THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapters: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16 * 17 * 18 * 19 * 20

The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 19: The Merit and Virtue of a Dharma Master

At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying:

“This person’s nose is pure,
And within the world,
All odors, fragrant or fetid,
He can completely smell and know.

Sumana and jatika,
Tamala and chandana,
The scents of aloe-wood and cassia,
The scents of various flowers and fruits,
The scents of living beings,
The scents of men and women--
The speaker of Dharma, at a distance,
Smells them and knows where they are.

The great and mighty wheel-turning kings,
The minor wheel-turners and their sons,
Ministers and courtiers--
By their scents, he knows where they are.

The jewels worn on the body,
The jewel treasuries in the earth,
The Wheel-Turning King’s jeweled women--
Smelling their scents, he knows where they are.

The ornaments adorning people’s bodies,
Their clothing, beads,
Various kinds of perfumes--
Smelling their scents, he knows where they are.

The gods, whether walking or sitting
Or playing with their spiritual transformations--
The upholder of the Dharma Flower,
Having smelled their scents, knows them all.

The trees with their flowers and fruits,
The fragrance of clarified butter--
The one who holds the Sutra, dwelling here,
Knows the location of them all.

In the deep recesses of the mountains,
The chandana trees in bloom
And the beings dwelling therein--
Smelling their scents, he knows them all.

The living beings on Iron Ring Mountain,
In the great seas, or in the earth--
By their scents, the holder of this Sutra
Knows the location of them all.

The male and female asuras
And their retinues,
Their quarrels and their play--
By smelling their scents, he can know them.

In the wilds or ravines,
Lions, elephants, tigers and wolves,
Wild oxen, and water buffalo--
Smelling their scents, he knows where they are.

Should a woman be pregnant with a child
Whose sex has not yet been determined,
Nor is it known if it is a freak or non-human,
Smelling the scent, he can know.

By the power of his smelling,
He can know when she first conceived,
Whether the fetus is mature,
And if she will safely bear a blessed child.

By the power of his smelling,
He knows what men and women are thinking:
Their defiling desires, stupidity, and hateful thoughts.
He also knows those who cultivate goodness.

The gold, silver, and jewels
Hidden in the earth’s storehouses,
Filling copper vessels--
Smelling the scents, he knows them all.

Various kinds of beads
Whose value cannot be known--
By smelling their scent, he knows their value,
Where they came from, and where they are now.

All the flowers in the heavens,
Mandarava and manjushaka,
The parijata trees--
Smelling their scents, he can know them.

The palaces in the heavens--
Superior, middling or inferior,
Adorned with many jewels and flowers--
Smelling their scents, he can know them all.

Heavenly gardens, groves, and supreme palaces;
Towers and wondrous Dharma Halls;
The amusements to be found therein--
Smelling their scents, he can know them all.

The gods, whether listening to the Dharma
Or enjoying the pleasures of the five desires,
Coming or going, walking, sitting, or reclining--
By the scents, he can know them completely.

The garments worn by the goddesses,
Their adornments of flowers and perfume
As they ramble around for pleasure--
By their scents, he knows them all.

Proceeding thus upward,
Reaching to the Brahma heavens,
Those who enter Dhyana and those who leave it--
Smelling their scents, he knows them all.

The Heavens of Light-Sound and Pervasive Purity,
On up to the Peak of Existence,
Those just born there and those sliding down--
Smelling their scents, he knows them all.

The host of Bhikshus,
Ever vigorous in the Dharma,
Whether sitting or walking;
Reading or reciting the Sutra;
Or in the woods beneath trees,
Concentrated, sitting in Dhyana--
The one who upholds the Sutra, smelling their scents,
Knows where they are.

Bodhisattvas of solid resolve,
Whether sitting in Dhyana or reading and reciting,
Or speaking the Dharma to others--
Smelling their scents, he knows them all.

In any place the World Honored One may be,
There revered by the multitudes,
As he pities them and speaks the Dharma--
By smelling the scent, he knows this completely.

Living beings in the Buddha’s presence,
Hearing the Sutra and rejoicing,
Cultivate in accord with Dharma.
By smelling the scents, he completely knows them.

Even though he has not yet attained the Bodhisattva’s
Non-outflow Dharma-nose,
Still, the upholder of this Sutra
Will first attain a nose with such characteristics.”

At that time the World Honored One, Shakyamuni Buddha, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying: “This person’s nose is pure, and within the world, all odors, fragrant or fetid, he can completely smell and know. Here we are talking about his nose, his physical nose. With it he can know all the smells inside and outside in the great world system; this is the “heavenly nose.” He is not attached to or defiled by the objects of smell, because of his “wisdom nose.”

He can distinguish scents without mistake; this is his “Dharma nose.” He can have all of these functions at the same time; this is the “Buddha nose.” He is complete with the five kinds of noses. We have discussed the eye and ear, and now we are discussing the nose. The eyes can hear; the ears can see; and the nose can see and hear! This is a state in which the six organs interpenetrate in their functions. Each organ is complete with the functions of the other five. They eyes basically can see, but now they can hear. The ears can hear, but now they can see. The nose is for smelling, but now it can eat! The organs are interchangeable. Each organ operates with the functions of the other five. Such functioning takes place in the realm of the inconceivable where the six organs are interchangeable.

So, right in this world, he can small all that is fragrant or the most foul of smelly odors. What are the smelliest creatures? Human beings are the most foul smelling. Excrement and urine can be smelled at quite a distance. We are afraid of the odor, so we flush it down the toilet. But no matter how hygienic and careful one is, how meticulous in taking care of the body, when the time comes, one is still going to die. And when the time comes to die, you do not get a single extra day.

This person can distinguish the fragrant from the fetid. The fragrances in the world come from wholesome energy. The stench in the world comes from evil energy.

If you do a good deed, you do not need to tell anyone. You will naturally have a good, fragrant smell and people will pick up on that. People who cultivate do not need to look at someone or hear that person’s voice, they can just take a whiff and know if that person does evil or good. Those who do good have a good smell; those who do evil, stink. You cannot cheat people like that.

The sumana and jatika, the tamala and chandana, the scents of aloe-wood and cassia, the scents of various flowers and fruits, the scents of living beings, the scents of men and women--the speaker of Dharma, at a distance, smells them and knows where they are. The sumana flower’s name means “in accord with one’s wishes.” These flowers are white and yellow and combinations thereof. White represents silver, and yellow represents gold. They are also called the silver and gold flower. “Jatika” means “golden coin” because that is what the flower looks like. “Tamala” means “nature without filth,” it is extremely clean.

There are various kinds of flowers and fruits, but one who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra knows immediately by smelling what kind of flower or fruit each is. From a very long distance away, the one who speaks the Dharma Flower Sutra can tell where all these things are.

The great and mighty wheel-turning kings, the minor wheel-turners and their sons, ministers and courtiers--by their scents, he knows where they are. The most powerful kings in the world are the wheel-turning kings. They rule over the four continents and have seven treasures. The minor wheel-turning kings have less authority. There are gold, silver, copper, and iron wheel-turning kings. The person who upholds this Sutra need only smell their scents, and he knows their whereabouts. If, by smelling, he can know where they are, isn’t that the same as using one’s nose as a pair of eyes? It is just like seeing. So the nose can be used as eyes!

The jewels worn on the body, the jewel treasuries in the earth, the Wheel-Turning King’s jeweled women--smelling their scents, he knows where they are.
The jewels, jade, diamonds, and all the precious things in the earth, and the treasured women, who are one of the Wheel-Turning King’s seven treasures—he knows where they all are.

The ornaments adorning people’s bodies, their clothing, beads, various kinds of perfumes--smelling their scents, he knows where they are.
All the things the gods and people use to make themselves beautiful—beads, bracelets, and so forth; their fancy clothes; and also all the different kinds of fragrances with which they anoint themselves—when he smells these things he does not need to look with his eyes. His nose tells him where they are.

Someone asks, “Why can’t I see with my nose?”

It is no surprise, is it? You have not upheld or lectured upon the Dharma Flower Sutra, and you have not read and recited it or written it out, so how could your nose see?

The gods, whether walking or sitting, or playing with their spiritual transformations, the upholder of the Dharma Flower, having smelled their scents, knows them all. Whether the gods are walking around or whether they are just sitting there in Dhyana meditation, they might be manifesting their spiritual penetrations. One who reads and recites the Dharma Flower Sutra will know all these things just by smelling.

The trees with their flowers and fruits, the fragrance of clarified butter--the one who holds the Sutra, dwelling here, knows the location of them all. All the different trees with their many varieties of fruits and flowers, as well as the fragrance given off by the butter lamps, will be known to the Dharma Master who receives and upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra.

In the deep recesses of the mountains, the chandana trees in bloom and the beings dwelling therein--smelling their scents, he knows them all.
Deep, deep in the mountains the chandana trees bloom luxuriantly. Living beings cultivating in the mountains, the people and non-people, by their scents he will know them. He knows very clearly, just as if he had seen them with his own two eyes.

The living beings on Iron Ring Mountain, in the great seas, or in the earth--by their scents, the holder of this Sutra knows the location of them all. The Iron Ring Mountain is in the sea outside Mount Sumeru. The Dharma Master who upholds the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, on smelling these scents, knows where all the living beings are.

The male and female asuras and their retinues, their quarrels and their play--by smelling their scents, he can know them.
Asuras always fight among themselves. They take fighting as a form of recreation. By smelling their scents, he knows what they are doing.

In the wilds or ravines, lions, elephants, tigers and wolves, wild oxen, and water buffalo--smelling their scents, he knows where they are.
In the wilds where there are no people, or in deep, steep places, where only one can walk on treacherous paths, one may encounter all these wild beasts. By smelling their scents, you know where they are.

Should a woman be pregnant with a child whose sex has not yet been determined, nor is it known if it is a freak or non-human, smelling the scent, he can know.
It might be a ghost-fetus! Or it might be a freak! Some people might give birth to a dog or a pig. Strange!

By the power of his smelling, he can know when she first conceived, whether the fetus is mature, and if she will safely bear a blessed child.
The fetus can be compared to a fruit. When a fruit is ripe, you can pluck it from the tree. When the fetus is nine months old, it is mature. A fetus that is only seven months old is not mature; it is not ready to be born. Having children is basically pretty dangerous. When women are bearing children, the distance between them and Kind Yama is about as thin as a piece of paper. You might say they can reach out their hands and touch King Yama on the nose, they can be that close to death. He knows whether the mother will give birth easily and whether the child will have blessings.

By the power of his smelling, he knows what men and women are thinking: their defiling desires, stupidity, and hateful thoughts. He also knows those who cultivate goodness.
He knows their defiled thoughts, that is, which men the women are thinking about, and which women the men are thinking about. Stupidity means ignorance. Because of ignorance, one gives rise to anger. He also knows which person practices good deeds.

The gold, silver, and jewels hidden in the earth’s storehouses, filling copper vessels--smelling the scents, he knows them all.
He knows where the gold, silver, and diamond mines are.

For most people, the senses are each limited to one function: the eyes can see; the ears can hear; the nose can smell; the tongue can taste; the body can feel; and the mind can think. If you tried to tell them about the doctrine of the interchangeable functioning of the six organs, they would certainly not believe you. Once you arrive at that state and obtain that merit and virtue, you will know for yourself, “Oh, so there actually is such a wonderful state!” You will know how inconceivable the states in the Buddhadharma are.

Some people say, “I do not want any part of that! Why not? It is too much trouble. What need is there to hear all the sounds in the heavens and see all the people in the heavens? How could I possibly get any sleep? Wouldn’t I just have that much more false thinking? I do not care to attain that state.”

It is not for certain that you could attain it even if you did like it. In order to attain this state, you have to have no false thinking. If one gains this state, then one will “see as if not seeing; hear as if not hearing; smell as if not smelling; taste as if not tasting; feel as if not feeling; and think as if not thinking.” If one can be unmoved by states, then one can obtain this state. If you are turned by states and think, “How will I get any sleep if I obtain a state like that?” you can be sure that you would not lose any sleep. If you want to sleep, you can sleep. If you do not want to sleep, you do not have to. It is just that wonderful! You can talk until your face turns blue, but you cannot explain the word wonderful. The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra—every single sentence could be explained as “wonderful,” and there would be no error, because it is all wonderful. If you are able to do that, then you have understood the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Now the person who was just thinking that he did not want to attain this state is thinking, “How did he know I had that false thought?”

Ah! Why did you have that false thought? Did you think you could have such a false thought and I would not know? If you can have a false thought like that, then I can know about it! If you are afraid that I will know about your false thinking, then do not give rise to false thinking. That would be the best. Do you think that has principle? I do not think anything about it at all, so I am not going to worry about whether or not it has principle.

Various kinds of beads whose value cannot be known. By smelling their scent, he knows their value, where they came from, and where they are now. There are many kinds of beads and necklaces. Most people, seeing such a profusion of jeweled beads would not see them clearly. They would be unable to think; they would have no idea what such treasures were worth. But this person who receives and holds the Dharma Flower Sutra only needs to take a whiff of them to know how much they are worth. He will then know if they are expensive or inexpensive. He will also know just where they came from—from which country, which mountain, which mine, and so on. He will also know where they are at present.

All the flowers in the heavens, mandarava and manjushaka, the parijata trees--smelling their scents, he can know them. There are many flowers in the heavens. We are given four kinds: mandaravaflowers “small white flowers”; mahamandarava flowers, “big white flowers”;manjushaka flowers “small red flowers”; and mahamanjushakaflowers “big red flowers”.

The parijata trees are the trees in the garden of Lord Shakra, the “King of Heavenly Trees.” Just by smelling them, he will know what they are.

The palaces in the heavens, superior, middling or inferior, adorned with many jewels and flowers, smelling their scents, he can know them all. Heavenly palaces come in different varieties. They are not all the same. All kinds of flowers and jewels adorn the palaces. Just by smelling, he knows about this very clearly.

Heavenly gardens, groves, and supreme palaces; towers and wondrous Dharma Halls; the amusements to be found therein--smelling their scents, he can know them all.
There are forests in the heavens, but they are nothing like the ones in the human realm. They are adorned with the seven treasures. The branches may be jade, and the leaves silver and gold. We say they are trees, but they are nothing like trees as we know them. In the Heaven of the Thirty-three there is the Wonderful Dharma Hall in which Shakra speaks the Dharma for those in the other thirty-two heavens every day. They also have big parties where they fly around and dance; they really carry on and enjoy themselves.

The gods, whether listening to the Dharma or enjoying the pleasures of the five desires, coming or going, walking, sitting, or reclining--by the scents, he can know them completely.
The gods of the three realms all come to hear Shakra speak the Dharma. Sometimes they enjoy the five desires: forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and tangible objects.

The garments worn by the goddesses, their adornments of flowers and perfume as they ramble around for pleasure--by their scents, he knows them all.
Their clothes are made up of many beautiful flowers, and they stroll around at leisure, enjoying themselves. Just by smelling their scent he knows that they are extremely happy.

Proceeding thus upward, reaching to the Brahma heavens, those who enter Dhyana and those who leave it--smelling their scents, he knows them all. When you meditate, you should learn how to enter Samadhi. Now, entering Samadhi is not the same thing as falling asleep. When you enter Samadhi your mind is very, very clear and your Prajna wisdom is illumining. Entering Samadhi does not mean you do not know anything at all. Entering Samadhi means that although you are in Samadhi and you are still, your stillness is all illumining. Your illuminating is always in stillness. Although you are quiet, you are aware of what is moving. When you are in Samadhi your head does not hang down. If your head is hanging down, you are not in Samadhi. And it is not leaning backwards, either. When you are in Samadhi, you are sitting up perfectly straight and unmoving. That is called “still, yet always illumining; illumining, yet always still: Prajna manifests.”

At such a time, one clearly illumines all dharmas and sees that they are empty of characteristics. As the Heart Sutra says,“...practicing the profound Prajna Paramita, he illumined and viewed the five skandhas all as empty…Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics.” That is the state we are describing.

I will tell you something else. After this, if I am lecturing and I fall asleep, do not wake me up. Just do the transference and go home and do what you want. Then whenever I wake up, I will continue lecturing again. This may or may not happen. Sometimes I might enter Samadhi when I am lecturing. Talking about Samadhi, I might decide I want a taste of it myself and try it out. If that happens, do not panic. It might happen, and it might not. The Dharma Master who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra knows all about who is entering and who is leaving Samadhi.

The Heavens of Light-Sound and Pervasive Purity, on up to the Peak of Existence, those just born there and those sliding down, smelling their scents, he knows them all.
Many people think of there being only one heaven. Actually, there are countless heavens in layers, one on top of another. Those of outside ways think there is only one god, but actually there are a lot of them. The gods in the heavens are very much like our emperors. There is a lord in each of the limitless heavens. In Buddhism, the gods are Dharma protectors. In the Dharma assembly, they do not even have a seat; they have to stand up. As you can see, Weitou Bodhisattva and Qielan Bodhisattva always stand in front to protect the Buddha.

In the Heaven of Light-Sound, the gods speak with light. Every light they emit is a particular message. The Heaven of Pervasive Purity is extremely pure. The Peak of Existence is the Heaven of Neither Perception nor Non-perception in which the gods live for 80,000 great eons. However, when the time comes, they do fall.

The heaven right above us, the one we can see, is called the Heaven of the Four Kings. The gods there live for five hundred years. We must also consider that fifty years in the human realm equals one day and night in the Heaven of the Four Kings. So, in human terms, you can count it up to see how long they live—several tens of thousands of years.

“Sliding down” means that the five signs of decay have manifested, and they are on their way down.

The Dharma Master who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra, by simply smelling the scents, knows all these.

The host of Bhikshus, ever vigorous in the Dharma, whether sitting or walking; reading or reciting the Sutra; or in the woods beneath trees, concentrated, sitting in Dhyana--the one who upholds the Sutra, smelling their scents, knows where they are. The Bhikshus and Bhikshunis are always vigorous in body and mind, whether sitting in Dhyana meditation, practicing walking meditation, bowing to the Buddhas, or writing out Sutras; or in the woods underneath trees, where it is very quiet; or meditating, where it is easy to gain “light peace” and Samadhi. The person who upholds the Dharma Flower by smelling their scents knows where they are.

Bodhisattvas of solid resolve, whether sitting in Dhyana or reading and reciting, or speaking the Dharma to others--smelling their scents, he knows them all. Those with the Bodhisattva resolve, the resolve to benefit oneself and benefit others, to enlighten oneself and enlighten others, to practice the perfections and ten thousand conducts, whether sitting in meditation or reciting the Sutra or speaking the Dharma for living beings—by their scent, the upholder of this Sutra knows where they are.

In any place the World Honored One may be, there revered by the multitudes, as he pities them and speaks the Dharma--by smelling the scent, he knows this completely. In any and all places throughout worlds of the ten directions, no matter where the World Honored One is, he is revered and honored by living beings. He takes pity on living beings because of the limitless sufferings they must undergo. He teaches the Dharma in order that living beings can leave suffering and attain bliss. By smelling the Buddha’s fragrance, he knows where he is.

Living beings in the Buddha’s presence, hearing the Sutra and rejoicing, cultivate in accord with Dharma. By smelling the scents, he completely knows them.
Living beings who hear the Buddha speak the Dharma are happy. They rely upon the Dharma to cultivate the Way. By smelling the scents, the upholder of this Sutra knows who is cultivating in accord with the Dharma and who is not.

Even though he has not yet attained the Bodhisattva’s non-outflow Dharma-nose, still, the upholder of this Sutra will first attain a nose with such characteristics. Although he has not perfected the non-outflow Dharma-nose, the Dharma Master who receives and upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra will obtain a distinctive nose which is much like the non-outflow Dharma-nose.

We have heard about the merits of the nose, and now we are going to hear about the merits of the tongue. If you do not know how to use your tongue, you can listen now and find out how to use the tongue so that it can have twelve hundred merits.

Somebody says, “Well, all people know how to use their tongues, except mutes, who cannot talk.”

What you say has some principle but it also lacks principle. Why? If you really knew how to use your tongue, you would only say good things. You would not say bad things. You should return the light and ask yourself if you ever speak wrongly. From the time you were born, have you spoken only what is good? Have you ever said anything evil? I do not believe anyone can claim that they have never said anything bad. You have never scolded people, gossiped, lied? Have you never done any of these? Surely you have done some of them. That means you do not know how to use your tongue. After hearing the Sutra you should think, “The tongue has twelve hundred merits. I should not say unwholesome things anymore. There is no merit in that.” Then you will have learned how to use your tongue. It is just a matter of being off buy a little bit that you cannot use it. If you change just a little bit, then you can.

Tomorrow is the first of October [1970], and the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis have been asked to go cross over the dead. Before you cross over the dead, you should cross over the living by speaking the Dharma for them. Do not wait until they die. Speak the Dharma to them now, so they can change from the evil and go toward the good. Any of the Buddhist Lecture Hall Dharma protectors and laypeople may go along if they like.

Laypeople who have taken the precepts can wear their robes and sashes. Those who have taken refuge but have not taken precepts can wear just the black robes. If you do not have one, you can borrow one. We should appear very adorned and not look ragged and unruly. Four people should stay and protect the platform against theft. There will be all kinds of people at the ceremony.

Perhaps we can take the image of the Venerable Hsu-Lao. The image is not so ornate, so it is pretty portable. But remember to have four people on duty here. We can have someone in front with the tin staff. It is for opening up the doors of the hells. Someone can recite in front of the microphone, loudly, but not so loudly that you lose your voice. One of you can stand in the back as the host and encourage everyone to recite along to plant good roots. Whoever wants to may go. You may lecture for five or ten minutes. Probably this will make a far-reaching impression: Ah! American monks! Great Dharma Masters! Incredible.” One thing you should make sure to say is that we represent no party and no sect. We are doing merit and virtue, and it is entirely nonpolitical. We are relying on the great compassion of the Buddha to cross over all living beings from every country. We will be happy to oblige any country that wants us to cross over their dead.

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