BHIKSHUNI HENG YIN
This Dharma Seal of mine
Is spoken because I wish
To bring benefit to the world.
Wherever you roam
Do not propagate it wrongly.
This is part 3. an exhortation to belief and propagation. It has two parts of which this is the first.
Sariputra/Sakyamuni Buddha here is speaking to Sariputra. But not only is he speaking to Sariputra, he is also speaking to you and me and all living beings in the present. He was then speaking to Sariputra, but he is also speaking to all of us Buddhist disciples right now, all those who propagate the Buddhadharma, all Dharma Masters who lecture on the Sutras and speak the Dharma. He says. This Dharma Seal of mine/The Dharma Seal of the Reality Mark, the Dharma Seal of the Real Mark which is unmarked, is what I use to certify all living beings as potentially able to realize the Buddha path. It is1, therefore, most honorable and noble. Is spoken because I wish/to bring benefit to the world/It is not something to be used casually. I am speaking it now. Why? Because I want to benefit living beings, all beings.
What is meant by "benefit"? It refers to self benefit and benefiting others. This Dharma seal is used to help all living beings.
There are three types of worlds: the world of living beings, the material world, and the world of proper enlightenment. The benefit here is to the world of living beings. The Buddha says, "I speak the Dharma Flower Sutra in order to benefit living beings in the world.
Wherever you roam/However, this Dharma is the most venerable and noble. Don't casually or lightly propagate it. Wherever you go take care not to speak the Dharma Flower Sutra casually. Do not propagate it wrongly/If you speak the Dharma to those who are not ready to hear it, they will slander it. Then, not only will you have failed to save them, you will have caused them to fall into the hells. Why should you take care not to speak the Sutra recklessly? It's because if you do so, people might fall. Hearing the Dharma Flower Sutra, most people would slander it. "How can this be? How can it be that, without doing any merit and virtue we can still become Buddhas That's just too good to be true. People are just people. How can they become Buddhas? The Sutras just cheat people." By uttering that single sentence, "The Sutras just cheat people," that person falls into the avici hells. This principle will be discussed in more detail later. So it was out of fear that people might slander the Sutra and fall into the hells that the Buddha warned Sariputra not to speak the Sutra casually, not to propagate it wrongly. Those with the disposition of the Great Vehicle who hear it once and give rise to unlimited belief are the kind of people you can speak it for.
If there be those who hear it,
And rejoice, receiving it atop their crowns,
You should know that such people, are avaivartika.
And those who believe and accept the Dharma of this Sutra,
These people have already seen
The Buddhas of the past,
Reverently making offerings
And hearing this Dharma as well.
Those who are able
To believe what you say,
They then see me,
And they see you,
And also the Bhikshusangha
As well as all the Bodhisattvas.
This Sutra of the Dharma Flower
Is spoken for those of profound wisdom,
When those, of shallow understanding hear it,
Confused and deluded, they fail to understand it.
The Sound Hearers, every one,
And the Pratyeka Buddhas,
Find the contents of this sutra
Far beyond their powers.
Gained entry to this sutra
By means of faith.
How much the more so other Sound Hearers.
Those Sound Hearers,
Because of their faith in the Buddha's words,
Comply with this sutra.
But it's beyond the range of their own wisdom.
This is part B. the explanation. It has two parts, of which this is the first 1.
If there be those who hear it/Sakyamuni Buddha says, "If there should be those who hear the Dharma Flower Sutra, and rejoice, receiving it atop their crowns/They can rejoice, praise, and receive the Sutra with great respect. You should know that such people/are avaivartika/Avaivartika means "non retreating." Those who believe in the Dharma Flower Sutra have the resolve of the Bodhisattva and attain a non retreating position; they do not retreat to the Second Vehicle. They attain to non retreating practice; they do not retreat to the status of a common person. They also attain to non retreating thought, because their thought to cultivate the Great Vehicle never retreats.
If there be those who believe and accept/the Dharma of this sutra/The Great Vehicle Dharma of the Lotus Flower Sutra, these people have already seen/Who are "these people"? If you believe in the Lotus Flower Sutra, they are you. If I believe in it, they are me. The Buddhas of the past/These people in past lives have seen limitless Buddhas. Reverently making offerings/and hearing this Dharma as well/This is like those of you who now hear this Sutra. In former lives you planted good roots and so now you can hear the Sutra. Take a look at how many people there are in the world. How many of them have heard the Dharma Flower Sutra? Are those who have heard the Dharma Flower Sutra in the majority, or are those who have not? You don't have to be a mathematician to figure that one out. Those of you who have graduated from college should certainly have no trouble with the calculations, right? And hearing this Dharma as well/What Dharma? The Great Vehicle Buddhadharma.
Those who are able/to believe what you say/If people can believe the doctrines of the Dharma Flower Sutra that you preach, they then see me/This is Sakyamuni Buddha speaking of himself. "If you can believe in the Dharma Flower Sutra, then you see my complete body, you see me, Sakyamuni Buddha." The Great Master Chih Che was reciting the chapter of the Lotus Sutra which deals with Medicine King Bodhisattva and when he came to the line:
is called true vigor, this is a true Dharma offering,"
This Sutra of the Dharma Flower/is spoken for those of profound wisdom/ Only for those with genuine, profound Prajna wisdom. When those of shallow understanding hear it/If stupid people hear it...What qualifies one as "stupid"? People with big tempers are stupid. People with big tempers have the most ignorance. People with the most ignorance are on fire all day long. If such people hear the Dharma Flower Sutra they get angry; "What's this Dharma Flower Sutra anyway? If you don't eat, will it make you full? Huh? You lecture on the Sutras all day long. Well, don't eat for a couple of days and we'll see how hungry you get. Okay?" Very wise, very wise...
Confused and deluded, they fail to understand it/They are confused and they don't understand. The Sound Hearers, every one/and the Pratyeka Buddhas/ find the contents of this Sutra/far beyond their powers/The Sound Hearers and Conditioned Enlightened Ones are incapable of propagating the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. They don't have that much power.
You, Sariputra/You, Greatly Wise Sariputra, have the most lofty wisdom of all the Sound Hearer disciples. Gained entry to this sutra/by means of faith/You had to think about it. "I should believe in this Sutra. I shouldn't not believe in it." Since you gained entry to this Sutra by means of faith, that implies that in the beginning you had doubts about it. If you hadn't had some doubts, you would not claim to have entered it by means of faith. You finally decided to believe it. Why? Because you have great wisdom, you truly believe the Dharma Flower Sutra, without any doubts. How much the more so the other Sound Hearers/who don't have as much wisdom as you do...Those Sound Hearers/because of their faith in the Buddha's words/comply with this sutra/ but it's beyond the range of their own wisdom/It's not that they can understand it with their own wisdom. They basically don't have the wisdom to understand the doctrines of the Dharma Flower Sutra. But because the Buddha spoke it, even though they don't understand it, they don't dare not believe it. They have to believe it. The wisdomless Sound Hearers do not dare to doubt the Dharma Flower Sutra. After all, the Buddha spoke it. So they don't dare not believe. Even though they don't understand it, they insist on believing it. This is a kind of mixed-up belief. Mixed up as their faith may be, in the future they will come to understand. You should know that one is "mixed up" because of ignorance. After one studies the Buddhadharma and comes to believe in it, then one won't be mixed-up anymore, one will give rise to wisdom.
To the arrogant and lazy
And those who reckon the view of self,
Do not speak this Sutra.
Common folk of shallow understanding,
Deeply attached to the five desires,
Hearing it, will fail to understand;
Do not speak it to them, either.
If there be those who don't believe
And slander this Sutra,
They thereby sever all
Worldly Buddha seeds.
Or if, with a scowl,
They harbor doubts and delusions
You should listen now,
As I speak of their offense-retribution:
Whether a Buddha is in the world,
Or had entered into extinction,
If there be those who slander
A Sutra such as this one,
Who, seeing others read or recite it,
Copy it out or uphold it,
Scorn, despise, hate, and envy them,
And harbor grudges against them,
As to their offense retribution,
This is part two: explaining the propagatable and the unpropagatable. It has two parts of which this is the first a. need for great compassion door: do not speak to evil people.
Furthermore, Sariputra/Sakyamuni Buddha said, To the arrogant and lazy/ to those who are conceited and prideful and look down on others. As to arrogance, poor people seldom are afflicted with arrogance. Rich people easily become arrogant. Prideful people think that no one is as good as they are and treat everyone in a shabby manner. Lazy people like to slack off. They are sloppy and indolent. They don't do any work at all but feel that they are making great contributions and their hearts grow weary; they are not vigorous and they do not go forward. And those who reckon the view of self/ They are conceited and lazy because their attachment to self is too deeply rooted. Because) they are attached to the view of self, do not speak this Sutra to them. Don't preach the Dharma Flower Sutra to people such as these. Why not? If you speak it to them, they won't cultivate according to the doctrines in the Sutra.
Common folk of shallow understanding/Ordinary people have no wisdom. Their understanding is very simple minded and they have no genuine wisdom. Deeply attached to the five desires/All they understand are wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. They are greedy for wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. These five are the five locks on the gates of the hells. If you commit offenses involved with any of these five, it is easy to fall into the hells. If you are greedy for wealth, you will commit offenses. The same is true for greed for sex, fame, food, or sleep. If you sleep too much, you'll become stupid. You should just eat until you are full and then stop; don't overeat. Don't crave good food so that you keep eating and eating it and it is not enough. You'll get sick that way. You can eat yourself into the hells, in fact. If you stuff yourself until there is no room, then the food will "move house" and if it doesn't move down and give you the runs, it will move up and you will vomit.
Or if you fast for a few days, then when the fast is over your desire for food is extremely fierce. Everything looks delicious! Even the water is very sweet, to say nothing of the food. But you have to be careful then not to overeat, or drink more than you usually do. If you eat too full after a two or three week fast, it is very easy to ruin your intestines, to break them. Then you'll have to go to a doctor. If the doctor is good, he" can sew you up again, but if you meet a bad doctor who isn't really up to par, he may just give you up as a hopeless case. Even if you don't break your intestines, it's easy to get diarrhea because of the changes in your digestion from not eating for so long. This all happens because you aren't in control of your eating habits.
As to sleep: young people like to sleep. When one reaches fifty or sixty, one isn't that interested in sleeping anymore. But when you are young you just can't let yourself sleep all you want to. If you do, you may sleep one day and still feel it's not enough; sleep two days, and it's still not enough; and waste a lot of time that way. People who sleep too much get stupid. People are controlled by the five desires and turned upside down by them. Thus the text says, Deeply attached to the five desires/One can also say that the five desires are forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchable objects, and dharmas. In general, do not be attached to the five desires.
Hearing it will fail to understand/Because they are deeply attached to the five desires, when they hear the Dharma Flower Sutra, they don't understand it. "Hmmm..." they say, "wealth is really fine. How can you say it is not good? Sex isn't bad either; it's pretty wonderful, in fact. How can you explain the Sutra and say that sex is no good?" They don't believe it. "Everybody likes fame," they say, "and everybody likes the simple pleasures of eating good things. Sleep isn't bad either. You say it is not right?" So they don't believe you. Because they like these things, they disagree. Do not speak to them, either/Don't speak the Sutra for people like this.
If there be those who don't believe/and slander this Sutra/If they slander the Dharma Flower Sutra. They thereby sever/all worldly Buddha seeds/ Severing one's Buddha seeds, the seeds of the hells arise. When the seeds: of the hells arise, then one falls into the hells. Why did I lecture the Surangama Sutra before lecturing the Dharma Flower Sutra? The Surangama Sutra is not as stem on this point. So take care what ever you do not to slander the Dharma Flower Sutra.
Or if, with a scowl/they harbor doubts and delusions/A "scowl" means that you knit your eyebrows together in a frown. As soon as they hear the Sutra lecture, they frown. Their eyes and their noses move together on their face to form a corporation. Why do they scowl? Because "they harbor doubts and delusions." Perhaps in their hearts they object to the doctrines being spoken thinking that they don't agree with them at all. "I really like these things and this person is saying that they are no good. This is just 'claptrap.' What kind of Sutra lecturing is this anyway? It's confused rubbish.'" Their minds give rise to doubts.
You should listen now/as I speak of their offense retribution/Listen to what I tell you. As retribution for the offenses this person has committed, he or she is certain to fall into the hells. They are due, in the future, to undergo limitless and boundless sufferings.
Whether a Buddha is in the world/or has entered into extinction/has entered nirvana, if there be those who slander/a sutra such as this one/If they malign this sutra, who, seeing others read or recite it/read or recite the Dharma Flower Sutra/copy it out or uphold it/ scorn, despise, hate, and envy them/Seeing people recite Sutras, they belittle them saying, "That's too superstitious. What's the use of reciting Sutras, anyway? If reciting Sutras enables one to end birth and death, then way back in the old days, what Sutra did the very first Buddha recite? What use is it?" They seem to have some principle in to their words, but they are ridiculing those who recite the Sutras. They ridicule those who bow to the Sutras even more. "Up and down, up and down...What are they doing? Senseless." They heap scorn upon them, despise, hate, and envy them. Why? Because these people are different from them. They like to drink wine and take drugs. If you did that with them, they would be happy. They don't like to recite Sutras or cultivate so when people do that, they hate it, they get jealous. And harbor grudges against them/In their hearts for no reason at all, they hate you. As to their offense retribution/listen now once again/ these people, at life's end/ will enter the avici hell/After these people die, they are certain to fall into the unspaced hells and will be there for an entire aeon/It will be very difficult ever to get out. At the aeon's end, born there again/They will be there for one whole great aeon and when that aeon is over they will be ping ponged to another avici hell to do it again. In this way they shall revolve/through uncountable aeons, and/they revolve for countless aeons.
When they escape from the hells/they shall take the bodies of animals/ One who slanders the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra or perhaps slanders one who reads or recites the Sutra shall remain in the hells for countless kalpas. And what happens when they get out of the hells? They turn into animals. What kinds of animals? Such as dogs or Yeh Kan/Yeh Kan is a kind of fox. They live out in the wilds or atop tall trees and at night they roam in packs, but hide away during the day. They have only one eye. Why are they born with only one eye? Because they looked down on the people who read, bowed to, recited the Dharma Flower Sutra. They hated and envied them and so now they have only one eye. This is after they escape from the hells, mind you.
Tall and emaciated/mottled black, and scabbed/There is no flesh on the bodies of these dogs and Yeh Kan. They are terribly thin, as thin as sticks of firewood. They are spotted and black, covered with scabs that keep falling off and forming again without healing. Repulsive to others/nobody wants to get near them. Actually, they stink and so nobody wants to get around them. People who cultivate the twelve ascetic practices, and who truly cultivate, will emit a fragrance always from their bodies. Even their clothes will smell fragrant. They may wear rags, and they may not look good, so no one falls in love with them, but it's not because they don't smell good! If you stank to begin with, and you start cultivating, you will become fragrant.
"Sure," you say, "if you are in the Buddha hall all day where the incense is burning, you will start to smell like the incense."
Well, maybe, but if you truly cultivate, you yourself will emit a precept fragrance, and samadhi fragrance and a wisdom fragrance, and a liberation fragrance, and a fragrance of the liberation' of knowledge and views. You will emit those five types of fragrance. If you truly practice the twelve ascetic practices, for sure you will emit a fragrant odor. You won't smell bad.
The Yeh Kan, on the other hand, slandered the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, and slandered the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, so their bodies stink. Nobody wants to get close to them.
Further, by human beings/they will be hated and scorned/Everybody will hate them. Always suffering from hunger and thirst/ nothing to eat or drink/ their bones and flesh will be withered up/During life they will be pricked by poisonous thorns/When dead they will be buried under tiles and stones/Their lives are the epitome of suffering; Their deaths are filled with ignominy Because they have severed their Buddha seeds/they suffer this offense retribution/Because they have cut off their Buddha seeds, and let the seeds of hells start growing, they must suffer this retribution.
They may become camels/ or they may be born among asses/always carrying heavy burdens/on their backs and beaten with sticks and whips/by their owners, always suffering in this way thinking only of water and grass/All day long they think about drinking and eating; they don't understand anything else. Because of slandering this Sutra/ they suffer retribution such as this/ They must undergo this punishment.
-Continued next issue.