THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Universal Worthy's Conduct _

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

Sutra:

How the Buddhas in the past
Made great vows to appear in worlds,
And how for living beings
They eradicated suffering and afflictions;
And how all those lions of discourse
Perfected continuity of practice,
And so obtained sameness with the Buddhas
And the state of All-Wisdom.

How they saw in the past
That all lions among people
Sent out great nets of light
Universally illumining worlds of the ten directions.

How they thought and made this vow:
“ I should be a lamp for worlds,
Perfect the Buddha’s merit and virtue,
The Ten Powers, and All-Wisdom.

All the many living beings
Ablaze with greed, hatred and stupidity
I should save and liberate,
Destroying suffering in the evil paths.

Having made such vows as these,
They were solid and unretreating,
Perfected cultivation of Bodhisattva conduct,
And acquired ten powers of non-obstruction.

After making vows like these,
Never faltering in cultivation,
What they did was not in vain,
And so they are called lions.

- During the Worthy Kalpa

Within the single Worthy Kalpa
Of the thousand Buddhas to appear,
All their universal eyes
I shall describe in succession.

As within the Worthy Kalpa
Limitless kalpas are the same.
Those future Buddhas’ conduct
I shall speak of in detail.

As is one seed of Buddha kshetras,
Limitless kshetras are the same.
Of future ten-powered honored ones’
Conducts I now tell you.

Commentary:

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva continues to restate his meaning in verses saying: I’ll describe for you as well How the Buddhas in the past made great vows to appear in worlds to teach and transform the living beings in them, And how for living beings they eradicated suffering and afflictions. I’ll tell you how they managed to rid all living beings of every kind of suffering and difficulty. And I’ll describe for you how all those lions of discourse perfected continuity of practice, how they keep up their practices until they were completely perfected, and so obtained sameness with the Buddhas so they came to have Dharma-doors identical with those of all Buddhas and the state of All-Wisdom, ultimate all-wisdom. I’ll also tell you about How they saw in the past that all lions among people, the Buddhas, Sent out great nets of light Universally illumining worlds of the ten directions. I’ll tell you, too, How they, all Buddhas, thought and made this vow:“ I should be a bright lamp for worlds, Perfect the Buddha’s merit and virtue, The Ten Powers of a Buddha and All-Wisdom. All the many living beings who are Ablaze with greed, hatred and stupidity as if on fire I should save and liberate, Destroying suffering in the evil paths. I should make it so they don’t have to suffer in the three evil destinies.”

I’ll also tell you about how Having made such vows as these, They, all Buddhas, when they were Bodhisattvas, were solid and unretreating. After they made their great vows they were unflinching and never turned back from them. Therefore, they Perfected cultivation of Bodhisattva conduct, all the doors of practice that Bodhisattvas cultivate, And acquired ten kinds of powers of interpenetration and non-obstruction. After making vows like those, Never faltering in cultivation, What they did was not in vain, And so they are called lions. They never even considered turning back as they cultivated every single Bodhisattva Path. Everything they undertook came to a successful conclusion, and they are now called accomplished Buddhas.

Within the single Worthy Kalpa, Of the thousand Buddhas to appear in the world during that period called the Worthy Kalpa, All their universal eyes--among them there is one Bodhisattva called Universal Eye Bodhisattva, whom I shall describe in succession. I’ll tell you about him in particular. As within the single period of the Worthy Kalpa Limitless kalpas are the same. Those future Buddhas’ conduct and how they are going to cultivate it, I now shall speak of in detail for you. As is one seed of Buddha kshetras which are many as fine motes of dust, Limitless kshetras with their world-systems many as fine motes of dust are the same. The limitless are like the one, and Of their future ten-powered honored ones’ Conducts, the practices cultivated by their Buddhas who are endowed with the Ten Powers, I am now going to tell you.

There are just a few hours left in the Ch’an session. If you all apply your efforts well, you can have last-minute accomplishment, and then you won’t have endured the cold, the hunger and the difficulty in vain. Whether you’ve obtained advantages from the three weeks of Ch’an meditation you’ve just gone through is as when someone drinks water and knows himself whether it is warm or cold. I’ll speak a verse for closing the session for you, and if you investigate according to it, you should be able to open some enlightenment. The versa goes:

This year on this day as we close the Ch’an seven,
Those who seek fame and profit will go east and west.
To stick out both legs and close both eyes
Is what the Patriarch told the parrot to escape the cage.

Today we’re ending the three weeks of Ch’an meditation sessions, and those who wish to seek fame can run off to the east, while those seeking benefit can rush to west. That means they’ll be scattered in the pursuit of fame and profit, but if that’s what they want to do we won’t pay any attention to them and they can do as they please. We should remember how when the Patriarch Bodhidharma first came to China, he wasn’t able to cross over any people, but then he met a parrot that could talk and that asked the Patriarch how it could get out of its cage. The Patriarch told it:

To get out of the cage,
To get out of the cage,
Stick out bout legs
And close both your eyes.
That will enable you to get out of the cage.

Now that we are finishing the Ch’an sessions, if you want to end death and throw off birth, you should always “stick out both legs and close your eyes.” That was the expedient method that Patriarch Bodhidharma taught the parrot. If after the sessions we feel we’re still not out of the cage, we should constantly employ this expedient Dharma-door for escaping from it.

Sutra:

-Description of the Conduct

All Buddhas’ successive appearances in worlds,
According to their vows and according to their names,
According to the predictions they receive,
And according to their lifespans;
According to the Proper Dharma cultivated by them,
As they intently seek the way of non- obstruction,
According to the living beings they teach,
As their proper Dharma dwells within the world;
According to the Buddha kshetras that they purify,
The living beings as well as the Dharma wheels,
The times and the non-times for proclamations
In purifying flocks of beings progressively;
According to all karma of living beings,
Their actions and their faith and understandings,
Differing in grade: Superior, middling, or inferior,
Transforming them so that they cultivate;
How they enter into wisdoms such as those,
Cultivate those most surpassing conducts,
Always do the deeds of Universal Worthy,
Vastly rescue all living beings;
How their body karma meets with no obstruction,
How the karma of their speech is also pure,
As are too the workings of their minds,
And how none are not that way in the three times;
Bodhisattva conducts such as those,
Which make ultimate the Universal Worthy way
So the pure wisdom sun arises
And universally shines throughout the Dharma Realm,
And all kalpas of the future,
With more countries than mere words can tell,
In one single thought are known completely
Yet no discriminations made about them--
The practicer can tend towards and enter
Grounds like those, the most supreme.
Of all these Bodhisattva Dharmas
I will speak a minute portion.
How with wisdom which has no bounds or limits
One penetrates the Buddha’s states,
Well entering into all of them,
Without retreating as one cultivates,
And perfects the Universal Worthy wisdoms,
Completing all of Universal Worthy’s vows,
And entering incomparable wisdom--
I shall talk about this conduct.

Commentary:

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva continues by saying he will describe All Buddhas’ successive appearances one after the other in worlds, According to their vows made in the past and according to their names, the titles due them, along with According to the predictions they receive, And according to their lifespans--those of the Bodhisattvas and of all living beings. He will also tell about them According to the Proper Dharma cultivated by them--how in every single location they teach and transform beings and cultivate and practice the orthodox methods As they single-mindedly and intently seek with diligence the way of perfectly fuse interpenetration and non-obstruction. He will also discuss the successive Buddhas According to the living beings they are supposed to teach, As their proper Dharma dwells within the world. They make sure that the Proper Dharma is always present in the world. He will describe them, too, According to the Buddha kshetras that they adorn and purify as they go everywhere, and The living beings they teach and transform, as well as the great Dharma wheels they turn. He will tell about how they know The times and the non-times for proclamations so when they speak Dharma it’s just at the right time. They would never speak Dharma at a time when Dharma shouldn’t be spoken In purifying flocks of beings progressively step-by-step.

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva says he will also tell about how all Buddhas teach According to the retributions coming from the created karma of all living beings, Their actions--living beings’ behavior--and their faith and understandings--what kind of faith the beings have given rise to and what their understanding of the Buddhadharma is. All of those are Differing in grade. Some have Superior good roots, while others’ roots are middling, or inferior. He will describe the Transforming of them according to the living beings’ potentials so that they cultivate the Dharma-doors of unobstructed interpenetration. He will tell How they enter into certification to wisdoms such as those discussed before, Cultivate those most surpassing conducts--doors of practice--how they Always do the deeds of Universal Worthy so that all the karma they perform is exactly the same as that of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, Vastly rescue all living beings. That’s what all they do is for--to rescue living beings on a vast scale. He will also tell about How their body karma is free of killing, stealing or sexual misconduct, and so it meets with no obstruction, How the karma of their speech involves no loose, lying, harsh, or double-tongued talk so it is also pure, As are, too, the workings of their minds. There are none of the three poisons--greed, hatred, and stupidity--within their minds, and so their mental karma is pure. And he will discuss how none of the Buddhas are not that way in the three times. All past Buddhas, all present Buddhas, and all future Buddhas become Buddhas in just that same way.

The Bodhisattva conducts, doors of practice, are such as those just described, Which make ultimate the dharmas which Universal Worthy Bodhisattva cultivates as his way, So the pure light of wisdom which is like the sun arises And universally shines on all living beings throughout the Dharma Realm. And all kalpas of the future, With more countries than mere words can tell, In one single thought are known completely. The Bodhisattva can know all of those states in just one thought. Yet knowing them he is able to be so that no discriminations are made about them. The cultivator and practicer can tend towards and enter states of Grounds like those, which are the most supreme positions. Of all these Bodhisattva Dharmas I will speak a minute portion--Universal Worthy says in his verses.

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva continues to say, I will describe How with wisdom which has no bounds or Limits One penetrates the Buddha’s states, Well entering into all of them, all of those states Without retreating as one cultivates. The Bodhisattva always presses forward in his cultivation, and he never gives up or turns back, And so he perfects the Universal Worthy wisdoms. He comes to have all of the wisdoms with which Universal Worthy Bodhisattva is endowed, Completing all of Universal Worthy’s vows, the great vows made by Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, And entering incomparable wisdom which nothing can match. I now shall talk to you about how to cultivate this door of conduct.

II . Universal Worthy Conduct

-The Compassion of Greatly Wise Conduct

Sutra:

--Entering into Indra’s Net of Conduct

In one single mote of dust
Are completely seen all worlds.
If living beings should hear about them,
Their minds would be confused and go insane.

As within a single mote of dust,
So, too, it is in every mote of dust.
All world-systems enter within them.
It is in that way inconceivable.

In every particle of dust
Are Dharmas of the ten directions and three times.
The destinies and kshetras are all limitless,
Yet can be known with all their differences.

In every particle of dust
Are limitless kinds of Buddha kshetras.
Of their various kinds, all limitless,
Not a single one remains unknown.

Everything within the Dharma realm,
With all the varying characteristics
And types of destinies, each having differences,
Can all be discerned and known.

--The Subtle Conduct of Deeply Entering Time and Place

With wisdom to deeply enter the fine and subtle,
All world-systems are distinguished in detail.
The coming into being and destruction of each kalpa
Can be completely understood and described.

All kalpas whether long or short are known,
And the three periods of time in just one thought,
With practices of being alike or not the same.
All can be known completely in detail.

Deep entry can be made into all worlds,
Vast and great, or else not vast and great,
One body for limitless kshetras,
And one kshetra for limitless bodies.

All existing in the ten directions,
World-systems of the varying kinds,
Vast and great with limitless appearances,
Can be entirely known every one.

Within each of the three periods of time,
For all the countries without limit,
Through endowment with deep, profound wisdom,
The creations and destructions can all be known.

Commentary:  

In one single mote of dust Are completely seen all worlds whatever. If living beings should hear about them, they wouldn’t believe it, or else would do a lot of doubting to the point that Their minds would be confused and they would go insane about how so many world-systems could fit inside a tiny particle of dust. As within a single mote of dust all lands and countries can appear, So, too, it is in every mote of dust. It’s possible for all world-systems to appear in very single particle of dust just as they do in one dust particle.

All world-systems enter within them. As it happens in one, it happens in all. It is in that way inconceivable. The wonderful dharma of this state cannot be conceptualized by thought or expressed in words. In every particle of dust are Dharmas of the ten directions and three times, along with all Buddhas and all the Sangha of the ten directions and the three periods of time. The destinies and kshetras are all limitless. The entire wheel of rebirth is present, with the six paths--the two good destinies of humans and gods and the four evil destinies of asuras, hell-beings hungry ghosts, and animals. Each of them is limitless, and so are all the kshetra lands, Yet they can be known with all their differences. The Bodhisattva can know all of those states very clearly and precisely.

In every particle of dust Are limitless kinds of Buddha kshetras . Buddha lands have their differences, too. There are world-systems that face upwards, and world-systems that are overturned. Some are long and some are short. Some world-systems are round in shape, while others are square in outline. The world-systems differ, and the Buddha kshetras do, too. Of their various kinds of aspects and appearances all limitless and boundless, Not a single one remains unknown. There isn’t any kind of Buddha kshetra or any state that is not known about. Everything, all state whatsoever, within the Dharma realm, With all the varying characteristics And types of destinies, each having differences, Can be all discerned and known. They can all be known with their individual differences.

With wisdom to deeply enter the fine and subtle in all minute particulars, the states of All world-systems are distinguished in detail. The coming into being, dwelling, and destruction followed by disappearance of each kalpa, with how they all happen, Can be completely understood and described with precision. All kalpas whether long if the kalpa is long, or short if the kalpa lasts a short time, are known, and the three periods of time in just one thought. If elaborated, the three periods of time unfold; but contracted, the three periods of time are just a single thought, With practices of living beings which are alike or else not the same. All can be known completely in detail.

Deep entry can be made into all worlds , whether the world-systems are Vast and great, or else not vast and great, they can all be know--One body being adequate for entering limitless Buddha kshetras, and one kshetra adequate for entering limitless bodies. All existing in the ten directions, World-systems of the varying kinds, vast and great with limitless appearances, can be entirely known every one. The Bodhisattva can know them all. Within each of the three periods of time, for all the countries, the Buddha lands without limit, through endowment with deep, profound wisdom, the creations and destructions can all be known. How all lands throughout the three periods of time come into being, dwell, decay and pass away can be totally known very accurately and distinctly.

Sutra:

All world-systems of the ten directions,
Whether coming into being or decaying,
Being in that way ineffably many,
Worthy ones of virtue deeply comprehend.

There are either lands and countries
With various adornments as their grounds,
And all the destinies are also thus,
This all because of karma being pure;
Or else there are world-systems
Which have all types of filth mixed in.
This, too, is evoked by living beings.
All is as is their conduct.

When limitless and boundless kshetras are understood
To be just one single kshetra,
In that way there is entry to all kshetras,
Their number more than can be known.

All world-systems each and every one,
Completely enter into one kshetra.
Yet the world-systems do not become one,
And moreover they are not confused.

World-systems are either upright or inverted.
They may be high or else they may be low.
All of this is thinking on the part of beings,
And can be known completely in detail.

Extensive as world-systems are,
And so limitless and boundless,
The various kinds are known to be just one,
And the one is known to be the various kinds.

All Buddhist disciples of Universal Worthy
Can, using Universal Worthy’s wisdom,
Understand and know all kshetras’ number,
Even though that number has no bounds.

They can know the transformations of all worlds,
Kshetras’ transformations and living beings’ transformations,
Dharmas’ transformations and all Buddhas’ transformations,
All of this to the utmost point,
And how for every system of worlds,
For all minute or vast and great kshetras,
The various differing kinds of decorations
All arise completely due to karma.

Commentary:  

All world-systems of the ten directions, Whether they are coming into being or else decaying and going empty, there Being in that way ineffably many of those world-systems, Worthy ones of virtue can deeply and clearly comprehend. There are either lands and countries with various adornments as their grounds. They have wonderfully ornamented appearances, And all the destinies are also thus. There are all sorts of adornments found in each of the destinies as well, This all because of karma being pure. Because the karma of the living beings in those countries is pure, every single ground within them is adorned.

Or else there are world-systems which have all types of filth mixed in . some worlds have every type of defilement in them. This, too, is evoked by the power of karma of living beings. If defiled karma predominates, the living beings will inhabit a polluted country. If the living beings’ karma is for the most part pure, then the country will be pure. If living beings’ evil karma is in the majority, then good will be slight, and if the greater proportion is good karma, then evil will be less. All is as is their conduct. Everything is determined by how living beings act.

When all the limitless and boundless kshetras are understood to be just one single kshetra, and one Buddha kshetra is understood to be limitless and boundlessly many Buddha kshetras, In that way there is entry to all Buddha kshetras, their number more than can be known. All world-systems each and every one, completely enter into one Buddha kshetra and are contained within it. Yet the world-systems, even though they enter into a single world-system, still remain clearly individualized and distinct. They do not become one when they enter one Buddha Kshetra, And moreover theyare not confused. They don’t get mixed up with each other nor do they get in each other’s way. Each remains clearly separate, and the world-systems in no way interfere with or obstruct each other.

World-systems are either upright or inverted . Some world-systems face upwards, and some face downwards. They may behigh world-systems or else they may be low. All of this, the different ways the worlds may be, is brought about due to the false thinking on the part of living beings. The worlds that appear are like the living beings’ false thoughts. And for the Bodhisattva this can be known completely and in exact detail. Extensive as world-systems are, and so limitless and boundless, the various kinds are known to be just one. All world-systems, be they broad or narrow, expansive or confined, even though so limitless and boundlessly many in number, are known to be just one world-system. And the one is known to be the various kinds of world-systems.

All Buddhist disciples of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Can, using Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s kind of wisdom, understand and know all kshetras’ number, the number of all Kshetras, Even though that number has no bounds. That number never comes to an end. They can know the transformations of all worlds as they change, along with Kshetras’ transformations and living beings’ transformations which keep happening all the time. They can also know Dharmas’ transformations, that is, what is supposed to come about, and all Buddhas’ transformations effected through their spiritual powers, All of this taken to the utmost point. And they can also know how for every system of worlds, for all minute and subtle or else vast and great Buddha kshetras throughout the ten directions, The various differing kinds of decorations all arise completely due to karma created by living beings.

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