THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Reasons For Dividing

Prologue:

And yet there are many reasons for division into teachings. One, although the principle is of one flavor, the explanations have shallowness and profundity. Therefore it should be divided, to make known provisional and actual.

Commentary:

There were five reasons it is better not to divide it, but there will be even more reasons in favor of making divisions. That is why is says and yet there are many reasons for division into teachings. One, although the principle is of one flavor as was stated before, nonetheless the explanations of the teachings of that principle have shallowness and profundity. There are superficial teachings, and there are ones with depth. You can’t consider the shallow ones to be deep, or the deep ones as shallow. The profound ones are profound and the superficial ones are superficial, and so you have to make a clear distinction between them so they can be understood. So it says therefore if should be divided, to make known provisional and actual. It follows that you have to let the average person know which are provisional dharmas and which are actual ones.

Prologue:

Two, even though the Buddha’s is a single sound, the accordings with potentials are different, so the teachings are distinct. Three, not yet disclosing his basic intention, he spoke according to others’ intents, and so they are different.

Commentary:

Two, even though the Buddha’s is a single sound …Although from the point of view of the Buddha he speaks the Dharma with a single sound, the accordings with potentials and conditions of living beings are different, so the teachings are distinct. Living beings can have sharp, keen faculties – in which case they are intelligent – while those of dull faculties are stupid. If you look at it from the point of view of the potentials of living beings, the teachings come out different. Three, not yet disclosing his basic intention, he spoke according to others’ intents, and so they are different. “Not yet disclosing his basic intention…” That is, only due to the causes and conditions of one great matter did the Buddha appear in the world. Yet for forty basic intent, and only after four decades did the Buddha speak the Dharma Flower Sutra, which disclosed the original intention of his heart. During the period when he was not yet disclosing it he spoke the Store Teaching, the Connective Teaching, and the Separate Teaching. They don’t mention what the Buddha basically had in mind.

At the very end his teaching disclosed the Buddha’s basic hope, the hope that the Buddha had cherished from the start. But while he was not yet disclosing his basic intention, he spoke according to others’ intents, that is, the intentions of living beings. When he talked according to his own intention, the Buddha talked about what he himself had certified to and obtained in his one lifetime. When he talked according to the intentions of others, he spoke Dharma that suited the potentials of the living beings, using expedient devices to gather them in. There is also speech that accords with both his own and others’ intentions: half talking of his own certification and half according with the potentialities of beings in speaking Dharma. When it was according to the intentions of others, the teachings were different and his methods of speaking Dharma were not the same.

Prologue:

Four, because the discussions of the “connective” and separate” spoke according to the revealed. Five, because although one divides the provisional and actual, one must well understand the Buddha’s intent in having an opening and disclosing.

Commentary:

Four, the fourth reason for dividing, is because the discussions of the “connective” and “separate” spoke… Its connective aspect was common to all Sutras, and what was separate was special to a given Sutra. Only that Sutra would talk about that particular principle, and none of the other Sutras would talk about that particular principle. Not one of the other Sutras would discuss it. To consider connection and separateness is to speak according to the revealed, in terms of the Revealed, not the Secret Teaching. All can know of, listen to, and easily understand the revealed. There is nothing secret in it – secret being what is spoken for one person without another person knowing it, and spoken for that other person without the first person knowing it. When the two people don’t know that about each other, it is called secret dharma. Now, what should be divided is not the secret, hidden dharma but the revealed teaching. If one just speaks according to the revealed, one can divide up the principle.

Five , the fifth reason for dividing it is because although one divides the provisional and actual, the principles of the secret and the revealed teachings not being the same, nonetheless you can’t form attachments. One must well understand the Buddha’s intent. That means, you need to understand what use the Buddha was making of it when he spoke any given principle. You have to ask yourself, “Why did he speak the provisional Teaching? Oh, he spoke the provisional for the sake of the actual. Why is there an actual teaching? Oh, it’s because he opened the provisional to reveal the actual.”

You have to see the intent behind the Buddha’s having spoken a particular Sutra of teaching of principle at a certain time.

“Why did he speak that Sutra? He was speaking that kind of Dharma for that kind of living beings.”

For people with acute faculties he spoke the Dharma of Prajna. For people with dull faculties he spoke the Dharma of causes and conditions. If you spoke Prajna for them, they fundamentally wouldn’t understand. It would be as if someone said, “If you understand, I won’t discuss what you can understand. If you don’t understand, even if I talk you won’t understand.”

The person would say, “What kind of talk is that? What’s he talking about?” Why wouldn’t he understand? It’s because he’s dull-witted, so he’ll say, “That person’s trying to put something over on me. Nobody ever said any such thing.”

That’s because he couldn’t say it, so he figures everyone else is just the way he is – unable to talk like that. If you speak that kind of Dharma for him, he won’t understand. If you try to get him to understand, he’ll still say you aren’t right, that there is no such thing. All you can do is say there is no such thing: that in this world there is no such thing, yet there is not not any such thing. If you claim it exists, that’s an attachment, and it’s even more of an attachment to assert it does not exist. All dharmas are Buddhadharma, and none can be got at.

“If I had a hair’s worth of dharma to transmit to you, then I would be cheating you.” Since that’s the case, what do existence and non-existence matter? They don’t. So what need is there to be so attached? What need is there for arguments and debates? We say,

“I’m right and you’re wrong,” but there’s not a right or wrong. Each and every dharma is the Buddhadharma, and none can be obtained. It’s unobtainable Dharma, that is true Dharma.

So, one must well understand the Buddha’s intent in having an opening and disclosing. At the very last someone asked the Buddha,

“The Buddha spoke so many Sutras, and how should we propagate them?” The Buddha replied, “When did I ever speak Sutras? I never said a single word, so how can you say I spoke Sutras?”

Would you say there was or wasn’t any such thing as that? The Buddha, such a greatly enlightened One wouldn’t admit having said what he’d said. What’s this all about? It’s that in the Dharma that is spoken there is no dharma which can be said. It’s just to get people free from their attachments. To assert existence is an attachment, and so is an assertion of non-existence. Not to pay any attention to being or non-being is to have no impediments. Because there is no impediment, he is not afraid.

If you’re not attached you won’t have impediments, and
With nothing obstructing you, you won’t have any fears.

Prologue:

Further, because the secret speech of the king is representative of different things. Because if one does not recognize provisional and actual, and takes the profound for the superficial, one loses its great benefit; while if one takes the superficial for the profound, one deprives it of use. Because one adorns the Sagely Teaching to make it deep and vast. Because in all the Sagely Teachings there are natural divisions. Because all great Bodhisattvas also open out the teachings.

Commentary:

Further, because the secret speech of the king is representative of different things. This refers to the previous discussion of the word saindhava which can stand for four different things: water, salt, a vessel, and a horse. “Vessel,” can either refer to an ordinary drinking cup or a chamber pot. Whether someone knew what the king of the country was asking for depended upon whether that person had wisdom. Although it’s one name, one must realize the things it refers to are four in number, each with a different use for a different occasion. The Buddha’s Sutras are the same way. One Sutra has various kinds of principles, all of which you need to understand. If you don’t, you’ll be like a person who doesn’t know the four things a single word can stand for, and that the secret speech of the king can represent different things.

Because if one does not recognize provisional and actual, those two kinds of teachings, and is someone who takes the profound for the superficial, one loses its great benefit. You won’t obtain the greatest benefit from the Sutra because you don’t recognize what is the profound or actual teaching, and what is the superficial or provisional teaching; while if one takes the superficial for the profound, if you consider the provisional teaching to be the actual benefit, one deprives it of use. You won’t use it for what it’s meant to do, and it becomes useless. Because one adorns the Sagely Teachings to make it deep and vast. Our adorning the teaching spoken by the Sage is to increase its profundity and vastness. Because in all the Sagely Teachings there are natural divisions. Within the Three Stores and the Twelve Divisions of the Canon there are combinations and divisions. Because all great Bodhisattvas also open out the teachings. All of the Great Bodhisattvas has places in the teachings where they open them out. So they Great further differences.

Prologue:

For those many reasons, in opening out the teaching there are more gains and fewer losses. While in uniting it the gains are few and the losses more. But if one can just empty oneself in seeking the doctrines, what cannot be divided is divided, and how is that to miss the great intention? Therefore, we now divide it.

Commentary:

For those many reasons just stated, in opening out the teaching why would we want to do it? It’s because by doing so there are more gains and fewer losses. We can understand more principles. While if we don’t open it up to discuss its doctrines, in uniting it the gains are few and the losses more. We don’t understand as much. But if one can just empty oneself, become empty of a self in seeking the doctrines – its purport – then what cannot be divided is divided. Right within what is indivisible one makes divisions, and how is that to miss the great intention? It couldn’t be in opposition to be great intention, or fail to be in accord with the main drift. Therefore we now divideit in a very general way.

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