Sharing some of my top-secret-information of my Dharma studying, experience and cultivation to some Dharma friends at the University of Human Literatures I knew them at a Vietnamese social website. Some of sharings are the top, some aren't and some you cannot find them anywhere.
Amitabha, hi my Dharma friends at the University of Human Literatures, here are some of my Dharma advices to you so you could apply to your Dharma practice and Dharma cultivation:
A. Buddhas and Bodhisattva have given me the most compliments by showing the most beautiful shapes of clouds on the sky for my practice of Pure Land Buddhism (I use the word 'practice' and I don't use the word 'cultivation' because Pure Land Buddhism is very easy to practice. Everyone can practice Pure Land no matter of who you are: Young or old, dumb or smart, man or woman, rich or poor, illiterate or intellectual, worldly person or Enlightened Bodhisattva, etc.) These shapes of clouds are much more beautiful than different shapes of clouds of my Halo achievement. When you have a Halo and you also practice Pure Land, you will be classified among the top grades when you reborn in Pure Land. Practicing Pure Land Buddhism is the most-important-thing that you should do in your life as suggested by a Taiwanese buddhist movie.
B. Everyone already has one very large Dharma body and Buddha mind (also called Buddha nature or real mind). The problem is no one know how to utilize one's Buddha mind to cultivate for his or her very large Dharma body. Like if you want to have money you must work, if you want to have a bright future you must go to school, if you want to have Wisdom you must read Sutras often, then you must think well about what you have read in the Sutras, after that you must practice and cultivate what you have thought of the Sutras. If you want to have Halo(s), magnificent and very large Dharma body then you must cultivate to have them.
C. Buddha taught "Every male person is your dad in one or more of your previous lives, every female person is your mom in one or more of your previous lives." This is one of my reason to be a Buddhist Monk and better, a Buddhist Sage: To repay them with my chanting, etc. and to guide them with my Dharma teaching, etc.
D.The Dharmapada Sutra has some very interesting verses that you should remember and practice:
"What worth to do are what you should do
When you do them, you will not regret
When you do them, you will not sorrow.
What not worth to do are what you should not do
When you do them, you will regret
When you do them, you will be suffered."
What worth to do are cultivating Buddhism, cultivating what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in Sutras as much as you can. You should take refuge in the Triple gems (Triple Jewels) to become a Buddhist because taking refuge in the Triple Gems is the biggest thing in life according to a Dharma talk of Dharma Master Hsuan Hua. After that, depending on your abilities you can keep more other Precepts if you want.
What not worth to do are altering all of your bad habits that SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in the Sutras. Alter all of your bad habits that follow you from your many last lives to your present life. What BUDDHAs, Bodhisattvas advised you not to do therefore you should not do; what BUDDHAs, Bodhisattvas advised you should alter therefore you should alter. The essential ten things you should cultivate are The ten good deeds. The bad ten things that you should not do are The ten bad deeds which are the opposites of The ten good deeds. The bad deeds are very easy to do, because they are very easy so everyone want to do those bad deeds. The good deeds are difficult to do, because they are difficult so no one want to do those good deeds. So there is the word Cultivation, in other words: Practicing what BUDDHAs preached. Cultivation is difficult but the True happiness that you attain is very lucrative. Having no Cultivation is easy but if you can see the Truth, there is nothing that you do can truly bring you True happiness.
E. The Dhamapada Sutra has the following very meaningful verses:
"Night is long for a person who can not sleep,
Path is long for a hiker who is tired,
Cycle of rebirths and deaths is long for an ignorant person:
Who does not know Sublime Dharma."
If you do not practice Pure Land Buddhism, is the best method in 84,000 methods of Buddhism, a method that is very easy to practice, easy to succeed, suitable for the Dharma-ending age nowadays. If you do not take advantages of Pure Land Buddhism for getting out of endless cycle of rebirths and deaths, getting out of the three realms (realm of desires, realm of form, realm of formless), getting out of the six realms of unenlightened beings (hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, human being realm, Asura realm, heavenly being realm) in this life, what are you waiting for?
G. Buddhist literatures has the following verses (translated from the original Vietnamese language into today Vietnamese language, then into English language):
"Do not wait until you are old to recite AMITABHA BUDDHA'S NAME
In the graveyard has many graves of young persons."
H. Buddhist literatures has the following verses:
"Do not wait until you are old to cultivate Buddhism
In the graveyard has many graves of young persons."
I. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in the Dharmapada Sutra as:
"Who lives up to 100 years old
But not seeing Sublime Dharma
Better to live one day
And seeing Sublime Dharma."
K. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in the Dharmapada Sutra:
"Only one sentence of Sublime Dharma
Can make your mind feel peaceful after hearing it
Better than thousands
Of useless books."
L. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in the Dharmapada Sutra:
"When you see a wise person
Tell you your fault and blame you for that fault
Like telling you where golds are buried
It is only better for you and not worse."
M. Buddhist literature said: "Moral person rarely talks, but when he talks, there will be meaningful sentences."
N. Patriarch Quy Son taught:
"Even though for hundreds of thousand lifetime,
Karmas that have made are still remaining.
When having enough causes and conditions,
Karma retributions come on time."
Therefore you have to pay attentions and keep your body from doing bad deed, your mouth from speaking badly and your mind pure; always abide of all Precepts and behave in a dignified and appropriate manner, often pay attentions not to made The ten bad deeds. You should often recite AMITABHA BUDDHA'S NAME, bow down in front of BUDDHA'S statuette and have Repentence chanting ceremonies on a timely basis to erase and avoid bad karmas and evil karmas. There are five evil karmas that cannot be erased are the five grave offenses: 1. Killing Dad, 2. Killing Mom, 3. Killing Arahat, Venerable or Dharma teacher, 4. Interfering harmony of Sanghas, 5. Bleeding BUDDHA'S statue and statuette. There are many different kinds of karmas in Buddhism, you must read, practice and be careful not to look down the Law of Karma.
O. Buddhism has the following meaningful verses:
"In the Dharma-ending age (nowadays), it is very difficult to teach Dharma therefore people can listen to you and have virtues and morals,
However we should try our best for the Dharma teachings.
We vow to bring Dharma as a sacred torch to light up their unenlightened mind with Wisdom,
Therefore we can help them to get out of cycle of rebirths and deaths."
Amitabha, with respects, buddhist Hue Quang.
Sharing some of my top-secret-information of my Dharma studying, experience and cultivation to some Dharma friends at Nguyen Tat Thanh University
A. Dharma friends! Pay attentions to what I say, for you I will preach. There are no secrets in life but only rules, requirements or standards for life or a thing to do: Some examples of what I did and have been doing:
Standards to be a buddhist Sage: Having full respects for my Dharma Teacher (my Dharma Teacher is my Superiors), being a good buddhist Monk or doing what Sutras said.
Standards to be a buddhist Monk: Having full respects for my Dharma Teacher (my Dharma Teachers are abbot Venerable Thich Dao Quang in California and my Superiors), being ordained and given a Dharma title by my Superiors, abiding of all my Precepts, enlightening self and enlightening others, doing ‘buddhist’ tasks, etc.
Standard to be a Buddhist: Taking refuge in the Triple Jewels given by a Venerable, abiding of all five Precepts, often going to a temple, monastery or pagoda to do temple chores or attending regular Chanting ceremonies at temple every Sunday, be respectful to and serve the Triple Jewels.
Standards to be a righteous Buddhism practitioner: Having respects for the Triple Jewels, often reading Sutras and listening to Dharma, must cultivating both of doing good deeds and avoiding to do evil deeds, must cultivating for both blessings and Wisdoms, abiding of all Ten good deeds, knowing about Five Precepts and abiding of all Five Precepts if you can, knowing about Meditation and Pure Land Buddhism and practice both of those methods if you can, knowing how to purify one’s mind, donating and doing charities, often taking veggie food and maybe taking veggie food at all time.
Standards to be an artist: Knowing how to describe what I have seen or what I am seeing by a drawing tool on the paper beautifully, knowing how to alter flat 2-dimensional view of paper into 3-dimensional view with depth on the paper to please viewers’ eyes, knowing how to sketch and draw shadows and lights, often sketch on the sketch book, knowing about concept of colors and how to use them, knowing about the scales, the angles of the lines of the subjects you will draw; knowing about textures of subject you will draw, your drawing or painting work must be valued as a work of art.
Those are the standards of what I did and have been doing. If I miss one or more of the requirements for those standards I cannot be called with an appropriate name for my talents. For example, when an artist who has his line of drawing dully and scaleless, uses disharmony colors which are not suitable for viewer’s eyes tasting, drawing or painting does not have content and is shallow; can you call him an artist? Of course not, he need more requirements to be an artist.
Dharma friends! I do not have greed for drawing and painting. If drawing and painting can help me to get out of the cycle of rebirths and deaths then I was one of the best artist in the world! I only view those talents as an unimportant means to help me for liberation of the cycle of rebirths and deaths. My Superiors recommended me the artist career thus I can earn a living two years ago, but I practiced drawing and painting for just two months. I did not find a good artist career because I do not have enough experiences. I have worked for my brother and do many buddhist tasks. Artist career is very ideal because it does not have much hazards from work-related accidents. When you are careless as an artist, you have ink and paint on your hand only. There are many people died from their jobs as electrician, coal miner, racer, chemical worker, etc. or has work-related accidents as sawyer, factory worker, etc. There are many young adults do not have talent and have to work as an entry level job for little money. I will use my drawing and painting skills to do some buddhist tasks and maybe more. Desire for love will be involved to the three main poisons: Greed, anger, ignorant. There are total 36 different kinds of desires! Greed for drawing and painting relates to greed for seeing forms. They are belong to the six data fields (gunas) which is form, sound, smell, taste, touch, dharmas and all of them are unreal. However, as I explained, I only see these talents as a job or career and have no greed for them.
My Superior let me know “If you want to be a Buddhist monk and a Buddhist Sage, you need to have enough requirements for those titles. I cultivated as my Superiors’ instructions and much more. My Superiors are very satisfied.
B. Dharma friends! Explanation of verses: “Cultivating but does not study Sutras is blind cultivation
Studying Sutras but does not cultivate is just books of Sutras.”
You should read Sutras, listen to tapes, CDs, MP3 of Dharma talks, watch Dharma talk videos, watch buddhist movies, watch buddhist cartoons often. So you will know how to cultivate Buddhism.
My sister-in-law told me “I cultivate my mind by living righteously and that is enough for me. I do not need to read Sutras to know how to cultivate.” She was wrong with her own opinion, she does not know what mind is, what is a good mind and how to avoid bad mind. So how can she claim she can cultivate her mind enough? Another person told me “I can be a good person, no need to read Sutras.” He was also wrong. How to be a good person or in other words: What is standards for a good person? Standards to be a good person is the Ten good deeds. This applies for everyone. Who practice the Ten good deeds well is a good person and vice versa. There are many people fall into the three evil paths (hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm) because they do not know about the Ten good deeds, do not practice the Ten good deeds and vice versa, do the Ten bad deeds.
Buddhism pays very much attentions at practice or doing. If a person read a few Sutras but cultivate the right ways as Sutras teach, so it is much better than a person read many Sutras but do not want to cultivate.
C. Explanation of Buddhist words Means and Goal:
Means is different cultivation methods to attain the goal. Some examples of means: Donating, abiding of all Precepts, being a Vegetarian, freeing caged birds and caught fishes, reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME, meditation, purifying mind, reading Sutras, changing bad habits, practicing good habits, listening to Dharma talks, Chanting, doing charities, preaching Dharma when qualified, etc. Goal is aim for liberation of the cycle of rebirths and deaths, ending all sufferings.
D. Dharma friends! Avolokiteshvara Bodhisattva (Quan Shi Yin Bodhisattva, 'Goddess' of Mercy, Kuan Yin, Quan Yin Bodhisattva) personally taught me this brilliant idea: Think about shemale and hefemale. A shemale is female person who has a sexual body part of a male person. Oppositely, a hefemale is a male person who has a sexual body part of a female person. They were born 100% naturally like that with no surgery.
It's really a big trap, they were born like that not because of their gender but because of their last lives' karma they were born with their abnormal sexual body parts. Likewise, a female person is born as a female person because of her last life karma. A male person is born as a male person because of his last life karma. They were not born with the same gender every time in cycles of rebirth (Samsara in Sanskrit language.) One hundred percent of shemale is a male person, 100% of hefemale is a female person, nothing is strange. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached "There are many female persons who has a sexual body part of a male person (BUDDHA means shemale) on earth. There are also male persons who has a sexual body part of a female person (BUDDHA means hefemale) on earth even though they are much rarer." You don't need to live two lives to see a strange transformation of a female body or male body by shemale or hefemale. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached:
“Who live to 100 years old
But do not see the Sublime Dharma
Better than live only one day
And can see the Sublime Dharma.”
Since a small child, boys wear clothes for boy, play toys for boy, imitate men’s characters, see cartoons for boy, etc. and girls is vice versa so the differences between boys and girls have been in their conscious mind since childhood. Boys do not act like a boy and girls do not act like a girl will be abnormal to people. However, boys and girls change their gender often according to karmas they make every life.
E. Dharma friends! For you I will preach. You have to cultivate by the guidelines ‘Benefit self and benefit others’ and ‘Help self free from delusions and help others free from delusions’ (after your cultivations become great and stable, you can be able to help others to cultivate like you.) The phrase ‘Benefit self and benefit others’ has more worldly characteristics. The phrase ‘Help self free from delusions and help others free from delusions’ has more liberation from Samsara characteristics; it is the cultivation method for Mahayana Buddhism practitioner and the cultivation method for worldly Bodhisattvas and Enlightened Bodhisattvas. Both sides of this phrase have to be balanced and logical: Besides benefiting others you should use time to benefit yourself, you survive for cultivation when you taking foods; besides showing others how to cultivate, you should use time to cultivate yourself. For example: I have to use time to work for my brother and have money to pay for website hosting company, offering foods to my Superiors and do buddhist tasks. I have to recite AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME for about 10,000 times a day, likewise I must have Dharma thoughts for talking Dharma to you and do other buddhist tasks.
G. Dharma friends! The Pure Land Buddhism system is the most perfect system in the universe: Definition for the word ‘system’: A group of separate components related to each other, working with each other to form a complicated whole. Some examples: The solar system includes small planets like the Earth, Mars, Venus, Jupiter, etc. flying around it. The computer system includes software, hardware, the brain of the computer CPU (Central Processing Unit), RAM (Random Access Memory), etc. The software system has smaller components like operating system software (Windows, DOS, UNIX, etc.) and application software for learning, recreation, work, etc. The body system includes the cardiovascular system, the nervous system, the digestive system.) The job and career system like the nail salon system, music system, factory system, store and shopping center system, the agricultural system, the forestry system, the fishing system, etc. The social systems like the financial system, the educational system, the security system, the career system, etc. and many other systems that you know. The Pure Land Buddhism system is the system of reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME to become a BUDDHA preached by SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA. Generally, reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME is the Cause and becoming a BUDDHA is the Effect. The reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME to become a BUDDHA is the best system in the universe. Why? Because this is the only system in the whole universe and if any sentient beings know how to practice and dedicate to practice Pure Land so that sentient being will become a BUDDHA in just one lifetime, with the minimum time is only two years in many illustrations according to a Buddhist survey by Buddhist Tinh Hai. There are not little illustrations showing that you only need to recite AMITABHA BUDDHA'S NAME ten times single-mindedly and whole-heartedly because this is what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached in Amitabha Sutra. (The Sutra of reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME continuously had said “Being reborn in Pure Land has the same meaning of becoming a BUDDHA”, why? Because when Pure Land practitioner is reborn in the Pure Land of AMITABHA BUDDHA then he (she, it) only see the Great sentient beings in Pure Land, do not have no more resisting conditions to interfere his cultivation, only has accordant conditions, from that time on, he (she, it) will cultivate only to becoming a Fully-enlightened BUDDHA. Like mud, stones, gravels when sunk down the bottom of a pond so the water will become calm and tranquil, at that time pure water is still pure water and do not change and has no differences from 100% pure water.) Mud, stones, gravels represent afflictions, different discernments of mind, clinging to anything of mind (Abhinivesa or graha in Sankrit language); pure water represents pure mind, non disturbance of water represents accordant conditions (supporting conditions). When one person seeks for liberation from Samsara by renunciation so he must spend enough three of Asankhyeya kalpas (countless eons). with continuous renunciation, seem like forever to cultivate as a buddhist Monk or Nun.
H. Dharma friends! You should never discourage on your Path of Cultivation. In the Sutra of 42 sections, BUDDHA said: "Those who are following the Way should behave like a piece of timber which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held by the banks, nor seized by men, nor obstructed by the gods, nor kept in the whirlpool, nor itself goes to decay, I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean. If monks walking on the Way are neither tempted by the passions, nor led astray by some evil influences, but steadily pursue their course for Nirvana, I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment."
I. Dharma friends! Pure Land Buddhism will make you to live with your forever Parents who are BUDDHAs: Surangama Sutra said “BUDDHAs miss sentient beings like Parents miss their children. If a child does not think about his Parents so it does not matter if his parents miss him. On the contrary if a child always miss and remember his Parents as if his Parents miss and remember their child so Parents and child always will be near one another.” In present life, your Parents love you the most. However, your worldly Parents can stay with you in one lifetime only, you will have new worldly Parents in your next life (supposed that you will be born as a human being again in your next life.) BUDDHAs in general and specifically, AMITABHA BUDDHA always have compassion, miss and help you out in many lives. If you practice Pure Land Buddhism by usually reciting AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME so you show that you always miss and think about AMITABHA BUDDHA. He will emit His light and help you to cultivate Pure Land much better. When you reborn in Pure Land then you can always be near AMITABHA BUDDHA and be able to listen to His Dharma preaching. According to the AMITABHA SUTRA, in AMITABHA BUDDHA’S Pure Land, you can do your daily ‘Buddhist task’ by collect fresh flowers then offer them to BUDDHAs in the ten directions of the universe every morning. So you can be able to live near your forever Parents in Pure Land.
K. There are different kinds of science like superstition science, natural science, social science, spiritual science and Buddhist science. Buddhist science is the best, most profound, most perfect, most trustworthy and most sublime. Superstition science use tricks to deceive superstitious persons for their money. Some examples of superstition science are method of guessing a person's future by guessing signature, method of guessing a person's future by reading palms, method of guessing a person's future by seeing his or her outside appearance, method of guessing a person's future by viewing his or her routine activities, method of guessing a person's future by Lao Tzu, method of guessing a person's future by playing cards, Feng Shui, viewing stars in the sky at night to guess a person's future, etc. Except for Feng Shui and viewing stars methods, all other ways of guessing are lies to deceive superstitious persons. Persons of high cultivating levels like me have no more effects by Feng Shui and viewing stars. We have effects by The Law of Karmas only. So the Superstition science is not trustworthy. Some examples of natural science are subjects of Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Electronics, Computer science, etc. Natural science can't explain many phenomena of earth as well as many phenomenons outside earth. The developments of natural science are still every slow as compared to what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached about 2,500 years ago. Examples of social science are Literatures, History, etc. Historical events happened with times and then faded with times, like a burning incense with fragrant smoke spreads the fragrance out, when the incense burns up, fragrance stays for a while then disappears. Some examples of spiritual science are large religion in the world like Catholics, Baptism, Muslim, Daoism, etc. According to Buddhism, they are externalists or Non-Buddhist religions and we should respect them. Externalists are different from illegal religions, illegal religions can commit crimes, violate social laws and have extreme superstitions; Externalists' religions do not violate social laws. Doctrines of externalists are appropriate but still be at lower levels because their Gods are still sentient beings inside Samsara. They do not have the method of cultivation to become an Arahat or the method of practicing Pure Land to reborn in Pure Land of AMITABHA BUDDHA. Both of these outstanding methods can assist a Buddhist cultivator to get out of Samsara. Buddhist science is the best, most profound, most perfect, most trustworthy and most sublime. The reason that i put Buddhist science separately from spiritual science is because according to Ven. Dharma Master Chin Kung, Buddhism is an Education and not a religion. There are too many basic Dharma that are absolutely important preached by SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA and most of humankind do not know about.
L. Dharma friends! Here are summary of the cultivation Paths that are suitable for all of you with your present spiritual improvement: You can do good karmas like donate things, doing charities, helping others with your labor for free to have blessings. You can provide Wisdom of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA to others, read and cultivate Sutras, keep your precious Precepts and live virtuously according to Sutras to have Merits. You can practice Pure Land according to AMITABHA BUDDHA’S great vows 18, 19 and 20 to reborn in Western Pure Land. You need to practice for both blessings and Merits and you need to practice both meditation and Pure Land. The attainments of those practices and cultivations are your overall accomplishment in Buddhism. You should take refuge in the Triple Jewels to become a Buddhist because taking refuge in the Triple jewels is the biggest thing in life as preached by Ven. Dharma Master Hsuan Hua. You should practice or cultivate Pure Land because this is the most important thing to do in life according to a Buddhist movies named “The most important thing to do in life” made by Taiwan.
M. Dharma friends! Like I said, you need to practice for both blessings and Merits as well as practice both meditation and Pure Land. If you practice for blessings but do not cultivate for Wisdom, you will be rich but you will be dumb and ignorant in your next life. On the contrary, if you cultivate for Wisdom but do not practice for blessings, you will be smart, intelligent and Wise but you will be poor in your next life. If you practice meditation but do not practice Pure Land then it will be very difficult for you to get out of the cycle of rebirths and deaths. If you practice Pure Land but do not practice some meditation then you can not recite AMITABHA BUDDHA’S NAME single-mindedly.
N. Dharma friends! Here are my explanations of four verses of Dharma Master Hsuan Hua:
“If you cannot throw away what make you (your spiritual life) ‘die’,
Then you cannot alter for what make you (your spiritual life) live.
If you cannot abandon what are unreal,
Then you cannot attain what are real.”
What make your spiritual life ‘die’, what are unreal are your unreal mind and unreal body that do not alter what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA tell you to alter in the Sutras. What make your spirituall life live, what are real are your Buddha mind (Dharma body or Buddha nature) do what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA tell you to do in the Sutras. Your Buddha nature is the only thing that you own life after life in the cycle of rebirths and deaths. Your Buddha nature can bring all of your good karmas and bad karmas that you make in this life to next life. All of human beings have Buddha nature that is their precious and brilliant gem but they do not know how to take advantages of it. If you are greedy for the five desires (woman’s beauty, talent and money, fame, eating and sleep) and compete for them (woman’s beauty, talent and money, fame) and enjoy them (eating and sleep) but do not know how to take advantages of your precious gem (Buddha mind or Dharma body) to cultivate and make alot of blessings, Merits (Merits and Virtues) and attainments of Pure Land practices then all of your so called success in life is like lost labors of a sandcrab.
O. Dharma friends! You should know how to use your mind rightly: If you use your mind rightly then your mind is your wife, why? Because your Dharma body (real mind or Buddha nature) is where to store what you cultivate, like a virtuous wife keep what her husband earns; your mind is your Dharma Master, why? Because when you use your mind rightly then you will not break your Precepts, so you will have Dhyana, by attain Dhyana then your mind will have Wisdom. Precepts, Dhyana, Wisdom is Three kinds of development which is necessary for cultivators; your mind is your good friend who can improve you better. On the contrary, if you do not know how to use your mind and use your mind wrongly then your mind is your bad friend, your enemy: In the Dharma excerpt titled ‘Fourteen Advices of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA', BUDDHA preached “Your biggest enemy is your self or your ego.”
P. There is a sincere and essential Dharma talk of Ven. Dharma Master Hsuan Hua that you should remember, awaken and cultivate sincerely for yourself:
You Know What Ghosts Are?
Ven. Master Hua
There are many kinds of ghosts. [Chinese] people usually picture ghosts as grotesque beings with green faces and long fangs, but this is not necessarily the case. Sometimes ghosts take on human form. You may think they are people, but they are actually ghosts. If you have opened the Five Eyes, ghosts won’t be able to deceive you. Using their spiritual powers, ghosts can also transform into animals, such as pigs, cows, sheep, dogs, fish, and rabbits. They may also change into small creatures such as ants, mosquitoes, flies, sparrows, and bees. When flowers bloom in the spring, for instance, many of the bees gathering pollen are actually ghosts manifesting as bees. There are real bees as well as phony ones. The real bees are undergoing their retribution as bees in accord with their karma, while the phony ones are ghosts in transformation who go around collecting pollen and drinking nectar from the flowers. Don’t assume that all ghosts are invisible. You face them every day; you just don’t recognize them. This is like "facing Guanshiyin Bodhisattva and not recognizing him." You meet ghosts without recognizing them.
Someone is saying, "Dharma Master, I don’t believe what you’re saying." That’s okay. I don’t demand that you believe it. I’m just letting you know the principle so you won’t encounter ghosts every day without being aware of it. Someone else is thinking, "Dharma Master, I’m so scared by what you said that I won’t be able to sleep at night!" Well, if you can’t sleep, you can cultivate the the "Standing Buddha" Samadhi [developed through not sitting or lying down for 90 days and constantly reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name.]
If I tell you the truth, you certainly won’t believe me. That’s why I hardly ever speak the truth. But that doesn’t mean I lie, because lying is not permissible. We shouldn’t say too many true words, but we should never say false words. If we say too many true things, people won’t believe us.
Demons and spirits can also change into various kinds of animals. When we first moved to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in 1976, a layman brought a bunch of turtles to be set free. One of the turtles was overturned and had its legs sticking up in the air. The layman Feng Feng, who was there at the time, saw a person wearing green come to ask him for help. When he went around to check it out, he came upon the turtle on its back. So, you see, turtles also have a spiritual nature; that’s why that turtle went to Feng Feng for help. No one paid any attention to this matter for many years. This incident shows that all living beings gather with their own kind.
In studying the Shurangama Mantra, we have learned that there are all sorts of ghosts of all shapes and forms. Their appearances depend on the retribution they are undergoing. Many of the phrases in the Shurangama Mantra are the names of kings of ghosts and spirits, such as yakshas (speedy ghosts), rakshasas (fearsome ghosts), soul-guarding ghosts, corpse-guarding ghosts, pisachas (essence-eating ghosts), kumbhandas (paralysis ghosts), large-bodied ghosts, insane ghosts, stinky ghosts, putanas (foul-smelling ghosts), heat ghosts, chilly ghosts, shadowy ghosts, musical ghosts, flower-eating ghosts, fetus-eating ghosts, grease-eating ghosts, lamplight-eating ghosts, grain-eating ghosts, and so on. Their transformations are infinite and inexhaustible.
Before hearing the Shurangama Mantra explained, we didn’t know there were so many ghosts. Ghosts are even more numerous than people. When people create offenses, they fall into the realm of ghosts and cannot escape by themselves. When the Buddha was in the world, he once picked up a handful of dirt and asked his disciples, "Is there more dirt in my hand or on the ground?"
"Of course there’s much more dirt on the ground," said the disciples. "There’s very little dirt in the World Honored One’s hand."
"The number of beings who have attained a human body can be compared to the dirt in my hand," said the Buddha, "while those who have lost their human form are as numerous as the particles of dirt on the ground." What do most people become after they lose their human form? Ghosts, of course! And so there are more ghosts than people. You could never calculate their number, even with the help of a computer—unless you used the spiritual or heavenly computer.
"Since when did you invent a ‘heavenly computer’?" you ask.
I didn’t invent it; it has always existed. If you don’t believe it, go to the heavens and see for yourself. The heavenly computer doesn’t need people to type commands into it to tell it what to do. All you have to do is think about what you would like to know, and the heavenly computer will calculate the answer without the slightest mistake. It knows immediately what is on your mind. I call it ‘spiritual’ because it’s so mysteriously efficacious. However, given the incredible number of ghosts, probably even the heavenly computer wouldn’t be able to calculate their number accurately. One second after it calculated an answer, the ghost population would already have increased by hundreds of billions. What’s more, ghosts are always unpredictably moving from the heavens to the earth and back. It’s impossible to get an accurate count of them.
Ghosts also have their ghost retinues and ghost friends. If a ghost knows where food can be found, it will invite some friends to go with him. For instance, there are flower-eating ghosts that transform into bees or butterflies and go around eating pollen and drinking nectar.
Hungry ghosts undergo the retribution of constantly being scorched by fire. Both the inside and the outside of their bodies are on fire. They are fried incessantly by internal and external fires, suffering unspeakable pain. As retribution for having had terrible tempers as people, they are burned day and night as ghosts, with no hope of respite or escape. However, if they get a little bit of nectar to eat, it will slightly relieve their burning agony. They are grateful for even one second of coolness! And so we can see that the consequences of good and evil follow us as unfailingly as a shadow follows its form. We had better be careful!
There is another variety of ghost that eats only fruit. All living beings need food to survive, and there are four ways in which beings can eat.
The Four Types of Eating
1. Eating in portions. All sentient living beings—those possessed of blood, breath, and material form—eat in portions, that is in distinct segments of time. For example, we eat breakfast in the morning, lunch at noon, and dinner in the evening. We don’t eat in the intervals between meals. Human beings and animals all eat in portions.
2. Eating by contact. These beings, which include ghosts, get full just by touching the food.
3. Eating by thought. Heavenly beings get full just by thinking about food.
4. Eating by consciousness. These beings don’t even have to think about food. The function of eating takes place in the eighth consciousness. Beings in the Heavens of the Four Stations of Emptiness eat in this way.
Animals all stay with their own kind. Birds of the same species live together in flocks, and those of other species aren’t allowed to join as guests. If outsiders come, fighting occurs. You may have seen the white cranes fighting with the eagles in the Forest of Ten Thousand Sages at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. Last year, one of the white cranes was injured from fighting, or perhaps it fell from its nest. One of my young disciples, Guo Tuo, had been friends with this crane in past lives.
Maybe Guo Tuo used to be a crane in his past lives, but heard some Sutras and got to be born as a human in this life. It’s not for sure. He couldn’t bear to see his crane friend suffering, so he took it to the hospital. But the doctors couldn’t do anything to treat it, so he took it back and put it beneath the tree. Although the big crane tried to protect it, in the end it was caught by the eagle. From this we know that all living beings like to stay with their own kind and have their own retinues.
Coming back to the topic, all living beings need food to live. Take the fruits we eat for example. When they are freshly plucked from the tree, they are actually "double." An apple is not just one apple; superimposed on it is another apple. Someone says, "How come I don’t see it?" Well, if you saw it you would eat it! Of the two apples, one is a shadow, or you might call it the "nature" of the apple. By the same token, every person is not just one person. He or she has a spiritual nature that goes along with the body. However, a person’s spiritual nature is hidden inside of the body and doesn’t show up on the outside. If this spiritual nature came out, it would be eaten up by ghosts and demons.
Whatever kind of being one has transformed from, the shadow of that being still trails one. This shadow is also called "ghost soul" (people have three souls and seven spiritual faculties). For instance, if someone was a horse in his previous life, there will be the shadow of a horse following him. Had he been a mule, ox, sheep, chicken, dog, or pig in his previous life, the corresponding shadow would also remain behind him. People who have opened the five eyes can tell at a glance: "Oh! So this person was a dog in his previous life!" However, not everyone is able to open the five eyes, or else they might reveal all the problems of other people’s previous lives. It is said, "Heavenly secrets cannot be divulged!"
Fruits are not animals, for they lack blood and energy. But they are living things as well. Anything with a life has a nature. When fruit is offered to the ghosts and spirits, the ghosts and spirits eat the nature of the fruit. Ghosts don’t have to bite the fruit to eat it. They simply touch the fruit and absorb its nature, and that’s how they eat. Therefore, the fruit that has been offered to the ghosts and spirits doesn’t have much flavor left.
In the mountains around my hometown in Manchuria, there is a kind of big bear. When it eats, it doesn’t chew, but just swallows the food. There’s a type of pear that grows in the mountains called iron pellet pear, because it’s very hard. The bear simply gulps it down without chewing, and the funny thing is, it also comes out whole in their excrement, looking exactly the same as before it was swallowed. Although it is intact, it has lost its flavor, because when it passed through the chemical factory (i.e. digestive system), its essence was absorbed. Only the shape remains, not its nature. This can help us understand how the Buddhas, ghosts, and spirits eat fruit. Fruit that has been offered to the Buddhas cannot be kept very long, for it spoils quickly. The same is true of people; when they are alive, their souls stay with them. Once they die, their souls leave and their bodies decay rapidly. Fruit that has lost its essence rots quickly.
As to the four types of eating, ghosts only need to sniff or touch the food and they will have eaten. They are not like us people who have to go through the trouble of biting, chewing, and swallowing our food. Someone is wondering, "How come you know so much about these things?" I used to be a ghost, and I still remember. Ghosts eat by touching, heavenly beings eat by thinking, and beings in the Heavens of the Four Stations of Emptiness eat by consciousness.
The various karmic retributions of ghosts and spirits come about from causes and conditions. Every cause brings about a corresponding retribution. This is called, "becoming deluded, creating karma, and undergoing retribution." And so we should know that blessings will follow upon good deeds and calamities will follow upon evil deeds, just as the echo follows the sound. Whether we experience suffering or pleasure, it’s all our own doing and not caused by anyone else. If you don’t want to become a ghost, don’t create the karma of ghosts.
Today I’ll tell you something that happened in one of my previous lives when I was a ghost. If you are still interested, then in the future I can tell you about when I used to be an ant, a mosquito, a hell-being, an animal, and so on. I won’t hold back anything.
All kings of ghosts and spirits have great awesome virtue. They can slay demons, eradicate disasters, and subdue externalists. They use Dharmas of Subduing to subdue all deviant cults, ghosts, and spirits. They can subdue any being that has deviant knowledge and views, or practices deviant crafts and methods. They can inspire virtue, get rid of vice, overcome evil, and destroy demons. Evil demons are like unruly people.People who are unruly and unreasonable are the reincarnations of evil demons. No matter how well you treat them, they don’t appreciate it. Even if you sacrifice your own blood and flesh for them, they are ungrateful and insatiable. Why? Because they have been steeped in bad habits for many eons. Their habits are deeply and firmly rooted, and their bad characters are formed from being stubborn and unwilling to change.
The kings of ghosts and spirits in the Shurangama Mantra lead their respective retinues such as heavenly generals and soldiers, heavenly officials, and vajra spirits. All of them guard the ten directions, protect cultivators and help Way-places to thrive. We mentioned many different kinds of ghosts and spirits, and their respective retinues. All living beings have their own "souls". Dogs have dog souls; cats have cat souls. Large beings and small beings all have their souls. Although people are afraid of ghosts, there isn’t any real separation between people and ghosts. Ghosts live in the yin realm, while people live in yang realm. However, yin and yang are basically one entity. There’s no difference and no line of demarcation. Ghosts have heavy greed, anger, and stupidity. In comparison, people have more precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. Therefore, ghosts are masses of yin energy, while the energy of people and animals allows them to assume physical forms. Why do they have physical forms? They have all kinds of attachments, so they crawl into into the cage of five skandhas and can’t escape from the realms of form, feeling, thinking, formations, and consciousness. The net of the five skandhas covers up our own nature, just as dark clouds cover up the sun. Yin and yang are basically one substance, separated only by the "clouds" of the five skandhas. People are trapped by the array of the five skandhas, and ghosts are also entangled by the dense forest of the five skandhas, so they bob up and down in the sea of karma, being born and dying over and over again. They are born human, but at death they turn into ghosts. However, with cultivation they need not become ghosts. If they are successful in cultivation, they can become Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, or attain the fruition of Arhatship.
If one upholds five precepts and cultivates the ten good deeds, one can be reborn in the heavens and become a god. The five precepts are no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, and no taking of toxicants. Not killing is compassion. Not stealing is righteousness. One who doesn’t commit sexual misconduct is a person of propriety. One who never lies is trustworthy. One who abstains from intoxicants will not be crazy and confused. People who kill receive the retribution of being short-lived and suffering many misfortunes in their next life. People who steal receive the retribution of a life of poverty and hardship. People who commit sexual misconduct may be reborn as sparrows or pigeons.
Birds like to go off into wild flights of fancy. This is the manifestation of the karmic retribution of people who committed adultery and injured their virtue in their previous lives. I always teach you about this, but some people still don’t pay attention. So, I’m taking the trouble to repeat it once again: Don’t kill! All living beings from countless eons in the past have been my parents, friends, and relatives. My parents from previous lives committed offenses and thus fell and were reborn as pigs, horses, cows, and sheep. If you kill animals at will, you are just indirectly killing your parents.
Stealing: It’s said, "Don’t do to others what you don’t wish to have done to yourself." If you don’t desire to have your wealth robbed or stolen, then first of all you shouldn’t steal others’ property.
Sexual misconduct: In terms of causes and effects, sexual misconduct is the most serious offense. It’s punishment is the most severe. If a married couple gets divorced and each one remarries, then according to the law of cause and effect, their bodies will be cut in half after they die. This is because when they were alive, they had two relationships. So after they die, their karmic retribution manifests. A huge saw slices people in half from head to toe. Their bodies are sawed into as many pieces as the number of offenses they committed. If they were married a hundred times, they are sawed into a hundred pieces, so each of their former partners can have a tiny share of them. What’s so bad about being divided into pieces? If the soul becomes fragmented like that, it’s very difficult to make it whole again. Probably those people won’t regain a human body again for billions of eons. When their nature is split and their souls are incomplete, they become dull and insentient, like plants. When their inherent nature is scattered, it’s hard to become a sentient being again. Even if they became a sentient being, they might be a mosquito. But one human body can transform into 84,000 mosquitoes, and it’s not easy to get all those mosquitoes back into one being. Most of the time, mosquitoes are reborn as mosquitoes. So they bob up and down in the cycle of birth and death, not understanding how to turn away from the dust and unite with enlightenment, or how to renounce confusion and return to the proper. It’s said, "Once the human body is lost, it cannot be regained in ten thousand eons." If you truly understand this principle, how could you not be afraid?
A talk given on February 5, 1981
Ven. Dharma Master Hsuan Hua's preachings are real, preachings of SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA are also real. They know very well, respect The Law of Karma and do not lie. I follow BUDDHA and Master Hua's Virtues so I do not tell a single lie when I talk Dharma. Do you see sufferings of life? Of courses, there are sufferings, if there are no sufferings, no one of us reborn in this Saha world or inside the Samsara to repay our bad karmas that we had made in our previous lives. If there are no sufferings, Siddhartha Gautama Bodhisattva from Tusita heaven did not reborn in India as a prince to preach precious Dharma for sentient beings about 2,500 years ago. You should make a Bodhi mind and Cultivate well to avoid much sufferings, or you should take refuge in the Triple Jewel to become a Buddhist and keep five Precepts of a Buddhist well all your life so you can reborn as a human being again next life. The best option you can do for yourself is to make a Vow to become a BUDDHA and practice Pure Land in this life. When you reborn in AMITABHA BUDDHA'S Pure Land, you can also get out of Samsara forever. So you do not have to worry no more about what I adviced you, what Master Hsuan Hua explained and what SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached.
Above are some of my favorite concepts when I cultivate, some of them are my Dharma secrets because if I do not talk Dharma then no one will know. Because of talking these Dharma secrets, I attain alot of Merits and Virtues like the pretty clouds appear in the sky. BUDDHAs and Bodhisattvas gladly touch my head and praise me very much for talking such Dharma to guide you for your normal life as well as your spiritual life.
A. Dharma friends! We are born in this life to reap our good karmas retributions and bad karmas retributions of the good karmas and bad karmas that we sowed in our previous life, we are in a trap and we are not born in this life to enjoy blessings. Whoever are born in the six realms of Samsara (hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, human being realm, Asura realm, heavenly being realm) and in the three realms of Saha world (desire realm, form realm, formless realm) are sentient beings to reap karmas retributions of karmas those sentient beings made in their previous life, including Jesus Christ, Saint Allah (God of Muslims) and all other Gods of other religions. Six realms of Samsara are these sentient beings: Hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, human being realm, Asura realm, heavenly being realm.) A few things more about these sentient beings: Hungry ghosts endure very hot temperatures, starving and thirst for thousand years. Human beings can have a good life or an unfortunate life depending on karmas they made in previous life. Asuras or Titans have some magical powers and can fly around because they made alot of blessings in their previous life. They suffer of eating 50% only of what they eat, their planted trees when mature having fruits in heavenly being territory only, lose their very pretty female Asuras to heavenly beings and lose all of their battles to heaven beings because of making alot of bad karmas from body, mouth, mind and has hot temper, anger in their previous life. Heavenly beings reside in 26 planes of existence for heavenly beings. Heavenly beings in some planes of existence can live very long seemingly like forever but when their longevity complete, they reborn again inside the Samsara according to the Universal Law of impermanence.
Dharma friends! Externalists (Non-Buddhist religions) cling to the heaven of Anagamin (Anagamin is a sentient being who attains the third stage of Sainthood in Hinayana schools) is the real liberation from Samsara, Thoughtless heaven (one heaven of Form realm or one heaven of the heavens of form) is Nirvana, Brahma is the father of all living beings like Jesus Christ, etc. but the Truth is these sentient beings are still reside inside the form realm (the heavens of form) of the four dhyana. These are the obvious Truth preached by SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA, with forming of beautiful clouds when I thought about them, with encouragements of my Superiors to preach and these are not difficult to understand or a deceived story. However as compared to most of you (if not all of my readers), these Heavenly beings are holding high positions and Their positions are very difficult to attain therefore you must have respects for Them. Jesus Christ said "Whoever says you are as equal as me will reborn in hell realm." If you do not respect Them, you will lose plenty of blessings, have many troubles because of your arrogance to Them. You should have respects for Mara too. Except for heavenly beings, other sentient beings inside the Samsara have sufferings in living. The happiness of heavenly beings is unreal because when their duration of life end, they still reborn again into the cycle of births and deaths like all other unenlightened sentient beings. Human beings are in a trap because life in the three realms (Desire realm, Form realm, Formless realm) is not truly happy; it is just small and temporary happiness with mind, mouth and body carrying good karmas and bad karmas. The Lotus Sutra says sentient beings who live in the three realms is like living inside a burning giant house, all of the big and small poles to hold the house are burning very much and can fall down at any time, visible wild beasts are competing a dead body to eat, invisible hungry ghosts are also doing the same. There are also other sufferings in the three realms.
B. Dharma friends! Three evil paths or three wicked paths are three realms with alot of sufferings. If Asura realm (Titan realm) is included so there are four evil paths. You should remember and try to cultivate alot so you will never be born in those four evil paths. According to Dharma Master Chin Kung's preachings, one day of hungry ghost realm is equal to one month of human being realm, one day of hell realm is equal to one year of human being realm. Famous Vietnamese Buddhist Tinh Hai preached if someone is born in hell realm, that sentient being suffers punishments in that realm for thousand years, after that being transferred to hungry ghost realm and suffers punishments there for thousand years, after that being transferred to animal realm to live in sufferings of their environments or conditions for thousand years, after that being born as a human being. Dharma Master Chin Kung and Buddhist Tinh Hai are famous persons in Buddhist community and know very well about the Law of Karma so they never tell a lie. According to The Debate of King Milinda Sutra, worldly flame can burn a stone that is as big as a room in three days and three nights without effects. If that big stone is put in hell, the flame in hell will burn that stone into water immediately. What a suffering! Except for heavenly beings, other sentient beings inside the cycle of births and deaths also suffer but not severe and long-lasting as compared to sentient beings in three evil paths.
C. Dharma friends! You should have special and routine days for taking 100% veggie foods in a month, after that you should increase the number of these days in a month then gradually increasing until you can taking 100% veggie foods every day. Whoever takes meaty foods is a person who indirectly kills animals, specifically for example animals in the woods, poultry and cattle. When you take foods at the restaurants, most of the time you take meaty foods. When you go to food stores to buy food for cooking, most of the time you also buy meats. When restaurants, food stores are out of meats, they order new meats for cooking and selling. So hunters, bird trappers, persons who catch fishes with fishnet, fishermen, breeding farms, etc. have new jobs to do and unlucky cattle, poultry and animals in the woods will be killed. After death these sentient beings will investigate to see who killed them and realize that there are persons who killed them directly and there are also persons who killed them indirectly. You are the ones who indirectly killed them for your appetites of meaty foods. So they will follow you for revenges indirectly. Their revenges are to make you have problems and troubles in life, to make it very difficult for you to meet Dharma, especially Pure Land Buddhism and very difficult to have opportunities for your own cultivations. That is revenges of a indirectly killed animal, not including other indirectly killed animals that you eat for every meal and every day ! A few first days when I started to take 100% veggie foods, heavenly beings happily congratulate me in my dreams and follow me for supporting on my Path of Cultivations.
D. Dharma friends! You should try to have one meal a day only and must be before noon, during 11 am to 11:30 am. BUDDHA use Buddha's eyes and a few buddhist Monks can see alot of ghosts are released to go around after 12 at noon. When they see a person taking foods after 12 pm and they cannot eat at all so they will follow that person for revenges. Their revenges are to make you have problems and troubles in life, to make it very difficult for you to meet Dharma, especially Pure Land Buddhism and very difficult to have opportunities for your own cultivations. SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached "Heavenly beings take food in the morning, BUDDHAs and Buddhist Monks take food around and before 12 at noon, animals take food in the evening and hungry ghost take food at night."
E. Dharma friends! You should make a vow of Bodhi mind or a Vow to reborn in the Ultimate Bliss Pure Land as soon as possible without procrastinations. Be careful! Be careful! You should abandon the concepts "I am young, I should enjoy the comforts of life first, when I get old, I still have time to make a vow for my own Cultivations." Those are wrong concepts in Buddhism. Majority of the youth often think "I am young, I should enjoy the comforts of life first, when I get old, I still have time to make a vow for my own Cultivations." or "Buddhism is old concept and suitable for old persons, lovesick persons and persons who are tired of life only". Talking about time, there are two scenarios for anyone who dies: 1. A person lives to his old age then die, in other words, he spends his lifetime through the four periods a. Being born, b. Getting old, c. Getting sick, d. Die. 2. A person dies anytime according to impermanence concept of Buddhism. A person dies with scenario number 2 will have very rare opportunity to reborn as a human again to cultivate Buddhism. Impermanence can happen to anyone regardless of old person or young person, when a person's duration of life is end, the King of death takes that person's soul without begging or bribing and bring him to see King Yama. King Yama decides where that sentient being will reborn according to good karmas and bad karmas that sentient being has made during previous lifetime. King Yama only respects Cultivators and Pure Land practitioners and has no discrimination for others. In the gradeyard, there are many graves of young persons.
G. Dharma friends! You should never upload your unhealthy pics (unhealthy pics are pictures that are unhealthy for spiritual life), pics of 'poor girls' with little clothes or no clothes on their body so you will lose alot of blessings and ghosts will follow you for revenges. You should absolutely wake up with these harming deeds. You will lose plenty of blessings because unhealthy pics having negative effects and having no benefits for viewing people on their Path of Liberation from Samsara but on the contrary, unhealthy pics affect badly to the their liberation of Samsara. Those lustful pics are viewed by many people on the internet and can be spread widely to many other websites. You unintentionally harm many male persons who desire lust but they truly are your Parents from one of previous lives. Unfortunate men dies because of lust and many bad karmas for lust. When they die, they will follow you for revenges because of your lustful pics are the cause of their death.
H. Dharma friends! Some Dharma Masters preached "Your Buddha mind is original 100% pure and not contaminated by a worldly dirt." You should find a pure and quite place to live, work, cultivate and stay far away from noisy, colorful and crowded places because those noise, colors and worldly matters will contaminate your Buddha mind therefore your Buddha mind will gradually be far away from the liberation shore. You should reduce viewing and hearing public information devices as televisions, magazines, newspapers, books, movies, internet, music, videos, DVDs, Bluerays, etc. as much as you can. You will lose plenty of blessings make many bad karmas. Buddhism doctrines said "Turning your head around and go on the opposite way are the liberation shore." and has some useful methods like Meditation and Pure Land to help your Buddha mind (real mind, true mind, original mind, Buddha nature, true nature) to be pure. Shore represents your real mind without contamination of a worldly dirt, turning your head around and go on the opposite way represent purifying your Buddha mind and cultivate one method of 84,000 methods that SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached to help you return to your real mind with two most renown methods Meditation and Pure Land. In today Dharma-ending age, Pure Land Buddhism is the most effective, most magnificent, easiest to practice, easiest to succeed or enlightened and the most suitable system for humanity to practice. You should use alot of time for Meditation while walking, standing, lying down, sitting down and recite AMITABHA BUDDHA'S NAME. It is extremely rare for the worldlings to see and recognized these absolute Truths. You should remember what I preach to assist you on your Path of Liberation out of cycle of rebirths and deaths.
I. Some excepts from the Sutra of Eliminating Misfortune that SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA preached to advice worldly female persons ^^:
"At that time girl Nai Nu meets BUDDHA, seemingly like the sun out of the clouds, her aura becomes brilliant, her mind becomes pure quickly; bows down respectfully to BUDDHA with knees, palms and forehead on the ground; she kneels and joins her palms together in front of BUDDHA. BUDDHA tells girl Nai Nu: "Female person's mind often changes, or devote herself to the five desires (beauty of form (female person does not have desire for women beauty), money and talent, fame, sleeping and eat), if you can surrender your changing mind, return to worship BUDDHA, and often serve BUDDHA, and often listen to TATHAGATA advices (TATHAGATA is another title of BUDDHA), you will really benefit yourself.
For worldly burdens, male persons have less of them, female persons fall into the net of worldly burdens continuously, have many unwilling things, do not know what day she will be free from worldly burdens. Everything in this life is suffering, empty, impermanent, and cannot depend on, like when you are healthy, when sickness arrives you become weak, you lose your beauty, when death arrives, at time of danger, they take all of your peace. If you want to be free from them, you should be wise and devoted, listen to and practice according to Dharma of TATHAGATA, you need to cultivate and do good deeds, really to be free from sufferings.
Female persons often hate, when hating someone but seeing that person, is many sufferings, it is no difference from having love and sex with one person then far away from him, when born as a female person no one is without those things. Therefore, female persons must listen to and cultivate like the Dharma of TATHAGATA, then you can be free from sufferings of being born, getting old, getting sick, dying and all sufferings will be ended."
K. Dharma friends! Human life is a long dream, there is rarely persons to wake up to cultivate. There is nothing real that an individual can claim "that is my self" or "that is mine" besides of that person's real mind or Buddha nature. What you own like your unreal four-element body (four elements are earth represents flesh, joints, bones; water represents blood; wind represents breath; fire represents body heat), properties, wife and children are all unreal. When a person dies and he (she) cannot bring anything with him to next life except for his real mind with all good karmas and bad karmas that he (she) had been making. As in a dream, a person got acquainted to a pretty girl (a handsome guy), when a wedding ceremony was ready to take place then suddenly he awakes from his dream, he cannot see his charming girl or wedding ceremony. As in a dream, a person saw a precious gem, when he (she) wanted to sell that precious gem for the money then suddenly he awakes from his dream, he (she) cannot see his precious gem. Human life is a long dream because that person does not have Wisdom so what that person is looking for and has is unreal in a long time. Therefore, a person with Wisdom should always cultivate to have blessings, Merits (Merits with Virtues and Wisdoms) and attainments of Pure Land practices to be reborn in Pure Land of AMITABHA BUDDHA. When that person can't reborn in Pure Land, that person can brings blessings, Merits (Merits with Virtues and Wisdoms) and attainments of Pure Land practices to next life.
L. Dharma friends! Here are my explanations of a Patriarch's verses:
"One day when impermanence arrive,
A person suddenly wakes up and realizes he just lives in a dream.
Everything is left behind,
The only things he can bring with him are his good karmas and bad karmas."
You should read the section K above to understand better. When impermanence arrives then everything that person has so far like unreal body, properties, husband or wife, children, everything not finished yet is cannot bring with him or her. When the King of death arrives to bring his or her soul to the underworld to see King Yama then he or her cannot beg, bribe, cry for pity, ask for delaying of death date, cheat. According to the verses, the unfortunate person can bring good karmas and bad karmas only to other realm of existence without anything else.
Translator commentary: Soul is not Buddha mind and soul is Alaya conscious mind. There are sentient beings who can live without soul or without consciousness. However they are still inside the cycle of rebirths and deaths because they do not attain the fruit of Arahat or they do not practice Pure Land Buddhism.