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THE SHURANGAMA SUTRA

The Fifty Skandha-Demon States

Explained by the Venerable Master Hua in 1968
at the Buddhist Lecture Hall; San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

(Continue...)

 

Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi and shamatha has put an end to the form skandha, he can see the mind of all Buddhas as if seeing an image reflected in a clear mirror.

 

Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating samadhi, who cultivates the skill of directing the hearing inward to hear his own nature, who cultivates perfect understanding through the faculty of hearing, and shamatha, the quieting of thoughts, the practice of "stopping" so that contemplation is possible, has put an end to the form skandha, he can see the mind of all Buddhas as if seeing an image reflected in a clear mirror. What happens when he puts an end to the form skandha? He can see the Dharma-door of the Mind Seal of all Buddhas, just as if he were seeing his own reflection in a mirror.

 

He seems to have obtained something, but he cannot use it. In this he resembles a paralyzed person. His hands and feet are intact, his seeing and hearing are not distorted, and yet his mind has come under a deviant influence, so that he is unable to move. This is the region of the feeling skandha.

He seems to have obtained something, but he cannot use it. In this he resembles a paralyzed person. I talked before about the kumbhanda ghost (paralysis ghost). When a person falls under the influence of such a ghost, his hands and feet are intact, not missing, his seeing and hearing are not distorted or confused, and yet his mind has come under a deviant influence, so that he is unable to move. This is the region of the feeling skandha. This state falls within the realm of the feeling skandha.

Once the problem of paralysis subsides, his mind can then leave his body and look back upon his face. It can go or stay as it pleases without further hindrance. This is the end of the feeling skandha. This person can then transcend the turbidity of views. Contemplating the cause of the feeling skandha, one sees that false thoughts of illusory clarity are its source.

Once the problem of being immobilized by the paralysis ghost subsides, his mind can then leave his body and look back upon his face. When you are within the feeling skandha, it is like being paralyzed by a  kumbhanda ghost, so you cannot get free. If this situation disappears and the feeling skandha is broken through, your mind can leave your body and you can see your own face. It can go or stay as it pleases. You may go or not go as you wish. You are completely unfettered and without further hindrance. This is the end of the feeling skandha. The feeling skandha is gone. This person can then transcend the turbidity of views, which is one of the turbidities of "the evil world of the five turbidities." Contemplating the cause of the feeling skandha, one sees that false thoughts of illusory clarity are its source. Once the feeling skandha is broken through, its source is also done away with.

 

Ananda, in this situation the good person experiences a brilliant light. As a result of the excessive internal pressure in his mind, he is suddenly overwhelmed with such boundless sadness that he looks upon even mosquitoes and gadflies as newborn children. He is filled with pity and unconsciously bursts into tears.

 

Ananda, in this situation the good person experiences a dazzling, brilliant light. As a result of the excessive internal pressure in his mind, a kind of feeling arises spontaneously. He has continually been controlling his own thoughts and has overdone it. When the inner suppression becomes excessive, he is suddenly overwhelmed with such boundless sadness and compassion for living beings that he looks upon and cherishes tiny creatures, even mosquitoes and gadflies, as if they were his own newborn children. The Chinese word for newborn means "red," referring to the red color of infant children's skin. He is filled with pity and unconsciously bursts into tears. Without knowing it, he starts to cry.

 

This is called "overexertion in suppressing the mind in the course of cultivation." If he understands, then there is no error. This experience does not indicate sagehood. If he realizes that and remains unconfused, then after a time it will disappear. But if he considers himself a sage, then demon of sadness will enter his mind. Then, as soon as he sees someone, he will feel sad and cry uncontrollably Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall.

 

This is called "overexertion in suppressing the mind in the course of cultivation." This situation may arise in the course of cultivation. It happens because you have been suppressing your thoughts too hard. If he understands, then there is no error. If you understand and say to yourself, "Why have I started crying for no reason? I should change this state," then there will not be any problem. This experience does not indicate sagehood. It does not mean you have attamed the Great Compassion of Oneness with All. Don't think that caring for mosquitoes and other small creatures as if they were your own children is genuine Great Compassion of Oneness with All, If he realizes that and remains unconfused, then after a time it will disappear. The state will go away.

But if he considers himself a sage, if he says, "Oh! Now I have the Great Compassion of Oneness with All! My cultivation has really succeeded! then a demon of sadness that is an expert at crying will come. It cries no matter whom it meets. This demon will enter his mind and take possession of him. Then as soon as he sees someone, he will feel sad and cry uncontrollably, without knowing why he is so sad.

When I was in Manchuria I knew a woman named Liu Jintong who was like that. Whenever she met someone, she would start crying and say, "In the past, you were my son, and now you've come back. You've found your mother!" With her tears, she managed to confuse the other person into believing that he had actually met his mother. In fact, he'd encountered a demon.

Lacking proper samadhi, proper concentration, he will certainly fall. If you follow a demon, you will fall into the hells

(to be continue)

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