THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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A Commentary by the Venerable Master
Hsuan Hua

Praises in the Tushita Heaven Palace

Chapter Twenty-Four

Commentary:

This chapter is still spoken in the Tushita Heaven Palace. Shakyamuni Buddha is in the Hall of All Jeweled Adornments speaking Dharma for the great assembly. He’s proclaiming the Avatamsaka Sutra. At that time there were a great many Bodhisattvas who had come from the ten directions. And in the ten directions, each direction had a Bodhisattva leader who spoke verses praising Shakyamuni Buddha. This is Chapter Twenty-Four. The entire title reads, Praises in the Tushita Heaven Palace, Chapter 24.

Sutra:

At that time, because of the Buddha’s spiritual power, in each of the ten directions there was a Great Bodhisattva, each of whom was accompanied by Bodhisattvas as many as dust motes in ten thousand Buddha kshetras. They were from worlds beyond lands to the number of dust motes in ten thousand Buddha kshetras, and they all came to the Buddha’s place.

Their names were: Vajra Banner Bodhisattva, Solid Banner Bodhisattva, Courageous Banner Bodhisattva, Bright Light Banner Bodhisattva, Wisdom Banner Bodhisattva, Jeweled Banner Bodhisattva, Vigorous Banner Bodhisattva, Apart-From-Filth Banner Bodhisattva, Constellation Banner Bodhisattva, and Dharma Banner Bodhisattva.

And the countries from which they came were called: Wonderful Jeweled World, Wonderful Bliss World, Wonderful Silver World, Wonderful Gold World, Wonderful Mani World, Wonderful Vajra World, Wonderful Padma World, Wonderful Utpala World, Wonderful Chandana World, and Wonderful Fragrance World.

Commentary :

The Buddha is in the Tushita Heaven Palace where he is speaking the Avatamsaka Sutra to the Dharma assembly--the great assembly. And while he is speaking Dharma, he is manifesting all kinds of adornments, all kinds of wonderful characteristics, all kinds of music, all kinds of clouds, and all kinds of flowers.

At that time, because of Shakyamuni Buddha’s great, awesome, spiritual power, in each of the ten directions there was a Great Bodhisattva. In the east, south, west and north--the four cardinal directions--there are four Bodhisattvas. In the northeast, southeast, southwest, and northwest--the four intermediary directions--there are also four great Bodhisattvas.

Also, above and below there are two Bodhisattvas. In each of the ten directions, there is a representative Bodhisattva, a leader among the Bodhisattvas. There were ten Bodhisattvas, each of whom was accompanied by Bodhisattvas as many as dust motes in ten thousand Buddha kshetras. Each Bodhisattva has as many Bodhisattvas along with him as there are numbers of dust motes in ten thousand Buddha lands. There are that many Bodhisattvas altogether! And They were from worlds beyond lands to the number of dust motes in ten thousand Buddha kshetras. They arrived from remote world systems farther away than ten thousand Buddha Kshetras. and they all came to the Buddha’s place. They came to Shakyamuni Buddha’s Avatamsaka Dharma Assembly. They are part of the influential assembly.

Their names were: Vajra Banner Bodhisattva. A Vajra banner is extremely sturdy, and tremendously solid. Since this Bodhisattva is like a Vajra banner, he was given that name. There is another Bodhisattva named Solid Banner Bodhisattva. He’s not Vajra; he’s “solid.” means that all of the heavenly demons and those of outside ways are unable to destroy him. Courageous Banner Bodhisattva is constantly vigorous and never rests. He’s courageous and vigorous at all times in teaching and transforming living beings.

Bright Light Banner Bodhisattva emits a bright light and within this light there is manifested a jeweled banner. Wisdom Banner Bodhisattva has wisdom which is extremely high, like a jeweled banner, and so he is called Wisdom Banner Bodhisattva. There is also Jeweled Banner Bodhisattva and then Vigorous Banner Bodhisattva, whose body and mind are vigorous throughout the day and night. And there is also a Bodhisattva named Apart-From-Filth Bodhisattva. He is without any defilements and is therefore pure. After Constellation Banner Bodhisattva comes Dharma Banner Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva raises the Dharma banner everywhere and destroys the net of doubt, layer by layer.

The countries from which they came were called: Wonderful Jeweled World . This is a country of splendid gems. Wonderful Bliss World is extremely and wonderfully blissful. They came from countries called Wonderful Silver World; Wonderful Gold World; Wonderful Mani World; and Wonderful Vajra World. They also came from the Wonderful Padma World. “Padma” is the red lotus flower. These Bodhisattvas came from the Red Lotus Flower World; Wonderful Utpala World--“Utpala” is the blue lotus flower; and Wonderful Chandana World. “Chandana” is a rare incense. They also came from the Wonderful Fragrance World. The Bodhisattvas arrived from that many worlds and they all came to the Bodhimanda.

Sutra:

Each of them had purely cultivated Brahma Conduct in the presence of the Buddhas, specifically: Inexhaustible Banner Buddha, Wind Banner Buddha, Liberation Banner Buddha, Awesome Manner Banner Buddha, Bright Mark Banner Buddha, Constant Banner Buddha, Most Supreme Banner Buddha, Comfortable Banner Buddha, Brahma Banner Buddha, and Contemplating Banner Buddha.

All of these Bodhisattvas having arrived at the Buddha’s place, bowed at the Buddha’s feet. Then using the Buddha’s spiritual power, they created by transformation wonderful jeweled treasury lion thrones. Jeweled nets covered and encircled them, filling every part. All of the multitudes of Bodhisattvas, according to the direction from which they came, sat on them in full lotus.

Their bodies all emitted hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of asamkhyeyas of pure bright light. This measureless light had arisen from the great vows of the Bodhisattvas’ pure mind-jewel, which is apart from the host of transgressions and evils.

Commentary:

Previously it was said that each of the Bodhisattvas, no matter which country he was from, came to be part of the influential Dharma assembly. And so they have come to the Buddha’s place from worlds in the ten directions. Throughout these worlds of the ten directions, they constantly follow the Buddhas in studying and cultivating the Buddhadharma. Each of them had purely cultivated Brahma Conduct in the presence of the Buddhas. Now, in the Tushita Heaven Dharma assembly, they all diligently cultivate Brahma conduct. In the past, they constantly cultivated pure Brahma conduct, so now they are apart from all defiles dharmas.

What were the names of the Buddhas’ places from which these Bodhisattvas had come? They were specifically: Inexhaustible Banner Buddha--some had come from the Bodhimanda of Inexhaustible Banner Buddha. Some had come from the Bodhimanda of Wind Banner Buddha. Some had come from the Bodhimanda of Liberation Banner Buddha. Some had come from the Bodhimanda of Awesome Manner Banner Buddha. Some had come from the Bodhimanda of Bright Mark Banner Buddha. Some had come from the Bodhimanda of Constant Banner Buddha. Some Bodhisattvas had come from the Bodhimanda of Most Supreme Banner Buddha.

Some Bodhisattvas had come from the Bodhimanda of Comfortable Banner Buddha. Some Bodhisattvas had come from the Bodhimanda of Brahma Banner Buddha. And some Bodhisattvas had come from the Bodhimanda of Contemplating Banner Buddha.

All of these Bodhisattvas, having arrived at the Buddha’s place , that is, before Shakyamuni Buddha, bowed at the Buddha’s feet. They reverently made prostrations before the Buddha. Then using the Buddha’s spiritual power--having received Shakyamuni Buddha’s great, awesome spiritual power--they created by transformation wonderful jeweled treasury lion thrones. Each of the Bodhisattvas manifested before himself, by transformation, a wonderful jeweled lion throne. Jeweled nets covered and encircled them, filling every part. Precious nets were hoisted up in empty space, encircling the thrones on all sides, and filling up all places.

All of the multitudes of Bodhisattvas, according to the direction from which they came, sat on them in full lotus. Each Bodhisattva manifested a throne in his own particular direction and then sat upon it in the Vajra full lotus position.

Their bodies all emitted hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of asamkhyeyas of pure bright light. Each of these Bodhisattvas released pure bright rays of light--uncountable, unfathomable, illimitable in number. And This measureless, pure bright light had arisen from the great vows of the Bodhisattvas’ pure mind-jewel, which is apart from the host of transgressions and evils. This light had emerged from the Bodhisattvas’ pure minds--pure jeweled minds--which were apart from transgressions. This is to say, their minds didn’t have any transgressions at all.

What are transgressions? They are your own thoughts of selfishness and seeking self-benefit. They come from your thoughts of not wishing for anyone else to know or see any of you faults. Bodhisattvas don’t have such thoughts. They don’t have thoughts of not wanting anyone to know their faults. “Arisen from great vows” means that the Bodhisattvas in the past, while on the causal ground, brought forth all kinds of great vows. It was because these great vows had been produced that now this measureless bright light was emitted.

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I often say that when I lecture Sutras, I don’t rely on the aid of commentaries. And so sometimes it’s possible that I might explain the meaning of the Sutra incorrectly. No matter who you are, if you look at the Sutra and see that I have lecture incorrectly, you ought to quickly let me and everyone else know. Don’t wait till tomorrow. We don’t want to make one mistake and then another mistake. This is very important--don’t make another mistake on top of the first mistake.

You’re all very polite. When I lecture incorrectly, you don’t dare speak out. Perhaps some of you are trying to be polite to your teacher. But I hope that you will not be afraid to speak out. When I say something incorrectly, you should quickly tell me. But of course, I myself hope that I won’t speak incorrectly. So, no matter who you are, use your true wisdom and correct me if you happen to think that I have not spoken in accord with principle, and I will definitely receive your correction.

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

Sutra:  

They displayed all of the Buddhas’ comfortable, pure Dharmas. Using all the Bodhisattvas’ level and equal power of vows, they were able to universally save and protect all living beings. All in the world were happy to see them. And their seeing was not in vain, for they all became subdued.

Commentary:

They displayed all of the Buddhas’ comfortable, pure Dharmas. “Displayed” means very clearly manifested. These Bodhisattvas who had come from the ten directions, very clearly manifested all Buddhas’ comfortable and pure Dharmas because they wanted to show all living beings how to cultivate them, too. If they didn’t wish to cause all living beings to also attain these comfortable and pure Dharmas, they wouldn’t need to manifest them. Why not? Because all Buddhas have already accomplished comfortable and pure Dharmas. Bodhisattvas already clearly understand about comfortable and pure Dharmas. But since living beings have not yet obtained them, and do not yet understand what comfortable and pure Dharma are, the Buddhas reveal them and the Bodhisattvas also display them.

Using all the Bodhisattvas’ level and equal power of vows, they were able to universally save and protect all living beings . They rely on the Bodhisattvas’ impartial power of vows made in the past to rescue all living beings alike. Bodhisattvas are not selective and do not make discriminations in saving and protecting all living beings. If any living being encounters tragedy or difficulty, the Bodhisattva comes and uses his compassionate hand and vows to rescue and save this living being.

All in the world were happy to see them. Living beings in the world like to see the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, And their seeing was not in vain. Whoever sees the Buddha plants good roots of Bodhi, so it says, “Their seeing was not in vain,” for they all became subdued. All the obstinate living beings who are hard to regulate and hard to subdue became subdued.

Sutra:

These multitudes of Bodhisattvas had already accomplished measureless merit and virtue, which is to say, they could pervasively roam throughout all Buddhas’ countries without obstruction. They could see the pure Dharma body which was without reliance. By means of the wisdom body, they manifested measureless bodies.

They pervaded the ten directions to serve all Buddhas, and entered into all Buddhas’ measureless, boundless, inconceivable, Dharmas of self-mastery. They dwelt in measureless doors of All-Wisdom. With the bright light of wisdom they understood well all Dharmas. In the midst of all Dharmas they attained fearlessness, and accordingly proclaimed the Dharma with unending eloquence, to the exhaustion of the boundaries of the future. By means of great wisdom, they opened Dharani doors.

Commentary:

These multitudes of Bodhisattvas--these great Bodhisattvas who came together from the ten directions--had already accomplished measureless merit and virtue. They have perfected innumerable merit and virtue. And they are pleased that all living beings can also attain and accomplish measureless merit and virtue, which is to say, they could pervasively roam throughout all Buddhas’ countries without obstruction. They have attained measureless merit and virtue which enables them to “pervasively roam throughout all Buddhas’ countries without obstruction.”

They could see the pure Dharma body which was without reliance. The Dharma body has no place of reliance. It’s not present, and it’s not absent. The pure Dharma body Vairochana Buddha pervades all places. Since it pervades all places, it doesn’t have to rely on anything. And because it doesn’t rely on anything, it’s called the pure Dharma body.

By means of the wisdom body, they manifested measureless bodies . They use the substance and nature of wisdom to manifest measureless bodies. They pervaded the ten directions to serve all Buddhas. They travel comfortably to absolutely everywhere to serve all Buddhas. They have this kind of merit and virtue. And they entered into all Buddhas’ measureless, boundless, inconceivable, Dharmas of self-mastery. They also are able to deeply enter all Buddhas’ measureless, boundless, inconceivable, comfortable dharmas. These are free and easy dharmas.

Moreover, They dwelt in measureless doors of All-Wisdom. And With the bright light of wisdom they understood well all Dharmas. By means of the bright light of wisdom they are able to clearly understand all dharmas. In the midst of all Dharmas they attained fearlessness. They are able to speak the Dharma without trepidation. They can skillfully speak all Dharmas without fear. And they accordingly proclaimed the Dharma. They speak and lecture Dharma to all who come, with unending eloquence , to the exhaustion of the boundaries of the future. To the exhaustion of the future ages they explain the Dharma, and their eloquence is cleaver and expedient and inexhaustible.

By means of great wisdom, they opened Dharani doors . Using their greatest amount of wisdom, they open up and explain the Dharani Dharma doors, the doors of “uniting and holding.”

Sutra:

With the pure wisdom eye, they entered the profound Dharma Realm. Their states of wisdom had no boundaries, being ultimately pure, like empty space.

Just as it is in the Tushita Heaven Palace of this world where all of the multitudes of Bodhisattvas came and assembled in this way, so too, in all of the Tushita Heaven Palaces of the ten directions, all those Bodhisattvas having the same name also came and assembled together. And in those countries from where they came, all the Buddhas’ names were identical with these, without any discrimination.

At that time, from the wheels of the World Honored One’s two knees, there was emitted hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of bright light, which universally illumined all worlds in the ten directions, to the exhaustion of the Dharma realm and the realm of empty space. In all worlds, all those Bodhisattvas could see the appearance of this Buddha’s spiritual transformations, and all these Bodhisattvas could also see the appearance of the spiritual transformations of all those Thus Come Ones.

Commentary:

With the pure wisdom eye, they entered the profound Dharma Realm. All of these great Bodhisattvas have pure Wisdom Eyes. They pervasively enter the Dharma Realm. They take the Dharma Realm as their mind. They take the Dharma Realm as their body. And they take the Dharma Realm as their nature.

Their states of wisdom had no boundaries. This kind of wisdom is the highest state of wisdom, and it has no boundaries. It also doesn’t have a number or measure. It is ultimately pure. In general, the Wisdom Eyes is like empty space. And now the Sutra gives an analogy. What is it like? It’s like empty space, with nothing at all in it.

Just as it is in the Tushita Heaven Palace of this world--this Saha World--where all of the multitudes of Bodhisattvas came and assembled in this way--all the great Bodhisattvas came and assembled at the Tushita Heaven Palace, so too, in all of the Tushita Heaven Palaces of the ten directions, all those Bodhisattvas having the same name also came and assembled together. Within the Tushita Heaven Palace in the Saha World, there are a great many Bodhisattva attending the Dharma assembly. Within the Tushita Heaven Palaces in all worlds throughout the ten directions there are Bodhisattvas with names identical to those in the Saha World’s Tushita Heaven Palace, who come and assemble together in the same way.

And in those countries from where they came, all the Buddhas’ names were identical with these, without any discrimination. Their names are also the same. This is to say that the Buddha’s Dharma body pervades all places. This place has Buddhas; other places also have Buddhas. The Buddhas are in all places. This place has Bodhisattvas; other places also have Bodhisattvas. And these Bodhisattvas and those Bodhisattvas all have the same name. So, are they just one?

Originally, there weren’t two, but let’s use a present-day analogy to try and explain it. You all understand television. In one house, there is a television and a certain image appears on the screen. In another house, it is also the same. We people rely on the scientific invention of television to make appear certain states. This is an analogy for the Buddha speaking Dharma in the Tushita Heaven Palace in the Saha World while the same Buddha appears in all worlds to speak the Dharma. We can use the principle of television as an analogy, but the realm of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas far surpasses and transcends this state. And so, these Bodhisattvas with the same name have all come and assembled together.

Moreover, in those countries where they came from, “All the Buddhas’ names were identical.” They all had the same name, “Without any discrimination.” There wasn’t any difference in all those Buddhas’ titles. And so it is said,

The one is measureless;
The measureless is just one.

This is the state of the unobstruction of phenomena with phenomena.

At that time, right then, from the wheels of the World Honored One’s--Shakyamuni Buddha’s--two knees, there was emitted hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of bright light--so many dazzling rays--which universally illumined all worlds in the ten directions, to the exhaustion of the Dharma realm and the realm of empty space. That light shines to the ends of the Dharma Realm and empty space.

In all worlds of the ten directions, all those Bodhisattvas could see the appearance of this Buddha’s spiritual transformations. The Bodhisattvas in the worlds of the ten directions can see the Buddha and all the Bodhisattvas in the Saha World. They can see the power of Shakyamuni Buddha’s spiritual penetrations. And, conversely, all these Bodhisattvas in the Saha World, could also see, throughout the worlds of the ten directions, the appearance of the spiritual transformations of all those Thus Come Ones. They can also see the marks of all those Thus Come Ones’ spiritual changes throughout the worlds of the ten directions, and these appearance are all the same.

Sutra:

All of these Bodhisattvas had, in the past together with Vairochana Thus Come One, planted identical good roots, and cultivated the Bodhisattva conduct. They had already awakened to and entered all Buddhas’ comfortable, most profound liberation, and had attained the non-discriminating body of the Dharma Realm.

Commentary:

All of these Bodhisattvas in this world--the Saha World, and all the other worlds of the ten directions--are now gathered together. They convene at the Tushita Heaven Palace in the Saha World and at the same time at the Tushita Heaven Palace throughout all worlds everywhere. Every one of them had, in the past , been together with Vairochana Thus Come One. They had planted identical good roots. During the time when Shakyamuni Buddha was on the causal ground, they cultivated the same practices and planted the same good roots, and cultivated the Bodhisattva conduct. They practiced the Bodhisattva Way on the causal ground. They had already awakened to and entered all Buddhas’ comfortable, most profound liberation.

Just as Shakyamuni Buddha had accomplished Buddhahood, all of these Bodhisattvas had also all awakened and entered “all Buddhas’ comfortable, most profound liberation.” They perfected the Buddhas’ self-mastery, and attained the Buddhas’ liberation. Once awakened, they clearly understood the Buddhas’ most profound liberation. and had attained the non-discriminating body of the Dharma Realm. They had all obtained the non-differentiating Dharma Realm body. They took the Dharma Realm as their substance, as their body. They accomplished the Dharma Realm’s principle and substance.

Sutra:

They entered all lands, without having a place of dwelling. They saw measureless Buddhas and went to serve them all. Within a single thought, they traveled throughout the Dharma Realm, comfortably and without obstruction. Their minds and thoughts were pure, like priceless jewels. All the measureless, numberless Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, constantly aided them with protective mindfulness, and together endowed them with strength. They had ultimately reached the foremost other shore.

Constantly, by means of pure mindfulness, they dwelt in Unsurpassed Enlightenment. In thought after thought they constantly entered the places of All-Wisdom. By means of the small they entered the great. By means of the great, they entered the small, having completely attained self-mastery and unobstructed penetration. Having already attained the Buddha’s body, they dwelt together with the Buddhas.

Commentary:

They entered all lands . Because the Bodhisattvas have attained the Dharma body of non-discrimination, they can, by means of this Dharma body, enter all lands. Because they have realized the Wisdom body of the Dharma Realm and because all lands are contained within the Dharma Realm, they don’t have to go outside the Dharma Realm and are able to enter all lands.

They enter all lands without having a place of dwelling. They dwell nowhere and yet there is nowhere they do not dwell. Not anywhere, yet everywhere. This is because the Bodhisattva’s body does not dwell, and yet does not not dwell; it’s not anywhere, yet, it’s everywhere.

They saw measureless Buddhas. These measureless Buddhas also are within the Dharma Realm. From beginningless time these Bodhisattvas have taken the Dharma Realm as their body, as they drew near and made offerings to these measureless Buddhas, and went to serve them all. They go before the Buddhas to serve and make offerings to them. Within a single thought, they traveled throughout the Dharma Realm. One thought can encompass the Dharma Realm, and the Dharma Realm is all in one thought. They went comfortably and without obstruction. Why is it that in a single thought these Bodhisattvas can pervade throughout the Dharma Realm? It’s because they have attained the state of unobstructed comfort. Their minds and thoughts were pure, like priceless jewels. Their minds are the same as empty space, also like priceless gems whose value cannot be know.

All the measureless, numberless Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, constantly aided them with protective mindfulness . All Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, constantly help these Bodhisattvas with protection and mindfulness. and together endowed them with strength. Each of the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions, by means of the spiritual strength of the Buddha, is able to aid and protect these Bodhisattvas. They had ultimately reached the foremost other shore. Moreover, they are able to arrive at the complete, perfect, foremost Paramita, “the other shore.”

Constantly, by means of pure mindfulness, they dwelt in Unsurpassed Enlightenment. By means of pure, undefiled thoughts, they forever dwell in unsurpassed enlightenment, the unsurpassed wisdom sea of enlightenment. In thought after thought they constantly entered the places of All-Wisdom. They are able to dwell in the wisdom-sea of enlightenment. And so, in thought after thought they constantly enter the place of All-Wisdom. In every moment they constantly, deeply enter this state of wisdom.

By means of the small they entered the great . They are able to form an entire world-system by means of dust motes. And from this world system, they are able to enter into a dust mote. So it says, By means of the great, they entered the small. For them the great and small are mutually and perfectly fuse and unobstructed. This is due to their having completely attained self-mastery and unobstructed penetration. The Bodhisattvas have completely attained comfort, ease, and convenience of transport without obstruction. They have all penetrated through to that state.

Having already attained the Buddha’s body, they dwelt together with the Buddhas . Why are they like this? Because they have already attained the Buddha’s Dharma body, and so they dwell in the same place as the Buddhas and are the same as all Buddhas.

Sutra:

They had obtained All-Wisdom. Their bodies had come forth from All-Wisdom. They were all able to accordingly enter the places of all Thus Come Ones’ practices. They opened and revealed measureless Dharma doors of wisdom. They reached the other shore of Vajra Banner’s great wisdom. They obtained the Vajra Samadhi and cut off all doubts and delusions. Having already attained all Buddhas’ self mastery of spiritual penetrations, everywhere in all countries of the ten directions they taught, transformed, and subdued incalculable hundreds of thousands of billions of living beings, and although they were not attached to any of these numbers, nonetheless, they were well able to cultivate, study, bring expedient means to ultimate perfection, and securely establish all Dharmas.

In this way, hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of ineffable, inexhaustibly pure Bodhisattva multitudes who were storehouses of all measureless merit and virtue throughout the three periods of time, all came and assembles at the Buddha’s place. Because of this light, they could see all Buddhas’ places in the same way.

At that time, Vajra Banner Bodhisattva, receiving the Buddha’s spiritual power, universally contemplated the ten directions and spoke these verses.

Commentary:

They had obtained All-Wisdom. They constantly emit the wisdom light of understanding and are without ignorance. Their bodies had come forth from All-Wisdom. The wisdom-body is just the Buddha. Since they have obtained All-Wisdom, the text says, “their bodies had come forth from All-Wisdom.” From wisdom is produced the wisdom-body. They were all able to accordingly enter the places of all Thus Come Ones’ practices. They practice what all the Thus Come Ones practice. Whatever Dharma door the Buddhas cultivate, they also cultivate. Thus they “enter the place of all Thus Come Ones’ practices.”

The wisdom of each of these Bodhisattvas is such that they are able to comply with and enter into all different types of wisdom, whatever they may be. Thus, They opened and revealed measureless Dharma doors of wisdom. They are able to enter these doors into All-Wisdom and are able to practice at the level of Thus Come Ones’ conduct. They can accordingly enter into these doors of wisdom and also can open limitless entrances into wisdom. They reached the other shore of Vajra Banner’s great wisdom. They have arrived at the solid narayana of wisdom, which is adamantine, like the Vajra Banner. What is meant by “other shore of wisdom” ? it’s just the paramita--reaching the other shore--of prajna.

They obtained the Vajra Samadhi. The Vajra samadhi is a very solid samadhi. And they cut off all doubts and delusions. They serve all doubts, delusions, and confusion. Having already attained all Buddhas’ self mastery of spiritual penetrations, everywhere in all countries of the ten directions, universally pervading each and every land therein, they taught, transformed, and subdued incalculable hundreds of thousands of billions of living beings. They are able to teach, transform, and subdue them, causing all to be tamed and regulated. How many living beings are they able to subdue? They subdue hundreds of thousands of ten thousand of ten millions--numberless--living beings. It is not known how many living beings they are able to subdue. and although they were not attached to any of these numbers, nonetheless, they were well able to cultivate, study, bring expedient means to ultimate perfection, and securely establish all Dharmas. Being without attachment, they can cultivate, study, perfect, and ultimately, with skill-in-means, peacefully establish all dharmas.

In this way , as has just been described, hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas of ineffable, inexhaustibly pure Bodhisattva multitudes who were storehouses of all measureless merit and virtue throughout the three periods of time, all came and assembles at the Buddha’s place. And so there are hundreds of thousands of billions of nayutas--that many--inexpressible, inexhaustibly pure Bodhisattva assemblies.

“Inexhaustibly pure” means that there is no end to the pristine clarity of these Bodhisattvas. “The three periods of time” refer to the past, present, and future, which are also inexhaustible, because there isn’t any end to them. And since the “storehouses of all measureless merit and virtue”--the Bodhisattva multitudes--extend throughout the three periods of time, they are said to be “measureless” as well. All these assemblies of Bodhisattvas came and conviened at the great Dharma assembly. They came to the Buddha’s Way place.

Because of this light, they could see all Buddhas’ places in the same way. Because of the hundreds of thousands of millions of lights which were emitted from the wheels on the Buddha’s knees, the Bodhisattvas in this vast multitude could see Buddhas in all Buddhas’ places in the same way that they saw this one Buddha’s place in the Saha World. The Bodhimandas of the Tushita heavens in all the worlds of the ten directions were just like this one in the Saha World.

At that time, Vajra Banner Bodhisattva, receiving the Buddha’s --Shakyamuni Buddha’s--spiritual power, which was awesome and mighty, universally contemplated the ten directions and spoke these verses. He pervasively regarded the causes and conditions of all living beings, and then used verses to explain these Dharma doors of all kinds of wisdom.

Sutra:

The Thus Come Ones do not appear in the world.
Moreover, there is no Nirvana.
By means of the power of original great vows,
They manifest the Dharma of self-mastery.

This Dharma is difficult to conceive of;
It is not located in the mind’s workings.
When wisdom has arrived at the other shore,
One sees all Buddhas’ states.

Commentary:

These verses are spoken by Vajra Banner Bodhisattva. This Bodhisattva’s stanzas praise the Thus Come Ones--Tathagatas. “Thus” means they ascend the way which is “thusness.” “Come” means they come to accomplish power enlightenment. Although there is no coming or going on the way of “thusness,” it is for the sake of living beings that we say the Buddhas come and accomplish proper enlightenment. Originally there is no coming and no going. The Thus Come Ones are without a place from which they come, and have no place to which they go, and therefore they are name “Thus Come Ones.” This is just a false name we give them. “Thus Come One” is one of the ten Titles of a Buddha.

They do not appear in the world. The Buddhas are constantly in the Pure Land of Eternal Stillness and Light. They are:

Thus, thus unmoving, Clear, understanding, constantly bright;
Not big, not small, Not inside, not outside;
Without coming, and without going.

The Bodhisattva says that the “Thus Come Ones do not appear in the world,” so how is it that living beings have seen a Thus Come One cone into the world? It is because of their causal affinities that he manifests in the world. Because living beings’ affinities have mature, he manifests the body of a Buddha and come into the world. So, does he come into this worlds or not? Originally, the Buddha doesn’t come into the world: he is unmoving what manifests is just one of his transformation bodies.

Moreover, because he doesn’t come into this world, there is no Nirvana. Basically, there isn’t any Nirvana. It is also because of living beings’ causal conditions that he manifests Nirvana. If he didn’t manifest Nirvana, then living beings would become too dependent upon him and just wait around for the Buddha to help them open enlightenment and accomplish Buddhahood. To prevent beings from becoming overly reliant on him, he manifests first coming into the world, and eventually he manifests entering Nirvana.

Why does he do this? Why does he come to do something when basically there is nothing to do? It is By means of the power of original great vows. In the past when the Buddha was cultivating, he brought forth powerful, great vows. What was the power of the great vows he produced? He vowed that when he accomplished Buddhahood, he would come back to guide all living beings and help them accomplish the Buddha Way. Because of the power of great vows, the Buddhas do not forsake any living being, and They manifest the Dharma of self-mastery. Every Buddha manifests this kind of self-mastery of coming into the world and yet not coming; of entering Nirvana and yet not entering Nirvana. This is the Dharma of self-mastery.

This Dharma is difficult to conceive of . Manifesting this kind of Dharma of self-mastery isn’t something that living beings can talk about or think of.

The path of language is cut off.
The palace of the mind’s workings is extinguished.

It is not located in the mind’s workings. This isn’t a place the mind can conceive of, or a state which can be attained. When wisdom has arrived at the other shore, One sees all Buddhas’ states. By means of the Buddha’s great wisdom, one is able to reach the other shore. Then one is able to see all Buddhas’ states. If you are not able to use wisdom to reach the other shore, then you will be unable to understand the states of all Buddhas.

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