THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 7

The Ten Dwellings

J4 The ten positions of the ten dwellings.
K1 Dwelling of bringing forth the resolve.


Sutra:

Ananda, these good people use honest expedients to bring forth those ten minds. When the essence of these minds becomes dazzling, and the ten functions interconnect, then a single mind is perfectly accomplished. This is called the Dwelling of Bringing Forth the Resolve.

Commentary:

This section of text discusses the ten dwellings, which are part of the Bodhisattva stages. The ten dwellings are:

1) the dwelling of bringing forth the resolve,
2) the dwelling of the ground of regulation,
3) the dwelling of cultivation,
4) the dwelling of noble birth,
5) the dwelling of endowment with skill-in-means,
6) the dwelling of rectification of the mind,
7) the dwelling of irreversibility,
8) the dwelling of a pure youth,
9) the dwelling of a dharma prince,
10) the dwelling of anointing the crown of the head.

At this stage, the Bodhisattva is about to reach the position of a Buddha, but isn't there yet. So the Bodhisattva temporarily abides in these dwellings.

"Ananda," the Buddha calls out, "These good people, these Bodhisattvas who are cultivating the Way, use honest expedients to bring forth those ten minds." The "ten minds" are the ten stages just discussed. When the essence of these minds becomes dazzling, and the ten functions interconnect, then a single mind is perfectly accomplished. The "ten functions" refer to the ways in which the ten minds are used. When they interconnect, they all come back to one single mind. This is called the Dwelling of Bringing Forth the Resolve, the first of the ten dwellings.

K2 Dwelling of the ground of regulation.


Sutra:

From within this mind light comes forth like pure crystal, which reveals pure gold inside. Treading upon the previous wonderful mind as a ground is called the Dwelling of the Ground of Regulation.

Commentary:


From within this mind light comes forth like pure crystal. It is transparent and which reveals pure gold inside. Treading upon the previous wonderful mind as a ground is called the Dwelling of the Ground of Regulation. The "previous wonderful mind" is the "dwelling of bringing forth the resolve", where the functions of the earlier ten minds unite into a single mind. Then one walks upon this wonderful mind and turns it into a ground. This is the second dwelling, that of the "ground of regulation".

K3 Dwelling of cultivation.

Sutra:

When the mind-ground connects with wisdom, both become bright and comprehensive. Traversing the ten directions then without obstruction is called the Dwelling of Cultivation.

Commentary:

This is the third dwelling, that of "cultivation". When the mind-ground connects with wisdom, both become bright and comprehensive. When the mind-ground you tread upon becomes level, it unites with wisdom, and both the mind and the wisdom are extremely clear and lucid. Traversing the ten directions then without obstruction is called the Dwelling of Cultivation. At this point you gain spiritual penetrations. Endowed with both wisdom and spiritual penetrations, you are not hindered from going anywhere at all in the ten directions. You can come and go as you please.

K4 Dwelling of noble birth.

Sutra:

'When their conduct is the same as the Buddhas' and they take on the demeanor of a Buddha, then, like the intermediate skandha body searching for a father and mother, they penetrate the darkness with a hidden trust and enter the lineage of the Thus Come One. This is called the Dwelling of Noble Birth.

Commentary:


This passage discusses the Bodhisattvas of the fourth dwelling, the "dwelling of noble birth". It means being born in the household of the Dharma King, the home of the Buddha. The Buddha's family is the most honorable, and so this dwelling is called "noble birth." When their conduct is the same as the Buddhas' and they take on the demeanor of a Buddha, they are at the stage of the fourth dwelling. Everything the Bodhisattvas of the fourth dwelling do is like what a Buddha would do. Those Bodhisattvas have taken on the demeanor of a Buddha. They have learned to be just like Buddhas. Then they are like the intermediate skandha body searching for a father and mother. We have discussed the meaning of "intermediate skandha body" before. It refers to our "soul," or efficacious nature, which transmigrates. The definition of the intermediate skandha body is that which exists,

Before a new set of five skandhas is taken on,
But after the old set of five skandhas is gone.

An intermediate skandha body, the body between the skandhas, lives in a world as black as ink. There is no light for it at all. Although the sun and moon are still there, the skandha body dares not look at them when they appear. And when they are not in evidence and the skandha body is conscious, there is total darkness wherever it looks. However, when its future parents engage in intercourse, then no matter how far away from them the intermediate skandha body may be, it perceives a bit of yin light, and it reaches the spot immediately in response to its thought. Its compulsion to reach that place is like that of iron filings toward a magnet. But in this case, the force, as it were, of the magnetic field extends for thousands of miles. Attracted in this way, the intermediate skandha body arrives, and rebirth immediately takes place: conception occurs.

Here the birth of the Bodhisattva of the fourth dwelling into the household of the Buddha is likened to this process, but this is only an analogy, of course. It is used to describe the force of attraction that brings these Bodhisattvas to birth in the household of the Dharma King. They penetrate the darkness with a hidden trust. No matter how many thousands of miles away it may be, it is as if there is a mutual connection based on faith. The Bodhisattvas in this way enter the lineage of the Thus Come One. This is called the Dwelling of Noble Birth. They are born into an honorable and wealthy household, the Buddha's home.

"Oh?" you wonder. "The Buddha has a home? I thought the Buddha had left home." The home referred to here is just the home of leaving home. It is the place where the Buddha dwells. This is all just an analogy.

K5 Dwelling of endowment with skill-in-means.


Sutra:

Since they ride in the womb of the Way and will themselves become enlightened heirs, their human features are in no way deficient. This is called the Dwelling of Endowment with Skill-in-Means.

Commentary:

Since they ride in the womb of the Way: they roam in the household of the Buddha; they are carried, as it were, in the womb of the Way. And they will themselves become enlightened heirs. They have received the bequest of enlightenment. Their human features are in no way deficient. Their eyes, ears, nose, and other characteristics are perfect and full. Their appearance as Buddhas, as Bodhisattvas, will also be without deficiency. This is called the Dwelling of Endowment with Skill-in-Means. This is the fifth dwelling.
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Sutra:

With a physical appearance like that of a Buddha and a mind that is the same as well, they are said to be Dwelling in the Rectification of the Mind.

Commentary:

At this point the Bodhisattvas of the sixth dwelling have a physical appearance like that of a Buddha. Their features are replete with the thirty-two hallmarks and eighty subtle characteristics. They also have a mind that is the same as the Buddhas'. Then they are said to be Dwelling in the Rectification of the Mind, the sixth dwelling.

K7 Dwelling of irreversibility.

Sutra:

United in body and mind, they easily grow and mature day by day. This is called the Dwelling of Irreversibility.

Commentary:


Their body and mind are the same as the Buddhas'. They have united with the Buddhas and easily grow and mature day by day. Although they resemble the Buddhas, they are like children who have not yet grown up. This means that at this level the wisdom of these Bodhisattvas is not yet as great as a Buddha's. They are like newborn children. But every day their wisdom grows, so they are not far from Buddhahood. They are courageous and vigorous, and so this is called the Dwelling of Irreversibility. At this point they do not turn back. They have reached the seventh dwelling and will not retreat hereafter.

K8 Dwelling of a pure youth.

Sutra:

With the efficacious appearance of ten bodies, which are simultaneously perfected, they are said to be at the Dwelling of a Pure Youth.

Commentary:


At this stage, the Bodhisattva can make ten bodies appear all at the same time. Each of these ten bodies can produce ten more bodies in turn, so that a hundred bodies come into being. Each of these hundred bodies brings forth yet another ten bodies, making a thousand bodies in all. This all happens simultaneously due to the magnitude of the Bodhisattva's spiritual penetrations. This is called the "dwelling of a pure youth."

K9 Dwelling of a dharma prince.

Sutra:

Completely developed, they leave the womb and become sons of the Buddha. This is called the Dwelling of a Dharma Prince.

Commentary:


The ninth is the "dwelling of a dharma prince". At the previous level, when the ten bodies efficaciously appeared, they were able to change and transform endlessly. However, the Bodhisattvas have still not become genuine dharma princes. In the analogy, they have not yet left the womb. Now, completely developed, with the appearance of great heroes, they leave the womb and become sons of the Buddha. The accomplishment of the body of a Buddha is likened in the analogy to birth from the womb. This is called the Dwelling of a Dharma Prince. They themselves are now sons of the Buddha. That describes the Bodhisattva at the ninth dwelling.

K10 Dwelling of anointing the crown of the head.

Sutra:

Reaching the fullness of adulthood, they are like the chosen prince to whom the great king of a country turns over the affairs of state. When this Kshatriya king's eldest son is ceremoniously anointed on the crown of the head, he has reached what is called the Dwelling of Anointing the Crown of the Head.

Commentary:


Reaching the fullness of adulthood, they are like the chosen prince to whom the great king of a country turns over the affairs of state. A "great king" refers to a wheel-turning sage king. When such a king is ready to relinquish the duties of the throne to his son, he performs a ritual in which he anoints the crown of the prince's head with the waters of the four seas. When this ceremony is completed, the prince is said to have inherited the throne. Here the passage refers to the Bodhisattva who can become the son of the Buddha, who is the Dharma King. At this point the Buddha anoints the crown of the Bodhisattva's head, making him a full-fledged Bodhisattva. That's what's meant by the passage: When this Kshatriya king's, the Buddha's, eldest son, the Bodhisattva of the tenth dwelling, is ceremoniously anointed on the crown of the head, he has reached what is called the Dwelling of Anointing the Crown of the Head.

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