THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Brahma Conduct ___

Chapter Sixteen. A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Would the three karmavachana pronouncements be the precepts? When the Shramanera precepts and the complete precepts of a Bhikshu are transmitted, karmavachana is enacted in three pronouncements. That is, the Precept Transmitting Upadhyaya asks three times, and the Karmadana, the Teaching Master, and all of the Certifiers reply three times, enacting karmavachana in three pronouncements. Is that the precepts? It isn’t, it’s just a ceremony. Would the Upadhyaya be the precepts? Is the Upadhyaya who transmits the precepts the precepts? No, he simply represents the Buddha in transmitting the precepts, but is not the precepts themselves. Would the Acharyas be the precepts?

The various types of Acharyas “Teachers of the rules who are models”, are not the precepts either. Would the shaving of the head when one receives the precepts be the precepts? No, that just symbolizes becoming a Bhikshu and is not the precepts. Would donning the kashaya sashes be the precepts? Is putting on the precept sashes, the kashaya robes, the precepts? No, it isn’t. Would taking up one’s bowl and going out begging for food be the precepts? No, it is not. Would proper livelihood be the precepts? Proper livelihood is the opposite of deviant livelihood, of which there are five kinds.

The Five Kinds of Deviant Livelihoods

  • Displaying an unusual appearance.
  • Using a loud voice in order to appear awesome.
  • Speaking of one’s own merit and virtue.
  • Performing divination and fortune-telling.
  • Speaking at length of offerings made to one.

The first improper livelihood is deliberately looking unusual so one stands out from everyone else. Another is at times to speak, chant or yell especially loud to impress others with how awesome one is. The third is to tell others about the merit and virtue one has oneself. The fourth is doing divination, astrological or other reckonings concerning good luck and bad luck for people. The fifth is telling people how one has received this or that offering so that their minds move and they say, “Wow! Other people have made huge offerings like that. The least I can do is make some kind of offering to this person.” All of these are improper ways of supporting one’s life. When Bhikshus go out on their daily alms rounds it is simply to sustain the physical body, and that certainly is not the precepts.

For example, one time the Venerable Shariputra entered a city to beg for alms. When he had obtained them he sat down to eat. A Brahmacharin named Pure Eyes came up and asked him, “Do you eat?”

He answered, “Yes, I eat.”

Pure Eyes said, “Do you eat by using a lowered mouth?”

He answered, “No.”

“Do you eat by using an up-turned mouth?”

“No,” he replied.

“Do you eat by using a mouth turned to the cardinal points?”

His answer again was, “No.”

“Do you eat by using a mouth turned to the intermediate directions?”

“No,” he said once more.

Pure Eyes said, “I’ve asked you each of the four kinds of eating, and I don’t understand how you can deny employing any of them. You’d better tell me what you understand them to mean.”

Shariputra said, “Some left-home people, in order to sustain their lives, concoct medicines from such things as herbs and tree bark for people, which is an impure livelihood and is called eating with a lowered mouth. The impure livelihood of making predictions based on observations of stars and planets, sun and moon, wind and rain, thunder and lightening, is known as eating with an upturned mouth. Or perhaps one fawns on those in power or tried to get people to feel sorry for one; or one acts as a go-between or uses one’s connections to coerce people, going throughout the four points of the compass speaking craftily and doing much seeking and climbing on conditions. That impure livelihood is called eating with a mouth turned to the cardinal points. If one recites different sorts of magic spells and incantations for people, or does divination and casting of fortunes to determine good luck and bad for them and so forth, that is the impure livelihood of eating with a mouth turned towards the intermediate directions. I do not fall under any of those four. I employ the livelihood of purely seeking alms.”

When Pure Eyes heard this, he was delighted, believed and understood, and because of the Dharma spoken for him by Shariputra, was certified to the fruit of Srotaapanna.

Bhikshus do not use any of those four kinds of methods to obtain the food they eat. They are not the lowly beggars people feel sorry for. Their livelihood is proper. They follow the Eight Proper Paths.

The Eight Proper Paths

  • Proper Views.
  • Proper Thought.
  • Proper Speech.
  • Proper Deeds.
  • Proper Livelihood.
  • Proper Vigor.
  • Proper Mindfulness.
  • Proper Samadhi.

Everything they cultivate should be proper, and so they must avoid falling into the five kinds of deviant livelihoods.

Clear, pure Brahma Conduct does not belong to any of those ten kinds of dharmas, and therefore the mark of precepts must be emptied. One should not have any attachments.

Sutra:

After contemplating in this way, do not grasp at the body, do not grasp at cultivation, and do not dwell in dharmas. The past is already extinguished, the future has not yet arrived, and the present is empty and still. There is no one who creates karma, and there is no one who receives retribution. This world does not move, and other worlds do not change. Among these things what dharma can be called Brahma Conduct? Where does Brahma Conduct come from? To whom does Brahma Conduct belong? Who or what is its substance? By whom is it created? Is it existent? Is it non-existent?

Commentary:

After contemplating in this way, using the ten dharmas of contemplation just discussed, do not grasp at the body. One cannot find Brahma Conduct in one’s own body. Do not grasp at cultivation. One should not become attached to Brahma Conduct as being in cultivation either. If you have an attachment in your mind to the thought, “I am cultivating Brahma Conduct,” then you have not reached the state of the emptiness of people and dharmas. And do not dwell in dharmas. That you should not dwell in dharmas means you should not be attached to them. The past is already extinguished. If you discuss this in terms of the three periods of time, past time has already perished, and the future has not yet arrived. It hasn’t come yet, and the present is empty and still. None of it exists at all. Because the three periods of time are empty, the body, mind, and worlds are empty too. Every single thing is empty, and so there is no one who creates karma; for when all is empty, what karma could be created?

And there is no one who receives retribution. If no one creates karma, who could receive retribution? This world does not move, and other worlds do not change but remain as they are. Among these things what dharma can be called Brahma Conduct? If you investigate in detail which of these Dharmas could be Brahma Conduct, none of them is. All are empty. Where does Brahma Conduct come from? Since all dharmas are not Brahma Conduct, from where can Brahma Conduct arise? To whom does Brahma Conduct belong? Who owns it? It doesn’t have an owner. Who or what is its substance? Who or what is it that underlies the substance of Brahma Conduct? By whom is it created? Who has made Brahma Conduct? Look further into Brahma Conduct and try to determine is it existent? Is it non-existent? If you contemplate it carefully to the utmost point, basically it is empty.

Sutra:

Is it form? Is it non-form? Is it feeling? Is it non-feeling? Is it thinking? Is it non-thinking? Is it activities? Is it non-activities? Is it consciousness? Is it non-consciousness?

Commentary:

Is it form? Of the five-skandhas—form, feeling, thinking, activities, and consciousness—form dharmas are what has obstructiveness, shape, and form. Feeling, thinking, activities, and consciousness are mind dharmas. Does Brahma Conduct belong to form dharmas? In the dharmas of form there is no Brahma Conduct. Is it non-form? Is it feeling? Is it non-feeling? Is it thinking? Is it non-thinking? Is it activities? Is it non-activities? Is it consciousness? Is it non-consciousness? You won’t find Brahma Conduct in any of the five skandhas.

Sutra:

Contemplating in this way, because Brahma Conduct cannot be got at; because the three periods of time are all empty and still; because one’s mind has no grasping or attachment; because one’s mind has no obstructions; because what one practices is non-dual; because of expedients of self-mastery; because of receiving the Dharma of no-marks; because of contemplating the Dharma of no-marks; because of knowing that the Buddha and Dharmas are level and equal; because of endowment with all Buddhadharmas, therefore it is called Pure Brahma Conduct.

Commentary:

Contemplating Brahma Conduct in this way, we find it ultimately is empty and non-existent, that it ultimately cannot be obtained. That is because Brahma Conduct cannot be got at. It is also because the three periods of time—past, present, and future--are all empty and still with no actual substance to them. It is also because one’s mind has no grasping or attachment. In the mind consciousness there is nothing grasped at or attached to; and because one’s mind has no obstructions. It is also because what one practices is non-dual. All that one cultivates are Dharma doors of non-duality. All are the ultimate meaning of the Middle Way and do not fall into either extremes of existence or emptiness. It is also because of expedients of self-mastery. This is a Dharma of expedient means and self-mastery. It is also because of receiving the Dharma of no-marks. Every single thing is without marks.

Form, feeling, thinking, activities, and consciousness are all empty. It is also because of contemplating the Dharma of no-marks, being able to contemplate the dharma of marklessness. It is also because of knowing that the Buddha and Dharmas are level and equal. One arrives at the knowledge that Buddhadharmas, living being dharmas, and mind dharmas are, all three of them, the same. And it is because of endowment with all Buddhadharmas. All living beings are endowed with the Buddhanature and with the nature of all dharmas, without excess or deficiency. Therefore it is called Pure Brahma Conduct. If one can be without attachments in that way, sweeping away all dharmas and separating from all marks, then that is called purity, pure Brahma Conduct. If in cultivation one does not give rise to a single thought, when there is not a single thought, what dharma is there that can be got at? So, if one does not give rise to a single thought, then one will be complete with all dharmas. That then is pure Brahma Conduct.

Sutra:

Moreover, one should cultivate ten kinds of dharmas. What are the ten? They are: the knowledge of what is and what is not the case; the knowledge of the karmic retributions in the past, present, and future; the knowledge of all dhyanas, liberations, and samadhis; the knowledge of all superior and inferior faculties; the knowledge of the various kinds of understandings; the knowledge of the various kinds of realms; the knowledge of where all paths lead; the knowledge of the unobstructed Heavenly Eye; the knowledge of the unobstructed penetration of past lives; and the knowledge of forever cutting off habitual energy. Each and every one of the Tathagata’s ten powers is to be contemplated. Within each power are unlimited meanings which must be investigated.

Commentary:

Moreover, everything discussed to now has shown that Brahma Conduct is false with no actuality. The Brahma Conduct the Bodhisattva cultivates is pure, bright, without shape and without mark. But having understood this principle, one should further cultivate ten kinds of dharmas, Dharma doors of wisdom. These ten are also called the Tathagata’s Ten Powers, for if we have the wisdom from those powers, we will be able to cut off delusions and certify to truth. What are the ten kinds of powers, the ten kinds of Dharma doors? They are first of all: the knowledge of what is and what is not the case. There are a lot of ways of explaining “what is the case”. It is the case there are Buddhas. It is also the case there are hells. Within the Ten Dharma Realms, it is the case that “Buddha” means “enlightened”, and that hell-beings are deluded, that one obtains bright light upon awakening, and darkness when in delusion. If one has the great wisdom to illuminate the real mark of all dharmas, that is also what is the case. If one is stupid and senseless and does not know enough to escape from the Three Realms, that is being in something that is not the case. What holds true is enlightenment and what does not hold true is delusion. Certifying to the Sagely Fruit is called what is the case. Falling into the three evil paths is what is not the case. Understanding the real mark of all dharmas is what holds true. Not having any wisdom and being covered by ignorance so one does not understand anything is what does not hold true. Cutting off the false and certifying to the truth is what does hold true. Being confused about one’s original enlightened nature is what does not hold true. And so there are limitless meanings. One and the same knowledge and wisdom can divide into limitless and boundless principles and explanations. The Buddha has that kind of power of wisdom to know what is and is not the case.

He also has the knowledge of the karmic retributions in the past, present, and future. The Bodhisattva should also practice the contemplation of how evil karma created in the past leads to undergoing evil retribution in the present life, along with how good karma created in the past leads to receiving good retribution in the present life. He should also contemplate how evil karma created in this life will lead to undergoing evil retribution in future lives, and how good karma created in this present life will lead to receiving good rewards in lives to come. If in the present you create all kinds of evil karma, in future lives you will undergo all kinds of evil retribution.

The three periods of time are like a revolving wheel, a cycle of alternating repayments through retributions. The karma of one’s past life is carried over into this life, and the karma of this life will carry over into the next life, and none of it will be off by a hair. Why is karma created? It is because one gives rise to delusion. The reason we give rise to delusion is due to ignorance. Ignorance is because:

In one unenlightened thought,
There are the three subtle marks.

The Three Subtle Marks

  • The Mark of Karma.
  • The Mark of Turning.
  • The Mark of Manifesting.

Once there are the three subtle marks, measureless, limitless karmic retributions are produced. The Buddha has the wisdom to know the karmic retributions which must be undergone in the past, present, and future.

If one wishes to know the causes planted in past lives,
They are the retribution one is receiving in this present life.
If one wishes to know what the results will be in future lives,
They are what one is creating in this life.

The causes we plant in this life are the fruits we will reap in lives to come. The fruit we are harvesting now in this life comes from causes planted in past lives. These principles, too, are limitless and boundless, difficult to tell of completely.

The next power of a Tathagata is the knowledge of all dhyanas, liberations, and samadhis. “Dhyana” is a Sanskrit word meaning “Thought cultivation”. Investigating dhyana—Ch’an—is like drilling a hole. When the hole is drilled through, that is one’s investigation breaking through. What is it breaking through to? It’s breaking through to one’s original Buddha Nature and breaking up ignorance. That’s called one’s investigation breaking through. After ignorance is destroyed the bright light of wisdom appears. So that’s what is meant by investigating Ch’an. Ignorance is just not understanding anything and not being able to see through states as they arise but being turned by states. If one can turn the state without being turned by the state, one has samadhi power. You’ve investigated Ch’an until you’ve received a little “good news”. One investigates until not a single thought arises and one arrives at the state of there being originally not one thing.

No matter how many years one cultivates, if one cannot renounce one’s attachments it is just head-mouth Ch’an. That means you can talk but you cannot practice. One is like a stone man who can speak but has attachments so heavy he cannot move, so one cannot cultivate. Cultivation is not becoming attached to states which you like and not rejecting states which you do not like. Then you have dhyana samadhi, and whatever state comes you are able to recognize it. Some states oppose you while others accord with you. Adverse states you face mean affairs that do not suit you and which are very rude to you, not at all the way you want them to be. If one cannot break through such barriers in front of one, one has no skill. If you can break through them, then you have samadhi power. If states arise which are favorable to and benefit you and you like them, then you have no samadhi power, and have not broken through the state.

If whether the state is favorable or adverse one is vigorous and one’s mind remains unmoved, that is the state of the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Dwellings previously described. Whether praised or blamed, one’s mind does not move.

“All Dhyanas” refers to the First Dhyana, the Second Dhyana, the Third Dhyana, and the Fourth Dhyana. If one has been certified to the position of the state of First Dhyana, whenever one sits one can immediately enter samadhi in whatever situation one finds himself. In the First Dhyana one’s pulse stops, and one is like a living dead person. The Second Dhyana is deeper than the first. At that time, the breath stops. Although one is then really like a dead person with no outer breath, the inner breath comes alive. The breath of the nose stops, but the hair pores still breathe. It’s just that one cannot detect this. In the Third Dhyana there is no thought. Then really not a single thought arises. In the First Dhyana there is much joy and in the Second there is still a kind of joy within samadhi. But in the Third Dhyana one renounces that joy, and obtains a kind of happiness and wonderful bliss of:

neither emptiness nor form.

At that time thought does not move. In the Fourth Dhyana there is truly no movement of thought. All thoughts are stopped and renounced.

The First Dhyana is called the Stage of Joy of Leaving Production. The Second Dhyana is called the Stage of Joy of Production of Samadhi. The Third Dhyana is called the Stage of Wonderful Bliss of Leaving Joy. The Fourth Dhyana is called the Stage of Purity of Renouncing thought. However, the Four Dhyanas are just states within cultivation of dhyana-samadhi, and are definitely not certification to the Fruition of Sagehood. Therefore, when the Bhikshu with no knowledge mistook the Fourth Dhyana for the Fourth Fruit of Arhatship, it was a major error. He did not understand cultivation and thought he had attained something he had not actually attained and he said that he had certified to something to which he had not certified. He had not obtained wisdom but said he had, and he had not actually become enlightened but claimed he was. As it turned out he had told a great lie for which he fell into the hell of pulling-tongues.

There are further eight kinds of liberation, also called the Eight “Castings off the Back”, that is, turning one’s back on the dust and renouncing it. One then has the knowledge and wisdom of samadhi.

The Buddha also has the knowledge of all superior and inferior faculties. He has the power to know and contemplate the root-natures of all living beings and understand if they are superior or inferior. He can know whose good roots are mature and whose good roots are just ready for liberation. He can know whose good roots are already growing and who needs good roots planted. The Buddha contemplates all the roots and faculties of living beings—their eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind—by means of one of the ten wisdoms, and determines whether their roots are superior or inferior.

The Buddha also has the knowledge of the various kinds of understandings. Living beings all have their own wisdom as well as their own kind of thought and understanding from their wisdom. The Buddha:

Knows about himself and knows about others,
And for a hundred battles has a hundred victories.

It takes that kind of self-mastery to teach and transform living beings.

The Buddha also has the power from the knowledge of the various kinds of realms, all of the myriad particulars of living beings’ individual differences and all their different kinds and categories. He also has the power from the knowledge of where all paths lead. The Buddha knows where one goes by following each path, what position one reaches by cultivating any given dharma. He also has the knowledge of the unobstructed Heavenly Eye. This is the penetration of the Heavenly Eye. The amount of obstruction depends upon how perfectly one attains this penetration. If it is perfected, then everywhere throughout the Great Trichiliocosm and the entire Dharma Realm can be seen without obstruction. He also has the knowledge of the unobstructed penetration of past lives. This refers to the root-nature of life after life, whether one has planted good roots deeply or shallowly; whether one has planted them in one life, or perhaps in many lives time after time one has studied and practiced the Buddhadharma. If one obtains this wisdom of the penetration of past lives, one can observe all living beings’ causes and conditions from past lives and know what methods to use to teach them now.

And the Buddha has the knowledge of forever cutting off habitual energy. Life after life we have developed many defiled habits and even if we wish to cut them off we cannot. We cannot do so because we have no wisdom. Habits are such things as greed for food, greed for good clothing, and greed for a fine place to live. That is all habitual energy. We also have greed to listen to fine music, greed to look at nice sights, and greed to accumulate more knowledge. We have greed for nice toys to play with and greed to hear praise from others. We don’t like to hear people tell us the truth. All of these things are habits. The field of the eighth consciousness is filled with these habitual energies. If we have no greed for wealth, we do have greed for sex. If we don’t have greed for sex, we do have greed for good food. If not greedy for food, we have the habit of liking to get angry. Otherwise we have greed for drinking liquor or smoking cigarettes or taking drugs. There are too many kinds of habitual energies. If you have habits, you have outflows in your mind. And if you have outflows you will lose your precious treasures. Once you lose your precious treasures, you will not be wealthy and noble or honored, but will be low and cheap. Therefore, habits are limitless and are the cause of limitless kinds of problems if one tries to name them. The Buddha has the power of wisdom to have known how to cut off not only his own habit energies but can also cause all living beings to also study the Buddhadharma and cut off all of their own habits once and for all.

Each and every one of the Tathagata’s ten powers is to be contemplated. When the Bodhisattva cultivates pure Brahma Conduct, he uses very subtle wisdom to contemplate and investigate each and every one of the ten wisdom-powers of the Buddha. Within each power of wisdom of the Buddha there are unlimited meanings which must be investigated. In each power there are limitless and boundlessly many principles. Therefore, they cannot completely be described in words. They are infinite. These powers have to be meditated upon and investigated by one’s self. One can’t be casual and sloppy about it, but must carefully look into these powers of wisdom for a long period of time, turn the light within and investigate for one’s self the real mark of all dharmas.

Sutra:

After one has heard them one must produce a mind of great kindness and compassion. One must contemplate all beings without renouncing or separating from them. One must consider all dharmas without resting. One must practice unsurpassed karma without seeking for rewards. One must completely understand that all states are like dreams, illusions, shadows, echoes, and also like transformations.

Commentary:

The Bodhisattva who cultivates pure Brahma Conduct contemplates the previously described Dharma doors of the Buddha’s ten kinds of powers of wisdom, and within each and every one of those powers is also able to understand limitless and boundlessly many meanings and Dharma doors, and should himself carefully investigate them. After one has heard them—either through one’s own investigations or after hearing them spoken in the presence of all Buddhas--one must produce a mind of great kindness and compassion. That’s the time when there should arise:

Great kindness for those with whom one has no conditions.
Great compassion from possessing identity in substance.

Whether or not one has conditions or affinities with beings, one should have a great attitude of kindness towards them and cherish and protect living beings as one would oneself. That’s also called great compassion of identity in substance.

All Buddhas and Bodhisattvas do not see the faults of living beings, and consider beings’ mistakes to be their own mistakes. Therefore, one should have a mind of great compassion. As it is said,

Kindness can bestow happiness upon living beings.
Compassion can pull beings out from suffering.

One must contemplate all beings without renouncing or separating from them. One contemplates all living beings of every kind and range of understanding without being biased as to whether their roots are good or bad. Not because their roots are good is one motivated to save them, nor if their roots are bad does one renounce them. One does not have a mind that draws distinctions and says, “That living being has no good roots so I won’t save him,” or refuses to save living beings if they are stupid or of low character. Instead one declares:

As long as a single living being has not become a Buddha,
At death I will not seek the leisure of Nirvana.

“If there is even a single living being left out who has not become a Buddha, I will not become a Buddha either.” One makes that kind of most lofty and unsurpassed great vow, contemplates all living beings and never abandons them. One never separates oneself from living beings.

One must consider all dharmas without resting. Considering all dharmas means investigating dhyana. At all times one investigates all Buddhadharmas, makes a careful investigation of each and every one of the 84,00 0 Dharma doors so one clearly understands them. And one never rests. For the sake of investigating the Buddhadharma and seeking the unsurpassed Way, at all times one is always courageously vigorous---never lazy.

One must practice unsurpassed karma without seeking for rewards. To practice unsurpassed karma is to cultivate the Buddha Way, and it means doing all kinds of good deeds, accomplishing unsurpassed virtuous karma and nurturing one’s own blessings and wisdom. However, while performing all those varied kinds of unsurpassed victorious karma, one still does not seek any reward of good retribution. Most people hope for good retribution when they do anything good. But the Bodhisattva in doing things of unsurpassed merit and virtue nonetheless transfers the advantages obtained from them to all living beings, and is not always thinking that the merit and virtue he has done is infinite. That is, although he does all kinds of good deeds, he doesn’t think of himself as having done good deeds. It also means:

He is kind to others without seeking a reward,
And gives to people without hoping for returns.
When he does good, it’s not to get good back.

One must completely understand that all states are like dreams, illusions, shadows, echoes, and also like transformations. One should understand, know about states, recognizing them very clearly. What are all states like? All states are conditioned dharmas; and

All conditioned dharmas
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows.
Like dew and like a lightning flash:
Contemplate them thus.

They are like states conjured up by magicians, not true and actual. They are also like the states in dreams, which also are not real. They are like the shadow of a tree as well, which constantly circles it, yet has no actual substance. They are like the echo or after sound when a bell is rung. One hears it for a time and then it fades and is gone. They are also like transformations that disappear and reappear in an endless series of changes.

Sutra:

If all Bodhisattvas are in this way able to make contemplation interact with practice, and if within all dharmas they do not give rise to dual understanding, then all Buddhadharmas will quickly manifest before them. At the time of first bringing forth the mind they right then obtain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. They know that all dharmas are just the self-nature of the mind. They accomplish the wisdom body, and become enlightened not because of others.

Commentary:

It says: if all Bodhisattvas , who differ from Arhats—Arhats have broken both attachments to people and to dharmas, so that people and dharmas are both empty. The states of Bodhisattvas, however, far surpass those of Arhats, for Bodhisattvas not only have neither of those two attachments, but basically do not have attachment to a self. They aren’t attached to being or non-being, to existence or non-existence, to right or to wrong. They have broken every kind of attachment. Arhats have ended share-section birth and death but not the birth and death of change, whereas Bodhisattvas have put an end to both kinds of dying. They don’t have share-section birth and death which is that of each person having one’s own bodily shape and allotted lifespan—their share and section. They also don’t have change birth and death which is that of the non-stop process of continual change in thought after thought. This distinguishes them from Arhats who are still subject to change birth and death. Bodhisattvas don’t know any existence of self or of dharmas, but simply cultivate the Bodhisattva Way of benefiting all living beings without paying any attention to whether they are rewarded for their efforts. They just do it. And so of Bodhisattvas it is said:

With no self or others, contemplate at ease.
They are sovereign Bodhisattvas.

Furthermore, “Bodhisattva” means “One who Enlightens Those With Sentience”. They bring enlightenment to every sentient being. It also means, “enlightened one with sentience,” one who among sentient beings is enlightened.

If all Bodhisattvas are in this way able to make contemplation interact with practice, if they can contemplate the various dharmas described before and interact with all those dharmas, that means they understand the fundamental and ultimate meaning of all dharmas. It means illumining and viewing all dharmas, and uniting with them all so no distinction can be made between the Bodhisattvas and the dharmas. They are:

Two and yet non-dual,
Not two, yet two.

That’s interaction. And if within all dharmas they do not give rise to dual understanding, then for them, all of the 84,000 Dharma doors are truth in the primary sense, and each is the foremost Dharma door. There is no relative, dual understanding, yet although there are no two ways of understanding, nonetheless, limitless meanings can arise. However, even as limitless meanings can arise, it’s still the non-dual Dharma door. When they are able to be that way, then all Buddhadharmas will quickly manifest before them. They will immediately illumine and view all of the Buddhas 84,000 doors of Dharma, and will attain instantaneous understanding of them all. That they appear before them means they attain samadhi of all dharmas, proper concentration and proper reception concerning all dharmas.

If they are able in that way to contemplate and interact with all dharmas, and in that way not give rise to dual understanding concerning all dharmas, then all Buddhadharmas will quickly appear before them. When that happens, then at the time of first bringing forth the mind they right then obtain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, Sanskrit for “Unsurpassed Right and Equal Proper Enlightenment.” Those of the Two Vehicles differ from ordinary common people who are not enlightened in that they are properly enlightened; but their enlightenment is not equal with that of all Buddhas the way the enlightenment of Bodhisattvas is. Bodhisattvas’ enlightenment, although proper and equal, is not unsurpassed, for the Buddha’s enlightenment surpasses theirs. The Buddha is both able to be properly and equally enlightened and to have that enlightenment be unsurpassed. He is able both to enlighten himself and others and to be perfect in both those conducts of enlightenment. So the Buddha is called “Unsurpassed Knight”, while Bodhisattvas are called “Surpassed Knights”. That means Unsurpassed Right and Equal Proper Enlightenment is another name for the position of the Fruit of Buddhahood.

When that happens, then they, the Bodhisattvas, know that all dharmas are just the self-nature of the mind, that everything is created from mind only.

If one wishes to completely understand
All Buddhas of the three periods of time
One should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm:
Everything is made from mind alone.

Therefore, all dharmas are not apart from the self-nature, and apart from the self-nature there are no dharmas. They accomplish the wisdom body. If you are able to contemplate, investigate, illumine and view the real mark of all dharmas, then that will bring your wisdom body to accomplishment. Then your wisdom is infinite and boundless, and you become enlightened not because of others. It is not obtained from outside. When you yourself become enlightened to those kinds of states and principles and certify to the samadhi of the wisdom body, it’s not because someone else teaches you that you achieve that understanding. It’s that your self-nature is enlightened of itself.

When one is confused, one’s teacher takes one across.
When one is enlightened, one takes oneself across.
One crosses oneself over.

However, when enlightened, you have to go through a Good Knowing Advisor who certifies you, and that Good Knowing Advisor must himself be enlightened to be able to certify you. Someone muddled and confused can’t give you that certification. Everyone should be aware of this. You cannot declare yourself enlightened. Someone else has to certify that you are. For example, when the Sixth Patriarch departed from the Fifth Patriarch, the Fifth Patriarch certified him as being enlightened. And so he went to Kuan Tung to propagate the Buddhadharma and transmit the Buddha’s Mind Seal, teaching and transforming living beings. Within Buddhism, every single thing has to be in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Dharma. If you’re not in accord with them, but try to set yourself up as a Patriarch on your own, then it will not hold true.

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