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The Form Skandha
VOLUME 8, Chapter 2
J10 False visions and false words.
Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate to the utmost point, he may see a good and wise advisor whose body undergoes changes. Within a brief interval, various transformations will occur which cannot be explained.
This state is called 'having an improper mind which is possessed by a li ghost, a mei-ghost, or a celestial demon, and without reason speaking dharma that fathoms wondrous truths.' It does not indicate sagehood.
If he does not think he has become a sage, then the demonic formations will subside. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence.
This is the tenth demonic state of the form skandha, called "false visions and false words."
Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate to the utmost point, he may see a good and wise advisor with whom he studied the dharma in the past, whose body undergoes changes. Right before his eyes, the good and wise advisor suddenly turns into an old man; in the next moment he becomes a middle-aged person; and, in another instant he turns into a young person.
Then, if the good and wise advisor is a man, for example, he suddenly changes into a woman, and the person thinks, "Oh! Probably in his previous life he was a woman." Actually, what he is seeing is not real. These changes are the result of his false thinking.
Within a brief interval, various transformations will occur which cannot be explained. Everything changes and becomes different from normal. This is similar to what people who take LSD experience. To them, everything becomes brightly colored, and they cannot see clearly. They paint some bizarre paintings which no one can figure out, because they just recklessly splash on the colors. After they finish painting, some people say, "Wow! What a masterpiece!" People actually praise them. You see? That's the way it goes. "Is it the case that this cultivator has taken a drug?" you ask. No. This experience is caused by the demon king. When you take LSD, the demons are also at work, making you experience changes.
Venerable Master: "In our investigation of the fifty skandha demon states, everyone is welcome to bring up an opinion. We want to use everyone's wisdom to investigate the principles. In the Dharma-ending Age, everyone is greedy for quick results and shortcuts. They think they can get a lucky break, just like people who gamble and win at the first try. So some people go running around to a lot of different places.
They study esoteric practices and various other dharmas. They hear this place has something to offer, so they go there. Then they hear that place has something, so they run over there. Running here and there, they waste all their time on the road; but in the end, they don't understand anything. We should all recognize this kind of state. If we don't it will be very easy for us to go astray."
Disciple: "It's like taking drugs, which is a serious problem in Western society. You could say that hallucinogenic drugs are transformation bodies of demons. The demons come up with a new form of drug and everyone becomes addicted to it. Even though people don't really need to take the drug, a demonic energy combined with their own habits causes them to get hooked. Nowadays there are many deviant teachers who, without the help of drugs, hypnotize people and cause them to see lights and various things. This happens because the drugs in people's bodies are acting up."
These states in the form skandha may change for the better and for the worse. If the person has enough good roots, the changes will be for the better. But people whose good roots are insufficient will change for the worse. There are all sorts of transformations. This state is called "having an improper and deviant mind which is possessed by a li-ghost, a mei-ghost, or a celestial demon, and without reason speaking dharma that fathoms wondrous truths." When a ghost or a demon from the heavens enters your mind, you may act like those people who claim they know how to lecture the sutras or speak the dharma, or who call themselves enlightened, elder masters.
Such people start speaking the dharma for no reason, with no idea what they are talking about. They say they have fathomed wondrous truths, but they have not really done so. They are not really speaking the dharma either. They take what is wrong to be right and claim that their dharma is the most wonderful. Praising themselves and putting others down, they call themselves the foremost elder masters.
It does not indicate sagehood. This state is not a good one. If he does not think he has become a sage, then the demonic formations will subside. They will disappear. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons influence. If he thinks he has attained the fruition of a sage, he will soon find himself in the hells. He will attain the fruition of the hells.
I3 Conclusion on the harm, and command to offer protection.
J1 Showing how the states come about from interaction.
Ananda, these ten states may occur in dhyana as one's mental effort interacts with the form skandha.
Ananda, these ten states described above may occur in the still contemplation of dhyana as one's mental effort interacts with the form skandha. These states involve the form skandha. When the mind interacts with and investigates the form skandha to the ultimate, one may experience such states.
J2 Confusion will bring harm.
Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Encountering such situations, in their confusion they fail to recognize them and say that they have become sages, thereby uttering a great lie. They will fall into the Relentless Hells.
Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Living beings are stubborn and intractable, and they do not wake up from their delusion. They do not take stock of themselves to see what level they are at. Encountering such situations, such demonic states, in their muddled confusion they fail to recognize them and say that they have become sages. They claim, "Oh, I am a Buddha! I am enlightened; I've attained sagehood," thereby uttering a great lie. They are really telling the greatest lie. They will surely fall into the Relentless Hells.
We have to be very cautious in all aspects. As it's said, "If you're off by a hairsbreadth in the beginning, you'll miss by a thousand miles in the end." We keep studying the Buddhadharma, but we end up falling into the hells. Why? Because we haven't really been able to follow the teachings. We haven't really been able to refrain from lying, stealing, sexual misconduct, taking intoxicants, and killing. If you can't even hold the five precepts, how can you think of accomplishing Buddhahood?
First of all, you must not kill. That doesn't simply mean eating vegetarian food.
"I haven't killed any creature with my own hands," you may say.
That doesn't necessarily mean you haven't violated the precept of not killing. Holding this precept means you must not even harbor anger toward people in your heart. That is not easy to do. As I said earlier, "I also have a strong urge to kill. But I want to stop killing; I want to liberate creatures instead of killing them. If I wanted to kill creatures, all the fine hairs on my body could turn into flying swords, sharp knives, lances, and spears to stab people to death.
That's how fierce my fine hairs could be. That's how powerful the urge to kill is, but I'm not going to kill. Why not? Because I realize that killing living beings is equivalent to killing Bodhisattvas, killing Arhats, breaking up the harmonious Sangha, and shedding the Buddha's blood. That's why I don't kill.
Not stealing. Gaining something by improper means or taking something that does not belong to you without informing the owner is considered stealing. If you take something from its place without anyone knowing about it, you are stealing. The causes, conditions, methods, and karma of stealing are explained very clearly in the Brahma Net Sutra. The causes, conditions, methods and karma of killing are also explained dearly in that text.
Not engaging in sexual misconduct is also like that. It only counts if you don't have thoughts of lust in your mind and your own nature. To hold the precept against lying, you shouldn't lie under any circumstances. Nor should you take intoxicants. The stimulating effect of alcohol causes you to be unable to function normally. It also makes you lose your wisdom, and once that happens, you do stupid things.
These are the precepts of not killing, not stealing, not engaging in sexual misconduct, not lying, and not taking intoxicants. Buddhists should pay dose attention to these five precepts and avoid committing the slightest transgression; only then are they qualified to be called Buddhists. Some of you casually entertain thoughts of killing, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, and deceiving people with lies, and you casually take intoxicants.
You are greedy for everything. Being greedy for food is equivalent to taking intoxicants. If you are so greedy for food that you eat until you're fat as can be, you are also taking intoxicants. We who study Buddhism should constantly examine ourselves on this point. We must be very attentive, without making the slightest mistake or being sloppy at any moment.
On the other hand, we should not be too rigid; we should apply the precepts in a flexible way.
"Then I can be a little more expedient; I can still kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, lie, and take intoxicants," you say. That's not what flexibility means. It means we should not bind ourselves up with the five precepts so tightly that we have no room to turn around. When we receive the five precepts, we are not being bound up by the five precepts. We should look into this well. A certain person in Canada used my name to cheat his disciples, alleging that I certified him. People who tell great lies like that are bound to fall into the Hell of Ripping Out Tongues.
J3 Command to offer protection.
In the Dharma-ending Age, after the Tathagata enters nirvana, all of you should rely on and proclaim this teaching. Do not let the demons of the heavens have their way. Offer protection so all can realize the Unsurpassed Way.
In the Dharma-ending Age, after the Tathagata enters nirvana, all of you should rely on and proclaim this teaching. Ananda, you all should follow and practice the dharma that I have explained for you. In the future Dharma-ending Age, after I have entered nirvana, you must propagate these teachings.
Do not let the demons of the heavens have their way. Offer protection so all can realize the Unsurpassed Way. Maintain and support the true and orthodox Buddhadharma so that you will be able to attain the supreme fruition of the Way.