How to Remove Habitual Tendencies (Part 2)

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How to Remove Habitual Tendencies (Part 2)

(Translated by Lian Hua Zhi Wei, Edited by TBTI)
How is habitual tendency of ignorance treated? Those with strong ignorance usually do not have great wisdom. They are dull. Hence, ignorance and dullness are usually linked together. Grandmaster Lu has used the metaphor that even if you drive the cattle to the capital, it is still cattle. (The word “cattle” in Chinese also has the meaning of being stubborn, so this is a play on word. It is similar to the saying, you can take someone out of New York, but you can’t take New York out of him.)

But, those who think they are dumb should not feel depressed. It can be used as a motivation for cultivation. Use more time and energy to cultivate. They also can achieve accomplishment. Dullness and laziness are often linked together. They often think they are dumb, so they don’t cultivate. Sometimes the dumber they are, the lazier they become. So, the lazier they are, the dumber they become. So, the way to treat ignorance is practicing with more diligence.

Treating doubts, all living beings have doubts. Ch’an Buddhism takes the stance of not rejecting doubts. It takes the stance that when there is no doubt, there will be no realization. Small doubts bring small realizations. Great doubt can result in great realization. It is because you have doubt, hence you will search for the answer for the absolute truth. If you diligently continue onward, you will cultivate validation power. In Vajrayana, the method to treat doubts is through cultivation of qi, channel and drop. As long as cultivator succeed in the cultivation of drops, and generate light, the validation power will be produced. The doubts of mundane people and saint are different. Mundane people’s doubt is erratic. After developing faith, they develop doubts. When their doubts diminished, they have faith again. Then, the doubts and faith cycle repeats. Yet, for Saints, the doubt is a motivation to find the truth, and to realize the truth. It uses the power of validation to eliminate doubts. When the power of validation is generated, once realization is achieved, the realization is permanent. There will never be any more doubts.

With respect to treating arrogance, the current societal trend is to encourage compassion. It encourages everyone to use compliments, believing as long there is compassion that is good. But sometimes if the compliments are too much, it can generate the opposite effect, which is arrogance. Hinayana’s treatment for arrogance is equanimity teaching – you and I are all equal; no one is higher or lower. You can say that you are buddha, but other people are also buddha as well. When everyone thinks like this, then people cannot become arrogant.

Mahayana uses servicing sentient beings as treatment for arrogance. If you live to serve others and have other people’s best interests in your heart, then you will not have arrogance. Vajrayana’s treatment for arrogance is buddha pride. It teaches you to achieve realization. When you reach enlightenment, the wisdom that is generated creates a pride call buddha pride. After achieving enlightenment, Grandmaster Lu naturally display a venerable quality in all modes of activity regardless whether he is walking, abiding, seated, or resting. This is none other than buddha pride. Hence, it can be said that only accomplished cultivators who achieve enlightenment possess the quality of buddha pride. Those people who have not achieved realization, their prides are a form of mundane arrogance.

To sum up, one must eliminate his/her habitual tendencies. Grandmaster Lu says as long as you open your heart, then it is good. Open your heart and let out its radiance, then you are none other than buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is because cultivation is cultivating the technique of opening up the heart. You have to open up your heart and eliminate your habitual tendencies. The only method to do this is cultivation.

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