THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

Preface:

Great is extensive union with no boundaries
Means are proper Dharmas personally maintained
Expansive says it fits the substance totality
Buddha is awakened to this mysterious wonder
Flower stands for virtues from the myriad conducts
Adornment’s decorative Dharmas on the accomplished person
Sutra is the flow without end of a bubbling spring,
Stringing deep crystalizations of wonderful meanings. Attracting the boundless, sea-wide assembly. It acts for late and ancient as a constant rule

The Buddha and all kings are called the World Rulers.
Dharma doors dependent and proper are both styled Wonderful Adornments.
In dividing meaning-units and assigning chapter names,
What caps the other sections is called number one.

Commentary:

This passage is the General Explanation of the Title. “General” means “summary”, and “Explanation” means “elucidation.” “The Title” is the Sutra’s descriptive title, its name. The seven words Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra combine into six pairs, and each word can be further divided into ten meanings, each of those meanings including within it limitless and boundlessly many principles.

The six pairs are:

1.   Teaching and Meaning.
2.   General and Particular.
3.   Subject and Object.
4.   Person and Dharma.
5.   Function and Substance.
6.   Appearance and Nature.

The single word Sutra, taken by itself, belongs to Teaching. The six words that precede it, i.e., Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment, belong to Meaning. That is the pair of Teaching and Meaning. The second pair is that of Adornment, which belongs to General, and the preceding five words Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower, which belong to Particular. That is the pair of General and Particular. The third: “Flower” is that which adorned, and “Great Means Expansive Buddha” is that which is adorned, and so the “Flower” is the subject, and the preceding four words are the object. The fourth consists of Buddha, the Person who becomes accomplished, while the preceding words Great Means Expansive are the Dharmas which adorn. That is the pair of Person and Dharma. In the fifth, Expansive is a Function, and the two preceding words Great Means are Substance. That is the pair of Function and Substance. The sixth has Means, which is an Appearance, and Great, which belongs to Nature. That is the pair of Appearance and Nature. All together there are six pairs. If the seven words Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra are discussed in detail, there are very many meanings, and the principles are even deeper and more wonderful than those of the Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.

Great is extensive union with no boundaries. The meaning of the word Great is that of vast extension without any boundaries or limitations. Means are proper Dharmas personally maintained. Means are methods. There are proper and improper methods. Here this is to cultivate and maintain oneself by means of proper Dharmas or methods to use orthodox rules to guide oneself. Expansive says it fits the substance in totality. However great the substance may be, this Sutra’s principles are just that great, not more and not less, not greater and not smaller. They are a perfect match just right. Buddha is awakened to this mysterious wonder. The Buddha has awakened to the mysterious wonder of the principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra.
           
Flower stands for virtues from the myriad conducts.
Flowers are a comparison for the perfection of the meritorious virtues of the Ten Thousand Conducts, which are like blossoming flowers.

Adornment’s decorative Dharmas on the accomplished person. The adornment decorates and ornaments the Buddha’s Ten Bodies. Sutra is the flow without end of a bubbling spring. This is as when, from within the earth, there bubbles forth an eternal spring whose flow never ceases and which is never used up. The flow of water can be used in ten thousand places and yet never be cut off. It is continuous and without interruption, and so is like a bubbling spring. Stringing deep crystalizations of wonderful meanings. To string is to thread, as if on a string, these most mysterious and wonderful solidifications of meanings, these inconceivable principles. Attracting the boundless, sea-wide assembly. This Sutra is able to attract the boundless, sea-wide assembly the number of people who come being like the great sea in the same way a magnet attracts iron filings. It acts for late and ancient as a constant rule. This Sutra is used for late and ancient, that is, in the past and in the present, as a guiding rule.

Preface:

The Buddha and all kings are called the World Rulers.
Dharma doors dependent and proper are both styled Wonderful Adornments.
In dividing meaning-units and assigning chapter names,
What caps the other sections is called number one.

Commentary:

The Buddha and all kings are called the World Rulers. The Buddha and all of the worldly Wheel-Turning Sage Kings, namely the Gold Wheel-Turning Sage King, the Silver Wheel-Turning Sage King, the Bronze Wheel-Turning Sage King, and the Iron Wheel-Turning Sage King, are called World Rulers. The Buddha is the Dharma King while all those Kings are worldly rulers. The Buddha may also be described as the Ruler of the world and of what transcends the world, and is therefore called the World Ruler. The World Rulers belong to the worlds, there being Three Worlds:

1.   The World of Proper Enlightenment.
2.   The World of Utensils.
3.   The World of Living Beings.

Of the Three Worlds, the Buddha is the Ruler of the World of Proper Enlightenment. All the Kings are the Rulers of the World of Utensils. The Lords of Gods, Lords of Dragons, Yaksha Lords and so forth are the Rulers of the Worlds of Living Beings.

Dharma doors dependent and proper are both styled Wonder Adornments. Dharma doors are the doors of the Buddhadharma. Dependent is Dependent Retribution, and Proper is Proper Retribution. The two retributions, dependent and proper, are both called wonderful adornment. Those subtle and wonderful flowers are used as adornment. World-rulers belong to the world. Dependent Retribution means all of the:

Mountains, rivers, the great earth;
Houses, verandahs, porches and sheds.

Those are the places we rely on, where we dwell, and so are called the dependent retributions. All living beings are called proper retribution. Those are the two retributions, dependent and proper. Those kinds of states are inconceivable, and so they are both styled, known as, wonderful adornment.

In dividing meaning-units and assigning chapter names. In making a division into meaningful chapter-units and assigning the names of the descriptive titles of the chapters, what caps the other sections is called number one. This chapter comes before all of the other chapters, and so it is said to cap them, that is, to come before them. To cap is to put a hat on someone, and this chapter, coming before the others, is as it were worn like a hat. What caps the other sections is called Number One. It is designated as the first chapter.

The Seven Kinds of Greatness may also be employed to describe the meaning of the seven words, Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra:

Word of Title Greatness Represented
Great Greatness of Substance
Means Greatness of Appearance
Expansive Greatness of Function
Buddha Greatness of Fruit
Flower Greatness of Cause
Adornment Greatness of Knowledge
Sutra Greatness of Teaching

If you were to discuss the name of this Sutra in detail you would not finish discussing it to the exhaustion of the boundaries of the future. Not to speak of five years, in fifty years it would not be spoken to the end. However, we are not going to discuss it that way, but will just speak it very simply: for whatever way you lecture the title of this Sutra is in accord with Dharma. If you discuss it horizontally, it has principle; if you discuss it vertically, it also has principle. Therefore it is said:

Discussed in horizontal terms,
discussed on the vertical plane;
Discussed in terms of dust-motes,
Discussed on the scale of kshetras.

Any way it is discussed it has infinite and inexhaustibly many principles. Dust-motes means subtle and minute particles, and kshetras means large-scale lands or countries. Whatever way it is discussed it has principle, and so this Sutra is truly one of no fixed Dharma.

Preface:

This Sutra has thirty-nine chapters,
This chapter comes first.
Therefore it is called the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra,
the World Rulers’ Wondrous Adornments of the World Rulers, Chapter Number One.

Commentary:

The number of chapters in the Flower Adornment Sutra is thirty-nine. Originally there were forty-five chapters, but six chapters were not translated from the original Indian language into Chinese. Nonetheless, the Sutra has all of the requisite divisions:

1.   Prefatory Division.
2.   Division of the Text Proper.
3.   Division of the Transmission.

Therefore it may be considered an entire Sutra, and so it says, This Sutra, that is, the present Flower Adornment Sutra, has thirty-nine chapters. All together there are eighty rolls, eighty-one if one counts the Chapter of the Conduct and Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. This Chapter Comes First. This Chapter is the World-Rulers’ Wonderful Adornments Chapter. That it comes first means that is was put in the front, at the very beginning.

Therefore it is called the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, the Wondrous Adornments of World Rulers, Chapter Number One.

The Flower Adornment Sutra is the greatest among the successive Teachings spoken by the Buddha. Previously, in the T’ang Dynasty, the Emperor T’ang T’ai Tsung, whose Reign Period was Chen Kuan, asked Dharma master Hsuan Tsang, “Which is the biggest of all the Sutras spoken by the Buddha?” Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang replied, “The Flower Adornment Sutra is the biggest.” T’ang T’ai Tsung wanted to recite a Sutra, but he wanted to recite a big Sutra, not a small one, which is why he asked that question. “The Flower Adornment Sutra?” he asked incredulously. At that time they were still using the Chin Dynasty translation of the Flower Adornment Sutra in sixty rolls. Afterwards, Dharma Master Shikshananda translated it, adding twenty rolls making eighty rolls, but at that time it only had sixty. “You say that the Flower Adornment Sutra is the biggest, but the Great Prajna Sutra has six hundred rolls, while it has only sixty.

How can the Flower Adornment Sutra be the biggest?” Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang then told him, “The Flower Adornment Sutra is such that one single door can open limitless doors, in multi-layered inexhaustibility. This Dharma is inconceivable, whereas the Great Prajna Sutra is just a single door within the Flower Adornment Sutra.” Thereupon T’ang T’ai Tsung exclusively recited the Flower Adornment Sutra.

The state of the Flower Adornment Sutra is not something that you can conceptualize. You cannot conceive of it.

In the past, during the Pei Ch’i Period (479 - 501), the third son of the Emperor went to Wu T’ai, “Five Peak Mountain” to burn his body as an offering to Manjushri Bodhisattva. On that occasion there was, among his escorts, a eunuch by the name of Liu Ch’ien who, upon seeing the Emperor’s son decide to burn himself as an offering to the Bodhisattva Manjushri, sought the Emperor’s permission to leave home himself. The Emperor granted his request, and after he had left home he devoted himself to reading and reciting the Flower Adornment Sutra. He was particularly sincere, and was vigorous day and night, seeking some sort of response. After he had cultivated for a certain time, his beard began to grow. Basically eunuchs do not have beards, but as he cultivated his beard started to grow, and he had all the masculine characteristics which eunuchs lack. After that he opened enlightenment and went on to write the Flower Adornment Treatise. Upon completing it, he died with no illness. That was one.

There was also the Elder Lee who cultivated the Flower Adornment Sutra, reading and reciting it. At one point he set out in search of a good place to cultivate. As he was walking down the road, he met a tiger. The tiger acted very friendly towards him. Basically tigers harm people, but when this one saw the Elder Lee, it acted as if they were old friends. The Elder Lee said to the tiger, “Right now I’m looking for a place to cultivate and do my work. Can you help me find such a place?” The tiger seemed to nod its head in confirmation, and so the Elder piled his gear upon the tiger’s back for the tiger to carry. After they had traveled some thirty miles, they came to mountain cave. The tiger stopped outside the cave and went no further. The Elder Lee looked inside and found the cave not bad at all, and so he stayed there to cultivate. The only trouble was that the place had no water. However, that very evening a great wind blew up, which uprooted an ancient pinetree, from the roots of which water flowed forth. So he used that water and cultivated there, and wrote a treatise on the Flower Adornment Sutra. There are many states of that sort, all proving that the Flower Adornment Sutra is inconceivable.

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