The Buddha said, people are unable to renounce wealth and sex. They are just like a child who cannot resist honey on the blade of a knife. Even though the amount is not even enough for a single meal serving , he will lick it and risk cutting his tongue in the process. "
The twenty-second section explains clearly that wealth and sex have little flavor, but cause great harm. So people with wisdom should not be like ignorant children who crave a sweet flavor.
The Buddha said, people are unable to renounce wealth and sex. " In this world, there is wealth on the one hand, and sex on the other. These two harm many people who cultivate the Way. If people who cultivate the Way cannot renounce wealth, they will be greedy for it. If they cannot renounce sex, they will be greedy for sex. If you are greedy for wealth and sex, you cannot accomplish your work in the Way. Most people cannot renounce these two. What are they like? The Buddha brings up an analogy. They are just like a child who cannot resist honey on the blade of a knife. Even though the amount is not even enough for a single meal serving, he will lick it and risk cutting his tongue in the process. There a little bit of honey on the sharp edge of the knife, not even enough for one meal serving. Seeing the honey on the blade of the knife, a child licks it. Ignorant people who crave wealth and sex are just like the child who craves the honey on the knife and who thus risks cutting his tongue. Therefore, we must certainly see through and put down wealth and sex. Only then can we obtain self-mastery.
The Buddha said, eople are bound to their families and homes to such an extent that these are worse than a prison. Eventually one is released from prison, but people never think of leaving their families. Don they fear the control that emotion, love, and sex have over them? Although they are in a tiger jaws, their hearts are blissfully oblivious. Because they throw themselves into a swamp and drown, they are known as ordinary people. Pass through the gateway! Get out of the defilement and become an Arhat! "
This twenty-third section explains that people are as if smothered by their families and their houses. To be smothered like this is worse than being in jail. People should stay far away from this situation and recognize how dangerous it is.
The Buddha said, eople are bound to their families and homes to such an extent that these are worse than a prison. "People are tied up by their families. Houses also bind people. It is said that householders are bound by three kinds of yokes that they wear at all times.
A family is like a wooden cangue
locked so tightly around your neck that you can shrug it off. In the past,
you had to wear a cangue as punishment if you committed certain crimes.
Once you have family, it is just like a cangue locking you up. For instance,
some of our laypeople who have families have lost their freedom. They want
to go to heaven, but they aren free to go. They want to travel around the
earth, but they can go. They are locked securely at home. That what it
means to be bound up by a spouse so that everything becomes inconvenient.
If you have children, it as if you are handcuffed, which makes it inconvenient
to move around. Having parents is like having a ball and chain on your
foot. These are the three yokes that bind anyone who has a family. To be
bound to your house means that you cannot put it down. You are bound up,
and it worse than being in a prison. Having a family and a house is just
like spending your life in prison.
Eventually one is released from prison. The time will come when your sentence is finished and you get out of prison, but people never think of leaving their families. You don want to leave your familyou may think about leaving them, but you really don want to. For example, some of you say you want to leave the home-life. If you want to leave home, then go ahead and leave home. Why simply talk about it? Youe still just talking about it because you haven really made the resolve to leave home. You are just singing a tune.
Don they fear the control that emotion, love, and sex have over them? These people have no fear of being controlled by emotion, love, and sex. Although they are in a tiger jaws, their hearts are blissfully oblivious. Even though this situation is like being in the jaws of a tiger, you wouldn mind being eaten by the tiger.
Because they throw themselves into a swamp and drown, they are known as ordinary people. Because they cast themselves into a swamp and drown themselves, they are called ordinary people. Pass through the gateway! Get out of the defilement and become an Arhat! What gateway? The gateway of emotion and desire, of love and sex, and of attachments to families and homes. Pass through the gateway and you will get out of the defilement; youl become an Arhat who leaves the world of defilement. You will be a sage who is about to attain the fruition of Arhatship.
The Buddha said, f all longings and desires, there is none as strong as sex. Sexual desire has no equal. Fortunately, it is one of a kind. If there were something else like it, no one in the entire world would be able to cultivate the Way. "
The twenty-fourth section speaks of people thoughts of sexual desire. If you are able to cut off sexual desire, it will be easy for you to realize the fruition of Arhatship. Unfortunately, it is not at all easy to cut it off. All living beings have this problem. According to the Shurangama Sutra, f you cannot renounce thoughts of sexual desire, you cannot transcend the dust of the world. " If you can get rid of sexual desire, then you will not be able to realize Arhatship.
The Buddha said, f all longings
and desires, there is none as strong as sex. "Here,
ongings and desires "
to sexual desire, that is, to the mind of lust. There is nothing more powerful
than attraction to the opposite sex. Sexual desire has no equal.
It is so strong that there is nothing more powerful than this kind of emotional
desire. Fortunately, it is one of a kind. If there were something else
like it, no one in the entire world would be able to cultivate the Way.
Luckily, sexual desire is unique. If there were something else equal
to it, then none of the living beings in the entire world would be able
to cultivate the Way. It is difficult enough with just one obstruction
like this; two together would simply devour people, and no one would be
able to cultivate. Another illustration of this is when women get confused
by desire for women, and when men get confused by desire for men. Men and
women both engage in homosexual conduct: men have homosexual relationships
with men, and women have homosexual relationships with women. It all amounts
to being confused by sexual desire.
The Buddha said, person with love and desire is like one who carries a torch while walking against the wind: he is certain to burn his hand. "
The twenty-fifth section explains why one must stay away from love and desire.
The Buddha said, person with love and desire is like one who carries a torch while walking against the wind. "A person who always indulges in emotional love and desire, who goes along with his emotional desires and lustful thoughts, might as well be holding a burning torch while walking against the wind. He is certain to burn his hand. He is certain to get burned. Now, burning one hand may not be such a great problem, but I afraid he will burn up his entire body. Therefore, in such a situation it better to simply stay away from these things in the first place.
The heaven spirit offered beautiful maidens to the Buddha, hoping to destroy his resolve. The Buddha said, hat have you skin-bags full of filth come here for? Go away, Ie got no use for you. "
Then the heaven spirit became very respectful and asked about the meaning of the Way. The Buddha explained it for him, and he immediately attained the fruition of Srotaapanna.
The heaven spirit referred to here is a demon from the heavens, namely, the Demon King Papiyan. He waited until the Buddha was about to accomplish the Way and then sent a great retinue of demons, a whole army of them, intent upon disturbing the Buddha. But, as the twenty-sixth section explains, the Buddha was not swayed by the demon king. Instead, he was able to convert him into a Dharma-protector of the Buddha.
The heaven spirit offered beautiful maidens to the Buddha, hoping to destroy his resolve. The demon king from the heavens gave three jade women to the Buddha. What is meant by ade women " ? These women were particularly beautiful, as exquisite as jade, with looks that were out of this world. Not only was no one on earth as beautiful, there were no women in the heavens as beautiful, either. The demon king sent the beautiful women, hoping the Buddha would have thoughts of lust. He wanted to destroy the Buddha determination and vows to cultivate the Way.
The Buddha said, hat have you skin-bags full of filth come here for? " Now, it makes no difference whether you are speaking of men or women, whether it is handsome men or beautiful women. The meaning is not that only women are so terrible, while men are not. The Buddha said the human body is a skin-bag full of filth. Our skin is compared to a leather bag. What stored in the bag? There is little other than excrement and urine inside it. What could possibly be attractive about that?
You may look just on the surface and say, h, that man is extremely handsome. " No matter how handsome he is, he can be more handsome than Ananda, who was so good-looking that Matangi daughter fell in love with him at first sight. When Matangi daughter came before the Buddha, the Buddha asked her what she loved about Ananda. She said, h, his nose is fine, his eyes are beautiful, his ears are well-shapedll the features on his face are wonderful! "
The Buddha said to her, ll right,
if you love his nose, Il cut off his nose and give it to you. If you love
his ears, Il slice them off, and you can have them. If you love his eyes,
then Il gouge them out, and theye yours. You can take them back with you.he
said, o! That would never do! "
Ultimately, what meaning is there in the love between men and women? No matter how perfect a person may be on the surface, inside there are all kinds of filth. Urine and excrement collect inside, and the nine apertures constantly flow with impurities. Matter comes out from the eyes, wax from the ears, mucus from the nose, and saliva from the mouth. Then there is urine and excrement. Which of these substances is pure and clean? So the Buddha called it a stinking skin-bag full of filth.
Go away, Ie got no use for you. The Buddha said, oue come to give me this? What use is it to me? None! Go away. I don want you. "
When the demon offered the women to the Buddha, the Buddha looked at the three women and had this contemplation: hen youe old, youl have who-knows-how-many wrinkles on your faces. And when youe old enough to have all those ugly wrinkles, your hair will have turned gray, and you won be pretty at all. " As soon as the Buddha had this thought, the demon women spontaneously took on that appearance. When they looked at themselves in that state, they felt that it was pretty meaningless, and they were very embarrassed. So the Buddha sent them away, saying, e got no use for you! "
Then the heaven spirit became very respectful and asked about the meaning of the Way. The demon from the heavens then saw what solid resolution the Buddha had for the Way, and so he became even more respectful and asked the Buddha to speak Dharma for him. The Buddha explained it for him, and he immediately attained the fruition of Srotaapanna (the first fruition of Arhatship).
The Buddha said, person who follows the Way is like a floating piece of wood that courses along with the current. If it does not touch either shore; if people do not pluck it out; if ghosts and spirits do not intercept it; if it is not trapped in whirlpools; and if it does not rot, I guarantee that the piece of wood will reach the sea. If students of the Way are not deluded by emotion and desire, and if they are not caught up in the many crooked views, but are vigorous in their cultivation of the unconditioned, I guarantee that they will certainly attain the Way. "
The twenty-seventh section sets forth an analogy to explain that in cultivating the Way, one should stay clear of all kinds of obstacles. What are the two shores? The two shores refer to emotion and desire. Emotion and desire further divide into two kinds: (1) the emotion and desire of views and thought and (2) the emotion and desire of ignorance. With the first, you grow attached to birth and death, which is represented by this shore. With the second, you become attached to Nirvana, which is represented by the other shore. Wood that is plucked out by people is analogous to cultivators getting caught in the nets of crooked views. Wood that is intercepted by ghosts and spirits is analogous to cultivators who get covered by the nets of views and thoughts.
Being caught up in a whirlpool refers to being lazy, which is the opposite of being vigorous. Rotten wood represents the opposite of unconditioned dharmas. Some cultivators are not properly mindful of True Suchness in a straightforward manner, and although they often wish to be vigorous, they end up retreating. It is as if they were in a whirlpool: although the water flows fast, it merely circles in the same spot. Similarly, they return to where they started and cannot reach unconditioned dharmas. Since they cannot reach the unconditioned, they become attached to appearances and cannot perfect the cultivation of blessings and wisdom. People in this situation are likened to rotting wood. They are bound to sink, and they will not reach the other shore of Nirvana. They won be able to end birth and death. That the result of being confused by emotional desire and caught up in the myriad crooked bypaths of love and views. If one is properly mindful of True Suchness and vigorously cultivates, understands that the fundamental nature of the Dharma is originally unconditioned, and can withstand being turned by emotions and love, then one will certainly attain the Way. That is the general meaning of this section of the text.
The Buddha said, person who follows
the Way is like a floating piece of wood that courses along with the current.
compares a cultivator of the Way to a piece of wood that is carried downstream
by the current. If it does not touch either shore. It doesn get
caught in or obstructed by the rocks along either bank. If it made contact
with the two shores, the wood could get stopped. Not touching the two shores,
the wood does not get stopped. Likewise, the cultivator doesn get hindered
by emotion and desire. If people do not pluck it outt is not grabbed
by people; if ghosts and spirits do not intercept itor is it stopped
by ghosts or spirits; if it is not trapped in whirlpoolst doesn
spin around and get stopped; and if it does not rotor does it become
spoiled or corrupted, I guarantee that the piece of wood will reach
the sea. If students of the Way are not deluded by emotion and desire,
and if they are not caught up in the many crooked views, if they are
not confused by love and emotion or by material desires, and if they are
not obstructed either by ignorance or by laziness, but are vigorous
in their cultivation of the unconditioned dharmas, I guarantee
that they will certainly attain the Way. They will surely accomplish
The Buddha said, e careful not to believe your own mind; your mind is not to be believed. Be careful not to get involved with sex; involvement with sex leads to disaster. After you have attained Arhatship, you can believe your own mind."
In the twenty-eighth section, the Buddha says that the mind is like a horse that is difficult to tame and subdue. Then there is sex. Whether you are male or female, you should stay clear of sex. If you don stay away from it, disasters will arise. From countless eons in the past until the present, however, we living beings have let our passions and desires run away with us, and thus we keep turning in the six destinies of samsara. We are unable to realize Arhatship because we are continually caught up in ignorance, views of emotional love, and pride. Therefore, we shouldn believe our own thoughts. We cannot be careless and inattentive. We must be careful not to get involved with sex. We must not believe our own minds.
The Buddha said, e careful not to believe your own mind. " Don listen to the thoughts in your mind; don believe the things youe thinking. You should be extremely careful not to believe your own mind. Your mind is not to be believed. Your mind is unreliable, and cannot be trusted.
You must be careful not to get involved
with sex; involvement with sex leads to disaster. Be extremely careful
not to become attached to beautiful appearances. If you get too deeply
involved in beautiful appearances, disasters are bound to occur. After
you have attained Arhatship, you can believe your own mind. After you have
realized Arhatship and cut off afflictions of views and thought, you can
believe in your mind a little more than before. But you still shouldn believe
in it too much.