THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

There is also the Dharma Realm of Sound Hearers. Sound Hearers are Arhats. Of Arhats there are:

1.   First Fruit Arhats.
2.   Second Fruit Arhats.
3.   Third Fruit Arhats.
4.   Fourth Fruit Arhats.

You may ask, “Aren’t there any Fifth Fruit Arhats?” Once when I was explaining to people that there is the First Dhyana, the Second Dhyana, the Third Dhyana, and the Fourth Dhyana, there was a person whose head was going a mile a minute who said, “I know , I know: there’s an even higher level which is the Fifth Dhyana.” Hah! He’d gone to the Fifth Dhyana!

Arhats can only certify to the four fruits. Those of the First Fruit have cut off the eighty-eight grades of view delusions. View delusions occur when one gives rise to greed and desire when confronted by states, in other words, when you see something and are turned by it. For example, you may see a good-looking car and think, “Wow! How can I get a car like that? I could drive it around and wouldn’t have to walk!” That is giving rise to greed and love, which is simple view delusions. If you saw the car and did not strike up that kind of false thinking, you would not have any view delusions. The same holds true for airplanes, fine houses, attractive clothing, beautiful possessions. In general, everything is included, and there’s no need for detailed explanation: you can figure it out for yourself. In general, whenever you see something, and you have greed and love for it. “Ah! I can’t put it down to the point that you can’t sleep at night for thinking about ... it. What is it?  Pretty things. Ah! It is really too fine!” That’s the way you think about those states, and, faced with states, you give rise to greed and love. That’s view delusions.

Thought delusions occur when one is confused about principle and gives rise to discriminations. Confused, you don’t understand the principle, and so you have discriminating false thoughts. For example, you may say, “What is said in the Flower Adornment Sutra is very well and good, but I’m afraid that’s not really the way things are. I shouldn’t believe it. I should believe myself and not believe the Flower Adornment Sutra. National Master Ch’ing Liang had his ten requirements to urge himself on, but that was his business; and besides, it’s all just talk. It’s not for sure he really was that way.” You discriminate, “It is this way, it isn’t that way. It’s true, it’s false.”

Sages of the First Fruit, Sound Hearers of the First Fruit, have cut off eighty-eight grades of view delusions, while there are eighty-one kinds of thought delusions. You may say, “I haven’t seen that many.” Not only have you not seen them, you haven’t even heard of them; so how could you possible have seen them? Isn’t that right? When one certifies to the Second Fruit of Arhatship, one cuts off all the eighty-one grades of thought delusions.

When one testifies to the Third Fruit, one cuts off delusions like dust and sand, i.e., delusions as many as there are motes of dust or grains of sand, which are very subtle. There are coarse delusions and subtle delusions. Thought delusions are also called subtle delusions. Someone who certifies to the Third Fruit cuts off delusions which are as many as sand and dust, and then all things that were not understood, as many as sand and dust, are all understood. “Not bad,” you say. Not bad? Then try it out: just go ahead and cultivate.

The more one speaks, the more there is to say. One never says it all; so I won’t say more.

Arhats of the First Fruit have cut off eighty-eight grades of view delusions. Those of the Second Fruit have cut off the first six grades of thought delusion. When one testifies to the Third Fruit, one cuts off three more grades, and has severed nine grades of thought delusion in all. Fourth Fruit Arhats cut off all eighty-one grades of thought delusion in the Three Realms.

The Dharma Realm of Those Enlightened to Conditions comes next. When a Buddha is in the world, they hear the Buddha explain the Twelve Links of Conditioned Co-Production and become enlightened to the Way, and so they are called Those Enlightened to Conditions.

The Dharma Realm of Sound Hearers is followed by the Dharma Realm of those Enlightened to Conditions. Sound Hearers are called Sound Hearers because they:

Hear the sound of the Buddha’s voice and become enlightened to the Way.

They cultivate the Dharma door of the Four Truths:

1.      Suffering.
2.      Accumulations.
3.      Extinction.
4.      The Way.

Those Enlightened to Conditions: Cultivate the Twelve Causal Conditions and become enlightened to the Way.

When no Buddha is in the world, they cultivate by themselves and become enlightened, so they are called Those Solitarily Enlightened. Off alone in steep mountains and remote valleys, they observe the continual birth and death of the myriad things and become enlightened.

The Dharma Realm of Bodhisattvas is one of benefiting oneself while benefiting others, taking oneself across while taking others across, and enlightening oneself while enlightening others. What Bodhisattvas cultivate is the Six Paramitas and the Ten Thousand Conducts.

The Six Paramitas

1.   Giving.
2.   Holding Precepts.
3.   Patience.
4.   Vigor.
5.   Dhyana-Samadhi.
6.   Prajna Wisdom.

Paramita is a Sanskrit word which translates as “Crossed to the Other Shore.” The analogy is that of crossing a body of water. For example, if one goes from San Francisco to Oakland, one has ‘arrived at the other shore.’ Now there is a bridge, so one may go by bridge without having to take a ferryboat. Having crossed to the other shore is just having done something to completion. Taking giving, for instance. If previously I didn’t give, but now I do give, then that is to have crossed to the other shore of giving. If I never used to keep the precepts, but now I do keep the precepts, that is to have  crossed to the other shore of holding precepts. If I never used to be patient, but now I am patient, that is to have crossed to the other shore of patience. If I never used to be vigorous, but now I am vigorous, that is to have crossed to the other shore of vigor. If I never used to cultivate dhyana-samadhi, but now I do cultivate dhyana-samadhi, that is to have crossed to the other shore of dhyana-samadhi. If I never used to cultivate wisdom, but now I do cultivate wisdom, that, too, is to have crossed to the other shore of wisdom. Bodhisattvas cultivate those six kinds of Paramitas, six kinds of Crossings to the Other Shore. They want to benefit other people, and so they are said to:

Benefit themselves while benefiting others,
Take themselves across while taking others across.
One should take oneself across to the other shore.
That is why Bodhisattvas constantly make the vows:

My own nature’s living beings I vow to take across.
My own nature’s afflictions I vow to eradicate.
My own nature’s Dharma doors I vow to study.
My own nature’s Buddhahood I vow to accomplish.

Their vows are to take their own nature across to the other shore and, by so doing, take others across as well, since there is a reciprocal relationship between oneself and others. The reason that Buddhas want to take living beings across is that living beings are all Buddhas ¾ it’s just that living beings are unaware of it, and so the Buddha needs to explain the Buddhadharma in order to bring living beings to accomplish Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas use the Buddhadharma to teach living beings and so they take themselves across while taking others across, enlightening themselves while enlightening others.

Once they are enlightened themselves, they reflect, “Enlightenment’s not bad at all! Everything is understood. Everything is suddenly penetrated. There is no ignorance and there are no afflictions. It’s extremely wonderful! This is truly an inconceivable state! But it’s useless for me to be the only one who attains this kind of state. I ought to enlighten everyone, all people, so that they, too, all attain this kind of inconceivable and supremely wonderful state.” Thereupon, instead of settling down in the wondrous state, they keep incredibly busy, every day intent upon teaching living beings and taking them across, in order to bring all living beings to attain the same kind of enlightenment they themselves have attained. That is what it means to bring forth the thought of a Bodhisattva, and describes the Dharma Realm of Bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattvas are also made from the mind in the same way as Sound Hearers and those Enlightened to Conditions are made from the mind. If in your mind you want to be a Bodhisattva, for example, you go ahead and cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. But if in your mind you think, ‘I don’t want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. It just leads one to take a loss, and I don’t want to take a loss,’ at that time you are unwilling to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. People who cultivate the Bodhisattva Way bring forth the great thought for Bodhi, and use the mind of the Dharma Realm to cultivate the conduct of the Dharma Realm.

This is a further Dharma Realm, that of the Buddha. The Buddha is enlightened himself, and he enlightens others. Furthermore, his enlightened conduct is perfected. His virtuous conduct is perfected, and his cultivation is perfected absolutely everything has been perfected, and so he has accomplished Buddhahood. What is a Buddha? Just a person. However, that person has returned to the origin and gone back to the source. He has understood his original face. He has found his own home. In that way he has accomplished Buddhahood. The very first thing the Buddha did upon accomplishing Buddhahood was to speak the Great Flower Adornment Sutra. For three whole weeks, twenty-one days, the Buddha spoke the Flower Adornment Sutra, and it was not through his Reward Body, it was through his Dharma Body. He appeared as Vairochana Buddha to speak the Flower Adornment Sutra, and during that time all that the people of the Two Vehicles saw was the Buddha seated there in samadhi, not speaking Dharma. The Great Lords of the Dharma Body, the Bodhisattvas, saw the Buddha speaking Dharma. To the people of the Two Vehicles, the Buddha still looked like a six-foot tall Bhikshu seated in meditation. In actuality, while the Buddha was seated there in mediation, he was manifesting the  clear, pure Dharma Body, and speaking the Great Flower Adornment Sutra. But even though the people of the Two Vehicles had eyes, they could not see Nishyanda Buddha. And although they had ears, the couldn’t hear the sound of the Buddha’s voice. The Buddha thereupon manifested the clear and pure Dharma Body Vairochana Buddha, and the perfect, full Reward Body Nishyanda Buddha. How big and how tall was that Nishyanda Buddha?  He was a thousand feet tall. The thousand foot Nishyanda Buddha,  along with the Dharma Body, completely filled every space and, at the appearance of the Nishyanda Buddha Body, all of the Bodhisattvas were able to see the Buddha speaking the Flower Adornment Sutra, which the Arhats couldn’t see.  Now, we may not be Arhats, but then again, we may be Bodhisattvas, because now we are able to see and hear the Flower Adornment Sutra. Perhaps in the past we planted the caused for Bodhisattva-hood, so that we now are in circumstances in which we can hear this great Dharma and great Teaching.

When divided up, the Ten Dharma Realms exist as described: but when taken together, they are just the manifestation of a single thought of our mind. That single thought of the mind universally fills the Ten Dharma Realms, and so it is further 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.

The Buddhas of the three worlds of time are those of the past worlds, the present worlds, and the futures. To know how the Buddhas of the three worlds of time became Buddhas, all you need to do is contemplate the nature of the Dharma Realm as being entirely created from the mind alone.

How did those of you now attending the Buddhist Study and Cultivation Summer Session come here? You may say, “I bought a plane ticket and flew here,” or, “I bought a bus ticket and the bus brought me here.” Perhaps you say, “I used my old dilapidated jalopy, drove for a few days, and got here.” That’s all not the truth. You’re all wrong. You came by means of your mind. In your mind you thought, “Oh, the Sino-American Buddhist Association is having a Study and Cultivation Summer Session. The first one was ninety-six days long, the second one was ninety-six days long, and the third also was ninety-six days long. But the duration of this fourth one has been cut down. It’s probably very easy. I’ll go attend it and see what it’s like. It’s just for a few weeks, so no matter how difficult it is, I’ll be able to bear the suffering. At that time, in your mind you said, “Let’s go! Let’s go!” Because you thought to come, now you have arrived. Now that you have arrived, you have become a student in the Flower Adornment Buddhist Study and Cultivation Session. Isn’t that just a case of everything being made from mind alone? It came about simply from your mind.

If you had never had the intention in your mind to come, then you might have had a plane, a boat, a bus, or a train, but they all would have been useless. Without the thought of coming, you would never have taken the first step, so how could you have come here? Therefore, everything is made from mind alone.

What this the mind?  You may say, “The mind is just the mind. What else could it be?” I’ll tell you: the mind is just the Dharma Realm. Now doesn’t the text say, “This can only be the Dharma Realm!”? We could make a substitution and say, “This can be only be your mind!”. It’s just your mind. You may object, “But I thought the Dharma Realm was very great, and here it is changing into my mind, which is so small.” How can your mind be small? Didn’t you just hear how the Ten Dharma Realms are simply the manifestation of a single thought of the mind? How then could your mind be all that small? Your mind is greater than empty space. It is bigger than heaven and earth. It is just that you are unable to use it. Your mind is:

So great nothing is beyond it,
So small nothing is within it.

However, you are only aware of having a small mind, a mind the size of fine mote of dust. Your state is too small. If your state were great, then you would know you have a great mind.

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