THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 6

K2 They confuse their origin so it is difficult to return.

Sutra:

Confusion about one's basic, perfect understanding results in the arising of falseness. The nature of falseness is devoid of substance; it is not something which can be relied upon.

Commentary:


Confusion about one's basic, perfect understanding results in the arising of falseness. "Confusion" refers to the arising of falseness out of truth. Basically there is no name or appearance in the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One. But when ignorance is produced, confusion results. Since one is confused, one no longer recognizes one's inherent enlightened nature. Once that happens, it is as if one has lost one's home. Then falseness arises. The nature of falseness is devoid of substance; it is not something which can be relied upon. Although falseness arises out of truth, falseness itself doesn't have any substance. It came out of truth, but it is merely illusory. Since ignorance doesn't have a substance of its own, the three subtle appearances cannot really be based on it.

Sutra:

One may wish to return to the truth, but that wish for the truth is already a falseness. The real nature of true suchness is not a truth that one can seek to return to. By doing so one misses the mark.

Commentary:


One may wish to return to the truth, but that wish for the truth is already a falseness. Basically, ignorance has no substance of its own, and as a consequence the three subtle appearances aren't really based on anything. Therefore, it is a mistake to decide that you want to "return to the truth," to go back to the source in order to seek for the truth. You've just given rise to more falseness. If you want to return to the truth, you should merely refrain from adding brightness to enlightenment; just don't add a head on top of a head. Don't go looking for a donkey while riding on a donkey.

The real nature of true suchness is not a truth that one can seek to return to. It's not that you decide to return to inherent truth. Rather, you simply dispense with ignorance; that itself is the truth. There's no need to seek further. The entire reason you do not grasp the truth is that you are possessed with ignorance. If you discover that ignorance has no substance, then "you don't get rid of false thinking, and you don't seek the truth." All you have to do is destroy ignorance, and the dharma nature manifests. By doing so one misses the mark. Basically one does not have to seek truth or cut off falseness. All one has to do is smash through ignorance, and one's enlightened nature appears spontaneously. But if one does not smash through ignorance and yet seeks the truth, one is doing what is called "letting go of the root and grasping at the branches." The first step is to break through ignorance. When ignorance is destroyed, the three subtle appearances also disappear, and so do the six coarse appearances. How can one seek truth when one has not destroyed ignorance? If one tries to do it that way, one ends up with more false appearances.

K3 They produce karma which brings a retribution.

Sutra:

What basically is not produced, what basically does not dwell, what basically is not the mind, and what basically are not dharmas arise through interaction. As they arise more and more strongly, they form the propensity to create karma. Similar karma sets up a mutual stimulus. Because of the karma thus generated, there is mutual production and mutual extinction. That is the reason for the upside-down state of living beings.

Commentary:


What basically is not produced refers to the ignorance which produces appearances. What basically does not dwell refers to karmic consciousness, which is to say the eighth consciousness. What basically is not the mind refers to the aspect of seeing. What basically are not dharmas refers to the aspect of appearances. Ignorance, karmic consciousness, and the aspects of seeing and appearances have no source and no substance of their own. Their very existence is illusory. Nonetheless, this sickness is contagious once it arises: that is what is meant by they arise through interaction. It is the same as the interconnection of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. As they arise more and more strongly, they form the propensity to create karma. Their continual arisal and transformation become powerful, and, so similarly, the karma they make increases. Ignorance, karmic consciousness, and the aspects of seeing and appearances aid one another; they borrow strength from one another. This interaction becomes stronger and stronger until, when it reaches its peak, they become fused and create karma. Karmic obstacles arise. Similar karma sets up a mutual stimulus. Because of the karma thus generated, there is mutual production and mutual extinction. Because of this interconnection and mutual stimulation, production and extinction are created. That is the reason for the upside-down state of living beings. That's how living beings come to be and how they give rise to inversions.

J2 He makes clear the world is upside down.
K1 He explains the meaning of the word world.


Sutra:

Ananda, what is meant by the upside-down state of the world? All that exists comes from this; the world is set up because of the false arising of sections and shares. Every cause in fact has no cause; everything that is dependent has nothing on which it is dependent, and so it shifts and slides and is unreliable. Because of this, the world of the three periods of time and four directions comes into being. The union and interaction of times and direction bring about changes which result in the twelve categories of living beings.

Commentary:


Ananda, what is meant by the upside-down state of the world? Ananda, I will explain the inversions of the world. You should listen to this. All that exists comes from this. "This" refers to ignorance. "All that exists" refers to the physical bodies and faculties of living beings. The world is set up because of the false arising of sections and shares, of ignorance and living beings.

"Sections" refers to the individual bodies of living beings. "Shares" refers to their various lifespans. When beings give rise to ignorance, to an unenlightened thought, it is as if they have taken some drug which confuses them, or as if they had gotten drunk on too much wine. They no longer know what they should be doing. So they simply go along with their karma. Whatever karma they create, they undergo retribution for those deeds. This is why the world comes into being. Every cause in fact has no cause; everything that is dependent has nothing on which it is dependent, and so it shifts and slides and is unreliable.

Although ignorance is groundless and void, nonetheless it is the cause of this world. "No cause," then, refers to ignorance, which, being empty, cannot form a cause. And yet, illusory though it is, it gives rise to the world, "every cause." The world is empty, too, then, and since it is empty, it cannot be relied upon. And yet, it appears it can be relied upon. "Everything that is dependent has nothing on which it is dependent." Basically, the world is not something on which anything can be dependent, but because living beings give rise to false attachment and false emotion, they become something "that is dependent." This dependency is a manifestation of their karmic consciousness. But since the whole situation is basically empty, basically non-existent, basically causeless and unreliable, things "shift and slide and are unreliable."

The entire circumstance is never-ending and always in a state of flux. Because of this, the world of the three periods of time and four directions comes into being. All these influences combine to create the world. The world has three periods of time: past, present, and future. It also has four aspects of space: the four directions. The union and interaction of times and direction bring about changes which result in the twelve categories of living beings. They borrow on one another's strength. The twelve categories of living beings will be discussed below.

K2 He shows its characteristic is constant flux.

Sutra:

That is why, in this world, movement brings about sounds, sounds bring about forms, forms bring about smells, smells bring about contact, contact brings about tastes, and tastes bring about awareness of dharmas. The random false thinking resulting from these six creates karma, and this continuous revolving becomes the cause of twelve different categories.

Commentary:


That is why, in this world, movement brings about sounds. Because of the appearance of movement, the defiling object of sounds arises. Sounds bring about forms. Once the defiling object of sounds exists, the defiling object of forms comes into being. Forms bring about smells. Forms influence the arising of smells. Smells bring about contact, contact brings about tastes, and tastes bring about awareness of dharmas. The random false thinking resulting from these six creates karma. The "six" refer to forms, sounds, smells, tastes, contact, and dharmas. These six create scattered false thoughts and together they play tricks. They are a gang of thieves. They plunder and rob. They create karma. And this continuous revolving becomes the cause of twelve different categories. The interactions of the six defiling organs make continuous karma, which divides into twelve distinct types. From this, beings undergo continual rebirth in the six paths.

Sutra:

And so, in the world, sounds, smells, tastes, contact, and the like, are each transformed throughout the twelve categories to make one complete cycle.

Commentary:


And so, in the world, sounds, smells, tastes, contact, and the like, that is, forms, sounds, smells, tastes, contacts, and dharmas, are each transformed throughout the twelve categories to make one complete cycle. There is one change after another as they go through the twelve categories, until a complete revolution is made. These changes can be explained in two ways: first, each defiling sense-object relates to each category of beings, so that there are womb-born sounds, egg-born sounds, and so forth, up to and including womb-born dharmas, and egg-born dharmas. The other explanation is that each kind of being complete with the six faculties goes through each category of rebirth in a sequence, based on the weight of its particular karma. Thus if one's thinking is predominant, one becomes first an egg-born being, and so forth.

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