Cultivating Virtue versus Creating Karma
of you should think for a moment: in the past, the Buddha had to
cultivate limitless and boundless merit and virtue before he could
become a Buddha.
Why haven't we become Buddhas? It's because
we haven't cultivated limitless and boundless merit and virtue. Our
merit and virtue are far less, because we cultivate on one hand and
create karma on the other. So it is said, "What we cultivate is not as
much as what we create."
From morning to night, we create
karma with our body, with our mouth and with our mind. For example, in
our thoughts, we often have idle thoughts about how bad people are, how
others have wronged us, how others are not as good as we are, an so
forth. As a result, we create a lot of evil karma with the greed, anger
and stupidity in our thoughts. We also create karma with our mouth,
always talking about others' rights and wrongs, constantly telling
lies, saying indecent things, scolding people, backbiting, and so on.
There are some people who don't seem to be able to survive for even a
day without gossiping. If they don't tell lies for a day, they feel as
uncomfortable as if they hadn't eaten. All day long, they need to
gossip and lie in order to survive. Wouldn't you say that's strange?
It's really hard to figure them out.
Yet the people who have
this fault still refuse to admit is. They still want to cover it up,
and they claim they haven't told any lies and don't have any desires.
They put on a mask and cheat everyone. Actually, in this world, how can
you succeed in cheating people? Not only can you not cheat others, you
can't even cheat yourself. Why not? When you have idle thoughts, ask
yourself if you are aware of them. If you are aware of them, that means
you can't fool yourself. Since you can't cheat yourself, how can you
cheat others? Only stupid people behave that way.
don't cultivate will put on a mask and in blind shamelessness do a lot
of devious, improper deeds that break the rules. Yet they won't admit
it. Because of this, they spend their whole life in a muddle, born
drunk and dying in a dream, and not cultivating the least bit of merit
and virtue. So how can they become Buddhas? They are 108,000 miles away
from the Buddhas.
In other words, the merit and virtue we have
cultivated is not as great as the offenses we have committed. You could
say, "What we gain is not as much as what we lose," so how can we
Talks on the Dharma, Vol. I, p.121