For example, someone tells us that how much they practice meditation-concentration, how deep they go into concentration, how high they witness to the truth, we shouldn’t believe them right away, we need to check their daily life first. If they live a noble life, then we should believe them. They can tell us about their good result of practice. When they take meditation, their mind can be deep into concentration without having erroneous thinking. They can get supernatural power and wisdom. On the other hand, if they live a normal life, their dignity is not good enough, their lack of augustness is showed clearly, their good doing is not done much, then what they said they attain the pure mind is temporary or lying.
One, they have temporary blessing from their past.
Two, they are liar.
We can base on the two criteria to judge people’s practice that’s right or wrong. Buddhism goes up from such the practical foundation.
Or, if someone lives the noble life, his dignity is complete, his good deeds are increased more and more but he said his practice meditation-concentration is not good enough, then we shouldn’t believe him. We know for sure that if a person lives the noble life, when he practices meditation, his mind easily goes deep into concentration.
People might think that Buddhism is sublime religion, spiritual world, going out of this world, because Buddhism has meditation-concentration to help practitioners’ minds keep pure and peaceful. From the pure and peaceful minds, practitioners can get out of the stuck of this world and go to Nirvana. It’s right. Or people might suppose that Buddhism is very practical, because Buddhism teaches people to live the noble life, do good deeds, help others, know how to perfect themselves, do benefit for family and society. It’s really true.
Buddhism is noble like that, practical like that, because the Buddha taught us to practice many stages from Right View to Right Livelihood that help us build up the noble life. Therefore, Buddhism has two aspects: practicality and sublimeness.
Practicality requires our practitioners live the noble life to bring goodness to people around. In this aspect, Buddhism is positive practicality.
In the second aspect, Buddhism is sublime but not passive nor negative. If anyone thinks that Buddhism is negative and passive, that person doesn’t know Buddhism at all, or they misunderstand Buddhism. In the first stage, Buddhism teaches people to practice the way of nobleness, positiveness, and activeness. In the second stage, Buddhism teaches people to practice the way of sublimeness, the way to Nirvana. We should understand that. And any misunderstanding should be explained more details so that nobody can misunderstand, because if people misunderstand Buddhism, they will commit serious sins.
Will is an effort, is an extremely important point in the process of practicing the Eight-Fold Path, is the door for practitioners going to meditation-concentration, because practice of meditation-concentration is very hard.
With the will of effort, we can classify three kinds of practitioners:
+ First, Buddhists are lazy, not trying their best to practice, nor working hard. They can do good deeds, come to pagodas more often, do offerings to Sangha, chant Sutras, listen to preaches, but they don’t have iron will of practicing the Eight-Fold Path. The practitioners with effort have super-iron will of practicing the Eight-Fold Path, nothing can change their minds.
+ Second, Buddhists are trying their best too much to practice that they go a wrong way. It can be called false effort.
+ Third, Buddhists practice Right Effort correctly, moderately, properly, and appropriately to the Buddha’s intention.