THE SORROWLESS FLOWERS
121. Study the Teachings
123. The Markless Repentance
126. The Impermanence of the Body, the Mind and the Environment
127. What is Immortal in This World?
128. Four Theories Regarding Pervasive Permanence
130. Eleven Accumulated Habits
121. Study the Teachings
The first important thing is that we must see the benefits of studying the Dharma, only then will we develop the strong desire to study it, for owing to our study, we understand Dharma; owing to our study, we stop committing wrong doings; owing to our study, we abandon the meaningless behaviors; owing to our study, we eventually achieve nirvana. In other words, by virtue of our study, we will know all the key points for modifying our behavior. Owing to study, we will understand the meaning of the Vinaya Basket and, as a result, will stop committing sins by following the high training of ethics. Owing to study, we will understand the meaning of the Sutra Basket, and as a result, we will be able to abandon such meaningless things as distractions, by following the high training in single-pointed concentration. Also owing to study, we understand the meaning of the Abhidharma Basket, and so come to abandon delusions by means of the high training in wisdom. Study is the lamp to dispel the darkness of ignorance. It is the best of possession that thieves cannot rob us of it. Study is a weapon to defeat our enemies of blindness to all things. It is our best friend who instructs us on the means. Study is a relative who will not desert us when we are poor. It is a medicine against sorrow that does us no harm. It is the best force that dispatches against our misdeeds. Devout Buddhists should always remember that when we know one more letter, we get rid of ourselves a bit of ignorance around that letter. So, when we know the other letters, we have dispelled our ignorance about them too, and added even more to our wisdom. The more we study the more light of wisdom we gain that helps us decrease ignorance. A Bhiksu or Bhiksuni should not study teaching without applying the basic and essential practices of Buddhism in order to transform his or her afflictions and habit energies. A Bhiksu or Bhiksuni who is studying teachings of a profound, metaphysical, and mystical nature, should always ask himself or herself how he or she may apply these teachings in his or her daily life to transform his or her suffering and realize emancipation.
Should we read worldly books and magazines? A Bhiksu or Bhiksuni who reads worldly books and magazines, including videos, video discs, television and internet programs, as well as conversations on telephone and other images or sounds that have toxic effect, watering the seeds of sexual desire, fear, violence, sentimental weakness, and depression, commits an Expression of Regret Offence. However, in addition to reading books on Buddhism, he or she can read books on the history of civilizations of the world, general history and teachings of other religious faiths, applied psychology, and most recent scientific discoveries because these areas of knowledge can help him or her to understand and share the teachings to people in a way that is appropriate to their situation. However, laypeople, especially those who are practicing mindfulness, can read healthy and useful books and magazines for their living.
Patience or forebearance of repentance or regret for error. From infinite reincarnations in the past to the present, we have existed in this cycle of rebirths. Because of ignorance and greediness for desires of talent, beauty, fame, food, sleep, wealth, and power, etc. which have masked and covered our true nature, causing us to to lose our ways and end up committing endless karmic transgressions. Moreover, because of our egotistical nature, we only hold to the concept of self and what belong to us, we are only concerned with benefiting ourselves but have absolutely no regards on how our actions may affect others. Thus, in this way, whether unintentionally or intentionally, we often bring pains and sufferings to countless sentient beings, committing infinite and endless unwholesome karma, consequently, creating countless enemies. Even the most precious Triple Jewels, we still make false accusations and slander. All such karmic transgressions are countless. Now we are fortunate enough, having a few good karma leftover from former lives, to be able to meet a good knowing advisor to guide and lead us, giving us the opportunity to understand the philosophy of Buddhism, begin to see clearly our former mistakes and offenses. Therefore, it is necessary to feel ashame, be remorseful, and bring forth the three karmas of body, speech and mind to repent sincerely. Repentance is one of the most entrances to the great enlightenment; for with it, the mind within is always stilled.
Repentance means repenting of past errors, feeling a great sense of shame and remorse for the transgressions we made in the past (repent misdeeds and mental hindrances or karmic obstacles). Reform means turning away from the future errors, resolving to improve oneslef and never making those mistakes again. Patience or forebearance of repentance or regret for error. In addition, repentance is the confession of our own past physical and mental misdeeds, our minds are purified by such repentance, and because it frees us from a sense of sin, we feel greatly refreshed. From infinite reincarnations in the past to the present, we have existed in this cycle of rebirths. Because of ignorance and greediness for desires of talent, beauty, fame, food, sleep, wealth, and power, etc. which have masked and covered our true nature, causing us to lose our ways and end up committing endless karmic transgressions. Moreover, because of our egotistical nature, we only hold to the concept of self and what belong to us, we are only concerned with benefitting to ourselves but have absolutely no regards on how our actions may affect others. Thus, in this way, whether unintentionally or intentionally, we often bring pains and sufferings to countless sentient beings, committing infinite and endless unwholesome karma, consequently, creating countless enemies. Even the most precious Triple Jewels, we still make false accusations and slander. All such karmic transgressions are countless. Now we are fortunate enough, having a few good karma leftover from former lives, to be able to meet a good knowing advisor to guide and lead us, giving us the opportunity to understand the philosophy of Buddhism, begin to see clearly our former mistakes and offenses. Sincere Buddhists should always remember that all bad deeds ended yesterday. Since today, we start a new day for our life. If we don’t diligently repent, then the karma from past offenses will continue to make us fall. Therefore, it is necessary to feel ashame, be remorseful, and bring forth the three karmas of body, speech and mind to repent sincerely. Repentance is one of the most important entrances to the great enlightenment; for with it, the mind within is always stilled. Repentance does not mean to compromise with oneself, not having a lukewarm or equivocal attitude, but polishing one’s Buddha-nature by gradually removing illusions and defilements from one’s mind. The practice of repentance consists in the Bodhisattva practice, through which one not only polishes his Buddha-nature but also renders service to others. Repentance is an indispensable requisite of religious life. It is to be hoped that all people will repeatedly perform repentance in their daily lives. Thus the Buddha taught in the Lotus Sutra: “If, in the future worlds, there be any who practices laws of repentance, know that such a man has put on the robes of shame, is protected and helped by the Buddhas, and will attain Perfect Enlightenment before long.”
Repentance of all offenses for “all such offenses, limitless and boundless.” Our offenses are not only beyond reckoning, they are indeed vast beyond all bounds. Now that we realize how deep our offenses are and how serious our obstructions are, we should sincerely repent before the Buddhas. In repentance, sincerity is essential. When we seek to repent and reform we must confess sincerely. If we are not sincere about repenting of our sins, then even after many eons as there are sands in a hundred million Ganges Rivers, the karma of our offenses will never be cancelled. Ancient virtues taught the following verse of repentance:
For all the bad karmas created in the past,
Based upon beginningless greed, hatred and stupidity.
And born of body, mouth and mind,
I now repent and reform.
This verse of repentance not only allows us to repent of our offenses which have become obstructions, it also explains what caused us to create those offenses. Sincere Buddhists should always remember that whether it is the three offenses of killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct which we commit with our bodies; or the lying, frivolous talks, scolding, and backbiting committed in our speech; or the greed, hatred and stupidity in our mind, we must sincerely repent of them all. Otherwise, we will be sinking deeper and deeper in the sea of karmas as our offenses grow heavier.
The state of feeling of guilt presents when we have spoken or done something that cause suffering to others, even though they don’t know. Buddhists should not bear in their mind such feeling. Instead, we should genuinely remorse. Good Buddhists should always remember that unwholesome speeches and deeds will surely bear their bad fruits. Thus, whenever we have done something wrong, we should honestly admit and correct our wrong-doings. Externalists believe that there exists a so-called “Redeemer” in this world, but Buddhism does not stress on atonement. According to Buddhism, each person must work out his own salvation. We can help others by thought, words, and deeds, but cannot bear another’s results or take over consequences of another’s errors or misdeeds. However, Buddhism stresses on compassion of Bodhisattvas which help other beings relieve sufferings and afflictions. According to Buddhism, regret can be either a wholesome or unwholesome or neutral mind. Regret is a mind which feels sorrow or remorse about past actions. Regret for negative past actions (non-virtuous) is a positive regret; however, regret for positive past actions (virtuous) is a negative regret. According to Buddhism, sincere Buddhists should always repent misdeeds and mental hindrances means from beginningless kalpas in the past, we have created all measureless and boundless evil karma with our body, mouth and mind because of greed, hatred and ignorance. And due to the evil influence of the three poisons, our bodies engage in the karma of killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. In our speech, we engage in lying, frivolous talks, scolding, backbiting, and so on. Now we bow before all Buddhas of ten directions that we completely purify these three karmas. Repent misdeeds and mental hindrances, the fourth of the ten conducts and vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. Besides, the rules for repentance and confession is a regular confessional service for monks and nuns.
Buddhists should not commit offenses. On the contrary, we should create more merit and virtue to offset the offenses that we committed before. However, if we commit offenses, we should repent, for once repented, great offenses will be eradicated. What should devout Buddhists repent? We should tell all of our offenses in front of the fourfold assembly and vow not to repeat those offenses again. To be able to do this, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will support and help us eradicate our karmas, for our offenses from before were all committed unintentionally. If we already vowed to repent and we still deliberately commit the same offense again, repentance will not help. Our act will become fixed karma and in the future we will definitely receive the retribution. Devout Buddhists should not think that if we create offenses, we can simply repent to eradicate these offenses, and so keep on creating more offenses while continuously vowing to repent. In the future, the offenses accumulated will be as high as Mount Meru. This way, there is no way we can avoid falling into hells. Some people seek the presence of the Buddha to rid one of sinful thoughts and passions. To hold repentance before the mind until the sign of Buddha’s presence annihilates the sin. However, Zen practitioners should cultivate meditation and contemplation to prevent wrong thoughts and delusions that hinder the truth.
The Buddha taught: “The body is the origin of all sufferings, is the root of all tortures, punishments and karmic retributions in the three domains.” Because of ignorance and stupidity, sentient beings are only concerned with our bodies and have not the slightest care of other people’s bodies. We are only aware of our own sufferings, but completely oblivious of others’ pains and sufferings. We only know of our hopes for peace and happiness but unaware that others, too, have hope for peace and happiness. Moreover, because of ignorance and stupidity, we give rise to the mind of self and other, which gives rise to the perception of friends and strangers. Gradually over time, this perception sometimes develops into feuds and hatred among people, who become enemies for countless aeons (life after life, one reincarnation after reincarnation). There are three kinds of body karma: killing, stealing, and sexual misconducts. To repent the body karma, we should bow and prostrate our body to the Triple Jewels, and realize that our body is inherently impermanent, filled with sicknesses, constantly changing, and transforming. Thus, in the end, we cannot control and command it. We should never be so obssessed and overly concerned with our body and let it causes so many evil deeds. Also according to the Buddha, the mouth is the gate and door to all hateful retaliations. The karmic retribution for speech-karma is the greatest. Speech-karma gives rise to four great karmic offenses: lying, insulting, gossiping, and speaking with a double-tongue. Because of these four unwholesome speeches, sentient beings accumulate infinite and endless offenses ranging from speaking artificially, sweetly, manipulatively to speaking untruthfully, words and actions contradicting one another, etc. Once the mind of hatred arises, not mention strangers, even one’s parents, religious masters, etc., there is not an insult one will not speak. No malicious words will be spared, whether saying hateful words with intention of causing separation between two people, saying something happened when it didn’t or when it didn’t happened saying it did; thus speaking irresponsibly and chaotically without the slightest consideration of what is being said. Sincere Buddhists should always repent the body-karma by using the “mouth of transgressions” of the past to change it into praises and glorification of the virtuous practices of the Buddhas. Use that speech often to speak of kindness, encouraging others to cultivate the Way and change for the better, i.e. sitting meditation, Buddha-Recitation, or chanting sutras, etc. Thereafter, for the remainder of this life, vow not to use one mouth and tongue to speak vulgarly, disrespectfully, and before the Triple Jewels, sincerely confess and willingly admit to all offenses without concealment. Thus, use the same mouth and tongue which has created countless offenses in the past to give birth to infinite merits, virtues, and wholesome karma at the present. Sincere Buddhists should always remember that the mind consciousness is the reason to give rise to infinite offenses of the other five consciousnesses, from Sight, Hearing, Scent, Taste, and Touch Consciousnesses. The mind consciousness is similar to an order passed down from the King to his magistrates and chancellors. Eyes take great pleasure in looking and observing unwholesome things, ears take great pleasure in listening to melodious sounds, nose takes great pleasure in smelling aromas and fragrance, tongue takes great pleasure in speaking vulgarly and irresponsibly as well as finding joy in tasting the various delicacies, foods, and wines, etc; body takes great pleasure in feeling various sensations of warmth, coolness, softness, velvet clothing. Karmic offenses arise from these five consciousness come from their master, the Mind; the mind consciousness is solely responsible for all their actions. In the end, this will result in continual drowning in the three evil paths, enduring infinite pains and sufferings in hells, hungry ghosts, and animals. In the Dharmapada, the Buddha taught: “Guard one’s mind much like guarding a castle; protect the mind similar to protecting the eye ball. Mind is an enemy capable of destroying and eliminating all of the virtues and merits one has worked so hard to accumulate during one’s existence, or sometimes many lifetimes. To repent the mind-karma, sincere Buddhists should think that the three karmas of Greed, Hatred, and Ignorance of the mind are the roots and foundations of infinite karmic transgressions. The mind-karma is the web of ignorance which masks our wisdom and is the affliction and worry that cover our true nature. It should be feared and needs be avoided. Sincere Buddhists should use their heart and mind to sincerely confess and repent, be remorseful, and vow never again to commit such offenses. From infinite eons, because we have been drowning deeply in the concept of “Self,” ignorance has ruled and governed us. Thus, our body, speech, and mind have created infinite karmas and even great transgressions, such as being ungrateful and disloyal to our fathers, mothers, the Triple Jewels, etc, were not spared. Now that we are awakened, it is necessary to feel ashamed and be remorseful by using the same three karmas of body, speech, and mind to repent sincerely. Maitreya Bodhisattva, even as a “One-Birth Maha-Bodhisattva,” six times daily he still performs the repentance ceremony praying to eliminate binding ignorance quickly. As a Maha-Bodhisattva, his ‘binding ignorance’ is infinitesimal, yet He still repents to eliminate them. Sincere Buddhists should develop vow to feel ashamed and be remorseful by using the same three karmas of body, speech, and mind to repent sincerely, to make the Triple Jewels glorious, help and rescue sentient beings, in order to compensate and atone for past transgressions and repay the four-gratefuls including the Triple Jewels, parents, teachers of both life and religion, and all sentient beings. Body karma openly confess all transgressions, vow not to kill or prohibiting taking of life, not to steal or prohibiting stealing, not to commit adultery or prohibiting commiting adultery, and pray for them to disappear, and then use that body to practice wholesome actions, such as alms givings, offerings, etc. Speech karma openly confess all transgressions, vow not to lie, not to exaggerate, not to abuse (curse), not to have ambiguous talk, not to insult, not to exaggerate, not to speak with a double-tongue. and pray for them to disappear, and then use that speech to practice Buddha Recitation, chant sutras, speak wholesomely, etc. Mind Karma must be genuine, remorseful, vow not to be covetous, not to be malicious, not to be unbelief, not to be greedy, not to be hatred, not to be ignorant, vowing not to revert back to the old ways.
When making confession, we should vow:
“I confess all my unwholesome deeds.
The ten non-virtues and the five heinous crimes.
Committed to date from time without beginning.
Through my mind overwhelmed by ignorance.”
We try to confess our negative actions committed from time without beginning. When we first took birth, given the countless number of bodies into which we have been born. According to Buddhism point of view, death is not an end but a means leading to another rebirth. The conscious mind only migrates from life to life. The starting point of such a process is impossible to retrace. However, our existence in samsara is not naturally infinite. It is possible to put an end to it. The only way to do is by realizing selflessness. As seed has no beginning but it is not naturally infinite, if we burn the seed we can destroy its potential to grow. That is the end of it. It is extremely difficult for us to remember the negative conduct of all our past lives, but we can think of negative deeds we have committed since such a time we can remember. When making confession, sincere Buddhists should always think about the non-virtuous deeds of countless past lives even though we cannot identify them. Confession is not a simple thing of narrating our negative deeds with no serious thought of repentance. The skillful way of making confessions is to do it with a real feeling of remorse. Therefore, it becomes necessary to recollect our misdeeds so that one can think about them and feel sorry about them. This will lead you to expiate your crime. The innate nature of our mind is clear light. It is the very personification of perfection; however, this clear light is temporarily obscured. It is contaminated; beclouded by our own afflictive emotions. That is why we say in our confession that through our mind overwhelmed by ignorance we have committed since time without beginning unwholesome deeds. Due to our deluded mind, even in this present life, we are constantly operating with negative actions. We do not have much freedom from afflictive emotions. We are enslaved by them. We are prisoners of our own devices. For example, when anger rises in us, we become completely under the control of this afflictive emotion. It makes us think and act in ways we do not want to. If we step back and look in a mirror when we become angry, we will see what anger has done to us. We will see anger’s power to destroy us and others around us. We might wonder if it is indeed possible to expiate a non-virtuous deed such as one of these five heinous crimes. According to “Prasanghika Madhyamika,” any kind of negative deed can be expiated. This is a property of negativities. If we do not leave them unattended until they are ripen, we can purify them. Non-virtuous deeds are negative by nature but have the quality of being purified. There are people who believe that they can get away with whatever negative action they commit. They are those who do not believe in the law of cause and effect. We have no comment on these people. Sincere Buddhists should always remember that according to the law of cause and effect, the consequences of any kind of act one commits, virtuous or non-virtuous, must be faced by that same person. In other words, each person is responsible for his own actions.
According to the Sutra In Forty-Two Sections, Chapter 5, the Buddha said: “If a person has many offenses and does not repent of them but merely stop thinking about them, the offenses will engulf him, just as water returning to the sea will gradually become deeper and broader. If a person has offenses and repents (practices good), the offenses will dissolve of themselves, just as a sick person begins to perspire and is gradually be cured.” In the Lotus Sutra, the Buddha taught about repentance of the three major classes as follows: Suppose that a Sravaka breaks the threefold refuge, the five precepts, the eight precepts, the precepts of Bhikshus, of Bhikshunis, of Sramaneras, of Sramanerikas, and of Sikshamanas, and their dignified behavior, and also suppose that because of his foolishness, evil, and bad and false mind he infringes many precepts and the rules of dignified behavior. If he desires to rid himself of and destroy these errors, to become a Bhikshu again and to fulfill the laws of monks, he must diligently read the all the Vaipulya sutras (sutras of Great Extent), considering the profound Law of the Void of the first principle, and must bring this wisdom of the Void to his heart; know that in each one of his thoughts such a one will gradually end the defilement of all his longstanding sins without any remainder. This is called one who is perfect in the laws and precepts of monks and fulfills their dignified behavior. Such a one will be deserved to be served by all gods and men. Suppose any Upasaka violates his dignified behavior and does bad things. To do bad things means, namely, to proclaim the error and sins of the Buddha-laws, to discuss evil things perpetrated by the four groups, and not to feel shamed even in committing theft and adultery. If he desires to repent and rid himself of these sins, he must zealously read and recite the Vaipulya sutras and must think of the first principle. Suppose a king, a minister, a Brahman, and other citizens, an elder, a state official, all of these persons seek greedily and untiringly after desires, commit the five deadly sins, slander the the Vaipulya sutras, and perform the ten evil karma. Their recompense for these great evils will cause them to fall into evil paths faster than the breaking of a rainstorm. They will be sure to fall into the Avici hell. If they desire to rid themselves of and destroy these impediments of karmas, they must raise shame and repent all their sins. They want to rid themselves of karmas, they must constantly have the right mind, not slander the Three Treasures nor hinder the monks nor persecute anyone practicing brahma-conduct. They must support, pay homage to, and surely salute the keeper of the Great Vehicle; they must remember the profound doctrine of sutras and the Void of the first principle. They must discharge their filial duty to their fathers and mothers and to respect their teachers and seniors. They must rule their countries with the righteous law and not to oppress their people unjustly. They must issue within their states the ordinance of the six day of fasting and to cause their people to abstain from killing wherever their powers reach. They must believe deeply the causes and results of things, to have faith in the way of one reality, and to know that the Buddha is never extinct.
123. The Markless Repentance
Seeing the scholars and common people of Kuang-Chou and Shao-Kuan and the four directions assembled on the mountain to hear the Dharma, the Great Master took his seat and spoke to the assembly saying: “Come, each of you, Good Knowing Advisors! This work must begin within your self-nature. At all times, in every thought, purify your mind, cultivate your own conduct, see your own Dharm-body and the Buddha of your own mind. Take yourself across; discipline yourself. Only then will your coming here have not been in vain. You have come from afar to attend this gathering because we have karmic affinities in common. Now all of you kneel and I will first transmit to you the fivefold Dharma-body refuge of the self-nature, and then the markless repentance and reform.” The assembly knelt and the Master said, “The first is the morality-refuge, which is simply your own mind when free from error, evil, jealousy, greed, hatred and hostility. The second is the concentration-refuge, which is just your own mind and does not become confused when seeing the marks of all good and evil conditions. The third is the wisdom-refuge, which is simply your own mind when it is unobstructed and when it constantly uses wisdom to contemplate and illuminate the self-nature, when it does no evil, does good without becoming attached and, is respectful of superior, considerate of inferiors, and sympathetic towards orphans and widows. The fourth is the liberation-refuge, which is simply your own mind independent of conditions, not thinking of good or evil, free and unobstructed. The fifth is the refuge of knowledge and views, which is simply your own mind when it is independent of good and evil conditions and when it does not dwell in emptiness or cling to stillness. You should then study this in detail, listen a great deal, recognize your original mind and penetrate the true principle of all the Buddhas. You should welcome and be in harmony with living creatures; the unchanging true nature. Good Knowing Advisors, repeat after me: “May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by stupidity and confusion. May it be wiped away at once and never arise again. May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by ignorance and deceit. Now I Completely repent of and reform all bad actions done in the past out of arrogance and deceit and other such offenses. May their effects be wiped away at once and may never be perpetrated again. May this disciple be in past, present, and future thought, in every thought unstained by jealousy. Now I completely repent and reform all bad actions done in the past out of jealousy and other such offenses. May they be wiped away at once and never arise again.
According to the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch’s Dharma Treasure, the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-Neng, taught: “Good Knowing Advisors, I will now transmit to you the markless repentance and reform to destroy the offensive actions done within the three periods of time and to purify the three karmas. Good Knowing Advisors, repeat after me: “May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by stupidity and confusion. May it be wiped away at once and never arise again. May this disciple be, in past, present, and future thought, in every thought, unstained by ignorance and deceit. Now I Completely repent of and reform all bad actions done in the past out of arrogance and deceit and other such offenses. May their effects be wiped away at once and may never be perpetrated again. May this disciple be in past, present, and future thought, in every thought unstained by jealousy. Now I completely repent and reform all bad actions done in the past out of jealousy and other such offenses. May they be wiped away at once and never arise again. Good Knowing Advisors, the above has been the markless repentance and reform. What is repentance and what is reform? Repentance is to repent of past errors, to repent so completely of all bad actions done in the past out of stupidity, confusion, arrogance, deceit, jealousy, and other such offenses, that they never arise again. Reform is to refrain from such transgressions in the future. Awakening and cutting off such offenses completely and never committing them again is called repentance and reform. Common people, stupid and confused, know only how to repent of former errors and do not know how to reform and refrain from transgressions in the future. Because they do not reform, their former errors are not wiped away, and they will occur in the future. If former errors are not wiped away and transgressions are again committed, how can that be called repentance and reform?”
Buddhism does not accept such practices as fortune telling, wearing magic charms for protection, fixing lucky sites for building, prophessing and fixing lucky days, etc. All these practices are considered useless superstitions in Buddhism. However, because of greed, fear and ignorance, some Buddhists still try to stick to these superstituous practices. As soon as people understand the Buddha’s teachings, they realize that a pure heart can protect them much better than empty words of fortune telling, or wearing nonsense charms, or ambiguous chanted words and they are no longer rely on such meaningless things. In the noble teachings of the Buddha, it is honesty, kindness, understanding, patience, generosity, forgiveness, loyalty and other good qualities that truly protect us and give us true happiness and prosperity. Strange principles and unorthodox theories. Belief or rite unreasoningly upheld by faith such as venerating the head of tiger, and buffalo, the snake and centipede deities, the Lares, consulting fortunteller, reading the horoscope, etc., don’t belong to the Buddhist teachings. Buddhism means wisdom. And, Buddhism never accept superstitions; however, superstitious beliefs and rituals are adopted to decorate a religion in order to attract the multitude. But, after some time, the creeper which is planted to decorate the shrine outgrows and outshines the shrine, with the result that religious tenets are relegated to the background and supertitious beliefs and rituals become predominent. With Buddhism, to believe religion without understanding it thoroughly, it’s a blind faith, or it’s not different from superstition. Even though understanding but understanding without finding to see if it’s right or wrong, in accordance or not in accordance with truth, with reality, it’s also a form of superstition or wrong belief. Believe that when you sow a seed of hot-pepper, you will have a hot-pepper tree and eventually you will reap hot-pepper fruit. However, even though you have already sown the seed of hot-pepper, but you realize that you don’t like to eat fruit that is hot, you stop fertilizing and watering the hot-pepper tree, the tree will wither and die, and will not produce any fruit. Similarly, if you know an action is bad and unwholesome, you refuse to act, of course you will not receive any bad or unwholesome consequence. The Buddha refuses to believe that whatever happens to a person, either good or bad, is due to chance, fate or fortune. Everything that happens has a specific cause or causes and there must be some tight relationships between the cause and the effect. Those who want to believe in Buddhism should not rush to become a Buddhist with the wrong understanding or blind belief in Buddhism. You should take your time to do more researches, to ask questions, and to consider carefully before making your final decision. Religions that worship god have always considered reason and wisdom as the enemy of faith and dogma for them there exist only “believe” or “not believe” and nothing else. In fact, if we accept that there exists a so-called almighty god, we cannot accept any of the findings of modern science; neither Darwin’s science of biological evolution nor the theories of the nature and evolution of the universe coming from modern physics. They believe that a so-called creator god invented humankind and the universe all at once and that these three realms of god, man and universe, all are separate. However, modern science agrees with what the Buddha taught almost twenty-six centuries ago, and proves that the universe as one infinite process of change. Furthermore, the belief of salvation by god caused a serious danger to the whole world, especially from the first century to the end of the nineteenth century, for those who believe in the salvation of god believe that they must impose salvation on others. For this reason, Catholic countries sent their troops and priests all over the world to save others by force. And as a result, millions of people got killed or slaughtered and subjugated in the name of god. Buddhism is in contrast with other religions that believe in god. Buddhism teaches that one must develop wisdom. However, wisdom in Buddhism is not simply believing in what we are told or taught. True wisdom is to directly see and understand for ourselves. With this wisdom, people will have an open mind that listens to others’ points of view rather than being closed-minded; people will also carefully examine fatcs that contradicts their belief rather than blindly believing. Sincere Buddhists never believe in the law of eternity. The Buddha accepts the law of impermanence or change and denies the existence of eternal substances. Matter and spirit are false abstractions that, in reality, are only changing factors or dharmas which are connected and which arise in functional dependence on each other. Thus, Buddhist faith means that the devotee accepts the Buddha as a Teacher and a Guide, His doctrine as way of life, and the Sangha community as the examplars of this way of life. According to Buddhist point of view in faith, everyone is completely free to make his own choice in faith, no one has the right to interfere with other people’s choice. Let’s take a close look in the Buddha’s teaching in the Kalama Sutra: “Nothing should be accepted merely on the ground of tradition or the authority of the teacher, or because it is the view of a large number of people, distinguished or otherwise. Everything should be weighed, examined and judged according to whether it is true or false in the light of one’s own true benefits. If considered wrong, they should not be rejected but left for further considerations.” Therefore, we see clearly that Buddhism is based on personal expeirence, rationalism, practice, morality, and insight. There is no need to propitiate gods or masters. There is no blind adherence to a faith, rigid dogmas, rituals, holy scriptures, or myths. The Buddha always confirmed his disciples that a salvation can only be gained by man and by man only during his life without the least help from a so-called god or gods.
All things last or exist only for a short time, of changing continually. Physical changes operating from the state of formation, to that of development, decay and disintegration are exact manifestations of the law of transformation. The Buddha saw, when seated beneath the Bodhi Tree, that everything is changing and passing away all the time. All things in the universe, from the small grain of sand, the human body, to the big one such as the earth, moon, sun, mountains and rivers are governed by the aove law, and as such, must come through these four periods. This process of changes characterizes impermanence. All things are impermanent, their birth, existence, change, and death never resting for a moment. The hills and mountains are changing all the time but we cannot notice the change because ot takes place so slowly. If, on the other hand, we look at a flower in the morning and examine it again in the evening, it is easy to see how much it has changed in only twelve hours. All things in this world, including human life, and political systems, are constantly changing from moment to moment. This is called impermanence in each moment. Everything passes through a period of birth, maturity, transformation, and destruction. This destruction is called impermanence in each cycle. To see the impermanent nature of all things, we must examine this closely. Doing so will prevent us from being imprisoned by the things of this world. The law of changing and passing away is to be found everywhere and in everything from money, position, to pleasure, our bodies and even the world itself is changing, and must in the end pass away. In most monasteries, at the end of ceremonies, monks and nuns often chant the verse of impermance.
This day is already done.
Our lives are that much less.
We’re like fish in a shrinking pond;
What joy is there in this?
We should be diligent and vigorous,
As if our own head were at stake.
Only be mindful of impermanence,
And be careful not to be lax.
It is necessary for sincere Buddhists to think that the impermanence of life is sudden, time truly flies, the morning had just come but night has arrived. Why not be diligent and prepare in anticipation. In fact, the fact of impermanence has been recognized not only in Buddhist thought, but also elsewhere in the history of philosohy. It was the ancient Chinese educators who also recognized the ever-changing and transient nature of things. However, Buddhism considers impermanence is one of the three most important dharma seals: impermanence, suffering, and no-self. Buddhist scriptures always say that the three worlds are impermanent like autumn clouds; that birth and death are like a human dance; and that human life is like a flash of lightning.
Impermanence is the state of not being permanent, of lasting or existing only for a short time, of changing continually. Physical changes operating from the state of formation, to that of development, decay and disintegration are exact manifestations of the law of transformation. Impermanence is the ever changing nature of all phenomena from arising, dwelling and passing away. Anitya is one of the three fundamental of everything existing: Impermanence (Anitya), Suffering (Duhkha) and Non-ego (Anatman). Impermanence is the basis of life, without which existence would not be possible.A Sanskrit term for “Impermanence.” Impermanence is the ever changing nature of all phenomena from arising, dwelling and passing away. Anitya is the state of not being permanent, of lasting or existing only for a short time, of changing continually. Physical changes operating from the state of formation, to that of development, decay and disintegration are exact manifestations of the law of transformation. All things in the universe, from the small grain of sand, the human body, to the big one such as the earth, moon and sun are governed by the above law, and as such, must come through these four periods. This process of changes characterizes impermanence. Anitya is one of the three fundamental of everything existing: Impermanence (Anitya), Suffering (Duhkha) and Non-ego (Anatman). Impermanence is the basis of life, without which existence would not be possible. “Impermanence” is one of the “three characteristics” (trilaksana) that Sakyamuni Buddha said distinguish all conditioned (samskrta) phenomena, the others being selflessness and unsatisfactoriness or suffering. According to this doctrine, all conditioned phenomena, i.e., phenomena that come into being due to causes and conditions, are constantly changing, and so there is no possibility of holding onto anything. This is connected with the other two characteristics, since the transitory nature of phenomena leads to inevitably suffering, because beings are inevitably separated from things that they desire. Also, because phenomena are constantly changing, there is no possibility of a permanent and unchanging “self” or soul (atman). Everything in this world is subject to change and perish; nothing remains constant for even a single ksatna or short moment. Everything, every phenomenon passes through a period of birth, maturity, transformation, and destruction. The Diamond Sutra taught: “Just examine the various conditioned dharma, it is no different than a bubble or dwedrop; observe and realize everything is impermanent, births and deaths are like lightning flashes.” Contemplation on the impermanence of things will help us prevent from being imprisoned by the things of the world.
Sincere Buddhists should always be awakened and realize: “Nothing in this world lasts forever.” In the end, everything is a part of the cycle of “Formation, Existence, Decadence, and Emptiness.” If there is birth, naturally, there will be existence for a certain amount of time, then decay will come, and, in the end, return to dirt and sand. Because we are awakened to these conditions of life, we begin realizing the theory of “Impermanence” the Buddha taught in the sutras is accurate. No matter how much glory, wealth, or success was achieved in the past, in the end, these accomplishments are not any different than a beautiful dream. Sincere Buddhists should know how to adapt and make best of their situations, able cleverly to tolerate and endure various conditions and circumstances of life, then they may be able to transform misfortunes, failures, and sufferings into blessings and happiness. Everything in life, if it has form characteristics, then, inevitably, one day it will be destroyed. A human life is the same way, if there is life, there must be death. Even though we say a hundred years, it passes by in a flash, like lightning streaking across the sky, like a flower’s blossom, like the image of the moon at the bottom of lake, like a short breath, what is really eternal? Even our dear bodies, we are unable to maintain its youth, health, and vitality forever because it must endure inevitable sufferings, deterioration, old age, sickness, and death. Everything in life is impermanent, artificial, dream-like, and transient like a bubble in water. After the sunshine, there is rain; after rain there is cessation; after health there is sickness; after happiness there is sadness; after being together there is being apart; after success there is failure; after rise there is fall. Along the long river some stretch are straight, others curve; sometimes it is quite peaceful, other times turbulent and chaotic. Sincere Buddhists should always remember the impermanence of all things, should always try to cultivate, should always turn your misfortunes and setbacks as well as obstacles into advantageous situations; should always awaken, abandon ignorance to see the light of enlightenment, and become more determined to solidify your mind to make firm progress on your cultivated path.
Everything in this world is subject to change and perish; nothing remains constant for even a single moment. The fact of impermanence has been recognized not only in Buddhist thought but elsewhere in the history of ideas. It was the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus who remarked that one cannot step into the same river twice. He meant that everything keeps changing without a pause or the ever-changing and transient nature of things. Human’s life is just like that. In fact, human’s life is like a dream; it is impermanent like autumn clouds, that birth and death are like a dance; that infant changes to young age and to old age just like morning turns into afternoon, then evening. Look at our body and see it changes every second of life. The growing (becoming old) of a human’s life is not differnt from a flash of lightning. Things around us also keep changing. No one of the things we see around us will last forever, in the same river, the current of yesterday is not the current we see today. Even our minds are constantly subject to changefriends become enemies, enemies become friends. Our possessions are also impermanent, the brand new car we bought in the year of 2000 is no longer a new car in 2004, the shirt we donate to Goodwill Charity today was once liked by us, and so on and and so on. Understanding impermanence of existence is important not simply four our cultivation of the Dharma, but also in our daily lives for this understanding is a key to open the door of the ultimate nature of things and also an antidiote to anger and attachment. When we see all things are perishable and change every moment, we will not try to attach to them.
In the Dharmapada Sutra, the Buddha taught: “To live a hundred years without comprehending how all things rise and pass away, is no better than a single-day life of seeing beginning and end of all things (Dharmapada Sutra 113). Thus, according to the Buddha, understanding impermanence is important not only for our practice of the Dharma, but also in our daily life. Besides these immediate benefits, understanding impermanence is also an effective skillful means that assists us in practicing the Dharma. The understanding of impermanence is an antidote to desire and ill-will. And finally, it is a key that helps us understand the ultimate nature of things, the way things really are.” In the Mijjhamaka Sutra, the Buddha gives five striking similes to illustrate the impermanent nature of the five aggregates of clinging. He compares material form or body to a lump of foam, feeling to a bubble of water, perception to a mirage, mental formations or volitional activities to a plantain trunk without heartwood, and consciousness to an illusion. So He asked the monks: “What essence, monks, could there be in a lump of foam, in a bubble, in a mirage, in a plantain trunk, in an illusion? Whatever material form there be whether past, future or present; internal or external; gross or subtle; low or lofty; far or near; that material form the meditator sees, meditates upon, examines with systematic and wise attention, he thus seeing, meditating upon, and examining with systematic and wise attention, would find it empty, unsubstantial and without essence. Whatever essence, monks, could there be in material form?” And the Buddha speaks in the same manner of the remaining aggregates and asks: “What essence, monks, could there be in feeling, in perception, in mental formation and in consciousness?” Change or impermanence is the essential characteristic of phenomenal existence. We cannot say of anything, animate or inanimate, ‘this is lasting’ for even while we say, it is undergoing change. The aggregates are compounded and conditioned, and, therefore, ever subject to cause and effect. Unceasingly does consciousness or mind and its factors change, and just as unceasingly, though at a lower rate, the physical body also changes from moment to moment. He who sees clearly that the impermanent aggregates are impermanent, has right understanding.
126. The Impermanence of the Body, the Mind and the Environment
Some people wonder why Buddhism always emphasizes the theory of impermanence? Does it want to spread in the human mind the seed of disheartenment, and discourage? In their view, if things are changeable, we do not need to do anything, because if we attain a great achievement, we cannot keep it. This type of reasoning, a first, appears partly logical, but in reality, it is not at all. When the Buddha preached about impermanence, He did not want to discourage anyone, but warning his disciples about the truth. A true Buddhist has to work hard for his own well being and also for the society’s. Although he knows that he is facong the changing reality, he always keeps himself calm. He must refrain from harming others, in contrast, strive to perform good deeds for the benefit and happiness of others. All things have changed and will never cease to change. The human body is changeable, thus governed by the law of impermanence. Our body is different from the minute before to that of the minute after. Biological researches have proved that the cells in our body are in constant change, and in every seven years all the old cells have been totally renewed. These changes help us quickly grow up, age and die. The longer we want to live, the more we fear death. From childhood to aging, human life is exactly like a dream, but there are many people who do not realize; therefore, they continue to launch into the noose of desire; as a result, they suffer from greed and will suffer more if they become attached to their possessions. Sometimes at time of death they still don’t want to let go anything. There are some who know that they will die soon, but they still strive desperately to keep what they cherish most. Impermanence of the body means that the body withers rapidly, soon grows old and delibitated, ending in death. The ancients have lamented: “Oh, that time when we were young and would ride bamboo sticks, pretending they were horses, in the twinkling of an eye, our hair is now spotted with the color of frost.” What happened to all those brave and intelligent young men and those beautiful and enchanting women of bygone days? They ended as in the following poem: “Rosy cheeks have faded, heros have passed away; young students’ eyes, too, are weary and sad.” Not only our body is changeable, but also our mind. It changes more rapidly than the body, it changes every second, every minute according to the environment. We are cheerful a few minutes before and sad a few minutes later, laughing then crying, happiness then sorrow. Impermanence of the mind means that the mind and thoughts of sentient beings are always changing, at times filled with love or anger, at times happy or sad. Those thoughts, upon close scrutiny, are illusory and false, like water bubbles. Impermanence of the environment means that not only do our surroundings always change and fluctuate, but happiness, too, is impermenent. Succulent food, once swallowed, loses all tastes; an emotional reunion, however, sweet and joyful, ultimately ends in separation; a delightful party soon becomes a thing of past; a good book, too, gradually reaches the last pages.
127. What is Immortal in This World?
In the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha told Mahamati: “Oh Mahamati! The doctrine of immortality advocated by the Blessed One is not the same as that of other philosophers, not only as regards immortality, but as regards birth and impermanence. Why? According to them, there is a self-substance about which they assert immortality and unchangeability. My position is not that, for it does not fall into the categories of being and non-being. It goes beyond the categories of being and non-being, of birth and disappearance; it is not existence nor is it non-existence. How is it not non-existent? Because it is like unto a diversity of forms appearing in a dream or maya. How is it not existent? Because the self-substance of forms is not to be asserted as existent. We see them as appearances which are not realities, we grasp (grahana) them as before us yet they are not really graspable. For this reason, all existences are to be regarded neither as existent nor as non-existent. If we know that we see before us is no more than the manifestation of our own mind and abide within ourselves where no dualistic discrimination takes place, we see that there is nothing astir in the world. The ignorant assert themselves in their doings, discriminate therein, but the wise do not. Oh Mahamati! This is due to the discrimination of unrealities whereby the ignorant get altogether confused in their judgments. The ignorant are confused in the judgment of birth and no-birth, and of the created and of the uncreated; there is really no appearance, no disappearance of the magical figures, of which we can assert either as born or as passed. Oh Mahamati! By being untruthful it is meant that the self-nature of things is not truthfully discerned as it is in itself. When however an untrue view prevails, there is an attachment to the self-substance of things, failing to see them in their solitary quietude, and as long as this quietude fails to be seen, there will be no disappearance of wrongful discrimination. Therefore, Mahamati, a view based on formlessness of things is superior to that based on form, because form is the cause of birth. When there is formlessness, it puts a stop to the rise of discrimination, and there is a state of immortality, which is nirvana. Oh Mahamati! One finds Nirvana where one sees the abode of reality in its truthful signification and abandons the discrimination of all that is mind and all that belongs to mind.”
128. Four Theories Regarding Pervasive Permanence
According to the Surangama Sutra, book Nine, in the part of the ten states of the formation skandha, the Buddha reminded Ananda as follows: “Ananda, in his practice of samadhi, the good person’’ mind is unmoving, clear, and proper and can no longer be distrubed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on its pervasive constancy, he could fall into error with four theories of pervasive permanence.”
First, Attachment on Permanence on the Mind and its states. As this person throroughly investigates the mind and its states, he may conclude that both are causeless. Through his cultivation, he knows that in twenty thousand eons, as beings in the ten directions undergo endless rounds of birth and death, they are never annihilated. Therefore, he speculates that the mind and its states are permanent.
Second, Attachment on Permanence on the four elements. As this person thoroughly investigates the source of the four elements, he may conclude that they are permanent in nature. Through his cultivation, he knows that in forty thousand eons, as living beings in the ten directions undergo births and deaths, their substances exist permanently and are never annihilated. Therefore, he speculates that this situation is permanent.
Third, Attachment on Permanence on the sense faculty, the manas, and the consciousness. As this person thoroughly investigates the sixth sense faculty, the manas, and the consciousness that grasps and receives, he concludes that the origin of the mind, intelect, and consciousness is permanent. Through his cultivation, he knows that in eighty thousand eons, all living beings in the ten directions revolve in transmigration, this origin is never destroyed and exists permanently. Investigating this undestroyed origin, he speculates that it is permanent.
Fourth, Attachment on Permanence on the thoughts. Since this person has ended the source of thoughts, there is no more reason for them to arise. In the state of flowing, halting, and turning, the thinking mind, which was the cause of production and destruction, has now ceased forever, and so he naturally thinks that this is a state of nonproduction and nondestruction. As a result of such reasoning, he speculates that this state is permanent. Because of these speculation of permanence, he will lose proper and pervasive knowledge, fall into externalism, and become confused about the Bodhi nature.
Externalists believe that there exists a so-called Lot or Destiny. According to fatalism, each of us has a fate which we cannot change and about which we can do nothing. As they says “Whatever will be will be.” In this philosophy the agent that determine destiny is not, as in the theistic position, a personal God, but rather a mysterious impersonal power called “Fate” which transcends our understanding and hence our ability to persuade or manipulate. In Buddhism, there exists no such “destiny.” In fact, Buddhism consider this as a way or a path of going. Our destiny issues from our character, our character from our habits, our habits from our acts, and our acts from our thoughts. And since thoughts issue from the mind the ultimate determinant of our destiny. In fact, the mind is the only creator Buddhism recognizes, and the power of the mind the only significant power in the world. As Milton, an English poet in the seventeenth century, says: “The mind can make a heaven of hell, and a hell of heaven.” If we think good thoughts, our acts cannot be bad. By thinking good thoughts, we will produce better actions, develop better habits, mold better characters and inherit better destiny. According to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, there are five gati (destinations, destinies).
130. Eleven Accumulated Habits
In the Surangama Sutra, Volume Eight, the Buddha taught on “Accumulated Habits” as follows:
First, Habit of craving. Habits of craving or Habits of greed or covetousness results in the cold hells. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of greed as follows: “Habits of greed and intermingled scheming which give rise to a suction. When this suction becomes dominant and incessant, it produces intense cold and solid ice where freezing occurs, just as a sensation of cold is experienced when a person draws in a blast of wind through his mouth. Because these two habits clash together, there come into being chattering, whimpering, and shuddering; blue, red, and white lotuses; cold and ice; and other such expeirences.”
Second, Habits of anger. Habits of hatred or Hatred results in emasculation of sex organ. This is one of the ten causes and effects. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of hatred as follows: “Habits of hatred which give rise to mutual defiance. When the defiance binds one without cease, one’s heart becomes so hot that it catches fire, and the molten vapor turns into metal. From it produced the mountain of knives, the iron cudgel, the tree of swords, the wheel of swords, axes and halberds (cây kích), and spears and saws. It is like the intent to kill surging forth when a person meets a mortal enemy, so that he is roused to action. Because these two habits clash with one another, there come into being castration and hacking, beheading and mutilation, filing and sticking, flogging and beating, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon hatred and name it ‘sharp knives and swords.’ Bodhisattvas should avoid hatred as they would their own execution.”
Third, Habits of arrogance. Habits of arrogance or conceit results in blood rivers and poisonous seas. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of arrogance as follows: “Habits of arrogance and resulting friction which give rise to mutual intimidation. When it accelerates without cease, it produces torrents and rapids which create restless waves of water, just as water is produced when a person continuously works his tongue in an effort to taste flavors. Because these two habits incite one another, there come into being the river of blood, the river of ashes, the burning sand, the poisonous sea, the molten copper which is poured over one or which must be swallowed, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon self-satisfaction and name it ‘drinking the water of stupidity.’ Bodhisattvas should avoid arrogance as they would a huge deluge.”—See Ten causes and ten effects.
Fourth, Habits of lust. Habit of sexual desire or Lust grows into a habit because of sexual intercourse in which two people caress each other thereby producing heat that in turn stimulates desire. This is like the heat caused by rubbing the hands together. Adultery results in the iron bed, the copper pillar, and the eight hot hells (the bed stands for sexual desire and the pillar for the partner on whom the sinner depends to stimulate his sexual appetite). The Buddha taught: “Habits of lust and reciprocal interactions which give rise to mutual rubbing. When this rubbing continues without cease, it produces a tremendous raging fire within which movement occurs, just as warmth arises between a person’s hands when he rubs them together. Because these two habits set each other ablaze, there come into being the iron bed, the copper pillar, and other such experiences. Therefore, Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon the practice of lust and name it the ‘fire of desire.’ Bodhisattvas avoid desire as they would a fiery pit.”
Fifth, Habit of committing adultery. At the time of the Buddha, there was a man who had the habit of committing adultery. Even though he had been arrested a number of times for his misconduct, he did not change his ways. In desperation, his father brought him to the Buddha for advice. The Buddha pointed out that a person who indulges in sexual misconduct creates problems and suffering for himself as well as others. He not only squanders his money and loses his reputation but also creates enemies for himself. These are serious consequences often result from sexual misconduct, but they are usually overlooked at the time when it is being committed.
Sixth, Habits of deceptions. Habits of deceitfulness or Habits of deceptions result in yokes and being beaten with rods. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of deceitfulness as follows: “Habits of deception and misleading involments which give rise to mutual guile. When such maneucering continues without cease, it produces the ropes and wood of gallows for hanging, like the grass and trees that grow when water saturates a field. Because these two habits perpetuate one another, there come into being handcuffs and fetters, cangues and locks, whips and clubs, sticks and cudgels, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon deception and name it a ‘treacherous crook.’ Bodhisattvas fear deception as they would a savage wolf.”
Seventh, Habits of disputation. Habits of disputation or Habits of litigation. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of disputation as follows: “Habits of litigation and the mutual disputations which give rise to covering. From them there are produced a look in the mirror and illumination by the lamp. It is like being in direct sunlight. There is no way one can hide one’s shadow. Because these two habits bicker back and forth, there come into being evil companions, the mirror of karma, the fiery pearl, exposure of past karma, inquests, and other such experiences. Therefore, all the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon covering and name it a ‘yin villain.’ Bodhisattvas regard covering as they would having to carry a mountain atop their heads while walking upon the sea.”
Eighth, Habits of injustice. Habits of injustice or Habits of unfairness. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of unfairness as follows: “Habits of injustice and their interconnected support of one another; they result in instigating false charges and libeling. From them are produced crushing between mountains, crushing between rocks, stone rollers, stone grinders, plowing, and pulverizing . It is like a slanderous villain who engages in persecuting good people unjustly. Because these two habits join ranks, there come into being pressing and pushing, bludgeons and compulsion, squeezing and straining, weighing and measuring, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon harmful accusations and name them a ‘treacherous tiger.’ Bodhisattvas regard injustice as they would a bolt of lightning.
Ninth, Habits of lying. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of lying as follows: “Habits of lying and combined fraudulence which give rise to mutual cheating. When false accusations continue without cease, one becomes adept at corruption. From this there come into being dust and dirt, excrement and urine, filth, stench, and impurities. It is like the obscuring of everyone’s vision when the dust is stirred up by the wind. Because these two habits augment one another, there come into being sinking and drowning, tossing and pitching, flying anf falling, floating and submerging, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon lying and name it ‘robbery and murder.’ Bodhisattvas regard lying as they would treading on a venomous snake.”
Tenth, Habits of resentment. Habits of resentment or Habits of animosity. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of animosity as follows: “Habits of animosity and interconnected enmity which give rise to grievances. From this there come into being flying rocks, thrown stones, caskets and closets, cages on wheels, jars and containers, and bags and rods. It is like someone harming others secretly. He harbors, cherishes, and nurtures evil. Because these two habits swallow one another up, there come into being tossing and pitching, seizing anf apprehending, striking and shooting, casting away and pinching, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon animosity and name it a ‘disobedient and harmful ghost.’ Bodhisattvas regard animosity as they would drinking poisonous wine.”
Eleventh, Habits of views. Habits of wrong views or Wrong views result in torture. The Buddha reminded Ananda about the habit of wrong views as follows: “Habits of views and the admixture of understandings, such as Satkayadrishti, views, moral prohibitions, grasping, and deviant insight into various kinds of karma, which bring about opposition and produce mutual antagonism. From them there come into being court officials, deputies, certifiers, and registrars. They are like people traveling on a road, who meet each other coming and going. Because these two habits influence one another, there come into being official inquiries, baited questions, examinations, interrogations, public investigations, exposure, the youth who record good and evil, carrying the record books of the offenders’ arguments and retionalizations, and other such experiences. Therefore, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions look upon evil views and name them the ‘pit of views.’ Bodhisattvas regard having false and one-sided views as they would standing on the edge of a steep ravine full of poison.”