THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 8

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

If he has attained versatility in the perfect fusion and interchangeable functioning of the sense faculties, he may speculate that all things arise from these perfect transformations. He then seeks the light of fire, delights in the purity of water, loves the wind's circuitous flow, and contemplates the accomplishments of the earth. He reveres and serves them all. He takes these mundane elements to be a fundamental cause and considers them to be everlasting. He will then fall into the error of taking what is not production to be production. Kashyapa and the brahmans who seek to transcend birth and death by diligently serving fire and worshipping water will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


If he has attained versatility in the state of perfect fusion and interchangeable functioning of the six sense faculties, if he can follow his inclinations and do as he wishes, he may speculate that all things arise from these perfect transformations. Becoming attached to the perfect transformations from which everything comes forth, he then seeks the light of fire and worships fire with extreme devotion. He also delights in the purity of water, sincerely revering the pure nature of water, and loves the wind's circuitous flow, being inspired by the nature of wind with its continuous movement.

And he contemplates the accomplishments of the earth. He reveres and serves them all, the various aspects of earth, water, fire and wind. He bows to fire, prostrates himself before water, worships the wind, and makes obeisance to the earth. He says, "It is truly inconceivable. How is fire able to emit light? Water is so pure. I really ought to worship it."

From morning to night he bows to water, fire, wind, and earth, worshipping the four elements. He serves them by making offerings to them. Each spirit has spirits connected with it, and soon he is treating the earth spirits, water spirits, fire spirits, and wind spirits as his own ancestors. Mahakashyapa was originally a member of the fire-worshipping religion, and he used to bow in homage to fire. He takes these mundane elements, earth, water, fire and wind, to be a fundamental cause of himself, and he considers them to be everlasting. He says they abide forever. Well, it's true that earth, water, fire and wind are just the treasury of the Tathagata. However, you should pay reverence to the treasury of the Tathagata, and not to earth, water, fire, and wind. Otherwise you are putting a head on top of a head. Instead of working on the fundamentals of venerating the treasury of the Tathagata and respecting the Buddha, he is busy worshipping the superficial aspect. He will then fall into the error of taking what is not production to be production. He wants to end birth and death, but being unable to do so, he forms such an attachment.

Kashyapa and the brahmans who seek to transcend birth and death by diligently serving fire and worshipping water will become his companions. Kashyapa belongs to the "great turtle clan." The brahmans are those who cultivate pure practices. They exert themselves physically and mentally by engaging in various unbeneficial ascetic practices. They make offerings to fire and bow to water, hoping that by serving the four elements they can end birth and death. The cultivator becomes the friend and comrade of such people. Confused about the true nature of Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding. He loses his genuine wisdom.

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

Sutra:

This is the fifth state, in which he confusedly pursues the elements, setting up a false cause that leads to false aspirations based on speculations about his attachment to worship. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted view of transformation.

Commentary:

This is the fifth state, in which he confusedly pursues the elements, setting up a false cause that leads to false aspirations based on speculations about his attachment to worship. This is the fifth upside-down theory. His speculations about his attachment lead him to worship and make offerings to the four elements. He becomes confused about his own everlasting true mind, the treasury of the Tathagata, and goes running out after the material elements instead. He bases himself on fallacious knowledge and views in his quest to escape birth and death. This is the "false cause." With this wrong cause, he vainly hopes to transcend birth and death. He strays far from the dharma door of perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted and wrong view of transformation.

J6 Attachment to a refuge that is not actually a refuge.
K1 After formations are ended, consciousness manifests.


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 perfect penetration through the ear by directing the hearing inward to listen to the inherent nature, has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has investigated the formations skandha, seen it as empty, and broken through it. He has already ended the path of production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the bliss of the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

He may speculate that there is an emptiness within the perfect brightness, and based on that he denies the myriad transformations, taking their eternal cessation as his refuge. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not a refuge to be a refuge. Those abiding in the shunyata of the Heaven of [Neither Thought nor] Non- Thought will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


He may speculate that there is an emptiness within the perfect brightness, and based on that he denies the myriad transformations, taking their eternal cessation as his refuge. He speculates that there is an emptiness within the brightness, but that is not the case. Isn't that to deny the existence of all the myriad things? Therefore, it is not a refuge of eternal cessation. However, he makes it his refuge.

If he interprets this as a supreme state, if he has such a crazy understanding, he will fall into the error of taking what is not a refuge to be a refuge. He wants to rely on a refuge, but there is no such refuge. It is not eternal production or eternal cessation, so it cannot be a refuge, which is what he takes it to be. There is no refuge.

Those abiding in the shunyata of the Heaven of [Neither Thought nor] Non-Thought become his companions. His attachment is not to the Heaven of Non-Thought among the heavens of the fourth dhyana, but rather the Heaven of Neither Thought Nor Non-Thought. The spirits of emptiness (shunyata) there become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he loses his proper knowledge and understanding.

K3 Giving its name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is the sixth state, in which he realizes a state of voidness based on the idea of emptiness within the perfect brightness. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of annihilationism.

Commentary:


This is the sixth state of crazy understanding, in which he realizes a state of voidness based on the idea of emptiness within the perfect brightness. The state he attains doesn't really exist. He strays far from perfect penetration. He goes against the practice of that dharma-door. He turns his back on the City of Nirvana. What he does is contrary to the wonderful fruition of nirvana, and he sows the seeds of annihilationism.

J7 Attachment to an unattainable craving.
K1 After formations are ended, consciousness manifests.

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 thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. For him, the formations skandha is already empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He has yet to perfect the wonderful bliss of nirvana.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

In the state of what seems to be perfect permanence, he may bolster his body, hoping to live for a long time in that subtle and perfect condition without dying. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of being greedy for something unattainable. Asita and those who seek long life will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


In the state of what seems to be perfect permanence, he may bolster his body, hoping to live for a long time in that subtle and perfect condition without dying. He may try to make his body durable because he wishes to dwell in the world forever. He seeks immortality and a life of essential clarity and perfection. If he interprets this as a supreme state, if he has such a crazy understanding, he Will fall into the error of being greedy for something unattainable. He craves immortality but cannot attain it.

Asita and those who seek long life will become his companions. "Asita" is a Sanskrit name that translates as "incomparable," meaning "no one can compare with him." He and his followers are an external sect; they dwell in the heavens and crave immortality. The cultivator joins ranks with them. Confused about the dharma-door of the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his proper knowledge and understanding.

K3 Giving its name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is the seventh state, in which he sets up the false cause of bolstering and aspires to permanent worldly existence, based on his attachment to the life-source. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for false thoughts of lengthening life.

Commentary:

This is the seventh state, in which he sets up the false cause of bolstering and aspires to permanent worldly existence, based on his attachment to the life-source. He clings to the source of his own life and bolsters his body in the hope of attaining long life. He strays far from perfect penetration. He goes against the dharma-door of cultivating the perfect penetration of the ear by directing the hearing inward to listen to his own nature. And not only that, he turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for false thoughts of lengthening life.

J8 Attachment to truth that is not actually truth.
K1 After formations are ended, consciousness manifests.


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 thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty; he has broken through the formations skandha. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder and wonderful bliss of ultimate serenity.

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.


Sutra:

As he contemplates the interconnection of all lives, he wants to hang on to worldly enjoyments and is afraid they will come to an end. Caught up in this thought, he will, by the power of transformation, seat himself in a lotus flower palace, conjure up an abundance of the seven precious things, increase his retinue of beautiful women, and indulge his mind. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not the truth to be the truth. Vignakara will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


As he contemplates the interconnection of all lives, this person sees that his own life is interrelated with the lives of all beings, and he wants to hang on to worldly enjoyments and is afraid they will come to an end. He fears that his worldly existence will come to an end, and he doesn't want it to end. Caught up in this thought, he will, by the power of transformation, seat himself in a lotus flower palace, conjure up an abundance of the seven precious things, increase his retinue of beautiful women, and indulge his mind. Within his lotus flower palace, he conjures up all kinds of gems and enlarges his following of concubines and beautiful women. Then he gives free rein to lust and greed.

If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not the truth to be the truth. At this point, he again considers this to be supreme. He thinks he has attained what is true, but it is not true. It is merely what he maintains.

Vignakara will become his companion. "Vigna" is Sanskrit and translates as "to tie and to bind." This refers to tying and binding living beings with rope. "Kara" is also Sanskrit and translates as "my doing." This means, "The bondage of all living beings, that is, their lack of freedom, is all my doing. It is because of me that they are not free." That's how the members of this external sect think. This cultivator joins ranks with them. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his proper knowledge and understanding and will only have wrong knowledge and understanding.

K3 Giving its name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is the eighth state, in which he decides to indulge in worldly enjoyments, based on his wrong thinking. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for becoming a demon of the heavens.

Commentary:


This is the eighth state, in which he decides to indulge in worldly enjoyments, based on his wrong thinking. Due to his wrong thoughts, he gets caught up in his burning passion for worldly things. He strays far from perfect penetration. He goes against the dharma-door of cultivating perfect penetration through the ear. And he turns his back on the City of Nirvana and the principle it embodies, thus sowing the seeds for becoming a demon of the heavens. He will be reborn among the demons in the heavens.

J9 Fixed-nature hearers.
K1 After formations are ended, consciousness manifests.


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

K2 A wrong understanding leads to a mistake.

Sutra:

In his understanding of life, he distinguishes the subtle and the coarse and determines the true and the false. But he only seeks a response in the mutual repayment of cause and effect, and he turns his back on the way of purity. In the practice of seeing suffering, eliminating accumulation, realizing cessation, and cultivating the Way, he dwells in cessation and stops there, making no further progress. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall and become a fixed-nature hearer. Unlearned Sanghans and those of overweening pride will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

Commentary:


In his illusory understanding of life, he distinguishes these subtle and the coarse. He differentiates between what is fine and what is coarse, and determines the true and the false. He judges what is true and what is false. But he only seeks a response in the mutual repayment of cause and effect. He seeks a response through cause and effect. The response also comes from cause and effect. And he turns his back on the way of purity.

In the practice of seeing suffering, eliminating accumulation, realizing cessation, and cultivating the Way. To see suffering means to know suffering. The truth of suffering includes the three sufferings, the eight sufferings, and limitless sufferings. The truth of accumulation refers to all our afflictions. Cessation refers to cultivating the Way and realizing cessation, that is, attaining the wonderful bliss of nirvana. The Way refers to the way of cultivation. That's what is meant by knowing suffering, eliminating accumulation, longing for cessation, and cultivating the Way. He dwells in cessation and stops there, making no further progress. When he reaches cessation, he stops advancing.

If he interprets this as a supreme state, if he comes up with a crazy rationalization which he considers superior, he will fall and become a fixed-nature hearer. What is a fixed-nature hearer? We've talked about this before. He is a person who refuses to turn from the small and go toward the great. He becomes satisfied prematurely and refuses to advance further. Unlearned Sanghans and those of overweening pride will become his companions. He is as ignorant as the unlearned bhikshu who thought the fourth dhyana was the fourth fruition of Arhatship. Such people become his companions. Confused about the Buddha's enlightened Bodhi-nature, he will lose his proper knowledge and understanding.

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