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The Four Holy Truths____

Chapter Eight. A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED DEGENERATION, PERHAPS CALLED TURBIDITY, PERHAPS CALLED RETREAT, PERHAPS CALLED LACKING STRENGTH, PERHAPS CALLED LOSS, PERHAPS CALLED OPPOSITION, PERHAPS CALLED DISHARMONY, PERHAPS CALLED THAT WHICH IS DONE, PERHAPS CALLED GRASPING, PERHAPS CALLED INTENT AND DESIRE.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva calls out: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED DEGENERATION. It causes the decay of all good roots and everything wholesome. PERHAPS it is CALLED TURBIDITY. Accumulation is the complex conglomeration of afflictions; it is as turbid and unclear as dirty water. PERHAPS it is CALLED RETREAT. It causes peole to retreat from the power of goodness, to regress from their Bodhi resolve. PERHAPS it is CALLED LACKING STRENGTH. People do not have the power to augment their own good roots. PERHAPS it is CALLED LOSS. One loses one’s Bodhi resolve, so one cannot certify to the fruition. PERHAPS it is CALLED OPPOSITION. Afflictions do not accord with principle; instead they counter what is true. Their very nature is adverse and opposing. PERHAPS it is CALLED DISHARMONY. It makes it hard for cooperation to take place. Afflictions don’t get along with good dharmas; they are uncooperative. PERHAPS it is CALLED THAT WHICH IS DONE. Here the reference is to all the offense karma that is created. PERHAPS it is CALLED GRASPING. There is grasping of ignorance and afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED INTENT AND DESIRE. All of one’s mental activity is ignorant, vexatious, worrisome, false, and obsessive.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ESCAPE FROM JAIL, PERHAPS CALLED TRUE AND ACTUAL, PERHAPS CALLED AVERTING DISASTERS, PERHAPS CALLED SHIELDING AND PROTECTING, PERHAPS CALLED APART FROM EVIL, PERHAPS CALLED COMPLIANCE, PERHAPS CALLED FUNDAMENTAL SOURCE, PERHAPS CALLED RENOUNCING CAUSES, PERHAPS CALLED NON-ACTIVITY, PERHAPS CALLED NO CONTINUATION.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ESCAPE FROM JAIL. One gets out of the jail of the Three Realms. PERHAPS it is CALLED TRUE AND ACTUAL. This is a wonderful dharma that is genuine and not false. PERHAPS it is CALLED AVERTING DISASTERS. One is removed from all difficulties. PERHAPS it is CALLED SHIELDING AND PROTECTING. It protects the purity of body and mind so they can remain undefiled. PERHAPS it is CALLED APART FROM EVIL. One leaves all evil and gives rise to all good. PERHAPS it is CALLED COMPLIANCE. This means according with all skillful means. PERHAPS it is CALLED FUNDAMENTAL SOURCE. This refers to one’s fundamental Dharma door. PERHAPS it is CALLED RENOUNCING CAUSES. The causes of suffering are relinquished, and one attains the fruit of bliss. PERHAPS it is CALLED NON-ACTIVITY. There is nothing done; it transcends the realm of the conditioned. It is a dharma of getting out. PERHAPS it is CALLED NO CONTINUATION. When prepetuation is cut off, one leaps out of the revolving wheel.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ARRIVING AT THE STATE OF NOTHINGNESS, PERHAPS CALLED THE SEAL OF ALL, PERHAPS CALLED TREASURE OF SAMADHI, PERHAPS CALLED ATTAINING BRIGHT LIGHT, PERHAPS CALLED DHARMA OF IRREVERSIBILITY, PERHAPS CALLED ABLE TO BRING AN END TO EXISTENCE, PERHAPS CALLED BROAD AND VAST ROAD, PERHAPS CALLED ABLE TO TAME AND SUBDUE, PERHAPS CALLED PEACE, PERHAPS CALLED ROOT OF NO REVOLVING.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva calls out: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ARRIVING AT THE STATE OF NOTHINGNESS. When you reach the place where there is nothing at all, you give up all attachments. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE SEAL OF ALL. This “seal” refers to Dharani –uphoding and uniting—uniting all dharmas and upholding all meanings. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE TREASURE OF SAMADHI. Now one attains the treasure of samadhi, of “proper reception and proper concentration.” PERHAPS CALLED ATTAINING BRIGHT LIGHT, PERHAPS it is CALLED DHARMA OF IRREVERSIBILITY. Cultivators absolutely cannot retreat. They should have this Dharma of Irreversibility. PERHAPS it is CALLED ABLE TO BRING AN END TO EXISTENCE. If you can cut off ties to the twenty-five realms of the Triple World, then you can escape from the realm of existence. PERHAPS it is CALLED BROAD AND VAST ROAD This road is expansive and wide, not a dark and windy path. PERHAPS it is CALLED ABLE TO TAME AND SUBDUE. It can tame the body and mind, as well as subdue all karmic obstacles. PERHAPS it is CALLED PEACE. This road is very secure. You can travel on it all the way to the Buddha’s land. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE ROOT OF NO REVOLVING. This is the very root of not spinning around and around in samsara.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE FOUR HOLY TRUTHS ARE DESCRIBED IN FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM TO ALL BE TAMED AND SUBDUED.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED BENEFITTING, THE FOUR HOLY TRUTHS have been described in forty names. But these forty expand to FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM TO ALL BE TAMED AND SUBDUED. Although these names are very many and each is different, the underlying principle is the same. They are all aimed at subduing living beings and causing them to bring forth the Bodhi mind.

SUTRA:

VIII. THE WORLD UNIQUE AND RARE

“THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE IS PERHAPS CALLED INDULGING IN PRECARIOUS DESIRES, PERHAPS CALLED PLACE OF BONDS AND FETTERS, PERHAPS CALLED DEVIANT PRACTICES, PERHAPS CALLED CORRESPONDING RECEPTION, PERHAPS CALLED LACKING REMORSE AND SHAME, PERHAPS CALLED ROOT OF GREED AND DESIRE, PERHAPS CALLED LIKE THE GANGES RIVER, PERHAPS CALLED CONSTANT DEPRAVITY, PERHAPS CALLED NATURE OF A HUGE FLAME, PERHAPS CALLED MUCH WORRY AND VEXATION.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD has many other names in different worlds. IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, the world to the southwest, it is PERHAPS CALLED INDULGING IN PRECARIOUS DESIRES. To delight in the five desires – wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep – is a very dangerous thing. It leads to a lot of complications and suffering. PERHAPS it is CALLED PLACE OF BONDS AND FETTERS. This is a place wherein one gets tied up by afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED DEVIANT PRACTICES. Every action is based on deviant knowledge, deviant views, and perverse practices. PERHAPS it is CALLED CORRESPONDING RECEPTION. If you run after your desires and create karma, then you will receive the corresponding retribution. PERHAPS it is CALLED LACKING REMORSE AND SHAME. One engaged in this practice has no shame or modesty. PERHAPS it is CALLED ROOT OF GREED AND DESIRE. Suffering is the source of lust and craving. PERHAPS it is CALLED LIKE THE GANGES RIVER. The flow of afflictions is likened to the Ganges River, whose currents perpetually rage on without stop. PERHAPS it is CALLED CONSTANT DEPRAVITY. It constantly destroys good roots so that they don’t grow and flourish. PERHAPS it is CALLED NATURE OF A HUGE FLAME. A huge conflagration is very harmful because it consumes everything. PERHAPS it is CALLED MUCH WORRY AND VEXATION. Suffering is characterized by much worry, distress, and vexation.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED EXPANSIVE FIELD, PERHAPS CALLED ABLE TO TEND TOWARDS, PERHAPS CALLED FAR REMOVED FROM WISDOM, PERHAPS CALLED IMPEDING, PERHAPS CALLED HORROR AND APPREHENSION, PERHAPS CALLED INDULGENCE AND LAXNESS, PERHAPS CALLED POSSESSIVE GRASPING, PERHAPS CALLED PLACE OF ATTACHMENT, PERHAPS CALLED LORD OF THE HOUSE, PERHAPS CALLED TIED UP.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED EXPANSIVE FIELD. It is a large place where extensive afflictions are gathered to-gether. PERHAPS it is CALLED ABLE TO TEND TOWARDS the three evil paths. PERHAPS it is CALLED FAR REMOVED FROM WISDOM. One is far away from prajna wisdom. PERHAPS it is CALLED IMPEDING. It hampers you with a lot of difficulties and adversities. PERHAPS it is CALLED HORROR AND APPREHENSION. One is constantly oppressed by the feelings of fear and paranoia. PERHAPS it is CALLED INDULGENCE AND LAXNESS. One is very loose and doesn’t follow the rules; this inevitably leads to afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED POSSESSIVE GRASPING. Here afflictions merge and assemble together. PERHAPS it is CALLED PLACE OF ATTACHMENT. This is the place to which living beings are attached. PERHAPS it is CALLED LORD OF THE HOUSE of suffering and vexation. PERHAPS it is CALLED TIED UP. Afflictions tie you up so you aren’t free. Ordinary people don’t attain liberation because they are bound up by the five desires.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED FILLING UP, PERHAPS CALLED NOT DYING, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT A SELF, PERHAPS CALLED DEVOID OF SELF-NATURE, PERHAPS CALLED THE END OF DISCRIMINATION, PERHAPS CALLED PEACEFUL AND HAPPY DWELLING, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT MEASURE, PERHAPS CALLED CUTTING OFF THE FLOW, PERHAPS CALLED THE PLACE WHERE ACTIVITIES COME TO AN END, PERHAPS CALLED NON-DUAL.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED FILLING UP. It fills up emptiness and pervades the Dharma Realm. PERHAPS it is CALLED NOT DYING. This state is apart from production or extinction. It transcends both the state of birth and the state of death. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT A SELF. Because there is ultimate extinction, there is no ego, no self. PERHAPS it is CALLED DEVOID OF SELF-NATURE. Extinction itself has no self-nature, and dharmas have no self-nature either. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE END OF DISCRIMINATION. At this place there are no more differentiating thoughts. PERHAPS it is CALLED PEACEFUL AND HAPPY DWELLING. When one abides in the holy truth of the extinction of suffering, one is always happy and peaceful. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT MEASURE. It has no limits and no boundaries. PERHAPS it is CALLED CUTTING OFF THE FLOW. The flow of the revolving wheel is terminated. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE PLACE WHERE ACTIVITIES COME TO AN END. This is the state where,

The path of words is cut off,
The place of the mind’s workings is extinguished.

PERHAPS it is CALLED NON-DUAL. The state of non-duality is extinction.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED GREAT LIGHT, PERHAPS CALLED SEA OF PROCLAMATIONS, PERHAPS CALLED SELECTIVE ABOUT MEANINGS, PERHAPS CALLED DHARMA OF HARMONY, PERHAPS CALLED APART FROM GRASPING AND ATTACHMENT, PERHAPS CALLED SEVERING THE FLOW, PERHAPS CALLED VAST AND BROADROAD, PERHAPS CALLED LEVEL AND IMPARTIAL CAUSE, PERHAPS CALLED PURE EXPEDIENT, PERHAPS CALLED SUBLIME INSIGHT.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED GREAT LIGHT. Relying on this way, one attains the great bright light of Bodhi. PERHAPS it is CALLED SEA OF PROCLAMATIONS. The principles elucidated and spoken of are as vast as the ocean. PERHAPS it is CALLED SELECTIVE ABOUT MEANINGS. One should exercise discrimination, choose only true doctrines, and then cultivate according to them. PERHAPS it is CALLED DHARMA OF HARMONY. When you cultivate the Holy Truth of the Way, all dharmas abide in harmony. PERHAPS it is CALLED APART FROM GRASPING AND ATTACHMENT. You can leave your grasping and fixations behind. PERHAPS it is CALLED SEVERING THE FLOW. You break off the perpetual flow of birth and death. PERHAPS it is CALLED VAST AND BROAD ROAD. This road is level and broad. From the position of an ordinary person, one travels down the road to reach the position of a sage. PERHAPS it is CALLED LEVEL AND IMPARTIAL CAUSE. This is a most democratic cause. Whoever cultivates according to the Dharma will be able to attain the fruition. PERHAPS it is CALLED PURE EXPEDIENT. This is a pure Dharma door of skill-in-means. PERHAPS it is CALLED SUBLIME INSIGHT. This type of insight is the highest.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE THE HOLY TRUTHS ARE DESCRIBED IN FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM ALL TO BE TAMED AND SUBDUED.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED UNIQUE AND RARE THE HOLY TRUTHS ARE DESCRIBED IN FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE. The forty names explained so far expand to become many, many more names, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM ALL TO BE TAMED AND SUBDUED. Stubborn living beings are now rendered compliant and gentle. They bring forth the Bodhi mind and practice the Bodhisattva path.

SUTRA:

IX. THE WORLD HAPPINESS

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS IS PERHAPS CALLED TURNING AND FLOWING, PERHAPS CALLED GIVING BIRTH, PERHAPS CALLED LOSING ADVANTAGE, PERHAPS CALLED DEFILED ATTACHMENT, PERHAPS CALLED CUMBERSOME LOAD, PERHAPS CALLED DISCRIMINATION, PERHAPS CALLED INNER DANGER, PERHAPS CALLED ASSEMBLAGE, PERHAPS CALLED EVIL HOUSE, PERHAPS CALLED NATURE OF MISERY AND VEXATION.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS – the world located to the northwest – is called by many different names. PERHAPS it is CALLED TURNING AND FLOWING. Living beings turn within the six paths. PERHAPS it is CALLED GIVING BIRTH. Giving birth to what? – to afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED LOSING ADVANTAGE. You lose the benefit that comes from leaving suffering and attaining bliss. PERHAPS it is CALLED DEFILED ATTACHMENT. One suffers because one is attached to defiled dharmas; that is, one is unable to put down love and desire. PERHAPS it is CALLED CUMBERSOME LOAD. This suffering is a dead weight, so heavy that it causes people to fret and become distraught. PERHAPS it is CALLED DISCRIMINATION. Whenever discrimination surfaces, there is suffering. PERHAPS it is CALLED INNER DANGER. In your mind there is a precarious situation. PERHAPS it is CALLED ASSEMBLAGE. It assembles all types of karmic retribution, which are fruits of suffering. PERHAPS it is CALLED EVIL HOUSE. Nothing is auspicious within this house; everything is unlucky and miserable. PERHAPS it is CALLED NATURE OF MISERY AND VEXATION. That is the very nature of suffering.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA ,IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED GROUND, PERHAPS CALLED EXPEDIENT, PERHAPS CALLED UNTIMELY, PERHAPS CALLED NON-ACTUAL DHARMA, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT A BOTTOM, PERHAPS CALLED POSSESSING AND GRASPING, PERHAPS CALLED SEPARATING FROM PRECEPTS, PERHAPS CALLED DHARMA OF AFFLICTIONS, PERHAPS CALLED NARROW AND VULGAR VIEWS, PERHAPS CALLED COLLECTION OF FILTH.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA,IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED GROUND. It is the fertile ground from which afflictions sprout. PERHAPS it is CALLED EXPEDIENT. It facilitates the aggregation of afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED UNTIMELY. It doesn’t have any appointed time; it is always inappropriate. PERHAPS it is CALLED NON-ACTUAL DHARMA. It is not a true dharma. It is born from falseness, and will perish by falseness. It is PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT A BOTTOM. There is no end to this chasm. No amount of afflictions will fill it up. PERHAPS it is CALLED POSSESSING AND GRASPING. It draws afflictions to it. PERHAPS it is CALLED SEPARATING FROM PRECEPTS. Once you separate from precepts, you will not be able to stop evil and prevent transgression. PERHAPS it is CALLED DHARMA OF AFFLICTIONS. It is PERHAPS CALLED NARROW AND VULGAR VIEWS. The view-point of people who are afflicted with suffering is very biased and constricted. As it is said,

They see what is near, but not what is far.
They see only themselves, but not others.

PERHAPS it is CALLED COLLECTION OF FILTH. It attracts all filth and groups it together.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED DESTROYING THE PLACE OF RELIANCE, PERHAPS CALLED NOT BEING LAX, PERHAPS CALLED TRUE AND ACTUAL, PERHAPS CALLED LEVEL AND EQUAL, PERHAPS CALLED GOOD AND PURE, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT ILLNESS, PERHAPS CALLED NOT CROOKED, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT MARKS, PERHAPS CALLED SOVEREIGNTY, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT PRODUCTION.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva calls out: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED DESTROYING THE PLACE OF RELIANCE. The place that afflictions rely on is now vanquished. There is no more ignorance and no more vexation. PERHAPS it is CALLED NOT BEING LAX. One follows the rules, one is without thoughts of desire and so one cuts off afflictions. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s Verse of Exhortation says,

This day has passed, and our lives decrease accordingly.
We are like fish in an evaporating pond, what joy is there in this?
Great Assembly! Be diligent and vigorous,
As if saving your very heads.
Be ever mindful of impermanence,
And make sure not to be lax!

The meaning is that this day has gone by, and our lifespans have grown one day shorter. We are like fish living in a pond. At first they are very happy swimming about, but the water keeps evaporating. There’s less and less of it every day. The more the water dries up, the more the lives of the fish are endangered. The same applies to the human situation. What joy can you derive from this? Therefore, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva goes on to exhort the Great Assembly: “You should be industrious and strive to make progress, as if saving your very head.” If your head were to catch fire, or if it were about to be hit by some hard object, you would try to save it at all cost, wouldn’t you? You should use that same kind of attention and concern to remain constantly aware that the ghost of impermanence can arrive at any time. You should follow the rules and not be self-indulgent. If you are lax and let your life go by in vain, you will fall into the hells after your death. When you get to the hells, it’s too late to start following the rules even if you should want to. King Yama will not listen to excuses and rationalizations. He may simply decide that you will have to stay in the hells forever.

PERHAPS it is CALLED TRUE AND ACTUAL. This principle is genuine and absolutely true. PERHAPS it is CALLED LEVEL AND EQUAL. It is not produced, it is not extinguished, it is neither pure nor defiled and it neither increases nor decreases. PERHAPS it is CALLED GOOD AND PURE. This is the most wholesome and pure doctrine. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT ILLNESS. One is not plagued by any of the types of illnesses of afflictions. PERHAPS it is CALLED NOT CROOKED. One doesn’t have a crooked or devious mind. “The straight mind is the Way Place.” One is straightforward, upright, and uncompromising with regard to what is proper. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT MARKS. Because afflictions are already extinct, they no longer assume any appearance or shape. PERHAPS it is CALLED SOVEREIGNTY. Sovereignty is liberation; liberation is sovereignty. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT PRODUCTION. When the state of still extinction is reached, there is not more production or destruction.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ENTERING A SUBLIME STATE, PERHAPS CALLED CUTTING OF ACCUMULATION, PERHAPS CALLED TRANSCENDING THE AVERAGE, PERHAPS CALLED VAST AND GREAT NATURE, PERHAPS CALLED THE END OF DISCRIMINATION, PERHAPS CALLED THE PATH OF SPIRITUAL PENETRATIONS, PERHAPS CALLED MULTIPLE SKILL-IN-MEANS, PERHAPS CALLED THE CONDUCT OF PROPER MINDFULNESS, PERHAPS CALLED THE ROAD OF CONSTANT STILLNESS, PERHAPS CALLED THE LIBERATION OF GATHERING IN.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva calls out: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ENTERING A SUBLIME STATE. Traveling on this road you enter a supreme and wonderful state of being. PERHAPS it is CALLED CUTTING OF ACCUMULATION. All afflictions are cut off. PERHAPS it is CALLED TRANSCENDING THE AVERAGE. One transcends everything. One becomes outstanding among one’s peers – an exceptional, extraordinary person. PERHAPS it is CALLED GREAT AND VAST NATURE. Its nature is very expansive and all inclusive; it was sixteen years old, I composed the following verse:

The Tao

The ten thousand things all arise from the Tao.
One who attains it naturally penetrates its efficacy.
Enlighten to this principle:
Bodhi neither increases or decreases.

The meaning of the verse is that the myriad phenomena are all begotten from the Tao. When one attains the Tao, one spontaneously understands this divine secret. One awakens to the principle that Bodhi neither increases nor decreases. It is just right. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE END OF DISCRIMINATION. All discriminating thoughts are done away with. At that time, there are no more words to say, and no more thoughts to think. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE PATH OF SPIRITUAL PENETRATIONS. Con-tained within this state are tremendous spiritual powers. PERHAPS it is CALLED MULTIPLE SKILL-IN-MEANS. There is a store of uncountable skill-in-means appropriate for transforming every type of living being at the proper time. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE CONDUCT OF PROPER MINDFULNESS. Culti-vation is the conduct of maintaining proper mindfulness. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE ROAD OF CONSTANT STILLNESS. This is a road of calmness and tranquility and perpetual peace. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE LIBERATION OF GATHERING IN. Cultivation can liberate the different types of gathering in.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE FOUR HOLY TRUTHS ARE DESCRIBED IN FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM ALL TO BE TAMED AND SUBDUED.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED HAPPINESS, THE FOUR HOLY TRUTHS have been described in forty names. But these forty names further expand to become FORTY TRILLION NAMES SUCH AS THESE, WHICH, BY ACCORDING WITH LIVING BEINGS’ THOUGHTS, CAN CAUSE THEM TO ALL BE TAMED AND SUBDUED. These names work on the consciousnesses and inner mental resources of living beings so that when they hear them, living beings are awakened. Stuborn living beings become gentle and compliant and they resolve their minds on the Way.

SUTRA:

X. THE WORLD LOCK AND KEY

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, IS PERHAPS CALLED CHARACTERIZED BY RUIN AND DESOLATION, PERHAPS CALLED LIKE A VESSEL, PERHAPS CALLED BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE SELF, PERHAPS CALLED BODY OF MANY DESTINIES, PERHAPS CALLED MULTIPLE REVOLUTIONS, PERHAPS CALLED DOOR TO THE MYRIAD EVILS, PERHAPS CALLED BITTER BY NATURE, PERHAPS CALLED SHOULD BE RENOUNCED, PERHAPS CALLED FLAVORLESS, PERHAPS CALLED COMING AND GOING.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva goes on to say: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, THE HOLY TRUTH OF SUFFERING AS EXPLAINED IN THIS SAHA WORLD, is known by various names. IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, it is described in other terms. PERHAPS it is CALLED CHARACTERIZED BY RUIN AND DESOLATION. The features of suffering are ruin and desolation. Everything breaks down: even the good breaks down and becomes bad. PERHAPS it is CALLED LIKE A VESSEL. It is a container that holds only certain things. Its function is very limited. PERHAPS it is CALLED BROUGHT ABOUT BY THE SELF. Suffering is brought about by a sense of self; there’s an ego involved. PERHAPS it is CALLED BODY OF MANY DESTINIES. It is the source of rebirth in the four evil destinies–asuras, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings. PERHAPS it is CALLED MULTIPLE REVOLUTIONS. There is ceaseless turning in the revolving wheel; it’s not known when one can stop. PERHAPS it is CALLED DOOR TO THE MYRIAD EVILS. It is the gateway to many types of evil. PERHAPS it is CALLED BITTER BY NATURE. The nature of suffering is bitter. PERHAPS it is CALLED SHOULD BE RENOUNCED. Since it is so bitter, you really should leave it behind and not yearn for it anymore. PERHAPS it is CALLED FLAVORLESS. It has no sweet taste; its only taste is that of bitterness. PERHAPS it is CALLED COMING AND GOING. People come and go and go and come. That is, they are reborn and then die, they die and then are reborn, forever revolving without end.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ACTIVITY, PERHAPS CALLED POISONOUS WRATH, PERHAPS CALLED CONJOINING, PERHAPS CALLED BRANCH OF RECEPTION, PERHAPS CALLED EGOTISM, PERHAPS CALLED MIXED POISON, PERHAPS CALLED FALSE NAME, PERHAPS CALLED OPPOSING, PERHAPS CALLED HEATED AFFLICTIONS, PERHAPS CALLED PARANOIA.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE ACCUMULATION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED ACTIVITY. This refers to the suffering of process, where the suffering goes on and on in a stream of uninterrupted activity. PERHAPS it is CALLED POISONOUS WRATH. Afflictions lead to rage and resentment which are as harmful as poison. PERHAPS it is CALLED CONJOINING. Afflictions conjoin and accumulate. PERHAPS it is CALLED BRANCH OF RECEPTION. This refers to one of the branches of the Twelve Links of Conditioned Co-production: the link of reception.

The Twelve Causal Links

  • ignorance
  • consciousness
  • name and form
  • the six sense faculties
  • contact
  • reception
  • love
  • grasping
  • existence
  • birth
  • old age
  • death

The branch of reception refers to the input of external sense data that bombards the sense organs. It is the basis of much affliction.

PERHAPS it is CALLED EGOTISM. Because of egotistical obsessions one becomes vexed and distraught. PERHAPS it is CALLED MIXED POISON. Different kinds of poisons come together within the truth of accumulation. PERHAPS it is CALLED FALSE NAME. It is just a name, not something real. PERHAPS it is CALLED OPPOSING. It contradicts the true principle of the self-nature. PERHAPS it is CALLED HEATED AFFLICTIONS. Afflictions are like a huge blaze. They burn up all of your good roots. PERHAPS it is CALLED PARANOIA. It causes people to be afraid and nervous all the time.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT ACCUMULATION, PERHAPS CALLED THAT WHICH CANNOT BE OBTAINED, PERHAPS CALLED WONDROUS REMEDY, PERHAPS CALLED INDESTRUCTIBLE, PERHAPS CALLED NO ATTACHMENT, PERHAPS CALLED MEASURELESS, PERHAPS CALLED VAST AND GREAT, PERHAPS CALLED SHARE OF ENLIGHTENMENT, PERHAPS CALLED APART FROM CORRUPTION, PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT OBSTACLES.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE TRUTH OF THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED WITHOUT ACCUMULATION. There is no accumulation of suffering. PERHAPS it is CALLED THAT WHICH CANNOT BE OBTAINED. Because afflictions are extinguished they can no longer be obtained. This is the state of “no knowing and no attaining” that is mentioned in the Heart Sutra. PERHAPS it is CALLED WONDROUS REMEDY. The truth of extinction is like a wonder-ful medicine. It cures the illness of suffering and affliction. PERHAPS it is CALLED INDESTRUCTIBLE. The truth of extinction is imperishable. PERHAPS it is CALLED NO ATTACHMENT. There is no more clinging to anything; all attachments are put down. PERHAPS it is CALLED MEASURELESS. It is also without number, without a limit. PERHAPS it is CALLED VAST AND GREAT. It is expansive and infinite. PERHAPS it is CALLED SHARE OF ENLIGHTENMENT. This refers to one of the seven shares of enlightenment. PERHAPS it is CALLED APART FROM CORRUPTION. One leaves all defiled dharmas behind. PERHAPS it is CALLED WITHOUT OBSTACLES. All obstructions are eradicated.

SUTRA:

“DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED PEACEFUL CONDUCT, PERHAPS CALLED LEAVING DESIRE, PERHAPS CALLED ULTIMATE REALITY, PERHAPS CALLED THE ENTRANCE TO MEANING, PERHAPS CALLED ULTIMATE NATURE, PERHAPS CALLED PURE MANIFESTATION, PERHAPS CALLED GATHERING IN ONE’S THOUGHTS, PERHAPS CALLED TENDING TOWARD LIBERATION, PERHAPS CALLED RESCUE, PERHAPS CALLED VICTORIOUS CONDUCT.

COMMENTARY:

Manjushri Bodhisattva says: DISCIPLES OF THE BUDDHA, IN THE WORLD CALLED LOCK AND KEY, THE HOLY TRUTH OF THE WAY LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF SUFFERING IS PERHAPS CALLED PEACHFUL CONDUCT. The conduct of this Holy Truth is very calm and peace-ful, not agitated at all. PERHAPS it is CALLED LEAVING DESIRE. One is removed from all afflictions and desire. It is because of desire that we have tempers. With desire, there comes selfishness, with selfishness, there comes aflictions, with afflictions there comes suffering. If one can be apart from desire, then one will have no more suffering. When faced with any situation, one’s mind will not move, and one will be;

Thus, thus unmoving,
Constantly bright and understanding.

That is the advantage of attaining the Holy Truth of the Way. The Vajra Sutra refers to the ‘arhats apart from desire.” They turn all their thoughts of desire into pure thoughts, into the bright light of wisdom. People who cultivate the Way, who believe in the Buddha, who study the Buddhadharma, must return the light to illuminate within and ask themselves: “Do I have desire?” If you still have thoughts of desire, particularly thoughts of sexual desire, then you should quickly apply effort and sever them. Only then will you have some success. If you do not sever these thoughts, you won’t manage to leave any of your desire behind, much less cut it off completely. It is my hope that all of you pay special attention to this point.

PERHAPS it is CALLED ULTIMATE REALITY. This Way is the most true and ultimate method for cultivation. PERHAPS it is CALLED THE ENTRANCE TO MEANING. If you cultivate this Way, you will develop an understanding of the true meaning. PERHAPS it is CALLED ULTIMATE NATURE. This is the self-nature’s place of refuge, its ultimate resting place. Having cultivated the Way to perfectior you can certify to the fruition of the enlighten-ment of the self-nature. PERHAPS it is CALLED PURE MANIFESTATION. If you cultivate the pure path, your wisdom will naturally manifest. PERHAPS it is CALLED GATHERING IN ONE’S THOUGHTS. How do you leave desire? By gathering in our thoughts. It means bringing your myriad thoughts to a single focal point, concentrating and not letting your thoughts run amok. Our minds play tricks on us. In fact the mind is aptly described thus:

Mind like a monkey and thoughts like a wild steed.

If we don’t reign in our thoughts then they run all over the place. How can you reign in your thoughts? You can recite the holy name “Namo Amitabha Buddha,” or you can investigate Ch’an and concentrate on a meditation topic such as “Who is mindful of the Buddha?”, or you can recite the mantra of the six magical syllables, “Om Mani Padm Hum,” or you can recite the Sutras and bow to the Buddhas. There are any number of methods you can use to keep your crazy thoughts in check. Make sure your thoughts don’t get turned by external stimuli and go running after states. If you can gather in our thoughts, then;

Seeing things and awakening to them, you transcend the mundane.
Seeing things and being confused by them, you fall back upon the wheel.

If, upon encountering any given state you immediately understand it, then you can transcend the common world. But if you see things and get all muddled by them, you fall into the turning wheel and sink. To sum it up, if you can gather in your thoughts, you will transcend the Triple World; if you can’t gather in your thoughts, you will fall and revolve in the Triple World. All principles can be reduced to one single statement: Gather in your thoughts and leave desire.

Cultivators who can watch over themselves are those who manage to gather in their thoughts. People who can remain unmoved and not be turned by situations, are those who can leave desire. To leave desire is to have true purity, true regulation, true Way, and true virtue. In order to leave desire, you must start by gathering in you thoughts. Don’t strike up false thinking. If you can pull yourself away from thoughts of desire, and bring your mind to a one-pointed focus, then you have gathered in your thoughts. On the other hand, if you can gather in your thoughts, you will naturally be apart from desire. The two are interconnected.

PERHAPS this truth of the Way is CALLED TENDING TOWARD LIBERATION. One tends toward the path of liberation and non-attachment. PERHAPS it is CALLED RESCUE. It rescues living beings and takes them to the other shore. PERHAPS it is CALLED VICTORIOUS CONDUCT. This practice-door is the most sublime. It takes you all the way to ultimate Nirvana.

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