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

Sutra:

“Further, Ever-Vigorous, if a good man or a good woman receives and upholds this Sutra, whether reading, reciting, explaining it to others, or writing it out, he will obtain eight hundred meritorious virtues of the body. He will obtain a pure body, as pure as vaidurya, which living beings will be delighted to see, because of the purity of his body.

Living beings in the three thousand great thousand world system, whether at the time of birth or at the time of death, above or below, fair or ugly, whether born in good place or born in an evil place, will all manifest within it. The Iron Ring Mountain, the Great Iron Ring Mountain, Meru Mountain, Mahameru Mountain, and the other mountains, and all the living beings in their midst will appear within it. Below to the Avici hells and above to the Peak of Existence, all living beings will manifest therein. If Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, or Buddhas speak the Dharma, they will all manifest their physical images within his body.”

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

“If a person holds the Dharma Flower,
His body will be extremely pure,
Like that of pure vaidurya,
And living beings will all take delight in seeing him.

Also, as in a pure, bright mirror
All images are seen,
The Bodhisattva, within his pure body,
Sees everything in the world.

He alone has clear perception,
For these things are not seen by other people.
Within three thousand worlds,
All the multitudes of living beings--
Gods, humans, asuras,
Hell-beings, ghosts, and animals:
All such images as these--
Appear within his body.

The palaces of the gods
Up to the Peak of Existence,
The Iron Ring and Meru
And Mahameru Mountains,
And the waters of all the great seas
All appear within his body.

The Buddhas and Hearers,
Disciples of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas,
Whether singly or in a multitude,
Speaking Dharma, all manifest.

Although he has not yet gained the non-outflow,
Wondrous body of the Dharma-nature,
Within his pure, ordinary body,
All things manifest.”

Outline:

F5. The body.


Commentary:

“Further,” Shakyamuni Buddha continues, “Ever-Vigorous, if a good man or a good woman receives and upholds this Sutra, the Dharma Flower Sutra, whether reading, reciting, explaining it to others, or writing it out, he will obtain eight hundred meritorious virtues of the body. He will obtain a pure body, as pure as vaidurya, which all living beings will be delighted to see.” They will take delight in drawing near to this Dharma Master and listening to him speak the Dharma, because of the purity of his body. Why is his body pure? Because he upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra, and because he also keeps the precepts.

Living beings in the three thousand great thousand world system, whether at the time of birth or at the time of death, above or below, in heaven or in hell, fair or ugly, whether born in good place or born in an evil place, will all manifest within it. All these will appear within his body like a picture taken with a camera. Although there are many images, none of them get distorted, as sometimes happens with a camera. They all manifest very clearly.

The Iron Ring Mountain, the Great Iron Ring Mountain, Meru Mountain (Light Mountain), Mahameru Mountain (Great Light Mountain), and the other mountains, and all the living beings in their midst will appear within it. Below to the Avici hells and above to the Peak of Existence, all living beings will manifest therein. All beings and all states will manifest within his body. It is something like a radar screen, a tracking device, in your own body. If Hearers, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas, or Buddhas speak the Dharma, they will all manifest their physical images within his body.

At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying: If a person holds the Dharma Flower, cultivating according to its doctrines, such a Bodhisattva will find his body will be extremely pure, like that of pure vaidurya, or crystal, transparent.

And living beings will all take delight in seeing him, the Bodhisattva who speaks the Dharma. Also, as in a pure, bright mirror, a mirror that has no dust on it, all images are seen—whatever comes is reflected in the mirror, and whatever goes, disappears; it does not hold on to any reflections--the Bodhisattva who receives, upholds, reads, recites, writes out, or explains the Dharma Flower Sutra, within his pure body, sees everything in the world. Everything in the world is seen within his pure and wonderful body.

He alone has clear perception, for these things are not seen by other people. He is the only one who can see these things. Other people cannot see them. Within three thousand worlds, all the multitudes of living beings, all beings, all states--gods, humans, asuras, hell-beings, ghosts, and animals: All such images as these--appear within his body. The palaces of the gods up to the Peak of Existence, the Heaven of Neither Perception nor Non-perception; the Iron Ring and Meru and Mahameru Mountains, and the waters of all the great seas, all appear within his body.

All the Buddhas of the ten directions and Hearers, disciples of the Buddha, the sons of the Dharma King; and Bodhisattvas, all the great Bodhisattvas, whether singly or in a multitude, speaking Dharma, all manifest. They might be alone or they might be in a great assembly speaking the Dharma. All of them appear within his crystal body. Although he has not yet gained the non-outflow—he has not certified to the sagely fruit--wondrous body of the Dharma-nature, even so, within his pure, ordinary body, born to him of his father and mother all things manifest. He is the only one who knows about this state.

Sutra:


“Further, Ever-Vigorous, if a good man or a good woman, after the passing into stillness of the Thus Come One, receives and upholds this Sutra, whether reading, reciting, explaining it to others or writing it out, he will obtain twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the mind. With his pure mind, by hearing so much as a single verse or a single sentence, he will comprehend limitless, boundless meanings.

Having understood these meanings, he will then be able to expound on a single sentence or a single verse for as long as a month, four months, or up to a year. All the Dharma he speaks will accord with the meaning and purport, and none of it will contradict the Real Mark.

If he speaks on worldly texts, expounds on the principles of government, or follows an occupation to make a living, it will all accord with the proper Dharma. In the three thousand great thousand world system, all the living beings of the six destinies, their mental processes, their mental activities, the frivolous assertions in their minds, all these he completely knows. Although he has not yet gained the non-outflow wisdom, still his mind is as pure as this. All of this person’s thoughts, calculations, or pronouncements are Buddhadharma, and none are not true and real, and all have been spoken in the Sutras of former Buddhas.”

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

“This person’s mind is pure,
Bright, sharp, and immaculate.
With this wonderful mind,
He knows superior, middle and inferior Dharmas.

If he hears but a single verse,
He comprehends limitless meanings
And speaks them in good order according to Dharma,
For a month, four months, or a year.

Inside and outside this world,
All the living beings,
Be they gods, dragons, or humans,
Yakshas, ghosts, or spirits,
All those in the six destinies,
All of their different thoughts,
The upholder of the Dharma Flower,
As a reward, knows all at once.

The countless Buddhas in the ten directions,
Adorned with the marks of a hundred blessings,
Speak the Dharma for living beings.
He hears it all and can receive and hold it.

He ponders limitless meanings
And speaks limitless Dharmas, too,
Without a mistake or omission from beginning to end,
Because he upholds the Dharma Flower.

He completely knows the marks of all Dharmas,
And recognizes their meaningful sequence.
Knowing the names and words,
He expounds on them as he understands them.

What this person says
Is all the Dharma of former Buddhas.
And because he expounds on this Dharma,
He is fearless in the assembly.

The one who upholds the Dharma Flower
Has a pure mind like this.
Although he has not yet attained to no-outflows,
He already has such marks as these.

This person, upholding the Sutra,
Dwells securely on rare ground,
And all living beings
Delight in him, cherish and revere him.

He can, with a thousand myriads of kinds
Of skillful, clever words,
Speak the Dharma in detail,
Because he upholds the Dharma Flower.”

Outline:

F6. The mind.


Commentary:

“Further, Ever-Vigorous, if a good man or a good woman who keeps the five precepts and cultivates the ten good deeds, after the passing into stillness of the Thus Come One, receives and upholds this Sutra, whether reading, reciting, explaining it to others or writing it out, he will obtain twelve hundred meritorious virtues of the mind.” Why will he obtain these merits? With his pure mind, his superior mental faculty, by hearing so much as a single verse or a single sentence, he will comprehend limitless, boundless meanings. Hearing one sentence or one verse, he will be able to understand infinite meanings.

Having understood these meanings, he will then be able to expound on a single sentence or a single verse for as long as a month, four months, or up to a year. Out of one meaning, he can derive limitless meanings. The limitless meanings revert back to the one sentence. The one sentence can be lectured for a month. The “month” represents the Real Mark Dharma of the One Vehicle. “Four months” represents the Dharma of the Four Truths. “A year” is twelve months and represents the Dharma of the Twelve Conditioned Causes.

All the Dharma he speaks, based on a single sentence or verse, will accord with the meaning and purport of the primary meaning, and none of it will contradict the Real Mark. If he speaks on worldly texts, like the Five Classics or the Four Books; expounds on the principles of government, or follows an occupation to make a living, doing some kind of worldly business to support himself, it will all accord with the proper Dharma.

In the three thousand great thousand world system, all the living beings of the six destinies, their mental processes, their mental activities, the first stirrings of thought, the frivolous assertions in their minds, which they have not yet verbalized. They might think, “I would really like to be emperor. What if I ran for president? Would I get any votes?” Or perhaps an old person thinks, “Could I be a child again?” Or perhaps a young person looks at an older person and thinks, “He has such a long beard. Could I grow one, too?” All these are just silly thoughts. The Bodhisattva, he who lectures on the Dharma Flower Sutra, completely knows about all of this false thinking.

Although he has not yet gained the non-outflow wisdom, he has not certified to the fruit, still his mind is as pure as this; he has attained this state of purity. All of this person’s thoughts, calculations, or pronouncements are Buddhadharma. Not only are they Buddhadharma, they are Wonderful Dharma. Not only are they Wonderful Dharma, they are inconceivable Dharma! And none are not true and real. We have false thinking; he has true thinking. His is true because he upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra. Why doesn’t your false thinking become true? Because you do not receive and uphold the Dharma Flower Sutra. Your every thought, word, or deed would be true and real if you upheld this Sutra. And all have been spoken in the Sutras of former Buddhas. In every move and every word, this Dharma Master is in accord with the Wonderful Dharma of the Real Mark.

The doctrines he speaks can all be found in the Sutras spoken by Buddhas of the past. Even though he has not read the entire Tripitaka, he already possesses the insight of its doctrines. Why? Because he has obtained the wonderful advantages gained by one who receives and upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra. He has this wonderful Samadhi, something people cannot conceive of.

At that time the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying. Since these doctrines are extremely wonderful, he wished to repeat them in verse.

This person’s mind is pure.
He has obtained a pure, superior mind, bright, sharp, and immaculate. His mind contains a great deal of wisdom and intelligence. It is free of all filth and defilement; it is very pure. With this wonderful mind, he knows superior, middle and inferior Dharmas. If he hears but a single verse, he comprehends limitless meanings. He awakens and he gets enlightened; he penetrates to the Real Mark of all Dharmas. That is called “deeply entering the Sutra store and gaining wisdom like the sea.”

And speaks them in good order according to Dharma, in a very logical, orderly fashion,for a month, four months, or a year. He can speak on a single verse for a month, four months, or even a year. The one month represents the Real Mark Dharma of the One Vehicle. Four months represents the Four Truths. A year, twelve months, represents the Twelve Conditioned Causes.

Inside and outside this world, all the living beings, be they gods, dragons, or humans, yakshas, ghosts, or spirits, all those in the six destinies, all of their different thoughts, the upholder of the Dharma Flower
knows. This person understands which living beings will be a horse, a cow, a pigeon, a chicken, a duck, a dog, a cat, a tiger, or a lion. He knows all of this. He knows all the thoughts in the minds of living beings. The Vajra Sutra says: “The Thus Come One knows all of the thoughts in the minds of living beings.” The one who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra knows them as well. That is inconceivable. As a reward, he knows them all at once. He has obtained that kind of reward.

The countless Buddhas in the ten directions
are adorned with the marks of a hundred blessings. The Buddhas cultivated blessings and wisdom for three asamkhyeya eons and perfected the fine marks for a hundred eons. Thus they attained all these adorned marks and speak the Dharma for living beings. He hears it all and can receive and hold it. When he hears the Dharma spoken by the Buddhas, he can immediately receive and uphold it. He ponders limitless meanings. Understanding one doctrine, he can understand limitless doctrines. The limitless doctrines then return to one doctrine. We say,

One root divides into a myriad branches;
The myriad branches then return to one root.

And speaks limitless Dharmas, too, without a mistake or omission from beginning to end. He never forgets anything or makes a mistake. He has such a great memory because he upholds the Dharma Flower. Where did such wisdom and intelligence come from? By upholding the Dharma Flower Sutra, he completely knows the marks of all Dharmas, the Real Mark, and recognizes their meaningful sequence. According to the meaning of the Sutra, he knows the sequence of the Dharma.

Knowing the names and words, having attained the “Samadhi of names and languages,” he expounds on them as he understands them. He takes what he has awakened to, what he understands, and explains it to the multitudes. What this person says, the one who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra,is all the Dharma of former Buddhas. It has been spoken by the Buddhas of the past. And because he expounds on this Dharma, this Wonderful Dharma, he is fearless in the assembly. The one who upholds the Dharma Flower has a pure mind like this. He has a superior mind; it is pure.

Although he has not yet attained to no-outflows,
he has not certified to the fruit, he already has such marks as these. This person, upholding the Sutra, dwells securely on rare ground. He stands on the most supreme and rare ground. And all living beings delight in him, cherish and revere him. Everyone who sees him likes him. They cherish him and revere him. He can, with a thousand myriads of kinds of skillful, clever words and analogies, speak the Buddhadharma, speak the Dharma in detail, very clearly expound on the Buddhadharma, because he upholds the Dharma Flower. Why is he so clear in his explanations? Why does he speak so wonderfully? Because he receives and upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra.

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