BY NATIONAL MASTER CH'ING LIANG
by Bhiksuni Heng Hsien
FIVE, IN ORDER TO DISPLAY THE VIRTUES OF THE FRUIT. THAT IS, WITHIN THIS FUNDAMENTAL DHARMA, TO DISPLAY THE SUPREME QUALITIES OF A BUDDHA, CAUSING ALL BODHISATTVAS TO BELIEVE, TEND TOWARDS AND CERTIFY. UNAWARE OF PRECIOUS JADE, ONE DOES NOT OBTAIN ITS USE. NOT KNOWING OF THESE VIRTUES, HOW COULD THEY GAZE UP AND SEEK THEM?
FIVE, IN ORDER TO DISPLAY THE VIRTUES OF THE FRUIT. THAT IS, WITHIN THIS FUNDAMENTAL DHARMA, TO DISPLAY THE SUPREME QUALITIES OF A BUDDHA. CAUSING ALL BODHISATTVAS TO BELIEVE, TEND TOWARDS AND CERTIFY. The Fifth Cause is in order to set forth and reveal the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood. The reason for revealing the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood is: This kind of great, fundamental Dharma expressed in The Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra was spoken to cause the Bodhisattvas to give rise to faith, resolve to tend towards this great, fundamental Dharma in their cultivation, and certify, testify to this great fruit. As it is said:
Speaking Great Dharma, believing in Dharma, cultivating Great Dharma and certifying to Great Fruit, testifying to the perfect fruit of Buddhahood.
UNAWARE OF PRECIOUS JADE, ONE DOES NOT OBTAIN ITS USE. NOT KNOWING OF THESE VIRTUES, HOW COULD THEY GAZE UP AND SEEK THEM? It is as if there were a piece of precious jade, which has to be, recognized as such. If you do not recognize what it is, you win mistake it for an ordinary rock. Diamonds are another example. People who can recognize diamonds know that they are valuable jewels, but people who don't recognize them mistake them for ordinary glass, which has no great use. Unaware of precious jade...You have to recognize it as precious jade to know how to use it. For example, if you take a jade cup to drink wine, that's very suitable. But if you give it to a child, to use as a chamber pot, then that's incorrect. That's not knowing how to use the precious treasure. Not knowing of these virtues, how could they gaze up and seek them? If the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood are not revealed and set forth, how could they gaze up at them in admiration and seek them?
AS FOR THE VIRTUES OF THE FRUIT. THERE ARE TWO: ONE DEPENDENT FRUIT. THE SEAS OF WORLDS OF THE FLOWER TREASURY AND SO FORTH; TWO, PROPER FRUIT, THE THUS COMES TEN BODIES, AND SO FORTH. THESE TWO ARE UNOBSTRUCTED, AND CONSTITUTE THE VIRTUES OF A BUDDHA.
AS FOR THE VIRTUES OF THE FRUIT, THERE ARE TWO: ONE DEPENDENT FRUIT. The first is dependent fruit, which is also dependent retribution. It is THE SEAS OF THE FLOWER TREASURY, AND SO FORTH. Dependent fruit means our worlds and the rest of the seas of worlds of the Flower Treasury. TWO, PROPER FRUIT, which means to say, THE THUS COMES TEN BODIES, AND SO FORTH. The ten kinds of bodies were discussed at length in the Preface. They are: 1) the Bodhi Body, 2) the Vows Body, 3) the Transformation Body, 4) the Dwelling and Maintaining Body, 5) the Body Adorned with Marks and Characteristics, 6) the Powers Body, 7) the As-You-Will Body, 8) the Body of Blessings and Virtue, 9) the Wisdom Body, and 10) the Dharma Body. THESE TWO ARE UNOBSTRUCTED. Dependent fruit is unobstructed, and proper fruit is unobstructed—the two fruits, dependent and proper, are mutually non-obstructive—AND CONSTITUTE THE VIRTUES OF A BUDDHA. Those are the qualities of the fruit of Buddhahood.
Our first summer session is almost over, and those who would like to continue and participate in the second session are welcome to do so. You are also welcome not to join the second session and the third. If you feel that the Buddhadharma is inconceivable, you should study it some more, and continue to participate. If you think, "I've studied it enough," it's like eating: when you've eaten your fill, you don't need to eat again until you become hungry. The principle is the same. Now in America, our Sino-American Buddhist Association has Dharma lectures every evening, and also during the day. Now as I contemplate the entire world, places as busy as we are very, very few. People in the world are all asleep and have not awakened, and so they do not know that it is wonderful. If you sleep and then wake up, you will know it is wonderful, ineffably wonderful, there being no way to describe its wonder—so I will not discuss it tonight.
CONCERNING THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF DEPENDENT AND PROPER, TOGETHER THERE ARE SIX PROPOSITIONS: ONE, WITHIN THE DEPENDENT THERE MANIFESTS THE DEPENDENT, LIKE SEAS OF KSHETRAS WITHIN DUST-MOTES. TWO, WITHIN THE PROPER THERE MANIFESTS THE PROPER, LIKE HAIR-PORES MANIFESTING BUDDHAS. THREE, WITHIN THE PROPER MANIFESTS THE DEPENDENT. FOUR, WITHIN THE DEPENDENT MANIFESTS THE PROPER. FILE WITHIN THE DEPENDENT MANIFEST THE DEPENDENT AND THE PROPER. SIX, WITHIN THE PROPER MANIFEST THE PROPER AND THE DEPENDENT. THERE IS MORE THAN ONE SUPPORTING TEXT.
Previously it discussed revealing the virtues of the fruit of Buddhahood, and how there are the two categories of fruit-virtues—dependent fruit and proper fruit which are mutually non-obstructive. Now their mutual non-obstructiveness is going to be explained using the principles of six propositions, and so it says, CONCERNING THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF DEPENDENT AND PROPER, TOGETHER THERE ARE SIX PROPOSITIONS. There are six statements, which have interconnected principles. ONE, the first proposition, is WITHIN THE DEPENDENT THERE MANIFESTS THE DEPENDENT. Inside the dependent fruit there further appears the dependent fruit, that is, dependent retribution manifests dependent retribution, LIKE SEAS OF KSHETRAS WITHIN DUST-MOTES. What is meant by dependent retribution? It means the seas of worlds of the Flower Treasury. The seas of worlds of the Flower Treasury include the Dharma Realm within them. Our world, according to the Flower Adornment Sutra, is the Lotus Flower Banner World System. The Lotus Flower Banner World System has twenty tiers. The Saha World of ours is the thirteenth tier. The worlds of the Flower Treasury just means the Lotus Flower Treasury World-System, which is called dependent retribution as well as dependent fruit. To speak from a more superficial point of view, it means all mountains, rivers, the great earth, the houses we live in—that is all dependent retribution. We people are called proper retribution or proper fruit, and so it is said that the proper fruit is the Thus Comes ten kinds of bodies. Now, inside the dependent retribution, there is a further manifestation of dependent retribution. How does it appear? Inside each and every particle of dust can appear seas of kshetras many as fine motes of dust, and so it says, like seas of kshetras within dust-motes. Inside every particle of dust appear the Flower Treasury worlds, which are very large. However, the particles of dust do not enlarge, nor do the worlds of the Flower Treasury shrink. How, then, can the worlds of the Flower Treasury appear within a single mote of dust? It's because you have run inside that single mote of dust.
You say, "I don't understand this. How can something so large appear inside a mote of dust, while the worlds remain as large as ever and the dust-motes stay just as small? How can they get inside the particles of dust? If you want to know how they can fit inside a single mote of dust, you first need to find out how they can not fit inside. Once you understand how they fail to fit, you'll understand how they do fit. That is the first proposition.
TWO, the second, is WITHIN THE PROPER THERE MANIFESTS THE PROPER, LIKE HAIR-PORES MANIFESTING BUDDHAS. There are eighty-four thousand hair-pores on the human body, and inside every single hair-pore Vairochana Buddha can appear. Hair-pores are proper retribution, proper fruit, and they make appear Dharma Body Buddhas who are also proper fruit, and so it says, within the proper there manifests the proper.
There is also THREE, WITHIN THE PROPER MANIFESTS THE DEPENDENT. Inside every hair-pore there appear seas of kshetra-worlds many as fine motes of dust. The Flower Treasury World-System appears in a single hair-pore, which is the dependent appearing within the proper. FOUR, WITHIN THE DEPENDENT MANIFESTS THE PROPER. Furthermore, within a single miniscule particle of dust, there can appear the Buddha's Dharma Body. The Buddha sits there in the Way Place, turns the Great Dharma Wheel, teaches and transforms living beings, and performs the activities of a Buddha on a vast scale.
FIVE, WITHIN THE DEPENDENT MANIFEST THE DEPENDENT AND THE PROPER. Inside the dependent, that is, within single particles of dust, there can also appear both the seas of worlds of the Flower Treasury and limitless Buddhas. That's the dependent and the proper appearing within the dependent. SIX, WITHIN THE PROPER MANIFEST THE PROPER AND THE DEPENDENT. Also, within the proper retribution, proper fruit, which is to say inside of hair-pores—manifest the proper and the dependent. The Buddhas appear, and so do the seas of worlds of the Flower Treasury.
THERE IS MORE THAN ONE SUPPORTING TEXT. In the Sutra text itself, there are a great many places where this will be said. Not just one passage illustrates the state of non-obstruction of dependent and proper.
FURTHERMORE, THERE ARE FOUR PROPOSITIONS. ONE, PERHAPS ONLY DEPENDENT, BECAUSE THE BUDDHA IS THE KSHETRAS. TOO, PERHAPS ONLY PROPER, BECAUSE THE KSHETRAS ARE THE BUDDHA. THREE, BOTH, FOUR, NEITHER, UPON REFLECTION ONE CAN KNOW THEM.
FURTHERMORE, THERE ARE FOUR PROPOSITIONS. After the six propositions, one can further use the meanings of four propositions to explain this. ONE, PERHAPS ONE DEPENDENT. The first propositions say you might put it this way. Why? BECAUSE THE BUDDHA IS THE KSHETRAS. The reason you would say this is that the Buddha's Body is the Land of the Dharma Nature. He sacrifices himself for the sake of others. He wants no self but accords with others, and in so doing doesn't want his own Buddha Body, but accords with the countries. Because the Buddha's Dharma Body is the Dharma Nature Land, there is no difference between the Buddha and the Land of the Dharma Nature. The Buddha, too, is dependent retribution. Why? Because the Buddha's Dharma Body is just like empty space, with no place where it is and no place where it isn't. Do you say it exists? You can't see it. Can you see what the Buddha is like? He's not like the Buddha images to which we make offerings here. Not at all. That's because, outside the Dharma Nature there is no Buddha, and outside the Buddha there is no Dharma Nature, and so the Land of the Dharma Nature is the Buddha's Body, and the Buddha's Body is the Land of the Dharma Nature. Therefore it is only dependent; it's just dependent fruit.
TWO, PERHAPS ONLY PROPER. That is to say, it is only proper fruit, and there is no dependent fruit. Why is that? It is BECAUSE THE KSHETRAS ARE THE BUDDHA. The seas of worlds like motes of dust are just the Buddha's Body, the Buddha's Dharma Nature Body. THREE, BOTH. The dependent does not obstruct the proper, and the proper does not interfere with the dependent. Dependent and proper mutually appear. FOUR, NEITHER. There is neither dependent, retribution, nor is there proper retribution. Neither means there isn't either one. UPON REFLECTION ONE CAN KNOW THEM. If you think about them carefully and investigate the principles behind them, you will know them.
WHICHEVER SINGLE POOR IS MENTIONED, IT INCLUDES THEM ALL, JUST AS IS DESCRIBED BELOW.
SIX, IN ORDER TO DISCUSS THE GROUND POSITIONS, TO SHOW THE BODHISATTVAS, WHO ARE CULTIVATING THE CAUSES FOR BUDDHAHOOD, HOW THE ONE ROAD TO THE FRUIT HAS DIFFERENCES OF STAGES.
WHICHEVER SINGLE POOR IS MENTIONED. Previously it talked about the non-obstruction of dependent and proper, dependent fruit and proper fruit, and how the fruit can be explained using six propositions or else using four propositions. Now it says, whichever single door is mentioned. It doesn't matter which one of the doors you bring up, IT INCLUDES THEM ALL. That one door comprises all doors in multi-layered inexhaustibility, JUST AS IS DESCRIBED BELOW. This is going to be explained at length in what follows, so there is no need to go into detail here.
SIX, the Sixth Cause, is IN ORDER TO DISCUSS THE GROUP POSITIONS, to make clear what positions are involved. Why does one discuss the ground positions? It is TO SHOW THE BODHISATTVAS, WHO ARE CULTIVATING THE CAUSES FOR BUDDHAHOOD...When Bodhisattvas are cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, they are cultivating the causes for Buddhahood. What are those causes? It means that everything one does is transferred to the fruit of Buddhahood. One now plants the causes for Buddhahood, and in the future one will reap the fruit of Buddhahood. Planting the causes for Buddhahood is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, benefiting living beings. However, most people find the Bodhisattva Way not at all easy to cultivate.
It is very difficult to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. Why is that? It is because Bodhisattvas have to benefit living beings, and have to give living beings whatever they want from you. So, Sariputra, upon hearing the Buddha say that cultivating the Bodhisattva Way was the door of Great Vehicle practice, decided that he, too, would cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. When you are cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, if someone wants your head, you have to give them your head. If they want your feet, you have to give them your feet. In general, if living beings want your body, you are supposed to give it to them: head, eyes, brains, marrow that's inner wealth. If someone needs those things of yours, and you're cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, you have to renounce them.
Sariputra said to the Buddha's face that he was going to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. The Buddha said, "You'd better try it out first. It's not all that easy. Give it a preliminary three-month trial run. Then, if you find you really can do it, you can set about cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way in earnest. In cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, you have to have an attitude of no self and no other, no living beings and no lifespans. You have to be able to stomach the most bitter things, and yield the most pleasant ones to others. You must sacrifice yourself for the sake of others." Sariputra said, "I think I can do that. I imagine I could give my body away to someone if they asked for it." The Buddha said, "Okay, you try it out then."
Thereupon, Sariputra set out to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. As he was walking the Bodhisattva Path, he saw a stone in the road and said to himself, "I should move this rock away or else people with poor eyesight walking along this road could break a leg, or have a spill and be injured." So he moved the rock, and then thought to himself, "I'm cultivating the Bodhisattva Way." He kept on going, and ran into a hole full of water. He said, "I'd better fill in this hole. It would be easy to walk here if there weren't any water, to prevent situations such as when Sakyamuni Buddha in a previous life had to spread out his hair to cover a mud puddle. He found a pail and brought load after load of dirt until he had filled in the hole so there was no more water. Then he said to himself, "This, too, is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way. These are all ways of benefiting people. The road wasn't easy to travel on, but I've repaired it, and that is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way." He was very happy that day. When he went back and sat in meditation that evening, he felt very comfortable and said, "It's not strange people cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. It's really fine. Today I have fewer false thoughts during my meditation. I'm certainly going to continue to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way."
The next day he set out for the mountains, where he found lots of dead trees. He said, "I'm going to clear these dead trees off to one side, which is also cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way." Then he ran into a person who had no eyes, walking down the road, with no one acting as his guide. He thought, "I should cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and escort this eyeless person to his home." So he said, "Hey, Mr. Blind man, where do you want to go?"
The eyeless person said, "You are the blind man;" Sariputra thought, "What? He's the blind man, and he gets upset when I call him 'Mr. Blind man'. Oh well, when one cultivates the Bodhisattva Way one has to be patient." So he said, "Oh, you are Mr. Has Eyes."
The other retorted, "What's it to you if I have eyes or not?" exploding with anger and scolding him.
Sariputra said, "I just want to help you. I'll guide you wherever you want to go."
The blind man said, "I don't need any help from you," and told him off.
Sariputra said to himself, "The Bodhisattva Way is not easy to cultivate; I wanted to show him the road and he cursed me. But be patient, practice the Paramita of Patience and don't pay any attention to him. However, I think I'll take the Bodhisattva Way back with me for the day and let it rest a little. Tomorrow we'11 see."
He returned, and as he sat in meditation that evening he kept having false thoughts about what had happened. "He didn't have any eyes and when I wanted to guide him along the road he cursed me; People in the world are really weird." But he still didn't think of quitting, and hadn't decided it was too hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. He still thought to himself, "If he scolds me a bit it's not important. I can take it."
The next day he set out again to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. On the Bodhisattva Way, he encountered a person who was walking along and crying, sobbing his heart out. Sariputra said, "Whatever trouble you are in, maybe there's something I can do for you. Give it a try and tell me."
The man said, "It wouldn't do any good to tell you. Don't waste my time. I've got too much pain in my heart, so all I can do is cry."
Sariputra said, "I'm sure I can help you. Tell me what's wrong, and I'll find a way to help."
The man said, "Do you really mean it? It's because my mother is sick. She went to see the doctor who wrote her a prescription that says she needs the eye of a living person to cure her. I've gone the rounds of all the pharmacies trying to buy a live person's eye, but there are none for sale. That kind of medicine doesn't exist, so there's no way to cure my mother's illness, and all I can do is cry. At first I intended to take out my own eye to cure her, but I can't give it up. It's too painful. So now there's nothing I can do but cry!"
Sariputra thought it over, "I really should help him out of this painful dilemma. This is a Bodhisattva Way I should cultivate." He thought it over, probably not very long—maybe two minutes and made up his mind. "I'm going to do it;" Then he said, "Don't cry. I'll give you my eye to help you out."
The man said, "Really? Of course that would be wonderful: Can you really give up your eye to cure my mother's illness?"
Sariputra said, "It's no big deal. I can give it up. I'm someone who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way."
The person said, "Fine. I'm going to bow to you first, bow to this Bodhisattva who wants to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way."
Sariputra, after having the person bow to him, couldn't get out of giving it to him, so he took a knife and gouged out his left eye. He was able to stand the pain and said, "Okay, you can take this to cure your mother's illness."
The person took it, looked at it and said, "Ugh, your eye stinks:" And anyway it's a left eye and I needed a right eye: It's totally useless:" He slammed the eye to the ground and stamped it into the dirt with his foot, smashing it to bits.
At that, Sariputra's heart was filled with pain. Before he had been able to bear his eye hurting, but now both his eye and his heart hurt, and he said, "It's no wonder the Buddha told me to give cultivating the Bodhisattva Way a trial run. It's really hard to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way! It's really hard!" He was in pain and regretted it, and didn't want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way any more.
The crying person started to laugh and said, "Oh, so that's how your Bodhisattva Way was all along. It was just a start without a finish. You could only manage to get started, but you couldn't keep it up. What kind of Bodhisattva Way were you cultivating anyway?" After saying that, he rose up into empty space, and it turned out he was a god who had come to test him. Furthermore, Sariputra hadn't lost his eye after all, but his Bodhisattva Way was finished.
That is all cultivation of the causes for Buddhahood. One cultivates the Bodhisattva Way intending to become a Buddha. Fundamentally, it's not easy to accomplish Buddhahood, but the Buddha doesn't tell people it's hard. Why not? If he said it wasn't easy, no one would dare to try to accomplish it. So he says, "It's very easy to become a Buddha. All you have to do is plant causes for Buddhahood, and that's it." That's what is meant by cultivating the causes for Buddhahood.
Continued next issue