaidinhiscommentary,Thefirststepin
changingdestinyistocorrectourfaults.Tobrush
awayalltheaccumu>atedbad}Iabitsonebyoneandto
pullouttlIerootsofourproblemsonebyoneAtall
timesandinallplaces,tobeconstantlyvigilantofour
everythought,word,andactWerestrainanddisciplineourselves.Weprotectourinnocentandthe
virtuousaswewouldanewbornbaby,)Tl1efUllresponsibilityfOrchangingdestinyisinourhandsnot
inthebandsofheavenlyorenlightenedbeings.People
ofutmostvirtuearenolongerboundbydestiny.
Weneedtobestrictwithourselves.Ifwecon-

stantlyfOrgiveourselveswewilllimitourfUtures.
However)whileweareexactingandsternwithourselves,weouglIttobegenerousandlenientwitlIothers.WeneedtoprotecttlIosewhoarepure,virtuous,
andinnocent.Whatisinnocence?Itistonothaveany
selfisbthougbts.IfweconstantlylIavewandering
thouglIts,thenweloseourinnocent,true,andpure
minds.

Tl1eresponsibilityfOrc}Iangingwl1atispredeterminedisentirelyuptous.Onceweunderstandthe
truthaboutre-creatingourfiItures,wewillnolonger
needtoaskfOrtunetellerswhatthefUtureholdsWe

cancarefUllyreflecttoknowwhatitissupposedtobe
52

andhowtoclIangeitKnowingtbis>otherswouldno
longerbeabletodeceiveus.
PreviouslyMasterYunguto>dLiaofanaboutpeople
whowereoftheutmostvirtue.InthePureLandsu-

tras,welearnthattheyliveinthePureLandPeople
ofutmostvirtueareabletofeelregretandrefOrm.In
theWesternPureLand)tlIeydosodaiIy,untilthereis
nothingleftthatrequirescorrectionThentheybecomeBuddhas.

Eventhehig}Iest-leveIBodhisattvasstiIIavefaults.
Whatldnd?Theystillhaveonedegreeofignoranceyet
tobebrokenthroughIfEqual-enlightenmentBodhisattvasstillneedtoregretandrefOrmwecanimagine
howmuchweneedtodo!Fromnowon>weneedto

lIavethecompassionatehearttofeelremorseand
changefOrthebetter.Evenuponreachingthelevelof
Equal-enlightenmentBodhisattvas,wewillstillneed
todotlIis.OnlywhentlIereisnothinglefttocorrect
willwebecomeBuddhas.Wecannotattainsupreme
enlightenmentifwesti>lbaveoneremainingfault.
Enlightenmentistoknowandcorrectourfaults

BodbisattvasareenligbtenedsentientbeingsWeare
alsosentientbeings,butareunenlig}Itenedsincewe
donotknowourfaultsandtbusdonotknowtocor-

rectthem.Webelievethatwearealreadycorrect.We
question,(DoIhaveanyfaults?))andt}IinkfOralong
timewithoutHndinganyThus,itissaidthatordinary
peopledonothavefaultsw}IileBodhisattvas}Iave
many.Theyconstant>ywatchovert}Ieireveryt}Iought,
53

wordanddeedImowingthattbeyhavemanyshortcomingscontinuouslycorrectingthemanddoingso
fOrtbreegreateons.WlIenwethinkaboutlIowmany
faultstherecanbe,howcanwepossiblythinkthatas
ordinarypeoplewedonotbaveany!
Whatisthedifferencebetween(enlightened),and
unenlightened),?OnewhoknowstlIattbeyhavemany
faultsisanenligbtenedbeing-aBodbisattvaOne
whodoesnotlmowtheypossessnumerousfaultsis
unenlightened-anordinaryperson.Bodhisattvasare
notdeities,butarebeingswhoknowtheirfaultsand
constantlystrivetocoITectthem.Ifweweretoimprove,notonlywouldwecorrectourfaults,butwe
wouldalsogiverisetothevowsofBuddhaAmitabha
andthiswouldbethemostremarkablewayofclIangingourdestinies.
WerecitetheirLkbStJnHdailytobevery
familiarwithitbutt}Iisisonlytheinitialstep.The
secondstepistousetbesutraasamirror,reflecting
oncewitheachrecitationtomakeacomparisonandto
findourfaults.Bylookingatreflectionsinamirror)
wecanseewlIatpartsaresoiledandimmediately
((

cleanthem.TocleanistocorrectWerecitethesutra

tofindthepollutioninourmindtlIatwearenotyet
awareof.Thesutraislikeamirrorthatseesandre-

flectswbatpartsofourmindslIavefaultssothatwe
mayimmediatelycorrectthem.T}1erefOreweinitially
becomefamiliarwithtlIesutraandthenweaccord

withitsteachings.
5

Incultivation>firstwegiverisetovows.Weneedto
thinkcarefUllyifwehavegivenrisetotl1efOrty-eight
vowsofBuddhaAmitabha>toadoptthesevowsasour
own,andtobeofoneheartandvowwithbim.Tl>en,
wewillbetl1esameasl1imandbecomehismanifesta-

tion.HeisourrolemodeItohelpustomoldand
transfOrmourselvestobetl]esameashim.T}1isisto

beofonemind,oneheart>andonevow.Howcould
wenotberebornintothePureLandwhenourlIearts

andvowsaretl1esameashis?Wl1entbishappens,we
willtl1ink,speak)andacttbesameasBuddhaAmitabhaaswerelatetootlIerpeopleandcircumstances
becomeconstantlymindfulofBuddhaAmitabl1aand
alwaysremembertoencourageotherstocl1antAmituofO.

Wl1enourthreekarmasofbody,speech,andmind
arethesameasBuddhaAmitabhawebecomehis
manifestation.WereturntothisworldtofUlfillhis

originalvowsThisisevenmoreremarkablethan

beingapersonofVrtueandsincerityOriginally,we
reincarnatedintotlIisworldtorepayourkarmicdebts,
butnoweaclIofusisBuddhaAmitabhacomingto
thisworldthrouglIthestrengthofourvows!Tbisis
tl1emostremarkableandunsurpassablemetlIodin
clIangingourdestinies.

Ifevenourbodyisgovernedbydestiny,
thenhowcanabodyofvirtueandsincerity
notevokearesponsefromheaven?
55

HereMasterYunguwastalkingofwandering
thougl1tsandattac}1ments.Ourbodiesreallybave
nothingtodowithdestiny.Whatmattersistl1emind
fOritinfluencesthebodyTobelIonesttlIemindsof
mostpeopleareselfishandtl1us,theyaregovernedby
destinyWealsofallunderthecontrolofdestinywben
weusetlIeconsciousmindorourEightConsciousneSSeSo

Enlightenedbeingsareabletotranscendbecause
theyhaveturnedtheirEightConsciousnessesintothe
FourWisdoms.NotusingtheEiglItConsciousnesses,
enligbtenedbeingsarenotcontrolledbydestinyAfter
wehavereachedacertainlevelofenlightenment,we
toowilluseourenlightenedmindCurrently,weare
usingdeludedfeelings.Ifweusedourenlightened
wisdom,howcouldwenot<<evokearesponsefrom
beaven)?

Intl1ecommentary,welearn:<Utmostsinceritycan
splitastoneofdiamond,canevokearesponsefrom
heaven,andcanchangedestiny>)ConsiderthewelllmownaccountofwhathappenedtothefamousGen-

eralLiGuangwholivedduringtheHandynasty.l7
OnetimelIeandhissoldierswereonamarchOnone

sideoftheroadthegrasswasverylong.TlIerewasa
largestonepartiallylIiddenintlIegrassandlIemistakenlytlIoughtitwasatiger.Heimmediatelyshotan
arrowanditwentdeepintoitstarget.
Aftergettingoffhishorseandgoingtosurveyhis
marksmanshiphewasamazedtoseethatitwasa
56

stone!HethoughtImustbeverystrongtolIaveslIot
anarrowsodeepintoastone!Hetriedagainand
again,butfailedtorepeathisaccomplishment.From
tl1is,wecanseetlIattlIefirstshotresultedfTomtbe

utmostsincerityofhavingnowanderingtboughts.
Similarly,w}1engreatMasterKumarajivawasabout
sevenyearsold,heliftedupagreatironbowlwitl1out
somuchasathought.Butthenhethougbt,<(Iamso
smallHowcouldIhaveliftedit?>)Hetriedtodoso

again,butfailedGeneralLiGuanglIadmistakenthe
stonefOratigerandwasabletoslIootanarrowintoit
MasterKumaraiivathoughtnotl]ingoftheweightofa
greatironbowlandwasabletoliftit
OnceGeneralLiGuangrealizedtlIattlIetigerwas
actuallyastoneandMasterKumarajivarealizedtbat
theironbowlwasextraordinarilybeavytbeywere
unabletorepeatt}1eirpreVousaccomplis}1ments.Both
initiallyactedfTomthemindofsinceritythatlIadno

wanderingtlIoughtsThus,tl]estonewassplitopen
andtbeironbowlwasliftedup.
Fromthesetwoexampleswecanconfirmwhatis
saidintl1eAmmsaShnHTherearenoobstacles

amongpbenomenaorprinciples.>)Thisisac}Iieved
whenthemindattainsacertaindegreeofpurityaswe
severourwanderingdiscriminatorythouglItsand
attachments.Ifthemindisnotpure,thenallp}Ienomenapresentobstacles.Butwhentl1emindis
pure,therearenoobstacles.

Utmostsinceritythusevokesaresponsefrom
57

heaven.>)ConfUcianismspeaksofwrestlingwithmaterialisticdesires)teachingustoletgoofandnolonger
beinfluencedbydesire.Utmostsinceritycanchange

destiny.ItistbetruemindasexplainedintlIesa
zak/DI>StJnH.ItistheBodhimind:l8tlIemindofut-

mostsincerity,profUndity,meritdedicationandvow
generation

AsissaidintheTai]iaChapter}intlIe

BooAfsrol9OnemayrunawayfTom
theretributionofheaven,butonecannever

escapetl1eretributionfOrone)smisdeeds.>
TosaytbatwemayrunfromtlIeretributionof
heavenmeanstlIatalthoughwehadcommittedof
fensesinformerlifetimes)tberetributionfOrt}Iemis

changeablebyourcurrentcultivation,andtl1eaccumulationofmeritsandvirtuesinthislifetime.The

retributionsofheavenaredestinedandchangeable.
<(ButonecanneverescapetheretributionfOrones
misdeeds,)isabouttheoffensesoftbislifetime.TlIe

retributionsofheavenaremetedoutfOroffensesof

pastlivesbuttheyarecbangeable,asareourdestinies.
However,nothingcanbedoneregardingtberetributionfOrthemisdeedstl1atwecommitinourpresent
lifetimes.Andifwecontinuetocommitthese,tl]enwe

willbeunabletoregretandrefOrm,unabletochange
ourdestinies.

Whenbadcausescreatedint}Iepast,encounter

presentadverseconditionstlIeretributionsfOrthese
58

wrongdoingsmature.Howeverifwerefrainfrom
committingfUrthermisdeedswecansuppressthe
adverseconditions.Thebadcausesstillexistbutwith-

outtberigbtconditions,theywillnotmature.T}1e
principleinclIangingdestinyisbasedontl1isconditionalaspectofthelawofcausality.CauseiswlIatwas
createdinthepastandisunchangeable;butcondition
iscl1angeableandcontrollable.
Wereapwhatwesow.Wecanplantmelonand
beanseedsthatarecauses.Whenwedosowewill

growthemelonsandbeanstlIatarefTuits.However,
wecannotgrowbeansfrommelonseedsormelons
ombeanseedsCauseisaconstantbere.Whatwe

willharvestdependsontheconditionsIfwewould
liketoharvestbeans,weplanttheseedsfOrthemand
putawaytlIemelonseeds.Foracausetocomeinto
effect)appropriateconditionsarerequired
Forexample,seedsneedt}Ierightconditions>which
aregoodsoil)fertilizer,sun,andwatertogrowwell.
Evenaftertheseedsareplantedandthecauseiscreated,wecanpreventthemfTommaturing.Wesimply
withlIoldthewaterandsunIightTheseedswillnot
grow.Theywillnotmatureintouitsbecausetheydo
nothavetherigbtconditions.
TherefOre)altbougbwehavecreatedbadcausesin
ourpastlives,ifwerefrainfromwrongdoingsintlIis
lifeendourerroneousbebaviorandcultivatekind

deeds,wewiInotprovidet}IebadconditionsfOrtl1ese
causestomature.Surely,wealsocreatedsomegood
59

causesinourpastlivesHowcouldapersonhaveonly
committedbaddeedsoronlyperfOrmedgooddeeds?
Suchapersonsimplydoesnotexist.Tl1erefOre,life
afterlifeallofourdeedshavebeenamixtureofgood
andbad.Sometimesmoregood;sometimesmorebad
Wedonotneedtobeaaidthatwehavecommit

tedtransgressionsaslongaswerefTainfTomcommittinganymore.Ifwecanblockthebadconditions,
althoughwemayonlyhaveasmallamountofgood
deedstbesewillblossomandmature.

ItissaidintheBokSmg3Toperma
nentlyaccordwiththemindofbeavenand
toseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.>
ThisrevealstlIerealpurposeofourmorningand

eveningclasses.Themorningclassservestoremindus
ofBuddlIaAmitabha>svows.ThepurposeoftlIeeveningclassistolookbackontbedaytoseeifwel1ad
fOllowedtlIesutra>sguidanceandwhetherwel1ad
beenwatclIfuloverourthoughts)words,anddeeds.
ThusitismeaningfUltoparticipateinbothInBuddhaShalqamunistime,thecontentfOrbothmorning
andeveningclasseswastheThreeRefi1gesfromthe
hapterofPurificationofConduct,intlIedpam
saaStJZr:TotheBuddhaIreturnandrely,vowmg
thatalllivingbeingswillprofOundlyunderstandtl1e
greatWayandbringfOrththelIeartofgreatunderstanding>}
Ancientvirtuouspeoplecompiledourcurrentreci60

tationlIandbooksandthecontentwassuitablefOrthe

peoplepracticingtogetlIerattbattimeButisthis
recitationsuitablefOrourcurrentpractice?Ifnot)tlIe
handbooksneedtobemodifiedsotlIattheywillallow
ustocontinuetobenefitfromthembycoITectingour
faults.Tl1esameappliestorepentanceceremonies.If
weparticipateintl1eseanddothemanyprostrations
witl1animpuremind,notonlywillwenoteradicate
ourkarmicobstacles,wewillincreasetl1em.

Thisissimilartotakingmedicinewhenwebecome
ill.Ifthemedicationprovesineffectivewehaveto
cbangeprescriptions.Thepurposeofsutrarecitation
andrepentanceprostrationsistotreattheillnessin
ourmindstocureourafflictionsIftl1eyareineffective,weneedtofindabetterprescription.Tl1isiswhy
tbengmaiRenceCzmocom
piledbyMrXiaLianiuismoresuitabletlIanother
similarbooksintreatingourcurrentproblems.Upon
carefUlreading,wewillunderstandthatmanyofits
phrasesareappropriatetoday.Hence,weneedto
choosetlIemorningandeveningrecitationsbasedon
ourillnessesandproblems.
Fortbemorningandeveningclasses,manyPure
LandpractitionersnowrecitetheHirELZbStJZmto

cultivateconcentration.Ifwedonotl1aveenouglItime
torecitetheentiresutra)tlIenwecanreciteclIapter
sixthatcomprisesthefOrty-eightvowsfOrthemorning>andcbaptersthirty-twototlIirty-sevenfOrthe
evening<tl1irty-onetofOrtyinsometranslationsthe
6l

sectioninwl1ichAmitabhaBuddhaistalldngtoMai-

treyaBodhisattva).ThesesixclIapterstalkofcausality
andoflearninglIowtochangeourselves.Doingthis,
wewillpermanentlyaccordwithtl1emindsoflIeaven
andseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.
<<Themindsofl1eaven>meanstheoriginaltruenature;itdoesnotliterallymean}1eaveneartlI,and
celestialbeings.Ifwecanaccordwiththisnaturewe
willachievethebasicvirtueandreturntoit.

TlIemasterthentoldme:Mr.KonglIad

predictedthatyouwouldnotreceiveanimperialappointmentorhaveason.Tl1eseare
theretributionsofheavenbuteventheycan
bechangedYouonlyneedtodevelopyour
virtue,diligentlystrivetopracticegoodness,
andworMoaccumulatemanyl1iddenmerits
andvirtues.

MasterYungutoldLiaofanthatnotreceivingan

imperialappointmentornothavingasonwerethe
consequencesof}1isaccumulatednegativekarmafrom
prev1ouslifetimes.However,tl1esewereclIangeable
fOrwhiledestinyexists,itisnotfixedWhatisfTom
thepastisaconstant:whatisdoneinthepresentisa
variable.

MasterYunguexplainedthattoclIangewlIatissupposedtolIappenwebeginfromourheartsanddevelop
ourvirtues.Fromthis,wecanseethatifweareto

seekandcbangeonlyfTomwitlIoutwewillbe(<ata
62

loss,witl1inandwithout/WelIaveseenpeoplewho
trytoimprovetheirenvIronmentbychangingtl1e
placementofdoors,windows>andsoon,alltobeata
loss,withinandwitbout.Onappearance,theyseemed
togainbutactuallywhattheygainedwaswhattlIey
weredestinedtohaveItwasstillwit}Iint}Ieirdes-

tiny-aconstant,notavariable.
Weneedtochangefromourmindsandl1eartsto

refrainomwrongdoingsandtocultivategoodness
Tl]emasteralsosaid(<worktoaccumulatemany}1iddenmeritsandvirtues.)>Thesearegooddeedst}Iat
otbersdonotknowaboutIfwedidsomethingthat
wasgoodandthenmadeitwidelylmown,sothat
otherspraisedus,wewouldloseourmeritsandvirtues
astlIesehavenowturnedintopraise.TodowlIatis
goodbuttocancelitsbenefitsattlIesametimewill
preventusomaccumulatingmeritsandvirtues.
Itismuchbettertopracticegoodnesswitl1outlettinganybodylmowandevenbetterifsomepeople
reproacbedus,forthiswillhelptoreduceournegative
karmaItwouldbebestifournegativekarmaand
retributionswerereducedandeveneradicatedwhile
ourmeritsandvirtuesremainedhidden.

Today,wl1enwedogoodandarecriticizedoreven

slandered,wefeelitisundeservedWlIydowebave
badconsequenceswhenwedogood?Actuallyt}Iese
aregoodconsequences.Ifweareimmediatelycomplimentedupondoinggooddeeds)wewillloseour
meritsandvirtues.TlIerefOre,wecanstrivetoaccu63

mulatemeritsandvirtueswl>ilehidingthemfiFom
otlIers)fOronlytbenistlIistrulyagooddeed
<<Theseareyourwaystore-creategoodfOrtune.Howthenisitpossiblethatyouwill
notgettoenjoyitP

WewillbeabletoenjoyallthegoodfOrtunetlIat
welIavecreatedintlIislife.Thesutrastellus:ause

andeffectarelinkedthrouglIthepast,presentand
future.Whatweundergointbislifetimearetl>e
consequencesofwhatwebaddoneinourprevIous
lifetimes,wl1ilewlIatwedonowwilldeterminewhat

weundergoinourfuturelifetimes.Ifwecultivatevery
diligently>weneednotwaituntilfUturelifetimesto
reapourrewards;insteadwemayseeourdeedsbear
fTuitinthislifetime!DuetothisprincipleLiaofan
completelychangedlIisdestiny.Hehadaccumulated
somanygooddeedsthatlIedidnotbavetowaituntil
hisnextlifetoenjoytheresults

JCmeBooAangs,waswritten
tolIelppeopleaccruegoodfOrtuneandto
avoidadversityIfeverytlIingisdestinedwitlI
noroomfOrcbange,lIowcanwehopetodo
tbiS?

TbeJCmgisconsideredbymanytobetleearli
estphilosoplIybookinancientClIinaandteaches
peopletobecomesagesandvirtuouspeopleItac

complislIestlIisthroughmathematicsandtbeuseof
sixty-fOurhexagramsofwboleandbrokenlinesrepresentingallpossiblecombinationsofbrokenandunbrokenlines.Therearethree}Iundredandeighty-fOur
possiblepredictionsCbangesassmallastl1osethat
affectindividuaIstothosethataffectcountriesand

eventbeworldcanbededucedomtl1esefigures.TIe
bookusesmathematicstodeterminethenatural
courseofcauseandeffect.

WhatMasterYungusaidregardingtlIesurpassing
ofmathematicsiswherethetechniquesoftlIeICmg
fail.TlIeJCmgworkswellwitIconstants,butal
thoughitunderstandstbattherearevariables,itfails
toworkwitl1them.Thisteachesustoaccumulate

meritsandtoavoidbaddeedS.Onevirtuousthoughtis
aplusandonenegativethoughtisaminus.So,every
dayissimplyamatterofadditionandsubtraction,
multiplicationanddivision.IfthemarginofclIangeis
nottoomuch,otlIerscanfOretellourdestinieswitl1a

reasonabledegreeofaccuracy.ThisishowMr.Kong
fOretoldLiaofansdestiny
Portwentyyears)Liaofanneitherincreasednorde-

creasedhisbadorgoodthoughtsanddeeds)butcompletelyaccordedwithhisdestiny.Formostpeople
thereareusuallysomevariances-onevirtuous
tbought,oneunkinddeed.Liaofan,whohadnointerestindoingeithergooddeedsorbaddeeds)main-

tainedconstancyfOrtwentyyears;thus>l1isdestiny
wasremarkablyaccurate.Ifthevarianceislargewe
65

willsurpasstheconstanttoaccruegoodfOrtuneand
avoidadversity
Wereadint}Iecommentary:BecauseallthouglIts
andbel1aviorareclIangeable,soalltheconsequences
ofgainandloss,joyandpainseemflexibleand
clIangeable.Theseconsequencescanbeaddedsubtracted,multipliedanddivided:gainedandlostin
accordancewitl1thebehavioroftl1eindividual.
Aconstantisthecause.Avariableistbecondition.

Tl1ekeytocl1angingdestinyisdeterminedbythe
conditionandtl1isiswl1atBudd}1ismstresses.Allt}1e
infinitecreationsinheavenandoneartl1arisefrom

conditions.>)AllenstingthingsarisefiFomtl1econdition,wl1iclIisavariable.Bycontrollingthisvariable,
wecanchangedestiny.Then,wecanpursueour
wisl1esandgoalstogainremarkable,perfectresults
T}1eBuddl1aalsotoldusintbesutra,Impermanence,
noego,Nirvana.>)Understandingtl1isprinciplewecan
becomevirtuouspeopleandsages,ArhatsBodhisattvas,andBuddlIas.

Tl1efirstchapteroftheJCmgsaysami
lieswhooftenperfOrmgooddeedswillhave
anexcessofgoodfOrtunetopassontothe
fOllowinggenerations.)Doyoubelievethis?
Ireplied,<Yes.))
Fromthisweknowthatthosew}1owrotetl1eJ

Cmgunderstoodtheconstantthatisthecausein
thisworldandtlIroughouttheuniverse.Tl1eyalso
66

lmewthatthereisavariablethatisthecondition.By
controllingtlIisvariableonasmallscale)wecan
changeourowndestinyandonalargerscale,wecan

pursuelastingstabilityandpeacefOrourworld
TheJChngistrulyextraordinary;howeveritisa
pitytl1atnowitlIasvirtuallybecomeafOrtune-telling
bookAsMrMeiGuansaidintheprefaceofthe
DHniLZbSmrH:OriginallytheAmiraaStJrH
wasateacl1ingtl1athelpedustotranscendthecycleof
birthanddeatbtobecomeaBuddhaButnowitl1as

becomesometl1ingfOrpeopletoreciteatmemorial
servicestosendoffthedeceased!),ThattheAmjraDAa

StJ<rHhasbeenreducedtotbissadstateisjustlikethe

JCmgbeingreducedtoabookfOrtellingfortunes!It
isasadreflectionofourtimes.

TheJCmgwasintendedtoteachushowtoobtain
bappiness,worldpeace)andstability;tochangeour
destiniesbyaccumulatingmeritandvirtue.Todothis
wefirstneedtoregretandrefOrm.Themasterasked
Liaofanifhebelievedthatafamily,whiclIpracticed
gooddeedscouldhavesomuclIgoodfOrtunethatit
wouldbepassedontothefOllowinggenerations.LiaofanrepliedtlIathedid
ThereasonwhyLiaofanwasabletochangehisdestinywasduetol1isgoodrootsandgoodfOrtune,thus
enablinghimtobelieveingoodadvice.Hismeeting
withMasterYunguwastheripeningoftheappropriate
conditions.AstheBuddhatoldus:Whenourgood
roots,goodfOrtunesandrigbtconditionsmature,how
67

canwenotclIangeourdestinies?
Mr.Youtoldusinhiscommentary:Onewhobears

goodadvicefromsagesandslandersthemhascommittedabaddeed;doubtisoneofthefundamental

afflictionsGoodadviceistheteachingsoftlIesages
oftl1isworldandbeyondLatergenerationscalled
theseteacbingssutrasThesutrasspeakoftrutbstbat
donotchangewithtime.Tbetrutht}Iatsurpasses
timeisthesamenowasitwastl1ousandsofyearsago;
itneverchangeswhetherintheeastorinthewest.
ThewritingsandteaclIingsofsagesdidnotcome
{Tomtl1eirpersonalexperiencesandopinions,fOrif
theydidtheywouldbebiasedorinappropriate.History
isnotmadeupofopinionsbutofaccumulatedexperienceswlIereassutrascontainthetruththatarises

fromtlIeoriginaltruenature.Thustheteachingsin
thesutrasaretheabsolutetruththatsurpassestime
andspace.
WewillbenefitandimproveifwebelieveintlIe

teacl1ingsbutifwedonot)thenwewillmisstl1ese
remarkablebenefits.Tl1isiswhywesaytbatdoubtis
oneoftl1esixfundamentalafflictionsofgreed,anger,
ignorancearrogance,doubt>anddeviatedviews.
Thecommentaryalsostated:(OnewlIol1earsMnd
wordsofadviceandgivesrisetobeliefwillnurturethe
appearanceofgoodfOrtuneandmerit.Thisbeliefis
themotherofgoodfOrtune.Mother))meanstogive
rise)togrow.AllgoodfOrtuneandmeritarisefrom
beliefintheteachingsofthesages.Ifweareableto
68

believeinthewordsandteachingsofthesageswe
willfindt}1atinfinitegoodfOrtuneandmeritaregeneratedfromthisLiaofanwasindeedarareperson:to

deeplybelieveuponhearingthemastersadvice.
ToSurpassDestinybyCultivating
GoodFortuneandAccumulatingVirtues

IgratefUllyacceptedhisadviceandpaidmy
respectstohimbyprostrating.ThenIbegan
toregretallmypastwrongdoings,largeand
smallinfrontoftheBuddl1asimage.I

wrotedownmywisbtopasstlIeimperialexaminationsandvowedtocompletetl1ree
tbousandmeritoriousdeedstosl1owmy

gratitudetowardsmyancestors,eartl1,and
beaven

HereweseeLiaofanssincerityinhononngthe
teacherandreveringhisorlIerteachings.Hedidnot
casuallysay,<(IbelieveandwillfOllowyouinstructions)andthenfOrgetallaboutitafterawl1ile.He
earnestlycompliedwiththemafterhelIadunreservedlyregrettedeacl1oflIiswrongdoingsinfrontoftl1e
Buddha.HeeressedlIissincererepentanceand
askedt}IeenlightenedbeingstobelIiswitnesses
WenextreadintlIecommentary:<Itisaserious
mistaketofearthatotherswilllmowourmisdeeds.))If

weconcealourfaultstlIeywillincreaseatanalarming
rate.IfwearesmartwewiIetthembelmown.TlIen
69

wbenwearecriticizedandcorrected,ourkarmic

obstacleswillbegraduallyeradicated.IfothersspealK
outaboutourmistakes)begratefulevenifwehavenot
donewbattl1eysaidwedid,fortobewronglyaccused
byot}1erswillalsoeradicateourkarmicobstacles.
Tbereisnoneedtorefuteordefendourselvesintbe

faceofundeservedaccusations.Wbenwearedefen-

sive,otherswillnotwanttohelpuscorrectourfaults.
Tbentheoffensewillbecomeevenmoreserious

Taizong,agreatemperorwholivedoveratl1ousand
yearsagoduringtlIeTangdynastyisrememberedfOr
beingwIseandaccomplishedWhy?Sincehedidnot
coverupl1iss}1ortcomings,anyonecouldtalktol1im
aboutthem.Evenasemperor,bedidnotl1ingtoretaliateknowingthathestillhadfaultstocorrect.<Also,if
heretaliatednoonewoulddaretoadvisehimagain
Liaofansoughttopasstheimperialexaminations
altl1oughMr.KonghadnotdestinedtMsfOrhim.He
vowedtocompletethreethousandmeritoriousdeeds
toshowhisgratitudeTogainwhatwewishfOrwhen
ithasnotbeendestinedistrulytohavesoughtand
gained

Uponhearingmyvow,MasterYungu
sl1owedmeamerit-faultchartandtaught
me}IowtokeepadailyrecordofalltlIegood
andbaddeedsIbaddone.Hewarnedme

thatbaddeedswouldneutralizetlIegood
OneSo

70

Tl1emerit-faultchartprovidedfOrtheentryofbot}l
meritsandfaultsandwasverypopularduringthe

latteryearsoftheMingdynasty20SclIolarsaswellas
Buddl1istsusedthechartintheircultivationofmoral-

ity.MasterLianchi2ldrewupamerit-faultchartcalled
theSelf-reHectionRecord))tlIattotallyderivedits

standardsforgoodandbadbehaviorfromBudd}1ism.
ItwasthusespeciallyhelpfulfOrBuddhiststousefOr
endingfaultybehaviorandcultivatingkindnessThere
areseveralversionsofmerit-faultclIartstbatlIave

beenpasseddownovertheyearsthatcanbeusedfOr
ourreference.

Liaofanlivedfivebundredyearsago.HisbackgroundandmanneroflivingwereverydifferentfTom
ours.However,wecanstillabidebytbeprinciples,
usingourwisdomtodeterminehowwecanadaptthe
clIartsfOrmodernusage.Altl1ougbnoonel1ascome
upwitlIamorecurrentclIartitsprinciplesremain
valid

TlIemasteralsotaug}Itmetorecitethe
ZhuentiMantraOnlywithamindofpurity
andconcentrationcouldIattainwhatI

sought
InEsotericBuddl1ism,ZhuentiBodhisattvaisa

manifestationofAvalokiteshvaraBodhisattva.Whydid
tlIemasterteacl1LiaofantoclIantamantrainsteadof

recitingasutra?Thepurposeofthechantingisto
uncoverourpuremindstoeradicatewandering
7l

tlIougbts.SincemantrasaretransliteratedfTomSanskritweonlyrepeattheirsounds>notanalyzethem.
Aswecontinuetochantoveralongtime,ourminds
willbecomepure,oratleastourwanderingthoughts
willbesuppressed
TlIegoalremainsthesamewbetherwearereciting
sutras,clIantingmantras,orchantingaBuddha>s
name.ItisimportanttlIatweteacl1otherstlIemetllod
thatismostsuitabIefOrthem.Forexampleift}1e
masterlIadtaughtLiaofantorecitesutras,hewould
havebeentemptedtoanalyzetlIeirmeaning<and
thinkingwhilecbantingobstructsourcultivationof
purityofmind>.Thushewastaughtthemantra.
Tl1ereisaBuddhistsaying:<Recitingasutraisnotas
goodaschantingamantraandchantingamantrais
notasgoodascbantingaBuddha>sname.))Alltbese
emphasizeactualcultivation.
Today,welackthefUndamentaleducationthatour
ancestorsreceived,soitwillbehelpfUlfOrustofOllow
thisadviceofancientpeople:Itisnottoolateto
mendthefOldevenaftertl1esheeparelost/)Tomake
upfOrourlostfundamentaleducation,fOrthefirstfew
yearsofourpracticewecanconcentrateonmemorizingtheHircLZbStJrB.Thisisespeciallypractical
fOryoungpeopleasthebesttimetolearnisbefOretlIe
ageoftwenty.Ifweareabletomemorizethesutraand
reciteitbyheart,wewillbenefitfromitfOrtherestof
OUrliVeS.22

Budd}Iismistheultimateperfectwisdom;tlIus,re72

citingsutrasbybeartisaveryimportantfOundation.If
weareabletoendourerroneousways,practicegoodness,andcultivatepurityofmindtheninduetime
whateverweseekwillbeattained

MasterYunguelainedthatitl1adbeen
saidbyspecialistsindrawingtalismanicfigures:Thosewboareconsideredexpertsin
theartofdrawingcharmsbutdonotlmow
therightwaytodosowillbelaugl1edatby
spirits.)}Thekeytodrawingcharmsishaving
nothoughtsombeginningtoendUnder
standingthisbegintl1efirststrokewitha
stillmindaftertlIeprimaldarlmess.Inthe
processofdrawing,onemustletgoofall
wanderingthoughts.Onlyinthiswaycana
charmbeeffective

DrawingtalismanicfiguresisafOrmofancientskill
inTaoismsimilartochantingmantrasinBuddhism.
TlIesecrettodrawingtalismanicfiguresistol>avea
mindthatisdevoidofthoughts.WecanusetheGreat
CompassionMantratoillustratethis.TheGreatCompassionwaterwhichisconsecratedbychantingtlIe
mantracanbeveryeffectivefOrsome,butnotatall
effectivefOrotl1ers.WlIy?Inchantingthemantra,tlIe

fOrmerdidnotl]aveasinglewanderingthoughtfTom
starttofinishIfduringtlIechantingawandering
t}1ougbtarises,thentl1emantrawillbeineffective.
TherefOretlIelongerthemantra,themoredifHcultit
73

istosuccessflIllychantit.

TbeSurangamaMantracanbeveryeffective)howeverfewpeopletodayareabletobenefitfromit.
Why?Thevastmajorityofpeoplehavemanywanderingthoughtswl1ilechantinganditonlytakesone
suchthouglIttorendertlIeireffOrtsineffective.
Thesameappliestosutrarecitation.IfasPure
Landpractitioners,wereciteoneroundoftheire
LK/bStJnHwithouthavinganywanderingthoughts,it
wouldbewonderful!Ourmindswouldbeinaccor-

dancewiththemindoftl1eBuddlIasthroughouttlIe
universeinthepastpresent,andfUtUre.TherefOre,
weneedtorecitethesutrawithamindofpurity)

equality)sincerityandrespect.But,ifwerecitethe
sutrawlIilehavingwanderingthoughts,ourmindswill
notbethemindofaBuddha.

Fromthis,wecanseethattheshorterthemantra
theeasieritwillbefOrustoreciteandtoconcentrate

on.Andchanting<NamoAmituofO23isevensl1orter.
Ifwethinkthattbisistoolong,MasterLianchtaugbt
ustocbantjust<AmituofO/)Ifwechantthiswithout
onesinglethoughtitwillbeeffective.Itwouldbejust
likesendingafaxtoBuddhaAmitabhaandhavingl1im
receiveit.But,ifweaddonewanderingthougbt,tlIen
tl1emessagewillnotgotl1rough
<WhenonepraysfOrandseeksforsomethingortriestochangeonesfate)itisimportantthatonedoessowithoutgivingrise
74

toasingletboughtIntbisway,onewi>leasilyreceivearesponse.
WbenweseeksomethinghomtbeBuddhas,Bodbisattvas)orthebeingsoflIeavenorearth,weneed

todosowithoutlIavinganyt}IoughtsfOrourseeking
tobeeffective.Toacbievet}Iis,ourmindsneedtobe

trulypurewithoutanywanderingthoughts.Thisisto
havethemindofsincerity,purity,andrespect.Only
wlIenweappealtotheenlightenedonesusingthe
mindofutmostsinceritywillweattainwhatwewish
fOr

Thesameprincipleapplieswhensomepeoplemake
offeringstotheirancestorsastheyappealinontof
theancestralplaque.Itwouldbeuselesstodosowith
animpuremindTherefOre,inthepast,makingofferingstoancestorswasaveryspecialoccasion.For
example,thosewhoofficiatedattheceremonyfasted
andbatl]edfOrthreedaysbefOreTheycultivated
purityofmindbyshuttingthemselvesinasmallroom
totrytoletgoofattachments.Theyconductedthe
ceremonyasifthespiritsoftheirancestorswerepre-

sent.Buddl1istswouldcalltlIis<Visualization.>)By
sincerelyhonoringthematthetimeoftheceremony
tlIespiritswillappear

Wl1enwepayrespecttot}IeenliglItenedbeingsat
cultivationcentersaretheypresent?Notnecessarily.
Thepresenceoftheirimagesdoesnotmeanthey
tlIemselvesarethereIfthepractitioners>whetlIer
75

monks,nunsorlaypeoplearesincereandpurein
mind,thenenlightenedbeingswillbepresentOtlIerwIse,moreoftenthannottherewillbesomedemons

impersonatingenlightenedbeingsThisiselainedin
theSiJIHI1gamaStJkm.
(<Menciuswrote:<Tl1ereisnodifferencebe-

tweenlonglifeandshortlife.,Atfirstglance,
onewouldfinditlIardtounderstandlIow

theycanbethesame;however,wbentl1ere
isnothought,thereisnodualityinshortor
longlife.

Sbortlifeandlonglifearecompletelydifferent,
wlIyregardthemasthesame?Dualityonlyexists
whentherearewanderingdiscriminatorytlIougbtsand
attachments.Onlywhenthemindispuredowesee
non-duality

ShortlifeandlonglifearethesamebecauseeverythingintlIeuniverseisone.InBuddhism,thisis

called<(enteringthestateofnon-duality.)Thestateof
nondualityismentionedintheeecAoF
StJZr.InPureLandsclIooltlIisisknownasOne

MindUndisturbedIntheAmmsaa5tJZrHthisis
knownast}IeOneTrueDharmaRealmthestate
whereallBuddhasdwellThisistl1estateofmindof

Bodhisattvasabovethelevelofgroundstates.
<UponcarefUlanalysisthereisalsonodualitybetweenagoodorabadharvest.Under76

standingthis)wewillbecontentwithour
presentsituation)beitoneofweaIthorpoverty

!fwearccontentwithtbingsastheyare,wecan

settlcdownandgcionwithourwork}iissaid:Ifthe
richwerecontenttoberichandthepoorwerecjI!

tobepoor,))thensocietywouldbestabletheworld
wouldbepeacefi1l)andeveryonewouldbehappy.
Whatisbeingbappy?Nothavinganywandering
thoughts,worries,orafflictionslfapersoninpoverty
wasabletounderstandtbat}Iisorhercurrentcondi-

tionwasamatterofdestiny,thenheorshewouldalso
becontented

Agoodexampleoftl1isoccurredintheearlypartof
thetwentietbcenturyAmaninavillageinJiangsu
provIncebeggedfOrfOodduringthedayandsleptin
olddesertedtemplesatnight.Inthisway>l1ewas
contented

Hissonaftereeriencingbusinesssuccess,be
camerichandinHuentialbutthenfoundhimself

beingadmonished:(Howcanyoubesuchanunfilial
son?YouhavesuchgreatwealtlIbutyouletyour
fathercontinuetobegfOrhisfOod?>,TlIesonfelt
ashamedafterhearingthisandsentpeopletosearclI
everywlIerefOrhisfatlIerandbrouglItl]iml1ometo
carefOrhim.But,afteramonthoflivinginbissons
l]ome,tl]efatherslippedouttoresumehislifeasa
beggar.
77

Peopleaskedthefather:<WouldnItitbetterfOryou
toenjoygoodfOrtuneatyoursonshome?)Hereplied:
<<IwasveryuncomfOrtabletbere!Nowintl1edaytime
IcantravelanywhereIwantandenjoyvisitingbeautifulscenery.AtniglIt)Icanmakeanyplacemyl1ome.
ThereisnothingmorejoyfUltbantoliveasfreelyas
t}IisTohavetoremainathomeissufferingfOrme!}
HewascontentedwithlIisconditionsol1ecouldlet

goandattaintrueliberation.Hewasnotatallaffected
bythefivedesiresofwealtb,lust,fame,fOod,and
sleepRather,hewashappyandhadpurityofmind
Hepreferredtobeonthesidelines,regardingthis
worldasaplay,whileeverybodyelsewasbusypursuingprestigeandwealth
Thiswasnoordinaryperson,butamodelofwisdomandcontentment.Mostpeoplepursueal]appy
andfUlfillinglife,notrealizingthatthesearenotnecessarilysynonymouswithwealthorsocialposition.
TherefOre,weneedtounderstanddestiny)needtobe
abletoadjusttoaccordwiththewislIesofsentient
beingsandbejoyfUloverotlIersmeritoriousdeeds.
OnlyintlIiswaywillourlivesbehappyandfUlIing

(<Andwithunderstandingt}IattlIereisno
dualitybetweenpovertyandwealth,our
mindswillbecontentwithourpresentstatus
insociety>beithiglIorlow.Also,tl1ereisno
dualitybetweenlongandshortlives.Understandingthis,wewillbecontentwithourex78

istinglifespanbeitlongorshort.Themost
importantconcernfOrbumansisthatoflife

anddeathTlIus,earlydeathandlongevity
subsumeallconditions,whethertheyarefavorableorunfavorable,andwhetherofgain
orloss

Thisspeaksofaccordingwithconditions.RegardlessoffavorableorunfavorabIeconditions,wewillbe

completelyateaseaseverythingbecomesclearand
logical.WecanhavegoodfOrtuneandattainthegreat
liberation.ThisistruelivingTruebappinessisnot
achievablewithoutgreatknowledgeandeffOrtinpracticeWecannowclearlyseethatonlyawakenedpeoplecansettletbeirmindsandre-createtl]eirdestinies.
Itispointlesstobehaveimmorallyandtobecome
increasinglydeludedTlIus>theBudd}Iaoftenreferred
tothosewhoweredeludedas(pitiablebeings.
,)

Wehavetowaituntilourcultivaiion

reachesacertainlevel,thenourdestinywill
change.TlIischangedependsontheaccumulationofmerits)onseekingaresponse
fTomtheheavens.Whencultivating,we
needtobeawareofourfaultsandresolveto

correctthemasifwewerecuringasick))

neSSo

WecultivatewbilewaitingfOrdestinytobere-

created;however>thisisnotaccomplishedovernight.
79

Ittakesalongtime.Weneedtoceaseourlaziness,
andconfidentlyanddiligentlystrivetoimprove.We
needtobeawakenedandnotdeluded,todowhatis

properandnotdeviatedIntime,wewillattainthe
desiredresult.Cultivationiscorrectingourfaultsin
thethreekarmasofimproperthoughts,wordsand
deedsandadoptingwhateverwaysarenecessaryto
remedytl1esefaults
<<WhilewaitingletgooftbethoughtofdesiringsometlIingtlIatwearenotsupposedto
lIaveandthethoughtofwishingfOrareward

ItisawanderingthoughttohopefOranearlyharvestofrewardsfOrourgoodness,fOrsuchthinkingcan
createobstacles.WeareonlytoaskabouttlIecultivation)nottlIeharvest.Aslongaswediligentlycultivate,
thelIarvestwillnaturallyfOllow,whybotlIertoconstantlyseekit?Thisisthetruewayofcultivation:to
notseekanytbing.}ustconcentrateonendingimproperbehaviorandcultivatinggoodness;eventually)
wewillobtainwhateverwedesire.

Whenweseek,ourgainsarelimited,fOrmostlikely
wewillonlyreceivewhatwerequestasourcultivationofvirtuesisnotinaccordancewitl1ourvirtuous

natures.Withoutseeking,everythingisamanifestationofandinaccordancewithourvirtuousnatures.

Actually,wl1atLiaofanachievedwascultivatedvirtues.Itwasnotyetvirtuousnature,becausehestill
80

souglIt.InitiallybesougbtsclIolarlyhonorandoHicial
rank,tben,hesoughtchildrenWhateverhesought
wasaccomplisbedIfhehadnothadonetlIouglItofa
request)ifhelIadsolelycultivatedandaccumulated
virtues,everythingwouldhaveturnedoutperfectly.
Hedidnotseeklongevityandyethelivedlongerthan
destinedHewassupposedtodieattheageoffiftythree,butlivedtoseventy-fOur!
Wewillbenefitifweceaseourrequestsandaffinity
seeking,andonlyhavesensiblewis}Iesliketbosein
whichweaskthatourlivesbesmootb,thatwehave

enoughtoeat,asafeplacetolive,andadequateclothing.Itisenougl]tolivesimplyandcomfOrtablywith
minimalexpensesinasmallhouse.Butmostpeople
wanttopossessluxuriesandtoimpressothers>not
lmowingthepricetheyhavetopayfOrt}Ieseextravagances.Theylosemorethantheygain.Ifinstead)we
sl1areourgoodfOrtunewit}Iothersthenourgood
fOrtuneistlIeaccumulationofmerits.

Ifwecultivateandaccumulateenoughvirtuetolast
fOralmndredgenerationsthenourdescendants
wouldhavegoodfOrtuneIfwearetrulyintelligent
andwise,wewillsurelywanttoshareourgoodfOrtunewithothers.TherefOre,bepatientWhyseekfOr
theearlyarrivalofgoodfOrtunewhenitwillcomein
goodtime?

<<AttlIislevelitwouldbeastateofreacbing
the<innatenatureofnothought)thatisthe
8l

),

actuallearningandpracticeofwisdom
MasterYunguto>dme:llllmowthatyouare
stiIlunabletoaccomplishthestateofno
tought,butyoucanpracticerecitingthe
ZhuentiMantracontinuouslywithoutcountingthenumberofrecitationsandwithout
interruption

Whenyoureac}Iahigherlevelofconstant
mindfUlness,youwil>beab>etoachievethe
Ievelof<Tonotrecitewhenrecitingandto
recitewhennotreciting>Whenyouno
longerbavewanderingthoughts,tbemantra
willbecomeeffective)>

Learningandpracticeofwisdomaretruelmowledge.Innatenatureis((returningtotheoriginalstate>
Thisrevelationofouroriginaltruenatureisnotthe
stateofanordinarybeingTheoriginaIstateistrue
happinessfOritistobeIedwiththeD}Iarmabliss
andtotrulyabandonsufferingforhappiness.Tbisis
whatawakenedpeopleseek
Tbismethodcal>edperfectpracticewithperfect
attainment)wastaughtbyMasterYunguanditenablesustopracticeconcurrentlytheThreeLearnings
ofabidingbytheprecepts,deepconcentration,and
wisdomIntheAZamsaAaStIna,itisexplainedas,
oneisall,allisone.Tocu>tivateonemethodisto
((

cultivateallmet}]ods.))Theessenceoft}]epracticeis
todosowithoutinterruption,andwithoutintermin82

glingwithothertboughtsorothermethods
Doweneedtocounttherecitations?MasterYungu
didnottellLiaofantodoso,butrathertorecitecon-

tinuously.Manyancientsagesrequiredpractitioners
tobegintheirclIantingpracticebycountingtl1enumberofrecitations.Why?Likeus,theywerelazy.So,it
washelpfUlforthemtobaveadailygoal,suchas
chantingaBuddha>snametenthousandtimesaday.
Meetingthisgoalhelpedtocounteractthebadhabit
oflaziness,fOriftheydidnotcounttbeymight}Iave
fOrgottentopractice
However,fOrsomeoneashonestandearnestas

Liaofantherewasnoneedtokeeptrackoftherecitations.Forhim,thatwouldhavebeeninterminglingof
thoughtsHiscultivationwastrulylearnedanddiligent;thus,}Iepracticedwitboutinterruptionand
withoutinterminglingwitlIotherthoughtsandmethods.

AllmetlIodsareequal:nooneisdifferentfiFomtlIe
others.Attainmentliesindelvingdeeplyintoonlyone

methodfOraprolongedtimeIntbepast)peoplegenerallypracticedsutrarecitation.Butwhet}Ierreciting
sutras,cl1antingmantrasoraBuddhaIsname,wedo
sowithtbemindofpurity,equalityandrespect
Whenwepracticecontinuously,wewiIltrulybenefit
ffomit.

ThestateofNoThought)isessentialItistonot

haveanywanderingtbougbts,discriminatorytlIouglIts>
orattachments.AlthoughLiaofanlIadnotgivenriseto
83

anywanderingtbougbtsfOrthreedayswhilehewas
meditatingwithMasterYungu,behadnotyetreached
thestateofNoThougItHebadusedbelief,not
concentration,tosuppressbisafflictions.Hebelieved
thatallwasdestinedHebelievedincausality.
TherefOre,themastertaughthimawaytomoveon
tothenextlevel,tocultivateconcentration.Torecite

theZhuentiMantraistocontinuouslycultivateconcentration.Byriddingourselvesofwanderingthoughts
andattachments)ourtruenaturewillbeuncovered
TheBuddlIaoftenspokeof<theoriginalnatureasit
is>>PureLandpractitionerscalltlIistl]etrueand
perfectachievementof<OneMindUndisturbed>,Itis
thegoalofourpractice.Itistoreachtbeattainment
of<tonotrecitewhenrecitingandtorecitewl1ennot
reciting>)Thisisoftenexplainedas<TonotbeattaclIedtotheactofcbanting;thustonotchantwhen
chantingandtocbantwhennotclIanting.>)
WedosowhetherwearechantingtheBuddha)s
nameorrecitingthesutra.WbenwerecitethehDi
LZ/bStJIrHwithoutattachment,wewillfirstachieve
ConstantMindfUlnessofBuddhaAmitabhatlIenOne

MindUndisturbedAlthoughtl1emetl1odsmaydiffer
theprinciplesandthegoalarethesame.Wbenwe
reachthestateofNoThoughtandtl1erecitingbecomessecondnature,itwillnaturallybecomeeffective

Therearethreelevelsofacbievement.Tbeupper
levelisOneMindUndisturbedinEnliglItenment,the
84

middlelevelisOneMindUndisturbedinMindfUlness,
andthelowestandinitiallevelisConstantMindfUl-

nessofBuddlIaAmitabha.WecannotbeproudwlIen
ourattainmentreachesacertainlevelfOrdoingsowill

prol1ibitusfromfUrtheradvancement
Reacl>ingt}IeupperlevelinConstantMindfulness,
wemayhavetl1eabilitytotranscendtlIisworldatwill,
toleaveanytimewewishWheneverwewanttogo,
BuddhaAmitabhawillcometoescortustotbeWest-

ernPureLandAlthougbwehavereac}Iedthis>evelof
attainmentandareabletopassawaywitlIease,itis
besttostaylongerinthisworldWhy?Wereadintl]e
irLbStJnHthattopracticeinourworldof
sufferingfOronedayisthesameaspracticinginthe
PureLandfOronebundredyearsWestaybereto
trainourendurance

Evenmoreimportantly>westaytoencouragemore
peopletogotothePureLandItisremarkablethatwe
ourselvesareabletogo,butitwillbeevenbetterifwe
canhelpotherstoberebornthereaswell!Thus,we
canconcentrateonhelping,educating>andencouragingothers.Wl1enweourselvescultivateandinspire
otherstodolikewise)ourmeritsareperfect.Inso
doingweareabletopaybacktbegreatkindnesstbat
enligl1tenedbeingshavesIownus
MynameusedtobeXuehai,wl1ichmeans
broadlearningButafterreceivingtlIese
teacl1ingsfTomMasterYungu,IclIangedit
85

toLiaofanwlIicbmeans<transcendingtbe
ordinary.
))

IntlIepast,Chinesepeoplemighthavethreesetsof
names<inadditiontotheirsurname>:agivenname>
courtesynameandsobriquet.Tbeirgivennamethat
wasgiventothembytleirparentseressedtheparentsaspirationsfortheirchildren.Changingthis
namewastantamounttoignoringthisaspiration,truly
anunfilialact

Uponreachingadultl1ood,agetwentyformalesand
sixteenfOrfemales,peoplewerenolongeraddressed
bytl1egivennamefOrtodosowasdisrespectfi1l.At
thistime,tl1eyunderwentaceremonytobeinitiated
intoadulthoodDuringtbisceremony,peopleoftbe
samegenerationorolderlikesiblings)schoolmates>
andfTiends,wouldprovidetbecourtesynametlIat
wouldbeusedfOrtherestoftheirlives.

IfinthefUtureapersonbecameagovernmentofficial,event}Ieemperor,peopleaddressedl1imbyl1is
courtesyname.Ifanadultwasaddressedbyhisgiven
name,thenmostlikelyhehadcommittedacrime,and
wastobesentencedandpunislIed
Tobeevenmorerespectfillpeoplewouldaddress
anindividualbytheirsobriquetorbylIisorlIerbirtl1place.Thisindicatedthathewasahighlyrespected

importantpersonomaparticularplace.24
LiaofanandXuehaiwereLiaofan)ssobriquets.Only
onesparentsandteacherwoulduseapersonIsgiven
86

nameaftertheyreachedadulthood;evengrandparents,uncles,andemperorsusedthecourtesyname
Thus,societyaccordedtl]esamegratitudeandrespect
toteacbersasitdidtoparents

ItsignifiedmyunderstandingoftlIefacttbat
wecouldre-createourdestiniesandthatI

didnotwishtobelikeordinarypeoplewho
werecontrolledbydestinyFromthenon,I
begantobeverycautiousinwhateverI
tl1ougbtordid.Soon,Ifeltquitedifferent
fTombefOre.InthepastIhadbeencareless
andwitlIoutselfdiscipline.Now,IHndmyselfbeingnaturallywatchfUlandconscientiOuS

TlIissegmenttalksofLiaofan,sdeterminationand

cultivationincorrecting}IiserrorsandmakingafiFeslI
start.FirstheclIangedhissobriquetomXuelIaito
Liaofan.Liao>)meansunderstandingandawakening
anmeanstobeanordinaryperson.Liaofanmeans
tounderstandworldlyphenomenaandthatwecanrecreateourowndestinies.

Attl1atpoint,heunderstoodeverythinginregards
toworldlymattersandwasawakenedHetrulylmew
thatonlytlIeindividualcouldchangeandre-create}Iis
orherowndestiny.Heunderstoodtheprinciplesand
methods,andlmewthatfromtlIenonhedidnothave

topassivelyacceptlIisdestinybecauseitwasnotfixed

AfterhisresolutiontorefOrm,bisfeelingtowards
87

everythingcl1angedFromthatpointonuntiltlIeend
ofhislife,hewasconstantlyawareoflIisthougbtsand
behavior,alwaysalert,andnolongerdeluded
IntlIepast,lIehadbeenunrestrained,doingthings
aslIepleased,driftingaimlesslythrougl1eachday.
Howdidl1elivelIislifC?HelIadnoideafOrhehadno

directionorgoalTolivethiswayistobeboundby
fate,unabletore-createabrightfuture
AfterrefOrmingl1efOund}1imselfbeingnaturally
cautiousandcarefulinthought,speech,andbehavior.
Inotherwords,afterturningoveranewleaf,bisbeliefSandviewsregardinglifeandtheuniversechanged
dramaticallyPreviously,hehadthoug}Itthateverythingwasboundbyfate.But,nowlIelmewt}Iathe
couldre-createdestinyandthus,hebecamedeterminedandoptimistic
ImaintaintlIisattitudeevenwhenalone,fOr

Ilmowtl>attherearespiritsandheavenlybeingseverywherewbocanknowmyevery
thougbtanddeedIamcautiousnottoof
fendthemwithmythoughts.EvenwlIenI
encounterpeoplewl1odislikeorslanderme,
IbeartlIeirinsultswit}Iapatientandpeacefulmind,anddonotfeelcompelledtoquarrelwitl1them25

ThereasonwlIyordinarypeoplecannotrefOrmis
thattlIeydonotunderstandthis.TlIosewhoaremore
familiarwithtlIehHniLbSMrHareabletounder88

standandtobeevenmorecarefUlwiththeirthoughts)
speech,andbehaVorthanLiaofan.
ThepopulationoftbePureLandisbeyondcalculationEvenifweusedeverycomputerintheworldwe
cannotcalculatethenumberofbeingsthere.Eachof
thempossessesthesameabilitiesasBuddhaAmitabbaEaclIbasheavenlyeyestoseeall,heavenlyears
tolIearall)andtheabilitytoknoweverythoughtof
everybeingthroughouttbeuniverseint}Iepast,present>andfUture.So>BuddhaAmitabha>Avalokitesvara

Bodhisattva,MahasthamapraptaBodhisattva,andall
thebeingsintbePureLandknowoureverythougbt
andwrongdoing.
Evenwhenwearealone,wherenooneelsecansee

us,westillneedtorestrainourselvesandnotgiverise
toasingleimpropertbougbtlnsodoingwewilltruly
acl1ieveself-disciplineandcontrol.AsPureLand
practitioners,weseekrebirthintothePureLandand
toachieveinourvirtuousconduct.But,ifwecontinue

todeceiveourselves)wewillnotachieveanythingAs
Confuciussaid>adecentpersoniscautiousevenwhen
alone.Livingbyourselves,wecanstillbedisciplined
andnotself-indulgent.Inthisway,wewilltrulybe
cultivating.Ordinarypeopleconstantlyindulgethemselveswitl1outanyrealrestraint.Wheninpublic,tlIey
mayappearcarefUlandseIfrestrained,butwhen
alonetheyagaindoastheyplease
Thisisoneofthereasonswhymonasteriesofthe
pastbadmanypractitionerssharingoneroom.Ifthere
89

wasonlyonepersoninaroom,heorshewouldbe
unabletoachieveincultivation.Withmoret}Ianten

peopleinaroomeveryonewillbehavewellatall
times.ThepurposeofthiswastofOrcepeopletodisciplinethemselves.
Today>veryfewpeoplearewillingtorestrainthemselves,butareintentonen>oymgcomfOrtFine!We
canen}oyourselvesinthislifeandthenwecanalso
leisurelyen}oyourselvesintheThreeBadPatlIsintlIe
upcominglife,bavingnotsucceededontbepatl1to
enlightenment!
Whenlivingwithinalargegroup,everyoneneedsto
worktogether.T}Ierearesomesingleroomsatmonasteries,buttheyareespeciallyforthosecultivatorsof
advancedyears.Also,thosewboholdhighpositions
andwl1ol1avemanyresponsibilities,likeabbotsortl1e
leadingmonkornunneedtohavearoomoftl1eir
own.Thiswillallowthentheconvenienceofoversee-

ingmattersatalllIourswitlIoutdisturbingotlIers.
TlIerefore,truecultivatorspracticelivingtogether
harmoniously>>oneoftheSixHarmonies.
ItisinappropriatefOranindividualtohaveasingle
room.IfapersontbinksitisuncomfOrtabletobave
twoorthreepeoplelivingtogetherinaroom,itthen
becomeseasyfOrtl1emtothink(Idonotwanttolive
witbthatperson.Thenheorshewillbeunableto
achievetlIestateofConstantMindfulnessofBuddha

Amitabha.Wby?Tbeybavediscriminatoryandimpure
minds;themindthatstillbasdislikesandevades
90

unpleasantnessHowcanthatpersonachieveanytlIing?WlIerethenandl1owdowecultivate?Weculti-

vatepurityandthenon-discriminatorymindinthe
placewedisliketbemost
ItiswrongfOrustobeunwillingtolivewitlIorget
alongwitlIsomeone.LiaofanhaddiscoveredlIisown

faultsandsincerelycorrectedtlIem.But,indealing
withourownfaults)wecontinuouslyexcuseourselves
insteadofcorrectingtbem.WhenwedotlIis,howcan
we}Iopetosucceedinourcultivation>
WitlIinaSanglIa,astartingpointfOrourcultivation
istlIeSixHarmonies,whicharethebasicguidelinesto
fOllowwhenlivingtogetherinagroup.AlltheindividualscanabidebytheFivePreceptsandTenVirtuousConductsInthepasttemplesusedtlIeNovice
PreceptsandtheGuidelinesfOrDignifiedBehavioras

tbestandardThisincludedtbetenpreceptsand
twenty-fOurkindsofdignifiedmanners.Todaywedo
notneedtobethatstrictItisenoughfOrustousetl1e
FivePreceptsandtheTenVirtuousConductsasthe

standardsfOrboth>aypeopleaswellasfOrmonksand
nuns.HoweverthestandardscannotbelowertlIan
these

Toliveharmoniouslyinagroupitisnecessaryto
abidebytheSixHarmoniestocorrectourfaultsand
badhabits,andtolearntogetalongwithothersLiaofanfOundthatbenolongermindedwhenheencounteredthosewhodislikedorevenslanderedlIim.He

couldpatientlybeartheirinsultswithapeacefUlmind
9l

andnolongerfeltcompelledtoquaITelwitbthem.His
mindhadbecomecalm,unlikebefOre,whenl1ewas
flightyandimpatient,unabletoenduretl1esligl1test
1nconvenIenceorwrong

Herewecanseel1isimprovementfromcultivation
TherefOre)atrueBuddlIistpractitionerneedstolearn
howtogetalongwitlIeverybodyregardlessofwhether
theyareenlightenedbeingsordemonsandghosts.We
needtofindourinnerpeaceandtoholdontoit,
regardlessoftheenvIronmentorcircumstances
Aftertl1esixtlIPatriarchofZen,MasterHuineng,
becameenligl1tenedcircumstancesfOundl1imacting
asanattendanttoagroupoflmnters.Dailyhewitnessedtheirhuntingandkilling.Heservedmeatand
caredfOrtl1em.ThelIunterswerehismasters;hewas

theirservantHedidthisfOrnotjustaslIorttimebut
fOrfifteenyears.
CouldwelIaveenduredthis?Henotonlyendured
butwascontentedanddidnotlIaveanywandering

discriminatorythouglItsandattachments.Thesewere
fifteenyearsoftruecultivation.Hereachedenligl1tenmentwhenhewasinHuangmei,inthesoutlIern
partofChina.Whetherunderfavorableoradverse
circumstances,hecultivatedhismindofpurity,equalitygreatcompassion,andloving-kindness.Thereis
nothingmoreimportanttoourcultivationtl1antl1ese
fOurvirtues,andthesewerewlIathepracticed
Todaywhenweinteractwitl1otl1ersandwithcircumstances,arewecultivatingpurityofmindunder
92

favorableoradverseconditions?Ifwearenotcultivat-

ingpurityofmindthenwearenotproperlypracticing
Buddbismandwillnotbenefit,fOritlIasbecome

merelyanacademicpursuit.EvenifwespendeverydayreadingtlIesutrasandbecomeextremelyarticulateinexplainingthemourafflictionswillstillincrease.Inthisway,wewillendupintheThreeBad
PathsThisisobviouslywrong!
Truepractitionersdonotattachtowords,towl1at
hasbeensaid,specified)ortlIought.Theyusetbeir
intuition.T}Ieyseekpurityofmindtl1enondiscriminatorytruemindthatisouroriginaltruenature.T}1eyseekSupremePerfectEnlig}1tenment.
ForPureLandpractitionersitisalsoourgoalto
attainConstantMindfUlnessofBuddhaAmitabba:t}Ie

mindofpurityandequalityTohaveconstantmindfi1lnessistobaveanuncontaminatedandnon-

discriminatorymind.Thereisnobarrierwitl1int}1e
truemind

Ifwestillhavediscriminatorytboughtsandattachments,thenweareunabletoaclIieveconstantmind-

fUlness.Severthesediscriminatorythoughtsandattachmentsandwewillbeabletoachieveconstant
mindfUlnessTlIisistruecultivation.

TheyearafterImetMasterYunguItook
tl1epreliminaryimperialexaminationin
wl1iclIMrKonghadpredictedthatIwould
comeintl1irdplaceAmazingly,Iwasfirst!
g3

Mr.Kong>spredictionswerebeginningto
losetbeiraccuracy.Hehadnotpredicted
thatIwouldpasstheimperialexaminationat
all,butthatautumn,Idid!
Liaofanwasdestinedtoplacethirdintheexamination.Butbycultivatingkinddeedsandaccumulating
meritsandvirtues,hewasabletoimprovel1isplacementfromthirdtofirst.AsMr.Kong)spredictions

begantolosetheiraccuracy)Liaofansawfirsthand
thathewasabletoclIangedestinyHesawfirsthand
thattherewerevariablesandnotjustconstants

Next,hemadethewislItopassanevenlIigherlevel
ofexaminationandagainl1iswisl1cametrue.Togain
somethingwewerenotdestinedtol1aveistotruly
}Iavesoughtandgained.

AltlIougl1Ihadcorrectedmanyfaults,I
fbundthatIcouldnotwholelIeartedlydotl1e
tl1ingsIoughtto.EvenifIdiddothem,it
wasfrcedandunnaturalIreflectedwit}Iin

andfOundtlIatIstillhadmanyshortcomings,suchasseeinganopportunitytopracticekindnessbutnotbeingeagerenoughto
doitorhavingdoubtswhenhelpingotl1ers.
SometimesIfOrcedmyselftoactkindly,but

myspeechwasstilluncontrolledandoffensive.IfOundIcouldcontainmyselfwhen
sober,butafterafewdrinks,Iwouldact
9

withoutrestraintAlthougbIoftenpracticed
kinddeedsandaccumulatedmerits)my
faultsandoffensesweresonumerousthat

tlIeyseemedtooutweighthegoodthatIdid
Alotofmytimewasspentvainlyandwithoutvalue.

WeshouldnotexpectanyrewardwlIenwehelp
others,fOritisourresponsibilitytodosoConfucius
andothersagestaugbtusthefivehumanrelationships
andtenmoralresponsibilities.ThefivehumanrelationslIips,whicbarefoundedontraditionalmoral
principles)includethosebetweenhusbandsandwives,
parentsandcbildren,siblings,fTiendsandpolitical
leadersandthepublic.
PracticingwhatweoughttoisavirtueofournaturesItisnaturallywithinourresponsibilityasparentstobeprotective,tocareforandguideourchildrenItisnatural>ywithinourresponsibilityascl1ildrentobefilial,tohonorandrespectourparents
WhetherassiblingsoriendsallshouldberespectfUl
towardsoneanotherFriendsshouldbetrustwortby,
honestandreliablefOrwearenaturallyobligatedto
beso.Andallofusshouldbemutuallycaring,respectfUl,andhelpfUltoeaclIother.
Liaofanunderstood,althoug}IhedidnotyetpracticeperfectlyandpurelyfOrtl>eseactionswerestill
intermingledwithpersonaladvantagesanddisadvantages.Ifwequestionwhetherhelpinganotherwill
95

adverselyaffectus,thenourtl1oughtsandactionsare
impure,andwewillbeunabletowholel1eartedlyassist
othersFromthis,welmowthatalthoughwemaydo
kinddeedswestillhavenotdoneenough
Confuciustaughtofthevirtueinassistingot}Iers
inacl1ievinggoodness)}andthatgoodnessisavirtue.
Wl1enwefindotberspracticinggoodness,weneedto

belpthemtoaccomplishtheirgoalWlIy?Agooddeed
canbenefitalocalcommunityandeventhewhole
society.

Forexample,w}1enaroadneedstobefixedanda
personvolunteerstorepairit,wecanenthusiastically
assistthatpersontocompletetheworkTlIiskindof
gooddeedtlIatbenefitssocietyneedssupportfTomall
ofus.LiaofanwasabletogoalonginlIelpingotl1ers
butlIedidnotdosowboleheartedly.Hewasonlya
littlebitwilling.Hestill}Iaddoubtswhenhelping
otl1ersinneed

Itisgoodtohelppeopleintrouble)butmanyofus
questionwhetlIerweshoulddoso.Intoday,ssociety
wefrequentlyencounterpeopleaskingfOrl>elp.Some
ofthemarefraudsaskingfOrmoneythattheywill
squanderonselfindulgenceWhentl1ishappens,our
kinddeedsbecometransgressions.T}Ius,itisvery
difficulttodogood,fOrdoingsorequiresbotl1compassionandwisdom.CompassionistlIegenuinedrivingfOrcebehindourassistingothersbutwisdomwi
helpustoexamineandjudgewhetherweshouldlIelp
ornot.Ifyes,thenwecandoso.IHIowever,theyare
96

tryingtocheatusandweknowwbattlIeyaredoing
weneedtoguidetbem.Iftbeyarenotoldorill,but
arehealthyandable,thenwecanencouragetlIemto
engageinproperworkinsteadofusingdeviousmeans
tomakealiving.

TherefOre,correctingourfaultstobeginanewis
notsomethingreadilyaccomplislIed,butrequirestime
andcontinuouseffort.Inthebeginningstages,difficultiesareunavoidable.Tobehaveinacourteous

mannerwl]ilebeingcarelessandthoughtlessinspeech
isabadl1abit.Sinceancienttimes,speeclIhasbeen
consideredthesourceofbotlIgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune)soweneedtobeconstantlyawareofour
speech
ConfuciustauglItusfOurstudies,thefirstofwl1ich
isvirtuousconductthatisbasictobeingadecent

person.Today,wewouldcalltlIismoraleducation
Howeverthiskindofeducationrarelyestsinour

society,aspeopletodayarelessconcernedaboutit.
Thesecondstudyisspeech26Confuciusstressedthe
importanceofourspeakingproperlyandrespectfully
sot}Iatwewouldnotharmotherswithourlackof
consideration.

Weoftenburtotherswithourcarelessspeech

Thosewehurtmaytakeoffenseandbeargrudges,and
inthefuturewillseekrevenge.Thus)manyproblems
arecreatedoutofmisunderstandingsandresentments
arisebecauseofwhatwehavesaid<TlIespealKerhad
nosuchintention,thelistenerinterpretedittobeso.
,,

97

Weneedtobecarefulandrestrainedinourspeech
Andankly,tbereisnoneedtotalkalot.Intalldng
lesswewillcommitfewermistakes.

Forourselfattainment,cl1antingAmituofois
enoughWesl1ouldalsoencourageotherPureLand
practitionerscultivatingpurityofmindtochantAmituofOaswellInthisway,whenwefindourselves
subjectedtohearinggossip,wewouldjustrespond
withAmituofO.Iftheygossipmore,thenagainsay,
<<AmituofO/LettlIemhearthisseveraltimesAfter

theyarefinisbedtalking,wewillhavelistenedbut
disregardedwl>attheysaidWewi>lonlyhavesaid
AmituofO))totl1em.ThisisgoodfOritisbestnotto
saymuchWehaveseenthatLiaofanhadthebad
l1abitoftalkingtoomuch
Therestrictiononintoxicantsisoneoftl1efivema-

jorpreceptsinBuddhismTheBuddl1aprolIibited
alcoholbecausemanypeoplebehavefOolishlywhen
intocatedTl1erefOre,thepreceptclearlystatesthat
wearenotevensupposedtotakeonedrop.Why?
TherewastlIefeartl1atwewouldlosecontrolandtl1is

leadstoproblemssuchasbrealdngadditionalprecepts.Ifwecandrinkamoderateamountofalcol1ol
andnotbecomeintoxicated,tlIentl1ereisanexception
totlIisprecept.
Intl>epastwhenIwasstudyinginTaizhong,Taiwan,mylateteacherMr.LiBingnanlecturedonthe

BokRBs.27Mr.ZhengKangcl1engalearned
scholarwholivedduringtheEastHandynastywrote
98

acommentaryontheBooARSthatcombined
insigbtwithvirtue.Mr.ZhengwasastudentofMr.
MaRongwhoinlIisowntimewasalsoanexceptional
scbolarHowever,beingnarrow-minded)Mr.Ma
wouldbecomeextremelydispleasedwlIeneveroneof
hisstudent)sacl1ievementssurpassedhisandMr
Zl1eng,sachievementsdidpreciselytl1at.Unableto
resignhimselftothesituation,Mr.Mahiredsomeone
tokillhisoutstandingstudent!
WhenMr.ZlIengtookleave{TomlIisteacl1er,Mr.
Matookallhisstudentstoapavilionseveralmilesout
oftownfOrafarewellgatheringandencouragedeveryonetostarttoasting.Eventually)Mr.Zl1engdrank
threelIundredtoasts!Mr.MahadplannedtogetMr.
ZlIengdrunk,tomakeitmuclIeasierfOrtbekillerto
carryouttlIeplan.Hehadnoideathatalcoholwould
l1avenoeffectonMr.Zheng,wboremainedcourteous
andproper.Mr.Lisaidthatifeveryonewasableto
drinkthismuchwithoutbeingaffectedthenBuddl1a
Shalqamuniwouldneverhaveneededtoestablishthis
precept!
WeneedtounderstandwhyBuddhaShabamuni
gaveustlIisaswellasotherpreceptsWhenlayBuddl1istpractitionerscook,itisallrighttousecooldng
winefOrflavoringbecausetheywillnotbecomeintoxicatedAlso,asalcoholcanimprovepoorblood
circulation,itispermissiblefOrt}1eelderlytodrinka
glassatmealtimesThesearesimplyexceptions,not
violationsoftl>eprecepts
99

Similarly)tl1erearefivepungentvegetablesthat
BuddIistsarediscouragedomeating:oniongarlic
chives,greenonions,andleeks.GarIicespecially.Why
didtheBuddhaprohibittlIese?TbeStJmI>gamaStJ[rH
explainstlIatpurityofmindismostimportantinour
cultivation.However,ifwehavenotreaclIedacertain

levelofattainment)ourintakeoffOodanddrinkcan

adverselyaffectourjudgmentOncewebaveachieved
acertainlevelandaremasterofourminds,wewillbe

abletoaffecttheenVronmentinsteadofbeingaf
fectedbyit.T}Ientherewillbenoobstacles.
Tl1eBuddhatoldustlIatwhenweeattl]esefive

vegetablesraw,itincreasesourirritabilityEating
tlIemcookedcanincreaseourhormoneproduction
andsexualurgesSo,therearereasonswhytheBuddhasetuptheseprecepts.WlIetlIereatenrawor
cooked,thefivevegetablesarefOrbiddenbecausethey
increaseafflictions.

Somelaypeoplehavesaidthatiftl1eycannoteat
tbesefivevegetables,tlIentheyarenotinterestedin
becomingvegetarians.Weneedtounderstandthe
purposebelIindthisprohiI)ition.Ifthesevegetables
areusedasseasoningslikewhenweuseoneortwo
clovesofgarlictoflavorourcooking)tlIenitwillnot
causeanyharm.Thus,wlIenweunderstandtlIereasoning,wewillseethatBuddlIismisverylogical,
flexible,andsensible.

Thereareexceptionstostrictlyobservingthepreceptsevenafterwehavereceivedthem.Theseexcepl00

tionsenableustointroduceBuddhismtoothersand

togetalonghappilywitheveryone.TberefOre,atcertainfimctions,weneedtobehavewisely)toadapt
ourselvestothecircumstances.Becauseitisanuni-

maginablyrareopportunityfOronetoencounterthe
teachings>weshouldmakeuseofanyandallopportunitiestointroducetheteachingstoothersEvenover
drinksandduringmealtime,wecanexplainBuddl>ism
tothemtoplanttherootofgoodness.Thesearerare
educationalopportunitiesnottobewasted.
Ittookmemorethantenyearstocomplete
tlIetl1reetl1ousandmeritoriousdeedsIl1ad
vowedtodoIwasunabletodedicatetl1e

meritsfromthesethreet}Iousandgooddeeds
atatempleuntilIreturnedtomyhometown
inthesoutb,afewyearslater.AttlIattimeI
hadtlIeopportunitytoasktwomonksto
dedicatetl1emfOrme.

BecauseLiaofanhadapostwithtl1earmytl1atrequiredconstanttraveling,hedidnothaveacl1anceto
dedicatetlIemerits.Itwasnotuntiltheyearafterbe
hadfulfilledhispledgeofthreethousandgooddeeds
thatl1ehadthechancetodoso.Heengagedtl1eserv1cesofsomemonksatatempletodedicatetl1emerits
onbisbelIalf.Whenhehadmadel1ispledge,heexpressedhissincerityandearnestnessinturningovera
newleafandinaccumulatingmeritsandvirtues.
Uponcompletionofhisthreethousandvirtuous
l0l

deeds,hededicatedthemtorepayhisgratitudeand
fOrthefUlfillmentofhiswish

Tl1en,Imademysecondwishandtl1atwas
fOrason.IvowedtocompleteanotlIerthree
thousandgooddeeds.Afewyearslater,your
mot}1ergavebirthtoyouandnamedyou
Tianqi

Liaofanwasnotdestinedtohaveason,buthaving
madetlIewishfOrone,fOunditwasfulfilled<Proper

seekingwillenhancethegain/)HeattainedlIiswislI
duetocorrectseekingandcultivation.BefOrehehad
completedtl1esecondthreetbousandgooddeeds,his
wifegavebirthtotheirfirstson>Tian[liFromtlIis,we
canseethatifwesincerelyandproperlymakeawish,
itwillcometrue.AlthougbhehadgainedasonbefOre
completingl1ispledgeofthetbreethousandgood
deeds>lIestillhonoreditItwasthesameaswlIatbad

previouslytranspiredHetooktheimperialexamination,butbefOrelIecouldfUlfiIIispledgehecamein
firstinsteadofthedestinedthirdplaceThisistobein
accordanceandtlIeresultsomsuchaccordanceare

trulyinconceivable

EverytimeIperfOrmedagooddeed,Iwould
recorditinabookYourmotberwbocould

notreadorwritewoulduseagoosefeather

dippedininkShemadearedcircleontlIe
calendarfOreverygooddeeds}1edidSomel02

timesshegavefOodtotlIepoororbouglIt
livingcreaturesinthemarketplaceandfiFeed
tl1eminthewildSherecordedallofthese

witlIhercirclesonthecalendar.Attimes,
sl1ecouldaccumulatemoretbantencircles

inoneday!

Ifwel1avethebearttofreecaptiveanimals,we
needtobecarefillnottobedeceivedManypeoplego
topetstorestobuytheanimalsjusttoreleasethem
However,tl1eseanimalswerespecificallycapturedfOr
thispurpose.IfwedidnotcreatetlIedemand)the
storeswouldnottrytofillitbycapturingmore!Tl1is
putsincreasednumbersofanimalsatriskandcauses
moreharmthangoodAsaresult,weaccumulate
offensesratberthanmeritsandvirtues.

TberefOrewhenwewanttoeeanimalsweneed

todosoonlywithtl]osetlIatweinadvertentlycome
uponwhenwegogroceryshopping.Donotseektl1em
deliberatelyfOrtodosoistohaveanintentioninstead

ofdoingitnaturally.Aswehappentocomeuponone,
weneedtodetermineifitwillbeabletosurvIveonits

own.Ifnot)itwouldbebestnottobuyitbutinstead
usethemoneytoaccomplishsomeothermeritsand
virtues.Weneedtoactwisely,notimpulsivelyor
emotionally.
ThemeaningoffTeeingcapturedcreaturesdoesnot
justincludesettinganimalsorbirdsfTeeItalsoin-

cludesbecomingavegetarianandencouragingothers
l03

nottokilllivingbeingsbuttocarefOrthem.Forexamplewecanprintandfreelydistributecopiesofthe
bookcalledtlIeLonb.Tl1isbookcanl1elpmore
childrennurturetlIeirlovefOrlivingcreatures.Doing
this,wewilltrulyachievetheessenceofeeingliving
creatures

WeneedtounderstandthespiritandtheprofOund
meaningbehindwhatwearetaught,notjustdosometl1ingfOrthesakeofdoingit.AsfOrthepracticeof
giving)tl1erearemanykinds>includingthegivingof
wealth)teaching,andfearlessness.Eachhasitsown
inconceivablyvastandprofOundmeanings.
BothLiaofanandbiswifehadreainedfTom

wrongdoingandpracticedgooddeeds.Obviously,they
wereaccomplishingtheirgoalsmuchfasterthanbefOrewhentl1eyweresometimesunabletoaccomplish
onegooddeedadaybuttookseveraldaystodoso.
Thisiswhyittooktenyearstocompletetl1efirst
pledgeoftl1reethousandvirtuousdeedsButnowtl1ey
wereabletoaccomplishmorethantenaday,which
wasavastimprovement.ItisverydifficulttorefOrm
buttheybotl1hadtheperseveranceandthepatience
todoso.Withoutthewillpowerandtl1edetermination,itisnoteasytoeradicateourbadhabitsand
faults,andthisiswl1ymanyofusregressmorethan
weprogressonthepathtoenlightenment.

EverydaywepracticedlikethisandinfOur
years,tbethreethousanddeedswerecoml04

pletedAgain>Iinvitedthesametwomasters
tomaketbededications,tlIistimeatour

homeOnthel3thdayoftl1enintlImontlIof
thatsameyear>Imademyt}1irdwislIand
thatwastopassthehighestleveloftheimperialexamination.Ialsovowedtocomplete
tent}1ousandmeritoriousdeeds.Aftert}1ree

years,IattainedmywishandpassedtlIeexamination.Iwasalsomadethemayorof
Baodicounty.
ItonlytookfOuryears)froml58Otol583)tocompletethesecondpledgeofthreethousandgooddeeds,
whereasithadtakenovertenyearstoaccomplishtlIe
firstsimilarpledge.
Liaofanwasnotdestinedtopassthisparticularexamination.HisdestinyalsodidnotincludelIavinga
sonbutheattainedonethroughhisseeMngandpractice.Itwouldalsobeavariableif}Iiswishtopassthe
examinationweretocometruealtl1ougl1hewasnot
destinedtopassitEverytlIingthatMasterYungul1ad
taughtl1improvedtobetrue.Nowhepledgedtocompletetent}Iousandgooddeeds.Inl586,onlytl1ree
yearsafterhispledgeaseected,heattainedl1is
wisl1inpassingtheexamination.

Afterthis,hewasassignedbytheimperialgovernmenttobetl1emayorofBaodicounty,wl1ichwas
closetoBeijing.Tl1ispositionlIadnotbeeninlIis
originaldestinyPreviously>l1ehadbeendestinedto
l05

beamagistrateinacountyinSichuancounty,in
SoutbwestChinafarfTomBeijing

Ipreparedasmallbooktorecordmymerits
andfaultsandcalledittheBooACiJAr-

iJgelEverymorning,whenIbegan
workintheofficemyservantwouldbring
thebookand}1avet}Ieguardplaceitonmy
deskIwouldrecordmyeverydeed-goodor
bad-nomatterhowsmallAtnight,Isetup

analtarinthecourtyardandputonmyofficialuniformtoemulatetl1ewayofMr.Zhao,
anofficerintheSongdynasty.Iburnedincenseandreportedallmydeedstothel1eavenSo

Thisl1elpsustounderstandhowhefeltaboutmanagingpublicaffairsafterhecameintoofficeandofhis
wis}1tocreategoodfOrtuneforothers.Atthetime
cityorcountymayorswerenotelectedbutwerechosenbytheimperialgovernment.Liaofanwasavery
goodcountymayor.28Herefrainedfromwrongdoing
cultivatedgooddeeds,andaccumulatedmeritsand
virtues

Atthebeginningofhistermofoffice,l1eprepareda
blankbookandnamedittlIeBokofOIiZmge
InZHeusediteverydaytorecordbisgoodorbad

thoughtsanddeeds,sothatl1ecouldbewatchfulover
themtoseewhenhewouldbeabletofulfilll1ispledge
oftentl1ousandgooddeeds.
l06

Atnightheopenlyreportedtothegodsandspirits
everytbinghelIaddonethroughouttbeday,apractice
fOllowedbymanypeopleTobepureinbodyand
mind,theywouldhonestlyadmittoeverything.Buddhistscallthis<confessingandapologizingtothe
public.))
Once,yourmotherwasconcernedwhenshe
sawt}IatIhadnotaccumulatedmuchmerit

Inthepast>shehadbeenableto}Ielpmein
ouraccumulationofgooddeedsandwewere
abletocompletethethreethousandmeritoriousdeeds.Now,Ihadmadeavowtocom-

pletetenthousandmoredeedsbutthere
werefeweropportunitiestopracticethemat
thegovernmentresidenceSbeworried
abouthowlongitwouldbebefOremyvow
couldbefUlfilled

BefOre}Iebecameagovernmentofficial,Liaofan
wasnotasbusywithworkItwasalsoeasyforlIiswife
toassisthimindoinggoodacts.Butasanofficial,he
andhiswife>ivedinagovernmentresidence.Atthe
time,tlIerewaslittlecontactbetweenthoseintlIe

officialresidence,especiallytheirfamilymembersand
thepublicTherefOre,hiswifewasnolongerableto
helpbiminhiscultivationandaccumulation.She

worriedwbentheywouldbeabletofUlfilltbepledge.
ThatnightIdreamedofaheavenlybeing
l07

andtoldhimofmydifficultyincompleting
thetenthousandgooddeeds.ThelIeavenly
beingremindedmethatuponbecoming
mayor,Ihadreducedtbetaxesontbefarmlands.Thatonegooddeedwaswortbten
tl1ousandmeritsMyvowwasalreadyful
filled!

Wl1enIbecamemayor,thefarmersinBaodi
countywerelIighlytaxedsoIreducedthetax
bynearlybalf.But)Ifeltbewilderedandstill
}IaddoubtsHowcouldjustonedeedbe
worthtenthousandmerits?

TlIetaxreductionwassubstantialandlIadbene-

fitedalltlIefarmersintbecountyActuallyfarmore
tbantentl1ousandfarmersintl1ecountylIadbenefited;thus,tlIishadeasilyfUlfilledtlIepledge.However,hewasuncomfOrtablefortworeasonsHowhad
theheavenlybeingknownwhathehaddoneandhow
couldtbisoneacthavebeenworthsomanymerits
andvirtues?

Fromthis,wecanseewhyitissaidtl1ataposition

inthegovernmentisagoodplacetoaccumulatemeritsandvirtues.Averagepeopleusuallydonothavethis
kindofopportunitytocultivatesucl1goodfOrtuneand
merit.IfLiaofan}1adnotbecomeacountymayor,l1ow
manyyearswouldithavetakenlIimtocompletel1is
pledge?Atthattime,hehadtheopportunitytobenefit
tl1ousandsoffarmerswitl1onedeedbecausehel1elda
l08

governmentoffice.Tbus}Iisonegooddeedwas
equivalenttotenthousand
Itiseasytoaccumulatemeritsandjustaseasyto
commitwrongdoings.Ifapublicpolicydoesnotbenefitpeople,butprovesbarmful,thisactwillbecometen
thousandoffenses.GoodfortuneormisfOrtunede-

pendsonourthougbts.Thehigherourposition>tlIe
greaterarethepossibilitiesforcreatinggoodfOrtune
ormisfOrtune.Porexamplealeaderofacountrycan
implementonepolicy,whichifitprovesbeneficialto
allthecitizenswillactuallyaccomplishthousands,
evenmillionsofgooddeedsOntheotlIerhand,ifthe
leaderimplementsapolicythatprovesharmfUlt}Ien
heorshewill}Iavecommittedthousands,evenmillions,ofbaddeeds.

Asmostpeople>sopportunitiesaremorelimited)
theyarerestrictedinthegoodorbadtheycandoIfa
personhasstatus,andthushastheopportunity)heor
sheneedstobecautiousinhisorhereveryaction.By
cultivatinggooddeeds,beorshewillhaveabright
future.Todootherwisewillensurethatheorsl1ewill

fallintotheThreeBadPathstosuffert}Iere.WlIy?
Duetohisorherhighstatus,dIeresultsfromthat
personsactionsaremorefar-reaclIingtlIanthoseof
averagecitizens.

CoincidentallytheZenMasterHuanyuwas
travelingfromWutaiMountainandstopped
inBaodi.Iinvitedhimtothegovernment
>09

residence,toldl1imofmydream,andasked
w}Ietheritwasbelievable.MasterHuanyu
said:(Ifonedoesagooddeedwithsucba
trueandsincereheartwitbouteectationof
reward,tlIenonedeedcanindeedbeworth

themeritsoftentlIousandBesides,youract
ofreducingthetaxesintlIiscountybenefits
morethantentlIousandpeople!))
NotlongafterhelIadhisdream,hehappenedto
meetaZenmasterandaskedbimiftlIefulfillmentof

thepledgewaspossible.ItwouldhavebeenwonderfUl
iflIispledgewasindeedcompleted!Ifitwasnottrue,
thenhewouldgraduallyworktoaccomplishtl1ese
deeds.MasterHuanyutold}]imyes,onedeedsincerelydonecanbeworththemeritsoftentl]ousand
gooddeeds.
Tbisprinciple,(tocultivateoneistocultivateall>)
waselainedintheAJaZamsaAaStJKIaItisthelearningandcultivationofnon-hindrance.Everything
arisesfTomourtruenature.Ifthecultivationisin

accordancewiththetruenature>tbenitcanbere-

gardedascultivatingallIfwedogooddeedsthatare
notomourtruenatureandbecauseweareseeldng

wewillonlyreceivewbatweseeknotl1ingmore.If
weseekfromthetruenature,thennotonlywillwe
attainwhatweseek,butalsowewillgaininfinite
benefits.

Whatisthenatureofthemind?Anexample,whicl1
ll0

iseasytounderstand,iscalledpurityofmindinthe
PureLandschoolW}Ienourmindsarepure,allof
ourdeedswillbegoodThus,wewillaccumulatefar
morethanjusttentbousandgooddeeds.Buddha
AmitablIaisanameofmillionsofvirtues.Aswe

graduallycometounderstandthetruereality,wewill
realizethatwlIatMasterOu-Yisaidwaslogical,that
BuddbaAmitabhaencompassesalltheinfinitewaysof
practiceHesaid:<Ifweareabletobemindfulof
BuddlIaAmitab}Ia,tbenwewillunderstandallt}Ie
wisdomoftheBuddhistCanonWecanalsoattain

awakeningwiththeguidanceoftheseventeen}IundredstoriesoftheZenschool)

ThepracticeofZenBuddbismandtheother
schoolsallareencompassedwithinAmituofOMaster
Ou-Yialsosaidthatthreetbousandkindsofdignified
manners,eightythousandminutecourtesies,and
threedivisionsofpreceptsareallwitbinAmituofoAl!
tlIeprecepts,alltheBuddhistteachings,andail
worldlyteacbingsarealsoincludedwit}IinAmituofO
Allmetbodsandwaysofpracticearewithintbisname
fOr(oneisalI,allisone)>Whenwe}Iaveachieved

purityofmind)thenwewillhaveperfectlyaclIieved
innumerablemethodsTherearestillmanyw}Iodonot
yetlmowtheinfiniteadvantagesfoundinthename
AmituofO

Whenwegiverisetothougbts,alltheBuddbas,
Bodhisattvas,andspiritsof}Ieavenandearthlmow
tbem.SincetlIetruemindbasnolimitorboundary,
lll

whenwedoeventheslightestgooddeediftbisone
tlIoughtarisesfromourtruenatureitwillaccordwith
thetruemindThen)nomatterlIowsmalltbedeed,
tberesultwillbenefittheentireuniverse.Liaofanhad

yettoreaclIthisstateofmindHebadonlybenefited
thepublicintheplIenomenalaspect.
Wl1enwedoagooddeedwitbasincereheart,this
deedcanindeedbeworththemeritsoftentbousand

gooddeedsMasterHuanyutoldLiaofanthatl]isact
ofreducingthetaxesinthecountylIadrelievedtl1e
sufferingofheavytaxesonalltlIefarmersandl1ad
benefitedmorethantenthousandpeople.However,
Liaofanhadyettounderstandthis,ashiscompletion
ofthetenthousandgooddeedswasdonefromthe
pbenomenalaspectIflIebaddoneso{Tomhistrue
nature,thatisifhehadcultivatedfromlIistruemind,

thenthatonegooddeedwouldnotl1avebeenworth
justtl1emeritsoftenthousandbutofinnumerable
gooddeeds!
Ifweseesomeoneinneedandunreservedlygive
himonedollar,thenthemeritoftlIisaccordswithour
truenaturebecauseatthattimewedidnothavedif

ferentiatingthoughtsofothersandus.Wedidnot
distinguisbbetweenreceiveranddonor.Wewerenot
attachedInthiswaythemeritsfromgivingonedollar
areinfinitefOrtheyaretheuncoveringofourvirtuous
natures

Themeritfromgivingmillionsofdollarsmaybe
lessthanthatofonedollarsincerelygiven.Why?We
llZ

mayIavegiventhismoneyomourEightConscious
nessesTismindofdiscriminatorythoughtsand
attachmentsislimitedandt}Ius,weareunableto

breaktbroughtbisobstacleofdiscrimination
ThereasonwlIyourmeritscannotcomparewith
thoseofBuddhasandBodbisattvasisthedifferences

inourmindsinourintentionsT}IeenVronment

cl1angesaccordingtothemindAsordinarypeople,we
areverynarrow-minded;t}Ius,nomatterbowmuch
goodfOrtuneor}Iowmanymeritswecultivate,weare
boundbyourdiscriminatorythoughtsandattachments.ButtbesenolongerbindBod}Iisattvasand
Arhats.EvenwbentbeyperfOrmasmalldeed,their
meritsareinfiniteInunderstandingt}Iisprinciple,our
everytboughtwillbeperfect,andourmeritsand
virtueswillbeinfinite.Liaofancouldnotyeteven
imaginethisstateofmindSo,hepracticedfiFomtbe
aspectofphenomena,andtbus,hebenefitedonlyten
tbousandpeople.
Uponbearingthis,Iimmediatelygaveallmy
savIngsfOrhimtotakebacktoWutaiMountain.IaskedhimtousethemoneyfOrafOod
offeringfOrtenthousandmonksandtodedicatethemeritsfOrme

ItwasraretoseeapersonlikeLiaofan>whowitlIouthavingtothinkgavelIissavIngstoprovidemeals

fOrtenthousandmonks.Usually,wbenlaypeople
wishedtobegeneroustheywouldprovidemealsfr
ll3

onetl1ousandmonksornuns29butLiaofanwantedto

dosofortenthousand,tofUlfillhisgreatvowoften
tbousandgooddeeds.
MrYouexplainedinhiscommentary:(<Someone
whomakessuchaquickdecisiontogivegenerously,
witlIouttheslightestreluctantormiserlytl1ought,will
gaininfinitegoodfOrtuneinreturn.>)SuchspontaneousgenerosityshowedthatLiaofanwasanhonest

officialandnotatallcorruptforhegaveallofhis
saVngstoprovidefOodfOrtenthousandpeopleHow
muclImoneycouldhe}Iavel1ad?Hecamefromapoor
buthonestfamily.Andhewassounusualinthatl1e
deeplyunderstoodandbelievedinthelawofcausality
Hewouldneverl1avetakenanythingthatwasnothis,
somet}1ingnotreadilyacl1ievedbymostpeopleWl1en
wedoactsofgoodnessmostofusdoverylittle.For
example,wemigl1tgiveonelIundreddollarstoagood
causeandfeelverypleasedwithourselves.Liaofan
gaveeverythinghehadHewasaveryrareperson
indeed

Mr.KonghadpredictedthatIwoulddieat
theageoffifty-tlIree.HoweverIsurvived
tl1atyearwitl1outillnessalthougbIdidnot
asktheheavensforalongerlife.NowIam
sixty-nine.

Liaofanwasdestinedtodieattheageoffifty-tlIree.
Itwasanextremelyaccurateprediction.AfterencounteringaseveremisfOrtunebewoulddieinhishome
ll4

ontlIethdayoftheeighthmonthbetweenoneand
tlIreeoclocldnthemorning.Liaofanwrotehisbook
att}Ieageofsixty-nineHehadnotsougbttolive
beyondfifty-threebuthepassedthatyearingood
healthwitl1outencounteringanyseveremisfOrtune.
ObviouslytlIeissuesofbirthanddeath,andof
longlife)areoftheutmostimportanceinourlives.If
longlifecanbesoughtwhatistherethatcannotbe
sougbt?Wit}Ioutlonglife)itwouldbedifficulttoseek
theattainmentandenjoymentoffame,wealth,prestigeandchildren.Thisseekingbastobedoneproperly,inaccordancewiththeteachings>fromtl]emind
andl1eartofutmostsincerityIntl1isway,everytlIing
canbeattained.

Ifweweretoseekfromoutsideofourselvesthen

asMasterYungusaid,wewouldloseombotIwitbin
andwitl1out.Everythingthatisproperlyandsincerely
soughtisattainable>whetherweareBuddbistsseeking
goodfOrtune,wisdom,andrebirthintothePureLand
orotbersseekinggoodfOrtune,longlives,andrebirth
intolIeavenlndeed,wecanseektoattainmoregood
fOrtune,anevenlongerlifeandgrandclIildren.Nothingisunattainable.WelIaveseenthatLiaofangained
goodfOrtune)longlifeandchildrentototallysurpass
theconstantinhisdestiny.Tbesewerewhathegained
throughcultivationnotbecausetheyweredestined.

TheBooAsmIyelainsDestinyexists
butitischangeable.
ll5

Tl1eBosmU0isChinasoldestIistorical
recordofthesystemsofdecreesandregulationsin
ancienttimes.OurdestiniescanbeaccuratelyfOretold,bythecalculationoftbenumbers.Tl1econstant,
predestination)doesexist)butitisverydifficultto
believetlIatitwillstaythatwaybecausethereare
variablesduetoadditionsubtraction,multiplication
anddivision

Liaofanl1adrefrainedfromcommittingwrongdoingsandbegantocultivategooddeeds,therebygraduallydecreasinghisbaddeedsandincreasinghisgood
ones.Hisactofreducingtaxesbecameoneofmultiplicationnotaddition.Thus,tentlIousandgooddeeds
wereperfectlycompletedinamatterofdays.
Ifbowever,hehaddonemucl1evil,theninaninstant,itwouldhavebecomeanactofdivisionnot

subtractionTherefOre,thereareindeedactionsresult

inginadditionandsubtractionaswellasthoseresultinginmultiplicationanddivisiontl1atresultomour
thoughtsandactionsThesearewbatcreateconsiderablevariancesThereareconstantsbuttheyarenot
fixed;tlIeychange.
TheBDOAsDyelainsthatdestinyexistsbut
isdifficulttobebelievedbymostpeoplebecauseitis
clIangeable.dccomReqesrandReonsefur
tlIerelains:NeithermisfOrtunenorgoodfOrtune
willcomewithoutreasonsandconditions;weincur

them.))Inotherwords,tlIeyaretheretributionsfrom
ourpastactions.
ll6

<Destinyisnotset,butiscreatedanddeterminedbyourselves.)>Allthisistrue.
Tl1isisalsoomtheBooAfsmIyandstresses
theimportanceofvirtuouscultivationandofhow

variablescansurpassconstants.Theteachingsof
ancientsagesandvirtuousonesarethetruthand
tl1erefOreareunchangeableThenasnow)wecall
tl1emsutras.,Wbenweapplytheteachingstoday
tl1eyarestilltrue.
Ifwedonotbelieveinthemandcl]ooseinsteadto

f0llowouropinionsandtbuscommitwrongdoings,we
willonlyincreaseouroffenses.Evenifweweretogain
somesmallbenefit,wewouldonlygainsometl1ingtl1at
weweredestinedtohave.IfwedonotlmowlIowto

cultivatevirtuesthenwewillnotbeabletokeepwlIat
weattain.NotonlycanwenotlIoldontoourwealtl1
wecannotevenholdontoourlives!Andifwecannot

holdontoourlives,tbenwhatistlIeuseofhaving
greatwealtl1?
T}IisworldmaybebesetwithdisastersanytimeWe
mayloseourlivesanymoment.Thinkaboutitwl1atis
thepointofhavinganythingelse?Itwouldallbeuseless,evenifweownedeverything.Itisclearlyexpressedin(SamantabbadraBodhisattva)sConductand
VowsfTomtheAmmsaAaStJn.Aswebreatl1eour

lastbreath,weareunabIetotakeanythingwit}Iusto
thenextlife,whetheritisfamilymembers,friends
prestige,orwealth;wetakenoneofthese!Whatwe
l>7

areabletotakewithusaretheTenGreatVowsof

SamantabbadraBodhisattva,toconstantlykeepthem
witlIusandtoguideustotbePureLand
ItissaidinBuddhismthat(NothingcanbecaITied
overtothenextlifeexceptourkarma.),Tl1eseare
criticalwordsofcaution.Knowingtl1atourkarmawill
followuslikeashadow>weneedtobediligentin
cultivatinggooddeedsandnottocarryournegative
karmawithus,fOrtodosowillleadusintotheThree
BadPatbs.Coodkarmawillleadustobereborninto

theTl1reeGoodPaths.AndpureMrmafiFomConstant
MindfUlnessofBuddbaAmitabhawillleadustobe

rebornintotheWesternPureLandPromthis,itis
clearwhatweneedtodoint}Iislife.Weneedto

broadenourperceptionsandeandourthinking
insteadofbeingconcernedwithtrivialitiesorcalculatingourgainsandlossesLifeisverys}Iort.Itwouldbe
oftremendousmerit,ifinthislifeweweretodomore

goodness)tobenefitmorepeople.
Ifafterreadingt}Ieteachingsofancientsagesand
virtuouspeople,weareabletobelieve)acceptand
abidebythemthenwewillreceiveinexhaustible
meritsandbenefits.IfweareunabletobelieveintlIe

teachingsthinkingtbattheyareunreliablefairytales
tbentl1isisduetoourkarmicobstacles.Becauseof

this,wewillmissthisunsurpassableandoutstanding
opportunity

IcametounderstandthatbothgoodfOrtune
ll8

andmisfOrtunearetheresultsofourownac-

tions.Thesearetrulythewordsofsagesand
virtuouspeoplelIfsomeonesaidthatgood
fOrtuneandadversityaredeterminedbytlIe
heavensIwouldconsiderthatpersonordinary

ThesewereLiaofanswordsofawakening.Great
sagesandvirtuouspeoplehavetruewisdomandare
abletoclearlyseethetruerealityBuddhasandBodhisattvasareunsurpassedsages
Tl1isstatementtalksaboutaconstant.WlIatMr.

KonghadfOretoldofLiaofanIsdestinywasbasedon
commontheoriesWl1atMasterYungutaugl1tl1imfOr
changingl]isdestinyweretbeteachingsofsagesand
virtuouspeopleKnowingthiswhywouldweneedto
haveourfOrtunestold?Doweneedtoseekadvice

omfengsl1uimasters?Ofcoursenot!Weneedto
believeintheteachingsofsagesandvirtuouspeople,
tolmowthatourdestiniesarewithinourcontroland

tl1atwecanre-createourfUturestobebriglItand
splendid
Tianqi,myson,Iwonderwhatyourlifewill
belike?WeshouldalwayspreparefOrthe
worst.TlIerefOre,evenintimesofprosperity,

actasifyouwerenot.Wbenthingsaregoing
yourwaybemindfulofadversityWlIenyou
l1aveenoughfOodandclothing,bemindfUl
ofpoverty.
ll9

LiaofansdestinyhadbeenaccuratelyfOretoldbut
hissonswasnot;thus,hedidnotImowwhatwould

happentohimInactuality)t}Ierewasnoneedto
lmow.Liaofantaughthimtbatitwasimportantto
rememberthatevenintimesofprosperity,hewasto
actasiflIewasnot.Evenifheobtainedgreatwealth
andsocialposition)andbecameahiglI-rankingofficial
witlIpowerandinfluence>heneededtorememberthe
timeswhenhe}IadnoneW}Iy?BecauseinthefUture
evenifwebecomeprosperous,wewillbeabletoremainhumbleandcourteousandnotarrogantlythink
tbatwelIavewealthandprestigewhileotbersdonot.
IfwecanremainmodesttlIenwewillnurturetrue

virtueandgoodfOrtune
Evenwheneverythingisgoingverysmoot}Ilywe
needtorememberthedifficulttimes.Inthisway
whenthingsaregoingourwaywewillremaincautiousToday>evenwlIenwel1avemorethanenough
fOodandclotlIingweneedtobetbriftylfweconstantlydotl1iswhenwehavewealthandprestige,then
wewillbeabletoimprovebothourmoralandcaring
conduct.

AgoodexampleisMrFanZhongyanwbowasfTom
averypoorfamily.Wllenhewasyoungandstudying
attempleshehadlittletoeat.Livinginastateof
impoverislIment,hecookedapotofporridgeevery
day,divideditintofOurportions)andateoneportiona
mealWhenlIeprosperedlaterinlifeandbecame
primeminister,hewasunderthedirectsupervisionof
l20

t}Ieemperorandwasinahigherpositionthaneveryoneelse.Buthestillmaintainedhissimplemannerof
livingandcbangedverylittleWhenheearnedmore,
hethoughtoft}Iosew}Iowerepoverty-striCkenand
helpedthem.Fromhisbiography,welmowthatbe
supportedovert}IreelIundredfamilies!WitbhisincomehelpingtoprovidefOrsomany,welmowtl]atlIe
musthavelivedinimpoverishedconditions.
HewastrulyoneofCbina,Sgreatsages.Theesteem
thatMasterYinGuang}IadfOrhimwassecondonlyto
ConfUciusMrFan,sdescendantscontinuedtopros-

peruntiltlIeearlypartoftbe2Otbcenturybecausehe
lIadfOsteredmeritsandvirtuestolastoveronehun-

dredgenerations.TbefamilyofConfi1ciusisfOremost
asanoldandwell-lmownfamily,followedbythatof
Mr.FanwlIosefamilylineageremainedstrongfOr
eigbthundredyearsduetohisexceptionalcultivation
andaccumulationJfmeritsHisdescendantscontin-

uedtl]efamilytraditionofbelpingothers.Throughout
Cl]inesebistory>fewfamilieshaveaccumulatedtlIis
mucbgreatvirtue
WeneedtounderstandtlIatgreatgoodfortuneis

thatwhichwesharewithothersfOrintbiswayour
ensuinggoodfOrtunewillbecomeinexhaustible.

WlIenlovedandrespectedbyall,remainapprel1ensiveandconservative.W}Ienthefam-

ilyisgreatlyrespected,carryyourselfhumbly.AndwlIenyourlearningisextensiveand
l2l

profOund,alwaysfeelthatthemoreyou
learnthelessyoulmow.

ThereisanoldsayinginCbinaaboutbeingoverwl1elmedbyanuneectedfavor.ItisgoodfOrotlIers
toloveandprotectus.However)weneedtothinkAre
wewortlIyofthiscareandrespect?Weneedtobe
constantlyapprehensiveaboutourdeficienciesto
constantlyreHect,toprogressinourcultivationof
virtuesandnotdisappointother)sexpectationsofus.
Beingl1umbleandfeelingtbatwearenotknowledgeableenoughwillhelptoeradicateourarrogance
ArroganceisoneofthefivemaJorafflictionsandis
relatedtotheotherfOurofgreedangerignorance,
anddoubtWecanpractice}IumilitytobegineradicatingafflictionsIfwedosocompletely,wewillbeable
touncoverourvirtuousnaturesandtotrulyachievein
ourcultivationofmerits.

Forthepastwecanthinkofhowtoadvocatethevirtuesofourancestors.Forthe

present)wecanthinkofhowtoconcealthe
faultsofourparents.Forthecountry,we
canthinlKofhowwecanrepayitskindness
tousandfOrthefamilywecanthinkofhow
tobringaboutitsgoodfortune.Forother

peoplethinlKofhowtobelpthoseinneed
aroundusandfOrwithinourselvesthinkof

}Iowtopreventimproperthoughtsandactionsomarising
l2Z

Here,LiaofangivesusanimportantkeytorecreatingdestinyOurthoughtswillprovidetheguidelinesforincreasingourvirtuesandmorality,andfOr
developinggooddeeds.Inthepast,Chineseeducation
tauglItoftherelationshipsbetweenhumans,between
humansandspirits,andbetweenhumansandnature.
Ittaughtustoconstantlythinkfarintothepastto
bonorandmakeknowntbevirtuesofourancestors.If

wearerespectedbysocietyfOrourmoralprinciples,
lmowledgeandwork,thenwearebonoringourancestors

Intoday)ssocieI,whatisthedrivingfOrcebel1ind
bardwork?Wealtb,fame,andprestigeMostpeople
willdowbateverisnecessarytoacquiretheseIfthere
werenowealthtogain,howmanywouldbewillingto
worksohard?Veryfew!Intbepast,thedrivingfOrce
behindpeople>shardworkwasfilia>pietyIntbeir
mindfUlnessofancestorsandparents,theydidtlIeir
besttoaccumulatemeritsandvirtuesontheirbehalf,
andto}Ionort}]em.ThisdrivingfOrceismuchwort}Iierandnoblerthanthatofwealt}I,fameandprestige!ThishasbeenthetraditionofChineseculture
andConfucianteac}IingfOrseveraIthousandsofyears.
Buddhismisalsobasedonthefoundationoffilial

pietyThus)theritualofmakingofferingstoancestors
andtheestablis}Imentofancestralmemorial}Iallsare

highlyregarded,asfilialpietyistbeultimaterootand
fOundationofC}Iineseculture.Ifweareabletobe

filialtowardsparentsandancestors,abletoremember
>23

ourroots,thenwewillnaturallybeabletothinkand

conductourselvesproperlyandtorefTainfTomwrongdoings
orthepresent,wecanthinklIowtoconcealthe

faultsofourparents.Thisreferstothosewhoare
closetous.Whenthechildrenarefilialandl1ave

contributedtosocietytheneveniftl1eparentsbad
committedminoroffensespeoplewilloverlookthese
andpraisetl1eparentsfOrlIavingraisedsuchfilial
clIildren.

<Forthecountry)wecanthinkofhowwecanrepay
itsldndnesstous.))Aboveusisthecountryorgovernment,whichhastlIemissionofbeingaresponsible
leader,parentandteachertoitscitizens;ofproviding
aplacewberepeoplecanliveandworkinpeaceand
contentment.Inreturn,tl>ecitizenscanbeloyaland
dedicatetl1emselvestotheircountry.
orthefamily,wecantl1inkofhowtobringabout
itsgoodfOrtune>)Belowusisthefamily.Beingmindfuloftl]efamilydoesnotjustmeantl1enuclearfamily,butthewlIolefamilyasitwasthoughtofinthe
pastAsamemberweneedtobemindfi1lincreating
familygoodfrtunefOrthewl1olenotjustfOrtbe
immediatepart.TherefOre,whenonepersonachieves
goodfrtunetheextendedfamilycanalsobenefit
fTomit

orotlIerpeople,thinkofhowtobelpthosein
needaroundus.>Alwaysbearinmindtheinterestsof
society.Weneedtodoallwecantoservesocietyand
l21

tocreategoodfOrtuneforallothersToday,themost
urgentneedisrevIvInganddevelopingtbeeducation
ofmorality
orwithinourseIves,thinkofhowtopreventim-

properthoughtsandactionsomarising.Weneedto
suppresswanderinganddeviatedthougl1tsbemindfi1l
ofwbatwearesupposedtodo,andletgoofexcessive
ambitions.Ifallofuscandosoandfulfillourresponsibilities,societywouldbefortunateandharmonious,

andtheworldwillbeatpeace.Menciusexplained:(If
peopleofnobleclIaracterandintegritycanmeettheir
responsibilities,thenthetrut}Icanberevealed)
InConfucianteaching,thisaccountabilityrefersto
thefivehumanrelationshipsincludingthosebetween
husbandsandwives,parentsandchildren>siblings,
iends,andpoliticalleadersandtbepublic.Weneed
tofulfillourresponsibilitiestowardssocietyandothers
earnestlyanddiligentlyinordertocreategoodfOrtune
forourfamilyandsociety.
Weneedtofindourfaultsdailyandtocorrectthemimmediately.Ifweareunableto
detectourfaults,wewillthinkthateverythingwedoisrightWhenweareunableto
correctourfauIts,improvementwillbeimpossible.
Awakening-tlIebeginningofenlightenment-is
beingabletodetectourfaultsdaily.Webeginthis
processwhenwefirstbringfOrthourvowtobecome
>25

anequal-enlightenmentBodlIisattva.Aswediscover
ourfaultsdaily,weneedtocorrectthem.Thisiscultivation.Itisthetrueachievementinthecultivationof

greatsagesandvirtuouspeople>andisthekeyto
changingourdestinies,toleavingsufferingbehind,
andtoattainingl1appiness.Wl1enmostpeopleare
unabletobecomevirtuouspeopleandsagesinone
lifetimeandareunabletoachieveintheircultivation,

theywillfindthattheproblemliesbere.
Tolmowourfaultsdailyistoawakendaily.Once
wediscoverafault)wesincerelycorrectit;tl1isishow
wewillbuildourstrengthofcultivation.Weneednot
domuchIfweweretofindandcorrectonefaulta

daytbenwewouldbecomeasageorvirtuousperson
inthreeyearS.
AspractitionerswhochanttheBuddl1a)sname,if
weareabletocorrectonefaultdailyandbemindfulof
BuddhaAmitab}Iatheninthreeyear>stimewewillbe
rebornintoeitherthehigbormiddlelevelsofthePure
LandTbisisthewaytocultivatetobecomeaBud-

d}Ia.Thequestionisw}IetlIerwearewillingtodoso
earnestly.WearefOolingourselvesifweareunableto
findonefaultdaily.InfailingtoknowtlIemwewill
failtocorrectthem.Howcanwehopetoimprovein

thisway?Whentbereisnoimprovement,t}Iereis
regressionToregardourselvesasinfallibleandthat
everythingwedoiscorrectist}Iemosthorriblewayto
live

l26

TlIerearemanyintelligentpeopleinthe
worIdwhocannotimproveineitbertheir
cultivationofmoralityandvirtuesorintheir
workTlIeirfailuresinthislifeareowedtoa

singleword:laziness

IfwelivefOrtlIepresentandarelazy>wewillremainboundbyourfatesHowwearebornanddie,
wherewewilIgoafterwedieallaccordswithour
destiniesMasterYungucalledpeoplelikethisordinary,p}Iilistineswhoblindlyfolloww}Iathasbeen
destinedTheyarew}IattheBudd}Iacalled(pitiable
beings.)>TheseprinciplesthatLiaofantaugbthisson
aretheprinciplesfOrworldlyeducationaswellas
Budd}Iismandmustnotbeignored
Tianqi,theteachingsofMasterYunguare
mostwortby,profound,real,andproper.I
}IopethatyouwiIearntbemwellandpracticethemdiligentlyUseyourtimewisely
anddonotletitslipbyinvain
Liaofancarefi1llywrotedowntbeprinciplesand
methodsthatthemasterbadtaughthiminchanging
hisdestinyandpassedthemontohisson,hopingtbat
hetoowouldcultivatefOllowingthismetl1odLiaofan
hadreceivedremarkableresultsomtIispracticeand
thusfirmlybelievedinalltheprinciplesandmethods
tbatthemasterhadtaught.
WeneedtobeveryfamiliarwithMasterYungus
l27

teachings,toponderandappreciatethemWl1enwe
areconstantlymindfUloftheteachingswewillsavor
tl1em,usethemastl1ebasisforourbel1avior>and
practicethemdiligently.DonotwastetlIislifetime

l28

TbeSecondLesson:

WaystoRefrrn
eReaSOIMOReImAmt

sbITmesanddccJmGodbITme

ASignforGoodFortuneandMisfortune
Thefirstlesson,wbichisaboutcauseandeffect,
concentratesonbuildinguptheconfidenceinan
individualsabilitytoalterdestinyandthewaysin
wbichtodoso.ThesecondandthirdlessonsemplIasizethemethodstoaccomplishtlIis;tbus,tl1eyare
concernedmainlywitlIthewaystorefiBainfrom
wrongdoingsandthewaystoaccumulatevirtues.

DuringtlIeSpring-AutumnPeriod3lChina
wasdividedintoseveralsmallnations.Many

prestigiousadvisersofthesenationswere
abletoaccuratelypredictwhetherapersons
futurewouldbefOrtunateorunfOrtunate

basedontbeirobservationoftlIatpersons

speec}IandbehaviorManyofthesearerecordedinz1gaddnJmnAnaA32
LiaofantoldTianqitbatthereweremanyadvisers
duringthisperiodwhocouldaccuratelypredict
whetheraperson,sfUturewouldbegoodorbad,or
fOrtunateorunfOrtunatebasedontlIeirobservations

oftl1epersonsspeechandbehavior.Onanindividual
l29

basistbeycouldpredictaperson)ssuccessorfailure.
Onamuchlargerscale,theycouldpredictacountry)s
riseandfall.

Theseindividualsintbisperiodl1adsuchexceptionalabilitiesinobservingothersbecausetlIeyundersoodtlIelawofcausalityWhenourspeechandactionsaregood,andwearedignifiedandconsiderate)it
issafetosaytlIatwewillpossessgoodfOrtuneanda

promisingfuture.OntlIeotherhand)ifourspeechis
harsbandouractionsivolousthenourfUturewillbe

dismal.Evenifweseemtobedoingwellnow,tbis
periodofsuccesswillbeshort-lived,likeabrieHy
bloomingflower.Sinceourspeechandactionsdetermineourfuture,weneedtobecautiousineverything
wesayanddo.

Asarule,therearesignsthatsignalimpendingdangerorthecomingofgoodfOrtune.
Thesesignsrisingomwithinaredueto
one,stlIoughtsandfeelingsbeingrevealedin
}Iisorherbebavior.

Thisappliestoindividualsaswellastocountries.

Precedingeveryoccurrenceisasignthatoriginates
fTomtlIeinitialintentionandisseeninthougl>tsand
belIavior.Tl1isiswlWcalmandlogicalpeopleareable
toobserveandthenpredictfuturechanges.Theycan
seeanation}sriseandfallthroughitspeople>sdesires
andactionsJustbyobservingwhatpeopleofalllevels
ofsocietytbinkanddo,wecanoftenfOreseeacoun>30

try>sfUture,whetheritisgoingtoprosperordecline.
Tl1esameappliestofamilies.Tl1emannerinwhich
tlIememberst}Iinkandbebavewillgreatlyaffectits
successorfailureAndthisistruefOrindividualsas

wellTl1ereisasignfOreverythinganditisusually
obvioustowiseandknowledgeablepeople.
UsuallyapersonismorefOrtunatewhen
tendingtowardkindnessbutinvitestrouble
w}IentendingtowardcrueltyOrdinarypeopleoftendonotknowwhatisreallyhappening.ItisasiftheirvisionwereblurredSince
theycannotseethetruth,theyclaimtlIat
goodfOrtuneandmisfortunesareunpredictable.

(<Kindnessreferstoourbeartsandbehavior.Truly
kindpeoplewillhelpothersevenwhentheytlIemselvesarelIarmedintbeprocess.Thosewhoarestrict
withthemselvesbutlenientwithothersareboundto

l1aveanabundanceofgoodfortunelaterintheirlives.
OntbeotlIerhand,apersoninvitestroublewlIenhe
orsheiscruel.Thosewhoareself-indulgentanddisdainfUlofothersareplantingtheseedsfOrfuture
misfOrtunebuttheycannotseethesigns.
Forordinarypeople,itwouldseemthattbeirvision
isblurredortheireyeslIavebeenblindfOldedItseems
thatthereisnowaytofOretelldestinywlIenactually,
alltl1esignsarerightbefOretheireyes.Wboseeks
advicefromfOrtune-tellers>T}Ieseordinarypeople.
l3l

WhatLiaofantoldhissonnextisveryimportant

andweneedtopaycloseattentionandlearnomit.
Whenwearesincereandhonest,ourhearts
willaccordwitbthewillofheaven.

ThisisthemainprincipleWemustbesincerein
allouractions,neitlIercheatingothersnorfOoling
ourselves.Tbewillofheaven>)iswhatBuddbismcalls

t}Ietruenature.Itisthestateofbavingnowandering

tboughts,onlythosethatarevirtuousWhenweare
absolutelylIonestandtruthfUl,ourheartswillagree
withthewillofheaven.Evenifwearepresentlyundergoinghardships)theywillsoonbeoverandtlIenwe
willenjoyabundantgoodfortune.TberefOreeverythingwethink,say,anddoneedstoarisefromsincerity.
<<TlIesincereandhonestheart>>istheessenceoftbe

eightguidelinestaughtbyConfUcius.Weaccomplish
thisbyseveringourdesiresanduncoveringourtrue
nature.Failingtodothis,wewillbeunabletoaccomplisbultimatesincerityWbenseveringdesires)wl1at
arewecuttingofRTl1eSixDustsorpollutingfactors
ofsight,hearing)smell)taste)touchandthoughtand
theFiveDesiresfOrwealth,lustfame)fOod,and

sleepIftbesedesirescannotbereducedourbearts
willbeconstantlyaffectedbyoursurroundings.How
cansuchaheartremainsincere?

Evenifwecannotcompletelydiscardthesedesires,
wecanworktograduallylessenthem.Mostofusare
l32

immersedinwanderingthoughtsthataccomplish
notbing.Itwouldbebestifwecanabandonthese
thougl1tsandsomeoftheenjoymentst}IatweexperiencethroughoursIxsenses,andbemoreconsiderate
ofotlIers.Ifwewelcomeotherstoshareinourgood
fOrtune,thenitwillbecomeevengreatergoodfOrtune
Onceweunderstandthis,weneedtoactonit.

WlIenIbeganstudyingandpracticingBuddhism,a
dedicatedBuddhist)MrZhu>ingzhougavemeacopy
ofLjobfbIrLessons.Afterreadingit,IreHected
onmylifeandrealizedthatIhadtbesamefaultsand
destinyasLiaofanlIadItoowassupposedtohavea
veryshortlife.Manypeople>whowereabletolmow
thefUture,includingCanzhuLivingBuddl1a,33toldme
tlIatIwoulddieyoung.IbelievedthemandwasconvincedthatIwasnotgoingtolivepasttheageoffOrtyfive.TlIerefOre,whenIbecameamonk,Ibasedmy
studyingonmypresumedearlydeathbecausethatwas
alltl1etimeIlIadIdidnotaskfOralongerlifeAs
expected)atfOrty-fiveIfellseriouslyill
AttbattimeMasterLingyuanfromGilong)sDajue
Templewas}Ioldingasummerretreatandinvitedme
tolectureontheStIIHIJgamaStJm.IbadonlyreaclIed
tbethirdchapterwhenIbecameillIdidnotgotosee
adoctorortalKeanymedicationbecauseIrealizedtl1at
mytimewasup.Isimplystayedhomeeverydayrecited<<AmituofO>andquietlywaitedfOrmydeatlIand
subsequentrebirtlIintotlIePureLandHowever,after
amontlI,notonlydidInotdiebutIalsoregainedmy
l33

lIealth!Inalltl1eseyears,asIpracticedaccordingto
thismethodandbegantoseetheresults,Il1avefelt
increasinglyconfidentintheprincipleofchanging

destiny.Now,IhaveletgoofeverythingandIfeel
evenmoreliberated

Tl1erefOre,inordertogain)wemustfirstletgo.If
wearereluctanttoletgo,thenwewillnotbeableto
gainInthesutras,wereadthattogiveistogain.We
firstgiveupsomethinginordertogainsomethingin
returnWithoutgiving,wewillreceivenothing.So,
thislessononrefOrmingourdestiniesisallabout
lettinggo.Wl1atifweseeksometl1ing?Toseekalso
helpsustoreceive.Buthowdoweaccomplishtbis?
]ustletgoandwewillreceiveeverytl]ingweareseekIng

First,wemustletgoofallourdesiresandwanderingthoughts.Liaofansaid,Wbenweareabsolutely
honestourlIeartswillaccordwiththewillofbeaven.
))

Wediscardfromtheroot:toeradicateourselfislmess,

wecompletelyextinguishthouglItsofbenefitingourselves.Instead,allourthouglItssbouldbeofhowto
benefitalllivingbeings.Oncet}Iisisachieved,wewill
gaininfinitegoodfOrtune
ByobservIngourgoodness,otherswillbe
abletofOreseethecomingofgoodfortune;
andbyobservIngourimmorality,theywill
fOreseeapproaclIingmisfortune.
Tl1usbotlIgoodfOrtuneandadversitieshave
l34

signsOthersknowthatgoodfOrtuneisabouttobe
ourswhentheyseetbatourheartsandbelIaviorare
good,fOrweinviteotherstosbareinourgoodfOrtune.
Butifweareunkindandselfish,robbingotlIersof
theirbenefitsandneverrelinquishingourown,then
ourbenefitsandgoodfOrtunewilleventuallybeused
upOncetlIishappens,wewillencountermisfOrtune
So)aslongaswecontinuewithourrecklessbehavior)
otherswilllmowt}Iatwewillsoonmeetwit}Iadversities.

Thisprincipleofobservationisapplicabletoan
individual,afamily)asociety,anation,andevento
tlIeworldAslongasweremaincalmandalert,we
willbeabletoseeeverythingclearlyTherefOreitis
possibletopredictgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune)happinessandsuffering,theriseandfallofacountry)and
thestabilityorturbulenceintheworld

eMORerm;

AIdnmgOFeeaITB
ASlIamefiIlHeart:

KnowingSlIameCanGiveRisetoGreatCourage

IfwewishtogaingoodfOrtuneandavoid
misfOrtuneswefirstneedtorefOrmbefOre

weeventalkaboutdoinggooddeeds.

Onlythosewitbpuremindsanddeepconcentration
l35

canseetlIesignsofgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune
DeepconcentrationisnotlimitedtoBuddlIistsThe
personcanbeaTaoistaConfUcianorsimplysomeonewithapuremindTlIedeepertheconcentration,
thefartl1ertheywillsee.TlIisiswhyBuddhistsutras
oftensaythatanArhatcanseefivel1undredpast
lifetimesandfivehundredfuturelifetimes.

Actually,sincealllivingbeingspossesstl1isinnate
ability,tl1isistbewayitshouldbeHowever,this
abilityhasnowbeenlostbecauseourmindsaredistractedVariouswanderinganddiscriminatory
thougl1tsattachments,andafflictionshaveconfUsed
themindandcausedittoloseitsnaturalability.BuddhismteaclIesushowtoeliminatethesepollutants
andhindrancessowemayuncoverouroriginaltrue
nature

Onceweunderstandtl1eprinciples,wethendecide
}1owtoclIange.Thereareseveraleffectivemetbodsto
dothisMostofuswouldliketoattaingoodfortune,
happiness,andwisdomwhileavoidingadversity.Good
behavioristhecauset}IatresultsingoodfOrtune,the
effect.But,ifwedonotfirsteliminateourkarmic

obstacles,goodfOrtunewillbedifficulttoobtain.
Tlmsourfirstobjectiveistoeradicateournegative
karma.

Ordinarypeopleseekoutsideofthemselves,thatis,
theyseekthroughtheconstants>buttl1iswillnotlIelp
tbemreceivewlIattl1eyseekOntheotherlIand,we
arenowconfidentintbeknowledgethatvariables
l36

exist.However,thevariablesdonotsurfaceimmedi-

atelyThenhowdowereachourgoals?Wefirstneed
topuriourminds.Tbemindthatispureandserene
isthemindofforemostgoodness.Butifthemindis
impure,allgooddeedswillbetaintedandtheamount
ofgoodfOrtunetbatcanbereceivedwillbelimited
Inotherwords,karmicobstacleshavenotyetbeen
thorouglIlyremovedPromtlIiswecanseethata

virtuousandpuremindisofutmostimportance.How
dowereturnourmindtoitsnaturalstateofpurity?
WefirstneedtoImowourfaultsandcorrectthem,

fOllowingwhichweneedtoknowt}Iecorrectmethods
ofdoinggooddeeds
TherearethreewaystorefOrmourfaults
First,wemustbeabletofeelashamed

ManyancientClIinesesagesandvirtuouspeople
tauglItusthatknowingsbameisclosetopossessing
courage.ConfUciusoftenspokeofgreatwisdom,great
kindness,andgreatcourageByknowingwhatis
sl1ame,wewilltrulyrefOrmandimproveourselvesIf

wedonotknowwhatshameis)wewillnot}1avegood
futures.

Wl1enstrivingtoimproveourselveswedonotuse
ordinarypeopleasourstandards;insteadweuse
BuddhasandBodhisattvas.Theywerepeoplejustlike
usbuttl1eybecameBuddl1asandBodl1isattvas.Itisa
majorlmmiliationthatwearestilltrappedinsamsara
l37

Tl1inkofalloftheancientsagesandvirtuous
peoplewhosenamesandteachingshave
lastedfOrhundredsofgenerationsTlIey
werepeoplejustlikeus,butwhyismyname
wortl1lesslikeabrokenroof-tile?

Ifwecanoftenthinktbiswayandaskourselvesthis
question,tlIentheshamefI1lheartwilltakes}1ape.
Thisistbefirststepandthemotivationinchanging
ourdestiniesWhatistbefOrcebehindthismotiva-

tion?Itisaninconceivableprimalability.Wecan
readilyidentiwitbwhatLiaofanwaselaininghere.
T}IerewereseveralgreatChinesesagesduringancient

times:Confucius,Mencius,ZhouGong,andYiYin.34
Wecanthink:(TheyweregreatmenwellI>mgreat
tooT}IeywerebumanWell,soamI.Iftheycandoit
whycan)tI?>>Thisiswhereandhowwebegintoreflect.

Transcendingourworld,othershavebecome
Arl1ats,Bod}Iisattvas,andBuddhas.Theyhavelivedan
infinitenumberoflifetimesSo,1aveweWlyisit
thataftercountlesslifetimesofpracticingBuddhism,
theybavesucceededinbecomingBodhisattvasor
Buddhas,w}Iereas,wearestillmiredinreincarnation?

Thisistl1eworstshame,unmatchedbyanyother.
Inthisworldorbeyond,thesesagesbaveallbe-

cometeachersofheavenlyandhumanbeings.Oneof
thetennamesfOrallBuddhasisTeacberofHeavenly
BeingsandHumanity>)Here,ateacberiSessentiallya
l38

ro>emodelHeorsbecansetagoodexampleandbea
goodroIemodelforalllivingbeingsWecanusethis
exampletoexamineourbehaviorWhyhaveour
namesandreputationsbecometarnishedorruined?
Suc}IisthepricewepayfOrouroffenses

OneofLiaofanlsvirtueswasthathedidnotattempt
tohideanyofhisfaultsHedidnottalkaboutothers
mistakes,onlyhisownAssoonasherealizedhis
fau}ts,heimmediatelybegantocorrectthemThiswas
hisstrengthandthecrucialelementthatledtohis
laterachievements
c

m5

w Or

l d l V

a r e

We

e S r e S

ThisisourunderlyingfaultoraiImentWestill
longforandclingto(<worldlydesiresbecauseour

mindshavebeenseriouslypollutedWorldlydesires
refertotheFiveDesiresandtheSixDustsofform,
sound,scent,taste,texture,andthoughtTlIeword
dustisusedhereasitcarrieswithittbemeaningof
pollution.

Porexample,ifwedonotwipetbefurniture

daily,itwillbecoveredwithdustTowipeiteverydayistoriditofdustorpollution.Thisissimilarto
ourpuremindsbeingpollutedbydesiresanddust.

Wealth,lust)fame,food,andsleeparethedesires
thatgiverisetotheemotionsofgreedanger,ignorance,arrogance,anddoubt,t}Ieelementsofpollution.ThisiswhytheBuddhacalledtheexternal
environmenttheSixSenseObjectsorSixDusts.
l39

Tbeseimpuritiescontaminateourpuremindsand
aretlIerootofourillnesses.

Ifwewisbtorecoverthepuremindofourtrue
naturewemustletgoofclingingtothesedesires
anddusts.Lettinggoistbehardestthingforusto
do.But,ifwecanletgoofonedegreeofdesire,our
mindswillbecomepurerbyonedegree.Ifwecan
letgooftwodegreesthenourmindswillbecome
purerbytwodegreesandsoon.

TheBuddhataughtusthattberearefifty-onelevels
ofBodhisattvapractice.Eac}Ilevelisbasedonthe
amountofemotionstheBodhisattvabasdiscarded

Oncewecanletgoofallfifty-onedustsanddesires
wewillbecomeBuddhas.Ifwestillhaveonedegreeof
desire,wewillbecomeEqual-EnlightenmentBodhisattvasThesedustsanddesiresareactuallyourkarmicobstacles

ThePureLandschooloftenspeaksofcarrymgour
remaininglKarmawithustothePureLandThis
meanstbatifwelIavebeenunabletoletgoofallof

ourworldlydesiresbefOreourdeathswewillcarryour
remaininglKarmaalongwithus.Inthepast,some
peoplebelievedt}IattbePureLandmethoddoesnot
allowonetoberebornintothePureLandiftl1ereis

anyremainingkarmaTheyfeltthattl1ephrasesl1ould
bavebeen<<eliminateallourkarmaandbereborninto

tbePureLand.>)ThisstunnedPureLandpractitioners

aroundtl1eworldTl1isinterpretationofneedingto
eliminateallkarmaisincorrectfOritisnotwlIattbe
l40

sutrasInean

Althoughthephrase(carryourremainingkarma
withustothePureLand>,isnotinanysutra,tlIetruth
ofthatstatementisveryclearIfwebelievetlIatwe
canonlyberebornwbenallofourkarmahasbeen
eliminated,thenuponreadingtheHiGLibStJm,
wewouIdwonderwbywewouldevenneedtoberebornintbePureLandifwehadeliminatedallofour

karma!Equal-enlightenmentBodhisattvasstillhave
onedegreeofremainingignoranceandarenotyet
totallyeeofalldesires.TheystilllIaveatinyhag
mentofremainingkarmaTbus,Bod}Iisattvasare
calledenlightenedsentientbeings.
Actually,thereisonlyonebeingwithaperfectly
puremind-aBuddha.EvenEqual-enlightenment
Bodbisattvasstillpossessonedegreeofremaining
karmaTheystillbavesomeoftheSixDusts.However>theydonotclingtotheseemotionsandthisis
wbytbeyarecalledenlightenedsentientbeings.
Thepbrase(carryourremainingkarmawithusto
tbePureLandwassaidbythepatriarchsandisbased
onthemeaningofthesutras.Thisisespeciallysoin
thePureLandschoolWecanstillberebornintothe
WesternPureLandevenwbenwehavenotremoved

allourkarmaWelIaveseenandlearnedofnumerous

PureLandpractitionerswhopassedawayonlytobe
rebornintotlIePureLandThusweneedtorealize

thetruerealityandnotbeaffectedbydeviatedviews
WeaccordwithtlIeteachingsintbesutras,notwith
l

individualpeoplefOrindividualscanmisinterpretthe
sutras

Secretly>wedomanyimproperthingswl1ile
thinkingotherswillnotknowaboutthem
andthenareshamelesslyproudofourselves!
Oneday,wewillberebornasananimal
withoutrealizingit.

<Improper>}referstothingsthatweshouldnot
do:somethingillegal)illogical>oragainstmoral
standardsorcustoms.Manypeoplebehaveimproperlyandthinkthatot}Ierswillnotlmowaboutit

Frankly,somepeoplewouldnotlmowWl1o?
Tbose,whosemindshavebeencloudedbyignoranceandwhoaredeludedOntheotl1erhand,
thosewhopossesspropertbbughtswisdom>anda
serenemindwillbeabletosee.WecannotlIide

fromthemorfromthebeingsandspiritsoflIeaven
andearthwhoarealwayspresent
HeavenlybeingsandspiritshavefiveextraordinaryabilitiesthattlIeyarebornwith;theseabilities
arenotac}Iievedthroughpractice.Soifheavenly
beingsandspiritsknow,needlesstosay,BodhisattvasandBuddlIaswillaswellTheyareawareof
everythoughtofeverybeingwithinsamsara.After
readingthisinsutrasandbookswrittenbythe
sages,wewouldtrembleinfeartorealizethatwe

cannothideanythingfromthem.Woulditnotbe
bettertoregretonourown?Sincetheylmoweverylq2

thingevenwit}Ioutourconfession,itwouIdmake
usfeelalittlelessguiltyifwevoluntarilyfeelfelt
contrition

Instead,weareshameless}yarrogant.Shameless
referstosomeonewhoiswithoutremorseandwbo

ignoreshisortherconscienceIfwefeelguilty
afterawrongdoing)wearestillaIriglIt.Althougb
webideourbaddeedsfromotbers,ourconscience

isheavy.Tbereisstillhopeforourturningback
However,ifwehavenoguiltyfeelingsaftercommittingawrongdoing,tlIenwearehopelessOnly
thepersonwhofeelsashamedofhisorherwrongdoingscanbebelped
Whenweareshamelessandarrogant)oneday
wewillberebornintheanimalrealm.Altboug}Iwe
arepresentlyinthehumanrealm)wewilleventuallyfallintotheThreeBadPathsbecauseofour
negativekarmaWemaynotlmowthis,buttbe
Buddhas,Bodhisattvas,andbeingsandspiritsof
beavenandearthd

Attimeswbenweareinastateofbadfortune,

evilspiritswillstarttoharassusTheydonotarbitrarilybarassanyone,butselecttheirtargetsaccordingtothepersonIsbebaviorTheydarenot
bot}IertbosewhowiIberebornintotheThree

CoodPat}Isandtheyareextremelyrespectfulto
peoplewithkindheartsandcompassionatebehavior.But,theytormentthosewboareevilTheywill
beinsolentandsarcasticastheyridiculeandbully
l43

suchpeoplebecausebadspiritslmowthatthese
peoplewilleventualIyfallintotbeThreeBadPat}Is.
TrueBuddhistpractitionersunderstandthese
principles.Oncewealsounderstand,wewillnaturallybewatcbfuloverourthoughtsandbehavior
becausenotonlydowenotwanttofallintothe
ThreeBadPaths,wewanttotranscendsamsara.

ThereisonlyonewaytoaccomplishthisintlIe
presentlifetime:weneedtoseekrebirthintotbe
PureLandTherefore,weneedtohavefirmand
unshakabledetermination.

Howdoweattainthisrebirth?Throughfirmbelief,vows,mindfulnessofBuddhaAmitablIa,and
thecultivationofpurityofmindWeshouldsever
ourworldlyattachments.Wedonotneedtocompletelyletgoofeverythingforifwedid,wewould
becomeBuddhas.However,themoreweletgothe

betteroffwewillbe.Severunnecessaryclinging.
Then,focusourmindsonBuddlIaAmitabl1aand

transformourthoughtsfromthosethatonlybenefit
ourfamiliesandourselvestothosetl1atbenefitall

others.Insodoing)ourmindswillbecomepure
Thedifferencebetweenenlightenedbeingsand
sentientbeingsisthatenlightenedbeingsthinkof
allsentientbeingsinsteadofthemselves,while
sentientbeingswboareordinarypeopleonlytbink
oftbemselves.Evenifwedonotconsciouslytryto
severourself-attachment,byconstantlytlIinlKingof
benefitingallsentientbeings,itwillgraduallydil4

minishbyitselfOncewenolongerlIaveselfattachmentduetooursuccessinBudd}Iarecita-

tionwewillattainthelevelofOneMindUndis-

turbedinMindfulnessandachieveahigherlevelof
rebirt}IintotheLandWbereEverythingisTemporaryInthisway,weareassuredofbeingreborn
intothePureLand

Weneedtobeginfrombereandpracticeearnestly,tosetoursightsfarahead,andtonotonly
considerourimmediatefutureorevenjustthis
lifetime,fortheyareillusoryandimpermanentTbe
DamondSnHsaiditwell,Whatevertakesformis

anillusion>,Nothingispermanentorworthyof
worryAsforfamilymembersandrelatives,wecan
s}Iarewitl1themtheproperteachingsandencouragethemtopracticeaccordingly
Onceananxiouspractitioneraskedmeforhelp
regardinglIischildwhowantedtostudyabroadHe
askedmewhattodoItoldhimtoletgoofall
wanderingthoughtsandtohavetbefamilyrecite
tbeHireLibSnHandchantAmituofotofind

theanswerHesaid,<T}Iatwon>thelp,Ineedto
handletl1isfirstbeforemymindcansettledownto
recitingandchanting.>>

Irepliedtbatifl1ethougbttlIatwaytlIerewas
nohopeforhimintlIislifetime.Heaskedwhy.I
explainedthathewashandlingtheissueincorrectly,tl1athismethodwaswithintl1econtrolofhis
karmaandhedidnothavethestrengthfromthe
>45

helpoftheTriple>ewels.
Weneedtolmowhowtousethestrengthfrom
theTriple]ewelsandtogiveuprelyingonjustour
ownbecausewecannotachieveinthiswayWe
needtouseourpuremindstoseekbelpfromthe
Triple>ewels.Wbenwedothis>wewillattainin-

conceivablehelpfromthem.Thisisveryimportant
AsIsaidpreviouslyweneedtousethevariable,
nottbeconstanttlIatisdestinedThevariablecan
beusedtore-createourdestinies.

Indoingthis>weseekfromwithinourmind.

Thisisthetruemind,nottheillusoryone.W}Ien
ourmindsareconstantlyfilledwithwandering
thoughtsweareusingourillusorymindstlIatexist
becauseoftheconstants,notthevariables.Ifwe
useourtrueminds,tbenthevariablescomeinto

play.Wecanseethisveryclearlyintl1esutrasand
inLiaonbrLessons.

Howdoweseek}IelpfromBuddbasandBodhisattvas?Wedonotnegotiatewitht}1emForexample,wedonotasktlIemtohelpusgainwealthand
saythatinreturn>wewillofferthemhalfoftlIe
money.ThisisnotriglIt!DowereallythinktlIat
theywouldagreetothis?Ordinarypeoplerequest
helpfromtheBuddhasBodhisattvasandtheTriple
>ewelsbytryingtostrikeadealwitbthem.Thisis
wrongbecausetlIerearenodealstomake
Whatisimportantnowisforustorecoverour
originalpureminds.MasterHuinengsaid:Why
l46

bothertoseekoutsideofourselveswheneverything

alreadyexistswithinthetruenatureSinceeverythingexistswithinourtruenature,ifweseekinwardly,wecanattaineverything.Whenthereisa
sincererequestaresponsewillfollow.>
T}IeTriple>ewelsactasacatalyticcondition.
WeseelKandattainsomethingourtruenatureoriginallybad.IfitwerenotalreadywitlIinthetrue
nature,eventheTriple>ewelscouldnothelpus.In
Buddhismitissaidtbatwbateverisproperly
soughtcanbeattainedIfwebelievet}Iatwhatever
issoughtwillbeattained,includingtbevowto
becomeaBuddha,thencertainlyeverytbingelse
canbeachieved

But,asordinarypeople,wedonotrealizet}Iisfor
weuseourworldlyintelligenceinpursuingeverytlIing.WemistakenlythinlKweareobtainingfame,
wealtl1andprestige,butareactuallycommitting
baddeedsWlIateverisattainedwasalreadydestinedtobeours.Itisnotworthtbepricewewill

havetopayintbefutureforwewillsufferthe
consequencesfromourwrongdoings
BuddhismteachesusabouttheTenDharma
RealmsWithineacl1oftheseexistsanotherTen

DlIarmaRealmsCurrently,weexistintlIehuman
realm.Withinthisrealm,TenDharmaRealms

existThismoment,ifwearesingle-mindedlymindfulofBudd}IaAmitab}Iaandseekrebirt}Iintothe

PureLand,t}Ienforthismoment,weareinthe
l47

Buddharealm.BeingmindfulofaBuddlIaisthe

cause;becomingaBuddhaistheconsequence.
Atthismoment,ifwearemindfulofBodbisatt-

vasandofcultivatingtheSixParamitaswearein
theBodhisattvarealmSimilarly,ifwearemindful
ofvirtue,morality,andhumanity,weareint}Ie

humanrealmButifwearegreedyconstantly
schemingtomakemoneyandtopossessmaterialisticenjoyments)weareinthehungryghostrealmIf
ourtlIinkingisconfUsedanddeludedandweare
driftingalongthroughlife,weareintheanimal
realm.Andifwearedispleasedandangrywitl1
everyoneandeverytlIing,weareinthehellrealm.
AlthouglIwearecurrentlyintheformofahuman,wecanstillbeinanyoftbeothernine
realms.WhenBuddhas,Bodhisattvasandspirits
seeus,theylmowverywellwhetberweare
Buddhas,Bodhisattvasoranyotherbeings.Once
werealizet}IattbereareTenDharmaRealms

withineacbDharmarealm,wewilllmowhowto
clIooseThechoicerestsinourhands.

Tl1ereisnothingelseintheworldthatcalls
fOrmoreshameandremorsethanbel1avior

suchasthis.Menciusoncesaid,<<SlIameis

tbemostimportantwordinaperson)slife.,
Wl1y?Becauseonewholmowsshamewill
putfOrthhisorherbesteffOrtsintocorrectingfaultsandwilleventuallyattainsagel1ood
l48

orbecomeavirtuouspersonOnewhodoes
notlmowshamewillbejustlikeananimal:
unrestrainedandimmoralThisisthekeyto
correctingourfaults
ItisshamefUlfOrustostiIlbemiredinsamsara

wl]ileothershavebecomeBuddhasandBodhisattvas

Nothingisofgreatershamethanthis.Theword
shamehasaverycIoseconnectionwithhumans.Wl]y?
Bybeingasbamed>wecanbecomeavirtuousperson
orasageBybeingunashamed,wewilldoubtlesslyfalI
intotheThreeBadPaths.So,wecanseehowclosely
connectedt}IewordshameistoourfutureBylmowingshame,wewilltirelesslystrivetoeliminateitand
replaceitwitht}Ieinspiredenthusiasmtobecomea
sageoravirtuousperson.

Bynotlmowingshame,wewillbeadishonorable
personengaginginimmoralactivities.Onlytbose
withoutslIamestilllIavegreedanger,ignorance,and
arrogance.Butbylmowingshame,wewillnolonger
lIavetl1eseFourPoisonsThemindofgreedwilllead
usintothel1ungrygbostrealm.Tbemindofangerand
lIatredwillleadusintothe}IellrealmTlIemindof

ignorancewillleadusintotheanimalrealm.Whatis

therefOrustobeproudoComparedwithBuddhas
andBodhisattvas,weareunimaginablyfarbel1ind
tbem!ByunderstandingtlIis,theseafflictionswill
naturallydiminisl>andvanish

FranlKly,itisshamefUltofallbe}Iindotl1ersinperl49

formingvirtuousdeedsandattaininggoodresults.If
welmowshame,wewillstrivetoimproveourselves.

AFearfUlHeart:

FromPearComesSincerityandRespect
Tbesecondwaytoreformistolmowfear

Celestialbeingsandearthlyspiritsbover
overourheadsinobservationThereisno

wayfOrustodeceivethem
ConstantlyhavingthisfearfUlmindwillenableusto

disciplineourselvessothatwewillnolongerdareto
commitwrongdoingsItwillhelpustobeconstantly
appreIensiveWhatarewefearfUloAboveus,there
arecelestialbeingswit}IextraordinaryabilitiesofclairvoyancewlIoseeveryclearlyoureverymovement
BelowustlIereareearthlyspiritswl1oalsohavetlIe

fiveextraordinaryabilities.35AltboughtlIeirabilities
cannotcomparewiththoseofthecelestialbeings,
theirsensessuchashearingandsightaremuch
keenerthanours

ItisprobablydifficultfOrustobelievetlIateven
withtlIeseabilitieseart}Ilyspiritsarenotclevererand
w1sertbanus.Weknowt}Iatmanyanimalspossess
uniquesenses.ForexampleadogIssensesofsmell
andhearingarekeenerthanours.But,tlIeyareless
intelligentthanweareSinceanimalssurpassusin
l50

variousabilities,itsbouldnotbesurprisingthatgbosts
andspiritsdosoaswellNorisitdifficulttobelieve
thatspiritsandgbostslIavefivekindsofextraordinary
abilitiesBut,whydotheystillsuffer?Theyarenotas
w1seasusandmostdonotpossessasmuclIgood
fOrtuneaswedoWeneedtoremembertl1atall

around,tlIerearespiritsandghoststhatareperfectly
awareofoureverythouglItandoureveryact.
Evenwbenmywrongdoingsaredoneina
concealedplace>thebeingsandspiritsof
heavenandeartharepresent.Theyseeall
myfaults.Ifmybaddeedsareserious,t}1en
allkindsofadversitieswillbefallme.Ifmy
faultisminoritwillstillreducemycurrent
goodfOrtuneHowcanInotfeelfear?

Evenifwearecommittingsmallfaultsint}1emost
concealedplacewherenobodycanwitnesstlIem,the
beingsandspiritswhoareclairvoyantcanclearlysee
everytbing.TlIisisterring!Buttheabilitiesofthese
beingsarestillnotgreat,fOrtl]eirabilitiesareincomparabletotboseofBudd}IasandBodhisattvas.Fortunately,BuddhasandBodhisattvashavegreatcompassion,loving-kindnesS,andpurityofmindWhenthese
compassionatebeingswitnessourwrongdoings,t}Iey
willnotcauseproblemsfOrus.
HoweverDharmaProtectors>spirits,andglIosts
areordinarybeingswhowillcausetroublefOrtl1ose
whol]avecommittedwrongdoingsBecomingangry
l5l

uponseeingourimproperbehavior,theycancauseus
trouble.TheyaremorepronetopunishusfOrour
severewrongdoings;thus)adversitieswillbefallus
Understandingthis)howcanwenotbeafraid?
ThereareseveralpassagesintheHirBLbSmrH
thatcallfOrrespectandfear.Thereareaninfinite
numberofbeingsinthePureLandAlll1avethel1eavenlyeyeandcanseeeverythingwithoutanyobstruction.Allhavetheheavenlyearandcanhearevery
soundtl1rougbouttheuniverse,inthepast)present,
andfUtureTheyseewhatwecannotsee.Theyhear
whatwecannothearWlIenwethinkaboutit,wewill
realizetl1atwecannotl1ideanythingfromt}IeseutmostvirtuouspeopleIfwecannotdeceivespiritsand
otherbeings,thenhowcouldweeventhinkofdeceivingBuddhaAmitabha>AvaloldteshvaraBod}Iisattva
andMahasthamapraptaBodbisattva?Itisimpossible!
Onceweunderstandthisanddeeplyrealizethatwe
needtoseekrebirthintothePureLand,itdoesnot

matterl1owweperfOrmourmeritdedications.Alltl1e
beingstl1erelmowouraspirations.Tl1ereisnoneed
fOrustoverballysay<WeseekrebirthintothePure
Land>)Theylmewittheinstanttbatwefirstgaverise
totl1ethought.WeneedtohonestlychantAmituofO.l
Tl1ereisnoneedfOrunnecessarywords.Wejustneed
toseekOneMindUndisturbedandthel1igbestleve>
ofrebirtl1intotheWesternPureLandInsodoingwe
willbefOremostinwisdommerits>andvirtues.

l52

Evenwhenwearealoneinourroom,thebe-

ingsandspiritswatchusverycarefullyand
recordeverytl1ing.Evenifwetrytoconceal
ourimproperactswitlIcleverspeech,the
spiritsandcelestialbeingscanseeintoour
heartsasclearlyasseeingintoourlungsor
liver.Wearejusttryingtodeceiveourselves
andothersInactuality,othershaveseen
througlIusandwethusbecomewortl1less
<intheireyes>.Whenwethinkaboutthis)
l1owcanwenotafraid?

Previously,wereadaboutbeingwithotbers.Here
Liaofanwroteofbeingaloneinourroomandbe}1ind
closeddoors.Webecomecareless,behaVngaswe
wisl1,notrealizingtheimportanceincultivatingalertnessevenwhenaloneW}Ienwithothers,wetendto
restrainourselvesWhenalone,wetendtorelax.

My>ateteaclIer,Mr.LiBingnan,toldmeofanoccurrencetl1athappenedalmosttwothousandyears
ago.Mr.ZhengKangchengandagroupofclassmates
werereHectingontbeirfaults.AseachreHected)they
fOundt}Iattheyhadmanyshortcomings.OnlyMr.
Zbengcouldnotthinkofany.AftertlIinkingfOralong
time,herememberedOnetime,whenlIewenttotl1e

bathroom,l1efOrgottoputon}Iisl1at.T}1iswasl1is
SlIOrtCOming!36
Itisobviousthatinthepast,evenwhenalonepeoplewereconstantlywatchfUlovertheirtl1ougl1tsand
l53

behaviorandtheirappearancewouldbeasneatasif
theyhadcompany.Todaypeoplewouldsaywhy
bot}Ier.ButthiswashowpeopleusedtobelIave)fOr
tbeyknewtbatevenwhenaIone>beingsandspiritsof
heavenandearthcouldstillseetbemItwouldhave

beenimpolitetobecarelessandbehaveasthey
pleasedEvenaconcealedspotisvisibletothebeings
andspirits.Thus,ourdemeanorshouldalwaysbe
respectfUlaswerehainfromself-indulgence.
Eveninourroom,itshouldseemasifinnumerable

pairsofeyeswerewatchingusandinnumerablefingerswerepointingatus.Weshouldbeaswatchfulof
ourbehaviorasifwewereinpublic,notdaringto
behaveasweplease.Thereisnouseintryingtoconcealourbehaviororcoverupourfaultswithglibtalk
Itisasifourinternalorganswerevisibletoall.TlIisis
howclearlythespiritscanseeus.
WemaythinM!Iatwehavesecretsbutweareonly
deceivingourselvesfOrthespiritsoflIeavenandearth
canseethrougbeverything.Anyattemptstohideour
faultsareuseIess.Realizingthis,bowcouldwenotbe
fearful?

However>aslongaswestillhaveonebreath
left,we}Iavetbechancetoregreteventhe
worstdeeds

Wbenweareasl1amed)ourheartsarerespectfi1l
andfearful.TbiswillenableustorefOrmanderadi-

cateourbaddeeds.ManyBuddlIistsattendrepenl5

tanceceremoniesdailythrougbouttheirlivestryingto
repentanderadicatekarmicobstaclesNotonlydo
somefailtoeradicatesucbobstac>es,butthemore

ceremoniestheyattendthemoretheirMrmicobstaclesincrease.Why?Theydonotknowhowtosincerelyregret,butinsteadconcealtheirbaddeedseven
moreTotrulycultivateistobeabletofeelashamed,
tohaverespect,andtolKnowfearItisessentialfOrus

tounderstandthisandtochangeourimpropertlIinkmg.

Thosew}IohavecommittedthegreatesttransgressionssucbastheFiveDeadlyOffensesortheTenBad

Conducts37aredestinedfOrthebelIrealms.CantlIey
belIelped?Yes,evenwithonlyoneremainingbreath,
ift}IeyfeelremorsefUl,theycanbehelpedBybeing
genuinelyashamed,sincerelygivingrisetoarespectful
andapprebensiveheart,deeplyregrettingt}Ieirways,
vowingtoberebornintothePureLandandproperly
chanting(Amituofo>>onetotentimes>theyareassured
ofbeingreborninthePureLandForexample,during
tbeTangdynasty,abutclIernamedZhangShanhe
chanted<AmituofO)>justtentimesatthelastmoment
befOrehisdeathandwasrebornintothePureLand
AlsointheHsazaKmIStJnwelearnthatinan-

cientIndiaKingAjatasatrukilledhisfatheregregiouslymistreated}Iismother,andcauseddissension

intheSanghaHewouldstopatnothingWelearn
fUrtheroflIiminthedsaStJ.Atthelast
momentofhislife,withjustoneremainingbreatlI,the
l55

kingtrulyregrettedandattainedsingle-mindednessof
BuddhaAmitablIaashesougbtrebirtlIintothePure
Land.Hewasrebornintothesecondbigbestlevelof
thePureLandInconceivable!

Fromthis,weknowtl1attlIerearetwowaystobe
rebornintothePureLandOnewayistocultivateand
accumulatemeritsandvirtuesdaily,andtofOllowthe
regularwayofpracticetoseekrebirthintothePure
Land.Theotl1erwayisfOrthosewl1ohavecommitted
egregiousevildeedstobedeeplyremorsefulatthelast
momentsoftlIeirlife.

TberefOre)donotlookdownonthosewhohave

committedwrongdoings.Perhapsattl1elastmoment
oftl1eirlives,t}Ieirabilitytofeeldeepremorsewillbe
sostrongthattl1eymayattainalIigherlevelofrebirtl1
thanwecan.Thisisverypossible.Itissaidtbata
prodigalwhoreturnslIomeismoreprecioustlIangold
OrdinarypeoplecannotbecomparedwithtlIem.Tbus,
wecannotlookdownont}IosewlIohavecommitted

wrongdoings.
Understandingthisweshouldnoteventl1inkof
countingonourluckaswecontinuetocommittransgressions,thinkingthatwecanalwaysregretatthe
lastmomentandstillberebornintotl1ePureLand

SucbtbinkingwillguaranteeourfallingintotheThree
BadPatl>s.Itisextremelydifficulttoaccomplishthis
last-minuteclIangeofheart.Adeludedpersonwhois
abletomaintainaclearmindduringl]isdyingmomentsissomeonewholIaddeeplycultivatedtheroots
l56

ofgoodnessinlIisprevIouslifetimes.
Visitahospitalandyouwillunderstand.Look
aroundHowmanypeoplearestillalertintheirlast
moments?Beingabletomaintainaclearmindisthe
firstcriterion.Ifweareinacoma,unabletofeelremorseandtocl1ant,wewillfallintotheTl1reeBad

Patbs.Rarelyisoneoutofthousandsofpeoplelucid
upondeathCanweguaranteethatattheinstantof
ourdeatlIswewillremainfllllyconscious?
Thesecondcriterionistoencountersomeonewl]o

canremindustochant<<Amituofo.)>Andtl]ethirdisto

beabletoturnbackimmediatelyattlIatinstantto
deeplyregret,tobemindfulofBuddhaAmitabl1aand
toseekrebirthintothePureLandCanweguarantee
thatallt}Ieseconditionswillexistatthatprecisecriticalmoment?Ifnot,thenweneedtohonestlyand
sincerelycultivatedailytoaccumulatemeritsand
virtuesThisistheonlytrulyreliableandsafeway
IftenthousandpeoplepracticethePureLand
metlIodaccordingly,tenthousandwillbereborninto

thePureLandMr.Yousaidinhiscommentarythat
Bylayingdownthebutcberlmifeonecanbecomea
Buddharightthenandthere.Ifwehavethel1eartto
regretourwrongdoingsthenwecanbeginagain.The
earlierweawakenthebetter,soplease>makelIastein
turningbackanddonotcommitanymorewrongdoIngs.

TherearecasesinhistorywlIerepeoplewho
l57

badcommittednumerousbaddeedsbutwl1o

laterdeeplyregrettedthemduringtheirdyingmomentswereabletopassawaypeacefully.
Tberearemanyexamplesofthis>someofwlIom
wereBuddl1istpractitioners.Recently,onetlIatwe
personallywitnessedwastlIatofMrZhouGuangda,a
businessmaninWashington,D.CintheUnited
States.Mr.ZbouhadbeenagoodpersonwlIobadnot
committedbaddeedsHeprovedtoust}1atonemay
encounterBuddl1isminone>slastmomentsoflife,
cl]ant{<AmituofOonetotentimesandbereborninto
thePureLand
MrZl1oudidnotencounterBuddlIismuntila

iendintroducedhimtotl1ePureLandteachingsjust
tlIreedaysbefOrehepassedaway.Hewaselatedupon
hearingtlIeteaclIingsandacceptedtl1emwitl1outtlIe

slightestdoubt.HevowedtoberebornintothePure
Landandcl1anted<(AmituofO)wboleheartedly.This
wastberesultofhisgoodrootsfrompastlifetimes
Oncehehadvowedtoberebornintotl1ePureLand,

henolongerfelttl1epainfToml1isillness.
Tbisistherewardforgoodbehavior.Oncetl1etrue

mindisdeveloped,tlIeTriple]ewelswillhelpAlthoughMrZhouwasincriticalcondition,l1efelt
upliftedduetothestrengthfToml1isvowsandthejoy
ofpracticingBuddl1ism.HisenergyandstrengtlIcame
{TomwithinhimselfandfromBuddhaAmitabl1a.

l58

Thus,Mr.ZhouwasabletochantAmituofO.}After

cbantingfOrthreedays,hewasabletoseethethree
sagesoftheWesternPureLandwhohadcometo
escorthimtothePureLandThishappenedrecently
Howcanwenotbelieveit?

Inourpractice>theessenceorwhatisinourlIeart
andmindisimportant,notfOrmalities.Mr.Zl1oulIad
neverlistenedtoBuddhistlecturesorreadthesutras

HehadnottakentheThreeRefugesortheFivePre-

ceptsHejusthadakindfTiendwhoencouragedhim
tochant<(Amituofo/>andBuddhaAmitabl1aandthe

sagescametoescorthimtothePureLandTl1us,
whatmattersinourcultivationisourtrueheartsand
minds.

InMr.Youscommentary>weread:Itisnevertoo
earlytobeginpracticingortoolatetoregret.Topass
awaypeacefUllyisanobservablefactoftranscendence.)Itisnottoolatetoregretatthetimeofour
deathEverytimeapersondieswell>heorsheisassuredofgoingtoagoodplace.Diewell,bornwell.
Thefift}IoftheChineseFiveGoodFortunesistobe

abletopassawaypeacefullywithoutsuffering,t}Ius
assuringrebirthintooneoftbeThreeGoodPaths.
Ifapersoncanbaveadeterminedandcourageouskindthoughtatthemostimportant
momentitcancleanseawaybundredsof
yearsofaccumulatedoffenses.TlIisislike
onlyneedingonelamptobringlightintoa
l59

valleythathasbeendarkfOrathousand
years.Itdoesnotmatterl1owlongonel1as
beencommittingmisdeeds.Ifonecanrefrm,l1eorsl1eisexceptional!
Botl1BuddhistsandConfUcianscholarshavespokenthistruthWeneedtobecourageousanddeter-

minedinregrettingandrefOrming.Wl1ethertl1eoffenseisma>ororlongstanding,itcanberegrettedand
eradicatedHavinganoverwhelmingandcourageous
kindtlIouglItaswearedyingistogenuinelyregretand
toeradicatekarmicobstacles.IntlIisway,itcanindeedcleanseawayhundredsofyearsofaccumulated
misdeeds

WeonlyneedonelamptolightavalleytlIatlIas
beendarkfOrathousandyears.Tbiscomparestbe
lampandtlIebrig}1tnesstoourbraveryanddeterminationinrefOrmingandinourabilitytowashaway
long-accumulatedmisdeeds.Tl1us,regardlessofl1ow
seriousourbaddeedsareorlIowlongwel1avebeen

committingthem,wl1atisimportantisthatwerefOrm.
ItisoftensaidinBuddl1ismthattrueDl1armare-

positoriesarerare.Ifwearenottruerepositories,we
willbeunabletomaintainthecontinuanceofBud-

dhismForexample,acuplIastobewellcleanedfOr
thewateritholdstobedrinkable.Ifitisnotclean,but

istaintedwitlIjustatraceofpoisonandwedrinkom
it,wewillbepoisonedPoisonisthenegativel<arma.
TobecometrueDharmarepositories)wefirstneedto
l60

eliminateourafflictionstoreceivetheBuddha>steach.

ingssowewillbeabletobenefitnotjustourselvesbut
otlIersaswell.

Todothis,werefOrmandthencultivategoodfOrtune.WhydoweneedtorefOrmfirsttobecomea
Dharmarepository?Sothatwewillbeabletoreceive
allofthegoodfOrtunethatBuddhas,Bodhisattvas)
andbeingsandspiritsoflIeavenandearthbestowon
us.ThisistruegoodfOrtune.Ifourrepositoryisnot
clean,butisfilledwithafflictionsandnegativekarma,
thenthegoodfOrtunegiventousbyBuddlIasand
Bodhisattvaswillturnintoevendeadlierpoisons.
IfwedonotrefOrmourerroneousways,thegood
fOrtunewecultivatewillleadustocommitevenmore

offenses.Wl1y?LackinggoodfOrtune,weonlycommit
smalltransgressionssincewedonothavetheopportunitytocreategreateronesHowever)witbgreatgood
fOrtunethewrongswecommitwillbeevenmore
grave.Intl1efUture,tlIiswillleadusdeeperintotlIe
lIellrealms,tobearevenmoreseveresufferings.
Altl1ougl1poorpeoplemaylIavethoughtofcommittingtransgressionsthataremoreserioustheyare
generallyunabletocarryt}IemoutThetransgressions
thatwealtl]ypeoplecreatearemoreseriousthantlIose
ofaveragepeople.
WefirstneedtorefOrmtoeradicatemisfOrtunesso

wecanen>oygenuinegoodfOrtune.IfwedonoteradicateouraccumulatedbadhabitsbefOrethiscultiva-

tion,thenasourgoodfortuneincreases,wearelikely
l6l

tocommitworsedeedsInpassingonlmowledge>will
atrulybenevolentteaclIeracceptthiskindofstudent?
No!Wl1ynot?TheteacberknowstlIatitwilll1armthe

studentfbrheorsheisnotaDbarmarepository.
T}IisisnottosaytlIatonlyaverysmartorw1sepersonissuitabletobeaDl1armarepository.Ifaperson
lIasapuremindandakindlIeartwithoutgreedanger,ignoranceandarrogancetbenl1eorsl1eisa
Dharmarepository.
WereadinMasterTanxu>smemoirsaboutamonk

whotookmoldycandlesoutsidetodryinthesun.He
wasveryslow-wittedandwithoutanywisdom.ButlIis
mindwaspure,lIewasbonest,andhedidnotharbor
illfeelingsfOranyone.TheoldMastertookalikingto
him.HewasaDlIarmarepositorysotl1emastertaugl1t
himtoprostratetotherelicsofBuddhaShalq/amuni
attheKingAYuTemple,threethousandtimesaday.
Afterthreeyears,tlIemonkwasawakenedandwas
evenabletocomposepoetry.Extremelyarticulate,l1e
eventuallylecturedonsutrasandwaswidelywelcomed.Butaltl1oughl1elladachievedattainment,l1e
stilllivedthriftily)remainedveryl1umbleandwas
courteoustowardsothers.Thisistbewaytobea
DharmarepositoryandistruegoodfOrtune.
Bychoosingasuccessor,ateac}Iercaneitl1erl1arm
apersonorhelplIimorhertosucceedSinceancient
timesgoodteachers,whetherBuddhistorotberwise,
havebeenselectiveinchoosingtheirsuccessors.The
mostimportantcriterionfOrselectionisvirtuousconl62

duct.OtlIerqualitiesthatcanbenurturedarenot
consideredThusweneedtobeginbyreformingifwe
trulywanttoachieveattainment,toberebornintothe
PureLandandtobenefitothersandourselves.As
Liaofansaid,Itisofutmostvaluetobeableto

change.

))

Weliveinaconstantlycbangingandchaotic
world.Ourbodies,madeoffleshandblood,
areperisbableIfournextbreathdoesnot
come,thentlIisbodywillnolongerbeapart
ofus.Then,evenifwewanttorefOrmitwill
betoolate

ThisencouragesustograbholdoftlIeopportunity,
toregretandrefOrmwhilewestillcan.ThisisaneverchangingworldThesutrastellusthatlifeisonlya
breathIfournextbreatlIdoesnotcome,thislifeis

overandthenextonehasbegun.Thenitwillbetoo
latefOrregretsKnowingthattlIisisourmostcrucial
concern,weneedtotreasurethisopportunityandnot
wasteanymoretime.Reflectdaily,regretearnestly,
andreform.Thisistruecultivation

UnfortunatelymanypeopletlIinktbatcultivationis
simplyrecitingsutras,prostratingtotheBuddl1aor
cbantingaBuddha)snamedaily.Thesearemerely
fOrmalitiesandhavenoimpactonreducingournegativekarma.Cultivationisnotsimplyrecitingasutra.It
istonotgiverisetowanderingthougbtsaswefOcus
ont}IetextduringrecitationNeithershouldweatl63

tempttoanalyzethemeaningsbecausetodosois
alsotol1avewanderingthoug}ItsThegoalofcultivationistohaltourthougl1tsandtoattainpurityof
mind.RecitingsutrasclIantingmantras,andchanting
aBuddl1asnameallslIarethisgoal.WlIenthemindis
puretlIebodywillbepure.
Overtheyears,Ihavetrulytakentoheartthatwitl1
purityofmind,tlIebodywillbecomepureandremain
healtl1yNaturallywestillneedtobecarefUlofwlIat
weeatanddrink,andhowwelive.AlthouglIweare
advancinginage,withapurebodyandsurroundings,
andtheabsenceofworriesandafflictionswewillnot
fallillorbecomeinactive.

Mr.LiBingnanwasanexcellentexampleoftlIis.
Eveninl1isnineties,everydaywasarushoflectures,
appointmentssocialengagements,andsoon.From
hisexample,wecansee}Iowapersonwhoisadvanced
inyears,canremainperfectlycompetentwlIilelivinga
healthy)longlife.Manyyoungerpeoplecannotac-

complishtl1is.Itwasallduetotbepurityofhismind
andthus,l1isbody.

Whenwecommitawrongdoing,ourretributionintl1isworldisabadreputationthat
willlastfOrhundreds,eventl1ousandsof

years.Evenfilialandlovingdescendants
cannotrestoreourbonor.InafUturelife,we

miglItendupinlIellsufferingfromimmense
paIn

l6q

Ifwedonotlmowtoregretandtocorrectour
wrongdoings,thenwewillbeburdeningfuturegenerationswithourbadreputations.Evenourfilialand
virtuousdescendantswillnotbeabletoclearour
naInes

Wearecurrentlyunabletoseethehells,butbeassuredtl1atournegativekarmawillleadustotl1emand

tbeyaretrulyterrifVingSutrastalkofthehellsand
provideuswitl1manyexplanationsofhowlongwewill
remaininthem.Onedayinhellisequivalentto
twentysevenhundredyearsonearth
TheChineseoftenproudlytelloftheirfivetl1ousandyearsofhistory.Butthisisonlytwodaysinthe
hellrealms.AndthinkhowterrifinglIellis!The
sborterlifespansarethousandsandmillionsofyears!
Pleaseunderstandthemagnitudeoftbis!Thesuffer=
ingisceaseless.WewillnotbeabletoemergefOr
hundredsandthousandsofeons.Andinthislifetime,
itisveryeasyfOrustocreatetlIecauseofgoingtothe
l1ells.OncewelIavefallenintotl1em,itisunimaginablydifficulttogetout.TherefOre,ifwebelievetl1at
tlIeBuddl1aonlytellstlIetrutlI)lIowcanwecontinue
toactrasl1lyandblindlycommitbaddeeds!

Wbeneventhesages,virtuouspeople,
BuddhasandBodl1isattvascannotl1elpus
escapefromourbadconsequences,l1owcan
wenotbeaaid?

EventheBuddhasandBodhisattvaswitl1theirgreat
l65

compassionandloving-kindnessareunabletolIelpus
wbenwefallintot}IehellrealmsCanKsitigarbl1a
Bodhisattvawl1opresidestherehelpuswlIenwefall
intohell?Veryhonestlyhecanonlyl1elpthosewl1o
possessabundant,solidrootsofgoodnessandgood
fOrtune,andwhocanacceptandaccordwithbis
teacbings.Onlytheyareabletohonestlyregretand
mendtlIeirwaystotranscendthehellrealms
Moreoverw}1enwearesufferingfromintensepain,
itisvirtuallyimpossibletoacceptgoodwords.Tl1e
morewesuffer,themoremaliciousthoughtsand
angryfeelingswewillhaveThen>evenwlIenothers
saysometl1ingpleasanttous)wemayfeelt}1atthey
haveinsultedusandhatetlIemevenmorefOritTlIis

istrueforthosewl1oaresufferinginthisworldlet
alonethoseintlIehellrealms!Thus,moreoftentlIan

not,thosesufferinginthehellrealmswillcommit
worsedeedsmakingthetranscendenceomthehell
realmsmoredifficultandthisiswhyevenBuddl1as
andBodlIisattvascannothelpus.
Wl>atkindofpeopleisKsitigarbhaBodl1isattvaable
tohelp?Hecanhelpthosewhotrulypossessrootsof
goodnessandgoodfOrtune,butwhofellintotlIel1ell
realmsbecauseofonewrongthougl1tintheirlast
moments.KsitigarblIaBodl1isattvacanadviseand
encouragethem.Becausetheyarewillingtolisten,to

regretandbeawakened,itiseasierfOrthemtotranscendfromt}1ehellrealms.OtlIerwise)tl1ereisnoway

tohelpthem.EvenBuddlIasandBodl1isattvasare
l66

helplessinthismatterUnderstandingthishowcan
wenotbeafTaid?

TbesecondwaytorefOrmteacbesustol1aveafearfUlheart.WecannotbideeventhesliglItestofour
faultsfiFomthebeingsandspiritsofheavenandeart}I>
mucblessomalltheBuddhasandBodbisattvas.So
eveninadarkroom,wewoulddowellnottogiverise
todeviatedtboughtsInthisway,wenaturallywillnot
commitanybaddeeds.Tbisissimplythetrutl]!Wl1en
weregretandrefOrm,weneedtobeginfromour
hearts.Whenourheartsandmindsarevirtuousand

kind,ourspeeclIandbehaviorwillnaturallybelikew1se.Whenourheartsareimmoralanduncaring
regardlessofhowwellwepretend,ourspeechand
behaviorwillstillbefalse.

ADeterminedCourageousHeart:
FromCourageComesInspiration

TlIetlIirdwaytorefOrmistohaveadetermined)courageousheart

WeneedtobecourageousinregrettingandrefOrming
ThefirstwaytorefOrm,whicbistolmowshame,is
closetobeingcourageous.Havingasenseofshameis
tobeawakened;notlIavingasenseofsl1ameistobe
deludedTherefOre,asenseofshameistbecondition

fOrawakeningandcourageistlIeconditionfOrdiligent
l67

cultivation.FeelingashamedisawakeningfTomwitbin
ourselvesHavingafearfulheartistbeexternalfOrce
tbatl1elpsustoreainfTomwrongdoing;tbisalso
reflectstl1edeepshameinourtruenature.
ThereareelevenvirtuousDharmasint1eae

oeDoorroImmeHmddDAazmas,
oneofwhichincludesshamewhichisthestateof

mindoffCelingasl1amedFearistl1estateofmindof
beingconscience-stricken.Feelingashamedandbeing
conscience-strickenaretwovirtuousstatesofmindIf

wecanfeelasl1amed,thenweareboundtoacl1ieve.

TlIroughouthislife,MasterYinGuangsaidtl>atlIe
was<constantlyshamefUl>)Heconstantlyhada
shamefUlandfearfull1eartCultivatingfTomtl1is
ameofreference,lIewasabletobediligentand
courageousinimprovingl1imself.Int}Iisway)l1eattainedadetermined,courageousheart.
WhenwehesitatetorefOrmourfaultsbe-

causewedonotreallywanttochangewe
arecontentwithwhatwecangetawaywith
ForarefOrmtotakeplace,wemustberesoluteandresolvetochangeimmediately.We
shouldnothesitateorpostponeuntiltomorroworthedayafter.

Mostofusdriftalongdaytoday,regressinginstead
ofadvancing.Withoutthehearttokeepimprovingin
ourvirtuousconduct,wearenotgenuinelytryingto

improve.Today,thosewhoareresoluteanddiligentin
l68

advancingalsoseektheFiveDesires,theSixDusts)
andtheFivePoisons,witl1outlmowingtbefearfUl
consequencescausedbytheiractions.Sagesofthis
worldandbeyondtaughtustoconcentrateonmoral

improvementandtogainwisdom,theoriginalwisdom
tlIatHowsfromthetruenatureThiswisdomisl]ig}1er
thantheacademicstudyandskillsofworldlyintelligence.

Today,weadvanceresolutelyanddiligently,butin
tlIewrongdirection!WearegoingintotheTl1reeBad
Realmsandremainingmiredinreincarnation.Sages
ofthisworldandbeyondteac}Iust}Iatweneedto
transcendsamsara,tl1eSixRealms>tofiPeeourselves

fOreverfromreincarnation)tocatchupwitlItlIe
Buddl1asandBodhisattvasAsLiaofansaid)wemust
strivetocompletelyeradicatedoubtandresolveto

cl1angeimmediately)toliftourspirits,anddiligently
advance.Donotdelay,resolveandbeginnow.
Aminorfaultislikeathornpiercingour
HeshandslIouldbequicklyremoved

BecauseatlIornpiercingourskinisverypainful,
wewilldowbateverwecantoquicMyextractit.Buta
minorfaultinourmindisevenmorepainfUl.Weneed
tobecomeawareofitaswell.Remainingunawareis
likel1avingnosenseoffeeling,notlmowingthatsometbingispiercingourbodyandiscausinguspain.Now,
itisourconsciencenotourfleslItlIatisnumb.

l69

Abigfaultislikeourfingerbeingbittenbya
poisonoussnake.Wemustquicklycutoff
tl1efingertopreventthepoisonhomspreadingandkillingusIfweconsulttheJCJg
andreceivetlIewind-thundersymbol,it
meanstl1atourstrongdeterminationinrefOrmingassuresusofsuccess.
Thisisjustanexampletoshowushowdetermined
weneedtobeincoITectingourslIortcomings.When
wearelistlesseveryday,itisduetoourkarmicobstaclesWhenweconstantlyhavewanderingthougbts,
afflictions,andworriesandfindthatnotlIingisgoing
ourwayitisalsoduetoourkarmicobstacles.
WeoftenspeakoftlIesebecausetheyarethecause
ofournightmaresandiITegularpatternsinourdaily
living.Whenthishappens,weneedtoearnestlyreflect
andbevigilant.Ifwecancorrectallofourfaultsour
karmicobstacleswillbeeradicatedWithfewerobsta-

cles,wewillbefilledwit}1theDl1armablissandwill

feelligl1tinbodyandmindWewilll1avenoburdens.
Ourafflictionswilldiminishandourmindswillnatu-

rallybepureandcontinuouslygiverisetowisdom.
Thiswillenableustoclearlyseeandunderstandeverytl1ingaroundus)wl>etlIerspiritualorplWsical,
worldlyorbeyondWeneedtolIavethedetermination
andaspirationtoexamineourmotivesandfeelings,to
findourfaultsandfearlesslycorrectthem.

TheJCmgcontainssixty-fOurhexagrams,eacbof
l70

wbiclIhass1xexplanationsorpredictionsThewindthundersymbolrepresentsbenefitandisconcerned
withdeterminationIfweareresolvedtocorrectour

erroneouswaysandtocultivatekindness,thiswilI
enableustogaintruebenefit.Ifwecanimmediately
reformwithoutbesitation,t}Ienwewillhavedone

wbatthewind-thundersymbolsaidwewould.
IfwecanfOllowtbethreewaysofshame,
fear,anddeterminationtorefOrm,tlIenwe
willsurelybetransformed

InrefOrming,weneedtohaveshame,fCarand
courageousdetermination.TohaveaslIamefUlheartis
tobeawakenedTohavearespectfi1landfearfulheart
istobeconscience-strickenOnlywbenwehavebotlI
oftbesedowegiverisetotbecourageousanddeterminedheartthatenablesustoregretandreform
RealizingtlIis)whyareweunabletocorrectourfaults?
SincewehaveyettopossessashamefulandfearfUl
heart,wedonothavethemotivationtbatgivesriseto

acourageousanddeterminedheart.Ifwedonotlmow
shame,thenwewillnotbea{Taidofbeinglaugl1edat
byotherssotbereislittleincentiveforustocultivate
kindness.

Howdowenurturethesethreequalitiesofshame,
fear)andcourageousdetermination?Whydowe
cIoosetheirbStJnHfOreveryonetopractice?
Itisnotthattheothersutrasarenotgood,theyjustdo
notelainasperfectlyasdoestheHiLiStJrH.
l7l

ThenirLZbSiJncompletelyelainsphenom
enaandprinciples,causeandeffect.Itisnottoo
lengtl1ysoitiseasyformodernpeopletopractice)and
itistlIeessenceofallsutras!

OurMDIrmgandEtnmgCImoIZyRBciakDJ
BooAwasspeciallycompiledfOrfellowpractitionersat
theAmitabl1aBuddbistSocieties.Ancientvirtuous

peopleoriginallyeditedtbeolderversionoftl1erecitationbookItwascompiledtocuretbeproblemsof
practitionersoft}Iattime.T}Ius,theoldversionwas
effectiveforthem.However,ourproblemsaredifferentandsoweneedtomodithemorningandeve
ningrecitations.Forthemorningceremony,werecite
cbaptersixoftl1eHiLZbStJZrH,intbebopeof
l]avingtl1esamemindandvowastlIatofBuddl1a
Amitabl1a.

Fortl1eeveningceremony,werecitechapters
tbirty-twothroughtbirty-seven.Tl1esesixchapters
explaintl1eFiveDead>yOlfensesofkilling,stealing,
sexualmisconductlyingandconsumingintocants
andtheTenBadConducts.Theyalsodescribethe
FiveSufferingstbatwebearinthislifeandtheFive

BurningstlIataretheconsequencesweundergointhe
hellsinftIturelives.Thesesufferingsandburningsare
retributions

Aswerecitethesechaptersdaily,tbeycanbelpus
toreflectregretandrefOrmRecitingthemisessen-

tiallythesameasrecitingtherepentanceverse.After
ourrecitation,weneedtobevigilantandawakened,to
l72

sincerelymendourwaysandfOllowthechapter}s
guidanceinunderstandingandcultivation.Inthis
way,wewillbenefitomthiskindofrecitationpracticeT}IerefOre,itisimportantfOrusto}Iavethese
threequalitiesofsbame,fear,andcourageousdetermination

ThereisnoneedtoworryItwillhappenas
assured>yasthespringsunwillmeltatlIin
layerofice.

Ifwehavethesethreequalities,wewillimmediatelyamendourfaultsItisasnaturalastbeicein
springtimebecomingtbinnerastheweatberbecomes
warmer.Asweamendourfaults,ourwisdomwillgrow
andourMrmicobstacleswillbeeliminated.

IeMOHCeRbmmg
g

g t hr

O u

Un hD

Un

Cha

o r

T}Ierearealsothreemethodsofpracticeto
}IelpusrefOrm.T}Iefirstiscl]angingthrouglI
behavior,thesecondischangingthrough
reasoning,andtlIetl1irdischangingfrom
theheart

Sincethemethodsaredifferent)theeffectswillalso

bedifferent.Forexample,ifIusedtokilllivingbeings
l73

intbepast,IvownevertokillthemagainIfIusedto
getangryandyellatothersinthepastIvowneverto
dosoagain.Thisischangingthroughbehaviorby
refTainingfromrepeatingawrongdoingcommittedin
thepastandvowIngnevertodoitagain
PreviouslyLiaofanspokeofprinciples.Nowheprovidesuswiththethreegeneralmethodsofpractice
Firstis<changingthroughbehavior.Ifweloseour
temperandyellatotbersoruseabusivelanguageto
attackothers)wecanchangethrouglIbelIaviorand
reainomrepeatingawrongdoingbyvowIngnever
todoitagain,findingandthencorrectingthefaults
onebyone.ThiswashowLiaofanfirstbeganto
change.Ittookhimmorethantenyearstoaccomplisl1
hisfirstgoalofthreethousandgooddeeds.Notgood
enoughHeaccomplis}1edtlIesecondsimilarpledgein
onlyfOuryears,wbenhesouglItandattainedason.
Butthiswasstilltoolong.ThrouglIthechangeof
bel1avior,theresultattainedwasassouglIt.
InBuddhism,onecanclIangethrougl1behaviorby
keepingt}Ieprecepts.InClIinatbereareeightschools
inMal1ayanaBuddl1ismandtwoinTlIeravadaBuddhism$alltenbegincultivationthroughpreceptkeeping.Tl1isisespeciallytruefortheTheravadaprecepts
thatempl1asizebel1aviormorethantl1oug}Its.
TbisisdifferentomtheMahayanapreceptslike
thosefOundintlIeBIHAma/\/e[StJZrH.Tbissomewl1at

lengthysutrawasnotcompletelytranslatedintoCbinese.Onlythemostimportantcbapter,tl1e<Mind
l74

PreceptChapter/wasbroughttoChinaThefirst
section,wichelainsthestateofmindofaBodhi
sattvadescribes}Iowtoc}IangefromthemindThe

secondsection,wbicbexplainst}IeBodbisattvapreceptsandbehavior,describeshowtochangetbrouglI
behavior.Whatisimportantisthestateofthemind
ToclIangeomthemindaswellasthrouglIbehavior
isthebestway

Tryingtoforceourselvestosuppressour
fauItsisextremelydifficultbecausewe
havenotpermanentlyuprootedourfaults,
merelytemporarilycurbedt}Iem.Therefore,changingthroughbehaviorcannot
helpustopermanentlyeliminateour
faults.

Therootofourproblemsliesinourminds.Ifwe
onlysuppressourfaultsinsteadofeliminatingthem,
theywillsimplyreappearatanothertime.TlIerefOre,
cl1angingthroughbelIaviorisashort-livedsolution

tbatonIytreatstlIesymptoms.Thisisliketreatingtbe
lIeadwhent}IereisaheadacheortreatingthefOot
whenthereisafOotpain.Tbebehaviorseemstobe
correctbutthemindisstiIpollutedbecausetheroot
problemremains.
ChangingthroughReasoning

Instead,wecantrytorefOrmbyunderstandl75

ingwl1yweshouldnotdosometl1ing;fOrexample,killing.Tolovealllivingtl1ingsisa
virtueofheaven.UnderstandingtlIatalllivingbeingslovelifeandfeardeath>howcanI
beatpeacewitlImyselfbytakinganother>s
lifetonurturemyown?Attimes,animals
suchasfishorcrabshavebeencookedalive.

SuchpainandsufferingreaclIdowninto
theirverybones.Howcanwebesocruel?
Whenweeat,weusemanyeensiveand
tastythingstonourisbourselves,enoughto
fillthewlIolediningtable!Butoncethe
mealisdone,eventhebestdelicacieswill

becomebodywasteandbeexcretedTheresultofourldllingaccomplis}Iesnotl1ing.
ConsumingvegetarianfOodscanfilland
nourishusjustaswellWlWletourstomachsbecomeagraveyardandreduceour
goodfOrtunethroughkilling?
Here,Liaofanwroteofchangingthroughreasoningby
understandingtl1etruerealityanditsprinciples.
Achievingthis,wewillnaturallynolongerbeartoeat
theHeshofanotlIersentientbeing.BefOresincewe
wereunclearofwhyweshouldnotdosomething,we

grudginglytriedtostopTryingtofOrceourselvestodo
somethingisextremelydifficult.Unhappyandunwillingwewillenduppainfullystrugglingwithourselves.
Butonceweunderstandtheprinciplesandthe
l76

logic,wecanreconciletheseproblemsWeneedto
constantlybearinmindthatlovingaIivingthingsisa
virtueofheaven.ItisnaturalthatwedosoToday,
scientistsaregraduallybeginningtounderstandthat
havinganaturalecologicalbalanceisthesameas
lovingalllivingthings.Ifournaturallybalancedecologicalsystembecomesunbalanced,everylivingbeing
intheworldwillsufferfromthedevastation.Awise

personwouldreainomdoinganythingthatwould
lIarmourecologicalsystem
Actua>lyofalltheanimals)humansaretheworst
fOrwearet}Iecruelest,tbemostevilAnimalsonlykill
whenhungry.Aftersatisfyingtheirbungertheyignore
otheranimalsthatwaIknearthem.T}Iisshowsthat

theykilMTomthenaturalinstinctofhungerandt}Ius
createlittlenegativekarmaOntheother}Iand,humansslaughteratwilleventhoug}Iwe}Iavenoneedto
killThenegativekarmacreatedbyhumansisunequaledbyanimals!Whenweconsiderthiswewill
realizetlIatthereisnotlIinginsamsarafOrustobe
proudof.
AlthouglIitisofgreatsufferingtofallintotheanimalrealms,thosewhodosoarereducingtlIeirnegativekarma.IfwedonotpracticeBuddhismwlIenwe
obtainourhumanfOrms>thenwhatist}Iegoodof
lIavingthem?Wecommitwrongdoingsdaily.Animals
reducetheirnegativekarmaWecreateit.Afterreducingtheirkarma,theywillemergeandbereborninto
tlIeThreeGoodPathsOntheotherhand,ournegal77

tivekarmalIasincreasedandwhenitcomesintofTui-

tion,wewillhllintotheThreeBadPatlIs.Animals

preparetoemergeomtheTl1reeBadPathswhereas
wepreparetogointotlIesepaths.Whatistl1erefOrus
tobeproudoR
WealsoneedtoremembertlIatallsentientbeings
includinganimalsaremortallyafTaidofdeathWeare
abletokillthembecausetheyareunabletofigl1tback
ThisisthewealKbeingtbepreyofthestrong!Animals
areunabletoresist,butaretheywillingtobekilled?If
not,beassuredthattlIeywillbaveresentmentand
hatredHowarewegoingtoavoidrevengethatwillin
turnbreedfurtherrevenge?
Once,afellowpractitionercametomeandasked)
l<Isthereanyuseintranscendingtbespiritsofaborted
babies?Isaid,<<Nouse!YouthinMranscendingthem
willsolveanytlIing?>,Thepractitionerasked:(Butif
theclIildisborndefOrmedorretardedwouldl1eor
slIenotundergomucbsuffering?Woulditnotbe
bettertoabort?>>Ireplied:<Weneedtounderstand
thatbearingadefOrmedorretardedbabyisbearing
onewhohascometodemandpaymentofadebt.You
oweadebt.ByabortingtlIebaby,notonlyareyou
stoppingtl>edebtfrombeingclaimed,youl1avekilled
himorherThedebtyouowedintbepasthasnow
beenmultiplied.Inafuturelife,itwillbeevenworse.
Rigbtnowscientistsonlyseewbatisinontofthem
theydonotlmowoftlIecauseandeffectoftl1enext
lifetime.Causeandeffectarelinkedthrougbthepast,
l78

))

presentandfuture.Tbisisagraveoffense.
T}Iepractitionerpersisted:(<Butthebabyhasyetto
takes}Iape.Itisonlyinthefirstorsecondweekof
gestation),Isaid:<<No,thebabycomesatthetimeitis
conceived,it}IasnotlIingtodowithtakingsbapeor
not.Uponconception,ithasfoundyou.You}Iavean
affinitywitbitomthepast,wbetheritisrepaymg
gratitudeoragrievance,demandingpaymentofa
debt,orrepaymgadebtIfthebabyhascometorepay
gratitudeandiskilledbyyou,youwillbereturning
kindnesswit}Iingratitude.Heorshewillbecomeyour
enemyintheflIture
Perhapsitwasafilialc}Iildoravirtuousgrandchild
who}IadcometorepaykindnessBykillingit,you
haveturnedthefetusintoamortalenemy.Tbisis
terrible!Youthinkyoucantranscendthebabythroug}I
tbelittlemeritgainedomspendingsomemoneyfOr
aplaque.NotlIingistbiseasy!Youareon>ydeceiving
yourself.>>
IfeveryonecouldjustseetlIepastcauseandtberesultanteffect,wewouIdbeterrified!Wehavetobe

carefultounderstandtheprinciplesandlmowthe
truereality.Itisagravetransgressiontokillorharm
anothersentientbeingjusttonurtureourselvesHowevertoday)peopleregardthisasperfectlynormal
Somepeopleevenbelievethatanimalsarecreationsof
GodgiventotlIemtoeat.
Ift}Iesesentientbeingswereintendedforustoeat,

tl1enwouldwenotquestionwhetherGodtrulylIasthe
>79

virtueoflovingalllivingthings?Tbiswrongthinldng
leadsustocommitmanytransgressions.Andwedo
notevenknowhowverywrongweare.WlIenkilled
andslaugbtered,allbeingscryoutomtIeirfearand
pain.Whenwelistentotheirterrifiedcries,l1owcould
anyonethinkthattheywillinglysubmittedtotheir
deaths?

Itisstatedinthesutras:Ahumandiesandbe-

comesasbeep.Asheepdiesandbecomesahuman

,,

LifeafterlifetheywillkilleachotlIerseekingvengeance.Thus,itissaidthatifweeatonepoundofflesh)
wewillpaybackonepoundoffleshAdebtofmoney
mustberepaidincasb,andalifeowedmustberepaid
inkindThisistheinescapabilityofthelawofcausalityOncewetrulybelieveandaccepttl1is,wewill
neveragaintl1inkofharminganybeingbecausewedo
notwishtopaywitbourlivesinthefUture.
Norwillweseeldll-gottenwealthWhy?Because
welmowthatintbefUturewewillhavetorepaytl1e
debt.Byunderstandingthetruerealitywenaturally
willabidebythelawbecontentedwitlIwhatwebave,
andbehonestinallthatwedo.Beassuredthatthisis

neitherpassivenorregressive.Itisdoingourbestto
createabeautifUlandbrightfIIturefOrourselves.Itis
seekingagoodlifenotonlyforthislifetime,butfOr
allofourfuturelifetimesaswellWithoutwisdomand

lmowledgeofthetruereality)wewiIlbeunableto
attainwl1atweseek

InthissegmentofthetextLiaofanwroteabouteatl80

ingmeatofseeingsentientbeingskilled,andofwitnessingtl1eirpainandsufferingthatreachdownto
thebones.Howcouldwebeartotaket}Ieirlivesto

nurtureourown?OncewehavefinislIedeating,even
themostdeliciousfOodsbecomebodywaste.People
longfOrdelicaciesandfOrfoodthattastesgood;but
nomatterhowwecookittheonlytbingthatwillenjoy
thetasteisourtonguenothingelse.>ustfOrafew
secondsofenjoymentwe}Iavekilledcountlesssentientbeingsandcommittedinnumerabletransgressions!

EatingvegetarianfOodcanbejustasfillingand
nourishing.SomemaysaythatvegetarianfOodisnot
nutritiousbutmanyvegetarianshavelivedlongand
l1ealtlWlives.MonksandnunswlIobecamevegetarianswlIent}IeywereyoungarestrongandhealthyTo
saythatbeingavegetarianisunhealthyisincorrect.
Whenwetakethelifeofanothersentientbeingand
eatt}IemtonurtureourselveswenotonlymalKeenemiesandincurtbeirhatred,butwealsoreduceour

goodfortune.Atrulyintelligentpersonwouldneverdo
thiS.

Thinkofa>lthelivingbeingswitlIfles}Iand
bloodLikeus,theyareselfaware.TlIeyand
weareoneentityAlthoughourcultivation
ofvirtuehasnotyetreac}IedtlIestatethat

willenablethesebeingstorespectusand
feelsafearoundus>wecanatleastnotlIarm
l8l

themormakethemhateus.Ifwethink

aboutit,wewillnaturallyfeelsorrowfOr
tbeseanimalsandthusbeunabletoswallow
tl1eirHesh

Alllivingbeingshaveself-awareness;theyareno
differentfromus.NooneotherthanBuddbasand

Bodhisattvaswouldunderstandtbis.Fromtl1issegmentofthetext,itislogicaltoassumethatLiaofans
familywasvegetarianbecauseheunderstoodtl1e
reasoningandknewt}Ietruth
Today,somepeoplestillmisunderstandandtl1ink
thatwhileadultscanbevegetarianschildrencannot.
Parents,afraidthattheirchildrenwillbemalnourishedwantthemtoeatmoremeat.Thisisincorrect.

Actually,itismorelikethinkingthattheirchildren
miglItnothaveenoughkarmicobstaclesormigl]tlIave
toofewenemies,sowesl1ouldl1elpt<1emincureven
morekarmicfOes.TlIisiswhatitamountsto!Ifwetry
toelaintothemtbeymaydoubtwhatwesayor
evencriticizeussayingthatweareoutoftoucb)and
areignorantofscienceandnutrition.
Infact,theyaremistakenfOrthisisnotthecaseat
all.Itisbesttoawakenasearlyaspossible;tbe
youngerourcl1ildrenbecomevegetariansthebetteroff
theywillbe.ItwillhelpthemtobuildasolidfoundationofgoodfOrtuneandmeritsAswasexplainedin
thehHiLbStkmandAnanAskHeBazS

AHckdngBZsmaCbodDeetl1eancestorswere
>8Z

ignorant.TlIeancestorsherearetheoldergenerations
Lackingwisdom,theyhaveledustounwittinglycommittransgressionscreatingmuchnegativekarma.
ThismatterofoureatingmeatisappallingfOrthisisa
seriousoffense

Anotl1erexampleofchangingthroughreasoningisaneasilyangeredpersonHeorshe
canstopandthinktlIatweallhaveour
strengthsandwealmesses.IfItouchon
someoneswealmess,Ishouldfeelsadabout

theirfailingandfOrgiveanyshortcomings.If
someoneoffendsmefOrnoreasonatallitis

tl>atpersonsproblemand}Iasnothingtodo
witl1me.ThereisnoreasonfOrmetobecomeangry.

Insteadoflosingourtempersandbecomingangry,
weshouldsincerelyreflectandremindourselvesthat
weareonlyhumanandthateachofushasfaults.If
wecannotfOrgiveothers)sbortcomings,l1owcanwe
expecttl1emtofOrgiveoursPThinkinginthismanner
wewillnolongercondemnothersbutwillinsteadfeel
empatbyfOrthem.Peopleonlymakemistakesdueto
theirignoranceTheylacktbeabilitytodistinguisl]
betweentrueandfalse,properanddeviated)andbetweenl1armfi1landbeneficialThust}Ieycannotcorrecttbemselves)endtl1eirerroneousways,orcultivate
kindness.Wesl1ouldfeelsympatlWfOrtlIemandnot
bereproacl1fUl.InsodoingwefOllowtheBuddl1a)s
l83

andBodhisattva)swayofrelatingtopeopleandsituations

LiaofansaidthatwhensomeoneoffendsusfOrno

reasonatall>itistheirproblem,notours.Ifsomeone
attacksusunfairly,itdoesnotconcernus.Evenif
theyattackusplIysically,tbereisnoreasontobecome
angry.Thisbodyisnot<me/)Purityofmindwillnever
behurtbyattacks,aspurityofmindbyitsnature
containsnothing.Itisasbametbatwedonotemploy
purityofmindwhenweinteractwithothersorcircuInstances

WlIatweuseistheillusorymindnottl1etrueself
BuddhiSmteaclIesustoseektbeoriginalself.Tbis
true,pureminddoesnotgiverisetoanywandering
tboughtsOursurroundingswillnotaffectthepure
mindIfitdoesnotconcernus,wbyshouldweworry
aboutit?Whyshouldwebesoattachedtoit?Oncewe
severallwanderingdiscriminatorytl1oughtsandattaclIments,whatistheretoconcernus?Nothing.
Byunderstandingthelogic)ourmindswillbesettledandnolongeraffectedbyexternalconditions,and
wewillacbieveperfectpeaceofmindRegardlessof
whathappensaroundus>wecanremaincalm.When
weencounterfavorableconditions,wedonotgiverise
totl1eheartofgreedEncounteringunfavorableconditionswedonotgiverisetotlIelIeartofangerRegardlessoftl1ecircumstances>weareabletomaintaintl1e

mindofpurity)equality>andcompassiontogenuinely
refOrmourselves

l84

Ialsothinkthatnogreatpersonthinksthat
heorsbeisalwaysright.Nordointelligent
peopleblametheirfaultsonothers.WlIen

tlIingsdonotgotlIewaywewish,itisbecausewehavenotcultivatedourvirtuesand

morals,andhavenotaccumulatedenougl1
meritstomoveothers!

WeshouldalwaysreHectuponourselves
first.Insodoing,criticismcanbecomea
traininggroundtorefineourcharacterand
tostrengtlIenourabilities.Wesbouldbe
verygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)scriticism
andguidanceWhatistheretobeangryand
complainabout?

Thisteac}Iesusthebestwaytochange:torefOrm

omtlebeart.IntIedmmsaStJnH,tlIepurpose
oftlIefifty-threevisitsofSudhanawastopracticeand
learnfTomexperience.Ourbestwaytochangeisto
cultivateandrefOrmfTomt}1emindTodotl1is,we
needtoearnestlyreflect.

InBuddl1ism,BuddhasandBodl1isattvasaregreat
heroes.Theystandoutamongothersanddowhat
otherscannotdo.38Tbeyregretandreform.Ableto
correctallerrors,theyaregreatlIeroesThereareno
selfrigl]teousBuddhasorBodhisattvas.Thereareno
arrogantgreatsagesorvirtuouspeople.TlIeyareall

humble,patient,andagreeable.TlIishumilityand
respectarearevelationoftheirvirtuousnatures.
l85

Anintelligentpersonneverblamesothersorthe
heavens.TheylIavetruelearningwhicbiswisdom

revealedfromthetruenatureThislearningmaybe
BuddhistorConfucianThewisdomspokenofin
ConfUcianismalsoflowsfromouroriginalnature;
thus,itiscalledthesincereandhonestmindSincer-

ityistlIetruemind,fOritHowsfromtbesinceremind
Itiswisdom;itistruelearning.TberefOrelearnedand
wIsepeoplenevercomplainaboutorblameothers,nor
blametlIeheavensfortbeirmisfOrtunes

Whenwedonotsucceedinourendeavors,wl1en

ourspeeclIandbehaviorarecriticized,wbenothers
slanderus,andthingsarenotgoingourway,donot
blameotbers.Instead,weneedtoreflectandunder-

standthatitisbecausewehavenotyetsucceededin
ourcultivationofmoralsandvirtues,andthisisthe

reasonwhyweareunabletomovetbem.
WeneedtofirstdetermineifwelIavemistreated

others.WlIenpeopleverballyabuse>criticize,and
slanderus,weshouldacceptitwitl1agratefulheart
rathert}IanavengefUlbeartWhy?Theyhaveprovided
uswithinvaluableassistancethatcanbelpusreflect
andcorrectourmistakesimmediatelyifwedohave
thesefaultsorguardagainsttl1emifwedonot.Ifwe
arenotatfault,donotblamethesepeople;insteadbe
encouragedtomakefUrtlIerimprovements.Sudl1ana

adoptedthismethodwl1envisitinghisfifty-tllreeadvisorstocorrectallofhisshortcomingsandtoeventuallybecomeaBuddba
l86

Thefifty-tlIreevisitsareexamplesoftrainingthe
mindthrougheerience,throughtIeinteractions
withcircumstancesandotlIersinourdailylives.Eve-

rythingandeveryoneprovidesuswithtlIemeansto
contemplate.NomatterwbotlIeindividualsare>we
shouldregardtl1emasourteachersWeshouldregard
whattheyteaclIusaslessonstaughtbyBuddhasand
Bodhisattvas.Wewanttoearnestlyreflectlearnand
practice.Thereisonlyonestudent-me.Everyone
elseismyteacl]er,myadvisor,aBuddlIaandaBodl1isattva.TheydonothavefaultsonlyIdo.Tbisisl]ow
SudlIanabecameaBuddba.

WelearnfromtheAmZamsaSmrH,thatSudhana
didnotneedtowaituntilafuturelifetimetobecomea
BuddhaHebecameoneinhiscurrentexistence!He

beganasanordinarypersonandcontinuedtopractice
untill1ereacbedsupremeperfectenligl1tenmentin
onelifetimeIfwecanacquirethisabilityandmethod,
thenwetooareassuredofbecomingaBuddhainthis
body,intl1islifetime.
HowdidSudlIanacultivatePHowdowecultivate?

First)donotblameanyoneoranytl1ing.Blameonly
ourselves.Ifotherpeoplearedisagreeabletome,itis
becausemylKarmicobstacleshavesurfacedAllother
peopleareBuddhasandBodhisattvaswithouttlIe
slightestfaults.WhateverIseethatincursmydislike
ismykarmicobstacle,myfault.
AsthesixthPatriarcbofZenMasterHuinengsaid,
ItisourshortcomingifweseethefaultsofotlIers,as
l87

wewillregressalso)>Whenwemindthefaultsof
otbers,ourkarmicobstacleswillsurfaceandwewill

regressMasterHuinengalsosaidtlIatatruepractitionerdoesnotseethefaultsofothers.Sudhanawasa

truepractitioner.Hedidnotseethefaultsofothers,

onlyhisown.Hewasaaidofnothavingenougbtime
tocorrecthisownmuclIlesshavingtl1etimetofind
thefaultsofotl1ers.Hesaweveryoneasavirtuous
personasaBodhisattvaandBuddha.Inthisway,he
himselfbecameaBodl>isattva)aBuddbaIfwestill
seethefaultsofothers,itisourfaultourkarmic

obstaclematerializing.IntheeyesofaBuddl1a,everyoneisaBuddha.Intheeyesofordinarybeings,even
BuddhasandBodhisattvasareordinarybeings.Tl1us,
thebestwaytorefOrmisomwitlIin.
Criticismcanactuallybeagoodthing.Itisnoteasy

fOrustodiscoverourfaultsevenwhenwetryto.
Wlenothersndthemandtellusaboutthem,itwill

saveusagreatdealoftrouble.T}1erefOre,weshould
beverygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)scriticism,astl1is
isourtraininggroundtorefineourcharacterandto
fUlfillourgoals.Theyhavecometohelpus>tobeour
benevolentadvisors.Ifwecanacceptthingsinthis
way,wewillseethatthereisnothingtobeangryor
complainaboutHowcanwebeangryPHowcanwe
notacceptcriticism?Howcanwegiverisetotheheart
ofrevenge?Thisisaseriousoffense!Tbeyareour
benefactorsandyetwewanttorepaytlIemwitl1reprisals!

l88

WhentheChinesespeakoffilialpiety,wethinkof
EmperorS}Iun,39whoisknownasamodeloffilial
pietyHisprofOundfilialpietywasabletomove
heavenandearthWhohelpedhimtoachievethis?
Hisparentsandbalfbrother.Afterhismotl1erdied
Shun>sfatl1erremarriedWhenhisstepmothermistreatedhimhisfathersidedwithherThenyears
laterafter}Iisbalf-brothergrcwup,heInistreated
S}IunaswellandthetlIreeeventriedtokillhim!

Butthroughitall,Shundidnotchangehisgentle
heartbutconstantlyquestionedwhylIecouldnot
makehisparentsandbrotlIerlIappy.Heregardedtheir
actionsashisownfaultfOrlIedidnotseethoseof

ot}Iers.EverydaybereflectedonlIisshortcomings,on
howtoregretandcorrectthem.Intheend,hefinally
inHuencedandrefOrmedhiswholefamily.Hedidnot
trytorunawayfromlIomeorthinkofrevenge.When
EmperorYaolearnedofShun,hechosehimashis
successorandmarriedhistwodauglIterstohim.Forif
Shuncouldinfluencehisfamilythensurelyhecould
influencetlIewholecountry.
Intbesutras,wereadofEnduranceCelestialBe-

ingWl1ohelpedl1imtoattainachievement?Kaliraja.
BuddhaShalWamunispokeofthisexamplebrieflyin
tbeDmondStJnHandprovidedfurtlIerdetailsintl1e
CTaraSiJraKalirajaisaSanSkritwordmean
ingaself-indulgentunprincipledtyrant.Thecelestial
beingwascultivatingonamountainwbenfOrno
reason,KalirajalosthistemperandputtlIecelestial
l89

beingtodeathbydismemberment

EnduranceCelestialBeingdidnotlIavetheslightesttraceofhatred.InsteadheperfectedtbeParamita
ofPatience.Hedidnotviewanypersonormatteras
evilTrytoimaginethelevelofpurityofmindthatlIe
l1adattainedWbatdowelearnfTompracticingBuddl1ism?Theimportanceofattainingpurityofmind
throughendurance.
Peoplemightsaythatweareinsensitiveifwedo
notdifferentiategoodfrombadInfact)itisnotthat
wedonotunderstandwhatishappeningaroundus.
Wedo.Understandingtl>elawofcausalityenablesour
heartstobepureandwitboutanyattacl1mentsor
discriminatorythougbtsAsforEnduranceCelestial
Being,l1ismindwaspurebecausehe}IadfOundtl1e
truthButbecausesentientbeingsl1aveafflictions,it
isnecessarytoelaintothemtbeprinciplesina
progressionofideas
WeunderstandthatthefOurattachmentsofself,

others,phenomena,andtimearenotreal;tl1ateverytbingisequal)withouttbeslightestdifference.TherefOreinthisstate,differentiationandnondifferentiationaretl1esamebecausetl1ereisnodual-

ity-everythingisone.Wbenwedifferentiatewedo
notdosofOrourselvesbutasametlIodtohelpotl1ers.
SincesentientbeingshavenotyetfOundtl1eirtrue
nature,weteachthemtoendtheirerroneousways

andcultivategooddeeds.Whenwel]aveuncovered
ourtruenature,tlIerewillbenoerroneouswaystobe
l90

endedandnogooddeedstobecultivatedfOrour
mindswillbeinastateofpurityandequality-the
OneTrueDharmaRealm-t}Iestateofnon-cultivation

andnon-attainmentWithinsuc}Istates,westil>do
whateverisneededfOrcultivationandattainment.

But,wedonotattachtoeitlIerextremeofemptiness
orexistence.

Ifweuncoverourtruenature,orpurityandequality,butdonotpractice,thenwewillfallintotheextremeofemptinessIfweareattachedtotheappearanceofmattersanddonotthoroughlyunderstandthe
principle,donotseeintoouroriginalnature,tbenwe
fallintot}Ieextremeofexistence.Weshouldnotat-

tachtoemptinessortoexistence.
AsMalIasthamapraptaBodhisattvaelained,we
shouldconcentratethesixsensesonuninterrupted

puretl1oughts.Withconcentrationoft}Iesixsenses
wewillnotfallintotheextremeofestence.With

uninterruptedpurethoughtswewillnotfallintotlIe
extremeofemptinessInthisway,ourmindsarepure
andnondiscriminatory)witheverythinginaccordance
withthetruenatureWechant(AmituofOcontinu-

ously,withoutinterruptiondayandnight,andwitbout
attacl1ingtoeitl1erexistenceoremptiness.

Likewise)inthefaceofslander,wesl>ould

maintaintlIemindofstillness.AlthouglItl1e
slanderousrumorsandtalebearingspread
likeabugefirelikeatorch,tbeywilleven>9l

tuallyburntbemselvesout.
TlIistellsushowtobehavewhenothersinsultand

slanderus.Ifweremaincalmandunaffected)everythingwillnaturallypass.WlIenotlIersverballyabuse
us,wedonotneedtorespondinldnd.WlIenthey
curseus,weneednotsayanythingAfterafewhours)
theywillgettiredandstopThisisaveryeffective
methodtohandletlIistypeofsituation.
IlearnedtlisomaclassmatewhenIwasateen

agerstudyinginschoolAtthattimeIwasverycausticlikeLiaofan.Ilovedtoridiculepeopleandplay
tricksontl1em.However>thatclassmatebecamemy
goodadvisorIwasarroganttowardslIimandeven
ridiculedl1iminpublicButleneverrespondedin
kind.ThiscontinuedfOranentireyearandintheend,
hegottl1rougl1tome.Tl1ispersonwastrulyamazing!
HedidnotreturnonebloworoneinsultIlearned

tl1isskillfromhimandl1aveuseditmyentirelife
Itcanalsoservetoimproveourselfcultivationand
helpaccumulategoodfOrtune)fOraveragepeoplewill
praiseus,sayingthatwearetrulygoodpractitioners!If
itwasnotfOrthosepeopleinsultingandslanderingus,
wewouldnotl1avetl>eopportunitytopracticeendurance.T}Ieybavecometohelpustosucceedinour

practice.Whywouldwerefusetheirhelp?Ifsomeone
treatsuslikethisatworkandwecaninteractwith

themwithapuremind,oursuperVsorswillappreciate
usourco-workerswillrespectus,andouropportunil92

tiesfOrpromotionwillimprove.Thispersonhas
greatlybenefitedusHowcanwerefUsesuclIhelp?
WhenIwasinschool,iftwostudentsquarreled>
theteacl1erwouldusuallypunishbotlIbyhavingthem
lmeelontl1egroundWefeltthatthiswassounfair
andwouldthink<<Iwasobviouslyrightwl1ydidthe
teacheralsopunishme?,Lateron,IrealizedtlIatin
anyargumentorfight,bothpartiesareatfaultandare

atthesamelevel.Ifoneisbigl1andtheotherislow,
thentheargumentwouldnothavetakenplace.For
example,anadultwouldnotfig}ItwithababyItwas
verylogical.Now,whenweareinsultedorslandered,
wecantellwhetberthepractitioner)slevelofcultivationislIigborlow.
Wheninsultedorslandered,weneedtoremember
thattheseindividualsarebenefactorswl1ocometo

giveusagift.WecannotreturnthiskindnesswitlI
ingratitude.First,tbeyhavecometotestourlevelof
cultivation.Second,wewillaccumulategoodfOrtune
andareabouttogainthepraiseandrespectofothers.

TherefOrethesebenefactorsarenotbadpeople,but
areactuallygoodfriendswhomwedonotwantto
wronglyaccuse.
Ifwebecomeangryandtrytodefendourselveswhenslandered,itwouldbeliketl1e

springsilkwormspinningitsowncocoonand
suffOcatingitself.Becomingangrydoesnot
benefitus;it}Iarmsus.
l93

Tl1isappliestoworldlyteaclIingsaswellastoBuddl>ismThefirstofthetwoessentialpracticesoftl1e
SixParamitasofBodlIisattvasisGiving.Tl1isisto
cultivategoodfOrtune.Wecannotlivewithoutgood
fOrtuneandthisiseventruerfOrBuddhasWecallthe

Buddha<<RespectedOnewithPerfectWisdomand
GoodFortune.))HiswisdomandgoodfOrtuneare
unsurpassedItverynaturalthatweseekthesealso)as
ourtruenatureoriginallycontainedinfinitewisdom
andgoodfOrtune.
Aswel>avesaidtherearethreekindsofgiving:
wealtl1,teacbingandfearlessness.Practicingthese
willresultinl1avingwhateveryoneseeks:wealtb
wisdom,andl1ealthylonglivesrespectively.Byplant-

inggoodcausesweareassuredofl1arvestinggood
results

Tl1esecondessentialpracticeistheParamitaofPatience,wl1ichenablesustoretainourgoodfOrtune.If
wepracticegivingandgaingoodfOrtune,butdonot
practicethissecondParamita,wewillloseourgood
frtune.TheD2mondrHtellsus,everythingis
attainedthroughpatience))Weneedtocultivatepatiencetosafeguardourachievementsworldlyand
Buddhist.

Weoftenreadinthesutrasoftl1efireburningour
fOrestofmerits.Wbatisthisfire?Itisangerandha-

tredW}1enweloseourtempers,weloseourmeritsas

well.Ifyouwanttolmow}1owmuchmerityouhave,
tl1inkofthelasttimeyoubecameangry.Withone
l9

angrythoughttlIefireburnsourfOrestofmerits.
IfPureLandpractitionersweretobecomeangryat
theirlastmomentsoflife,allwouldbelost!Thisis

whytl1eBuddhataughtusnottotouchthebodyof
thedeceasedwithineighthoursofpassingawayAlthougl1thepersonhasbreatbedhisorherlastbreath,
thespirithasnotleftthebody.Totoucl1thedeceased
wouldcausegreatpainandpossiblyanger.IftlIey
weretobecomeangryatthiscriticalmoment,allof
theirmeritswouldbelost.Thus,meritsareextremely
difficulttoaccumulatefOrtheycanbelostatany
timeOurgoodfOrtuneandvirtueslIowever,willreInaIn

WlIatismerit?Itispurityofmind,concentration
andwisdomThinkaboutitifweloseourtempers,
howcanwemaintainourconcentrationandwisdom?

Impossible.AsfOrgoodfOrtune)itisourwealthand
intelligence.WlIenourmindattainsConstantMindfulnessofBuddhaAmitabhaorOneMindUndis-

turbedwecanaccumulatemeritsandvirtues.But

withjustoneoutburstoftemperallislost:nomore
ConstantMindfulnessofBuddlIaAmitabl1a,much

lessOneMindUndisturbedTherefOreweneedto

remainvigilantsoasnottoloseourmerits.
Inourcultivationonthepathtoawakening,our
karmiccreditorswilloftentrytocreatetrouble.WlW?
Tl1eylIaveanoverwlIelmingneedfOrrevenge.They
seethatweareabouttosucceedinourcultivationand

lmowtbatoncewehavesucceeded,tlIeywillnolonger
l95

havetlIeopportunityfOrrevengeThus)theywilldoall
tbeycantobIockourprogress.AndtlIewaytheydo
tbisisbymakingusburnourfOrestofmerits.But,if
wearedeterminednottohaveourmeritsdestroyed,
thennoexternalfOrcecandoso.

Sometimes,whenwefindourselvesinunpleasant
circumstancesorhavepersonalproblems,webecome

unbappyandloseourtempers.Oncewedothis,our
meritsareburnt.Whatorwhomakesussoun}Iappy
andangry?Probablyallthoseunfavorableconditions,
enemies,andpeoplestirringuptrouble.TlIisisan
exampleofThespeaker}Iadnosuchintention,tlIe
listenerinterpretedittobeso.),Perbapsthespeaker
hadnointentiontoupsetus,butweinterpretedwhat
wassaidtobedeliberateandfeelmiserable.Wemay
burstoutinangerorwemaymanagesomecontrol
andkeepitinside.EitlIerway)ourmeritsaregone.
Whywouldallofourmeritsbedestroyedwithjust
alittleanger?Becausewehavelostourpurityofmind
TherefOre)alltheteacbingsandattainmentsarebased

onpatienceanddeepconcentration.TlIeyarenotonly
thekeytoourcultivationintranscendingsamsara,but
thekeytoworldlymattersaswell.Toremainunmovedbyslander)>isdeepconcentrationandistbe
revelationofwisdom.Tobecomeangryduetoslander
isamanifestationofkarmicobstacles.Wecanchoose
wlIetlIertol1aveourwisdomrevealedorourMrmic
obstaclesmaterialize.

AretheseencountersgoodfOrus?Forpractitioners,
l96

yes!Itisgoodtrainingtohavesomeoneconstantly
causingtroublefOrusandtonotbavethingsgoingour
way.Withouttl1eseadversitiesbowwouldweachieve
concentration?AdverseconditionsandaffinitiesprovideuswitlIjusttlIerightopportunitiestodiscipline
ourselvesandtopracticetheParamitaofPatience.We
cannotbethankfulenougbfOrtheseopportunities,
muclIlesstocomplainaboutthemorgetangry.
Intl1epast,themethodusedinhelpingapersonto
learndisciplinewastoteachlIimorhertopracticet}Ie
ParamitaofPatience.TlIosewhowerebelievedtobe

potentialDharmarepositorieswouldbetestedTlIey
wouldbepickedonateveryopportunityandtreated
unpleasantlyasiftheyweredislikedTlIiswastoseeif
tl1eywereabletoremainpatientandtoendurethe
harassment.Iftheywereunabletoendureandleft,so
beit.Ifwecannotendureorbepatient,thenwecannotacl1ieveattainment.Evenifweareexceptionalin
allotherareas)ifwedonothavethepatiencetoendureourac}Iievementswillbelimited
IneiJaacAingHZDwereadofan
oldmonkwlIoseverelymistreatedoneparticularstudent.Heconstantlyreproachedandverballyabused
thestudentateveryopportunity.Onetime,whenthe
studentwaswasbingbisfeet,bepoureddirtywaterall
overhim,buttlIestudentstillwouldnotleavehis
masterLater,theoldmonkreallygotangryldcked
himout,andrefusedtoallowhimtocomeback!Tl1e

studenthadnoalternativeUnabletostaynearhis
l97

master,hecampedoutatadistanthallwayofthe
temple.Wbentheoldmonklecturedtbestudent
wouldl1idebimselfoutsidethewindowandlistento
lIismaster

Oneyearlater,itwastimefOrtheoldmonktopass
ontl1eteaclIings,toretireandchooseanewabbotto
takelIisplace.Nooneknewwhomhewouldchoose.
Theoldmonkaskedthosewhowerepresenttobring
inthestudentwhowaslisteningoutsidethewindow
sothathecouldpassontbeteachingsandpositionto
tlIatstudent.OnlythendideverybodyrealizetlIatfOr
alltlIoseyears,theoldmonkhadactuallybeentrainingl1issuccessor!
Ifwewanttogiveupeverytimeweencountersome
smallunpleasantness,andareunwillingtobepatient
andacceptthetorment,tbenwewillnotachieve
anytlIing,regardlessofhowoutstandingwemaybein
otl1erareas.TlIekeytosuccessorfailureliesinpatienceIfwecanendure,wewillaclIievedeepconcentration.Wewillthenuncoverouttruewisdomandbe

nolongeraffectedbyoutexternalconditions.
SometimesweseenewpeoplewithexcellentqualitiesstayingataBuddlIistcenter.Butafterashort
time,t}1eyleave.Theresidentswouldsmile>tl1inking
tlIatitdoesnotmatter.IfpeoplelaclKtlIepatienceto
endure,tl1eycannotachieve.Butwoulditmatter
muchwl1etheroneperson)wlIocouldnotachieve,
weretostay?Thosewboares}Iortsigl1tedwouldconsiderthelossofsucbatalentedpersonasregrettable
l98

But,intheend>itisnotso.Atrulytalentedpersonis
onewhohasattaineddeepconcentrationandwisdom
fOronlywiththesewillwebeabletopassonthewisdomoftbeBuddlIas,andthuS,enableBuddlIismto
remaininthisworldWithoutendurance,wewillnot

attaindeepconcentrationandwithoutdeepconcentrationwewillnotattainwisdom.

WitlIwisdom,wewillrecognizeatruecultivation
centerwithgoodteacherswlIocanhelpusonthepath
toenlightenment.Thennomatterhowtheymaymistreatuswewillendureandnotleaveuntilwelearn

everythingThisist}IewaytotrulylearntlIeteachings
Ifweareunabletoenduretheleastdisagreeablecircumstanceandjustwalkout)thenweareuselessand
itwillbepointlesstokeepus
ThispassageomthebookisveryimportantfOrit
providesawonderfUlwaytoendslanderanddisputes
Wesimplyignoretl1em.Event}1eworstwillfade.
W}Ienslandereddonotdisputeordebateit,orwewill
bindourselvesfUrther.Thus,itissaidthatnobenefit

isderivedfromgettingangryonlyharm.
Atworkasuperiorwillnotgiveanimportantjobor
apromotiontosomeonewboiseasilyangeredUsuallywhenassessingasubordinate,tlIesuperiorwill
observethewaythepersoninteractswithothersdaily
todecidewlIetherthispersonisapromisingemployee
andworthtraining.Uponobservingthatweareeasily
angered,theywilllmowthatwearenotgoodcandidatesbecauseourangerwillonlycausedifficulties.
l99

Tl1ereareotlIerfaultsandoffenseswecan

cl1ange.Ifweunderstandtheprinciplebehindtl1eneedfOrrefbrm,wewillnotrepeat
ourmistakes

T}1esearetlIemainprinciplesunderlyingourability
tochangeMahayanaBuddhistsadoptthismethodas
itisfastertoreachachievementwitl1it.Tl>eravadans

tendtochangetl1emselvesthrougl1belIavior)wlIicbis
aldntoslowlyremovingatreebypluckingoffeachleaf
andbranchTorefOrminthiswayisdifficultbecause
wewillhavetocorrecteachfaultonebyonewl1ichis
verypainstaldngandtimeconsuming.Itismuchwiser
tochangetlIroughreasoningthantl1rougl1actionsfOr
themindistherootfTomwl1iclIeverythingarises

ChangingfTomtheHeartandMind

Wl1atdoeschangingomthelIeartmean?
Althoughwehavethousandsofdifferent
faults,theyallstemomtlIeheart,fromtIe
mind.

Positiveandnegativekarmaaswellastheentire
universearecreatedomourmindTheBuddlatold

usintheAmmsaaStJnH:Thenatureofthe

DbarmarealmsansesfromthemindNatureises-

senceandessenceistlIemind.))HowdoMahayana
BodhisattvasentertlIel1ellrealmstohelptl1ebeings
200

there?TlIeseenlightenedbeingsdosobyunderstandingtheprincipletl1ateverytbingarisesomtl1emind
WelearnomthekhikaIbAa5tnHthattobreak
througlItlIedoorsofthebells,oneneedstounderstandthateveryt}1ingarisesfromt}1emindW}1atis
Hell?AcreationofourmindsUnderstandingthis,we
willlearntl1attlIerearenogatestol1ell-wecancome
andgofreely!
Wecancorrectourfaultsbybeginningtochange

fromourmindsandpracticinggooddeeds.Ifwepracticefromourminds,tl1enevenasmallgooddeedsuch
asunreservedlygiVngapennytoapersoninneed
wouldbeofinfinitemeritsandvirtues.WlIy?Tbis
deedcomesomtlIegreatcompassioninourtrue
nature,thusthebroadmindednessisboundless.The

goodfOrtuneisinfinitefOrthegooddeedarisesom
ourmindsandaccordswithourtruenatureHowever,
iftl1egooddeedarisessolelyomouractionstl1enit
isasmallmeritfOritdidnotarisefTomourtruenature

Howtl1endowerefOrmourselvesfromourminds?

Wesincerelycultivatingbywantingtocorrectour
offenses,practicinggoodnessandrefTainingfrom
wrongdoings.Whenwecorrectfromourminds,tl1ere

isnosuclItl1ingasshouldorshouldnot.RefOrming
ourselvesbyreasoningandrealizingtheprincipleis
conditional.However)whenwerefOrmfromtl1emind
itisunconditional,pureandsincere.Inthisway,
givingrisetoeventbeslightestofldndtl1oughtswill
20l

beinharmonywitbourtruenature.KnowingtlIat
everytl1ingarisesfromthemind,weneedtocorrect
ourfaultsbybeginningfromtlIemind
IfmyheartisstillofthoughtstlIenactions
willnotariseandfaultscanbeavoided.

Thisisanunsurpassedprinciple.Purityofmind
cansuppressthenegativekarmaaccumulatedover
infinitepasteonsHowcanweattainpurityofmind,
stillnessofthouglIt?Wecandosothroug}ItheunmovedmindtlIatisindeepconcentration.TlIisis
called<OneMindUndisturbedinthemetl1odof

chantingmindfullytheBuddba,sname.Oncewe
attainthisstate)allofournegativekarmawillbesuppressed.However,whenanewwanderingthought
arises,ournegativekarmawillagainmaterialize.
Forexample,ifweswitchoffthetelevision,thereis
nolongerapicturebutablankscreen.WlIenweturn
onthetelevisionagain,thepicturereappears.Tl1e
karmicphenomenastoredint}1emindsofsentient
beingsarethesame.Whenourmindsareindeep
concentrationandcalmnoneoftbekarmicphenomenawillmanifest.Whenourmindsgiverisetowanderingtl1oughts)thekarmicobstacleswillagainmaterialize.Understandingthis,wewillnurturepurityof
mind,tbestateofnotgivingrisetoasinglewandering

thought.AsMasterHuinengsaid,Thetruemind
originallycontainsnothingandcollectsnodust))
Karmicobstaclesexistintheillusorymind,notintlIe
202

truemindThetruemindhasalwaysbeenpure.
AnexampleiswearingeyeglassesOriginally,our
eyeswerepureWhenourglassesarecoveredwith
dust,ourvisionisblurredThereisnot}Iingwrong
withoureyes;theprobIemisontheglasses.Where
areourkarmicobstacles?Theyarethedust>thecontaminationontbeglassesThereisnoobstaclewithin
oureyes.Wheneverwecandowithoutglassesand
eradicatethecontamination,wewillhavepurevision
toseeclearly.Tbisist}Iesameasuncoveringourtrue
naturetobecomeBuddhasIfwewearglasses,the
barrierremainsThenweareordinarypeoplesentient
beingsOncewecanridourselvesoftheseobstacles,
weareBuddhas.

W}Iatldndofmindareweusingnow?T}Iedeluded
mind,notthetruemindThereisnohindranceinthe

truemindWiththedeludedmind,wbenwetrytosee
sometlIingwithournakedeyes,wecannotseeit
clearly.ItislikelookingthrouglIdistortedglasses,
seeingtbeexternalenvironmentthrouglIalayerof
delusion.ThisdelusionistbeEightConsciousnesses
andfifty-onemindobjects;theglasseshavebeen
heavilycontaminated.Wetheninteractwitl1theexternalenvironmentthroughtheseconsciousnessesand
mindobjects.TherefOretheenVronmentlIaschanged
totl1atoftheSixDustsIfwedonotapplytheseconsciousnessesandmindoectstoseetheexternal
envIronment,thenwedonotseetheenvIronmentof
tl1eSixDustsbuttlIatofthetruenature
203

Tbebigproblemisthatwecannotridourselvesof
tbesedistortedeyeglassesthataretheEiglItConsciousnessesandfifty-onemindobjects.TlIegoalof
ourpracticeistoteachustoletgooftheseandto
transfOrmconsciousnessintowisdom.Wisdomisthe

fUnctioningoftbetruenature.Consciousnessistl1e
functioningofthedeludedmindthefunctioningof
theEigbtConsciousnessesandfifty-onemindobjects.
Arhats)PratyekabuddlIas,andTheravadaBodhisattvasstillusetlleseconsciousnessesandmindobjects.
Theyhaveyettoclarifytheirtruenaturetobecome
Budd}Ias.TheylmowlIowtoregretthroughactions
andthroughunderstandingtheprinciples.Buttheydo
notyetchangeomthemindWhy?Theydonot
ImowwlIeretheirmindsare

WelearnintheStJmI>gamaStJnHthatinthebeginningoftbeSurangamaassemblyBuddbaShakyamuni
askedVenerableAnanda,w}Iowasveryintelligent,
wberehismindwas.AnandacouldnotfinditfOrhe

didnotlmowwbatorwbereitwas.Howcanweregret
omourmindsifwedonotevenknowwIatourtrue
mindsare?

MahayanaBodhisattvaswhohavebeguntouncover
theirtruenaturecultivatefeelingregretomthe
mindWewillbetterunderstandoncewestudythe
ApamSaStJkIH,particularlySudhanasvisitstothe

fifty-tbreegoodspiritualteachers.HowdidSudhana
practice?Thesefifty-tbreespiritualteachersrepresent
Bodl1isattvasofPerfectTeacbingfromtl1elevelof
20q

FirstDwellingtothehigbestthelevelofEqualenligbtenment.Theymanifestedasyoungandoldand
asmenandwomenfromallwalksoflife.

Howdidthefifty-threespiritualteaclIerscultivate?
ThegenuinepracticeofBuddhismiscomprisedof

principlesexamples,andpracticalapplicationsfOrus
tofOllow.AlthouglIwecannotstudythecomplete
AmSaSmrH,thecIapteronSamantabbadra
Bodhisattva,sConductandVows,fromtlIepeerless
fOrty-chapterversionisveryimportantWeneedto
lmowl1owtoapplytl1ismostoutstandingMal1ayana
teaclIingsotlIatasmodernpeople,wecanincorporate
itintoourdailylives.Thisisanexcellentsutrafor
sincerecultivationandisworthpropagation

FollowingtlIisprinciple,ancientvirtuouspeople
taughtushowtogiverisetotbeBodhiMindandbe
constantlymindfi1lofBudd}IaAmitabl1a.SinglemindedlychantingAmituofO>)dayandnig}Itwill
reduceallofourwanderingthoughtsintoonetlIought
ofAmituofO.IsAmituofOgoodorbad?NeitlIer.ItlIas
nothingtodowiththedualityofgoodandbadfOrit
accordswitl1ourtruenature.Thedualityofgoodand
badonlyexistsinourconsciousminds,notinourtrue
minds.WitlIprolongedpracticewewillnaturally
attainenligl1tenmentifweareconstantlymindfulof
AmituofO.Amongeighty-fOurthousandmetl1ods,tl1is
methodisunsurpassed
IfwecannotattainSupremePerfectEnlightenment
duetoourinsufficienteffOrts>itisallrigl1taslongas
205

wecangototl1ePureLandandmeetBuddhaAmitabl1afOrthenwewilluncoverourtruenature.This
convenientandsuitablemethodcannotbefOundin

anyotlIerteaching.Inothers,ifwedonotachieve

enlightenmentwewillnotbeconsideredashaving
achievedattainment.

WhenwepracticemindfulnessofBuddlIaAmitablIa,itisnotnecessaryfOrustobeabletoseetl1e
truenature.AslongaswecanseeBuddl1aAmitabha
wewilll1aveacl1ievedattainment.Allournegative
karmawillbesuppressedwbenwesincerelyandsingle-mindedlychantHowcanAmituofOhaveanynegativelKarma?Itistrueandperfectgoodness,notthatof
goodorbadfOrsuchgoodnessisrelative.Truegoodnesshasnodualityandistheabsolutegreatgoodness.

Practitionersdonothavetotrytoeradicate
faultssuchastbedesireforfame)sex,profit,
oranger)onebyone.
Tl1isisjusttogiveussomeexamples.Webavemillionsoffaults;butwedonothavetofindeacbofthem

onebyone.Practitionersspecializeinpreceptkeeping
byreflectingonwhatwentwrongandabouttbemany

mistakestl1eycommiteveryday.TlIeycarefullyloolK
backandtbencorrectthemonebyone.Tl1eynotonly
reflectupontheirbehaviordailybutmayalsokeepa
recordoftheirmeritsandfaults.

Thismethodofrecordkeepingcanworkwellfor
some.Eacl1ofusbasadifferentpersonalityrelatedto
206

our}Iabitsaccumulatedoverinnumerablelifetimes.

Mahayanapractitionersdonotpracticetbiswaywhile
TheravadapractitionersareveryfOndoft}1ismetlIod
andcanbenefitomit.DifferentpeoplelIavediffer
entcharacters;thus>differentprinciplesandmetlIods
areused

ManypractitionersinCbina<andnorthernAsia}
whopracticeMahayanaBuddhismrefTainfrom
wrongdoingsandperfOrmactsofkindnessthrough
reasoningandawakenedhearts.However,inSouth
AsiasuclIasThailandandSriLanka)mostpractitionersareTheravadaBuddhistsandwhiletbeylikewise
refTainomwrongdoingandpracticekinddeeds,they
cbangetbroughbehavior
Allweneedisasincerehearttopractice

gooddeedsAslongasourheartsarevirtuousandkind)thennaturaIlyourmindswill
nothaveanyimproperthoughts.
TlIisisanexcellent,simple)andclearmethod
However>ifwedonothavetruewisdomwestillcannotachievethisstate.Why?Becauseofdoubts.We
wonderlIowitispossibleforustoeradicateallt}Ie
offensestbatwehavecommittedWedoubtwedo

notbelievewecannotaccept.WlIenweareadvisedto
concentrateourmindonBuddhaAmitabbaandseek

rebirthintotl]eWesternPureLand,wesuspectthat
withsomanywrongdoings,wecannotpossiblygoto
tbePureLandWewouldbeashamedtoseeBuddba
207

Amitabha!

Somedonotevendaretopaytheirrespectstol1is
imageatthecultivationcenterconsideringtleirof
fensestoonumerousandheavy.ItwouldbeembarrassingtoseetheBuddha!Ifwethinkthisway,thenit
wouldbebettertoregretandrefOrmtlIroughbel1avior
fOratleastifwediscoveredandcorrectedonefault
ourmindswouldbemoresettled

ThosewbocanacceptthePureLandmetl1odpossessgreatrootsofgoodnessgoodfOrtune,andgood
causesandconditions.Ifwedidnotalreadyl1avetl1e
bestrootnature)itwouldbeimpossiblefOrustoaccepttbeBuddhaMindfi1lnessCl1antingmetlIod.
Tbosewhocanacceptitandpracticeearnestly,can
neutralizethetransgressionsaccumulatedoverinfinite
lifetimeswithtlIemeritsoftheirchanting.Tl1ePure
LandisagatheringplacefOrtlIeutmostvirtuous
peopleOncerebornthere,wewillbeamemberof
thisassemblyandtheequalofsuchvirtuouspeopleas
theBodbisattvasSamantabl1adra,Manjusri,AvalokiteslIvara,andMahasthamaprapta.
AsMrHuangNianzusaidinhiscommentaryon
theDmrLibStJZmtl1ePureLandmetlIodisfOr

sentientbeingsofsupremerootnature.Wbol>astl>e
utmostrootnature?Thosewhocanbelieve,vowtogo
tot}IePureLand)andpracticemindfulnessofBuddha
Amitabl1ahavetheutmostrootnature.Master

Huinengonlytaugbttl1osewithsupremerootnatures.
However,l1isstudents,althoughverysuccessfUl,could
208

notmaintaintbeirlevelofattainment.PureLand

practitionerswitbfOremostcapabilitieswillnever
regress,fOrtlIeybaveperfectlyachievedinthethree
non-regressions.ThestudentsofMasterHuineng
achievedtbethreenon-regressions,butnotperfectly
T}IePureLandmethodisunsurpassedWeareunbelievablyfOrtunatetohaveencounteredit;buttbisis
nocoincidencetisduetotbematuringofourroots

ofgoodness>goodfortunes,andgoodcausesandconditionsthatwehaveaccumu}atedoverinfiniteeons.

TopracticegooddeedsVthonesinceremind
meanstohaveanabsoluteproperandvirtuous
thoughtasthefirstthought.Therearenowandering
secondthoughts.Tocbant(AmituofO,,istosinglemindedlypracticeConstantMindfUInessofBuddha
AmitabbaandwholebeartedlyseekrebirthintotlIe
PureLandThemostmarvelouswaytorefOrmand
reduceourkarmicobstaclesistohavenowandering
t}IoughtsThisdoesnotmeantonotlIaveanyproper
thoughts.Withoutproperthoughts,webecomeignorantWanderingthougl]tsarediscriminatorythoughts
andattaclImentsItisnoteasyforaveragepeopleto
ac}Iievethestateofnowanderingthought.However,
everyonecanachievethisbypracticingtheBuddba
MindfUlnessChantingmethod
W}Iatdoesproperthoughtarisingmean?ItisAmituofO:themosttruthfUlandultimatepropertlIought
Theonlyimportantissueinourlifeistoconstantly
maintainpropertboughts,nottoclingtodeviatedor
Z09

erroneousones,andtobeconstantIymindfulofBud-

dhaAmitabhadayandnigbt,withoutinterruption.If
wecancontinueour(mltivationintbisway,thenin
tbreemonthswewillreceivewonderfulresults.Ifwe

canconstantlymaintainmindfUlnessofBuddbaAmitabha)withthisonetboughtweareassuredofreducingourwanderingdiscriminatorythoughts.

ItisimpossibleforustonotlIaveanywandering
thoughtsDonotbeaaidoftbemsolongasthouglIts
ofBuddhaAmitablIacanoccupyusthemost;suchas
sixtypercentofourthougbtsofBuddhaAmitabha
withonlyfOrtypercentthatarewanderingIfweare
notconstantlymindfUlofBuddhaAmitabha,thenour
mindswillbefilledwithwanderingthougl1ts.
IfwecancontinuethispracticefOrthreemontl1s
increasingtlIetboughtsofBuddhaAmitabhaand
decreasingourwanderingtboughts,wewillbeatease
andfTeeinspirit.Ourmindswillbecomemoreserene
andourjoyompracticingtheteachingswillshow
thatourkarmicobstacleslIavebeenreduced.IntlIe

past)ourmindswerefilledwithafflictionsandworries,andourfutureslookeddarkNowwecanbe

l1appy,confidentandwiseasourlivesbecomeinteresting>andourfiIturesbecomebrigl1t.
AswecontinueourcbantingfOrhalfayearwewill
receiveevenbetterresults,whichinturnwillincrease

ourconfidenceanddetermination.Anyonewhoreally
wantstogotothePureLandwillfindtbatitisachievableafterthreeyearsofcultivationofConstantMind2l0

fulnessofBuddlIaAmitabha.Numerouspeoplehave
achievedthis.

TlIerearethosewhobavesaidthattheycannot

practicethismethodbecausetheyareaaidtIatthey
willdieinthreeyears.Wbatcanwesay?Honestly
speaking,manypeopledarenotpracticethismethod
fOrtheyarestillclingingtothisworld,unwillingto
giveupreincarnationinsamsara.Thesepeopleare
shortsightedTheydonotknowthatthelIappinessand
en}oymentofthePureLandarepeerless;thattbe
humanandheavenlyrealmsandevenallotherBuddl1alandsare.incomparableSuchawonderfUlplace
buttheydonotwanttogo?Theyprefertostay}Iere
andcontinuetosufferWhatcanIsay?

Peoplewithtrueaspirationandprofoundinsight
needtolmowthatseekingrebirthintothePureLand
wholelIeartedlyandmeetingBuddbaAmitabhaistbe
perfectandcompleteaccomplishmentoflife.We
sl1ouldletgoofattachmentstoworldlyactivities,botlI
physicalandmental,andridourselvesofdifferentiatingtl1ougbts.TlIereisnot}Iingwort}Iyofworryand
nothingwortlIyofgreedWeaccordwithconditions
anddonotseekaffinitiesinourdailylivesHowlIappy
andeewewillbeforwewillhavetrulyachieved
Thisiswhatworldlypeopleareunabletothinkof:
toturnafflictionintoawakeningandtoliveordieat
will;notjusttopassawaywhenourtimeisupbutto
leaveaswewishIfwefeelthereisaneedtoremain

inthisworldfOrseveralmoreyears,tlIereisnoharm
2>l

insodoingHowever,theonlyreasontoremainis
becausewestillhaveaffinitieswiththosewhoarelIere

andweneedtostaylIeretoencouragethemtogoto
thePureLandwitl]us.Inthisway)ourtimespent
herewillbetobelpothers.
IfitwerejustfOrourselves,tlIenwewouldrather
leaveearlierfOrtheWesternPureLandThepurpose
ofstaying}lereistohelpallsentientbeings,topropa-

gatethePureLandmetl1odIftlIereissomeonewho
canassumethetaskofadvocatingthismethod,andto
continuethisteaclIing,thenwecanpassonthejobto
himorl1er.

Wecanleavefirstandletthemcarryonwitbthis
weighresponsibilityofguidingsentientbeingsto
transcendsamsara.TlIisisfiFeedom!Thus,everyone
needstolmowthatthosewbohadsucceededintheir

practiceandleftthisworldinthreeyearshadno
Dharmaaffinities,andl1adnobodytoteachTl1ose
whocannotleavehavenoalternativebuttostay.
Aslongaswesingle-mindedlychanttbeBuddha)s
namewitlIoutdoubts,withoutintermingling,and
witlIoutinterruption,weareassuredtosucceedin
threeyears.ConsiderthestudentofMasterDixian
wl1oreliedonlyontl1echantingof<<AmituofOandwas
ignorantofeverythingelse.Afterbecomingamonk,
t}Iemasterdidnotrequirehimtobeordained,fOrthe
masterwasworriedtl1atduetotlIestudent)sadvanced

agehecouldnotwithstandthel1ardship<ofthelong
trainingsession>.Also,hewasuneducatedandilliter2l2

ateandsoitwasnotnecessaryfOrhimtoattendthe
lectures.Hedidnotevenliveinthetempletowork
witl1tlIeotbers.Ift}IeymadefunoflIimandsl1ould

lIelosehistemperitwouldhavebeenallverydifficult
fOrhim.

Hewasinsteadsenttotbecountrysidetolivealone
inanabandonedtemple.Forthreeyearsl1ecl1anted
AmituofOdayandnightHeknewbefOrehandwIen
lIewoulddie.Howdidheaccomplishthis?AsLiaofan
toldhisson:<Aslongasourheartsarevirtuousand
kind,tlIennaturallyourmindswillnothaveanyimpropertlIougl1ts.))ThisistheattainmentfromsincerelychantingtbeBuddha,sname!
AveragepeoplecannotbecomparedtoMaster
DixiansstudentwhowassoonrebornintothePure

LandbecausehedidnothavetlIeabilitytoteaclI
Buddhismtoothers.Illiterateandwithnolmowledge
ofBuddhism,l1esucceededinhispracticeandwas
rebornintothePureLandHedidnotsufferany
illnessorpainandlmewinadvancehistimeofdeath
HediedinastandingpositionandremainedsofOr
threedays,waitingfOrMasterDixiantotakecareof
}Iismemorialservice.Amazing!HeisarolemodelfOr
PureLandpractitioners
Somemayfeelthatt}IePureLandmetl]odisnota
goodpractice,butwhatot}1ermethodofpracticecan
slIowussometbingliketbis?Whichotbermetl>od
enablesustobeclear-}Ieadedatthetimeofdeathand

toremainstandingfOrthreedayswaitingfOrot}Iersto
Zl3

takecareofourfUneralarrangements?Thisistruly
ourtestimony.

TlIemethodtlIatIwouldoffertoeveryoneistosin-

gle-mindedlychant<AmituofO.>,Whileourbodies
remainintl1isworld,wehavenochoicebuttomakea

livingtosupportourselves.Butafterworkwecanlet
gooft}1inkingaboutworkandbemindfUloftl1eBuddha.Whenwework)concentrateonworkingOnce
finished,beginchanting.W}Iileatwork,whentl1ereis
nothinkingrequired,wecouldsilentlychantorplaya
cassettetolistentothecl1antingof<AmituofO)wlIile
worldng.Wl1entl1inkingisrequiredwecantemporarilylayasidechantingtoconcentrateonworkWhen
againthinkingisnotneeded,wecanchantorlistento
tbeBuddha>snamewl1ileworking.BuddlIaName
C}]antingistl]emajorissueinourlife!Everytbingelse
isunimportantunworthyofconcern.Thisistheway
toregretourwrongdoingsandtorefOrmfromour
minds.Alearnedpractitionerwoulddosofromtl1e
rootfTomthebasics.

<DemonsdonotappearduringtlIeday.40
Thisistheessence,thekeytoourchange
SinceallmistakesstemfTomtheheart,we

cbangeomthelIeartItislikegettingridof
apoisonoustreeIfwewanttoputanendto
it,weuprootitaltogethersoitcannotgrow

again.Whyexertourselvestonoavailby
pullingoutitsleavesonebyoneandcutting
2l4

ittwigbytwig?

Ananalogyofchangingthroughbehavioriscutting
downthebranchesandtbetwigsofatreeonebyone,
orpullingofftheleavesonebyone.Tochangefrom
tl1el1eartistouprootthetree.Thus>weneedtoknow
tbekeymethodtochangeourselves.
Ifeverybodycanmemorizeandupholdtheteaching
ofMasterOu-Yi,andchangeomtheheart,thenall
thetransgressionsaccumulatedoverinfinitepasteons
willbeabsolvedAmituof0canrefOrmallwrongdoings.BysincerelyclIanting(<AmituofOweperfectly
practiceallthevirtuousteachings,betheyworldlyor
Buddhist.CultivatingoneiscultivatingallCbanging
oneischangingallTrulyinconceivable!
Manypeopleareratherskepticalandhavedoubts.
Tl]eytbinktbatthismethodisnotveryreliableorthat
thereisanevenbetteroneIsmileafterlIearingthis,
placemypalmstogethersay(<AmituofO)andamnot
swayedbytl1em.
ThebestwaytorefOrmourfaultsistbrough
cultivatingourheartsfOrpuritywillsurface
rightaway.

ThefOremostwayfOrustochangeisfromthe
heart.Ifweareabletoletgoofeverythingandcontinuouslychant<AmituofO)>fOrthreemonthsoreven

s1xmonthsourmindswillbepurified,andtheresults
willcomefOrthAsforpeoplelearningtolectureon
2l5

theBuddhistsutras,Ialwaysencouragethemtolearn
justonesutra.Byrecitingonesutradailywecan

attainpurityofmindinthreetofivemontbs
Ifweweretostudymanysutrassimultaneouslywe
wouldnotattainpurityofmindint}1esameamountof
timeandtlIusourlearningwouldbeuseless.Few
peoplerealizetbatthesolutionisspecialization.
Agenuinepractitionerwillexperienceapurermind
andfewerafflictionswithtbepassingoftime.Wewill
belessignorantandgainwisdomasourfacesglow
witlIl1ealthT}Iesearetheeffectsofgenuinepractice!
WeneedtorememberwhatMasterLianchisaid:

Letothersbeawakenedbyalloftl1eBuddhist
Canon.)>TbebooksinthelibraryarefOrotl1ersto
readnotfOrourselves.Weofferthemsomanybooks

becausetheydonotbelieve,solettlIemreadIfthey
wanttotravelsomanyroads>letthem.
Wewilltakeadifferentrouteaspecializedshort
cut.Tl1eychangeontlIeappearanceandonlyonminordetailsWechangefromourheartsbecause
wrongdoingsoriginateomourhearts.Fromherewe
cantellthedifferencesinviewsandwisdombetween
thetwo.

IfmybeartispureIcanrecognizeandstop
animproperthoughtassoonasitarises.The
immoralideawilldisappearthemomentI
amconsciousofit.

Tl1istalksofchangingfromtheheart.Wandering
2l6

tlIougl1tsareafflictionsandkarmicobstacles.Assoon
astl1eybegintorise)wewillrecognizetbemand
clIangethemintoAmituofO.Astl1esixsensesencountertheexternalworldandawanderingthought,wlIich
maybepleasurableorunpleasant,virtuousorunvirtuousarises,weimmediatelyreplaceitwithasecond
thoughtofeitherAmituofOorNamoAmituofo.Althoughtbefirstthoughtiswanderinganddeluded,the
secondthoughtisAmituofO.Thisistoawaken.This
awakeningneedstobeimmediatesothereisnoroom
fOrdelusiontogrowThisishowwewilleffectively
uncoverourwisdom.

Ifweareabletoperseverelikethisforsixtotwelve
months>wewillattainwisdom.OureyeswillbebriglIt
andours1xsenseswillbeintelligentandsharp.We
willbeabletocompletelyunderstandeverytlIingthat
weencounter.Othersmayreadandstudyextensively
tobeabletoanalyzematters,buttheystillmaynot
reachtlIerightconclusion.Whereas)havinguncoveredourwisdom,wemayonlyneedtoseesometlIing
oncetoperfectlyunderstandit.Ordinarypeopledo
notl1avetlIiskindofabilityfOrthisistheabilityof
BodlIisattvas:thetruewisdomtlIeBuddhastaugl1tus
toseek

WhenwehavethehearttopropagatetlIetrue
teaclIings,tlIekeyisfOrustoharborsincerity,purity
ofmind,andcompassionThereisreallynoneedto
searchfOrreferencematerialsandstudylIowtolectureWedonotwanttouseoursixthconsciousnessof
2l7

discriminationfOrwemaymisinterprettlIeBuddhas
truemeaning.AsIlIavesaidsomanytimesbefOre,
thereisno<specific>meaningwithintlIesutrasAll
theBuddhaswillprotestthattheylIavebeenwronged

ifwepondertl1emeaningswithinthesutras.T}1erefore,weonlyneedtohonestlyrecitethesutrawithout
seekingoranalyzingitsmeanings.Wejustneedto
bonestlyrecitetopurifyourmindsanduncoverthe
wisdominourtruenature.

IfsomeoneasksustlIemeaningswitl1insutras,we
cantelltl1emthattlIemeaningsareinfinite.Bynot

purposelyseekingthemeanings,tlIeinfinitemeanings
willsurface;thisisarevelationofthewisdominour
truenatureWhenwelectureonthesutraintbis

manner,theflowoftl1etallKwillnaturallybecon-

ductedperfectlywhetlIeritissimpleorprofOund
shortorlong

AfterthelectureswhenpeopleaslKwlIatwehave
said,wereallywouldnotknowWhy?Whennoquestionsarise,tl1ereisnomeaning;withquestions,the
meaningemerges.Theemergenceofinfinitemeanings
istobenefitothers.HavingnomeaningistobeneHt
ourselvessothatwearecultivatingpureminds,with
nothouglItsarisingbutAmituofO.Lecturingonsutras
topropagatetbeteachingstobenefitothersnotourselves.Thus,thereisnoneedfOrtlIelecturertorememberwl1atwejustlecturedKnowingnotlIing,the
mindwillbepure.
Whenwelectureontheteachingstobenefitotl1ers
2l8

wecanchoosetoreadthecommentaryonthehHmr
Lk/bStJZr1abyMr.HuangNianzuandtlIreecommentariesontheAmiraaSmm.Thecommentaryby
MasterLianchiisverywellwrittenandperfect;MasterOu-YipraiseditasbroadandprofOundReading
tl1iscommentaryontheAmiaaStJrHwouldbethe
sameasreadingtl1eBuddhistCanon.MasterLiancl1i

usedbothworldlyandBuddhistteacl1ingsfOrreference;thus,tbecontentisrich

MasterYuanymgandMasterBaOjing4lalsowrote
elanatorynotesonMasterOuYiscommentaryon
tlIeAmimaStJhHTheabovewouldbeenougl1
referencematerialtopropagatetlIePureLandschool.
OncewehavetlIoroughlycomprebendedthesecommentariesnotonlywouldwehavetlIoroughlycomprelIendedalltl1ePureLandsutrasbutalsotheBuddl1istCanonandeventheteaclIingsofallotlIerBuddhistsclIoolsOntheotherhand,ifwestudymany
sc}Iools>ourmindswillbecomescatteredandour
wisdomwillremaincovered

TlIesefourcommentariesaresufficientfOrtl1ose

wbogiverisetoacompassionatel1earttopropagate
tbePureLandmethodTbereisnoneedtolookinto
additionalreferencesDonotbeafraidthereisinsuffi-

cientmaterialtolectureon.Onthecontrary,with
slIorter,moreconcisereferencematerial,wewould

requirelesstimetolecture.Whystruggletotrytotalk
fOralengthyperiodoftime?WhenwespeakfOra
shortertimewewillonlytalkoftheessence.Tbe
2l9

moretheessenceisrefined,themorewonderfUlitis.

Eacbmomentwillbevaluable,aswedonotwasteany
oftheaudiencelsprecioustime.Ifwecompiledatalk
usingmanyreferencematerials>asiftomakeupone
giantplatteroflIorsd)oeuvres>thelistenerswillnotbe

abletosavoranyparticularflavor.Thiswastesour
timeandenergyaswellasthoseofothers.

IfIamunabletosucceedatrefOrmingmy
faultstl1roughchangingtlIeheart,tl>enIwill
tryatthelevelofunderstandinglmowing
thereasonswlIyIneedtomakethechange
IfIcannotsucceedwitl>thistlIenIwilltry
torefOrmbycl>angingtlIroughbelIavior.The
bestwayistocultivatetlIeheartandunderstandthereasonsbelIindtheneedto

change.ItisfOolishtoconfineourselvesto

refOrmingthroughbehaviorThisistl>einferiorway.InsteadweshouldberefOrming
fTomthelIeart,fOrtlIisisthebestwayto
cl1ange.
IfweareunabletoaclIieveusingthebestmetl>od,
tbenwehavenochoicebuttotrythelesseffective
waywhichistotrytounderstandwhyitwouldbe
besttoclIange.Whenproblemsoccur,remaincalm
andcontemplatewlWitwouldhavebappenedOnce
theconditionisclearandthereasonisdetermined,
ourmindwillinstinctivelycalmdownourwandering
tlIoughtswilllessenandourangerwilldissolve
220

However,ifasbeginnerswehavelittlesenseof
reasoningandcannotsucceedthroughunderstanding,
wbatcanwedo?Wecoulduseanevenmorebasic

metl1odofrefOrmingbyc}Iangingtl1rougl1behavior
andinthiswayfOrcethethoughttodissipatebyputtingacbeckonoureveryaction,findingourfaults,
andcoITectingthemonebyoneIfwecannotdothis>
wewillfindourselvesintrouble,creatingevenmore

severenegativekarma)andt}Ierebybringingeven
greatersufferinguponourselves.ThisiswlIybeginningpractitionerswererequiredtostrictlyabidebytlIe
preceptsfortheycouldnotunderstandthereasoning.
ThespiritofabidingbythepreceptsistorefrainfTom
committingfUrtherwrongdoings
ThebestwaytorefOrmistocultivatetl1eheartand
understandtheneedtochange.Analternativewayis
tofOrceourselvesnottocommitthewrongdoing
again.Whenweattainpurityofmindandunderstand
thelogic,wewillbeabletoupl1oldandmaintaingood
conduct.Tl1isist}Iebestwaytochange.Aswecultivate,weattainpurityofmindwlIileserVngasarole
modelfOrbeginnersUntilwecandotlIisallthree
metl1odsmayhavetobeusedtocorrectafault.
SomepeoplebecomeinHexiblewhenkeepingthe
precepts.Tbeyareunabletoprogressincultivation
becausetheyareattachedtobehaviorandtotlIefOrmalityofcultivation.Actually)tbepreceptsarevery
flexible.Whenweupholdthem>weneedtounderstandthelogicbehindt}Iemandevenmoreimpor22l

tantly>tostrivetoattainpurityofmindthatistlIe
mindwithoutwanderinganddiscriminatoryt}1ougbts>
andattachmentsThepurposeofkeepingtl1eprecepts
istoattainthisdeepconcentration.
Ifweareoverlyattachedtotl1efOrmalityofkeeping
theprecepts,tl1enitwillbedifficultfOrustoachieve
deepconcentrationbecausewewilltendtodifferentiateandbeattaclIedtotl1eappearance:thefOrmalityof
keepingtlIemdaily.Howcanwesucceedindoing
this?OnlybyseveringourdiscriminatorytlIougl1tsand
attachmentsareweabletoattaindeepconcentration.
Thisconcentrationisstillameans,away;sodonotbe
attachedtoattainingit)fOrtodosowillresultinour
wisdomremaininghidden.
Tberavadapractitionersareattachedtoacl>ieving
concentrationTheBuddlIatalkedabouttl1emind

stateofArhatsintheStJmgamaStJZm.TIeyhave
attainedtheninthlevelofconcentrationandarepartialtotl1estateofemptynirvana.Duetotheirattacl1ment)tbeycannotletgoofthegentleandserene
state;tl1eyarestilldifferentiating>stillattacl1edto
extinguisl>ingalltl1econtaminants.
Forexample,whenTheravadapractitionerstryto
severtl>eiraff>ictions,virtuallyalltheirchangeis
througl1belIavior.Sometimestheywillconcurrently
trytochangethroughbehaviorandtl1rougl1reasoning,
butnotfromtbemindThesutrastellusthattryingto
severattacl1mentsbychangingthrouglIbel1aviorisas
difficultastryingtocutoffaragingwaterfallfOrty
222

mileshigh))

Thisisasdifficultastryingtoremoveatreeby
pluckingoffoneleafatatimeandisagoodexample
ofwhychangesshouldbemadefromthemindHow
thenshouldweproceed?Wisepeoplewouldgo
straighttotherootandpulluptl1etree.Tl1en,the
leaveswouldnaturallywitlIerandfall.Whybotherto
plucktheleavesandcutoffthetwigsonebyone?
T}IeDesiredResultofRefOrm

Butevenwhenwevowtochangeassistance
isneededtotrulyrefOrm.Wewillneedconstantremindersomgenuinefriendswl1o
witnessouractionsineverydaylife.AsfOr

ourgoodandbadtboughts,wecanasktlIe
beingsandspiritsoflIeavenandeartl1tobe
ourwitnesses.Wealsoneedtobediligent
andtosincerelyregretdayandnight.Ifwe
canhonestlyregretforonetotwoweeks,
onetotl1reemonths,tl1enintl1isway,we
areassuredofattaininggoodresults.
Weneedtohavet}1eshamefi1l}1eartfearfulheart,

andcourageousdeterminedl1eart)fOrt}Ieyaretl1e
inner)directcausesandconditionsfOrrefOrming.But
westillneedcatalyticfactors,sucbasgoodspiritual
fTiendswlIoareonthepatlItoawalKeningtoremind
us,andtol1elpusfTomtlIeoutsideasourvisibleas223

sistingfactors.Ifwehaveavirtuousandsincere
tboughtoftryingtocorTectourfaultsalltlIeBuddl1as
andBodhisattvaswillbehappyandallbenevolent
spiritswil>praiseandrespectusastheyunobtrusively
assistusattl1esametimeltbecomescleartlIatone

virtuousthoughtcanresultininconceivableresults
TherefOre,weneedtotrulychangethrougl1actions
whentlIeconditionisright.Dayandnigl1t,weneedto
bediligentandsincereinourregretting.Ifwearenot,
tl1enwewillinadvertentlycreatenegativekarma.So)
wecannotberemiss!

Toaccomplishthisitisbestifourcultivationhall
provideschantingfOrtwenty-fOurhoursadayInthe
templesofancientpatriarchsandmasters,thecl1antingcontinuednightandday.Duringtheday,everyone
participated;atnigl1t,theypracticedingroupsoffour
witheacl1grouptakingaturn.
Altl1ougl1wemaynotcurrentlylIavesuchacultivationhallwberewelive,wecanmalKeuseofcassette

tapesorclIantingmaclIinesWesimplychantalong
witbit,asifparticipatinginabigassembly.Thevo>umeneednotbesoloudt}IatitdisturbsotlIers,nor

shoulditbesosofttlIatwecannotlIearclearly.
Wecanalsolistentoitwl1ensleeping.Sometimes,
wecanevenhearitwhenwedream,sowecanchant

inourdreams.Thisissimilarto<hearingthedrum

playorthethunderrumbleinoursleep))Itwillbe
wonderfUlifwecanhearthechantinginoursleep.It
willbeasifweareparticipatinginaseven-dayretreat.
22

Liaofanspokeofsincerelyregrettingforoneweek
Participatinginaseven-dayretreatinwhichtbe
chantingislimitedtocertainperiodseacl1daymay
notbeaseffectiveasgatheringanumberoflikemindedfellowcultivatorsinaquietplacetochant
continuouslyfOrsevendays.Aseven-dayretreat
sl1ouldcontinuenon-stopdayandnigbt.
Also,whenweattendourfirstretreat)itisbestnot

toparticipatefOrallsevendays,becausemostpeople
havedifficultymeetingtbefi1llschedule.Wecantry
onedayandnight,afUlltwenty-fOurhours.Afterwe
feelt}]isiseffectivefOrseveraltimeswecantrytwo

daysandnightstlIenthreedaysandnigbts,andsoon.
Tbus,totrulycultivate,wecanchantonceaweek
fOrtlIreedaysandnights.Ifweareunabletodotbis,
wecantryashorterperiodThemeritaccruedfTom
tIiswouldbeeffectiveandoutstanding.Lions
bIrLessoIstellsusbowwecancreateourdestinies.

Whenthereisasincererequest,aresponsewillfOllow.IfwesincerelyseekacenterthatisagoodenvIronmentfOrcultivation)weshouldbeabletoobtain
whatweseekIfthiskindofcultivationeffOrtcanbe

sustainedforonetothreemontbstl1entlIedesired
resultswillbeseen.

WhataretlIebenefitsofcontrition?Wemay
feelverymuchateaseandourheartsmay
feellightandgenerous.AnunintelligentpersonmaysuddenlybecomewIse.Another
225

mightmaintainaclearandrelaxedmind
eveninadisturbingandconfUsingenvIronment.Wewouldalsofeelabletounderstand

everytbingortoeradicateourhatredupon
seeinganenemywhileweremainhappy.
Therearemanyexamplesofdesiredresults.Ifwe
weredepressedorunhappyintl1epast,wecanbecomecheerfulinsteadIfwehavemanyworries,tlIey
canbeliftedomourmindafterwereachunder

standing)andihstead)wecanbecomeliberatedand
fTee.Ifweareconfused,wecanbecomeintelligent
andnolongerbefOolish
Wl1enwefindourselvesincircumstancesthatare

disturbingoragitating,orwhenweencountermany
diverseandl1ardtosolvematters>wecaneasilyresolve
tlIemeveniftl1eyoverwbelmotl1ers.Wehaveseen
examplesoftl1iswitl1someofourfellowpractitioners.
Someareabletosettlematterstheyundertakewitl1out
anyapparentdifficulty,whileothersfinditextremely
difficulttoresolvetl1em.

Mr.Yousaidinhiscommentary,({Tl1isisasignof
goodfOrtune,meritsandwisdom>)Forexample,fOrmerenemieswhoresentedusarenowfriendlytowards
us.Tl1isisduetoourmeritsfTomcultivation,ofbeing
abletoinfluenceandcl1angeotbersunobtrusively.It
issaidthatakind-heartedpersonl1asnoenemiesand
bastheappearanceofgoodfOrtune,meritsandwisdom

226

Wemaydreamofspittingoutblackthings
orhavingancientsagesorvirtuouspeople
encourageandescortus.Wemaydreamof
flyinginspaceorofcolorfUlpennantsand
ornatelydecoratedcanopies.SucbphenomenaareindicationsofasuccessfUlrefOrm

andadissolvingofpastoffenses.
Blacktbingsarepollutantsorkarmicobstacles.In
tl1epast,wemayhavehadniglItmaresorconfUsed
dreams)butnotanymore.Althoughwestilldream>

whatweseeisasclearasindaylight.Thisisobviously
verygoodWemayalsodreamofancientsagesor
virtuouspeopleofferingtheirlIelp
AsBudd}Iists,wewoulddreamofBuddhasandBo-

dhisattvasteacbingusaboutthesutrasandguidingus
inourpracticeWemayalsodreamofflyinginspace,
orofcolorfulpennantsandcanopies.Theseareindicationsofsuccessinourattemptstoimprove.
WhetlIerinourdailylivesorinourdreams,alltlIese
responsesaresignsthatourkarmicobstaclesare
graduallybeingreducedanderadicated,andtl1atour

goodfOrtuneandl1appinessaresteadilymaterializing.
Howeverwemustnotconsiderseeingthese
pl]enomenaassignsofperfection.Instead,
wemustresolvetofUrtherimproveourselves
andworkevenlIardertorefOrm

Wesl1ouldIiotbeproudtlIatwebavemadepro227

gress.Ifwebecomearrogant>thenwewillonceagain
regressjustasourkarmicobstaclesarebeingreduced
anderadicatedWeneedtoguardagainstbecoming
arrogant,toincreaseourresolvetoattainevenfUrtber
self-improvement,andworkevenharderatreforming.
Ifwebecomesatisfiedwitbouraccomplishments,
fUrtherimprovementwillbeimpossible.
Beconstantlydiligentandneverstopimprovmg
Evenw}IenwearerebornintothePureLand,weneed

tocontinuetoimprove.Howcanwebecontent?
WlIilewecanbesatisfiedinourmannerofliving,we
shouldneverbesatisfiedbutcontinuewithdeep-felt
confidencewhenseekingimprovementsinourvirtues
andcultivation

<AnexampleisQuBoyu>Attwenty,hewas
alreadymindfUloflIisfaults,l>adanalyzed
tlIem)andtriedtothoroughlycorrectthem.
Att}Ieageoftwenty-one,hefelttlIatlIestill
hadnotcompletelycorrectedallofthem.At
twenty-two,befeltasiftwenty-onewas
wasted,withoutanyrealimprovement.Thus
yearafteryearhecontinuedtocorrecthis
faults.WlIenhereacbedfiftyBoyustillfelt
thattlIepastfOrty-nineyearswerefilledwith
wrongdoings.Tbiswasbowparticularour
ancestorswereregardingtlIecorrectionof
faults!

DuringtheSpring-AutumnperiodinChina,asenZ28

iorgovernmentofficialinWeinamedQuBoyuawakenedwhenlIewasonlytwenty.Helmewbisfaultsand
vowedtorefOrm.Attwenty-one,hefeltlIestillneeded
toimprove.TbiswasfUrtlIerproofoftlIeprevIous
passage:<Weshouldnotconsiderseeingtl1eseplIenomenaasasignofperfection.Instead,wemust
resoIvetofurtlIerimproveourselvesandworkeven
bardertoreform.>)BoyuhadaccomplislIedtbis.Every
year,everymonthandeverydayhereflectedand
refOrmedHeisanexcellentexampleofhowdiligent
peopleusedtobe.TlIeirresolveandpatienceinrefOrmingl1ighligl1tedthattheirenduranceandeffOrts
arequalitiestoemulate.
Wearealljustordinarypeoplewithmistakes
asnumerousasaporcupine)sspines.Often
whenwelookback)wedonotevenseeour
faultsbecausewearecarelessanddonot
lmowhowtoreflectonouractions.Itisasif

acataractisgrowinginoureye.

LiaofantaugbthissontotlIinkaboutl1isancestor)s
behaviorandthentoexaminehisown.Weareordi-

narypeoplewithinnumerablefaults.TlIinkingbaclK
overtoday,yesterday,onlastyearorbefOrethat,ifit
seemstbatwel1avenotcommittedanygreatmistakes
ordoneanythingseriouslywrongtlIentlIisthinldngis
duetocarelessness.Itisasifwel>avecataractsblock-

ingusfromseeingourfaults.Tl1isresultsinourfailuretoimproveandiswhywewillfOreverbeoneoftl1e
229

crowd

ThisiswbyMasterLianchitaughtbeginnerstouse
aMerit-FaultCl1artsothattlIeywouldwatchevery
thoughtanddeedOnlywhenwediscoverourmany
faultswillwebetrulyafraidWeneedtoc}Iange
pnmarilyfromthel1eartandreinfOrcetlIiswitl1changingthrougl1reasoningsothatweareconcurrently
practicingbothtlIeprimaryandsecondarywaysto
refOrm.

Alltl1esearesymptomsoflIavingaccumulatedtoomanyoffenses!Ourheartsmayfeel
confusedandoppressed,lackingenergy.We
willbecomeextremelyfOrgetfi1landfilled
withworriesevenwhennotl1ingishappenIng

WewillbenefitbypracticingBuddhism.Signsof
otl1ersaswellasourowngreatorsmallkarmicobstaclescanbedetected<Whenwecommittoomany

offenses>ourl1eartsmayfeellIeavyandwemaybecomeextremelyfOrgetfi1latworkorstudyandbe
unabletoliftourspirits.WlIentlIosewhoareyoung
uneectedlybegintoforgetthingslikeelderlypeople
do,itisduetokarmicobstacles.Truecultivatorsin
theireigl]tiesandninetieswillfindthattheirmemoriesarestillgood.
NeedlessworryingisalsoanindicationofMrmic
obstaclesThepastispastwbatistl>euseofdwelling
onit?Tomorrowisyettocome,towonderaboutitis
230

tohavewanderingthoughts.SomepeopleareextremelygoodatworryIngandwonderingaboutthe

pastandthefUture.TheycandosoalldaylongTlIis
istomakeamountainoutofamolel1illandthisisa
Mrmicobstacle.

<Wewill>feelembarrassedanddepressed

uponmeetingavirtuouspersonorbecome
displeasedathearingproperreasoning
Wl1enldndtoothers,wewillbemetwitlI

lIostilityWemaylIavenigl1tmareswhere
everythingisupside-down,andtalldncol1erentlyandbehaveabnormally.Tl1eseareall
signsofmisfortune.
Ifwearesincere>wewillnotbeembarrassedor

conscience-strickenlistless,ordejectedwhenwe

meetagenuinelygoodperson.Ifwearenotsincere,
wewillbecomedispleasedatlisteningtotheteachings
oftbeBuddlIaorConfucius<ortothoseofMoham-

medor}esusoranyotlIermoralteachings1
IntheearlieryearsoftheQingdynasty)everyonein
tbeimperialcourtrecitedtIeHiLibStJnB,but
duetotbeEmpressDowagerIsdiscomfOrtinl1earing
it)therecitationwasabolisl1edPerhapsl1erkarmic
obstaclesmadeheruncomfOrtablewl1enhearingabout
theTenBadConductsandtheirconsequentialsufferingsinthehumanandhellrealms.
Whenbeingkindtootherswemaybemetwith
l1ostilityForexample,upongivingsomeoneagift)not
23l

onlydotheynottlIankus,theymayevenresentusfOr
it.Anotl1ersignofmisfOrtuneisbavingnightmares
whereeverytl1ingisconfUsed)andourspeecl1and
bel1aviorareabnormalSuchdreamsmeantl1atwl1en

ourspeechisnonsensicalanddiSjointedandourbebaviorbecomespsychotic,wehavecomeupagainsta
majorkarmicobstacle.Theseareallsignsofsignificanttransgressions

IfwelIaveanyoftl1esesymptoms,wemust
immediatelyreinfOrceourwillpowertocorrectallofourfaults.Itisnecessarytostart
anewandnotdelay!
Thepresenceofanyoftl1esesignsmeansthatwe
needtoearnestlyregretandtoridourselvesofbad
habits.WenolongerhavethetimefOrprocrastination
orcarelessnessIfwedonotc}Iangetherewillbeno
futurefOrusTberefOreupondiscoveringanyoftbese

symptoms,weneedtoimmediatelycorrectourfaults.
Donotgoastrayonadeviatedpatl1andwastethis
lifetimeOnlywbenwetrulyridourselvesofbadlIabitsandfaultswillwebeabletoaccepttheteacl1ings

cultivategooddeeds,andaccumulatemerits
Whenimpartingtheteacl1ingstootbers,itisimportanttochoosetbosewithfewerfaults,purityofmind
thecouragetorefOrm,andwisdom.Withouttl1ese
qualitiesitisuselesstoteacl1someone.Forexample,
onemightteacl1apersonwholacksvirtueandgood
intentionsWithincreasedknowledgeandabilities,
232

tlIispersonmightbeenabledtocommitseriousof
fenses!IntlIiscase,thewrongpersonwasselected.
Ifheors}Iedidnotreceivethislmowledge,tben
tlIerewouldbavebeenlessriskoflIarmingotlIersand
creatingnegativekarmaTberefOre,teacl]ersneedto
determinewbethertlIepersonisqualifiedtoinherit
theirlmowledgeandability,andifnottheyshouldnot
impartt}IeteaclIings.ThisisnotwitlIholdinglmowledge,butusinggoodjudgmentOntlIeother}Iand,if
weareunwillingtoteachasuitablepersontlIenwe
haveoverlookedandpossiblywastedaproperDl1arma
repository.So,ifapersonissuitableweteacht}Iem;if
tl1eyareunsuitable>wedonot.
Insummary>howdoweaccumulatemerits?First,
wecorrectourfaultstohavetbeabilitiesandcondi-

tionstobeabletoacceptthegreatteachings.But
befOreacceptingthem)weneedtoperfOrmmoregood
deedstomeetthequalificationsfOrbeingaDharma
repository.TlIenwecanacceptt}Iegreatteachings.

233

TheThirdLesson:

Tl1eWaystoCultivateGoodness

dmaMccmmsodDee
HdmDeI

TenAccountsofVirtuousPeople
WereadintbeJCmgamilieswhoperfOrmgooddeedswillaccumulateprosperity
thatcanoutlastmanygenerations)>AnexampleistheYanfamilyBefOretheymarried
theirdaughtertothemanwbowastobe
ConfUcius>sfatber,theyinquiredaboutthe
family.Afterfindingthattheypracticed
goodnessandaccumulatedvirtues,tlIeYan
familyfeltconfidenttbattheyweremarryIng
theirdaugl1terintoafamilythatwouldprosperandbaveoutstandingdescendants.

TheJCmgintroducestheprincipleinthislesson.A
familythataccumulatesgooddeedswillhaveprosperitytospareIfwecannotenjoyallourgoodfOrtune,
wewillhaveenoughleftoverfOrourdescendantsto
enjoyfOrgenerationstocome
Intbepast>theparentsandamatcl1makerdecided
wbethertwopeoplewouldmarryWhenwecompare
today>sfTeedomoflovewiththetraditionalway,the
latterhaditsadvantages.ParentswlIowerewelleducatedandprincipledchosethemostpromisingspouse
234

fOrtlIeirc}IildTlIedisadvantagewasthatuneducated
parentswhodidnotknowbetter,oftensoldtheir

dauglItersoutfOragoodprice.42Thesec}Iildrencompliedwiththeirparentswishes,marriedandwere
unhappyfOrtherestoftbeirliveSTIusthissystem
hadbothadvantagesanddisadvantages.
TheYanmemberfamilyspokenofhereisConfucius>maternalgrandfatherHeknewtbattheShu
familyhadaccumulatedvirtuesandpracticedgood
deedsfOrseveralgenerations.Tbisisanexampleofa
goodmatcl1madebytheparentsandthematcl1maker
Inancienttimes,allthosewboheldpowerom
tlIeemperortoavillagemayor,faithfullyfollowed
threeguidelines:toactasleader,asaparent)andasa
teacher.First,itwasnecessarytoactast}Ieleaderof
tlIegovernedareaSecond,toactasaparentmeantto
protectandtocarefOrallthecitizenstlIatlIewas

responsiblefOr,asiftheywerehisfamilyTlIird,toact
asateacl1ermeanttoteachandserveasarolemodel
fOrall

Theset}Ireeresponsibilitiesfellupontheshoulders
oftheruler.Ifhefulfilledthem)thenlIewouldlIave

perfOrmedinfinitegoodness.UnfOrtunately,tlIese
tbreeguidelinesarenolongeradheredto.

Inanotherexample,ConfUciushadpraised
ShunfOrhisfilialpietybysayIng:(Dueto
hisgreatfilialpietyandsincerity,Sl1un
deeplymovedevenhisancestorstoaccept
235

bisoffering.43Hisaccumulationofmerits
andgoodfOrtunewouldlastfOrmanygenerations.)>Tbisprincipleisconfirmedby
manyexamples
SbunisunsurpassedfOrbisgreatfilialpiety.He
sawonlyhisownfaults>nottlIoseofothers.ForBuddIists,beexemplifiesagoodpractitioner.IntherfmStJkIH,welearnedtbatatruepractitionerdoes
notseetl1efaultsofotbers.Sbunaccomplishedjust
thisHistoryhasslIownthatthevirtueslIeaccumulatedguaranteedlIisdescendantsprosperityAndas
tl1eycontinuedhispracticeofhonoringancestors,
thesedescendantscontinuedtoaccumulategoodness
andvirtues.Eventheancestorsofothersbenefitedas

Shun)spracticesweregraduallyadoptedbygenerationsofChinese.

ThefOllowingaresomeadditionalexamples
ofhowmeritscanbeattainedtbroughper-

fOrminggooddeeds4InFUjianprovInce,a
mannamedYangRong45}Ieldapositionin
theImperialCourtastheEmperorsteacher.
YangRong)sancestorswereboatpeoplewho

madealivingbyhelpingpeoplecrosstlIe
rIver

Oneyearastormlastedsolongthatviolent
floodingsweptawaypeopleanimals,l1ouses
andbelongings.Tl1eotherboaterstookad236

vantageoftbesituationtocollectthefloatingbe>ongings.OnlyYangRong)sgrandfatherandgreatgrandfatherrescuedthe
drowningpeople,andignoredthebelongings.Tl]eboaterslaughedandthougbttbe
twotobeveryfOolishLater,wlIenYang
RongsfatberwasborntheYangfamily
graduallybecamewealtby46
Onedayaheavenlybeingwho}IadmanifestedasaTaoistmonktoldtheYangfamily
tbatduetotlIeirancestors>accumulationof

hiddenmerits,theirdescendantswoulden-

joywealtbandprominence.Het}Iensuggestedaspecialplacewheretheycouldbuild
theancestraltombTheyfOllowedhissuggestion.TodayitiscalledtheWhiteHare
Grave.

Fengsl1uiisanancientscienceofplacingbuildings>fUrniture>andsoon,inawaytlIatwilltake
maxImumadvantageofthenaturalenergyoftheland
However>receivingsuchgoodorbadadvicedepends
largelyonourgoodfbrtune,virtuesandconditions.If
apersonlmowledgeableinfengshuibasadvisedus,it
willonlyenableustoreceivewbatwearedestinedto
receivesoonerrathertlIanlater.Ifwedonotdeserve

goodadvicetl1ennotonlywillwenotbenefitfromit,
itwillactuallybringusmisfOrtunebecausewedonot
havethegoodfOrtunetoenjoyitTherefOre,donotbe
237

toohappywhengoodthingshappen.First)think
wbetlIerwedeservethem.

UponreadingLjofbrLessons,wewillrealizethateverythingtlIathappensdoessofOrareason
andthatforanordinaryperson,<Onesip,onebite,
everythingisdestined>InmylifetimeIhaveseen

manythingstlIatwereconfirmedbyBuddhistand
ConfUcianprinciples.Ifwedonotbelievethis>and
failtocorrectourfaultsandpracticegooddeedsthen
therewillbenovariablesinourlives-onlyaconstant.
Onlywl1enwetrulyunderstandthewaytoaccumulate
goodnessandrefOrmourfaultswillwebeableto
changeourlives.

Sl1ortlyafter)YangRongwasborn.He
passedtl]eimperialexaminationwhenhe
wasonlytwentyyearsoldandlaterreceived
theimperialappointmentofMaster.Tl1e
emperorevenbestowedthesameimperial
lIonorsonhisgrandfatherandgreatgrandfather.Today,hisvirtuousandprosperousdescendantsarestillprominent
Sincemalesbecameadultsattheageoftwenty,
tlIispassagerevealslIowunusualitwasfOrsomeone
soyoungtopassthehiglIest-levelimperialexamination,tlIe]inslIi.Todaythiswouldbeequivalentto
earningadoctoratedegree.Hisappointmentwas
likewiseextremelyhiglI,similartotlIatofanational
a{fairsadvisor.Asanadvisortotheemperor,lIiswas
238

obviouslyaveryprestigiousposition.Later,bereceivedt}1erankofimperialteacher
DuetoYangRong)sacbievements,theemperoralso
conferredthesame}IonorsonYangRong)sdeceased
grandfatberandgreatgrandfather.Thiswasthetraditionalwaytohonorandpayrespecttoancestorswhen
anindividualbecameanimperialofficial
Today>wealsorewardoutstandingactionsasgovernmentscommendpeoplefOrtheiraccomplisl1ments.
Butfranklytl1emethodsusedinthepastweremore
effectivebecausetheyhadadeepereducationalmeaning.Astheancestorshadindirectlycontributedtot}Ie
countryt}Ieemperorwouldbestowt}Iesamehonoron
thethreepreVousgenerationsaswellasontlIeindividual

Wemaynotseeanyreasontohonorsomeonewho
diedsomanyyearsagobutourachievementsaremost
likelybaseduponthegooddeedsandmeritsthatwere
accumulatedbyourancestorsWel1avebeenrewardedwitbthegoodfOrtunethatstemmedfTom
t}Iem.Realizingtbiswhywouldtherebeanyreason
nottopracticegooddeeds?

Iftbeemperorl1onoredtheancestorswl1entlIey
wereinsamsara,tl1eywouldstillreceivetbehonor

regardlessofwhichrealmtl1eywerein.Iftheywerein
thehungryghostrealmthenallthegl1ostkingswould
respecttl1emAsgreatvirtuouspersons,theywould
gaintlIerespectofheavenlybeingsandspirits.T}Iis
rewardsystemprovidedavaluableeducationfOritwas
239

anexcellentincentivefOrpeopletopracticegoodness.
Consequently,thetruemeritsandvirtuesfTomtbis
educationareinconceivable.

YangRongIsdescendantslIeldofficialpositions
andwereprosperousandprominenteveninLiaofan,s
time.TlIiswastberesultofgenerationsofancestors
accumulatinggoodnessandbuildingasolidfundation,andofgenerationsofdescendantslIavingvirtue.
YangZicl]eng,fromthecountyofYinin
Zl]ejiangproVnceisanot}Ierexample.He
workedinthecountycourthouseandwas
kind,fair,and}IonestOnce,thecounty

magistrate47punisbedacriminalbybeating
himuntilhewasbleedingprofUsely.

Zicl1engkneltandpleadedwithhimtostop
TheinfUriatedmagistrateretorted:<Itsall
rigl1tfOryoutoplead)buthowcanInotbe
angrywlIenhehasbrokenthelaw!Zicheng
repliedthatwhengovernmentleadersdonot
fOllowtheproperpathordinarypeople
wouldloset}Ieirway.Realizingtl1is,we
slIouldfeelsorrowandnotpleasure<atsolvingthecase>.Andweshouldcertainlynot
becomeangry.AcaselikethiscalledfOr
moreunderstandingMovedbyZiclIeng)s
plea,themagistrateceasedthebeating

Un

e n

Un

w a S

20

e n e r O u S

a n

Mr

Pa r t

hadalow-levelpositionint}Iecountycourthouse
WhenthecriminalrefUsedtotellthetruthandeven

talkedback,t}Iemagistratebecameenragedandbeat
himfortheextremelyseriousoffenseWhenZic}Ieng
sawthis,hecompassionatelypleadedwithtlIemagistratetostop

Thistookagreatdealofcouragebecausewhathe
saidwasadirectaccusationofthegovernment.Ifthe
superiorofficerhaddisagreedandreprimandedl>im
fOrbisbluntness>Zic}Iengcouldhavebeeninserious
trouble.Ifhowever,thesuperiorofficerwasvirtuous
andwise,l1ewouldnotbecomeangry,butwould
appreciatethatoneofhisstaffwasonlyreminding
himtobereasonable

Wl1enZichengspokeofgovernmentleaders,}Iewas
referringtoprovincialandcitymagistratesHesaid
theydidnotfOllowthe((ProperPatl1/)meaningthat
t}1egovernmentfailedtoproperlyeducatet}Iecitizens.
Wbatistl1eproperpath?Itiswhentherulerfollows
tlIeTlIreeGuidelinesofactingasleaderparent,and
teacl1er.Whenadistrictofficialinchargeoflocal
administrationdidnotmeettlIeseguidelines,tlIen}Ie
lIadnotproperlylookedafterthepeopleandthiswas
wl1ytheybroketbelaw.ThiswaswhyZicbengsaid
thatwhenleadersdidnotfOllowtl1eproperpatl1the
citizenswouldbecomelostbecausetl1eyhadnoguidelinestofOllowandnoonetoadvisetl1em.Ifthead-

ministrationbehavedproperly>thenthepeoplewould
haveastandardtofOllow.

24l

DuringtheHandynasty,theteacl1ingsofConfUciusandMenciusreplacedthoseofhundredsofscholars.ConfucianismthusbecametlIebasisfOrtlIeedu-

cationalsystem.BefOrethistime,duringtheSpringAutumnperiod,thereweresomanypl1ilosophiesthat
itwasdifficultfOrpeopletoknowwbichoneswere
appropriate.AllofthebookswrittenbylIundredsof
sclIolarsl1adtl1eirowndistinctpointsofview.EaclI
seemedtomakesense;however,peoplewereataloss
astowbichtoclIoose

Itbecamecrucialtoselectoneastl1emodelwhile

keepinginmindtl1atthecbosenteachinghadtobe
widelyacceptedbypeoplewithdifferentculturalbackgrounds.OncethismodellIadbeencl1osentheworks

ofotherscl1olarswereusedfOrreference.Tl1rough
thisprocesstheeducationaloectiveswereestablished

Thissystemofmoralstandardsbecametl1ebasisof
theteacl1ingsfOrtheChineseandwasusedfiPomtl1e
Handynastyuntilthebeginningofthetwentieth

century.ConfUciusandMenciustaughtustbeFive
HumanRelationslIipsandtheTenMoralResponsibilitieswhicharetheproperpathTbeFiveHuman
Relationsl1ipsconcentrateontlIerelationsamong
peopleandtberesponsibilitiesthatpeopleareobligatedtofUlfill.TheyincludetlIosebetweenl1usbands
andwives>parentsandchildren,siblings)hiends,and
politicalleadersandthepublic.
Thefirstisthebasicrelationsbetweenmarriedcou-

242

plesAhusbandshouldfUlfillbisresponsibilitiesasa
husbandandawifeshoulddolikewisefOrthecouple
toremainharmoniousTbisisthebasisofallprosperousfamilies.48NextistlIefamily,inwhiclIparents
holdapositionoverus,cbildrenunderusandsiblings
aroundusEachdifferentrolehasitsownresponsibili
tiesthatareinnatemoralprinciplesandarenotcreatedorassignedbyanother
BeyondtlIefamilyaresocietyandthecountryAt
theheadistbeleaderofthecountryandbelowt}Ie
leaderaregovernmentofficials.Ourfriendsareonthe
samelevelasus.Whenweeandthesefiverelationshipstoincludeeveryone,wewillseethatweareall
brothersandsistersTherefOretbefiverelationships
unitet}1ecountryasonebigfamilyandaretlIeproper
path
Totheancientsagesandvirtuouspeople>governmentofficialswereconsideredgreatpeopleandaddressedassuchTheybadtheresponsibilitytoeducate
peopleandtonurtureandleadtheminproper
thougl1tsandbelIaviorbyestablisl1ingmoralguidelines.AslongaspeoplefOllowedtlIeseguidelines
therewouldbenowrongdoing.Inadditiontothese
guidelines,theyweretoteaclIpropermoralprinciples
<suchasloyaltyfilialpiety>}Iumanity>faith)andhonesty>.
Tl1ebasiceducationalgoalsinConfilcianismareto
severmaterialdesiresobtainawakening,upholda
sinceremindandavirtuouslIeartdevelopself
243

discipline,haveabarmoniousfamily,governacountry>andfOsterworldpeace.Today,schoolsdonot
emphasizetheseprinciplesortbelIumanitiesbut
stressteclmology.Nowonderourtboughtsandbehaviorhavenoguidingprinciples.Wearenottaugl1tthat
whenweseethemisdeedsofothers,wearetotakea
lIardlookatourselvesandseeifwehavefulfilledour
dutiesasIeaders

Onceweknowthemotivebehindacriminalof

fenseweneedtofeelcompassionfOrtbeoffender
ratherthanfeelsatisfactionathavingsolvedthecase
becauseweourselveshaveyettofUlfillourresponsibilities.Andifweshouldnotfeelpleased,thenwe
certainlyshouldnotbecomeangry.Atthetimeoftl1is
account)governmentofficialssuclIascountymagistrateswerewelleducatedandhadpassedanimperial
examination.TherefOre,whenZichengbravelyspoke
onbebalfoftheprisoner)themagistrateimmediately
realizedhiserrorandceasedbeingangry.rromthis
example,wecanseethatZicl1englIadconsiderable
wisdom)virtue)andinsight.ItwasappropriatefOrhim
toaccumulatevirtueandmeritsint}1ecourtbecause

lIecoulddomanygooddeeds.

AlthoughZicheng)sfamilywaspoor,lIerefusedallbribes.49Iftheprisonersweresbort
offOod,hewouldtakesomefroml1isown

hometogiveittothemevenifitmeantgoinghungrylIimself
244

OnedayitwastimefOrseveralnewlyarrivedprisonerstobefed,butZichenghimselfhadlittlefOodIflIegavetheprisoners
what}Iehad,lIisfamilywouldgo}Iungry;if
hekeptthefOodfOrhisfamily,theprisoners,
wouldbavenot}Iingtoeat-anappallingdilemma.Hefeltt}IattheprisonersneededtlIe
fOodmorethanhisfamilydidHediscussed
itwith}IiswifewboaskedwheretheprisonerswereomZichengtoldhertIatthey
werefromHangz}Iow

Altl1oughZichengonlyheldaverylowrankinthe
countygovernment)herefusedal>ofthegiftsthat
wereofferedtohim.Sometimesrelativesoftheprisonerswouldofferbimbribesinexc}IangefOraligl1ter
sentenceorprefCrentialtreatment.However,herefUsedalloftheseoffersandalwaysactedfairlyalthoughitwasverydifficulttobelIonestinsucl]a
temptingenvIronment

Attbetime,prisonersweregivenameageramount
offOodInthisexampIe,theywalkedmaybefiftyor
sixtykilometersadayinsbacklesandhadspentseveraldaysontheroadZichengwasverysympathetic,
butifl1egavetlIemhissmallamountofrice)tl1enlIis

familywouldgol1ungryIfhegavethericeto}Iis
family)thentl]eprisonerswouldhavenothingtoeat.
Afterdiscussingthesituationwithhiswifetheydecidedtomakericeporridgeandsbareitwiththepris245

oners

Later)Zichengbadtwosons.Theelderson
Shoucben,andt}Ieyoungerone,Shouzhi
botb}Ieldimportantgovernmentpositions.
Zicheng>seldestgrandsonbecamevIceministerintheMinistryof>usticeandhissecondgrandsonwasahiglIlyplacedmemberof
thegovernmentstaffinSichuanproVnce
Tbeytoowereprominent.Today,theirdescendantYangChuting,alsoagovernment
official,islmownfOrhiSvirtuousdeeds
ThetwosonsreceivedtbegoodfOrtuneaccumulatedbytheirparents.Theirgovernmentdepartment
wasoneofsixministries.Todayforexample)tlIereare
overadozensuchministriesinTaiwan.Thus,tlIe

positionslIeldinancienttimeswerebigberandentailedgreaterresponsibilitiesthanthoseoftoday.50
TlIisaccountillustratestbatt}Iegoodnessaccumulatedbytbiscouplebenefitedtheirdescendants.

Anotl1eraccounttookplaceduringtlIeZhengTongperiod,<thetimeofEmperorYingzong>.
InFUjianproVncemanyintellectualslIad
joinedagroupofrebelsTheemperorappointedImperialCensorZhangtostoptlIem.
Hetrickedtherebelsandcapturedtbeir
leader.

246

Later,ImperialCensorZhangdispatclIed
GeneralXietoputanendtotheremaining
rebelsintheeasternpartoftheprovInce.The
generalobtainedalistoftheinsurgentsand
orderedwhiteflagstobesecretlygiventoeveryonenotonthatlistalongwitlIinstructions
toplacetbefIagsontheirdoorswl1entheimperialarmycametotown.Heorderedtbesoldiersnottoharmtheinnocentandwiththis

onethoughtofgoodness,hesavedtensof
tl1ousandsofpeoplehombeingkilled
HissonXieClIianplacedfirstintbeimperial
examinationsandeventuallybecameanadvisortotheemperorHisgrandsonXiePi
placedthirdintbeimperialexaminations.
Inthisaccount,whichbappenedoverfivebundred

yearsago,therebelswereactuallyarevolutionary
armypreparingtorevolt.Thissectionofthebookis

abouttheeffectsgarneredfrompreventingunnecessaryldlling.LookingbackatChinesel1istory,wefind
tl1atveryfewdescendantsoffamousgeneralslIadgood
fOrtuneWby?Theymadetoomanyenemiesand
causedtoomanydeaths!Probablylessthantengeneralsl1addescendantswhoreceivedgoodfOrtuneand
CeneralXiewasoneofthem.

Anotl1erprimeexampleofthelawofcausalityisthe
famousGeneralGuoZiyiwholivedduringtl]eTang
dynasty.Duetohisaccumulationofgoodnessand
247

virtues,l1isdescendantsprosperedDuringtheSong
dynasty,t}IereweretwogeneralsundertheleaderslIip
ofEmperorTaizu:CaoHanandCaoBin.ThedescendantsofCaoHanhadsolittlegoodfOrtunetbatit
didnotevenlastthreegenerations.Thedaugbters
becameprostitutesandmanyfamilymembersbecame
destitute.CaoBin,ontheotherhand>wasavery
caringgeneralwhodidnotkillinnocentpeople.His
descendantswereallprosperous
Ifageneralfailedtodisciplinehistroopssot}Iat
theyhurtcivilianstlIeburdenofblamewaslIis.Tl1is
exampleshowstl1econsequenceofunnecessaryldlling.GeneralXiewiselytaughthistroopshowtodistinguishtherebelsupportersfromtheciviliansInthis
way,hedidnotmistakenlycausetbedeatl1sofinnocentpeopleTheprestigeandprosperityoflIisdescendantsaregoodexamplesofcauseandeffect.

AnotlIerexampleistheLinfamilyfromPutianinFUjianproVnce.Amongtbeirancestorswasaverygenerouselderlylady.Every
dayshemadericeballsfOrthepoorandgave
awayasmanyastheywantedAnimmortal
wl1omanifestedasaTaoistmonkcamedaily
fOrthreeyearsandalwaysaskedfOrsixor
sevenHerceaselessgenerosityconvinced
lIimofherdeepsincerity.
ThisisanotherexampleofanancestorwhoaccumulatedgoodfOrtunefOrberdescendantsSl1etreated
218

everyoneequallyandgavetbericeballstowhoever

askedfOrt}Iem.Itiseasytobegoodoccasionally,but
todosoeverydayisverydifficult.Thebeavenlybeing
knewthatslIewastirelessin}Iergooddeeds,andt}Iat
shesincerelywishedto}Ielpthosewhowerepoor.
Sincerityisanaccumulationofvirtuesandgivingisan
accumulationofgoodness

Hetoldher:<(IhaveeatenyourriceballsfOr
t}Ireeyearsandhavedonenothingtoshow
mygratitude.PerlIapsIcandosonow.On
thelandbehindyourhouseisagoodplace
fOryourgrave.IfyouareplacedtlIerewlIen
youdie)thenumberofyourdescendants
wbowillhaveimperialappointmentswill
equalt}1enumberofseedsinapoundofsesameseeds.),HersonfOllowedhisrecommendations

Tl1eTaoistlmewfengshuiandsuggestedagood
placefOrlIergrave.IfhisadvicewasfOllowed,thenan
unimaginablenumberofherdescendantswouldre-

ceiveimperialappointments.>ustimaginehowmany
sesameseedsthereareinapound|
Thefirstgenerationafterthat,ninemen
passedtheimperialexaminationsanditcontinuedtbatwayfOrgenerations.Itwassaid

inPUjiantbatthesurnameofLinwasalways
onthelistoftbosewhohadpassedtlIeim249

perialexamination.

BecauseofthegoodfOrtunethattheelderlylady
hadaccumulated,notonlydidshehavemanydescendantsbuttheywereprosperousandbecametlIelargest
familyintheprovInce.Tbisistheeffectgarneredfrom
tbecauseofsincerelygivingawayfoodtothepoor.
AnotherexampleisMr.Fengtbefatherof
theimperialhistorianFengZhuoan.One
wintermanyyearsagoMr.Fengwasonhis
waytoschoolwlIenhesawsomeonelyingin
thesnow.Findingthatthemanwasbarely
breathing)llequicklytookoffhiscoat,
wrappeditaroundthemancarriedlIimback
home,andrevivedlIim.5l
TlIatnight,ZlIuoan>sfatlIerdreamtthata
l1eavenlybeingtoldhim:<<Outofcomplete
sincerityyoulIelpedadyingman.Tbisisa
greatvirtueIwillhavetlIefamousCeneral
HanQiHanoftheSongdynastytoberebornasyourson>)LaterZhuoanwasborn
andwasnamedQi.

Wl1enweseeapersonindirecircumstances,no
matterwhotheymaybe,aslongaswesincerelytryto
savebisorlIerlife,itwillbeconsideredagreatactof

goodnessHanQiwasafamousgeneralduringthe
SongdynastyHewasgreatlyadmiredandl1onoredby
250

theemperor.SinceGeneralHamQiwaslIighlyregardedtheheavenlybeingarrangedfOrhimtobe
rebornintotbeFengfamily.Tbus,becauseZhuoans
fathersavedsomeone)slife)hewasrewardedwitha

goodson.Tl1isisanexcellentexampleofreincarnation

AlsotberewasMr.Ying,aministerwho
livedinTaizhou.Whenhewasyoung,he
studiedinremotemountainareas.Atnight,
heoftenbeardtbesoundsofglIostsandspiritsbutwasneverafraidoft}1em.Onenight)
l1eheardoneghosthappilysaytoanother:
ThereisavillagewomanwboselIusband
leftbomealongtimeagoandhasnotreturnedHerin-lawsthinkthattheirsonis

deadandareforcinghertoremarry.Tomorrownigbt,sheisgoingtocommitsuicide
andwillreplaceme.ThenIwillbereborn!))

IntlIepastscholarsoftenlivedintemples)because
onlytemplesbadextraroomsandagoodlibrary>usuallycalledt}IeSutraCollectionChamber.Atatime
whentherewerenopubliclibrariesthetemplelibrary
usuallyhadtlIefburBootheCssand
probablymaterialfTomt}Ienumerousschoolsofthink
ersfromthelateZl1oudynasty52Mostscbolarspreferredtoresideinthesetempleswl1ichwereusually
locatedinthemountainsorinwoodedareasforthese

providedaquietandrefres}IingenvIronmentfOrstudy.
25l

Ghostsnotonlyest,theyliveamonghumans.
Theyusuallyappearinsparselypopulatedareasor
whenapersonsenergyislow.AsMrYing)smindwas
pureandhonest,lIeneitherpaidmuchattentionto
themnorfearedtlIem.Onedayl1eoverlIeardone
ghosttellinganotherthatayoungwomanwasgoingto
commitsuicide.Anyonewbohascommittedsuicide
needstofindareplacementbefOrelIeorshecanbe

reborn.IfnoreplacementcanbefOund)theglIostwill
undergomuchsufTering.
ItisnecessaryfOrt}IereplacementtocommitsuicideintlIesamespotandmannerfOrtl>egl1osttobe
setfree.ThesameappliestocaraccidentsAlthough
thedeceaseddidnotcommitsuicidebutwasanacci-

dentvictim)lIeorshewouldalsoneedtofindare-

placement.

TlIisexampleisaboutaghostwl1ol1adhunglIimself,whenhewasabuman.Heknewinadvanceof

tl1edeathoftlIeyoungwomanw}1osehusbandwas
longoverduefromabusinesstripTheparents>knowingnotlIingoftheirson)swhereabouts,werefOrcing
hiswifCtoremaITy.ShedidnotwislItoandplanned
tocommitsuicideinthesamespotthenextday.The
gl1ost)scl1ancefOrfTeedomwassoontomaterialize
becauseshewastobel1isreplacement.
Uponhearingthis,MrYing-immediatelyset
outtosellsomelandthatheownedHere-

ceivedtwohundredgramsofsilverfOrit.He
252

thenmadeupaletterfromthedaugl]ter-inlaw>slIusband,andsentittol1erlIomealong
withthesilverTl1eparentslmewtl1attlIe
letterwasnotintheson)shandwriting,but
examinedt}1esilverandsaid:<TlIisletter

maybefalsebutthesilverisnot.Perl1aps
oursonisalive.))Consequently,thedaughter-in-lawwasnotfOrcedtoremarry.Aftera
wbilethebusbandreturnedhomeandthe

coupleresumedtheirlivestogetlIer.

Mr.Yingsavedtbebreakupofafamily,anactof
greatmerit.WhenhesoldtlIelandandsenttl1e
money,hewasnotthinkingofaccumulatingmerit.He
simplyactedoutofcompassionbywantingtohelpthe
woman,tosaveherlife)andtokeepthefamilyintact.
Hetl1oughtnofUrtberofwhathebaddoneandreturnedtotl1etempletocontinuel1isstudies.
Next,MrYing}Ieardtheghostsay(<OriginallyIwassupposedtoleavehereandbereborn,butMr.Yingmessedupmychance!
Theotberghostasked:Whydon)tyouget
evenwithhim?)}Tbefirstgbostreplied:<<I
can)tTheheavenlybeingshaverecognizedhis
goodnessandheisgoingtoreceiveaprominentpositioninthefUture.HowcanIburt
himP)

SincethelIeavenlybeingshadalreadyrecognized
253

Mr.Ying)sgoodnesstbegl1ostcouldnotdoanything.
Fromthis,welmowtbatifaspiritoral1eavenlybeing
canl1armus,itisbecausewehavedonesometl1ingto
deserveit.Ifwehavenotdoneanythingwrong,then
tl1espiritsareunabletohurtus.
AnoldChineseproverbsaysthatthereisathirty
percentpossibilitytl1atpeoplemaybeafraidofgl1osts
butaseventypercentprobabilitytbatghostsareafraid
ofpeople!SoitissillyfOrustobeafraidofgl1osts
becausetl1eyaremucl1moreafraidofus.Weonly
needtobeafraidwhenwel1avedonesomething
wrong,becauseonlytbenaretheyabletobarmus.If
ourconscienceisclear,thenmalevolentspiritscando
nothingtous53
SeeingMrYing>sgoodness>thelIeavenlybeings
hadalreadyplannedfOrMrYingtoholdaprominent
positionintl1egovernmentasaminister.LaterinlIis
life,Mr.Yingdidindeedholdthepositionofminister.
Havingoverbeardtl1egbost,heknewsomeofhis
fUtureinadvance.

UponlIearingthisMr.Yingbecameeven
morediligentinpracticinggoodnessandaccumulatingmerits.Wbenevertl1erewasa
faminehegavegrainomhisstorelousesto
thosewhoneededit.Healwaysl1elpedrelativesinemergencies.Wl1entl1ingsdidnotgo
hisway,lIealwaysreflectedwitl1inlIimself
rathertl1ancomplainofothersTl1us}1eal25

waysquietlycompliedwithconditions.Even
today,hisdescendantsareprominent.

e e

y t

IfpeoplewererudeortookadvantageoflIimMr.
Yingalwaysexaminedhisownactionstoseeifhewas
atfault.Tolerantandabletotakeeverythinginstride
bewasneverargumentativeorresentfUl.Notonlydid
}1ebecomeaminister,hisaccomplishedandvirtuous
descendantsalsoprosperedAllthiswastheresultof
h
k
l
h
e

e r

AnotherpersonXuFengzlIulivedin]iangsuprovInce.WlIenevertherewasafamine,hiswealthyfatherwouldbetbefirstto
waivet}IerentontlIericefieldshopingthat
otberwealtbypeoplewouldfOllowsuit54He
alsodonatedgrainhomhisstorehousesto
tbosewbowerehungry.

Onenight,lIeheardghostsoutsidehis}Iome
say)AcountysclIolarintheXufamilyisgoingtopasstheprovincialimperialexamination!ThiswentonfOrseveralnightsandindeedthatyearl1issonFengzl1upassedtbe
examination.AfterthatFengzhusfatherbecameevenmorediligentinaccumulating
gooddeeds.

HepaidfOrtherepairofroadsandbridges,
andprovidedfOodfbrmonksaswellasfOr
255

thepoorHedidallhecouldtobelpotl1ers.
Sometimelaterheheardtbeghostsagain.
TlIeysaid:{Theprovincialscholarfromthe
Xufamilyisgoingtoholdahighpositionin
thegovernment/)Eventually,FengzhubecamethegovernorofZheiiangprovmce
Sometimesghostscanbeclearlyseenorl1eard
Outsidethel>ouseoftl1eXufamily,glIostssangthata
familymemberwasgoingtopasstl1eprovincialimperialexamination.LaterthesonXuFengzl1udidso.
GoodfOrtuneistherewardfOrgooddeeds.Thosewl1o
understandthiswilltryevenl1ardertoaccumulate
goodness.Tl>eghostsalsosangthatFengzhuwould
receiveal1ighpositioninthegovernment.HeeventuallybecameanimperialjudgeintheSupremeCourt
thengovernorofZl1eiiangproVnce.Tl1iswastl1e
resultofsincerelyl1elpingthepoor.

AnotlIerexampleisTuKanwholivedin
}iaxingZhejiangprovmceMrTuworkedin
tl1ecourtlIouseandwouldspendnightsin
theprisoncells,talkingwitlItheinmates.InsteadofmakinganamefOrhimselfhe
wouldwritesecretreportstotlIeministerof
justice,teIinghimwlIycertainprisoners
wereinnocent.Theministerwouldthen

questiontheprisoneraccordinglyandclear
thecases.ThroughMrTu)seffOrts,more
thanteninnocentpeoplewerereleasedand
256

allofthemwereextremelygratefUltotbe
judgepraisingtheministerofjusticefOrl1is
wisejudgment.
RegardlessofhowcarefUlonemightbewhenexaminingacase)therewasalwaysthepossibilityofa
wrongverdict.Evenwhentheerrorisunintentional,it
isstillamisdeedFromthis,wecanseehowdifficult

itistobeagoodlawyerorjudge
WlIatMr.Tudidwasveryrare.Hewouldspend
nigbtswiththeprisonerstolearneverythingabout
eaclIcase.Whentheprisonerswerequestionedinthe
courtroom,theysometimesbecamesofrig}1tenedtbat
tlIeycouldnotadequatelydefendtl>emselves.55
WlIenlIestayedwithtbeinmatestofindoutthe
truthbehindeachcasehedidnottakethecredit
himself.Insteadhewroteoutthedetailsofthecase

andgavetlIemtotheministerofjusticesothatalltl]e
creditwentto}Iissuperiorofficerw}Iowasvery
pleasedfOrwhenhetriedthecasesatdawn)heal-

readylmewthetruthAfterdetaiIedquestioning,he
acquittedoveradozeninnocentmen.Thiswasthe

talkoftheimperialcityandeveryonepraisedtheminiSter

Soonafter,Mr.TumadeareporttotlIeimperialjudgesaymg:Ifinnocentpeopleare
imprisonedhere,tberemustbemanymore
tlIroughoutthecountry.56Irecommendthat
investigatorsbesenttochecktheprisonsfbr
257

innocentpeopleeveryfiveyears.Thesentencescanbecanceledtopreventtl>einnocentfromremaininginprison.Tl1eminister,MrTussuperiortookthereporttotlIe
emperor,wl1oagreedwithMrTu)ssuggestion.Mr.Tuwassubsequentlychosenasone
ofthespecialagentsincl1argeofreducing
sentencesfOrthosewhowerefOundinnocent

Onenig}1t,hedreamtthatabeavenlybeing
cametol1imandsaid:<Originally,youdid
notdeserveasoninthislife)butthisactof

reducingpnsonsentencesfOrinnocentpeopleaccordswithtl1ewislIesoftlIelIeavens.
Youwillbebestowedwiththreesonsand

tl>eywillallattainhighpositions.)>Hiswife
latergavebirtlItotl1reesonswl1oallbecame
prominent.

SimilartoLiaofan)Mr.Tuwasnotdestinedto

havesons.LiaofansoughtasonandreceivedoneMr.
Tureceivedthreesonsduetol1isaccumulationof

gooddeeds.

Anotherexampleofattaininggoodresults
frompracticingkindnessisBaoPingwl1o
livedin]iaxingPingwastl]eyoungestof
sevensonsofthemagistrateofCl1izl1ou
AnhuiprovInce.HemarriedintotheYuan
258

familyinPinghucounty,ZhejiangprovInce
andwasagoodiendofmyfat1er.BaoPing
waslmowledgeableandtalented,butalways
failedintlIeexaminations.Hespenthistime
studyingBuddhismandTaoism.
Once,wlIiletravelingtoLakeMao,lIecame

toavillageandsawatempleindireneedof
repair.ThestatueofAvalokiteshvaraBodhisattvawaswetfromtherainthatleaked

throughtberoofPingtoolKoutallbismoney
andgaveittotheabbot,sothathecouldrestoretlIetemple.

Theabbotreplied:<<Itisama]orprOject,Iam
aaidthisisnotenoughBaoPingthen
tookoutalllIisexpensiveclothesandhanded
tl1emtotlIeabbot.Hisservanttriedtopersuadel1imtokeephisbestoutfit,butberefused,sayIng:<(Itdoesnotmattertome.As
longastlIestatueofAvalokitesbvaraBodhisattvaremainsundamaged)IdonotcareifI
havetogowitlIoutclothes.))
Ping,whobadfailedtopasstheexaminations,bad
enuptl1el1opeofagovernmentcareer.FortugIvenup<nenopeoIagovernmen<careerro<<unately,hisfatl1erwaslIeadoftlIelocalgovernmentso
thefamilysfinanceswereadequate.OncewhenlIe
sawaBuddl1isttempleinneedofrepairs,hisimmediatetl1oughtwastohelp.Hetookoutsixteenouncesof
259

silver,whicbwasallthemoneyhelIad,andgaveitto
t}Ieabbot-anactofpuresincerityWhentoldt}Iatit
wasnotenough,PingtookoutfOurboltsofclotband
someclotl1ingfromhisluggagesot}1eabbotcould
tradethemfOrsilver.

T}Ieabbot,witl1tearsinl1iseyes)exclaimed,

(<Togiveupmoneyandclotbingisnotdifficult,butyourdeepsincerityistrulyrare

),

Aftertl1etemplewasrepaired,BaoPing
askedhisfathertovisititandtogetlIerthey
spenttheniglItthere.Tbetemple>sDharma
Protector,Qielan>cameinhisdreamto
thankl1imandsaid:<(Sinceyouhaveaccumulatedtbesemeritsandvirtues,youwill
bavemanygenerationsofdescendantswho
willreceiveimperialappointments.)Hisson
andgrandsonbothpassedhigl1examinations
andwereappointedasimperialofficials

Liketl1eotl1erexamplestlIegoodfOrtunehereceivedwasalsorewardedtohisdescendants.

ZhiLifrom>iaslIancounty)inZbejiangprov-

inceisanotl1erexample.Hisfatl1erusedto
beaclerlKintheprovincialcourthouse.
Once,whenZl1iLi>sfatl1erlearnedthatan
innocentmanl1adbeengiventl1edeathpen-

alty,hetriedtosavetheman>slife.Wl1en
tbeprisonerl1eardabouttlIis,l1etoldhis
260

wifC:<Iamgreatlyindebtedtothismanwl1o
l1asspokenonmybehalfbutIhavenoway
toshowmygratitude.Willyouinvitel1imto
ourlIouseandofferyourselfto}Iim?Perl1aps
tl1iswillpleasehimandincreasemycl1ances
tolive))

ZhiLi)sfather,knowingoftheprisoner)sinnocence)
sympathizedwitlIhimandpleadedwitblIissuperiorto
sparetbeinmate>slifeIfhecouldsavetlIepnsoner
hewouldalsosavethefamily
Tl1ewifecriedasshelistenedtobisrequest,
buttl1erewasnootherwaytohelp.Thenext
daywl1entbeclerkcametovisit)sheoffered
lIimwIneandtoldlIimofherlmsband)s

wishTheclerkrefi1sed,butcontinuedtodo
allhecouldfOrtheman.Wl1enatlasttl1e

prisonerwasreleasedheandl1iswifewent
totheclerk>shousetothankl1imHesaid:

OnewithsuclIvirtueasyoursistrulyrare
thesedays,l1owcanIshowmygratitude?
Sinceyoudonothaveasonallowmetoof

fermydaugl1terinmarriagetoyou.Please
acceptfOrthisistheonlywaytl1atIcanrepayyou.))

ZhiLi)sfatberrefusedtheprisoner>sofferofhis
wifebecausehedidnotwislIanyrewardHehad

actedoutofasenseofmoralityandjustice,feeling
26l

thatitwaspartoflIisjobMarriedfOrmanyyears,he
andlIiswifebadnosons.So,theprisonerofferedhis
daughtertobeasecondwifetotheclerkhopingtbat
sbewouldbeabletobearhimasonandcontinuethe

familynameanacceptedcustomatthetime.
TlIeclerkacceptedandsoonafterwards,sbe
borehimhisson,ZhiLiHepassedthe
highestleveloftl1eimperialexaminations
wlIenhewasjusttwentyyearsoldandlater
wasappointedtoanimportantgovernment
position.HissonGao,grandsonLu,and
greatgrandsonDalunallpassedtheexaminationsandreceivedimperialappointments
aswell.

Thesetenexamplesalltelloftl1edeedscultivatedbydifferentpeople.Altboughtheir
actionsdiffered,theirintentwasthesame-

topeIfOrmgoodness.

ZhiLi,sfinalappointmentwassimilartoaFirst
Secretarytoday,aprominentposition.Tl1iswasl>is
rewardfOrsavInganinnocentlife.Inthislesson)
Liaofanprovidedtenexamplesofl1owgoodfOrtuneis
tl1eresultofaccumulatinggoodnessandisnotacoincidence.TheseeventswereclosetoLiaofan)stime.

Somehelmewofpersonallywhileotherswererelated
tohisfamily.AlloftlIemareaboutcauseandeffect:
goodnesswillresultingoodfOrtuneandevilwillresult
262

inmisfOrtune.

IGOesS

HowtoRecognizeGoodness

IfwecarefUllythinkaboutgoodness>wewill
realizetlIattherearemanydifferenttypesrealandfalse,honestandcrooked,}Iidden

andvisible,apparentandactual,properand
improperfullandhalf,bigandsmall,and
difficultandeasy
ThesedifferenttypeseaclIl1avetlIeirown

causestllatneedtobeunderstoodIfwetry
topracticegooddeedsbutdonotlmowlIow
todistinguishbetweenrightandwrongwe
mayendupdoingmoreharmtlIangoodand
allofoureffOrtswillhavebeeninvain.

TruesincerityinpracticinggoodnessistodosowitlIoutaskingfOranytbinginreturnandistlIecrucial
factorinsucl]matters.Goodactstl1atl1aveconditions

attaclIedarewrongdoings,notgoodness.
Forinstancesomepeople,especiallyBuddl1ists,do
notunderstandtl1atBuddlIismteaclIesustoeliminate

wanderingtl1oughtsandattachmentsWhentheygoto
atempletopaytheirrespectstotheBodhisattvas,tbey
dosotoaskfOrsomething.Iftl1eydonotwantany263

thing,tlIeydonotgo.Theyburnincenseinfrontof
theBodhisattvasandprayfbrassistanceandguidance.

IftbeBodhisattvascanjustgrantwhattlIeywant,tlIey
willreturntlIefavorwithspecialofferings.TlIisis
tryingtostrikeupabargain!Notonlyaretbeyinsincere,theytlIinktheBodhisattvaswillacceptbribes.
ObviouslyaseriousoffCnse!

ZbiLi)sfatherwasvirtuous.Theprisoner)sofferof
hiswifeasarewardwasimmoralbutZ}IiLi)sfather

wasnotoffendedandcontinuedtohelptlIeprisoner
TlIusitwasfittingthatlIereceivedsuchgoodfOrtune.
Tl1eprevIoustenaccountsareexamplesofgoodactions.Nowwewilllookattheconceptsthatthey
illustrate.Weneedtoknowtheprinciplesandproper
waystoaccumulategoodness.

Whatare((realgoodness>)and(falsegoodness?)IntheYuandynastyagroupofscholarswenttovisitMasterZlIongfeng7One
said:WehearinBuddl]ismthatthekarmic

rewardfOrgoodandbadislikeasl1adow
fMlowingthefOrmwhereveritgoes.)But
whyisittl>atalthoughsomepeoplepractice
goodness,theirfamiliesanddescendantsare
notprosperous?Ontheotherhandwhile

othersbehaveimmorally>theirfamiliesand
descendantsdoverywellWlIathashappenedtocauseandeffect?AretlIereno
standardsintl1eBuddha)steachingsP
26

Severalscholars,whovisitedthemaster)saidthat

bothBuddhismandTaoismtauglItthatthelawof
causalitywastrueandinescapable.But,thefacttl1at
descendantsofgoodpeoplesometimeslIadproblems
whiledescendantsofimmoralpeoplesometimesprosperedseemedtocontradictthelawofcausality
MasterZhongfengreplied:Ordinarypeople
areblindedbyworldlyviewpointsandnot
lIavingcleansedtheirmindsofimpuritiesare
unabletoseeclearly.Consequently,they
lookuponrealgoodnessaswrongdoingand
mistakewrongdoingasgoodness.Thisisvery
commontoday.
OrdinarypeoplevieweverythingasordinaryTheir
mindsareimpureduetoworldlyemotionsandtl1ey
arestillbotheredbymanywanderingthouglItsand
attacl1ments.NotlIavingtheBuddlIaseyesofwisdom
todiscernthetruth,theyoftenconfUsegoodwitl1bad
Althoughmanypeoplewerelikethis,themasterjust
saidcourteouslytlIatsuclIpeopledidexist.

<<MoreoverthesepeopledonotblamethemselvesfOrfailingtounderstand>andunfairly
blametl1eirmisfOrtunesontlIel1eavens

Tl>escholarsquestionedhowgoodandbad
couldbemistakenfOreachother.
Themasterthenaskedeachofthemtovoice

265

tlIeirthougl1tsonwhatwasbadandgood.
Onescholarsaidthattoyellatandhitotl1ers
wasbad;torespectandtreatothersinapolitewaywasgoodThemasterreplied(<Not
necessarily.})Anotherscholarsaidthatbeing

greedyandtakinganothersmoneywasbad
whilebeinggenerousandbehavingproperly
wasgoodMasterZlIongfengagainreplied,
<Notnecessarily/)Theremainingscl1olars
eressedtheirviewsonwbatwasbadand
good,butMasterZhongfengalwaysconcludedNotnecessarily/>
Tl1emastersaidtl1attlIeirstandardswereunreliable

anddisagreedwiththeiranswers.Withthateverybody
askedhimtoelainhisstandardssincehisdiffered
omtheirs.

TheDefinitionofGoodness

MasterZlIongfengsaid:TodotllingsfOr
tbebenefitofothersisgood;todothingsfOr
selfbenefitisbadIfwhatwedoisfOrtlIe

sakeofbenefitinganotlIer>tl1enitdoesnot
matterifweyellatorl1ittl1em;itisstill
good.But,ifourintentionisfOrselfbenefit,
thenregardlessofourappearanceofrespect
andcourtesy,itisbad)
Tl1istalksoftheBuddl1iststandardfOrgoodand
266

badAnythingdonewithtlIeintentiontobenefitothersisgood,evenifacertainamountofcorporalpunishmentisinvolved,whileanythingdonewitl1the
intenttobenefitourselvesisconsideredbadItdoes

notmatterlIowcourteouswemaybetowardsotbers
fOrourintentionsmaybetaintedForexample,we
maybecourteoustoingratiateourselveswithotl1ersor
fawnonotherstogainsomethingfOrourselves.
Themastercontinued:(Practicinggoodness
solelytobenefitothersisconsideredpublic
benefitandisrealgoodness.Ifweonlythink
ofourselveswhiledoinggoodacts,thenthat
isconsideredprivatebenefitandisfalse
goodness.
),

ThisisthetruestandardfOrgoodness:tobenefit
andprovidegoodnessfOreverylivingbeingIfintlIe
actofdoinggood,wearestillconcernedaboutour

ownwelfareorreward,thent}IeactiSnolongersincereorpurebuthasbecometaintedInadditionto
goodnesstlIatisrealorfalse>>thereisgoodnesst}Iatis

<{fUllorlIalf.Tounderstandfullandhalfgoodness,
weneedtobeabletodifferentiatebetweengoodness
thatis<<fi1llorpure),andhalformixed.

AlltheBuddlIasBodhisattvas,sages,andvirtuous
peopletlIinknotofthemselvesbutofothers.Thisis
trueandfUllgoodness.AgoodexampleofthisisFan
ZlIongyan.Exemplingtrueandperfectgoodnesshe
wasanexcellentrolemodelfOrhewasnotconcerned
267

fOrl1imself.HewantedtocreategoodfOrtunefor
otherssothattheycouldbenefitthecountryandallof
society.

WhenwereadlIisbiography,wecanseethatlIis
descendantsalsopracticedandaccumulatedgood
deeds.Mr.Fanandtwoofbisfivesonsbecameprime
ministers.Theemperorappointedanothersonasa
}Iighscholar.WhenMr.Fandiedtl1erewasnothave
enoughmoneyfOrhischildrentopurchaseacoffin.
Where}Iadalll1ismoneygone?Hel1adgivenitto
others.Thiswasw}IyMasterYinGuangpraisedMr.

FanashavingvirtuousconductsecondonlytoConfUcius.HisdescendantsprosperedfOreighthundred
years,untiltheearlyl9O0sThisistl1eresultofaccumulatingabundantvirtuesandgoodness.
Today,wlIenwepracticegooddeeds,wedososparingly.WeexertjustafractionofourpotentialeffOrt
butconsiderourselvesgoodpeople.Notonlytbat,we
expectgreatbenefitsinreturnforourlittlebitof
goodness.Manypeoplegototemplestoburnincense
andmakeofferingsWhy?Becausetl1eybelievetl1is
canprofitthemtbemost:adollarinvestedfOrmillions
inreturn.SotheyburnincenseandworslIiptl1eBuddhathinkingthattheywillgaingoodfOrtuneinreturn.
Iftbeydonateadollartoday,maybetheywillwinten
thousanddollarsinthelotterytomorrow.SuclIthinkingdegradestheBuddbasandBodhisattvas.
Whenweseetheseapparentlysincerepeopletheir
familiesandevendescendantssufferingmisfOrtunes)
268

wewilllmowwlIy.Theydonotintentionallyviewthe
BuddlIasandBodhisattvasasevil)butsubconsciously
t}IeyVewthemasbeingswhotakebribes.Thisis
obviouslyaseriousmistake!Sometimeswhensome
peoplewantsomethingomaninfluentialperson,
theyofferabribeThisisthesameasofferingmoney
totheBuddhainhopesofreceivingwhatwewant.
Peoplew}Ioacceptthebribeareunethical.IfaBuddhaacceptedtbebribe,wouldhenotalsobeunethical?

MasterZhongfengelainedfurther:When
goodnessspringsfromtheheart,itisreal

goodness.But)whenwedosomethinggood
justbecauseothersaredoingsoitisfalse.
Whenwedogoodwithouteectingany
tlIinginreturn,itisrealgoodness.But,
wl1enwepracticegooddeedsfOrsomepurposeotl1erthantobenefitotlIers,itisfalse.
Tbosewhowishtopracticerealgoodness
needtoconsiderallthesedifferences.

))

Goodnessspringing{Tomourheartsarisesfrom
truesincerityandistruegoodness.Whatistruegoodnessandfalsegoodness?Wemustlooldntoourbearts
toseeifwearegenuinelypracticinggoodness.alse
goodness>,issimplyfOllowingotl1ers,toactwithout
sinceritywhilewisbingforareturn.(Truegoodness)is
towisbfOrnothinginreturn

Tbescl1olarssaidgreedandexcesspossessionswere
269

bad,butMasterZhongfengsaid,Notnecessarily.))To
usemoneyandpossessionstodogood,tobenefittlIe
public,isconsideredgoodnotbad
Today,whenweencouragepeopletopracticegood
deeds,tlIeymaybeunwillingtodoso.However,ifwe
setouttotrickortolietotlIemtogetthemtoperfOrm
agooddeed,theywouIdbeperfectlywillingtodoit.
Wheredoestl1eproblemlie?Itlieswitl1inus.Dowe
reallyhavethesameintentionsasBodlIisattvas?Ifwe
cheatothersoutoftheirmoneywitbtlIeintentof
en>oyIngourselves,thenitiswrong.
Ifweseethingssuperficiallytbenitisdifficultto
distinguisbbetweengoodandbadItalldependson
tbeheart.Theaccumulationofgreatgoodnessand
meritsarisesfromtheheartofsincerityThisisespeciallytruefOrgreatBodhisattvaswhoappearasordinarypeople.TheydonottlIinkofthefactthattbeyare
Bodhisattvasorabouttrivialmatters.Theyt}1ink
purelyofbenefitingallbeingsandthus,tl1eirviewsare
verydifferentfromordinarypeople
,)

Whatare(<honestgoodnessand<crooked
goodness?Peopletodayoftenlookuponan
extremelyconservativeandnicepersonas
goodandkind

<Honestmeansbeingvirtuous,dignified,andjust.
<Crooked)meansbeingdishonest.Whenweseea<Yes
Man,)whoisveryrespectfUlandacquiescenttootlIers,
wemaythinkbeisagoodperson.Manyemp>oysuch
270

peoplebecausetheyarewillingtodowhateverthey
aretoldPeoplethinktlIistypeofpersonisgoodand
oftenliketohavethemaroundButheisjustalackey
obeyingeverycommandandattendingtoeveryneed
witharespectfUldemeanor.
However,theancientsagesandvirtuous
peoplebavesbownthattheypreferredt}Iose
whowereaspiringanddignifiedAsfOrthose

wboappeartobecompliantandcarefUlin
theiractions,everyonemayliketlIem,but
sagesoftenspeakofthemasthievesofVrtue.)>Fromthis,wecanseetbattheview-

pointofordinarypeopleongoodandbaddif
fersgreatlyhomthatofsagesandvirtuous
people.
Althoughmostpeoplepreferandconsiderasgood
tlIosewhoappeartobecompliantandcarefUl,great
sagesandvirtuouspeoplepreferthosewhobaveability
altl]oughtbeymaybestubborn,arrogantandsometimes,evenalittlerude.W}Iy?TheseindividualspossessparticuIarskillsandalthoughtheymaydisagree
witl1us,tbeyarecapableofhighachievement.Sometimescompliantpeoplecannotaccomplis}Igiventasks
becausetheylackinitiative.Thus>sagesandvirtuous
peoplepreferthosewithcourageousandaspiring
characterswboarenotcaughtupintrivialities
AltlIouglIcompliantpeoplearewellliked,sagesoftencallt}Iem<<thievesofvirtue)>becauseint}Ieircon27l

fUsionaboutthetruth,tbeycannotdistinguishright
fTomwrong.Virtuereferstopropercustomsandmorality.PeoplewhocannotdiffCrentiatebetweenrigl1t
andwronghavebrokenthemoraltradition,lilKe
thieveswhohavebrokenthelaw.

Becauseofthis,ourjudgmentcouldbeerroneous.BeingsandspiritsoflIeavenand
eartIalllookupongoodandbadomtlIe
sameVewpointastlIesagesandnottbatof
ordinarypeople.
Wecannotalwaysdistinguishbetweenrealgoodnessandfalsegoodness.WlWdospiritsandbeingsof
heavenandeartM1avethesamestandardsasthesages
andvirtuouspeople?TbeydobecausetheyalllIave
tlIesamevIewsandintentions.

TherefOre,whenwewisbtoaccumulate

meritswemustnotgiveintogreedorbeaf
fectedbyt}Iethingsaroundus.Assoonas
improperthoughtsarise)weneedtobe
awareofthemandtlIenpuritllem.
Honestgoodnessistoberespectfuland
comesfromthetlIoughttosincerelyl1elpall
others.Crookedgoodnessistoactwithout
sincerityandarisesfromtlIethougl1ttoHatterotherstoobtainwhatwewant.Tolove

othersishonest,andto}Iateothersandbe
272

jealousiscrookedTheseallneedtobevery
carefUllydifferentiated
Weneedtoavoidallthatisevilandembraceall

t}IatisgoodWebeginwithourselves.First,wecannot
allowourselvestobeaffectedbyworldlypbenomena.
Inot}Ierwords,wemustnotbeattachedtotheFive
DesiresandtheSixSenseObjectsbutletgoofthem

foraslongasweclingtotbem,wewillnevereradicate
ourselfisbness.Thesethoughtsofself-benefitaretbe
rootofallnegativekarmaAllgooddeedstl1atare
doneoutofevilintentionswillbecomeevilThisis

whyMasterZhongfengdidnotagreewithwbattbe
scholarscategorizedasgoodbecausegoodtl1ingsdone
withselfishintentareimpureandfalseTherefore,we
mustbecomelessattac}Iedtoworldlydesirestoreduce
ourselfishness.

Slowly,onebyone,trytoreduceeaclIdesireuntil
theynolongeraffectusInthiswaywewillbeableto
detectthedesireassoonastlIethoughtarisesand
immediatelycurbit.Also>weshoulderadicatet}1e
deviantandimpurefeelingsinourhearts.TbemrG
LkbSmrHelainsthisascleansingourheartsand
))

correctingourpasterroneouswayssoastoattaina

pureandbrightmindthatisfilledwitl1wisdom.
Honestgoodnesscomesfromsincerelytryingto
lIelpotbersIttakesonlyonesincerethoughttobenefitallbeings.Wehelpotherstounderstandthetrue
reality,toeliminatede!usionandattainawakening.As
273

soonastheydotbistlIeywillnaturallylearnlIowto
eliminateevilandpracticegoodThefOremostmerit
inBuddbismisthatwbichbelpspeopletolearnabout
tbetruthoflifeandtheuniversesotheywillbefreeto

choosewbichoftbeTenDharmaRealmstheywillbe
reborninto.

TheBuddhaswillnotinterferewithourclIoiceor

trytochangeourmindsnordot}Ieyinsisttl1atbecomingaBuddhaisthebestgoalfOrallbeings.Itis
theirhopethateventuallywewillbecomeBuddlIas,
buttheywillnotfOrceustodosoIfwepreferto
reincarnateashumanbeings)thentheBuddbaswill
teachustlIeprinciplestobecomegoodpeople.Ifwe
wishtoberebornintotbeThreeBadPaths,thenwe
canjustimmerseourselvesingreed,anger,andignoranceandsmoothIysailintotheTlIreeBadPatlIs.
Buddbaswillnottrytostopus.Tbeyonlyteacl1peoplebowtoeliminatedelusionandattainawakening
T}Iisis}1onestgoodnessandisthesupremebenefit.
CrookedgoodnessarisesfromthouglItsofflattering
otlIerssotbatwecanobtainwhatwewant,fOrexam-

ple)fameandwealthObviouslytl1isiswrongandany
goodactsperfOrmedoutofsuchmotiveswouldbe
crookedandnothonest.WeneedtobecarefUland

respectfUlwheninteractingwitlIothersandcircumstancesActingwithoutsincerityisafault.Tocorrect
itweneedtorecognizeit.
Wl1atare<(hiddengoodness)andvisible
27

goodness>)?GoodnessislIiddenwhennoone
knowsaboutitandvisiblewhenourgood
actsarelmownbyothers.
Ancientsagesandvirtuouspeopletaughtustoaccumulatehiddenvirtuesinsteadofvisiblegoodness.
WlIenwedosometlIingandarepraisedfOrit,that
praisewasourgoodfOrtuneForexamplereceivingan
awardisgoodfOrtune.
Tbebestwaytoaccumulategoodnessistoletour
gooddeedsremainunlmown.>ustkeepaccumulating
whileaskingfOrnotlIinginreturn.Oncepeoplelmow
aboutwlIatwelIavedone,thentherelatedgoodfOrtunewillbegintodiminishassoonast}1eyrewardus.
IfwereceiveanimmediaterewardfOreverygooddeed
wedotlIennotonlyistherenoaccumulationof
goodness,wemightbegintoaccumulatefaultswitl]outrealizingitandthemorefaultsweaccumulatethe
worsethingswillbe.

Thosewithhiddenvirtueswillnaturallybe
lmownbytheheavensandberewarded
Tl1osewbopracticevisiblegoodnesswillbe
lmownbypeopleandenjoyfame.Fameitself
isgoodfOrtune>butl1eavenandeartlIs}Iun
fame.Thosew}IolIavegreatfame,butlack
tl1evirtuetosupportitwilleventuallyencounteroverwhelmingadversities.Those
wl1ohavenotdoneanythingwrongbutare
falselyaccusedwill}Iavedescendantswho
275

willoftensuddenlybecomeprosperousand
successfUlFromthis,wecanseebowim-

portantitistounderstandhiddenandvisible
goodness.

Ifwedesirepopularityandfame)gettingthemcan
beconsideredgoodfOrtuneandtheymaybeseenas
ourrewardButactually,theyarenotconsidereda
goodreturnbecausetheycancauseenvyamongpeopleaswellasamongbeingsandspiritsofheavenand
earthWorseyetisfOrustotakecreditfOrvirtuous
conductt}Iatwedidnotdo)fOrtbiswillinevitablybe
fOllowedbyadversity
OntheotherlIand,ifwehavedonenotl1ingwrong
butarebeingwrongedaccusedorreviledbyothers,
thenweareactuallyaccumulatinggoodness.The
morejealouspeopleslanderus,thebetteritis.Why?
SuclIslanderandlIindranceswillreduceournegative
karma.So,whenweaccumulatevirtues,itisbestto

dosoquietlywitbnooneknowingaboutit.Thereis
noneedtoseelKpraiseorrespect.
WlIenallofournegativekarmahasbeeneliminated,ouraccumulationofgoodnesswillbecomeeven
strongerandourgoodfOrtuneevengreater.Thiswill
resultinthesuddenprosperityofourdescendants.
Whenwecarefullyobservethosewhosuddenlyattain
fame,wecanseethattheirancestorspossessedmany
hiddenvirtuesOnceweunderstandthis>wewill

appreciatetl1evalueofsuchvirtues.
276

Whatareapparentgoodness))and<<actual
goodness>)?IntheSpring-AutumnPeriod,
tbecountryofLumadealawthatrewarded
thosewhopaidtheransomtofTeetl1eirfellowcitizenswlIowereservant-slaves.AttlIat

time,Confuciushadarichstudentnamed

Zigongwl1o,alt}Ioughhepaidtheransomto
eepeople,didnotaccepttIerewardfOr
doingso.

Thisexampleaddressesthedifficultyofdistinguishingbetweenapparentgoodnessand<<actualgoodnessbecauseordinarypeopleIsstandardsaredifferent
homtl1oseofsagesandvirtuouspeople.
WlWwouldsomeonebecomeaservant-slaveinthe
homesofthenobility?Tbeyhadbrokenthelawand
weresenttotheselIomestoservetheirsentences.The

governmentpassedalawstatingtlIataslongassomeonepaidt}IeirfinetheywouldbefTeedItthenen-

couragedthewealtlIytopaythefinesinthebopetlIat
tlIecriminalswouldrefOrm.

Uponhearingthis>ConfUciuswasveryunhappyandscoldedZigong:<Youacted
wrongly.Whensagesandvirtuouspeopledo
something,itistoimprovemoralityand
teacbpeoplehowtobehave.Wedonotdo

somethingfOrself-benefitorreputation.In
Lu,tl1epooroutnumberthewealthy.Since
yourefusedtlIerewardotherSwilltl1inlKthat
277

acceptingrewardmoneyisbeinggreedyand
iftlIishappens,noonewillpaytberansom
tofiFeeourpeople,

ConfUciuswasdispleasedbecauseZigonghadnot
seentbesituationfTomthestandpointofavirtuous
personbutfromthatofanaverageperson.Tbeteachingsofvirtuouspeople>sarefOrthebenefitofallpeople,notjustfOrcertainindividuals.Fromanindividual)sstandpoint>Zigong)sactionwaspraiseworthy;
however,l1ebaderredbygoingagainstlocalcustoms
anddisruptedthegovernment)splan
AttlIattimeinLu,thepoorgreatlyoutnumbered
therichTl1erewardplanwasdesignedtomotivate
averagecitizens.WhenZigongrefusedthereward,
everyonepraisedhim.ButhebadsetaharmfulexamplebecauseanyonewhosimilarlyperfOrmedagood
deedwouldalsolikelyrefUsetherewardToacceptit
couldresultinothersthinkingtl1atthedeedwasdone
solelyfortllerewardThisrefUsaltoacceptrewards
wouldruintbegovernment,ssystem.SincethepurposewastoencourageeveryonetoperfOrmgood
deedsZigongshouldhaveacceptedthereward,notto
benefithimself,butthepublic.Thissl1owshowsages
andvirtuouspeopleinterprett}Iingsdifferentlyfrom
averagepeople.
AnotherstudentofConfucius,Ziluonce

sawamandrowningintheriverandrescued
l1im.LaterthemanthanlKedl1imbygiving
278

l1imacow.WlIenConfUciusheardtlIatZilu

hadacceptedtbegift)hewashappyand
said:<Int}IefUture,peoplewillbeeagerto
helptlIosewhoaredrowning.))
Intheeyesofordinarypeople,ZigongsrefUsaloftherewardmoneywasgood,while
Zilu)sacceptanceofthecowwasnot.Who
wouldlIaveexpectedConfuciustopraise
ZiluandscoldZigong!Fromthis,wecansee
thattlIosewhopracticegooddeedsmustnot
onlyconsiderthecurrentoutcomebutthat
ofthefUtureaswell.NeitherslIouldweonly
considerourowngainandlossbuttl1ink
abouttheimpactmadeonothers

WhenZiluacceptedthecowConfuciuspraised
lIimbecausewhenothersrealizedt}IatsavIngalife
mightresultinareward,itcouldbecomeanincentive
fOrpeopletobebraverinhelpingothers.
WhenConfuciuspraisedZiluinsteadofZigong,his
v1ewpointwasverydifferentfromthatofordinary
peopleHowever,hebadsoundreasonsfOrdoingso.
Looldngatsagesandvirtuouspeople,wewillseethat
theirvisionismorepervasivetl1anours.Witl1our
limitedvisionwedonotrealizetl1elong-termeffects
tl1atouractionsmaycause.Weneedtoconsidermat-

tersfromtl1easpectofbenefitingsociety,thecountry,
andeventheworld>aswellashowlIistorywillregard
events.Whenwerealizethebroadscopeinvolved,our
279

vIewswillbeverydifferentthanbefOreandwewill
understandthatConftIciuswascorrect.TherefOre,

goodandbadcannotalwaysbedeterminedbypresent
actions.WeneedtoconsiderwhetlIertbelong-term
resultswillbepositiveornegativeinordertojudge
wisely.

WlIatwedonowmaybegood,butintime,
mayproveharmfulTlIus,whatseemslike
goodnessmayactuallybebadWbatappears
tobebadmayactuallyhavepositivelongtermeffects,turningouttohavebeengood
afterallTlIus,whatseemslikeabaddeed
mayactuallybegoodness.

Forexample,apparentresponsibilitymaybe
actualirresponsibility,apparentpropriety
maybeactualimproprietyapparenttrustwortlIinessmaybeactualuntrustwortlIiness,
andapparentkindnessmaybeactualunkindness.WeneedtocarefUllydifferentiate
tomakeproperchoices.

Sometl1ingwevIewsuperficiallymayappeartobe

goodbutactually)itisnot.OritmaybegoodfOra
specificindividualorfOraparticulartimeHowever,it
maynotbegoodfOrsocietyasawholeoritmaynotbe
goodfOrfuturegenerations.ThisiswlWinBuddhism
thedeterminationofgoodandbadisneverbasedon
currentaction.WbathasbeengoodtbroughoutlIis280

toryistberealgoodness)fOrtbegoodhasbenefited
generationsThatwbichisgoodnowbutisnotgood
fOrfuturegenerations,orthatw}IiclIhasdestinedus
toberebornintot}IeThreeBadPathsisnottrue

goodness
BefOretheFirstWorldWar,worldleadersweredis-

cussingpeaceinanatmosphereofapparenttrustworthiness.AftertbewarbeganitbecamecleartlIatsome
hadactedwithactualuntrustworthiness.

Highteclmologyhasallowedthedevelopmentof
weaponsofmassdestructionTl1eintentofkeeping
tbepeacetbroughmig}Itisapparentresponsibility
Buttheterrifyingrealitythatcountlesspeoplenow
lIavethemeanstodestroyourworldandeveryliving
beinginitmakesitclearthatsuchdevelopmentmay
wellprovetobetbeultimateactualirresponsibility
andbightec}mologymaynotbetruegoodnessatall.
IntlIecaseofZilu)acceptingtherewardmightnot
haveseemedtobegoodattlIetime;however,since
thelong-termresultsweregood,itwasgoodT}Iisisa
goodexampleofapparentgoodnessandactualgoodnessWlIatareresponsibilityandpropriety?Whatare
trustwortl1inessandMndness?TlIereareapparentand
actualgoodnessineachofthese.IfwecannotdistinguislIbetweentbem,thenitislikelytlIatwel1ave
committedseriousoffenseswhilebelievingt}Iatwe
weredoinggoodIfwewislItopracticetoaccumulate
goodfOrtunewemustfirstpossesswisdom.Without
it,nomatterl1owhardwetry,wewillnotobtaingood
28l

fOrtune

Whatare(<propergoodness))and<improper
goodnessI?LuWenyiwasaprimeminister
intlIeMingdynasty.Whenbegrewold,l1e
retiredtohishometownwlIerelIewaswell

lovedandhighlyrespectedOnceadrunken
villagerwenttohishomeandbegantoyell
insultsathim.MrLucalmlytold}Iisservant,<(TlIismanisdrunk)don,targuewith
him.>)Withthat>heclosedthedoorandignoredtheonslaughtofinsults.

Ayearlater>t}Iesamemancommitteda
gravecrimeandwassentencedtodeath
HearingthisMrLuremorsefi1llysaid:(If
onlyIhadtakenhimtotheautlIoritiesfOr
punishmenttlIatday,perlIapsalittledisciplinecouldhavepreventedthis.Attl1etime,
IwastryingtobekindI)utIinadvertently
encouragedhisarroganceandcruelty.Now,
he}Iasbeensentencedtodeath)>Thisisan

exampleofhavinggoodintentionsbutdoing
somethingbad
MrLu)svirtuousconductandgreatmeritshad
nedhimrespectfTomvirtuallyeveryone.Wl1ena
earnedhimrespectfTomvirtuallyeveryoneWhena

disgruntledmanwholIadbecomedrunkcametol1is
homeandverballyabusedlIim,Mr.Ludidnottake
theincidenttolIeartHetolerantlytoldlIisservantto
282

justclosetlIedoor.
LaterMr.Luheardthatthedrunkardhadbeen

givent}Iedeathsentence.Mr.Luremorsefullybelievedthatbehadmishandledthesituation.Hadhe

pressedclIargesandsentthemantojail,thingsmight
havebeendifferent.

WeseemanyexamplesoflIavinggoodintentions

butdoingsomethingbad>Thisisespeciallytrueof
today)syoungparentswhounwittinglyspoiltl1eir
childrensomuchsot}IatwlIenthecl1ildrengrowup,

theymaynotrespecttheirparentsandmayevenbreak
thelawItmaybetoolatewhentlIeparentsrealize
theirgravemistake
ChildrenneedtobeproperlytaughtwlIentheyare

youngfOrthechildisthefatlIerofthemanIfchildrenarenotdisciplinedwhentheyareyoung>itwillbe
toolatetodosowhentheyhavegrown)fOrtheywill
mostlikelyrebelagainsttheirparents)wisl1es
InancientChina>acriminalsentencecouldbeis-

suedundertlIeheadingof<(ParentalRigl1ts.)Ifa
parentwenttothejudgecomplainedthatthecbild
hadnotfUlfilled}Iisorherfilialduties>andwantedtbe

childsentencedtodeath,thejudgewoulddosowithoutevenlIoldingatrialParentalrigbtsweregiventbe
lIiglIestconsideration.Thiswaswhychildrenwere
petrifiedoftheirparents,becauseiftheparentswere
tofileacomplaintandwisl]edaparticularsentence
issued,therewasnorecourse

Parentalrightsexistedthroughtl1emidl9OOIS.
283

Witbsuchalawnochilddaredtoignorefilialduties.
TlIeycouldnotevenaskfOralawyerbecausenodefensewasallowed

Tbereisalsoanexampleoftl1osewho
acl1ievedgoodnessalthoughtheyl1adacted
omimproperintentions.Once,afteradevastatingfamine,peoplewerereducedto
stealingfOodinbroaddaylightAwealtby
familyreportedtlIistotlIeauthoritieswlIo
didnothing.Astl1epoorgrewmoredaring
cl1aoswasimminentThefamily)takingtl1e
lawintotheirownhands,caugl1tandpunishedtl1etlIievesInthisway)peacewasrestoredandthetheftswerestoppedIfthis
lIadnotbeendone,chaoswouldhave

erupted

W}1enafaminestrikesthepoormayturntorob-

bery.Int}Iisaccount>whenthewealthycomplainedof
therobberies)theauthoritiesignoredtl1emfOrfearof
startingarevoltWhenthetlIievesbecamemoredaringtheauthoritieslIadnowayofcontrollingtl1em.
So,thewealthypeopletookmattersintotlIeirown
handsandintlIisway)peacewasrestored.IftbislIad
notoccurred,tlIenorderwouldlIavebeencompletely

disruptedTheactionwasbadandwasdonewith
selfisl1intentions;howevertheresultbenefitedeveryOneo

28

Wealllmowthatgoodnessisproperand
wrongdoingisimproperHowever,thereare
caseswheredeedsdoneoutofgoodintentionsresultedinbadThisiscalledthe<im-

properwithintheproper.))TlIerearealso
deedsdoneoutofimproperintentionstl1at
resultedingoodTbisiscalledtlIe<proper
withintheimproper>>WecanbenefitfTom
understandingthis.

GoodintentionsareI(proper>>andbaddeedsare
<improper/)IntheprevIousexample,Mr.Luhaddone
abaddeedalthoughbisintentionwasgoodThisis
tbe<<improperwithintheproper.)ThestandardfOr
goodandbadisdeterminedbytheeffectanactionlIas
onmoralityandsocietyasawhole
Forinstance)becomingavigilanteandpunishing
someoneonourownisobviouslynotconsideredgood
Howeverintl1issituation,theautlIoritieshadnot

actedandthingsweregettingoutofcontrol.SometlIingneededtobedonetoprotectlivesandpossessionsBytakingthelawintotheirownIandstIe
wealtbyfamilyrestoredorderastl]eystoppedtlIe
thievesfromcreatingfUrtl1ercbaosanddisruptinga
properwayoflife.Tbus,agooddeedwasdone
tl1roughselfishintentions.Thisis<properwithinthe
,,

1mproper.

Whatarehalfgoodness,and<<fullgoodness?WereadintbeJCmgPeoplewl1o
285

donotaccumulatevirtuousdeedswillnot

achievehonorwlIilepeoplewhodonotaccumulatebaddeedswillnotbringaboutself
destruction.AndfTomtl1eBofsIy
welearnthatZl1ou>whowasthelastem-

peroroftl1eSlIangdynastycommittedl1orriblecrimes.))Tbedynastyendedwithhis
death

ThisisalessontaughtbyancientsagesandvirtuouspeopleSucblessonswerelatercalledsutrasand
respectedassuchfOrtbeyteachthetruthThetrutl1

surpassestimeandspaceIfwedonotpracticegoodness,wewillnotattainintegrity)andifwedonot
commitwrongdoings,wewillnotsuffersel
destruction.

Itislikecollectingobjectsinacontainer.

Withdiligence)itwillsoonbefullbutifwe
arelazy)thenitwillbeonlyhalffull.Thisis
anexampleoffullandhalfgoodness.
ImaginetlIatwearetryingtofillacontainerwitb

goodness.Ifwearepersistentwewilleventuallysucceed.Butifwearenotpersistent)itwillnotbecome
fullTl1isillustratestheimportanceofaccumulating
goodness.Andmostimportantlywemustnotaccumulatewrongdoingsorwewilldestroyourselves
OnceawomanvisitedaBuddhisttemple
286

andwishedtomakeadonationBeingex-

tremelypoor,sheonlybadtwocentsbutslIe
unreservedlygavethesetoamonkToher
surprise,theabbothimselfcametohelplIer
regretforpastoffensesandtodedicatel1er
meritsLater,sbewasclIosentoentertbe

imperialpalace>andobtainedwealtband
prestige.Cladinherriches>shereturnedto
thetempletomakeadonationt}Iistime
bringingasmallfOrtune
Toherdismay,theabbotsentanothermonk
tohelpdedicatehermerits.Shedidnotunderstandandquestionedtheabbot:Inthe
past,Ionlydonatedtwocents,yetyoupersonallyhelpedmeregretmypastoffenses.
Today,Ihavebrougbtmuchmoneybutyou
willnothelpmeperfOrmmymeritdedicationWhy?>,

Theabbotreplied:({AltlIoughyougaveonlya
littleinthepast,itcamefromatrueandsincereheartItwasnecessaryfOrmetorepay
yoursinceritybypersonallyperfOrmingyour
dedicationsToday)yourdonationismuch
greater>buttbeheartofgivingisnotassincere.TherefOre,itisenoughtl1atmystudent
perfOrmsyourdedicationsfOryou.)>T}Iisis
anexampleofhowt}1ousandsofsilvercoins
287

areonlyconsidered<<l1alfgoodness>)andtwo
centsare(<wholegoodness.
),

ThisisatrueaccountfOundinBuddhistrecords.A

laywomanwisl1edtomakeanofferingbutsl1eonly
lIadtwocentstogive.Duetohersincerity,theabbot
personallyhelpedhertodedicatethemeritsfromthis
gooddeedLater)sl1ereturnedwithalargeamountof
moneybuttheabbotdidnotgreetl1erpersonally
BeingconfUsedsheaskedwlW.
TlIisabbotlIadveryhiglImoralstandards.Tl1isis
unlikewhatwealltoooftenseetoday,wl1erewewit-

nessmanyBuddlIistsbehavingimproperlyJnthepast
thosewitl1l1ighmoralstandardsjudgedpeoplebytheir
sincerityIfpeopleweresincere,thennomatterl1ow
littletheydonated)theabbotpersonallyperfOrmedt}Ie
dedications.Iftl1edonorswerenotsinceretbentl]e

abbotwasnotobligatedtodoso.Witl1sincerehearts,
thedonorsnurturedgoodfOrtunebymakingofferings
totlIeBuddhaandonlyhadtodonatealittletogain
infinitebenefitsinreturn

However,inthisexample,tbewomanbadgained
wealthandprestige,andbersincerityhadbeen
cloudedbyhernewwayoflifeBysendinghisstudent
togreethertheoldabbotwastryingtoawakenher.
ThiswasthegreatestkindnessHewastryingtoshow
berwheresbebaderred,inthehopethatshewould
feelremorse)aclmowledgehermistakeandcorrect
herbehavior.

Z88

WhentlIewomanlIadinitiallydonatedtwocents,
herreturnofgoodfOrtunewasfUllandcomplete.But
onbersecondvisit,berreturnofgoodfOrtunewas
onlyhalf-fullandincompleteWbenpracticingto
accumulategoodfortune,itisimportanttorealizethat
thedeterminingfactorisnottheamountofmoneyor
thenumberofgooddeedsbuttheheartofsincerity.

Aslongaswedotbingswitbutmostsincerity)wewill
accomplishfullandcompletegoodness.
Whenwededicateourmerits,wedothreethingsto
showourheartoftruesincerityWetbinktoourselves:Today,whenIpractice,IdothefOllowing.
First,Idedicatemymeritstoreturningtothestateof
realityandIwishtoattainclarityofmindtouncover
myoriginaltruenatureSecond,Idedicatemymerits
toawalKeningandIwishtoawakenommystateof
delusionandtounderstandtbetruthoftheuniverse

Third)Idedicatemymeritstoalllivingbeings.Ihope
thatallbeingswillbeabletoeliminatedelusionand
attainenliglItenment,toeradicateselfislInessand
suffering,togain}IappinessIhopethatallwillbecomeBuddhasandthatuponattainingBuddl1ahood
thattheywillhelpotherstodothesame.Idedicate
mymeritsfOrallotbers,notfOrmyself/)
Ifthisistrulyourintention,thenwiththistlIought,
wewillachievefUllmeritsandvirtues.But,ifthereis

theslightestthougbtfOrourselvesfOrfameorwealth,
thenwewillnotgainmeritsandvirtues,notevena
(halP)return.Infact,wewillhaveprobablyachieved
289

muchnegativelKarmainsteadTherefOre,neverlookat
thingssuperficially,butlearntolookintotheprofOundtruthofreality
Anotl1erexampleisofQuanZhongli,animmortaloftheHandynasty,wlIowasteaching
hisstudentLuDongbin,theartoftransfOrmingironintogoldTheywoulduseitto

helpthepoor.Dongbinaskedhisteacherif
tlIegoldwouldeverclIangebacktoiron
Zhonglisaid:<Afterfivelmndredyearsit
willreturntoitsoriginalfOrmDongbinreplied:<<ThenIdonotwanttolearnthisart
fOritwilll1armtl1osewl1opossesstl1egoldin
fivehundredyears.
))

ZbongliofferedtoteaclIDongbinalchemy,tlIeart
ofturningironintogoldUponlearningthatthetransfOrmationwouldnotbepermanent,Dongbindeclined,
fOrintheendtbetransfOrmationwouldhavehurt

peopleToday,mostpeopleareonlyconcernedwitb
w}Iattheycangetnowanddonotthinkaboutbowit
mig}1taffectothersinthefi1ture.Fromtl1is,wecan
sadlyseehowmoralstandardshavedecayedovert}1e
years

Zhonglisaid:<<Tobecomeanimmortal,one
mustcompletetlIreethousandvirtuous
deedsWhatyoulIavejustsaidcamefroma
trulyldndheart.Yourthreethousanddeeds
290

arefulfilled>,ThisisaccountisanotlIerex-

ampleofwholegoodnessandhalfgoodness.
InTaoismitissaidthatinordertopracticetlIeart

ofimmortality,wemustcompletetl1reetlIousand
virtuousdeeds.T}Ieserequirementsaremorelenient
tl1antlIoseofBuddhism.WeBuddbistsmustpossess

purityofmindbefOrewecanaclIievetrueunderstandingandpractice,andbecomeaDlIarmarepository
Taoistsdonotseektl1epuremind;theyseektl1ecompassionateheartthel1eartthatregardsallwitlIequalityandthatisunselfishOftlIetwo,tl1epuremindis
moredifficulttocultivate

WitlIthissinglegoodthougl1tDongbinbadinstantlyaccomplishedthevirtuousdeedsrequiredto
practiceimmortalityHisconcerntonotl>armany
sentientbeingshadactuallysurpassedthreetl1ousand
kinddeeds.Thus,onesinglethoughtwasenouglIto
fulfilltherequirement.ThisissimilartowhatLiaofan
didwl1enhehadreducedthetaxesonthefarmersfOr

thatonekindtlIoughtalonefUlfilledbisvowoften
tlIousandkinddeeds.ThisisthebenefitfTompracticingfromourhearts
WhenweperfOrmagooddeeditisbestnot
toattachtowhatwehavedone.IfwepracticeintlIiswaythenallofourgooddeeds
willreacl1fulfillmentandsuccess.But,ifwe

alwaysthinkofthegoodthatwehavedone
aswelookfOrareward,tl1ennomatterhow
29l

diligentlywepractice,evenfOranentirelifetime,tlIedeedswillstillbeconsidered}Ialf

goodness

Forexample,whenwedonatemoney,we
canpractice{puredonation.)>Wedonotlingeronthethoughtof(<I))whoisgivingon
theimportanceoftheobjecttlIatisgivenor
ontheonewhohasreceivedWesimplygive
outoftruesincerityandrespect.Whenwe
practicepuredonation,onepoundofrice
canbringinfinitegoodfOrtune,andthemeritsfromgivingonecentcanw1peawaytlIe
transgressionsofathousandeons.

ButifwealwaystbinlKoftbegoodthatwe
havedoneandeectrewardsfOrouractions)tlIenevenadonationofonemillion

dollarswouldnotbringustherewardofa
fUllygoodfOrtune.Tl1isisanotherwayofexplainingwholegoodnessandhalfgoodness.
Ifwetryourverybest,tbenwewillachievefull
goodness)butifwehaveanyreservationsanddonot

doalltlIatwecan,thenwewillaclIieveonlyl1alfgoodness.TherefOre)wbenaccumulatingvirtuousdeedswe
needtodoeverythingwithcompletesincerity
Manypeopledonotunderstandthetruerealityso
consequentlytbeyhavedoubtsaboutBuddl1ism.This
doubtisoneoftheFivePoisonsofgreed)anger,igno292

rance,arrogance,anddoubt.Thesepeopleseemto
believeandactaccordingtowhatwehavetoldthem.
However,theyareunabletodedicatetl1emselves
wholeheartedlytopracticinggooddeedsIndonating,
theystillwanttoreservesomethingto}1oldsomething
backTl1eydonothavetheunderstanding,wisdom,or

determinationtopracticefullgoodness.Tl1eycanonly
acl1ievehalfgoodnessTl1isiswhyaltlIoughmany
peoplearedoinggooddeeds,theydonotobtaingood
fOrtuneinreturnorseeanyimmediateresults.
IfwetrulywanttopracticefOrgoodfOrtunethen
wemustfullyunderstandandbelieveinBuddl1ism
withouttl1eslightestdoubt.Sometimes,peoplewill
saytl1atwearefOolishanddeludedandwlIenwethink

aboutit,wemaybelievethattobeso.Consequently)
wemayrefrainomthinkingkindtbougbtsanddoing
gooddeeds.WlIenthisbappens,ourbeartofkindness
hasalreadybeenaffectedbydeviatedviews.Whenwe
trulybelieveandactaccordinglythentheresultswill
becomeeasilyrecognizable.
Tberesultswillbesomuchmoretbanwl1atwas

describedinLonbfbrLessons;theywillbein
credible!Afterreadingthisbookwemustbelievetbat
wel1avethecouragewithinustoundergoanytl1ing.As
longasweactwitl1sincerity)wecangainareturnofa
tbousandfOldfOrafTactionofoureffOrtHowever)if
weactwithtlIehopeofgainingalavishreturnfOrour
effOrtstl>enwedonotactwiththeheartofsincerity
Wecangiveeverythingthatwehavebutwewillonly
293

gainhalfoftlIegoodfOrtune)nottlIewhole.Also)by
t}Iinkingofourgoodacts>wewillbeunabletoeliminateallofourlongingsanotherreasonwhywecan
onlygainhalfgoodness
Whenwearewillingto>etgoofourwealthwewill
gainwealthWhenwegiveteachings,wewillgain
wisdom.Wl1enwegivefearlessness,wewillgain
healthandlonglifeTbelawofcausalityisareality
andasnaturalastbelawsof}IeavenandearthIfwe

perfOrmgoodnesswithouteectationofreward,
witlIoutthewislIforprestige,wealth,wisdom)health,
orlonglife)witboutthewis}Iforanything,tl1enweare
boundtouncovereverythingthatisalreadyinourtrue
natureIstlIisnotbeingfreeandlIavinggreatcontentment?

WewillstillgainsometbingifweperfOrmgood
deedsasweseek)butitwillbeincomplete.Allt<1e
prestige)wealtlI,health,andlonglifethatwehave
gainedthroughpracticinggoodnesswilleventuallybe
gonebecauseitislimitedWhenwenolongerhave
desiresourlIeartswillbepureandourbehaviorwillbe
aref>ectionofourtruenature.WlIenourtruenature

andvirtuesareuncovered,whatwewillreceivewillbe
incredible.AndthemostwonderfUlofallistlIatwe

willbeabletogotothePureLand,theFlower
Adornmentworld!58

Onlyavirtuousnatureissimilartothetruenature;
itneitberarisesnorceases.Thisiswl1atfreedomisall

about.Onlysomeonewithgreatmeritsandwisdomis
29

willingtoletgoofallbeIongingsfOrnoordinarypersonwouldbewillingtodosoTl1isiswl1yweonlyfind
BodhisattvasandBuddhaspracticingtruegreatmerits;

evenArl1atsdonotpracticetbemArhatsareinclined
toavoidtrouble.Andifwewantedtohelpsomeone

andtl1eyrejected,slandered,orembarrassedus,we
wouldbecomeangryandabandontlIeattempt!Tl1e
goodnesswouldbeincomplete
However,Bodhisattvasareverydifferent.T}Iey
lmowallaboutthebadhabits,problemsandrebelliouswaysofpeopleNotmindingtl1eseobstacles,
Bodl1isattvasusetheirpatienceandcompassionto
helpallbeings.TherefOretheheartofaBodhisattvais
differentfromthatofanArhatoraPratyekabuddlIa
ThelattertwostillusetheillusoryheartwlIileaBodhisattvausesthetruelIeartWeseekwealthand

prestigenotrealizingthattbesedonotbavetobe
soughtastheyarealreadywithinourtruenature.
PeoplewhopracticeBuddhismaretryingtouncover
tl1eirtruenatureandtlIeabilitieswithin

TherefOre,oneofourgoalsasaBuddhististoreturntoreality)touncovertbeintrinsictruenaturethat
alreadycontainseverythingincludinginfiniteand
inexhaustiblewisdomandabilitiesThereisnoneedto

seekoutside,onlywithinEveryonehastl1istruenature;wedonotyetrealizeitanduntilwedo,wecan
relyupontheBuddbatoteacbusbowtodevelopit
ThisiswlWlIisbenevolencetowardsusissomagnificent!

295

Weneedtounderstandthetruerealitytl1ataslong
aswearesincereineverygooddeed,tlIenunreserv-

edlygivingonepoundofricecanbringinfinitegood
fOrtunebecauseitfulfillstbeintegrityofthetrue
nature.AndthegoodfOrtunefromunreservedlyofferingonecenttotheBuddha,theDharma,andthe

Sanghacansuppressthetransgressionsofthousands
ofeons.

WereadintheStimIJgamaStJ<rHthat(Duringtbe
Dharma-EndingAgethenumberofdeviatedteachers
willbeasnumerousasthegrainsofsandinthe
GangesRiver>)TbeymayappeartobeteachingBuddl1ism,buttheirbelIavioristbatofdemons.Then

whereslIouldwegowhenwewanttoplanttheseeds
ofgoodfortuneandtopracticevirtuousdeeds?Wl1at
ifpeoplewithdeviatedviewsrunthetemplewevisit?
Mightwenotonlyfailtoplanttheseedsforgood
fOrtunebutcommitbaddeedsinstead?

Buddl1ismisateachingofpracticingwithin.Ifour
genuineintentionistogoandpayourrespectstotl1e
Buddhatl1entheBuddhawillbeBuddhaAmitabhaor

BuddllaShalIamuniaccordingtowlIatourheartis
givingriseto.IfourheartsaregenuineandtruthfUl
tbenevenifwegotoatemplerunbybadspirits)the
Buddl1awillbetrue.Howeverifourl1eartsareim-

propertobeginwith,thenevenifwearepracticingat
apropertemple,wewillstillbeaccordingwitlIdeviatedpeople.
Thisisnottosaythattberearenogoodplacesto
296

practiceBuddhismduringtheDl1arma-EndingAge
butthattherealplaceiswithinourl1earts.The
maAASMrHtellsusthatAsincereheartisaculti

vationplace,apurebeartisacultivationplaceanda
compassionateheartisacultivationplace.))Aproper
cultivationplaceiswitbinour}Iearts.Wl1enourminds
areontbepathtoenligbtenmentthennomatter
whereweare,therewillalwaysbeaplacefOrcultivation.Aslongasourbeartsareproper,thennomatter
wherewegotherewillalwaysbeproperteachings.
Thus,theenVronmentarounduscl1angesaccording
toourmindsIfwecanunderstandtl1isandbedili-

gentinourpractice,thensocietyandcountrieswillbe
envelopedingoodfOrtuneIfwedonoteradicateour
wanderingtl1oughtsandourattachmentstoourgood
deedsthenevenifwegiveawayamilliondollarsour
meritswillnotbefull

WlIatare<<biggoodness))and(smallgoodness>)?Once>animportantofficial,Wei
ZhongdawasIedintotlIeunderworldfOr
judgment.Whentherecordsthatthejudge
hadorderedtobebrougbtoutarrived,
Zl1ongdawasastoundedattl1ecourtyard
filledwithl1isbadrecordsandthesingle
scrollofl1isgooddeeds
TlIeofficialthenorderedthemtobe

weiglIed.Surprisingly,thebadrecords
wl1ichhadfilledtlIecourtyard,werelighter
297

tl1anthesinglescrollofgooddeedstl1atwas
astbinasachopsticldZhongdaaskedtl1e
judge:<<IambarelyfOrtyyearsold,bowcould
Ihavecommittedsomanyoffenses?))The
judgeanswered:Whenyougiverisetoa
singlethoughttlIatisimproper,itisconsideredabadoffensethereandthen;itdoes
notlIavetobecarriedouttobecountedasa
))

wrong.

GoodfOrtuneandkindnesscomeinbotbbigand
smallsizes.Allofushavecommittedbotl1goodand
badactsduringourlifetimes.Allofthesearerecorded

andkeptwitbthekingoftheunderworldandtheruler
ofthespiritworldThisiswhyLiaofantaug}Itusto
haverespectandfearwithinourhearts.
WhentlIerecordsofZbongdawereplacedupona
scaletoseewhichwaslIeavier,tl1eonethinscrollof

gooddeedsoutweighedthevolumesofwrongdoings!
Zl1ongdal]adprobablycommittedmanyminorfaults
butnosenousoffenses.Therefore,onegreatkind
deedcanoffsetcountlessminorfaults.WlIenl1esaw

theresults,tbejudgewasquitepleased,fOrZhongda
wasagoodpersonafterall.
Wl1enZbongdaquestionedhowhehadbeenableto
commitsomanyfaultsthejudgeelainedtobim

thatanimproperthougbtwasstillrecordedasafault
eveniftl1ecorrespondingactionwasnottakenThus
evenifwedonotactuallycommitanymajortransgres298

sions,wemayhavethoughtaboutthem.Lucldly,
ZlIongdalIadonegreatgooddeedtbatoutweighedalI
bislesserfaults.

Zhongdathenaskedtbejudgewhatwasrecordedont}IesinglescrollThejudgereplied:((Oncetheemperorplannedtobuilda
greatstonebridgeYouopposedtheprO>ect
duetotbehardshipsitwouldcausethetens
ofthousandsofpeopleneededforthework
TlIisisacopyofyourobjection.))Zhongda
said:Ididmaketbeproposal,buttheemperordismisseditandproceededwithtbe
prOject.WhatIsaidhadnoeffectontbe
matterHowcanitbearsomuchweight
againstallmyoffenses?

Thejudgereplied:<AlthougbtlIeemperorrejectedyoursuggestionyouronethoughtof
kindnessfOralltlIosepeoplewasverygreat.
Iftheemperorhadacceptedyouridea,tlIen
thegoodperfOrmedwouldhavebeeneven
greater.TherefOre,wbenoneisdetermined
todogoodfOrthebenefitofallpeople,a
smalldeedcanresultingreatmeritsIfone
thinksonlyaboutbenefitingoneself,tben
evenifmanydeedsofkindnesswereperfOrmed,tl]emeritswouldstillbesmall.

TlIescrollcontainedadescriptionofthemajor
299

gooddeedtl1atZhongda}IadperformedHehadfOreseenthattheprOjectwouldwastemoneyandcause
bardships.Fromthis>wecanseethatwhatmatters
mostisouroriginalintention
Zhongda,sconcernwasnotfOrbimself,butfOrtbe
citizenswhowouldsufferfiFomsuchamaJorconstruc-

tionprOjectfOreveniftheydidnotbavetocontribute
inlabor,theywouldbavehadtopayheavytaxesto
osetthebuildingcostsIftbeideahadbeenabandoned,everyonewouldhavebenefited
Fromthis,wecanseetbemagnitudeofgoodness
bebindt}1issinglethougl1t.AlthoughtlIeemperordid
notlistentoZbongda>ssuggestion,thisdidnotalter
thefactthatitwassincerelymadefromthetruelIeart
andwasanexampleoffUllandcompletegoodness.Of
course}IadtheemperoracceptedtlIeproposal,tbe
significanceoftlIeactwouldhavebeenevengreater.
Thedifferencebetweenbigandsmallgoodnesslies
inourintentionsbywlIetherwearethinkingofalltl1e
beingsintheworldorwhetherwearejustthinkingof
ourselvesandourfamiliesWeneedtounderstand
thiswlIenwededicatethemeritsafterwerecitesutras

oraBuddl1a)snameUsuallywededicatetl1emeritsto
aparticularpersonwishingthattheBuddl]awould
helpl1imorl1ertogainvariousbenefits.Thisissmall
goodnessandthebenefitsgainedwillbesmallaswell
Infactwearenotevensureifthepersonbeing

dedicatedtowillactuallygainanybenefit.TlIerefOre
incasesliketl1is,whenafamilymemberisinacrisis)
300

weshouldrecitesutrasandaBuddlIa)sname,and

thendedicatethemeritstoallbeingsthroughoutthe
universeWeshouldwishthatalllivingbeingswillno
longersuffer,butbebappyandlIealthyWbenweare
sincereinthisthought,ourfamilymemberswillgain
aswellWby?Becauseourheartistrulypervasive!59
Peopleoftensay,((I}Iavededicatedallmymeritsto
otlIersandbavegainednothingfOrmyselfWhatisthe
useinpracticinggoodness?)>Thiscouldonlycome
fiFomanarrowmindIfweprostrateinontofthe
Buddhabutdonotfeelanyresponse,itisbecauseour
heartsareselfishWearetotallyselfseekinganddo
notlmowthatweshouIdmagnifyourmeritssothat
theyencompasstheentireuniverse.Wbenwededicate
tbemeritstoalllivingthings,itislikepassingona
light.WeuseourHametolightthoseofothers,sothat
thewl1oleworldisbathedinbrightness.Thisresultsin
greatbenefitfOrallwithnolosstoourselvesPeople
whopracticeBuddbismneedtodedicatetl1emerits
frompracticetoalllivingbeingsintl]euniverse,to
awakening,andtoreality,inordertouncoverthe
perfectcompletetrueBuddha-nature

Whatare(difficultgoodness)and((easy
goodness)>?ScholarsofthepastsaidtlIatone
whowishestoconquergreedanddesire
shouldbeginwitlIwhatismostdifficultto
overcome.WhenConfUciustallKedaboutour

cultivationofhumanity,lIealsosaidtobegin
30l

withwhatismostdifficulttopractice.

Thissectioncitestheteachingsoftheancientsages
andvirtuouspeople,whichtellusthatwepossess
innumerableafflictingbadhabitsanddesires,andthat
weneedtobeginwithwhateveristhemostserious.If
wecanovercomeourmostseriousfaults>tlIenwewill

overcomeotl1ermattersthataretrivialincomparison
Whenwewanttoeliminatethebadandpracticethe
good,wemustknowwberetobegin.ThisisanotlIer

reasonwl1yWhenConfUciuswasteacl1ingtbecultivationofl1umanity,hebelievedthatweshouldbegin
wit}1wl1atismostdifficulttopractice.ThefOllowing
areafewexamples
Forexample,anelderlyteacher,Mr.Sbuof
}iangxl)gavetwoyearsearningstoapoor

manwlIoowedmoneytothegovernment.If
themanhadbeensenttoprison,thefamily
wouldhavebeentornapart.

Thisisaverygoodexample,fOrMrShudidsomethingthatwasdifficulttodoandgaveupsometbing
thatwasdifficulttogiveup.60
AnotherexampleisMr.ZhangfTomHandan.
HegavewlIathadtakenhimtenyearsto
savetoapoormanwl1oowedmoneytothe
government.Thissavedhimfromgoingto
jailandenabledbimtoremainwithhiswife.
302

SuchexamplesasMr.S}IuandMr.Zhang
arerare,fortheygavewhatismostdifficult
togiveWhatotherswouldnotsacrifice,
tbeydidsowillingly.
Peopledependonmoneyandmaterialobjectsto
surviveTl1erefore,togiveawaymoneyisextremely
difficultespeciallywhenitisallthatwehaveThisis
to((beginwithwhatismostdifficulttoovercome
mostdifficulttopractice}}Practicinginthiswaywill
belpustocurbourdesires

AnotherexampleisMr.inomiangsu
provmcewhowasoldandwithoutanysons.
Hisneigbborsofferedhimtheiryoung
daugbterinmarriageso}Iemighthavedescendantstocontinuehisfamily.6lMr.>in
refusedtheofferandsentherbomeThisis

anotlIerexampleofbeingabletoovercome
whatismostdifficulttoconquerinoneself.
MrJinrecognizedthegreatagedifference)andaltboughbedeeplywantedason,hefelttbathecould
notruinthegirl>sfUtureandbappinesstoservehis
ownpurposeThisisanothergoodexampleofrestrainingone>sdesiresespeciallywhenitismostdifficultto
doso.

TherefOre,tlIeheavensshowereddownes-

peciallygoodfortuneonthesethreemen.It
303

iseasierfOrthosewbohavemoneyand
powertoaccumulatemeritsandvirtuestlIan
fOrthosewhoarepoor.

However,ifonerefusestocultivategoodness
whentheopportunitypresentsitself,tlIenit
wouldtrulybeashame.Fortl1osewboare
withoutwealthorstatus,doinggoodthings
fOrothersisverydifficultHowever,ifone
canhelpothersinthefaceofdifficultiesit
willbeevenmorevaluable

Weshouldgraspeveryopportunitytopractice
goodnessandaccumulatemerits.Oncetbeopportunityislost,wemaynotgetanotherclIancewhenwe
wanttodothatwhichisgoodWealthdoesnotlast
fOrever.Ourluckchangeseveryfiveyears,andinour
lifetimestherewillbethebestfiveyearsandtheworst
fiveyears.IftlIegoodyearsareduringouroldage
thentlIiswillbetruegoodfOrtune.But,iftlIeworst
fiveyearsoccurduringouroldage,tl1enthel1ardsl1ips
willbeevenmoredifficultbecausewewillalreadybe
ataphysicaldisadvantage.
Thus,weshouldpracticegoodnessatanearlyage,
toleteveryoneshareinourgoodfOrtunebecauseonce
weshareit)wewillstillgaininthefuturewhateverwe
aredestinedtolIaveWhenyoungandstrong,we
woulddowelltonotselfishlyexllaustallofourgood
fOrtuneonourselvessothatitwillremainintactforus

toenjoylaterinlife.Similarly,ifwesufferhardsl1ips
30

first,thentherewillbenoneleftforustoendure

wbenwereacholdageThisiswhywemustlearnto
cultivateandaccumulategoodfOrtuneforouroldage.
ItismostimportantthatasBuddhists,weknowexactlywhywearepracticing-toaccumulatetbeultimategoodfOrtunefOrourlastmomentsoflifCWhat
isultimategoodfOrtune?Ittoknowthatwhenour
timeisup,wecanleavethisworldwithoutillnessina
sittingorastandingposition,andthatwelmowexactly
w}IerewewillbegoingTbisisthegreatestgoodfOrtune,butmostpeopleareunawareofthisPractitionersshouldconstantlyremindthemselvestoshare
theirgoodfortunewithothers.Thatwaythegood
fOrtunewillbeevengreater
Whenwebaveprestige)itiseasiertohelpothers
moreandtoaccumulatemeritsButwemustnotuse

thisprestigeagainstothersIfwehavethemeansto
practicegoodnessbutdonot,wearethrowingawaya
wonderfUlopportunity.Ontheotherhandwhenwe
arepooranddonotbavetbemeansbutstilltryto
belpothers>thedifficultyoftbetaskmakestheact
evenmorevaluable

RmcZmgeICbodDeeen
CbrDnSASe

Therearemanywaystobelpotl1erswl1enevertl1eopportunitypresentsitselfThese
canbesimplifiedintothefOllowingtenim305

portantcategories

l)Tosupportthepracticeofkindness.
2)Torevereloveandrespect
3)TolIelpotherssucceedinpracticing
goodness.

4)Topersuadeotherstopracticekindness.
5)TolIelpthoseindesperateneed
6)TodeveloppublicprOjectsfortbegreater
benefitofpeople
7)Topracticemeritsbygivingwealth
8)Toprotectandmaintainproperteachings.
9)Torespectelders.
lO)ToloveandcberishalllivingtlIings.
Weneedtobepleasedaboutother>svirtuousdeeds

andnotbejealousorhindertheminanyway.Instead
weshoulddoeverythingpossibletobelpt}1emwl1en
therightopportunityarisesBecausethereareso
manykindsofvirtuousconducttbatcanbeaccomplis}1ed,theyhavebeensummarizedintotencategorIes

Whatdoes<tosupporttbepracticeofkindnessmean?EmperorShunlivedduringthe
YaoPeriod.OnedaybefOrehebecameemperor,Shunwaswatchingsomefishermen
))

onLakeLeizeHenoticedthatalltbe

youngerandstrongerfislIermentooktl1e
spotswheretlIewaterwasdeepandthefisb
wereabundantwlIilethosewhowereolder
306

andweakerwereleftwithtberapidsand
shallowwater,wheretherewereveryfew
fish

WhenSlIunsawthis,hesympatbizedwith
tlIeolderfishermenHejoinedinthefislIing
andwheneverhesawyoungerfishermen
grabthegoodspots,hesaidnothingBut
wheneversomeyieldedtootbers,hepraised
tl1emeverywherehewentandemulatedtheir
l]umbleandpolitemanner.HedidthisfOr
oneyearuntiltbefishermengotintothe
habitofyieldingthegoodspotstootlIers

Feelingsaddenedbythesituation,thepatientShun
tl1oughtofawaytoremedyitby<concealingfaults
andpraisingkindness.
TodaygooddeedsareoftenignoredaspeopleemphasizeimproperconductAssoonassomeoneacts
differentlyorbreaksthelaw>themediapublicizesit
Wl1entl1is}Iappens,t}Iereisboundtobemorebad
tlIangoodpeople,forwhengoodnessisignored,there
islittleincentivetopracticeitInfact,itgiveseven
moreencouragementtopracticewrongdoings.
Wesl1ouldfollowtheexamplessetbyancientsages
andvirtuouspeopleTlIeydidnotspeakofthefaults
ofotl1ersbutwaitedfOrthosepeopletoreflectuntil
tl1eylIadawakenedT}Iisistheproperwaytoteach
people.EveryonelIasaconsciencealthoug}Iitcanbe
overwhelmedbythedesiresfOrwealtl1andpowerAs
))

307

longasweuseaskillfUlwaytohelpotlIersseethe
truth)theywilleventuallycomearoundTlIiswaswhat
EmperorSbundidwiththefisbermen.IntlIefOllow-

ingpassage,wecanseewbysagesandvirtuouspeople
actedastbeydid
AwiseandcapablemansuchasShuncould
haveeasilyinfluencedot}Ierswit}Iafew

words.Whydidhenotsimplysaysomething
insteadoftryingtochangeothersbysetting
agoodexample?SlIun|spainstakingand
goodintentionswereliketbeexpertartisanshipthatresultsfTomlongpracticeandlIard
work

Shundidnotwanttousewordstoinf>uenceotl1ers,

butwiselypreferredinsteadtosetanexample.Altboughittookalongertime,theeffectsweremuch
morelastingbecauseactionsspealdoudertl1anwords.
Intoday)seraoflowmorality)socialbreakdown,andlossofproperthinking,itisextremelydifficulttofindagoodstandardof
belIavior.TherefOre,whenthosearoundus

l1aveslIortcomings,wedonotuseour
strengthstopointouttheirdeficiencies.
Whenotl1ersareunkind,wedonotuseour

kindnesstocompareourselvestotl1em.
Whenothersarelesscapable,wedonot
purposelysurpassthem.Evenwhenweare
308

intelligentandcompetent)thesearetobe
keptl1idden.Insteadofboasting,weneedto
belIaveevenmoremodestly.WlIensomeone
makesamistake,wetolerateanddonotre-

vealitThisprovidestheopportunitytorefOrmwitl1outtbelossofselfrespect
Havingadvantagesthatotherslackdoesnotmean
thatwecangloat.Wemustbeallthemorecarefulto
concealourabilitiesandtoaccommodatethefaultsof
otbers.TorememberthisandnotHauntourskillsand

intelligenceistruebroad-mindednessandtoleranceIf
weneedtoshowoffeverytimewecandosomething,
thenwewillaccomplishlittle.Ifwearecapableof
greatacbievements)weneednotbeassuperficialas
manypeopleare.Bybeingtolerantandnotspealdng
ofthefaultsofothers,butinsteadpraisethegoodness
ofothers,wewilltrulyupholdthepreceptsandcultivategoodfOrtune
Whenweallowotherstokeeptheirdignity
theywillbeevenmorecarefUloffUtureactions.Whenweseestrengthsorsmallldndnessinothers,wecanlearnfromthemand

praisetbemtoothers.

Ifwecansetanexamplewithourbel1aviortothe
extenttlIatotberslearnmoderation,thenwehave

doneverywellWhenweseetbeslightestgoodness
displayedbyothers>weshouldbehappyaboutit,and
309

praisethepersonmorefOrit

WhenIfirstmetmylateteacher,Mr.LiBingnan>
hetaughtmenottotalkaboutthefaultsofothersand
betterstill,tohidethem.IunderstoodthatbecauseI

realizedthatdiscussingt}Iefaultsofotherswasnot
goodHoweverhealsotoldmenottopraiseothers
andthatconfi1sedme.

Later,heelained:Whenyoupraiseothers,tIe
harmyoucausecanbeevengreaterthanwlIenyou
scoldtl1emfOrtheirfaults>)Howcouldtl1atbe?He

continued:(<Ittakesgreatwisdomtolmowhowto
praiseotbersTboughtlesspraisecancausegreat
harm.IfweexcessivelypraisepeoplewlIentheydisplayevenalittleability,tbeymaybecomeproudand
thinkthattheyareincredible.Thiswillpreventtl1em
{TomfUrt}Ierprogress.AndtonotprogressistoregressNow,l1aven)tyoudonemorel1armtl1angood?
Afterthinldngaboutthis,Iunderstood
So,whatsortofapersonslIouldwepraise?InBuddhismwepraisethosewhocanremainunaffectedby
tbeEightEmotionsofgainorlossfameordisgrace,
praiseorblame,pleasureorpain.Wecanpraisethese
peoplebecausetheywillnotbeaffectedInfact,the
morewepraisesuchpeople)themoremodestthey
becomeandthemoretl1eywilltrytoimprove.Wecan
givespecialpraisetothesepeople.
TherefOre,weshouldbeverycarefUlwitl1our
praisenotinadvertentlyallowingourgoodintentions
tocreatebaddeeds.Nowwecanseehowmuchcare
3l0

EmperorShunusedintakinganentireyeartryingto
helptheyoungfislIermencorrecttheirfaultsandbad
babits.

Indailylife,wecanrefrainomspeaking
andactingwithselfislIintentions)butinstead,seektobenefitsociety.Wecanl1elp
setstandardsfOrotberstofOllow.Theseare

thequalitiesofagreatperson;someonewho
tl1inksofpublicwelfareasmoreimportant
thanlIisor}Ierown.

WeneedtosetgoodexamplesforotherstofOllow
WhataretbequalitiesofagreatpersonthatLiaofan
wroteoRAgreatpersondisregards}Iisorherown
welfareandthinksonlyofbenefitingothers.TheselfishpersononlythinlKsofbenefitingbimselforherself
IntheSmrHOeZrRcazaZmJsecar
BemgB,<greatbeings)referstotbeBodlIisattvasand
theeightldndsofrealizations.Thesutratellsoftbeir
conductandpractice

Wbatdoes(<TorevereloveandrespectfOr
otbers),mean?Sometimesitishardtotellon

appearancewhethersomeoneisanhonor-

ablepersonorafTaud,sincefTaudspretend
tobehonorable.Thedifferenceisasobvious

blackandwhite.AsMenciussaidthediffer-

encebetweenhonorablepeopleandordinary
peopleliesintheirintentions
3ll

ConfUcianismtalksaboutlIonorablepersonssages
andvirtuouspeople.Budd}Iismteachesofnumerous
BuddbasandBodhisattvasWhatdifferentiatesallof

tlIemfTomordinarypeoplearetheirrespectiveintentions.Itisextremelydifficulttodistinguishjustby
appearanceandtbisiswhywelIaveoftenmisunderstoodvirtuouspeople
Forexample,inthepast)tlIerewerethreemonks
omTiantaiMountaininZleiiangprovmce,named
HanshanShide)andFengganItwasrecordedinthe
DIy2niMmtlIatatthetime,everyone
VewedthetlIreemonksassufferingfTommental
disordersbecauseoftheirunusualbehaviorNobody
associatedwitlIthemTbissbowshowappearances
canbesodeceiving.
FenggansjobwastopoundtbericeinordertoremovethehusksTbiswasalsowlIatMasterHuineng
didwbilehewasinHuangmei.Fengganwhowas
actuallythetransfOrmationbodyofBuddbaAmitabha,
buslKedtlIericetofeedeveryoneHanshanandSl1ide
werethetransfOrmationbodiesofManjusriBod}]isattvaandSamantabbadraBodl1isattvarespectively.
TheyalsoworkedinthekitchenlightingfiresfOrtlIe
stoves,andperfOrmingotl1ermiscellaneouscl1ores.
Tl1eywentshoeless,dressedinrags,andactedabsurdly.EveryonefelttlIattheywereworthlessItis
truethatjudgingbyappearancesalone,itisdifficult
fOrordinarypeopletodeterminewl]oistrulyvirtuous.
Fengganwastheonewhorevealedthattheywere
3l2

actuallytransfOrmationSofthetlIreegreatvirtuous
people.
Atthattimetherewasalocalgovernmentofficial,
MagistrateLu>whosemotherfellillwhiletlIeywere
travelingtowherehewastoreporttolIisoffice.Mr
Lubecameveryanxiousafterseveraldoctorsfailedto
helphismotl1erWlIenFengganwaspassingthrougl1
theneighborhood,hesoughtoutMr.Luandsaid:
((SomeoneinyourhouseholdisillIcancuretl1at
person.)Naturally,tlIemagistratefeltimmensegratitudetowardFengganafterwardSinceFengganwasa
monk,heinquiredastow}1ichtemple}1ewasfrom.
Fengganreplied:<IliveonTiantaiMountain.)MrLu
aslKed:<Arethereanysagesorvirtuouspeopleresiding
inyourtemple?)Fenggananswered:(ManjusriBod}]isattvaandSamantabhadraBodhisattvalivethere.))Mr.

Luthenasked:(HowwillIbeabletorecognizeand
learnomthem?Fenggansaidthatonewasnamed
HanshanandtheotherSbide

AfewdaysafterMagistrateLuassumedhisnew
appointment>hewenttoTiantaiMountaintopayhis
respectstothetwogreatBodhisattvasUponarrival
hefOundthemworkingintheldtchenandacting
strangely.HeimmediatelylmeltontlIegroundand
paidl1isrespectstothem.T}1etwomonksseemedto
ignorehim,tlIenquicMyturnedontheirheels>and
ranMagistrateLuorderedhisattendantstorunafter
tlIemandseewheretheywent.TlIetwomonksranto
thebaseofamountainandthemountainopenedup!
3l3

Themonksenteredandtl1emountainclosedup
again.ButbefOretheyvanisbedinsidethemountain,
theywerelIeardsayIng:<<BuddhaAmitabl1atalkstoo

much)MagistrateLuthenrealizedtlIatFengganwas
actuallyBuddhaAmitabha!ThetwoBodlIisattvaswere
complainingthatBuddhaAmitabhaslIouldnotl1ave
meddledandrevealedtheiridentitiesSo,tlIesetl1ree
personswereactuallygreatsages.
Atthattime>thetempleheldanimportantceremonytwiceamonthtorecitetl1eprecepts.Hansl1an

andSlIideoftenstoodoutsidethetemplemadefunof
theothermonks,andweretherefOredislikedbyall
Wl1entheotl1ermonlKsrealizedtl1atHanshanand

ShidewereactuallytbetransfOrmationbodiesofBodlIisattvas,theyfeltashamedthateverydaytlIese
tbreegreatsagesbadservedthemtheirfOodTbis
showsbowtheintentionsofBodhisattvasdifferom

thoseofordinarypeople
Theheartofagenuinelyhonorablepersonis
filledwithloving-kindnessandrespectfOrothers.Therearethousandsofdifferenttypesof
peopleinthisworldsomeclosetouswhile

othersarestrangers.SomelIaveprestigewhile
othershavenone.Somearesmartwhileothersarenotandsomearevirtuouswl1ileotl1ers

arecorrupt.Nevertheless,weareallhumans
andarethus,alloneentity.Wesl1ouldneither
l1atenordisrespectanyone.
3l4

TlIefirstoftheTenGreatVowsofSamantabhadra

BodhisattvaistoequallyrespectallBuddhasand
things.FromtlIeaspectofprinciple,despitetheapparentdifferencesamongpeopleallpeopleareoneto
thosewhounderstandFromtheaspectofphenomenonorappearance,weknowthatdifferencesexist.But

regardlessofthisweareallpartof}Iumanity,allpart
ofoneanother.Realizingtbis)wewillviewotlIersas
weVewourselves.

TheBuddhasaid:<<Tbroughoutalltimeandspace,
tbereisonlytheoneself/)Thusthekindnessand

compassionoftheBuddhaisunconditionalaffinityin
greatkindnessandtheembodimentofallingreat
compassion.>)Tl1isiswisdomandweneedtounder-

standrespect,andpassiton.WearetolIavelovingkindnessandrespectfOrallbeingssentientandnonsentient.

WhenourheartsarefilledwithlovingkindnessandrespectfOrothers,itisthe

sameasifourheartswereIedwithlovingkindnessandrespectfOrthesagesandvirtuouspeople.Whenweunderstandandagree
withotl1ers,itistl1esameasifweunder-

standandagreewiththesagesandvirtuous
people.

Inancienttimes,well-educatedpeoplelmewhowto

respecttlIesagesandvirtuouspeople.Today,our
teclInologicalsocietyisimmersedingreed,anger,
3l5

ignoranceandarrogance.Whenweshowrespectour
thoughtsandintentionsaredifferentfromtlIoseof
peopleinthepast.TlIeirrespectwassincere,andtlIe
sagesandvirtuouspeoplewererolemodelsfOrsociety.
Uponseeingasage,otlIerswouldimmediatelyemulate
thesagetocorrecttheirownbehavior.Todaypeople

oftengothroughthefOrmalitiesofpayingrespectto
tlIeBodhisattvas>lIeavenlybeings)andsprits,intl1e
lIopeofgainingsomethinginreturn.Alltoooften,this
isthesoleintention.

Liaofansaidthatunderstandingandagreeingwith
othersisthesameasunderstandingandagreeingwitl1
tbesagesandvirtuouspeopleTlIeirmainobjectiveis
tocreategoodnessandhappinessfOrallpeople.WlIo
wouldnotprefertoliveinapeacefUlandprosperous
society?MostpeoplewishfOrtheFiveGoodFortunes
ofwealtlIandprestigelongevity,meritsandvirtues
happinessandnoadversities,andagooddeath
Butwl1atmostpeoplewishfOrarejustthegoodresults.Whattheydonotknoworhavefbrgottenisthat
goodresultscomeonlyafterwehaveaccomplisl1ed
goodcauses.Ifwedonotpracticegoodcausesand
perfOrmgoodnesstbenitisillogicaltoeectgood
results.Tbesagesandvirtuouspeoplewanteverybody
toattaingoodfOrtuneTl1esevirtuouspeoplepossess
greatwisdomwl1ereasweordinarypeopleareconfused
andignorant.Sothevirtuouspeopleteacheveryone
l>owtopracticegooddeedsandaccumu>atemeritsin
orderfOreveryonetoreceivegoodfOrtune.
3l6

Practicinggoodnessandaccumulatingmeritsbeginsomourlearningtohavelovingkindnessand
respectfOrallbeingsandcircumstances.Thislovingkindnessandrespectmustbegenuine.ThisiswbytlIe
firstoftheTenGreatVowsofSamantablIadraBodlIi-

sattvaistoequallyrespectallBuddhasandthings
WlW?Becauseallthevirtuouspeopleand
sageswantpeopletoobtainwlIattlIeywisb
fOr.Ifwecanhaveloving-kindnessandrespectfbrpeople,andhelpthemtoachievein
theirendeavors)weareactingasasageora
virtuousperson

Thesoleintentionofsages,virtuouspeople,and
Bodhisattvasistoteachallbeingshowtoproperly
obtainwhattheywant.FortlIosewhoareoutstanding
intelligentandso-inclined)thevirtuouspeoplewilltry
toteachthemtobeaBuddhaoraBodlIisattvaFor

tlIosewboarenotso-inclined>thevirtuouspeoplewill
trytohelpthemachievewbattheywis}IfOr.TberefOrewetoowoulddowelltolIaveloving-ldndnessand
respectfOrallbeings
Whatdoes(<helpingotherstodogood

mean?Ifwetossedasideapieceofrawjade
itwouldremainaworthlessstone.Butifwe

carvedandpolishedit,itwouldbetransfOrmedintoavaluableobject.

3l7

Weneedtohelpotberstoachieveintheirendeavors.HelpingotlIersisoneofthevirtuesofthetrue
natureandenhancesourmerits]adeisusedasan
examplefOritisconsideredoneoftbemostdelicate
andbeautifUlofallstonesandwhencarvedandpolisl1ed,itcanbecomeextremelyvaluable.62

Sowl1enweseepeoplewhomwefeell1ave
thepotentialtopracticegoodnessortowork
towardsapropergoal,wecanguide,support,praise,andencouragetlIemthushelpingthemtosucceed
Thisisaboutnurturingtalentedpeople.Wl1enwe
seeotherswhosebeartsarekind,whosenaturesare

loyalandgenerousandwlIosegoalsarevirtuous)we
shouldhelpthemineverypossibleway.Weneedto
encouragetl1emtofOllowtl1erightpatlIandsupport
themuntiltl1eyachievetheirobjectives.
Tl1eAamsaStJnHisaverygoodexampleof
tlIis.WeseeSudlIana>whoasastudentl1adfifty-tlIree
goodspiritualteacbers.Althoughhewasyoung,l1eis
tobeconsideredasourelderaseniorinl1ighstand-

ing.Hisvirtues,meritsandknowledgearetrulydeservingofrespect.Wecanlearnmucl1froml1im.As
SudhanameteaclIofthespiritualteaclIers,hebowed
andpaidlIisrespects.Eachadvisorwouldasktben
him,<W}1eredidyoucomefrom,wlIydidyoucome
bereandwhatisitthatyouseekP>Allfifty-three
teachersaskedSudlIanatl1esamequestionandall
3l8

receivedtl1esameanswer.TherefOre,tlIisquestion
andanswerismemorable.

Thefirstpartoftheansweris:<IhavevowedtoattainsupremeenligbtenmentandIwis}Itoachieve
unsurpassedBodlIi,butIdonotlmowhowtopractice
orwhatintenttohave.TlIus,IlIavecometoaskfor

yourguidance/>Settingagoaliswhatwemeanby
makingavow.IfthegoaliswortlWandtlIestudentis
diligent,tl1enwemustdoourbesttol1elpl1imorher.
TherefOreaslongaswehaveapropergoal,tlIenno
matterwhethertheteachingsareofthisworldor
beyond,wewillhaveabrightfUtureandgreataccomplishments.IfweseeotlIerswhohavethispotential,
wecanencourageandassisttl1emintl]eirendeavors.

IftheysufferlIardsl>ips,weshouldalleviatetheir
difficultiessothattheycanconcentrateonaccomplishingtheirlearning.

IfotlIerswronglyaccusethem>wecantryto
cleartl1eirnameandsharetheirburdenof

slander.Onlywhenwehavehelpedtl1em
backontheirfeettobecomeafimctioning
partofsociety,willwehavefulfilledourresponsibilityinhelpingotl1erstodogood

Duringthepracticetobecomeasage,regardlessof
whetl1erintlIisworldorbeyond,people8reboundto
encounterjealousyandslander.ThiscanconfUseand

evendiscouragetlIemfTompursuingtheirstudies

T}1iswouldbeatragiclossandtokeepthisfToml1ap3l9

peningweneedtoshareintheirproblemsandworries.

Whenotl1ersslandertlIem,weneedtohelpthemto
cleartheirname,todoallwecantol>elp.Ifwecan
acl1ievethistl1enwewilll1aveaccomplishedgreat
lmowledgewisdomvirtuesandmeritsfOrtl1eywill
contributetosocietypartlybecausewelIavehelped
themtoreachtheirgoal.Howevermanyvirtuesand
meritstl1eymayaccumulatethepersonwl1obelped
tbemtoachievewillreceiveanequalamount.63
WlIywouldotlIerswanttocausetroublefOrusif
wearegood?Goodtbingsdonotcomeeasily.There
aremanyobstaclesfOrthosetryingtobevirtuousIf
someonewantstocommitevildeedstl1enMara64will

beveryhappybecausehelovesevilNotonlywill
MaranotgetintlIewayoftbeperson,lIewillalsodo
alllIecantohelp<thepersoncommitevil>.Onthe
otherl1and,ifwewanttoperfOrmvirtuousdeedsthat
wouldbegoingagainstMara>swishessohewilldo
everythingl1ecantodeterus.
Maraisonefactorthatcausestrouble;anotheris

ourMrmiccreditorsfiFompastlifetimes.Whenthey
seethatwearepracticingwellandmigl1ttranscend
samsaratl1eywillwanttostopus.Thisisbecausewe
havenotrepaidwhatweowethemomtl1epast.This
debtmaybemoneyoralife.Thesecreditorswillnot
standidlybyandwatclIussucceedinourpracticebut
willcreateobstaclestodeterus.Tl1us)tl1epatl1to
awakeningisfilledwit}Iobstacles.
Tl1roughinnumerableeons,wel1avecreatedinfi320

nitekarmicobstacles.Howarewetoridourselvesof

them?Wesboulddedicateourdailypracticetoour
karmiccreditors,tosbareourmeritswitl1tlIemBy

passingmeritsontothem,wewillachievefullvirtue
Whatdowewant?Nothing.Ifwedonotcommitto
thisvow,itwillbedifficultfOrustoachieveawaken-

ingwithoutencounteringkarmicobstacles.
Mostpeopledislikethosewl1oaredifferent
fromthem.

MostofusprefertbosewhoarelikeusForinstancethosewhopracticeBuddbismfeelcloserto
practitionersthantoothers.Tl1isisespeciallynoticeablewithinafamilyIfourparentsandsiblingsarenot
practitionersandwearetheonlyvegetarians,then
tlIerewillbeconflictsSince>thisisactuallyourown
fault)weneedtodeterminewhatwearedoingwrong.
Whywouldotl1erfamilymembersdisapproveofus
practicingBuddl1ism?Sometimes,wlIenfellowBuddhistsvisitus,wemayseemclosertotl1emthantoour
families.Wemigbtappearl1appierwithtl1emthan
witl1ourownmotherswhouponseeingtl1iscould
understandablybecomeunhappy.TherefOre,we
sl1ouldloveandcarefOrourfamiliesintl1esameway
thatwedootl1erpractitioners.Tl1enourfamilieswill
notopposeourpracticingBuddbism.Tl1erearemany
caseswherefamilyconflictshavearisenwl1enonly
onememberpracticedOften,tbatonememberdid
notconsiderhisorherbehavioranddidnotseewlIat
32l

wastl1ecauseoftbediscontentOnlywhenweare
objectivecanweseetheproblem
Whenotl1erpractitionerscometovisitus,we

shouldshowevenmorerespecttoourparentssotbat
ourfamilieswillfeelbetter.Intl1iswaytheywillno
longerobjecttoourpractice.Theymightevencometo
likeitandencouragefriendsandrelativestofOllow
suit.TherefOre,wheninteractingwitbfamilymembers,weslIouldnotuseverbaleducation,butlearn
fTomEmperorShunandusebel1avioraleducationto
setgoodexamples.Then,astl1eyseetl1egoodresults
hompracticingBuddhism,t}1eywillautomatically
helpustoadvocateit
Therearealwaysmorebadpeoplearound
tlIangoodpeople;so,thosewl1oaregoodoftenhavedifficultystandingont}Ieirown

Immoralpeopleareinthemajorityandl1avemore
powerthantl1osewhoarehonestBecauseoftl1is,
decentpeopleoftenhaveproblemsstandingontheir
own.ItbecomesmoredifficultfOrtlIemtobegood
becauseotl1erswillusetheirpowertocreateobstacles
EversincetbeBuddha,theabovesituationl1asoc-

curredfOreacl1succeedinggenerationofBuddhists
AnexampleisMasterHuineng.Afterhehadattained

enlightenment,hewentintobidingwithagroupof
buntersfOrfifteenyears.Why?Becauseofthejealousyandobstaclesheencountered
Ethicalpeopleoftenlacktheopportunitiestolearn
322

andareimpededbytl1osewl1oareimmoral.Tl1isis
wl]ysometimesethicalpeoplewhoaretryingtostand
ontbeirownmaynotgettheopportunitytopractice

goodnessasmuchastheywishtoWl1iletl1eymaybe
abletolKeeptbemselvesunpollutedandpure,tbeylack
tl1estrengthtohelpotlIers.Ifwewanttbemtobeable
tocreategoodnessfortheentireworldthentl1oseof
uswl1opossesswisdom>goodfOrtune,andvirtues
mustdoourbesttobelpt}1em.

Goodpeoplehaveabilitiesandvirtuesthat
enabletl1emtobecomefamous.Theyusually
paylittleattentiontotbeirappearance.Tl1ey
caneasilybewronglyaccused,sostrivingto
dogoodturnsouttobeacl1allenge.Wl1en
thishappens,itisentirelyuptovirtuous
peopleandelderstoprotectandhelptl1ose
wl1oaremoraltostandontl1eirown.They
candothisbyprovidingwhattl1epeople
needtopracticegoodness.Tl1emeritsofthe
virtuouspeopleandelderswbodotbiswill
begreat
Thosewhohaveunusuallygoodabilitiesandvirtues
usuallyachievefame.Locally,tl1eyarewelllmown
Theirlivesareeasyandtheypaylittleheedtodetails,
andtbisunfOrtunatelyoftenoffendsothers.Whenwe
practiceBuddhismwemustbeextremelyrespectfUlto
tlIeBuddlIa,tlIeDharmaandtheSangha.However,
weneednotbeoverlyconcernedwitlIinconsequential
323

mattersfOrtodosowillinterferewitlIourpractice.
Weshouldfeelandshowrespect;butifweseeothers
whoaredisrespectfUl,weshouldnotmindtlIem.In
ourpracticeweneedtobelievethat((tlIepureheart
willgiverisetothepureland)>Nightandday,always
remembertochant(<AmituofO/)Everytl1ingelseis
immaterial.

Neitl1ers}IouldweattachtofOrmalitiesinourpractice.Forexample,tbosewboareolderandlessagile
donotneedtokneelwhenrecitingasutraToseeka
bondbetweenBuddhaAmitabhaandourselvesisof

theutmostimportanceWecancontinueourpractice
evenwhenlyingdownTheweakoragedcanusethe
mostcomfOrtablepositionwhileclIanting(<AmituofO
orrecitingthesutra,beitlmeeling,sitting,orwallKing.
Ifweak,wecanliedownandlistentothesutraona

tapeLyinginbedlisteningtotbesutraorchanting
<(Amituofo),canachievethesamemeritsaswhenwe

aresittingorwalkingBut,itisnotgoodtocbant
aloudwbilelyingdownbecauseitisharmfUltoour
bealth

MabayanaBuddhismisHexibleandwithoutmany
restrictions.So,wbatarealltheritualsandrulesfOr?

TheyareusedasbelIavioraleducationtobelpothers
feelrespectandtomotivatetheirwisbtopractice
Buddl1ismTl1eravadaBuddhism,ontl1eotl1erl1and,

emphasizesself-discipline
Exceptionallytalentedpeoplearenotbotheredby
minordetails,andconsequentlycaneasilyoffend
3Z4

othersandcausegossipTherefOre)strivingtodogood
turnsouttobeachallengebecausegoodpeopleoften
sufferfromaccusationsandslander.Whenthisl1appens,thosewhoaretryingtobegoodmustdependon
virtuouspeopleorelderswithwisdomandvirtueto
helptlIemovercometheirdifficultiessotl1attheycan
contributetosociety.Virtuouspeopleandelderswill
achievethegreatestmeritsbecausetheyarenothelpingjustanindividualbutallofsociety,sothateveryonemayenjoytlIesamegoodfOrtune.Thisistrulya
greatmerit

Ifweareabletoencourage)nurture,andhelpa
DharmamastersotlIatheorshecanteacbBuddhism

toothers,tl1emeritswouldbeincomparable.However,

manypeopledonotlmowthisTheybelievethatif
theydonatemoneytorestoreatemple>themerits
wouldbegreater.Actually>suchmeritsarelimitedIn
fact,sometimeswemayhaveevencommittedabad
deedinspiteofourgoodintentions.TherefOre,onlyin
nurturingtalentedpeopledowetrulyachievegreat
merit.Onlywithtl1esemasterscanweguaranteethe
propagationoftl1eteachingssotl>atBuddl1ismwill
remaininourworld

ItisextremelydifficulttoencourageandhelptalentedteacbersofBuddhism.Tl1eymustseekself
enlightenmentaswellashelpotherstoachieve
enliglItenment.Theirmindsmustbepurenondiscriminatory,andvoidofselfislItlIougl1ts.Tl1eseare
thenecessaryqualitiesfOrsomeonetoteachBud3Z5

dhism.IfweencountersuchatrueBuddhistsucces-

sorwesl1oulddoourutmosttohelpl1imorl1erOnce
thispersonisaccomplisl1edandabletocontribute
greatlytoBuddl1ism,themeritswehaveachievedin
helpingwillbeequaltohisorberown
WhyaretheresofewBuddbistteachers?TlIeopportunitytoteacl1otl1ersmaynothaveyetpresented
itselfOrtheindividualsmaynotbesincerelydedicatedtopropagatingt}IeteachingstolIelpallbeings.
Tl1eirvowslackconvictionandtheircharactersare

HawedAndoftenlaypeopleliketoHatterandlistento
oldermasters,anddonotgotolistentonewerones.
Tl1iscancausetl1enewermasterstobecomediscour-

agedsothattlIeymigbtturntoconductingceremonies.Tl1isl1appensbecausetbelaypeopledidnot
fulItbeirresponsibilitiesinprovidingproperopportunitiesTherefOre,whennewermastersvowtolec-

tureontl1esutras,wesbouldgoandlistenifwlIatthey
teacl1isaccurate.

However,iftheirteachingsareinaccurate,we
shouldnotlisten.Wbentheyseetbis,tlIeycanreHect
andcorrecttheirfaults.Oncetl1eyl1avedoneso,we
cantl1enlistenandencouragethemtopropagatetbe
teacl1ings.Thisistheproperwaytopraisenewermastersandencouragethemintheirvowstopursue

enlightenment.Weneedtoprovideasuitablelearning
env1ronmentfOrtbem.Tl1evalueoftlIismeritis

boundlessbecauseitcanextendthelifeofBuddl1ism

326

Whatdoes<persuadingotlIerstopractice
))

kindnessmean?Asl1umans,weallwantto

begoodandtohaveaconscience)butchasingafterwealthandfamebaskeptusso
busythatwe}Iavestoppedlisteningtoour
consciences.Tl1isistheresultofhavingto
surviveinaworldfilledwitbbardships.

Wl1enafiendisabouttoignorehisorher
consciencetodosomethingunworthy,we
canremindandwarnthisfiFiend,l1opingto
wakebimorheromdelusionItislike

wakingupsomeonewhentheyarel1avinga
nightmare.Itisuptoustoshaketheminto
realityWl1enapersonisundergoingalong
spellofdepression)wecanpulltl1isperson
outofitandl1elptoclear}1isorl1ermind
Wearemostvirtuousifwecantreatour

fiiendswithsuchkindness

VirtuallyeveryonewouldprefertobegoodEven
theworstpersonwillusuallysaythatheorshewould
lilKetopracticegoodnessFromtlIis)wecanconclude
thatagoodheartandbelIavioristl>etruenatureof
lIumanity.BuddhismteaclIesustlIattl1isisavirtueof

ourtruenatureIfthisisthecase,wbydopeople
resorttoimmoralconduct?TWoreasonsFirstpeople
commitbaddeedsbecauseoftheirafflictionsandbad

babits.Second,theydosobecauseofbadconditions.
Wl1iletl1eyarecommittingbaddeeds,mostareboth327

eredbytbeirconscience>unfOrtunately)theydonot
baveanygoodiendstobelpthemtorefOrmandso
theybecomemoredeludedandconfused

AsLiaofansaid)althoughwewanttopracticegoodness,thenecessityofsurvivinginaworldfilledwith
hardshipscanresultinourfOrgettingtodoso.Wbile
tryingtomakealivingwedomanytl]ingstomaintain
acertainstandardoflivingfOrourfamiliesandto
furtherourcareers.Thust}IeenVronmenttlIatwe

liveinstronglyinfluencesourbehavior.Thiscould
becomedisastrousinourimmoralsociety.
Forexample,manypeopleliketogamble.Tl1eirobsessionwillharmthemselves,theirfamilies,andsocietyTl1isdangeroustrendisslowlyaffectingtl1eentire
worldDuetothemedia>sinfluencesuchnegative
influenceskeepspreadinguntiltheyreaclIthefartlIest
cornersoftl1eworldcausingmuclIdamage.Tl]us,
whenweseeourfriendsorrelativesintrouble,we
shoulddoourbesttohelpthemseereasonandtolead
themawayfrombadinHuencesWecanencourage
tbemtobeginbyreadingLoJblbJrLessonsbe
causetheprinciplesintlIisbookarealltrue.
Sometimes>wemayfinditquiteeasytomake
moneyinthestockmarketBut>thewealthwegained
fiFomtradingstockswasdestinedtobeours.Ifour
destiniesdonotincludewealth,tbenthemoneywill
soonbegone.Intermsofl1andlingmoney,ifwecaITy
itwithusweareafraidofbeingrobbedIfwedeposit
itinthebank,allwecandoislookatit.Whatisthe
328

differencebetweenourmoneyvs.others)moneydepositedinabank?WhenwethinkaboutitwewilI
realizethatwealtbonlyincreasesourgreed,angerand
arrogance

Alltl1atweneedisenoughfOod,adequateclothing,
andasafeplacetoliveWoulditnotbebetterifwe
weretouseourgoodfOrtunealittleatatimerather
thanexlIaustitallatonce?Ifourfamilymembersor
fTiendstrytoobtainwealthtbroughimpropermeans,
weneedtousereasontobelpthemrealizethatsuch
met}1odsareimproperandthatwesl1ouldnotengage
inspeculationoradoptimproperwaystoobtain
wealthTl1isistbeproperpathfOritcanlastalong
time

Wemusthelpotherswithwbatismostbeneficialto
themInbelpingotherstolearnandtoattainawakening,Budd}]ismisaccommodatingandskillfulsoothers
arehappytolistenandopentoacceptingwhatwesay.
Inthisway>wewillbeabletolIelpot}Iersunderstand
l1owtheycanrefOrmandbeledawayomconfUsion.
WlIentl1eysuddenlybecomevigilantitwillbesimilar

toawakeninginBuddhismThisislikeeliminatingthe
rootsofallafflictionsAllthatremainsisasenseof

serenityandeedomThisiswisdom.

AscholarnamedHanyuoncesaid:(Byword
ofmouth)onecanonlypersuadeandinfluenceothersfOrawhile.Ifonecanpersuade
andinfluenceothersthroughwrittenworks
329

oneIswordscanbepassedonfOrhundreds
ofgenerationsaroundtheworld>)Depending
onwhatisappropriateinthecircumstances,
wecanuseeitherspeakingorwriting.

ThisillustratestheHexibleandeedientmetl1odof
teaching.Wbenweelaintheprinciplesandadvise
othersinordertohelpthemtoawaken,wedoitby
wordofmoutl1butthisonlybenefitstl1eminthis
lifetime.Ifwewishtoguidemanyothersaswellas
futuregenerations,thenthebestwaywouldbe
tbroughwriting.Byrecordingourgoodwordsand
deeds,wecanpassthesedownfOrfUturegenerations.
ThiswillensuretlIepreservationofthesegoodwords.
Anexampleoftl1isisLmonbrLessoJs.Liaofanisobjectiveinwritingthebookwastoalerthisson
tothedangersofcommittingbaddeeds.LiaofanlIad
notintendedthesefOurlessonstobewidelyreadfOr
manygenerationsandsohelIasunintentionallyperfOrmedagreatdeedofgoodness.Manypeoplewl1o
fOllowedhisteachingshavesucceededinchanging
theirdestiniesfTomthatofsufferingtol1appiness,
tl1usbenefitinggreatlyfromLiaofan)swrittenwords.
Tl1istl1involumeisaprimeexampleofteachingpeo-

pletobegoodHeusedhisownlifeasanexamplefOr
hisdescendantshopingthattheywouldunderstand
andlearntopracticegoodnessThisisthemosteffective,profOund,andall-encompassinggoodness.
Wemaytbinktl1atweareunqualifiedtowritebut
330

thisisnotso-weareallqualifiedIfwecanjustrecordoneortwooccurrencestl1atwehearorseeeach

daytheoutcomewouldbelilKethelessonsinthiS

bookWecanseethatpersuadingpeoplebyspeech
andpersuadinggenerationsbywritingarenotdifficult
aslongasourbeartsaresincereandourdeterminationunshakable.

Toencouragevirtue,wecanpersuadeothers
throughspeechorwriting.Comparedwith
teaclIingothersthrougbbelIavior,speecb
andwritingaremoredirectandclearSometimes,wedonothavetimetoteachothers

throughbehavior.Thenverbalorwritten
educationwillbemoreeffective.Furtl1er-

more,ifwecanapplyitliketherigl1tmedicinefOranillness,oftenitwillprovetobave
wonderfuleffects.TherefOrewecannotgive
uP

Wesl1ouldinteractwiththosewhomwearetrying
tolIelpanduseouractionsasexamplestoinspire
otbers,similartowhatEmperorShundidwiththe
fishermen

InBuddhism,theFourEmbracingMethodsare
usedtoguideandinHuenceallsentientbeings.The

firstmethodisgivingunsparinglytoestablishagood
affinityandamicabilitywithothers.Oncewebave
honestlyearnedtheconfidenceofothers)tl1enw}Iat
wesayordowillcreateapositiveeffectonthemand
33l

theywillbemoreopentowhatwesayanddo.
ThesecondmethodistousekindwordsThisdoes

notmeanweuseHatteryorpersuasivewordstosway
others.KindwordsmeanstoactwithHexibilitywith
otl1ersandtomakethemfeelcomfOrtable.Asex-

plainedbyMasterZbongfengearlierintl1islesson,
whenourmotivationcomesomlovingkindnessfOr
otlIers,thenevenifwescoldorpunisbthemfOrtheir
owngood,itwouldbeanactofldndness.
ButwlIenwearescolding)weshouldtakeintoconsiderationtlIeirabilitytowithstandandacceptthe
reproachIftheyrejectitbecauseitisoverdone>then
ourwordswillhaveanegativeeffect.TherefOre,when
wespeaktoothersoftheirfaults,wesl1ouldmakesure
thatnooneelseispresentsothattl1eywillnotfeel
embarrassedorbeantagonizedThisisanexampleof
beingflexibleandhelpingtlIepersonfeelcomfOrtable.
Thethirdmetl1odisbeneficialaction.Tbismeans

thatourwordsandactionsmusttrulybetol1elpotlIers.Tl1efOurtl1andIastmetl1odiscomradeshipand
cooperation,wbicbmeansthatweparticipatein
properactivitieswitl1othersandguidetl1embybeing
goodexamples
Whentl1eBuddhasguidesentientbeings,theyprimarilyfOllowtl1esefOurmethods.Wbenweencourage
otherstobegood)weareusingverbaleducation.
WlIenwejoinotherstoteaclIthemkindnessweare
usingbel1avioraleducation

332

))

Ifwemaketbemistakeof(<losingaperson
<itwasproperfOrustoguidethispersonbut
wedidnot>or(<wastingourwords><itwas
improperfOrustopersuadethispersonbut
wetriedto>weneedtotbinkandfindthe

wisdomnottorepeattbemistake
Whenweareabletoadvisesomeonebutdonot,we

havelostanopportunitytoteachIfapersonlIastlIe
potentialtopracticegoodnessbutwedonotleadbim
orhertotherightpath,tbenwehavelostthatperson
Ontheotherband,ifsomeoneisinflexibleandwill

notlistentousbutwepersistintryingtoconvmce
himorherthenwelIavewastedourwords.When

interactingwithothers,weshouldlearntouseour

commonsensetoobservehowtheyarereacting.This
willpreventusomlosingapersonorwastingour
wordsAsMasterHuinengsaidintl1efkbImStJZrH,
wbenotbersarewillingtolistenandaccept,weteach
tbembutwhentheyarenot>wesimplyputourpalms
togetberandwishthembappiness.

Wbatdoes<(belpingthoseindesperateneed
mean?PeopleoftensufferfTomseriousdifficulties.Ifwemeetsomeoneliketl1is,tl1en
weimmediatelyhelptlIatpersonasifwe

weretheonewhowassuffering.Ifaperson
hasbeenwronglyaccusedorconvicted,then
weshouldpleadontheirbel1alfaswellas
helpinanywaywecanTbescholarMr.Cui
333

oncesaid:<Itdoesnotmatterwbetl1erafa-

vorisbigorsmallWhatisimportantistlIat
itisdoneatatimewhenotlIersneedit

most.)>Thesearewordsofloving-kindness

EveryoneisboundtoencountermisfOrtuneduring
bisorberlife.65Wearenowlivinginarelatively
peacefulworld;however,willwealwaysen}oysucl1
peace?IfwelookrealisticallyattlIewaywearecurrentlyheaded,thefUturelooksbleakItwouldbemost
unfOrtunateifthehardsbipsweretooccurduringour
middleyearsoroldage.TherefOre,whenwemeet
otlIerswhoaresufferingweshouldtreatthemasifwe
weresufferingthesamehardshipsandquicklydo
everythingwecantohelpThisisthegivingoffearlessness.

Wl1enothersareoppressedorwronged)wemust
helpthembypleadingontheirbehalf,anddowl1ateverwecantoprovetheirinnocence.Wl1entl1ey
sufferfromcontinuoushardshipsandweareunableto

helptbembyourselves>wemustinfOrmothersand
enlisttheirassistance.TlIescbolarMr.Cuisaidthatit

isnotimportantwhetherweareabletohelpagreat
dealorjustalittle;whatisimportantisthatwelIelp
whenothersneedourhelpthemost.Howeverwl1ile
weshouldprovideassistanceinanemergencypoverty
isadifferentissue.Thebestwaytoassistthosein

povertyistohelptlIemlearnwaystoearnaliVngso
thattl1eycansupportthemselvesandbecomeinde334

pendentT}Iisistbegreatestactofkindness

Wbatdoes<<developingpublicpmjectsfOr
thebenefitofothers))mean?Smallconstruc-

tionprOjectsareneededfOrvillagesandbig
constructionjobsareneededforcities.As
longastheyhelppeople,theyshouldbe
built.

Onasmallscale,wecanbenefitavillageOnalargerscale)wecanbenefitacityoracounty.Today,tbis
islmownassocialwelfareEverycitizen,everygoverningbodywoulddowelltoconsiderittheirresponsibilitytodogooddeedstohelpeveryone
WeshoulddoanythingthatbenefitsthelocalcommunityOnlywheneveryonehasgoodfortunedowe
l1aveitaswellIfwealoneen}oygoodfOrtunewhile
othersaresuffering,tbenadversityisnotfarbe}Iind
AsaC}1ineseproverbsays)onefamily>swealthcan
causeresentmentfromtbousandsoffamilies.Ifwe

shareourgoodfOrtunewithothers,itwillbelpto
createastablesocietyandapeacefi1lworldTbiswill
tbenbecometruegoodfOrtuneWhenweshareour
goodfOrtunewithothers,itisasignofgreatwisdom,
goodfOrtune,andvirtue.Today,whenwespeakof
<ldevelopingpublicpmjectsfOrthebenefitofothers/
wecandosobyencouragingotherstopracticethe
teacbingsinLohfbrLessonsandtheteaclings
ofBuddhism.

335

PublicprOjectscanbetheconstructionof
systemstoirrigatefarmlands,damstopreventfloodingorbridgestofacilitatetravel.
Also,wecangivefOodorwatertothosewho
arehungryorthirsty.WlIeneverwel1avethe
opportunity,weneedtoinspireotherstodo
theirshareasweIltohelpaccomplisl1tlIe
prOject,eitherthroughtlIesharingofwealth
oroflaborDonotbeafraidofwhatotbers

mightsayorbecomediscouragedwhent}]e
jobbecomesdifficultDonotallowthejealousyandhatredofot}Ierstoweakenourresolvetodowhatisvirtuous.

IntlIepast)agriculturewasthefOundationofevery
countryandso,theconstructionofirrigationsystems
wasofparamountimportance.Damswerealsonecessaryinordertopreventflooding.Theseconstruction
prOjectswerenotbuilttobenefitoneself,butwerefOr
thebenefitofeveryone.TherefOre)evenwl1enobstaclesoccurredduringthecourseofconstruction,tbey
werenotal>owedtodeterthecompletionofafulland
absolutegooddeed

Theremaybeoppositionatthebeginningofsucl1a
prOjectbutonceitisfinishedandeveryonel1asbenefitedtheywillknowitsvalueandappreciatetheef
fOrtsputin.Thusourvisionmustbepervasiveand
comprehensive.WeneedtolIavewisdom,lovingkindness,andperseveranceinordertoaccomplisb
336

goodness)thestandardofwbicbistobenefitallsentientbeingsTobeselfisbandbenefitonlyourselvesis
notgoodnessTbiswasMasterZhongfeng>sstandard
fOrgoodandbad

W}Iatdoes<(accumulatingmerits andgood
fOrtunebygivingwealth}}mean? InBuddbism,givingisconsideredthe foremost
practiceamongallthemethods.

ThisisthewaytopracticefOrgoodfOrtuneInBudd}Iism>tbereareinfinitewaystopracticeForthesake
ofsimplicity,Buddhismhasorganizedt}]eseinfinite
waysintosixmajorpracticescalledtheSixParamitas
TheBuddhaoftentaugbtt}IeSixParamitasofinfinite
practices.Ifwesummarizethem,allsixbecomethe
firstParamita:thatofgivingKeepingtl1eperceptsor
moralselfdiscipline,andpatiencecanbothbeconsideredthegivingoffearlessnessDiligence,deepconcentration,andwisdomcanbeconsideredthegiving

ofteaching.Thus,thethreetypesofgivingencompass
allthemetlIodsofpracticeinBuddhism.
NomatterhowmanyotherwaystlIerearetheyare
allencompassedingivingIntheDmoIdStJZrH,tlIe
Buddl1ataugl1tusnottobeattachedinourpracticeof
giving.Tl1isistl1eultimateperfectguidelinefOralltbe
waysofpractice

TherefOre)togiveistopracticegoodfOrtune.TlIis
istlIepracticeofBodhisattvas.Sincetl1eSixParamitasaretlIewaystopracticegoodfOrtune,wisdomisa
337

partofgoodfOrtuneWhenwepracticetlIegivingof
teacl1ingwewillgainintelligenceandwisdom,wl1iclI
isconsideredgoodfOrtuneWhenwepracticethe
givingoffearlessness,wewillgainhealthy,longlives.
Whenwepracticethegivingofwealtb,wewillgain
wealthTbeChinesespeakoftheseastheFiveGood
Fortunesofwealthandprestige,longevity,meritsand
virtues>happinessandnoadversities,andagood
deathAgooddeathisgoodfOrtunebecauseitcanin
turnleadintoagoodrebirthAndthebestdeatlIisto
diewhileclIantingaBuddhaIsnametobereborninto
thePureLand:Duringmylifetime)Ihaveseenmany
instanceswlIerethishashappened
Ifwewisbtoattainperfecthappinessinthisworld,
wewillnotgowrongifwepracticeaccordingtotl1e
teachingsinthisbookIfwewishtoattainperfect
bappinessbeyondthisworld,tbenweonlyneedto
practiceaccordingtotbemrLZbStJZIH.Andifwe
leadourlivesaccordingtotheguidelinesofbotbtbe
hHnjLbSmrHandLiobfbmLessonswewill

attainthegreatliberationinboththisworldandbeyondThus,weareencouragedlIeretopracticegood
fOrtunethroughgiving
Whatisgiving?Civingislettinggo.Awise
personwlIounderstandsthisprinciplewould
bewillingtogiveawayeverytbing,evento
tl1epointoflettinggoofourattachmentsto
tl1esixsenseorganswit}Iin.Externally,we
338

canalsogiveawaytl1atwhichweseehear,
smell,tastetouclI,andthink

Togiveistoletgo,togiveaway.Themorewegive>
thefreerwewillbecome.<Awisepersonwl1ounderstandst}1isprinciple,)issomeonewhohastruewIsdom,likeaBodhisattva.Whenwespeakoflettinggo
ofthesixsenseorgansandtheSixDusts,wearenot
talldngaboutlettinggophysically.Howcanwedetach
ourselvesfTomourphysicalbody?Evenifweareable
todiscardourbody,itwillstillnotsolveourproblems.
TherefOre,wlIenwespeakoflettinggooftlIesix
senseorgans,wemeantodetachourselvesfromthe
aspectofourmindT}Iismeansthatwedonothave
anyattaclImentsordiscriminationsandarenot
temptedbyexternalpbenomena.Welearninthe
DjmoIdStJm,DonotattacbtofOrm-remainun-

movedwithin.>Notattachingmeanslettinggoofthe
sIsenses.Oncewehaveseveredourattacl1ments

withinandwit}Iout)wewillnolongerbedeludedbut
willhaveuncoveredourtruenatureandbecomeBuddhas.

IninnumerablepastlifetimeswelIavebeendeludedandthusremainedmiredinsamsaraBut,fTom

nowonwewillnotcreateanymorelife-and-death
karmaTlIerefOre,thosewhoarewIsewillwantto
transcendourworldofsuffering>tobemindfUlof
BuddhaAmitabha)andtoberebornintotl1eWestern

PureLandWewillmaintainclarityofmindandawait
339

BuddhaAmitabhatoescortustothePureLandwlIile

wearealive,notdeadIfwecangotothePureLand
afterwedie,thenitmeansthattbetranscendence

ceremonyreallyworksActually,transcendingthe
spiritfTomsufferingonlyhasalimitedeffect.Wecan
onlyreducesuffering,nottranscendaspiritintotl]e
PureLand

Forexample,MasterBaozhiwastlIemanifestation
ofAvaloldteshvaraBodbisattvaHetranscendedtbe

spiritofEmperorLiangWudisfavoritewife.ButlIe
couldonlytranscendlIerspirittothesecondlevelof
theDesireHeavenandnofurther.Hecouldnothelp
hertoberebornintothePureLandAlthoughwe
wisbthatwecouldtranscendotherstoPureLand,it

cannotbedoneItisonlyawishBeingreborninto
thePureLanddependsonourbelief,vow,andpractice.So,wemustdoourbesttolearntbewaysof
practicewbilewearestilll1ealthyandstrong,cbant
AmituofO,andvowtoberebornintothePureLand

ToletgoistodosofromthemindItistodetacl1
ourselvesomtheFiveDesiresandtIeSixDustsof
themindWeslIouldlearntonothaveattachmentsto

ourbodiesorourmindsAsordinarypeople,weare
filledwitbwandering)discriminatorythoughtsand
attachments,andfinditextremelydifficulttosever
tbem.TbePureLandwayofpracticeistoclIangeour
thinkingsothatwearemindfUlonlyofBuddl1aAmitabha.ThenwewillfinallybefreeTrulycultivating
theBodl1isattvawayisconcentratingonlyonBuddha
340

Amitab}]aandcl1antingonlyhisname.
WecangiveawayanythingWhenwefind
ourselvesunabletodosowecanbeginwith

thegivingofwealthOrdinarypeopleregard
theirclotlIingandfoodasdearlyastlIeir
lives;t}IerefOre,tlIeyconsiderwealthtobeof
theutmostimportance.WhenwegivespontaneouslywecancurestinginesswhilehelpingothersindireneedHoweverfOrmany
thisisverydifficulttodo)especiallyatfirst.
But,graduallytbemorewegivetlIemore
naturalitwillbecome.Thisistl]ebestway
tocureselfis}mess,andtoeradicateattacb-

mentsandstinginess
TlIeDmomfStJnHtellsus:EverytlIingwitbfOrm
isillusoryandfalse.>Thisteachesustogive,toletgo
andbefTeeofworriesandattacl]ments.Ifwefindit

difficulttodothis,thenweneedtobeginbygiving
awayourwealthsothatwearenotaffectedbyit.
ThisisalsotlIemetlIodthattl]eBuddhataughtus
toenableustoescapet}Iecycleofbirthanddeath>to
transcendsamsara,andtotransfOrmourselvesfTom

ordinarypeopletosages.Itisalwaysalittledifficult

whenwefirstlearntogive)soweoftendosogrudginglyandmayfeelupsetandperhapsevenregretwhat
wehavedone.Thisiswbenweneedtouseourwis-

domandbedeterminedtograduallymakegivinga
habituntilitbecomesnaturalEveryonewilleeri34l

encesuchastageinhisorherlearningandcultivation.

Aswegive,wewilleventuallyexperiencealesseninginworriesandstinginess>andwhenwenolonger
attachtowealthoren>oyments>ourbodies,hearts,and
mindswillfeelgreatcontentmentandliberation.This
iswhenourtruenaturewillbegintobeuncoveredand
wewillgaincompletecontentmentandfreedom.
Thelawofcausalityneverchanges,eitherintl1is
worldorbeyond;tbemorewealthwegive,themore
wealthwewillgain.WedonotevenlmowwlIerethis
wealthwillcomeom,butitwillcome.Themore

teachingwegive)themorewisdomwewillgain,sowe
donotwanttowithboldanyofourwealthorlmowledgePovertyistheresultofnotgivingwealthIgnoranceistheresultofnotgivingteaching,andillness
andshortlivesaretheresultofnotgivingfearlessness.
ThePiveCoodFortunesareallgainedthroughthe
causeofgiving;tberefOre,togaintlIegoodresult,we
mustpracticethegoodcauseItisawandering
thoughttotlIinktbatwecangaintheresultwitl1out
firstplantingthecauseThisisimpossible.

Whatdoes<<protectingproperteaclIings)}
mean?Formillionsofyears,properteacl]ingshavebeenastandardoftruthandprovidedspiritualguidancefOralllivingbeings.
WitlIoutproperteachings)howcanweparticipateinandsupportthenurturingof
34Z

heavenandeartl>?Withoutproperteachings
l1owcanwehelppeopletosucceedintheir
practice?Howcanbeingsinalltherealms
succeedintl1eirendeavorswithoutastan-

dardtoliveby?HowcanwebefTeeofthe
FiveDesirestheSixDusts>ourdelusions,

ouraffIictions?Withoutproperteachings,
howcanwesetastandardintheworldand

l1elppeopletranscendsamsara?
ProperteachingsarethepersonalaclIievementsof
w1sesagestl1athavebeenprovenbyusingthestandardsoftruthandwisdom>suchasthosefoundinthe

greatteachingsofConfilciusandBuddhaShakyamuni.Thisillustrateshowimportantitistoprotect
theproperteachings
InChina,wbenweprotecttlIeproperteachingswe
firstsafeguardthoseofConfUcius,Mencius,Laozi,
andZl1uangzi,66fOrtlIeyprovidethefOundationfOr
Buddhism.Tl1iswasnoproblemduringLiaofanistime
becauseallscholarsstudiedtheworkofConfUciusBy
learningthefbrBookB,tl1efVBCssisandthe
variousschoolsoftlIoughtthatweredevelopedover
tl1ecenturies,everyonehadagoodfOundationin
ConfUcianism

WeneedtounderstandthistoseewhyBuddbismis
currentlyundergoingdifficultiesandbasdeclinedAs
itistheroot,ConfUcianismtauglItuslIowtoproperly
conductourselvesIfwecannotevenbeagoodper33

son,howcanwebecomeaBodhisattva,mucl1lessa

BuddlIa?Ourlearningandpracticetobecome
Buddl1asandBodhisattvasarebuiltonthefundation
oftl1el1umanities.

Althougbwemaynothavereadcompletelyt}Ie
fbrBoowhichareGarLeanDoneof
eMbaAnacandIBIcsweslIouldatleast
readtbefirsttlIreesothatwewillknowhowtoconductourselves.TbisistbefOundationofBudd}Iism

Wecancompilegoodexcerpts{Tomtl1ecommentaries
omtl1epasttopresenttimesanddistributetlIem
widely.Intbepast,theversionoftl1ebooksweprinted
wastbestoneprintedbooksofCbina.Theyincluded
thenon-copyrightedcommentaryofthefbrBooH
writtenbythescholarZhuXiItwouldbegoodifwe
printed,distributed,andadvocatedthem67
Today,scboolsempbasizeteclmologyandhave
largelyfOrgottenthehumanities.But,nomatterhow
advancedourtechnology>ifwedonotstudythebumanities,thenastheancientpeoplequestioned,wlIat
isthedifferencebetween}1umansandanimals?Ifwe

donotknowmorality)benevolenceandl1onor,t}1en
therewillbelittledifferencebetweenanimalsandus.

Actually,l1umansaretlIecruelestofalltl1eanimals.
Tl1erefOre,inordertol1elpallbeings,wemustbe
helpedfirst.IfwecanturnbackfromthatwlIicbis
badtodothatwhichisgood,thenallbeingswillbe
fOrtunateandhappy.Onlythen,caneachbeing
achievewhateachwants.Thisisthegoalofthesages
31

andtlIevirtuouspeopleineducatingandrefOrming
sentientbeings.
ProperteacbingsincludethoseofConfUciusand
tbeBuddbaTheyhavebeentheStandardoftruthtl1at
lIasprovidedguidancefOrthousandsofyears.Heaven
andearthhavethemeritsandvirtuesofgivingriseto

andnurturinginfinitethings.Heavengivesriseand
tbeearthnurtures.Heavenandeartbhaveshown

greatldndnesstoallbeings,sentientandnon-sentient.
Onceweunderstandthis,notonlywillwenotharm
tl1enaturalenvironment,wewilldoalltbatwecanto

helpthenaturalecologicalbalancetobecomeperfect
soastoenableallbeingstoreceivewhattlIeyneed.
TlIemeritsofheavenandeartlIarevastandgreat.
Thosewboaregenuinelymoralandlmowledgeable
canparticipateinandsupporttheriseandnurturing
oflIeavenandearthTheworld)swisesages,Buddhas)
andBodhisattvasdojusttbisAsBuddhists,we>earn

thatIfwecantransfOrmobjectsandbeingstlIenwe
arejustlikeaBuddha.))

TotransfOrmobjectsmeanstochangeourv1ews,to
letgoofselfishness)andtoparticipateinthelightof
thesky,earthsun,andmoon.Toletgoofourselfish
nessandtowholeheartedlybelpallbeingsisthetrue
cultivationBuddhasandBodhisattvaspropagatetbe
teachingsandhelpallbeingsbyteachingthemhowto
eliminatedelusionandattaintl1etruthItislike

heavenandeartbnurturingallbeings.Themeritom
thisisimmeasurable.WlIenweareabletotranscend
35

delusionandareliberatedomconfinement,wewill

endallofourafflictionsandworries,uncoverour

wisdom,andtransfOrmdelusionintoawakening.
WecanusetbebehaviorofsagesandvirtuouspeopleasexamplesTl1eteachingsofsagesaretl1eclas-

sicsandsutras.Thethoughts,wordsanddeedsof
sagesarecorrectandwitbouterrorandsurpasstl1e
dimensionsoftimeandspace.Thisiscalled<tl1e
careerofthesagesandvirtuouspeoplefOrguidingtbe
world>)WelmowthatBuddhistsutrassurpasstime

andspace)becausethreethousandyearsagoBuddha
Shalqamuniinstructedandhelpedthepeopleoftl1at
time.Today,aswereadthesutras,westillfeelthat
everysentencespokenbytheBuddhaislogicalandis
tobepracticedaccordingly.ThisisespeciallytruefOr
PureLandsutras,wlIichteachpeoplehowtotranscendthisworldbyattainingrebirthintotl1ePure
Landinonelifetime.

BuddlIismwasinitiallytaughtinIndiaandwasthen
introducedintoChinaIndiaandChinaareverydif
ferent,yetwhattl1eBuddhataughtwasfittingfOrbotl1
countries.Andasitmovestowesternandwesternized

countries,itisstillappropriate

Similarly,tlIefb<IrBookBconsistofthetboughtsof
ConfuciusandMencius,andaretheessenceoftl1e
ChinesecultureConfuciusandMenciuslivedtwenty-

fivehundredyearsago.Theirguidancebenefited
individuals,families,society,andtl1eentirecountry
AsthefbrBoAuareintroducedabroad,peoplein
346

otl1ercountriesnodtheirheadsinagreementafter
understandingwhattheyteachTheseteachingsare
timelessandbeyondtheboundariesofspace.Thisis
whytheteachingsofConfUcius,Mencius,Laozi,and
Zbuangziaresaidtosurpassthedimensionsoftime
andspace,andaregenuinesutrasandteachingson
howtoproperlygovernthecountry.Tberehavebeen
manyteachingsonbowtogovern.UponcarefUlcomparison,wecanseethatthoseofConfUciusMencius,
theBodhisattvas,andBudd}Iasareunsurpassed
AmongalltheBuddbistsutrastheHirBLZbStJ
nHisHawless,foritattainsthehighestlevel.The
essenceoftraditionalChineseculture68iscontained
withinthebJrBoMBThecontentsofthebr

BoMBareverysimilartothatoftlIeAmsaaStJm,
whichprovidesprinciples,methods,andbe}1aviorfOr
ustoemulate.OfthefbIrBooDocheoFe
MbaprovidestheprinciplesandGIarLeaIymg
providesthemetbods.AIacandMbIciJstellusof
thelivesofConfUciusandMenciusrespectively,and
teacl]usbowtoapplytheprinciplesandmethodsin
ourdailylivesThusAnacandMbncinsarejust
likethefifty-threevisitsofSudhana,fOrtheyalso
provideuswithgoodexamples.Andwetooaretobe
goodexamplestohelpguideothers.
Regardingtranscendingtbisworld,actuallythere
arenoboundariesbetweenthisworldandtheone

beyondThedifferencesbetweentbemlieinwhetlIer
wearedeludedorawakenedWl1enawakened,we
347

transcend;but,witlIonetboughtofdelusion)weare
againinthisworldWithanotlIerthoughtofawakening,weagaintranscend

TlIerefOre)wl1eneverweseetemplesmemorials,orpicturesofpastvirtuouspeopleor
sages,orBuddhisttexts,weshouldbere-

spectfUl.Iftheyareinneedofrepairwe
SlIOUldrepairthem.69
Theteacbingsoftl>esagesbaveadirectbearingon
tlIethouglItsofindividuals,trendsinculturalbehavior,theoverallwellbeingofagroup,andsocietal
happinessandpeace.Sinceancienttimes,wIseand
virtuouspeoplelIaveanalogizedtheteachingsoftl1e
sagesastheguidancefOrheavenlybeingsandhumans.
Howdoweprotectandupholdthem?BuddhistcentersareinstitutionsofBuddlIisteducationwl1ile

sclIoolsareinstitutionsofworldlyeducationBoth
needtobeprotectedandsustainedButtoday,sclIools
havelargelyabandonedtheeducationofmoralityand
t}IisiswhywehavesuchunlIappinessandsufferings.
Ifwefailtoawakentothis,ourworldwillbede-

stroyed
AncientChinesesageswerelmowledgeableabout
scienceandtechnologyandyettl>eycbosenotto
continuedevelopmentofsuchlmowledgeWlW?They

fOresawthatintbeend,tec}mologywoulddestroyour
world.So)theycboseinsteadtoconcentrateonthe
humanities,tolIelppeopledevelopwisdom,andto
348

understandandpracticemoralitytolIelppeoPlefully
understandtl1erelationshipbetweenbumans,among
humansandspirits,andamonghumansandnature,
andtobecomeapersonwboisfearlessandindomitableOnlyinthiswaywillindividualseenencetrue
happinessandwellbeingandwillcitizensandcountrieshaveagenuinefUture.Thisisgenuineeducation
Intl1eearlyl9OOs,tlIeChinesegovernmentabolisl1edClIineseclassicseducation.Atthetime,many
w1seandvirtuouspeoplefeltdeepsadnessThebad
seedsthatwereplantedthenarenowbearingfruit.If
evenafterwehavetastedthebadfruitswearestillnot

awakenedthenwearelost.Tbiswayofthinkingcan
destroycountriesandracesTlIeresultofourabolislIingChineseclassicseducationistl1edestructionof
theproperteacl1ings!ForifConfucianandTaoist

teachingscannotbesafeguardedthenMahayana
BuddhismcannotbepropagatedBuddhismhasflourisl1edfOrtwothousandyearsinChinabecauseitwas
basedontl1efOundationofConfucianismandTaoism.

Buttodaywearediggingawaytherootsanddestroying
thefOundationIftl1iscontinues,theteaclIingsofthe
Buddbawillbecomemereemptywords.
Wecanpropagateandpassontheproper
teaclIings>andhelpotherstolearntl1eir
value.IntlIisway)wecanrepayourgratitudetotheBuddha.Weshoulddoourbest

andencourageotherstodosoaswell.
39

Weneedtohelppropagateproperteachingssucl1
astl1oseofConfuciusandtheBuddhaandtoencour-

ageotberstodosoaswellInthiswaywewillbenefit
otbersandrepayourgratitudetotlIeBuddl1a.To
accomplishthis)weneedtodotwothings.First,we
needtol1elptrainDharmarepositorieswhocanproperlypropagatetl1eteacl1ings.Second,weneedto
establishBuddhistcenterstoteachotl1ersandtoallow

tl1emtohaveagoodeducationalenVronmentfOrboth
learningandpracticing.Today)fewpeoplearepropagatingtheDl1arma,soinsteadofrelyingonotlIers,we
needtodothisourselves.

WeestablishaBuddl1istcenterinthel1opeofprovidingtheopportunityfOrmorepeopletoencounter
andlearnBuddl>ism.Today,thebestwaytodothisis
withtelevisionandtl1eInternetastheyl1avethepotentialtobringBuddl>ismintosomanyhomes.We
caninvitecaringteacherstocboosethesutrastbat
willbenefitsocietythemostandletthemtaketurns
lecturing.SinceMal1ayanaBuddhismisbuiltontl1e
fOundationofConfUcianismandTaoismwecan
lecturefirstonthelbrBoo.Nextwelectureon

MalIayanaBuddhism.
Intl1isway)peoplewillbeabletothorougl1lyabsorb
anddigesttl1eteachings;thus,preventingtbemom
becomingmereemptywords.So,ifwetrulywishto
helpBuddhismflourisl1)itwillbehelpfUltolearn
abouttheClIineseclassicssuchastheteachingsof
ConfUcius.WebeginbynurturingDharmareposito350

riesandestablishingBuddhistcenters
Establisl1ingsuchacenterdoesnotmeanspending
alargeamountofmoneyonabuildingtl1atmayresult
inendlesssquabblesandconHictsonceitiscompletedWhenthisl1appenstlIeeffOrtandeenditure
willbecomemeaninglessWeneedtounderstandthat
oncewebegintolearnandpracticeBudd}Iismand
thenattainwisdom,wewillrealizethatwealtlIislikea
puffofsmoke,aHeetingcloud,fornomatterbow
muchwealt}1wehave,itisonlysomethingtosee
Thinkaboutit,isthemoneywekeepinourbome
reallyours?Ifitwere,wewouldbeabletokeepit
insteadofpassingittosomeoneelse.Andyet,wl1en
wereceivemoney,wepassitonItwasoursfOravery
sl1orttime.T}Ius,weshouldnotplacemuchimportanceonwealth

AfellowBuddbisttoldmethatafterhebadmadea

milliondollarsinthestockmarket,heimmediately
lostit.IaskedhimwlWbehadnotlistenedtoLo
nfbJrLessonsLosingsomethingmeansthatwe
werenotsupposedtohaveit,sothereisnoneedto
worry.WeshouldneitlIerbehappywl1enwegain
sometlIingnorunl1appywlIenweloseit.Todosoisa
sadwasteoftime.T}1osewl1ounderstandtl1isand

possesswisdomshouldinsteadusetlIeirprecioustime
tochantaBuddl1a>sname.Weneedtounderstandthe

principles.Ifwearediligentinourpracticeand
propagatetheteachingstohelpothers,wewillgain
infinitemeritsThenalltbeBuddhasandBodhisatt35l

vaswillpraiseus
((

WlIatdoesrespectingourelders)mean?It
istomakeanextraeffOrttobeattentiveto

andrespectfulofparents)oldersiblings
leaders,superiors)elders)andthoseofgreat
virtueandlearning.Whentaldngcareofour
parentsathome,wearetodosogentlywith
lovingheartsandobligingdemeanors.We
slIouldnotraiseourvoicebutmaintaina

peacefUlbearingAswecultivatethesev1rtues,tl1eywillbecomeapartofusandwe
willchangeintoagentle-beartedperson.
Thisistl1ewaywecantouchtl1el1eartsof
heaven

InancientClIina,tlIosewhotauglItyoungcl>ildren
placedgreatimportanceonbasiceducation.They
taughtfilia>piety)respect)andsincerity)fOrtl1eseare
theoutlinesoftheteaclIings.TlIus,thecl1ildistlIe
fatheroftl1emanfOrthecbaracternurturedinour

childboodwillbecomeournaturewl1enwearegrown.
Thisprovidestl1efOundationfOrthenurturingofsages
andvirtuouspeoplewhowillprovidefOramoralsocietyandawiselygovernedcountry.
Sinceancienttimes,thislIasbeentl1eCl1ineseso-

cialtraditionTheChinesesaythateducationisessentialinestablishinganewgovernmenttrainingits
leaders,andgoverningitspeopleIfthebasicquality
ofeducationisnotclearlyrecognizedandimple352

mented,incorrectviewscanbedestroytheentire
culture,country,andevenitspeople!AlltlIegovernmentofficialsinancientChinastudiedtheworksof

wIsesagesandvirtuouspeople.Evenifsomehad
selfishintentions,theirwrongdoingswereprobably
limitedTbeywouldhaveonlybenttherulesonlyso
mucbbefOretheystartedfeelingregretfUlToday
sexualmisconduct,wrongdoings,evencriminalacts
areallviewedasmatteroffact.Wenolongerhavea
sl1amefUlheartorfeelremorsefUl.Wehavelostour

senseofmoralityandourconscienceAndthisis

deeplytroublingbecauseallthatseparatesusom
animalsisagoodbeart.
HopefUllyfel<owBuddbistswillrealizethatsincerityandrespectaretlIegatewaytoandthefOundation
fOrpracticingBuddhism.Sincerityandrespectare
cultivatedwitl1inourfamily.Atl1ome>wearefilialto
ourparentsandrespectfUlofoureldersandsiblings
Accomplishingthiswillenableustobeinaccordance

witbsuperiorsandtobediligentanddependablein
meetingourresponsibilitiesasindividuals,membersof
society,andascitizensAsLiaofansaid,l1abitsbecomeournatureOnceagoodhabitisfOrmed,our
heartswillbegentleandthiswilltoucl1theheartof

lIeaven,fOrwhenwearepeacefUl,kind,andagreeable,
wewillmovetl1ebeingsandspiritsofheavenand
earth

Today,webavefOrgottentl1eetbicalteacbingsof
tl1ehumanrelationsl1ipsandsowearenolongerl1on353

orable.Instead,mostpeoplearemiredingreed,anger
ignorance,andarrogance.Malevolentspirits,beings,
anddemonshavedescended.Why?Ourimproper
thinkinghasfOrmedaconnectionwithtlIemsonaturallyBuddhasandBodhisattvaswillnotcome.Humansl1avealreadybeencommittingwrongdoings,but
nowtlIerearemalevolentspiritsanddemonscreating
chaosaswell!

T}IisiswhyourworldwillhavedisastersofincreasingseverityandfTequencyandwhenthishappens,
theremaybemanydeaths.Onlywhenwepersonally
eeriencethesegraveoccurrenceswillwebeawak
enedfromdelusionandimpropervIews,regretour
wrongdoings,andreturntotbeproperpathItistruly
regrettablethat<small>disasterscannotbringthis
about;itwilltakeamajordisastertoawakenusThis
isunavoidable.

Weneedtostudyhistoryandviewthechaosinthe
worldomahistorianIsviewpointsoastorealizetl1e
sourceofgoodoccurrencesaswellasdisastersThis
willenableustodetecttheoccurrencesofanyeffects
duetothelawofcausalitybeforetheylIappen.Wl1at
arepeoplethinkinganddoingtoday?Knowingthiswe
willlmowthefuture.Theresultsthatwearecurrently
seeingcomefromcausescreateddecadesagoandtl1e
resultsofthecausesthatwearenowrepeatedlycreatingwillbeseenintwotothreedecades.
Previouslytl1eseedstlIatwereplantedmighthave
takensevenoreightdecadestomaturebuttoday,tl1e
354

escalationoftl>esebadcausesisresultinginasborteningofthematurityperiodandanincreaseinmagni-

tude.Thisisborrifying!Goodcauseswillalwaysresult
ingoodconsequencesandbadcauseswillalways
resultinbadconsequences.Theprincipleofcause
andeffectiscorrectandinevitable.

Wbenworldngforoursuperiorsortl1egovernmentweshouldfOllowtherulesandnot
doaswepleasejustbecauseoursuperiorsdo
notlmOwwlIatwearedoing.
BefOreweconvictsomeoneofacrime,re-

gardlessofwhetherthecrimeisseriousor
not,weshouldinvestigatecarefullyandbe
just.Weshouldnotabusepowerorbecruel
becauseoursuperiorsdonotlmowwbatwe
aredoing.WhenwitlIoursupervIsor,we
shouldsbowhimorherthesamerespectas

ifwewerefacingtheheavens<Astheproverbsays,><ThisisthecoITectbebavior
l1andeddownomourancestors.Itl1asan

importantbearingonourhiddenvirtues.
Lookatallthefamilieswhopracticedloyalty
andfilialpietyTheirdescendantsprospered
fOralongtimeandhadbrightfutures.We
canfOllowtheirexampleandpracticewith
caution

Apersonwhocultivatesthevirtuesofloyaltyand
355

filialpietywillhavedescendantstolastfOralongtime,
buttoday,parentsandcl1ildrenaremorelikecompanions`ChildrennolongerrespecttlIeirparentsorfeel
gratitudefrallthattheyhavedoneTbisisdestroying
moralprinciples.ConfUcianismandTaoismteaclIus
thatethicalprinciplesarethenatureofvirtueanda
closeexaminationofBuddhismwillsbowtl1atitisthe

revelationofthevirtuousnature.Sagesandvirtuous
peopledonotexperienceselfis}mess,sot}Ieyhave
revealedtheirvirtuousnature.

ConfUcianismisalsotherevelationofourvirtuous

truenature.Wbenthistruenatureisrevealeditwill
bethesameasthatofConfucius.Itisthesameas

light.WlIenanotlIer)slightsup,minedoesaswell.
OnelightinterminglingwitlIanotlIerlighttobecome
oneistherevelationofthetruenatureThisistrue

greatnessistrulyinconceivable)andistheperfectand
virtuoustruenature

Filialpietyandrespectarethetoolsweusetorevealourvirtuoustruenaturetobecomeenligl1tened
InBuddhism)itissaidtbatthemostimportantrequirementfOruncoveringourtruenatureistogive
risetotl1eBodhimindTbesameistruefOrConfU-

cianismfOritalsoteachesustopracticethesincere
andvirtuousmindWeneedtol1onestlyinteractwith
otlIersandcircumstanceswithfilialty)respect>and
sincerity.Todothingsquietlybyourselvesisthegenuinewaytopracticegoodnessandaccumulatemerits.
AsLiaofansaidfilialpietyandrespecthaveanimpor356

tantbearingonourhiddenvirtues.

Tl1erealityofcausalitycanbewitnessedthrough.
outhistory.Donotthinktbatotherswillnotlmow
whatwethinkordo.Otherpeoplemaynotlmowbut
thebeingsandspiritsofbeavenandeartl1andalltl1e
BuddhasandBodbisattvaswilllmow.

LiaofantoldusearlierthattorefOrmandcoITect

ourfaults,weneedtl1eshamefi1lheart>tl1efearful
lIeart,andthedetermined,courageousl1eart.Tobecomeasage)avirtuouspersonaBodhisattvaora

Buddha,wesimplyneedtotrulygiverisetothese
threeheartstorealizeourgoalsintlIislifetime.
Whatdoes<loVngandcherishingallliving
things))mean?Acompassionateheartmakes
aperson.Apersonseekingthevirtuesofloving-kindnessandcompassioncultivateshis
orl1er}1eartofcompassion.Apersonwl1o
wantstoaccumulatemeritsalsocultivatesa

compassionateheart.

AcompassionateheartcaresfOrallbeingsand
tlIings.Whenweseeanimalssuffering,wenaturally
feelsympatlIyfOrtl1em.DoweaI1avethisl1eartPYes,
everyonedoesIfweshedtearswhilewatchingasad
movietl1isistl1ecompassionatel1eartWeareempatheticevenwbenweknowthattlIemovieisnotreal!

So,itgoeswithoutsayingthatwhenweseerealpeople
oranimalssuffering,wewilltrytohelpthem.
NotonlydohumanbeingspossesstlIeheartof
357

compassion,animalsdotoo.Thisistrulytl1evirtuous
originalnature.Thenatureofanimalsisnodifferent
omoursbutbecausetIeyareevenmoredeeply
deludedtl1anwearetheyhavebeenbornasanimals.
Allt}1ebeingsintl1eTenDharmaRealmssl1aretl1e
sametruenature.TlIisiswhytheBuddl1a,inthe
Mal1ayanasutras,spokeof<<unconditionalgreatcompassionandthekindnessofrealizingthatweareone
entity.>,
ThecompassionateheartistlIeheartofgreatloving-kindnessandistlIerevelationoftlIetruenature.It
iswbatapersoninsearcboftlIevirtuesofcompassion
andtheaccumulationofvirtuesisseeking.ItisbroadeningthehearttoloveandcarefOrotbers,totrulybe
abletoloveallbeingsandobjectsandtodoourbest
tol1elpthem.
ItisstatedintheBooARBs:Inanuary
wl1enmostanimalsbeartheiryoung,females

oftl1especiesarenottobeusedfOrsacrificialpurposes.
))

Inthepast,tl1reeanimalswereusedinma]orsacrificialceremonies:cows,sheep>andpigs.Outofcom-

passionfemaleswerenotusedfOrofferingsthatwere
madeintbespringbecauseifthefemaleanimalwas
pregnanttwoliveswouldhavebeentaken.
Menciusoncesaid:Anhonorableperson

willnotgonearthekitchen.})TlIisistopro358

tectacompassionateheart.

ThepurposeofMenciussayingthisisthesameas
tbatoftl1eBuddhateachingoftlIe<threepuremeats.
Wedonoteatanimalsifwesaworbeardtheldlling)
oriftheanimalwaskilledfOrus.

Itwastl1ecustominIndiatogofToml1ouseto
houseacceptingfoodofferingsandtoeatwhatever
wasprovided:nodiscrimination,attacl1ments,or
preferencesToacceptandeatwhateverisofferedis
truecompassion,accordingwitlIconditions,andnot

seekingaffinities.70
WhentheDharmamasterswereinvitedtoClIina,

theCl1ineseviewedthepracticeofaskingfOrfOodas
begging.Itwouldhavebeeninappropriatetotellthe
masterstogooutandbegforfOod)soinstead,tbey
wereofferedfoodinthepalacesThepracticeofgoing
outtoaskfOrfOodneverreallytookholdinCbina
However)tl1ethreepuremeatsrulewasalwaysobservedw}IenofferingfOodtotheDharmamasters.
EmperorWuoftl1eLiangdynastyinitiallyadvocatedvegetarianismfOrBuddhists.Today)mostCl1inesepractitionerswhethertheyaremonasticsorlaypeoplearevegetariansHoweverthetraditionofBuddl1ismistopracticethethreepuremeatsruleandnot
vegetarianismVegetarianismprotectsnatureaswell
astbecompassionateheart.Itistl1epracticeoflovingldndnessfOrallbeingsandthings.Whenweunderstandthatitisalsothebestandhealtl1iestfOodwe
359

willseethatitisworthoureffOrtstoadvocateits

practice

MenciustaughtusnottogoneartlIekitchen,so
thatwewillnotseeorhearthekillingandwillbe
moreateasewheneating.But,thecompassionate
heartwouldstillbeuneasyItisbesttonoteatthe
fleshoflivingbeings,especiallytodaywbenweoften
}Iearofmeatcontainingtoxinsthatcausestrange
diseases.AncientpeoplesaidtlIatillnessenters
througl1tbemouthMr.LiBingnanoftensighedashe
saidthatpeopleweretakingpoisonatallthreemeals.
Howcanwenotgetsick!
Ouranestorsdidnoteatmeatunderfour

circumstances:iftlIeybeardthekilling,saw

tbekilling,lIadtheanimalkilledorraised
theanimalthemselves.Ifwecannotyetstop

eatingmeat,wecanstillfOllowtl1esefOur
guidelines.Inthisway,wearegraduallyincreasingourcompassion.Wesl1ouldnot
onlyrefrainfromkillinganyanimals,butinsectsaswell)fOrtlIeyarealsolivingcreatures

Manmakessilkfromtbecocoonsofsilkwormsthathavetobeboiledinwaterwithtl1e

silkwormsinside.Wl1enwecultivatetl>eland

fOrfarming,howmanyinsectshavetobe
killed?Weneedtobeawareofthecostin

livesinvolvedinourfOodandclotlIing.Weldll
360

toprovidefOrourselvessotowastefOodand
clothingisasseriousanoffenseaskilling
Thisspeaksoftl1etlIreepuremeatswitl1anadditionalrulethatmonasticsmaynotraiseanimals.To
raiseldll,andeatanimalsistrulyunacceptable.Ifwe
cannotbecomevegetarianwecanpracticetl1etl1ree
puremeatsandtl1efOurcircumstantialmeatsrulesto
cultivatecompassionatehearts
Ourlifespansinthisworldareshort,onlyafew
decadeslong;yet,inordertonurtureourselvesweldll
others.Wearesteepedindebttoallbeings,regardless
ofwhetl1erwel1aveharmedtl1emintentionallyor
unintentionally.Imaginehowmuchnegativekarmawe
bavecreated!ThisiswlIytheBuddhasaid:(Ifnegative
lKarmahadshapeandvolume,theneventheentire
universecouldnotcontainitOnlywhenwerealize
tlIatwel1aveaninconceivableamountofMrmicob

stacleswillwebecomemorecareful.Howcanwebe

responsiblefOralllivingbeingsbetweenheavenand
earth?Donotkill,becareful)anddonotwasteanything.
ModernpeopleadvocateconsumptionbysayIng
tl1atifpeopledonotspendmoneytlIenfactories
wouldcloseandeconomieswouldcollapse.Doyou
believethis?IfMasterZhongfengheardthislIewould
sayNotnecessarily.))Actually)tlIisisincorrectfOr
manycountriesthatpromoteconsumptionandthus
wasteareexperiencingdecliningeconomies
36l

Onlythroughtbriftwillpeopleandourworldbecomewealthy,prosperous,andpeaceful.Ifnoone
savesmoney,l1owcancountriesbecomeprosperous
andstrong,andcitizenslIavestablelives?Whenwe
findourselvesoutofworkandwitl1outsavmgsjwewill
havetodependonthecountryfOrfinancialaidand
tl1usincreaseitsfinancialproblems.Ifl1oweverwe
areintl1el1abitofsav1ng,tbenevenifwebecame
unemployedorsufferadversities>wecanstillmaintain
ourselvesBeingawareoftbis)wewillvalueourresourcesandstrengths.
Howoftenhaveweunlmowinglyharmedor

steppedonalivingcreature?Weshoulddo
ourbesttopreventtl1isfroml1appening
againAnancientgreatpoetoncewrote:
orloveoftl1emice,weoftenleavethem

somenceandinpityingthemotlI)wewill
notlightthelamp))Thisiscompassion!
Today,mostpeoplewouldstronglydisagreewitl1
this.Howcanwe<(lovemice))?T}1eyarel1armfultous
andmustbeexterminatedMostpeopledonotunder-

stand.Whenwekillmice,tlIeywillseekrevengeand

tl1iscycleofrevengewillcontinuegrowIngworseeach
time.Killingsolvesnothing.Aretberenoothersolutions?Tl1ereisnosucl1tl1ingaswalkingawayunpunisl1edfTomamurderornotrepay1ngourdebts.By
understandingthatcauseandeffectconnectsourpast,

presentandfuturelives,wewillneveragainl1armany
362

ofmind
livingbeingsThisis}Iowweattainpeaceof
cansolve
Onlytruesincerity,purity)andcompassionca>

ourseeminglyinsurmountableproblems.

Icannotbegintotalkofalltheinfinitetypes
ofgoodness.IfwecanexpandthetenprevIouscategories)wecanmakethemintoa
multitudeofgooddeedsandvirtues

363

TheFourthLesson:

TheBenefitsoftbeVirtueofHumility
AImgancersAmU
ZHiJmiUsBBIer

FiveAccountsofVirtuousPeople

Humilityenablesustopreserveourgoodrewards.
WitlIoutitwewilllosewhatwelIaveaccumulated
andallofoureffOrtswillhavebeeninvain.Weneed

torelyonhumilityfOritenablesustopreserveour
goodness.

TheDamomStJnHelainsthatweshoulduse
endurancetopreservewhatwel1aveaccumulated
omourpracticeofgiving.Ifwecannotendure,tl1en
nomatterhowmuchwelIavecultivatedandaccumu-

lated,allwillbelost.Confuciusalsotaughtthattbe
waytoretainwhatwehavecultivatedistopracticethe
virtueofhumility.
IntlIeJCmthelIexagramfOrhumility
statedthat:{Thelawsofheaventa>Kehom

thearrogantandbenefitthehumble.Tl1e
lawsofeartbbringHowingwaterhomareas
thatarefulltotlIosethatarelowerasit

passesby.Andthelawsofspiritsbringharm
totlIosewlIoarearrogantandgoodfOrtune
totl1osewhoaremodest.Eventl1elawsof

36

peopledespisethosewhoarearrogantand
preferthosewhoaremodest))
Agoodexampletohelpusunderstandthelawsof
heavenistbewax1ngandwaningofthemoon.Once
tlIemoonisfull,itbeginstowane.BefOreitbecomes
fUllagain,itgetsbrighterandbrightereachday.T}Iis
gradualincreaseistl1evirtueof}IumilityFromtl1is,
wecanunderstandnaturallawsandthewillof
}Ieaven.

TlIelawsofeartharenaturallaws.Forexample,
waterwillmovefTombigl1erareasthatarefilledto
thosethatarelowerThelawsofspiritscanbeseenin
thebehaviorofsomespiritsWhentheyseethatwe
bavebecomesuccessfUl)theybecomejealousandtry
tocauseproblemsfOrus;but,whenwearedestitute)
theyfeelsorryandtrytohelpusPeoplearetlIesame.
Thelawsofpeopleprefermodestytoarrogance
DuringtheQingdynasty,ZengGuofanwhoheld
thehighestpostasgovernor-generaloffOurprovmces,
wasalmostlikeanemperorofasmallregion.Well-

educatedheknewthathehadalreadyadvancedvery
highandthatthiswasnotgoodsohenamedhisstudy
TheRoominWhiclIImperfectionisSoug}1t.))
Mostpeopleseekperfection,butMrZengsought
moderation.HesouglIttolackalittle,tonothavetoo
muchHebelievedtbatasoneIspositionwaselevated,
oneshouldbemoremodest.Inthisway,hewasable
tomaintainwl1atheaccumulatedDuetohisaccumu-

365

latedmeritsvirtuousconductandthefOllowingofbis
teaclIingbyhisdescendants,tbefamilyl1asremained
prosperous.

IntlIeJCmonlythehumilityl1exagram
containssOlelygoodoutcomes

TheICmgbassixtyfourpossiblel1exagrams.
Everyoneoftheelanationsorpredictionshastl1e
possibilityofgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtuneinvariably
mixedOnlythel1exagramfOrlIumilityHighMountainUndertbeGround-hasnopossibilityformisfOrtune.Thus,thehigherwearethemoremodestwe
needtobe.

TheBoAfsDyalsoelained;WlIile
arroganceinVtesdisaster,humilitygains
benefit.))

Thosewl1oaretlIemostmodestreceivethemost

benefitsandadvantages.
IoftenwenttotaketlIeexaminationsac-

companiedbyothersandeverytimeIwould
meetscholarswbowereverypoor.Irealized
tl1atbefOretlIeypassedtheexaminationsand
becameprosperoustheirfacesradiatedsucb
lmmilitytlIatIfeltIcouldalmostholditin
myl1ands.
Basedonl1isowneeriences,LiaofanfOundthat
366

tbeICmgandtheBoMfSoIywerecorrect.At
everyimperialexaminationtbatheandhiscompan=
ionsl1adattended,tbosewl1owerethemostmodest

passedRealizingthis,becouldevenpredictwho
wouldpass

Severalyearsago,tenofusfromthevillage
wenttotakethepreliminaryimperialexaminationTheyoungest)Ding]ingyuwasextremelyhumble.Itoldoneoftheapplicants)

Fei]inpo,that}ingyuwouldundoubtedly
passtlIeexamination.Fei>inpoaskedhowI
couldtellandItoldhim:IIOnlytbosew}Io
arehumblereceivegoodfOrtune.Myiend,
lookatthetenofus.Isthereanyoneashonest)generous,anduncompetitive)as]ingyu?
DoyouseeanyonewboisasrespectfUl,tolerant>carefUl)andbumbleas>ingyu?Doyou
seeanyonelikebim,wbowheninsulteddoes
nottalkbackorwhowhenslandereddoes

notargue?

AnypersonwhocanachievesuchlIumility
willreceiveprotectionfTomtheearth,
heaven,andspirits.Thereisnoreasonl1e
willnotbecomeprosperous))Sureenougb,
whentl1etestresultscameoutDing}ingyu
hadpassed
Oneyear,Liaofanwentwithseveralotherstotake
367

theexamination.Hecommentedthatbasedonhis

observationsDing]ingyu>whowastl]emosthumble>
wouldpassdespitebisyouthbecausehewasrespectfUlandmodestararepersonindeedwhoremained
undisturbedandtolerantevenwlIenhumiliatedor

offendedTl1osewitlIgreattolerancepossesstremendousgoodfOrtune.
OneyearinBeijing,Istayedwithacl1ild-

l1oodfTiend,FengKaizhi.Alwaysl1umble,he
hadakindandaccommodatingappearance.
HewasnolongerthearrogantpersonIhad
lmownyearsago.HisfTiend>Li]iyan,was
verybluntandoutspolKen,andoftenscolded
l1imfOrl1ismistakes,butKaizl1ijustcalmly
acceptedtheaccusationswithouttalldng
back

FengKaizhihadbecomeacompletelydifferentperson.Li]iyanagoodfriendoflIiswouldimmediately
criticizeKaizhiassoonaslIenoticedanyfaults.Itdid
notmattertoKaiz}]iwhetber]iyanwasriglltorwrong
incorrecting}1im,fOrl]eacceptedeveryonescriticism.
Ifwehaveafaultweneedtocorrectit,ifwedonot

weneedtoguardagainstitandcorrectanymistakes
thatwehavemade.WhencorrectedfOranon-enstent

faultwesl1ouldnotbecomeresentfulbecauseitis

goodtobeadmonishedActua>ly,onlythosewho
reproachusgenuinelycareaboutus.WewouldreproachourclIildreniftheymakemistakes.SowlWdo
368

wenotadmonishthoseofourneighbors?Remember
tlIataltlIoughanaccusationmaybeunjustitstill
comesfromaheartofloving-kindnessWeneedto

acceptcriticismwillinglyandtobegratefUlfOrthe
teaching.

ItoldKaizhi:Tustastherearesignsthattell
ofcominggoodfOrtuneormisfOrtune,we
canseet}1atprosperityoradversitycometo
thosewhohavecultivatedtheircauses.

Heavenwillhelpthosewhoseheartsare
humble.You,myfriend,willdoubtlesspass
theimperialexaminationthisyear!),Later,
hedidjustthat.

LiaofantoldhimthatgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune
couldbepredictedLiaofanhadmasteredtheartof
prediction.Butknowinghowtopredictapersons
goodfOrtuneormisfortuneisstillsecondary.Whenwe
endourerroneouswaysandaccumulatemeritsand
virtues,werewriteourdestinies

TlIerewasayoungmanfromShandong
provIncenamedZbaoYufengwbopassedthe
preliminaryleveloftl1eimperialexaminationsbefOrehewaseventwentyButtryas
hemight,hecouldnotpassthesucceeding
examinations.Wl]enhisfatl1ermovedto]iasl1antoacceptanothergovernmentpost
Yufengwentwitl]lIimandcametogreatly
369

admireawell-lmownscholarintlIevillage
namedQianMingwu.
YufengbrougbthisworlMoMr.Qianwbo
pickeduphiscalligraphybrus}Iandmade
manycorrectionstotheessay.Notonlywas

YufengnotangryhegratefUllyacceptedall
ofMr.Qian)scorrectionsandimmediately
madetherecommendedclIangesTl1efOllowingyear,YufengpassedtlIeimperialexamination.

Ifthisl1appenedtous,wewouldprobablyfeelterribleorbecomeoffendedEvenifourworkwerenot

thatgood,surelyitwouldnotdeservethatmanycorrections!NotonlydidYufengnotbecomeangry)he
wasextremelygratefulandhumble,fOrhesincerely
wantedtolearnfromMr.QianBecauseofl]ismodesty,respectfulness,anddiligence,hemadesignificant
improvementandpassedtl1eexaminationtl1efOllow1ngyear

Oneyear,Iwenttothecapitaltopaymyrespectstotheemperorandmetascholar
namedXia]iansuowhohadalltlIequalities
ofagreatmanwithoutatraceofaITogance.
Ifelttl1eintenseauraofhisvirtueandlm-

mility.Wl1enIreturnedhomeItolda
fTiend:<(Wl1enlIeavenwantsapersonto
prosper,itfirstbestowshimwitl1wisdom
370

thatcanmakeapompouspersonhonestand
welldisciplined]iansuoisgentlekindand
goodSurely,lIeavenwilInowmakel1im
prosperous))Sureenough,whenthetestresultscameout)>iansuohadpassedtbeexamination.

Itwasintheyearthatbewenttomeettheemperor
thatLiaofanmetXia]iansuoandwasstruckbyhis
lIumilityandrespectfulnessTheimportantmessagein
thisaccountistlIatbefOreheavengivesusgoodfortune,itfirstgivesuswisdom.Ifwelackwisdom)tlIen
regardlessofourcultivation,wewillnotaccumulate
goodfOrtuneTbereisrealandfalsegoodfOrtuneas
wellasbalfandfull.Ifwefailtounderstandthedif

ferencesbetweenthem>wewillcommitseriousof-

fenses,allthewlIilebeIievingthatoureffOrtsare
worthyofmerit.
Themostimportantpointistolearnandunderstandwhatafieldofmeritissothatwewilllmowhow

toproperlyaccumulategoodfortune.Onceweuncoverourwisdom>wewillnaturallyrestrainourselves,
aswebecomecalmanddignified,kindandmodest,
respectfUlandgentle.BypossessingthesecharacteristicsXiaJiansuopassedtheexamination.

TherewasascbolarnamedZlIangWeiyan
fromJiangyinwhowaswelleducated,wrote
goodessaysandwaswelllmownamong
scholars.Oneyear,whiletakinghisexamina37l

tioninNanjing,hestayedatatempleWlIen
thetestresultswerepostedandlIefOund
thathebadfailed,hebecamefUriousand

loudlyaccusedtheexaminerofbeingblind
toobvioustalent.

ATaoistmonkwhosawthisbegantosmile
Weiyanimmediatelyredirected}IisangertowardstlIemonkwhosaidtheessaymustnot

begoodWeiyangotevenangrieranddemandedhowheknewitwasnotgoodwl1en
hehadnotevenreadit!TheTaoistreplied
thathelIadoftenheardtlIattheprimaryelementinwritinggoodessayswasapeacefUl
mindandalIarmoniousdispositionWeiyanIsloudandangryaccusationsclearly
slIowedtlIathismindanddispositionwere
violentsolIowcouldhepossiblywritewell
WeiyanacceptedthisandaskedfOrtheTaoist)sadvice.
TheTaoist

explainedtbatgoodwritingonlycomes
<landbarmoniousmindbutWeiyanwas
fTomapeacefulandharmoniousmindbutWeiyanwas
badtemperedandarrogant.Fortunately,Weiyanwas
alsointelligentsoherecognizedthelogicinwhatthe
TaoistsaidandaskedfOrhisadvice.Promthis,wecan

seetl1atWeiyanwascapableofchangeonceherealizedthat}Iewasatfault.Thisistruelearningand
practice

372

TheTaoistsaidtlIatwhetherornotone

passesdependsondestiny.Ifsomeoneisnot
destinedtopass,thennomatterlIowgood
t}IepaperislIeorshewillfail
ThelawofcausalityisinfallibleWhetherwepass

orfaildependsonourdestiniesnotontbequalityof
whatwehavewritten.Itisthesamewithwealth,

fame,andsoon,fOreverytbingdependsonourdestiniesandnotonhowweplanandmanageourlives
Whenpeoplearedestinedtobewealthy)itdoesnot
matterwl1etberornottheylmowlIowtoobtain
wealth;theywilljustreceiveit.Iftheyarenotdestined
tobecomewealtl1y)thenregardlessofwl1attl1eydo,
tl1eywillfail
Today)peoplewhodonotknowoforbelieveindestinythinkthattheycancommitallkindsofoffenses)
andstillobtaingoodresultsandgoodfortune.Where
istl1elogicinthat!Wbyisittl1atinancienttimes,
mostpeoplecouldseetheresultsfromtl1eiroffenses
quickly,wlIiletoday,wedonotseemtosufferom
ourwrongdoings?Peoplearecommittingsomany
offensestl1attherearetoomanytoletusreceiveour
retributionsonebyone,sothedebtswillbecollected
allatonetime

OureducationabilitiesgoodfOrtune,longlives,a
peacefuldeath-everything-dependsondestinyand
changingitistl1ewisestthingwecando.Ifwefailto
understandandseekwhatwearenotmeanttohave,
373

thenallofourtimeandeffbrtswillbewastedTl1is

wouldbetragic.
WhentbeTaoistconcludedtl1atWeiyan
neededtomakesomecl1anges,Weiyan
askedhowhecouldcl1angedestiny.The
Taoistrepliedthataltboughthepowerto
fOrmourdestiniesliesintheheavensthe

riglIttochangethemlieswit}Iinus.Aslong
aswepracticegoodnessandcultivatel1idden
virtues,wewillreceivewbatweseek

IfWeiyanwantedtochangehisdestiny,hehadto
dojustasMasterYunguhadtaughtLiaofanLiaofan
hadlearnedthathealonecouldchangehisdestiny.If
webreaktl1ebadhabitofcommittingoffensesand
insteadcultivategoodnessandaccumulatemerits,
thenwecreatetl1evariablestochangedestiny.But,if
wefailtodothiswewillremainboundbydestiny.

Weiyansaidthathewasonlyapoorscholar
andquestionedhisabilitytodopractice
goodness.Tl1eTaoistexplainedthatpracticinggoodnessandaccumulatingl1iddenvirtuesdependedontheheart.Aslongasone
intendedtopracticegoodnessandaccumulatevirtues)themeritswouldbeinfinite!He
usedtheexampleofthevirtueoflmmility
thatcostnothing.Weiyanneededtolook
withininsteadofberatingtl1eexaminerfOr
374

beingunfair.

TbeTaoistsaidthatmoneywasnotnecessaryto
practicegoodness.Veryoften)thosewhoarepoorare
abletoaccumulategreatmeritswhilethewealtlWmay
notnecessarilydoso.TheTaoistusedWeiyanIsbel1aviorasanexample,sayingtbatWeiyanhadbeenvery
arrogant.Ifl1ecouldinsteadbemodest>tl1enhewould
bevirtuousanditwouldcosthimnotl1ing.Wl1enhe
failedanexamination)lIeshouldnotblametheexami-

nationofficial)butreHectuponlIimselfandchange.It
isobvioustlIatgoodorbad,goodfOrtuneormisfOrtuneitallliesinaninstantofthougl1t.
WeiyanlistenedtotlIeTaoistmonkand
omthenonsuppressedhisarrogance.
Everyday>hetriedhardertopracticegoodnessandtoaccumulatemoremerits

Onenigl1tthreeyearslater)hedreamtthat
hehadenteredaverytallhouseandsawa
bookwitbmanynamesaswellasmany
blanklines.Heaskedtl1epersonnexttol1im
aboutitandwastoldtl>atthenamesbe-

longedtotheapplicantswbohadpassedthe
examinationthatyearWl1enWeiyanasked
aboutalltl1eblanlKlineshewastoldthattbe

spiritsoftheunderworldcheckedontheapplicantseverythreeyears.OnlytlIenamesof
thosewhowerefaultlessandpracticed
375

goodnessremainedintheboolK.Tbeblank
lineshadcontainedthenamesofthosedes-

tinedtopass,butduetorecentoffenses,
tl1eirnamesbadbeenremoved

Thepersonpointedtoablanklineandsaid
thatfrtl1epastthreeyearsWeiyanhad
beenverycarefulandsodisciplinedthatl1e
l1adnotmadeanymistakes.Perl>apshis
namewouldItheblankHehopedthat
Weiyanwouldvaluethisopportunityand
continuehisfaultlessbebavior.Tl1atyear)
Weiyanpassedtheexaminationandplaced
onel1undredandfifth

Dearreaders,ifyoubelieveintlIesematters,you
arefOrtunate.Tbespiritsofheavenandearthare
closelylinkedwithourworldinoureverygesture,
word,andsmile.Tbisistbetruthandnotdelusion.
WhenMr.Zhu]ingzhouwasstillaliveandIwasa
Buddl1istnovice,lIetoldmemanystoriestl1athel1ad

eeriencedfirstbandNoonediesbyaccident,not
eveninawarNoonediesunjustly.Lifeordeatl1is
destined.Howwewilldieisrecordedintheunder-

worldAlt}IouglIweliveinahigh-techenvIronment
andlmowmucl1ofscience,wecannotescapedeath
whenthatisourdestiny.Thisistl1etruth;itistime
fOrustoawaken.Weneedtobelievewhattbesages
havetaug}It.
376

HJmiUadbsae
bmkmnbrCOdbInJne

WenowlmowthatspiritsandlIeavenlybeingsarethreefeetaboveourl1eads.ObtaininggoodfOrtuneandpreventingmisfOrtune
isuptous.Aslongaswehavegoodintentions,refrainfromwrongdoings,donotof
fendthebeingsandspiritsofheavenand
eartlI,aretolerantandnotarrogant,thenthe
beingsandspiritsofheavenandeartlIwill
feelcompassionfOrus.Onlythenwillwe
haveafoundationfOrfutureprosperity.
TberearebeingsandspiritsofheavenandeartlIwho
constantlywatchus.WealoneareresponsiblefOrour
everygoodorbaddeedandeverygoodorbadresult,
soweneedtobeawakenedineverytlIought.Buddl1a
Shakyamunitaughtustobeawakenedinsteadof
deluded)tobeproperinsteadofdeviatedandtobe
pureinsteadofpollutedWearealsotoseverallattacl1mentsandtopracticegiving.WeneedtobeextremelycarefUlinoureverythought>word,anddeed
andtoaccordwithtlIeteacbingsandcodesofbebaviorPracticingBuddbismissettingagoodexamplefor
allsentientbeingsToperfectlybaveaMndheartdo
kinddeeds>saykindwords,andbeagoodpersonisto
beaBuddlIa,aBodhisattva.

SinceweclIoosetopracticethePureLandmethod,
weneedtoincorporatetheteachingsomtheirE
377

Li/bSmrHintoourtlIinkingandbel1avior.Then,there
trulywillbenodifferencebetweenBuddl1aAmitabl1a
andus.T}Iisispracticingthetrueteachingofthe
BuddhasfOrwemoldourselvesbyaccordingwiththe
mind,vow,understandingandconductofBuddha
Amitabha.

LmbbJrLessoIscanbeaninvaluableaidin

ourlearningwbilethehmrLybSmrHisourmain
courseofstudyWlIenweabidebythepreceptsand
practiceBuddhaNameChanting,wearepracticing
botbtheprimaryandsupportinglearningsThiswill
assureusofbeingrebornintothePureLand,wl1ere
wewillneveragainregress,andwherewewillbecome
Buddhas,andneverreduceoureagernesstobenefitall
beings.

Inthepast,Zenpractitionerssaid<<Havesometea>,
TodayIteacl1,<<BecomeaBuddha.Wecanbecome
oneThisistbetruthIfwesincerelypracticeBuddl1ism,beingsandspiritsofheavenandearthwill
protectus.

Thosewhoarefilledwithconceitarenot

destinedfOrgreatnessEveniftheydopros-

pertheirgoodfOrtunewillbeshortlived
Whenwelookatwealthypeoplearoundtl1eworld,
weseethatfewofthemaregenuinelyhappyorlmow

howtoproperlyusetheirwealth.Someliveinbiding
tofeelsafer.Suchwealthissufferingnotjoy.Livinga

trulyhappylifeisgenuineprosperityandenjoyment.
378

Intelligentpeoplewouldneverbenarrowmindedandrefusetbegoodfortunetbeyare
entitledto.Thosewhoarehumblealways
increasetbeiropportunitiestolearnandin

thisway,theirgooddeedsareboundless!
Thosewhowishtocultivateandimprove
theirvirtuescannotdowit}Ioutthevirtueof

humility
ItisessentialfOrustolearnmodestyfOritisthe

keytocultivatingandimprovIngourvirtue.Weneed
torealizethatothersarebetterthanusandthatthey

excelinwhattheydo.Whenwearefalseandconceited,otberpeoplemaynotseethis;however>
Buddhas,Bodbisattvas,andthebeingsandspiritsof
heavenandearthseeusveryclearly.Thus,ourmodestymustbesincereandcomefromdeepwithin.
Wearenotbetterthanothersandiftheyaccumulatemeritsandwedonot>thentheyarebetterthan
us.Evenwl1enwedarenotcommitoffenses,others

arestillbettertlIanus.Thisisperfectmodestyandit
isthepracticeoftbeteacbingofhumilityinthe
AmsaStJZraIamtbeonlystudent;everyone
elseismyteacher.Sudhanalearnedabouthumility
omthefifty-threevisitsandperfectlyattained
BuddlIabood

TlIeancientssaid:<Tbosewbo havetheir

lIeartssetonsuccessandfame> willsurely

attaintbemjustasthosewho
379

havetheir

heartssetonwealtbandpositionwillattain
wl1attheywisbfOr.))Apersonwhohasgreat
andfar-reachinggoalsislikeatreewitl1
roots.Tl1eymustbebumbleineverytl1ought
andtrytorelieveother)sburdenseveniftl1e
occurrenceisasinsignificantasaspeclKof
duSt

IfwecanreaclIthislevelofhumility,wewill
naturallytouchthebeartsofbeavenand
earthIamtbecreatorofmyownprosperity
LoolKattheapplicantswhosouglItfameand
wealthInitiallytheywereinsincereand
wbattl1eysouglItwasapassingimpulse.
Wl1entheywantedsomething,theysoughtit
butwhentheirinterestwaned)tl1eystopped
seeldngit

Menciusoncesaid<toEmperorXuanofQi>:
IfyoucaneandfTomtl1ehearttl1atseeks
personalhappiness,tosbaringbappiness
withallyoursubjectsandmaketlIemjustas
happyasyouare,thensurelythenationwill
prosper!Tl1isisalsotruefOrmeinseeking
topasst}1eimperialexamination.<Ialone
canseekandthuschangemydestiny>
Oncewesetourgoals,wemustworlKtowardstheir
accomplislIment.
omplislIment.Ifwedosothennaturally,ourl1u
|itvwilltoucl1theheartsofbeavenandearthand
militywilltoucl1
380

wewillattainwlIatweseekLiaofanusedaquoteom
MenciusfOrhisconclusion.Whenweareen>oymgour
happiness>whynotshareitwithotlIersfortodosois
genuinelIappinessandgoodfOrtune
Today,manypeoplearecaughtupinthedriveto
obtainwealthTbegovernmentsoftheworldwoulddo
welltorealizethisandjoinwithpeopletocreate
wealth,prosperity,andhappinesssotlIatallcanen}oy
ittogether.<Tolikewhatotherslikeanddislikew}Iat
othersdislike.)Insodoing)wewillbeaccordingwith
theheartsofallbeings.Weshouldusewisdomaswe
accumulatemeritstocreatewealt}1sowemay}1elp
tlIosewlIohavenone>fOrifweonlyaccumulatewealtl1
fOrself-enjoymentthentroubleliesaheadThisisa
mostimportantandworthwhileendeavor,anditis
worthyofoursinceresteffOrts.

38l

APPEND

LIAOFAN)S

FOURLESSONS

ByYuanLiaofan

382

TlIeFirstLesson:

LearningtoChangeDestiny

MyfatberpassedawaywhenIwasyoung.Mymotber
persuadedmetolearnmedicineinsteadofstudying
andpassingtheimperialexaminationsbecadseit
wouldbeagoodwaytosupportmyselfwl1ilel1elping
otlIers.Perhaps,Icouldevenbecomefamousthrough
mymedicalskills;thusfUlfillingmyfatlIer>saspiration
fOrme.

OnedayImetanelderlybutdistinguisl1edlooking
gentlemanattl1eCompassionateCloudTemple.He
hadalongbeardandthelookofasage.Iimmediately
paidmyrespectstohimHetoldme:<(Youaredes-

tinedtobeagovernmentofficial.Nextyear,youwill
attaintherankofLearnedFirstLevelScholar.Why
areyounotstudyingfOrtheexamination?))ItoldlIim
tl1ereason.

IaskedtheelderlygentlemanfOrbisnameand
wherebewasom.Hereplied:Myfamilynameis
KongandIamfromYunnanproVnce.Il1aveinlIerited

averysacredandaccuratetextonastrologyandprediction.ThetextwrittenbyShaozi)iscalledthehnpeITaSranGDyImgebIBymycalcula
tions,Iamsupposedtopassitontoyouandteacl1you
howtouseit)

IinvitedMr.Kongtomyhomeandtoldmymother
abouthimShesaidtotreathimwellAswetested

Mr.KonglsabilityatpredictionwefoundtlIatlIewas
383

alwayscorrectwhetheritwasfOrbigeventsorfOr
minoreverydaymatters.Ibecameconvincedofwl1at
hehadsaidandagainbegantothinkofstudyingfOr
tbeexaminations.Iconsultedmycousinw}IorecommendedMr.YuHaigu,whowasteacl1ingattl1ehome
ofafriendandbecameMr.Yu>sstudent.

Mr.KongthendidsomemorecalculationsfOrme
Hetoldmethatasascholar)Iwouldbeplacedfourteenthinthecountyexamination,seventy-firstintlIe
regionalexaminationandnint}Iintheprovincial
examination.ThefOllowingyear,Iplacedexactly
whereMr.KonghadsaidfOrallthreeexaminations.
Itl1enaskedlIimtomakepredictionsfOrmyentire
life.Mr.Kong>scalculationsshowedthatIwouldpass
sucbandsuchatestinsucl1andsuchayear,tlIeyear
thatIwouldbecomeacivilscholar,andtl1eyearthatI
wouldreceiveapromotiontobecomeanImperial
Scholar.Andlastly,IwouldbeappointedasamagistrateinSichuanprovInce.
AfterlIoldingthatpositionforthreeandahalf

yearsIwouldthenretireandreturnhomeIwould
dieattlIeageoffiftytbreeonthethdayofthe
eight}Imonthbetweenonetothreeo>clockintlIe
morning.UnfOrtunately,Iwouldnothaveason.I
carefi1llyrecordedandrememberedeverythingthatl1e
said

TlIeoutcomeofeveryexaminationturnedoutex-

actlyaspredictedMrKonghadalsopredictedthatI
wouldonlybepromotedafterreceivingarationoftwo
384

lmndredfifty-ninebusllelsofriceHoweverIhad
receivedonlytwentybushelsofricewhentheCommissionerofEducation,Mr.Tu,recommendedmefOr

apromotion.Isecretlybegantodoubttl1eprediction.
Nevertheless,itturnedouttobecorrectafterall

becauseMr.Tu>sreplacementturneddownthepromotion

ItwasnotuntilsomeyearslaterthatanewEducationCommissioner,MrYin,reviewedmyoldexaminationpapersandexclaimed:<Thesefiveessaysareas

wellwrittenasreportstotheemperor.Howcanwe
burythetalentsofsuclIagreatscl1olar?Thenew
CommissionerwantedtlIemagistratetoissueanorder
fbrmetobecomeacandidatefOrImperialSclIolar
underhisautl1ority.AfterundergoingthiseventfUl
promotionmycalculationsshowedthatIl1adreceived
exactlytwolmndredfifty-ninebushelsofrice.From

thenon)Ideeplybelievedtbatpromotionordemotion,
wealthorpovertyallcameaboutinduetimeandthat
eventl1elengthofone)slifeispre-arrangedIbeganto
Veweverythinginadetachedmannerandceasedto
seekgainorprofit.
AfterbeingselectedasanImperialScl1olar,Iwasto
attendtheUniversityatBeijingDuringmyyearlong
stayintl1ecapital,myinterestinmeditationgrewand
Ioftensatinsilence,withoutgivingrisetoasingle
tbouglItIlostinterestinbooksandstoppedstudying.
Tl1efOllowingyearIwenttoNanjing.BefOreIwas
toentertl1eNationalUniversitythere>Ipaidavisitto
385

MasterYungu,avenerableZenmasteratQaMountain.Wesatinmeditation,facetofaceintheZenhall

fOrthreedaysandnightswithoutsleepMasterYungu
said:((Tbereasonwbyordinarypeoplecannotbecome
sagesisbecauseofalltheirwanderingthougl1ts.In
ourtlIree-daymeditation,I}1avenotobservedasingle
thoughtariseinyou.Wby?,)
IrepliedthatMrKonglIadclearlypredictedtbe
entireoutcomeofmylife.Ihadseenthatthetimeof
life,deathpromotionandfailurearedestinedso
t}1erewasnoneedfOrmetotl1inkofanyt}1ing.The
mastersmiledandreplied:<Itboughtyouweresomeoneofremarkablecapabilities!NowIrealizeyouare
anordinaryperson!>)
FeelingconfUsedbywhatMasterYunguhadsaid,I
asked1imtoelain.Hetoldmethatanordinary
person)smindisfOreveroccupiedbywanderingand
imaginarytboughts,sonaturallyl1isorl1erlifeis
boundbytlIemathematicsofdestinyWecannotdeny
tl1efacttl1atdestinyexists,butonlyordinarypeople
areboundbyit.DestinycannotbindthosewhocultivategreatkindnessortlIosewl1ohavecommitted
flagrantwrongdoingsSinceIhadlivedmylifejustas
Mr.Kongl1adpredictedanddonenotlIingtochange
itIhadbeenboundbydestiny.Thus,Iwasatypical
ordinaryperson.
Takenaback,IaskedMasterYunguifwecould

changeourdestinies.Heanswered:Wecanre-create
ourowndestinyandseekgoodfOrtuneItisthetrue
386

teachingandisfoundintheBooASmgandthe
BoAfsmIntlIeBuddhistteachingsitiswrit
tentl1atifwewishfOrandseekwealth,abigl1posi-

tion,ason,adaughter,orlonglife,wecanattainit.
SincetheBuddlIatoldusthatlyingisoneofthe
greatesttransgressions,wecanbeassuredthat
BuddhasandBodhisattvaswouldnotdeceiveus.

))

ItoldMasterYunguthatIl1adheardthatMencius
oncesaid:<WhateverissougbtcanbeattainedThe
seekingiswithinourselves.>Thisreferstoinnerqualitiessuchasvirtue)integrity>andldndnessTheseare
allvalueswecanworktowardHowever,whenit

comestooutsidefactorssuchaswealt}1)fameand

prestige,l]owcanweseektoattaintbem?
Tl1emasterrepliedthatMenciuswasrigl1t>butthat
Ihadmisunderstoodl1ismeaningMasterYungusaid
thatMasterHuineng)tlIesixthPatriarc}IoftheZen
schooltaugl1t:<<Allthefieldsofmeritarewitl1inones
ownl1eart.IfoneseeksomtlIetruemindwitl1inone

canbeintouchwithalltbatonewishesfOrByseek

ingwithinourselves)wewillnotonlyattaintheinner
qualitiesofvirtue,integrityandkindness;wewillalso
attain<externalbenefitssuchas>wealth>fame,and

prestige.TobeabletoattainbotlIinnerqualitiesand
externalbenefitsisinvaluable.

MasterYungutlIentoldmethatifonedoesnotreHectinsideonesownheart;but,insteadblindlyseeks
fame,fOrtuneandlonglifefromoutsidesourcesno
matterl1owonescl1emestopursuetlIem,onecanonly
387

attainatmost,whathadbeendestinedSeeldngfrom
theoutside,onemightlosebothinnerpurityandwl1at
onewasdestinedtolIave;thus>theseekingwould
havebeeninvain.

MasterYungunextaskedaboutMr.KongspredictionsfOrtlIerestofmyIifeIbonestlytoldhimeverytbingHeaskedifIfeltthatIdeservedimperialappointmentsorason.Reflectingonmypastdeedsand
attitudesIanswerednoIdidnot.Tbosewhoreceived

imperialappointmentsalllIadtheappearanceofgood
fOrtunebutIdidnotalsodidnotworktowards

accumulatingvirtuestobuildupmygoodfOrtune.I
wasveryimpatientandnarrow-minded,andwould
showoffmyintelligenceandabilitiesbyputtingothers
down.IbelIavedasIpleasedandspokewithoutrestraint.TlIesewereallsignsofscantgoodfOrtuneand
virtueHowcouldIpossiblyreceiveanimperialappointment?
Thereisanoldsayingthat<<LifespringsHomtl1e
dirtoftlIeeartlIwhileclearwateroftenlIarborsno

fish))TlIefirstreasonwbyIfeltthatIdidnotdeserve
asonwastl1atIwasobsessiveaboutcleanlinessThe

secondreasonwasthatwbileharmonyisthecultivator
oflifeIwasquick-temperedTl]ird)althoughlovingkindnessistlIecauseoffertilityandlIarslmesstlIe
causeofsterility)Iwasselfisblyconcernedaboutmy
reputationandwouldnotsacrificeanytl1ingfOrotl1ers.
ThefOurthreasonwasthatItalkedtoomuchand

thiswastedalotofenergy.Fifth)Idranktoomuch
388

Andsixtb,IdidnothaveasonbecauseIoftenstayed

upallnightandwastedmyenergy.Asidefromt}Iese,I
badmanyotlIerfaultstl1atweretoonumerousto
mention.

MasterYungusaid:(<Accordingtoyoutl1en,there
aremanyotlIertlIingsinlifeyoudonotdeserve,not
onlyfameandason!T}1osewhohavemillionsofdollarsinthislifecultivatedtbegoodfortuneworthyof
tl1atamountinthepast.Tl1osew<Io}1avetl1ousandsof
dollarsmustalsohavethegoodfOrtunewortl1yofthat
sum.Those)whodieofstarvation,wereinfactmeant

todieintl1atmanner.ThekarmicresulttodayissimplythefTuitoftheirowndeedsandhasnothingtodo
withexternalpowers.
orexample,ifapersonl1asaccumulatedenough
meritsandvirtuestolastahundredgenerationstl1en
l1eorsbewilll1aveahundredgenerationsofdescendants.Onewhoaccumulatesenoughmeritsandvirtuestolasttengenerationswillhavetengenerations
ofdescendantstoliveouttl1atgoodfOrtuneThesame
appliestothreeortwogenerations.Tbosewhohave
nodescendantsbadtoolittlemeritsandvirtues.

Nowtl1atyourecognizeyourshortcomings,you
needtodoallthatyoucantochangeandcorrectyour
misdeedstl1atcausedyounottohaveacl1ildornotto
becomeanimperialofficialYouneedtocultivate
virtueandtolerance,andtoregardotherswithgood
willandcompassion.YoualsoneedtocarefOryour
healthandconserveyourenergyandspirit.Liveasif
389

everythinginthepastdissolvedyesterdayandabrandnewfUturebeginstoday.Ifyoucanaccomplisbthis,
thenyouareapersonbornanew,apersonofvirtue
andsincerity.
Ifevenourbodyisgovernedbydestiny,tlIenhow
canabodyofvirtueandsinceritynotevokearesponse
omheaven?AsissaidintheTaiiaChapterinthe
BooAfsrDIyOnemayrunawayfromtl1eretributionofheaven,butonecanneverescapetheretributionfOronesmisdeeds.ItissaidintheBook

SmgB/(Topermanentlyaccordwitl1themindof
}IeavenandtoseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.>
Themasterthentoldme:<(MrKonglIadpredicted
tbatyouwouldnotreceiveanimperialappointmentor
haveason.TlIesearetheretributionsofheaven,but

eventl1eycanbecl1angedYouonlyneedtodevelop
yourvirtuediligentlystrivetopracticegoodness,and
worktoaccumulatemanyhiddenmeritsandvirtues.
<(Tl1eseareyourwaystore-creategoodfOrtune.
Howthenisitpossiblethatyouwillnotgettoenjoy
it?JCmeBoOFCangSwaswrittentol1elp

peopleaccruegoodfOrtuneandtoavoidadversity.If
everythingisdestinedwitlInoroomfOrchange,how
canwehopetodothis?
Tl1efirstchapteroftheJCmgsays,amilieswbo
oftenperfOrmgooddeedswillhaveanexcessofgood
fOrtunetopassontothefOllowinggenerations.)Do
youbelievethis?IrepliedesIgratefullyaccepted
bisadviceandpaidmyrespectstol1imbyprostrating
390

ThenIbegantoregretallmypastwrongdoings,large
andsmall,infTontoftheBuddha>simage.Iwrote
downmywisl1topasstheimperialexaminationsand
vowedtocompletethreetbousandmeritoriousdeeds
tosl1owmygratitudetowardsmyancestors,eartl1,and
l1eaven.Uponhearingmyvow,MasterYungusl1owed
meamerit-faultclIartandtaughtmehowtokeepa
dailyrecordofallthegoodandbaddeedsIhaddone
Hewarnedmetl1atbaddeedswouldneutralizetlIe

goodones.Tl1emasteralsotaugbtmetorecitethe
ZbuentiMant#a.OnlywitbamindofpurityandconcentrationcouldIattainwhatIsougl1t.
MasterYunguelainedthatitl1adbeensaidby
specialistsindrawingtalismanicfiguresThosewl1o
areconsideredeertsintl1eartofdrawingcl1arms

butdonotlmowtlIerightwaytodosowillbelaughed
atbyspirits.))TlIekeytodrawingcharmsisbavingno
thougl1tsfrombeginningtoendUnderstandingtl1is)
begintl1efirststrokewithastillmindaftertheprimal
darlmess.Intheprocessofdrawing)onemustletgoof
allwanderingtl1ouglIts.Onlyintl1iswaycanacharm
beeffective.

{WhenonepraysfOrandseeksfOrsomethingor
triestochangeone>sfate,itisimportanttl1atonedoes

sowithoutgivingrisetoasinglethougl1t.Intl1isway,
onewilleasilyreceivearesponse.Menciuswrote,
<thereisnodifferencebetweenlonglifeandslIortlife.>
Atfirstglance,onewouldfinditbardtounderstand
l1owtl1eycanbetl1esame;however,wl1entl1ereisno
39l

thought,thereisnodualityinshortorlonglifC.
<(UponcarefUlanalysisthereisalsonodualitybetweenagoodorabadharvest.Understandingtbis,we
willbecontentwitl1ourpresentsituation,beitoneof
wealtborpovertyAndwithunderstandingthattl1ere
isnodualitybetweenpovertyandwealth,ourminds
willbecontentwitlIourpresentstatusinsociety,beit
highorlow.Also,t}Iereisnodualitybetweenlongand
sl1ortlives.UnderstandingtlIis,wewillbecontent
witbourestinglifespanbeitlongorsl1ort.Tbemost
importantconcernforhumanbeingsisthatoflifeand
deathTl1us>earlydeatlIandlongevitysubsumeall
conditions,wl1etl1erfavorableorunfavorable)and

whetherofgainorloss.
WelIavetowaituntilourcultivationreachesacer-

tainlevel,thenourdestinieswillchange.ThisclIange
dependsontl1eaccumulationofmerits,onseekinga
responseomtl1eheavensWhencultivating,weneed
tobeawareofourfaultsandresolvetocorrecttl1em

asifwewerecuringasicknessWhilewaiting,letgo
ofthetl1ougl1tofdesiringsomethingtbatwearenot
supposedtol1aveandthethoughtofwisl1ingfora
rewardAtthislevelitwouldbeastateofreachingthe
innatenatureofnotl1ought>thatistheactuallearn-

ingandpracticeofwisdom.
(Iknowtl1atyouarestillunabletoaccomplisl1tl1e
stateofnotl1ought)butyoucanpracticerecitingthe
ZhuentiMantracontinuouslywithoutcountingthe
numberofrecitationsandwithoutinteITuption.Wl1en
392

youreachahigberlevelofconstantmindfUlness>you
willbeabletoachievethelevelof<tonotrecitewhen

recitingandtorecitewhennotreciting/WlIenyouno
longerhavewanderingtl1oughts)themantrawillbecomeeffective.>>

MynameusedtobeXuel1ai,w<1icl1means<broad

learning.>ButafterreceivingtlIeseteacl1ingsfTom
MasterYungu,IcbangedittoLiaofanwhichmeans
<transcendingtheordinary.})Itsignifiedmyunderstandingoft}IefacttlIatwecouldre-createourdestiny
andthatIdidnotwishtobelikeordinarypeoplewl1o
werecontrolledbydestinyFromtl1enon,Ibeganto
beverycautiousinwhateverIthoughtordidSoon,I
feltquitedifferentfrombefore.Inthepast,Ihadbeen
carelessandwitIoutselfdiscipline.Now,Ifindmyself
beingnaturallywatchftIlandconscientious.
Imaintaintbisattitudeevenwhenalone,fOrIknow

tbattherearespiritsandheavenlybeingseverywl1ere
whocanlmowmyeverythougl1tanddeedIamcautiousnottooffendthemwithmythoughts.Evenwhen
Iencounterpeoplewhodislikeorslanderme>Ibear

theirinsultswithapatientandpeacefulmind)anddo
notfeelcompelledtoquarrelwithtl1em.
TheyearafterImetMasterYungu,ItoolKtl1epreliminaryimperialexaminationinwlIicl1MrKongl1ad
predictedthatIwouldcomeinthirdplace.Amazingly
Iwasfirst!Mr.Kong)spredictionswerebeginningto
losetl1eiraccuracy.HehadnotpredictedthatIwould
passtheimperialexaminationatall)buttl1atautumn,
393

Idid!

AlthoughIl1adcorrectedmanyfaults,IfOundtl1at
IcouldnotwholebeartedlydothethingsIoughtto.
EvenifIdiddotlIem)itwasfOrcedandunnatural.I

reHectedwithinandfOundthatIstillhadmanysl1ortcomings,suclIasseeinganopportunitytopractice
kindnessbutnotbeingeagerenougl1todoitorhaving
doubtswhenhelpingotlIers.
SometimesIfOrcedmyselftoactkindlybutmy

speecbwasstilluncontrolledandoffensive.IfOundI
couldcontainmyselfwhensober)butafterafew
drinks,Iwouldactwithoutrestraint.Altl1ougbIoften
practicedkinddeedsandaccumulatedmerits,my
faultsandoffensesweresonumerousthatthey
seemedtooutweigl1thegoodthatIdid.Alotofmy
timewasspentvainlyandwithoutvalue.
Ittookmemorethantenyearstocompletetl1e
tl1reethousandmeritoriousdeedsIhadvowedtodo.I

wasunabletodedicatetl1emeritshomtl1esethree

thousandgooddeedsatatempleuntilIreturnedto
myhometowninthesouthafewyearslaterAtthat
timeIbadtheopportunitytoasktwomonkstodedicatetl1emfOrme.Then,Imademysecondwishand
tl1atwasfOrason.Ivowedtocompleteanotherthree
tl1ousandgooddeeds.Afewyearslater,yourmot}1er
gavebirthtoyouandnamedyouTianqi.
EverytimeIperfOrmedagooddeed,Iwouldrecord
itinabookYourmotherwhocouldnotreadorwrite

woulduseagoosefeatlIerdippedininkSbemadea
39q

redcircleonthecalendarforeverygooddeedshedid
SometimesshegavefOodtothepoororboughtliving
creaturesinthemarketplaceandfreedtlIemintbe
wildSlIerecordedallofthesewitbbercirclesonthe

calendarAttimes,sbecouldaccumulatemorethan

tencirclesinoneday|

EverydaywepracticedlikethisandinfOuryears,
tl1ethreetlIousanddeedswerecompletedAgain,I
invitedtbesametwomasterstomakethededications

thistimeatourhomeOnthel3thdayoftheninth
monthofthatsameyear,Imademythirdwisband
tbatwastopassthebighestleveloft}IeimperialexaminationIalsovowedtocompletetentbousand
meritoriousdeedsAftertbreeyears,Iattainedmy
wishandpassedtbeexaminationIwasalsomadethe
mayorofBaodicounty.
Ipreparedasmallbooktorecordmymeritsand
faults,andcalledittbeBooAoFChiKmgeI
Everymorning,wbenIbeganworldntheoffice>my
servantwouldbringthebookandhavetheguardplace
itonmydeskIwouldrecordmyeverydeed-goodor
bad-nomatterhowsmallAtnight,Isetupanaltar
intbecourtyardandputonmyofficialunifOrmto
emulatethewayofMr.Zhao>anofficerintheSong
dynasty.Iburnedincenseandreportedallmydeedsto
theheavens.

Once,yourmotherwasconcernedwhenshesaw

tl1atIhadnotaccumulatedmuchmerit.Inthepast>
shewasabletohelpmeinouraccumulationofgood
395

deedsandwewereabletocompletetl1etlIreetl1ousandmeritoriousdeeds.Now,Ibadmadeavowto

completetenthousandmoredeedsbuttberewere
feweropportunitiestopracticethematthegovernmentresidence.Sbeworriedabouthowlongitwould
bebefOremyvowcouldbefUlfilled
TbatniglIt,Idreamedofaheavenlybeingandtold
bimofmydifficultyincompletingt}1etentl1ousand
gooddeedsTheheavenlybeingremindedmetbat
uponbecomingmayor,IhadreducedthetaxesontlIe
farmlands.ThatonegooddeedwasworthtenthousandmeritsMyvowwasalreadyfUlfilled!WlIenIhad
becomemayor,thefarmersinBaodicountywere
bighlytaxedsoIreducedthetaxbynearlybalf.But,I
feltbewilderedandstillhaddoubts.Howcouldjust
onedeedbewortbtenthousandmerits?

CoincidentallytheZenMasterHuanyuwastravelingomWutaiMountainandstoppedinBaodi.I
invitedhimtothegovernmentresidence,toldhimof
mydreamandaskedwhet}1eritwasbelievable.MasterHuanyusaid:{(IfonedoesagooddeedwithsuclIa
trueandsincereheartwitbouteectationofreward,
thenonedeedcanindeedbeworththemeritsoften

tbousandBesidesyouractofreducingthetaxesin
thiscountybenefitsmoretl1antenthousandpeople!
Upon}1earingthis)Iimmediatelygaveallmysavmgs
fOrlIimtotakebacktoWutaiMountainIaskedl1im

tousetl1emoneyforafOodofferingfOrtentbousand
monksandtodedicatet}IemeritsfOrme.
396

MrKongl1adpredictedthatIwoulddieattheage
offifty-three.However)Isurvivedt}Iatyearwithout
illnessaltboughIdidnotaskthelIeavensfOralonger
life.NowIamsixtynineTheBooAfsmyex
plains:(<Destinyexistsbutitischangeable.Destinyis
notset>butiscreatedanddeterminedbyourselves.>
Alltl1isistrue.Icametounderstandthatbotl1good
fortuneandmisfOrtunearetheresultsofourown

actions.Thesearetrulythewordsofsagesandvirtuouspeople!IfsomeonesaidtbatgoodfOrtuneand
adversityaredeterminedbytheheavens,Iwould
considerthatpersonordinary.
Tianqi,myson,Iwonderwhatyourlifewillbelike?
WeshouldalwayspreparefOrtheworst.TherefOre,
evenintimesofprosperity,actasifyouwerenot
WhenthingsaregoingyourwaybemindfulofadversityWl1enyou}IaveenoughfOodandclotl1ing,be
mindfulofpoverty.Whenlovedandrespectedbyall
remainappre}IensiveandconservativeWlIenthe
familyisgreatlyrespected,carryyourselfhumbly.And
whenyourlearningisextensiveandprofOund)always
feelthatthemoreyoulearnt}Ielessyouknow.
Forthepast,wecanthinkoflIowtoadvocatet}Ie
virtuesofourancestorsForthepresent,wecanthink
ofhowtoconcealthefaultsofourparents.Forthe
country,wecanthinkoflIowwecanrepayitsldndnesstousandfOrtbefamilywecanthinkofl]owto
bringaboutitsgoodfOrtune.Forotherpeople,tlIink
oflIowtohelpthoseinneedaroundus,andfOrwithin
397

ourselvesthinkofhowtopreventimpropertl1oughts
andactionsfTomarising.
Weneedtofindourfaultsdailyandtocorrectthem
immediately.Ifweareunabletodetectourfaultsthen
wewillthinkthateverytbingwedoisright.WlIenwe
areunabletocorrectourfaults,improvementwillbe

impossible.Tl1erearemanyintelligentpeopleint}1e
worldwhocannotimproveineithertheircultivationof
moralityandvirtuesorintbeirworkTheirfailuresin
thislifeareowedtoasingleword:laziness.
Tianqi)tl1eteachingsofMasterYunguaremost

wortl1y)profOund)realandproper.Ihopethatyou
willlearnthemwellandpracticethemdiligently.Use
yourtimewiselyanddonotletitslipbyinvain.

398

TheSecondLesson:

WaystoReform
DuringtheSpring-AutumnPeriod,Chinawasdividedintoseveralsmallnations.Manyprestigious

advisersofthesenationswereabIetoaccurately
predictw}IetlIeraperson)sfuturewouldbefortunateorunfortunatebasedontlIeirobservationof

thatpersonsspeechandbehaviorManyofthese
arerecordedinmgadAmAnnaA.
Asarule,therearesignsthatsignalimpending
dangerorthecomingofgoodfortune.TlIesesigns
risingfromwitlIinareduetoone>sthoughtsand
feelingsbeingrevealedinbisorlIerbehaviorUsuallyapersonismorefortunatew}IentendingtowardkindnessbutinvitestroublewlIentending
towardcruelty.Ordinarypeopleoftendonotlmow
wlIatisreallybappening.Itisasiftheirvisionwere
blurredSincetheycannotseethetruth,theyclaim
thatgoodfortuneandmisfortuneareunpredictable

Wbenwearesincereandhonest)ourbeartswill

accordwitlIthewillofheaven.Byobservingour
goodnessotherswillbeabletoforeseetl1ecoming
ofgoodfortune;andbyobservingourimmorality,
theywillforeseeapproacl]ingmisfortune.Ifwe
wisl1togaingoodfortuneandavoidmisfortune,we
firstneedtoreformbeforeweeventalkaboutdoing
gooddeeds.
399

Tberearet}Ireewaystoreformourfaults.Pirst
wemustbeabletofeelasl1amedThinkofallofthe

ancientsagesandvirtuouspeoplewhosenamesand
teacl1ingsl1avelastedforbundredsofgenerations.
Theywerepeoplejustlikeus,butwlIyismyname
worthlesslikeabrokenroof-tile?

Weareclingingtoworldlydesires.Secretly)we
domanyimpropertbingswhilethinlKingotl1erswill
notlmowaboutthemandthenaresbamelessly
proudofourselves!Oneday,wewillberebornas
ananimalwitl1outrealizingit.ThereisnotlIingelse
int}1eworldtlIatcallsformoresl1ameandremorse

thanbebaviorsuchasthisMenciusoncesaid:

(SlIameistl1emostimportantwordinapersons
life.))Wby?Becauseonewholmowsshamewillput
forthhisorl1erbesteffortsintocorrectingfaults
andwilleventuallyattainsagehoodorbecomea
virtuousperson.Onewhodoesnotlmowsbame
willbejustlikeananimal:unrestrainedandimmoral.Thisisthekeytocorrectingourfaults.
Tbesecondwaytoreformistoknowfear.Celes-

tialbeingsandearthlyspiritsl1overoverourheads
inobservation.Tbereisnowayforustodeceive
tbem.Evenwbenmywrongdoingsaredoneina

concealedplace,tbebeingsandspiritsofl1eaven
andeartl1arepresentandseeallmyfaults.Ifmy
baddeedsareserious,thenallkindsofadversities

willbefallme.Ifmyfaultisminoritwillstillreducemycurrentgoodfortune.HowcanInotfeel
00

fearP

Evenwhenwearealoneinourroom,thebeings
andspiritswatclIusverycarefullyandrecordeverything.Evenifwetrytoconcealourimproperacts
withcleverspeech,thespiritsandcelestialbeings
canseeintoourheartsasclearlyasseeingintoour
lungsorliver.WearejusttryingtodeceiveourselvesandothersInactuality,othershaveseen
throug}1us)andwetbusbecomewortbless<intheir
eyes>.W}lenwethinkabouttbis)howcanwenot
afraid?

However,aslongaswestilIIaveonebreatbleft,
wehavethechancetoregreteventheworstdeeds
Therearecasesin}Iistorywherepeoplewhohad
committednumerousbaddeedsbutwhoIater

deeplyregrettedthemduringtheirdyingmoments
wereabletopassawaypeacefully.
Ifapersoncanhaveadeterminedandcourageouskindthoughtatthemostimportantmoment,
itcancleanseawaybundredsofyearsofaccumulatedoffensesTbisislikeonlyneedingone>ampto
bringlightintoavalleythathasbeendarkfora

thousandyearsItdoesnotmatterhowlongone
l1asbeencommittingmisdeeds.Ifonecanreform
heorsheisexceptional!
WeliveinaconStantlycbangingandcl1aotic
world.Ourbodies,madeoffleshandblood,are
perishable.Ifournextbreathdoesnotcomethen

tlIisbodywillnolongerbeapartofus.TlIen,even
40l

ifwewanttoreform,itwouldbetoolate.

WlIenwecommitawrongdoing,ourretribution
inthisworldisabadreputationthatwilllastfor
hundredseventhousandsofyears.Evenfilialand
lovingdescendantscannotrestoreourhonorTben,

inafuturelife,wemightendupinbellsuffering
immeasurablepainWheneventhesages,virtuous
people,BuddhasandBodlIisattvascannothelpus
escapefromourbadconsequences,bowcanwenot
beafraid?

Thethirdwaytoreformistohaveadetermined)
courageousbeart.Whenwehesitatetoreformour
faultsbecausewedonotreallywanttocl1ange,we
arecontentwithwhatwecangetawaywithFora
reformtotakeplacewemustberesoluteandresolvetocbangeimmediately.Wesl1ouldnotl1esitateorpostponeuntiltomorroworthedayafter.
Aminorfaultislikeatl1ornpiercingourflesl1
aMsl1ouldbequicklyremovedAbigfaultislike
ourfingerbeingbittenbyapoisonoussnake.We
mustquicklycutoffthefingertopreventtlIepoisonfromspreadingandkillingus.Ifweconsultthe
JCmgandreceivethewindtbundersymbolit
meansthatourstrongdeterminationinreforming
assuresusofsuccess.Ifwecanfollowtl1ethree

waysofsl1ame,fear,anddeterminationtoreform
thenwewillsurelybetransformedTl1ereisno
needtoworry.Itwillhappenasassuredlyastl1e
springsunwillmeltalayerofice.
402

Tl1erearealsot}1reemetlIodsofpracticetohelp
usreform.Thefirstischangingtl1roug}1be}Iavior,
tl1esecondischangingthroughreasoning,andthe
tl1irdisc}1angingfromtheheart.Tryingtoforce
ourselvestosuppressourfaultsisextremelydifficultbecausewelIavenotpermanentlyuprootedour
faults,merelytemporarilycurbedtbem.T}1erefore,
clIangingtbroughbelIaviorcannothelpustopermanentlyeliminateourfaults
Instead,wecantrytoreformbyunderstanding
wbyweshouldnotdosomething,forexample,
killing.Tolovealllivingt}Iingsisavirtueof
heaven.Understandingthatalllivingbeingslove
lifeandfeardeath,howcanIbeatpeacewith
myselfbytakinganother)slifetonurturemyown?
Attimes,animalssuchasfishorcrabsarecooked

alive.Suchpainandsufferingreachdowninto
tbeirverybones.Howcanwebesocruel?
Whenweeat,weusemanyexpensiveandtasty
thingstonourishourselves,enoughtofillthe
wholediningtable!Butoncethemealisdone,even
tbebestdelicacieswillbecomebodywasteandbe
excretedTheresultofourkillingaccomplis}Ies
notbing.Consumingvegetarianfoodscanfilland
nourisl]usjustaswellWhyletourstomacl]sbecomeagraveyardandreduceourgoodfortune
throughkilling?
ThinkofallthelivingbeingswitbHesband
bloodLikeus,theyareself-aware.Tl1eyandweare
403

oneentity.Althoughourcultivationofvirtuehas
notyetreaclIedtlIestatethatwillenablethese
beingstorespectusandfeelsafearoundus,wecan
atleastnotharmthemormakethemhateus.Ifwe

thinkaboutit>wewillnaturallyfeelsorrowfor
tbeseanimalsandthusbeunabletoswallowtheir
flesh

Anotberexampleofcbangingthrougbreasoning
isaneasilyangeredperson.HeorslIecanstopand
thinktl1atweallbaveourstrengthsandweaknesses.IfItouchonsomeoneswealmess)IslIould

feelsadabouttheirfailingandforgiveanyshortcomings.Ifsomeoneoffendsmefornoreasonat
all,itistl1atpersonsproblemandlIasnothingto
dowitl1me.Thereisnoreasonformetobecome
angry.

Ialsotl1inktlIatnogreatpersontlIinksthathe
orslIeisalwaysright.Nordointelligentpeople
blametheirfaultsonothers.Whentbingsdonotgo
thewaywewish)itisbecausewehavenotcultivatedourvirtuesandmoralsandlIavenotaccumu-

latedenoughmeritstomoveothers!
Wesl1ouldalwaysreflectuponourselvesfirstIn
sodoing,criticismcanbecomeatraininggroundto
refineourclIaracterandtostrengtbenourabilities.
Weshouldbeverygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)s
criticismandguidance.WhatistlIeretobeangry
andcomplainabout?Likewiseinthefaceofslanderwesl1ouldmaintaintbemindofstillness.Al404

thoughtl]eslanderousrumorsandtalebearing
spreadlikeahugefire,likeatorclI,theywilleventuallyburnthemselvesout.
Ifwebecomeangryandtrytodefendourselves
whenslandereditwouldbelikethespringsilkwormspinningitsowncocoonandsuffocating
itself.Becomingangrydoesnotbenefitus;itharms
us.Thereareotherfaultsandoffenseswecan

change.Ifweunderstandtheprinciplebe}Iindthe
needforreform,wewillnotrepeatourmistakes
Whatdoes<changingfromtbel1eart))mean?Althoughwel1avethousandsofdifferentfaultsthey
allstemfromt}Ieheart,fromtbemindIfmy}1eart
isstillofthougl]tsthenactionswillnotariseand
faultscanbeavoidedPractitionersdonothaveto

trytoeradicatefaultssuclIasthedesireforfame
sex)profit>oranger,onebyone.Allweneedisa
sincere}Iearttopracticegooddeeds.Aslongasour
l1eartsarevirtuousandkind,thennaturallyour
mindswillnothaveanyimpropert}1ouglIts.
<Demonsdonotappearduringtheday.))Tbisis
tl1eessence>thekeytoourchange.Sinceallmistakesstemfromt}]elIeartwechangefromtlIe
heart.ItislilKegettingridofapoisonoustreeIfwe
wanttoputanendtoit,weuprootitaltogetl1erso
itcannotgrowagainWhyexertourselvestono
availbypullingoutitsleavesonebyoneandcuttingittwigbytwig?
ThebestwaytoreformourfaultsisthrouglIcul405

tivatingourlIeartsforpuritywillsurfaceright
away.IfmyheartispureIcanrecognizeandstop
animproperthoughtassoonasitarisesTbeimmoralideawilldisappeart}1emomentIamconsciousofit.

IfIamunabletosucceedatrefOrmingmyfaults
throughcbangingtheheart,tbenIwilltryatthe
levelofunderstanding>lmowingthereasonswlWI
needtomakethechange.IfIcannotsucceedwith
t}1isthenIwilltrytoreformbycl1angingtl1rougl1
belIavior.Thebestwayistocultivatetl1eheartand
understandtl1ereasonsbehindtheneedtocl1ange.
Itisfoolishtoconfineourselvestoreforming
tl1roughbehavior.Thisistheinferiorway.Instead
weshouldbereformingfromthel1eart,fortl1isis
thebestwaytochange.
Butevenwhenwevowtochange,assistanceis
neededtotrulyreform.Wewillneedconstantremindersfromgenuinefriendswl1owitnessour
actionsineverydaylife.Asforourgoodandbad
tbougbts,wecanaskthebeingsandspiritsof
}Ieavenandearthtobeourwitnesses.Wealsoneed

tobediligentandtosincerelyregretdayandnight.
Ifwecanhonestlyregretforonetotwoweeksone
tothreemonths)theninthisway)weareassuredof
attaininggoodresultsbenefits.
Wl1atarethebenefitsofcontrition?Wemayfeel
verymuclIateaseandourheartsmayfeelligl1tand

generous.Anunintelligentpersonmaysuddenly
406

becomewise.AnotlIermigbtmaintainaclearand
relaxedmindeveninadisturbingandconfusing
envIronment.Ourmindswillbeclearerandour

compassionwillincreaseenablingustonolonger
feelangeruponseeinganenemywl]ileweremain
l1aPPy.
Wemaydreamofspittingoutblackthings,of
havingancientsagesorvirtuouspeopleencourage
andescortus,orwemaydreamofflyinginspace
Wemaydreamofcolorfulpennantsandornately
decoratedcanopies.Suchphenomenaareindicationsofasuccessfulreformandadissolvingofpast
offenses.However,wemustnotconsiderseeing
tbesephenomenaassignsofperfection.Instead,
wemustresolvetofurtherimproveourselvesand
workevenhardertoreform.

<AnexampleisQuBoyu.>Attwenty,hewasalreadymindfulofhisfaults>hadanalyzedtl1em)and
triedtothorouglIlycorrectthemAttbeageof
twenty-one)hefeltthatlIestillhadnotcompletely
correctedalloftlIemAttwenty-two)hefeltasif
twenty-onewaswasted,withoutanyrealimprovement.Thusyearafteryear,hecontinuedtocorrect
bisfaults.WlIenhereachedfiftyBoyustillfelt
thattbepastforty-nineyearswerefilledwitlI
wrongdoings.Thiswashowparticularourancestors
wereregardingthecorrectionoffaults!
Wearealljustordinarypeoplewithmistakesas
numerousasaporcupine)sspines.Oftenwl1enwe
07

lookbackwedonotevenseeourfaultsbecausewe
arecarelessanddonotlmowhowtoreHectonour

actions.Itisasifacataractisgrowinginoureye.

Allthesearesymptomsofbavingaccumulatedtoo
manyoffenses!Ourheartsmayfeelconfusedand
oppressed,lacldngenergyWewillbecomeextremely
fOrgetfulandfilledwithworriesevenwlIennothingis
happening,feelembarrassedanddepressedupon
meetingavirtuousperson>orbecomedispleasedat
hearingproperreasoningWhenkindtoothers,we
willbemetwitbhostilityWemayhavenightmares
whereeverythingisupside-down,andtalkincoher-

entlyandbehaveabnormally.Theseareallsignsof
misfOrtune.

Ifwehaveanyofthesesymptomswemustimme-

diatelyreinfOrceourwillpowertocorrectallofour
faults.Itisnecessarytostartanewandnotdelay!

408

TheThirdLesson:

TlIeWaystoCultivateGoodness

WereadintbeJCmgamilieswl1operfOrmgood
deedswillaccumulateprosperitythatcanoutlast
manygenerations.>AnexampleistbeYanfamily
BefOretheymarriedtheirdaugl1tertotl1emanwho
wastobeConfi1cius>sfather,theyinquiredabouttbe
family.Afterfindingtl1attlIeypracticedgoodnessand
accumulatedvirtues,theYanfamilyfeltconfidentthat
theyweremarryingtheirdaughterintoafamilytl1at
wouldprosperandhaveoutstandingdescendants.
Inanotherexample,ConfuciuslIadpraisedSl1un
fOrhisfilialpiebysaying:Duetohisgreatfilial
pietyandsincerity)ShundeeplymovedevenhisancestorstoaccepthisofferingHisaccumulationofmerits
andgoodfOrtunewouldlastfOrmanygenerations.>
Tl1isprincipleisconfirmedbymanyexamples.
ThefOllowingaresomeadditionalexamplesofl1ow
meritscanbeattainedtl1roughperfOrminggooddeeds
InFUjianprovInce,amannamedYangRonghelda
positionintheimperialcourtastlIeemperor)steacher.
YangRong)sancestorswereboatpeoplewl1omadea
livingbyl>elpingpeoplecrosstheriver.
Oneyear)astormlastedsolongtl1atviolentHoodingsweptawaypeopleanimals,housesandbelongings.Theotherboaterstookadvantageoftbesituation

tocollecttl1ef>oatingbelongings.OnlyYangRong,s
grandfatl1erandgreatgrandfatherrescuedthedrown409

ingpeopleandignoredthebelongings.Theboaters
laughedandtlIoughtthetwotobeveryfoolishLater)
whenYangRong>sfatherwasborn,theYangfamily
graduallybecamewealthy.
OnedayalIeavenlybeingwhohadmanifestedasa
TaoistmonktoldtheYangfamilythatduetotheir
ancestors)accumulationofhiddenmerits,theirde-

scendantswouldenjoywealthandprominenceHe
t}Iensuggestedaspecialplacew}Ieret}Ieycouldbuild
tbeancestraltombTheyfOllowedl1issuggestion.
TodayitiscalledtbeWhiteHareGraveShortlyafter
YangRongwasborn.HepassedtheimperialexaminationwhenhewasonlytwentyyearsoldandlaterreceivedtlIeimperialappointmentofmasterTl1eem-

perorevenbestowedthesameimperialhonorsonhis
grandfatberandgreatgrandfatherToday)l1isvirtuous
andprosperousdeccendantsarestillprominent.
YangZicl1eng,fTomtlIecountyofYininZhejiang
prov1nce)isanotherexampleHeworkedinthecounty
courthouseandwaskindfair>andhonest.Once,the

countymagistratepunislIedacriminalbybeatinglIim
untilhewasbleedingprofusely.Zichengkneltand
pleadedwithhimtostop.TheinfUriatedmagistrate
retorted:(<It>sallrightfOryoutoplead,buthowcanI
notbeangrywhenhehasbrokenthelaw!)Zicl1eng
repliedtl1atwhengovernmentleadersdonotfOllow
theproperpathordinarypeoplewouldlosetheirway
Realizingthiswesbouldfeelsorrowandnotpleasure
<atsolvingthecase>.AndweslIouldcertainlynot
4l0

becomeangry.AcaselikethiscalledfOrmoreunderstanding.MovedbyZicheng>spleatl1emagistrate
ceasedthebeating.
AlthouglIZicheng>sfamilywaspoor}Ierefusedall
bribesIftlIeprisonerswereshortoffOodhewould
takesomefroml1isownlIometogiveittothemevenif
itmeantgoinghungryhimselfOneday,itwastime

fOrseveralnewlyarrivedprisonerstobefed.But
Zicl1enghimselfl1adlittlefOodIfhegavetheprisonerswl1athehad)hisfamilywouldgobungry;ifhekept
thefOodfOrhisfamilytheprisonerswouldl1avenothingtoeat-anappallingdilemma.Hefelttl1attl1e
prisonersneededthefOodmoretbanlIisfamilydid
HediscusseditwithhiswifewhoaslKedwl1erethe

prisonerswerefTomZichengtold}1ertl1attheywere
omHangzhow
Later)Zichenghadtwosons.Tl1eelderson,
SlIouchen,andtheyoungeroneShouzlIi)botlIheld
importantgovernmentpositions.Zicheng)seldest
grandsonbecamevIceministeroftlIeMinistryof
>usticeandhissecondgrandsonwasahighlyplaced
memberoftl1egovernmentstaffinSichuanprovmce.
TheytoowereprominentToday,theirdescendant
YangClIuting,alsoagovernmentofficial,islmownfOr
hisvirtuousdeeds.

AnotberaccounttookplaceduringtheZlIeng-Tong
period<thetimeofEmperorYingzong>.InFUjian
provIncemanyintellectualshadjoinedagroupof
rebels.TheemperorappointedImperialCensorZhang
ll

tostopthem.Hetrickedtherebelsandcapturedtheir
leader

Later,ImperialCensorZl1angdispatcl1edGeneral
Xietoputanendtotberemainingrebelsintheeasternpartoftl1eprovince.Thegeneralobtainedalistof
theinsurgentsandcommandedtl1atwlIiteHagsbe
secretlygiventoeveryonenotonthatlistalongwith
instructionstoplacetheHagsontl1eirdoorswhentbe
imperialarmycametotown.Heorderedtl1esoldiers
nottolIarmtbeinnocentandwiththisonethoughtof
goodness>hesavedtensofthousandsofpeoplefTom
beingkilledHissonXieChianplacedfirstinthe
imperialexaminationsandeventuallybecameanadvisortotbeemperor.HisgrandsonXiePiplacedthirdin
theimperialexaminations.
AnotherexampleistheLinfamilyfromPutianin
FUjianproVnce.Amongtheirancestorswasavery
generouselderlylady.Everydayshemadericeballs
fOrthepoorandgaveawayasmanyastl1eywanted
AnimmortalwlIomanifestedasaTaoistmonkcame

dailyfOrthreeyearsandalwaysaskedfOrsixorseven
Herceaselessgenerosityconvincedhimofl1erdeep
sincerity.Hetoldher:IhaveeatenyourriceballsfOr
tl1reeyearsandhavedonenothingtosl1owmygratitudePerhapsIcandosonow.Ontl1elandbebind
yourhouseisagoodplacefOryourgrave.Ifyouare
placedtl1erewl1enyoudie,thenumberofyourdescendantswl1owillbaveimperialappointmentswill
equaltl1enumberofseedsinapoundofsesame
4lZ

seeds.)HersonfOllowedhisrecommendations.

Thefirstgenerationafterthat,ninemenpassedthe
imperialexaminationsanditcontinuedthatwayfOr
generations.ItwassaidinFUjianthatthesurnameof
LinwasalwaysonthelistofthosewbolIadpassedthe
imperialexamination
AnotherexampleisMrFeng,thefatheroftheimperiallIistorian,FengZhuoanOnewintermanyyears
ago,MrFengwasonhiswaytosc}Ioolwhenhesaw
someonelyinginthesnow.Findingthatthemanwas
barelybreathing,hequicklytookoffhiscoat,wrapped
itaroundtheman,carriedhimbackhome,andre-

vivedhimTbatnight,ZhuoansfatherdreamttlIata
heavenlybeingtoldhim:<Outofcompletesincerity,
youhelpedadyingmanThisisagreatvirtueIwill
havethefamousGeneralHanQioftheSongdynasty
toberebornasyoursonLater,ZlIuoanwasbornand
wasnamedQi

Also,tlIerewasMrYing,aministerwbolivedin
Taizhou.Whenhewasyoung,}Iestudiedinremote
mountainareas.Atnig}It,beoftenheardthesoundsof
gbostsandspiritsbutwasneveraaidofthem.One
nigbt,heheardoneghosthappilysaytoanotl1er:
<(TlIereisavillagewomanwhosel1usbandleftlIomea
longtimeagoand}IasnotreturnedHerin-lawsthink
tl1attbeirsonisdeadandarefOrcinghertoremarry.
Tomorrownightsheisgoingtocommitsuicideand
willreplaceme.ThenIwillbereborn!)

UponlIearingthis,MrYingimmediatelysetoutto
l3

sellsomelandtl1atheownedHereceivedtwohun-

dredgramsofsilverfOrit.Hethenmadeupaletter
fTomtl1edaughter-in-law)sl1usbandandsentittol1er
homealongwitbtlIesilver.Tl1eparentsknewtl1attl1e
letterwasnotintl1eson)sl1andwritingbutexamined
tlIesilverandsaid<<TlIislettermaybefalse)buttl>e
silverisnot.Perhapsoursonisalive.>)Consequently
thedaugl>ter-in-lawwasnotfOrcedtoremarry.Aftera
wbilethehusbandreturnedl1omeandtl1ecouple
resumedtheirlivestogether
Mr.Yingnextl1eardtheghostsay,<(OriginallyIwas
supposedtoleavehereandbereborn,butMr.Ying
messedupmycl1ance!)>TheotherghostaskedWhy
don)tyougetevenwithhim?)>Thefirstghostreplied:
<(Ican>t.Thebeavenlybeingshaverecognizedl1is
goodnessandl1eisgoingtoreceiveaprominentpositionintbefuture.HowcanIhurthim?>>Uponhearingthis,MrYingbecameevenmorediligentinpracticinggoodnessandaccumulatingmerits.Wl1enever
tl1erewasafamine)lIegavegrainfTomhisstorel1ouses
tothosewlIoneededit.HealwayslIelpedrelativesin
emergenciesWhenthingsdidnotgolIisway,he
alwaysreHectedwitl1inlIimselfrathertl1ancomplain
ofotl1ers.Thus)healwaysquietlycompliedwitlIconditionsEventoday,hisdescendantsareprominent.
Anotl1erpersonXuFengz}]u>livedin]iangsuprovince.Whenevertberewasafamine,hiswealtlWfatl1er
wouldbethefirsttowaivetl1erentonthericefields,
hopingtl>atotherwealthypeoplewouldfOllowsuit.
lq

HealsodonatedgrainomhisstorelIousestotbose
wlIowerehungry.
Onenigl1tbeheardgbostsoutsidehislIomesay,
AcountyscholarintheXufamilyisgoingtopassthe
provincialimperialexamination!>>ThiswentonfOr
severalnigbtsandindeedtlIatyearl1issonFengzl1u
passedtheexamination.Afterthat,Fengzhu>sfather
becameevenmorediligentinaccumulatinggood
deeds.HepaidfOrtherepairofroadsandbridges)and
providedfOodfOrmonksaswellasfOrthepoor.He
didalll1ecouldtohelpothers.Sometimelater,he
lIeardtl1eghostsagain.Theysaid:<Tl1eprovincial
sclolaromtheXufamilyisgoingtol1oldahigh
positioninthegovernment.))Eventually,Fengzl1u
becamethegovernorofZhejiangprovInce
AnotherexampleisTuKangxiwbolivedin}iaxing,
ZhejiangprovInceMr.Tuworkedintl1ecourtbouse
andwouldspendnightsintheprisoncells,talking
witbtheinmates.InsteadofmakinganamefOrhimself)hewouldwritesecretreportstotl1eministerof
justice,tellinghimwhycertainprisonerswereinnocent.TheMinisterwouldthenquestiontheprisoner
accordinglyandcleart}Iecases.TbrouglIMr.Tu>s
effOrts,morethanteninnocentpeoplewerereleased

andalloftl]emwereextremelygratefilltothejudge
praisingtbeministerofjusticefOr}Iiswisejudgment
SoonafterMr.Tumadeareporttotl1eimperial
judgesaying:Ifinnocentpeopleareimprisonedhere,
theremustbemanymoretl1roughouttbecountry.I
4l5

recommendt}1atinvestigatorsbesenttoclIecktl1e
prisonsfOrinnocentpeopleeveryfiveyears.TlIesentencescanbecanceledtopreventtheinnocentfTom
remaininginprison.,}TheministerMr.Tu>ssuperior,
tooktlIereporttotheemperor)whoagreedwithMr.
Tu)ssuggestion.Mr.Tuwassubsequentlycl1osenas
oneoftl1especialagentsincl1argeofreducingsentencesfOrtl>osewl1owerefOundinnocent.

Onenigbt,lIedreamttl1atal1eavenlybeingcameto
himandsaid:Originallyyoudidnotdeserveasonin
tl1islifebuttlIisactofreducingprisonsentencesfOr
innocentpeopleaccordswiththewisl1esoftlIel1eavens.Youwillbebestowedwitl1tl1reesonsandtbey
willallattainhighpositions.)>Hiswifelatergavebirth
totlIreesonswboallbecameprominent.
Anotberexampleofattaininggoodresultshom
practicingkindnessisBaoPingwbolivedin]iaxing.
Pingwastheyoungestofsevensonsoftl1emagistrate
ofCl1izl1ou)AnhuiproVnce.Hemarriedintotl1eYuan
familyinPinghucountyZbejiangprovmceandwasa

goodfriendofmyfatberBaoPingwaslmowledgeable
andtalentedbutalwaysfailedintheexaminations.He
spenthistimestudyingBudd}IismandTaoism.
Once,wl1iletravelingtoLakeMao,becametoa

villageandsawatempleindireneedofrepairT}Ie
statueofAvalokiteshvaraBodl1isattvawaswetfrom

therainthatleakedtlIroughtberoofPingtookoutall
lIismoneyandgaveittotheabbot,sotl1athecould
restoretl1etemple.Theabbotreplied:(Itisama>or
4l6

prOject,IamafTaidtbisisnotenough)BaoPingtben
tookoutallhisexpensiveclothesand}Iandedthemto
theabbot.Hisservanttriedtopersuadehimtokeep
hisbestoutfit)butherefUsed)saying;<Itdoesnot
mattertome.AslongasthestatueofAvalokiteshvara
Bodhisattvaremainsundamaged,IdonotcareifI
lIavetogowithoutclothes))
Theabbot,withtearsinhiseyesexclaimed:(To
giveupmoneyandclothingisnotdifficultbutyour
deepsincerityistrulyrareAfterthetemplewas
repaired,BaoPingaskedhisfathertovisititandtogetl1ertheyspentt}1enightthereTl1etemple)s
DbarmaProtector,Qielan)cameinhisdreamtothank
bimandsaid:<Sinceyouhaveaccumulatedthese
meritsandvirtues,youwillhavemanygenerationsof
descendantswhowillreceiveimperialappointments.>)
Hissonandgrandsonbothpassedhighexaminations
andwereappointedasimperialofficials.
ZbiLifTom}iashancountyinZl1ejiangproVnceis
anot}1erexample.Hisfatherusedtobeaclerldntbe
provincialcourthouse.Once)wlIenZl1iLisfatber

learnedthataninnocentmanhadbeengiventhe
deathpenalty,hetriedtosavetheman>slifeWhen
theprisonerheardaboutthis,hetoldhiswife:<Iam

greatlyindebtedtothismanwlIol1asspokenonmy
behalfbutIlIavenowaytoshowmygratitude.Will
youinvitehimtoourhouseandofferyourselftohim?
Perl1apstl1iswillpleasehimandincreasemyclIances
tolive.))

4l7

Tl1ewifecriedasslIelistenedtol1isrequest,but
tlIerewasnootherwaytol1elp.Thenextdaywhentl1e
clerkcametovisit,slIeoffbredl>imwIneandtoldl1im
oflIerhusband)swishT}1eclerkrefusedbutcontinuedtodoallhecouldfOrtheman.\Ibenatlasttl1e

pnsonerwasreleased,heandhiswifewenttotl1e
clerk)slIousetotlIankhim.Hesaid:Onewitl1sucl1

virtueasyoursistrulyraretl1esedays,howcanIshow
mygratitude?Sinceyoudonothaveason,allowme
tooffermydaughterinmarnagetoyou.Pleaseaccept
fOrthisistheonlywaytlIatIcanrepayyou
Theclerkacceptedandsoonafterwards,shebore
lIimhisson,ZhiLi.Hepassedthehighestleveloftl1e
imperialexaminationswbenhewasjusttwentyyears
oldandlaterwasappointedtoanimportantgovernmentposition.HissonGao)grandsonLu,andgreat
grandsonDalun,allpassedtl1eexaminationsand
receivedimperialappointmentsaswell
Thesetenexamplesalltellofthedeedscultivated
bydifferentpeople.Althoughtheiractionsdiffered,
theirintentwastl1esame-toperfOrmgoodness.Ifwe
carefi1llythinkaboutgoodnesswewillrealizethat
therearemanydifferenttypes-realandfalse,honest
andcrooked,lIiddenandvisible,apparentandactual,
properandimproper,fullandhalf,bigandsmall>and
difficultandeasy.Tbesedifferenttypeseacbbave
))

theirowncausesthatneedtobeunderstoodIfwetry

topracticegooddeedsbutdonotknowhowtodistinguisl1betweenriglItandwrong>wemayendupdoing
4l8

morel1armthangoodandallofoureffOrtswilllIave
beeninvain.

Wbatare(realgoodness,and<<falsegoodness?)In
tl1eYuandynasty>agroupofsclIolarswenttovisit
MasterZhongfeng.Onesaid:<(WehearinBuddhism
tl1atthekarmicrewardfOrgoodandbadis<likea
shadow,fOllowingtl1efOrmwhereveritgoes.))ButwlIy
isittl1ataltlIoughsomepeoplepracticegoodness)
theirfamiliesanddescendantsarenotprosperous?On
tl1eotherl1and,wlIileothersbehaveimmorally>their
familiesanddescendantsdoverywell.Wl1atl1asl1appenedtocauseandeffect?Aretherenostandardsin
theBuddl1a>steachings?)
MasterZhongfengreplied:<Ordinarypeopleare
blindedbyworldlyviewpointsandnothavingcleansed
tlIeirmindsofimpuritiesareunabletoseeclearly
Consequently,theylookuponrealgoodnessaswrongdoingandmistakewrongdoingasgoodness.Tbisis
verycommontodayMoreover,tl1esepeopledonot
blametl1emselvesfOrfailingtounderstand,andunfairlyblametbeirmisfOrtunesontl1elIeavens.
Thescholarsquestionedhowgoodandbadcould
))

bemistakenfOreachother.MasterZbongfengasked
eachoftl1emtoexpresstheirthouglItsonwhatwas
badandgoodOnescholarsaidthattoyellatandhit
otherswasbad;torespectandtreatothersinapolite
waywasgoodTl1emasterreplied>Notnecessarily.
AnotlIersclIolarsaidthatbeinggreedyandtaldng
anothersmoneywasbadwhilebeinggenerousand
l9

behavingproperlywasgoodMasterZhongfengagain
replied)Notnecessarily/>TheremainingsclIolarsall
eressedtheirviewsonwhatwasbadandgood,but
MasterZhongfengalwaysconcluded,<<Notnecessarily))
MasterZlIongfengthensaid:(TodotlIingsfOrthe
benefitofothersisgood;todotlIingsfOrselfbenefitis
badIfwhatwedoisfOrthesakeofbenefitingothers,
thenitdoesnotmatterifweyellatorlIitthem;itis
stillgoodBut,ifourintentionisfOrselfbenefit,tlIen
regardlessofourappearanceofrespectandcourtesy
itisbad

(Practicinggoodnesssolelytobenefitothersisconsideredpublicbenefitandisrealgoodness.Ifweonly
thinkofourselveswbiledoinggoodacts>thenthatis
consideredprivatebenefitandisfalsegoodness.W}Ien
goodnessspringshomtheheart)itisrealgoodness
But,whenwedosometlIinggoodjustbecauseotlIers
aredoingso,itisfalse.Whenwedogoodwithout
eectinganythinginreturn,itisrealgoodnessBut,
whenwepracticegooddeedsfOrsomepurposeother
thantobenefitothersitisfalse.Tl1osewhowishto
practicerealgoodnessneedtoconsideralltlIesedifferences.

))

Whatare<<honestgoodness>}and(crookedgoodness)?Peopletodayoftenlookuponanextremely
conservativeandnicepersonasgoodandkindHowever,tbeancientsagesandvirtuouspeoplelIave
shownthattbeypreferredthosewhowereaspiringand
420

dignifiedAsfOrthosewhoappeartobecompliantand
carefUlintheiractions,everyonemayliketbem,but
sagesoftenspeakofthemas<thievesofvirtue/,From
tl1is,wecanseetlIattl1eviewpointofordinarypeople
ongoodandbaddiffersgreatlyfromt}Iatofsagesand
virtuouspeople.
Becauseoft}1is,ourjudgmentcouldbeerroneous.
Beingsandspiritsofheavenandeartballlookupon
goodandbadfromthesameVewpointasthesages
andnotthatofordinarypeople.Therefore,whenwe
wishtoaccumulatemerits,wemustnotgiveinto

greedorbeaffectedbythethingsaroundus.Assoon
asimproperthouglItsarise)weneedtobeawareof
tllemandtl1enpurifytlIem.
HonestgoodnessistoberespectfUlandcomesfrom
thethoughttosincerelybelpallothers.Crookedgoodnessistoactwithoutsincerityandarisesfromthe
tl1ougl1ttoflatterotherstoobtainwhatwewant.To
loveotl1ersisl1onest,andtohateotl1ersandbejealous

iscrookedTbeseallneedtobeverycarefullydifferentiated

Whatare<<hiddengoodness>)andvisiblegoodness>)?
Goodnessishiddenwl1ennooneknowsaboutitand

visiblewhenourgoodactsarelmownbyotl1ersThose
witl1hiddenvirtueswillnaturallybelmownbytl1e
beavensandberewarded.Thosewhopracticevisible
goodnesswillbelmownbypeopleandenjoyfame
FameitselfisgoodfOrtunebutbeavenandeartl1sl1un
fame.Thosewl1ol1avegreatfame,butlackthevirtue
42l

tosupportitwilleventuallyencounteroverwl1elming
adversitiesTbosewhol1avenotdoneanytl1ingwrong

butarefalselyaccusedwillhavedescendantsw}Iowill
suddenlybecomeprosperousandsuccessfUl.From
tlIis>wecanseehowimportantitistounderstand
hiddenandvisiblegoodness.

Whatare<<apparentgoodness))andactualgoodness))?IntheSpring-AutumnPeriodtlIecountryof
LumadealawthatrewardedthosewhopaidtlIeransomtofreetheirfellowcitizenswhowereservant-

slaves.AttlIattime)ConftIciushadaricl1student

namedZigongw}1o,altl1oughlIepaidtl1eransomto
fiFeepeople,didnotaccepttherewardfordoingso
Uponl1earingthisConfuciuswasveryunhappy
andscoldedZigong:<(Youactedwrongly.Whensages
andvirtuouspeopledosomething>itistoimprove
moralityandteac}1people}1owtobebave.Wedonot
dosomethingfOrselfbenefitorreputation.InLuthe

pooroutnumberthewealthy.SinceyourefUsedtl1e
reward,otl1erswilltl1inkthatacceptingrewardmoney

isbeinggreedyandifthishappensnoonewillpaytlIe
ransomtofreeourpeople/)
AnotherstudentofConfUcius,Zilu)oncesawa

mandrowningintheriverandrescuedhim.Later,the
mantl1ankedl1imbygivingl1imacow.WlIenConfi1ciusl1eardtbatZilubadacceptedthegifthewas

happyandsaid:Intl1efuture>peoplewillbeeagerto
helptl1osewhoaredrowning.)
Intl1eeyesofordinarypeople)Zigong)srefusalof
422

therewardmoneywasgood,wlIileZilu)sacceptanceof
thecowwasnotWbowouldhaveexpectedConfucius
topraiseZiluandscoldZigong|FromtlIis,wecansee
tbatthosewhopracticegooddeedsmustnotonly
considertlIecurrentoutcomebutthatoftlIefUtureas

wellNeitlIerslIouldweonlyconsiderourowngain
andlossbutthinkabouttheimpactmadeonothers
Whatwedonowmaybegoodbutintimemay
proveharmfUlThus>wbatseemslikegoodnessmay
actuallybebadWhatappearstobebadmayactually
bavepositivelong-termeffects)turningouttohave
beengoodafterall.Thus>whatseemslikeabaddeed
mayactuallybegoodnessForexample,apparent
responsibilitymaybeactualirresponsibility,apparent
proprietymaybeactualimpropriety,apparenttrustwortlIinessmaybeactualuntrustworthinessand
apparentkindnessmaybeactualunkindness.Weneed
tocarefullydifferentiatetomakeproperclIoices
Whatare<(propergoodness))and<(impropergoodnessI?LuWenyiwasaprimeministerintlIeMing
dynastyWhenhegrewoldheretiredtohisl1ometownwherehewaswelllovedandhighlyrespected
Once,adrunkenvillagerwenttohishomeandbegan
toyellinsultsatlIim.Mr.Lucalmlytoldhisservant,
Thismanisdrunk)don)targuewithhim.))Withthat)

heclosedtl1edoorandignoredtbeonslaughtofinSultS.

Ayearlater,thesamemancommittedagravecrime
andwassentencedtodeathHearingtlIis,Mr.Lu
Z3

remorsefullysaid:<<IfonlyIhadtakenbimtotheautlIoritiesfOrpunislImenttbatday>perhapsalittle
disciplinecouldhavepreventedthis.Atthetime,Iwas
tryingtobekindbutIinadvertentlyencouragedhis
arroganceandcrueltyNow,hehasbeensentencedto
deathThisisanexampleofl1avinggoodintentions
butdoingsomethingbad
TlIereisalsoanexampleoftl1osewboaclIieved
goodnessaltlIoughtheyhadactedfTomimproper
intentions.Once,afteradevastatingfamine>people
werereducedtostealingfOodinbroaddayligl1t.A
wealtl1yfamilyreportedthistotheautboritieswhodid
nothing.Asthepoorgrewmoredaringchaoswas
imminent.Tbefamily)takingthelawintotheirown
hands,caugl1tandpunishedtbetl1ieves.Intl1isway

peacewasrestoredandthetbeftswerestopped.IftlIis
badnotbeendonechaoswouldhaveerupted

Wealllmowtl1atgoodnessisproperandwrongdoingisimproper.However,tberearecaseswberedeeds
doneoutofgoodintentionsresultedinbadThisis
calledtheimproperwithintheproper.))Therearealso
deedsdoneoutofimproperintentionsthatresultedin
goodTbisiscalledtl1e<properwithintl1eimproper.
))

Wecanbenefitfromunderstandingtl1is
Wl1atare<l1alfgoodness))andfullgoodness))?We
readintl1eJCgPeoplewbodonotaccumulate
virtuousdeedswillnotachievebonorwl1ilepeople
wl1odonotaccumulatebaddeedswillnotbringabout
selfdestruction.AndfromtbeBokfsmIywe
4Z4

learnthat<Zhou)whowasthelastemperorofthe
SlIangdynastycommittedllorriblecrimes/}ThedynastyendedwithhisdeathItislikecollectingobjects
inacontainerWithdiligence,itwillsoonbefUllbut
ifwearelazy,thenitwillbeonlyhalffullThisisan
exampleoffUlland}Ialfgoodness
OnceawomanvisitedaBuddhisttempleand
wisl]edtomakeadonationBeingextremelypoor,sl1e
onlyhadtwocentsbutsbeunreservedlygavetheseto
amonkTolIersurprise,tlIeabbothimselfcameto
helpl1erregretfOrpastoffensesandtodedicateher
merits.

Later,shewaschosentoentertheimperialpalace)
andobtainedwealthandprestigeCladinherriches,
shereturnedtothetempletomakeadonation>this
timebringingasmallfOrtune.Toherdismaythe
abbotsentanothermonktol1elpdedicatehermerits.
Sbedidnotunderstandandquestionedtheabbot:In
tbepast,Ionlydonatedtwocents,yetyoupersonally
helpedmeregretmypastoffenses.Today)Ihave
broughtmuclImoneybutyouwilInothelpmeperfOrmmymeritdedicationWhy?))
Theabbotreplied:<AlthouglIyougaveonlyalittle
inthepast,itcamefromatrueandsincereheart.It

wasnecessaryfOrmetorepayyoursinceritybypersonallyperfOrmingyourdedications.Today)your
donationismuchgreater,buttheheartofgivingisnot
assincere.TlIerefOre,itisenougbthatmystudent
perfOrmsyourdedicationsforyou/)Thisisanexample
25

ofhowthousandsofsilvercoinsareonlyconsidered

<<halfgoodness}andtwocentsare(<wholegoodness.)
AnotherexampleisofQuanZhongli)animmortal
oftheHandynastywhowasteachingbisstudent,Lu
Dongbintl>eartoftransformingironintogoldThey
woulduseittohelpthepoorDongbinaskedl]is
teacberiftl1egoldwouldeverclIangebacktoiron.
Zhonglisaid,Afterfivehundredyears,itwillreturnto
itsoriginalfOrm.))Dongbinreplied<(ThenIdonot
wanttolearnthisartfOritwillharmtlIosewhopos))

sessthegoldinfivehundredyears
Zl1onglisaid:<Tobecomeanimmortal,onemust
completetl1reethousandvirtuousdeeds.Whatyou
havejustsaidcamefTomatrulykindl1eartYourthree
thousanddeedsarefulfilled),Tbisaccountisanother

exampleofwholegoodnessandbalfgoodness.
W}1enweperfOrmagooddeeditisbestnottoattachtowl1atwehavedone.Ifwepracticeinthisway,
thenallofourgooddeedswillreachfulfillmentand
success.But,ifwealwaysthinkofthegoodthatwe
havedoneaswelookfOrarewardthennomatterhow

diligentlywepractice)evenfOranentirelifetime,the
deedswillstillbeconsideredhalfgoodness
Forexample,whenwedonatemoney,wecanprac-

tice((puredonation.>>Wedonotlingeronthethougl1t
of(<Iwhoisgiving>ontheimportanceoftheobject
thatisgiven,orontheonewl1ohasreceivedWe
simplygiveoutoftruesincerityandrespect.Wl1enwe
practicepuredonationonepoundofricecanbring
426

infinitegoodfortune,andthemeritsfTomgivingone
centcanwIpeawaythetransgressionsofatlIousand
eons

But,ifwealwaysthinkoftbegoodtlIatwehave
doneandeectrewardsforouractions,tlIenevena
donationofonemilliondollarswouldnotbringustbe
rewardofafUllygoodfOrtune.Thisisanotherwayof
elainingwlIolegoodnessandhalfgoodness.
Whatare<biggoodness),and<<smallgoodness>)P
Once,animportantofficial,WeiZbongdawasledinto
tlIeunderworldforjudgment.Whentherecordsthat
tlIejudgehadorderedtobebroughtoutarrived
Zl1ongdawasastoundedattlIecourtyardfilledwitlIhis
badrecordsandthesinglescrollofl1isgooddeeds.
TheofficialthenorderedthemtobeweigbedSurprisingly,thebadrecords,wbich}Iadfilledthecourtyard,
werelighterthanthesinglescrollofgooddeedsthat
wasasthinasachopsticldZlIongdaaskedthejudge:iI
ambarelyfOrtyyearsold,howcouldIhavecommitted
somanyoffenses?Thejudgeanswered:Whenyou
giverisetoasingletl1oughttl1atisimproper,itis
consideredabadoffensethereandthen;itdoesnot
havetobecarriedouttobecountedasawrong
Zhongdathenaskedthejudgewhatwasrecorded
onthesinglescrollThejudgereplied:(Oncetl1e
emperorplannedtobuildagreatstonebridge.You
opposedtheprOjectduetothehardsl1ipsitwould
causetbetensofthousandsofpeopleneededfOrthe
workThisisacopyofyourobjection.Zhongdasaid:
427

Ididmaketheproposal,butt}Ieemperordismissedit
andproceededwitbtheprOject.WhatIsaid}Iadno
effectonthematter.Howcanitbearsomuchweight
againstallmyoffenses?)}
Thejudgereplied:Altboughtheemperorrejected
yoursuggestion,youronethoughtofkindnessforall
thosepeoplewasverygreatIftheemperorhadacceptedyourideathenthegoodperfOrmedwouldhave
beenevengreater)>TherefOre,whenoneisdetermined
todogoodfOrtl1ebenefitofallpeople,asmalldeed
canresultingreatmerits.Ifonetl1inksonlyabout
benefitingoneselftbenevenifmanydeedsofkindnesswereperfOrmed,themeritswouldstillbesmall
Whatare<(difficultgoodness))and<easygoodness?
Scholarsofthepastsaidt}Iatonew}Iowishestoconquergreedanddesiresbouldbeginwithwl1atismost
difficulttoovercome.WhenConfi1ciustalkedabout

ourcultivationoflIumanity,healsosaidtobeginwith
wbatismostdifficulttopractice.Forexample,an
elderlyteaclIer)Mr.Shuof]iangxlgavetwoyears
salarytoapoormanwhoowedmoneytotl1egovernment.Iftl1emanhadbeensenttoprison,thefamily
wouldl1avebeentornapart.
AnotlIerexampleisMr.ZhangfTomHandan.He
gavewl1athadtakenl1imtenyearstosavetoapoor
manwboowedmoneytotlIegovernmentTl1issaved
himfromgoingtojailandenabledhimtoremainwith
hiswife.SuclIexamplesasMr.ShuandMr.ZlIang
arerare,fOrtlIeygavewhatismostdifficulttogive.
428

WhatotherswouldnotsacriHce)theydidsowillingly.
AnotherexampleisMr.>infTom]iangsuprovmce
whowasoldandwithoutanysons.Hisneighbors
offeredl1imtbeiryoungdaughterinmarriageso}1e
mighthavedescendantstocontinuehisfamily.MrJin
refusedtl1eofferandsentlIerl1ome.Thisisanot}1er

exampleofbeingabletoovercomewhatismostdifficulttoconquerinoneselfThelIeavensshowered
downespeciallygoodfOrtuneonthesethreemen
ItiseasierfOrtl1osewhobavemoneyandpowerto
accumulatemeritsandvirtuesthanfOrthosewl1oare

poorHowever,ifonerefUsestocultivategoodness
whentheopportunitypresentsitself)thenitwould
trulybeashameForthosewhoarewitboutwealtbor
status)doinggoodthingsfOrothersisverydifficult.
However)ifonecan}Ielpothersinthefaceofdifficultiesitwillbeevenmorevaluable.

Therearemanywaystohelpotherswheneverthe
opportunitypresentsitselfThesecanbesimplified
intothefOllowingtenimportantcategories.
l.Tosupportthepracticeofkindness.
2.Torevereloveandrespect.
3.Tohelpotherssucceedinpracticinggoodness
.Topersuadeotherstopracticekindness.
5Tobelpthoseindesperateneed
6.TodeveloppublicprOjectsforthegreater
benefitofpeople.
7.Topracticemeritsbygivingwealth
8.Toprotectandmaintainproperteachings.
42g

9.Torespectelders.
l0Toloveandcherisballlivingthings.
,,

Whatdoes(<tosupportthepracticeofkindness
mean?EmperorShunlivedduringtheYaoPeriod
Oneday>befOrehebecameemperor,Shunwaswatcl1ingsomefishermenonLakeLeize.Henoticedthatall
theyoungerandstrongerfisl1ermentookthespots
wberethewaterwasdeepandtlIefishwereabundant,
wbilethosewhowereolderandweakerwereleftwith

therapidsandsl1allowwater,wheretherewerevery
fewfish

WbenShunsawthis)hesympathizedwitl1tl1eolder
fishermenHejoinedinthefishingandwheneverl1e
sawyoungerfishermengrabthegoodspots,besaid
nothingButwheneversomeyieldedtoothers)}1e
praisedtl1emeverywherebewentandemulatedt}1eir
humbleandpolitemannerHedidtlIisfOroneyear
untiltbefishermengotintotbehabitofyieldingtbe
goodspotstootbers
AwiseandcapablemansuchasShuncouldhave

easilyinHuencedotherswitlIafewwords.Wbydidhe
notsimplysaysomethinginsteadoftryingtochange
othersbysettingagoodexample?ShunIspainstaking
andgoodintentionswereliketheeertartisanship
tlIatresultsomlongpracticeandhardwork
Intoday)seraoflowmorality,socialbreakdown
andlossofproperthinking,itisextremelydifficultto

findagoodstandardofbehavior.TherefOre,when
thosearoundushaves}Iortcomings,wedonotuseour
430

strengthstopointouttheirdeficienciesWhenothers
areunkind,wedonotuseourkindnesstocompare
ourselvestothem.Wbenotl1ersarelesscapable,we
donotpurposelysurpassthemEvenw}Ienweare
intelligentandcompetent,thesearetobekepthidden.
Insteadofboastingweneedtobehaveevenmore
modestly.Whensomeonemakesamistake>wetolerateanddonotrevealitThisprovidestheopportunity
torefOrmwithoutthelossofself-respect
Wl1enweallowotherstokeeptheirdignity,they
willbeevenmorecarefuloffUtureactionsWhenwe

seestrengthsorsmallkindnessinothers,wecanlearn

fTomtl1emandpraisetlIemtoothers.Indailylife,we
canreainomspeakingandactingwitIselfisl1
intentions)butinsteadseektobenefitsociety.Wecan
helpsetstandardsforotherstofOIlowThesearet}Ie
qualitiesofagreatperson;someonewhothinksof
publicwelfareasmoreimportantthanhisorherown.
WhatdoestorevereloveandrespectfOrothers
mean?Sometimesitis}1ardtotellonappearance
wl1etbersomeoneisanhonorablepersonorafTaud)
sincefTaudspretendtobehonorable.Thedifferenceis
asobviousblackandwhiteAsMenciussaid,the

differencebetweenbonorablepeopleandordinary
peopleliesintheirintentions.

T}Ie}Ieartofagenuinelybonorablepersonisfilled
witlIloving-ldndnessandrespectfOrothers.Thereare
thousandsofdifferenttypesofpeopleinthisworld
someclosetouswhileothersarestrangers.Somehave
43l

prestigewhileothershavenone.Somearesmartwbile
otbersarenotandsomearevirtuouswhileothersare

corruptNevertheless,weareallhumansandaretl1us

alloneentityWeshouldneitherlIatenordisrespect
anyone

Whenourheartsarefilledwithloving-ldndnessand
respectfOrothers,itisthesameasifourbeartswere
filledwithloving-kindnessandrespectfOrtl1esages
andvirtuouspeople.Whenweunderstandandagree
withothers,itist}1esameasifweunderstandand

agreewiththesagesandvirtuouspeople.Wl1y?Becausealltl1evirtuouspeopleandsageswantpeopleto
obtainwhattheywishfOr.IfwecanlIavelovingkindnessandrespectfOrpeopleandhelpthemto
achieveintheirendeavors,weareactingasasageora
virtuousperson.

Whatdoes<l1elpingotherstodogoodmean?Ifwe
tossedasideapieceofrawjade,itwouldremaina
wortblessstone.Butifwecarvedandpolisl1edit,it
wouldbetransfOrmedintoavaluableobject.Sowhen
weseepeoplewlIomwefeell1avethepotentialto
practicegoodnessortoworktowardsapropergoal,we
canguide,support)praiseandencouragetl1em,thus
helpingthemtosucceedIfotherswronglyaccuse
them>wecantrytocleartbeirnameandsharetl1eir
burdenofslander.Onlywhenwehavehelpedtl1em
backont}IeirfeettobecomeafUnctioningpartof
society,willwehavefulfilledourresponsibilityin
helpingotherstodogood
432

MostpeopledislikethosewhoaredilferentfTom
tlIem<Forexampletbosewboarebadfeeluncomfortablearoundthosewboaregood>Asthereare
alwaysmorebadpeoplearoundthangoodpeople;
thosewlIoaregoodoftenbavedi{ficultystandingon
theirown.

Goodpeoplehaveabilitiesandvirtuesthatenable
themtobecomefamousTheyusuallypaylittleattentiontotbeirappearanceTheycaneasilybewrongIy
accused,sostrivingtodogoodturnsouttobeacballenge.Whenthishappens)itisentirelyuptovirtuous
peopleandelderstoprotectandhelptbosewhoare
moraltostandontheirownT}Ieycandot}1isbyprovidingw}Iatt}IepeopleneedtopracticegoodnessThe
meritsofthevirtuouspeopleandelderswbodothis
wi>lbegreat
Whatdoes((persuadingotherstopracticeldndness>
mean?Ashumans,weallwanttobegoodandtobave
aconscience,butchasingafterwealtbandfamebaS
keptussobusythatwehavestoppedlisteningtoour
conscienceThisistheresultofbavingtosurviveina
worldfilledwithhardshipsWhenafriendisaboutto
ignorehisorberconsciencetodosomet}Iingunworthy,wecanremindandwarntbisfriendhopingto
wakehimorberfromdelusionItislikewaldngup
someonew}IentheyarehavinganightmareItisupto
ustos}IaketlIemintorealityWhenapersonisundergoingalongspellofdepression,wecanpullthispersonoutofitandhelptoclearbisorhermindWeare
433

mostvirtuousifwecantreatourfTiendswitlIsuch
kindness.

AsclIolarnamedHanyuoncesaid:<<Bywordof
mouthonecanonlypersuadeandinHuenceothersfOr
awlIile.Ifonecanpersuadeandinfluenceothers
throughwrittenworks,oneIswordscanbepassedon
fOrlmndredsofgenerationsaroundtheworld))Dependingonwhatisappropriateintl1ecircumstances)
wecanuseeitberspeakingorwriting.
Toencouragevirtue>wecanpersuadeothers
throug}1speecborwritingComparedwitl1teacl1ing
otl1erstlIrouglIbel1aviorthesearemoredirectand
clearSometimes,wedonotl1avetimetoteac}1otl1ers
througbbehavior.Tbenverbalorwritteneducation
willbemoreeffective.However)ifwecanapplyitlike
theriglItmedicinefOranillness,oftenitwillproveto
havewonderfUleffects.TberefOrewecannotgiveup.
IfwemaketlIemistakeoflosingaperson<itwas
properfOrustoguidethispersonbutwedidnot>or
wastingourwordsitwasimproperfOrustoper
suadetl1ispersonbutwetriedto)weneedtothink
andfindtbewisdomnottorepeattbemistake.
Whatdoes(helpingtboseindesperateneedmean?
PeopleoftensufferfTomseriousdifficulties.Ifwe
meetsomeoneliketl1is,thenweimmediatelyl1elptlIat
personasifweweretheonewhowassuffering.Ifa
personl1asbeenwronglyaccusedorconvictedtl1en
weshouldpleadontheirbehalfaswellasl1elpinany
waywecanTlIescbolarMr.Cuioncesaid:Itdoes
34

notmatterwhetherafavorisbigorsmallWhatis
importantisthatitisdoneatatimewhenotl1ersneed
itmost.))Tbesearewordsofloving-Mndness.
Whatdoes<<developingpublicpmjectsfrtl1ebenefitofotlIersmean>SmallconstructionprOjectsare
neededfOrvillagesandbigconstructionjobsare
neededfOrcities.Aslongastheyl1elppeople)they
shouldbebuilt.PublicprOjectscanbetheconstruc-

tionofsystemstoirrigatefarmlands,damstoprevent
flooding)orbridgestofacilitatetravel.Also,wecan
givefOodorwatertothosewhoarebungryorthirsty
Wheneverwehavetheopportunity,weneedtoinspire
otherstodotlIeirshareaswelltohelpaccomplislIthe
prOjecteitherthrouglIthesharingofwealthorof
labor.DonotbeafTaidofwl1atothersmig}Itsayor
becomediscouragedwhenthejobbecomesdifficult.
Donotallowtbejealousyandhatredofothersto
wealKenourresolvetodowhatisvirtuous.

WhatdoesaccumulatingmeritsandgoodfOrtune
bygivingwealth))mean?InBuddbism)givingisconsideredtl1efOremostpracticeamongallthemetlIods.
Wl1atisgiving?Givingislettinggo.Awisepersonwbo
understandsthisprinciplewouldbewillingtogive
awayeverytl1ing,eventotbepointoflettinggoofour
attacbmentstothesixsenseorganswitl1in.Externally
wecanalsogiveawaytlIatwhichwesee,hearsmell,
taste,touch,andtlIink

Wecangiveawayanyt}Iing.WlIenwefindour-

selvesunabletodoso,wecanbeginwiththegivingof
435

wealthOrdinarypeopleregardtheirclothingandfOod
asdearlyastbeirlives;therefOre,tlIeyconsiderwealth
tobeoftl1eutmostimportance.Whenwegivespontaneously,wecancurestinginesswhile}IelpingotlIersin
direneedHowever,fOrmanythisisverydifficultto
do,especiallyatfirstBut,graduallytbemorewegive
themorenaturalitwillbecome.Thisistl1ebestwayto
cureselfislmess,andtoeradicateattachmentsand
stinginess.

Whatdoes<<protectingproperteacl1ingsmean?For
millionsofyears,properteaclIingsbavebeenastandardoftruthandprovidedspiritualguidancefOrall
livingbeingsWitboutproperteachingshowcanwe

participateinandsupporttlIenurturingofheavenand
earth?Withoutproperteacbings,l1owcanwehelp
peopletosucceedintheirpractice?Howcanbeingsin
alltherealmssucceedintbeirendeavorswitlIouta

standardtoliveby?HowcanwebefreeoftheFive
Desires,theSixDustsourdelusions,ourafflictions?
Withoutproperteachings,howcanwesetastandard
intheworldandhelppeopletranscendsamsara?
W}Ieneverweseetemples,memorials,orpicturesof
pastvirtuouspeopleorsages,orBuddhisttexts,we
sl1ouldberespectfulIftheyareinneedofrepair,we

sl1ouldrepairthem.Wecanpropagateandpassontl1e
properteacbingsandbelpotherstolearntheirvalue
Inthisway,wecanrepayourgratitudetotbeBuddba.
Weshoulddoourbestandencourageotherstodoso
aswell.
436

Whatdoes<<respectingourelders,)mean?Itisto
malKeanextraeffOrttobeattentivetoandrespectful
ofparents,oldersiblings,leaders,superiors,elders,

andt}IoseofgreatvirtueandIearning.Wbentaking
careofourparentsatlIome,wearetodosogently
witblovingheartsandobligingdemeanorsWeshould
notraiseourvoicebutmaintainapeacefulbearing.As
wecultivatetbesevirtues,theywillbecomeapartof
usandwewillcbangeintoagentle-}Ieartedperson
Tbisisthewaywecantoucbthe}Ieartsofheaven
WhenworkingfOroursuperiorsorthegovernment,
wesl1ouldfOllowtberulesandnotdoaswepleasejust
becauseoursuperiorsdonotknoww}Iatwearedoing.
BefOreweconVctsomeoneofacrime,regardlessof
whetherthecrimeisseriousornot,weshouldinvesti-

gatecarefullyandbejustWeshouldnotabusepower
orbecruelbecauseoursuperiorsdonotlmowwhat
wearedoing.WhenwithourSuperv>sor,weshould
showlIimorherthesamerespectasifwewerefacing
tbeheavens.(Astheproverbsays))(<Tbisistbecorrect
behaviorhandeddownfromourancestors.Itbasan

importantbearingonourhiddenvirtuesLookatall
tbefamilieswhopracticedloyaltyandfilialpiety.
TlIeirdescendantsprosperedforalongtimeandhad
brightfi1tures.WecanfOllowtheirexampleandpracticewithcaution.

Whatdoeslovingandcherishingalllivingthings,
mean?Acompacsionateheartmakesaperson.ApersonseekingtlIeVrtuesofloving-kindnessandcompas437

sioncultivateshisorherbeartofcompassion.Apersonwl1owantstoaccumulatemeritsalsocultivatesa

compassionateheart
ItisstatedintheBooARs:Inanuary,when
mostanimalsbeartheiryoung,femalesofthespecies
arenottobeusedfOrsacrificialpurposes.),Mencius
oncesaid:((Anbonorablepersonwillnotgonearthe
kitc}Ien.))Tl1isistoprotectacompassionatel1eart.Our
ancestorsdidnoteatmeatunderfOurcircumstances:

iftlIeyl1eardthekillingsawtbekillinghadtheanimalkilled,orraisedtheanimalthemselves.Ifwe

cannotstopeatingmeatimmediately,wecanbeginby
fOllowingtl1esefOurguidelines.Inthiswayweare
graduallyincreasingourcompassion
WeslIouldnotonlyrefTainfromldllinganyanimals)butinsectsaswell,fOrtheyarealsolivingcreatures.Manmakessilkfromthecocoonsofsilkworms
thatl1avetobeboiledinwaterwithtl1esilkworms

insideWhenwecultivatethelandfOrfarming)l1ow

manyinsectshavetobekilled?Weneedtobeaware
ofthecostinlivesinvolvedinourfoodandclothing.

WekilltoprovideforourselvessotowastefOodand
clothingisasseriousanoffenseaskilling.Howoften
l1aveweunlmowinglyharmedorsteppedonaliving
creature?Wesl1oulddoourbesttopreventtl1isfTom
happeningagainAnancientgreatpoetoncewrote:
orloveofthemice,weoftenleavethemsomerice
>)

andinpityingthemothwewillnotlightthelamp.
TbisiscompassionIcannotbegintotalkofalltl1e
38

infinitetypesofgoodness.Ifwecaneandtheten
previouscategories,wecanmaket}1emintoamulti
tudeofgooddeedsandvirtues.

439

TlIeFourthLesson:

TlIeBenefitsofTbeVirtueOfHumility

IntlIeJCgthehexagramfOrhumilitystated:T1e
lawsofl1eaventakefromtlIearrogantandbenefitthe
humble.TbelawsofearthbringHowingwaterom
areastlIatarefUlltothosetlIatarelowerasitpasses
byAndtlIelawsofspiritsbringharmtot}1osewl1oare
arrogantandgoodfOrtunetothosewhoaremodest
EventbelawsofpeopledespisetbosewhoarearrogantandprefertlIosewboaremodest.
IntheJChnaonlythehumility}Iexagramcontains
solelygoodoutcomesTbeBoAoTsmIyalsoex
plains:(Whilearroganceinvitesdisaster,lIumility
gainsbenefit.)>Ioftenwenttotaketheexaminations
accompaniedbyothersandeverytimeIwouldmeet
scholarswlIowereverypoor.IrealizedthatbefOre
theypassedtl1eexaminationsandbecameprosperous,
t}IeirfacesradiatedsucbhumilitythatIfeltIcould
almostl1olditinmyhands
Severalyearsago>tenofusfromtl1evillagewentto
takethepreliminaryimperialexaminationT}1eyoung-

est,Ding]ingyuwasextremelybumble.Itoldoneof
theapplicantsFei}inpothat>ingyuwouldundoubtedlypasstl]eexamination.Fei]inpoaskedhowIcould
tellandItoldbim:IIOnlythosewhoarelmmblereceivegoodfortune.Myfriend,lookatthetenofus.Is
tl]ereanyoneashonest,generousanduncompetitive
as}ingyu?Doyouseeanyonewhoisasrespectfill
440

tolerant)carefulandhumbleas>ingyu?Doyousee
anyonelikebim,whowheninsulteddoesnottalkback
orwhowbenslandereddoesnotargue?Anyperson
wl1ocanachievesuchhumilitywillreceiveprotection
omtbeearth,heaven,andspirits.Thereisnoreason
hewillnotbecomeprosperous}Sureenoughwhen
thetestresultscameout)Dingjingyuhadpassed
OneyearinBeiiing,Istayedwithachildhood
iendFengKaizhi.Alwayshumblehehadakindand
accommodatingappearanceHewasnolongerthe
arrogantpersonIhadlmownyearsago.Hisfriend,Li
]iyanwasverybluntandoutspoken)andoftenscolded
himfOrbismistakes,butKaizhijustcalmlyaccepted
theaccusationswithouttalldngbackItoldKaizhi:
Tustastherearesignst}IattellofcominggoodfOrtuneormisfOrtune,wecanseethatprosperityor
adversitycometothosewbohavecultivatedtheir
causes.Heavenwillhelpthosewhoseheartsarehumble.You,myfriend,willdoubtlesspasstheimperial
examinationthisyear!Later,hedidjusttl1at.
Tl1erewasayoungmanomS1andongprovInce
namedZl1aoYufengwbopassedtbepreliminarylevel
oftheimperialexaminationsbefOrehewaseven
twenty.But,tryasbemightlIecouldnotpassthe
succeedingexaminations.Whenhisfathermovedto

>iasbantoacceptanothergovernmentpostYufeng
wentwitbhimandcametogreatlyadmireawelllmownscholarinthevillagenamedQianMingwu.
YufengbroughthisworktoMrQianwl1opicked
44l

upl1iscalligraphybrushandmademanycorrectionsto
theessay.NotonlywasYufengnotangry)hegratefully
acceptedallofMrQian)scoITectionsandimmediately
madetlIerecommendedchanges.TlIefollowingyear,
Yufengpassedtheimperialexamination.
OneyearIwenttothecapitaltopaymyrespectsto
theemperorandmetascholarnamedXiaJiansuowho
lIadallthequalitiesofagreatmanwithoutatraceof
arrogance.IfelttheintenseauraoflIisvirtueand
humilityWlIenIreturnedl1omeItoldafTiend:
Wbenheavenwantsapersontoprosper)itfirstbestows}IimwitlIwisdomthatcanmakeapompous
personlIonestandwelldisciplined]iansuoisgentle,
kind,andgoodSurely>heavenwillnowmakehim
prosperous.,Sureenougb,whenthetestresultscame
out)>iansuohadpassedtheexamination.
TherewasasclIolarnamedZhangWeiyanfrom]i-

angyinwhowaswelleducatedwrotegoodessays,and
waswelllmownamongscho>ars.Oneyear,wl1ile
takinghisexaminationinNanjinglIestayedatatemple.WhenthetestresultswerepostedandlIefOund
thatbehadfailed,hebecamefUriousandloudlyaccusedtheexaminerofbeingblindtoobvioustalent.
ATaoistmonkwlIosawthisbegantosmile.Weiyan

immediatelyredirectedl1isangertowardsthemonk
whosaidtheessaymustnotbegoodWeiyangoteven

angneranddemandedhowl1eknewitwasnotgood
whenhehadnotevenreadit!TheTaoistrepliedtbat
helIadoftenheardthattheprimaryelementinwriting
442

goodessayswasapeacefUlmindandalIarmonious
disposition.Weiyan>sloudandangryaccusations
clearlysl1owedthathismindanddispositionwere
violentsohowcouldlIepossiblywritewell!Weiyan
acceptedwhattbeTaoistsaidandaskedfOrhisadvice.
TheTaoistsaidthatwlIetherornotonepassesdependsondestiny.Ifsomeoneisnotdestinedtopass,
thennomatterhowgoodthepaperis,heorshewill
fail.W}IentheTaoistconcludedthatWeiyanneeded
tomakesomecl1anges,WeiyanaslKedhowhecould
cbangedestiny.TheTaoistrepliedthataltl1ougl1the
powertofOrmourdestiniesliesintl1eheavens)the
righttochangethemlieswithinusAslongaswe
practicegoodnessandcultivatehiddenvirtues)wewill
receivewhatweseek

WeiyansaidthatlIewasonlyapoorsclIolarand
questionedl1isabilitytodopracticegoodnessThe
Taoistelainedthatpracticinggoodnessandaccumu
latingl>iddenvirtuesdependedontheheartAslong
asoneintendedtopracticegoodnessandaccumulate
virtues,themeritswouldbeinfinite!HeusedtlIe

exampleoftlIevirtueofl1umilitytl1atcostnothing.
Weiyanneededtolookwithininsteadofberatingtl1e
examinerfOrbeingunfair.Weiyanlistenedtothe
TaoistmonlKandomtl1enonsuppressedlIisarro
gance.Everyday}Ietriedhardertopracticegoodness
andtoaccumulatemoremerits.

Onenight)threeyearslater,hedreamtthatl1elIad

enteredaverytallhouseandsawabookwitl1many
13

namesaswellasmanyblanklines.Heaskedtl1epersonnexttohimaboutitandwastoldtl1atthenames

belongedtotheapplicantswholIadpassedtheexaminationtl1atyear.WbenWeiyanaskedaboutallthe
blanklines,l1ewastoldtlIatthespiritsoftheunderworldcl1eckedontheapplicantseverythreeyears
OnlythenamesofthosewhowerefaultlessandpracticedgoodnessremainedintlIebookTl1eblanMines
l1adcontainedt}1enamesofthosedestinedtopass
butduetorecentoffenses,tlIeirnameshadbeen
removed

Thepersonpointedtoablanklineandsaidtbat
forthepastthreeyearsWeiyanl1adbeenverycarefulandsodisciplinedthatl1el1adnotmadeany
mistakes.Perl1apshisnamewouldfilltheblank
HehopedtbatWeiyanwouldvaluetlIisopportunity
andcontinuelIisfaultlessbehavior.Thatyear,
Weiyanpassedtheexaminationandplacedone
hundredandfifth

Wenowlmowthatspiritsandheavenlybeings
aretl1reefeetaboveourheads.Obtaininggood
fortuneandpreventingmisfortuneisuptous.As
longaswel1avegoodintentions,refrainfrom
wrongdoings,donotoffendthebeingsandspirits
ofheavenandeartl1,aretolerantandnotarrogant,

thentl1ebeingsandspiritsofheavenandearthwill
feelcompassionforusOnlytlIenwillwehavea
foundationforfutureprosperity.
Tl>osewhoarefilledwithconceitarenotdes4

tinedforgreatnessEveniftheydoprospertlIeir
goodfortunewillbeshortlivedIntelligentpeople
wouldneverbenarrow-mindedandrefusetl1egood
fortunetheyareentitledto.Thosewhoarelmmble
alwaysincreasetlIeiropportunitiestolearnandin
thiswaytheirgooddeedsareboundless!Those
wl1owisl1tocultivateandimprovetheirvirtues
cannotdowithoutthevirtueofhumility.
TlIeancientssaid:(<ThosewholIavetheirhearts

setonsuccessandfame,willsurelyattaintbem
justasthosewlIobavetheirheartssetonwealth

andpositionwillattainwhattheywishfor.))Apersonwhohasgreatandfar-reacbinggoalsislikea
treewitl1rootsTl1eymustbel1umbleinevery
tl1ougl1tandtrytorelieveother>sburdensevenif
tl]eoccurrenceisasinsignificantasaspeckof
dust.Ifwecanreachthislevelofhumility,wewill
naturallytoucl1tlIeheartsofheavenandearth
Iamtbecreatorofmyownprosperity.LoolKat
tlIeapplicantswhosoughtfameandwealthIni-

tiallytl1eywereinsincereandwbattheysouglItwas
apassingimpulse.WhentlIeywantedsometl1ing,
theysougl1titbutwhentheirinterestwaned,they
stoppedseekingitMenciusoncesaid(toEmperor
XuanofQi):Ifyoucanexpandfromtheheartthat
seekspersonallIappiness>tosharingl1appinesswitb
allyoursubjectsandmakethemjustashappyas
youarethensurelythenationwillprosper!)Thisis
alsotrueformeinseekingtopasstheimperial
145

examination.(Ialonecanseekandthuschangemy
destiny)

416

TheTen-Recitati0nMethOd

Thissin1ple,convenientandectivewaytopractice
BuddhaRecitationisespeciallysuitablefbrthosewhofind
thattheyhavelittletin1efbrcultivation.IthelpsustobE/
InindfUlofBuddhaAInitabha.Itbringsusquietjoy.
WebeginwhenwewakeupSitupstraightandclearl)/
reciteAInituofb,,tentiIneswithacaln1andfbcusedn]ind,

aloudorsilently.WerepeatthisprocesseightInoretiIes.
eachtiInedoingoneroundoftenrecitations.Recitenine
tiInesdailyatthesetiInes:
UpoIwaMngIp
BefrebreaMnst,lunch,aIddiIIer

BefbreaI>dafter0IrIorIiIg,swork
Befreadaero.aeroon,swork

UpoIretiriIg

Thekeyisregularity;disruptionofthispracticewillreduceitsectiveness.Whenwereciteconsistentlywithout
inteITuption,wewillsoonelanincreaseinourpurityof
Inind,wisdon1,andserenityDiligentpracticeofthis
Inethod,togetherwithunwaveringbeliefandvows,can
ensurefUlfillInentofourwishtoberebornintheWestern
PureLand

447

NOTES

UnlessindicatedotherwiseallnotesaretlIoseoftlIe
writer.Notesinbracketsarethoseoftbetranslators

andareindicatedbytheabbreviation<Trans.)
lInthepast,befOrethegovernmentemployedsomeone,
examinationswereheldfOrallthecandidates.Afterpassing
t}Iefirstentryexamination,thestudentswouldtlIenbesent
tovariouscountyschoolstostudy.(Oncethesystembecamestandardized,testswereheldeverythreeyearsInthe
fal>candidatesweretestedintheir}Iomeprefectures.In
thespring,tlIosewhopassedwenttotheMinistIyofRites

inthecapitalfOrthemetropolitanexamination,andiftbey
passedagain,theywereexaminedatthepalacebythe
emperorThosewhopassedalllevelsreceivedtheJinshi
degree,weregivenrankascivilofficials,andwereassigned
togovernmentposts.)(MicrosoftEncartaEncyclopedia99
l993-l998MicrosoftCorp)
2<960-ll27>

3CbmJbIserasIrbsincludes3450
titlesin36,000volumesandcoversc>assicsandsutras,

historygovernmentmanagementandliterature>

1TheICmgisoneoftheWBCssisinConfUcianism.
Itisnowusedasamanualofdivinationandhaspl]ilosophicalaspects.Tfans>
5Attl1istime,LiaofanscousinbadafTiendwhowasteach-

ingatsomeone)shomePerlIapsthispersonwasawealthy
individualwhohademptyroomsinhishousethatwere
usedasclassroomsandwhoemployedteaclIerstogive
lessonstolIischildrenaswellasthoseofrelativesand

friends.LiaofanbecameapupilofMr.Yuandbeganhis

preparationfOrtheexamination.Inthepast,schoolswere
notcommonliketheyaretodayBefbretheQingdynasty,
<l644-l9l2>lessonswereconductedinbomeschools.
Usuallytherewasonlyoneteachergivinglessonstotwenty
8

orthirtystudentsTherewerenohighschoo>s,onlypublic
universities.Studentsstudiedveryhardwithaprivatetutor
topasst}>eexaminationbefbreattendingagovernmentmanageduniversity.

6<Acivilscholarwasequivalenttoahighschoolstudent
andanimperialscho>arwasequivalenttoauniversity
student>

7Atthattime,thegovernmentprovidedhighschooland
universitystudentswithanallowanceandsupp>emented
t}Ieirlivingexpenseswithrice.SimilartoafOodration,
excessncecou>dbeso>d.Aseveryregionhadasetnumber
ofopenings,onlywhentherewasavacancycouldaperson
beaddedtothe>ist.

8Imperialstudentshadalloftheirexpensespaidbythe
government;however,thestudentswereexpectedtowork
fOrthegovernmentuponcompletionoftheirschooling.
9ThesearetwooftheCsasofConfUcianismThe

BboASmgBunderscorestheConfucianvaluationof

lmmanfeelings.TheBboAfsmIypresentskingsipin
termsoftheet}>icalfbundationfOrahumanegovernment.
(EncyclopediaBritannica,BritannicaInc.,Copyrighted
l999-2000)

l0<ThefirstofMasterChinKung!sthreeteachers.>
llSinceancienttimesinChina,theRdbIStJnH,the
DmoIdSiJkmandthe5tJIHngama5iJn1ahavebeenac
knowledgedaseminentliteraryworks.ThedbnStJn
byMasterHuinengshouldnotbethoughtofassolelya
sutraoftheZenschoolfOritisanoverVewofBuddhism

andisessentiallyMasterHuineng)sreportofwhathehad
learnedthroughhisstudyandpractice.
l2<6l8to907>

l3PromtheTaoistbookeXMdOJ,eeaAc-

cozmReesMdRe,ojse
49

l4<Thefirstofthethreeseriousoffensesisfailingtosupportourparentswhentheyarealive.Secondisfailingto
givethemadecentburialupontheirdeathThethirdisthe
mostcritical-notproducinganheir.>
l5<BuddhaAmitabhaistheSanskritnamefbrtheBuddha
oftheWesternPureLand.Whenwearechantingweuse
theClIinesepronunciation(<AmituofO.)}<<Amituo)isaname
meaninginfinitelifeandinfiniteight,andomeans
BuddlIa.>

M<DoingthisplantstlIeseedfbrfUtureBuddhahoodandin
thiswaysavestheirlifebyrescuingthemfromsufferingin
thesixpathsofestence
l7206BCAD229

l8<TheBodhimindisthegreatcompassionateandsincere
mind,witheverythoughttoattaincomp>eteself-rea>ization
fOrselfandothers>

l,Tai]iawasanemperorduringtheSbangdynasty
<ca.l766-call25BC>.Whenhewasyoungheengaged
inimmora>activities.After>isteningtotheguidanceofthe

greatsageYiyinheamendedhiswrongbehavior.The
abovequotewashisexpressionofgratitudetothesage.
20<1368-l644>

2l<MasterLianchiwastbeeighthPatriarclIofthePure
LandsclIoolandwasMasterOUYisteacher.>

22ThismethodprovidesuswithfburbenefitsFirst,we
wou>dnotfOrgettl>eChineselanguage.Thisisespecially
importantfOrthoseofChinesedescentlivingabroadasit
wouldenabletlIemtoremembertheiroriginsSecond,we
wouldbeabletounderstandChinesecharactersrI}]irdwe
wouldbewe>lversedinc>assicalChinese,whichwould

provideuswiththeabiitytoreadCbmPbIuoAbe
fbJrZasJITs.Passeddownthroughfivethousandyears

ofChinesehistory,thesebookscontaintbeessenceofthe
wisdomandexperienceofpastsagesandvirtuousancients.
450

Fourth,wewouldbeabletoreadBuddhistsutrasthatserve
asthefbundationfbrourpractice.

23<<<NamoAmituofbisChineseandmeans<lTopayhomagetoBuddhaAmitabha/}>
21ItistlIesameinBuddl1ismToshowtheutmostrespect)

amonkornunisaddressedbythenameofhisorl]erway
placeorlocation.MasterZhizhewasaddressedastlIegreat
masterofTiantaibecausehelivedonTiantaiMountain.

AnotherexampleisMasterKuijiwhowascalledCien
becauselIewasfromtheCienTemple.

25Althoughthisisnotaveryhighleve>ofachievement,
attainmentofitshowedthatLiaofanwasproceedingcorrectlyandhadreceivedagoodresponse

26<ThethirdstudyisskillsfOrmakingalivingandtlIe
fOurthisthearts.>

27AnotlIeroftheCssjsofConfucianismtheBboA
oFRrswasconcernedwithprinciplesofconduct

28EverydayLiaofanhandledpublicaffairsandservedasan
inteITogatorinthejudicialsystem.Thisisunliketoday
wherethejudicialandlegislativedepartmentsareseparatedInancientChina,themayormanagedjudicialand
legislativecases

29Buddl]ismflourishedduringtheMingandQingdynastiesseveralcenturiesago,whenmanymonksandnuns
livedonthefOurfamousmountains.Thetenthousandwho

livedonWutaiMt<symbo>izingManjusriBodhisattva>was
actuallynotalargenumber.Themountainwiththemost
peoplewasPutuo<symbolizingAvalokiteshvaraBodhisattva>witharoundthirtytofOrtythousandmonksand
nunsinresidenceAndtlIerewereovertenthousandliving

onEmeiMt<symbolizingSamantabhadraBodlIisattva>and
]iouhuaMt<symbolizingKsitagarbhaBodhisattva>.

30TheBboAfsanotherofthef;VBCs5sof
Confucianism,isacol>ectionofancienthistorica>docu5l

ments.>

3lAtimewhenChinawasundergoingmuchchange.

32TheImgadAmAmmAanotheroftheyc

CsssisanhistoricaccountoftheLuNation.Through
outhislifetimeConfUciuseditedandcompiledthese
recordsintoabook)whichhasbeenpasseddowntothis
day.Tbisbookhascommentarieswrittenbymanypeople.
ThemostpopularandwidelystudiedonehasbeenextensivelyfOotnotedbyZuoQiumingandiscaIledtheIg
adAmdImals.TwoothereditionsaretheGOngng
CbmmeIyandtheGmgCbmmeIraByfarthe
rmAnaAisthemostaccuratebestwritten
andfbotnotedAlthreeareintbeTeIAIcbIrCi

eSeSbIrms

33<GanzhuLivingBuddhawasastudentofZhangiiaLiving
Buddha.>

34<DanZhougongIivedduringtheZhoudynastyandis
rememberedasanoutstandingregent.Heisconsidereda
rolemodelfOrgoodpoliticiansYiyinwasafamousminister
whohelpedEmperorZhouChengwangtooverthrowthe
tyrannicalXiareign.>

35<Thefiveabilitiesarec>airvoyance)clairaudience,know-

ingonesownpastlifetimes)physica>abilities,andknowing
themindsofothers.>

36Inthepast,itwasaChinesecustomfOramantoalways
leavebishaton)evenatthetimeofdeathTodootherwise
wouldhavebeenadisgrace

37<PiveDeadIyOffensesarepatricidematricide>tointentiona>lycauseaBuddhatobleed,toki>laBodhisattvaoran
Arhat,andtodisrupttheSanghasunity.TenBadConductsaretokill,steal,commitsexualmisconduct)lie>use

abusivelanguage,beartales,useenticingwords,}Iave
greed,angerandignorance.>
38Thus,mainhal>sinBuddhisttemplesarecalledtheHall
45Z

ofGreatHeroes

39<EmperorShunwasahighlyrespectedemperorwholived
overfOurtlIousandyearsago>

40<Inotherwords>asgoodthoughtsarise,badthoughtsare
replaced.>

4l<MasterYuanyingwasaZenmasterwho>afteralifCtime
ofspecializingint}IeSiJIHIJgama5tMm>recommendedtl]e
PureLandmethod.MasterBaOjingwasaTiantaimaster

andwasthestudentofMasterDinan

2<Uponmarriagethehusband}sfamilywouldgiveadowry
tot}]efami>yofthefUturebride.Familieswhodidnotknow
betteroftenacceptedanofferofmarriagefromthewea>thiestfamily.>
43<Regard>essofwherearepastancestorsarecurrently,if
wearetrulyfilial,thenourgooddeedscanbringthem
honorandrespectfromotherbeingsandwil>thusbenefit
themeveniftheyarelivinginoneoftheThreeBad
Realms.TherefOre,whenwemakeofferingstothem,they
willacceptwhatwehavedone.>

44Liaofan>sexampleswereonlyafewdecadesapartand
werefamiliartoeveryoneofhistime.Heusedthemto
encouragetbepracticeandaccumulationofgoodnessfbr
thesewillresultingoodrewards
WhenIwasyoungIlivedinianoufOrsixyearsand
oftenwentwithmyschoolmatestoplayinwhathadfbrmerlybeenYangRong>shouse.Itwasofanancientstyle
fil>edwithmanyantiquesandhadtwostonelionsoneit}Ier
sideoftlIefrontdoor.Lanternswerealsohunginfrontof
thedoor)similartothoseoutsideofatemple
46Thefamilycouldnothaveearnedmuchmoney.Itwasan
acceptedpracticeinFUjiantonotchargeasetfee.StudentsdidnotevenneedtopayButevenwhenpassengers
didnothaveanymoney,theystillwouldbecarriedacross
theriver.Asmal>containerwasplacedononesideofthe
53

boat,andpeoplewho}1admoney,putinwhateveramount
theywished.

47Atthetimeofthisincident,thecountymagistratealso
handledjudicialmattersandservedasthejudge
48<IntheCbineseculture,aprosperousfamilyisonethat
basmanymaledescendantswhoarevirtuousandwhoare
successfulintheirworkManydescendantsarecrucial
becausethentherewillbepeopletopracticegoodnessand
tobringhonortotheirancestors>

49Atthetime,governmentofficia>sinlowerpositions
receivedasmallsalaryandmanyofthemretiredinastate
ofnearimpoverisbmentIfanofficialretiredwithagood
amountofmoney,itwashighlylikelythathehadtaken
bribesorembezzledduringhistermofofficeWhereelse
couldthemoneylIavecomefrom?SclIolarswerenottaught
howtorunabusiness.Ifonebecameahigh-rankingofficia>andcontributedgreatlytothecountry,thenhecou>d
receiverewardsinthefbrmoffarmlandsandhouses.

50Zicheng>stwosonswerebothintheDepartmentofCivi>
Personnel.TheirranksweresimilartoavIce-minister.

Usually,tlIerewasoneministerandtwovice-ministersone
fOradministrativemattersandtheotherfOrgeneralmat-

tersBothofthegrandsonswerewellknownfbrdoinga

goodjobAcurrentdescendant,MrYangChuting,also
he>dagovernmentpositionandwasknownfbrhishonesty
andfairness.

5lCommonsenseisneededwhentreatingapersonwith

hypothermiaNorthernersarefamiliarwitbtheprocedure;
however,southernersaregenerallynot.Insucbacase,use
atowelsoakedincoldwatertogentlyrubthebodyinorder
toletthecoldslowlyseepoutofthepores.

52<TheZhoudynastytllatlIadseenthegoldenageofChi-

nesephilosophy,lastedalmosteighthundredyearsand
collapsedin256BC>
5

53TlIereareseveralbookswhichtellofsucl>accounts,
suchasbsDmeCamLerbyJiXiaolan
aCbckbIsbyPuSunglingBbo
ObRecoIandARecoIdR6oIseaIdRnhJrbIfsofromthefirstyearoftheRepublicof
China.Theseallprovidenumerousexamplesofthelawof
causality

54Att}Ietimewealthypeoplewhoownedalloftheland
rentedittothefarmersMostofthefarmerswouldbeable

tosurviveabadyearas>ongastheydidnothavetopaytlIe
rent

55Trialsusua>lybeganatthebreakofdawnTheatmosplIereintbedarkcourtroomwasextremelyfighteninglike
beingheldfOrjudgmentinhellbefbret}IekingoftlIeunderworldMrTuworkedinthejudiciarydepartmenttbatis
similartotoday)sSupremeCourt.Hisposition,roughly
equivalenttothatofsectionchief,wasnothigh

56Sincetheemperorresidedintheimperialcity,itwasthe
bestgovernedandthemodelfOrtherestofthecountry.
MrTuunderstoodthatifithadunjustlysentencedprisoners,thentheremustbemanymoresuchcasesoutsidetlIe
city.

57MasterZhongfCnglivedduringtheYuandynasty<l280l368.>Hisnamemaybefamiliartosomeofusbecausebe
editedthezeaImgCbImoI1yBoOAtlIatweusein
ourpractice

58ThepurelandofeachBuddha-landismanifestedfrom
thetruenatureBut,ifwepossessjustonelonging,then
tbisisnolongerareflectionofthetruenature.

59WecanseeanexampeofthisintheKMaIbAaStJn
wheretheBrahmangirlcalled<(BrightEyes>>madeavowon
behalfofhermother.

60DuringancienttimesinChina,studentsusedtogive
theirteachersmallgiftsduringholidays.Originally,the
455

giftswerestripsofdriedmeattiedintoabundle.Later,the
giftsvariedandmaynotnecessarilyhavebeendriedmeat.
Teacherstaugl]tathomeschoolsandthenumberofstudentsvaried.TWentytothirtywasagoodsizewhilethe
smaIersclIoolsmighthavehadonlyadozenorsostudents,
inwhichcasetheteacherwouldreceiveameageramount
ofgifts.

6lDuringancienttimesitwasanacceptablecustomfOra
manwhohadnosonstotakeasecondwifetobearhiman

heirtocarryontlIefamilyline
62Inancienttimes,whensuchobjectswereoftenusedas
tokensofapromise,themostpreferredshapewasround
andf>atwithacircularlIoleinthemidd>e.Thiswascalleda

biwhileotherswerecalledgJeiandangwiththesizeof
agueigenerallybeinglargerthanazhang.Theywereused
asremindersofsomethingimportanttobedone.Severalof
thesejadeobjectsfTomdifferentdynastiescanbefOundin
theNationalPalaceMuseuminTaiwanandhaveextremely
highhistoricalvalue.

63InancientChina,apersonwhorecommendedahig}Ily
valuab>eindividualtotheemperorwou>dberewarded.
Why?Becausewheneverthispersoncontributedtothe
countryandcreatedbenefitsfbrothers)itwasallbecause
ofanother|srecommendation.ThegooddeedstlIathave
beendonebythispersonarethesameasthepersonwlIo
recommendedhim.Therefbre)inancientChina,peop>e
oftenrecommendedthosewl1oweregood,filia>lIonest,
andtalentedtotheimperialpalacesothattruetalentcould
becultivated

64Maraistherepresentationofallthatisevil,ama>evolent
beingwhotriestopreventusfromdoinggoodorachieving
attainmentinourpractice

65Thisisespeciallytrueduringawarwhenwemaybe
fOrcedtosufferoverwhelminglossessuchasthatofour
homesInsuchsituations,aswedriftfromoneplaceto
456

anotherwehavenoideaofwhatisgoingtobappennext
TherefOresincetheageoften,allthechildreninmy
familyweretaughttobeindependentandtotakecareof
oursevesintheeventwewereseparatedomourfamily.
Alsoweweretaughthowtosurvivealoneintbewoods.
66<Laozica570-ca.490BC)isconsideredthefOunderof
Taoism>abeliefsystemthatseekscomp>eteharmonywith
nature.Taoismteachesustoabandonallstrugglingandto
seekuttersimplicitythroughmattersofculture,nature,
andmysticism.Zhuangzi,ca369-ca286B.C.,wasaplilosopherwhowasofgreatimportancetoTaoism.>
67TberefOreBuddhistswoulddowelltoreadthefb<Ir
BoB.Truthfullyspeakingwecanonygiverisetothe
heartthatlovesthecountryanditspeopIeifwehave
completelyreadthebrBooandunderstandChinas

}Iistoricalculture.Today>theChinesehavefOrgottenabout
thecountryanditspeopleduetopoorplanningofthe
educationa>system.
68TheheartandrootsofChineseculturelieinancestral

memorialhallsandtheclassicalChineselanguage.Tl1e
reasonC}Iinabecameacountrywithsomuc}>cu>tural
historythatextendsovertbousandsofyearsisduetothe

strongfbundationofthenormalhumanrelations}Iipsinthe
Chineseethicaltradition.ClassicalChinesemustbepreservedbecausewithoutit)theCbinesepeoplewillsuffer
horrendousadversities>andtheracecanneverberestored

Also>wemustpreservetheMahayanateachings.Aslongas
wecanpreservethesethreethings)thennotonlywillour
countryandculturehaveabrigbtfUture,butthewor>dwill
alsobenefit.

69Inthepast)bookswerenotprivatelyownedsowritingin
themwasfOrbidden.Theywerecarefullypasseddownfbr
generationsAnyonewhowishedanindividua>copywould
handcopyone.Thebookswerecherished,respected)and
protected.Ifanyoftheseancienttextsweredamaged,they
wouldbemended>copied>anddistributed,sotheywould
57

notbelost.Thiswasthegreatestmerit.

70ThistraditionisstillpracticedtodayinTheravadaBuddhism.Atthetimetl>atBuddhismwasintroducedinto

China,itwasconsideredthemostcivilizedcountryinthe

world.Butthingshavechangedandinregardstoproper
behaviortheCbinesearefarbehindothersbecausetbeir
educationlIasfai>ed.

58

GLOSSARY

affinity.Favorableorunfavorab>erelationshipswithothers.

afHictionConditionorcauseofpain,distress,andsuffering
whichdisturbsthebodyandmindTheycanbethoughtsof
gainorloss,ofwantingtocontrolothers,ofcriticismorslander.
Theymightbeworries)doubts,regretsetc.

AlayaConsciousness.Ourkarmarepository>t}>ethoughtdatabasefTomallofourpastandpresentlives)goodandbad.
Amitabha.ThenameoftheBuddbaoftheWesternPureLand,

primarilymeaningInfiniteLifeandInfiniteLig}>t.TolIelpall
beingsattainBuddhahood>AmitabhaBuddhacreatedt}>e

WesternPureLand>anidealp>aceofcultivation.Shakyamuni
BuddlIathehistoricalBuddhaofourworldelainedthat
peop>einouragewouldbeimmersedinaff>ictionsandbad
habits.Duetothis>virtuallytheonlyhopethatwehavetotranscendoursufferingsistoproperlypracticethePureLand
methodandthusbebornintothePureLand

AmmaJZm.OneofthethreeprimaryPureLandsutras
ThewondersandadvantagesoftheWesternPureLandaredue
tothemeritsofAmitabhaBuddhaandarisefromhisgreatvows
andgreatdeeds.

attachments.Thesearestrongdesiresorcravmgsfbrfamily
iendspossessionssensuouspeasureserroneousv1ews,life,
theideaoftlIeselfasanindividual,etc

BodhimindThisisthegoalofMahayanaBuddbism>toultimatelythinkofothers,touncovertheinnatecompassionand
wisdomofthetruenature,andtotranscendtlIecycleofrebirth
toattainBuddha}Iood.TheBodhiMindisthecompassionate
mindinw}IicheverythougbtistoattainSupreme,Perfect
EnlightenmentfOrselfandal>others.
459

BodbisatIaOnewhobasvowedtoattainSupreme)Perfect

nlightenmentfOrthemselvesaswellasfOrallbeingsWhile
Buddhassymbolizeourvirtuousnature,Bod}Iisattvasand
Arhatsrepresentthevirtueofpractice,withoutwhich,theinnatevirtuousnaturecannotberevealed.

Buddl1a.BuddhaisaSanskritword,meaning<wisdomand

enIightenment.}lABuddhaisonewbohasreachedsupreme
perfectionbothinself-reaIizationandinhelpingotherstoattain
rea>ization.TheinnumerableBuddhasarenotgodstobewor-

shippedbutcompassionateandwisebeingstoberespectedand
emuIated.

causality(alsoknowascauseandeffect).Everythingthathappenstousistheresultofwhatwehavethought)said)ordone.
Wbatweundergointhislifetimearetheconsequencesofwhat
wehaddoneinourpreviouslifetimes,whilewhatwedonow
willdeterminewhatweundergoinourfUturelifetimes.
ConstantMindfulnessofBuddhaAmitabhaTbestatein

whichwedonothavediscriminatorythoughtsandattachments

Atthispoint)themindrememberstheBuddhaanddoesnot
fbrgethim.Afterprolongedcultivation)weceaseless>ycontemplatetheBuddba.
delusionPalsebeliefsandviewsnotunderstandingthetrue
reality

Dharma.l)TheteachingsoftheBuddha(generallycapitalized

inEng>isb)$2)thingsevents>phenomenaeverythinginthe
universe;and3)duty>>aw,doctrine.

discriminatorythoughts.Discriminatorytboughtsandattachmentsaretherootcauseofwhywearesti>lsubjecttoreincar-

nation.Discriminatorythoughtsoccurwhenweseeothersand
ourselvesastwo.

dust.Allthepollutantstha<contaminateourtruenature.They
460

includefOrm,sound)scent,taste)touch,andviews.

enligl>tenment.GenerallymeansSupreme)PeIfectEnlightenment,theenlightenmentoftheBuddhas.Itistoseeone)strue
natureandtocomprehendthetruereality

filialpietyFiialpietyhasprofbundmeaningsinBuddhismIt
meanstotakecareofparentspbysically,menta>lyandtofulfi>>
theirwishes.Tofurtherextendandenhanceourrespectand
carefOrourparents,wehavecompassionfbrallbeingsinthis
world.

FiveHumanRelationsbips.TheseprinciplestaughtbyConfUciusarefbundedontraditionalmoraprinciples.Teyinclude
thosebetweenhusbandsandwives,parentsandchildren,siblings,friends)po>iticalIeadersandthepub>ic.
fivepracticeguidelines.l)TheThreeConditions;2)TheSix
Harmonies;3)TheThreeLearnings;4)TheSixParamitas;and
5)SamantabhadraBodbisattva}sTenGreatVows.

FivePreceptsTheFivePreceptsaretonotkill,steal(totake
whatisnotgiven)>engageinsexua>misconduct,lie,ortakeintoncants.ThefirstfOuroffensesarephysicaItransgressionsof
thetruenature.Wbetherornotwehavetakenthepreceptsit
iswrongtocommittheseacts.ForsomeonewlIohastakenthe
FivePrecepts)thisisadoubleviolation.However,totakeinto)dcantsisdifferent.Onlysomeonewhohastakentheprecepts
andthentakesintocantswillhavebrokenthisprecept.

fivePureLandsutrasandonetreatiselBaeaAs
enirLXbAmmeJPnrEwJa;ad

bBJmeeIAana5AooLbStJ;2

AmiraaStJKH;3saaZDSiJnH;4Samantabhadra
BodlIisattvasConductandVows,fromtheAZamsaa5tJZm;

(5)iThePerfectCompleteRealizationofMahasthamaprapta
Bodhisattvatl>roughBuddhaNameRecitationfromtheStzIHI>46l

gamaStJnH;and6theRebbae

fOrty-eightvows.DifferentBodhisattvasmakedifferentvows.
DharmakaraBodhisattvamadefbrty-eightvowsbefOrebebecameAmitabbaBuddha.HewishedtocreateanideallandfOr
a>lthosewbowisbedtotranscendrebirthwithintheSixRealms.

TbesebeingswouldbeborninthePureLandasBodhisattvas
whowouldneverregressintheirpractice.Theywouldlearnall
thewaystohelpotherbeingstranscendbirthanddeath,andto
attainBuddhahood.ThereasonwhytheWesternPureLandis
sooutstandingliesintheperfectionofthesevows.
fOurldndsofkindness.Triplejewelsparentsteachers>allsentient-beings

goodfbrtune.Allthegoodnessinone>slife.Itmaymanifestas
bappiness,friends)family>health,longwity,intelligence,prosperity,position>etcGoodfbrtuneisthebenefitofthehuman
andheavenrealms)andcanbecarriedwithusfromonelifeto
anotherbutitcannothe>pustotranscendreincarnation

irLZm.OneofthethreepnmarysutrasoftbePure
Landschool,theiLibStJnisoftencalledtheLoI1gr
AmiraaStJZrH.Theshorterversioniscalledtl1edJjraaSlJ

nH.TheAmitabhasutrasareunusualinthattheywereself

spoken.Thiswasunusualbecausealmostalloftheteachingsby
theBuddhaweretheresultofaquestionbeingraisedbyoneof
hisstudents.ButsincethestudentsdidnotknowaboutAmi-

tabhaBuddhaandbispure>andtheywereunabletoask>andso
theBuddhainitiatedtheteachinghimself.
karma.Adeed.Karmaisdividedintothreetypes:good,bad,
andneutral>thatwhichisneithergoodnorbad.

MahayanaOneofthetwomajorbranchesofBuddhism,itis
theBodhisattvapathofhelpingal>sentientbeingstoattain
Enlightenment.
462

meritsandvirtues.Meritsareaccumulatedbyse>f>esslydoing
gooddeedswithoutwanderinganddiscriminatorythoughts,or
attachments)andthecorrectionofourerroneousthoughtsand
behavior.Virtuesarisefromdeepconcentrationandwisdom.

OneMindUndisturbed.Thisisthetotal>yfOcusedmindwitl>outanyimproperthoughtswhichisthegoalinBuddhism.Itis
thepuremindthatPureLandpractitionersachievebysinglemindedconcentrationoni(AmituofO/}

OneTrueDharmaRealm.TheuItimatestateofBuddhahood

withoutanydifferentiationbetweenrealmsfOreverythingisone
Wit}Idifferentiationwewillseetenrea>ms;Buddhasknow

thereisactuallyonlyone.

phenomenaT}Iings,events,happenings:everythingintheentireuniverse.Noumenonistheprincip>eoressencewhilephenomenaistheeventorfOrm.Noumenonisperceivedtbrough
intuitionorthoughtwhilephenomenaisperceivedthroughthe
senses.Noumenonisthetheoryasopposedtothephenomena
thatisreality.
precepts.InBuddhismpreceptsarerulesthatwerelaiddown
byShalqamuniBuddhatoguidehisstudentsfromerroneous
thoughtsspeech,andbehavior.Howeveroneneednotbea
BuddhisttouplIoldtbeBuddhistprecepts.Inthemoregeneral
sense,preceptsarerulesorprinciplesthatprescribeaparticular
courseofactionorconduct.

puremindorpurityofmind.Themindwithoutwanderingand
discriminatorythoughts>orattachments.Thepuremindhasno
thoughtsoflikeordislike)favorableorunfavorable.Ithasno
greed,anger,ignorance,arrogance,doubt,orwrongvIewsItis
thecalmmindthatisnolongeraffbctedbytheenv1ronmentIt
istlIesereneandnaturalstateofallbeings

retribution.KarmicpunishmentfTomerroneousthoughts
463

words,ordeeds.

rootsofgoodness.GoodqualitiesorseedssowninagoodlifCto
bereapedlater.Theultimatebenefitofdeeprootsofgoodness
fOrPureLandpractitionersisrebirthintheWesternPureLand
samadhi.Properen>oymentUsual>ydenotestheparticularfinal
stageofpureconcentrationandcontemplation.Therearemany
degreesandtypesofsamadhi.
samsara(alsoknownastheSixPaths).Threeupperrealmsare
heavens>demi-gods)andhumans.Threelowerrealmsareanimals,hungryghosts,andhells.

Sangl1a.AgroupoffOurormorepeoplewhoproperlypractice
tbeBuddhasteachingtogether)especiaIlytbeSixHarmonies
Sanskrit.AlanguageofancientIndia.

sentient-being.A>Mngbeingthatisse>f-awareandtl>atcan
experiencefeelingorsensation.
SixHarmonies.TheSixHarmonies,tbesecondofourfive

practiceguide>ines,arethebasisfOrharmoniousinteraction
whetherinthefamily,theSangha<groupoffburormore
peop>ewhoproper>ypracticetheteachings>atwork,etc.
EspeciallyfOrpractitionerstheyare:l)Tosharet}Iesame
Vewsandgoals>2)Toabidebythesamepreceptsandrules,3)
Toliveandpracticetogetherharmoniously,4)Toaccordwith
othersandnotquarrel5)Toexperiencetheinnerpeaceand
happinessfrompracticingtheteachings,and6)Toshare
benefitsharmoniously.
SixParamitas.ThefOurthofthepracticeguidelines.BodhisattvasabidebysixguideIinesthatareca>ledtheSixParamitasor
Perfections.Theseteachushowtoremedyourmajorafflictions

Giving,moralselfdiscipline,patience)diligencemeditative
concentration>andwisdom.
464

sixsenses.Sight,hearing)smell)taste,touch)andthought.External

sutra.Buddha)steachings.
TenGreatVowsofSamantabhadraBodhisattva.Samantab-

hadraBodhisattvapersonifiesthevowsandconductofthe
Buddhas.Heisusuallydepictedseatedonanelephantwithsix
tusksthatrepresenttheSixParamitasthatarethefift}Iofthe
practiceguidelines.l)Equa>lyrespectallbeingsandthings2)
Praisethevirtuesandkindnessesofotbers.3)Makeofferings
extensivelyandrespectfully.4)Feeldeepremorsefbrourfaults
thatobstructusfromseeingourtruenatureandvownottorepeatthem.5)Reioiceineveryvirtuousdeedanddonotharbor
jealousyorhinderothers.6)Requestthosewhotrulypractice
towide>ypropagatetheteachings7)Askteacherstoremainin
theworldandtoguideus8)Tire>ess>yupholdtheBuddha|s
teachingsinoureverythoughtword)anddeed.9)Accordwith
thosewhoareproperandpatientIywaitfOrtheopportunitythat
allowsustoguidethosewhoarenot.l0)Dedicatethepeace
andhappinessgainedompracticingtheabovedeedstoalliv
ingbeings,hopingthattheywilIattaintheunsurpassedunder=
standing.
TenVirtuousConducts.TheTenVirtuousConductsarebasic

toourpracticeofBuddhismtheBuddhagroupedtheTenVirtuousConductsintothreema>orcategories;physical)verbal>
andmentaltoprotectthetbreekarmasofbody,speech,and
mindPhysicallyweareprohibitedomkiIing,stealing,and
engaginginsexua>misconduct.ThefOurverbalvirtuouscon-

ductsprohibitusomlyingabusiveIanguagebearingtales
andusingseductivewordsThethreementalvirtuousconducts

prohibitusfromhavinggreed)anger>orignorance.

Tl1eravadaBuddhism.ThepathofstrictlyabidingbythepreceptsTheobjectiveistoattainrealizationfbroneselfItisof
465

tencalledthepathoftheeldersandisprimarilypracticedin
southernAsiaandthewest.

ThreeBadPat}1s.PleaseseeSixRealms.

ThreeConditions.The6rstofthefivepracticeguidelines.The
firstconditionembodiesthepracticeofselfdiscipline.Thesecondconditionembodiesthepracticeofdeepconcentrationand
tbethirdconditionembodiesthepracticeofwisdom.TheFirst
Conditionisto:A)BefilialtoonesparentsB)BerespectfUlto
one}steachersande>ders,C)Becompassionateandnotkillany
livingbeings,andD)AbidebytheTenVirtuousConductsThe
SecondConditionisto;E)TaketheThreeRefuges,P)Abideby

theprecepts,lawsandcustoms)andG)Conductoneselfina
properandappropriatemannerTheThirdConditionisto:H)
GiverisetotheBodhimindI)Deeplybelieveinthelawofcausality])ReciteandupholdMahayanasutrasandK)Encourage
otherstoadvanceonthepathtoenlightenment.

threeDharmaagesTheDharmaperfectagebeganwith
ShakyamuniBuddhasdemiseandlastedfivehundredyears,
duringwhichenlightenmentwasoftenattained.TheDharma
semblanceagebeganafterthatandlastedonethousandyears>
duringwhichenlightenmentwasseldomattained.TbeDharma
endingagethatwearenowinbeganafterthatandwilllastfor
tentlIousandyearsduringwlIichenlightenmentwillrarelybe
attained.

threekarmas.Createdbyourbody)speech,andmind

ThreeLearnings.Thethirdofthepracticeguidelines/Mbm/
sesc4eorpreceptskeepingleadstoconcekmJ
thatgivesrisetosI.TheThreeLearningsaretbefburthof
ourfivepracticeguidelinesTopracticeaccordingtotheteachingsisselfdiscipline;wbenourmindsaresettledandfOcused
ononemethodofcu>tivation,wewi>>havedeepconcentration
466

andwithdeepconcentration,wewi>>uncoverourinnatewisdom

ThreeRelationsl1ips.Thesetbreere>ationshipstauglItbyConfUciusareamongbumans,amonghumansandspirits)and
amonghumansandthenature.

truenatureOuroriginal,trueselfthatwestillhave,butis
whiclIiscurrentlycoveredbydeludedthoughtsandevi>karma.
Inessence,sincewehavethesametruenatureasBuddhas
have,weareequaltotheBuddhasOnceweeliminateourdelusion,wewilluncoverthistruenatureandattainSupreme,
PerfectEnlightenment
virtuesSeemerits.

anStJH.ThetbirdoftheprimarysutrasofthePure

LandSchool.IntlIeHsazakbnStkm,welearnthatwhen

QueenVaidehisufferedfromoverwhelmingfamilymisfOrtune)
shebitterlysaidtoBuddhaShalWamuni:LifCisfilledwitl]suffbring.Istherenotaplacewithoutit?Iwisbtoliveinsucha
world.ShabamuniBuddbadisplayedfOrheralltlIeBuddha
landsintl]euniverse.Afterseeingalltheworldsshechosethe
WesternPureLandandvowedtoberebornthere.Concerned
aboutthosewlIowou>dcomeafterherandbeunabletolearn

directlyfromtheBuddha>sheaskedontheirbehalfhowto
achieverebirthintothePureLand.

wanderingthoughts.Aff>ictionsthatcloudourtruenature.To
havenowanderingthoughtsmeanstohaveon>yvirtuous
thoughtsnotthatourmindsareemptyofallthougl>ts.Asordinarybeings,weuseanil>usorymindt}Iemindthatarisesand
ceasesandthathaswanderingthoughts.Awakenedbeingsuse
t}1etruemindt}1atconstant>ydwellsontruth
WesternPureLandSeefbrty-eightvows.
67

WaystoReachUs
Australia<6l>
AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofNSW,Inc
Tel;2-9643-7588Fax;2-9643-7599
AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofPerth
Tel:8-9306-8l20Fax:8-9306-8366

AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofQLD
Tel;7-3273-l693Fax:7-3272-0677E:amtb@amtb-gld.org.au
AmitabhaBuddhistRetreatCentre
Tel;7-4l7l-042lFax;7-4l7l-04l3
E:amitabhacentre@hotmailcom

e;n
E:}eonel.tchia@palantir.com.au

ejLnr:pureIandcyahocm
;nlmba

www.amtb-aus.orgEpurelandcol>ege@iinetnetau
Canada<I>

AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofOttawa
Tel:6l3-723-9683Fax:6l3-723-63l6www.amtb-ottawa.ca

jbn:E:mtb6hcanyahoca
AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofMontreal

Te>;5l4-257-l770Fax:5l4-525-6846E:amtbmtl@hotpop.com

dfnto

BuddhiucatinFum

Te>:l7l-586-6923Fax:I7l-794-8594
www.buddhisteduationco.uk

dhb

::ct7485,
468

sti;
i8fg
sti28
i;istScKuaIaKngsar

jt?B1l2wwwamtbmrgmy
1tBrdvtm
i730
E;amitabhakajanghotmail.com

it:;!

E:amtbklgtmmy
LStSdetySeremban

anbs1m
fcietyMe

Bst
f;5earngCMeIaka
StSodetyObr

:sti,4Bamtbtimmy
jstia

:h;;cAmabba
469

j:!sti;
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Muar)

Tel:06-9S4-2207

iuPt
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Karak)

Tel;09-23l-2625

j;s
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Kuching)

Tel/Fax:082-450-960

;cietyBu
eammgCKucMng
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Miri)
Tel/Fax:085-4l7-844

;cietySabah
AmitabhaBuddhistResearchCentreSabah
Tel:089-6ll-622Fax;089-6ll-6ll

;l72;07307044
PersatuanBuddhistYuen]ongMelaka

Tel/Fax:06-335-4944

Tel:6744-7444Fax:67477Eabssamtborg.sg

:b70877Esblodepacn
TelG7372630Fax:670877E:sblodgepacific.net.sg

g
Thailand<662>

;:df56

470

UnitedStatesofAmerica<l>

700Fax:867988Emidaamtbhrg
:Eta48hotmaiLcom

;Washington

?5wwwamitabhalibra

is?90,

;l
?

iybuddhacmc!
;l9
E:amitabha-ny@yahoo.comtw

fhia
E:amtbphila@hotmail.com

;SocMyofSlc

:389wwtbug
AmitabhaEducationalCenter(Hawaii)

Tel:808-262-5279Fax:808-262-4989

:Ff7l3s42

:i9;6lmielebesuthnet
DallasBuddhistAssociation

Tel:972234440lFax:9722348342wwwamtbdbaorg
Internet

www.chinkungorg

17I

DedicationofMerits

MaytheIneritandvirtues
AccruedfiDInthisact

AdorntheBuddhaIsPureLand,
RepaythePourKindnessesabove,

Andrelievethesuringof
ThoseintheThreePathsbelow.

Maythosewhoseeorhearofthis,
Bringfbrththeheartof

UnderstandingandcoInpassion
And,attheendofthisli,
Beborntogetherin
ThelandofUltiIateBliss.

47Z