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Light Enlightenment

Chapter Nine

 


Sutra:

At that time, light passed through a thousand worlds and everywhere illumined ten thousand worlds in the east. It was also like this in the south, west, north, the four intermediate directions, as well as above and below. Within each of those worlds there were a billion Jambudvipas, reaching up to a billion Ultimate Form heavens. All of these were clearly revealed in this light.

Just as in this place one could see the Thus Come One seated on his lotus flower treasury lion’s throne, with Bodhisattvas as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands circumambulating him, so too, in each of those billions of Jambudvipas there were billions of Thus Come Ones seated in the same way.

Because of the spiritual power of the Buddha, in each of the ten directions there was a great Bodhisattva, who was accompanied by Bodhisattvas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands, who came to the Buddha’s place.

Their names were Manjushri and others. They came from countries called Golden Colored World and others, and the Buddhas they served were called Unmoving Wisdom Thus Come One and others.

At that time, in the presence of all those Buddhas, the voices of the Manjushri Bodhisattvas in all those places, rang out in unison as they spoke verses:

Commentary:

At that time. Light passed through a thousand worlds. At that time, the light that was emitted from the soles of the Buddha’s feet went to the east across a thousand worlds and everywhere illumined ten thousand worlds in the east. It illumined that many countries. It was also like this in the south, west, north, the four intermediate directions, as well as above and below. Within each of those worlds there were a billion Jambudvipas, reaching up to a billion Ultimate Form heavens. All of these were clearly revealed in this light. They manifested before Shakyamuni Buddha sitting beneath the Bodhi tree in the Way Place.

Just as in this place one could see the Thus Come One, seated on his lotus flower treasury lion’s throne, with Bodhisattvas as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands circumambulating him, soo too, in each of those billions of Jambudvipas there were billions of Thus Come One seated in the same way.

Because of the spiritual power of the Buddha, in each of the ten directions there was a great bodhisattva. Each one of the ten directions had its own great Bodhisattva, who was accompanied by Bodhisattvas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten buddhalands, who came to the Buddha’s place. They all arrived at Shakyamuni Buddha’s way place.

Their names were Manjushri and others. They came from countries called golden colored world and others, and the Buddhas they served were called unmoving wisdom Thus Come One and others. Each Bodhisattva had a Buddha that they originally served, and they were called Unmoving Wisdom Buddha and many others.

At that time, in the presence of all those Buddhas, the voices of the Manjushri Bodhisattvas in all those places, rangout in unison as they spoke verses. In each of the Buddha’s way places, Manjushri Bodhisattva’s division bodies each spoke in unison the following verses.

Sutra:

Produce a mind of great compassion
to save and protect all living beings,
and to forever leave the multitudes of people and gods:
This is the karma that should be done,
with thoughts of constant faith and joy in the Buddha,
and a mind that never retreats,
one draws near to all Thus Come Ones:
This is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

Produce a mind of great compassion. What is meant by “a mind of great compassion?”

Compassion is able to bestow happiness,

And kindness is able to pull beings out of suffering.

To “produce a mind of great compassion” means that one gives all kinds of happiness to living beings, and one pulls them out of sufferings. It’s not easy to do this kind of thing, but we should all produce a mind of great compassion. To “produce” means that before it wasn’t there, but now it is brought forth. You should:

Give rise to great kindness towards those with whom you have no affinities,
And great compassion for those of the same substance.

You don’t discriminate between self and others. Many times I have spoken the verse about producing the mind of great compassion.

“Truly recognize your own mistakes;” One should constantly and truly recognize one’s own errors. “Don’t discuss others’ faults.” If one has a mind of great compassion, then one won’t always run around discussing whether others are right or wrong. Don’t talk about what’s wrong with others, or the faults of others. “Others’ faults are my own;” Why shouldn’t you talk about other people’s faults? Because you should look at other people’s faults as being the same as your own. If one can see one’s own faults, then one will produce a mind of great shame and then very sincerely and frankly repent of one’s errors.

And so the verse says, “Others’ faults are my own.” Others’ faults and my own are just the same. “To be one with all beings is great compassion.” The mind of great compassion is being able to see all other living beings as being of the same substance as oneself. This verse should be recited and remembered by everyone. To truly and actually practice it will greatly aid your cultivation.

To save and protect all living beings, If one is able to see oneself as being of the same substance as all living beings, then one will certainly be able to save and protect all living beings. And to forever leave the multitudes of people and gods: One forever leaves behind the three realms:

  • the desire realm
  • the form realm
  • the formless realm
This is the karma that should be done. The principles just mentioned should be practiced. This kind of virtuous activity should be carried out. This kind of Way karma should be done.

With thoughts of constant faith and joy in the Buddha, In you mind you should have constant faith and joy in the Buddha, and a mind that never retreats, At no time in your cultivation of the Way should you retreat. Just look at us now cultivating the Buddhadharma. We cultivate for several years and everyday we hear the Dharma, and still we have thoughts of retreat. If you’re this way then you haven’t got a vigorous mind. People who cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, people who have faith and joy in the Buddhadharma, never turn back. One draws near to all Thus Come Ones: One draws near to past, present, and future Buddhas. One draws near to all Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time. This is the karma that should be done. One should always maintain this virtuous practice, and carry out these beneficial activities. It should be done in this way.

Sutra:

With a will that rejoices in the Buddha’s merit and virtue,
and a mind that never retreats,
one dwells in pure, cool wisdom:
this is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

With a will that rejoices in the Buddha’s merit and virtue, Living beings can be Sages if they want to be Sages. Or they can be outstanding heroes if they want to be. You just have to have the ambition, the determination to do it, and then in the future you will certainly attain your goal. Now, we have a resolve to rejoice in the Buddha’s merit and virtue, and in the future we too can come to possess the merit and virtue of the Buddha.

What is the Buddha’s merit and virtue? The Buddha’s merit and virtue is beneffiting oneself and benefitting others, enlightening oneself and enlightening others. When one’s own benefit is perfected there is wisdom. When one’s enlightening of others is perfected there is blessings and virtue. When one’s blessings and virtue is perfected one’s merit and virtue is accomplished. Therefore, if we are resolute in the merit and virtue practiced by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and rely on the various practices that they cultivated while on the causal ground, and then cultivate them, we’ll be ale to accomplish the Buddha’s merit and virtue.

And a mind that never retreats, The most important thing for a student of the Buddhadharma is to have a mind that never retreats. If today you’re vigorous and tomorrow you retreat and the day after that you retreat even more, then what you obtain doesn’t make up for what you lose. You retreat for a while and then are vigorous for a while. For instance, today you bow to the Buddha three hundred times, and then you go outside and scold three hundred people. ‘Whoever you see you scold. But this is of no use. By doing this you are retreating. While in the monastery you’re an old cultivator, but when you leave the monastery you act like a thief or stare at things with big ox eyes, looking at things that are against the rules. By acting this way you are also retreating.

Therefore, “a mind that never retreats” means that at all times and in all places you should cultivate the Dharmadoors and never retreat. Don’t say that you’ll bow while you’re in the monastery, but when you leave you will retreat. When you leave you should have the same mind of bowing to the Buddhas as when you were inside the monastery. You should have the same mind of cultivation. When you go outside, don’t look at things that aren’t in accord with propriety. Don’t listen to, look at, say, or do things that aren’t in accord with propriety. If you can be that way then you are one with a mind that never retreats. At such a time one dwells in pure, cool wisdom: At all times you should abide in pure, cool wisdom. To have “no heat” means that you don’t have any afflictions. And without any afflictions you can attain pure, cool wisdom. This is the karma that should be done. “I must do this kind of activity. I can’t be sloppy, and I can’t be negligent. I can’t casually neglect my responsibility. I can’t slop my way through. I will responsibly go and do it.”

Sutra:

Within all awesome deportments
one is constantly mindful of the Buddha’s merit and virtue,
ceaselessly throughout the day and night:
this is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

Within all awesome deportments, The four awesome deportments are walking, standing, sitting and lying down. While one is walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, there are rules that must be followed. One should walk like the wind, sit like a bell, stand like a pine, and lie down like a bow. When one walks, it should be like a gentle breeze that doesn’t make waves on the water. This breeze isn’t like a tornado. In this country there are lots of tornados. Why are there tornados? It’s because everybody makes his own tornado. So, everyone makes his own tornado and it stirs up the air and makes one big tornado. It blows over houses, people get squashed, trees fall over, and it causes lots of calamities. This is because people don’t have any awesome deportment.

You should sit like a bell. You should sit straight and upright, not like a clapper in a bell which movs back and forth. Stand like a pine, tall and straight, and lie down like a bow. These are the four great awesome deportments. One is constantly mindful of the Buddha’s merit and virtue, Always remember that the Buddha’s merit and virtue came from his cultivation, ceaselessly throughout the day and night: throughout the six periods of the day and night, at no time is there a pause. This is the karma that should be done. This kind of practice is what we should do.

Sutra:

One contemplates the three periods of time which are boundless,
and studies those Buddhas’ merit and virtue
with a mind that is never weary:
this is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

One contemplates the three periods of time which are boundless, “Contemplate the three periods of time which are boundless” means that one contemplates the unreckonable. “Three periods of time” can be explained in many ways. You could say it means the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time of past kalpas, present kalpas, and future kalpas. That is speaking of the distant. If you want to speak of the near, you could say it means the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time in the past five hundred years, the present five hundred years, and the future five hundred years.

But still that has a limit, it’s not boundless. Or you could say past Buddhas, present Buddhas, and future Buddhas. That’s another way of talking about the three periods of time. You could also say all Buddhas of the past thought-after-thought, present thought-after-thought, and future thought-after-thought, in the ten directions and three periods of time. That would be the three periods of time in thought. The “three periods of time” is merely a general term, in actuality, time can’t be counted. So, one “contemplates the three periods of time which are boundless.” In the past the Buddhas have already become Buddhas, in the present they are becoming Buddhas, and in the future they will become Buddhas.

How did the Buddha become a Buddha? He didn’t do any evil and offered up all good conduct. By not doing any evil, he thereby gained merit and virtue. And by offering up all good conduct, he developed wisdom. When his merit, virtue, and wisdom were complete then he accomplished Buddhahood. And studies those Buddhas’ merit and virtue. You pervasively contemplate the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time to see how they come to accomplishment. They cultivated and then they accomplished Buddhahood. If the Buddha hadn’t cultivated, then he’d be the same as you and me and all living beings. He’d still be a common person. Why did the Buddha accomplish Buddhahood? It’s because he cultivated. He was vigorous and he never rested throughout the day and night. So it says,

“For three asamkhyeyas he cultivated blessings and wisdom,
And for one hundred kalpas he perfected the fine marks.”

For three asamkhyeyas, the Buddha cultivated blessings and wisdom. For a hundred great kalpas he walked the Bodhisattva Way, benefitting himself and benefitting others, enlightening himself and enlightening others, and crossing over himself and crossing over others. For the sake of the Dharma he forgot about himself. In his seeking for the Buddhadharma he gave his body, mind, nature, and life. The Buddha wouldn’t do the smallest bit of evil, and he did every good deed that there was to do, no matter how small it was. Because he didn’t neglect to do small good deeds, they accumulated into great good deeds. And because he wouldn’t do the smallest evil thing, his evil karma is empty. Therefore the Buddha’s merit and virtue is limitless and boundless. We who believe in the Buddha should imitate him in his past cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way, not fearing any suffering, but instead, being able to endure all suffering. Why wasn’t he afraid of suffering and able to endure suffering? It’s because he knew that:

To endure suffering is to end suffering.
To enjoy one’s blessings is to exhaust one’s blessings.

If you can endure suffering then it will end. He understood this principle and so he was courageously vigorous in the six periods of the day and night. He was constantly vigorous. What was difficult to practice, he could practice. He could endure what was difficult to endure. He could endure those difficult situations that most people couldn’t endure. He could cultivate what was difficult for people to cultivate. He could cultivate the bitter practices. He could yield when it was difficult to yield. He could give up those things that a person just couldn’t give up. He could bear all the things that can’t be born. He could give the things that people couldn’t give, and he could do the things that people couldn’t do. The Buddha could do what others couldn’t do.

The things that the Buddha did were to benefit others. He would slight himself in order to benefit others. He never kept any of the good things for himself. He always gave them to others. He forgot himself in order to benefit others, by doing what others couldn’t do. He could eat what others couldn’t eat. He could bear the affairs that other people couldn’t bear. Because he was that way, he accomplished Buddhahood. He cultivated the Six Paramitas and the ten thousand practices, and various Dharmadoors. We should study the Buddha’s particularly strong ability to be patient.

With a mind that is never weary: “Never” means that at all times, he was without a second’s worth of weariness. At all times we should cultivate the Dharmas of cultivation set down by the Buddha, and not rest or grow weary even for a second. For instance, some people cultivate for two and a half days and then say that they are tired of Buddhism. If you get tired of studying the Buddhadharma, then you’ll never be able to transcend the three realms. If you want to end birth and cast off death, and leap off the turning wheel of the six paths, you must diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi, and wisdom and get rid of greed, hatred, and stupidity. You should never become weary. If you are able to study the Buddhadharma without getting weary, you will make progress and eventually open enlightenment.

But, if you become tired even one second before you’re going to get enlightened, then you won’t bevcome enlightened. Why won’t you become enlightened? It’s because you’ve lost the opportunity. You were just off by a little bit, just by a hair, off by one second. If you hadn’t grown weary, then you could have had some accomplishment. It was just in that one second, in the space of a thought, that you mind retreated and lost all the work that you had previously done. There is a saying which goes:

Everything’s a test to see what you will do;
If you don’t recognize what’s before your face you’ll have to start anew.

That’s what is meant by being off by a hair. It means the difference between becoming enlightened and blowing it, between gaining wisdom or stupidity. Why? Because in that one second you became tired and so you retreated.

This is the karma that should be done. This is the kind of virtuous Way karma, the kind of cultivation, that we should very dependably and reliably do. Don’t be like a gambler looking for an easy way to win. In one kind of gambling there are two or four possibilities on which you can bet. You put one hundred dollars on one door and you may win ten thousand dollars. But, in cultivation one has to cultivate reliably and dependably. Don’t cheat yourself while you’re cultivating. Don’t look for a bargain. Don’t look for things that will bring more benefit to yourself and not do things that won’t bring benefit to you. That’s not right.

Sutra:

Contemplate the body as the real mark
where everything is still and quiet.
Be apart from the attachment to self and no self:
this is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

Contemplate the body as the real mark. When you contemplate the Buddha’s body you can’t seek it through form. You can’t use conditioned dharmas to fathom it. You should contemplate the Buddha’s body as the real mark. What is the real mark? The real mark is no mark. Although it is said to be unmarked there is nothing that is not marked. The entire world and all the myriad appearance in it are manifestations of the real mark. Although there are these manifestations of the real mark, you won’t be able to find the basic substance of the real mark by looking for it. Why won’t you be able to find it? It’s because it is unmarked. Unmarked means that there is nothing produced or destroyed, nothing defiled or pure, and nothing which increases or decreases. It:

Sweeps away all dharmas
And separates from all marks.

Therefore, the real mark is unmarked but there is nothing that is not marked. If you contemplate your own body, it is also like the real mark: there is no mark. Contemplating the Buddha’s body is the same way. Where everything is still and quiet. The real mark is unmarked and so every thought is characterized by still quiescence. Still quiescence has no form or appearance.

Be apart from the attachment to self and no self: Still quiescence is separate from the four great elements that falsely bind together to make what we know of as a self. Our bodies are made up of the four great elements—earth, water, fire, and wind. The temperature in our bodies belongs to the element of fire, the moisture belongs to the element water, the circulation belongs to the element wind, and our skin, flesh, muscles, and bones belong to the element earth.

The four elements combine to create the body, but they can’t do it on their own. They still need to combine with the causes and conditions of the father and mother before they can come together to create a body. The body is basically empty and still. Ultimately there isn’t anything there. In contemplating, you want to separate from the attachment of a self, and be without an attachment to dharmas. The attachment to self is emptied and the attachment to dharmas is also emptied. That is the principle of still quiescence. This is the karma that should be done. We should practice this kind of principle, this kind of cultivation of way karma.

Sutra:

Contemplate equally the minds of living beings
without giving rise to discriminations.
Enter into this true and actual state:
This is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

Contemplate equally the minds of living beings. You should regard all living beings in the same way and look on them compassionately without giving rise to discriminations. When you’re together with other living beings you shouldn’t produce a lot of discriminations. Enter into this true and actual state: If you can be that way, without a mark of self, a mark of others, a mark of living beings, or a mark of a lifespan, you will see all living beings as equal and everything will be happy. Then you are a person who doesn’t give rise to discriminations. This is the karma that should be done. You should at all times cultivate this kind of Way karma.

Sutra:

Behold the boundless realms,
and drink up all the seas,
with spiritual penetrations and the power of great wisdom:
This is the karma that should be done.

Reflecting upon all countries--
those with and without form and appearances--
one knows them all completely:
this is the karma that should be done.

In the lands of the ten directions,
in each dust mote there is a Buddha,
and yet one is fully able to know their number:
this is the karma that should be done.

Commentary:

Behold the boundless realms, Completely observe the boundless, limitless, uncountable worlds, and drink up all the seas, You can drink all the seas dry with spiritual penetrations and the power of great wisdom: You’re able to do all of this because you have great spiritual penetrations and great wisdom. This is the karma that should be done. This is the kind of Way karma that you should do, and the spiritual penetrations that you should develop.

Reflecting upon all countries—You should think about all the different countries—Those with and without form and appearances—Some of the countries have forms and others don’t. Those with shape and form are conditioned in appearance and have marks, and those without shape and form are unconditioned, without an appearance and are markless. One knows them all completely: There are a lot of worlds and they are very complicated, but you know them all. This is the karma that should be done. This is the kind of Way karma that you should cultivate.

In the lands of the ten directions, in each dust mote there is a Buddha. Each dust-mote like world has a Buddha and they’re in there teaching and transforming living beings. And yet one is fully able to know their number: You can completely know how many there are. This is the karma that should be done. You should cultivate and accomplish this kind of Way karma.

Sutra:

At that time, light passed through ten thousand worlds and everywhere illumined a hundred thousand worlds in the east. It was also like this in the south, west, north, the four intermediate directions, as well as above and below. Within each of those worlds there were a billion Jambudvipas, reaching up to a billion Ultimate Form heavens. All of these were clearly revealed in this light.

Just as in this place one could see the Thus Come One seated on his lotus flower treasury lion’s throne, with Bodhisattvas as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands circumambulating him, so too, in each of those billions of Jambudvipas there were billions of Thus Come Ones seated in the same way.

Because of the spiritual power of the Buddha, in each of the ten directions there was a great Bodhisattva, who was accompanied by Bodhisattvas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands, who came to the Buddha’s place.

Their names were Manjushri and others. They came from countries called golden colored world and others, and the Buddhas they served were called Unmoving Wisdom Thus Come One and others.

At that time, in the presence of all those Buddhas, the voices of the Manjushri Bodhisattvas in all those places, rang out in unison as they spoke verses:

Commentary:

At that time, Shakyamuni Buddha emitted light from the soles of his feet which passed through ten thousand worlds and everywhere illumined a hundred thousand worlds in the east. The light illumined a hundred thousand worlds to the east. It was like this in the south, west, north, the four intermediate directions—southeast, southwest, northeast, northwest—as well as above and below. Within each of those worlds—inside every one of those worlds—There were a billion Jambudvipas, reaching up to a billion Ultimate Form heavens. All of these were clearly revealed in this light. In all those worlds this light manifested. The Buddha’s light made all of this appear clearly.

Just as in this place one could see the Thus Come One seated on his lotus flower treasury lion’s throne. Within every Jambudvipa they could see Shakyamuni Buddha sitting on his Great Jeweled Lotus Flower Treasury Lion’s Throne, with Bodhisattvas as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands circumambulating him, so too, in each of those billions of Jambudvipas there were billions of Thus Come Ones seated in the same way. There were Bodhisattvas like the dust motes in ten Buddhalands who were circumambulating Shakyamuni Buddha.

Because of the spiritual power of the Buddha, in each of the ten directions there was a great Bodhisattva. In every world in the ten directions there was a great Bodhisattva who was accompanied by Bodhisattvas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands, who came to the Buddha’s place. Every great Bodhisattva brought with him Bodhisattvas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands and they all went to where the Buddha was. They went to the Way Place of Shakyamuni Buddha which was at the base of the Bodhi tree.

Their names were Manjushri and others. They came from countries called Golden Colored World and others, and the Buddhas they served were called Unmoving Wisdom Thus Come One and others. They served the Buddhas of the ten directions.

At that time, in the presence of all those Buddhas, the voices of the Manjushri Bodhisattvas in all those places. Within every one of the Buddha’s Way Places, the division bodies of Manjushri Bodhisattva rang out in unison as they spoke verses: Inside all those Buddha’s Way Places they all spoke at the same time. They spoke the following verses.

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In the future, when a lot of people come to the Monastery, the people in the front should move up and fill in the empty places at the bowing cushions. Often the people in the back don’t have any place to bow, but in front there are lots of empty bowing cushions. At such times the people in front should quickly move forward and fill in the spaces.

People who live in the Way Place shouldn’t act like logs and not pay attention to anything. Those who have been here a long time should know about these things. There are four bowing cushions in every row so there should be enough room. Today there weren’t too many people, but the people in the back didn’t have any place to bow, while there were a lot of empty places in the front. If you pay more attention during such occasions and enforce a little bit of organization then things won’t be so messed up, without any rules at all.

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