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Expedient Devices

Chapter 2



Throughout countless eons in the past,
Innumerable extinct Buddhas,
Hundreds of thousand of myriads of millions of them,
A number beyond all calculation,
World Honored Ones such as these,
Used various conditions, analogies,
And the power of countless expedients,
To proclaim the marks of all dharmas.

All of those World Honored Ones,
Spoke the Dharma of One Vehicle,
Transforming beings without limit,
Leading them to the Buddha Path.


J2. The Buddhas of the past.
K1. General explanation: opening and revealing.


Throughout countless eons in the past. Limitless eons in the past, a countless number of them, and these eons were not small eons; they were great eons.

What is a great eon? Basically, there is no fixed way to measure time, as it is not real. But, because living beings make discriminations with their minds, the past, present, and future come into being. Time in itself basically is without a past, present, or future. These three come into being through the discriminations made in the minds of living beings. In The Vajra Sutra, the Buddha says very plainly that there is no such thing as time. He says, “Past thought cannot be got at; present thought cannot be got at; future thought cannot be got at.”

What is meant by, “Past thought cannot be got at?” It is because what is past is past. If you say, “This is past,” it has already gone by. You cannot get at it.

As to present thought, if you say, “This is present,” just as you say it, it goes by. The present does not stay. The past has already gone by and the present goes right on by, too. It does not stay in one place.

The future cannot be got at because it has not yet come. So why are you going out to welcome it? If it has not arrived, you need not go out to meet it. The future just has not got here yet. The present cannot be held in one place; therefore, it also does not exist. The past has gone; you should not go chasing after it. The three phases of thought ultimately cannot be got at.

Speaking of the three phases of thought as unobtainable, in Si Chuan there was a Dharma Master by the name of Zhou who specialized in explaining The Vajra Sutra. Not only did he excel at explaining it orally, but he also wrote a commentary on it. He titles his commentary: The Green Dragon Commentary and Notes. He heard that in the south, in Yangzhou, those who had left the home-life were investigating Chan and sitting in meditation and no one lectured on the Sutras or spoke the Dharma.

He sighed and said, “These people are all the sons and grandsons of demons. In Buddhism, one should lecture on the Sutras and the Dharma. What is the use of sitting in meditation all day long?” so he put his Green Dragon Commentary and Notes in two baskets, fastened them to a pole, shouldered the pole, and set out on foot for Yangzhou. He planned to lecture on the Sutras there and teach and transform living beings.

Just as he was nearing Yangzhou he saw a pastry shop. An old woman was running the store. At that very moment he felt a pang of hunger and decided to buy a piece of pastry. He put down his pole and said, “I would like a pastry please.”

The old woman asked him, “Where are you from?”

“I have come from Si Chuan,” he replied.

“What are you carrying that load of paper for?” she asked. “Where do you plan on selling it?”

The Dharma Master said, “Ah! This is my commentary on The Vajra Sutra. It is certainly not for sale!”

“Really?” A commentary on The Vajra Sutra?” she said. “In The Vajra Sutra there are three sentences I would like you to explain for me.”

Hearing this, Vajra Zhou said, “For heaven’s sake, I wrote a commentary on the entire Sutra. I should hope I could answer your question. Ask away!”

She said, “Dharma Master, as you comment on the passage of the Sutra which says, ‘Past thought cannot be got at; present thought cannot be got at; future thought cannot be got at,’ I would ask you today, which pastry would you like to take?”

With that one question, Vajra Zhou’s mouth fell shut and he was speechless. He ultimately did not know which cake to take, that is, how to answer her. He realized that his theories did not hold water. Consequently, he put his commentary in storage and headed for Kao Min Monastery to do some work in the meditation hall. Eventually he became enlightened and then knew that the entire Dharma storehouse can be understood only through concentrated effort on real practice. If you do not work hard and only talk, you can talk coming and going, vertically and horizontally, and your words are nothing but the skin. You have not realized the genuine principles contained within the Sutras. In the Great Master Yung Chia’s Song of Certifying to the Way, he says,

With penetration of the sect,
And penetration of speech,
Samadhi and wisdom are perfect and clear,
And there is no attachment to emptiness.

“Penetration of the sect” means not only can he lecture on the Sutras and speak the Dharma, but he is also able to investigate dhyana and sit in meditation. “Penetration of speech” means that he can lecture on the Sutras and speak the Dharma. This is called “Penetration of both the sect and the speaking.” The “sect” refers to the Chan (Dhyana) School. He understand them both and therefore, “Samadhi and wisdom are perfect and clear,” Why has he penetrated the sect? It is because he has samadhi power and wisdom power. Samadhi power and wisdom power perfectly interpenetrates. Samadhi aids the wisdom, and wisdom aids the samadhi. To have samadhi but no wisdom is merely to penetrate the sect, and not to penetrate the teachings. To have wisdom but no samadhi is only to penetrate the teachings and not to penetrate the sect.

The verse says, “Samadhi and wisdom are perfect and clear. And there is no attachment to emptiness.” He does not have an attachment to Dharma, nor does he have an attachment to self. He has no attachment to self, no attachment to Dharma, and also no attachment to emptiness. He has no attachment to people, to self, or to emptiness. This is the perfect clarity of samadhi and wisdom, without attachment to emptiness.

You may ask, “In explaining the word ‘eon,’ since you said that there is no past, present, or future, then why do we still speak of the past, present, and future?”

Did I not just tell you? It is because, in their minds, living beings have these thoughts of discrimination. That is why we talk about the past, present, and future.

But just what is an “eon?” That is a complicated question and we really do not have enough “time” to go into it. Let‘s say that, “one increasing and one decreasing constitute an eon.”

What is meant by, “one increasing and one decreasing?”

“Decreasing” means that every hundred years, the human life span decreases by one year and the average height decreases by one inch. When human life expectancy has decreased to ten years, it again begins to increase. It increases in the same way, one year and one inch every one hundred years, until human life expectancy reaches eighty-four thousand years. At that point it begins to decrease again. When it has decreased again to eighty thousand years, Maitreya Bodhisattva will appear in the world as a Buddha. One cycle of increase and decrease is called an aeon.

One thousand of these eons is called a “small eon.” One thousand small eons is called a “middle-sized eon.” Four middle-sized eons make up a “great eon.”

Our world is divided into periods of becoming, dwelling, decay, and emptiness. The becoming (creation) of a world lasts for twenty small eons. The periods of decay and emptiness also last for twenty small eons. Therefore, within a great eon is contained the complete cycle of becoming, dwelling, decay, and emptiness. That is what is called a great eon

And here in the text, how many great eons are we speaking of? An uncountable number. Why do I say they are uncountable? It is because they are beyond all count; there is no way you could calculate their number.

Innumerable extinct Buddhas. Within these countless eons, an unlimited number of Buddhas became Buddhas and then entered Nirvana. This took a very long time. Hundreds of thousands of myriads of millions of them, a number beyond all calculation, World Honored Ones such as these, used various conditions and analogies, expedient Dharma-doors and the power of countless expedients to proclaim the marks of all dharmas. They proclaim the real mark of all dharmas.

There are one hundred dharmas, and also a thousand dharmas, ten thousand dharmas, an unlimited number of dharmas. What are the hundred dharmas? There are eleven kinds of form dharmas, eight mind dharmas, fifty-one dharmas belonging to the mind, twenty-four dharmas not interacting with the mind, and six unconditioned dharmas. A verse about the hundred dharmas goes:

Form dharmas are of eleven different kinds,
Eight kinds of dharmas are of the mind.
Fifty-one belong, twenty-four do not interact,
Plus six unconditioned make one hundred in fact.

But all of these dharmas are spoken for the sake of the Real Mark Dharma.

All of those World Honored Ones, spoke the Dharma of One Vehicle. They all speak of the Buddha Vehicle, the real wisdom. They open the provisional to reveal the real. The Three Storehouse Teaching, which they set forth previously, was to manifest the provisional for the sake of the real. But their final destination is to speak the wonderful doctrine of the Real Mark, in other words the doctrines discussed in The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. Transforming beings without limit, they teach and transform an unlimited number of beings leading them to the Buddha Path.

With scanty virtue and few blessings. They have very little virtue; therefore, their blessed retribution is also very small. They are oppressed by scores of sufferings. They undergo all the different kinds of sufferings, the three sufferings, the eight sufferings, the limitless sufferings.

They enter into the dense forest of deviant views. They run into the thickets of deviant views. So many of them! How can they ever find their way out again? Those of existence, non-existence and the like. “Existence” refers to the view of permanence and “non-existence” refers to the view of annihilationism. The dense forest of deviant views refers to the general list of sixty-two views.

They become dependent on those views—they strike up a friendship with all these views and come to depend upon them. Sixty-two of them in all. There are a lot these views, but generally they can be listed under sixty-two categories.

And what are the sixty-two views? I have not explained them before, but now I will. You have all heard of the five skandhas: form, feelings, thought, activity, and consciousness. Those of outside religions think: “Form is large and I am small. Form pervades the Dharma Realm. I am very small and am within the form.” This is really stupid. How could they run inside of form? How in the heck! It is ridiculous and it does not make sense. But they make up this theory anyway and say, “Form is great and I am small. I am within form.” That is theory number one.

Another outside religion comes up with the theory, “Form is small and I am great. Form is within me.” This is the exact opposite of the first theory. Ultimately, what form is, they do not know, but form jumped right into them! That is theory number two.

Another outside religion has this deviant view: “Form is just me.” That makes three. Another outside religion says, “Form is apart from me.” They have nothing to base their deviant views on. But that makes four of them:

1. Form is great. I am small. I am within form.
2. Form is small. I am great. Form is within me.
3. Form is me.
4. Form is apart from me.

These four propositions apply to the remaining for skandhas as well. For example:

1. Feeling is great. I am small. I am within feeling.
2. Feeling is small. I am great. Feeling is within me.
3. Feeling itself is me.
4. What is apart from feeling is me.

The same four propositions apply to thinking, activity, and consciousness. The four propositions apply to the five skandhas make a total of twenty views.

These twenty views are of the present. The same twenty may also be applied to the past and to the future. Thus, the twenty views times the three periods of time make a total of sixty views.

What about the remaining two views?

They are simply the view of permanence and the view of annihilation. It is mentioned in the Sutra text as the view of existence and the view of non-existence.

These sixty-two views make no sense at all, really. Do not ask me how they arrived at them. They basically have no principle behind them. They are just set up as deviant views. If you look for some principle behind them, you will fall into deviant views yourself. There is no principle behind them, but we should know what they are. We should also know that they are based on no principle whatever.

Deeply attached to illusory dharmas, those of outside ways are deeply, profoundly attached to these illusory dharmas. And what are they? The sixty-two views.

They hold them tightly and cannot let them go. They insist that their views have principle. “That is the way it is,” they say. “I am great and form is small,” and so on. They are stubbornly attached and refuse to change. This is like certain people who are superstitiously attached to their own religions. They do not seek out true principle; they do not pay any attention to whether it is right or wrong. They hold tightly to their beliefs with solid faith, faith even stronger than faith in the Buddha or the Dharma Masters. If you tell him to change he says, “No way! These dogmas are revealed by our infallible patriarchs and they cannot be changed. If you change them you’ve committed a mortal sin. You are damned to hell and lightning might even strike you dead! I cannot change the dogmas. I must believe in this religion.”

I have something to tell all of you: Whoever does not believe in what I say may be reassured that you will not be struck dead by lightning. If you do not believe in the Buddha, you will not be struck by lightning either. Go ahead and refuse to believe. Later, when you have thought it over clearly, you will come back and believe. Now, if because you are confused, you believe in outside religions, that is all right, because when you finally wake up, you will come back to Buddhism. Why do I say this? It is because no matter what religion you believe in, it does not surpass Buddhism. All religions are contained within the Buddhadharma.

However, there are long ways around, and there are short cuts. If you believe in other religions, you will have a longer walk. If you believe in Buddhism, you have got a head start. If you believe in Buddhism you will understand sooner, get enlightened faster, and become a Buddha first thing. So I have a lot of disciples who listen to the Sutra for a while and then run off. I do not pay any attention to them. If you want to run, then run. When you have run enough, you will come back.

Before you have run enough, of course you are going to want to run. But it is no problem. It is just like the five thousand who walked out. It is also like eating. When people are full, they do not care to eat. Once they get hungry, they start thinking about food again. One’s attitude toward the Buddhadharma works the same way. If you think you do not need the Buddhadharma, if you are not hungry for it, you may run off. When you have run until you are hungry again, you will come back for some more.

Those of outside religions cling to their deviant views and cannot let them go.

Arrogant, they brag of their loftiness. They are haughty and self-satisfied. They are always up on a soapbox praising themselves. “Have you seen me? Me, me, me—hah! You cannot compare with me. Anything you can do I can do better!” That is to hold oneself in high esteem, to put oneself up on a pedestal. This is like a certain person who came here and said that he was extremely high-minded. This is just “bragging of one’s own loftiness.” What is the point of doing that anyway? If your heart is filled with pride, you are turning your back on the Way. Students of the Way should be respectful of others. At all times they should cultivate an attitude of humility.

They are flatterers, their hearts insincere. What is flattery? It is being a synchophant. When they see the Governor coming, they open the car-door for him, pour his tea, and light his cigarettes. They simply cannot do enough for him. They are not even that respectful towards the Buddha! When they see a high official coming, they invariably find a way to rub elbows with him. They are not sincere. They are not straightforward. For example, basically they may be out to borrow money from you because they know you have got it, but they do not come out directly and say, “I would like to borrow some money from you.” What do they say?

“Ah, today I need a little money. I think I will go ask so and so if I can borrow it from him.” They say this hoping that you will “volunteer” to help them out. Their tactics are round about, crooked, and devious.

Throughout ten billion eons, they do not hear the Buddhas’s name, nor do they hear the Proper Dharma. They do not hear the Buddha’s name and they do not have a chance to listen to the Sutras. Why not? They lack good roots.

Those of you who are able to listen to the lectures on the sutras all have good roots. People without good roots might come and sit for a minute, but they would soon feel like they were sitting on needles. “Ouch!” They would hurry and get up and run away. Why? It is because they have no good roots, and they cannot sit for even a second before running off.

Here in San Francisco we lecture the Sutras every evening. I ask you, are those who do not come here to listen to the Buddhadharma in the majority or are those who do come in the majority? This question is like the one the Buddha asked his disciples. He picked up a handful of earth and said, “Take a look. Is there more dirt in my hand or is there more on the ground?”

The disciples answered, saying, “Naturally there is more dirt on the ground and less in the Thus come One’s hand.”

The Buddha said, “Those who obtain a human body are like the dirt in my hand; those who lose the body of a human being are like the dirt on the earth.” Those who lose their human body and are unable to return in their next life as a person are as many as the vast amount of dirt on the Earth. Instead of being reborn in a human body, they fall instead into the three evil paths and become ghosts or animals.

Now, I can make an analogy, too. Those who come to listen to the Sutra lectures are like the dirt in my hand. Those who do not come to listen to the Sutras are like the dirt on the Earth. See how rare they are? Those who come to hear the Sutras are like gold. They all have good roots. Those who do not come are like dirt. You all have a very rare opportunity to listen to the Dharma. In all of America, you will not find another Buddha Hall where the Sutras are lectured every night. They may lecture once a week, but here we lecture every single night. This is really inconceivable. In the future you are all destined to become the pioneers of American Buddhism.

Such people are difficult to save. People like this, people without good roots, are especially hard to take across. In San Francisco, with its population of several hundred of thousands of people, only these twenty or so are really determined to listen to the Sutras. Rare indeed! Those without good roots are hard to save. You can teach them the clear, correct, principles of the Buddhadharma. They will listen and know that you are correct, but they will still oppose you. Would you say this was strange or not? Why does this happen? It happens because they have no good roots. If they had good roots, they would listen to the Buddhadharma and put it into practice.

In China, at Gold Mountain, there was one they called the “Living Buddha.” He listened to the Sutras, and no matter which Dharma Master was lecturing, he would kneel and place his palms together, reverently listening to every word. Would you say he was sincere or not?

They called him the “Living Buddha” because one time he jumped off the top of the Gold Pagoda and when he hit bottom, nothing happened—he did not die. He was able to cure people’s illnesses, too. He used “Paramita soup,” as medicine. Paramita soup was what he called the water he had just washed his feet in. He would add some fragrant ashes or some sawdust to it and give it to the sick person to drink. Once the sick person drank it, he would be cured.

In the West it is extremely rare to be able to attend a Dharma Assembly such as this one. Today, I spoke with my disciples about how important it is to lecture on the Sutras. In the future, in the Dharma-Ending Age, the Buddhist Sutras will disappear. The paper will remain, but the words will just fade away, and you will not be able to read them. The first Sutra to disappear will be The Shurangama Sutra. That is why, in coming to the West to spread the Dharma, I first lectured The Shurangama Sutra, the Sutra for developing wisdom. If you look into the doctrines discussed in the sutra you will find that they are truly much more wonderful than any theories propounded by modern day science or philosophy, as the doctrines in the Sutra are ultimate.

Now that I have finished lecturing The Shurangama Sutra, I am lecturing The Dharma Flower Sutra. When I have finished lecturing it, I intend to lecture The Avatamsaka Sutra for you. That is even more wonderful! The Dharma Flower Sutra is called the king of Sutras, but The Avatamsaka Sutra is really the king of the kings of Sutras. The Avatamsaka is like a Gold Wheel-turning sage king, and the Dharma Flower is like a Silver Wheel-turning sage king. The Shurangama is like a Copper Wheel-turning sage king. They are the three kings among the Sutras.

Where did The Avatamsaka Sutra come from? After the Buddha realized Buddhahood, the first thing he did was to speak this Sutra. When he spoke it, those of the Two Vehicles could not hear him. They could not even see him. It is said,

They had eyes, but could not see the Nishyanda Buddha.
They had ears, but could not hear the Perfect, Sudden Teaching.

The Buddha manifested a ten thousand feet high body to speak the Sutra, and although they had eyes, they could not see it. They had ears, but they could not hear the perfect, sudden teaching. Those of the Two Vehicles could not understand it, and only the Great Vehicle Bodhisattvas were clear about it. Later, it was taken by the Dragon King to the Dragon Palace and it disappeared from the human realm. Later, the Fourteenth Patriarch, Nagarjuna, “Dragon Tree,”

Bodhisattva, who had mastered all worldly literature, used his spiritual penetrations to go down to the Dragon Palace to take a look at their Tripitaka. There he found the three volume set of The Great Avatamsaka Sutra. The first volume contained chapters in number equal to dust motes in ten great trichiliocosms. The second volume had twelve hundred chapters and four hundred and ninety-eight thousand eight hundred verses. The third volume contained forty-eight chapters and one hundred thousand verses. The standard Chinese edition translated during the Tang Dynasty by Tripitaka Master Shiksananda, contains thirty-nine chapters.

Since he had no way to remember all of it, he only memorized the last volume. When he came back, he wrote it out. He read it once and remembered it perfectly. His memory was extremely good. That is where The Avatamsaka Sutra came from.

So, when we have finished The Dharma Flower Sutra, we shall hear The Great Avatamsaka Sutra. Having heard the three kings of Sutras and understood them, you will then be able to understand all the other Sutras on you own, without having them explained to you.

Here in the West, the Buddhadharma has just begun to flourish. It is fitting that the Great Vehicle Dharma be propagated in order to teach and transform the Great Vehicle Bodhisattvas. Do not see yourselves as insignificant. You are all ones who in the past made vows agreeing to come to America with me to help me propagate the Buddhadharma. That is why I have now met with you extremely intelligent Westerners who come here every day to study the Buddhadharma; this is because of a far-reaching affinity, a cause which goes way back, and which was planted long, long ago. I am telling you the truth; you should not disbelieve it.


Further, all great Sagely Lords,
Know the deep desires in the hearts
Of all the gods, humans, and other beings
Within all the worlds.

Using different expedients,
Which help to reveal the foremost principle.
If there are living beings
Who have met with Buddhas in the past
Heard the Dharma, practiced giving,
Morality, patience, and vigor
Dhyanasamadhi, wisdom, and so on,
Cultivating blessings and wisdom,
Persons such as these
Have all realized the Buddha path.


K2. Extensive explanation: opening and revealing.
L1. Expedient devices shown as help to reveal the actual teaching.

L2. Showing the characteristics of opening the provisional and revealing the actual.

M1. Showing the virtues of planting aiding causes toward cultivatin of the ten thousand conducts.

N1. Explaining opening and revealing with regard to cultivation of the six paramitas.


Further, all great Sagely Lords, all the Buddhas, know the deep desires in the hearts of all the gods, humans, and other beings within all the worlds. There is the world of sentience and the material world. The world of sentience is also called the Orthodox Retribution World and the Dependent Retribution World. Using different expedients which help to reveal the foremost principle. Because they understand the thoughts of desire of living beings, they set forth provisional, clever, expedient device Dharma-doors to rescue living beings. The expedients include the Hearer Vehicle, the Conditioned-Enlightened Vehicle, and the Bodhisattva Vehicle.

If there are living beings, who have met with Buddhas in the past, in former lives, heard the Dharma, practiced giving, morality, patience, and vigor, dhyana samadhi, wisdom, and so on. If any of the different kinds of living beings listened to the Buddhadharma, to the teaching of the Six Perfections, then they may have decided to practice them. Giving is the first of the Six Perfections. There are three kinds of giving: the giving of wealth, the giving of the Dharma, and the giving of fearlessness. Giving cures one of stinginess. If you are a miser, you cannot practice giving. If you practice giving, you can reduce your miserliness.

Morality, the second of the Six Perfections, cures one of bad conduct.

Patience, the third Perfection, crosses over anger. Do you like to lose your temper? You should cultivate the Perfection of Patience and not get angry. Change your attitude; change your temperament. When people with quick tempers refrain from getting angry, that is patience.

Vigor is the fourth perfection; it takes laxness across. Are you lazy? Cultivate vigor!

Dhyana samadhi, the fifth, cures one of scatteredness. Do you lack samadhi power? Then you should cultivate it. If you do not cultivate it, you will never have it.

The last of the Six Perfections is that of wisdom. What does wisdom cross over? Stupidity. If you have wisdom, your stupidity will turn to wisdom; if you have no wisdom, your wisdom turns into stupidity. It is one thing but it goes by two names. The other five Perfections work the same way. Patience is simply the transformation of anger. Vigor is the transformation of laziness. Dhyana samadhi is the transformation of scatteredness. It is just a matter of making the transformation. If you break precepts, but then keep them, you have transformed your precept-breaking into morality.

Giving is the transformation of stinginess. So you cannot part with anything? It is just because you cannot let go that you cannot obtain anything. If you want to “get,” you first must give. If you do not give, you cannot receive.

Stinginess: You really do not want to part with that money, do you? Giving money is like cutting off your own flesh. To part with a penny brings a pain to your heart and a pain to your liver.

The Six Perfections must be cultivated in order to realize Buddhahood.

Cultivating blessings and wisdom; by practicing the Six Perfections, you cultivate blessings and wisdom. Persons such as these, have all realized the Buddha path. Figure it out. How long did it take them to practice the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Conducts in order to realize Buddhahood? In the beginning, they cultivated good on a small scale, but it continued to build up until it was a great amount of goodness. From one act of goodness, many acts of goodness grew. From the cultivation of one blessing, many blessings came to be cultivated. Then when both blessings and wisdom were perfected, they accomplished Buddhahood.

Now, we are beginning to cultivate. None of us knows how many lives we have cultivated previously. But no matter how many lifetimes one has been cultivating, whether one has, in fact, cultivated at all in the past, one should still cultivate. You cannot not cultivate. You cannot say, for example, “Since I did not cultivate in former lives, I might as well forget about doing it now.” That way, you will never have any blessings or wisdom. If you did not cultivate in former lives, you should start cultivating now. If you did cultivate in former lives, you should continue to cultivate. You should not worry about whether or not you planted blessings and wisdom in former lives. In this present life we have encountered the supreme Buddhadharma, and so we should certainly begin and be vigorous and brave right up until we become Buddhas, at which time we can consider our work finished.


When those Buddhas have become extinct
If there are those with compliant hearts,
Beings such as these
Have attained the Buddha Way.

After the extinction of those Buddhas,
Those who have made offerings to their sharira,
Building millions of kinds of stupas,
Made of gold, silver, or of crystal,
Mother-of-pearl, carnelian,
Rose quartz, lapis lazuli, and other gems,
Clear, pure and most ornate,
Worked to grace the stupas,
Or should there be those who have built temples
Out of stone, chandana, or aloeswood,
Hovenia, or other timbers,
Bricks, clay, and the like,
Or those who, in the barren waste,
Have piled up earth into a Buddha-shrine,
Or even children who, at play,
Have piled up sand to make a stupa,
All persons such as these,
Have realized the Buddha Way.


N2. Explaining opening and revealing with regard to longing and sorrow.
N3. Explaining opening and revealing with regard to offerings made to sharira.


When those Buddhas have become extinct, have entered Nirvana, if there are those with compliant hearts, if they have brought forth gentle hearts and are not head-strong, although at first glance it may not look like they have many good roots, gradually they will pile up merit and virtue. Eventually after a time beings such as these, have attained the Buddha way. They have already become Buddhas.

After the extinction of those Buddhas, those who have made offerings to their sharira, those who have built pagodas to contain the relics of the Buddhas so that offerings can be made to them. Building millions of kinds of stupas; stupas to hold the relics of the Buddhas should be thirteen stories high. Stupas for Pratyekabuddhas should be five stories high. Stupas for fourth Stage Arhats should be four stories high. Stupas for third stage Arhats should be three stories high. Stupas for second stage Arhats should be two stories high, and stupas for first stage Arhats should be one story.

What are the stupas made out of? Made of gold, silver, or of crystal, mother-of-pearl, carnelian, rose quartz, lapis lazuli, and other gems, clear, pure and most ornate, worked to grace the stupas. The gems are intertwined and hang in chains around the top of the stupas.

Or should there be those who have built temples out of stone, chandana, or aloeswood, hovenia or other timbers, bricks, clay and the like; or those who, in the barren wastes have piled up earth into a Buddha-shrine; or even children who, at play have piled up sand to make a stupa, all persons such as these, have realized the Buddha way. All of these different kinds of people have accumulated a vast amount of merit and virtue. They all become Buddhas.

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