Lecturer: Master Cheng-Yan
Subject: Kind Words Begin in the Mind (好話從心)
Every day I tell everyone to take good care of their body, speech and mind. All negative karma begins with the slightest thoughts and words. So, practice carefully with body, speech and mind all the time, in every place, every relationship. “All the time” means morning, night or day, every minute, every second, we must watch ourselves vigilantly. Every second we must take good care of our actions, speech and thoughts. Not just any time, but any place. “A gentleman is cautious even when alone,” not just when he is among others. So, even when we are alone somewhere, we must remain cautious. We also need to mind every thought and word. Not only do we have to do this everywhere, we have to do it in all our interactions, in all of our relationships. All karmic affinities arise from relationships.
So, this world is the place for spiritual practice. When we are with other people, we need to take good care of our actions, speech and thoughts. Kind words arise from the mind. Kind deeds arise from our actions.To say something kind, we must always mind our habitual tendencies.
If we have good habits, we will say good things, no matter whom we talk to. Then, if we want to be negative, even if we think, “I want to say something harsh,” we cannot, because that good habit has become second nature to us. So, kind words arise from the mind. If we cultivate our minds to see the good at all times, to see every person, every matter as good, then whenever we speak, we will speak kind words. Good deeds are done with our bodies. We know that we must do good deeds promptly; it does not matter where, or whether it is for a stranger or someone close.
So, with our bodies, we should always be giving, acting to help others. Making good vows arises from body, speech, mind. Indeed, some may say, “Yes, I have made good vows. I’m always making good vows.” If you make a good vow, but do not back it up with actions, speech and thoughts, it is empty. When we make good vows, we must realize them in action, speech and thoughts. After we fulfill them, we need to continue making vows. Do not vow to help once. “Fine, I’ll help you once. Just once.” Why would we do it just once? We hope that we can always and repeatedly make vows to benefit everyone. These great vows must arise from our actions, speech and thoughts and be carried out in them as well.If not, they are empty.
Vows are useless without being carried out in action, speech and thought.
Make vows to give and follow through with actions, speech and thoughts.Then our vows will not become empty vows.Cultivate body, speech, mind at all times, in every place, and in every relationship.
Good words arise from the mind, good deeds arise from our actions.Always be vigilant and you will not create karma.
Let us look at this passage in the repentance text.
“We repent the Human Realm, where with public and private speech we contaminate and slander others as retribution.”
“We repent the Human Realm, where we are bedridden by illness.”
“For years, we do not recover and stay in bed.”
“We cannot get up as retribution.”
This passage says that in the Human Realm, interacting with others is inevitable.Sometimes it is for business reasons, sometimes for private matters.Whichever is the case, we may pass along information when we communicate with others.Whether they are close to us or unfamiliar, in summary, whenever we talk we use our mouths and tongues.At that moment we “contaminate each other”.This means we learn from each other how to gossip, speak harshly, lie and flatter.We learn these habits from others.
So, we slander each other as retribution.We learn to create something out of nothing.When negative perspectives enter our minds, they show up in our actions and speech.So, we praise each other when we are happy.We slander each other when we are unhappy.
Besides creating bad affinities, slander also creates many conflicts.These are learned habits.
So, we slander each other as retribution.“We repent the Human Realm where we are bedridden by illness.”“For years, we do not recover and stay in bed.”“We cannot get up as retribution.”
This is because of illness.We are all human. Who does not get sick?But when some people get sick, they suffer from long-term chronic diseases.They are bed-ridden for a long time.
They are unable to take care of their bodies.Think about the suffering this entails the unspeakable pain.We sowed these bad seeds in the past, so in this life we encounter helplessness, retribution of illness and suffering.
“We repent the Human Realm, where we face winter epidemics and summer plagues, airborne diseases and typhoid as retribution.”
“We repent the Human Realm, where we swell with harmful winds or have blockages as retribution.”
“We repent the Human Realm, where all evil spirits wait for the chance to cause us disaster as retribution.”
These are also illness of body and mind.Our bodies suffer from diseases in all four seasons.
“The flu is coming!”Winter has its infectious diseases and summer has its contagions.In winter, summer, fall, and spring, in each of the different seasons, there are these various epidemic diseases, such as the flu, etc.Pandemics are the most frightening.Animals have their own worlds, humans have theirs.Animals have animal germs.Humans have human germs.
But now, human and animal germs are slowly mingling.When these germs interact, regardless of the season or the life form, once there is an illness, it will start to spread.
Nowadays, we often talk about avian flu.When animals get sick, people will get sick.
This mutual infection becomes a pandemic. Pandemics are not seasonal. The present situation is different from the past. Winters used to have certain illnesses and summers used to have others , but now it is increasingly mixed.There is a lot of cross-infection. Then there are “airborne illnesses and typhoid”. Enterovirus, diarrhea, cold, cholera, or dysentery, etc， are all part of sentient beings’ Collective Karma. In the past I always said that animals develop these illnesses because of how we raise them and throw their immune systems into imbalance.So animals infect animals, people infect people, and animals infect people. So everyone’s immune systems are compromised. This is all caused by human behavior.
Next, we swell with harmful winds. This refers to illness related to wind and cold.Some say joint pain, or swollen joints, are caused by winds. The body has an element of wind, so rheumatism is when joints swell and hurt when there is damp wind. Sometimes there is a blockage. When we have a blockage, air cannot move through.Sometimes the lungs dry up and breathing is obstructed. This is also a karmic retribution.
Perhaps we have not taken good care of ourselves. Some smoke, drink alcohol, or work as miners or in very polluted places. Over time, their lungs harden.Whatever the case, it is created by human behavior. We then repent again. “We repent the Human Realm, where all evil spirits wait for the chance to cause us disaster as retribution”. Some people say they offended some spirit, or were cursed by someone else, etc.Perhaps this is a mental illness; their own suspicions create the problem. But we also need to know, there are spirits three inches above us. We reap the effects of the causes we sow. If we are upright and vibrant, we are unaffected.
We repent the Human Realm, where we hear odd bird cries, or see flying corpses, evil ghosts, and fake monsters as retributions.
We repent the Human Realm, where tigers, leopards, jackals, wolves, and all beasts of the water or land hurt us as retribution.
These are animal-related. Sometimes we hear birds cry. When ravens caw, the sound is terrible. Everyone thinks raven caws are bad omens. Actually, in places like India, they think this brings good news. But the sound is awful to hear.Some people say this type of bird cry is unlucky. These are odd cries “Flying corpses and evil ghosts”. We may clearly know that someone has died, but we see them flying around.This is not real ; it is an illusion.Did this illusory state come out of nowhere ?Not at all. We created these evil seeds. So. These illusions arise in our minds and cause us a lot of fear.These are retributions of “fake monsters”.They are not real , so they are fake. Some people fake ghosts and spirits to make us feel fearful , worried and anxious. In this way ,people cause mischief for each other.We also need to repent“tigers , leopards , jackals , wolves and all beasts of the water or land,”all these animals that can hurt us.
Sometimes in the world or in cities we see a dog that is usually docile.But in a past life ,perhaps we created bad affinities with it.It vowed to take revenge when we meet , so it gets very angry when it sees us.Not only does it bark , it will chase us and bite.We do not even need to talk about wild animals ;we can be harmed by things that we see every day.
So ,in our daily living , we should take good care of body , speech and mind.
“We repent the Human Realm , where we hang , stab , or kill ourselves as retribution.”
“We repent the Human Realm , where we throw ourselves into pits , run into fire,drown ourselves or purposely fall as retribution.”
“We repent the Human Realm , where we have no dignity or fame as retribution.”
This means that in this world some people are unable to let things go. They see a lack of success in everythings they do.In all their relationships ,so they get depressed. They can hurt themselves. Whatever way they hurt themselves is a form of retribution？If they did not plant
seeds of suicide in the past ,no matter how much they suffer in this life ,they would still know to cherish their lives.But they planted such a seed in the past ,so they are filled with anxiety in this life. They are always unhappy and very depressed ,so they want to commit suicide.They try to do so in many ways. This is also form of retribution.Suicide does not end everything.It is the seed for committing suicide again in the next life. This is retribution.
So ,in this lifetime ,we must willingly accept everything if we happily did something in the past,we need to willingly accept the consequences now.
“We repent the Human Realm , where we throw ourselves into pits , urn into fire,drown ourselves or purposely fall as retribution.”
This is very simple.Everyone can understaned it. If we throw ourselves into a fire pit,or jump into the water , or off of a building , or off a cliff , ect .,we do not know to cherish ourselves.
Or we may carelessly fall ,etc.These actions in past or present lives add to our list of retributions.Next , “We repent the Human Realm,where we have no dignity or fame as retribution.”Some people are very resentful“Clearly my spiritual practice is very advanced.”“Why doesn’t anyone respet me?”“I have no dignity at all”.That is because their virtue has no manifested.Evey if they have cultivated their minds, their virtue has no manifested yet.
So ,we must not complain.Spiritual practices is our duty. Whether or not people respect us ,
whether we are recognized or not ,this does not matter to us. Everyone needs to know.In this life ,we came into this world with karma. Since we come with karma ,we need to understand bad and good karma.
We now know we should not create bad karma. We need to constantly accumulate good karma.So ,we must cultivate body , speech , and mind.Do not waste time, space or relationships. Good words arise from the mind.If we cultivate a good mind ,everything we say will be correct ,will be good words. Good deeds come from our actions. Make good vows and
realize them in action , speech and thought.
Everyone, we must put the teachings into practice.When we did not know, we unknowingly created evil causes and conditions. Now that we know ,we must immediately correct our faults ,and create good causes and conditions. This beings with actions , speech ,and thoughts.
Everyone , please always be mindful.
(Source: Da Ai TV 靜思晨語 法譬如水)