A Wooden Table and Our World
A wooden table has the characteristics of wood throughout, whether of the tabletop or the legs. Our Saha world, whether material or spiritual, came into being by karmic force. There are good, bad, and neutral karmas, but they are still karmas that bind all beings to the three realms of samsara. As Master Tanluan said, "The merit arises from the various good acts of ordinary and heavenly beings, and the reward of human and heavenly states of existence [i.e. the cause and effects of such good acts] are inverted and false.”
If a table is made of wood, it has the appearance of wood, such as the wood grains, and the quality of wood, such as its temperature being warmer than stones.
Wood also can be burned, and damaged by immersion in water.
Since the existence of sentient beings in the Saha’s world is the result of our karmic sins, it invariably possesses the characteristics of iniquity: greed, hatred and ignorance. It leads to suffering which is the nature of iniquity. Sentient beings commit evil acts due to their ignorance and suffer from such acts. No one can avoid it.
The nature of the table is still wood even when it is cut into firewood or even ground into powder. By the same token, it is impossible for sentient beings to change their sinful nature, and it is futile to drive away darkness with darkness. Very few people can enter into the stage of a sage, definitely not those of you who are reading this article right now.
So, the nature of this world is suffering, whether you admit it or not. No matter how much you cultivate, the nature of suffering in the world will not change at all, no matter what your perception or understanding of the world is.
A table is sometimes covered with a tablecloth, which may make it difficult to see that the table is made of wood. However, can a tablecloth forever hide the simple fact that it’s a wooden table?
We may experience all kinds of pleasures in this Saha world, but can this conceal the nature of suffering in this world?
A wise man should see clearly how superficial, impermanent, and false, happiness is, and how firm, deep and intense suffering is!
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings