THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Ten, to benefit the present and the future. Since each equally has a share, the benefits are vast and boundless.
This is also of two kinds: One, benefit to the present, that is the potentials contemporary with the Buddha. Two, benefit to the future, that is those who now see and hear. The chapter on brining forth the resolve says, “All we Buddhas protect and maintain this Dharma, so that in future times the Bodhisattvas who have never heard it will all come to hear it.”
Ten, to benefit the present and the future. This brings us to the Tenth Cause, the benefits now and later. Since each equally has a share, since all living beings equally possess the Buddha’s knowledge and vision, the wisdom of a Buddha and the Buddha-nature, consequently the benefits are vast and boundless. This is also of two kinds. There are two aspects within the door of benefit to present and future. One, the first, is benefit to the present. The “present” in this context is not our present but our past, the time which was the present for Shakyamuni Buddha. That is, the potentials contemporary with the Buddha, the Great Knights of the Dharma Body, the Bodhisattvas. Two, benefit to the future, the future of the past, which is our present time. That is those who now see and hear. Those of us who now see and hear this Great Flower Adornment Sutra all benefit.
The chapter on bringing forth the resolve says, “All we Buddhas protect and maintain this Dharma.” The Buddhas refer to their own resolve when they say, “All of us Buddhas have brought forth the mind to guard and hold this inconceivably wonderful Dharma of the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, so that in future times and future worlds all the Bodhisattvas down to the very last one who have never heard it, this Dharma, will all come to hear it.” It is so you and I and everyone else have the good fortune to hear the Flower Adornment Sutra just as the Buddhas long ago predicted we would. They were determined that all who had never heard this Dharma of inconceivable, unobstructed liberations would all be able to hear it. So in the future every single person must hear and see the Flower Adornment Sutra. You who are listening to the Flower Adornment Sutra right now are the listeners of the present, and you should cause people in the future to hear the principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra.
This benefit has two further aspects: One, because it acts as a solid seed for those who see and hear it. The manifestations chapter says, “Just as a person who eats a small piece of vajna will never digest it,” and so forth.
This benefit has two further aspects: One, the first kind, is because it acts as a solid seed for those who see and hear it. Whether you see or hear the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, in either case it becomes a solid seed of Buddhahood for you. The manifestations chapter says, explaining what that means, “Just as a person who eats a small piece of vajra,” even a minute amount of adamantine substance, in his stomach will never digest it,” and so forth. No matter how good your digestion is and how strong your stomach acids, you absolutely won’t be able to digest that vajra. The vajna is an analogy for the Flower Adornment Sutra. Once you plant that vajra seed, it never disappears, but eventually will sprout and you will become a Buddha, in the same way swallowed vajra will never digest in the stomach.
Two, because it causes one to bring forth, practice, accomplish, and certify to entry. The manifestations chapter also says, “should there be a Bodhisattva who for limitless hundred, thousand, million nayutas of kalpas cultivates the Six Paramitas, practicing various kinds of Bodhi share Dharmas, yet has never heard this Dharma door of the Thus Come One’s inconceivably great, awesome virtue, or perhaps has heard it but does not believe or understand it, not accord with it or enter it, he cannot be called a true and actual Bodhisattva, nor can he be reborn in the Thus Come One’s family. If someone hears this Dharma, believes and understand it, accords with it and has awakened entry into it, you should know that person will be born in the Thus Come One’s family, up to and including will deeply enter the unobstructed state of a Thus Come One.”
Two, the second aspect of its benefit, is because it causes one to bring forth, practice, accomplish, and certify to entry. It causes you to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi, practice these inconceivable Dharma doors of great, awesome virtue, be able to accomplish your work in the Way, and certify to the inconceivable fruit of Enlightenment. The manifestations chapter also says, “Should there be a Bodhisattva who for limitless hundred, thousand, million nayutas of kalpas cultivates the Six Paramitas.” He practices:
2. Holding Precepts.
5. Dhyana Samadhi.
6. Prajna Wisdom.
His cultivation of Giving includes:
1. The Giving of Wealth.
2. The Giving of Dharma.
3. The Giving of Fearlessness.
He also holds precepts:
1. The Five Precepts.
2. The Eight Precepts.
3. The Ten Precepts.
4. The Ten Heavy and Forty-eight Light Bodhisattva Precepts.
5. The Two Hundred and Fifty Precepts.
6. The Three Hundred and Forty-eight Precepts.
He holds them all purely. He is also able to be patient, having:
1. Patience with Production.
2. Patience with Dharmas.
3. Patience with the Non-Production of Dharmas.
He can also be vigorous. For the most part, patient people are very lazy, not diligent. They say, “Be patient, just put up with it. You scold me? I don’t hear it. You beat me? It’s not important.” Having that attitude they are lazy. But his person is not only able to be patient, he isn’t lazy. In his cultivation he is vigorous in body and vigorous in mind. In the six periods of the day and night he is always vigorously cultivating these dharmas of the Six Crossings.
He is also skilled at Ch’an medication. As soon as he sits in meditation, he enters samadhi, and can collapse limitless kalpas into a kshana, and the split, second interval of a kshana he can extend to become limitless kalpic aeons. Within samadhi he turns the great Dharma wheel, teaching and transforming living beings, and performs the Buddha’s work on a great scale. He furthermore has wisdom. One can be in samadhi and not clearly recognize states for what they are as they appear if one lacks wisdom. But he can also recognize those states, “Ah, this state has come. Such was the cause and such is the effect.” Another state comes along and he says, “Such is the effect, and such was the cause.” He recognizes them all.
He doesn’t limit himself to cultivation of the Six Crossings, but is “Practicing various kinds of Bodhi Share Dharmas.” he does everything one should do when one brings forth the great resolve for Bodhi. But what? “Yet he has never heard this, the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, which is the inconceivable Dharma Door of the Thus Come One’s great, awesome virtues.” The next line says, “Or perhaps has heard it but does not believe it. Hearing it he says, “I don’t believe that. How could a single particle of dust contain the Three Thousand Great Thousand World-System, which is so huge? I really don’t understand this Dharma!” he doesn’t believe it or understand it, and does not accord with it. He says, “I don’t understand it, so I’m not going to go along with it. I’m not going to rely on that kind of Dharma to cultivate.” He does not accord with or enter it, and so does not obtain benefits from it.
He can’t be called a true and actual Bodhisattva. The person who cultivates the Six Paramitas and all the various Bodhi Share Dharmas turns out to be a phony Bodhisattva, not a real one! That’s because he is only an unaccomplished Bodhisattva of the causal ground, not the ground of the fruit; nor can he be born in the Thus Come One’s family. he can’t be born in the lineage and the household of the Buddha.
“If someone hears this Dharma of the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, believes and understand it, accords with it, transmitting that faith and comprehension into cultivation based upon that Dharma, and has awakened entry, penetrative understanding which is opening Enlightenment, you should know that person will be born in the Thus Come One’s family. He will be born in the household of the Buddha, up to and including will deeply enter the unobstructed state of Thus Come One.” “Up to and including” means a considerable amount has been abbreviated, here including: “will follow in accord with the states of all Thus Come Ones, will be endowed with the dharmas of all Bodhisattvas, will be secured in the state of the wisdom of all modes” the various kinds of wisdom of a Buddha, “will leave all worldly dharmas fair behind, will bring forth all practices of a Thus Come One, will penetrate the Dharma-nature of all Bodhisattvas. Towards the self-mastery”, the free and easy inconceivable states, “of a Buddha his mind will have no doubts.” He doesn’t think, “Dust-notes containing Three Thousand Great Thousand World-Systems and Three Thousand Great Thousand World-Systems entering fine motes of dust just doesn’t make sense!” He has no doubts regarding such inconceivable states as that. “He will dwell in the Dharma of no Teacher.” Within that kind of unobstructed Dharma, one understands on one’s own without requiring a Teacher, and can get along without one. Of course, if you haven’t reached that level you can’t get all puffed up and think, “I feel I can get by on my own.” If you do that, you’re finished. If you feel you can, then it’s certain you can’t. All that was abbreviated in quoting the long passage in the Sutra by saying, “up to and including will deeply enter the unobstructed state of a Thus Come One.”
Moreover, cultivation involving doing, after many kalpas, eventually decays. Without mind, comprehension is ultimate, and in a single thought one then tallies with the family of the Buddha. The Worthy Leader Chapter says, “In the presence of Thus Come Ones many as ten kshetras’ dust-motes one might attend upon them all for an entire kalpa, but if one can recite and hold this Chapter, the blessings from that far exceed the former,” and so forth.
Moreover, cultivation involving doing, that is, conditioned cultivation of conditioned dharmas, which has marks and so entails destruction, after many kalpas eventually decays. And so the Vajra Sutra says:
All with marks is false and empty.
If you see all marks
As no marks,
Then you see the Tathagata.
The Vajra Sutra also says:
All conditioned dharmas
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows,
Like dew and like a lighting flash:
Contemplate them thus.
Each and every conditioned dharma is like a dream, like an unreal illusion, like a bubble in the water, and like a shadow, as well as like a drop of dew or a flash of lightning... that is how you should look upon them. If you were right in the middle of a dream and someone told you, “Right now you are dreaming,” it’s certain you would not believe it. You’d say, “Right now I’m wide awake, so why do you say I’m dreaming?” When the person wakes up you won’t have to tell him. On his own he realizes, “Oh, just now I was having a dream.”
Bubbles and shadows are as unreal as dreams and illusions. They seem to exist, but try to grasp them and they’re gone. Dew drops are unreal as well, and so are flashes of lightning which accompany thunder. Although you may use cultivation involving doing, the practice of conditioned dharmas, for many long, great kalpas, eventually it will decay. In the long run it won’t last, because it has marks and has outflows. For example, people cultivate in order to be reborn in the heavens so the can be, as they say, together with Lord God in Paradise, the summit of happiness. Happiness it may be, but just for the blink of an eye. it won’t last forever because it involves outflows, and anything with outflows decays. So if you cultivate the blessings of the heavens, when those blessings are used up, you will again fall into the Three Realms, the revolving wheel of the six paths. Eventually it dacays.
Without mind, comprehension is ultimate. Not having a mind is the Way.
When one reaches to the point of no mind,
Then that is the Way.
However, it’s not easy to reach the state of no mind.
Without mind and without though,
blessings are limitless.
With desire and scattered thinking,
then there are offenses.
If you can reach the state of no mind, there are no attachments, and “comprehension is ultimate.” You have ultimate understanding, which is to open enlightenment. When one takes comprehension to its utmost extremity, in a single thought one then tallies with the family of the Buddha. One unites with the position and the principle of Buddhahood, which is to be born in the Thus Come One’s household. This requires no mind.
If you have a mind, you strike up the false thought, “Probably I have opened enlightenment and tallied with the family of the Buddha.” What Buddha’ family have you tallied with? As soon as you move your thought, you have a mind. You think, “What do I want to do?” Your wanting to do something is false thinking. To have a mind is a false thought. When there’s no mind, there is response. So when you cultivate the Way, you shouldn’t think about what you’re going to do. As soon as you think of doing something, that is false thinking, When the time comes for you to be a model for gods and humans, the gods, dragons, and others of the eightfold division will promote you to be it, and even if you’re reluctant there will be no way out. It won’t be from your having the false thought yourself.
You think, “What do I want to be? I want to be a leader of World Buddhism.” Who can you lead? You can’t even lead yourself well, how much the less other people. With so much ignorance and so many obstructions yourself, how can you be a leader for others? You say, “I’m studying the Buddha-dharma, and in the future I want everyone to know who I am.” Where do you think you’re going with that? What use would there be in everyone knowing who you are?
Just be concerned about the Buddha,
And don’t be concerned about people.
“If the Buddha knows about me, that’s enough.” if you’re interested in the Buddha knowing about you, then when you give rise to ignorance or have false thinking, the Buddha knows. He knows when you become greedy, angry or stupid. You can’t get by the Buddha, or the Sages either. Bodhisattvas all have the penetration of others’ thoughts, and you can’t fool them. So don’t have false thoughts. If your causes and conditions are such that something should happen, it certainly will. But if you don’t have what it takes, false thinking won’t make it happen.
You should be without a mind. Imitate the person of the Way who has no mind. He can get along with anyone. He has no view of self, others, living beings, or lifespans. One should follow the Buddhas in study, and be in harmony with everyone. You should be like the person of the Way with no mind, and eat without knowing you’re eating, wear clothes, sleep, walk, and sit all without knowing you are doing so. You say, “Wouldn’t I then be an idiot?” If you can really be that way, then that is great wisdom which resembles stupidity. Then you’re someone who really has wisdom. But you can’t do it.
The Worthy Leader Chapter says, in the Sutra text itself, “In the presence of Thus Come Ones many as ten kshetras’s dust-motes one might attend upon them all for an entire kalpa.” Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhas could know about you, and you could attend upon them, make offerings to them, for as long as one great aeon, which would give you a great deal of merit and virtue. “But if one can recite and hold this chapter,” if you can recite the Worthy Leader Chapter and maintain it, “The blessings from that far exceed the former,” and so forth. Those kinds of blessings and virtue are supreme, far greater than the merit and virtue from attending upon and making offerings to as many Buddhas as there are fine motes of dust in ten Buddha kshetras. This shows the Flower Adornment Sutra is the most wonderful of Sutras. For us to be able to hear even a single world of it is already an inconceivable state which plants an indestructible vajra seed.