THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 2

CHAPTER 2

The Two False Views

M2 The Buddha destroys the false and reveals the true.
N1 Ananda tells of his confusion and asks for instruction.

Sutra:

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is still not clear in my mind what the Buddha, the World Honored One, has explained for me and for others like me about causes and conditions, spontaneity, the characteristic of mixing and uniting, and the absence of mixing and uniting. And now to hear further that to see seeing is not seeing adds yet another layer of confusion.

Commentary:

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is still not clear in my mind what the Buddha, the World Honored One, has explained for me and for others like me.
Buddha, for the sake of me, a sound-hearer, and for the sake of the condition-enlightened ones, you have explained about causes and conditions, spontaneity, the characteristic of mixing and uniting, and the absence of mixing and uniting - characteristics which do not mix and unite. It is still not clear in my mind. Buddha, after hearing your explanation, we still have not become enlightened. We haven’t understood. Our minds still haven’t opened to enlightenment. And now to hear further that to see seeing is not seeing adds yet another layer of confusion.” Ananda is heckling the Buddha again. He says the expression of this kind of doctrine has caused him to add yet another layer of confusion, obscurity, and lack of understanding. He’s like some people who have heard this much of the Shurangama Sutra and are still saying, “What is it talking about? I don’t understand. I have listened for all these days, and the more of it I hear the less clear I become.”

Sutra:

"Humbly, I hope that with your vast compassion you will bestow upon us the great wisdom eye so as to show us the bright pure enlightened mind.” After saying this he wept, made obeisance, and waited to receive the holy instruction.

Commentary:

Humbly, I hope that with your vast compassion.
I kneel before the Buddha and hope that the Buddha will bring forth great compassion and will bestow upon us the great wisdom eye. Give me the wisdom eye, so as to show us the bright pure enlightened mind. Buddha, please explain the enlightened mind with its pure substance to us of the two vehicles, the sound-hearers and the condition-enlightened ones.

After saying this - at this point Ananda was really nervous. So when he’d finished speaking, what do you suppose he did? He wept and made obeisance. He cried. He resorted to the talents of a child and stood crying before the Buddha, and he bowed his head just like a child who is deprived of its milk and sees its mother and cries for a drink of milk. Requesting the dharma is like asking for milk to drink. And waited to receive the holy instruction. He waited for Shakyamuni Buddha to give him some dharma-milk to quell his hunger and confusion.

N2 The Buddha compassionately promises to explain.

Sutra:

Then the World Honored One, out of pity for Ananda and the great assembly, began to explain extensively the wonderful path of cultivation of all samadhis of the Great Dharani.

Commentary:

Ananda’s weeping brought the Buddha out of samadhi. He came out of samadhi to explain to him the doctrine of the Way, the doctrine of wonderful samadhi. Then the World Honored One, out of pity for Ananda. “Then” was when Ananda was famished and wanted milk to drink. It was when Ananda’s confusion was so deep that he sought clarity. It was when Ananda wept and made obeisance. Basically the Buddha is endowed with a heart of great kindness and great compassion, so when Ananda cried the Buddha’s compassionate heart was moved once again, and he wished to quickly speak dharma for him. Since Ananda was his youngest cousin, it was likely that here the Buddha showed him a special fondness and protection. And the great assembly. However, he didn’t do this just for Ananda’s sake, but for the sake of everyone in the great assembly also. He began to explain extensively – “extensively” means that he categorized and made distinctions - as he explained the wonderful path of cultivation of all samadhis of the Great Dharani.

The Sanskrit word “dharani” refers to mantras; sometimes the word “mantra” will be used, and sometimes “dharani.” When “dharani” is used, the meaning is “all-encompassing upholder.” It encompasses all dharmas and upholds limitless meanings. That is, all dharmas are contained within the mantra, and the limitless wonderful meanings are produced from the mantra. This is one way to explain it. I have another way of explaining it. “All-encompassing” means holding the three karmas of body, mouth, and mind entirely encompassing them to make them pure. Precepts, samadhi, and wisdom, the three non-outflow studies, are upheld. Great dharanis are not the same as small ones. A small one is just a little mantra, and its effect is not as great. What is spoken of here is a great dharani.

”Samadhi” is concentration. “The wonderful path of cultivation.” Ananda wants to cultivate the wonderful path to the dharmas of the samadhi of the great all-encompassing upholder. Now Shakyamuni Buddha is going to proclaim the genuine dharma.

Sutra:

He said to Ananda, “Although you have a strong memory, it only benefits your wide learning. But your mind has not yet understood the subtle secret contemplation and illumination of shamatha. Listen attentively now as I explain it for you in detail.

Commentary:

The Buddha presents the topic. He tells him in advance what he is going to explain to him. He said to Ananda, “Although you have a strong memory, it only benefits your wide learning.” Your memory is excellent, and you learn a great deal by the use of it. When things pass before your eyes, you do not forget them. But your power of memory can help only your learning, your ability to open wisdom through hearing.

But your mind has not yet understood the subtle secret contemplation and illumination of shamatha. “Shamatha” is the doctrine of quietude. It has an unspeakably wonderful power of subtle secret contemplation and illumination. But your mind has not yet understood. You have not realized it in the least, you haven’t the least bit of understanding. Listen attentively now as I explain it for you in detail. You should pay particular attention now and listen to me while I explain to you bit by bit, point by point, layer by layer. Don’t cry, Ananda. Be good and I will tell you now, I’ll explain it for you. Don’t be sad.

Sutra:
"And may this explanation cause all those of the future who have outflows to obtain the fruition of Bodhi.


Commentary:

And may this explanation cause all those of the future who have outflows.
“Those of the future” includes us who are here now. We are now the “future” referred to then.

Everyone is said to have outflows before they are certified as having attained the fourth fruition of arhatship. “Outflows” means every kind of fault. If, for example, someone likes to drink, he is said to have a “drinking-outflow.” Those who like to smoke cigarettes have a “cigarette-outflow.” Those who like to eat fine food have the outflow of eating fine food. Those who like to wear good clothes have the outflow of wearing good clothes. If these examples don’t make it clear, then let me put it this way: in general, whatever you like most is an outflow.

You say, “What I like to do most now is meditate, so that must be a ‘meditation-outflow.’”

That’s different. Meditation directs you upward. When I said the things you like most, I meant things that send you downhill. If you like things which make you go down, they are outflows.

Outflows do not refer only to the things you have done in the past. If a thought stirs in your mind, and you say “I used to have that fault and now I have changed, but I still think about wanting to do it,” that is an outflow. That’s how fierce it is. All you have to do is let the thought stir in your mind, and you flow down. If you don’t move your mind, you ascend upward.

Arhats of the first, second, and third fruitions cannot be said to have no outflows, but when one attains the fourth fruition of arhatship, there are no more outflows.

Now the Buddha speaks of causing all those who have outflows to obtain the fruition of Bodhi. How can the enlightened fruition of Bodhi be obtained? You need to have no outflows. If you have outflows, you cannot expect to obtain the enlightened fruition of Bodhi. Do you want to try things out? You have outflows because you have been trying things out from beginningless time until now. So don’t continue to be so confused. Don’t act as if you hadn’t even heard what I have said, thinking “The dharma master probably wasn’t referring to me. There are so many people here that he’s undoubtedly talking about someone else. The little faults I have don’t matter that much. I’m fond of that fault and I don’t need to give it up just yet. Why? Because the dharma master is not talking about me. He’s probably talking about someone else.” But you shouldn’t fool yourself. If you fool yourself, you will miss the opportunity to become a Buddha. From beginningless time onward, you have flowed through birth and death in this Saha world, getting born and dying, getting born and dying, roaming around and forgetting to return. That’s really upside-down. Now that you have met the Buddhadharma, you should quickly resolve to be courageous and vigorous and wake up. Don’t continue to roam around and forget to return.

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