The Sixth Day
In this Ch’an hall, I have noticed that many male and female participants are only beginners who do not know the (standing) rules and regulations and whose unruly behavior interferes with the calm meditation of others. However, we are fortunate in that the Venerable Abbot is most compassionate and is doing all he can to help us achieve our religious karma. (Moreover) the group leaders who have developed the unsurpassed mind bent on the right Way, are here to lead us so that we can undergo an appropriate training. This is (indeed) an opportunity rarely available in myriad of aeons.
(Therefore), we should strive resolutely to make further progress in our inner and outer training. In our inner training, we should either concentrate pointedly on the hua t’ou: “Who is the repeater of Buddha’s name?” or repeat the name of Amitabha Buddha, without giving rise to desire, anger and stupidity and all kinds of thought so that the Dharma nature of the Bhutatathata can manifest itself.
In our outer training, we should not kill the living but should release all living creatures; we should transmute the ten evils into the ten good virtues; we should not eat meat and drink alcoholic liquors in order not to produce the sinful karma of unintermittent suffering; and we should know that the Buddha-seed arises from conditional causation, that the commitment of many evil karmas is followed by the certain fall into the hells, and that the performance of many good karmas is rewarded with blessing ensuring our enjoyment of them. And so the ancients taught us this: “Refrain from committing all evil actions (and) perform all good actions.” You have already read the causal circumstances of the killing of members of the Sakya clan by the Crystal King (Virudhaka) and know of this (law of causality).
At present, all over the world, people are suffering from (all sorts of) calamity and are in the depth of the aeon (kalpa) of slaughter. This is the retribution (for evil actions). We (should) always exhort worldly men to refrain from taking life and to release living creatures, to take vegetarian food, to (think of the Buddha and) repeat his name, so that everybody can escape from the turning wheel of cause and effect.
All of you should believe and observe (this teaching) and sow now the good cause for reaping later the Buddha-fruit.
The Seventh Day
This ephemeral life is like a dream,
(And) this illusory substance is not stable.
If we rely not on the compassion of our Buddha
How can we ascend the transcendental Way?
In this life which is like a dream and an illusion, we pass our time in an upside-down manner. We do not realize the greatness of the Buddha and do not think of escaping from (the realm of) birth and death. We let our good and evil (actions) decide our rise and fall and we accept the retribution according to their karmic effects. This is why in this world, few accomplish good deeds but many commit evil actions, and few are rich and noble but many are poor and mean. In the six worlds of existence, there are all kinds of suffering. There are living beings who are born in the morning and die in the evening. There are those who live only a few years and others who live many years. They are not all masters of themselves. For this reason, we should rely on the Buddha’s compassion if we want to find a way (out of this mess), because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas possess the power of their vows of kindness, pity, joy and renunciation and can deliver us from the bitter ocean (of mortality) for our (safe) arrival at the bright “other shore”. They are kind and compassionate and when they see living beings enduring suffering, they take pity on them and liberate them so that they can escape suffering and enjoy happiness. Their joy and renunciation consist in their rejoicing and praise for living beings who accomplish meritorious deeds or give rise to thoughts of kindness in the mind, and in granting all requests according to the latter’s requirements.
When the World Honored One practiced His self-cultivation from the causal ground, His deeds (in the successive Bodhisattva stages of His former lives) consisted in His renunciation of His own head, brain, bone and marrow. For this reason, He said:
In the Universe, there is not a spot of land as small as a mustard-seed where I have not sacrificed my lives or have not buried my bones.
Today, all of you should endeavor to hold the hua t’ou firm (in your mind); be careful not to waste your time.