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 8: Five Hundred Disciples Receive Predictions
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

This Buddha shall take great trichiliocosms as many as the sands in the Ganges River as his Buddhaland, with the seven jewels for earth. The land will be as level as the palm of one's hand. It shall have no mountains or hills, gorges, gullies or ditches. It will be filled with pavilions and palaces of the seven jewels. The palaces of the gods will be located in space nearby so the humans and gods may consort and see one another.

Outline:

L2. Showing the vast adornments in that land.
M1. Vast adornments of the country.

Commentary:

This Buddha, named Dharma Brightness, shall take great trichiliocosms as many as the sands in the Ganges River as his Buddhaland with the seven jewels for Earth: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls and carnelian. The land will be as level as the palm of one's hand. There are two ways to explain this. The first is that the land will be level, like the palm of one's hands.

"Well, the palm of my hand is not flat," you might say. This does not mean our hands. It means the Buddha's palm. The Buddha's palm is perfectly flat. The other way to explain it is that in the ocean there is a kind of stone that is absolutely flat, without the slightest bump. The tone is called "palm" stone. It shall have no mountains or hills, gorges, gullies or ditches--no mountains, hills, valleys, or other uneven spots. It will be filled with pavilions and palaces of the seven jewels. It will be filled with any beautiful buildings and scenic spots. The palaces of the Gods will be located in space nearby so the humans and gods may consort and see one another. The gods will be able to see the people, and the people will be able to see the gods. In this world, we can only see other people; we cannot see the gods. You say, "I have seen the gods."

Well, maybe you have seen them. I have not. If everyone could see them as a matter of course, then you could say that we "see one another." Just because a few people have the Heavenly Eye and have seen them does not mean people in general can see them. Those without the Heavenly Eye cannot see them.

Sutra:

There will be no evil paths and no women. All the living beings will be born by transformation and have no sexual desire.

Outline:

M2. Only good destinies.

Commentary:

There will be no evil paths. In the Buddhaland of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, the gods and humans will be able to see one another. Why is this? Because the people in that land will all have spiritual powers. They will all be able to fly and transform. Because of this, they can see each other. Also, there will be no hell-beings, animals, hungry ghosts, or asuras. Because there will be no hells, when people die, they will not suffer. Because there will be no hungry ghosts, when people are dead, they will not be hungry. Because there will be no animals, after they die, people will not be reborn as animals. So, there will be no evil paths and no women. Strange! No women in this land! "If there are no women," you may wonder, "then where do the people come from?"

All the living beings will be born by transformation from lotus flowers. They will not have to be born from women. In the Land of Ultimate Bliss there are no women, either. In the Eastern Land of Akshobya Buddha, there are women. But although there are women, there is no sexual desire, and the women are also born from lotuses by transformation. Purnamaitreyaniputra, who will be the Buddha Dharma Brightness, will have a land in which the living beings will be born from transformation, not from wombs. What is meant by "birth by transformation?" It means that originally there was nothing there and then all of a sudden, it appeared. The person just appears out of nowhere as it were. Some are born from trees by transformation. Trees can grow people! Some are born from the ocean by transformation. Everyone in Purnamaitreyaniputra's land will have an inconceivable state.

And have no sexual desire. Sexual desire is impure. People who cultivate should not harbor thoughts of sexual desire; they should not have this kind of greed. If you are not even supposed to have such thought, how much the less should one actually indulge in sexual misconduct! Because they have no sexual desire, they attain great spiritual powers. They all have great spiritual powers, the spiritual powers of the Bodhisattvas.

Sutra:

They will obtain great spiritual penetrations. Their bodies will emit light, and they will be able to fly at will. Their resolve will be solid. They will be vigorous and wise. They will be golden colored, and adorned with the thirty-two marks. The living beings in that land will always take two kinds of food: The first, the food of Dharma joy and the second, the food of Dhyana happiness.

Outline:

M3. The perfect blessings and wisdom of the humans and gods.


Commentary:

Because they will have no sexual desire, they will obtain great spiritual penetrations. Their bodies will emit light. Because they are not born of sexual desire, rather by transformation, they will have great wisdom. Because they will have great wisdom, their bodies will give off light. They will be able to fly at will. Wherever they want to go, they just have to think, and--zip! They are there. Their resolve to cultivate the Buddhadharma will be solid, extremely solid. They will only go forward. They will never retreat. They will make progress everyday. Everyday they will be more vigorous. They will be vigorous and so they will be greatly wise. They all will be golden colored. The bodies of these living beings will be golden and adorned with the thirty-two marks. Their marks will be perfect. Even if they have not completed all the thirty-two marks, they will still adorn themselves towards that perfection.

The living beings in that land will always take two kinds of food. These two kinds of food are very unusual. The first kind is the food of Dharma joy. Yesterday I told you that when Purnamaitreyaniputra listened to the Dharma, he did not need to eat or sleep. How could he go without eating? It is because he gained the food of Dharma joy. It is like you students of the Buddhadharma now all eat one meal a day. This is something that is basically impossible. It is very difficult not to eat, because people's most basic instincts are food and sex. People like to eat, and they have desire; these two instincts come with them at birth. Now you can listen to the Buddhadharma and forget about eating. Listening to the Dharma makes you so elated that you forget everything. You forget about eating, you forget about sleeping. If you nod out during the lectures, though, that does not count as being filled with Dharma joy!

The second kind is the food of Dhyana happiness. You meditate everyday. You sit in chan everyday. The more you sit, the more you enjoy it, and the happier you are. You cannot bear to get up from meditation. The flavor of Dhyana happiness is really extremely wonderful. Once you attain the happiness of Dhyana, wild horses cannot keep you from meditating. Why? It is because you have tasted this flavor, and you must sit in meditation and cultivate the flavor of Dhyana happiness.

There are many kinds of food. We living beings eat “portion food.” That is, we eat regular food. The gods eat by means of thought. The ghosts and spirits eat by "contact."

"Portion" food means that everyone eats their share of food and gets full. That is how ordinary people eat. The gods eat by thought. They just think of food and they get full. This indicates they have gained a certain amount of Dhyana happiness. Ghosts and spirits eat by "contact." They do not need to put the food in their mouths. They just take a good whiff of it and are full. If you have gained the Heavenly Eye, you will be able to see that a change takes place in the food you offer to the Buddha. Let us take oranges and apples for example. Before you offer them to the Buddha, each orange, say, has two parts. There is the orange, and the orange-essence. If you have opened your Heavenly Eye, you will see the orange as "two" oranges, not one. Your ordinary eyes cannot see this. When you offer the orange to the Buddha, the Buddha accepts the orange-essence. After you have offered the orange, its essence is gone. The ghosts also eat this essence of the object. When you give something to the ghosts to eat, that is the part of it they eat. This is a very subtle process and is not something most people are aware of. In the land of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, the living beings will eat the foods of Dharma joy and Dhyana happiness.

Sutra:

The host of Bodhisattva will number in the limitless asamkhyeyas, of thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas. They will attain great spiritual penetrations and the Four types of Unobstructed Wisdom, they will be skilled at teaching and transforming all kinds of living beings. The host of Hearers will be uncountable and unreckonable in number. All will perfect the Six Penetrations, the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations.

Outline:

M4. The vast number of Bodhisattvas and Hearers.


Commentary:

The host of Bodhisattvas will number in the limitless asamkhyeyas of thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas. They will attain great spiritual penetrations and the Four types of Unobstructed Wisdom. Each Bodhisattva will have the four types of unobstructed eloquence, that kind of wisdom. They will be skilled at teaching and transforming all kinds of living beings. They will have perfected skill-in-means so that they can bestow the teaching in accord with the potential of living beings that receive it. They will speak the Dharma most appropriate to the individual.

There will be countless Bodhisattvas there, but what about the Hearers? Will there be Hearers in that land?

The host of Hearers will be uncountable and unreckonable in number. No matter how you try to count them, you will not be able to do so. All will perfect the Six Penetrations:

1. The penetration of the heavenly eye,
2. The penetration of the heavenly ear,
3. The penetration of others' thoughts,
4. The penetration of past lives,
5. The penetration of the extinction of outflows,
6. The penetration of the complete spirit.

The Three Clarities:

1. The clarity of past lives,
2. The clarity of the heavenly eye, and
3. The clarity of the extinction of outflows.

And the Eight Liberations:

1. The liberation in which inwardly there is the mark of form, and outwardly form is contemplated.

2. The liberation in which inwardly there is no mark of form, and outwardly form is contemplated.

3. The liberation in which the pure body of wisdom certifies to the complete dwelling.

4. The liberation of the station of boundless emptiness.

5. The liberation of the station of boundless consciousness.

6. The liberation of the station of nothing whatsoever.

7. The liberation of the station of neither perception nor non-perception.

8. The liberation of the extinction of the skandhas of feeling and thought.

Sutra:

The realization of this Buddhaland will be thus adorned with limitless meritorious virtues.

Outline:

M5. General conclusion regarding the adornments.


Commentary:

The realization of this Buddhaland will be thus adorned with limitless meritorious virtues. It will be created by and adorned with merit and virtue.

Sutra:


The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness.” The country will be named “Well Purified.”

Outline:

L3. Name of the eon and the country.


Commentary:


The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness.” The country will be named “Well Purified.” The Buddhaland of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One will be called "Well Purified."

Sutra:

The life span of that Buddha will be limitless asamkhyeyaeons and his Dharma will abide for a very long time.

Outline:

L4. Life span as a Buddha and the Dharma's dwelling.


Commentary:

The life span of that Buddha will be limitless asamkhyeya eons and his Dharma will abide for a very long time.

Sutra:

After that Buddha's extinction, stupas of the seven jewels will be built everywhere in that land.

Outline:

L5. Offerings to that Buddha's sharira after his extinction.


Commentary:

After that Buddha's extinction,stupas of the seven jewels will be built by his disciples to contain his relics. Everywhere in that land there will be sharira-stupas.

Sutra:

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

“All of you Bhikshus listen well,
The path walked by the Buddha's sons,
Because they thoroughly studied the expedient devices,
Was inconceivable.
Knowing that the multitudes delight in lesser dharmas,
And also that they fear great wisdom,
Therefore the Bodhisattvas
Become Hearers and Conditioned Enlightened Ones.
Employing countless expedient devices,
They transform all the varieties of living beings.
They speak of themselves as being Hearers,
Very far from the Path of the Buddha.
They cross over limitless multitudes,
Bringing them all to accomplishment.
Even those of little zeal and who are remiss
Are gradually caused to become Buddhas.
Inwardly they practice as Bodhisattvas,
While outwardly they manifest as Hearers
Of few desires, who despise birth and death,
While in reality they are purifying their Buddhalands.
Displaying to the multitudes the three poisons,
Appearing to have deviant views
In this way my disciples,
Expediently save living beings.
Were I to speak fully,
Of their various deeds of transformation
Living beings, hearing it,
Would harbor doubts within their minds.

Outline:

J2. Verse.
K1. Relating the past.
L1. General disclosure of past as a Hearer.


Commentary:

At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses saying, Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to repeat the principles he had just spoken to elaborate upon them.

All of you Bhikshus listen well, pay close attention. Do not be sloppy. The path walked by the Buddha's sons, the Bodhisattva Path as walked by disciple Purnamaitreyaniputra. Because they thoroughly studied the expedient devices, studying the Buddhadharma well, mastering expedient devices was inconceivable. His state was not something that common people could understand. He cultivated the Bodhisattva Path.

Knowing that the multitudes delight in lesser dharmas. He knew that all living beings like petty, Small Vehicle Dharmas and do not like the Great Vehicle Dharma. And also that they fear great wisdom. They are afraid of the Buddha's wisdom. Therefore the Bodhisattvas become Hearers and Conditioned Enlightened Ones. For this reason, the Bodhisattvas hide the great and manifest the small. They hide away their Bodhisattvaship and manifest in bodies of Hearers or Conditioned Enlightened Ones. Employing countless expedient devices, limitless, countless expedient devices, they transform all the varieties of living beings. They use all different kinds of Dharma-doors to teach and transform all kinds of living beings.

They speak of themselves as being Hearers. They say that they are Two Vehicle People, very far from the path of the Buddha.They cross over limitless multitudes, bringing them all to accomplishment. They teach, transform, and rescue limitless living beings; all of those living beings obtain the Way of the Buddha.

Even those of little zeal and who are remiss, are gradually caused to become Buddhas. “Little zeal” means that their resolve is for the lesser vehicle. “Remiss” means that they do not seek the Great Vehicle. Even though those of the Small Vehicle want to relax, to stop half way, the Bodhisattvas gradually teach them so that they can become Buddhas.

Inwardly they practice as Bodhisattvas while outwardly they manifest as Hearers. On the outside they look like your typical Hearer-type, but inside they are practicing the Bodhisattva Path. They are really great Bodhisattvas already. Of few desires, who despise birth and death. They have some desire, but not very much--very, very little. Hearers despise birth and death and want to escape from it. That is their focus on cultivation. Bodhisattvas on the other hand are not afraid of birth and death. They enter birth and death to save living beings. While in reality they are purifying their Buddhalands. They are practicing Bodhisattva practices.

Displaying to the multitudes the three poisons: greed, hatred and stupidity. They just do this for show, however. They do not really have the three poisons. Appearing to have deviant views, they would seem to have deviant views. This is like the Buddha's disciple, Kalodayin, who pretends to be very fond of women. He did not like women really, though; he just pretended to. He put on a show, and no one could tell if it was for real or not. People with genuine wisdom knew that he was not really that way, he was just manifesting as having deviant views.

In this way, my disciples expediently save living beings. Shariputra would sometimes manifest anger. A disciple would manifest greed. Another disciple would manifest stupidity. People with wisdom knew that they were just putting on a show. My disciples contemplate the causes and conditions of living beings and manifest a style, when in reality they are just using this method to save living beings. Were I to speak fully, if I told the whole story of their various deeds of transformation; how they taught the Dharma to the living beings, hearing it, hearing about these states, would harbor doubts within their minds. They would have doubts. So, I am not going to go into detail about it.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha's leaving home. We should know the date of the anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha's leaving home. We should also not forget the date of the anniversary of our own leaving home. We should also remember what day we took refuge. The day we took refuge is like our new birthday. So do not forget what day you took refuge and what day you left home. You also should not forget how it was that you came to study the Buddhadharma.

The students of the Dharma in this hall were mainly introduced by Guo Rong. Guo Rong was studying (at the University of Washington) with Dr. Conze. Guo Rong influenced a lot of people to study the Buddhadharma. The old professor has, however, taken slightly ill. It is basically a small problem, and he does not need our help to get well. However, we should show our good feeling for him by reciting the Buddha's name for him while contemplating the Buddhas of the ten directions coming to aid the old professor so that he can get well. That is what I hope you will do. I hope that my disciples will not take what I say as the wind passing by their ears and ignore it.

Sutra:

Now, this Purnamaitreyaniputra,
In the past under thousands of millions of Buddhas,
Has cultivated diligently his practice of the Path.
Proclaiming and protecting the Dharma of all Buddhas.
Seeking supreme wisdom,
In the presence of the Buddhas,
He appeared as the head of the disciples.
With much learning and with wisdom
He spoke without fear,
Leading the assembly to rejoice,
And never did he grow weary,
Participating in the Buddha's work.
Having already crossed over into great spiritual penetrations,
And having perfected the four unobstructed wisdoms,
He knew the faculties of beings, sharp or dull,
And always spoke pure Dharma.
Proclaiming principles such as this,
He taught thousands of millions of multitudes,
To dwell in the Dharma of the Great Vehicle,
While he purified his own Buddhaland.
In the future, too, he will make offerings,
To limitless, countless Buddhas.

Helping to proclaim the Proper Dharma,
And also purifying his own Buddhaland.
Always using expedient devices,
He will speak the Dharma without fear,
Saving incalculable multitudes,
So that they accomplish All-Wisdom.

Outline:

L2. Purnamaitreyaniputra’s past.

Commentary:

Now, this Purnamaitreyaniputra--The first twenty lines discuss Purnamaitreyaniputra's past roots. The last eight lines generally discuss his future practices. In the past under thousands of millions of Buddhas, has cultivated diligently his practice of the Path, the pure path of the Great Vehicle Bodhisattva. Proclaiming and protecting the Dharma of all the Buddhas, teaching and maintaining the Dharma.

Seeking supreme wisdom, the supreme wisdom of the Thus Come One. In the presence of the Buddhas, he appeared as the head of the disciples. In the assembly of all those Buddhas, he was foremost in speaking the Dharma. He appeared as the head of the Disciples.

With much learning and with wisdom, he spoke without fear. He had attained the Four Fearlessnesses and spoke the Dharma fearlessly. Leading the assembly to rejoice, causing those who were listening to be delighted. And never did he grow weary. He never appeared to be tired of speaking and teaching the Buddhadharma. Participating in the Buddha's work, he helped the Buddhas proclaim the Dharma.

Having already crossed over into great spiritual penetrations. He had already crossed over the sea of birth and death and attained great spiritual penetrations. And having perfected the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms, he knew the faculties of beings, sharp or dull. And always spoke pure Dharma. He knew the root-natures of all the living beings, if they were intelligent or dull. Proclaiming principles such as this, he taught thousands of millions of multitudes to dwell in the Dharma of the Great Vehicle, while he purified his own Buddhaland. He always spoke the supreme, pure, wonderful Dharma, propagating and proclaiming its principles. Although he manifested as a Hearer, his mind was always purifying his Buddhaland as a Bodhisattva.

In the future, too, he will make offerings to limitless, countless Buddhas, thereby cultivating his blessings. Helping to proclaim the Proper Dharma and also purifying his own Buddhaland. Outwardly, he will appear to be a lowly Hearer who helps lecture on the Dharma. Inwardly, in his true mind, he will be a Bodhisattva at work purifying his Buddhaland. Always using expedient devices, he will speak the Dharma without fear. He will employ clever expedient devices, speaking the wonderful Dharma without fear. Saving incalculable multitudes, so that they accomplish All-Wisdom. So they all realize the Buddha's wisdom.

Sutra:

Having made offerings to Thus Come Ones
And protected and upheld the precious storehouse of Dharma,
He will then become a Buddha
By the name Dharma Brightness.

Outline:

K2 . The prediction.
L1. The perfection of cause and completion of fruit.


Commentary:

Having made offerings to Thus Come Ones, Purnamaitreyaniputra will make offerings to limitless Buddhas, as well as to save and rescue living beings, so that they realize All-Wisdom. And protected and upheld the precious storehouse of Dharma, the Buddhadharma. By making offerings, he will cultivate his blessings. By speaking the Dharma, he will cultivate his wisdom. He will then become a Buddha by the name of Dharma Brightness. His individual Buddha name will be Dharma Brightness.

Sutra:

His country will be named "Well Purified"
made of the seven jewels.
The eon will be named "Jeweled Brightness"

Outline:

L2. Name of the country and eon.

Commentary:

His country will be named "Well Purified" made of the seven jewels. The country referred to here is a trichiliocosm, that is one country that the Buddha teaches and transforms. His land will spread over universes as many as the motes of dust in the Ganges River for its territory. The ground in this country will not be just plain dirt. It will be made of the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls, and carnelian. The eon will be named "Jeweled Brightness."

Sutra:

The host of Bodhisattvas, very great,
Will entirely fill that land,
Numbering in the limitless millions,
All with great spiritual penetrations,
And the perfect power of awesome virtue
The Hearers also will be countless.
Having the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations
And the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms,
They will constitute the Sangha there.
The living beings in that land,
Will all have severed sexual desire,
Born purely from transformation,
Their bodies adorned with perfect marks.
Taking Dharma-joy and Dharma-happiness as food,
They will have no thoughts of other kinds of food.
There will be no women there,
Nor any of the evil paths.
The Bhikshu Purna
Having perfected his virtue
Will gain such a pure land,
With a host of very many worthy sages.
Such are the limitless things, of which
I have now but spoken in a general way.”

Outline:

L3. The vast purity of that land.


Commentary:

The host of Bodhisattvas, very great, will entirely fill that land. The land will be filled with limitless, boundless, great Bodhisattvas. Numbering in the limitless millions, all with great spiritual penetrations and the perfect power of awesome virtue. Most of the Bodhisattvas in that land will be of this caliber.

The Hearers also will be countless, having the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations, and the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms, the four kinds of unobstructed eloquence. They will constitute the Sangha there. They will make up the religious community in that land.

The living beings in that land will all have severed sexual desire. They might look like ordinary people, but they have no sexual desire. People in the Saha World can cultivate and cut off sexual desire too. There is a way to test this. If you have no sexual desire towards anyone, then if someone has sexual desire towards you, you will not be moved by it. In other words, it is not that you would not know that someone has desire for you. If you did not know, that would mean that you were like a piece of wood or a rock or something. But, even though you know someone has desire for you, you will not react with desire in yourself. That is what is meant by the phrase in The Vajra Sutra: "You should not produce that thought which does not dwell anywhere." Not producing sexual desire means that you have severed sexual desire.

If you cultivate and have no sexual desire, then others will not have desire towards you. If you have sexual desire, others will have desire towards you. If you have no sexual desire, others will not, or if they do, and you are unmoved, there will be no problem. That is what it meant by having severed sexual desire.

Born purely from transformation, these people will all be born from lotuses through transformation--now you see them, now you don't! Their bodies adorned with perfect marks, with the thirty-two marks and the eighty minor characteristics. Taking Dharma-joy and Dharma-happiness as food, they will have no thoughts of other kinds of food. These people will take the Dharma lectures as food and drink. They take hearing the Dharma as nourishment. As soon as they hear the Dharma, they are happy, they forget about their hunger. If you do not believe it, try it out. If you give rise to happiness, thinking, "I have never heard anything as wonderful as the Dharma! It is better than eating any wonderful dish!" Then in your happiness your hunger pangs will abate, because you would have been filled with the joy of Dharma.

As to the happiness of Dhyana, when people meditate, sometimes they would rather sit than eat. It is not because they are sick and had lost their appetite. It is rather that they are full already. They have taken meditation as their food and drink. In the land of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, people will eat these two kinds of food: Dharma-joy and Dhyana-happiness. They will not think about any other kinds of food.

There will be no women there, nor any of the evil paths. The four evil destinies of hell-beings, hungry ghosts, animals, and asuras do not exist there. You say, "I do not understand this at all. If there are no women, how can there be people? I mean, er… How will people get born!" Didn't I say before that they would be born by transformation from lotuses? Their parents will be the nine grades of lotuses. So I said before that the Land of Ultimate Bliss is populated by lotus-born beings. People in the Land of Dharma Brightness, "Well-Purified," will also be born by lotuses, so there will not be any women.

The Bhikshu Purna having perfected his virtue, he will have perfected the three kinds of enlightenment: self-enlightenment, the enlightenment of others, and the perfection of enlightenment and practice. He will gain such a pure land with a host of very many worthy sages. Such are the limitless things, of which I have now but spoken in a general way. All these limitless doctrines, I have now just told you a little bit about.

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