THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 8

J2 Attachment to an ability that is not actually an ability.
K1 When formations are gone, consciousness appears.

Sutra:

Further, Ananda, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

Commentary:


Further, Ananda, the good person who is cultivating samadhi has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has thoroughly investigated and put an end to the formations skandha; it is empty for him. He has already ended the states of production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He has not completely attained the bliss of ultimate serenity, because consciousness has not been ended yet. Consciousness and true suchness differ by only a little bit.

Consciousness is subject to production and destruction, whereas true suchness is not. Right now, the eighth consciousness, which still has tiny traces of production and destruction, joins with true suchness, which is without production and destruction, and becomes what is called "the joined consciousness." Since the consciousness is in extremely close proximity to true suchness, they merge to form the joined consciousness. Since it is still a "joined" consciousness, the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity has not been perfected.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

He may regard that to which he is returning as his own body and may see all beings in the twelve categories throughout space as flowing forth from his body. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of maintaining that he has an ability which he does not really have. Maheshvara, who manifests his boundless body, will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


He, the cultivator, may regard that to which he is returning as his own body. The place he is headed for is still within the production and destruction of the eighth consciousness. It is not actually his own body, but he thinks it is. And he has another false attachment which is that he may see all beings in the twelve categories, from egg-born beings to beings not entirely lacking thought, throughout space as flowing forth from his body. "Do you know where living beings come from?" he asks. "They all come from my own body. I gave birth to them all."

It is like an earlier state in which the cultivator said, "All beings are my children, even the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Arhats, I created them all. I can create Buddhas; I can create Bodhisattvas; and I can create Arhats." See what an egomaniac he is.

If he interprets this as a supreme state. He thinks it's supreme, but it really isn't. It's based on wrong knowledge and views and can hardly be called supreme. If it were truly supreme, it would accord with the Buddhadharma. So as you cultivate the Way and read the sutras, make sure you understand them clearly. He will fall into the error of maintaining that he has an ability which he does not really have. He says he is able to create all living beings, but in fact he has no such ability. That's just a speculation he makes with his false consciousness. He doesn't really have the ability, but he becomes attached to the idea that he does.

Who has this kind of attachment? It's the God Maheshvara, the Lord of the Heaven of Great Sovereignty, which is the highest heaven in the form realm. Maheshvara is also called the Great Sovereign God. He has three flesh eyes which he was born with, and he also has the Buddha eye in the middle of his forehead How many hands does he have? He has eight hands, four in front and four in back. The ones in front are good for picking things up, and the ones in back are handy for stealing things. Since one hand isn't enough, and two hands still aren't that powerful for picking up or stealing things, he has eight hands. He can pick up a lot of things, too. If he went into a department store, I'm sure the security officers who watch for shoplifters would have a hard time keeping an eye on him, because he has so many hands. He rides upon a magnificent white ox and carries a white whisk in one hand. He travels around with the greatest freedom. He says, "Take a look at me. I'm utterly at ease. You're nothing by comparison. I have total self-mastery." That is why he's called the Great Sovereign God.

The Great Sovereign God, who manifests his boundless body, will become his companion. This god is attached to the idea that he can manifest a boundless body, and he claims that all living beings are manifested by him. Now this person is cultivating the same dharma-door. He has the same attachment. He says that all living beings are manifested by him. Tell me, how can someone who has not accomplished Buddhahood create living beings? This is a false attachment; he thinks he has an ability that he doesn't really have. He makes friends with the Great Sovereign God and goes off to the Heaven of Great Sovereignty.

Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding. He fails to recognize the genuine enlightenment. He doesn't have any genuine wisdom, and so he joins the demons of the heavens and the external sects.

K3 Giving its name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is the second state, in which he draws conclusions about the workings of an ability based on idea that he has such an ability. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for being born in the Heaven of Great Pride where the self is considered all-pervading and perfect.

Commentary:


This is the second state, in which he draws conclusions about the workings of an ability based on the idea that he has such an ability. Based on the idea that he is able to create living beings, he attains a fruition that seems all-pervasive and perfect. He strays far from perfect penetration. What he has done goes against the dharma-door of cultivating perfect penetration through the ear, of directing the hearing inward to listen to the inherent nature.

And he turns his back on the City of Nirvana. He also goes against the truth of the unproduced and undestroyed, thus sowing the seeds for being born in the Heaven of Great Pride where the self is considered all-pervading and perfect. He will eventually be reborn in the Heaven of Great Pride, which is the Heaven of Great Sovereignty.

Great pride means he looks down on everyone else. He is always up on his white ox, with his three eyes and eight arms, thinking he is quite marvelous. Riding freely about on his white ox, he feels smug and satisfied. Because he feels his lifestyle is so superb, he becomes arrogant. He claims, "I completely pervade everything, and I can accomplish everything."

J3 Attachment to a wrong idea of permanence.
K1 When formations are gone, consciousness appears.


Sutra:

Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

Commentary:


Further, the good person, who in his cultivation of samadhi has destroyed the formations skandha, has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended the mind of production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He has not yet truly attained the bliss of ultimate serenity.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

If he regards what he is returning to as a refuge, he will suspect that his body and mind come forth from there, and that all things throughout space in the ten directions arise from there as well. He will explain that place from which all things issue forth is the truly permanent body, which is not subject to production and destruction. While still within production and destruction, he prematurely reckons that he abides in permanence. Since he is deluded about non-production, he is also confused about production and destruction. He is sunk in confusion. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not permanent to be permanent. He will speculate that the Sovereign God (Ishvaradeva) is his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


If he regards what he is returning to as a refuge, there will be doubts in his mind and he will suspect that his body and mind come forth from there. The previous false conjecture was that he himself produced all living beings. Now he thinks that he came forth from the place to which he is returning, and that all things throughout space in the ten directions arise from there as well. He will explain that that place from which all things issue forth is the truly permanent body, which is not subject to production and destruction. "That place" refers to the refuge to which he is returning. He claims that it is not caught up in production and destruction. Why does he say that? Because he is mistaken in his basic assumption.

While still within the consciousness that is subject to production and destruction, he prematurely reckons that he abides in permanence. He speculates that it is eternal and unchanging. Since he is deluded about non-production, he is also confused about production and destruction. Since he doesn't understand the principle of non-production, he isn't dear about the principle of production and destruction, either. He is sunk in confusion. He becomes attached to the state and refuses to let go of it. He works on his cultivation right at that spot.

If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not permanent to be permanent. If he considers it supreme, he is just adding attachments on top of attachments.

He becomes attached to that permanence, but it is not true permanence. He will speculate that the Sovereign God (Ishvaradeva) is his companion. Confused about the nature of Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding and no longer have true wisdom.

K3 He gives it a name and warns us to be aware of it.

Sutra:

This is the third state, in which he makes a false speculation based on the idea that there is a refuge. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana thus sowing the seeds of an distorted view of perfection.

Commentary:


This is the third state, in which he makes a false speculation based on the idea that there is a refuge. He establishes the idea that there is a refuge, and then makes false speculations about a false fruition. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of an distorted view of perfection. He turns away from the principle of perfect penetration and leaves it far behind, and he comes to hold a wrong view of perfection.

J4 Attachment to an awareness that is not actually awareness.
K1 When formations are gone, consciousness appears.

Sutra:

Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

Commentary:


Further, the good person has thoroughly investigated and seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction. He has destroyed the nature that is subject to production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of the bliss of ultimate serenity.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory that all the plants in the ten directions are sentient, not different from human beings. He claims that plants can become people, and that when people die they again become plants in the ten directions. If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme, he will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. Vasishtha and Sainika, who maintained the idea of comprehensive awareness, will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory. He deduces, from what he knows, that there is a universal awareness, and then formulates a view about it. What is his view? You'd never guess, and neither would I. He says that all the plants in the ten directions are sentient. In China, there is a saying,

"People are not plants; who can be without emotion?"

That statement implies that plants are insentient. But here the cultivator has decided that all plants are sentient not different from human beings. They are the same as people in that they also have life. He claims that plants can become people, and that when people die they again become plants in the ten directions. After death, humans turn back into plants.

If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme. He doesn't have the wisdom to selectively apply this theory of universal awareness. He tries to be special and mistakenly thinks his idea is a supreme one. He will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. He claims to understand this principle, but actually he is ignorant. He does not understand, but insists that he does.

He is similar to two followers of external sects, Vasishtha and Sainika. "Vasishtha" is a Sanskrit name which means "avoid going near." How did he get such a name? He was a shepherd boy. One day the prince of Vaishali was outside playing. Happening upon the shepherd boy, the prince made him act as his bed and lay down and took a nap on top of the boy. This upset the shepherd boy, who went home and told his mother, "The prince of Vaishali used me as a bed and took a nap on top of me." Knowing that the prince would one day become the king and have a lot of power, the mother instructed her son, "From now on, don't hang around him. Avoid going near him. Keep your distance." That's how he got the name "avoid going near."

"Sainika" is also a Sanskrit name which means "endowed with an army." Judging from his name, he was probably someone who enjoyed serving in the military and had the air of a military man. These two people, who maintained the idea of comprehensive awareness, will become his companions. They believed they knew everything, and now they become this cultivator's companions. Confused about the Bodhi the Buddhas, he will lose his proper knowledge and understanding.

K3 He gives it a name and warns us to be aware of it.

Sutra:

This is the fourth state, in which he draws an erroneous conclusion based on the idea that there is a universal awareness. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted view of awareness.

Commentary:


This is the fourth state, in which he draws an erroneous conclusion based on the idea that there is a universal awareness. In this fourth kind of attachment, he claims to know everything and thinks there's nothing he does not know. However, that's just his attachment. He really doesn't know anything at all. He realizes a false result. "Erroneous" means that there's no such thing. He strays far from perfect penetration. He is way off track, going against the dharma-door of cultivating perfect penetration through the ear. And he turns his back on the City of Nirvana, on the principle of non-production and non-destruction. Thus he is sowing the seeds of a distorted view of awareness, an upside-down understanding. Take plants, nobody would regard them as sentient beings, yet he does just that. He says that people are just plants, and that plants can also become people. Someone suggests, "But there are trees endowed with souls. Doesn't that mean they have awareness?"

No. In such cases, there is a spirit inhabiting the tree. It's not that the tree itself has awareness and is a sentient being.

J5 Attachment to birth that is not actually birth.
K1 When formations are gone, consciousness appears.

Sutra:

Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

Commentary:

Further, the good person who is cultivating samadhi has investigated to the point that he has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of the state of ultimate serenity. He still carries the tiny seeds of production and destruction within him.

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