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

--The Conduct of Self- Mastery with the Wisdom which is Properly Aware

Sutra:

They clearly understand and know that all that is worldly
Is like a mirage, like light, and like reflections,
Like an echo and like a dream,
Like an illusion and like transformational changes.

In that way they accord with and they enter
The locations of practice of all Buddhas.
They accomplish the wisdom of Universal Worthy,
And universally deeply illumine the Dharma Realm.

They leave far behind defiled attachments
To living beings and worlds,
Yet expansive is their great compassionate mind
To purify all that is worldly.

The Bodhisattvas are always properly mindful
Discussing the lions’ wondrous Dharma.
They are purified just like empty space,
Yet they establish great expedient means.

They see worldlings as ever confused and upside down,
And so resolve to rescue and cross them over.
What they practice is all completely pure,
And they universally pervade all Dharma Realms.

If seen in their actuality,
All Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas,
Buddhadharmas and worldly dharmas
Are completely undifferentiated.

Commentary:

They clearly understand and know that all that’s worldly is impermanent, without self, suffering, and empty, and Is like a mirage.

It’s seen as existing from afar,
But when approached it isn’t there.

It’s also like light which has no actual substance, and like reflections which aren’t real either, Like an echo and like a dream, like an illusion which has no truth to it, and like transformational changes which are also false. In that way they--the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas--accord with and they enter those kinds of states, all the while understanding that they are not real. As it’s said:

If one sees phenomena and awakens to them, one transcends the world.
But if one sees phenomena and is confused by them, one falls into the mundane wheel.

You should think in that way and not be attached to any dharmas, and:

Sweep away all dharmas,
Be free of all marks

To be without attachment is the Dharma-door cultivated by all Buddhas. They, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, accomplish the great wisdom of Universal Worth Bodhisattva, And so they universally deeply illumine to the exhaustion of empty space and the Dharma Realm. They leave far behind defiled attachments To living beings and worlds. If you have any, you should get free of them. You have to put down what you can’t put down and renounce what you are unable to give up. What you can’t bear, you have to bear, and even much more you must yield what you can’t yield. Yet expansive is their great compassionate Mind.

Compassion plucks out suffering;
Kindness bestows happiness.

They pull living beings out of suffering and bestow happiness upon them, To purify all that is worldly, so that all worlds become pure.

The Bodhisattvas are always properly Mindful and never are selfish or have thoughts of benefitting self. all they have is that proper thought Discussing the lions’ wondrous Dharma. They only want to propagate the Buddhadharma and teach and transform living beings. They, the Bodhisattvas’ minds, are purified just like empty space, Yet they establish great expedient means. They always are raising up thoughts of great expedient skill-in-means.

They , the Bodhisattvas, see worldlings, all of us living beings in the world, as ever confused and deluded, upside down, And so resolve to rescue and cross them over the sea of suffering so they’ll be saved. What they, the Bodhisattvas, practice is all completely pure without defilement, And they universally pervade all Dharma Realms, extending to every location. All Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas, Buddhadharmas and worldly dharmas, If seen in their actuality all have no discriminations to them. From the point of view of truth, all of those aspects are not differentiated at all.

--The Conduct of Manifesting a Body which is not a Body

Sutra:

The Thus Come One’s Treasury of the Dharma Body
Universally enters the world.
Although it is present in the world,
Towards the world it has no attachments.

Just as reflected images do not come or go
Within clear, pure water,
You should know it is just the same way
With the Dharma body as it pervades the world.

With such freedom from defilement and attachment,
The body and worlds are both pure,
Still and clear just like empty space,
And all things do not have production.

They know the body does not have an end,
Is without production and without extinction,
Neither permanent nor without permanence
As it manifests throughout all worlds.

They dispel all deviant outlooks,
And open up proper views.
The Dharma nature does not come or go,
And does not attach to a self or what belongs to a self.

Commentary: 

The Thus Come One’s Treasury of the Dharma Body, the Tathagata’s Dharma Body, Universally enters the world and is not apart from it. Although it, the Buddha’s Dharma body, is present in the world, towards the world it has no attachments. It’s not like we living beings in the world who are attached to this world, to “this body of mine,” and to “all of my possessions.’ Although the Buddha pervades the world, nonetheless he has no attachments to anything, Just as reflected images do not come or go within clear, pure water. By way of analogy, when there is something that can be reflected, the image appears in water that’s pure and when there is nothing to reflect there is no image. Yet it is certainly not the case that the reflected image come into the water, nor do they depart from the water. And so, You should know it is just the same way With the Dharma body, which is like the reflected image, as it pervades the world, which is like the clear water. The same principle applies.

With such freedom from defilement and attachment--we should get free from defiled attachments and not linger and crave and forget to return, thinking this world is a land of happiness and a pleasure spot. It’s not. Don’t be defiles by attachment to this world, and then The body and worlds are both pure, still and clear just like empty space, and all things do not have production.

They, the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, know the body does not have an end. They realize there is neither an end to the body nor no end to the body. Why not? It’s because they have been certified to patience with the non-production of dharmas, to the Buddha’s Dharma body which Is without production and without extinction. Since it’s not produced, how could it be destroyed? There has to be production for there to be extinction. Since there is no production there is no destruction, and so it is Neither permanent nor without permanence. For it to be permanent would be the doctrine of permanence, and for it to be without permanence would be the doctrine of annihilationism. But the principle of the Buddhadharma is that of neither permanence nor annihilationism, neither being nor non-being, neither existence nor non-existence. The Buddha’s Dharma body is that way As it manifests throughout all worlds.

They dispel all deviant outlooks , all deviant knowledge and deviant views held by living beings, And open up proper knowledge and proper views on the part of beings. The Dharma nature does not come or go, and does not attach to a self or what belongs to a self.

--The Conduct of Manifesting Limits where there are no Limits

Sutra:

This is as a master magician
Makes appear all kinds of things,
Which do not come from anywhere
Nor go to any place.

The illusions’ nature neither has limits,
Nor is it without limits,
Yet in the midst of the great crowd
Three manifest limits within the limitless.

Using this mind of still samadhi,
They cultivate all wholesome roots.
That produces each and every Buddha,
And is neither limited nor without limits.

Both having limits and not having limits
Are entirely nothing but false thoughts.
In understanding and penetrating every destiny,
They are not attached to limits or no limits.

The deep, profound Dharma of all Buddhas
Is vast, most still and tranquil.
With the depths of limitless wisdom,
They know the profundity of all destinies.

The Bodhisattvas leave confusion and inversion.
The purity of their minds is continuous.
They cleverly with powers of spiritual penetrations
Cross over living beings without limit.

Commentary:  

This is as a master magician makes appear all kinds of things , conjuring up all sorts of states, Which do not come from anywhere nor go to any place. The states conjured up are all false and empty and so did not come from anywhere or go anywhere. The illusions’ nature neither has limits, nor is it without limits, yet in the midst of the great crowd three manifest limits within the limitless. Even though the nature of the illusions conjured up by magic doesn’t have limitations of measure or amount. Still it appears to the crowd to be measured and also to be without measure amounts.

Using this mind of still samadhi, they cultivate all wholesome roots. That produces each and every Buddha . If you cultivate all good roots, when your cultivation reaches completion, you become a Buddha, and this is also something which is neither limited nor without limits.

Both having limits and not having limits , having numerical measure or not, are entirely nothing but false thoughts. They only exist due to discriminating false thoughts on the part of living beings. In fundamental still quiescence there are no such discriminations. In understanding and penetrating every destiny, they are not attached to limits or no limits. This clear understanding and exhaustive penetration of all destinies includes all living beings, each type having its own grouping. Living beings of the same type group together. As it said:

The good make a company,
And the evil from a troop.
People seek out people who are like them.

Gangsters from relationships with other gangsters, and military men become friends with others of the military. Left-home people are companions with other left-home people, and laypeople from friendship among themselves. Students befriend students, and elderly are friends with one another. They each gather according to their kind. Cats like to chase mice, and mice like to go into caves and steal things to eat. Ants assemble with other ants, and day after day they are vary talented in providing for their mouths and stay increadibly busy at it. Mosquitoes from morning to night think about drinking the blood of other living beings. Each relies on its own destiny, and each has its own nature. Red peppers are hot, goldenseal is bitter, watermelons are sweet. Each has its own flavor. We people are not aware of it, but right among humans there are all kinds of differences. People who like the same sort of thing congregate together.

Take a look at how in strip-tease houses no one wears clothes. They are just that kind of destiny, that kind of person. If you look around a bar, you’ll see the people all holding their glasses and drinking without concern for their lives. They would feel comfortable if they drank themselves to death. They’re just people same kind. People who like to drink cola ascend to the heavens if they see cola, and people who like to drink milk become ecstatic as soon as they see milk. They drink an entire gallon at one sitting, and after that they have to go to the toilet several hundred times. If it weren’t for liking to drink, how could such trouble arise, of having to go to the toilet that many times? It’s from excessive liking. It’s a case of too much being equivalent to not enough. If you go too far, you end up deficient, so it’s the same if you hadn’t drunk at all. You feel it’s nourishing to drink milk and so you drink more. But as it turns out you can’t retain it, and it runs out. You drink it in from the top and it runs out the bottom, and none of the vitamins and other nutrients are retained. You have to admit that’s too much being the same as not enough. Although it’s a small matter, in everything you must accord with the Middle Way and not go overboard. If you go too far, you’ll have trouble.

There’s a popular saying concerning eating fine food which illustrates this principle. It goes:

The less you eat, the more you taste the flavor.
The more you eat, the more your life suffers for it.

You can taste the flavor of the food if you eat sparingly. But if you eat to excess, you’ll ruin your stomach and nothing will taste good. And don’t think that tea is such a fine thing that you want to drink it every day. If you drink tea day after day for long time, you could develop cancer from it. It’s the same as with smoking cigarettes. Don’t think drinking a lot of tea is all that good. In everything you do you should find the Middle Way, or else it won’t be wonderful. If you are in accord with the Middle Way, then it is wonderful.

So, the Buddhas and Bodhisattva understand and penetrate all the destinies. For example, they know that dogs start to bark as soon as they see someone, and that they guard the door. It’s that dogs have that nature in common. The same principle applies to people. People who don’t like to follow the rules have that kind of disposition, whereas those people who like to cultivate have that kind of disposition. There’s nothing strange about it. What in this world is strange? Nothing. It’s all just the way it is. If there are lots of people in the world, then it get complicated. So, there’s nothing worth being astonished at. Everything is just very ordinary and usual. “Everything’s okay” is just that principle. What’s so strange? An incense burner is just for people to light incense in. It simply has that use. The Buddha is receiving the incense smoke, not doing anything else. If you understand that, then what is odd? What is so incredible? There’s no need to say more. If you’re going to understand, you’ve already understood; and if you’re not going to understand, it doesn’t matter how much I say. You still won’t.

They are not attached to limits or no limits. Each flocks with its own kind. What point is there in becoming attached to this being this way and that being that way? All things are just that way. All between heaven and earth, to the exhaustion of empty space and the Dharma Realm, is just supposed to be. So those of you within the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, if you want to follow the rules then follow the rules, and if you don’t want to follow the rules then don’t follow the rules. You could say that the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has no rules. How can there be rules when “Every thing’s okay?” Just provided you’re not afraid of falling into the hells, then you can commit murder, arson, or sexual misconduct, or lie, or take intoxicants. But if you don’t want to fall into the hells, then don’t so those things. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

So, the Bodhisattvas aren’t attached to limits, to numbers or not numbers. For example, when I first started lecturing in San Francisco, there were three who came to listen to the lectures. One sat to listen, one reclined to listen, and one listened while asleep. But I didn’t pay any attention, and just decided what counted was from them to listen, no matter how they did it. The one who recline would place one foot on the ground and one on the table, like a t’ai chi ch’uan stance, very presumptuous. Then in time, there came more people, one-by-one, so there were four, five, six, seven, eight, and now there are over forty.

In America everyone is incredibly busy. Each person has their own livelihood and no one has time to listen to you lecture Sutras, especially if you lecture in Chinese and no one knows what you’re saying. No one comes. In New York they hold lectures on the Sutra only once a week, but still only twenty or so people attend. It’s that way in each of the Way Places. And in Hawaii there aren’t many either, nor in San Francisco. So you could say the largest number of people is here in the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, and Gold Mountain Monastery in San Francisco. Here we have lectures daily. Whatever the weather we lecture Sutras and speak Dharma. So you could say the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas has more people than any of the other places in the United States. And you could say that here we are panning for gold in sand. The speaking of Dharma pours out like water, flowing every day. And we don’t pay attention if people come to listen or not--yet there are more people who show up day-by-day.

The deep, profound and wonderful Dharma of all Buddhas is both vast and great as well as fine and subtle; most still, tranquil and With the depths of limitless wisdom which all Buddhas have, they know the profundity of all destinies. They know about the destinies of all living beings, each with their own natures, each with particular things which they like, and each with what they seek.

If you can reach the point where you seek nothing,
Then you have no worries.

Only The Bodhisattvas are able to leave confusion and inversion--confusion by sex, by anger, by intoxicants and confusion by wealth. Intoxicants, wealth, sex and anger are the causal factors for people being upside down and deluded. But the Bodhisattvas have none of that, and The purity of their minds is continuous. Their minds are always pure, they never have false thinking, and they never become afflicted.

When the mind stops and thinking ceases,
That is true wealth and honor.
When private desires are cut off,
That is the true field of blessings.

All of you, whether left-home or at-home, should carefully investigate those two lines. What stops when the mind stops? It’s emotion and love that stop. When thinking ceases, there aren’t even thoughts of them anymore. That is real wealth and honor. And if you can get rid of private desires, that is the true field of blessings. “Private desires” refers to the thoughts of desire you don’t tell people about because you feel they are very ugly; and yet you don’t cut them off. It’s just them, and if you get rid of them you obtain the true field of blessings. I’m always telling you:

When the mind is samadhi, the demons are subdued and every day is happy.

If your mind is not in samadhi, the demons won’t be subdued, but if it is, they will be. When the Buddha was about to achieve Buddhahood, beautiful goddesses appeared before him to seduce him, but he didn’t move. That’s what’s meant by the mind being in samadhi. The demon have no way to get at you then. They can exhaust their resources of dharma treasures and powers of spiritual penetrations, but it won’t do any good. Then there isn’t any day which isn’t a happy day.

When false thoughts do not arise, then every place is peaceful.

If you don’t have any false thinking, any place you go is just the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Why do you feel here isn’t good, and there isn’t good, nor is elsewhere any good either, so that the entire world is the uninterrupted hell wherever you go? It’s because you have too much false thinking. But if you don’t give rise to false thoughts, then every place is peaceful and happy. As it is said,

One moment pure, one moment on Vulture Peak.
At all times pure, at all times on Vulture Peak.

If your mind is pure one time, then you’ll be on Vulture Peak one time. If your mind is always pure, then you’re always on Vulture peak. Then why don’t you feel happy or at peace? It’s because you think, “Ah, this body of mine, I should take good care of it. I should sleep in a good place, eat better, and be more comfortable in every way.”

I remember that when I was in Yun Men and was taking my leave of the Venerable Master Hsu Yun to go to Hong Kong, I said, “Venerable Master, I can’t take living here in Yun Men.”

“What can’t you take?” he asked.

I said, “The humidity is intense in the room where I’ve been staying, and it’s somewhat unbearable for me.”

What do you think the Venerable Master replied? He said, “So you find it unbearable? The lay people sleep in pigpens, how would you say they can stand it?”

I said, “Venerable Master, how can you compare us people to pigs?”

He said, “People are pig.”

I said, “I’m going to Hong Kong, and when the weather is drier, I’ll come back.”

He said, “You’ll come back? If you go, you won’t be able to come back.”

I said, “ I shall certainly come back.”

“You certainly won’t be able to come back,” was his reply.

I said, “Well, if I can’t come back, then I’ll stay in Hong Kong.”

“Then stay there,” he said.

As it turned out, when I go to Hong Kong and wanted to go back, I really couldn’t go back, because Kuang Chou had become occupied and the frontiers were closed and communications cut off. And since I was from another province and didn’t understand Cantonese, I was really at a loss. People would say the most ordinary words, and I wouldn’t understand any of it. It was just the same as during the trip I had made to Japan in the course of staying at Nan Hua Monastery. The Cantonese would make the same sounds, but I didn’t have the faintest idea what they meant. And since I couldn’t return to Yun Nan, I remained in Hong Kong.

Where are we in the Sutra text? The Bodhisattvas have left confusion and inversion, and the purity of their minds is continuous. They cleverly with powers of spiritual penetrations cross over living beings without limit. That includes you and me as well.

-The Wisdom of Greatly Compassionate Conduct--The Conduct of Not Dwelling while Gathering in and Transforming

Sutra:

Those not yet peaceful they make peaceful,
And to the peaceful they show the Way Place.
In that way they pervade the Dharma realm,
Yet their minds have no attachment.

They do not dwell in the limit of reality,
Nor do they enter into Nirvana.
In that way they pervade the world,
And enlighten the flocks of beings.

Dharmas’ number and all living beings’ number
They completely know and yet are not attached to.
They universally rain down the rain of Dharma,
Amply moistening all in the world.

Universally inside of all worlds
They accomplish Right Enlightenment in thought after thought,
Yet still cultivate the Bodhisattva conduct,
And never do they ever retreat.

Commentary:  

Those living beings who have not yet become peaceful they make peaceful, and to the beings who have already been made peaceful they point out and show the Way Place. In that way they pervade the Dharma realm, Yet their minds have no attachment. They do not dwell in the limit of reality, nor do they enter into Nirvana. They neither dwell in true suchness nor in birth and death. They dwell neither in afflictions nor in Bodhi. They do not dwell anywhere.

You should produce that thought which does not dwell anywhere.

In that way they pervade the world, and enlighten the flocks of beings.

Dharmas’ number and all living beings’ number they completely know and yet are not attached to . They are not like us who completely do not know and yet are attached. That’s where the difference lies. When the Buddhas teach and transform living beings, They universally rain down the rain of Dharma. That means they are always proclaiming all Dharma doors and turning the great wheel of Dharma, Amply moistening all the sentient beings in the world. Furthermore, Universally inside of all worlds in every instant of thought it’s a time when They, the Buddhas, accomplish Right Enlightenment. Yet it took cultivation of the Bodhisattva conduct to reach that point, and even then they still cultivate the Bodhisattva conduct, And never do they ever retreat. In order to accomplish Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal Right Enlightenment, one absolutely cannot retreat, and then one can certify to Buddhahood.

--The Conduct of Manifesting a Body which is not a Body

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