THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 2

O3 He actually shows the non-movement.
P1 He shows the non-movement in relation to external states.


Sutra:

Then in the midst of the great assembly the Thus Come One bent his five-wheeled fingers. After bending them, he opened them again. After he opened them, he bent them again, and he asked Ananda, “What do you see now?”

Ananda said, “I see the Thus Come One’s hundred-jeweled wheeled palms opening and closing in the midst of the assembly.”

Commentary:

The Buddha was concerned that most people in the great assembly still had not understood the genuine seeing-nature. Then in the midst of the great assembly the Thus Come One bent his five-wheeled fingers. After bending them, he opened them again. After he opened them, he bent them again. At that time the World Honored One bent his fingers, then stretched them out again, and clenched and unclenched his fist several times, and he asked Ananda, “What do you see now? What do you see right now?”

Ananda said, “I see the Thus Come One’s hundred-jeweled wheeled palms.” On the Buddha’s hand is the hallmark of a thousand-spoked wheel. Ananda refers to it as the hundred-jeweled wheeled palm, opening and closing in the midst of the assembly.

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You see my hand open and close in the assembly. Is it my hand that opens and closes, or is it your seeing that opens and closes?”

Ananda said, “The World Honored One’s jeweled hand opened and closed in the assembly. I saw the Thus Come One’s hand itself open and close; it was not my seeing-nature that opened and closed.”

Commentary:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You see my hand open and close in the assembly. Is it my hand that opens and closes, or is it your seeing that opens and closes?
When you see my fist opening and closing, is it my fist that opens and closes, or is it your seeing of my fist that does the opening and closing?”

Ananda said, “The World Honored One’s jeweled hand opened and closed in the assembly. I saw the Thus Come One’s hand itself open and close.” He said, “World Honored One, it is your hundred-jeweled wheeled palm that opens and closes. It was not my seeing-nature that opened and closed. My seeing-nature, which does the seeing, does not open and close. It is you that made the movement which caused me to see your hand open and close.”

Sutra:

The Buddha said, “What moves and what is still?”

Commentary:

The Buddha was still concerned that Ananda had not genuinely understood. So he asked a further question. The Buddha said, “What moves and what is still?”

Sutra:

Ananda said, “The Buddha’s hand does not remain at rest. And since my seeing-nature is beyond even stillness, how could it not be at rest?”

Commentary:

Ananda said, “The Buddha’s hand does not remain at rest.
In order words, it moved. And since my seeing-nature is beyond even stillness, how could it not be at rest?”

Why does he say it doesn’t even have the characteristic of stillness? Because stillness comes from movement. If there isn’t any movement, then basically there isn’t any stillness. So it is said that there is no coming out of the great Shurangama Samadhi and no entering it. That’s the principle here. “Nagas are always in samadhi. There is never a time when they are not in samadhi.” With the Shurangama Samadhi, nagas - that is, dragons - are always in samadhi. Since they are never not in samadhi, they never enter it and never leave it.

Thus Ananda said, “My seeing-nature, by which I see you, is devoid even of stillness. It is beyond the characteristic of movement or its opposite, stillness.” Without movement, there is no stillness; both characteristics are gone. They are fundamentally unobtainable, non-existent, and they cannot be found. Then how could it not be at rest? Ananda’s answer shows that he is clear that since the seeing-nature doesn’t even have the characteristic of stillness, how could it possibly have movement. It does not move.

Sutra:

The Buddha said, “So it is.”

Commentary:

Once again the Buddha agrees. The Buddha said, “So it is. What you say is right. That’s the way it is.”

P2 He shows non-movement in relation to the internal body.

Sutra:

Then from his wheeled palm the Thus Come One sent a precious ray of light flying to Ananda’s right. Ananda immediately turned his head and glanced to the right. He then sent another ray of light to Ananda’s left. Ananda again turned his head and glanced to the left. The Buddha said to Ananda, “Why did your head move just now?”

Ananda said, “I saw the Thus Come One emit a wonderful precious light which came by my left and right, and so I looked to the left and right. My head moved of itself.”

Commentary:

Then from his wheeled palm the Thus Come One sent a precious ray of light flying to Ananda’s right.
From the Buddha’s hundred-jeweled wheeled palm, the ray of light flew swift as a bird or like a searchlight which shoots light out into space so that things can be seen for great distances. That’s more or less what it was like. It could also be likened to a flashlight, in that as soon as you turn it on, the light shoots out. The precious light which the Buddha can emit from his hand is clearer than the light of a flashlight, however. As soon as the precious light went flying by Ananda on his right side, Ananda immediately turned his head and glanced to the right. He turned his head to watch where the light flew, and how far. He then sent another ray of light to Ananda’s left. From the Buddha’s wheeled palm came forth another ray of light. Where did it go? It went to Ananda’s left. Ananda again turned his head and glanced to the left. He took a look to his left.

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Why did your head move just now?” The Buddha questioned Ananda further. “Why did your head move as you glanced left and right?”

Ananda said, “I saw the Thus Come One emit a wonderful precious light which came by my left and right, and so I looked to the left and right. My head moved of itself. It came by my right side and then by my left side. My head moved because I was watching the light.”

Sutra:

"Ananda, when you glanced at the Buddha’s light and moved your head to the left and right, was it your head that moved or your seeing that moved?”

"World Honored One, my head moved of itself. Since my seeing-nature is beyond even cessation, how could it move?”

Commentary:

The Buddha asked Ananda again: Ananda, when you glanced at the Buddha’s light and moved your head to the left and right, was it your head that moved or your seeing that moved? Which moved back and forth, your head or your seeing-nature?

World Honored One, my head moved of itself. Ananda answered that his head moved by itself. Since my seeing-nature, which is capable of seeing, is beyond even cessation, how could it move? It doesn’t even have the characteristic of ceasing. The meaning is the same as in the previous passage. If the seeing-nature has no characteristic of cessation - which is to say, if it has no characteristic of stillness - then it can’t have the characteristic of movement, either. This is how Ananda answered the Buddha. The seeing-nature is in a state of unmoving suchness.

Sutra:

The Buddha said, “So it is.”

Commentary:

The Buddha said, “What you’ve just said is right.” The Buddha said, “So it is. You perceived the principle correctly. Earlier, you mistook a thief for your son when you insisted on taking false thinking to be your true mind. But now you understand that your seeing-nature does not move. Now there is a little hope for you.” Thus the Buddha replies in a pleased way with a word of praise.

O4 He scolds them all for their mistaken recognition.
P1 He returns to the former guest-dust which was enlightened to.

Sutra:

Then the Thus Come One told everyone in the great assembly, “Suppose other living beings called what moves ‘the dust’ and what does not dwell ‘the guest’?

Commentary:

At that point the Buddha told the great assembly, “Now that you’ve heard me explain this doctrine, it’s certain that you all understand it very clearly. There is no need for me to say more. But suppose other living beings called what moves ‘the dust’ and what does not dwell ‘the guest’?” Perhaps there are other living beings who call “dust” the things which move and name “guest” what does not reside at a place. Why is it that way?

P2 He enables them to see the emptiness of the invisible host.

Sutra:

"You noticed that it was Ananda’s head that moved; the seeing did not move. You also noticed that it was my hand which opened and closed; the seeing did not stretch or bend.

Commentary:

You noticed that it was Ananda’s head that moved; the seeing did not move.
You in the great assembly watched Ananda’s head turn back and forth, and Ananda just said the seeing-nature is unmoving. You also noticed that it was my hand which opened and closed; the seeing did not stretch or bend. It wasn’t the seeing nature that stretched out or flexed.

P3 He upbraids them from grasping at the flowing and turning.

Sutra:

"Why do you continue to take something moving like your body and its environment to be in substantial existence, so that from the beginning to the end, your every thought is subject to production and extinction?

Commentary:

Here the Buddha scolds the great assembly. He says: Now you have seen very clearly that the seeing-nature does not move. Then why do you continue to take something moving like your body and its environment to be in substantial existence? You in the great assembly are unable to see your own genuine seeing-nature. You take your physical body and the environment in which it finds itself to be a real thing. You react to the moving of your body and surroundings as if they were actual. These movements are basically external. They are not something that belongs to your self-nature. So that from the beginning to the end, your every thought is subject to production and extinction? You cling tenaciously to your body and mind as your hosts. You use the conscious mind in your thinking, and every thought of your conscious mind is subject to production and extinction. First one thought arises and is extinguished and then the next thought arises and is extinguished. Production and extinction follows production and extinction. You concentrate your effort exclusively on the realm of production and extinction, and have no true understanding of the seeing-nature.

Sutra:

"You have lost your true nature and conduct yourselves in upside-down ways. Having lost your true nature and mind, you recognize objects as yourself, and it is you who cling to the flowing and turning of the revolving wheel.”

Commentary:

Now the Buddha scolds everyone and tells the great assembly it is wrong. You have lost your true nature. From beginningless time to the present, you have all lost your true nature. It is not truly lost, but it seems to be lost. Why? Because living beings don’t perceive the unmoving, unshakable realm of the self-nature, and so they have not understood this doctrine. It is as if it is lost. And conduct yourselves in upside-down ways. Basically, when you do things, you should do them well, but you continually botch them up. That’s called “doing things in an upside-down way.” What is meant by upside-down? I’ll give you an example. A man is upside-down when his feet are on top and his head is on the bottom. Or else your feet are on the bottom and your head is on top, but you take your shoes and put them on your head, and you wear your hat on your feet. That’s also called upside-down. When you were little and your parents sent you off to school and you didn’t want to go, that too was a case of being upside-down. When people are trying to sleep and you make a lot of noise, yelling and carrying on so they can’t sleep, you’re acting upside-down. In general, things which are not done in accord with propriety are called upside-down. It’s to turn your back on the Way and run off. You want to go south, to South San Francisco, but you end up going north to North San Francisco. That’s to be upside-down and going backwards.

Having lost your true nature and mind, you recognize objects as yourself. Because you conduct yourself in upside-down ways, your nature and mind do not work together, and thus you lose track of the true and actual nature. You mistake outside states as yourself. That means you recognize that inn of yours as yourself. You shouldn’t think that your inn is you. That’s to recognize objects as yourself. “Objects” here refers to all external objects. And it is you who cling to the flowing and turning of the revolving wheel. Because you recognize things as yourself you produce all kinds of attachments. You fail to see through all kinds of things. You aren’t clear about principle. And because of that, you cling to flowing and turning - that is, to birth and death. You yourself are attached to dying. You go looking for birth and death. If you yourself weren’t upside-down, if you didn’t mistake a thief for your son and objects for yourself, you would be able to end birth and death.

If you want to end birth and death, it is an easy thing to do. All you need to do is turn yourself around. If you go forward, you head right down the path of birth and death. If you turn around and go the other way, you end birth and death. It’s not that difficult; it’s just that it’s up to you to do it. You simply turn around; you turn your head and pivot your body. That’s all that’s needed. It is said, “The sea of suffering is boundless; a turn of the head is the other shore.”

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