Ways to Create Suffering and Happiness

Shan Yan
Shan Yan
Since 2022 till now, I have been following the kind mentor of BPI to start the journey on Buddhism....Read More

  Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated
  ( Issue 11)

  Ways to Create Suffering and Happiness

  Instructor: Shi Wuguang
  Author: Shi Fafu
  December 17, 2022, AD

 

I. Introduction

  People want to have only happiness in this world, and don’t want to have suffering. However, things are counterproductive. How much happiness can there be in this evil world? But fortunately, the fundamental teacher Shakyamuni Buddha was born in the world, just to let all living beings know the dharma of suffering and happiness, and finally get rid of suffering and obtain happiness. (This is recorded in the Lotus Sutra and Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva. and since the previous essays have been marked in detail, I will not mark them here.)
  According to the different foundations, intentions, and causes and conditions of all living beings, the Buddha preached 84,000 teachings, each of which can make all living beings escape suffering and attain happiness. But can all sentient beings truly understand the method of creating pain or happiness from the Buddha’s teachings, and find the method of practice that suits them, so as to achieve happiness from suffering?

  After thinking for a long time, this article tries to talk about the method of getting rid of suffering and attaining happiness based on the premise of conforming to the Buddha’s teachings and combining with my own learning experience. Although the author’s study is still relatively shallow, it is the author’s honor if this essay can throw away a brick in order to get a gem for readers, so that those who are destined can find a suitable method for their own study, quickly incorporate Buddhism into practice, and embark on the path of getting rid of suffering and obtaining happiness.

  This article is mainly based on classics, treatises, and literature. The main text is divided into three chapters.
  (1) A general description of the method of creating suffering.
  (2) The general description of the method of creating peace and happiness, which is also the focus of this essay. In this chapter, it is discussed from three aspects: 1. Get close to the kind mentor; 2. Take refuge with the Triple Jewel; 3. Ashamed and right view.
  The final conclusion part is mainly a summary of the previous chapters. I sincerely hope that with the help of the Dependent Origination in this article, all sentient beings can understand the method of creating pain or happiness and rely on the power of kind mentor to get rid of suffering and achieve happiness as soon as possible.

II. General description of the ways to create suffering

  Everyone has experienced pain, even though it is highly undesired. Then why are these bitter fruits manifested when we don’t want them? Where do they come from? Only by first understanding all these causes can we be free from suffering and achieve happiness. In Volume 19 of the Flower Adornment Sutra, it says:

  But all living beings are blind and without eyesight, enter the great dangerous path, and are entangled by all kinds of afflictions. Like a person who is seriously ill and in constant pain, who cannot get out of the prison of love and greed, who cannot leave the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, and the realm of the Yama, who cannot eliminate suffering, who does not let go of bad karma, who is always in the darkness of obscurity, who does not see the truth, who is in the cycle of birth and death, who cannot get out, who lives in the eight difficulties, who is covered by all kinds of impurities, whose mind is obstructed by all kinds of afflictions, who is deluded by evil views, and who does not follow the right path.

  As a result of ignorance, foolishness, and false views, sentient beings are entangled in afflictions and create bad karma, and then they fall into the three evil paths, incurring eight hardships, suffering all sorts of sufferings, and reincarnating in the cycle of birth and death, with no escape.

  For example, the author, before learning Buddhism, was always in the affliction of ignorance: “I always thought that the more I coveted, the happier I would be, and that good things would only revolve around me. I was always afraid that others would get better, and when I saw others benefit, I would feel jealous. Seeing people fail, I secretly rejoice in my heart. This leads to the creation of countless bad karma by giving play to the body, mouth, and mind. But according to the law of cause and effect, we can know how miserable the author’s future fate will be. Originally, I wanted to be good and happy, but because of greed and other afflictions, the good results will only decrease, and the bad luck and pain will increase. It can be seen that the root of the suffering of all beings is due to ignorance, ignorance of the law of cause and effect, and the evil karma caused by afflictions.
  And also in Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating from Heartland Originally, Volume 3, it says,

  There are ten causes of sin, three for the body, four for the speech, and three for the mind. There is no end of sins in the beginning of life and death; the ocean of afflictions is bottomless and karma is as heavy as Sumeru; the creation of karma is caused by two kinds of causes. The so-called current and seeds, the hidden consciousness holding all the species, like a shadow that never leaves the body, obstruct the holy path in all times. The near obstacle is the wonderful fruit of happiness for humans and heaven, and the far obstacle is the supreme bodhi fruit. At home, they can cause afflictions, and when they leave home, they will also break the pure precepts. If one can repent in accordance with the Buddhadharma, all afflictions will be eliminated.
  This scripture subtly talks about the creation of karma by all beings, which is caused by the seeds planted in the present (present creation) and past body, speech and mind. Planting evil seeds will hinder the happiness of human beings and heaven, and even achieve supreme Bodhi.

  It is also recorded in Volume 6 of the Upasaka Precepts: “It is the ten evil karma, and it is the root of all sins.” And this scripture also mentions:

  These are the ten ways of karma, self-doing, other doing, and self-doing together with others, from which you can get good and evil results, and it is also the cause and condition of good and evil for all living beings; therefore, wise people should not read it, let alone pretending to do it? If a person makes the knots of afflictions feel at ease, he should know that he is doing the ten evil ways; If someone is able to destroy the knots of afflictions and make them uncomfortable, that person is doing the ten good ways. …The ten evil karmas increase due to afflictions; the ten good karmas increase due to the absence of afflictions.

  Here, the Buddha preached in detail that as a result of afflictions one will create ten evil karmas, which will lead to evil retributions.

  In the LeBangWenLei, Volume 5, it is said, “All sufferings arise from greed, but I do not know where greed arises, because I have forgotten the self-nature of Amitabha, and my different thoughts are always demons. This text directly points out that greed is the root cause of all sufferings.

  In summary, the reason why sentient beings suffer is because they are ignorant of the laws of cause and effect, and their bodies, mouths, and minds create bad karma with their afflictions. Specifically, for example, because of greed: greedy for food, greedy for fun, greedy for clothes, greedy for all the good feelings; because of hatred: If anything that does not follow one’s own mind, one will be angry, unhappy, and lose one’s temper; because of ignorance: do not understand, confused … because of greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance, doubt and other annoyances, all the evil karma created by the body, mouth and mind, will be subject to evil retribution.

  ”The heart is the root of everything” is extremely crucial. In a single thought of sentient beings, they can create the cause of suffering and the cause of happiness. For example, when a person’s heart is in harmony with greed, hatred, and ignorance, he is already creating evil karma, and through the actions of body and mouth, the evil karma has already become fixed karma; It is evil karma, but there is no evil heart, no evil roots, it can only be good roots, and it can only bear good fruits, not evil fruits.

  For example, many parents, after being aggrieved at work, return home and take their anger out on their children, scolding them, which is creating the evil karma of anger. However, if parents find that their children are doing bad things and are intentionally deceiving them. In order to educate the child, the parents put on a serious face, reprimand the child for the bad behavior, and strictly ask the child not to do it again in the future. The parents are creating good karma and will not bear bad fruit. It is clear that the creation of an annoyed mind can only create bad karma, which will bring painful consequences.
  It is also said in the Huan Zhu An Qing Gui that there is no birth and death in the self-nature, but there is birth and death in the results of karma. Birth and death contain self-nature, and self-nature contains birth and death. All phenomena of birth and death are manifested by the self-nature of non-birth and non-death. The unborn and undying self-nature can manifest all phenomena of birth and death. However, in terms of illusion, there are births and deaths in the phenomena of cause and effect. According to the law of cause and effect: “What causes, what effects, cause and effect are exactly the same; cause is small, effect is big; seed now, reap in the future. (The three laws of cause and effect are discussed in detail in the article “The Relationship between Precepts and Cause and Effect” in the seventh issue, so I will not elaborate on them here.) In the case of pain and happiness, the phenomenon of cause and effect is manifested by the fruit of bad karma and the fruit of good karma.
  To sum up, the creation of bad karma is the law of suffering, and the creation of good karma is the law of happiness, and ignorance and greed and annoyance are the root cause of bad karma; if you want to get rid of suffering and achieve happiness, you must subdue affliction, cut off bad karma, and create good karma.

Ⅲ. General description of the methods of creating peace and happiness.

  Continuing from the previous article, creating good karma is the law of peace and happiness. If you want to get rid of suffering and find happiness, you must subdue afflictions, cut off bad karma, and create good karma. So how can we dwell in good karma? Next, I will focus on discussing how to subdue afflictions, accomplish good karma, and attain happiness from suffering by “getting close to the good mentor.”

  (Ⅰ) Getting close to the kind mentor

  In the second chapter, it has been discussed that all living beings create all kinds of evil karma and suffer all kinds of sufferings because of the edification of wrong views without beginning and without knowing the cause and effect. Therefore, if you want to get rid of suffering and gain happiness, you must understand the cause and effect, watch your mind, not create afflictions, cut off bad karma, and create good karma. In the previous essays, the author has focused on discussing this, and even discussed that by taking the Bodhisattva precepts, staying away from delusion and dirt and dust, and achieving meditation, you can get rid of suffering and achieve happiness. But the premise of using these practices proficiently is to have a good mentor to guide you. Only by relying on a virtuous mentor can these Dharma essentials be accomplished quickly. As stated in Volume 77 of the Flower Adornment Sutra, All Bodhisattvas achieve the Dharma through the power of a good mentor, with the good mentor as the foundation, relying on the good mentor to be born, relying on the good mentor to emerge, relying on the good mentor to grow, relying on the good mentor lives, a good mentor is a cause and condition, and a good mentor can initiate.” All Buddhist teachings rely on the power of a good mentor to achieve success.

  The same principle is also recorded in Volume 7 of the Lotus Sutra: “If a good man or a good woman planted good roots, they will get good mentors in the world, and their good mentors will be able to do Buddhist deeds, teach and benefit, and make them enter the Avalokiteshvara. Great King! You should know that a good mentor is a great cause and condition, the so-called transformation leads you to see the Buddha, and you can develop the mind of Avalokiteshvara. A Good Mentor is the good cause of all achievements, which can make sentient beings develop bodhicitta for the first time and even attain Buddhahood.

  In Volume 3 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating from Heartland Originally, it is said: All Bodhisattvas practice the supreme Buddhas’ Way , and four kinds of keys to Buddhism should be known: The first is to approach kind mentors, the second is to hear the Right Dharma, the third is to consider the truth as it says , and the fourth is to practice and prove it according to the Dharma. It can be seen that getting close to good mentors is the first condition of all practice methods. Without the guidance of a kind mentor, it will lead to blindness, and the desire to ascend will lead to the consequence of falling. If you want to subdue afflictions, achieve good karma, and get rid of suffering and attain happiness, you must first get close to good mentors.

  The power of a good mentor is inconceivable, as it is said in volume 77 of the Flower Adornment Sutra: A bodhisattva is held by a good mentor and will not fall into the evil path; taken by a good mentor, he will not retreat from the Mahayana; protected by a good mentor, do not break the Bodhisattva precepts. In the process of practice, if a Bodhisattva can rely on the power of a good mentor, he will not fall into the evil path, avoid suffering, and keep the Bodhisattva precepts (The content of the Bodhisattva Precepts already contains the method of cutting off all evil and practicing all good methods), to get happiness from suffering. In Volume 7 also says, “If you have a pure and firm faith, and are always close to a good mentor, all the Buddhas use their power, and they will enable you to enter into the wisdom of the Buddha. It is also said in Volume 66, “If one practices the teachings of the Good Mentor, all Buddhas and World Honored Ones will rejoice; if one follows the words of the Good Mentor, one will be close to all wisdom; if one is free from doubts about the words of the Good Mentor, one will always meet all good friends; if one has the vow to never leave the Good Mentor, one will have all righteousness. It is evident from the sutras that pure faith, proximity and obedience to good mentor can lead to all benefits, and inevitably to the subjugation of afflictions, the achievement of good karma, and the release from suffering and achieve peace and happiness.

  Next, the author will talk about the blessing power of kind mentors based on my own experience, which can quickly subdue afflictions, achieve good karma, and achieve happiness from suffering. The author has always wanted to work hard to subdue afflictions, hoping to live in a state of good karma. However, due to the fact that I do not have the five faculties and five strengths, and the serious bad habits, it is really difficult to sublimate qualitatively by relying on one’s own strength.

  For example, when the author is hateful, all kinds of unsatisfactory things in the past will flash in my mind. At this time, I couldn’t control my resentment at all, and my heart was overwhelming and turbulent. As long as I don’t pay attention, I will create evil karma with hatred affliction. At this moment, I am really in a state of out-of-control neurotic patients. Although the author has also learned a lot of ways to subdue afflictions, such as wisdom and contemplation, and knows that following delusions, feelings, and impulses to create bad karma will bring painful retribution, and I often practice these methods to deal with afflictions, but wisdom is still weaker than karma. However, in many cases, just one word of teaching from a good mentor can get me out of the demon cave of afflictions quickly. The blessing power of a kind mentor can make the author subdue afflictions, cut off bad karma, create good karma, and get happiness from suffering.

  On the contrary, if a practitioner encounters an evil teacher, even if he has a high level of cultivation, he will fall into the evil path and suffer all kinds of suffering. For example, it is recorded in Volume 5 of the Sutra of Mahayana Great Rally Ten Wheels of Earth Store: “There are expedient means, intentional joy, precepts, and views, although they are not destroyed, but they rely on the power of an evil mentor, and often do evil deeds. Such are the ten causes of evil deeds, causing all sentient beings to commit fundamental crimes, which are not virtuous and holy weapons in the present Dharma, breaking the precepts, and falling into various evil paths. There are some practitioners who have the capital to practice: those who have conveniences, those who have a joyful yearning for the Buddha’s way, those who are able to hold the precepts, and those who have the right view, etc., but because of relying on an evil mentor, they will commit evil deeds, break the fundamental precepts, fall into the evil path, and suffer infinite suffering.

  It can be seen from the above that getting close to a virtuous teacher is the first condition and method to quickly subdue afflictions, eliminate negative karma, achieve various good deeds, and achieve happiness from suffering.

  ⅰ. Establishing cause and condition with the kind mentor

  It has been discussed above that getting close to a good mentor is the first condition and method for getting rid of suffering and obtaining happiness, which requires cause and condition with a good mentor. For example, in Volume 8 of the Notes on the Vimalakirti Sutra, it is said: “Furthermore, the growth of all dharmas must originate from dependencies.” Everything in the world is inseparable from causes and conditions. If there is no cause and condition with the kind mentor, no matter how inconceivable blessings the kind mentor has, you will not be able to obtain it, and it will be impossible to get rid of suffering and achieve happiness. Therefore, if you want to get rid of suffering and obtain happiness, you must actively establish a relationship with a good mentor. As it is often mentioned in the scriptures: “Devotion, reverence, respect, and offering” all increase good karma, that is to say, practitioners should take the initiative to increase good conditions with kind mentors in order to better receive their blessings and escape suffering.

  ⅱ. The standard of disciple appearance

  Although a virtuous teacher can help us avoid suffering and obtain happiness, is it true that we will be able to avoid suffering and obtain happiness when we meet a virtuous teacher? Among them, we must not ignore the very important “relying on the method”, that is, the appearance of the disciple.

  In the Sutra of the Great Square Wide and Perfect Enlightenment and Ultimate Clear Meanings, it is said: When your mentor comes close to you, please do not behave with arrogance, When he goes apart from you ,
  please do not behave with hatreds, Whatever realms you see, You should think he is so rare in your heart, and he is like a Buddha appearing in the world. As a disciple, you must have the appearance of a perfect disciple, and have rare thoughts of the Master and see him as a Buddha, and only in this way can you truly receive the blessing of the good mentor. This is explained in detail in the Lam rim Chen Mo written by Master Tsongkhapa. For example, there is a record in Volume 1 of Lam rim Chen Mo: First, the three faults of breaking the appearance of the disciple, and second, rely on the six thoughts.” (Because the space is too long, I will not extract them one by one. On the contrary, there may be immeasurable troubles, just as it is said in Fifty Praises of the Teaching Method: Do not let the Acharya, who has even a little bit of affliction and if you lack wisdom to go against him, you’ll be sent to the Avici Prison, where you will suffer all kinds of extreme sufferings, which are terrible and deep. You must always admire the virtue of your mentor and not peep at small faults; you should be obedient in order to achieve success; To seek faults is to damage yourself. Therefore, only by attaining the characteristic of a perfect disciple and treating the mentor as a Buddha, can one obtain the greatest blessing from a good mentor and quickly escape from suffering and attain happiness.

  In short, if sentient beings want to accomplish good karma and get happiness from suffering, they must first establish karma with a good mentor, such as ” devotion, reverence, respect and offerings “. When getting close to virtuous mentors, one must have the appearance of a standard disciple, so that one can quickly get rid of suffering and obtain happiness.

  (Ⅱ) Take Refuge with the Three Jewels

  In the process of practice, it is too weak to rely on personal strength alone. If you take refuge with the Three Jewels and rely on the power of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, you will be able to rise to the top. As recorded in Volume 5 of the Upasaka Precepts Sutra:

  In order to eliminate all sufferings, cut off afflictions, and enjoy the supreme bliss of cessation, because of such causes and conditions, I received the three refuges. As you asked, what are the three refuges? Good man! The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. The Buddha is the one who can preach the destruction of the causes of afflictions, so that all sentient beings can attain right liberation. The Dharma is the one who destroys the causes of troubles so that sentient beings can attain true liberation.
  The Sangha, who is endowed with the teachings of the Buddha, is breaking the causes of afflictions and is attaining liberation.

  The Buddha is able to preach the way to break the causes of afflictions so that sentient beings can attain righteous liberation; the Dharma can break the causes of afflictions so that sentient beings can attain true liberation; the Sangha, endowed with the Buddha’s teachings, are practicing the Dharma, breaking the causes of afflictions and attaining righteous liberation; sentient beings can be free from suffering and attain happiness by truly relying on the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
  It is also said in volume 7 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating from Heartland Originally:

  If any disciple of the Buddha has not yet attained true wisdom and is dwelling in the lam-rim, he should approach all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and if he meets a true and good mentor, he will not retreat from his Bodhisattva practice. For this reason, all disciples of the Buddha should seek to meet one Buddha and one Bodhisattva with all their hearts. Good man! These are the principles of worldly dharma, which you should study with all your heart.

  The Buddha taught that if one does not encounter a true kind mentor, one must rely on one Buddha and one Bodhisattva, that is, one’s mind must never leave one Buddha and one Bodhisattva.

  If you want to be free from suffering and attain happiness, you can also make offerings to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. For example, in volume 36 of the Flower Adornment Sutra, it is said: The great Muni appears in the world, like Sumeru emerging from the huge sea. Making offerings can relieve all sufferings and making offerings will surely gain the wisdom of all Buddhas. There is no such place where offerings should be made. Therefore, you should make offerings to the Buddha with a joyful heart. By making joyful offerings to the Buddha, all suffering can be eliminated and Buddha’s wisdom achieved. It is also recorded in the Sutra of Mahayana Great Rally Ten Wheels of Earth Store, Volume 5: Happiness in the three realms is born from the Three Jewels, so those who seek happiness should always make offerings to the Three Jewels. To make offerings to the Three Jewels is to create peace and happiness.

  In summary, if you truly rely on the Three Jewels and make respectful offerings to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas, you will be able to leave suffering and attain happiness.

  (Ⅲ) Shame and Righteousness

  If you want to leave suffering and attain happiness, you cannot do so without the blessing of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. However, it is also very important that you follow the Buddha’s wisdom. In the previous article, I have already mentioned that the fruits of good and bad karma can bring happiness or suffering. Does the creation of bad karma necessarily lead to suffering? In the Volume 4, on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating from Heartland Originally Sutra, it is said, “Pity this mortal body of birth and death, which suffers long in the cycle of the three evil paths, if you know that good and evil follow karma, you should repent of your bad karma so that it will be extinguished. All human beings and gods are rewarded with wonderful happiness, and the cause is shame and right views. so, we should develop a strong bodhi mind and practice diligently. Even though you have created bad karma, as long as you have enough shame and right views, you can also feel the happy fruit of human beings and heavens. Because of shame and repentance, one can repent and purify the bad karma that has been created (this point of view has been mentioned repeatedly in previous papers, so I won’t repeat it here.); with right views, one can understand cause and effect, even if In the face of evil retribution, you can accept it with joy, and you can even not feel it, so you will not feel pain.

  For example, the author is currently accepting evil consequences, but if she clearly knows that this is the result of self-inflicted consequences, she will no longer be angry and blame others, and will not continue to create evil causes on the evil consequences. Even if she can ignore these evil consequences and let her heart rest in a happy state, she will not feel the pain of evil karma.

  Also, in volume 10 of the Sutra of Mahayana Great Rally Ten Wheels of Earth Store, it says: There are countless and boundless sentient beings, who have heard what the Buddha said, and have gained the right view of the world. From this right view, they will eliminate all evil karma caused by afflictions. Good deeds are caused by right aspirations and good karma. With right views, sentient beings can remove all causes leading to evil paths and eradicate afflictions and bad karma and can also increase all causes leading to good paths and achieve right aspirations and good karma. Therefore, having shame, repentance, and right views can also enable people to escape suffering and gain happiness.

  To sum up, if sentient beings want to achieve good karma and get happiness from suffering, they must first have conditions with a kind mentor. They need to make a standard disciple appearance, get close to the kind mentor, and truly take refuge with the kind mentor and Triple Jewels, or follow the wisdom of Buddhism (shame, confession, right view, etc.) can get rid of suffering and attain happiness.

Ⅳ. Conclusion

  This article first discusses the ways of creating suffering, and then focuses on the ways of creating happiness. “The method of creating happiness” mainly focuses on getting close to good mentors, taking refuge with the Three Jewels, and doing things according to wisdom, so as to achieve good karma. In the aspect of being close to a kind mentor, it also discusses the two key conditions of having a relationship with a kind mentor and having standard appearance disciple. If sentient beings want to create happiness and achieve good karma, they need to actively establish conditions with kind mentors, and they also need to be perfect disciples. In addition, they need to truly take refuge with the Three Jewels and practice their own wisdom. If they have shame, repentance, and right views, they can quickly escape from suffering.

  Because the author’s study is still young, the theory and practice are very lacking. Although it is mainly based on Buddhist scriptures and literature, and also combined with some experience of my own study, to talk about the ways of creating suffering and happiness, but the scope is relatively limited. It is not deep enough, so this article still has many flaws. I vow all the great masters will give me more forgiveness and advice.

  References


  I. Ancient texts (in chronological order of dynasties)
  [Hou Qin] Translated by Kumarajiva:Lotus Sutra , vol. 9, Dazhengzang.
  [Hou Qin] Translated by Shi Sengzhao:Note the Vimalakti Sutra , vol. 3, Dazhengzang.
  [Northern Liang] Translated by Tan Wuchan:the Compassionate Flower Sutra , vol. 3, Dazhengzang.
  [Northern Liang] Translated by Tan Wuchan:the Sutra of the Precepts for Upasakas , vol. 24, Dazhengzang.
  [Tang] Translated by Siksananda: the Flower Adornment Sutra, vol. 10 Dazhengzang.
  [Tang] Translated by Prajna: the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating from Heartland Originally, vol. 3, Dazhengzang.
  [Tang] Translated by Xuanzang: the Sutra of Mahayana Great Rally Ten Wheels of Earth Store, vol. 13, Dazhengzang.
  [Tang] Translated by FoTuoduoluo: The Sutra of the Great Square Wide and Perfect Enlightenment and Ultimate Clear Meanings, vol. 17, Dazhengzang.
  [South Song] Translated by Zong Xiao: the Category of Lebang Literature, vol. 47, Dazhengzang.
  [Northern Liang] Translated by Ri Chen etc. Fifty Praises of the Teaching Method, vol. 32, DaZhengzang,
  [Yuan] Written by Ming Ben: Huan Zhu An Qing Gui, vol. 63,Xin Xu Zang.
  [Republic of China] Translated by Fa Zun: Lam rim chen mo, Vol. 10 Tripitaka Supplement.
  Translated by CHEN QIHONG

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