THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 6

M3 General conclusion: stay distant from demons.

Sutra:

Ananda, you asked about collecting one's thoughts; I have now begun to explain the wonderful method of cultivation for entrance into samadhi. Those who seek the Bodhisattva Way must first be as pure as glistening frost in keeping these four rules of deportment. If one is able to never give rise to anything superfluous, then the three evils of the mind and the four of the mouth will have no cause to come forth.

Commentary:


Ananda, you asked about collecting one's thoughts; I have now begun to explain the wonderful method of cultivation for entrance into samadhi. The "wonderful method" is the perfect penetration of the organ of the ear, the returning of the hearing to hear the self-nature, so that one's nature accomplishes the Unsurpassed Way. Those who seek the Bodhisattva Way must first be as pure as glistening frost in keeping these four rules of deportment. The first thing you must do is cultivate these four rules of deportment: not taking life, not stealing, not committing acts of sexual misconduct, and not lying. The prohibition against sexual misconduct refers not only to lust with the body, but to lust within the mind. You must get rid of both in order to transcend the
wearisome dust. If you don't get rid of your thoughts of lust, you cannot get out of the dust.

The same goes for killing, stealing, and lying. These four rules of deportment are extremely important. You should become as glistening white as frost. You should be completely white, without the least bit of defilement, with not one black fleck in the white. If one can be like that, then quite naturally, one is able to never give rise to anything superfluous. Spontaneously, you will attain the source. Then the three evils of the mind and the four of the mouth will have no cause to come forth. The greed, hatred, and stupidity born of the mind will cease to arise. And the four mistakes of the mouth, loose speech, harsh speech, lies, and gossip will not arise. There will be no causes and conditions to allow them to arise, because you hold the precepts and truly cultivate the four clear and unalterable instructions on purity.

Sutra:

Ananda, if one does not neglect these four matters, and, further, if one does not pursue forms, fragrances, tastes, or objects of touch, then how can any demonic deeds arise?

Commentary:


Ananda, if one does not neglect these four matters, if one does not lose sight of or forget about these four clear and fixed instructions on purity regarding killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and, further, if one does not pursue forms, fragrances, tastes, or objects of touch, then how can any demonic deeds arise? If you don't get caught up in the defiling states of forms, sounds, smells, and objects of touch, if you don't climb on these conditions, then demonic deeds will spontaneously disappear. Once they are gone, they cannot arise.

L2 Aided by the power of the mantra.
M1 Supreme praise for diligently holding it.

Sutra:

If there are people who cannot put an end to their habits from the past, you should teach them to single-mindedly recite my 'light atop the Buddha's summit' unsurpassed spiritual mantra, Mwo He Sa Dan Dwo Bwo Da La.

Commentary:


If there are living beings who cannot get rid of their bad habits from past lives, you should teach them to recite single-mindedly. The important point here is to be single-minded. Don't have a divided mind such that on the one hand you recite the mantra, but on other you doubt its function. You don't want to be reciting and thinking, "Namo, Namo, Namo what?" You recite the mantra on the one hand, and on the other you don't really want to be saying "Namo," at the same time that you are saying it. That's just a case of being caught between belief and doubt. You are basically one person, but you end up with two minds. One mind thinks that perhaps there is some usefulness to the recitation, while the other mind says, "What am I doing reciting things that I don't even understand?" That kind of division is to be feared. You must recite single-mindedly.

"Mwo He" means "great". "Sa Dan Dwo Bwo Da La" refers to the "great white canopy." When you recite "San Dan Dwo Bwo Da La", a great white canopy manifests in the emptiness where you are. The size of the canopy depends on the amount of your skill. If your skill is great and lofty, then when you recite this phrase of the canopy, there will be no disasters for thousands of miles around. If your skill is small, then the canopy will cover your own head and protect you alone. If one has virtue in the Way, if one is a great and virtuous high Sanghan, then when one recites this line of mantra, the entire country can benefit from it. The entire area will be free from calamities; great disasters will turn into small ones, and small disasters won't even happen.

Now we are having the Shurangama Lecture dharma assembly, and a lot of people are cultivating the secret dharma of the Buddha, so I believe that all of America is benefiting from it. Americans may not be aware of it, but we are saving their lives. It is all done invisibly, and they never have any idea of who has saved them or even that they have been saved. Nor do we wish them to know. This is a case of there being no giver and no receiver. The three-wheeled substance of the giver, the gift, and the receiver is empty. When we save people, it is not necessary to get them to thank us. This is where the wonder lies.

Sutra:

It is the invisible appearance atop the summit of the Thus Come One. It is the spiritual mantra proclaimed by the Buddha of the unconditioned mind who comes forth from the summit in a blaze of light and sits upon a jeweled lotus flower.

Commentary:


The Shurangama Mantra is the invisible appearance atop the summit of the Thus Come One. It cannot be seen by people's ordinary physical eyes. As the sutra later describes it, "At that time, a hundred brilliant rays sprang from the mound of the flesh on the crown of the World Honored One's head. A thousand-petalled precious lotus arose from amidst those rays. Upon the precious flower sat the Thus Come One's transformation. From the crown of its head, in turn, he emitted ten beams, each composed of a hundred rays of precious light. Every one of those glowing rays shone on lands as many as the sands of ten Ganges Rivers, while throughout empty space there were Vajra Secret
Traces spirits, each holding aloft a mountain and wielding a pestle.

"The great assembly, gazing upward, felt fearful admiration and sought the Buddha's kind protection. Singlemindedly they listened as the Thus Come One in the light at the invisible appearance on the crown of the Buddha's head proclaimed the spiritual mantra."

I know this passage by heart. I'll never forget it. It is the Buddha of the unconditioned mind who comes forth from the summit in a blaze of light and sits upon a jeweled lotus flower, and proclaims the spiritual mantra. People who are able to encounter this spiritual mantra have great good roots from the past. Otherwise, even if they encountered it, they could not learn it. They would never be able to memorize it. That's why I'm testing you on the Shurangama Mantra. Two have already passed the test. The rest of you had better get busy.

M2 He also shows it is not difficult to get rid of these habits.

Sutra:

What is more, your past lives with Matangi's daughter created accumulated kalpas of causes and conditions. Your habits of fondness and emotional love go back not just one life, nor even just one kalpa. Yet, as soon as I proclaimed it, she was freed forever from the love in her heart and accomplished arhatship.

Commentary:


What is more, your past lives with Matangi's daughter created accumulated kalpas of causes and conditions. Your affinities go way back. You were married to each other five hundred times. Your habits of fondness and emotional love go back not just one life, nor even just one kalpa. You two have very deep habits of mutual regard and fondness for each other. It does not pertain to just one time, nor to one life, nor even to just one kalpa. It's been going on for a long, long time. Yet, as soon as I proclaimed it, she was freed forever from the love in her heart. Matangi's daughter renounced her emotional love, and she accomplished arhatship. After she heard the mantra and returned to receive the Buddha's instruction, she became enlightened and was certified to the third fruition of arhatship. When Manjushri spoke about perfect penetration, she was certified to the fourth fruition of arhatship. Her accomplishment of the fourth fruition was very quick. Ananda is still at the first fruition at this point. He hasn't made any progress.

Sutra:

That prostitute, who had no intention of cultivating, was imperceptibly aided by that spiritual power and was swiftly certified to the position beyond learning; then what about you sound-hearers in the assembly, who seek the most supreme vehicle and are resolved to accomplish Buddhahood? For you it should be as easy as tossing dust into a favorable wind. What, then, is the problem?

Commentary:


That prostitute, who had no intention of cultivating, was imperceptibly aided by that spiritual power and was swiftly certified to the position beyond learning. Matangi's daughter was a prostitute. She basically wasn't interested in cultivating the Way. Nonetheless, the power of the spiritual mantra aided her in a secret way, and she attained the fourth fruition of arhatship very quickly. Then what about you sound-hearers in the assembly, who seek the most supreme vehicle and are resolved to accomplish Buddhahood? You sound-hearers in this dharma assembly are in search of the Buddha-vehicle and will certainly become Buddhas. For you it should be as easy as tossing dust into a favorable wind. What, then, is the problem? Once a good wind takes the dust, the dust will blow away. What's the difficulty? What's the danger? There isn't any.

K2 A general explanation of samadhi and wisdom in the bodhimanda.
L1 Because of precepts one produces samadhi.

Sutra:

Those in the final age who wish to sit in a Bodhimanda must first hold the pure precepts of a bhikshu. To do so, they must find as their teacher a foremost shramana who is pure in the precepts. If they do not encounter a member of the Sangha who is truly pure, then it is absolutely certain that their deportment in precepts and rules cannot be accomplished.

Commentary:

Those in the final age who wish to sit in a Bodhimanda must first hold the pure precepts of a bhikshu. The first thing that people in the Dharma-ending Age have to do if they wish to set up Bodhimandas, perhaps temples or stupas or Way-places of other sorts, is receive the bhikshu precepts and then uphold them purely. Anyone who wants to leave the home-life must take the precepts in order to do so. Once one has received the precepts, one is a bhikshu. Then one must strictly uphold the precepts and rules. There must not be the slightest violation. To do so, they must find as their teacher a foremost shramana who is pure in the precepts. They look for a nationally respected shramana, a high Sanghan. They take him as their teacher. If they do not encounter a member of the Sangha who is truly pure, then it is absolutely certain that their deportment in precepts and rules cannot be accomplished. If you don't find a member of the Sangha who holds the precepts purely, then your own deportment with regard to the precepts and rules cannot be brought to fulfillment. You won't be successful in it.

Sutra:

After accomplishing the precepts, they should put on fresh, clean clothes, light incense in a place where they are alone, and recite the spiritual mantra spoken by the Buddha of the Mind one hundred and eight times. After that, they should secure the boundaries and establish the Bodhimanda.

Commentary:


After successfully accomplishing the precepts, they should put on fresh, clean clothes. New clothes are best, or clean ones that have not been worn. They should light incense in a place where they are alone. You should light incense before the Buddhas and not do anything else but recite the spiritual mantra spoken by the Buddha of the Mind one hundred and eight times. "The Buddha of the Mind" refers to the transformation Buddha atop the invisible summit. This is the mantra spoken by the Buddha of the Mind. The "spiritual mantra" refers to the heart of the mantra. Recite this section of the Shurangama Mantra one hundred and eight times. After that, they should secure the boundaries and establish the Bodhimanda. One secures the boundaries to the east as far as they extend, to the west as far as they extend, to the south as far as they extend, and to the north as far as they extend. Once the boundaries are secured, the heavenly demons and adherents of external ways are not permitted to enter the enclosed area. Thus, the Bodhimanda and platform will not be plagued by demonic deeds. In this way, the platform, the Bodhimanda, is established.

Sutra:

In the countries within them, they should seek for the unsurpassed Thus Come Ones throughout the ten directions to emit a light of great compassion and anoint the crowns of their heads.

Commentary:


As they recite a hundred and eight times and establish the Bodhimanda, in the countries within them, they should seek for the unsurpassed Thus Come Ones throughout the ten directions, that is, in the Buddhalands found within the boundaries, to emit a light of great compassion and anoint the crowns of their heads. They should beseech all the Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions contained within the boundaries they have secured to emit a great, compassionate light to moisten and nourish them on the crowns of their heads.

L2 Because of samadhi one opens wisdom.

Sutra:

Ananda, when any such pure bhikshus, bhikshunis, or white-robed donors in the Dharma-ending Age who can rid their minds of greed and lust hold the Buddha's pure precepts and in a bodhimanda make the vows of a Bodhisattva and can bathe upon entering each time, and day and night for three weeks without sleep continue this practice of the Way, I will appear before these people in a physical form and rub the crowns of their heads to comfort them and enable them to become enlightened.

Commentary:


Ananda, when any such pure bhikshus, bhikshunis, or white-robed donors in the Dharma-ending Age, at that time there may be pure bhikshus or bhikshunis or laypeople. "Donor" is the "danapati" in Sanskrit. The Chinese transliteration divides into a word that means "giving" and the word "to transcend." It refers to those people who protect the Triple Jewel. If such people can rid their minds of greed and lust, that is, get rid of sexual desire, hold the Buddha's pure precepts, and in a bodhimanda make the vows of a Bodhisattva:

1. Living beings are boundless; I vow to save them.
2. Afflictions are endless; I vow to cut them off.
3. Dharma-doors are limitless; I vow to study them completely.
4. The Buddha-Way is unsurpassed; I vow to accomplish it.

These are the four vast vows of a Bodhisattva. If these people can bathe upon entering each time, and day and night for three weeks without sleep continue this practice of the Way. They make the Bodhisattva's vows in the Bodhimanda, and then they recite the spiritual mantra, the Shurangama Mantra. If they go out, they bathe before they return. Throughout the six periods of the day and night, they practice for three weeks, sitting for three-hour stretches and walking for three-hour stretches. During these twenty-one days and nights, they do not sleep. I will appear before these people in a physical form and rub the crowns of their heads to comfort them and enable them to become enlightened. Shakyamuni Buddha says, "I will appear in person before such people and rub the tops of their heads with my hand. I will enable them to obtain the fruition of sagehood."

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