Commentary by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Hsien,
Heng Yin, and Heng Ch’ih
Reviewed by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Edited by Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih


Although emptiness is emptied and the traces are cut off,

Still the sky of meanings' stars glitter and blaze;

Stillness is deepened, so that words are lost,

Yet the sea of teachings' waves are oceanic in extent.

As for the thousand doors which in secret flow,

Of multitudes of texts it forms the copious source;

The ten thousand virtues commingle and return;

While companies of sutras comprise its retinue.


      Although emptiness is emptied and the traces are cut off/"Emptiness" is already devoid of appearances; so "emptiness is emptied" means that appearancelessness is emptied as well--and the "traces" are also severed, yet to be in the midst of no appearances with the traces severed is to be free of appearances while in the midst of appearances. How? If you are not attached to marks, you are free of appearances, and there are appearances and yet no appearances.

Still the sky of meanings’ stars glitter and blaze/This is analogous to the teachings' meanings with the Buddha's teachings being as vast and great as the sky. The teachings' meanings comprise all sorts of principles, which are compared to Stars, which glitter and blaze. Therefore it says, "Still the sky of Meanings' stars glitter and blaze."

Stillness is deepened so that words are lost/"Stillness" means pure clarity. "Words are lost." Nothing can be said. That is to be within words yet beyond words. If you have nothing to say, you will also be unable to explain the principle of there being nothing to say. To make understood what it is to be within language, yet separate from language, you must employ language to express the principle of no language. That is why this section of the Preface is called Words Include the Root and Extremities. Basically, what is spoken of is the root, yet it includes the branch-tips; and basically speaking of the branch-tips also includes the root. The root and the branch-tips are non-dual. The sea of teachings' waves are oceanic in extent/The "teachings" are the Buddha's teachings, which are placed in Five Periods and the Eight Teachings. The Five Periods are:

1. The Flower Adornment Period.

2. The Agama Period.

3. The Expansive Period.

4. The Prajna Period.

5. The Dharma Flower-Nirvana Period.

The Eight Teachings are:

1. The Store Teaching.

2. The Connective Teaching.

3. The Separate Teaching.

4. The Perfect Teaching.

5. The Sudden Teaching.

6. The Gradual Teaching.

7. The Secret Teaching.

8. The Unfixed Teaching.

In the first of the Five Periods, the Flower Adornment Period, the Flower Adornment Sutra, a perfect teaching, was spoken for twenty-one days, whereas the Dharma Flower and Nirvana Sutras, which are not nearly so long as the Flower Adornment Sutra, together took eight years to speak. The reason is that the Flower Adornment Sutra was spoken by the Buddha as Lu She Nwo Buddha, and so it was spoken fast.

The second was the Agama Period in which the store teachings, which provided for the Two Vehicles were presented—the dharmas of the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Conditioned Co-production. This was the Store Teaching.

The third was the Expansive Period, an initial door leading from the Theravada through to the Great Vehicle, and was called the Connective Teaching. It could connect with the former Store Teaching and with the Prajna Teaching, which followed.

      The fourth was the Prajna Period, called the Separate Teaching, because it is not the same as the previous Connective Teaching, and also not the same as the subsequent Perfect Teaching.

The fifth, the Dharma Flower and Nirvana Period, is called the Perfect Teaching. It was spoken particularly to cross over those whose root nature was that of the Great Ve­hicle. The Five Periods and Eight Teachings relate to each other then in the following fashion:

Period                        Teaching

Agama                         Tripitaka ("Three Stores")

Expansive                     Connective

Prajna                        Separate

Dharma Flower & Nirvana       Perfect

In addition to the Four Teachings described above, there are four more Teachings. The Sudden Teaching refers to the sudden and immediate opening of Enlightenment in an in­stant. The Gradual Teaching refers to gradually, little by little, opening Enlightenment. The Secret Teaching means that something is spoken for the other person without the first person knowing it, and something is spoken for the other person without the first person knowing it, both remaining unaware of what the other knows. The Unfixed Teaching is the dharma of there being no fixed dharma. Altogether that makes Eight Teachings, which is what is meant by "the sea of teachings," indicating that all the Three Stores and Twelve Divisions of the Canon spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha are as numerous as the waves of the sea. That is why it says, "the sea of teachings' waves." The waves in question are huge breakers, great waves among the waves, and so they are described as oceanic in extent and boundless.

As for the thousand doors, which in secret flow/"The thousand doors" is a way of saying that the doors are many. There may not be exactly one thousand, but perhaps nine hundred and ninety-nine, or one thousand and one. It's not fixed. Generalizing, it says a thousand doors, "which in secret flow." "In secret" means that they flow to that place without people seeing them. The waters of all streams, rivers, and lakes return to the ocean. Some flow on the surface of the earth as they return to the sea, and others flow beneath the earth to the sea and cannot be seen. One can also speak in terms of the water of the great sea universally penetrating the great earth. No matter where you stand upon the surface of the earth, if you break the earth's surface, there will always be water that flows from within. "Flow," then, refers to these hidden currents of water. The thousand doors which in secret flow, refers to all of the various teaching principles in Buddhism, be they the Five Periods, the Eight Teachings, the Theravada, or the Mahayana, or whatever, all of which merge with the principle of Enlightenment as all waters return to the sea.

Of multitudes of texts it forms the copious source/The "multitudes of texts" means all the Sutras: the Three Stores and the Twelve Divisions of the canon. The Three Stores are the Sutras, Shastras, and Vinaya. There is a verse described in the Twelve Divisions which goes:

Prose, presumptive verses and predictions;

Interjections, spontaneous speaking unrequested;

Causes and conditions, analogies, as well as past lives' deeds;

Deeds of this life, expansions, the hitherto unknown;

Explanations, together make twelve terms.

As in the Great Shastra, number thirty-three.

"Of multitudes of texts it forms the copious "source." To call it "the copious source is to compare it to the great sea.

The ten thousand virtues commingle and return/The Buddha is endowed with ten thousand virtues:

No virtues not perfected,

No heights not reached.

To say, "the ten thousand virtues is, again, to generalize. The virtues "commingle and return." They all come back together and return where? They return to the Flower Adornment Sutra.

While companies of sutras comprise its retinue/The Dharma Flower Sutra is the king among Sutras. The flower Adornment Sutra is the king among kings. The Dharma Flower Sutra is able to include the other Sutras in its retinue; The Flower Adornment Sutra takes even The Dharma Flower Sutra into its retinue. So The Dharma Flower Sutra finds its source-in The Flower Adornment Sutra. This Preface discusses that origin.


This is its intent:

Tallying true substance with the region of ten thousand transformations;

Displaying virtues', marks in the doorway to the multiply profound.

Functions are legion and prolific, yet it is always such;

Wisdom everywhere examines, yet it is forever still.


      This is its intent/This passage discusses the Profundity and Subtlety of the Intent and Aim. The intent is the tendency, the direction the intent is taking, which is profound and subtle, mysterious and deep. First it explains the unobstructedness of principles and specifics. Then it discusses the unobstructedness of specifics and specifics, This Sutra speaks a lot about specifics and about principles, and neither obstructs the other, so the unobstructedness of the Dharma Realm forms its intent.

Tallying true substance with the region of ten thousand transformations/"Tallying" means meshing, linking up true substance, that is the basic substance, the Buddha's Dharma-body, with the regions of ten thousand transformations. This describes the beginning of the creation of the world by transformation. The meaning of "region" is place, area, and it meshes the Dharma Body of the Buddha, the basic Dharma Nature.

The Dharma Nature is like empty space. It cannot be grasped; it cannot be seen. It's just like empty space. "The Nature emptied is the Buddha." If you are able to bring the nature and substance to empty stillness, then that is the Buddha. That state is inconceivable, and it is the Buddha's state. "If someone wants to know the Buddha's state, he should purify his mind like empty space." This was discussed before. Although the Buddha's empty nature is empty space, it still has wonderful existence. Wonderful existence can still come forth from within true emptiness. Wonderful existence does not obstruct true emptiness, and true emptiness does not obstruct wonderful existence.

Displaying virtues' marks in the doorway to the multiply mysterious/ "Virtues' marks" refers back to the previous ten thousand virtues. "The multiply mysterious" is "the mysterious within the mysterious," while the doorway is just "the gateway to the multitudes of wonders."

There is no way to describe fully the marks of the Buddha's meritorious virtues, concerning which there is a verse that says:

Thoughts like kshetras' dust could be counted and known;

The water in great seas could be drunk to the end;

Empty space could be measured and the wind tied:

The Buddha's meritorious virtues could not be fully described.

Functions are legion and prolific, yet it is always such/Its employments are incredibly many, yet it is always such. It is always such as it is, still and unmoving. This explains that the function is not separate from the basic substance. So the substance, the appearance, and the function are not separate entities.

Wisdom everywhere examines, yet it is forever still/Wisdom everywhere contemplates--"examines" means contemplates--"yet it is forever still." "Forever still" is constant stillness, for the Buddha's wisdom is always tranquil.


Truth and Falseness interlink and mingle:

Within the ordinary mind one sees the Buddha mind.

Specifics and principle are together cultivated:

One relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's wisdom.


Truth and falseness interlink and mingle/Falseness comes from truth, and truth comes from falseness; and so the false is not separate from the truth, and truth is not separate from falseness. That is why truth and falseness are said to interlink and mingle. What they resemble is waves in water and wetness: the waves are not separate from wetness, nor is the wetness separate from the waves. However, wetness definitely is not waves.  Wetness and waves form an analogy for truth and falseness. In the analogy, falseness is comparable to the production of waves within wetness, while truth is comparable to wetness. Therefore, there is wetness in waves, yet the original substance of wetness has no waves. Wetness by itself does not necessarily have waves. This makes an appropriate model for the principle of the interlinking and mingling of truth and falseness. Nevertheless, falseness includes truth, and truth is included within falseness as well. Although they have two names, in origin they are one identical substance, comparable to wetness.

In Great Master Yung Chia's Song of Enlightenment it is said:

Not seeking truth, not cutting off the false,

Fully knowing both dharmas are empty without appearance.

The reason there is no search for truth is that truth has no appearance. The reason there is no cutting off of falseness is that falseness, also, has no appearance. When you are confused, that is falseness. When you wake up, that is truth. That is what is meant by "Truth and falseness interlink and mingle."

Within the ordinary mind/Right within the mind of the ordinary person. One sees the Buddha Kind/because ordinary people can become Buddhas. But, Buddhas do not become ordinary people. If Buddhas could go back to being ordinary people, there would be no use in ordinary people becoming Buddhas. If the Buddha transformationally creates the body of an ordinary person, then it is the transformation body that becomes an ordinary person, while the Buddha's basic substance is still in a state of unmoving suchness. However, are ordinary people ordinary people forever? No. It is right within the mind and nature of ordinary people that one is able to see the Buddha nature. That allows one to say that ordinary people can become Buddhas, but not that the Buddha returns to being an ordinary person. It is right within the mind of an ordinary, common individual that the Buddha's mind can be seen. The reason is that truth and falseness interlink and mingle, that they are inseparable.

      What enables living beings to become Buddhas is that living beings possess the Buddha Nature. What is meant by "living being"? The literal meaning of "living beings" is "the multitude-born". That is, they are born from a multitude of conditions coining together, uniting and assisting in their birth. There are womb-born living beings, those born from eggs, moisture-born, and transformationally born.

Womb-born due to emotion come forth;

Egg-born because of thought are had.

Moisture-born due to union are conceived;

Transformation-born due to separation are produced.

There are also those born with form, without form,

With thought, without thought,

Not lacking thought, and not, not lacking thought.

Living beings that are womb-born are born from wombs due to the existence of emotion. Those living beings born from eggs are born due to the existence of thought. An example is a mother hen sitting on her eggs. She sits there and thinks to herself, "My sons or daughters are going to be born. Hurry up and hatch;" She sits there day after day, all day long, and won't move, that old mother hen, thinking, "They've got to hatch. 

They've got to be born. Hurry up!" She thinks that over and over again, and lo and behold, her wish is fulfilled and the little chicks are born. As they are born, they use their beaks and crack open the eggshell. Once they crack it open, she is terrifically happy. She gets so heated up sitting there that her feathers fall out, but even then, the mother hen doesn't leave them. She wouldn't leave them even if it meant giving up her life. Her attitude is, "Even if it kills me, I shall give birth to these little son and daughter chicks!" That is how they are born from thought.

      "Moisture-born due to union are conceived." Those born from moisture are born when potentials come together. Moisture and earth unite, and at that point there is something with a "neither defiled nor pure" aspect to it; and then all of a sudden they are born. You couldn't say that it was clean, but you couldn't quite call it dirty before it has produced larvae. But, as earth and water combine and receive the light of the sun--due to the various causes and conditions-­various insects come into being.

"Transformation-born due to separation are produced." They arise from separation. When conditions are right, a change occurs. An example is the metamorphosis of a butterfly. In general, any creature with sentience is a living being. Those things without sen­tience are not.

Specifics and principle are together cultivated/"Specifics" refers to specified characteristics, while "principle" means the principle and substance. Specifics have appearances, whereas principle has no shape. For example, when we accomplish Buddhahood, we accomplish a principle. We know there is a certain kind of principle, and so we want to cultivate. We base ourselves upon that principle and cultivate. Specific marks are cultivated, and the principle is cultivated, too. The specifics do not obstruct the principle, and the principle does not obstruct the specifics. That is, "Specifics and principle are together cultivated." The Flower Adornment Sutra discusses four kinds of Dharma Realms, which are:

1. The Dharma Realm of Specifics;

2. The Dharma Realm of Principle;

3. The Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Principle and Specifics;

4. The Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Specifics and Specifics.

Now, what is being discussed is the Dharma Realm of the Non-obstruction of Principle and Specifics.

One relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's Wisdom/"Basic wisdom" is everyone's inherent wisdom. Relying upon that inherent wisdom, one seeks to obtain and accomplish the wisdom of a Buddha. The accomplishment of the Buddha's wisdom is just the realization of our own inherent wisdom. Everyone has that basic wisdom, and so everyone can open the wisdom of a Buddha. If it were not for that basic wisdom, no one would be able to accomplish Buddhahood. However, everyone has it. Not only do people have it, all living beings have that basic wisdom, and that is why it says, "Specifics and principle are together cultivated: one relies on basic wisdom to seek the Buddha's wisdom."

If all of you investigate The Flower Adornment Sutra to the point that you understand it, that is seeing the Buddha mind within the ordinary mind. If you go on to use the methods of The Flower Adornment Sutra to cultivate, then that is relying on basic wisdom to seek and obtain the Buddha's wisdom. Unless you read The Flower Adornment Sutra, you will not know of the Buddha's true blessings and honor. The Flower Adornment Sutra is the Buddha's greatest store of treasures. There are priceless, true treasures within The Flower Adornment Sutra, and so those who read it then know the wonderful aspects of the Buddhadharma.


Principle changes according to specifics, so

One and many conditionally arise without bounds;

Specifics interfuse with principle, so

A thousand distinctions combine without obstruction.


Principle changes according to specifics/Principle and specifics are also interlinked and mingle, so at times, principle may accord with specifics and change and transform. So one and many conditionally arise without bounds/ Principle accords with specifics and consequently one becomes many. The many also become one. Whether one or many, those kinds of arisals from conditions are boundless. They have no limit, which is why it says, "Principle changes according to specifics. The meaning is the same as that of having no boundary. If you understand one mode, then you can understand all modes. If you do not understand even one mode, then you won't understand mode after mode. Therefore, it is said:

The one once attained,

Ten thousand specifics come to an end.

If you attain to the one, the myriad particulars may all be ended. If you have not attained the one, then you cannot attain the many. If you have not attained the many, then you have not yet understood the one.

A single root disperses to ten thousand-fold;

Ten thousand-fold return to a single root.

In the world, all the various forms, shapes and characteristics are produced from the one. You calculate it: people are one, dogs are two, cats are three, pigs are four...Calculating, you'll calculate to limitless and boundlessly many living beings, including even tigers and lions in the computation of all living beings. Where do they all come from? They come from the one, so "A single root disperses to ten thousand-fold." What, then, do the ten thousand-fold do? They return to the root. They all go back to a single place. What is that place? It is the place of one birth and one death. No matter who you are, you cannot escape birth and death. Therefore, although their shapes and characteristics are not the same, when the fruit is reaped, they again are one. Therefore, ten thousand-fold returns to a single root. "A single root disperses to ten thousand-fold" is birth. "Ten thousand-­fold returns to a single root" is death. If you investigate the problem of birth and death to the point that you understand them, then one and many are unobstructed and have no bounds, "So, one and many conditionally arise without bounds." Those kinds of causally conditioned arisals have no bounds.

Specifics interfuse with principle/If specifics are fused together and blended with principle, then specifics and principle interpenetrate without being mutually obstructive. The Flower Adornment Sutra discusses the doctrine of perfect unobstructed fusion. The great can enter into the small; the small can enter the great in both specifics and principle.

So a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction/Although there are a thousand, or ten thousand, kinds of distinctions, they combine with one another. "Combine" has the same meaning as "interlink and mingle." They combine with one another without obstruction. Even though they combine, they do not interfere with one another. No obstructions arise. That is a wonderful kind of state. You may say as well that the ordinary and the sagely interlink and mingle, that specifics and principle interlink and mingle, that good and evil interlink and mingle, that true and false interlink and mingle, that right and wrong interlink and mingle. What, after all, is "right"? Doesn't "right" come from "wrong"? If you have "wrong", then you have "right". If you have "right", then you have "wrong". So right and wrong interlink and mingle. You can transform this statement into trillions of statements, which is an example of one and many conditionally arising without bounds. You could also call it a thousand distinctions combining without obstructions. That is how it works.

*Turn In

by Shramanerika Kuo Jing

As spring melts into summer,

and summer into fall,

As days turns into years,

and years turn into lives,

How many rounds must we keep a-turnin'

Before our time is done?

Like the circus ferris wheel,

Taking spins and making deals,

Lying to each other with smiles in eyes,

How can we ever be set free?

In the dust in the June eve,

Where the crickets sigh and the willows weep,

Don't you hear the sound within the sound,

Tugging in our minds so deep?

Find the missing link

That plucks at your heart strings,

Let's resound with the same chord,

Like the tinkle of bells from a distant past.

Friends, it's time to move on,

It's time to move on.

We have unfinished business,

The waves from the other shore

Are beckoning, beckoning still.

     *Regarding the explanation of the Preface just given, there's a student of philosophy saying, "That has something to it. It's pretty logical." However, there's a sociologist who's saying, "That's not correct. Right is right and wrong is wrong. How can you talk Of not distinguishing right and wrong, good and evil, specifics and principle, or true and false? If you don't distinguish between them, how can you determine what is true and what is false?" Well, if you don't have anything to do and you want to find something to do, then there are all kinds of things you can find to do. But if you are not interested in adding a head on top of a head, then basically there is nothing to do. If you want to go one further and are trying to avoid being like Yajnadatta, then there is even less to do. Those of you who haven't heard, the explanation of the Surangama Sutra may not know about Yajnadatta, so I'll tell you. He is very interesting. One morning he took a look in the mirror and exclaimed, "Hey, that guy in the mirror has a head; how come I don't have a head? My head's been stolen; How can that guy in the mirror have a head while I have no head?" Then he went nuts. "How can I live without a head?" He immediately ran out into the streets shouting, "Did you see where my head went? Where's my head?" He went everywhere asking people. Now, wouldn't you say that was a case of having nothing to do and looking for something to do? Without a head, how could he have talked? How could he have been asking people? But, he didn't realize that. He was just attached to having lost his head, to not having a head. There's a Chinese proverb that goes:

Riding on the donkey, one looks for the donkey;

Riding on the horse, one looks for the horse.

That's a case of one single thought of ignorance clouding the person over. If one were to look down and break through that ignorance, then one would see, "Oh, I'm riding on my horse! I don't need to look all over for it after all." "Oh! I've been riding on my donkey all along, so I don't have to go find it after all." If you go looking for truth and falseness, then you are attached, and you still have truth and falseness. If you are unattached, truth and falseness fundamentally are one single substance. Ultimately, then, what is the principle of "One and many conditionally arise without bounds, so a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction"? It has no principle at all. It is what is known as there being no fixed dharma. You can discuss it from this angle, and discuss it from that angle, and discuss it backwards and forwards--but what is spoken is false. If every day you can sit in meditation for a minute longer, then that is true. What is spoken is false; what is practiced is true. If you study and understand more principle, then that is opening more wisdom. If you meditate for a minute longer and obtain more samadhi power, then one may say, "Samadhi and wisdom are together cultivated." Your listening to Sutras is just the cultivation of wisdom. Your sitting in meditation is the cultivation of samadhi. Isn't your daily refraining from idle chatter the cultivation of precepts? If you aren't thinking of stealing things, that itself is holding precepts. There's even less reason to speak of taking life: there is no way to kill in the meditation hall.

Someone may say, "Oh, that does not apply to me. Every day I want to kill people." Well, if you want to kill people, start by killing yourself. Why? If you don't kill yourself, you could turn into a monster, a demon, from wanting to kill people.

You may say, "As for killing myself, I can't do it."

In telling you to kill yourself, I mean for you to kill your killing mind, not to kill your person. Take that thought of killing of yours and kill it. Tell yourself, "Why is it that I want to kill people? I ought to put a stop to such thoughts." You see, if you can do that, then that's killing the thief, which is ignorance. If you cut off afflictions and cast out evil, then that is true and actual killing. Don't hesitate to kill some more. Kill your ignorance. The reason you want to kill people is due to ignorance, so you should start by killing ignorance. That is what I mean by killing yourself. I don't mean that you should commit suicide, I mean that you should kill your ignorance. Cut off your ignorance. Smash it to bits! When ignorance is cut off and smashed, then there is no darkness, and so there is light.


Therefore, he obtains:

Ten bodies in succession, yet reciprocally contained.

And so,

The vast and great can enter where there is no place,

Dust motes and hairs envelope with nothing left outside:

Clearly arrayed, like mustard seeds within a jar;

Completely simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea;

One and many unobstructed, like a thousand lamps in an empty space;

Hidden and revealed together realized, like the splintering moon in an autumn sky;

Layer on layer lights interlace, like the Lord's net's trailing pearls;

Thought after thought makes perfect fusion, like an evening dream's passing time;

Dharma doors pile up in layers, like clouds billowing in space;

Myriad practices unfurl profusely, like flowers blooming on brocade.


therefore he obtains/This section of text discusses ten esoteric doors—ten subtle, wonderful Dharma doors. They arise through mutual conditions with one another:

1) The door of mutual interaction which is simultaneous and complete

2) The door of Free-and-Easy Non-Obstruction of Vast and Minute of broad and narrow;

3) The door of the uniqueness of the one and many encompassing one another;

4) The door of Free-and-Easy Mutual Identity of all Dharmas.

5) The door of the success in both hiding and revealing the esoteric and secret;

6) The door of dwelling in the mu­tual inclusion of the fine and subtle;

7) The door of the state like Indra's net;

8) The door of understanding, where the specifics are used to reveal the Dharma;

9) The door of the distinctness of dharmas apart from the Ten Realms;

     10) The door of the all-encompassing quality of the order and yet variety of the
         Treasury of all Dharmas.

These ten kinds of esoteric doors are found in a single mote of dust. In fact, every mote of dust throughout the ten directions is replete with them—mutually inclusive without obstruction; mutually released, mutually entering. As a consequence of the previous "Specifics interfuse with principle, so a thousand distinctions combine without obstruction," therefore, he obtains Ten bodies in succession, yet mutually operative/There are two lists of ten bodies. The first is:

1) The Bodhi Body.

2) The Vows Body.

3) The Transformation Body.

4) The Dwelling and Maintaining Body.

5) The Body Adorned with Fine Marks.

6) The Power Body.

7) The As-You-Will Body.

8) The Body of Blessings and Virtue.

      9) The Wisdom Body. 

     10) The Dharma Body.

The second is:

1) The Living Beings Body.

2) The Country Body.

3) The Karmic Retribution Body.

4) The Sound Hearer Body.

5) The Body of One Enlightened to Conditions.

6) The Bodhisattva Body.

7) The Thus Come One Body.

8) The Wisdom Body.

9) The Dharma Body.

     10) The Empty Space Body.

Those ten kind of bodies are simultaneously completed and mutually operative, and so this is called the Door of the Self-Mastery of all Dharma Appearances.

What is the Living Beings Body? "Living beings," as was just discussed, means "multi­tude-born"--born from a multitude of condi­tions coming together. Each category of living beings has its own body. The Living Be­ings Body means that Bodhisattvas:

Contemplate potentials and entice with teachings;

According to the person, speak the Dharma.

They take a look at the opportune conditions and use the appropriate kind of teaching to teach and transform living beings. They contemplate potentials and entice with teachings, and according to the person, speak the Dharma. They speak the kind of Dharma that is suited to a particular person and, as a result, they make appear bodies of living beings in order to speak the Dharma for living beings.

As for the Country Body, the countries that we live in have all been transformationally made to appear by Bodhisattvas in order to benefit living beings and teach and transform them. They cause all of the living beings upon that country body to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi.

Then there is the Karmic Retribution Body. Living beings all have the karmic retribution of living beings. Bodhisattvas also make karmic retribution bodies appear in order to teach and transform living beings. They also make appear bodies of Sound Hearers—the appearance of Sound Hearers is that of Bhiksus--as well as those of Ones Enlightened to Conditions (also called the Solitarily Enlightened) to teach and transform living beings.

      Any one of us now who brings forth the mind of a Sound Hearer is a Sound Hearer, and whoever brings forth the mind of One Enlightened to Conditions is One Enlightened to Conditions. If you bring forth the mind of a Bodhisattva, you are a Bodhisattva. Your Bodhisattva may be a transformation body made to appear by transformation by a Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas also make appear bodies of Bodhisattvas. Bodhisattva bodies are always benefiting living beings. They forget all about themselves and benefit living beings. They also make appear the bodies of Thus Come Ones, that is Buddha bodies, as well as Wisdom bodies, the bodies of persons with wisdom. They also make appear the Dharma Body and the Empty Space Body. However, those ten bodies can simultaneously be made to appear by transformation without the basic body ever changing. That is why the ten bodies are described as being "in succession," which means that they are very clearly discernible, "yet mutually operative." There appear bodies of living beings, country bodies, karmic retribution bodies, Sound Hearer bodies, and bodies of those Enlightened to Conditions—all of which mutually appear and do the Buddhas' work without obstructing one another. We people, who have just one single body, are not that way. If we go to New York, we are no longer in San Francisco, and if we go to Honolulu, we are no longer in New York. They are not like that, however. They can make those ten kinds of bodies appear all at the same time, without any mutual interference. This discusses the Door of Free and Easy Mutual Identity of all Dharmas.

      Six positions not disordered, yet reciprocally contained/ The Six Positions include the three saintly stages, the ten sagely positions, and the two levels of enlightenment.

1) The Ten Dwellings (Three saintly Stages)

2) The Ten Conducts  (Three saintly Stages)

3) The Ten Transferences (Three saintly Stages)

4) The Ten Grounds (Ten Sagely Positions)

5) Equal Enlightenment (Two Levels of Enlightenment)

6) Wonderful Enlightenment. (Two levels of Enlightenment)

Those Six Positions are "not disordered". They are all very neatly arrayed, not the least bit out of order, "yet reciprocally contained". That is, at one and the sane time, the Ten Bodies are completed and the Six Positions are perfected--without the possibility of their becoming mixed up. This also discusses the Door of Free and Easy Mutual Identity of All Dharmas.

And so the vast and great can enter where there is so place/"The vast and great" means what is largest, while "where there is no place" means what is smallest. Nonetheless, the vast and great can go in where there is no place—into such an infinitesimal area. However, what is large still does not become small. The wonderful is right at this point. What is more, when the vast and great state enters into the smallest area, that smallest area also does not become any larger. Mount Sumeru can enter into a mustard seed. The four great seas can enter into a single strand of hair. This is called the Door of Free and Easy Non-Obstruction of Vast and Minute.

The next line says, Oust notes and hairs envelope, with nothing left outside. "Dust Motes" means fine particles of dust, and "hairs" refers to individual strands of hair. This describes the principle of the small enveloping the great, "with nothing left outside."

As it says in the Surangama Sutra:

On the tip of a hair appear kshetras of the Jeweled Kings.

Seated in a particle of dust, they turn the vast, great Dharma wheel.

On the tiny tip of a single strand of fine hair, all Buddhalands are manifest, along with all the living beings in those lands--yet that is all made to appear on the tip of a strand of hair. Seated within a single fine mote of dust, they lecture Sutras and speak the Dharma, and there are limitlessly many living beings listening to the Dharma, within that single fine mote of dust. The vast does not obstruct the minute, and the minute does not obstruct the vast. Within the small there manifests the large, and within the large there manifests the small. This kind of state is not a state that ordinary beings can con­ceptualize. This is the Door of the Unobstructedness of the Free and Easy Relation­ship of Broad and Narrow.

Clearly arrayed/"Clearly arrayed" means set out in a very evident fashion, like mustard seeds within a jar/Just like mustard seeds stored in a glass container, which can be seen very distinctly. They are clearly arrayed like mustard seeds in a glass jar. The individual mustard seeds are very small, but when stored in a glass container, they can be seen very clearly. Each one is clear and yet part of the whole, so one and many are seen together, but each is distinct from the other. This is the Door of Dwelling in the Mutual Inclusion of the Fine and Subtle.

Completely Simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea; one and many unobstructed/ "Completely simultaneous, like drops of water in the sea." The one participates in the many, and the many participate in the one as well-­just like the individual drops of water in the sea, each of which has the flavor of the sea in its entirety. Although the Buddha-Dharma has eighty-four thousand Dharma Doors, if you successfully enter one, you can reach your goal of enlightenment. The Flower Adornment Sutra is also that way. This is the Door of Mutual Interaction, which is Simultaneous and Complete.

Like a thousand lamps in empty space/There is no inter-obstruction among the lights that come from lamps. When, within empty space, there are a thousand lamps, each gives off its own light, without the light of one interfering with that of another. One light would never say to another, "Your light is too great. It interferes with my light." Nor would the other light say, "My light is too small. It gets swallowed up by your light." They do not interfere with one another. That is what is known as the harmony of lights. A thousand lamps in empty space do not obstruct each other. Your light does not interfere with mine, nor does my light interfere with yours. There is harmony of light, and one and many are unobstructed. If there is one, there is light, if there are a thousand, there is also light. One and many are unobstructed and do not obstruct one another. This is the Door of the Uniqueness of the One and Many Encompassing One Another.

Hidden and revealed together realized, like the splintering moon in an autumn sky/It is also as in autumn, the Fall Season, the moon in the sky has both a period when it is hidden and a period when it is revealed. Sometimes the moon is waxing, and sometimes it is waning, and yet both aspects "are together realized". In the combination of hidden and revealed, what is hidden reinforces what is revealed, and what is revealed reinforces what is hidden. Once the moon has waxed to the full, then it wanes. After waning, it then waxes once again. The principles of The Flower Adornment Sutra also follow that pattern, and so they are "like the splintering moon in an autumn sky," like the Fall Season's moon in empty space. This is the Door of the Success in Both Hiding and Revealing the Esoteric and Secret.

Layer on layer lights interlace like the Lord's net's trailing pearls/ "Layer on layer" means one layer after another, in multi-tiered and inexhaustible profusion, "lights interlace". To interlace means to intertwine. Lights shine upon one another as in the latticework banner before Sakra's Heaven; and it is the same as the net in the Great Brahma Heaven. The latticework banner is cylindrical in shape, and has holes along its sides, just like a fish net, which has one hole after another, so that the fish are trapped inside, but the water can pour out. However, within each hole there is inlaid a precious pearl. Each precious pearl can emit light. Upon this latticework banner there are inexhaustibly multi-layered amounts of holes, which are inlaid with inexhaustibly multi-layered amounts of precious pearls. The lights mutually interlace, which is the reference of "like the Lord's net's trailing pearls," the pearls of that banner of netting shining upon one another. Your light shines upon me, and my light shines upon you, as "layer on layer lights interlace" in mutual illumination. This is the Door of the State Like Indra's Net.

"Thought after thought," means one thought extends for limitless kalpas, and limitless kalpas is just one thought. This Sutra is one of "perfect fusion" without obstruction. Thought after thought makes perfect fusion. It is like "an evening's dream" during which one feels that a very, very long time has gone by. One dreams of being an Emperor, of holding public office, of striking it rich—all kinds of dreams. Periods of time as long as whole lifetimes go by in the time of a single evening's dream. The principles of The Flower Adornment Sutra are perfectly fused and unobstructed in this way. This is the Door of the Distinctiveness of Dharmas Apart from the Ten Realms.

      Dharma doors pile up in layers/The Dharma doors of The Flower Adornment Sutra are unobhaustibly multi-layered, both inexhaustible and multi-leveled, and so they are said to "pile up in layers, "like clouds billowing in space/ What they resemble is banks of clouds in empty space. No sooner has one cloud gone by than another comes along. The principles of the Flower Adornment Sutra are also that way. This is the Door of Understanding When the Specifics are Used to Reveal Dharma.

Myriad practices unfurl profusely/"Myriad practices" means the Six Paramitas and the Ten Thousand Conducts, which "unfurl profuse­ly," like flowers blooming on brocade/This resembles embroidering more flowers on top of flowers, adding flowers to brocade. To start with, there were plenty of flowers on the piece of embroidery, yet one adds even more flowers. These flowers, however, are also inexhaustibly multi-layered, and so are compared to flowers blooming on brocade. In China there is a saying:

To add flowers to brocade, there are a thousand;

To give coal within the snow, not half a person.

"To add flowers to brocade" is as when someone is president, this person sends this gift and that person sends that gift, and if the president's wife wants a diamond necklace to wear, immediately countless hundreds of people send her one. One person sends one, and then someone else sends one. She only wanted one, but in the long run she receives several hundred. Nonetheless, she can't say to people, "I have one already, I don't want yours." That's the meaning of "to add flowers to brocade there are a thousand." "To give coal within the snow, not half a person." This refers to a person who is very, very cold out in the snow. The person is so poor, he doesn't even have a house to live in, and so he lives under the snowy ground; but no one comes along to give that person a lump of charcoal to warm himself. Originally, "to add flowers to brocade" described the tendency of people in our present age to:

Flock to flames and fawn on power.

That they "flock to flames" means that they go where it's hot, that they run to warm places. "Fawn on power" means that they go and submit themselves to authority. However, here the principles within The Flower Adornment Sutra are being compared to flowers added to brocade. This is the Door of the All-encompassing Quality of the Order and Yet Variety of the Treasury of all Dharmas.

*Not included in Chinese copy