THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Four:

Fused Interconnection

Mutual Union

Prologue:

Four, mutual union in fused interconnection, which, in a roundabout way, divides into two parts. The first is mutual union of all teachings, followed by union of teaching methods as to prior and subsequent.

Commentary:

Four is mutual union in fused interconnection, which considers all the previously discussed characteristics as a unified whole. It, in a roundabout way, divides into two parts. Circuitous rather than direct principles have to be used, and so this division into two parts is quite forced. The first is making a mutual union of all the teachings set up by all of the Dharma Masters discussed before by putting them together. It is followed by union that gives the history of teaching methods as to prior and subsequent – which came earlier and which came later in relation to each other when considered as a group.

Prologue:

Now the first. The teachings established by all the virtuous each individually have that upon which they are based. Now, although five are established, they may also be united to comprise all that is said. It is in general that there are five kinds.

Commentary:

Now is the first of the two forced divisions just mentioned. It begins with the statement that the teachings established by all the greatly virtuous Dharma Masters each have their own doctrines. It therefore says, each individually have that upon which they are based. It could also say, “Each has that upon which he bases himself,” either certain principles or certain Sutras to establish the Teachings. Inasmuch as that is the case, now, although the five Teachings just discussed – the Hsien Shou Small, Initial, Final, Sudden and Perfect Teachings -- are established, they may also be united to comprise all that is said. It’s not that National Master Ch’ing Liang of the Hua Yen (“Flower Adornment”) School is setting up these Teachings himself. Rather, this unites all of the principles upon which the greatly virtuous ones from before based themselves so that one can see which principles should be placed within which Teachings. Those that should be grouped with the Small Teaching will be referred to there. The same grouping will be made for those belonging to the Final, Sudden and Perfect Teachings – each returns to be united with a Teaching. It is simply in general and in overall outline that there are five kinds.

Prologue:

One. Perhaps there is a comprehensive grouping into one, that is, that there is only what is proclaimed with one sound as the Thus Come One’s single great expedient to skillfully gather in living beings – which does not discard the principle of the one sound established by the previous two Masters.

Commentary:

One, the first: Perhaps there is a comprehensive grouping into one. This takes all the Teachings spoken by the Thus Come One in his entire teaching career and makes of them one single Teaching. That is, that there is only what is proclaimed with one sound as the Thus Come One’s single great expedient Dharma door to skillfully gather in and save living beings. This holds that the Buddha used a single sound to proclaim one kind of Teaching -- which does not discard the founding principle of the one sound Teaching established by the previous two Dharma Masters, Kumarajiva and Bodhiruci.

Prologue:

Two. Perhaps it is opened into two, of which in turn there are three: one, by contrast with the small there is revealed the great. First there is the “half word,” and the four afterwards are the whole. This, then, does not contradict what is said about two stores, and so forth. Two, by contrast with the provisional there is revealed the actual. This, then, is the two previous of there being Three Vehicles with the three afterwards becoming the One Vehicle. This, then, does not contradict the Dharma Flower’s Four Vehicles. Three, although two teachings, the third and the fourth, then obliterate the differences of the two previous, still by contrast with the three there is revealed the one, and in a roundabout way there is skillful according with potentials. Afterwards there is one direct revealing of fundamental Dharma, of single tendency which is not shared, as is discussed in the Wisdom Shastra. This is identical with the Venerable Yin’s “level road’ and “circuitous”.

Commentary:

The first spoke of the One Sound Teaching, but now, with number two, perhaps it is opened by some Dharma Masters into two: Sound Hearers and Bodhisattvas, of which in turn there are three interpretations. One is that, by contrast with the Small Vehicle there is revealed the principle of the Great Vehicle. First there is the “half word” Teachings, which is that of the Small Vehicle, and the four, the Initial, Final, Sudden and Perfect Teaching that come afterwards, which are the Whole Word” Teaching. This interpretation, then, does not contradict what is said about two stores – the Sound Hearer Store and the Bodhisattva Store -- and so forth.

Two is that by contrast with the provisional there is revealed the substance and principle of the actual. This way of speaking, then, is the two previous Teachings, the Small Teaching and the Initial Teaching, of there being Three Vehicles. This is the Teaching of the Three Vehicles, with the three Teachings that come afterwards – the Final, the Sudden, and the Perfect Teachings -- becoming the One Vehicle Teaching. This interpretation, then, does not contradict the Dharma Flower Sutra’s principle of Four Vehicles – Three Vehicles and there only being the one Buddha Vehicle.

Three is that although two teachings, the third – the Final Teaching -- and the fourth – the Sudden Teaching -- then obliterate the differences of the two previous – the Small and the Initial Teachings – and have some slight differences from the principles that went before, still by contrast with the three there is revealed the one. The One Vehicle Teaching is revealed in contrast to the Teaching of Three Vehicles, and in a roundabout way there is skillful and expedient according with the potentials of living beings through its Dharma doors. Afterwards, in the One Vehicle Teaching, there is one direct and clear revealing of fundamental Dharma, of single tendency which is not shared with the Three Vehicles, as is discussed in the GreatWisdom Shastra. This interpretation is identical with the principles of Venerable Yin’s “level road’ Teaching and “circuitous” Teaching.

Prologue:

Three. Perhaps there is division into three: first the one Small Vehicle, then the one and the Three Vehicles, and at the end the three and the One Vehicle. Or perhaps only the final one is the not-in-common One Vehicle. The Wisdom Shastra indicates this as the not-in-common, because such sutras as the Great Category are speaking in common with the Three Vehicles. These three also accord with the Four Vehicles. Furthermore, the Liang Dynasty Shastra in part eight says, “the Thus Come One’s establishemtn of the Proper Dharma has three kinds: one, establishing the Small Vehicle; two, establishing the Three Vehicles, and three, establishing the One Vehicle. The third is the most supreme, and so it is called ‘well-established’.” This also coincides with the Wonderful Wisdom Sutra, and the second roll of Tripitaka Master Paramartha’s Record of Opinions Differently Held by the Schools also says the same thing.

Commentary:

Three is that perhaps there is someone who makes a division into three parts, the first of which is the one Small Vehicle Teaching. Then there is the Initial Teaching of there being One Vehicle and also the Three Vehicles. And at the end there is the Teaching of there being Three Vehicles and the One Vehicle. Or perhaps one says that only the final one is the One Vehicle not-in-common with the Two Vehicles and different from them.

The Great Wisdom Gone To The Other Shore – Mahaprajnaparamita -- Shastra indicates the single Vehicle as being the not-in-common with the Two Vehicles One Vehicle, because such sutras as the Great Category Prajna Sutra are speaking of Dharma that are in common with the Three Vehicles. These three kinds also accord with principles of the Teaching of the Four Vehicles.

Furthermore, the Liang Dynasty Mahayana-samgraha Shastra in part eight says, “the Thus Come One’s establishemtn of the Proper Dharma has three kinds: one, establishing the Small Vehicle Teaching; two, establishing the Three Vehicles Teaching, and three, establishing the One Vehicle Teaching. The third Teachings of the One Vehicle is the most supreme, and so it is called ‘well-established’.” This principle also coincides with principle in the Wonderful Wisdom Sutra, and the second roll of Tripitaka Master Paramartha’s Record of Opinions Differently Held by the Schools also says the same thing. Its principle agrees with this as well.

Prologue:

Four. Perhaps there is a division into four, which also has two doors. One is that the three teachings in between are retained and two discarded because they are separate, these being opened to make four: one, the Separate Teaching of the Small Vehicle, such as the four Agamas; two, the Connective Teaching of the Three Vehicles, such as the Deep Secret; three, the Connective Teaching of the One Vehicle, such as the Dharma Flower; four, the Separate Teaching of the One Vehicle, as in the Flower Adornment Sutra. Two is that from the point of view of successive positions being without positions, the opening of the Gradual is just the Sudden, and so there is division into four. Taken comprehensively, the second and third are the Gradual Teaching, and the rest are all as named.

Commentary:

Four is that perhaps there is a division made by some people into four Teachings, which also has two kinds of doors. One of the doors is that the three teachings in between – the Initial, final, and Sudden Teachings -- are retained and two that come before and after, namely the Small Teaching and the Perfect Teaching, are discarded and don’t belong with them because they are separate. They aren’t the same as the Small Teaching that comes before them, or as the Perfect Teaching that comes after them, these three Teachings being opened to make four Teachings. Those four are: one, the Separate Teaching of the Small Vehicle, such as the principles set forth in the four Agamas Sutras. Two is the Connective Teaching of the Three Vehicles, such as the doctrines in the Deep Secret Sutra. Three is the Connective Teaching of the One Vehicle, such as the Dharma Flower Sutra, the Nirvana Sutra, and so forth. Four, the Separate Teaching of the One Vehicle, as in the Flower Adornment Sutra, which is special and not the same as other Sutras. That’s the first divisional door.

Two, the second “door,” is that basically one has to cultivate step-by-step, but this Teaching is from the point of view of successive positions being without positions, so they don’t need to be cultivated step-by-step. Why is that? It’s because this is the Sudden Teaching. The opening of the Gradual Teaching is just the Sudden Teaching, and so there is division into four. Taken comprehensively, the second – the Initial Teaching -- and third – the Final Teaching -- are the Gradual Teaching, for the two of them are in terms of going step-by-step and can be grouped together and called the Gradual Teaching. That’s how there come to be four Teachings, and the rest are all as named. They keep the name they had before.

Prologue:

Five. Perhaps there is division into five, just as was established before, because within the Gradual there is Initial and Final. Although the major emphasis is selected and certain sutras referred to in general, it is actually not a confined determination, for within a single sutra are included many teachings.

Commentary:

We just reviewed how the entire teaching career of the Buddha could be determined to comprise four Teachings, the second and the third Teachings being combined to form a Gradual Teaching. This now is five, perhaps there is division into five Teaching, just as was established before in determining Small, Initial, Final, Sudden and Perfect Teachings. That makes five in all because within the Gradual Teaching when there’s division into four, there is a grouping together of the Initial Teaching and Final Teaching to make one Teaching. Although the major emphasis of the doctrines is selected and certain sutras referred to in a very general way, it is actually not at all a confined determination that those particular Sutras necessarily belong only to a particular Teaching. It’s not a rigid classification, for within a single sutra are included doctrines and principles of a great many teachings. A given Sutra cannot be exclusively assigned only to a given Teaching. It can’t be that fixed.

Prologue:

The second, the time sequence of the teaching modes. Now in determining the teachings of the Thus Come One’s single generation, in general they open into ten doors: one, the door of difference of the root and branch-tips; two, the door of branch-tips arising from the root; three, the door of gathering the branch-tips to return them to the root; four, the door of non-obstruction of the branch-tips and the root; five, the door of unfixed according with the potentials; six, the door of the revealed and secret being simultaneous; seven, the door of sudden proclamation at one time; eight, the door of silence without speaking; nine, the door of encompassing the three boundaries; and ten, the door of multi-layered infinity.

Commentary:

In most cases the principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra are presented in lists of ten. They start from the one, turn into ten, and from ten there come to be one hundred, then a thousand can be explained as ten thousand on and on without end. We had a Professor visit who got it all wrong and who claims there is no way to understand the principles so they should simply be omitted. That’s one way of dealing with it, but if the principles are discarded there will never be any way to understand them. Besides, that’s how the Dharma disappears in the Dharma Ending Age. People start to say, “This passage is incomprehensible so we’ll leave it out,” and there is that much less. They come to another section they don’t understand and say, “This chapter is not needed. We’ll cut it out,” and they cut off that arm. Then there’s another unwanted chapter, and that leg is severed. That leaves a cripple that can’t walk, run or crawl.

The second considers the time sequence of the teaching modes. Now in determining the teachings of the Thus Come One’s single generation they won’t be discussed in detail. In a very general and summary fashion they open into ten doors. Door number one is the door of difference of the root – the One Vehicle – and the branch-tips – the Three Vehicles. This first door considers the differences between them. Two is the door of branch-tips arising from the root, for branch-tips come from the root. One root spreads out into ten thousand ramifications. Three, the door of gathering the branch-tips to return them to the root, is:

Ten thousand ramifications return to a single root.

What is one in kind becomes ten thousand kinds, and the ten thousand kinds return to be one kind. Four is the door of non-obstruction of the branch-tips and the root. From the point of view of the ordinary, common people the root is not the branch-tips and the branch-tips are not the root. But in the state of the Flower Adornment, there is no obstruction between branch-tips and root. You can say the root is the branch-tips, and the branch-tips can be called the root. It all depends upon how you discuss them. They do not interfere with each other. The root does not rule out the branch-tips, nor do the branch-tips rule out the root. The branch-tips can be the root and the root can be the branch-tips. Five is the door of unfixed according with the potentials. There is unpredetermined response in accordance with potentials, that is:

Dispensing the medicine in accordance with the illness,
Speaking the Dharma according to the person.

Six is the door of the revealed – that which is obvious and out front – and the secret – the hidden -- being simultaneous. Seven is the door of sudden proclamation of the limitless Dharma doors of the Three Stores and Twelve divisions of the Canon at one and the same time. That means, too, that the entire Tripitaka and twelve canonic categories are proclaimed in a single phrase uttered by the Buddha, and all the boundless Dharma doors are stated simultaneously. Eight is the door of silence without there being any speaking at all. Nine is the door of encompassing – including and connecting -- the three boundaries of the past, the present and the future. The past can be made the present, and the present can become the future in unobstructed interconnection. Ten is the door of multi-layered infinity, for the preceding nine doors do not tell the entire story. If the discussion is continued there never is an end, for layer after layer unfolds endlessly.

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