THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapters: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16 * 17 * 18 * 19 * 20 * 21 * 22 * 23
24 * 25 * 26 * 27 * 28 * 29 * 30 * 31 * 32 * 33 * 34 * 35 * 36 * 37 * 38 * 39 * 40 * contents * previous * next

A Commentary by the Venerable Master
Hsuan Hua

The Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries

Twenty-Two

Sutra:

The Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries, Chapter 22

Commentary:

In the Flower Adornment Sutra every Dharma door is explained in ten ways. Each of the ten ways further divides into ten aspects—making a hundred parts. Each of the hundred parts again divides into ten, making a thousand kinds. Dividing each of those kinds into ten gives ten thousand. In other words, the meanings and principles in the Flower Adornment Sutra are multi-layered and inexhaustible, inexhaustible and multi-layered. These principles can be spoken to the ends of future kalpas and still not be finished, so the title of this chapter reads The Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries. “Treasuries” refers to the unending Dharmas contained herein. This is Chapter 22 of the Flower Adornment Sutra.

Sutra:

At that time, Forest of Merit and Virtue Bodhisattva further told all the Bodhisattvas, “Disciples of the Buddha, Bodhisattva Mahasattvas have ten kinds of treasuries which all the Buddhas of the past have spoken about, all the Buddhas of the future will speak about, and all the Buddhas of the present are speaking about.

Commentary:

At the time of speaking the Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries Chapter--At that time, Forest of Merit and Virtue Bodhisattva further told all the Bodhisattvas; “Disciples of the Buddha, Bodhisattva Mahasattvas have ten kinds of treasuries. A great Bodhisattva among Bodhisattvas has ten kinds of Dharma treasuries which he should cultivate. They are those which all the Buddhas of the past have spoken about, all the Buddhas of the future will speak about, and all the Buddhas of the present are speaking about. All the Buddhas of the past have already expounded them; all the Buddhas of the future will expound them; and all the Buddhas of the present are expounding them right now. Right now they are speaking about the Ten Treasuries Dharma door and teaching and transforming living beings.

Sutra:

“What are the ten? They are the Treasury of Belief, the Treasury of Precepts, the Treasury of Shame, the Treasury of Remorse, the Treasury of Learning, the Treasury of Giving, the Treasury of Wisdom, the Treasury of Mindfulness, the Treasury of Upholding, and the Treasury of Eloquence. Those are the ten.

Commentary:

What are the ten Dharma Treasuries? They are as follows: the Treasury of Belief, the Treasury of Precepts, the Treasury of Shame, the Treasury of Remorse, the Treasury of Learning, the Treasury of Giving, the Treasury of Wisdom, the Treasury of Mindfulness, the Treasury of Upholding, and the Treasury of Eloquence. At present, I’ll just name the ten Dharma Treasuries and then afterwards I’ll speak about them in detail. Those are the ten Dharma Treasury Dharma doors . From out of these ten Dharma Treasuries come all the Buddhas of the past, future, and present. These Ten Dharma Treasuries are their mother.

I. The Treasury of Belief

Sutra:

“Disciples of the Buddha, what is the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas’ Treasury of Belief?

Commentary:

“Each of you Disciples of the Buddha ought to pay attention because now I am going to explain them for you in detail.” Forest of Merit and Virtue Bodhisattva, concerned that the Bodhisattvas wouldn’t pay attention, compassionately calls out again to all the disciples of the Buddha. He says, “Disciples of the Buddha.” He isn’t afraid of the trouble of repeating himself. He is concerned that there are Bodhisattvas there who have entered samadhi, or have fallen asleep, or who are almost asleep, but not quite, so they aren’t able to hear the Dharma he is speaking, so he again says, “Disciples of the Buddha, you ought to strike up your spirits and not be so lazy! I’m going to talk about this Dharma door of the Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries.” What is the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas’ Treasury of Belief? I’m going to tell you now.

Sutra:

“These Bodhisattvas believe that all Dharmas are empty. They believe that all Dharmas are without an appearance. They believe that all Dharmas are wishless. They believe that all Dharmas are without creation. They believe that all Dharmas are without distinctions. They believe that all Dharmas are without reliance. They believe that all Dharmas are not able to be measured. They believe that all Dharmas are Unsurpassed. They believe that all Dharmas are difficult to transcend. They believe that all Dharmas are without production.

Commentary:

“These great Bodhisattvas among Bodhisattvas believe that all Dharmas are empty. All dharmas are void; they are still and extinct. As it is said, “Sweep away all dharmas and separate from all marks.” They believe that all dharmas are without a mark. They truly believe that all dharmas are empty, and since dharmas are empty, they have no mark and they are still and extinct. The still extinction of all dharmas can’t be spoken about. Penetrating the basic substance of dharmas, the way of words and speech is cut off and the place where the mind moves is extinguished. They believe that all Dharmas are without an appearance. They believe that all Dharmas are wishless, without motives. When you cultivate the Dharma, don’t be greedy. Don’t say, “I want to obtain such and such a benefit. I want to be such and such a way.” That’s false thinking. The Dharma is empty, markless, and wishless. There is no mark and there is no wish. They believe that all Dharmas are without creation. There is no maker and there is nothing made. They believe that all Dharmas are without distinctions. They are unable to say, “My dharma is high and yours is low. My dharma is good, and your dharma is bad.” They don’t harbor any discrimination. They believe that all Dharmas are without reliance. All dharmas have nothing that they rely on to be created.

They believe that all Dharmas are not able to be measured. They are incalculable. All dharmas are empty, markless, wishless, are without creation, without distinctions, and they don’t rely on anything. You also cannot measure them. You can’t even count them, there are so many. One way of explaining that they are uncountable is to say there are so many of them. Another way of explaining it is to say there isn’t even one. There isn’t anything at all. If there is nothing then how can you count something? If you have one, two, three, four, or maybe one foot, two feet, three feet, five feet, you could measure them and calculate them. But if basically there isn’t anything, then what can you count? To do so would be adding a head on top of your head.

They believe that all Dharmas are Unsurpassed. You should believe that although all dharmas are immeasurable and empty, still there is nothing superior to these dharmas. All dharmas are extremely supreme, profound, and mysterious. They believe that all Dharmas are difficult to transcend. You can’t go beyond all dharmas. They believe that all Dharmas are without production. Ultimately, dharmas are not produced.

Sutra:

“If Bodhisattvas can accord with all dharmas in this way, then after they give rise to pure belief, when they hear that all Buddhadharmas are inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that all Buddhas are inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the realm of living beings is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the Dharma Realm is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the realm of empty space is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the realm of nirvana is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid.

Commentary:

“If Bodhisattvas can accord with all dharmas in this way, if Bodhisattvas contemplate that all dharmas are void, without marks or wishes; that all dharmas are not created; that all dharmas are without distinctions; that all dharmas are without reliance; that all dharmas are immeasurable; that all dharmas are unsurpassed; that all dharmas can’t be transcended; and that all dharmas are not produced, then after they give rise to pure belief, they will be without any attachments to marks. When they hear that all Buddhadharmas are inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. They hear that all dharmas cannot be considered by the mind and cannot be spoken of by words. Some people who hear this might become very frightened and say, “Oh, you can’t think about it and you can’t speak about it, what kind of dharma is this?! Oh, I’m not going to study this!” Their minds will become afraid. They’ll retreat. They won’t study the Buddhadharma. They won’t dare even listen to it.

When they hear that all Buddhas are inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When Bodhisattvas hear that all Buddhas are unthinkable and unspeakable, that they are ineffably wonderful, their minds will be undaunted. The Bodhisattvas have samadhi power. Although they know that all Buddhas and all dharmas are inconceivable and ineffable, their minds remain in a state of unmoving suchness, comprehending and always lucid.

When they hear that the realm of living beings is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that all the realms of living beings are also inconceivable and ineffable, their minds won’t retreat. They are not intimidated.

When they hear that the Dharma Realm is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the realm of empty space is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the realm of nirvana is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When people hear that all afflictions can disappear, and all habits can be cut off they say, “ How can I do without afflictions when I take afflictions as my meal?” If you tell most ordinary people not to have any afflictions, they’d say, “That’s impossible!” For instance, there is a laywoman who was always sick, and she came here to ask me what to do. She wanted to know how she could get her sickness cured. I told her that if she didn’t have any afflictions and didn’t get angry, her sickness would be cured.

She said, “I can’t do that, I can’t do it.”

I said, “If you can’t do it then your sickness won’t get any better.”

She said, “Well, I’ll go try.” So she tried. She was patient and she bore it, but several times she couldn’t take it and got angry. When she got angry she had afflictions and her blood pressure went up. Her blood pressure was up..up..up…I don’t know how high it got and she had to go into the hospital. She was almost dying—it was so bad. Then she remembered that I told her if she had no afflictions her sickness would get better. So she got control of her temper and put out her fire, and her sickness got better. Later she said, “I am very afraid I’m going to die when my blood pressure goes up, so I recite and request you to please come save me.” I said, “You’re,

One who doesn’t light incense when everything is going all right.
But embraces the Buddha’s feet when something goes wrong.

When you are sick you ask me to save you and when you don’t have any sickness, you don’t think about it.” If you don’t have any afflictions then you won’t get sick.

Nirvana is just the absence of afflictions. It’s tranquil, perfect, still, ultimate and devoid of afflictions. Some people hear others tell them to not have afflictions and it scares them. They say, “I can’t separate from my afflictions. I thrive on my afflictions. When I get mad I don’t have to eat but I get full.” Then go ahead, eat temper everyday, eat afflictions!

Sutra:

“When they hear that the past is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the future is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the present is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that entering every kalpa is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid.

Commentary:

“When they hear that the past is inconceivable, that all the time periods of the past are inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the future is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear that the present is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. Their minds don’t retreat. When they hear that entering every kalpa is inconceivable, their minds are not afraid. When they hear about entering all kalpas, cultivating throughout all great kalpas no matter how long they are, staying in those kalpas and taking across all living beings everywhere, they are not daunted. They enter all kalpas to teach and transform living beings. They do not become frightened or lose heart. That is inconceivable also.

Sutra:

“Why not? These Bodhisattvas, residing in the places of Buddhas, have thoroughly solid faith. They know that the Buddhas’ wisdom is boundless and inexhaustible. In each and every one of the limitless worlds of the ten directions, there are limitless Buddhas who have already attained, are now attaining, or will attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. They have already come into the world, are now coming into the world, or will come into the world. They have already entered Nirvana, are now entering Nirvana, or will enter Nirvana. The wisdom of these Buddhas does not increase, does not decrease; is not produced, is not destroyed; does not progress, does not retreat; is not near, is not far; is without knowing and without rejecting.

These Bodhisattvas enter into the Buddhas’ wisdom and accomplish boundless, inexhaustible belief. After they attain this belief, their minds do not retreat. Their minds do not become scattered or confused. They are indestructible and undefiled. They always have a foundation. They accord with sages, and dwell in the household of the Thus Come Ones.

Commentary:

When Bodhisattvas hear of these inconceivable states, they are not afraid. Instead, it causes their resolve for Bodhi to increase and grow, their bravery and fearlessness to grow, and also causes them to become even more vigorous. Why is it that the Bodhisattvas do not become afraid?

“Why not? These Bodhisattvas who cultivate the Ten Inexhaustible Treasuries and who are residing in the places of Buddhas, have thoroughly solid faith. From beginningless kalpas past and up until the time of Shakyamuni Buddha’s ocean-like Avatamsaka Assembly, these Bodhisattvas have maintained strong, secure, and adamantine faith in the Bodhi-Way. They know that the Buddhas’ wisdom is boundless and inexhaustible. They have profound faith in the Buddhadharma; they know and understand that the Buddha’s wisdom has no boundary, no limit, and that it does not come to an end. The Buddhas’ wisdom is such that you could never finish describing it, even if you talked to the ends of the bounds of future time.

In each and every one of the limitless worlds of the ten directions, not only in the Saha world, but all the way up through the limitless worlds in the ten directions, there are limitless Buddhas. Each world has a Buddha who comes to be born there, and because worlds are limitless, Buddhas are also limitless. One doesn’t know how many there are; their number is uncountable. You can also say that for however many living beings there are in all the worlds in the ten directions, there are that many Buddhas, because each living being is a future Buddha. The Buddhas of the past are Buddhas who have already accomplished Buddhahood, the Buddhas of the present are Buddhas who are presently accomplishing Buddhahood, and the Buddhas of the future are all living beings who will in the future become Buddhas. These are Buddhas who have already attained, are now attaining, or will attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the Unsurpassed, Proper, Equal and Right Enlightenment . They have already come into the world, are now coming into the world, or will come into the world. They have already entered Nirvana, the Buddhas of the past have already entered Nirvana. They are now entering Nirvana. The Buddhas of the present are now entering Nirvana. Or they will enter Nirvana.

Nirvana is putting an end to affliction. When afflictions are extinguished then one arrives at the other shore. This is Nirvana. We have vowed:

“Afflictions are endless, I vow to cut them off.”

Although it says we vow to cut off inexhaustible afflictions, now I say we don’t have to cut them off. Why not? The Buddhas’ Sutras say that afflictions are just Bodhi. So if you cut off afflictions, then you do away with Bodhi as well. Then what should you do? You should transform afflictions into Bodhi. But it is very difficult to transform them. Afflictions include hatred, in other words, your bad temper, your fire of ignorance. I have a verse that I would like to quote:

Before, in the past, the flames of my rage
Flared higher than the heavens,
Consuming a forest of merit and virtue.
Thus I now reap a bitter retribution.

The fire of my hatred was so great it burned through the Heaven of the Thirty-Three. Fire burns up the First Dhyana, water submerges the Second Dhyana, and wind tears down the Third Dhyana. If there was merit and virtue at all in my cultivation, I burned it all up. For this reason, I now endure the retribution of suffering, so I only eat once a day and cause all of you young people with wealth and good position to join me in enduring this suffering. That I should undergo it is appropriate. That you should do it is unjustified, and you have chosen to do it voluntarily.

In my case, my huge temper burned up an entire forest of merit and virtue. So you shouldn’t imitate your teacher’s temper. If you say, “Oh, my teacher’s temper is really great and I want to study this with him.” If you do this, in the future you will fall into the hells. You shouldn’t study this. Even if you want to study this, I won’t transmit it to you, because I already know that this is wrong. I already know that the fire of my ignorance is taller than the heavens, and so, in this wealthy country with so much abundance and blessings, I have to undergo this kind of suffering. Only eating once a day is very difficult. If you don’t believe it, you can look around everywhere in the world. You won’t find groups of people as large as ours cultivating this practice. Maybe there will be a few people, but not a lot.

You should all realize that not only is affliction harmful to other people, it is also harmful to oneself. Newton’s second law of motion says: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Your anger creates a negative reaction. Even if you haven’t actually lost your temper, if you are displeased with another person, your bad vibrations—your “telegram”—has already gone out to the other person. They receive these waves and they have a reaction to your anger before you even display it overtly. They have already gotten upset. What proof is there to this principle? Just look at people, whether they have conditions with one another or not. No matter how good you are to some people, it doesn’t seem to make a difference. You just don’t have affinities with them. It’s just like me—no matter how good I am to people, they still scold me. This includes my intelligent disciples. I don’t have any stupid disciples. None of them are as stupid as their teacher. If you don’t have affinities with people, then you are always unhappy with them. Although you don’t speak of it, the response to your vibrations will be negative. In other words they will not feel affinities toward you. So as you study the Buddhadharma, you shouldn’t study my anger. If you enter Nirvana, there are none of these problems. You simply cross over to quiescence. But because you haven’t crossed over yet, you have all these troubles.

The wisdom of these Buddhas does not increase, does not decrease; is not produced, is not destroyed; does not increase, does not decrease; is not produced, is not destroyed; does not progress, does not retreat. The Bodhisattvas cultivate constantly and unchangingly. You may not be aware of their progress, but there is also no retreating. “The ordinary mind is the Way.” When the Bodhisattvas cultivate, they embrace the three concepts of firmness, sincerity, and constancy. They have firm faith, are extremely sincere, and are constantly steady in their practice. They do not retreat.

The Buddhas’ wisdom is also not near and is not far. Bodhisattvas feel they are cultivating without cultivating and certifying without certifying. They cultivate as if nothing were going on. When they cultivate the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Practices, they are just fulfilling their responsibility and practicing what they ought to cultivate. They don’t feel they are close or far away from the Buddhadharma. They are constantly immersed in cultivating the Buddhadharma. Although they understand all dharmas and illumine all dharmas, they don’t have the attachment of knowledge and do not renounce them. They are without knowing and without rejecting. They can renounce everything, but they don’t feel that they’ve given up anything. How can they be this way? These Bodhisattvas enter into the Buddhas’ wisdom and accomplish boundless, inexhaustible belief. Their faith has no end and no limits. After they attain this belief, this kind of boundless, inexhaustible faith, this strong and stable faith, their minds do not retreat. They have reached irreversibility, constantly holding to the Middle Way. Embracing this unshakable faith, their minds do not become scattered or confused. They are indestructible. No deviant knowledge, views, or speech of outside ways can break up their faith. And they are undefiled—the minds of the Bodhisattvas have no defiling attachment . To be without defilement is to be pure.

They always have a foundation in wisdom . They accord with sages and dwell in the household of the Thus Come Ones. They reside in the Buddhas’ home, constantly dwelling within the Buddhadharma, being permeated by it, and practicing it.

Sutra:

“They protect the seed nature of all Buddhas. They increase the faith and understanding of all Bodhisattvas. They comply with all Thus Come Ones’ good roots, and they give rise to the expedients of all Buddhas.

This is called the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas’ Treasury of Belief.

Commentary:

The home of the Buddha is the Way Place, the Bodhimanda. The Bodhimanda is just the straight mind of people. The straight mind is the home of the Thus Come One; the straight mind is Gold Mountain Monastery; the straight mind is the Bodhimanda. When Bodhisattvas dwell in the home of all Thus Come Ones, they must have some kind of work to do. What work? They protect the seed nature of all Buddhas. They keep the Buddhas’ lineage from being cut off, so that everyone can become accomplished in the Buddha-Way more quickly. They increase the faith and understanding of all Bodhisattvas. Day by day the Bodhisattvas increase their faith and increase the power of their understanding. They comply with all Thus Come Ones’ good roots. We must cultivate all the good roots the Buddhas cultivate. And they give rise to the expedients of all Buddhas. Since you accord with the good roots of all Buddhas, very naturally you can become a Buddha. After you become a Buddha, very naturally you can give rise to the expedient means of all Buddhas.

This is called the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas’ Treasury of Belief. All we have talked about is the Treasury of Belief that the Bodhisattva Mahasattva should cultivate.

Sutra:

“When Bodhisattvas dwell in this Treasury of Belief, they can hear and uphold all the Buddhadharma, speak it for living beings, and enable them to become enlightened.

Commentary:

“When Bodhisattvas dwell in this Treasury of Belief—Bodhisattvas always cultivate the Treasury of Belief. Why is that?

Faith is the source of the Way,
The mother of merit and virtue.
It nourishes all good dharmas.

If you have faith, you can cultivate the Buddhadharma. So it says, they can hear and uphold all the Buddhadharma. It is important to have faith when you listen to the Buddhadharma. If you don’t have faith, it’s impossible to listen to the Sutra lecture. To have belief fulfills the requirement of faith, listening fulfills the requirement of hearing, and upholding fulfills the requirement of receiving and maintaining. You take what you hear and put it into actual practice. Once you’ve heard it, you must speak it for living beings, and enable them to become enlightened. You must vastly proclaim it for all living beings. It’s not enough to just listen yourself. You want to cause all living beings to hear the Dharma and become enlightened.

previous * next * contents

return to top