THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

TEXT:

IF ONE PASSES INTO EMPTINESS AND DENIES CAUSE AND EFFECT,
THEN GROSS AND RECKLESS, ONE INVITES CALAMITIES.
THIS IS THE MISTAKE OF ABANDONING EXISTENCE AND BEING ATTACHED TO EMPTINESS--
JUST AS IF, TO ESCAPE DROWNING, ONE WERE TO LEAP INTO A FIRE.

COMMENTARY:

IF ONE PASSES INTO EMPTINESS AND DENIES CAUSE AND EFFECT. Since a cultivator should not be attached to existence, he should even less fall into emptiness. If he does, it is to be feared that he will fall into the error of denying cause and effect, and his deviant views will proliferate, indeed.

THEN GROSS AND RECKLESS, ONE INVITES CALAMITIES. Crude and coarse, drifting along carelessly, one will bring all manner of unexpected disasters rushing in, one after another. In the end, one's body will perish and the way will be lost. This is the irredeemable result.

THIS IS THE MISTAKE OF ABANDONING EXISTENCE AND BEING ATTACHED TO EMPTINESS. To abandon existence but be attached to emptiness is to make just this sort of mistake. JUST AS IF, TO ESCAPE DROWNING, ONE WERE TO LEAP INTO A FIRE. One who bcomes attache to emptiness is like a person who wishes to escape the misfortune of drowning , and yet casts himself instead into a fire, and is painfully burned.

TEXT:

SOME REJECT THE FALSE MIND TO GRASP TRUE PRINCIPLE, BUT THE MIND THAT GRASPS AND REJECTS IS INGENIOUS AND FRAUDULENT.
STUCENTS WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND USE IT IN CULTIVATION.
REALLY ARE MISTAKING A THIEF FOR THEIR OWN SON.

COMMENTARY:

SOME REJECT THE FALSE MIND TO GRASP TRUE PRINCIPLE. Cultivators who lack wisdom wrongly use their human mind to reject the false and grasp at the true. This is an essential point to understand for those who would crrectly regard the way.

BUT THE MIND THAT GRASPS AND REJECTS IS INGENIOUS AND FRAUDULENT. One should know that grasping and rejecting in the mind beling among the relative dharmas. Such groping is like grabbing for the moon in the water, or like watching flowers in a mirror: they are merely ingenious, empty, and fraudulent.

STUDENTS WHO DO NOT UNDERSTAND AND USE IT IN CULTIVATION. Students of the wah who do not understand theerror in this make mistaken use of it in their cultivation, not knowing what is right and what is wrong in it.

REALLY ARE MISTAKING A THIEF FOR THEIR OWN SON. That kind of cultivation is actually opening the door and greeting the burglar. It is no different from mistaking a thief for one's own son.

TEXT:

DHARMA WEALTH IS LOST, AND MERIT AND VIRTUE DESTROYED,
DUE TO NOTHING ELSE THAN THE CONSCIOUS MIND,
THROUGH THE DOOR OF DHYANA THE MIND IS ENDED,
AND ONE SUDDENLY ENTERS THE POWERFUL, UNPRODUCED
KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT.

COMMENTARY:

DHARMA WEALTH IS LOST, AND MERIT AND VIRTUE DESTROYED. Those who mistake a thief for their own child and open that door to the burglar, will surely lose the ewealth of their inherent Dharma-nature and destroy their original endowment of abilities and virtues. Mistaken themselves, and leading other into error, they are to be pitied.

DUE TO NOTHING ELSE THAN THE CONSCIOUS MIND. To follow this to its source, to get to the heart of it, it comes from nowhere else than the mind and its consciousness--they are to blame.

THROUGH THE DOOR OF DHYANA THE MIND IS ENDED. For this reason, the methods of the Dhyana School teach people how to end their conscious minds by taking the path of non-doing in their cultivation.

AND ONE SUDDENLY ENTERS THE POWERFUL, UNPRODUCED KNOWLEDGE AND INSIGHT. If one takes the path of non-doing in cultivation, then in the course of time, one can suddenly enter into the power of the unsurpassed knowledge and insight.

TEXT:

THE GREAT HERO WIELDS THE WISDOM SWORD.
FROM ITS PRAJNA POINT, A VAJRA BLAZE! IT NOT ONLY
DESTROYS THE MIND OF EXTERNAL PATHS.
IT ALSO HAS LONG SINCE TERRIFIED THE HEAVENLY DEMONS!

COMMENTARY:

THE GREAT HERO WIELDS THE WISDOM SWORD. The knight who cultivates the way and transcends the world must sever love and take leave of affections. He must cast off the common and part with the dust; he must have a resolve that soars to heaven. Then he may be called a person who performs marvels. The great hero wields the enlightening sword of wisdom to cut away delusions, both coarse and subtle, along with those like dust and sand--all ignorance and afflictions.

FROM ITS PRAJNA POINT, A VAJRA BLAZE! This sword is cast in Prajna, and its sharp point is wisdom. It emits a gright vajra blaze which fills the three-thousand-great-thousand world-realms.

IT NOT ONLY DESTROYS THE MIND OF EXTERNAL PATHS. The vajra king jewled sword does not simply destroy the deviant mind that takes side doors and external paths, but IT ALSO HAS LONG SINCE TERRIFIED THE BEAVENLY DEMONS. It has already frightened the heavenly demons and their retinues, and sapped their courage.

Cultivators definitely should pay attention to this section of the Song, ponder over it, and gain from it.

TEXT:

ROLL THE DHARMA THUNDER, BEAT THE DHARMA DRUM.
CLOUDS OF KINDNESS GATHER.. SWEET DEW IS DISPERSED; DRAGONS AND ELEPHANTS TREAD UPON IT, MOISTENING EVERYTHING. THE THREE VEHICLES AND FIVE NATURES ARE ALL
ROUSED AWAKE, THE HIMALAYA PINODHNI GRASS IS UNALLOYED
INDEED; PURE GHEE PRODUCED FROM IT I HAVE OFTEN PARTAKEN OF, ONE NATURE COMPLETELY PERVADES ALL NATURES.

ONE DHARMA EVERYWHERE CONTAINS ALL DHAYMAS.
ONE MOON UNIVERSALLY APPEARS IN ALL WATERS,
THE MOONS IN ALL WATERS ARE BY ONE MOON GATHERED IN.
THE DHARMA BODY OF ALL BUDDHAS ENTERS MY NATURE; MY NATURE ALSO MESHES WITH THE THUS COME ONES.

ON A SINGLE LEVEL, EVERY LEVEL IS COMPLETE,
IT IS NEITHER FORM, NOR MIND, NOR THE KARMA OF ACTION-- IN A FINGER-SNAP, EIGHTY THOUSAND DOORS ARE FULLY REALIZED.
IN A KSHANA, THREE ASAMKHYEYA KALPAS ARE EXTINGUISHED.
NO NUMBER OR PHRASE CAN DESCRIBE IT, WHAT RELATION COULD THEY HAVE TO OUR SPIRITUAL AWAKENING?

COMMENTARY:

ROLL THE DHARMA THUNDER, BEAT THE DHARMA DRUM. Propagating the proper Dharma and teaching and transforming sentient beings is like rolling a great Dharma thunder and beating a great dharma drum. The deaf are aroused, and the blind are shaken.

CLOUDS OF KINDNESS GATHER.. SWEET DEW IS DISPERSED. Auspicious clouds of kindness gather so that all who are ready to receive it are in its unversal shade. Being everywhere are moistened by the timely downpour of rain and dew, so that all are led to make the resolve for Bodhi and to be certified together to patience with non-production.

DRAGONS AND ELEPHANTS TREAD UPON IT, MOISTENING EVERYTHING. The Dharma doors' dragons and elephants wlak upon the sweet dew, nourishing over and over the limitless, boundless living beings.

THE THREE VEHICLES AND FIVE NATURES ARE ALL ROUSED AWAKE. The Sound Hearers, the Conditioned Enlightened Ones, and Bodhisattvas, those of unfixed nature and those who lack the nature, are all awakened.

THE HIMALAYA PINODHNI GRASS IS UNALLOYED INDEED. In the fertile soil of the Himalayas grows a succulent grass which the large white cows eat to produce their milk.

PURE GHEE PRODUCED FROM IT I HAVE OFTEN PARTAKEN OF. I have tasted the wonderful flavor of unmixed, clarified ghee produced from it.

ONE NATURE CPMPLETELY PERVADES ALL NATURES. That is
A single root divides into ten thousand differences.

Ten thousand differences yet return to the one root.

ONE DHARMA EVERYWHERE CONTAINS ALL DHARMAS. One is yet all, and all is but one.

ONE MOON UNIVERSALLY APPEARS IN ALL WATERS. This is an analogy. The one moon is able to be similarly reflected in all waters.

THE MOONS IN ALL WATERS ARE BY ONE MOON GATHERED IN. The moons in all the waters are basically the one moon, which unites them all.

THE DHARMA BODY OF ALL BUDDHAS ENTERS MY NATURE. The Dharma body--the pure, fundamental substance--of all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, enters my nature--becomes of one substance with my own nature.

MY NATURE ALSO MESHES WITH THE THUS COME ONES. The substance of my nature and all the Buddhas are not two, not different. They are united as one.

ON A SINGLE LEVEL, EFERY LEVEL IS COMPLETE. On a single level, every level is already complete; there is no passing through stages.

IT IS NEITHER FORM, NOR MIND, NOR THE KARMA OF ACTION--the inherent nature is not a dharma of phusical marks. Nore is it a dharma of the mind's conditions. It is even less a dharma of karmic aaction. It is the great dharm of the unconditioned.

IN A FINGER-SNAP, EIGHTY THOUSAND DOORS ARE FULLY REALIZED. As quick as a snap of the fungers, the samadhis of eighty-four thousand kinds of Dharna doors are realized perfectly and completely.

IN A KSHANA, THREE ASAMKHYEYA KALPAS ARE EXTINGUISHED. In a single kshana, three great asamkhyeya kalpas can be transcended; and three great asamkhyeya kalpas can shrink to a single kshana.

NO NUMVER OR PHRASE CAN DESCRIBE IT. No numbers or words can describe this subtle and miraculous Dharma door. It is apart from the four tenets and dispenses with the hundred fallacies.

WHAT RELATION COULD THEY HAVE TO OUR SPIRITUAL AWAKENING? What relation could numbers, words, language, and literature have with the spiritual, bright, Enlightened subtance of our inherent nature?

TEXT:

IT DANNOT BE SLANDERED AND CANNOT BE PRAISED,
ITS SUBSTANCE IS LIKE SPACE; IT HAS NO SHORE,
IT DOES NOT LEAVE WHERE IT IS; IT IS ALWAYS CLEAR.
IF YOU SEARCH FOR IT, KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT SEE IT.
IT CANNOT BE GRASPED; IT CANNOT BE REJECTED.
JUST WHAT CAN BE OBTAINED WITHIN THE UNOBTAINABLE?

COMMENTARY:

IT CANNOT BE SLANDERED AND CANNOT BE PRAISED. This wonderful Dharma door is the one Supreme Path. If one has not yet awakened completely, one absolutely may not malign it; even less may one praise it.

ITS SUBSTANCE IS LIKE SPACE; IT HAS NO SHORE. The basic substance of the inherent nature we humans possess is like empty space. It has no boundaries, and so even less does it have limits. It is equal and undifferentiated.

IT DOES NOT LEAVE WHERE IT IS; IT IS ALWAYS CLEAR. All people are fundamentally complete with this basic substance, and no one lacks it. It never leaves where it is, but is always clear, still, and undisturbed.

IF YOU SEARCH FOR IT, KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT SEE IT. If you intentionally seek it, though you may go to the far corners of the ocean or the limits of the heavens insearch of it, you will not be able to see it. But if it is evoked without thought, you will be immediately, suddenly Enlightened to the fundamental source--the original face of your natural, inherent Buddhahood.

IT CANNOT BE GRASPED. The inherent nature is like space. Since it cannot be seized or grasped, how then could it have the characteristics of a tangible form ?

IT CANNOT BE REJECTED. The inherent nature cannot be grasped; then can it be rejected? No, it cannot be rejected either. Why? To the ends of empty space, throughout the Dharma Realm, there is nothing that is not included in this inherent nature. Therefore, it cannot be rejected either.

JUST WHAT CAN BE OBTAINED WITHIN THE UNOBTAINABLE? Within that which can neither be obtained nor rejected, there is only nothing to be attained. Will the cultivator be able to obtain it?

TEXT:

WHEN SILENT, THERE IS SPEECH; WHEN SPEAKING,
THERE IS SILENCE. THE GREAT GATE OF GIVING IS OPEN AND UNBLOCKED.
SHOULD SOMEONE ASK WHAT THE PRINCIPLE OF MY EXPLANATIONS IS, I INFORM HIM THAT IT IS THE POWER OF MAHAPRAJNA. PEOPLE DONT KNOW WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT.
ONE MAY OPPOSE THE FLOW OR COMPLY, BUT THE GODS DO NOT FATHOM IT..
I HAVE ALREADY CULTIVATED IT THROUGH MANY AEONS,
THIS IS NOT THE ORDINARY CASE OF MUTUAL LIES AND DECEIT.

COMMENTARY:

WHEN SILENT, THERE IS SPEECH; WHEN SPEAKING, THERE IS SILENCE. When a cultivator is still and silent, be can obtain the realization that the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth--phenomena of the universe--are all without exception, actrally proclaiming the wonderful Dharma. Yet,even while they are proclaiming the wonderful Dharma, the fundamental substance of everything is forever still and undisturbed. It is silent and has no words.
THE GREAT GATE OF GIVING IS OPEN AND UNBLOCKED. This door of true and proper, great and fearless giving s open wide, and universally benefits the conscious beings of the Dharma Realm, so that they may ascend the shore of awakening together.

SHOULD SOMEONE ASK WHAT THE PRINCIPLE OF MY EXPLANATIONS IS--should someone inquire of me, "What is the guiding principle hbehind these explanations?" I INFORM HIM THAT IT IS THE POWER OF MAHAPRAJNA. Ijust answer that it is no other principle than the supreme guiding purport of Mahaprajna-power. Maha has three meanings: "great," "many," and "supreme."

PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT IS NOT. Ultimately, people do not know what this Mahaprajna-power is and what it is not; none of them recognize its wonderful meaning.

ONE MAY OPPOSE THE FLOW OR COMPLY, BUT THE GODS DO NOT FATHOM IT. Wether one opposes the flow and cultivates by oneself, or whether one complies with the flow and transforms other, even the gods find it hard to measure its heights and depths.

I HAVE ALREADY CULTIVATED IT THROUGH MANY AEONS. Since people cannot recognize it, gods find it even harder to fathom. But, because I have already steeped myself in cultivation of this dharma for many lifetimes through many aeons.

THIS IS NOT THE ORDINARY CASE OF MUTUAL LIES AND DECEIT. This is certainly not the common, ordinary sort of wasteful words with which people cheat and mislead one another.

This section of the Song was spoken by a man of wisdom It would have been difficult for an ordinary person to have said it.

TEXT:

THE DHARMA BANNER IS RAISED; THE SCHOOL'S PURPORT IS ESTABLISHED. THE BUDDHA VERY CLEARLY DIRECTED THAT IT WAS TO BE AT TS'AO CREEK, WITH KASHYAPA, THE FIRST, BEGAN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE LAMP.
TWENTY-EIGHT GENERATIONS WERE RECORDED IN INDIA.

COMMENTARY:

THE DHARMA BANNER IS RAISED; THE SCHOOL'S PURPORT IS ESTABLISHED. The great dharma banner is set up; the heavenly demons are defeated, and all the sects of outside ways are kept in order. They are led to take refuge with the proper teaching and to resolve their minds on Bodhi. The proper Dharma door are established and supreme teaching of the one Vehilce is propagated.
THE BUDDHA VERY CLEARLY DIREDTED THAT IT WAS TO BE AT TS'AO CREEK. The Buddha very clearly instructed that precious Glade (Bau Lin) Bodhimanda at Ts'ao Creek was to be where this great Dharma banner and these supreme principles would be transmitted.

WITH KASHYAPA, THE FIRST, BEGAN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE LAMP. Kashyapa was the first to transmit the Buddha's Mind-Seal, the wisdom lamp of the successive Patriarchs.

TWENTY-EIGHT GENERATIONS WERE RECORDED IN INDIA. From Patriarch to Patriarch these principles were handed down to Bodhidharma, the Twenty-Eighth Patriarch in India who came east and transmitted it himself at Ts'ao Creek.

TEXT:

THE DHARMA FLOWED EAST AND ENTERED THIS LAND.
BODHIDHARMA WAS THE FIRST PATRIARCH, THE ROBE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE SIXTH GENERATION, AS ALL THE WORLD HAS HEARD
HOW COULD ONE COUNT THE PEOPLE WHO SINCE THEN HAVE REALIZED THE WAY?

TEXT:

THE DHARMA FLOWED EAST AND ENTERED THIS LAND. The buddhadharma flowed east and was transmitted to Zhung Kuo (China).

BODHIDHARMA WAS THE FIRST PATRIARCH. The twenty-eighth Patriarch in India, Bodhidharma, was also the First Patriarch in Zhung Kuo.

THE ROBE WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE SIXTH GENERATION, AS ALL THE WORLD HAS HEARD. It was transmitted to the Patriarch of the sixth generation, the Great Master Hui Neng, who received the robe and bowl in person from the Fifth Patriarch, as all the world has heard and knows.

HOW COULD ONE COUNT THE PEOPLE WHO DINCE THEN HAVE REALIZED THE WAY? This refers to stucents in later times who heard the Dharma and attained the Way. The flower bloomed with five petals, and the teaching spread into many schools. How indeed could one count the heirs to the Dharma?

TEXT:

THE TRUE IS NOT ESTABLISHED; THE FALSE IS FUNDAMENTALLY EMPTY.
BOTH EXISTENCE DNA NON-EXISTENCE ARE BANISHED, AND NON-EMPTINESS IS EMPTIED.
THE TWENTY DOORS TO EMPTINESS ARE BASICALLY IN ORDER TO BE NOT-ATTACHED.
THE SINGLE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE THUS COME ONE IS BASIC IDENTITY OF SELF.

COMMENTARY;

THE TRUE IS NOT ESTABLISHED, THE FALSE IS FUNDAMENTALLY EMPTY. Since the true is not established, the characteristics of words and speech are left behind. Sonce the false is fundamentally empty, the characteristics of thinking by the mind are left behind.

BOTH EXISTENCE AND NON-EXISTENCE ARE BANISHED, AND NON-EMPTINESS IS EMPTIED. The dual dharmas of existence and non-existence are both eliminated, and the thoughts of non-emptiness are also completely emptied.

THE TWENTY DOORS TO EMPTINESS ARE BASICALLY IN ORDER TO BE NOT-ATTACHED. The Prajna division speaks in detail of the twenty kinds of doors to emptiness, all of which without exception lead people not to become attached.

THE SINGLE CHARACTERISTIC OF THE THUS COME ONE IS BASIC IDENTITY OF SELF. The Enlightened substance of the Thus Come One of only one single characteristic, is fundamental self identity. "Thus" means unchanging; "come" means complying with conditions.

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