All of you should consider carefully. Stay far away from all evils. Choose what is virtuous to diligently practice. Love, desire, prestige, and splendor cannot be had forever. . . . There is no happiness at all. “All of you should consider carefully.” We should seriously contemplate everything. Understanding the truth, we will be diligent in our cultivation.
Simply put, “stay far away from all evils” refers to [staying away from] all those things that are harmful to others and that are beneficial solely to oneself. For ourselves, “choose what is virtuous” refers to having belief and vow, mindfully chanting the Buddha-name, and seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land. From all the sutras that Sakyamuni Buddha taught in the forty-nine years, we choose only the three Pure Land sutras. Putting aside all others, in this lifetime we learn and practice according to the teachings in the three Pure Land sutras. This way, we will achieve our goal.
In daily life, we must do things that benefit society. When we do our best and accord with conditions, the merit accrued will be perfect and complete. In addition, we should be able to tell good from bad and right from wrong, and should make the right choices.
“Diligently practice” means that we should put in our best efforts to do things diligently. [In doing so,] both ourselves and others will benefit.
“Love, desire, prestige, and splendor” refers to fame, prestige, gain, wealth, the Five Desires, and the Six Dusts. The Five Desires are wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep.
Love, desire, prestige, and splendor “cannot be had forever” because they are transient, like fleeting clouds. At the end of one’s life, if one is still attached to this world, this will obstruct one from attaining rebirth in the Western Pure Land. Therefore, one must give up fame, prestige, gain, wealth, the Five Desires, and the Six Dusts, and stay far away from all evils.
When we truly understand the truth, we will be highly cautious in all situations and remain constantly vigilant.