THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Ten Grounds ________

Chapter Twenty-Six. A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:  

Vast knowledge of all Dharmas; skillful ability to speak Dharma; purification of undiscriminating wisdom; non-defilement of all worldly Dharmas; purification o world-transcending good roots; obtaining inconceivable state of wisdom; obtaining all wisdom and entry to states of wisdom.  

They also wish to bring about obtaining of Bodhisattvas’ ten grounds from beginning to end: an accurate speaking of the distinctive characteristics of the Bodhisattvas’ ten grounds.  

Commentary:  

Vast knowledge of all Dharmas means being able to, deeply enter the Sutra Store, and have wisdom like the sea.

The Buddhadharma is like the great sea. It is necessary to have vast, great wisdom in order to know all dharmas. But, just knowing is not enough, one must also have skillful ability to speak Dharma. You must be good at employing clever expedient methods to speak all dharmas, and have the purification of undiscriminating wisdom. You require the Four Wisdom:

1. The wisdom that accomplishes what is done

2. The wisdom of wonderful contemplation

3. The wisdom of sameness

4. The great, perfect mirror wisdom

Then, right within non-discrimination you will be able to understand all pure, wonderful dharmas. Non-defilement of all worldly Dharmas. Defiled worldly dharmas need only be turned around to become undefiled, world-transcending dharmas. It is also to bring about the purification o world-transcending good roots. Obtaining all world-transcending dharmas, you can cultivate world-transcending good roots, and attain to purity, as well as obtaining inconceivable state of wisdom and obtaining all wisdom and entry to states of wisdom. Upon obtaining all-wisdom, one is able to enter the states of wisdom.  

They also wish to bring about obtaining of Bodhisattvas’ ten grounds from beginning to end. This is to bring about understanding of and certification to the progressive states of the grounds of a Bodhisattva from the First to the Tenth. Those of the First Ground do not understand the state of those of the Second Ground, and those of the Tenth Ground do not understand the state of those of Equal Enlightenment. So in cultivation, each person has his or her own skill and his or her own states, which differ from those of others; and the Ten Grounds have a progression from beginning to end, from the First Ground to the Tenth Ground. An accurate speaking of the distinctive characteristics of the Bodhisattvas’ ten grounds means accurately explaining different characteristics of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds. People who cultivate the Way should recognize states. The Buddhas wish the Bodhisattvas to thoroughly understand the states of the Ten Grounds and to accurately explain the different characteristics of the Ten Grounds.

Sutra:  

Following and being mindful of all Buddhas’ dharmas; cultivating, studying, and discriminating non-outflowing dharmas; cleverly adorning through the light of great wisdom of skillful selection and contemplation; skillful entering the door of decisive wisdom; according to dwelling places manifesting in sequence and speaking without fear; obtaining the light of unobstructed eloquence; dwelling on the ground of great eloquence and having skillful decisiveness; being so mindful of the Bodhisattvas that one never forgets them; maturing all the realms of living beings; being able pervasively to go to all places and be sure to be enlightened.  

Commentary:  

Following and being mindful of all Buddhas’ dharmas. Following means singlemindedly adapting to, according with, and being mindful of all the Dharmas spoken by the Buddhas. Cultivating, studying, and discriminating non-outflowing dharmas, one should clearly understand what has outflows and what has no outflows, as well as to what extent there are outflowing dharmas present within non-outflowing dharmas, and to extent there are non-outflowing dharmas present within outflowing dharmas. That means on the one hand cultivating and on the other hand studying and discriminating what are dharmas with outlfows and what are dharmas without outflows. Cleverly adorning through the light of great wisdom of skillful selection and contemplation. One who is good at employing the Selective Dharma Eye can contemplate all the dharmas of great wisdom. When one has great wisdom, then one can have great wisdom light, and then one is able cleverly and expediently to adorn all Buddhalands. Skillful entering the door of decisive wisdom, one is also able to be very exact and clear about discriminating, to enter the door of all-wisdom, and to have no doubts.  

According to dwelling places manifesting in sequence and speaking without fear, in accord with where Bodhisattvas are dwelling, in a clear and orderly fashion they speak the precise meaning of the Dharmas and have no fear. Obtaining the light of unobstructed eloquence, the light of wisdom reveals itself in unimpeded eloquence. Dwelling on the ground of great eloquence and having skillful decisiveness; one has great eloquence and one applies it to all Dharmas. Being so mindful of the Bodhisattvas that one never forgets them; they always remember all Bodhisattvas. Maturing all the realms of living beings; one is also able to bring all living beings to maturity, that is:

1. To cause those who have not yet planted good roots to plant them;

2. To cause already planted good roots to grow;

3. To cause good roots that have already grown to come to maturity;

4. To cause those whose roots have already matured to obtain liberation.

Being able pervasively to go to all places and be sure to be enlightened. They visit all assemblies in the Bodhimandas of all Buddhas of the three periods of time and, upon arriving there, are certain to become enlightened and to obtain great wisdom, great eloquence, long life, and happiness. They are certified as being enlightened to the real mark of all dharmas.

Sutra:  

Good man, you should eloquently discuss these distinctions of dharma doors and good and clever methods, which is to say, receiving the Buddhas’ spiritual power, to be aided by the Thus Come Ones’ light of wisdom; to purify one’s own good roots; to universally purify the Dharma Realms; to completely gather in living beings; to deeply enter the dharma body and the wisdom body; to receive all Buddhas’ anointment of one’s crown; to obtain the tallest, largest body in all worlds; to transcend all worldly ways; to purify world-transcending good roots; to perfect the wisdom of all-wisdom.  

Commentary:  

When Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva entered the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, all the Buddhas of the ten directions praised him and said to him, Good man, you should eloquently discuss these distinctions of dharma doors and good and clever methods. They told him, “You should use your unobstructed eloquence to expla in the various aspects of the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, and of expedient skillful methods, which is to say, receiving the Buddhas’ spiritual power; you are based in great spiritual power of all Buddhaw of the ten directions, as well as that of Vairocana Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha. To be aided by the Thus Come Ones’ light of wisdom; the light of the Buddhas will come to your assistance. To purify one’s own good roots of Bodhi; to universally purify the Dharma Realms with your light of wisdom. To completely gather in living beings; your wisdom will gather in and receive all living beings, as well as to deeply enter the dharma body and the wisdom body; to receive all Buddhas’ anointment of one’s crown; all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time will come and give you a prediction and rub your crown to aid you. To obtain the tallest, largest body in all worlds; you will gain the worlds’ greatest wisdom and the tallest Dharma Body. To transcend all worldly ways; you will be able to excel in all mundane Dharma doors and paths, to purify world-transcending good roots of Bodhi, and to perfect the wisdom of all-wisdom. You will perfect the ground of all-wisdom and then enable all living beings to obtain the wisdom among wisdoms.

Sutra:  

At that time the Buddhas of the ten directions bestowed upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva a peerless body; bestowed unobstructed eloquence of delight in speech; bestowed skillfully discriminating pure wisdom; bestowed the power of good memory and non-forgetfulness; bestowed skillfully decisive wisdom of understanding; bestowed the wisdom to reach all places and become enlightened; bestowed the power of ease in accomplishing the way; bestowed the Thus Come Ones’ fearlessnesses; bestowed those of all wisdoms’ wisdom of eloquence to contemplate and discriminate all dharma doors; bestowed all Thus Come Ones’ perfected, superior, wonderful adornments of body, speech, and mind. And why? Because, upon obtaining this Samadhi, the dharma is that way; because of the arisal from past vows; because of profound thought being well-purified; because of the wheel of wisdom being well-purified; because of aids of the way being well-accumulated; because of what one does being well-cultivated; because of mindfulness of one as a limitless dharma vessel; because of knowledge that one has pure faith and understanding; because of flawless maintaining and upholding being obtained; because of skillful application of the seal of wisdom of the Dharma Realm.

Commentary:  

At that time the Buddhas of the ten directions bestowed upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva a peerless body. They aided Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva in obtaining a body whose radiance could not be obscured, and bestowed unobstructed eloquence of delight in speech, out of great compassion giving him the perfectly fused and unobstructed eloquence. They bestowed skillfully discriminating pure wisdom and bestowed the power of good memory and non-forgetfulness upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva. They bestowed skillfully decisive wisdom of understanding. They bestowed the wisdom to reach all places and become enlightened. They also gave Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva their aid and bestowed the power of ease in accomplishing the way, the power of free and easy success on the path; and they bestowed the Thus Come Ones’ fearlessnesses, and bestowed those of all wisdoms’ wisdom of eloquence to contemplate and discriminate all dharma doors; and they bestowed all Thus Come Ones’, Buddhas’, perfected, superior, wonderful adornments of body, speech, and mind, the perfection of limitless adornments. And why? Why was that? Because, upon obtaining this Samadhi, when one attains to the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, the dharma is that way.

A necessary corollary of this dharma is that it has to be that way. It is also because of the arisal from past vows, that is, this kind of dharma comes into being through the vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. It is also because of profound thought being well-purified, because Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva was good at purifying deep thought; and because of the wheel of wisdom being well-purified, and because of aids of the way being well-accumulated. Furthermore, it is because of what one does being well-cultivated; bring those Dharma doors tht one should to accomplishment. It is because of mindfulness of one as a limitless dharma vessel. The Buddhas of the ten directions are aware that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva can act as a vessel for limitlessly many Dharmas. Because of knowledge that one has pure faith and understanding. They know that he is someone who has accomplished faith and understanding. It is also because of flawless maintaining and upholding being obtained, and because of skillful application of the seal of wisdom of the Dharma Realm, from being skilled at employing the Jeweled Seal of the Dharma Realm to seal and certify all Dharmas.

Sutra:  

At that time, all the Buddhas of the ten directions extended their right hands and rubbed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva on the crown. After they had rubbed his crown, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva arose from Samadhi and told all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, disciples of the Buddha, all Bodhisattvas’ vows are well-decided. They are unadulterated, imperceptible, vast and great like the Dharma Realm, ultimately like empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future. These Bodhisattvas pervade all Buddhalands and rescue and protect all living beings. They are protected by Buddhas. They enter the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present.

Disciples of the Buddha, what are the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas? Disciples of the Buddha, the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, are of ten kinds, which all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will speak and are speaking. I also speak them thus.  

Commentary:

At that time, after the Buddhas of the ten directions had praised Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, all the Buddhas of the ten directions, the Buddhas from above, belwo, east, west, south, and north - the six directions - with the addition of the four intermediate points, making ten directions, all extended their right hands. Each Buddha extended his right hand and rubbed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva on the crown. After they had rubbed his crown, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva arose from Samadhi and told all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, disciples of the Buddha, all Bodhisattvas’ vows are well-decided. He told them that all the great vows made by all Bodhisattvas are decisive. They are unadulterated; they have no admixture, and are imperceptible. The vows made by Bodhisattvas cannot be seen, and yet they are vast and great like the Dharma Realm, ultimately like empty space. At their ultimate point they are like emptiness: you cannot find their limits. Exhausting the boundaries of the future they pervade all Buddhalands. The Bodhisattvas go to the countries of all Buddhas and rescue and protect all living beings. They have the ability to save all beings. They are protected by Buddhas of the three periods of time. They enter the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present. The Bodhisattvas are certified as having entered the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the three periods of time.

Disciples of the Buddha, what are the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas who cultivate and accumulate various kinds of good roots, and the grounds of wisdom of all Bodhisattvas and Buddhas? What are they? Disciples of the Buddha, the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, are of ten kinds. The great Bodhisattvas who cultivate the conduct of Bodhisattvas have ten grounds of wisdom. If spoken in even further detail, there are limitless and boundlessly many kinds, which all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will speak and are speaking. The Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will in the future speak, and right now are speaking them, I also speak them thus. I, too, just like the Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present, will speak the ten kinds of grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas.

Sutra:

What are the ten? One, the Ground of Happiness; two, the Ground of Leaving Filth; three, the Ground of Emitting Light; four, the Ground of Blazing Wisdom; five, the Ground of Invincibility; six, the Ground of Manifestation; seven, the Ground of Traveling Far; eight, the Ground of Immovability; nine, the Ground of Good Wisdom; ten, the Ground of the Dharma Cloud.

Disciples of the Buddha, these ten grounds have been explained, will be explained, and are being explained by all Buddhas of the three periods of time. Disciples of the Buddha, I have not seen any Thus Come Ones in any Buddhalands who do not speak these Ten Grounds. And why? They are the Bodhisattvas’ Mahasattvas’ most superior path to Bodhi. They are also doors of pure dharma light, namely, the detailed explanation of all Bodhisattvas’ grounds. Disciples of the Buddha, this place is inconceivable, namely the wisdom accordingly certified to by Bodhisattvas.

At that time, after Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva had finished speaking the names of the Ten Grounds, he remained silent and did not further distinguish them. Thereupon, all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, upon hearing the names of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds, but not hearing their explanation, all looked up in thirst and had this thought, “What is the cause, and what is the reason, that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva only speaks the names of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds yet does not explain them?” Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing what was being thought by all those in the great assembly, used verses to question Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying:

“Why is it that the pure enlightened one, replete with mindfulness, wisdom, and virtue, speaks of the superior, wondrous grounds, yet with power to do so still does not explain them?”  

Commentary:  

What are the ten? What are the ten grounds called? Their names are as follows: One, the Ground of Happiness. Upon arriving at this ground one is very happy. Two, the Ground of Leaving Filth. At the Second Ground, all filth of false thinking is cut off; that is, all view delusions, thought delusions, and delusions like dust and sand. Three, the Ground of Emitting Light. At the Third Ground, one eliminates all the dust-fatigue of false thinking, and the light of one’s own original wisdom manifests. Four, the Ground of Blazing Wisdom. At the Fourth Ground, not only does one emit light, but one even blazes with the flaming light of wisdom. Five, the Ground of Invincibility. It is hard to cultivate to this position. It is not at all easy to attain to this ground. Six, the Ground of Manifestation. At this Ground, all wisdom manifests. Seven, the Ground of Traveling Far. At the Seventh Ground, one can fly and do transformations. Eight, the Ground of Immovability. At the Eighth Ground, without moving from the Bodhimanda, one travels pervasively throughout the ten directions. Nine, the Ground of Good Wisdom. Upon arriving at this Ground, one has the best of wisdoms. Ten, the Ground of the Dharma Cloud. The Dharma cloud universally shades all living beings.

Disciples of the Buddha--Vajra Treasury again calls out, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, these ten grounds have been explained, will be explained, and are being explained by all Buddhas of the three periods of time.” The names of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds had already been spoken by all future Buddhas, and are now being spoken by the Buddhas of the present. Disciples of the Buddha, I have not seen any Thus Come Ones in any Buddhalands who do not speak these Ten Grounds. He said, “I have never seen any Buddha in all the Buddhalands who fails to speak the doctrines of the Ten Grounds. “ And why? They are the Bodhisattvas’ Mahasattvas’ most superior path to Bodhi. The great Bodhisattvas among Bodhisattvas use these Dharma doors as the superior path for cultivating Bodhi. They are also doors of pure dharma light. The Ten Grounds are also entrances into the light of pure Dharma wisdom, namely the wisdom accordingly certified to by Bodhisattvas. All Bodhisattvas accordingly cultivate and certify to this wisdom.

At that time, after Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva had finished speaking the names of the Ten Grounds, he remained silent and did not further distinguish them. He did not open his mouth. He said nothing, withdrew to one side, and did not explain the meaning of the Ten Grounds any further. Thereupon, all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, all the great Bodhisattvas who had come there from the ten directions, upon hearing the names of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds, but not hearing their explanation, when they did not hear Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva give any deeper explanation of their principles, all looked up in thirst. Turning up their heads, they waited for Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva to explain, and had this thought, “What is the cause, and what is the reason, that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva only speaks the names of the Bodhisattvas’ Ten Grounds yet does not explain them? Why did he only tell us the names of the Ten Grounds of a Bodhisattva, with no commentary or explanation? Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing what was being thought by all those in the great assembly, used verses to question Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying: “why is it that the pure enlightened one, you, Bodhisattva, replete with mindfulness, wisdom, and virtue, who have perfected pure mindfulness, the light of wisdom, and all meritorious qualities, speaks of the superior, wondrous grounds, you give the names of the Ten Grounds -- yet with power to do so still does not explain them?” Why is it that even though you have the power to explain them in detail, you do not do so for all of us?

Sutra:  

You have decisiveness and judgment, are courageous and are not weak-willed; why do you only name the grounds, without going on then to discuss them?

The wonderful doctrines of the grounds, all those assembled wish to hear; their minds show no trace of cowardice, they wish you to speak them in detail.

The multitudes assembled are all pure, devoid of laxness, stern they are and clear, able to be solid and unmoving, with merit, virtue, wisdom, all endowed.

Mutually they look to you in reverence, all of them intent with upward gaze, like bees that are mindful of their honey, like thirsty people thinking of sweet dew.  

Commentary:  

Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva went on to say to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, :You have decisiveness and judgment, you have the decisive wisdom to understand right and wrong, are courageous and are not weak-willed; you cultivate the Bodhisattva Way with courageous vigor, and are not afraid of anything, so why do you only name the grounds? Why did you just speak the names of the Ten Bodhisattva Ground without going on then to discuss them? You did not expound them for everyone.

The wonderful doctrines of the grounds, each of the Grounds is sure to have very inconceivable and subtle doctrines. Those entire assembled wish to hear. Right now all of the multitudes in the Dharma Assembly wish to hear those doctrines. Their minds show no trace of cowardice, the hearts of all the Bodhisattvas have no fear whatsoever. They wish you to speak them in detail. If you would just speak this Dharma, they would all like to hear it.

The multitudes assembled are all pure, devoid of laxness, stern they are and clear. The Bodhisattvas in this Bodhimanda are all courageously vigorous, stern, strict, and pure. With their great resolve for Bodhi, they are able to be solid and unmoving, and are with merit, virtue, wisdom, all endowed.

Mutually they look to you in reverence. Their eyes are all upon you as they wait with much respect for you, oh Bodhisattva, to speak to them. All of them intent with upward gaze. All the great Bodhisattvas are looking towards you single-minded, thirsty for the explanation, like bees that are mindful of their honey, like thirsty people thinking of sweet dew. They are waiting just that sincerely in single-minded, eager anticipation.

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