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Changing Destiny_A Commentary on Liaofan's Four Lessons

Changing Destiny_A Commentary on Liaofan's Four Lessons

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Published by Amitabha
A commentary on Liaofan's Four Lessons, this book tells how Yuan Liaofan, destined to be heirless and to die young, learned from a Zen master how to change destiny. Following the master’s advice, Mr. Yuan attained all that he sought, and more. The life-changing principles in his book are as important today as they were 500 years ago.
A commentary on Liaofan's Four Lessons, this book tells how Yuan Liaofan, destined to be heirless and to die young, learned from a Zen master how to change destiny. Following the master’s advice, Mr. Yuan attained all that he sought, and more. The life-changing principles in his book are as important today as they were 500 years ago.

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↗ 叭 僇 八 歹 ﹥ 甌   蘸 丫
描 之 / 名 乙 妒 尺 ﹞ / 口
么 」 〃 糊 夕 α / 區 乙
/ 〃 ︿ 乏 ﹙ £   左 尺 』 『 及 乙 ﹩ 八
﹄ 肱 乙 ﹜ ∕ ﹨ ∕ 筵 ﹚ 區 囫 八 /
哀 趴 似 / 令   左 γ
﹑ 勉 圓 尬 匠
NAMOAMITABHA
南 熙 阿 擱 陀 佛
箏 藏 淨 宗 學 會 印 贈
PrintedanddonatedfbrfTeedistributionby
  叩 Ⅲ Ⅱ Ⅱ
2F,No333-l,Sec4,HsinYiRoad,Taipei,Taiwan,R.O·C·
Tel:886-2-2754-7l78Fax:886-2-2754-7262
Website:www.hwadzan.org.tw
E-mail:hwadzan@hwadzan.tw
‧ Ⅱ ‧ Ⅲ Ⅱ 。
PrintedinTaiwan
2000Copies;20l2October
HZ50-07-0l
Contents
Introduction
FirstLesson:LearningtoCreateDestiny
Mr.KongIsAccuratePredictions
MasterYunguIsAdviceonChangingDestiny
ThePrincipleofChangingDestiny
TheWaysofChangingDestiny
ToSurpassDestiny
SecondLesson:TheWaystoRefOrm
TheReasonstoRefOrm
ASignfOrGoodFortuneandMisfOrtune
TheWaystoRefOrm
AShamefUlHeart
AFearfulHeart
ADetermined’CourageousHeart
TbreeMethodsofPracticeinRefOrming
CbangingthroughBe}Iavior
CbangingthroughReasoning
ChangingffomtheHeartandMind
TheDesiredResultofRefOrm
TbirdLesson:TheWaystoCultivateGoodness
APamilyThatAccumulatesGoodDeedsWill
AbundantProsperity
TenAccountsofVirtuousPeople
Have
l
5
I5
26
69
l29
I35
l50
l67
l73
l75
200
223
234
UnderstandingGoodness
HowtoRecognizeGoodness
TheDefinitionofGoodness
PracticingtheTenGoodDeedsWhenConditions
Arise
FourtbLesson:BenefitsoftheVirtueofHumility
ArroganceInvitesAdversityWhileHumilityGains
Benefit
HumilityandModestyAretheFoundationfbr
GoodFortune
Appendix:Liaofan>sFourLessons
TheTen-recitationMethod
Notes
Glossary
263
266
305
  午
377
382
447
448
459
Translator)sNotes
乃 ﹜  
speaksofrecitingMr·XiaLianju’scompilationofthe
】 丑 『 】 它 ∕ 【 召 ’
/ 肋 ’ ﹣
tionsareavailableontbeInternet,isanexcellent
alternative.
WeareusingtlIeC}Iineseconventionofplacingthe
familynamefirst,tobefOllowedbythegivenname’
courtesyname,orsobriquet.Thesetermsareex-
plainedonpage86.
WeapologizefOranyerrorsandwouldbemostap-
preciativeifyouwouldbringthemtoourattention.
PleaseemailusatsilentvoicesOO@lIotmail.comorfax
usatl-8l5-927-O359·
Respectfully>
SilentVoices
l5February2OO2
Introduction
血 尼 古 【   】
sixteentlIcenturyinChinabyYuanLiaofanwithtbe
hopethatitwouldteachhisson,YuanTianqi,about
destiny,howtodifferentiategoodfrombad,howto
correcthisfaults>andhowtopracticegooddeedsto
cultivatebothvirtueandhumility·Asanembodiment
ofhisteacl1ings)Liaofanwaslivingproofoftheir
benefits)fOrhehadchangedhisdestiny.
Learningtore-createdestinyhaslongbeenofin-
teresttothosewhobelievethatwealthorpoverty)long
lifeorshortlife-everytbingisdestinedPeoplewlIo
accomplishedgooddeedsintheirpastliveswillnatu-
rallyen]oywealthyandlonglivesnow,whilethose
whocommittedbaddeedsintbeirpastliveswillun-
dergodeprivationsandshortlives.However’thereare
exceptions·Destinycanbechanged
Ifwewereoriginallysupposedtoen}oywealtl1and
longevityinthislifetime,buthavecommittedexces-
sivebaddeeds’thenwithoutwaitinguntilthenextlife’
wewillbecomepoorandhaveshortenedlives.Ifwe
wereoriginallysupposedtoundergopovertyandhave
sl1ortlives,buthaveaccomplishedexemplarydeeds’
wewillbecomewealthyandhavelonglives.History
providesmanyexamplesoftlIis.
AltlIougbeverytbingtlIatwehavetogotlIroughin
thislifeistlIeresultofourthoughtsandbehaviorin
ourpastlivesandhasbeenpredetermined,itisnot
l
rigidWecanstillmodifyitwithourcuITentthouglIts
andbehavior’
AsBuddhists’wearetauglIttorefrainfromevil,to
吋   ﹞
Seal>ourcriteriatodeterminethegenuinenessof
Buddhistteachingsortruths.Buddhistsutrasaddress
principlesandlogic’andarespokenbyfivetypesof
people·TlIeyarel)Buddhas’inourcaseBuddha
) ) ’ 今 )
immortals’and5)manifestedbeings·
AslongaswhathasbeensaidconfOrmstotheBud-
dlIa’steachingsanddoesnotcontradictthem,the
Buddl1aswiththeirgreatbroad-mindednesswillrec-
ognizetbemassutras.Tlms,weslIouldregardand
respectasasutra,anyworktl1atconfOrmstoBuddl1ist
principles·
白 危 台 【
itisnotaBuddhistsutra)weneedtorespectand
praiseitasone·Tl>isisespeciallysofOrtl1isbookfOrit
wascertifiedandadvocatedbyMasterYinGuang’the
thirteenthPatriarchoftlIePureLandscl1oolInthe
earlypartofthetwentiethcentury’hededicatedhis
lifetoitspropagationandwasresponsiblefOrprinting
millionsofcopiesasweIasstudying)practicing>and
lecturingonit.NotonlycanithelptoserveasafOun-
dationinourlearning,butmoreimportantly’itcan
alsoserveasafOundationfOrnon-Buddbistsinhelp-
ingtlIemlearnhowtocbangetheirdestinies·
Tl1ereismuchtolearn,includingprinciplesand
2
metl1ods)allofwhicharecoveredinthisbookAl-
thoughitisrelativelyshort)itsimpactcanbesignifi-
cant.Tl1erefOre’ifwewishtochangeourdestiniesor
totrulyachieveattainmentthrouglIthepracticeof
Buddbism,wewoulddowelltoaccordwithitsguid-
anCeo
Tl1erearefourchaptersorlessonsinthisbookTlIe
firstlessonof<<LearningtoCreateDestiny”isabout
thelawofcauseandeffect·Thesecondlesson,‘<The
WaystoRefOrm’’isdevelopedfromunderstanding
。   ‘ ﹙  
Goodness),istheprimarylesson’tlIatofcultivating
andaccumulatinggoodness.Itisbasedonfeeling
regretandrefOrmingourfaults.TbefOurtlIlesson’
‘‘TlIeBenefitsoftlIeVirtueofHumility,)istlIeconclu-
sionforthebook
3
TheFirstLesson:
LearningtoCbangeDestiny
Inthislesson)Liaofantoldbisson)Tianqi,aboutlIis
personalexperiencesandthoseofotl1ers.Wanting
Tianqitodohisbestinpracticinggoodnessandend-
inglIisincorrectbehavior,tore-createandcontroll1is
destinyandnolongerbeboundbyit,LiaofantauglIt
himtheprinciplesofwhythingslIappenandhowto
clIangethem.Forexample,asPureLandpractitioners,
ifweareabletofOllowtlIismethod,weareassuredof
attaininghappy)fUlfillinglives’andofbeingreborn
intotheWesternPureLand
Mr.Kong>sAccuratePredictions
MyfatherpassedawaywhenIwasyoung.
Mymotherpersuadedmetolearnmedicine
insteadofstudyingandpassingtbeimperial
examinationsbecauseitwouldbeagoodway
tosupportmyselfwlIilehelpingothers.Per-
haps,Icouldevenbecomefamoustl>rough
mymedicalskills;tlIusfulIingmyfather)s
aspirationfOrme’
InancientChina’thepurposeofstudyingandpassing
theimperialexaminationswastobecomeagovern-
mentofficial.Thus,tostopstudyingfbrtheexamina-
tionswastogiveupanychancetoworkinthegov-
ernment.Acareerinmedicinewouldenableoneto
5
lIaveaskillthatwouldprovideagoodlivinginaddi-
tiontolIelpingotlIers’
Atthattime’teachersdidnotchargeafeebutac-
ceptedwhateverwasofferedWealtlWfamiliesgave
more;poorfamiliesgaveless.Aslongastl1estudent
wassincereinl1onoringtheteacherandrespectingthe
teachings’theamountgivenwasunimportant.Tbe
sameappliedtophysicians.Theirgoalwastosave
lives)todotl1eirverybesttomakeotl1erswellTl1e
paymentfOrtheserVcesrenderedwasatthediscre-
tionoftl1epatient.Bothteachersandphysicianswere
dedicatedtolIelpingothersandwerel1iglIlyrespected.
Oneday>Imetanelderlybutdistinguished
lookinggentlemanattheCompassionate
CloudTemple.Hehadalongbeardandthe
lookofasage.Iimmediatelypaidmyre-
spectstol1im·Hetoldme:‘<Youaredestined
tobeagovernmentofficialNextyear,you
willattaintherankofLearnedFirstLevel
SclIolar·WlIyareyounotstudyingfOrthe
examination?))Itoldhimthereason’
Thissegmentisaboutaturningpoint:Liaofan’s
opportunitytolearnhowtochangehisdestiny·It
describedhismeetinganelderlygentlemanwhohada
handsomecountenance’andwastallwithanelegant
celestialair,andwhodidnotlooklikeanaverage
person.Liaofannaturallypaidhisrespectstohim.
BecausetheelderlygentlemancouldfOretelltl1efu-
6
ture’helmewthatLiaofanshouldhavebeenstudying
andneededtodosoassoonaspossible.l
IaskedtheelderlygentlemanfOrhisname
廿 《 ‘
familynameisKongandIamfTomYunnan
prov1nce.Ihaveinl1eritedaverysacredand
accuratetextonastrologyandprediction.
﹚ 刀  
白 / 沾 ㎡ ㎡ ○ 「 / 匿 】 叻 叨 ∕ 犬
mycalculations)Iamsupposedtopassiton
toyouandteachyouhowtouseit·>)
廿 ‧
wasawell-knownandhig}Ily-respectedintellectualof
histime’TlIesacredtextonastrologyisanin-deptl1
booktl1atbasbeencompiledwitl1othersintotl1e
化 肥 Ⅱ 犬 ㎡ 肋 几 α 刃 ℃ 【 尢
ThecontentofShaozi)sbookiscompletelyinac-
乃 肋
乃 匿 針  
calcalculations.Thepredictionsintl1ebookcover
numeroussubjects’includingchangesincountries
andtlIeworldTheprosperityordeclineofadynasty,
thegoodfOrtuneormisfOrtuneofanindividualcould
廿
calculations.ThisbookofprofOundknowledgeis
basedonaprecisescienceandisbothlogicaland
credible.

7
Shalq/amunitauglltusthattl1isisduetotl1elawof
causality·Aslongaswegiverisetoacause,beita
thought,word,oract,aresulttbatisasetdestinywill
fOllow.OnlywlIenthemindisdevoidofthoughtcan
wetranscendtl1epredeterminationoftbemathemat-
ics.Whyarepractitionerswitl1highlevelsofacl1ieve-
mentoftenabletotranscend?Havingattainedthe
levelofOneMindUndisturbed>theirmindsdonot
giverisetoanythoughts.Aslongaswehavethoughts)
ourfateswillremainboundbythemathematics.A
higl1lysldlledpersonisabletoaccuratelypredictour
futurestl1rougbcalculations.
OurlivesaredestinedArhatsorotlIersageswitl1a
higherlevelofspiritualenlightenment,wholIave
alreadytranscendedsamsam>thesixpathsofexis-
tence)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.KongIsabilityatpre-
diction,wefOundthathewasalwayscorrect
wbetheritwasfOrbigeventsorfOrminor
everydaymatters.Ibecameconvincedof
wl1athehadsaidandagainbegantothinkof
studyingfOrtheexaminations’Iconsulted
mycousinwhorecommendedMr.YuHaigu,
wlIowasteachingatthehoIeofafriend’5
andbecameMr·Yu)sstudent.
LiaofaninvitedMr.Kongtohishouseandbeinga
filialson’toldlIismotlIeraboutlIim·Shesaidtotake
goodcareofMr.Kongandrecommendedthatthey
testhim.Whensomeonetellsussomething,wewould
usuallywanttochecldtsvaliditybefOrebelievingit.
WhenLiaofandidsoandfOundMr·Kong)spredic-
tionstobeaccurate,hebecamenaturallyconvinced
andheededhisadvice.
Mr.Kongthendidsomemorecalculations
fOrme.Hetoldmethatasascholar)Iwould
beplacedfOurteenthinthecountyexamina-
tion,seventy-firstintheregionalexamina-
9
tion,andnintl1intheprovincialexamina-
tion.TlIefOllowingyear,Iplacedexactly
whereMr.KonghadsaidfOrallthreeex-
aminations·
Mr·KongtoldLiaofanthathewouldrisethrough
severalstagesofexaminationstobecomeascl1olar.In
thesecondyear,theresultsoftheexaminationswere
exactlyasexpected
FromMr.KongIspredictionsfOrMr.Liaofan,we
canseetbateverythingisdestined.Everyday,every
month’whenandhowwewilllive,wl1enandhowwe
willdie.Regardlessofhowwetrytoplanoreven
廿
reality.
Itl1enaskedlIimtomakepredictionsfOrtlIe
restofmylife’Mr.Kong’scalculations
sl1owedthatIwouldpasssuchandsucha
testinsucl>andsuchayear,theyearthatI
wouldbecomeacivilscholar,andtheyear
thatIwouldreceiveapromotiontobecome
anImperialScholar·6Andlastly,Iwouldbe
appointedasamagistrateinSichuanprov-
Ince·
AfterholdingthatpositionfOrthreeanda
halfyears,Iwouldthenretireandreturn
home.Iwoulddieattheageoffifty-three’
令   ﹣
l0
tweenonetothreeo)clockinthemorning.
UnfOrtunately>Iwouldnothaveason.I
carefUllyrecordedandrememberedevery-
tbingtbatbeSaid
Theoutcomeofeveryexaminationturned


terreceivingarationoftwohundredfifty-
ninebuslIelsofrice.7However)IlIadre-
ceivedonlytwentybushelsofricewlIenthe
CommissionerofEducation,Mr·Tu,rec-
ommendedmefOrapromotion.Isecretly
begantodouI)ttheprediction·Nevertl1eless’
itturnedouttobecorrectafterall,because
Mr.Tu>sreplacementturneddownthepro-
motion’
Itwasnotuntilsomeyearslaterthatanew
EducationCommissioner’Mr.Yin’reVewed
myoldexaminationpapersandexclaimed,
‘<Thesefiveessaysareaswellwrittenasre-
portstotlIeemperor.Howcanweburythe
talentsofsuchagreatsclIolar?”
Wl1enLiaofan>ssalaryreac}1edalmosttwentybusl1-
    } 】   ‧ Ⅲ 倫
elsofrice>Mr’TuapprovedlIispromotion.Liaofan
begantodoubtthepredictions.However’eitherdueto
apromotionoratransfer,Mr.Tuwasreplacedby
anotl1erpersonwhodisagreedwitbLiaofan>spromo-
ll
tionandoverruledit.
Itwasafewyearslatertbatanotherofficial’Mr.
Yin,wentthrougl1thepapersofthosewholIadfailed
tlIeexamination.Thesepaperswerekeptandre-read
occasionallywiththel1opeoffindingtalentedindi-
vidualswhol1adbeenoverlookedHereadLiaofan)s
papersandwasveryimpressedwithtbem,sayingtbey
wereaswellwrittenasofficialrecommendationsfrom
governmentofficialstotheemperor.Obviously’Liao-
fanwasverylmowledgeableandhispaperswereex-
tremelywellwritten.
Tl1enewcommissionerwantedtl1emagis-
tratetoissueanorderfOrmetobecomea
candidatefOrImperialScholar8underhis
authority.Afterundergoingthiseventful
promotion,mycalculationssbowedtl1atI
hadreceivedexactlytwobundredfifty-nine
bushelsofrice.Fromtl1enon)Ideeplybe-
lievedtl1atpromotionordemotion’wealtl1or
povertyallcameaboutinduetimeandthat
eventl1elengthofone)slifeispre-aITanged
Ibegantovieweverythinginadetacl1ed
mannerandceasedtoseekgainorprofit·
Wecanseetl1atMr.Tuwasanexceptionalperson
fOrhel1adwantedtopromoteLiaofanassoonashe
readtheexaminationpapers.However,l1isreplace-
mentoveITuledthepromotion.Itwasbecausetl1ese
twopeoplehaddifferentopinions·
l2
Liaofanwasobviouslyveryta>entedFromthiswe
learnthatevenatalentedpersonisstillboundby
destiny·Whetherdestiny>time,orcauseandcondi-
tion,everythingispredeterminedLiaofan}Iadtowait
untilanothergovernmentofficialreadhispapersfor
theproperconditionstomatureinordertoreceivehis
promotion’
Fromt}]enon,Liaofanwasawakenedandhetruly
understoodAllofourencountersinlifC)whetber
goodfortuneorbadfOrtune>goodluckorbadluck,
  ╴      
cannotchangetbis.Ifwearenotsupposedtohave
something,noamountoftryingtoholdontoitwill
succeedfOrlong‘Conversely,wewillnaturallyreceive
whatwearesupposedto‘ItisnotworththeeffOrtto
dow}Iatiswrongandtoriskallinthehopeofattain-
ingself-satisfaction·
Understandingthis’LiaofannoIongerhadany
thoughtsofdemandorofgainandloss.Hewastruly
atpeace.Wecansaythatatthispoint’hewasa‘<per-
fect”ordinaryperson.Today)peoplecannotevenmeet
thisstandardfOrordinaryperson.Why?Ourmindsare
impureandfilledwithwanderingthouglIts.Liaofan
didnothavewishfill’wanderingthoughtssincehe
alreadylmeweverythingthatwasgoingtohappenin
hislife.AncientsagessaidthatawIseandvirtuous
personlmowsthateverytlIingincluding<{onesipand
onebite))isdestinedHowever’fOolishpeoplerelent-
lesslypursuethingsthatarealreadydestinedtobe
l3
tbeirs.
Ordinarypeopleareboundbytheirfate·Attbis
time’Liaofanonlyknewthatlifewasdestined.Hedid
notyetknowthattherewasavariableandtlIatby
practicinginaccordancewithtrueprinciplesand
methodshecouldchangel1isdestiny.Inthisway>l1e
couldattainwhateverhewishedfOr,ashebecamethe
masterofhisfuture.
Forexample,ifwewisbtoattainwealth,weprac-
ticethegivingofwealthToattainintelligenceand
wisdom’wepracticetlIegivingofteaching.Toattain
lIealthandlongevity,wepracticetlIegivingoffear-
lessness.Tl1isisthecorrectwaytochangeourdesti-
nies.ByfOllowingtherig}1tprinciplesandmetlIods’
wecanevenattainSupremeEnlightenmentmucl1less
worldlyenjoymentandbappiness.
AfterbeingselectedasanImperialScbolar’I
wastoattendtheUniversityatBeijing.Dur-
ingmyyearlongstayintlIecapital’myinter-
estinmeditationgrewandIoftensatinsi-
lence,withoutgivingrisetoasinglethought·
Ilostinterestinbooksandstoppedstudying.
Liaofanwasnowmeditatingdaily.Fromtbis’we
canseel]owpeacefulandquietl1ismindlIadbecome.
Wbenthemindistranquil,wisdomwillnaturally
arise·Tl1ewisdomofmostpeopleisnon-functional
becausetheirmindsarenotpure.Liaofanwasableto
remaincalmbecauseheknewlIisentirefuture·He
 
thinkaboutit·Witb
naturallybecameset-
lmewthatitwasuselessevento
outwis}1fUlthouglIts)}1ismind
tled.

D



A

 
α
n



t
S e
D


n






n a
h C rI
O e
l
P
••••
c n
••••
r
P
e
h T
ThefO<lowingyearIwenttoNanjing.BefOre
IwastoentertlIeNationalUniversitytbere)
IpaidavisittoMasterYungu,avenerable
ZenmasteratQixiaMountain.Wesatin
meditation’facetofaceintheZenhallfOr
tbreedaysandnightswithoutsleep·
MasterYungusaid;(<Thereasonwhyordi-
narypeoplecannotbecomesagesisbecause
ofwanderingthoughts.Inourthree-day
meditation’Ibavenotobservedasingle
tl1oughtariseinyou.WbyP>’
IrepliedthatMr.Konghadclearlypredicted
theentireoutcomeofmylife.Ihadseen
thattlIetimeoflife,death,promotion’and
failurearedestinedT}IerewasnoneedfOr
metotbinkofanything.Themastersmiled
andreplied:<<ItlIoughtyouweresomeoneof
remarkablecapabilities!NowIrealizeyou
areanordinaryperson!)>
l5
LiaofanandMasterYungusatfacetofaceintbe
meditationl1allfOrtlIreedayswithoutfatigueorsleep.
How?Becausetheydidnotbaveanywandering
tboughts,theywereabletoconservealloftlIeiren-

youngtohaveacl1ievedthisdifficultandrarelevelof
cultivation.
OrdinarypeopleareunabletobecomeArhatsorat-
tainbig}Ierlevelsofachievementbecausetl1eyhave
}   叼 佃 妣
tellsus:“Allsentientbeingshavethesamewisdom
andvirtuousabilitiesastheBuddha;but,becauseof
wanderingt}IoughtsandattaclIments,sentientbeings
areunabletouncovertheseabilities.>)So’thecauseof
notbeingabletobecomeasageisourwandering
thoughts·
Feelingconfi1sedbywhatMasterYunguhad
叩  
anordinarypersonsmindisfOreveroccu-
piedbywanderingandimaginarytlIoughts’
sonaturallylIisorherlifeisboundbythe
matl1ematicsofdestiny.WecannotdenytlIe
facttl1atdestinyexists,butonlyordinary
peopleareboundbyit.
Destinycannotbindthosewhocultivate
greatldndnessorthosewhohavecommitted
flagrantwrongdoings·SinceIbadlivedmy
lifejustasMr’Konghadpredictedanddone
l6
nothingtochangeit>Ihadbeenboundby
destiny.Thus,Iwasatypicalordinaryper-
son·
Takenaback,IaskedMasterYunguifwe
couldchangeourdestinies.Heanswered:
“Wecanre-createourowndestinyandseek
goodfOrtune.Itisthetrueteachingandis
◎ 倣 ㎡   ㎡
/ 五 爪 ﹚ ﹚
MasterYunguexplainedthatifonehasnotyetat-
tainedthestatewitlIoutwanderingthoughts,tlIenone
isstillatthemercyoffate·Why?IfapersonlIad
reachedthestateofnowanderingthought’heorsbe
wouldbavetranscendedtbecontroloffate‘DidLiao-
fanreac}IthisstateofnowanderingtlIought?No.He
simplydidnotwishtotbinkaboutanythingbecause
l1erealizedthefUtilityofdoingso!Buthestilll1ad
wanderingthoughts.Hestillthought:((Idonotneed
tothinkaboutanything.MydestinyhasbeenfOretold;
thus)Iclearlyknowmywl1olelife.”Havingyetto
reac}Itl1estateofnowanderingtbought’wearestill
boundbyourfates.
ProfOundlydeepconcentrationisnotachievableby
ordinarypeopleinourworldW}IentheZenPatriarcl1
MasterHuangBiwasinthisstateofdeepconcentra-
tion,hewasabletobreakthrought}Iedimensionsof
timeandspace.Atthispoint,thepast’present,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
ordinaryperson‘Apersonofgreatvirtuealsohadaset
destinybutlIeorshehaschangedit.T}1esameapplies
tothosewbohavecommittedexcessiveoffenses,fOr
theytoohavecl1angedtheirdestinies.Wecanseethat
Liaofandidnotcultivateeitherextremelygoodorbad
deedssincehislifeaccordedsocompletelywitlIwhat
lIadbeenpredicted
Canfatebechanged?Canweescapeit?Yes.Toes-
capeistotranscendAltlIoughtherearevariablesin
thesetnumbers’Mr.Kong,eitliernotlmowingabout
thevariablesornotknowinghowtocalculatetl1em’
hadpredictedjustt}Iesetnumbers’Sincetl>evariables
arewithinourcontrol,wecanre-createourowndes-
tinies.WecanseekourgoodfOrtune.
BefOremeetingwitlIthemaster,Liaofandidnot
l8
lmowabouttlIesevariables.DidtlIemasterbelieve
thattlIesetnumbersensfed,thatthefuturecouldbe
calculated?Yes.‘‘Befbreapersonachievesthestateof
nowanderingthought’heorslIeisboundbydestiny/)
MasterYungucompletelyacknowledgedtherealityof
predestination.However,Buddhismisnotaboutpre-
destination;itisaboutre-creatingdestiny’Wecan
onlydependonourselvestodotlIis>tobecomeawak-
ened;nooneelsecandothisfOrus.
‘(Were-createourowndestiniesandseekourgood
fOrtune.),SinceLiaofanwasascholar’helmewtlIe
teacl1ingsofConfuciusandsotl1emastercitedprinci-
  ○ 吠   ㎡ / 五
toawakenhim’MasterYunguunderstoodtheseteaclI-
ings,andconfirmedtlIattlIeywereimportantand

IntheBuddhistteachings’itiswrittenthat
ifwewishfOrandseekwealth,ahighposi-
tion’ason’adaughter’orlonglife’wecan
attainit·SincetheBuddhatoldusthatlying
isoneofthegreatesttransgressions’wecan
beassuredtlIatBuddhasandBodlIisattvas
wouldnotdeceiveus.
AsBuddl1ists,welearnthatinseekingwealth’one
willattainwealthandinseekingclIildren’onewill
attainchildren.Evenifwewerenotmeantto}Iave
childrenintl1islife)uponpracticinggoodnesswecan
廿
l9
wasnotmeanttohavealonglife;lIewassupposedto
dieatfifty-three<butlIeliveduntiltheageofseventy-
fOur>’Bycultivatingaccordingtotheteachings,we
willattainwl1ateverweseekBuddhismencouragesus
tore-createourdestiniesratherthanbeconstrained
bytlIem.
ZhangjiaLivingBuddhal0said,(<InBuddhism,allof
oursincerepleaswillbeanswered)}Heexplainedthat
mostpeopleareunabletoattainwlIattheywantbe-
causetheydonotaccordwiththeteachings.Ifwe
understandtheprinciplesandmetl1ods,andhave
soughtsomethinginaccordancewitl1tl1em,tl1enwe
areassuredofreceivingaresponsetooursincere
requests.Ifwedonotreceivethedesiredresponse
afterhavingaccordedwiththeteachings,itisdueto
ourkarmicobstacles’OncewelIavesuccessfUlly
eradicatedtl1eseobstacles,wewillgainthedesired
results.AsZ}langjiaLivingBuddhasaid’withproper
seeMng,wecanreceiveeverytlIing.
Onceweunderstandthefimdamentalprinciples,
wewillunderstandthateverythingintl1iswor!dand
beyondarisesfromtbemindandclIangesaccordingto
ourperceptions.IfweseektobecomeBuddhas,we
willbecomeBuddhas.IfweseektobecomelIeavenly
beings,wewillbecomeheavenlybeings.Everything
田 八   百
“WeslIouldobservethenatureoftheDharmaRealm
aseverytlIingiscreatedbytbemind)>TherefOre,the
wayofseeldngistoaccordwitlItlIeprinciplethat
20
  廿    
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
tl1atwlIetherapersonsoughtchildren’wealth,orlong
life’allcouldbeobtainedWewillseethatasLiaofan
lIadstrictlypracticedaccordingtothemaster>sguid-
ance’heobtainedwhathesought.
ItoldMasterYunguthatIl1adlIeardthat
Menciusoncesaid:(<Whateverissougl1tcan
beattained·Tl1eseekingiswithinourselves.))
Thisreferstoinnerqualitiessuc}Iasvirtue’
integrity)andkindness.Theseareallvalues
wecanworktowardHowever’whenit
comestooutsidefactorssuchaswealtlI’
fame,andprestige>howcanweseektoat-
tainthem?Tl1emasterrepliedtlIatMencius
2l
wasright>buttl1atIhadmisunderstoodlIis

meanmg·
Enhancingourintrinsicqualitiestobecomesages
andvirtuouspeopleiswithinourcontrol.Buthowdo
weseelKfame)wealth’andprestige?AlthouglItl1ese
areexternalbenefits>theyarealsoattainablethrough
seeking.ItwouldseemtlIattheyweredestinedbe-
causeifwearenotsupposedtolIavesometlIing,how
couldweseekit.Thisistbegeneralunderstandingof
destiny,aconstantinpredestination.TlIeconstantis
thecausethatwehavecreatedinourpastlivesand
tberesulttlIatweshouldreceiveintbislife.Most
peopledonotknowtlIattherearevariableswitlIinthe
constantsandtbattheresultswillchangewitl>the
additionofvariables.Fame,wealth,andprestigeare
indeedattainable.
MasterYungusaidthatMasterHuineng)ll
thesixthPatriarchoftlIeZenschooltaught:
“AlltlIefieldsofmeritarewithinonesown
lIeart.IfoneseeksfiFomthetruemind
within’onecanbeintouchwithallthatone
wishesfOr/>Byseekingwithinourselves,we
willnotonlyattaintheinnerqualitiesofvir-
tue,integrity,andkindness;wewillalsoat-
tain<externalbenefitssuchas>wealth’fame’
andprestige.Tobeabletoattainbothinner
qualitiesandexternalbenefitsisinvaluable.
22
Whetberattainingsomethingoutsideofourselves
sucbasmaterialobjectsorinsideourselvessuchas
廿
mindSeekingfTomtbeoutsidewouldbefUtile.Why?
Tbeoutsidefactorisaconstant;itcannotchange.The
mindisavariable;itchanges’Fortwentyyears’when
comparedtoordinarypeople’Liaofan)smindwaspure.
Notlmowingofthevariables,}Iismindaccordedcom-
pletelywithtbeconstantsandhislifelIadunfOlded
exactlyaspredicted>withouttheslightestdeviation.
叩  
selves·Virtue,morality,kindness)andintegrityareon
tl1einsideandarethecultivationofvirtuousconduct.
Pame,wealt}I,andprestigeareontbeoutsideandare
tlIeenjoymentsinlife.TobeabletoreceivebotlIkinds
ofbenefitsisofgreatvalue.AsissaidintheApaZam-
左 / ﹙ 《 ﹣
nomenaorprinciples’)istl1eultimateandperfect
en>oyment·TlIisisthegreatperfectionofeverytlIing
goingaswewish,whenwearesatisfiedwitlIevery-
thing.Thisistobeliberated;itistodoallt}Iatisbe-
nevolentandnobleaswewishIfwecannotattain
suchwonderfUlresults,tlIerewouldbenopointinour
practicing·
BuddhismisneitlIernegativenorpassive;itisemi-
nentlyrealisticandpracticalToday)manypeopletalk
aboutpracticality.Well,tlIereisnothingmoresotlIan
Buddl1ismfOritaddressesreality)sometl1ingtruly
attainable’Itiscrucialthatweunderstanditsimpor-
23
tancesoastoderiveitsbenefits.Thetruthisthat
peoplelIavemisunderstoodBuddhism,andthuspeo-
plehavemisseditsbenefits’Ifweareabletoperson-
叩 ’
teachings,Buddhismisanunsurpassed)profOund,and
completeeducation.ItisdefinitelynotoutdatedItis
asappropriatenowasitwasthreethousandyearsago
anditisfittingfOrallpeoplewlIetherintlIeeastorin
thewest.
MasterYunguthentoldmethatifonedoes
notrefIectinsideonesownheart;but,in-
steadblindlyseeksfame>fOrtune)andlong
仕  
scl1emestopursuethem,onecanonlyat-
tain’atmost)whatbadbeendestinedSeek-
ingfTomtheoutside,onemightlosebotl1
innerpurityandwhatonewasdestinedto
have;thus)theseekingwouldl1avebeenin

As<<ordinarypeople,))canweattaineverythingwe
want?No.Whenweobtainsomething,itisbecause
wearedestinedtobaveit.Onlywhenwereceivewhat
wearenotdestinedtohave’canitbesaidthatwe
bavegainedwlIatwesouglIt’ItdoesnotcountwlIen
wereceivewhatwearesupposedtol1avefOrwewould
havegaineditregardless.
Wel1aveallheardofthosewlIomademillionsof
dollarsinthestockmarket.But,tlIesepeoplesimply
24
receivedwlIattlIeyweresupposedtohave.OtherswlIo
arenotdestinedtomakemoneywilleventuallyloseit
intbestockmarket.Noteveryoneprofitsfromit.
仕  
gamblerwasmeanttohave.EventlIethiefwasmeant
tohavewhatwasstolen.Ifhewasnotsupposedto
haveit,bewouldhavefailedinbisattempttostealit.
<Ifhedidnotsteal’tl1eitemswouldhavecomeffom
anotbersource.>
TlIeancientssaidthatapersonofnoblecharacter
andintegrityisbappytobesucl1,butitisnotworth
tl1eeffortfOrafOoltobeso.Why?Becauseeachwill
notbeabletoescapetl1eirowndestiny,tl1econstant.
Ifwecouldjustunderstandtheprinciples,wewould
allbecontentwitlIwlIatwel1ave·Inthisway>we
wouldenjoyfulfillinglives,societywouldbestable’
theworldwouldbepeaceful,andtherewouldbeno
moreconHictsorwars·
Buddhismteachesustoseeksomethingnotdes-
tinedinourlives’notwithintlIeconstant.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
destiny·Helmewthattogiverisetowandering
thoughtsortousewhatevermeanspossiblewas
doomedtofailureifitwasnotsupposedtobe.Seeking
廿
mindswillbeimpureandwewillonlyobtainwhatis
destinedHowcouldwenotgiverisetoafflictions
whensucl1seekingisfrustrated?Fortwentyyears,
LiaofanconfOrmedtoMr.KongIspredictions.He
maintainedastateofcontentmentandamindof
purity.HelIadnowishtoseekanytl1ingfOrhefeltthat
everythingwasdestined
Ordinarypeoplewl1odoeverythingpossibleinseelK-
ingthingsfTomwithoutwillfindtbattheirlmowledge
叩  
becausehehadacl1ievedpeaceofmindOrdinary
peoplewillenduplivingwithafflictionsandunsettled
minds.Wl>atevertl1eyattainissometlIingtheyare
supposedtohave;thus,theysadlylosefrombotlI
witl1inandwithout.

 
n



t
S e
D


n
••••
g n a
h C f
O S

 
a
W
e
h T
ToAcknowledgeourFaults
MasterYungunextaskedaboutMr.Kong)s
26
I
predictionsfOrtlIerestofmylife.IlIonestly
told}IimeverythingHeaskedifIfeltthatI
deservedimperialappointmentsorason.Re-
flectingonmypastdeedsandattitudes,Ian-
swerednoIdidnot.TlIosewhoreceivedim-
perialappointmentsal>badtheappearance
ofgoodfOrtunebutIdidnot.
IalsodidnotworktowardsaccumulatingvIr-
tuestobuildupmygoodfOrtune.Iwasvery
impatientandnarrow-minded,andwould
showoffmyintelligenceandabilitiesbyput-
tingothersdown.IbehavedasIpleasedand
spokewithoutrestraint’Thesewereallsigns
ofscantgoodfortuneandvirtue.Howcould
Ipossiblyreceiveanimperialappointment?
MasterYungudidnotdirectlyanswerthequestion.
Ratber,heaskedLiaofanaquestiontoteachhimto
reHectandtofindthecauseofhisfaultsandsuffer-
ings;todeterminewhetherl1edeservedanimperial
appointmentornot,andwlIetlIerlIedeservedtohave
ason·Ofcourse)thediscussionbetweenMaster
YunguandLiaofandidnotonlyincludethesetwo
questions,buttoLiaofanthesetwowerethemost
important.T}1erewasnoneedtomentiont}1erest.
Liaofantl1oughtfOralongtimeaboutwhatthemaster
hadaskedHethenhonestlyansweredthatno’lIe
deservedneitberanimperialappointmentnorason.
Onl1ishonesty,Mr.YouXiyininhiscommentary
27
  豆 危 台 【 】 “
fOundationindevelopingvirtue’IfapersonlIidesor
glossesoverlIisorl1erfaults,orcoversupmistakes’
howcanhisorberfUturebepromising?))Whenweare
honestandencounterbenevolentteachers,tl1eywill
takecareinguidingus.Ifwearedishonestandarro-
gant,tl1eywillsmilebutwillnotseriouslyteachus.
Liaofandeeplyregrettedhisfaultsandt}Iisbecame
t}Iekeytochanginghisdestiny.HetoldMasterYungu
that}Iedidnotdeserveanimperialappointmentbe-
causehedidnothavetl1eappearanceofgoodfOrtune
thatwasveryimportantfOrgovernmentofficials.Citi-
zenswillsufferunderthereinofanofficialthatlacks
goodfOrtune,butbenefitwl>entl1eofficiall1asit.
Uponexaminationofancientsocialsystems,wesee
tbateducatedandlogicalpeopledidnotquarrel.We
canalsoseetl1atsomeemperorswereverywise.For
example’EmperorTaizongoftl1eTangdynastyl2was
extremelylearned,broadminded,andadmiredbythe
people.Heasked:“Whatissogoodaboutbeingan
emperor?Tobeoneisagraveresponsibility·Ifyou
wisl1,youcantakemyplace·))Astheemperor,l1edid
notenjoyorusel1ispositiontointimidateotl1ers’but
servedthepeopleandenabledthemtoenioyl1appi-
ness.Also’tobetterservetl1epeople,hefOundcapa-
blescl1olarstoworkonbel1alfoftlIeempire.
Al>cannggovernmentofficialsl1avetl1eappear-
ance,orsigns,ofgoodfbrtune.Liaofanatthistimein
hislifehadverylittlegoodfortuneandwasunableor
28
unwillingtocultivateany·Thus,bedidnotevenhave
theappearanceofagovernmentofficialandconse-
quently’wasinadequatetoserveortolead
Next,Liaofanexplainedthatbewasveryimpatient,
intolerant,andundisciplined-threeseriousfaults·
Beingimpatientandbad-temperedgivesustheap-
pearanceoflittlegoodfortune.Beingnarrow-minded
rendersusunabletotolerateothers.Thesebadquali-
tieswouldcauseapersontoimproperlysuperVse,
lead,orjustlyserveothers.
  仕 ﹣
andlikedtoshowoffhisintelligence.Hedidwhatever
l]ewishedto’Thisisalsosometbingnotreadilyen-
duredbyothers·Hewasindiscreetandirresponsible
inhisspeechandlackedconsiderationfOrothers.All
thesefaultsbringmisfOrtuneratherthangoodfOrtune.
Peoplewhotrulyhavegoodfortunearekind
lIearted’l1onest)andtolerant.TheirspeeclIandman-
nerarecalmanddignifiedConfUciussaid:$<Wit}Iout
dignity,oneisunabletoinspireothers.)>OnlywitlI
dignityandtheabilitytoinspirerespectareweableto
effectivelyinteractwit}Iothers.Liaofanadmittedthat
wlIenlIewasyoung,}Iesimplywasnotcalmordigni-
fiedandcitedthisasoneofthereasonsthatlIelacked
goodfOrtuneandwasthus’undeservIngofanimperial
appointment.
“ 廿
thedirtoftheearthwlIileclearwateroften
29
harborsnofish”TlIefirstreasonwhyIfelt
thatIdidnotdeserveasonwasthatIwas
obsessiveaboutcleanliness.Thesecondrea-
sonwastl1atwhileharmonyisthecultivator
oflife’Iwasquick-temperedTlIird)al-
tlIougbloving-kindnessisthecauseoffertil-
ityandharshnesstlIecauseofsterility,Iwas
selfishlyconcernedaboutmyreputationand
wouldnotsacrificeanythingfOrotbers·
ThefOurthreasonwasthatItalkedtoo
。  
dranktoomuchAndsixth)Ididnothavea
sonbecauseIoftenstayedupallniglItand
wastedmyenergy’AsidefTomtl1ese’Ihad
manyotherfaultsthatweretoonumerousto
mention·
Fisl1aregenera>lynotfOundinclearwater.Why?
Tl1eyknowthatwhentheyareseentl1eyareeasierto
catchThesaymgalsopointedouttlIatnothingwould
growwitboutdirt.Liaofanhadanexaggeratedfearof
thingsnotbeingclean.Beingcleanandneatisagood
quality;}]owever’tobeoverlysocanbecomeanobses-
sion.Itisnotgoodwhenonecannottolerateeventhe
slightestbitofdirt.ThiswasonereasonwhylIedid
notdeserveason.
Harmonycanhelpafamilytoprosperandfriendli-
nessisconducivetowealthLiaofan>sbadtemperwas
oneoftl1ereasonshewasnotwealtlIyandthisplaced
30
hisfamilyinaprecariousfinancialsituation.Also)he
waseasilyangeredbytheleastprovocationandcould
nottolerateanytlIingdispleasing.Tobehaveintbis
mannerresultedinalackofgoodfOrtuneandtl1iswas
anotlIerreasonhedidnotdeserveason.
Loving-kindnessiscaringfOrothers.Liaofanunder-
stoodtlIeprinciples)butwasunabletoactonthem.
W}Iy?Hewasaveryunkindperson!Heovervaluedbis
ownreputationandwasunwillingtohelpothers.This
wasanotl1erreasonwbyhedidnotdeserveason.Also’
hetalkedtoomuch,wbichwastedalotofenergy.
Liaofancameupwithsixmainreasonswhyhedidnot
bavechildren.Thefirstthreewerebeingobsessive
overcleanliness>beingquick-tempered)andlacking
﹣ ‧ 仕   ﹣
tion,ortbemind
TlIenextthreeweretalkingtoomuch,drinking’and
stayingupallnight’TbeywerefTomtheaspectof
behavior’ortbebody.Helikedtotalkandcriticize
others.HeindulgedingossipingaboutotlIer)sfaults
        。    
exhaustonesenergy.Healsolikedtodrinkexcessively
andtl1isharmst}1emindandtirestl1espirit.Finally,
besaidhedidnotdeserveasonbecausehespentl1is
nightstalkingwithfriends’drinking,l1avingagood
time,andnotbotheringtolookafterhislIealth
Byrealizingthathehadsomanybadhabitsand
faults’Liaofanbonestlyadmittedandregrettedallhis
flawedbehavior.Toaclmowledgeallofone)soffenses
3l
withouthidinganythingistoregretanderadicate
one>skarmicobstacles.Thismustbedonesincerelyto
beeffective.Awakeningisachievedwbenweareable
toidentifyourfaults.Cu>tivationisaccompIisbed
wbenwehaverealizedthesefaultsandcorrected
them·Sincemostpeopleareunawareoftbeirmis-
takes’theyarenottrulycultivating.TherefOre,the
    。      
unusua>becauseonceMasterYunguquestionedhim;
hewasabletocarefUI>yreflectandtodiscoveral>his
faults’ThisishowhewasabIetochangehisfUture
fromthenon.
Howwasheabletodothis>Andwhyareweunable
todoso?CompIetelyunawareofourbadhabits,we
areofcourseunabletocorrecttI]em’Liaofanwasable
toreflect,uncover)andchangeallofhisimproper
behavior.Inthisway,heattainedwhatbesought.On
theinside,heattainedvirtuousandcaringconduct,
andontheoutsidewealthandchildren’Hedidnot
seekfromwithout’Wedidnotseehimbowingand
burningincenseinfrontofAvalokiteshvaraBod}Ii-
sattvatoseekchildren,fame,andwealthButtoday,
peop>eseekwhattheywantbymerelygoingthrough
thefOrmalitiesofblindlywors}Iiping.Theydonot
understandtbeprinciples.Theyseekwhattheydesire,
butjustgoingthroughthefOrmalitiesisthewrongway
todosoandwilIleadtofailure.
Dayandnight,weseecountlesspeoplegoingto
temples,burningcandlesandincensewhileaskingfor
32
wealthandchildren’basicallytoattainwhattheir
destinyl1adalreadyensuredthemofreceiving.Intl1eir
ignorance,theywouldthinkwhattlIeyreceivedwas
grantedbytlIegraceofbeaven.Practitionersneedto
understandtherealityandtoseekinaccordancewith
tlIeteaclIings.AsMasterYungusaid,itistogainfiFom
bothwitbinandwitlIout.Intbisway,wecanattain
wbateverweseek
MasterYungusaid:(‘Accordingtoyouthen)
therearemanyothert}Iingsinlifeyoudo
notdeserve,notonlyfameandason!Those
whohavemillionsofdollarsinthislifeculti-
vatedthegoodfOrtunewortbyofthat
amountinthepast.Thosewbohavethou-
sandsofdollarsmustalsolIavetbegoodfOr-
tunewortlIyofthatsum.Those,wbodieof
starvation,wereinfactmeanttodieinthat
manner.Thekarmicresulttodayissimply
thefTuitoftlIeirowndeedsandbasnothing
todowithexternalpowers.
ThisadvicefromtlIemasterismostimportantand
mustnotberegardedasmeresuperstition.Ifwedoso,
itisduetoourdelusionandinabilitytobelievewl1at
thesagesbavetoldus.MasterYungutaughtLiaofan
tohonestlyreflectwithinanddoingtl>isenabledhim
torecognizebismanyfaults.Tl>egreatestvirtuous
deedisthatwerecognizeandchangeourmistaken
behavior.
33
Maldngofferingstoinfinitesagesisalsoagreatvir-
  ’ 加 丑 〃   ㎡
thatitisevenbettertoturnbackfromdelusionandto
conscientiouslycultivate.Cultivationistocbange
ourselves.Theancientsagesregardeditastl1egreat
virtueofregrettingandrefOrming·
MasterYungutoldLiaofanthatapparentlyhefelt
thereweremanytlIingsinlifethathedidnotdeserve’
notonlyasonoranimperialappointment.Attaininga
higlIgradeintheexaminationsandtberesultantimpe-
rialappointmentbothreliedontlIecultivationand
accumulationofmeritfromonespastlives.Weneed
therightconditionstobavemillionsofdollarsor
socialposition‘Thesearenotrandomlyattained
InBuddl1ism,itissaidt}1atfOrustopossesswealt}1
inthislife’weneededtohaveextensivelypracticedthe
givingofwealtlIinourpastlives.CanwefOrcenature
togiveuswealth?Impossible!Totrytodosowillbring
disasterandmisfOrtune.<‘NeithermisfOrtunenorgood
fOrtunecomewitlIoutreasonsandconditions;we
incurthem.)’l3
Tl1eancientswhocreatedCl1inesecharactershad
greatwisdom.TbetwocharactersfOr“goodfOrtune),
福 《 ‘ ﹚ ﹚ 禍
illustratesthatasmalldiscrepancyleadstoaserious
error.Alltl1isl1elpsustounderstandcauseandeffCct.
Whenweseekfame,wealtb>andprestigeinaccor-
dancewithtbeteachings,wewillfindthateverytlIing
isattainable.
34
<<Millionsofdollars”representswealtlIoftheupper
class.$(Thousandsofdollars))representswealthofthe
middleclass.Becauseofthegoodcausesplantedin
pastlives,somepeoplewillpossessgreatormoderate
wealthThosewhostarvetodeathcommittednumer-
ousoffensesintheirpastlives·Beingmiserly’theydid
notpracticegiving.TodayunfOrtunately,manysucl>
peopleareunwillingtodotheslightestofgooddeeds
ortogiveevenalittle.W}Iileencouragingothersto
’   。
undergopovertyinfuturelifetimes.Wereapwhatwe
  。
Ourlivesarenotcontrolledbyexternalpowers.The
mastersaidthattheheavensdonothingmoretlIan
punislItlIosewhoarebadwithtlIesufferingthey
deserveandrewardthosewhoarekindwiththegood
fOrtunetheyhaveearnedSomepeopleassumethat
everytlIingisarrangedbythewillofheaven;but,tlIis
isnotso.Thetruecauseofeverytl1ingtlIatl1appensto
usisourthoughtsandbehavior.Heavendoesnothave
anyplansfOrus.Withtruewisdom,wewil>clearlysee
thetruthTobewealthywithagoodsocialpositionor
tobepoorwitlInonealllieswithinus.
‘ ℉ 》
enoughmeritsandvirtuestolastal1undred
generations’tlIenheorslIewillhaveahun-
dredgenerationsofdescendants.Onewho
accumulatesenoughmeritsandvirtuesto
35
lasttengenerationswillhavetengenerations
ofdescendantstoliveoutthatgoodfOrtune.
TlIesameappliestothreeortwogenera-
tions.Tl1osewhohavenodescendantshad
toolittlemeritsandvirtues.
TlIistalksaboutt}Iedestinyofhavingornothaving
children.IfwelIaveaccumulatedenoughmeritsand
virtuesfOralIundredgenerations,thenwewillhavea
hundredgenerationsofdescendants.MasterYin-
GuangoftenpraisedConfUcius,wbocultivatedthe
“virtueofalIundredgenerations.”ConfUciuscon-
stantlythoughtofbenefitingthecountryanditspeo-
ple,withoutthesliglItestthoughtofhimself.Hededi-
catedhislifetoeducationandpassedonhisidealsand
bopestohisstudents.Hewasthegreatesteducatorin
Chinesehistory.
Tberehavenowbeenoverseventygenerationsof
Confucius)descendantsandbiscurrentdescendant,
Mr.KongDecbeng,isstillrespectedbypeopleall
aroundt}IeworldNotonlytheChinese’butot}Iers
arealsocourteousandrespectful’warmlywelcoming
himuponhearingtbatlIeisthedescendantofConfU-
cius’Fromthis)itbecomesevidentthatbyplanting
goodseedsorcauses,wereapgoodharvestsorresults.
色 【   ﹚
accumulateenoughmeritsandvirtuesfOrtengenera-
tions)wewillhavetengenerationsofdescendantsto
enjoythatgoodfOrtune’ThroughoutClIinesebistory,
36
emperorstriedtoestablishdynastiesthatwereableto
reignfOrmanygenerations’suchastheQingdynasty
thatlastedfOrtengenerations.But,iftheirancestors
hadnotaccumulatedenoughmeritsandvirtuesthen
itwouldhavebeenimpossible·
Today’peopledonotlmoworbelievethis.TlIey
  吼
lmowledge.Buttheyarewrong.Virtuesaccumulated
byourancestorsplusourvirtuousconductfTomour
pastliveswillresultinlIavingadditionalvirtuous
peoplebeingrebornintoourfamilies,assuringits
continuation·
Similarly’howmanygenerationswillafamilybusi-
nesslast?InTaiwan,thereisachainofmedicalstores
called<<UniversalCompassionHall))tlIatoriginatedin
Beijing·Bytheaccumulationofvirtuesandmerits’it
hasbeeninbusinessfOroverahundredyearsandl1as
beenpasseddownthroughsucceedinggenerations·
Compassionateancestors’wl]osedrivingambitionwas
tosavelives’fOundedit.Unconcernedaboutprofits,
tl1eyonlywantedtomakeenoughtoliveverysimply.
Tl1eirgoalwasnottoenjoyacomfOrtablelife,butto
benefitsocietyandtohelpthosewhoweresuffering.
WitlIthisobjective,tlIeywereabletofOundabusi-
nessthatlIaslastedoverahundredyears.Ifthede-
scendantsdonotdeviate{Tomtheirancestor’sobjec-
tives,tl1ischainwillcontinuefOrever·Theywillnotbe
liketlIosewholackmeritsandvirtues,andfindtlIeir
businessesgoingbankruptafteronlyafewyears.
37
SomepeoplemayonlylIaveenouglImeritsandvir-
tuestolastfOrtwoortlIreegenerationsofdescen-
  ﹂
fensesofbeingunfilial’havingnodescendantsisthe
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)ssocialwelfaresys-
temismucl1bettertl1anwhattranspiredinthepast,
whentheelderlylIadtodependontheirchildrenfOr
support.Now,moregovernmentsarelIelpingtocare
fOrtbeelderly.Thissystemismorefilialtllanmany
childrenare!However’<clIildrenneedtoremember
that>tbelawofcausalityremainsunclIanged
lTustasonestoresupgrainagainstleanyears,one
raiseschildrenagainstoldage))hasbeenacommonly
heldidea’Inhiscommentary,Mr·Yousaid:(‘Sages
transcendingthisworldconsiderthecultivationof
endingdesiresandattachments,eradicatingdelusion
toattainwisdom>andtranscendingtheordinaryto
38
reachsagehoodtobetheutmostvirtueandmerit.
UnfOrtunately,thislevelofattainmentisnotunder-
stoodbyordinarypeople/)
ThisideaofraisingclIildrenagainstoldagestillex-
iststoday.Usuallywhenyoungpeoplegiverisetothe
compassionatehearttobecomemonksornuns)their
familyandfTiendstrytbeirbesttostopthem.Not
understanding,tlIeythinktlIattheirbiggestconcernis
notbavingdescendants.Buddhismlooksintothepast,
present,andfUture,andunderstandsthetruthoflife
andtheuniverse.Ordinarypeopleseeonlyatiny
portionoftheuniverse.Ofthisportion,theyhaveonly
witnessedthehumanrealm‘Oftl1isrealm’tl1eyonly
seethepresent.Tl1eydonotseethepastortl1efuture;
tberefOre,theyareunabletoperceiveasclearlyas
BuddhasandBodhisattvasdo.
Whensomeoneinafamilybecomesamonkornun’
itistrulythemostjoyousoccasionfOrthisisanout-
standingpursuit.However’monksandnunsmust
sincerelypracticeinrenouncingworldlylifefOrifwe
donotachieve)wewillfalIintotheTlIreeBadPaths.
InBuddl1ism)itisoftensaidthatanofferingofone
grainofriceisasgreatasMt’Sumeruandnottran-
scendingthecycleofbirthanddeathinthislifetime,
consignsmonksandnunstorepaythedebtasan
animal<inthenextorfOllowinglives>.
AsPureLandpractitioners,wehavetoachievea
certainlevelofattainmentandtotranscendsamsara
toberebornintotbeWesternPureLandTberavada
39
practitionersneedtoreaclI,attheleast,tbelevelof
Stream-enterer,whichisachievedbyseveringvarious
wrongVews.ItisthelowestofthefOurstagesofsage-
lIoodinTl1eravadaBuddhism.Attbispointofattain-
mentpractitionerswillcontinuetoberebornintotbe
l1eavenandl1umanrealmsfOrsevenmoretimes.In
thisway>theyareassuredofattainingthestateof
Arhatalthougl1itmaytakethemalongtimetodoso‘
ButbynotfallingintotheThreeBadRealms,theyare
consideredtohaveachievedattainment.
AccordingtotlIiscriterion’theminimumstandard
toaclIieveattainmentinMabayanaBuddhismistorid
ourselvesofaportionofourattachments’toseverthe
eighty-eigl1tkindsofdeviatedtboughtsandviews·If
wecannotseverthese,wehavenotyetacbievedat-
tainment.Mahayanapractitioners)whosuccessfUlly
severthem’reacbtlIeInitialBeliefStage.Theravada
practitionerswl1osevervariouswrongv1ewsreacl1tl1e
stageofStream-enterer.
Withouttheseaccomplisl1ments)wewillstillbere-
incarnatingwithinsamsara,stillrepayIngourdebts.
Formonksandnuns,thismeanswewillhavetorepay
everysingleofferingfromtlIrouglIouttheuniversetl1at
wasenjoyedduringthetimeweweremonksandnuns·
TlIeseofferingsgivenbypractitionerstomonksand
】 叩    
IfTl1eravadapractitionersareabletoacl1ievethe
levelsofStream-entererorifMal1ayanapractitioners
areabletosevertheeigl1ty-eigbtkindsofimproper
40
thouglItsandviews,tlIosewl]ohavemadetheoffer-
ingswillreceivegoodfortune·Then,thereisnoneed
fOrustorepaythembecausetheylIavebarvestedfTom
thefieldsofmerit.UsingtheserequirementsastlIe
standard,suchattainmentisnotattainablebymonks
andnunsofthisgeneration.
However)thereisstiIlanotlIerway:toseekrebirth
intotheWesternPureLandOtherwise>attainmentis
notpossible.IfwecannotgotothePureLand’wewill
haveaclIievednothing.SeekingrebirthintothePure
LandisactuallymucbsimplerthanseveringtlIe
eiglIty-eightkindsofimproperthoug}Itsandviews
becausewedonotneedtoseverthemall,butcan
carryourremainingkarmawithus.Aslongaswel1ave
faitb)vows,andpractice<morallivingandconstant
mindfulnessofBuddhaAmitabha>>l5wewillachieve
) 叩
】 口 瓦 /   】 肋 』 》
whenwerenounceworldlylifetobecomemonksor
nuns’wemustacbieveattainment.
ToRefOrmFaultsThorouglIly
<(Nowtl1atyourecognizeyoursl1ortcomings’
youneedtodoallt}Iatyoucantochange
andcorrectyourmisdeedsthatcausedyou
nottol1aveachildornottobecomeanim-
perialofficial.
4l
MasterYungutaughtLiaofanlIowtocorrectl1is
badhabitsandslIortcomings.Sincehelmewwbat
t}1esewere,themastertoldllimtodoeverythinghe
couldtoimprove·Mr’Yousaidinhiscommentary,
(<Eachofushasourfaultsandweaknesses,butifwe
areabletocalmlythinkandfindeveryoneofthem,
wewilllmowwheretobegin.’’
Changingourconductandimprovmgourselvesis
truecultivation·ItisbynomeansjustafOrmalityof
recitingsutras,prostratingbeforetheBuddha,or
chantingmantras.Tohavecultivatedanentirelifetime
andstillbemiredinsamsaraistol1avesimplygone
througlItlIeformalities.Porotbers,fOrmalitiesexem-
plifytheteachingssotbattheymightseethemand
begintoawaken.Forus,theyserveasremindersof
theteachings.

placedonthefOrmalitiesbutratlIerondiscoveringour
faults.Tl]isisawakening’Tocorrectourfaultsisto
improveinourcultivation.TherefOre,themostimpor-
tantpointisfOrustobecalm’introspective,andbe
watchfUlofourconductaswelookfOrourbadhabits
andfaults·WhenwelmowtlIese)wewillknowwhere
tobegin,whattocorrect,andlIowtoproceedWecan
tlIenconcentrateanduseallofourenergytorefOrm.
In}Iiscommentary’Mr.YoulIasprovideduswith
someexamples·<(Wecanchangefromamiserlyand
greedypersontobecomeonewboisgeneroustot}1ose
inneed’)’wasoneoftl1em.Whenwearemiserly)we
¢  
areunwillingtogivetoothers·Whengreedy,weare
alwaystryingtogainwlIatwedonotlIave’Ifwefind
thatwearehabituallydoingthis,wecanbecome
generousthroughthepracticeofgiving.WhatI}Iave
andothersdonot’Icanunreservedlygivetothem
uponrequest.Orbetteryet,wbenIseeotherswho
haveanurgentneed,Icantaketheinitiativeand
simplyprovidethemwithwhattbeyneedTlIisistlIe
cultivationofgoodfOrtunethrouglItbefirstoftbree
kindsofgiving)thatofgivingwealth
Thissecondldndofgivingisteachingandisprac-
ticedwhenwebelpothersbysharingourskillSor
wisdom·Ifwearegoodatwhatothersarenot>wecan
enthusiasticallyteachtothemsotheywilIIavethe
skilloruncovertlIeirwisdom.Thethirdkindofgiving>
thegivingoffearlessness’ishelpingotherstobecalm
andsecureinbothbodyandmind.Itistol1elprelieve
theiruneasinessandtheirfears.Forexample,ifsome-
oneisafiFaidtowalkhomealoneatnight,wecan
accompanyhimorhersoheorshewillnolongerbe
apprel1ensive’
Today,manyyoungpeopleserveinthearmed
fOrcestoprotecttheircountriesfrominvasion·Thisis
anotherformofthegivingoffearlessnessbecause
soldiersprotectacountryanditspeople’andmaintain
thepeacebynotallowingharmfTomforeignfOrcesto
befallitspeople.WecanseethatthescopeoftlIese
t}Ireeldndsofgivingisextensive.WitlIthegivingof
wealth’wegainwealthWiththegivingofteaching,
43
wegainintelligenceandwisdom’Withtl1egivingof
fearlessness’wegainhealthandlongevity.
Inmanycountries,fTeeingcapturedanimalsisan-
otherfOrmofthegivingoffearlessness.However’
manyimproperpracticeslIavearisenbecauseofthis.
Sincemanypeoplewishtofreecapturedanimals’
othersl1avegoneintothebusinessofcapturingthem.
Freeinganimalsinthiswayisnottbegivingoffear-
lessnessbutsubjectsthemtoharm.IfwedidnotlIave
廿
capturethem.WewoulddowelltothorougMyunder-
standthesituationsotlIatinourattemptstobekind>
wedonotinadvertentlycausel1arminstead
Insomecountries,wecanproPerlypracticetl1is
givingbyfreeinganimalsthatwefindwhenshopping
inthefoodmarket.WedOsointl1eknowledgetl1at
廿  
genuinecompassionandkindnessfOritissavingthose
insuffering.However’weneedtobeawaretl1atmany
petsbopssellanimalsthataredomesticallyraisedand
tberefOrewouldbeunabletosurvIveontl1eirown.If
theywerefreed’theywoulddieandourgoodinten-
tionswouldbecometransgressions.
TherefOre’weneedtoconsidertheconsequencesto

animalsinafOodmarketandbuyt}Iemtosetfree,tlIe
properwaytodosoistochanttbeTbreeRefUgesof
theBuddha,theDharma,andtheSangba,andtl1en
cl1antaBuddl1a)sname.Inthisway,wearesav1ng
44
theirliVeS.l6
ThecommentarynexttalksaboutclIangingfroman
angryandagitatedpersontoonewhoiscalm’Easily
givingintoangerorbecomingirritatedisamajorfault
andwasonethatLiaofanhadThemasterencouraged
himtoremaincalminsteadWbenweareableto
accomplis}Itbis,wewillnaturallybegentle’Both
BuddhaShakyamuniandConfuciusstressedtbis
importantqualityofourvirtues·ThestudentsofCon-
fUciuspraisedhisfivevirtuesofgentiliI,kindness,
respectfi1lness,tbriftiness’andhumilitythatheexlIib-
itedtowardseveryoneandeverything.ConfUciusdid
notliveanextravagantlifebutoneofsimplicity.Being
courteousandhumble>beneverargued>alwaysac-
cordedwitlIothers,andwasamodelofmoralexcel-
lence.
TlIecommentarycontinueswith,“Tocl1angefTom
apersonwl1oexaggeratesandisboastfUltoonewhois
modest.Whenpeopleexaggerate,weautomatically
doubtwl1atevertlIeysay.Asaresult,itisdifficultfOr
themtowinourconfidencebecausebasically,theyare
dislIonest.Therefore,weneedtobemodestandhon-
estinalltl1atwesayanddo·
‘<Tochangefromapersonwhoisflightyandimpa-
tienttoonewhoissettled.>’Ifwecanremaincalm>we
willattainpurityofmind“TochangefTomaperson
whoisarrogantandinsolenttoonewhoiscourteous.”
Therereallyisnothingtobearrogantabout.Ifwe
accomplishedsomethingsuccessfUlly,itwasourre-
45
sponsibilitytodoso·Ifwedidnot,wes}Iouldbecor-
rectedandtoldhowtoimprove.Buddl1asandBodl>i-
sattvas,w}Ioareenlightenedbeings,respecteveryone
andeverything)asdidConfUciusandMencius·Given
tbatwearefarbehindtheminattainmentorunder-
standing,weneedtoregardotberswithrespectand
courtesyfOrthesearenaturalvirtues.
《 ‘   ﹜ 廿
diligent.>)BeinglazyisaseriousafflictionfOrtheper-
sonwillnotsucceedinanything.Instead’wewoulddo
welltobepurposefUlandenergetic.OneofBuddha
Shakyamuni>sstudents)Anurudd}IawaslmownfOrbis
laziness.Afterbeingreproachedbytl1eBuddba,he
resolvedtogowithoutrestfOrsevendaysandnigl1ts.
Duetohisent}Iusiasm)}Iedamagedhisvision.The
Buddhacompassionatelytaugbthimt}Ie<<Illuminating
theDiamondofDelightfulObservationSamadbi,))a
fOrmofdeepconcentrationthatenabledl1imtoseefar
betterthanbefOre.Consequently’l1ewasabletosee
oneBuddhaland,anareatbatiscomprisedofone
billiongalaxies.
Wealsoneedtobeinspiredwithenthusiasmand
determination.Notbingisaccomplisl1edtl1rougl1lazi-
ness.Notonlyareweunabletosucceedinourprac-
ticeandlearningofBuddhism’butwewillalsofailto
accomplishanytlIinginourdailylives.Inancient
timesortoday,intbeeastorintlIewestnoonehas
becomesuccessfultl1roughlaziness.Diligenceisthe
goodcausefOrMahayanapractitionersandBodlIisatt-
46
v   。
(<Tochangefromapersonwboiscrueltoonewho
iscompassionate‘Tochange{Tomapersonwhois
cowardlytoonewboiscourageous’’,AsbeingoverIy
fearfUlisanotberseriousfault,wecaninsteaden-
deavortobeconscientiousandresolute·Liaofanad-
mittedtohavingallofthesefauIts.Wewoulddowell
tobemorelikehimanddoeverythingwecantoim-
proveourselves’
Next)themastertaug}ItLiaofanseveralessential
pointsfOrhiscultivation.
“Youneedtocultivatevirtueandtolerance,
andtoregardot}Ierswithgoodwillandcom-
passion.YoualsoneedtocarefOryour
lIeaIthandconserveyourenergyandspirit.
First,MasterYunguencouragedLiaofantoaccu-
mulatemeritsbyavoidingallthatwasbadandem-
bracingallthatwasgoodThisisourfOundationfOr
improvementinBuddhismandinworldlyteachings.If
wedonotearnestlyaccumulatemeritsandvirtuesby
avoidingevilandpracticinggoodness’howcanwe
lIopetobe<<tlIosewhohavethousandsofdollars”or
“tl1osewhohaveaccumulatedenougbmeritsand
virtuesfOrahundredgenerations?)’Anentirecountry
respectedConfUcius.TheentireworldrespectedBud-
dhaShakyamuni.ThefOrmeraccumulatedgreatmer-
itsoftheworldThelatteraccumulatedgreatmeritsof
theuniverse.
47
Second,wecanstrivetobetolerantofotbersaswe
broadenourmindsandhearts.Ifwedonot,wewill
encountermoreafflictionsandthiswillpresentfUr-
therobstaclestoourcultivation·Wecultivateawaken-
ing,propertboughts,andpureminds.Ifwecannot
attainpurityofmind,tbenwewillnotbeawakened
。 ﹣
enlightenedthoughtsrelyonthefOundationofpurity
ofmindWeaccomplishthisthroughtolerance.
Thereisnoneedtobeoverlyseriousortocriticize
everytbing.AswelearnintheD/amondStJZm>‘<All
phenomenaareillusory’likedreams,mirages,bubbles
andshadows’),Nothingisreal.AstlIeancientssaid’all
phenomenaareasfleetingasclouds.Tbereisnothing
worthyofangerordispute.Thereisnopointindwell-
ingont}Iings’fOrthiswillbinderourcultivationof
purityofmind
Thereiseverypointinbeinggentle’loving,and
peacefi1l.FailingtobesowasLiaofan’sbiggestprob-
lem.Wecanstrivetopracticeloving-kindnessand
compassionforeveryoneandeverything.TheBuddha
taughtthatthesearenon-discriminatoryandaretobe
heldequallyforall.ConfUciusalsotaugl1tofloving-
kindness,explaining,(‘Thebenevolentpersonhasno
enemies.”IfwecannotacceptanythingtlIatiscon-
trarytowl1atwethink)t}Ienweareneitherkindnor
compassionate.Conflictsimplydoesnotexistwitl1in
﹜   ﹣ 。
inBuddhismasgreatcompassionandiswhatweneed
48
tolearnandpracticetotrulybenefitourselves.
Int}IePureLandsutras,wereadabout(<OneMind
Undisturbed”Thisstateisunattainableifanything
existsinopposition’To}Iaveoppositionistohavea
mindofdifferentiation.MasterHuinengsaid,<<Origi-
nally,ourtruemindcontainednothing’>’Ifthemind
stillclingstoevenonewanderingthought,thenitis
nott}IetruebutanillusorymindThepureandun-
contaminatedmindwillnothaveopposingt}Iougbts’
WhentherearenomoreopposingtlIoughts,thetrue
mindcanbeuncovered>purityofmindcanarise,and
wewillattainOneMindUndisturbed
TbestatesofOneMindUndisturbedandConstant
MindfUlnessofBudd}IaAmitaMIabeginfromhere.In
ConstantMindfnlnessofBuddl1aAmitabha’initially
t}IemindrememberstheBuddhaanddoesnotfOrget·
Afterprolongedcultivation,weceaseIesslycontem-
platetheBuddha‘Ifwehavebeenchanting(<Ami-
tuofO’’fOrmanyyearsandhavenotyetreac}Iedthe
stateofConstantMindfUlness,weneedtodetermine
wheretlIeproblemIiesandcorrectit.
Wbenwel1aveeliminatedourobstacles’wewillbe
abletoacl1ievethisstateandbeassuredofrebirtbinto
thePureLandRegardlessofourstateofcultivation,
wewilllmowwlIenwebaveachievedit.Thereisno
needtoaskotlIers.
Wl1enwearerebornintotbePureLandthrough
thestateofConstantMindfulness,wewillbereborn
intotheLandwhereBotlISagesandOrdinaryBeings
 
DwellTogether.Withtl1estateofOneMindUndis-
  』
LandWl1ereEverytbingisTemporary.Withthestate
ofOneMindUndisturbedinEnlightenment,wewill
berebornintotheLandofTrueRewardThelevelof
attainmentweacl1ievedetermineswlIichlandwewill
bereborninto.
TherearealsodifferentlevelsintlIestateofCon-
stantMindfUlness;thus>tbereareninelevelsofbirth
PeoplewlIoarerebornintothehighertbreelevelsof
birtlIareabletopassawaywbenevertl1eywishAtthat
time,theycangowitboutanyillnessandmaybe
standingorseatedIftheydonotfeellikeleavingtl1is
worldyet,theycanstaylonger.Everythingcanbe
acbievedatwill.Peoplewboarerebornintotl1emid-
dlethreelevelsofbirthareabletolmowafewmonths
inadvancewhentheyaregoingtopassaway.Again,
theymayleavetlIisworldstandingorseatedIntlIe
lowerlevel,peoplewillknowseveraldaysinadvance
oftheirdeatb,buttl1eymaybecomeillbefOretl1eir
timeofdeath
PeoplereachingthestateofOneMindUndisturbed
haveevenhigherabilities’TherearetwolevelsofOne
MindUndisturbed:MindfiIlnessandEnligl1tenment.
Theselevelsarenotachievablebyordinarypeoplelike
usinonelifetime,whereas,ConstantMindfulnessis.
TberefOre,inthislifetimewecanattaintl1estateof
ConstantMindfulnessinwl1icbwewillhavetlIeabil-
itytopassawayatease,toleavewheneverwewish
50
T}Iisistoberebornintothehigherthreelevelsof
birtlI,intotheLandWhereBothSagesandOrdinary
BeingsDwellTogether’andtocarryourremaining
Mrmaalongwithus.
ThemastertoldLiaofantbatheshouldcarefOrhis
healthandconservehisenergyandspirit.Because
Liaofanlikedtositupallnightanddidnotlmowhow
totakecareofhimself)lIeneededtopayspecialatten-
tiontocaringfOrlIishealthandenergy.
<<Liveasifeverytbinginthepastdissolved
yesterdayandabrand-newfUturebeginsto-
day.Ifyoucanaccomplisl1this,thenyouare
apersonbornanew’apersonofvirtueand
sincerity’
EverythingtlIathappenedyesterdayisinthepast.
Donotdwellonit.Ifwedo,itisasifwehavecommit-
tedorundergonetlIemagain.Todosowillleaveaddi-
tionalimpressionsintheAlayaConsciousness·There-
fOre,letbygonesbebygonesandfOrgetthem.TlIe
importantthingistocorrectwhatisinthepresentand
wlIatwillbeinthefuture·Doubtsandregretsare
afflictionsthatareconditionsorcausesofgriefand
distressthatdisturbthebodyandmind
TheBuddhatauglItusnottodwellonthepast.We
readinMr·YouIscommentary’thattl1isisthekeyto
changingdestinyforthePerfectPeople·ThePerfect
PeoplearetlIosewitlIlIigherlevelsofwisdomandwbo
areawakenedTlIerearesixstepstoaccomplis}Ithis,
5l
  廿
meritsandvirtues’andculminatinginbecoming<‘a
personbornanew,apersonofvirtueandsincerity.>’
Thesearethekeystochangingdestiny.
Mr.Yousaidinhiscommentary,‘‘Thefirststepin
changingdestinyistocorrectourfaults.Tobrush
awayalltheaccumu>atedbad}Iabitsonebyoneandto
pullouttlIerootsofourproblemsonebyone’Atall
timesandinallplaces,tobeconstantlyvigilantofour
everythought,word,andact’Werestrainanddisci-
plineourselves.Weprotectourinnocentandthe
virtuousaswewouldanewbornbaby·,)Tl1efUllre-
sponsibilityfOrchangingdestinyisinourhands’not
inthebandsofheavenlyorenlightenedbeings.People
ofutmostvirtuearenolongerboundbydestiny.
Weneedtobestrictwithourselves.Ifwecon-
stantlyfOrgiveourselves’wewilllimitourfUtures.
However)whileweareexactingandsternwithour-
selves,weouglIttobegenerousandlenientwitlIoth-
ers.WeneedtoprotecttlIosewhoarepure,virtuous,
andinnocent.Whatisinnocence?Itistonothaveany
selfisbthougbts.IfweconstantlylIavewandering
thouglIts,thenweloseourinnocent,true,andpure
minds.
Tl1eresponsibilityfOrc}Iangingwl1atispredeter-
minedisentirelyuptous.Onceweunderstandthe
truthaboutre-creatingourfiItures,wewillnolonger
needtoaskfOrtunetellerswhatthefUtureholds·We
cancarefUllyreflecttoknowwhatitissupposedtobe
52
andhowtoclIangeit’Knowingtbis>otherswouldno
longerbeabletodeceiveus.
PreviouslyMasterYunguto>dLiaofanaboutpeople
whowereoftheutmostvirtue.InthePureLandsu-
tras,welearnthattheyliveinthePureLandPeople
ofutmostvirtueareabletofeelregretandrefOrm.In
theWesternPureLand)tlIeydosodaiIy,untilthereis
nothingleftthatrequirescorrection·Thentheybe-
comeBuddhas.
Eventhehig}Iest-leveIBodhisattvasstiIIavefaults.
Whatldnd?Theystillhaveonedegreeofignoranceyet
tobebrokenthroughIfEqual-enlightenmentBodhi-
sattvasstillneedtoregretandrefOrm’wecanimagine
howmuchweneedtodo!Fromnowon>weneedto
lIavethecompassionatehearttofeelremorseand
changefOrthebetter.Evenuponreachingthelevelof
Equal-enlightenmentBodhisattvas,wewillstillneed
todotlIis.OnlywhentlIereisnothinglefttocorrect
willwebecomeBuddhas.Wecannotattainsupreme
enlightenmentifwesti>lbaveoneremainingfault.
Enlightenmentistoknowandcorrectourfaults’
Bodbisattvasareenligbtenedsentientbeings·Weare
alsosentientbeings,butareunenlig}Itenedsincewe
donotknowourfaultsandtbusdonotknowtocor-
rectthem.Webelievethatwearealreadycorrect.We
question,(‘DoIhaveanyfaults?))andt}IinkfOralong
timewithoutHndingany’Thus,itissaidthatordinary
peopledonothavefaultsw}IileBodhisattvas}Iave
many.Theyconstant>ywatchovert}Ieireveryt}Iought,
53
word’anddeed’Imowingthattbeyhavemanyshort-
comings’continuouslycorrectingthemanddoingso
fOrtbreegreateons.WlIenwethinkaboutlIowmany
faultstherecanbe,howcanwepossiblythinkthatas
ordinarypeoplewedonotbaveany!
Whatisthedifferencebetween‘(enlightened),and
unenlightened),?OnewhoknowstlIattbeyhavemany
((
faultsisanenligbtenedbeing-aBodbisattva·One
whodoesnotlmowtheypossessnumerousfaultsis
unenlightened-anordinaryperson.Bodhisattvasare
notdeities,butarebeingswhoknowtheirfaultsand
constantlystrivetocoITectthem.Ifweweretoim-
prove,notonlywouldwecorrectourfaults,butwe
wouldalsogiverisetothevowsofBuddhaAmitabha
andthiswouldbethemostremarkablewayofclIang-
ingourdestinies.
力 】 丑 / 】 巴 ∕  
familiarwithit’butt}Iisisonlytheinitialstep.The
secondstepistousetbesutraasamirror,reflecting
oncewitheachrecitationtomakeacomparisonandto
findourfaults.Bylookingatreflectionsinamirror)
wecanseewlIatpartsaresoiledandimmediately
cleanthem.Tocleanistocorrect’Werecitethesutra
tofindthepollutioninourmindtlIatwearenotyet
awareof.Thesutraislikeamirrorthatseesandre-
flectswbatpartsofourmindslIavefaultssothatwe
mayimmediatelycorrectthem.T}1erefOre’weinitially
becomefamiliarwithtlIesutraandthenweaccord
withitsteachings.

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)andacttbesameasBuddhaAmi-
tabhaaswerelatetootlIerpeopleandcircumstances’
becomeconstantlymindfulofBuddhaAmitabl1a’and
alwaysremembertoencourageotherstocl1antAmi-
tuofO.
Wl1enourthreekarmasofbody,speech,andmind
arethesameasBuddhaAmitabha’webecomehis
manifestation.WereturntothisworldtofUlfillhis
originalvows‘Thisisevenmoreremarkablethan
beingapersonofVrtueandsincerity·Originally,we
reincarnatedintotlIisworldtorepayourkarmicdebts,
butnoweaclIofusisBuddhaAmitabhacomingto
thisworldthrouglIthestrengthofourvows!Tbisis
tl1emostremarkableandunsurpassablemetlIodin
clIangingourdestinies.
“Ifevenourbodyisgovernedbydestiny,
thenhowcanabodyofvirtueandsincerity
notevokearesponsefromheaven?
55
HereMasterYunguwastalkingofwandering
thougl1tsandattac}1ments.Ourbodiesreallybave
nothingtodowithdestiny.Whatmattersistl1emind’
fOritinfluencesthebody·TobelIonest’tlIemindsof
mostpeopleareselfishandtl1us,theyaregovernedby
destiny’Wealsofallunderthecontrolofdestinywben
weusetlIeconsciousmindorourEightConscious-
neSSeSo
Enlightenedbeingsareabletotranscendbecause
theyhaveturnedtheirEightConsciousnessesintothe
FourWisdoms.NotusingtheEiglItConsciousnesses,
enligbtenedbeingsarenotcontrolledbydestiny·After
wehavereachedacertainlevelofenlightenment,we
toowilluseourenlightenedmindCurrently,weare
usingdeludedfeelings.Ifweusedourenlightened
wisdom,howcouldwenot<<evokearesponsefrom
beaven)’?
Intl1ecommentary,welearn:‘<Utmostsinceritycan
splitastoneofdiamond,canevokearesponsefrom
heaven,andcanchangedestiny’>)Considerthewell-
lmownaccountofwhathappenedtothefamousGen-
eralLiGuangwholivedduringtheHandynasty.l7
OnetimelIeandhissoldierswereonamarchOnone
sideoftheroad’thegrasswasverylong.TlIerewasa
largestonepartiallylIiddenintlIegrassandlIemis-
takenlytlIoughtitwasatiger.Heimmediatelyshotan
arrowanditwentdeepintoitstarget.
Aftergettingoffhishorseandgoingtosurveyhis
marksmanship’hewasamazedtoseethatitwasa
56
stone!Hethought’‘‘ImustbeverystrongtolIaveslIot
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
theironbowlwasextraordinarilybeavy’tbeywere
unabletorepeatt}1eirpreVousaccomplis}1ments.Both
initiallyactedfTomthemindofsinceritythatlIadno
wanderingtlIoughts·Thus,tl]estonewassplitopen
andtbeironbowlwasliftedup.
Fromthesetwoexamples’wecanconfirmwhatis
  咆 陋 / ‘ 《
amongpbenomenaorprinciples.>)Thisisac}Iieved
whenthemindattainsacertaindegreeofpurityaswe
severourwanderingdiscriminatorythouglItsand
attachments.Ifthemindisnotpure,thenallp}Ie-
nomenapresentobstacles.But’whentl1emindis
pure,therearenoobstacles.
‘‘Utmostsinceritythusevokesaresponsefrom
57
heaven.>)ConfUcianismspeaksofwrestlingwithmate-
rialisticdesires)teachingustoletgoofandnolonger
beinfluencedbydesire.Utmostsinceritycanchange
Ⅵ α 乃 ﹄
zak/DI>StJnH.ItistheBodhimind:l8tlIemindofut-
mostsincerity,profUndity,meritdedication’andvow
generation·
“Asissaidinthe‘Tai]iaChapter}intlIe
㎡ 丑 吼   ‘
theretributionofheaven,butonecannever
escapetl1eretributionfOrone)smisdeeds.>
TosaytbatwemayrunfromtlIeretributionof
heavenmeanstlIatalthoughwehadcommittedof
fensesinformerlifetimes)tberetributionfOrt}Iemis
changeablebyourcurrentcultivation,andtl1eaccu-
mulationofmeritsandvirtuesinthislifetime.The
retributionsofheavenaredestinedandchangeable.
<(ButonecanneverescapetheretributionfOrones
misdeeds,)isabouttheoffensesoftbislifetime.TlIe
retributionsofheavenaremetedoutfOroffensesof
pastlivesbuttheyarecbangeable,asareourdestinies.
However,nothingcanbedoneregardingtberetribu-
tionfOrthemisdeedstl1atwecommitinourpresent
lifetimes.Andifwecontinuetocommitthese,tl]enwe
willbeunabletoregretandrefOrm,unabletochange
ourdestinies.
Whenbadcausescreatedint}Iepast,encounter
presentadverseconditions’tlIeretributionsfOrthese
58
wrongdoingsmature.However’ifwerefrainfrom
committingfUrthermisdeeds’wecansuppressthe
adverseconditions.Thebadcausesstillexistbutwith-
outtberigbtconditions,theywillnotmature.T}1e
principleinclIangingdestinyisbasedontl1iscondi-
tionalaspectofthelawofcausality.CauseiswlIatwas
createdinthepastandisunchangeable;butcondition
iscl1angeableandcontrollable.
Wereapwhatwesow.Wecanplantmelonand
beanseedsthatarecauses.Whenwedoso’wewill
growthemelonsandbeanstlIatarefTuits.However,
wecannotgrowbeansfrommelonseedsormelons
廿 ‧  
willharvestdependsontheconditions‘Ifwewould
liketoharvestbeans,weplanttheseedsfOrthemand
putawaytlIemelonseeds.Foracausetocomeinto
effect)appropriateconditionsarerequired
Forexample,seedsneedt}Ierightconditions>which
aregoodsoil)fertilizer,sun,andwatertogrowwell.
Evenaftertheseedsareplantedandthecauseiscre-
ated,wecanpreventthemfTommaturing.Wesimply
withlIoldthewaterandsunIight’Theseedswillnot
廿
nothavetherigbtconditions.
TherefOre)altbougbwehavecreatedbadcausesin
ourpastlives,ifwerefrainfromwrongdoingsintlIis
life’endourerroneousbebavior’andcultivatekind
deeds,wewiInotprovidet}IebadconditionsfOrtl1ese
causestomature.Surely,wealsocreatedsomegood
59
causesinourpastlives·Howcouldapersonhaveonly
committedbaddeedsoronlyperfOrmedgooddeeds?
Suchapersonsimplydoesnotexist.Tl1erefOre,life
afterlifeallofourdeedshavebeenamixtureofgood
andbad.Sometimesmoregood;sometimesmorebad
廿 ﹣
tedtransgressionsaslongaswerefTainfTomcommit-
tinganymore.Ifwecanblockthebadconditions,
althoughwemayonlyhaveasmallamountofgood
deeds’tbesewillblossomandmature.
《 《 ○ ㎡   ∕ 《 ﹣
nentlyaccordwiththemindofbeavenand
toseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.>
ThisrevealstlIerealpurposeofourmorningand
eveningclasses.Themorningclassservestoremindus
ofBuddlIaAmitabha>svows.ThepurposeoftlIeeve-
ningclassistolookbackontbedaytoseeifwel1ad
fOllowedtlIesutra>sguidanceandwhetherwel1ad
beenwatclIfuloverourthoughts)words,anddeeds.
Thus’itismeaningfUltoparticipateinbothInBud-
「 ﹜
andeveningclasseswastheThreeRefi1gesfromthe
‘ ℃ ’ 扭 ﹣
左 曰 “
thatalllivingbeingswillprofOundlyunderstandtl1e
greatWayandbringfOrththelIeartofgreatunder-
standing·>}
Ancientvirtuouspeoplecompiledourcurrentreci-
60
tationlIandbooksandthecontentwassuitablefOrthe
peoplepracticingtogetlIerattbattime’Butisthis
recitationsuitablefOrourcurrentpractice?Ifnot)tlIe
handbooksneedtobemodifiedsotlIattheywillallow
ustocontinuetobenefitfromthembycoITectingour
faults.Tl1esameappliestorepentanceceremonies.If
weparticipateintl1eseanddothemanyprostrations
witl1animpuremind,notonlywillwenoteradicate
ourkarmicobstacles,wewillincreasetl1em.
Thisissimilartotakingmedicinewhenwebecome
ill.Ifthemedicationprovesineffective’wehaveto
cbangeprescriptions.Thepurposeofsutrarecitation
andrepentanceprostrationsistotreattheillnessin
ourmindstocureourafflictions·Iftl1eyareineffec-
tive,weneedtofindabetterprescription.Tl1isiswhy
儿 Ⅳ ℃ / ﹠ 兔 ﹝ 扔 叩 〃 田 七 洹 叮 ﹣
piledbyMr·XiaLianiuismoresuitabletlIanother
similarbooksintreatingourcurrentproblems.Upon
carefUlreading,wewillunderstandthatmanyofits
phrasesareappropriatetoday.Hence,weneedto
choosetlIemorningandeveningrecitationsbasedon
ourillnessesandproblems.
Fortbemorningandeveningclasses,manyPure
力 】 『 】   /
cultivateconcentration.Ifwedonotl1aveenouglItime
torecitetheentiresutra)tlIenwecanreciteclIapter
sixthatcomprisesthefOrty-eightvowsfOrthemorn-
ing>andcbaptersthirty-twototlIirty-sevenfOrthe
evening<tl1irty-onetofOrtyinsometranslations’the
6l
sectioninwl1ichAmitabhaBuddhaistalldngtoMai-
treyaBodhisattva).ThesesixclIapterstalkofcausality
andoflearninglIowtochangeourselves.Doingthis,
wewillpermanentlyaccordwithtl1emindsoflIeaven
andseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.
<<Themindsofl1eaven>’meanstheoriginaltruena-
ture;itdoesnotliterallymean}1eaven’eartlI,and
celestialbeings.Ifwecanaccordwiththisnature’we
willachievethebasicvirtueandreturntoit.
TlIemasterthentoldme:“Mr.KonglIad
predictedthatyouwouldnotreceiveanim-
perialappointmentorhaveason.Tl1eseare
theretributionsofheaven’buteventheycan
bechangedYouonlyneedtodevelopyour
virtue,diligentlystrivetopracticegoodness,
andworMoaccumulatemanyl1iddenmerits
andvirtues.
MasterYungutoldLiaofanthatnotreceivingan
imperialappointmentornothavingasonwerethe
consequencesof}1isaccumulatednegativekarmafrom
prev1ouslifetimes.However,tl1esewereclIangeable
fOrwhiledestinyexists,itisnotfixedWhatisfTom
thepastisaconstant:whatisdoneinthepresentisa
variable.
MasterYunguexplainedthattoclIangewlIatissup-
posedtolIappenwebeginfromourheartsanddevelop
ourvirtues.Fromthis,wecanseethatifweareto
seekandcbangeonlyfTomwitlIout’wewillbe(<ata
62
loss,witl1inandwithout/’WelIaveseenpeoplewho
trytoimprovetheirenvIronmentbychangingtl1e
placementofdoors,windows>andsoon,alltobeata
loss,withinandwitbout.Onappearance,theyseemed
togain’butactuallywhattheygainedwaswhattlIey
weredestinedtohave·Itwasstillwit}Iint}Ieirdes-
tiny-aconstant,notavariable.
Weneedtochangefromourmindsandl1earts’to
  廿     ‘
Tl]emasteralsosaid(<worktoaccumulatemany}1id-
denmeritsandvirtues.)>Thesearegooddeedst}Iat
otbersdonotknowabout·Ifwedidsomethingthat
wasgoodandthenmadeitwidelylmown,sothat
otherspraisedus,wewouldloseourmeritsandvirtues
astlIesehavenowturnedintopraise.TodowlIatis
goodbuttocancelitsbenefitsattlIesametimewill
廿      
Itismuchbettertopracticegoodnesswitl1outlet-
tinganybodylmowandevenbetterifsomepeople
reproacbedus,forthiswillhelptoreduceournegative
karma·Itwouldbebestifournegativekarmaand
retributionswerereducedandeveneradicated’while
ourmeritsandvirtuesremainedhidden.
Today,wl1enwedogoodandarecriticizedoreven
slandered,wefeelitisundeservedWlIydowebave
badconsequenceswhenwedogood?Actually’t}Iese
aregoodconsequences.Ifweareimmediatelycom-
plimentedupondoinggooddeeds)wewillloseour
meritsandvirtues.TlIerefOre,wecanstrivetoaccu-
63
mulatemeritsandvirtueswl>ilehidingthemfiFom
otlIers)fOronlytbenistlIistrulyagooddeed
<<Theseareyourwaystore-creategoodfOr-
tune.Howthenisitpossiblethatyouwill
notgettoenjoyitP
WewillbeabletoenjoyallthegoodfOrtunetlIat
  ‘ ℃
andeffectarelinkedthrouglIthepast,presentand
future.”Whatweundergointbislifetimearetl>e
consequencesofwhatwebaddoneinourprevIous
lifetimes,wl1ilewlIatwedonowwilldeterminewhat
weundergoinourfuturelifetimes.Ifwecultivatevery
diligently>weneednotwaituntilfUturelifetimesto
reapourrewards;instead’wemayseeourdeedsbear
fTuitinthislifetime!Duetothisprinciple’Liaofan
completelychangedlIisdestiny.Hehadaccumulated
somanygooddeedsthatlIedidnotbavetowaituntil
hisnextlifetoenjoytheresults·
﹩ ‘ 乃 呂 肋 ㎡ 仍 巴
tolIelppeopleaccruegoodfOrtuneandto
avoidadversity’IfeverytlIingisdestinedwitlI
noroomfOrcbange,lIowcanwehopetodo
tbiS?
乃 】 ﹣
estphilosoplIybookinancientClIinaandteaches
peopletobecomesagesandvirtuouspeople·Itac-

complislIestlIisthroughmathematicsandtbeuseof
sixty-fOurhexagramsofwboleandbrokenlinesrepre-
sentingallpossiblecombinationsofbrokenandun-
brokenlines.Therearethree}Iundredandeighty-fOur
possiblepredictions‘Cbangesassmallastl1osethat
affectindividuaIstothosethataffectcountriesand
仕   }
bookusesmathematicstodeterminethenatural
courseofcauseandeffect.
WhatMasterYungusaidregardingtlIesurpassing

  乃 } ﹣
thoughitunderstandstbattherearevariables,itfails
toworkwitl1them.Thisteachesustoaccumulate
meritsandtoavoidbaddeedS.Onevirtuousthoughtis
aplusandonenegativethoughtisaminus.So,every
dayissimplyamatterofadditionandsubtraction,
multiplicationanddivision.IfthemarginofclIangeis
nottoomuch,otlIerscanfOretellourdestinieswitl1a
reasonabledegreeofaccuracy.ThisishowMr.Kong
fOretoldLiaofan’sdestiny·
Portwentyyears)Liaofanneitherincreasednorde-
creasedhisbadorgoodthoughtsanddeeds)butcom-
pletelyaccordedwithhisdestiny.Formostpeople
thereareusuallysomevariances-onevirtuous
tbought,oneunkinddeed.Liaofan,whohadnointer-
estindoingeithergooddeedsorbaddeeds)main-
tainedconstancyfOrtwentyyears;thus>l1isdestiny
wasremarkablyaccurate.Ifthevarianceislarge’we
65
willsurpasstheconstantto“accruegoodfOrtuneand
。 ’ 》
Wereadint}Iecommentary:“BecauseallthouglIts
andbel1aviorareclIangeable,soalltheconsequences
ofgainandloss,joyandpainseemflexibleand
clIangeable.Theseconsequencescanbeadded’sub-
tracted,multipliedanddivided:gainedandlostin
accordancewitl1thebehavioroftl1eindividual.”
Aconstantisthecause.Avariableistbecondition.
Tl1ekeytocl1angingdestinyisdeterminedbythe
conditionandtl1isiswl1atBudd}1ismstresses.“Allt}1e
infinitecreationsinheavenandoneartl1arisefrom
conditions.>)AllenstingthingsarisefiFomtl1econdi-
tion,wl1iclIisavariable.Bycontrollingthisvariable,
wecanchangedestiny.Then,wecanpursueour
wisl1esandgoalstogainremarkable,perfectresults·
T}1eBuddl1aalsotoldusintbesutra,‘‘Impermanence,
noego,Nirvana.>)Understandingtl1isprinciple’wecan
becomevirtuouspeopleandsages,Arhats’Bodhisatt-
vas,andBuddlIas.
‘ ﹙   乃 ’ ℉ ﹣
lieswhooftenperfOrmgooddeedswillhave
anexcessofgoodfOrtunetopassontothe
fOllowinggenerations.)Doyoubelievethis?”
Ireplied,‘<Yes.))
Fromthis’weknowthatthosew}1owrotetl1eJ
  乃
thisworldandtlIroughouttheuniverse.Tl1eyalso
66
lmewthatthereisavariablethatisthecondition.By
controllingtlIisvariableonasmallscale)wecan
changeourowndestinyandonalargerscale,wecan
pursuelastingstabilityandpeacefOrourworld
TheJChngistrulyextraordinary;however’itisa
pitytl1atnowitlIasvirtuallybecomeafOrtune-telling
’ 酗
】 【 巴 ∕   《 《 ﹚ 肋 【
wasateacl1ingtl1athelpedustotranscendthecycleof
birthanddeatbtobecomeaBuddha·Butnowitl1as
becomesometl1ingfOrpeopletoreciteatmemorial
servicestosendoffthedeceased!),ThattheAmjraDAa
StJ<rHhasbeenreducedtotbissadstateisjustlikethe

isasadreflectionofourtimes.

bappiness,worldpeace)andstability;tochangeour
destiniesbyaccumulatingmeritandvirtue.Todothis’
wefirstneedtoregretandrefOrm.Themasterasked
Liaofanifhebelievedthatafamily,whiclIpracticed
gooddeeds’couldhavesomuclIgoodfOrtunethatit
wouldbepassedontothefOllowinggenerations.Liao-
fanrepliedtlIathedid
ThereasonwhyLiaofanwasabletochangehisdes-
tinywasduetol1isgoodrootsandgoodfOrtune,thus
enablinghimtobelieveingoodadvice.Hismeeting
withMasterYunguwastheripeningoftheappropriate
conditions.AstheBuddhatoldus:“Whenourgood
roots,goodfOrtunesandrigbtconditionsmature,how
67
canwenotclIangeourdestinies?
Mr.Youtoldusinhiscommentary:‘‘Onewhobears
goodadvicefromsagesandslandersthemhascom-
mittedabaddeed;doubtisoneofthefundamental
afflictions·”GoodadviceistheteachingsoftlIesages
oftl1isworldandbeyondLatergenerationscalled
theseteacbingssutras·Thesutrasspeakoftrutbstbat
donotchangewithtime.Tbetrutht}Iatsurpasses
timeisthesamenow’asitwastl1ousandsofyearsago;
itneverchangeswhetherintheeastorinthewest.
ThewritingsandteaclIingsofsagesdidnotcome
{Tomtl1eirpersonalexperiencesandopinions,fOrif
theydidtheywouldbebiasedorinappropriate.History
isnotmadeupofopinionsbutofaccumulatedexperi-
enceswlIereassutrascontainthetruththatarises
fromtlIeoriginaltruenature.Thus’theteachingsin
thesutrasaretheabsolutetruththatsurpassestime
andspace.
WewillbenefitandimproveifwebelieveintlIe
teacl1ings’butifwedonot)thenwewillmisstl1ese
remarkablebenefits.Tl1isiswhywesaytbatdoubtis
oneoftl1esixfundamentalafflictionsofgreed,anger,
ignorance’arrogance,doubt>anddeviatedviews.
Thecommentaryalsostated:‘(OnewlIol1earsMnd
wordsofadviceandgivesrisetobeliefwillnurturethe
appearanceofgoodfOrtuneandmerit.Thisbeliefis
themotherofgoodfOrtune.”“Mother))meanstogive
rise)togrow.AllgoodfOrtuneandmeritarisefrom
beliefintheteachingsofthesages.Ifweareableto
68
believeinthewordsandteachingsofthesages’we
willfindt}1atinfinitegoodfOrtuneandmeritaregen-
eratedfromthis·Liaofanwasindeedarareperson:to
deeplybelieveuponhearingthemaster’sadvice.
ToSurpassDestinybyCultivating
GoodFortuneandAccumulatingVirtues
IgratefUllyacceptedhisadviceandpaidmy
respectstohimbyprostrating.ThenIbegan
toregretallmypastwrongdoings,largeand
small’infrontoftheBuddl1a’simage.I
wrotedownmywisbtopasstlIeimperialex-
aminationsandvowedtocompletetl1ree
tbousandmeritoriousdeedstosl1owmy
gratitudetowardsmyancestors,eartl1,and
beaven’
HereweseeLiaofan’ssincerityinhononngthe
teacherandreveringhisorlIerteachings.Hedidnot
casuallysay,<(IbelieveandwillfOllowyouinstruc-
tions’)andthenfOrgetallaboutitafterawl1ile.He
earnestlycompliedwiththemafterhelIadunreserv-
edlyregrettedeacl1oflIiswrongdoingsinfrontoftl1e
  叩
askedt}IeenlightenedbeingstobelIiswitnesses’
WenextreadintlIecommentary:‘<Itisaserious
mistaketofearthatotherswilllmowourmisdeeds.))If
weconcealourfaults’tlIeywillincreaseatanalarming
rate.Ifwearesmart’wewiIetthembelmown.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,bedidnotl1ingtoretali-
ateknowingthathestillhadfaultstocorrect.<Also,if
  》       」
Liaofansoughttopasstheimperialexaminations
altl1oughMr.KonghadnotdestinedtMsfOrhim.He
vowedtocompletethreethousandmeritoriousdeeds
toshowhisgratitude’TogainwhatwewishfOrwhen
ithasnotbeendestinedistrulytohavesoughtand
gained
Uponhearingmyvow,MasterYungu
sl1owedmeamerit-faultchartandtaught
me}IowtokeepadailyrecordofalltlIegood
andbaddeedsIbaddone.Hewarnedme
thatbaddeedswouldneutralizetlIegood
OneSo
70
Tl1emerit-faultchartprovidedfOrtheentryofbot}l
meritsandfaultsandwasverypopularduringthe
latteryearsoftheMingdynasty·20SclIolarsaswellas
Buddl1istsusedthechartintheircultivationofmoral-
ity.MasterLianchi2ldrewupamerit-faultchartcalled
the“Self-reHectionRecord))tlIattotallyderivedits
standardsforgoodandbadbehaviorfromBudd}1ism.
ItwasthusespeciallyhelpfulfOrBuddhiststousefOr
endingfaultybehaviorandcultivatingkindness·There
areseveralversionsofmerit-faultclIartstbatlIave
beenpasseddownovertheyearsthatcanbeusedfOr
ourreference.
Liaofanlivedfivebundredyearsago.Hisback-
groundandmanneroflivingwereverydifferentfTom
ours.However,wecanstillabidebytbeprinciples,
usingourwisdomtodeterminehowwecanadaptthe
clIartsfOrmodernusage.Altl1ougbnoonel1ascome
upwitlIamorecurrentclIart’itsprinciplesremain
valid
TlIemasteralsotaug}Itmetorecitethe
ZhuentiMantra·Onlywithamindofpurity
andconcentrationcouldIattainwhatI
sought·
InEsotericBuddl1ism,ZhuentiBodhisattvaisa
manifestationofAvalokiteshvaraBodhisattva.Whydid
tlIemasterteacl1LiaofantoclIantamantrainsteadof
recitingasutra?Thepurposeofthechantingisto
uncoverourpuremindstoeradicatewandering
7l
tlIougbts.SincemantrasaretransliteratedfTomSan-
skrit’weonlyrepeattheirsounds>notanalyzethem.
Aswecontinuetochantoveralongtime,ourminds
willbecomepure,oratleastourwanderingthoughts
willbesuppressed
TlIegoalremainsthesamewbetherwearereciting
sutras,clIantingmantras,orchantingaBuddha>s
name.ItisimportanttlIatweteacl1otherstlIemetllod
thatismostsuitabIefOrthem.Forexample’ift}1e
masterlIadtaughtLiaofantorecitesutras,hewould
havebeentemptedtoanalyzetlIeirmeaning<and
thinkingwhilecbantingobstructsourcultivationof
purityofmind>.Thus’hewastaughtthemantra.
Tl1ereisaBuddhistsaying:<‘Recitingasutraisnotas
goodaschantingamantraandchantingamantrais
notasgoodascbantingaBuddha>sname.))Alltbese
emphasizeactualcultivation.
Today,welackthefUndamentaleducationthatour
ancestorsreceived,soitwillbehelpfUlfOrustofOllow
thisadviceofancientpeople:‘‘Itisnottoolateto
mendthefOldevenaftertl1esheeparelost/)Tomake
upfOrourlostfundamentaleducation,fOrthefirstfew
yearsofourpractice’wecanconcentrateonmemoriz-
加 『 】 / ﹝  
fOryoungpeopleasthebesttimetolearnisbefOretlIe
ageoftwenty.Ifweareabletomemorizethesutraand
reciteitbyheart,wewillbenefitfromitfOrtherestof
OUrliVeS.22
Budd}Iismistheultimateperfectwisdom;tlIus,re-
72
citingsutrasbybeartisaveryimportantfOundation.If
weareabletoendourerroneousways,practicegood-
ness,andcultivatepurityofmind’theninduetime
whateverweseekwillbeattained
  叩
saidbyspecialistsindrawingtalismanicfig-
ures:“Thosewboareconsideredexpertsin
theartofdrawingcharmsbutdonotlmow
therightwaytodosowillbelaugl1edatby
spirits.)}Thekeytodrawingcharmsishaving
廿 ﹣
standingthis’begintl1efirststrokewitha
stillmindaftertlIeprimaldarlmess.Inthe
processofdrawing,onemustletgoofall
wanderingthoughts.Onlyinthiswaycana
charmbeeffective’
DrawingtalismanicfiguresisafOrmofancientskill
inTaoismsimilartochantingmantrasinBuddhism.
TlIesecrettodrawingtalismanicfiguresistol>avea
mindthatisdevoidofthoughts.WecanusetheGreat
CompassionMantratoillustratethis.TheGreatCom-
passionwater’whichisconsecratedbychantingtlIe
mantra’canbeveryeffectivefOrsome,butnotatall
effectivefOrotl1ers.WlIy?Inchantingthemantra,tlIe
fOrmerdidnotl]aveasinglewanderingthoughtfTom
starttofinishIfduringtlIechantingawandering
t}1ougbtarises,thentl1emantrawillbeineffective.
TherefOre’tlIelongerthemantra,themoredifHcultit
73
istosuccessflIllychantit.
TbeSurangamaMantracanbeveryeffective)how-
ever’fewpeopletodayareabletobenefitfromit.
Why?Thevastmajorityofpeoplehavemanywander-
ingthoughtswl1ilechanting’anditonlytakesone
suchthouglIttorendertlIeireffOrtsineffective.
Thesameappliestosutrarecitation.IfasPure
  力 】 丑 『 】
LK/bStJnHwithouthavinganywanderingthoughts,it
wouldbewonderful!Ourmindswouldbeinaccor-
dancewiththemindoftl1eBuddlIasthroughouttlIe
universeinthepast’present,andfUtUre.TherefOre,
weneedtorecitethesutrawithamindofpurity)
equality)sincerity’andrespect.But,ifwerecitethe
sutrawlIilehavingwanderingthoughts,ourmindswill
notbethemindofaBuddha.
Fromthis,wecanseethattheshorterthemantra
theeasieritwillbefOrustoreciteandtoconcentrate
on.Andchanting‘<NamoAmituofO’’23isevensl1orter.
Ifwethinkthattbisistoolong,MasterLianchtaugbt
ustocbantjust<‘AmituofO/)Ifwechantthiswithout
onesinglethought’itwillbeeffective.Itwouldbejust
likesendingafaxtoBuddhaAmitabhaandhavingl1im
receiveit.But,ifweaddonewanderingthougbt,tlIen
tl1emessagewillnotgotl1rough
‘<WhenonepraysfOrandseeksforsome-
thingortriestochangeone’sfate)itisim-
portantthatonedoessowithoutgivingrise
74
toasingletbought’Intbisway,onewi>leas-
ilyreceivearesponse.
WbenweseeksomethinghomtbeBuddhas,Bo-
dbisattvas)orthebeingsoflIeavenorearth,weneed
todosowithoutlIavinganyt}IoughtsfOrourseeking
tobeeffective.Toacbievet}Iis,ourmindsneedtobe
trulypure’withoutanywanderingthoughts.Thisisto
havethemindofsincerity,purity,andrespect.Only
wlIenweappealtotheenlightenedonesusingthe
mindofutmostsinceritywillweattainwhatwewish

Thesameprincipleapplieswhensomepeoplemake
        廿
theancestralplaque.Itwouldbeuselesstodosowith
animpuremindTherefOre,inthepast,makingoffer-
ingstoancestorswasaveryspecialoccasion.For
example,thosewhoofficiatedattheceremonyfasted
andbatl]edfOrthreedaysbefOre’Theycultivated
purityofmindbyshuttingthemselvesinasmallroom
totrytoletgoofattachments.Theyconductedthe
ceremonyasifthespiritsoftheirancestorswerepre-
sent.Buddl1istswouldcalltlIis<‘Visualization.>)By
sincerelyhonoringthematthetimeoftheceremony’
tlIespiritswillappear·
Wl1enwepayrespecttot}IeenliglItenedbeingsat
cultivationcenters’aretheypresent?Notnecessarily.
Thepresenceoftheirimagesdoesnotmeanthey
tlIemselvesarethere’Ifthepractitioners>whetlIer
75
monks,nunsorlaypeople’aresincereandpurein
mind,thenenlightenedbeingswillbepresent·OtlIer-
wIse,moreoftenthannottherewillbesomedemons
’ 】 叩
theSiJIHI1gamaStJkm.
(<Menciuswrote:<Tl1ereisnodifferencebe-
tweenlonglifeandshortlife.,Atfirstglance,
onewouldfinditlIardtounderstandlIow
theycanbethesame;however,wbentl1ere
isnothought,thereisnodualityinshortor
longlife.
Sbortlifeandlonglifearecompletelydifferent,
wlIyregardthemasthesame?Dualityonlyexists
whentherearewanderingdiscriminatorytlIougbtsand
attachments.Onlywhenthemindispuredowesee
non-duality‘
Shortlifeandlonglifearethesamebecauseevery-
thingintlIeuniverseisone.InBuddhism,thisis
called<(enteringthestateofnon-duality.’)Thestateof
﹣ 勻 ﹚ 佑 加 β
召 ’
吧 左   ’
knownast}IeOneTrueDharmaRealm’thestate
whereallBuddhasdwellThisistl1estateofmindof
Bodhisattvasabovethelevelofgroundstates.
<‘UponcarefUlanalysis’thereisalsonodual-
itybetweenagoodorabadharvest.Under-
76
standingthis)wewillbecontentwithour
presentsituation)beitoneofweaIthorpov-
。 》 ﹚
!fwearccontentwithtbingsastheyare,wecan
settlcdownandgcionwithourwork}iissaid:“Ifthe
『 川 蛭 】
tobepoor,))thensocietywouldbestable’theworld
wouldbepeacefi1l)andeveryonewouldbehappy.
Whatisbeingbappy?Nothavinganywandering
thoughts,worries,orafflictionslfapersoninpoverty
wasabletounderstandtbat}Iisorhercurrentcondi-
tionwasamatterofdestiny,thenheorshewouldalso
becontented
Agoodexampleoftl1isoccurredintheearlypartof
thetwentietbcentury‘AmaninavillageinJiangsu
provIncebeggedfOrfOodduringthedayandsleptin
olddesertedtemplesatnight.Inthisway>l1ewas
contented
﹚ 】 叩   ﹣
camerichandinHuentialbutthenfoundhimself
beingadmonished:(‘Howcanyoubesuchanunfilial
son?YouhavesuchgreatwealtlIbutyouletyour
fathercontinuetobegfOrhisfOod?>,TlIesonfelt
ashamedafterhearingthisandsentpeopletosearclI
everywlIerefOrhisfatlIerandbrouglItl]iml1ometo
carefOrhim.But,afteramonthoflivinginbissons
l]ome,tl]efatherslippedouttoresumehislifeasa
beggar.
77
Peopleaskedthefather:‘<WouldnItitbetterfOryou
toenjoygoodfOrtuneatyourson’shome?’)Hereplied:
<<IwasveryuncomfOrtabletbere!Now’intl1edaytime
IcantravelanywhereIwantandenjoyvisitingbeauti-
fulscenery.AtniglIt)Icanmakeanyplacemyl1ome.
ThereisnothingmorejoyfUltbantoliveasfreelyas
t}Iis·TohavetoremainathomeissufferingfOrme!’}
HewascontentedwithlIisconditionsol1ecouldlet
goandattaintrueliberation.Hewasnotatallaffected
bythefivedesiresofwealtb,lust,fame,fOod,and
sleepRather,hewashappyandhadpurityofmind
Hepreferredtobeonthesidelines,regardingthis
worldasaplay,whileeverybodyelsewasbusypursu-
ingprestigeandwealth
Thiswasnoordinaryperson,butamodelofwis-
domandcontentment.Mostpeoplepursueal]appy
andfUlfillinglife,notrealizingthatthesearenotnec-
essarilysynonymouswithwealthorsocialposition.
TherefOre,weneedtounderstanddestiny)needtobe
abletoadjusttoaccordwiththewislIesofsentient
beingsandbejoyfUloverotlIer’smeritoriousdeeds.
OnlyintlIiswaywillourlivesbehappyandfUlIing’
(<Andwithunderstandingt}IattlIereisno
dualitybetweenpovertyandwealth,our
mindswillbecontentwithourpresentstatus
insociety>beithiglIorlow.Also,tl1ereisno
dualitybetweenlongandshortlives.Under-
standingthis,wewillbecontentwithourex-
78
istinglifespan’beitlongorshort.Themost
importantconcernfOrbumansisthatoflife
anddeathTlIus,earlydeathandlongevity
subsumeallconditions,whethertheyarefa-
vorableorunfavorable,andwhetherofgain
orloss’
Thisspeaksofaccordingwithconditions.Regard-
lessoffavorableorunfavorabIeconditions,wewillbe
completelyateaseaseverythingbecomesclearand
logical.WecanhavegoodfOrtuneandattainthegreat
liberation.Thisistrueliving’Truebappinessisnot
achievablewithoutgreatknowledgeandeffOrtinprac-
tice‘Wecannowclearlyseethatonlyawakenedpeo-
plecansettletbeirmindsandre-createtl]eirdestinies.
Itispointlesstobehaveimmorallyandtobecome
increasinglydeludedTlIus>theBudd}Iaoftenreferred
tothosewhoweredeludedas(‘pitiablebeings.
,)
“Wehavetowaituntilourcultivaiion
reachesacertainlevel,thenourdestinywill
change.TlIischangedependsontheaccu-
mulationofmerits)onseekingaresponse
fTomtheheavens.Whencultivating,we
needtobeawareofourfaultsandresolveto
correctthemasifwewerecuringasick-
))
neSSo
WecultivatewbilewaitingfOrdestinytobere-
created;however>thisisnotaccomplishedovernight.
79
Ittakesalongtime.Weneedtoceaseourlaziness,
andconfidentlyanddiligentlystrivetoimprove.We
needtobeawakenedandnotdeluded,todowhatis
properandnotdeviatedIntime,wewillattainthe
desiredresult.Cultivationiscorrectingourfaultsin
thethreekarmasofimproperthoughts,wordsand
deeds’andadoptingwhateverwaysarenecessaryto
remedytl1esefaults·
<<Whilewaiting’letgooftbethoughtofde-
siringsometlIingtlIatwearenotsupposedto
lIaveandthethoughtofwishingfOrare-
ward
ItisawanderingthoughttohopefOranearlyhar-
vestofrewardsfOrourgoodness,fOrsuchthinkingcan
createobstacles.WeareonlytoaskabouttlIecultiva-
tion)nottlIeharvest.Aslongaswediligentlycultivate,
thelIarvestwillnaturallyfOllow,whybotlIertocon-
stantlyseekit?Thisisthetruewayofcultivation:to
notseekanytbing.}ustconcentrateonendingim-
properbehaviorandcultivatinggoodness;eventually)
wewillobtainwhateverwedesire.
Whenweseek,ourgainsarelimited,fOrmostlikely
wewillonlyreceivewhatwerequest’asourcultiva-
tionofvirtuesisnotinaccordancewitl1ourvirtuous
natures.Withoutseeking,everythingisamanifesta-
tionofandinaccordancewithourvirtuousnatures.
Actually,wl1atLiaofanachievedwascultivatedvir-
tues.Itwasnotyetvirtuousnature,becausehestill
80
souglIt.Initially’besougbtsclIolarlyhonorandoHicial
rank,tben,hesoughtchildren’Whateverhesought
wasaccomplisbedIfhehadnothadonetlIouglItofa
request)ifhelIadsolelycultivatedandaccumulated
virtues,everythingwouldhaveturnedoutperfectly.
Hedidnotseeklongevityandyethelivedlongerthan
destinedHewassupposedtodieattheageoffifty-
three,butlivedtoseventy-fOur!
Wewillbenefitifweceaseourrequestsandaffinity
seeking,andonlyhavesensiblewis}Iesliketbosein
whichweaskthatourlivesbesmootb,thatwehave
enoughtoeat,asafeplacetolive,andadequatecloth-
ing.Itisenougl]tolivesimplyandcomfOrtablywith
minimalexpensesinasmallhouse.Butmostpeople
wanttopossessluxuriesandtoimpressothers>not
lmowingthepricetheyhavetopayfOrt}Ieseextrava-
gances.Theylosemorethantheygain.Ifinstead)we
sl1areourgoodfOrtunewit}Iothersthenourgood
fOrtuneistlIeaccumulationofmerits.
Ifwecultivateandaccumulateenoughvirtuetolast
fOralmndredgenerations’thenourdescendants
wouldhavegoodfOrtune·Ifwearetrulyintelligent
andwise,wewillsurelywanttoshareourgoodfOr-
tunewithothers.TherefOre,bepatient’WhyseekfOr
theearlyarrivalofgoodfOrtunewhenitwillcomein
goodtime?
<<AttlIislevelitwouldbeastateofreacbing
the<innatenatureofnothought)thatisthe
8l
actuallearningandpracticeofwisdom·
),
MasterYunguto>dme:llllmowthatyouare
stiIlunabletoaccomplishthestateofno

ZhuentiMantracontinuouslywithoutcount-
ingthenumberofrecitationsandwithout
interruption’
Whenyoureac}Iahigherlevelofconstant
mindfUlness,youwil>beab>etoachievethe
Ievelof<Tonotrecitewhenrecitingandto
recitewhennotreciting’>Whenyouno
longerbavewanderingthoughts,tbemantra
willbecomeeffective’)>
Learningandpracticeofwisdomaretruelmowl-
edge.Innatenatureis((returningtotheoriginalstate’’>
Thisrevelationofouroriginaltruenatureisnotthe
stateofanordinarybeing·TheoriginaIstateistrue
happinessfOritistobeIedwiththeD}Iarmabliss
andtotrulyabandonsufferingforhappiness.Tbisis
whatawakenedpeopleseek
Tbismethodcal>ed‘‘perfectpracticewithperfect
attainment)’wastaughtbyMasterYunguanditen-
ablesustopracticeconcurrentlytheThreeLearnings
ofabidingbytheprecepts,deepconcentration,and
’   啕  
oneisall,allisone.Tocu>tivateonemethodisto
((
cultivateallmet}]ods.))Theessenceoft}]epracticeis
todosowithoutinterruption,andwithoutintermin-
82
glingwithothertboughtsorothermethods’
Doweneedtocounttherecitations?MasterYungu
didnottellLiaofantodoso,butrathertorecitecon-
tinuously.Manyancientsagesrequiredpractitioners
tobegintheirclIantingpracticebycountingtl1enum-
berofrecitations.Why?Likeus,theywerelazy.So,it
washelpfUlforthemtobaveadailygoal,suchas
chantingaBuddha>snametenthousandtimesaday.
Meetingthisgoalhelpedtocounteractthebadhabit
oflaziness,fOriftheydidnotcounttbeymight}Iave
fOrgottentopractice’
However,fOrsomeoneashonestandearnestas
Liaofan’therewasnoneedtokeeptrackoftherecita-
tions.Forhim,thatwouldhavebeeninterminglingof
thoughts’Hiscultivationwastrulylearnedanddili-
gent;thus,}Iepracticedwitboutinterruption’and
withoutinterminglingwitlIotherthoughtsandmeth-
ods.
AllmetlIodsareequal:nooneisdifferentfiFomtlIe
others.Attainmentliesindelvingdeeplyintoonlyone
methodfOraprolongedtime·Intbepast)peoplegen-
erallypracticedsutrarecitation.Butwhet}Ierreciting
sutras,cl1antingmantrasoraBuddhaIsname,wedo
sowithtbemindofpurity,equality’andrespect·
Whenwepracticecontinuously,wewiIltrulybenefit
ffomit.
Thestateof‘‘NoThought)’isessentialItistonot
haveanywanderingtbougbts,discriminatorytlIouglIts>
orattachments.AlthoughLiaofanlIadnotgivenriseto
83
anywanderingtbougbtsfOrthreedayswhilehewas
meditatingwithMasterYungu,behadnotyetreached
《 《 } 。 ﹚ ﹜
concentration,tosuppressbisafflictions.Hebelieved
thatallwasdestinedHebelievedincausality.
TherefOre,themastertaughthimawaytomoveon
tothenextlevel,tocultivateconcentration.Torecite
theZhuentiMantraistocontinuouslycultivatecon-
centration.Byriddingourselvesofwanderingthoughts
andattachments)ourtruenaturewillbeuncovered
TheBuddlIaoftenspokeof‘<theoriginalnatureasit
is·>>PureLandpractitionerscalltlIistl]etrueand
perfectachievementof‘<OneMindUndisturbed>,Itis
thegoalofourpractice.Itistoreachtbeattainment
of‘<tonotrecitewhenrecitingandtorecitewl1ennot
reciting·>)Thisisoftenexplainedas<‘Tonotbeat-
taclIedtotheactofcbanting;thus’tonotchantwhen
chantingandtocbantwhennotclIanting.>)
WedosowhetherwearechantingtheBuddha)s
  丑 / 巴
LZ/bStJIrHwithoutattachment,wewillfirstachieve
ConstantMindfUlnessofBuddhaAmitabha’tlIenOne
MindUndisturbedAlthoughtl1emetl1odsmaydiffer’
theprinciplesandthegoalarethesame.Wbenwe
reachthestateofNoThoughtandtl1erecitingbe-
comessecondnature,itwillnaturallybecomeeffec-

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
力 】 丑 『 】 巴 』 盼  
sufferingfOronedayisthesameaspracticinginthe
PureLandfOronebundredyears·Westaybereto
trainourendurance·
Evenmoreimportantly>westaytoencouragemore
peopletogotothePureLandItisremarkablethatwe
ourselvesareabletogo,butitwillbeevenbetterifwe
canhelpotherstoberebornthereaswell!Thus,we
canconcentrateonhelping,educating>andencourag-
ingothers.Wl1enweourselvescultivateandinspire
otherstodolikewise)ourmeritsareperfect.Inso
doing’weareabletopaybacktbegreatkindnesstbat
} 。
MynameusedtobeXuehai,wl1ichmeans
“broadlearning”ButafterreceivingtlIese
teacl1ingsfTomMasterYungu,IclIangedit
85
toLiaofan’wlIicbmeans‘<transcendingtbe
ordinary.
))
IntlIepast,Chinesepeoplemighthavethreesetsof
names<inadditiontotheirsurname>:agivenname>
courtesyname’andsobriquet.Tbeirgivennamethat
﹞ 叩
ent’saspirationsfortheirchildren.Changingthis
namewastantamounttoignoringthisaspiration,truly
anunfilialact·
Uponreachingadultl1ood,agetwentyformalesand
sixteenfOrfemales,peoplewerenolongeraddressed
bytl1egivennamefOrtodosowasdisrespectfi1l.At
thistime,tl1eyunderwentaceremonytobeinitiated
intoadulthoodDuringtbisceremony,peopleoftbe
samegenerationorolderlikesiblings)schoolmates>
andfTiends,wouldprovidetbecourtesynametlIat
wouldbeusedfOrtherestoftheirlives.
IfinthefUtureapersonbecameagovernmentoffi-
cial,event}Ieemperor,peopleaddressedl1imbyl1is
courtesyname.Ifanadultwasaddressedbyhisgiven
name,thenmostlikelyhehadcommittedacrime,and
wastobesentencedandpunislIed
Tobeevenmorerespectfill’peoplewouldaddress
anindividualbytheirsobriquetorbylIisorlIerbirtl1-
place.Thisindicatedthathewasahighlyrespected
廿  
LiaofanandXuehaiwereLiaofan)ssobriquets.Only
onesparentsandteacherwoulduseapersonIsgiven
86
nameaftertheyreachedadulthood;evengrandpar-
ents,uncles,andemperorsusedthecourtesyname’
Thus,societyaccordedtl]esamegratitudeandrespect
toteacbersasitdidtoparents’
ItsignifiedmyunderstandingoftlIefacttbat
wecouldre-createourdestiniesandthatI
didnotwishtobelikeordinarypeoplewho
werecontrolledbydestiny·Fromthenon,I
begantobeverycautiousinwhateverI
tl1ougbtordid.Soon,Ifeltquitedifferent
fTombefOre.Inthepast’Ihadbeencareless
andwitlIoutselfdiscipline.Now,IHndmy-
selfbeingnaturallywatchfUlandconscien-

TlIissegmenttalksofLiaofan,sdeterminationand
cultivationincorrecting}IiserrorsandmakingafiFeslI
  ’ 廿
Liaofan.‘‘Liao>)meansunderstandingandawakening·
《 ℉ ﹚ ﹚
tounderstandworldlyphenomenaandthatwecanre-
createourowndestinies.
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·
AfterrefOrming’l1efOund}1imselfbeingnaturally
cautiousandcarefulinthought,speech,andbehavior.
Inotherwords,afterturningoveranewleaf,bisbe-
liefSandviewsregardinglifeandtheuniversechanged
dramatically‘Previously,hehadthoug}Itthatevery-
thingwasboundbyfate.But,nowlIelmewt}Iathe
couldre-createdestinyandthus,hebecamedeter-
minedandoptimistic’
ImaintaintlIisattitudeevenwhenalone,fOr
Ilmowtl>attherearespiritsandheavenlybe-
ingseverywherewbocanknowmyevery

fendthemwithmythoughts.EvenwlIenI
encounterpeoplewl1odislikeorslanderme,
IbeartlIeirinsultswit}Iapatientandpeace-
fulmind,anddonotfeelcompelledtoquar-
relwitl1them’25
ThereasonwlIyordinarypeoplecannotrefOrmis
thattlIeydonotunderstandthis.TlIosewhoaremore
】   【 巴 吭 /  
88
standandtobeevenmorecarefUlwiththeirthoughts)
speech,andbehaVorthanLiaofan.
ThepopulationoftbePureLandisbeyondcalcula-
tion·Evenifweusedeverycomputerintheworld’we
cannotcalculatethenumberofbeingsthere.Eachof
thempossessesthesameabilitiesasBuddhaAmi-
tabba·EaclIbasheavenlyeyestoseeall,heavenlyears
tolIearall)andtheabilitytoknoweverythoughtof
everybeingthroughouttbeuniverseint}Iepast,pre-
sent>andfUture.So>BuddhaAmitabha>Avalokitesvara
Bodhisattva,MahasthamapraptaBodhisattva,andall
thebeingsintbePureLandknowoureverythougbt
andwrongdoing.
Evenwhenwearealone,wherenooneelsecansee
us,westillneedtorestrainourselvesandnotgiverise
toasingleimpropertbougbtlnsodoing’wewilltruly
acl1ieveself-disciplineandcontrol.AsPureLand
practitioners,weseekrebirthintothePureLandand
toachieveinourvirtuousconduct.But,ifwecontinue
todeceiveourselves)wewillnotachieveanything’As
Confuciussaid>adecentpersoniscautiousevenwhen
alone.Livingbyourselves,wecanstillbedisciplined
andnotself-indulgent.Inthisway,wewilltrulybe
cultivating.Ordinarypeopleconstantlyindulgethem-
selveswitl1outanyrealrestraint.Wheninpublic,tlIey
  ﹂
alonetheyagaindoastheyplease’
Thisisoneofthereasonswhymonasteriesofthe
pastbadmanypractitionerssharingoneroom.Ifthere
89
wasonlyonepersoninaroom,heorshewouldbe
unabletoachieveincultivation.Withmoret}Ianten
peopleinaroom’everyonewillbehavewellatall
times.ThepurposeofthiswastofOrcepeopletodis-
ciplinethemselves.
Today>veryfewpeoplearewillingtorestrainthem-
selves,butareintentonen>oymgcomfOrt’Fine!We
canen}oyourselvesinthislifeandthenwecanalso
leisurelyen}oyourselvesintheThreeBadPatlIsintlIe
upcominglife,bavingnotsucceededontbepatl1to
enlightenment!
Whenlivingwithinalargegroup,everyoneneedsto
worktogether.T}Ierearesomesingleroomsatmonas-
teries,buttheyareespeciallyforthosecultivatorsof
advancedyears.Also,thosewboholdhighpositions
andwl1ol1avemanyresponsibilities,likeabbotsortl1e
leadingmonkornunneedtohavearoomoftl1eir
own.Thiswillallowthentheconvenienceofoversee-
ingmattersatalllIourswitlIoutdisturbingotlIers.
TlIerefore,truecultivatorspractice‘‘livingtogether
harmoniously’>>oneoftheSixHarmonies.
ItisinappropriatefOranindividualtohaveasingle
room.IfapersontbinksitisuncomfOrtabletobave
twoorthreepeoplelivingtogetherinaroom,itthen
becomeseasyfOrtl1emtothink’‘(Idonotwanttolive
witbthatperson.”Thenheorshewillbeunableto
achievetlIestateofConstantMindfulnessofBuddha
Amitabha.Wby?Tbeybavediscriminatoryandimpure
minds;themindthatstillbasdislikesandevades
90
unpleasantness’Howcanthatpersonachieveany-
tlIing?WlIerethenandl1owdowecultivate?Weculti-
vatepurityandthenon-discriminatorymindinthe
placewedisliketbemost‘
ItiswrongfOrustobeunwillingtolivewitlIorget
alongwitlIsomeone.LiaofanhaddiscoveredlIisown
faultsandsincerelycorrectedtlIem.But,indealing
withourownfaults)wecontinuouslyexcuseourselves
insteadofcorrectingtbem.WhenwedotlIis,howcan
we}Iopetosucceedinourcultivation>
WitlIinaSanglIa,astartingpointfOrourcultivation
istlIeSixHarmonies,whicharethebasicguidelinesto
fOllowwhenlivingtogetherinagroup.Alltheindi-
vidualscanabidebytheFivePreceptsandTenVirtu-
ousConducts’Inthepast’templesusedtlIeNovice
PreceptsandtheGuidelinesfOrDignifiedBehavioras
tbestandardThisincludedtbetenpreceptsand
twenty-fOurkindsofdignifiedmanners.Today’wedo
notneedtobethatstrict·ItisenoughfOrustousetl1e
FivePreceptsandtheTenVirtuousConductsasthe
standardsfOrboth>aypeopleaswellasfOrmonksand
nuns.However’thestandardscannotbelowertlIan
these‘
Toliveharmoniouslyinagroup’itisnecessaryto
abidebytheSixHarmoniestocorrectourfaultsand
badhabits,andtolearntogetalongwithothers’Liao-
fanfOundthatbenolongermindedwhenheencoun-
teredthosewhodislikedorevenslanderedlIim.He
couldpatientlybeartheirinsultswithapeacefUlmind
9l
andnolongerfeltcompelledtoquaITelwitbthem.His
mindhadbecomecalm,unlikebefOre,whenl1ewas
flightyandimpatient,unabletoenduretl1esligl1test

Herewecanseel1isimprovementfromcultivation·
TherefOre)atrueBuddlIistpractitionerneedstolearn
howtogetalongwitlIeverybodyregardlessofwhether
theyareenlightenedbeingsordemonsandghosts.We
needtofindourinnerpeaceandtoholdontoit,
regardlessoftheenvIronmentorcircumstances·
Aftertl1esixtlIPatriarchofZen,MasterHuineng,
becameenligl1tened’circumstancesfOundl1imacting
asanattendanttoagroupoflmnters.Daily’hewit-
nessedtheirhuntingandkilling.Heservedmeatand
caredfOrtl1em.ThelIunterswerehismasters;hewas
。   ’
fOrfifteenyears.
CouldwelIaveenduredthis?Henotonlyendured
butwascontentedanddidnotlIaveanywandering
discriminatorythouglItsandattachments.Thesewere
fifteenyearsoftruecultivation.Hereachedenligl1t-
enmentwhenhewasinHuangmei,inthesoutlIern
partofChina.Whetherunderfavorableoradverse
circumstances,hecultivatedhismindofpurity,equal-
ity’greatcompassion,andloving-kindness.Thereis
nothingmoreimportanttoourcultivationtl1antl1ese
fOurvirtues,andthesewerewlIathepracticed
Today’whenweinteractwitl1otl1ersandwithcir-
cumstances,arewecultivatingpurityofmindunder
92
favorableoradverseconditions?Ifwearenotcultivat-
ingpurityofmind’thenwearenotproperlypracticing
Buddbismandwillnotbenefit,fOritlIasbecome
merelyanacademicpursuit.Evenifwespendevery-
dayreadingtlIesutrasandbecomeextremelyarticu-
lateinexplainingthem’ourafflictionswillstillin-
crease.Inthisway,wewillendupintheThreeBad
Paths’Thisisobviouslywrong!
Truepractitionersdonotattachtowords,towl1at
hasbeensaid,specified)ortlIought.Theyusetbeir
intuition.T}Ieyseekpurityofmind’tl1enon-
discriminatorytruemindthatisouroriginaltruena-
ture.T}1eyseekSupremePerfectEnlig}1tenment.
ForPureLandpractitioners’itisalsoourgoalto
attainConstantMindfUlnessofBuddhaAmitabba:t}Ie
mindofpurityandequality·Tohaveconstantmind-
fi1lnessistobaveanuncontaminatedandnon-
discriminatorymind.Thereisnobarrierwitl1int}1e
truemind
Ifwestillhavediscriminatorytboughtsandattach-
ments,thenweareunabletoaclIieveconstantmind-
fUlness.Severthesediscriminatorythoughtsandat-
tachments’andwewillbeabletoachieveconstant
mindfUlness’TlIisistruecultivation.
TheyearafterImetMasterYungu’Itook
tl1epreliminaryimperialexaminationin
wl1iclIMr’KonghadpredictedthatIwould
comeintl1irdplace’Amazingly,Iwasfirst!
g3
Mr.Kong>spredictionswerebeginningto
losetbeiraccuracy.Hehadnotpredicted
thatIwouldpasstheimperialexaminationat
all,butthatautumn,Idid!
Liaofanwasdestinedtoplacethirdintheexamina-
tion.Butbycultivatingkinddeedsandaccumulating
meritsandvirtues,hewasabletoimprovel1isplace-
mentfromthirdtofirst.AsMr.Kong)spredictions
begantolosetheiraccuracy)Liaofansawfirsthand
thathewasabletoclIangedestiny·Hesawfirsthand
thattherewerevariablesandnotjustconstants·
Next,hemadethewislItopassanevenlIigherlevel
ofexaminationandagainl1iswisl1cametrue.Togain
somethingwewerenotdestinedtol1aveistotruly
}Iavesoughtandgained.
AltlIougl1Ihadcorrectedmanyfaults,I
fbundthatIcouldnotwholelIeartedlydotl1e
tl1ingsIoughtto.EvenifIdiddothem,it
wasf•rcedandunnatural’Ireflectedwit}Iin
andfOundtlIatIstillhadmanyshortcom-
ings,suchasseeinganopportunitytoprac-
ticekindnessbutnotbeingeagerenoughto
doitorhavingdoubtswhenhelpingotl1ers.
SometimesIfOrcedmyselftoactkindly,but
myspeechwasstilluncontrolledandoffen-
sive.IfOundIcouldcontainmyselfwhen
sober,butafterafewdrinks,Iwouldact
 
withoutrestraint·AlthougbIoftenpracticed
kinddeedsandaccumulatedmerits)my
faultsandoffensesweresonumerousthat
tlIeyseemedtooutweighthegoodthatIdid
Alotofmytimewasspentvainlyandwith-
outvalue.
WeshouldnotexpectanyrewardwlIenwehelp
others,fOritisourresponsibilitytodoso·Confucius
andothersagestaugbtusthefivehumanrelationships
andtenmoralresponsibilities.Thefivehumanrela-
tionslIips,whicbarefoundedontraditionalmoral
principles)includethosebetweenhusbandsandwives,
parentsandcbildren,siblings,fTiends’andpolitical
leadersandthepublic.
Practicingwhatweoughttoisavirtueofourna-
tures·Itisnaturallywithinourresponsibilityaspar-
entstobeprotective,tocareforandguideourchil-
dren·Itisnatural>ywithinourresponsibilityascl1il-
drentobefilial,tohonorandrespectourparents‘
  仕 ’
towardsoneanother’Friendsshouldbetrustwortby,
honest’andreliablefOrwearenaturallyobligatedto
beso.Andallofusshouldbemutuallycaring,respect-
fUl,andhelpfUltoeaclIother.
Liaofanunderstood,althoug}Ihedidnotyetprac-
ticeperfectlyandpurely’fOrtl>eseactionswerestill
intermingledwithpersonaladvantagesanddisadvan-
tages.Ifwequestionwhetherhelpinganotherwill
95
adverselyaffectus,thenourtl1oughtsandactionsare
impure,andwewillbeunabletowholel1eartedlyassist
others·Fromthis,welmowthatalthoughwemaydo
kinddeeds’westillhavenotdoneenough
Confuciustaughtofthevirtuein“assistingot}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
﹣ 。  
kinddeedsbecometransgressions.T}Ius,itisvery
difficulttodogood,fOrdoingsorequiresbotl1com-
passionandwisdom.CompassionistlIegenuinedriv-

helpustoexamineandjudgewhetherweshouldlIelp
ornot.Ifyes,thenwecandoso.IHIowever,theyare
96
tryingtocheatusandweknowwbattlIeyaredoing’
weneedtoguidetbem.Iftbeyarenotoldorill,but
arehealthyandable,thenwecanencouragetlIemto
engageinproperworkinsteadofusingdeviousmeans
tomakealiving.
TherefOre,correctingourfaultstobeginanewis
notsomethingreadilyaccomplislIed,butrequirestime
andcontinuouseffort.Inthebeginningstages,diffi-
cultiesareunavoidable.Tobehaveinacourteous
mannerwl]ilebeingcarelessandthoughtlessinspeech
isabadl1abit.Sinceancienttimes,speeclIhasbeen
consideredthesourceofbotlIgoodfOrtuneandmis-
fOrtune)soweneedtobeconstantlyawareofour
speech
ConfuciustauglItusfOurstudies,thefirstofwl1ich
isvirtuousconductthatisbasictobeingadecent
person.Today,wewouldcalltlIismoraleducation’
﹚     洫
society,aspeopletodayarelessconcernedaboutit.
Thesecondstudyisspeech26Confuciusstressedthe
importanceofourspeakingproperlyandrespectfully
sot}Iatwewouldnotharmotherswithourlackof
consideration.
Weoftenburtotherswithourcarelessspeech
Thosewehurtmaytakeoffenseandbeargrudges,and
inthefuturewillseekrevenge.Thus)manyproblems
arecreatedoutofmisunderstandingsandresentments
arisebecauseofwhatwehavesaid<‘TlIespealKerhad
nosuchintention,thelistenerinterpretedittobeso.
,,
97
Weneedtobecarefulandrestrainedinourspeech
廿  
less’wewillcommitfewermistakes.
﹂ ﹙ ﹙ ’
enoughWesl1ouldalsoencourageotherPureLand
practitionerscultivatingpurityofmindtochant‘‘Ami-
tuofO”aswellInthisway,whenwefindourselves
subjectedtohearinggossip,wewouldjustrespond
withAmituofO.Iftheygossipmore,thenagainsay,
<<AmituofO/’LettlIemhearthisseveraltimes‘After
theyarefinisbedtalking,wewillhavelistenedbut
disregardedwl>attheysaidWewi>lonlyhavesaid
‘‘AmituofO))totl1em.ThisisgoodfOritisbestnotto
saymuchWehaveseenthatLiaofanhadthebad
l1abitoftalkingtoomuch
Therestrictiononintoxicantsisoneoftl1efivema-
jorpreceptsinBuddhism’TheBuddl1aprolIibited
alcoholbecausemanypeoplebehavefOolishlywhen

wearenotevensupposedtotakeonedrop.Why?
TherewastlIefeartl1atwewouldlosecontrolandtl1is
leadstoproblemssuchasbrealdngadditionalpre-
cepts.Ifwecandrinkamoderateamountofalcol1ol
andnotbecomeintoxicated,tlIentl1ereisanexception
totlIisprecept.
Intl>epastwhenIwasstudyinginTaizhong,Tai-
wan,mylateteacher’Mr.LiBingnanlecturedonthe
◎ ㎡ / 【     ’
scholarwholivedduringtheEastHandynasty’wrote
98
  ㎡ / 【 乙
insigbtwithvirtue.Mr.ZhengwasastudentofMr.
MaRongwhoinlIisowntimewasalsoanexceptional
scbolar’However,beingnarrow-minded)Mr.Ma
wouldbecomeextremelydispleasedwlIeneveroneof
hisstudent)sacl1ievementssurpassedhisandMr·
Zl1eng,sachievementsdidpreciselytl1at.Unableto
resignhimselftothesituation,Mr.Mahiredsomeone
tokillhisoutstandingstudent!
WhenMr.ZlIengtookleave{TomlIisteacl1er,Mr.
Matookallhisstudentstoapavilionseveralmilesout
oftownfOrafarewellgatheringandencouragedevery-
onetostarttoasting.Eventually)Mr.Zl1engdrank
threelIundredtoasts!Mr.MahadplannedtogetMr.
ZlIengdrunk,tomakeitmuclIeasierfOrtbekillerto
carryouttlIeplan.Hehadnoideathatalcoholwould
l1avenoeffectonMr.Zheng,wboremainedcourteous
andproper.Mr.Lisaidthatifeveryonewasableto
drinkthismuchwithoutbeingaffected’thenBuddl1a

precept!
WeneedtounderstandwhyBuddhaShabamuni
gaveustlIisaswellasotherprecepts·WhenlayBud-
dl1istpractitionerscook,itisallrighttousecooldng
winefOrflavoring’becausetheywillnotbecomein-
toxicatedAlso,asalcoholcanimprovepoorblood
circulation,itispermissiblefOrt}1eelderlytodrinka
glassatmealtimes’Thesearesimplyexceptions,not
violationsoftl>eprecepts’
99
Similarly)tl1erearefivepungentvegetablesthat
  } 仕 ﹚ ﹚
chives,greenonions,andleeks.GarIicespecially.Why
didtheBuddhaprohibittlIese?TbeStJmI>gamaStJ[rH
explainstlIatpurityofmindismostimportantinour
cultivation.However,ifwehavenotreaclIedacertain
levelofattainment)ourintakeoffOodanddrinkcan
adverselyaffectourjudgment’Oncewebaveachieved
acertainlevelandaremasterofourminds,wewillbe
abletoaffecttheenVronmentinsteadofbeingaf
fectedbyit.T}Ientherewillbenoobstacles.
Tl1eBuddhatoldustlIatwhenweeattl]esefive
vegetablesraw,itincreasesourirritability’Eating
tlIemcookedcanincreaseourhormoneproduction
andsexualurges’So,therearereasonswhytheBud-
dhasetuptheseprecepts.WlIetlIereatenrawor
cooked,thefivevegetablesarefOrbiddenbecausethey
increaseafflictions.
Somelaypeoplehavesaidthatiftl1eycannoteat
tbesefivevegetables,tlIentheyarenotinterestedin
becomingvegetarians.Weneedtounderstandthe
purposebelIindthisprohiI)ition.Ifthesevegetables
areusedasseasonings’likewhenweuseoneortwo
clovesofgarlictoflavorourcooking)tlIenitwillnot
causeanyharm.Thus,wlIenweunderstandtlIerea-
soning,wewillseethatBuddlIismisverylogical,
flexible,andsensible.
Thereareexceptionstostrictlyobservingthepre-
ceptsevenafterwehavereceivedthem.Theseexcep-
l00
tionsenableustointroduceBuddhismtoothersand
togetalonghappilywitheveryone.TberefOre,atcer-
tainfimctions,weneedtobehavewisely)toadapt
ourselvestothecircumstances.Becauseitisanuni-
maginablyrareopportunityfOronetoencounterthe
teachings>weshouldmakeuseofanyandallopportu-
nitiestointroducetheteachingstoothers’Evenover
drinksandduringmealtime,wecanexplainBuddl>ism
tothem’toplanttherootofgoodness.Thesearerare
educationalopportunitiesnottobewasted.
Ittookmemorethantenyearstocomplete
tlIetl1reetl1ousandmeritoriousdeedsIl1ad
vowedtodo’Iwasunabletodedicatetl1e
meritsfromthesethreet}Iousandgooddeeds
atatempleuntilIreturnedtomyhometown
inthesoutb,afewyearslater.AttlIattime’I
hadtlIeopportunitytoasktwomonksto
dedicatetl1emfOrme.
BecauseLiaofanhadapostwithtl1earmytl1atre-
quiredconstanttraveling,hedidnothaveacl1anceto
dedicatetlIemerits.Itwasnotuntiltheyearafterbe
hadfulfilledhispledgeofthreethousandgooddeeds
thatl1ehadthechancetodoso.Heengagedtl1eser-
v1cesofsomemonksatatempletodedicatetl1emerits
onbisbelIalf.Whenhehadmadel1ispledge,heex-
pressedhissincerityandearnestnessinturningovera
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[li‘FromtlIis,we
canseethatifwesincerelyandproperlymakeawish,
itwillcometrue.AlthougbhehadgainedasonbefOre
completingl1ispledgeofthetbreethousandgood
deeds>lIestillhonoredit’ItwasthesameaswlIatbad
previouslytranspiredHetooktheimperialexamina-
tion,butbefOrelIecouldfUlfiIIispledge’hecamein
firstinsteadofthedestinedthirdplace·Thisistobein
      廿      
trulyinconceivable’
EverytimeIperfOrmedagooddeed,Iwould
recorditinabookYourmotberwbocould
notreadorwritewoulduseagoosefeather
dippedininkShemadearedcircleontlIe
calendarfOreverygooddeeds}1edidSome-
l02
timesshegavefOodtotlIepoororbouglIt
livingcreaturesinthemarketplaceandfiFeed
tl1eminthewildSherecordedallofthese
witlIhercirclesonthecalendar.Attimes,
sl1ecouldaccumulatemoretbantencircles
inoneday!
Ifwel1avethebearttofreecaptiveanimals,we
needtobecarefillnottobedeceivedManypeoplego
topetstorestobuytheanimalsjusttoreleasethem·
However,tl1eseanimalswerespecificallycapturedfOr
thispurpose.IfwedidnotcreatetlIedemand)the
storeswouldnottrytofillitbycapturingmore!Tl1is
putsincreasednumbersofanimalsatriskandcauses
moreharmthangoodAsaresult,weaccumulate
offensesratberthanmeritsandvirtues.
  ﹚ 廿 ’
todosoonlywithtl]osetlIatweinadvertentlycome
uponwhenwegogroceryshopping.Donotseektl1em
deliberatelyfOrtodosoistohaveanintentioninstead
ofdoingitnaturally.Aswehappentocomeuponone,
weneedtodetermineifitwillbeabletosurvIveonits
own.Ifnot)itwouldbebestnottobuyitbutinstead
usethemoneytoaccomplishsomeothermeritsand
virtues.Weneedtoactwisely,notimpulsivelyor
emotionally.
ThemeaningoffTeeingcapturedcreaturesdoesnot
justincludesettinganimalsorbirdsfTee’Italsoin-
cludesbecomingavegetarianandencouragingothers
l03
nottokilllivingbeingsbuttocarefOrthem.Forex-
ample’wecanprintandfreelydistributecopiesofthe
疋 ㎡ ∕  
childrennurturetlIeirlovefOrlivingcreatures.Doing


WeneedtounderstandthespiritandtheprofOund
meaningbehindwhatwearetaught,notjustdosome-
tl1ingfOrthesakeofdoingit.AsfOrthepracticeof
giving)tl1erearemanykinds>includingthegivingof
wealth)teaching,andfearlessness.Eachhasitsown
inconceivablyvastandprofOundmeanings.
廿
wrongdoingandpracticedgooddeeds.Obviously,they
wereaccomplishingtheirgoalsmuchfasterthanbe-
fOrewhentl1eyweresometimesunabletoaccomplish
onegooddeedaday’buttookseveraldaystodoso.
Thisiswhyittooktenyearstocompletetl1efirst
pledgeoftl1reethousandvirtuousdeeds·Butnowtl1ey
wereabletoaccomplishmorethantenaday,which
wasavastimprovement.ItisverydifficulttorefOrm
buttheybotl1hadtheperseveranceandthepatience
todoso.Withoutthewillpowerandtl1edetermina-
tion,itisnoteasytoeradicateourbadhabitsand
faults,andthisiswl1ymanyofusregressmorethan
weprogressonthepathtoenlightenment.
EverydaywepracticedlikethisandinfOur
years,tbethreethousanddeedswerecom-
l04
pletedAgain>Iinvitedthesametwomasters
tomaketbededications,tlIistimeatour
home·Onthel3thdayoftl1enintlImontlIof
thatsameyear>Imademyt}1irdwislIand
thatwastopassthehighestleveloftheim-
perialexamination.Ialsovowedtocomplete
tent}1ousandmeritoriousdeeds.Aftert}1ree
years,IattainedmywishandpassedtlIeex-
amination.Iwasalsomadethemayorof
Baodicounty.
ItonlytookfOuryears)froml58Otol583)tocom-
pletethesecondpledgeofthreethousandgooddeeds,
whereasithadtakenovertenyearstoaccomplishtlIe
firstsimilarpledge.
Liaofanwasnotdestinedtopassthisparticularex-
amination.HisdestinyalsodidnotincludelIavinga
sonbutheattainedonethroughhisseeMngandprac-
tice.Itwouldalsobeavariableif}Iiswishtopassthe
examinationweretocometruealtl1ougl1hewasnot
。  
taughtl1improvedtobetrue.Nowhepledgedtocom-
pletetent}Iousandgooddeeds.Inl586,onlytl1ree
’ 叩  
wisl1inpassingtheexamination.
Afterthis,hewasassignedbytheimperialgovern-
menttobetl1emayorofBaodicounty,wl1ichwas
closetoBeijing.Tl1ispositionlIadnotbeeninlIis
originaldestiny’Previously>l1ehadbeendestinedto
l05
beamagistrateinacountyinSichuancounty,in
SoutbwestChina’farfTomBeijing·
Ipreparedasmallbooktorecordmymerits
’ ㎡ 『 吧  
『 叻 ∕ 砸 『 】 α
workintheoffice’myservantwouldbring
thebookand}1avet}Ieguardplaceitonmy
deskIwouldrecordmyeverydeed-goodor
bad-nomatterhowsmallAtnight,Isetup
analtarinthecourtyardandputonmyoffi-
cialuniformtoemulatetl1ewayofMr.Zhao,
anofficerintheSongdynasty.Iburnedin-
censeandreportedallmydeedstothel1eav-
enSo
Thisl1elpsustounderstandhowhefeltaboutman-
agingpublicaffairsafterhecameintoofficeandofhis
wis}1tocreategoodfOrtuneforothers.Atthetime’
cityorcountymayorswerenotelectedbutwerecho-
senbytheimperialgovernment.Liaofanwasavery
goodcountymayor.28Herefrainedfromwrongdoing’
cultivatedgooddeeds,andaccumulatedmeritsand
virtues·
Atthebeginningofhistermofoffice,l1eprepareda
○ 〃 『 囚 的
/ 仍
thoughtsanddeeds,sothatl1ecouldbewatchfulover
themtoseewhenhewouldbeabletofulfilll1ispledge
oftentl1ousandgooddeeds.
l06
Atnight’heopenlyreportedtothegodsandspirits
everytbinghelIaddonethroughouttbeday,apractice
fOllowedbymanypeople·Tobepureinbodyand
mind,theywouldhonestlyadmittoeverything.Bud-
dhistscallthis‘<confessingandapologizingtothe
public.))
Once,yourmotherwasconcernedwhenshe
sawt}IatIhadnotaccumulatedmuchmerit·
Inthepast>shehadbeenableto}Ielpmein
ouraccumulationofgooddeedsandwewere
abletocompletethethreethousandmerito-
riousdeeds.Now,Ihadmadeavowtocom-
pletetenthousandmoredeedsbutthere
werefeweropportunitiestopracticethemat
thegovernmentresidence‘Sbeworried
abouthowlongitwouldbebefOremyvow
couldbefUlfilled
BefOre}Iebecameagovernmentofficial,Liaofan
wasnotasbusywithworkItwasalsoeasyforlIiswife
toassisthimindoinggoodacts.But’asanofficial,he
andhiswife>ivedinagovernmentresidence.Atthe
time,tlIerewaslittlecontactbetweenthoseintlIe
officialresidence,especiallytheirfamilymembers’and
thepublic’TherefOre,hiswifewasnolongerableto
helpbiminhiscultivationandaccumulation.She
worriedwbentheywouldbeabletofUlfilltbepledge.
Thatnight’Idreamedofaheavenlybeing
l07
andtoldhimofmydifficultyincompleting
thetenthousandgooddeeds.ThelIeavenly
beingremindedmethatuponbecoming
mayor,Ihadreducedtbetaxesontbefarm-
lands.Thatonegooddeedwaswortbten
。   ﹣
filled!
Wl1enIbecamemayor,thefarmersinBaodi
countywerelIighlytaxedsoIreducedthetax
bynearlybalf.But)Ifeltbewilderedandstill
}Iaddoubts·Howcouldjustonedeedbe
worthtenthousandmerits?
TlIetaxreductionwassubstantialandlIadbene-
fitedalltlIefarmersintbecounty·Actually’farmore
tbantentl1ousandfarmersintl1ecountylIadbene-
fited;thus,tlIishadeasilyfUlfilledtlIepledge.How-
ever,hewasuncomfOrtablefortworeasons’Howhad
theheavenlybeingknownwhathehaddoneandhow
couldtbisoneacthavebeenworthsomanymerits
andvirtues?
Fromthis,wecanseewhyitissaidtl1ataposition
inthegovernmentisagoodplacetoaccumulatemer-
itsandvirtues.Averagepeopleusuallydonothavethis
kindofopportunitytocultivatesucl1goodfOrtuneand
merit.IfLiaofan}1adnotbecomeacountymayor,l1ow
manyyearswouldithavetakenlIimtocompletel1is
pledge?Atthattime,hehadtheopportunitytobenefit
tl1ousandsoffarmerswitl1onedeedbecausehel1elda
l08
governmentoffice.Tbus’}Iisonegooddeedwas
equivalenttotenthousand
Itiseasytoaccumulatemeritsandjustaseasyto
commitwrongdoings.Ifapublicpolicydoesnotbene-
fitpeople,butprovesbarmful,thisactwillbecometen
thousandoffenses.GoodfortuneormisfOrtunede-
pendsonourthougbts.Thehigherourposition>tlIe
greaterarethepossibilitiesforcreatinggoodfOrtune
ormisfOrtune.Porexample’aleaderofacountrycan
implementonepolicy,whichifitprovesbeneficialto
allthecitizenswillactuallyaccomplishthousands,
evenmillions’ofgooddeeds’OntheotlIerhand,ifthe
leaderimplementsapolicythatprovesharmfUl’t}Ien
heorshewill}Iavecommittedthousands,evenmil-
lions,ofbaddeeds.
Asmostpeople>sopportunitiesaremorelimited)
theyarerestrictedinthegoodorbadtheycando’Ifa
personhasstatus,andthushastheopportunity)heor
sheneedstobecautiousinhisorhereveryaction.By
cultivatinggooddeeds,beorshewillhaveabright
future.Todootherwisewillensurethatheorsl1ewill
fallintotheThreeBadPathstosuffert}Iere.WlIy?
Duetohisorherhighstatus,dIeresultsfromthat
personsactionsaremorefar-reaclIingtlIanthoseof
averagecitizens.
Coincidentally’theZenMasterHuanyuwas
travelingfromWutaiMountainandstopped
inBaodi.Iinvitedhimtothegovernment
>09
residence,toldl1imofmydream,andasked
w}Ietheritwasbelievable.MasterHuanyu
said:‘(Ifonedoesagooddeedwithsucba
】 叩
reward,tlIenonedeedcanindeedbeworth
themeritsoftentlIousandBesides,youract
ofreducingthetaxesintlIiscountybenefits
morethantentlIousandpeople!))
NotlongafterhelIadhisdream,hehappenedto
meetaZenmasterandaskedbimiftlIefulfillmentof
thepledgewaspossible.ItwouldhavebeenwonderfUl
iflIispledgewasindeedcompleted!Ifitwasnottrue,
thenhewouldgraduallyworktoaccomplishtl1ese
deeds.MasterHuanyutold}]imyes,onedeedsin-
cerelydonecanbeworththemeritsoftentl]ousand
gooddeeds.
Tbisprinciple,‘(tocultivateoneistocultivateall>)
】 叩 /
ingandcultivationofnon-hindrance.Everything
arisesfTomourtruenature.Ifthecultivationisin
accordancewiththetruenature>tbenitcanbere-
gardedascultivatingallIfwedogooddeedsthatare
廿 ﹚
╴  
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
practice‘Hesaid:<‘Ifweareabletobemindfulof
BuddlIaAmitab}Ia,tbenwewillunderstandallt}Ie
wisdomoftheBuddhistCanon’Wecanalsoattain
awakeningwiththeguidanceoftheseventeen}Iun-
dredstoriesoftheZenschool’)
ThepracticeofZenBuddbismandtheother
schoolsallareencompassedwithinAmituofO’Master
Ou-Yialsosaidthatthreetbousandkindsofdignified
manners,eightythousandminutecourtesies,and
threedivisionsofpreceptsareallwitbinAmituofo·Al!
tlIeprecepts,alltheBuddhistteachings,andail
worldlyteacbingsarealsoincludedwit}IinAmituofO·
Allmetbodsandwaysofpracticearewithintbisname
fOr‘(oneisalI,allisone‘)>Whenwe}Iaveachieved
purityofmind)thenwewillhaveperfectlyaclIieved
innumerablemethods’Therearestillmanyw}Iodonot
yetlmowtheinfiniteadvantagesfoundinthename
AmituofO·
Whenwegiverisetothougbts,alltheBuddbas,
Bodhisattvas,andspiritsof}Ieavenandearthlmow
tbem.SincetlIetruemindbasnolimitorboundary,
lll
whenwedoeventheslightestgooddeed’iftbisone
tlIoughtarisesfromourtruenatureitwillaccordwith
thetruemindThen)nomatterlIowsmalltbedeed,
tberesultwillbenefittheentireuniverse.Liaofanhad
yettoreaclIthisstateofmindHebadonlybenefited
thepublicintheplIenomenalaspect.
Wl1enwedoagooddeedwitbasincereheart,this
deedcanindeedbeworththemeritsoftentbousand
gooddeeds·MasterHuanyutoldLiaofanthatl]isact
ofreducingthetaxesinthecountylIadrelievedtl1e
sufferingofheavytaxesonalltlIefarmersandl1ad
benefitedmorethantenthousandpeople.However,
Liaofanhadyettounderstandthis,ashiscompletion
ofthetenthousandgooddeedswasdonefromthe
pbenomenalaspect·IflIebaddoneso{Tomhistrue
nature,thatisifhehadcultivatedfromlIistruemind,
thenthatonegooddeedwouldnotl1avebeenworth
justtl1emeritsoftenthousandbutofinnumerable
gooddeeds!
Ifweseesomeoneinneedandunreservedlygive
himonedollar,thenthemeritoftlIisaccordswithour
truenaturebecauseatthattimewedidnothavedif
ferentiatingthoughtsofothersandus.Wedidnot
distinguisbbetweenreceiveranddonor.Wewerenot
attachedInthisway’themeritsfromgivingonedollar
areinfinitefOrtheyaretheuncoveringofourvirtuous
natures·
Themeritfromgivingmillionsofdollarsmaybe
lessthanthatofonedollarsincerelygiven.Why?We
llZ
} 仕   ﹣
多 } ﹞
attachmentsislimitedandt}Ius,weareunableto
breaktbroughtbisobstacleofdiscrimination·
ThereasonwlIyourmeritscannotcomparewith
thoseofBuddhasandBodbisattvasisthedifferences
inourminds’inourintentions’T}IeenVronment
cl1angesaccordingtothemindAsordinarypeople,we
areverynarrow-minded;t}Ius,nomatterbowmuch
goodfOrtuneor}Iowmanymeritswecultivate,weare
boundbyourdiscriminatorythoughtsandattach-
ments.ButtbesenolongerbindBod}Iisattvasand
Arhats.EvenwbentbeyperfOrmasmalldeed,their
meritsareinfinite’Inunderstandingt}Iisprinciple,our
everytboughtwillbeperfect,andourmeritsand
virtueswillbeinfinite.Liaofancouldnotyeteven
imaginethisstateofmindSo,hepracticedfiFomtbe
aspectofphenomena,andtbus,hebenefitedonlyten
tbousandpeople.
Uponbearingthis,Iimmediatelygaveallmy
savIngsfOrhimtotakebacktoWutaiMoun-
tain.IaskedhimtousethemoneyfOrafOod
offeringfOrtenthousandmonksandtodedi-
catethemeritsfOrme·
ItwasraretoseeapersonlikeLiaofan>whowitlI-
outhavingtothinkgavelIissavIngstoprovidemeals
fOrtenthousandmonks.Usually,wbenlaypeople
wishedtobegeneroustheywouldprovidemealsf•r
ll3
onetl1ousandmonksornuns’29butLiaofanwantedto
dosofortenthousand,tofUlfillhisgreatvowoften
tbousandgooddeeds.
Mr’Youexplainedinhiscommentary:(<Someone
whomakessuchaquickdecisiontogivegenerously,
witlIouttheslightestreluctantormiserlytl1ought,will
gaininfinitegoodfOrtuneinreturn.>)Suchspontane-
ousgenerosityshowedthatLiaofanwasanhonest
officialandnotatallcorrupt’forhegaveallofhis
saVngstoprovidefOodfOrtenthousandpeople·How
muclImoneycouldhe}Iavel1ad?Hecamefromapoor
buthonestfamily.Andhewassounusualinthatl1e
deeplyunderstoodandbelievedinthelawofcausality·
Hewouldneverl1avetakenanythingthatwasnothis,
somet}1ingnotreadilyacl1ievedbymostpeople·Wl1en
wedoactsofgoodness’mostofusdoverylittle.For
example,wemigl1tgiveonelIundreddollarstoagood
causeandfeelverypleasedwithourselves.Liaofan
gaveeverythinghehadHewasaveryrareperson
indeed
Mr.KonghadpredictedthatIwoulddieat
theageoffifty-tlIree.However’Isurvived
tl1atyearwitl1outillnessalthougbIdidnot
asktheheavensforalongerlife.NowIam
sixty-nine.
Liaofanwasdestinedtodieattheageoffifty-tlIree.
Itwasanextremelyaccurateprediction.Afterencoun-
teringaseveremisfOrtune’bewoulddieinhishome
ll4

tlIreeo’clocldnthemorning.Liaofanwrotehisbook
att}Ieageofsixty-nine·Hehadnotsougbttolive
beyondfifty-threebuthepassedthatyearingood
healthwitl1outencounteringanyseveremisfOrtune.
Obviously’tlIeissuesofbirthanddeath,andof
longlife)areoftheutmostimportanceinourlives.If
longlifecanbesought’whatistherethatcannotbe
sougbt?Wit}Ioutlonglife)itwouldbedifficulttoseek
theattainmentandenjoymentoffame,wealth,pres-
tige’andchildren.Thisseekingbastobedoneprop-
erly,inaccordancewiththeteachings>fromtl]emind
andl1eartofutmostsincerity’Intl1isway,everytlIing
canbeattained.
Ifweweretoseekfromoutsideofourselves’then
廿 }
andwitl1out.Everythingthatisproperlyandsincerely
soughtisattainable>whetherweareBuddbistsseeking
goodfOrtune,wisdom,andrebirthintothePureLand
orotbersseekinggoodfOrtune,longlives,andrebirth
intolIeaven’lndeed,wecanseektoattainmoregood
fOrtune,anevenlongerlife’andgrandclIildren.Noth-
ingisunattainable.WelIaveseenthatLiaofangained
goodfOrtune)longlife’andchildrentototallysurpass
theconstantinhisdestiny.Tbesewerewhathegained
throughcultivation’notbecausetheyweredestined.
  ㎡ / 五 】 叩 》 ‘ 《
butitischangeable.”
ll5
倣 ㎡ / 五 〉 ﹚ }
recordofthesystemsofdecreesandregulationsin
ancienttimes.OurdestiniescanbeaccuratelyfOre-
told,bythecalculationoftbenumbers.Tl1econstant,
predestination)doesexist)butitisverydifficultto
believetlIatitwillstaythatwaybecausethereare
variablesduetoaddition’subtraction,multiplication’
anddivision·
Liaofanl1adrefrainedfromcommittingwrongdo-
ingsandbegantocultivategooddeeds,therebygradu-
allydecreasinghisbaddeedsandincreasinghisgood
ones.Hisactofreducingtaxesbecameoneofmulti-
plicationnotaddition.Thus,tentlIousandgooddeeds
wereperfectlycompletedinamatterofdays.
Ifbowever,hehaddonemucl1evil,theninanin-
stant,itwouldhavebecomeanactofdivisionnot
。 ﹣
inginadditionandsubtractionaswellasthoseresult-
廿
thoughtsandactions’Thesearewbatcreateconsider-
ablevariances’Thereareconstants’buttheyarenot
fixed;tlIeychange.
㎡ 正 〃 ﹝ 』 叩
isdifficulttobebelievedbymostpeoplebecauseitis
  【 由 ㎡ Ⅱ 哪 ﹞ ﹣
叩 ﹙ 《
willcomewithoutreasonsandconditions;weincur
them.))Inotherwords,tlIeyaretheretributionsfrom
ourpastactions.
ll6
<‘Destinyisnotset,butiscreatedanddeter-
minedbyourselves.)>Allthisistrue.
  仕 ㎡ 五
theimportanceofvirtuouscultivationandofhow
variablescansurpassconstants.Theteachingsof
ancientsagesandvirtuousonesarethetruthand
tl1erefOreareunchangeable·Thenasnow)wecall
tl1em“sutras.’,Wbenweapplytheteachingstoday’
tl1eyarestilltrue.
Ifwedonotbelieveinthemandcl]ooseinsteadto
f0llowouropinionsandtbuscommitwrongdoings,we
willonlyincreaseouroffenses.Evenifweweretogain
somesmallbenefit,wewouldonlygainsometl1ingtl1at
weweredestinedtohave.IfwedonotlmowlIowto
cultivatevirtues’thenwewillnotbeabletokeepwlIat
weattain.NotonlycanwenotlIoldontoourwealtl1’
wecannotevenholdontoourlives!Andifwecannot
holdontoourlives,tbenwhatistlIeuseofhaving
greatwealtl1?
T}Iisworldmaybebesetwithdisastersanytime·We
mayloseourlivesanymoment.Thinkaboutit’wl1atis
thepointofhavinganythingelse?Itwouldallbeuse-
less,evenifweownedeverything.Itisclearlyex-
pressedin‘(SamantabbadraBodhisattva)sConductand
﹚ 》 吧 召  
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
  】 叩
insteadofbeingconcernedwithtrivialitiesorcalculat-
ingourgainsandlosses·Lifeisverys}Iort.Itwouldbe
oftremendousmerit,ifinthislifeweweretodomore
goodness)tobenefitmorepeople.
Ifafterreadingt}Ieteachingsofancientsagesand
virtuouspeople,weareabletobelieve)accept’and
abidebythem’thenwewillreceiveinexhaustible
meritsandbenefits.IfweareunabletobelieveintlIe
teachings’thinkingtbattheyareunreliablefairytales’
tbentl1isisduetoourkarmicobstacles.Becauseof
this,wewillmissthisunsurpassableandoutstanding
opportunity’
IcametounderstandthatbothgoodfOrtune
ll8
andmisfOrtunearetheresultsofourownac-
tions.Thesearetrulythewordsofsagesand
virtuouspeoplelIfsomeonesaidthatgood
fOrtuneandadversityaredeterminedbytlIe
heavens’Iwouldconsiderthatpersonordi-
nary’
ThesewereLiaofan’swordsofawakening.Great
sagesandvirtuouspeoplehavetruewisdomandare
abletoclearlyseethetruereality·BuddhasandBo-
dhisattvasareunsurpassedsages·
Tl1isstatementtalksaboutaconstant.WlIatMr.
KonghadfOretoldofLiaofanIsdestinywasbasedon
commontheories·Wl1atMasterYungutaugl1tl1imfOr
changingl]isdestinyweretbeteachingsofsagesand
。 》
haveourfOrtunestold?Doweneedtoseekadvice
仕  
believeintheteachingsofsagesandvirtuouspeople,
tolmowthatourdestiniesarewithinourcontroland
tl1atwecanre-createourfUturestobebriglItand
splendid
Tianqi,myson,Iwonderwhatyourlifewill
belike?WeshouldalwayspreparefOrthe
worst.TlIerefOre,evenintimesofprosperity,
actasifyouwerenot.Wbenthingsaregoing
yourway’bemindfulofadversity·WlIenyou
l1aveenoughfOodandclothing,bemindfUl
ofpoverty.
ll9
Liaofan’sdestinyhadbeenaccuratelyfOretoldbut
hissonswasnot;thus,hedidnotImowwhatwould
happentohim·Inactuality)t}Ierewasnoneedto
lmow.Liaofantaughthimtbatitwasimportantto
rememberthatevenintimesofprosperity,hewasto
actasiflIewasnot.Evenifheobtainedgreatwealth
andsocialposition)andbecameahiglI-rankingofficial
witlIpowerandinfluence>heneededtorememberthe
timeswhenhe}Iadnone·W}Iy?BecauseinthefUture’
evenifwebecomeprosperous,wewillbeabletore-
mainhumbleandcourteous’andnotarrogantlythink
tbatwelIavewealthandprestigewhileotbersdonot.
IfwecanremainmodesttlIenwewillnurturetrue
virtueandgoodfOrtune·
Evenwheneverythingisgoingverysmoot}Ily’we
needtorememberthedifficulttimes.Inthisway’
whenthingsaregoingourwaywewillremaincau-
tious’Today>evenwlIenwel1avemorethanenough
fOodandclotlIing’weneedtobetbriftylfwecon-
stantlydotl1iswhenwehavewealthandprestige,then
wewillbeabletoimprovebothourmoralandcaring
conduct.
AgoodexampleisMr·FanZhongyanwbowasfTom
averypoorfamily.Wllenhewasyoungandstudying
attempleshehadlittletoeat.Livinginastateof
impoverislIment,hecookedapotofporridgeevery
day,divideditintofOurportions)andateoneportiona
mealWhenlIeprosperedlaterinlifeandbecame
primeminister,hewasunderthedirectsupervisionof
l20
t}Ieemperorandwasinahigherpositionthanevery-
oneelse.Buthestillmaintainedhissimplemannerof
livingandcbangedverylittle’Whenheearnedmore,
hethoughtoft}Iosew}Iowerepoverty-striCkenand
helpedthem.Fromhisbiography,welmowthatbe
supportedovert}IreelIundredfamilies!Witbhisin-
comehelpingtoprovidefOrsomany,welmowtl]atlIe
musthavelivedinimpoverishedconditions.
HewastrulyoneofCbina,Sgreatsages.Theesteem
thatMasterYinGuang}IadfOrhimwassecondonlyto
ConfUcius·Mr·Fan,sdescendantscontinuedtopros-
peruntiltlIeearlypartoftbe2Otbcenturybecausehe
lIadfOsteredmeritsandvirtuestolastoveronehun-
dredgenerations.TbefamilyofConfi1ciusisfOremost
asanoldandwell-lmownfamily,followedbythatof
Mr.FanwlIosefamilylineageremainedstrongfOr
eigbthundredyearsduetohisexceptionalcultivation
andaccumulationJfmerits·Hisdescendantscontin-
uedtl]efamilytraditionofbelpingothers.Throughout
Cl]inesebistory>fewfamilieshaveaccumulatedtlIis
mucbgreatvirtue’
WeneedtounderstandtlIatgreatgoodfortuneis
thatwhichwesharewithothersfOrintbiswayour
ensuinggoodfOrtunewillbecomeinexhaustible.
WlIenlovedandrespectedbyall,remainap-
prel1ensiveandconservative.W}Ienthefam-
ilyisgreatlyrespected,carryyourselfhum-
bly.AndwlIenyourlearningisextensiveand
l2l
profOund,alwaysfeelthatthemoreyou
learnthelessyoulmow.
ThereisanoldsayinginCbinaaboutbeingover-
  叩
toloveandprotectus.However)weneedtothinkAre
wewortlIyofthiscareandrespect?Weneedtobe
constantlyapprehensiveaboutourdeficiencies’to
constantlyreHect,toprogressinourcultivationof
virtues’andnotdisappointother)sexpectationsofus.
Beingl1umbleandfeelingtbatwearenotknowl-
edgeableenoughwillhelptoeradicateourarrogance’
ArroganceisoneofthefivemaJorafflictionsandis
relatedtotheotherfOurofgreed’anger’ignorance,
anddoubt·Wecanpractice}Iumilitytobegineradicat-
ingafflictions‘Ifwedosocompletely,wewillbeable
touncoverourvirtuousnaturesandtotrulyachievein
ourcultivationofmerits.
Forthepast’wecanthinkofhowtoadvo-
catethevirtuesofourancestors.Forthe
present)wecanthinkofhowtoconcealthe
faultsofourparents.Forthecountry,we
canthinlKofhowwecanrepayitskindness
tousandfOrthefamilywecanthinkofhow
tobringaboutitsgoodfortune.Forother
people’thinlKofhowtobelpthoseinneed
aroundusandfOrwithinourselvesthinkof
}Iowtopreventimproperthoughtsandac-
廿 ‧
l2Z
Here,Liaofangivesusanimportantkeytore-
creatingdestiny’Ourthoughtswillprovidetheguide-
linesforincreasingourvirtuesandmorality,andfOr
developinggooddeeds.Inthepast,Chineseeducation
tauglItoftherelationshipsbetweenhumans,between
humansandspirits,andbetweenhumansandnature.
Ittaughtustoconstantlythinkfarintothepastto
bonorandmakeknowntbevirtuesofourancestors.If
wearerespectedbysocietyfOrourmoralprinciples,
lmowledgeandwork,thenwearebonoringourances-
t   s 。
Intoday)ssocieI,whatisthedrivingfOrcebel1ind
bardwork?Wealtb,fame,andprestige‘Mostpeople
willdowbateverisnecessarytoacquirethese·Ifthere
werenowealthtogain,howmanywouldbewillingto
worksohard?Veryfew!Intbepast,thedrivingfOrce
behindpeople>shardworkwasfilia>piety·Intbeir
mindfUlnessofancestorsandparents,theydidtlIeir
besttoaccumulatemeritsandvirtuesontheirbehalf,
andto}Ionort}]em.ThisdrivingfOrceismuchwor-
t}Iierandnoblerthanthatofwealt}I,fame’andpres-
tige!ThishasbeenthetraditionofChineseculture
andConfucianteac}IingfOrseveraIthousandsofyears.
Buddhismisalsobasedonthefoundationoffilial
piety·Thus)theritualofmakingofferingstoancestors
andtheestablis}Imentofancestralmemorial}Iallsare
highlyregarded,asfilialpietyistbeultimaterootand
fOundationofC}Iineseculture.Ifweareabletobe
filialtowardsparentsandancestors,abletoremember
>23
ourroots,thenwewillnaturallybeabletothinkand
conductourselvesproperlyandtorefTainfTomwrong-
doings·
‘ ℉
faultsofourparents.”Thisreferstothosewhoare
closetous.Whenthechildrenarefilialandl1ave
contributedtosociety’theneveniftl1eparentsbad
committedminoroffenses’peoplewilloverlookthese
andpraisetl1eparentsfOrlIavingraisedsuchfilial
clIildren.
‘<Forthecountry)wecanthinkofhowwecanrepay
itsldndnesstous.))Aboveusisthecountryorgovern-
ment,whichhastlIemissionofbeingaresponsible
leader,parent’andteachertoitscitizens;ofproviding
aplacewberepeoplecanliveandworkinpeaceand
contentment.Inreturn,tl>ecitizenscanbeloyaland
dedicatetl1emselvestotheircountry.
‘ ℉  
itsgoodfOrtune’>)Belowusisthefamily.Beingmind-
fuloftl]efamilydoesnotjustmeantl1enuclearfam-
ily,butthewlIolefamilyasitwasthoughtofinthe
past·Asamember’weneedtobemindfi1lincreating
familygoodf•rtunefOrthewl1ole’notjustfOrtbe
immediatepart.TherefOre,whenonepersonachieves
goodf•rtune’theextendedfamilycanalsobenefit
fTomit·
‘ ℉
needaroundus.>’Alwaysbearinmindtheinterestsof
society.Weneedtodoallwecantoservesocietyand
l21
tocreategoodfOrtuneforallothers‘Today,themost
urgentneedisrevIvInganddevelopingtbeeducation
ofmorality·
《 ℉  
廿 》 ﹚
suppresswanderinganddeviatedthougl1ts’bemindfi1l
ofwbatwearesupposedtodo,andletgoofexcessive
ambitions.Ifallofuscandosoandfulfillourrespon-
sibilities,societywouldbefortunateandharmonious,
andtheworldwillbeatpeace.Menciusexplained:(‘If
peopleofnobleclIaracterandintegritycanmeettheir
responsibilities,thenthetrut}Icanberevealed)’
InConfucianteaching,thisaccountabilityrefersto
thefivehumanrelationshipsincludingthosebetween
husbandsandwives,parentsandchildren>siblings,
廿
tofulfillourresponsibilitiestowardssocietyandothers
earnestlyanddiligentlyinordertocreategoodfOrtune
forourfamilyandsociety.
Weneedtofindourfaultsdailyandtocor-
rectthemimmediately.Ifweareunableto
detectourfaults,wewillthinkthatevery-
thingwedoisright’Whenweareunableto
correctourfauIts,improvementwillbeim-
possible.
Awakening-tlIebeginningofenlightenment-is
beingabletodetectourfaultsdaily.Webeginthis
processwhenwefirstbringfOrthourvowtobecome
>25
anequal-enlightenmentBodlIisattva.Aswediscover
ourfaultsdaily,weneedtocorrectthem.Thisisculti-
vation.Itisthetrueachievementinthecultivationof
greatsagesandvirtuouspeople>andisthekeyto
changingourdestinies,toleavingsufferingbehind,
andtoattainingl1appiness.Wl1enmostpeopleare
unabletobecomevirtuouspeopleandsagesinone
lifetime’andareunabletoachieveintheircultivation,
theywillfindthattheproblemliesbere.
Tolmowourfaultsdailyistoawakendaily.Once
wediscoverafault)wesincerelycorrectit;tl1isishow
wewillbuildourstrengthofcultivation.Weneednot
domuchIfweweretofindandcorrectonefaulta
daytbenwewouldbecomeasageorvirtuousperson
inthreeyearS.
AspractitionerswhochanttheBuddl1a)sname,if
weareabletocorrectonefaultdailyandbemindfulof
BuddhaAmitab}Ia’theninthreeyear>stimewewillbe
rebornintoeitherthehigbormiddlelevelsofthePure
LandTbisisthewaytocultivatetobecomeaBud-
d}Ia.Thequestionisw}IetlIerwearewillingtodoso
earnestly.WearefOolingourselvesifweareunableto
findonefaultdaily.InfailingtoknowtlIem’wewill
failtocorrectthem.Howcanwehopetoimprovein
thisway?Whentbereisnoimprovement,t}Iereis
regression’Toregardourselvesasinfallibleandthat
everythingwedoiscorrectist}Iemosthorriblewayto
live·
l26
TlIerearemanyintelligentpeopleinthe
worIdwhocannotimproveineitbertheir
cultivationofmoralityandvirtuesorintheir
workTlIeirfailuresinthislifeareowedtoa
singleword:laziness·
IfwelivefOrtlIepresentandarelazy>wewillre-
mainboundbyourfates‘Howwearebornanddie,
wherewewilIgoafterwedieallaccordswithour
destinies’MasterYungucalledpeoplelikethisordi-
nary,p}Iilistineswhoblindlyfolloww}Iathasbeen
destinedTheyarew}IattheBudd}Iacalled(‘pitiable
beings.)>TheseprinciplesthatLiaofantaugbthisson
aretheprinciplesfOrworldlyeducationaswellas
Budd}Iismandmustnotbeignored
Tianqi,theteachingsofMasterYunguare
mostwortby,profound,real,andproper.I
}IopethatyouwiIearntbemwellandprac-
ticethemdiligently’Useyourtimewisely
anddonotletitslipbyinvain’
Liaofancarefi1llywrotedowntbeprinciplesand
methodsthatthemasterbadtaughthiminchanging
hisdestinyandpassedthemontohisson,hopingtbat
hetoowouldcultivatefOllowingthismetl1odLiaofan
      廿 ﹜    
thusfirmlybelievedinalltheprinciplesandmethods
tbatthemasterhadtaught.
WeneedtobeveryfamiliarwithMasterYungus
l27
teachings,toponderandappreciatethem·Wl1enwe
areconstantlymindfUloftheteachings’wewillsavor
tl1em,usethemastl1ebasisforourbel1avior>and
practicethemdiligently.DonotwastetlIislifetime’
l28
TbeSecondLesson:
WaystoRef•rrn
乃 / ﹛ 〕 / 刃 〕 / /
/ ↓ 〃 / 【 【 Ⅱ 由 疋 ○ 尸 【
ASignforGoodFortuneandMisfortune
Thefirstlesson,wbichisaboutcauseandeffect,
concentratesonbuildinguptheconfidenceinan
individual’sabilitytoalterdestinyandthewaysin
wbichtodoso.ThesecondandthirdlessonsemplIa-
sizethemethodstoaccomplishtlIis;tbus,tl1eyare
concernedmainlywitlIthewaystorefiBainfrom
wrongdoingsandthewaystoaccumulatevirtues.
DuringtlIeSpring-AutumnPeriod’3lChina
wasdividedintoseveralsmallnations.Many
prestigiousadvisersofthesenationswere
abletoaccuratelypredictwhetherapersons
futurewouldbefOrtunateorunfOrtunate
basedontbeirobservationoftlIatpersons
speec}Iandbehavior·Manyofthesearere-
印 ﹚ 力 刀 Ⅱ 刀 ‧  
LiaofantoldTianqitbatthereweremanyadvisers
duringthisperiodwhocouldaccuratelypredict
whetheraperson,sfUturewouldbegoodorbad,or
fOrtunateorunfOrtunatebasedontlIeirobservations
oftl1epersonsspeechandbehavior.Onanindividual
l29
basis’tbeycouldpredictaperson)ssuccessorfailure.
Onamuchlargerscale,theycouldpredictacountry)s
riseandfall.
Theseindividualsintbisperiodl1adsuchexcep-
tionalabilitiesinobservingothersbecausetlIeyunder-
亡   ‧
tionsaregood,andwearedignifiedandconsiderate)it
issafetosaytlIatwewillpossessgoodfOrtuneanda
promisingfuture.OntlIeotherhand)ifourspeechis
廿 ’
dismal.Evenifweseemtobedoingwellnow,tbis
periodofsuccesswillbeshort-lived,likeabrieHy
bloomingflower.Sinceourspeechandactionsdeter-
mineourfuture,weneedtobecautiousineverything
wesayanddo.
Asarule,therearesignsthatsignalimpend-
ingdangerorthecomingofgoodfOrtune.

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
successorfailure·AndthisistruefOrindividualsas
well·Tl1ereisasignfOreverythinganditisusually
obvioustowiseandknowledgeablepeople.
UsuallyapersonismorefOrtunatewhen
tendingtowardkindnessbutinvitestrouble
w}Ientendingtowardcruelty‘Ordinarypeo-
pleoftendonotknowwhatisreallyhappen-
ing.ItisasiftheirvisionwereblurredSince
theycannotseethetruth,theyclaimtlIat
goodfOrtuneandmisfortunesareunpredict-
able.
(<Kindness”referstoourbeartsandbehavior.Truly
kindpeoplewillhelpothersevenwhentheytlIem-
selvesarelIarmedintbeprocess.Thosewhoarestrict
withthemselvesbutlenientwithothersareboundto
l1aveanabundanceofgoodfortunelaterintheirlives.
OntbeotlIerhand,apersoninvitestroublewlIenhe
orsheiscruel.Thosewhoareself-indulgentanddis-
dainfUlofothersareplantingtheseedsfOrfuture
misfOrtune’buttheycannotseethesigns.
Forordinarypeople,itwouldseemthattbeirvision
isblurredortheireyeslIavebeenblindfOldedItseems
thatthereisnowaytofOretelldestinywlIenactually,
alltl1esignsarerightbefOretheireyes.Wboseeks
advicefromfOrtune-tellers>T}Ieseordinarypeople.
l3l
WhatLiaofantoldhissonnextisveryimportant
          廿
Whenwearesincereandhonest,ourhearts
willaccordwitbthewillofheaven.
Thisisthemainprinciple·Wemustbesincerein
allouractions,neitlIercheatingothersnorfOoling
ourselves.Tbe‘‘willofheaven>)iswhatBuddbismcalls
t}Ietruenature.Itisthestateofbavingnowandering
tboughts,onlythosethatarevirtuous·Whenweare
absolutelylIonestandtruthfUl,ourheartswillagree
withthewillofheaven.Evenifwearepresentlyun-
dergoinghardships)theywillsoonbeoverandtlIenwe
willenjoyabundantgoodfortune.TberefOre’every-
thingwethink,say,anddoneedstoarisefromsincer-
ity.
<<TlIesincereandhonestheart>>istheessenceoftbe
eightguidelinestaughtbyConfUcius.Weaccomplish
thisbyseveringourdesiresanduncoveringourtrue
nature.Failingtodothis,wewillbeunabletoaccom-
plisbultimatesincerity·Wbenseveringdesires)wl1at
arewecuttingofRTl1eSixDustsorpollutingfactors
ofsight,hearing)smell)taste)touch’andthoughtand
theFiveDesiresfOrwealth,lust’fame)fOod,and
sleepIftbesedesirescannotbereduced’ourbearts
willbeconstantlyaffectedbyoursurroundings.How
cansuchaheartremainsincere?
Evenifwecannotcompletelydiscardthesedesires,
wecanworktograduallylessenthem.Mostofusare
l32
immersedinwanderingthoughtsthataccomplish
notbing.Itwouldbebestifwecanabandonthese
thougl1tsandsomeoftheenjoymentst}Iatweexperi-
encethroughoursIxsenses,andbemoreconsiderate
ofotlIers.Ifwewelcomeotherstoshareinourgood
fOrtune,thenitwillbecomeevengreatergoodfOrtune·
Onceweunderstandthis,weneedtoactonit.
WlIenIbeganstudyingandpracticingBuddhism,a
dedicatedBuddhist)MrZhu>ingzhougavemeacopy
白 危 〃 【  
onmylifeandrealizedthatIhadtbesamefaultsand
destinyasLiaofanlIadItoowassupposedtohavea
veryshortlife.Manypeople>whowereabletolmow
thefUture,includingCanzhuLivingBuddl1a,33toldme
tlIatIwoulddieyoung.Ibelievedthemandwascon-
vincedthatIwasnotgoingtolivepasttheageoffOrty-
five.TlIerefOre,whenIbecameamonk,Ibasedmy
studyingonmypresumedearlydeathbecausethatwas
alltl1etimeIlIadIdidnotaskfOralongerlife·As
expected)atfOrty-fiveIfellseriouslyill·
Attbattime’MasterLingyuanfromGilong)sDajue
Templewas}Ioldingasummerretreatandinvitedme
匠  
tbethirdchapterwhenIbecameillIdidnotgotosee
adoctorortalKeanymedicationbecauseIrealizedtl1at
mytimewasup.Isimplystayedhomeeveryday’re-
cited<<AmituofO>’andquietlywaitedfOrmydeatlIand
subsequentrebirtlIintotlIePureLandHowever,after
amontlI,notonlydidInotdiebutIalsoregainedmy
l33
lIealth!Inalltl1eseyears,asIpracticedaccordingto
thismethodandbegantoseetheresults,Il1avefelt
increasinglyconfidentintheprincipleofchanging
destiny.Now,IhaveletgoofeverythingandIfeel
evenmoreliberated
Tl1erefOre,inordertogain)wemustfirstletgo.If
wearereluctanttoletgo,thenwewillnotbeableto
gain’Inthesutras,wereadthattogiveistogain.We
firstgiveupsomethinginordertogainsomethingin
return’Withoutgiving,wewillreceivenothing.So,
thislessononrefOrmingourdestiniesisallabout
lettinggo.Wl1atifweseeksometl1ing?Toseekalso
helpsustoreceive.Buthowdoweaccomplishtbis?
]ustletgoandwewillreceiveeverytl]ingweareseek-
Ing·
First,wemustletgoofallourdesiresandwander-
ingthoughts.Liaofansaid,“Wbenweareabsolutely
honest’ourlIeartswillaccordwiththewillofbeaven.
))
Wediscardfromtheroot:toeradicateourselfislmess,
wecompletelyextinguishthouglItsofbenefitingour-
selves.Instead,allourthouglItssbouldbeofhowto
benefitalllivingbeings.Oncet}Iisisachieved,wewill
gaininfinitegoodfOrtune’
ByobservIngourgoodness,otherswillbe
abletofOreseethecomingofgoodfortune;
andbyobservIngourimmorality,theywill
fOreseeapproaclIingmisfortune.
Tl1us’botlIgoodfOrtuneandadversitieshave
l34
signs’OthersknowthatgoodfOrtuneisabouttobe
ourswhentheyseetbatourheartsandbelIaviorare
good,fOrweinviteotherstosbareinourgoodfOrtune.
But’ifweareunkindandselfish,robbingotlIersof
theirbenefitsandneverrelinquishingourown,then
ourbenefitsandgoodfOrtunewilleventuallybeused
up·OncetlIishappens,wewillencountermisfOrtune·
So)aslongaswecontinuewithourrecklessbehavior)
otherswilllmowt}Iatwewillsoonmeetwit}Iadversi-
ties.
Thisprincipleofobservationisapplicabletoan
individual,afamily)asociety,anation,andevento
tlIeworldAslongasweremaincalmandalert,we
willbeabletoseeeverythingclearly’TherefOre’itis
possibletopredictgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune)hap-
pinessandsuffering,theriseandfallofacountry)and
thestabilityorturbulenceintheworld
Ⅶ 『 佑 ﹜ ( / 乙
  几 允 α 叨 / 曰 及 巴 乃 正 〃
ASlIamefiIlHeart:
KnowingSlIameCanGiveRisetoGreatCourage
IfwewishtogaingoodfOrtuneandavoid
misfOrtunes’wefirstneedtorefOrmbefOre
weeventalkaboutdoinggooddeeds.
Onlythosewitbpuremindsanddeepconcentration
l35
canseetlIesignsofgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune·
DeepconcentrationisnotlimitedtoBuddlIists·The
personcanbeaTaoist’aConfUcian’orsimplysome-
onewithapuremindTlIedeepertheconcentration,
thefartl1ertheywillsee.TlIisiswhyBuddhistsutras
oftensaythatanArhatcanseefivel1undredpast
lifetimesandfivehundredfuturelifetimes.
Actually,sincealllivingbeingspossesstl1isinnate
ability,tl1isistbewayitshouldbe·However,this
abilityhasnowbeenlostbecauseourmindsaredis-
tractedVariouswanderinganddiscriminatory
thougl1ts’attachments,andafflictionshaveconfUsed
themindandcausedittoloseitsnaturalability.Bud-
dhismteaclIesushowtoeliminatethesepollutants
andhindrancessowemayuncoverouroriginaltrue
n t u r   。
Onceweunderstandtl1eprinciples,wethendecide
}1owtoclIange.Thereareseveraleffectivemetbodsto
dothis·Mostofuswouldliketoattaingoodfortune,
happiness,andwisdomwhileavoidingadversity.Good
behavioristhecauset}IatresultsingoodfOrtune,the
effect.But,ifwedonotfirsteliminateourkarmic
obstacles,goodfOrtunewillbedifficulttoobtain.
Tlms’ourfirstobjectiveistoeradicateournegative
karma.
Ordinarypeopleseekoutsideofthemselves,thatis,
theyseekthroughtheconstants>buttl1iswillnotlIelp
tbemreceivewlIattl1eyseekOntheotherlIand,we
arenowconfidentintbeknowledgethatvariables
l36
exist.However,thevariablesdonotsurfaceimmedi-
ately’Thenhowdowereachourgoals?Wefirstneed
丘  
isthemindofforemostgoodness.Butifthemindis
impure,allgooddeedswillbetaintedandtheamount
ofgoodfOrtunetbatcanbereceivedwillbelimited
Inotherwords,karmicobstacleshavenotyetbeen
thorouglIlyremovedPromtlIiswecanseethata
virtuousandpuremindisofutmostimportance.How
dowereturnourmindtoitsnaturalstateofpurity?
WefirstneedtoImowourfaultsandcorrectthem,
fOllowingwhichweneedtoknowt}Iecorrectmethods
ofdoinggooddeeds‘
TherearethreewaystorefOrmourfaults·
First,wemustbeabletofeelashamed
ManyancientClIinesesagesandvirtuouspeople
tauglItusthatknowingsbameisclosetopossessing
courage.ConfUciusoftenspokeofgreatwisdom,great
kindness,andgreatcourage’Byknowingwhatis
sl1ame,wewilltrulyrefOrmandimproveourselves‘If
wedonotknowwhatshameis)wewillnot}1avegood
futures.
Wl1enstrivingtoimproveourselves’wedonotuse
ordinarypeopleasourstandards;instead’weuse
BuddhasandBodhisattvas.Theywerepeoplejustlike
usbuttl1eybecameBuddl1asandBodl1isattvas.Itisa
majorlmmiliationthatwearestilltrappedinsamsara·
l37
Tl1inkofalloftheancientsagesandvirtuous
peoplewhosenamesandteachingshave
lastedfOrhundredsofgenerations·TlIey
werepeoplejustlikeus,butwhyismyname
wortl1lesslikeabrokenroof-tile?
Ifwecanoftenthinktbiswayandaskourselvesthis
question,tlIentheshamefI1lheartwilltakes}1ape.
Thisistbefirststepandthemotivationinchanging
ourdestinies·WhatistbefOrcebehindthismotiva-
tion?Itisaninconceivableprimalability.Wecan
均 叩  
T}IerewereseveralgreatChinesesagesduringancient
times:Confucius,Mencius,ZhouGong,andYiYin.34
Wecanthink:‘(Theyweregreatmen’wellI>mgreat
too·T}Ieywerebuman·Well,soamI.Iftheycandoit’
whycan)tI?>>Thisiswhereandhowwebegintore-
flect.
Transcendingourworld,othershavebecome
Arl1ats,Bod}Iisattvas,andBuddhas.Theyhavelivedan
‘ } 。 ﹞
thataftercountlesslifetimesofpracticingBuddhism,
theybavesucceededinbecomingBodhisattvasor
Buddhas,w}Iereas,wearestillmiredinreincarnation?
Thisistl1eworstshame,unmatchedbyanyother.
Inthisworldorbeyond,thesesagesbaveallbe-
cometeachersofheavenlyandhumanbeings.Oneof
thetennamesfOrallBuddhasis‘‘TeacberofHeavenly
BeingsandHumanity·>)Here,ateacberiSessentiallya
l38
ro>emodelHeorsbecansetagoodexampleandbea
goodroIemodelforalllivingbeings’Wecanusethis
exampletoexamineourbehavior’Whyhaveour
namesandreputationsbecometarnishedorruined?
Suc}IisthepricewepayfOrouroffenses‘
OneofLiaofanlsvirtueswasthathedidnotattempt
tohideanyofhisfaults’Hedidnottalkaboutother’s
mistakes,onlyhisown’Assoonasherealizedhis
fau}ts,heimmediatelybegantocorrectthem·Thiswas
hisstrengthandthecrucialelementthatledtohis
laterachievements‘
S e r
••••
S e
α
V•
l d l
r O w o
t


n
••••
m5 n
••••
••••4
c e r a e
W
ThisisourunderlyingfaultoraiIment·Westill
longforandclingto(<worldlydesires”becauseour
mindshavebeenseriouslypollutedWorldlydesires
refertotheFiveDesiresandtheSixDustsofform,
sound,scent,taste,texture,andthought·TlIeword
dustisusedhereasitcarrieswithittbemeaningof
pollution.
Porexample,ifwedonotwipetbefurniture
daily,itwillbecoveredwithdust·Towipeitevery-
dayistoriditofdustorpollution.Thisissimilarto
ourpuremindsbeingpollutedbydesiresanddust.
Wealth,lust)fame,food,andsleeparethedesires
thatgiverisetotheemotionsofgreed’anger,igno-
rance,arrogance,anddoubt,t}Ieelementsofpollu-
tion.ThisiswhytheBuddhacalledtheexternal
environmenttheSixSenseObjectsorSixDusts.
l39
Tbeseimpuritiescontaminateourpuremindsand
aretlIerootofourillnesses.
Ifwewisbtorecoverthepuremindofourtrue
nature’wemustletgoofclingingtothesedesires
anddusts.Lettinggoistbehardestthingforusto
do.But,ifwecanletgoofonedegreeofdesire,our
mindswillbecomepurerbyonedegree.Ifwecan
letgooftwodegreesthenourmindswillbecome
purerbytwodegrees’andsoon.
TheBuddhataughtusthattberearefifty-onelevels
ofBodhisattvapractice.Eac}Ilevelisbasedonthe
amountofemotionstheBodhisattvabasdiscarded
Oncewecanletgoofallfifty-onedustsanddesires’
wewillbecomeBuddhas.Ifwestillhaveonedegreeof
desire,wewillbecomeEqual-EnlightenmentBodhi-
sattvas’Thesedustsanddesiresareactuallyourkar-
micobstacles·
ThePureLandschooloftenspeaksofcarrymgour
remaininglKarmawithustothePureLandThis
meanstbatifwelIavebeenunabletoletgoofallof
ourworldlydesiresbefOreourdeaths’wewillcarryour
remaininglKarmaalongwithus.Inthepast,some
peoplebelievedt}IattbePureLandmethoddoesnot
allowonetoberebornintothePureLandiftl1ereis
anyremainingkarma·Theyfeltthattl1ephrasesl1ould
bavebeen<<eliminateallourkarmaandbereborninto
tbePureLand.>)ThisstunnedPureLandpractitioners
aroundtl1eworldTl1isinterpretationofneedingto
eliminateallkarmaisincorrectfOritisnotwlIattbe
l40
sutrasInean·
Althoughthephrase(‘carryourremainingkarma
withustothePureLand>,isnotinanysutra,tlIetruth
ofthatstatementisveryclear’IfwebelievetlIatwe
canonlyberebornwbenallofourkarmahasbeen
加 『 】 / ∕ ﹝
wewouIdwonderwbywewouldevenneedtobere-
bornintbePureLandifwehadeliminatedallofour
karma!Equal-enlightenmentBodhisattvasstillhave
onedegreeofremainingignoranceandarenotyet
廿   ﹣
mentofremainingkarma·Tbus,Bod}Iisattvasare
calledenlightenedsentientbeings.
Actually,thereisonlyonebeingwithaperfectly
puremind-aBuddha.EvenEqual-enlightenment
Bodbisattvasstillpossessonedegreeofremaining
karma’TheystillbavesomeoftheSixDusts.How-
ever>theydonotclingtotheseemotionsandthisis
wbytbeyarecalledenlightenedsentientbeings.
Thepbrase(‘carryourremainingkarmawithusto
tbePureLand”wassaidbythepatriarchsandisbased
onthemeaningofthesutras.Thisisespeciallysoin
thePureLandschoolWecanstillberebornintothe
WesternPureLandevenwbenwehavenotremoved
allourkarma’WelIaveseenandlearnedofnumerous
PureLandpractitionerswhopassedawayonlytobe
rebornintotlIePureLandThus’weneedtorealize
thetruerealityandnotbeaffectedbydeviatedviews‘
WeaccordwithtlIeteachingsintbesutras,notwith
¢ 】
individualpeoplefOrindividualscanmisinterpretthe
sutras·
Secretly>wedomanyimproperthingswl1ile
thinkingotherswillnotknowaboutthem
andthenareshamelesslyproudofourselves!
Oneday,wewillberebornasananimal
withoutrealizingit.
‘<Improper>}referstothingsthatweshouldnot
do:somethingillegal)illogical>oragainstmoral
standardsorcustoms.Manypeoplebehaveimprop-
erlyandthinkthatot}Ierswillnotlmowaboutit’
Frankly,somepeoplewouldnotlmow’Wl1o?
Tbose,whosemindshavebeencloudedbyigno-
ranceandwhoaredeludedOntheotl1erhand,
thosewhopossesspropertbbughts’wisdom>anda
serenemindwillbeabletosee.WecannotlIide
fromthemorfromthebeingsandspiritsoflIeaven
andearthwhoarealwayspresent’
Heavenlybeingsandspiritshavefiveextraordi-
naryabilitiesthattlIeyarebornwith;theseabilities
arenotac}Iievedthroughpractice.So’ifheavenly
beingsandspiritsknow,needlesstosay,Bodhisatt-
vasandBuddlIaswillaswellTheyareawareof
everythoughtofeverybeingwithinsamsara.After
readingthisinsutrasandbookswrittenbythe
sages,wewouldtrembleinfeartorealizethatwe
cannothideanythingfromthem.Woulditnotbe
bettertoregretonourown?Sincetheylmowevery-
lq2
thingevenwit}Ioutourconfession,itwouIdmake
usfeelalittlelessguiltyifwevoluntarilyfeelfelt
contrition·
Instead,weareshameless}yarrogant.Shameless
referstosomeonewhoiswithoutremorseandwbo
ignoreshisortherconscience‘Ifwefeelguilty
afterawrongdoing)wearestillaIriglIt.Althougb
webideourbaddeedsfromotbers,ourconscience
isheavy.Tbereisstillhopeforourturningback
However,ifwehavenoguiltyfeelingsaftercom-
mittingawrongdoing,tlIenwearehopeless·Only
thepersonwhofeelsashamedofhisorherwrong-
doingscanbebelped
Whenweareshamelessandarrogant)oneday
wewillberebornintheanimalrealm.Altboug}Iwe
arepresentlyinthehumanrealm)wewilleventu-
allyfallintotheThreeBadPathsbecauseofour
negativekarma·Wemaynotlmowthis,buttbe
Buddhas,Bodhisattvas,andbeingsandspiritsof
  α
Attimeswbenweareinastateofbadfortune,
evilspiritswillstarttoharassus’Theydonotarbi-
trarilybarassanyone,butselecttheirtargetsac-
cordingtothepersonIsbebavior·Theydarenot
bot}IertbosewhowiIberebornintotheThree
CoodPat}Isandtheyareextremelyrespectfulto
peoplewithkindheartsandcompassionatebehav-
ior.But,theytormentthosewboareevilTheywill
beinsolentandsarcasticastheyridiculeandbully
l43
suchpeoplebecausebadspiritslmowthatthese
peoplewilleventualIyfallintotbeThreeBadPat}Is.
TrueBuddhistpractitionersunderstandthese
principles.Oncewealsounderstand,wewillnatu-
rallybewatcbfuloverourthoughtsandbehavior
becausenotonlydowenotwanttofallintothe
ThreeBadPaths,wewanttotranscendsamsara.
ThereisonlyonewaytoaccomplishthisintlIe
presentlifetime:weneedtoseekrebirthintotbe
PureLandTherefore,weneedtohavefirmand
unshakabledetermination.
Howdoweattainthisrebirth?Throughfirmbe-
lief,vows,mindfulnessofBuddhaAmitablIa,and
thecultivationofpurityofmindWeshouldsever
ourworldlyattachments.Wedonotneedtocom-
pletelyletgoofeverythingforifwedid,wewould
becomeBuddhas.However,themoreweletgothe
betteroffwewillbe.Severunnecessaryclinging.
Then,focusourmindsonBuddlIaAmitabl1aand
transformourthoughtsfromthosethatonlybenefit
ourfamiliesandourselvestothosetl1atbenefitall
others.Insodoing)ourmindswillbecomepure’
Thedifferencebetweenenlightenedbeingsand
sentientbeingsisthatenlightenedbeingsthinkof
allsentientbeingsinsteadofthemselves,while
sentientbeingswboareordinarypeopleonlytbink
oftbemselves.Evenifwedonotconsciouslytryto
severourself-attachment,byconstantlytlIinlKingof
benefitingallsentientbeings,itwillgraduallydi-
l•4
minishbyitself·OncewenolongerlIaveself-
attachmentduetooursuccessinBudd}Iarecita-
tion’wewillattainthelevelofOneMindUndis-
turbedinMindfulnessandachieveahigherlevelof
rebirt}IintotheLandWbereEverythingisTempo-
rary·Inthisway,weareassuredofbeingreborn
intothePureLand
Weneedtobeginfrombereandpracticeear-
nestly,tosetoursightsfarahead,andtonotonly
considerourimmediatefutureorevenjustthis
lifetime,fortheyareillusoryandimpermanent’Tbe
/ α 《 ﹙
anillusion·>,Nothingispermanentorworthyof
worry‘Asforfamilymembersandrelatives,wecan
s}Iarewitl1themtheproperteachingsandencour-
agethemtopracticeaccordingly’
Onceananxiouspractitioneraskedmeforhelp
regardinglIischildwhowantedtostudyabroadHe
askedmewhattodo‘Itoldhimtoletgoofall
wanderingthoughtsandtohavetbefamilyrecite
加 〃 ∕ Ⅱ 《 ‘   ”
theanswer·Hesaid,‘<T}Iatwon>thelp,Ineedto
handletl1isfirstbeforemymindcansettledownto
recitingandchanting.>>
Irepliedtbatifl1ethougbttlIatway’tlIerewas
nohopeforhimintlIislifetime.Heaskedwhy.I
explainedthathewashandlingtheissueincor-
rectly,tl1athismethodwaswithintl1econtrolofhis
karmaandhedidnothavethestrengthfromthe
>45
helpoftheTriple>ewels.
Weneedtolmowhowtousethestrengthfrom
theTriple]ewelsandtogiveuprelyingonjustour
ownbecausewecannotachieveinthisway’We
needtouseourpuremindstoseekbelpfromthe
Triple>ewels.Wbenwedothis>wewillattainin-

AsIsaidpreviously’weneedtousethevariable,
nottbeconstanttlIatisdestinedThevariablecan
beusedtore-createourdestinies.
Indoingthis>weseekfromwithinourmind.
Thisisthetruemind,nottheillusoryone.W}Ien
ourmindsareconstantlyfilledwithwandering
thoughts’weareusingourillusorymindstlIatexist
becauseoftheconstants,notthevariables.Ifwe
useourtrueminds,tbenthevariablescomeinto
play.Wecanseethisveryclearlyintl1esutrasand
  凸 吉 尸 Ⅱ  
Howdoweseek}IelpfromBuddbasandBodhi-
sattvas?Wedonotnegotiatewitht}1em’Forexam-
ple,wedonotasktlIemtohelpusgainwealthand
saythatinreturn>wewillofferthemhalfoftlIe
money.ThisisnotriglIt!DowereallythinktlIat
theywouldagreetothis?Ordinarypeoplerequest
helpfromtheBuddhas’BodhisattvasandtheTriple
>ewelsbytryingtostrikeadealwitbthem.Thisis
wrongbecausetlIerearenodealstomake·
Whatisimportantnowisforustorecoverour
originalpureminds.MasterHuinengsaid:‘‘Why
l46
bothertoseekoutsideofourselveswheneverything
alreadyexistswithinthetruenature·Sinceevery-
thingexistswithinourtruenature,ifweseekin-
wardly,wecanattaineverything.Whenthereisa
sincererequest’aresponsewillfollow.’>
T}IeTriple>ewelsactasacatalyticcondition.
WeseelKandattainsomethingourtruenatureorigi-
nallybad.IfitwerenotalreadywitlIinthetrue
nature,eventheTriple>ewelscouldnothelpus.In
Buddhism’itissaidtbatwbateverisproperly
soughtcanbeattainedIfwebelievet}Iatwhatever
issoughtwillbeattained,includingtbevowto
becomeaBuddha,thencertainlyeverytbingelse
canbeachieved
But,asordinarypeople,wedonotrealizet}Iisfor
weuseourworldlyintelligenceinpursuingevery-
tlIing.WemistakenlythinlKweareobtainingfame,
wealtl1’andprestige,butareactuallycommitting
baddeeds’WlIateverisattainedwasalreadydes-
tinedtobeours.Itisnotworthtbepricewewill
havetopayintbefutureforwewillsufferthe
consequencesfromourwrongdoings·
BuddhismteachesusabouttheTenDharma
Realms·Withineacl1oftheseexistsanotherTen
DlIarmaRealms’Currently,weexistintlIehuman
realm.Withinthisrealm,TenDharmaRealms
exist’Thismoment,ifwearesingle-mindedlymind-
fulofBudd}IaAmitab}Iaandseekrebirt}Iintothe
PureLand,t}Ienforthismoment,weareinthe
l47
Buddharealm.BeingmindfulofaBuddlIaisthe
cause;becomingaBuddhaistheconsequence.
Atthismoment,ifwearemindfulofBodbisatt-
vasandofcultivatingtheSixParamitas’wearein
theBodhisattvarealm’Similarly,ifwearemindful
ofvirtue,morality,andhumanity,weareint}Ie
humanrealm·But’ifwearegreedy’constantly
schemingtomakemoneyandtopossessmaterialis-
ticenjoyments)weareinthehungryghostrealm·If
ourtlIinkingisconfUsedanddeluded’andweare
driftingalongthroughlife,weareintheanimal
realm.Andifwearedispleasedandangrywitl1
everyoneandeverytlIing,weareinthehellrealm.
AlthouglIwearecurrentlyintheformofahu-
man,wecanstillbeinanyoftbeothernine
realms.WhenBuddhas,Bodhisattvasandspirits
seeus,theylmowverywellwhetberweare
Buddhas,Bodhisattvasoranyotherbeings.Once
werealizet}IattbereareTenDharmaRealms
withineacbDharmarealm,wewilllmowhowto
clIoose·Thechoicerestsinourhands.
Tl1ereisnothingelseintheworldthatcalls
fOrmoreshameandremorsethanbel1avior
suchasthis.Menciusoncesaid,<<SlIameis
tbemostimportantwordinaperson)slife.,’
Wl1y?Becauseonewholmowsshamewill
putfOrthhisorherbesteffOrtsintocorrect-
ingfaultsandwilleventuallyattainsagel1ood
l48
orbecomeavirtuousperson·Onewhodoes
notlmowshamewillbejustlikeananimal:
unrestrainedandimmoralThisisthekeyto
correctingourfaults·
ItisshamefUlfOrustostiIlbemiredinsamsara
wl]ileothershavebecomeBuddhasandBodhisattvas’
Nothingisofgreatershamethanthis.Theword
shamehasaverycIoseconnectionwithhumans.Wl]y?
Bybeingasbamed>wecanbecomeavirtuousperson
orasage·Bybeingunashamed,wewilldoubtlesslyfalI
intotheThreeBadPaths.So,wecanseehowclosely
connectedt}Iewordshameistoourfuture·Bylmow-
ingshame,wewilltirelesslystrivetoeliminateitand
replaceitwitht}Ieinspiredenthusiasmtobecomea
sageoravirtuousperson.
Bynotlmowingshame,wewillbeadishonorable
personengaginginimmoralactivities.Onlytbose
withoutslIamestilllIavegreed’anger,ignorance,and
arrogance.Butbylmowingshame,wewillnolonger
lIavetl1eseFourPoisons‘Themindofgreedwilllead
usintothel1ungrygbostrealm.Tbemindofangerand
lIatredwillleadusintothe}Iellrealm·TlIemindof
ignorancewillleadusintotheanimalrealm.Whatis
佇  
andBodhisattvas,weareunimaginablyfarbel1ind
tbem!ByunderstandingtlIis,theseafflictionswill
naturallydiminisl>andvanish
FranlKly,itisshamefUltofallbe}Iindotl1ersinper-
l49
formingvirtuousdeedsandattaininggoodresults.If
welmowshame,wewillstrivetoimproveourselves.
AFearfUlHeart:
FromPearComesSincerityandRespect
Tbesecondwaytoreformistolmowfear·
Celestialbeingsandearthlyspiritsbover
overourheadsinobservation‘Thereisno
wayfOrustodeceivethem·
ConstantlyhavingthisfearfUlmindwillenableusto
disciplineourselvessothatwewillnolongerdareto
commitwrongdoings·Itwillhelpustobeconstantly
} 。 佇  
arecelestialbeingswit}Iextraordinaryabilitiesofclair-
voyancewlIoseeveryclearlyoureverymovement’
Belowus’tlIereareearthlyspiritswl1oalsohavetlIe
fiveextraordinaryabilities.35AltboughtlIeirabilities
cannotcomparewiththoseofthecelestialbeings,
theirsensessuchashearingandsightaremuch
keenerthanours·
ItisprobablydifficultfOrustobelievetlIateven
withtlIeseabilitieseart}Ilyspiritsarenotclevererand
w1sertbanus.Weknowt}Iatmanyanimalspossess
uniquesenses.Forexample’adogIssensesofsmell
andhearingarekeenerthanours.But,tlIeyareless
intelligentthanweare’Sinceanimalssurpassusin
l50
variousabilities,itsbouldnotbesurprisingthatgbosts
andspiritsdosoaswellNorisitdifficulttobelieve
thatspiritsandgbostslIavefivekindsofextraordinary
abilities·But,whydotheystillsuffer?Theyarenotas
w1seasusandmostdonotpossessasmuclIgood
fOrtuneaswedo·Weneedtoremembertl1atall
around,tlIerearespiritsandghoststhatareperfectly
awareofoureverythouglItandoureveryact.
Evenwbenmywrongdoingsaredoneina
concealedplace>thebeingsandspiritsof
heavenandeartharepresent.Theyseeall
myfaults.Ifmybaddeedsareserious,t}1en
allkindsofadversitieswillbefallme.Ifmy
faultisminor’itwillstillreducemycurrent
goodfOrtune’HowcanInotfeelfear?
Evenifwearecommittingsmallfaultsint}1emost
concealedplacewherenobodycanwitnesstlIem,the
beingsandspiritswhoareclairvoyantcanclearlysee
  觔
beingsarestillnotgreat,fOrtl]eirabilitiesareincom-
parabletotboseofBudd}IasandBodhisattvas.Fortu-
nately,BuddhasandBodhisattvashavegreatcompas-
sion,loving-kindnesS,andpurityofmindWhenthese
compassionatebeingswitnessourwrongdoings,t}Iey
willnotcauseproblemsfOrus.
However’DharmaProtectors>spirits,andglIosts
areordinarybeingswhowillcausetroublefOrtl1ose
whol]avecommittedwrongdoings‘Becomingangry
l5l
uponseeingourimproperbehavior,theycancauseus
trouble.TheyaremorepronetopunishusfOrour
severewrongdoings;thus)adversitieswillbefallus·
Understandingthis)howcanwenotbeafraid?
力 】   『 】 瓦 /  
thatcallfOrrespectandfear.Thereareaninfinite
numberofbeingsinthePureLandAlll1avethel1eav-
enlyeyeandcanseeeverythingwithoutanyobstruc-
tion.Allhavetheheavenlyearandcanhearevery
soundtl1rougbouttheuniverse,inthepast)present,
andfUture·Theyseewhatwecannotsee.Theyhear
whatwecannothear·WlIenwethinkaboutit,wewill
realizetl1atwecannotl1ideanythingfromt}Ieseut-
mostvirtuouspeople’Ifwecannotdeceivespiritsand
otherbeings,thenhowcouldweeventhinkofdeceiv-
ingBuddhaAmitabha>AvaloldteshvaraBod}Iisattva’
andMahasthamapraptaBodbisattva?Itisimpossible!
Onceweunderstandthisanddeeplyrealizethatwe
needtoseekrebirthintothePureLand,itdoesnot
matterl1owweperfOrmourmeritdedications.Alltl1e
beingstl1erelmowouraspirations.Tl1ereisnoneed
fOrustoverballysay’<‘WeseekrebirthintothePure
Land>)Theylmewittheinstanttbatwefirstgaverise
totl1ethought.Weneedtohonestlychant“AmituofO.’l
Tl1ereisnoneedfOrunnecessarywords.Wejustneed
toseekOneMindUndisturbedandthel1igbestleve>
ofrebirtl1intotheWesternPureLandInsodoing’we
willbefOremostinwisdom’merits>andvirtues.
l52
Evenwhenwearealoneinourroom,thebe-
ingsandspiritswatchusverycarefullyand
recordeverytl1ing.Evenifwetrytoconceal
ourimproperactswitlIcleverspeech,the
spiritsandcelestialbeingscanseeintoour
heartsasclearlyasseeingintoourlungsor
liver.Wearejusttryingtodeceiveourselves
andothers·Inactuality,othershaveseen
througlIus’andwethusbecomewortl1less
<intheireyes>.Whenwethinkaboutthis)
l1owcanwenotafraid?
Previously,wereadaboutbeingwithotbers.Here
Liaofanwroteofbeingaloneinourroomandbe}1ind
closeddoors.Webecomecareless,behaVngaswe
wisl1,notrealizingtheimportanceincultivatingalert-
nessevenwhenalone’W}Ienwithothers,wetendto
restrainourselves’Whenalone,wetendtorelax.
My>ateteaclIer,Mr.LiBingnan,toldmeofanoc-
currencetl1athappenedalmosttwothousandyears
ago.Mr.ZhengKangchengandagroupofclassmates
werereHectingontbeirfaults.AseachreHected)they
fOundt}Iattheyhadmanyshortcomings.OnlyMr.
Zbengcouldnotthinkofany.AftertlIinkingfOralong
time,herememberedOnetime,whenlIewenttotl1e
bathroom,l1efOrgottoputon}Iisl1at.T}1iswasl1is
SlIOrtCOming!36
Itisobviousthatinthepast,evenwhenalonepeo-
plewereconstantlywatchfUlovertheirtl1ougl1tsand
l53
behavior’andtheirappearancewouldbeasneatasif
theyhadcompany.Today’peoplewouldsaywhy
bot}Ier.ButthiswashowpeopleusedtobelIave)fOr
tbeyknewtbatevenwhenaIone>beingsandspiritsof
heavenandearthcouldstillseetbem·Itwouldhave
beenimpolitetobecarelessandbehaveasthey
pleasedEvenaconcealedspotisvisibletothebeings
andspirits.Thus,ourdemeanorshouldalwaysbe
respectfUlaswerehainfromself-indulgence.
Eveninourroom,itshouldseemasifinnumerable
pairsofeyeswerewatchingusandinnumerablefin-
gerswerepointingatus.Weshouldbeaswatchfulof
ourbehaviorasifwewereinpublic,notdaringto
behaveasweplease.Thereisnouseintryingtocon-
cealourbehaviororcoverupourfaultswithglibtalk
Itisasifourinternalorganswerevisibletoall.TlIisis
howclearlythespiritscanseeus.
WemaythinM!Iatwehavesecrets’butweareonly
deceivingourselvesfOrthespiritsoflIeavenandearth
canseethrougbeverything.Anyattemptstohideour
faultsareuseIess.Realizingthis,bowcouldwenotbe
fearful?
However>aslongaswestillhaveonebreath
left,we}Iavetbechancetoregreteventhe
worstdeeds‘
Wbenweareasl1amed)ourheartsarerespectfi1l
andfearful.TbiswillenableustorefOrmanderadi-
cateourbaddeeds.ManyBuddlIistsattendrepen-
  ¢
tanceceremoniesdailythrougbouttheirlivestryingto
repentanderadicatekarmicobstacles·Notonlydo
somefailtoeradicatesucbobstac>es,butthemore
ceremoniestheyattendthemoretheirMrmicobsta-
clesincrease.Why?Theydonotknowhowtosin-
cerelyregret,butinsteadconcealtheirbaddeedseven
more·Totrulycultivateistobeabletofeelashamed,
tohaverespect,andtolKnowfear·ItisessentialfOrus
tounderstandthisandtochangeourimpropertlIink-
mg.
Thosew}Iohavecommittedthegreatesttransgres-
sionssucbastheFiveDeadlyOffensesortheTenBad
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
befOrehisdeath’andwasrebornintothePureLand
’ 『 ∕ 口 〃 】 召
cientIndia’KingAjatasatrukilledhisfather’egre-
giouslymistreated}Iismother,andcauseddissension
intheSangha·HewouldstopatnothingWelearn
/ 白 妞 仃 α 伽  
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.
Understandingthis’weshouldnoteventl1inkof
countingonourluckaswecontinuetocommittrans-
gressions,thinkingthatwecanalwaysregretatthe
lastmomentandstillberebornintotl1ePureLand
SucbtbinkingwillguaranteeourfallingintotheThree
BadPatl>s.Itisextremelydifficulttoaccomplishthis
last-minuteclIangeofheart.Adeludedpersonwhois
abletomaintainaclearmindduringl]isdyingmo-
mentsissomeonewholIaddeeplycultivatedtheroots
l56
ofgoodnessinlIisprevIouslifetimes.
Visitahospitalandyouwillunderstand.Look
aroundHowmanypeoplearestillalertintheirlast
moments?Beingabletomaintainaclearmindisthe
firstcriterion.Ifweareinacoma,unabletofeelre-
morseandtocl1ant,wewillfallintotheTl1reeBad
Patbs.Rarelyisoneoutofthousandsofpeoplelucid
upondeathCanweguaranteethatattheinstantof
ourdeatlIswewillremainfllllyconscious?
Thesecondcriterionistoencountersomeonewl]o
canremindustochant<<Amituofo.)>Andtl]ethirdisto
beabletoturnbackimmediatelyattlIatinstant’to
deeplyregret,tobemindfulofBuddhaAmitabl1a’and
toseekrebirthintothePureLandCanweguarantee
thatallt}Ieseconditionswillexistatthatprecisecriti-
calmoment?Ifnot,thenweneedtohonestlyand
sincerelycultivatedailytoaccumulatemeritsand
virtues·Thisistheonlytrulyreliableandsafeway·
IftenthousandpeoplepracticethePureLand
metlIodaccordingly,tenthousandwillbereborninto
thePureLandMr.Yousaidinhiscommentarythat
“Bylayingdownthebutcberlmife’onecanbecomea
Buddharightthenandthere.Ifwehavethel1eartto
regretourwrongdoings’thenwecanbeginagain.”The
earlierweawakenthebetter,soplease>makelIastein
turningbackanddonotcommitanymorewrongdo-
Ings.
TherearecasesinhistorywlIerepeoplewho
l57
badcommittednumerousbaddeedsbutwl1o
laterdeeplyregrettedthemduringtheirdy-
ingmomentswereabletopassawaypeace-
fully.
Tberearemanyexamplesofthis>someofwlIom
wereBuddl1istpractitioners.Recently,onetlIatwe
personallywitnessedwastlIatofMrZhouGuangda,a
businessmaninWashington,D.CintheUnited
States.Mr.ZbouhadbeenagoodpersonwlIobadnot
committedbaddeeds·Heprovedtoust}1atonemay
encounterBuddl1isminone>slastmomentsoflife,
cl]ant{<AmituofO”onetotentimesandbereborninto
thePureLand
Mr·Zl1oudidnotencounterBuddlIismuntila
廿  
tlIreedaysbefOrehepassedaway.Hewaselatedupon
hearingtlIeteaclIingsandacceptedtl1emwitl1outtlIe
slightestdoubt.HevowedtoberebornintothePure
Landandcl1anted<(AmituofO’)wboleheartedly.This
wastberesultofhisgoodrootsfrompastlifetimes·
Oncehehadvowedtoberebornintotl1ePureLand,
henolongerfelttl1epainfToml1isillness.
Tbisistherewardforgoodbehavior.Oncetl1etrue
mindisdeveloped,tlIeTriple]ewelswillhelpAl-
thoughMr·Zhouwasincriticalcondition,l1efelt
upliftedduetothestrengthfToml1isvowsandthejoy
ofpracticingBuddl1ism.HisenergyandstrengtlIcame
{TomwithinhimselfandfromBuddhaAmitabl1a.
l58
Thus,Mr.Zhouwasabletochant“AmituofO.’}After
cbantingfOrthreedays,hewasabletoseethethree
sagesoftheWesternPureLandwhohadcometo
escorthimtothePureLandThishappenedrecently·
Howcanwenotbelieveit?
Inourpractice>theessenceorwhatisinourlIeart
andmindisimportant,notfOrmalities.Mr.Zl1oulIad
neverlistenedtoBuddhistlecturesorreadthesutras·
HehadnottakentheThreeRefugesortheFivePre-
cepts·HejusthadakindfTiendwhoencouragedhim
tochant<(Amituofo/>andBuddhaAmitabl1aandthe
sagescametoescorthimtothePureLandTl1us,
whatmattersinourcultivationisourtrueheartsand
minds.
InMr.You’scommentary>weread:“Itisnevertoo
earlytobeginpracticingortoolatetoregret.Topass
awaypeacefUllyisanobservablefactoftranscen-
dence.’)Itisnottoolatetoregretatthetimeofour
deathEverytimeapersondieswell>heorsheisas-
suredofgoingtoagoodplace.Diewell,bornwell.
Thefift}IoftheChineseFiveGoodFortunesistobe
abletopassawaypeacefullywithoutsuffering,t}Ius
assuringrebirthintooneoftbeThreeGoodPaths.
Ifapersoncanbaveadeterminedandcou-
rageouskindthoughtatthemostimportant
moment’itcancleanseawaybundredsof
yearsofaccumulatedoffenses.TlIisislike
onlyneedingonelamptobringlightintoa
l59
valleythathasbeendarkfOrathousand
years.Itdoesnotmatterl1owlongonel1as
beencommittingmisdeeds.Ifonecanre-
f•rm,l1eorsl1eisexceptional!
Botl1BuddhistsandConfUcianscholarshavespo-
kenthistruthWeneedtobecourageousanddeter-
minedinregrettingandrefOrming.Wl1ethertl1eof-
fenseisma>ororlongstanding,itcanberegrettedand
eradicatedHavinganoverwhelmingandcourageous
kindtlIouglItaswearedyingistogenuinelyregretand
toeradicatekarmicobstacles.IntlIisway,itcanin-
deedcleanseawayhundredsofyearsofaccumulated
misdeeds’
WeonlyneedonelamptolightavalleytlIatlIas
beendarkfOrathousandyears.Tbiscomparestbe
lampandtlIebrig}1tnesstoourbraveryanddetermina-
tioninrefOrming’andinourabilitytowashaway
long-accumulatedmisdeeds.Tl1us,regardlessofl1ow
seriousourbaddeedsareorlIowlongwel1avebeen
committingthem,wl1atisimportantisthatwerefOrm.
ItisoftensaidinBuddl1ismthattrueDl1armare-
positoriesarerare.Ifwearenottruerepositories,we
willbeunabletomaintainthecontinuanceofBud-
dhism’Forexample,acuplIastobewellcleanedfOr
thewateritholdstobedrinkable.Ifitisnotclean,but
        仕
it,wewillbepoisonedPoisonisthenegativel<arma.
TobecometrueDharmarepositories)wefirstneedto
l60
eliminateourafflictionstoreceivetheBuddha>steach.
ingssowewillbeabletobenefitnotjustourselvesbut
otlIersaswell.
Todothis,werefOrmandthencultivategoodfOr-
tune.WhydoweneedtorefOrmfirsttobecomea
Dharmarepository?Sothatwewillbeabletoreceive
allofthegoodfOrtunethatBuddhas,Bodhisattvas)
andbeingsandspiritsoflIeavenandearthbestowon
us.ThisistruegoodfOrtune.Ifourrepositoryisnot
clean,butisfilledwithafflictionsandnegativekarma,
thenthegoodfOrtunegiventousbyBuddlIasand
Bodhisattvaswillturnintoevendeadlierpoisons.
IfwedonotrefOrmourerroneousways,thegood
fOrtunewecultivatewillleadustocommitevenmore
offenses.Wl1y?LackinggoodfOrtune,weonlycommit
smalltransgressionssincewedonothavetheoppor-
tunitytocreategreaterones·However)witbgreatgood
fOrtune’thewrongswecommitwillbeevenmore
grave.Intl1efUture,tlIiswillleadusdeeperintotlIe
lIellrealms,tobearevenmoreseveresufferings.
Altl1ougl1poorpeoplemaylIavethoughtofcommit-
tingtransgressionsthataremoreserious’theyare
generallyunabletocarryt}Iemout·Thetransgressions
thatwealtl]ypeoplecreatearemoreseriousthantlIose
ofaveragepeople.
WefirstneedtorefOrmtoeradicatemisfOrtunesso
wecanen>oygenuinegoodfOrtune.Ifwedonoteradi-
cateouraccumulatedbadhabitsbefOrethiscultiva-
tion,thenasourgoodfortuneincreases,wearelikely
l6l
tocommitworsedeeds·Inpassingonlmowledge>will
atrulybenevolentteaclIeracceptthiskindofstudent?
No!Wl1ynot?TheteacberknowstlIatitwilll1armthe
studentfbrheorsheisnotaDbarmarepository.
T}IisisnottosaytlIatonlyaverysmartorw1seper-
sonissuitabletobeaDl1armarepository.Ifaperson
lIasapuremindandakindlIeartwithoutgreed’an-
ger,ignorance’andarrogance’tbenl1eorsl1eisa
Dharmarepository.
WereadinMasterTanxu>smemoirsaboutamonk
whotookmoldycandlesoutsidetodryinthesun.He
wasveryslow-wittedandwithoutanywisdom.ButlIis
mindwaspure,lIewasbonest,andhedidnotharbor
illfeelingsfOranyone.TheoldMastertookalikingto
him.HewasaDlIarmarepositorysotl1emastertaugl1t
himtoprostratetotherelicsofBuddhaShalq/amuni
attheKingAYuTemple,threethousandtimesaday.
Afterthreeyears,tlIemonkwasawakenedandwas
evenabletocomposepoetry.Extremelyarticulate,l1e
eventuallylecturedonsutrasandwaswidelywel-
comed.Butaltl1oughl1elladachievedattainment,l1e
stilllivedthriftily)remainedveryl1umble’andwas
courteoustowardsothers.Thisistbewaytobea
DharmarepositoryandistruegoodfOrtune.
Bychoosingasuccessor,ateac}Iercaneitl1erl1arm
apersonorhelplIimorhertosucceedSinceancient
times’goodteachers,whetherBuddhistorotberwise,
havebeenselectiveinchoosingtheirsuccessors.The
mostimportantcriterionfOrselectionisvirtuouscon-
l62
duct.OtlIerqualitiesthatcanbenurturedarenot
consideredThus’weneedtobeginbyreformingifwe
trulywanttoachieveattainment,toberebornintothe
PureLand’andtobenefitothersandourselves.As
Liaofansaid,‘‘Itisofutmostvaluetobeableto
))
change.
Weliveinaconstantlycbangingandchaotic
world.Ourbodies,madeoffleshandblood,
areperisbable·Ifournextbreathdoesnot
come,thentlIisbodywillnolongerbeapart
ofus.Then,evenifwewanttorefOrm’itwill
betoolate’
ThisencouragesustograbholdoftlIeopportunity,
toregretandrefOrmwhilewestillcan.Thisisanever-
changingworldThesutrastellusthatlifeisonlya
breathIfournextbreatlIdoesnotcome,thislifeis
overandthenextonehasbegun.Thenitwillbetoo
latefOrregrets’KnowingthattlIisisourmostcrucial
concern,weneedtotreasurethisopportunityandnot
wasteanymoretime.Reflectdaily,regretearnestly,
andreform.Thisistruecultivation·
Unfortunately’manypeopletlIinktbatcultivationis
simplyrecitingsutras,prostratingtotheBuddl1a’or
cbantingaBuddha)snamedaily.Thesearemerely
fOrmalitiesandhavenoimpactonreducingournega-
tivekarma.Cultivationisnotsimplyrecitingasutra.It
istonotgiverisetowanderingthougbtsaswefOcus
ont}Ietextduringrecitation’Neithershouldweat-
l63
tempttoanalyzethemeanings’becausetodosois
alsotol1avewanderingthoug}Its‘Thegoalofcultiva-
tionistohaltourthougl1tsandtoattainpurityof
mind.Recitingsutras’clIantingmantras,andchanting
aBuddl1a’snameallslIarethisgoal.WlIenthemindis
pure’tlIebodywillbepure.
Overtheyears,Ihavetrulytakentoheartthatwitl1
purityofmind,tlIebodywillbecomepureandremain
healtl1y·Naturally’westillneedtobecarefUlofwlIat
weeatanddrink,andhowwelive.AlthouglIweare
advancinginage,withapurebodyandsurroundings,
andtheabsenceofworriesandafflictions’wewillnot
fallillorbecomeinactive.
Mr.LiBingnanwasanexcellentexampleoftlIis.
Eveninl1isnineties,everydaywasarushoflectures,
appointments’socialengagements,andsoon.From
hisexample,wecansee}Iowapersonwhoisadvanced
inyears,canremainperfectlycompetentwlIilelivinga
healthy)longlife.Manyyoungerpeoplecannotac-
complishtl1is.Itwasallduetotbepurityofhismind
andthus,l1isbody.
Whenwecommitawrongdoing,ourretribu-
tionintl1isworldisabadreputationthat
willlastfOrhundreds,eventl1ousandsof
years.Evenfilialandlovingdescendants
cannotrestoreourbonor.InafUturelife,we
miglItendupinlIellsufferingfromimmense
paIn’
l6q
Ifwedonotlmowtoregretandtocorrectour
wrongdoings,thenwewillbeburdeningfuturegenera-
tionswithourbadreputations.Evenourfilialand
virtuousdescendantswillnotbeabletoclearour
naInes·
Wearecurrentlyunabletoseethehells,butbeas-
suredtl1atournegativekarmawillleadustotl1emand
tbeyaretrulyterrifVingSutrastalkofthehellsand
provideuswitl1manyexplanationsofhowlongwewill
remaininthem.Onedayinhellisequivalentto
twentysevenhundredyearsonearth
TheChineseoftenproudlytelloftheirfivetl1ou-
sandyearsofhistory.Butthisisonlytwodaysinthe
  了
sborterlifespansarethousandsandmillionsofyears!
Pleaseunderstandthemagnitudeoftbis!Thesuffer=
ingisceaseless.WewillnotbeabletoemergefOr
hundredsandthousandsofeons.Andinthislifetime,
itisveryeasyfOrustocreatetlIecauseofgoingtothe
l1ells.OncewelIavefallenintotl1em,itisunimagina-
blydifficulttogetout.TherefOre,ifwebelievetl1at
tlIeBuddl1aonlytellstlIetrutlI)lIowcanwecontinue
toactrasl1lyandblindlycommitbaddeeds!
Wbeneventhesages,virtuouspeople,
Buddhas’andBodl1isattvascannotl1elpus
escapefromourbadconsequences,l1owcan
廿
EventheBuddhasandBodhisattvaswitl1theirgreat
l65
compassionandloving-kindnessareunabletolIelpus
wbenwefallintot}Iehellrealms·CanKsitigarbl1a
Bodhisattvawl1opresidestherehelpuswlIenwefall
intohell?Veryhonestly’hecanonlyl1elpthosewl1o
possessabundant,solidrootsofgoodnessandgood
fOrtune,andwhocanacceptandaccordwithbis
teacbings.Onlytheyareabletohonestlyregretand
mendtlIeirwaystotranscendthehellrealms·
Moreover’w}1enwearesufferingfromintensepain,
itisvirtuallyimpossibletoacceptgoodwords.Tl1e
morewesuffer,themoremaliciousthoughtsand
angryfeelingswewillhave‘Then>evenwlIenothers
saysometl1ingpleasanttous)wemayfeelt}1atthey
haveinsultedusandhatetlIemevenmorefOrit’TlIis
istrueforthosewl1oaresufferinginthisworldlet
alonethoseintlIehellrealms!Thus,moreoftentlIan
not,thosesufferinginthehellrealmswillcommit
’     仕
realmsmoredifficultandthisiswhyevenBuddl1as
andBodlIisattvascannothelpus.
Wl>atkindofpeopleisKsitigarbhaBodl1isattvaable
tohelp?Hecanhelpthosewhotrulypossessrootsof
goodnessandgoodfOrtune,butwhofellintotlIel1ell
realmsbecauseofonewrongthougl1tintheirlast
moments.KsitigarblIaBodl1isattvacanadviseand
encouragethem.Becausetheyarewillingtolisten,to
regretandbeawakened,itiseasierfOrthemtotran-
scendfromt}1ehellrealms.OtlIerwise)tl1ereisnoway
tohelpthem.EvenBuddlIasandBodl1isattvasare
l66
helplessinthismatter·Understandingthis’howcan
wenotbeafTaid?
TbesecondwaytorefOrmteacbesustol1aveafear-
fUlheart.WecannotbideeventhesliglItestofour
faultsfiFomthebeingsandspiritsofheavenandeart}I>
廿     ﹚
eveninadarkroom,wewoulddowellnottogiverise
todeviatedtboughts’Inthisway,wenaturallywillnot
commitanybaddeeds.Tbisissimplythetrutl]!Wl1en
weregretandrefOrm,weneedtobeginfromour
hearts.Whenourheartsandmindsarevirtuousand
kind,ourspeeclIandbehaviorwillnaturallybelike-
w1se.Whenourheartsareimmoralanduncaring’
regardlessofhowwellwepretend,ourspeechand
behaviorwillstillbefalse.
ADetermined’CourageousHeart:
FromCourageComesInspiration
TlIetlIirdwaytorefOrmistohaveadeter-
mined)courageousheart‘
WeneedtobecourageousinregrettingandrefOrming
ThefirstwaytorefOrm,whicbistolmowshame,is
closetobeingcourageous.Havingasenseofshameis
tobeawakened;notlIavingasenseofsl1ameistobe
deludedTherefOre,asenseofshameistbecondition
fOrawakeningandcourageistlIeconditionfOrdiligent
l67
cultivation.FeelingashamedisawakeningfTomwitbin
ourselves·HavingafearfulheartistbeexternalfOrce
  廿
reflectstl1edeepshameinourtruenature.
}   刃 右 的
刀 肋 凸 】 ﹝ 尢 汐 血 唔 叻 】 ℃
oneofwhichincludesshame’whichisthestateof
mindoffCelingasl1amedFearistl1estateofmindof
beingconscience-stricken.Feelingashamedandbeing
conscience-strickenaretwovirtuousstatesofmindIf
wecanfeelasl1amed,thenweareboundtoacl1ieve.
TlIroughouthislife,MasterYinGuangsaidtl>atlIe
was‘<constantlyshamefUl>)Heconstantlyhada
shamefUlandfearfull1eart’CultivatingfTomtl1is

courageousinimprovingl1imself.Int}Iisway)l1eat-
tainedadetermined,courageousheart.
WhenwehesitatetorefOrmourfaultsbe-
causewedonotreallywanttochange’we
arecontentwithwhatwecangetawaywith
ForarefOrmtotakeplace,wemustbereso-
luteandresolvetochangeimmediately.We
shouldnothesitateorpostponeuntiltomor-
roworthedayafter.
Mostofusdriftalongdaytoday,regressinginstead
ofadvancing.Withoutthehearttokeepimprovingin
ourvirtuousconduct,wearenotgenuinelytryingto
improve.Today,thosewhoareresoluteanddiligentin
l68
advancingalsoseektheFiveDesires,theSixDusts)
andtheFivePoisons,witl1outlmowingtbefearfUl
consequencescausedbytheiractions.Sagesofthis
worldandbeyondtaughtustoconcentrateonmoral
improvementandtogainwisdom,theoriginalwisdom
tlIatHowsfromthetruenature’Thiswisdomisl]ig}1er
thantheacademicstudyandskillsofworldlyintelli-
gence.
Today,weadvanceresolutelyanddiligently,butin
tlIewrongdirection!WearegoingintotheTl1reeBad
Realmsandremainingmiredinreincarnation.Sages
ofthisworldandbeyondteac}Iust}Iatweneedto
transcendsamsara,tl1eSixRealms>tofiPeeourselves
fOreverfromreincarnation)tocatchupwitlItlIe
Buddl1asandBodhisattvas·AsLiaofansaid)wemust
strivetocompletelyeradicatedoubtandresolveto
cl1angeimmediately)toliftourspirits,anddiligently
advance.Donotdelay,resolveandbeginnow.
Aminorfaultislikeathornpiercingour
HeshandslIouldbequicklyremoved
BecauseatlIornpiercingourskinisverypainful,
wewilldowbateverwecantoquicMyextractit.Buta
minorfaultinourmindisevenmorepainfUl.Weneed
tobecomeawareofitaswell.Remainingunawareis
likel1avingnosenseoffeeling,notlmowingthatsome-
tbingispiercingourbodyandiscausinguspain.Now,
itisourconsciencenotourfleslItlIatisnumb.
l69
Abigfaultislikeourfingerbeingbittenbya
poisonoussnake.Wemustquicklycutoff
tl1efingertopreventthepoisonhomspread-
‘ 乃 力
andreceivetlIewind-thundersymbol,it
meanstl1atourstrongdeterminationinre-
fOrmingassuresusofsuccess.
Thisisjustanexampletoshowushowdetermined
weneedtobeincoITectingourslIortcomings.When
wearelistlesseveryday,itisduetoourkarmicobsta-
cles·Whenweconstantlyhavewanderingthougbts,
afflictions,andworries’andfindthatnotlIingisgoing
ourway’itisalsoduetoourkarmicobstacles.
WeoftenspeakoftlIesebecausetheyarethecause
ofournightmaresandiITegularpatternsinourdaily
living.Whenthishappens,weneedtoearnestlyreflect
andbevigilant.Ifwecancorrectallofourfaults’our
karmicobstacleswillbeeradicatedWithfewerobsta-
cles,wewillbefilledwit}1theDl1armablissandwill
feelligl1tinbodyandmindWewilll1avenoburdens.
Ourafflictionswilldiminishandourmindswillnatu-
rallybepureandcontinuouslygiverisetowisdom.
Thiswillenableustoclearlyseeandunderstandeve-
rytl1ingaroundus)wl>etlIerspiritualorplWsical,
worldlyorbeyondWeneedtolIavethedetermination
andaspirationtoexamineourmotivesandfeelings,to
findourfaultsandfearlesslycorrectthem.
乃  
l70
wbiclIhass1xexplanationsorpredictions·Thewind-
thundersymbolrepresentsbenefitandisconcerned
withdetermination’Ifweareresolvedtocorrectour
erroneouswaysandtocultivatekindness,thiswilI
enableustogaintruebenefit.Ifwecanimmediately
reformwithoutbesitation,t}Ienwewillhavedone
wbatthewind-thundersymbolsaidwewould.
IfwecanfOllowtbethreewaysofshame,
fear,anddeterminationtorefOrm,tlIenwe
willsurelybetransformed
InrefOrming,weneedtohaveshame,fCar’and
courageousdetermination.TohaveaslIamefUlheartis
tobeawakenedTohavearespectfi1landfearfulheart
istobeconscience-stricken·OnlywbenwehavebotlI
oftbese’dowegiverisetotbecourageousanddeter-
minedheartthatenablesustoregretandreform’
RealizingtlIis)whyareweunabletocorrectourfaults?
SincewehaveyettopossessashamefulandfearfUl
heart,wedonothavethemotivationtbatgivesriseto
acourageousanddeterminedheart.Ifwedonotlmow
shame,thenwewillnotbea{Taidofbeinglaugl1edat
byotherssotbereislittleincentiveforustocultivate
kindness.
Howdowenurturethesethreequalitiesofshame,
fear)andcourageousdetermination?Whydowe
} 力 】 丑 『 】 巴 〃 /  
Itisnotthattheothersutrasarenotgood,theyjustdo
叩 力 】 『 】 / 巴 / 乙 ﹝
l7l
力 】 丑 巴 ∕ 召 叩 ﹣
enaandprinciples,causeandeffect.Itisnottoo
lengtl1ysoitiseasyformodernpeopletopractice)and
itistlIeessenceofallsutras!
/ 】 伯 七 洹 / / 】
BooAwasspeciallycompiledfOrfellowpractitionersat
theAmitabl1aBuddbistSocieties.Ancientvirtuous
peopleoriginallyeditedtbeolderversionoftl1erecita-
tionbookItwascompiledtocuretbeproblemsof
practitionersoft}Iattime.T}Ius,theoldversionwas
effectiveforthem.However,ourproblemsarediffer-
’ 均 ﹣
ningrecitations.Forthemorningceremony,werecite
  加 『 】 / 巴 /
l]avingtl1esamemindandvowastlIatofBuddl1a
Amitabl1a.
Fortl1eeveningceremony,werecitechapters
tbirty-twothroughtbirty-seven.Tl1esesixchapters
explaintl1eFiveDead>yOlfensesofkilling,stealing,
’ 》 洫 ’
andtheTenBadConducts.Theyalsodescribethe
FiveSufferingstbatwebearinthislifeandtheFive
BurningstlIataretheconsequencesweundergointhe
hellsinftIturelives.Thesesufferingsandburningsare
retributions·
Aswerecitethesechaptersdaily,tbeycanbelpus
toreflect’regret’andrefOrm‘Recitingthemisessen-
tiallythesameasrecitingtherepentanceverse.After
ourrecitation,weneedtobevigilantandawakened,to
l72
sincerelymendourwaysandfOllowthechapter}s
guidanceinunderstandingandcultivation.Inthis
廿  
tice·T}IerefOre,itisimportantfOrusto}Iavethese
threequalitiesofsbame,fear,andcourageousdeter-
mination‘
Thereisnoneedtoworry·Itwillhappenas
assured>yasthespringsunwillmeltatlIin
layerofice.
Ifwehavethesethreequalities,wewillimmedi-
atelyamendourfaults·Itisasnaturalastbeicein
springtimebecomingtbinnerastheweatberbecomes
warmer.Asweamendourfaults,ourwisdomwillgrow
andourMrmicobstacleswillbeeliminated.
乃 ℃ / ﹄ 叻 ﹝ 力 ㎡ 乃 ㎡ ℃ 加 亡 / 】
r o
 

a
Un
e
hD
Un


u O r
h
t
g n
••••
g n a
h C
T}Ierearealsothreemethodsofpracticeto
}IelpusrefOrm.T}Iefirstiscl]angingthrouglI
behavior,thesecondischangingthrough
reasoning,andtlIetl1irdischangingfrom
theheart·
Sincethemethodsaredifferent)theeffectswillalso
bedifferent.Forexample,ifIusedtokilllivingbeings
l73
intbepast,Ivownevertokillthemagain·IfIusedto
getangryandyellatothersinthepast’Ivowneverto
dosoagain.Thisischangingthroughbehaviorby
refTainingfromrepeatingawrongdoingcommittedin
thepastandvowIngnevertodoitagain·
PreviouslyLiaofanspokeofprinciples.Nowhepro-
videsuswiththethreegeneralmethodsofpractice‘
Firstis<‘changingthroughbehavior.”Ifweloseour
temperandyellatotbersoruseabusivelanguageto
attackothers)wecanchangethrouglIbelIaviorand
丘 廿
todoitagain,findingandthencorrectingthefaults
onebyone.ThiswashowLiaofanfirstbeganto
change.Ittookhimmorethantenyearstoaccomplisl1
hisfirstgoalofthreethousandgooddeeds.Notgood
enoughHeaccomplis}1edtlIesecondsimilarpledgein
onlyfOuryears,wbenhesouglItandattainedason.
Butthiswasstilltoolong.ThrouglIthechangeof
bel1avior,theresultattainedwasassouglIt.
InBuddhism,onecanclIangethrougl1behaviorby
keepingt}Ieprecepts.InClIina’tbereareeightschools
inMal1ayanaBuddl1ismandtwoinTlIeravadaBud-
dhism$alltenbegincultivationthroughpreceptkeep-
ing.Tl1isisespeciallytruefortheTheravadaprecepts
thatempl1asizebel1aviormorethantl1oug}Its.
廿  
thosefOundintlIeBIHAma/\/e[StJZrH.Tbissomewl1at
lengthysutrawasnotcompletelytranslatedintoCbi-
nese.Onlythemostimportantcbapter,tl1e<‘Mind
l74
PreceptChapter/’wasbroughttoChina‘Thefirst
} ﹞ 】 叩   ﹣
sattva’describes}Iowtoc}IangefromthemindThe
secondsection,wbicbexplainst}IeBodbisattvapre-
ceptsandbehavior,describeshowtochangetbrouglI
behavior.Whatisimportantisthestateofthemind
廿
isthebestway·
Tryingtoforceourselvestosuppressour
fauItsisextremelydifficultbecausewe
havenotpermanentlyuprootedourfaults,
merelytemporarilycurbedt}Iem.There-
fore,changingthroughbehaviorcannot
helpustopermanentlyeliminateour
faults.
Therootofourproblemsliesinourminds.Ifwe
onlysuppressourfaultsinsteadofeliminatingthem,
theywillsimplyreappearatanothertime.TlIerefOre,
cl1angingthroughbelIaviorisashort-livedsolution
tbatonIytreatstlIesymptoms.Thisisliketreatingtbe
lIeadwhent}IereisaheadacheortreatingthefOot
whenthereisafOotpain.Tbebehaviorseemstobe
correctbutthemindisstiIpollutedbecausetheroot
problemremains.
ChangingthroughReasoning
Instead,wecantrytorefOrmbyunderstand-
l75
ingwl1yweshouldnotdosometl1ing;fOrex-
ample,killing.Tolovealllivingtl1ingsisa
virtueofheaven.UnderstandingtlIatallliv-
ingbeingslovelifeandfeardeath>howcanI
beatpeacewitlImyselfbytakinganother>s
lifetonurturemyown?Attimes,animals
suchasfishorcrabshavebeencookedalive.
SuchpainandsufferingreaclIdowninto
theirverybones.Howcanwebesocruel?
  叩
tastythingstonourisbourselves,enoughto
fillthewlIolediningtable!Butoncethe
mealisdone,eventhebestdelicacieswill
becomebodywasteandbeexcretedThere-
sultofourldllingaccomplis}Iesnotl1ing.
ConsumingvegetarianfOodscanfilland
nourishusjustaswellWlWletourstom-
achsbecomeagraveyardandreduceour
goodfOrtunethroughkilling?
Here,Liaofanwroteofchangingthroughreasoningby
understandingtl1etruerealityanditsprinciples.
Achievingthis,wewillnaturallynolongerbeartoeat
theHeshofanotlIersentientbeing.BefOre’sincewe
wereunclearofwhyweshouldnotdosomething,we
grudginglytriedtostopTryingtofOrceourselvestodo
somethingisextremelydifficult.Unhappyandunwill-
ing’wewillenduppainfullystrugglingwithourselves.
Butonceweunderstandtheprinciplesandthe
l76
logic,wecanreconciletheseproblems’Weneedto
constantlybearinmindthatlovingaIivingthingsisa
virtueofheaven.Itisnaturalthatwedoso’Today,
scientistsaregraduallybeginningtounderstandthat
havinganaturalecologicalbalanceisthesameas
lovingalllivingthings.Ifournaturallybalancedeco-
logicalsystembecomesunbalanced,everylivingbeing
intheworldwillsufferfromthedevastation.Awise
  廿 廿    
lIarmourecologicalsystem‘
Actua>lyofalltheanimals)humansaretheworst
fOrwearet}Iecruelest,tbemostevilAnimalsonlykill
whenhungry.Aftersatisfyingtheirbunger’theyignore
otheranimalsthatwaIknearthem.T}Iisshowsthat
theykilMTomthenaturalinstinctofhungerandt}Ius
createlittlenegativekarma·Ontheother}Iand,hu-
mansslaughteratwilleventhoug}Iwe}Iavenoneedto
killThenegativekarmacreatedbyhumansisun-
equaledbyanimals!Whenweconsiderthis’wewill
realizetlIatthereisnotlIinginsamsarafOrustobe
proudof.
AlthouglIitisofgreatsufferingtofallintotheani-
malrealms,thosewhodosoarereducingtlIeirnega-
tivekarma.IfwedonotpracticeBuddhismwlIenwe
obtainourhumanfOrms>thenwhatist}Iegoodof
lIavingthem?Wecommitwrongdoingsdaily.Animals
reducetheirnegativekarma’Wecreateit.Afterreduc-
ingtheirkarma,theywillemergeandbereborninto
tlIeThreeGoodPaths’Ontheotherhand,ournega-
l77
tivekarmalIasincreasedandwhenitcomesintofTui-
tion,wewillhllintotheThreeBadPatlIs.Animals
廿  
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
theclIildisborndefOrmedorretarded’wouldl1eor
slIenotundergomucbsuffering?Woulditnotbe
bettertoabort?>>Ireplied:<‘Weneedtounderstand
thatbearingadefOrmedorretardedbabyisbearing
onewhohascometodemandpaymentofadebt.You
oweadebt.ByabortingtlIebaby,notonlyareyou
stoppingtl>edebtfrombeingclaimed,youl1avekilled
himorher‘Thedebtyouowedintbepasthasnow
beenmultiplied.Inafuturelife,itwillbeevenworse.
廿 ’
theydonotlmowoftlIecauseandeffectoftl1enext
lifetime.Causeandeffectarelinkedthrougbthepast,
l78
presentandfuture.Tbisisagraveoffense.
))
T}Iepractitionerpersisted:(<Butthebabyhasyetto
takes}Iape.Itisonlyinthefirstorsecondweekof
gestation·),Isaid:<<No,thebabycomesatthetimeitis
conceived,it}IasnotlIingtodowithtakingsbapeor
not.Uponconception,ithasfoundyou.You}Iavean
廿
gratitudeoragrievance,demandingpaymentofa
debt,orrepaymgadebt·Ifthebabyhascometorepay
gratitudeandiskilledbyyou,youwillbereturning
kindnesswit}Iingratitude.Heorshewillbecomeyour
enemyintheflIture’
Perhaps’itwasafilialc}Iildoravirtuousgrandchild
who}Iadcometorepaykindness·Bykillingit,you
haveturnedthefetusintoamortalenemy.Tbisis
terrible!Youthinkyoucantranscendthebabythroug}I
廿  
aplaque.NotlIingistbiseasy!Youareon>ydeceiving
yourself.>>
IfeveryonecouldjustseetlIepastcauseandtbere-
sultanteffect,wewouIdbeterrified!Wehavetobe
careful’tounderstandtheprinciplesandlmowthe
truereality.Itisagravetransgressiontokillorharm
anothersentientbeingjusttonurtureourselves·How-
ever’today)peopleregardthisasperfectlynormal‘
Somepeopleevenbelievethatanimalsarecreationsof
GodgiventotlIemtoeat.
Ift}Iesesentientbeingswereintendedforustoeat,
tl1enwouldwenotquestionwhetherGodtrulylIasthe
>79
virtueoflovingalllivingthings?Tbiswrongthinldng
leadsustocommitmanytransgressions.Andwedo
notevenknowhowverywrongweare.WlIenkilled
廿 }  
pain.Whenwelistentotheirterrifiedcries,l1owcould
anyonethinkthattheywillinglysubmittedtotheir
deaths?
Itisstatedinthesutras:‘‘Ahumandiesandbe-
comesasbeep.Asheepdiesandbecomesahuman’
,,
LifeafterlifetheywillkilleachotlIerseekingvenge-
ance.Thus,itissaidthatifweeatonepoundofflesh)
wewillpaybackonepoundoffleshAdebtofmoney
mustberepaidincasb,andalifeowedmustberepaid
inkindThisistheinescapabilityofthelawofcausal-
ity·Oncewetrulybelieveandaccepttl1is,wewill
neveragaintl1inkofharminganybeingbecausewedo
notwishtopaywitbourlivesinthefUture.
Norwillweseeldll-gottenwealthWhy?Because
welmowthatintbefUturewewillhavetorepaytl1e
debt.Byunderstandingthetruereality’wenaturally
willabidebythelaw’becontentedwitlIwhatwebave,
andbehonestinallthatwedo.Beassuredthatthisis
neitherpassivenorregressive.Itisdoingourbestto
createabeautifUlandbrightfIIturefOrourselves.Itis
seekingagoodlife’notonlyforthislifetime,butfOr
allofourfuturelifetimesaswellWithoutwisdomand
lmowledgeofthetruereality)wewiIlbeunableto
attainwl1atweseek
Inthissegmentofthetext’Liaofanwroteabouteat-
l80
ingmeat’ofseeingsentientbeingskilled,andofwit-
nessingtl1eirpainandsufferingthatreachdownto
thebones.Howcouldwebeartotaket}Ieirlivesto
nurtureourown?OncewehavefinislIedeating,even
themostdeliciousfOodsbecomebodywaste.People
longfOrdelicaciesandfOrfoodthattastesgood;but
nomatterhowwecookittheonlytbingthatwillenjoy
thetasteisourtongue’nothingelse.>ustfOrafew
secondsofenjoymentwe}Iavekilledcountlesssen-
tientbeingsandcommittedinnumerabletransgres-
sions!
EatingvegetarianfOodcanbejustasfillingand
nourishing.SomemaysaythatvegetarianfOodisnot
nutritious’butmanyvegetarianshavelivedlongand
l1ealtlWlives.MonksandnunswlIobecamevegetari-
answlIent}Ieywereyoungarestrongandhealthy’To
saythatbeingavegetarianisunhealthyisincorrect.
Whenwetakethelifeofanothersentientbeingand
eatt}Iemtonurtureourselves’wenotonlymalKeene-
miesandincurtbeirhatred,butwealsoreduceour
goodfortune.Atrulyintelligentpersonwouldneverdo
thiS.
Thinkofa>lthelivingbeingswitlIfles}Iand
bloodLikeus,theyareselfaware.TlIeyand
weareoneentity’Althoughourcultivation
ofvirtuehasnotyetreac}IedtlIestatethat
willenablethesebeingstorespectusand
feelsafearoundus>wecanatleastnotlIarm
l8l
themormakethemhateus.Ifwethink
aboutit,wewillnaturallyfeelsorrowfOr
tbeseanimalsandthusbeunabletoswallow
tl1eirHesh
Alllivingbeingshaveself-awareness;theyareno
differentfromus.NooneotherthanBuddbasand
Bodhisattvaswouldunderstandtbis.Fromtl1isseg-
mentofthetext,itislogicaltoassumethatLiaofan’s
familywasvegetarianbecauseheunderstoodtl1e
reasoningandknewt}Ietruth
Today,somepeoplestillmisunderstandandtl1ink
thatwhileadultscanbevegetarians’childrencannot.
Parents,afraidthattheirchildrenwillbemalnour-
ished’wantthemtoeatmoremeat.Thisisincorrect.
Actually,itismorelikethinkingthattheirchildren
miglItnothaveenoughkarmicobstaclesormigl]tlIave
toofewenemies,sowesl1ouldl1elpt<1emincureven
morekarmicfOes.TlIisiswhatitamountsto!Ifwetry
) 叩 》
evencriticizeus’sayingthatweareoutoftoucb)and
areignorantofscienceandnutrition.
Infact,theyaremistaken’fOrthisisnotthecaseat
all.Itisbesttoawakenasearlyaspossible;tbe
youngerourcl1ildrenbecomevegetariansthebetteroff
theywillbe.Itwillhelpthemtobuildasolidfounda-
tionofgoodfOrtuneandmerits·Aswasexplainedin
】 『 】 【 巴 ㎡ /   ﹝ 右   肋 Ⅱ ﹝ 北 茄
  / α ﹝ Ⅲ 幽
>8Z
ignorant.TlIeancestorsherearetheoldergenerations’
Lackingwisdom,theyhaveledustounwittinglycom-
mittransgressions’creatingmuchnegativekarma.
ThismatterofoureatingmeatisappallingfOrthisisa
seriousoffense·
Anotl1erexampleofchangingthroughrea-
soningisaneasilyangeredperson·Heorshe
canstopandthinktlIatweallhaveour
strengthsandwealmesses.IfItouchon
someoneswealmess,Ishouldfeelsadabout
theirfailingandfOrgiveanyshortcomings.If
someoneoffendsmefOrnoreasonatall’itis
tl>atpersonsproblemand}Iasnothingtodo
witl1me.ThereisnoreasonfOrmetobe-
comeangry.
Insteadoflosingourtempersandbecomingangry,
weshouldsincerelyreflectandremindourselvesthat
weareonlyhumanandthateachofushasfaults.If
wecannotfOrgiveothers)sbortcomings,l1owcanwe
expecttl1emtofOrgiveoursPThinkinginthismanner’
wewillnolongercondemnothersbutwillinsteadfeel
empatbyfOrthem.Peopleonlymakemistakesdueto
theirignorance·Theylacktbeabilitytodistinguisl]
betweentrueandfalse,properanddeviated)andbe-
tweenl1armfi1landbeneficial’Thus’t}Ieycannotcor-
recttbemselves)endtl1eirerroneousways,orcultivate
kindness.Wesl1ouldfeelsympatlWfOrtlIemandnot
bereproacl1fUl.Insodoing’wefOllowtheBuddl1a)s
l83
andBodhisattva)swayofrelatingtopeopleandsitua-
tions·
LiaofansaidthatwhensomeoneoffendsusfOrno
reasonatall>itistheirproblem,notours.Ifsomeone
attacksusunfairly,itdoesnotconcernus.Evenif
theyattackusplIysically,tbereisnoreasontobecome
angry.Thisbodyisnot‘<me/)Purityofmindwillnever
behurtbyattacks,aspurityofmindbyitsnature
containsnothing.Itisasbametbatwedonotemploy
purityofmindwhenweinteractwithothersorcir-
c u n s t   n c e s 。
WlIatweuseistheillusorymindnottl1etrueself’
BuddhiSmteaclIesustoseektbeoriginalself.Tbis
true,pureminddoesnotgiverisetoanywandering
tboughts·Oursurroundingswillnotaffectthepure
mindIfitdoesnotconcernus,wbyshouldweworry
aboutit?Whyshouldwebesoattachedtoit?Oncewe
severallwanderingdiscriminatorytl1oughtsandat-
taclIments,whatistheretoconcernus?Nothing.
Byunderstandingthelogic)ourmindswillbeset-
tledandnolongeraffectedbyexternalconditions,and
wewillacbieveperfectpeaceofmindRegardlessof
whathappensaroundus>wecanremaincalm.When
weencounterfavorableconditions,wedonotgiverise
totl1eheartofgreedEncounteringunfavorablecondi-
tions’wedonotgiverisetotlIelIeartofanger·Regard-
lessoftl1ecircumstances>weareabletomaintaintl1e
mindofpurity)equality>andcompassiontogenuinely
refOrmourselves’
l84
Ialsothinkthatnogreatpersonthinksthat
heorsbeisalwaysright.Nordointelligent
peopleblametheirfaultsonothers.WlIen
tlIingsdonotgotlIewaywewish,itisbe-
causewehavenotcultivatedourvirtuesand
morals,andhavenotaccumulatedenougl1
meritstomoveothers!
WeshouldalwaysreHectuponourselves
first.Insodoing,criticismcanbecomea
traininggroundtorefineourcharacterand
tostrengtlIenourabilities.Wesbouldbe
verygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)scriticism
andguidance’Whatistheretobeangryand
complainabout?
Thisteac}Iesusthebestwaytochange:torefOrm
廿 ﹞   ﹜ 啕 陋
oftlIefifty-threevisitsofSudhanawastopracticeand
learnfTomexperience.Ourbestwaytochangeisto
cultivateandrefOrmfTomt}1emindTodotl1is,we
needtoearnestlyreflect.
InBuddl1ism,BuddhasandBodl1isattvasaregreat
heroes.Theystandoutamongothersanddowhat
otherscannotdo.38Tbeyregretandreform.Ableto
correctallerrors,theyaregreatlIeroes’Thereareno
selfrigl]teousBuddhasorBodhisattvas.Thereareno
arrogantgreatsagesorvirtuouspeople.TlIeyareall
humble,patient,andagreeable.TlIishumilityand
respectarearevelationoftheirvirtuousnatures.
l85
Anintelligentpersonneverblamesothersorthe
heavens.TheylIavetruelearning’whicbiswisdom
revealedfromthetruenature·Thislearningmaybe
BuddhistorConfucian·Thewisdomspokenofin
ConfUcianismalsoflowsfromouroriginalnature;
thus,itiscalledthesincereandhonestmindSincer-
ityistlIetruemind,fOritHowsfromtbesinceremind
Itiswisdom;itistruelearning.TberefOre’learnedand
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}IanavengefUlbeart’Why?Theyhaveprovided
uswithinvaluableassistancethatcanbelpusreflect
andcorrectourmistakesimmediatelyifwedohave
thesefaults’orguardagainsttl1emifwedonot.Ifwe
arenotatfault,donotblamethesepeople;insteadbe
encouragedtomakefUrtlIerimprovements.Sudl1ana
adoptedthismethodwl1envisitinghisfifty-tllreeadvi-
sorstocorrectallofhisshortcomingsandtoeventu-
allybecomeaBuddba·
l86
Thefifty-tlIreevisitsareexamplesoftrainingthe
叩 }
withcircumstancesandotlIersinourdailylives.Eve-
rythingandeveryoneprovidesuswithtlIemeansto
contemplate.NomatterwbotlIeindividualsare>we
shouldregardtl1emasourteachers‘Weshouldregard
whattheyteaclIusaslessonstaughtbyBuddhasand
Bodhisattvas.Wewanttoearnestlyreflect’learn’and
practice.Thereisonlyonestudent-me.Everyone
elseismyteacl]er,myadvisor,aBuddlIaandaBodl1i-
sattva.Theydonothavefaults’onlyIdo.Tbisisl]ow
SudlIanabecameaBuddba.
  陋
didnotneedtowaituntilafuturelifetimetobecomea
Buddha’Hebecameoneinhiscurrentexistence!He
beganasanordinarypersonandcontinuedtopractice
untill1ereacbedsupremeperfectenligl1tenmentin
onelifetime·Ifwecanacquirethisabilityandmethod,
thenwetooareassuredofbecomingaBuddhainthis
body,intl1islifetime.
HowdidSudlIanacultivatePHowdowecultivate?
First)donotblameanyoneoranytl1ing.Blameonly
ourselves.Ifotherpeoplearedisagreeabletome,itis
becausemylKarmicobstacleshavesurfacedAllother
peopleareBuddhasandBodhisattvaswithouttlIe
slightestfaults.WhateverIseethatincursmydislike
ismykarmicobstacle,myfault.
AsthesixthPatriarcbofZen’MasterHuinengsaid,
‘‘ItisourshortcomingifweseethefaultsofotlIers,as
l87
wewillregressalso·)>Whenwemindthefaultsof
otbers,ourkarmicobstacleswillsurfaceandwewill
regress·MasterHuinengalsosaidtlIatatruepracti-
tionerdoesnotseethefaultsofothers.Sudhanawasa
truepractitioner.Hedidnotseethefaultsofothers,
  廿
tocorrecthisown’muclIlesshavingtl1etimetofind
thefaultsofotl1ers.Hesaweveryoneasavirtuous
person’asaBodhisattvaandBuddha.Inthisway,he
himselfbecameaBodl>isattva)aBuddba’Ifwestill
seethefaultsofothers,itisourfault’ourkarmic
obstaclematerializing.IntheeyesofaBuddl1a,every-
oneisaBuddha.Intheeyesofordinarybeings,even
BuddhasandBodhisattvasareordinarybeings.Tl1us,
仕  
Criticismcanactuallybeagoodthing.Itisnoteasy
fOrustodiscoverourfaultsevenwhenwetryto.
】 缸
saveusagreatdealoftrouble.T}1erefOre,weshould
beverygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)scriticism,astl1is
isourtraininggroundtorefineourcharacterandto
fUlfillourgoals.Theyhavecometohelpus>tobeour
benevolentadvisors.Ifwecanacceptthingsinthis
way,wewillseethatthereisnothingtobeangryor
complainabout·HowcanwebeangryPHowcanwe
notacceptcriticism?Howcanwegiverisetotheheart
ofrevenge?Thisisaseriousoffense!Tbeyareour
benefactorsandyetwewanttorepaytlIemwitl1repri-
sals!
l88
WhentheChinesespeakoffilialpiety,wethinkof
EmperorS}Iun,39whoisknownasamodeloffilial
piety·HisprofOundfilialpietywasabletomove
heavenandearthWhohelpedhimtoachievethis?
﹂   ﹚
Shun>sfatl1erremarriedWhenhisstepmothermis-
treatedhim’hisfathersidedwithher·Then’years
laterafter}Iisbalf-brothergrcwup,heInistreated
S}IunaswellandthetlIreeeventriedtokillhim!
Butthroughitall,Shundidnotchangehisgentle
heart’butconstantlyquestionedwhylIecouldnot
makehisparentsandbrotlIerlIappy.Heregardedtheir
actionsashisownfaultfOrlIedidnotseethoseof
ot}Iers.EverydaybereflectedonlIisshortcomings,on
howtoregretandcorrectthem.Intheend,hefinally
inHuencedandrefOrmedhiswholefamily.Hedidnot
trytorunawayfromlIomeorthinkofrevenge.When
EmperorYaolearnedofShun,hechosehimashis
successorandmarriedhistwodauglIterstohim.Forif
Shuncouldinfluencehisfamily’thensurelyhecould
influencetlIewholecountry.
Intbesutras,wereadofEnduranceCelestialBe-
ing·Wl1ohelpedl1imtoattainachievement?Kaliraja.
BuddhaShalWamunispokeofthisexamplebrieflyin
∕ 白  
℃ / ﹨ 阮 「 『 巴 刀 ﹝ ﹣
ingaself-indulgentunprincipledtyrant.Thecelestial
beingwascultivatingonamountainwbenfOrno
reason,KalirajalosthistemperandputtlIecelestial
l89
beingtodeathbydismemberment·
EnduranceCelestialBeingdidnotlIavetheslight-
esttraceofhatred.Instead’heperfectedtbeParamita
ofPatience.Hedidnotviewanypersonormatteras
evilTrytoimaginethelevelofpurityofmindthatlIe
l1adattainedWbatdowelearnfTompracticingBud-
dl1ism?Theimportanceofattainingpurityofmind
throughendurance.
Peoplemightsaythatweareinsensitiveifwedo
notdifferentiategoodfrombadInfact)itisnotthat
wedonotunderstandwhatishappeningaroundus.
Wedo.Understandingtl>elawofcausalityenablesour
heartstobepureandwitboutanyattacl1mentsor
discriminatorythougbts·AsforEnduranceCelestial
Being,l1ismindwaspurebecausehe}IadfOundtl1e
truthButbecausesentientbeingsl1aveafflictions,it
叩  
progressionofideas·
WeunderstandthatthefOurattachmentsofself,
others,phenomena,andtimearenotreal;tl1atevery-
tbingisequal)withouttbeslightestdifference.There-
fOre’inthisstate,differentiationandnon-
differentiationaretl1esamebecausetl1ereisnodual-
ity-everythingisone.Wbenwedifferentiate’wedo
notdosofOrourselvesbutasametlIodtohelpotl1ers.
SincesentientbeingshavenotyetfOundtl1eirtrue
nature,weteachthemtoendtheirerroneousways
andcultivategooddeeds.Whenwel]aveuncovered
ourtruenature,tlIerewillbenoerroneouswaystobe
l90
endedandnogooddeedstobecultivated’fOrour
mindswillbeinastateofpurityandequality-the
OneTrueDharmaRealm-t}Iestateofnon-cultivation
andnon-attainment‘Withinsuc}Istates,westil>do
whateverisneededfOrcultivationandattainment.
But,wedonotattachtoeitlIerextremeofemptiness
orexistence.
Ifweuncoverourtruenature,orpurityandequal-
ity,butdonotpractice,thenwewillfallintotheex-
tremeofemptiness·Ifweareattachedtotheappear-
anceofmattersanddonotthoroughlyunderstandthe
principle,donotseeintoouroriginalnature,tbenwe
fallintot}Ieextremeofexistence.Weshouldnotat-
tachtoemptinessortoexistence.

shouldconcentratethesixsensesonuninterrupted
puretl1oughts.Withconcentrationoft}Iesixsenses’
洫  
uninterruptedpurethoughts’wewillnotfallintotlIe
extremeofemptiness‘Inthisway,ourmindsarepure
andnondiscriminatory)witheverythinginaccordance
withthetruenature’Wechant(‘AmituofO”continu-
ously,withoutinterruptiondayandnight,andwitbout
attacl1ingtoeitl1erexistenceoremptiness.
Likewise)inthefaceofslander,wesl>ould
maintaintlIemindofstillness.AlthouglItl1e
slanderousrumorsandtalebearingspread
likeabugefire’likeatorch,tbeywilleven-
>9l
tuallyburntbemselvesout.
TlIistellsushowtobehavewhenothersinsultand
slanderus.Ifweremaincalmandunaffected)every-
thingwillnaturallypass.WlIenotlIersverballyabuse
us,wedonotneedtorespondinldnd.WlIenthey
curseus,weneednotsayanythingAfterafewhours)
theywillgettiredandstopThisisaveryeffective
methodtohandletlIistypeofsituation.
】 仕 ﹣
agerstudyinginschoolAtthattime’Iwasverycaus-
ticlikeLiaofan.Ilovedtoridiculepeopleandplay
tricksontl1em.However>thatclassmatebecamemy
goodadvisor’IwasarroganttowardslIimandeven
。   】
kind.ThiscontinuedfOranentireyearandintheend,
hegottl1rougl1tome.Tl1ispersonwastrulyamazing!
Hedidnotreturnonebloworoneinsult·Ilearned
tl1isskillfromhimandl1aveuseditmyentirelife’

helpaccumulategoodfOrtune)fOraveragepeoplewill
praiseus,sayingthatwearetrulygoodpractitioners!If
itwasnotfOrthosepeopleinsultingandslanderingus,
wewouldnotl1avetl>eopportunitytopracticeendur-
ance.T}Ieybavecometohelpustosucceedinour
practice.Whywouldwerefusetheirhelp?Ifsomeone
treatsuslikethisatworkandwecaninteractwith
themwithapuremind,oursuperVsorswillappreciate
us’ourco-workerswillrespectus,andouropportuni-
l92
tiesfOrpromotionwillimprove.Thispersonhas
greatlybenefitedus·HowcanwerefUsesuclIhelp?
WhenIwasinschool,iftwostudentsquarreled>
theteacl1erwouldusuallypunishbotlIbyhavingthem
lmeelontl1egroundWefeltthatthiswassounfair
andwouldthink’<<Iwasobviouslyright’wl1ydidthe
teacheralsopunishme?’,Lateron,IrealizedtlIatin
anyargumentorfight,bothpartiesareatfaultandare
atthesamelevel.Ifoneisbigl1andtheotherislow,
thentheargumentwouldnothavetakenplace.For
example,anadultwouldnotfig}Itwithababy’Itwas
verylogical.Now,whenweareinsultedorslandered,
wecantellwhetberthepractitioner)slevelofcultiva-
tionislIigborlow.
Wheninsultedorslandered,weneedtoremember
thattheseindividualsarebenefactorswl1ocometo
giveusagift.WecannotreturnthiskindnesswitlI
ingratitude.First,tbeyhavecometotestourlevelof
cultivation.Second,wewillaccumulategoodfOrtune
andareabouttogainthepraiseandrespectofothers.
TherefOre’thesebenefactorsarenotbadpeople,but
areactuallygoodfriendswhomwedonotwantto
wronglyaccuse.
Ifwebecomeangryandtrytodefendour-
selveswhenslandered,itwouldbeliketl1e
springsilkwormspinningitsowncocoonand
suffOcatingitself.Becomingangrydoesnot
benefitus;it}Iarmsus.
l93
Tl1isappliestoworldlyteaclIingsaswellastoBud-
dl>ism·Thefirstofthetwoessentialpracticesoftl1e
SixParamitasofBodlIisattvasisGiving.Tl1isisto
cultivategoodfOrtune.Wecannotlivewithoutgood
fOrtuneandthisiseventruerfOrBuddhas·Wecallthe
Buddha<<RespectedOnewithPerfectWisdomand
GoodFortune.))HiswisdomandgoodfOrtuneare
unsurpassedItverynaturalthatweseekthesealso)as
ourtruenatureoriginallycontainedinfinitewisdom
andgoodfOrtune.
Aswel>avesaid’therearethreekindsofgiving:
wealtl1,teacbing’andfearlessness.Practicingthese
willresultinl1avingwhateveryoneseeks:wealtb’
wisdom,andl1ealthylonglivesrespectively.Byplant-
inggoodcauses’weareassuredofl1arvestinggood
results·
Tl1esecondessentialpracticeistheParamitaofPa-
tience,wl1ichenablesustoretainourgoodfOrtune.If
wepracticegivingandgaingoodfOrtune,butdonot
practicethissecondParamita,wewillloseourgood
◎   / 肋 【 ‘ 《
attainedthroughpatience·))Weneedtocultivatepa-
tiencetosafeguardourachievements’worldlyand
Buddhist.
Weoftenreadinthesutrasoftl1efireburningour
fOrestofmerits.Wbatisthisfire?Itisangerandha-
tredW}1enweloseourtempers,weloseourmeritsas
well.Ifyouwanttolmow}1owmuchmerityouhave,
tl1inkofthelasttimeyoubecameangry.Withone

angrythought’tlIefireburnsourfOrestofmerits.
IfPureLandpractitionersweretobecomeangryat
theirlastmomentsoflife,allwouldbelost!Thisis
whytl1eBuddhataughtusnottotouchthebodyof
thedeceasedwithineighthoursofpassingaway’Al-
thougl1thepersonhasbreatbedhisorherlastbreath,
thespirithasnotleftthebody.Totoucl1thedeceased
wouldcausegreatpainandpossiblyanger.IftlIey
weretobecomeangryatthiscriticalmoment,allof
theirmeritswouldbelost.Thus,meritsareextremely
difficulttoaccumulatefOrtheycanbelostatany
time·OurgoodfOrtuneandvirtueslIowever,willre-
InaIn·
WlIatismerit?Itispurityofmind,concentration’
andwisdom·Thinkaboutit’ifweloseourtempers,
howcanwemaintainourconcentrationandwisdom?
Impossible.AsfOrgoodfOrtune)itisourwealthand
intelligence.WlIenourmindattainsConstantMind-
fulnessofBuddhaAmitabhaorOneMindUndis-
turbed’wecanaccumulatemeritsandvirtues.But
withjustoneoutburstoftemper’allislost:nomore
ConstantMindfulnessofBuddlIaAmitabl1a,much
lessOneMindUndisturbedTherefOre’weneedto
remainvigilantsoasnottoloseourmerits.
Inourcultivationonthepathtoawakening,our
karmiccreditorswilloftentrytocreatetrouble.WlW?
Tl1eylIaveanoverwlIelmingneedfOrrevenge.They
seethatweareabouttosucceedinourcultivationand
lmowtbatoncewehavesucceeded,tlIeywillnolonger
l95
havetlIeopportunityfOrrevenge·Thus)theywilldoall
tbeycantobIockourprogress.AndtlIewaytheydo
tbisisbymakingusburnourfOrestofmerits.But,if
wearedeterminednottohaveourmeritsdestroyed,
thennoexternalfOrcecandoso.
Sometimes,whenwefindourselvesinunpleasant
circumstancesorhavepersonalproblems,webecome
unbappyandloseourtempers.Oncewedothis,our
meritsareburnt.Whatorwhomakesussoun}Iappy
andangry?Probablyallthoseunfavorableconditions,
enemies,andpeoplestirringuptrouble.TlIisisan
exampleof‘‘Thespeaker}Iadnosuchintention,tlIe
listenerinterpretedittobeso.),Perbapsthespeaker
hadnointentiontoupsetus,butweinterpretedwhat
wassaidtobedeliberateandfeelmiserable.Wemay
burstoutinangerorwemaymanagesomecontrol
andkeepitinside.EitlIerway)ourmeritsaregone.
Whywouldallofourmeritsbedestroyedwithjust
alittleanger?Becausewehavelostourpurityofmind
TherefOre)alltheteacbingsandattainmentsarebased
onpatienceanddeepconcentration.TlIeyarenotonly
thekeytoourcultivationintranscendingsamsara,but
thekeytoworldlymattersaswell.“Toremainun-
movedbyslander)>isdeepconcentrationandistbe
revelationofwisdom.Tobecomeangryduetoslander
isamanifestationofkarmicobstacles.Wecanchoose
wlIetlIertol1aveourwisdomrevealedorourMrmic
obstaclesmaterialize.
AretheseencountersgoodfOrus?Forpractitioners,
l96
yes!Itisgoodtrainingtohavesomeoneconstantly
causingtroublefOrusandtonotbavethingsgoingour
way.Withouttl1eseadversities’bowwouldweachieve
concentration?Adverseconditionsandaffinitiespro-
videuswitlIjusttlIerightopportunitiestodiscipline
ourselvesandtopracticetheParamitaofPatience.We
cannotbethankfulenougbfOrtheseopportunities,
muclIlesstocomplainaboutthemorgetangry.
Intl1epast,themethodusedinhelpingapersonto
learndisciplinewastoteachlIimorhertopracticet}Ie
ParamitaofPatience.TlIosewhowerebelievedtobe
potentialDharmarepositorieswouldbetestedTlIey
wouldbepickedonateveryopportunityandtreated
unpleasantlyasiftheyweredislikedTlIiswastoseeif
tl1eywereabletoremainpatientandtoendurethe
harassment.Iftheywereunabletoendureandleft,so
beit.Ifwecannotendureorbepatient,thenwecan-
notacl1ieveattainment.Evenifweareexceptionalin
allotherareas)ifwedonothavethepatiencetoen-
dure’ourac}Iievementswillbelimited
乃 佑 / 凸 化 咒 ㎡ 乞   ’
oldmonkwlIoseverelymistreatedoneparticularstu-
dent.Heconstantlyreproachedandverballyabused
thestudentateveryopportunity.Onetime,whenthe
studentwaswasbingbisfeet,bepoureddirtywaterall
overhim,buttlIestudentstillwouldnotleavehis
master’Later,theoldmonkreallygotangry’ldcked
himout,andrefusedtoallowhimtocomeback!Tl1e
studenthadnoalternative·Unabletostaynearhis
l97
master,hecampedoutatadistanthallwayofthe
temple.Wbentheoldmonklectured’tbestudent
wouldl1idebimselfoutsidethewindowandlistento
lIismaster’
Oneyearlater,itwastimefOrtheoldmonktopass
ontl1eteaclIings,toretireandchooseanewabbotto
takelIisplace.Nooneknewwhomhewouldchoose.
Theoldmonkaskedthosewhowerepresenttobring
inthestudentwhowaslisteningoutsidethewindow
sothathecouldpassontbeteachingsandpositionto
tlIatstudent.OnlythendideverybodyrealizetlIatfOr
alltlIoseyears,theoldmonkhadactuallybeentrain-
ingl1issuccessor!
Ifwewanttogiveupeverytimeweencountersome
smallunpleasantness,andareunwillingtobepatient
andacceptthetorment,tbenwewillnotachieve
anytlIing,regardlessofhowoutstandingwemaybein
otl1erareas.TlIekeytosuccessorfailureliesinpa-
tience’Ifwecanendure,wewillaclIievedeepconcen-
tration.Wewillthenuncoverouttruewisdomandbe
nolongeraffectedbyoutexternalconditions.
Sometimesweseenewpeoplewithexcellentquali-
tiesstayingataBuddlIistcenter.Butafterashort
time,t}1eyleave.Theresidentswouldsmile>tl1inking
tlIatitdoesnotmatter.IfpeoplelaclKtlIepatienceto
endure,tl1eycannotachieve.Butwoulditmatter
muchwl1etheroneperson)wlIocouldnotachieve,
weretostay?Thosewboares}Iortsigl1tedwouldcon-
siderthelossofsucbatalentedpersonasregrettable·
l98
But,intheend>itisnotso.Atrulytalentedpersonis
onewhohasattaineddeepconcentrationandwisdom
fOronlywiththesewillwebeabletopassonthewis-
domoftbeBuddlIas,andthuS,enableBuddlIismto
remaininthisworldWithoutendurance,wewillnot
attaindeepconcentrationandwithoutdeepconcen-
tration’wewillnotattainwisdom.
WitlIwisdom,wewillrecognizeatruecultivation
centerwithgoodteacherswlIocanhelpusonthepath
toenlightenment.Thennomatterhowtheymaymis-
treatus’wewillendureandnotleaveuntilwelearn
everything·Thisist}IewaytotrulylearntlIeteachings·
Ifweareunabletoenduretheleastdisagreeablecir-
cumstanceandjustwalkout)thenweareuselessand
itwillbepointlesstokeepus’
  廿
providesawonderfUlwaytoendslanderanddisputes’
Wesimplyignoretl1em.Event}1eworstwillfade.
W}Ienslandered’donotdisputeordebateit,orwewill
bindourselvesfUrther.Thus,itissaidthatnobenefit
isderivedfromgettingangry’onlyharm.
Atwork’asuperiorwillnotgiveanimportantjobor
apromotiontosomeonewboiseasilyangeredUsu-
ally’whenassessingasubordinate,tlIesuperiorwill
observethewaythepersoninteractswithothersdaily
todecidewlIetherthispersonisapromisingemployee
andworthtraining.Uponobservingthatweareeasily
angered,theywilllmowthatwearenotgoodcandi-
datesbecauseourangerwillonlycausedifficulties.
l99
Tl1ereareotlIerfaultsandoffenseswecan
cl1ange.Ifweunderstandtheprinciplebe-
hindtl1eneedfOrrefbrm,wewillnotrepeat
ourmistakes‘
T}1esearetlIemainprinciplesunderlyingourability
tochange·MahayanaBuddhistsadoptthismethod’as
itisfastertoreachachievementwitl1it.Tl>eravadans
tendtochangetl1emselvesthrougl1belIavior)wlIicbis
aldntoslowlyremovingatreebypluckingoffeachleaf
andbranchTorefOrminthiswayisdifficultbecause
wewillhavetocorrecteachfaultonebyonewl1ichis
verypainstaldngandtimeconsuming.Itismuchwiser
tochangetlIroughreasoningthantl1rougl1actionsfOr
themindistherootfTomwl1iclIeverythingarises·
ChangingfTomtheHeartandMind
  ‘ 《 廿 ﹚ ﹚
Althoughwehavethousandsofdifferent
仕 }
mind.
Positiveandnegativekarmaaswellastheentire
仕 】
陶 左 ﹙ 《
DbarmarealmsansesfromthemindNatureises-
senceandessenceistlIemind.))HowdoMahayana
BodhisattvasentertlIel1ellrealmstohelptl1ebeings
200
there?TlIeseenlightenedbeingsdosobyunderstand-
廿
廿 唔   』
througlItlIedoorsofthebells,oneneedstounder-
standthateveryt}1ingarisesfromt}1emindW}1atis
Hell?Acreationofourminds’Understandingthis,we
willlearntl1attlIerearenogatestol1ell-wecancome
andgofreely!
Wecancorrectourfaultsbybeginningtochange
fromourmindsandpracticinggooddeeds.Ifweprac-
ticefromourminds,tl1enevenasmallgooddeedsuch
asunreservedlygiVngapennytoapersoninneed
wouldbeofinfinitemeritsandvirtues.WlIy?Tbis
廿
nature,thusthebroadmindednessisboundless.The
廿
ourmindsandaccordswithourtruenature·However,
廿 ﹚
isasmallmeritfOritdidnotarisefTomourtruena-

Howtl1endowerefOrmourselvesfromourminds?
Wesincerelycultivatingbywantingtocorrectour
offenses,practicinggoodness’andrefTainingfrom
wrongdoings.Whenwecorrectfromourminds,tl1ere
isnosuclItl1ingasshouldorshouldnot.RefOrming
ourselvesbyreasoningandrealizingtheprincipleis
conditional.However)whenwerefOrmfromtl1emind’
itisunconditional,pure’andsincere.Inthisway,
givingrisetoeventbeslightestofldndtl1oughtswill
20l
beinharmonywitbourtruenature.KnowingtlIat
everytl1ingarisesfromthemind,weneedtocorrect
ourfaultsbybeginningfromtlIemind
Ifmyheartisstillofthoughts’tlIenactions
willnotariseandfaultscanbeavoided.
Thisisanunsurpassedprinciple.Purityofmind
cansuppressthenegativekarmaaccumulatedover
infinitepasteons·Howcanweattainpurityofmind,
stillnessofthouglIt?Wecandosothroug}Itheun-
movedmindtlIatisindeepconcentration.TlIisis
called‘<OneMindUndisturbed”inthemetl1odof
chantingmindfullytheBuddba,sname.Oncewe
attainthisstate)allofournegativekarmawillbesup-
pressed.However,whenanewwanderingthought
arises,ournegativekarmawillagainmaterialize.
Forexample,ifweswitchoffthetelevision,thereis
nolongerapicturebutablankscreen.WlIenweturn
onthetelevisionagain,thepicturereappears.Tl1e
karmicphenomenastoredint}1emindsofsentient
beingsarethesame.Whenourmindsareindeep
concentrationandcalm’noneoftbekarmicphenom-
enawillmanifest.Whenourmindsgiverisetowan-
deringtl1oughts)thekarmicobstacleswillagainmate-
rialize.Understandingthis,wewillnurturepurityof
mind,tbestateofnotgivingrisetoasinglewandering
thought.AsMasterHuinengsaid,“Thetruemind
originallycontainsnothingandcollectsnodust·))
Karmicobstaclesexistintheillusorymind,notintlIe
202
truemindThetruemindhasalwaysbeenpure.
Anexampleiswearingeyeglasses·Originally,our
eyeswerepure’Whenourglassesarecoveredwith
dust,ourvisionisblurredThereisnot}Iingwrong
withoureyes;theprobIemisontheglasses.Where
areourkarmicobstacles?Theyarethedust>thecon-
      。  
oureyes.Wheneverwecandowithoutglassesand
eradicatethecontamination,wewillhavepurevision
toseeclearly.Tbisist}Iesameasuncoveringourtrue
naturetobecomeBuddhas‘Ifwewearglasses,the
barrierremains·Thenweareordinarypeople’sentient
beings·Oncewecanridourselvesoftheseobstacles,‘
weareBuddhas.
W}Iatldndofmindareweusingnow?T}Iedeluded
mind,notthetruemindThereisnohindranceinthe
truemindWiththedeludedmind,wbenwetrytosee
sometlIingwithournakedeyes,wecannotseeit
clearly.ItislikelookingthrouglIdistortedglasses,
seeingtbeexternalenvironmentthrouglIalayerof
delusion.ThisdelusionistbeEightConsciousnesses
andfifty-onemindobjects;theglasseshavebeen
heavilycontaminated.Wetheninteractwitl1theex-
ternalenvironmentthroughtheseconsciousnessesand
mindobjects.TherefOre’theenVronmentlIaschanged
totl1atoftheSixDusts·Ifwedonotapplythesecon-
  坷  
envIronment,thenwedonotseetheenvIronmentof
tl1eSixDustsbuttlIatofthetruenature’
203
Tbebigproblemisthatwecannotridourselvesof
tbesedistortedeyeglassesthataretheEiglItCon-
sciousnessesandfifty-onemindobjects.TlIegoalof
ourpracticeistoteachustoletgooftheseandto
transfOrmconsciousnessintowisdom.Wisdomisthe
fUnctioningoftbetruenature.Consciousnessistl1e
functioningofthedeludedmind’thefunctioningof
theEigbtConsciousnessesandfifty-onemindobjects.
Arhats)PratyekabuddlIas,andTheravadaBodhisatt-
vasstillusetlleseconsciousnessesandmindobjects.
Theyhaveyettoclarifytheirtruenaturetobecome
Budd}Ias.TheylmowlIowtoregretthroughactions
andthroughunderstandingtheprinciples.Buttheydo
廿  
ImowwlIeretheirmindsare‘
WelearnintheStJmI>gamaStJnHthatinthebegin-
ningoftbeSurangamaassembly’BuddbaShakyamuni
askedVenerableAnanda,w}Iowasveryintelligent,
wberehismindwas.AnandacouldnotfinditfOrhe
didnotlmowwbatorwbereitwas.Howcanweregret
廿 ﹜
mindsare?
MahayanaBodhisattvaswhohavebeguntouncover

mindWewillbetterunderstandoncewestudythe
佃 陋 》
fifty-tbreegoodspiritualteachers.HowdidSudhana
practice?Thesefifty-tbreespiritualteachersrepresent
Bodl1isattvasofPerfectTeacbingfromtl1elevelof
20q
FirstDwellingtothehigbest’thelevelofEqual-
enligbtenment.Theymanifestedasyoungandold’and
asmenandwomenfromallwalksoflife.
Howdidthefifty-threespiritualteaclIerscultivate?
ThegenuinepracticeofBuddhismiscomprisedof
principles’examples,andpracticalapplicationsfOrus
tofOllow.AlthouglIwecannotstudythecomplete
  吧 田 陋 ﹜ ‘ ﹙
Bodhisattva,sConductandVows’,fromtlIepeerless
fOrty-chapterversionisveryimportant·Weneedto
lmowl1owtoapplytl1ismostoutstandingMal1ayana
teaclIingsotlIatasmodernpeople,wecanincorporate
itintoourdailylives.Thisisanexcellentsutrafor
sincerecultivationandisworthpropagation’
FollowingtlIisprinciple,ancientvirtuouspeople
taughtushowtogiverisetotbeBodhiMindandbe
constantlymindfi1lofBudd}IaAmitabl1a.Single-
mindedlychanting‘‘AmituofO>)dayandnig}Itwill
reduceallofourwanderingthoughtsintoonetlIought
ofAmituofO.IsAmituofOgoodorbad?NeitlIer.ItlIas
nothingtodowiththedualityofgoodandbadfOrit
accordswitl1ourtruenature.Thedualityofgoodand
badonlyexistsinourconsciousminds,notinourtrue
minds.WitlIprolongedpractice’wewillnaturally
attainenligl1tenmentifweareconstantlymindfulof
AmituofO.Amongeighty-fOurthousandmetl1ods,tl1is
methodisunsurpassed
IfwecannotattainSupremePerfectEnlightenment
duetoourinsufficienteffOrts>itisallrigl1taslongas
205
wecangototl1ePureLandandmeetBuddhaAmi-
tabl1afOrthenwewilluncoverourtruenature.This
convenientandsuitablemethodcannotbefOundin
anyotlIerteaching.Inothers,ifwedonotachieve
enlightenment’wewillnotbeconsideredashaving
achievedattainment.
WhenwepracticemindfulnessofBuddlIaAmi-
tablIa,itisnotnecessaryfOrustobeabletoseetl1e
truenature.AslongaswecanseeBuddl1aAmitabha’
wewilll1aveacl1ievedattainment.Allournegative
karmawillbesuppressedwbenwesincerelyandsin-
gle-mindedlychant·HowcanAmituofOhaveanynega-
tivelKarma?Itistrueandperfectgoodness,notthatof
goodorbadfOrsuchgoodnessisrelative.Truegood-
nesshasnodualityandistheabsolutegreatgoodness.
Practitionersdonothavetotrytoeradicate
faultssuchastbedesireforfame)sex,profit,
oranger)onebyone.
Tl1isisjusttogiveussomeexamples.Webavemil-
lionsoffaults;butwedonothavetofindeacbofthem
onebyone.Practitionersspecializeinpreceptkeeping
byreflectingonwhatwentwrongandabouttbemany
mistakestl1eycommiteveryday.TlIeycarefullyloolK
backandtbencorrectthemonebyone.Tl1eynotonly
reflectupontheirbehaviordaily’butmayalsokeepa
recordoftheirmeritsandfaults.
Thismethodofrecordkeepingcanworkwellfor
some.Eacl1ofusbasadifferentpersonalityrelatedto
206
our}Iabitsaccumulatedoverinnumerablelifetimes.
Mahayanapractitionersdonotpracticetbiswaywhile
TheravadapractitionersareveryfOndoft}1ismetlIod
廿   ﹣
entcharacters;thus>differentprinciplesandmetlIods
areused
ManypractitionersinCbina’<andnorthernAsia}
whopracticeMahayanaBuddhismrefTainfrom
wrongdoingsandperfOrmactsofkindnessthrough
reasoningandawakenedhearts.However,inSouth
Asia’suclIasThailandandSriLanka)mostpractitio-
nersareTheravadaBuddhistsandwhiletbeylikewise
廿
cbangetbroughbehavior’
Allweneedisasincerehearttopractice
gooddeeds’Aslongasourheartsarevirtu-
ousandkind)thennaturaIlyourmindswill
nothaveanyimproperthoughts.
TlIisisanexcellent,simple)andclearmethod
However>ifwedonothavetruewisdom’westillcan-
notachievethisstate.Why?Becauseofdoubts.We
wonderlIowitispossibleforustoeradicateallt}Ie
offensestbatwehavecommittedWedoubt’wedo
notbelieve’wecannotaccept.WlIenweareadvisedto
concentrateourmindonBuddhaAmitabbaandseek
rebirthintotl]eWesternPureLand,wesuspectthat
withsomanywrongdoings,wecannotpossiblygoto
tbePureLandWewouldbeashamedtoseeBuddba
207
Amitabha!
Somedonotevendaretopaytheirrespectstol1is
》 】 ﹂
fensestoonumerousandheavy.Itwouldbeembar-
rassingtoseetheBuddha!Ifwethinkthisway,thenit
wouldbebettertoregretandrefOrmtlIroughbel1avior
fOratleastifwediscoveredandcorrectedonefault’
ourmindswouldbemoresettled
ThosewbocanacceptthePureLandmetl1odpos-
sessgreatrootsofgoodness’goodfOrtune,andgood
causesandconditions.Ifwedidnotalreadyl1avetl1e
bestrootnature)itwouldbeimpossiblefOrustoac-
cepttbeBuddhaMindfi1lnessCl1antingmetlIod.
Tbose’whocanacceptitandpracticeearnestly,can
neutralizethetransgressionsaccumulatedoverinfinite
lifetimeswithtlIemeritsoftheirchanting.Tl1ePure
LandisagatheringplacefOrtlIeutmostvirtuous

thisassemblyandtheequalofsuchvirtuouspeopleas
theBodbisattvasSamantabl1adra,Manjusri,Avalo-
kiteslIvara,andMahasthamaprapta.
AsMr·HuangNianzusaidinhiscommentaryon
】 丑 它 / ’  
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
  。
T}IePureLandmethodisunsurpassedWeareun-
believablyfOrtunatetohaveencounteredit;buttbisis

ofgoodness>goodfortunes,andgoodcausesandcon-
ditionsthatwehaveaccumu}atedoverinfiniteeons.
TopracticegooddeedsVthonesinceremind
meanstohaveanabsoluteproperandvirtuous
thoughtasthefirstthought.Therearenowandering
secondthoughts.Tocbant‘(AmituofO,’,istosingle-
mindedlypracticeConstantMindfUInessofBuddha
AmitabbaandwholebeartedlyseekrebirthintotlIe
PureLandThemostmarvelouswaytorefOrmand
reduceourkarmicobstaclesistohavenowandering
t}Ioughts’ThisdoesnotmeantonotlIaveanyproper
thoughts.Withoutproperthoughts,webecomeigno-
rant·Wanderingthougl]tsarediscriminatorythoughts
andattaclIments‘Itisnoteasyforaveragepeopleto
ac}Iievethestateofnowanderingthought.However,
everyonecanachievethisbypracticingtheBuddba
MindfUlnessChantingmethod
W}Iatdoesproperthoughtarisingmean?ItisAmi-
tuofO:themosttruthfUlandultimatepropertlIought‘
Theonlyimportantissueinourlifeistoconstantly
maintainpropertboughts,nottoclingtodeviatedor
Z09
erroneousones,andtobeconstantIymindfulofBud-
dhaAmitabhadayandnigbt,withoutinterruption.If
wecancontinueour(mltivationintbisway,thenin
tbreemonthswewillreceivewonderfulresults.Ifwe
canconstantlymaintainmindfUlnessofBuddbaAmi-
tabha)withthisonetboughtweareassuredofreduc-
ingourwanderingdiscriminatorythoughts.
ItisimpossibleforustonotlIaveanywandering
‘ 廿  
ofBuddhaAmitablIacanoccupyusthemost;suchas
sixtypercentofourthougbtsofBuddhaAmitabha
withonlyfOrtypercentthatarewandering·Ifweare
notconstantlymindfUlofBuddhaAmitabha,thenour
mindswillbefilledwithwanderingthougl1ts.
IfwecancontinuethispracticefOrthreemontl1s’
increasingtlIetboughtsofBuddhaAmitabhaand
decreasingourwanderingtboughts,wewillbeatease
andfTeeinspirit.Ourmindswillbecomemoreserene
廿
thatourkarmicobstacleslIavebeenreduced.IntlIe
past)ourmindswerefilledwithafflictionsandwor-
ries,andourfutureslookeddarkNowwecanbe
l1appy,confident’andwiseasourlivesbecomeinter-
esting>andourfiIturesbecomebrigl1t.
AswecontinueourcbantingfOrhalfayear’wewill
receiveevenbetterresults,whichinturnwillincrease
ourconfidenceanddetermination.Anyonewhoreally
wantstogotothePureLandwillfindtbatitisachiev-
ableafterthreeyearsofcultivationofConstantMind-
2l0
fulnessofBuddlIaAmitabha.Numerouspeoplehave
achievedthis.
TlIerearethosewhobavesaidthattheycannot
        廿   }  
willdieinthreeyears.Wbatcanwesay?Honestly
speaking,manypeopledarenotpracticethismethod
fOrtheyarestillclingingtothisworld,unwillingto
giveupreincarnationinsamsara.Thesepeopleare
shortsightedTheydonotknowthatthelIappinessand
en}oymentofthePureLandarepeerless;thattbe
humanandheavenlyrealmsandevenallotherBud-
dl1alandsare.incomparable‘SuchawonderfUlplace
buttheydonotwanttogo?Theyprefertostay}Iere
andcontinuetosuffer’WhatcanIsay?
Peoplewithtrueaspirationandprofoundinsight
needtolmowthatseekingrebirthintothePureLand
wholelIeartedlyandmeetingBuddbaAmitabhaistbe
perfectandcompleteaccomplishmentoflife.We
sl1ouldletgoofattachmentstoworldlyactivities,botlI
physicalandmental,andridourselvesofdifferentiat-
ingtl1ougbts.TlIereisnot}Iingwort}Iyofworryand
nothingwortlIyofgreedWeaccordwithconditions
anddonotseekaffinitiesinourdailylives·HowlIappy
  廿    
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
叮  
transcendsamsara.TlIisisfiFeedom!Thus,everyone
needstolmowthatthosewbohadsucceededintheir
practiceandleftthisworldinthreeyearshadno
Dharmaaffinities,andl1adnobodytoteachTl1ose
whocannotleavehavenoalternativebuttostay.
Aslongaswesingle-mindedlychanttbeBuddha)s
namewitlIoutdoubts,withoutintermingling,and
witlIoutinterruption,weareassuredtosucceedin
threeyears.ConsiderthestudentofMasterDixian
wl1oreliedonlyontl1echantingof<<AmituofO”andwas
ignorantofeverythingelse.Afterbecomingamonk,
t}Iemasterdidnotrequirehimtobeordained,fOrthe
masterwasworriedtl1atduetotlIestudent)sadvanced
age’hecouldnotwithstandthel1ardship<ofthelong
trainingsession>.Also,hewasuneducatedandilliter-
2l2
ate’andsoitwasnotnecessaryfOrhimtoattendthe
lectures.Hedidnotevenliveinthetempletowork
witl1tlIeotbers.Ift}IeymadefunoflIimandsl1ould
lIelosehistemper’itwouldhavebeenallverydifficult
fOrhim.
Hewasinsteadsenttotbecountrysidetolivealone
inanabandonedtemple.Forthreeyears’l1ecl1anted
‘ ‘ ﹚ ﹚ 。   ﹜
lIewoulddie.Howdidheaccomplishthis?AsLiaofan
toldhisson:‘<Aslongasourheartsarevirtuousand
kind,tlIennaturallyourmindswillnothaveanyim-
propertlIougl1ts.))Thisistheattainmentfromsin-
cerelychantingtbeBuddha,sname!
AveragepeoplecannotbecomparedtoMaster
Dixian’sstudentwhowassoonrebornintothePure
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
toremainstandingfOrthreedays’waitingfOrot}Iersto
Zl3
takecareofourfUneralarrangements?Thisistruly
ourtestimony.
TlIemethodtlIatIwouldoffertoeveryoneistosin-
gle-mindedlychant‘<AmituofO.>,Whileourbodies
remainintl1isworld,wehavenochoicebuttomakea
livingtosupportourselves.Butafterwork’wecanlet
gooft}1inkingaboutworkandbemindfUloftl1eBud-
dha.Whenwework)concentrateonworking·Once
finished,beginchanting.W}Iileatwork,whentl1ereis
nothinkingrequired,wecouldsilentlychantorplaya
cassettetolistentothecl1antingof<‘AmituofO)’wlIile
worldng.Wl1entl1inkingisrequired’wecantemporar-
ilylayasidechantingtoconcentrateonworkWhen
againthinkingisnotneeded,wecanchantorlistento
tbeBuddha>snamewl1ileworking.BuddlIaName
C}]antingistl]emajorissueinourlife!Everytbingelse
isunimportant’unworthyofconcern.Thisistheway
toregretourwrongdoingsandtorefOrmfromour
minds.Alearnedpractitionerwoulddosofromtl1e
root’fTomthebasics.
<‘DemonsdonotappearduringtlIeday.”40
Thisistheessence,thekeytoourchange·
SinceallmistakesstemfTomtheheart,we
  廿   ’
apoisonoustree’Ifwewanttoputanendto
it,weuprootitaltogethersoitcannotgrow
again.Whyexertourselvestonoavailby
pullingoutitsleavesonebyoneandcutting
2l4
ittwigbytwig?
Ananalogyofchangingthroughbehavioriscutting
downthebranchesandtbetwigsofatreeonebyone,
orpullingofftheleavesonebyone.Tochangefrom
tl1el1eartistouprootthetree.Thus>weneedtoknow
tbekeymethodtochangeourselves.
Ifeverybodycanmemorizeandupholdtheteaching
  廿
thetransgressionsaccumulatedoverinfinitepasteons
willbeabsolvedAmituof0canrefOrmallwrongdo-
ings.BysincerelyclIanting(<AmituofO’’’weperfectly
practiceallthevirtuousteachings,betheyworldlyor
Buddhist.CultivatingoneiscultivatingallCbanging
oneischangingallTrulyinconceivable!
Manypeopleareratherskepticalandhavedoubts.
Tl]eytbinktbatthismethodisnotveryreliableorthat
thereisanevenbetterone’IsmileafterlIearingthis,
placemypalmstogether’say(<AmituofO)”andamnot
swayedbytl1em.
ThebestwaytorefOrmourfaultsistbrough
cultivatingourheartsfOrpuritywillsurface
rightaway.
ThefOremostwayfOrustochangeisfromthe
heart.Ifweareabletoletgoofeverythingandcon-
tinuouslychant‘<AmituofO)>fOrthreemonthsoreven
s1xmonths’ourmindswillbepurified,andtheresults
willcomefOrthAsforpeoplelearningtolectureon
2l5
theBuddhistsutras,Ialwaysencouragethemtolearn
justonesutra.Byrecitingonesutradaily’wecan
attainpurityofmindinthreetofivemontbs·
Ifweweretostudymanysutrassimultaneously’we
wouldnotattainpurityofmindint}1esameamountof
timeandtlIusourlearningwouldbeuseless.Few
peoplerealizetbatthesolutionisspecialization.
Agenuinepractitionerwillexperienceapurermind
andfewerafflictionswithtbepassingoftime.Wewill
belessignorantandgainwisdomasourfacesglow
witlIl1ealthT}Iesearetheeffectsofgenuinepractice!
WeneedtorememberwhatMasterLianchisaid:
“Letothersbeawakenedbyalloftl1eBuddhist
Canon.)>TbebooksinthelibraryarefOrotl1ersto
read’notfOrourselves.Weofferthemsomanybooks
becausetheydonotbelieve,solettlIemreadIfthey
wanttotravelsomanyroads>letthem.
Wewilltakeadifferentroute’aspecializedshort
cut.Tl1eychangeontlIeappearanceandonlyonmi-
nordetails’Wechangefromourheartsbecause
仕   》
cantellthedifferencesinviewsandwisdombetween
thetwo.
Ifmybeartispure’Icanrecognizeandstop
animproperthoughtassoonasitarises.The
immoralideawilldisappearthemomentI
amconsciousofit.
Tl1istalksofchangingfromtheheart.Wandering
2l6
tlIougl1tsareafflictionsandkarmicobstacles.Assoon
astl1eybegintorise)wewillrecognizetbemand
clIangethemintoAmituofO.Astl1esixsensesencoun-
tertheexternalworldandawanderingthought,wlIich
maybepleasurableorunpleasant,virtuousorunvirtu-
ousarises,weimmediatelyreplaceitwithasecond
thoughtofeitherAmituofOorNamoAmituofo.Al-
thoughtbefirstthoughtiswanderinganddeluded,the
secondthoughtisAmituofO.Thisistoawaken.This
awakeningneedstobeimmediatesothereisnoroom
fOrdelusiontogrow·Thisishowwewilleffectively
uncoverourwisdom.
Ifweareabletoperseverelikethisforsixtotwelve
months>wewillattainwisdom.OureyeswillbebriglIt
andours1xsenseswillbeintelligentandsharp.We
willbeabletocompletelyunderstandeverytlIingthat
weencounter.Othersmayreadandstudyextensively
tobeabletoanalyzematters,buttheystillmaynot
reachtlIerightconclusion.Whereas)havinguncov-
eredourwisdom,wemayonlyneedtoseesometlIing
oncetoperfectlyunderstandit.Ordinarypeopledo
notl1avetlIiskindofabilityfOrthisistheabilityof
BodlIisattvas:thetruewisdomtlIeBuddhastaugl1tus
toseek
WhenwehavethehearttopropagatetlIetrue
teaclIings,tlIekeyisfOrustoharborsincerity,purity
。  
searchfOrreferencematerialsandstudylIowtolec-
ture·Wedonotwanttouseoursixthconsciousnessof
2l7
discriminationfOrwemaymisinterprettlIeBuddha’s
truemeaning.AsIlIavesaidsomanytimesbefOre,
thereisno<specific>meaningwithintlIesutras·All
theBuddhaswillprotestthattheylIavebeenwronged
ifwepondertl1emeaningswithinthesutras.T}1ere-
fore,weonlyneedtohonestlyrecitethesutrawithout
seekingoranalyzingitsmeanings.Wejustneedto
bonestlyrecitetopurifyourmindsanduncoverthe
wisdominourtruenature.
IfsomeoneasksustlIemeaningswitl1insutras,we
cantelltl1emthattlIemeaningsareinfinite.Bynot
purposelyseekingthemeanings,tlIeinfinitemeanings
willsurface;thisisarevelationofthewisdominour
truenature’Whenwelectureonthesutraintbis
manner,theflowoftl1etallKwillnaturallybecon-
ductedperfectlywhetlIeritissimpleorprofOund’
shortorlong’
Afterthelectures’whenpeopleaslKwlIatwehave
said,wereallywouldnotknow·Why?Whennoques-
tionsarise,tl1ereisnomeaning;withquestions,the
meaningemerges.Theemergenceofinfinitemeanings
istobenefitothers.HavingnomeaningistobeneHt
ourselvessothatwearecultivatingpureminds,with
nothouglItsarisingbutAmituofO.Lecturingonsutras
topropagatetbeteachingstobenefitothersnotour-
selves.Thus,thereisnoneedfOrtlIelecturertore-
memberwl1atwejustlecturedKnowingnotlIing,the
mindwillbepure.
Whenwelectureontheteachingstobenefitotl1ers’
2l8
】 它
Lk/bStJZr1abyMr.HuangNianzuandtlIreecommen-

MasterLianchiisverywellwrittenandperfect;Mas-
terOu-YipraiseditasbroadandprofOundReading
  ﹝ 肋 【
sameasreadingtl1eBuddhistCanon.MasterLiancl1i
usedbothworldlyandBuddhistteacl1ingsfOrrefer-
ence;thus,tbecontentisrich
MasterYuanymgandMasterBaOjing4lalsowrote
) 叩 ﹣ ﹚
肋 ‧  
referencematerialtopropagatetlIePureLandschool.
OncewehavetlIoroughlycomprebendedthesecom-
mentaries’notonlywouldwehavetlIoroughlycom-
prelIendedalltl1ePureLandsutrasbutalsotheBud-
dl1istCanonandeventheteaclIingsofallotlIerBud-
dhistsclIools·Ontheotherhand,ifwestudymany
sc}Iools>ourmindswillbecomescatteredandour
wisdomwillremaincovered
TlIesefourcommentariesaresufficientfOrtl1ose
wbogiverisetoacompassionatel1earttopropagate
tbePureLandmethodTbereisnoneedtolookinto
additionalreferences’Donotbeafraidthereisinsuffi-
cientmaterialtolectureon.Onthecontrary,with
slIorter,moreconcisereferencematerial,wewould
requirelesstimetolecture.Whystruggletotrytotalk
fOralengthyperiodoftime?WhenwespeakfOra
shortertime’wewillonlytalkoftheessence.Tbe
2l9
moretheessenceisrefined,themorewonderfUlitis.
Eacbmomentwillbevaluable,aswedonotwasteany
oftheaudiencelsprecioustime.Ifwecompiledatalk
usingmanyreferencematerials>asiftomakeupone
giantplatteroflIorsd)oeuvres>thelistenerswillnotbe
abletosavoranyparticularflavor.Thiswastesour
timeandenergyaswellasthoseofothers.
IfIamunabletosucceedatrefOrmingmy
faultstl1roughchangingtlIeheart,tl>enIwill
tryatthelevelofunderstanding’lmowing
thereasonswlIyIneedtomakethechange’
IfIcannotsucceedwitl>this’tlIenIwilltry
torefOrmbycl>angingtlIroughbelIavior.The
bestwayistocultivatetlIeheartandunder-
standthereasonsbelIindtheneedto
change.ItisfOolishtoconfineourselvesto
refOrmingthroughbehavior’Thisistl>einfe-
riorway.InsteadweshouldberefOrming
fTomthelIeart,fOrtlIisisthebestwayto
cl1ange.
IfweareunabletoaclIieveusingthebestmetl>od,
tbenwehavenochoicebuttotrythelesseffective
way’whichistotrytounderstandwhyitwouldbe
besttoclIange.Whenproblemsoccur,remaincalm
andcontemplatewlWitwouldhavebappenedOnce
theconditionisclearandthereasonisdetermined,
ourmindwillinstinctivelycalmdown’ourwandering
tlIoughtswilllessen’andourangerwilldissolve·
220
However,ifasbeginners’wehavelittlesenseof
reasoningandcannotsucceedthroughunderstanding,
wbatcanwedo?Wecoulduseanevenmorebasic
metl1odofrefOrmingbyc}Iangingtl1rougl1behavior
andinthisway’fOrcethethoughttodissipatebyput-
tingacbeckonoureveryaction,findingourfaults,
andcoITectingthemonebyone’Ifwecannotdothis>
wewillfindourselvesintrouble,creatingevenmore
severenegativekarma)andt}Ierebybringingeven
greatersufferinguponourselves.ThisiswlIybegin-
ningpractitionerswererequiredtostrictlyabidebytlIe
preceptsfortheycouldnotunderstandthereasoning.
ThespiritofabidingbythepreceptsistorefrainfTom
committingfUrtherwrongdoings’
ThebestwaytorefOrmistocultivatetl1eheartand
understandtheneedtochange.Analternativewayis
tofOrceourselvesnottocommitthewrongdoing
again.Whenweattainpurityofmindandunderstand
thelogic,wewillbeabletoupl1oldandmaintaingood
conduct.Tl1isist}Iebestwaytochange.Asweculti-
vate,weattainpurityofmindwlIileserVngasarole
modelfOrbeginners·UntilwecandotlIis’allthree
metl1odsmayhavetobeusedtocorrectafault.
SomepeoplebecomeinHexiblewhenkeepingthe
precepts.Tbeyareunabletoprogressincultivation
becausetheyareattachedtobehaviorandtotlIefOr-
malityofcultivation.Actually)tbepreceptsarevery
flexible.Whenweupholdthem>weneedtounder-
standthelogicbehindt}Iemandevenmoreimpor-
22l
tantly>tostrivetoattainpurityofmindthatistlIe
mindwithoutwanderinganddiscriminatoryt}1ougbts>
andattachments·Thepurposeofkeepingtl1eprecepts
istoattainthisdeepconcentration.
Ifweareoverlyattachedtotl1efOrmalityofkeeping
theprecepts,tl1enitwillbedifficultfOrustoachieve
deepconcentrationbecausewewilltendtodifferenti-
ateandbeattaclIedtotl1eappearance:thefOrmalityof
keepingtlIemdaily.Howcanwesucceedindoing
this?OnlybyseveringourdiscriminatorytlIougl1tsand
attachmentsareweabletoattaindeepconcentration.
Thisconcentrationisstillameans,away;sodonotbe
attachedtoattainingit)fOrtodosowillresultinour
wisdomremaininghidden.
Tberavadapractitionersareattachedtoacl>ieving
concentration’TheBuddlIatalkedabouttl1emind
  口 ﹜
attainedtheninthlevelofconcentrationandarepar-
tialtotl1estateofemptynirvana.Duetotheirattacl1-
ment)tbeycannotletgoofthegentleandserene
state;tl1eyarestilldifferentiating>stillattacl1edto
extinguisl>ingalltl1econtaminants.
Forexample,whenTheravadapractitionerstryto
severtl>eiraff>ictions,virtuallyalltheirchangeis
througl1belIavior.Sometimes’theywillconcurrently
trytochangethroughbehaviorandtl1rougl1reasoning,
butnotfromtbemindThesutrastellusthattryingto
severattacl1mentsbychangingthrouglIbel1aviorisas
difficultas“tryingtocutoffaragingwaterfallfOrty
222
mileshigh))
Thisisasdifficultastryingtoremoveatreeby
pluckingoffoneleafatatimeandisagoodexample
ofwhychangesshouldbemadefromthemindHow
thenshouldweproceed?Wisepeoplewouldgo
straighttotherootandpulluptl1etree.Tl1en,the
leaveswouldnaturallywitlIerandfall.Whybotherto
plucktheleavesandcutoffthetwigs’onebyone?
T}IeDesiredResultofRefOrm
Butevenwhenwevowtochange’assistance
isneededtotrulyrefOrm.Wewillneedcon-
  仕
witnessouractionsineverydaylife.AsfOr
ourgoodandbadtboughts,wecanasktlIe
beingsandspiritsoflIeavenandeartl1tobe
ourwitnesses.Wealsoneedtobediligent
andtosincerelyregretdayandnight.Ifwe
canhonestlyregretforonetotwoweeks,
onetotl1reemonths,tl1enintl1isway,we
areassuredofattaininggoodresults.
Weneedtohavet}1eshamefi1l}1eart’fearfulheart,
andcourageousdeterminedl1eart)fOrt}Ieyaretl1e
inner)directcausesandconditionsfOrrefOrming.But
westillneedcatalyticfactors,sucbasgoodspiritual
fTiendswlIoareonthepatlItoawalKeningtoremind
us,andtol1elpusfTomtlIeoutsideasourvisibleas-
223
sistingfactors.Ifwehaveavirtuousandsincere
tboughtoftryingtocorTectourfaults’alltlIeBuddl1as
andBodhisattvaswillbehappyandallbenevolent
spiritswil>praiseandrespectusastheyunobtrusively
assistusattl1esametimeltbecomescleartlIatone
virtuousthoughtcanresultininconceivableresults’
TherefOre,weneedtotrulychangethrougl1actions
whentlIeconditionisright.Dayandnigl1t,weneedto
bediligentandsincereinourregretting.Ifwearenot,
tl1enwewillinadvertentlycreatenegativekarma.So)
wecannotberemiss!
Toaccomplishthis’itisbestifourcultivationhall
provideschantingfOrtwenty-fOurhoursaday’Inthe
templesofancientpatriarchsandmasters,thecl1ant-
ingcontinuednightandday.Duringtheday,everyone
participated;atnigl1t,theypracticedingroupsoffour
witheacl1grouptakingaturn.
Altl1ougl1wemaynotcurrentlylIavesuchacultiva-
tionhallwberewelive,wecanmalKeuseofcassette
tapesorclIantingmaclIines’Wesimplychantalong
witbit,asifparticipatinginabigassembly.Thevo>-
umeneednotbesoloudt}IatitdisturbsotlIers,nor
shoulditbesosofttlIatwecannotlIearclearly.
Wecanalsolistentoitwl1ensleeping.Sometimes,
wecanevenhearitwhenwedream,sowecanchant
inourdreams.Thisissimilarto‘<hearingthedrum
playorthethunderrumbleinoursleep·))Itwillbe
wonderfUlifwecanhearthechantinginoursleep.It
willbeasifweareparticipatinginaseven-dayretreat.
 
Liaofanspokeofsincerelyregrettingforoneweek
Participatinginaseven-dayretreat’inwhichtbe
chantingislimitedtocertainperiodseacl1day’may
notbeaseffectiveasgatheringanumberoflike-
mindedfellowcultivatorsinaquietplacetochant
continuouslyfOrsevendays.Aseven-dayretreat
sl1ouldcontinuenon-stopdayandnigbt.
Also,whenweattendourfirstretreat)itisbestnot
toparticipatefOrallsevendays,becausemostpeople
havedifficultymeetingtbefi1llschedule.Wecantry
onedayandnight,afUlltwenty-fOurhours.Afterwe
feelt}]isiseffectivefOrseveraltimes’wecantrytwo
daysandnights’tlIenthreedaysandnigbts,andsoon.
Tbus,totrulycultivate,wecanchantonceaweek
fOrtlIreedaysandnights.Ifweareunabletodotbis,
wecantryashorterperiodThemeritaccruedfTom
}   豆 色 〈
尸 【     】
Whenthereisasincererequest,aresponsewillfOl-
low.IfwesincerelyseekacenterthatisagoodenvI-
ronmentfOrcultivation)weshouldbeabletoobtain
whatweseekIfthiskindofcultivationeffOrtcanbe
sustainedforonetothreemontbs’tl1entlIedesired
resultswillbeseen.
WhataretlIebenefitsofcontrition?Wemay
feelverymuchateaseandourheartsmay
feellightandgenerous.Anunintelligentper-
sonmaysuddenlybecomewIse.Another
225
mightmaintainaclearandrelaxedmind
eveninadisturbingandconfUsingenvIron-
ment.Wewouldalsofeelabletounderstand
everytbingortoeradicateourhatredupon
seeinganenemywhileweremainhappy.
Therearemanyexamplesofdesiredresults.Ifwe
weredepressedorunhappyintl1epast,wecanbe-
comecheerfulinsteadIfwehavemanyworries,tlIey
  仕 ﹣
standing)andihstead)wecanbecomeliberatedand
fTee.Ifweareconfused,wecanbecomeintelligent
andnolongerbefOolish
Wl1enwefindourselvesincircumstancesthatare
disturbingoragitating,orwhenweencountermany
diverseandl1ardtosolvematters>wecaneasilyresolve
tlIemeveniftl1eyoverwbelmotl1ers.Wehaveseen
examplesoftl1iswitl1someofourfellowpractitioners.
Someareabletosettlematterstheyundertakewitl1out
anyapparentdifficulty,whileothersfinditextremely
difficulttoresolvetl1em.
Mr.Yousaidinhiscommentary,({Tl1isisasignof
goodfOrtune,merits’andwisdom·>)Forexample,fOr-
merenemieswhoresentedusarenowfriendlytowards
us.Tl1isisduetoourmeritsfTomcultivation,ofbeing
abletoinfluenceandcl1angeotbersunobtrusively.It
issaidthatakind-heartedpersonl1asnoenemiesand
bastheappearanceofgoodfOrtune,merits’andwis-
dom·
226
Wemaydreamofspittingoutblackthings’
orhavingancientsagesorvirtuouspeople
encourageandescortus.Wemaydreamof
flyinginspaceorofcolorfUlpennantsand
ornatelydecoratedcanopies.Sucbphenom-
enaareindicationsofasuccessfUlrefOrm
andadissolvingofpastoffenses.
‘‘Blacktbings”arepollutantsorkarmicobstacles.In
tl1epast,wemayhavehadniglItmaresorconfUsed
dreams)butnotanymore.Althoughwestilldream>
whatweseeisasclearasindaylight.Thisisobviously
verygoodWemayalsodreamofancientsagesor
virtuouspeopleofferingtheirlIelp·
AsBudd}Iists,wewoulddreamofBuddhasandBo-
dhisattvasteacbingusaboutthesutrasandguidingus
inourpractice’Wemayalsodreamofflyinginspace,
orofcolorfulpennantsandcanopies.Theseareindi-
cationsofsuccessinourattemptstoimprove.
WhetlIerinourdailylivesorinourdreams,alltlIese
responsesaresignsthatourkarmicobstaclesare
graduallybeingreducedanderadicated,andtl1atour
goodfOrtuneandl1appinessaresteadilymaterializing.
However’wemustnotconsiderseeingthese
pl]enomenaassignsofperfection.Instead,
wemustresolvetofUrtherimproveourselves
andworkevenlIardertorefOrm·
Wesl1ouldIiotbeproudtlIatwebavemadepro-
227
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’
yearafteryear’hecontinuedtocorrecthis
faults.WlIenhereacbedfifty’Boyustillfelt
thattlIepastfOrty-nineyearswerefilledwith
wrongdoings.Tbiswasbowparticularour
ancestorswereregardingtlIecorrectionof
faults!
DuringtheSpring-AutumnperiodinChina,asen-
Z28
iorgovernmentofficialinWeinamedQuBoyuawak-
enedwhenlIewasonlytwenty.Helmewbisfaultsand
vowedtorefOrm.Attwenty-one,hefeltlIestillneeded
toimprove.TbiswasfUrtlIerproofoftlIeprevIous
passage:‘<Weshouldnotconsiderseeingtl1eseplIe-
nomenaasasignofperfection.Instead,wemust
resoIvetofurtlIerimproveourselvesandworkeven
bardertoreform.>)BoyuhadaccomplislIedtbis.Every
year,everymonth’andeverydayhereflectedand
refOrmedHeisanexcellentexampleofhowdiligent
peopleusedtobe.TlIeirresolveandpatienceinre-
fOrmingl1ighligl1tedthattheirenduranceandeffOrts
arequalitiestoemulate.
Wearealljustordinarypeoplewithmistakes
asnumerousasaporcupine)sspines.Often
whenwelookback)wedonotevenseeour
faultsbecausewearecarelessanddonot
lmowhowtoreflectonouractions.Itisasif
acataractisgrowinginoureye.
LiaofantaugbthissontotlIinkaboutl1isancestor)s
behaviorandthentoexaminehisown.Weareordi-
narypeoplewithinnumerablefaults.TlIinkingbaclK
overtoday,yesterday,onlastyearorbefOrethat,ifit
seemstbatwel1avenotcommittedanygreatmistakes
ordoneanythingseriouslywrong’tlIentlIisthinldngis
duetocarelessness.Itisasifwel>avecataractsblock-
ingusfromseeingourfaults.Tl1isresultsinourfail-
uretoimproveandiswhywewillfOreverbeoneoftl1e
229
crowd
ThisiswbyMasterLianchitaughtbeginnerstouse
aMerit-FaultCl1artsothattlIeywouldwatchevery
thoughtanddeedOnlywhenwediscoverourmany
faults’willwebetrulyafraidWeneedtoc}Iange
pnmarilyfromthel1eartandreinfOrcetlIiswitl1chang-
ingthrougl1reasoningsothatweareconcurrently
practicingbothtlIeprimaryandsecondarywaysto
refOrm.
Alltl1esearesymptomsoflIavingaccumu-
latedtoomanyoffenses!Ourheartsmayfeel
confusedandoppressed,lackingenergy.We
willbecomeextremelyfOrgetfi1landfilled
withworriesevenwhennotl1ingishappen-
Ing·
WewillbenefitbypracticingBuddhism.Signsof
otl1ersaswellasourowngreatorsmallkarmicobsta-
clescanbedetected<Whenwecommittoomany
offenses>ourl1eartsmayfeellIeavyandwemaybe-
comeextremelyfOrgetfi1latworkorstudyandbe
unabletoliftourspirits.WlIentlIosewhoareyoung
叩  
do,itisduetokarmicobstacles.Truecultivatorsin
theireigl]tiesandninetieswillfindthattheirmemo-
riesarestillgood.
NeedlessworryingisalsoanindicationofMrmic
obstacles·Thepastispast’wbatistl>euseofdwelling
onit?Tomorrowisyettocome,towonderaboutitis
230
tohavewanderingthoughts.Somepeopleareex-
tremelygoodatworryIngandwonderingaboutthe
pastandthefUture.Theycandosoalldaylong·TlIis
istomakeamountainoutofamolel1illandthisisa
Mrmicobstacle.
<Wewill>feelembarrassedanddepressed
uponmeetingavirtuousperson’orbecome
displeasedathearingproperreasoning’
Wl1enldndtoothers,wewillbemetwitlI
lIostility·WemaylIavenigl1tmareswhere
everythingisupside-down,andtalldncol1er-
entlyandbehaveabnormally.Tl1eseareall
signsofmisfortune.
Ifwearesincere>wewillnotbeembarrassedor
conscience-stricken’listless,ordejectedwhenwe
meetagenuinelygoodperson.Ifwearenotsincere,
wewillbecomedispleasedatlisteningtotheteachings
oftbeBuddlIaorConfucius<ortothoseofMoham-
medor}esusoranyotlIermoralteachings1
IntheearlieryearsoftheQingdynasty)everyonein
} 加 『 】 陀 /  
duetotbeEmpressDowagerIsdiscomfOrtinl1earing
it)therecitationwasabolisl1edPerhapsl1erkarmic
obstaclesmadeheruncomfOrtablewl1enhearingabout
theTenBadConductsandtheirconsequentialsuffer-
ingsinthehumanandhellrealms.
Whenbeingkindtoothers’wemaybemetwith
l1ostility’Forexample,upongivingsomeoneagift)not
23l
onlydotheynottlIankus,theymayevenresentusfOr
it.Anotl1ersignofmisfOrtuneisbavingnightmares
whereeverytl1ingisconfUsed)andourspeecl1and
bel1aviorareabnormalSuchdreamsmeantl1atwl1en
ourspeechisnonsensicalanddiSjointedandourbe-
baviorbecomespsychotic,wehavecomeupagainsta
majorkarmicobstacle.Theseareallsignsofsignifi-
canttransgressions’
IfwelIaveanyoftl1esesymptoms,wemust
immediatelyreinfOrceourwillpowertocor-
rectallofourfaults.Itisnecessarytostart
anewandnotdelay!
Thepresenceofanyoftl1esesignsmeansthatwe
needtoearnestlyregretandtoridourselvesofbad
habits.WenolongerhavethetimefOrprocrastination
orcarelessness·Ifwedonotc}Iange’therewillbeno
futurefOrus·TberefOre’upondiscoveringanyoftbese
symptoms,weneedtoimmediatelycorrectourfaults.
Donotgoastrayonadeviatedpatl1andwastethis
lifetime‘OnlywbenwetrulyridourselvesofbadlIab-
itsandfaultswillwebeabletoaccepttheteacl1ings’
cultivategooddeeds,andaccumulatemerits·
Whenimpartingtheteacl1ingstootbers,itisimpor-
tanttochoosetbosewithfewerfaults,purityofmind’
thecouragetorefOrm,andwisdom.Withouttl1ese
qualities’itisuselesstoteacl1someone.Forexample,
onemightteacl1apersonwholacksvirtueandgood
intentions’Withincreasedknowledgeandabilities,
232
tlIispersonmightbeenabledtocommitseriousof
fenses!IntlIiscase,thewrongpersonwasselected.
Ifheors}Iedidnotreceivethislmowledge,tben
tlIerewouldbavebeenlessriskoflIarmingotlIersand
creatingnegativekarma’TberefOre,teacl]ersneedto
determinewbethertlIepersonisqualifiedtoinherit
theirlmowledgeandability,andifnot’theyshouldnot
impartt}IeteaclIings.ThisisnotwitlIholdinglmowl-
edge,butusinggoodjudgment·OntlIeother}Iand,if
weareunwillingtoteachasuitableperson’tlIenwe
haveoverlookedandpossiblywastedaproperDl1arma
repository.So,ifapersonissuitable’weteacht}Iem;if
tl1eyareunsuitable>wedonot.
Insummary>howdoweaccumulatemerits?First,
wecorrectourfaultstohavetbeabilitiesandcondi-
tionstobeabletoacceptthegreatteachings.But
befOreacceptingthem)weneedtoperfOrmmoregood
deedstomeetthequalificationsfOrbeingaDharma
repository.TlIenwecanacceptt}Iegreatteachings.
233
TheThirdLesson:
Tl1eWaystoCultivateGoodness
几 的 / 扔 【 由 肥 仇 小 Ⅲ 〃
白 疋 凸 【 由 ㎡ 月 叩 加
TenAccountsofVirtuousPeople
乃 了 《 ℉
fOrmgooddeedswillaccumulateprosperity
thatcanoutlastmanygenerations’)>Anex-
ampleistheYanfamily·BefOretheymarried
theirdaughtertothemanwbowastobe
ConfUcius>sfatber,theyinquiredaboutthe
family.Afterfindingthattheypracticed
goodnessandaccumulatedvirtues,tlIeYan
familyfeltconfidenttbattheyweremarryIng
theirdaugl1terintoafamilythatwouldpros-
perandbaveoutstandingdescendants.
乃  
familythataccumulatesgooddeedswillhaveprosper-
itytospare·IfwecannotenjoyallourgoodfOrtune,
wewillhaveenoughleftoverfOrourdescendantsto
enjoyfOrgenerationstocome·
Intbepast>theparentsandamatcl1makerdecided
wbethertwopeoplewouldmarry’Whenwecompare
today>sfTeedomoflovewiththetraditionalway,the
latterhaditsadvantages.ParentswlIowerewelledu-
catedandprincipledchosethemostpromisingspouse
234
fOrtlIeirc}IildTlIedisadvantagewasthatuneducated
parentswhodidnotknowbetter,oftensoldtheir
dauglItersoutfOragoodprice.42Thesec}Iildrencom-
pliedwiththeirparent’swishes,marriedandwere
。 ﹜   ’
hadbothadvantagesanddisadvantages.
TheYanmemberfamilyspokenofhereisConfu-
cius>maternalgrandfather’HeknewtbattheShu
familyhadaccumulatedvirtuesandpracticedgood
deedsfOrseveralgenerations.Tbisisanexampleofa
goodmatcl1madebytheparentsandthematcl1maker·
  》 廿
tlIeemperortoavillagemayor,faithfullyfollowed
threeguidelines:toactasleader,asaparent)andasa
teacher.First,itwasnecessarytoactast}Ieleaderof
tlIegovernedarea‘Second,toactasaparentmeantto
protectandtocarefOrallthecitizenstlIatlIewas
。  
asateacl1ermeanttoteachandserveasarolemodel
fOrall
Theset}Ireeresponsibilitiesfellupontheshoulders
oftheruler.Ifhefulfilledthem)thenlIewouldlIave
perfOrmedinfinitegoodness.UnfOrtunately,tlIese
tbreeguidelinesarenolongeradheredto.
Inanotherexample,ConfUciushadpraised
ShunfOrhisfilialpietybysayIng:‘(Dueto
hisgreatfilialpietyandsincerity,Sl1un
deeplymovedevenhisancestorstoaccept
235
bisoffering.43Hisaccumulationofmerits
andgoodfOrtunewouldlastfOrmanygen-
erations.)>Tbisprincipleisconfirmedby
manyexamples’
SbunisunsurpassedfOrbisgreatfilialpiety.He
sawonlyhisownfaults>nottlIoseofothers.ForBud-
} ↗ 狙  
/ 刀
notseetl1efaultsofotbers.Sbunaccomplishedjust
this’HistoryhasslIownthatthevirtueslIeaccumu-
latedguaranteedlIisdescendant’sprosperity·Andas
tl1eycontinuedhispracticeofhonoringancestors,
thesedescendantscontinuedtoaccumulategoodness
andvirtues.Eventheancestorsofothersbenefitedas
Shun)spracticesweregraduallyadoptedbygenera-
tionsofChinese.
ThefOllowingaresomeadditionalexamples
ofhowmeritscanbeattainedtbroughper-
‧ ¢
mannamedYangRong45}Ieldapositionin
theImperialCourtastheEmperor’steacher.
YangRong)sancestorswereboatpeoplewho
madealivingbyhelpingpeoplecrosstlIe

Oneyear’astormlastedsolongthatviolent
floodingsweptawaypeople’animals,l1ouses’
andbelongings.Tl1eotherboaterstookad-
236
vantageoftbesituationtocollectthefloat-
ingbe>ongings.OnlyYangRong)sgrandfa-
therandgreatgrandfatherrescuedthe
drowningpeople,andignoredthebelong-
ings.Tl]eboaterslaughedandthougbttbe
twotobeveryfOolishLater,wlIenYang
Rong’sfatberwasborn’theYangfamily
graduallybecamewealtby’46
Onedayaheavenlybeingwho}Iadmani-
festedasaTaoistmonktoldtheYangfamily
tbatduetotlIeirancestors>accumulationof
hiddenmerits,theirdescendantswoulden-
joywealtbandprominence.Het}Iensug-
gestedaspecialplacewheretheycouldbuild
theancestraltombTheyfOllowedhissug-
gestion.TodayitiscalledtheWhiteHare
Grave.
Fengsl1uiisanancientscienceofplacingbuild-
ings>fUrniture>andsoon,inawaytlIatwilltake
maxImumadvantageofthenaturalenergyoftheland
However>receivingsuchgoodorbadadvicedepends
largelyonourgoodfbrtune,virtues’andconditions.If
apersonlmowledgeableinfengshuibasadvisedus,it
willonlyenableustoreceivewbatwearedestinedto
receivesoonerrathertlIanlater.Ifwedonotdeserve
goodadvice’tl1ennotonlywillwenotbenefitfromit,
itwillactuallybringusmisfOrtunebecausewedonot
havethegoodfOrtunetoenjoyit·TherefOre,donotbe
237
toohappywhengoodthingshappen.First)think
wbetlIerwedeservethem.
白 ∕ 自 刀 台 α  
izethateverythingtlIathappensdoessofOrareason
andthatforanordinaryperson,‘<Onesip,onebite,
everythingisdestined>’Inmylifetime’Ihaveseen
manythingstlIatwereconfirmedbyBuddhistand
ConfUcianprinciples.Ifwedonotbelievethis>and
failtocorrectourfaultsandpracticegooddeeds’then
therewillbenovariablesinourlives-onlyaconstant.
Onlywl1enwetrulyunderstandthewaytoaccumulate
goodnessandrefOrmourfaultswillwebeableto
changeourlives.
Sl1ortlyafter)YangRongwasborn.He
passedtl]eimperialexaminationwhenhe
wasonlytwentyyearsoldandlaterreceived
theimperialappointmentofMaster.Tl1e
emperorevenbestowedthesameimperial
lIonorsonhisgrandfatherandgreatgrandfa-
ther.Today,hisvirtuousandprosperousde-
scendantsarestillprominent’
Sincemalesbecameadultsattheageoftwenty,
tlIispassagerevealslIowunusualitwasfOrsomeone
soyoungtopassthehiglIest-levelimperialexamina-
tion,tlIe]inslIi.Today’thiswouldbeequivalentto
earningadoctoratedegree.Hisappointmentwas
likewiseextremelyhiglI,similartotlIatofanational
a{fairsadvisor.Asanadvisortotheemperor,lIiswas
238
obviouslyaveryprestigiousposition.Later,bere-
ceivedt}1erankofimperialteacher·
DuetoYangRong)sacbievements,theemperoralso
conferredthesame}IonorsonYangRong)sdeceased
grandfatberandgreatgrandfather.Thiswasthetradi-
tionalwaytohonorandpayrespecttoancestorswhen
anindividualbecameanimperialofficial·
Today>wealsorewardoutstandingactionsasgov-
ernmentscommendpeoplefOrtheiraccomplisl1ments.
Butfrankly’tl1emethodsusedinthepastweremore
effectivebecausetheyhadadeepereducationalmean-
ing.Astheancestorshadindirectlycontributedtot}Ie
country’t}Ieemperorwouldbestowt}Iesamehonoron
thethreepreVousgenerationsaswellasontlIeindi-
vidual
Wemaynotseeanyreasontohonorsomeonewho
diedsomanyyearsagobutourachievementsaremost
likelybaseduponthegooddeedsandmeritsthatwere
accumulatedbyourancestors’Wel1avebeenre-
wardedwitbthegoodfOrtunethatstemmedfTom
t}Iem.Realizingtbis’whywouldtherebeanyreason
nottopracticegooddeeds?
Iftbeemperorl1onoredtheancestorswl1entlIey
wereinsamsara,tl1eywouldstillreceivetbehonor
regardlessofwhichrealmtl1eywerein.Iftheywerein
thehungryghostrealm’thenallthegl1ostkingswould
respecttl1em‘Asgreatvirtuouspersons,theywould
gaintlIerespectofheavenlybeingsandspirits.T}Iis
rewardsystemprovidedavaluableeducationfOritwas
239
anexcellentincentivefOrpeopletopracticegoodness.
Consequently,thetruemeritsandvirtuesfTomtbis
educationareinconceivable.
YangRongIsdescendantslIeldofficialpositions’
andwereprosperousandprominenteveninLiaofan,s
time.TlIiswastberesultofgenerationsofancestors
accumulatinggoodnessandbuildingasolidf•unda-
tion,andofgenerationsofdescendantslIavingvirtue.
YangZicl]eng,fromthecountyofYinin
Zl]ejiangproVnce’isanot}Ierexample.He
workedinthecountycourthouseandwas
kind,fair,and}Ionest·Once,thecounty
magistrate47punisbedacriminalbybeating
himuntilhewasbleedingprofUsely.
Zicl1engkneltandpleadedwithhimtostop
TheinfUriatedmagistrateretorted:‘<It’sall
rigl1tfOryoutoplead)buthowcanInotbe
angrywlIenhehasbrokenthelaw!”Zicheng
repliedthatwhengovernmentleadersdonot
fOllowtheproperpath’ordinarypeople
wouldloset}Ieirway.Realizingtl1is,we
slIouldfeelsorrowandnotpleasure<atsolv-
ingthecase>.Andweshouldcertainlynot
becomeangry.AcaselikethiscalledfOr
moreunderstandingMovedbyZiclIeng)s
plea,themagistrateceasedthebeating·
l
a
••••
t
r a P m
••••

 
n a S u O r e n e


S a w O
Un
w g n e
Un
c
••••
Z


n

r
M
  ¢
hadalow-levelpositionint}Iecountycourthouse‘
WhenthecriminalrefUsedtotellthetruthandeven
talkedback,t}Iemagistratebecameenragedandbeat
himfortheextremelyseriousoffense·WhenZic}Ieng
sawthis,hecompassionatelypleadedwithtlIemagis-
tratetostop
Thistookagreatdealofcouragebecausewhathe
saidwasadirectaccusationofthegovernment.Ifthe
superiorofficerhaddisagreedandreprimandedl>im
fOrbisbluntness>Zic}Iengcouldhavebeeninserious
trouble.Ifhowever,thesuperiorofficerwasvirtuous
andwise,l1ewouldnotbecomeangry,butwould
appreciatethatoneofhisstaffwasonlyreminding
himtobereasonable’
Wl1enZichengspokeofgovernmentleaders,}Iewas
referringtoprovincialandcitymagistrates·Hesaid
theydidnotfOllowthe((ProperPatl1/)meaningthat
t}1egovernmentfailedtoproperlyeducatet}Iecitizens.
Wbatistl1eproperpath?Itiswhentherulerfollows
tlIeTlIreeGuidelinesofactingasleader’parent,and
teacl1er.Whenadistrictofficialinchargeoflocal
administrationdidnotmeettlIeseguidelines,tlIen}Ie
lIadnotproperlylookedafterthepeopleandthiswas
wl1ytheybroketbelaw.ThiswaswhyZicbengsaid
thatwhenleadersdidnotfOllowtl1eproperpatl1’the
citizenswouldbecomelostbecausetl1eyhadnoguide-
linestofOllowandnoonetoadvisetl1em.Ifthead-
ministrationbehavedproperly>thenthepeoplewould
haveastandardtofOllow.
24l
DuringtheHandynasty,theteacl1ingsofConfU-
ciusandMenciusreplacedthoseofhundredsofschol-
ars.ConfucianismthusbecametlIebasisfOrtlIeedu-
cationalsystem.BefOrethistime,duringtheSpring-
Autumnperiod,thereweresomanypl1ilosophiesthat
itwasdifficultfOrpeopletoknowwbichoneswere
appropriate.AllofthebookswrittenbylIundredsof
sclIolarsl1adtl1eirowndistinctpointsofview.EaclI
seemedtomakesense;however,peoplewereataloss
astowbichtoclIoose’
Itbecamecrucialtoselectoneastl1emodelwhile
keepinginmindtl1atthecbosenteachinghadtobe
widelyacceptedbypeoplewithdifferentculturalback-
grounds.OncethismodellIadbeencl1osen’theworks
ofotherscl1olarswereusedfOrreference.Tl1rough
’     吋  
lished
Thissystemofmoralstandardsbecametl1ebasisof
theteacl1ingsfOrtheChineseandwasusedfiPomtl1e
Handynastyuntilthebeginningofthetwentieth
century.ConfUciusandMenciustaughtustbeFive
HumanRelationslIipsandtheTenMoralResponsibili-
ties’whicharetheproperpathTbeFiveHuman
Relationsl1ipsconcentrateontlIerelationsamong
peopleandtberesponsibilitiesthatpeopleareobli-
gatedtofUlfill.TheyincludetlIosebetweenl1usbands
andwives>parentsandchildren,siblings)hiends,and
politicalleadersandthepublic.
Thefirstisthebasicrelationsbetweenmarriedcou-
242
ples·AhusbandshouldfUlfillbisresponsibilitiesasa
husbandandawifeshoulddolikewisefOrthecouple
toremainharmonious‘Tbisisthebasisofallprosper-
ousfamilies.48NextistlIefamily,inwhiclIparents
holdapositionoverus,cbildrenunderus’andsiblings
。 ﹣
tiesthatareinnatemoralprinciplesandarenotcre-
atedorassignedbyanother·
BeyondtlIefamilyaresocietyandthecountry’At
theheadistbeleaderofthecountryandbelowt}Ie
leaderaregovernmentofficials.Ourfriendsareonthe
  】 叩
shipstoincludeeveryone,wewillseethatweareall
brothersandsisters·TherefOre’tbefiverelationships
unitet}1ecountryasonebigfamilyandaretlIeproper
path
Totheancientsagesandvirtuouspeople>govern-
mentofficialswereconsideredgreatpeopleandad-
dressedassuchTheybadtheresponsibilitytoeducate
people’andtonurtureandleadtheminproper
thougl1tsandbelIaviorbyestablisl1ingmoralguide-
lines.AslongaspeoplefOllowedtlIeseguidelines’
therewouldbenowrongdoing.Inadditiontothese
guidelines,theyweretoteaclIpropermoralprinciples
<suchasloyalty’filialpiety>}Iumanity>faith)andhon-
esty>.
Tl1ebasiceducationalgoalsinConfilcianismareto
severmaterialdesires’obtainawakening,upholda
’ ﹄
243
discipline,haveabarmoniousfamily,governacoun-
try>andfOsterworldpeace.Today,schoolsdonot
emphasizetheseprinciplesortbelIumanities’but
stressteclmology.Nowonderourtboughtsandbehav-
iorhavenoguidingprinciples.Wearenottaugl1tthat
whenweseethemisdeedsofothers,wearetotakea
lIardlookatourselvesandseeifwehavefulfilledour
dutiesasIeaders·
    ﹂
fense’weneedtofeelcompassionfOrtbeoffender
ratherthanfeelsatisfactionathavingsolvedthecase’
becauseweourselveshaveyettofUlfillourresponsi-
bilities.Andifweshouldnotfeelpleased,thenwe
certainlyshouldnotbecomeangry.Atthetimeoftl1is
account)governmentofficialssuclIascountymagis-
trateswerewelleducatedandhadpassedanimperial
examination.TherefOre,whenZichengbravelyspoke
onbebalfoftheprisoner)themagistrateimmediately
realizedhiserrorandceasedbeingangry.rromthis
example,wecanseethatZicl1englIadconsiderable
wisdom)virtue)andinsight.ItwasappropriatefOrhim
toaccumulatevirtueandmeritsint}1ecourtbecause
lIecoulddomanygooddeeds.
AlthoughZicheng)sfamilywaspoor,lIere-
fusedallbribes.49Iftheprisonersweresbort
offOod,hewouldtakesomefroml1isown
hometogiveittothemevenifitmeantgo-
inghungrylIimself·
244
Oneday’itwastimefOrseveralnewlyar-
rivedprisonerstobefed,butZichenghim-
selfhadlittlefOodIflIegavetheprisoners
what}Iehad,lIisfamilywouldgo}Iungry;if
hekeptthefOodfOrhisfamily,theprisoners,
wouldbavenot}Iingtoeat-anappallingdi-
lemma.Hefeltt}IattheprisonersneededtlIe
fOodmorethanhisfamilydidHediscussed
itwith}Iiswifewboaskedwheretheprison-
廿 ‘   }
werefromHangz}Iow·
Altl1oughZichengonlyheldaverylowrankinthe
countygovernment)herefusedal>ofthegiftsthat
wereofferedtohim.Sometimesrelativesofthepris-
onerswouldofferbimbribesinexc}IangefOraligl1ter
sentenceorprefCrentialtreatment.However,here-
fUsedalloftheseoffersandalwaysactedfairlyal-
thoughitwasverydifficulttobelIonestinsucl]a
temptingenvIronment’
Attbetime,prisonersweregivenameageramount
offOodInthisexampIe,theywalkedmaybefiftyor
sixtykilometersadayinsbacklesandhadspentsev-
eraldaysontheroadZichengwasverysympathetic,
but’ifl1egavetlIemhissmallamountofrice)tl1enlIis
familywouldgol1ungry·Ifhegavethericeto}Iis
family)thentl]eprisonerswouldhavenothingtoeat.
Afterdiscussingthesituationwithhiswife’theyde-
cidedtomakericeporridgeandsbareitwiththepris-
245
oners·
Later)Zichengbadtwosons.Theelderson’
Shoucben,andt}Ieyoungerone,Shouzhi’
botb}Ieldimportantgovernmentpositions.
Zicheng>seldestgrandsonbecamevIcemin-
isterintheMinistryof>usticeandhissec-
ondgrandsonwasahiglIlyplacedmemberof
thegovernmentstaffinSichuanproVnce·
Tbeytoowereprominent.Today,theirde-
scendantYangChuting,alsoagovernment
official,islmownfOrhiSvirtuousdeeds·
ThetwosonsreceivedtbegoodfOrtuneaccumu-
latedbytheirparents.Theirgovernmentdepartment
wasoneofsixministries.Todayforexample)tlIereare
overadozensuchministriesinTaiwan.Thus,tlIe
positionslIeldinancienttimeswerebigberanden-
tailedgreaterresponsibilitiesthanthoseoftoday.50
TlIisaccountillustratestbatt}Iegoodnessaccumu-
latedbytbiscouplebenefitedtheirdescendants.
Anotl1eraccounttookplaceduringtlIeZheng-
Tongperiod,<thetimeofEmperorYingzong>.
InFUjianproVnce’manyintellectualslIad
joinedagroupofrebels·Theemperorap-
pointedImperialCensorZhangtostoptlIem.
Hetrickedtherebelsandcapturedtbeir
leader.
246
Later,ImperialCensorZhangdispatclIed
GeneralXietoputanendtotheremaining
rebelsintheeasternpartoftheprovInce.The
generalobtainedalistoftheinsurgentsand
orderedwhiteflagstobesecretlygiventoeve-
ryonenotonthatlistalongwitlIinstructions
toplacetbefIagsontheirdoorswl1entheim-
perialarmycametotown.Heorderedtbesol-
diersnottoharmtheinnocentandwiththis
onethoughtofgoodness,hesavedtensof
tl1ousandsofpeoplehombeingkilled
HissonXieClIianplacedfirstintbeimperial
examinationsandeventuallybecameanadvi-
sortotheemperor’HisgrandsonXiePi
placedthirdintbeimperialexaminations.
Inthisaccount,whichbappenedoverfivebundred
yearsago,therebelswereactuallyarevolutionary
armypreparingtorevolt.Thissectionofthebookis
abouttheeffectsgarneredfrompreventingunneces-
saryldlling.LookingbackatChinesel1istory,wefind
tl1atveryfewdescendantsoffamousgeneralslIadgood
fOrtune·Wby?Theymadetoomanyenemiesand
causedtoomanydeaths!Probablylessthantengener-
alsl1addescendantswhoreceivedgoodfOrtuneand
CeneralXiewasoneofthem.
Anotl1erprimeexampleofthelawofcausalityisthe
famousGeneralGuoZiyiwholivedduringtl]eTang
dynasty.Duetohisaccumulationofgoodnessand
247
virtues,l1isdescendantsprosperedDuringtheSong
dynasty,t}IereweretwogeneralsundertheleaderslIip
ofEmperorTaizu:CaoHanandCaoBin.Thede-
scendantsofCaoHanhadsolittlegoodfOrtunetbatit
didnotevenlastthreegenerations.Thedaugbters
becameprostitutesandmanyfamilymembersbecame
destitute.CaoBin,ontheotherhand>wasavery
caringgeneralwhodidnotkillinnocentpeople.His
descendantswereallprosperous’
Ifageneralfailedtodisciplinehistroopssot}Iat
theyhurtcivilians’tlIeburdenofblamewaslIis.Tl1is
exampleshowstl1econsequenceofunnecessaryldll-

ing.GeneralXiewiselytaughthistroopshowtodis-
  。
way,hedidnotmistakenlycausetbedeatl1sofinno-
centpeople·TheprestigeandprosperityoflIisde-
scendantsaregoodexamplesofcauseandeffect.
AnotlIerexampleistheLinfamilyfromPu-
tianinFUjianproVnce.Amongtbeirances-
torswasaverygenerouselderlylady.Every
dayshemadericeballsfOrthepoorandgave
awayasmanyastheywantedAnimmortal
wl1omanifestedasaTaoistmonkcamedaily
fOrthreeyearsandalwaysaskedfOrsixor
seven·Herceaselessgenerosityconvinced
lIimofherdeepsincerity.
Thisisanotherexampleofanancestorwhoaccu-
mulatedgoodfOrtunefOrberdescendants·Sl1etreated
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}1enumberofseedsinapoundofses-
ameseeds.),HersonfOllowedhisrecom-
mendations’
Tl1eTaoistlmewfengshuiandsuggestedagood
placefOrlIergrave.IfhisadvicewasfOllowed,thenan
unimaginablenumberofherdescendantswouldre-
ceiveimperialappointments.>ustimaginehowmany
sesameseedsthereareinapound|
Thefirstgenerationafterthat,ninemen
passedtheimperialexaminationsanditcon-
tinuedtbatwayfOrgenerations.Itwassaid
inPUjiantbatthesurnameofLinwasalways
onthelistoftbosewhohadpassedtlIeim-
249
perialexamination.
BecauseofthegoodfOrtunethattheelderlylady
hadaccumulated,notonlydidshehavemanydescen-
dantsbuttheywereprosperousandbecametlIelargest
familyintheprovInce.Tbisistheeffectgarneredfrom
tbecauseofsincerelygivingawayfoodtothepoor.
AnotherexampleisMr.Feng’tbefatherof
theimperialhistorian’FengZhuoan.One
wintermanyyearsago’Mr.Fengwasonhis
waytoschoolwlIenhesawsomeonelyingin
thesnow.Findingthatthemanwasbarely
breathing)llequicklytookoffhiscoat,
wrappeditaroundtheman’carriedlIimback
home,andrevivedlIim.5l
TlIatnight,ZlIuoan>sfatlIerdreamtthata
l1eavenlybeingtoldhim:<<Outofcomplete
sincerity’youlIelpedadyingman.Tbisisa
greatvirtue·IwillhavetlIefamousCeneral
HanQiHanoftheSongdynastytobere-
bornasyourson’>)Later’Zhuoanwasborn
andwasnamedQi.
Wl1enweseeapersonindirecircumstances,no
matterwhotheymaybe,aslongaswesincerelytryto
savebisorlIerlife,itwillbeconsideredagreatactof
goodness·HanQiwasafamousgeneralduringthe
Songdynasty·Hewasgreatlyadmiredandl1onoredby
250
theemperor.SinceGeneralHamQiwaslIighlyre-
garded’theheavenlybeingarrangedfOrhimtobe
rebornintotbeFengfamily.Tbus,becauseZhuoans
fathersavedsomeone)slife)hewasrewardedwitha
goodson.Tl1isisanexcellentexampleofreincarna-

Also’tberewasMr.Ying,aministerwho
livedinTaizhou.Whenhewasyoung,he
studiedinremotemountainareas.Atnight,
heoftenbeardtbesoundsofglIostsandspir-
itsbutwasneverafraidoft}1em.Onenight)
l1eheardoneghosthappilysaytoanother:
“ThereisavillagewomanwboselIusband
leftbomealongtimeagoandhasnotre-
turnedHerin-lawsthinkthattheirsonis
deadandareforcinghertoremarry.Tomor-
rownigbt,sheisgoingtocommitsuicide
andwillreplaceme.ThenIwillbereborn!))
IntlIepast’scholarsoftenlivedintemples)because
onlytemplesbadextraroomsandagoodlibrary>usu-
allycalledt}IeSutraCollectionChamber.Atatime
whentherewerenopubliclibraries’thetemplelibrary
肋 ’ 〃 吒   乃 & / ℃ ﹚
probablymaterialfTomt}Ienumerousschoolsofthink
ersfromthelateZl1oudynasty·52Mostscbolarspre-
ferredtoresideinthesetemples’wl1ichwereusually
locatedinthemountainsorinwoodedareas’forthese
providedaquietandrefres}IingenvIronmentfOrstudy.
25l
洫  
Theyusuallyappearinsparselypopulatedareasor
whenapersonsenergyislow.AsMr·Ying)smindwas
pureandhonest,lIeneitherpaidmuchattentionto
themnorfearedtlIem.Onedayl1eoverlIeardone
ghosttellinganotherthatayoungwomanwasgoingto
commitsuicide.Anyonewbohascommittedsuicide
needstofindareplacementbefOrelIeorshecanbe
reborn.IfnoreplacementcanbefOund)theglIostwill
undergomuchsufTering.
ItisnecessaryfOrt}Iereplacementtocommitsui-
cideintlIesamespotandmannerfOrtl>egl1osttobe
setfree.Thesameappliestocaraccidents’Although
thedeceaseddidnotcommitsuicidebutwasanacci-
dentvictim)lIeorshewouldalsoneedtofindare-
placement.
TlIisexampleisaboutaghostwl1ol1adhunglIim-
self,whenhewasabuman.Heknewinadvanceof
tl1edeathoftlIeyoungwomanw}1osehusbandwas
longoverduefromabusinesstrip·Theparents>know-
ingnotlIingoftheirson)swhereabouts,werefOrcing
hiswifCtoremaITy.ShedidnotwislItoandplanned
tocommitsuicideinthesamespotthenextday.The
gl1ost)scl1ancefOrfTeedomwassoontomaterialize
becauseshewastobel1isreplacement.
Uponhearingthis,Mr’Ying-immediatelyset
outtosellsomelandthatheownedHere-
ceivedtwohundredgramsofsilverfOrit.He
252
thenmadeupaletterfromthedaugl]ter-in-
law>slIusband,andsentittol1erlIomealong
withthesilver’Tl1eparentslmewtl1attlIe
letterwasnotintheson)shandwriting,but
examinedt}1esilverandsaid:<‘TlIisletter
maybefalse’butthesilverisnot.Perl1aps
oursonisalive.))Consequently,thedaugh-
ter-in-lawwasnotfOrcedtoremarry.Aftera
wbilethebusbandreturnedhomeandthe
coupleresumedtheirlivestogetlIer.
Mr.Yingsavedtbebreakupofafamily,anactof
greatmerit.WhenhesoldtlIelandandsenttl1e
money,hewasnotthinkingofaccumulatingmerit.He
simplyactedoutofcompassionbywantingtohelpthe
woman,tosaveherlife)andtokeepthefamilyintact.
Hetl1oughtnofUrtberofwhathebaddoneandre-
turnedtotl1etempletocontinuel1isstudies.
Next,Mr’Ying}Ieardtheghostsay’(<Origi-
nally’Iwassupposedtoleavehereandbere-
born,butMr.Yingmessedupmychance!”
Theotberghostasked:‘‘Whydon)tyouget
evenwithhim?)}Tbefirstgbostreplied:<<I
can)t·Theheavenlybeingshaverecognizedhis
goodnessandheisgoingtoreceiveapromi-
nentpositioninthefUture.HowcanIburt
himP’)
SincethelIeavenlybeingshadalreadyrecognized
253
Mr.Ying)sgoodness’tbegl1ostcouldnotdoanything.
Fromthis,welmowtbatifaspiritoral1eavenlybeing
canl1armus,itisbecausewehavedonesometl1ingto
deserveit.Ifwehavenotdoneanythingwrong,then
tl1espiritsareunabletohurtus.
AnoldChineseproverbsaysthatthereisathirty
percentpossibilitytl1atpeoplemaybeafraidofgl1osts
butaseventypercentprobabilitytbatghostsareafraid
ofpeople!SoitissillyfOrustobeafraidofgl1osts
becausetl1eyaremucl1moreafraidofus.Weonly
needtobeafraidwhenwel1avedonesomething
wrong,becauseonlytbenaretheyabletobarmus.If
ourconscienceisclear,thenmalevolentspiritscando
nothingtous’53
SeeingMr’Ying>sgoodness>thelIeavenlybeings
hadalreadyplannedfOrMr’Yingtoholdaprominent
positionintl1egovernmentasaminister.LaterinlIis
life,Mr.Yingdidindeedholdthepositionofminister.
Havingoverbeardtl1egbost,heknewsomeofhis
fUtureinadvance.
UponlIearingthis’Mr.Yingbecameeven
morediligentinpracticinggoodnessandac-
cumulatingmerits.Wbenevertl1erewasa
’ 廿 】
thosewhoneededit.Healwaysl1elpedrela-
tivesinemergencies.Wl1entl1ingsdidnotgo
hisway,lIealwaysreflectedwitl1inlIimself
rathertl1ancomplainofothers’Tl1us’}1eal-
  』
waysquietlycompliedwithconditions.Even
today,hisdescendantsareprominent.
IfpeoplewererudeortookadvantageoflIim’Mr.
Yingalwaysexaminedhisownactionstoseeifhewas
atfault.Tolerantandabletotakeeverythinginstride’
bewasneverargumentativeorresentfUl.Notonlydid
}1ebecomeaminister,hisaccomplishedandvirtuous
descendantsalsoprosperedAllthiswastheresultof
r e
h
t
e

 
O
t
y
l
·I
m

a


n
••••
D• e e
k
S
·I
h
Anotherperson’XuFengzlIu’livedin]i-
angsuprovInce.WlIenevertherewasafam-
ine,hiswealthyfatherwouldbetbefirstto
waivet}IerentontlIericefields’hopingthat
otberwealtbypeoplewouldfOllowsuit·54He
alsodonatedgrainhomhisstorehousesto
tbosewbowerehungry.
Onenight,lIeheardghostsoutsidehis}Iome
say)“AcountysclIolarintheXufamilyisgo-
ingtopasstheprovincialimperialexamina-
tion!”ThiswentonfOrseveralnightsandin-
deedthatyearl1issonFengzl1upassedtbe
examination.Afterthat’Fengzhu’sfatherbe-
cameevenmorediligentinaccumulating
gooddeeds.
HepaidfOrtherepairofroadsandbridges,
andprovidedfOodfbrmonksaswellasfOr
255
thepoor·Hedidallhecouldtobelpotl1ers.
Sometimelater’heheardtbeghostsagain.
TlIeysaid:‘{Theprovincialscholarfromthe
Xufamilyisgoingtoholdahighpositionin
thegovernment/)Eventually,Fengzhube-
camethegovernorofZheiiangprovmce·
Sometimesghostscanbeclearlyseenorl1eard
Outsidethel>ouseoftl1eXufamily,glIostssangthata
familymemberwasgoingtopasstl1eprovincialimpe-
rialexamination.LaterthesonXuFengzl1udidso.
GoodfOrtuneistherewardfOrgooddeeds.Thosewl1o
understandthiswilltryevenl1ardertoaccumulate
goodness.Tl>eghostsalsosangthatFengzhuwould
receiveal1ighpositioninthegovernment.Heeventu-
allybecameanimperialjudgeintheSupremeCourt’
thengovernorofZl1eiiangproVnce.Tl1iswastl1e
resultofsincerelyl1elpingthepoor.
  酗
}iaxing’Zhejiangprovmce’Mr’Tuworkedin
tl1ecourtlIouseandwouldspendnightsin
theprisoncells,talkingwitlItheinmates.In-
steadofmakinganamefOrhimself’he
wouldwritesecretreportstotlIeministerof
justice,teIinghimwlIycertainprisoners
wereinnocent.Theministerwouldthen
questiontheprisoneraccordinglyandclear
thecases.ThroughMr’Tu)seffOrts,more
thanteninnocentpeoplewerereleasedand
256
allofthemwereextremelygratefUltotbe
judgepraisingtheministerofjusticefOrl1is
wisejudgment.
RegardlessofhowcarefUlonemightbewhenexam-
iningacase)therewasalwaysthepossibilityofa
wrongverdict.Evenwhentheerrorisunintentional,it
isstillamisdeedFromthis,wecanseehowdifficult
itistobeagoodlawyerorjudge·
WlIatMr.Tudidwasveryrare.Hewouldspend
nigbtswiththeprisonerstolearneverythingabout
eaclIcase.Whentheprisonerswerequestionedinthe
courtroom,theysometimesbecamesofrig}1tenedtbat
tlIeycouldnotadequatelydefendtl>emselves.55
WlIenlIestayedwithtbeinmatestofindoutthe
truthbehindeachcase’hedidnottakethecredit
himself.Instead’hewroteoutthedetailsofthecase
andgavetlIemtotheministerofjusticesothatalltl]e
creditwentto}Iissuperiorofficerw}Iowasvery
pleased’fOrwhenhetriedthecasesatdawn)heal-
readylmewthetruthAfterdetaiIedquestioning,he
acquittedoveradozeninnocentmen.Thiswasthe
talkoftheimperialcityandeveryonepraisedthemin-
iSter·
Soonafter,Mr.TumadeareporttotlIeim-
perialjudgesaymg:‘‘Ifinnocentpeopleare
imprisonedhere,tberemustbemanymore
tlIroughoutthecountry.56Irecommendthat
investigatorsbesenttochecktheprisonsfbr
257
innocentpeopleeveryfiveyears.Thesen-
tencescanbecanceledtopreventtl>einno-
centfromremaininginprison.”Tl1eminis-
。 》 》  
emperor,wl1oagreedwithMr’Tu)ssugges-
tion.Mr.Tuwassubsequentlychosenasone
ofthespecialagentsincl1argeofreducing
sentencesfOrthosewhowerefOundinno-
cent·
Onenig}1t,hedreamtthatabeavenlybeing
cametol1imandsaid:‘<Originally,youdid
notdeserveasoninthislife)butthisactof
reducingpnsonsentencesfOrinnocentpeo-
pleaccordswithtl1ewislIesoftlIelIeavens.
Youwillbebestowedwiththreesonsand
tl>eywillallattainhighpositions.)>Hiswife
latergavebirtlItotl1reesonswl1oallbecame
prominent.
SimilartoLiaofan)Mr.Tuwasnotdestinedto
havesons.Liaofansoughtasonandreceivedone·Mr.
Tureceivedthreesonsduetol1isaccumulationof
gooddeeds.
Anotherexampleofattaininggoodresults
frompracticingkindnessisBaoPingwl1o
livedin]iaxingPingwastl]eyoungestof
sevensonsofthemagistrateofCl1izl1ou’
AnhuiprovInce.HemarriedintotheYuan
258
familyinPinghucounty,ZhejiangprovInce’
廿 }  
waslmowledgeableandtalented,butalways
failedintlIeexaminations.Hespenthistime
studyingBuddhismandTaoism.
Once,wlIiletravelingtoLakeMao,lIecame
toavillageandsawatempleindireneedof
repair.ThestatueofAvalokiteshvaraBodhi-
sattvawaswetfromtherainthatleaked
throughtberoof’PingtoolKoutallbismoney
andgaveittotheabbot,sothathecouldre-
storetlIetemple.
Theabbotreplied:<<Itisama]orprOject,Iam
廿 ﹚ ﹚
tookoutalllIisexpensiveclothesandhanded
tl1emtotlIeabbot.Hisservanttriedtoper-
suadel1imtokeephisbestoutfit,butbere-
fused,sayIng:<(Itdoesnotmattertome.As
longastlIestatueofAvalokitesbvaraBodhi-
sattvaremainsundamaged)IdonotcareifI
havetogowitlIoutclothes.))
Ping,whobadfailedtopasstheexaminations,bad
enuptl1el1opeofagovernmentcareer.Fortu- gIvenup<nenopeoIagovernmen<career·ro<<u-
nately,hisfatl1erwaslIeadoftlIelocalgovernmentso
thefamily’sfinanceswereadequate.Once’whenlIe
sawaBuddl1isttempleinneedofrepairs,hisimmedi-
atetl1oughtwastohelp.Hetookoutsixteenouncesof
259
silver,whicbwasallthemoneyhelIad,andgaveitto
t}Ieabbot-anactofpuresincerity’Whentoldt}Iatit
wasnotenough,PingtookoutfOurboltsofclotband
someclotl1ingfromhisluggagesot}1eabbotcould
tradethemfOrsilver.
T}Ieabbot,witl1tearsinl1iseyes)exclaimed,
(<Togiveupmoneyandclotbingisnotdiffi-
),
cult,butyourdeepsincerityistrulyrare·
Aftertl1etemplewasrepaired,BaoPing
askedhisfathertovisititandtogetlIerthey
spenttheniglItthere.Tbetemple>sDharma
Protector,Qielan>cameinhisdreamto
thankl1imandsaid:<(Sinceyouhaveaccu-
mulatedtbesemeritsandvirtues,youwill
bavemanygenerationsofdescendantswho
willreceiveimperialappointments.’)Hisson
andgrandsonbothpassedhigl1examinations
andwereappointedasimperialofficials’
Liketl1eotl1erexamples’tlIegoodfOrtunehere-
ceivedwasalsorewardedtohisdescendants.
ZhiLifrom>iaslIancounty)inZbejiangprov-
inceisanotl1erexample.Hisfatl1erusedto
beaclerlKintheprovincialcourthouse.
Once,whenZl1iLi>sfatl1erlearnedthatan
innocentmanl1adbeengiventl1edeathpen-
alty,hetriedtosavetheman>slife.Wl1en
tbeprisonerl1eardabouttlIis,l1etoldhis
260
wifC:<‘Iamgreatlyindebtedtothismanwl1o
l1asspokenonmybehalf’butIhavenoway
toshowmygratitude.Willyouinvitel1imto
ourlIouseandofferyourselfto}Iim?Perl1aps
tl1iswillpleasehimandincreasemycl1ances
tolive·))
ZhiLi)sfather,knowingoftheprisoner)sinnocence)
sympathizedwitlIhimandpleadedwitblIissuperiorto
sparetbeinmate>slife‘IfhecouldsavetlIepnsoner’
hewouldalsosavethefamily’
Tl1ewifecriedasshelistenedtobisrequest,
buttl1erewasnootherwaytohelp.Thenext
daywl1entbeclerkcametovisit)sheoffered
lIimwIneandtoldlIimofherlmsband)s
wishTheclerkrefi1sed,butcontinuedtodo
allhecouldfOrtheman.Wl1enatlasttl1e
prisonerwasreleased’heandl1iswifewent
totheclerk>shousetothankl1im·Hesaid:
‘‘OnewithsuclIvirtueasyoursistrulyrare
thesedays,l1owcanIshowmygratitude?
Sinceyoudonothaveason’allowmetoof
fermydaugl1terinmarriagetoyou.Please
acceptfOrthisistheonlywaytl1atIcanre-
payyou.))
ZhiLi)sfatberrefusedtheprisoner>sofferofhis
wifebecausehedidnotwislIanyreward·Hehad
actedoutofasenseofmoralityandjustice,feeling
26l
thatitwaspartoflIisjobMarriedfOrmanyyears,he
andlIiswifebadnosons.So,theprisonerofferedhis
daughtertobeasecondwifetotheclerkhopingtbat
sbewouldbeabletobearhimasonandcontinuethe
familyname’anacceptedcustomatthetime.
TlIeclerkacceptedandsoonafterwards,sbe
borehimhisson,ZhiLi·Hepassedthe
highestleveloftl1eimperialexaminations
wlIenhewasjusttwentyyearsoldandlater
wasappointedtoanimportantgovernment
position.HissonGao,grandsonLu,and
greatgrandsonDalun’allpassedtheexami-
nationsandreceivedimperialappointments
aswell.
Thesetenexamplesalltelloftl1edeedscul-
tivatedbydifferentpeople.Altboughtheir
actionsdiffered,theirintentwasthesame-
topeIfOrmgoodness.
ZhiLi,sfinalappointmentwassimilartoaFirst
Secretarytoday,aprominentposition.Tl1iswasl>is
rewardfOrsavInganinnocentlife.Inthislesson)
Liaofanprovidedtenexamplesofl1owgoodfOrtuneis
tl1eresultofaccumulatinggoodnessandisnotacoin-
cidence.TheseeventswereclosetoLiaofan)stime.
Somehelmewofpersonallywhileotherswererelated
tohisfamily.AlloftlIemareaboutcauseandeffect:
goodnesswillresultingoodfOrtuneandevilwillresult
262
inmisfOrtune.
凸 】 叱   沍 佃 〃 肋 唔 ○ O 肋 e s S
HowtoRecognizeGoodness
IfwecarefUllythinkaboutgoodness>wewill
realizetlIattherearemanydifferenttypes-
realandfalse,honestandcrooked,}Iidden
andvisible,apparentandactual,properand
improper’fullandhalf,bigandsmall,and
difficultandeasy·
ThesedifferenttypeseaclIl1avetlIeirown
causestllatneedtobeunderstoodIfwetry
topracticegooddeedsbutdonotlmowlIow
todistinguishbetweenrightandwrong’we
mayendupdoingmoreharmtlIangoodand
allofoureffOrtswillhavebeeninvain.
TruesincerityinpracticinggoodnessistodosowitlI-
outaskingfOranytbinginreturnandistlIecrucial
factorinsucl]matters.Goodactstl1atl1aveconditions
attaclIedarewrongdoings,notgoodness.
Forinstance’somepeople,especiallyBuddl1ists,do
notunderstandtl1atBuddlIismteaclIesustoeliminate
wanderingtl1oughtsandattachments’Whentheygoto
atempletopaytheirrespectstotheBodhisattvas,tbey
dosotoaskfOrsomething.Iftl1eydonotwantany-
263
thing,tlIeydonotgo.Theyburnincenseinfrontof
theBodhisattvasandprayfbrassistanceandguidance.
IftbeBodhisattvascanjustgrantwhattlIeywant,tlIey
willreturntlIefavorwithspecialofferings.TlIisis
tryingtostrikeupabargain!Notonlyaretbeyinsin-
cere,theytlIinktheBodhisattvaswillacceptbribes.
ObviouslyaseriousoffCnse!
ZbiLi)sfatherwasvirtuous.Theprisoner)sofferof
hiswifeasarewardwasimmoralbutZ}IiLi)sfather
wasnotoffendedandcontinuedtohelptlIeprisoner·
TlIus’itwasfittingthatlIereceivedsuchgoodfOrtune.
Tl1eprevIoustenaccountsareexamplesofgoodac-
tions.Now’wewilllookattheconceptsthatthey
illustrate.Weneedtoknowtheprinciplesandproper
waystoaccumulategoodness.
Whatare((realgoodness>)and‘(falsegood-
ness?)’IntheYuandynasty’agroupofschol-

said:‘‘WehearinBuddl]ismthatthekarmic
rewardfOrgoodandbadis‘likeasl1adow’
fMlowingthefOrmwhereveritgoes.)But
whyisittl>atalthoughsomepeoplepractice
goodness,theirfamiliesanddescendantsare
notprosperous?Ontheotherhand’while
othersbehaveimmorally>theirfamiliesand
descendantsdoverywellWlIathashap-
penedtocauseandeffect?AretlIereno
standardsintl1eBuddha)steachingsP”
  ¢
Severalscholars,whovisitedthemaster)saidthat
bothBuddhismandTaoismtauglItthatthelawof
causalitywastrueandinescapable.But,thefacttl1at
descendantsofgoodpeoplesometimeslIadproblems
whiledescendantsofimmoralpeoplesometimespros-
peredseemedtocontradictthelawofcausality·
MasterZhongfengreplied:‘‘Ordinarypeople
areblindedbyworldlyviewpointsandnot
lIavingcleansedtheirmindsofimpuritiesare
unabletoseeclearly.Consequently,they
lookuponrealgoodnessaswrongdoingand
mistakewrongdoingasgoodness.Thisisvery
commontoday.
Ordinarypeoplevieweverythingasordinary·Their
mindsareimpureduetoworldlyemotionsandtl1ey
arestillbotheredbymanywanderingthouglItsand
attacl1ments.NotlIavingtheBuddlIa’seyesofwisdom
todiscernthetruth,theyoftenconfUsegoodwitl1bad
Althoughmanypeoplewerelikethis,themasterjust
saidcourteouslytlIatsuclIpeopledidexist.
<<Moreover’thesepeopledonotblamethem-
selvesfOrfailingtounderstand>andunfairly
blametl1eirmisfOrtunesontlIel1eavens’”
Tl>escholarsquestionedhowgoodandbad
couldbemistakenfOreachother.
Themasterthenaskedeachofthemtovoice
265
tlIeirthougl1tsonwhatwasbadandgood.
Onescholarsaidthattoyellatandhitotl1ers
wasbad;torespectandtreatothersinapo-
litewaywasgoodThemasterreplied’(<Not
necessarily.})Anotherscholarsaidthatbeing
greedyandtakinganother’smoneywasbad
whilebeinggenerousandbehavingproperly
wasgoodMasterZlIongfengagainreplied,
‘<Notnecessarily/)Theremainingscl1olars
】 叩
good,butMasterZhongfengalwayscon-
cluded’“Notnecessarily/>
Tl1emastersaidtl1attlIeirstandardswereunreliable
anddisagreedwiththeiranswers.Withthat’everybody
) 叩 ﹚
廿  
TheDefinitionofGoodness
MasterZlIongfengsaid:‘‘TodotllingsfOr
tbebenefitofothersisgood;todothingsfOr
selfbenefitisbadIfwhatwedoisfOrtlIe
sakeofbenefitinganotlIer>tl1enitdoesnot
matterifweyellatorl1ittl1em;itisstill
  ﹂
thenregardlessofourappearanceofrespect
andcourtesy,itisbad’)
Tl1istalksoftheBuddl1iststandardfOrgoodand
266
badAnythingdonewithtlIeintentiontobenefitoth-
ersisgood,evenifacertainamountofcorporalpun-
ishmentisinvolved,whileanythingdonewitl1the
intenttobenefitourselvesisconsideredbadItdoes
notmatterlIowcourteouswemaybetowardsotbers
fOrourintentionsmaybetaintedForexample,we
maybecourteoustoingratiateourselveswithotl1ersor
fawnonotherstogainsomethingfOrourselves.
Themastercontinued:(‘Practicinggoodness
solelytobenefitothersisconsideredpublic
benefitandisrealgoodness.Ifweonlythink
ofourselveswhiledoinggoodacts,thenthat
isconsideredprivatebenefitandisfalse
goodness.
),
ThisisthetruestandardfOrgoodness:tobenefit
andprovidegoodnessfOreverylivingbeingIfintlIe
actofdoinggood,wearestillconcernedaboutour
ownwelfareorreward,thent}IeactiSnolongersin-
cereorpurebuthasbecometaintedInadditionto
goodnesstlIatis‘‘realorfalse>>thereisgoodnesst}Iatis
<{fUllorlIalf.”Tounderstandfullandhalfgoodness,
weneedtobeabletodifferentiatebetweengoodness
thatis<<fi1llorpure),and‘‘halformixed.”
AlltheBuddlIas’Bodhisattvas,sages,andvirtuous
peopletlIinknotofthemselvesbutofothers.Thisis
trueandfUllgoodness.AgoodexampleofthisisFan
  觔 ’
wasanexcellentrolemodelfOrhewasnotconcerned
267
fOrl1imself.HewantedtocreategoodfOrtunefor
otherssothattheycouldbenefitthecountryandallof
society.
WhenwereadlIisbiography,wecanseethatlIis
descendantsalsopracticedandaccumulatedgood
deeds.Mr.Fanandtwoofbisfivesonsbecameprime
ministers.Theemperorappointedanothersonasa
}Iighscholar.WhenMr.Fandied’tl1erewasnothave
enoughmoneyfOrhischildrentopurchaseacoffin.
Where}Iadalll1ismoneygone?Hel1adgivenitto
others.Thiswasw}IyMasterYinGuangpraisedMr.
FanashavingvirtuousconductsecondonlytoConfU-
cius.HisdescendantsprosperedfOreighthundred
years,untiltheearlyl9O0s·Thisistl1eresultofac-
cumulatingabundantvirtuesandgoodness.
Today,wlIenwepracticegooddeeds,wedosospar-
ingly.WeexertjustafractionofourpotentialeffOrt
butconsiderourselvesgoodpeople.Notonlytbat,we
expectgreatbenefitsinreturnforourlittlebitof
goodness.Manypeoplegototemplestoburnincense
andmakeofferings’Why?Becausetl1eybelievetl1is
canprofitthemtbemost:adollarinvestedfOrmillions
inreturn.So’theyburnincenseandworslIiptl1eBud-
dhathinkingthattheywillgaingoodfOrtuneinreturn.
Iftbeydonateadollartoday,maybetheywillwinten
thousanddollarsinthelotterytomorrow.SuclIthink-
ingdegradestheBuddbasandBodhisattvas.
Whenweseetheseapparentlysincerepeople’their
familiesandevendescendantssufferingmisfOrtunes)
268
wewilllmowwlIy.Theydonotintentionallyviewthe
BuddlIasandBodhisattvasasevil)butsubconsciously
t}IeyVewthemasbeingswhotakebribes.Thisis
obviouslyaseriousmistake!Sometimeswhensome
廿
theyofferabribe·Thisisthesameasofferingmoney
totheBuddhainhopesofreceivingwhatwewant.
Peoplew}Ioacceptthebribeareunethical.IfaBud-
dhaacceptedtbebribe,wouldhenotalsobeunethi-
cal?
叩 ‘ 《
goodnessspringsfromtheheart,itisreal
goodness.But)whenwedosomethinggood
justbecauseothersaredoingso’itisfalse.
叩 ﹣
tlIinginreturn,itisrealgoodness.But,
wl1enwepracticegooddeedsfOrsomepur-
poseotl1erthantobenefitotlIers,itisfalse.
Tbosewhowishtopracticerealgoodness
needtoconsiderallthesedifferences.
))
Goodnessspringing{Tomourheartsarisesfrom
truesincerityandistruegoodness.Whatistruegood-
nessandfalsegoodness?Wemustlooldntoourbearts
  《 ℉
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.
Ifweseethingssuperficially’tbenitisdifficultto
distinguisbbetweengoodandbadItalldependson
tbeheart.Theaccumulationofgreatgoodnessand
meritsarisesfromtheheartofsincerity‘Thisisespe-
ciallytruefOrgreatBodhisattvaswhoappearasordi-
narypeople.TheydonottlIinkofthefactthattbeyare
Bodhisattvasorabouttrivialmatters.Theyt}1ink
purelyofbenefitingallbeingsandthus,tl1eirviewsare
verydifferentfromordinarypeople·
Whatare(<honestgoodnessand‘<crooked
,)
goodness”?Peopletodayoftenlookuponan
extremelyconservativeandnicepersonas
goodandkind
‘<Honest”meansbeingvirtuous,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
sagesoftenspeakofthemas‘‘thievesofVr-
tue.)>Fromthis,wecanseetbattheview-
  ﹂
fersgreatlyhomthatofsagesandvirtuous
people.
Althoughmostpeoplepreferandconsiderasgood
tlIosewhoappeartobecompliantandcarefUl,great
sagesandvirtuouspeoplepreferthosewhobaveability
altl]oughtbeymaybestubborn,arrogantandsome-
times,evenalittlerude.W}Iy?Theseindividualspos-
sessparticuIarskillsandalthoughtheymaydisagree
witl1us,tbeyarecapableofhighachievement.Some-
times’compliantpeoplecannotaccomplis}Igiventasks
becausetheylackinitiative.Thus>sagesandvirtuous
peoplepreferthosewithcourageousandaspiring
characterswboarenotcaughtupintrivialities’
AltlIouglIcompliantpeoplearewellliked,sagesof-
tencallt}Iem<<thievesofvirtue)>becauseint}Ieircon-
27l
fUsionaboutthetruth,tbeycannotdistinguishright
fTomwrong.Virtuereferstopropercustomsandmo-
rality.PeoplewhocannotdiffCrentiatebetweenrigl1t
andwronghavebrokenthemoraltradition,lilKe
thieveswhohavebrokenthelaw.
Becauseofthis,ourjudgmentcouldbeerro-
neous.BeingsandspiritsoflIeavenand
}   廿  
sameVewpointastlIesagesandnottbatof
ordinarypeople.
Wecannotalwaysdistinguishbetweenrealgood-
nessandfalsegoodness.WlWdospiritsandbeingsof
heavenandeartM1avethesamestandardsasthesages
andvirtuouspeople?TbeydobecausetheyalllIave
tlIesamevIewsandintentions.
TherefOre,whenwewisbtoaccumulate
’ ﹄
fectedbyt}Iethingsaroundus.Assoonas
improperthoughtsarise)weneedtobe
  丘
Honestgoodnessistoberespectfuland
comesfromthetlIoughttosincerelyl1elpall
others.Crookedgoodnessistoactwithout
sincerityandarisesfromtlIethougl1ttoHat-
terotherstoobtainwhatwewant.Tolove
othersishonest,andto}Iateothersandbe
272
jealousiscrookedTheseallneedtobevery
carefUllydifferentiated
Weneedtoavoidallthatisevilandembraceall
t}IatisgoodWebeginwithourselves.First,wecannot
allowourselvestobeaffectedbyworldlypbenomena.
Inot}Ierwords,wemustnotbeattachedtotheFive
DesiresandtheSixSenseObjectsbutletgoofthem’
foraslongasweclingtotbem,wewillnevereradicate
ourselfisbness.Thesethoughtsofself-benefitaretbe
。  
doneoutofevilintentionswillbecomeevilThisis
whyMasterZhongfengdidnotagreewithwbattbe
scholarscategorizedasgoodbecausegoodtl1ingsdone
withselfishintentareimpureandfalse·Therefore,we
mustbecomelessattac}Iedtoworldlydesirestoreduce
ourselfishness.
Slowly,onebyone,trytoreduceeaclIdesireuntil
theynolongeraffectus’Inthisway’wewillbeableto
detectthedesireassoonastlIethoughtarisesand
immediatelycurbit.Also>weshoulderadicatet}1e
力 】 丑
∕ 】 叩 《 ‘
))
correctingourpasterroneouswayssoastoattaina
pureandbrightmindthatisfilledwitl1wisdom.
Honestgoodnesscomesfromsincerelytryingto
lIelpotbers·Ittakesonlyonesincerethoughttobene-
fitallbeings.Wehelpotherstounderstandthetrue
reality,toeliminatede!usionandattainawakening.As
273
soonastheydotbis’tlIeywillnaturallylearnlIowto
eliminateevilandpracticegoodThefOremostmerit
inBuddbismisthatwbichbelpspeopletolearnabout
tbetruthoflifeandtheuniversesotheywillbefreeto
choosewbichoftbeTenDharmaRealmstheywillbe
reborninto.
TheBuddhaswillnotinterferewithourclIoiceor
trytochangeourminds’nordot}Ieyinsisttl1atbe-
comingaBuddhaisthebestgoalfOrallbeings.Itis
theirhopethateventuallywewillbecomeBuddlIas,
buttheywillnotfOrceustodoso·Ifwepreferto
reincarnateashumanbeings)thentheBuddbaswill
teachustlIeprinciplestobecomegoodpeople.Ifwe
wishtoberebornintotbeThreeBadPaths,thenwe
canjustimmerseourselvesingreed,anger,andigno-
ranceandsmoothIysailintotheTlIreeBadPatlIs.
Buddbaswillnottrytostopus.Tbeyonlyteacl1peo-
plebowtoeliminatedelusionandattainawakening
T}Iisis}1onestgoodnessandisthesupremebenefit.
CrookedgoodnessarisesfromthouglItsofflattering
otlIerssotbatwecanobtainwhatwewant,fOrexam-
ple)fameandwealthObviously’tl1isiswrongandany
goodactsperfOrmedoutofsuchmotiveswouldbe
crookedandnothonest.WeneedtobecarefUland
respectfUlwheninteractingwitlIothersandcircum-
stances·Actingwithoutsincerityisafault.Tocorrect
it’weneedtorecognizeit.
Wl1atare<(hiddengoodness’)and“visible
  ¢
goodness>)?GoodnessislIiddenwhennoone
knowsaboutitandvisiblewhenourgood
actsarelmownbyothers.
Ancientsagesandvirtuouspeopletaughtustoac-
cumulatehiddenvirtuesinsteadofvisiblegoodness.
WlIenwedosometlIingandarepraisedfOrit,that
praisewasourgoodfOrtune‘Forexample’receivingan
awardisgoodfOrtune.
Tbebestwaytoaccumulategoodnessistoletour
gooddeedsremainunlmown.>ustkeepaccumulating’
whileaskingfOrnotlIinginreturn.Oncepeoplelmow
aboutwlIatwelIavedone,thentherelatedgoodfOr-
tunewillbegintodiminishassoonast}1eyrewardus.
IfwereceiveanimmediaterewardfOreverygooddeed
wedo’tlIennotonlyistherenoaccumulationof
goodness,wemightbegintoaccumulatefaultswitl]-
outrealizingitandthemorefaultsweaccumulate’the
worsethingswillbe.
Thosewithhiddenvirtueswillnaturallybe
lmownbytheheavensandberewarded
Tl1osewbopracticevisiblegoodnesswillbe
lmownbypeopleandenjoyfame.Fameitself
isgoodfOrtune>butl1eavenandeartlIs}Iun
fame.Thosew}IolIavegreatfame,butlack
tl1evirtuetosupportitwilleventuallyen-
counteroverwhelmingadversities.Those
wl1ohavenotdoneanythingwrongbutare
falselyaccusedwill}Iavedescendantswho
275
willoftensuddenlybecomeprosperousand
successfUlFromthis,wecanseebowim-
portantitistounderstandhiddenandvisible
goodness.
Ifwedesirepopularityandfame)gettingthemcan
beconsideredgoodfOrtuneandtheymaybeseenas
ourrewardButactually,theyarenotconsidereda
goodreturnbecausetheycancauseenvyamongpeo-
pleaswellasamongbeingsandspiritsofheavenand
earthWorseyetisfOrustotakecreditfOrvirtuous
conductt}Iatwedidnotdo)fOrtbiswillinevitablybe
fOllowedbyadversity·
OntheotherlIand,ifwehavedonenotl1ingwrong
butarebeingwrongedaccusedorreviledbyothers,
thenweareactuallyaccumulatinggoodness.The
morejealouspeopleslanderus,thebetteritis.Why?
SuclIslanderandlIindranceswillreduceournegative
karma.So,whenweaccumulatevirtues,itisbestto
dosoquietlywitbnooneknowingaboutit.Thereis
noneedtoseelKpraiseorrespect.
WlIenallofournegativekarmahasbeenelimi-
nated,ouraccumulationofgoodnesswillbecomeeven
strongerandourgoodfOrtuneevengreater.Thiswill
resultinthesuddenprosperityofourdescendants.
Whenwecarefullyobservethosewhosuddenlyattain
fame,wecanseethattheirancestorspossessedmany
hiddenvirtues’Onceweunderstandthis>wewill
appreciatetl1evalueofsuchvirtues.
276
Whatareapparentgoodness))and<<actual
•(
goodness>)?IntheSpring-AutumnPeriod,
tbecountryofLumadealawthatrewarded
thosewhopaidtheransomtofTeetl1eirfel-
lowcitizenswlIowereservant-slaves.AttlIat
time,Confuciushadarichstudentnamed
Zigongwl1o,alt}Ioughhepaidtheransomto
廿 }  
doingso.
Thisexampleaddressesthedifficultyofdistinguish-
ingbetween“apparentgoodness’’and<<actualgood-
ness”becauseordinarypeopleIsstandardsaredifferent
homtl1oseofsagesandvirtuouspeople.
WlWwouldsomeonebecomeaservant-slaveinthe
homesofthenobility?Tbeyhadbrokenthelawand
weresenttotheselIomestoservetheirsentences.The
governmentpassedalawstatingtlIataslongassome-
onepaidt}Ieirfine’theywouldbefTeedItthenen-
couragedthewealtlIytopaythefinesinthebopetlIat
tlIecriminalswouldrefOrm.
Uponhearingthis>ConfUciuswasveryun-
happyandscoldedZigong:‘<Youacted
wrongly.Whensagesandvirtuouspeopledo
something,itistoimprovemoralityand
teacbpeoplehowtobehave.Wedonotdo
somethingfOrself-benefitorreputation.In
Lu,tl1epooroutnumberthewealthy.Since
yourefusedtlIereward’otherSwilltl1inlKthat
277
acceptingrewardmoneyisbeinggreedyand
iftlIishappens,noonewillpaytberansom
tofiFeeourpeople’’,
ConfUciuswasdispleasedbecauseZigonghadnot
seentbesituationfTomthestandpointofavirtuous
personbutfromthatofanaverageperson.Tbeteach-
ingsofvirtuouspeople>sarefOrthebenefitofallpeo-
ple,notjustfOrcertainindividuals.Fromanindivid-
ual)sstandpoint>Zigong)sactionwaspraiseworthy;
however,l1ebaderredbygoingagainstlocalcustoms
anddisruptedthegovernment)splan·
AttlIattimeinLu,thepoorgreatlyoutnumbered
therichTl1erewardplanwasdesignedtomotivate
averagecitizens.WhenZigongrefusedthereward,
everyonepraisedhim.Buthebadsetaharmfulexam-
plebecauseanyonewhosimilarlyperfOrmedagood
deedwouldalsolikelyrefUsetherewardToacceptit
couldresultinothersthinkingtl1atthedeedwasdone
solelyfortllerewardThisrefUsaltoacceptrewards
wouldruintbegovernment,ssystem.Sincethepur-
posewastoencourageeveryonetoperfOrmgood
deeds’Zigongshouldhaveacceptedthereward,notto
benefithimself,butthepublic.Thissl1owshowsages
andvirtuouspeopleinterprett}Iingsdifferentlyfrom
averagepeople.
AnotherstudentofConfucius,Zilu’once
sawamandrowningintheriverandrescued
l1im.Later’themanthanlKedl1imbygiving
278
l1imacow.WlIenConfUciusheardtlIatZilu
hadacceptedtbegift)hewashappyand
said:<‘Int}IefUture,peoplewillbeeagerto
helptlIosewhoaredrowning.))
Intheeyesofordinarypeople,Zigongsre-
fUsaloftherewardmoneywasgood,while
Zilu)sacceptanceofthecowwasnot.Who
wouldlIaveexpectedConfuciustopraise
ZiluandscoldZigong!Fromthis,wecansee
thattlIosewhopracticegooddeedsmustnot
onlyconsiderthecurrentoutcomebutthat
ofthefUtureaswell.NeitherslIouldweonly
considerourowngainandlossbuttl1ink
abouttheimpactmadeonothers’
WhenZiluacceptedthecow’Confuciuspraised
lIimbecausewhenothersrealizedt}IatsavIngalife
mightresultinareward,itcouldbecomeanincentive
fOrpeopletobebraverinhelpingothers.
WhenConfuciuspraisedZiluinsteadofZigong,his
v1ewpointwasverydifferentfromthatofordinary
people·However,hebadsoundreasonsfOrdoingso.
Looldngatsagesandvirtuouspeople,wewillseethat
theirvisionismorepervasivetl1anours.Witl1our
limitedvision’wedonotrealizetl1elong-termeffects
tl1atouractionsmaycause.Weneedtoconsidermat-
tersfromtl1easpectofbenefitingsociety,thecountry,
andeventheworld>aswellashowlIistorywillregard
events.Whenwerealizethebroadscopeinvolved,our
279
vIewswillbeverydifferentthanbefOre’andwewill
understandthatConftIciuswascorrect.TherefOre,
goodandbadcannotalwaysbedeterminedbypresent
actions.WeneedtoconsiderwhetlIertbelong-term
resultswillbepositiveornegativeinordertojudge
wisely.
WlIatwedonowmaybegood,butintime,
mayproveharmful·TlIus,whatseemslike
goodnessmayactuallybebadWbatappears
tobebadmayactuallyhavepositivelong-
termeffects,turningouttohavebeengood
afterallTlIus,whatseemslikeabaddeed
mayactuallybegoodness.
Forexample,apparentresponsibilitymaybe
actualirresponsibility,apparentpropriety
maybeactualimpropriety’apparenttrust-
wortlIinessmaybeactualuntrustwortlIiness,
andapparentkindnessmaybeactualun-
kindness.WeneedtocarefUllydifferentiate
tomakeproperchoices.
Sometl1ingwevIewsuperficiallymayappeartobe
good’butactually)itisnot.OritmaybegoodfOra
specificindividualorfOraparticulartime·However,it
maynotbegoodfOrsocietyasawholeoritmaynotbe
goodfOrfuturegenerations.ThisiswlWinBuddhism
thedeterminationofgoodandbadisneverbasedon
currentaction.WbathasbeengoodtbroughoutlIis-
280
toryistberealgoodness)fOrtbegoodhasbenefited
generations·Thatwbichisgoodnowbutisnotgood
fOrfuturegenerations,orthatw}IiclIhasdestinedus
toberebornintot}IeThreeBadPathsisnottrue
goodness’
BefOretheFirstWorldWar,worldleadersweredis-
cussingpeaceinanatmosphereofapparenttrustwor-
thiness.AftertbewarbeganitbecamecleartlIatsome
hadactedwithactualuntrustworthiness.
Highteclmologyhasallowedthedevelopmentof
weaponsofmassdestruction’Tl1eintentofkeeping
tbepeacetbroughmig}Itisapparentresponsibility·
Buttheterrifyingrealitythatcountlesspeoplenow
lIavethemeanstodestroyourworldandeveryliving
beinginitmakesitclearthatsuchdevelopmentmay
wellprovetobetbeultimateactualirresponsibility
andbightec}mologymaynotbetruegoodnessatall.
IntlIecaseofZilu)acceptingtherewardmightnot
haveseemedtobegoodattlIetime;however,since
thelong-termresultsweregood,itwasgoodT}Iisisa
goodexampleofapparentgoodnessandactualgood-
ness·WlIatareresponsibilityandpropriety?Whatare
trustwortl1inessandMndness?TlIereareapparentand
actualgoodnessineachofthese.Ifwecannotdistin-
guislIbetweentbem,thenitislikelytlIatwel1ave
committedseriousoffenseswhilebelievingt}Iatwe
weredoinggoodIfwewislItopracticetoaccumulate
goodfOrtune’wemustfirstpossesswisdom.Without
it,nomatterl1owhardwetry,wewillnotobtaingood
28l
fOrtune·
Whatare(<propergoodness))and‘<improper
goodnessI?LuWenyiwasaprimeminister
intlIeMingdynasty.Whenbegrewold,l1e
retiredtohishometownwlIerelIewaswell
lovedandhighlyrespectedOnce’adrunken
villagerwenttohishomeandbegantoyell
insultsathim.Mr’Lucalmlytold}Iisser-
vant,<(TlIismanisdrunk)don,targuewith
him.>)Withthat>heclosedthedoorandig-
noredtheonslaughtofinsults.
Ayearlater>t}Iesamemancommitteda
gravecrimeandwassentencedtodeath
Hearingthis’Mr·Luremorsefi1llysaid:‘(If
onlyIhadtakenhimtotheautlIoritiesfOr
punishmenttlIatday,perlIapsalittledisci-
plinecouldhavepreventedthis.Attl1etime,
IwastryingtobekindI)utIinadvertently
encouragedhisarroganceandcruelty.Now,
he}Iasbeensentencedtodeath)>Thisisan
exampleofhavinggoodintentionsbutdoing
somethingbad
Mr’Lu)svirtuousconductandgreatmeritshad
nedhimrespectfTomvirtuallyeveryone.Wl1ena earnedhimrespectfTomvirtuallyeveryone·Whena
disgruntledmanwholIadbecomedrunkcametol1is
homeandverballyabusedlIim,Mr.Ludidnottake
theincidenttolIeart’HetolerantlytoldlIisservantto
282
justclosetlIedoor.
Later’Mr.Luheardthatthedrunkardhadbeen
givent}Iedeathsentence.Mr.Luremorsefullybe-
lievedthatbehadmishandledthesituation.Hadhe
pressedclIargesandsentthemantojail,thingsmight
havebeendifferent.
Weseemanyexamplesof“lIavinggoodintentions
butdoingsomethingbad>’Thisisespeciallytrueof
today)syoungparentswhounwittinglyspoiltl1eir
children’somuchsot}IatwlIenthecl1ildrengrowup,
theymaynotrespecttheirparentsandmayevenbreak
thelaw’ItmaybetoolatewhentlIeparentsrealize
theirgravemistake’
ChildrenneedtobeproperlytaughtwlIentheyare
youngfOrthechildisthefatlIeroftheman·Ifchil-
drenarenotdisciplinedwhentheyareyoung>itwillbe
toolatetodosowhentheyhavegrown)fOrtheywill
mostlikelyrebelagainsttheirparents)wisl1es’
InancientChina>acriminalsentencecouldbeis-
suedundertlIeheadingof<(ParentalRigl1ts.)’Ifa
parentwenttothejudge’complainedthatthecbild
hadnotfUlfilled}Iisorherfilialduties>andwantedtbe
childsentencedtodeath,thejudgewoulddosowith-
outevenlIoldingatrialParentalrigbtsweregiventbe
lIiglIestconsideration.Thiswaswhychildrenwere
petrifiedoftheirparents,becauseiftheparentswere
tofileacomplaintandwisl]edaparticularsentence
issued,therewasnorecourse’
Parentalrightsexistedthroughtl1emidl9OOIS.
283
Witbsuchalaw’nochilddaredtoignorefilialduties.
TlIeycouldnotevenaskfOralawyerbecausenode-
fensewasallowed
Tbereisalsoanexampleoftl1osewho
acl1ievedgoodnessalthoughtheyl1adacted
廿  
astatingfamine,peoplewerereducedto
stealingfOodinbroaddaylight·Awealtby
familyreportedtlIistotlIeauthoritieswlIo
didnothing.Astl1epoorgrewmoredaring’
cl1aoswasimminent·Thefamily)takingtl1e
lawintotheirownhands,caugl1tandpun-
ishedtl1etlIieves’Inthisway)peacewasre-
storedandthetheftswerestoppedIfthis
lIadnotbeendone,chaoswouldhave
erupted
W}1enafaminestrikes’thepoormayturntorob-
bery.Int}Iisaccount>whenthewealthycomplainedof
therobberies)theauthoritiesignoredtl1emfOrfearof
startingarevolt·WhenthetlIievesbecamemoredar-
ing’theauthoritieslIadnowayofcontrollingtl1em.
So,thewealthypeopletookmattersintotlIeirown
handsandintlIisway)peacewasrestored.IftbislIad
notoccurred,tlIenorderwouldlIavebeencompletely
disruptedTheactionwasbadandwasdonewith
selfisl1intentions;however’theresultbenefitedevery-
Oneo

Wealllmowthatgoodnessisproperand
wrongdoingisimproper’However,thereare
caseswheredeedsdoneoutofgoodinten-
tionsresultedinbadThisiscalledthe<‘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
However’intl1issituation,theautlIoritieshadnot
actedandthingsweregettingoutofcontrol.Some-
tlIingneededtobedonetoprotectlivesandposses-
。 } 》 }
wealtbyfamilyrestoredorderastl]eystoppedtlIe
thievesfromcreatingfUrtl1ercbaosanddisruptinga
properwayoflife.Tbus,agooddeedwasdone
tl1roughselfishintentions.Thisis‘<properwithinthe
,,
1mproper.
Whatare‘‘halfgoodness’,and<<fullgood-
﹚ ﹚   乃 ﹙ ﹙
285
donotaccumulatevirtuousdeedswillnot
achievehonorwlIilepeoplewhodonotac-

  》 ﹚ 倣 ㎡ 五 加
welearnthat‘‘Zl1ou>whowasthelastem-
peroroftl1eSlIangdynasty’committedl1or-
riblecrimes.))Tbedynastyendedwithhis
death
Thisisalessontaughtbyancientsagesandvirtu-
ouspeople·Sucblessonswerelatercalledsutrasand
respectedassuchfOrtbeyteachthetruthThetrutl1
surpassestimeandspace’Ifwedonotpracticegood-
ness,wewillnotattainintegrity)andifwedonot

destruction.
Itislikecollectingobjectsinacontainer.
Withdiligence)itwillsoonbefullbutifwe
arelazy)thenitwillbeonlyhalffull.Thisis
anexampleoffullandhalfgoodness.
ImaginetlIatwearetryingtofillacontainerwitb
goodness.Ifwearepersistent’wewilleventuallysuc-
ceed.Butifwearenotpersistent)itwillnotbecome
full·Tl1isillustratestheimportanceofaccumulating
goodness.Andmostimportantly’wemustnotaccu-
mulatewrongdoingsorwewilldestroyourselves’
OnceawomanvisitedaBuddhisttemple
286
andwishedtomakeadonation’Beingex-
tremelypoor,sheonlybadtwocentsbutslIe
unreservedlygavethesetoamonkToher
surprise,theabbothimselfcametohelplIer
regretforpastoffensesandtodedicatel1er
merits·Later,sbewasclIosentoentertbe
imperialpalace>andobtainedwealtband
prestige.Cladinherriches>shereturnedto
thetempletomakeadonation’t}Iistime
bringingasmallfOrtune·
Toherdismay,theabbotsentanothermonk
tohelpdedicatehermerits.Shedidnotun-
derstandandquestionedtheabbot:“Inthe
past,Ionlydonatedtwocents,yetyouper-
sonallyhelpedmeregretmypastoffenses.
Today,Ihavebrougbtmuchmoneybutyou
willnothelpmeperfOrmmymeritdedica-
tion·Why?>,
Theabbotreplied:({AltlIoughyougaveonlya
littleinthepast,itcamefromatrueandsin-
cereheart‘ItwasnecessaryfOrmetorepay
yoursinceritybypersonallyperfOrmingyour
dedications’Today)yourdonationismuch
greater>buttbeheartofgivingisnotassin-
cere.TherefOre,itisenoughtl1atmystudent
perfOrmsyourdedicationsfOryou.)>T}Iisis
anexampleofhowt}1ousandsofsilvercoins
287
areonlyconsidered<<l1alfgoodness>)andtwo
centsare(<wholegoodness.
),
ThisisatrueaccountfOundinBuddhistrecords.A
laywomanwisl1edtomakeanoffering’butsl1eonly
lIadtwocentstogive.Duetohersincerity,theabbot
personallyhelpedhertodedicatethemeritsfromthis
gooddeedLater)sl1ereturnedwithalargeamountof
moneybuttheabbotdidnotgreetl1erpersonally’
BeingconfUsed’sheaskedwlW.
TlIisabbotlIadveryhiglImoralstandards.Tl1isis
unlikewhatwealltoooftenseetoday,wl1erewewit-
nessmanyBuddlIistsbehavingimproperlyJnthepast’
thosewitl1l1ighmoralstandardsjudgedpeoplebytheir
sincerity·Ifpeopleweresincere,thennomatterl1ow
littletheydonated)theabbotpersonallyperfOrmedt}Ie
dedications.Iftl1edonorswerenotsincere’tbentl]e
abbotwasnotobligatedtodoso.Witl1sincerehearts,
thedonorsnurturedgoodfOrtunebymakingofferings
totlIeBuddhaandonlyhadtodonatealittletogain
infinitebenefitsinreturn·
However,inthisexample,tbewomanbadgained
wealthandprestige,andbersincerityhadbeen
cloudedbyhernewwayoflife‘Bysendinghisstudent
togreether’theoldabbotwastryingtoawakenher.
Thiswasthegreatestkindness·Hewastryingtoshow
berwheresbebaderred,inthehopethatshewould
feelremorse)aclmowledgehermistake’andcorrect
herbehavior.
Z88
WhentlIewomanlIadinitiallydonatedtwocents,
herreturnofgoodfOrtunewasfUllandcomplete.But
onbersecondvisit,berreturnofgoodfOrtunewas
onlyhalf-fullandincomplete‘Wbenpracticingto
accumulategoodfortune,itisimportanttorealizethat
thedeterminingfactorisnottheamountofmoneyor
thenumberofgooddeedsbuttheheartofsincerity.
Aslongaswedotbingswitbutmostsincerity)wewill
accomplishfullandcompletegoodness.
Whenwededicateourmerits,wedothreethingsto
showourheartoftruesincerity·Wetbinktoour-
selves:‘‘Today,whenIpractice,IdothefOllowing.
First,Idedicatemymeritstoreturningtothestateof
realityandIwishtoattainclarityofmindtouncover
myoriginaltruenature‘Second,Idedicatemymerits
  廿
delusionandtounderstandtbetruthoftheuniverse·
Third)Idedicatemymeritstoalllivingbeings.Ihope
thatallbeingswillbeabletoeliminatedelusionand
attainenliglItenment,toeradicateselfislInessand
suffering,togain}Iappiness·Ihopethatallwillbe-
comeBuddhasandthatuponattainingBuddl1ahood
thattheywillhelpotherstodothesame.Idedicate
mymeritsfOrallotbers,notfOrmyself/)
Ifthisistrulyourintention,thenwiththistlIought,
wewillachievefUllmeritsandvirtues.But,ifthereis
theslightestthougbtfOrourselves’fOrfameorwealth,
thenwewillnotgainmeritsandvirtues,notevena
(‘halP)return.Infact,wewillhaveprobablyachieved
289
muchnegativelKarmainsteadTherefOre,neverlookat
thingssuperficially,butlearntolookintothepro-
fOundtruthofreality·
Anotl1erexampleisofQuanZhongli,anim-
mortaloftheHandynasty,wlIowasteaching
hisstudent’LuDongbin,theartoftrans-
fOrmingironintogoldTheywoulduseitto
helpthepoor.Dongbinaskedhisteacherif
tlIegoldwouldeverclIangebacktoiron’
Zhonglisaid:‘<Afterfivelmndredyears’it
willreturntoitsoriginalfOrm·”Dongbinre-
plied:<<ThenIdonotwanttolearnthisart
fOritwilll1armtl1osewl1opossesstl1egoldin
fivehundredyears.
))
ZbongliofferedtoteaclIDongbinalchemy,tlIeart
ofturningironintogoldUponlearningthatthetrans-
fOrmationwouldnotbepermanent,Dongbindeclined,
fOrintheendtbetransfOrmationwouldhavehurt
people’Today,mostpeopleareonlyconcernedwitb
w}Iattheycangetnowanddonotthinkaboutbowit
mig}1taffectothersinthefi1ture.Fromtl1is,wecan
sadlyseehowmoralstandardshavedecayedovert}1e
years·
Zhonglisaid:<<Tobecomeanimmortal,one
mustcompletetlIreethousandvirtuous
。  
trulyldndheart.Yourthreethousanddeeds
290
arefulfilled>,ThisisaccountisanotlIerex-
ampleofwholegoodnessandhalfgoodness.
InTaoism’itissaidthatinordertopracticetlIeart
ofimmortality,wemustcompletetl1reetlIousand
virtuousdeeds.T}Ieserequirementsaremorelenient
tl1antlIoseofBuddhism.WeBuddbistsmustpossess
purityofmindbefOrewecanaclIievetrueunderstand-
ingandpractice,andbecomeaDlIarmarepository’
Taoistsdonotseektl1epuremind;theyseektl1ecom-
passionateheart’thel1eartthatregardsallwitlIequal-
ityandthatisunselfishOftlIetwo,tl1epuremindis
moredifficulttocultivate·
WitlIthissinglegoodthougl1t’Dongbinbadin-
stantlyaccomplishedthevirtuousdeedsrequiredto
practiceimmortality·Hisconcerntonotl>armany
sentientbeingshadactuallysurpassedthreetl1ousand
kinddeeds.Thus,onesinglethoughtwasenouglIto
fulfilltherequirement.ThisissimilartowhatLiaofan
didwl1enhehadreducedthetaxesonthefarmers’fOr
thatonekindtlIoughtalonefUlfilledbisvowoften
tlIousandkinddeeds.ThisisthebenefitfTompractic-
ingfromourhearts‘
WhenweperfOrmagooddeed’itisbestnot
toattachtowhatwehavedone.Ifweprac-
ticeintlIisway’thenallofourgooddeeds
willreacl1fulfillmentandsuccess.But,ifwe
alwaysthinkofthegoodthatwehavedone
aswelookfOrareward,tl1ennomatterhow
29l
diligentlywepractice,evenfOranentirelife-
time,tlIedeedswillstillbeconsidered}Ialf
goodness’
Forexample,whenwedonatemoney,we
canpractice{‘puredonation.)>Wedonotlin-
geronthethoughtof(<I))whoisgiving’on
theimportanceoftheobjecttlIatisgiven’or
ontheonewhohasreceivedWesimplygive
outoftruesincerityandrespect.Whenwe
practicepuredonation,onepoundofrice
canbringinfinitegoodfOrtune,andthemer-
itsfromgivingonecentcanw1peawaytlIe
transgressionsofathousandeons.
But’ifwealwaystbinlKoftbegoodthatwe
) 叩  
tions)tlIenevenadonationofonemillion
dollarswouldnotbringustherewardofa
fUllygoodfOrtune.Tl1isisanotherwayofex-
plainingwholegoodnessandhalfgoodness.
Ifwetryourverybest,tbenwewillachievefull
goodness)butifwehaveanyreservationsanddonot
doalltlIatwecan,thenwewillaclIieveonlyl1alfgood-
ness.TherefOre)wbenaccumulatingvirtuousdeedswe
needtodoeverythingwithcompletesincerity·
Manypeopledonotunderstandthetruereality’so
consequentlytbeyhavedoubtsaboutBuddl1ism.This
doubtisoneoftheFivePoisonsofgreed)anger,igno-
292
rance,arrogance,anddoubt.Thesepeopleseemto
believeandactaccordingtowhatwehavetoldthem.
However,theyareunabletodedicatetl1emselves

theystillwanttoreservesomething’to}1oldsomething
backTl1eydonothavetheunderstanding,wisdom,or
determinationtopracticefullgoodness.Tl1eycanonly
acl1ievehalfgoodness·Tl1isiswhyaltlIoughmany
peoplearedoinggooddeeds,theydonotobtaingood
fOrtuneinreturnorseeanyimmediateresults.
IfwetrulywanttopracticefOrgoodfOrtunethen
wemustfullyunderstandandbelieveinBuddl1ism
withouttl1eslightestdoubt.Sometimes,peoplewill
saytl1atwearefOolishanddeludedandwlIenwethink
aboutit,wemaybelievethattobeso.Consequently)
廿
gooddeeds.WlIenthisbappens,ourbeartofkindness
hasalreadybeenaffectedbydeviatedviews.Whenwe
trulybelieveandactaccordingly’thentheresultswill
becomeeasilyrecognizable.
Tberesultswillbesomuchmoretbanwl1atwas
】 白 危 α   ﹣
credible!Afterreadingthisbook’wemustbelievetbat
wel1avethecouragewithinustoundergoanytl1ing.As
longasweactwitl1sincerity)wecangainareturnofa
tbousandfOldfOrafTactionofoureffOrt·However)if
weactwithtlIehopeofgainingalavishreturnfOrour
effOrtstl>enwedonotactwiththeheartofsincerity·
Wecangiveeverythingthatwehavebutwewillonly
293
gainhalfoftlIegoodfOrtune)nottlIewhole.Also)by
t}Iinkingofourgoodacts>wewillbeunabletoelimi-
nateallofourlongings’anotherreasonwhywecan
onlygainhalfgoodness’
Whenwearewillingto>etgoofourwealth’wewill
gainwealthWhenwegiveteachings,wewillgain
wisdom.Wl1enwegivefearlessness,wewillgain
healthandlonglife’Tbelawofcausalityisareality
andasnaturalastbelawsof}IeavenandearthIfwe
】 叩
witlIoutthewislIforprestige,wealth,wisdom)health,
orlonglife)witboutthewis}Iforanything,tl1enweare
boundtouncovereverythingthatisalreadyinourtrue
nature·IstlIisnotbeingfreeandlIavinggreatcon-
tentment?
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
  ¢
willingtoletgoofallbeIongings’fOrnoordinaryper-
。  
BodhisattvasandBuddhaspracticingtruegreatmerits;
evenArl1atsdonotpracticetbem’Arhatsareinclined
toavoidtrouble.Andifwewantedtohelpsomeone
andtl1eyrejected,slandered,orembarrassedus,we
wouldbecomeangryandabandontlIeattempt!Tl1e

However,Bodhisattvasareverydifferent.T}Iey
lmowallaboutthebadhabits,problems’andrebel-
liouswaysofpeople·Notmindingtl1eseobstacles,
Bodl1isattvasusetheirpatienceandcompassionto
helpallbeings.TherefOre’theheartofaBodhisattvais
differentfromthatofanArhatoraPratyekabuddlIa·
ThelattertwostillusetheillusoryheartwlIileaBo-
dhisattvausesthetruelIeart·Weseekwealthand
prestigenotrealizingthattbesedonotbavetobe
soughtastheyarealreadywithinourtruenature.
PeoplewhopracticeBuddhismaretryingtouncover
tl1eirtruenatureandtlIeabilitieswithin’
TherefOre,oneofourgoalsasaBuddhististore-
turntoreality)touncovertbeintrinsictruenaturethat
alreadycontainseverythingincludinginfiniteand
inexhaustiblewisdomandabilities’Thereisnoneedto
seekoutside,onlywithin’Everyonehastl1istruena-
ture;wedonotyetrealizeitanduntilwedo,wecan
relyupontheBuddbatoteacbusbowtodevelopit’
ThisiswlWlIisbenevolencetowardsusissomagnifi-
cent!
295
Weneedtounderstandthetruerealitytl1ataslong
aswearesincereineverygooddeed,tlIenunreserv-
edlygivingonepoundofricecanbringinfinitegood
fOrtunebecauseitfulfillstbeintegrityofthetrue
nature.AndthegoodfOrtunefromunreservedlyoffer-
ingonecenttotheBuddha,theDharma,andthe
Sanghacansuppressthetransgressionsofthousands
ofeons.
WereadintheStimIJgamaStJ<rHthat(‘Duringtbe
Dharma-EndingAge’thenumberofdeviatedteachers
willbeasnumerousasthegrainsofsandinthe
GangesRiver’>)TbeymayappeartobeteachingBud-
dl1ism,buttheirbelIavioristbatofdemons.Then
whereslIouldwegowhenwewanttoplanttheseeds
ofgoodfortuneandtopracticevirtuousdeeds?Wl1at
ifpeoplewithdeviatedviewsrunthetemplewevisit?
Mightwenotonlyfailtoplanttheseedsforgood
fOrtunebutcommitbaddeedsinstead?
Buddl1ismisateachingofpracticingwithin.Ifour
genuineintentionistogoandpayourrespectstotl1e
Buddha’tl1entheBuddhawillbeBuddhaAmitabhaor
BuddllaShalIamuni’accordingtowlIatourheartis
givingriseto.IfourheartsaregenuineandtruthfUl
tbenevenifwegotoatemplerunbybadspirits)the
Buddl1awillbetrue.However’ifourl1eartsareim-
propertobeginwith,thenevenifwearepracticingat
apropertemple,wewillstillbeaccordingwitlIdevi-
atedpeople.
Thisisnottosaythattberearenogoodplacesto
296
practiceBuddhismduringtheDl1arma-EndingAge
  『 弘
加 了 《 ﹙ ﹣
vationplace,apurebeartisacultivationplace’anda
compassionateheartisacultivationplace.))Aproper
cultivationplaceiswitbinour}Iearts.Wl1enourminds
areontbepathtoenligbtenmentthennomatter
whereweare,therewillalwaysbeaplacefOrcultiva-
tion.Aslongasourbeartsareproper,thennomatter
wherewego’therewillalwaysbeproperteachings.
Thus,theenVronmentarounduscl1angesaccording
toourminds‘Ifwecanunderstandtl1isandbedili-
gentinourpractice,thensocietyandcountrieswillbe
envelopedingoodfOrtune·Ifwedonoteradicateour
wanderingtl1oughtsandourattachmentstoourgood
deeds’thenevenifwegiveawayamilliondollars’our
meritswillnotbefull
WlIatare<<biggoodness))and(‘smallgood-
ness>)?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,itisconsid-
eredabadoffensethereandthen;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
》 叩  
thatanimproperthougbtwasstillrecordedasafault
eveniftl1ecorrespondingactionwasnottaken·Thus’
evenifwedonotactuallycommitanymajortransgres-
298
sions,wemayhavethoughtaboutthem.Lucldly,
ZlIongdalIadonegreatgooddeedtbatoutweighedalI
bislesserfaults.
Zhongdathenaskedtbejudgewhatwasre-
cordedont}IesinglescrollThejudgere-
plied:((Oncetheemperorplannedtobuilda
greatstonebridge’YouopposedtheprO>ect
duetotbehardshipsitwouldcausethetens
ofthousandsofpeopleneededforthework
TlIisisacopyofyourobjection.))Zhongda
said:“Ididmaketbeproposal,buttheem-
perordismisseditandproceededwithtbe
prOject.WhatIsaidhadnoeffectontbe
matter·Howcanitbearsomuchweight
againstallmyoffenses?”
Thejudgereplied:‘<AlthougbtlIeemperorre-
jectedyoursuggestion’youronethoughtof
kindnessfOralltlIosepeoplewasverygreat.
Iftheemperorhadacceptedyouridea,tlIen
thegoodperfOrmedwouldhavebeeneven
greater.”TherefOre,wbenoneisdetermined
todogoodfOrthebenefitofallpeople,a
smalldeedcanresultingreatmerits·Ifone
thinksonlyaboutbenefitingoneself,tben
evenifmanydeedsofkindnesswereper-
fOrmed,tl]emeritswouldstillbesmall.
TlIescrollcontainedadescriptionofthemajor
299
gooddeedtl1atZhongda}IadperformedHehadfOre-
seenthattheprOjectwouldwastemoneyandcause
bardships.Fromthis>wecanseethatwhatmatters
mostisouroriginalintention’
Zhongda,sconcernwasnotfOrbimself,butfOrtbe
citizenswhowouldsufferfiFomsuchamaJorconstruc-
tionprOject’fOreveniftheydidnotbavetocontribute
inlabor,theywouldbavehadtopayheavytaxesto
任 ‧  
doned,everyonewouldhavebenefited
Fromthis,wecanseetbemagnitudeofgoodness
bebindt}1issinglethougl1t.AlthoughtlIeemperordid
notlistentoZbongda>ssuggestion,thisdidnotalter
thefactthatitwassincerelymadefromthetruelIeart
andwasanexampleoffUllandcompletegoodness.Of
course’}IadtheemperoracceptedtlIeproposal,tbe
significanceoftlIeactwouldhavebeenevengreater.
Thedifferencebetweenbigandsmallgoodnesslies
inourintentions’bywlIetherwearethinkingofalltl1e
beingsintheworldorwhetherwearejustthinkingof
ourselvesandourfamilies·Weneedtounderstand
thiswlIenwededicatethemeritsafterwerecitesutras
oraBuddl1a)sname’Usuallywededicatetl1emeritsto
aparticularperson’wishingthattheBuddl]awould
helpl1imorl1ertogainvariousbenefits.Thisissmall
goodnessandthebenefitsgainedwillbesmallaswell
Infact’wearenotevensureifthepersonbeing
dedicatedtowillactuallygainanybenefit.TlIerefOre’
incasesliketl1is,whenafamilymemberisinacrisis)
300
weshouldrecitesutrasandaBuddlIa)sname,and
thendedicatethemeritstoallbeingsthroughoutthe

longersuffer,butbebappyandlIealthy‘Wbenweare
sincereinthisthought,ourfamilymemberswillgain
aswellWby?Becauseourheartistrulypervasive!59
Peopleoftensay,((I}Iavededicatedallmymeritsto
otlIersandbavegainednothingfOrmyself·Whatisthe
useinpracticinggoodness?)>Thiscouldonlycome
  廿
Buddhabutdonotfeelanyresponse,itisbecauseour

notlmowthatweshouIdmagnifyourmeritssothat
theyencompasstheentireuniverse.Wbenwededicate
tbemeritstoalllivingthings,itislikepassingona
light.WeuseourHametolightthoseofothers,sothat
thewl1oleworldisbathedinbrightness.Thisresultsin
greatbenefitfOrallwithnolosstoourselves·People
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
reasonwl1yWhenConfUciuswasteacl1ingtbecultiva-
tionofl1umanity,hebelievedthatweshouldbegin
wit}1wl1atismostdifficulttopractice.ThefOllowing
areafewexamples‘
Forexample,anelderlyteacher,Mr.Sbuof
}iangxl)gavetwoyearsearningstoapoor
manwlIoowedmoneytothegovernment.If
themanhadbeensenttoprison,thefamily
wouldhavebeentornapart.
Thisisaverygoodexample,fOrMr‘Shudidsome-
thingthatwasdifficulttodoandgaveupsometbing
thatwasdifficulttogiveup.60
AnotherexampleisMr.ZhangfTomHandan.
HegavewlIathadtakenhimtenyearsto
savetoapoormanwl1oowedmoneytothe
government.Thissavedhimfromgoingto
jailandenabledbimtoremainwithhiswife.
302
SuchexamplesasMr.S}IuandMr.Zhang
arerare,fortheygavewhatismostdifficult
togive‘Whatotherswouldnotsacrifice,
tbeydidsowillingly.
Peopledependonmoneyandmaterialobjectsto
survive·Tl1erefore,togiveawaymoneyisextremely
difficultespeciallywhenitisallthatwehave·Thisis
to((beginwithwhatismostdifficulttoovercome…
mostdifficulttopractice’}}Practicinginthiswaywill
belpustocurbourdesires’
  】 廿 〕
provmcewhowasoldandwithoutanysons.
Hisneigbborsofferedhimtheiryoung
daugbterinmarriageso}Iemighthavede-
scendantstocontinuehisfamily.6lMr.>in
refusedtheofferandsentherbome·Thisis
anotlIerexampleofbeingabletoovercome
whatismostdifficulttoconquerinoneself.
MrJinrecognizedthegreatagedifference)andal-
tboughbedeeplywantedason,hefelttbathecould
notruinthegirl>sfUtureandbappinesstoservehis
ownpurpose’Thisisanothergoodexampleofrestrain-
ingone>sdesiresespeciallywhenitismostdifficultto
doso.
TherefOre,tlIeheavensshowereddownes-
peciallygoodfortuneonthesethreemen.It
303
iseasierfOrthosewbohavemoneyand
powertoaccumulatemeritsandvirtuestlIan
fOrthosewhoarepoor.
However,ifonerefusestocultivategoodness
whentheopportunitypresentsitself,tlIenit
wouldtrulybeashame.Fortl1osewboare
withoutwealthorstatus,doinggoodthings
fOrothersisverydifficult·However,ifone
canhelpothersinthefaceofdifficultiesit
willbeevenmorevaluable’
Weshouldgraspeveryopportunitytopractice
goodnessandaccumulatemerits.Oncetbeopportu-
nityislost,wemaynotgetanotherclIancewhenwe
wanttodothatwhichisgoodWealthdoesnotlast
fOrever.Ourluckchangeseveryfiveyears,andinour
lifetimestherewillbethebestfiveyearsandtheworst
fiveyears.IftlIegoodyearsareduringouroldage
thentlIiswillbetruegoodfOrtune.But,iftlIeworst
fiveyearsoccurduringouroldage,tl1enthel1ardsl1ips
willbeevenmoredifficultbecausewewillalreadybe
ataphysicaldisadvantage.
Thus,weshouldpracticegoodnessatanearlyage,
toleteveryoneshareinourgoodfOrtunebecauseonce
weshareit)wewillstillgaininthefuturewhateverwe
aredestinedtolIave’Whenyoungandstrong,we
woulddowelltonotselfishlyexllaustallofourgood
fOrtuneonourselvessothatitwillremainintactforus
toenjoylaterinlife.Similarly,ifwesufferhardsl1ips
  ¢
first,thentherewillbenoneleftforustoendure
wbenwereacholdage’Thisiswhywemustlearnto
cultivateandaccumulategoodfOrtuneforouroldage.
ItismostimportantthatasBuddhists,weknowex-
actlywhywearepracticing-toaccumulatetbeulti-
mategoodfOrtunefOrourlastmomentsoflifC’What
isultimategoodfOrtune?Ittoknowthatwhenour
timeisup,wecanleavethisworldwithoutillness’ina
sittingorastandingposition,andthatwelmowexactly
w}Ierewewillbegoing·TbisisthegreatestgoodfOr-
tune,butmostpeopleareunawareofthis‘Practitio-
nersshouldconstantlyremindthemselvestoshare
theirgoodfortunewithothers.Thatwaythegood
fOrtunewillbeevengreater·
Whenwebaveprestige)itiseasiertohelpothers
moreandtoaccumulatemerits’Butwemustnotuse
thisprestigeagainstothers’Ifwehavethemeansto
practicegoodnessbutdonot,wearethrowingawaya
wonderfUlopportunity.Ontheotherhand’whenwe
arepooranddonotbavetbemeansbutstilltryto
belpothers>thedifficultyoftbetaskmakestheact
evenmorevaluable’
∕ 匕 叻 几 】   的 『 〃 仍
  刀 ﹝ 沘 ㎡
Therearemanywaystobelpotl1erswl1en-
evertl1eopportunitypresentsitself·These
canbesimplifiedintothefOllowingtenim-
305
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
therightopportunityarises’Becausethereareso
manykindsofvirtuousconducttbatcanbeaccom-
plis}1ed,theyhavebeensummarizedintotencatego-
r   s 。
Whatdoes‘<tosupporttbepracticeofkind-
))
nessmean?EmperorShunlivedduringthe
YaoPeriod.Oneday’befOrehebecameem-
peror,Shunwaswatchingsomefishermen
onLakeLeize’Henoticedthatalltbe
youngerandstrongerfislIermentooktl1e
spotswheretlIewaterwasdeepandthefisb
wereabundant’wlIilethosewhowereolder
306
andweakerwereleftwithtberapidsand
shallowwater,wheretherewereveryfew
fish
WhenSlIunsawthis,hesympatbizedwith
tlIeolderfishermen’HejoinedinthefislIing
andwheneverhesawyoungerfishermen
grabthegoodspots,hesaidnothing·But
wheneversomeyieldedtootbers,hepraised
tl1emeverywherehewentandemulatedtheir
l]umbleandpolitemanner.HedidthisfOr
oneyearuntiltbefishermengotintothe
habitofyieldingthegoodspotstootlIers’
Feelingsaddenedbythesituation,thepatientShun
tl1oughtofawaytoremedyitby‘<concealingfaults
andpraisingkindness.
))
Today’gooddeedsareoftenignoredaspeopleem-
phasizeimproperconduct’Assoonassomeoneacts
differentlyorbreaksthelaw>themediapublicizesit·
Wl1entl1is}Iappens,t}Iereisboundtobemorebad
tlIangoodpeople,forwhengoodnessisignored,there
islittleincentivetopracticeit·Infact,itgiveseven
moreencouragementtopracticewrongdoings.
Wesl1ouldfollowtheexamplessetbyancientsages
andvirtuouspeople‘TlIeydidnotspeakofthefaults
ofotl1ersbutwaitedfOrthosepeopletoreflectuntil
tl1eylIadawakenedT}Iisistheproperwaytoteach
people.EveryonelIasaconsciencealthoug}Iitcanbe
overwhelmedbythedesiresfOrwealtl1andpower·As
307
longasweuseaskillfUlwaytohelpotlIersseethe
truth)theywilleventuallycomearoundTlIiswaswhat
EmperorSbundidwiththefisbermen.IntlIefOllow-
ingpassage,wecanseewbysagesandvirtuouspeople
actedastbeydid
AwiseandcapablemansuchasShuncould
haveeasilyinfluencedot}Ierswit}Iafew
words.Whydidhenotsimplysaysomething
insteadoftryingtochangeothersbysetting
agoodexample?SlIun|spainstakingand
goodintentionswereliketbeexpertartisan-
shipthatresultsfTomlongpracticeandlIard
work
Shundidnotwanttousewordstoinf>uenceotl1ers,
butwiselypreferredinsteadtosetanexample.Al-
tboughittookalongertime,theeffectsweremuch
morelastingbecauseactionsspealdoudertl1anwords.
Intoday)seraoflowmorality)socialbreak-
down,andlossofproperthinking,itisex-
tremelydifficulttofindagoodstandardof
belIavior.TherefOre,whenthosearoundus
l1aveslIortcomings,wedonotuseour
strengthstopointouttheirdeficiencies.
Whenotl1ersareunkind,wedonotuseour
kindnesstocompareourselvestotl1em.
Whenothersarelesscapable,wedonot
purposelysurpassthem.Evenwhenweare
308
intelligentandcompetent)thesearetobe
keptl1idden.Insteadofboasting,weneedto
belIaveevenmoremodestly.WlIensomeone
makesamistake,wetolerateanddonotre-
vealit·Thisprovidestheopportunitytore-
fOrmwitl1outtbelossofselfrespect·
Havingadvantagesthatotherslackdoesnotmean
thatwecangloat.Wemustbeallthemorecarefulto
concealourabilitiesandtoaccommodatethefaultsof
otbers.TorememberthisandnotHauntourskillsand
intelligenceistruebroad-mindednessandtolerance’If
weneedtoshowoffeverytimewecandosomething,
thenwewillaccomplishlittle.Ifwearecapableof
greatacbievements)weneednotbeassuperficialas
manypeopleare.Bybeingtolerantandnotspealdng
ofthefaultsofothers,butinsteadpraisethegoodness
ofothers,wewilltrulyupholdthepreceptsandculti-
vategoodfOrtune·
Whenweallowotherstokeeptheirdignity’
theywillbeevenmorecarefUloffUtureac-
tions.Whenweseestrengthsorsmallldnd-
nessinothers,wecanlearnfromthemand
praisetbemtoothers.
Ifwecansetanexamplewithourbel1aviortothe
extenttlIatotberslearnmoderation,thenwehave
doneverywell’Whenweseetbeslightestgoodness
displayedbyothers>weshouldbehappyaboutit,and
309
praisethepersonmorefOrit’
WhenIfirstmetmylateteacher,Mr.LiBingnan>
hetaughtmenottotalkaboutthefaultsofothersand
betterstill,tohidethem.IunderstoodthatbecauseI
realizedthatdiscussingt}Iefaultsofotherswasnot
goodHowever’healsotoldmenottopraiseothers
andthatconfi1sedme.
) 叩   【 《 }
harmyoucausecanbeevengreaterthanwlIenyou
scoldtl1emfOrtheirfaults’>)Howcouldtl1atbe?He
continued:(<Ittakesgreatwisdomtolmowhowto
praiseotbers’Tboughtlesspraisecancausegreat
harm.IfweexcessivelypraisepeoplewlIentheydis-
playevenalittleability,tbeymaybecomeproudand
thinkthattheyareincredible.Thiswillpreventtl1em
{TomfUrt}Ierprogress.Andtonotprogressistore-
gress·Now,l1aven)tyoudonemorel1armtl1angood?”
Afterthinldngaboutthis,Iunderstood
So,whatsortofapersonslIouldwepraise?InBud-
dhism’wepraisethosewhocanremainunaffectedby
tbeEightEmotionsofgainorloss’fameordisgrace,
praiseorblame,pleasureorpain.Wecanpraisethese
peoplebecausetheywillnotbeaffectedInfact,the
morewepraisesuchpeople)themoremodestthey
becomeandthemoretl1eywilltrytoimprove.Wecan
givespecialpraisetothesepeople.
TherefOre,weshouldbeverycarefUlwitl1our
praise’notinadvertentlyallowingourgoodintentions
tocreatebaddeeds.Nowwecanseehowmuchcare
3l0
/
EmperorShunusedintakinganentireyeartryingto
helptheyoungfislIermencorrecttheirfaultsandbad
babits.
廿
andactingwithselfislIintentions)butin-
stead,seektobenefitsociety.Wecanl1elp
setstandardsfOrotberstofOllow.Theseare
thequalitiesofagreatperson;someonewho
tl1inksofpublicwelfareasmoreimportant
thanlIisor}Ierown.
WeneedtosetgoodexamplesforotherstofOllow·
WhataretbequalitiesofagreatpersonthatLiaofan
wroteoRAgreatpersondisregards}Iisorherown
welfareandthinksonlyofbenefitingothers.Theself-
ishpersononlythinlKsofbenefitingbimselforherself’
  〃 叻 磨 占 〃 】 ㎡ 肋 她
BemgB,‘<greatbeings’)referstotbeBodlIisattvasand
theeightldndsofrealizations.Thesutratellsoftbeir
conductandpractice’
Wbatdoes(<TorevereloveandrespectfOr
otbers),mean?Sometimesitishardtotellon
appearancewhethersomeoneisanhonor-
ablepersonorafTaud,sincefTaudspretend
tobehonorable.Thedifferenceisasobvious
blackandwhite.AsMenciussaid’thediffer-
encebetweenhonorablepeopleandordinary
peopleliesintheirintentions‘
3ll
ConfUcianismtalksaboutlIonorablepersons’sages’
andvirtuouspeople.Budd}Iismteachesofnumerous
BuddbasandBodhisattvas·Whatdifferentiatesallof
tlIemfTomordinarypeoplearetheirrespectiveinten-
tions.Itisextremelydifficulttodistinguishjustby
appearanceandtbisiswhywelIaveoftenmisunder-
stoodvirtuouspeople’
Forexample,inthepast)tlIerewerethreemonks
廿 ﹞
Hanshan’Shide)andFenggan·Itwasrecordedinthe
/ 白 ㎡ 刃   由 ∕ ○ 【 田 加
VewedthetlIreemonksassufferingfTommental
disordersbecauseoftheirunusualbehavior’Nobody
associatedwitlIthem’Tbissbowshowappearances
canbesodeceiving.
Fenggan’sjobwastopoundtbericeinordertore-
movethehusks·TbiswasalsowlIatMasterHuineng
didwbilehewasinHuangmei.Fenggan’whowas
actuallythetransfOrmationbodyofBuddbaAmitabha,
buslKedtlIericetofeedeveryone·HanshanandSl1ide
werethetransfOrmationbodiesofManjusriBod}]i-
sattvaandSamantabbadraBodl1isattvarespectively.
Theyalsoworkedinthekitchen’lightingfiresfOrtlIe
stoves,andperfOrmingotl1ermiscellaneouscl1ores.
Tl1eywentshoeless,dressedinrags,andactedab-
surdly.EveryonefelttlIattheywereworthless·Itis
truethatjudgingbyappearancesalone,itisdifficult
fOrordinarypeopletodeterminewl]oistrulyvirtuous.
Fengganwastheonewhorevealedthattheywere
3l2
actuallytransfOrmationSofthetlIreegreatvirtuous
people.
Atthattime’therewasalocalgovernmentofficial,
MagistrateLu>whosemotherfellillwhiletlIeywere
travelingtowherehewastoreporttolIisoffice.Mr·
Lubecameveryanxiousafterseveraldoctorsfailedto
helphismotl1er·WlIenFengganwaspassingthrougl1
theneighborhood,hesoughtoutMr.Luandsaid:
((SomeoneinyourhouseholdisillIcancuretl1at
person.’)Naturally,tlIemagistratefeltimmensegrati-
tudetowardFengganafterwardSinceFengganwasa
monk,heinquiredastow}1ichtemple}1ewasfrom.
Fengganreplied:<‘IliveonTiantaiMountain.’)Mr·Lu
aslKed:<‘Arethereanysagesorvirtuouspeopleresiding
inyourtemple?’)Fenggananswered:(‘ManjusriBod}]i-
sattvaandSamantabhadraBodhisattvalivethere.))Mr.
Luthenasked:‘(HowwillIbeabletorecognizeand
廿 》 》  
HanshanandtheotherSbide’
AfewdaysafterMagistrateLuassumedhisnew
appointment>hewenttoTiantaiMountaintopayhis
respectstothetwogreatBodhisattvas’Uponarrival’
hefOundthemworkingintheldtchenandacting
strangely.HeimmediatelylmeltontlIegroundand
paidl1isrespectstothem.T}1etwomonksseemedto
ignorehim,tlIenquicMyturnedontheirheels>and
ran’MagistrateLuorderedhisattendantstorunafter
tlIemandseewheretheywent.TlIetwomonksranto
thebaseofamountainandthemountainopenedup!
3l3
Themonksenteredandtl1emountainclosedup
again.But’befOretheyvanisbedinsidethemountain,
theywerelIeardsayIng:<<BuddhaAmitabl1atalkstoo
much’)MagistrateLuthenrealizedtlIatFengganwas
actuallyBuddhaAmitabha!ThetwoBodlIisattvaswere
complainingthatBuddhaAmitabhaslIouldnotl1ave
meddledandrevealedtheiridentities·So,tlIesetl1ree
personswereactuallygreatsages.
Atthattime>thetempleheldanimportantcere-
monytwiceamonthtorecitetl1eprecepts.Hansl1an
andSlIideoftenstoodoutsidethetemple’madefunof
theothermonks,andweretherefOredislikedbyall·
Wl1entheotl1ermonlKsrealizedtl1atHanshanand
ShidewereactuallytbetransfOrmationbodiesofBo-
dlIisattvas,theyfeltashamedthateverydaytlIese
tbreegreatsagesbadservedthemtheirfOodTbis
    廿
thoseofordinarypeople·
Theheartofagenuinelyhonorablepersonis
filledwithloving-kindnessandrespectfOroth-
ers.Therearethousandsofdifferenttypesof
peopleinthisworld’someclosetouswhile
othersarestrangers.SomelIaveprestigewhile
othershavenone.Somearesmartwhileoth-
ersarenotandsomearevirtuouswl1ileotl1ers
arecorrupt.Nevertheless,weareallhumans
andarethus,alloneentity.Wesl1ouldneither
l1atenordisrespectanyone.
3l4
TlIefirstoftheTenGreatVowsofSamantabhadra
BodhisattvaistoequallyrespectallBuddhasand
things.FromtlIeaspectofprinciple,despitetheap-
parentdifferencesamongpeople’allpeopleareoneto
thosewhounderstandFromtheaspectofphenome-
nonorappearance,weknowthatdifferencesexist.But
regardlessofthis’weareallpartof}Iumanity,allpart
ofoneanother.Realizingtbis)wewillviewotlIersas
weVewourselves.
TheBuddhasaid:<<Tbroughoutalltimeandspace,
tbereisonlytheoneself/)Thus’thekindnessand
compassionoftheBuddhais“unconditionalaffinityin
greatkindnessandtheembodimentofallingreat
compassion.>)Tl1isiswisdomandweneedtounder-
stand’respect,andpassiton.WearetolIaveloving-
kindnessandrespectfOrallbeings’sentientandnon-
sentient.
Whenourheartsarefilledwithloving-
kindnessandrespectfOrothers,itisthe
sameasifourheartswereIedwithloving-
kindnessandrespectfOrthesagesandvirtu-
ouspeople.Whenweunderstandandagree
withotl1ers,itistl1esameasifweunder-
standandagreewiththesagesandvirtuous
people.
Inancienttimes,well-educatedpeoplelmewhowto
respecttlIesagesandvirtuouspeople.Today,our
teclInologicalsocietyisimmersedingreed,anger,
3l5
ignorance’andarrogance.Whenweshowrespect’our
thoughtsandintentionsaredifferentfromtlIoseof
peopleinthepast.TlIeirrespectwassincere,andtlIe
sagesandvirtuouspeoplewererolemodelsfOrsociety.
Uponseeingasage,otlIerswouldimmediatelyemulate
thesagetocorrecttheirownbehavior.Today’people
oftengothroughthefOrmalitiesofpayingrespectto
tlIeBodhisattvas>lIeavenlybeings)andsprits,intl1e
lIopeofgainingsomethinginreturn.Alltoooften,this
isthesoleintention.
Liaofansaidthatunderstandingandagreeingwith
othersisthesameasunderstandingandagreeingwitl1
tbesagesandvirtuouspeople’TlIeirmainobjectiveis
tocreategoodnessandhappinessfOrallpeople.WlIo
wouldnotprefertoliveinapeacefUlandprosperous
society?MostpeoplewishfOrtheFiveGoodFortunes
ofwealtlIandprestige’longevity,meritsandvirtues’
happinessandnoadversities,andagooddeath
Butwl1atmostpeoplewishfOrarejustthegoodre-
sults.Whattheydonotknoworhavefbrgottenisthat
goodresultscomeonlyafterwehaveaccomplisl1ed
goodcauses.Ifwedonotpracticegoodcausesand
’   叩
results.Tbesagesandvirtuouspeoplewanteverybody
toattaingoodfOrtune‘Tl1esevirtuouspeoplepossess
greatwisdomwl1ereasweordinarypeopleareconfused
andignorant.So’thevirtuouspeopleteacheveryone
l>owtopracticegooddeedsandaccumu>atemeritsin
orderfOreveryonetoreceivegoodfOrtune.
3l6
Practicinggoodnessandaccumulatingmeritsbe-
廿 ﹣    
respectfOrallbeingsandcircumstances.Thisloving-
kindnessandrespectmustbegenuine.ThisiswbytlIe
firstoftheTenGreatVowsofSamantablIadraBodlIi-
sattvaistoequallyrespectallBuddhasandthings’
WlW?Becauseallthevirtuouspeopleand
sageswantpeopletoobtainwlIattlIeywisb
fOr.Ifwecanhaveloving-kindnessandre-
spectfbrpeople,andhelpthemtoachievein
theirendeavors)weareactingasasageora
virtuousperson‘
Thesoleintentionofsages,virtuouspeople,and
Bodhisattvasistoteachallbeingshowtoproperly
obtainwhattheywant.FortlIosewhoareoutstanding’
intelligent’andso-inclined)thevirtuouspeoplewilltry
toteachthemtobeaBuddhaoraBodlIisattva’For
tlIosewboarenotso-inclined>thevirtuouspeoplewill
trytohelpthemachievewbattheywis}IfOr.Tbere-
fOre’wetoowoulddowelltolIaveloving-ldndnessand
respectfOrallbeings·
Whatdoes(<helpingotherstodogood”
mean?Ifwetossedasideapieceofrawjade’
itwouldremainaworthlessstone.Butifwe
carvedandpolishedit,itwouldbetrans-
fOrmedintoavaluableobject.
3l7
Weneedtohelpotberstoachieveintheirendeav-
ors.HelpingotlIersisoneofthevirtuesofthetrue
natureandenhancesourmerits‘]adeisusedasan
examplefOritisconsideredoneoftbemostdelicate
andbeautifUlofallstonesandwhencarvedandpol-
isl1ed,itcanbecomeextremelyvaluable.62
So’wl1enweseepeoplewhomwefeell1ave
thepotentialtopracticegoodnessortowork
towardsapropergoal,wecanguide,sup-
port,praise,andencouragetlIem’thushelp-
ingthemtosucceed
Thisisaboutnurturingtalentedpeople.Wl1enwe
seeotherswhosebeartsarekind,whosenaturesare
loyalandgenerous’andwlIosegoalsarevirtuous)we
shouldhelpthemineverypossibleway.Weneedto
encouragetl1emtofOllowtl1erightpatlIandsupport
themuntiltl1eyachievetheirobjectives.
  咱 ﹝ 陋
tlIis.WeseeSudlIana>whoasastudentl1adfifty-tlIree
goodspiritualteacbers.Althoughhewasyoung,l1eis
tobeconsideredasourelder’aseniorinl1ighstand-
ing.Hisvirtues,merits’andknowledgearetrulyde-
servingofrespect.Wecanlearnmucl1froml1im.As
SudhanameteaclIofthespiritualteaclIers,hebowed
andpaidlIisrespects.Eachadvisorwouldasktben
him,‘<W}1eredidyoucomefrom,wlIydidyoucome
bere’andwhatisitthatyouseekP>’Allfifty-three
teachersaskedSudlIanatl1esamequestionandall
3l8
receivedtl1esameanswer.TherefOre,tlIisquestion
andanswerismemorable.
Thefirstpartoftheansweris:<‘Ihavevowedtoat-
tainsupremeenligbtenmentandIwis}Itoachieve
unsurpassedBodlIi,butIdonotlmowhowtopractice
orwhatintenttohave.TlIus,IlIavecometoaskfor
yourguidance/>Settingagoaliswhatwemeanby
makingavow.IfthegoaliswortlWandtlIestudentis
diligent,tl1enwemustdoourbesttol1elpl1imorher.
TherefOre’aslongaswehaveapropergoal,tlIenno
matterwhethertheteachingsareofthisworldor
beyond,wewillhaveabrightfUtureandgreataccom-
plishments.IfweseeotlIerswhohavethispotential,
wecanencourageandassisttl1emintl]eirendeavors.
IftheysufferlIardsl>ips,weshouldalleviatetheir
difficultiessothattheycanconcentrateonaccom-
plishingtheirlearning.
IfotlIerswronglyaccusethem>wecantryto
cleartl1eirnameandsharetheirburdenof
slander.Onlywhenwehavehelpedtl1em
backontheirfeettobecomeafimctioning
partofsociety,willwehavefulfilledourre-
sponsibilityinhelpingotl1erstodogood
Duringthepracticetobecomeasage,regardlessof
whetl1erintlIisworldorbeyond,people8reboundto
encounterjealousyandslander.ThiscanconfUseand
evendiscouragetlIemfTompursuingtheirstudies‘
T}1iswouldbeatragiclossandtokeepthisfToml1ap-
3l9
peningweneedtoshareintheirproblemsandworries.
Whenotl1ersslandertlIem,weneedtohelpthemto
cleartheirname,todoallwecantol>elp.Ifwecan
acl1ievethis’tl1enwewilll1aveaccomplishedgreat
lmowledge’wisdom’virtues’andmerits’fOrtl1eywill
contributetosocietypartlybecausewelIavehelped
themtoreachtheirgoal.Howevermanyvirtuesand
meritstl1eymayaccumulate’thepersonwl1obelped
tbemtoachievewillreceiveanequalamount.63
WlIywouldotlIerswanttocausetroublefOrusif
wearegood?Goodtbingsdonotcomeeasily.There
aremanyobstaclesfOrthosetryingtobevirtuous·If
someonewantstocommitevildeeds’tl1enMara64will
beveryhappybecausehelovesevil·Notonlywill
MaranotgetintlIewayoftbeperson,lIewillalsodo
alllIecantohelp<thepersoncommitevil>.Onthe
otherl1and,ifwewanttoperfOrmvirtuousdeeds’that
wouldbegoingagainstMara>swishessohewilldo
everythingl1ecantodeterus.
Maraisonefactorthatcausestrouble;anotheris
ourMrmiccreditorsfiFompastlifetimes.Whenthey
seethatwearepracticingwellandmigl1ttranscend
samsara’tl1eywillwanttostopus.Thisisbecausewe
廿  
debtmaybemoneyoralife.Thesecreditorswillnot
standidlybyandwatclIussucceedinourpracticebut
willcreateobstaclestodeterus.Tl1us)tl1epatl1to
awakeningisfilledwit}Iobstacles.
Tl1roughinnumerableeons,wel1avecreatedinfi-
320
nitekarmicobstacles.Howarewetoridourselvesof
them?Wesboulddedicateourdailypracticetoour
karmiccreditors,tosbareourmeritswitl1tlIem’By
passingmeritsontothem,wewillachievefullvirtue’
Whatdowewant?Nothing.Ifwedonotcommitto
thisvow,itwillbedifficultfOrustoachieveawaken-
ingwithoutencounteringkarmicobstacles.
Mostpeopledislikethosewl1oaredifferent
fromthem.
Mostofusprefertbosewhoarelikeus·Forin-
stance’thosewhopracticeBuddbismfeelcloserto
practitionersthantoothers.Tl1isisespeciallynotice-
ablewithinafamily’Ifourparentsandsiblingsarenot
practitionersandwearetheonlyvegetarians,then
tlIerewillbeconflicts·Since>thisisactuallyourown
fault)weneedtodeterminewhatwearedoingwrong.
Whywouldotl1erfamilymembersdisapproveofus
practicingBuddl1ism?Sometimes,wlIenfellowBud-
dhistsvisitus,wemayseemclosertotl1emthantoour
families.Wemigbtappearl1appierwithtl1emthan
witl1ourownmotherswhouponseeingtl1iscould
understandablybecomeunhappy.TherefOre,we
sl1ouldloveandcarefOrourfamiliesintl1esameway
thatwedootl1erpractitioners.Tl1enourfamilieswill
notopposeourpracticingBuddbism.Tl1erearemany
caseswherefamilyconflictshavearisenwl1enonly
onememberpracticedOften,tbatonememberdid
notconsiderhisorherbehavioranddidnotseewlIat
32l
wastl1ecauseoftbediscontent’Onlywhenweare
objective’canweseetheproblem·
Whenotl1erpractitionerscometovisitus,we
shouldshowevenmorerespecttoourparentssotbat
ourfamilieswillfeelbetter.Intl1isway’theywillno
longerobjecttoourpractice.Theymightevencometo
likeit’andencouragefriendsandrelativestofOllow
suit.TherefOre,wheninteractingwitbfamilymem-
bers,weslIouldnotuseverbaleducation,butlearn
fTomEmperorShunandusebel1avioraleducationto
setgoodexamples.Then,astl1eyseetl1egoodresults
hompracticingBuddhism,t}1eywillautomatically
  。
Therearealwaysmorebadpeoplearound
tlIangoodpeople;so,thosewl1oaregoodof-
tenhavedifficultystandingont}Ieirown‘
Immoralpeopleareinthemajorityandl1avemore
powerthantl1osewhoarehonest’Becauseoftl1is,
decentpeopleoftenhaveproblemsstandingontheir
own.ItbecomesmoredifficultfOrtlIemtobegood
becauseotl1erswillusetheirpowertocreateobstacles’
EversincetbeBuddha,theabovesituationl1asoc-
curredfOreacl1succeedinggenerationofBuddhists·
AnexampleisMasterHuineng.Afterhehadattained
enlightenment,hewentintobidingwithagroupof
buntersfOrfifteenyears.Why?Becauseofthejeal-
ousyandobstaclesheencountered
Ethicalpeopleoftenlacktheopportunitiestolearn
322
andareimpededbytl1osewl1oareimmoral.Tl1isis
wl]ysometimesethicalpeoplewhoaretryingtostand
ontbeirownmaynotgettheopportunitytopractice
goodnessasmuchastheywishto’Wl1iletl1eymaybe
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
practiceBuddhism’wemustbeextremelyrespectfUlto
tlIeBuddlIa,tlIeDharma’andtheSangha.However,
weneednotbeoverlyconcernedwitlIinconsequential
323
matters’fOrtodosowillinterferewitlIourpractice.
Weshouldfeelandshowrespect;butifweseeothers
whoaredisrespectfUl,weshouldnotmindtlIem.In
ourpractice’weneedtobelievethat((tlIepureheart
willgiverisetothepureland)>Nightandday,always
remembertochant(<AmituofO/)Everytl1ingelseis
immaterial.
Neitl1ers}IouldweattachtofOrmalitiesinourprac-
tice.Forexample,tbosewboareolderandlessagile
donotneedtokneelwhenrecitingasutra’Toseeka
bondbetweenBuddhaAmitabhaandourselvesisof
theutmostimportance’Wecancontinueourpractice
evenwhenlyingdown‘Theweakoragedcanusethe
mostcomfOrtablepositionwhileclIanting(<AmituofO”
orrecitingthesutra,beitlmeeling,sitting,orwallKing.
Ifweak,wecanliedownandlistentothesutraona
tape·Lyinginbedlisteningtotbesutraorchanting
<(Amituofo),canachievethesamemeritsaswhenwe
aresittingorwalking‘But,itisnotgoodtocbant
aloudwbilelyingdownbecauseitisharmfUltoour
bealth
MabayanaBuddhismisHexibleandwithoutmany
restrictions.So,wbatarealltheritualsandrulesfOr?
TheyareusedasbelIavioraleducationtobelpothers
feelrespectandtomotivatetheirwisbtopractice
Buddl1ism‘Tl1eravadaBuddhism,ontl1eotl1erl1and,
emphasizesself-discipline’
Exceptionallytalentedpeoplearenotbotheredby
minordetails,andconsequentlycaneasilyoffend
3Z4
othersandcausegossip’TherefOre)strivingtodogood
turnsouttobeachallengebecausegoodpeopleoften
sufferfromaccusationsandslander.Whenthisl1ap-
pens,thosewhoaretryingtobegoodmustdependon
virtuouspeopleorelderswithwisdomandvirtueto
helptlIemovercometheirdifficultiessotl1attheycan
contributetosociety.Virtuouspeopleandelderswill
achievethegreatestmeritsbecausetheyarenothelp-
ingjustanindividual’butallofsociety,sothatevery-
onemayenjoytlIesamegoodfOrtune.Thisistrulya
greatmerit’
Ifweareabletoencourage)nurture,andhelpa
DharmamastersotlIatheorshecanteacbBuddhism
toothers,tl1emeritswouldbeincomparable.However,
manypeopledonotlmowthis·Theybelievethatif
theydonatemoneytorestoreatemple>themerits
wouldbegreater.Actually>suchmeritsarelimitedIn
fact,sometimeswemayhaveevencommittedabad
deedinspiteofourgoodintentions.TherefOre,onlyin
nurturingtalentedpeopledowetrulyachievegreat
merit.Onlywithtl1esemasterscanweguaranteethe
propagationoftl1eteachingssotl>atBuddl1ismwill
remaininourworld
Itisextremelydifficulttoencourageandhelptal-
  ﹂
enlightenmentaswellashelpotherstoachieve
enliglItenment.Theirmindsmustbepure’non-
discriminatory,andvoidofselfislItlIougl1ts.Tl1eseare
thenecessaryqualitiesfOrsomeonetoteachBud-
3Z5
dhism.IfweencountersuchatrueBuddhistsucces-
sor’wesl1oulddoourutmosttohelpl1imorl1er’Once
thispersonisaccomplisl1edandabletocontribute
greatlytoBuddl1ism,themeritswehaveachievedin
helpingwillbeequaltohisorberown’
WhyaretheresofewBuddbistteachers?TlIeop-
portunitytoteacl1otl1ersmaynothaveyetpresented
itself‘Ortheindividualsmaynotbesincerelydedi-
catedtopropagatingt}IeteachingstolIelpallbeings.
Tl1eirvowslackconvictionandtheircharactersare
HawedAndoftenlaypeopleliketoHatterandlistento
oldermasters,anddonotgotolistentonewerones.
Tl1iscancausetl1enewermasterstobecomediscour-
agedsothattlIeymigbtturntoconductingceremo-
nies.Tl1isl1appensbecausetbelaypeopledidnot
fulItbeirresponsibilitiesinprovidingproperoppor-
tunities·TherefOre,whennewermastersvowtolec-
tureontl1esutras,wesbouldgoandlistenifwlIatthey
teacl1isaccurate.
However,iftheirteachingsareinaccurate,we
shouldnotlisten.Wbentheyseetbis,tlIeycanreHect
andcorrecttheirfaults.Oncetl1eyl1avedoneso,we
cantl1enlistenandencouragethemtopropagatetbe
teacl1ings.Thisistheproperwaytopraisenewermas-
tersandencouragethemintheirvowstopursue
enlightenment.Weneedtoprovideasuitablelearning
env1ronmentfOrtbem.Tl1evalueoftlIismeritis
boundlessbecauseitcanextendthelifeofBuddl1ism·
326
Whatdoes<‘persuadingotlIerstopractice
kindnessmean?Asl1umans,weallwantto
))
begoodandtohaveaconscience)butchas-
ingafterwealthandfamebaskeptusso
busythatwe}Iavestoppedlisteningtoour
consciences.Tl1isistheresultofhavingto
surviveinaworldfilledwitbbardships.

consciencetodosomethingunworthy,we
canremindandwarnthisfiFiend,l1opingto
廿 ‧  
wakingupsomeonewhentheyarel1avinga
nightmare.Itisuptoustoshaketheminto
reality’Wl1enapersonisundergoingalong
spellofdepression)wecanpulltl1isperson
outofitandl1elptoclear}1isorl1ermind
Wearemostvirtuousifwecantreatour
fiiendswithsuchkindness·
VirtuallyeveryonewouldprefertobegoodEven
theworstpersonwillusuallysaythatheorshewould
lilKetopracticegoodness·FromtlIis)wecanconclude
thatagoodheartandbelIavioristl>etruenatureof
lIumanity.BuddhismteaclIesustlIattl1isisavirtueof
ourtruenature’Ifthisisthecase,wbydopeople
resorttoimmoralconduct?TWoreasons’First’people
commitbaddeedsbecauseoftheirafflictionsandbad
babits.Second,theydosobecauseofbadconditions.
Wl1iletl1eyarecommittingbaddeeds,mostareboth-
327
eredbytbeirconscience>unfOrtunately)theydonot
廿 ﹚
theybecomemoredeludedandconfused
AsLiaofansaid)althoughwewanttopracticegood-
ness,thenecessityofsurvivinginaworldfilledwith
hardshipscanresultinourfOrgettingtodoso.Wbile
tryingtomakealiving’wedomanytl]ingstomaintain
acertainstandardoflivingfOrourfamiliesandto
furtherourcareers.Thus’t}IeenVronmenttlIatwe
liveinstronglyinfluencesourbehavior.Thiscould
becomedisastrousinourimmoralsociety.
Forexample,manypeopleliketogamble.Tl1eirob-
sessionwillharmthemselves,theirfamilies,andsoci-
ety’Tl1isdangeroustrendisslowlyaffectingtl1eentire
worldDuetothemedia>sinfluence’suchnegative
influenceskeepspreadinguntiltheyreaclIthefartlIest
cornersoftl1eworldcausingmuclIdamage.Tl]us,
whenweseeourfriendsorrelativesintrouble,we
shoulddoourbesttohelpthemseereasonandtolead
themawayfrombadinHuences‘Wecanencourage
  由 危 】 【   ﹣
causetheprinciplesintlIisbookarealltrue.
Sometimes>wemayfinditquiteeasytomake
moneyinthestockmarket’But>thewealthwegained
fiFomtradingstockswasdestinedtobeours.Ifour
destiniesdonotincludewealth,tbenthemoneywill
soonbegone.Intermsofl1andlingmoney,ifwecaITy
itwithus’weareafraidofbeingrobbedIfwedeposit
itinthebank,allwecandoislookatit.Whatisthe
328
differencebetweenourmoneyvs.others)moneyde-
positedinabank?Whenwethinkaboutit’wewilI
realizethatwealtbonlyincreasesourgreed,anger’and
arrogance·
Alltl1atweneedisenoughfOod,adequateclothing,
andasafeplacetolive‘Woulditnotbebetterifwe
weretouseourgoodfOrtunealittleatatimerather
thanexlIaustitallatonce?Ifourfamilymembersor
fTiendstrytoobtainwealthtbroughimpropermeans,
weneedtousereasontobelpthemrealizethatsuch
met}1odsareimproperandthatwesl1ouldnotengage
inspeculationoradoptimproperwaystoobtain
wealthTl1isistbeproperpathfOritcanlastalong
time·
Wemusthelpotherswithwbatismostbeneficialto
them·Inbelpingotherstolearnandtoattainawaken-
ing,Budd}]ismisaccommodatingandskillfulsoothers
arehappytolistenandopentoacceptingwhatwesay.
Inthisway>wewillbeabletolIelpot}Iersunderstand
  廿
WlIentl1eysuddenlybecomevigilant’itwillbesimilar
toawakeninginBuddhism’Thisislikeeliminatingthe
rootsofallafflictions·Allthatremainsisasenseof
廿 ‘
AscholarnamedHanyuoncesaid:(‘Byword
ofmouth)onecanonlypersuadeandinflu-
enceothersfOrawhile.Ifonecanpersuade
andinfluenceothersthroughwrittenworks’
329
oneIswordscanbepassedonfOrhundreds
ofgenerationsaroundtheworld>)Depending
onwhatisappropriateinthecircumstances,
wecanuseeitherspeakingorwriting.

  叩
othersinordertohelpthemtoawaken,wedoitby
wordofmoutl1butthisonlybenefitstl1eminthis
lifetime.Ifwewishtoguidemanyothersaswellas
futuregenerations,thenthebestwaywouldbe
tbroughwriting.Byrecordingourgoodwordsand
deeds,wecanpassthesedownfOrfUturegenerations.
ThiswillensuretlIepreservationofthesegoodwords.
/ 自 几 α 】  
fanisobjectiveinwritingthebookwastoalerthisson
tothedangersofcommittingbaddeeds.LiaofanlIad
notintendedthesefOurlessonstobewidelyreadfOr
manygenerationsandsohelIasunintentionallyper-
fOrmedagreatdeedofgoodness.Manypeoplewl1o
fOllowedhisteachingshavesucceededinchanging
theirdestiniesfTomthatofsufferingtol1appiness,
tl1us’benefitinggreatlyfromLiaofan)swrittenwords.
Tl1istl1involumeisaprimeexampleofteachingpeo-
pletobegoodHeusedhisownlifeasanexamplefOr
hisdescendants’hopingthattheywouldunderstand
andlearntopracticegoodness·Thisisthemosteffec-
tive,profOund,andall-encompassinggoodness.
Wemaytbinktl1atweareunqualifiedtowritebut
330
thisisnotso-weareallqualifiedIfwecanjustre-
cordoneortwooccurrencestl1atwehearorseeeach
day’theoutcomewouldbelilKethelessonsinthiS
bookWecanseethatpersuadingpeoplebyspeech
andpersuadinggenerationsbywritingarenotdifficult
aslongasourbeartsaresincereandourdetermina-
tionunshakable.
Toencouragevirtue,wecanpersuadeothers
throughspeechorwriting.Comparedwith
teaclIingothersthrougbbelIavior,speecb
andwritingaremoredirectandclear’Some-
times,wedonothavetimetoteachothers
throughbehavior.Thenverbalorwritten
educationwillbemoreeffective.Furtl1er-
more,ifwecanapplyitliketherigl1tmedi-
cinefOranillness,oftenitwillprovetobave
wonderfuleffects.TherefOre’wecannotgive
uP’
Wesl1ouldinteractwiththosewhomwearetrying
tolIelpanduseouractionsasexamplestoinspire
otbers,similartowhatEmperorShundidwiththe
fishermen’
InBuddhism,theFourEmbracingMethodsare
usedtoguideandinHuenceallsentientbeings.The
firstmethodisgivingunsparinglytoestablishagood
affinityandamicabilitywithothers.Oncewebave
honestlyearnedtheconfidenceofothers)tl1enw}Iat
wesayordowillcreateapositiveeffectonthemand
33l
theywillbemoreopentowhatwesayanddo.
Thesecondmethodistousekindwords’Thisdoes
notmeanweuseHatteryorpersuasivewordstosway
others.KindwordsmeanstoactwithHexibilitywith
otl1ersandtomakethemfeelcomfOrtable.Asex-
plainedbyMasterZbongfengearlierintl1islesson,
  廿 ﹣
otlIers,thenevenifwescoldorpunisbthemfOrtheir
owngood,itwouldbeanactofldndness.
ButwlIenwearescolding)weshouldtakeintocon-
siderationtlIeirabilitytowithstandandacceptthe
reproachIftheyrejectitbecauseitisoverdone>then
ourwordswillhaveanegativeeffect.TherefOre,when
wespeaktoothersoftheirfaults,wesl1ouldmakesure
thatnooneelseispresentsothattl1eywillnotfeel
embarrassedorbeantagonizedThisisanexampleof
beingflexibleandhelpingtlIepersonfeelcomfOrtable.
Thethirdmetl1odisbeneficialaction.Tbismeans
thatourwordsandactionsmusttrulybetol1elpotlI-
ers.Tl1efOurtl1andIastmetl1odiscomradeshipand
cooperation,wbicbmeansthatweparticipatein
properactivitieswitl1othersandguidetl1embybeing
goodexamples’
Whentl1eBuddhasguidesentientbeings,theypri-
marilyfOllowtl1esefOurmethods.Wbenweencourage
otherstobegood)weareusingverbaleducation.
WlIenwejoinotherstoteaclIthemkindness’weare
usingbel1avioraleducation·
332
Ifwemaketbemistakeof(<losingaperson
))
<itwasproperfOrustoguidethispersonbut
wedidnot>or(<wastingourwords>’<itwas
improperfOrustopersuadethispersonbut
wetriedto>weneedtotbinkandfindthe
wisdomnottorepeattbemistake’
Whenweareabletoadvisesomeonebutdonot,we
havelostanopportunitytoteachIfapersonlIastlIe
potentialtopracticegoodnessbutwedonotleadbim
orhertotherightpath,tbenwehavelostthatperson·
Ontheotherband,ifsomeoneisinflexibleandwill
notlistentousbutwepersistintryingtoconvmce
himorher’thenwelIavewastedourwords.When
interactingwithothers,weshouldlearntouseour
commonsensetoobservehowtheyarereacting.This
廿
‧   始 /
wbenotbersarewillingtolistenandaccept,weteach
tbembutwhentheyarenot>wesimplyputourpalms
togetberandwishthembappiness.
Wbatdoes<(belpingthoseindesperateneed”
mean?PeopleoftensufferfTomseriousdiffi-
culties.Ifwemeetsomeoneliketl1is,tl1en
weimmediatelyhelptlIatpersonasifwe
weretheonewhowassuffering.Ifaperson
hasbeenwronglyaccusedorconvicted,then
weshouldpleadontheirbel1alfaswellas
helpinanywaywecan‘TbescholarMr.Cui
333
oncesaid:<‘Itdoesnotmatterwbetl1erafa-
vorisbigorsmallWhatisimportantistlIat
itisdoneatatimewhenotlIersneedit
most.)>Thesearewordsofloving-kindness’
EveryoneisboundtoencountermisfOrtuneduring
bisorberlife.65Wearenowlivinginarelatively
peacefulworld;however,willwealwaysen}oysucl1
peace?IfwelookrealisticallyattlIewaywearecur-
rentlyheaded,thefUturelooksbleakItwouldbemost
unfOrtunateifthehardsbipsweretooccurduringour
middleyearsoroldage.TherefOre,whenwemeet
otlIerswhoaresuffering’weshouldtreatthemasifwe
weresufferingthesamehardshipsandquicklydo
everythingwecantohelpThisisthegivingoffear-
lessness.
Wl1enothersareoppressedorwronged)wemust
helpthembypleadingontheirbehalf,anddowl1at-
everwecantoprovetheirinnocence.Wl1entl1ey
sufferfromcontinuoushardshipsandweareunableto
helptbembyourselves>wemustinfOrmothersand
enlisttheirassistance.TlIescbolarMr.Cuisaidthatit
isnotimportantwhetherweareabletohelpagreat
dealorjustalittle;whatisimportantisthatwelIelp
whenothersneedourhelpthemost.However’wl1ile
weshouldprovideassistanceinanemergency’poverty
isadifferentissue.Thebestwaytoassistthosein
povertyistohelptlIemlearnwaystoearnaliVngso
thattl1eycansupportthemselvesandbecomeinde-
334
pendent·T}Iisistbegreatestactofkindness‘
Wbatdoes<<developingpublicpmjectsfOr
thebenefitofothers))mean?Smallconstruc-
tionprOjectsareneededfOrvillagesandbig
constructionjobsareneededforcities.As
longastheyhelppeople,theyshouldbe
built.
Onasmallscale,wecanbenefitavillage·Onalar-
gerscale)wecanbenefitacityoracounty.Today,tbis
islmownassocialwelfare’Everycitizen,everygovern-
ingbodywoulddowelltoconsiderittheirresponsibil-
itytodogooddeedstohelpeveryone·
Weshoulddoanythingthatbenefitsthelocalcom-
munity·Onlywheneveryonehasgoodfortune’dowe
l1aveitaswellIfwealoneen}oygoodfOrtunewhile
othersaresuffering,tbenadversityisnotfarbe}Iind
AsaC}1ineseproverbsays)onefamily>swealthcan
causeresentmentfromtbousandsoffamilies.Ifwe
shareourgoodfOrtunewithothers,itwillbelpto
createastablesocietyandapeacefi1lworldTbiswill
tbenbecometruegoodfOrtune·Whenweshareour
goodfOrtunewithothers,itisasignofgreatwisdom,
goodfOrtune,andvirtue.Today,whenwespeakof
<ldevelopingpublicpmjectsfOrthebenefitofothers/’
wecandosobyencouragingotherstopracticethe
  由 / 刀 台 α     ﹞
ofBuddhism.
335
PublicprOjectscanbetheconstructionof
systemstoirrigatefarmlands,damstopre-
ventflooding’orbridgestofacilitatetravel.
Also,wecangivefOodorwatertothosewho
arehungryorthirsty.WlIeneverwel1avethe
opportunity,weneedtoinspireotherstodo
theirshareasweIltohelpaccomplisl1tlIe
prOject,eitherthroughtlIesharingofwealth
oroflabor·Donotbeafraidofwhatotbers
mightsayorbecomediscouragedwhent}]e
jobbecomesdifficult·Donotallowthejeal-
ousyandhatredofot}Ierstoweakenourre-
solvetodowhatisvirtuous.
IntlIepast)agriculturewasthefOundationofevery
country’andso,theconstructionofirrigationsystems
wasofparamountimportance.Damswerealsoneces-
saryinordertopreventflooding.Theseconstruction
prOjectswerenotbuilttobenefitoneself,butwerefOr
thebenefitofeveryone.TherefOre)evenwl1enobsta-
clesoccurredduringthecourseofconstruction,tbey
werenotal>owedtodeterthecompletionofafulland
absolutegooddeed
Theremaybeoppositionatthebeginningofsucl1a
prOjectbutonceitisfinishedandeveryonel1asbene-
’   ﹂
fOrtsputin.Thus’ourvisionmustbepervasiveand
comprehensive.WeneedtolIavewisdom,loving-
kindness,andperseveranceinordertoaccomplisb
336
goodness)thestandardofwbicbistobenefitallsen-

notgoodness·TbiswasMasterZhongfeng>sstandard
fOrgoodandbad
W}Iatdoes<(accumulatingmerits
fOrtunebygivingwealth}}mean?
dbism,givingisconsideredthe
practiceamongallthemethods.
andgood
InBud-
foremost
ThisisthewaytopracticefOrgoodfOrtune·InBud-
d}Iism>tbereareinfinitewaystopractice‘Forthesake

ofsimplicity,Buddhismhasorganizedt}]eseinfinite
waysintosixmajorpracticescalledtheSixParamitas’
TheBuddhaoftentaugbtt}IeSixParamitasofinfinite
practices.Ifwesummarizethem,allsixbecomethe
firstParamita:thatofgivingKeepingtl1eperceptsor
moralselfdiscipline,andpatiencecanbothbeconsid-
eredthegivingoffearlessness·Diligence,deepcon-
centration,andwisdomcanbeconsideredthegiving
ofteaching.Thus,thethreetypesofgivingencompass
allthemetlIodsofpracticeinBuddhism.
NomatterhowmanyotherwaystlIereare’theyare
  / 白 】
Buddl1ataugl1tusnottobeattachedinourpracticeof
giving.Tl1isistl1eultimateperfectguidelinefOralltbe
waysofpractice’
TherefOre)togiveistopracticegoodfOrtune.TlIis
istlIepracticeofBodhisattvas.Sincetl1eSixParami-
tasaretlIewaystopracticegoodfOrtune,wisdomisa
337
partofgoodfOrtune’WhenwepracticetlIegivingof
teacl1ing’wewillgainintelligenceandwisdom,wl1iclI

givingoffearlessness,wewillgainhealthy,longlives.
Whenwepracticethegivingofwealtb,wewillgain
wealthTbeChinesespeakoftheseastheFiveGood
Fortunesofwealthandprestige,longevity,meritsand
virtues>happinessandnoadversities,andagood
deathAgooddeathisgoodfOrtunebecauseitcanin
turnleadintoagoodrebirthAndthebestdeatlIisto
diewhileclIantingaBuddhaIsnametobereborninto
thePureLand:Duringmylifetime)Ihaveseenmany
instanceswlIerethishashappened
Ifwewisbtoattainperfecthappinessinthisworld,
wewillnotgowrongifwepracticeaccordingtotl1e
teachingsinthisbookIfwewishtoattainperfect
bappinessbeyondthisworld,tbenweonlyneedto
加 丘 巴 /  
leadourlivesaccordingtotheguidelinesofbotbtbe
/ 它 乃 / 白 危 刀 ’
attainthegreatliberationinboththisworldandbe-
yondThus,weareencouragedlIeretopracticegood
fOrtunethroughgiving
Whatisgiving?Civingislettinggo.Awise
personwlIounderstandsthisprinciplewould
bewillingtogiveawayeverytbing,evento
tl1epointoflettinggoofourattachmentsto
tl1esixsenseorganswit}Iin.Externally,we
338
canalsogiveawaytl1atwhichwesee’hear,
smell,taste’touclI,andthink
Togiveistoletgo,togiveaway.Themorewegive>
thefreerwewillbecome.‘<Awisepersonwl1ounder-
standst}1isprinciple,)issomeonewhohastruewIs-
dom,likeaBodhisattva.Whenwespeakoflettinggo
ofthesixsenseorgansandtheSixDusts,wearenot
talldngaboutlettinggophysically.Howcanwedetach
ourselvesfTomourphysicalbody?Evenifweareable
todiscardourbody,itwillstillnotsolveourproblems.
TherefOre,wlIenwespeakoflettinggooftlIesix
senseorgans,wemeantodetachourselvesfromthe
aspectofourmindT}Iismeansthatwedonothave
anyattaclImentsordiscriminationsandarenot
temptedbyexternalpbenomena.Welearninthe
白 】 【 《 ﹙    
movedwithin.’>Notattachingmeanslettinggoofthe
sIsenses.Oncewehaveseveredourattacl1ments
withinandwit}Iout)wewillnolongerbedeludedbut
willhaveuncoveredourtruenatureandbecomeBud-
dhas.
Ininnumerablepastlifetimes’welIavebeende-
ludedandthusremainedmiredinsamsara·But,fTom
nowon’wewillnotcreateanymorelife-and-death
karma·TlIerefOre,thosewhoarewIsewillwantto
transcendourworldofsuffering>tobemindfUlof
BuddhaAmitabha)andtoberebornintotl1eWestern
PureLandWewillmaintainclarityofmindandawait
339
BuddhaAmitabhatoescortustothePureLandwlIile
wearealive,notdeadIfwecangotothePureLand
afterwedie,thenitmeansthattbetranscendence
ceremonyreallyworks·Actually,transcendingthe
spiritfTomsufferingonlyhasalimitedeffect.Wecan
onlyreducesuffering,nottranscendaspiritintotl]e
PureLand
Forexample,MasterBaozhiwastlIemanifestation
ofAvaloldteshvaraBodbisattva’Hetranscendedtbe
spiritofEmperorLiangWudi’sfavoritewife.But’lIe
couldonlytranscendlIerspirittothesecondlevelof
theDesireHeavenandnofurther.Hecouldnothelp
hertoberebornintothePureLandAlthoughwe
wisbthatwecouldtranscendotherstoPureLand,it
cannotbedone’ItisonlyawishBeingreborninto
thePureLanddependsonourbelief,vow,andprac-
tice.So,wemustdoourbesttolearntbewaysof
practicewbilewearestilll1ealthyandstrong,cbant
AmituofO,andvowtoberebornintothePureLand
ToletgoistodosofromthemindItistodetacl1
廿   }
themindWeslIouldlearntonothaveattachmentsto
ourbodiesorourminds’Asordinarypeople,weare
filledwitbwandering)discriminatorythoughtsand
attachments,andfinditextremelydifficulttosever
tbem.TbePureLandwayofpracticeistoclIangeour
thinking’sothatwearemindfUlonlyofBuddl1aAmi-
tabha.Then’wewillfinallybefree·Trulycultivating
theBodl1isattvawayisconcentratingonlyonBuddha
340
Amitab}]aandcl1antingonlyhisname.
WecangiveawayanythingWhenwefind
ourselvesunabletodoso’wecanbeginwith
thegivingofwealthOrdinarypeopleregard
theirclotlIingandfoodasdearlyastlIeir
lives;t}IerefOre,tlIeyconsiderwealthtobeof
theutmostimportance.Whenwegivespon-
taneously’wecancurestinginesswhilehelp-
ingothersindireneedHowever’fOrmany
thisisverydifficulttodo)especiallyatfirst.
But,graduallytbemorewegivetlIemore
naturalitwillbecome.Thisistl]ebestway
tocureselfis}mess,andtoeradicateattacb-

∕ 日   ‘ 《
isillusoryandfalse.’>Thisteachesustogive,toletgo’
andbefTeeofworriesandattacl]ments.Ifwefindit
difficulttodothis,thenweneedtobeginbygiving
awayourwealthsothatwearenotaffectedbyit.
ThisisalsotlIemetlIodthattl]eBuddhataughtus
toenableustoescapet}Iecycleofbirthanddeath>to
transcendsamsara,andtotransfOrmourselvesfTom
ordinarypeopletosages.Itisalwaysalittledifficult
whenwefirstlearntogive)soweoftendosogrudg-
inglyandmayfeelupsetandperhapsevenregretwhat
wehavedone.Thisiswbenweneedtouseourwis-
domandbedeterminedtograduallymakegivinga
】 甲
34l
encesuchastageinhisorherlearningandcultiva-
tion.
Aswegive,wewilleventuallyexperiencealessen-
inginworriesandstinginess>andwhenwenolonger
attachtowealthoren>oyments>ourbodies,hearts,and
mindswillfeelgreatcontentmentandliberation.This
iswhenourtruenaturewillbegintobeuncoveredand
wewillgaincompletecontentmentandfreedom.
Thelawofcausalityneverchanges,eitherintl1is
worldorbeyond;tbemorewealthwegive,themore
wealthwewillgain.WedonotevenlmowwlIerethis
廿  
teachingwegive)themorewisdomwewillgain,sowe
donotwanttowithboldanyofourwealthorlmowl-
edge’PovertyistheresultofnotgivingwealthIgno-
ranceistheresultofnotgivingteaching,andillness
andshortlivesaretheresultofnotgivingfearlessness.
ThePiveCoodFortunesareallgainedthroughthe
causeofgiving;tberefOre,togaintlIegoodresult,we
mustpracticethegoodcause’Itisawandering
thoughttotlIinktbatwecangaintheresultwitl1out
firstplantingthecause‘Thisisimpossible.
Whatdoes<<protectingproperteaclIings)}
mean?Formillionsofyears,properteacl]-
ingshavebeenastandardoftruthandpro-
videdspiritualguidancefOralllivingbeings.
WitlIoutproperteachings)howcanwepar-
ticipateinandsupportthenurturingof
34Z
heavenandeartl>?Withoutproperteachings’
l1owcanwehelppeopletosucceedintheir
practice?Howcanbeingsinalltherealms
succeedintl1eirendeavorswithoutastan-
dardtoliveby?HowcanwebefTeeofthe
FiveDesires’theSixDusts>ourdelusions,
ouraffIictions?Withoutproperteachings,
howcanwesetastandardintheworldand
l1elppeopletranscendsamsara?
ProperteachingsarethepersonalaclIievementsof
w1sesagestl1athavebeenprovenbyusingthestan-
dardsoftruthandwisdom>suchasthosefoundinthe
greatteachingsofConfilciusandBuddhaShakya-
muni.Thisillustrateshowimportantitistoprotect
theproperteachings·
InChina,wbenweprotecttlIeproperteachings’we
firstsafeguardthoseofConfUcius,Mencius,Laozi,
andZl1uangzi,66fOrtlIeyprovidethefOundationfOr
Buddhism.Tl1iswasnoproblemduringLiaofanistime
becauseallscholarsstudiedtheworkofConfUcius’By
α   苛 乃 ℃
variousschoolsoftlIoughtthatweredevelopedover
tl1ecenturies,everyonehadagoodfOundationin
ConfUcianism’
WeneedtounderstandthistoseewhyBuddbismis
currentlyundergoingdifficultiesandbasdeclinedAs
itistheroot,ConfUcianismtauglItuslIowtoproperly
conductourselves‘Ifwecannotevenbeagoodper-
3•3
son,howcanwebecomeaBodhisattva,mucl1lessa
BuddlIa?Ourlearningandpracticetobecome
Buddl1asandBodhisattvasarebuiltonthef•undation
oftl1el1umanities.
Althougbwemaynothavereadcompletelyt}Ie
α 肪 ﹚ 『 它 咖 呂 α ㎡
肋 ∕ 〃 ’ 化 蚵 ∕ 〃 】 Ⅲ ’
readtbefirsttlIreesothatwewillknowhowtocon-
ductourselves.TbisistbefOundationofBudd}Iism‘
Wecancompilegoodexcerpts{Tomtl1ecommentaries
仕  
widely.Intbepast,theversionoftl1ebooksweprinted
wastbestoneprintedbooksofCbina.Theyincluded
α 左
writtenbythescholarZhuXi·Itwouldbegoodifwe
printed,distributed,andadvocatedthem·67
Today,scboolsempbasizeteclmologyandhave
largelyfOrgottenthehumanities.But,nomatterhow
advancedourtechnology>ifwedonotstudythebu-
manities,thenastheancientpeoplequestioned,wlIat
isthedifferencebetween}1umansandanimals?Ifwe
donotknowmorality)benevolenceandl1onor,t}1en
therewillbelittledifferencebetweenanimalsandus.
Actually,l1umansaretlIecruelestofalltl1eanimals.
Tl1erefOre,inordertol1elpallbeings,wemustbe
helpedfirst.IfwecanturnbackfromthatwlIicbis
badtodothatwhichisgood,thenallbeingswillbe
fOrtunateandhappy.Onlythen,caneachbeing
achievewhateachwants.Thisisthegoalofthesages
¢  
andtlIevirtuouspeopleineducatingandrefOrming
sentientbeings.
ProperteacbingsincludethoseofConfUciusand
tbeBuddba·TheyhavebeentheStandardoftruthtl1at
lIasprovidedguidancefOrthousandsofyears.Heaven
andearthhavethemeritsandvirtuesofgivingriseto
andnurturinginfinitethings.Heavengivesriseand
tbeearthnurtures.Heavenandeartbhaveshown
greatldndnesstoallbeings,sentientandnon-sentient.
Onceweunderstandthis,notonlywillwenotharm
tl1enaturalenvironment,wewilldoalltbatwecanto
helpthenaturalecologicalbalancetobecomeperfect
soastoenableallbeingstoreceivewhattlIeyneed.
TlIemeritsofheavenandeartlIarevastandgreat.
Thosewboaregenuinelymoralandlmowledgeable
canparticipateinandsupporttheriseandnurturing
oflIeavenandearthTheworld)swisesages,Buddhas)
andBodhisattvasdojusttbis’AsBuddhists,we>earn
that“IfwecantransfOrmobjectsandbeings’tlIenwe
arejustlikeaBuddha.))
TotransfOrmobjectsmeanstochangeourv1ews,to
letgoofselfishness)andtoparticipateinthelightof
thesky,earth’sun,andmoon.Toletgoofourselfish
nessandtowholeheartedlybelpallbeingsisthetrue
cultivation‘BuddhasandBodhisattvaspropagatetbe
teachingsandhelpallbeingsbyteachingthemhowto
eliminatedelusionandattaintl1etruthItislike

thisisimmeasurable.WlIenweareabletotranscend
  ¢

endallofourafflictionsandworries,uncoverour
wisdom,andtransfOrmdelusionintoawakening.
Wecanusetbebehaviorofsagesandvirtuouspeo-
pleasexamples’Tl1eteachingsofsagesaretl1eclas-
sicsandsutras.Thethoughts,words’anddeedsof
sagesarecorrectandwitbouterror’andsurpasstl1e
dimensionsoftimeandspace.Thisiscalled‘<tl1e
careerofthesagesandvirtuouspeoplefOrguidingtbe
world>)WelmowthatBuddhistsutrassurpasstime
andspace)becausethreethousandyearsagoBuddha
「  
time.Today,aswereadthesutras,westillfeelthat
everysentencespokenbytheBuddhaislogicalandis
tobepracticedaccordingly.ThisisespeciallytruefOr
PureLandsutras,wlIichteachpeoplehowtotran-
scendthisworldbyattainingrebirthintotl1ePure
Landinonelifetime.
BuddlIismwasinitiallytaughtinIndiaandwasthen
introducedintoChina·IndiaandChinaareverydif
ferent,yetwhattl1eBuddhataughtwasfittingfOrbotl1
countries.Andasitmovestowesternandwesternized
countries,itisstillappropriate’
Similarly,tlIefb<IrBookBconsistofthetboughtsof
ConfuciusandMencius,andaretheessenceoftl1e
Chineseculture‘ConfuciusandMenciuslivedtwenty-
fivehundredyearsago.Theirguidancebenefited
individuals,families,society,andtl1eentirecountry·
α ◎
346
0
otl1ercountriesnodtheirheadsinagreementafter
understandingwhattheyteachTheseteachingsare
timelessandbeyondtheboundariesofspace.Thisis
whytheteachingsofConfUcius,Mencius,Laozi,and
Zbuangziaresaidtosurpassthedimensionsoftime
andspace,andaregenuinesutrasandteachingson
howtoproperlygovernthecountry.Tberehavebeen
manyteachingsonbowtogovern.UponcarefUlcom-
parison,wecanseethatthoseofConfUcius’Mencius,
theBodhisattvas,andBudd}Iasareunsurpassed
﹚ 加 『 】 / ﹣
nHisHawless,foritattainsthehighestlevel.The
essenceoftraditionalChineseculture68iscontained
尸 【 ‘ 尸 α
啕 扭 人 ﹝
whichprovidesprinciples,methods,andbe}1aviorfOr
  【 肋 ﹚ ㎡ 口 叻
∕ 〃 ℃ 】
  】 儿 店 / 】 【
thelivesofConfUciusandMenciusrespectively,and
teacl]usbowtoapplytheprinciplesandmethodsin
‧ ’ 儿 由 ∕
likethefifty-threevisitsofSudhana,fOrtheyalso
provideuswithgoodexamples.Andwetooaretobe
goodexamplestohelpguideothers.
Regardingtranscendingtbisworld,actuallythere
arenoboundariesbetweenthisworldandtheone
beyondThedifferencesbetweentbemlieinwhetlIer
wearedeludedorawakenedWl1enawakened,we
347
transcend;but,witlIonetboughtofdelusion)weare
againinthisworldWithanotlIerthoughtofawaken-
ing,weagaintranscend
TlIerefOre)wl1eneverweseetemples’memo-
rials,orpicturesofpastvirtuouspeopleor
sages,orBuddhisttexts,weshouldbere-
spectfUl.Iftheyareinneedofrepair’we
SlIOUldrepairthem.69
Theteacbingsoftl>esagesbaveadirectbearingon
tlIethouglItsofindividuals,trendsinculturalbehav-
ior,theoverallwellbeingofagroup,andsocietal
happinessandpeace.Sinceancienttimes,wIseand
virtuouspeoplelIaveanalogizedtheteachingsoftl1e
sagesastheguidancefOrheavenlybeingsandhumans.
Howdoweprotectandupholdthem?Buddhistcen-
tersareinstitutionsofBuddlIisteducationwl1ile
sclIoolsareinstitutionsofworldlyeducation’Both
needtobeprotectedandsustainedButtoday,sclIools
havelargelyabandonedtheeducationofmoralityand
t}IisiswhywehavesuchunlIappinessandsufferings.
Ifwefailtoawakentothis,ourworldwillbede-
stroyed
AncientChinesesageswerelmowledgeableabout
scienceandtechnology’andyettl>eycbosenotto
continuedevelopmentofsuchlmowledge·WlW?They
fOresawthatintbeend,tec}mologywoulddestroyour
world.So)theycboseinsteadtoconcentrateonthe
humanities,tolIelppeopledevelopwisdom,andto
348
understandandpracticemorality’tolIelppeoPlefully
understandtl1erelationshipbetweenbumans,among
humansandspirits,andamonghumansandnature,
andtobecomeapersonwboisfearlessandindomita-
‧ ’ 】 叩
happinessandwellbeing’andwillcitizensandcoun-
trieshaveagenuinefUture.Thisisgenuineeducation·
Intl1eearlyl9OOs,tlIeChinesegovernmentabol-
isl1edClIineseclassicseducation.Atthetime,many
w1seandvirtuouspeoplefeltdeepsadness·Thebad
seedsthatwereplantedthenarenowbearingfruit.If
evenafterwehavetastedthebadfruitswearestillnot
awakened’thenwearelost.Tbiswayofthinkingcan
destroycountriesandraces·TlIeresultofourabolislI-
ingChineseclassicseducationistl1edestructionof
theproperteacl1ings!ForifConfucianandTaoist
teachingscannotbesafeguardedthenMahayana
BuddhismcannotbepropagatedBuddhismhasflour-
isl1edfOrtwothousandyearsinChinabecauseitwas
basedontl1efOundationofConfucianismandTaoism.
Buttodaywearediggingawaytherootsanddestroying
thefOundation‘Iftl1iscontinues,theteaclIingsofthe
Buddbawillbecomemereemptywords.
Wecanpropagateandpassontheproper
teaclIings>andhelpotherstolearntl1eir
value.IntlIisway)wecanrepayourgrati-
tudetotheBuddha.Weshoulddoourbest
andencourageotherstodosoaswell.
¢  
Weneedtohelppropagateproperteachingssucl1
astl1oseofConfuciusandtheBuddha’andtoencour-
ageotberstodosoaswellInthisway’wewillbenefit
otbersandrepayourgratitudetotlIeBuddl1a.To
accomplishthis)weneedtodotwothings.First,we
needtol1elptrainDharmarepositorieswhocanprop-
erlypropagatetl1eteacl1ings.Second,weneedto
establishBuddhistcenterstoteachotl1ersandtoallow
tl1emtohaveagoodeducationalenVronmentfOrboth
learningandpracticing.Today)fewpeoplearepropa-
gatingtheDl1arma,soinsteadofrelyingonotlIers,we
needtodothisourselves.
WeestablishaBuddl1istcenterinthel1opeofpro-
vidingtheopportunityfOrmorepeopletoencounter
andlearnBuddl>ism.Today,thebestwaytodothisis
withtelevisionandtl1eInternetastheyl1avethepo-
tentialtobringBuddl>ismintosomanyhomes.We
caninvitecaringteacherstocboosethesutrastbat
willbenefitsocietythemostandletthemtaketurns
lecturing.SinceMal1ayanaBuddhismisbuiltontl1e
fOundationofConfUcianismandTaoism’wecan
α 肛   ’
MalIayanaBuddhism.
Intl1isway)peoplewillbeabletothorougl1lyabsorb
廿
becomingmereemptywords.So,ifwetrulywishto
helpBuddhismflourisl1)itwillbehelpfUltolearn
abouttheClIineseclassicssuchastheteachingsof
ConfUcius.WebeginbynurturingDharmareposito-
350
riesandestablishingBuddhistcenters·
Establisl1ingsuchacenterdoesnotmeanspending
alargeamountofmoneyonabuildingtl1atmayresult
inendlesssquabblesandconHictsonceitiscom-
’ 】 叩
willbecomemeaningless·Weneedtounderstandthat
oncewebegintolearnandpracticeBudd}Iism’and
thenattainwisdom,wewillrealizethatwealtlIislikea
puffofsmoke,aHeetingcloud,fornomatterbow
muchwealt}1wehave,itisonlysomethingtosee’
Thinkaboutit,isthemoneywekeepinourbome
reallyours?Ifitwere,wewouldbeabletokeepit
insteadofpassingittosomeoneelse.Andyet,wl1en

sl1orttime.T}Ius,weshouldnotplacemuchimpor-
tanceonwealth
AfellowBuddbisttoldmethatafterhebadmadea
milliondollarsinthestockmarket,heimmediately
  由 ﹣
危 台 【 ‧
werenotsupposedtohaveit,sothereisnoneedto
worry.WeshouldneitlIerbehappywl1enwegain
sometlIingnorunl1appywlIenweloseit.Todosoisa
sadwasteoftime.T}1osewl1ounderstandtl1isand
possesswisdomshouldinsteadusetlIeirprecioustime
tochantaBuddl1a>sname.Weneedtounderstandthe
principles.Ifwearediligentinourpracticeand
propagatetheteachingstohelpothers,wewillgain
infinitemerits’Then’alltbeBuddhasandBodhisatt-
35l
vaswillpraiseus·
WlIatdoesrespectingourelders)’mean?It
((
istomakeanextraeffOrttobeattentiveto
andrespectfulofparents)oldersiblings’
leaders,superiors)elders)andthoseofgreat
virtueandlearning.Whentaldngcareofour
parentsathome,wearetodosogentlywith
lovingheartsandobligingdemeanors.We
slIouldnotraiseourvoicebutmaintaina
peacefUlbearing·Aswecultivatethesev1r-
tues,tl1eywillbecomeapartofusandwe
willchangeintoagentle-beartedperson.
Thisistl1ewaywecantouchtl1el1eartsof
heaven·
InancientClIina,tlIosewhotauglItyoungcl>ildren
placedgreatimportanceonbasiceducation.They
taughtfilia>piety)respect)andsincerity)fOrtl1eseare
theoutlinesoftheteaclIings.TlIus,thecl1ildistlIe
fatheroftl1eman’fOrthecbaracternurturedinour
childboodwillbecomeournaturewl1enwearegrown.
Thisprovidestl1efOundationfOrthenurturingofsages
andvirtuouspeoplewhowillprovidefOramoralsoci-
etyandawiselygovernedcountry.
Sinceancienttimes,thislIasbeentl1eCl1ineseso-
cialtradition‘TheChinesesaythateducationisessen-
tialinestablishinganewgovernment’trainingits
leaders,andgoverningitspeople·Ifthebasicquality
ofeducationisnotclearlyrecognizedandimple-
352
mented,incorrectviewscanbedestroytheentire
culture,country,andevenitspeople!AlltlIegovern-
mentofficialsinancientChinastudiedtheworksof
wIsesagesandvirtuouspeople.Evenifsomehad
selfishintentions,theirwrongdoingswereprobably
limitedTbeywouldhaveonlybenttherulesonlyso
mucbbefOretheystartedfeelingregretfUlToday’
sexualmisconduct,wrongdoings,evencriminalacts
areallviewedasmatteroffact.Wenolongerhavea
sl1amefUlheartorfeelremorsefUl.Wehavelostour
senseofmoralityandourconscience·Andthisis
    廿
animalsisagoodbeart.
HopefUlly’fel<owBuddbistswillrealizethatsincer-
ityandrespectaretlIegatewaytoandthefOundation
fOrpracticingBuddhism.Sincerityandrespectare
cultivatedwitl1inourfamily.Atl1ome>wearefilialto
ourparentsandrespectfUlofoureldersandsiblings’
Accomplishingthiswillenableustobeinaccordance
witbsuperiors’andtobediligentanddependablein
meetingourresponsibilitiesasindividuals,membersof
society,andascitizens·AsLiaofansaid,l1abitsbe-
comeournature·OnceagoodhabitisfOrmed,our
heartswillbegentleandthiswilltoucl1theheartof
lIeaven,fOrwhenwearepeacefUl,kind,andagreeable,
wewillmovetl1ebeingsandspiritsofheavenand
earth
Today,webavefOrgottentl1eetbicalteacbingsof
tl1ehumanrelationsl1ipsandsowearenolongerl1on-
353
orable.Instead,mostpeoplearemiredingreed,anger’
ignorance,andarrogance.Malevolentspirits,beings,
anddemonshavedescended.Why?Ourimproper
thinkinghasfOrmedaconnectionwithtlIemsonatu-
rallyBuddhasandBodhisattvaswillnotcome.Hu-
mansl1avealreadybeencommittingwrongdoings,but
nowtlIerearemalevolentspiritsanddemonscreating
chaosaswell!
T}Iisiswhyourworldwillhavedisastersofincreas-
ingseverityandfTequencyandwhenthishappens,
theremaybemanydeaths.Onlywhenwepersonally
叩 ’
enedfromdelusionandimpropervIews,regretour
wrongdoings,andreturntotbeproperpathItistruly
regrettablethat‘<small>’disasterscannotbringthis
about;itwilltakeamajordisastertoawakenus’This
isunavoidable.
Weneedtostudyhistoryandviewthechaosinthe
仕  
sourceofgoodoccurrencesaswellasdisasters’This
willenableustodetecttheoccurrencesofanyeffects
duetothelawofcausalitybeforetheylIappen.Wl1at
arepeoplethinkinganddoingtoday?Knowingthis’we
willlmowthefuture.Theresultsthatwearecurrently
seeingcomefromcausescreateddecadesagoandtl1e
resultsofthecausesthatwearenowrepeatedlycreat-
ingwillbeseenintwotothreedecades.
Previously’tl1eseedstlIatwereplantedmighthave
takensevenoreightdecadestomature’buttoday,tl1e
354
escalationoftl>esebadcausesisresultinginasbort-
eningofthematurityperiodandanincreaseinmagni-
tude.Thisisborrifying!Goodcauseswillalwaysresult
ingoodconsequencesandbadcauseswillalways
resultinbadconsequences.Theprincipleofcause
andeffectiscorrectandinevitable.
Wbenworldngforoursuperiorsortl1egov-
ernment’weshouldfOllowtherulesandnot
doaswepleasejustbecauseoursuperiorsdo
notlmOwwlIatwearedoing.
BefOreweconvictsomeoneofacrime,re-
gardlessofwhetherthecrimeisseriousor
not,weshouldinvestigatecarefullyandbe
just.Weshouldnotabusepowerorbecruel
becauseoursuperiorsdonotlmowwbatwe
aredoing.WhenwitlIoursupervIsor,we
shouldsbowhimorherthesamerespectas
ifwewerefacingtheheavens’<Astheprov-
erbsays,>‘<ThisisthecoITectbebavior
  廿 》 ﹚  
importantbearingonourhiddenvirtues.
Lookatallthefamilieswhopracticedloyalty
andfilialpiety·Theirdescendantsprospered
fOralongtimeandhadbrightfutures.We
canfOllowtheirexampleandpracticewith

Apersonwhocultivatesthevirtuesofloyaltyand
355
filialpietywillhavedescendantstolastfOralongtime,
buttoday,parentsandcl1ildrenaremorelikecompan-
ions`ChildrennolongerrespecttlIeirparentsorfeel
gratitudef•rallthattheyhavedone·Tbisisdestroying
moralprinciples.ConfUcianismandTaoismteaclIus
thatethicalprinciplesarethenatureofvirtueanda
closeexaminationofBuddhismwillsbowtl1atitisthe
revelationofthevirtuousnature.Sagesandvirtuous
peopledonotexperienceselfis}mess,sot}Ieyhave
revealedtheirvirtuousnature.
ConfUcianismisalsotherevelationofourvirtuous
truenature.Wbenthistruenatureisrevealed’itwill
bethesameasthatofConfucius.Itisthesameas
light.WlIenanotlIer)slightsup,minedoesaswell.
OnelightinterminglingwitlIanotlIerlighttobecome
oneistherevelationofthetruenature·Thisistrue
greatness’istrulyinconceivable)andistheperfectand
virtuoustruenature·
Filialpietyandrespectarethetoolsweusetore-
vealourvirtuoustruenaturetobecomeenligl1tened
InBuddhism)itissaidtbatthemostimportantre-
quirementfOruncoveringourtruenatureistogive
risetotl1eBodhimindTbesameistruefOrConfU-
cianismfOritalsoteachesustopracticethesincere
andvirtuousmindWeneedtol1onestlyinteractwith
otlIersandcircumstanceswithfilialty)respect>and
sincerity.Todothingsquietlybyourselvesisthegenu-
inewaytopracticegoodnessandaccumulatemerits.
AsLiaofansaid’filialpietyandrespecthaveanimpor-
356
tantbearingonourhiddenvirtues.
Tl1erealityofcausalitycanbewitnessedthrough.
outhistory.Donotthinktbatotherswillnotlmow
whatwethinkordo.Otherpeoplemaynotlmow’but
thebeingsandspiritsofbeavenandeartl1’andalltl1e
BuddhasandBodbisattvaswilllmow.
LiaofantoldusearlierthattorefOrmandcoITect
ourfaults,weneedtl1eshamefi1lheart>tl1efearful
lIeart,andthedetermined,courageousl1eart.Tobe-
comeasage)avirtuousperson’aBodhisattva’ora
Buddha,wesimplyneedtotrulygiverisetothese
threeheartstorealizeourgoalsintlIislifetime.
Whatdoes‘<loVngandcherishingallliving
things))mean?Acompassionateheartmakes
aperson.Apersonseekingthevirtuesoflov-
ing-kindnessandcompassioncultivateshis
orl1er}1eartofcompassion.Apersonwl1o
wantstoaccumulatemeritsalsocultivatesa
compassionateheart.
AcompassionateheartcaresfOrallbeingsand
tlIings.Whenweseeanimalssuffering,wenaturally
feelsympatlIyfOrtl1em.DoweaI1avethisl1eartPYes,
everyonedoes·Ifweshedtearswhilewatchingasad
movie’tl1isistl1ecompassionatel1eart’Weareempa-
theticevenwbenweknowthattlIemovieisnotreal!
So,itgoeswithoutsayingthatwhenweseerealpeople
oranimalssuffering,wewilltrytohelpthem.
NotonlydohumanbeingspossesstlIeheartof
357
compassion,animalsdotoo.Thisistrulytl1evirtuous
originalnature.Thenatureofanimalsisnodifferent
廿 ﹚ ﹜
deludedtl1anweare’theyhavebeenbornasanimals.
Allt}1ebeingsintl1eTenDharmaRealmssl1aretl1e
sametruenature.TlIisiswhytheBuddl1a,inthe
Mal1ayanasutras,spokeof<<unconditionalgreatcom-
passionandthekindnessofrealizingthatweareone
entity.>,
ThecompassionateheartistlIeheartofgreatlo’v-
ing-kindnessandistlIerevelationoftlIetruenature.It
iswbatapersoninsearcboftlIevirtuesofcompassion
andtheaccumulationofvirtuesisseeking.Itisbroad-
eningthehearttoloveandcarefOrotbers,totrulybe
abletoloveallbeingsandobjects’andtodoourbest
tol1elpthem.
  ㎡ ∕ 【 ‘ ‘ ﹞ ﹚
wl1enmostanimalsbeartheiryoung,females
oftl1especiesarenottobeusedfOrsacrifi-
))
cialpurposes.
Inthepast,tl1reeanimalswereusedinma]orsacri-
ficialceremonies:cows,sheep>andpigs.Outofcom-
passion’femaleswerenotusedfOrofferingsthatwere
madeintbespring’becauseifthefemaleanimalwas
pregnant’twoliveswouldhavebeentaken.
Menciusoncesaid:“Anhonorableperson
willnotgonearthekitchen.})TlIisistopro-
358
tectacompassionateheart.
ThepurposeofMenciussayingthisisthesameas
tbatoftl1eBuddhateachingoftlIe<‘threepuremeats.”
Wedonoteatanimalsifwesaworbeardtheldlling)
oriftheanimalwaskilledfOrus.
Itwastl1ecustominIndiatogofToml1ouseto
houseacceptingfoodofferingsandtoeatwhatever
wasprovided:nodiscrimination,attacl1ments,or
preferences’Toacceptandeatwhateverisofferedis
truecompassion,accordingwitlIconditions,andnot
seekingaffinities.70
WhentheDharmamasterswereinvitedtoClIina,
theCl1ineseviewedthepracticeofaskingfOrfOodas
begging.Itwouldhavebeeninappropriatetotellthe
masterstogooutandbegforfOod)soinstead,tbey
    。  
outtoaskfOrfOodneverreallytookholdinCbina·
However)tl1ethreepuremeatsrulewasalwaysob-
servedw}IenofferingfOodtotheDharmamasters.
EmperorWuoftl1eLiangdynastyinitiallyadvo-
catedvegetarianismfOrBuddhists.Today)mostCl1i-
nesepractitionerswhethertheyaremonasticsorlay-
peoplearevegetarians’However’thetraditionofBud-
dl1ismistopracticethethreepuremeatsruleandnot
vegetarianism·Vegetarianismprotectsnatureaswell
astbecompassionateheart.Itistl1epracticeofloving-
ldndnessfOrallbeingsandthings.Whenweunder-
standthatitisalsothebestandhealtl1iestfOod’we
359
willseethatitisworthoureffOrtstoadvocateits
practice·
MenciustaughtusnottogoneartlIekitchen,so
thatwewillnotseeorhearthekillingandwillbe
moreateasewheneating.But,thecompassionate
heartwouldstillbeuneasy’Itisbesttonoteatthe
fleshoflivingbeings,especiallytodaywbenweoften
}Iearofmeatcontainingtoxinsthatcausestrange
diseases.AncientpeoplesaidtlIatillnessenters
througl1tbemouthMr.LiBingnanoftensighedashe
saidthatpeopleweretakingpoisonatallthreemeals.
Howcanwenotgetsick!
  ¢    
circumstances:iftlIeybeardthekilling,saw
tbekilling,lIadtheanimalkilledorraised
theanimalthemselves.Ifwecannotyetstop
eatingmeat,wecanstillfOllowtl1esefOur
guidelines.Inthisway,wearegraduallyin-
creasingourcompassion.Wesl1ouldnot
onlyrefrainfromkillinganyanimals,butin-
sectsaswell)fOrtlIeyarealsolivingcrea-
tures·
Manmakessilkfromtbecocoonsofsilk-
wormsthathavetobeboiledinwaterwithtl1e
silkwormsinside.Wl1enwecultivatetl>eland
fOrfarming,howmanyinsectshavetobe
killed?Weneedtobeawareofthecostin
livesinvolvedinourfOodandclotlIing.Weldll
360
toprovidefOrourselvessotowastefOodand
clothingisasseriousanoffenseaskilling·
Thisspeaksoftl1etlIreepuremeatswitl1anaddi-
tionalrulethatmonasticsmaynotraiseanimals.To
raise’ldll,andeatanimalsistrulyunacceptable.Ifwe
cannotbecomevegetarian’wecanpracticetl1etl1ree
puremeatsandtl1efOurcircumstantialmeatsrulesto
cultivatecompassionatehearts’
Ourlifespansinthisworldareshort,onlyafew
decadeslong;yet,inordertonurtureourselvesweldll
others.Wearesteepedindebttoallbeings,regardless
ofwhetl1erwel1aveharmedtl1emintentionallyor
unintentionally.Imaginehowmuchnegativekarmawe
bavecreated!ThisiswlIytheBuddhasaid:‘(Ifnegative
lKarmahadshapeandvolume,theneventheentire
universecouldnotcontainit’”Onlywhenwerealize
tlIatwel1aveaninconceivableamountofMrmicob
stacles’willwebecomemorecareful.Howcanwebe
responsiblefOralllivingbeingsbetweenheavenand
earth?Donotkill,becareful)anddonotwasteany-
thing.
ModernpeopleadvocateconsumptionbysayIng
tl1atifpeopledonotspendmoneytlIenfactories
wouldcloseandeconomieswouldcollapse.Doyou
believethis?IfMasterZhongfengheardthis’lIewould
say’“Notnecessarily.))Actually)tlIisisincorrectfOr
manycountriesthatpromoteconsumption’andthus
waste’areexperiencingdecliningeconomies·
36l
Onlythroughtbriftwillpeopleandourworldbe-
comewealthy,prosperous,andpeaceful.Ifnoone
savesmoney,l1owcancountriesbecomeprosperous
andstrong,andcitizenslIavestablelives?Whenwe
findourselvesoutofworkandwitl1outsavmgsjwewill
havetodependonthecountryfOrfinancialaidand
tl1usincreaseitsfinancialproblems.Ifl1owever’we
areintl1el1abitofsav1ng,tbenevenifwebecame
unemployedorsufferadversities>wecanstillmaintain
ourselves·Beingawareoftbis)wewillvalueourre-
sourcesandstrengths.
Howoftenhaveweunlmowinglyharmedor
steppedonalivingcreature?Weshoulddo
ourbesttopreventtl1isfroml1appening
again·Anancientgreatpoetoncewrote:
‘ ℉  
somenceandinpityingthemotlI)wewill
notlightthelamp))Thisiscompassion!
Today,mostpeoplewouldstronglydisagreewitl1
this.Howcanwe<(lovemice))?T}1eyarel1armfultous
andmustbeexterminatedMostpeopledonotunder-
stand.Whenwekillmice,tlIeywillseekrevengeand
tl1iscycleofrevengewillcontinue’growIngworseeach
time.Killingsolvesnothing.Aretberenoothersolu-
tions?Tl1ereisnosucl1tl1ingaswalkingawayunpun-
isl1edfTomamurderornotrepay1ngourdebts.By
understandingthatcauseandeffectconnectsourpast,
presentandfuturelives,wewillneveragainl1armany
362
ofmind
cansolve
livingbeings·Thisis}Iowweattainpeaceof
Onlytruesincerity,purity)andcompassionca>
ourseeminglyinsurmountableproblems.
Icannotbegintotalkofalltheinfinitetypes
ofgoodness.IfwecanexpandthetenprevI-
ouscategories)wecanmakethemintoa
multitudeofgooddeedsandvirtues’
363
TheFourthLesson:
TheBenefitsoftbeVirtueofHumility
加 叮 巴 仇 啗 /
『 ∕ ﹟ 仍 化 凸 ↗ α 加 】 β 歹
FiveAccountsofVirtuousPeople
Humilityenablesustopreserveourgoodrewards.
WitlIoutit’wewilllosewhatwelIaveaccumulated
andallofoureffOrtswillhavebeeninvain.Weneed
torelyonhumilityfOritenablesustopreserveour
goodness.
/ ∕ 】 叩
endurancetopreservewhatwel1aveaccumulated
廿  
nomatterhowmuchwelIavecultivatedandaccumu-
lated,allwillbelost.Confuciusalsotaughtthattbe
waytoretainwhatwehavecultivatedistopracticethe
virtueofhumility.
乃 舀
statedthat:{‘Thelawsofheaventa>Kehom
thearrogantandbenefitthehumble.Tl1e
lawsofeartbbringHowingwaterhomareas
thatarefulltotlIosethatarelowerasit
passesby.Andthelawsofspiritsbringharm
totlIosewlIoarearrogantandgoodfOrtune
totl1osewhoaremodest.Eventl1elawsof

peopledespisethosewhoarearrogantand
preferthosewhoaremodest·))
Agoodexampletohelpusunderstandthelawsof
heavenistbewax1ngandwaningofthemoon.Once
tlIemoonisfull,itbeginstowane.BefOreitbecomes
fUllagain,itgetsbrighterandbrightereachday.T}Iis
gradualincreaseistl1evirtueof}Iumility·Fromtl1is,
wecanunderstandnaturallawsandthewillof
}Ieaven.
TlIelawsofeartharenaturallaws.Forexample,
waterwillmovefTombigl1erareasthatarefilledto
thosethatarelower’Thelawsofspiritscanbeseenin
thebehaviorofsomespirits·Whentheyseethatwe
bavebecomesuccessfUl)theybecomejealousandtry
tocauseproblemsfOrus;but,whenwearedestitute)
theyfeelsorryandtrytohelpus·PeoplearetlIesame.
Thelawsofpeopleprefermodestytoarrogance·
DuringtheQingdynasty,ZengGuofan’whoheld
thehighestpostasgovernor-generaloffOurprovmces,
wasalmostlikeanemperorofasmallregion.Well-
  狐  
highandthatthiswasnotgood’sohenamedhisstudy
“TheRoominWhiclIImperfectionisSoug}1t.))
Mostpeopleseekperfection,butMr’Zengsought
moderation.HesouglIttolackalittle,tonothavetoo
muchHebelievedtbatasoneIspositionwaselevated,
oneshouldbemoremodest.Inthisway,hewasable
tomaintainwl1atheaccumulatedDuetohisaccumu-
365
latedmerits’virtuousconduct’andthefOllowingofbis
teaclIingbyhisdescendants,tbefamilyl1asremained
prosperous.
乃 舀
containssOlelygoodoutcomes·
乃 ﹣
】 叩
possibilityofgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtuneinvariably
╴  
tainUndertbeGround-hasnopossibilityformisfOr-
tune.Thus,thehigherweare’themoremodestwe
needtobe.
○ ㎡ 五 ﹝ 』 】 叩 ‘ ﹙
arroganceinVtesdisaster,humilitygains
benefit.))
Thosewl1oaretlIemostmodestreceivethemost
benefitsandadvantages.
IoftenwenttotaketlIeexaminationsac-
companiedbyothersandeverytimeIwould
meetscholarswbowereverypoor.Irealized
tl1atbefOretlIeypassedtheexaminationsand
becameprosperous’theirfacesradiatedsucb
lmmilitytlIatIfeltIcouldalmostholditin
myl1ands.

366
乃 『 ㎡ 五 ﹝  
everyimperialexaminationtbatheandhiscompan=
ionsl1adattended,tbosewl1owerethemostmodest
passedRealizingthis,becouldevenpredictwho
wouldpass’
Severalyearsago,tenofusfromthevillage
wenttotakethepreliminaryimperialexami-
nation’Theyoungest)Ding]ingyuwasex-
tremelyhumble.Itoldoneoftheapplicants)
Fei]inpo,that}ingyuwouldundoubtedly
passtlIeexamination.Fei>inpoaskedhowI
couldtellandItoldhim:IIOnlytbosew}Io
  廿
lookatthetenofus.Isthereanyoneashon-
est)generous,anduncompetitive)as]ingyu?
DoyouseeanyonewboisasrespectfUl,tol-
erant>carefUl)andbumbleas>ingyu?Doyou
seeanyonelikebim,wbowheninsulteddoes
nottalkbackorwhowhenslandereddoes
notargue?
AnypersonwhocanachievesuchlIumility
willreceiveprotectionfTomtheearth,
heaven,andspirits.Thereisnoreasonl1e
willnotbecomeprosperous’))Sureenougb,
whentl1etestresultscameout’Ding}ingyu
hadpassed
Oneyear,Liaofanwentwithseveralotherstotake
367
theexamination.Hecommentedthatbasedonhis
observations’Ding]ingyu>whowastl]emosthumble>
wouldpassdespitebisyouthbecausehewasrespect-
fUlandmodest’ararepersonindeedwhoremained
undisturbedandtolerantevenwlIenhumiliatedor
offendedTl1osewitlIgreattolerancepossesstremen-
dousgoodfOrtune.
OneyearinBeijing,Istayedwithacl1ild-
l1oodfTiend,FengKaizhi.Alwaysl1umble,he
hadakindandaccommodatingappearance.
HewasnolongerthearrogantpersonIhad
lmownyearsago.HisfTiend>Li]iyan,was
verybluntandoutspolKen,andoftenscolded
l1imfOrl1ismistakes,butKaizl1ijustcalmly
acceptedtheaccusationswithouttalldng
back
FengKaizhihadbecomeacompletelydifferentper-
son.Li]iyan’agoodfriendoflIiswouldimmediately
criticizeKaizhiassoonaslIenoticedanyfaults.Itdid
notmattertoKaiz}]iwhetber]iyanwasriglltorwrong
incorrecting}1im,fOrl]eacceptedeveryone’scriticism.
Ifwehaveafaultweneedtocorrectit,ifwedonot
weneedtoguardagainstitandcorrectanymistakes
thatwehavemade.WhencorrectedfOranon-enstent
fault’wesl1ouldnotbecomeresentfulbecauseitis
goodtobeadmonishedActua>ly,onlythosewho
reproachusgenuinelycareaboutus.Wewouldre-
proachourclIildreniftheymakemistakes.SowlWdo
368
wenotadmonishthoseofourneighbors?Remember
tlIataltlIoughanaccusationmaybeunjust’itstill
comesfromaheartofloving-kindness·Weneedto
acceptcriticismwillinglyandtobegratefUlfOrthe
teaching.
ItoldKaizhi:‘Tustastherearesignsthattell
ofcominggoodfOrtuneormisfOrtune,we
canseet}1atprosperityoradversitycometo
thosewhohavecultivatedtheircauses.
Heavenwillhelpthosewhoseheartsare
humble.You,myfriend,willdoubtlesspass
theimperialexaminationthisyear!),Later,
hedidjustthat.
LiaofantoldhimthatgoodfOrtuneandmisfOrtune
couldbepredictedLiaofanhadmasteredtheartof
prediction.Butknowinghowtopredictapersons
goodfOrtuneormisfortuneisstillsecondary.Whenwe
endourerroneousways’andaccumulatemeritsand
virtues,werewriteourdestinies·
TlIerewasayoungmanfromShandong
provIncenamedZbaoYufengwbopassedthe
preliminaryleveloftl1eimperialexamina-
tionsbefOrehewaseventwenty·But’tryas
hemight,hecouldnotpassthesucceeding
examinations.Wl]enhisfatl1ermovedto]i-
asl1antoacceptanothergovernmentpost’
Yufengwentwitl]lIimandcametogreatly
369
admireawell-lmownscholarintlIevillage
namedQianMingwu.
YufengbrougbthisworlMoMr.Qianwbo
pickeduphiscalligraphybrus}Iandmade
manycorrectionstotheessay.Notonlywas
Yufengnotangry’hegratefUllyacceptedall
ofMr.Qian)scorrectionsandimmediately
madetherecommendedclIanges’Tl1efOl-
lowingyear,YufengpassedtlIeimperialex-
amination.
Ifthisl1appenedtous,wewouldprobablyfeelter-
ribleorbecomeoffendedEvenifourworkwerenot
thatgood,surelyitwouldnotdeservethatmanycor-
rections!NotonlydidYufengnotbecomeangry)he
wasextremelygratefulandhumble,fOrhesincerely
wantedtolearnfromMr.Qian‘Becauseofl]ismod-
esty,respectfulness,anddiligence,hemadesignificant
improvementandpassedtl1eexaminationtl1efOllow-
1ngyear’
Oneyear,Iwenttothecapitaltopaymyre-
spectstotheemperorandmetascholar
namedXia]iansuowhohadalltlIequalities
ofagreatmanwithoutatraceofaITogance.
Ifelttl1eintenseauraofhisvirtueandlm-
mility.Wl1enIreturnedhome’Itolda
fTiend:<(Wl1enlIeavenwantsapersonto
prosper,itfirstbestowshimwitl1wisdom
370
thatcanmakeapompouspersonhonestand
welldisciplined]iansuoisgentle’kind’and
goodSurely,lIeavenwilInowmakel1im
prosperous’))Sureenough,whenthetestre-
sultscameout)>iansuohadpassedtbeex-
amination.
Itwasintheyearthatbewenttomeettheemperor
thatLiaofanmetXia]iansuoandwasstruckbyhis
lIumilityandrespectfulness·Theimportantmessagein
thisaccountistlIatbefOreheavengivesusgoodfor-
tune,itfirstgivesuswisdom.Ifwelackwisdom)tlIen
regardlessofourcultivation,wewillnotaccumulate
goodfOrtune·TbereisrealandfalsegoodfOrtuneas
wellasbalfandfull.Ifwefailtounderstandthedif
ferencesbetweenthem>wewillcommitseriousof-
fenses,allthewlIilebeIievingthatoureffOrtsare
worthyofmerit.
Themostimportantpointistolearnandunder-
standwhatafieldofmeritissothatwewilllmowhow
toproperlyaccumulategoodfortune.Onceweun-
coverourwisdom>wewillnaturallyrestrainourselves,
aswebecomecalmanddignified,kindandmodest,
respectfUlandgentle.Bypossessingthesecharacteris-
tics’XiaJiansuopassedtheexamination.
TherewasascbolarnamedZlIangWeiyan
fromJiangyinwhowaswelleducated,wrote
goodessays’andwaswelllmownamong
scholars.Oneyear,whiletakinghisexamina-
37l
tioninNanjing,hestayedatatemple·WlIen
thetestresultswerepostedandlIefOund
thathebadfailed,hebecamefUriousand
loudlyaccusedtheexaminerofbeingblind
toobvioustalent.
  。
Weiyanimmediatelyredirected}Iisangerto-
wardstlIemonkwhosaidtheessaymustnot
begoodWeiyangotevenangrierandde-
mandedhowheknewitwasnotgoodwl1en
hehadnotevenreadit!TheTaoistreplied
thathelIadoftenheardtlIattheprimaryele-
mentinwritinggoodessayswasapeacefUl
mindandalIarmoniousdisposition·Wei-
yanIsloudandangryaccusationsclearly
slIowedtlIathismindanddispositionwere
violentsolIowcouldhepossiblywritewell·
WeiyanacceptedthisandaskedfOrtheTao-
ist)sadvice.
TheTaoist
explainedtbatgoodwritingonlycomes
<landbarmoniousmindbutWeiyanwas fTomapeacefulandharmoniousmindbutWeiyanwas
badtemperedandarrogant.Fortunately,Weiyanwas
alsointelligentsoherecognizedthelogicinwhatthe
TaoistsaidandaskedfOrhisadvice.Promthis,wecan
seetl1atWeiyanwascapableofchangeoncehereal-
izedthat}Iewasatfault.Thisistruelearningand
practice’
372
TheTaoistsaidtlIatwhetherornotone
passesdependsondestiny.Ifsomeoneisnot
destinedtopass,thennomatterlIowgood
t}Iepaperis’lIeorshewillfail
Thelawofcausalityisinfallible‘Whetherwepass
orfaildependsonourdestiniesnotontbequalityof
whatwehavewritten.Itisthesamewithwealth,
fame,andsoon,fOreverytbingdependsonourdesti-
niesandnotonhowweplanandmanageourlives‘
Whenpeoplearedestinedtobewealthy)itdoesnot
matterwl1etberornottheylmowlIowtoobtain
wealth;theywilljustreceiveit.Iftheyarenotdestined
tobecomewealtl1y)thenregardlessofwl1attl1eydo,
tl1eywillfail
Today)peoplewhodonotknowoforbelieveindes-
tiny’thinkthattheycancommitallkindsofoffenses)
andstillobtaingoodresultsandgoodfortune.Where
istl1elogicinthat!Wbyisittl1atinancienttimes,
mostpeoplecouldseetheresultsfromtl1eiroffenses
  廿
ourwrongdoings?Peoplearecommittingsomany
offensestl1attherearetoomanytoletusreceiveour
retributionsonebyone,sothedebtswillbecollected
allatonetime’
Oureducation’abilities’goodfOrtune,longlives,a
peacefuldeath-everything-dependsondestinyand
changingitistl1ewisestthingwecando.Ifwefailto
understandandseekwhatwearenotmeanttohave,
373
thenallofourtimeandeffbrtswillbewastedTl1is
wouldbetragic.
WhentbeTaoistconcludedtl1atWeiyan
neededtomakesomecl1anges,Weiyan
askedhowhecouldcl1angedestiny.The
Taoistrepliedthataltboughthepowerto
fOrmourdestiniesliesintheheavens’the
riglIttochangethemlieswit}Iinus.Aslong
aswepracticegoodnessandcultivatel1idden
virtues,wewillreceivewbatweseek
IfWeiyanwantedtochangehisdestiny,hehadto
dojustasMasterYunguhadtaughtLiaofan·Liaofan
hadlearnedthathealonecouldchangehisdestiny.If
webreaktl1ebadhabitofcommittingoffensesand
insteadcultivategoodnessandaccumulatemerits,
thenwecreatetl1evariablestochangedestiny.But,if
wefailtodothis’wewillremainboundbydestiny.
Weiyansaidthathewasonlyapoorscholar
andquestionedhisabilitytodopractice
goodness.Tl1eTaoistexplainedthatpractic-
inggoodnessandaccumulatingl1iddenvir-
tuesdependedontheheart.Aslongasone
intendedtopracticegoodnessandaccumu-
latevirtues)themeritswouldbeinfinite!He
usedtheexampleofthevirtueoflmmility
thatcostnothing.Weiyanneededtolook
withininsteadofberatingtl1eexaminerfOr
374
beingunfair.
TbeTaoistsaidthatmoneywasnotnecessaryto
practicegoodness.Veryoften)thosewhoarepoorare
abletoaccumulategreatmeritswhilethewealtlWmay
notnecessarilydoso.TheTaoistusedWeiyanIsbel1av-
iorasanexample,sayingtbatWeiyanhadbeenvery
arrogant.Ifl1ecouldinsteadbemodest>tl1enhewould
bevirtuousanditwouldcosthimnotl1ing.Wl1enhe
failedanexamination)lIeshouldnotblametheexami-
nationofficial)butreHectuponlIimselfandchange.It
isobvioustlIatgoodorbad,goodfOrtuneormisfOr-
tune’itallliesinaninstantofthougl1t.
WeiyanlistenedtotlIeTaoistmonkand
廿    
Everyday>hetriedhardertopracticegood-
nessandtoaccumulatemoremerits’
Onenigl1t’threeyearslater)hedreamtthat
hehadenteredaverytallhouseandsawa
bookwitbmanynamesaswellasmany
blanklines.Heaskedtl1epersonnexttol1im
aboutitandwastoldtl>atthenamesbe-
longedtotheapplicantswbohadpassedthe
examinationthatyear‘Wl1enWeiyanasked
aboutalltl1eblanlKlines’hewastoldthattbe
spiritsoftheunderworldcheckedontheap-
plicantseverythreeyears.OnlytlIenamesof
thosewhowerefaultlessandpracticed
375
goodnessremainedintheboolK.Tbeblank
lineshadcontainedthenamesofthosedes-
tinedtopass,butduetorecentoffenses,
tl1eirnamesbadbeenremoved
Thepersonpointedtoablanklineandsaid
thatf•rtl1epastthreeyearsWeiyanhad
beenverycarefulandsodisciplinedthatl1e
l1adnotmadeanymistakes.Perl>apshis
namewouldItheblankHehopedthat
Weiyanwouldvaluethisopportunityand
continuehisfaultlessbebavior.Tl1atyear)
Weiyanpassedtheexaminationandplaced
onel1undredandfifth
Dearreaders,ifyoubelieveintlIesematters,you
arefOrtunate.Tbespiritsofheavenandearthare
closelylinkedwithourworldinoureverygesture,
word,andsmile.Tbisistbetruthandnotdelusion.
WhenMr.Zhu]ingzhouwasstillaliveandIwasa
Buddl1istnovice,lIetoldmemanystoriestl1athel1ad
】 叩  
eveninawar·Noonediesunjustly.Lifeordeatl1is
destined.Howwewilldieisrecordedintheunder-
worldAlt}IouglIweliveinahigh-techenvIronment
andlmowmucl1ofscience,wecannotescapedeath
whenthatisourdestiny.Thisistl1etruth;itistime
fOrustoawaken.Weneedtobelievewhattbesages
havetaug}It.
376
【 〃 / 刀 ∕ ∣ 〃 叱 〃 正 叻
尸 【 ﹝ 沾 ∕   ◎ ↗
WenowlmowthatspiritsandlIeavenlybe-
ingsarethreefeetaboveourl1eads.Obtain-
inggoodfOrtuneandpreventingmisfOrtune
isuptous.Aslongaswehavegoodinten-

fendthebeingsandspiritsofheavenand
eartlI,aretolerantandnotarrogant,thenthe
beingsandspiritsofheavenandeartlIwill
feelcompassionfOrus.Onlythenwillwe
haveafoundationfOrfutureprosperity.
TberearebeingsandspiritsofheavenandeartlIwho
constantlywatchus.WealoneareresponsiblefOrour
everygoodorbaddeedandeverygoodorbadresult,
soweneedtobeawakenedineverytlIought.Buddl1a
Shakyamunitaughtustobeawakenedinsteadof
deluded)tobeproperinsteadofdeviated’andtobe
pureinsteadofpollutedWearealsotoseverallat-
tacl1mentsandtopracticegiving.Weneedtobeex-
tremelycarefUlinoureverythought>word,anddeed
andtoaccordwithtlIeteacbingsandcodesofbebav-
ior’PracticingBuddbismissettingagoodexamplefor
allsentientbeings’ToperfectlybaveaMndheart’do
kinddeeds>saykindwords,andbeagoodpersonisto
beaBuddlIa,aBodhisattva.
SinceweclIoosetopracticethePureLandmethod,
廿 力 】 丑 口
377
Li/bSmrHintoourtlIinkingandbel1avior.Then,there
trulywillbenodifferencebetweenBuddl1aAmitabl1a
andus.T}Iisispracticingthetrueteachingofthe
BuddhasfOrwemoldourselvesbyaccordingwiththe
mind,vow,understanding’andconductofBuddha
Amitabha.
α 危 〃 ↗ 【   】
丘 它 】
courseofstudy·WlIenweabidebythepreceptsand
practiceBuddhaNameChanting,wearepracticing
botbtheprimaryandsupportinglearnings·Thiswill
assureusofbeingrebornintothePureLand,wl1ere
wewillneveragainregress,andwherewewillbecome
Buddhas,andneverreduceoureagernesstobenefitall
beings.
Inthepast,Zenpractitionerssaid’<<Havesometea’>,
Today’Iteacl1,<<BecomeaBuddha.”Wecanbecome
one’ThisistbetruthIfwesincerelypracticeBud-
dl1ism,beingsandspiritsofheavenandearthwill
protectus.
Thosewhoarefilledwithconceitarenot
destinedfOrgreatness’Eveniftheydopros-
per’theirgoodfOrtunewillbeshortlived
Whenwelookatwealthypeoplearoundtl1eworld,
weseethatfewofthemaregenuinelyhappyorlmow
howtoproperlyusetheirwealth.Someliveinbiding
tofeelsafer.Suchwealthissufferingnotjoy.Livinga
trulyhappylifeisgenuineprosperityandenjoyment.
378
Intelligentpeoplewouldneverbenarrow-
mindedandrefusetbegoodfortunetbeyare
entitledto.Thosewhoarehumblealways
increasetbeiropportunitiestolearnandin
thisway,theirgooddeedsareboundless!
Thosewhowishtocultivateandimprove
theirvirtuescannotdowit}Ioutthevirtueof
humility·
ItisessentialfOrustolearnmodestyfOritisthe
keytocultivatingandimprovIngourvirtue.Weneed
torealizethatothersarebetterthanusandthatthey
excelinwhattheydo.Whenwearefalseandcon-
ceited,otberpeoplemaynotseethis;however>
Buddhas,Bodbisattvas,andthebeingsandspiritsof
heavenandearthseeusveryclearly.Thus,ourmod-
estymustbesincereandcomefromdeepwithin.
Wearenotbetterthanothersandiftheyaccumu-
latemeritsandwedonot>thentheyarebetterthan
us.Evenwl1enwedarenotcommitoffenses,others
arestillbettertlIanus.Thisisperfectmodestyandit
isthepracticeoftbeteacbingofhumilityinthe
咆 佃 陋  
elseismyteacher.Sudhanalearnedabouthumility
廿
BuddlIabood
TlIeancientssaid:‘<Tbosewbo
lIeartssetonsuccessandfame>
attaintbemjustasthosewho
379
havetheir
willsurely
havetheir
heartssetonwealtbandpositionwillattain
wl1attheywisbfOr.))Apersonwhohasgreat
andfar-reachinggoalsislikeatreewitl1
roots.Tl1eymustbebumbleineverytl1ought
andtrytorelieveother)sburdenseveniftl1e
occurrenceisasinsignificantasaspeclKof
duSt·
IfwecanreaclIthislevelofhumility,wewill
naturallytouchthebeartsofbeavenand
earthIamtbecreatorofmyownprosperity’
LoolKattheapplicantswhosouglItfameand
wealthInitially’theywereinsincereand
wbattl1eysouglItwasapassingimpulse.
Wl1entheywantedsomething,theysoughtit
butwhentheirinterestwaned)tl1eystopped
seeldngit’
Menciusoncesaid<toEmperorXuanofQi>:
“ 叩
personalhappiness,tosbaringbappiness
withallyoursubjectsandmaketlIemjustas
happyasyouare,thensurelythenationwill
prosper!”Tl1isisalsotruefOrmeinseeking
topasst}1eimperialexamination.<Ialone
canseekandthuschangemydestiny’>
Oncewesetourgoals,wemustworlKtowardstheir
目   ’ ﹣
|itvwilltoucl1theheartsofbeavenandearthand
accomplislIment.
militywilltoucl1
380
  仕
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
P P E N   Ⅸ
LIAOFAN)S
FOURLESSONS
ByYuanLiaofan
382
TlIeFirstLesson:
LearningtoChangeDestiny
MyfatberpassedawaywhenIwasyoung.Mymotber
persuadedmetolearnmedicineinsteadofstudying
andpassingtheimperialexaminationsbecadseit
wouldbeagoodwaytosupportmyselfwl1ilel1elping
otlIers.Perhaps,Icouldevenbecomefamousthrough
mymedicalskills;thusfUlfillingmyfatlIer>saspiration
fOrme.
Oneday’Imetanelderlybutdistinguisl1edlooking
gentlemanattl1eCompassionateCloudTemple.He
hadalongbeardandthelookofasage.Iimmediately
paidmyrespectstohim’Hetoldme:<(Youaredes-
tinedtobeagovernmentofficial.Nextyear,youwill
attaintherankofLearnedFirstLevelScholar.Why
areyounotstudyingfOrtheexamination?))ItoldlIim
tl1ereason.
IaskedtheelderlygentlemanfOrbisnameand
廿   ﹙ 《
KongandIamfromYunnanproVnce.Il1aveinlIerited
averysacredandaccuratetextonastrologyandpre-
diction.Thetext’writtenbyShaozi)iscalledthehnpe-
/ ﹝ 沾 ㎡ ㎡ 巴 刀 叻 Ⅱ 沮 ﹣
tions,Iamsupposedtopassitontoyouandteacl1you
howtouseit’’)
IinvitedMr.Kongtomyhomeandtoldmymother
abouthim’ShesaidtotreathimwellAswetested
Mr.Konglsabilityatprediction’wefoundtlIatlIewas
383
alwayscorrectwhetheritwasfOrbigeventsorfOr
minoreverydaymatters.Ibecameconvincedofwl1at
hehadsaidandagainbegantothinkofstudyingfOr
tbeexaminations.Iconsultedmycousinw}Iorecom-
mendedMr.YuHaigu,whowasteacl1ingattl1ehome
ofafriend’andbecameMr.Yu>sstudent.
Mr.KongthendidsomemorecalculationsfOrme·
Hetoldmethatasascholar)Iwouldbeplacedfour-
teenthinthecountyexamination,seventy-firstintlIe
regionalexamination’andnint}Iintheprovincial
examination.ThefOllowingyear,Iplacedexactly
whereMr.KonghadsaidfOrallthreeexaminations.
Itl1enaskedlIimtomakepredictionsfOrmyentire
life.Mr.Kong>scalculationsshowedthatIwouldpass
sucbandsuchatestinsucl1andsuchayear,tlIeyear
thatIwouldbecomeacivilscholar,andtl1eyearthatI
wouldreceiveapromotiontobecomeanImperial
Scholar.Andlastly,Iwouldbeappointedasamagis-
trateinSichuanprovInce.
AfterlIoldingthatpositionforthreeandahalf
years’Iwouldthenretireandreturnhome·Iwould
    ﹣ ’ 川  
eight}Imonthbetweenonetothreeo>clockintlIe
morning.UnfOrtunately,Iwouldnothaveason.I
carefi1llyrecordedandrememberedeverythingthatl1e
said
TlIeoutcomeofeveryexaminationturnedoutex-
actlyaspredictedMr·KonghadalsopredictedthatI
wouldonlybepromotedafterreceivingarationoftwo
384
lmndredfifty-ninebusllelsofrice’However’Ihad
receivedonlytwentybushelsofricewhentheCom-
missionerofEducation,Mr.Tu,recommendedmefOr
apromotion.Isecretlybegantodoubttl1eprediction.
Nevertheless,itturnedouttobecorrectafterall’
becauseMr.Tu>sreplacementturneddownthepro-
motion·
ItwasnotuntilsomeyearslaterthatanewEduca-
tionCommissioner,Mr·Yin,reviewedmyoldexami-
nationpapersandexclaimed:‘<Thesefiveessaysareas
wellwrittenasreportstotheemperor.Howcanwe
burythetalentsofsuclIagreatscl1olar?”Thenew
CommissionerwantedtlIemagistratetoissueanorder
fbrmetobecomeacandidatefOrImperialSclIolar
underhisautl1ority.AfterundergoingthiseventfUl
promotion’mycalculationsshowedthatIl1adreceived
exactlytwolmndredfifty-ninebushelsofrice.From
thenon)Ideeplybelievedtbatpromotionordemotion,
wealthorpovertyallcameaboutinduetimeandthat
eventl1elengthofone)slifeispre-arrangedIbeganto
Veweverythinginadetachedmannerandceasedto
seekgainorprofit.
AfterbeingselectedasanImperialScl1olar,Iwasto
attendtheUniversityatBeijing·Duringmyyearlong
stayintl1ecapital,myinterestinmeditationgrewand
Ioftensatinsilence,withoutgivingrisetoasingle
tbouglIt·Ilostinterestinbooksandstoppedstudying.
Tl1efOllowingyearIwenttoNanjing.BefOreIwas
toentertl1eNationalUniversitythere>Ipaidavisitto
385
恤  
tain.Wesatinmeditation,facetofaceintheZenhall
fOrthreedaysandnightswithoutsleepMasterYungu
said:((Tbereasonwbyordinarypeoplecannotbecome
sagesisbecauseofalltheirwanderingthougl1ts.In
ourtlIree-daymeditation,I}1avenotobservedasingle
thoughtariseinyou.Wby?,)
IrepliedthatMr‘KonglIadclearlypredictedtbe
entireoutcomeofmylife.Ihadseenthatthetimeof
life,death’promotion’andfailurearedestinedso
t}1erewasnoneedfOrmetotl1inkofanyt}1ing.The
mastersmiledandreplied:<‘Itboughtyouweresome-
oneofremarkablecapabilities!NowIrealizeyouare
anordinaryperson!>)
FeelingconfUsedbywhatMasterYunguhadsaid,I
} 叩
person)smindisfOreveroccupiedbywanderingand
imaginarytboughts,sonaturallyl1isorl1erlifeis
boundbytlIemathematicsofdestiny’Wecannotdeny
tl1efacttl1atdestinyexists,butonlyordinarypeople
areboundbyit.Destinycannotbindthosewhoculti-
vategreatkindnessortlIosewl1ohavecommitted
flagrantwrongdoings·SinceIhadlivedmylifejustas
Mr.Kongl1adpredictedanddonenotlIingtochange
it’Ihadbeenboundbydestiny.Thus,Iwasatypical
ordinaryperson.
Takenaback,IaskedMasterYunguifwecould
changeourdestinies.Heanswered:‘‘Wecanre-create
ourowndestinyandseekgoodfOrtune·Itisthetrue
386
㎡ 歹
○ ㎡ 五 耶 ﹚ ﹣
tentl1atifwewishfOrandseekwealth,abigl1posi-
tion,ason,adaughter,orlonglife,wecanattainit.
SincetheBuddlIatoldusthatlyingisoneofthe
greatesttransgressions,wecanbeassuredthat
))
BuddhasandBodhisattvaswouldnotdeceiveus.
ItoldMasterYunguthatIl1adheardthatMencius
oncesaid:<‘WhateverissougbtcanbeattainedThe
seekingiswithinourselves.>’Thisreferstoinnerquali-
tiessuchasvirtue)integrity>andldndness·Theseare
allvalueswecanworktowardHowever,whenit
comestooutsidefactorssuchaswealt}1)fame’and
prestige,l]owcanweseektoattaintbem?
Tl1emasterrepliedthatMenciuswasrigl1t>butthat
Ihadmisunderstoodl1ismeaningMasterYungusaid
thatMasterHuineng)tlIesixthPatriarc}IoftheZen
schooltaugl1t:<<Allthefieldsofmeritarewitl1inones
  仕   ﹚
canbeintouchwithalltbatonewishesfOr·”Byseek
ingwithinourselves)wewillnotonlyattaintheinner
qualitiesofvirtue,integrity’andkindness;wewillalso
attain<externalbenefitssuchas>wealth>fame,and
prestige.TobeabletoattainbotlIinnerqualitiesand
externalbenefitsisinvaluable.
MasterYungutlIentoldmethatifonedoesnotre-
Hectinsideonesownheart;but,insteadblindlyseeks
fame,fOrtune’andlonglifefromoutsidesources’no
matterl1owonescl1emestopursuetlIem,onecanonly
387
attain’atmost,whathadbeendestinedSeeldngfrom
theoutside,onemightlosebothinnerpurityandwl1at
onewasdestinedtolIave;thus>theseekingwould
havebeeninvain.
MasterYungunextaskedaboutMr.Kong’spredic-
tionsfOrtlIerestofmyIife·Ibonestlytoldhimevery-
tbing·HeaskedifIfeltthatIdeservedimperialap-
pointmentsorason.Reflectingonmypastdeedsand
attitudes’IanswerednoIdidnot.Tbosewhoreceived
imperialappointmentsalllIadtheappearanceofgood
  」
accumulatingvirtuestobuildupmygoodfOrtune.I
wasveryimpatientandnarrow-minded,andwould
showoffmyintelligenceandabilitiesbyputtingothers
down.IbelIavedasIpleasedandspokewithoutre-
straint.TlIesewereallsignsofscantgoodfOrtuneand
virtue·HowcouldIpossiblyreceiveanimperialap-
pointment?
Thereisanoldsayingthat<<LifespringsHomtl1e
dirtoftlIeeartlIwhileclearwateroftenlIarborsno
fish))TlIefirstreasonwbyIfeltthatIdidnotdeserve
asonwastl1atIwasobsessiveaboutcleanliness·The
secondreasonwasthatwbileharmonyisthecultivator
oflife’Iwasquick-temperedTl]ird)althoughloving-
kindnessistlIecauseoffertilityandlIarslmesstlIe
causeofsterility)Iwasselfisblyconcernedaboutmy
reputationandwouldnotsacrificeanytl1ingfOrotl1ers.
ThefOurthreasonwasthatItalkedtoomuchand
thiswastedalotofenergy.Fifth)Idranktoomuch
388
Andsixtb,IdidnothaveasonbecauseIoftenstayed
upallnightandwastedmyenergy.Asidefromt}Iese,I
badmanyotlIerfaultstl1atweretoonumerousto
mention.
MasterYungusaid:(<Accordingtoyoutl1en,there
aremanyotlIertlIingsinlifeyoudonotdeserve,not
onlyfameandason!T}1osewhohavemillionsofdol-
larsinthislifecultivatedtbegoodfortuneworthyof
tl1atamountinthepast.Tl1osew<Io}1avetl1ousandsof
dollarsmustalsohavethegoodfOrtunewortl1yofthat
sum.Those)whodieofstarvation,wereinfactmeant
todieintl1atmanner.Thekarmicresulttodayissim-
plythefTuitoftheirowndeedsandhasnothingtodo
withexternalpowers.
《 ℉  
meritsandvirtuestolastahundredgenerations’tl1en
l1eorsbewilll1aveahundredgenerationsofdescen-
dants.Onewhoaccumulatesenoughmeritsandvir-
tuestolasttengenerationswillhavetengenerations
ofdescendantstoliveouttl1atgoodfOrtune’Thesame
appliestothreeortwogenerations.Tbosewhohave
nodescendantsbadtoolittlemeritsandvirtues.
“Nowtl1atyourecognizeyourshortcomings,you
needtodoallthatyoucantochangeandcorrectyour
misdeedstl1atcausedyounottohaveacl1ildornotto
becomeanimperialofficialYouneedtocultivate
virtueandtolerance,andtoregardotherswithgood
willandcompassion.YoualsoneedtocarefOryour
healthandconserveyourenergyandspirit.Liveasif
389
everythinginthepastdissolvedyesterdayandabrand-
newfUturebeginstoday.Ifyoucanaccomplisbthis,
thenyouareapersonbornanew,apersonofvirtue
andsincerity.
‘‘Ifevenourbodyisgovernedbydestiny,tlIenhow
canabodyofvirtueandsinceritynotevokearesponse
仕 《 ﹜ ’
㎡ 五 了 《  
tionofheaven,butonecanneverescapetheretribu-
﹚ ﹚ ㎡
SmgB/(Topermanentlyaccordwitl1themindof
}IeavenandtoseekourowngreatgoodfOrtune.>’’
Themasterthentoldme:<(Mr’KonglIadpredicted
tbatyouwouldnotreceiveanimperialappointmentor
haveason.TlIesearetheretributionsofheaven,but
eventl1eycanbecl1angedYouonlyneedtodevelop
yourvirtue’diligentlystrivetopracticegoodness,and
worktoaccumulatemanyhiddenmeritsandvirtues.
<(Tl1eseareyourwaystore-creategoodfOrtune.
Howthenisitpossiblethatyouwillnotgettoenjoy
乃 段 肋 倣 乃 巴 》
peopleaccruegoodfOrtuneandtoavoidadversity.If
everythingisdestinedwitlInoroomfOrchange,how
canwehopetodothis?
‘ ‘ 乃 ℉
oftenperfOrmgooddeedswillhaveanexcessofgood
fOrtunetopassontothefOllowinggenerations.)Do
’ 》 ’ ﹙ γ / 》
bisadviceandpaidmyrespectstol1imbyprostrating
390
ThenIbegantoregretallmypastwrongdoings,large
andsmall,infTontoftheBuddha>simage.Iwrote
downmywisl1topasstheimperialexaminationsand
vowedtocompletethreetbousandmeritoriousdeeds
tosl1owmygratitudetowardsmyancestors,eartl1,and
l1eaven.Uponhearingmyvow,MasterYungusl1owed
meamerit-faultclIartandtaughtmehowtokeepa
dailyrecordofallthegoodandbaddeedsIhaddone·
Hewarnedmetl1atbaddeedswouldneutralizetlIe
goodones.Tl1emasteralsotaugbtmetorecitethe
ZbuentiMant#a.Onlywitbamindofpurityandcon-
centrationcouldIattainwhatIsougl1t.
  叩
specialistsindrawingtalismanicfigures’‘‘Thosewl1o

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.
<(UponcarefUlanalysis’thereisalsonodualitybe-
tweenagoodorabadharvest.Understandingtbis,we
willbecontentwitl1ourpresentsituation,beitoneof
wealtborpoverty’Andwithunderstandingthattl1ere
isnodualitybetweenpovertyandwealth,ourminds
willbecontentwitlIourpresentstatusinsociety,beit
highorlow.Also,t}Iereisnodualitybetweenlongand
sl1ortlives.UnderstandingtlIis,wewillbecontent
洫 ﹚  
importantconcernforhumanbeingsisthatoflifeand
deathTl1us>earlydeatlIandlongevitysubsumeall
conditions,wl1etl1erfavorableorunfavorable)and
whetherofgainorloss.
‘‘WelIavetowaituntilourcultivationreachesacer-
tainlevel,thenourdestinieswillchange.ThisclIange
dependsontl1eaccumulationofmerits,onseekinga
廿 ’
tobeawareofourfaultsandresolvetocorrecttl1em

ofthetl1ougl1tofdesiringsomethingtbatwearenot
supposedtol1aveandthethoughtofwisl1ingfora
rewardAtthislevelitwouldbeastateofreachingthe
‘innatenatureofnotl1ought>thatistheactuallearn-
ingandpracticeofwisdom.
‘(Iknowtl1atyouarestillunabletoaccomplisl1tl1e
stateofnotl1ought)butyoucanpracticerecitingthe
ZhuentiMantracontinuouslywithoutcountingthe
numberofrecitationsandwithoutinteITuption.Wl1en
392
youreachahigberlevelofconstantmindfUlness>you
willbeabletoachievethelevelof<tonotrecitewhen
recitingandtorecitewhennotreciting/WlIenyouno
longerhavewanderingtl1oughts)themantrawillbe-
comeeffective.>>
MynameusedtobeXuel1ai,w<1icl1means<‘broad
learning.>’ButafterreceivingtlIeseteacl1ingsfTom
MasterYungu,IcbangedittoLiaofan’whichmeans
<‘transcendingtheordinary.})Itsignifiedmyunder-
standingoft}IefacttlIatwecouldre-createourdestiny
andthatIdidnotwishtobelikeordinarypeoplewl1o

beverycautiousinwhateverIthoughtordidSoon,I
feltquitedifferentfrombefore.Inthepast,Ihadbeen
} ﹂  
beingnaturallywatchftIlandconscientious.
Imaintaintbisattitudeevenwhenalone,fOrIknow
tbattherearespiritsandheavenlybeingseverywl1ere
whocanlmowmyeverythougl1tanddeedIamcau-
tiousnottooffendthemwithmythoughts.Evenwhen
Iencounterpeoplewhodislikeorslanderme>Ibear
theirinsultswithapatientandpeacefulmind)anddo
notfeelcompelledtoquarrelwithtl1em.
TheyearafterImetMasterYungu,ItoolKtl1epre-
liminaryimperialexaminationinwlIicl1Mr’Kongl1ad
predictedthatIwouldcomeinthirdplace.Amazingly’
Iwasfirst!Mr.Kong)spredictionswerebeginningto
losetl1eiraccuracy.HehadnotpredictedthatIwould
passtheimperialexaminationatall)buttl1atautumn,
393
Idid!
AlthoughIl1adcorrectedmanyfaults,IfOundtl1at
IcouldnotwholebeartedlydothethingsIoughtto.
EvenifIdiddotlIem)itwasfOrcedandunnatural.I
reHectedwithinandfOundthatIstillhadmanysl1ort-
comings,suclIasseeinganopportunitytopractice
kindnessbutnotbeingeagerenougl1todoitorhaving
doubtswhenhelpingotlIers.
SometimesIfOrcedmyselftoactkindly’butmy
speecbwasstilluncontrolledandoffensive.IfOundI
couldcontainmyselfwhensober)butafterafew
drinks,Iwouldactwithoutrestraint.Altl1ougbIoften
practicedkinddeedsandaccumulatedmerits,my
faultsandoffensesweresonumerousthatthey
seemedtooutweigl1thegoodthatIdid.Alotofmy
timewasspentvainlyandwithoutvalue.
Ittookmemorethantenyearstocompletetl1e
tl1reethousandmeritoriousdeedsIhadvowedtodo.I
wasunabletodedicatetl1emeritshomtl1esethree
thousandgooddeedsatatempleuntilIreturnedto
﹚       。  
time’Ibadtheopportunitytoasktwomonkstodedi-
catetl1emfOrme.Then,Imademysecondwishand
tl1atwasfOrason.Ivowedtocompleteanotherthree
tl1ousandgooddeeds.Afewyearslater,yourmot}1er
gavebirthtoyouandnamedyouTianqi.
EverytimeIperfOrmedagooddeed,Iwouldrecord
itinabookYourmotherwhocouldnotreadorwrite
woulduseagoosefeatlIerdippedininkSbemadea
39q
redcircleonthecalendarforeverygooddeedshedid
SometimesshegavefOodtothepoororboughtliving
creaturesinthemarketplaceandfreedtlIemintbe
wildSlIerecordedallofthesewitbbercirclesonthe
calendar·Attimes,sbecouldaccumulatemorethan
tencirclesinoneday|
EverydaywepracticedlikethisandinfOuryears,
tl1ethreetlIousanddeedswerecompletedAgain,I
invitedtbesametwomasterstomakethededications’
thistimeatourhome·Onthel3thdayoftheninth
monthofthatsameyear,Imademythirdwisband
tbatwastopassthebighestleveloft}Ieimperialex-
amination’Ialsovowedtocompletetentbousand
meritoriousdeeds·Aftertbreeyears,Iattainedmy
wishandpassedtbeexamination’Iwasalsomadethe
mayorofBaodicounty.
Ipreparedasmallbooktorecordmymeritsand
  〃 晅 叻 ∕ 仃 『 】 乩
Everymorning,wbenIbeganworldntheoffice>my
servantwouldbringthebookandhavetheguardplace
itonmydeskIwouldrecordmyeverydeed-goodor
bad-nomatterhowsmall·Atnight,Isetupanaltar
intbecourtyardandputonmyofficialunifOrmto
emulatethewayofMr.Zhao>anofficerintheSong
dynasty.Iburnedincenseandreportedallmydeedsto
theheavens.
Once,yourmotherwasconcernedwhenshesaw
tl1atIhadnotaccumulatedmuchmerit.Inthepast>
shewasabletohelpmeinouraccumulationofgood
395
deedsandwewereabletocompletetl1etlIreetl1ou-
sandmeritoriousdeeds.Now,Ibadmadeavowto
completetenthousandmoredeedsbuttberewere
feweropportunitiestopracticethematthegovern-
mentresidence.Sbeworriedabouthowlongitwould
bebefOremyvowcouldbefUlfilled
TbatniglIt,Idreamedofaheavenlybeingandtold
bimofmydifficultyincompletingt}1etentl1ousand
gooddeeds·Theheavenlybeingremindedmetbat
uponbecomingmayor,IhadreducedthetaxesontlIe
farmlands.Thatonegooddeedwasworthtenthou-
sandmerits·MyvowwasalreadyfUlfilled!WlIenIhad
becomemayor,thefarmersinBaodicountywere
bighlytaxedsoIreducedthetaxbynearlybalf.But,I
feltbewilderedandstillhaddoubts.Howcouldjust
onedeedbewortbtenthousandmerits?
Coincidentally’theZenMasterHuanyuwastravel-
仕  
invitedhimtothegovernmentresidence,toldhimof
mydream’andaskedwhet}1eritwasbelievable.Mas-
terHuanyusaid:{(IfonedoesagooddeedwithsuclIa
】 叩
thenonedeedcanindeedbeworththemeritsoften
tbousandBesides’youractofreducingthetaxesin
thiscountybenefitsmoretl1antenthousandpeople!”
Upon}1earingthis)Iimmediatelygaveallmysavmgs
fOrlIimtotakebacktoWutaiMountain’Iaskedl1im
tousetl1emoneyforafOodofferingfOrtentbousand
monksandtodedicatet}IemeritsfOrme.
396
Mr’Kongl1adpredictedthatIwoulddieattheage
offifty-three.However)Isurvivedt}Iatyearwithout
illnessaltboughIdidnotaskthelIeavensfOralonger
﹣ ‧   ㎡ 五 ﹝ ﹣
plains:(<Destinyexistsbutitischangeable.Destinyis
notset>butiscreatedanddeterminedbyourselves.>’
Alltl1isistrue.Icametounderstandthatbotl1good
fortuneandmisfOrtunearetheresultsofourown
actions.Thesearetrulythewordsofsagesandvirtu-
ouspeople!IfsomeonesaidtbatgoodfOrtuneand
adversityaredeterminedbytheheavens,Iwould
considerthatpersonordinary.
Tianqi,myson,Iwonderwhatyourlifewillbelike?
WeshouldalwayspreparefOrtheworst.TherefOre,
evenintimesofprosperity,actasifyouwerenot·
Whenthingsaregoingyourway’bemindfulofadver-
sity·Wl1enyou}IaveenoughfOodandclotl1ing,be
mindfulofpoverty.Whenlovedandrespectedbyall’
remainappre}Iensiveandconservative’WlIenthe
familyisgreatlyrespected,carryyourselfhumbly.And
whenyourlearningisextensiveandprofOund)always
feelthatthemoreyoulearnt}Ielessyouknow.
Forthepast,wecanthinkoflIowtoadvocatet}Ie
virtuesofourancestors·Forthepresent,wecanthink
ofhowtoconcealthefaultsofourparents.Forthe
country,wecanthinkoflIowwecanrepayitsldnd-
nesstousandfOrtbefamilywecanthinkofl]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)real’andproper.Ihopethatyou
willlearnthemwellandpracticethemdiligently.Use
yourtimewiselyanddonotletitslipbyinvain.
398
TheSecondLesson:
WaystoReform
DuringtheSpring-AutumnPeriod,Chinawasdi-
videdintoseveralsmallnations.Manyprestigious
advisersofthesenationswereabIetoaccurately
predictw}IetlIeraperson)sfuturewouldbefortu-
nateorunfortunatebasedontlIeirobservationof
thatpersonsspeechandbehavior·Manyofthese
勻 ﹚ 】 刀   ㎡ α 刀    
Asarule,therearesignsthatsignalimpending
dangerorthecomingofgoodfortune.TlIesesigns
risingfromwitlIinareduetoone>sthoughtsand
feelingsbeingrevealedinbisorlIerbehavior’Usu-
allyapersonismorefortunatew}Ientendingto-
wardkindnessbutinvitestroublewlIentending
towardcruelty.Ordinarypeopleoftendonotlmow
wlIatisreallybappening.Itisasiftheirvisionwere
blurredSincetheycannotseethetruth,theyclaim
thatgoodfortuneandmisfortuneareunpredict-
able·
Wbenwearesincereandhonest)ourbeartswill
accordwitlIthewillofheaven.Byobservingour
goodness’otherswillbeabletoforeseetl1ecoming
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
thanbebaviorsuchasthis’Menciusoncesaid:
(‘SlIameistl1emostimportantwordinapersons
life.))Wby?Becauseonewholmowsshamewillput
forthhisorl1erbesteffortsintocorrectingfaults
andwilleventuallyattainsagehoodorbecomea
virtuousperson.Onewhodoesnotlmowsbame
willbejustlikeananimal:unrestrainedandim-
moral.Thisisthekeytocorrectingourfaults.
Tbesecondwaytoreformistoknowfear.Celes-
tialbeingsandearthlyspiritsl1overoverourheads
inobservation.Tbereisnowayforustodeceive
tbem.Evenwbenmywrongdoingsaredoneina
concealedplace,tbebeingsandspiritsofl1eaven
andeartl1arepresentandseeallmyfaults.Ifmy
baddeedsareserious,thenallkindsofadversities
willbefallme.Ifmyfaultisminor’itwillstillre-
ducemycurrentgoodfortune.HowcanInotfeel
 
fearP
Evenwhenwearealoneinourroom,thebeings
andspiritswatclIusverycarefullyandrecordevery-
thing.Evenifwetrytoconcealourimproperacts
withcleverspeech,thespiritsandcelestialbeings
canseeintoourheartsasclearlyasseeingintoour
lungsorliver.Wearejusttryingtodeceiveour-
selvesandothers·Inactuality,othershaveseen
throug}1us)andwetbusbecomewortbless<intheir
eyes>.W}lenwethinkabouttbis)howcanwenot
afraid?
However,aslongaswestilIIaveonebreatbleft,
wehavethechancetoregreteventheworstdeeds‘
Therearecasesin}Iistorywherepeoplewhohad
committednumerousbaddeedsbutwhoIater
deeplyregrettedthemduringtheirdyingmoments
wereabletopassawaypeacefully.
Ifapersoncanhaveadeterminedandcoura-
geouskindthoughtatthemostimportantmoment,
itcancleanseawaybundredsofyearsofaccumu-
latedoffenses‘Tbisislikeonlyneedingone>ampto
bringlightintoavalleythathasbeendarkfora
thousandyears·Itdoesnotmatterhowlongone
l1asbeencommittingmisdeeds.Ifonecanreform’
heorsheisexceptional!
WeliveinaconStantlycbangingandcl1aotic
world.Ourbodies,madeoffleshandblood,are
perishable.Ifournextbreathdoesnotcome’then
tlIisbodywillnolongerbeapartofus.TlIen,even
40l
ifwewanttoreform,itwouldbetoolate.
WlIenwecommitawrongdoing,ourretribution
inthisworldisabadreputationthatwilllastfor
hundreds’eventhousandsofyears.Evenfilialand
lovingdescendantscannotrestoreourhonor·Tben,
inafuturelife,wemightendupinbellsuffering
immeasurablepain’Wheneventhesages,virtuous
people,Buddhas’andBodlIisattvascannothelpus
escapefromourbadconsequences,bowcanwenot
beafraid?
Thethirdwaytoreformistohaveadetermined)
courageousbeart.Whenwehesitatetoreformour
faultsbecausewedonotreallywanttocl1ange,we
arecontentwithwhatwecangetawaywithFora
reformtotakeplace’wemustberesoluteandre-
solvetocbangeimmediately.Wesl1ouldnotl1esi-
tateorpostponeuntiltomorroworthedayafter.
Aminorfaultislikeatl1ornpiercingourflesl1
aMsl1ouldbequicklyremovedAbigfaultislike
ourfingerbeingbittenbyapoisonoussnake.We
mustquicklycutoffthefingertopreventtlIepoi-
sonfromspreadingandkillingus.Ifweconsultthe
  乃 ﹣ ’
meansthatourstrongdeterminationinreforming
assuresusofsuccess.Ifwecanfollowtl1ethree
waysofsl1ame,fear,anddeterminationtoreform’
thenwewillsurelybetransformedTl1ereisno
needtoworry.Itwillhappenasassuredlyastl1e
springsunwillmeltalayerofice.
402
Tl1erearealsot}1reemetlIodsofpracticetohelp
usreform.Thefirstischangingtl1roug}1be}Iavior,
tl1esecondischangingthroughreasoning,andthe
tl1irdisc}1angingfromtheheart.Tryingtoforce
ourselvestosuppressourfaultsisextremelydiffi-
cultbecausewelIavenotpermanentlyuprootedour
faults,merelytemporarilycurbedtbem.T}1erefore,
clIangingtbroughbelIaviorcannothelpustoper-
manentlyeliminateourfaults·
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]usjustaswell·Whyletourstomacl]sbe-
comeagraveyardandreduceourgoodfortune
throughkilling?
ThinkofallthelivingbeingswitbHesband
bloodLikeus,theyareself-aware.Tl1eyandweare
403
oneentity.Althoughourcultivationofvirtuehas
notyetreaclIedtlIestatethatwillenablethese
beingstorespectusandfeelsafearoundus,wecan
atleastnotharmthemormakethemhateus.Ifwe
thinkaboutit>wewillnaturallyfeelsorrowfor
tbeseanimalsandthusbeunabletoswallowtheir
flesh
Anotberexampleofcbangingthrougbreasoning
isaneasilyangeredperson.HeorslIecanstopand
thinktl1atweallbaveourstrengthsandweak-
nesses.IfItouchonsomeoneswealmess)IslIould
feelsadabouttheirfailingandforgiveanyshort-
comings.Ifsomeoneoffendsmefornoreasonat
all,itistl1atpersonsproblemandlIasnothingto
dowitl1me.Thereisnoreasonformetobecome
angry.
Ialsotl1inktlIatnogreatpersontlIinksthathe
orslIeisalwaysright.Nordointelligentpeople
blametheirfaultsonothers.Whentbingsdonotgo
thewaywewish)itisbecausewehavenotculti-
vatedourvirtuesandmorals’andlIavenotaccumu-
latedenoughmeritstomoveothers!
Wesl1ouldalwaysreflectuponourselvesfirst’In
sodoing,criticismcanbecomeatraininggroundto
refineourclIaracterandtostrengtbenourabilities.
Weshouldbeverygladtoacceptsomeoneelse)s
criticismandguidance.WhatistlIeretobeangry
andcomplainabout?Likewise’inthefaceofslan-
der’wesl1ouldmaintaintbemindofstillness.Al-
404
thoughtl]eslanderousrumorsandtalebearing
spreadlikeahugefire,likeatorclI,theywilleven-
tuallyburnthemselvesout.
Ifwebecomeangryandtrytodefendourselves
whenslandered’itwouldbelikethespringsilk-
wormspinningitsowncocoonandsuffocating
itself.Becomingangrydoesnotbenefitus;itharms
us.Thereareotherfaultsandoffenseswecan
change.Ifweunderstandtheprinciplebe}Iindthe
needforreform,wewillnotrepeatourmistakes’
Whatdoes<‘changingfromtbel1eart))mean?Al-
thoughwel1avethousandsofdifferentfaults’they
allstemfromt}Ieheart,fromtbemindIfmy}1eart
isstillofthougl]ts’thenactionswillnotariseand
faultscanbeavoidedPractitionersdonothaveto
trytoeradicatefaultssuclIasthedesireforfame’
sex)profit>oranger,onebyone.Allweneedisa
sincere}Iearttopracticegooddeeds.Aslongasour
l1eartsarevirtuousandkind,thennaturallyour
mindswillnothaveanyimpropert}1ouglIts.
<‘Demonsdonotappearduringtheday.))Tbisis
tl1eessence>thekeytoourchange.Sinceallmis-
takesstemfromt}]elIeart’wechangefromtlIe
heart.ItislilKegettingridofapoisonoustree’Ifwe
wanttoputanendtoit,weuprootitaltogetl1erso
itcannotgrowagain’Whyexertourselvestono
availbypullingoutitsleavesonebyoneandcut-
tingittwigbytwig?
ThebestwaytoreformourfaultsisthrouglIcul-
405
tivatingourlIeartsforpuritywillsurfaceright
away.Ifmyheartispure’Icanrecognizeandstop
animproperthoughtassoonasitarises·Tbeim-
moralideawilldisappeart}1emomentIamcon-
sciousofit.
IfIamunabletosucceedatrefOrmingmyfaults
throughcbangingtheheart,tbenIwilltryatthe
levelofunderstanding>lmowingthereasonswlWI
needtomakethechange.IfIcannotsucceedwith
t}1is’thenIwilltrytoreformbycl1angingtl1rougl1
belIavior.Thebestwayistocultivatetl1eheartand
understandtl1ereasonsbehindtheneedtocl1ange.
Itisfoolishtoconfineourselvestoreforming
tl1roughbehavior.Thisistheinferiorway.Instead
weshouldbereformingfromthel1eart,fortl1isis
thebestwaytochange.
Butevenwhenwevowtochange,assistanceis
neededtotrulyreform.Wewillneedconstantre-
mindersfromgenuinefriendswl1owitnessour
actionsineverydaylife.Asforourgoodandbad
tbougbts,wecanaskthebeingsandspiritsof
}Ieavenandearthtobeourwitnesses.Wealsoneed
tobediligentandtosincerelyregretdayandnight.
Ifwecanhonestlyregretforonetotwoweeks’one
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.Suchphenomenaareindica-
tionsofasuccessfulreformandadissolvingofpast
offenses.However,wemustnotconsiderseeing
tbesephenomenaassignsofperfection.Instead,
wemustresolvetofurtherimproveourselvesand
workevenhardertoreform.
<AnexampleisQuBoyu.>Attwenty,hewasal-
readymindfulofhisfaults>hadanalyzedtl1em)and
triedtothorouglIlycorrectthem·Attbeageof
twenty-one)hefeltthatlIestillhadnotcompletely
correctedalloftlIem‘Attwenty-two)hefeltasif
twenty-onewaswasted,withoutanyrealimprove-
ment.Thus’yearafteryear,hecontinuedtocorrect
bisfaults.WlIenhereachedfifty’Boyustillfelt
thattbepastforty-nineyearswerefilledwitlI
wrongdoings.Thiswashowparticularourancestors
wereregardingthecorrectionoffaults!
Wearealljustordinarypeoplewithmistakesas
numerousasaporcupine)sspines.Oftenwl1enwe
¢  
lookback’wedonotevenseeourfaultsbecausewe
arecarelessanddonotlmowhowtoreHectonour
actions.Itisasifacataractisgrowinginoureye.
Allthesearesymptomsofbavingaccumulatedtoo
manyoffenses!Ourheartsmayfeelconfusedand
oppressed,lacldngenergy·Wewillbecomeextremely
fOrgetfulandfilledwithworriesevenwlIennothingis
happening,feelembarrassedanddepressedupon
meetingavirtuousperson>orbecomedispleasedat
hearingproperreasoning’Whenkindtoothers,we
willbemetwitbhostility’Wemayhavenightmares
whereeverythingisupside-down,andtalkincoher-
entlyandbehaveabnormally.Theseareallsignsof
misfOrtune.
Ifwehaveanyofthesesymptoms’wemustimme-
diatelyreinfOrceourwillpowertocorrectallofour
faults.Itisnecessarytostartanewandnotdelay!
408
TheThirdLesson:
TlIeWaystoCultivateGoodness
乃 ﹙ ℉
deedswillaccumulateprosperitythatcanoutlast
manygenerations.>’AnexampleistbeYanfamily‘
BefOretheymarriedtheirdaugl1tertotl1emanwho
wastobeConfi1cius>sfather,theyinquiredabouttbe
family.Afterfindingtl1attlIeypracticedgoodnessand
accumulatedvirtues,theYanfamilyfeltconfidentthat
theyweremarryingtheirdaughterintoafamilytl1at
wouldprosperandhaveoutstandingdescendants.
Inanotherexample,ConfuciuslIadpraisedSl1un
叮   ﹙ ‘
pietyandsincerity)Shundeeplymovedevenhisances-
torstoaccepthisoffering·Hisaccumulationofmerits
andgoodfOrtunewouldlastfOrmanygenerations.>’
Tl1isprincipleisconfirmedbymanyexamples.
ThefOllowingaresomeadditionalexamplesofl1ow
meritscanbeattainedtl1roughperfOrminggooddeeds’
InFUjianprovInce,amannamedYangRonghelda
positionintheimperialcourtastlIeemperor)steacher.
YangRong)sancestorswereboatpeoplewl1omadea
livingbyl>elpingpeoplecrosstheriver.
Oneyear)astormlastedsolongtl1atviolentHood-
ingsweptawaypeople’animals,houses’andbelong-
ings.Theotherboaterstookadvantageoftbesituation
tocollecttl1ef>oatingbelongings.OnlyYangRong,s
grandfatl1erandgreatgrandfatherrescuedthedrown-
409
ingpeopleandignoredthebelongings.Theboaters
laughedandtlIoughtthetwotobeveryfoolishLater)
whenYangRong>sfatherwasborn,theYangfamily
graduallybecamewealthy.
OnedayalIeavenlybeingwhohadmanifestedasa
TaoistmonktoldtheYangfamilythatduetotheir
ancestors)accumulationofhiddenmerits,theirde-
scendantswouldenjoywealthandprominence·He
t}Iensuggestedaspecialplacew}Ieret}Ieycouldbuild
tbeancestraltombTheyfOllowedl1issuggestion.
TodayitiscalledtbeWhiteHareGrave·Shortlyafter’
YangRongwasborn.Hepassedtheimperialexamina-
tionwhenhewasonlytwentyyearsoldandlaterre-
ceivedtlIeimperialappointmentofmaster·Tl1eem-
perorevenbestowedthesameimperialhonorsonhis
grandfatberandgreatgrandfather·Today)l1isvirtuous
andprosperousdeccendantsarestillprominent.
YangZicl1eng,fTomtlIecountyofYininZhejiang
prov1nce)isanotherexample·Heworkedinthecounty
courthouseandwaskind’fair>andhonest.Once,the
countymagistratepunislIedacriminalbybeatinglIim
untilhewasbleedingprofusely.Zichengkneltand
pleadedwithhimtostop.TheinfUriatedmagistrate
retorted:(<It>sallrightfOryoutoplead,buthowcanI
notbeangrywhenhehasbrokenthelaw!)’Zicl1eng
repliedtl1atwhengovernmentleadersdonotfOllow
theproperpath’ordinarypeoplewouldlosetheirway·
Realizingthis’wesbouldfeelsorrowandnotpleasure
<atsolvingthecase>.AndweslIouldcertainlynot
4l0
becomeangry.AcaselikethiscalledfOrmoreunder-
standing.MovedbyZicheng>splea’tl1emagistrate
ceasedthebeating.
AlthouglIZicheng>sfamilywaspoor’}Ierefusedall
bribes·IftlIeprisonerswereshortoffOod’hewould
takesomefroml1isownlIometogiveittothemevenif
itmeantgoinghungryhimself‘Oneday,itwastime
fOrseveralnewlyarrivedprisonerstobefed.But
Zicl1enghimselfl1adlittlefOodIfhegavetheprison-
erswl1athehad)hisfamilywouldgobungry;ifhekept
thefOodfOrhisfamily’theprisonerswouldl1avenoth-
ingtoeat-anappallingdilemma.Hefelttl1attl1e
prisonersneededthefOodmoretbanlIisfamilydid
HediscusseditwithhiswifewhoaslKedwl1erethe
prisonerswerefTom’Zichengtold}1ertl1attheywere
仕   ’
Later)Zichenghadtwosons.Tl1eelderson,
SlIouchen,andtheyoungerone’ShouzlIi)botlIheld
importantgovernmentpositions.Zicheng)seldest
grandsonbecamevIceministeroftlIeMinistryof
>usticeandhissecondgrandsonwasahighlyplaced
memberoftl1egovernmentstaffinSichuanprovmce.
Theytoowereprominent’Today,theirdescendant
YangClIuting,alsoagovernmentofficial,islmownfOr
hisvirtuousdeeds.
AnotberaccounttookplaceduringtheZlIeng-Tong
period’<thetimeofEmperorYingzong>.InFUjian
provInce’manyintellectualshadjoinedagroupof
rebels.TheemperorappointedImperialCensorZhang

tostopthem.Hetrickedtherebelsandcapturedtheir
leader·
Later,ImperialCensorZl1angdispatcl1edGeneral
Xietoputanendtotberemainingrebelsintheeast-
ernpartoftl1eprovince.Thegeneralobtainedalistof
theinsurgentsandcommandedtl1atwlIiteHagsbe
secretlygiventoeveryonenotonthatlistalongwith
instructionstoplacetheHagsontl1eirdoorswhentbe
imperialarmycametotown.Heorderedtl1esoldiers
nottolIarmtbeinnocentandwiththisonethoughtof
goodness>hesavedtensofthousandsofpeoplefTom
beingkilledHissonXieChianplacedfirstinthe
imperialexaminationsandeventuallybecameanadvi-
sortotbeemperor.HisgrandsonXiePiplacedthirdin
theimperialexaminations.
AnotherexampleistheLinfamilyfromPutianin
FUjianproVnce.Amongtheirancestorswasavery
generouselderlylady.Everydayshemadericeballs
fOrthepoorandgaveawayasmanyastl1eywanted
AnimmortalwlIomanifestedasaTaoistmonkcame
dailyfOrthreeyearsandalwaysaskedfOrsixorseven‘
Herceaselessgenerosityconvincedhimofl1erdeep
sincerity.Hetoldher:“IhaveeatenyourriceballsfOr
tl1reeyearsandhavedonenothingtosl1owmygrati-
tude’PerhapsIcandosonow.Ontl1elandbebind
yourhouseisagoodplacefOryourgrave.Ifyouare
placedtl1erewl1enyoudie,thenumberofyourde-
scendantswl1owillbaveimperialappointmentswill
equaltl1enumberofseedsinapoundofsesame
4lZ
seeds.)’HersonfOllowedhisrecommendations.
Thefirstgenerationafterthat,ninemenpassedthe
imperialexaminationsanditcontinuedthatwayfOr
generations.ItwassaidinFUjianthatthesurnameof
LinwasalwaysonthelistofthosewbolIadpassedthe
imperialexamination·
AnotherexampleisMr·Feng,thefatheroftheim-
periallIistorian,FengZhuoan·Onewintermanyyears
ago,Mr’Fengwasonhiswaytosc}Ioolwhenhesaw
someonelyinginthesnow.Findingthatthemanwas
barelybreathing,hequicklytookoffhiscoat,wrapped
itaroundtheman,carriedhimbackhome,andre-
。 ’
heavenlybeingtoldhim:‘<Outofcompletesincerity,
youhelpedadyingman‘Thisisagreatvirtue·Iwill
havethefamousGeneralHanQioftheSongdynasty
toberebornasyourson·”Later,ZlIuoanwasbornand
wasnamedQi
Also,tlIerewasMr’Ying,aministerwbolivedin
Taizhou.Whenhewasyoung,}Iestudiedinremote
mountainareas.Atnig}It,beoftenheardthesoundsof
廿  
nigbt,heheardoneghosthappilysaytoanotl1er:
<(TlIereisavillagewomanwhosel1usbandleftlIomea
longtimeagoand}IasnotreturnedHerin-lawsthink
tl1attbeirsonisdeadandarefOrcinghertoremarry.
Tomorrownight’sheisgoingtocommitsuicideand
willreplaceme.ThenIwillbereborn!)’
UponlIearingthis,Mr’Yingimmediatelysetoutto

sellsomelandtl1atheownedHereceivedtwohun-
dredgramsofsilverfOrit.Hethenmadeupaletter
fTomtl1edaughter-in-law)sl1usband’andsentittol1er
homealongwitbtlIesilver.Tl1eparentsknewtl1attl1e
letterwasnotintl1eson)sl1andwriting’butexamined
tlIesilverandsaid’<<TlIislettermaybefalse)buttl>e
silverisnot.Perhapsoursonisalive.>)Consequently’
thedaugl>ter-in-lawwasnotfOrcedtoremarry.Aftera
wbilethehusbandreturnedl1omeandtl1ecouple
resumedtheirlivestogether’
Mr.Yingnextl1eardtheghostsay,<(Originally’Iwas
supposedtoleavehereandbereborn,butMr.Ying
messedupmycl1ance!)>Theotherghostasked’“Why
don)tyougetevenwithhim?)>Thefirstghostreplied:
<(Ican>t.Thebeavenlybeingshaverecognizedl1is
goodnessandl1eisgoingtoreceiveaprominentposi-
tionintbefuture.HowcanIhurthim?>>’Uponhear-
ingthis,Mr·Yingbecameevenmorediligentinprac-
ticinggoodnessandaccumulatingmerits.Wl1enever
tl1erewasafamine)lIegavegrainfTomhisstorel1ouses
tothosewlIoneededit.HealwayslIelpedrelativesin
emergencies·WhenthingsdidnotgolIisway,he
alwaysreHectedwitl1inlIimselfrathertl1ancomplain
ofotl1ers.Thus)healwaysquietlycompliedwitlIcon-
ditions·Eventoday,hisdescendantsareprominent.
Anotl1erperson’XuFengz}]u>livedin]iangsuprov-
ince.Whenevertberewasafamine,hiswealtlWfatl1er
wouldbethefirsttowaivetl1erentonthericefields,
hopingtl>atotherwealthypeoplewouldfOllowsuit.
¢  
  廿
wlIowerehungry.
Onenigl1t’beheardgbostsoutsidehislIomesay,
“AcountyscholarintheXufamilyisgoingtopassthe
provincialimperialexamination!>>ThiswentonfOr
severalnigbtsandindeedtlIatyearl1issonFengzl1u
passedtheexamination.Afterthat,Fengzhu>sfather
becameevenmorediligentinaccumulatinggood
deeds.HepaidfOrtherepairofroadsandbridges)and
providedfOodfOrmonksaswellasfOrthepoor.He
didalll1ecouldtohelpothers.Sometimelater,he
lIeardtl1eghostsagain.Theysaid:‘<Tl1eprovincial
﹞ 廿
positioninthegovernment.))Eventually,Fengzl1u
becamethegovernorofZhejiangprovInce’
AnotherexampleisTuKangxiwbolivedin}iaxing,
ZhejiangprovInce·Mr.Tuworkedintl1ecourtbouse
andwouldspendnightsintheprisoncells,talking
witbtheinmates.InsteadofmakinganamefOrhim-
self)hewouldwritesecretreportstotl1eministerof
justice,tellinghimwhycertainprisonerswereinno-
cent.TheMinisterwouldthenquestiontheprisoner
accordinglyandcleart}Iecases.TbrouglIMr.Tu>s
effOrts,morethanteninnocentpeoplewerereleased
andalloftl]emwereextremelygratefilltothejudge
praisingtbeministerofjusticefOr}Iiswisejudgment·
Soonafter’Mr.Tumadeareporttotl1eimperial
judgesaying:‘‘Ifinnocentpeopleareimprisonedhere,
theremustbemanymoretl1roughouttbecountry.I
4l5
recommendt}1atinvestigatorsbesenttoclIecktl1e
prisonsfOrinnocentpeopleeveryfiveyears.TlIesen-
tencescanbecanceledtopreventtheinnocentfTom
remaininginprison.,}Theminister’Mr.Tu>ssuperior,
tooktlIereporttotheemperor)whoagreedwithMr.
Tu)ssuggestion.Mr.Tuwassubsequentlycl1osenas
oneoftl1especialagentsincl1argeofreducingsen-
tencesfOrtl>osewl1owerefOundinnocent.
Onenigbt,lIedreamttl1atal1eavenlybeingcameto
himandsaid:“Originally’youdidnotdeserveasonin
tl1islife’buttlIisactofreducingprisonsentencesfOr
innocentpeopleaccordswiththewisl1esoftlIel1eav-
ens.Youwillbebestowedwitl1tl1reesonsandtbey
willallattainhighpositions.)>Hiswifelatergavebirth
totlIreesonswboallbecameprominent.
Anotberexampleofattaininggoodresultshom
practicingkindnessisBaoPingwbolivedin]iaxing.
Pingwastheyoungestofsevensonsoftl1emagistrate
ofCl1izl1ou)AnhuiproVnce.Hemarriedintotl1eYuan
familyinPinghucounty’Zbejiangprovmce’andwasa
goodfriendofmyfatber·BaoPingwaslmowledgeable
andtalented’butalwaysfailedintheexaminations.He
spenthistimestudyingBudd}IismandTaoism.
Once,wl1iletravelingtoLakeMao,becametoa
villageandsawatempleindireneedofrepair·T}Ie
statueofAvalokiteshvaraBodl1isattvawaswetfrom
therainthatleakedtlIroughtberoof·Pingtookoutall
lIismoneyandgaveittotheabbot,sotl1athecould
restoretl1etemple.Theabbotreplied:(‘Itisama>or
4l6
prOject,IamafTaidtbisisnotenough)’BaoPingtben
tookoutallhisexpensiveclothesand}Iandedthemto
theabbot.Hisservanttriedtopersuadehimtokeep
hisbestoutfit)butherefUsed)saying;‘<Itdoesnot
mattertome.AslongasthestatueofAvalokiteshvara
Bodhisattvaremainsundamaged,IdonotcareifI
lIavetogowithoutclothes’))
Theabbot,withtearsinhiseyes’exclaimed:‘(To
giveupmoneyandclothingisnotdifficult’butyour
  。 》 ﹚  
repaired,BaoPingaskedhisfathertovisititandto-
getl1ertheyspentt}1enightthere’Tl1etemple)s
DbarmaProtector,Qielan)cameinhisdreamtothank
bimandsaid:<‘Sinceyouhaveaccumulatedthese
meritsandvirtues,youwillhavemanygenerationsof
descendantswhowillreceiveimperialappointments.>)
Hissonandgrandsonbothpassedhighexaminations
andwereappointedasimperialofficials.
ZbiLifTom}iashancounty’inZl1ejiangproVnceis
anot}1erexample.Hisfatherusedtobeaclerldntbe
provincialcourthouse.Once)wlIenZl1iLi’sfatber
learnedthataninnocentmanhadbeengiventhe
deathpenalty,hetriedtosavetheman>slife·When
theprisonerheardaboutthis,hetoldhiswife:‘<Iam
greatlyindebtedtothismanwlIol1asspokenonmy
behalf’butIlIavenowaytoshowmygratitude.Will
youinvitehimtoourhouseandofferyourselftohim?
Perl1apstl1iswillpleasehimandincreasemyclIances
tolive.))
4l7
Tl1ewifecriedasslIelistenedtol1isrequest,but
tlIerewasnootherwaytol1elp.Thenextdaywhentl1e
clerkcametovisit,slIeoffbredl>imwIneandtoldl1im
oflIerhusband)swishT}1eclerkrefused’butcontin-
uedtodoallhecouldfOrtheman.\Ibenatlasttl1e
pnsonerwasreleased,heandhiswifewenttotl1e
clerk)slIousetotlIankhim.Hesaid:‘‘Onewitl1sucl1
virtueasyoursistrulyraretl1esedays,howcanIshow
mygratitude?Sinceyoudonothaveason,allowme
tooffermydaughterinmarnagetoyou.Pleaseaccept
))
fOrthisistheonlywaytlIatIcanrepayyou·
Theclerkacceptedandsoonafterwards,shebore
lIimhisson,ZhiLi.Hepassedthehighestleveloftl1e
imperialexaminationswbenhewasjusttwentyyears
oldandlaterwasappointedtoanimportantgovern-
mentposition.HissonGao)grandsonLu,andgreat
grandsonDalun,allpassedtl1eexaminationsand
receivedimperialappointmentsaswell
Thesetenexamplesalltellofthedeedscultivated
bydifferentpeople.Althoughtheiractionsdiffered,
theirintentwastl1esame-toperfOrmgoodness.Ifwe
carefi1llythinkaboutgoodness’wewillrealizethat
therearemanydifferenttypes-realandfalse,honest
andcrooked,lIiddenandvisible,apparentandactual,
properandimproper,fullandhalf,bigandsmall>and
difficultandeasy.Tbesedifferenttypeseacbbave
theirowncausesthatneedtobeunderstoodIfwetry
topracticegooddeedsbutdonotknowhowtodistin-
guisl1betweenriglItandwrong>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.Wl1atl1asl1ap-
penedtocauseandeffect?Aretherenostandardsin
theBuddl1a>steachings?’)
MasterZhongfengreplied:‘<Ordinarypeopleare
blindedbyworldlyviewpointsandnothavingcleansed
tlIeirmindsofimpuritiesareunabletoseeclearly·
Consequently,theylookuponrealgoodnessaswrong-
doingandmistakewrongdoingasgoodness.Tbisis
verycommontoday’Moreover,tl1esepeopledonot
blametl1emselvesfOrfailingtounderstand,andun-
fairlyblametbeirmisfOrtunesontl1elIeavens.
))
Thescholarsquestionedhowgoodandbadcould
bemistakenfOreachother.MasterZbongfengasked
eachoftl1emtoexpresstheirthouglItsonwhatwas
badandgoodOnescholarsaidthattoyellatandhit
otherswasbad;torespectandtreatothersinapolite
waywasgoodTl1emasterreplied>“Notnecessarily.”
AnotlIersclIolarsaidthatbeinggreedyandtaldng
another’smoneywasbadwhilebeinggenerousand
¢  
behavingproperlywasgoodMasterZhongfengagain
replied)“Notnecessarily/>TheremainingsclIolarsall
) 叩
MasterZhongfengalwaysconcluded,<<Notnecessar-
ily’))
MasterZlIongfengthensaid:‘(TodotlIingsfOrthe
benefitofothersisgood;todotlIingsfOrselfbenefitis
badIfwhatwedoisfOrthesakeofbenefitingothers,
thenitdoesnotmatterifweyellatorlIitthem;itis
  ﹂
regardlessofourappearanceofrespectandcourtesy’
itisbad
‘(Practicinggoodnesssolelytobenefitothersiscon-
sideredpublicbenefitandisrealgoodness.Ifweonly
thinkofourselveswbiledoinggoodacts>thenthatis
consideredprivatebenefitandisfalsegoodness.W}Ien
goodnessspringshomtheheart)itisrealgoodness·
But,whenwedosometlIinggoodjustbecauseotlIers
aredoingso,itisfalse.Whenwedogoodwithout
) 叩 ‧  
whenwepracticegooddeedsfOrsomepurposeother
thantobenefitothers’itisfalse.Tl1osewhowishto
practicerealgoodnessneedtoconsideralltlIesedif-
ferences.
))
Whatare<<honestgoodness>}and‘(crookedgood-
ness)’?Peopletodayoftenlookuponanextremely
conservativeandnicepersonasgoodandkindHow-
ever,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.Crookedgood-
nessistoactwithoutsincerityandarisesfromthe
tl1ougl1ttoflatterotherstoobtainwhatwewant.To
loveotl1ersisl1onest,andtohateotl1ersandbejealous
iscrookedTbeseallneedtobeverycarefullydifferen-
tiated
Whatare<<hiddengoodness>)and“visiblegoodness>)?
Goodnessishiddenwl1ennooneknowsaboutitand
visiblewhenourgoodactsarelmownbyotl1ers·Those
witl1hiddenvirtueswillnaturallybelmownbytl1e
beavensandberewarded.Thosewhopracticevisible
goodnesswillbelmownbypeopleandenjoyfame·
FameitselfisgoodfOrtune’butbeavenandeartl1sl1un
fame.Thosewl1ol1avegreatfame,butlackthevirtue
42l
tosupportitwilleventuallyencounteroverwl1elming
adversities’Tbosewhol1avenotdoneanytl1ingwrong
butarefalselyaccusedwillhavedescendantsw}Iowill
suddenlybecomeprosperousandsuccessfUl.From
tlIis>wecanseehowimportantitistounderstand
hiddenandvisiblegoodness.
Whatare<<apparentgoodness))and“actualgood-
ness))?IntheSpring-AutumnPeriod’tlIecountryof
LumadealawthatrewardedthosewhopaidtlIeran-
somtofreetheirfellowcitizenswhowereservant-
slaves.AttlIattime)ConftIciushadaricl1student
namedZigongw}1o,altl1oughlIepaidtl1eransomto
fiFeepeople,didnotaccepttherewardfordoingso·
Uponl1earingthis’Confuciuswasveryunhappy
andscoldedZigong:<(Youactedwrongly.Whensages
andvirtuouspeopledosomething>itistoimprove
moralityandteac}1people}1owtobebave.Wedonot
﹂   ’
pooroutnumberthewealthy.SinceyourefUsedtl1e
reward,otl1erswilltl1inkthatacceptingrewardmoney
isbeinggreedyandifthishappens’noonewillpaytlIe
ransomtofreeourpeople/)
AnotherstudentofConfUcius,Zilu)oncesawa
mandrowningintheriverandrescuedhim.Later,the
mantl1ankedl1imbygivingl1imacow.WlIenConfi1-
ciusl1eardtbatZilubadacceptedthegift’hewas
happyandsaid:“Intl1efuture>peoplewillbeeagerto
helptl1osewhoaredrowning.)’
Intl1eeyesofordinarypeople)Zigong)srefusalof
422
therewardmoneywasgood,wlIileZilu)sacceptanceof
thecowwasnot’WbowouldhaveexpectedConfucius
topraiseZiluandscoldZigong|FromtlIis,wecansee
tbatthosewhopracticegooddeedsmustnotonly
considertlIecurrentoutcomebutthatoftlIefUtureas
wellNeitlIerslIouldweonlyconsiderourowngain
andlossbutthinkabouttheimpactmadeonothers’
Whatwedonowmaybegoodbutintimemay
proveharmfUl·Thus>wbatseemslikegoodnessmay
actuallybebadWhatappearstobebadmayactually
bavepositivelong-termeffects)turningouttohave
beengoodafterall.Thus>whatseemslikeabaddeed
mayactuallybegoodness‘Forexample,apparent
responsibilitymaybeactualirresponsibility,apparent
proprietymaybeactualimpropriety,apparenttrust-
wortlIinessmaybeactualuntrustworthiness’and
apparentkindnessmaybeactualunkindness.Weneed
tocarefullydifferentiatetomakeproperclIoices·
Whatare<(propergoodness))and<(impropergood-
nessI?LuWenyiwasaprimeministerintlIeMing
dynasty·Whenhegrewold’heretiredtohisl1ome-
townwherehewaswelllovedandhighlyrespected
Once,adrunkenvillagerwenttohishomeandbegan
toyellinsultsatlIim.Mr.Lucalmlytoldhisservant,
‘‘Thismanisdrunk)don)targuewithhim.))Withthat)
heclosedtl1edoorandignoredtbeonslaughtofin-
SultS.
Ayearlater,thesamemancommittedagravecrime
andwassentencedtodeathHearingtlIis,Mr.Lu
¢  
remorsefullysaid:<<IfonlyIhadtakenbimtotheau-
tlIoritiesfOrpunislImenttbatday>perhapsalittle
disciplinecouldhavepreventedthis.Atthetime,Iwas
tryingtobekindbutIinadvertentlyencouragedhis
arroganceandcruelty·Now,hehasbeensentencedto
death”Thisisanexampleofl1avinggoodintentions
butdoingsomethingbad
TlIereisalsoanexampleoftl1osewboaclIieved
goodnessaltlIoughtheyhadactedfTomimproper
intentions.Once,afteradevastatingfamine>people
werereducedtostealingfOodinbroaddayligl1t.A
wealtl1yfamilyreportedthistotheautboritieswhodid
nothing.Asthepoorgrewmoredaring’chaoswas
imminent.Tbefamily)takingthelawintotheirown
hands,caugl1tandpunishedtbetl1ieves.Intl1isway’
peacewasrestoredandthetbeftswerestopped.IftlIis
badnotbeendone’chaoswouldhaveerupted
Wealllmowtl1atgoodnessisproperandwrongdo-
ingisimproper.However,tberearecaseswberedeeds
doneoutofgoodintentionsresultedinbadThisis
calledthe“improperwithintheproper.))Therearealso
deedsdoneoutofimproperintentionsthatresultedin
))
good·Tbisiscalledtl1e‘<properwithintl1eimproper.
Wecanbenefitfromunderstandingtl1is·
Wl1atare‘<l1alfgoodness))and“fullgoodness))?We
  乃 加 《 《
virtuousdeedswillnotachievebonorwl1ilepeople
wl1odonotaccumulatebaddeedswillnotbringabout
﹂ ﹚ ﹚ ○ ㎡ 丑
4Z4
learnthat‘<Zhou)whowasthelastemperorofthe
SlIangdynasty’committedllorriblecrimes/}Thedy-
nastyendedwithhisdeathItislikecollectingobjects
inacontainer·Withdiligence,itwillsoonbefUllbut

exampleoffUlland}Ialfgoodness·
OnceawomanvisitedaBuddhisttempleand
wisl]edtomakeadonation·Beingextremelypoor,sl1e
onlyhadtwocentsbutsbeunreservedlygavetheseto
amonkTolIersurprise,tlIeabbothimselfcameto
helpl1erregretfOrpastoffensesandtodedicateher
merits.
Later,shewaschosentoentertheimperialpalace)
andobtainedwealthandprestige·Cladinherriches,
shereturnedtothetempletomakeadonation>this
timebringingasmallfOrtune.Toherdismay’the
abbotsentanothermonktol1elpdedicatehermerits.
Sbedidnotunderstandandquestionedtheabbot:‘‘In
tbepast,Ionlydonatedtwocents,yetyoupersonally
helpedmeregretmypastoffenses.Today)Ihave
broughtmuclImoneybutyouwilInothelpmeper-
fOrmmymeritdedication·Why?))
Theabbotreplied:‘<AlthouglIyougaveonlyalittle
inthepast,itcamefromatrueandsincereheart.It
wasnecessaryfOrmetorepayyoursinceritybyper-
sonallyperfOrmingyourdedications.Today)your
donationismuchgreater,buttheheartofgivingisnot
assincere.TlIerefOre,itisenougbthatmystudent
perfOrmsyourdedicationsforyou/)Thisisanexample
¢  
ofhowthousandsofsilvercoinsareonlyconsidered
<<halfgoodness}’andtwocentsare(<wholegoodness.)’
AnotherexampleisofQuanZhongli)animmortal
oftheHandynasty’whowasteachingbisstudent,Lu
Dongbin’tl>eartoftransformingironintogoldThey
woulduseittohelpthepoor·Dongbinaskedl]is
teacberiftl1egoldwouldeverclIangebacktoiron.
Zhonglisaid,‘‘Afterfivehundredyears,itwillreturnto
itsoriginalfOrm.))Dongbinreplied’<(ThenIdonot
wanttolearnthisartfOritwillharmtlIosewhopos-
))
sessthegoldinfivehundredyears·
Zl1onglisaid:‘<Tobecomeanimmortal,onemust
completetl1reethousandvirtuousdeeds.Whatyou
havejustsaidcamefTomatrulykindl1eart·Yourthree
thousanddeedsarefulfilled),Tbisaccountisanother
exampleofwholegoodnessandbalfgoodness.
W}1enweperfOrmagooddeed’itisbestnottoat-
tachtowl1atwehavedone.Ifwepracticeinthisway,
thenallofourgooddeedswillreachfulfillmentand
success.But,ifwealwaysthinkofthegoodthatwe
havedoneaswelookfOrareward’thennomatterhow
diligentlywepractice)evenfOranentirelifetime,the
deedswillstillbeconsideredhalfgoodness·
Forexample,whenwedonatemoney,wecanprac-
tice((puredonation.>>Wedonotlingeronthethougl1t
of(<I’’whoisgiving>ontheimportanceoftheobject
thatisgiven,orontheonewl1ohasreceivedWe
simplygiveoutoftruesincerityandrespect.Wl1enwe
practicepuredonation’onepoundofricecanbring
426
infinitegoodfortune,andthemeritsfTomgivingone
centcanwIpeawaythetransgressionsofatlIousand
eons·
But,ifwealwaysthinkoftbegoodtlIatwehave
】 叩
donationofonemilliondollarswouldnotbringustbe
rewardofafUllygoodfOrtune.Thisisanotherwayof
叩  
Whatare‘<biggoodness),and<<smallgoodness>)P
Once,animportantofficial,WeiZbongdawasledinto
tlIeunderworldforjudgment.Whentherecordsthat
tlIejudgehadorderedtobebroughtoutarrived’
Zl1ongdawasastoundedattlIecourtyardfilledwitlIhis
badrecordsandthesinglescrollofl1isgooddeeds.
TheofficialthenorderedthemtobeweigbedSurpris-
ingly,thebadrecords,wbich}Iadfilledthecourtyard,
werelighterthanthesinglescrollofgooddeedsthat
wasasthinasachopsticldZlIongdaaskedthejudge:‘iI
ambarelyfOrtyyearsold,howcouldIhavecommitted
somanyoffenses?’’Thejudgeanswered:“Whenyou
giverisetoasingletl1oughttl1atisimproper,itis
consideredabadoffensethereandthen;itdoesnot
havetobecarriedouttobecountedasawrong’”
Zhongdathenaskedthejudgewhatwasrecorded
onthesinglescroll·Thejudgereplied:(‘Oncetl1e
emperorplannedtobuildagreatstonebridge.You
opposedtheprOjectduetothehardsl1ipsitwould
causetbetensofthousandsofpeopleneededfOrthe
workThisisacopyofyourobjection.”Zhongdasaid:
427
“Ididmaketheproposal,butt}Ieemperordismissedit
andproceededwitbtheprOject.WhatIsaid}Iadno
effectonthematter.Howcanitbearsomuchweight
againstallmyoffenses?)}
Thejudgereplied:‘‘Altboughtheemperorrejected
yoursuggestion,youronethoughtofkindnessforall
thosepeoplewasverygreat’Iftheemperorhadac-
ceptedyouridea’thenthegoodperfOrmedwouldhave
beenevengreater·)>TherefOre,whenoneisdetermined
todogoodfOrtl1ebenefitofallpeople,asmalldeed
canresultingreatmerits.Ifonetl1inksonlyabout
benefitingoneself’tbenevenifmanydeedsofkind-
nesswereperfOrmed,themeritswouldstillbesmall
Whatare<(difficultgoodness))and‘<easygoodness”?
Scholarsofthepastsaidt}Iatonew}Iowishestocon-
quergreedanddesiresbouldbeginwithwl1atismost
difficulttoovercome.WhenConfi1ciustalkedabout
ourcultivationoflIumanity,healsosaidtobeginwith
wbatismostdifficulttopractice.Forexample,an
elderlyteaclIer)Mr.Shuof]iangxl’gavetwoyears
salarytoapoormanwhoowedmoneytotl1egovern-
ment.Iftl1emanhadbeensenttoprison,thefamily
wouldl1avebeentornapart.
AnotlIerexampleisMr.ZhangfTomHandan.He
gavewl1athadtakenl1imtenyearstosavetoapoor
manwboowedmoneytotlIegovernment·Tl1issaved
himfromgoingtojailandenabledhimtoremainwith
hiswife.SuclIexamplesasMr.ShuandMr.ZlIang
arerare,fOrtlIeygavewhatismostdifficulttogive.
428
WhatotherswouldnotsacriHce)theydidsowillingly.
AnotherexampleisMr.>infTom]iangsuprovmce
whowasoldandwithoutanysons.Hisneighbors
offeredl1imtbeiryoungdaughterinmarriageso}1e
mighthavedescendantstocontinuehisfamily.MrJin
refusedtl1eofferandsentlIerl1ome.Thisisanot}1er
exampleofbeingabletoovercomewhatismostdiffi-
。  
downespeciallygoodfOrtuneonthesethreemen·
ItiseasierfOrtl1osewhobavemoneyandpowerto
accumulatemeritsandvirtuesthanfOrthosewl1oare
poor·However,ifonerefUsestocultivategoodness
whentheopportunitypresentsitself)thenitwould
trulybeashame’Forthosewhoarewitboutwealtbor
status)doinggoodthingsfOrothersisverydifficult.
However)ifonecan}Ielpothersinthefaceofdifficul-
tiesitwillbeevenmorevaluable.
Therearemanywaystohelpotherswheneverthe
opportunitypresentsitself·Thesecanbesimplified
intothefOllowingtenimportantcategories.
l.Tosupportthepracticeofkindness.
2.Torevereloveandrespect.
3.Tohelpotherssucceedinpracticinggoodness·

5·Tobelpthoseindesperateneed
6.TodeveloppublicprOjectsforthegreater
benefitofpeople.
7.Topracticemeritsbygivingwealth
8.Toprotectandmaintainproperteachings.
42g
9.Torespectelders.
l0Toloveandcherisballlivingthings.
Whatdoes(<tosupportthepracticeofkindness
,,
mean?EmperorShunlivedduringtheYaoPeriod
Oneday>befOrehebecameemperor,Shunwaswatcl1-
ingsomefishermenonLakeLeize.Henoticedthatall
theyoungerandstrongerfisl1ermentookthespots
wberethewaterwasdeepandtlIefishwereabundant,
wbilethosewhowereolderandweakerwereleftwith
therapidsandsl1allowwater,wheretherewerevery
fewfish
WbenShunsawthis)hesympathizedwitl1tl1eolder
fishermenHejoinedinthefishingandwheneverl1e
sawyoungerfishermengrabthegoodspots,besaid
nothingButwheneversomeyieldedtoothers)}1e
praisedtl1emeverywherebewentandemulatedt}1eir
humbleandpolitemanner’HedidtlIisfOroneyear
untiltbefishermengotintotbehabitofyieldingtbe
goodspotstootbers’
AwiseandcapablemansuchasShuncouldhave
easilyinHuencedotherswitlIafewwords.Wbydidhe
notsimplysaysomethinginsteadoftryingtochange
othersbysettingagoodexample?ShunIspainstaking
  】 中    
  廿      
Intoday)seraoflowmorality,socialbreakdown’
andlossofproperthinking,itisextremelydifficultto
findagoodstandardofbehavior.TherefOre,when
thosearoundushaves}Iortcomings,wedonotuseour
430
strengthstopointouttheirdeficiencies·Whenothers
areunkind,wedonotuseourkindnesstocompare
ourselvestothem.Wbenotl1ersarelesscapable,we
donotpurposelysurpassthem’Evenw}Ienweare
intelligentandcompetent,thesearetobekepthidden.
Insteadofboasting’weneedtobehaveevenmore
modestly.Whensomeonemakesamistake>wetoler-
ateanddonotrevealit‘Thisprovidestheopportunity
torefOrmwithoutthelossofself-respect·
Wl1enweallowotherstokeeptheirdignity,they
willbeevenmorecarefuloffUtureactions‘Whenwe
seestrengthsorsmallkindnessinothers,wecanlearn
fTomtl1emandpraisetlIemtoothers.Indailylife,we
廿 廿 }  
intentions)butinstead’seektobenefitsociety.Wecan
helpsetstandardsforotherstofOIlow·Thesearet}Ie
qualitiesofagreatperson;someonewhothinksof
publicwelfareasmoreimportantthanhisorherown.
Whatdoes“torevereloveandrespectfOrothers”
mean?Sometimesitis}1ardtotellonappearance
wl1etbersomeoneisanhonorablepersonorafTaud)
sincefTaudspretendtobehonorable.Thedifferenceis
asobviousblackandwhite’AsMenciussaid,the
differencebetweenbonorablepeopleandordinary
peopleliesintheirintentions.
T}Ie}Ieartofagenuinelybonorablepersonisfilled
witlIloving-ldndnessandrespectfOrothers.Thereare
thousandsofdifferenttypesofpeopleinthisworld’
someclosetouswhileothersarestrangers.Somehave
43l
prestigewhileothershavenone.Somearesmartwbile
otbersarenotandsomearevirtuouswhileothersare
corrupt’Nevertheless,weareallhumansandaretl1us’
alloneentity’WeshouldneitherlIatenordisrespect
anyone·
Whenourheartsarefilledwithloving-ldndnessand
respectfOrothers,itisthesameasifourbeartswere
filledwithloving-kindnessandrespectfOrtl1esages
andvirtuouspeople.Whenweunderstandandagree
withothers,itist}1esameasifweunderstandand
agreewiththesagesandvirtuouspeople.Wl1y?Be-
causealltl1evirtuouspeopleandsageswantpeopleto
obtainwhattheywishfOr.IfwecanlIaveloving-
kindnessandrespectfOrpeople’andhelpthemto
achieveintheirendeavors,weareactingasasageora
virtuousperson.
Whatdoes‘<l1elpingotherstodogood”mean?Ifwe
tossedasideapieceofrawjade,itwouldremaina
wortblessstone.Butifwecarvedandpolisl1edit,it
wouldbetransfOrmedintoavaluableobject.So’when
weseepeoplewlIomwefeell1avethepotentialto
practicegoodnessortoworktowardsapropergoal,we
canguide,support)praise’andencouragetl1em,thus
helpingthemtosucceedIfotherswronglyaccuse
them>wecantrytocleartbeirnameandsharetl1eir
burdenofslander.Onlywhenwehavehelpedtl1em
backont}IeirfeettobecomeafUnctioningpartof
society,willwehavefulfilledourresponsibilityin
helpingotherstodogood
432
MostpeopledislikethosewhoaredilferentfTom
tlIem’<Forexample’tbosewboarebadfeeluncom-
fortablearoundthosewboaregood>Asthereare
alwaysmorebadpeoplearoundthangoodpeople;
thosewlIoaregoodoftenbavedi{ficultystandingon
theirown.
Goodpeoplehaveabilitiesandvirtuesthatenable
themtobecomefamous·Theyusuallypaylittleatten-
tiontotbeirappearance·TheycaneasilybewrongIy
accused,sostrivingtodogoodturnsouttobeacbal-
lenge.Whenthishappens)itisentirelyuptovirtuous
peopleandelderstoprotectandhelptbosewhoare
moraltostandontheirown’T}Ieycandot}1isbypro-
vidingw}Iatt}Iepeopleneedtopracticegoodness’The
meritsofthevirtuouspeopleandelderswbodothis
wi>lbegreat’
Whatdoes((persuadingotherstopracticeldndness’>
mean?Ashumans,weallwanttobegoodandtobave
aconscience,butchasingafterwealtbandfamebaS
keptussobusythatwehavestoppedlisteningtoour
conscience’Thisistheresultofbavingtosurviveina
worldfilledwithhardships‘Whenafriendisaboutto
ignorehisorberconsciencetodosomet}Iingunwor-
thy,wecanremindandwarntbisfriend’hopingto
wakehimorberfromdelusion’Itislikewaldngup
someonew}Ientheyarehavinganightmare’Itisupto
ustos}IaketlIemintoreality‘Whenapersonisunder-
goingalongspellofdepression,wecanpullthisper-
sonoutofitandhelptoclearbisorhermindWeare
433
mostvirtuousifwecantreatourfTiendswitlIsuch
kindness.
AsclIolarnamedHanyuoncesaid:<<Bywordof
mouth’onecanonlypersuadeandinHuenceothersfOr
awlIile.Ifonecanpersuadeandinfluenceothers
throughwrittenworks,oneIswordscanbepassedon
fOrlmndredsofgenerationsaroundtheworld))De-
pendingonwhatisappropriateintl1ecircumstances)
wecanuseeitberspeakingorwriting.
Toencouragevirtue>wecanpersuadeothers
throug}1speecborwritingComparedwitl1teacl1ing
otl1erstlIrouglIbel1aviorthesearemoredirectand
clear’Sometimes,wedonotl1avetimetoteac}1otl1ers
througbbehavior.Tbenverbalorwritteneducation
willbemoreeffective.However)ifwecanapplyitlike
theriglItmedicinefOranillness,oftenitwillproveto
havewonderfUleffects.TberefOre’wecannotgiveup.
IfwemaketlIemistakeof‘‘losingaperson”<itwas
properfOrustoguidethispersonbutwedidnot>or
﹙ 《 〃 【 ﹣
suadetl1ispersonbutwetriedto)weneedtothink
andfindtbewisdomnottorepeattbemistake.
Whatdoes‘(helpingtboseindesperateneed”mean?
PeopleoftensufferfTomseriousdifficulties.Ifwe
meetsomeoneliketl1is,thenweimmediatelyl1elptlIat
personasifweweretheonewhowassuffering.Ifa
personl1asbeenwronglyaccusedorconvicted’tl1en
weshouldpleadontheirbehalfaswellasl1elpinany
waywecan’TlIescbolarMr.Cuioncesaid:“Itdoes
¢  
notmatterwhetherafavorisbigorsmallWhatis
importantisthatitisdoneatatimewhenotl1ersneed
itmost.))Tbesearewordsofloving-Mndness.
Whatdoes<<developingpublicpmjectsf•rtl1ebene-
fitofotlIers”mean>SmallconstructionprOjectsare
neededfOrvillagesandbigconstructionjobsare
neededfOrcities.Aslongastheyl1elppeople)they
shouldbebuilt.PublicprOjectscanbetheconstruc-
tionofsystemstoirrigatefarmlands,damstoprevent
flooding)orbridgestofacilitatetravel.Also,wecan
givefOodorwatertothosewhoarebungryorthirsty·
Wheneverwehavetheopportunity,weneedtoinspire
otherstodotlIeirshareaswelltohelpaccomplislIthe
prOject’eitherthrouglIthesharingofwealthorof
labor.DonotbeafTaidofwl1atothersmig}Itsayor
becomediscouragedwhenthejobbecomesdifficult.
Donotallowtbejealousyandhatredofothersto
wealKenourresolvetodowhatisvirtuous.
Whatdoes“accumulatingmeritsandgoodfOrtune
bygivingwealth))mean?InBuddbism)givingiscon-
sideredtl1efOremostpracticeamongallthemetlIods.
Wl1atisgiving?Givingislettinggo.Awisepersonwbo
understandsthisprinciplewouldbewillingtogive
awayeverytl1ing,eventotbepointoflettinggoofour
attacbmentstothesixsenseorganswitl1in.Externally’
wecanalsogiveawaytlIatwhichwesee,hear’smell,
taste,touch,andtlIink
Wecangiveawayanyt}Iing.WlIenwefindour-
selvesunabletodoso,wecanbeginwiththegivingof
435
wealthOrdinarypeopleregardtheirclothingandfOod
asdearlyastbeirlives;therefOre,tlIeyconsiderwealth
tobeoftl1eutmostimportance.Whenwegivesponta-
neously,wecancurestinginesswhile}IelpingotlIersin
direneedHowever,fOrmanythisisverydifficultto
do,especiallyatfirst·But,graduallytbemorewegive
themorenaturalitwillbecome.Thisistl1ebestwayto
cureselfislmess,andtoeradicateattachmentsand
stinginess.
Whatdoes<<protectingproperteacl1ings’’mean?For
millionsofyears,properteaclIingsbavebeenastan-
dardoftruthandprovidedspiritualguidancefOrall
livingbeings·Witboutproperteachings’howcanwe
participateinandsupporttlIenurturingofheavenand
earth?Withoutproperteacbings,l1owcanwehelp
peopletosucceedintheirpractice?Howcanbeingsin
alltherealmssucceedintbeirendeavorswitlIouta
standardtoliveby?HowcanwebefreeoftheFive
Desires,theSixDusts’ourdelusions,ourafflictions?
Withoutproperteachings,howcanwesetastandard
intheworldandhelppeopletranscendsamsara?
W}Ieneverweseetemples,memorials,orpicturesof
pastvirtuouspeopleorsages,orBuddhisttexts,we
sl1ouldberespectfulIftheyareinneedofrepair,we
sl1ouldrepairthem.Wecanpropagateandpassontl1e
properteacbings’andbelpotherstolearntheirvalue·
Inthisway,wecanrepayourgratitudetotbeBuddba.
Weshoulddoourbestandencourageotherstodoso
aswell.
436
Whatdoes<<respectingourelders,)mean?Itisto
malKeanextraeffOrttobeattentivetoandrespectful
ofparents,oldersiblings,leaders,superiors,elders,
andt}IoseofgreatvirtueandIearning.Wbentaking
careofourparentsatlIome,wearetodosogently
witblovingheartsandobligingdemeanors‘Weshould
notraiseourvoicebutmaintainapeacefulbearing.As
wecultivatetbesevirtues,theywillbecomeapartof
usandwewillcbangeintoagentle-}Ieartedperson’
Tbisisthewaywecantoucbthe}Ieartsofheaven·
WhenworkingfOroursuperiorsorthegovernment,
wesl1ouldfOllowtberulesandnotdoaswepleasejust
becauseoursuperiorsdonotknoww}Iatwearedoing.
BefOreweconVctsomeoneofacrime,regardlessof
whetherthecrimeisseriousornot,weshouldinvesti-
gatecarefullyandbejust’Weshouldnotabusepower
orbecruelbecauseoursuperiorsdonotlmowwhat
wearedoing.WhenwithourSuperv>sor,weshould
showlIimorherthesamerespectasifwewerefacing
tbeheavens.(Astheproverbsays))(<Tbisistbecorrect
behaviorhandeddownfromourancestors.”Itbasan
importantbearingonourhiddenvirtues·Lookatall
tbefamilieswhopracticedloyaltyandfilialpiety.
TlIeirdescendantsprosperedforalongtimeandhad
brightfi1tures.WecanfOllowtheirexampleandprac-
ticewithcaution.
Whatdoes“lovingandcherishingalllivingthings,’
mean?Acompacsionateheartmakesaperson.Aper-
sonseekingtlIeVrtuesofloving-kindnessandcompas-
437
sioncultivateshisorherbeartofcompassion.Aper-
sonwl1owantstoaccumulatemeritsalsocultivatesa
compassionateheart’
㎡ / / 巴 ﹙ 《 ﹞
mostanimalsbeartheiryoung,femalesofthespecies
arenottobeusedfOrsacrificialpurposes.),Mencius
oncesaid:((Anbonorablepersonwillnotgonearthe
kitc}Ien.))Tl1isistoprotectacompassionatel1eart.Our
ancestorsdidnoteatmeatunderfOurcircumstances:
iftlIeyl1eardthekilling’sawtbekilling’hadtheani-
malkilled,orraisedtheanimalthemselves.Ifwe
cannotstopeatingmeatimmediately,wecanbeginby
fOllowingtl1esefOurguidelines.Inthisway’weare
graduallyincreasingourcompassion’
WeslIouldnotonlyrefTainfromldllinganyani-
mals)butinsectsaswell,fOrtheyarealsolivingcrea-
tures.Manmakessilkfromthecocoonsofsilkworms
thatl1avetobeboiledinwaterwithtl1esilkworms
inside‘WhenwecultivatethelandfOrfarming)l1ow
manyinsectshavetobekilled?Weneedtobeaware
ofthecostinlivesinvolvedinourfoodandclothing.
WekilltoprovideforourselvessotowastefOodand
clothingisasseriousanoffenseaskilling.Howoften
l1aveweunlmowinglyharmedorsteppedonaliving
creature?Wesl1oulddoourbesttopreventtl1isfTom
happeningagain‘Anancientgreatpoetoncewrote:
‘ ℉
>)
andinpityingthemoth’wewillnotlightthelamp.
Tbisiscompassion·Icannotbegintotalkofalltl1e
¢  
  】 叩
previouscategories,wecanmaket}1emintoamulti…
tudeofgooddeedsandvirtues.
439
TlIeFourthLesson:
TlIeBenefitsofTbeVirtueOfHumility
乃 加 ﹚ 《 《 }  
lawsofl1eaventakefromtlIearrogantandbenefitthe
廿
areastlIatarefUlltothosetlIatarelowerasitpasses
by’AndtlIelawsofspiritsbringharmtot}1osewl1oare

Eventbelawsofpeopledespisetbosewhoarearro-
gantandprefertlIosewboaremodest.”
IntheJChnaonlythehumility}Iexagramcontains
‘ ○ / 丑 ﹣
plains:(‘Whilearroganceinvitesdisaster,lIumility
gainsbenefit.)>Ioftenwenttotaketheexaminations
accompaniedbyothersandeverytimeIwouldmeet
scholarswlIowereverypoor.IrealizedthatbefOre
theypassedtl1eexaminationsandbecameprosperous,
t}IeirfacesradiatedsucbhumilitythatIfeltIcould
almostl1olditinmyhands’
Severalyearsago>tenofusfromtl1evillagewentto
takethepreliminaryimperialexamination’T}1eyoung-
est,Ding]ingyuwasextremelybumble.Itoldoneof
theapplicants’Fei}inpo’that>ingyuwouldundoubt-
edlypasstl]eexamination.Fei]inpoaskedhowIcould
tellandItoldbim:IIOnlythosewhoarelmmblere-
ceivegoodfortune.Myfriend,lookatthetenofus.Is
tl]ereanyoneashonest,generous’anduncompetitive’
as}ingyu?Doyouseeanyonewhoisasrespectfill’
440
tolerant)careful’andhumbleas>ingyu?Doyousee
anyonelikebim,whowheninsulteddoesnottalkback
orwhowbenslandereddoesnotargue?Anyperson
wl1ocanachievesuchhumilitywillreceiveprotection
廿  
hewillnotbecomeprosperous’}’Sureenough’when
thetestresultscameout)Dingjingyuhadpassed
OneyearinBeiiing,Istayedwithachildhood
丘 ﹚   》
accommodatingappearance’Hewasnolongerthe
arrogantpersonIhadlmownyearsago.Hisfriend,Li
]iyan’wasverybluntandoutspoken)andoftenscolded
himfOrbismistakes,butKaizhijustcalmlyaccepted
theaccusationswithouttalldngbackItoldKaizhi:
‘Tustastherearesignst}IattellofcominggoodfOr-
tuneormisfOrtune,wecanseethatprosperityor
adversitycometothosewbohavecultivatedtheir
causes.Heavenwillhelpthosewhoseheartsarehum-
ble.You,myfriend,willdoubtlesspasstheimperial
examinationthisyear!”Later,hedidjusttl1at.
廿 }
namedZl1aoYufengwbopassedtbepreliminarylevel
oftheimperialexaminationsbefOrehewaseven
twenty.But,tryasbemight’lIecouldnotpassthe
succeedingexaminations.Whenhisfathermovedto
>iasbantoacceptanothergovernmentpost’Yufeng
wentwitbhimandcametogreatlyadmireawell-
lmownscholarinthevillagenamedQianMingwu.
YufengbroughthisworktoMr’Qianwl1opicked
44l
upl1iscalligraphybrushandmademanycorrectionsto
theessay.NotonlywasYufengnotangry)hegratefully
acceptedallofMr·Qian)scoITectionsandimmediately
madetlIerecommendedchanges.TlIefollowingyear,
Yufengpassedtheimperialexamination.
Oneyear’Iwenttothecapitaltopaymyrespectsto
theemperorandmetascholarnamedXiaJiansuowho
lIadallthequalitiesofagreatmanwithoutatraceof
arrogance.IfelttheintenseauraoflIisvirtueand
humility·WlIenIreturnedl1ome’ItoldafTiend:
‘‘Wbenheavenwantsapersontoprosper)itfirstbe-
stows}IimwitlIwisdomthatcanmakeapompous
personlIonestandwelldisciplined]iansuoisgentle,
kind,andgoodSurely>heavenwillnowmakehim
prosperous.’,Sureenougb,whenthetestresultscame
out)>iansuohadpassedtheexamination.
TherewasasclIolarnamedZhangWeiyanfrom]i-
angyinwhowaswelleducated’wrotegoodessays,and
waswelllmownamongscho>ars.Oneyear,wl1ile
takinghisexaminationinNanjing’lIestayedatatem-
ple.WhenthetestresultswerepostedandlIefOund
thatbehadfailed,hebecamefUriousandloudlyac-
cusedtheexaminerofbeingblindtoobvioustalent.
ATaoistmonkwlIosawthisbegantosmile.Weiyan
immediatelyredirectedl1isangertowardsthemonk
whosaidtheessaymustnotbegoodWeiyangoteven
angneranddemandedhowl1eknewitwasnotgood
whenhehadnotevenreadit!TheTaoistrepliedtbat
helIadoftenheardthattheprimaryelementinwriting
442

goodessayswasapeacefUlmindandalIarmonious
disposition.Weiyan>sloudandangryaccusations
clearlysl1owedthathismindanddispositionwere
violentsohowcouldlIepossiblywritewell!Weiyan
acceptedwhattbeTaoistsaidandaskedfOrhisadvice.
TheTaoistsaidthatwlIetherornotonepassesde-
pendsondestiny.Ifsomeoneisnotdestinedtopass,
thennomatterhowgoodthepaperis,heorshewill
fail.W}IentheTaoistconcludedthatWeiyanneeded
tomakesomecl1anges,WeiyanaslKedhowhecould
cbangedestiny.TheTaoistrepliedthataltl1ougl1the
powertofOrmourdestiniesliesintl1eheavens)the
righttochangethemlieswithinus’Aslongaswe
practicegoodnessandcultivatehiddenvirtues)wewill
receivewhatweseek
WeiyansaidthatlIewasonlyapoorsclIolarand
questionedl1isabilitytodopracticegoodness‘The
) 叩 ﹣
latingl>iddenvirtuesdependedontheheart·Aslong
asoneintendedtopracticegoodnessandaccumulate
virtues,themeritswouldbeinfinite!HeusedtlIe
exampleoftlIevirtueofl1umilitytl1atcostnothing.
Weiyanneededtolookwithininsteadofberatingtl1e
examinerfOrbeingunfair.Weiyanlistenedtothe
仕   ﹣
gance.Everyday’}Ietriedhardertopracticegoodness
andtoaccumulatemoremerits.
Onenight)threeyearslater,hedreamtthatl1elIad
enteredaverytallhouseandsawabookwitl1many
1•3
namesaswellasmanyblanklines.Heaskedtl1eper-
sonnexttohimaboutitandwastoldtl1atthenames
belongedtotheapplicantswholIadpassedtheexami-
nationtl1atyear.WbenWeiyanaskedaboutallthe
blanklines,l1ewastoldtlIatthespiritsoftheunder-
worldcl1eckedontheapplicantseverythreeyears·
Onlythenamesofthosewhowerefaultlessandprac-
ticedgoodnessremainedintlIebookTl1eblanMines
l1adcontainedt}1enamesofthosedestinedtopass’
butduetorecentoffenses,tlIeirnameshadbeen
removed
Thepersonpointedtoablanklineandsaidtbat
forthepastthreeyearsWeiyanl1adbeenverycare-
fulandsodisciplinedthatl1el1adnotmadeany
mistakes.Perl1apshisnamewouldfilltheblank
HehopedtbatWeiyanwouldvaluetlIisopportunity
andcontinuelIisfaultlessbehavior.Thatyear,
Weiyanpassedtheexaminationandplacedone
hundredandfifth
Wenowlmowthatspiritsandheavenlybeings
aretl1reefeetaboveourheads.Obtaininggood
fortuneandpreventingmisfortuneisuptous.As
longaswel1avegoodintentions,refrainfrom
wrongdoings,donotoffendthebeingsandspirits
ofheavenandeartl1,aretolerantandnotarrogant,
thentl1ebeingsandspiritsofheavenandearthwill
feelcompassionforus·OnlytlIenwillwehavea
foundationforfutureprosperity.
Tl>osewhoarefilledwithconceitarenotdes-
   
tinedforgreatness·Eveniftheydoprosper’tlIeir
goodfortunewillbeshortlivedIntelligentpeople
wouldneverbenarrow-mindedandrefusetl1egood
fortunetheyareentitledto.Thosewhoarelmmble
alwaysincreasetlIeiropportunitiestolearnandin
thisway’theirgooddeedsareboundless!Those
wl1owisl1tocultivateandimprovetheirvirtues
cannotdowithoutthevirtueofhumility.
TlIeancientssaid:(<ThosewholIavetheirhearts
setonsuccessandfame,willsurelyattaintbem
justasthosewlIobavetheirheartssetonwealth
andpositionwillattainwhattheywishfor.))Aper-
sonwhohasgreatandfar-reacbinggoalsislikea
treewitl1roots’Tl1eymustbel1umbleinevery
tl1ougl1tandtrytorelieveother>sburdensevenif
tl]eoccurrenceisasinsignificantasaspeckof
dust.Ifwecanreachthislevelofhumility,wewill
naturallytoucl1tlIeheartsofheavenandearth
Iamtbecreatorofmyownprosperity.LoolKat
tlIeapplicantswhosoughtfameandwealthIni-
tially’tl1eywereinsincereandwbattheysouglItwas
apassingimpulse.WhentlIeywantedsometl1ing,
theysougl1titbutwhentheirinterestwaned,they
stoppedseekingit’Menciusoncesaid(toEmperor
XuanofQi):“Ifyoucanexpandfromtheheartthat
seekspersonallIappiness>tosharingl1appinesswitb
allyoursubjectsandmakethemjustashappyas
youare’thensurelythenationwillprosper!’)Thisis
alsotrueformeinseekingtopasstheimperial
145
examination.(Ialonecanseekandthuschangemy
destiny’)

416
TheTen-Recitati0nMethOd
’ 仳
BuddhaRecitationisespeciallysuitablefbrthosewhofind
thattheyhavelittletin1efbrcultivation.IthelpsustobE/
InindfUlofBuddhaAInitabha.Itbringsusquietjoy.
WebeginwhenwewakeupSitupstraightandclearl)/
recite‘‘AInituofb,,tentiIneswithacaln1andfbcusedn]ind,
aloudorsilently.WerepeatthisprocesseightInoretiIes.
eachtiInedoingoneroundoftenrecitations.Recitenine
tiInesdailyatthesetiInes:
UpoIwaMngIp
Bef•rebreaMnst,lunch,aIddiIIer
BefbreaI>dafter0IrIorIiIg,swork
○ Ⅲ 仳 Ⅲ   仳 Ⅲ
UpoIretiriIg
Thekeyisregularity;disruptionofthispracticewillre-
仳  

Inind,wisdon1,andserenity·Diligentpracticeofthis
Inethod,togetherwithunwaveringbeliefandvows,can
ensurefUlfillInentofourwishtoberebornintheWestern
PureLand
447
NOTES
UnlessindicatedotherwiseallnotesaretlIoseoftlIe
writer.Notesinbracketsarethoseoftbetranslators
andareindicatedbytheabbreviation‘<Trans.)’
lInthepast,befOrethegovernmentemployedsomeone,
examinationswereheldfOrallthecandidates.Afterpassing
t}Iefirstentryexamination,thestudentswouldtlIenbesent
tovariouscountyschoolstostudy.(Oncethesystembe-
camestandardized,testswereheldeverythreeyears·Inthe
fal>’candidatesweretestedintheir}Iomeprefectures.In
thespring,tlIosewhopassedwenttotheMinistIyofRites
inthecapitalfOrthemetropolitanexamination,and’iftbey
passedagain,theywereexaminedatthepalacebythe
emperor·ThosewhopassedalllevelsreceivedtheJinshi
degree,weregivenrankascivilofficials,andwereassigned
togovernmentposts.)(MicrosoftEncartaEncyclopedia99·
l993-l998MicrosoftCorp)
2<960-ll27>
【 冰 肥 〃 * ㎡ 肋 几 α 刃 ℃ α  
titlesin36,000volumesandcoversc>assicsandsutras,
history’governmentmanagement’andliterature·>
【 巳 乃 』 乃 ℃
Itisnowusedasamanualofdivinationandhaspl]iloso-
phicalaspects.Tfans>
5Attl1istime,Liaofan’scousinbadafTiendwhowasteach-
ingatsomeone)shome’PerlIaps’thispersonwasawealthy
individualwhohademptyroomsinhishousethatwere
usedasclassroomsandwhoemployedteaclIerstogive
lessonstolIischildrenaswellasthoseofrelativesand
friends.LiaofanbecameapupilofMr.Yuandbeganhis
preparationfOrtheexamination.Inthepast,schoolswere
notcommonliketheyaretoday·BefbretheQingdynasty,
<l644-l9l2>lessonswereconductedinbomeschools.
Usuallytherewasonlyoneteachergivinglessonstotwenty
¢ ▲
orthirtystudents·Therewerenohighschoo>s,onlypublic
universities.Studentsstudiedveryhardwithaprivatetutor
topasst}>eexaminationbefbreattendingagovernment-
manageduniversity.
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.
〃 吒 乃 / ℃ ‧

㎡ 五 } 】
termsoftheet}>icalfbundationfOrahumanegovernment.
(EncyclopediaBritannica,BritannicaInc.,Copyrighted
l999-2000)
l0<ThefirstofMasterChinKung!sthreeteachers.>
陋 刀 】
∕ 白 】 ﹚ ﹣
肋 刀 召
byMasterHuinengshouldnotbethoughtofassolelya
sutraoftheZenschoolfOritisanoverVewofBuddhism
andisessentiallyMasterHuineng)sreportofwhathehad
learnedthroughhisstudyandpractice.
l2<6l8to907>
【 乃 坦 巴 印 肋 ㎡  
由 ㎡ 卯 刀 邸 】 ‧ ﹜

l4<Thefirstofthethreeseriousoffensesisfailingtosup-
portourparentswhentheyarealive.Secondisfailingto
givethemadecentburialupontheirdeathThethirdisthe
mostcritical-notproducinganheir.>
l5<BuddhaAmitabhaistheSanskritnamefbrtheBuddha
oftheWesternPureLand.Whenwearechantingweuse
theClIinesepronunciation(<AmituofO.)}<<Amituo’)isaname
】 ﹙ ℉ 》 ’
BuddlIa.>
M<DoingthisplantstlIeseedfbrfUtureBuddhahoodandin
thiswaysavestheirlifebyrescuingthemfromsufferingin
洫 ‧ 】
【 ‧ ﹣ 。 ’ 】
l8<TheBodhimindisthegreatcompassionateandsincere
mind,witheverythoughttoattaincomp>eteself-rea>ization
fOrselfandothers’>
l,Tai]iawasanemperorduringtheSbangdynasty
<ca.l766-ca’ll25B·C·>.Whenhewasyoung’heengaged
inimmora>activities.After>isteningtotheguidanceofthe
greatsageYiyin’heamendedhiswrongbehavior.The
abovequotewashisexpressionofgratitudetothesage.
20<1368-l644>
2l<MasterLianchiwastbeeighthPatriarclIofthePure
LandsclIoolandwasMasterOUYi’steacher.>
22Thismethodprovidesuswithfburbenefits·First,we
wou>dnotfOrgettl>eChineselanguage.Thisisespecially
importantfOrthoseofChinesedescentlivingabroadasit
wouldenabletlIemtoremembertheirorigins·Second,we
wouldbeabletounderstandChinesecharacters·rI}]ird’we
wouldbewe>lversedinc>assicalChinese,whichwould
】 化 肥 Ⅱ 犬
【 】 它 【 它  
ofChinesehistory,thesebookscontaintbeessenceofthe
wisdomandexperienceofpastsagesandvirtuousancients.
450
Fourth,wewouldbeabletoreadBuddhistsutrasthatserve
asthefbundationfbrourpractice.
23<<<NamoAmituofb’’isChineseandmeans<lTopayhom-
agetoBuddhaAmitabha/}>
21ItistlIesameinBuddl1ism·Toshowtheutmostrespect)
amonkornunisaddressedbythenameofhisorl]erway
placeorlocation.MasterZhizhewasaddressedastlIegreat
masterofTiantaibecausehelivedonTiantaiMountain.
AnotherexampleisMasterKuijiwhowascalledCien
becauselIewasfromtheCienTemple.
25Althoughthisisnotaveryhighleve>ofachievement,
attainmentofitshowedthatLiaofanwasproceedingcor-
rectlyandhadreceivedagoodresponse·
26<ThethirdstudyisskillsfOrmakingalivingandtlIe
fOurthisthearts.>
  【 乃 疋 乃 ℃ ’
/ 它 ‧ 】
28EverydayLiaofanhandledpublicaffairsandservedasan
inteITogatorinthejudicialsystem.Thisisunliketoday
wherethejudicialandlegislativedepartmentsaresepa-
rated·InancientChina,themayormanagedjudicialand
legislativecases’
29Buddl]ismflourishedduringtheMingandQingdynas-
ties’severalcenturiesago,whenmanymonksandnuns
livedonthefOurfamousmountains.Thetenthousandwho
livedonWutaiMt·<symbo>izingManjusriBodhisattva>was
actuallynotalargenumber.Themountainwiththemost
peoplewasPutuo’<symbolizingAvalokiteshvaraBodhi-
sattva>witharoundthirtytofOrtythousandmonksand
nunsinresidence·AndtlIerewereovertenthousandliving
onEmeiMt·<symbolizingSamantabhadraBodlIisattva>and
]iouhuaMt’<symbolizingKsitagarbhaBodhisattva>.
【 ㎡ 五 加 吼 γ 乃 / ℃
Confucianism,isacol>ectionofancienthistorica>docu-

ments.>
3lAtimewhenChinawasundergoingmuchchange.
  勻 ﹞ γ 〃 Ⅱ 加 刀 ’ Ⅳ
乃 】 ℃ ’ ﹣
outhislifetime’ConfUciuseditedandcompiledthese
recordsintoabook)whichhasbeenpasseddowntothis
day.Tbisbookhascommentarieswrittenbymanypeople.
Themostpopularandwidelystudiedonehasbeenexten-
印 力 】
刀 α 加 刀 ) 巴
刀 佃 α 』 】 耶 》
中 力 咱 』 α 加 刀 〃 ’ ’
】 Ⅲ 〃 巴 】 】 】 】 乃 ﹂
刀 中 ℃ ‧
33<GanzhuLivingBuddhawasastudentofZhangiiaLiving
Buddha.>
34<DanZhougongIivedduringtheZhoudynastyandis
rememberedasanoutstandingregent.Heisconsidereda
rolemodelfOrgoodpoliticians·Yiyinwasafamousminister
whohelpedEmperorZhouChengwangtooverthrowthe
tyrannicalXiareign.>
35<Thefiveabilitiesarec>airvoyance)clairaudience,know-
ingonesownpastlifetimes)physica>abilities,andknowing
themindsofothers.>
36Inthepast,itwasaChinesecustomfOramantoalways
leavebishaton)evenatthetimeofdeathTodootherwise
wouldhavebeenadisgrace’
37<PiveDeadIyOffensesarepatricide’matricide>tointen-
tiona>lycauseaBuddhatobleed,toki>laBodhisattvaoran
Arhat,andtodisrupttheSangha’sunity.TenBadCon-
ductsaretokill,steal,commitsexualmisconduct)lie>use
abusivelanguage,beartales,useenticingwords,}Iave
greed,anger’andignorance.>
38Thus,mainhal>sinBuddhisttemplesarecalledtheHall
45Z
ofGreatHeroes’
39<EmperorShunwasahighlyrespectedemperorwholived
overfOurtlIousandyearsago·>
40<Inotherwords>asgoodthoughtsarise,badthoughtsare
replaced.>
4l<MasterYuanyingwasaZenmasterwho>afteralifCtime
ofspecializingint}IeSiJIHIJgama5tMm>recommendedtl]e
PureLandmethod.MasterBaOjingwasaTiantaimaster

‘2<Uponmarriage’thehusband}sfamilywouldgiveadowry
tot}]efami>yofthefUturebride.Familieswhodidnotknow
betteroftenacceptedanofferofmarriagefromthewea>thi-
estfamily.>
43<Regard>essofwherearepastancestorsarecurrently,if
wearetrulyfilial,thenourgooddeedscanbringthem
honorandrespectfromotherbeingsandwil>thusbenefit
themeveniftheyarelivinginoneoftheThreeBad
Realms.TherefOre,whenwemakeofferingstothem,they
willacceptwhatwehavedone.>
44Liaofan>sexampleswereonlyafewdecadesapartand
werefamiliartoeveryoneofhistime.Heusedthemto
encouragetbepracticeandaccumulationofgoodnessfbr
thesewillresultingoodrewards’
朽 ’ ﹞
oftenwentwithmyschoolmatestoplayinwhathadfbr-
merlybeenYangRong>shouse.Itwasofanancientstyle
fil>edwithmanyantiquesandhadtwostonelionsoneit}Ier
sideoftlIefrontdoor.Lanternswerealsohunginfrontof
thedoor)similartothoseoutsideofatemple·
46Thefamilycouldnothaveearnedmuchmoney.Itwasan
acceptedpracticeinFUjiantonotchargeasetfee.Stu-
dentsdidnotevenneedtopay’Butevenwhenpassengers
didnothaveanymoney,theystillwouldbecarriedacross
theriver.Asmal>containerwasplacedononesideofthe
¢  
boat,andpeoplewho}1admoney,putinwhateveramount
theywished.
47Atthetimeofthisincident,thecountymagistratealso
handledjudicialmattersandservedasthejudge·
48<IntheCbineseculture,aprosperousfamilyisonethat
basmanymaledescendantswhoarevirtuousandwhoare
successfulintheirwork·Manydescendantsarecrucial
becausethentherewillbepeopletopracticegoodnessand
tobringhonortotheirancestors·>
49Atthetime,governmentofficia>sinlowerpositions
receivedasmallsalaryandmanyofthemretiredinastate
ofnearimpoverisbment’Ifanofficialretiredwithagood
amountofmoney,itwashighlylikelythathehadtaken
bribesorembezzledduringhistermofoffice·Whereelse
couldthemoneylIavecomefrom?SclIolarswerenottaught
howtorunabusiness.Ifonebecameahigh-rankingoffi-
cia>andcontributedgreatlytothecountry,thenhecou>d
receiverewardsinthefbrmoffarmlandsandhouses.
50Zicheng>stwosonswerebothintheDepartmentofCivi>
Personnel.TheirranksweresimilartoavIce-minister.
Usually,tlIerewasoneministerandtwovice-ministers’one
fOradministrativemattersandtheotherfOrgeneralmat-
ters·Bothofthegrandsonswerewellknownfbrdoinga
goodjob’Acurrentdescendant,Mr’YangChuting,also
he>dagovernmentpositionandwasknownfbrhishonesty
andfairness.
5lCommonsenseisneededwhentreatingapersonwith
hypothermia·Northernersarefamiliarwitbtheprocedure;
however,southernersaregenerallynot.Insucbacase,use
atowelsoakedincoldwatertogentlyrubthebodyinorder
toletthecoldslowlyseepoutofthepores.
52<TheZhoudynastytllatlIadseenthegoldenageofChi-
nesephilosophy,lastedalmosteighthundredyearsand
collapsedin256BC·>
   
53TlIereareseveralbooks’whichtellofsucl>accounts,
∕ ﹨ ∕ 肥 丘 肋 Ⅳ 匾 / 乃 ﹚ 勻 】 ㎡ ﹣
加 / 此 / 】 ’ 乃 『 ℃ 〃 妒 β 吒 肋 ㎡
仍 】 臼 / 由 ㎡ 耶 ﹚ 】 】 巴 了
【 】 加 丑 ﹝ 』 〕 《
China.Theseallprovidenumerousexamplesofthelawof
causality·
54Att}Ietime’wealthypeoplewhoownedalloftheland
rentedittothefarmers·Mostofthefarmerswouldbeable
tosurviveabadyearas>ongastheydidnothavetopaytlIe

55Trialsusua>lybeganatthebreakofdawn·Theatmos-
丁 ’
beingheldfOrjudgmentinhellbefbret}IekingoftlIeun-
derworld·Mr·Tuworkedinthejudiciarydepartmenttbatis
similartotoday)sSupremeCourt.Hisposition,roughly
equivalenttothatofsectionchief,wasnothigh
56Sincetheemperorresidedintheimperialcity,itwasthe
bestgovernedandthemodelfOrtherestofthecountry.
Mr·Tuunderstoodthatifithadunjustlysentencedprison-
ers,thentheremustbemanymoresuchcasesoutsidetlIe
city.
57MasterZhongfCnglivedduringtheYuandynasty·<l280-
l368.>Hisnamemaybefamiliartosomeofusbecausebe
乃 / ℃ 此 刀 洹  
ourpractice·
58ThepurelandofeachBuddha-landismanifestedfrom
thetruenature·But,ifwepossessjustonelonging,then
tbisisnolongerareflectionofthetruenature.
】 唔 召
wheretheBrahmangirlcalled<(BrightEyes>>madeavowon
behalfofhermother.
60DuringancienttimesinChina,studentsusedtogive
theirteachersmallgiftsduringholidays.Originally,the
455
giftswerestripsofdriedmeattiedintoabundle.Later,the
giftsvariedandmaynotnecessarilyhavebeendriedmeat.
Teacherstaugl]tathomeschoolsandthenumberofstu-
dentsvaried.TWentytothirtywasagoodsizewhilethe
smaIersclIoolsmighthavehadonlyadozenorsostudents,
inwhichcasetheteacherwouldreceiveameageramount
ofgifts.
6lDuringancienttimes’itwasanacceptablecustomfOra
manwhohadnosonstotakeasecondwifetobearhiman
heirtocarryontlIefamilyline·
62Inancienttimes,whensuchobjectswereoftenusedas
tokensofapromise,themostpreferredshapewasround
andf>atwithacircularlIoleinthemidd>e.Thiswascalleda
  【   叻   〉
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
homes·Insuchsituations,aswedriftfromoneplaceto
456
another’wehavenoideaofwhatisgoingtobappennext·
TherefOre’sincetheageoften,allthechildreninmy
familyweretaughttobeindependentandtotakecareof
】 廿
Also’weweretaughthowtosurvivealoneintbewoods.
66<Laozi’ca570-ca.490B’C)isconsideredthefOunderof
Taoism>abeliefsystemthatseekscomp>eteharmonywith
nature.Taoismteachesustoabandonallstrugglingandto
seekuttersimplicitythroughmattersofculture,nature,
  。 】  
losopherwhowasofgreatimportancetoTaoism.>
67TberefOre’Buddhistswoulddowelltoreadthefb<Ir
倣 ﹚ 】
heartthatlovesthecountryanditspeopIe’ifwehave
↗ α 陋 ﹚
}Iistoricalculture.Today>theChinesehavefOrgottenabout
thecountryanditspeopleduetopoorplanningofthe
educationa>system.
68TheheartandrootsofChineseculturelieinancestral
memorialhallsandtheclassicalChineselanguage.Tl1e
reasonC}Iinabecameacountrywithsomuc}>cu>tural
historythatextendsovertbousandsofyearsisduetothe
strongfbundationofthenormalhumanrelations}Iipsinthe
Chineseethicaltradition.ClassicalChinesemustbepre-
servedbecausewithoutit)theCbinesepeoplewillsuffer
horrendousadversities>andtheracecanneverberestored·
Also>wemustpreservetheMahayanateachings.Aslongas
wecanpreservethesethreethings)thennotonlywillour
countryandculturehaveabrigbtfUture,butthewor>dwill
alsobenefit.
69Inthepast)bookswerenotprivatelyownedsowritingin
themwasfOrbidden.Theywerecarefullypasseddownfbr
generations’Anyonewhowishedanindividua>copywould
handcopyone.Thebookswerecherished,respected)and
protected.Ifanyoftheseancienttextsweredamaged,they
wouldbemended>copied>anddistributed,sotheywould

notbelost.Thiswasthegreatestmerit.
70ThistraditionisstillpracticedtodayinTheravadaBud-
dhism.Atthetimetl>atBuddhismwasintroducedinto
China,itwasconsideredthemostcivilizedcountryinthe
world.Butthingshavechangedandinregardstoproper
behavior’theCbinesearefarbehindothersbecausetbeir
educationlIasfai>ed.
¢  
GLOSSARY
affinity.Favorableorunfavorab>erelationshipswithothers.
afHiction·Conditionorcauseofpain,distress,andsuffering
whichdisturbsthebodyandmindTheycanbethoughtsof
gainorloss,ofwantingtocontrolothers,ofcriticismorslander.
Theymightbeworries)doubts,regrets’etc.
AlayaConsciousness.Ourkarmarepository>t}>ethoughtdata-
basefTomallofourpastandpresentlives)goodandbad.
Amitabha.ThenameoftheBuddbaoftheWesternPureLand,
primarilymeaningInfiniteLifeandInfiniteLig}>t.TolIelpall
beingsattainBuddhahood>AmitabhaBuddhacreatedt}>e
WesternPureLand>anidealp>aceofcultivation.Shakyamuni
》 ﹚ 叩
peop>einouragewouldbeimmersedinaff>ictionsandbad
habits.Duetothis>virtuallytheonlyhopethatwehavetotran-
scendoursufferingsistoproperlypracticethePureLand
methodandthusbebornintothePureLand·
』 肋 &   ’
ThewondersandadvantagesoftheWesternPureLandaredue
tothemeritsofAmitabhaBuddhaandarisefromhisgreatvows
andgreatdeeds.
attachments.Thesearestrongdesiresorcravmgsfbrfamily’
廿 ’ ﹚ 】 ’
theideaoftlIeselfasanindividual,etc·
BodhimindThisisthegoalofMahayanaBuddbism>toulti-
matelythinkofothers,touncovertheinnatecompassionand
wisdomofthetruenature,andtotranscendtlIecycleofrebirth
toattainBuddha}Iood.TheBodhiMindisthecompassionate
mindinw}IicheverythougbtistoattainSupreme,Perfect
EnlightenmentfOrselfandal>others.
459
BodbisatIa·OnewhobasvowedtoattainSupreme)Perfect
晅 ‧  
Buddhassymbolizeourvirtuousnature,Bod}Iisattvasand
Arhatsrepresentthevirtueofpractice,withoutwhich,thein-
natevirtuousnaturecannotberevealed.
Buddl1a.BuddhaisaSanskritword,meaning‘<wisdomand
enIightenment.}lABuddhaisonewbohasreachedsupreme
perfectionbothinself-reaIizationandinhelpingotherstoattain
rea>ization.TheinnumerableBuddhasarenotgodstobewor-
shippedbutcompassionateandwisebeingstoberespectedand
emuIated.
causality(alsoknowascauseandeffect).Everythingthathap-
penstousistheresultofwhatwehavethought)said)ordone.
Wbatweundergointhislifetimearetheconsequencesofwhat
wehaddoneinourpreviouslifetimes,whilewhatwedonow
willdeterminewhatweundergoinourfUturelifetimes.
ConstantMindfulnessofBuddhaAmitabha·Tbestatein
whichwedonothavediscriminatorythoughtsandattachments’
Atthispoint)themindrememberstheBuddhaanddoesnot
fbrgethim.Afterprolongedcultivation)weceaseless>ycontem-
platetheBuddba.
delusion·Palsebeliefsandviews’notunderstandingthetrue
reality‘
Dharma.l)TheteachingsoftheBuddha(generallycapitalized
inEng>isb)$2)things’events>phenomena’everythinginthe
universe;and3)duty>>aw,doctrine.
discriminatorythoughts.Discriminatorytboughtsandattach-
mentsaretherootcauseofwhywearesti>lsubjecttoreincar-
nation.Discriminatorythoughtsoccurwhenweseeothersand
ourselvesastwo.
dust.Allthepollutantstha<contaminateourtruenature.They
460
includefOrm,sound)scent,taste)touch,andviews.
enligl>tenment.GenerallymeansSupreme)PeIfectEnlighten-
ment,theenlightenmentoftheBuddhas.Itistoseeone)strue
natureandtocomprehendthetruereality’
‧ 】 。
meanstotakecareofparentspbysically,menta>lyandtofulfi>>
theirwishes.Tofurtherextendandenhanceourrespectand
carefOrourparents,wehavecompassionfbrallbeingsinthis
world.
FiveHumanRelationsbips.TheseprinciplestaughtbyConfU-
】   肚
thosebetweenhusbandsandwives,parentsandchildren,sib-
lings,friends)po>iticalIeadersandthepub>ic.
fivepracticeguidelines.l)TheThreeConditions;2)TheSix
Harmonies;3)TheThreeLearnings;4)TheSixParamitas;and
5)SamantabhadraBodbisattva}sTenGreatVows.
FivePrecepts’TheFivePreceptsaretonotkill,steal(totake
whatisnotgiven)>engageinsexua>misconduct,lie,ortakein-
toncants.ThefirstfOuroffensesarephysicaItransgressionsof
thetruenature.Wbetherornotwehavetakentheprecepts’it
iswrongtocommittheseacts.ForsomeonewlIohastakenthe
FivePrecepts)thisisadoubleviolation.However,totakein-
to)dcantsisdifferent.Onlysomeonewhohastakentheprecepts
洫  
。 ( ) 口 仙 勻 ﹚ ㎡
肋 加 丑 筐 / 肋 伽 ㎡ 血 】 ‘ 咖 如 刀
凸 】 喀 ﹝ 】 ㎡ ㎡ 肋 ∕ 胞 ﹜ 巴 ℃ / ( 加 肋 肥 ㎡ 加 ) ( )
肋 『 ( ) Ⅵ α 此 】 刀 ( ) “
》 》 ﹚ 啕 八
(5)‘iThePerfectCompleteRealizationofMahasthamaprapta
Bodhisattvatl>roughBuddhaNameRecitation”fromtheStzIHI>-
46l
( ) ㎡ 刃 ℃ 妁 ‧
fOrty-eightvows.DifferentBodhisattvasmakedifferentvows.
DharmakaraBodhisattvamadefbrty-eightvowsbefOrebebe-
cameAmitabbaBuddha.HewishedtocreateanideallandfOr
a>lthosewbowisbedtotranscendrebirthwithintheSixRealms.
TbesebeingswouldbeborninthePureLandasBodhisattvas
whowouldneverregressintheirpractice.Theywouldlearnall
thewaystohelpotherbeingstranscendbirthanddeath,andto
attainBuddhahood.ThereasonwhytheWesternPureLandis
sooutstandingliesintheperfectionofthesevows.
fOurldndsofkindness.Triplejewels’parents’teachers>allsen-
tient-beings·
goodfbrtune.Allthegoodnessinone>slife.Itmaymanifestas
bappiness,friends)family>health,longwity,intelligence,pros-
perity,position>etc’Goodfbrtuneisthebenefitofthehuman
andheavenrealms)andcanbecarriedwithusfromonelifeto
anotherbutitcannothe>pustotranscendreincarnation·
加 凸 】 它 旋 乩 』  
加 丑 『 】 陀 / 召 匿
肋   刀 肋 ﹣
nH.TheAmitabhasutrasareunusualinthattheywereself
spoken.Thiswasunusualbecausealmostalloftheteachingsby
theBuddhaweretheresultofaquestionbeingraisedbyoneof
hisstudents.ButsincethestudentsdidnotknowaboutAmi-
tabhaBuddhaandbispure>andtheywereunabletoask>andso
theBuddhainitiatedtheteachinghimself.
karma.Adeed.Karmaisdividedintothreetypes:good,bad,
andneutral>thatwhichisneithergoodnorbad.
Mahayana·OneofthetwomajorbranchesofBuddhism,itis
theBodhisattvapathofhelpingal>sentientbeingstoattain
Enlightenment.
462
meritsandvirtues.Meritsareaccumulatedbyse>f>esslydoing
gooddeedswithoutwanderinganddiscriminatorythoughts,or
attachments)andthecorrectionofourerroneousthoughtsand
behavior.Virtuesarisefromdeepconcentrationandwisdom.
OneMindUndisturbed.Thisisthetotal>yfOcusedmindwitl>-
outanyimproperthoughtswhichisthegoalinBuddhism.Itis
thepuremindthatPureLandpractitionersachievebysingle-
mindedconcentrationoni(AmituofO/}
OneTrueDharmaRealm.TheuItimatestateofBuddhahood
withoutanydifferentiationbetweenrealmsfOreverythingisone·
Wit}Idifferentiation’wewillseetenrea>ms;Buddhasknow
thereisactuallyonlyone.
phenomena·T}Iings,events,happenings:everythingintheen-
tireuniverse.Noumenonistheprincip>eoressencewhilephe-
nomenaistheeventorfOrm.Noumenonisperceivedtbrough
intuitionorthoughtwhilephenomenaisperceivedthroughthe
senses.Noumenonisthetheoryasopposedtothephenomena
thatisreality.
precepts.InBuddhism’preceptsarerulesthatwerelaiddown
  「
thoughts’speech,andbehavior.However’oneneednotbea
BuddhisttouplIoldtbeBuddhistprecepts.Inthemoregeneral
sense,preceptsarerulesorprinciplesthatprescribeaparticular
courseofactionorconduct.
puremindorpurityofmind.Themindwithoutwanderingand
discriminatorythoughts>orattachments.Thepuremindhasno
thoughtsoflikeordislike)favorableorunfavorable.Ithasno
greed,anger,ignorance,arrogance,doubt,orwrongvIews’Itis
thecalmmindthatisnolongeraffbctedbytheenv1ronment’It
istlIesereneandnaturalstateofallbeings·
retribution.KarmicpunishmentfTomerroneousthoughts’
463
words,ordeeds.
rootsofgoodness.GoodqualitiesorseedssowninagoodlifCto
bereapedlater.Theultimatebenefitofdeeprootsofgoodness
fOrPureLandpractitionersisrebirthintheWesternPureLand·
samadhi.Properen>oyment’Usual>ydenotestheparticularfinal
stageofpureconcentrationandcontemplation.Therearemany
degreesandtypesofsamadhi.
samsara(alsoknownastheSixPaths).Threeupperrealmsare
heavens>demi-gods)andhumans.Threelowerrealmsareani-
mals,hungryghosts,andhells.
Sangl1a.AgroupoffOurormorepeoplewhoproperlypractice
tbeBuddha’steachingtogether)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.
EspeciallyfOrpractitioners’theyare:l)Tosharet}Iesame
Vewsandgoals>2)Toabidebythesamepreceptsandrules,3)
Toliveandpracticetogetherharmoniously,4)Toaccordwith
othersandnotquarrel’5)Toexperiencetheinnerpeaceand
happinessfrompracticingtheteachings,and6)Toshare
benefitsharmoniously.
SixParamitas.ThefOurthofthepracticeguidelines.Bodhisatt-
vasabidebysixguideIinesthatareca>ledtheSixParamitasor
Perfections.Theseteachushowtoremedyourmajorafflictions·
Giving,moralselfdiscipline,patience)diligence’meditative
concentration>andwisdom.
464
sixsenses.Sight,hearing)smell)taste,touch)andthought.Ex-
ternal
sutra.Buddha)steachings.
TenGreatVowsofSamantabhadraBodhisattva.Samantab-
hadraBodhisattvapersonifiesthevowsandconductofthe
Buddhas.Heisusuallydepictedseatedonanelephantwithsix
tusksthatrepresenttheSixParamitasthatarethefift}Iofthe
practiceguidelines.l)Equa>lyrespectallbeingsandthings’2)
Praisethevirtuesandkindnessesofotbers.3)Makeofferings
extensivelyandrespectfully.4)Feeldeepremorsefbrourfaults
thatobstructusfromseeingourtruenatureandvownottore-
peatthem.5)Reioiceineveryvirtuousdeedanddonotharbor
jealousyorhinderothers.6)Requestthosewhotrulypractice
towide>ypropagatetheteachings’7)Askteacherstoremainin
theworldandtoguideus·8)Tire>ess>yupholdtheBuddha|s
teachingsinoureverythought’word)anddeed.9)Accordwith
thosewhoareproperandpatientIywaitfOrtheopportunitythat
allowsustoguidethosewhoarenot.l0)Dedicatethepeace
廿 】 ﹣
ingbeings,hopingthattheywilIattaintheunsurpassedunder=
standing.
TenVirtuousConducts.TheTenVirtuousConductsarebasic
toourpracticeofBuddhismtheBuddhagroupedtheTenVir-
tuousConductsintothreema>orcategories;physical)verbal>
andmentaltoprotectthetbreekarmasofbody,speech,and
’ ﹚ 廿   】
engaginginsexua>misconduct.ThefOurverbalvirtuouscon-
廿 》   ’ 》
andusingseductivewords’Thethreementalvirtuousconducts
prohibitusfromhavinggreed)anger>orignorance.
Tl1eravadaBuddhism.Thepathofstrictlyabidingbythepre-
‧ ‘   ﹂
465
tencalledthepathoftheeldersandisprimarilypracticedin
southernAsiaandthewest.
ThreeBadPat}1s.PleaseseeSixRealms.
ThreeConditions.The6rstofthefivepracticeguidelines.The
firstconditionembodiesthepracticeofselfdiscipline.Thesec-
ondconditionembodiesthepracticeofdeepconcentration’and
tbethirdconditionembodiesthepracticeofwisdom.TheFirst
Conditionisto:A)Befilialtoonesparents’B)BerespectfUlto
one}steachersande>ders,C)Becompassionateandnotkillany
livingbeings,andD)AbidebytheTenVirtuousConducts·The
SecondConditionisto;E)TaketheThreeRefuges,P)Abideby
theprecepts,lawsandcustoms)andG)Conductoneselfina
properandappropriatemanner’TheThirdConditionisto:H)
GiverisetotheBodhimind’I)Deeplybelieveinthelawofcau-
sality’])ReciteandupholdMahayanasutras’andK)Encourage
otherstoadvanceonthepathtoenlightenment.
threeDharmaages·TheDharmaperfectagebeganwith
ShakyamuniBuddha’sdemiseandlastedfivehundredyears,
duringwhichenlightenmentwasoftenattained.TheDharma
semblanceagebeganafterthatandlastedonethousandyears>
duringwhichenlightenmentwasseldomattained.TbeDharma
endingagethatwearenowinbeganafterthatandwilllastfor
tentlIousandyearsduringwlIichenlightenmentwillrarelybe
attained.
threekarmas.Createdbyourbody)speech,andmind
ThreeLearnings.Thethirdofthepracticeguidelines·/Mbm/
乃 巴 ﹝ 丑   ﹚ 肋 叱 叩 』 】 加 ﹚
Ⅷ ﹝ 尢 刀
ourfivepracticeguidelines’Topracticeaccordingtotheteach-

ononemethodofcu>tivation,wewi>>havedeepconcentration
466
andwithdeepconcentration,wewi>>uncoverourinnatewis-
dom
ThreeRelationsl1ips.Thesetbreere>ationshipstauglItbyCon-
fUciusareamongbumans,amonghumansandspirits)and
amonghumansandthenature.
truenature·Ouroriginal,trueselfthatwestillhave,butis
whiclIiscurrentlycoveredbydeludedthoughtsandevi>karma.
Inessence,sincewehavethesametruenatureasBuddhas
have,weareequaltotheBuddhas’Onceweeliminateourde-
lusion,wewilluncoverthistruenatureandattainSupreme,
PerfectEnlightenment·
virtues·Seemerits.
『 你 Ⅱ 伽 Ⅱ 血 口  
  『 / 【 』 〃 / 』
QueenVaidehisufferedfromoverwhelmingfamilymisfOrtune)
shebitterlysaidtoBuddhaShalWamuni:“LifCisfilledwitl]suf-
fbring.Istherenotaplacewithoutit?Iwisbtoliveinsucha
world.’’ShabamuniBuddbadisplayedfOrheralltlIeBuddha
landsintl]euniverse.Afterseeingalltheworlds’shechosethe
WesternPureLandandvowedtoberebornthere.Concerned
aboutthosewlIowou>dcomeafterherandbeunabletolearn
directlyfromtheBuddha>sheaskedontheirbehalfhowto
achieverebirthintothePureLand.
wanderingthoughts.Aff>ictionsthatcloudourtruenature.To
havenowanderingthoughtsmeanstohaveon>yvirtuous
thoughts’notthatourmindsareemptyofallthougl>ts.Asordi-
narybeings,weuseanil>usorymind’t}Iemindthatarisesand
ceases’andthathaswanderingthoughts.Awakenedbeingsuse
t}1etruemindt}1atconstant>ydwellsontruth
WesternPureLand·Seefbrty-eightvows.

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
牴 韜 戕 勰 託 瓢 珊 踩 臀
E:}eonel.tchia@palantir.com.au
牴 冒 鵲 仔 勰 串 駟 鄒 瓶 牙 彊 Ⅵ @ α 。
牴 瑪 聯 粥 磯 熾 蜘 刪 )
www.amtb-aus.orgEpurelandcol>ege@iinet’net’au
Canada<I>
AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofOttawa
Tel:6l3-723-9683Fax:6l3-723-63l6www.amtb-ottawa.ca
箝 寄 腦 燬 驟 刪 繃 諜 刪 凰 @ α
AmitabhaBuddhistAssociationofMontreal
Te>;5l4-257-l770Fax:5l4-525-6846E:amtbmtl@hotpop.com
職 全 嘴 騁 濺 ﹩ 罕 濺 酈 芰 刪
Ⅷ 。 。 鰓 艦 陪 窗 。 【 叫 】
Te>:l7l-586-6923Fax:I7l-794-8594
www.buddhisteduation·co.uk
柵 柵 緲 躍 溯 緇 熾 鰓 @ … …
柵 跚 珊 慨 腳 燬 韃 黜 】
十 洸 胸 黜 含 刪 刪 託  
468
掬 蛾 駢 瑚 堊 艦 腳 巽 瑁 酴
榴 置 嗯 β 蝴 辦 紕 隅 膀 )
褶 〕 騁 哦 』 蜘 縣 祕 匡 翔
褶 騁 辦 辮 。 唧 ( 凰 )
拇 楷 蛾 γ 晰 孵 姍 雪 ↓ ﹣ 。
箝 ﹜ 君 跚 刪 勰 淞 勰 鼬 訃 @ Ⅲ 川
榴 岩 辦 聖 蜘 哥 辮 溉 雲 瓣
╴ @
褶 穡 嚇 嚇 苦 誕 刪 ( 呈 玀 翔
摺 ﹜ 岩 辮 刪 吾 辮 腦 姍 Ⅲ ﹣ @ Ⅲ
拇 駝 睹 刪 。 ( )
箝 峨 駢 辮 ﹜ 芳 腓 冕 腳 臀 { @ … ∞
制 皺 禮 罌 嘰 紆 ( ∣ 咖 )
箝 攏 贓 蜘 艇 刪 巽 惡 刪
捌 辦 跚 【 緇 二 ㎡ 肛
褶 辮 哦 嗯 窒 。 。 )
褶 〕 岩 縣 野 嘰 艦 胛 蜘 %   @ …
箝 騁 峨 踏 鸛 艦 胛 魁 腓 / )
宇 芒 職 晶 弔 緇 慇 蜘 祉
469
稻 君 慨 蜘 饑 胛 探 嘲
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Muar)
Tel:06-9S4-2207
概 騁 贓 腳 毛 齡 翔 慨 咖 )
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Karak)
Tel;09-23l-2625
稻 君 騁 』 勰 監 溫 斃 鄒 哥 )
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Kuching)
Tel/Fax:082-450-960
柵 皺 勰 勰 井 ( 凰 )
柵 蜘 晶 琨 勰 告 伽 ( )
AmitabhaBuddhistSociety(Miri)
Tel/Fax:085-4l7-844
柵 皺 細 捫 符 ( )
AmitabhaBuddhistResearchCentreSabah
Tel:089-6ll-622Fax;089-6ll-6ll
牆 咄 縣 伽 午
PersatuanBuddhistYuen]ongMelaka
Tel/Fax:06-335-4944
峨 辮 姍 濺 翔 辮 犖 飄
  斗 ﹣ 斗 耳 ﹣ @ ‧
≡ 舀 β 哪 捌 } 磯 滯 ﹣ 旦 @ 此
『 ﹣ 力 ﹣ @
芬 匪 跚 刪 健 咄 危 鱗 璩 翠 刪 … 伽
Thailand<662>
細 辨 蠅 囉 旁 鼬
470
UnitedStatesofAmerica<l>
稻 麗 勰 諶 … 凰 @ - 。
令 雅 兵 嚇 薨 翎 冒 川 @
褶 琺 貶 ﹦ γ 糊 吾 犧 餾 颶 薨 灘
褶 增 隅 刪 雪 辮 珊 踞 跚 …
稻 ﹜ 辦 輟 勰 離 痂 驟 ﹟  
榴 拚 鸚 聰 牙 勰 『 穹 鼕 黜 齜
拇 騁 濺 斟 雪 彗 甥 ﹟ 玀 出 騁 擺
稻 騁 濺 嘰 吾 勰 辮 ﹟ 普 跚 琴 晞 @ 。 …
摺 辨 濰 ↑ 蜘 晝 韃 咿 犛 緇 ﹣ 般
E:amitabha-ny@yahoo.com·tw
榴 雜 濰 ﹩ 蝴 吾 勰 溉 刪 繃
E:amtbphila@hotmail.com
摺 } 豁 蠅 蜘 彗 甽
摺 蹄 騁 蜘 著 涊 刪 磯 … …
AmitabhaEducationalCenter(Hawaii)
Tel:808-262-5279Fax:808-262-4989
榴 拂 夥 黜 蛋 踡 ﹨ 笑 機
幟 聘 刪 堊 騁 孑 嘰 辨 黜 Ⅲ ¢ 。 Ⅵ 】 @ Ⅱ 。
DallasBuddhistAssociation
﹣ ﹣ ﹣ ﹣ 。 ﹣ ‧
Internet
www.chinkung·org
17I
DedicationofMerits
MaytheIneritandvirtues
AccruedfiDInthisact
AdorntheBuddhaIsPureLand,
RepaythePourKindnessesabove,
  仳
ThoseintheThreePathsbelow.
Maythosewhoseeorhearofthis,
Bringfbrththeheartof
UnderstandingandcoInpassion
  允
Beborntogetherin
ThelandofUltiIateBliss.
47Z

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