THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 6

N4 They must keep their minds on their recitation.

Sutra:

As to you and everyone in the assembly who is still studying, and as to cultivators of the future who rely on my platform, hold the precepts in accord with the dharma, receive the precepts from pure members of the Sangha, and hold this mantra-heart without giving rise to doubts: should such good people as these not obtain mind-penetration in that very body born of their parents, then the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions have lied!

Commentary:


As to you, Ananda, and everyone in the assembly who is still studying, and as to cultivators of the future. That includes all of us of the present time. If all of these rely on my platform, if they establish platforms in accord with the method I have described, and hold the precepts in accord with the dharma; if they receive the precepts from pure members of the Sangha, they meet members of the Sangha who are pure and who have not violated the precepts; and if they hold this mantra-heart without giving rise to doubts, they do not have even the slightest doubt about the Shurangama Mantra: should such good people as these rely on my method to cultivate, establish the platform, and meet a pure bhikshu from whom they receive the complete precepts, if such are their causes and conditions; then if in that very body born of their parents, they do not obtain the mind-penetration, that is, if they don't become enlightened and obtain the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations, then the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions have lied! Then the Buddhas of the ten directions are not telling the truth.

I3 The assembly vows to protect it.
J1 The outer assembly protects and holds it.
K1 The multitude of vajra power-knights.


Sutra:

When he finished this explanation, measureless hundreds of thousands of vajra power-knights in the assembly came before the Buddha, placed their palms together, bowed, and said, "With sincere hearts we will protect those who cultivate Bodhi in this way, according to what the Buddha has said."

Commentary:


When he, Shakyamuni Buddha, finished this explanation, measureless hundreds of thousands of vajra power-knights in the assembly came before the Buddha, placed their palms together, bowed, and said to the Buddha, "With sincere hearts we will protect those who cultivate Bodhi in this way, according to what the Buddha has said, according to this dharma-door. We will guard all the sincere good people who are cultivating like this to attain the Bodhi Way."

K2 The venerable hosts of gods.

Sutra:

Then the Brahma king, the god Shakra, and the four great heavenly kings all came before the Buddha, made obeisance together, and said to the Buddha, "If indeed there be good men who cultivate and study in this way, we will do all we can to earnestly protect them and cause everything to be as they would wish throughout their entire lives."

Commentary:


Then the Brahma king, the lord of the Great Brahma Heaven, the god Shakra, Lord God, and the four great heavenly kings also came before the Buddha. They all stood up together and then made obeisance together to the Buddha, and said to the Buddha, "If indeed there be good men who cultivate and study in this say, we will do all we can to earnestly protect them and cause everything to be as they would wish throughout their entire lives. If there really are people who cultivate as you have described just now, Buddha, then with the fullest measure of our sincerity, we will guard and protect them and fulfill their wishes."

K3 The host of the eight divisions.

Sutra:

Moreover, measureless great yaksha generals, rakshasa kings, putana kings, kumbhanda kings, pishacha kings, Vinayaka, the great ghost kings, and all the ghost commanders came before the Buddha, put their palms together, and made obeisance. "We also have vowed to protect these people and cause their resolve for Bodhi to be quickly perfected."

Commentary:


Moreover, measureless great yaksha generals, the "speedy" ghosts; rakshasa kings, the "terrifying" ghosts which are full of devious tricks; putana kings, the "bad-smelling" ghosts which cause fevers; kumbhanda kings, the "barrel-shaped" ghosts which paralyze people; pishacha are another horrible kind of ghost; Vinayaka, the scary, ugly dharma protector; the great ghost kings; and all the ghost commanders came before the Buddha, put their palms together, made obeisance together, and said to the Buddha, "We also have vowed to protect these people and cause their resolve for Bodhi to be quickly perfected."

K4 The ruling assembly of illumining bodies.

Sutra:

Further, measureless numbers of gods of the sun and moon, lords of the rain, lords of the clouds, lords of thunder, lords of lightning who patrol throughout the year, and all the retinues of stars which were also in the assembly bowed at the Buddha's feet and said to the Buddha, "We also protect all cultivators, so that their Bodhimandas are peaceful and they attain fearlessness."

Commentary:


Further, measureless numbers of gods of the sun and moon, lords of the rain, lords of the clouds, lords of thunder, lords of lightning who patrol throughout the year, most people don't realize that for every year there is a governor who monitors the events that take place during it, and all the retinues of stars which were also in the assembly, each star has its retinue, bowed at the Buddha's feet and said to the Buddha, "We also protect all cultivators, so that their Bodhi minds are peaceful and they attain fearlessness. We've also made vows to protect people who cultivate. We set ourselves up in their Bodhimanda and help them be unafraid. They attain the power of fearlessness."

K5 The deities and spirits of the earth.

Sutra:

Moreover, measureless numbers of mountain spirits, sea spirits, and all those of the earth, the myriad creatures and essences of water, land, and the air, as well as the king of wind spirits and the gods of the formless heavens, came before the Thus Come One, bowed their heads, and said to the Buddha, "We also will protect these cultivators until they attain Bodhi and will never let any demons have their way with them."

Commentary:


Moreover, measureless numbers of mountain spirits, sea spirits, and all those of the earth, the myriad creatures and essences of water, land, and the air, all these spirits, too, as well as the king of the wind spirits and the gods of the formless heavens, came before the Thus Come One, bowed their heads, simultaneously making obeisance to the Buddha, and said to the Buddha, "We also will protect these cultivators until they attain Bodhi and will never let any demons have their way with them. We will protect them right up to the time they attain Bodhi and will never let anything demonic happen to them."

J2 The inner sages protect and hold it.
K1 They reveal their origin and their long-term protection.


Sutra:

Then Vajra-Treasury-King Bodhisattvas in the great assembly, numbering as many as eighty-four thousand nayutas of kotis' worth of sands in the Ganges, arose from their seats, bowed at the Buddha's feet, and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, the nature of our deeds in cultivation is such that, although we have long since accomplished Bodhi, we do not grasp at nirvana, but always accompany those who hold this mantra, rescuing and protecting those in the final age who cultivate samadhi properly."

Commentary:


Then Vajra-Treasury-King Bodhisattvas in the great assembly, numbering as many as eighty-four thousand nayutas of kotis, that is, as many hundreds of millions, worth of sands in the Ganges, arose from their seats, bowed at the Buddha's feet, and said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, the nature of our deeds in cultivation is such that, although we have long since accomplished Bodhi, we do not grasp at nirvana, but always accompany those who hold this mantra. The merit and virtue of our cultivation is such that we already realized Bodhi long ago; we have been certified. So why don't we enter nirvana? We always accompany those who hold this mantra. We are intent upon rescuing and protecting those in the Final Age who cultivate samadhi properly. Those who genuinely practice Chan samadhi will be guarded and protected by us."

K2 They assert their protection and maintaining.

Sutra:

World Honored One, such people as this, who cultivate their minds and seek proper concentration, whether in the Bodhimanda or walking about, and even such people who with scattered minds roam and play in the villages, will be accompanied and protected by us and our retinue of followers.

Commentary:


The Vajra-Treasury-King Bodhisattvas continue speaking to the Buddha: World Honored One, such people as this, who cultivate their minds and seek proper concentration, who want to obtain genuine samadhi power, whether in the Bodhimanda or walking about. Cultivators sit in meditation and apply effort, but when they get up and walk about, they are still applying effort. When they sit, they develop the skill of dhyana samadhi. When they get up, they cultivate the samadhi of reciting and holding, either by reciting mantras or being mindful of the Buddha. And even such people who with scattered minds roam and play in the villages. The Vajra-Treasury-King Bodhisattvas even protect cultivators who are not cultivating samadhi, are not in the Bodhimanda, and are not walking about reciting. Actually, though, even if you're on a holiday to another place, you can still hold the mantra. But even if you get scattered, the Vajra Treasury-King Bodhisattvas say: you will be accompanied and protected by us and our retinue of followers. If you are one who recites and upholds the Shurangama Mantra, and if you have some skill, if you can make it function, then eighty-four thousand Vajra-Treasury-King Bodhisattvas and their entire retinue of followers will accompany and protect you wherever you go, just as troops protect their generals. When you enter a room, there will be guards at the door protecting you.

Sutra:

Although the demon kings and the god of great comfort will seek to get at them, they will never be able to do so. The smaller ghosts will have to stay ten yojanas' distance from these good people, except for those beings who have decided they want to cultivate dhyana.

Commentary:


Although the demon kings and the god of great comfort will seek to get at them, they will never be able to do so. They will look for a way in, they will look for a hole, so that they can give the cultivators trouble. But they will not be able to bother them. And the smaller ghosts will have to stay ten yojanas' distance from these good people. Since the demon kings and the god of the Heaven of Great Comfort are unable to disturb them, the little ghosts and spirits will have to behave even more properly. They will have to stay 275 miles away, except for those beings who have decided they want to cultivate dhyana. The only exception is those ghosts who have brought forth the resolve to listen to the sutras, hear the dharma, and to cultivate Chan samadhi. Beings like that can participate in the Bodhimanda and the dharma assemblies and can listen to the sutras if they want to. If they don't want to do those things, they must stay 275 miles away.

Sutra:

World Honored One, if such evil demons or their retinues want to harm or disturb these good people, we will smash their heads to smithereens with our Vajra pestles. We will always help these people to accomplish what they want.

Commentary:


Would you say the dharma-protecting Vajra-Treasury Bodhisattvas are fierce? They say they will smash the heads of demons into fine motes of dust. Can you imagine how much strength that would take? I'll tell you, however, that there is no need for the Vajra pestles of the Vajra-Treasury Bodhisattvas to come in actual contact with the heads of the demons at all. They don't need to really strike a blow in order to smash their heads to smithereens. All they have to do is have the thought to do it, and the deed is accomplished. That's because the strength of the samadhi of the Vajra-Treasury Bodhisattvas is sufficient to obliterate everything that exists. So they call out again: World Honored One, if such evil demons or their retinues want to harm or disturb these good people, we will smash their heads to smithereens with our Vajra pestles. We will always help these people to accomplish what they want.

Just such demons as those mentioned here are behind the brawls and strikes and revolts, the cases of arson, murder, and theft in every major city in the world today. Demon kings stir up these troubles invisibly. Most people don't know that but someone who has cultivated the Buddhadharma to the point that he or she has genuine samadhi-power, someone with good roots who has opened the Buddha eye, can verify that this is so. The problem is that the dharma-tricks of the demons have a lot of power behind them. They pack more of a wallop than the Buddhadharma, in that one must cultivate the dharma for a long, long time, three, five, ten, twenty years, before one obtains a little advantage. But the demons' tricks are mastered very swiftly. They can cultivate and obtain tremendous psychic powers, and they abound throughout the world, causing unrest and instigating trouble. However, if you can recite the Shurangama Mantra, then all the demons throughout the world are forced to behave to some extent. If no one can recite the Shurangama Mantra, they will run rampant. They will recklessly devastate this world.

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