Lecturer: Master Zheng-Yan
Subject: The Six Practices: Ten Abiding Conducts（Part 6）(六行~十住行六)
The way to learn Buddhism is to cultivate the mind. We discussed the Ten Bodies and the Ten Abiding Conducts. The eight is Abiding in Childlike Innocence. We will talk about the Ten Bodies of Childlike Innocence. We have talked about Sentient Being-body, Land-body, Karma-body, Sravaka-body, Pratyekabuddha-body, Bodhisattva-body, Tathagata-body, Wisdom-body, Dharma-body, and Absolute Space-body. They are the Ten Bodies within Abiding in Childlike Innocence. They seem like never-ending layers. Is this the end? No, this is just the eighth of the Ten Abiding Conducts. We are going to discuss the ninth Abiding Conduct, Abiding in the Dharma-prince. Before there is childlike innocence, there is noble conception. Once conceived, a sagely child will be born and will grow up with childlike innocence. He is called the Dharma-prince. So the text says, “Nurture the sagely child” “Tender Buddhist seeds” “Be the prince of Dharma” Each one of us should [be mindful of] each seed. We mentioned that cultivation does not begin in this life. It began in our past lives, when we accumulated the karma of good and bad deeds. The good in our past may have been an affinity with the Buddha. When we have such karmic seeds, we have the affinity. So if we practice during this life it means that somehow, without our knowing we have the karmic seeds. It is just like the conception of the sagely child.
If there was no affinity, there would not be a seed. Without the seed, there would be no favorable conditions to let us practice. So we must cherish the fact that in one of our past lives we must have had affinities with the Buddha. The Lotus Sutra also mentions that within a Dharma-assembly, some of the people in the audience may have made connections with the Buddha since Beginningless Time. Perhaps during the Buddha’s time they had heard. His teachings and planted the seed. The Buddha said, “There will be innumerable Kalpas in the future” “In this place of spiritual cultivation” “when a seed is sown” “it will germinate repeatedly” “You will still hear my Dharma teachings,” “practice my Way,” “and transform sentient beings in this world” .That is all from a seed of thought. Whether past, present, future, or future lives, our karmic connection remains. We should always cherish this seed. If we follow this line of thinking, then everyone possesses this seed. We should cherish it life after life, We should cherish it life after life, without losing or damaging it.
The seed can be damaged fairly easily just like rice, the current harvest grew from the seeds of the previous harvest.After the rice plant is harvested there will be rice grains, which can be milled into white rice, or can be used to grow new plants in the next season.The seeds germinate, and are then planted.Once the plants mature, they bear new grains.These are the different forms of the same object.However, it goes through stages of development.The initial crops are the seeds for planting.If we wait too long to plant the seeds, they can be ruined because they will be too old.So we say we must seize the moment.Timing is very important.If we already have the Buddha-seed, then when the conditions are right, we must seize the moment.We are carrying the noble child with this seed, we must nurture it diligently.That is the way to nurture the noble child.
It is just like our cultivation practice.Cultivation requires diligence, and never slacking off.Diligence is not just bowing to the Buddha or chanting His name with recitation beads.No.
That appears to be physical diligence, but the mind is most important.Are we mentally diligent?What is mental diligence?It is possessing the Buddha-mind.The Buddha-mind is great compassion.We believe we are kind, but do we put our kindness into our actions?Living beings suffer many hardships.Are we willing to help?If you are, then you are on the Bodhisattva-path.At the end of the Bodhisattva-path is Buddhahood.
Rice goes from, seed to seeding, plant, and then seed again.This is to say, if we do not go through the Bodhisattva-path, how can we reach fruition?It is important to walk the Path.
Thus, one of the Buddha’s Six Practices is the Ten Abiding Conducts.Of the Ten Abiding Conducts, the eighth Abiding Conduct, specifically points out the Ten Bodies, to provide us with a skillful way of understanding that all things in this world can take a variety of forms.
To understand life, there are several ways to practice.To help us reach the state of Buddha, He gave us many ways to walk the bodhisattva-path.These are the Buddha’s teachings.To propagate Buddha-seeds, we must start from our own seed and nurture it carefully.Only when the seed has matured can we develop connections to transform beings and grow our own wisdom at the same time.
Thus, the Great or Small Vehicle is like riding a bicycle.You can ride alone or with another person.That is called Vehicle.It is like driving or riding in a car.Both the driver and passenger arrive together.Like riding a bus or a train, both the driver and passenger arrive together.
This is just like practicing together.Carrying one person is the same as carrying hundreds of thousands of people. Both are carrying people. Thus, we should practice the Great Vehicle and grow together. As I have often said, we are living in the Era of Decay. Pollution has led to climate imbalance and unpredictable weather patterns. The earth polluted and damaged. So in this Era of Decay, all living beings share collective karma. We must quicken the pace of our cultivation to propagate Buddha-seeds by recruiting living Bodhisattvas. Recruiting living Bodhisattvas is “propagate Buddha-seeds.”
By nurturing people and creating connections, everyone will have the affinity to walk the Path of living Bodhisattvas and purify people minds. Only when minds are purified can the world cease to be polluted. This is particularly true in human relationships. So to “nurture the sagely child and propagate Buddha-seeds” is very important. Hopefully, we are all Dharma-princes. We must make a resolution to shoulder the Buddha’s mission. We will then be called Dharma-princes.
When one engages in good deeds to benefit others, one is nurturing the noble birth of sages. When one engages in the recruitment of living. Bodhisattvas, one is propagating the Buddha-seeds. When we accomplish these two, we can be recognized as Dharma-princes.
Next is Abiding in Anointment. There was a custom in India- when the king’s son reached adulthood, the king would pass the throne to him. For the ceremony, they used the purest water from the four seas to sprinkle on the prince’s head. In Buddhism, doing this is called taking refuge, which means one becomes a disciple of the Buddha and abides by the rules of the Three Treasures. There are three refuges and five precepts that a Buddhist must follow. Upholding the five precepts one maintains a pure mind, which is the staring stage of cultivation. But the initiation ceremony here, like the king passing his power to his son, is to hope that everyone becomes Buddha’s disciple and carry out the Buddha’s mission. We should dedicate our life to this mission, thus, Abide in Anointment.
Bodhisattvas are children of the Buddha. The Buddha will anoint the Bodhisattvas with the water of wisdom, affirming their identity as adults. This is called Abide in Anointment.
Bodhisattvas are children of the Buddha. “Buddha anoints them with water of wisdom.” I hope that as disciples of the Buddha, we accept the Dharma, Dharma is like cleansing water. For a long time, I have spoken to you every morning, patiently laying out the Buddha’s teachings in details and depth. I used simple examples from daily life to share the teachings so you can understand. It is like the trickling of water. I hope Dharma-water will trickle into your minds and anoint you like sprinkling water on the head, nurturing your Wisdom-life.
Therefore, the text says “The Buddha anoints them with water of wisdom affirming their identity as adults.“ The trickling of water can develop and affirm one’s maturity. I hope that with these drops of Dharma-water, our Wisdom-life will grow so we can become Dharma-princes, which is our aspiration.I hope everyone accepts the Buddha-Dharma with wisdom. Do not waster your lives. It is easier to practice with other people. If one is away from a community, he may become a lone Self-realizer and obtain emancipation for himself alone. Such an individual is only a Pratyekabuddha, who only achieves his own realization and is unable reach Buddhahood.
The lotus Sutra says practicing to only benefit oneself is like eliminating Buddha-seeds, since they do not wish for others to know [Dharma]. This is not the right way. So we must seize time and cultivate not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of all living beings.
Spiritual practice is to work among people, and to seize the opportunity to benefit the world. Practicing only to benefit oneself is like eliminating Buddha-seeds.
We most cherish the Buddha-seed within us, as it is possible that we could have been at the Lotus Assembly in a previous life, listening to the Buddha expound Dharma. It is also possible that we were accepted as Buddha’s disciples during the Assembly or that we came into this life pursuant to our vow to save suffering beings. Everything is possible. So we must cherish the opportunity to work among people, and dedicate our lives to helping others. Although life is full of suffering and worries, we must realize that this is the realm of ordinary people.
Since we live among sentient beings, we face daily hardships and worries that easily give rise to afflictions. Even after hearing the Dharma, we still focus on ourselves and compare ourselves with others. Such a mindset is difficult to tame. It is said that living beings minds have aggressive minds that must be overcome with effort. If we are unable to do so, we become concerned. Being concerned is different from affliction. Affliction comes from selfishness, when we attach to our cravings. These are afflictions and ignorance. In Taiwanese being concerned is being worried, and being empathetic. Though we devote ourselves to helping others, our tempers and egos are difficult to change. So, we become worried and anxious.
That is inevitable Bodhisattvas are Enlightened Sentient Beings. They still possess emotions, so they remain among living beings. One must achieve realization and devote his life to helping others. This is called realization with compassion. When we are still connected to living beings, we inevitably worry. After putting in so much effort we worry about others falling behind. But such worries are part of what we resolve to do. It is process to reach the state of Buddha, it is the Bodhisattva-path.
Everyone we have discussed the Ten Abiding conducts. We have completely the topic of the Ten Conducts. I hope everyone can fing the Childlike Innocence within the Conducts. For the past few days we have talked about the Ten Bodies. The Ten Conducts in the Six Practices are part of the Buddha’s cultivation process. These Ten Abiding Conducts must be reached patiently stage by stage. Please always be mindful.
(Source: Da Ai TV 靜思晨語 法譬如水)