THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 8

J3 Samadhi out of balance brings much reverie.
K1 The characteristics of its beginning.

Sutra:

Further, in this state of samadhi the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. With no new realization immediately ahead of him, and having lost his former status as well, his power of wisdom weakens, and he enters an impasse in which he sees nothing to anticipate. Suddenly a feeling of tremendous monotony and thirst arises in his mind. At all times he is fixated in memories that do not disperse. He mistakes this for a sign of diligence and vigor.

Commentary:


Further, in this state of samadhi the good person who cultivates the Way sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. With no new realization immediately ahead of him, and having lost his former status as well, his power of wisdom weakens. Going forward, there is nothing new to attain; and behind him, the state where he dwelled before is also gone. His wisdom is inadequate now, and he isn't as bold and keen as before. This is a case of suddenly advancing and then suddenly retreating in one's skill. And he enters an impasse, a place where he is about to fall, in which he sees nothing to anticipate. He does not feel or see anything.

Suddenly a feeling of tremendous monotony and thirst arises in his mind. His feeling is one of enormous monotony, dryness, and thirst. He feels everything is meaningless and boring, and he is thirsty because he needs to be moistened by the water of the Buddhadharma. He feels he is drying up and withering away because, for him, there is nothing at all. This is similar to the way ordinary people who do not cultivate start to feel lonely and bored. This loneliness and boredom are sure to lead to trouble, the same old trouble. I did not intend to bring this up, but because I'm afraid people might not understand, I will still talk about it. It is as when a woman thinks about a man. She keeps thinking about him until she feels incredibly anxious and restless. When men think about women, they also have this feeling of restlessness. They are lonely and bored, as if they have lost something which they cannot find. At all times he is fixated in memories that do not disperse. It is the way a man and a woman who are lovesick for each other keep thinking and thinking about each other and never forget. He mistakes this for a sign of diligence and vigor. This state of fixation on thoughts that don't disperse appears to him to indicate vigor.

K2 Giving the name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is called 'cultivating the mind but losing oneself due to a lack of wisdom.' If he understands, then there is no error. This experience does not indicate sagehood.

K3 Showing how confusion will certainly bring a fall.

But if he considers himself a sage, then a demon of memory will enter his mind. Day and night it will hold his mind suspended in one place. Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall.

Commentary:


Within the states of the feeling skandha, this is called "cultivating the mind but losing oneself due to a lack of wisdom." You don't have any wisdom. But don't worry about having no wisdom, for if he understands, then there is no error. If you realize that it's only a state, then there is no problem. But if you don't understand, and you are always getting attached to emptiness and caught up in stillness, if you are always lost in reverie, then you will wither away without any accomplishment. This experience does not indicate sagehood. This does not mean you have attained something or have realized sagehood. Do not "mistake a thief for your son."

But if he considers himself a sage, then a demon of memory will enter his mind. Did you hear that! This is truly dangerous! If you consider it a fine state, a demon of memory will come and help you remember things. So you can;t remember something? It will help you to think. It sees how much you would like to remember, so it comes to help you and enters into your mind. Day and night it will hold his mind suspended in one place. Your mind will be preoccupied and kept in one spot. Lacking proper samadhi, unable to attain samadhi, he will certainly fall into the hells in the future.

J4 Wisdom out of balance brings much arrogance.
K1 The characteristics of its beginning.


Sutra:

Further, in this state of samadhi, the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. His wisdom becomes stronger than his samadhi, and he mistakenly becomes impetuous. Cherishing the supremacy of his nature, he imagines that he is a Nishyanda (Buddha) and rests content with his minor achievement.

Commentary:


Further, in this state of samadhi, the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. His wisdom becomes stronger than his samadhi. His wisdom power exceeds his samadhi power.

And he mistakenly becomes impetuous. He experiences a feeling of rash vigor. Cherishing the supremacy of his nature, he imagines that he is a Nishyanda (Buddha). In this state, he considers his nature to be supreme and extraordinary, and he is always thinking about it. Cherishing this thought of supremacy, he suspects himself to be a Nishyanda Buddha. "Nishyanda" is Sanskrit and means "light shining everywhere." He thinks he is already a Nishyanda Buddha and rests content with his minor achievement. He has made a little progress, and he becomes satisfied. His samadhi-power falls way short of the Buddha's, and yet he claims he has become a Nishyanda Buddha.

K2 Giving the name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is called 'applying the mind, but straying away from constant examination and becoming preoccupied with ideas and opinions.' If he understands, then there is no error. This experience does not indicate sagehood.


K3 Showing how confusion will certainly bring a fall.

But if he considers himself a sage, then a lowly demon that is easily satisfied will enter his mind. As soon as he sees someone, he will announce, "I have realized the unsurpassed absolute truth." Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall.

Commentary:


This is called "applying the mind, but straying away from constant examination, he is not skilled at constantly examining himself, and becoming preoccupied with ideas and opinions." Unable to clearly distinguish what he knows and thinks, he gets caught up and stuck in his own ideas and opinions. If he understands, then there is no error. There will not be any problem. This experience does not indicate sagehood.

But if he considers himself a sage and thinks that he has realized some supreme state, then a lowly demon, a most vile and worthless sort of demon that is easily satisfied with any situation, will enter his mind. It will bore into his mind and take possession of him, driving out his soul. All that will be left is a false shell of a person, but he will not realize that. As soon as he sees someone, he will announce, "Hey! Do you know? I have realized the unsurpassed, the highest, absolute truth."

Now there is a character who stands on Grant Avenue in Chinatown, in the heart of the San Francisco business district, dressed in a flashy and colorful costume. He tells people, "I lived in the mountains for five years and became enlightened. Now I have such-and-such spiritual powers." Earlier he took me as his teacher and became my disciple. But he did not follow what I taught him. Before I came to America, guess what he did? He carried a big gourd on his back with a sign painted on it that proclaimed he was my disciple and that he had learned many skills from me. Further, he claimed he could solve any problem people might bring him. He used my name to swindle others before I arrived in this country. Now that I am here in America, he is still cheating people, but he no longer uses my name. This is the very kind of demon the sutra is talking about here. He claimed to have attained the absolute truth. Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall. He has lost the proper state of concentration, and he doesn't follow what I taught him, either. Since I arrived here, he has never come to listen to the sutra lectures or dharma talks, but just says he has attained the Way, is enlightened, and has spiritual powers. Ultimately what are his spiritual powers? You would never guess. They are money, money, money! He swindles people. I don't know why he wants so much money! Therefore, he will certainly fall.

J5 Passing through danger leads to anxiety.
K1 The characteristics of its beginning.


Sutra:

Further, in this state of samadhi the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. He has not yet obtained any results, and his prior state of mind has already disappeared. Surveying the two extremes, he feels that he is in great danger. Suddenly he becomes greatly distraught, as if he were seated on the Iron Bed, or as if he has taken poison. He has no wish to go on living, and he is always asking people to take his life so he can be released sooner.

Commentary:

Further, in this state of samadhi, the good person, the cultivator, now with somewhat deeper power in samadhi, sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. He has not yet obtained any of the results that he should obtain from his cultivation of the Way, and so his prior state of mind has already disappeared. Surveying the two extremes, past and future, he finds both are gone, and he feels he is in great danger. He thinks, "Oh no, this is really dangerous! It's too terrible!" Suddenly he becomes greatly distraught. He feels worried and afflicted about everything. The worries lead to afflictions, and what is it like to have afflictions? It's as if he were seated on the Iron Bed. From morning to night he thinks to himself, "Oh, I'm in the hells sitting on the Iron Bed! What can I do? To have this body is to suffer." Or he feels as if he has taken poison and is about to die. He has wish to go on living. All day long he thinks, "I'd be better off dead. I'd be better off dead." In China, there is a saying "I'd be better off dead. I'd be better offdead. It would save on pants and coats." This person probably thinks that way, so he says, I'd be better off dead. I'd be better off dead."

Ghosts are involved in most suicide cases. The ghost bows to the person and then recites a mantra, but the person does not hear the ghost reciting. The meaning of the mantra is, "You'd be better off dead! You'd be better off dead! Hurry up and die. The sooner you die the better." Even though the person contemplating suicide cannot hear it with his ears, subconsciously it penetrates his mind. Since ghosts have the spiritual power of knowing others' thoughts, they can use their demonic energy to get into your mind and persuade you to want to die. Your mind hears the ghost and believes what it says. Then you may take poison, hang yourself, cast yourself into the ocean, or jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. That's how you die! There are lots of ghosts around the Golden Gate Bridge. They dare not bother you if you are full of yang energy. But if someone comes along whose yang energy is weak, who is lacking in essence, energy, and spirit, the ghosts say, "You'd be better off dead. You'd be better off dead," and get the person to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. Most suicides are caused by demonic ghosts that provoke people into taking their own lives. And he, the person who experiences tremendous anxiety, is always asking people to take his life so he can be released sooner. He is always saying to people, "Kill me! If you have a way to do me in, that would be great! I'll be free!"

K2 Giving the name and instructions to awaken.

Sutra:

This is called 'cultivating, but not understanding expedients.' If he understands, then there is no error. This experience does not indicate sagehood.


K3 Showing how confusion will certainly bring a fall.

But if he considers himself a sage, then a demon of chronic depression will enter his mind. He may take up knives and swords and cut his own flesh, happily giving up his life. Or else, driven by constant anxiety, he may flee into the wilderness and be unwilling to see people. Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall.

Commentary:

This is called "cultivating, but not understanding expedients." Since the person does not understand the dharma doors of expedient means, he develops this attachment. After developing it if he understands, then there is no error, no problem. This experience does not indicate sagehood. This does not mean he has become a sage.

Having heard these principles in the sutra, you should be extremely careful not to casually indulge in random thoughts. Do not start thinking that you want to die, or that you cannot get what you want. If you keep thinking like that, you will attract this kind of demon. There are a great many of them in the world, so you should not indulge in random thoughts or speak carelessly. If you do, this demon may possess you. When that happens, you will not be able to endure it. You will not be free, and even if you do not want to die, there will be no way to avoid it.

But if he considers himself a sage, then there will be a demon of chronic depression. So you think you're depressed? Depression also involves demons. Why are you depressed or angry? If you have opened the Buddha eye, you see that when a person is not angry, there is no ghost but as soon as he gets angry, a ghost comes to goad him on, saying, "Get angrier, get madder! Make more trouble!" Behind the scenes, it urges you to lose your temper. Even if you don't believe me, what I am saying is true. If you do not believe it, just take your time and try it out.

The demon will enter his mind and possess his body. He may take up knives and swords and cut his own flesh. Did I not tell you about Filial Son Wang (Great Master Chang Ren), who practiced filiality beside his parents' graves? Once, while in samadhi, Filial Son Wang saw that bandits had captured his nephew and were about to shoot him. Filial Son Wang was about five miles away. But just as the bandit was about to pull the trigger, from within samadhi he used his hand to ward off the gun so that the shot missed his nephew, who was able to escape. Behind this incident there was a ghost that wanted the nephew's life, and it had caused the bandits to tie the boy up and try to kill him. Those were the causes and effects involved. When Filial Son Wang thwarted the ghost in its efforts to kill his nephew, the ghost went after Filial Son Wang, but could not do anything to him. Then it went to find his younger brother, Wang Erye, and possessed him instead. Taking a knife, the brother went to find Filial Son Wang at the graveside, intending to commit suicide in front of him.

The ghost wanted to kill the younger brother, but strangely, as it held the knife poised, ready to behead the younger brother, it could not bring the hand down. Meanwhile, Filial Son Wang was reciting the Vajra Sutra and holding a vow of silence. As he recited it silently, my teacher (Great Master Chang Ti), who had not yet left the home-life, felt very agitated, as if there were some crisis. He felt trepidation and could not put his mind at ease. He wondered, "Is there something going on with the Filial Son by the grave?" He rushed over there immediately to take a look, and sure enough, Wang Erye was holding a knife about to behead himself. Filial Son Wang wrote a few words telling my teacher, "Buy some paper for burning. (There is a Chinese custom of burning paper money for the dead.) I will recite sutras for the ghost and liberate it. There is a ghost involved here, and it wants to do such-and-such." After Filial Son Wang recited sutras and liberated the ghost, there were no more problems.

On the one hand this is an example of the demon under discussion. But in this case the ghost came because it wanted someone's life, not because of cultivation. But you could also say it is from cultivation. Because Filial Son Wang cultivated and got too involved in someone else's business, he ended up with this kind of demon trying to kill his younger brother. The ghost couldn't kill Filial Son Wang because he had samadhi power and did not have any false thinking. The ghost couldn't do anything to him, so it went after his younger brother.

Happily giving up his life, he may wish to die. Or else, he may be driven by constant incredible anxiety. Now that you've heard this passage, take care not to be unhappy all the time. Do not always cry and feel melancholy. If you keep feeling worried and depressed, this demon will take possession of you. That is based half on the demon's power and half on your own. The demon avails itself of your energy. If your thoughts are proper, there will be no problems. But if your thinking is improper, you will be influenced by the demon. If it tells you, "Worry," you worry, and you become more and more worried, until you flee into the mountains, refusing to see people. And, unable to tolerate people, he may flee into the mountain forests. Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall. Such a person will fall into the hells in the future.

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