The Vajra Strikes

A Collection of Answers by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Q: I would like to ask the Venerable Master about shariras. Some people say they are rocks. Some people say one sharira will split into two while others say they will disappear. Will you please explain?

A: Shariras are a result of keeping to the precepts: no killing, no stealing, and primarily, no sexual activity. That way, one's precious things are not lost. What are those "precious things?" I believe every one of us knows what is the essence of life, I don't need to say too much. If we refrain from sexual activity, our shariras will naturally be bright and brilliant, more solid than diamonds. As far as what the average person says about it multiplying. . . I have never experimented with them or done tests on shariras before. I can only tell you this: by keeping the precepts, one will have shrariras. On the other hand, if one doesn't keep the precepts, there will be no shariras.

Q: In that case, our bodies must be pure so that we'll have shariras.

A: Right. You should stay single and not touch women. Having been intimate with a woman, whatever shariras you may have will only be glass.

Q: Then women can't be intimate with men?

A: Right! That's right too. That's why Buddhist monasticism doesn't allow monks or nuns to marry; instead they watch and encourage each other to avoid promiscuity. To be promiscuous is to violate precepts. Cultivators must be very clear on this issue between men and women. If they're not clear about this, they would merely be pretending that fish eyes are pearls.