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

Chapter 21: The Spiritual Powers of the Thus Come One

Sutra:

“Therefore, all of you, after the passing of the Thus Come One, should with a single mind receive, uphold, read, recite, and explain it, write it out, and cultivate it as spoken. Those who receive, uphold, read, recite, explain, write out, and cultivate it as spoken, in whatever land they may be, in a place where the Sutra is kept, whether in a garden, in a forest, or beneath a tree; in a Sangha dwelling; in the dwelling of the white-robed; in a palace or hall; or in the mountains, valleys, or wilderness—in all of these places they should build a stupa and make offerings.”

Outline:

F3. Exhortation and entrustment.

Commentary:

Therefore, all of you, after the passing of the Thus Come One, should with a single mind receive, uphold, read, recite, and explain it, write it out, and cultivate it as spoken. In cultivation the most important thing is to be single-minded. No matter what you do, you should turn to one. Do not have two minds. If you have two minds, there is no response. Those who believe in the Buddha should do so with one mind and have no doubts. Do not think, "Is there really a Buddha? Wouldn't it be better to be a Catholic or some kind of Protestant?" If you are that scattered, no matter what you do, you would not gain merit and virtue or accomplishment. So you must turn your mind to one.

Now we are having a Guanyin Session. You could say that this is a Dharma hard to meet in a hundred thousand myriad eons. You should not think that it is so simple to recite "Namo Guanshiyin Pusa." For every line you recite, there is one line of advantage gained. The “Universal Door Chapter” says, "If a person has much desire and always recites, reverently, the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva, he will be separated from desire." Isn't that a great advantage? If you have a lot of desire and lust, then your mind will not be peaceful. How do you leave desire? By reciting the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva.

"If a person has much hatred and always recites, reverently, the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva, he will be separated from hatred." Let us say there is a person who gets mad all the time and rages with the fire of ignorance, like a tiger—very fierce. It is said,

The fire of ignorance,
The spirit of a tiger,
Are the results of offenses
Committed in the past.

If you always recite Guanyin Bodhisattva's name, your hatred will decrease.

I will tell you something. I used to have a bigger temper than anyone. I was always getting mad at people. If I was not beating them, then I was yelling at them. I have told you this many times. When I was little I loved to hit and scold people. No matter who they were, they had to submit to me. Anyone who refused to follow my orders got clobbered. Now I no longer like to hit or scold people. I do not know how I got rid of my anger, but it is gone.

"Sure, we know, we know," you say. "He has still got a big temper!"

You never saw it when it was really big! It would have scared you to death. I got rid of my temper by reciting the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva.

"If a person is very stupid, but always recites reverently the name of Guanyin Bodhisattva, he will be separated from stupidity." Now we are having a Guanyin Session and everyone--left-home and laypeople--should recite if you have time. Do not fail to participate. If you are especially busy or tied up with some business, that is one thing. Otherwise, laypeople who are not working should come and recite. If you recite one phrase, it is better than earning a hundred dollars a day. You should not think, "What use is reciting Guanyin Bodhisattva's name?" It is very useful.

"But if I earn a hundred dollars, I can buy things to eat. If I recite Guanyin Bodhisattva's name, that is not going to fill me up when I am hungry."

That is because you do not have a true heart. If you had a true heart, you would automatically become full. Not only would you be full, but when Guanyin Bodhisattva gave you some sweet dew, you would recite and feel it was sweeter than honey. If you do not recite, you would not attain this state; but if you do recite, it will happen naturally. I am definitely not cheating you. If you are sincere and recite Guanyin Bodhisattva's name, it is sweeter than eating candy. You do not know about the good points, and so you think you can goof off or make phone calls or do other things. You are just wasting precious time and not being single-minded. Concentrating on one thing, you forget everything else. You forget about eating; you forget about wearing clothes: all that remains is that one sentence, "Namo Guanshiyin Pusa." If you can be like that, then Guanshiyin Bodhisattva will pour sweet dew on your crown, pat you on the head, and say, "You are really a good kid. Good boy! Good girl! Bring forth the great resolve for Bodhi. I will help you. Cultivate the true, and you will get a share and make progress in the Way, free from demons."

Then your cultivation will be successful. But you have to be sincere. And so the present Sutra passage says, "with a single mind receive it, uphold it, read it, recite it, explain it, and write it out, and cultivate it as spoken." You cultivate in accord with the doctrines in the Dharma Flower Sutra.

"What doctrine is that?" you ask.

I have told you a million times! It is a doctrine wonderful beyond words. You forgot it? Never-Slighting Bodhisattva bowed whenever he met anyone, saying, "I dare not slight you, for you will all become Buddhas." Note that he said, "You will become Buddhas." He did not say, "I am a Buddha." He forgot himself. He was cultivating according to the doctrines in the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Those who receive, uphold, read, recite, explain, write out, and cultivate it as spoken, in whatever land they may be, in a place where the Sutra is kept: whether in a garden or a pavilion, in a forest, or beneath a tree; in a Sangha dwelling; in the dwelling of the white-robed, that is, at a layperson's home; in a palace or hall, such as a Buddha hall or a lecture hall; or in the mountains, valleys or a desolate wilderness—in all of these places they should build a adorned stupa and make offerings.

Sutra:

“For what reason? You should know that this place is a Way-place wherein all Buddhas gain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, wherein all Buddhas turn the Dharma-wheel, and wherein all Buddhas enter Nirvana.”

Outline:

F4. Explaining the entrustment.


Commentary:


For what reason? You should know that this place is a Way-place wherein all Buddhas gain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, wherein all Buddhas turn the Dharma-wheel, and wherein all Buddhas enter Nirvana. "Wherein" here refers not to a place, but to the Dharma Flower Sutra. It was just in the Dharma Flower Sutra that the Buddhas gained Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal, Right Enlightenment. It was just because all the Buddhas received, upheld, read, recited, explained, and wrote out the Dharma Flower Sutra that they turned the Dharma-wheel. Lecturing the Dharma Flower Sutra is turning the Dharma-wheel. The Buddhas of the ten directions, within the Dharma Flower Sutra, turn the great Dharma-wheel and enter Nirvana, obtaining the four virtues of Nirvana: permanence, bliss, true self, and purity.

Sutra:

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

“The Buddhas, ones who save the world,
Dwelling in great spiritual penetrations,
In order to delight living beings,
Manifest limitless spiritual powers.

Their tongues reach to the Brahma Heavens,
Their bodies emit countless lights.
They make appear these rare events
For the sake of those who seek the Buddha Way.

The sounds made when the Buddhas cough
And the sounds made when they snap their fingers
Are heard throughout the lands of the ten directions
As the earth quakes in six ways.

Since after the Buddha’s passing
One can uphold this Sutra,
All Buddhas rejoice
And display limitless spiritual powers.

Outline:

D2. Verse.
E1. Verses about spiritual power.

Commentary:

At that time the World Honored One, being very compassionate and wishing to restate this meaning in a very simple form, spoke verses, saying, "The Buddhas, ones who save the world, who are greatly kind and compassionate and rescue all from suffering and difficulty, wish to save all living beings." Dwelling in great spiritual penetrations: the Buddhas have great spiritual powers, and so they are able to rescue living beings. If they were just like ordinary people, what would they use to rescue living beings with? So they use the power of great spiritual penetrations.

In order to delight living beings, they manifest limitless spiritual powers. Their tongues reach to the Brahma Heavens. They put forth their vast and long tongues, which reach all the way up to the Great Brahma Heaven. Their bodies emit countless lights, light of countless colors. They make appear these rare events, for the sake of those who seek the Buddha Way.

The sounds made when the Buddhas cough and the sounds made when they snap their fingers.
These sounds are very soft, but all of the living beings throughout the ten directions can hear them. For example, if weinuo [the person in charge of starting and ending a meditation sit] has entered Samadhi or has fallen asleep and it is time to end the sit, you can snap your fingers and he will awaken. The Buddhas make these sounds to wake living beings up. They clear their throats or snap their fingers, signaling to living beings that they should not remain asleep, living drunk and dying in a dream.

These kinds of sounds are heard throughout the lands of the ten directions as the earth quakes in six ways. All the lands in the ten directions quake in six ways—banging, roaring, shaking, cracking, surging, rising—which are auspicious portents.

Since after the Buddha's passing, one can uphold this Sutra, the Dharma Flower Sutra, all Buddhas, World Honored Ones, rejoice and display limitless spiritual powers.

Sutra:

In order to bequeath this Sutra,
He praises those who receive and hold it.
Doing so throughout limitless eons,
Still he cannot finish.

The merit and virtue of these people
Is boundless and infinite,
Like space in the ten directions,
Without any boundary.

Outline:

E2. Conclusion.
F1. Praise.

Commentary:


In order to bequeath this Sutra, Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to hand on the teaching to the Bodhisattvas and living beings, exhorting them to receive and uphold this Sutra. "Bequeath" means to pass on some work, to appoint someone to a job. Shakyamuni Buddha is appointing all the Bodhisattvas as keepers and propagators of the Dharma Flower Sutra.

He praises those who receive and hold it. Doing so throughout limitless eons, still he cannot finish. The merit and virtue of these people is boundless and infinite and eternal, like space in the ten directions. Where are the boundaries of space? They cannot be found. The merit and virtue of reciting the Dharma Flower Sutra is also like space—it is without any boundary.

Someone says, "Space is empty! There is nothing there. Is our merit and virtue also empty and nonexistent?"

Space is nonexistent. However, if you can understand this "nonexistence" then you can understand "all of existence." Besides, this analogy is not comparing the merit and virtue to space by its nonexistence, but rather because it is boundless and infinite. Basically, within true emptiness, there is wonderful existence. Wonderful existence cannot be seen, but you cannot presume that because you cannot see it, it does not exist. It truly exists--you just do not understand it.

Sutra:

Those who can uphold this Sutra
Have already seen me
And also seen the Buddha Many Jewels
And all of the division-bodies.
They also see me on this day
Teaching and transforming the Bodhisattvas.

Outline:

F2. Explaining the meaning of the entrustment.
G1. All the Dharmas.


Commentary:

Those who can uphold this Sutra—who can receive, uphold, read, recite, write out, and explain the Dharma Flower Sutrahave already seen me. They have seen my true body and also seen the Buddha Many Jewels and all of the division-bodies, the Buddhas who are division-bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha. They also see me on this day, here with Many Jewels Thus Come One in the jeweled stupa, teaching and transforming the Bodhisattvas.

Sutra:

Those who can uphold this Sutra
Cause me and my division-bodies
And the previous Buddha, Many Jewels,
To all rejoice.

They shall also see and make offerings
To the Buddhas of the ten directions—in the present,
The past, and the future—
Causing them to rejoice as well.

Outline:

G2. Comfort and spiritual powers.


Commentary:

Those who can uphold this Sutra cause me and my division-bodies and the previous Buddha, Many Jewels, to all rejoice. They shall also see and make offerings to the Buddhas of the ten directions—in the present, the past, and the future—causing them to rejoice as well. The Buddhas throughout the ten directions will be happy.

Sutra:

The secret and essential Dharma obtained
By the Buddhas seated in their Way-places
Will also be gained before too long
By those who can uphold this Sutra.

Outline:

G3. The secret storehouse.

Commentary:

The secret and essential Dharma—their secret treasuries—obtained by the Buddhas seated in their Way-places will also be gained before too long by those who can uphold this Sutra. Why? Because they read and recite the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Sutra:

Those who can uphold this Sutra
Will take delight in speaking, without end,
The meaning of the Dharmas,
Their names and expressions,
Like the wind blowing through space,
Without obstacle.

After the Thus Come One’s passing,
They will understand the Sutras spoken by the Buddha,
The causes and conditions in sequence,
And speak them truly, according with their meanings.

Like the light of the sun and moon
Dispelling all darkness,
These people walk through the world
Dispersing the darkness of living beings,
Teaching limitless Bodhisattvas
Ultimately to dwell in the One Vehicle.

Outline:

G4. The profound work.

Commentary:

Those who can uphold this Sutra, who can read, recite, explain and write out the Dharma Flower Sutra, will take delight in speaking, without end, the meaning of the Dharmas, their names and expressions, like the wind blowing through space, without obstacle. He will gain the Four Kinds of Unobstructed Eloquence: Unobstructed Eloquence of Expression, Unobstructed Eloquence of Meaning, Unobstructed Eloquence of Dharma, and Unobstructed Eloquence of Delight in Speech. He shall speak with unobstructed eloquence like the wind in space, blowing where it will, without obstacles.

After the Thus Come One's passing, they will understand the Sutras spoken by the Buddha. They will deeply enter the Sutra store and gain wisdom like the sea. They will understand the causes and conditions in sequence, and speak them truly, according with their meanings—according with the doctrine of the real mark.

Like the light of the sun and moon dispelling all darkness, these people walk through the world dispersing the darkness of living beings, helping living beings get rid of their stupidity. Basically living beings do not understand, they are confused. They take day to be night, sleeping during the day and running around at night. I have seen a lot of people like this. They are like cats prowling around at night. They are also like mice that hide in their holes during the day and run around at night looking for food. But a person who upholds the Dharma Flower Sutra is intent on teaching limitless Bodhisattvas ultimately to dwell in the One Vehicle and attain Buddhahood.

Sutra:

Therefore, those with wisdom,
Hearing the advantages of this merit and virtue,
Should, after my passing,
Receive and uphold this Sutra.
These people most certainly and without a doubt
Will attain the Buddha Way.

Outline:

F3. Exhortation.


Commentary:

Therefore, those with wisdom, hearing the advantages of this merit and virtue, should, after my passing—after I enter Nirvana, receive and uphold this Sutra. These people most certainly and without a doubt will attain the Buddha Way. He will certainly attain Buddhahood. There is no doubt about it.

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