THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 7

The Ten Conducts

J5 The ten positions of the ten conducts.
K1 The conduct of happiness.

Sutra:


Ananda, after these good people have become sons of the Buddha, they are replete with the limitlessly many wonderful virtues of the Thus Come Ones, and they comply and accord with beings throughout the ten directions. This is called the Conduct of Happiness.

Commentary:


These are called the ten conducts. They are the next step in the stages of a Bodhisattva:

1) the conduct of happiness,
2) the conduct of benefiting,
3) the conduct of non-opposition,
4) the conduct of endlessness,
5) the conduct of freedom from deluded confusion,
6) the conduct of wholesome manifestation,
7) the conduct of non-attachment,
8) the conduct of veneration,
9) the conduct of wholesome dharma,
10) the conduct of true actuality.

Now we will discuss the first conduct, that of happiness. These ten conducts correspond to the ten perfections, the ten paramitas, so the first conduct relates to giving.

Shakyamuni Buddha called out: Ananda, after these good people have become sons of the Buddha, they are replete with the limitlessly many wonderful virtues of the Thus Come Ones. The crown of their heads are anointed, and they become sons of the Buddha. They are well on their way to possessing the virtuous conducts of a Buddha. They comply and accord with beings throughout the ten directions. This is called the Conduct of Happiness. To "comply and accord" means to practice giving. We have discussed giving many times and have mentioned that there are three kinds of giving:

1) the giving of wealth,
2) the giving of dharma,
3) the giving of fearlessness.

However, there are also two aspects to giving, which are not the same as the three kinds. The two aspects comprise another explanation entirely. Since it is called the "conduct of happiness", the first aspect is that one should practice giving with a happy heart. One should enjoy giving. It's not that one decides to give only under duress; it's not forced, such that on the one hand one wants to give, but on the other hand one doesn't want to. It's not that one is indecisive, thinking, "I'd like to make a gift, but it's my money." It's said that giving up some money is like cutting off a piece of one's flesh. On the other hand, one knows that if one does not practice giving, one will not generate any merit. So it's a real dilemma: if one gives, one fears one will have no money left; if one doesn't give, one fears one will have no merit. So there one stands, not knowing whether to take a step forward or backward. That's certainly not called the "conduct of happiness". That's more like the "conduct of forcing it". Now you can't say that there wouldn't be any merit in this kind of giving, but the merit certainly would be depleted by the internal struggle. One is not doing it with a true mind.

Rather, one should he happy about the giving one does. Even if it means one must do without money oneself, one should be happy to give away to others whatever one has.

The second aspect of giving is that one should make living beings happy. When you practice giving, you should not act like someone tossing crumbs to a beggar. It shouldn't be that they have to come crawling to your door crying, "Old uncle, old auntie, can't you spare a little?" only to have you open the door a crack, throw out a dime or a quarter, and shout, "Take it and get out!" That can't even be called giving. There's no merit in that kind of act, and certainly the person on the receiving end will not be happy. In China there's the phrase: "One doesn't eat what is rudely offered." That's just what's been described above. People with any selfpossession will not accept food or money that is offered in that way, even if they have to go hungry.

One should give sincerely and in good faith. But be careful not to give in such a way that one expects gratitude in response. If you avoid doing it in a way that makes people feel they must thank you, then you are giving in a way that causes people to be happy, which is the second aspect of giving. In the "conduct of happiness", both parties, oneself and the person one is giving to, are happy.

K2 Conduct of benefiting.

Sutra:

Being well able to accommodate all living beings is called the Conduct of Benefiting.

Commentary:

Being well able to accommodate all living beings means to use precepts. It means getting beings to follow the precepts and in that way rescuing them. If everyone holds the precepts, the entire world is benefited. This is called the Conduct of Benefiting living beings. It is the second of these ten Bodhisattva practices.

K3 Conduct of non-opposition.

Sutra:

Enlightening oneself and enlightening others without putting forth any resistance is called the Conduct of Non- Opposition.

Commentary:


Enlightening oneself and enlightening others is something we all should do. Thus, it is not enough to study the Buddhadharma and come to understand it oneself. We must also enable all beings to come to understand it, to the extent that we should help bring all beings to the accomplishment of Buddhahood. We must benefit ourselves and benefit others. Don't be selfish and concerned about your own gains. Nor should you be jealous or obstructive of others. If someone understands the Buddhadharma better than you do, under no circumstances should you be jealous. If you are jealous of others, you will undergo the retribution of being stupid in the future. Do your utmost with regard to the dharma, but never, never become jealous of others. Don't have ideas of obstructing other people. It shouldn't be that if someone gets enlightened and you haven't, you have a fit, saying, "Really, the Buddhas are simply too unfair. How could they let him get enlightened instead of me?" With that, your ignorance arises. Or perhaps someone hears the dharma and grasps it immediately. He learns fast and masters the Shurangama Mantra within a couple of month's time. But someone else who hasn't mastered it by then goes into a jealous rage. "How did you get ahead of me? How did you learn it so fast?" Whatever you do, no matter what, under no circumstances should you be jealous of others. You should be happy at heart. "His mastering the mantra is just like my mastering it." "His enlightenment is like my own." You should give rise to thoughts of accordance with other beings, praising them and congratulating them. The most undesirable thing to have when you study the dharma is a jealous attitude.

I repeat, if you are jealous of others, you will be stupid in the future. So stupid will you be that you won't know how to do anything at all, even eat. What a mess you'll be in then! It happens, you know. There are living beings who are so dumb they don't even know how to feed themselves, and they end up starving to death. If someone is more accomplished than you, you should be happy for them.

The Bodhisattvas reach the point of not putting forth any resistance. This method of non-resistance refers to patience, the third paramita. When something pleasant happens, one is happy; when something unpleasant happens, one is still happy. One doesn't put up any resistance; one doesn't oppose the opinions of others. That's patience. In all circumstances, one forebears. I've recited the poem by Maitreya Bodhisattva for you before:

The Old Fool wears tattered clothes
And fills his belly with bland food;
Mends his clothes against the cold,
And just puts up with whatever comes along.
If someone scolds the Old Fool,
He just says, "Fine."
If someone strikes the Old Fool,
He lays down to sleep.
"Spit on my face? I'll just let it dry.
I save the energy and you don't get upset."
This kind of paramita
Is the jewel within the wonderful.
If you get this good news,
What worry can there be
about not perfecting the Way?
The third conduct is the practice of patience; it is called the
Conduct of Non-Opposition. No matter how you are treated, you
don't get angry.

K4 Conduct of endlessness.

Sutra:

To undergo birth in various forms continuously to the bounds of the future, equally throughout the three periods of time and pervading the ten directions, is called the Conduct of Endlessness.

Commentary:

To undergo birth in various forms means to be able to appear by transformation within any of the twelve classes of living beings. One can send transformation bodies among all those kinds of beings, appearing in forms like theirs, continuously to the bounds of the future, equally throughout the three periods of time, past, present, and future. One can "pervade the ten directions" without end and has what is called the Conduct of Endlessness, the fourth conduct. It corresponds to the perfection of vigor.

K5 Conduct of freedom from deluded confusion.

Sutra:

When everything is equally in accord, one never makes mistakes among the various dharma doors. This is called the Conduct of Freedom from Deluded Confusion.

Commentary:


This conduct corresponds with the perfection of dhyana samadhi, which aids those who are scattered and easily confused. When everything is equally in accord, one never makes mistakes among the various dharma doors. Within any dharma door spoken by the Buddha one naturally gains understanding and knows the function of any given dharma. This is called the Conduct of Freedom from Deluded Confusion.

K6 Conduct of wholesome manifestation.

Sutra:

Then within what is identical, myriad differences appear; the characteristics of every difference are seen, one and all, in identity. This is called the Conduct of Wholesome Manifestation.

Commentary:


Then within what is identical, myriad differences appear. What is identical is the principle. What are different are the specifics. At the noumenal level there is identity; at the phenomenal level there are differences. The characteristics of every difference are seen, one and all, in identity. That is, the phenomena all tally with principle. There is:

1) the unobstructedness of principles in specifics;
2) the unobstructedness of specifics in principles;
3) the unobstructedness of specifics with specifics;
4) the unobstructedness of both principles and specifics.
Therefore, in identity appear differences; within differences identity is found. This is called the Conduct of Wholesome Manifestation.

Identity and differences do not obstruct one another, and each appears within the other. This is the perfection of wisdom.

K7 Conduct of non-attachment.

Sutra:

This continues until it includes all the dust motes that fill up empty space throughout the ten directions. In each and every mote of dust there appear the worlds of the ten directions. And yet the appearance of dust motes and the appearance of worlds do not interfere with one another. This is called the Conduct of Non-Attachment.

Commentary:

This continues until it includes all the dust motes that fill up empty space throughout the ten directions. Not only is it the case that within identity, differences can appear, and within differences, identity is evident, but within the few the many can appear, and within the many the few are evident. Within the small the great can appear; within the great the small are evident. "Empty space" is the manifestation of the great. "Dust motes" are the manifestation of the small. Within every dust mote, worlds appear, so that every world can fit within a mote of dust. But when a world appears in a dust mote, it's not the case that the world shrinks. Nor is it the case that the dust mote has to expand to contain the world. This is the great appearing in the small and the small manifesting the great without any hindrance.

In each and every mote of dust there appear the worlds of the ten directions. The worlds of the ten directions are tremendously large, while a fine mote of dust is minute; yet none of the worlds get smaller, nor does the mote of dust expand. And yet the appearance of dust motes and the appearance of worlds do not interfere with one another. They include one another without any obstruction. This is called the Conduct of Non-Attachment. Worlds are motes of dust; motes of dust are worlds. Little is big; big is little. To experience this is the "conduct of non-attachment." This is the seventh perfection, that of expedience.

K8 Conduct of veneration.

Sutra:

Everything that appears before one is the foremost paramita. This is called the Conduct of Veneration.

Commentary:

The "conduct of veneration" is also the perfection of vows. It is brought to accomplishment through the power of vows. Everything that appears before one is the foremost paramita. All the states that manifest are the number one paramita, the dharma for reaching the other shore. This is called the Conduct of Veneration. This is the eighth conduct.

K9 Conduct of wholesome dharma.

Sutra:

With such perfect fusion, one can model oneself after all the Buddhas of the ten directions. This is called the Conduct of Wholesome Dharma.

Commentary:


With such perfect fusion, when everything becomes the foremost paramita, one can model oneself after all the Buddhas of the ten directions. In one's cultivation one can be in accord with all the rules and regulations established by all the Buddhas of the ten directions. This is called the Conduct of Wholesome Dharma. It is the perfection of strength. One's own practice is strong. This is the ninth conduct.

K10 Conduct of true actuality.

Sutra:

To then be pure and without outflows in each and every way is the primary truth, which is unconditioned, the essence of the nature. This is called the Conduct of True Actuality.

Commentary:


The tenth is called the "conduct of true actuality". To then be pure and without outflows in each and every way is the primary truth, which is unconditioned, the essence of the nature. "In each and every way" means that all the previous nine entries into conduct are conducted purely and without outflows. Then there is only one truth, that of the unconditioned. And that's the way the nature originally is. This is called the Conduct of True Actuality. This corresponds with the perfection of knowledge. These are the ten conducts of a Bodhisattva.

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