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

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

Sutra:

Wind-ruling Spirit Manifold Palaces gained a passage into liberation of entering the door of still dhyana-samadhi and eradicating the darkness of deep delusion.  

Commentary:

The next Wind-ruling Spirit is named Manifold Palaces. “Palaces” carries the idea of adornments. This particular Wind-ruling Spirit adorns herself with all kinds of practices--hence her name. She gained a passage into liberation of entering the door of still dhyana-samadhi. “Still” means unmoving, and the state of not moving is dhyana-samadhi. She entered the door of still dhyana-samadhi and of eradicating the darkness of deep delusion. How does she eradicate it? She does so by entering the door of dhyana-samadhi. Based on precepts, samadhi arises; and from samadhi, wisdom comes forth. Armed with wisdom, she can eliminate the most severe, terrible, and difficult-to-eradicate darkness of ignorance—a state of being very dense and muddled. Someone obtuse and bewildered lacks wisdom and has no clarity. But from entering dhyana-samadhi, this Wind-ruling Spirit has the light of wisdom, and so she can dispel this intense darkness of ignorance--darkness standing for befuddlement and lack of understanding. That is the passage into liberation that she attained.

Sutra:

Wind-ruling Spirit Great Light Universally Shining gained a passage into liberation of using the power of nonobstruction to accord with all sentient beings’ actions.  

Commentary:

Wind-ruling Spirit Great Light Universally Shining has great light of wisdom that universally shines on all sentient beings---hence her name. What state of the Buddha did she achieve? She gained a passage into liberation of using the power of nonobstruction to accord with all sentient beings’ actions.She has the ability to accord with sentient beings' practices. She adapts to whatever sentient beings like to do, going along with them and making them happy so they achieve liberation. She uses the power of nonobstruction, which means she avoids making sentient beings upset, afflicted, or angry. The power of nonobstruction allows her to create pleased and happy attitudes in sentient beings. To upset sentient beings would result in obstruction and blockage. That's the passage into liberation that she obtained.  

Sutra:

At that time Wind-ruling Spirit Unobstructed Radiance received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of Wind-ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse.

Commentary:

At that time refers to when Sãkyamuni Buddha was expounding the Great Flower Adornment Dharma. Innumerable Bodhisattvas had assembled together in the Way-place, along with numberless Celestial Kings, celestial dragons, and others of the Eightfold Division. Day-ruling Spirits, Night-ruling Spirits, Space-ruling Spirits, Wind-ruling Spirits, Direction-ruling Spirits, and so forth had also assembled in the bodhimanda. Right then Wind-ruling Spirit Unobstructed Radiance had something more to say. What was it? She wanted to speak verses in praise of the Buddha. Was she able to speak in verse? Yes, but not all that perfectly. At that time, however, she received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power. She availed herself of Sãkyamuni Buddha's great awesome power of spiritual penetrations, universally contemplated the multitudes of Wind-ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse. She observed the myriad Wind-ruling Spirits everywhere, and expressed herself in a four-line verse.  

Sutra:

The Dharma of all Buddhas is of utmost profundity.
With unobstructed skill-in-means they enter everywhere.
Appearing always, in each and every world,
The Buddhas yet are formless, devoid of shape or sign.  

Commentary:

This four-line verse is spoken by Wind-ruling Spirit Unobstructed Radiance. She says: The Dharma of all Buddhas is of utmost profundity. The Dharma of all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time is profound, subtle and wonderful. Within that Buddhadharma more Buddhadharmas are produced, and further Buddhadharmas are stored within those Buddhadharmas. Therefore, the Dharma of all Buddhas is inconceivable. With unobstructed skill-in-means they enter everywhere. The Buddhas have a kind of unimpeded expedient ability that allows them to travel everywhere, universally entering lands as many as particles of dust. Appearing always, in each and every world.The Buddhas are always manifesting in the world of sentient beings, in order to teach and transform them. The Buddhas yet are formless, devoid of shape or sign. Although they are always appearing, they don’t have any characteristics. And since they have no form or shape, they don’t even have a shadow or a reflection. In as much as they are markless, and formless, how could they have a shadow? Of course they don’t. Buddhas don’t do things in the attached way we people do. We retain such attachments of mind as, “I’ve done such-and-such; I’m so good,” never thinking of the places where we are wrong. That turns into having appearances and forms, and also shadows, images, and reflections. The Buddhas sweep away all dharmas and are free from all appearances. They may speak Dharma every day, yet they haven’t uttered a single sentence. They take their daily meal, but they haven’t eaten a single grain of rice. Each day they put on clothes, but they haven’t worn a single thread. The Buddhas do things without any attachment. This kind of state is beyond the understanding of ordinary people.  

Sutra:

You may observe the Tathagata in the past–how
In a single thought he worshipped countless Buddhas.
To such courageous bodhi practices as these
Does Universally Manifesting spirit awaken.  

Commentary:

Wind-ruling Spirit Universally Manifesting says: You may observe the Tathagata in the past. Take a look at what the Tathagata did before. See the kinds of inconceivable practices that the Buddha cultivated when he was at the stage of planting causes. See how in a single thought he worshipped countless Buddhas. In a single instant he was able to make offerings to infinitely many Buddhas. To such courageous bodhi practices as these, such heroic deeds of vigor at all times in cultivating the bodhi conduct, does Universally Manifesting spirit awaken. Wind-ruling Spirit Universally Manifesting understands this passage to liberation.

Sutra:

Inconceivable, the Tathagata ’s rescue of the world--
Not one of his devices is used in vain.
He fully frees all beings from all woe.
Cloud Banner spirit is liberated thus. 

Commentary:

The Tathagata, that is, the Buddha, saves the world of sentient beings. In other worlds, he rescues all sentient beings. It’s impossible to fathom his power of patience and compliance, and so the text says: Inconceivable, the Tathagata’s rescue of the world. Sentient beings could never imagine it. Not one of his devices is used in vain. Every expedient means that the Buddha uses is effective. Not one of them fails. The Buddha uses the type of dharma door suited to each particular being; hence no dharma door is employed in vain. He fully frees all beings from all woe. All sentient beings are freed from obstructions of afflictions, obstructions of knowledge, and obstructions of karma with its obstructing retribution. Beings gain release from all those various kinds of suffering. Cloud Banner spirit is liberated thus. Wind-ruling Spirit Cloud Banner understands this passage into liberation.  

Sutra:

Bereft of blessings, sentient beings suffer every agony–
Ever mystified by weighty coverings and dense obstructions.
The Buddha leads them all to liberation.
The spirit Pure Light understands thus.  

Commentary:

Bereft of blessings, sentient beings suffer every agony. Sentient beings--literally the multitude born--are born from a multitude of conditions coming together, and die from a multitude of assembled factors. Sentient beings lack blessings. Why do they lack them? It’s because most never plant blessings. What prevented them from doing so? The reasons are that they never saw the Buddha, the Dharma, or the Sangha. Never having seen the Buddha, heard the Dharma, or encountered the Sangha, they had no place to plant blessings. Those bereft of a locus for fostering blessings have no blessings. For example, in an area where there is no Buddha, no Dharma, and no Sangha, sentient beings’ blessings come to an end. They can no longer make their blessings grow, being in a region where blessings can’t be planted. Since they lack blessings, they suffer every agony. “Every agony” indicates there are a great many sufferings. There are the Three Sufferings, the Eight Sufferings, and limitless sufferings. The Three Sufferings are: the suffering of suffering, the suffering of decay, and the suffering of process. What is the suffering of suffering? It’s suffering within suffering, woe added to woe. What does that mean? It refers to the situation of a poor person. Poverty itself is suffering. But another suffering is added to that.

For instance, a poor person might have a wooden shack in a poverty-stricken refugee camp. Houses in America are made of wood, but they are painted very clean inside; and the outside paint is also very glossy and well-finished. Such houses are pleasant to live in. But in Brazil and Hong Kong , the shanties are of unfinished wood. They are very crude. The shacks are just nailed together, and neither the interior nor the exterior is painted. Rats live together with the people. The rats dwell in tiny houses, and the people live in big houses. They are crowded together, so rodents and humans are neighbors and friends. Actually, that’s not so bad--at least they have another friend. The human has a rodent pal, and the rodent has a human buddy, which is still pretty good. But what happens next? A typhoon hits, and blows down the wooden shanty. The rat ignores the human, and the human doesn’t need the rat. The rat looks for a new place to live on his own, but the human has to wait for resettlement, for the government to reassign him housing. Wouldn’t you call that suffering on top of suffering? To begin with, he had a wooden shack to live in and could get by. But when one typhoon hits, his wooden shanty is blown apart. Or perhaps there is heavy rainfall and the wooden shack is washed away. That’s suffering added to suffering.

What is meant by the suffering of decay? In this case, the person is not poor. He has a lot of money--a very happy state of affairs. But that happiness cannot last forever. Good fortune is only temporary. There may be a manmade disaster or perhaps an accident. He may be kidnapped and held for ransom by bandits, or some other calamity may strike. All kinds of unexpected events destroy his wealth and honor. That’s the suffering of decay.

What is the suffering of process? It’s when one has neither the tribulations of poverty nor the pain of loss of wealth and status. That might seem okay; there’s nothing exceptional. And yet from being young, one matures; and once mature, one grows old. The process continues nonstop. After being old, one dies. That life-process is called the suffering of process.

Everyone is subject to those three sufferings. That communality doesn’t mean each person has all three. People may or may not experience all of them. However, if free from the trials of poverty, they have the pain of loss of wealth and honor. If they avoid decay of fame and fortune, they still face the suffering of the life-process. Hence those sufferings are said to be everybody’s lot--if you don’t have one, you have another.

There are also the Eight Sufferings, as follows. The suffering of birth refers to how, when a person is born, it’s as painful as for a live tortoise to have its shell ripped off--the agony is that excruciating. When a human being is born, the pain is just that great. After being born, the person grows old. The old person’s hearing fails. His eyesight fails. His teeth don’t chew well, and his legs don’t help him walk. He hobbles along, with chicken-like skin and crane-white hair. That’s the suffering of old age. There is also the suffering of sickness. Before you’re sick you don’t know about the suffering of illness. But once you fall ill, the sufferings are indescribable. For no apparent reason, your head starts to ache. You don’t know why, but your feet hurt, your legs hurt, your back aches. When you’re sick, even though you are hungry, you can’t get food down or even drink water. That still isn’t so terrible. The greatest suffering of all is the suffering of death. The pain of dying is like that experienced by a cow being flayed alive. Just imagine how painful that is. Those are the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death.

A further suffering is that of being separated from what one loves. The more you love the person, the more that person wants to get away from you. Or there may be unusual circumstances or reasons why you have to be apart. However much you may want to be together, you have to separate. That’s the suffering of being separated from what one loves.

There is also the suffering of being together with what one hates. You can’t stand someone. You detest the sight of him and would like to get away from him. But when you go somewhere else, you meet the same kind of person, approximately. That’s the suffering of being together with what one hates.

Another suffering is that of not obtaining what one seeks. In this case you are compelled by greed. You seek for wealth and honor, but you can’t obtain them. You pursue glory, only to have it escape your grasp. You want to have a son but you can’t have a son, or you want a daughter but you have no female offspring. You try to find a boyfriend, but you never get one. Or you may want to find a girlfriend but there is none to be had. That’s known as the suffering of not obtaining what one seeks. In general, whenever you cannot get what you want, that is the suffering of not obtaining what one seeks. There is also the suffering of the raging blaze of the five skandhas. The five skandhas are what we are composed of: form, feeling, thinking, formations, and consciousness. Those five skandhas are like a huge bonfire that cannot be put out, which is called the suffering of the raging blaze of the five skandhas.

Great Master Hanshan said, “In a dream I entered a huge bonfire.” While dreaming, he saw himself walking into an enormous blazing fire. “I panicked and was overwhelmed by fear.” At that time, he was terribly afraid, incredibly terrified, hence overwhelmed by fear. He didn’t anticipate walking into a bonfire, and wasn’t he going to be burned to death by the fire? He was so petrified he broke out in a sweat. There was no way he could escape from the fire. “Just at that moment of alarm,” right when he was so scared and apprehensive, “A drop of water turned things fresh and cool.” There was a single drop of water the touch of which seemed so fine, so cool and refreshing. “But then the water evaporated.” When that single drop of water evaporated in the fire, the suffering started all over again. It was both agonizing and terrifying. There are far too many such sufferings, and so they are called “the many sufferings.”

Sentient beings are ever mystified by weighty coverings and dense obstructions. “Weighty coverings” refers to being covered over by ignorance and afflictions. “Dense obstructions” are thick blockages, specifically the Three Kinds of Obstructions: The obstruction of afflictions, the obstruction of karma, and the obstruction of retribution. Another classification is into the obstruction of afflictions and the obstruction of what is known. With such various kinds of obstructions forming blockages, you are “ever shrouded and confused.” They keep you in a perpetual state of delusion, so you don’t understand anything due to those obstructions. You may be quite intelligent to start with, but day by day you become more muddled. Basically you had a clear purpose in mind, but then your false thoughts multiply as the days pass. Any of you who are ever shrouded and confused by weighty coverings and dense obstructions should wake up at this point and start to understand! Don’t continue being so confused. The Buddha leads them all to liberation. Why is that? The Buddha wants all sentient beings to be released from their sufferings. The spirit Pure Light understands thus. Wind-ruling Spirit Pure Light comprehends this state and this passage to liberation.

Within a dream you see yourself inside a huge bonfire and are so afraid. You have no way to get out of the fire. The more seared you are, the more your legs go on strike and won’t walk. They don’t obey your orders. But when you wake up, from your awakened vantage point you wonder, “Who was so distressed?” Who was it? That was a case of being terrified in a dream of entering a holocaust. We people now in this world who are not yet awake are constantly suffering and getting upset. We are so busy squabbling and quarrelling and being afflicted, and yet we feel what we are experiencing is not all that bad. But you should realize, when the time comes for you to die, what control will you have? When you fall sick, how will you be in charge of the situation? If you have no control, then you haven’t awakened from the dream!

If you do have control, then you can choose whether or not to be sick. And you can decide whether or not to die, and die whenever you want. If you are in charge like that, then you may have awakened from the dream. Therefore you should pay particular attention to this point.

Disciple: Is instantaneous death as for a cow to be flayed alive? For example, if someone is shot and dies fast, is that extremely painful?

Venerable Master: Such pain is even harder to bear. You aren’t aware of it right at the moment, but afterwards you know. Every day at the same time you re-experience the pain. Don’t try to find a cheap way out, thinking that to die that way isn’t very painful. Such a death takes a lot longer than a natural death. As to it being a bargain, is it really a bargain or not? For example, this teacup is basically worth five dollars, but now it is selling for only fifty cents. That’s a bargain. Basically, when someone dies, it’s very painful. If I find some way not to die a painful death, then that’s really a bargain. However, you may think you are getting a bargain at the time of death, but after death it’s no bargain. It’s far more suffering than the other way of dying. You don’t realize that when you’re still a person, but when you are a ghost you know. When the time you died comes around again, as a ghost you can’t stand it, because it’s horrible suffering. Each day at that time, you undergo the suffering again. But if you die of illness, even though it is as painful as for a cow to be flayed alive, after you have died, you don’t have so much suffering.

Question: What is the Buddhist point of view on euthanasia? Is it absolutely banned?

Venerable Master: The things people do are not necessarily totally right or totally wrong. Therefore it’s correct for the government not to permit euthanasia. People may see someone going through the agony of dying and think they could help alleviate the person’s suffering by making him die. It might seem right to assist his death. However, these are just things people do. It’s true that within Buddhism, such actions are not allowed. Everything is karma. The person’s pain is also karma that he is supposed to experience. He is due to undergo that retribution. You can’t employ some kind of contrived maneuver to prevent him from suffering the consequences of his karma.

A propos of this, Emperor Chongzhen had been a left-home person in his previous life. However, he hadn’t received full ordination. He was just a novice monk, a little Sramanera, and he died very young. When he passed away, his t eacher told his fellow monks, “Tie his corpse by the legs and have it dragged around, and keep dragging the corpse until it disintegrates.” But the Sramanera’s Dharma brothers decided that was too cruel. The novice, who was already dead, had been so good when he was alive. After his death, to drag his corpse on the ground until it was pulverized would be too uncompassionate. And so they left the corpse intact and buried it instead. Since the boy had been a novice, in his next life he became Emperor Chongzhen, an emperor who had the Way but lacked blessings. Consequently, later on he ended up hanging himself on Coal Mountain. If his Dharma brothers had dragged his corpse until it disintegrated, then in that life as an emperor he would have had blessings along with virtue in the Way. But since they didn’t do that to his corpse, in his life as emperor he had the Way but was deficient in blessings, and he ended up hanging himself and dying on Coal Mountain. That’s what people say. I don’t know whether or not it’s true. But if his corpse had been gradually ground to bits, as his clear-sighted Teacher instructed, then that karma would have been ended. If his corpse had been totally pulverized by being dragged on the ground, then in his next life he would have been a good emperor. But a monk senior to him in the group didn’t want him to be a good emperor. He wanted him to be an emperor who only made it half way through his term. Hence in the next life, that very monk wrested the throne away from him, since he became Li Zicheng. 

Venerable Master: [to disciples] Your literal explanation of the text was pretty good, but you didn’t explain the hordes of demons very clearly, so I’ll explain the text again.  

Sutra:

Vast and great, the Tathagata ’s powers of spiritual penetrations;
They keep the demon hordes at bay.
He has sundry skillful means for taming and subduing.
Courageous Power contemplates thus. 

Commentary:

Vast and great, the Tathagata’s powers of spiritual penetrations; / They keep the demon hordes at bay. / He has sundry skillful means for taming and subduing. / Courageous Power contemplates thus. To keep at bay means to quell, in this case making the celestial demons and externalists submit. Demons can kill and bring other harm to humans. They make people die or go insane and lose their wits, so their faculty of reasoning is gone, and they are confused and don’t recognize the truth. Demons make people so confused and disoriented that they don’t follow the rules. That’s the demons’ talent.

The first kind of demon is desire. Do those of you who have desire realize it’s a demon? Therefore, desire is the first of the hordes of demons. Of all your demonic armies, desire is the primary one.

Then which one is second? It’s worry. Once you have some benefit in mind, a lot of anxieties arrive. Why do you worry? It happens when you can’t fulfill your wishes. When you are unable to satisfy your desire, you start to worry. You think about it today and then the next day. You keep going over it in your mind until your hair turns white and your eyes grow dim. Your tongue won’t fall out from your mental effort, but your teeth will! That’s why worry is the second of the demonic hordes.

What is the third type of demon? It’s craving, literally “hunger and thirst.” Why do you become worried and anxious? It’s due to craving. You are parched and ravenous regarding the object of your desire, like someone desperately hungry for food or intensely thirsty with no water to drink. Here it refers to craving due to unfulfilled desires, which is similar to hunger and thirst. Hence, craving is the third of the demonic states.

What is the fourth kind of demonic horde? Literally it is “thirsty love,” intense thirst for love and desire. Love! The more you think of it, the more hungry and thirsty you get. The more hungry and thirsty you become, the more you have thirsty love. Do you know now that you've had such daily involvement with a demon without realizing it?

The third was craving, literally “hunger and thirst,” and the fourth is “thirsty love.” What is the fifth? It’s sleep. After thirsty love, you didn’t expect it but you find yourself wanting to sleep all the time. You have no energy and just feel like dozing off. The sleep demon has appeared again and comes rushing out. Therefore, in cultivating the Way, don't start figuring you haven’t had enough sleep. No matter how much you sleep, it won't be enough. I was like all of you when I was young. I would sleep for an entire day and not wake up. I slept for two days, three days, five days, seven days, and still would not awaken; I still felt the same way. That's the fifth demonic horde: sleep.

What is the sixth? After sleeping so much, you develop fear, for example being afraid someone is going to kill you. You are overcome by terror to the point of insanity. Everything makes you afraid. Fear presses in from the north, south, east, and west. You can’t find any place where you feel free from fear--the center is even scarier! Thereupon you become suspicious.

The seventh horde is that of doubt, and it’s a kind of paranoia. You sit somewhere and start to wonder, “Are they scolding me over there? Are they talking about me? Why are they so rude to me?” You find fault to the east, west, north and south, the four intermediate points, the zenith and the nadir. Whatever you see is wrong. You've developed doubts, the seventh kind of demonic horde.

What is the eighth demonic horde? It’s being venomous, being full of poison. Benefit is the ninth type of demonic horde. That refers to cultivators being greedy for benefits, greedy for offerings from people, thinking for example, “If that rich person were to make an offering of a million dollars to me, all my problems would be solved!” So, benefit, being greedy for advantages and offerings, is the ninth kind of horde of demons.

What is the tenth? It’s false popularity, being attached to a phony reputation, being greedy for empty fame. Putting oneself up very high is the tenth demonic horde. You become inflated with self-importance. “See how fantastic I am! Look at me! Between heaven and earth, I alone am honored!” That’s self-exaltation, which is the tenth horde of demons. You should all count how many demonic hordes are following you. It's not permissible to have even one, not to mention many. Therefore, all of you should investigate these demonic hordes to see if you have been surrounded by them. If you can tame and subdue these demonic hordes, then that’s keeping all the hordes of demons at bay and gaining victory over them.

Sutra:

With wondrous tones emanating from each pore,
The Buddha sounds his call throughout the world.
Fear, dread, and all other tribulations end:
Pervasive Howling Spirit understands thus.  

Commentary:

In the Flower Adornment Assembly, Wind-ruling Spirit Loud and Pervasive Howling speaks this verse in praise of the Buddha. He says: With wondrous tones emanat ing from each pore . We people have to speak with our mouths, and speaking Dharma is done with mouth and tongue. That’s what most ordinary beings are able to do. But the Buddha can speak Dharma not only with his mouth, but with each and every one of his pores. Every single pore can proclaim the 84,000 dharma doors. Each pore can contain the universe of a billion worlds.

The Buddha speaks the Dharma in every pore to teach and transform sentient beings. Moreover, in every pore there are infinitely many sentient beings listening to the Dharma. It would be useless if the Buddha spoke Dharma and no one listened to it. In fact, there are innumerable sentient beings in every one of the Buddha’s pores. Some people may say, “That’s just fanciful talk.” Of course, from the point of view of an ordinary being you don’t believe there is such a state. And even if you realized the fruition of an Arhat, you still wouldn’t understand the realm of the Buddha’s Flower Adornment Assembly. You need to be a Bodhisattva to comprehend it. Your skepticism is not surprising. When you have reached the level of a Bodhisattva, you will believe it.

Wondrous tones issue forth from every pore. Wondrous tones refer to Dharma spoken in accord with potentials, wondrous sounds exactly suited to individuals’ situations. If they do not suit the potentials, they cannot be wondrous. Hence this is known as contemplating the potentials to bestow the teachings, speaking Dharma according to the person. Such sounds are wondrous.

The Buddha sounds his call throughout the world. Such wondrous sounds fill up all places and are heard in each location. “The world” refers to the world of sentient beings. Consequently, such wondrous sounds on the part of the Buddha enable each and every sentient being to hear the Dharma and become enlightened, to turn from confusion and approach awakening, so that fear and dread–tribulations end. All the agony experienced by sentient beings comes to an end, along with all their fears. They are made to stop, so there is no more suffering, terror or anxiety. That’s to cross over all suffering and difficulty. The Heart Sutra states, “He leaves distorted dream thinking far behind.” When one has no fear, then one leaves distorted dream thinking far behind. Once we are free from deluded, dream-like thoughts, we achieve perfect nirvana. And when we achieve perfect nirvana, we realize the Four Virtues of Nirvana: eternity, bliss, true self, and purity. Fear and suffering of all types are extinguished and eradicated.

Pervasive Howling Spirit understands thus. The spirit named Pervasive Howling understands this, attains this state, and enters this passage into liberation.  

Sutra:

The Buddha, in the oceans of all lands,
Constantly proclaims for inconceivable eons.
That wondrous eloquence at the stage of a Tathagata
Is what Cowl of Trailing Branches awakens to and understands.  

Commentary:

The Buddha, in the oceans of all lands, / Constantly proclaims for inconceivable eons. The Buddha throughout the oceans of infinitely many lands extending over inconceivable numbers of great eons--so many they defy conceptualization and verbal expression--always proclaims the unsurpassed, deep, profound, subtle and wonderful Dharma. That wondrous eloquence at the stage of a Tathagata / Is what Cowl of Trailing Branches awakens to and understands. The Buddha speaks Dharma with wonderful eloquence. No matter what Dharma he expounds, the principles he elucidates are inexhaustible and unending. He is profoundly steeped in them, but expresses them simply, enabling the listeners to understand clearly. That's because the Buddha has entered the samadhi of eloquence in speaking Dharma. The spirit named Cowl of Trailing Branches understands this state.

Sutra:

Into every expedient passage,
The Buddha’s wisdom enters unhindered.
His states are boundless and incomparable.
This is the Spirit Travel Everywhere’s liberation.  

Commentary:

Into every expedient passage, / The Buddha’s wisdom enters unhindered. Wind-ruling Spirit Unimpeded Travel Everywhere speaks this verse in praise of the Buddha. She says that the Buddha possesses all the requisite wisdom to directly enter into various types of skill-in-means without any hindrance. These expedient means interpenetrate without obstruction. His states are boundless and incomparable. The Buddha's states are limitless, boundless, inconceivable and incomparable. No Bodhisattva or Arhat has states that could compare to those of the Buddha. This is the Spirit Travel Everywhere’s liberation. Wind-ruling Spirit Travel Everywhere attained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Boundless, the Tathagata’s realm of being.
Everywhere, he manifests with skillful means,
Yet is still and silent–devoid of traces.
This is the Spirit Manifold Palaces’ passage into liberation.

Commentary:

Boundless, the Tathagata’s realm of being. The Tathagata is the Buddha. The Buddha’s realm is boundless. He accords with conditions, yet does not change; and without changing, he accords with conditions. The one is infinitely many, and infinitely many are the one. Therefore, the Buddha’s realm is limitless and boundless—inconceivably inconceivable. Everywhere, he manifests with skillful means. “Everywhere” encompasses the dharma realms of the ten directions. In every single place to the ends of space and throughout the Dharma Realm, the Buddha uses expedient skill-in-means, dharma doors of unobstructed interpenetrations, to make himself visible. He enables all sentient beings to see the Buddha’s physical body, to see the Buddha’s Dharma body, to see the transformations of the Buddha. Beings simultaneously view the Buddha’s Dharma body, the Buddha’s reward body, and the Buddha’s transformation bodies. All sentient beings see this according to their individual causes and conditions.

Sentient beings see the Buddha’s Three Bodies (Dharma, reward and transformation), yet he is still and silent–devoid of traces. The Buddha’s body basically has no appearance at all. Why not? It’s because he is basically empty, fundamentally still. However, even though he is empty, that emptiness is not empty, since it can bring forth wonderful existence. But that wonderful existence absolutely does not exist. Hence there is the saying: “Wonderful existence does not exist, since it does not obstruct true emptiness. And true emptiness is not empty, because it does not obstruct wonderful existence.” This refers to the non-duality of emptiness and existence. Emptiness itself is existence, and existence itself is emptiness. Emptiness and existence are non-dual. This is the ultimate meaning of the Middle Way . Therefore, the Buddha’s fundamental body is still and quiet, and has no characteristics--no marks or appearances whatsoever. Nonetheless, although it has no characteristics, it is still not apart from all characteristics. This is the Spirit Manifold Palaces’ passage into liberation. Wind-ruling Spirit Manifold Palaces awakens to this. She understands and attains this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Cultivating every practice through oceans of eons,
The Tathagata perfects the powers fully, completely.
He accords with worldly dharmas to respond to sentient beings.
Universally Shining Spirit thus observes

Commentary:

Cultivating every practice through oceans of eons,/The Tathagata perfects the powers fully, completely. During innumerable oceans of eons in the past, the Tathagata cultivated each and every practice to perfection. He never failed to do a good deed just because it was small, nor did he go ahead and commit a slightly evil deed deeming it insignificant. An evil act might be tiny, but he still didn’t do it. Even though a good deed was minuscule, he would definitely want to do it. Therefore, in his cultivation of all methods of practice, he never rejected any dharma. Rather, he cultivated all expedient dharma doors, totally perfecting all powers. “ All powers” means the power of great kindness, the power of great compassion, the power of great joy, the power of great renunciation, the power of great vows, the power of great practices, the power of great faith, the power of great nonobstruction, the power of great fearlessness, and the power of great courage. He successfully cultivated each and every one to complete perfection.

He accords with worldly dharmas. In teaching and transforming of sentient beings, the Buddha complies with them. In other words, right within worldly dharmas he speaks world-transcending dharmas. The world-transcending dharmas are not apart from mundane dharmas, nor are the mundane dharmas separate from world-transcending dharmas. Right within worldly dharmas one cultivates dharmas that transcend the world. One never cultivates world-transcending dharmas apart from worldly dharmas. Hence the Buddha accords with worldly dharmas to respond to sentient beings. According to their potentials, he responds to and teaches all beings. He observes each sentient being’s disposition and speaks Dharma suited to that sentient being. He employs all expedient dharma doors to teach and transform all sentient beings. Universally Shining Spirit thus observes. Wind-ruling Spirit Great Light Universally Shining understands this passage into liberation.

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