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Save the World from Disaster by Upholding Precepts
A talk given by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Not upholding your precepts doesn’t hurt others but your true nature.
Although it is the Dharma-Ending Age now, Buddhists should brace up and make a Vajra-like unbreakable vow to turn Dharma-Ending to Dharma-Proper like a true Buddhist should. If everyone really puts in the effort, the Dharma-Ending Age will turn into the Proper Dharma Age, whereas if Buddhists were not serious about practicing the Dharma step by step, even the Proper Dharma Age would turn into the Dharma-Ending Age. How so? It’s because the Dharma becomes proper when humans are proper. When humans are deviant, Dharma becomes so too. Being deviant is to go astray from the right path, to not uphold precepts and to constantly look for loopholes in precepts. Just as the law keeps the society peaceful. There are still some people who specialize in finding legal loopholes and committing crimes. This way, the law is no different from being non-existent, and the world is gravitated towards evil.
If you as a Buddhist do not wholeheartedly work or sacrifice for Buddhism, how can Buddhism flourish? Helping Buddhism flourish isn’t about learning mantras, spiritual powers, esoteric teachings or any other strange things like demon possession or drawing charms. The most important thing to do is to study the precepts that the Buddha has left behind. When we practice according to the teachings, Proper Dharma lives. If no one follows the Buddha’s precepts, then the Dharma-Ending world lives.
Everything is created by the mind, and the Dharma exists in people’s hearts. How have humans advanced to this Dharma-Ending Age? It’s because there are more people who break precepts than keeping them. There are many people who know about precepts, but those who understand precepts are fewer. That is why people are confused. They don’t exactly understand precepts, but it’s also wrong to say that they’re ignorant about them.
What are precepts? They are measures to prevent evil and all mistakes. In other words, do no evil and do every good.
The five precepts that the Buddha taught are very important. Everybody understands them, and precepts concern each and every one of us. Following rules and staying diligent is to grow the wisdom in your original nature. Upholding precepts cultivates concentration. Concentration gives rise to wisdom. Conversely, not upholding precepts makes you lose your concentration, without which the wisdom diminishes. Upholding precepts is also like a clear sky without any cloud. Not following precepts by committing killing, stealing, drinking and so on is creating dark clouds in the clear sky. The dark clouds obscure the sun and its light. The lack of light is darkness, which is ignorance. An ignorant person can even lose his human form and be born from the belly of a pig, a cow or a horse. This is the result of scientific achievement in the chemical plant of human’s original nature chemistry.
To uphold precepts is to purify your original nature and to ward off darkness from your nature. Not upholding precepts gives layers of dark cloud. Not upholding precepts for one day gives you one full day of worth of dark clouds. Not upholding precepts grows defiled clouds over your original nature. If you don’t uphold precepts, it is not others who harmed hurt but your original nature. Hence, you must strictly follow your precepts. If you can, it’s the Proper Dharma Age, otherwise it’s the Dharma-Ending age.