Sunday, October 23, 2011

The fifth evil

5) the fifth evil [39] The Buddha continued, "The fifth evil is this. People of the world are indecisive and slothful, reluctant to do good, lacking in self-discipline and not working hard at their occupations, so their families and dependents are left to suffer from hunger and cold. When reproached by their parents, they retort angrily with scornful looks. With such conflicts they are far from peaceful; they can be as violent and frenzied as enemies confronting each other, and, as a result, parents wish that they had no children.
"In dealing with others, they are licentious and wayward, causing trouble and annoyance to many. Even when they are morally obliged to others, they neglect their duties and have no intention of repaying their indebtedness. Destitute and driven to the most desperate ends, they have no way of regaining their wealth. Although eager to obtain much profit and appropriate the riches of others, they waste their money on wanton pleasures. As this becomes a habit, they grow accustomed to acquiring property illegally and to spending their ill-gained profits on personal luxuries; indulging in wine and sumptuous food, they eat and drink to excess. Profligate and contentious as they are, they engage in foolish quarrels. Unable to understand others, they forcibly impose their will upon them.
"When they come upon people who are good, they hate and abuse them. Lacking ethics and decorum, they do not reflect on their conduct, and so are presumptuous and insistent, refusing to take the advice and admonitions of others. They are unconcerned if their kinsmen, from the closest to the sixth blood-relative, have no means of livelihood. They disregard their parents' benevolence, and do not fulfill obligations to their teachers and friends. They think only of doing evil; their mouths continuously speak malice; and with their bodies, they are forever committing evil. In their whole lives they have not done even one good deed.
"Furthermore, they do not believe in the ancient sages, nor the Buddhist teachings, nor the path of practice leading to emancipation. Neither do they believe that after death one is reborn into another state of existence, that good deeds bring about good rewards, or that evil acts bring about evil consequences. They plot to murder an arhat, to cause disruption in the Sangha, and even think of killing their parents, brothers, sisters or other relatives. For this reason, even their kinsmen, from the closest to the sixth blood-relative, hate them so much as to wish them dead.
"Such people of the world are all of the same mind. They are foolish and ignorant, lacking the wisdom to know whence they have come into life nor whither they are going after death. Neither humane toward others nor obedient to their elders, they revel against the whole world. Nevertheless, they expect good fortune and seek long lives, only to meet death in the end. Even if someone compassionately admonishes them, trying to lead them to thoughts of goodness, and teaches them that naturally there are good and evil realms of Samsara, they will not believe him. However hard one may try to persuade them, it is useless. Their minds are closed, and they refuse to listen to others or understand their teachings. When their lives are about to end, fear and revulsion arise in turn. Not having previously done any good, they are filled with remorse when they come to their end. But what good will that do then?
"Between heaven and earth, the five realms are clearly distinguishable. They are vast and deep, extending boundlessly. In return for good or evil deeds, bliss or misery ensues. The result of one's karma must be borne by oneself alone and no one else can take one's place. This is the natural law. Misfortune follows evil deeds as their retribution, which is impossible to avoid. Good people do good deeds, and so enjoy pleasure after pleasure and proceed from light to greater light. Evildoers commit crimes, and so suffer pain after pain and wander from darkness to deeper darkness. No one, except the Buddha, knows this completely. Even though someone admonishes and teaches them, very few believe; and so the cycles of birth-and-death never cease and the evil paths continue endlessly. The karmic consequences for such worldly people are beyond description in detail.
"Thus, because of the natural working of karma, there are innumerable kinds of suffering in the three evil realms through which evil beings must pass, life after life, for many kalpas, with no end in sight. It is indeed difficult for them to gain release, and the pain they must undergo is indescribable. This is called the fifth great evil, the fifth suffering, and the fifth burning. The afflictions are such that they are comparable to a huge fire burning people alive.
"If in the midst of this, one controls one's thoughts with single-mindedness, does worthy deeds with proper demeanor, mindfully recollects, harmonizes words and deeds, acts with sincerity, utters true words, speaks from the heart, commits no evil, and performs only good, then with the merit and virtue acquired one reaches emancipation and is able to escape from this world, be reborn in heavenly realms, and finally reach Nirvana. This is the fifth great good."

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