THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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THE TEN CONDITIONS

Prologue:

The second, explanation of the Sutra’s conditions. The outset of each Sutra states the time, the place, the person(s), and so forth. This is all arisal from conditions.

Commentary:

The second, explanation of the Sutra’s Conditions. It talked about the Causes for the Sutra before, and now it’s going to talk about the Conditions. The outset of each Sutra, the Sutra’s very beginning, states the time, the place, the person(s), and so forth. This means the Realization of a Time, the Realization of a Place, the Realization of a Person, the Host, or Persons, the Realization of the Assembly: for the Buddha, the Host, is realized from a person, and the Assembly is made up of people who listen. Every Sutra begins with these Six Realizations:

1.   The Realization of Faith.
2.   The Realization of Hearing.
3.   The Realization of Time.
4.   The Realization of a Host.
5.   The Realization of a Place.
6.   The Realization of an Assembly.

This is all arisal from conditions. The Teaching arises due to those kinds of conditions.

Prologue:

Now there are the Ten Conditions:
One, depending on the Time;
Two, depending on the Place;
Three, depending on the Host;
Four, depending on the Samadhi;
Five, depending on the manifestation of Marks;
Six, depending on the speaker;
Seven, depending on the Listeners;
Eight, depending on the Basis in Virtue:
Nine, depending on the Requester;
Ten, depending on the Assistance.

Commentary:

Now there are the Ten Conditions. They will be stated in brief to begin with, and they underlie the speaking of the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra. One, the First Condition, is depending on the time. If there is no suitable occasion, there is no way to speak the Sutra. Two, depending on the place. There has to be a place for it to happen, or else how could you lecture the Sutra and speak the Dharma? Three, depending on the Host. If there is no Dharma speaking Host, no one will speak the Sutra, so to have a Host  is another condition. Four, depending on the Samadhi. “Samadhi” is a Sanskrit word which means “Proper Reflection” and “Proper Concentration,” another necessary condition.

Five, depending on the Manifestation of Marks. The Buddha, for example, makes appear the thousand foot tall body of Nishyanda Buddha to speak the Flower Adornment Sutra. Six, depending on the speaker. Basically the Host is the Speaker, but “Speaker” here means in this Sutra there are others, Bodhisattva, and Good and Wise Teachers who speak too, which is another condition. Seven, depending on the Listeners. If someone speaks the Dharma but no one listens, the Dharma isn’t complete, so the condition of there being listeners must be met as well. Eight, depending on the Basis in Virtue. Although someone may speak the Dharma and others listen, if the person speaking has no virtuous practice of the Way, this condition will not have been fulfilled. Nine, depending on the Requestor. There has to be someone who requests the Dharma too. Otherwise, not all the conditions have been met. Ten, depending on the Assistance. The Buddha may emit light to assist the multitudes in the Dharma Assembly, or even the Buddhas of the ten directions, so those who lend their aid form another of the conditions.

Prologue:

Now  the first, depending on the time. When ever the mind meshes with the highest way, then ancient and present blend into one. Since the Dharma Realm has no production, there is basic absence of time divisions. A verse later in the Sutra says, “When the Thus Come One obtains bodhi, it actually is not bound to a day.”

Commentary:

Now the first, depending on the time. The First Condition is that of time. Basically there is no definite time, but living beings, having attachments, become attached to time. The Prologue says, “Whenever the mind meshes with the highest way.” Why do we cultivate? It’s because our inherent wisdom was never lost, so all we need is to embody the ultimate in a single thought, and we tally with the family of the Buddha. A single thought-instant of purity and one is a Buddha for that single thought. If one’s every thought is pure, then one is a Buddha in every thought. So, whenever the mind meshes, unites and tallies, with the highest and most ultimate Way, Enlightenment, then ancient and present blend into one. The past becomes the present, and right now is just before. There is no duality between then and now. Living beings attach to the existence of past and present, but if you understand the highest Way, there is no past and there is no present. There is no time at all.

The Vajra Sutra says:

Past thought cannot be got at.
Present thought cannot be got at.
Future thought cannot be got at.

The three thought ultimately cannot be got at. That is, ancient and present blend into one. You can’t tell one from the other. Why not? Since the Dharma Realm has no production. There is neither production nor extinction to the Dharma Realm, and because of that, there is basic absence of time divisions. Since there is no coming into being and no passing away, there fundamentally is no time.

The text talked before about gathering limitless kalpas into a single instant of thought, and stretching out one thought into limitless kalpas, so there is no long or short to limitless kalpas and instants of thought. The only basis for such distinctions as long and short or few and many is the attachments of living beings’ minds. A verse later in the Sutra says, when you get into the text of the Sutra itself, “When the Thus Come One obtains Bodhi,” Enlightenment, “It actually is not bound to a day.” You really can’t say there was one particular day on which the Buddha accomplished the Way. It was not limited to a given day. The minds of living beings distinguish a certain day when he became a Buddha and another day when the Buddha entered Nirvana; but when your true mind meshes with the highest Way, long is not long and short is not short, ancient is not ancient and present is not present. Therefore, there isn’t a fixed day or time when it happens. National Master Ch’ing Liang, in discussing the principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra, is describing an inconceivable state when he says it actually is not bound to a day.

The Buddhadharma exists in order to break the attachments of living beings. If you rid yourself of attachments, the Dharma also disappears. It’s because you have attachments that there is Dharma to break them. For example, after you cross the sea, you don’t need to continue the boat-ride. The Dharma is like a boat. After crossing the sea you can’t decide to walk around with the boat on your back. That’s why the Vajra Sutra says:

Even Dharma should be relinquished,
How much the more so non-Dharma.

You even have to put the Dharma down. If you get rid of your attachments, really forget all about time so there is no past or present, then you won’t have to use Dharma. But now you can’t achieve that, so you have to break attachments. We have attachments to everything, but once free of them, it is truly wonderful to the ultimate degree.

Prologue:

Moreover, the speaking has no bounds, for thoughts and kalpas are in perfect fusion.

Now to use the time of no time, in general there appear ten kinds of differences of time. First, only one thought; two, throughout seven days; three, pervading the three limits; four, gathering similar kinds of kalpas; five, collecting different kinds of kalpas; six, using a thought to gather kalpas; seven, kalpas and thoughts collected in layers; eight, time of different kinds and realms; nine, mutual entry of each into the other; ten, using the root to collect the branch-tips. That is from using non-kalpas as kalpas. In the ten previous times there is constant proclamation of this Sutra.

Commentary:

Moreover, the speaking has no bounds. There are no limitations of time to it, and no time when it stops.

Before, there is no past.
Ahead, there is no future.

At no time does it end, and so the speaking of the Flower Adornment Sutra has no bounds, for thoughts and kalpas are in perfect fusion. Thoughts are single instants of thought, and kalpas means great kalpas, and they perfectly fuse without obstruction. This wonderful Dharma is perfectly fused and interpenetrating with no blockage, inconceivable. A single thought is limitless kalpas, and limitless kalpas are just a single thought. How can that happen? It is due to unobstructed perfect fusion. There are no obstacles, and this is inconceivable. This is a state which ordinary people cannot know. Shakyamuni Buddha, within Eternal Still Light, is always speaking the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, and never stops for an instant, so the Flower Adornment Sutra is perfectly fused and interpenetrating without obstruction.

It has no beginning and no end. It’s beginning can be its end, and its end can be its beginning, interfusing perfectly with no obstruction.

Now to use the time of no time, the time of there being no fixed time, in general there appear ten kinds of differences of time. In a general way ten distinctions of time manifest. First, only one thought, in a single kshana going to boundless places and speaking boundless Dharma. Two, through-out seven days. One sits seven days and it seems only as long as one thought. Not only that but three, pervading the Three Limits. The Three Limits are the limits of the past, the present, and the future, throughout them all. Four, gathering similar kinds of kalpas. Long kalpas are put together with long kalpas, and the same thing happens with short ones. Five, collecting different kinds of kalpas. Long and short kalpas collect each other in. Long kalpas can become short ones, and short ones can become long ones, so there is no long or short.

Six, using a thought to gather kalpas. Within a single interval of thought limitless kalpas can be gathered in, and limitless kalpas are just a single thought. Seven, kalpas and thoughts collected in layers. If you say a kalpa is a single thought, the kalpa still remains. If you say it is a kalpa, it still does not go beyond a single thought. They collect each other in multiple layers, that kind of state. Eight, time of different kinds and realms. In the course of time, all the different categories and realms are not the same. But the forms of trees and the forms of mountains, and so forth can enter into one another. Nine, mutual entry of each into the other. This enters into that and vice versa. Ten, using the root to collect the branch-tips. It can work the other way around too: the branch-tips can be used to gather in the root. They inter-collect each other. That is using the time of no time, that is to say, from using non-kalpas as kalpas. You say they’re kalpas, yet they aren’t. You say they’re time, and they’re not time. The state of the Flower Adornment Sutra is such that there are no kalpas, no time, nor any fixed intervals of thought, so this is all inconceivable. There is no way you can conceptualize its principles and wonderful states.

In the previous ten times, there is constant proclamation of this Sutra. In the ten kinds of unfixed time just listed, the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra is always being spoken.

Prologue:

Moreover, those ten kinds are each collected in the perfect. Based upon this time of speaking, there is then no beginning and no end. Yet in accordance with seeing and hearing, one speaks of first accomplishment and so forth, as was discussed before in “Dharma is that way.”

Commentary:

Moreover, those ten kinds are each collected in the perfect. Those ten kinds of time all perfectly fuse without obstruction, so they are collected in by the Perfect Teaching. Based upon this time of speaking, there is then no beginning and no end. The proclamation of the Flower Adornment Sutra being based in those ten kinds of time means there is no start or finish to it, no ancient or present. Yet in accordance with seeing and hearing, one speaks of first accomplishment and so forth. Although we’ve said there is no time, yet in accordance with seeing and hearing on the part of ordinary living beings, one talks about first accomplishment of the Way and the rest:

Upon first brining forth the resolve,
One immediately accomplishes Proper Enlightenment.

As was discussed before in “Dharma is that way.” The principles are the same as those discussed in the First Cause, because the Dharma is That Way.

Prologue:

If based upon this time, then it is far different from the other teachings; and yet the times of the other Teachings do not go beyond this.

Or one may speak of three weeks, six weeks, and so forth, from accordance with seeing and hearing. This is discussed at length in the Chih Kui.


Commentary:

If based upon this time, if one uses the previous ten kinds of time as its basis, then it is far different from the other teachings, for they all have something fixed, while this is the Sudden Teaching in which there is nothing fixed. And yet the times of the other teachings do not go beyond this. Although it is so different from the rest of the Teachings, it still includes them all, so the times they establish do not transcend this time.

Or one may speak of three weeks, six weeks, and so forth. Someone may object saying, “What about twenty-one days, three weeks? Isn’t that time? Or forty-two days, six weeks, isn’t that time?” From according with seeing and hearing on the part of living beings, there are given times like three weeks and six weeks. This is discussed at length in the Chih Kui. If you want to investigate this principle in depth, take a look at the Hua Yen Chih Kui, a work which has a lot to say about it in its discussion of the essentials of the Hua yen philosophy, by Great Master Fa Ts’ang.

The Anniversary in honor of Wei T’ou Bodhisattva is celebrated on the third day of the sixth lunar month. “Wei T’ou” is the Sanskrit word Veda which means “Clear Knowledge” as well as “Clear Benefit.” Wei T’ou Bodhisattva understands how to benefit living beings, and with intelligence and wisdom protects the Buddhadharma. He’s not stupid. He doesn’t do things all upside down. He’s not like some people who have studied the Buddhadharma so long but are still just as messed up. He actually is a virgin youth who vowed to become Wei T’ou Bodhisattva.

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