A lecture delivered by Master Asahara
To Live at Will

Merit and Energy Which Create All Phenomena

What I would like to discuss today is how the energy to create all phenomena is produced.
What we must practice is the Six Perfections. The first of the Six Perfections is the three kinds of offering: the offering of true teachings, the offering of comfort, and the offering of money and goods. Ultimately, there is the supreme offering. That is the perfection in the practice of offering: offering of one's pride or one's life.
This is followed by the observance of the precepts. We abstain from killing sentient beings, stealing, and sexual misconduct. By controlling these three actions of body we prevent the leakage of our energy. Furthermore, we heighten and mature our minds by cherishing beings, giving, and developing sincere relationships with others based on love and not on deals, whether they are male or female. We should also stop accumulating karma of speech by abstaining from lies, idle talk, verbal abuse, and words which cause enmity between people, and speak loving and kind words. Mentally, we should try to eliminate greed, hatred, and ignorance, and live in accordance with the Truth with a clear, great and profound mind. The merit and energy which we have reserved in this way is the source of all phenomena.

The Merit of Offering and Precepts

Buddhist Scriptures say that we should first practice generosity. Those who make offerings, according to the accumulated tendency of their minds, fulfill their wishes in worldly lives, or will fulfill wishes in the human realm in their next lives, or they will fulfill wishes by becoming the king of the Heaven of Protecting Ordinary People from Injuries or the king of the Heaven of Strong Kingdom in the first heaven.
Wish fulfillment here means to live long, soundly and happily, or to have outstanding talents in these realms.
Similarly, we can live happily in the second heaven (the Heaven of 33 Gods) satisfying the five desires; or live happily in the Heavens of Twins who Control Transmigration satisfying the five desires; or live happily in the Heavens of Absence of inconsiderateness satisfying the five desires. Or we can live happily in the Heavens of Creative Satisfaction or in Heavens of Pleasing Others with Divine Powers satisfying the five desires. Or by eliminating greed and accumulating merit by the practice of offering and by observing precepts, we can enjoy eternally long lives and pleasure in the 17 heavens in the Realm of Form. (see structure of the Universe in the prefrace for the book "Initiation" - editor's remark)
These are the merits we can accumulate by offering and observing precepts described in Buddhist scriptures.

You Should Accumulate Merit Incessantly

However, there are some people who do not fulfill their wishes despite their merit. This can be explained in two ways. The first case is to give away the merit which one has accumulated for the benefit of others.
I belong to this case. So do Maha-Maya (presently Yasodhara-Seitatishi) or Punna Mantaniputta. They have to walk this path, the path of Mahayana. The practitioners of Mahayana incessantly accumulate merit, but they do not have any desires, so their wills or intentions are easily materialized. For instance, when Aum Shinrikyo wishes to produce spiritual achievers or increase its members, or to expand the scale of salvation, you can see its signs of expansion even when it is going through the slings and arrows of the government or mass media. This is the materialization of its merit of offering, and observance of precepts, and its will for salvation.
The other case is to have too many desires for a small amount of merit. In this case our mind is not focused on one thing, and merit is scattered here and there.

Concentrate on One Thing

This logic works the same in worldly lives. Suppose there is a man who can save 150,000 yen ($1,250) a month. If he wants to buy a Lexus, which costs about 4,000,000 yen ($34,000), he can buy it in about 28 or 29 months. But if he goes on a trip, buys books or clothes, and uses his money on other things, he cannot buy the car in 29 months.
Buddhist Scriptures say the same thing. It is described in the scriptures that we should make a lot of offerings, observe the precepts, and concentrate on one thing. For example, you might want to be popular among the opposite sex, meet a wonderful person, and have a happy marriage. Or you might want to be cured of the disease from which you are currently suffer. Or you might want to be happy by being reborn into a family with high social standing. Yet you might want to be reborn in the first heaven, the second heaven, or the third or the fourth, or the fifth or the sixth heavens. Or you might want to attain Enlightenment. In any of these cases the driving force behind the fulfillment is merit. If these things do not materialize, I must say that it is either because you don't have enough merit or you are using your merit elsewhere.
If you want to attain enlightenment, you should incessantly accumulate merit, reserve that energy, become a monk or a nun, and go toward enlightenment. If you do this, the energy will be reserved, the merit will be full, the consciousness will be directed to one point, and you will attain Enlightenment. Therefore samanas (monks and nuns) have great merit - this is the description in Buddhist Scriptures.

The Four Stages of Entering the Stream - The Perfection of Offering and Precepts

What should you do to achieve the practice of merit and precepts? It is the Pour Stages of Entering the Stream. This practice allows you to focus your minds in one direction. In other words, in order to prevent rebirths in the three miserable realms, to be reborn in higher worlds, and to enjoy this life fully and die in peace, there is no other practice but the Four Stages of Entering the Stream of Truth.
As you know, in this practice the first thing you should do is to consider the Great Lord Shiva, Buddhas, and the Guru as one, as the embodiment of the truth, and to take refuge in them. To take refuge means to learn their teachings, practice offering and to do service for them.
Secondly, you should take refuge in the Teaching, or the Absolute Truth.
Thirdly, you should take refuge in the people who are practicing the teaching. This is to practice offering and do service for the Sangha. The word Sangha might be unfamiliar to you. Sangha can be interpreted as a religious order or the activities at its branch centers.
These are the three practices included in the First Stage of Entering the Stream of Truth.
The second Stage of Entering the Stream of Truth is to learn the teaching over and over, which is, for example, to listen to the tapes of my lectures five, ten, or fifteen times, or to read Mahayana magazine five, ten, or fifteen times. This is the second Stage of Entering the Stream of Truth.
The third Stage of Entering the Stream of Truth is to shatter our erroneous notions with the information we have taken in the second stage. In other words, it is to think over what you have learned.
The fourth Stage of Entering the Stream of Truth is to put what you have thought into practice. Naturally, some of the ideas will not coordinate with the ideas which are spread in society, while you might find some ideas that do agree with those of the society.
By practicing these four stages repeatedly, your body, speech, and mind will mature, and you will come to possess enough energy to fulfill all your wishes. This is the practice of the Four Stages of Entering the Stream of Truth.
Where will these four stages lead to? They will lead to the Six Perfections which I mentioned at the beginning. That is, the accumulation of the three types of merit:
offering of money and goods, offering of comfort, and offering of the True Teaching; and the practice of the ten good deeds: do not kill, do not steal, do not commit adultery, do not lie, do not engage in idle talk, do not speak ill of others, do not speak words which cause enmity between people, eliminate greed, anger, and the denial of the truth. Thus we stop the energy leakage, and control our body, speech, and mind.

The Six Stages to Attain Wisdom

The third stage is to have your karma washed off. I often receive the following question. "Why do bad things have to happen to me? I have become a member of Aum Shinri-kyo." I say, "Wait a minute. You have been a member for only one year. How much bad karma have you amassed during the thirty years of your life until you became a member?" The wise members get it right away. But unwise members do not get it and they complain.
The great amount of bad karma which he has accumulated during the thirty years in this life as well as over his past lives, should all be washed off. And it has to materialize to be washed off. This is the karmic wash off, which takes place in the third stage.
The case of Punna-Mantaniputta Seigoshi is a good example. Since he had a great amount of merit, observed the precepts, and practiced meditation, his karma easily manifested. When his karma which he had accumulated before he became a monk, and the karma in his former life manifested, it was washed off all at once and he attained Mahamudra.
After these three practices, we go into the fourth stage, which is (1) to increase our present merit, or the good deeds that we are practicing now; (2) to think or dream of the good deed which we cannot practice now because we do not have enough merit yet, but we might be able to practice in the future; (3) to immediately stop doing the bad deeds we are doing now; (4) to be careful not to commit the bad deeds which we might commit in the future. This is the fourth practice, the perfection of diligence.
This Is the Only Path

Here is the Dhamma. It is up to you to practice it. No matter how wonderful the teaching is, it is useless if you do not practice it. This can be compared to having a very comfortable and fast car and not driving it. No matter how good the car is, if you do not fill it up, put the key in the ignition, start the engine, and drive it correctly, the car would be useless.
We will die. We will absolutely die. And this path is the only path to transcend death.
At the start of this year I explained to you at the lecture festival that the Six Perfections and the Eightfold Noble Path are the same. That is why I am telling you that this is the only path, because you will attain the same goal by practicing the Eightfold Noble Path.

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