Buddhist Views on Contamination, Part II


The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen

III. Secret Contaminations

A. Sexual

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 quality.

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 of sex.

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.

B. Dreams

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 organs.

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 section.

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 these statements.

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 other.

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 individual self.

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 religions.

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:

  1. The View of Personality which holds one's body as one's self and prefers it to others.
  2. One-sided View such as permanence or extinction, monism or pluralism.
  3. Perverse View which denies that bad effects will follow present evil acts.
  4. Stubborn Perverted View like fetishism and cannibalism.
  5. Rigid Ascetic View that seeks only to mortify the flesh.

2) The Five Poisons or Five Sorrows are:

  1. Lust which tries to keep things and people but always destroys them.
  2. Anger which tries to avoid or destroy and so gets hurt.
  3. Ignorance which blunders into many sorrows.
  4. Pride which keeps holy persons away and thus hurts itself.
  5. Doubt which cannot believe the Dharma or the holy people.

3) There are Six General Defilements according to the Hinayana School:

  1. Ignorance
  2. Idleness
  3. Intolerance
  4. Non-belief
  5. Low-mindedness
  6. High-mindedness

4) The Minor Defilements come after these General Defilements, also according to the Hinayana School:

  1. Anger (Krodha)
  2. Enmity (Upanaha)
  3. Concealment (Mraksa)
  4. Affliction (Pradasa)
  5. Envy (Irasya)
  6. Parsimony (Matsrya)
  7. Fraudulence (Sathaya)
  8. Deception (Maya)
  9. Injury (Vihimsa)
  10. Pride (Mada)
  11. Shamelessness (Ahrikya)
  12. Non-bashfulness (Anapatrapya)
  13. Restlessness (Auddhatya)
  14. Low-spiritedness (Styana)
  15. Disbelief (Asraddhya)
  16. Sloth (Kausidya)
  17. Negligence (Pramada)
  18. Forgetfulness (Musitasmritita)
  19. Distraction (Viksepa)
  20. 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 materialism.

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 mistaken view.

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.

Thank you.

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