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 6: Conferring Predictions
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

Great, brave hero, World Honored One,
You who always wish peace for the World
Please bestow predictions upon us
Like giving the famished permission to eat!

Outline:

J4. Conclusion of request.

Commentary:

Great, brave hero, World Honored One, you who always wish peace for the World, to bring peace to all living beings, Please bestow predictions upon us. We cannot wait any longer!! Please hurry and tell us. Can we become Buddhas? Do we have a chance? Aren’t we about the same as Mahakashyapa? He got one. Shouldn’t we? We hope you will hurry and give us one!” Like giving the famished permission to eat, to partake of the royal feast. Otherwise, we might die of hunger! Our stomachs might stage a revolution!

Sutra:

At that time, the World Honored One, knowing the thoughts in the minds of his great disciples, told the Bhikshus, “Subhuti will in a future age serve and behold three hundreds of myriads of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, making offerings, paying reverence, venerating, and praising them, ever cultivating the Brahman conduct, and perfecting the Bodhisattva Way.

Outline:

I2. Bestowing predictions.
J1. Predictions for Subhuti.
K1. Prose.
L1. Causal practice.


Commentary:

At that time, after the three great disciples had asked in verse to receive predictions, the World Honored One, knowing the thoughts in the minds of his great disciples. He knew exactly what was on their minds. The Vajra Sutra says, “The Buddha fully knows and sees all the thoughts in the minds of all beings.” Living beings have various thoughts which the Buddha fully knows.

Told the Bhikshus in the Dharma Assembly, “Subhuti, ‘Born-of-Emptiness’, will in a future age serve and behold three hundreds of myriads of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, making offerings of the ten kinds of offerings: incense, flowers, lamps, beads, canopies, banners, clothing, food and fruit, music, and joined palms, paying reverence, venerating, and praising them, ever cultivating the Brahman conduct, and perfecting the Bodhisattva Way, the Six Penetrations and Ten Thousand Practices.

Sutra:

In his final body, he will become a Buddha called Name Appearance Thus Come One, one worthy of offerings, of proper and universal knowledge, one whose understanding and conduct are complete, a well-gone one who understands the world, an unsurpassed lord, a taming and regulating hero, teacher of gods and humans, Buddha, World Honored One.

Outline:

L2. Obtaining the fruition.


Commentary:

In his final body, Subhuti will become a Buddha called Name Appearance. Subhuti was foremost in understanding emptiness. Knowing the emptiness of Dharmas is knowing the emptiness of names and appearances. So, as a Buddha he will be called “Name Appearance” Thus Come One. Riding on the Way which is “Thus,” “he Comes” to realize right enlightenment. One worthy of offerings, from gods and humans, one of proper and universal knowledge. Knowing that the mind produces the ten thousand dharmas and that the ten thousand dharmas are only the mind, one whose understanding and conduct are complete, the light of his wisdom and cultivation are complete. A well-gone one who understands the world, an unsurpassed lord, there is no one higher, a taming and regulating hero, subduing living beings in the three realms, teacher of gods and humans, beings in the three realms, Buddha.

What is a Buddha? Let us review: The Buddha is just a person, and people are just Buddhas. But the Buddha is a Buddha and people are people. The Buddha was a person who cultivated and then became a Buddha. If people cultivate, they can become Buddhas. If they do not cultivate, they cannot. You cannot fail to cultivate and claim to be a Buddha. If in the beginning the Buddha had not cultivated, he would not have become a Buddha, either.

How does one cultivate? First of all, wake up! This means, you yourself must wake up. It does not mean that you go demanding that other people wake up. The Buddha is awake, enlightened; living beings are confused. If you wake up, then you are a Buddha among living beings. While you are confused, you are a living being among Buddhas. Awakening or enlightenment just means that you gain true understanding. There are three kinds of enlightenment:

1. Self-enlightenment: This distinguishes the Buddha from common, unenlightened people. They are unenlightened. Unenlightened to what? To the fact that they have faults and bad karma. It is a lucky thing that the karma we have created has no physical shape. If it did, it would be big enough to break right through the entirety of empty space! It may not have a shape, so we do not have to worry about storing it anywhere, but it is still there; it never leaves you for a moment. The Buddha is enlightened, and so he is different from common people. Gaining enlightenment for oneself, however, is not establishing merit and virtue. Since the Buddha wants to set up merit, he goes on to teach others.

2. Enlightening Others. He uses the methods and principles he employed to gain enlightenment and teaches them to others, enlightening them all so that everyone can get enlightened together. This is the practice of the Bodhisattva path. It makes the Buddha different from those of the Small Vehicle who only care to enlighten themselves.

3. Perfection of enlightenment and practice. This means that the Buddha has perfected his own enlightenment and perfected the practice of bringing enlightenment to others.

These are the three kinds of enlightenment. We say,

Having perfected three kinds of enlightenment and ten thousand virtues,
He is, therefore, called a “Buddha”.

World Honored One, the most venerable one in the world and beyond the world.

Sutra:

His eon will be called Possessing-Jewels. His country will be called Giving Birth to Jewels, his land will be level, with crystal for soil, and jeweled trees for adornments. It will be without hills or gullies, stones, thorns, filth or excrement. Jeweled flowers will cover the ground, purifying it entirely. The people of his land will all dwell on jeweled terraces or in precious, fine towers. The assembly of Hearers will be limitless and boundless, so that they cannot be known by resort to number or analogy. The assembly of Bodhisattvas will number in the countless thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas.

Outline:

L3. Eons, land, and adornments.


Commentary:

Name Appearance Thus Come One will appear in an eon called Possessing-Jewels. What jewels? The Triple Jewel of the Buddha, Dharma, and the Sangha. His country will be called Giving Birth to Jewels because the Triple Jewel will arise there. His land will be level. Why? Because Subhuti cultivated his mind ground until it was level. With crystal for soil. The light of the wisdom Subhuti cultivated gives him crystal soil in his Buddhaland. And jeweled trees for adornments. They grow naturally in his lands. It will be without hills or gullies, stones, thorns, filth or excrement. There will be nothing unclean there. Jeweled flowers will cover the ground, purifying it entirely. The entire land will be clean. The people of his land will all dwell on jeweled terraces made of the seven gems, or in precious, fine towers.

The assembly of Hearers will be limitless and boundless, so that they cannot be known by resort to number or analogy. The assembly of Bodhisattvas will number in the countless thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas
.

Sutra:

His life span as a Buddha will last for twelve minor eons.

Outline:

L4. Life span.


Commentary:

His life span as a Buddha will last for twelve minor eons. He will live as a Buddha for twelve minor eons.

Sutra:

The Proper Dharma will dwell there for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will also dwell there for twenty minor eons. This Buddha will constantly dwell in empty space, speaking Dharma for the multitudes and crossing over limitless Bodhisattvas and Hearers.

Outline:

L5. Proper and Image Ages.


Commentary:

The Proper Dharma will endure for twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will last for just as long. This Buddha, Name Appearance Thus Come One, will constantly dwell in empty space, this represents the emptiness of the Primary Principle, speaking Dharma for the multitudes and crossing over limitless Bodhisattvas and Hearers.

Sutra:

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

“Assembled Bhikshus
I shall now tell you,
Listen singlemindedly
To what I’m going to say.

Outline:

K2 . Verse.
L1. Admonishment to listen.


Sutra:

My great disciple,
Subhuti,
Will become a Buddha
Called Name Appearance.
After making offerings to countless
Myriads of millions of Buddhas
Following the Buddhas’ practices,
He will gradually perfect the Great Way.
In his final body he shall
Obtain thirty two marks,
Upright and beautiful
Like a jeweled mountain.

Outline:

L2. Causal practice and resulting fruition.

Commentary:

Everyone was warned! They had better listen well! Do not have false thinking; do not fall asleep. My great disciple here, my finest disciple, really good disciple, Subhuti. Everyone knows that he had three names. First, he was called “Empty-born” because, when he was born, all the treasures disappeared from his father’s one hundred and eight treasuries! Naturally, his father was rather nervous about this, wondering where they went. Had they been stolen? He went to a diviner to find out what had happened, and the diviner said that the whole thing was extremely auspicious. Hearing this, his father gave him the name “Good and Lucky.” After a week, all the treasures reappeared in his father’s one hundred and eight treasuries, and he was given the name, “Good Appearance”. The Buddha was quite fond of Subhuti and paid a lot of attention to him.

Will become a Buddha. Do not look down on him. He is going to become a Buddha, you realize? Called Name Appearance. His Buddha name will be Name Appearance Thus Come One. After making offerings to countless myriads of millions of Buddhas following the Buddhas’ practices. Why will he become a Buddha? This is very important. Because he follows the Buddha’s practices and practices just as the Buddha does. Whatever the Buddha does, he does. He practices just as the Buddha does and does not attempt to set himself up as different or better than the Buddha. He will gradually perfect the Great Way. The word “gradual” is important here. You should not think, “Oh, I cannot cultivate. I cannot get rid of my faults!” and get all nervous about it. “My desires make me nervous.” Do not be nervous. Work on it gradually. You have to work, and you have to cultivate, yes, but you should not get confused about it. The more confused you are, the more confused you will get. If you wake up, you are following the Buddha. If you do not wake up, you are following confusion, not the Buddha. So you see, Subhuti will cultivate and gradually become a Buddha. He will cultivate during the time of three hundred myriads of millions of Buddhas. How long do you think that took? A Buddha does not necessarily appear every eon, even. He will make offerings to that many Buddhas and, day by day, cultivate until he reaches his goal. In his final body he shall. In his last body, practicing the Bodhisattva Way, he will Obtain thirty two marks, and eighty minor characteristics. We also cultivate in order to attain the thirty-two marks. A Buddha has these marks and is beautifully adorned in blessings, Uuright and beautiful like a jeweled mountain. Everyone who sees him will honor him.

Sutra:

His Buddhaland will be
Foremost in purity and adornment.
Living beings who see it
All will take delight in it.
And as a Buddha therein
He will save limitless multitudes.
Within his Buddha Dharma
Will be many Bodhisattvas,
All of sharp faculties,
Turning the non-retreating wheel.
This land will ever be
Adorned with Bodhisattvas;
The assembly of Hearers
Will be beyond all reckoning.
All having gained the Three Clarities,
And perfected the Six Spiritual powers
Abiding in the Eight Liberations
And possessing great awesome virtue.
When this Buddha speaks the Dharma
He will manifest limitless
Spiritual powers and transformations,
Inconceivable.
The people, both gods and humans,
Their numbers like the Ganges sands,
All will join their palms
To hear and accept that Buddha’s words.

Outline:

L3. Verse of purity of land.


Commentary:

His Buddhaland will be foremost in purity and adornment. The Buddhaland of Name Appearance Thus Come One is adorned and pure. Living beings who see it, who go there, all will take delight in it. They will really like it.

And as a Buddha therein, he will save limitless multitudes, limitless, countless living beings. Within his Buddhadharma w ill be many Bodhisattvas, all of sharp faculties, turning the non-retreating wheel. They will all be extremely intelligent. They will turn the Dharma-wheel, to teach and transform living beings and purify the Buddhalands.

This land will ever be adorned with Bodhisattvas; the assembly of Hearers will be beyond all reckoning. All having gained the Three Clarities, the Heavenly Eye, the knowledge of past lives, and the extinction of outflows. And perfected the Six Spiritual powers a biding in the Eight Liberations a nd possessing great awesome virtue. When this Buddha speaks the Dharma, he will manifest limitless spiritual powers and transformations, inconceivable. The people, both gods and humans, their numbers like the Ganges sands, all will join their palms to hear and accept that Buddha’s words.

Sutra:

That Buddha’s lifespan will be
Twelve minor eons,

Outline:

L4. Life span.


Commentary:

That Buddha’s lifespan will be. The Buddha, Name Appearance, will live for twelve minor eons.

Sutra:

The Proper Dharma will dwell in the world
For twenty minor eons;
The Dharma Image Age will dwell
For twenty minor eons, also.

Outline:

L5. Proper and Dharma Image Ages.


Commentary:

The Proper Dharma will dwell in the world for twenty minor eons; the Dharma Image Age will dwell for twenty minor eons, also.

Sutra:

At that time, the World Honored One further addressed the assembly of Bhikshus saying, “I will now tell you: In a future age, Mahakatyayana will make offerings of various articles to, and will reverently serve eight thousand million Buddhas, honoring and venerating them. After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect a stupa for each, one thousand yojanas in height, five hundred yojanas in breath, and made of the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners to the stupa. After that, he will further make offerings to twenty thousand million Buddhas in the same manner. Having made offerings to those Buddhas, he will perfect the Bodhisattva Way.

Outline:

J2. Prediction for Mahakatyayana.
K1. Prose.
L1. Causal practice.


Commentary:

At that time, right after Subhuti had received his prediction, the World Honored One further addressed the assembly of Bhikshus saying, “I will now tell you something. Relax, and pay close attention. I will now tell you: In a future age, Mahakatyayana whose name means literary elegance because he is such an accomplished writer and foremost of the Buddha’s disciples in debate, will make offerings of various articles to, and will reverently serve eight thousand million Buddhas. Articles refer to things one can offer to the Buddha, like lamps, flowers, flower vases, and so on. honoring and venerating them, with his body-karma, he will honor the Buddhas, and with his mouth-karma he will venerate and praise them.

After the extinction of those Buddhas, he will erect a stupa for each, one thousand yojanas in height. In the future, we will build a stupa to hold the relics of the Elder Master Hsu Yun. Although we did not meet up with the Buddha appearing in the world, Elder Master Hsu Yun, such a great Bodhisattva, was here, and we should make a stupa to honor him. Five hundred yojanas in breath. A large yojana is 80 miles, a middle-sized yojana is 60 miles, and a small yojana is 40 miles. And made of the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother of pearl, carnelian, pearls, and agate. He will make offerings of many flowers, beaded necklaces, paste incense, powdered incense, burning incense, silk canopies and banners to the stupa.

After that, he will further make offerings to twenty thousand million Buddhas in the same manner. Having made offerings to those Buddhas, he will perfect the Bodhisattva Way
.

Sutra:

He will then become a Buddha called Jambunada Gold Light Thus Come One, one worthy of offerings, of proper and universal knowledge, one whose understanding and conduct are complete, a well-gone one who understands the world, unsurpassed lord, a taming and regulating hero, teacher of gods and humans, Buddha, World Honored One.

Outline:

L2. Attaining the Fruit.

Commentary:

He will then become a Buddha called Jambunada Gold Light Thus Come One. “Jambu” is the name of a tree, “Nada” means “continent.” This is the Southern Continent, the one we live in. In this continent there is a tree called the Jambu Tree. It is said that when this tree bears its glistening fruit, the fruit falls into the river and turns the sand into gold. Other people say that the fruit itself turns into gold. Still others say that the leaves turn into gold when they fall in the river.

So, this Buddha’s name was Jambunanda Gold Light Thus Come One, because his wisdom-light made him extremely sharp and invincible. One worthy of offerings, of proper and universal knowledge, one whose understanding and conduct are complete, a well-gone one who understands the world, unsurpassed lord, a taming and regulating hero, teacher of gods and humans, Buddha, World Honored One.

Sutra:

The land will be flat and even with crystal for soil and jeweled trees as adornments. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes, and the ground covered with fine flowers, purifying it entirely, so that those who see it are delighted. The four evil paths will not exist there, that is, the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, and asuras. There will many gods, humans, assembled Hearers and Bodhisattvas who will number in the limitless myriads of millions, and all adorning that land.

Outline:

L3. Purity of the lands.


Commentary:

The land will be flat and even with crystal for soil because in the past he cultivated and leveled the mind-ground, in the result, his Buddhaland, the dependent retribution world, will be level. And jeweled trees as adornments, trees made up of the seven jewels. The roads will be bordered with golden ropes. We make railings out of metal or wood, but in Katyayana’s Buddhaland they will be made of gold. And the ground covered with fine flowers. The heavenly maidens will scatter heavenly flowers, covering the ground. When the petals wilt and fall, a light breeze will blow them away, and new buds will fall. Purifying it entirely. It is purified because in the causal ground this Buddha did no evil and offered up all good conduct. So that those who see it are delighted. All who see this country--to say nothing of seeing this Buddha--will be happy. The four evil paths will not exist there, that is, the hells. Where do the hells come from? Hatred. If you have no hatred, then there are no hells. If you wonder whether or not you are going to fall into the hells, ask yourself whether or not you are hateful. If you are hateful, then you have a line into the hells. Hungry ghosts. Where do they come from? Greed. If you are greedy, you can turn into a ghost. For example, if you always want to eat and can never get your fill and just think about eating all the time, in the future you may turn into a hungry ghost. Since you were so afraid of going hungry, you may just turn into a hungry ghost!

How does one turn into an animal ? By being stupid. Why are you stupid? Out of ignorance. Ignorance results in stupidity. If you are not ignorant, you would not be stupid. So, those who study the Buddhadharma should never be jealous of others. Do not be jealous of others’ beauty. If you are jealous of the way they look, you will become even uglier. The more jealous you are, the weirder you will look, until you do not even look human anymore. Ugly people should return the light and realize that they are ugly because they were jealous of others in the past.

If someone is smarter than you, if they remember the Sutras and teachings after hearing them only once, take care that you do not get jealous. Do not be jealous of their good memories. The more jealous you are, the stupider you will get. Some people see others cultivating the Way, and they get very upset. “Hey! Look at that little novice. He recites and bows and kneels there all day. He works so hard...” If you are jealous of him, you would not be able to cultivate in the future. Why not? Because you were jealous. It does not matter whether you are working or going to school, or whatever, just do not be jealous. You should hope that others are better than you. That is the resolve of the Bodhisattva. If you hope that others are not as good as you are, that is the resolve of a demon! A ghost! And an animal!

If you see everyone as a Buddha, then you are a Buddha. If you see everyone as an asura, then you are an asura. So, do not look at people’s faults.

Asuras are beings who are hostile and like to fight. They insist on fighting with everyone. In our present day world, people fight with people, families fight with families, and nations battle nations. This is the age of the asura. In this Buddha’s land, the Four Evil Ways will not exist. There will many gods, humans, assembled Hearers of the Small Vehicle, and Bodhisattvas who practice the Bodhisattva Path, teaching and transforming all living beings, purifying Buddhalands, who will number in the limitless myriads of millions, and all adorning that land.

Sutra:

His life span as a Buddha will be twelve minor eons.

Outline:

L4. Lifespan.


Commentary:

His life as a Buddha will last twelve minor eons.

Sutra:

His Proper Dharma will dwell in the world twenty minor eons. The Dharma Image Age will dwell also for twenty minor eons.

Outline:

L5. Proper and Image Ages.


Commentary:

The Proper Dharma will last twenty minor eons, and then the Dharma Image Age will last for the same amount of time.

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