THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Prologue:  

Moreover, if the Buddha himself speaks, then there is no waiting for aid, as in the Ninth Assembly. If there is speaking because of people, they must avail themselves of superior aid. In the Eight Assembly, practice depends upon the Dharma for cultivation, and so it is not different from the above. To generalize concerning the occurrence of aid, in the Second and Seventh there is not entry to samadhi, so there is no aid. In all the rest it occurs. 

Commentary:  

Mover, if the Buddha himself speaks, if the Buddha speaks the Dharma on his own, then there is no waiting for aid from other Buddhas. An example of that is as in the Ninth Assembly. If there is speaking because of people, if the Dharma is spoken because other people request it, they must avail themselves of superior aid. In that case, they must avail themselves of the aid of all Buddhas. In the Eighth Assembly, when it takes place, practice depends upon the Dharma for cultivation, doors of practice are cultivated through reliance upon the Dharma, and so it is not different from the above. It amounts to the same situation as was just discussed. To generalize concerning the non-occurrence of aid, giving a sweeping picture of when no other Buddhas aid, in the second and seventh there is no entry to samadhi. When the Buddha speaks the Flower Adornment Sutra, in the Second and Seventh Assemblies he doesn’t enter samadhi to speak it, so there is no aid. There is no need for aid from other Buddhas, since he doesn’t enter samadhi. In all the rest it occurs. In the rest of the assemblies, there is aid from other Buddhas.  

Prologue

The reasons for aid: to demonstrate through the identical aid of all Buddhas that their speaking is identical, for speaking on the part of one is speaking on the part of all. Also, to demonstrate that the sea of the fruit is without words, for it is on the cause with its marks that there can be speech. 

Commentary: 

The reasons for aid: why does there have to be aid from the Buddhas? It is to demonstrate through the identical aid of all Buddhas that their speaking is identical. Having all the Buddhas of the ten directions simultaneously aid the person speaking Dharma shows that it is the same as all the Buddhas of the ten directions simultaneously speaking Dharma, for speaking on the part of one is speaking on the part of all. Although it is one Buddha who does the speaking, it is speaking by all Buddhas. When a single Bodhisattva speaks the Dharma, it is equivalent to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas speaking. It also is to demonstrate that the sea of the fruit on the ground of the result is without words. “Fruit” means the position of the result; and “sea” represents its greatness which is comparable to the sea. When one reaches the position of the fruit, nothing can be said, for it is on the cause with its marks that there can be speech. It’s when one is on the causal ground which has marks that speaking can take place; on the result ground of the fruit, there can be no speech. 

The perfectly complete fruit of enlightenment,
Returns to when nothing is obtained. 

Therefore, in the sea of the fruit, nothing can be said. 

Prologue: 

Inasmuch as it is that way, the Asamkhyeyas and the minor characteristics should not be all to represent that it is fine and subtle, difficult to know, since it transcends the cause and fruit. Moreover, the bestowals and establishments are not the same, so one should not employ a single standard

The aid is of two kinds: One, apparent aid, which covers the three karmas; two, hidden aid, limited to giving wisdom that enables one to speak. 

Commentary

Inasmuch as it is that way, as just described, therefore, the Asamkhyeyas and the minor characteristics, minor characteristics that number in the Asamkhyeyas, or you could say this means the Asamkhyeyas Chapter and the Minor Characteristics – in either case it means a lot, multi-layered inexhaustibility, infinite and unending in its countless numbers. The asamkhyeyas and minor characteristics many as they are should not be all, so they are not really many. If they aren’t, then why are they described that way? It is in order to represent that it is fine and subtle, difficult to know. It’s symbolic of how the Dharma is extremely fine and subtle, very difficult to know and understand, since it transcends the cause and fruit. It goes beyond the number of causes and effects, being more. Even though that is the case, moreover, the bestowals and establishments are not the same. Each teaching differs from the next. There are the Small, Initial, Final, Sudden, and Perfect. The ways the Teachings are set up have such differences as those between the Sudden Teaching and the Perfect Teaching, so one should not employ a single standard. You shouldn’t try to explain this in just one way, using a single principle to represent it. 

The aid is of two kinds. The Buddhas assist in two ways. One, the first, is apparent aid, helping you in an obvious way you can understand, which covers the three karmas. This is assisting your three karmic vehicles of body, mouth, and mind, making them keen and sharp. Two, hidden aid. The second is secretly helping you, which is limited to giving wisdom that enables one to speak. The Buddhas aid you and cause your wisdom to open so you can speak the Dharma. 

Prologue

The Universal Light and the Dharma Realm have no apparent aid but do have hidden aid. All the rest have both; for if there is apparent aid, there must also be hidden aid. The rest will be explained when they are reached below. This ends the causes and conditions for the arisal of the teaching. 

Commentary: 

The Universal Light Chapter and the Dharma Realm Chapter have no apparent aid but do have hidden aid. They don’t have any obvious aid, only secret aid in which the Buddhas assist a given Bodhisattvas or Good Knowing Advisors to open wisdom and speak wonderful Dharma. All the rest have both. The other chapters all have both apparent and hidden aid, for if there is apparent aid, there must also be hidden aid. When the assistance is secret, it’s not necessarily apparent, too; but when the help is apparent, hidden aid must be taking place at the same time. 

To receive either apparent or hidden aid, you have to be sincere. Otherwise you won’t obtain any kind of aid at all. It’s said before, “The Sages do not constantly respond. They respond to adequate sincerity.” There can’t always be an intertwining of response and the Way taking place. It happens when you are sincere to the ultimate degree. “Adequate sincerity” is a quote from the Book of History, which says: 

The citizens do not cherish everyone;
They cherish those who have virtue.
The ghosts and spirits do not accept everything;
They accept when there is adequate sincerity. 

It says the minds of the citizenry are inconstant, fickle. For example, if you are an emperor with virtuous conduct, they will protect and support you. If you lack virtuous practice, they’ll forget all about you. They don’t always feel like remembering and cherishing you; they cherish those who have virtue. If you are someone with virtue in the Way, they will always cherish, remember, protect, support, and think of you. The ghosts and spirits won’t always come and accept the offerings and libations you make to them. You may make an offering of food or pour out tea for the ghosts and spirits, but they won’t come each time. How does it work then? They accept when there is adequate sincerity. The times when you are very sincere they will come and eat the food if you give it to them, or drink the tea, because you offered it sincerely. If you aren’t sincere, they won’t have anything to do with you or accept your libations and sacrifices. 

This is as when you make offerings to your teacher. Just because you make the offering does not mean your teacher wants it. For example, when I was in Hong Kong, somebody gave me $200, and I threw it out in the street, didn’t want it. You have got to offer with sincerity for it to be accepted. If you don’t offer something with a sincere heart, it may not be thrown out in the street, but it may be tossed on the floor. If not actually tossed on the floor, no attention will be paid to it, which amounts to the same thing. But if you can be sincere, it will be accepted. 

The rest will be explained when they are reached below. In the Sutra text itself are quite a few examples of apparent and hidden aid, which will be understood when we come to them in the text. This ends the causes and conditions for the arisal of the teaching. This is the end of the First Door of the Prologue: The Causes and Conditions for the Arisal of the Teaching.

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