THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 5

P2 He explains the wonderful responses one by one.
Q1 He responds to the seeking of the sages.


Sutra:

World Honored One, if there are Bodhisattvas who enter samadhi and vigorously cultivate the extinction of outflows, who have superior understanding and manifest perfected penetration, I will appear in the body of a Buddha and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Commentary:


World Honored One, if there are Bodhisattvas who enter samadhi and vigorously cultivate the extinction of outflows, they have attained samadhi and wish to progress in their cultivation and attain a genuine state of no outflows, nirvana without residue. They are those who have superior understanding and manifest perfected penetration. Their wisdom is extremely wonderful, and they display the state of perfect penetration of the six organs. I will appear in the body of a Buddha and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation. When I encounter living beings like this, I'll manifest the physical form of a Buddha. Although I have not become a Buddha myself, the power of my compassion is identical with that of all Buddhas. Based on this power of compassion, I will manifest as a Buddha and speak dharma for these Bodhisattvas, so that they may succeed in becoming liberated.

Sutra:

If there are those who are studying, who are tranquil and have wonderful clarity, who are superior and miraculous and manifest perfection, I will appear before them in the body of a solitarily enlightened one and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Commentary:

If there are those who are studying, who are tranquil and have wonderful clarity. "Those who are studying" refers to those prior to the fourth stage of arhatship. Those who are superior and miraculous and manifest perfection are those who have attained the bliss of tranquility and wisdom which is wonderfully clear. Their wisdom is supreme, and they display perfect penetration. "I will appear before them in the body of a solitarily enlightened one. For that kind of living being I will manifest as one who is solitarily enlightened," that is, a person of the two vehicles who awakens to the Way when there is no Buddha in the world. They cultivate the twelve links of conditioned causation and become enlightened.

In the spring they contemplate
the blossoming of the white flowers;
In the fall they observe
the falling of the yellow leaves.

They awaken to the principle of the natural process of birth and extinction of the myriad things and events in the world. That's how they become enlightened. The Bodhisattva will appear as a solitarily enlightened one and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Sutra:

If there are those who are studying, who have severed the twelve links of conditioned causation, and, having severed the conditions, reveal a supreme nature, and who are superior and wonderful and manifest perfection, I will appear before them in the body of one enlightened to conditions and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Commentary:


If there are those who are studying, who have severed the twelve causal conditions, and, having severed the conditions, reveal a supreme nature. Again, "those who are studying" refers to the first three stages of arhatship.

The twelve links of conditioned causation have been explained
before. They are extremely important:

1. Ignorance, which conditions activity;
2. Activity, which conditions consciousness;
3. Consciousness, which conditions name and form;
4. Name and form, which condition the six sense organs;
5. The six sense organs, which condition contact;
6. Contact, which conditions feeling;
7. Feeling, which conditions love;
8. Love, which conditions grasping;
9. Grasping, which conditions existence;
10. Existence, which conditions birth;
11. Birth, which conditions;
12. Old age and death.


This is the door of mutual arising.
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,
craving is extinguished;
when craving 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 door of returning to extinction. People who cultivate toward arhatship become very clear about ignorance and the connections that bring about birth. From birth comes death, and one is born and dies again, cyclically. They put an end to the cycle by first extinguishing ignorance. Once ignorance is extinguished, the other links are extinguished in turn. Once they sever these conditions, they discover a supreme nature. "They become those who are superior and wonderful and manifest perfection, I will appear," says Guan Yin Bodhisattva, "before them in the body of one enlightened to conditions and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation."

Sutra:

If there are those who are studying, who have attained the emptiness of the four truths, and cultivating the Way, have entered extinction, and have a superior nature and manifest perfection, I will appear before them in the body of a Sound Hearer and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Commentary:

If there are those who are studying, who have attained the emptiness of the four truths, and cultivating the Way, have entered extinction. Perhaps there are sound-hearers, arhats, who understand the principle of emptiness with regard to the four truths, who have cultivated the Way and have attained the bliss of nirvana. They have a superior nature and manifest perfection. They display a state of perfect penetration and fusion. I will appear before them in the body of a sound-hearer and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation. Why does the Bodhisattva manifest the body of a sound-hearer? It's because in doing so he becomes like them, and it is easier to communicate. He becomes a good friend and there is mutual trust established. If one has no affinities with people, then no matter how well one may speak, one won't be believed. He appears like them in order to teach and transform them. sound-hearers awaken to the Way upon hearing the Buddha's sound. They are people of the two vehicles.

Q2 He responds to the seeking of the gods.
R1 Heavenly kings.


Sutra:

If there are living beings who wish to have their minds be clear and awakened, who do not engage in mundane desires and wish to purify their bodies, I will appear before them in the body of a Brahma king and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

Commentary:

If there are living beings, these beings are not sound-hearers, nor those enlightened to conditions, nor Bodhisattvas; they are ordinary beings in the six paths. They are those who wish to have their minds be clear and awakened. They want to attain enlightenment, genuine understanding. They are those who do not engage in mundane desires. They abstain from greed and desire (sexual desire) in the wearisome mundane world, because they wish to purify their bodies, I will appear before them in the body of a Brahma king and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation. I will appear as the Great Brahma Heaven lord and explain the dharma for them so that they can
become free.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who wish to be the Heavenly Lord, leader of heavenly beings, I will appear before them in the body of Shakra and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who wish to be the Heavenly Lord: this refers to the Christian God. They want to be the leader of heavenly beings. They want to rule the heavens. I will appear before them in the body of Shakra and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. I will manifest as Shakra for that kind of living being. Shakra is the heavenly lord God. Did you know that the Holy Mother of Catholicism is Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva? Catholics believe in the Holy Mother, because they want to be born in the heavens. So Guan Yin Bodhisattva manifests as a goddess to teach and transform them, enabling them to be born in the heavens. Of course, they will have to come back again from the heavens, but gradually they will make progress. Why does Guan Yin manifest and speak a dharma to help people get born in the heavens? His ultimate aim is to get them to believe in the Buddha. But since at present their wish is to be born in the heavens, he teaches them how to get reborn there. When they return from there, they will eventually come to believe in the Buddha. Ordinary people feel that the time involved in this process is quite long, but actually in the Buddhas' eyes, it is a mere moment, a blink of an eye.

This method can be likened to that of parents who want their child to master an excellent profession, but whose child does not wish to study that profession. The parents comply and allow the child to study what he wishes, but after several false starts, he eventually winds up studying that excellent profession his parents suggested. Guan Yin Bodhisattva's method for teaching and transforming living beings is to fulfill whatever wishes they might have. But the ultimate aim is always to bring living beings to the accomplishment of Buddhahood.

Sutra:

If living beings wish to attain physical self-mastery and to roam throughout the ten directions, I will appear before them in the body of a god from the heaven of self-mastery and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If living beings wish to attain physical self-mastery. They want to be free and at ease so that they can do whatever they want. I will appear before them in the body of a god from the heaven of self-mastery and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. The gods from the Heaven of Self-Mastery can roam at will, going wherever they want.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who wish to attain physical self-mastery and fly through space, I will appear before them in the body of a god from the heaven of great self-mastery and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who wish to attain physical selfmastery. They want to be free and at ease, to have their bodies change forms at will. They want to be able to fly through space. Since they have this wish, I will ground myself in the spirit of the Buddha's compassionate strength from above and I will appear before them in the body of a god from the heaven of great self-mastery and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. The lord of the Heaven of Great Self- Mastery is extremely independent and blissful. Guan Yin Bodhisattva manifests as this god in order to cause living beings to succeed in their wish.

R2 Heavenly ministers.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who are fond of ruling over ghosts and spirits in order to rescue and protect their country, I will appear before them in the body of a great heavenly general and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who are fond of ruling over ghosts and spirits in order to rescue and protect their country. Some beings like to command ghosts and spirits. They do this out of a sense of patriotic spirit for their country, in order to save it and guard it. I will appear before them in the body of a great heavenly general and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who like to govern the world in order to protect living beings, I will appear before them in the body of one of the four heavenly kings and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who like to govern the world in order to protect living beings. They want to rule the world. They want to be leaders in the world in order to protect the living beings in it. I will appear before them in the body of one of the four heavenly kings and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. The four heavenly kings are:

1) Maintaining-the-Country (dhirtarashtra) who oversees the eastern continent Purvavideha;

2) Increasing (virudhaka) who oversees the southern continent Jambudvipa;

3) Vast Eyes (virupaksha) who oversees the western continent Aparagodaniya; and

4) Learned (vaishravana) who oversees the northern continent Uttarakuru.

For people who want to rule the country and protect the people, Guan Yin Bodhisattva manifests in response as one of the four heavenly kings.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who enjoy being born in the heavenly palaces and to command ghosts and spirits, I will appear before them in the body of a prince from the kingdoms of the four heavenly kings and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:


If there are living beings who enjoy being born in the heavenly palaces to delight in heavenly blessings. While they are in the heavens, they can command ghosts and spirits. They order the ghosts to do things for them. They summon the spirits and put them to work. Actually the ability to command ghosts and spirits is rather ordinary. People may find it strange, but actually it isn't. For those who like to order the ghosts and spirits around, I will appear before them in the body of a prince from the kingdoms of the four heavenly kings and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Q3 He responds to the seeking of the human destiny.
R1 Kings, ministers, citizens.


Sutra:

If there are living beings who would like to be kings of people, I will appear before them in the body of a human king and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If someone wants to rule over people, I will appear as a ruler of people and speak the dharma for them.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who enjoy being heads of households, whom those of the world venerate and yield to, I will appear before them in the body of an elder and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:


If there are living beings who enjoy being heads of households. They like being wealthy and ruling over a large clan. They want to be people whom those of the world venerate and yield to. People venerate them and bend to their wishes. People are extremely respectful of such a one and trust him. I will appear before them in the body of an elder and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. I will appear as a mighty and wealthy elder to speak the dharma for them. A person must have ten kinds of virtuous conduct in order to earn the title of elder. They are:

1. His name is honored.
2. His position is lofty.
3. His wealth is great.
4. His deportment is awesome.
5. His wisdom is profound.
6. His life is long.
7. His conduct is pure.
8. His propriety is perfect.
9. He is praised by those above him.
10. He is a refuge for those below him.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who delight in discussing the classics and who keep themselves lofty and pure, I will appear before them in the body of an upasaka and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:


If there are living beings who delight in discussing the classics. Perhaps they like poetry, or they are interested in the writings of famous authors. They can recite much of this material from memory. They keep themselves lofty and pure. If asked to do something they consider beneath them, they won't have anything to do with it. I will appear before them in the body of an upasaka and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. I will appear as a layman and speak dharma for them.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who enjoy governing the country and who can handle matters of state decisively, I will appear before them in the body of an official and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who enjoy governing the country and who can handle matters of state decisively. They legislate the great matters of the country. I will appear before them in the body of an official and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. I will appear as a minister or official and speak the dharma for them.

Sutra:

If there are living beings who like reckoning and incantation and who wish to guard and protect themselves, I will appear before them in the body of a brahman and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:

If there are living beings who like reckoning and incantation. "Reckoning" refers to mathematics and divination. "Incantation" refers to the black arts, various dharma-devices. It also refers to the spells and mantras of externalist ways. The former Brahma Heaven mantra of the Kapila religion that Matangi's mother used as an example of this. These beings wish to guard and protect themselves. They figure that if they learn a mantra or dharma, it can protect them. I will appear before them in the body of a brahman and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. Brahmanism is a religion in India. The name means "descended from the pure" and represents their cultivation of pure practices. These people have a lot of dharmic devices. They can recite mantras and have many devious magic tricks. And because Guan Yin Bodhisattva constantly accords with living beings, he also appears as a brahman to speak the dharma, so that these kinds of people can have what they wish for.

R2 Sangha members.

Sutra:

If there are men who want to leave the home-life and uphold the precepts and rules, I will appear before them in the body of a bhikshu and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.

Commentary:


If there are men who want to leave the home-life and uphold the precepts and rules. These men study the sutras and decide they want to leave the home-life. What home do they leave? They leave three types of homes:

1. They leave the ordinary worldly home.
2. They leave the home of afflictions.
3. They leave the home of the triple realm.

The ordinary worldly home refers to one's family. The home of affliction means dwelling in ignorance. One should get out of ignorance. The triple realm, also known as the three realms of existence, refers to existence in the desire realm, existence in the form realm, and existence in the formless realm. It is not until you have left the triple realm that you can be certified to the fruition of arhatship.

When these men leave home, they will uphold the precepts and rules. Precepts and rules are extremely important. One who holds the precepts cannot lie or exaggerate. At the very least, one should maintain the five precepts, which prohibit killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants or drugs. Here, "precepts and rules" does not just refer to the first five, however. These men uphold the five precepts, the eight precepts, the ten major and fortyeight minor Bodhisattva precepts, and the two hundred and fifty bhikshu precepts. They guard and protect the precepts and do not violate them. I will appear before them in the body of a bhikshu and speak dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. "Bhikshu" has three meanings:

1. mendicant;
2. frightener of Mara;
3. destroyer of evil.

Every day bhikshus would take their bowls and go out to beg for food. They did not prepare their own food. So they are called mendicants. There are three precept platforms for receiving the complete precepts. When one ascends to the bhikshu platform, the karmadana asks, "Are you a great hero?"

The answer is, "I am a great hero."

The karmadana asks, "Have you already brought forth the resolve for Bodhi?"

The answer is, "I have already brought forth the resolve for Bodhi."

Then one is given the bhikshu precepts, and an earth-traveling yaksha informs a space-traveling yaksha about it, and the word is passed among the flying yakshas until it reaches the heavenly demons in the sixth desire heaven. They report: "Someone in the world has just left the home-life and become a bhikshu." This terrifies the demon king, who says, "My retinue is less by one and the Buddha's retinue has increased by one."

What evil do bhikshus destroy? The evil of affliction. Without really knowing why, people from time to time give rise to affliction. When they become afflicted, they lose all their talent except for the capacity to turn to evil. For instance, a vegetarian may get upset, and the first thing he decides to do is stop his practice of pure eating. "I'm going to eat meat," he decides. As soon as people's afflictions arise, they forget everything except how to do bad things. Or, suppose there's someone who stopped smoking for a long time. When he gets upset, however, the first thing he does is reach for a cigarette. And pretty soon he's back on heroin, opium, and cigarettes all in the same inhale! He's puffing and smoking up a storm. He's inhaling and exhaling so fast that it's as if he'd become an immortal who can breathe clouds and spit fog. A person who likes to drink vows that he'll never touch another drop. But then he gets angry about something and he goes out and buys a bottle to get drunk and drown his sorrows. Who would have guessed that the more he drinks, the more depressed he becomes, but he doesn't realize it, because he's drunk. When he wakes up from the spree, every bone in his body aches. Ask anyone who drinks and they'll tell you that the morning after is terrible. If he's broke by then, there's nothing he can do but endure it. But if he's got any money left, the chances are that he'll go buy another bottle and start in again. Getting drunk is all he knows how to do. In general, when your afflictions rise up, you do things that you ordinarily wouldn't do. It even happens that someone swears he would never kill anyone, but when he gets afflicted, he totally disregards everything and decides to kill everyone in the world. And he takes a knife and starts doing just that! So, affliction is something to avoid. Don't give rise to affliction. You want to leave the home of afflictions.

One also wants to get out of the home of the triple world, and so "leaving home" has these three meanings.

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