THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Overstepping words and thought by far: This can only be the Dharma Realm! Overstepping means exceeding, going beyond. Going beyond what? Going beyond words, i.e., language, and thought, i.e., conceptualization. That is to say:
What cannot be expressed in speech;
What cannot be conceptualized by thought.
That kind of state is inconceivable, and so it says, by far. Far means distant. How is it distant? It is because it goes far beyond words and thought. It is a kind of inconceivable state that goes beyond, and very distantly. Furthermore, this is the inconceivable within the inconceivable. What is this kind of state? This can only be the Dharma Realm! The only thing you could call it, the only thing it could possible be, is the Dharma Realm.
There are Four Kinds of Dharma Realms:
1. The Dharma Realm of Specifics.
2. The Dharma Realm of Principle.
3. The Dharma Realm of Non-Obstruction of Specifics and Principle.
4. The Dharma Realm of Non-Obstruction of Specifics and Specifics.
That is why the Buddha said:
If one wishes to understand fully
All Buddhas of the three periods of time,
One should contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm:
Everything is made from mind alone.
There is also categorization into ten kinds of Dharma Realms, which further divide into the Four Sagely Dharma Realms and the Six Ordinary Dharma Realms. The Four Sagely and Six Ordinary Dharma Realms, taken together, do not go beyond the nature of one manifest thought of the mind of you and me. One thought is replete with the Ten Dharma Realms, and the Ten Dharma Realms are not separate from one thought of the mind.
The Ten Dharma Realms are:
1. The Dharma Realm of hell-beings.
2. The Dharma Realm of animals
3. The Dharma Realm of hungry ghosts.
Those are called the Three Evil Paths.
4. The Dharma Realm of asuras.
5. The Dharma Realm of humans.
6. The Dharma Realm of gods.
Those are called the Three Good Paths.
What makes you fall into the hells? It is because you do things that make you fall into the hells. For example, if you kill people, set fires, or upset the peaceful workings of society and make all the people in society be shaken by disasters, all of that will lead you to fall into the hells. If you are greedy, you will fall into the hells. If you have thoughts of desire, you will fall into the hells. If you are hateful, you will turn into a hungry ghost. If you are stupid, you will become an animal.
There are said to be eighteen major hells and five hundred minor hells. Actually, there are ten of millions of hells. Hells are not created in advance in anticipation of your falling into them. Rather, hells manifest in response to your karma. If you create the karma of a hell, that hell manifests. Where does the hell manifest? It manifests in your mind. If while you are alive you are unhappy, always worried, if you are constantly crying, then:
With each cry, in hell there is a small, dark room.
In hell there is a small, dark room, a room pitch black, in which there is no light at all; and yet you undergo suffering there. You are in that small, dark room in which you cannot see anything, when suddenly from one side there comes a knife which rips up your body. You bleed and suffer excruciating pain, so intense that you die of the pain. However, strangely enough, once you die of pain, a wind called the “Clever” wind blows, and brings you back to life.
If your are always getting angry, with heavy hatred, then you will turn into a hungry ghost. Hungry ghosts have huge tempers. No matter what comes up, they want to get angry. So, if you like getting angry, you will wind up as a hungry ghost. This, too, happens from always getting angry within your mind.
What makes for animals? Animals are stupid. If you are stupid, and do not understand anything, then you will become an animal. Take a look at animals. Why are they controlled by human beings? It is because they are stupid. They are not as intelligent as human beings.
You may say, “But I’ve seen animals that were very intelligent.” Well, go become that kind of animal then, since you like and admire it so much. It’s not difficult at all. All you have to do is do what animals do. What do animals do? They do stupid things. It’s thinking, “This is something that is not in accord with principle, but I definitely am going to do it. I won’t pay any attention to whether it is principled of not.” That is an example of stupidity becoming manifest. That’s becoming stupid, and that’s how one becomes an animal.
Therefore, the Three Evil Destinies come from the three poisons of greed, hatred and stupidity. How do you get out of the Three Evil Destinies? You do meritorious and virtuous deeds. What is the source of the Three Good Destinies? They come from goodness, merit and virtue. If you do good deeds, you can become a human being. The kind of person you become will depend upon the amount of good you have done. If you have done a lot of good, you can be a gas-and-oil king, a great automotive king, a great gold king, a great silver king, a great diamond king, a great construction king, a great earthly king or a great heavenly king there are that many kinds of great kings to be if you do good.
If you establish merit, there may be situations in which you know there is merit, and you establish it, and there may be situations in which there is not merit, although you think there is and go ahead and establish it. One example is that of helping a country wage war by going and killing people. That is the Dharma Realm of asuras, which is that of going out and fighting with people.
Asuras think that if they are victorious in battle they have merit, and so they are asuras. There are asuras in the heavens, and there are also asuras among human beings, among animals, and among the hungry ghosts all four of those destinies. In the path of animals, the asura is the one that always wants to bully the other animals. Among horses it is the stallion that harms the herd, the one horse of the herd that, if it’s not kicking this one it’s biting that one. That one is an asura. Among human beings, an asura is the one who’s always, stirring up trouble when there isn’t any. Asuras like to fight. They have the blessings of the heavens, but lack heavenly authority. They lack virtue of the gods. Heavenly asuras are called “the wine-less,” for they haven’t any wine to drink. You may object, “Then I couldn’t be an asura. I don’t want to be an asura, because I like to drink wine and they don’t have any wine to drink.” That’s best of all. To avoid being an asura, first you must never lose your temper. If you have a temper, that is the same as the Dharma Realm of asuras. So if you intend not to be an asura, first you should not lose your temper. You should have:
A nature like ashes.
The nature of your heart should be like ashes, with no fire inside. You can also have;
A nature like water.
One’s nature is like water: whoever is thirsty can drink water, and water is yielding, not rigid. Also you can have:
A nature like cotton.
One’s nature is as soft as cotton. When it’s cold, people like to wear quilted cotton clothing, and so it is beneficial to people. If you’re like that, then you will not end up as an asura. “But, you may object, ‘I also don’t want to be clothing for people.’ That was only an analogy. It didn’t mean actually to go and be clothing for people.
Most people who do not understand the Buddhadharma consider being born in the heavens as the ultimate. “Ah,” they say, “to go to the heavenly paradise and be with Lord God!” However, Lord God within Buddhism is just a Dharma protector. He doesn’t even have a place to sit. He has to stand. Some may protest, “I don’t believe it: Lord God standing for the Buddha?” If you don’t believe it, then try it out. Just go ahead and believe in your Lord God, and don’’ believe in the Buddha. It doesn’t matter.
People who don’t understand the Buddhadharma consider Lord God the very highest. However, within the Buddhadharma Lord God is just a local constable. This local constable says to the citizenry he superintends, “I am the very greatest. In the entire world there is no one who is greater than I am. I’m your boss, and you all have to follow my orders.”
The country people, not knowing any better, listen to their local constable’s caliber of wisdom and say, “Ah! He is our Lord. We must constantly draw near to this Lord!” Once that local constable went to visit the mayor, on which occasion he had to be very polite and formal. No one saw it, however, since he went there by himself. The local citizenry still had no idea they were under the jurisdiction of a mayor. What is more, when the local constable went to visit the president, he had to be even more polite. When the president said, “Sit down, have a seat,” he replied, “No, thank you. Standing is just fine. It’s already glorious enough to be standing.”
Lord God is referred to in the line in the Shurangama Mantra: Na mwo Yin two la ye. King Indra, Yin two la ye, is just Lord God. So, recognize him clearly and if you happen to run into Indra and he says he’s King Indra, just say to him, “Oh, aren’t you Lord God?” Ask him that and he’s sure to blush and answer, “Yes, yes.”
The realms of gods are also limitless and unbounded. There is not just one Lord God, there are a great many Lords God. This particular Lord God started out as a woman, and since she was helped by thirty-two other women to repair and gild a Buddha image, her subsequent reward was to become Lord God. That is something which happened a long, long time ago... but she’s still being Lord God. How long ago did it happen? It was much, much longer than several quadrillions of years ago.
You should not act the historian with respect to this, feeling, “I definitely must check and research to what proof there is for this.” There isn’t any proof, except that I’m telling it to you now. You don’t believe it? I’m not particularly pleased if you do believe. I’m just telling you, and whether you believe or not makes no difference. Why not? If you believe, Lord God is still Lord God. If you do not believe, the Buddha is still the Buddha. There will not be any increase or decrease. The Dharma Realm of gods is so manifold that right now it cannot be completely described.