THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

Chapter XII

Benefits Derived from Seeing and Hearing

Commentary:

Benefits are derived from seeing and hearing. Benefits from seeing what? Benefits from hearing what? There are benefits from seeing an image of Earth Store Bodhisattva or the Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra. Even if we do not see these, but just hear the name Earth Store Bodhisattva or Fundamental Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, there are benefits. This is the twelfth chapter.

Sutra:

At that time, the World Honored One emitted millions of billions of great rays of light from the crown of his head.

Commentary:

At that time refers to the time when Earth Spirit Firm and Solid and Shakyamuni Buddha were talking. Shakyamuni Buddha told Earth Spirit Firm and Solid to support all future beings. At that time, the World Honored One Shakyamuni Buddha emitted millions of billions of great rays of light from the crown of his head. The top of Shakyamuni Buddha’s head cannot be seen. Every one of us has a gate at the top of our head. People with a certain level of skill will have their Buddha nature leave from the top of their heads when they enter nirvana. When that occurs, they may go anywhere. However, you must cultivate hard so that you can do this well. If done poorly, then you cannot do it. Billions and billions of lights the size of hairs are released from the crown of Shakyamuni Buddha’s head. These billions and billions of lights shine upon each other and interpenetrate. For example, yesterday, we talked about how the Sixth Patriarch had a white beam come out of the top of his head when he entered nirvana. This kind of light is not one ray of light but millions of rays of light. This light is not just one color but billions of colors. Lights from the hair between the Buddha’s eyebrows light up all beings in the nine Dharma Realms. The Dharma Realm of the Buddhas: though Buddhas are living beings, they do not belong to any of the nine Dharma Realms. This kind of light from between the Buddha’s eyebrows not only lights up one world, but billions and billions of worlds. All Buddhalands throughout worlds in the ten directions are lit up with Shakyamuni Buddha’s light. Shakyamuni Buddha releases this type of light from between his eyebrows to tell us that Earth Store Sutra is especially important. We should try our best to explain, scribe, print and circulate the Earth Store Sutra. Do not dismiss the circulation of sutras. If you can print a lot of sutras and circulate sutras then you will uncover your wisdom. Your wisdom will increase. Otherwise, why would people print sutras?

I told two disciples that, perhaps after they amend the lecture notes to the Sixth Patriarch Platform Sutra and the manuscript to the Earth Store Sutra, they can go and print and publish them when they go to Taiwan. Very few English sutras with commentaries are published in the West. Like plants during droughts that require the nourishment of rain, we must print sutras quickly so that most people will understand the Buddhadharma. This is part of propagating the Buddhadharma and something most critical in turning the great Dharma Wheel. Why do I hope to see the English translations of the Earth Store Sutra and the Sixth Patriarch Platform Sutra published in Taiwan? Printing is very inexpensive in Taiwan. You can create merit on this trip and use it as an opportunity to propagate the Buddhadharma. So do not dismiss this.

Sutra:

They were the White Ray, the Great White Ray, the Auspicious Ray, the Great Auspicious Ray, the Jade Ray, the Great Jade Ray, the Purple Ray, the Great Purple Ray, the Blue Ray, the Great Blue Ray, the Azure Ray, the Great Azure Ray, the Red Ray, the Great Red Ray, the Green Ray, the Great Green Ray, the Gold Ray, the Great Gold Ray, the Celebration Cloud Ray, the Great Celebration Cloud Ray, the Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Great Thousand-Wheeled Ray, the Jeweled Wheel Ray, the Great Jeweled Wheel Ray, the Solar Disc Ray, the Great Solar Disc Ray, the Lunar Disc Ray, the Great Lunar Disc Ray, the Palace Ray, the Great Palace Ray, the Ocean Cloud Ray, and the Great Ocean Cloud Ray.

After emitting such rays of light from the crown of his head, he spoke in subtle and wonderful sounds to the great assembly of gods, dragons, the rest of the eightfold division, humans, non-humans and others. “Listen to me today in the palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven as I praise Earth Store Bodhisattva, telling of his beneficial deeds, of inconceivable events, of the matter of his transcendence to sagehood, of the circumstances of his certification to the Tenth Ground, and of the situation leading to his becoming irreversible from Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.”

Commentary:

They were the White Ray . White colored rays of light from the hair between the Buddha’s eyebrows. The Buddha releases this kind of light that shatters all darkness. Earth Store Bodhisattva and the Earth Store Sutra can shatter all the darkness in the world. That is why there is the White Ray, the Great White Ray, the Auspicious Ray, the Great Auspicious Ray, the Jade Ray, rays of light like jade, the Great Jade Ray, the Purple Ray, the Great Purple Ray, the Blue Ray, not just small beams of blue light, but also the Great Blue Ray, the Azure Ray, the Great Azure Ray, the Red Ray, the Great Red Ray, the Green Ray, the Great Green Ray, the Gold Ray, the Great Gold Ray, the Celebration Cloud Ray that is an auspicious omen, the Great Celebration Cloud Ray, the Thousand-Wheeled Ray. There are thousand-spoked wheels at the sole of the Buddha’s feet. These lights contain a reflection of thousand-spoked wheels. The Great Thousand- Wheeled Ray, the Jeweled Wheel Ray made with gems, the Great Jeweled Wheel Ray, the Solar Disc Ray that manifests hundreds and thousands of suns and their sunlight, the Great Solar Disc Ray, the Lunar Disc Ray with moonlight, the Great Lunar Disc Ray, the Palace Ray contains many palaces adorned with the seven jewels, the Great Palace Ray, the Ocean Cloud Ray like rising clouds from the ocean, and the Great Ocean Cloud Ray.

Shakyamuni Buddha, after emitting such rays of light from the crown of his head. . . Yesterday so and so asked what are these rays of light. Rays of light are lights and transformations of lights within these lights. He spoke in subtle and wonderful sounds. The Buddha possesses four kinds of eloquence and eight kinds of sounds. What are the four types of eloquence?

1. The eloquence of unobstructed meaning.

2. The eloquence of unobstructed Dharma.

3. The eloquence of unobstructed phrasing.

4. The eloquence of unobstructed delight in speaking.

1. The eloquence of unobstructed meaning. For example, it seems to be meaningless at first, but after the Buddha explains this Dharma, the meanings explained seem to be infinite.

2. The unobstructed eloquence of Dharma. First there was just one kind of Dharma, but the Buddha can bring out infinite dharmas from one kind of Dharma. Infinite dharmas are then induced into one kind of Dharma. “One source disperses to become myriad differences; but those myriad differences still return to the One.” One thing can turn into myriad things while the myriad dharmas can turn into one. “One is infinite and infinite is one.”

3. The eloquence of unobstructed phrasing. Phrasing in the use of language. Some describe something in a matter of a few lines. The Buddha can explain a certain principle endlessly like the lapping ocean waves.

4. The eloquence of unobstructed delight in speaking. Delight in speaking means enjoying lecture on the sutras and speaking the Dharma. They enjoy teaching beings by speaking the Dharma. They are delighted once they start speaking the Dharma. This is the fourth eloquence of unobstructed delight in speaking.

The eight types of sounds. We talked about the four types of eloquences often but never the eight types of sounds. Although we have never talked about them before, cultivators who worked hard know. The Buddha speaks Dharma with eight types of sounds. First, the Buddha’s sound is the finest sound. You enjoy the sound of the Buddha; the more you hear, the more you enjoy listening to it. Unlike some people who sound like noisy chainsaws. The Buddha’s voice is sonorous and crisp. The second is a gentle voice. The Buddha’s voice is as gentle as water flow. The more you listen, the more you feel that this sound is nice. It sounds even better than music. Thirdly, this kind of sound is appropriate, just right. This sound is so pleasant that there is nothing more people would like to listen. Fourth, noble and wise. The Buddha’s voice is very noble. No need to listen to his words, just the voice seems to contain infinite wisdom. Fifth, not yin. Some people’s speaking voice are yin. Women, for example, speak in a sugary voice. The Buddha’s voice is not yin. Sixth, it is not facetious. Even when he is telling a joke, the listeners will find it very correct, instead of banter. Seventh is deep and distant. Listen to the Buddha’s voice; you do not know how deep it is or how faraway you may hear it. Venerable Mahamagalyayana used his spiritual powers to go eastward past infinite number of Buddhalands. He was searching for the Buddha’s voice, trying to find out where the Buddha’s voice could no longer be heard. He went to infinite number of lands and yet the Buddha’s voice seemed to be by his ear still. With his magnificent spiritual powers, you cannot find a place where the Buddha’s voice could not be heard. This is deep and distant. Eighth, inexhaustible. This voice is unceasing. The Buddha’s speaking voice is consecutive and continuous. The Buddha spoke the Dharma with eight types of voice. Some people will only hear one, two, three, four or five characteristics out of these eight types. Sometimes each person hears one trait. You find the voice deep and distant while someone else find it tender. People are different so they hear different things. These eight kinds of sounds are subtle and wonderful sounds. Remember these eight types of sounds so you can emulate them as you speak the Dharma.

To the great assembly of gods, dragons, the rest of the eightfold division. All those assembled at the Trayastrimsha Heaven. The eightfold division consists of gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, kinnaras, maharagas, garudas. Humans, non-humans and others. “Listen to me today in the palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven as I praise Earth Store Bodhisattva, telling of his beneficial deeds, of inconceivable events, of the matter of his transcendence to sagehood . We talked about the causes that lead to sagehood earlier, such as listening to the sutras, meditating and studying the Buddhadharma. Transcend means to take half the time. For instance, you were suppose to meditate for a year before you become enlightened. Ah, it ended up that you became enlightened in two days, really fast. These are the causes for transcendence

Of the circumstances of his certification to the Tenth Ground, the fruition of Bodhisattvas. The Ten Dwellings, Ten Practices and Ten Transferences are called the Three Sets of Worthy Positions. The resulting positions of the ten levels of Bodhisattvas.

1. Ground of Happiness.

They are very happy all the time. They do not ever cry. At this state of Bodhisattvas, they do not cry whether you beat them or scold them. They are happy regardless. They are happy when criticized or scolded. They are happy no matter what. This is the first ground.

2. Ground of Leaving Filth.

Leaving filth is to part with the dharmas of defilement, becoming pure. Because of happiness, they leave behind defilement. When they do, they emit a light.

3. Ground of Emitting Light.

There is no light where there is defilement. Part with defilement and there is light. What is defilement? Your impure thoughts are all about desire that make yourself greedy for comfort. Desires, especially sexual desire, make them defilements. Before reaching the level of leaving defilement, there is no releasing of light. Once defilement is left behind, there light is emitted.

4. Ground of Blazing Wisdom.

The Blazing Wisdom Ground produces wisdom. Wisdom is like fire that burns with a bright flame. This wisdom is like flames. Since you are releasing light, you have wisdom. So the fourth is the Ground of Blazing Wisdom.

5. Ground of Difficult to Overcome.

Nothing can defeat him. His wisdom manifests regardless of who is arguing with him. No spiritual powers or transformations can defeat him. This is the Ground of Difficult to Overcome.

6. Ground of Manifestation.

What manifests? All the light of wisdom appears.

7. Ground of Distant Travels.

Traveling for a long distance, traveling afar.

8. Ground of Unmovingness.

The eighth is unmoving, the ground of unmovingness. ‘Unmoving in the Bodhimanda and yet transforming living beings throughout the ten directions.” Although he transforms and saves living beings throughout the ten directions, but he remains unmoved. Although not moving, he can teach and transform all beings.

9. Ground of Good Wisdom.

Good at having wisdom.

10. Ground of Dharma Clouds.

This kind of Dharma is like clouds.

The above had been explained briefly according to the meaning of the words. But to explain them in detail, there are many more meanings. If we wish to know in detail the Three Worthies and the Ten Sages (the Ten Grounds), we should study the Shurangama Sutra. The Shurangama Sutra explains the Ten Dwellings, Ten Practices, Ten Transferences, and Ten Grounds. They are all are explained clearly. Look at the Shurangama Sutra and you will know in more detail. Certifying to the tenth ground here refers to the matter of Earth Store Bodhisattva certifying to the tenth ground.

And of the situation leading to his becoming irreversible from Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.” Ultimately irreversibility is of many kinds? 1. Irreversible in position. Not withdrawing from the Three Vehicles. 2. Irreversible in practice. Not withdrawing from being ordinary people. 3. Irreversible in thought. Not withdrawing from being Bodhisattvas who always practice the Mahayana Dharma. These three irreversibilities refer to the Irreversibility of position, practice and thought. These three irreversibilities refer to not retreating from anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Anuttarasamyaksambodhi is Sanskrit, which means unsurpassed, proper, equal and right enlightenment. The enlightenment of those of the Two Vehicles is different than ordinary people. Although he is enlightened, he has not yet reached proper and equal enlightenment. What is proper and equal? Proper and equal enlightenment is for the Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas are properly equal to Buddhas. Although they are properly equal to Buddhas and they are different than those of the two vehicles, they have not yet attained the unsurpassed. Only the Buddhas have reached the unsurpassed, proper, equal and right enlightenment. Unsurpassed enlightenment is different than that of the Bodhisattvas. This is why the Buddha’s resultant position is called unsurpassed, proper, equal and right enlightenment. Now although Earth Store King Bodhisattvas has not realized Buddhahood yet, his resultant position is the same as the Buddha. This is why the Buddha described the causes and conditions that led to the Bodhisattva’s unsurpassed, proper, equal and right enlightenment.

After he said that, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Contemplator of the World’s Sounds rose from his seat in the assembly, knelt, and with palms together said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva is replete with great compassion and pities beings who are suffering for their offenses. In thousands of billions of worlds he manifests thousands of billions of transformation bodies through the strength of his meritorious virtue and inconceivable awesome spiritual power. I have heard the World Honored One and the numberless Buddhas of the Ten Directions praise Earth Store Bodhisattva in unison, saying that even if all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future were to speak of his meritorious qualities, they could never finish describing them. Upon hearing the World Honored One tell the great assembly that he now wants to praise Earth Store Bodhisattva’s beneficial deeds and so forth, I am beseeching the World Honored One to praise the inconceivable events pertaining to Earth Store Bodhisattva, for the sake of beings of the present and future and to cause the gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division to gaze at him in worship and obtain blessings.”

Commentary:

After he , Shakyamuni Buddha, said that, a Bodhisattava in the Dharma Assembly who is not an average Bodhisattva but a great Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Contemplator of the World’s Sounds. Contemplator is the wisdom that observes, while the world’s sounds are the states contemplated. Due to his compassion and wisdom, he searches out and contemplates the sounds of pain made by beings throughout the worlds of the ten directions. A Bodhisattva then rose from his seat in the assembly, knelt on his right knee, and with palms together said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, Earth Store Bodhisattva Mahasattva is replete with great compassion and pities beings who are suffering for their offenses. In thousands of billions of worlds he manifests thousands of billions of transformation bodies through the strength of his meritorious virtue and inconceivable awesome spiritual power. I have heard. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva says I hear the World Honored One and the numberless Buddhas of the Ten Directions praise Earth Store Bodhisattva in unison. With different mouths they say the same things in one unified voice. All Buddhas throughout the ten directions praise Earth Store Bodhisattva in unison. The other layer of meaning here is that Guanshiyin Bodhisattva heard infinite Buddhas throughout the ten directions praise Earth Store Bodhisattva that although they are not of the same time, they say the same things. They all say that Earth Store Bodhisattva has inconceivable wisdom and spiritual powers, saying that even if all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future were to speak of his meritorious qualities. All Buddhas throughout the ten directions and three periods of time speak of Earth Store Bodhisattva’s merit, they could never finish describing them.

As before, upon hearing the World Honored One tell everyone in the great assembly that he now wants to praise Earth Store Bodhisattva’s beneficial deeds for humans and gods and so forth, I am beseeching the World Honored One to praise the inconceivable events pertaining to Earth Store Bodhisattva. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva invites Shakyamuni Buddha to explain the inconceivable merit and wisdom of Earth Store Bodhisattva for the sake of beings of the present and future and to cause the gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division to gaze at him in worship and obtain blessings. To respectfully behold and bow to Buddhas and Bodhisattvas accrues infinite merit. They are really infinite if considered in their finer details.

Now let us speak briefly about the five kinds of merit for worshipping the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas: 1. With upright and perfect features, people like you and respect you at the mere sight of you. 2. A wonderful voice: crisp and sonorous voice like the bells. 3. Wealthy: Bowing and paying respects to images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will bring a bounty of valuables and gems in the future. 4. Noble birth: born in a family of higher status. One that is virtuous and respectable. 5. Birth in the heavens. These are the five kinds of merit from bowing to the Buddhas.

The Buddha replied to Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, “You have deep affinities with the Saha world. If gods, dragons, men, women, spirits, ghosts, or any other beings who are suffering for offenses within the Six Paths hear your name, see your image, behold you, or praise you, they will definitely become irreversible on the Unsurpassed Way. They will always be born among people and gods and there experience wonderful bliss. When the effects of their causes come to fruition, they will encounter Buddhas who will give them predictions. You are now replete with great compassion and pity for beings, including gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division. Listen as I discuss events involving the inconceivable benefits bestowed by Earth Store Bodhisattva. Listen attentively. I will discuss it for you.”

Contemplator of the World’s Sounds said, “So be it, World Honored One, we will be pleased to listen.”

Commentary:

The Buddha replied to Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva, “You have deep affinities with the Saha world. Your conditions are especially profound with those in the Saha World of Southern Jambudvipa, this world of suffering that requires patience to bear. If gods, all the dragons, good men or good women, all the spirits and ghosts, or any other beings who are suffering for offenses within the Six Paths: gods, humans, asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts and animals.When they hear your name, Guanshiyin Bodhisattva’s name, see your image made of clay, metal, wood, or stone or drawn on paper. They behold you with a strong attachment , or praise you, they will definitely become irreversible on the Unsurpassed Way. They will always be born among people and gods and there experience wonderful bliss. When the effects of their causes come to fruition, they will encounter Buddhas who will give them predictions of future Buddhahood. You are now replete with great compassion and pity for all beings, including gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division. Listen as I discuss events involving the inconceivable benefits bestowed upon the humans, gods and beings of the six realms by Earth Store Bodhisattva. Listen attentively and think it over. I will discuss it for you.”

Contemplator of the World’s Sounds said, “So be it, World Honored One . Guanshiyin Bodhisattva says at that time, yes, I agree! Let us have the World Honored One speak for us please. We of this great assembly will be pleased to listen to the inconceivable state of Earth Store Bodhisattva.”

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