THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Spiritual Penetrations in the Palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven
This is the start of the sutra text. “Trayastrimsha Heaven” is Sanskrit for the Heaven of Thirty-Three. This is not the 33rd layer of heaven from the bottom up. It is in the middle with eight heavens in the east, eight heavens in the west, eight heavens in the south and eight heavens in the north. Four times eight makes 32. Thirty-two heavens surround the 33rd heaven in the center, making this heaven the Heaven of Thirty-Three.
The Lord of the Heaven of Thirty-Three is Shakra. Shakra is a god, which is a Dharma protector in Buddhist terms. The Lord Indra in the Amitabha Sutra is Shakra the god. “Na mo yin tuo la ye” in the Shuragama Mantra also refers to Shakra the god. Though a heavenly ruler, he is merely a Dharma protector according to Buddhism. Not only does he not rule, but he does not even have a seat; he stands by the door. This heavenly ruler is the omnipotent God in most people’s minds. Right, he is omnipotent; he can manage things in the heavens and in the human realm. However, he is not too different from human beings because he still wants sex, food and sleep. His desires are lighter than humans though. Human beings are extremely hungry after going without food for a few days, uncomfortable and sleepless without sex for a few days; and lethargic without sleep for a few days. Lord Shakra, however, can fast for 100 days, 200 days, 300 days, or even a year without problems; he can also abstain from sleep or sex for a year without problems. Nevertheless, he has not let go of his desire.
Beings in the Tryastrimsha Heaven live for 1000 years, of which one day is equivalent to 100 human years. Think about it, how much longer is his 1000 years in human years? The Tryastrimsha Heaven is 80,000 yojanas in size. Its city walls are made of seven gems. Just the city mote itself is 60,000 yojanas in size. The city of the Tryastrimsha god is called the City of Fine Views. His palace is constructed with the most valuable gems. This is why he refuses to leave after becoming reborn there as the heavenly lord. All the buildings all around are constructed with gems. No wonder his desire refuses to quit; it’s such a beautiful place, with such beautiful palaces. He is content just enjoying his heavenly blessings there and considers the place most delightful. He even tells all beings to be reborn in his kingdom. He welcomes anyone who would like to come to his world, a joyous world. He thinks he is being generous by welcoming people to come and stay. He does not realize, however, that he cannot end his own birth and death because he is greedy for and attached to this kind of happiness.
Having said all this, how did he become a god? Did he get promoted from an earthly god to a heavenly god? Every household in Canton makes offerings to an earth lord. Did he get promoted from an earth lord to a heavenly lord, or from an earth lord to a human lord, then a heavenly lord? No. Then how did he become the heavenly lord? During the time of Kasyapa Buddha, this heavenly lord was a woman. Do not think he is any big deal. Lord god was a woman before. This woman set out to build a temple for Kasyapa Buddha. The circumstances that led to this resolve were that she saw a dilapidated temple with no roof or ceiling. The Buddha image in the temple was losing its gold gilding from the wind and the rain that came through. She was saddened by this and said, “Gee, the Buddha image is dirty to begin with, now it’s wind-blown and rained on. How embarrassing!” She made it her goal to rebuild this temple. Since she did not have any money, she asked her friends and relatives, “I want to rebuild a temple but I am penniless. Could you all help me? Get more of your relatives and friends together so we can do charity and repair this temple.” Her friends and relatives agreed, “Okay, let us cooperate and build a temple.” Thirty three people were found. She is the founder while there were 32 others, mostly women too; though unverifiable in history. Even if there were men, there were very few. Men probably thought they were too great to build temples, so they let the women do it. In any case, these 33 women finished rebuilding this temple, plus a jeweled stupa at that. Each person donated a little money and all their effort in building this temple and stupa. At the end of these 33 people’s lives, they were reborn in the heavens. Each person has one layer of heaven, so there are 33 layers for 33 people at this Heaven. The center of these heavens is the Tryastrimsha lord, Shakra. This is the origin of the Tryastrimsha Heaven.
What does “heaven” mean? It does not mean anything; if it did, it would not be called “heaven.” Why? Heaven is spontaneous by definition. The karma of these 33 individual created these heavens. Without these 33 individuals, there would not be the Tryastrimsha Heaven; that is why I say it does not mean anything.
The palaces here are the best and most beautiful models, like some of those Chinese imperial palaces; but these heavenly palaces are even more beautiful and wonderful.
Spiritual penetrations. The spirit is also known as the heaven’s mind. Penetrations is a type of wisdom. Penetrations are unhindered, and spirits are beyond the magical and the mystical. There are six kinds of spiritual penetrations, although these six are one and the same too. Furthermore, they could be nothing whatsoever because there was no spiritual penetration to begin with, or there was always spiritual penetrations. How can we say there was no spiritual penetration and there always was spiritual penetration? This is quite a terrific explanation.
Let us first explain the six spiritual penetrations individually: originally there was spiritual penetration and no spiritual penetration; originally there was one type of spiritual penetration and there was no spiritual penetration at all. The six spiritual penetrations are: the penetration of the heavenly eye, the penetration of the heavenly ear, the penetration of knowing others thoughts, the penetration of knowing past lives, the penetration of traveling freely, and the penetration of being free of outflows. The penetration of traveling freely is also called the penetration of spiritual states and the penetration of wishes fulfilled.
Speaking of the penetration of the heavenly eye— we are all people, but we are different. How are we different? Some people can observe the trichiliocosm as if it were an apple in the palm of their hand. Venerable Aniruddha had the penetration of the heavenly eye; he was foremost in the heavenly eye. The penetration of the heavenly ear, someone with this penetration can hear all the sounds throughout the human realm, the heavens and all of trichiliocosm. The penetration of others’ thoughts, someone with this penetration knows what you are thinking before you articulate it.
The penetration of knowing past lives: someone with this penetration knows everything you did in your past lives, both good and bad. The penetration of spiritual states: the spiritual here is what you mentioned earlier, a kind of inconceivable state. The spiritual and the wondrous are somewhat similar, so sometimes we use them together as one phrase to mean that they are unfathomably spiritual and wondrous, an incredible state. Penetrations are unimpeded; blockages clear up. For instance, walls obstruct, but puncture a hole in it and it is penetrated. Our ignorance obstructs the light of our inherent nature, if you can use your wisdom sword to pierce through, that would be penetration.
The penetration of no outflow. Why do we human beings not become Buddhas? It is because of our outflows. Why do we human beings not become Bodhisattvas? It is also because of these outflows. These outflows leak into the Triple Realm: the Desire Realm, the Form Realm and the Formless Realm. Not only do outflows lead into the Triple Realm but the nine realms too. What are the nine realms? The realms of the Bodhisattvas, Sound Hearers, Those Who Enlighten to Conditions, gods, humans, asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals. The reason that the beings in these nine realms do not become Buddhas is because of their outflows. They would be Buddhas if they did not have any outflows. Where do these outflows come from? Ignorance. If you can shatter ignorance, then there would be no outflows. With ignorance not shattered, you will leak until you have nothing left. Very few people have the penetration of no outflows. Without outflows, you become liberated from the cycle of birth and death; the reason that you cannot become liberated from birth and death is because you have outflows. Having outflows is similar to a leaky bottle: fill it with water and it leaks; fill it with more water and it cannot preserve it. End outflows and you would have the penetration of no outflow.
Originally we do not have any spiritual penetrations means that we did not have any spiritual penetrations when we were ordinary people. At the level of the sages’ fruition, we have always had spiritual penetrations. Ordinary people do not have spiritual penetrations while sages do. Do sages get their spiritual penetrations from the outside? No, they have always had them. Did ordinary people lose their spiritual penetrations so that they do not have them now? No, they are in their inherent nature; but they did not notice them and discover them. They think they’re not there and consider they were always without spiritual penetrations.
It is not important whether we have spiritual penetrations. Do not think having spiritual penetrations is equivalent to enlightenment or arhatship, far from it. Do not be so easily satisfied. Getting just a smidget of gold and you think, “Oh, I struck it rich this time!” Other people with millions and millions of ounces in the savings do not even think about it, it is as if it does not exist for these millionaires. So what is the big deal with your one little ounce? Do not be content with little. One of the states of the Two Vehicles is that they stop in mid-course, being content with very little; this is not a Mahayana Bodhisattva’s sensibility. If you think you are so great because of your spiritual penetrations, then you think too small; you are still attached and satisfied.
A chapter is a form of classification.
Thus I have heard. At one time, the Buddha was in the Trayastrimsha Heaven speaking Dharma for his mother.
Thus I have heard. The Vajra Sutra, the Earth Store Sutra and the Dharma Flower Sutra are all starting to be lectured here, so “Thus I have heard” is said three times. “Thus” is a term that the Dharma thus spoken is credible. The Dharma that is not thus is not credible. This Dharma here is a Dharma that is “thus”. “Thus” is also a term for a seal of approval. This is the version that cannot be altered. “Thus I have heard” is one of the answers the Buddha gave to answer one of Ananda’s four questions. Before Shakyamuni Buddha entered nirvana, Ananda cried his heart out, forgetting everything.
Venerable Aniruddha did not have the Flesh Eye, only the Heavenly Eye, but he was especially cool and calm. He told Ananda to ask the Buddha four questions: 1. What words should be used at the beginning of each sutra after the sutras have been compiled to show that it is representative of the Buddhist Canon? 2. When the Buddha was in the world, the Buddha’s disciples lived with him. After the Buddha enters nirvana, with whom should we live? 3. When the Buddha was in the world, the Buddha was our teacher, after the Buddha enters nirvana, which venerable one should be our teacher? 4. How should we treat evil natured Bhikshus? The Buddha responded at that time: 1. Use the four words “Thus I have heard” before every sutra. 2. Abide in the Four Types of Mindfulness. The Four Types of Mindfulness are about the body, feelings, the mind and the Dharma. Contemplate the body as impure; contemplate feelings as suffering, contemplate the mind as impermanent; and contemplate the Dharma as without a self. These are the Four Types of Mindfulness. 3. When the Buddha was in the world, the Buddha was our teacher. After the Buddha enters nirvana, we take the pratimoksa as our teacher. This is the master for all Bhikshus and Bhikshunis. 4. Give evil natured Bhikshus the silent treatment and ignore them.
“Thus I have heard” is to end the multitude of doubts. When the sutras were being compiled, everyone developed three questions immediately. These questions were raised when Ananda joined the sutra compilations (before which he certified to the fourth level of arhatship). No one opened the door for him and he entered the sutra compilation place through the crack in the door. Although all the other participants who joined the compilation of the sutras had certified to arhatship, their memory was worse than Ananda. Ananda was a provisional manifestation in that life. He was the attendant to all the Buddhas in the past. When Shakyamuni Buddha became a Buddha, he was born. He became Shakyamuni Buddha’s attendant, who was being prepared for compiling sutras. As soon as Ananda stepped onto the Dharma seat, everyone had three suspicions: 1. The suspicion that Shakyamuni Buddha came to life again. 2. The suspicion that a Buddha from another direction came. 3. The suspicion that Ananda certified to the fruit of Buddhahood. The great assembly developed these three suspicions until Ananda said the four words “Thus I have heard”, then these three doubts disappeared.
The purpose of using “Thus I have heard” for sutra compilations is: 1. to eliminate everyone’s skepticism; 2. to observe the Buddha’s last words; 3. to end arguments. Since Ananda was quite young when the sutras were being compiled, some of the senior elders such as elder Kasyapa, Ajñāta-kaundinya, Subhuti, and others might say: “What kind of experience and knowledge could a young person like yourself have to compile the sutras? How will you compile the sutras?” If Ananda said he will write out the sutras, people would argue, “What you say is completely wrong. The Buddha did not say this.” But once Ananda said, “Thus I have heard,” no one fought. Why? Ananda heard this from the Buddha; Ananda did not make this up himself. This is to end arguments.
Four, to differentiate from the non-Buddhists. The thinking in non-Buddhist texts [at that time in India] is as follows: all dharmas are not apart from existence and void. Either everything is “existent” or “non-existent”. Existence and non-existence embody all dharmas. The non-Buddhist texts begin with the two words “ah” and “ga”. “Ah” is non-existence while “ga” is existence. To differentiate from non-Buddhists, the Buddha instructed on using the four words, “Thus I have heard” at the beginning of the sutras, which means, “thus is the Dharma that I, Ananda, personally heard from the Buddha.” “Thus” makes the condition of faith happen; “I have heard” makes the condition of hearing happen. Why not say one heard with the ears but say “I” have heard? It is because “I” represents all six senses in the body.
At one time. Why is not a specific year, specific month and specific day named? Why is the location where the Buddha spoke Dharma named? It is because different calendars are used around the world; January in some country is February in another country, or January in some country is March or April in another country. These dates are uncertain, so the Buddhist sutras just say there was such a time. If there were a fixed time, archeologists might use a lot of brain juices to do research. The Buddha did not want to waste archeologists’ brain juices and effort, so the Buddhist sutras used “at one time”. This makes the condition of time happen.
The Buddha makes the condition of the host happen. The Buddha enlightened himself, enlightens others and perfected enlightening conducts. He is a Buddha because “he perfected the three types of enlightenments and is replete with the myriad virtues.” This Buddha is the teaching host of the Saha World, Shakyamuni Buddha. Actually Shakyamuni Buddha became a Buddha millions and millions, even infinite eons ago. However, he saw that the time has come for living beings in the Saha World of Southern Jambudvipa and came and manifested as a Buddha so that all beings will become Buddhas, escape the cycle of birth and death. Dharmas spoken by the Buddha are unfailingly true, we must all accept these principles profoundly. If these words go in one ear and out the other, nothing will be gained by it. We must practice truly and honestly; reject even as much deceit as a hair’s breadth.
Was in the Trayastrimsha Heaven. This makes the condition of place happen.
Speaking Dharma for his mother. Shakyamuni Buddha went up into the Tryastrimsha Heaven to save his mother. Seven days after the Buddha was born, the Buddha’s mother Lady Maya passed away and became reborn in the Tryastrimsha Heaven. Maya is Sanskrit. It means “great magic” or “illusions”. The Buddha’s mother was the mother of a thousand Buddhas; she came to be every Buddha’s mother. As strange as it sounds, this is what happened. She came to be the Buddha’s mother and after the Buddha realizes Buddhahood, he speaks Dharma for her. This is similar to a drama.
Actually, if you understand this world, everything would seem like a play. This is the truth in life. Once you understand one true principle, you will understand other true principles. Most people do not know how to really watch life’s drama unfold; they only watch the content that includes sadness and joy, separation and union, joy and happiness, sadness and fear, love and hate, and desire. People who see all this realize that life is but illusion and transformation. “All conditioned dharmas are but dreams, illusions, bubbles and shadows. They are like dew drops and lightning, contemplate them thus.” When the Buddha taught living beings he was in the Samadhi of playfulness; he did not treat this as a big deal. Unlike most of us who are attached to this and that, left and right, up and down. Not everything is perfectly integrated and unobstructed; all states are but illusory and unreal. We are attached if this is not how we perceive states.
The role of the Buddha’s mother, Lady Maya is to be a thousand Buddhas’ mother. After every Buddha realizes Buddhahood, he will go to the Tryastrimsha Heaven to speak the Dharma for his mother. Every Buddha is this way. But a Wheel-Turning Sage King or Shakra has to request the Dharma. Who requested that Shakyamuni Buddha go and speak the Dharma in the Tryastrimsha Heaven? His father, a Wheel King. He told the Buddha, “You should go to the Triyastrimsha Heaven to speak the Dharma for your mother, save her.” The Wheel King requested Dharma from Shakyamuni Buddha; some sutras say Shakra did. Shakra is the lord of the Tryastrimsha Heaven, whose former incarnation was that poor woman who renovated a temple. Having renovated a temple, she became a heavenly lord. Some sutra texts say Shakra knew that the Buddha’s mother was in the heavens and requested the Buddha to speak the Dharma at the Tryastrimsha Heaven. Regardless of which version, the general idea is that someone has to request the Buddha to speak the Dharma.
What Dharma did Shakyamuni Buddha speak for his mother? Earth Store Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows Sutra. This is a Dharma on filiality. Everyone should be filial to their parents. Why? It is because our parents are our roots. By being filial to your parents, you douse your roots with fertilizer. If you are not filial to your parents, you will definitely have no future. Being filial to your parents means tending to your roots well and ensuring a bright future. As the saying goes, “Stable roots lead to lush branches; deep roots lead to luxuriant leaves.” For his mother, Shakyamuni explained this type of Dharma, which follows.
At that time, uncountably many Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas from infinite worlds in the ten directions assembled.
At that time, uncountably many Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas from infinite worlds in the ten directions assembled. Worlds throughout the ten directions are the dependent retribution while all the ineffably ineffable Buddhas and great Bodhisattvas are retribution proper. People are retribution proper, while worlds are dependent retribution. These are the two types of retributions. There are five ways to explain “at that time”. First, this refers to the times when the Dharma is about to be spoken, the time that the Dharma is being spoken, and the time when the Dharma has already been spoken. Here, it would be when the Buddha wanted to speak the Dharma, then when the Buddha was explaining this Dharma on filiality, and then when the Buddha finished explaining this Dharma on being filial to one’s parents. This is the first explanation.
The second explanation for it refutes the non-Buddhists. Non-Buddhists speak Dharmas that do not specify past, present or future; they are vague. This explanation contradicts the non-Buddhists by explaining a Dharma of the past, present and future. This is the second meaning to “at that time.”
The third meaning for “at that time” is a time for planting. Once the seeds are planted, there will be a time for ripening and harvesting. What happens after ripening? There is a time for liberation, which also occurs “at that time”. For example, someone who has never planted good roots, such as the elder who wanted to leave the homelife. The great arahats took a look at him though and saw that he did not do any good deeds in the last 80,000 great eons. They refused to let him leave the homlife. “Do not consider leaving home easy, it is all because of Bodhi planted in lives past.” People who are monastics now got to be monastics because they planted roots of goodness in the last 80,000 great eons. Do not think one can casually become a monk or a nun. Telling those who have never planted roots of goodness to plant some, those who have never recited the Buddha’s name to recite, and those who have never recited mantras to recite is about planting roots of goodness. Once the seeds are in the soil, they will grow and mature. It is like farming, for instance, where seeds planted in the spring are harvested in the fall. If they ripen but are not harvested, it would not do any good. Liberation means when the seeds are collected. This also means telling those who have not planted good roots to do so; those who have already planted good roots to become monks. They are ripe when they are monks. Monks must become Buddhas, which requires certifying to the fruit and becoming liberated.
So listening to sutra lectures is not about listening to the sutra a couple of times and refusing to listen to any more. The more you listen, the more you have this type of knowledge. If you do not listen, you will not increase your knowledge of Buddhist studies.
The fourth is an explanation that there is a real teacher speaking the Dharma. Once a real teacher is in place, then the orthodox teaching is spoken, after that there is proper learning. If you do not study properly, even proper teachings are not helpful to you. You may want to study properly and the orthodox teachings are there, but you do not have a teacher who truly understands, then you cannot learn. So the fourth explanation on “at that time” refers to the presence of a real teacher, the orthodox teachings, and proper learning.
The fifth explanation of “at that time” is the time when the Buddha was willing to speak the Dharma and living beings were willing to listen to the Dharma. Listening to the Dharma and speaking the Dharma occur simultaneously; neither one is higher nor lower as long as the audience and the teachings click. Some beings come and listen to the Buddha speak this Dharma; the Buddha wanted to speak and living beings wanted to listen. They are equal. Above are five different explanations of “at that time”.
For this sutra, the “thus” is the fulfilled condition of faith; the “I have heard” is the fulfilled condition of “hearing”; the “at one time” is the fulfilled condition of time; the “Buddha” is the fulfilled condition of the host; the “Tryastrimsha Heaven” is the fulfilled condition of a place; and the “speaking Dharma for his mother” is the fulfilled condition of the assembly. Although the Buddha was speaking the Dharma for his mother, beings in the heavens and human beings also followed him. Among those who always accompanied the Buddha, there were already 1,250 disciples of the Buddha alone. The lord of the Tryastrimsha Heaven, Indra, was the Dharma Protector, the Meal Host and the one who requested the Dharma. Although the Buddha was speaking Dharma for his mother, he was really speaking Dharma for the great assembly; therefore this line also fulfills the condition of the assembly. The above are the six conditions.
At that time, many, many Buddhas and all the great Bodhisattvas with lofty resolves throughout the ineffably ineffable worlds in space and the Dharma Realm of the ten directions gathered. See, all the Buddhas and the great Bodhisattvas gathered when the Earth Store Sutra was lectured, so people should gather too! All the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout the ten directions also gathered as we now lecture on the Earth Store Sutra. Open your Buddha eyes and look, all the infinite and uncountable number of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas throughout the ten directions now gather to support this Dharma Assembly.
To praise how Shakyamuni Buddha is able to manifest powerfully great wisdom and spiritual penetrations in the evil world of the Five Turbidities.
All the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas throughout the ten directions went to the Tryastrimsha Palaceto praise how Shakyamuni Buddha. . . Shakyamuni is Sanskrit. Shakya is a surname while Muni is a first name. The name Shakyamuni is his individual name. Buddha is a name common to all Buddhas. Each Buddha has his unique name, in this case, Shakyamuni. Shakya means “capable of being humane” while Muni means “still and quiescent”. What does it mean by “capable of being humane”? It means that he can save all beings universally with humaneness and virtue. “Still and quiescent” means unmoving, silent and scent-free. Confucianism speaks of, “There is nothing more in quietude! No sounds, no odors.” This is an indication of having reached the original substance. Still and unmoving is Samadhi while capable of being humane is wisdom. How come the Buddha can rescue living beings universally with humaneness and kindness? It is because he has wisdom. Capable of being humane is to accord with conditions. Still and quiescent is unchanging. The Buddha never changes but always accords with conditions; accords with conditions but never changes. In this still and unmoving Samadhi, he immediately connects to responses. All beings with all their variety of thoughts, regardless of how many, the Thus Come One knows and sees them all. The Buddha sees them all because he is capable of being humane; he knows them all because he is still and quiescent. Do not think that no one knows what we do, the Buddha knows everything. So if we are but ten percent sincere in our cultivation, we will receive a ten percent response; if we are 100 percent sincere, we will receive a 100 percent response. If you are millions upon millions times sincere, then even though Shakyamuni Buddha is there on that quiescent and unmoving fundamental enlightenment, he will connect with you immediately, providing you with a helpful response so that you will be successful in your practice soon. This is what it means by Shakyamuni Buddha.
The Buddha enlightens himself, enlightens others and has perfected conducts that enlighten. As it is said, one becomes a Buddha when “he has perfected the three types of enlightenments and is replete with the myriad virtues.” The three types of enlightenments perfected are: beginning enlightenment, fundamental enlightenment and ultimate enlightenment. “Buddha” is half of the transliterated Sanskrit word, “Buddhaya”. What kind of an individual was the Buddha? The Buddha is a greatly enlightened one. If every one of us cultivate according to the Buddhadharma, we will reach this kind of enlightenment, this kind of result. So Shakyamuni Buddha long ago said, “All living beings can become Buddhas”. Why? It is because they all have the Buddha nature, so as long as you are willing to work hard on your cultivation, you can become a Buddha.
. . . in the evil world of the Five Turbidities. . . The Five Turbidities are: 1. Kalpa Turbidity, this is an impure time and age. 2. View Turbidity, the views are impure. 3. Afflictions Turbidity, impure because of people’s afflictions. 4. Living Beings Turbidity, living beings are impure. 5. Life Turbidity. Our lives are turbid and impure. The Kalpa Turbidity means that we live in very filthy times.
The Shurangama Sutra says that dirt placed in a bowl of clear water loses its original function. What was the function of the dirt? It acts as a blockade. Dirt holds up people as they walk on it. Without dirt, we would fall into the sea. Since there is water under dirt, water holds the dirt. Below water is fire. Sometimes volcanoes erupt, a transformative function. Would the fire not be squelched by water? No, there is so much fire that water cannot put it out. If you want to understand this kind of principle, you must study the Buddhadharma more. The Shurangama Sutra says, “Earth loses its ability to block and water stops being clean.” That is turbidity. So this evil world of Five Turbidities is like water and earth mixed together, it is unclean. How? The Kalpa Turbidity, for example, has no time or is not clear as to what time it is.
View Turbidity. How can our views be differentiated clearly? They cannot. Can you divide up everyone’s views, categorizing some as my views and some as your views? Where do you draw the boundary between your views and my views? There are no boundaries or they are unclear, so things seem to blur together. This is the View Turbidity.
Afflictions Turbidity means everyone is afflicted. Your afflictions and my afflictions mix together and become unclear. Some say, I know these afflictions are mine and those afflictions are yours. If so, how come you can bring out my afflictions? If those were mine, you should not be able to bring them out; if your afflictions were yours, I should not be able to bring out your afflictions. Thus, we can tell that afflictions have no boundary and are turbid.
Living Beings Turbidity. Living beings are human beings in this lifetime but may become dogs in the next life and cats in the life after that. Maybe even rats in the life after that, then as insects that crawl all over the place. How can you draw such concrete distinctions? Living beings cooperate to start a large firm; our distinctions are unclear. You are either selling others or being sold by others in this large firm. We are all related. Is this not turbid? This is Living Beings Turbidity.
The Five Turbidities are extremely complicated. But Shakyamuni Buddha is able to manifest powerfully great wisdom and spiritual penetrations in this evil world that is one of the worst worlds. He can manifest inconceivably wondrous wisdom, the subtle, wonderful and inconceivable power of wonderful great wisdom, wonderful spiritual powers. Inconceivable means that it is unimaginable and unthinkable, subtly and wonderfully incredible. This is the great power of great wisdom, great spiritual powers.