Friday, October 21, 2011

The fourth evil

4) the fourth evil [38] The Buddha continued, "The fourth evil is this. People of the world do not think of doing good. They incite each other to commit various kinds of evil -- uttering harsh and abusive words, telling lies, and engaging in idle talk. They slander others and cause contention. They hate and envy good men and ruin the wise, while they rejoice in watching this behind the scenes. They are neglectful of their parents, make light of their teachers and elders, fail to win the trust of their friends, and lack sincerity. Holding themselves in high esteem, they think that they are virtuous, but act waywardly in an overbearing manner and despise others. Unaware of their own evil, they never feel ashamed of themselves. Boastful of their physical strength, they demand respect and fear from others. Taking no heed of Heaven, Earth, demigods, or the Sun and the Moon, they disdain to do any good. So they are difficult to train and convert. Holding themselves in high esteem, they demand their own way. Arrogant and afraid of nothing, they always assume a haughty attitude. But demigods keep record of their evils. Perhaps there was some meritorious act in their past lives, and they can count on the effect of that small amount of good. But, since they commit evil again in this life, their stock of merit is soon exhausted; good divinities forsake them, leaving them alone and with no one on whom to depend. When their lives end, all their evil recoils upon them and forces them, through the natural working of karma, to descend to the evil realms. Again, as the exact record of their deeds in the hands of the demigods dictates, their karmic transgressions and offenses condemn them to hellish realm. Retribution for evil comes about naturally and nothing can stop it. They must go into the red-hot cauldrons, where their bodies are melted down with the utmost torment and anguish. Even if at that time they repent of their evil deeds, what good will that do? The Way of Heaven takes its inevitable course without mistake.
"Thus, because of the natural working of karma, there are the three evil realms and innumerable kinds of suffering through which evildoers 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 fourth great evil, the fourth suffering, and the fourth 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, 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 fourth great good."

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