THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Merit and Virtue from First Bringing Forth the Mind

Chapter Seventeen. A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

It is because he desires to totally know profound, esoteric understandings; Understanding of expedient methods; Discriminating understandings; Spontaneous understandings; Understandings which arise in accordance with cause; Understandings which arise according to conditions; And the net of all understandings, totally without remainder, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Commentary:

It is because he desires to totally know profound,esoteric understandings. The Bodhisattva who brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi wishes to know profound esoteric understandings. What are profound understandings. True and actual understandings are not easy to undersand, so they are called profound and esoteric. He throughly knows the ground and origin of dharmas. He understands what dharmas ultimately are. Understanding of expedient methods refers to understanding good, clever expedient methods. In accordance with the time, one does what is fitting. In accordance with the affair, one does what is fitting. In accordance with the place, one does what is fitting, and in accordance with the person, one does what is fitting. He uses this kind of wisdom of provisional, clever expedient methods. Discriminating understandings is minutely analysing all principles. Spontaneous understandings means very naturally understanding. Understandings which arise in accordance with causes means according with various causes there arise all kinds of understandings. The Bodhisattva wishes to obtain the understandings which arise according to conditions—the complex causal condidtions of things—And the net of all understandings, totally without remainder. He wishes tdo comprehend all understandings which are like a net. If you understand one of them you understand all of them. If there are those which you don’t understand, then you’re entangled within the net and are forever unable to come out of the net. "Totally without remainder” mean she understands them completely and exhaustively without exception. It is for the reasons above that he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi the expansive, inexhaustible resolve for Unsurpassed Enlightenment.

Sutra:

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person, who, within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the different roots of all living beings in countless world systems in the east. In thought after thought like this he passes through asamkhyeya kalpas. Suppose there is a second person who, within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the different roots which the person before knew in thought after thought for asamkhyeya kalpas. In the same way extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Disciple of the Buddha, the boundaries of all the different roots of all the living beings in these world systems in the ten directions can be known. But no one is able to know the boundaries of the merit and virtue and good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Commentary:

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside. Don’t talk about it because I have another analogy: Suppose there is a person. Basically there isn’t such a person, but let’s suppose there is, Who, within a single thought-moment, within the space of a single thought, is able to know all the different roots of all living beings in countless world systems in the east. He’s able to know the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind- - all of the differences of their faculties. In thought after thought like this – in every thought in this way – he passes through asamkhyeya kalpas. He passes through as long a time as immeasurable numbers of kalpas. And suppose there is a second person who, within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the different roots which the person before knew in thought after thought for asamkhyeya kalpas. He know and can comprehend completely all the different faculties in each passing thought, throughout asamkyeya kalpas. In the same way extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Disciple of the Buddha. All of disciples of the Budha, the boundaries of all the different roots of all the living beings in these world systems in the ten dierctions - - all these living beings’ different faculties - - can be known. They can be known in detail. But no one is able to know the boundaries of the merit and virtue and good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the mind for the Unsurpassed Right and Equal Enlightenment. No one is able to know the boundaries, that is, how great that limit ultimately is.

Sutra: 

Why is this? It is because the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. It is only for the sake of knowing all the roots of the living beings in those worlds, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Commentary:

The Bodhisattva does not fix a limit or measure on himself. The text says, Why is this? What is the reason for this? Doesn’t anybody know? It is because the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit on himself, but it is only for the sake of knowing all the roots of the living beings in those worlds. It is because he wants to know all the many world systems and all of the root natures of the living beings there in, that he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi—for the Unsurpassed, Right, and Equal Enlightenment.

Sutra:  

It is for the sake of exhaustively knowing within all world systems, all the various different roots of all living beings; And speaking broadly, it is because he desires to exhaustively know, up to and including the net of all roots, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person, who, in a single thought-moment, is able to know all the various desires and pleasures of all the living beings in countless world systems in the east. In thought after thought like this he exhausts asamkhyeya kalpas. In succession, extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also the same way. The limits of the desires and pleasures of all these living beings in the ten directions can be known, but no one is able to know the limits of the merit and virtue and good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Commentary:

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside. Don’t talk about it because I have another analogy: Suppose there is a person. Basically there isn’t such a person, but let’s suppose there is, Who, within a single thought-moment, within the space of single thought, is able to know all the different roots of all living beings in countless world systems in the east. He’s able to know all living beings’ roots- - that is, their eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind- - all of the differences of their faculties. In thought after thought like this- - in every thought in this way- - He passes through asamkhyeya kalpas. And Suppose there is second person who, within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the different roots which the person before knew in thought after thought for asamkhyeya kalpas. He knows and can comprehend completely all the different faculties in each passing thought, thoughout asamkyeya kalpas. In the same way extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Disciple of the Buddha. All of you disciple of the Buddha,The boundaries of all the different roots of all the living beings in these world systems in the ten directions- - all these living being’ different faculties- - can be know. They can be known in detail. But no one is able to know the boundaries of the merit and virtue and goof roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the mind for the Unsurpassed Right and Equal Enlightenment. No one is able to know the boundaries, that is, how great that limit ultimately is.

Sutra:

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva does not limit himself. He brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing all of those living beings’ desires and pleasures. It is for the sake of exhaustively knowing all the various desires and pleasures of all living beings in all world systems; And speaking extensively, it is because he desires to exhaustively know, up to and including the net of all desires and pleasures, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Disciples of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person, who within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the various expedient methods of the living beings in countless world systems in the east. In succession, extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Commentary:

Why is this? What is the reason that no one is able to know their limit? the Bodhisattva has no Disciple of the Buddha, you ought to know, The Bodhisattva does not limit himself. The Bodhisattva has no fixed dharma . He has no fixed limit, no fixed sphere. He brings forth the mind for anuttarsamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing all of those living beings’ desires and pleasures. It is for the sake of exhaustively knowing all the various desires and pleasures of all living beings in all world systems; And speaking extensively, it is because he desires to exhaustively know, up to and including the net of all desires and pleasures, that he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambohi. He brings forth the Bodhi mind because he desires to completely know the net of all desires and pleasures. So he brings forth the mind for the pleasures. So he brings forth the mind for the Unsurpassed,Right and Equal putting this analogy aside Enlightenment.

All of you Disciple of the Buddha, Dharma Wisdom says, putting this analogy aside- - now let’s not speak of this analogy anymore. We will take up another analogy. Basically there isn’t such a person but, suppose there is a person, who within a single thought-moment, is able to know all the various expedient methods of the living beings in countless world systems in the east. That is, all the ways to teach and transform living beings. He desires to know them in limitless and numberless world systems. In succession, extend this until it reaches to a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this. There is a person like this in each of the ten direction.

Sutra: 

The limits of the various expedient methods of these living beings in the ten directions can be known. But no one is able to know the limit of the merit and virtue and good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. He brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing the various expedient methods of the living beings in those world systems. It is in order to exhaustively know the various expedient methods of all living beings in all world systems; And, speaking extensively, it is because he desires to exhaustively know the net of all expedient methods, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Commentary:

The limits of the barious expedient methods of these living beings in the ten directions can be know. You can know how much their limits are, but no one is abl to know the limit of the merit and virtue and good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi- - the unsurpassed, Right and Equal Enlightenment. There isn’t any person who can know their limit.

Why is this? What is the reason for this? Disciple of the Budha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. The Bodhisattva has no fixed standard. He brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi - - he brings forth the mind for the Unsurpassed, Right and Equal Enlightenment - - Only for the sake knowing the various expedient methods of the living beings in those world systems. It is solely for the sake of knowing the various expedient methods of all living beings in all world systems. It is in order to exhaustively know the various expedient methods of all living beings in all world systems; and, speaking extensively, it is because he desires to exhaustively know the net of all expedient methods, that he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyasambodhi.

The number of people who are fasting has increased to eight. Why does one want to fast? It is because one prays that the world will be peaceful and harmonious. Or perhaps that our Bodhimandala will be successfully completed. When praying for world peace or the successful completion of the Bodhimanda,you have a sincere heart. So don’t fear hunger. You want to fulfill the power of our vows, and fasting is just cultivating concentration. If you don’t have greed you are able to have concentration power, and if you have concentration power you can have a response. "The response and the way will intertwine.” If you have a response, it is certain that Buddhas and cultivating concentration power, you don’t want to think about whether or not you have eaten anything. Forget about it. Become empty. Make everything empty. Make everything non-existent. At that time the originally existent treasure of great light will manifest.

So during the time one is fasting, the most important thing is to not give rise to fire. You shouldn’t get angry. If you get angry you will brun up all your merit and virtue. You want to have practice until you don’t have the slightest bit of anger. This is just the perfection of your application of effort. Be patient. If you go along with your greedy habits,they will never end. If you go along with hour heart of anger, it will not stop. If you go along with your heart of stupidity, it too will not stop. Fasting is just "understanding the mind and seeing the nature.” It is a way to get rid of thoughts of desire, because one’s thoughts of desire become less and less each day. These are just some of the good points of fasting. Therefore, each person who is fasting should not have any fire in his or her self-nature. You don’t want to have even the slightest bit of fire. Fundamentally our bodies have a lot of fire. If your mind continuously gives rise to fire. If your mind continuously gives rise to fire, then your fire becomes too great. So at all times and all patience, cultivate the practice of giving, cultivate the practice of upholding morality, and cultivate the practice of vigor. Now those who have fasted for 18 days have already finished. But there still are those of you who are going to fast for 36 days, who have not yet finished. Now you should not drink too much water. Drinking too much water is useless. At the very most you should drink no more than one cup each day. This is smelting your indestructible body of vajra, and is no easy feat!

Sutra:  

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person who in a single thought-moment is able to know the various different kinds of minds of living beings in countless world systems in the east.

Commentary:

Dharma wisdom again calls out, Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside. He says, "Let’s not talk about the previous analogy. We will bring up another analogy.” Suppose there is a person- - basically there isn’t such a person, but let us hypothetically suppose there is such a person- - Who in a single thought-moment is able to know the various different kinds of minds of all living beings in countless world systems in the east, world systems without number or measure. All living beings’ minds are different, yet within a single thought-moment he can know them all.

Sutra:  

Extend this until it reaches to the world systems of the ten directions. The limits of all those living beings’ various different minds can be known. But no one is able to know the limit of the merit and virtue of the good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. He bring forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing those living beings’ minds. It is for the sake of knowing to the exhaustion of the Dharma Realm and the reaches of space, the various minds of boundless living beings, up to and including wishing to exhaustively know the net of all minds, that he brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person who, within a single thought-moment, can know the various different kinds of living beings in countless world systems in the east. Extend this until the limits of the various different karma of the living beings in the ten directions can be known. But of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the limit of his good roots cannot be known.

Commentary:

Extend this until it reaches to the world sustems of the ten directions. If you want to speak about it extensively, this analogy includes the other world systems of the ten directions. The limits of all those living beings’ various diferent minds can be known. It is possible to know their limits, But no one is able to know the limit of the merit and virtue of the good roots of the bodhisattva who first bring forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi. There is no person wo can know their limits.

Why is this? What is the reason for this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. The Bodhisattva has no fixed dharma. He brings forth the sake of knowing those living brings’ minds. It is for the sake of knowing to the exhaustion of the dharma realm, that is, exhausting all Dharma Realms, and the reaches of space, the various minds of boundless living beings, up to and including wishing to exhaustively know the net of all minds, that he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

Disciple of the Budha, putting this analogy aside. Take this analogy and put it to the side. Suppose there is a person. Suppose there is such a person, who, within a single thought-moment, can know the various different kinds of living beings in countless world systems in the east. With regard to all those different kinds of living beings,he knows their different karmic retributions. Extend this until the limits of the various different karma of the living beings in the ten different karma of the living beings in the ten directions can be know it is possible to know their limits. But of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the limit of his good roots cannot be know.

Sutra:

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. He brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing those living beings’ karma, and because he desires to totally know the karma of all the living beings of the three periods of time, up to and including wishing to totally know the net of all karma.

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, suppose there is a person who in a single thought-moment is able to know the various afflictions of all the living beings in countless world systems in the east. In thought after thought he does so exhausting asamkhyeya kalpas. There is no one who is able to know the limit of those various afflictions. And suppose there is a second person, who, within a single thought-moment, is able to know all of the different afflictions of the living beings which the previous person knew in asamkhyeya kalpas. He also does so, to the exhaustion of asamkhyeya kalpas. In succession, extend this until it reaches a tenth person. In the south, west, and north, the four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Commentary:

Why is this? What is the reason that one is unable to know the limits of the merit and virtue of the bodhisattva who has brought forth the mind? Diciple of the Budha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. He doesn’t have a fixed limit. He brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing those living beings’ karma, and because he desires to totally know the karma of all the living beings of the three periods of time, up to and including wishing to totally know the net of all karma.

Disciple of the Buddha, putting this analogy aside, Take this analogy and put it to the side. Don’t speak of it. Suppose there is a person who in a single thougt-moment, the briefes tinterlude. Is able to know the various afflictions of all the living beings in countless world systems in the east, that is, their various greed, anger, stupidity, ignorance and afflictions, and in thought he does so, exhausting asamkhyeya kalpas. In thought after thought he is just like this. There is no one who is able to know the limit of those various different afflictions. There is no person who is able to know the limit of all their different kinds of afflictions. And suppose there is a second person, who,within a single thought-moment- - he, also within a single thought moment, is able to know all of the different afflictions of the living beings which the prevous person knew in asamkhyeya kalpas- -such a long time. He also does so to the exhaustion of asamkhyeya kalpas. In succession, extend this until it reaches a four intermediaries, above and below, it is also like this.

Sutra: 

Disciple of the Buddha, the limit of the different afflictions of these living beings in the ten directions can be known. But the limits of the good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, cannot be known.

Commentary:

Disciple of the Buddha, Dharma Wisdom again calls out, the limits of the different afflictions of these living beings in the ten directions can be known. Each living being has its own kind of affliction. Living beings are immeasurable and limitless and their afflictions are of many kinds are also immeasurable and limitless. Although they have this many afflictons, one can know their limits. You can know the extent of their afflictions. But the limits of good roots of the Bodhisattva who first brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, cannot be known- - with regard to one who first resolves his mind on Unsurpassed Right and Equal Enlightenment- - how much are his good roots and what are their limits? This cannot be known.

Sutra:  

Why is this? Disciple of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. He brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing the afflictions of the living beings in those world systems. He brings forth the mind for Anuttarasamyaksambodhi in order to exhaustively know the different afflictions of all living beings in all world systems. That is to say, it is because he desires to exhaustively know their light afflictions, heavy afflictions, afflictions of sleep, afflictions of arisal of all living beings’ limitless afflictions including their various differences and various awarenesses and contemplations, and to cause them to purify all of their defilements. It is because he desires to exhaustively know their afflictions which rely on ignorance, the afflictions that interact with love, and to cut off the knot of the afflictions of all destinies.

Commentary:

why is this? what is the reason for this? Disciple of the Buddha,you should be attentive and I will tell you now. It’s because the Bodhisattva has no uniform limit. The Bofhisattva does not have a fixed dharma or a fixed limit. He brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi only for the sake of knowing the afflictions of the living beings in those world system. He just wants to know the afflictions of that many living beings in that many world systems. There are 84,000 afflictions. Generally speaking, they are not outside of greed, hatred, and stupidity. If you have greed,it cannot be satisfied. If you have greed and you do not obtain what you want, you will have affliction. If you obtain what you want but then lose it,you also have affliction. There is a saying, "When you haven’t obtained it you wish to have it. And when you already have it, you fear that you will lose it.” All of these are afflictions.

And there is the afliction of anger. If you are greedy and you get something that you want, you are happy. But if you don’t get what you want, you become angry. If things don’t go along as you wish, you get angry. You are unable to be patient, and once you get angry, all of your merit and virtue is burned and destroyed. So it is asid,” a thousand days of chopping firewood is burned up with a single fire.” If you take the firewood which you have chopped for a thousand days and put which you have chopped for a thousand days and put it all together, and then set it on single fire, it can all be burned up and destroyed. So it is said, "A spark of fire can burn up a forest of merit and virtue.” The affliction of stupidity is confusion and ignorance. Thoughts of love are produced from igorance. Why do you love? Because you want to have enjoyment and pleasure. After you have enjoyment and pleasure, you give rise to a heart of love. When you have a heart of love you want to make things your own. You want to obtain them, After you obtain them, you want to make them your own. This is a function of ignorance. Each living being has its own different ignorance and affliction. Because the Bodhisattva wishes to know all the various types of ignorance and afflictions, he brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi.

He brings forth the mind for anuttarasamyaksambodhi in order to exhaustively know the different afflictions of all living beings in all world systems. The Bodhisattva wants to bring forth the mind for unsurpassed Right and Equap Enlightenment in order to know the source of all living beings’ afflictions. That is to say, it is because he desires to exhaustively know their light afflictions, heavy afflictions, afflictions of sleep, afflictions of arisal of all living beings’ limitless afflictions, including their various differences and various awarenesses and contemplations, and to cause then to purify all of their defilements. What does the Bodhisattva wish to know? He desires to exhaustively know living beings’ light afflictions. Light afflictions are just the kind of afflictions which are not very heavy. You will find a detailed and clear explanation on light and heavy afflictions in the Shastra on the Door To Understanding the 100 Dharmas. Heavy afflictions are extremely grave and oppressive. “afflictions of sleep.” This refers to seeds of afflictions that lie dormant within the eight consciousness. There are also the “afflictions of arisal”- - this refers to the production of all afflictions.

“All living beings’ linitless afflictions” means they are endless, and so it is said that afflictions are 84,000 in number. Beings have various discriminations and differences and various awarenesses and contemplatons, they have all kinds of awareness and contemplations. The Bodhisattva wants to purify them, which means he wishes to change their afflictions into Bodhi. "Defilements” are the afflictions of defilements. These are inpure acts such as killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants. These are all defilements, It is because he desires to exhaustively know their afflictions which rely on ignorance. Also, the Bodhisattva desires to exhaustively know, to completely know, afflictions which rely on ignorance. This refers to afflictions which arise from doors of co-production of the Twelve Links:

Ignorance conditions activity,
Activity conditions consciouseness,
Consciousness conditions name and form,
Name and form conditions the six entrances,
The six entrances condition contact,
Contact conditions feelling,
Feeling conditions love,
Love conditions grasping,
Grasping conditions existence,
Existence conditions birth,
Birth conditions old age and death.

The Bodhisattva also wishes to unerstand clearly the afflictions that interact with love, and to cut off the knot of the aflictions of all destinies. He wants to cut asunder all states of existences- - the twenty-five states of existence in the Triple Realm, which are knots of aflictions. Afflictions tie living beings up so they are unable to obtain liberation. So the Bodhisattva wishes to cut off all their afflictions.

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