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 Quote: Plain Water?

The water a cow laps
turns into milk.
The water a snake licks
turns into poison.

- Buddhist Saying

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 Realisation: Do You Protect Or Endanger The Great Lion?



While the evil might be fearful
of the Buddha's lion roar,
the righteous are inspired by it.

- Stonepeace | Get Books
As the 48th and aptly last secondary Bodhisattva precept in the Brahma Net Sutra (梵网经), the Buddha reminded his disciples that '… similar to worms inside a lion's body, who eat the lion's flesh, and not worms from outside, thus, it is the Buddha's "disciples" who self-destroy the Buddhadharma [Buddha's teachings], which celestial demons and external paths [which deviate from the Buddhadharma] all cannot destroy. Those who receive the Buddha's precepts must protect the precepts [by upholding them well], similar to serving one's father and mother. As if mindful of one's only child, they must not intentionally transgress them…' ('… 犹狮子身中之虫,自食狮肉非余外虫。如是佛子自破佛法,天魔外道皆莫能破。受佛戒者必须护戒,犹事父母,如念独子,不得故犯…') This sums up how very important and precious the precepts are.

This teaching is consoling and distressing at the same time. The good news is that the Buddhadharma itself is actually indestructible – not even by the most cunning demonic forces and unorthodox deviant teachers – because the truth is invincible. However, the bad news is that those who have snuck into or created communities with Buddhist namesakes are able to undermine the system inside out via disharmonious and corrupted behaviour, such as not living up to the precepts expounded by the Buddha in the same sutra, for ensuring the purity of the Buddhadharma practised in our world. In other cases, some who initially had good intentions became warped over time due to deteriorating integrity. Before speaking about profound wisdom for enlightenment, if even the basic foundation stone of morality is unstable, nothing else above can stand firm.

The lion is the most kingly animal in the forest. It is said that when a lion roars with far-reaching authority, which radiates the awesome power of truth, all other creatures freeze and pay attention, while those who are posing disturbances flee for their lives. As such, no smaller animals can really harm the lion – other than parasites growing on its body. When we observe the precepts vigilantly, we are learning to grow spiritually, to eventually become Dharma Kings (Buddhas), lions of the Dharma, so to speak. We should guard and groom ourselves, to prevent and warn one another of potential 'worms' devouring the great overall 'institution' of the Buddhadharma, to nip problems in the buds – ourselves. Remember… only failing Buddhist disciples are capable of destroying the Buddhadharma, usually out of malice, or greed for fame and wealth. Let us never be the ones!

Here is another way of looking at the lion analogy… Someone left a piece of used tissue paper in a pocket, before putting it with other clothes in a laundry net for a spin. Ironically, instead of better cleaning the clothes by preventing external dirt specks in the washing machine from sticking to the clothes, the paper shredded into bits, and stuck to more clothes in the net, which had to be picked out by hand. Indeed, we need to keep clearing our own spiritual 'pockets' of our defilements if we wish to 'clean' others. Otherwise, we might end up corrupting those we assume we are 'purifying'. Unmindfully, we might even be erroneously sharing on how the precepts should be observed, thus corroding the above-mentioned foundation, crumbling it bit by bit. From the five precepts to the Bodhisattva precepts, as all are actually crucial for Buddhahood, we should always work towards observing them better, for the welfare of one and all.

While the evil might be fearful
of the Buddha's lion roar,
they can also be awakened by it.

- Stonepeace | Get Books

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 Excerpt: Spirit Versus Letter Of Precepts



If you live by the spirit of the precepts,
you will never go wrong.
If you stick to the letter of the precepts,
you might sometimes do wrong.

- Stonepeace | Get Books
The Maha-Maya Sutra recounts the tale of Malika, the wife of King Prasenajit, who lies, seductively adorns her body, entertains, and serves wine to the king… When the Buddha was in the world, King Prasenajit's Queen had received the eight precepts of a layperson. One time, King Prasenajit wanted to kill his cook. When his Queen heard about this she wanted to save the cook, so she bedecked herself in fine adornments, put on fragrant powders, placed flowers in her hair, and prepared delicious food and wine. Then she took along several ladies-in-waiting and went to see the King. King Prasenajit was extremely pleased with the wine and the food, and afterwards the Queen beseeched the King to forgo his idea of killing the cook. The King consented, and so in this way the cook was saved.

The next day, the Queen went to the Buddha's place and repented. She had already taken the eight lay precepts, and one of them is that one can't put fragrant oils or perfumes on one's body or flowers in one's hair. She had also drunk wine the previous day…But since the only reason she did all that was because she wanted to save the cook's life, the Buddha said, 'Not only have you not transgressed the precepts, you actually have gained merit and virtue'

Because her motives were wholesome and pure, the Buddha praises her actions. Chan-jan notes: This story tells of breaking the precepts to save beings because of the Bodhisattva's basic desire to benefit others. As such, it is known as 'good in the midst of evil'… Anyone wishing to follow this example must assess his or her motives judiciously. If one is just indulging desire, it is not on the order of observance of the precepts.

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