(1) ͏ 在進行佛教禪修的時候，我們必須倚靠禪定與既定的修行法則來支持我們的精進，進而給予「心」在解脫道上每一階段進步所需的心靈力量。就此而言，心的「戒」與「定」的沃土一直相互運作。當精神的修持獲得了適當的養分，心就會在各方面逐漸變好的過程中收割美好的果實。
(1) When developing Buddhist practice, we must depend on meditation and the established principles of practice to support our efforts, to give the mind the inner strength that it needs to progress at each step of the path. In this matter, the fertile soil of the precepts and the fertile soil of the mind in meditation always work together in unison. When mental cultivation receives the right nutrients, the mind will reap good results as it gradually changes for the better in all respects.
(2) The Lord Buddha never said that he could bring about good results in another person’s practice. A person must earn those good results by creating the right causes and conditions to get them. For that reason, the quality of the results will depend on how well one cultivates the right causes at each stage along the path.
(3) Those people who are either unreasonably hot-tempered or unreasonably coolheaded tend to be unreliable and make mistakes. They are worse than fire and ice – at least fire and ice can be put to good use. Those who are coolheaded to the point of indifference tend to have a lazy work ethic. Those who are hotheaded to the point of anger tend to burn themselves and everyone else around them. Those who display their moods wisely, after having thoroughly considered the advantages of showing patience or impatience according to circumstances, can do a lot of good; they do not easily make mistakes or upset other people. Such circumspect people are trusted companions.
(4) The Lord Buddha taught that we should keep a watchful eye on our shortcomings so that we can fix them quickly. When we keep this practice up we will gain the inner strength needed to confront whatever comes our way. If someone points out our mistakes, we should reflect internally on them and not take offense at our critics. In that way, we understand our faults more clearly.
(5) Please understand correctly what people most desire; they desire pleasing possessions and physical and mental ease and comfort. These things flow from having good behavior, from being energetic in one’s duties, and from being an honest, law-abiding citizen with firm religious principles and exemplary conduct based in the four foundations of success.
(6) Every branch of knowledge, whether knowledge of the world or knowledge of Dhamma, should be studied for the purpose of improving oneself and conducting oneself with dignity, because people achieve dignity through their knowledge and their behavior. The more one conducts oneself in line with what one has learned, the more one’s dignity shines forth. However, one who uses knowledge in the wrong way sinks much lower than the average person until he is shunned by society and no one wants to associate with him.
(7) Lying is not good behavior. When one lies continuously one is known as a liar and a bad person. When whole villages persist in lying, they are known as dishonest villages; when entire towns persist in lying, they are known as unreliable towns; when the whole world persists in lying, it is known as a fraudulent, faithless and meaningless world.
(8) You should do those things that are compatible with achieving favorable results for yourself and others. Do the same things that a good child would do toward his parents, or a good student would do toward his teachers, or a good Buddhist would do toward his religion. When you enter a monastery, you should be aware of how valuable the monastery is to the world, and you should conduct yourself accordingly. You should avoid speaking too loudly when walking past the monastery grounds.
(9) Good and evil are invariably mixed up together. Because of that, someone who desires goodness must be selective in all things he is involved with. Not only does he have to be selective in external matters, he has to be so in internal ones as well. For instance, he has to be selective with the thoughts arising in his mind, because the mind is the root cause of good and evil far more than external things. We are always aware of other people’s faults, but we are hardly ever aware when our own thoughts, speech and actions are at fault.
(10) Finding a true and faithful spouse is not a small matter that is easily accomplished. It is equivalent to putting down roots that will bind two people together to the end of their lives. When a husband and wife’s relationship is good, it affects the whole family in a positive way. If their relationship is broken, the whole family suffers. The husband and wife then become poisonous to each other, including each other’s extended families.
(11) You must put samadhi and wisdom into the practice in order to get their results to arise. If you do not make the effort to attain samadhi and wisdom, they will not arise. The factor which determines whether they arise or not is the person who makes the effort to practice them.
(12) Wisdom means being well-versed in the aggregates of body and mind. Wisdom does not mean engaging in samadhi practices day and night, expecting wisdom to arise on its own without any investigation. When it is like that, even though you may have mastery of samadhi, wisdom will not arise because samadhi and wisdom perform different tasks. Samadhi’s job is to calm the mind; wisdom’s job is to thoroughly comprehend every aspect of the aggregates of body and mind.
(13) Are you going to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Buddha and the Arahants, or simply remain as you are? If you intend to follow the Buddha, prepare for the journey by practicing generosity, moral virtue and meditation, which is without a doubt what made up the road that the Buddha traveled. Whoever walks that road can expect to gradually transcend suffering. You don’t have to waste your time with useless complaints. If complaining was really beneficial for cutting off the fetters, we all would have attained Nibbana long ago.
(14) Those who practice Dhamma until they get the right results will invariably be good children, good citizens, good teachers, good students, good employers, and good workers. Were everyone to do this, there would be nothing but good people in the world. When nobody behaves badly, the whole population lives together in harmony because everyone has Dhamma in their hearts. When people sympathize with and forgive each other, when they love each other and feel compassion for one another, the world is naturally a happy place.
(15) Whatever you do, always reflect on your position in life and on your good reputation. Don’t let the things that you desire have more value than your own virtue; otherwise, you will do harm to yourself. Don’t run headlong after your desires; otherwise, you will come to ruin. Husbands and wives should be happy together and love and entrust their lives to each other. They should not entrust their lives and happiness to extramarital affairs which act like parasites sucking all the goodness from their lives, and leaving them dead while still alive.
(16) Please understand that wisdom is the faculty that uproots every kind of kilesa. Wisdom will never disappoint in leading you beyond suffering. Although samadhi and wisdom work in unison, they are used at different times to make the practice progress smoothly. Please remember this advice and put it into practice without being complacent.
(17) Basic natural principles do not exist dependent on one’s understanding or one’s doubts. People have many different opinions about whether there is life after death or not. Regardless of their opinions, natural principles themselves remain constant. When someone clearly understands those natural principles, he makes no attempt to interfere with them. Therefore, theycan never constrain that individual again. Those who have transcended the cycle of birth and death no longer spin around in the world of constant change.
(18) From the day the Buddha attained Enlightenment to the day he passed away and continuing down to the present day, his teaching always stressed the importance of actions and their results, both in worldly matters and in matters of Dhamma. For lay people, that means following the righteous path of action in all their daily activities. The results are the various degrees of spiritual rewards they receive from their righteous deeds.
(19) If you desire a lasting sense of fulfillment without loss of fortune, you must be a person who acts diligently in ways that give rise to happiness. If you desire to be a good person, you must discipline yourself well and not be stubborn. Then you can expect to be a person of wealth with blameless and exemplary behavior.
(20) A good child’s conduct is governed by the advice of his parents and his teachers, which he follows obediently. He abides by the rules of behavior required of a good child. He does not go looking for trouble. He is honest and upright in his dealings with his parents and his friends and peers. He is conscientious in his studies and in his other duties. He lives modestly within his means without being extravagant or wasteful. He is not arrogant or conceited about the social status or wealth of his family. Practicing all the good qualities mentioned above makes for a smooth and virtuous path of conduct for a young person.
(21) Because youth is a precious and beautiful resource, young people should be vigilant about preserving virtuous qualities within themselves. They should not enter relationships prematurely or give their virtue away cheaply. Otherwise, they will have difficulty in finding a lifelong partner. Young people should always exercise restraint when socializing; they should be mindful and circumspect when they meet each other. They should not be duped into blindly indulging in nightlife entertainment, thinking that they are clever enough to guard their virtue, because when their faculties are dimmed, their good judgment diminishes as well. Then their virtue will be lost, their minds will become unstable, their hearts will break in despair and they will walk around like stinking, living corpses. Young people should recognize the importance of exemplary behavior. If they follow this advice, the result will surely be a life of continuous happiness and prosperity.
(22) For a married couple, maintaining their family is a moral obligation that they should try to make more and more firm. They should never allow the bond they share to break up and fall apart. They should take care not to bring down the trunk and destroy the fundamental roots of their marriage. Regardless of the intelligence or social status of one’s spouse, one should not look down on that person with contempt. Husbands and wives should take no interest in extramarital relationships because these cause irreparable splits in their marriage. Two people who are married and raising a family should maintain their vows very strictly, as though their lives depend on it. When that is the case, they will live happily together. This is the path of happiness for married couples who truly love each other.
(23) People who have reached middle age are people who have sufficient experience of the world to clearly understand the difference between the rights and wrongs and the good and the bad of life in the world. They have devised effective ways to deal with the positive and negative aspects of the situations they have faced in their lives. Middle-aged people have reached the point where they feel a sense of urgency about finding an internal refuge in the Dhamma. They have reached a time in life when they are ready to divest themselves of all the burdensome things that they have been attached to for so long. Such people are unlikely to boldly take on heavy burdens because they now know their own limitations.
(24) Civil servants should follow a righteous path, the path that emphasizes honesty and integrity in carrying out their duties. If they end up being corrupt, they fail to accomplish their intended purpose, and the results of their work create disturbance in the public domain. On the other hand, when civil servants perform their duties with honesty and integrity, the results lead naturally to great improvement for the populace as a whole. Corrupt practices are always bad. It doesn’t matter whether the corrupt person is stupid or smart; whether it’s the boss who is corrupt or his subordinates; whether it’s parents or their children; whether the corruption is done openly or secretly; or whether people know about it or not – the evil consequences of corrupt behavior always falls squarely on the corrupt individual. This principle governs the work of all civil society.
(25) The person whose mind is calm is someone who can be expected to find happiness in life. Calm mental states that are experienced only intermittently, coming on quickly only to fade just as quickly, are disappointing and lead to the kind of happiness that brings a peace of mind that cannot be depended on. Because that calm is not bound closely to the heart, happiness does not last. When the calm goes away, the happiness then changes into unhappiness.
(26) Please make an effort to keep your heart calm and happy, as though you are continuously in the presence of the Lord Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. As long as you remain close to the Buddha, Mara will always be fearful. Those who keep the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha close to their hearts avoid danger. They have no ill will towards themselves or others because their hearts, which are the center of the universe, are at peace.
(27) Generosity means giving, which is paired with receiving. Since the beginning of the world, people who refuse to share with others do not deserve to continue living in the world. When people practice acts of giving and receiving, they remain inseparable. Giving lays a good foundation for one’s life because it directly improves the conditions of one’s existence. When we avoid doing everyday acts of generosity, we undermine the basis of human existence, which is no longer able to sustain life in this world.
(28) All thoughts that cause harm to yourself and other people are thoughts that cause you to suffer.
(29) The Buddha’s teaching has established a firm foundation in the hearts of Buddhist practitioners from the time of the Buddha to the present day. This longevity results from their experiencing the flavor of Dhamma that comes from the gift of the Buddha’s teaching; that is, practicing generous giving, observing moral precepts and developing meditation. The Dhamma has come down to us as an unbroken legacy of moral virtue, which is an important basis for our awareness of right behavior.
(30) When mindfulness and wisdom can keep up with the arising and passing away of things related to the mind, the mind can gradually let go of its attachments. Step-by-step the mind transcends its mundane preoccupations. When all attachments have fallen away and vanished, the mind attains absolute freedom, which is the end of all suffering.
(31) The middle way of the Noble Eightfold Path points straight to the middle path that transcends the mundane world. When the middle way becomes permanently fixed in the Dhamma, the person who has attained that level of Dhamma has transcended the world of mundane reality. When that is the case, it follows that everything associated with someone who has gone beyond the world has transcended the world as well. For instance, when the Buddha was still living, he was absolutely beyond all mundane reality – no type of mundane reality could arise to disturb his mind.
(32) Causes give rise to effects. For example, not knowing how to exercise restraint in one’s affairs turns into frustration and suffering. This happens because the results of one’s good actions are not enough to compensate for the results of one’s bad actions, causing the mind to be consumed with anxiety.
(33) No matter how many different hell realms there are in existence, none are more worrisome than our own actions, speech and thoughts that are always ready to jump here and there, constantly making mistakes. It’s because body, speech and mind keep jumping about that they have the potential to encounter hellish experiences. For that reason, we can experience severe pain and suffering at any time, even though we are still living in the human realm.
(34) People who lack generosity, moral virtue and spiritual development have neglected the highest qualities of a human being. Instead, have allowed themselves to follow their animal nature. Good moral conduct is the most appropriate behavior for human beings. Don’t heedlessly do things that will harm yourself, your family and your community. The harm that is caused by doing so will definitely lead to suffering, for the teaching says good and bad actions always bring their appropriate results.
(35) Human beings must understand the value of moral virtue. Only animals have no understanding of moral virtue. All they understand is the need to find food to eat each day and the urge to be cruel to each other in the misguided search for their own happiness.
(36) Heaven is a realm of happiness, a place where virtuous people go to live. While living in the human realm, such people are kind, loving and generous towards all beings. They are not cruel and heartless. They are at peace with themselves, and they are clearly very happy wherever they are and whatever they are doing. They do not pose a danger or threat to anyone. This virtuous attitude is constantly maintained in their thoughts and actions.