"mind-field" to be brought out for fruition, and hence she would not be able to be reborn again in the "three upper realms" Thus, Empress Xi herself was the main cause for her own salvation from the lower realms, while the Ch'an Master was only the supporting condition for it;
(6) As to the accumulations of both "good" and "bad" deeds in our many past lifetimes, it is impossible for us to know exactly as to what are the quantities and the ratios of them all. Hence, at the moment of death, whether it will be the "good causes" to be fetched out first, or whether it will be the "bad causes" to be fetched out first, is really hard to reckon with. This is mainly due to the functioning of one's mind ( as to its habitual tendency of goodness or badness ) at the moment of death that is what really matters. Yet, our mind is always fluctuating all the time, and so there is really no regularities for it. This is why all Buddhists believe in the axiom of "life and death is really a big deal" and that is also the main reason why they will try to put all their efforts into Dharma practices in order to be liberated, once and for all, from life and death;
(7) If one despises the importance of this at the moment of death, and so does not think it necessary to have Dharma practices in order to correct and tune in one's mind to the "favorable circumstances", then the end result can be fatal and detrimental. Hence, Dharma practice is the ONLY WAY to change one's fate and destiny of this and future lives.
The "natural response" for all human beings, or even animals for that matter, is for self-protection. This is because of "ego-attachment" since beginningless time, that all sentient beings will arouse in themselves the "three poisons" ( of greed, hatred and ignorance ) when they got irritated. Hence, when these people are unfortunately reborn into the "three lower realms" they would suffer immense pains and sufferings. At which times, they will feel very angry of being trapped in such kind of awkward predicament; and in order to escape from this, they will try whatever means they can, even to hurt others, so as to alleviate themselves from such kind of sufferings. These kinds of actions and thoughts will accumulate more "bad causes" which in turn will bring forth more and more "bad deeds" and their results. Though there might be other "seeds of good causes" ( in their mind-fields), there is no opportunity at all for these to be brought forth, and hence the chance of escape from this difficult situation is very slim indeed. This is what we meant by the "vicious circle of bad deeds"!
Even when they are not adding new "bad causes" to the original bad ones, the chance of just trying to let the "good causes" to come forth by themselves in order to help escape from this awkward predicament is still very slim. The reason is quite simple : the situations in the "three lower realms" are very difficult, and the sentient beings are extremely painful. They are at a loss as to what could be done, and their minds simply cannot actively try to bring forth the "good causes" within their "mind-fields" In this way, the only thing that one can do is to just wait for all the "bad causes" to be realized before the "good causes" have their place to come forth. In other words, it will probably take billions of years before one can be "bailed out" from these "three lower realms".
When asked by his disciples as to the chance of becoming a human being, the Lord Buddha used his palm to pick up a heap of sand from the ground and said:"The sand in my hand represents the quantity of sentient beings to be able to become human beings, while the sand on the ground represents the quantity of sentient beings not being able to become human beings."
Some people might doubt about this statement. Please think about this : the quantity of bacteria within a bowl of rotten meat will probably be more than the whole population of a big city. Please don't forget that bacteria are also one kind of living beings. Furthermore, let's look at the quantities of the living beings that are living on the continents, which is only one-seventh of the planet earth. Then, there are the living beings in the marine world, as well as those that we cannot see but are existing in the microscopic world. What are their quantities ? And what are their proportions as compared to mankind ? This can be astronomical! Then, please think more deeply, there are other sentient beings that we cannot sense or detect -- those in the hell realm or in the hungry-ghost realm. In other words, the chance of becoming a human being is, indeed, very very slight!
The Lord Buddha had, time and again, mentioned : "Once the human body is lost, it is very difficult to recover it." There is no necessity for the Lord Buddha to deceive you, then why you still do not believe in his -- CONTINUE --
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