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

Prologue:

In four, the Sudden Teaching, there is generally no discussion of Dharma Marks, and only determination of the true nature. It also has no differentiated characteristics of the eighth consciousness, for all things that exist are merely false thinking, and all Dharma Realms are imply cut off from words. The five dharmas and three self-natures are both empty. The eight consciousnesses and two absences of self are both banished.

Commentary:

In the teaching doctrines of four, the Sudden Teaching, there is generally little or no discussion of the principles of Dharma Marks, and only clarification and determination of the true nature. It is also unlike the previous Second and Third Teachings, in that it has no differentiated characteristics of the eighth consciousness. It doesn’t make the kinds of distinctions like “the Eighth Consciousness subject to production and extinction,” “the Eighth Consciousness not subject to production and extinction,” “the Nature of the Thus Come One’s Treasury,” and so forth, the way the Second and Third Teachings do. It doesn’t assign different characteristics to the Eighth Consciousness, for all things that exist – all conditioned dharmas -- are merely creations of false thinking, and all Dharma Realms are imply cut off from words so nothing can be said. Language ceases to apply, as is illustrated in the Vimalakirtinirdesha Sutra, when the Bodhisattva Manjushri asks the Layman Vimalakirti what is meant by the non-dual Dharma door and Layman Vimalakirti shuts his mouth and doesn’t say a word. That’s the cutting off of words – which itself is the Dharma Door of non-duality.

The five dharmas, in this context, refer to this list:

The Five Kinds of Dharmas

All five are empty and false. There is another list:

The Five Kinds of Dharmas

There are also Five Kinds of Dharmas established by Devadatta, which were in exact opposition to the Dharmas of Shakyamuni Buddha.

And there are also various lists of three self-natures, such as:

The Three Kinds of Self-Natures

To have a good self-nature means to like to do good things that involve wholesome merit and virtue. To have an evil self-nature means to have a disposition to do evil and commit offenses and do wrong. If you establish wholesome merit and virtue, you can be reborn in the heavens, whereas if you create offenses you will fall into the hells. Whether you ascend to the halls of heaven or descend into the hells is determined by a single thought of your mind. If you go up you go to heaven, and if you go down you fall to hell. The indeterminate self-nature is non-good and non-evil. You can’t say that it’s good, but it isn’t outright evil, either. It’s neutral and undermined because no particular attention is paid to it and so it’s forgotten – yet even though forgotten, it still has a nature. Another list is:

The Three Kinds of Self-Nature

There are also:

The Three Kinds of Self-Nature

The Five Dharmas and the Three Self-Natures are both empty and ultimately cannot be got at. Neither the five nor the three can be obtained. The eight consciousnesses and two absences of self are both banished. The eight consciousnesses are the six consciousnesses of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind respectively, with the addition of the seventh, the manas, consciousness and the eighth, the alaya, consciousness. Those eight consciousnesses make a lot of trouble. They are what allow us to distinguish the myriad existing-things, but they also enable us to do much that is upside down. When the eye organ sees the sense objects which are forms, in between consciousness arises and one can discriminate, “This form is nice and that form isn’t. This person is America, that person is Japanese, and the other person is a Filipino.” Being able to make those distinctions is a function of consciousness – consciousness acting up. Because, once your mind makes such discriminations, you start to have lots of afflictions and trouble.

Now, however, all eight consciousnesses are banished – kicked out to beyond the ninth heaven, further than 108,000 li away, that is. The same thing happens to the two absences of self. “How can there be two ‘no-me’s?’” you wonder. This means the absence of a self with regard to dharmas, so that people and dharmas both are gone. Here both the eight consciousnesses and the two kinds of lack of self are dispensed with, and no self can be found. That’s why one asks, “Who is mindful of the Buddha? Who is mindful of the Buddha?” The “who?” in that is the eight consciousnesses and two absences of self both being banished. You may feel it’s contradictory to be reciting the Buddha’s name and asking who’s doing it – yes, it’s just that contradictory. It’s having nothing to do and finding something to take care of, having no trouble and discovering some trouble to go through. Both are banished. Both are gone. With the absence of the self in people, there is no attachment to people. With the absence of the self in dharmas, there is no attachment to dharmas. When both those attachments are gone, one obtains liberation. Just that is marklessness, so the text goes onto explain this more.

Prologue:

It reprimands teachings and exhorts one to escape. It obliterates marks and extinguished mind. Production of mind is falseness; not producing is just Buddha.

Commentary:

In the Sudden Teaching, It reprimands the teachings of those of the Two Vehicles and reproaches them with being withered sprouts and sterile seeds. It scolds those of the Small Vehicle for being self-ending Arhats and exhorts one to escape from the Small Vehicle Teachings. It says, “You should bring forth the resolve for Bodhi and not be so spineless. Don’t just keep on not learning how to do things and only knowing how to eat.” It reproaches them and tells them to leave behind the Two Vehicles and study Great Vehicle Dharma. The Sudden Teaching also obliterates marks and extinguished mind, so that even mind is gone. That is called;

The path of languages is cut off,
And the place of the mind’s working is extinguished.

There isn’t even mind. Production of mind is falseness. Any giving rise to a mind is false thinking. Not producing mind is just Buddha. Being without thought, without dwelling and without attachment is the state of a Buddha.

When a single thought is not produced,
The entire substance manifests.

When not one thought arises, that is to be a Buddha. That is easy to say, but we have not idea how many thoughts we produce in the course of a single day. They are as many as weaves on the sea or grains of sand in the Ganges River. You don’t need any particular method to prevent them from arising – all you need to do is not produce them.

Prologue:

There are both no Buddhas and none who are not Buddhas. There are both no beings and none who not beings, the way Vimalakirti’s remaining silent reveals non-duality, and so forth. That is its intent.

Commentary:

In the previous passage it said that producing mind is false thought, and not producing mind is Buddha. Production of mind does not simply refer to having false thinking. It also means that bringing forth the mind for Bodhi and Nirvana is false thought, too. For that reason, as soon as you give rise to mind, you create falseness, and not producing is just Buddha. Therefore, it also says, there are both no Buddhas and none who are not Buddhas. That there are no Buddhas can mean that living beings who have not yet certified to Buddhahood aren’t Buddhas, so there are no Buddhas; yet none of them are not going to be Buddhas in the future. They are temporarily living beings but will be Buddhas, so there are none who are not Buddhas. The same principle is at work in the statement that there are both no beings and none who not beings. There are no living beings, because all living beings become Buddhas. Nonetheless, Buddhas are made from living beings, so there are none who are not living beings. This principle is that of the same ness of living beings and Buddhas. Living beings are just Buddhas, and Buddhas themselves are living beings. As it is said:

In the level and equal, true Dharma Realm,
There are no Buddhas and there are no beings.

There are neither beings nor Buddhas. If you can certify to the principle of the level and equal, true Dharma Nature, then there are no Buddhas and there are no living beings. But before being certified to that principle, Buddhas still are Buddhas, and living beings remain living beings as well.

The reason for saving there are no Buddhas is to break any possible attachment to the existence of Buddhas – for even attachment to Buddhas is attachment of mind. Stressing the absence of both living beings and Buddhas in the level and equal, true Dharma Realm is to break people’s attachments; but it’s definitely not denying the existence of either beings or Buddhas. Buddhas are still Buddhas and living beings are still living beings. It’s just a statement of how in the sameness of the Dharma Realm of actuality, there are no beings or Buddhas, the way Vimalakirti’s remaining silent reveals non-duality, and so forth. In the Vimalakirti Sutra, thirty-two Great Bodhisattvas investigate together what is meant by the Dharma Door of Non-Duality – the non-dual Dharma door. They all in turn state their own doctrines, and each doctrine talks about non-dual Dharma door. However, the Dharma Door of Non-Duality is that basically there is nothing which can be said. There is nothing to say. Why not? It’s because as soon as expressed in words, it’s no longer the non-dual Dharma door. Once stated, it isn’t the Dharma Door of Non-duality anymore. It’s like trying to use words to express the principle of inexpressibility, or like using language not to state principle that can be stated. After much discussion of the non-dual Dharma door, the thirty-two Great Bodhisattvas ask their Elder Chancellor of high standing among them by virtue of having taken precepts before them. It’s somewhat the way new preceptees have a Master Who is Elder in Precepts whom they can request to resolve questions they cannot solve themselves.

They must have said, “Let’s ask our Teacher who is elder in precepts,” and inquired of Manjushri Bodhisattva, “We’ve entered the non-dual Dharma door, but what does ‘Dharma Door of Non-duality’ mean?” what does “non-dual Dharma door” mean, as in the matched couplet on the door here at Gold Mountain Monastery? It means nothing can be said, and so people so very little talking here. No one speaking is the Dharma Door of Non-Duality.

Manjushri Bodhisattva told them, “My opinion is that it means absence of words and speech with respect to all dharmas – no recognition and no representation. There is nothing to be expressed, nothing stands for anything else, and there is nothing to be recognized. It’s not as when you write a character and then the character is recognized. Or you draw an illustration and one can recognize what it stands for. Not at all. It’s freedom from marks of speech and language, and separateness from characterization by written symbols or words. That’s the non-dual Dharma door, and entry into the non-dual Dharma door is no questions and no answers.”

After Manjushri Bodhisattva had told them that, he felt that probably most people still didn’t understand. The Arhats at the time and the Bodhisattvas of lesser states were probably wondering, “How can nothing to be said, nothing represented, and nothing to be recognized be the Dharma Door of Non-Duality?”

It wasn’t that he himself did not understand, but he in turn asked the Layman Vimalakirti, “What do you think? Do you consider what I’ve said to be correct or not? Tell us what the non-dual Dharma door ultimately is. Each of us has talked about this principle, except for you. You should discuss the non-dual Dharma door and entry into it.”

At that time the Layman Vimalakirti remained silent and did not speak. He didn’t open his mouth. I’ll tell you – transmit to you – the non-dual Dharma door. It’s not opening one’s mouth. If anyone questions you about the non-dual Dharma door, don’t say anything. That itself is the non-dual Dharma door. If you don’t talk, people don’t know what you’re all about. But if as you’re asked a question you rattle off talk like several volleys of gunshot, people know you don’t have any true goods. There are people who over-answer what’s been asked by several hundred times. No matter how much you say, if you fail to answer what has been asked, or answer what has not been asked, all of it is meaningless. You should either give a reply to the question or not reply at all but remain silent. So, Manjushri Bodhisattva tested the Layman Vimalakirti, who simply sat there and did not talk.

That’s why I say to you:

The non-dual Dharma door is not opening one’s mouth.
That’s what you absolutely must not do.
Truth in the primary sense is o reckless talk.

Reckless talk” is replying with ten sentences when one is called for, talking on and on without meaning. Here, his remaining silent and not opening his mouth reveals the principle of the Dharma door of non-duality. That is its intent, the meaning of there being both no Buddhas and none who are not Buddhas, and of being cut off from words.

If you can forget language – no longer be able to give verbal expression, although basically you can talk – then you unite with the Way. But it can’t be that you still have a lot to say but just don’t know how to begin. That’s not having forgotten language.

If you forget words, you can merge with the Way.
And if you have a humble mind, you are identical with true principle.

That means having no arrogance and no attachment to self or dharmas – having as if not having, being true as if unreal. Although you have wisdom, you are as if you didn’t have wisdom. You shouldn’t, because you have a small fraction of Way virtue, feel “I’m so great and lofty, there’s no enough room for me in the Dharma Realm. I’ve filled it up, so where shall I go?” Being smug and self-satisfied is not having a humble heart, for humility means both not being arrogant and not being jealous of obstructive. Basically someone may not be up to you, but you consider the person to be better than you are in all respects. That’s humility: having as if not having, possessing true and actual wisdom but not becoming conceited about it. You should be modest and humble, not haughty, and then you will be identical with true principle. If in addition you can manage not to give rise to mind, you become one with truth. Then if you don’t even use your wisdom – don’t even want wisdom – then you are the same as the Buddha. Why haven’t we become Buddhas? It’s because we feel, “I’m so smart, I have so much wisdom, much higher than that of other people.” That kind of attachment prevents us from becoming Buddhas. Sages are not like that. Instead, Sages see everyone as being a Sage, which is what makes them Sages themselves. The Buddha, too, sees every living beings as being a Buddha, so he himself is a Buddha. The Layman Vimalakirti’s not talking and there by revealing the non-dual Dharma door is the meaning of the preceding principles.

Prologue:

In five, the Perfect Teaching, what is discussed is only the infinite Dharma Realm, perfect interpenetration in the sea of the nature, arisal from conditions without obstruction, mutual identity and mutual entry, boundless replications like the Indra’s net, reciprocal inclusion by the fine and subtle, and endlessness of hosts and attendants. Each set of ten Dharma doors includes the Dharma Realm. In the doctrinal analysis this will be discussed at length.

Commentary:

In Teaching number five, the Perfect Teaching, which comes at the very last, what is said is most complete and perfect, and so there are many meanings in the Teaching – perfectly fused without obstruction. What is discussed is only the infinite Dharma Realm. The meanings are not only many but endless. If they had an end they couldn’t be infinite, for infinitude means no time of ending or exhaustion, and is not confined by numbers. The principle enunciated by this Teaching is that of endless replications in multi-layered infinity: one tier follows upon another and they never stop. The basis for speaking of infinity is the perfect interpenetration in the sea of the nature – the pure and original oceanic nature which pervades the Dharma Realm. What makes it all –pervasive is that it’s perfect and complete and has many, many meanings. Basically, the sea of the nature is still, but should causes and conditions for movement be called for, there is arisal from conditions without obstruction.

Movement does not interfere with movement. Movement is interfused and interpenetrating, and so is stillness, and so there can be arisal from conditions without obstruction, along with mutual identity and mutual entry. The one is just each and everyone, and each and every one is just the one, so the one is the limitless, and the limitless is the one. There is reciprocal identity in which the one is just the many, and the many itself is the one. There is no “one” outside the many, nor will the many be found outside the one. They are the same as each other, and they mutually enter into one another. That is the principle of multi-layered infinity of boundless replications which include each other as they perfectly fuse and interpenetrate like the Indra’s net. In front of the Palace of Lord God, Shakrah devanam Indrah – Shakra Chief among gods – there is a network banner which ahs endless layers whose boundaries cannot be found, and this is like it. There is also reciprocal inclusion by the fine and subtle, the most minute which yet can mutually “inter-contain.” And in the endlessness of hosts and attendants. Hosts are infinite and so are the attendants. In the Flower Adornment Sutra each time a Dharma door is discussed, it is presented as a set of ten Dharma doors – for example, the Thus Come One’s Ten Bodies, the Ten Patiences, the Ten Eyes, the Ten Kinds of Spiritual Penetrations, the Ten Doors to the Esoteric and Wonderful, the Ten Reliances, and so forth. Each Dharma door in each set of ten pervades and includes the Dharma Realm. Those mutual inclusions and mutual entries into one another extend throughout the entire Dharma Realm. Right now the Perfect Teachings’ doctrines are just being outlined in general; but in the Third Door, that of doctrinal analysis, this will be discussed at length.

Prologue:

2) Division into schools based on teachings. Of schools there are ten, as is elucidated in the sutras and schools.

Commentary:

Part 2) is the Division into schools based on teachings. Once there are Teachings there can be taking up of principles and establishing Schools based upon that stance and aim. Of schools with clear-cut positions based on principles there are ten, as is going to be elucidated in the section on what the sutras and schools are based upon.

End of three, establishments of teachings and division into schools

previous * next * Contents***Preface

return to top