志闲少欲,心安不惧 泛中医论坛

A023 The Diamond Sutra and The Heaven Dragon Eight Parts

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"The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils" is based on Buddhist scriptures and means "all beings in the world," symbolizing the countless beings in the world and reflecting the boundlessness and transcendence of Buddhism. The main theme of the book is "no one is innocent, all sentient beings are sinful." The work has a magnificent and tragic style, and is an epic masterpiece that portrays human nature and tragedy.

In the past year, I have read three books of "The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils" (a total of five books). Currently, I have reached the part where Qiao Feng is forced to the border. Coincidentally, these days I have been reading "The Diamond Sutra" every day, and it is closely related to Qiao Feng's experiences. I will share them below.

First, let me introduce Qiao Feng's experiences: As the leader of the Beggar's Sect in this generation, Qiao Feng has strong martial arts skills and has always been upright and trusted by his subordinates. Who in the martial arts world does not praise him as a hero? However, for some unknown reason, it was leaked that he is a descendant of the Western Xia barbarians. He was betrayed by members of the Beggar's Sect, framed for the murder of his parents and master, and step by step fell into a trap set by others, facing betrayal and isolation. During this period, he was trapped in the eternal question: Who am I? Am I a Han Chinese? Or a barbarian? Am I a good person? Or a bad person? In the end, he caused a great disturbance, committed numerous sins with his own hands, unable to wash away his guilt, and was forced to flee to the border.

I believe that one of the main sources of Qiao Feng's suffering is his doubt about his own identity: He believes that he is a good person and a Han Chinese, but everyone says he is a barbarian and a bad person, and they are determined to eliminate him as a great demon (several traps have framed him for various crimes). Over time, being constantly accused by others, even he himself begins to doubt—does he really have the blood of the barbarians, making him an irredeemable villain? Until some stimuli completely unleash his true self, causing him to kill numerous people and firmly establish himself as a barbarian, he becomes bloodthirsty and treats people as mere grass and leaves.

This segment coincides with a passage I read in "The Diamond Sutra, Chapter Nine: The Section on the One Appearance and the Non-Appearance of All Dharmas":

Subhuti, what do you think? Can a person who has attained the state of a Stream-Enterer think to themselves, "I have attained the state of a Stream-Enterer"? Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why is that? A Stream-Enterer is called a Stream-Enterer because there is no stream to enter. They do not enter forms, sounds, smells, tastes, or tangible objects. That is why they are called a Stream-Enterer."

I didn't understand the original text, but a comment quoted a passage from Master Jingkong's lecture (I couldn't find this lecture in any official publication, but it is included in the Jingkong Master Audio and Text Retrieval Center).

The First Fruit of Stream-Entry

The first attainment of Stream-Entry in the Small Vehicle is called "Stream-Entry." This term, "Stream-Entry," is translated from Sanskrit and means "entering the stream." This stream is the stream of sages, and one has the qualification to join this group of sages. This group is not composed of ordinary people. It is similar to the many clubs in our society today. When you become a member, you are a member of that club. This place is like the club of Stream-Entry. You can participate in their group, which is what we often talk about in Buddhism as "transforming from an ordinary person to a sage." Stream-Enterers are not ordinary people; they are sages. Among the sages, they have the lowest status, just entering the group of sages.

The Buddha tells us in the sutras what conditions are necessary to enter this club. One must sever the "eighty-eight types of views and delusions in the three realms." These delusions are confusion and afflictions. The three realms are the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm. Delusions refer to what? In other words, incorrect views, incorrect perspectives. When you can completely correct all the incorrect perspectives of all beings in the three realms, when your perspectives are correct and all the incorrect perspectives are completely eliminated, then you have entered Stream-Entry. It's not easy!

Explaining the eighty-eight types of views and delusions in the three realms would be very complicated. The Buddha and Bodhisattvas teach us the sutras and the Dharma, and they have skillful means. They summarize these eighty-eight types of views and delusions into five major categories, which makes it easier to explain. The first category is the view of the body. Look at all beings in the three realms, including the form realm and the formless realm. Which one of them is not attached to their own body? We all think that this body is ours, this is the first incorrect view. The body is not ours! What is the body then? It truly belongs to us. Like this clothing, this clothing belongs to me, this prayer beads belong to me, but they are not me. When can you realize that this body belongs to me, but it is not me? This is the first perspective.

Therefore, this is a major mistake, the fundamental mistake, taking the body as oneself. Every day, we take care of this body, commit countless boundless karmic actions, which is wrong! It's completely absurd. It's like the clothing I am wearing, I don't know that this clothing belongs to me, I take this clothing as myself, and every day I take care of it, doing things that harm others and benefit myself, creating countless boundless karmic actions for the sake of clothing. Do you think it's fair or unfair? The beings in the six realms do these unfair things. What is the self? We will discuss this in detail in the next section. This is the first incorrect perspective.

The second incorrect view is the view of boundaries. All beings in the three realms have it, the view of boundaries, the view of relativity. Look at us, we all live in the realm of relativity, with two sides, me on one side and others on the other side, big on one side and small on the other, good on one side and evil on the other, real on one side and false on the other. We live completely in the realm of relativity, and this perspective is incorrect. All beings in the six realms have this incorrect view.

In the realm of reality, there is absolutely no opposition, no relativity. When you are free from relativity, we talk about absoluteness today, absoluteness and relativity are still in opposition, so the Mahayana sutras often say "neither side is established." If neither side is established, then there is a middle way, right? "The middle way does not exist," there is no middle way, your view of boundaries is broken. Both sides have been abandoned, good and evil have been abandoned, real and false have been abandoned, right and wrong have been abandoned, and you think it is the middle way. Even the attachment to the middle way is still a mistake, you still haven't escaped. You only know how difficult it is! It's not easy to attain the state of Stream-Entry.

Combining Qiao Feng's experiences, whether he is a barbarian or a Han Chinese, a good person or a bad person, what does it matter? Bloodline is not his "self"! Qiao Feng's ending is truly tragic, causing people to sigh.

Finally, I would like to thank a senior fellow disciple and Teacher Luo. After my visit to Mount Tiantai, I started to calm down and read "The Ten Good Deeds Sutra," "The Tai Shang Induction Chapter," "The Heart Sutra," and I am currently reading "The Diamond Sutra." I have gained some insights. I would like to use a passage from "The Diamond Sutra" to wish them boundless blessings, and I also hope that this article can subtly arouse your interest in "The Diamond Sutra."

Subhuti, if there are good men or good women who, with a mind as vast as the Ganges River, give away in charity as many bodies and lives as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, and if there are others who, upon hearing even four lines of this sutra and upholding them for others, their blessings will be immeasurable. - "The Diamond Sutra, Chapter Thirteen: The Section on Receiving and Upholding According to the Dharma"

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