These Are the Words of Demons
by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua


Buddhist disciples must possess the Dharma-selecting eye, so that they can clearly recognize true principles and differentiate right from wrong. You should not parrot whatever others say, following the muddy mainstream and mistaking fish eyes for pearls. You should not mistake falsehoods for the truth, taking a robber for your son. You should not sully yourself and others; you should not cheat yourself and others. If you tell sensational lies, you will fall into the Tongu-plucking Hell and never be able to come out. Cultivators who blindly cultivate and practice, refusing to seek out bright-eyed good knowing advisors, are stupid beyond words. They brag shamelessly, proclaiming, "I have attained the Dharma of superior ones"; "I am already enlightened"; "I have already certified to the fruit"; "I am this or that Bodhisattva reincarnated"; "I am actually a great sage equal to the gods who descended upon the world." They even lie, saying, "I have already accomplished the Buddha fruit," and display countless other instances of such deviant knowledge and deviant views. Such people are all children and grandchildren of the demon king - Papiyan's retinue. They are proud and egotistical, arrogant and deceitful; they are out to ruin the Sangha and destroy the Buddhadharma. To guard and protect the Proper Dharma, we should uphold justice. We must strike up our spirits; vigorously cultivate precepts, samadhi and wisdom; and extinguish greed, hatred and stupidity. Thus, the demon king's knowledge, views and theories will break down of themselves.

A verse says:

The mind that is thus, thus unmoving, subdues demon armies.
The self-nature that is always bright with understanding
illuminates livings' minds.
Public-oriented and selfless cultivators
Should practice the Proper Dharma.
Remain in the middle instead of going to extremes,
And follow the guidelines.
You should wipe away your arrogance and habits.
Sweep away self-congratulatory behavior.
Restrain yourself and be courteous,
And vigorously urge yourself forward.
So that you can be a meritorious minister of Buddhism
Who saves humankind.



Buddhist disciples must be complete with the Dharma-selecting Eye in order to understand what is proper Dharma and what is deviant dharma. Buddhas speak proper Dharma; demons speak deviant dharma. Simply put, proper Dharma is public-oriented and selfless; deviant dharma is selfish and self-serving. Only when you have the wisdom to distinguish the Dharma will you possess proper knowledge and views. Regardless of the situation you face, you will see and understand that circumstance clearly. You should use true principles to differentiate right from wrong, to judge between good and evil. You're stupid when you act muddled and confused, heedlessly repeating whatever everyone else says. If you believe whatever everyone else says, lacking any ability to differentiate, you are just "drinking others' saliva." How is that meaningful? You must investigate dhyana and meditate, because with wisdom comes the Dharma-selecting Eye. That way you will know the difference between proper Dharma and deviant dharma; otherwise you will simply drift with the filthy current and ride the polluted waves. If others rush toward the hells, you run along to the hells too. Others jump into the toilet; you follow suit. You're practically a shadow. How sad! With no wisdom of your own, you mistake fish eyes for pearls. You are incapable of distinguishing between truth and falsehood, black and white, authenticity and inauthenticity. Such behavior is laughable.

When you're stupid to this degree, you mistake a robber for your son. Without your realizing it, the robber steals all your money and jewelry from right under your nose. We cultivators must recognize what is proper Dharma and what is deviant dharma. Mistaking deviant dharma for proper Dharma is as disastrous as embracing a robber as your child. This kind of behavior not only harms yourself, but also harms others. In this fashion, you cheat yourself and others. For instance, you claim that you have spiritual penetrations when you don't have any. Or you dare to say that you have attained enlightenment when in fact you haven't. In planting the causes of such big lies, you will definitely receive the retribution of falling into the Tongue-plucking Hell. All those who lie fall into this type of hell, from which there is no escape.

For example, consider the cultivator who refuses to draw near bright-eyed good advisors. Instead of asking for instructions, he shuts the door and tries to build a vehicle on his own, believing that his knowledge and views are correct. He blindly cultivates and practices alone. Without the benefit of strategic guidance, he wastes his time and enters a demonic state. This is as dangerous as a blind person riding a sightless horse along the ledge of a cliff in the middle of the night. Such foolish behavior is pitiful indeed. Furthermore, this cultivator not only refuses to repent and reform, but he even makes shameless proclamations such as: "I have obtained the mind-seal Dharma of a sage; I will become a patriarch in the future"; "I am already enlightened; I've certified to great wisdom"; "I have already attained the position of non-study"; "I am a reincarnation of Guan-yin Bodhisattva"; "I am Manjushri Bodhisattva reincarnated." He may even claim to be a reincarnation of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, Earth Store Bodhisattva, or some other great Bodhisattva, and say, "Did you all know that?" Or he may say, "I am a great sage equal to the gods who has descended on the human realm; you should prostrate to me." He fabricates, "I've already attained the Buddha fruit and certified to annuttarasamyak-sambodhi. Shakyamuni Buddha is my Dharma brother, and Bodhidharma prostrates to me." That's absolute and laughable folly All the above lies are deviant knowledge and deviant views; there are many such examples, but I've given only a few here.

These people are all children and grandchildren of the demon king ; the retinue of Papiyan. Such egomaniacs and arrogant frauds are losers who wreck the Sangha and rebels who destroy the Buddhadharma. To guard and protect the Proper Dharma, we must expand justice, eradicate deviant theories, and knock down heresy. We must strike up our spirits and straighten up, vigorously cultivating precepts, samadhi and wisdom. Those who cultivate precepts won't strike up false thoughts; further-more, they won't go around promoting themselves. They never praise themselves or show off their cultivation so that others will respect and revere them. Genuine cultivators are not tempted by the sight of gold or beauty. In their state, ten thousand things do not obstruct them. They are said to be "thus, thus unmoving, constantly bright with understanding." People who cultivate wisdom emit a light of wisdom that illuminates every place, turning ignorance into brightness. Without afflictions, worries and bitterness, you attain a sense of ease and liberation. When you perfect these three studies of non-outflow, naturally all three poisonous fires of greed, hatred and stupidity are completely extinguished. Thus, the demon king's deviant knowledge and deviant views, his ridiculous assertions and inexplicable statement s will naturally be expelled and destroyed without attacks or arguments.

An eight-line verse further illustrates this principle. I'll briefly explain it below:

The mind that is thus, thus unmoving, subdues demon armies.
When demonic states arise, the mind can be thus, thus unmoving (it sees yet does not see; hears yet does not hear). If your concentration is as firm as vajra, then the ten great demon armies will give up and retreat. If you subdue the demons, they will never again disturb your clear and pure mind for cultivation.

The self-nature that is always bright with understanding illuminates livings' minds.
"Thus, thus unmoving" is concentration power; "constantly bright with understanding" is wisdom power, which includes precept power. Precepts and concentration are interrelated. Precepts produce concentration; concentration produces wisdom. Lacking any one of these, one fails to achieve perfection. Precepts, concentration, and wisdom constantly illumine living beings' minds, enabling them to enjoy comfort and ease.

Public-oriented and selfless cultivators should practice the Proper Dharma.
A cultivator constantly reflects. One looks into one's heart and asks oneself, "Am I selfish? Am I arrogant? Do I do things for others or only for myself?" If what you do is only for yourself, you're being selfish. If you do things that benefit everyone, then you're being public-minded and selfless. We should cultivate selfless Proper Dharma, not the haughty mind that maintains, "I am so outstanding, I cultivate better than others do; my wisdom is greater than others'." When you have improper thoughts such as these, the demon of arrogance will create all kinds of waves for you, causing you to see everything and everyone as being beneath you. Thus, you are pulled into the demon's world, becoming a member of the demon's retinue.

Remain in the middle instead of going to extremes, and follow the guidelines.
To remain in the middle is to practice the Middle Way. This path of moderation is neither excessive nor insufficient; it's just right. The Middle Way leans neither toward emptiness nor toward existence. Existence and non-existence are both absent from this middle ground. To cultivate the Way is to cultivate the Middle Way, not side doors and outside ways. Cultivators must remember not to err in cause and effect, not to speak carelessly, and not to violate the precepts, but rather to follow rules and to be vigorous. You should take the Way seriously and stop kidding around; giggling and laughing are totally unacceptable. No matter what accomplishments you have in cultivation, without keeping to the precepts and Vinaya, you're wasting time and effort cultivating and producing no merit. As a result, you're merely cheating yourself and others.

Currently, of all the Sanghans at the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the two monks engaged in "three steps, one bow" are the most rigorous cultivators and most observant followers of the rules. They don't joke around with anybody; they don't get angry; they are not full of themselves. They calmly and peacefully do their "three steps, one bow" practice. These tow have nothing to contend over or debate on with the world; they know only how to work for others, not for themselves. This kind of spirit is truly praiseworthy. It can fairly be said that all of you together don't have even one one-hundredth of their cultivation. You should emulate their cultivation-to only sow and not to reap. Sycophantic behavior, such as flattery and saying what others like to hear, is the worst kind of behavior for cultivators. Such behavior is despicable; it makes me want to vomit for three days when I see it. All of you who behave this way should correct yourselves. All of you who don't behave this way should continue to regulate yourselves.

You should wipe away your arrogance and habits.
You should sweep away and clean up the unwholesome habits of arrogance and egomania, leaving not a speck of dust. When one is "not tainted by a speck of dust," the mind is clear like the mirror. The mirror reflects objects when they appear; the mirror is clear and free of attachment when the objects are gone.

Sweep away self-congratulatory behavior.
You should clean up your act and do away with self-adulation. Do a major spring-cleaning and toss the garbage of self-satisfaction far, far away.

Restrain yourself and be courteous, and vigorously urge yourself forward.
Constantly push yourself and encourage yourself. Do not try to appear special or always think that you are better than everyone else, superior to others. People with that kind of mind set are actually not even on a par with others. Those who restrain themselves with courtesy are never full of themselves. They're invariably modest and kind, getting along well with others.

So that you can be a meritorious minister of Buddhism who saves humankind.
Sanghans are the educators in society, guiding living beings to correct and renew themselves, letting them have the chance to become humans again. Sangha members should take on the responsibility of saving the people of the world and benefiting humankind. If you have the great fearless spirit of the sages, then you are a meritorious minister of Buddhism. If you are arrogant and unable to humble yourself to be kind to others, then you will fail to save and influence not only other people, but also yourself.

Today I've given a simple explanation of the principles of this eight-lines verse. I hope that everyone will reflect upon himself. If you have the habits that I spoke about today, correct them quickly. If you don't have these habits, you should move forward with added vigor.