My fellow Buddhist friends, Buddhist friends around the world, today I will again speak on “Buddhism in Plain Terms”.

Our interpersonal relations are dictated by karmic affinities. Sometimes they are positive, but other times they are negative. When positive affinities arrive, we must cherish them, so that they will continue, because positive affinities have the capacity of being extended; When negative affinities arrive, you must not exacerbate their negative karmic effects, causing them to ripen sooner. Instead, you must learn to be patient, then the negative karma will not come immediately. Thus, interpersonal relationships, be it positive or negative, are all attributed to affinities.  If you are unhappy today,it is certainly a karmic result taking effect. When a karmic effect comes into being, you will experience it regardless of whether it is positive or negative.  Buddhist scriptures say, “When karmic conditions arise, we will experience the results of our own deeds. This tells us that, when you come to the realisation, whatever happens is the fruit of karma coming into effect, so you will come to terms with it and not be fixated on it. When you know that a positive affinity has come into being today, you must not be overjoyed, because it is merely the fruit of what you have sown. On the contrary, if a negative affinity comes today, you must not feel too miserable, because it is also the result of your past actions. No other people can suffer in your stead. For example, a person develops a grudge against you and someone says, “I will bear it on your behalf”. It’s impossible. That person will still come after you. He will not let you off; Suppose you have a good affinity today, and someone wants to reap the fruit of your good karma. No way! What’s yours is yours, because that is the good karma you’ve had sown. So, this is exactly like what we often say, we should learn to bear any karmic results, no matter what affinity arises. We must accept it first, then we can slowly change it, bear with it and eventually resolve it.

Now I would like to talk to you about what is meant by observing the precepts in the Buddhist practice? By observing the precepts, we prevent our blessings from being depleted. Are you blessed with good fortune? You might have seen a fortune teller when you were young. The fortune teller might say that you were blessed. But why it is not the case when you are grown? You were told you would have a big fortune and become a government official when you were grown. But why then in the end you are neither an official nor a wealthy person? It is because you have frittered away your good fortune.

We must understand firstly, we mustn’t commit the act of killing. Because the karma of killing has debilitating effects on us. It will deplete all your good karma. When a person commits killing, they are actually breaking off the seeds of their great compassion. In other words, they are destroying their seeds of great mercy and compassion. I hope you all understand, even if you say you will resuscitate these seeds of great compassion, and restore them by practising recitations and making vows,  and to make amends for the karma of killing committed in the past. However even after one lifetime or two lifetimes, the negative karma is still there, because it is very difficult to eliminate the karma completely.  In your next life, when Bodhisattvas or other sentient beings come to enlighten you, the spirits will cause obstruction to your deliverance from suffering. You are keen to hear and learn the Dharma, but the spirits will do everything possible to stop you from hearing the Dharma. This is how karma works. Buddhists must understand that no matter what we do,we must not create negative karma, we must not act without kindness. Arhats and sages eliminate their attachment to self, but they fail to eliminate their attachment to dharma. That is to say that when you have cultivated to a certain level, even if you reach the level of Arhats and Sages, and cultivated to the level of having no misapprehensions associated with views and mentation, (afflictions arise from seeing something, afflictions can also be induced by mental activity.  That is attachment to self. Arhats can have no such attachment.  It’s possible for Arhats to eliminate attachment to self.)  But they have not eliminated their attachment to dharma.  That means even if we can eliminate that attachment in our minds,but we are unable to resolve it perfectly.   That’s why ignorant people are unable to break the attachment to self, let alone the attachment to dharma. It’s because they lack compassion. They do not know how to help other people.  They only care for themselves, so they are unable to help others. They become more distant from blessings but find calamities near at hand. Others do not have such misfortune so why do you? It is because you have gotten closer to calamities.  “Why would calamities get closer to me?” It’s very simple, because you have not nurtured compassion, and you have committed the karma of killing in the past.

BHFF 13: Let our thoughts neither increase nor decrease (1/3)