THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Wondrous Adornments of the Rulers of the Worlds

Chapter One, Part One
A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua_

VI.3 The Oceanic Multitudes Gather Like Clouds

C. The Eightfold Division

1. Asura Kings


Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless Asura Kings. Specifically, they were: Asura King Rahu; Asura King Vemacitra; Asura King Clever Illusions; Asura King Great Retinue; Asura King Mighty Strength; Asura King Pervasive Illumination; Asura King Solid Practice and Wondrous Adornment; Asura King Vast Wisdom Regarding Causes; Asura King Displaying Supreme Virtue; and Asura King Splendid Sound. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of asuras, and they all had diligently obliterated egoism as well as all other afflictions.

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless Asura Kings. Asura, a Sanskrit word, translates as “non-god,” “ugly,” and “no wine.” There are various Chinese transliterations of asura, since the dialects in the various provinces of China are different. One word can be pronounced in five different ways. Despite the differences in pronunciation, they all mean the same thing.

Asura is translated as “non-god” because some asuras have the blessings of the gods, but not the authority. Why don’t they have any authority in the heavens? Because in the past they liked to flatter others. That is, they dishonestly praised others to make them happy. They were fawning and crooked. They have the blessings of the gods, but not the virtue. Before the gods were born in the heavens, they were very honest people who never engaged in fawning and flattery. Since asuras specialize in flattery, they are called “non-gods.”

Asuras are also called “ugly,” because they are very ugly. Male asuras are grotesque, whereas female asuras are beautiful. Asuras like to fight. People in the world who have blessings, who are good at flattering others, and who are very competitive, are all asuras. In the future they will join the retinue of asuras. Therefore, asuras enjoy celestial blessings but not celestial authority. Asuras cannot have an audience with Lord Sakra, Lord God, because the asura king wants to become Lord God, who is also known as the Jade Emperor. Therefore the asuras are constantly engaged in battle with the Jade Emperor. Why are asuras not allowed to draw near to the Jade Emperor? Because in the past asuras liked to flatter, and the Jade Emperor loathes flatterers and doesn’t want to draw near them. Why doesn’t the Jade Emperor banish them from heaven? Because he is infatuated with the beautiful asura women, and so he allows the asuras to live in heaven. That’s the story of the asuras. They enjoy the blessings of the gods, but lack their virtue.

Some asuras dwell in the heavens, some in the animal realm, some in the realm of ghosts, and some in the human realm. No matter what realm they fall into, asuras always like to fight and bicker. They always want to come out on top. In the human realm, yang asuras become soldiers and military people; yin asuras become bandits and thugs. Asuras who dwell in the heavens are always going to war with the celestial troops. Since this story has been told many times, I won’t repeat it.

As for asuras in the animal realm, take, for instance, the Asura King Rahu. He is the son of a lion. Wild beasts who like to fight with other animals are asuras. Asuras in the realm of ghosts are the same way. They like to fight. In general, there are many kinds of asuras.

Specifically, they were: Asura King Rahu. Rahu is a Sanskrit word that means “Gathering in Vexation.” With his hands he can cover up the light of both sun and moon, as a joke, causing the gods to become vexed and angry. He likes making them angry. Since he often plays such practical jokes on the gods, he is called Asura King “Gathering in Vexation.”

Asura King Vemacitra. Vema translates as “silk,” and citra translates as “many kinds.” He has great conjuring talent. He can transform a single strand of silk into many different kinds of objects. He might blow on it and the strand of silk turns into a dragon, or perhaps he recites a mantra and the strand of silk turns into a snake, or an iron chain, or a palace. In general, he can transform it into many things, using various spiritual powers, like a magician. He can also swallow swords. But these are all just illusory tricks. Since he has these skills and spiritual powers, he is a king among asuras.

Asura King Clever Illusions. The previous Asura King could transform a strand of silk into various things, but he still had to use a strand of silk. This Asura King, by means of the clever art of illusion, can transform something into nothing and can turn nothing into something. For example, he might suddenly make a mountain appear, and then just as suddenly turn it into a sea. He can move mountains and turn the ocean over, causing the oceans to dry up and turn into mountains, or causing mountains to vanish and become oceans. He can make the sun and moon switch places. He can also change men into women and women into men, without the need for surgery or drugs. The changes are instantaneous. All he has to say to a woman is, “Quickly, turn into a man!” and she will. Or he will say to a man, “Quickly, turn into a woman,” and he will change into a woman. There’s no need for them to put on make-up either. Wouldn’t you say that was clever? Asura King Great Retinue is fond of having a big family, with asura sons, daughters, and grandchildren—an uncountable number of them—gathered together.
 
Asura King Mighty Strength is very strong. He can pick up any object, no matter how heavy. He can lift up Mount Sumeru with one hand and a great ocean with the other; he can play with the planet Earth like a ball. Asura King Pervasive Illumination has a radiance that shines throughout the ten directions. His light is even brighter than that of the sun and moon. There was also the Asura King Solid Practice and Wondrous Adornment. His conduct and vows are resolute and firm, and his adornments subtle and wonderful. There was another Asura King named Vast Wisdom Regarding Causes. At the level of planting causes, he cultivated vast, great wisdom. Also present was the Asura King Displaying Supreme Virtue. He has a special kind of virtue that is superior, and when sentient beings see him, they are all aware of his virtue. And Asura King Splendid Sound has an extremely fine and beautiful voice. Basically asuras are ugly and have unpleasant voices, but he has a pleasing sound.

These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of asuras. These ten are the leaders of the asuras, whose actual number is infinite. And they all had diligently obliterated egoism as well as all other afflictions. Asuras are all afflicted with arrogance. People who are very haughty and conceited are human asuras. Animals that are haughty are animal asuras. Arrogant gods are asuras in the heavens, and conceited ghosts are asuras in the ghost realm. Asuras are spread throughout the four types of birth; that is, there are womb-born asuras, egg-born asuras, moisture-born asuras, and transformationally born asuras.

However, the Asura Kings under discussion are very vigorous in practicing the Buddha Way. They have subdued their habitual arrogance, to the point that they have destroyed their ignorance. When their ignorance is gone, so too are all of their afflictions. Since they have subdued arrogance, they are also free from greed, anger, delusion, and other afflictions. These Asura Kings teach all asuras to subdue their arrogance and afflictions.

People who cultivate the Way should get rid of their self-conceit. They should be free of the view of self and the mark of self. It shouldn’t be that whenever anything comes up, the first thing they do is react with their self, feeling that others have offended them, or that everyone treats them badly, while at the same time feeling that they are better than everyone else. Because of this kind of wrong knowledge and wrong views, they plant wrong causes, which in the future will reap wrong results. The wrong result is that they become asuras. Asuras are always on the prowl, going everywhere looking for someone to fight with and always making trouble for others. This comes from not having seen through and emptied attachment to self, self-conceit, the view of self, and the mark of self, which leads to all kinds of ignorance and afflictions. That’s why it is so important for cultivators to smash through their self-conceit, the view of self, the mark of self, and attachment to self.

2. Garuda Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there was an inconceivable number of Garuda Kings.

Commentary:

Moreover, there was an inconceivable number of Garuda Kings. Earlier asuras were described as beings who like to fight. The world we live in now is an asura world, because everyone likes to fight. People fight with people, countries fight with countries, and families fight with families.  There is no end to the strife and contention. That is the behavior of asuras. Although the asuras are fierce, they are not as fierce as the garudas.

Garuda, also a Sanskrit word, is translated as “golden-winged,” because it is the name of a species of bird that has golden-colored wings. The name also translates as “wonderful-winged,” because the wings of this bird are adorned with wonderful gems. Garuda also translates as “big gullet,” because when this bird eats, it keeps food in its gullet and slowly digests it, the way chickens do. Its gullet is very large and can hold a large amount of food.

Garuda birds are also known as great, golden-winged peng birds. How big are they? A peng bird is as big as a mountain—you might even mistake it for a mountain if you saw it. Its wing span is 330 large yojanas. A small yojana is 40 li, a medium yojana is 60 li, and a large yojana is 80 li [about 24 miles]. With a single flap of his wings, he can dry up the waters of the ocean so the dragons at the bottom of the sea are all exposed. Then the garu¤a bird swoops down and slurps up those dragons the way people slurp up noodles. However, he has to gobble up dragons by first swallowing their tails and then eating the rest of the body. He doesn’t swallow them head first—that’s one of the rules he follows in eating. Every day he needs to eat one big dragon—a Dragon King—as his main meal and five hundred small dragons as snacks. He stores them in his big gullet and slowly digests them.

What was the dragon population? There were infinitely many big dragons, and small dragons were as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges River. However, with the garuda bird eating one big dragon and 500 small dragons a day, the dragon population kept diminishing until the species was nearly extinct.

The Dragon King was very worried. He went everywhere asking for help but no ghosts or spirits were as powerful as the garuda, so none of them could do anything about it. Finally the Dragon King went to Sakyamuni Buddha and asked the Buddha to compassionately protect him and his dragon sons and grandsons and the elderly dragons.

The Buddha said to the Dragon King, “If all you dragons can uphold the Eight Lay Precepts and eat vegetarian food, then I will find a method so that the golden-winged peng bird can no longer devour you.”

The Dragon King and his retinue all gladly came and took the Eight Lay Precepts. Some of you have taken the Eight Precepts. Then the Buddha gave them a piece of his kashäya [monk’s robe] and told them to each take a thread from it and wear it on his body. After the dragons did this, they became invisible and the peng bird could no longer find them.

Earlier I used the Chinese idiom, ai mo neng zhu, which means, “one cherishes them, but is unable to help them.”

One way to explain this is that, although you side with the dragons, you aren’t able to help them.

There is another way to explain it. Now, I will ask you a question. Do you like birds more, or do you like worms and reptiles more? Would you rather have a pet bird or a pet worm or reptile? You must answer honestly. You should not go along with what I’ve said, but you should answer based on your gut reaction. Birds have very pretty, colorful plumage. They can fly about and sing melodious songs. Worms and reptiles, on the other hand, can be very ugly. Take snakes, for example. When you see a snake, your hair stands on end and you wonder, “Will it bite?” If you ran into a snake at night, you’d be scared to death. There are other worms and reptiles that are so repulsive-looking that the sight of them almost makes you want to vomit. So, speak truthfully: Do you prefer worms and reptiles, or birds? Speak up; don’t enter samadhi.

Disciple: Except for honeybees, I like birds better than insects.

Venerable Master: Bees are considered flying creatures, and therefore are not grouped with worms. They are transformationally-born beings.

Originally, I used the expression, “one cherishes them, but is unable to help them” to mean that although one cherishes the golden-winged birds one is unable to help them. However, most of you think I explained it incorrectly. Therefore, I posed my question to you just now, in order to see what the common sentiment is. The golden-winged peng bird is the bird in question, and the dragons are the worms. It’s just that the golden-winged bird is a big bird, and the dragons are big worms. Whether big or small, they are the same. Big birds and little birds are both birds; big and little worms are still worms. Therefore I asked you the question about the birds and worms. If all of you should say that you like birds, then even if I explained the expression incorrectly, I’ll still have explained it correctly. Why is that? Because everyone loves birds—therefore they love the golden-winged peng bird too, and do not wish to help the dragons. That’s a case of wanting to help, but not being able to. That’s the point behind my question. But none of you dared to answer.

Someone thinks, “I won’t say that I like the birds, because he’ll say that I’m wrong. And if I say that I like worms, I’ll also be wrong. So I’m not going to say anything. I simply like to sleep!” Well, liking to sleep is not incorrect, but it’s a case of not being able to take a definite stand on the issue—you don’t know which way is right, because you’ve slept yourself muddled.

Someone else says, “I do not like either birds or worms. If I liked birds, I might turn into a bird. If I liked worms, I might become a worm in the future. I don’t want to turn into a bird or a worm in the future; I want to remain a human being. So I’m not going to like either of them.” That’s also correct. Now, you understand the meaning of the expression, “One cherishes them, but is unable to help them.” You could say that although you like the golden-winged bird, you aren’t able to help it out. Or, you could also say that although you cherish the dragons, you aren’t able to help them.

The Buddha loved neither the bird nor the dragons. Why is that? If he loved the bird, he would not have helped the dragons. If he loved the dragons, he would not have helped the bird.

The Buddha had helped the dragons by giving them the precepts and a piece of his kashaya. The golden-winged peng bird, finding himself without food, went to the Buddha to complain, “With such a big gullet as I have, I cannot get my fill unless I eat dragons. Now that there are no dragons to eat, I will starve to death. Buddha, you are compassionate. You have saved the dragons, but you should not make me starve.”

The Buddha told him, “Don’t worry. From now on I will tell my disciples to give you a share of vegetarian food every day before they take their noonday meal.” That is why, at temples now, during the noon meal offering, a portion of food is sent out to feed the great golden-winged peng birds.

When the food is taken outside to make the offering, some people see the peng bird come to eat. To some who see it, the peng bird looks as big as a pigeon; others see it as being as large as a turkey; some see it as being as large as a goose; and someone even saw it as being as large as a building of several stories—it was so large that he wasn’t even sure what it was. Why do people see it as appearing in different sizes? It has to do with the measure of their minds. If your mind is large, what you see is vast. If your mind is small, what you see is also small. Everything in the world is merely a manifestation of the mind.

Therefore the Buddha did not side with the dragons. Although he conferred the precepts on the dragons, he also instructed his disciples to feed the golden-winged bird. Thus both parties obtained help. As a result the dragon race did not become extinct, and the golden-winged peng bird did not starve to death. How many golden-winged peng birds are there? Also as many as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River—infinitely many. And so there was an infinite, boundless number of golden-winged peng birds trying to devour an infinite, boundless number of dragons, and they would very quickly eat them all up. But now, the dragons are not completely devoured, and the golden-winged birds did not starve.

You ask, “If there are so many golden-winged birds and dragons, how come I haven’t ever seen any?” Perhaps you’ve seen them but just didn’t recognize them. That’s because, although they are animals, they have spiritual powers. They have the ability to go through endless changes and transformations. Don’t get ideas about having a great, golden-winged peng bird or a dragon for a pet. You could never capture one.

The garudas and dragons are both divided into four kinds according to how they are born. For example, among birds there are womb-born birds, egg-born birds, moisture-born birds, and transformationally-born birds. Someone wonders, “I know that birds are born from eggs. How could there be such a thing as a womb-born bird?” Your knowledge may not be complete. What you’ve seen and heard may not be the entire picture. There are still things you haven’t seen, haven’t heard, and don’t know. Do you understand? Therefore, there are birds from all four categories of birth—womb, egg, moisture, and transformation. The same applies to dragons. There are dragons born from wombs, from eggs, from moisture, and by transformation. There is not just one kind of dragon, but many kinds. There are horse-dragons—horses can transform into dragons and also give birth to dragons; elephant-dragons—elephants can also turn into dragons and give birth to dragons; fish-dragons—fish can turn into dragons and give birth to them; toad-dragons—toads can also turn into dragons. The least intelligent are the egg-born; the smartest are the transformationally-born. Someone just now mentioned that snakes are the most intelligent. Snakes belong to the dragon family. However, an egg-born snake is very stupid. The same applies to birds. Transformationally-born birds are extremely intelligent.

An egg-born garuda is not able to eat a transformationally-born dragon. Nor can it eat moisture-born or womb-born dragons. It can only eat egg-born dragons. Transformationally-born garudas, on the other hand, are able to eat dragons from all four types of birth. A transformationally-born dragon cannot be eaten by an egg-born garuda, nor can it be eaten by a womb-born or moisture-born garuda. Why is that? Because these dragons are born by transformation and have greater spiritual powers. Only transformationally-born garudas are able to eat transformationally-born dragons. There are those four different categories of birth.

Now I will tell you how garudas meet their death. For example, some volcanic eruptions are instances of garudas dying. The fire comes from the bird’s body. There are many inconceivable states in the world. If you exhaustively investigate the Buddhadharma, you will understand everything.

The golden-winged bird lives on Vajra Mountain, a place where people can’t go, and its palace is made out of the seven precious things. It also eats the seven treasures—gold, silver, and various gems—but its favorite food is dragons. When it is about to die, however, it can no longer eat dragons. Why? It’s because dragons’ bodies contain poison. When the golden-winged bird is healthy, it does not fear the poison of the dragons. But when it is old and approaching death, the venemous vapors that the dragons spit out act like tear gas bombs, blinding the peng bird’s eyes. Before that time, the peng bird has protection—likened to a tear gas mask. But it loses it with age. You could say that once it becomes senile, it forgets to wear the gas mask. So when it swoops down to eat dragons, they release the tear gas and the old peng bird has to leave the sea.

On the verge of starvation, it then perches on an iron tree on the Vajra Mountain. But when it can no longer bear the hunger, it feels it has to fly into the sea again to look for dragons to eat. At that time, the dragons again emit poison from their bodies and drive the bird away.

Eventually, crazed by its need for dragons to eat, it dives into the water. But its dive is too deep and it goes clear down to the wind wheel that supports the world. Well, whatever you are, even a mighty peng bird, if you enter that place, you will never get through it. It is at the very bottom of the sea—even the dragon kings don’t go there. Maddened by its hunger for dragons, the peng bird overshoots its mark. Struck by the wind, it cannot take it and flies back to the iron tree on the Vajra Mountain. This happens seven times until finally the golden-winged bird, completely exhausted, dies from a case of dragon poisoning. All dragons have venom in them. At death, the golden-winged bird’s body catches fire. As I said earlier, volcanic eruptions are due to the deaths of garuÉas. The fire is so fierce that it demolishes everything, however hard or solid it may be. Even stones and the seven precious gems melt. When that happens, the Dragon King Nanda, afraid that this huge fire will destroy the jeweled mountain, quickly sends down rain. The rain drops are as large as carriage wheels (this refers to heavenly carriages wheels, which are forty yojanas in diameter), and they succeed in putting out the blaze. The golden-winged bird is completely reduced to ashes, yet its heart is not destroyed.

If a wheel-turning sage king obtains this heart, it becomes his wish-fulfilling pearl. If the Jade Emperor obtains it, he wears it on his head as a precious light-emitting pearl. If a dragon king obtains this pearl, he is protected from all disasters and suffering. He will never be eaten by any peng bird, because they fear his pearl.

That’s what happens when a garuda bird dies. In the Manifestations Chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra, there is a verse that goes:

The Bodhisattva Garuda
Has the bases of psychic power as his solid feet,
Expedients and courage as his wings, and
Kindness and compassion as his pure eyes.
Perched upon the tree of All-Wisdom,
He contemplates the great sea of the three existences.
He snatches out dragons that are humans and gods,
And sets them securely on the other shore of nirvana.

From this verse in the sutra, we can see that the great golden-winged peng bird is also a transformation body manifested by a great Bodhisattva to cross over all sentient beings. So the verse says, “The Bodhisattva Garuda,” the Great Golden-Winged Peng Bird Bodhisattva, “has the bases of psychic power as his solid feet.” All is as he wishes, and he is very free and at ease, flying back and forth in space. His feet are very solid. He can devour huge elephants the way hawks eat small chickens. He can pick up one or even several dozen elephants in one claw, carry them to where he lives, and eat them one by one the way we eat peanuts. Since there are elephant-dragons, he also eats elephants. In fact, he eats just about everything, until he is about to die, when he can’t eat anything at all.

He has “expedients and courage as his wings.” His enormously powerful wings are formed of expedients and vigor. And yet he has “kindness and compassion as his pure eyes.” He appears to eat dragons, but in the same way Venerable Master Zhi Gong used to eat pigeons: after eating two of them, he would spit both out alive. Fish that had been cooked would come to life again in the Master’s belly and he’d spit them out. When this Great Golden-Winged Peng Bird Bodhisattva catches sight of humans, gods, or dragons, who are about to die anyway, he eats them, and when they enter his revolving wheel, they don’t suffer anymore and reach the other shore of nirvana. He appears to be eating them, but he’s actually teaching and transforming sentient beings. Therefore, this bird “perched upon the tree of All-Wisdom,” not the tree of stupidity, “contemplates the great ocean of the three existences”—the desire realm, the form realm, and the formless realm. He uses his claws and “snatches out dragons that are humans and gods,” dragons of either the human realm or heavenly realms, “setting them securely on the other shore of nirvana.”

We can talk about it, but this is an inconceivable state, not one that ordinary people can understand. People who haven’t attained to sagehood will not believe this principle; yet after they have realized sagehood, they will say, “Oh, that’s really the way it is.”

Great Master Han Shan also discussed the golden-winged peng bird in one of his verses:

When the golden-winged bird’s life ends,
His flesh and bones decompose and scatter.
Only his heart remains unharmed,
Perfect, clear, with a dazzling light.
If a dragon king obtains it, it becomes his pearl,
Which can destroy a thousand years’ darkness.
If a wheel-turning king obtains it,
It becomes his wish-fulfilling pearl
And can save him from every difficulty.
How is it that in the human realm,
People use it every day and never see it?

I explained this verse before at Gold Mountain Monastery [then located on 15th Street] in Chinatown, and I even asked you about it. But no one answered me then. So today I will explain it again.

When the golden-winged bird’s life ends, /His flesh and bones decompose and scatter. / Only his heart remains unharmed. No matter how much it burns, the heart will not disintegrate. Perfect, clear, with a dazzling light. It is round within the round, bright within the bright, endowed with a dazzling brilliance that resembles the sunlight. Just as the sunlight can be blinding, likewise this brilliant light is blindingly bright. If a Dragon King obtains it, it becomes his pearl, Á Which can destroy a thousand years’ darkness. It can dispel every kind of darkness.

If a wheel-turning king obtains it, it becomes his wish-fulfilling pearl. He can get whatever he wants from the pearl. If he thinks, “I want a fast, galloping steed,” then a fast steed will emerge from the pearl. If he thinks, “I want an airplane,” then an airplane will emerge from the pearl. In the case of the wheel-turning king, it is a flying-carriage. If the wheel-turning sage king would like to be entertained by a woman, an extremely beautiful maiden will emerge from the pearl. He doesn’t even have to engage in false-thinking. All he has to do is say, “Send a woman,” and a woman will appear—this is the maiden-jewel. If one woman is not enough, another one will appear, even more ravishing than the last. Since the wheel-turning king is insatiably greedy for women, as many of them will manifest from the pearl as he desires. And when he doesn’t want them anymore, they will all return to the pearl. And can save him from every difficulty. The pearl can rescue him from any calamity.

How is it that in the human realm, / People use it every day and never see it? Everyone has this wish-fulfilling pearl. It is just that people do not know how to make it work. They don’t know how to “recite this mantra.” Every day when we eat and talk and walk and put on clothes, we are actually experiencing the functions of the wish-fulfilling pearl, but we can’t see what’s really happening. That is because people are too deeply confused. They cannot find their wish-fulfilling pearl.

Sutra:

Specifically, they were: Garuda King Swift and Powerful; Garuda King Indestructible Jeweled Crest; Garuda King Pure Swiftness; Garuda King Steadfast Resolve; Garuda King Great Ocean’s Power to Gather and Sustain; Garuda King Unwavering Pure Light; Garuda King Skillfully Adorned Crown Cowl; Garuda King Adroitly Appearing Everywhere; Garuda King Universally Contemplating the Oceans; and Garuda King Universal Voice and Immense Eyes. These and others acted as leaders of an inconceivable number of garudas, and they all accomplished the power of great expedients, and were universally able to rescue and gather in all sentient beings.

Commentary:

Garuda Kings are great Bodhisattvas who manifest in that form in order to subdue sentient beings. Specifically, they were: Garuda  King Swift and Powerful. Not only is he bigger than other garudas, he is also faster. No other garuda can fly as swiftly as he can. His power and speed are like those of contemporary rockets launched into outer space. Perched upon an iron tree on Vajra Mountain, he gazes out at the sea. At times he may fly out over the sea and flap his wings, parting the waters. By the time he makes it back to the tree, the sea waters haven’t even closed up again. That is how fast he is.

The next Garuda King is called Indestructible Jeweled Crest. No one and nothing can destroy the jeweled crest of this Garuda King. Garuda King Pure Swiftness is both pure and swift. Garuda  King Steadfast Resolve has attained irreversibility with respect to the Dharma of anuttarasamYakshambodhi. He is non-retreating in position, in thought, and in conduct. Non-retreating in position means that having reached the position of a great Bodhisattva, he will not retreat to the position of an Arhat. Non-retreating in thought means that having brought forth the resolve of a Bodhisattva, he will not retreat to the way of thinking of the Two Vehicles or that of ordinary people. Non-retreating in conduct means that since merely thinking but not doing would be useless, he cultivates more and more vigorously and diligently day by day. So he is irreversible in position, thought, and conduct. He is unlike some of us who entertain thoughts of returning to lay life or getting married or engaging in activities that are not conducive to cultivation. That would be retreating. This Garuda King does not retreat.

The next Garuda King is named Great Ocean’s Power to Gather and Sustain. The waters of all the streams, rivers, and lakes flow into the great ocean, because the ocean has a power to draw them in. Just as the ocean gathers all waters, this garuda bird gathers in the dragons in the sea. He does not have to go into the sea to eat them. He has a power of attraction that draws the dragons out of the ocean and up into the air where he is. It is just like a magnet attracting iron filings. Would you say that he is powerful or not?

Garuda King Unwavering Pure Light is firm and solid, and has a pure radiance. Garuda King Skillfully Adorned Crown Cowl. The crown on his head is more magnificent and adorned than those of any other Garuda King. None of them can learn how to fashion such adorned crowns as their cowls. Garuda King Adroitly Appearing Everywhere can go wherever he wishes; he can appear in any place at all. When Garuda King Universally Contemplating the Oceans contemplates the oceans, he can see at once where the great and the small dragons are. Other garudas might be unable to locate dragons, but he sees them very clearly. With compassionate and pure eyes, he contemplates the oceans of the three existences, and can eat any of the dragons in them. And finally, there is Garuda King Universal Voice and Immense Eyes, whose sound is deafening. When the dragons in the sea hear his cry, they are scared out of their wits. They freeze and wait there to be eaten. This garuda has eyes that are broad and vast, bigger than ten eyes of ordinary garudas.

These and others acted as leaders of an inconceivable number of garudas. These ten Garuda Kings are the rulers of an incalculable number of garudas. And they all accomplished the power of great expedients, and were universally able to rescue and gather in all sentient beings. Most Bodhisattvas do not have such great expedient power as they. When these birds eat dragons, they cross over the dragons; when they eat fish, they save the fish; when they devour horses, they save the horses; when they swallow elephants, they rescue the elephants. When they eat any kind of creature, they are actually saving and teaching them in the process.  It looks as if they are eating sentient beings, but in reality they are saving them, gathering them in. Why? Because they only eat those creatures who are about to die anyway. If these creatures weren’t due to die, the garuÉa birds would not eat them.

Hearing that the great golden-winged peng bird can save creatures by eating them,” one of my young disciples is thinking, “When I eat this apple, I am saving the apple. The apple fell from the tree and is meant to be eaten, so I will eat it.”

Some other people are thinking, “If the great golden-winged peng bird, which is an animal, can save sentient beings by eating them, even though I’m not as big as it and can’t fly as high, still, as a person I’m smarter, so I should be able to save more beings than it does by eating them.” That’s fine, except that these golden-winged peng birds are manifestations of Bodhisattvas who have expedients and courage as their wings, and kindness and compassion as their pure eyes. Perched upon the tree of All-Wisdom, they contemplate the great sea of the three existences. They snatch out dragons that are humans and gods, and set them securely on the other shore of nirvana. Can you do that? If you can set them on nirvana’s shore, you can cross over sentient beings. Otherwise, you’ll be “crossed over” by sentient beings, and end up becoming whatever bird you eat. That is, since you incorporate with them—forming a limited corporation—you become the same as they are. Therefore, if you can’t cross them over to nirvana’s shore, don’t eat them. It’s far too dangerous.

3. Kinnara Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless Kinnara Kings. 

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless Kinnara Kings. Asuras, garu¤a, and kinnaras are part of the eightfold division of ghosts and spirits. Kinnara is a Sanskrit word that translates as “non-human,” “questionable spirit,” and “doubtful spirit.” This type of spirit strongly resembles a human: his features are upright and yet a horn grows from his head, hence his name “nonhuman.” The horn on his head causes the beholder to question whether the spirit is human or not, so he is also called a “questionable spirit.”

Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang of the Tang Dynasty translated the name kinnara as “singing spirit,” because it is a music spirit in the court of the Jade Emperor [Lord Shakra]. Kinnara also means “incense-sniffing spirit” because it likes to smell incense. When the Jade Emperor wishes to hear music or there is some special celebration, he only needs to light a special kind of incense and many kinnara spirits will come.

These Kinnara Kings are also manifestations of Bodhisattvas. They appear to be ordinary sentient beings, but they are not; they are Bodhisattvas. These singing spirits go wherever there is a celebration and sing songs, causing sentient beings who hear them to awaken to the Way. No matter what Dharma you might cultivate, if you completely master it, you can become enlightened. But to only put on a pretense of studying, or only half understand or just grasp a little bit is useless. You will be successful only if you can master your field of study. Therefore, when songs and praises are sung well, they delight listeners and aid them in their cultivation.

Sutra:

Specifically, they were: Kinnara King Bright Heaven of Kind Wisdom; Kinnara King Wonderful Floral Banner; Kinnara King Assorted Adornments; Kinnara King Delightful Roar; Kinnara King Brilliance of Bejeweled Trees; Kinnara King Delighting the Beholder; Kinnara King Adornment with Supreme Light; Kinnara King Exquisite Flower Banner; Kinnara King Earth-Shaking Power; and Kinnara King Gathering in and Subduing Evil Multitudes. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of kinnaras, and they all diligently and vigorously contemplated all dharmas. Their minds were always happy, playful and free.

Commentary:

Specifically, they were: Kinnara King Bright Heaven of Kind Wisdom, who is skilled at crossing over sentient beings and causing them to unfold great wisdom.

Kinnara King Wonderful Floral Banner has a banner made out of beautiful lotuses. There was the Kinnara King Assorted Adornments, who uses an assortment of the seven treasures as adornments. Also present was the Kinnara King Delightful Roar, who delights listeners with his clear and resonant voice. There was the Kinnara King Brilliance of Bejeweled Trees. His jeweled Bodhi trees give off the light of Bodhi. There was another Kinnara King named Delighting the Beholder. His appearance is very kind, and all who see him are delighted. There was also the Kinnara King Adornment with Supreme Light, who uses a superior kind of light to do his adorning.

Also present was the Kinnara King Exquisite Flower Banner. He is very subtle and wonderful, like a banner of lotuses. The Kinnara King Earth-Shaking Power was also there. His every single move can shake the earth. And there was also the Kinnara King Gathering in and Subduing Evil Multitudes. He can tame and subdue all bad-natured sentient beings.

These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of kinnaras. These ten Kinnara Kings acted as the leaders of the infinite kinnara multitudes. and they all diligently and vigorously contemplated all dharmas. They were all very valiant and vigorous, not lax or lazy. They constantly contemplated and investigated all dharmas. Their minds were always happy no matter what dharma they contemplated.

People who investigate the Buddhadharma and who do not yet have firm samadhi power should not read improper books. Reading such books causes your mind to be swayed. When your mind is swayed, you run into problems and then you won’t be able to be happy all the time. In contemplating all dharmas, you should contemplate true dharmas, not false dharmas. If a book wasn’t handed down by a sage, don’t read it. Don’t read novels filled with love and romance, because such books make you confused to the point that you can’t sleep at night and you have no energy during the day. They cause you to fall asleep during the Sutra lectures, and indulge in fantasies when you’re not attending lectures. So, in contemplating dharmas, you must contemplate true dharmas, not false dharmas. People who have left the home-life should be especially careful to avoid reading improper books, such as romantic novels, because once you get caught in the maze of love, it’s not easy to get out.

Their minds were playful and free. Being “playful and free” here means understanding the Buddhadharma yourself and leading others to understand as well. It doesn’t mean playing around and doing as you please. That’s a mistake.

4. Mahoraga Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless Mahoraga Kings.

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless Mahoraga Kings. Mahoraga is a Sanskrit term that translates as “great crawlers on their bellies.” They are great pythons. Actually they are great Bodhisattvas manifesting in the form of pythons. Bodhisattvas transform themselves into various forms in order to benefit others, without being attached to the act of benefiting others. Therefore, in this case, they manifest as mahoragas, who are also part of the eightfold division of ghosts and spirits.

Sutra:

Specifically, they were: Mahoraga King Kind Wisdom; Mahoraga  King Clear, Majestic Voice; Mahoraga King Supreme Wisdom and Ornamented Topknot; Mahoraga King Lord Wondrous Eyes; Mahoraga King Lamp-Like Banner That the Multitudes Rely Upon; Mahoraga King Supreme Light Banner; Mahoraga King Lion Chest; Mahoraga King Sound of Many Wondrous Adornments; Mahoraga King Solid as Sumeru; and Mahoraga King Adorable Brightness. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of mahoragas, and they all diligently cultivated vast, great expedients, causing sentient beings to rend forever the net of delusion.

Commentary:

Specifically, to list some of the leaders of the mahoragas, they were: First, Mahoraga King Kind Wisdom, who has great, benevolent wisdom. There was also Mahoraga King Clear, Majestic Voice, the sound of whose voice is very awesome, clear, and pure. There is another Mahoraga King named Supreme Wisdom and Ornamented Topknot. His wisdom is supreme, and his topknot is adorned with all kinds of exquisite gems. Mahoraga King Lord Wondrous Eyes has extremely beautiful eyes. The next Mahoraga King is named Lamp-Like Banner That the Multitudes Rely Upon. He constantly emits light that takes the form of a banner. His light also acts as a beacon of refuge for all sentient beings in that all beings look towards it.

Mahoraga King Supreme Light Banner has a banner made of the most sublime radiance. The Mahoraga King Lion Chest. The lion is the king of beasts. The lion’s chest refers to the lion’s stomach, which can digest the bones of all other animals. This Mahoraga King is like a lion in that he can digest what is indigestible. In other words, he is able to practice what is difficult to practice and endure what is difficult to endure. Encountering something that is unbearable, he wants to bear it all the more. Confronting the impossible, he is determined to do it. For these reasons, this Mahoraga King stands out from ordinary mahoragas. Mahoraga King Sound of Many Wondrous Adornments is adorned with all kinds of wondrous gems. His sound is very clear and resonant, surpassing the sounds of all other mahoragas. Mahoraga King Solid as Sumeru has a huge body that is exceptionally hardy and strong. And there is another Mahoraga King  named Adorable Brightness. Even though his external form—that of a great python—is ugly, people are all happy to see him. He has a radiance about him.

These ten mahoraga leaders and others acted as leaders of a countless number of mahoragas. There is no way to calculate their number and they all diligently cultivated vast, great expedients, causing sentient beings to rend forever the net of delusion. They cultivated all the time without ever resting. They employed the most vast and skillful means, manifesting in the form of “great crawlers on their bellies” to cause sentient beings to cut through the net of delusion so that they can escape.

5. Yaksha Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless Yaksha Kings.

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless Yaksha Kings. Yaksha is yao cha in a section of the Shurangama Mantra that names various ghosts:

yao cha jie la he
la cha se jie la he
bi li duo jie la he
pi she zhe jie la he
bu duo jie la he
jiu pan cha jie la he

Their heads may emit huge flames that are several dozen feet tall. They are like blazing candles but with lots of flames instead of just one. Their eyes are of different shapes. Perhaps they have one round eye and one oblong eye. Would that be good-looking? Or they might have one triangular eye and one square eye. Would you say that’s attractive? Others may have one round eye paired with a crescent-shaped eye, so they are like the sun and moon. Would that be good-looking? One eye may grow on the crown of the head and the other on the chin. One nostril may face upwards while the other faces downwards. They may have two elephant trunks for noses, or their noses may be like antennae on a snail, which they can extend or retract at will. As for their ears, one may grow in front and the other in back, or else the ears may be right next to each other. Their eyes may also grow next to each other. Their appearance is bizarre, but the uglier they are, the more they like it. They like to look grotesque. Maybe in the past they suffered because they were good-looking, and so now they like to be ugly.

There are earth-traveling yakshas, space-traveling yakshas, and yakshas in the heavens. Space-traveling yakshas have wings and fly about in the sky, transforming themselves as they fly. Sometimes they turn black, then red, and then maybe yellow. But no matter what color they take on, there is always a dark energy beneath it all and their light is very dim. A yaksha may have a human body but the head of an animal such as a cat, an ox, or a horse. In general, yakshas assume horrifying shapes that scare you to death when you see them. And when you die of fright, they laugh and applaud and feel it’s a lot of fun. This type of ghost is fond of giving people trouble. yakshas do not like to help others; they like to give others trouble. yakshas are known as “speedy ghosts”; they are extremely swift.

Rakshasas are strange beings, too, and their name means “fearsome ghosts.” There are two kinds: rakshasas of love and rakshasas of views. For example, perhaps people started out planning to cultivate and have right knowledge and views. But they are too deeply confused, engulfed by the water of love. They are so ensnared by love that they may want to cultivate, but they simply can’t manage to do it. In one thought they want to cultivate, but in the next thought they want to get married. One thought arises and the other thought ceases. Since such people are too confused by love, they end up breaking the precepts and turning into rakshasas of love. However, it may still be possible for this type of ghost to cultivate.

The second type are rakshasas of views, who maintain wrong knowledge and views. They insist that things are right when they are clearly wrong, and they insist that there is no offense in breaking the precepts. They say, “What’s an offense, anyway? The term ‘offense’ is just a way of cheating people.” They hold wrong ideas of that sort. Or they won’t admit to having broken precepts, or say that breaking precepts is a very ordinary matter. The Surañgama Sutra mentions a certain Bhikshuni who maintained that lust was no offense and fell alive into the hells. Some of you may remember her name. Such people are not easy to cross over. They are raksasas of views; their wrong views are as fierce as raksasas. All of you who cultivate the Way should understand this situation.

Yakshas also means “sentient beings in misery.” Their lives are pitiful and filled with suffering. We see them as being evil, but actually we should pity them, for they are miserable.

Sutra:

Specifically, they were: Yaksha King Vaisravana; Yaksha King Effortless Sound; Yaksha King Sternly Holding Weapons and Insignia; Yaksha King Great Wisdom; Yaksha King Lord Flaming Eyes; Yaksha King Vajra Eyes; Yaksha King Robust Arms; Yaksha King Bravely Opposing Great Armies; Yaksha King Abundant Resources and Wealth; and Yaksha King Power to Topple High Mountains. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of yakshas, and they all diligently guarded and protected all sentient beings.

Commentary:

Specifically, they were: Yaksha King Vaiäravana. He is one of the Four Celestial Kings, namely, the Celestial King of the North, Vaisravana, “Much Learning.” Yakshas are ghosts, while their leader, Vaisravana, is a god. The yakshas are basically unruly and like to stir up trouble for people. But since Vaiäravana is their leader, he gets them to behave themselves and cultivate, even when they don’t want to.

These Yaksha Kings are also manifestations of Bodhisattvas. The Four Celestial Kings preside over the four continents.

1. Celestial King Dhrtarastra, “Governing Nations,” rules the East.
2. Celestial King Virëhaka, “Growth and Development,” rules the South.
3. Celestial King Virudhaka, “Broad Eyes,” rules the West.
4. Celestial King Vaisravana, “Wide Renown,” rules the North.

Yaksha King Effortless Sound was also present. He is free and at ease in the sounds he makes. He can make any type of sound at all, including all kinds of musical sounds, hence his name, “Effortless Sound.”

The next Yaksha King is named Sternly Holding Weapons and Insignia. He has a very dignified manner as he upholds such weapons as spears, daggers, and swords, as well as various insignia. For example, great ministers always have a pair of attendants who hold flags and canopies over them wherever they go. These are symbols of their high status. They may also have placards written with the words “Silence” or “Maintain Distance” to tell the crowd to stay out of their way. These are all insignia.

Yaksha King Great Wisdom was also present. Because he has great wisdom, he is able to know all the false thoughts that yakshas and raksasas have. He knows whether their thoughts are of cultivating or not, and so the yakshas all behave and don’t dare to indulge in false thinking. That means they cultivate. That’s how powerful Yaksha King Great Wisdom is. Yaksha King Lord Flaming Eyes has eyes that give off a fiery blaze of light. Yaksha King Vajra Eyes has diamond-like eyes glowing with resplendent light. Yaksha King Robust Arms has particularly powerful arms, and so he is able to move the mountains and turn over seas, displacing them as he pleases. Yaksha King Bravely Opposing Great Armies. No matter how many troops there are, the Yaksha King can defeat them. The great armies here refer to demonic armies. This particular Yaksha King watches over pëtanas. Pëtanas are fever ghosts. Sometimes people get sick and run incredibly high temperatures—far beyond what human beings can tolerate. It can be very fierce. Such fevers are caused by pëtanas, but this Yaksha King keeps them in line.

Yaksha King Abundant Resources and Wealth has a great deal of money and watches over the wealthy ghosts. There are wealthy ghosts and poor ghosts. Since all the wealthy ghosts make offerings to him, he is extremely rich. And there was the Yaksha King named Power to Topple High Mountains. He is so strong that he can split a mountain in half with a single blow of his fist so that the peak of the mountain topples into the sea.

These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of yakshas. These Yaksha Kings were the leaders of an infinite number of yakshas. And they all diligently guarded and protected all sentient beings. These Yaksha Kings don’t bother people. They give sentient beings protection, peace, and security.  Therefore, they are not the same as ordinary yakshas.

6. Dragon Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless great Dragon Kings. Specifically, they were: Dragon King Virupaksha; Dragon King Sagara; Dragon King Wondrous Banner of Cloud-like Sounds; Dragon King Mouth Aflame Lighting Up the Ocean; Dragon King Universal Banners of High Clouds. Dragon King Taksaka; Dragon King Boundless Stride; Dragon King Pure Color; Dragon King Booming Sound Carrying Everywhere; and Dragon King Free From Burning Afflictions. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of dragons, and none of them failed to diligently form clouds and shower rain to douse all sentient beings’ burning afflictions.

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless great Dragon Kings. These are great, not small, dragons. Although dragons belong to the animal realm, they have spiritual powers and can make themselves big or small at will. When they are big, they can fill up the entire ocean. When they are small, they can hide away within a mote of dust. They can also appear or disappear at will. Since dragons have such ability to transform themselves in infinite ways, such great spiritual powers and majesty, they should be very happy. However, they also have their own misery. For example, there are myriads of little parasites that bite the dragons, eating their flesh and drinking their blood, making them feel miserable.

Some of you have heard me talk about dragons before. Why did dragons become dragons? Do you remember? In the past they diligently cultivated the Great Vehicle Dharma and practiced the Bodhisattva path, but they had huge tempers and heavy ignorance. They obtained a certain degree of wisdom in response to their cultivation. They were enlightened to a small extent. However, their knowledge and views were not quite proper, and they did not pay much attention to the precepts. They were “quick with the Vehicle and slow with the precepts.” They were more courageous and vigorous than anyone else in cultivating the Great Vehicle; however, they were very sloppy about holding the precepts. They said, “Oh, that’s no problem—no big deal. All I have to do is cultivate the Great Vehicle Dharma. Only those of the Lesser Vehicle hold precepts. I cultivate the Great Vehicle, which advocates ‘holding precepts without holding them.’ Although I may not hold the precepts, actually I have them!” This is like some laypeople who claim, “We are the same as those who have renounced the household life.”
  
As for dragons, when they were cultivating in their past lives, they felt they could get away with anything, that they were number one. Because they strove to be number one, because they were quick with the Vehicle but did not hold the precepts, they turned into dragons. Since they cultivated the Great Vehicle Dharma, they gained spiritual powers. But because they did not hold the precepts, they fell into the animal realm. Therefore, cultivators should not be sloppy. If you don’t follow the rules, in the future you might fall into the realm of dragons.

Specifically, they were: Dragon King Virupaksha. Virupa translates as “much,” “pervasive,” or “ugly.” Aksa can be translated as “form” or “faculty”—such as eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind. But the name of the Celestial King of the West, Virupaksha, is translated as “broad eyes,” not “ugly eyes” or any of the other translations.

There was Dragon King Sagara. Sagara is a Sanskrit word that means “sea,” because he is a sea dragon king and commands great respect and authority among the dragons in the sea. Whether their spiritual powers are great or small, dragons also have a Dragon King to watch over them. This Dragon King rules over all the dragons in the sea.

There was Dragon King Wondrous Banner of Cloud-like Sounds. The sounds he emits travel up into space and transform into precious clouds that appear in the form of wonderful banners.

The next Dragon King was named Mouth Aflame Lighting Up the Ocean. He spits fire from his mouth and gives off light in the sea. There was also the Dragon King Universal Banners of High Clouds. He manifests tall billowy clouds resembling precious banners. The Dragon King Taksaka has a Sanskrit name with two translations: “many tongues” and “able to harm whatever can be harmed.” He is called “many tongues” because he likes to talk endlessly among the dragons, in dragon language. It’s as if he has too many tongues, because he can’t stop talking. His name also means “able to harm whatever can be harmed,” because he does harm, and sentient beings are the victims of his harm. How does he harm beings? When this dragon gets angry, his very gaze can kill sentient beings. As soon as he sets eyes upon a being, whether a human or an animal, it dies. His breath can also kill people and animals. A dragon’s gaze and his breath are both poisonous. One bite from a dragon can poison you, because dragons are filled with the poison of greed, anger, and delusion.

Dragon King Boundless Stride is so named because there is no place that he cannot reach. There was also Dragon King Pure Color. Dragon King Booming Sound Carrying Everywhere has an extremely loud voice. And Dragon King Free From Burning Afflictions. Since this dragon has attained a refreshing purity, he is no longer afflicted.

These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of dragons. These ten are the leaders of an infinite host of dragons. And none of them failed to diligently form clouds and shower rain to douse all sentient beings’ burning afflictions. These Dragon Kings all vigorously studied the Buddhadharma. Their job is to make clouds and rain. They are also responsible for making fog and mist to cool sentient beings’ burning afflictions. Ordinary people cannot see this, but when there is fog around a mountain, it is being spat out by dragons. It can be a perfectly clear, sunny day, and all of a sudden a fog appears. That is the dragons using their spiritual powers. Those who have opened the Five Eyes can see them. If dragons meet a virtuous person, they will bow to that person. They may puff out some fog to let you know that they are coming. Dragons are magical creatures and can tell right away whether or not a person is virtuous. In fact, all the ghosts and spirits of the eightfold division can tell whether or not you have virtue, and if you do, they will protect you wherever you go. They will carry out your every wish. For instance, you might say to the Dragon King, “Don’t let it rain,” and it won’t rain. A certain person is able to control the Dragon Kings because he has sufficient virtue. The other day he told the Dragon Kings, “Don’t let it rain in the morning, but it’s okay if it rains in the afternoon.” And that’s what happened.

7. Kumbhanda Kings

Sutra:

Moreover, there were countless Kumbhanda Kings. Specifically, they were: Kumbhanda King Growth and Development; Kumbhanda King Dragon Ruler; Kumbhanda King Skilled at Adorning Banners; Kumbhanda King Universally Magnanimous Practice; Kumbhanda King Most Terrifying; Kumbhanda King Handsome with Beautiful Eyes; Kumbhanda King Wisdom Like a High Peak; Kumbhanda King Robust Arms; Kumbhanda King Eyes Resembling Flowers of Boundless Purity; and Kumbhanda King Asura Eyes and Visage Vast as Heaven. These and others acted as leaders of a countless number of kumbhandas, and they all diligently cultivated the Dharma door of nonobstruction and emitted brilliant light.

Commentary:

Moreover, there were countless Kumbhanda Kings. Kumbhanda is a Sanskrit word with several translations. Some translate it as “white gourd ghost,” others as “barrel-shaped ghost.” A white gourd has a shape similar to a barrel. This kind of ghost is shaped like a gourd and a barrel, because it doesn’t have legs or a head. The Kumbhanda Kings are those who hold the most authority among the kumbhandas.
 
Specifically, they were: Kumbhanda King Growth and Development (Virudhaka). This Kumbhanda King is one of the Four Celestial Kings, and he presides over the ghosts and spirits of the South. The first type of ghost that he governs is the kumbhandas or nightmare ghosts, and the second type is the pretas, or bewitching ghosts. The kumbhandas and the pretas are good friends who band together to wreak havoc. They are partners in evildoing.

Also present was the Kumbhanda King Dragon Ruler. The Kumbhanda King named Skilled at Adorning Banners is good at adornment. There was also the Kumbhanda King Universally Magnanimous Practice. Ordinary kumbhandas  harm living beings, but this Kumbhanda King benefits all beings, for he is a Bodhisattva appearing by transformation in the realm of kumbhandas.

Every cultivator should think like this: Don’t be concerned with whether or not people are good to you. Instead, you should ask yourself whether or not you are good to others. “If I’m good to others and others aren’t good to me, it shouldn’t bother me. However, if I am not good to others and others are good to me, then I had better rectify my thinking and treat others well.” Everyone has to do his or her own laundry. Don’t be concerned with washing others’ clothes, thinking, “He’s not right,” or “She’s not right.” You shouldn’t think like that. Even if others aren’t good to you, you should think, “It’s not that people aren’t treating me well. Rather, I am just undergoing the retribution I deserve for not treating people well in the past.” If you think along those lines, you won’t have any trouble.

The next Kumbhanda King was named Most Terrifying. The sight of this Kumbhanda King frightens not only people, but other kumbhandas as well. He is extremely terrifying. Kumbhanda King Handsome with Beautiful Eyes has a very beautiful and attractive appearance. Kumbhanda King Wisdom Like a High Peak has lofty wisdom resembling the summit of a tall mountain.

Kumbhanda King Robust Arms has strong, stout arms. Even if he is hacked or stabbed with knives, spears, daggers, and so forth, he is not afraid. He will simply stick out his arms to ward them off, and the knives will be sent flying into space. That’s how powerful he is. There was another “white gourd” king called the Kumbhanda King Eyes Resembling Flowers of Boundless Purity. And Kumbhanda King Asura Eyes and Visage Vast as Heaven has a huge face and angry, glaring eyes like those of an asura. These ten barrel-shaped kumbhanda ghosts and others acted as leaders of a countless number of kumbhandas. And they all diligently cultivated the Dharma door of nonobstruction. Since these kumbhandas did not know how to be free of obstruction, they had to cultivate the Dharma door of nonobstruction. They also emitted brilliant light. Before, they were immersed in darkness, but now, having studied the Dharma door of nonobstruction, they are able to release bright light.

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