Vajra Bodhi Sea
A Monthly Journal of Orthodox Buddhism
Vol. IX Series 21 No. 102
Out of compassion, manifesting to teach evil people, who then obtain great peacefulness, the dream spirit pure. What is more, they gain inexhaustible blessings and rewards. With Bodhi and Prajna, one's own practice is profound.
Issued in November,1978. Copyright c by the Sino-American Buddhist Association, Inc. Mahayana 3004. VOLUME IX, SERIES 21, NUMBER 102.
Revolution is the Sangha's Work
In July, ten members of the Sino-American Buddhist
Association, tinder the leadership of the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua went
on an Invitational lecture tour through Asia to propagate the Dharma.
Throughout our travels in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Hong Kong
for two months we were greeted everywhere with overwhelming enthusiasm.
Thousands took refuge under the Triple Jewel. The Master, with both
hands, dedicated the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas to Buddhists of the
whole world, people of the whole world, and living beings of the whole world.
Buddhism is in a state of dire decay in Asia. Without quick and substantive
reform it will surely perish. The decision to dedicate the City of Ten
Thousand Buddhas to the entire world is a direct move to prevent the impending
destruction of Buddhism and to give it a chance to revive and develop
Next year, on the nineteenth day of the ninth lunar month, in conjunction with the Dedication of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, there will be an International Convention of Buddhism convened at the City. Its aim will be to unite Buddhists of the world, Sanghins and laypeople, to seriously probe into the pitfalls of Buddhist practice; to launch a realistic program of reform; to draft a new constitution for Sanghins, and to elect a world leader of Buddhism.
The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is dedicated to the world as the headquarters for Buddhism. It will serve as a place of spiritual refuge for all people, Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.
In the following transcription of a talk given on October 2, 1978 at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the Master reiterates his gift to the world and outlines the principles behind reform within the Sangha.
During this recent Asian tour and prior to it in America, I told people that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas belongs to Buddhists of the whole world, to people of the whole world, and to all living beings of the whole world. Why? In cultivation, we shouldn't be selfish. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is prize land in America, and America is a super power in the world. The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas is a place where tens of thousands of Buddhas cultivate together. If we are cultivating together, there shouldn't be any selfishness or self-seeking. If I were to give the City only to Americans, that would be a serious mistake. If I were to hand it over to the Chinese, that would be an even graver error. Even if I let Americans and Chinese run it together, that would still not be a perfect solution. As I do not have the strength to take care of such a big place myself, I have decided to give it to all Buddhists, all peoples, and all living beings of the entire world. Not only Buddhists, but people of other religions as well can have a share.
This gesture means that none of us want to be selfish. Life is so short—just a few decades--why are we so attached to things and unable to put them down? Even if you were to live for several thousand years--so what? You're still running around upside-down, taking suffering for bliss and mistaking a thief for your son. Anyone who does not agree with my decision can bring up his or her opinions and we'll discuss them together. I will go along with the rule of the majority.
Along with this dedication of the City to the entire world, comes a suggestion for reform within the Sangha: that people who have left the home-life relinquish private ownership. Sangha members should be able to see through things and put them down. Once you indulge in private ownership, you have the means to do whatever you like, and you may end up doing a lot of things that are not in accord with Dharma. This is why I strongly urge left-home people not to keep any money or property under their private names, but to give it to the central assembly of the Sangha. Just this is practicing the Proper Dharma.
Ever since I was born, I have wanted to be unselfish, not just to work for myself. Up until ten years ago I didn't dare say that I didn't have a self, but in the past eight years I have wanted to be completely unselfish in my every act. From now on, you can watch me to see if in fact I'm working for myself or for others. And if I have the least bit of selfishness I hope you will tell me. As an observer, you will be able to see things more clearly than I. I vow that if I retain even a single hair's worth of selfishness, I am willing to suffer forever in the unintermittent hells. Why? Because I would be of no use to the world anyway.
Now some of you have studied the Dharma with me for ten years, some for nine, some for eight, and so forth. After so many years, I hope that you, too, will put aside your selfish thoughts. Do not grieve over your flesh and blood. Just try your best to cultivate and day by day your six types of close relatives and your friends will fare better and better, and will naturally be influenced to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi.
As for my disciples, whether they want to cultivate or not to cultivate, whether they want to leave home or return to lay-life and become Dharma-protectors--it's all fine with me. I don't worry about such matters. Why? If I did, that, too, would be a form of selfishness. When I say Everything's Okay, it just means not being selfish.
You should truly understand this: if we are still selfish, then how are we different from lay people? In Buddhism, there is always talk of the non-attachment to self, yet in your every move, you're still working for your own benefit. Whether you believe me or not, I do not care. I am going to start a revolution in Buddhism and I will spread this principle whether people want me to or not. In Malaysia I called myself a horse that carries the Proper Dharma to all places. I also called myself a path, a road on which all Buddhists can travel from the ground of an ordinary person to the fruition of Buddhahood. I hope that all living beings will walk on me. I want to walk behind everyone, and not fight for name or gain. I will not worry about what happens to me after my death. After I die my body should be cremated. The bones and ashes should be ground into a powder with a little sugar or honey and fed to the ants. I want to create affinities with the ants. After they have made a meal of me, they should quickly resolve on Bodhi. I do not wish to leave any trace behind—no memorial halls, no stupas, not even a flesh body. Not a single mark. In this world all phenomena go through the stages of becoming, dwelling, decay, and emptiness. Why leave a mark? Someone asks: are you implying that the Sixth Patriarch was wrong in leaving a flesh body behind? No, by no means. The Sixth Patriarch was teaching and transforming the living beings of his time. I am teaching the people of this era. Each person has his or her own path; each one has his or her own aspirations.
This time in Malaysia we met a lot of people, many of whom had dreamed of me before I even arrived, strangely enough. Who do you think arranged that type of publicity? And you still do not recognize what's going on! Then let me tell you: in life after life these people were taught and transformed by me. Therefore, upon seeing me again, in this lifetime, it was like being reunited with their closest kin. Many of them were so happy that all they could do was weep— especially the children. The twelve, thirteen, and fourteen-year-olds all recognized me and didn't want me to go. As we would leave the lecture halls, one would be tugging at my sleeve, another pulling at my robe. Often I would have a child hanging from each of the fingers on my hand—clinging with all their might. They didn't want the car to drive away. Hundreds of them would surround us. This is because since beginningless kalpas we have been together. In the past maybe I was their teacher, or they were my master; maybe I was their son, or they were one of my next of kin. You can see this burst of warmth was a response from past causes and conditions of investigating the Dharma together. It was also a response from not being selfish.
How do you feel about my suggestions? Someone used to be afraid that if outsiders joined our organization, they would take over. I said, "Whatever they want, I will give to them, there is no need to take over."
The only way in which I am different from others is that I don't want anything for myself—no name or gain—nothing. These are not just words, they are a most sincere expression of what is in my heart. Everything I do is for the sake of Buddhism; I've long since forgotten about myself.
Commentary by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translation by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Yakshas, Hungry Ghosts, and
All sorts of evil birds and beasts
Frantic with hunger faced the four directions
Pecking out the windows.
Such were the troubles
And terrors beyond measure there.
This section of text
represents the appearance of the afflictions created by the Five Dun and Quick
Servants for living beings in the realm of desire.
Living beings in the realm of desire have outflows. Because they have outflows, they cannot obtain the flavor of cultivation of the Way, the flavor of Dhyana. Because they have not attained to the state of non-outflows or to the fruit of the Way, or the flavor of Dhyana's bliss they are said to be frantic with hunger. They are terribly hungry. The hungry ghosts and evil birds and animals are starving and they faced the four directions. What is meant by "the four directions?" Those non-Buddhist religions cultivate deviant contemplations, but they cannot awaken to true principle. They very much long for the fruit of the Way, for the gains of Dhyana, and this longing is like a hunger in them which causes them to look outside, look "out in the four directions." They don't realize that all one needs is proper understanding and proper views, and the ability to be unmoved by the Five Dull and Five Quick Servants and they will be able to attain the fruit of the Way and the flavor of Dhyana. Because they can't attain it they face the four directions peeking through the window. The word "peek" (in Chinese) is a picture of a cave with the word for rules beneath it. This means that "peeking" is sneaky way of looking at things. It is not in accord with the rules. Even though these evil things try to peek out the windows, they can't see anything clearly. Those of non-Buddhist religions have many attached thoughts, which obstruct their understanding and prevent them from knowing genuine principle. There are panes in the windows, but one's vision through a window cannot be unobstructed; there's always an obstruction to one's vision.
Such were the troubles/ The various difficulties and disasters just mentioned, and terrors beyond measure there were frightening to the extreme, to the point that you couldn't even measure it.
This decaying old house
Belonged to a man
Who had gone but a short distance
When, before very long,
The rear rooms of the house
Suddenly caught fire.
This is part two of explaining affairs on the ground, likened to the realm of desire, explaining the origin of the fire. It is likened to the origin of the arisal of the Five Turbidities.
This decaying old house/ The house is in terrible condition, about
ready to cave in altogether. This decaying house represents the three
realms as without peace; everywhere you turn it is very dangerous. It is said
to be old because it wasn't made just recently. The three realms had no
beginning, and so it is "old". Belonged to a man/ The three Realms,
the desire, form realm, and formless realm, are where the Buddha, in his
Response body, teaches and transforms living beings. The Buddha, from the time
he brought forth the thought of enlightenment up until the time he became a
Buddha, passed through three great asamkhyeya aeons—such a long time! He
made vows, great vows, not only great vows, but limitless, measureless, great
vows. These great vows were to save all living beings. To take them from suffering
to bliss, to help them end birth and death.
For this reason, Buddhist disciples should follow the Buddha's example in making vows, making great vows, measureless limitless great vows, to save all living beings. If you wish to save all living beings, where are you going to go to do it? Right where you are! If the people you are close to don't understand the Buddhadharma, you should exhaust your efforts to bring them to believe in the Buddha.
Start out with your family. You believe in the Buddha, you know that Buddhadharma is a good thing. So you should first cross over your father and mother and lead them to believe in the Buddha, and understand the Buddhadharma. It is said,
When one's parents have left the filth,
The child has then accomplished the Way.
If you can bring your parents to
believe in genuine principle, then you are being truly filial. Then, cross
over your brothers so they believe in true principle and have a proper path to
walk upon. Then take your sisters across so they believe in genuine principle,
and leave deviant understanding and deviant views. After you have saved your
family, you should save your friends. You should work from the
"near" to the "far", from your inner family circle out to
your friends, and then out to all living beings. In this way you should teach
and transform living beings. Liberate them. In this way you are following the
example of the Buddha's great vows. After he became a Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha
went to the Trayastrimsa heaven to speak the Dharma to his mother. He spoke
the EARTH STORE SUTRA. The three realms is where the Buddha appears in his
response body to teach and transform living beings and so the text says, it
Belonged to a man. This man is the Great Elder, that is, the Buddha.
Now, if the Elder had been at home, in the Three Realms, he could have told the children not to fool around and play with fire. But he had to go out on business, and the children were left there alone. They were actually pretty stupid; they had no genuine wisdom and they didn't know what was safe and what was dangerous. They started playing with fire and, sure enough, the house caught on fire.
Who had gone but a short distance/ When before long/ The Elder had just left. This line refers to Sakyamuni Buddha who during the time of the Buddha called "Great Penetration" was teaching all living beings how to subdue the Five Turbidities. When the karmic influences of those living beings came to an end, Sakyamuni Buddha also entered Nirvana. After the Buddha entered Nirvana, living beings, having lost their "crutch", fell over. So after the Buddha entered Nirvana, the Five Turbidities arose once again: the turbidity of the aeon, the turbidity of views, the turbidity of affliction, the turbidity of living beings, the turbidity of life.
Although the Buddha had, in that world system, entered Nirvana, in another world system, the causal-conditions for teaching living beings had ripened and he went there to teach them. But he couldn't stay in that world system forever, either. So he had gone but a short distance/he had appeared again not very far away.
You could also explain these lines saying that the Buddha has already attained to the Patience of Unproduced Dharmas, that is to say,
He has done what he had to do;
He has established his pure conduct;
He undergoes no further becoming.
He will not again be born in the Triple Realm. He has "gone
out." Although, on becoming a Buddha, he has transcended the Triple
Realm, still, after a short period of time he comes back, so he has gone but a
"short distance." In the "Lifespan Chapter" of this Sutra
it says that the Buddha has appeared to enter Nirvana many, many times. Many
times he has appeared in the world and many times he has entered Nirvana, a
great number of times. This means that he has gone out of the burning house of
the Triple Realm.
When, before very long/ The rear rooms of the house/ The house is the Triple Realm. The "rooms" are the Five Skandhas—form, feelings, perceptions; impulses, and consciousness. He hadn't been-gone very long when the back part of the house, suddenly caught fire. A fire broke out. How did it happen? The kids were playing with fire, and they were careless. What do you think will happen to the children? Will they burn to death? What about us here in the burning house of the Triple Realm where there is no peace, no safety and where the fire of the Five Skandhas burns.
All at once, all four sides were enveloped in raging flames.
The beams, ridgeports, rafters, and pillars, shook and split with the sound of explosion, snapped apart and fell,
As the walls and partitions collapsed and caved in.
This is part three which tells the power of the raging fire. It is an analogy of the arisial proper of the Five Turbidities.
All at once, all four sides/
The "four sides" represent
the Four Applications of Mindfulness. The Four Applications of
Mindfulness were given by the Buddha as a dwelling place for the Bhiksus after
his departure into Nirvana. They are, mindfulness with regard to the body,
feelings, thoughts, and dharmas.
First of all one must contemplate the body as impure. One should also contemplate feelings, thoughts, and dharmas as impure as well. Since the body is impure, one's feelings are likewise impure, and so are thoughts, and dharmas.
Second, one must contemplate feelings as suffering. All the feelings we experience are involved with suffering. One should also contemplate the body as involved with suffering, and thoughts and dharmas likewise.
Third, one should contemplate thoughts as impermanent. Our thoughts shift and change constantly, ceaselessly, like the, waves on the water. When one thought goes, another takes its place; when that goes, yet another takes its place. Likewise should one contemplate the body, feelings, and dharmas as impermanent.
Fourth, one should contemplate dharmas as without a self. One should also contemplate the body, feelings, and thoughts as without self. The body, feelings, thoughts, and dharmas should each be regarded in these aspects, constituting sixteen applications.
One begins cultivating the Four Applications of Mindfulness by cultivating the contemplation of impurity. The contemplation of impurity breaks one's attachment to self. Why are you attached to your body and always trying to help it out? It's because you think it's a good thing. You want to help out "that "good thing." You feel, "My body is so loveable. I really can't let it get cold or over heated. I don't want it to be hungry or thirsty, either. In general, I'm always looking our for it." This is because you don't realize that it is actually impure. If you knew how unclean the body really is, when you put on those fine clothes, eat that fine food, you'd know it was unclean. No matter how pretty the clothes you put on, it's still just like dressing up a toilet! I mean, you can put the most elegant clothing and accessories on the toilet, but no matter how fine you dress it up, it's still dirty. Our bodies are just the same. No matter how nice your clothes, it's just like dressing up a toilet. No matter how fine the food you eat, you are still doing nothing more than making a little more excrement. It's no great use. So you should contemplate the body as impure in order to get rid of your attachment to self. Don't see your body as so precious.
If you follow your body's insatiable greed, and create of tenses, then the body is a bad thing, an impure thing. If, on the other hand, you cultivate the May, then the body is pure and it can help you become a Buddha. It's the same body, it just depends on what you do with it.
PREFACE COMPOSED BY
THE T'ANG DYNASTY SRAMANA CH'ENG KUAN
OF CH'ING LIANG MOUNTAIN
Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Hsien, Heng Yin, and Heng Ch’ih
Reviewed by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Edited by Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih
Although emptiness is emptied and the traces are cut off,
Still the sky of meanings' stars glitter and blaze;
Stillness is deepened, so that words are lost,
Yet the sea of teachings' waves are oceanic in extent.
As for the thousand doors which in secret flow,
Of multitudes of texts it forms the copious source;
The ten thousand virtues commingle and return;
While companies of sutras comprise its retinue.
Although emptiness is emptied
and the traces are cut off/ "Emptiness" is already devoid
of appearances; so "emptiness is emptied" means that
appearancelessness is emptied as well--and the "traces" are
also severed, yet to be in the midst of no appearances with the traces
severed is to be free of appearances while in the midst of appearances. How?
If you are not attached to marks, you are free of appearances, and there are
appearances and yet no appearances.
Still the sky of meanings’stars glitter and blaze/ This is analogous to the teachings' meanings with the Buddha's teachings being as vast and great as the sky. The teachings' meanings comprise all sorts of principles, which are compared to Stars, which glitter and blaze. Therefore it says, "Still the sky of Meanings' stars glitter and blaze."
Stillness is deepened so that words are lost/ "Stillness" means pure clarity. "Words are lost." Nothing can be said. That is to be within words yet beyond words. If you have nothing to say, you will also be unable to explain the principle of there being nothing to say. To make understood what it is to be within language, yet separate from language, you must employ language to express the principle of no language. That is why this section of the Preface is called Words Include the Root and Extremities. Basically, what is spoken of is the root, yet it includes the branch-tips; and basically speaking of the branch-tips also includes the root. The root and the branch-tips are non dual. The sea of teachings' waves are oceanic in extent/ The "teachings" are the Buddha's teachings, which are placed in Five Periods and the Eight Teachings. The Five Periods are:
1. The Flower Adornment Period.
2. The Agama Period.
3. The Expansive Period.
4. The Prajna Period.
5. The Dharma Flower-Nirvana Period.
1. The Store Teaching.
2. The Connective Teaching.
3. The Separate Teaching.
4. The Perfect Teaching.
5. The Sudden Teaching.
6. The Gradual Teaching.
7. The Secret Teaching.
8. The Unfixed Teaching.
In the first of the Five Periods, the Flower Adornment Period,
the Flower Adornment Sutra, a perfect teaching, was spoken for
twenty-one days, whereas the Dharma Flower and Nirvana Sutras, which
are not nearly so long as the Flower Adornment Sutra, together took
eight years to speak. The reason is that the Flower Adornment Sutra was
spoken by the Buddha as Lu She Nwo Buddha, and so it was spoken fast.
The second was the Agama Period in which the store teachings, which provided for the Two Vehicles were presented—the dharmas of the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Conditioned Co-production. This was the Store Teaching.
The third was the Expansive Period, an initial door leading from the Theravada through to the Great Vehicle, and was called the Connective Teaching. It could connect with the former Store Teaching and with the Prajna Teaching, which followed.
The fourth was the Prajna Period, called the Separate Teaching, because it is not the same as the previous Connective Teaching, and also not the same as the subsequent Perfect Teaching.
The fifth, the Dharma Flower and Nirvana Period, is called the Perfect Teaching. It was spoken particularly to cross over those whose root nature was that of the Great Vehicle. The Five Periods and Eight Teachings relate to each other then in the following fashion:
Agama Tripitaka ("Three Stores")
& Nirvana Perfect
In addition to the Four Teachings described above, there are four
more Teachings. The Sudden Teaching refers to the sudden and immediate
opening of Enlightenment in an instant. The Gradual Teaching refers to
gradually, little by little, opening Enlightenment. The Secret
Teaching means that something is spoken for the other person without the
first person knowing it, and something is spoken for the other person without
the first person knowing it, both remaining unaware of what the other knows.
The Unfixed Teaching is the dharma of there being no fixed dharma. Altogether
that makes Eight Teachings, which is what is meant by "the sea of
teachings," indicating that all the Three Stores and Twelve Divisions of
the Canon spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha are as numerous as the waves of the sea.
That is why it says, "the sea of teachings' waves." The waves in
question are huge breakers, great waves among the waves, and so they are
described as oceanic in extent and boundless.
As for the thousand doors, which in secret flow/"The thousand doors" is a way of saying that the doors are many. There may not be exactly one thousand, but perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine, or one thousand and one. It's not fixed. Generalizing, it says a thousand doors, "which in secret flow." "In secret" means that they flow to that place without people seeing them. The waters of all streams, rivers, and lakes return to the ocean. Some flow on the surface of the earth as they return to the sea, and others flow beneath the earth to the sea and cannot be seen. One can also speak in terms of the water of the great sea universally penetrating the great earth. No matter where you stand upon the surface of the earth, if you break the earth's surface, there will always be water that flows from within. "Flow," then, refers to these hidden currents of water. The thousand doors which in secret flow, refers to all of the various teaching principles in Buddhism, be they the Five Periods, the Eight Teachings, the Theravada, or the Mahayana, or whatever, all of which merge with the principle of Enlightenment as all waters return to the sea.
Of multitudes of texts it forms the copious source/ The "multitudes of texts" means all the Sutras: the Three Stores and the Twelve Divisions of the canon. The Three Stores are the Sutras, Sastras, and Vinaya. There is a verse described in the Twelve Divisions which goes:
Prose, presumptive verses and predictions;
Interjections, spontaneous speaking unrequested;
Causes and conditions, analogies, as well as past lives' deeds;
Deeds of this life, expansions, the hitherto unknown;
Explanations, together make twelve terms.
As in the Great Sastra, number thirty-three.
"Of multitudes of texts it
forms the copious "source." To call it "the copious source is
to compare it to the great sea.
The ten thousand virtues commingle and return/The Buddha is endowed with ten thousand virtues:
No virtues not perfected,
No heights not reached.
To say, "the ten thousand virtues is, again, to generalize. The virtues "commingle and return." They all come back together and return where? They return to the Flower Adornment Sutra.
While companies of sutras comprise its retinue/ The Dharma Flower Sutra is the king among Sutras. The flower Adornment Sutra is the king among kings. The Dharma Flower Sutra is able to include the other Sutras in its retinue; The Flower Adornment Sutra takes even The Dharma Flower Sutra into its retinue. So The Dharma Flower Sutra finds its source-in The Flower Adornment Sutra. This Preface discusses that origin.
This is its intent:
Tallying true substance with the region of ten thousand transformations;
Displaying virtues', marks in the doorway to the multiply profound.
Functions are legion and prolific, yet it is always such;
Wisdom everywhere examines, yet it is forever still.
This is its intent/ This
passage discusses the Profundity and Subtlety of the Intent and Aim. The
intent is the tendency, the direction the intent is taking, which is profound
and subtle, mysterious and deep. First it explains the unobstructedness of
principles and specifics. Then it discusses the unobstructedness of
specifics and specifics, This Sutra speaks a lot about specifics and about
principles, and neither obstructs the other, so the unobstructedness of the
Dharma Realm forms its intent.
Tallying true substance with the region of ten thousand transformations/ "Tallying" means meshing, linking up true substance, that is the basic substance, the Buddha's Dharma-body, with the regions of ten thousand transformations. This describes the beginning of the creation of the world by transformation. The meaning of "region" is place, area, and it meshes the Dharma Body of the Buddha, the basic Dharma Nature.
The Dharma Nature is like empty space. It cannot be grasped; it cannot be seen. It's just like empty space. "The Nature emptied is the Buddha." If you are able to bring the nature and substance to empty stillness, then that is the Buddha. That state is inconceivable, and it is the Buddha's state. "If someone wants to know the Buddha's state, he should purify his mind like empty space." This was discussed before. Although the Buddha's empty nature is empty space, it still has wonderful existence. Wonderful existence can still come forth from within true emptiness. Wonderful existence does not obstruct true emptiness, and true emptiness does not obstruct wonderful existence.
Displaying virtues' marks in the doorway to the multiply mysterious/ "Virtues' marks" refers back to the previous ten thousand virtues. "The multiply mysterious" is "the mysterious within the mysterious," while the doorway is just "the gateway to the multitudes of wonders."
There is no way to describe fully the marks of the Buddha's meritorious virtues, concerning which there is a verse that says:
Thoughts like ksetras' dust could be counted and known;
The water in great seas could be drunk to the end;
Empty space could be measured and the wind tied:
The Buddha's meritorious virtues could not be fully described.
Functions are legion and prolific, yet it is always
employments are incredibly many, yet it is always such. It is always such as
it is, still and unmoving. This explains that the function is not separate
from the basic substance. So the substance, the appearance, and the
function are not separate entities.
Wisdom everywhere examines, yet it is forever still/ Wisdom everywhere contemplates--"examines" means contemplates--"yet it is forever still." "Forever still" is constant stillness, for the Buddha's wisdom is always tranquil.
Truth and Falseness interlink and mingle:
Within the ordinary mind one sees the Buddha mind.
Specifics and principle are together cultivated:
One relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's wisdom.
Truth and falseness interlink and
mingle/ Falseness comes from
truth, and truth comes from falseness; and so the false is not separate
from the truth, and truth is not separate from falseness. That is why
truth and falseness are said to interlink and mingle. What they resemble
is waves in water and wetness: the waves are not separate from wetness, nor is
the wetness separate from the waves. However, wetness definitely is not waves.
Wetness and waves form an analogy for truth and falseness. In the
analogy, falseness is comparable to the production of waves within
wetness, while truth is comparable to wetness. Therefore, there is wetness in
waves, yet the original substance of wetness has no waves. Wetness by itself
does not necessarily have waves. This makes an appropriate model for the
principle of the interlinking and mingling of truth and falseness.
Nevertheless, falseness includes truth, and truth is included within falseness
as well. Although they have two names, in origin they are one identical
substance, comparable to wetness.
In Great Master Yung Chia's Song of Enlightenment it is said:
Not seeking truth, not cutting off the false,
Fully knowing both dharmas are empty without appearance.
The reason there is no search for truth is that truth has no appearance. The reason there is no cutting off of falseness is that falseness, also, has no appearance. When you are confused, that is falseness. When you wake up, that is truth. That is what is meant by "Truth and falseness interlink and mingle."
Within the ordinary mind/ Right within the mind of the ordinary
person. One sees the Buddha Kind/ because ordinary people can become Buddhas.
But, Buddhas do not become ordinary people. If Buddhas could go back to being
ordinary people, there would be no use in ordinary people becoming
Buddhas. If the Buddha transformationally creates the body of an ordinary person,
then it is the transformation body that becomes an ordinary person, while the
Buddha's basic substance is still in a state of unmoving suchness. However,
are ordinary people ordinary people forever? No. It is right within the mind
and nature of ordinary people that one is able to see the Buddha nature. That
allows one to say that ordinary people can become Buddhas, but not that the
Buddha returns to being an ordinary person. It is right within the mind of an
ordinary, common individual that the Buddha's mind can be seen. The reason is
that truth and falseness interlink and mingle, that they are inseparable.
What enables living beings to become Buddhas is that living beings possess the Buddha Nature. What is meant by "living being"? The literal meaning of "living beings" is "the multitude-born". That is, they are born from a multitude of conditions coining together, uniting and assisting in their birth. There are womb-bom living beings, those born from eggs, moisture-born, and transformationally born.
Womb-born due to emotion come forth;
Egg-bom because of thought are had.
Moisture-bom due to union are conceived;
Transformation-born due to separation are produced.
There are also those born with form, without form,
With thought, without thought,
Not lacking thought, and not, not lacking thought.
Living beings that are womb-born are born from wombs due to the existence of emotion. Those living beings born from eggs are born due to the existence of thought. An example is a mother hen sitting on her eggs. She sits there and thinks to herself, "My sons or daughters are going to be born. Hurry up and hatch;" She sits there day after day, all day long, and won't move, that old mother hen, thinking, "They've got to hatch. They've got to be born. Hurry up!" She thinks that over and over again, and lo and behold, her wish is fulfilled and the little chicks are born. As they are born, they use their beaks and crack open the eggshell. Once they crack it open, she is terrifically happy. She gets so heated up sitting there that her feathers fall out, but even then, the mother hen doesn't leave them. She wouldn't leave them even if it meant giving up her life. Her attitude is, "Even if it kills me, I shall give birth to these little son and daughter chicks!" That is how they are born from thought.
"Moisture-born due to union are conceived." Those born from moisture are born when potentials come together. Moisture and earth unite, and at that point there is something with a "neither defiled nor pure" aspect to it; and then all of a sudden they are born. You couldn't say that it was clean, but you couldn't quite call it dirty before it has produced larvae. But, as earth and water combine and receive the light of the sun--due to the various causes and conditions-various insects come into being.
"Transformation-bom due to separation are produced." They
arise from separation. When conditions are right, a change occurs. An example
is the metamorphosis of a butterfly. In general, any creature with sentience
is a living being. Those things without sentience are not.
Specifics and principle are together cultivated/ "Specifics" refers to specified characteristics, while "principle" means the principle and substance. Specifics have appearances, whereas principle has no shape. For example, when we accomplish Buddhahood, we accomplish a principle. We know there is a certain kind of principle, and so we want to cultivate. We base ourselves upon that principle and cultivate. Specific marks are cultivated, and the principle is cultivated, too. The specifics do not obstruct the principle, and the principle does not obstruct the specifics. That is, "Specifics and principle are together cultivated." The Flower Adornment Sutra discusses four kinds of Dharma Realms, which are:
1. The Dharma Realm of Specifics;
2. The Dharma Realm of Principle;
3. The Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Principle and Specifics;
4. The Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Specifics and Specifics.
Now, what is being discussed is the
Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Principle and Specifics.
One relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's Wisdom/"Basic wisdom" is everyone's inherent wisdom. Relying upon that inherent wisdom, one seeks to obtain and accomplish the wisdom of a Buddha. The accomplishment of the Buddha's wisdom is just the realization of our own inherent wisdom. Everyone has that basic wisdom, and so everyone can open the wisdom of a Buddha. If it were not for that basic wisdom, no one would be able to accomplish Buddhahood. However, everyone has it. Not only do people have it, all living beings have that basic wisdom, and that is why it says, "Specifics and principle are together cultivated: one relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's wisdom."
If all of you investigate The Flower Adornment Sutra to the point that you understand it, that is seeing the Buddha mind within the ordinary mind. If you go on to use the methods of The Flower Adornment Sutra to cultivate, then that is relying on basic wisdom to seek and obtain the Buddha's wisdom. Unless you read The Flower Adornment Sutra, you will not know of the Buddha's true blessings and honor. The Flower Adornment Sutra is the Buddha's greatest store of treasures. There are priceless, true treasures within The Flower Adornment Sutra, and so those who read it then know the wonderful aspects of the Buddhadharma.
Principle changes according to specifics, so
One and many conditionally arise without bounds;
Specifics interfuse with principle, so
A thousand distinctions combine without obstruction.
changes according to specifics/ Principle and specifics are also interlinked
and mingle, so at times, principle may accord with specifics and change and
transform. So one and many conditionally arise without bounds/ Principle
accords with specifics and consequently one becomes many. The many also become
one. Whether one or many, those kinds of arisals from conditions are boundless.
They have no limit, which is why it says, "Principle changes according to
specifics. The meaning is the same as that of having no boundary. If you
understand one mode, then you can understand all modes. If you do not
understand even one mode, then you won't understand mode after mode. Therefore,
it is said:
The one once attained,
Ten thousand specifics come to an end.
If you attain to the one, the myriad
particulars may all be ended. If you have not attained the one, then you
cannot attain the many. If you have not attained the many, then you have not
yet understood the one.
A single root disperses to ten thousand-fold;
Ten thousand-fold return to a single root
In the world, all
the various forms, shapes and characteristics are produced from the one. You
calculate it: people are one, dogs are two, cats are three, pigs are
four...Calculating, you'll calculate to limitless and boundlessly many living
beings, including even tigers and lions in the computation of all
living beings. Where do they all come from? They come from the one, so "A
single root disperses to ten thousand-fold." What, then, do the ten
thousand-fold do? They return to the root. They all go back to a single place.
What is that place? It is the place of one birth and one death. No matter who
you are, you cannot escape birth and death. Therefore, although their shapes
and characteristics are not the same, when the fruit is reaped, they again are
one. Therefore, ten thousand-fold returns to a single root. "A single
root disperses to ten thousand-fold" is birth. "Ten thousand-fold
returns to a single root" is death. If you investigate the problem of
birth and death to the point that you understand them, then one and many are
unobstructed and have no bounds, "So, one and many conditionally arise
without bounds." Those kinds of causally conditioned arisals have no
Specifics interfuse with principle/ If specifics are fused together and blended with principle, then specifics and principle interpenetrate without being mutually obstructive. The Flower Adornment Sutra discusses the doctrine of perfect unobstructed fusion. The great can enter into the small; the small can enter the great in both specifics and principle.
So a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction/Although there are a thousand, or ten thousand, kinds of distinctions, they combine with one another. "Combine" has the same meaning as "interlink and mingle." They combine with one another without obstruction. Even though they combine, they do not interfere with one another. No obstructions arise. That is a wonderful kind of state. You may say as well that the ordinary and the sagely interlink and mingle, that specifics and principle interlink and mingle, that good and evil interlink and mingle, that true and false interlink and mingle, that right and wrong interlink and mingle. What, after all, is "right"? Doesn't "right" come from "wrong"? If you have "wrong", then you have "right". If you have "right", then you have "wrong". So right and wrong interlink and mingle. You can transform this statement into trillions of statements, which is an example of one and many conditionally arising without bounds. You could also call it a thousand distinctions combining without obstructions. That is how it works.
the explanation of the Preface just given, there's a student of philosophy
saying, "That has something to it. It's pretty logical." However,
there's a sociologist who's saying, "That's not correct. Right is
right and wrong is wrong. How can you talk Of not distinguishing right and
wrong, good and evil, specifics and principle, or true and false? If you don't
distinguish between them, how can you determine what is true and what is
false?" Well, if you don't have anything to do and you want to find
something to do, then there are all kinds of things you can find to do. But if
you are not interested in adding a head on top of a head, then basically there
is nothing to do. If you want to go one further and are trying to avoid being
like Yajnadatta, then there is even less to do. Those of you who haven't
heard, the explanation of the Surangama Sutra may not know about Yajnadatta,
so I'll tell you. He is very interesting. One morning he took a look in the
mirror and exclaimed, "Hey, that guy in the mirror has a head; how come I
don't have a head? My head's been stolen; How can that guy in the mirror have
a head while I have no head?" Then he went nuts. "How can I live
without a head?" He immediately ran out into the streets shouting,
"Did you see where my head went? Where's my head?" He went
everywhere asking people. Now, wouldn't you say that was a case of having
nothing to do and looking for something to do? Without a head, how could
he have talked? How could he have been asking people? But, he didn't realize
that. He was just attached to having lost his head, to not having a head.
There's a Chinese proverb that goes:
Riding on the donkey, one looks for the donkey;
Riding on the horse, one looks for the horse.
That's a case of one single thought
of ignorance clouding the person over. If one were to look down and break
through that ignorance, then one would see, "Oh, I'm riding on my
horse! I don't need to look all over for it after all." "Oh! I've
been riding on my donkey all along, so I don't have to go find it after
all." If you go looking for truth and falseness, then you are attached,
and you still have truth and falseness. If you are unattached, truth and
falseness fundamentally are one single substance. Ultimately, then, what
is the principle of "One and many conditionally arise without
bounds, so a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction"? It has
no principle at all. It is what is known as there being no fixed dharma. You
can discuss it from this angle, and discuss it from that angle, and discuss it
backwards and forwards--but what is spoken is false. If every day you can sit
in meditation for a minute longer, then that is true. What is spoken is false;
what is practiced is true. If you study and understand more principle, then
that is opening more wisdom. If you meditate for a minute longer and
obtain more samadhi power, then one may say, "Samadhi and wisdom are
together cultivated." Your listening to Sutras is just the
cultivation of wisdom. Your sitting in meditation is the cultivation of
samadhi. Isn't your daily refraining from idle chatter the cultivation of
precepts? If you aren't thinking of stealing things, that itself is
holding precepts. There's even less reason to speak of taking life: there is
no way to kill in the meditation hall.
Someone may say, "Oh, that does not apply to me. Every day I want to kill people." Well, if you want to kill people, start by killing yourself. Why? If you don't kill yourself, you could turn into a monster, a demon, from wanting to kill people.
You may say, "As for killing myself, I can't do it."
In telling you to kill yourself, I mean for you to kill your killing mind, not to kill your person. Take that thought of killing of yours and kill it. Tell yourself, "Why is it that I want to kill people? I ought to put a stop to such thoughts." You see, if you can do that, then that's killing the thief, which is ignorance. If you cut off afflictions and cast out evil, then that is true and actual killing. Don't hesitate to kill some more. Kill your ignorance. The reason you want to kill people is due to ignorance, so you should start by killing ignorance. That is what I mean by killing yourself. I don't mean that you should commit suicide, I mean that you should kill your ignorance. Cut off your ignorance. Smash it to bits! When ignorance is cut off and smashed, then there is no darkness, and so there is light.
Therefore, he obtains:
Ten bodies in succession, yet reciprocally contained.
The vast and great can enter where there is no place,
Dust motes and hairs envelope with nothing left outside:
Clearly arrayed, like mustard seeds within a jar;
Completely simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea;
One and many unobstructed, like a thousand lamps in an empty space;
Hidden and revealed together realized, like the splintering moon in an autumn sky;
Layer on layer lights interlace, like the Lord's net's trailing pearls;
Thought after thought makes perfect fusion, like an evening dream's passing time;
Dharma doors pile up in layers, like clouds billowing in space;
Myriad practices unfurl profusely, like flowers blooming on brocade.
he obtains/ This section of text discusses ten esoteric doors—ten subtle,
wonderful Dhama doors. They arise through mutual conditions with one another:
1) The door of mutual interaction which is simultaneous and complete
2) The door of Free-and-Easy Non-Obstruction of Vast and Minute of
broad and narrow;
3) The door of the uniqueness of the one and many encompassing one
4) The door of Free-and-Easy Mutual Identity of all Dharmas.
5) The door of the success in both hiding and revealing the esoteric and secret;
6) The door of dwelling in the mutual inclusion of the fine and subtle;
7) The door of the state like Indra's net;
8) The door of understanding, where the specifics are used to reveal the Dharma;
9) The door of the distinctness of dharmas apart from the Ten Realms;
10) The door of the all-encompassing quality of the order and yet variety of the Treasury of all Dharmas.
These ten kinds of esoteric doors are found in a single mote of dust. In fact, every mote of dust throughout the ten directions is replete with them—mutually inclusive without obstruction; mutually released, mutually entering. As a consequence of the previous "Specifics interfuse with principle, so a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction," therefore, he obtains Ten bodies in succession, yet mutually operative/ There are two lists of ten bodies. The first is:
1) The Bodhi Body.
2) The Vows Body.
3) The Transformation Body.
4) The Dwelling and Maintaining Body.
5) The Body Adorned with Fine Marks.
6) The Power Body.
7) The As-You-Will Body.
8) The Body of Blessings and Virtue.
9) The Wisdom Body.
10) The Dharma Body.
The second is:
1) The Living Beings Body.
2) The Country Body.
3) The Karmic Retribution Body.
4) The Sound Hearer Body.
5) The Body of One Enlightened to Conditions.
6) The Bodhisattva Body.
7) The Thus Come One Body.
8) The Wisdom Body.
9) The Dharma Body.
10) The Empty Space Body.
Those ten kind of
bodies are simultaneously completed and mutually operative, and so this is
called the Door of the Self-Mastery of all Dharma Appearances.
What is the Living Beings Body? "Living beings," as was just discussed, means "multitude-born"--born from a multitude of conditions coming together. Each category of living beings has its own body. The Living Beings Body means that Bodhisattvas:
Contemplate potentials and entice with teachings;
According to the person, speak the Dharma.
They take a look
at the opportune conditions and use the appropriate kind of teaching to teach
and transform living beings. They contemplate potentials and entice with
teachings, and according to the person, speak the Dharma. They speak the kind
of Dharma that is suited to a particular person and, as a result, they make
appear bodies of living beings in order to speak the Dharma for living beings.
As for the Country Body, the countries that we live in have all been transformationally made to appear by Bodhisattvas in order to benefit living beings and teach and transform them. They cause all of the living beings upon that country body to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi.
Then there is the Karmic Retribution Body. Living beings all have the karmic retribution of living beings. Bodhisattvas also make karmic retribution bodies appear in order to teach and transform living beings. They also make appear bodies of Sound Hearers—the appearance of Sound Hearers is that of Bhiksus--as well as those of Ones Enlightened to Conditions (also called the Solitarily Enlightened) to teach and transform living beings.
one of us now who brings forth the mind of a Sound Hearer is a Sound Hearer,
and whoever brings forth the mind of One Enlightened to Conditions
is One Enlightened to Conditions. If you bring forth the mind of a
Bodhisattva, you are a Bodhisattva. Your Bodhisattva may be a transformation
body made to appear by transformation by a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas also make
appear bodies of Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattva bodies are always benefiting
living beings. They forget all about themselves and benefit living beings.
They also make appear the bodies of Thus Come Ones, that is Buddha bodies, as
well as Wisdom bodies, the bodies of persons with wisdom. They also
make appear the Dharma Body and the Empty Space Body. However, those ten
bodies can simultaneously be made to appear by transformation without the
basic body ever changing. That is why the ten bodies are described as being
"in succession," which means that they are very clearly
discernible, "yet mutually operative." There appear bodies of living
beings, country bodies, karmic retribution bodies, Sound Hearer bodies, and
bodies of those Enlightened to Conditions—all of which mutually appear
and do the Buddhas' work without obstructing one another. We people, who
have just one single body, are not that way. If we go to New York, we are no
longer in San Francisco, and if we go to Honolulu, we are no longer in New
York. They are not like that, however. They can make those ten kinds of bodies
appear all at the same tune, without any mutual interference. This
discusses the Door of Free and Easy Mutual Identity of all Dharmas.
Six positions not disordered, yet reciprocally contained/ The Six Positions include the three saintly stages, the ten sagely positions, and the two levels of enlightenment.
1) The Ten Dwellings
2) The Ten Conducts
3) The Ten Transferences
Three Saintly Stages
4) The Ten Grounds
Ten Sagely Positions
5) Equal Enlightenment
6) Wonderful Enlightenment.
Two Levels of Enlightenment
Those Six Positions are "not disordered". They are all very neatly arrayed, not the least bit out of order, "yet reciprocally contained". That is, at one and the sane time, the Ten Bodies are completed and the Six Positions are perfected--without the possibility of their becoming mixed up. This also discusses the Door of Free and Easy Mutual Identity of All Dharmas.
And so the vast and great can enter where there is so place/ "The vast and great" means what is largest, while "where there is no place" means what is smallest. Nonetheless, the vast and great can go in where there is no place—into such an infinitesimal area. However, what is large still does not become small. The wonderful is right at this point. What is more, when the vast and great state enters into the smallest area, that smallest area also does not become any larger. Mount Sumeru can enter into a mustard seed. The four great seas can enter into a single strand of hair. This is called the Door of Free and Easy Non-Obstruction of Vast and Minute.
The next line says, Dust notes and hairs envelope, with nothing left outside. "Dust Motes" means fine particles of dust, and "hairs" refers to individual strands of hair. This describes the principle of the small enveloping the great, "with nothing left outside."
As it says in the Surangama Sutra:
On the tip of a hair appear kshetras of the Jeweled Kings.
Seated in a particle of dust, they turn the vast, great Dharma wheel.
On the tiny tip of
a single strand of fine hair, all Buddhalands are manifest, along with all the
living beings in those lands--yet that is all made to appear on the tip of a
strand of hair. Seated within a single fine mote of dust, they lecture Sutras
and speak the Dharma, and there are limitlessly many living beings listening
to the Dharma, within that single fine mote of dust. The vast does not
obstruct the minute, and the minute does not obstruct the vast. Within the
small there manifests the large, and within the large there manifests the
small. This kind of state is not a state that ordinary beings can conceptualize.
This is the Door of the Unobstructedness of the Free and Easy Relationship
of Broad and Narrow.
Clearly arrayed/ "Clearly arrayed" means set out in a very evident fashion, like mustard seeds within a jar/ Just like mustard seeds stored in a glass container, which can be seen very distinctly. They are clearly arrayed like mustard seeds in a glass jar. The individual mustard seeds are very small, but when stored in a glass container, they can be seen very clearly. Each one is clear and yet part of the whole, so one and many are seen together, but each is distinct from the other. This is the Door of Dwelling in the Mutual Inclusion of the Fine and Subtle.
Completely Simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea; one and many unobstructed/ "Completely simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea." The one participates in the many, and the many participate in the one as well-just like the individual drops of water in the sea, each of which has the flavor of the sea in its entirety. Although the Buddha-Dharma has eighty-four thousand Dharma Doors, if you successfully enter one, you can reach your goal of enlightenment. The Flower Adornment Sutra is also that way. This is the Door of Mutual Interaction, which is Simultaneous and Complete.
Like a thousand lamps in empty space/ There is no interobstruction among the lights that come from lamps. When, within empty space, there are a thousand lamps, each gives off its own light, without the light of one interfering with that of another. One light would never say to another, "Your light is too great. It interferes with my light." Nor would the other light say, "My light is too small. It gets swallowed up by your light." They do not interfere with one another. That is what is known as the harmony of lights. A thousand lamps in empty space do not obstruct each other. Your light does not interfere with mine, nor does my light interfere (with yours. There is harmony of light, and one and many are unobstructed. If there is one, there is light, if there are a thousand, there is also light. One and many are unobstructed and do not obstruct one another. This is the Door of the Uniqueness of the One and Many Encompassing One Another.
Hidden and revealed together realized, like the splintering moon in an autumn sky/ It is also as in autumn, the Fall Season, the moon in the sky has both a period when it is hidden and a period when it is revealed. Sometimes the moon is waxing, and sometimes it is waning, and yet both aspects "are together realized". In the combination of hidden and revealed, what is hidden reinforces what is revealed, and what is revealed reinforces what is hidden. Once the moon has waxed to the full, then it wanes. After waning, it then waxes once again. The principles of The Flower Adornment Sutra also follow that pattern, and so they are "like the splintering moon in an autumn sky," like the Fall Season's moon in empty space. This is the Door of the Success in Both Hiding and Revealing the Esoteric and Secret.
Layer on layer lights interlace like the Lord's net's trailing pearls/ "Layer on layer" means one layer after another, in multi-tiered and inexhaustible profusion, "lights interlace". To interlace means to intertwine. Lights shine upon one another as in the latticework banner before Sakra's Heaven; and it is the same as the net in the Great Brahma Heaven. The latticework banner is cylindrical in shape, and has holes along its sides, just like a fish net, which has one hole after another, so that the fish are trapped inside, but the water can pour out. However, within each hole there is inlaid a precious pearl. Each precious pearl can emit light. Upon this latticework banner there are inexhaustibly multi-layered amounts of holes, which are inlaid with inexhaustibly multi-layered amounts of precious pearls. The lights mutually interlace, which is the reference of "like the Lord's net's trailing pearls," the pearls of that banner of netting shining upon one another. Your light shines upon me, and my light shines upon you, as "layer on layer lights interlace" in mutual illumination. This is the Door of the State Like Indra's Net
"Thought after thought,”means one thought extends for limitless kalpas, and limitless kalpas is just one thought. This Sutra is one of "perfect fusion" without obstruction. Thought after thought makes perfect fusion. It is like "an evening's dream" during which one feels that a very, very long time has gone by. One dreams of being an Emperor, of holding public office, of striking it rich—all kinds of dreams. Periods of time as long as whole lifetimes go by in the time of a single evening's dream. The principles of The Flower Adornment Sutra are perfectly fused and unobstructed in this way. This is the Door of the Distinctiveness of Dharmas Apart from the Ten Realms.
Dharma doors pile up in layers/ The Dharma doors of The Flower Adornment Sutra are unobhaustibly multi-layered, both inexhaustible and multi-leveled, and so they are said to "pile up in layers, "like clouds billowing in space/ What they resemble is banks of clouds in empty space. No sooner has one cloud gone by than another comes along. The principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra are also that way. This is the Door of Understanding When the Specifics are Used to Reveal Dharma.
Myriad practices unfurl profusely/ "Myriad practices" means the Six Paramitas and the Ten Thousand Conducts, which "unfurl profusely," like flowers blooming on brocade/ This resembles embroidering more flowers on top of flowers, adding flowers to brocade. To start with, there were plenty of flowers on the piece of embroidery, yet one adds even more flowers. These flowers, however, are also inexhaustibly multi-layered, and so are compared to flowers blooming on brocade. In China there is a saying:
To add flowers to brocade, there are a thousand;
To give coal within the snow, not half a person.
"To add flowers to brocade" is as when someone is president, this person sends this gift and that person sends that gift, and if the president's wife wants a diamond necklace to wear, immediately countless hundreds of people send her one. One person sends one, and then someone else sends one. She only wanted one, but in the long run she receives several hundred. Nonetheless, she can't say to people, "I have one already, I don't want yours." That's the meaning of "to add flowers to brocade there are a thousand." "To give coal within the snow, not half a person." This refers to a person who is very, very cold out in the snow. The person is so poor, he doesn't even have a house to live in, and so he lives under the snowy ground; but no one comes along to give that person a lump of charcoal to warm himself. Originally, "to add flowers to brocade" described the tendency of people in our present age to:
Flock to flames and fawn on power.
"flock to flames" means that they go where it's hot, that they run
to warm places. "Fawn on power" means that they go and submit
themselves to authority. However, here the principles within The Flower
Adornment Sutra are being compared to flowers added to brocade. This is
the Door of the Allencompassing Quality of the Order and Yet Variety of the
Treasury of all Dharmas.
*Not included in Chinese copy.
HENG CH'AU: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 1977.
A road sign eclipsed the sun and looking up at the sky one
could see the air full of tiny flying bugs and dust particles. It was
like a snowstorm of living and inanimate things. Pollen, dust, insects,
seeds, clouds, and birds swirling and drifting with winds. The air is full of
earth. Holding up our canteen to the light you can see it is full of little
organisms, much silt, and air bubbles floating in suspension. The earth and
air are in the water. A fire is part earth, part water, and part air.
The furthest star and the tip of our nose touch and connect. We breathe and drink it. It becomes us. We are born, dwell, grow old and return to it. We are part of this and all of this is part of us. Seeing it like "it really is" there are not even parts or pieces, no boundaries or differences. The whole Dharma-realm is like this. Without a face or name, a past or future; level and equal "to the ends of empty space." Differences and distance exist only in our thoughts. "All Buddhadharmas are the same."
As the nature of the earth has a unity
And yet all beings dwell on it separately,
Still the earth has not the slightest thought of
Differences, and all Buddhadharmas are the same.
As the nature of fire has a unity,
That of being able to burn all things,
The fire's flames do not distinguish among themselves
And all Buddhadharmas are the same.
Also it is like the ocean's water which has a unified nature
Yet waves by the millions, each one different.
Yet the water itself has no such variety
And all Buddhadharmas are the same.
THE VENERABLE RAHULATA,
THE SIXTEENTH PATRIARCH.
The Venerable One was from the region of Kapila. His father was named Fan Mwo Ching Te. Outside their home was a tree on which grew mushroom-like fungus that was delicious. Only Ching Te and his second son, Rahulata, picked and ate it. The more the fungus was harvested, the more it produced.
When the Fifteenth Patriarch came to their household, he said, "When you are 81 years old, the trees will bear no more fungus."
response to his comment, Ching Te said to the Patriarch, "This disciple
is old and decrepit and would be of no service to the Master. But I'd like to
relinquish my second son so he can follow the Master and leave the
The Patriarch said, "In the past, the Thus Come One predicted that in the second five hundred years this child would become a great teaching host. This meeting confirms that prophecy." Then the child's head was shaved and he attended upon the Master. Later he was entrusted with the Great Dharma.
After receiving the Dharma, he traveled and taught until he reached the city of Sravasti where he transmitted the Dharma to Sanghanandi. Then he sat at ease and returned to stillness.
A verse in his praise says:
Past causes presently confirmed,
Esoteric matters silently mesh.
Erecting the great Dharma banner,
It fills the skies and surrounds the earth.
Two thousand years later
This sect continues unbroken.
Bearing the ridicule of generations to come,
He raises his weapon and severs his arm.
An Unstudied Aspect of Chinese Buddhism
-By Professor Yun-hua Jan
Although recitation of
scriptures is a common phenomenon in various religious traditions, when
one looks for information on the subject, one finds that this practice, is not
mentioned in almost any standard reference book. If the non-discussion of
recitation seems strange to the student of history of religions, the account
of Chinese religious phenomena is even more curious. Based on a
passage from the Analects, E. O. James concludes that "prayer had no
place" in Confucian ethics. Although he conceded the existence of prayer
in later Confucian tradition, he played down the item merely as a passing
reference. When one turns to the Buddhist practices, T. W. Rhys Davids, has
limited the discussion of hymns to India and Ceylon, but completely
omitted China. Other writers who have written on relevant terms, have discussed
Japanese Buddhist prayers, or Tibetan Buddhist charms, but again nothing on
Chinese Buddhism. The absence of Chinese subjects on this matter leads us to
these questions: Are Chinese people absolutely rational and ethical? Are they
not interested or is there no need for other vehicles in their
religious striving? When one looks into Chinese Buddhist histories, the
answers to these questions are all negative. The Chinese, just like most
other traditions, were interested and had applied other means in their
A study of Chinese Buddhist literature will confirm that the Chinese Buddhists, long before their Japanese and Tibetan brethren, had fully recognized the power of recitation. They regarded recitation as one of the powerful means to achieve a religious goal. In the Kao-Seng chuan or "Biography of Eminent Monks", Hui-chio, (496-554), the well-known Buddhist historian, has included 11 eminent monks under the section of Ching-shih or "Scriptural Teachers", and appended another eight under the same category though he did not write a biography for them". This respect for those who have expertise in recitation has been followed up by another eminent historian, Tao-Hsuan (595-667), the author of Hsu Kao-Seng chuan ("Further Biography of Eminent Monks"). Tao-Hsuan included the fourteen monks as the eminent ones on the subject, and appended another eight names to it. He has also changed the title of the category from "Scriptural Teachers" to "Reciters". (tu-sung). The third historian of this biographical series was Tsan-ning (919-1001), who has followed the steps of Tao-Hsuan by calling the section "Reciters", and has listed fifty monks under the title with forty-two of then as biographies. These figures are significantly high in number, which indicates how popular recitation was among Chinese Buddhist monks during the period between the IVth and Xth centuries A.D. It is true that from the scholarly viewpoint, without a clear understanding of the recited text, recitation itself alone does not lead one to deliverance. Nevertheless, if a reciter understands what he recites, his religious experience would be more personal and powerful than discursive knowledge. Even the most learned scholar like Tsan-ning himself, although he considers that the wisdoms produced from the three practices (san-hui) of hearing, contemplation and meditation are the essential entrances into the Tao, did concede that "if one prefers the hearing and memorization, there is no other practice that surpasses recitation". This view of course, comes from a scholar. A reciter's experience and his ranking of religious paths would be quite different. He would, as we shall see, give more preference to recitation rather than bookish knowledge. In the following pages, this paper will take a few examples from the three collections of biographies on the eminent monks and explain how powerful recitation is in Chinese Buddhism. It has to be noted that all the examples are from biographies of eminent monks, and that they are claimed to be neither theory nor hypothesis, but real experiences.
The early monks who were eminent in recitation, as recorded in the collection of biographies, gave readers three distinctive impressions. First, most of them had recited verses or sung songs. The musical talent of these monks was highly admired by the public, hence helpful to the spread of the religion. This flourishing of religious songs was a result of confrontation between syllabic Sanskrit and monosyllabic Chinese. The Chinese Buddhist songs in the period were not an imitation but a creative adaptation of Indian religious chanting. Hui-chiao writes very clearly on this point, "Since the great religion (i.e. Buddhism) spread to the East, there were many translations of literature, but fewer in vocal transmission". The historian has given the reason as follows: "This was so because Sanskrit is polysyllabic where the Chinese language is monosyllabic. To sing a Sanskrit song in a Chinese tune is like accommodating many syllables in a short tune. To sing Chinese words in a Sanskritic tune would make both the words and the tunes hurried. “Another point worth noting is the emphasis on the balance between the tone and the text in the recitation. The biographer considered that the standard recitation, "estimates the achievement both in tones and in words. If one only has tones but not the words, the Mind of Tao has no way to be produced. If one has the words but not the tones, one would fail to enter into worldly sentiment." It was with this balance between the meaning and the tones that the Buddhist reciters attained eminence in their religious lives.
The second characteristic of the early Chinese Buddhist recitations is vocal. The biographer recorded that a certain monk, Fa-ch'iao, was interested in recitation since his youth but was without talent. He was often depressed by it, hence decided to fast for seven days and nights. During that period, he made confession and worshiped Bodhisattva Kuan Yin, and prayed for a response in his life. When he reached the seventh day of the fast, he felt that his throat had cleared up. He washed his mouth and began to sing. His clear voice was audible within a distance more than a Li, which attracted a large crowd to his recitation.
There was another monk named Chih T'an-yo, who claimed that he learned the technique of recitation from a heavenly god (deva) in a dream. Thereafter, he composed a number of songs and sang them with a marvelous voice.
characteristic of early recitation has a supernatural color. Here the
historian informed us that there was a monk called Seng-pien (d. 493) who was
interested in recitation since his childhood, and was well trained by two
teachers. Toward the later part of his life, he composed and sang
his songs with such talent that he became the foremost in recitation in the
Ch'i Kingdom. Once while he was singing in a lay devotee's house, there
suddenly came a flock of cranes. They dropped in at the yard and flew away
after the monk completed a chapter of the scripture. Another monk named
T'an-ping also learned the technique of recitation in his youth, and became an
expert in reciting the Pen-chi-ching. In his old age, he returned to his
native place, in the present Ssu-ch'uan province. Whenever he recited
Buddhist hymns, birds and horses would stop their actions and cry out as if in
response to the recitation. This monk is also claimed to be the first maker of
bells in the region.
The second collection of the biography on the Eminent Monks in recitation also recorded three distinctions: First, the scope of scriptures has been enlarged considerably. During the early period, only three titles of the scriptures were specifically referred to, namely, Pen-ch'i ching and Jui-ying Pen-Ch'i as well as Vimalakirtinirdesa. As the first two of these titles are related to the past lives of the Buddha, they should be considered as...praise of Buddha; while the latter is the well-known Mahayana text. In contrast with this, the second collection of biographies prominently displays the Lotus Sutra as the text for recitation. The Hua-yen ching or Flower Garland Scripture, Kuan Shih Yin Ching, Mahaprajnaparamita-sutra, Amitabhavyuha etc...are also mentioned. As most of these texts are combinations of prose and verses, the recitation seemed no longer limited to the verses alone as it had been done in the past.
Compared with the previous collection of biographies, the second one recorded more supernatural effects from the recitation. A few reciters' tongues or mouths or the six organs as a whole, did not decay after their deaths, as a result of reciting the Lotus Sutra. A certain monk called Fa-ch'eng had light come out from his mouth as well as other supernatural powers;" and a monk K'ung-tsang was able to cause the flow of water from a dry spring. Apart from the Lotus Sutra, the Chinese translation of the Avatamsaka or Flower Garland Scripture also possesses a miraculous effect. A monk called Fa-chien was a devout reciter. Once he closed his door and fasted for days on end. People were curious about his behavior and went and listened outside his room. They merely heard the monk reciting the scripture in a lowered voice. However, the recitation heard from afar was like the humming of a stream. Later, in a regional unrest he was arrested by a military commander along with others. The room in which he was confined suddenly shone with light. Guards were sent to investigate the matter and they found that all the monks were sleeping with the exception of Fa-chien, who's recitation caused light to shine forth from his mouth. The commander was shocked and paid his personal respects to the monk. In response to questioning, the monk revealed that the scripture he had recited was the Flower Garland Scripture. All these accounts indicate the increase of supernatural power as the second distinction of the period.
-To be concluded in Issue #103
Dharma Master Yin Hai
Dharma Master Yin Hai was born on the Mainland in 1924. At age thirteen he left the home-life under Master Chih Ming at Ting Hui Temple, and later after thorough training as a novice, he received the complete precepts at Pau Hua Mountain from Precept Master Miau Je. In 1949 Dharma Master Yin Hai completed two years of study at Tien Ning Buddhist Academy.
Later in Taiwan, he drew near to Dharma Master Tse Po (who became a flesh-body Bodhisattva) at Maitreya's Inner Court for three years. There he advanced in his Buddhist Studies, teaching every school and specializing in Wei Shih "Consciousness Only." Next he drew near to Elder Master Yin Shun and helped him establish T'ai Hsu Buddhist Academy and Hui Erh Lecture Hall. Eventually Dharma Master Yin Hai became Manager of the Lecture Hall for three years and was honored with the position of Abbot for three terms. During his career as Abbot, he lectured at Buddhist Academies and Colleges. Dharma Master Yin Hai was also Editor of Hal Ch'au Yin Buddhist Magazine for a period of time.
After a tour of Southeast Asia to propagate the Dharma, Dharma Master Yin Hai was invited in 1975 to Tung Ch'an Temple in New York. While there he lectured The Coming of Maitreya Sutra. In 1977 he established Fa Yin Temple in Los Angeles. The Temple was formally dedicated in 1978, and now Master Yin lectures Dharma there.
Commenting about the propagation of the Buddhadharma, Master Yin Hai stressed the importance of higher education and especially language study, close cooperation among Sangha members, and the ability to refrain from criticism as essential factors that will contribute to its success.
Who perceives the five outflows, the five senses? As I
stumbled around another turn in between sits this hua t'ou came to mind.
Turning to each sense, I thought, "No eyes, ears, nose tongue, body,
I am not vision. I'm not what I see. My eyeballs are just another
sense faculty, another organ. But if you asked, "Hey, what's that over
there?" I'd say, "Oh, I see such-and-such a thing." Who sees
it? I can't be the thought a sight brings to mind. So how can I say that
I'm not the
perception of sound either. But if, for instance, someone long ago had
not told me the color of my eyes, how would I perceive the color of my eyes?
Or would I even think about it? How much more of my view of self is reinforced
in the same way? The outer and inner ear functions, the ear drum and auditory
nerve the response-stimuli from the brain—where do I place “self” in
this. What does hearing have to do with "me"?
I gather in a lot of information through my nose. "Ah,
that's really fine incense." or "Is it going to rain?" or
"Oh, this stinking body!" I like this smell; I don't like that one.
How did "I" enter into my nose? What is there about the sense of
smell I attach "self" to?
I may taste food through my tongue, but I certainly can not say
"I" am taste or speech I can form words with my tongue and
palate, and send them forth like this to you. But these are just more
sound-waves reverberating echoes in eardrums. I'm not these words either, not
made from words, or tastes.
The body is a large
conglomerate of the sense organs. The
stimuli-response nerves, the respiratory organs, tissues, muscles, blood,
bones, and skin all play part in sending signals to the brain. From this
collected data I think that "I" exist.
So I turn to the mind. Does the "self" I want to find exist in the brain? Sure, in each thought of self, but if a surgeon were to open my skull he wouldn't see "me," but rather, just another brain. He could not see a thought, but we see our thoughts manifest in our karma every day. All matter arises from the mind. My total dependency on what I derive from my senses to reinforce my feeling of "self" is the very reason I haven't found out "who" is really mindful. Turn the five senses inward so that they become one knowledge—knowing who is mindful of the Buddha.
Susan Anderson was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, on August 11, 1948. Her family life was wrought with difficulties even to a struggle for mere existence during the Depression and aftermath of war. Dark years in the guts of the city did not snuff out Susan's innate optimism, however, which was reinforced by regular attendance at Sunday School and Church at her older sister's insistence. Summers in the country with relatives provided another frame of reference, and for almost 20 years Susan was "happy" despite the suffering she saw and experienced. Always a quest for the spiritual prevailed and a sense of hope marred only by an untraceable but sometimes phobic fear.
19, she found herself still living with her parents, attending school,
working, and getting involved with drugs. The fear manifested in dreams and
finally motivated her to seek a change. Swept along the pendulum of new experiences,
she went from self-indulgence to self-discipline and back again several times
over. Bitter reality and spiritual disillusionment collaborated and she willed
herself to transcend the ensuing despair. Trying out every religion
available in Massachusetts—Catholic and Protestant was all—she went
one night to a revival meeting and repented. At once she experienced
a profound peace of mind for the first time in her life and, in her word,
"felt cheated." "It was clear" she explains,
"that this peace was not a gift, but was something you had to work for.
Yet no one was teaching me how and I couldn't find the method in the
Bible." Yet imperceptibly but unmistakenly there was a guide, a strong
presence, close by all through those years.
Moving to Berkeley put an entire continent between what she had been and what she could become. For five years she chose the conservative stability of an 8--5 job, money coming in, and a regular pattern to life. During this time she read about Buddhism. At first sight of the word "Bodhisattva," she brought forth the resolve for Bodhi. The concept of "compassion" with its impact of purity revealed for her the defilements of desire and emotion-bound love. Little by little she chose the path of renunciation: first cigarettes, then lust, and then meat. Simultaneously, she took up T'ai Chi and began to gain some self-composure and mental poise.
Having heard Gold Mountain both praised and defamed, she was determined to see for herself. It was beautiful. The monks and nuns silent in their brown and black robes—suddenly she remembered a dream she had had the night before in which she was in a room filled with pure light. In the dream she was given some clothing to put on—black and brown in color—and one piece was particularly soft to the touch. That first night at Gold Mountain she resolved to leave the home-life. Later when the Abbot entered the hall, she as overwhelmed by his virtue.
Susan attended the Amitabha Buddha Session at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas in August 1977. She came expecting little and left with a vast measure of faith. Greed, hatred, and stupidity tried their old tricks on her, but she waited them out and took refuge with the Triple Jewel, receiving the Dharma name, Kuo Shan, "Fruit of Goodness."
In April, 1,978, Kuo Shan moved to the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, and in June to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas. She joins the full schedule of activities at Joyous Giving House—from morning recitation at 4 am through one meal a day to lecture and chanting in the evening until 10 p.m. She generously contributes her time and technical skills to the Buddhist Text Translation Society and is attending Dharma Realm Buddhist University where she studies Chinese, German, and Buddhism.
AT TATHAGATA MONASTERY
-By Upasika Kuo Yin Henry
Peacefully dwelling, harmonious sound,
Balanced and stable, never unwound.
Persistently reaching forward, never behind,
To tame the flickering, butterfly mind.
Straight as an arrow, growing closer to
True Suchness Being that weeds overgrew.
This is the conduct that bhiksus must make
To find their True Suchness that is no mistake.
Prose and verses by Venerable
Illustrations by a student of prajna
HE DOES NOT STAY AT HSIAO NAN HAI MONASTERY
At this time the Master was 45 years of age. He left Hung Fu Monastery to spend the evening, but was refused lodging there. He then went back outside the city walls, and spent the night next to the road. During the night, the Master developed severe stomach cramps. On the 4th day of the month he continued to bow, but in the evening, he began shivering. On the 5th, he was afflicted with dysentery. In spite of all this difficulty, he forced himself to continue bowing without the slightest indolence.
The verse says:
In smooth or obstructing situations, he always progressed with vigor.
Whether happy, sad, well, or sick, he continued to make prostrations.
With a single truly sincere thought one gains the aid of sages.
And when one lets go of the myriad states, he's totally self-reliant.