Dharma is a Way to Train your Spirit

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Voice of Longquan     Time:2017-11-24 22:23:28
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Buddhist practice cannot be perfected with one or two sessions. It requires consistency. For example, even if you know how to strenghten your muscles through working out, will there be any result if you just think about it in your mind or only work out occasionally? Dharma is a kind of training for your spirit.

Q: Master, I am fond of antiques, sumptuous clothes and furniture, is  this wrong? How  should I train my mind to get rid of this erroneous obsession? 

A:  According to secular customs, such hobbies are not deemed to be wrong. But for Buddhist  practitioners, the ultimate goal of all behavior is to be freed from life and death and to break down obsessions. The most elegant chain is still a chain that binds you ,and you need to emancipate yourself from this chain rather than cling to it.   An inability to see pain and joy comes about throughignorance; Old habits might still persist even though you know  the truth.  Thus, overcoming  these kinds of old habits is an arduous journey which requires  a profound understanding of secular truths and the value of Dharma.  Be persistent  in your Buddhist practice.


Q: Greetings Master! I care about others’comments way too much, and I panic if I find someone is talking about me behind my back. I know I shouldn’t do this, but I can’t help speculating about about what others think or say about me. How can I let go of my ego and not care about others’ comments? Thank you Master!

A: The true you is completely different from you as you are seen in others’ eyes. The former is a phenomenon derived from the coming together of the five aggregates. The latter is a shadow that exists in the hearts of others. Different people may have vastly different mental images of the same person. A lion will not become a dog just because others say that it is a dog. Others’opinions never equal the true you. To take other people’s opinions to heart is to chase after the image of you that exists in their mind, and this is an impossible thing to do. Others’ opinions themselves are merely refracted shadows of their own perceptions; if you still choose to chase these shadows, your heart will be drowned amongst the  frustrations caused by this vain pursuit. When dealing with others’comments and suggestions, you should remember to “correct the mistakes you have made and guard against those you haven’t" and so better understand yourself through the feedback of others. To do this is to truly respect and love yourself, without becoming obsessed with others’ subjective judgements or preferences.


Q: Master, by studying the Dharma, I have come to understand that life is short and that things in the mundane world are predestined by Karma, so that anger and obsession are vain and needless emotions. However, when I encounter problems, I still tend to forget the truth that life will eventually return to dust and that obsession will end in vain. My attitude towards dealing with matters is still skewed toward anger and obsession, and this frustrates me very much.I entreat you, please give me some instruction!

A: This is because your thinking is still lacking with regards to the Dharma. Dwelling on the surface of the Dharma is far from enough. Buddhist practice cannot be perfected with one or two sessions. It requires consistency. For example, even if you know how to strenghten your muscles through working out, will there be any result if you just think about it in your mind or only work out occasionally? Dharma is a kind of training for your spirit.


Q: Greetings Master! Please could you give me some instruction regarding vows and resolutions? Recently I read Liao Fan’s Four Lessons and found that Liao Fan made a resolution to do 3,000 good deeds. Does this correspond to praying to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for blessings and success while offering 3,000 good deeds in exchange or as the fulfillment of a vow? In secular life, some pray to the Buddha in order to make something happen, promising that if their wish comes true they will do something like have a gold statue of the Buddha cast in exchange.What’s the difference between the two?

A: The key to the deeds done by Liao Fan lies with himself. They are a demand he makes upon himself. Lay people vow to the Buddha with the hope of receiving something from the external world. Dharma talks about Karma and the causes of events. You yourself are the primary cause; The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas outside yourself are the secondary cause.  The unity of primary and secondary causes brings about outcomes as you perceive them. The external influence of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is surpassingly wonderful and this is why prayer is meaningful. However, the internal factor is most crucial and many people neglect this.

Editor:Bella Liu
Tags:consistency, others’comments, chain, primary and secondary causes

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