THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 4

O2 The continuation of living beings.
P1 The six kinds of falseness come into being.

Sutra:


Moreover, Purna, the false brightness is none other than the mistake of adding light to enlightenment.

Commentary:

Moreover, Purna, I will explain further. The false brightness is none other than the mistake of adding light to enlightenment. It's not something else playing tricks on you; it's simply that you wanted to add light to enlightenment. That's how the problem arose. Adding light to enlightenment is just like putting a head on top of a head.

Sutra:

After the falseness of an object is established, the faculty of understanding cannot transcend it. Due to this cause and condition, hearing does not go beyond sound, and seeing does not surpass form.

Commentary:


After the falseness of an object is established, the faculty of understanding cannot transcend it. The "falseness of an object" refers to the appearance of karma and corresponds to the earlier passage: Once an object is falsely set up. The word "faculty" here refers to a false ability, the appearance of turning and corresponds to the earlier passage: "Your false subject arises." "Understanding" here refers to ignorance, which is not flexible and cannot transcend the falseness of an object. Due to this cause and condition, hearing does not go beyond sound, and seeing does not surpass form. Because of the appearance of karma and the condition of the appearance of turning, we don't hear anything beyond sound when we listen, and we don't see anything beyond form and appearance when we look.

Sutra:

Forms, smells, tastes, and objects of touch ; six falsenesses are realized. Because of them there is division into seeing, sensation, hearing, and knowing.

Commentary:

Because seeing does not surpass form, there arise forms, smells, tastes, and objects of touch. This list of forms implies sounds and dharmas as well, the state of the six defiling objects. Thus six falsenesses are realized. The six organs and six objects together create the six consciousnesses. Because of them there is division into seeing, sensation, hearing, and knowing, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, sensation, and knowing, the six consciousnesses. The six consciousnesses are originally the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One. So it is said:

One pure brightness in its origin,
It divides into six interacting aspects.

The one pure brightness is the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One. The six interacting aspects are the eyes, which see form; the ears, which hear sounds; the nose, which smells scents; the tongue, which tastes flavors; the body, which is aware of sensation; and the mind, which knows dharmas. They are said to be six but in reality they are one. They are a function of the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One.

P2 Four kinds of birth happen in response.

Sutra:

Similar karma binds together: union and separation bring about transformation.

Commentary:

Similar karma refers to the karma one creates and to one's father and mother, these causes and conditions are similar. "Similar karma" also refers to the mutual arisal of thoughts of love which binds together. Similar karma produces emotional love and prevents separation. Men and women become stuck together like glue. This binding together creates birth by womb and eggs.

Sutra:

One sees that a bright spot is generated. At the sight of the bright spot conception comes into being. Differing views produce hatred; similar views create love. The flow of love becomes a seed, and the conception is drawn into the womb. Intercourse happens with a mutual attraction of similar karma. And so there are the causes and conditions that create the kalala, the arbuda, and the rest.

Commentary:


One sees that a bright spot is generated. How do people become people? When a person comes into being, consciousness which arrives first, and when a person dies, the eighth consciousness is the last to leave. So it is said:

Last to go;
First to come.
Thus it is the host.

Before the eighth consciousness leaves, the body will remain warm. Once the eighth consciousness goes, the body gets cold. Once it goes it becomes the intermediate yin-body. If one was a person, then one's intermediate yin-body has the appearance of a person. If one was an animal, the intermediate existence body has the appearance of an animal. It's just as if it was cast from a mold. No matter how far away from its potential father and mother it may be, it will find them if it has conditions with them. To the intermediateexistence body, everything is pitch black. We have lamplight and sunlight and moonlight, but the intermediate-existence body can't see them. What it sees is black as ink. So when the potential father and mother have intercourse, it will see a pinpoint of light at that place, because it has connections with them. At the sight of the bright spot conception comes into being. What is conceived? Thoughts. Differing views produce hatred. When people's opinions are not the same as yours, you come to hate them. Similar views create love. When someone has false thoughts identical with your own, you grow to love them.

If the intermediate-existence body is male, it will love the mother and hate the father. It will want to strike its father and steal its mother. It wants to have intercourse with its mother. So the origin of people is very bad. When it loves its mother and hates its father, with that one thought of ignorance it enters the womb; the flow of love becomes a seed, and the conception is drawn into the womb. If the intermediate-existence body is female, it will love the father and be jealous of the mother. That is how conception takes place.

Those who like to talk about love can't end birth and death. Love is the root of birth and death. Those who like to talk about love can very quickly end birth and death. How can I contradict myself this way and say that these opposite statements are both true? It's just here that the wonder lies. You advocate emotional love, but emotional love takes one down the road of birth and death. Why? People are born from love and desire and they die from love and desire. This is the ordinary occurrence. Everyone walks this road of birth and death.

So how can I say that if you think love is so important you can very quickly end birth and death? If you think love is so important, if you are so intent upon it, you should see through it and be done with it.

The sea of suffering is boundless
A turn of the head is the other shore.

If you see through it, you can end birth and death. People are like cabbage-worms, which are born in a cabbage and die in the cabbage. People are born in love and desire and die in love and desire.

The flow of love becomes a seed: men and women profess their love and keep expressing it until there is tangible evidence of it. Once the love becomes tangible, a seed can be produced. 'Conception" here refers to the eighth consciousness the intermediate yin-body, also called the intermediate existence body or the intermediate-skandha body.

And so there are the causes and conditions that create the kalala, the arbuda, and the rest. Kalala is a Sanskrit word that refers to the first week of embryonic development, the "slippery coagulation." The second week of development is called the arbuda, the globule. The third week is called peshi, or soft flesh. The fourth week is called ghana, or solid flesh. The fifth week is called prashakha, or rudimentary embryo.

Let us look at this from the point of view of the twelve links of conditioned causation. The reason men and women fall in love, just that thought of love is ignorance, that one thought of ignorance.

"Ignorance conditions activity." The activity is intercourse. "Activity conditions consciousness." This is the eighth consciousness referred to above in the line "conception is received into the womb." The consciousness is the intermediate-skandha body entering the womb.

"Consciousness conditions name and form." "Name" refers to the first through fourth weeks of embryonic development. "Form" refers to the fifth and later weeks of embryonic development. "Name and form condition the six entrances." By the seventh week of embryonic development, the organs are fully formed. The embryo has by now developed eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind.

"Six entrances condition contact." Once the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind are formed, there is an awareness of contact. The embryo in the mother's womb experiences the sensation of contact.

"Contact conditions feeling." The embryo is receptive to the contact. "Feeling conditions love." When it receives the contact, it gives rise to love. This is the real beginning of love. And so to answer the question why men and women come to love one another: it is because even at the fetal stage the cause has been planted already there are thoughts of love.

"Love conditions grasping." Once there are thoughts of love, one wants to have the object of love for one's own, one wants to become that thing. "Grasping conditions becoming, becoming conditions birth." Once you've got it, you're born.

"Birth conditions old age and death." Once there is birth there is death. So arhats contemplate the twelve links of conditioned causation and know that the seed, the causes and conditions, are impure. The father?s semen and the mother's blood are unclean things.

If you want to end birth and death, the first thing you must do is not give rise to ignorance. How do you do that? Don't have thoughts of emotional desire! Without ignorance there is no activity. Men and women get involved all because of that first thought of ignorance. And what is ignorance? It is "I don't know..." For instance when a man sees a woman she may be beautiful, but ultimately, why does his mind move? It is just when one's mind moves that one gives rise to ignorance. And when women have an emotional reaction to men, it is the same thing. Ignorance, therefore, is the root of birth and death. And it is the place that it all starts.

If you understand the twelve links of conditioned causation and are not turned around by them, then,

When ignorance is extinguished,
Activity is extinguished.
When activity is extinguished,
Consciousness is extinguished.
When consciousness is extinguished,
Name and form are extinguished.
When name and form are extinguished,
The six sense organs are extinguished.
When the six sense organs are extinguished,
Contact is extinguished.
When contact is extinguished,
Feeling is extinguished.
When feeling is extinguished,
Love is extinguished.
When love is extinguished,
Grasping is extinguished.
When grasping is extinguished,
Becoming is extinguished.
When becoming is extinguished,
Birth is extinguished.
When birth is extinguished,
Old age and death are extinguished.

This is the method of returning to extinction. If you take the road of arising in succession, you become a person. If you return to extinction, you can become a Buddha. So arhats contemplate the twelve links of conditioned causation and think, "How do people come into being? Ah, their coming is extremely unclean. The combination of the father's semen and the mother's blood to make an embryo is impure." So they sever ignorance and end birth and death.

During the reign of the Emperor Wu of Liang, the Buddhadharma flourished. Whenever there was a wedding reception dharma masters were invited to recite sutras. On children's birthdays, dharma masters were invited to recite sutras. In short, no matter what the occasion, dharma masters were invited to recite sutras and give their blessing. They would give a short speech about the auspiciousness of the event what a lucky occasion it was. At that time there was a wealthy man who was celebrating the marriage of his son. He invited Chan Master Zhi Gong to recite sutras and give the blessing. When Chan Master Zhi Gong arrived and looked around, he said:

How strange! How bizarre!
The grandson marries the grandmother.
The daughter eats the mother's flesh.
The drum the son beats is stretched
with the father's skin.
Pigs and sheep are on the seat.
The six close kin cook in the brazier.
People gather to celebrate.
I see all this as a form of suffering.

Why was the grandson marrying his grandmother? It was because when the grandson was two years old, his grandmother died. As she was dying, she grabbed her grandson's hand and said, "I'm at the point where I can let go of everyone else, but I can't forget about my grandson. Who will take care of him in the future?" And she died clutching her grandson's hand. After her death she went before King Yama and he said, "Oh, you love your grandson so much? Fine. Go back and be your grandson's wife." So she was reborn as a woman and when she came of age, her grandson chose her as his wife. How did Chan Master Zhi Gong know this? Because he had the ability to know
others' thoughts and the ability to perceive past lives, he had the Buddha eye.

When he looked in front of the house he said, "The daughter eats the mother's flesh," because he saw a little girl chewing on a chunk of pork. Her mother had died and been reborn as a pig. The pig had been slaughtered and cooked, and she was actually eating the flesh of her own mother!

When he inspected the musicians in the band by the entrance way, he said, "The drum the son beats is stretched with the father's skin." The drummer was hitting a drum stretched with deer-hide. His father had died and been reborn as a deer. The deer had been slaughtered and its hide tanned and the drummer was actually beating his own father!

Then Chan Master Zhi Gong noticed that "Pigs and sheep are on the seat." He saw pigs and sheep sitting like guests on the kang, the high brick beds in the house. They were people now, but in their former lives they had been pigs and sheep. In their former lives they themselves had been eaten, so now they were reborn as people who in turn ate pigs and sheep to even up the debt.

When the Chan master took a look at the cooking pots, he exclaimed, "Six close kin cook in the brazier." The six kinds of close kin refer to relatives on the father's side and the mother's side, kin of the brother and sisters, and so forth. They had been close relatives of these people but now had been reborn as pigs and sheep, had been slaughtered, and were being cooked in the brazier. Chan Master Zhi Gong summarized, "People gather to celebrate." Everyone who came was saying, "Congratulations!" and "Best wishes!" But the master notes, "I see all this as a form of suffering." What I see is actually suffering.

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