Before criticizing others, consult your mind first.
When somebody tries to harm us, we should think: “It must be because I have done
him harm in previous lives. I should stop this vicious cycle of bad karmic affinity
and try to liberate him as well.” Everything that happens, no matter how insignificant,
has a cause.
From the perspective of practice, the major problem of criticizing others is not
“whether he is in fact wrong and I am right,” but the fact that our ears and eyes
are already making judgments and our minds are closed to everything but our own perceptions.
Further, we are creating negative karma through the incipience of our ideas and depriving
ourselves of merits. Therefore, our six sensual organs are like six thieves, and
the purpose of practice is to prevent them from wildly pursuing the sense objects
so that we can close the door to vexation. We should train our ears not to crave
for pleasant melodies; eyes, agreeable surroundings; nose, fragrance; mouth, tasty
food; and train our minds to be free of discrimination. Then we can concentrate on
reciting the Buddha’s name and the sutras, performing prostration, sitting meditation,
and other practices that will liberate us from the cycle of birth and death. If we
keep up these practices, how could we have the time and the mood to pursue external
distractions, or to comment on how others behave?
If you criticize others and your mind is disturbed or vexed by it, you would have
no one but yourself to blame. Do not be judgmental of what others do: be tolerant.
Then, not only will you enjoy peace of mind but will avoid creating negative karma
through your words. This is the first and utmost important principle in practice.
Remember: “Act according to (rather than against) circumstances, forbear everything,
then enjoy peace of mind.” This is the best antidote for a troubled mind.
Don’t say that there are good people and evil ones. All judgments are but distinctions
made by our minds. To those who really know how to practice, all sentient beings
are helpful mentors.
Those who like to gossip are bound to create negative karma through their words.
They are also “troublemakers.”
Avert words so as to shun misdeeds. When you do speak, make it to the point and cut
all unnecessary remarks.
Do not gossip. Gossip leads to failure; gossip makes people feel restless.
The path of practice can never be free of obstacles. Where there are people, there
are disputes, annoyances, conflicts and all sorts of disagreeable circumstances.
Rather than expecting a smooth path, you ought to strengthen your will power when
confronting difficulties. Remember, when your attention does not focus on adversities,
you will neither cling to them nor be vexed by them. Then, you will be able to practice
with an unfettered mind.
All methods of practice as taught by the Buddha focus on the mind; when we practice
we are also learning how to discipline our minds.
A well-composed mind resembles clear and placid water that truthfully reflects whatever
appears above it. Likewise, when our minds attain absolute tranquility, we will be
able to grasp the essence of everything.
The purpose of reciting the name of the Buddha is to help still our minds so that
they may be as pure and tranquil as placid water. A restless and scattered mind resembles
muddy water from which evil and discriminatory ideas easily arise.
When our minds are in such a state, we are prone to make distinctions of what we
see, hear, smell, taste, touch, and think, thereby, indulge in the pursuit of sensual
passions. Therefore, we must recite the name of the Buddha to the extent that our
minds become absolutely clear and pure, neither defiled by nor attached to sense
When we reach that stage, naturally we will not cling to the five skandhas (form,
sensation, perception, volition, and consciousness). With our six organs untainted
by the six causes of impurity, we can truly realize the emptiness of the five skandhas
[and] thus be free of all vexations.
Then we can naturally help to relieve all sentient beings from their misery. And
with the essence of our minds enlightened and our wisdom unfolded, we can easily
comprehend even the most abtruse buddhadharma.
Reciting the Name of the Buddha
Practice reciting the name of the Buddha to the extent that "flowers flourish and
the Buddha comes into view."
We all have a Buddha immanent in our minds. When we practice recitation to the extent
that our minds are pure and free of vexations, we will meet the buddha within ourselves.
Therefore, only by the extinction of all vexations can we attain the stage where
"flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into view."
We should practice compassion and forbearance in our daily lives while avoiding impulsiveness
and petulance and controlling our temper. Be adroit and harmonious when dealing with
people and handle everything with the help of reason.
Seek not the faults of others and do not be vexed by the rights or wrongs we perceive.
Be gentle and kind to others, though not for the sake of building up connections.
Treat everyone, be he/she moral or immoral, with equality and impartiality.
Do not turn others away with an icy face. With every move intended for the benefit
of others and done with sympathetic compassion, not only will we foster good affinity
with others but our minds will be purified and ourselves free of all vexations.
We are thereby attaining the stage where "flowers flourish and the Buddha comes into