V 2-3: Cultivate both Nature and Life. Interaction of the Wise with Karmic Conditions【性命双修，智者遇缘】
Disclaimer from the translator: My translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation based on my personal understanding of his teachings. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won't be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写， 都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. I am not an enlightened being like Master Lu, but I will treat his teachings with my utmost respect and do my best to convey and translate it to the best of my (limited) abilities for my friends and people who can’t read Chinese. Please enjoy and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
Cultivate both your nature 【性】and life 【命】. Many people know that when someone reaches old age or when they encounter a disaster, it’s hard to protect their nature and their life. What does it mean? Life here represents the physical body, and nature represents the spirit. That’s why both components are equally important to cultivate. To cultivate our nature is to cultivate our inherent nature and conscience. To cultivate life is to cultivate our bodies and conduct. If you don’t have a life, then you aren’t able to cultivate your nature.
In Buddhist philosophy, the cultivation of our inherent ‘Buddha’ nature is one of our goals as we aim to liberate our spirit from the karmic shackles of samsara. However, to cultivate it, we must possess a physical body that also possesses the potential to cultivate our mind and tap into our inherent nature. These qualities only exist when we are reborn into the Human realm. Thus, there’s the saying 【人身难得，佛法难闻】which means it’s very rare to attain a human body, and even rarer to encounter the Buddha-Dharma. Our human life is precious because only with it can we cultivate our nature and ultimately our spirit.
If your life is very bad, you experience a lot of hardships and suffering, and you don’t have the karmic affinity to encounter with Master’s Guan Yin Citta, then you are a very misfortunate person. Life is the foundation of cultivation, and cultivation must be done internally and externally. Internal cultivation is to cultivate a still mind; external cultivation is to become unhindered and relaxed when facing other sentient beings. Master often tells you all to cultivate ‘an appearance without hindrance’【外观无碍】, which means external cultivation. External cultivation requires mercy to cultivate your appearance to that of a Bodhisattva so that others see you as one. Once you cultivate the mind, your face will change. If today, your face looks ferocious, it basically means that your mind was not cultivated properly. A person must act like the subject they’re learning to become. If you’re learning to become a Bodhisattva, your appearance and your mind must be like a Bodhisattva's; then you’re a Bodhisattva. (Act as if, and eventually, you are【借假修真】). People who practise internal cultivation will have less physical sickness and sickness borne from worry and afflictions because their state of mind is peaceful. People who practise external cultivation will have a face that looks rosy and clean; their eyes will be spirited, they’ll have a tender nature, speak courteously and possess wisdom. Not knowing if nothing is said, but understands immediately once said.
No matter how noisy the external environment is, you must be able to listen to the voice from within - the voice of your Buddha-nature. Master teaches you a trick. No matter what you encounter, when a thought is produced, immediately learn how to resolve it. Think of it as a trial from the Bodhisattvas to test you. When you feel something bad is going to happen, then you must think as if it’s just a trial and start thinking about how you should pass this trial. Thus no matter what you encounter, as long as you think about the Bodhisattvas, what else in this world is there that you can’t overcome and become victorious?
学佛的人必须要记住，过去何必再去思量，现在不用紧张，念佛自然吉祥。就是已经过去的事情不要再去想了，未来无需恐慌， 还没有到的事情你干吗要恐慌，实实在在把握住一个今天，胜过两个明天，天天念佛就自然吉祥了，智者遇缘自得力，有智慧的人遇到所有的缘分，不论是善缘还是恶缘，都能得到其中的力量，很多人碰到困难时，反而坚定了信心，能得到其中的力量。有智慧的人不论是顺道 ，还是逆道都会从中得到益处。今天的失败是你明天的成功，今天的成功也有可能预示着你明天的失败，其实这都是一个缘。
Buddhist practitioners must take note. Why become entangled with the past? There's no need to be nervous; you will naturally be safe by reciting mantras. So don’t think about the past anymore and don’t be afraid about the future because nothing has happened yet. One today is worth two tomorrows, so grasp the present properly. Fortune will naturally attract to you if you recite mantras every day. The wise gain strength as they stay in accordance with karmic conditions. No matter what kind of karmic affinity that the wise encounters, whether it’s positive or negative, they would still be able to gain strength from it. There are many people whose faith strengthens in the face of difficulties and gains a surge of power from within. Hence the wise can make gains whether they experience goods times or bad times. Today’s failure might bring tomorrow’s success. Today’s success might result in tomorrow’s failure. In reality, everything is just a projection of karmic conditions.
Acting in accordance with karmic conditions 【随缘】is to behave in a way where you don’t complain when something doesn’t go in your favour or what you expect. It’s because you are aware that everything is just karma, and everything around you is just a projection of your karmic conditions. So you go just go with the flow and not against it. Hence you remain in accordance with it.
Now let me talk to you about a person’s sentiment. After much research, it’s concluded that it has a definite impact on a person’s immune system. How good or bad your sentiment is will affect your immune system. When a person loses their temper or becomes depressed, their immune system’s effectiveness declines. In the same way, when somebody gets angry, their body will produce a kind of toxin. That’s why anger can kill, or in other words, they get killed by their own poison due to a decline in their immune system. When a person is angry, their wisdom is dormant. No one can share your sickness that’s caused by your own rage. In reality, a person’s physical body is full of potential, how do tap into it? The answer is gratitude. The more grateful you are towards others, the greater the potential you can unleash. Thus you have more methods to resolve your problems. Gratitude can unleash your potential, enables you to resolve disasters and hardships, remove aversion and give birth to compassion.
As we live out our everyday lives, we must learn to cherish our blessings. When you’re healthy, don’t ruin your body, and then complain about it when you get sick. This is what we commonly describe as ‘a waste of life’. Cultivate yourself and accumulate merits regularly so when you get sick, you don't need to complain because you will quickly recover.
Here is a notice for disciples to take note. When you offer water to the Bodhisattvas at your Buddhist altar, don’t offer it into empty cups. (When offering water, the empty cups shouldn’t be placed on the altar already, and then pour water into). Instead, the cups must have some water inside it first. Water cleanses away greed. When offering to the Bodhisattvas, you must do so willfully and sincerely without any hesitation. Offering water will help subdue greed, aversion, delusion and stinginess.
Water has four functions:
1. It improves your sentiment. When offering water, your mind and body feel relaxed and healthy, and your six roots of sensations are temporarily pure.
2. It softens up your nature and keeps your thoughts mild. People who regularly drink water are calm. People who don’t regularly drink water are easy to lose their temper. For example, if your mouth is dry, your body heats up and you become easily provoked.
3. It soothes your throat and enables you to speak clearly and articulately, which sounds pleasing to the ear. Drinking water also calms the mind and enables you to think clearly.
4. It keeps your intentions clean and pure.
Master warns disciples to keep this in mind:
When you see someone’s teacher is very good, then you must learn from them. When you see someone is doing something virtuous, you must learn from them. When you see someone perform well and possess good conduct, you must learn from their example.