THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 7

The Four Positions of Additional Practices

J7 Four positions of additional practices.
K1 Concludes the former discussion and begins the next.


Sutra:

Ananda, when these good people have completely purified these forty-one minds, they further accomplish four kinds of wonderfully perfect additional practices.

Commentary:


The Bodhisattva, the person practicing, reaches a state of purity with regard to these forty-one minds. The "forty-one minds" are:

1) the level of dry wisdom;
2-11) the ten faiths;
12-21) the ten dwellings;
22-31) the ten conducts;
32-41) the ten transferences.

The level of dry wisdom, you'll remember, is also called "initial dry wisdom" and "the initial vajra mind." Following these forty-one positions are four further levels. They are known as the wonderfully perfect additional practices; they are:

1) heat;
2) summit;
3) patience;
4) first in the world.

K2 Specific explanation of the four positions.
L1 The level of heat.


Sutra:

When the enlightenment of a Buddha is just about to become a function of his own mind, it is on the verge of emerging but has not yet emerged, and so it can be compared to the point just before wood ignites when it is drilled to produce fire. Therefore it is called the Level of Heat.

Commentary:

This is the first of the four additional practices, the level of heat. The analogy is given of wood which is drilled to get fire; this level is compared to the point just before the wood ignites. When the enlightenment of a Buddha is just about to become a function of his own mind means that what the Buddhas are enlightened to and what he himself is enlightened to are the same thing. When it is on the verge of emerging but has not yet emerged, and so it can be compared to the point just before wood ignites when it is drilled to produce fire. The igniting of the wood being drilled is like enlightenment. The wood is right on the point of bursting into flame. With the enlightenment there is also heat, therefore it is called the Level of Heat. This is the forty-second position in the Bodhisattva's progression.

L2 Level of the summit.

Sutra:

He continues on with his mind, treading where the Buddhas tread, as if relying and yet not. It is as if he were climbing a lofty mountain, to the point where his body is in space but there remains a slight obstruction beneath him. Therefore it is called the Level of the Summit.

Commentary:

He continues on with his mind, treading where the Buddhas tread, as if relying and yet not. His own mind goes down the path the Buddhas take. He seems to be dependent and yet he is also independent. A different analogy is used here. It is as if he were climbing a lofty mountain, to the point where his body is in space but there remains a slight obstruction beneath him. He is like someone climbing a mountain, and when he gets to the top, it is as if he physically enters into empty space because he is so high up. But under his feet, as he stands on the mountain, there is still a slight hindrance. He still has not yet ascended into empty space. Therefore it is called the Level of the Summit.

L3 Level of patience.

Sutra:

When the mind and the Buddha are two and yet the same, he has well obtained the Middle Way. He is like someone who endures something when it seems impossible to either hold it in
or let it out. Therefore it is called the Level of Patience.

Commentary:

When the mind and the Buddha are two and yet the same, he has well obtained the Middle Way. The mind is the Buddha; the Buddha is the mind. Although they are said to be two, they come together as one. What is the mind is the Buddha. There is no Buddha outside the mind; there is no mind outside the Buddha. The mind and the Buddha are in a state of suchness. He has the genuinely obtained the principle and substance of the Middle Way. He is like someone who endures something when it seems impossible to either hold it in or let it out. It is as if a situation arises which a person must bear: he'd like to keep it contained, but that is impossible; at the same time, it's impossible for him to let it out. So at that point he bears with it. He'd like to keep it in his mind and he'd like to release it. He can't decide which would be the better thing to do. So he bears with it. He'd like to let it go, but he can't give it up. And yet he'd still like to let it go. At this time he must be patient. Therefore it is called the level of Patience. It is the third of the additional practices.

L4 Level of being first in the world.

Sutra:

When numbers are destroyed, there are no such designations as the Middle Way or as confusion and enlightenment; this is called the Level of Being First in the World.

Commentary:

When numbers are destroyed. At the tenth transference, the boundaries of the dharma-realm are destroyed. Now all numbers and boundaries are destroyed. What is meant? It's the same as a zero. I've talked about zero before. It is the absence of numbers. At that point there are no such designations as the Middle Way or as confusion and enlightenment. Perfection is total and the light brilliant. There are no designations because it's a situation that's like zero. There's nothing that can be said about zero. Zero means the absence of everything. And yet everything outside the zero is contained within it. The zero is the mother of all things. But it is not designated as a mother, because there isn't anything there. To understand what I'm saying right now is enlightenment.

There isn't any confusion; there isn't any enlightenment. Why isn't there any confusion? Because he is not confused. Why isn't there any enlightenment? He's already enlightened; what further enlightenment could there be? For there to be no confusion and no enlightenment is zero. All the mountains, the rivers, the great earth, the plants, and all the myriad appearances come forth from it. There is no designation for enlightenment and confusion, or for the Middle Way. Even though there's no name for this state, we still have to call it something, so we force the issue and call it the Level of Being First in the World. It's first in the world because there is no second. This is the last of the additional practices.

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