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

Chapter 14: Happily Dwelling Conduct
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

After my extinction,
Those who seek the Buddha Way,
Who wish to gain peace and ease,
And to proclaim this Sutra
Should draw near
Such Dharmas as these four.

Outline:

F3. General explanation of the appearances associated with accomplishing this conduct

G1. Concluding exhortation regarding the four kinds of conduct

Commentary:

Shakyamuni Buddha continues, saying, “After my extinction, my entry into Nirvana, those who seek the Buddha Way, such great Bodhisattvas, who wishes to gain peace and ease, and proclaim and explain this Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, should draw near such Dharmas as these four.” The four Dharmas described in the prose above are:

1. Happily-dwelling conduct of the body
2. Happily-dwelling conduct of the mouth
3. Happily-dwelling conduct of the mind
4. Happily-dwelling conduct of vows

They should draw near to and truly practice these four Dharmas.

Sutra:

Those who read this Sutra
Will have no worries or afflictions;
They will be free from the pain of sickness,
With a countenance will be fresh and clear.

Outline:

G2. Bringing up the three retributions as a means of exhortation (purification of the three obstacles)

H1. The obstacles of retribution turning into rewards in this present life

Commentary:

Those who read this Sutra—who always reads the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutrawill have no worries or afflictions. They will have no cares or vexations. They will be free from the pain of sickness, with a countenance fresh and clear. Their faces will be bright and radiant, with a fresh, rosy light around them. If you look at people's faces and they glow with a fresh, rosy light without any dark shadows, those people have wisdom. If someone's face looks dark (of course people whose pigment is black are not included in this), that is, if it has a black cast to it, it means he is going to encounter inauspicious events. On the other hand, if a person’s face is always bright and rosy, auspicious things will happen to him. Here, “fresh and clear” means their faces have an attractive rosy glow.

Sutra:

They would not be born poor,
Lowly, or ugly.

Outline:

H2. The obstacle of karma turning into rewards at rebirth


Commentary:

They would not be born poor, into a household plagued with poverty. They would not be born lowly and have to work as someone's servant doing menial tasks and not making very much money. They would not be born ugly, with an unattractive countenance.

Sutra:

Living beings will be happy to see them,
As if they were longed-for sages.
All the children of the gods
Will act as their messengers.

Outline:

H3. The obstacle of affliction turning into rewards in future lives

I1. Specific clarification of the turning of the three kinds of affliction-obstacles

Commentary:

Living beings will be happy to see them. If you cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, has no sickness or worries, and are not poor, lowly, or ugly, then living beings will be glad to see you. As if they were longed-for sages, Bodhisattvas. All the children of the gods, will act as their messengers. They will work for you.

Sutra:

Knives and staves will not hurt them,
Poison will not harm them,
And should someone revile them,
His mouth will be stopped.
They shall roam fearlessly
Like the lion king.

Outline:

J2. Turning the obstacle of hatred

Commentary:


If there is violence, knives and staves will not hurt them. Not only will knives and staves be unable to harm you, even if someone tries to poison you, poison will not harm them. And should someone revile them, his mouth will be stopped. Someone may try to scold you, but he would not be able to open his mouth. They shall roam fearlessly, like the lion king. Wherever you go, you will be unafraid. You will be like the lion, the king of the beasts, feared by all.

Sutra:

The light of their wisdom
Will shine like the sun.

Outline:

J3. Turning the obstacle of stupidity

Commentary:


The light of their wisdom will shine like the sun, illumining the great earth. There will be no place not illuminated by it.

Sutra:

In dreams they will see
Only wonderful things.
They may see the Tathagatas
Seated on their lion thrones,
Surrounded by a host of Bhikshus
As they speak the Dharma.

They will also see the dragons, spirits,
Asuras, and so forth,
In number like the Ganges' sands
Reverent, with palms joined.
They will see themselves appearing
To speak the Dharma for them.

Outline:

I2. General clarification of the turning of all kinds of affliction-obstacles

J1. In a dream entering the Ten Faiths, positions that resemble the Bodhisattva Stages

Commentary:

In dreams they will see only wonderful things. Their dreams will be lucky, not inauspicious. They will see auspicious events in their dreams. They may see the Tathagatas, the Buddhas, seated on their lion thrones surrounded by a host of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, the four-fold assembly, as they speak the Dharma. They gather around the Buddhas, to praise them and listen to the Dharma they speak. They will also see the dragons, spirits, asuras and so forth in number like the Ganges' sands. The gods and dragons and the rest of the eight-fold division will be reverent, with palms joined, as they make offerings and bow in homage. They will see themselves appearing to speak the Dharma for them—for the gods, dragons, and others of the eightfold division.

Sutra:

Further, they will see all the Buddhas,
Their bodies of golden hue
Emitting limitless light,
Illumining all,
And proclaiming all the Dharmas
With the Brahma sound.

The Buddhas, for the four-fold host,
Will speak the supreme Dharma.
They shall see themselves there, too,
With palms joined, praising the Buddhas.
Hearing the Dharma, they will rejoice
And make offerings.
They will gain the Dharanis,
And certify to non-retreating wisdom.

The Buddhas, knowing their minds
Have deeply entered the Buddha Way,
Will then bestow upon them a prediction
For the realization of the most proper enlightenment,
Saying, “You, Good Men,
Shall in the future age,
Attain limitless wisdom,
And the Great Way of the Buddha.

Your lands shall be adorned and pure,
Vast and incomparable,
And the four assemblies there
Will listen to the Dharma with palms joined.

Outline:

J2. In a dream entering the First Dwelling, the Position of Seeing the Way


Commentary:

Further, in dreams, they will see all the Buddhas, their bodies of golden hue—the Buddhas’ bodies are the color of burnished gold—emitting limitless lights illumining all. The Buddhas' lights will be shining upon all living beings, and the Buddhas will be proclaiming all the Dharmas with the Brahma sound—a clear, pure sound. The sound of one's voice is very important. When you lecture on the Sutras, your voice should sound clear and resonant. You should not speak in a way that people cannot understand. People whose voices are full and resonant cultivated good roots in previous lives, and now they have this reward. People without this reward may sound as if they are crying when they talk—whining and sniveling. Their listeners may not have been sad to begin with, but after they hear such a whiny voice, they feel like crying.

The Buddhas, for the four-fold host will speak the supreme, wonderful, Dharma. They will see themselves there, too, in the Bodhimanda with palms joined, praising the Buddhas. There are some very sincere laypeople who have dreams like this because they have good roots. Some Bhikshus also have such dreams. Hearing the Dharma, they will rejoice and make offerings to the Buddhas. They will gain the Dharanis, “uniting all Dharmas, and upholding limitless meanings,” and certify to non-retreating wisdom. They will gain wisdom and never be stupid and muddled again.

The Buddhas, knowing their minds have deeply entered the Buddha Way, will then bestow upon them a prediction for the realization of the most supreme, proper, equal and right enlightenment, saying, “You, Good Men, shall in the future age, attain limitless wisdom, and the Great Way of the Buddha. Your lands shall be adorned and pure, vast and incomparable, and the four assemblies, the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, there will listen to the Dharma with palms joined.”

Sutra:

They will also see themselves
Dwelling in the mountain forests,
Practicing wholesome dharmas,
Certifying to the Real Mark,
Deeply entering Dhyana concentration,
And seeing the Buddhas of the ten directions.

Outline:

J3. In dreams entering the Dwellings, the Practices, the Transferences, and the Grounds—the Positions of Cultivating the Way

Commentary:

They will also see themselves dwelling in the purity of the mountain forests, practicing wholesome Dharmas of Dhyana Samadhi, certifying to the Real Mark—the inconceivable state of reality and wonderful existence—deeply entering Dhyana concentration, which means the state of practicing the profound Prajna-paramita, and seeing the Buddhas of the ten directions. In Dhyana Samadhi, they will meet the Buddhas of the ten directions and hear the Sutras and the Dharma.

Sutra:

The Buddhas, with golden bodies,
Will be adorned with the marks of a hundred blessings.
Hearing their Dharma, they will speak it to others.
And always have good dreams like these.

They will also dream of being a king
Who, forsakes his palace and retinue,
As well as fine objects of the five desires,
To enter a Bodhimanda.

There, beneath the Bodhi tree,
They sit upon the lion throne,
Seeking the Way for seven days,
And gaining the Buddha's wisdom.

After realizing the supreme Way,
They rise and turn the Dharma wheel,
And speak the Dharma for the four-fold host.
Throughout thousands of myriads of millions of eons,
They speak the non-outflow wondrous Dharma,
And save limitless living beings.
Later they enter Nirvana,
As a lamp goes out when its fuel is gone.

Outline:

J4. In dreams entering the ultimate position of Wonderful Enlightenment


Commentary:

They can see the Buddhas in their dreams The Buddhas, with golden bodies, emit purple-golden light. In dreams they see Buddhas adorned with the marks of a hundred blessings; possessing the thirty-two marks and eighty subtle characteristics, the supreme, pure Dharma-body. Hearing their Dharma, they will speak it to others. Hearing the Dharma from the Buddhas, they will then explain it to others. And they will always have good dreams like these. These are the kinds of wonderful and inconceivable dreams they will have all the time!

They will also dream of being a king who forsakes his palace and retinue.

They give up the Three Palaces and the Six Courts, the queen and concubines, as well as fine objects of the five desires. The five desires refer to wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep, and also to sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and objects of touch. They renounce all of these. They enter a Bodhimanda. There, beneath the Bodhi tree, they sit upon the lion throne, seeking the Way for seven days, and gaining the Buddha's wisdom. In a dream, they become Buddhas! After realizing the supreme Buddha Way, they rise and turn the Dharma wheel. They manifest the Eight Marks of Accomplishing the Way, and speak the Dharma for the four-fold host–the Bhikshus, the Bhikshunis, the Upasakas, and the Upasikas. Throughout thousands of myriads of millions of eons, all this time passes in the space of their dream, they speak the non-outflow wondrous Dharma. In a dream, they save limitless living beings. Later they enter Nirvana, as a lamp goes out when its fuel is gone.

Sutra:

If, in the future evil age,
They can speak this foremost Dharma,
They shall gain great benefit,
Merit, and virtue as told above.

Outline:

G3. General conclusion

Commentary:


If, in the future evil age, the Dharma-ending Age, they can speak this foremost Dharma,the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, they shall gain great benefit, merit, and virtue as told above. One will gain the greatest advantage! In the Dharma-ending Age if you can lecture on the Dharma Flower Sutra, you will gain all these advantages and have all these good dreams.

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