THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 6

N8 Without thought.

Sutra:

Through a continual process of dullness and slowness, the upside-down state of stupidity occurs in this world. It unites with obstinacy to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are dry and attenuated. From this there come into being the ghanas of those without thought, which multiply throughout the lands as their essence and spirit change into earth, wood, metal, or stone, until their kinds abound.

Commentary:


Through a continual process of dullness and slowness, the upside-down state of stupidity occurs in this world. Obtuseness and dullness create an entire cycle from which arise the li, mei, and wang liang ghosts. The karma wrought from stupidity unites with obstinacy to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts that are dry and attenuated. They simply dry up mentally. From this there come into being the ghanas of those without thought, which multiply throughout the lands as their essence and spirit change into earth, wood, metal, or stone, until their kinds abound. Because their thought is dry and attenuated, their very essence and spirit transform into earth, wood, metal, or stone. These kinds of beings are also found everywhere. How can their essence and spirit turn into these things?

In Hong Kong there's a place called Wang Fu mountain. The story goes that a certain woman's husband enlisted in the navy and never returned to her. But every day she would go stand on this mountain and gaze out to sea. Every day she would stand there gazing and holding her child until eventually her thought became so attenuated that her essence underwent a transformation, and she turned to stone. To this day you can see the rock shaped like the woman with the child on her back. She's still gazing. It's not at all easy to convince people that one's spirit and essence can turn into earth, wood, metal, or stone, but in fact it can. It really does happen. There are many instances of people turning into stone. There's another way this can happen, too. If, for example, a person has a fiery temper, and the fire of his nature reaches a peak, his very essence can transform into coal. The fire in his nature is so intense that he becomes a substance that is easily burned. People are composed of metal, wood, water, fire, and earth, and if they remain in constant contact with any one element and become too much involved in it, they can turn into that very element. It happens because of attachment and attenuated thoughts. When that phenomenon occurs, can that being ever become a person again? Yes, but one knows not how long it will take. It would involve an extremely long period of time.

N9 Not totally having form.

Sutra:

Through a continuous process of parasitic interaction, the upside-down state of simulation occurs in this world. It unites with defilement to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of according and relying. From this there come into being those not totally endowed with form, who become ghanas of form which multiply throughout the lands until their kinds abound, in such ways as jellyfish that use shrimp for eyes.

Commentary:


This section discusses living beings who are not totally endowed with form. Through a continuous process of parasitic interaction, the upside-down state of simulation occurs in this world. It unites with defilement to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of according and relying. "According and relying" refers to a mutual dependence. From this there come into being those not totally endowed with form, who become ghanas of form which multiply throughout the lands until their kinds abound. They are not totally endowed with form, but through a parasitic interaction they become involved with a being that is endowed with form. These beings appear in such ways as jellyfish that use shrimp for eyes. The jellyfish doesn't have any eyes in its physical makeup, so it borrows the eyes of the shrimp, by allowing a parasitic relationship. Jellyfish often look like mere bubbles in the water, but they actually belong to this category of beings: those not totally endowed with form. There are all kinds of beings all over the place that fall into this category.

N10 Not totally without form.

Sutra:

Through a continuous process of mutual enticement, an upside-down state of the nature occurs in this world. It unites with mantras to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of beckoning and summoning. From this there come into being those not totally lacking form, who take ghanas which are formless and multiply throughout the lands, until their kinds abound, as the hidden beings of mantras and incantations.

Commentary:


This category is those not totally lacking form. Basically they have no form, except when they are beckoned by mantras. Through a continuous process of mutual enticement, an upsidedown state of the nature occurs in this world. There is an interaction which is enticing to both. This perversion of the nature results in a union with mantras to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of beckoning and summoning. Recently I talked about the dharma of "hooking and summoning," which is another name for what is being discussed here. One beckons by calling the name of the being. Usually one does not see such beings, but when one recites a mantra, the being reveals its form. When they reveal themselves, one can often see them.

Although we speak of these creatures as being "ghosts and spirits," they are a special kind of mantra spirit, as we can see from this passage of text. From this there come into being those not totally lacking form, who take ghanas which are formless and multiply throughout the lands, until their kinds abound. "Those not totally lacking form" refers to this category of ghosts and spirits, be they dharma protectors or deviant spirits. They are the hidden beings of mantras and incantations. In the Secret school there exist mantras which summon these kinds of beings.

N11 Not totally with thought.

Sutra:

Through a continuous process of false unity, the upsidedown state of transgression occurs in this world. It unites with unlike formations to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of reciprocal interchange. From this there come into being those not totally endowed with thought, which become ghanas possessing thought and which multiply throughout the lands until their kinds abound in such forms as the varata, which turns a different creature into its own species.

Commentary:


Through a continuous process of false unity, the upsidedown state of transgression occurs in this world. It unites with unlike formations to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of reciprocal interchange. The two are different, but they change formation to become the same. "Eighty-four thousand" is a general number that is used for each category of being, but in fact each category contains tremendously many kinds of beings, an incalculable number. From this there come into being those not totally endowed with thought, which become ghanas possessing thought and which multiply throughout the lands until their kinds abound. To begin with, the creature did not conceive of itself as becoming a certain kind of being, but through a process of thought it becomes a certain type of being. This refers to beings in such forms as the varata, which turns a different creature into its own species. "Varata" is a Sanskrit term for a kind of wasp. This wasp takes silk worm caterpillars and transforms them into its own young. It puts the caterpillars in its mud nest and for seven days recites a mantra which says, "Be like me, be like me." At the end of that period, the change takes place. They are called beings not totally endowed with thought, because the caterpillars do not initially think they will turn into wasps. In the Book of Poetry (Shi Jing) there is the phrase:

The wasp owes its offspring to the caterpillar.

The wasp steals the caterpillars and removes them to its nest where it uses the mantra to transform them.

N12 Not totally without thought.

Sutra:

Through a continuous process of enmity and harm the upside-down state of killing occurs in this world. It unites with monstrosities to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of devouring one's father and mother. From this there come into being those not totally lacking thought, who take ghanas with no thought and multiply throughout the lands, until their kinds abound in such forms as the dirt owl, which hatches its young from clods of dirt, and the Pou Jing bird, which incubates a poisonous fruit to create its young. In each case, the young thereupon eat the parents.

Commentary:

This is the twelfth category of beings, those not totally lacking thought. They have thought, but it is totally warped. Their very spirit is twisted. Through a continuous process of enmity and harm the upside-down state of killing occurs in this world. You injure me, and I'll injure you. You kill me, and I'll kill you. You hate me, and I hate you. It unites with monstrosities to become eighty-four thousand kinds of random thoughts of devouring one's father and mother. When this hate has built to the point that it permeates everything, then weird creatures come into being.

From this there come into being those not totally lacking thought, who take ghanas with no thought and multiply throughout the lands, until their kinds abound. They appear in such forms as the dirt owl, which hatches its young from clods of dirt. The owl is known in China as the "cat-headed hawk" and as "the unfilial bird." This bird lays no eggs, but incubates a clod of dirt and is able to bring its young out of it. The problem is that when these young dirt owls hatch, they devour their mother. That's why the bird is called unfilial. The Pou Jing bird, which incubates a poisonous fruit to create its young. There is an animal in China called the pou jing that looks like a wolf but is smaller. This animal can't reproduce, either, so it takes the fruit from a poisonous tree and can incubate it to create its young. In each case, the young thereupon eat the parents. But the case is the same: the young eat the mother. This unfilial beast is perhaps the one being referred to in the text. "Bird" may be a mistranslation. These kinds of beings can be found in every country.

M2 Reiterates their name and number.

Sutra:

These are the twelve categories of living beings.

Commentary:


Above have been explained the twelve categories of living beings.

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