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A Commentary by the Venerable Master
Hsuan Hua

Brahma Conduct

Chapter Sixteen

Sutra:

Brahma Conduct, Chapter Sixteen.

Commentary:

What is Brahma Conduct? “Brahma Conduct” is pure conduct. Previously we had the chapter “Pure Conduct”, therefore we translate this chapter “Brahma Conduct”, although its true meaning is pure conduct. It is the pure conduct cultivated by Bodhisattvas, and this chapter, sixteen, tells how to cultivate it.

Sutra:

At that time, the god-son Proper Mindfulness said to Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva, “Disciple of the Buddha, in all worlds the multitudes of Bodhisattvas rely on the Thus Come Ones’ teaching, don the dyed robes and leave the home life. How do they attain the purity of Brahma Conduct and, from the position of a Bodhisattva, further ascend to the Unsurpassed Bodhi Way?”

Commentary:

At that time, which was right after the Ten Dwellings Chapter had been spoken and the Brahma Conduct Chapter was about to be spoken, in the heavens there was the god-son, the god called Proper Mindfulness. “Proper Mindfulness” means he had no deviant thought. That son of gods very reverently and respectfully knelt with his palms together and said to Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva, “Disciple of the Buddha, in all worlds the multitudes of Bodhisattvas, who give rise to the Bodhi mind and walk the Bodhisattva path, rely on the doors of Buddhadharma of the Thus Come Ones’ teaching. They don the dyed robes and, wearing the most drab-colored clothing which most people wouldn’t like, they leave the home life. How do they attain the ability to cultivate the Dharma doors of purity of Brahma Conduct and, how are they able to go from the position of a Bodhisattva and further ascend to the position of the Unsurpassed Bodhi Way, which is Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal Enlightenment?”

Now, when Buddhism is just beginning, we absolutely must do things truly. We must sustain and protect the Proper Dharma. In order to do so, we must first get rid of our own faults and shortcomings. When people outside talk about our good points, we at Gold Mountain Monastery should not be pleased; and when they discuss our shortcomings we should pay particular attention and correct them. Why is it that from limitless kalpas up until now we have not achieved the fruit of Buddhahood? It’s because we are unwilling to reform our errors. We protect our shortcomings and refuse to change. So now we should quickly change our faults and bad habits from limitless kalpas, then go along the path of the Buddha’s light, and there will be no obstructions. If you do not change your errors, you will have lots of obstructions in your cultivation. Everyone who comes to Gold Mountain Monastery has come to a transformation factory where one changes what is wrong in one. Whoever you are, don’t cover up what’s wrong with you and refuse to change.

Sutra:

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva said: Disciple of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva Mahasattva cultivates Brahma conduct, he should use ten dharmas as his basis of thought, and formulate the intention and contemplate them.

Commentary:

The son of gods Proper Mindfulness had questioned Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva asking, “When the Bodhisattva follows the teaching of the Thus Come One, dons the dyed robes and leaves the home life, how can he attain the purity of Brahma Conduct to make daily progress, and reach the fruit of unsurpassed Bodhi?”

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva said: Disciple of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva Mahasattva the great Bodhisattva among Bodhisattvas, cultivates Brahma conduct, he cultivates pure conduct. This “pure” is by contrast with “impure”. The pure is not defiled, and the defiled is not pure. Brahma conduct is purity of the body, mouth, and mind—purity in every respect. There are five types of impurity of the body:

  • The impurity of its seeds.
  • The impurity of its dwelling.
  • The impurity of its own nature.
  • The impurity of its outer marks.
  • Its ultimate impurity.

The first is impurity of the seeds. Our bodies are created from our father’s semen and mother’s blood. Therefore the original seeds are impure. The second is impurity of dwelling. The mother’s womb where the embryo stays prior to birth is not clean. The womb is located between the place where the food stays for digestion and the place it leaves after digestion when it becomes excrement. This place is impure. The third is the impurity of its own nature, that is the earth, air, fire, and water of which the thirty-six parts of the body are composed. Four is the impurity of the outer marks, which means the surface of the body.

Our bodies have nine apertures which are always running with impurities. For example, our eyes have eye matter, and our ears have wax—all impure. If we go a few days without cleaning them, a lot of filthy matter accumulates. Inside our nose is mucus. There are some externalist paths that exclusively eat mucus. They claim it’s a tonic that fortifies the brain. It’s actually unclean, but they eat it anyway. No one eats earwax however, or eye matter. Our mouth has saliva and phlegm, both are unclean. Those seven openings—two of the eyes, two of the ears, two of the nose, and one of the mouth—still do not count as really filthy. Add those for defecating and urinating and there are nine. Those nine openings are constantly flowing with impurities. That’s the impurity of outer marks, also called the impurity of its own marks.

The fifth kind is ultimate impurity, the impurity of the corpse. After death, the body swells up, turns green, and breeds worms. It later becomes a skeleton, all of which is impure, the ultimate impurity. Our bodies have those five kinds of impurities. Therefore we should constantly make those contemplations of impurity, paying careful attention to these principles and not forgetting them. So it says when the Bodhisattva cultivates the pure Brahma Conduct, he should use ten dharmas as his basis of thought, as what he bases his thinking upon, and formulate the intention and contemplate them. He should take these ten dharmas as his object of contemplation, and by doing so, he will completely understand the truth of these principles.

Sutra:

That is to say: body, body karma, speech, speech karma, thought, thought karma, the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, and the Precepts. He should contemplate in this way: “Is the body Brahma Conduct?” Up to and including “are the Precepts Brahma Conduct?”

Commentary:

That is to say, the Bodhisattva investigates and studies in detail what Brahma Conduct actually is, using ten dharmas. The ten kinds are: the body. “Is the body Brahma Conduct?” “Is the body karma Brahma Conduct?” He looks into it by asking that. One may say that the body is Brahma Conduct, but the body being impure, how could it be Brahma Conduct which is pure? We put perfume and make-up on the body, giving it a false mask. But if someone scolds us, we cannot remain unmoved. If someone beats us, we become angry. If the body karma is Brahma Conduct, why are we without patience? If we are praised, it’s like eating sugar. If we are scolded, it’s like eating bitter medicine. We are moved by a single phrase from others. If the body karma is Brahma Conduct, why are we moved? So we should contemplate in that way whether the body is Brahma Conduct or not, and if it is not, whether body karma is Brahma Conduct. Karma is good or bad, but both good and bad karma are impure. Therefore, the karma of body cannot be Brahma Conduct either.

Is speech karma, the karma created through speech, Brahma Conduct? No, it is not Brahma Conduct. Is thought Brahma Conduct? No thought is not Brahma Conduct. Is thought karma Brahma Conduct? No, karma of thought is not Brahma Conduct. Is the Buddha Brahma Conduct? No, the Buddha is not. Is the Dharma Brahma Conduct? No, the Dharma isn’t. Is the Sangha Brahma Conduct? The Sangha isn’t either and are the Precepts Brahma Conduct? No, they all are not Brahma Conduct. One rests one’s attention on all of those, and in that way contemplates.

An example of resting one’s attention on something is the Arhat who wants to use the penetration of past lives to know the events of prior causes and subsequent retributions. He must first concentrate his attention and contemplate in order to know. But Bodhisattvas on the Eighth Ground and above need not put forth an effort of attention or contemplate, but simply clearly understand. However, here he should contemplate in this way the ten kinds of dharmas, and ask, “Is the body Brahma Conduct?” And are body karma, speech, speech karma, thought, thought karma, the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, Up to and including “are the Precepts Brahma Conduct?” “Up to and including” means going through the whole list from beginning to end, asking if any of these are Brahma Conduct.

Sutra:

If the body were Brahma Conduct, then we should know that this Brahma Conduct would not be good, would not be Dharma, that it would be turbid, stinking and evil, and impure.

Commentary:

If the body were Brahma Conduct, then we should know that this Brahma Conduct would not be good. Originally the body is impure, and being impure, it is not good. If Brahma Conduct were the body, then Brahma Conduct would not be good or pure, would not be Dharma. Our bodies often do things that are not in accord with Dharma. We should also know that it would be turbid. The body is a turbid thing, not clear and pure. But Brahma Conduct is clear and pure, not turbid, so Brahma Conduct certainly cannot be the body. It would also be stinking and evil. The body is stinking and very dirty. If we don’t bathe for a few days, the smell is unbearable. And if Brahma Conduct were the body, Brahma Conduct would be impure. “Impure” means defiled. We have already discussed the Five Types of Impurity which a cultivator must contemplate. He should constantly see that this body is not a precious thing and should not be cherished.

The Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Shastra (“Treatise on Great Wisdom Gone to the Other Shore”) has five gathas about the Five Kinds of Impurity.

Gatha One: The Impurity of Its Seeds

This body’s seeds are impure;
It is not made of wonderful and precious things.
It is not produced from pure whiteness,
But comes through a filthy passage.

“This body’s seeds are impure,” because the body is produced by sexual intercourse of the parents. It has those karmic causes and conditions, and that retribution of consciousness. Therefore, from the start the seeds are impure and dirty. “It is not made of wonderful and precious things.” The body is not made out of some fine and precious substance. “It is not produced from pure whiteness.” It did not arise from purity, “But comes through a dirty passage.” When people are born, they come out through the mother’s vaginal tract, which is unclean. Therefore its seeds are impure, but when it is born we take it as precious. That is really upside-down.

Gatha Two: The Impurity of Its Dwelling

This body is stinking and dirty.
It is not produced from a flower.
It does not arise from champaka,
Also not from a jeweled mountain.

“This body is stinking an dirty”, means the body is composed of pus and blood. It stinks and is unclean. “It is not produced from a flower”—it is not born from a lotus flower. “It does not arise from champaka.” It is not from the incense of the champaka tree, “Also not from a jeweled mountain”—it doesn’t come from the mountain of jewels. When the body dwells in the womb, it’s in a very filthy, impure place.

Gatha Three: The Impurity of Its Own Nature

The elements earth, water, fire, and wind,
Are able to become something impure.
Pouring out the ocean to wash the body
Cannot make it fragrant and clean.

“The elements earth, water, fire, and wind”—our bodies are composed of the four elements: earth, water, fire, and wind. “They are able to become something impure.” These can become impure things. “Pouring our the ocean to wash the body, cannot make it fragrant and clean.” Even if you used all the water in the ocean to wash the body, it would still stink. It would never emit fragrance. One cannot get the body clean no matter how one may try.

Gatha Four: The Impurity of Its Outer Marks

Various substances that are impure
Are inside, completely filling the body,
And constantly flow outside without cease—
It’s like a leaky bag stuffed with things.

The fourth gatha describes the impurity of the surface of the body saying, “Various substances that are impure.” They “Are inside, completely filling the body, and constantly flow outside without cease.” Those impure things pour non-stop out of the nine orifices which were discussed before. “It is like a leaky bag stuffed with things.” Our bodies are stinking skin bags which already leak such filthy fluids. No matter how much you decorate the body, it’s like using the most beautiful ornaments to decorate a toilet. No matter how it is decorated, it is still an impure place. So how can one be so proud of it?

Gatha Five: Its Ultimate Impurity

Carefully observe how this body
Surely will return to the place of death.
It is hard to make it not rebel:
It’s like a child that turns its back on kindness.

“Carefully observe how this body surely will return to the place of death.” In the future it is certain to die. “It is hard to make it not rebel.” You wish the body to obey, but it will not. You can’t keep it from getting old and dying. It rebels against you and does not obey. “It’s like a child that turns its back on kindness.” No matter how good you are to it, when the time comes, it doesn’t want you. It’s like a child that forgets the good its parents have done for it. It does not pay attention to anything you tell it.

Sutra:

That it would be disgusting, rebellious, mixed and defiled, that it would be a dead corpse, and would be a clump of worms.

Commentary:

That it would be disgusting. If you say that the body is Brahma Conduct then you should know “that it would be disgusting”. Since the body is very repugnant, Brahma Conduct would also be something people dislike very much. But because everyone is fond of Brahma Conduct, Brahma Conduct cannot be the body. It would also be rebellious. The body continually rebels against the thoughts of our minds, and often does the things the mind does not want to do. The mind does not want to kill, but the body goes and kills. The mind does not want to steal, but the body goes and steals. The body does not obey the mind’s commands. The mind may not want to engage in sexual misconduct, but the body sometimes wants to. The mind may not wish to lie, but the body sometimes makes the mouth speak falsely. Basically the mind may not want to drink wine, but the body demands wine. The body rebels against the mind’s thoughts, but Brahma Conduct is not like that. It accords with propriety and righteousness and is not rebellious. Therefore the body cannot be Brahma Conduct.

If the body were Brahma Conduct, Brahma Conduct would be mixed and defiled. The body is produced from the combining of the four elements which are earth, water, fire, and wind. Because it is composed of various impure things, the body is mixed and defiled. But Brahma Conduct is not mixed and defiled, and so Brahma Conduct is not the body. If you were to say that the body is Brahma Conduct, then it follows, that it, Brahma Conduct, would be a dead corpse. In the future, the body will die and become a corpse which is something everyone detests. But people do not dislike Brahma Conduct the way they detest a dead corpse, and so Brahma Conduct is not the body.

And if the body were Brahma Conduct, Brahma Conduct would be a clump of worms. The body is composed of a great many worms and bugs gathered together in one place, and so it is not a very clean thing. A person is a big worm made up of lots of little bugs and worms forming a group, and that is our body. The worms’ mouths are the inside and the worms’ tails are the surface of the body. For example, when we eat or drink, it’s a case of a big worm being a servant to the small worms inside. When we eat, the small worms inside open their mouths. If we fail to give them food to eat, their hunger has no patience. Within the human body are 84,000 worms, and one can further divide those 84,000 worms into 9,000,000,000,000 smaller worms. Within each and every tiny hairpore are one-doesn’t-know-how-many small worms. The physical eyes of ordinary people are unable to see them, and so we think the body is nice. Women wish to make their bodies beautiful for men to see, and men make their bodies handsome to show to women, which is really upside-down. We work from day to night for the sake of those worms.

In the Contemplation of the Seas of the Buddha’s Samadhis Sutra, it says: When the Buddha achieved enlightenment, the Demon King sent three demon women to destroy his work in the Way. They said, “We are beautiful heavenly maidens, and we are now offering our bodies to you. We will make the bed and clean the room for you. We will make things clean inside and out in service to you. Would you like that?” The Buddha did not reply, and remained unmoved in body and mind. He remained unmoved through the power of meditation. He shone a bright light on the three demon girls, and the girls appeared ugly and old. They found their eyes and ears had dirty fluids running from them, that their noses were dripping with snot, and that spit was oozing from their mouths. They found that within their bodies were many intestines, some with digested food in them, and some with undigested food. There were many small worms in the small intestines, playing football and ping-pong, and very, very happy. In the big intestines were big worms dancing and singing songs, also very happy. Among the 84,000 worms were many running here and there, making a lot of noise. The girls took one look at this and became so disgusted they couldn’t stop vomiting. So, being unable to move the Buddha from his samadhi, they retired.

From this we can see that the body is just a place where worms collect to hold a meeting. Knowing this, we don’t want to think the body is a precious treasure and give it many good things and vitamins—vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin C—candy, and good clothes to wear. It’s a place where bugs congregate to have a meeting and discuss how to make the Great Worm do more work for them.

Question: In the Great Compassion Repentance it says, “Beginningless dark activity blocks this still brightness”, describing how the darkness of ignorance comes to darken the original pure nature. My question is how does the original fall of a being begin? What’s the cause of it?

Answer: What is “ignorance”? It’s just the love between men and women. If you ask them why they want to feel this love, why as soon as a man sees a woman his mind moves, and vice versa, they can’t tell you. Just that is ignorance, ignorance running riot. With that first thought, one lacks wisdom and pays no attention to anything. That’s ignorance. If it weren’t for that first thought, then everyone would have become a Buddha long ago. Do you understand? If you do, then don’t be so ignorant.

Sutra:

If body karma were Brahma Conduct, then walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, looking left and looking right, bending and extending, looking up and looking down would be Brahma Conduct.

Commentary:

Before, it talked about how the body is not Brahma Conduct, and not it talks of body karma. Body karma is karma which the body creates. The karma which the body creates includes walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. If body karma were Brahma Conduct, then walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, looking left and looking right, bending and extending, looking up and looking down would be Brahma Conduct. But Brahma Conduct is not walking, standing, sitting, and lying down. Looking to the left and right is karma created by the body, but Brahma Conduct is not looking to the left and right. Also, bending in and extending out, looking up and looking down, are all karma created by the body. But Brahma Conduct is none of those things, and therefore body karma cannot be Brahma Conduct.

People who study the Buddhadharma should realize the importance of such things as lighting incense. If incense is running out, you should buy more right away, not wait until there is none, which shows a lack of reverence in making offerings. It would be better for us to go without food than to omit the offering to the Buddhas represented by lighting a stick of incense. If you aren’t clear about making offerings to the Buddhas, how can Buddhism daily become more flourishing? It’s not to say that having left home makes one a Buddhist disciple, or that taking the five lay precepts yet not living by them makes one a Buddhist. Anyone who is in a Buddhist temple, whether as a left home person or a layperson, should recognize what he or she is supposed to be doing. You shouldn’t just be passing the time, letting each day go by and forgetting about it. You should know whether you are making any contribution to the temple or not, and as a Buddhist disciple help Buddhism grow greater day by day. It shouldn’t be that Buddhism doesn’t seem quite alive even though not quite dead. If it’s that way, we basically have not fulfilled our responsibility as Buddhists. That responsibility is to make Buddhism expand and spread so that everyone comes to know of it and uses the Buddhadharma to cultivate.

For that reason, every single person here should make the firm resolve that obtaining the buildings and grounds for a Way Place in the Ukiah Valley becomes a reality. We must do everything we can to bring the Way Place in the Ukiah Valley to success. Once we have it, we can establish a Buddhist University, a Buddhist home for the aged, a Buddhist refuge for troubled young people, a Buddhist hospital, and all kinds of projects of benefit to people. This is the most prominent country in the world, and form this vantagepoint we should go on to spread Buddhism throughout the entire world, so that all humankind and all living beings will be reached by Buddhism. That is the responsibility of each of us. Don’t just calculate for yourself, figuring, “If I can just make it through the day without starving I’m doing okay.” Don’t have such a narrow outlook. And don’t figure just going through the motions of the ceremonies and activities without knowing what you’re doing or listening to is all that’s expected of you. You must know the meaning behind the ceremonies and lectures.

We must exhaust our efforts and do all we can for Buddhism. At all times we should be cultivating and introducing Buddhism to all of humankind. So, you can’t waste your time without any purpose to what you’re doing or spend all of your time seeing what’s wrong with other people and figuring no one matches up to you. That is deviant knowledge and deviant views. Don’t spend all your time seeing yourself as right and everyone else as wrong. You should make a contribution to the world, and should not be a useless parasite within it. We should consider the propagation of the Buddhadharma as our personal responsibility, and feel that if it doesn’t flourish it’s because we have not done our own work well and have no Way Virtue to influence people. You should always make that kind of contemplation, and be a good disciple of the Buddha, not a bad one.

Question: What is the cause of insanity?

Answer: In most cases there is a demonic ghost troubling the person, which is the cause of the insanity. It has its ghostly penetrations and so can control the person. Heavenly demons and those of outside ways can do that, and so can li, mei, and wang liang ghosts, as well as deviant spirits and goblins. Once there was a person with that kind of sickness who was unaware of anything, and whom no one could cure. Eventually an exorcist was called in who recited a mantra over a bowl and asked a child to look and say what it saw—which was a snake. The exorcist cut the snake’s reflection with a knife and the person got well.

Later on the person talked of how a big snake beside a temple had prevented him from leaving, until the snake had been hit by lightening and he was able to return. Then in a few days he became sick again, and began moving around like a snake. A witchdoctor was summoned to speak with the snake, which turned out to be the grandparent of the snake that had been struck by lightening, and was making the person crazy.

This kind of thing happens a lot. Usually vengeance is involved when a person goes insane. Perhaps he killed or harmed people, and this is his retribution from creating that karma. So the best thing is not to tie up such conditions, but to hold the five precepts of not killing, not stealing, not committing sexual misconduct, not engaging in false speech, and not taking intoxicants. If you hold the five precepts you won’t have so many involvements. You can recite the Great Compassion Mantra when you are around the insane in order to pacify the deviant spirits and vengeful ghosts.

Sutra:

If speech were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would be voice and breath, chest, tongue, throat and lips, expulsion, retraction, constriction and release, loudness and softness, clarity and indistinctness.

Commentary:

If speech were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would be voice—the sounds made by our voices--and breath that we inhale and exhale. But Brahma Conduct is not those things, so that is wrong. Our speech comes about through the use of chest, tongue, throat and lips, and the other organs and places of articulation. But Brahma Conduct is not such things as the chest, tongue, throat and lips. Speech involves expulsion when it is sent out, and retraction when taken in. There is also constriction—tenseness or lowering--and release —laxness and setting loose. The manner of articulation involves highness and lowness of pitch as well as pause and stress. If you deliver a speech, it contains introduction, enlargement, alternatives, and conclusion. But Brahma Conduct is certainly none of those things. There is also loudness and softness to sounds and their tones can have clarity and indistinctness. Therefore, speech is not Brahma Conduct.

Sutra:

If speech karma were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would be compliments and inquiries, generalizations and elaborations, metaphorical speech and direct speech, speech in praise and slanderous speech, hypothetical speech, speech adapted to the world, and evident speech.

Commentary:

If the creation of speech karma were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would be the exchanging of compliments and the making of inquiries. It would be speaking broadly by making generalizations or else analytical speech and elaborations. It would be the metaphorical speech of analogies and the direct speech of straight talk. It would be speech in praise and slanderous speech. It would be hypothetical, theoretical speech as well as speech adapted to the ways of the world—the mundane way most ordinary worldly people speak. And it would be very intelligible and evident speech. If speech karma were Brahma Conduct, then all of the kinds of speech karma mentioned would be Brahma Conduct—which is not the case.

Sutra:

If the mind were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would have to be perception, observation, discrimination, various kinds of discriminations, recollection, various kinds of recollections, consideration, various kinds of considerations, illusions, and slumber and dreams.

Commentary:

If the mind, the intellect, were Brahma Conduct, then Brahma Conduct would have to be perception—cognition or awareness, as well as observation —contemplation or recognition in one’s mental processes. It would be discrimination —because the mind consciousness discriminates—along with various kinds of discriminations, the different stages of discrimination engaged in by the mind consciousness. Brahma Conduct would also be recollection of events in the past, and various kinds of recollections and memories of the past. It would also have to be the consideration and reflection that one does with the mind, and its various kinds of varied considerations. It would also be fantasies, illusions that arise in the mind, and slumber and dreams—different dream states one has when asleep. All of those are not Brahma Conduct, yet they would become it if one tried to say the mind was Brahma Conduct—but it isn’t.

Sutra:

If mind karma were Brahma Conduct, then one should know that Brahma Conduct would be thought and feeling cold or hot, hungry or thirsty, miserable or happy, worried or pleased.

Commentary:

If mind karma were considered to be Brahma Conduct, then one should know that Brahma Conduct would be thought and having impressions. And Brahma Conduct would also be feeling cold or hot, for the mind registers those sensations as well as whether one feels hungry or thirsty, is miserable or happy, worried or pleased. All of those feelings would be Brahma Conduct if Brahma Conduct were mind-created karma. But thoughts and feelings of cold, heat, hunger, thirst, suffering, happiness, worry and pleasure are not Brahma Conduct.

Sutra:

If the Buddha were Brahma Conduct, then would form be the Buddha? Would feeling be the Buddha? Would thinking be the Buddha? Would formations be the Buddha? Would consciousness be the Buddha? Would the marks be the Buddha? Would the characteristics be the Buddha? Would spiritual penetrations be the Buddha? Would karmic deeds be the Buddha? Would fruit retribution be the Buddha?

Commentary:

If it were the case, which it is not, that the Buddha were Brahma Conduct, the Buddha is perfectly enlightened himself, perfectly enlightens others, and has brought the enlightened conduct of self-enlightenment and enlightenment of others to utmost perfection. He has great wisdom and great spiritual penetrations, and has certified to the states of all being without obstruction. If you want to say the Buddha is Brahma Conduct, then would form be the Buddha? Would feeling be the Buddha? Would thinking be the Buddha? Would formations be the Buddha? Would consciousness be the Buddha? All of those five skandhas—form, feeling, thinking, formations, and consciousness—are illusory and empty and are not the Buddha. Those five skandhas are empty, but the Buddha has marks and characteristics. Would the thirty-two marks and having them, be what is meant by the Buddha? No, because the Buddha is unmarked. He also has eighty secondary characteristics.

Would the characteristics be the Buddha? No, they are not, and so Brahma Conduct is not the Buddha. The Buddha has spiritual penetrations. Would spiritual penetrations be the Buddha? No, that’s not right either, so you can’t say that Brahma Conduct is the Buddha. Would karmic deeds— karma that one creates and doors of practice which one cultivates-- be the Buddha? No, they aren’t. Would fruit retribution—the reward of cultivating to Buddhahood and certifying to the fruit of perfect enlightenment-- be the Buddha? No, it is not. Therefore, to say the Buddha is Brahma Conduct cannot be correct.

The clear, pure Dharma Body of Vairochana Buddha is not located anywhere, yet is not absent from anywhere. The perfect and complete Reward Body of Nishyanda Buddha is also false and empty. You cannot use marks to grasp the Buddha, but need to see all characteristics as free from characteristics. The hundreds of thousands of millions of transformation bodies of Shakyamuni Buddha, being transformations, also are not actual or real. So, if you seek the Buddha in any of the Three Bodies, still the Buddha cannot be obtained. And if the Buddha cannot even be got at, how can you say that Brahma Conduct is the Buddha? You should not consider it to be so. By making this kind of contemplation, you can break all attachments. If you have attachments, then that is not Brahma Conduct. Therefore, the Buddha cannot be Brahma Conduct.

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