THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 7

The Position of Equal and Wonderful Enlightenment

J9 The position of equal enlightenment.
K1 Describing the position.


Sutra:

The Thus Come Ones counter the flow as the Bodhisattvas thus reach this point through compliance with practice. Their enlightenments intermingle; it is therefore called Equal Enlightenment.

Commentary:


The Thus Come Ones counter the flow. This means that the Thus Come Ones have already become Buddhas. But they counter the flow and appear in the world to rescue living beings. Thus from the Buddha-position, they come back along the Bodhisattva path in order to greet the Bodhisattva. That's what's meant by countering the flow. The Bodhisattvas thus reach this point through compliance with practice. The Bodhisattvas comply with the flow. This "flow" refers to going from an ordinary person to Arhatship, through Bodhisattvahood, and on to Buddhahood, which the Bodhisattvas have not yet experienced at this point. So they are going along with the flow that leads to the Buddha's enlightened position. Now, they actually encounter the Buddhas. Their enlightenments intermingle. The enlightenment of the Buddhas and the enlightenment of the Bodhisattvas merge at this point. It is therefore called Equal Enlightenment. These Bodhisattvas are equal to the Buddha. But theirs is still not wonderful enlightenment. It is still only similar to the Buddha's enlightenment, because at this level they still have left one bit of ignorance that seems to be that of production. They still must destroy that. So ignorance is difficult to leave behind. Once they smash it, however, they will be Buddhas.

When people claim to be Buddhas, I ask them, "From where did you come? What path did you take?" If they don't even know the name of the first position, have never seen the path that leads to the second position, and don't know how to get to the third position, then how can they have arrived at Buddhahood? They took a plane, perhaps? In that case a rocket would have been even faster. I suspect that such people will never reach the Buddha position. Why not? It is because they say they are there when in fact they are not. Do they speak the truth, or do they lie? They have not cultivated or done anything within the Buddhadharma, and yet they profess to be Buddhas. It just doesn't add up. How about those people who have practiced within the Buddhadharma for decades and still are not Buddhas? Maybe those people who say they are Buddhas have effected some scientific means to get themselves there so fast.

K2 Bringing out the wisdom obtained.

Sutra:

Ananda, the enlightenment which encompasses the mind of dry wisdom through to the culmination of equal enlightenment is the initial attainment of the vajra mind. This constitutes the level of Initial Dry Wisdom.

Commentary:


Ananda, the enlightenment which encompasses the mind of dry wisdom, also called the initial vajra mind and the level of dry wisdom, through to the culmination of equal enlightenment is the initial attainment of the vajra mind. This refers to the latter vajra mind. This constitutes the level of Initial Dry Wisdom of the latter vajra mind. The previous level of dry wisdom referred to the drying up of emotional love and desire. At that point, he had not yet joined with the Thus Come One's dharma-water. Now, even though this latter level of dry wisdom is more encompassing, he still has not yet joined the sea of wonderful adornments of a Thus Come One, so it's also referred to as dry wisdom. However, it pertains to the latter vajra mind and is the final step.

J10 The position of wonderful enlightenment.

Sutra:

Thus there are totals of twelve single and grouped levels. At last they reach wonderful enlightenment and accomplish the Unsurpassed Way.

Commentary:

Thus there are totals of twelve single and grouped levels. There are seven single levels:

1) initial dry wisdom;
2) heat;
3) summit;
4) patience;
5) first in the world;
6) equal enlightenment;
7) wonderful enlightenment.

There are five grouped levels:

1) the ten faiths;
2) the ten dwellings;
3) the ten conducts;
4) the ten transferences;
5) the ten grounds.

Because each of these levels includes ten positions, they are classed as groups. Together the seven single levels and the five groups make twelve. There are fifty-four positions from the initial dry wisdom to equal enlightenment. Some count the initial dry wisdom of the latter vajra mind as the fifty-fifth, but actually that level of dry wisdom is the same as equal enlightenment.

At last they reach Wonderful Enlightenment and accomplish the Unsurpassed Way. They come to the end of the path to wonderful enlightenment and accomplish the reward and the substance of wonderful enlightenment. They have accomplished Buddhahood.

I2 Conclusion: manifestation of pure dharmas.


Sutra:

At all these levels they use vajra contemplation of the ten profound analogies for the ways in which things are like an illusion. In shamatha they use the Thus Come Ones' vipashyana to cultivate them purely, to be certified to them, and to gradually enter them more and more deeply.

Commentary:

At all these levels they use vajra contemplation of the ten profound analogies for the ways in which things are like an illusion. These levels are the ones just described, from the level of dry wisdom of the initial vajra mind through the ten faiths, the ten dwellings, the ten conducts, the ten transferences, the ten grounds, and the four additional practices. They use the vajra mind to cultivate with, to contemplate by. They contemplate how things are like an illusion. "Illusion" means that you say it is real, but it isn't; you say it's false, but it isn't. It's as I mentioned before:

The myriad practices he cultivates are but flowers in space.
The Bodhimanda he sits in is like the moon in water.
And subduing the demonic armies, mere reflections in a mirror.
He does great deeds of the Buddhas while in a dream.

The "ten profound analogies" are as follows:

1. All karma is like an illusion. You should look upon karmic obstacles as illusory, not real.

2. All dharmas are like a mirage. Sometimes in the spring you'll see what seems to be smoke rising, but when you approach the spot, you find there's really nothing there at all. It's just a mirage. You should look upon all dharmas in the same way.

3. All physical bodies are like the moon in water.

4. All wonderful forms are like flowers in space.

5. All wonderful sounds are like echoes in a valley.

6. All Buddhalands are like gandharva cities.

Basically the Buddhalands are real, but you should look upon them as if they were but the cities of gandharvas.

7. All deeds of the Buddha are like dreams.

8. The Buddha's body is like a reflection.

9. The reward body is like an image.

10. The dharma body is like a transformation.

You should not look upon any of these things as real. You should neither grasp nor reject these illusory states. That is because everything is empty; you should not regard anything as actually existent. What is the meaning behind these ten profound analogies? They tell you not to be attached to anything at all. You have to put everything down. If you see through it and put it all down, then you will obtain self-mastery.

In shamatha they use the Thus Come Ones' vipashyana to cultivate them purely, to be certified to them, and to gradually enter them more and more deeply. "Shamatha" means stopping and "vipashyana" means contemplating. We are to cultivate the dharma door of stopping and contemplating. "Vipashyana" also means "subtle, secret contemplation and illumination." Gradually, bit by bit, one progresses and enters into this purification and certification.

I3 He stresses the importance of vigor in the initial resolve.

Sutra:

Ananda, because they put to use the three means of advancement throughout all of them, they are well able to accomplish the fifty-five stages of the true Bodhi Path.

Commentary:

The three means of advancement have already been explained. They are:

1) getting rid of aiding causes;
2) cleaning up the proper nature;
3) guarding against the manifestation of karma.

The fifty-five stages are:

1) the ten faiths;
2) the ten dwellings;
3) the ten conducts;
4) the ten transferences;
5) the four additional practices;
6) the ten grounds;
7) equal enlightenment.

I4 He decides the division of proper and deviant.

Sutra:

This manner of contemplation is called 'proper contemplation.' Contemplation other than this is called 'deviant contemplation.'

Commentary:


This manner of contemplation is called "proper contemplation." If you can look upon the triple world as upon flowers in space; if you can regard all deeds of the Buddha as if done in a dream; and if you rely on the three means of advancement in your cultivation, your contemplation is proper. If you can use the vajra mind in your contemplation to make a subtle, secret contemplation and illumination as you pass through the fifty-five stages, then you are practicing proper contemplation. This is proper cultivation of the dharma of neither production nor extinction. Contemplation other than this is called "deviant contemplation." If you don't cultivate this dharma-door; if you do not contemplate in this way; if you cultivate dharmas subject to production and extinction, your contemplation is deviant.

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