Date: March 5th, 2011 (Saturday)
Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: Guarding Our Mind from Temptations 心靈的防火牆
A Tzu Chi volunteer, Mr. Hsieh said:
“I used to have a lot of business dinners and every day, all I thought about was drinking good wine and eating gourmet meals.“
“I’ve improved a lot too. I used to have a very bad temper. When angry, I’d sweep everything on the table to the floor.”
“After the operation 21 years ago, my wife told me that the doctor said I had two years to live. It was up to me to change my lifestyle. Because of that illness, I realized how I had wasted my life.”
“I’ve outlived my doctor’s prognosis. I was also very lucky to join Tzu Chi and walk the Bodhisattva Path. I’ve gained so much. Otherwise, I’d still be lost and deluded.”
Indeed, as each day passes, our life diminishes.
Like a fish in a leaking tank, what joy is there in this?
With every passing second, our life is passing by silently.
For every second that passes, our life decreases by one second.
I hope we make the best use of our time.
Our life is diminishing, but I hope we can nurture and grow in our wisdom-life.
This requires that we seize the time we have.
Time allows us to nurture our wisdom-life so we all have to be grateful every day for the opportunities we have to practice spiritually.
Earlier, we saw a man named Mr. Hsieh.
Twenty years ago, he was diagnosed with stage two colon cancel.
His doctor removed 30 cm of this colon.
After he was discharged from the hospital, a medical complication occurred.
He couldn’t take in any food or pass stools.
How painful it was for him.
The doctor told him that he only had two more years to live.
At the time he heard this (20 years ago), he thought of ending his life.
After reading Tzu Chi’s monthly magazine, he learned that many people had become healthier after they switched to vegetarian diet.
So, he decided to adopt a vegetarian diet and then he joined Tzu Chi.
It’s been 20 years since he became vegetarian.
He is healthy and is a very active Tzu Chi volunteer.
So, do people really need to eat meat to survive?
Is there really such a need?
Eating meat creates the negative karma of killing, causes environmental pollution, and makes our mind and body unhealthy.
See, there was an indigenous man in Hualien in his thirties who suddenly started losing weight.
What was the cause?
After tow hours of surgery, his doctor found and extracted an intestinal worm that was 305 cm long.
That’s over three meters long.
Everyone, where did the worm come from?
From eating uncooked meat or drinking water that hasn’t been boiled.
He was hunting up in the mountains.
Such medical cases aren’t rare anymore because a lot of people eat uncooked meat.
So, many diseases come from what we eat.
We often say that food is the basic necessity for human survival.
So, eating is of utmost importance for us.
But, we often cannot control what we eat.
We cannot control our senses---our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind
When our eyes see things, we are tempted by the material objects we see and craving and desire arise.
We give rise to many desires including the craving for taste.
So, we eat the flesh of many creatures, creating negative karma, it’ll be digested and gone.
But the karma of killing will stay with us.
Because you have taken life, there will be retribution.
So, everyone, the collective negative karma of humans eating meat has created many disasters and problems in this world.
We saw news of an outbreak of food-and-mouth disease in South Korea.
When the disease broke out, innocent pigs were buried alive in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
Does this solve the problem?
No. after the pigs were buried, their blood seeped into the ground and contaminated the groundwater so the tap water of a village nearby was contaminated with blood.
This is the consequence of humans eating meat.
We also see the avian flu outbreak in Japan.
Chickens in poultry farms were infected with the virus and were being culled.
Why go through the big trouble of killing these chickens?
It’s a big trouble because there are a lot of chickens.
Why do we need to raise so many chickens?
Because a lot of people want to eat them.
This is why an outbreak of avian flu would endanger the health of people across society.
This creates a vicious cycle.
The change in climate due to carbon emission is affecting migratory birds.
When migratory birds are moving from one area to another, they can carry a virus with them and spread the virus to other birds.
This is how animals carry and contract viruses from one another.
Countries across Asia are now on their guard.
But how can we prevent such outbreaks?
In truth, we ought to try our best to obstain from meat.
Then, fewer animals would need to be farmed.
This is good for the environment.
It is also good for our physical and spiritual health.
It also purities our body and mind and further helps our wisdom-life to grow.
It nurtures our compassion.
Such compassion is truly very important.
The reason many people can’t give up meat is because of craving.
We ought to cultivate ourselves mindfully.
These past few day, I’ve spoken of the first few stage of the ten stages of bodhisattva practice.
The fourth stage, the stage of glowing wisdom, is about diligence.
Since we aspire to spiritual practice, we should truly be diligent in it.
Only then can our wisdom become bright.
When the light of wisdom is shining bright, it is like the shining rays of the sun or a fire whose flames can purify or eradicate impurities.
This is the power of wisdom.
With wisdom, we can eradicate unwholesome thoughts.
When we keep unwholesome thoughts away, we won’t do wrong things and create bad karma.
Then, as a result of our diligent practice, our mind can settle down and become concentrated.
This is the next stage---the stage of overcoming the difficult.
It is about the state of meditative concentration.
When our minds are not swayed by external conditions sensed by the six senses, that is meditative concentration.
All of you bodhisattvas, we are continually swayed by external conditions as a result of our habitual tendencies, but as long as we stay vigilant and guard our mind, we can quickly and successful become impervious to them.
Our determination and mindfulness can erect a kind of wall that keeps temptation out.
It is just like the firewall that computers have.
We need to erect such a “firewall” in our mind.
Our vow to undertake a vegetarian fast is like this firewall.
It is by keeping a vegetarian fast that our body and mind become pure and clean.
All of you bodhisattvas, Mother Earth is already wounded and Nature’s equilibrium has been disrupted.
We must truly awaken if we are to save our world.
(Source: Da Ai TV 人間菩提)