THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Q2 False view of the collective share.
R1 He describes what is seen.
"What is meant by the false view of the collective share? Ananda, in Jambudvipa, besides the waters of the great seas, there is level land that forms some three thousand continents. East and west, throughout the entire expanse of the great continent, there are twenty-three hundred large countries. In the other, smaller continents in the seas there may be two or three hundred countries, or perhaps one or two, or perhaps thirty, forty, or fifty.
This section of text talks about the false view of the collective share. The false view of the individual share causes each person to see differently. The false view of the collective share is that everyone has the illusion of seeing the same thing at almost the same time. So a country is used by way of analogy.
What is meant by the false view of the collective share? What is said to make up the false view of the collective share? Ananda, listen carefully. I will tell you. In Jambudvipa, in the southern continent, besides the waters of the great seas, there is level land that forms some three thousand continents. Outside the seas is the level land, which is divided into three thousand continents. East and west, throughout the entire expanse of the great continent - in the middle of these three thousand continents there is a great continent, and north, south, east, and west, to count them all up, there are twenty-three hundred large countries. In the other, smaller continents in the seas - in the small islands and small continents, there may be two or three hundred countries, or perhaps one or two, or perhaps thirty, forty, or fifty. It is not fixed how many there are.
"Ananda, suppose that among them there is one small continent where there are only two countries. The people of just one of the countries together experience evil conditions. On that small continent, all the people of that country see all kinds of inauspicious things: perhaps they see two suns, perhaps they see two moons with circles, or a dark haze, or girdle-ornaments around them; or comets, shooting stars, ‘ears’ on the sun or moon, rainbows, secondary rainbows, and various other evil signs.
The Buddha called to Ananda again: Ananda, suppose that among them there is one small continent where there are only two countries. Suppose in Jambudvipa there is an island, a small continent, with only two countries on it. Now although these two countries are on the same island, there is a boundary between them, and the karmic retribution the inhabitants experience is not the same. The people of just one of the countries together experience evil conditions. The people of one of the countries undergo a certain retribution all together, and they experience evil conditions. “Evil conditions” refers to inauspicious circumstances and many kinds of disasters and difficulties - great winds, for example, or heavy rains. Recently in America there were tornadoes that blew people off into space, killing several hundred in all. That is an example of an inauspicious circumstance. That’s what is meant by an evil condition. You see, on that one continent, some people underwent the evil retribution, and some people did not. In the same way, people in San Francisco did not undergo the evil condition of the tornado; they did not experience that suffering. But in the midwest, houses were blown into empty space, trees were uprooted and blown completely away, and there was flooding and fire. Such disasters are far too prevalent.
On that small continent, all the people of that country see all kinds of inauspicious things. What do they see? Sometimes the trees will talk. They hear someone speaking, and it turns out to be a tree. There isn’t a person in sight. That’s an inauspicious event. Among supernatural events there are some very inauspicious things. Perhaps they see two suns. Perhaps the people in the one country see two suns, which is an indication of a great change within the country, something inauspicious. Perhaps the leader of the country will die or will be assassinated by someone who wants to usurp the power. This is because:
The skies can’t have two suns,
The people can’t have two kings.
There can’t be two suns in the sky. If you see two suns, that is inauspicious. Or perhaps this president will kill that president. Perhaps they see two moons. No matter what country it is, there will be only one sun and one moon. But the people of this country see two moons appear. This also indicates that something inauspicious is in store for the country.
With circles, or a dark haze, or girdle-ornaments around them.
Circles around the moon indicates wind:
Dampness in the foundations indicates rain.
When the moon looks like it has water around it, as if it were soaking in water, there will be a windstorm. And when the foundations of the house are damp, it will rain. Circles indicate the presence of an evil energy surrounding the moon. Just looking at it makes one uncomfortable. It is very unusual. “A dark haze” refers to a black, very murky energy which covers the moon. The moonlight doesn’t shine through it, and yet it is not a cloud.
”Girdle-ornaments” refers to a formation around the side of the sun or moon which looks like the ornaments worn by women around their waist. In general, the sun and moon can’t be surrounded by anything. If there is something there, it is not a good sign.
Or comets, shooting stars. The light of a comet extends over a great distance. During the reign of the first emperor of the Qin dynasty of China (255-206 BC) comets appeared quite often, and as a result the people experienced extreme distress and suffering during that period. Shooting stars, or meteors, also emit a long trail of light, though not as long as a comet’s, but their appearance is brief. They are just like flickering flames; one is gone and then another appears; then that one disappears and yet another appears. The shooting stars dart through space, and sometimes they fall in showers, and celestial rocks fall out of the sky just like rain pouring down.
”Ears” on the sun or moon. This refers to times when it appears that the sun or moon has grown ears. Rainbows, secondary rainbows. Some say that in the morning they are called “rainbows” and in the evening they are called “secondary rainbows.” In general they are yin and yang. And they indicate that heaven and earth are out of balance. Nevertheless, if you can change, if the people of that country can change their minds, everything will be all right. And various other evil signs means that not just the few mentioned here, but many others appeared as well, large ones and small ones.
If the country is flourishing, then every single thing is auspicious. If the country is on the decline, then every single thing is inauspicious. If one person has the reward of blessings, the rest of the people can follow along and borrow his light. If the people follow someone who lacks blessings, they will undergo suffering. Take a look at the country’s leader, the country’s president. If he has blessings, the people will follow him and have blessings as well. If he hasn’t any blessings, the people will follow him and endure suffering. It can be said that the head of a country is responsible for every circumstance.
R2 Ultimately they are not real.
"Only the people in that country see them. The living beings in the other country from the first do not see or hear anything unusual.
These two countries on the same small continent should have the same karmic retribution, but in one of them, inauspicious signs indicating disaster and difficulty appear, and everyone in the entire country sees them. Only the people in that country see them. The living beings in the other country from the first do not see or hear anything unusual. But in the other country on the small continent, all the people, all the beings there, do not see these states or hear these sounds. This is called the false view of the collective share. The power of the karma of the beings in the one country is similar, and so they have this false seeing. Those in the other country do not have the same karma, and so they don’t have that false seeing.