THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 11: Vision of the Jeweled Stupa
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

Whoever can protect
The Dharma of this Sutra,
Has thereby made offerings
To me and Many Jewels.
The Buddha Many Jewels
Dwelling in the jeweled Stupa,
Always travels throughout the ten directions,
For the sake of this Sutra.
Moreover, they will have made offerings,
To the transformation Buddhas here,
Who adorn with splendor,
All the worlds.
If one speaks this Sutra,
They will then see me,
The Thus Come One Many Jewels,
And the transformation Buddhas.

Outline:

H3. Shakyamuni Buddha’s exhortation.


Commentary:

Whoever can protect the Dharma of this Sutra. Shakyamuni Buddha says, “I am now just about done with The Lotus Sutra. I am then going to enter into Nirvana, so before me and Thus Come One Many Jewels, you should all make vows to protect, uphold and propagate The Dharma Flower Sutra and cause this wonderful Dharma to remain in the world for a long time. He has thereby made offerings to me and Many Jewels. Why? The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra is my real body. Not only have they made offerings to me, but also to the Thus Come One Many Jewels.

The Buddha Many Jewels, dwelling in the jeweled Stupa, always travels throughout the ten directions for the sake of this Sutra. He certifies the speaking of The Dharma Flower Sutra.

Moreover, they will have made offerings to the transformation Buddhas here. If you can make a vow to propagate The Dharma Flower Sutra, that is to make offerings to all Buddhas of my transformational bodies who adorn with splendor all of the worlds. If you can lecture on The Dharma Flower Sutra, you are adorning all Buddhalands and infinite worlds.

If one speaks this Sutra, they will then see me, Shakyamuni Buddha, the Thus Come One Many Jewels and the transformation Buddhas, the limitless transformation bodies.

Sutra:

All of you good men
Think it over carefully!
This is a difficult matter
Requiring a great vow.

Outline:

G2. The difficulty of upholding the dharma and exhortation to propagate it. H1. Exhorting.
I1. Sincere exhortation.


Commentary:

All of you good men and good women, think it over carefully! This is a difficult matter. It is a very difficult matter to make a vow to protect, uphold, preach, and lecture upon The Dharma Flower Sutra. It is not a simple matter. It is difficult even to come to listen to it being lectured. You might want to hear lectures on it, but no one will be lecturing it. How are you going to hear it then? You cannot lecture on it yourself. It is no easy matter. What is to be done? You should make a vow. Requiring a great vow. Make vows, saying:

In every life I will draw near to the Triple Jewel.
In every life I will protect and uphold The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.
In every life I will take refuge with a Good Knowing Advisor.
In every life I will listen to my Good Knowing Advisor lecture on The Dharma Flower

Sutra:

If you make vows, you will have a chance to hear this Sutra. Otherwise, when it is being lectured, you might not want to hear it. You might get one foot in the door, but the other foot will carry you off somewhere else! Gone! No chance to hear the Sutra. Just to have it together enough to come and listen to the lectures is quite inconceivable. Did I not teach you in Chinese Class today the phrase from my book, Water Mirror Turning Back Heaven?

Who would have thought the Buddhadharma was anything but inconceivable!

It is just describing the inconceivable state of The Dharma Flower Sutra.

Sutra:

Other Sutras number
Like the Ganges river’s sands
But although one spoke them,
It would not be thought difficult.

If one took Mount Sumeru
And tossed it to another land
Across countless Buddhalands,
That also would not be difficult.

Or if with a toe
One kicked the great thousand worlds
To another, far-off land,
That also would not be difficult.

Were one to stand on a peak on the heavens
And for the multitudes proclaim,
Limitless other Sutras,
That, too, would not be difficult.

But if after the Buddha’s extinction
Within the evil age,
One can speak this Sutra,
That is difficult.

If someone took
Empty space in his hand
And wandered around with it
That would not be difficult.

But if, after my extinction
One can write out and uphold it
And encourage others to write it out,
That is difficult.

If one were to take the earth
And place it on one’s toenail,
And carry it up to the Brahma Heavens,
That, too, would not be difficult.

After the Buddha’s extinction,
In the evil age
To read this Sutra but for an instant,
That is difficult.

If, during the fire at the kalpa’s end
One carried a load of dry grass on one’s back
And entering the fire was not burned
That would not be difficult.

But after my extinction
If one can uphold the Sutra
And speak it to a single person,
That is difficult.

If one upheld eighty-four thousand
Dharma treasuries
And the Twelve Divisions of the Canon
Expounding upon them to others
Causing all the listeners
To gain the Six Spiritual Penetrations,
Even if one could do this
It would not be difficult.

But if, after my extinction,
One can listen to and accept this Sutra
And inquire into its meaning
That is difficult.

If one were to speak the Dharma
And cause a thousand myriads of millions
Of limitless, countless
Beings, like the Ganges’ sands,
To obtain Arhatship
And perfect the Six Spiritual Penetrations,
Although it would be beneficial,
It would not be difficult.

But after my extinction,
If one can reverently uphold
Such a Sutra as this,
That indeed is difficult!

Outline:

I2. The difficulty of upholding this Sutra.


Commentary:

Other Sutras number like the Ganges river’s sands. There are a lot of Buddhist Sutras. But although one spoke them, it would not be thought difficult. A lot of people can do that. If one took Mount Sumeru and tossed it to another land far away, across countless Buddhalands, that also would not be difficult. It would not be that hard, as long as you had spiritual powers.

Or if with a toe, one kicked the great thousand worlds to another, far-off land, that also would not be difficult. That would not be any big deal, really.

Were one to stand on a peak on the heavens, and for the multitudes proclaim limitless other Sutras. That, too, would not be difficult. All the limitless Sutras. Going up into the heavens to preach the Sutras is not really that hard. You just need to have spiritual powers like the Heavenly Eye and Heavenly Ear. But, if after the Buddha’s extinction, within the evil age, one can speak this Sutra, that is difficult. The evil world is our world right now. We call it evil because it is a world of five evil turbidities.

First of all, there is the turbidity of time. Then views are turbid because as soon as we see something, we are defiled by our attachments and afflictions. Afflictions are turbid, and everybody has afflictions. Living beings are turbid and their life spans are turbid. Therefore, the world right now is an evil world. Why do we say this? If you do something good everyone thinks you are stupid. They say, “He is really stupid. Why does he give his money away like that? Idiotic!” People think that doing good things and fostering virtue is stupid, and they scold you. In the evil age people say black is white, and wrong is right. If you do something good, people accuse you of seeking recognition. They do not do anything good themselves. But when someone else does, they try to poison that person with their criticism. In this way people are discouraged from doing good deeds.

If someone took empty space in his hand and wandered around with it, that would not be difficult. There might or might not be such a person. It is not the easiest thing to do to take up empty space in your hand and wander around here, there and everywhere with it. Where do you go with space in your hand? Walk toward space. It is hard, but not that hard, as long as you have the Six Spiritual Penetrations. But if, after my extinction, one can write out and uphold it--The Dharma Flower Sutra. “Uphold” means that you are able to recite it from memory. And encourage others to write it out. That is difficult. Why? It is an inconceivable state. No one believes in it, as a rule.

If one were to take the earth, the whole planet, and place it on one’s toenail and carry it up to the Brahma Heavens, doing it with more ease than riding in an elevator, that, too, would not be difficult. It could be done, but…

After the Buddha’s extinction, in the evil age, to read this Sutra but for an instant, that is difficult. So you see, it is not that easy to hear The Dharma Flower Sutra, to read it, or to write it out! It is very, very difficult.

If, during the fire at the kalpa’s end, one carried a load of dry grass on one’s back and entering the fire was not burned, that would not be difficult. At the end of the kalpa, there are three disasters: water, fire, and wind. When the disaster of fire strikes, there will be seven suns appearing in the sky, and all the oceans will be boiled dry. And we thought it was hot here yesterday! It is thousands and tens of thousands times warmer than yesterday, if not more. The seawater has completely dried. The fire scorches the First Dhyana. When the fire burns the heaven of the First Dhyana, it is called the kalpic fire. In a situation like this, even wet grass would catch on fire.

But after my extinction, if one can uphold the Sutra and speak it to a single person, that is difficult. Even just a single person! It is really difficult. And here I am lecturing it for all of you, and it does not seem hard to me. But Shakyamuni Buddha says it is difficult. Ultimately, whether it is hard or not, we still have to speak it. I will speak whether or not you listen, too!

If one upheld eighty-four thousand Dharma treasuries and the twelve divisions of the canon, expounding upon them to others. If you were to uphold all the eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors taught by the Buddha. The Twelve Divisions of the Canon are:

1. Prose,
2. Verse,
3. The transmitting of predictions,
4. Interjections,
5. Dharma spoken without request,
6. Causes and conditions,
7. Analogies,
8. Expanded (Vaipulya) texts,
9. Stories of the past lives of Buddhas,
10. Stories of the past lives of disciples,
11. Previously inexistent teachings,
12. Commentarial literature.

Causing all the listeners to gain the Six Spiritual Penetrations: the Heavenly Eye, the Heavenly Ear, the Knowledge of Other’s Thoughts, the Knowledge of Past Lives, the Extinction of Outflows, and the Complete Spirit. Even if one could do this, it would not be difficult. But if, after my extinction, one can listen to and accept this Sutra and inquire into its meaning, that is difficult. You should all think it over. You refuse to come and listen to the current Sutra lectures on The Dharma Flower Sutra. It is very difficult, this opportunity you now have to listen to The Dharma Flower Sutra. Do not let it slip by. Did I not tell you before we even reached this portion of text, how hard it was to hear this Sutra? It is stated very clearly here. To say nothing of how rare it is for common people like us to hear the Sutra, when Shakyamuni Buddha spoke this Sutra on Vulture Peak, even Shakyamuni Buddha’s division bodies and Many Jewels Buddha came to hear it.

If, in one lifetime, you are able to hear The Dharma Flower Sutra once, in the future your wisdom will be inconceivable. Why are you so dumb now? Why are you so angry all the time and obstructed and tormented by false thinking? It is because you never heard The Dharma Flower Sutra. Or perhaps you only heard one or two lectures and missed the rest. So now you have many obstacles. You should think, “This time I am not going to miss a single lecture!” Attend every single lecture. “If I understand it, I will come and listen, and if I do not understand it, I will still come and listen. If I do understand it, it will not hurt to deepen my understanding. If I do not understand it, I am certainly going to find a way to understand it.” Do not miss this chance. It is worth more than a million pounds of gold!

If one were to speak the Dharma and cause a thousand myriads of millions of limitless, countless beings, like the Ganges’ sands to obtain Arhatship, to certify to the fourth stage of Arhatship and obtain patience with the non-production of dharmas and perfect the Six Spiritual Penetrations. Although it would be beneficial, it would not be difficult. But after my extinction, if one can reverently upholdThe Dharma Flower Sutra, such a Sutra as this, that indeed is difficult, very, very difficult.

Sutra:

I, for the sake of the Buddha Way,
Throughout limitless lands,
From the beginning until now,
Have broadly expounded all the Sutras
And among them all
This Sutra is foremost.
If one can uphold it
He then upholds the Buddha’s body.

Outline:

I3. Explaining the difficulty of upholding the Sutra.


Commentary:

Shakyamuni Buddha says I, for the sake of the Buddha Way, in order to teach and transform living beings so we can all realize the Buddha Way together. Throughout limitless lands from the beginning until now have broadly expounded all the Sutras. I lectured on the Avatamsaka Sutra. I lectured on the Agamas, the Vaipulya, and Prajna Sutras. Now I am lecturing The Dharma Flower Sutra. And among them all, among all the Sutras I have spoken, this Sutra is foremost.The Dharma Flower is number one. It is the rarest, the hardest to encounter, and the hardest to understand.

If one can uphold it, he then upholds the Buddha’s body. He accepts and upholds the Buddha’s true body. The Buddha’s real body is within The Dharma Flower Sutra. This is to enter the Thus Come One’s room, put on the Thus Come One’s robes, and sit on the Thus Come One’s throne. This means that one receives and upholds the genuine body of the Buddha.

Sutra:

Good men,
After my extinction,
Who can receive and uphold,
Read, and recite this Sutra,
Now, in the presence of the Buddhas should make a vow.

Outline:

H2. Shakyamuni Buddha’s exhortation.
I1. Searching for the person.


Commentary:

Good men and good women, after my extinction, who can receive and uphold. This means to recite the Sutra every day. It means to be able to recite it by heart. This does not mean for just one day, but every day, and every month, and every year. It does not mean for just one life, but in every life. No matter what we do, we must persevere. You must finish what you start. From the beginning to end, you should finish it. You cannot just uphold the Sutra for one day and forget it the next. You must make a vow to uphold The Dharma Flower Sutra every day, month, and year, and even in every life, life after life. Read and recite this Sutra. Who can make this vow? Now in the presence of the Buddhas, me, Shakyamuni Buddha, the Buddha Many Jewels and all the division bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha, should make a vow. The time has come!

Sutra:

This Sutra is hard to uphold,
If one upholds it for but an instant,
I will rejoice,
And so will all the Buddhas.

Outline:

I2. Showing how the Buddha rejoices when one can uphold that which is difficult to uphold.

Commentary:

This Sutra is hard to uphold. This Sutra is extremely difficult to uphold. If one does not have genuine good roots, one will be unable to maintain it. If one upholds it for but an instant. In this life, if one can maintain it; we do not know about previous lives or future lives, but if one can uphold it in this present life, then I will rejoice. I will be delighted with this person. And so will all the Buddhas of the ten directions.

Sutra:

One such as this
Shall be praised by all the Buddhas:
“This is courage!
This is vigor,
This is called morality
And the practice of the dhutas.”
He will then quickly obtain
The supreme Buddha Way.
If, in the future, one
Can read and uphold this Sutra,
He is then a true disciple of the Buddha,
Dwelling in the pure, good stage.
And one who after the Buddha’s extinction,
Can understand its meaning,
Will act as eyes
For all gods and humans in the world.
In the age of terror,
One who can speak it for an instant,
Will be worthy of the offerings
Of all the gods and humans.

Outline:

I3. The accomplishment of one’s own practice and teaching others.

Commentary:

One such as this who can accept and maintain The Dharma Flower Sutra for even a moment shall be praised by all the Buddhas. They will say, “This is courage. This is vigor. This is called morality and the practice of the dhutas.Dhuta is a Sanskrit word which means “striking up one’s spirits.” It refers to the twelve ascetic practices. Such a one is never lazy, but works diligently from morning until night, without feeling tired or wanting to sleep.

He will then quickly obtain the supreme Buddha Way. There is no position higher than that of Buddhahood. If, in the future, one can read and uphold this Sutra, he is then a true disciple of the Buddha, dwelling in the pure, good stage--the best place, the level of complete goodness, which is the ground of the Buddha. And one who, after the Buddha’s extinction, can understand its meaning, the purport of The Dharma Flower Sutra, will act as eyes for all gods and humans in the world. If there is no one upholding The Dharma Flower Sutra, then it is like the gods and humans are all blind. The one who upholds the Sutra functions as eyes for them.

In the age of terror, that is now, in the age of the five turbidities. One who can speak it for an instant will be worthy of the offerings of all the gods and humans. The Dharma Master who upholds The Dharma Flower Sutra will be worthy of offerings from people and gods.

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