THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Contents * Door 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6* 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * previous * next ***Preface

Five Teachings

First Representative

Prologue:

The fifth, establishing five teachings, which in general has two representatives. One, those established by Tripitaka Master Prabhakaramitra: one, the teaching of the Four Truths, that is, the four Agamas and so forth; two, the Teaching of Marklessness, that is, all Prajna; three, the Teaching of Contemplating and practicing, that is, the Flower Adornment Sutra; four, the Teaching of Security and Bliss, that is the Nirvana Sutra, because it speaks of permanence and bliss; five, the Teaching of Guarding and Protecting, that is the Great Collection of Jewels Sutra, because it speaks of instances of guarding and protecting the Proper Dharma.

Commentary:

The fifth is that of establishing five kinds of teachings, which in general divides into two camps and so has two representatives who did just that. the first one is those established by Tripitaka Master Prabhakaramitra, who came to Chung Kuo in the first year of the Chen Kuan Reign Period of the T’ang Dynasty. He had studied the Half and Whole Teachings. He was originally a native India, and his name translated means “Bright Friend” because he was clear about the principle of how to be a friend, and got along with everyone very well. What he studied was the Half-Word and Whole-Word Teachings, and was very well educated, to the point that he had reached the state of having no mark of self, no mark of others, no mark of living beings, and no mark of entities with lifespans; and a great many responses occurred for him. What he liked best was “nurturing the Nature,” which means not getting angry but constantly cultivating not giving rise of ignorance.

He traveled extensively on “vacation,” but it wasn’t to play. He taught and transformed living beings everywhere he went. He also had a certain amount of spiritual penetrations. On his trip form India to Chung Kuo he underwent a great many hardships and difficulties. It took him five years, and he covered 40,000 li. He arrived in Chung Kuo on the 20 th day of the eleventh month of the beginning year of the Chen Kuang Rein Period of the T'ang Dynasty, carrying numerous manuscripts of the Tripitaka in Sanskrit. The Emperor officially welcomed him, and he lived a long time in Chung Kuo and established Five Teachings.

The first one was the teaching which spoke of the Four Truths – Suffering, Accumulation, Extinction, and the Way -- that is, the Small Vehicle principles in the Sutras of the four Agamas and so forth. Two, the second he established, was the Teaching of Marklessness, that is, all Prajna Sutra, which discuss emptiness. Three, was the Teaching of Contemplating and practicing, that is that which he felt was the substance of what is discussed in the Flower Adornment Sutra. The name he gave to number four was the Teaching of Security and Bliss. That is based upon the Nirvana Sutra, because it, that Sutra, speaks of the Four Virtues of Nirvana which are permanence and bliss along with True Self and Purity. Five he called the Teaching of Guarding and Protecting. That is basing himself upon the Great Collection of Jewels Sutra, because it speaks of instances of guarding and protecting the Proper Dharma. His establishment of those Five Teachings was not entirely accurate, however. For example, it’s not just in the Flower Adornment Sutra that one finds contemplation and practice – it’s also found in the Great Collection of Jewels Sutra; and there are number of other places where the principle is quite forced. National Master Ch’ing Liang is going to let us know that he was not altogether right.

Prologue:

This explanation of names is confined, since all of them mutually have contemplation and practice and so forth.

Commentary:

This explanation of names is confined, since all of them mutually have contemplation and practice and so forth. Tripitaka Master Prabhakaramitra established each of his Five Teachings on the basis of a particular Sutra. However, it’s not just in the Agama Sutras that one finds the Four Sagely Truth. They’re also found, for instance, in the Flower Adornment Sutra and the Great Collection of Jewels Sutra. For that reason, it doesn’t quite work to say the Agama Sutras are the sole repository of the Four Truths Teaching. Furthermore, Contemplation and Practice are found in the Great Collection of Jewels Sutra as well as the Flower Adornment Sutra, and in other Sutras too. So it’s not very reasonable to try to assign on e particular Teaching to one particular Sutra, since regularly principles such as those of the Four Truths or Contemplation and Practice overlap from one Sutra to another. To try to say that one given Sutra represents a given Teaching when that Teaching also occurs in other Sutras just does not match the way Teachings are set up.

Second Representative

Prologue:

Two, the five Teachings established by Hsien Shou, which will be know when they are reached.

Commentary:

Two is the five Teachings established by Dharma Master Hsien Shou, also called Dharma Master Fa Tsang, which will be know when they are reached. In writing the Flower Adornment Sutra Prologue, National Master Ch’ing Liang based himself upon the Five Teachings set up by Great Master Hsien Shou, and so they will be discussed in detail later on.

Second – India

Disagreements and Concurrences

Prologue:

The second, explanation of the Western region, constituting the present tow schools of the nature and of marks originating from that direction and therefore said to be of the western region. That is, in Nalanda Temple, there were simultaneously two greatly virtuous ones, the one named Precept Worthy and the other named Wisdom Light.

Commentary:

The second part of the explanation of Ancient and present Agreements and Concurrences considers the Western region, that is, India. Actually, Tripitaka Master Prabhakaramitra who was discussed in the section on Chung Kuo was form India; but he came to Chung Kuo and lived there so long he is considered a Chung Kuo Dharma Master. The two masters to be spoken of here, however, remained their entire lives in India, never coming to Chung Kuo -- constituting the present tow schools of the nature and of marks. They represent the Dharma Nature School and the Dharma marks School which flourished in Chung Kuo in the T'ang Dynasty, originating from that direction. Those two Schools were transmitted from India, and are therefore said, from the point of view of Chung Kuo, to be of the western region. That is, in India there was Nalanda Temple. “Nalanda” is a Sanskrit word which translates as “Indefatiagable Giving,” the constant wish to give without becoming tired or weary. In that temple complex there were simultaneously two greatly virtuous ones attachment the same period, the one named Dharma Master Precept Worthy (Shilabhadra), who propagated the Dharma Mark School, and the other named Dharma Master Wisdom Light (Jnanaprabha), who propagated the Dharma Nature School.

The Dharma Nature School and the Dharma Mark School were two major sectarian developments in Indian Buddhism. Attachment the time when “Tripitaka of Tripitaka’ang” – Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang – went to India in search of the Dharma, he first approached the Dharma Nature School whose transmission stemmed from Nagarjuna – “Dragon Tree” – Bodhisattva, intending to study it. However, the Dharma Master of the Dharma Nature School told him to start by taking some drugs – probably not marijuana but a kind of elixir of immortality which held off old age. For example, if you took that drug attachment 20, you would stay as young as you were at 20. the only catch was that the success of the treatment was uncertain; it depended upon what a person’s good roots were like. There were people who took the drug but still died, while others after taking it lived for several centuries, becoming sagely immortals – rishis.

Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang thought to himself, “I’ve come in search of the Sutras and of Dharma. If out of greed for eternal youth I study the magic of the immortals and it doesn’t work, then won’t I have rendered useless the vows I made before to come to India and be unable to fulfill them?” so he did not study the Dharma Nature School, but studied the Dharma Mark School instead. That’s a brief account of his experience in India.

There was also Dharma Master Fa Tsang – Great Master Hsien Shou – who said, “I’ve been born in Chung Kuo, and since I’ve been able to encounter an India Dharma Master who is translating Sutras and who was clarified a great many questions, what I’ve studied probably has a lot of basis to it. It’s not something I’ve made up myself.” Among the ancients there always had to be a transmission from the person you had studied with, to determine whether the Buddhadharma you had studied rested on a solid foundation and would stand the test. Dharma Master Fa Tsang founded the Flower Adornment – Hua Yen – School after having studied with the Indian Dharma Master Divakara, whose name translated means “Light of Day”, a metaphor for the universal light of the sun. in the Prologue there is frequent mention of “Master Tsang,” which is how National Master Ch’ing Liang, as Dharma Master Fa Tsang’s successor, refers to the First Patriarch, and out of respect does not use the Master’s personal name.

Prologue:

Precept Worthy received his distant transmission from Maitreya and Asanga, and his proximate transmission from Dharmapala and Nanda. Based upon such Sutras as the Deep Secret, and such Shastras as the Yogacharya, he established three kinds of Teachings which took the dharma marks, the Great Vehicle, as the ultimate meaning. Those are precisely the teachings adopted by Tripitaka of T’ang.

Commentary:

In his Dharma Mark School, he, Dharma Master Precept Worthy, received his distant transmission from Maitreya Bodhisattva who began the Dharma Mark School, afterwards transmitting it to Vasubandhu – “Heavenly Relative” – Bodhisattva and Asanga – “Unattached” – Bodhisattva. Dharma Master Precept Worthy received it form the, and his proximate transmission from Dharma Master Dharmapala – “Dharma Protector” and Nanda.

You may regularly be asked whose transmission you’ve received, the person you received the Dharma from and the sect and lineage to which it belongs. In Buddhism there are lines of transmission, and you can’t simply set yourself up as a Patriarch or a given Bodhisattva. In this case we know the lineage of Dharma Master Precept Worthy extended form the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Asanga, up until Dharma Master Dharmapala and Nanda in most recent times.

Based upon such Sutras as the Deep Secret Sutra (Sandhinirmochanasutra), the Buddha Ground Sutra and others, and such Shastras as the Yogacharya Bhumi Shastra ( by the Bodhisattva Maitreya), the Paired Dharma Shastra (Abhidharmasamucchayavyakhya, by Dharma Master Sthiramati, the Propagating the Sagely Teaching Shastra by the Bodhisattva Asanga, and the Shastra of Determining the Middle and Extremes, Madhyantavibhangatika by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva,), he established three kinds of Teachings which will be discussed later on. They took the dharma marks (Dharma-lakshana) School, the Great Vehicle, as the ultimate meaning, as the most ultimate point to which the discussion of principle could reach. Those are precisely the teachings adopted by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Tsang (also written Hsuan Chuang) of T’ang Dynasty. He received Dharma Master Precept Worthy’s Dharma and transmitted it to Chung Kuo.

When Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang arrived in India, he encountered a great many outside way teachers who wanted him for their disciple since it was very rare for a left-home person from Chung Kuo to come to India. But Dharma Master Hsuan Tsang was wise and intelligent and the outside way theorists couldn’t confuse him; nor could the adherents of the sects within Buddhism itself shake his resolve to seek the Dharma. One case in point was how he had intended to study with the Dharma Masters of the Dharma Nature School transmitted from Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, but as soon as they wanted him to take drugs, he wouldn’t study with them. People these days, however, would be sure to want to try them out. The reason I specified the drug wasn’t marijuana is that some people were bound to think that’s what it was when I mentioned it. The drug or medicine was a kind of elixir of immortality, but just because it bestowed immortality, that kind of drug can no longer be found, and no one nowadays lives forever.

Prologue:

That is, that the Buddha first in the Deer Park turned the Dharma Wheel of the Four Truths for the Small Vehicle saying that all conditioned Dharmas are produced from conditions in order to refute the externalists’ spontaneous causation and so forth.

Commentary:

That is, the Dharma Mark School says that when the Buddha first accomplished Proper enlightenment he, in the Deer Park turned the Dharma Wheel of the Four Truths for the Small Vehicle. When upon accomplishing the Way the Buddha spoke the Flower Adornment Sutra, those of the Two Vehicles were:

As if deaf and dumb.

They didn’t understand the wondrous meaning of the Flower Adornment. Shakyamuni Buddha took another look attachment the causes and conditions and saw that the potentialities of Ajnatakaundinya and the others had ripened. So he went to the deer Park and gave the First Turning of the Dharma Wheel, speaking the Dharma of the Four Sagely Truths – Suffering, Accumulation, Extinction, and the Way.

There’s a story that explains how the Deer Park got its name. Limitless kalpas ago there was a king in the Deer Park area who liked to eat deer meat as his daily fare, and so he would go hunting in those woods. Each time he went, depending upon the number of people in his party, he would shoot a great many, anywhere from ten to fifteen on the average. Upon his return they would eat the meat, but there was no refrigeration in those times and that, coupled with the heat of the Indian climate, meant the meat would start to spoil in just a few days and couldn’t be eaten. They didn’t know of any scientific method to convert it to fertilizer then, so it was simply thrown out with the garbage and buried underground.

As time went on, the deer herds decreased day by day. There were two troops of 500 deer each in that region, each ruled by a king. The two kings met together to try to figure out how to prevent the extinction of deer due to the depredations of the king. One deer king was Shakyamuni Buddha in a former life, and the other was a prior incarnation of Devadatta. Attachment their meeting the deer who was later to be Shakyamuni Buddha said, “I have a plan that will bother preserve our herds and provide the king with fresh deer meat daily.”

The deer king who was Devadatta exclaimed, “Well, what is it?”

Shakyamuni Buddha said, “Each day we could rotate and pick out a deer for the king to eat. For example, if today was the turn of my herd, among the 500 deer we would selectone to offer to the king. Then tomorrow it would be your herd’s turn to provide the king with a deer. That way our herds wouldn’t decrease, but the king would still get to eat deer. That method would work out well for both sides.’

Devadatta realized only that method would work, and that it would be too unfair for him to refuse deer from his herd and expect Shakyamuni Buddha to provide them all, even though that’s what he would have preferred. So they agreed upon that procedure, and set a deer to bring the proposal before the king – for attachment that time there was a deer who could speak human language; and there may have been a person who spoke deer language, because the king was so involved with deer and might need a translator. The proposal as set before the king said, “All day long you go hunting and kill several score of deer which you do not eat but let rot and bury in the ground. If there continues, our herds will die out. If there are no more deer, you won’t have any deer meat to eat. So it would be preferable if we sent you one deer each day to eat. That way you would have fresh deer meat daily. What do you think?”

The king decided it wasn’t a bad idea. He wouldn’t have to go hunting and would still have deer meat, so he agreed.

The deer king himself could speak human language, and so arranged the details of the contract, which stated that as long as the king did no more hunting the deer would daily select one from among themselves as an offering to the king. The king began to put on weight from all the deer meat he was eating which he relished. He was very happy and thought, “Deer are really the nourishment I require.” He was well fed and content.

one day, however, the deer king who was Shakyamuni Buddha came to see the king. The king said, “Brother deer, why have you come today?”

the deer king said, “Today I’ve come so you can eat me.”

The king was very surprised and said, “But you have your heard. Why would you come yourself?’

The deer king said, “I have my reasons.”

“What reasons?” asked the king. “Tell me what they are.’

The deer king said, “Actually, today was the turn of my herd to provide the deer for the king. However, the doe whose turn it was is expecting to give birth to her fawn in two or three days. When she found out it was she who was supposed to go, she came to me and pleaded to be able to trade with someone else and go after giving birth so her unborn fawn wouldn’t have to die as well. I brought the matter up to every single one of the 500deer in my herd, and not one was willing to take her place and die ahead of time. She was brokenhearted saying, ‘It doesn’t matter about me. We’ve made that agreement with the king and I can go. But for my unborn child to die in my belly is too pitiful.’ She wept so bitterly that I felt sorry for her, and so today I’ve come in her place as the offering for the king. Please have me killed and I’ll be your good lunch for today.”

When the king heard that, he was really remorseful and said:

You are a deer-headed person,

And I am a person-headed deer.

You now represent your herd,

And I now eat your flesh.

From this day forward,

I will never eat another living being!

He said, “I’m not going to eat deer anymore, so you can go back now.’

Therefore, as a deer Shakyamuni Buddha was able to teach and transform living beings. He even influenced the king of the country to be very sorry for what he had done, bring forth the great resolve for Bodhi, and cultivate the unsurpassed Way. The king attachment that time was Ajnatakaundinya, and those are the circumstances underlying the Deer Park’s name.

So, after speaking the Flower Adornment Sutra, the Buddha went to the Deer Park to cross over Ajnatakaundinya and the rest of the five Bhikshus. For them he turned the Dharma Wheel for the Small Vehicle of the Four Truths of Suffering, Accumulation, Extinction, and the Way, saying that all conditioned, non-ultimate Dharmas are produced from causes and conditions, and are therefore empty. The Buddha did that in order to refute the externalists’ theories of spontaneous causation, their two views of permanence and annihilationism, and so forth.

Prologue:

Moreover, their “production from conditions being without a self” countered the externalists’ “existence of a self,” yet still did not state the principle of Dharmas having no self. That was the four Agamas and so forth. During the second period, based on the “everywhere calculated,” it was stated that all Dharmas are empty of a nature of their own, which countered the Small Vehicle. However, concerning the “dependent on something else” and the “perfectly accomplished,” there was as yet no statement of existence. That was all the Prajna Sutras and so forth. during the third period – by then the principles proper of the Great Vehicle – there was complete statement of the three natures, three non-natures, and so forth, thereby exhausting the principles. That was the Understand the Deep Secret Sutra, and so forth.

Commentary:

Moreover, their “production from conditions being without a self” – what is produced entirely form conditioning factors not being anything in itself -- countered the externalists’ and ordinary, common people’s view of the “existence of a self.” Since that view of self was not yet emptied, they needed to cultivate dharmas of there being no self. Yet still did not state the principle of not only people but also Dharmas having no self. That was the way the principles were put in the four Agamas and so forth. During the second period there was discussion of the Three Natures.

The Three Natures

The Nature Everywhere Calculated and Attached to is when people have not seen through it all and so give rise to attachments. They become attached to emptiness and consider it existence, and are unable to fathom the principle involved.

All illustration of how this happens is when a person walks along a road attachment night and sees a piece of rope. Because it’s night he gives rise to a nature that is everywhere calculated and attached to and thinks, “Oh! It’s a snake!” That’s what he thinks it is, but basically it’s a piece of rope, which is the nature that arises depending on something else. Relying on the piece of rope, the nature everywhere calculated and attached to is produced. The rope itself is made of hemp, so and so when he gives rise to its nature everywhere calculated and attached to and thinks it’s a snake, basically it isn’t a snake. That nature everywhere calculated and attached to won’t hold up, because it isn’t a snake. Then the nature that arises dependent on something else is that although the piece of rope is what underlies the giving rise to the nature everywhere calculated and attached to, it is the nature that arises dependent on something else. But if you take the rope apart, it is simply hemp, and hemp is not something that lasts forever. Therefore, if you want to talk about it in ultimate terms, it doesn’t exist – and that is the Perfectly Accomplished Real nature, which is that there isn’t even hemp. Not only is there basically no snake, there isn’t even a shadow of a snake. As a consequence, the Three Natures are Three Non-Natures. N their substance they do not exist. There isn’t a snake, nor is there rope or hemp. All of it is empty.

The reason he talked about the Three Natures and the Three Non-natures was to break people’s attachments to falseness which work the same way as seeing a piece of rope and thinking it’s a snake, considering something empty to exist. That’s why the Prologue says: based on the “everywhere calculated” and Attached to, it was stated that all Dharmas are empty of a nature of their own. Basically there isn’t any substance to dharmas. Basically they are empty, which doctrine still was aimed attachment and countered the Small Vehicle. However, concerning the two other Natures, the nature that arises “dependent on something else” and the “perfectly accomplished” real Nature, there was as yet no statement of existence. He had not yet talked about the principle of true emptiness being wonderful existence and wonderful existence being true emptiness. That principle was based upon all of the Prajna Sutras and so forth. during the third period – by then the Buddha was basing himself upon the principles proper of the ultimate meaning of the Great Vehicle – when there was complete statement of the principles of the three natures and also a breaking of all attachments as he went on to speak of the three non-natures and how all dharmas have no nature of their own, and so forth. he was thereby exhausting the principles, taking the doctrines to their utmost point and speaking them to exhaustion. That was represented by the Understand the Deep Secret Sutra, and so forth, which set forth such principles.

Tonight we will be starting three successive weeks of Ch’an sessions. There are two people preparing not to talk the whole time. All of you should know that and not talk to them, or if you don’t say too much. If you talk don’t make them talk. That’s protecting their application of effort in cultivation. When one doesn’t talk one has less false thinking, and can easily topple Mount Sumeru.

When one topples Sumeru Mountain,
There is no mark of self,
And so one doesn’t have any attachments.
When the sea of the nature is still and clear,
Then there are no waves.
That means there’s no mind of self and others and rights and wrongs – no waves.
When one awakens to one’s original face,
That’s no mark of living beings.
Prajna is always bright, and the myriad dharmas are empty
Is no mark of those with lifespans.

This year’s dharma is to have:

No mark of self, no mark of others,
No mark of living beings, and no mark of ones with lifespans.

If during these three sessions everyone can achieve that state, then we won’t have held the sessions in vain.

Traditionally one did not wear the precept sash while holding Ch’an sessions. However, this is a newly arisen Way Place in America, so we won’t hesitate to do things people have never done before. During the Ch’an sessions the left-home people can simply wear long robes but no ceremonial robes, and wear the precept sash. The ceremonial robes would be inconvenient during the walking-incense period, but daily long robes aren’t as long and floppy. You can dress that way if you want to, but if you don’t and say, “I’m going to stick to the old way of doing thins,” that’s also okay, for this is a democracy and nothing is forced on anyone against their will.

previous * next * Contents***Preface

return to top