COMPOSED BY NATIONAL MASTER CH’ING LIANG
COMMENTARY BY TRIPITAKA MASTER HSUAN HUA
Translated by Bhiksuni Heng Hsien
Reviewed by Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Edited by Sramanerika Kuo Jing
(SIX, IN ORDER TO DISCUSS THE POSITIONS, TO SHOW THE BODHISATTVAS, WHO ARE CULTIVATING THE CAUSES FOR BUDDHAHOOD,) HOW THE ONE ROAD TO THE FRUIT HAS DIFFERENCES OF STAGES. FOR WITHOUT THOSE POSITIONS, THERE WOULD BE NO ACCOMPLISHMENT TO CULTIVATION.
(SIX, IN ORDER TO DISCUSS THE POSITIONS, TO SHOW TOE BODHISATTVAS, WHO ARE CULTIVATING THE CAUSES FOR BUDDHAHOOD) HOW THE ONE ROAD TO THE FRUIT HAS DIFFERENCES OF STAGES, how cultivating the one road of causes which lead to the Fruit of Buddhahood, has different steps in cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way: the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, and the Ten Grounds, through which one, step by step, cultivates the Bodhisattva Way. THE GREAT JEWELS OF THE SAGES ARE SAID TO BE THE POSITIONS. Why are there positions? It's no wonder these days so many leaders are fighting over positions. In democratic countries people compete for the position of President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Interior, fighting for those positions. In autocratic countries they fight to be Emperor, which, too, is fighting for position. People who cultivate the Bodhisattva Way and study the Buddhadharma have to strive for positions as well.
In order to discuss the positions. One absolutely must have a position. It's not strange everyone strives to be first, trying to obtain the number one position. It's because this, too, is a precious treasure. Therefore it says, The great jewels of the Sages are said to be the positions. Why do people undergo suffering to cultivate? They cultivate to reach these positions, to certify to the First Fruit, the Second Fruit, the Third Fruit, and the Fourth Fruit. Why don't you certify to the Fruit? It's because you don't concentrate. The reason you haven't arrived at the position of Sagehood is that you don't maintain your resolve. You cultivate without lasting determination, and so you don't attain to lasting happiness, the lasting fruit of enlightenment. If you can make your determination last, you can obtain the fruit of enlightenment.
FOR WITHOUT THOSE POSITIONS, THERE WOULD BE NO ACCOMPLISHMENT TO CULTIVATION. If the positions didn't exist, if everything stayed the same no matter how much you cultivated, and there never was any accomplishment, then there wouldn't be much meaning to it. Then there would be no accomplishment to cultivation. You can certify to the position of the First Fruit of Arhatship, the Second Fruit of Arhatship, the Third Fruit of Arhatship, and the Fourth Fruit of Arhatship. It's the same with your study of the Buddhadharma. You study one year and you understand more Buddhadharma than the person who hasn't studied Buddhadharma at all. If you study two years, you understand more Buddhadharma than the person who has only studied one year. If you study three or four years, you understand considerably more than you did before studying the Buddhadharma. If you don't study it, then you simply won't understand the Buddhadharma, and in that case it will be very easy to fall to the three evil destinies, becoming a hungry ghost, an animal or a hell being. It's very dangerous.
Isn't it dangerous if you do study the Buddhadharma? If you are courageously vigorous and progress step by step, then it won't be dangerous. But don't stop half way and say, "I keep studying and studying the Buddhadharma and it hasn't any real meaning. It's just the same as before I studied the Buddhadharma. I still have as many afflictions, and, in fact, I have even more afflictions than I did then. Then I was wild and goofy, and had no Idea what afflictions were. I could laugh whenever I felt like it, and could cry when I pleased."
These Insane people insist they had no afflictions before they studied the Buddhadharma, and that they've acquired afflictions since. They feel there's no meaning to it, and so decide to retreat. As soon as they retreat, they go back as fast as they had gone forward. It's like a rocket that's gone to the moon. It returns at the same speed and falls into the Pacific Ocean. That's a comparison for studying the Buddhadharma. One may make very rapid progress and then, as soon as one retreats, one ends up falling into the ocean. If there's someone with a rescue boat or helicopter who comes and saves you, then your life is out of danger. But if no one saves you, then you drown at sea.
So, in cultivating the Way, if you are not careful, you will catch a demon. Demons come to catch you from the four cardinal points and the eight directions. You don't see them, but they see you!!! They make you teem with false thinking, so you don't feel like cultivating. If ever you don't feel like cultivating, you should realize that demons have come to try to pull you off to join the retinue of demons. If you have that kind of enlightened wisdom, you needn't fear any demons, for they will not be able to do anything to you. Therefore, you should obtain the Great Jewels of the Sages: the positions.
THIS IS ALSO OF TWO KINDS: ONE, THE POOR OF SUCCESSFULLY GRADATIONS, FROM ESTABLISHING DISTINCTIONS OF POSITIONS. TOO, THE DOOR OF PERFECT FUSION, BECAUSE ONE POSITION INCLUDES ALL POSITIONS, SO WHEN AW ONE POSITION IS FULFILLED, THERE IS THEN ATTAINMENT OF BUDDHAHOOD.
THIS IS ALSO OF TOO KINDS. The discussion of the positions also falls into two categories. ONE, THE DOOR OF SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS, FROM ESTABLISHING DISTINCTIONS OF POSITIONS. The first, the door of successive gradations, establishes differences among the positions. The various positions of the Ten Faiths, the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds, Equal Enlightenment and Wonderful Enlightenment are not the same, but are successive gradations.
TWO, THE DOOR OF PERFECT FUSION, BECAUSE ONE POSITION INCLUDES ALL POSITIONS. Each and every position gathers in all the other positions, in unobstructed, perfect fusion. Although they are not the same-there being, after all, successive gradations—nonetheless they do not interfere with perfect fusion;' nor does perfect fusion interfere with successive gradations. They in no way obstruct one another, SO WHEN ANY ONE POSITION IS FULFILLED, THERE IS THEN ATTAINMENT OF BUDDHAHOOD. If any one of the positions is perfectly fulfilled you can then become a Buddha. If while in the position of the first of the Ten Faiths you cultivate that position to perfection, then you can obtain the Fruit of Buddhahood.
When analyzed, the door of successive gradations and the door of perfect fusion are two different doors; but if you take them as a whole, they are still a single door. This is similar to coming to San Francisco, which we'll say represents perfect fusion. All the roads to it from the four cardinal points and the eight directions are successive graduations—from which one sees that perfect fusion does not obstruct the successive graduations, nor do the successive graduations interfere with perfect fusion.
In discussing the positions, there are those two doors, and you who understand what I am talking about understand more Buddhadharma. There are others who do not comprehend these doctrines and say, "What in the world are 'successive gradations,' "perfect fusion,' 'the proper appearing in the dependent,' and 'the dependent appearing in the proper'? This is a total mess, and I haven't the faintest idea what it's all about!" You feel you don't understand because you have not been able to grasp the principle behind it. If you did grasp that principle, it wouldn't seem complicated to you. Sutra lectures just give the general outline, but in order truly to understand the meaning in specific detail, you need to make a deeper investigation on your own.
That one position includes all positions also means that if you cultivate the Ten Dwellings, within them are also included the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds and Equal Enlightenment. If you cultivate the First Dwelling, it too includes the First Conduct, the First Transference, and the First Ground; and so one position includes all positions. If you cultivate a single position to perfection, you reach the Fruit position of Buddhahood. There is another name for the position of Buddhahood: the position of Anointment of the Crown. The Disciple of the Dharma King, who is cultivating and about to become a Buddha, is called an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva. Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas must be anointed on the crown by the Buddhas. It is after reaching the position of Anointment of the Crown that one can become a Buddha.
THE FIRST GROUND SAYS, "WITHIN A SINGLE GROUND IS CONTAINED THE MERIT AND VIRTUE OF ALL THE GROUNDS." "FAITH INCLUDES THE SEA OF THE FRUIT." "WHEN ONE FIRST BRINGS FORTH THE MIND, ONE THEN ACCOMPLISHES PROPER ENLIGHTENMENT," AND SO FORTH.
Within the discussion of THE FIRST GROUND in the Sutra text proper it SAVES, "WITHIN A SINGLE GROUND IS CONTAINED THE MERIT AND VIRTUE OF ALL THE GROUNDS." If you can cultivate and reach the First Ground, your cultivation is replete with " the merit and virtue of all the other grounds. You will have all of those kinds of merit and virtue, but they will not yet be perfected. That is why it is said that cultivation of the Way depends upon the circumstances of your application of effort. Those on the position of the First Ground do not know about the state of those on the Second Ground. Those on the" Second Ground don't know the state of those on the Third Ground, although they know the state of those upon the First Ground. Even though they do not know, they still are replete with that kind of merit and virtue, and so they have hopes of reaching the Third and Fourth Grounds.
"FAITH INCLUDES THE SEA OF THE FRUIT." If you have faith, it can include your future attainment of Buddhahood, the sea of the fruit of enlightenment. In the Sutra text it also says, "WHEN ONE FIRST BRINGS FORTH THE MIND, ONE THEN ACCOMPLISHES PROPER ENLIGHTENMENT," AND SO FORTH. As soon as you bring forth the resolve, you become a Buddha. First bringing forth the minds is as, for example, when you cultivate the First Ground to perfection and accomplish Buddhahood. The Buddha didn't become a Buddha just now. He had already become a Buddha limitlessly many kalpas ago. He simply comes into our world and appears to accomplish Buddhahood, letting living beings see what it is like, so they can imitate him and follow that road too, the road to the fruit of Buddhahood. The Buddha in the past:
For three asamkhyeya kalpas cultivated blessings and wisdom;
For a hundred kalpas perfected the marks and characteristics.
During all three asamkhyeyas of great kalpas in which he cultivated, he never had a single thought of retreating. In every thought he was vigorous and wished to progress along the road to Buddhahood.
In his search for Buddhahood he sacrificed his own body and life. For example, during one lifetime he gave up his life for a tiger. He was on a mountain cultivating the Way when there was a heavy snowfall lasting several days. There being nothing to eat, a tigress and her cub were about to die of starvation. Shakyamuni Buddha saw their plight and said, "That tigress is about to die. I should give it my body to eat." He then offered his body to the tigress who ate it and later brought forth the resolve for Bodhi, and was taught by the Buddha.
We who cultivate the May should study that kind of spirit of Sakyamuni Buddha, who sacrificed his life for a tiger and cut off all the flesh on his body for an eagle. During three great asamkhyeya kalpas he never once thought of turning back, which is why he accomplished Buddhahood.
Now we have completed one summer session, and the second is about to begin. I don't know how many people will come. In our one month session everyone worked very hard both studying and teaching, and now there is a break before we start again. In studying the Buddhadharma it is just like eating and wearing clothes. Don't fear difficulty, and don't say, "There's no meaning to studying the Buddhadharma day after day." You tell me what does have meaning. Bring out all the things you consider meaningful—which of them truly are? One studies the Buddhadharma in order to end birth and death, and all the rest of what you do is not ending birth and death. To resolve the problem of birth and death you must have a courageously vigorous resolve for Bodhi!
NEVERTHELESS, THESE TWO ARE NON-OBSTRUCTIVE. TO EMPLOY SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS IS TO INTRODUCE TEACHING MARKS. PERFECT FUSION IS THE EFFICACIOUS FUNCTIONING OF THE PRINCIPLE AND NATURE.
This discusses the principle of successive gradations and perfect fusion, and so it says, NEVERTHELESS, THESE TOO ARE NON-OBSTRUCTIVE. The two categories, successive gradations and perfect fusion, do not obstruct one another. Successive gradations do not interfere with perfect fusion, nor does perfect fusion block the successive gradations. TO EMPLOY SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS IS TO INTRODUCE TEACHING MARKS. That is, for example, the Ten Dwellings have the teaching marks of the Ten Dwellings, and the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, and the Ten Grounds also have their respective teaching marks. Although there is the introduction of the successive gradations of positions, nonetheless they do not obstruct perfect fusion.
Perfect fusion is a unity. Successive gradations are the limitless, while perfect fusion is the one. One becomes the limitless, and the limitless return to the one. PERFECT FUSION IS THE EFFICACIOUS FUNCTIONING OF THE PRINCIPLE AND NATURE. Perfect fusion is a kind of teaching principle whose nature has an efficacious functioning. Successive gradations and perfect fusion are therefore said to be mutually non-obstructive, in the same way as a lamp and its light.
MARKS refers to the teaching marks, by which is meant the successive gradations. Those successive gradations ARE THE VERY NATURE'S MARKS, the characteristics within the nature, AND SO SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS DO NOT OBSTRUCT PERFECT FUSION. There is no interference of perfect fusion by successive gradations. THE NATURE IS THE VERY MARKS' NATURE. The nature is that of the characteristics themselves, AND SO PERFECT FUSION DOES NOT OBSTRUCT SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS. You shouldn't deliberately explain this as esoteric and incomprehensible. Just put it as an ordinary statement, and people will understand it at sight: perfect fusion does not obstruct successive gradations.
BECAUSE PERFECT FUSION DOES NOT OBSTRUCT SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS, THE ONE IS THE LIMITLESS. Due to the non-Interference of perfect fusion with successive gradations, the one is able to give rise to the limitless. BECAUSE SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS DO NOT OBSTRUCT PERFECT FUSION, there being no interference of successive gradations with perfect fusion, THE LIMITLESS IS THE ONE. The one is the limitless, and the limitless is the one.
A single root divides into the myriad ramifications;
The myriad ramifications return to a single root. Also, Because there is nothing which does not flow forth from this Dharma Realm, There is nothing, which does not return to this Dharma Realm.
SINCE THE LIMITLESS IS THE ONE, THEY FUSE AND INTERPENETRATE OBSCURELY. The interpenetrative fusion of successive gradations and perfect fusion happens obscurely. It's as if it were happening, and yet as if not. SINCE THE ONE IS THE LIMITLESS, THEY ENTER EACH OTHER REPEATEDLY. When the many become few or the few become many, they enter into each other. That multi-layered repetition defies expression, for in the infinite replication of multi-layered entries, there is always a further level to describe. In the same way as motes of dust keep on appearing to be counted, they go on without end.
Right now someone is saying, "Now I understand, "those repeated entries are like my false thoughts." Correct. It's just like that. Among your false thoughts there are true thoughts as well as the false. The false thoughts can become true thoughts, and the true thoughts can become false ones too. Who makes them change? You don't know. When confronted with this question you say, "I don't know" That's an answer.
Now I see there is someone whose false thinking is burning up the divine palace of the Heaven of the Thirty-three. That fire of desire is consuming the jeweled hall of the Jade Emperor who is flying into a rage and saying, "You're really rotten. I had just sat in the position of Lord God long enough to have a little warmth arise, when your fire of desire destroyed my palace, and I have no idea when the jeweled hall can be repaired."
Someone else is producing the water of afflictions saying, "There's too much of this multi-layered inexhaustibility. Its too much trouble. I can't reckon this amount. I keep listening, and it looks as if it never comes to an end, just like motes of dust. How can that be counted?" All the various discussions of the Buddhadharma are just castles in the air. You say, "This castle has such and such fine points," but it's constructed in thin air. It turns out not to exist at all. You tell me: is there anything that really exists?
say, "I exist. My body is five, six or seven feet tall and about
three or four feet wide." Some people are five to six feet wide as
well...it's not fixed. Okay, that's you. But when you die, who is that? At
that time your five, six or seven feet—who are they? You say, "Of
course I don't know about then." Then why do you think you know now?
If you could not know now, that would be most wonderful.
The four elements are all empty.
The five skandhas have no self.
Form, feeling, cognition, formations and consciousness have no self to them. At that time what happens to "you"? Think it over. If while still alive you can consider yourself dead and say, "Oh, I've already died, and so everything I'm doing here is like putting on a play," then you won't have any attachments. What happens with people is:
When disaster arises, giving does not arise.
When death arises, cultivation does not arise.
"When disaster arises, giving does not arise." If there are disasters and calamities and one loses all one's valuables, then one consoles oneself saying, "None of those valuables was mine, and so now they are gone." When someone steals them one says, "They are his." Before they were stolen, if you had told the person to give away a lot of them, he would not have been able to give them up. Tell him to part with just a few and he also can't, for he reasons, "If I give them away I 'won't have any." But after someone steals them he says, "I consider that I've given them away." Even though he considers it giving, it doesn't count as giving, and he has no merit and virtue from it. If you give on your own without things being stolen from you, then you have merit and virtue.
"How much merit and virtue?" you ask. A limitless and boundless amount. But if you wait until things are stolen from you and try to reckon that as giving saying, "I'll just consider that I've given them to him," then not only do you not have a limitless and boundless amount, but not even the finest bit of merit and virtue. That is really inconceivable: since there is none, how could you conceive of it?
"When death arises, cultivation does not arise." You encourage someone to leave home and cultivate the Way, and the person protests, "But I can't. My father expects me to take care of him, and my mother expects me to be filial." That's putting it in a good light. In not so good a light it's, ""I've got children who haven't grown up yet. Basically it's a really good thing to cultivate the Way, but unfortunately I have these two kids. When they grow up I'll be able to cultivate, but right now I can't." Having said that, not five minutes later he gets sick and dies, and the ghost of impermanence spirits him away. He doesn't have time to cultivate, but when he dies he has time. That's why I say of people:
When death arises, life does not arise.
suffering arises, cultivation does not arise.
"When suffering arises, cultivation does not arise." When someone undergoes suffering he says, "It doesn't matter. I was destined to suffer in this lifetime. It's what I have coming to me. Today I don't have any food to eat, but tomorrow I may. So I'll just wait it out. It's not important. Everyone has to suffer. I'm not the only one who suffers—it happens to everyone." He sees it very clearly, and pinpoints it accurately in his thoughts. He has a thorough command of the logic and philosophy behind it. But tell him to cultivate and he says, "No deal! Cultivation involves too much suffering. I couldn't stand it. There's no way I could cultivate." Would you say that was strange or not? So I say, "When death arises, giving does not arise, and when suffering arises, cultivation does not arise. That's enough of that.
Each person should keep careful watch over his or her own house. If you don't carefully guard the door, weird demons and freakish ghosts can get in. Once in they will steal all your gold, silver and other limitless valuables, whether it's your nectar of immortality or the wisdom life of your Dharma Body, and then what will you do? There is that danger.
THEREFORE, HEAVENLY RELATIVE USED THE SIX MARKS OF PERFECT FUSION. OF PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TEXTS THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE.
THEREFORE, as a result, HEAVENLY RELATIVE USED THE SIX MARKS OF PERFECT FUSION. OF PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TEXTS THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE. "Heavenly Relative" is Vasubandhu Bodhisattva, the younger brother of Asanga "Unattached" Bodhisattva. Unattached Bodhisattva cultivated Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, whereas Heavenly Relative Bodhisattva cultivated Small Vehicle Buddhadharma. Heavenly Relative Bodhisattva was extremely intelligent and had impressive eloquence, which was unobstructed, but since his potentials were not yet ripe, he was cultivating the Buddhism of the Lesser Vehicle. Unattached Bodhisattva, whose cultivation was that of the Great Vehicle, realized that the Buddhism of the Lesser Vehicle was non-ultimate Dharma. He knew it was Dharma fabricated to instruct people of initial potential for the Small Vehicle, and those who had grown weary of the Buddhadharma; that it was Dharma for dung-sweeping "poor sons." Unattached Bodhisattva thereupon established a huge expedient, which was that of announcing, "My life is about to come to an end. I'm going to die. Heavenly Relative, you are my younger brother, so you really ought to come see me."
Heavenly Relative Bodhisattva in ordinary times had nothing to do with his elder brother. But here his elder brother was about to die, and he dared not fail to go. Unattached Bodhisattva told him that he was on the verge of death and that he had but one final request to make before he died: that his younger brother help him read through the Flower Adornment Sutra one time. The Flower Adornment Sutra, of course, was Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. His younger brother really didn't want to, but he felt it would be terribly insulting not to fulfill his elder brother's last request, and so he agreed to read the Flower Adornment Sutra for him. As he was reading the Flower Adornment Sutra, and had read to the sea of conducts of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva of Vairocana Buddha's Dharma Realm, at that point it was as if the sun came out and shone for him, and he saw the interlacing of the pearls in Indra's Net; and he believed.
As soon as he believed, he was very ashamed and sorry, and got incredibly nervous saying, "What can I do? In the past I slandered the Great Vehicle and created all kinds of offense karma. Let me have a knife!"
His elder brother said, "What do you want with a knife?"
"I'm going to cut out my tongue," he replied.
"Why do you want to cut out your tongue?" his brother asked.
He said, "It's because in the past I slandered Great Vehicle Sutras. I know I have committed a very great offense, and so I want to cut out my tongue to repent."
His brother said, "You don't have to do that. If you fell down on the ground, would you use the ground for leverage to pick yourself up again, or would you just keep on lying there?"
Heavenly Relative said. "If I fell down I would pick myself up again."
His brother said, "Well, in the past you used your tongue to slander Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. Now, since you understand, you can use your tongue to praise Great Vehicle Buddhadharma can't you?"
Vasubandhu thought it over and said, "That's right. I was able to slander before, and now I can praise." And so he read and recited Great Vehicle Sutras, and composed the Treatise on the Ten Grounds, a Shastra on the Flower Adornment Sutra. When it was completed, the earth quaked without causing any damage.
The king of the country came and bowed to him and asked, "Have you certified to the Fruit of Arhatship?"
He said, "No."
"Then why did the earth quake?" the king asked.
He said, "It's because in the past I slandered the Great Vehicle, and now I've written a Flower Adornment Shastra praising the Great Vehicle. Upon its completion the earth and that kind of state—an earthquake and six kinds of light—which indicates my Shastra was written accurately. I give it to you, your Highness, to print and distribute throughout the world, to establish Dharma affinities with its inhabitants." After that the Flower Adornment Shastra did, in fact, circulate throughout the world.
Heavenly Relative Bodhisattva used the six marks of perfect fusion to explain the positions. They are:
1. The Mark of Generality.
2. The Mark of Particularity.
3. The Mark of Identity.
4. The Mark of Difference.
5. The Mark of Creation.
6. The Mark of Destruction.
These will be discussed in detail later. OF PRIOR AMP SUBSEQUENT TEXTS THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE. Prior and subsequent refer to the two classes of text, "prior" referring to the Prologue, and "subsequent" referring to the entire Sutra, which follows it. There is not just one passage of text, which supports this. There are a great many statements of this principle.
SEVEN, IN ORDER TO SPEAK OF SUPREME CONDUCT. IN WISHING TO ASCEND TO THE WONDERFUL POSITIONS, IF ONE FAILS TO PRACTICE, ONE DOES NOT RANK. THEREFORE, "THE SUPERIOR PERSON DOES NOT FEAR HAVING NO POSITION, BUT FEARS HE HIMSELF DOES NOT STAND."
SEVEN, IN ORDER TO SPEAK OF SUPREME CONDUCT. The Seventh Cause tells about the most supreme doors of practice. IN WISHING TO ASCEND TO THE WONDERFUL POSITIONS, if you wish to attain the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds, Equal Enlightenment and Wonderful Enlightenment, which are the Wonderful positions. IF ONE FAILS TO PRACTICE, WE DOES NOT RANK. You have to cultivate. If you don't have a door of practice to cultivate, you do not rank.
THEREFORE, in the Analects, it says, "THE SUPERIOR PERSON DOES NOT FEAR HAVING NOT POSITION, BUT FEARS HE HIMSELF DOES NOT STAND." Not standing means not cultivating. If you bring forth the resolve to cultivate, you will certainly obtain the positions. In the Analects, that he "does not fear having no positions, but fears he himself does not stand" refers to standing up and seeking to be filial. The next line goes on to say, "He does not fear not being known, but seeks to be one who could be known." You shouldn't worry about no one knowing who you are. Don't think, "I'm studying the Buddhadharma and who knows about me?" You don't need to let people know. If you seek to cultivate very well, people will naturally come to know about you.
There are many self-styled cultivators of the Way with no cultivation behind them who inform me, "Now I'm living in the mountains." In Hong Kong there was someone who had lived in the mountains for three months who came down and started telling everyone, "It's really good living in the mountains. Now I'm living there, just as if in seclusion, and practice such and such. It's really fine." Down three months from the mountains and he's hanging out his shingle, hiring himself out for an old cultivator. That "Old cultivator was too worthless, and so I told him, "wow, you're truly intelligent. You were in the mountains three months, and now you're publicizing yourself everywhere. I lived in the mountains over ten years and no one knew about it; nor was I able to say, 'I'm living in the mountains now.' I'm too stupid, too dumb."
CONDUCT is ALSO or TWO KINDS: ONE THE SUDDEN ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL CONDUCTS, BECAUSE ONE CONDUCT IS ALL CONDUCTS. THE TEN WELLING CHATTER SAYS, "THE ONE IS JUST THE MANY, AND THE MANY ARE JUST THE ONE," AND SO FORTH. THE CHAPTER OF THE CONDUCT OF UNIVERSAL WORTHY SAYS, "BECAUSE WHEN ONE IS CUT OFF, ALL ARE CUT OFF," AND SO FORTH.
CONDUCT IS ALSO OF TWO KINDS. The supreme conduct also falls into two categories. ONE, the first, is THE SUDDEN ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL CONDUCTS, BECAUSE ONE CONDUCT IS ALL CONDUCTS. Conducts are the doors of practice, which we cultivate. Of doors of conduct, some are those cultivated by individuals with dispositions for the Great Vehicle, and so there is sudden accomplishment of all conducts—one very quickly perfects all doors of conduct. People who are intelligent and have sharp roots can, by perfecting a single door of conduct, awaken to each and every door of conduct. The, as is said, "hear one thing and understand ten." Yen Yuan, Confucius' disciple, upon hearing Confucius explain one principle, understood ten principles, which is the meaning of one conduct being all conducts. Tzu Kung, whose disposition was not as sharp as that of Yen Hui, only understood two principles from hearing one.
THE TEN DWELLINGS CHAPTER SAYS, "THE ONE IS JUST THE MANY." One door of conduct is many kinds of doors of practice, "AND THE MANY ARE JUST THE ONE." When one understands this principle, one realizes that the one and the many are non-dual. One is derived from many, and the many have their source in the one. One and many are the same, AND SO FORTH. There are many discussions of this principle.
THE CHAPTER OF THE CONDUCT OF UNIVERSAL WORTHY SAYS, "BECAUSE WHEN ONE IS CUT OFF, ALL ARE CUT OFF," AND SO FORTH. This statement is talking about cutting off afflictions, severing deviant knowledge, deviant views and Ignorance. To put it more precisely, it means cutting off desire. When that is cut off, and you have no more desire, then you have cut off everything. The worst problem for those who cultivate the Way is desire. If you can rid yourself of desire and cast out love and emotion, then it is easy to accomplish your work in the Way. Then when one is cut off, all are cut off. All faults arise from ignorance. If you don't cut that ignorance off, then you cannot see the Buddha Nature; but if you do cut it off, the light of your wisdom will shine forth. And so it says:
Living beings are boundless, I vow to save them all.
Afflictions are unending, I vow to cut them off.
Dharma doors are limitless, I vow to learn them all.
Buddhahood is unsurpassed, I vow to accomplish it.
It's one thing to say, "When one is cut off, all are cut off," but it's not easy to understand--much the less put into practice and actually do the cutting off.
It speaks of cutting off, but now I'm telling you, don't cut it off. Don't even cut off the one. Transform it. Ignorance is lack of understanding: change it into understanding.
"How can it be transformed?" you ask. When you understand, you've transformed it. It doesn't take the least bit of effort. You only need to realize it's not right, and turn back. The reason I tell you not to cut it off is that afflictions are Bodhi. The basis of ignorance is wisdom, but since you are unable to use it, it becomes ignorance. If you were able to use it, it would become wisdom. Ignorance is infinite, and it is just as infinite when it transforms into wisdom. That wisdom is not exhausted by taking, not depleted by use. You can never use it up. The Chapter of the Conduct and Vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva has a great deal to say about how when one is cut off all are cut off, and so here it says, "and so forth."
TWO, THE PROGRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL CONDUCTS. THIS IS JUST SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS. IT MEANS THE MERIT AND VIRTUE OF THE SUBSTANCE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ONE'S OWN GREAT THOUGHT FOR BODHI, UP TO AND INCLUDING THE CONDUCTS WITHIN EQUAL ENLIGHTENMENT.
THESE TWO ARE NON-OBSTRUCTIVE, IN DETAIL AS DISCUSSED IN THE POSITIONS.
TWO, THE PROGRESSIVE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ALL CONDUCTS. THIS IS JUST SUCCESSIVE GRADATIONS. The first, the sudden accomplishment of all conducts, was perfect fusion. The second, the progressive accomplishment of all conducts, is the successive gradations. What is meant by successive gradations? IT MEANS THE MERIT AND VIRTUE OF THE SUBSTANCE AND CHARACTERISTICS OF ONE'S OWN GREAT THOUGHT FOR BODHI. That is, when one first brings forth the thought for Bodhi, from within that substance there arise the merit and virtue of the characteristics of the substance, UP TO AND INCLUDING THE CONDUCTS WITHIN EQUAL ENLIGHTENMENT, the accomplishment of Buddhahood. The great thought for Bodhi refers to the first production of the resolve for Bodhi. At that time you must have a straightforward mind, a profound mind, and a greatly compassionate mind. As it is said:
The straight mind is the Way Place.
If your mind is not straight, you cannot go to the Way Place, but with a straight mind you can go there very quickly. It doesn't mean this Way Place of ours. It means when one sits in the Bodhi Way Place, becomes a Buddha and turns the Great Dharma Wheel. The first requirement is a straight mind, one with no flattery or crookedness. By flattery is meant wanting to strike up acquaintance with rich people whom you see, giving them a high hat to wear. You put on a phony smile for them and say, "You're really good; you do this and that." In short, you say what the person will like to hear and flatter them. It's non-arrogance, but it isn't humility, which is a form of courtesy. Flattery means buttering people up in order to benefit in some way from them. Being humble and courteous to people is not with the intention of receiving gain. The straight mind is open, sincere and public-spirited, forthright and unselfish. With a straight mind you can go to the Way Place. The straight mind is the May Place.
The second requirement is to have a profound mind. That means, after bringing forth the great resolve for Bodhi, one never retreats, never considers ceasing to cultivate. It means cultivating all wholesome conducts and never turning back. The final requirement is to have a greatly compassionate mind, which wants to rescue all living beings. Whenever you see someone in distress, you should wish to save them. It means being unable to stand to see living beings suffer, feeling that if others are suffering it is the same as if I myself were suffering. To have that great determination to rescue every single being from suffering is to have a mind of great compassion.
The possession of those three kinds of minds is the great resolve for Bodhi. When those three unite into the thought for Bodhi, there is merit and virtue of the substance and its characteristics, which take you up to and including the conducts within Equal Enlightenment, as an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva, and Wonderful Enlightenment when you become a Buddha. In the seventy-eighth roll of the Sutra it speaks of the lamp of the thought for Bodhi, which uses great compassion for its oil and great vows as its wick. Its light shines throughout the Dharma Realm. That light is the straight mind. The wick is the profound mind. The oil is the greatly compassionate mind, Upon hearing this section of text we should-bring forth a straight mind, a profound mind, and a greatly compassionate mind, and cultivate.
THESE TOO, that is the sudden accomplishment of all conducts and the progressive accomplishment of all conducts, ARE NON-OBSTRUCTIVE, IN DETAIL AS DISCUSSED IN THE POSITIONS. This is explained at great length in the Ten Dwellings, the Ten Conducts, the Ten Transferences, the Ten Grounds, Equal Enlightenment and Wonderful Enlightenment.
The Avatamsaka—"Flower Adornment"—Dharma Assembly at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.
EIGHT, IN ORDER TO SET FORTH TRUE DHARMA. IF ONE WISHES TO ACCOMPLISH THE POSITIONS OF CONDUCT, ONE MUST UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DHARMA. IF THERE IS NO COMPREHENSION OF PRINCIPLE AND SPECIFICS, CONDUCT ALSO IS NOT TRUE. THEREFORE, THE TUSHITA VERSE SAYS, "THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND TRUE AND ACTUAL DHARMA, AND SO ALL BUDDHAS APPEAR IN THE WORLD." THIS IS ALSO OF TWO KINDS: ONE, MANIFESTING THE DHARMA OF THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF SPECIFICS AND PRINCIPLE. TOO, MANIFESTING THE DHARMA OF THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF SPECIFICS AND SPECIFICS, EXACTLY AS IS DISCUSSED IN THE APPORTIONMENT OF MEANINGS AND PRINCIPLES.
EIGHT, the Eighth Cause, is IN ORDER TO SET FORTH TRUE DHARMA. It states, IF ONE WISHES TO ACCOMPLISH THE POSITIONS OF CONDUCT, ONE MUST UNDERSTAND THE PRINCIPLES OF THE DHARMA. If you fail to understand the principles of the Dharma, you won't have any accomplishment to your cultivation. That is why it goes on to say, IF THERE IS NO COMPREHENSION OF PRINCIPLE AND SPECIFICS, if you fail to understand principle and specifics, CONDUCT ALSO IS NOT TRUE. Your cultivation will not be able to merge with the principle of True Suchness.
THEREFORE, THE TUSHITA VERSE—that verse in the Flower Adornment Sutra SAYS "THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND TRUE AND ACTUAL DHARMA," we people do not grasp the Dharma's actuality, "AND SO ALL BUDDHAS APPEAR IN THE WORLD." The Buddhas come into this world of ours because of that. THIS IS ALSO OF TWO KINDS. This falls into two categories. ONE, MANIFESTING THE DHARMA OF THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF SPECIFICS AND PRINCIPLE, the Dharma of specifics and principle not interfering with each other. TWO, MANIFESTING THE DHARMA OF THE NON-OBSTRUCTION OF SPECIFICS AND SPECIFICS, how specifics do not interfere with specifics, EXACTLY AS IS DISCUSSED IN (THE APPORTIONMENT OF MEANINGS AND PRINCIPLES. These principles are set forth in detail in the Third Door, The Apportionment of Meanings and Principles.
(Continued next issue)
Wonderful Dharma Lotus
Flower Sutra, Volume III contains Chapter Two, Expedients. Available in
DHARMA REALM BUDDHIST UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES 30 $5,000 SCHOLARSHIPS IN 1979-80 FOR GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE STUDY IN BUDDHIST STUDIES, CHINESE LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, CHINESE PHILOSOPHY, TRANSLATION, AND GENERAL STUDIES (UNDERGRADUATE ONLY). SERIOUS STUDENTS SHOULD ADDRESS THEIR INQUIRIES TO THE SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE, DHARMA REALM BUDDHIST UNIVERSITY, CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS, TALMAGE, CALIFORNIA 95481. APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR SEPTEMBER ENROLLMENT: JUNE 15, 1979; FOR JANUARY ENROLLMENT: AUGUST 15, 1979.