THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 5

M2 He shows that the untying is done in sequence.
N1 First he teaches him the technique of untying.
O1 Ananda seeks to untie the knot of weariness.


Sutra:

Ananda said, "This weariness is the same as the knots. How do we untie them?"

Commentary:


Having heard the Buddha's explanation, Ananda said, "This weariness is the same as the knots. This fatigue which comes from overexertion, is the same as the knots. How do we untie them? How do we get rid of them? How can we make them go away, so that we can return to our original face? How can we get back to our inherent nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One?"

O2 The Thus Come One uses a clever analogy to show them.

Sutra:

The Thus Come One took hold of the knotted cloth and pulled on its left end and asked Ananda, "Is this the way to untie it?"

"No, World Honored One."

Then with his hand he pulled on the right end and again asked Ananda, "Is this the way to untie it?"

"No, World Honored One."

Commentary:


The Thus Come One uses an analogy to cause Ananda to understand for himself how to untie the knots, which are identical with the weariness that comes from overexertion.

The Thus Come One took hold of the knotted cloth and pulled on its left end. He took up the jeweled embroidered cloth which he had knotted and pulled its end to the left. At the same time he asked Ananda, "Is this the way to untie it? Is this how you get it undone?"

Ananda answered, "No, World Honored One."

Then with his hand he pulled on the right end and again asked Ananda, "Is this the way to untie it? Can I get the knots undone this way? Have the knots loosened now?"

"No, World Honored One, they haven't come loose. If you just pull on them, they won't come untied," Ananda replied.

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, "Now I have pulled on the left and right ends of the cloth and still have not been able to undo the knots. What method do you propose for untying them?"

Ananda said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, you must untie the knots from their center. Then they will come undone."

Commentary:


Ananda is so intelligent! The Buddha couldn't do it, but Ananda thought of a way. The Buddha said to Ananda, "Now I have pulled on the left and right ends of the cloth and still have not been able to undo the knots. I haven't untied even one of the knots. I can't do it. What method do you propose for untying them? You think of a way. Use some clever expedient. How can we get them undone? You're very smart, Ananda. You will certainly come up with a method."

Ananda said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, you must untie the knots from their center. Then they will come undone. If you just pull to the left or to the right, you can't get them undone. What you have to do is work on the heart of the knot. Once you loosen that, the knot will come undone."

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, "So it is, so it is, if you want to get them undone, you have to untie them from the center."

Commentary:


The Buddha's reply is, "You are truly intelligent, Ananda. Aren't you? So it is, so it is. That's what you do. You figured it out. I couldn't think of how to do it, and you came up with this wonderful method!" He expresses his approval. "Right, correct. Now I understand. If you want to get them undone, you have to untie them from the center. So, you aren't just well-educated, you're fundamentally intelligent."

O3 He tells him that he should not erroneously accept or believe what was spoken.


Sutra:

Ananda, the Buddhadharma I explain arises from causes and conditions. But that is not to grasp at the mixing and uniting of coarse appearances in the world. The Thus Come One understands all worldly and world-transcending dharmas and knows their fundamental causes and what conditions bring them into being.

Commentary:

Ananda, the Buddhadharma I explain arises from causes and conditions. But that is not to grasp at the mixing and uniting of coarse appearances in the world. It's not that I'm referring to the coarse appearances that anyone can see. I, the Thus Come One understands all worldly and world-transcending dharmas. "Worldly dharmas" refers to the defiled and defiling dharmas in the six common realms of rebirth. "World-transcending dharmas" refers to the pure dharmas found in the four sagely dharma realms. "I know their fundamental causes and what conditions bring them into being. I know the basic source of these dharmas and how they accord with conditions."

Sutra:

This is so to the extent that I know how many drops of rain fall in as many worlds away from here as there are dust motes in the Ganges. The same is true for all the things you can see: why the pine is straight, why the brambles are twisted, why the goose is white, why the crow is black, I understand the reasons.

Commentary:


This is so, I know what conditions bring things about, to the extent that I know how many drops of rain fall in as many worlds away from here as there are dust motes in the Ganges. I know what the conditions are in worlds infinitely far away and in all the worlds in between. There's nothing in this world that I do not comprehend, and even in worlds vast distances beyond this world, I know exactly how much rain has fallen. The Vajra Sutra says,

The Thus Come One completely knows and sees all the thoughts in the minds of all living beings.

It doesn't matter whether the beings are human or not; whatever thoughts go on in their minds are known to the Buddha. The same is true for all the things you can see. You can't see things in as many worlds away from here as there are sand grains in the Ganges, but as to the things that are right now before your very eyes, Why the pine is straight, why the brambles are twisted, why the goose is white, why the crow is black, I understand the reasons.

O4 If he selects an organ and unties the knot, then he will certainly be certified.


Sutra:

Therefore, Ananda, you can select whichever one of the six sense-organs you wish. If the knots of the sense-organs are removed, then the defiling appearances disappear of themselves. All falseness ceases to be. If that is not the truth, what do you expect in addition to it?

Commentary:


Therefore, because of the Buddha's total comprehension, as he has just explained, Ananda, you can select whichever one of the six sense-organs you wish. You yourself can choose whichever sense-organ you prefer. Do you remember how I explained the various merits of the sense-organs to you, how some have all twelve-hundred merits and some do not? Based on that, you can pick whichever one you want. Once you pick the organ, and if the knots of the sense-organs are removed, then the defiling appearances disappear of themselves. You apply the method to whichever organ you select in your cultivation, until the organ, the knots, and the defiling objects are all done away with. All falseness ceases to be. Then, all false thinking, thoughts based on production and extinction, all discriminations disappear.

"What happens then?" you wonder. "What do we do when all our false thoughts are gone?" If that is not the truth, what do you expect in addition to it? If you're not true then, what will you have left? All that's left is the true. When the false is gone, the true is total. Get rid of your mind that seizes on conditions, and the nature of wonderful true suchness appears, the pure and fundamental mind, the original face of the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One.

At this point in the sutra, you should be particularly attentive. You should develop your skill by working on one of the six senseorgans.

Which one? Any one will do: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, or mind, you can apply your skill to any one of them. The entrance to any of the six sense-organs is the Way. All are a part of the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One. All you have to do is take one in hand and put your mind to it in your cultivation, and you can return to the basic substance of the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One.

N2 Then he shows that the untying is done in sequence.
O1 He first questions him to lead him to awakening.


Sutra:

"Ananda, I now ask you, can the six knots in the cloth of layered flowers be untied simultaneously and released all at once?"

"No, World Honored One. The knots were originally made one at a time, now they must be untied one at a time. The substance of the six knots is the same, but they were not made simultaneously, and so now when it is time to release them, how can they be untied simultaneously?"

Commentary:


Shakyamuni Buddha says, "Ananda, I now ask you, can the six knots in the cloth of layered flowers be untied simultaneously and released all at once? This cloth from the Suyama Heaven has six knots in it, as everyone can see. Can these knots be untied all at the same time?"

"No, World Honored One," Ananda replied. "Why not? The knots were originally made one at a time. They were tied in sequence. Now they must be untied one at a time. They have to be untied in sequence. The substance of the six knots is the same, but they were not made simultaneously. Although the six knots are all tied in the same cloth, they were not tied all at the same time, and so now when it is time to release them, how can they be untied simultaneously? They have to be released one at a time."

O2 He uses that awakening to further unite with understanding.

Sutra:

The Buddha said, "Releasing the six sense-organs is the same way. When the sense-organ begins to be released, one realizes the emptiness of people first. When the nature of that emptiness is fully understood, then one is released from dharmas. Once one is freed from dharmas, neither kind of emptiness will arise."

Commentary:


The Buddha said, "Releasing the six sense-organs is the same way. The principle is the same as the principle for untying the six knots. You release the sense-organs one by one; you can't work on them all at once. When the sense-organ begins to be released, that is, the organ you have chosen to cultivate to perfect penetration, one realizes the emptiness of people first." With the emptiness of people, there is no attachment to self. There are two kinds of attachment to self:

1) Innate attachment to self.
2) Differentiated attachment to self.

At this point, both these attachments are finished. When the nature of that emptiness is fully understood, when the emptiness of people is fully perfected, then one is released from dharmas. Then dharmas are also empty. One is liberated from the two kinds of attachments to dharmas:

1) Innate attachment to dharmas.
2) Differentiated attachment to dharmas.

Once one is freed from dharmas, neither kind of emptiness will arise. Once you attain liberation from dharmas, there is no longer any emptiness of people or emptiness of dharmas. Neither of these kinds of emptiness arises.

Sutra:

This is called the patience with non-production attained by the Bodhisattvas by means of samadhi.

Commentary:


The Bodhisattvas attain the power of concentration, and thus can awaken to patience with the non-production of dharmas, which is the state of a Bodhisattva.

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