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Furthermore, there are four propositions. One, perhaps only dependent, because the Buddha is the kshetras. Two, perhaps only proper, because the kshetras are the Buddha. Three, both. Four, neither. Upon reflection one can know them.


Furthermore, there are four propositions. After the six propositions, one can further use the meanings of four propositions to explain this. One, perhaps only dependent. The first proposition says. “You might put it this way, that there is only dependent retribution.” Why? Because the Buddha is the kshetras. The reason you could say it is that:

             The Buddha’s body is the Land of the Dharma Nature.
              He sacrifices himself for the sake of others.

He wants no self, but accords with others, and in so according doesn’t want his own Buddha body, but accords with the countries. Because the Buddha’s Dharma Body is the Dharma Nature Land, there is no differences between the Buddha and the Land of the Dharma Nature. That is why the Buddha is said to be the kshetras. The Buddha, too, is dependent retribution, because the Buddha’s Dharma Body is just like empty space, with no place where it is, and no place where it isn’t. Do you say it exists? You can’t see it. Can you see what the Buddha is like? He’s not like the Buddha images to which we make offerings here. Not at all. That’s because outside the Dharma Nature there is no Buddha, and outside the Buddha there is no Dharma Nature. And so the Land of the Dharma Nature is the Buddha’s body, and the Buddha’s body is the Land of the Dharma Nature. Therefore it is “only dependent.” It’s just dependent fruit.

Two, perhaps only proper. That is to say it is only proper fruit, and there is no dependent fruit. Why is that? It is because the kshetras are the Buddha. The seas of worlds like motes of dust are just the Buddha’s Dharma Nature Body. Three, both. The dependent does not obstruct the proper, and the proper does not obstruct the dependent. Dependent and proper mutually appear. Four, neither. There is neither dependent retribution, nor is there proper retribution. “Neither” means there isn’t either one. Upon reflection one can know them. If you think about them carefully and investigate the principles behind them, you will know them.


Whichever single door is mentioned it includes them all, just as is described below.

Six, in order to discuss the positions, to show the Bodhisattvas who are cultivating the causes for Buddhahood how the one road to the fruit has differences of stages. The great jewels of the Sages are said to be the positions, for without those positions, there would be no accomplishment to cultivation.


Whichever single door is mentioned it includes them all. Previously it talked about the non-obstruction of dependent and proper, dependent fruit and proper fruit, and how the fruit can be explained using six propositions or else using four propositions. Now it says, “Whichever single door is mentioned.” It doesn’t matter which one of the doors you bring up, “it includes them all.” That one door comprises all doors in multi-layered inexhaustibility, just as it described below. This is going to be explained in detail in what follows, so there is no need to go into detail here.

Six, the Sixth Cause, is in order to discuss the positions, to make clear what positions are involved. Why does one discuss the positions? It is to show the Bodhisattvas who are cultivating the causes for Buddhahood how the one road to the fruit has differences of stages. When Bodhisattvas are cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, they are cultivating the causes for Buddhahood. What are those causes? It means that everything one does is transferred to the fruit of Buddhahood, so the causes for Buddhahood become the fruit of Buddhahood. One now plants the causes for Buddhahood, and in the future one will reap the fruit of Buddhahood. Planting the causes for Buddhahood is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, benefiting living beings.

However, most people find the Bodhisattva Way not at all easy to cultivate. It’s really difficult to cultivate it, in fact. Why is that? It’s because Bodhisattvas have to benefit living beings and you have to give living beings whatever they want from you. So, the Venerable Shariputra, upon hearing the Buddha say that cultivating the Bodhisattva Way was the door of the Great Vehicle practice, decided that he too would cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. When you are cultivating Path, if someone wants your head, you have to give them your head. If they want your hands, you have to give them your hands. If they want your feet, you have to give your feet away. In general, if living beings want your body, you are supposed to give it to them: head, eyes, brains, marrow, that’s inner wealth, if someone needs those things of yours, and you’re cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, you have to renounce them.

Shariputra told the Buddha right to his face that he was going to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, to cultivate Great Vehicle Dharma. The Buddha said, “You’d better try it out first. It’s not all that easy. Give it a preliminary three-month trial run. Then if you find you really can d it, you can set about cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way in earnest. In cultivating the Bodhisattva Way you have to have an attitude of there being no self, no others, no living beings and no lifespans. You have to be able to stomach the most bitter things, and yield the most pleasant ones to others. You must sacrifice yourself for the sake of others.”

Shariputra said, “I think I can do that. I image I could give my body away to someone if that person asked for it.”

The Buddha said, “Okay, you go try it out.”

Thereupon Shariputra set out to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. As he was walking the Bodhisattva Path, he saw a stone in the road and said to himself, “I should move this rock away or else people with poor eyesight walking along this road could break a leg or have a spill and be injured.” So he moved the rocks away, and thought to himself, “I’m cultivating the Bodhisattva Way.” He kept on going, and ran into a hold full of water. He said, “I’d better fill in this hold. It would be easy to walk here if there weren’t any water, to prevent situations such as when Shakyamuni Buddha in a previous life had to spread out his hair cover a mud puddle.” So he found a pail and brought load after load of dirt until he had filled in the hold so there was no more water. T

hen he said to himself, “This, too, is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way. These are all ways of benefiting people. The road wasn’t easy to travel on but I’ve repaired it, and that is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way.” He was very happy that he had cultivated the Bodhisattva Way twice that day. When he went back and sat in meditation that evening he felt very comfortable and said, “It’s not strange people cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. It’s really fine. Today I have fewer false thoughts during my medication. I’m certainly going to continue to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way.”

The next day he set out for the mountains, where he found lots of dead trees. He said, “I’m going to clear these dead trees off to one side, which is also cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way.” Then he ran into a person who had no eyes, walking down the road, with no one acting as his guide. He thought, “I should cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and escort this eyeless person to his home.” So he said, “Hey, Mr. Blindman, where do you want to go?”

The eyeless person said, “You are the blindman!”

Shariputra thought, “What? He’s the blindman, and he gets upset when I call him ‘Mr. Blindman’. On well, when one cultivates the Bodhisattva Way one has to be patient.” So he said, “Oh, you are Mr. Has Eyes.”

To that the blindman retorted, “What’s it to you if I have eyes or not?” He was exploding with anger as he scolded him.

Shariputra said, “I just want to help you. I’ll guide you wherever you want to go.”

The blindman said, “I don’t need any help from you,” and hold him off.

Shariputra said to himself, “The Bodhisattva Way is no easy to cultivate! I wanted to show him the road and he cursed me. But be patient, practice the Paramita of Patience and don’t pay any attention to him. However, I think I’ll take the Bodhisattva Way back with me for the day and let it rest a little. Tomorrow we’ll see.”

He returned, and as he sat in meditation that evening he kept having false thoughts about what had happened. “He didn’t have any eyes and when I wanted to guide him along the road he cursed me! People in the world are really weird.” But he still didn’t think of quitting, and hadn’t decided it was too hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. He still thought to himself, “If he scolds me a bit it’s not important. I can take it. I don’t even care if he hits me!”

The next day he set out again to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. One the Bodhisattva Way he encountered a person who was walking along and crying, sobbing his heart out. Shariputra asked him, “What’s wrong? Whatever trouble you are in you can tell me about it. You don’t have to be so sad and in so much pain.”

The crying person said, “You shouldn’t even ask about troubles! There’s nothing you could do to help me.”

Shariputra said, “Maybe there’s something I can do for you. Give it a try and tell me.”

The man said, “Do you really mean it? It’s because my mother is sick. She went to see the doctor who wrote her a prescription that says she needs the eye of a living person to cure her. I’ve gone the rounds of all the pharmacies trying to buy a live person’s eye, but there are none for sale. That kind of medicine doesn’t exist, so there’s no way to cure my mother’s illness, and all I can do is cry. At first I intended to take out my own eye to cure her, but I can’t give it up. It’s too painful. So now there’s nothing I can do but cry!”

Shariputra thought it over, “I really should help him out of this painful dilemma. This is a Bodhisattva Way I should cultivate! Also, he is very filial. I’ve found a friend in my cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way. This is excellent! I should practice this Bodhisattva Way!” He thought it over not very long, maybe two minutes, and made up his mind, “I’m going to do it!” Then he said, “Don’t cry. I’ll give you my eye to help you out.”

The man said, “Really? Of course that would be wonderful! Can you really give up your eye to cure my mother’s illness?”

Shariputra said, “It’s no big deal. I can give it up. I’m someone who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way.”

The person said, “Fine. I’m going to bow to you first, bow to this Bodhisattva who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva way.”

Shariputra, after having the person bow to him, couldn’t get out of giving his eye to him, so he took a knife and gouged out his left eye. he was able to stand the pain and said, “Okay, you can take this to cure your mother’s illness.”

The person took it, look at it and said, “Ugh, your eye stinks! And anyway it’s a left eye and I need a right eye. It’s totally useless!” he slammed the eye to the ground and stamped it into the dirt with his foot, smashing it to bits.

At that, Shariputra’s heart was filled with pain. Before he had been able to bear his eye hurting, but now both his eye and his heart hurt, and he said, “It’s no wonder the Buddha said to give cultivating the Bodhisattva Way a trial run. It’s really hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way! It’s really hard!!!” He was in pain and regretted it, and didn’t want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way anymore.

The crying person started to laugh and said, “Oh, so that’s how your Bodhisattva Way was all along. It was just a start without a finish. You could only manage to get started, but you couldn’t keep it up. What kind of Bodhisattva Way were you cultivating anyway?” After saying that, he rose up into empty space, and it turned out he was a god who had come to test him. Furthermore, Shariputra hadn’t lost his eye after all, but his Bodhisattva Way was finished.

That is all cultivation of the causes for Buddhahood. One cultivates the Bodhisattva Way intending to become a Buddha. Fundamentally, it’s not easy to accomplish Buddhahood, but the Buddha doesn’t tell people it’s hard. Why not? If he said it wasn’t easy, no one would dare try to accomplish it. So he says, “It’s very easy to become a Buddha. All you have to do is plant causes for Buddhahood, and that’s it.” That’s what is meant by cultivating the causes for Buddhahood.

The positions are discussed in  order to show the Bodhisattvas who are cultivating the causes for Buddhahood “how the one road to the fruit has differences of stages,” that is, how cultivating the one road of causes for Buddhahood, which leads to the fruit of Buddhahood, has the successive steps in cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way:

1.   The Ten Dwellings.
2.   The Ten Conducts.
3.   The Ten Transferences.
4.   The Ten Grounds.

Through those one, step by step, cultivates the Bodhisattva Way with its different gradations.

The Great jewels of the Sages are said to be the positions. Why are there positions? It’s no wonder these days so many leaders are fighting over positions. In democratic countries people compete for the position of President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, fighting for those positions. In autocratic countries they fight to be Emperor, which, too, is fighting for position. People who cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and study the Buddhadharma have to strive for positions as well. One absolutely must have a position. It’s not strange everyone strives to be first, that everyone is trying to obtain the number one position. It’s because this, too, is a precious treasure. Therefore it says, “The great jewels of the Sages are said to be the positions.”

Why do people undergo suffering to cultivate? They cultivate to reach these positions, to certify to the First Fruit, the Second Fruit, the Third Fruit, the Fourth Fruit. Why don’t you certify to the fruit? It’s because you don’t concentrate. You don’t maintain your resolve. You cultivate without lasting determination, and so you don’t attain to lasting happiness, the lasting fruit of enlightenment. If you can make your determination last, you can obtain the fruit of enlightenment.

For without those positions, there would be no accomplishment to cultivation. If the positions didn’t exist, if everything stayed the same no matter how much you cultivated and there never was any accomplishments, then there wouldn’t be much meaning to your practice. Then “there would be no accomplishment to cultivation.” You can certify to the positions of the First Fruit, the Second Fruit, the Third and the Fourth Fruit of Arhatship however.

It’s the same with your study of the Buddhadharma. You study one year and you understand more Buddhadharma than the person who hasn’t studied Buddhadharma at all. If you study two years, you understand more Buddhadharma than the person who has only studied one year. If you study three or four years, you understand considerably more than you did before studying the Buddhadharma. If you don’t study it, then you simply won’t understand the Buddhadharma, and in that case it will be very easy to fall to the three evil destinies, becoming a hungry ghost, an animal or a hell-being. It’s very dangerous.

Isn’t it dangerous if you do study the Buddhadharma? if you are courageously vigorous and progress step by step, then it won’t be dangerous. If you stop half-way and say, “I keep studying and studying the Buddhadharma and it hasn’t any real meaning. It’s just the same as before I began studying. I still have as many afflictions, in fact I have even more than I did then. Then I was wild and nutty and had no idea what afflictions were. I could laugh whenever I felt like it, and could cry when I pleased...” These insane people insist they had no afflictions before they studied the Buddhadharma, and that they’ve acquired afflictions since. They feel there’s no meaning to it, and so decide to retreat. As soon as they retreat, they go back as fast as they had gone forward.

It’s like a rocket that’s gone to the moon. It returns at the same speed and falls into the sea, say the Pacific Ocean. That’s a comparison for studying the Buddhadharma. One may make very rapid progress and then, as soon as one retreats, one ends up falling into the sea. If there’s someone with a rescue boat or helicopter who comes and saves you, then your life is out of danger. But if no one saves you, then you drown at sea. So, in cultivating the Way, if you are not careful you will catch a demon. Demons come to fetch you from the four cardinal points and the eight directions. You don’t see them but they see you. They make you teem with false thinking so you don’t feel like cultivating. So if you ever don’t feel like cultivating, you should realize that demons have come to try to pull you off to join the retinue of demons. If you have the kind of enlightenment, awakening, that comes from cultivation, then you won’t be afraid of any demons. Whether it’s heavenly demons, earthly demons, spiritual demons, ghostly demons, or goblins, none will get anywhere with you, since you possess enlightened wisdom. But without that enlightened wisdom, you would be finished.

Therefore, you should have a position. You should obtain the great jewels of the Sages: the positions. Buddhas have the position of Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas have the position of Bodhisattvas. People, too, have the position of people, and ghosts, have their own position too, that of ghosts. It’s the same as here where each person sits in his or her own place: each person has his or her own position. Each strives for his position, each obtains his position, each sits in his position. Then your cultivation will not have been in vain, and in the future you will have a position.

Someone once said to me, “Dharma Master, no matter what, you have to save me a place in the Land of Ultimate Bliss! Don’t give it to anyone else!”

I said, “I don’t even have a place myself, like Chiang T’ai Kung who, after settling others in their positions, had to sit in the chandelier because he had no position himself.”


This is also of two kinds: One, the door of successive gradations, from establishing distinctions of positions. Two, the door of perfect fusion, because one position includes all positions, so when any one position is fulfilled, there is then attainment of Buddhahood.


This is also of two kinds. The discussion of the positions also falls into two categories. One, the door of successive gradations, from establishing distinctions of positions. The first, the door of successive gradations, an orderly sequence of divisions, establishes differences among the positions. That is because a prior position is not the same as the one that follows it, nor is the following position identical with the one prior. Due to that difference of prior and subsequent, each is a distinct position, and so we speak of “successive gradations.” This is as is discussed in the Sutra proper: the Ten Faiths, the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds, Equal Enlightenment, and Wonderful Enlightenment are not the same, but are successive gradations.

Two, the door of perfect fusion, because one position includes all positions. Each and every position gathers in all the other positions, in unobstructed, perfect fusion. Although they are not the same, there being, after all, successive gradations, nevertheless they do not interfere with perfect fusion; nor does perfect fusion interfere with successive gradations. They in no way obstruct one another, so when any one position is fulfilled, there is then attainment of Buddhahood. If any one of the positions is perfectly fulfilled, you can then become a Buddha. If while in the position of the first of the Ten Faiths you cultivate that position to perfection, then you can obtain the fruit of Buddhahood. When analyzed, the doors of successive gradations and the door of perfect fusion are two different doors; but if you take them as a whole, they are still a single door.

This is similar to coming to San Francisco, which we’ll say represents perfect fusion. All the roads to it from the four cardinal points and eight directions are successive gradations, from which one sees that perfect fusion does not obstruct, the successive gradations, nor do the successive gradations interfere with perfect fusion. In discussing the positions, there are those two doors, and you who understand what I am talking about understand more Buddhadharma. There are others among you who do not comprehend these doctrines and say, “What in the world are ‘successive gradations,’ ‘perfect fusion,’ ‘the proper appearing in the dependent’ and ‘the dependent appearing in the faintest idea what it’s all about.” You feel you grasp the principle behind it. If you did grasp that principle, it wouldn’t seem complicated to you. Sutra lectures just give the general outline, but in order truly to understand the meaning in specific detail, you need to make a deeper investigation on your own.

That one position includes all positions also means that if you cultivate the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds, and Equal Enlightenment. If you cultivate the First Dwelling, it too includes the First Conduct, the First Transference, and the First Ground, and so one position includes all positions. If you cultivate a single position of perfection, you reach the fruit position of Buddhahood. There is another name for the position of Buddhahood: the position of Anointment of the Crown. The Disciple of the Dharma King, who is cultivating and about to become a Buddha, is called an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva. Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas must be anointed on the crown by the Buddhas.  It is after reaching the position of Anointment of the Crown that one can become a Buddha. The previous statement that each position contains all positions means that if you take any position and cultivate it to total perfection, then you can reach that fruit position of Buddhahood.

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