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A Commentary by the Venerable Master
Hsuan Hua

The Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind

Chapter Seventeen

Sutra

At that time the heavenly ruler Shakra asked Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva, “Disciple of the Buddha, what is the measure of the merit and virtue attained when a Bodhisattva first brings forth the Bodhi mind?”

Commentary:

This chapter discusses how how much merit and virtue one has at the very first moment one brings forth the great Bodhi mind. After the Brahma Conduct Chapter was spoken, then the Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind Chapter was spoken. The Heavenly Ruler Shakra is the lord God. The heavenly ruler Shakra is also called Indra or Shakra Devanam Indrah. The name are different but the person is the same “Shakra, Chief Among Gods.” The heavenly ruler Shakra manages over all the heavens. He’s also called the Lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-Three

How did he become the heavenly ruler? Originally the heavenly ruler Shakra was a women, a very poor woman who for a long time in the past had a good heart. She saw a Buddha image under the open sky, the roof of its temples in shambles and worn away. She became resolved on renewing its and made a vow to do so. She didn’t want the Buddha image to be under the open sky where it would blown by the wind and battered by the rain, but she didn’t have any money. So at that time she sought for others who had the same resolve as herself. Shes found thirty-two other women, and they together used their strenght to gild the Buddha image.

Each one of these thirty-three women gave a little money to fix up the temple and to regild the Buddha image. Because of “the first “ women’s merit and virtue, she later became the ruler of the heaven of the Thirty-three, and the other thirty-tow women became the Thirty-two heavenly rulers, one to each of the eight heavens located in each of the four directions—east, west, north and south. Because she had renewed the Buddha image and repaired the temple, she was reborn in the heavens ans became the heavenly ruler Shakra. This god, the heavenly ruler Shakra, Asked Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva. What did he say? “Disciple of sthe Buddha, what is the measure of the merit and virtue attained—how much is his merit and virtue—when a Bodhisattva first brings forth the Bodhi Mind?”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

(In response to a question on fasting)

You don’t want to drink too much water while fasting. Each day only drink a single cup of water. You can’t drink too much. It is best to sit in meditation and recite the mantra. Don’t think about whether you’re eaten or not. It is best to be able to enter samadhi. Not eating things is just smelting your indestructible Vajra body.

If common people don’t eat for seven days, they will certainly die. The first fast is eighteen days, which is about three weeks. The second fast is 36 days—that is, five weeks without eating things. If you can keep up this practice, you are cultivating patient. What was said before had a lot of principle, “ The mind fills up the world.” If your mind is without any fighting then the world is peaceful and the world’s wars will be eradicated. Why isn’t the world peaceful now? Because each person has a heart of greed and everyone only wishes to benefit himself, and so jealousy, obstructions, arrogance and all kinds of faults arise. If you don’t have a heart of greed, then the world is peaceful. If each person didn’t have a heart of greed, then no one would fight with anyone else.

Basically, fasting does not necessarily make the world peaceful. It’s just a method. Do the best you can, nothing more. If you can do the best you can in every respect, and if you don’t harm people in the word, that’s good. You want to have a sincere heart, yet it’s not certain that you will be successful. That is, it is not certain that you will be able to cause the world to be peaceful. Nobody can insure it. If you want to be able to caause the world to be without war, then wvery person musst himself or herself be without greed in body and mind. Without greed there is no war because the world’s wars are brought about by people’s greed. The reason for wars is that opposing sides seek aan advantage at the expense of the other. They think, “I want to gain something so I thak the otherside’s gains for myself.” Because of this there are wars. But if you don’t have a heart of greed, then all places will be without wars. If every person had no heart of greed, the whole world be without wars.

Question:

In Christianity, in the Bible, I believe Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” We are creating our circumstances in the world. We are constantly creating our world. To what should we exercise our own will and cause things to happen, and to what limits should we just allow things to happen?

Answer:

The world has not been created by anyone not by any person or by any god. Not by any Bodhisatta, and not by any Budda. Heaven and earth have their own life. Now this question is about where the limits of the world, the limits of the mind and the limits of the Dharma Realm are. But none of these have alimit. If you force it and say there are limits, then their limits are in space, but since they are in space, you cannot find limits there. If you want to find their limits, form the time you are born until you die you won’t be able to find them. Because of this , what use is there in seeking these limits? They fundamentally don’t exist, so what are you doing by looking for them?

Sutra:

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva said, “This pse things to happen, and to warinciple is deep and profound. It’s difficult to express and to know, it’s difficult to discriminate and difficult to believe and understand. It is difficult to be certified to it and difficult to practice. It is difficult to penetrate and difficult to consider. It is difficult to measure and difficult to enter.”

Commentary:

Dharma Wisdon Bodhisattva said…This heavenly ruler Shakra had asked Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva about the merit and Virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind. In China it is always said, “Merit and virtue is immeasurable.” Although it is immeasurable, he asks about it’s measure. This of course means he doesn’t understand. Therefore Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva told him, This principle is deep and profound. It’s difficult to express. This principle is deep and profound. It’s more profound than profound! “Difficult to express” means tat it is not easy to speak about. And difficult to know means that it’s both hard to speak about and hard to know. It’s difficult to discriminate and difficult to believe and undersand.

I you use your conscious mind to try to discriminate it, you will be unsuccessful. If you can’t discriminate it then you can’t know it,and if you can’t know it, how could you speak about it? It’s also not easy to believe, and not easy to undersand. It is difficult to be cerified to it. It’s not easy to realize, And difficult to practice. This merit and virtue is also not easy to practice. It is difficult to penetrate. It is also not easy to penetrate it without obstruction, And difficult to consider. For the mind to consider it is also not easy. It is difficult to measure. It you use a ruler to measure out how wide it is, how big it is, or how long it s, it’s not easy to do. And difficult to enter. This kind of merit and virtue is not easy fr you to enter by means of numbers. That is, you will have difficult figuring out ultimately how much it is. It is not easy to do this. There is no method you can to fathom its dimensions.

Sutra:

“Although this is the case, I have received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, and will explain this for you. Disciple of the Buddha, suppose there is a person who uses all kinds of musical instruments to make offerings to all the living beings in asamkhyeya world systems in the east, doing so for one kalpa, and afterwards he teaches those living beings to purely uphold the five precepts. Then he does the same in the south, west, north, the intermediate directions, above and below. Disciple of the Buddha, what is your opinion? Does this person have much merit and virtue?

The heavenly ruler Shakra said, “Disciple of the Buddha, only the Buddha can know this person’s merit and virtue. All others are unable to fathom it.”

Commentry:

Dharma wisdom bodhisatva said, Although this is the case. Before I said that the merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind is deep and profound and not easy to know. Even with analogies, it is still not easy to know. It is also not easy to believe. Living beings believe in what is deviant. They don’t believe in what is proper. They believe in the fales and not in the true. They believe in the bad and not in the good, you explain the true and proper Buddhadharma to them and they don’t listen to it. But if you want to talk to them about sex, false speech, slander, and derisive speech, then they’re really happy. So it is said,

If one’s roots are deep,
one hears good speech.
If one’s evil is heavy,
one hears wrong speech.

When people with roots first arrive at Gold Mountain Monastery, they don’t want to go. Although there is no food to eat and no water to drink, they don’t want to leave. They feel like they’ve retured home. People without good roots come and they feel it’s very cold and so they rum away. This is a case is point: If one’s roots re deep, one hears good speech. If one’s evil is heavy, one hears wrong speech. Those who have bad karma like to hear improper words. So those who come to Gold Mountain Monastery all have good roots.

Yet some people who come to Gold Mountain Monastery don’t know the rules and are very casual. They still have the bad habts of lay people which they haven’t yet cast off. They haven’t changed their faults. If your bad habits and faults haven’t been left behind, then your fundamental wisdom is unable to manifest.

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattvassid, “Before I said it was so difficult to understand the merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhimind, however I have now received Shakyamuni

buddha’s great awesomespritual power, and will explain this for you. I will clarify the vastness of this merit and virtue.

Disciple of the Buddha.Dharma wisdom Bodhisattva is talking to the heavenly ruler Shakra, who although he’s the heavenly ruler, has also taken refuge with the Triple Jewel. He’s taken refuge with the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. So he calls him”disciple of the Buddha.” Suppose there is person. “Suppose” means basically there isn’t such a person, but let us suppose there is such a person, Who uses all kinds of musical instruments to The east is mke offerings to all the living bring in asamkhyeya world systems in the east. The east is where Akshobhya Buddha’s wold system is. In the east there are “asamkhyeya world systems.” What are asamkhyeya wold systems? Asamkhyeya is Sanskrit. Translated ot means “Limitless number.” There are limitless numbers of world systems in the east. It the immeasurable numbers beings

The person above offers all kinds of musical instruments to all of the immeasurable living beings in immeasurable numbers of world systems, Doing so for one kalpa. What is a kalpa? When the lifespan of people reaches 84,000 years then it decreases. Every 100 years their lifespan lessens by one year. Their height decreases by on inch. By the time when the average person’s lifespan is ten years, as soon as someone is born, he or she has thoughts of sexual desire. At that time, as soon as people are born, they can kill people. Because people’s minds are so bad , humankind will nearly become extinct. When the average increasing. It increases one year every 100 years and the height of people’s bodies also increases one inch every hundred years. By the thime peoples’ lifespan increases back to 84,000 years, that is “one decreasing amd one increasing,’ which makes up one small kapla.

With all kinds of musical instruments this person makes offerings to the immeasurable living beings in immeasurable world systems, doing so for one kalpa. And afterwards he teaches thosr living being to purely uphold the five precepts. He teaches them to rely on reprecepts to cultivate. Then he does the same in the south, West, North. before the text said the east, now it also says in the south, west, and north and the four intermediate directions. The intermediate directions are northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest. And above and below, which wen added to the previous eight, total ten directions.

In all the other directions, it’s also like this. Suppose there is a person who uses all kinds of musical instruments as offering to all the immeasurable living beings in the immeasurable asamkhyeva world systems in the ten directions, doing so for one kalpa. The afterwards he teaches those living being to purely uphold the five precepts. The five precepts prohibit killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, engaging in wrong speech, and using intoxicants (this also includes cigarettes). Disciple of the buddha, what is your opinion? What is meaning og this? Does this person have much merit and virtue? Isn’t his merit and virtue great?

The heavenly ruler shakra said, “disciple of the buddha, only the budda can know this peerson’s merit and virtue. Common living beings have no way of knowing this person’s merit and virtue. All others are unable to fathom it. All the other living beings are unable to fathom the measre of his merit and virtue.”

Sutra:

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva said, “Disciple of the Buddha, this person’s merit and virtue, when compared with the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind, does not equal a hundredth part of it, nor a thousandth part, nor a hundred thousandth part, and so forth up to the point that it does not equal a hundred millionth part, nor a billionth part, nor a hundred billionth part, nor a trillionth part, nor a nayuta hundred millionth part, nor a billionth nayuta part, nor a hundred billionth nayuta part, nor a trillionth nayuta part, nor a numerable part, nor a kalanth part nor a calculable part, nor an analogical part, nor even a part in an upanishad part.”

Commentary:

Dharma wisdon bodhisatta said, “disciple of the buddha, This person’s merit and virtue, When compared with the merit and virtue of the bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind, does not equal a hundredth part of it. It doesn’t reach a hundredth part of the merit and virtue of the bodhisattva who has first btought forth the bodhi mind. Nor a thousandthpart, nor a hundred thousandth part. Nor does it reach a hundred thousandth part of the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the Bodhimind. And so forth up to thepoint that it does not equal a hundred millionth part. Nayuta is a great number. It is one of over hundres of astronomical number in india. Nor a billionth nayuta part, Nor a hudred billionth nayuta part, Nor a trillionth nayuta part, Nor a numberable part. is a person who uses all kinds of musical instruments to make A numberable part is the smallest part, that is, a part that can be still be reached by numeration.

Sutra:

Nor a kalanth part, Nor a calulable part, Nor an analogical part, Nor even a part in an upanishad. It doesn’t reach even the smallest part.

“Disciple of the Buddha, moreover, putting this analogy aside, suppose there offerings to all the living beings in ten asamkhyeya world systems in the ten directions, for a hundred kalpas. And afterwards, he teaches those living beings to cultivate the ten paths of good. Making offerings in the same way, for a thousand kalpas, he then teaches them to dwell in the four dhyanas. After passing through a hundred thousand kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the four unlimited minds.”

Commentary:

The heavenly lord Shakra asked how much is the merit and virtue of first bringing forth the Bodhi mind. Before, an analogy was brought up to explain that this merit and virtue cannot be know by any person. Only te Buddha can know it, but all the other Bodhisattvas can’t.

Now Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva says, Disciple of the Buddha,Moreover, putting this analogy aside, for the time being we will not use it, but we’ll use another analogy. Suppose there ia a person. Basically there isn’t such a person, but hypothetically,suppose there is such a person, Who uses all kinds of musical instruments, like a guitar, piano, a seven-stringed Chinese guitar, a 25-stringed Chinese guitar, or a short flute, or a long flute, all of these different kinds of musical instryments, to make offering to all the living beings in ten asamkhyeya word systemsin the ten directions. Before it was one direction but now the text says ten direction, in ten asamkyeya world systems ten limitless numbers of world systems.

He makes offerings to all those immeasurable, innumerable, limitless living being

For a hundred kalpas .

And afterwards, he teaches those living beings to cultivate the ten paths of good. After he has made offerings to them for a hundred kalpas, he teachers all the immeasurable, numberless living beings to cultivate the ten paths of good. What are the ten paths of good? Your body, mouth, and mind, the three karmas, are pure. The body doesn’t kill, steal, or commitsexual misconduct. That is,the body doesn’t do the three ecils. The opposite of killing is liberating life, the opposite of killing is liberating life, the opposite of stealing is giving, the opposite of engaging in sexual misconduct is cultivating proper dharmas. In the mind one doesn’t have greed,that is,one is not greed for wealth, sex, fame, or gain; one get angry. You do not get angry whether the situation is favorable of unfavorable. And you don’t do stupid things. At all times you have intelligence and wisdom. You are not stupid and unclear about things. The mouth is also without the four evils, One doesn’t lie,use divisive speech,slander,or speak in a vulgar manner. If you turn around the ten paths of evil they become the ten paths of good. Thus one cultivates the ten paths of good.

Making offerings in the same way. He makes offerings like before to all the living beings in ten immeasurable, numberless world systems in the ten directions, this time For a thousand kalpas. He then teaches them to dwell in the four dhyanas. He teaches al the immeasurable, limitledd, numberless living beings to cultivate the Four Dhyanas, After passing through a hundred thousand kalpas. As he makes offerings to all the immeasrable, numberless,limitless living beings in ten immeasurable, numberless world systems, he again passses through kalpas, and the He teaches thenm to dwell in the four unlimited minds. He teaches these living beings to dwell in the Four Minds. The Four are Kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy,and renunciation; the immesaurable mind of kindness, the immeasurable mind of compassion, the immeasurable mind of sympathetic jpy, and the immeasurable mind of renunciation. These living beings are taught to cultivate the dharmas of the Four Unlimited minds. Now isn’t this merit and virtue great? Yet it doesn’t equal a fraction of the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the Bodhi mind.

Sutra:

“Passing through a hundred million kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the four formless samadhis. Then, after passing through a billion kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the Srotaapana fruit. Then after passing through a hundred billion kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the Sakridagamin fruit. Then after passing through a trillion kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the Anagamin fruit. Then after passing through a hundred nayuta million kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the Arhat fruit. Then after passing through a hundred, thousand, trillion kalpas, he teaches them to dwell in the path of a Pratyeka Buddha. Disciple of the Buddha, what is your opinion? Isn’t this person’s merit and virtue a lot?”

The Heavenly Ruler said, “ Disciple of the Buddha, only the Buddha can know this person’s merit and virtue.”

Dharma Wisdom Bodhisattva said, “Disciple of the Buddha. This person’s merit and virtue, compared with the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind, does not come up to a hundredth part, nor a thousandth part, nor a hundred thousandth part, up to and including not one part in an Upanishad.”

Commentary:

Passing through a hundred million kalpas, means offering all kinds of musical instruments to ten asamkyeya world systems’ inneasurable, limitless living beings for a hundred million kalpas,. This is ten times greater than ten million.

He teaches them to dwell in the four formless smadhis, which are the station of limitless space, the station of limitles consciousness, the station of nothing whatsoever, and the station of neigher though nor non-thought. They are also called the heaven of the atation of boundless consciousness, the heaven of the station of nothing whatsoevcr,and the heaven of the station of neither thoughtnor non-thought. These are the Four Formless Concentrations. Beings residing in these smadhis are without a body. The body has been seen as empty, and it is not even certain there is consciousenes. So there is nothing whatsoever. In the station of neither thought or non-thought, one is not without marks and not wihtout marks. So these are the Four Formless Condentrations.

Then, After passing though a billion kalpas. Before it was a million kalpas, now he passes through a billion kalpas, an even longer period of time, He teaches them to dwell in the Srotaapanna fruit. Srotaapanna is the first fruit of Arhatship. The sanskrit Srotnapanna tramslates as “entering the flow” and “opposing the flow.” A Srotaapanna enters the flow of the Dharma nature of the sages and opposes the flow of the six Dusts smells, tastes, touchables,or dharmas. When you realize the Srotaapanna fruit, you do not think about eating good food,looking aat beautiful forms, greedy for pleasant tastes,your body is not greedy for touch, and your mind is not greedy for dharmas. You don’t enter the flow the six Dusts.

Every day seek the way,and don’t seek food. “The superior man seeks the path,and doesn’t seek food.” Not seeking food means you don’t think about what you’ve eaten. You don’t use your mind to think, “today I ate this.” Basically you don’t think of food at all. Therefore,if you want to know if you have realized the fruit, just ask yourself if you are greed for good food. If you sstill have a heart of greed,perhaps when there are good things to eat you eat a little more, or when there are not so good things to eaat, you eat a little less. If you discriminate in your mind, then you are still entering forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables and dharmas, and you haven’t realized the fruit. If you have relized the fruit, then you will not be turned by forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables and dharmas, that is, the six Dusts. This is having realized the First Fruit.

Further you can’t say, “I don’t think about eating good things, I don’t think about looking at nice forms, or smelling pleasant fragrances, or tasting agreeable flavors; my body doesn’t know touch and my mind doesn’t dharmas, so I’ve realized the first fruit. “It’s not like this. When you have realized the First Fruit,you don’t walk on the ground. Where do you walk? In space. Your feet don’t touch the ground. How far are your feet off the ground? Just an inch. Why don’t your feet touch the ground? You don’t want to squash any insects, so you walk above them.

If you are able to do this, then that’s having realized the fruit. You can’t pretend, saying, “I heard the Dharma Master say if you don’t enter forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables, and dharmas, then that’s having realized the fruit. I don’t enter them so I must have realized the fruit.” If you speak like that, it’s very dangerous and very easy to fall into the hells. If you haven’t relized the fruit but claim that you have, it is certain you will fall into the hells. If you are able to walk in space, then that’s having relized the First Fruit. Do you feel that you can walk in space? If you can walk in space then you don’t make any noise when you walk. There’s no sound whatsoever. If you are able to be like that then you can be certified to having realized the first Fruit. Otherwise, you can’t take such risks, saying you have realized the fruit.

Then, after passing through a hundred billon kalpas, He teaches them to dwell in the sakridagamin fruit. Sakridagmin is the second fruit. A sage of the Frist Fruit has seven more births and deaths. And one of the Second Fruit is born in the heavens and then in the human realm one more time. When you’ve realized the Second Fruit then you’re higer than one who has realized the First fruit by a billion times. “Teaches them to dwell” means he teaches them to cultivate the types of dharma doors of the Second Fruit so they realized the Second Fruit. Then after passing through a trillion kalpsa. Before the text read “a hundred billion kalpas.” And now it reads a trillion kalpas. This person passes through such a long time, and then He teaches them to dwell in the anagamin fruit. He teaches the living beings to dwell in the Third fruit. The Third fruit is the stage of the “non-returner,”where one doesn’t even return to the desire realm to undergo birth and death. Then after passing through a hundred nayuta millon kalpas. A Nayuta is even greater than a hundred thousand. He teaches them to dwell in the arhat fruit—the Fourth Fruit. Arhat means “Worthy of offerings,” “Killer of thieves,” and “without birth.”

Then after passing through a hundred, Thousand, Trillion kalpas. This is even longer than the other periods of time, He teaches them to dwell in the path of a Pratyeka Budda. Pratyeka Buddha is a Sanskrit word. During the time there is a Buddha in the world,the Pratyeka Buddha is called “One Enlightened to Conditions.” When there is no Buddha in the world he is called a “Solitarily Enlightened One.”

Disciple of the Biddha, What is your opinion? Dharma Wisdom Bodhistta calls out, “You disciple of the Buddha, what do you think of the meaning of this? How do you feel about this? What impressions do you have about this? Isn’t this person’s merit and virtue a lot? This person has made offerings to living beings for such a long time, and then teaches them all kinds of dharma doors, such as the Four Dhyanas, the Four Stations of Emptiness, the First, Second, Third and fourth Fruits of the arhat path,and the path of the Pratyeka Budha. Wouldn’t you say his merit and virtue is a lot? Doesn’t he have much merit and virtue?

The heavenly ruler said, "Disciple of the Buddha, only the Buddha can know this person’s merit and virtue.” Only the Buddha is able to know how much his merit and virtue is.

not come up to a Dharma wisdom Budissatttva said. “Disciple of the Budha, this person’s merit and virtue, compared with the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind does hundredth part. If one divides the merit and virtue of the Bodhisatta who has first brought merit and virtue acquired by the above person does not wqual one of these parts Nor a thousandth part. Not to speak of one hundredth, it doesn’t reach one thousandth the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind. Nor a hundred thousandth part. The merit and virtue of this person does not even come up to one one hundred thousandth of the merit and virtue of the Bodhisattva who has first broughtforth the mind, Up to and including fot one part in an upanishad. “ Come up to “means going from the very smallest point up to the very greatest point.This does not equal a single part of the smallest, nor a single part of the largest numbers statedabove. It doesn’t reach the tiniest part of the merit of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the mind.

Sutra:

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, when all Buddhas first bring forth the mind, they do not do so merely for the sake of making offerings of all kinds of musical instruments to all the living beings in the asamkhyeya world systems in the ten directions, doing so for a hundred kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand nayuta million kalpas. They do not bring forth the Bodhi mind merely to teach all of those living beings to cultivate the five precepts, the ten paths of good karma or to teach them to dwell in the four dhyanas, the four unlimited minds, the four formless concentrations, or to teach them to attain the Srotaapanna fruit, the Sakridagamin fruit, the Anagamin fruit, the Arhat fruit, or the Pratyeka Buddha path.

Commentary:

All the various analogies above describe how nothing can compare with the merit and virtue of first bringing forth the Bodhi mind. Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, Dharma Wisdom Bodhisatta calls out. When all Buddhas first bring forth the mind. At the first momet they bring forth the mind, They do not do so merely for the sake of making offering of all kinds of musical instruments to all the living beings in ten asamkhyeya world systems in the ten directions, doing so for a hundred kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand nayuta million kalpas. It is not because of this that they bring forth the Bodhi mind.

They do not bring forth the bodhi mind merely to teach all of those living beings. They do not bring forth the Bodhi mind just to teach all of those living brings who dwell in the world to cultivate the fiveprecepts,The ten paths of good karma--the five preceps prohibit killing,srealing, indulging in sexual misconduct, false speech, and taking intoxicants, and the ten paths of Good Karma are not killing, not stealing, not indulging in sexual misconduct, being without greed, harted and stupidity, not speaking falsely, divisively, vulgarly, or slanderously. Or to teach them to dwell in the four dhyanas, The four unlimited minds--kindness, compassion, sympathetic, joy, and renunciation; The four formless concentrations Which are the station of boundless emptiness, the station of boundless consciousness, the station of nothing whatsoever, and the station of neither thought nor non-thought. Or to teach them to attain the srotaapanna fruit – the First Fruit; or to teach them to attain The sakridagamin fruit – the Second Fruit; or to teach them to attain the Anagamin fruit --- the Third fruit; or to teach them to attain The arhat fruit -- the Fourth fruit; or to teach them to attain The partyeka Buddha path, that they bring forth the Bodhi mind. It’s not merely because of these things that they produce the Bodhi mind.

Sutra:

But it is for the sake of causing the seed nature of the Thus Come Ones to never be cut off; It is for the sake of pervading all world systems; It is for the sake of crossing over and liberating the living beings in all world systems; It is for the sake of totally knowing the coming into being and destruction of all world systems; It is for the sake of totally knowing the defilement and purity of living beings within all world systems; It is for the sake of totally knowing the purity of the self nature of all world systems; It is for the sake of totally knowing the likes, afflictions, and habits in the minds of all living beings; It is for the sake of totally knowing how all living beings die here are reborn elsewhere; It is for the sake of totally knowing all living beings’ roots and expedient methods.

Commentary:

Bring forth the Bodhi mind, Is for the sake of causing the seed nature of the Thus Come Ones to never be cut off. Why do you want to bring forth the Bodhi mind? It is because you want to continue the Buddhas’ wisdom life, there by causing the Buddhaseed not to be severed. So it says, “But it is for the sake of casing the seed mature of the Thus Come Ones to never be cut off”- - to cause the Buddhas’ lamp of wisdom to shine everywhere in all world-systems. It is for the sake of pervading all world system. One brings forth the Bodhi mind in order to cause the Buddhadharma to pervasively reach all world system.

It is for the sake of crossing over andliberating the living beings in all world systems. The Buddhas see that all living beings in the Saha world and all the other worlds have much suffering and little happiness. They ‘sink into confusion and are not awake.” Because they want to cause living beings to leave suffering and attain bliss, to cut off birth and death, and to turn away from the dust and unite with enlightenment, the Buddhas cross over and liberate all living beings in all world systems. This is why they bring forth the Bodhi mind.

It is for the sake of totally knowing the coming into being and destruction of all world systems. Buddhas want to know the life span of all word systems. How all planets come into being, how they dwell, how tey are destroyed, and how they return to empiness. “Coming into being and destruction” also insludes dwelling and emptiness, which refer to the causes and conditions for world system’ coming into being, their dwelling, their destrction. And their wventually beconing extinct. A world system comes into being, dwells, is destroyed and becomes empty. People’s lives are a process of birth, old age, sickness and death, which is also called birth,dwelling, change and extinction. All of them have their own reasons and causes for being.

It is for the sake of totaliy knowing the defiement and purity of living beings within all world systems. It is for the sake of knowing how living being in all world systems are defiled and how they can obtain purity. Their nature flows into emotion, and emotion flows into desire.This is defilement. If they can turn towards the origin and return to the source,and turn away from confusion and go back to enlightenment, that is purity, bodhisattva want to know the causes and conditions for living beings’ defilements, and the causes and conditions for their purity. It for the sake of totally kowing the purity of the self nature of all world systems. The Buddhas brought forth the Bodhi mind to know that the self nature of all world systems is basically pure.

It is for the sake of totally knowing the likes, afflictions, and habits in the minds of all living beings. Buddhsa want to know what the hearts of all living beings desire and dellght in. Living beings don’t want afflictions. Their afflictions arise because of greed, hatred and stupidity. If you don’t have a heart of greed, hatred of stupidity, then you have no afflictions.” Habits” are all of the habits living beings have learned. It is for the sake of totlly knowing how all living beings die here and are reborn elsewhere. It us because the Buddhas want to know the causes and conditions for living being dying at this place and being reborn at another place.all Buddhas bring forth the Bodhi mind because they want to understand the principles and resaons for things. It is for the sake of totally knowing all l iving being’s roots and expedient methods. It’s for the sake of understanding all living beings’ roots, that is, their foot natures, and what expedient methods to use to teach and transform them that Buddhas bring forth the Bodhi mind.

Sutra: 

It is for the sake of totally knowing the activities in the minds of all living beings; It is for the sake of totally knowing all living beings’ wisdom in the three periods of time; And it is for the sake of totally knowing all Buddhas’ state of equality, that they bring forth the Unsurpassed Bodhi mind.

Commentary:

After hearing the Sutra lectured yesterday, all of you should investigate some more. were there mistakes n the lecture? Was the lecture in harmony with meanings of the Sutra? If there were mistakes, you sould bring them up so we can investigate them bogether to see what is correct. You shouldn’t think everthing which the Dharma Master liecturees is totally correct. There may be principles which were not spoken very clearly. All of you are intelligent and young people should investigate it together. This is because the Buddhadharma at Gold Mountain Monastery is the Buddhadharma of living beings. All residents here can bring up points so we can invtigate them.

That way we can recongnize the Sutra’s principles. You also want to speak all the principles with feeling. You don’t want to be rigid, merely understanding the meaning without going deeper. You can’t go along with the views of common people. The study of the Buddhadharma at Gold Mountain Mnastery is based on the wisdom is not sufficient. then wait for the future to meet a great Good knowing One who can cause yooour wisdom to produce an abundant brilliance. We should investigate all of the places where I speak incorrectly,or where I do not lecture in harmony with the Sutra,where I am not in harmony with the Buddha’s mind, or where the lecture is not in harmony with your own mind and the minds of others.

It is for the sake of totally knowing the activies in the minds of all living beings. Why do the Buddhas want to bring forth the Bodhi mind? Because they feel that all living beings are too confused. So confused that they don’t know the Dharma. They wish to know the causes. And conditions of the thoughts of all living beings’ minds and all the manifestations of their actions. For this reson, the Buddhas bring forthth great Bodhi mind. It is for the sake of totally knowing all living beings’ wisdom in the there periods of time. What do their minds think of? Has their wisdom decreased or increased? Has their enlightenment increased of has their confusion grown greater? In the future ,the next hour, will these living beings be enlightened and less confused?

A good Knowing One who teaches and transforms living beings should know this. The three periods of time. You can also expand this view to yesterday, today and tomorrow. Or you can look at the past month, the present month, and the future month. These are all examples of the three periods of time. Or you can also call the past year, the present year, and the future year the three periods of time. You can’t fix the three periods of time as just limited to the past, the present and the future on a broad scale. You may divide it up as you wish. When we lecture the Sutras they should come alive. You don’t want to see things without any flexibility and say that the three periods of time are just the past,present and the future. What is past time? What is future time? What is the present time? Basically there aren’t any differences. People make them through discriminations. If you look at the world this way, they are nothing more than names. Don’t be attached to the ideas that the three periods of time are just the three periods of time. You want to be able transform them. You want to cause the Sutra to be like water: If you dig a hold in the east it flows to the east. If you dig a hole in the west it flows to the west.

It naturally enters anywhere. If you are like this,then you can “deeply enter the treasury of Sutras and have oceanic wisdom.”

And it is for the sake of totally knowing all Buddhas’ state of equality. You should know that the state of the Buddhas, the state of living beings, and the state of the mind are all equal. They do not differ. So it is said, “The mind, the Buddha and living beings: These three are not different.” The mind is just the Buddha. The Buddha is just the mind. Because the mind wants to become a Buddha, it becomes a Buddha. Originally the Buddha was a living being. It is because they want to know all of these various relationships That they bring forth the unsurpassed bodhi mind. They bring forth the unsurpassed mind enlightened to the way. Who brings forth the mind? It’s you. It’s them. But it’s not the Buddha nor the Bodhisattvas. Why? Because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have already brought forth the Bodhi mind in the past, so we should bring forth the Bodhi mind Bodhi mind right now!

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