Buddhist Views on Contamination, Part II
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
III. Secret Contaminations
Yesterday we talked about the inward diet and I will talk more about
diet in future lectures. But now I will talk about diet because some diets
increase sexual desire while others tend to reduce it.
Regarding diet and sex: there is a story which tells about the Last
Emperor of the Ming Dynasty requesting the Taoist National Guru to offer
him some diet or food which would make his penis very strong and excited.
In short, the emperor wanted the Guru to concentrate all his efforts in
manufacturing the best aphrodisiac possible. Now it seems that both the
Emperor and the National Guru should have more altruistic things to do,
however those Emperors at the end of a dynasty tended to be of inferior
The Taoist religion does not follow the vinaya, the rules, commandments,
etc, as a Buddhist does. Although Buddha explicitly forbid his disciples
to kill; the Taoists only wanted to make the Emperor happy.
First the Taoist master fed a male lamb large quantities of ginseng
over a long period of time. Sheep are animals which have a strong tendency
towards sexual intercourse. When you go to a village, you can see a small
lamb only a few days old, jumping and playing very happily, even trying
to have sexual intercourse with its mother. The lamb after being fed the
ginseng was isolated and forbidden to contact any female lambs.
Next the lamb was killed and fed piece by piece to a dog. It is said
that dogs also have very intense sexual drives, especially white dogs.
This dog was isolated from all other dogs male or female. Eating the lamb
meat directly, and indirectly eating the ginseng which the lamb had eaten,
the dog became very aroused --his penis was constantly erected and swollen
to a bright red color.
The dog was killed and his meat mixed with soybeans, then fed to an
ass. The ass's penis is very strong, but he is a vegetarian; however soybeans
contain many hormones good for sexual vitality. These mixed with the white
dog's meat and eggs proved to be quite a potent mixture for the ass. He
was isolated and daily fed the secret mixture, his sexual desire and potency
growing well beyond the norm. When the aphrodisiac mixture was finished,
a female ass was led to the excited male. Her feet were bound and the male
was allowed to enjoy himself, his partner not being able to escape.
Just before the moment of ejaculation, the person who fed the ass his
daily gruel, who was standing there with a knife called the precious sword,
cut off the ass' penis. The poor miserable ass did not die, but probably
wished he had, since he wasn't bothered by his sexual desires again. The
time of severance is kept to a very precise moment; a moment too late and
all is lost. The penis is removed from the vagina then cooked in a special
manner and fed to the Emperor. What is the result? It was said that Emperor
Fou-an killed over one hundred concubines as his own penis had become extraordinarily
powerful after eating the aphrodisiac prepared by the Taoist master.
Surely, such a diet could be classified as a contamination to say nothing
of the concubines who were killed . So we should also watch our diet to
make sure it is not overly sexually stimulating.
Sex should not be simply regarded as an evil; even the common people
believe that God created the penis and vagina especially for sexual intercourse.
Even animals and very tiny insects are not without their reproductive organs.
However, sex was not meant to be overindulged in and should be enjoyed
in moderation. The Taoist texts give general guidelines as to how much
one should have sexual intercourse according to one's age. Those youth
under 30 may have sex once a week. Past 30, once a month; 40 years old,
every forty days; fifty years old, every fifty days; etc. After 60 one
should stop entirely. I do not fully agree with the Taoist system. After
30 every two weeks is enough no matter what age.
In the Hinayana Buddhist tradition, laymen go for one day and one night
without eating meat or enjoying their wives. They also do not wear any
precious ornaments and follow the five basic silas very seriously during
this time. Nor do they sleep on a big comfortable bed. This is one of the
eight conditions of the vegetarian practice.
In China we always connect vegetarianism with both "upside" and "downside".
This means that if you are not eating meat you are also not having sexual
intercourse, or vice-versa. The two practices are interrelated and therefore
go together. It is harmful for one to be vegetarian and also have sexual
intercourse. It will deplete the vital energies seriously, since meat is
essential in the production of our human sexual fluids. So if you have
sexual intercourse, you must take meat if you want to remain in good health
with full vitality.
Monks (Bhikshus) are forbidden to eat food after twelve o'clock noon
because if your stomach has food inside when you go to sleep, for example,
if you eat dinner at six o'clock, then your penis will be more easily excited.
So this ascetic rule of Hinayana was developed just to prevent the stimulation
of the sexual vitality during sleep.
There are six days of vegetarianism on which one should not eat meat.
These are the 8th, 14th, 15th, 25th, 29th, and 30th of the lunar calendar.
These coincide with the full moon and the new moon. Sexual intercourse
is forbidden on these six days, therefore, meat should not be eaten because
it stimulates the sexual instinct. Furthermore, our sexual reservoirs are
found to be most potent on these days. If we have sexual intercourse, we
lose much more semen and ovum and vital essences on these days. This fact
is proven not only for man, but many animals are found to be more sexually
potent on these days. For example, there is a type of fish called Large
Head. On the fifteenth if you cut open its head you will find more essential
things in the brain than are usually found there. By the 30th they are
all gone. Taoists recommend those who lack the red bodhi of yin to take
Large Head fish on these days. If one lacks white bodhi of yang, he may
take ginseng or sea cucumber.
Each month our energy passes through a complete cycle through all the
five chakras. Each chakra in corresponding order is particularly sensitive
for about three days. By the fifteenth day of the lunar calendar the head
chakra will be especially active. The month is divided into two halves,
the first half called bright of the moon and the second half called dark
of the moon. On the fifteenth, our energy is concentrated in the fifth
chakra centered in the head chakra as well as on the 16th, 17th, and 18th
day. The period of hermitage for 3 years, 3 months is not really 3 years,
3 months but 3 years and 3 one-half months (one and one-half months). Buddha
was a complete Buddha and knew the Tantra quite well. All the rules he
made were according to the Tantric theory but he did not teach the Tantra
outwardly to very many people. He only taught a very few people about Vajra
Love. His main work was to propagate the Hinayana and establish all the
rules, vinaya, etc., so that his followers could get a good foundation.
In these present times it is much more difficult to teach Hinayana than
it is to teach Mahayana or Vajrayana, but the Hinayana is still the foundation
needed for each person's practice.
Nowadays many people think they have renounced or dropped out but they
have not yet really satisfied this Hinayana foundation. Their motivation
is not really to reduce their desires but instead they use the additional
time they have to indulge in more desires, more sexual intercourse, more
drugs, more entertainment and fascinations of all kinds. But they do not
practice Buddhism, Hinduism or do any good deeds to help others. They just
go to the mountains and find some village girl and take ginseng and smoke
marijuana under the pretext of practicing Dharma. My friend Mr. J. T. is
such a man and likes to take many stimulants. Once I even saw him take
garlic. The Hinayana teaching forbids one to take garlic because it stimulates
the sex organ. But if you have really renounced and are diligently practicing
the Dharma, all stimulations are childish and a waste of time for the genuine
practitioner gets much more energy and vitality from his Dharma practice
than he can from any cheap drug. One should renounce not to facilitate
more sexual intercourse and bad habits but to cut off transmigration, not
to prolong it.
Nowadays sexual relations are much more free and displayed openly. I
sometimes feel that if such tendencies continue to increase, we may even
see sexual intercourse occurring in public places, just like the dogs do,
any place is fine as long as both parties are willing. Some people think
it's a free country, and they are not hurting anybody else, so why not?
But I certainly do not agree with such logic.
Adult bookstores and adult theatres are a kind of defilement, especially
since even young people can patronize them freely. There is no strict control;
if you have money you can see. There is no shortage of sex education, besides
one can usually figure such things out with little effort. I learned masturbation
when I was 8 years old. In Sweden and Denmark children learn sex education
from the time they are eight years old. A lot of the education is good,
teaches them about V.D., etc., but a great deal of it just excites their
sexual nature and curiosity prematurely and mankind, being able to endure
so much pain, usually does not follow the good advice anyway. The karmic
inertia is so strong that even when you teach people good habits, they
ignore them and seem to follow the bad things whole-heartedly. Human beings
learn the wrong very easily, just as easily as a landslide comes tumbling
down the hillside. But the good things are very difficult for them to learn,
just as difficult as climbing to the top of a very steep mountain.
These sexual rules are not just blind codes arbitrarily created to prevent
one from his pleasure, but have practical reasons handed down through the
ages. For example, good sexual habits by two lovers who do not use any
kind of drug, etc. to cloud their consciousness and feel deep love for
each other will usually bring into the world very fine offspring with clear
minds, excellent health and disposition. The same cannot be said if the
good conditions are lacking.
The Taoists are very detailed in the proper time to have sexual intercourse.
They say that if one is to discharge the semen at the same time that thunder
occurs in the immediate area, the child will be born without the sense
of hearing. The point to realize is that the outer world and the inner
mind are always interrelated, so pay attention to this fact and you may
save your child a great deal of suffering. For example, if conception occurs
when the parents are drunk, the child's consciousness will be cloudy,just
as if it were drunk. However intelligent it might have been will be reduced
because of the parents' negligence. L.S.D. has been suspected of creating
birth defects; surely if one is under the effects of L.S.D. during the
time of conception, it will lessen either the physical or mental vitality
of the offspring.
It greatly reduces one's vitality if intercourse is performed immediately
after urinating or defecating. In the former case one should wait at least
fifteen minutes before uniting with his wife, and in the latter case, thirty
minutes. After bathing one should wait at least thirty minutes before intercourse.
Whenever the body loses some of its fluids, etc., its vitality is lowered
and is more susceptible to attack by disease. Even the bulk eliminated
by waste products creates a temporary vulnerability, so one must wait until
equilibrium is restored in order not to over-tax one's vitality. If one
is in the habit of urinating, then going to bed and immediately "playing"
with his wife, it will cause premature impotence. So if you follow good
sexual habits, you will be able to prolong your sexual life. Once I met
an old man, 95 years old in Berkeley; he had a wife who was 85 years old.
I asked him quite frankly if he still had sexual intercourse with his wife.
He said, "Surely! Why not!?" Probably this person did not over indulge
himself in his youth, therefore he could harvest the fruits of moderation
in his very old age. There is a Chinese proverb which says, "Love me little,
but love me long." So please do not over indulge yourselves, but enjoy
your sex life fully over a long period of time. If you are young, to have
intercourse every two or three days is enough.
After you take a hot bath all the pores of your skin are open, and if
you indulge immediately in intercourse, you will lose much more vitality
than if you did not bathe. I heard the following story when I was in China.
There was a resort, a combination of hot springs and restaurant. It
was possible to get a private bathing cubicle to share with your wife or
lover or prostitute. One man in good health had sexual intercourse with
his wife in a hot bath and died immediately afterwards. His whole body
swelled up. The doctor said it was because his system was so totally open
and relaxed that not only did his semen discharge, but his subtle life-essence
flew out also. This is a rare occurrence, but does demonstrate the extent
to which the energy may be discharged when stimulated by a hot bath. Many
people believe that a hot bath makes them feel so comfortable so if they
indulge with their wives it will be doubly comfortable. But be careful
because you will doubly lose your vital essence and possibly kill yourself.
In China, young babies and children would sleep in the same bed as their
parents. The parents' love action would cause the baby to wake up and cry.
The mother would immediately give the child her breast to nurse. This is
a very bad defilement. The medical books say that such milk can kill an
infant or cause some disease to the mothers' breast.
For Tantra I have also the following story to tell. My friend tried
to practice Vajra Love. At that time his age was more than fifty years.
He found what he called a dakini, according to him she was a dakini. Since
he had practiced deep breathing very successfully he was able to keep his
semen from being discharged. So he said to me, "I can put it in and out
more than three thousand times."
When I heard this I advised him, "Vajra Love is not just to increase
the duration of the love action but to unite with the Sunyata and meditate
on it. With chanting or meditation sometimes it is useful to count the
duration of time. But in Vajra Love one never counts the amount of time.
Instead one counts the quality of meditation and very seriously connects
the four Blisses with the four Voidnesses. The object is not just to count,
so many times in and out. What is the use of that?" I also warned him,
"If you don't take care, you may die on your dakini's body. The reason
is that if you do so much action as you say, at last you will discharge.
Then you will not only discharge your food semen or your Incarnation semen
but will discharge the life semen as well. When the life semen is discharged
you will immediately die."
He said, "Oh, no. I never discharge." I replied, "You never discharge.
That is very good. But you must also be qualified in the Sunyata and meditate
there. There is no need for so much action. Sometime accidently because
of too much action you might not be able to control your energy well enough.
Then when all the semen falls down you will immediately die." But he did
not heed my warning.
The next time I came to that place they told me that he had died. I
asked, "What kind of disease did he die of?" They said, "He just died at
the prostitute's house." "Oh," I said, "On her body?" "Yes!" Immediately,
I started to cry, "Why didn't he take my advice?"
I have foretold the death of many of my sponsors, whether by killing
or by some other cause. Although I warned them and told them how they could
prevent it, still they did not take my advice. I will not tell all these
stories here but just mentioned this one because it is related to the subject
Is there anything that can be done in a case of such total discharge?
There is a true story. When I was twenty years old, I was in charge of
a library and so was able to read many books. One of them was the record
of judgements handed down in court cases. In that book I read the following.
Once a couple was married but on the wedding night the husband died.
His family accused the wife of killing him and she was taken before the
judge. She said, "Why should I want to kill him? We loved each other very
much. While we were there making love he just died." The body was examined
and it was determined that he had indeed died from complete discharge.
His life semen discharged and he died. There was no other injury or illness.
The wife's story was true and she was found not guilty. Then the Judge
gave a talk to all the people there. He said, "For this to happen, the
man must discharge for a long time." Then he asked the wife, "Why didn't
you use your hairpin?"
Every woman in China wears an ornamental hairpin. On the handle there
are jewels and on the other end is pointed to use for scratching the head.
But there is another function of the hairpin. If the husband ever has a
discharge so intense that there is danger of his death the wife must quickly
jab her hairpin into the peritoneum between the husband's anus and his
penis. This will stop the discharge and life will be saved. Anciently this
was known to all Chinese, but now even in China modernization has destroyed
the knowledge. Over the generations much secret knowledge has been lost.
So don't just think, "I can control my semen." Even if you can, if you
try to use sexual activity too much, the time may come when you exceed
your control and then discharge may kill you.
Our body may be inward but dreams are even deeper and so are included
under the classification "Secret". Defilements caused by dreams are very
difficult to prevent, partially because dreams are different from those
same things seen in waking life.
For example, if you dream that you are sitting on the toilet and your
body is filled with feces, it is not a dream of defilement but instead
means that you will receive some money. Or if you dream that in a fight,
your head is cut off and blood flows all over your body, it is also not
a bad sign but again means that you will get money.
On the other hand, if you dream of a widow or a leper, this is not good.
If you dream that one of these comes to you or that you eat something black,
or that you are running down a mountain; if you dream any of these, it
indicates defilement. One may learn to understand dreams with the help
of Dream Yoga, traditional teachings and one's own experiences.
The source of dreams is not included here because we will talk on the
Cause in the section "Most Secret". Now we will just talk a little about
how to prevent defilement caused by dreams.
The most important thing to do during the day is to keep all your commandments
very well. This will prevent bad dreams from coming in the night. All the
Silas of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana must be held in the mind and
actually observed; especially any instructions given to you by the Guru
must be followed.
Never fall into a way of thinking that runs, "In Buddha's day these
commandments were appropriate and necessary, but nowadays things have changed
so much that they are no longer of any use. We must modernize all the rules,
then modern people will be able to observe them."
I read a book by an English Bhikshu, ordained in Ceylon. After this
English Bhikshu was ordained he was permitted to read the Vinaya. After
he read it he wrote an essay that said, "This vinaya is impossible for
the West. They will never be able to keep it."
This English Bhikshu was not really properly a Bhikshu because he did
not truthfully tell his Guru that he was sexually impotent. Before his
ordination, his Guru asked, "Do you have all the normal organs?" He lied
and said, "Yes", so the Guru gave him the ordination. There are five kinds
of people who do not have sexually normal organs: some have a penis but
it will not function for sexual intercourse, or it may become stiff when
alone but when they meet a girl they become impotent. Some girls have no
vagina, or some have one but will not tolerate having a penis put into
it. This is called a "stone girl." All these defects are the result of
actions committed in past lives. Because they engaged in many acts of improper
sexual intercourse, they bear this kind of karma and are born with incomplete
The Bhikshus have a Vinaya of two hundred and fifty precepts that the
laymen are forbidden to read. This is because the precepts very explicitly
state many sinful things that Bhikshus must not do and explain how past
Bhikshus committed these actions and so caused the rules to be established.
If the layman were to read about these things, it would destroy his faith;
therefore, they are forbidden to read them.
Many provisions of the Monks Vinaya are difficult to keep. For example,
a Bhikshu is not supposed to accept any kind of money. He should not take
gold, silver, paper notes or coins from anybody.
Hinayana always lays most stress on the body and the speech. The mind
is very difficult to be seen by others. No one can read your mind and determine
if you are greedy for money or not. So for the Hinayana, Buddha gave rules
to regulate the outward forms of the body and of speech. As part of these
rules of conduct he told the Bhikshus not to accept money. By only begging
you may find food; by begging, a place to sleep. You have no need of money.
Some Chinese monks have kept to this rule very seriously. When Hsu Yuan
came to a large river the boatman said, "Nobody crosses in the boat unless
he pays me five cents." He replied, "I am a Bhikshu. I do not even keep
one cent. Please help me. You need not make a special trip for me. When
some others cross I will go with them." Presently a group of travelers
came along and boarded the ferry. Hsu Yuan asked their permission to go
on with them. He thought their presence would protect him. But the boatman
was so cruel that when they reached the middle of the river he threw Hsu
Yuan overboard. He would have drowned but was miraculously rescued by Manjusri
and put on the other shore.
There have been a few Chinese monks who kept this rule very seriously.
Although some do still try to keep the Vinaya many are more lax. Even in
Thailand the Bhikshus accept money. They don't take it with their own hands
but use chopsticks. The donor puts the money in a special bucket and the
monk uses the chopsticks to remove it. Then both say, "He still keeps the
Vinaya because he did not accept it with his hand." Others say, "It is
the same whether you use chopsticks or accept it directly with your hand."
But at least this roundabout method makes it a little more difficult and
so they do not take too much.
Nowadays in Thailand and Ceylon the common monks are allowed to take
money in this way. But there are still a few who hold to the Tradition
and get everything by directly begging.
Certainly in America it is very hard to live by begging. Nevertheless,
even here there are some who do it. Perhaps at the Chinese Ch'an center
there are some who keep the Vinaya very well.
In any case, if you keep all the commandments in the daytime, and avoid
contact with others, then the defilements will be reduced. If the daytime
defilements are reduced, at night the dreams too will be without defilement.
I was a vegetarian for two years. During that time I also refrained
from sexual intercourse. My wife also agreed to this. In my dreams I would
always meet many temptations. Often there would be a girl who would ask
me for sexual intercourse. I always refused them saying, "No, no. Since
I have become a vegetarian I do not have any contact with you. Please go
away." This kind of dream happened many times.
There is a Chinese saying, "Whatever you do in the daytime, you will
also experience in your dreams at night." So if you control your actions
in the daytime, the defilement in your dreams at night will also be reduced.
Although there is much more that could be said on the subject of secret
defilements, I do not want to talk too much and so will go on to the next
IV. Most Secret Defilements
Most Secret Defilements refers to defilements in the position of Cause.
This subject is very involved and we could spend many hours on it alone.
Some explanations have already been published in the booklet "The Pollution
of Human Thought" (Chenian Booklet New No. 7).
As that booklet explains at length, the entire world is becoming polluted
as a result of man's actions. The source of physical pollution and all
suffering is the basic mental pollution of sentient beings. Criminals are
polluted, good citizens are polluted, doctors and scientists are polluted.
The Wisest and best of the philosophers and non-Buddhist theologians are
also suffering from mental thought pollution. Even the Gods have polluted
thoughts, like the blood-thirsty Jehovah and the egotistical Brahma. The
only one who is free from all pollution is the Fully Enlightened Buddha
who has seen the Truth of non-egoism. Not only are bad things a pollution
but good things can also be a subtle pollution. The Buddha alone emphasized
that to cut off the source of pollution is to "purify" the thought of pollution.
Readers may consult the above mentioned booklet for an understanding of
The root of all pollution and defilement is defiled consciousness. Every
sentient being has consciousness and all are defiled. Some psychologists
think that by working with the human brain they can improve learning, modify
emotion, quiet disturbed minds, and help people realize their free will.
But since they do not understand the basic principles of Buddhism they
are doomed to failure even before they start. What they do not know is
that the problems and defilements they are attempting to cure are inseparable
from the very thinking mind they are using to construct their theories.
If they do not get rid of one, they will not be able to get rid of the
A. The Eighth Consciousness
How then can the defilement be overcome? First of all one must recognize
the Eighth Consciousness. The Eighth Consciousness is a term for what some
people call the "soul".
Although Buddhism always says there is no soul, what this means is that
there is no absolute soul. But what Buddhism refers to as the Eighth Consciousness
is what many non-Buddhists would say is their soul. In particular this
Eighth Consciousness survives the death of the body and along with the
life energy departs for some other place. When it sees the new father and
mother it mixes with their sperm and ovum and becomes a new person.
The Eighth Consciousness is also called the Store Consciousness. In
it are stored every kind of seed, whether of defilement or of full Enlightenment.
In it are the seeds of our habitual karma of worldliness and ignorance.
Within this Eighth Consciousness are stored all the defilements from many
past lives. All the religious merits are also to be found in it.
It is just like a supermarket, such as the Co-op. There are many kinds
of food displayed for you to see. Some are very good and nutritious; some
it would be better for you not to eat. All are there in the store whether
you buy them or not. It is up to you to choose by your own free will. The
good seeds must be cultivated and helped to grow. The bad seeds must be
dug up and destroyed. It is very difficult to dig up all the defilements
and keep only the good merits.
Thus we see that the source of defilement is within our own Eighth Consciousness.
Not only the results of our deeds in one lifetime, but the effects of many
past lives are stored there. They only wait for certain conditions to enable
them to grow up again, blossom again, and produce new fruit. If you respond
with some defiled act you will produce new seeds that will hurt you in
the future. This cycle will continue until you yourself put an end to it.
Neither Buddha nor any God can remove the source of defilement from your
Eighth Consciousness. That is why it is said that you create yourself.
You may create yourself as a pig. You may create yourself as a dog. You
may create yourself as a God. Or you may create yourself as a Buddha. It
all depends on your self-exertion.
B. The Seventh Consciousness
Next in order after the Eighth is the Seventh Consciousness. The Seventh
Consciousness is the consciousness that functions according to the false
idea of a self. The Seventh Consciousness is always holding the Eighth
Consciousness as if it were a self. The Seventh Consciousness is the holder;
the Eighth Consciousness is what it holds to and regards as its self but
neither the Eighth Consciousness nor anything else is really a permanent
When we say that you must create yourself this is just a convenience
of language. It does not mean that we should create a High Self or a Low
Self or a Holy Self or a Pure Self. We should not have any kind of Self.
When we say that the self must be killed, by the self we do not mean that
you really have something called a self that can be killed or that there
is any self that can do the killing. But if you are trying to purify your
defilements then to say, "You must do it yourself" just points out that
nobody else can do it for you. It does not mean that there is any ego,
essence or entity.
For our sake Buddha spoke in human language. But Buddha's philosophic
teaching never accepted the false views inherent in human language. Many
authors claim that since Buddha said "By self the self must be killed"
that he really believed in a self. This is quite a mistake.
The Seventh Consciousness proceeds according to four main defilements:
self-ignorance, which cannot comprehend the truth of non-egoism; self-lust
that sees a self in all people and things and tries to own them; self-pride
which always thinks of itself as very high and others as low; and self-love
which tries always to please itself at the expense of others and ends up
harming both. Following these come self-interest, self-conceit and self-injury.
Please refer to the above mentioned Chenian Booklet New No. 7.
The Seventh Consciousness holding the Eighth is the subjective part
of the defilement. The Eighth being held is the objective part of the defilement.
This so called self is the root of all defilement and suffering. If you
can destroy this self then all kinds of defilements will be finished. Just
as when a tree's root is finished, the leaves are finished, the flowers
are finished and the fruits are also finished. This is why Buddhism always
emphasizes the Sunyata which is a sword to cut off the roots of the self.
To cut off the self means to cut off the Seventh Consciousness. When
the subjective Seventh Consciousness is cut off, the objective part, the
Eighth Consciousness is simultaneously cut off. Both are cut off. When
both are cut off, the Eighth Consciousness may then be transformed into
the Wisdom of Buddha. The Seventh Consciousness can also be transformed
into the Buddha Wisdom of Equality. The purification and transformation
is very difficult work, more difficult than anything attempted by other
In the Bible or the Koran or any other religious teaching can you find
instruction on how to destroy the self? You will not find any such thing.
In no other religion will you even find the theory of non-self much less
any practical method to accomplish its realization. So what is the use
of saying, "Every religion is the same. All have the same end like many
roads that lead to the same city." Those who speak like this are very much
mistaken. Yet nowadays even many so-called Lamas do not really know the
difference between Buddhism and non-Buddhism. The fundamental defilement
is so deep, so obscure, that even those well-known and learned Buddhists
cannot distinguish it.
Suppose we say that too much sex is a defilement, going to the theater
is an outward defilement, hot pungent food is an inner defilement. But
who does all these things? If you cut off the basic most secret defilement
of self, all the outer, inner, and secret defilements are automatically
finished. The Buddha's teaching is so profound there are few who can recognize
it. So we see so many who well-meaningly but foolishly proclaim, "Every
religion is the same !"
C. The Sixth and the Five Consciousness
The fundamental defilement is the Eighth and Seventh Consciousness.
By the time we consider the Sixth Consciousness we have already come to
the realm of desire. The Sixth Consciousness is the thinking consciousness.
It thinks about the beautiful girl, it thinks about the exciting wine,
it thinks about the money that is so useful.
The Five Consciousness are the five sensory ones, the eyes see all the
beauties, the ears hear the modern music, the nose smells, tongue tastes
and body touches. All these five are the servants of the Sixth Consciousness
and help it, but they help it to do worldly things and so just increase
defilement. This is why it is so easy to practice worldliness but difficult
to practice the real Dharma. It is not so easy to destroy all the bad thoughts.
From these defiled Consciousness come the Five False Views and the Five
Poisons. These are not my own invention but can be found in the teaching
of the Idealist School.
1) The Five False Views are:
- The View of Personality which holds one's body as one's self and
prefers it to others.
- One-sided View such as permanence or extinction, monism or pluralism.
- Perverse View which denies that bad effects will follow present evil
- Stubborn Perverted View like fetishism and cannibalism.
- Rigid Ascetic View that seeks only to mortify the flesh.
2) The Five Poisons or Five Sorrows are:
- Lust which tries to keep things and people but always destroys them.
- Anger which tries to avoid or destroy and so gets hurt.
- Ignorance which blunders into many sorrows.
- Pride which keeps holy persons away and thus hurts itself.
- Doubt which cannot believe the Dharma or the holy people.
3) There are Six General Defilements according to the Hinayana School:
4) The Minor Defilements come after these General Defilements, also
according to the Hinayana School:
- Anger (Krodha)
- Enmity (Upanaha)
- Concealment (Mraksa)
- Affliction (Pradasa)
- Envy (Irasya)
- Parsimony (Matsrya)
- Fraudulence (Sathaya)
- Deception (Maya)
- Injury (Vihimsa)
- Pride (Mada)
- Shamelessness (Ahrikya)
- Non-bashfulness (Anapatrapya)
- Restlessness (Auddhatya)
- Low-spiritedness (Styana)
- Disbelief (Asraddhya)
- Sloth (Kausidya)
- Negligence (Pramada)
- Forgetfulness (Musitasmritita)
- Distraction (Viksepa)
- Non-discernment (Asamprayna)
The Mahayana analysis is similar but more detailed. The Hinayana recognizes
about seventy dharmas, the Mahayana about one hundred dharmas. Besides
these twenty evil thoughts mentioned above everyone is also subject to
the five desires: Wealth, Sex, Food, Fame, and Sleep. These cause defilements
to increase without end.
Of all these defilements the worst one is the defiled view. The Right
View is the very master, the very motivation to practice Buddhism. Without
Right View there is no hope to ever escape from defilement.
At present the defiled view takes the form of a very cruel, all-pervasive
and deeply-ingrained materialism that hides in the consciousness of every
member of our society. All are so saturated with materialism that it becomes
very difficult to see beyond it.
We cannot say that Buddhism is spiritual as opposed to material. Buddha
explained the entire realm of reality including the spiritual and material.
In the highest Truth there is neither materialism nor spiritualism. All
are harmonized. A Buddha does not have any one-sided views. But now the
Kali Age has come and our karma has produced this exaggerated concern with
So it is commonly accepted that money is the basis of everything. Even
to see Karmapa you have to have six pieces of gold--one to present to Karmapa
and five to pay to the guard at the door. It is said that because he was
so powerful the Sage Dropakula could turn six stones into gold. Karmapa
himself had no desire for gold but just because Karmapa's attendant was
greedy, the Sage Dropakula had to do as he said. But actually this story
does not prove the truth of materialism, but the truth of Full Enlightenment.
At least Dropakula did not pray to the God of Wealth, then go and do some
business, earn some money, and then at last come to see the Karmapa.
To the materialist it seems very obvious: If you don't have any money
you cannot see Karmapa. If you don't have any money you cannot buy a ticket
and invite him to come to you. So everything depends on money. First we
must devote ourselves to earning money then maybe afterwards we can learn
something: this is how many people today think and this is a very badly
When Milarepa was on his way to the Himalayas to meditate, did he first
stop and earn some money? Even after his Parinirvana he still poked fun
at the materialists. He wrote a letter to his disciples, "Under such-and-such
a stone I have hidden all my gold. You may dig it up and use it as you
wish." They hurried to the spot but under the rock all they found was some
of Milarepa's excrement. Milarepa was just making a joke to teach them.
But he himself got Full Enlightenment even though he did not have enough
money to buy vegetables.
So always think of Milarepa and remember that Karmapa is Milarepa's
disciple. Don't think of gold. If you keep even a little view of materialism
you will die under materialism, you will be perverted by society, you will
never succeed, you will fall into transmigration for a very long time.
Only if you can eventually stop the source of materialism may you gradually
be able to practice Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.
Don't just think in terms of money. Don't think, "Oh, so many people,
so many things to arrange, so many beautiful girls come to see Karmapa.
How could all this happen if nobody collected the money? It is wonderful
to do all these things. Could you, Mr. Chen, do it? You could never do
it. What is the use of you? First we must worship materialism and follow
the guru that can raise a lot of money."
This kind of thinking will cause you to fall deeper into transmigration
and never rise again. This false view is the fundamental defilement of
all defilements. The only cure is to develop the Right View, we must make
sure our view is really correct. The Right View is very important.
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