1 2 3


In this life, if you do not engage in sexual misconduct by having affairs, you will not divorce in future lives. But if you were not faithful in previous lives, your marriage in this life will not be a happy one. Various things will happen to disrupt your marriage. That is the retribution for engaging in sexual misconduct.



“Not lying in this life, we will not be cheated in future lives.” If we don’t lie in this life, no one will cheat us in future lives. If someone cheats us, we must realize, “Oh, I must have lied in a previous life and so I am being cheated in this life.”
Someone told me that the four people from the Philippines did not come to leave the home-life. They just used that as an excuse to come to the United States. I said that it’s all right. I know their motive very clearly, but I still believe them because I don’t want to cheat people and I also believe that people will not deceive me. Even if I know someone is cheating me, I will not bring forth the thought that he is. Those people may hear me and say, “Oh! That’s good.” In this world, many people put up defensive fronts against each other. You fear that I may cheat you, and I am afraid that you may deceive me. Am I taking a loss by not minding being cheated? If I am, it doesn’t matter.


Drinking, insanity?

“Not drinking in this life, we will not lose our sanity in future lives.” Why is it that people lose their sanity or have mental illness in this life? It is because they drank too much and took a lot of drugs in previous lives. Therefore, the insanity continues into this life. The circular flow of cause and effect is this way whether you believe it or not. Whether you believe it or not I will say it just the same.


Is there no benefit in studying the Buddhadharma?

“I have studied, investigated, and listened to the Buddhadharma for a long, long time and I have not gained any benefit!” What benefit do you want? In fact, you have gained great benefit without knowing it. What kind of benefit have you gained?


Is there no benefit in studying the Buddhadharma?
學佛法沒有甚麼利益? Part 2

When you study Buddhadharma here, you aren't out murdering people. Therefore, you are not among those murderers. Is that not a benefit? When you come here to attend Dharma lectures, you will not be found among thieves and burglars. If you don't listen to lectures, you may get involved in theft, robbery, or even arson. Now that you study Buddhadharma, you are free from all these crimes. Wouldn't you say that's a benefit?


Is there no benefit in studying the Buddhadharma?
學佛法沒有甚麼利益? Part 3

When learning Buddhadharma, you do not get involved in sexual misconduct. so you won’t commit crimes such as rape. You do many proper things so you will be free from all crimes. Isn’t that a benefit? When you study Buddhadharma, you won’t tell lies or go around cheating people. Then, you won’t commit the offense of lying. That is purifying your mouth karma. If you can go further to refrain from drinking, smoking, and taking drugs, then your mind karma would be purified too. Since you don’t consume those intoxicants, you wouldn’t be in the company of drug criminals either.


Is there no benefit in studying the Buddhadharma?
學佛法沒有甚麼利益? Part 4

If purifying the three karmas is not a benefit of learning Buddhism, then what is it? If you don’t study the Buddhadharma, you may kill, or steal, or get involved in arson. Then the police will catch you and put you behind the bars, perhaps for life. Wouldn’t that be miserable? Since you are studying Buddhadharma, you are free from all these problems. If that is not a benefit, what is it then? Therefore, we should not grow weary of studying the Buddhadharma.


Will "not receiving precepts" give you true freedom?
不受戒是真「自由」嗎?Part 1

People with wrong views say, “Don’t take the precepts. What do you want to take them for? Why get some precepts to restrain you?” That is a wrong view. You think that not receiving precepts is being free. But it’s very easy to fall into the hells that way. That's where your so-called "true freedom” may lead you.


Will "not receiving precepts" give you true freedom?
不受戒是真「自由」嗎?Part 2

If you receive the precepts, you will have the protection of precepts. The precept marks, percept dharma, and precept substance will support you. You will not fall into the hells that easily. Even if you do fall into the hells, you will get out quickly. If you like to be free and don’t take precepts, then later when you fall into the hells, it's not for sure when you will come out.


Will "not receiving precepts" give you true freedom?
不受戒是真「自由」嗎?Part 3

On the other hand if you have received precepts your time span in the hells can be shortened. It is like when someone who committed a major crime gets caught by the police. If the criminal had worked as a personal guard or an attendant for the president, then the president may write a note ordering that criminal's release. If the criminal doesn’t have such connection, he won’t be released for who knows how long. It is similar to that. When you have the protection of precepts, the long duration of your suffering can be greatly condensed. Therefore, don’t get smart and say, “It’s good not to receive the precepts.”


Will "not receiving precepts" give you true freedom?
不受戒是真「自由」嗎?Part 4

It’s good for you to receive the precepts. Let me say this to you, “Having taken the Buddha’s precepts, living beings enter the position of all Buddhas.” When living beings take the precepts of Buddhas, it’s the same as having entered the position of the Buddha. Therefore, don’t disparage the precepts or slander the Vinaya of the Buddha.


What if I break the precepts?

Precepts are the mother of Buddhahood. If you want to become a Buddha, you must uphold precepts and not break them. Having transgressed the precepts is just like drifting in the ocean in a leaking boat. Won't the boat sink? Violating the precepts is just like causing the boat to sink in the ocean. When you have received the precepts, you must uphold them. If you don’t, it’s the same as having leaks. When you leak, you are not free of outflows. Having no outflows comes when we do not break the precepts; when you break the precepts, you have outflows. What should you do if that happens? You must mend the precepts. How? You may create merit and virtue either by making monetary donations or by doing volunteer work. By redeeming your offenses and establishing merit before the Triple Jewel, you will wipe out your offenses.


The story of an old cultivator
老修行的故事 Part 1

Once an old lay cultivator had received the five precepts and an additional rule of “keeping silent while eating.” However, later he broke all five precepts and only kept the rule of "keeping silent while eating." The precept-protecting spirit that protected this rule hoped that the lay person would violate it so that he could also leave. This person, nonetheless, never broke that rule. He always ate in silence.
Later, that precept spirit appeared in a dream, “You have transgressed all the precepts. Why haven’t you broken this rule of "keeping silent while eating"? Please break it quickly so I can leave.”


The story of an old cultivator
老修行的故事 Part 2

The old cultivator thought to himself, “I only hold this one rule of eating in silence and still I have that precept spirit protecting me.” Thereafter, he found a virtuous Dharma Master and received the five precepts again. Consequently, he cultivated and realized the Way. Each person has his own set of causes and conditions.
Therefore, receiving precepts is a very important matter in Buddhism.


Manjushri Bodhisattva's Precious Pearl
文殊菩薩的寶珠 Part 1

While Manjushri Bodhisattva was practicing the Bodhisattva Way, he never lied. Nor did he commit any offense involving killing or stealing. In general, he upheld the precepts strictly. How can we prove that he followed those rules and never stole things? Once, he told the other Bodhisattvas, “Ever since my initial resolve to cultivate, I have held the rule of not stealing. Therefore, my belongings will not be stolen by anyone. Not only will no one steal from me, even if I leave my most valuable possession out in the open, no one will walk away with it.”


Manjushri Bodhisattva's Precious Pearl
文殊菩薩的寶珠 Part 2

Some Bodhisattvas didn’t believe him and said, “We would like to test your claim with an experiment. Leave your most valuable thing at the city gate, which is the busiest place. Leave it there for three days. If no one picks it up that will prove that your statement is true.”
Manjushri Bodhisattva agreed to try the experiment. Thereupon, he put his most precious pearl--all Bodhisattvas possess many precious and valuable things--at the city gate. Many people passed through the gate in the next three days and sure enough, no one picked it up. The other Bodhisattvas then knew that Manjushri Bodhisattva had truly upheld the precept against stealing.


Don't Act As Your Own Defense Attorney
不要做自己的辯護律師 Part 1

Different people explain the same Buddhadharma in many different ways. Accordingly, the methods of cultivation are also different. Each person has his own interpretation. Therefore, there are many different viewpoints.
For instance, true cultivators of Buddhadharma should not smoke, drink, or eat meat. But some Buddhists say, “The Buddha’s precepts prohibit people from killing, stealing, indulging in sexual misconduct, lying, or drinking. However, there’s no mention of smoking. Therefore, smoking is not included in the precepts.” This is a self-justification. Smoking is covered in the precept against drinking. They want to act as their own defense attorneys so they say smoking is not a violation of the precepts.


Don't Act As Your Own Defense Attorney
不要做自己的辯護律師 Part 2

A person with true wisdom will not do anything improper. He will refrain from doing all manner of bad things, not just those mentioned in the precepts. We should change all our bad habits.
Not killing includes not eating meat and not eating meat also includes not killing. That is because if we don’t kill, there will be no meat to eat. Some Buddhists say, “The Buddha prohibited people from killing, but not from eating meat. The Buddha allowed people to eat the meat that is pure in three ways: 1) One does not see the creature killed; 2) one does not hear the creature being killed; 3) the creature was not killed especially for oneself. Eating meat that is pure in these ways is permitted.” That is also a self-justification because the person basically cannot renounce meat.


Don't Act As Your Own Defense Attorney
不要做自己的辯護律師 Part 3

I met a professor before who could not get by for one day without eating meat. He said, “Even the smell of meat would relieve my craving for it if I couldn’t get to taste it.” So you see, each person has his own ideas and views and they are all different.
In learning Buddhadharma, we must learn precepts, concentration, and wisdom.
Precepts help us to “refrain from all evil and do all good.” We refrain from doing whatever is bad, but we do all good things.
Concentration is the vigorous study of Chan meditation. Wisdom is the result of concentration, and concentration comes from upholding precepts. This is called the three non-outflow studies.


Don't Act As Your Own Defense Attorney
不要做自己的辯護律師 Part 4

We must put an end to greed, hatred and delusion. Being free from greed, we will not fight. When we do not fight with others, we seek nothing. When we do not seek, we will be selfless. When we are selfless, we will not pursue personal advantage. All these are related. Studying Buddhadharma means following the teaching in a precise and honest manner. Don’t take chances and shortcuts, just cultivate honestly.


What are pure precepts?
什麼是淨戒? Part 1

You should pay attention to the word “pure.” What does “pure” mean? It means being pure and clean, free from all defilement. Not having the slightest defilement is the kind of purity in which not even a single thought arises.
Not killing includes purifying our thoughts. If we uphold precepts on the surface and claim that we don’t kill, but we complain about others constantly or get angry with people, we are still violating the precept against killing.


What are pure precepts?
什麼是淨戒? Part 2

Not stealing includes mental states. We don’t have to steal physically. When we envy other’s wealth or talents, or become jealous of people, we transgress the precept against stealing.
Not committing sexual misconduct includes not having improper thoughts about the opposite sex. If we indulge in improper thoughts about the opposite sex, then we are being impure and breaking the precept.
Holding the precepts purely means leading a clean life without any defiled thoughts. That is to hold the precepts purely.


Verse of Transference

May the merit and virtue accrued from this work
Adorn the Buddhas' Pure Lands,
Repaying four kinds of kindness above
And aiding those suffering in the paths below.
May those who see and hear of this
All bring forth the resolve for Bodhi
And, when this retribution body is over,
Be born together in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

願以此功德 莊嚴佛淨土
上報四重恩 下濟三塗苦
若有見聞者 悉發菩提心
盡此一報身 同生極樂國

“The Buddha, like a clear, cool moon,    Forever courses in the space.    When the water in sentient beings’ minds is clear,    Bodhi appears within it.”


Avatamsaka Sutra / 《華嚴經》
1 2 3