Chapters: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23
24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   Contents   previous   next

Light Enlightenment

Chapter Nine

 


Sutra:

If one uses awesome virtue, form, or race,
to look for the taming and regulating master of peoples,
this is like a disease of the eyes which causes one’s seeing to be distorted.
Such a one cannot know the most supreme Dharma.

Commentary:

If one uses awesome virtue, form, or race, “If” means hypothetically. It’s not happening now, but it may happen. It means that it isn’t a real situation. “Awesome virtue” here refers to the Buddha’s great awesome virtue, great spiritual penetration, and great powers. “Form” means that maybe you try to see the Buddha by means of marks. Physical marks refers to the Buddha’s 32 marks and 80 minor characteristics. Perhaps you try to understand the Buddha’s basic substance through his marks. “Race” or “clan” refers to divisions among people such as were found in India where there were Brahmans, and Chandalas. Chandalas are the lowest and Brahmans are the most honorable. There were also Kshatriyas who belong to the royal class. Shakyamuni Buddha was of the royal class. There are many different races. We are all people but we belong to different races.

Some try to use awesome virtue, form, or race to look for the taming and regulating master of people, “Taming” means to subdue and “regulate” means to control or drive. What do you tame? You tame the afflictions of the three realms and certify to proper Bodhi of the One Vehicle. You want to tame your afflictions so that they turn into Bodhi. For instance, consider the vegetables that we ate today. The five flavors of sour, sweet, bitter, not and salty were mixed into the vegetables and each did its own thing. They mixed together and came out as good food. In fact they were so appetizing that everyone ate a lot. We made enough food for 120 people but there wasn’t enough to go around. The flavors were so well blended that the food tasted delicious and so everyone developed an appetite and ate a lot. So, we didn’t have any left-overs to eat.

The Buddha mizes the tastes of living beings and is able to quell their afflictions and tame and subdue them. And he causes them to bring forth the sprouts for Bodhi and in the future to certify to the fruit of Bodhi.

“Regulate” means to control or drive. It’s like driving a car. Nowadays there aren’t horse-drawn carriages, but in the past that’s what everyone used. They needed to have a driver to steer them. In Confucianism, there are six abilities which a student had to master. What were they?

  • propriety
  • music
  • archery
  • driving
  • calligraphy
  • mathematics 

Propriety is all the different kinds of etiquette and manners. There are “three hundred kinds of propriety and three thousand kinds of awesome deportment.” If you don’t understand what these are, then you’re not a scholar. What are manners?

For example, when you see someone, you have to speak to them. If you see them in the morning then you say, “Good morning.” That’s manners. If instead, when you see someone you say to them, “Today you’re going to have an accident!” then you’ll certainly cause that person to be unhappy. Or, if you see someone and say, “You’re going to Asia today? The plane’s going to crash and you won’t survive.” They’ll be really unhappy with you because you don’t understand manners. You say only unlucky things. If you understand manners then you’ll say “good morning”, or else nod your head.

For instance, if you’re a child and you don’t understand manners, then you just sit anywhere. But if as a child you understand manners, then you sit in the corner where kids are supposed to sit. If you don’t understand propriety then you won’t be in accord with the proper etiquette and people will say that you don’t have any knowledge.

Music is something else that students should understand. Students shouldn’t just study books, but should understand music too. For a student to be considered perfect and complete, he must know propriety, calligraphy, and music. Listening to music can change a person’s mood. For instance, when someone is sad and he hears music, then he can become happy. Or when someone is too happy and he hears music, it can calm him down so that he isn’t so excited. That is how music can change people’s moods.

Archery is another skill that students should study. You learn to shoot very accurately and hit the bull’s eye, so that if you wanted to hit the microphone, you could. You have to be able to hit the bull’s eye from at least a hundred paces before you’re considered to have some skill.

Driving is the art of regulating a carriage.

Calligraphy means writing characters with a fine flourish. When you learn calligraphy you have to know whether to write the head first, the tail first, the top first, or the bottom first. If you write and the letters don’t look good, then you don’t understand how to do calligraphy. Calligraphy is also a kind of study.

Mathematics is knowing how to count.

If you don’t understand these six abilities—propriety, music, driving, calligraphy, and mathematics—then you can’t be considered a perfect student.

“The Taming and Regulating Master” regulates all the living beings in the triple realm, especially stubborn ones. The Buddha tames and subdues the stubborn living beings. This is one of the abilities of the Buddha. But if you try to use awesome virtue, form, race, or honor to see or understand him, then this is like a disease of the eyes which causes one’s seeing to be distorted. If you look at things in this way, it’s as if your eyes have a sickness and what you see is upside down. For example, you look at something that isn’t yellow and say that it is yellow because you eyes are diseased.

Or you may see someone as being red color, but they really aren’t. Or you might see people as ghosts. People aren’t really ghosts; the problem lies in your eyes. When you put on a pair of red glasses, then people look red. If you put on yellow glasses then people look yellow. And if you put on sun-glasses then the sun can’t get in your eyes. If your eyes have a sickness then your seeing will be distorted. When your seeing is distorted, then you’re not seeing properly. It’s not the way that you would normally see things. There is a verse which says:

In the eyes there’s still a film,
so in space you see red flowers.

That is what is meant by having a sickness of the eyes. Because of it, you see red flowers in space. You may also see yellow and white flowers, or five-colored lotus flowers. This comes about from having stared too much so that your eyes have become fatigued.

Such a one cannot know the most supreme Dharma. If you have these kinds of upside-down thoughts and views, and use them to see the Buddha, you’ll never understand the most supreme, wonderful Dharma. You won’t have a response from the Dharma and you won’t be able to mesh with the Buddha’s principles, the Buddha’s Way. And if you aren’t able to mesh with the Buddha’s Way, then you won’t be able to accomplish Buddhahood. So, in order to become a Buddha, you must get rid of you upside-down views. Why? Because the Buddha sees himself as being the same as all living beings. He doesn’t think that because he has spiritual penetrations he is better than everyone else. The Buddha’s state isn’t big or small and he doesn’t come or go. There is a saying:

In worlds like motes of dust
They shine on each other’s lotus platform.

When nothing is high or low, superior or inferior, then you and all living beings are the same. The Buddha accords with the minds of living beings and then manifestss. It’s just like the moon that shine in a thousand rivers.

Everyone should use their own genuine wisdom to investigate the principles that the Buddha spoke. If you have ideas about how the principles in the Sutra text should be explained which are different from my explanations; if you feel that you have a more wonderful explanation, then every day before the lecture it’s okay to bring it up and speak about it for everyone. But it must be lofty and wonderful.

Sutra:

The Thus Come One’s form, appearance, marks, and so on,
cannot be fathomed by anyone in the world.
If throughout ten million nayutas of kalpas, one tried to comprehend them,
still the aspects of forms, marks, and awesome virtue have turning without bounds.

Commentary:

Here at Gold Mountain, anyone can lecture the Sutras and speak the Dharma. We’re different from other places. Anyone can talk here, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong. If you know what’s right, then it’s okay to speak; and if you don’t know if you’re right or not, it’s still okay to speak. In the beginning everyone will make mistakes. But don’t think that I’m always right. I sometimes am wrong too. At Gold Mountain Monastery, we want to propagate the Proper-Dharma. We don’t want it to be the Dharma-Ending Age.

The Proper Dharma is certainly democratic, and not dictatorial. Everyone is equal. Now I host the Dharma Assembly, but whoever has wisdom can bring it forth. This is not a dictatorship. Everything here is very democratic in all aspects, because this is a free country and everyone is free. If you want to speak then you can speak, and if you don’t want to speak you don’t have to.

We want to change the Dharma-Ending Age into the Proper Dharma. We want everyone to be able to understand, not just one person. If I say that eggs grow on trees you can’t say, “Okay”. You can’t be that way. To be like that is really not good. Why? Because it’s not true. If I don’t tell the truth and you follow me in being false then we are in a dangerous situation.

The Thus Come One’s form, appearance, marks and so on, “Thus Come One” is one of the ten titles of the Buddha. “Form” and “appearance” refers to the Buddha’s 32 marks and 80 minor characteristics. This is what is meant by “marks”. Cannot be fathomed by anyone in the world. The living beings in all the limitless and boundless worlds can’t fathom them. “Cannot be fathomed” means that no one can understand them. There’s no way to understand the Buddha’s form and marks.

If throughout ten million Nayutas of kalpas, one tried to comprehend them, “Nayuta” is a Sanskrit word meaning a countless number. It’s like the word “asamkhyeya” which is one of the 14 great numbers in India. Asamkhyeya is a limitless number and nayuta means that it can’t be thought about. No matter how long you think about the Buddha’s marks, still the aspects of forms, marks, and awesome virtue have turnings without bounds. No matter how long you think about it, his form and marks remain limitless and boundless. His awesome virtue revolves without bounds. The more youturn it over in your mind, the less you will understand. There’s just no way that you can understand it. Why?

If one wishes to know the state of the Buddha,
One should purify one’s mind like empty space.

There’s nothing at all in empty space and yet everything is in it. In true emptiness there is wonderful existence, and in wonderful existence there is true emptiness. True emptiness isn’t empty, so there’s wonderful existence. And wonderful existence is not existent and so it is wonderful existence. True emptiness isn’t empty and wonderful existence isn’t existent. The Buddha’s marks have turnings without limit because they are the same as empty space. That’s the principle being expressed.

Sutra:

The Thus Come One does not take marks as his substance,
and is characterized by markless, still quiescence,
yet he is fully complete with physical marks and awesome deportment.
According to what they like, all in the world get to see him.

Commentary:

This verse is spoken by Manjushri Bodhisattva and he explains for the great Bodhisattvas how the Buddha’s Dharma body is without form or an appearance. The Thus Come One does not take marks as his substance, Don’t use the views and knowledge of common people to deduce what the Buddha’s body is like, because it is unmarked. But, although it is without marks, there is nothing that is not marked. It is not marked and yet not without marks. Therefore, everything in the world—the mountains, rivers, the great earth, rooms, porches, houses, cottages, and all living beings—is a part of the Buddha’s Ddharma body. But you’re not able to locate an exact place where the Buddha’s body is. That’s because there is no place where it is and no place where it isn’t. It pervades all places. You can’t use the common person’s knowledge and views to figure it out.

And is characterized by Markless, still quiescence, The Buddha is constantly still and tranquil. He’s always in the samadhi of still quiescence. As it is said,

The Naga is always in samadhi. There is no time when he is not in samadhi.

So, you can’t see the Buddha through marks or through the markless. The Buddha is the same as empty space. You may say that empty space has a form. Yes, everyone can see emptiness. But can you give me some empty space to look at? You won’t be able to because it can’t be got at. You’ll grasp but won’t get it. So, empty space is characterized by still quiescence and still quiescenceis the same as empty space.

Yet he is fully complete with physical marks and awesome deportment. Although he has no marks, nonetheless he is not unmarked, and so he is fully endowed with bodily marks, and awesome deportment which are perfect and complete. According to what they like, all in the world get to see him. Whenever living beings in the world really want to see the Buddhas, and if they have enough sincerity in their wish, then the Buddhas will all manifest bodies before them, and cause their wishes to be fulfilled. If living beings seek for something then the Buddha will certainly respond to their request. And so, “according to what they like, all in the world get to see him.”

**************************************************************

If I have lectured incorrectly then you should bring up your opinions and we can investigate them. I will certainly accept any criticism. I am not afraid for people to bring up my faults, no matter what they are . If I have spoken incorrectly then you should bring it up and in the future I won’t make the same mistake.

Everyone knows that within Buddhism, this is the Dharma-Ending Age. When five people from Gold Mountain Monastery went to Taiwan to take the precepts, they came back and said to me, “You’re transmitting the Dharma wrong. In Taiwan everyone causally talks, eats, and are very free to do whatever they want. But here we have so many rules. We eat one meal a day and our stomachs growl at us, and it’s really hard to bear. In Taiwan one is a lot better off.”

Why is it better in Taiwan? Those who came back from taking precepts said, “The people in Taiwan say that since now it is the Dharma-Ending Age, everyone can be sloppy and no one needs to cultivate. So, when we were there and ate once a day they said that it was wrong. We slept sitting up and they said that was wrong too.

They said that everything that we did was wrong, so we think that probably what you have taught us is wrong.” Actually everyone here is free to do as they wish, and there’s no pressure on anyone. I didn’t tell anyone to eat once a day or to sleep sitting up. I only introduced it to them. They did these things because they wanted to do them. But when they came back from Taiwan, they no longer wanted to do morning and evening recitation, which we do every day. And they no longer wanted to listen to Sutra lectures. It took them two or three months after they came back to get back to being the way they were before going to Taiwan. This is an example of how,

When one gets near rouge, one turns red.
And when one gets near ink, one turns black.

Why do we want to endure so much bitterness here? It’s because in the past I made a vow, and will do so in every lifetime. I made the vow that in the Dharma-Ending Age I will uphold the Proper Dharma, and that it just won’t do for there not to be the Proper Dharma. So, here at Gold Mountain Monastery, although everyone is very busy and undergoes so much suffering, everyone still manages to do morning and evening recitation, and with a sincere heart listens to the Sutra lectures. Even though we have hundreds of duties to attend to, or perhaps thousands or ten thousands of duties to attend to, we still do the ceremonies and are not the least bit lax. That makes me really happy. We can hope for a bright future for American Buddhism. Although there are still a few who don’t follow the rules, there are more who do follow them than don’t. And after a while those who don’t follow the rules will be able to change.

I hope that if the principles I speak each day are not completely logical or in accord with the meaning in the Sutras that you will tell me. I will certainly accept what you say.

Sutra:

The Buddhadharma is subtle, wonderful, and difficult to measure.
No words or speech is able to reach it.
It is not combined, nor is it uncombined.
In substance and nature it is still and quiet and without any marks.

Commentary:

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

The Sixth Patriarch said,

The Buddhadharma is here in the world:
Enlightenment is not apart from the world.
To look for Bodhi apart from the world
Is like looking for a hare with horns.

“The Buddhadharma is here in the world.” He said that the Buddhadharma is right within worldly dharmas. “Enlightenment is not apart from the world.” If wile in the world you’re not awake, then you’re confused by worldly dharmas. But once you’ve awakened, everything is the Buddhadharma. You don’t leave the world to look for enlightenment. When you wake up, everything in the world—all the ten thousand things, all the myriad principles—is clearly understood. “To look for Bodhi apart from the world,”—if you go outside the mundane to search for Bodhi, then it’s as if you were—“Looking for a hare with horns.” If you go looking for a rabbit that has horns, you’ll be looking for a long time and still not find what you want.

This clearly says that the Buddhadharma is in the world. Everything within the world is speaking the Dharma. There’s nothing that’s not speaking the Buddhadharma. If you’re able to understand something then it’s speaking the Buddhadharma. If you don’t understand, then it remains worldly dharma.

If you see affairs and understand them, you transcend the world.
If you see affairs and are confused by them, you fall into the mundance cycle.

If you can understand the things that happen to you, then you’ll be able to transcend the world. But if you’re confused when faced with a situation and it turns you around so that you don’t know which way is north, south, east, or west, then you’ll definitely fall. Everything in this world--the whole-some and the unwholesome, the good and evil, right and wrong-- is speaking the Dharma. It all depends on whether or not you recognize it. Everybody is speaking the Dharma, but you have to be able to recognize it. If you recognize it, then the Buddhadharma is here in the world, and enlightenment is not apart from the world. If you don’t recognize it, then you are looking for Bodhi apart from the world, and that is like looking for a hare with horns. It’s just that way.

The Buddhadharma is subtle, wonderful, and difficult to measure. “Subtle” means very minute, minute to the utmost, and so wonderful that it’s mysterious and inconceivable to the ultimate. And it’s something that’s difficult to measure. You don’t know how to calculate it. You may say that it’s many, but it’s many and yet not many. You may say that it’s few, but it’s few and yet not few. If you say that it is many, then it changes to one: and if you say that it’s one, then it changes to many. The one and the many are non-dual. There’s just no way that you can use quantitative measures to figure it out. There’s no way to fathom it. To what point is the Buddhadharma subtle and wonderful? It extends to the point where,

The path of words and language is cut off,
And the place of the mind’s activity is extinguished.

When “the path of words and language is cut off,” words are gone. That state is removed from all speech and from all discussion and expression. It is apart from terms and expressions, apart from what is thought by the mind, and apart from all marks. You should pay particular attention to this point. To be apart from all marks is what is meant by all dharmas. If you aren’t apart from all dharmas then you don’t understand all dharmas.

When are all dharmas? They are within the world. You don’t want to run off to the heavens to find them. If you look for them in the heavens you won’t find them because you can’t get there. Although it is difficult to go to the heavens, in the future, you might still be able to get there. For instance, we now have rockets that go to the moon. If people can go to the moon why can’t they go to the heavens? In the future it will be possible. Five hundred years from now everyone will be able to go to the heavens, and it will be really easy to do. But you can’t wait for five hundred years and neither can I.

I’m telling you this now, but I think some of you don’t believe it. If five hundred years ago someone had told you that rockets would go to the moon, you would have said they were dreaming. Or if someone told you that people would be able to fly around in space in airplances, you’d have said it was impossible.

Or if you were told that there would be such a thing as a television broadcast by satellites, where a person in one country could be heard and seen by people in all other countries, you’d have said, “That’s crazy. It’s out of the question. How could that ever be?” Five hundred years ago, people would have said anyone who talked about such things was nuts. But now all that craziness has manifested and nobody thinks it’s strange. Even children can watch television and learn how to talk by hearing people talk. So you see, the insanity has come to pass, but no one thinks it’s crazy. But if five hundred years ago someone had said that in the future there would be such a thing as telephones, where two people could be ten thousand miles apart and yet talk on the phone and hear each other very clearly, people would have been very skeptical.

Now I am saying that in five hundred years people will be able to go to the heavens, not only go there but live there and become friends with the Four Heavenly Kings. It will be that way, unless humanity is wiped out. If the human race is destroyed then everyone will fall into the hells. If there aren't any people left on the earth then who would be left to go to the heavens? All the people will have turned into ghosts and the ghost mothers will transform and their sons will disperse to become all kinds of ants and bugs flying and crawling everywhere. The world five hundred years from now will be different from our present world.

The path of words and language is cut off and the place of the mind’s activity is extinguished. All the thoughts in your mind are stopped--there aren’t any more. No words or speech are able to reach it. “All words” means all language. Whether you use English, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, German, or French, you still won’t be able to express the way the Dharma ultimately is. It is not combined, nor is it uncombined. It is still and extinct and so it is not combined. It’s basic substance is still and extinct and is unmoving, which means that it is empty. What is empty does not move. And so what would emptiness combine with? And what would still extinction combine with? Therefore, since its basic substance is still and extinct to begine with, it is not combined.

And yet, althought it’s said not to be combined, it can also be said to be combined. What does that mean? Its leading substance, which is still and extinct, is the Dharma body. In the previous verse it said, “according to what they like, all in the world get to see him.” That is, the Buddha universally responds with the minds of all living beings and appears, and so you can say his substance is combined. If he weren’t combined, how could he accord with the minds of living beings? So, there is combining with the minds of living beings.

The Dharma body is like empty space. Although it is like empty space, that empty stillness has wonderful existence, which was discussed before. Besides the Buddha’s dharma body, there is also his retribution body which arises from conditions and is accomplished through cultivation, and so is able to tally and combine with true and actual wisdom. As such, it is not uncombined. Its basic substance which is still and extinct is not combined, but since it arises from conditions and is accomplished through cultivation and meshes with the principles and substance of the freedom of true suchness, it’s not uncombined.

The Dharma body is like empty space, and the retribution body arises from conditions is accomplished through cultivation, and meshes with the self-nature of true suchness. What is the retribution body like? It’s like when you use gold to make a Buddha image. The entire Buddha image. The entire Buddha image is make of gold. This is an analogy for the Buddha’s retribution body.

On the other hand, the conditions of the transformation body are not real conditions. The transformation body is like a shadow. You may say that it exists, but it is without a mark that can be gotten at. You may say that it does not exist, yet it doesn’t have a mark nonetheless. The transformation body responds to everyone through transformation. What has an appearance doesn’t combine with what does not have an appearance. Since the transformation body has no substance or appearance, it is not combined. Therefore, the verse continues to say, in substance and nature it is still and quiet and without any marks. This speaks of how the Buddhadharma’s basic substance is still quiescence.

All dharmas are characterized by still quiescence and cannot be expressed in words.

And that’s why the preceding line of verse reads, “all words and speech are unable to reach it”. No matter what language you use, you won’t be able to describe it. No matter how good your English is, you won’t be able to express this principle, which is why it is said to be ineffably wonderful.

Sutra:

The Buddha’s body is not produced and transcends sophistry,
and is not the collection of skandhas or dharmas of differentiation.
By obtaining the power of self-mastery, one is certain to see him.
His activity is fearless and apart from the path of words.

Commentary:

The Buddha’s body is not produced and transcends sophistry, Common people can’t fathom the Buddha’s body with their common views. The Buddha basically doesn’t have a body. He is not produced and has no extinction. And so the line of text reads, “the Buddha’s body is not produced and transcends sophistry. “Sophistry” refers to speech that isn’t true, like jokes. It refers to speech that is spoken as if it were true, when it is actually false. It seems real but you can’t get to the root of it. It is just idle speculation.

And is not the collection of skandhas or dharmas of differentiation. It is not the collection of the five skandhas and it’s also not the six roots, the six dusts, the twelve places, the eighteen realms, the six consciousnesses, or all the different distinctions of dharmas. By obtaining the power of self-mastery, one is certain to see him. If you’re able to attain the power of self-mastery, you can see the Buddha’s Dharma body. The Buddha attained the power of self-mastery, and if you cultivate the Way, you too can attain it and be able to see the Buddha’s Dharma body. His activity is fearless and apart from the path of words. You can attain this state where your practice is fearless, and where you are apart from language. In this state, the path of language is cut off and the place of the mind’s activity is extinguished.

***********************************************************************

Question: How can people go to the heavens in material vehicles, since the heavens are basically on a different plane?

Answer: Today rockets can go into space and orbit the earth because a lot of research was done and the method for doing it was discovered. The rocket can orbit the earth without running on tracks the way a train does. In space nothing has form or appearance.

Sutra:

His body and mind are level and equal;
inside and out all is liberated.
For an eternity of kalpas he dwells in proper mindfulness,
forever unattached and unfettered.

Commentary:

The “body” refers to the outside and the “mind” refers to the inside. His body and mind are level and equal;

Inside you contemplate the mind as being no mind,
And outside you contemplate forms as having no form.

You contemplate all things attentively and there are no things. Inside there is no mind and outside there is no world. The body and mind are level and equal. They are still and quiet. And so the next line of text reads, inside and out all is liberated. “Liberated” means to be without attachments. If you have no attachments then you will become liberated. If you are able to attain liberation, then you have proper mindfulness. At that time your mindfulness will manifest. But this doesn’t happen just once. It doesn’t manifest for one day, one month, or for one year. How long is it for?

For an eternity of kalpas he dwells in proper mindfulness, “An eternity of kalpas” means many great kalpas. For that long one abides in proper mindfulness. “Proper mindfulness” is proper samadhi and proper reception. When proper mindfulness manifests you attain samadhi and the ability to function. Why don’t you attain the ability to function well? It’s because you don’t have any samadhi. And why don’t you have any samadhi? It’s because you don’t have proper mindfulness.

Therefore, proper mindfulness is proper samadhi, and proper samadhi is proper reception--proper functioning. Forever unattached and unfettered. When you have proper mindfulness--dproper reception--you have samadhi, and you will be unattached. There won’t be any attachments, impediments, anxiety, or fear. “Unfettered” means not anxious and without fear. What is there to be afraid of? You’re afraid because you can’t put things down. As long as you have fear you won’t be able to do things right, and you won’t be able to attain proper mindfulness. If you don’t have proper mindfulness then you’ll have upside-down dream thinking. And if you attain proper mindfulness then:

There are no impediments and you leave upside-down dream thinking far behind.

To leave upside-down dream thinking is to have proper mindfulness. It is also to have no attachments and no fetters. Return to the root and go back to the source, View the wind and light of your native land, you original home. To be that way is true and actual self-mastery.

Sutra:

He is one who has a pure and bright mind,
and all he does is without defiling attachments.
There is no place that his wisdom-eye does not see
and vast and great is his benefit to living beings.

His one body becomes limitless,
and the limitless return to the one.
Completely understanding all worlds,
he manifests a shape that pervades everywhere.

Commentary:

He is one who has a pure and bright mind, “Pure and bright mind” means that there is no false thinking, no ignorance, no thoughts of sexual desire, no greed, no hatred, and no stupidity. There is a verse which says,

If one wishes to know the state of the Buddha,
One should purify one’s mind like empty space.

The lone of text reads, “he is one who has a pure and bright mind.” How does one purify one’s mind? When you have cut off all view delusions, thought delusions, and delusions like dust and sand, then your mind will be pure. And when your mind is pure your wisdom and light will manifest. Why are we so stupid? Why don’t we understand things? It’s because we have too many thoughts of sexual desire. when you have too many thoughts of sexual desire, your wisdom will be small. And if you don’t have much wisdom then you won’t be able to recognize states. You will be turned by them and become confused. The more you’re confused by the states, the more you go down a dark road. The farther you go down it, the less light there is. How can there be light? There is a saying that explains it very well.

If the proper is great then the light will be bright.

If the proper isn’t great then there won’t be any light. The light will be small. If the proper is great then there won’t be any deviousness. You will have light. How can you attain proper light? You must first be greatly public-minded and not selfish. You must be just and unbiased. If you’re able to be that way then you won’t have a mark of self, others, living beings, or a life. That’s what is meant by being greatly public-minded and unselfish. People and self are the same substance and everyone in the Dharma Realm is your kin. You should think of yourself as being the same as all the living beings in the Dharma Realm. If you’re able to be greatly public-minded and not selfish then you won’t do anything for yourself. You won’t think, “I’ll get some money and buy some food and some clothes and a place to live. These things are very important. So, I should make lots of money to buy them.” You should know that:

The chicken in the cage gets fed, but it’s very near the soup pot.
The wild crane receives no food, but it roams throughout heaven and earth.

There’s a chicken inside the cage and it gets fed, but the pot the chicken will be cooked in is very near,. On the other hand, let’s look at the wild crane. It is unimpeded and unhindered. It doesn’t have anybody to look over it, and although it may not have anyone to fix food for it, nonetheless it flies around and does whatever it wants to do. Its territory is vast: “heaven and earth are its cottage, and the four great seas are its home.” Left home people shouldn’t be attached to a fixed dwelling; they shouldn’t have attachments. If you have a place then you get hung up on it and it becomes and attachment and a defilement. There’s a saying:

Last year I was poor, but I still had a place for an awl.
This year I’m so poor and I don’t even have an awl.

Now, wouldn’t you say that was being liberated and comfortable? To be able to be like that is wonderful beyond words.

And all he does is without defiling attachments. One who has light--a bright person--doesn’t have any attachments or any defilement in anything he does. The most defiled thing is money. It’s filthy. Another thing that is really defiled is sex. Wealth and sex are really filthy. If you don’t see through wealth then you can’t get out of defilement. And if you can’t put down sex, then you can’t be pure. If you want to be undefiled then you must empty your attachments to wealth and sex. If you can get past these two gates, then your body will pervade the exhaustion of empty space and the Dharma Realm. If you can break through the gates of wealth and sex then you will be without defilement. And if you can break through the gate of sex, but not the gate of wealth, you will also still be defiled. Defilement is right in these places.

Those who hold the precepts should prepare themselves before they use money, by saying to themselves, “Greatly Virtuous Ones with one mind, recollect me. Grant that the unclean thing that I, disciple _______’ hold will become clean.” This recollection just shows that money is an unclean thing. But although it is filthy and defiled, left home people can’t put it down. There’s a saying:

Left home people aren’t greedy for money;
but the more the better.

These words should cause people to weep bitter tears. One should bow one’s head in sorrow. Just look:

“Those who’ve left home aren’t greedy for money; but the more the better.” It ruins people--kills people. There are those at Gold Mountain Monastery who know that money is unclean and so they keep the precept against holding money.

There is no place that his wisdom-eye does not see. To the end of empty space and the Dharma Realm there is no place that the wisdom eye does not see. And vast and great is his benefit to living beings. If you’re able to be without attachments and defilement and if your wisdom eye can see to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm, then there won’t be a place the size of a dust mote that you won’t be able to pervade. If you’re able to be this way, then your work of benefiting living beings is vast and great, and it will be easy.

His one body becomes limitless. The one body is not your own. It’s the Buddha’s which is limitless. And the limitless return to the one. His limitless bodies will return to the one body. But the Buddha is the Buddha. Can you be like him? You may say, “I can’t.” If you can’t and you only see that the Buddha has that talent and spiritual penetration, then that’s no use. So what should you do? You should study how the Buddha cultivated, until you’re able to have the one become the limitless and the limitless return to the one. The one does not obstruct the many and the many does not obstruct the one.

One is the limitless; one and many are unobstructed.
The limitless are one; many and one are unobstructed.
You want to obtain the unobstructed state of the Avatamsaka.

Completely understanding all worlds, He clearly understands all the thoughts of living beings in all worlds. He manifests a shape that pervades everywhere. If you want to teach and transform the living beings in the nine realms, you can’t be afraid of hardship, difficulty, or weariness. Then you can manifest a shape according to the minds of living beings, and pervade all places.

Now I want to say a little more about money. Why do I say that money is unclean? When most people count money they spit on their fingers and then they count it. The more it gets processed the dirtier it gets. People constantly handle money and who knows how many germs they pass on to it from their hands? People put money in their wallets and nobody knows how many germs are in their wallets. The character for money has two swords and a gold radical. There is a verse that explains this character for money.

Two swords fighting over gold, the killing energy is high.
Because of it people get themselves into a lot of trouble.
If you’re one who is able to use money, you can transcend the triple realm,
But if you don’t know how to use it, you’ll find that it’s hard to escape its sins.

If you can use money to do virtuous things and benefit people then you can transcend the triple realm. But if you don’t know how to use money then you’ll create a lot of offense karma. Why do people create a lot of offense karma? It’s because of money. When you have money you’re not afraid of heaven or earth. You dare to take on emperors and kings, even at the risk of being done in by them. Why? It’s because of money.

Why do people leave home to cultivate the Way? It’s because they don’t see money as being very important. They want to cultivate instead of make money. Cultivators should see money and sex as empty. They should watch over their conduct and at all times return the light and reverse the illumination, and look themselves over-taken the precepts ride in an airplane, they shouldn’t watch the movie that’s playing. They shouldn’t stick their necks out two and a half feet, like a white crane, in order to watch the movie.

A novice shouldn’t be watching the movie. How much the less may a Bhikshu, wearing his sash, sit there and strain his neck in order to see the movie! Some even buy ear phones and sit and wathc. But even if you don’t buy ear phones, it’s still not proper to sit and watch the movie. Americans don’t understand the Buddhadharma and so they wouldn’t notice, but a lot of Chinese people, especially on Chinese airlines, know that left home people aren’t supposed to be watching movies. those who act in this way make all left home people lose face. This is especially true for Gold Mountain cultivators, because people know that Gold Mountain people are old cultivators. But if they see things like this they will say, “They hold precepts against holding money and some don’t talk to men, and some don’t talk to women, but it turns out that it’s all a front. They get on a plane and watch the movie, like a hungry ghost. That’s really a joke.”

Both left home and lay people should gather in their minds, in all places and in all actions, in every word and deed. Don’t be so scattered. When walking, don’t look around at everything. What should you do? You should singlemindedly recite the Buddha’s name, or singlemindedly hold a mantra, or singlemindedly recite a Sutra. Walking is a good time to cultivate. Or perhaps you’re standing somewhere. At that time you can also apply your effort by reciting the Buddha’s name or holding a mantra, or ceciting a sutra. You can also cultivate when you’re sitting somewhere. You don’t always have to cultivate at home. You can cultivate while sitting in your car, or on the bus, or in a boat, or on a bicyle. You shouldn’t just sit there and chat aimlessly. You should return the light and illumine within. Be mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. When you’re lying down, don’t just lie there and have false thinking. So, in walking, standing, sitting, and lying down you should talk less and recite the Buddha’s name more.

Speak one less sentence and recite the Buddha’s name one extra time.
Recite until your thoughts die and you Dharma body comes to life.

So, cultivators should always watch over themselves. Always remember impermanence and take care not to be lax.

previous   next   Contents

Chapter 9 pages:  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11

return to top