圖 / 三乘佛學院文 / 文獻中心
A Life of Total Liberation
Life is constant change. Every new life is nothing but a chapter in the constant process in which we are born and die, over and over again. Death means that our present Karma has run its course. When it has run its course, where are we going? We are simply going to our next “body of karmic memory,” exchanging one life with the next, comparable to transferring software into a new computer. Life and Death is nothing but this transferring of the software; and karmic memory is the key information that determines the form that our new life will take.
It is because of this process that Buddhism emphasizes the importance of creating wholesome karmic seeds of memory. Buddhism speaks about three forms of time: The past, the present and the future. Where does the present come from? It comes from the karmic seed sowed in the past. And where does the future come from? It comes from the karmic seed that is being created right now. The past therefore is the cause, and the present is the effect. At the same time, the present is the cause for the future. Our present life is a link in the chain of karmic memory, the software that stores up the information which creates the circle of life and death. This is the reason why we need to pay attention to every seed that we sow in this life, to every piece of information that we put into the software.
The place where we create these seeds is to be found in our body, speech and mind. If the seeds that we generate there are full of wholesome energy, their fruits will help us to lead a good life. It is important to understand the law of cause and effect, to take it as a fact and to follow the maxim of the Buddha: “Do everything that is wholesome, and refrain from doing anything that is unwholesome.” In order to proceed one step further from this towards “purifying the mind,” we need to rely on the help of spiritual practice. If we practice Chan, we need to learn how to concentrate well and no longer be dispersed; if we practice reciting the name of the Buddha, we need to be clearly aware that this is what we are doing. The same applies to the recitation of mantras. All of these practices help us to purify our mind, and thus to cleanse all the actions of our body, speech and mind.
If our aspiration in this life is to awaken and be free from delusion, to see everything clearly and let go, to fully understand that everything is impermanent and overcome the world of phenomenal existence, to realize emptiness and thus total freedom, then we have to apply ourselves to the study of Buddhism and practice of the teaching. Studying and practicing Buddhism means to sow wholesome seeds and reap good fruits in life. And once we clearly grasp the wisdom of emptiness, we will be able to lead a life of total liberation.
Dharma Master Hsin Tao
(Translated by Maria Reis Habito)