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

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

6) Celestial Princes of the Sun

Sutra:

Moreover, Celestial Prince Sun gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating pure light on sentient beings of the ten directions, constantly benefiting them to the ends of time.

Commentary:


Moreover indicates that there is more to explain beyond the meanings in the previous passage. Celestial Prince Sun is the name of this god. This does not necessarily mean he is the sun, however, he universally shines on the world like the sun. He gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating pure, clear light on sentient beings of the ten directions, constantly benefiting them to the ends of time—this means reaching to distant eons in the future. Just as the sunlight shines on sentient beings, affording them warmth and helping them grow, Bodhisattvas always bring forth the resolve to benefit sentient beings. It’s because we have been aided and benefited by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas that we can survive. That’s the resolve of Bodhisattvas: They want to benefit sentient beings. They do not care whether or not sentient beings benefit them, but they are determined to benefit sentient beings. For instance, when sentient beings are sick, Bodhisattvas turn into medicinal herbs to help cure their sickness. When sentient beings are hungry, Bodhisattvas turn into grains and crops to relieve their hunger. When sentient beings are cold, Bodhisattvas turn into clothes to shield them from the cold. Therefore, all the provisions we use in our daily affairs are provided for by the Bodhisattvas. The Celestial Prince Sun constantly benefits sentient beings, and he has attained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Bright Flaming Eyes gained a passage into liberation of, by means of a body according with all categories, awakening sentient beings, causing them to enter the ocean of wisdom.

Commentary:


Celestial Prince Bright Flaming Eyes is like the Celestial Prince Sun. Anyone who sees his fire-like light will find it hard to open his eyes since the light is so dazzling. This god gained a passage into liberation of, by means of manifesting a body according with all categories of sentient beings. If he encounters a cat, he transforms himself into a cat to take it across. If he sees a dog, he transforms himself into a dog to take it across. According with the species of the sentient being he encounters, he manifests a body of the same species to save him or her. For example, if he meets a person, he will assume a human form to take that person across. This is a method for awakening sentient beings, causing them to go from confusion to enlightenment, from stupidity to wisdom, and causing them to enter the great ocean of wisdom. That way, they will never be stupid again. This god has obtained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Sumeru-Light Banner of Happiness gained a passage into liberation of acting as lord of all sentient beings, causing them to diligently cultivate boundless, pure merit and virtue.

Commentary:

Celestial Prince Sumeru-Light—“Wonderfully High Light”—Banner of Happiness gained a passage into liberation of acting as lord of all sentient beings, causing them to diligently cultivate boundless, pure merit and virtue. He influences sentient beings to be vigorous and not be lazy, and to cultivate measureless, boundless pure merit and virtue. That is his liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Immaculate Jeweled Moon gained a passage into liberation of rejoicing profoundly from cultivating all ascetic practices. Celestial Prince Non-Retreating Courage gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating unobstructed light, causing all sentient beings to increase their vigor and energy. Celestial Prince Brilliance from Exquisite Flower Garlands gained a passage into liberation of universally shining pure light upon sentient beings’ bodies, engendering an ocean of happiness, faith, and understanding.

Commentary:


Celestial Prince Immaculate Jeweled Moon gained a passage into liberation of rejoicing profoundly from cultivating all ascetic practices. From the depths of his heart he delights in cultivating ascetic practices. That is his passage into liberation.

Celestial Prince Non-Retreating Courage gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating unobstructed light, causing all sentient beings to increase their vigor and energy. This light increases the vigor and joy of sentient beings. He obtained this liberation.

Celestial Prince Brilliance from Exquisite Flower Garlands gained a passage into liberation of universally shining pure light upon sentient beings’ bodies, engendering an ocean of great happiness, great faith, and great understanding and liberation. From faith, understanding arises, and all of this is like a great sea.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Supreme Banner Light gained a passage into liberation of universally shining light on beings in the world, so that they successfully complete all kinds of wonderful, meritorious deeds. Celestial Prince Jeweled Cowl Universal Light gained a passage into liberation of the ocean of great compassion from which he manifests boundless states involving gems of various shapes and forms. Celestial Prince Bright Eyes gained a passage into liberation of cleansing and healing the eyes of all sentient beings, enabling them to see the treasury of the Dharma Realm.

Commentary:


Celestial Prince Supreme Banner Light gained a passage into liberation of universally shining light on beings in the world, so that they successfully complete all kinds of wonderful, meritorious deeds. He uses his light to illumine everyone, to speak Dharma, and to teach and transform sentient beings. He can bring to success the wishes of those in the world. Various kinds of inconceivable and wonderful merit and virtue are brought to accomplishment. That is his passage into liberation.

The Celestial Prince named Jeweled Cowl Universal Light gained a passage into liberation of the ocean of great compassion, because he is able to bestow all sorts of happiness upon sentient beings. The sea of great compassion fulfills sentient beings’ wishes. If sentient beings want gold, he gives them gold; if they want silver, he gives them silver. If they seek crystal, he gives them crystal. If they seek rubies, he makes appear rubies. If they seek agate, he makes appear agate. If they seek carnelian, he makes appear carnelian. This is a sea of great compassion from which he manifests boundless states involving gems of various shapes and forms. Since sentient beings are fond of gems and treasures, this god makes appear different gems so as to fulfill the wishes of sentient beings. That is his passage into liberation.

Celestial Prince Bright Eyes has bright eyes and far-reaching vision. He does not need a magnifying glass, a microscope, or a telescope. His vision is even more penetrating and clear than those instruments. He gained a passage into liberation of cleansing and healing the eyes of all sentient beings. Not only does he himself have far-reaching vision and inconceivable power, he can also purify and cure the ailments of sentient beings’ eyes, thus enabling them to see the treasury of the Dharma Realm. Sentient beings can then perceive the state of the Dharma Realm. That is the liberation of this god.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Upholding Virtue gained a passage into liberation of bringing forth a pure, continuous mind, which is never ravaged or lost. Celestial Prince Universal Revolving Radiance gained a passage into liberation whereby solar palaces orbit everywhere, shining on all sentient beings of the ten directions, so that they successfully complete their work.

At that time, Celestial Prince Sun received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of Celestial Princes of the Sun, and spoke the following verse:

Commentary: 

The Celestial Prince named Upholding Virtue cultivates blessings and virtue, as well as the marks and characteristics. He gained a passage into liberation  of bringing forth a pure, continuous mind, which is never ravaged or lost. He causes sentient beings to bring forth a pure mind that is never cut off, lost, or destroyed. This resolve is continuous and uninterrupted, never cut off.

Celestial Prince Universal Revolving Radiance is always making the light of the sun and moon revolve and turn. He gained a passage into liberation whereby solar palaces orbit everywhere, suns revolve, shining on all sentient beings of the ten directions, so that they successfully complete their work. This refers to the good karma they create from their cultivation, not their bad karma. This god has obtained that passage into liberation.

At that time, Celestial Prince Sun received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of Celestial Princes of the Sun, and spoke the following verse:

Sutra:

The Thus Come One’s tremendous light of wisdom
Universally illumines the lands of the ten directions.
All sentient beings see the Buddha.
Variously, and by the use of numerous expedient means, they are tamed.

The Thus Come One’s physical form is boundless.
He manifests a body commensurate with the likes of sentient beings,
Opening everywhere the ocean of wisdom for all in the world:
Flaming Eyes contemplates the Buddha in this way.

The Buddha’s body is peerless and beyond compare.
His resplendent light floods the ten directions,
Surpassing everything, the most supreme:
This Dharma door is attained by Happiness.

Commentary:

The Thus Come One’s tremendous light of wisdom / Universally illumines the lands of the Buddhas of the ten directions. / All sentient beings in those Buddha lands see the Buddha. / Variously, and by the use of numerous expedient means, they are tamed. Upon seeing the Buddha, they reform and renew themselves, change from the evil and go towards the good. The Buddha uses many expedient dharma doors to regulate and tame sentient beings. There are many such expedients.

The Thus Come One’s physical form is boundless. The Thus Come One’s form body is boundless. He manifests a body commensurate with the likes of sentient beings, in order to speak Dharma for them, Opening everywhere the ocean of wisdom for all in the world. The Buddha reveals the sea of wisdom for sentient beings in the world. Flaming Eyes contemplates the Buddha in this way. Celestial Prince Flaming Bright Eyes contemplated the Buddha like that.

The Buddha’s body is peerless and beyond compare. There is nothing like the Buddha’s body. No one can compare with the Buddha. His resplendent light floods the ten directions. The Buddha’s light pervades the ten directions, like the sun, surpassing everything, including the brilliance of the sun, moon, and stars, and is the most supreme. There is no other light that is as bright as the Buddha’s light.

This dharma door and this state of liberation are achieved by Celestial Prince Happiness.

Sutra:

To benefit the world, he cultivates ascetic practices,
Traversing all realms of existence across measureless eons.
Pure and pervasive as space is his radiance.
Jeweled Moon knows this skill-in-means.

Unobstructed, the Buddha’s concert of wonderful sounds
Pervades all lands of the ten directions.
With the flavor of Dharma, he benefits all creatures.
Courage knows this expedient device.

He releases an inconceivable net of light,
Universally purifying all sentient beings,
Inspiring profound faith and understanding in everyone:
The god Flower Garlands enters this door.

All the lights in the world
Do not equal the light within a single pore of the Buddha.
The Buddha’s light is just this inconceivable:
This is the liberation of Supreme Banner Light.

Commentary:


To benefit the world, he cultivates ascetic practices. The Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and the Celestial Prince Jeweled Moon, wishing to benefit sentient beings of the world, undertook ascetic practices. They were willing to undergo the suffering themselves so as to alleviate the suffering of sentient beings. They were traversing all realms of existence—revolving in the Twenty-five Levels of Existence in the Three Realms, coming back and forth—across measureless eons. They cultivate ascetic practices over a long period of time. Pure and pervasive as space is his radiance. The Buddha’s light pervasively shines and purifies, like empty space. Celestial Prince Jeweled Moon knows this skill-in-means.

Unobstructed, the Buddha’s concert of wonderful sounds. The Buddha’s sound is not blocked. You can hear it in distant places as if it were close by, and of course you can hear the Buddha’s sound even more clearly in places that are near. The Buddha proclaims wonderful sounds that are unobstructed. The sound pervades all lands of the ten directions. If the Buddha speaks Dharma in a single country, those in countries throughout the ten directions can also hear it. Pervades all lands of the ten directions. The Buddha nourishes sentient beings by means of the flavor of Dharma. Celestial Prince Courage knows this expedient device.

He releases an inconceivable net of light. The Buddha releases the light of the teaching, universally purifying all sentient beings. Everywhere he saves sentient beings so they become pure. Sentient beings are those endowed with breath, blood, and the eight consciousnesses. Inspiring profound faith and understanding in everyone.

Even crawling and wriggling creatures that are dumb, and yet possessed of some awareness; those which crawl, fly, or wriggle, such as mosquitoes and other tiny organisms—all of them are caused to bring forth deep faith and understanding. The god Flower Garlands enters this door. That Celestial Prince understands this passage into liberation.

All the lights in the world—such as the light of the sun, moon, stars, and lamps do not equal the light within a single pore of the Buddha. All of those lights cannot compare with the light in one of the Buddha’s pores. The Buddha’s light is just this inconceivable: You cannot exhaustively praise the Buddha’s light, nor can you finish describing this inconceivable state. This is the liberation of Celestial Prince Supreme Banner Light. He has attained this state and liberation door.

Sutra:

The Dharma of all Buddhas is thus:
They sit beneath the Bodhi, king of trees,
Causing those who stray to abide in the path.
Jeweled Cowl Light sees thus.

Commentary:


All Buddhas’ Dharmas are thus. “All Buddhas” refers to the Buddhas of the three periods of time. Their Dharmas are all like this: They sit beneath the Bodhi, king of trees. When the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time are about to accomplish Proper Enlightenment, they sit beneath the bodhi tree, become enlightened, and achieve Buddhahood. The bodhi tree is king among trees. Causing those who stray, that is, those who do not accord with the Path, such as realms of the hells, hungry ghosts, and animals. These beings do not accord with good paths; however, they do accord with evil paths. Here, “path” means good paths, and so that which does not accord with the path is referring to evil paths. Now, sentient beings of the evil paths are removed from evil paths and are born into the good paths. They are caused to abide in the good path. Celestial Prince Jeweled Cowl Light sees thus. He has attained this state, this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Sentient beings are blind, dark, and trapped in woeful ignorance.
The Buddha bids them to open their eyes of purity.
Therefore he lights the wisdom-lamp for their sakes.
Good Eyes contemplates this profoundly.

Commentary:


When fish are in the water, they do not notice the water. When people are in the air, they are not aware of the air. And when they are in the midst of suffering, they are not aware of the suffering. So the text says: Sentient beings are blind, dark, and trapped in woeful ignorance. Sentient beings are “blind,” as if they do not have eyes; they are “dark,” as if they cannot hear. They are foolish and in the throes of suffering. What is meant by being “blind”? It means being ignorant. When we are ignorant, we are as if blind. What is meant by “dark”? It means being afflicted. When afflictions arise, we lose our wisdom, and become dark. What is meant by “ignorance”? It means being attached. If we are not ignorant, we will not have attachments. Therefore, ignorance, afflictions, and attachment create a great deal of suffering. However, very few ever awaken to this kind of suffering. No ordinary being understands, “This is suffering.” Instead, they take suffering as bliss.

The Buddha bids them to open their eyes of purity. He wants sentient beings to discover their eyes of great wisdom so they can smash their ignorance, transform their afflictions, and empty out their attachments.

Therefore he lights the wisdom-lamp for their sakes. Wishing to help sentient beings break through the suffering of darkness and stupidity, he lights the lamp of wisdom and teaches sentient beings to turn away from confusion and return to enlightenment, renounce the deviant and return to the proper, reject the dark and go towards the bright. Once the lamp of wisdom is lit, all their darkness will be dispelled. Good Eyes contemplates this profoundly. Celestial Prince Good Eyes deeply understands this state and has attained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Liberated, expedient, Honored One of ease and comfort.
If sentient beings but see him once and make offerings
to him,
They are caused to cultivate unto fruition:
This is the god Virtue’s power of expedients.

Commentary:

Liberated means being without any attachment. When that happens,  we truly obtain freedom. We are free of constraints or limitations; we have no hangups, worry or anxiety, no happiness and no anger. We are not hampered by inherited character flaws, nor are we covered over by desire for material things. We have leapt out of the three realms and are no longer within the confines of the five elements. We are liberated, at which point we attain ease and comfort with regard to everything. However, in order to be liberated, first we must cultivate various expedients. From cultivating expedients, we can attain ease and comfort; and from ease and comfort, we can be liberated.

True liberation does not mean just thinking, “I’m liberated!” What liberation have you attained? If you are truly liberated, you won’t even have the notion that you are liberated. If you are aware that you are liberated, then you are not yet liberated. If you are indeed liberated, why talk about liberation? If from the start you are liberated, why do you have to say, “I have attained liberation.” Have you ever lost this liberation?

Most people who do not follow the rules think they are liberated. They think that to follow the rules means one is not liberated. Therefore, they do not pay attention to others, and they do not want others to watch over them. They say, “Don’t watch over me, and I won’t watch over you.”

The Mahasattva does not mind others’ business.
Each one for himself—Amitabha Buddha!

They each want to be a self-saving Arhat, doing whatever they please. They do not want to listen to what others tell them to do. When they wish to go up to heaven, they climb on a ladder that reaches to heaven. They say, “Now I’ve climbed one rung of this ladder, and then two rungs, three rungs,...” But they get to the point where they cannot go any higher. Their ladder falls short of reaching heaven. That’s not liberation. A truly liberated person doesn’t have anything to say about liberation. A truly liberated person does not even retain the appearance or nature of liberation. Who is this liberated, expedient, Honored One of ease and comfort? He is a Buddha.

If sentient beings but see him once and make offerings to him. If people see the Buddha and resolve to make offerings to the Buddha, they are all caused to cultivate unto fruition. The Buddha influences them completely to cultivate the Way, to cultivate causes and realize the fruition. These sentient beings will cultivate various dharma doors and accomplish the Buddha fruition. This is the power of expedients of the god Virtue. This is the expedient dharma door of liberation understood by this Celestial Prince.

Sutra:

Measureless doors within a single dharma door
Through measureless thousands of eons are extolled.
The dharma doors so proclaimed–prolific in meaning
Are understood by the god Universal Revolving Radiance.

Commentary:

Within the Dharma spoken by the Buddha,
One is measureless; the measureless are one.
One root divides into ten thousand branches;
Ten thousand branches return to the one root.

Measureless dharma doors are spoken within a single dharma-door, and those measureless dharma doors return to one dharma door. This is a state that is infinitely multi-leveled, layer upon layer without end. Throughout measureless hundreds of thousands of eons they are extolled. And yet there is no time when the Buddha finishes speaking the Dharma. The dharma doors so proclaimed–prolific in meaning. The dharma-doors proclaimed are measureless and boundless, and so their meanings are also vast, great, and inexhaustible. These principles are understood by the god Universal Revolving Radiance. He comprehends this state, this passage into liberation.

7) Celestial Princes of the Moon

Sutra:

Moreover, Celestial Prince Moon gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating pristine light throughout the Dharma Realm, gathering in and transforming sentient beings. Celestial Prince King-of-Flowers-Cowl gained a passage into liberation of observing the realms of all sentient beings, causing them to universally enter boundless dharmas.

Commentary:

Moreover indicates that the topic under discussion will continue to be explained.  Celestial Prince Moon gained a passage into liberation of universally radiating pristine light throughout the Dharma Realm. He shines the pure light of the Buddha’s wisdom everywhere throughout the Dharma Realm, gathering in and transforming sentient beings, enabling them all to quickly attain Buddhahood.

Celestial Prince named King-of-Flowers-Cowl gained a passage into liberation of observing the realms of all sentient beings, causing them, these measureless, boundless sentient beings, to universally enter and understand boundless dharmas and boundless doors of liberation and wisdom. This Celestial Prince has attained this state and entered this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince All Manner of Pure and Wonderful Radiance gained a passage into liberation of understanding the ocean of sentient beings’ minds and the various ways in which they are influenced by opportunism. Celestial Prince Instilling Peace and Joy in the Hearts of the World gained a passage into liberation of bestowing inconceivable bliss upon all sentient beings, so that they jump for joy.

Commentary:

The Celestial Prince named Prince All Manner of Pure and Wonderful Radiance gained a passage into liberation of understanding the ocean of all sentient beings’ minds. The minds of sentient beings resemble an ocean, and their thoughts of taking advantage of situations resemble waves on the ocean. There are various ways in which they are influenced by opportunism. “Influenced” implies that this exploitation of situations resembles waves, and there is not only one kind, but many kinds. Since there are many different kinds of people in society, there are many different opportunistic techniques, which people are led to employ. These are like waves in the ocean when the wind arises. When there is strong wind, the waves are large; when there is a light breeze, the waves are small. And if you do not have opportunistic thoughts, then there are no waves. For this reason, the motto for Gold Mountain Monastery reads:

Freezing, we do not scheme.

The greatest fear people have is that of dying, and freezing to death is very hard to take. However, even if we freeze to death, we will not be opportunistic and exploit situations.

Starving, we do not beg.

Most Buddhist monks go out and ask for donations. But even if we die of starvation, we will not ask people for money. Why not? Because this is the greatest problem in the Buddhist world today: asking for money. Originally the Buddha allowed his monks to go on almsrounds, but that was asking for food, not money. But now, monks do not ask for food. Instead, they ask for gold, silver, vaidurya, crystal, red pearls, agate, and carnelian. They desire the seven precious things. Since monks have renounced the secular life, why do they crave the seven precious things? I really do not understand this. We can only manage to understand small principles, not the great ones.

Dying of poverty, we ask for nothing.
These are our three great principles.

This Celestial Prince understands how sentient beings give rise to thought-waves of opportunism and how they are influenced by those waves. He has understood this state.

The next Celestial Prince is named Instilling Peace and Joy in the Hearts of the World. If anyone does not feel peaceful and happy, he will comfort that person’s heart and make him feel peaceful and happy. If you already feel peaceful and happy, then you will have no need for his help. Not to talk about asking this god to help you, if you do not feel peaceful and happy inside, you can bring your heart to me and I can also make it feel peaceful and happy. He has bestowing inconceivable bliss upon all sentient beings, so that they jump for joy. When sentient beings feel peaceful and happy, they jump with great joy. Their joy starts from the pores of the soles of their feet and reaches all the way up to the crowns of their heads. Thus they jump up in their exuberance. Some people feel this is a strange way to explain this line. Actually it makes perfect sense. If these sentient beings did not feel joy from the soles of their feet, how could they leap up? You figure that out. It must be the case that the joy emanates from the bottom of their feet, and so they bounce up, like a ball. The great exuberance stems from their soles and goes all the way up to the crowns of their heads.

If you do not believe this, just ask Guo Fang’s mother. When Guo Fang is given a piece of candy, she jumps up and down, registering joy from the soles of her feet reaching up to her head.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Bright Eyes of the King of Trees gained a passage into liberation of at all times protecting the work of farmers, such as the growth of seeds, sprouts, stems, and so forth, causing them to thrive.

Commentary:

The next Celestial Prince is named Bright Eyes of the King of Trees. The King of Trees is the Bodhi Tree. “Eyes” means he acts as eyes for sentient beings. Why? Because if sentient beings do not have eyes, they are immersed in the darkness of night. And now, not only are there eyes, there is also light which enables the eyes to see. If there are only eyes but no light, people are still unable to see in dark places. “Light” represents wisdom; “darkness” means ignorance. If we are covered over by ignorance, even if we have eyes, we will not be able to see. We won’t be able to clearly distinguish between right and wrong, deviant and proper. This Celestial Prince, Bright Eyes of the King of Trees, has great wisdom that can dispel the darkness. He gained a samÁdhi, a passage into liberation of at all times protecting the work of farmers, such as the growth of seeds, sprouts, stems, and so forth. When farmers work, first they sow seeds. Then the seeds sprout, roots develop, and stems, leaves and so forth spring up, after which there is a harvest. At all times farmers have to protect and guard the crops, causing them to thrive, that is, to ripen. First, the crops ripen, and then the farmers are liberated. This god has obtained this passage into liberation.

The way this works in Buddhism is that a bodhi seed is planted in the field of Buddhas. Bit by bit the bodhi seed will sprout and grow into a bodhi tree, which will bear the bodhi fruit. Step by step there will be achievements. However, we have to guard and protect the plant with constant mindfulness. If it is lacking in water, we have to give it water. If it is lacking in fertilizer, add some fertilizer. What is water in this case? The water of virtuous practices can nourish our sprouts of wisdom. What is fertilizer in this case? Carrying out the Six Perfections and myriad practices, cultivating blessings and wisdom, is adding fertilizer to the bodhi plant. And at all times we have to protect and guard the plant until it matures, so we can obtain liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Manifesting Pure Light gained a passage into liberation of saving and protecting all sentient beings with kindness and compassion, enabling them to witness experiences of suffering and joy.

Celestial Prince Universally Roaming Yet Unmoving Light gained a passage into liberation of universally appearing in the ten directions holding the pure moon. Celestial Prince Sovereign Constellation King gained a passage into liberation of revealing all dharmas to be illusory, resembling space, lacking characteristics and an inherent nature.

Commentary:

Celestial Prince Manifesting Pure Light gained a samadhi, a passage into liberation of saving and protecting all sentient beings with kindness and compassion. Kindness can bestow joy, and compassion can eradicate suffering. With a compassionate mind, he rescues and protects all sentient beings, enabling them to witness experiences of suffering and joy. Right before them, at the present moment, he manifests undergoing experiences of suffering and joy, and experiences that are neither suffering nor joy. He has attained this kind of liberation.

The next Celestial Prince is named Universally Roaming throughout the ten directions Yet Unmoving Light. He remains in the Way-place of still, quiet light. Without moving from the Way-place, he universally roams throughout the ten directions. Roaming throughout the ten directions, he does not move from the Way-place. Most people cannot understand this kind of state; it is a state of dhyana-samadhi. Within dhyana-samadhi, one can roam throughout the ten directions and pervade the Dharma Realm. And yet one does not move from one’s Chan seat.

Celestial Prince Universally Roaming and Yet Unmoving Light gained a passage into liberation of universally appearing in the ten directions holding the pure moon. He is like a pure moon universally appearing in the ten directions. When you gaze up at the moon, it appears to be above your head. If someone else looks up at the moon, it appears to be above his head. Sentient beings throughout the ten directions all feel the moon is right before them. That is the passage into liberation of the pure moon universally appearing in the ten directions.

Celestial Prince Sovereign Constellation King, king of all stars, enjoys tremendous ease and comfort. He gained a passage into liberation of revealing all dharmas to be illusory, not actual or real, resembling space, lacking characteristics and an inherent nature. What is like this? The Thus Come One’s Dharma body is like an illusion and like empty space, without marks and without a nature of its own. This Celestial Prince attained that kind of liberation.

Sutra:

Celestial Prince Moon of Pure Enlightenment gained a passage into liberation of giving rise to great deeds and functioning for the sake of all sentient beings. Celestial Prince Great Majestic Light gained a passage into liberation of everywhere severing all doubts and delusions.

At that time, Celestial Prince Moon received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the celestial multitudes in all the moon palaces, and spoke the following verse:

Commentary:

The Celestial Prince named Moon of Pure Enlightenment gained a passage into liberation of giving rise to great deeds and functioning for the sake of all sentient beings. What does that mean? He causes all sentient beings to bring forth a great bodhi resolve, bear a great bodhi fruit, cultivate great deeds of bodhi, and give rise to the great functioning of bodhi. And then their bodhi fruit will be perfected. They will end their karma of birth and death, and their karma of bodhi—the path of enlightenment—will be accomplished. That is what is meant by giving rise to great deeds and functioning. This Celestial Prince attained this passage into liberation.

Celestial Prince Great Majestic Light.  When sentient beings see him, they feel great respect and awe. Feeling respect, they want to draw near him. Feeling awe, they fear him. His awesome presence inspires fear. And why do they respect him? He has virtue that merits respect.

Some of us experience the fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. When some people lecture on the sutras in front of a handful of people, they speakin a very eloquent, coherent fashion. However, when they have to talk before a large audience, they lose track of their topic and their presentation becomes disorganized. They do not know where to begin to talk. A little rabbit has run into their heart, where it jumps up and down. This person wants to talk, but the little rabbit runs all the way up to his mouth and bites his tongue, so the person cannot say anything. What is this? This is fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. The awesome virtue of the great assembly intimidates such a person until the tone of his voice changes. A man’s voice might change so that he sounds like a woman. A woman’s voice might change and assume an unexpected tone of some other sort. That comes about due to a fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. Now, Celestial Prince Great Majestic Light has that kind of awesome virtue. He gained a passage into liberation of everywhere severing all doubts and delusions. Upon seeing him, anyone who has doubts or delusions will have those doubts resolved. Once he explains the issues for them, their doubts disappear. He has obtained this liberation.

At that time, Celestial Prince Moon Palace received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the celestial multitudes in all the moon palaces, and spoke the following verse.

Sutra:

The Buddha emits light pervading the whole world,
Illumining lands of the ten directions,
Proclaiming inconceivable, vast, great dharmas,
Destroying forever the darkness of sentient beings’ delusion.

His states are boundless and without end.
Throughout measureless eons, constantly he teaches and guides,
Transforming all sentient beings with various modes of self-mastery.
Flower Cowl contemplates the Buddha in this way.

Commentary:

The Buddha emits measureless light pervading the whole world, / Illumining lands of the ten directions. The Buddhalands of the ten directions are all bathed in this great light. Proclaiming inconceivable vast, great dharmas: The Buddha expounds vast, boundless Dharma, which cannot be conceived of by the mind or expressed with words, turning the Great Dharma Wheel, destroying forever the darkness of sentient beings’ delusion. The Buddha smashes the ignorance, afflictions, stupidity, darkness, and delusions of sentient beings.

His states are boundless and without end. The Buddha’s states have no boundaries and no end. Throughout measureless eons, constantly he teaches and guides. Since measureless eons in the past, the Buddha has been speaking Dharma to teach sentient beings, transforming all sentient beings with various modes of self-mastery and miraculous spiritual powers. Celestial Prince Flower Cowl contemplates the Buddha in this way, just as was described in the text.

Sutra:

The ocean of sentient beings’ minds varies in every thought.
The Buddha’s extensive, profuse wisdom knows this all.
Everywhere, he speaks Dharma, bestowing happiness:
This is the liberation of Wonderful Radiance.

Commentary:

The ocean of sentient beings’ minds varies in every thought. There is shifting and flowing in thought after thought, change in every passing thought. Once the former thought is extinguished, another thought arises. After this thought is extinguished, still another thought arises. These thoughts upon thoughts resemble waves in the ocean. The Buddha’s extensive, profuse wisdom knows this all. The Buddha’s wisdom is vast and great to the utmost, and it also perceives the finest, subtlest details. All the thoughts of sentient beings are completely known and completely seen by the Thus Come One. Everywhere he speaks Dharma for sentient beings, bestowing great happiness. / This is the liberation of Wonderful Radiance.  Celestial Prince Wonderful Radiance has achieved this state, this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Sentient beings, lacking the joyful serenity of sages
And mired and confused on evil paths, endure all miseries.
The Thus Come One shows them the door of the Dharma nature.
Peace and Joy beholds and reflects upon this.

Commentary:

Sentient beings, lacking the joyful serenity of sages. The peace and comfort enjoyed by sentient beings is worldly peace and comfort. Although they may feel this is peace and comfort, actually it is not true peace and comfort. On the other hand, the joyful serenity of sages is devoid of any suffering and consists only of bliss. It is without worry or distress. Sentient beings mired and confused on evil paths, in the six paths, endure all miseries. Among the six paths, there are three wholesome paths—those of gods, humans and asuras—and the beings in them are a little better off. However, here, the text is referring to the evil paths: those of hell beings, hungry ghosts, and animals. And those paths are filled with suffering.

The Thus Come One shows them the door of the Dharma nature. The Buddha points out to sentient beings the dharma door that is not apart from the inherent nature, thus causing all sentient beings to attain the peace and comfort of sages. Celestial Prince Peace and Joy beholds and reflects upon this. He ponders over this and attains this liberation, this kind of vision.

Sutra:

Rare is the Thus Come One’s great kindness and compassion.
To benefit sentient beings, he enters all realms of existence.
Speaking Dharma, he exhorts them to goodness, helps them succeed:
This is what the god Bright Eyes understands.

The World Honored One expounds the Dharma’s brightness,
Differentiating the nature of all karma in the world.
Good and evil deeds are never destroyed.
Upon seeing this, Pure Light rejoices.

Commentary:

Rare is the Thus Come One’s great kindness and compassion. Among all the kinds of kindness and compassion in the world, the Buddha’s kindness and compassion is the greatest. It is rare and unique. To benefit sentient beings, he enters all realms of existence. Wishing to benefit sentient beings by alleviating their sufferings, wishing to teach and transform them, the Buddha enters the Twenty-five Levels of Existence in the Three Realms: the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm. Included within the Twenty-five Levels of Existence are the realms of hells, hungry ghosts, and animals. Wishing to save sentient beings from suffering, the Buddha willingly undergoes suffering on their behalf so that they do not have to experience suffering. Such are the Buddha’s vows. Speaking Dharma, he exhorts them to goodness, helps them succeed: The Buddha expounds various dharma doors, exhorts sentient beings to practice many good acts, and causes them to accomplish the fruit of enlightenment This passage into liberation is what the god Bright Eyes understands.

The World Honored One expounds the Dharma’s brightness, shedding great light on the world. Differentiating the nature of all karma in the world: good karma, evil karma, karma that is neither good nor evil, and the natures of various kinds of karma. If you create good karma, in the future you will reap a good result. If you create evil karma, in the future you will reap an evil result. Good and evil deeds are never destroyed. Nothing is lost. It will not be the case that having done good deeds, you fail to receive a good result; or that having done evil deeds, you fail to reap an evil result. That will not happen. Upon seeing this, Pure Light rejoices. Celestial Prince Pure Light is extremely pleased and interested in this dharma door.

Sutra:

The Buddha is the mainstay of all blessings,
Just like the great earth upholding palaces.
Cleverly he reveals a path of security and peace, free from anxiety:
The Unmoving One knows this expedient means.

The brilliant blaze of the Buddha’s wisdom-fire
pervades the Dharma Realm.
He manifests countless bodies, equal to all sentient beings.
Everywhere, for one and all, he opens up the true and actual.
The god Constellation King awakens to this path.

Commentary:

The Buddha is the mainstay of all blessings. The Buddha is replete with wisdom and blessings, having perfected them both. Therefore he is one in whom the blessings of all sentient beings are grounded. The Buddha is a fertile field of blessings for sentient beings, just like the great earth upholding palaces. He is like the great earth, on which all the houses and buildings are grounded. The earth symbolizes the Buddha’s blessings, upon which all sentient beings rely. All things are carried and sustained by the earth. And the Buddha’s blessings are like the earth. Cleverly he reveals a path of security and peace, free from anxiety: The Buddha uses many provisional, clever means to speak Dharma for sentient beings, pointing out to them a path that leads them out of anxiety and suffering and which leads to peace and comfort. The Unmoving One knows this expedient means. He is aware of the various expedient dharma doors with which the Buddha teaches and transforms sentient beings.

The brilliant blaze of the Buddha’s wisdom-fire pervades the Dharma Realm. The blaze of the Buddha’s wisdom-fire extensively shines throughout the Dharma Realm so that the entire Dharma Realm is bathed in this light. He manifests countless bodies, equal to all sentient beings. The Buddha manifests hundreds of thousands of millions of bodies, according with the categories of sentient beings so as to teach and transform them. Everywhere, for one and all, he opens up the true and actual. Universally he reveals the true and actual dharma door for sentient beings. The god Constellation King awakens to this path. That Celestial Prince understands this principle.

Sutra:

The Buddha, like empty space, has no intrinsic nature.
Wishing to benefit sentient beings, he appears in the world,
Adorned with fine marks and characteristics–a reflection.
Celestial King Pure Enlightenment perceives thus.

From all the pores on the Buddha’s body issue universal sounds.
His Dharma cloud blankets the entire world.
Those who hear also delight in it without exception.
The god Light has awakened to this liberation.

Commentary:

The Buddha, like empty space, has no intrinsic nature. The Buddha takes the Dharma Realm and space as his substance. He also takes sentient beings as his substance. If you wish to recognize the Buddha, first make a point of recognizing empty space. If you know what empty space is like, you will recognize the Buddha. If you wish to recognize the Buddha, then first recognize the Dharma Realm, after which you will recognize the Buddha. If you wish to recognize the Buddha, first recognize all sentient beings. After you have recognized all sentient beings, you will understand Buddha. Why is that? Because the Buddha is without an intrinsic nature; he doesn’t have a substance or mark of himself. He takes the mark of sentient beings as his own mark.

Wishing to benefit sentient beings, he appears in the world. Why does the Buddha appear in the world? Because he feels he does not have much work to do, and so he wishes to benefit sentient beings and bring them advantages. In actuality, it’s a case of the Buddha having no work and looking for some work to do, not having a job and finding himself a job. Basically the Buddha can stay in the Land of Eternal Still Light and remain thus, thus unmoving, with clear and constant understanding. He does not have to bother with whether or not sentient beings are being saved. But because the Buddha has such great compassion, he wishes to benefit sentient beings, and so he appears in the world. Adorned with fine marks and characteristics–a reflection. Although the Buddha has the Thirty-two Hallmarks and Eighty Subtle Characteristics that are quite splendid, the Buddha’s appearance is like an image or a reflection, not real or actual. Celestial King Pure Enlightenment perceives thus. This is how he understands the state of the Buddha’s appearance.

From all the pores on the Buddha’s body issue universal sounds. Every pore on the Buddha’s body speaks Dharma for sentient beings. His Dharma cloud blankets the entire world. The Dharma that the Buddha speaks is like a cloud that shelters all worlds, with nothing left out. Everything is protected by this Dharma cloud. Those who hear also delight in it without exception. Those who hear the Buddha’s sound and see the Buddha’s visage are all delighted. The god Light has awakened to this liberation. Celestial King Majestic Light has enlightened to this state, this passage into liberation.

[Editor’s Note: That concludes the seven groups of the Desire Realm. Next, the sutra will bring up the eight divisions and the four kings, their liberation doors and their individual verses of praise.]

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