(Venerable Master Miu King)
(11) The teachings “dependent arising of phenomena which are void of self-nature” and “all phenomenal existence is fabricated by consciousness” are both Prajna wisdom. If we are able to use the Prajna wisdom to regulate our mind, our mind will abide at the state of the ultimate truth. Illusory mindset will not be there.
(12) Living in the conventional world, when we were little, we were under our parents’ care. Later on we grew up and went to school to pursue knowledge. Finally, we had our own career contributing to society. We might have been successful or unsuccessful; we might have failed in the beginning then succeeded or we might have succeeded in the beginning then failed in the end. No matter what the situation, if we have a long life span, we will experience aging, illness, and death. If we have a short life span, we will die even before we get old. A person’s life will always end in death. We have no clue as to what happened before this lifetime and, we have no clue as to what will happen after this lifetime. We came to this life in confusion and we will leave this life in confusion. Learning the Dharma is like opening a window, or opening a door, and experiencing the outside world as a vast space without limitation. We don’t have to suffer the misery of old age, illness, and death. We can have the purity and freedom attained by the noble beings. Only the Dharma can help us fulfill such an achievement!
(13) Precepts aid the progress of meditative concentration, while meditative concentration aids the progress of wisdom. Using only the wisdom of learning and reflecting without the help of meditative concentration, the full wisdom cannot be developed. The Buddha taught the use of a progressive meditative concentration to help the development of wisdom, which results in liberation.
(14) Treasure time, Samatha (serenity), Vipassana (insight) and the methods of practicing Samatha (serenity) and Vipassana (insight). Respect the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha and make good efforts to practice meditation.
(15) The venerable master Zhizer of T’ien T’ai school said, “The mind of ordinary beings are dull. Therefore, it is difficult for them to view things wisely beyond the written characters. It is easier for them in the beginning to rely on written characters to learn since their eyes use forms as visual aids.” The sixth consciousness of an ordinary being likes to discriminate illusory things. Because of ignorance, “it is difficult for an ordinary being to view things wisely;” and it is impossible for them to realize the ultimate truth without learning the written language of the Dharma first. In order to transcend beyond the realm of the written language, we don’t depend on our eyes, ears, written symbols, sounds and forms.
(16) There are also written characters in our mind during meditation. However, it is different from seeing these characters in an ordinary way. The difference is that during meditation, there is Samatha (serenity), which empowers Vipassana (insight) to reflect according to the true meanings of the principles of the Dharma teachings. An in-depth realization will then be achieved. This is completely different from an ordinary reading of written characters before meditation.
(17) With regard to the two methods of cultivation, Between Samatha (serenity) and Vipassana (insight); Samatha is easier to learn, but not easier to practice. Vipassana is not easy to learn, yet it is not difficult to practice. Why? Practicing Vipassana is like the mind thinking inattentively. It is to contemplate upon the meaning of the teachings.
(18) It is impossible to achieve the state of Noble Path if one wants to practice only Samatha (serenity) without Vipassana (insight).
(19) We are all ordinary beings trying to cultivate. We should not ridicule each other.
(20) The opposite of liberation is binding. By unbinding, one will be liberated. With regard to “liberation”, mindset is the problem. Our mind contains ample greed, anger, ignorance, self-views and ‘my’ (personal possession) views. All these are considered coarse afflictions. In addition, there are more subtle afflictions. In the Sutras these are called “attachment to reality”. Our afflictions originate from our “attachment to reality”. If we are able to eliminate the afflictions of “attachment to reality”, we will be able to root out all greed, anger, and ignorance, and thus, be liberated.
(21) When we are meditating, we may think “person so-and-so mistreated me.” If you contemplate in this way, angry mind will arise. This obviously is a form of affliction. However, this is not what we want to deal with during meditation. It is the affliction of “attachment to reality”.
(22) What is “attachment to reality”? It is when you see something ugly and you think “ugly” is real; when you see something beautiful, you think “beautiful” is real. The things we encounter through seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, we consider them to be real. The purpose of meditation is to break through this kind of affliction, and to contemplate all those things as not real. Nothing is real in its inherent nature. Everything is like a moment in a dream scene.
(23) How do we explain “dream”? A “dream” is when a mirage is considered real, and falsehood is considered true. During a dream, scenes are unreal, however, the dreamer does not know. Instead, the dreamer considers everything real. That’s why it is called a dream. If we are able to realize that all these scenes are illusory discriminations then we will be awaken from the big dream. This indicates that in our daily life — eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, as well as forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, and objects of mind, are all illusory. Yet when we believe all the forms that we see and the sounds that we hear as real, we are actually dreaming.
(24) When flawless precept, flawless meditative concentration, flawless wisdom, liberation, liberated views, and untainted Prajnaparamita are present in your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind, forms, sensation, perception, mental formation, and consciousness, the true doctrine will remain in the world and it is a sign that the Dharma will prosper. It must be identified clearly that the flourishing of the illusive states cannot be considered as prosperous to the Dharma.
(25) As Buddhists, we should use the Dharma as guidelines, instead of the norm of the conventional society, to judge ourselves. The norm of conventional society is to judge the person by title, such as president, vice president, director, Ph.D., professor … etc. In the Dharma point of view, they are all ordinary beings who are still subject to cyclic existence. Fame and wealth are worthless. Only the Noble Path, flawless precepts, flawless meditative concentration, and flawless wisdom are jewels.
(26) It is considered awakening when mind is not stimulated by its illusive surroundings.
(27) What is faith? It is when one understands the dependent arising of birth and death, as well as the dependent arising of Nirvana. After learning and accepting the principles, one will then have faith. Having faith, one will then be able to progress and cultivate virtuous roots of diligence, mindfulness, meditative concentration and wisdom, and naturally be willing to practice Samatha (serenity) and Vipassana (insight).