So, if you don’t keep these basic precepts, then no matter how long you meditate, it just keeps leaking out, gone, gone, gone to the Maya power. The Maya will take it and use it to harm you and harm others as well.
All right, continue with the Buddha. “If one does not practice any of these token renunciations of the body on the causal level, then even if one realizes the unconditioned, one will still have to come back as a person to repay one’s past debts, exactly as I had to undergo the retribution of having to eat the grain meant for horses.” The Buddha had to, one time, eat the grain that was meant for horses or other food meant for horses, for three months, probably because He had a little bit of debt He did not pay. But if He had burned the incense on His body, then He’d have paid the debt, then He wouldn’t have had to do that.
Buddha very compassionately explained all this and He even confessed His own debt at His own expense, not wanting the disciples to worship Him as a perfect, flawless, enlightened being, but still had some debt to pay from the past life. But this is the Maya arrangement, that way, so that the Buddha had to have some debt. Otherwise, how can a Buddha ever have any debt? He’s been a Buddha for… you cannot even count how many eons or kalpas had already passed. He even confessed that.
He had mentioned that if you burn a candle or incense or a finger or one incense stick, even one incense stick on their bodies, anywhere, He didn’t say on the head but on their bodies. And then they will in that moment, repay their debts from beginningless of time. That’s why I became a monk, in case I had debt. A lot of debts before, so I guess I’m free of debts now and all the karma is yours. Your karma on me, because I have burned the incense, not just one incense, but three. The Buddha said here. That means I don’t have karma.
Actually, before that, before I became an official monk, I was in some ashram, walking, going from one ashram to another, looking for Masters. And several people would look at me and say, “Oh, You don’t have any karma.” Looking at my hands or looking at my face, said, “Oh, You have a Bodhisattva eyebrow.” I don’t know what a Bodhisattva eyebrow looks like, but I did have it according to them and (they) looked at my arms and my hands and said, “Oh, You have no karma.” Not at all. That was before I became a monk.
And then I became a Tibetan monk, and I became a Hindu monk and then finally became a Buddhist monk. I tried all traditions, so, if I wasn’t cleansed by the Tibetan monk merit, then I was cleansed by the Hindu monk’s merit. If not, then I tripled it by becoming a Buddhist monk. So actually, I was free of karma. So, whatever happened to me is all your fault, your fault, your lovely karma. It’s nice to blame somebody else; it’s easy. The most easy way is to blame everybody else. I do the same, it’s fun.
“When,” the Buddha continued, “When you teach people in the world, to cultivate samadhi, they must also cease stealing. This is the third clear and unalterable instruction on purity given by the Thus Come One and the Buddhas of the past, and the World Honored Ones in the past.” Meaning many Buddhas, one Buddha after another. All the Buddhas are teaching this way, all the Saints, all the Thus Come Ones teach this way. The precepts are important. That’s why even if you become a monk or a nun, even if you burn incense, you still need to take precepts. You take the precepts, so that you always go straight.
I gave you only Five Precepts and you complain and sometimes you don’t keep, some of it. If you become a monk, 200-something precepts; monks and nuns, similar, in the Buddhist tradition. I don’t want to tell you these because if you know it, you’d have to keep it. Because you are lay people, I cannot tell you. All kinds of precepts you have to keep, not just Five Precepts. But these Five Precepts, even as Buddha mentioned here, are the main ones. Because if you don’t keep your mind pure from lust, other precepts also will deplete and lag.
For example, if you are lusting after a woman and maybe she’s already married or she’s unattainable and then, I don’t mean you, I mean some people who are lacking moral standards or lacking self-control, may try to find a way to harm anyone that gets in his way to possess that woman of his desire. And then other precepts can also be broken.
Therefore, these Five Precepts are the mother of other precepts. Keep them, keep them, keep them with your life. It’s not just written words; it is your life. It’s your guaranteed shine for happiness, ever after.
Even if you stray from my teachings, keep the Five Precepts, because if you don’t, you will be very terribly regretful when you go to hell and are undergoing all kinds of pay back punishments. I don’t want that to happen to any of you or anybody at all. But you’ve already been taught right from wrong, so you do keep it; it’s not that difficult.
Five Precepts are very simple rules which should not even be precepts. It should be a standard living way of a human, a decent human, not to talk about a Saint, or practitioner or anything like that. Keep them. In Catholicism, or Hinduism, or Jainism, they all keep precepts. They all have this kind of basic ahimsa, no harm to others.
And stealing is also harming others in a different way, because if you steal somebody’s money or something that he or she needs, then you discomfort that person. You make her or his life not smooth, and then you make her or him worry and then distract him or her from their daily routine or efficiency in their work, whatever they are doing. So, when you do something, think twice, before you do it, that’s all. Very simple. Whatever is not yours, even if it’s worthless, don’t take, very simple. Is that difficult? (No.) No! Been told decades already.
The Buddha told Ananda that, “When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi…” Remember? Because Ananda asked the Buddha, “How in the future can I help other beings, even though, I myself am not very highly developed. I’m not, maybe not saved yet, but I want to save others. I want to try.” So, the Buddha taught him all of this. So, He continued to say, “When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi,” meaning after Buddha’s gone, nobody’s there, then if you want to teach others, then teach them all this. All the above-mentioned, regulations, precepts, principles. And plus, if they want to cultivate samadhi, they must also cease stealing. Don’t steal anything. This is the third, clear unalterable, uncompromisable. That is the real truth; nothing can replace it. No killing, no unethical sexual relationships, no stealing.
Even if you’re married, you have to taper off. The Masters in India, even if they are married, many of them do, because they were married already, before they became a Master or even afterwards, but they have couple interaction only twice, three times a year, just to make children, to do the tradition of family, that’s all. Not because they’re lustful after that. Just a kind of duty.
So, these are unalterable rules of the universe that you must keep in order to be liberated, with or without the Buddha’s presence. Now, “therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Chan samadhi,” meaning meditators, “do not cease stealing, they are like someone who pours water into a leaking cup and hopes to fill it.” Means useless, useless, you waste your time. If you pour water into a leaking cup, will the water stay inside? (No.) No. So, if you don’t keep these basic precepts, then no matter how long you meditate, it just keeps leaking out, gone, gone, gone to the Maya power. The Maya will take it and use it to harm you and harm others as well.
“He may continue for as many eons as there are fine motes of dust, but it still will not be full in the end.” It’s like that. If you don’t keep the precepts, forget your samadhi, forget your meditation; useless to you. That’s what the Buddha said. I say the same.
In Thailand, there was one sister, she heard several disciples during meditation saw in a vision, that I’d been the King Rama V of Thailand. It was not my fault if they saw that I’d been King Rama V of Thailand. Understand me? Even if I was. Then she criticized me. She said that according to her, any decent man would marry only one wife, and the King Rama maybe had more than one wife, I can’t remember. So, maybe I was not King Rama because I don’t remember how many wives I had. If I did, so what? OK? So, I told her, “Even if King Rama or I, married a hundred times or two hundred women, a hundred men, I am still enlightened and I am still in focus of enlightenment and I am still in Heaven.”
Yeah. Even Master has to pay some debt. Maybe not for the Master Her/Himself, but for the disciples. That’s number one. Like the Buddha has to eat the horse food. Actually, in some other sutras, they said because of the disciples’ fault, disciples’ karma that He had to do that. No matter what that’s the Master’s business. Your business is just to take your precepts, keep them, meditate, and be good.
Now, for the poor King Rama of Thailand, he was very famous, very beloved by his people and he did a lot of good things for Thailand, a very beloved king. And any king who married once or twice or a third time, it is tradition, it is an obligation. Because, in the old times, that is the king. They had to marry and have a lot of princes and princesses, so they could fill the posts here and there, marry to the neighboring countries’ girls, princesses or princes to tighten the friendship, coalition with neighbors. That’s how they did it.
Not necessarily that the king liked it. And you don’t know what was the king’s heart problem. He may have many wives or concubines, but it works like this: every night he has to pick up from the unknown cards. Like for example, I have two, three, four cards here or a hundred cards, whatever. The name is written here upside down, so I don’t see what card, what name of the concubine is coming tonight. I just pick any, “Oh, Elizabeth!” OK. And then a eunuch will bring Elizabeth to me, all wrapped in a blanket ready for business. Understand that? So, the King doesn’t even have any emotion involved in hundreds or how many hundreds of concubines. Just a job, just work, whether or not he likes that Elizabeth or not like Elizabeth.
Fancy sleeping with somebody you don’t like. Every night you have to do it. You don’t even know her. You don’t even know him, fancy. You like that? (No.) No. Even if you like women, you can’t be just like that all the time, right? It’s like a job.
And woe to any king who favors just one concubine. Then sooner or later his kingdom falls. You can see that in history. I don’t know if in your history, but China for example. Like Tang, the King, Emperor Ming of the Tang Dynasty, he fancied one concubine. He loved only one, and later, they hated her; they killed her, and they killed him too. His kingdom was gone, because of one beauty. Similar everywhere.
One time in Âu Lạc (Vietnam), one king, he loved one of his queens very much, but he had to kill her, because it disturbed him too much, for his state affairs. One time, he sent her with a letter sealed with a king’s seal, she could not open it, she didn’t know what was inside. Nobody’s allowed to, so he sent her to go to one of his generals with the letter. Inside it said, “Please kill her, so that I will have peace of mind to take care of the country’s business.” He couldn’t allow himself to be too much entangled in this emotional, so-called love affair, even though he was entitled to it. It is very sad, but being a king is not that easy.
There’re other kings also. If he favors one concubine, he’s not allowed to. Even if he allows himself to do that, the whole court, royal court, or his mother, his adviser, they won’t fancy that. They won’t allow that. Sooner or later, he has to give her up or the kingdom will fall, because they will not support him. Because other ministers don’t support him. Other families, powerful families in the country who offered their daughters to the king, will not support him. Do you understand? (Yes.) Because their daughters are neglected and the king is not fair to all of them and fancies only one. Then all the people will slowly fall off their favor and then the king is alone and with the queen who’s being envied, jealous of, hated, wanted to be destroyed, and then sooner or later, it falls. Many times, in the history of China, especially like that. You read them, then you know.
So, to criticize a king of having many wives is not fair anyway. Whether or not I was King Rama or that King Rama had many wives or not, who cares? You have to see more, the bigger picture. You can’t just point your nose into the toilet alone in the house and say, “Oh, this place stinks!” The toilet stinks, but not the whole place.
The king, he had a duty to his nation. He did everything or did what he could in order to uphold his country, to develop peace with all the neighbors. In order to do that, he had to marry his princes and princesses to different countries’ royalty. Before, that was how they made peace and coalition together to keep themselves strong. Therefore, he didn’t even know who was going to sleep with him tonight. It was just a card; they would give you every night, a card. You would just pick up one and whoever comes, will come. There was no, like, every night it was romantic and stuff like that, it was not. I mean, and if you wanted to have a romantic one like that, then you’re doomed, sooner or later. It’s like that.
Because these ministers of the king, they loved to give their daughter to be the king’s favorite and concubine, to strengthen also their power and prestige of the whole family. Like that. Even then, no benefits, but, “Oh, the wife of the king, my daughter.” Of course, any father wants that, any mother loves that. Therefore, the king was offered many from the ministers or sub-ministers, or the generals, or the whatever, you name it. They all had… If they had a daughter, they offered to the king, and the king had to accept it, so that they would be loyal to him, support him, make him strong and the country stable. If the king’s alone, how can he do anything? Even though he’s so-called, supposed to be the most powerful, he doesn’t have anybody supporting him. The generals don’t want to protect him. The ministers don’t want to help him. The ambassadors don’t want to make relationships better with the other countries. How is the king going to govern anything? In the old times, relying on that. You see?
Nowadays we have many many more, better communication systems. We can go directly to another country. Being a king, you can go directly, or ministers, or prime minister, you can go and shake hands with the neighboring country quickly. In the old times, you had to rely on all these supports around you, all the support you could get. Therefore, he had to have many wives. And he had to be fair to all of them and that was the rule. He could not pick one or two or three. Just have to treat all of them. Every night he had to sleep with one different woman and they took turns. If they had a hundred, then he had to keep one every night, until the hundred’s done and then return. He could not have one wife two nights, three nights, just one. He liked it or not liked it, it was like that.
Even in China’s history, one king, he could not have children. It’s just like, some men don’t have children, somehow, you know. Maybe it’s their destiny, maybe they are not potent. So, that king had no children at all, with all his queens and second queens, third queens, concubines. No one bore him any child, because he was impotent. So, what did they do? Every night or every now and then, they’d make a party in the palace’s secret chamber somewhere. And they let the young, handsome, and able, potent men go in there and have a party with the concubines. And then all the children that were born from there became the princes and princesses and were also married off outside as royal members. So, the king still could strengthen his relationships with neighborhood countries, even though he himself had no children. He did that, very good.
You see, so the king could not even afford jealousy, not possessiveness of any concubine. Even though he was impotent, he could not even afford to feel bad and then not let other men come in and sleep with his so-called wives. He did that for the country. That is the man. No matter how many wives he has, he’s a good king. You understand now? (Yes.)
You have to have wisdom, fairness, and IQ. Not just judging a little pettiness here, pettiness there, petty… it’s no good. It’s a little mundane, but you should know a little bit. Being a king is not that easy. Nowadays, a king doesn’t have to have many wives anymore. But even then, they… Remember some decades ago, one queen of a country could not bear children and the king had to abdicate her. And she had to be dismissed because she couldn’t bear children. Kings have to have children to continue the royal lineage. It’s an obligation. Obligation. To some, nowadays even, the prince, if married to some lady, even royalty or not, she has to bear children and right away, almost right away after the wedding. Before that, they could be boyfriend, girlfriend for years but have nothing. After marriage, immediately have children. You can see that. You know that.