Master Hua on Cultivation

Cultivating virtue, generosity, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, resolve, universal love, equanimity, compassion.
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Nicholas
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Master Hua on Cultivation

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Source: Some Recorded Sayings of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua. From Lotuses in the Spring Sun (Chwun-er Lyan-hwa), Taiwan 1995.
In cultivating one must be "free of any particular motives in one's actions." Don't have thoughts of greed. Don't be thinking, "I'd like to have it be this way or that way. I'd like to become enlightened. I'd like to get spiritual powers." How could it be so rapid as this? Take the seeds and plant them down in the soil. Then it's necessary to wait for them to slowly grow forth. When the time arrives, then they will naturally ripen. (p.100)
*****
In cultivating, one must look upon it as one's basic responsibility. It's not necessary to be greedy. After a time then one's merit will naturally become perfectly full and the result of bodhi will be able to be perfected. Originally, it may have been that one should have experienced success, but because of excessive greed, on the contrary, one's unable to even chew it all. When one eats it's necessary to eat one bite at a time. If one takes a whole bowl of rice and stuffs all of it in one's mouth, jamming it into one's mouth so that there's no space in there at all, you tell us, how are you going to eat it? When you go to chew it, you won't even be able to move your mouth! How much the less would you be able to swallow it down. Eating is the simplest of similes. This is what's meant by, "When one's too greedy, one bites off more than he can chew." (p.101)
If you want even more of Bodhisattva Hsuan Hua's teachings, here are some free pdfs:

http://www.buddhisttexts.org/free-dharma-talks.html
Last edited by Nicholas on Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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People who cultivate the Way need first off to not be selfish. This matter isn't one which should be undertaken solely for the sake of insuring one's own security, but rather it should be out of the need to benefit the entire world. It's necessary to let go of one's self. It's not that one thinks, "In this respect and in that respect I'm really incomparably great!" Rather one must act out of concern for preserving the larger state of affairs. (p.102)
*****
In every single moment, people who cultivate the Way should take the problem of birth and death and hang it right at the level of their eyebrows. In every single moment, one must always be motivated to put an end to birth and gain liberation from death. (p.103)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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In every single movement and in every single action the beings of the Saha world act entirely out of greed, entirely out of hatred or entirely out of stupidity. In the methods typical of the world they use greed, hatred and stupidity as they go on about cultivating their conduct. Now in taking up the methods for transcending the world, they still use greed, hatred and stupidity as they go on about cultivating their conduct. In cultivating they become greedily attached to becoming enlightened. They sit in dhyana meditation for two and a half days and figure that they ought to become enlightened then. They cultivate a dharma for two and a half days and figure that they ought to have gotten spiritual powers. They recite the Buddha's name for two and a half days and then figure that they should gain the mindfulness-of-the-buddha samadhi! You just take a look at how huge a mind of greed is involved in this. These are all manifestations of the ghost of the greedy mind. (p.105)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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In cultivating the Way, if one is unable to change one's faults, then this is just the same as not cultivating the Way at all. In studying the Buddha Dharma, if one is unable to realize one's own faults and the necessity of change them, then this is just the same as not studying the Buddha Dharma at all. In this connection, there is the so-called, "Having gone through fifty years one then realizes the forty-nine years of faults." If one realizes the points where one has been wrong in what one has practiced and done in the past, anyone who experiences this kind of feeling is a person who possesses wisdom. The road of the future is full of an immeasurable amount of brightness. If on the other hand one does not realize where one has been wrong in the past, this person will remain confused for the rest of his life. One who seeks after an empty reputation is just being confused by the dust of the sense objects. People of this sort are so very pitiable! (p.105)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Its a daily general practice but one could always use correction in showing you what you're doing wrong.
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Those who leave the home life and cultivate the Way must make vows. The making of vows constitutes the vigorous cultivation of the Way. The making of vows serves to alert one to change the bad and bring in the good. If one cultivates the Way and yet does not make vows, then this is the same as a fruit tree bringing forth blossoms and yet producing no fruit. This just doesn't happen. If one has already made vows, then it is best that one make them over again once every day. It is on account of refreshing the old that one realizes the new. One then succeeds in remembering the vows which one has made and in remembering what endeavors one should be engaged in. Then one won't be able to make vows which are only empty vows. One won't be able to cheat oneself while also cheating others. And one won't be able to take those vows which one has made and just forget them. (p.106)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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We people are all of the opinion that we are engaged in doing good works. But in reality, it is not certain that they really are good works. Why is this. It is because the seed is not pure. If you employ greedy thoughts in your doing of good works, this is what's known as a case of the seeds being impure. If you use a mind which takes pleasure in supremacy over others in the doing of good works, this too is a case of the seeds being impure. Then what is one to do? One just needs to be "free of any particular motives in one's actions." Whatever we are doing, it's just our basic responsibility. Don't engage in externally-directed seeking. Don't have anything which you are seeking to get out of it. (p.107)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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The Dharma-door of Reciting the Buddha’s name works
very directly. You need only to concentrate your mind, and
naturally you will attain the Buddha Recitation Samadhi. There
is no need to further investigate its meaning, or pile a head on
top of a head, looking for business when there’s nothing to do.
Reciting to the point of single-mindedness, when the water fl ows
and the wind blows, all are proclaiming the wonderful Dharma
of the Mahayana. Of the mountains, rivers and great earth, none
are not our self-nature of True Suchness. The Buddha and I have
become one; the Buddha and I were originally not two. When the
point is reached of not reciting and yet reciting, reciting and yet
not reciting, then inside there is no body or mind and outside there
is no world. Empty space is smashed to pieces, the tracks of false
thoughts have vanished. In lucid stillness, the pure original source
appears. Then one attains great ease and comfort, great liberation,
and great calm. One can certify to limitless life and fulfi ll one’s
vows of Bodhi.
Master Hua on Buddha Recitation
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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In every moment concentrate on the Buddha’s
name, “Namo Amitabha”, without stopping. You recite when
you’re asleep, you recite when you are awake, to the point that this
phrase of the six magical syllables, “Namo Amitabha”, becomes
indestructible. Stretch it out, you can’t snap it; chop at it, you can’t
cut through it; even if you use a sword or knife, you still won’t be
able to break it. Its strength is more solid than that of diamonds.
There is no way you can destroy this “Namo Amitabha”. That is
what’s called the Buddha Recitation Samadhi.

You should recite the Buddha’s name in this way, and you
should recite the Sutras in the same way; you should hold mantras
in this way, too. In doing so, there is no way you will be able to
strike up any false thoughts. Cultivation is not easy.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Once one has completed a repentance, one must make a vow: "As for all of those things which have gone before it shall be just as if I died yesterday. As for all those things which shall come afterwards, it shall be as if I was just born today." Afterwards one must absolutely not transgress again. If one acts accordingly, then one will be able to cause his offense karma to melt away. (p.109)
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Cultivators of the Way, do not cheat yourselves.
It won’t work to plug your ears while stealing a bell.
Barren blossoms cannot bear real fruit.
What a shame to leave precious time pass by vain!
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Before you have attained the fruition of sagehood, you must study the Buddhadharma. Before you have realized Buddhahood, you must cultivate. Cultivating means “diligently cultivating precepts, samadhi, and wisdom and putting an end to greed, anger, and delusion.” Every day you must look within and examine your own faults; don’t find fault with others. Don’t be like a mirror that only reflects externals, thinking, “This Bhikshu doesn’t cultivate; that Bhikshuni doesn’t practice either. Who knows what they do from morning to night?” You manage to wash the clothes of the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis until they are sparkling clean, but your own clothes are still dirty. You don’t know how to wash your own dirty laundry. You say, “But I want to practice the Bodhisattva path. I want to help others do their laundry, so I haven’t bothered to do my own.” Well, if you don’t pay attention to your own laundry, you’ll become filthy. You should first wash your own laundry—benefit yourself, and then you can proceed to help others do their laundry—benefit others. But if you only know how to benefit others and forget to benefit yourself, you are rather deluded. People like that are pitiful.
From his commentary on chapter one of the Avatamsaka Sutra
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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If we wish to return to the source, we must first end our own birth and death. If we don’t end birth and death, we won’t be able to return to the source. If we wish to end birth and death, the very first thing to do is to put an end to thoughts of lust. If we don’t put an end to lust, we won’t be able to end birth and death or get out of the Three Realms.

The Surangama Sutra clearly states, “If one does not get rid of lust, one cannot transcend the world.” To not get rid of lustful thoughts and still wish to realize the Way is like cooking sand hoping to get rice. How could anyone cook sand and expect it to turn into rice? That’s impossible. Not to cast out lustful thoughts and still wish to transcend the Three Realms and end birth and death exemplifies the same principle. That is what the Surangama Sutra says. People who have heard the Surangama Sutra, who have lectured on it, and who have investigated it should pay close attention to this point. Neither monastics nor laypeople should forget this principle.

Why do people have false thoughts? It happens because they have forgotten this very principle. They may pay lip service to it, but subsequent to that they lapse into idle thinking. The Buddha spoke the Dharma to teach us not to indulge in idle thoughts. Without idle thoughts, the darkness is gone, and our thinking clears up and becomes pure. Pure thoughts are the Pure Land. This is the dharma for returning to the source.
From his commentary on chapter one of the Avatamsaka Sutra
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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We living beings come into this world and renounce the roots while we grasp at the branches. We forget the fundamental matters, turn our backs on enlightenment and unite with the “dust” – the wearisome mundane world. That is why we forget the Buddhas and never remember to be mindful of them.
From his comments on the Surangama Sutra
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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On Dharma realms, in this new, small, cheap booklet:

http://www.buddhisttexts.org/one-thought.html
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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A person’s fate is flexible, not fixed. Everything is in his own hands.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Time is like an arrow; the days and months fly by like a shuttlecock. The waves in the river follow one
after another. Glory fades quickly. In the world, youth is followed by old age. In this way, we gradually return to the decay and extinction of old age and death, leaving no trace or shadow. Clearly, everything is impermanent.
Since everything is impermanent, we should quickly find a refuge. All of you can count yourselves lucky, for you have searched around and finally come to believe in the Buddha. Faith in the Buddha enables us to attain the ultimate happiness of permanence, joy, true self, and purity. Therefore we should believe in the Buddha. But it’s not enough to say that we believe. We also have to cultivate according to the Dharma. If you believe but do not cultivate, its like talking about food without eating it. or counting the wealth of others — it doesn’t benefit you in the least. So the ancients said:

The Way must he practiced. If it is not
practiced, what use is the Way?
Virtue must he cultivated. If it is not cultivated,
from where does virtue come?


We should personally practice, always hanging the words “birth” and “death” on our brows, and putting the words “Way” and “virtue” beneath our feet. Maybe that’s hard to understand—why should we put the words “Way” and “virtue” under our feet? Because the Way and virtue are a person’s foundation. They are to us what roots are to a tree. Once we have the Way and virtue, we can stand on our own feet. But with no base under our feet, we have no place to stand. We are in a fix, unable to advance or retreat, and we cannot accomplish anything. If we can actually practice these two things, then we can establish a good character and naturally be successful in whatever we do. So it is said, “The Way and virtue are the foundation of being a person.” The Analects of Confucius also say, “The superior person attends to the root. When the root is established, the Way comes forth.” Only when the fundamentals are tended to can the Way come forth. This is wise advice from the ancients.
From a Hong Kong talk in 1958.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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The last section of the Surangama Sutra has Buddha teaching on major demonic states that can afflict advanced aspirants. Here are a few of Master Hua's comments on demons from that chapter Eight:
Sutra:

“You are still not aware of the subtle demonic events that
can occur when you cultivate shamatha and vipashyana. If you
cannot recognize a demonic state when it appears, it is because
the cleansing of your mind has not been proper. You will then be
engulfed by deviant views.


Commentary:

You are still not aware… Earlier, Ananda asked the Buddha
how to cultivate. He had requested the Dharma on behalf of living
beings of the future. But, although he now understands the principle
of cultivation, he doesn’t have any actual experience. He
understands the theory, but since he lacks experience, he doesn’t
know what can occur in cultivation. So the Buddha said, “You are
still not aware of the subtle demonic events that can occur when
you cultivate shamatha and vipashyana."
In cultivating
shamatha, which refers to the Great Shurangama Samadhi, and in
cultivating vipashyana, a method of subtle contemplation, subtle
demonic states can arise. In the process of cultivation, many
demonic states can arise which are not very obvious, but, rather,
extremely obscure.

If you cannot recognize a demonic state when it appears…
When you are cultivating the Way and practicing the skill of
“directing the hearing inward to listen to the inherent nature,” a
demonic state may appear. If you do not recognize the demon and
do not know what demons are, it is because the cleansing of your
mind has not been proper.
You have been cleansing your mind,
but what you have done is slightly incorrect not in accord with
proper knowledge and views. For that reason, you will then be
engulfed by deviant views
. If your knowledge and views are the
slightest bit improper, you will be caught up in deviant views.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Here is the entire chapter Eight with Master's comments. This chapter is (or used to be) available as a single volume book from BTTS - Buddhist Text Translation Society.

http://online.sfsu.edu/rone/Buddhism/Sh ... screen.pdf
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Re: Master Hua on Cultivation

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Shurangama Sutra:

It is also possible to feel satisfied after a small accomplishment,
like the Unlearned Bhikshu who reached the Fourth
Dhyana and claimed that he had realized sagehood.


Commentary:

It is also possible to feel satisfied after a small accomplishment.
In cultivation, even if you do not become possessed by a
demon, you must still have genuine wisdom and Dharma selecting
vision. If you recognize the Buddhadharma, you yourself should
know what level you have reached. Don’t obtain only a little bit and
feel satisfied, like the Unlearned Bhikshu who reached the
Fourth Dhyana and claimed that he had realized sagehood.
He
was called the Unlearned Bhikshu because he didn’t have much
sense. He knew little about the principles of Buddhism. In what
way was he unlearned? Basically, the four fruitions of Arhatship
are all beyond the Four Dhyana Heavens. [...]
All of these states surpass the Four Dhyana Heavens.
The Unlearned Bhikshu had only reached the
level of the Fourth Dhyana Heaven in his cultivation, but he
thought he had already realized the fourth fruition of Arhatship. In
fact, at the level of the Fourth Dhyana Heaven, one has not realized
any fruition and is still an ordinary person.

But the Unlearned Bhikshu claimed that he had attained the
fourth fruition of Arhatship. Now, however, people think that the
level of a fourth stage Arhat is still too low for them, and they
brazenly claim that they themselves are Buddhas. But a Buddha has
Three Bodies, Four Wisdoms, Five Eyes, and Six Spiritual Powers.
You can ask those people who claim to be Buddhas how many
spiritual powers they have. Ghosts have five of the Six Spiritual
Powers; they lack the spiritual power of freedom from outflows. At
the fruition of Buddhahood, one has all Six Spiritual Powers. I
believe that anyone who merely claimed to be a Buddha would not have
even one spiritual power, let alone five or six. Only someone
lacking spiritual powers would claim to be a Buddha. Anyone with
even one spiritual power wouldn’t tell such a great lie.
Truth is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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