At the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas
From Listen to Yourself: Think Everything Over
By the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
The states which occur at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are inconceivable, to the point that all the birds and beasts, all the flowers and grasses, all the trees and herbs exemplify the Dharma, speak the Dharma, and practice the Dharma. Although grasses, trees, and flowers don’t actually speak, nonetheless they embody the ineffable wonder of the Buddhadharma. They are,
Apart from the mark of language and speech,
Apart from the mark of the mind’s conditions,
Apart from the mark of the written word.
In all four seasons—spring, summer, fall, and winter—they represent the Buddhadharma.
In the spring the white flowers bloom.
In the autumn the yellow leaves fall.
If you can understand the principle behind the myriad transformations of nature, you will become enlightened. That is how Those Enlightened to Conditions awaken to the truth. They contemplate the Twelve Causal Conditions—all of which exemplify the Dharma.
All the creatures here at the City are speaking the Dharma. Black crows caw and white cranes call, each with its own sound. Black crows and white cranes—isn’t that a matched couplet? Then there are the bluejays, who are the thieves of the group. They’re real bullies. Wherever there is something to eat, they just glare so no other birds dare make the first move. They all have to wait until the bluejays make off with the best of the food and only then are they allowed to pick over the remains. This is speaking the dharma of the “survival of the fittest”—those that are weak are eaten by the powerful ones. Is that taking life? Yes, they are speaking the dharma of taking life. The deer speak the dharma of deer, the rabbits speak the dharma of rabbits, the foxes speak the dharma of foxes…
Isn’t it strange that before I made the announcement that everyone should take special care in protecting the wildlife here those foxes seldom showed themselves, but now that I’ve made that announcement, they are seen all the time in the most public places and don’t seem the least bit afraid of people any more. If you walk past them, they will even parade before you. They’ll greet you first! That’s why it is said,
All living beings have the Buddhanature;
All can become Buddhas.
They are here accompanying us in cultivating the Dharma. In every single dust mote here there are Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cultivating the Way. If you did not have great good roots from past lives, you wouldn’t get to come and live here. So don’t take it for granted!