adverse conditions?" or that "I have already accumulated so many good deeds, but how come that I still could not escape from all these disasters?" There was, particularly, one case in point when a person who, after practicing the Dharma for 18 years, faced a great impact of extreme adverse conditions in his business by throwing a cup of water at the scroll of the Lord of Compassion (Kwan-yin, or Chenresig), saying :"How dare you accept my offerings everyday, you are just useless!" It is very hard to comprehend the Law of causes and effects, and so Dharma practitioners should have the following understandings in order to further develop one's own wisdom :-

  1. Unless one has cleared all the "bad seeds"( which are piled up like mountains ) through Dharma practice, otherwise they would be brought out by other conditions. Such great masters as Nagarjuna, who had been practicing the Dharma for centuries, could confessed and cleared away 99% of his past bad deeds. If compared with them, we should know better and be shameful of ourselves for what we had done.

  2. The "three poisons" of greed, hatred and ignorance are obscuring one's mind, and are the enemies of oneself at the moment of death. The main purpose of Dharma practice is to rid oneself of these. Thus, if one's own mind has been obscured by these poisons of habitual tendencies, then how can one expect the buddhas and bodhisattvas to protect you, when you do not even have the ability to have a genuine communion with them ?

  3. There are certain basic ways that one can accumulate a lot of merits and wisdom for Dharma practice : to make offerings to genuine Dharma practitioners and to buddhas and bodhisattvas, to help in the propagation of the holy Dharma for the benefits of other sentient beings. All these are the basic ingredients for self-salvation and that oneself is the beneficiary of all these acts, not the buddhas and bodhisattvas! Buddhas and bodhisattvas point the ways for Dharma practice out of their own compassion for sentient beings. Not that because they want people's offerings and so they will protect them in return.

  4. There might be gods who would protect Dharma practitioners, but they would immediately leave them if these practitioners have committed sins out of greed, hatred and ignorance. Hence, one must first be a genuine practitioner - by adhering to the disciplines and doing a lot of merits - before one would be protected by others. Furthermore, it is most essential that one should use the power of Dharma practice for the dissipation of the "bad deeds" which is the ultimate solution to one's own karmic debts.

  5. Even when the practitioners are diligently practice the Dharma, it still needs time in order to get any favorable results. As the previous "bad causes" are on their ways of being brought forth, it will very much depend upon the "awareness" of the practitioner, as well as on his/her strength in stopping them, in order that the final results will come forth or not. We can use the analogy of the action of boiling an egg : if right at the very beginning one can be aware of it and recognize it as a "bad cause" and then try to use Dharma practice to stop it, the egg might be able to escape from its fate of being boiled. On the other hand, if one was not aware of it at the very beginning, and did not recognize it as a "bad cause" until the egg was already 70% boiled. Then by the time one used Dharma practice to stop it from further boiling, the egg could not escape from the fact that it had already been 70% boiled. In other words, the practitioner has to be responsible for the 70% of the "bad results" due to his/her previous "bad causes" and that it can be further interpreted that through his/her efforts in Dharma practice, he/she was able to release himself/herself from the remaining 30% of the "bad results" (which he/she is supposed to reap as well if there are no efforts in Dharma practice). This can be called as "the ability to reap a lighter load of results from previously-sown heavy sins" in Buddhism, due to one's Dharma practices, such as pure and sincere confession and in doing a lot of "good deeds" and merits in order to counteract against the previously-done "bad causes".

Another important direction for Dharma practice is to use adverse conditions as a means to help trained oneself on the path, in order to secure one's firm foundation of Mind Training. Those Dharma -- CONTINUE --

CONTENT of Issue 3

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