Forest of Merit and Virtue Bodhisattva, relies on the Buddhas’ awesome might and expounds upon the Ten Conducts.
- The Conduct of Happiness
- The Conduct of Benefiting
- The Conduct of Non-opposition
- The Conduct of Perseverance
- The Conduct of Liberation from confusion
- The Conduct of Wholesome Manifestation
- The Conduct of Non attachment
- The Conduct of Difficult attainment
- The Conduct of Wholesome Dharmas
- The Conduct of Truth.
The third of the Ten Conducts is the Conduct of Non-opposition. We are now living in an age which is said to be one that is strong in fighting. In the modern and post-modern world, people are rebelling against authority and moral laws.
St. Augustine claimed that there is a good and bad war, that a good war is fought by good people out of compassion. I cannot agree with him.
It is said,
‘In a war there are no victors, both sides are losers.’
‘War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.’
Everything is connected. You cannot harm others without harming yourself.
‘One who kills also faces threats to his life,
One who conquers also faces being conquered,
One who reviles gets reviled.
Thus as a result of his own actions
The spoiler will in turn be spoiled.’
To approve of wars is to approve of murder.
Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua says,
We don’t oppose wars,
We hope for peace but we don’t oppose war
Because to oppose wars starts another war.
Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua’s statement accords with the ‘Conduct of Non-opposition.’ He also said,
By liberating the living we can lessen the amount of killing. If people keep liberating life, the killing karma will continue to diminish until finally there will be no more wars. So rather than oppose war, we use this method. We basically do not fight, so how could we oppose war? Opposing is fighting. Instead we put into practice a positive Dharma-door designed to liberate the living, and increase one’s life span at the same time.
Presently, scientific inventions have reached the point where we now have the means to put an end to all life on earth. We now have the power to wipe out the entire human race. As one caricature puts it, ‘Government of the people by the people without the people.’
Martin Luther King Jr. says,
‘Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.’
Bertrand Russell says,
‘If war no longer occupied men’s thoughts and energies, we could, within a generation, put an end to all serious poverty throughout the world.’
The Chinese Scholar, engineer and politician, Li Fu Chen says, “From very early times the Chinese people have entertained the lofty thought of the ‘Pacification of the World.’”
I think Confucianism teaches,
‘He who, using force, makes a pretense to benevolence, is an exponent of the way of might; and he who, using virtue, practices benevolence, is an exponent of the Way of Right.’
The Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua was in accord with the ‘Conduct of Non-opposition’ when he said,
‘If someone curses Long Beach Monastery, you should all bow to him three times. If he scolds your Master, you can bow to him nine times. Then you are a true disciple of mine, and you are really speaking the Dharma for him as well… What I propose can stop wars without mobilizing troops… It uses gentleness to overcome obstinacy and weakness to overcome strength… Only with the utmost gentleness can you subdue the utmost obstinacy.’
It is the spiritual heroes, not the battlefield heroes, who can save the world and its inhabitants. Two teachings by Lao Zi can be used to illustrate the principle of ‘using gentleness to overcome obstinacy and weakness to overcome strength.’ A rock is hard and water is soft. But, if water keeps falling on the rock, then after a long period of time, the water can even penetrate the rock. That is using softness to overcome hardness, using compassion to overcome hatred. Also, a tree is big and strong while the grass is soft and weak. But when a typhoon comes, the tree is uprooted while the grass remains unharmed. That is using weakness to conquer strength.
In chapter twenty-one of the Avatamsaka Sutra, the word ‘Nirvana’ appears several times. Sigmund Freud’s definition of Nirvana is the very opposite of what Nirvana means in Buddhism. Freud called the releasing of desire in a socially acceptable level Nirvana. In Buddhism, Nirvana means there is no more birth and death, no more sufferings, and one has attained permanence, joy, true self, and purity.
The four kinds of Nirvana are:
- Nirvana of the pure, clear self-nature.
- Nirvana with residue. One is still subject to share-section birth and death.
- Nirvana without residue. Share-section birth and death are ended.
- Nirvana of no dwelling.
The three kinds of Nirvana are:
- The Nirvana of the purity of the nature. This refers to the virtue of the Dharma body.
- The Nirvana of perfect purity.
- The Nirvana of the purity of expedient means.
Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua explained,
© 2000 Soo Hoong Liung. All Rights Reserved.
“People who don’t understand the Buddhadharma say, ‘Nirvana is nothing but dying.’ Yet that dying is not the same as death, because it is voluntary dying; it is known and understood. What there was to be done is already done, and pure practice is already established, and so you undergo no further existence. Therefore, you wish to enter nirvana, the state in which there is no birth and death. You yourself know beforehand that you are going to enter nirvana…
“Perfect stillness is a translation of nirvana. ‘Perfect’ refers to merit which is perfect in every particular; ‘stillness’ refers to virtue which is everywhere still. Virtue is everywhere still because, upon reaching the extreme limit, it merges with the four virtues of nirvana, permanence, bliss, true self, and purity; and thus the ultimate happiness called nirvana is attained.”