2019.07.19 By Cultivating Our Minds, We Benefit Others 修心利群持行有成

Wondrous Lotus Sutra  靜思妙蓮華




Back to Episode List

2019.07.19

By Cultivating Our Minds, We Benefit Others

修心利群持行有成

 

From Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s notes:

>> "To practice ourselves and teach others is what it means to praise the wondrous Dharma. The meaning of merit is cultivating our mind to benefit others. The meaning of virtue is successfully maintaining our practice. Inward cultivation and external practice are known to be merits and virtues."

>> The eyes can see forms and have 800 merits. The ears can hear sounds and have 1200 merits. The nose can smell scents and has 800 merits. The tongue can taste flavors and has 1200 merits. The body can feel touch and has 800 merits. The mind can learn the Dharma and has 1200 merits.

>> With these merits, they will dignify their Six Roots, and all will be made pure.
  [Lotus Sutra, Chapter 19 - On Dharma Masters' Merits and Virtues]

>> "These good men and good women, with the pure physical eyes that they received from their parents at birth, will see the great trichiliocosm and all the mountains, forests, rivers and seas within and beyond it."
  [Lotus Sutra, Chapter 19 - On Dharma Masters' Merits and Virtues]

>> The first five roots constitute the superficial sense organs, known as the Coarse Sensory Roots. When the Six Roots, Dusts and Consciousnesses come together, this constitutes the transcendent sense organs hidden within the storehouse consciousness, also known as the Pure Sensory Roots.

>> The external, superficial sense organs merely serve to support the successful function of the transcendent sense organs. Thus, they are centered on the Pure Sensory Roots. This is the common [purpose] of the Five Roots. The physical eye is the superficial sense organ, whereas the capacity of the eyes to see is what constitutes the transcendent sense organ. By the transcendent power of this sutra, the eyes will become pure and the eye-root transcendent.

>> These good men and good women, with the pure physical eyes that they received from their parents at birth: There are five types of eyes, the physical eyes, wisdom-eyes, heavenly eyes, Dharma-eyes and Buddha-eyes.

>> [The eyes] are divided into five types according to their functions: Physical eyes are limited and cannot see clearly. Dharma-eyes can only observe worldly phenomena. Heavenly eyes see clearly without limitations. Wisdom-eyes clearly discern emptiness. Buddha-eyes [shine] like 1000 suns. What they illuminate is all different, yet their essence is the same.

>> When the physical eyes we received from our parents at birth also become pure, the four elements will become pure [within us], thus creating the eyes of our transcendent sense organs, which will no longer be the physical eyes of the superficial sense organs.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"To practice ourselves and teach others
is what it means to praise the wondrous Dharma.
The meaning of merit
is cultivating our mind to benefit others.
The meaning of virtue
is successfully maintaining our practice.
Inward cultivation and external practice
are known to be merits and virtues."


We need to be mindful and seek to improve our understanding. What we must learn over this long period of time, [as the sutra] has been aiming to help us understand, is how, through our speech and daily actions, we can learn to become good people in order to be able to return to our nature of True Suchness. When it comes to the Buddha's perspectives, the Buddha came to the world for one great cause; He came to teach sentient beings, to show everyone their inherent Buddha-nature. Since the 17th to the 18th and now into the 19th chapter, we have, during this time, already entered the teaching on the intrinsic. Again it is teaching us to understand our Buddha-nature. However, we are still unenlightened beings who are far from our Buddha-nature. So, the Buddha patiently guided us. He wanted us to know the relationship between the internal and the external. Regarding our bodies and external conditions, how should we react and behave? We must first understand ourselves so that we know how to handle external matters.

We previously also talked about the Six Roots and Six Dusts and the respective merits and virtues of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind, how they have more or less merits and virtues. When it comes to the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind roots, why do some have 800 and others 1200 [merits] associated with them? Some have 800 merits while others have 1200. These Six Roots are all part of our body. How are these merits and virtues distinguished? This is something that we need to think very carefully about, something we should think about often. Just looking at the text or explaining it will never get us to [full] understanding. Our understanding will be such that [we say]. "I know! I know!" Yet, that is all we will ever do. We cannot profoundly understand appearances. For us to really gain a profound understanding deep in our hearts so that we comprehend appearances is very difficult.

If just "appearances" of things are so difficult to understand, then what about understanding their "nature"? We need to be mindful when it comes to both "nature" and "appearance." It is because of the difficulty to understand that there is such a big distance between unenlightened and noble beings. When it comes to a noble being's perspectives, the Buddha sees all principles of the universe in just a single thought. For Him, looking at all things in the universe is like looking at His fingers. He clearly sees the principles in all things. And what about us? The way that sentient beings go about discriminating among things gives rise to so much ignorance and affliction. When we compare the perspective of an unenlightened mind to that of the pure and undefiled Buddha-mind, the Buddha-mind can, from one principle, understand countless other principles. This makes the distance between the unenlightened and noble mind truly vast. That [enlightened] state of mind is so far away. How can we ever get there? We can! Regardless of how far away it is, as long as we begin moving, we can arrive there no matter how far away it is.

Today's technology is so advanced. When it comes to Africa, without us even moving from here, we can see clearly what they are doing there. Among Tzu Chi volunteers in South Africa, there are Chinese businessmen, local people, local volunteers in Johannesburg and some who even come from as far as Cape Town, which I hear is 1000-2000 kilometers away. They all came to Johannesburg, from far and near, to gather together. The fact that they can come so quickly from a place several thousand kilometers away and arrive there, people coming together like that, is a joyful thing! When everyone got there they said, "How amazing it is that we can see Master [on video-conference] here in Johannesburg!" Those local volunteers said that they came to Johannesburg to see me. How genuine and sincere is this! They said that they were able to see me locally, and they were very joyful.

We are just physical beings, just ordinary beings, so we rely on modern technology [to communicate]. This technology does not belong only to us. It exists because so many people put effort into inventing it. Their invention is a testimony to the Buddha's wisdom. It enables our eyes to see everywhere throughout the world. It enables us to see into the heavens, to see deeper and deeper into the universe. Aren't astronomers doing this? For each planet that is orbiting the sun, their yearly orbit takes a few years on Earth. [Astronomers] have even found an asteroid, a small asteroid they named Tzu Chi. It is up in the sky and has been registered. For it, one orbit is about five years and seven months in our years. So, there really is an asteroid, an asteroid like this in the sky. It is publicly recognized by all mankind. There is an asteroid with such a name. The time on that asteroid is different than ours. It is like how the Buddha explained how one day in Trayastrimsa Heaven is equal to 100 of our years here on Earth.

The Buddha, in His wisdom, had already explained for us the different lengths of time in different heavens. He analyzed these for us. Now, with modern technology and modern astronomy, they have discovered an asteroid they call Tzu Chi and have figured out its distance from Earth. Surprisingly, when we look at how it orbits around its sun, if we compare it with Earth, one year there is more than five years and seven months on Earth. This is now scientifically proven. Think about this and the Buddha's wisdom; shouldn't this give rise to a deeper understanding of appearances? We must have faith in this.

So, the Buddha analyzed for us how each of our bodies coexists with nature, and how all lives are interconnected. How do we live on Earth and express our gratitude toward nature, mutually cherish and love all living beings? This requires us to cultivate our nature. We should open our minds so that they are vast and able to encompass the universe. We should learn from going among people, always feel grateful and love each other with a selfless great love. This is what we have been teaching in Tzu Chi for many years now.

So, we need to "practice ourselves and teach others." We have come to understand what the Buddha taught us. There is no use just talking about it; we must put it into practice. We must earnestly accept and uphold the teachings, and not only here in our spiritual training ground. We must genuinely seize every second and keep our feet on the ground as we truly practice it and teach others. We do it ourselves and also teach others to do it. We lead by example, guiding them on a path toward the right direction. This is what it means to "praise the wondrous Dharma." Because we rejoice, because we agree with it and because we praise it, we are willing to put it into practice like this. Because we all take great joy in giving unconditionally, we go even further by thanking people for the chance to give. This is the True Dharma.

We praise each other and are grateful to each other. Isn't this the way of life for Tzu Chi volunteers everywhere? We do things ourselves, then go on to praise others for doing them too. "These people are doing much more than I am; they are truly remarkable!" See, don't we do these things ourselves? We do them ourselves, but we also help others succeed in doing them and also praise them for doing them. This is "what it means to praise the wondrous Dharma." When people benefit themselves as well as others by giving help, this is truly worthy of our praise. So, "Practicing ourselves and teaching others is what it means to praise the wondrous Dharma." The Dharma lies in the way we practice it. It is a road that we can walk on, not just a path we give lip service to. It is a road we ourselves are able to walk.

So, "The meaning of merit is cultivating our mind to benefit others." What are merits and virtues? "Merits" come from us being earnestly sincere in our mind. "Cultivating our mind to benefit others" is what results in merit. If we do not cultivate our own mind, then it will be useless for us to go among people, for it will be impossible to benefit others. We need to cultivate our own minds before we can truly go among people and be able to help them. Otherwise, there are so many people. If we just went among people, what could we do? We need to put effort into our own spiritual practice, and with our spiritual aspirations, we must go among people to guide them so that they share the same aspiration and faith of earnestly putting the Dharma into practice among people. This is how we can give of ourselves and how everyone can give of themselves like this. This is "merit." For us to be effective as we go among people, we must be very steadfast in our own aspirations. So, this is why "we cultivate our mind so that we might benefit others."

And virtue? "The meaning of virtue is successfully maintaining our practice." We do not just cultivate ourselves internally, we must go on to put it into practice as well. I constantly tell everyone, whatever we do in our daily living, people are constantly watching us. People are always looking to us to learn, so we really must be sure that all of our actions express the essence of our spiritual practice. So, "The meaning of virtue is successfully maintaining our practice." If our [mindful] appearances and demeanor are reflected in our actions and work as if they are second nature without deliberate effort, then people will naturally see us as dignified in our demeanor anywhere. In whatever we do, in each of our actions and gestures, everyone always joyfully praises what we do. This is what we know as "virtue."

When we lead people, as long as we are cultivating our mind and we are maintaining our practice, then in whatever we say or want to accomplish, everyone can come together to complete it. These are merits and virtues. It takes spiritual practice for there to be karmic conditions for merits and virtues like this. There must be karmic causes and conditions. Every single person has their own karmic causes and conditions in life which naturally bear fruit. With that fruit, for that retribution to be able to manifest itself, the law of karma must be true. So, we should believe that. "Inward cultivation and external practice are known to be merits and virtues." Cultivating inwardly while practicing externally is what brings merits and virtues.

I told everyone before to remember these things because in our daily living, we use our bodies to return to our nature of True Suchness and reach our Buddha-nature. Therefore, when it comes to our own body-root, each of us needs to know this for ourselves. So, the Buddha, in His wisdom, analyzed these things for us so we would know and be even clearer on them.

The eyes can see forms and have 800 merits. The ears can hear sounds and have 1200 merits. The nose can smell scents and has 800 merits. The tongue can taste flavors and has 1200 merits. The body can feel touch and has 800 merits. The mind can learn the Dharma and has 1200 merits.

"The eyes can see forms," so they have 800 merits. This is because the eyes can be blocked by all kinds of obstacles. They can only see in front, left and right of them. They cannot see behind at the same time. These are the deficits of the physical eyes. "The ears can hear sounds," so they have 1200 merits. The nose can smell scents, so it has 800 merits. This is because it can help us breathe. And the tongue? It can taste flavors and discern the flavor of something, whether it is sweet, bitter or salty. Also, it has another very good function which is to teach the Dharma and encourage everyone to do good. Whether people want to listen to the Dharma or we encourage people to listen to the Dharma, we need our tongue to speak, so it has 1200 merits and virtues.

And the body? "The body can feel touch." It can feel touch, whether something is hard or soft. It can sense whether things are hot or cold. This is what the body does. However, it only has 800 merits. This is because the body becomes severely limited by hindrances. Our bodies can add to our many afflictions, but because it can create many merits and virtues, it too has 800 merits. "The mind can learn the Dharma," so it has 1200 merits.

We must put effort into being mindful. When we understand these numbers, they total 6000 merits. Since these appear in the text, we should mindfully seek to understand them so that we know where these 6000 merits come from. These are from the Six Roots; when added all together, they total 6000 merits.

With these merits, they will dignify their Six Roots, and all will be made pure.

This is what the previous sutra passages said. "With these merits," meaning with merits like these, "they will dignify their Six Roots." The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind, these Six Roots, create merits and virtues that "will dignify people's Six Roots." When we do good deeds, when we see good things, do good deeds, and can hear good things, we will naturally be able to respond and join in good deeds and so on. If we use all Six Roots to carry these out, then these will be our merits and virtues. The merits and virtues the Six Roots create are what dignify the Six Roots. So, "All will be made pure." When our Six Roots become dignified, everything we do will be free of defilements.

This is like Tzu Chi volunteers in Mozambique; everybody is very disciplined. They wear the blue and white uniform, either very white pants or very white skirts. Everybody sits upon the ground there. This is very natural for them. They are able to sit there, to sit and prostrate on the ground, and yet remain very clean. It is a very dignified scene there. With their Six Roots, on this land, they present a clean and dignified appearance. This is not easy. However, this purity that I speak of comes from all the good things that we do. With our bodies and different organs, we act, putting our minds into daily living. We never do what is wrong, never think of what is wrong, what we should not think of. So, everything we do is always virtuous. We do good deeds, think of virtuous Dharma and think of what will benefit people. This is how we maintain a pure spiritual practice.

The next sutra passage goes,

"These good men and good women, with the pure physical eyes that they received from their parents at birth, will see the great trichiliocosm and all the mountains, forests, rivers and seas within and beyond it."

"The first five roots" are those five roots that come before the mind, the eye, ear, nose, tongue and body; these are known as the first five roots. They "constitute the superficial sense organs." Superficial means things that are very apparent, things we can see very obviously. These are superficial sense organs. "The Coarse Sensory Roots" are relatively coarser; these are all things that we see.

The first five roots constitute the superficial sense organs, known as the Coarse Sensory Roots. When the Six Roots, Dusts and Consciousnesses come together, this constitutes the transcendent sense organs hidden within the storehouse consciousness, also known as the Pure Sensory Roots.

Modern science has developed the microscope. In the medical field, in the scientific field, when we look through it, we can see what was previously invisible. They have developed this technology, this medical technology that can see all kinds of microscopic germs. When it comes to our eyelashes alone, if we look at one through a microscope, we can see bacteria lined up across our lash. The bacteria line up like a row of insects on each lash. These are things we cannot ordinarily see. They are not superficial. We can only see things with coarse appearances, things we see with the superficial sense organs.

"When the Six Roots, Dusts and Consciousnesses come together...." These are the Six Roots. The previous five were the coarse roots, the ones that sense coarse appearances. When they make contact with the external dusts, our eyes see external appearances. This is how we experience the world. The mind refers to how, after we see something, the consciousness observes it with the nerves in the eye, the optic nerve. That is where the consciousness is. It is through the nerves that we consciously see things and distinguish them. The number of monastic practitioners here and the number of lay disciples can be identified by looking with our eyes. So, our eyes are superficial sense organs. It means that when it comes to coarse objects, we can just see them with our eyes.

Actually, there is much around us that we cannot see with our eyes, so we would need a microscope to see them. There are countless numbers of them! Yet, we can only talk about the things we can see with our Coarse Sensory Roots. Moreover, when consciousness meets the Six Dusts, it distinguishes them, because consciousness has connected with the sense objects through the sense organs. "This constitutes the transcendent sense organs hidden within the storehouse consciousness." The consciousness itself is hidden. There is nothing more than the physical eye, nothing more than the physical ear, but hidden in these is [the consciousness]. It is our consciousness that directs us to distinguish and understand. It is the transcendent sense organ.

Right now when I am speaking, I can still hear behind me the sounds of the birds and machines just the same. Whether those sounds are in front or behind me, I can hear them all. I can hear the sound of my voice as well. I am speaking over the sound of the machine in the background, so the sounds all mix together. All sorts of noises all at the same moment come together. These are all part of one consciousness. The mind-root can know so many things, all at the same time. These are the transcendent sense organs, "also known as the Pure Sensory Root." This is because they can encounter and distinguish among external sense objects.

However, if we try to analyze exactly where the consciousness is, we cannot see it, for it is "hidden." So, if we can be a little more mindful, then we will know that as ordinary beings, what we can know and realize with our consciousness is limited to these things. When it comes to the Buddha's perspectives, His knowledge and realization go far beyond this.

The external, superficial sense organs merely serve to support the successful function of the transcendent sense organs. Thus, they are centered on the Pure Sensory Roots. This is the common [purpose] of the Five Roots. The physical eye is the superficial sense organ, whereas the capacity of the eyes to see is what constitutes the transcendent sense organ. By the transcendent power of this sutra, the eyes will become pure and the eye-root transcendent.

So, "The external, superficial sense organs merely serve to support the successful function of the transcendent sense organs." External things only express themselves as they do and serve [as a means] of analysis so that we may find the truth. When we want to solve a problem, we need these external things to help us for us to understand how to solve it. Phenomena can only express themselves in the shapes and forms they do, so they always possess some hidden meaning.

"Thus, they are centered on the Pure Sensory Roots." The Pure Sensory Roots are pure and undefiled. Our roots are so pure and undefiled, yet we remain covered by ignorance, so we cannot see. We now wish to disperse that ignorance so that we can understand what the true functions of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body are. When we understand all these together, we return to the Dharma. When we bring together the worldly phenomena and understand them, we summarize them as the Dharma, which is pure in form. "Thus, they are centered on the Pure Sensory Roots. This is the common [purpose] of the Five Roots." All five roots share one function when we bring them together with the Dharma.

Furthermore, the physical eyes are superficial sense organs. Our eyes are called superficial sense organs. If our eyes get sick, we see a doctor. The doctor can look at our eyes and analyze what is wrong with them. These, too, are superficial sense organs, these physical eyes.

If we have some ailment, the doctor can analyze exactly what is wrong. I was just talking about an eyelash. There was a person who went to a doctor so the doctor could discover why his eye was always itching and uncomfortable. It was only then he found out that inside his eye there were many bacteria, bacteria that could not be seen.

So, it was through the symptoms that the doctor discovered the ailment. It was caused by certain bacteria inside the organ of the patient. When it comes to the inner workings of our bodies, we must rely on very precise instruments. Then, after understanding the principle, the physiological principle, we ask, what is going on here? One may know the principle and the body's physical structure, but how can one become able to unlock the mystery of life? This is something that no one knows except the Buddha. With the eye-root, we gather everything we know by seeing; these are phenomena, but it is impossible to explain them. Furthermore, when it comes to the Dharma, to the True Dharma, the true principles, only the noble beings and enlightened ones, the Great Awakened Ones of the Universe, can know the true principles of the tiny intricate details of the workings of the universe.

"The physical eye is the superficial sense organ, whereas the capacity of the eyes to see is what constitutes the transcendent sense organ." After we are able to see, everything we see comes together and enters the hidden consciousness. Then, this transcendent sense organ gathers these phenomena like this. So, "The power of this sutra is transcendent." Throughout this sutra, this is what it is letting us know; It is transcendent so that we can say, "Right! I must come to quickly understand how to teach the meaning in this sutra so that everyone will understand it." So, someone has to explain the sutra to us. If no one explains it, we have no way to know.

The way each person explains it is different. Some explain it using worldly phenomena. Others explain using the ancient set of concepts. However, we are in the world and we must know how in our daily living among people we can analyze the function of our eyes. What do we gain from them? Do they benefit us? Are they hurting us? We must gather together the benefits they bring us. After being educated by reading the sutra, we are already upholding the practice for ourselves. We must further encourage others to practice so that their hearts turn toward goodness. In this sutra, there is power in the Dharma. "The sutra is a path." The power of the Dharma helps us understand that this is the pure eye. We use a pure eye to observe these phenomena and analyze the wondrous workings within them, so the eye-root is pure. Because the sutra is transcendent, it helps us attain a pure eye-root. It is transcendent.

"These good men and good women, with the pure physical eyes that they received from their parents at birth...."

These good men and good women, with the pure physical eyes that they received from their parents at birth: There are five types of eyes, the physical eyes, wisdom-eyes, heavenly eyes, Dharma-eyes and Buddha-eyes.

It especially mentions good men and good women, meaning good people, people who accept this Dharma. With the physical eyes from our parents, we can see and accept all worldly phenomena together, so we can understand the Dharma within them. "There are five types of eyes, the physical eyes, wisdom-eyes, heavenly eyes, Dharma-eyes and Buddha-eyes." When we read and recite the Diamond Sutra, we will read about all these five eyes.

[The eyes] are divided into five types according to their functions: Physical eyes are limited and cannot see clearly. Dharma-eyes can only observe worldly phenomena. Heavenly eyes see clearly without limitations. Wisdom-eyes clearly discern emptiness. Buddha-eyes [shine] like 1000 suns. What they illuminate is all different, yet their essence is the same.

We can understand from the Diamond Sutra that, when it comes to physical eyes, "physical eyes are limited and cannot see clearly." This is because if we are unenlightened, though we know to use our eyes to see things, they are superficial sense organs. We understand these names, yet we still must rely on instruments, whether medical or scientific technology. Only then can we know the inner workings of those microbes. Otherwise, there would be no other way. So, still the eyes may be obstructed.

Thus, when it comes to the physical eyes, we need to rely on other instruments to see. Otherwise, we could never see some things.

"Dharma-eyes can only observe worldly phenomena." The Dharma-eyes can see the world. In regard to common principles, the "worldly truths," they understand all of them. Because we now read and recite the sutra, we already understand worldly phenomena. So, when it comes to right and wrong, we are already very clear; we can refuse to allow those defilements to contaminate us. When our entire mind has returned to the Dharma, it means we have the Dharma-eyes.

"Heavenly eyes see clearly without limitations." Moreover, when we get to heavenly eyes, we do not have to rely upon instruments. Heavenly eyes have a way to see "clearly without limitations." It is we who have limitations, but a heavenly being sees clearly without any limitations.

Next, "Wisdom-eyes clearly discern emptiness." Emptiness is true emptiness. The wisdom-eyes analyze all things very clearly, [seeing] that they are in fact all empty. We kept talking about true emptiness in the past. There is "true emptiness" and also "wondrous existence." If we see wondrous existence in true emptiness, we have truly attained Buddha-eyes. "Buddha-eyes [shine] like 1000 suns. What they illuminate is all different, yet their essence is the same." With Buddha-eyes, we can see everything clearly. The Buddha too had the eyes given by His parents, then similarly, after He had awakened, He already understood the things of this world; by grasping one truth, He understood all truths. There was nothing that He did not understand. So, all true emptiness and wondrous existence is encompassed in one gaze of the Buddha's eyes which include these five eyes as well. They are like 1000 suns. "What they illuminate is all different, yet their essence is the same." When they illuminate things like this, then all things can be known.

When the physical eyes we received from our parents at birth also become pure, the four elements will become pure [within us], thus creating the eyes of our transcendent sense organs, which will no longer be the physical eyes of the superficial sense organs.

What our mother and father have given us are the physical eyes. So, we must try to comprehend this. It then goes on to talk about "purity. Purity" means that "the four elements will become pure [within us] thus creating the eyes of our transcendent sense organs," The four elements all come together in our bodies. Our bodies are replete with the Five Roots. We often say that the body is a temporary union of the four elements. This temporary union of the four elements, this entire body, has eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body. These eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body are inseparable from the four elements.

So, "These four elements become pure [within us], thus creating the eyes of our transcendent sense organs." We are fortunate to have found the Dharma, for it is the Buddha-Dharma that enables us to recognize right from wrong. When we were unenlightened in the past, we did wrong things out of ignorance; we kept turning over and over in ignorance. Now that we know, we know how to eliminate what is wrong. We can wash away our mistakes from the past and, starting now, we have the teachings in the sutra to rely on. So, now everything we see is the Dharma. Thus, our eyes are pure and can understand all tangible things in the world. We have completely analyzed these superficial roots and dusts as being empty. This is true emptiness. Only a Buddha could understand all these things clearly. This is purity. What we need to learn is how to purify the Roots when they encounter Dusts. This is what we need to learn.

So, "These four elements become pure [within us], thus creating the eyes of our transcendent sense organs." These four elements are only a temporary union. This is to say, when we say everything is empty, we mean the four elements are a temporary union; it is all pure and undefiled. So, "They will no longer be the physical eyes of the superficial sense organs." This is not really talking about the eyes; it is talking about our pure awakened intrinsic nature. Yet, this pure awakened intrinsic nature comes from our continual and incessant analysis of external states; we analyze these, analyze them from coarse to fine, fine enough that everything returns and converges until it enters our consciousness, our storehouse consciousness and then wisdom. There are the sixth, seventh, eighth consciousnesses and the ninth consciousness. This is the Buddha's pure enlightened nature, "the transcendent eye-root." This is not just the superficial sense organ of the physical eyes. It is the awakened nature.

So, everyone, we must be mindful of the Dharma; we must truly comprehend it, understand it. Although it is not possible for us right now to reach the ninth consciousness, at least we know about it. When it comes to our eighth consciousness, everything we created before, all of our thoughts and feelings go there. We kept talking about this before. The sixth consciousness is the mind-root. The mind encounters external states. The five roots and consciousnesses connect with the five external sense objects, and it is in the sixth consciousness of thought that we make distinctions. When we go about doing something, do we do what is right or what is wrong? Right and wrong depend on thoughts, which are expressed in our accumulated actions. When we do good, a virtue returns to our eighth consciousness. The mistakes we make also go to the storehouse consciousness.

So, both good and evil are stored in the storehouse consciousness. As unenlightened beings, this is what we need to learn, what we need to understand. Right and wrong are always determined in how the Roots meet the Dusts. If we can distinguish clearly between good and evil, then we can gradually eliminate evil, and gradually increase our virtue. We increase it until [we are] "free of all hindrances" and we remain in the Three Spheres of Emptiness. This is the return to the ninth consciousness.

In short, if our mind is pure, then we will continually return to the Buddha and walk upon His awakened path. We will have no difficulties if we are mindful, so please always be mindful!