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:

In a single thought he makes offerings to boundless Buddhas,
And also makes offerings to numberless living beings.
He uses incense, flowers and wondrous garlands,
Jeweled banners, flags, canopies, and superior garments.

Flavorful food, thrones of gems, and promenades:
All kinds of palaces are totally adorned.
There are Vairochana wondrous precious pearls,
And as-you-will manis which produce dazzling light.

In thought after thought like this, he presents them as offerings,
Passing through measureless kalpas which are ineffable.
This person’s accumulation of blessings, though great,
Is not as great as the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind.

Of all the various analogies which can be spoken,
None are able to reach the Bodhi mind.
The honored ones among humans in the three periods of time,
Are all born from bringing forth the resolve.

Bringing forth the mind is without obstruction and without a particular limit;
Those wishing to find its measure cannot attain it.
He vows to certainly perfect the wisdom of all wisdom,
So all living beings are crossed over forever.

Commentary:

In a single thought he makes offerings to boundless Buddhas. The Bodhisattva relies on the power of his spiritual penetrations to make offerings to all the measureless, boundless Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, And also makes offerings to numberless living beings. He also makes offerings to all other living beings. Whyat does he use to make offerings to them? He uses incense, flowers and wondrous garlands, Jeweled banners, flags, canopies, and superior garments. He uses all of those kinds of wondrous articles as offerings to the Buddhas and living beings.

Flavorful food, thrones of gems, and promenades. He offers the most superior tasting food and drink, the most expensive lion thrones, and all kinds of promenades which are adorned with rare jewel; All kinds of palaces which are totally adorned – each of them is especially adorned. There are Vairochana wondrous precious pearls, And as-you-will manis which produce dazzling light. As-you-will pearls and mani precious pearls produce a glorious light which shines on and dazzles the worlds.

In thought after thought like this, he presents them as offerings. In thought after thought like this, he uses all kinds of the most expensive and rare treasures to make offerings to the Buddhas and living beings, Passing through measureless kalpas which are ineffable. He makes those offerings passing through ineffably ineffable, measureless kalpas. This person’s accumulation of blessings, though great, Is still not as great as the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind. This person’s blessings are very, very great, yet they don’t compare with the merit and virtue from the person who has brought forth even the Bodhi mind. The latter, by comparison, is even greater than the former.

Of all the various analogies which can be spoken, None are able to reach the Bodhi mind. All of humankind’s analogies cannot compare with the Bodhi mind, which goes beyond them. The honored ones among humans in the three periods of time, all Buddhas of the three periods of time, Are all born from bringing forth the resolve. All Buddhas of the three periods of time have come into being because of bringing forth the Bodhi mind. Whoever brings forth the Bodhi mind will quickly become a Buddha in the future, and whoever doesn’t, will become a Buddha more slowly.

Bringing forth the mind is without obstruction and without a particular limit. The merit and virtue from bring forth the Bodhi mind is within any impediment whatsoever, and it doesn’t have a fixed limit. Those wishing to find its measure cannot attain it. If you wish to know how great the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind is, that is impossible. Its measure cannot be obtained, and it is ineffable. He vows to certainly perfect the wisdom of all wisdom. The Bodhisattva vows to certainly perfect the wisdom of all modes. So all living beings are crossed over forever. He vows to cross over all living beings forever.

Sutra:

Bringing forth the mind is like empty space.
It produces merit and virtue which is the same as the Dharma realm.
All that is done pervades everywhere without difference.
Forever separating from the multitude of attachments, he’s equal to the Buddha.

Of all Dharma doors, none are not entered.
He is able to go to all lands.
The states of all wisdom are totally penetrated,
As all merit and virtue he perfects.

He is able to renounce everything, continuously and forever
He’s pure in the categories of precepts and without any attachments.
Replete with unsurpassed, great merit and virtue,
He is always diligent and vigorous without retreating.

He enters profound dhyana concentration and is always meditating;
His vast wisdom mutually responds.
This is the Bodhisattva’s most supreme ground,
Which produces all the paths of Universal Worthy.

Of all the Thus Come Ones of the three periods of time,
There are none who are not mindfully protective of one who first brings forth the mind.
Completely, by means of samadhi, dharani,
Spiritual penetrations and
transformations he is adorned.  

Commentary:

Bringing forth the mind is like empty space. As it is said,

The Bodhisattva’s nature contains the universe;
His measure pervades reals as many as sand grains.

So by bringing forth the vast Bodhi mind and empty space are just the same. It produces merit and virtue which is the same as the Dharma realm. The merit and virtue which isproduced from bringing forhtt he Bodhi mind equals the Dharma Realm. All that is done pervades everywhere without difference. Every activity of the Bodhisattva pervades the Dharma Realm. Yet although they pervade the Dharma Realm, his heart has no attachments. To a Bodhisattva, having is the same as not having. And pervading the Dharma Realm is the same as not pervading the Dharma Realm. Forever separating from the multitude of attachments, he’s equal to the Buddha. The Bodhisattva has separated from all the attachments which living beings have. His liberation is equal to the Buddha’s.

Of all Dharma doors, none are not entered. The Bodhisattva who has brought forth the Bodhi mind has understoof and deeply entered all of the 84,000 Dharma doors. He is able to go to all lands. He is able to reach all Buddha lands of the ten directions, make offerings to all Buddhas, and teach and transform living beings. The states of all wisdom are totally penetrated. The Bodhisattva has penetrated, without obstruction, all of the Buddha’s states of All Wisdom, As all merit and virtue he perfects. He is also able to perfect all of the Buddhas’ merit and virtue.

He is able to renounce everything, continuously and forever. He is able to forsake all that is difficult to renounce, and he’s able to continuously without cease practice the Dharma door of giving. Moreover, He’s pure in the categories of precepts and without any attachments. He doesn’t just practice giving; he also upholds the precepts. He’s able to purely uphold all of the divisions of the precepts, yet he is not attached to doing so. Replete with unsurpassed, great merit and virtue. Because he doesn’t have any attachments, his merit and virtue is even greater, and he perfects full and complete, unsurpassed, great merit and virtue. He is always diligent and vigorous without retreating. He’s constantly cultivating the Dharma door of vigor. He always cultivated the Dharma doors of patience and vigor without turning back.

He enters profound dhyana concentration and is always meditating. He also cultivates profound dhyana-concentrations, which is also one of the Six Paramitas. He meditates nad cultivates. His vast wisdom mutually responds. His vvast, measureless, limitless, Prajna Wisdom mutually responds and is perfectly fused. This is the Bodhisattva’s most supreme ground. This is the most supreme behavior and vow-power of the Bodhisattva who has brought forth the mind, Which produces all the paths of Universal Worthy. Because he has brought forth the Bodhi mind, he brings forth all of the paths which Universal Worthy practices, that is, the path of th eking of Great Conduct.

Of all the Thus Come Ones of the three periods of time, all of the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, There are none who are not mindfully protective of one who first brings forth the mind. All Buddhas are protective and mindful of the Bodhisattva who has first brought forth the Bodhi and. Completely, by means of samadhi, dharani—all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time use the aiding power of samadhi and dharani to help this Bodhisattva. By Spiritual penetrations and transformations, he is adorned. The Buddhas use all kinds of spiritual penetrations and various changes and transformations to adorn the Bodhisattva who first rings forth the Bodhi mind.

Sutra:

Living beings of the ten directions are without measure;
World systems and empty space are also like this.
Bringing forth the mind is without measure and surpasses them,
Therefore it is able to produce all Buddhas.

The Bodhi mind is the basis of the ten powers,
It is also the foundation of the four eloquences and fearlessnesses.
The eighteen uncommon (Dharmas) are also like this;
There are none which are not obtained from bringing forth the mind.

The characteristics of the Buddhas’ from, their bodies of adornment,
As well as their equal and wondrous Dharma body;
Wisdom, non-attachment, and the one who is worthy of offerings:
All by means of bringing forth the mind come to be.

Commentary:

Living beings of the ten directions are without measure. Living beings are very many. They are measureless and limitless. World systems and empty space are also like this. Living beings are measureless and empty space is also measureless. Bringing forth the mind is without measure and surpasses them. Bringing forth the Bodhi mind is also measureless, but it exceeds the measurelessness of living beings, world systems, and empty space spoken of previously. Therefore it is able to produce all Buddhas. Why does it go beyond them? Because all Buddhas have been born from bringing forth the Bodhi mind. It is the mother of all Buddhas.

The Bodhi mind is the basis of the ten powers. The ten powers obtained by the Nuddhas have come about from the bringing forth of the Bodhi mind. It is also the foundation of the four eloquences and fearlessnesses. It is also the foundation for the four unobstructed eloquences and the four fearlessnesses. The eighteen uncommon (Dharmas) are also like this. The Bodhi mind is also the basis for the eighteen uncommon dharmas. There are none which are not obtained from bringing forth the mind. All of these various dharmas are obtained from bringing forth the Bodhi mind.

The characteristics of the Buddhas’ from, their bodies of adornment. The Buddhas’ thirty-two marks and eighty kinds of fine characteristics and all of their Bodies of Adornment, As well as their equal and wondrous Dharma body, that is, their Body of Quality , and wondrous Dharma Body, all come into being from the Bodhi mind. Also, Wisdom, non-attachment, and the one who is worthy of offerings. This refers to the Wisdom Body, the Body of Non-Attachment, and the Bodhi which is Worthy of Offerings. All by means of bringing forth the mind come to be. From bringing forth the Bodhi mind, one is able to obtain all of these Bodhi mind, one is able to obtain all of these various, wondrous Dharma Bodies of the Buddha.

Sutra:  

The vehicles of all the Solitary Enlightened Ones and Sounds Hearers,
The bliss of dhyana samadhi of the form realm,
As well as the samadhis of the formless realm:
Bringing forth the mind acts as the basis for all of them.

The free and easy bliss of humans and gods,
As well as the various joys of all the destinies,
And the multitude of happiness from the roots and powers of vigor, concentration, and the others: All of those come from bringing forth the mind.  

Commentary:

The vehicles of all the Solitary Enlightened Ones and Sounds Hearers. Solitary Enlightened Ones and Those Enlightened to Conditions are the same. Those who are born when a Buddha is in the world are called Those Enlightened to Conditions, and those who are born when there is no Buddha in the world are called the Solitary Enlightened Ones. Sound Hearers are Arhats. These are the people of the Two Vehicles. The bliss of dhyana samadhi of the form realm. There are three realms: the desire realm, for realm, and formless realm. In the form realm, as it is said, one obtains joy from,

Taking dhyana bliss as food, and
Being filled with the happiness of Dharma.

As well as the samadhis of the formless realm. In the formless realm there is the bliss from the concentrations of the formless realm. The Four Dhyanas are called the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Dhyana. The four concentrations of the formless realm are the Four Stations of Emptiness. Bringing forth the mind acts as the basis for all of them. It is from bringing forth the Bodhimind that all of these kinds of bliss and various samadhis are cultivated and achieved. So, bringing forth the Bodhi mind is the basic substance of all dhyanas and samadhis.

The free and easy bliss of humans and gods, As well as the various joys of all the destinies. All the destinies such as the asuras and so on. The beings within each destiny believe that their particular destiny contains all kinds of happiness. And the multitude of happiness from the roots and powers of vigor, concentration, and the others. The Five Roots are Faith, Vigor, Mindfulness, Concentration, and Wisdom. In the text, vigor and concentration also represent the other three. From the Five Roots come strength and power, sot hey become the Five Powers. If one attains the Five Roots and the Five Powers, one derives a certain kind of bliss. All of those come from bringing forth the mind. One can obtain those various kinds of merit and virtue and bliss by bringing forth the Bodhi mind.

Sutra:

By means of the cause of bringing forth the vast mind,
One is then able to cultivate the Six Paramitas,
Encouraging all beings to practice proper conduct,
And to receive peace and happiness within the triple realm.

Dwelling in the Buddhas’ unobstructed wisdom of the genuine meaning,
All wondrous karma is completely proclaimed.
He’s able to cause measureless living beings,
To totally cut off delusion and karma, and to go towards nirvana.

His wisdom light is like the pure sun,
His many practices are perfect like the full moon,
His merit and virtue is always overflowing like the great ocean,
He’s undefiled and unobstructed, just like empty space.

Everywhere producing vows of limitless merit and virtue,
All of which bestow happiness upon all living beings;
Exhausting the boundaries of the future, relying on vows to practice,
He always diligently cultivates to cross over living beings.

His measureless great vows are difficult to conceive,
He vows to cause living beings to be completely pure.
His vows are empty, without appearances or a place or reliance;
Because of the strength of his vows, everything clearly manifests.  

Commentary:

By means of the cause of bringing forth the vast mind, on the causal ground, the Bodhisattva who has brought forth the Bodhi mind produces a vast mind and vows. He vows to cross over all iving beings, to cut off all afflictions, to learn all Buddha dharmas, and to perfect the unsurpassed path of the Buddha. One is then able to cultivate the Six Paramitas. Because one has produced vast vows, one is able to cultivate the Sic Paramitas of giving, upholding precepts, patience, vigor, dhyana concentration, and wisdom. Encouraging all beings to practice proper conduct – he’s able to exhort all beings to cultivate the proper conduct of Bodhi, And to receive peace and happiness within the triple realm. Within the desire, form, and formless realms he always causes all beings to obtain security and joy.

Dwelling in the Buddhas’ unobstructed wisdom of the genuine meaning. He’s able to abide in the Buddhas’ state of the completely fused, unobstructed, substance of the Real Mark, that is, genuine wisdom. All wondrous karma is completely proclaimed. He proclaims and explains all the subtle and wondrous dharma doors for living beings in order to teach and transform them. He’s able to cause measureless living beings / To totally cut off delusion and karma, and to go towards nirvana. He is able to cause living beings to cut off karma and delusion, and to cultivate the dharma of still extinction. Delusion includes coarse delusion, subtle delusion, the delusion like dust and sand, as well as view delusion, delusion of self, and the delusion of ignorance, all of these various kinds of delusion.

His wisdom light is like the pure sun. The Buddha’s wisdom light and the wisdom light cultivated and perfected by the Bodhisattva are like the pure sun. His many practices are perfect like the full moon. The Six Perfections and Ten Thousand Practices, which the Bodhisattva has cultivated to perfection, are complete like the full moon. His merit and virtue is always overflowing like the great ocean. All of his merit and virtue, whether great or small, is always overflowing, full and complete. The same as the great ocean. All of the riverlets return to the ocean. And He’s undefiled and unobstructed, just like empty space. He is also without defilement or the slightest bit of obstruction, just like empty space.

Everywhere producing vows of limitless merit and virtue. The Bodhisattva brings forth vows of measureless, limitless, great merit and virtue, All of which bestow happiness upon all living beings. He wishes to give all beings all kinds of happiness. Exhausting the boundaries of the future, relying on vows to practice. It’s not that he just cultivates like this for a single life, but in life after life, exhausting the boundaries of the future, he cultivates in this way, and relies on his vows to practice. He always diligently cultivates to cross over living beings. He is forever without laziness, as he courageously and vigorously cultivates in order to widely cross over all beings.

His measureless great vows are difficult to conceive. The measureless, limitless great vows which the Bodhisattva has produced are truly inconceivable. He vows to cause living beings to be completely pure. He makes vows because he wants all beings to obtain purity. His vows are empty, without appearances or a place or reliance. Everything that the Bodhisattva cultivates is without attachment, empty, and without a single mark. So although he makes vows, he is not attached to them. He also doesn’t rely on anything. Because of the strength of his vows, everything clearly manifests. Because of the power of the vows he’s made, everything whatsoever very clearly appears.

Sutra:

He comprehends that the self-nature is like empty space,
Still and extinct, and totally equal.
Dharma doors are numberless and ineffable,
For the sake of living beings he proclaims them without any attachments.

All the Thus Come Ones of the world systems of the ten directions,
Altogether laud bringing forth of the mind.
This mind is measureless and adorned with virtue;
It is able to arrive at the other shore, the same as the Buddha.

Throughout kalpas as numerous as living beings--
In speaking of its merit and virtue--still it cannot be exhausted.
It abides in the vast household of the Thus Come Ones;
No Dharmas of the triple realm can compare with it.

Desiring to know all Buddhadharmas,
One should quickly bring forth the Bodhi mind!
This mind amongst all merit and virtue, is the most supreme.
One will certainly obtain the Thus Come One’s unobstructed wisdom.

The activities in the minds of living beings can be calculated and known;
Lands’ particles of dust are the same way.
The limits of space can readily be measured,
Yet the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind cannot be fathomed.

Commentary:

He comprehends that the self-nature is like empty space. The Bodhisattva comprehends that the Self-nature of all dharmas is like empty space. It is Still and extinct, and totally equal. The basic substance of dharmas is still and extinct, and level and equal. Dharma doors are numberless and ineffable. And he knows that dharma doors are also numberless, measureless, limitless, and ineffably ineffable in number. For the sake of living beings he proclaims them without any attachments. Although dharma doors are ineffably ineffable, he wishes to teach and transform, rescue and cross over living beings. Within the ineffable the Dharma is spoken for them. Yet when he speaks Dharma he’s without any attachment.

All the Thus Come Ones of the world systems of the ten directions, Altogether laud bringing forth of the mind. All of them together laud and praise the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind. This mind is measureless and adorned with virtue. The merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind is measureless, limitless and cannot be spoken of completely. It is adorned by all merit and virtue. It is able to arrive at the other shore, the same as the Buddha. The merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind is able to arrive at the other shore of Nirvana. It is of the same substance as the Buddha.

Throughout kalpas as numerous as living beings, throughout great kalpas as many as living beings -- In speaking of its merit and virtue--still it cannot be exhausted. One cannot finish speaking of the merit and virtue of first bringing forth the mind. It abides in the vast household of the Thus Come Ones. Because of the merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind, the Bodhisattva abides in the home of the Buddhas, and No Dharmas of the triple realm can compare with it. None of the dharmas and analogies of the desire, form, and formless realms can compare with the merit and virtue from first bringing froth the mind.

Desiring to know all Buddhadharmas. If one wishes to understand all the dharmas spoken by the Buddha, One should quickly bring forth the Bodhi mind! One should certainly bring forth the Bodhi mind quickly. This mind amongst all merit and virtue, is the most supreme. Amongst all merit and virtue, the Bodhi mind is the most supreme, and One will certainly obtain the Thus Come One’s unobstructed wisdom. One will surely obtain the Buddha’s wisdom which is without any obstruction.

The activities in the minds of living beings can be calculated and known. It is possible to figure out the number of minds of living beings, what they think, and their different kinds of behavior. Also, Lands’ particles of dust are the same way. One can also figure out how many particles of dust there are in all lands. The limits of space can readily be measured. Although space has no boundaries, one can still measure and determine its limits, Yet the merit and virtue from bringing forth the mind cannot be fathomed. However, no one is able to fathom and know how great is the merit and virtue from bringing forth the Bodhi mind.

Sutra: 

It produces all Buddhas of the three periods of time;
It achieves all the happiness of the worlds.
Increasing all supreme merit and virtue,
It forever cuts off all doubts and delusions.

Revealing and proclaiming all wondrous states,
Exhaustively doing away with all obstructions,
It brings to completion all pure kshetras,
And produces the wisdom of all Thus Come Ones.

If one wishes to see all Buddhas of the ten directions,
If one wishes to give an inexhaustible treasury of merit and virtue,
And if one wants to put and end to living beings’ sufferings and afflictions,
One should quickly bring forth the Bodhi mind!  

Commentary:

Why does the text say that no one is able to know of fathom the merit and virtue from first bringing forth the Bodhi mind? Because It produces all Buddhas of the three periods of time. All Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time come into being because of the Bodhi mind. It achieves all the happiness of the worlds. All the various kinds of bliss come from bringing forth the Bodhi mind. Increasing all supreme merit and virtue. The Bodhi mind is able to increase all supreme merit and virtue. It forever cuts off all doubts and delusions. It forever cuts off the karmic obstruction of all doubts.

Revealing and proclaiming all wondrous states / Exhaustively doing away with all obstruction. If you bring forth the Bodhi mind you can get rid of whatever obstructions you have, as It brings to completion all pure kshetras. It brings to completion and adorns all the pure Buddha kshetras of the ten directions, And produces the wisdom of all Thus Come Ones.

If one wishes to see all Buddhas of the ten directions – don’t you wish to see the Buddhas? Then you should bring forth the Bodhi mind. If you do so, you can see the Buddhas of the ten directions. If one wishes to give an inexhaustible treasury of merit and virtue, if you wish to achieve a measureless, limitless, and endless treasury of merit and virtue, you should also bring forth the Bodhi mind. And if one wants to put and end to living beings’ sufferings and afflictions – if you wish to end and destroy living beings’ sufferings and difficulties, then you should very quickly bring forth the Bodhi mind. So the text concludes with this exhortation, One should quickly bring forth the Bodhi mind!

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