This lecture, our Teacher Susan Duan gave the speech on “Chapter 7: Benefiting the Living and the Deceased” of “Sutra of the Original Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva” and particularly emphasized that the practice is to correct our bad habits because there must be related views and thinking behind the habitual behavioral patterns. If we don't find out our own wrong views and thinking, and then correct them, it will eventually spend more efforts but get less results by relying on a temporary repression or forced change of external behavior.
The statement “the mental stirring and thoughts of sentient beings are always wrongdoings” in the Sutra does not mean that our minds are very evil and we always want to do bad things. It actually points that the sentient beings are ignorant, and the views are wrong and perverted so that the things which we think are right and made eventually lead us to vexations and sufferings. The Teacher gave a lot of life examples for us to think and reflect. For example, we deem that “gain” is better than “loss”; however, if everyone wants to gain but doesn’t want to make efforts, will there be joyful relationship? That’s why the Buddha teaches us that “Giving (give the Dharma, property donation, give protection from fear) is the way to freedom, calmness and happiness.”
Moreover, during the speech of the Sutra, the Teacher taught us that practices occur at the moments that our six roots of sensations (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind) meet the external six spaces (color, sound, smell, taste, touch, object of mind), e.g. when the heartbeat upon seeing the advertisement of buying one, getting one free; when we get mad upon seeing others pulling a long face toward us. As long as we keep the Buddha Dharma in mind and are mindful when the roots meet the spaces, we naturally will not make actions which will hurt ourselves and others afterward.
At the thought of our opportunity to listen to and learn the Dharma which can lead us to the truly peaceful, calm and free state and help ourselves to be good at every thought and action, it's really a very wonderful thing!