Man is subject to the law of Nature. Al these laws are covered by one word ``DUTY
To fulfill human duty, one must comply with the Four Debts of Gratitude. But we must also avoid the Three Karmas and abstain from the Ten Evils just like we must keep ourselves from being indebted if we want to get rich.
Everyone is subject to the following Three Karmas:
Physical Karma ( sins caused by the body)
Verbal Karma (sins caused by the tongue)
Mental Karma (sins caused by thoughts)
These Karmas are caused by the following Ten Evils:
Physical Karma is related to three evil actions:
1. Killing living creatures
Verbal Karma is related to four evil actions:
1. Double tongue
2. Abuse of power
3. Defaming (vicious tongue)
Mental Karma is related to three evil actions:
KILLING LIVING CREATURES
Man at birth is a good creature. But once he has to live in a world among cruel and wicked people, he is soon influenced by evil to become wicked and violent himself.
Men kill each other for money, for women, for wealth and position, out of hatred or ambition. They kill each other for the sake of a man, a group, a social class or a country. They want to destroy mankind and think that no order has the right to live with them.
At the royal court, the fact that the king considers his subjects of little importance and that the latters see their king as their enemy has resulted in many internecine wars. Among the people, children attack their parents, servants betray their masters, pupils kill their teachers, husbands and wives harm each other, sisters and brothers fight one another. Internecine fights break out often due to the above mentioned reasons. That is the situation of man among men.
With animals, men are even more cruel: they kill them for food, out of superstition, or merely for the sake of killing. Although we cannot stop killing living creatures (chickens, ducks, pigs...) in order to feed ourselves, we should not take advantage of the saying that ``animals are born to feed man to kill them abusively. We must use them according to our food requirement and not waste by killing them if such is not a necessity. Particularly, we should not kill animals for ritual sacrifices. Some people believe that when they commit an offense against divinities, killing living creatures would wipe out their offense. Such a belief is wrong and superstitious, because in their metaphysical and noble position as saints and gods, there is no reason for divinities to do wrongs for the sake of personal feelings. When caught in an accident or illness, rather than taking medicine, some people would pray to Buddha in the hope of recovering, and for this they also kill animals and call on sorcerers. They should understand the reason for their misfortune as a result of their ins from their previous life (Karma) when they did not repent or accomplish good deeds. When killing animals for ritual sacrifices, they added another crime to the unpaid previous ones.
Furthermore, some people kill animals for the sake of killing; some shoot birds flying in the air; some shoot birds flying in the air; some catch fishes swimming in the water. They use animals as targets for shooting pleasures and completely forget that animals too have a soul, a body and that they also have the right for life just like human beings.
We must, therefore, show compassion towards them, especially domestic animals: buffaloes, oxen, horses, dogs, cats...are not to be killed because of their contributions to us in our daily activities. In brief, no unnecessary killing of living creatures can be forgiven or justified. Specifically, we should abstain from doing so for any reason on fasting days.
``Extreme poverty results in robbery is but an excuse for atheistic and dishonest people. They wander outdoors in the daytime and break into houses during the night; they want to have food and clothes without having to work for these. They are residues of society who live as outlaws, hide themselves, disturb others security, specialize in killing and robbing honest people without paying any attention to the fact that the latter have to work hard to earn their possessions. These are the worms that spoil the soup. These criminals cause no many calamities to the laborious and honest families. They are the cause of poverty and trouble to mans happiness.
Being poor, instead of working, they commit fault after fault crime after crime, and cause so many misfortunes to mankind. Although Gods net may be loosely meshed they cannot escape it and although they might not be tried by mans law, their evils will be repaid by evils if they do not repent, or mend their ways and improve themselves by getting rid of their fiendish habits.
Of the thousands of good deeds, filial piety comes first. Of the thousands of bad deeds, lascivity comes first. So it written in ancient books.
From time immemorial crime was committed everywhere, from royal courts down to the common people, from within families to outside strangers. It is the source of so many distressing spectacles. Arent the stories of Emperor Te who married Thoi Tus wife and An Loc Son who committed adultery with Duong Quy Phi good examples for posterity? There have always been instances when the rich power to oppress the humble. We must also note the many cases of adultery.
In order to prevent our morals from being corrupted and to preserve the reputation of our family, we should not let ourselves be seduced by lascivious desires, but should behave the way of our ancestors by always remembering our duty in Piety, Loyalty and Purity.
On top of the crimes committed by the tongue, this sin of ``double tongue is also the cause of misunderstandings, quarrels, and provocations resulting in hatred. Peoples righteousness is minimized and their wrongs exaggerated. Therefore, the tongue sows division, quarrel, and the destruction of friendship between people. It is also the source of much discord and discontent.
To get rid of these evils, one should see to it that our words be truthful and decent. And then, there will be less trouble between the communities and no more disagreement in society. Thus, we will not have to suffer hate and disdain from others any longer.
ABUSE OF POWER
This crime is about the masters who abuse their power to blame their servants, about officials who abuse their power to insult the people. The rich rely on their wealth to disdain the poor, the smart ones on their cleverness to tell lies. The learned men use their knowledge to dishonor the illiterate.
Let us avoid such oppression. Our subordinates do have a brain to think, but are tied by misfortune to a humble condition. If they make mistakes, let us give them serious advice using kind words with them.
DEFAMING (VISCIOUS TONGUE)
Coarse swears and vulgar insults are the reason for this crime that involve also children insulting their parents, paying no attention to moral principles and filial piety. They threaten people, oppress their neighbors and open their mouth only to swear without even sparing Buddha and God. Day and night, they swear Buddhas and Gods names, and such acts will only pile up their sins.
Falsehood has been the source of injustice to the people. We usually find excuse for our wrongs; we exaggerate our righteousness and would invent tales to downgrade other people merits. By their boastful, vain and endless talks, liars only stir up other people disdain.
To avoid degradation, Man must make it a habit in the use of decent words and abandonment of impertinence. He should respect Truth and not tell lies.
This is the cause of many disasters: war, robbery, murder.... desire for fame and profit for power and social status. All these have pushed men into many internecine fights and caused immense disasters. Robbery, murder, corruption, struggle for power have caused people much misery. Cupidity made people sorrowful, it made them cry in silence. They commit suicide when they become desperate. People kill themselves for power, for love, or out of failure. Wars, killings, massacres, and wicked deeds are all the results of cupidity. When man can wipe out cupidity, then sorrow will be diminished. However, life is full of ups and downs. Let us use what we have on hand and abstain ourselves from using wicked ways to obtain our want. We must, therefore, thinks of others just as we do of ourselves. Let us put aside our selfishness and cupidity in order to cultivate virtue. Let us give alms to the poor, and confess our sins in order to find peace in paradise and to evade the deceptive illusions of this world.
A quick temper usually induces man into committing evils, even murders. The winner gets prouder and the loser becomes ashamed and hate spreads wider. ``One loses ones mind when angry; anger thus makes us lose our self-control and become wicked and cruel, without any judgment about justice, right and wrong.
When we keep our temper under control, we feel free, and our mind is relieved. Let us be generous and forgive the sinner. Let us be patient and not quarrel or strive for supremacy to avoid hatred.
This crime is the result of poor judgment and thinking. Man can rarely distinguish what is right and what is wrong. He persists in keeping his prejudices and refuses to recognize the truth. He is stupid all his life long, remain fond of futile thoughts, only thinks stubbornly and behave wickedly without trying to find the path to deliverance.
Let us wipe off superstition, agree upon moral principles, avoid the path of error, awake from illusions to break the veil of darkness which shields our mind, and walk on the path of virtue to gradually reach immortality.