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

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

Sutra:

Moreover, River-ruling Spirit Universally Initiating Swift Currents gained a passage into liberation of universally raining boundless Dharma rain.

Commentary:

Moreover, because the meanings of the sutra were not completely expounded above, the exposition shall continue. River-ruling Spirit Universally Initiating Swift Currents gained a passage into liberation of universally raining boundless Dharma rain. “Swift currents” refers rapidly flowing water. She obtained the Buddha’s Dharma rain, which is said to be boundless because there are no bounds above, below, in the north, south, east, or west. Nor are there any bounds in front--that is, in the past. Although this Dharma rain is coming down now, those in the past and future also obtain it. Since it is boundless in the three periods of time, and boundless in the ten directions, the text says “universally raining boundless Dharma rain.” She attained that kind of passage to liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Universally Cleansing Springs and Torrents gained a passage into liberation of universally manifesting before all sentient beings and freeing them from their afflictions forever. 

Commentary:

The next River-ruling Spirit is named Universally Cleansing Springs and Torrents. Springs and mountain torrents can be rather turbid and unclean. This River-ruling Spirit purifies the spring waters, which is a metaphor for getting rid of all sentient beings’ afflictions. Water that is unclean represents sentient beings with afflictions. Clean water symbolizes sentient beings who have left afflictions behind. This River-ruling Spirit cleanses springs and torrents, which metaphorically means she cleanses sentient beings of their afflictions. And so she says she gained a passage into liberation of universally manifesting before all sentient beings and freeing them from their afflictions forever. She helps every sentient being to leave afflictions, separating from greed, hatred, and delusion. Once greed, hatred, and delusion are left behind, one is eternally free of afflictions. One attains an inherent, essential purity and gives rise to a great wisdom. She gained that passage into liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Pure Eyes Apart from Dust gained a passage into liberation of using expedients of great compassion to universally cleanse the filth of all sentient beings’ delusions.

Commentary:

The next River-ruling Spirit is named Pure Eyes Apart from Dust. “Apart from dust” means one has left behind all mundane defilements and false thinking. It could also be explained as leaving all defiled thoughts. If one has not left defiled thoughts, one is not apart from dust. Even if one has separated from the external dust, if one has not left defiled thinking internally, then one is not apart from the dust. Defiled thoughts are impure thoughts. With impure thoughts, we cannot obtain pure eyes. If our mind is pure, our eyes will be pure. If our mind is not purified of defiled thoughts, we cannot obtain pure eyes. These pure eyes are the pure Five Eyes. Only when one has purified the Five Eyes can one obtain the Five Powers.

What are the pure Five Eyes? They are the Buddha Eye, the Dharma Eye, the Wisdom Eye, the Heavenly Eye, and the Flesh Eye. Purifying the Five Eyes just means opening them. If you can let go of defiled thoughts, then you can open the Five Eyes.

If we went into detail, we could discuss the Five Eyes endlessly. For now I will give a general overview.

I will first talk about the Heavenly Eye. “The Heavenly Eye penetrates without obstruction.” It is unimpeded, so it perceives everything as empty--unobstructed emptiness.

“The Flesh Eye perceives obstructions and does not penetrate.” The Flesh Eye can see objects that have material solidity. It can see both material and immaterial things. Whether objects are obstructive (solid) or not, it can see them. The Flesh Eye does not refer to the physical, flesh eyes of ordinary people. This eye can see things with shape and form, as well as things without shape and form. It can perceive both material and immaterial entities, so it is not the same as the eyes of ordinary people.

The physical eyes of ordinary people can only see material things that have color and form. Those eyes do not discern formless things. The Flesh Eye, on the other hand, can see things whether or not they have form and color. What kinds of things are formless? Ghosts are, for example, so most people cannot see them with their ordinary eyes. If you open the Flesh Eye, then you will be able to see them. You will be able to see people as well as ghosts and spirits.

“The Dharma Eye contemplates only the mundane.” The Dharma Eye can behold all mundane and transcendental dharmas with perfect clarity.

“The Wisdom Eye understands True Emptiness.” The Wisdom Eye comprehends the principle of True Emptiness. It understands that True Emptiness is not empty, yet is empty; is empty and yet is not empty. The Wisdom Eye has a very clear grasp of this doctrine.

“The Buddha Eye is like a thousand suns.” The Buddha Eye is as brilliant as a thousand suns. Although it perceives differences, its fundamental substance is one.

Upon opening the Five Eyes, one obtains five kinds of powers, namely, the power of faith, the power of vigor, the power of mindfulness, the power of samadhi, and the power of wisdom. With the Five Powers of faith, vigor, mindfulness, samadhi, and wisdom, one’s bodhi roots will grow and increase. The River-ruling Spirit named Pure Eyes Apart from Dust gained a passage into liberation of using expedients of great compassion to universally cleanse the filth of all sentient beings’ delusions. With her mind of great compassion, she employs various kinds of expedient methods, not just one kind. She universally cleanses all sentient beings throughout the ten directions. What does she cleanse them of? She rids them of all delusions, of that dust and filth. She washes away the filth of confusion, enabling sentient beings to obtain pure eyes apart from dust. That is her passage into liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Howling All Throughout the Ten Directions gained a passage into liberation of constantly emitting sounds that benefit beings.

Commentary:

The next River-ruling Spirit is named Howling All Throughout the Ten Directions . This spirit, who is in charge of rivers and streams, has a particularly loud sound. Her howl can be heard everywhere simultaneously throughout the ten directions, hence her name, “Howling All Throughout in the Ten Directions.”

She gained a passage into liberation of constantly emitting sounds that benefit beings. Her howl is not a useless howl. Her howl is useful. What use does it serve? It constantly emits sounds that benefit beings. When a being hears the sound of her howl, that being obtains benefit. What benefit? When those who are greedy hear this sound, their greed decreases a little. When those who are angry hear this sound, their anger decreases a little. When those who are foolish hear this sound, their foolishness decreases a little. By continually hearing this sound, one’s greed, anger, and foolishness will imperceptibly disappear. That’s how these sounds aid beings. They bring tremendous benefit to beings. She attained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Universally Rescuing and Protecting Sentient Beings gained a passage into liberation of constantly giving rise to kindness and never vexing or harming any sentient being.  

Commentary:

River-ruling Spirit Universally Rescuing and Protecting Sentient Beings has even greater spiritual penetrations. She can universally rescue all beings. For instance if sentient beings were about to drown in the river, she could rescue them from drowning. She rescues and protects all beings without discrimination, hence her name.

Her attainment involves any sentient being, including those born from wombs, born from eggs, born from moisture, and born by transformation. Sentient beings are those with sentience and awareness. Any creature with blood and breath is a sentient being. Some have breath but no blood; some have blood but no breath. Some have neither blood nor breath. These are also included under the term “sentient beings.”

She gained a passage into liberation of constantly giving rise to kindness and never vexing or harming any sentient being. Sentient beings of the Dharma Realm constantly give rise to kindness and compassion and refrain from vexing and harming sentient beings. This is the state, the passage into liberation, that this River-ruling Spirit attained.

Question: As to chakras, how many chakras are there?

Venerable Master: Is he a student of yoga?

Answer: He said he studied it before.

Venerable Master: Why doesn’t he go ask the yogis?

Answer:...He never knew that there were five.

Venerable Master: He didn’t know there were five?

Answer: He only heard it now, because in the Yoga School they say there is one...

Venerable Master: What is his question now?

Answer: He’s asking about the sixth chakra.

Venerable Master: What about the six chakras? Which one is pure?

Answer: [inaudible]

Venerable Master: This is the Buddha Eye, right here.

Answer: If this verse is talking about the Buddha Eye, why do they...?

Venerable Master: They basically do not understand at all; how could they become Buddhas?

Venerable Master: When did he give us these pictures?

Answer: About ten minutes ago.

Venerable Master: What does he have to say now?

Answer: He says that the “three contemplations” in yoga are not the Buddha Eye, but the Flesh Eye, Heavenly Eye and ....

Venerable Master: What about it?

Answer: The way they explain the Eyes and the way the Master explains them...

Venerable Master: They simply do not know, that’s all.

Answer: They don’t understand...

Venerable Master: If people have any views, bring them up and we can all discuss them. We were talking about yoga, but then you brought up philosophy. After a while you raised the topic of science. There’s no end to this.

Answer: [inaudible]

Venerable Master: Okay. Your slippery method, taken from the palm of your hand...Has he been here before?

Answer: He came once. We asked him to come.

Venerable Master: I have no idea. Tell him there is no such person as To Lun. He does not exist.

Venerable Master: Who else has questions?

Question: Is there a way to briefly explain this song? When I hear this song, it wipes out my greed, anger, and delusion. How should it be cultivated?

Venerable Master: How should it be cultivated? Any way you cultivate it is fine! Among the 84,000 Dharma doors, as long as you understand one Dharma door, you can cultivate it.

Do not cultivate for the sake of fame; do not cultivate in pursuit of profit. Do not base your cultivation on greed, anger, or delusion. Then you can cultivate that Dharma door. But if you get hung up on fame, profit, greed, anger, or delusion, then it will be impossible to cultivate that Dharma door.

Are there any other questions? Who else has a question? What are you doing that for - raising both your left hand and your right hand? You are too slippery. Even your hands have “slipped” up.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Clear Light Devoid of Heat gained a passage into liberation of universally displaying all good roots that are clear and cool.  

Commentary:

The next River-ruling Spirit is named Clear Light Devoid of Heat. Devoid of heat means devoid of afflictions. Heat is affliction. If there is no heat, one attains cool clarity. Since one has attained cool clarity, one gains “Clear Light”—a clear, pure brilliance.

The waters of the rivers and streams that this River-ruling Spirit rules over are not heated; they are always clear and refreshing. She has gained this state of the Buddha.

She gained a passage into liberation of universally displaying all good roots that are clear and cool. All the clarity and coolness dispelled all the afflictions, so she attained the good roots of clear and cool wisdom. Such clear, cool, good roots are just the good roots of prajna, the good roots of bodhi, and the root of faith. She gave rise to the power of the root of faith. This kind of faith is extremely solid, without any wavering between doubt and belief. She also has the root of mindfulness. Mindfulness of what? Mindfulness of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. She also has the root of vigor, the good roots of vigor, which includes both physical and mental vigor. Aside from the good roots of vigor and mindfulness, she also has the good roots of samadhi. Samadhi is the state of remaining unmoved by any state. As it is said, “Unmoved by the Eight Winds, one sits upright on a purple-golden lotus.” One is thus and unmoving, with clear and constant understanding. What are the Eight Winds? There is praise, a favorable wind, and ridicule, an adverse wind. It’s easy to feel happy when there’s a favorable wind, and easy to get angry when an adverse wind comes.

There’s also the wind of suffering, which is extremely hard to bear; and the wind of happiness, which makes you joyful. Suffering is an adverse wind; happiness is a favorable wind. Suffering can also be compared to the north wind, which is very chilly, and happiness to the south wind, which is warm and gentle. There is also the wind of benefit, which is beneficial to you, and that of decline, which is harmful to you. There is the wind of gain, and the wind of loss. Praise, ridicule, suffering, happiness, benefit, decline, gain, and loss--these are all “winds.” However, these Eight Winds cannot blow and move the root of samadhi, so the good roots of samadhi are solid.

Then there is the root of wisdom. If you wish to have the good roots of wisdom, you must cultivate the Dharma doors of wisdom; you have to open the Dharma doors of wisdom. All you have to do is devote more time to studying the sutras and cultivating prajna, and you will be replete with the faith, vigor, mindfulness, samadhi, and wisdom--these five kinds of good roots. You will attain these clear, cool good roots, and gain this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Universally Inspiring Joy gained a passage into liberation of perfecting the practice of giving, freeing all beings from stinginess and attachment forever. River-ruling Spirit Supreme Banner of Vast Virtue gained a passage into liberation of being a field of blessed happiness for all.

Commentary:

River-ruling Spirit Universally Inspiring Joy makes all sentient beings everywhere happy. Once they are happy, they are free from stinginess and attachment. Stingy and attached beings cannot be happy. Those who have no stingy or attached thoughts are always happy. Hence this River-ruling Spirit has the name Universally Inspiring Joy.” What state of the Buddha did she attain? She gained a passage into liberation of perfecting the practice of giving. She attained the Dharma door of giving. The Dharma of giving includes giving wealth, giving Dharma, and giving fearlessness. Wealth can be divided into inner wealth and outer wealth. Outer wealth: One can give away one’s country, city, spouse, and children. Inner wealth: One can renounce one’s body, mind, and life. Giving Dharma includes the giving of conditioned dharmas and unconditioned Dharma. Conditioned dharmas have form and appearance. The unconditioned Dharma is unconditioned, yet there is nothing not conditioned by it. The giving of fearlessness involves comforting and allaying the fears of someone who is in a frightening situation. In giving fearlessness, you eliminate the fear in the person’s heart as well as any sources of fear in the environment.

Sometimes when people are frightened, they may panic and not know what to do. At that time, you can console them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. It’s not serious. There’s no real danger.” That’s giving of fearlessness. Suppose someone comes down with an illness and another person doesn’t know what the illness is and says, “This is serious. You’re probably going to die from this illness. It’s worse than cancer.” Hearing that, the sick person doesn’t have to wait for the illness to kill him; he will be scared to death. A person who understands the Buddhadharma would say to him, “Don’t be scared. Your illness isn’t a major one. You might have to suffer a little bit, but you’ll soon get well. Just see the doctor and take some medicine.” Such words relieve the person’s fears. That’s what the giving of fearlessness is all about. One cultivates giving to perfection, freeing all sentient beings from stinginess and attachment forever. Once stinginess and attachment are left behind, one is happy. That’s “Universally Inspiring Joy.”

Thenext River-ruling Spirit, who isnamed Supreme Banner of Vast Virtue, has extensively practiced virtuous deeds. Her merit and virtue resemble an exquisitely adorned, precious banner. She gained a passage into liberation of being a field of blessed happiness for all. She attained the Buddha’s ability to be a field of blessings of happiness for sentient beings, so that sentient beings can plant blessings and plant wholesome roots of bodhi. This River-ruling Spirit gained this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

River-ruling Spirit Light Illuminating All Worlds gained a passage into liberation of making all defiled beings pure and wrathful beings happy. River-ruling Spirit Radiant Ocean of Virtues gained a passage into liberation of enabling all sentient beings to enter the ocean of liberation and constantly experience total happiness.

At that time River-ruling Spirit Universally Initiating Swift Currents received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of River-ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse.

Commentary:

The next River-ruling Spirit is named Light Illuminating all Worlds. She gained a passage into liberation of making all defiled beings pure. “Defiled” means impure, having both wholesome and evil, good and bad. It means one has both proper thoughts and improper thoughts. The good and the bad are mixed together. Within the good, there is a bit of evil. Within the evil, there is also some good. Those who are defiled are purified of their defilement, and wrathful beings happy. Wrath refers to the fire of ignorance and to anger, which is like a venomous snake. People who are prone to anger are seldom happy. This River-ruling Spirit makes people with big tempers become happy. She attained that kind of passage into liberation.

River-ruling Spirit Radiant Ocean of Virtues gained a passage into liberation of enabling all sentient beings to enter the great ocean of liberation and constantly experience total happiness. The passages into liberation are so numerous that they are like an ocean. Total happiness is a full, perfect, and supreme happiness; a joy beyond compare. She attained that kind of passage to liberation.

At that time the first River-ruling Spirit, named Universally Initiating Swift Currents, received the Buddha’s awesome spiritua lpower, universally contemplated the multitudes of River-ruling Spirits, observing their potentials and causal conditions, and spoke the following verse to elaborate upon the previous lines of prose.

Sutra:

Long ago, the Thus Come One, for the sake of sentient beings,
Cultivated boundless practices within the Dharma sea.
Just as a torrential rain cools the summer heat,
He pervasively quells the heat of sentient beings’ afflictions.

The Buddha, throughout inexpressibly limitless eons in the past,
By the light of his vows purified the world,
Causing those grown ripe in disposition to awaken to the Way:
The Spirit Universally Cleansing awakened to this.

Commentary:

Long ago, the Thus Come One, for the sake of sentient beings. When the Buddha cultivated for limitless eons in the past, it was not for himself, but for sentient beings. The Buddha saw sentient beings suffering, not knowing how to leave suffering and find happiness. He thereupon vowed to cultivate, and vowed that when he became enlightened and realized Buddhahood, he would rescue all sentient beings.

He cultivated boundless practices within the Dharma sea. The practices cultivated by the Buddha were limitless and boundless, like a great ocean. Primarily, the Buddha cultivated selflessness, giving, holding precepts, patience, vigor, dhyana samadhi, and wisdom. He cultivated the Six Perfections and the myriad practices. Among the Six Perfections, giving refers to giving to others, not demanding that others give to you. Holding precepts: you yourself must honestly hold them, not just tell others to do so without doing so yourself. Patience: When you have samadhi, then you will not be moved by the Eight Winds discussed earlier, and that means you have patience.

Patience is being able to bear what others cannot bear. You have to bear what ordinary, worldly people cannot bear. You also have bear what people who cultivate transcendental Dharma cannot bear. Patience is a kind of test. If you have skill, you pass. Otherwise, you fail. The practices cultivated by the Buddha were like this. He was able to bear what ordinary people could not. He could endure what most people found unendurable. Why? He first cultivated selflessness. Without a self, who is being patient? Who is doing the enduring? There is neither a person who endures, nor anything that is endured–no receiver and nothing received. While the Buddha was cultivating boundless practices in the sea of Dharma, it’s not known how much abuse he took. People beat him and scolded him, but he remained unmoved; his mind didn’t react. Cultivating boundless practices, he attained the wonderful functioning of boundless spiritual powers with which to teach sentient beings. There is an analogy for this.

Just as a torrential rain, a huge downpour that nothing can stop, cools the summer heat . The Book of Mencius has these lines: “Ominous dark clouds suddenly appeared in the sky, and the rain fell in torrents.” This was a timely rain. The rain came at just the right time, exactly when it was needed. It was neither too much nor too little, but just the right amount. “The crops suddenly sprang up.” This analogy compares the Buddha’s teaching of sentient beings to the torrential rain that cools the summer heat. In the extremely hot summer weather, a rain brings refreshing coolness that dispels the summer heat.

He pervasively quells the heat of sentient beings’ afflictions. The Buddha uses the cool and refreshing Buddhadharma to completely dispel the heat of sentient beings’ afflictions. Once the heat of afflictions is gone, beings are cooled off.

The Buddha, throughout inexpressibly limitless eons in the past, /By the light of his great wisdom and great vows, taught those in the world and purified the world. He helped all sentient beings to depart from suffering and find happiness, causing those grown ripe in disposition to awaken to the Way. Sentient beings whose good roots had matured, he caused to awaken to the Way. The SpiritUniversally Cleansing awakened to this. The Spirit named Universally Cleansing Springs and Torrents understood this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Bestowing great compassion and expedients for all beings equally,
He manifests before them--a constant guide--
Making possible the purge of foul afflictions.
With profound delight Pure Eyes observes this.  

The Buddha utters wondrous sounds for all to hear.
Delighted, sentient beings’ hearts fill with joy.
Unbounded woe is completely washed away.
Howling Everywhere spirit is liberated thus. 

Commentary:

Bestowing great compassion and expedients for all beings equally, the Buddha rescues all sentient beings with a heart full of kindness. That heart of great compassion eradicates sentient beings’ sufferings and bestows happiness upon them. He employs skill-in-means, clever expedient dharmas, to make it easy for sentient beings to accept the teachings. These are temporary methods applied in a dynamic, expedient way. They are not rigid dharmas. How much great compassion and how many expedient means are there? They are as many as the number of sentient beings. They are equal to the amount of sentient beings.

He manifests before them—a constant guide. The Buddha constantly appears before sentient beings and uses various methods to teach them, guiding them to reform, to change their faults and renew themselves. He always teaches them, making possible the purge of foul afflictions. He leads sentient beings to get rid of all their faults, return to the source, and do away with afflictions. Afflictions are defilements that should be cleaned up and discarded. With profound delight and joy in her heartRiver-ruling Spirit Pure Eyes observes this kind of state.

The Buddha utters wondrous sounds --pure Dharma sounds, the inconceivably subtle, wonderful soundof Dharma—for all sentient beings everywhere to hear. Delighted, sentient beings’ hearts fill with joy. Beings take delight in and love the Buddha’s wonderful sound, and as soon as they hear it, unbounded eons’ worth of woe is completely washed away. Once the roots of suffering are washed away, their good roots come forth. Howling Everywhere spirit is liberated thus.

Sutra:

Long ago, the Buddha did cultivate for bodhi,
Wishing to benefit beings through limitless eons.
Hence, his brilliant light pervades the world.
Protecting spirit thus recollects with happiness and joy.

Commentary:

Long ago, when the Buddha Shakyamuni was cultivating at the level of planting causes, he did cultivate for bodhi. He cultivated the practices for enlightening both self and others, and for the sake of benefiting all sentient beings through limitless eons. He cultivated for such a long time, hence his brilliant light pervades the ten directions of the sentient world. River-ruling SpiritRescuing and Protecting Sentient Beings thus recollects this state with immeasurable happiness and joy. She attained that passage into liberation.

Sutra:

In ages past, the Buddha did cultivate for sentient beings,
Applying various expedients to bring them to maturity.
Everywhere, he purified a sea of blessings, casting out sufferings.
Devoid of Heat sees this, her heart rejoicing.

Vast and inexhaustible is the gate of giving.
It can bring benefit to all sentient beings.
Those who perceive that are freed from stinginess and attachment.
Universal Joy spirit awakens thus.

Commentary:

In ages past, the Buddha did cultivate for the sake of sentient beings, not for himself. The Buddha regarded all sentient beings as being the same as himself. Before sentient beings’ sufferings were eradicated, the Buddha felt as if his own suffering had not come to an end. He made vows to eradicate the suffering and afflictions of sentient beings, and then he cultivated, applying various expedients to bring them to maturity. The Buddha employed all manner of expedient Dharma doors–ingenious methods. To help sentient beings who had not planted good roots, he devised ways to get them to plant good roots. For those who had already planted good roots, he helped them to increase them. For those who had increased their good roots, the Buddha helped them bring their good roots to maturity. For sentient beings whose good roots were already mature, he enabled them to gain liberation. So, the Buddha used “various expedients to bring them to maturity,” to bring them to Buddhahood. Everywhere he purified a sea of blessings, enabling sentient beings to attain a pure field of blessings and to realize the supreme Way, casting out sufferings. Devoid of Heat sees this, her heart rejoicing. “Devoid of Heat” means free of afflictions. This River-ruling Spirit has encountered this state, understands it, and is extremely happy.

Vast and inexhaustible is the gate of giving. This River-ruling Spirit saw the Buddha cultivating the vast, great, infinite gate of giving. One can never finish discussing the Dharma door of giving, which includes the giving of wealth, Dharma, and fearlessness – all kinds of giving.

All these endless varieties of giving can bringbenefit to all sentient beings. All sentient beings, no matter what kind, derive benefit. Those who perceive that are freed from stinginess and attachment. The Buddha’s awesome spiritual might, his great power of wisdom, and his brilliant light can shine through and dispel all darkness. The Buddha enables beings who see his light, hear his Dharma, and listen to his voice, to let go off stinginess and attachment. Stinginess is a form of greed; it is the inability to renounce things. Cultivators should benefit others, not themselves. One should do what one can to help others. One should also try to do things beyond one’s capability to help others. That’s to be without stinginess and attachment.

Those who are stingy and greedy cannot give things up. However, we must give before we can get something back. If we cannot renounce things, we cannot obtain anything. We will not have virtuous conduct. When we benefit others, we have virtuous conduct. When we help ourselves, we are not engaging in virtuous conduct. Therefore, we who cultivate the Way should renounce all external possessions. We should also give away our internal wealth – out body, mind, and life. If we can give away your own body, mind, and life, how can we still be stingy and attached?

Universal Joy spirit awakens thus. Don’t think that this principle is easy to understand. It’s not easy at all. Why not? The text says that this is the state that the Spirit named Universal Joy was able to awaken to and understand. That’s why I said it’s not easy.

“Awakens” means she has just understood it now, and she didn’t understand it before. Having understood it, she speaks a verse in praise of the Buddha. The Spirit Universal Joy is a spirit, and yet even she did not understand until now. That is why I say it is not easy to understand. Before you heard the explanation of the Flower Adornment Sutra, you did not understand either. Now that you’ve heard the sutra, you understand a little, but not completely. That’s why I said it isn’t easy to understand. There aren’t any deep or esoteric principles involved; my meaning was just that the Buddhadharma is difficult to get to hear and to understand quickly.

The wise understand matters of wisdom. The humane perceive things in terms of humaneness. For example, when a wise person sees someone suffering, he wonders, “Why is he in such great misery? Oh, it’s because he didn’t cultivate in past lives. He only hurt people and never tried to help them.” He can see the previous causes that led to the present results. If a humane person who lacks wisdom sees a poor person, he may think, “I ought to give him ten dollars, so he can have a few meals.” The wise person understands that those in misery are that way because they didn’t do good deeds in their past lives. The purely humane person only commiserates with those in suffering and wants to help them right away. He may not understand that their suffering results from their past offenses.

Sutra:

In the past, the Buddha cultivated expedients for the sake of truth,
Accomplishing boundless oceans of merit and virtue.
Of those who see him, none are not elated.
Supreme Banner spirit’s heart awakens and rejoices thus.  

Commentary:

In the past, the Buddha cultivated various Dharma doors of expedientsfor the sake of truth. He “bestowed the provisional for the sake of the true.” For the sake of the True Teaching, he cultivated expedient Dharmas, accomplishing boundless oceans of merit and virtue. The Buddha benefited and gave to sentient beings, creating all manner of meritorious virtue. As long as a deed was beneficial to sentient beings, he would to it. He wasn’t concerned with helping himself; he only wanted to help others. Thus he accomplished boundless oceans of merit and virtue.

Of those who see him, none are not elated. The Buddha made every sentient being who saw him feel happy. Supreme Banner spirit’s heart awakens and rejoices thus. River-ruling Spirit Supreme Banner understood this state and this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Entirely purifying sentient beings’ defilements,
The Buddha transforms all malice into kindness.
Thus, his light radiates throughout space.
River-ruling Spirit All Worlds thus sees with gladness.  

The Buddha is a field of blessings—an ocean of merit and virtue,
Leading all to part with evil,
Leading all to great enlightenment.
Radiant Ocean spirit is liberated thus.

Commentary:

Entirely purifying sentient beings’ defilements . Sentient beings have defiled thoughts, but the Buddha turns them into pure thoughts. The Buddha transforms all malice into kindness. The Buddha transforms all hateful thoughts into compassionate thoughts.

Thus, his light radiates throughout space. Having perfected the practice of causing all defiled beings to become pure and all angry beings to become happy, the Buddha has great wisdom light that pervades the Dharma Realm to the ends of space. River-ruling Spirit All Worlds thus sees with gladness. Having understood this state, she is extremely happy.

The Buddha is a field of blessings, a field where beings can plant blessings, and an ocean of merit and virtue for sentient beings, leading all to part with evil, so that they do no evil and practice all good. As you can see, the Buddha transmitted the precepts to sentient beings, helping them to refrain from evil and avoid making mistakes, to “do no evil and practice all good.” If they do no evil, they part with evil. Not only does the Buddha lead sentient beings away from evil – a relatively minor achievement – he is leading all to great enlightenment, to the realization of Buddhahood. Radiant Ocean spirit is liberated thus. River-ruling Spirit Ocean Light understands this passage into liberation.

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