BY T'ANG DYNASTY NAT10NAL
MASTER CH'ING LIANG
with the commentary of
Translated into English by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien
Reviewed by Bhikshunis Heng Yin and Heng Tao
THE SIXTH, DEPENDING ON THE PERSON SPEAKING. THE DHARMA HAS NO ABOLISHMENT AND FLOURISHING. ITS PROPAGATION IS DUE TO PEOPLE. LATER IN THE TEXT IT SAYS: "IF NO PERSON SPEAKS THE BUDDHADHARMA, ALTHOUGH THERE IS WISDOM, NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND IT."
THE SIXTH now discusses the Dharma Speaking Host, and so it says DEPENDING ON THE PERSON SPEAKING. That is, if Dharma is to be spoken, there has to be a Dharma Speaking Host. Without one, the Dharma can not flourish, which is why it goes on to say THE DHARMA HAS NO ABOLISHMENT AND FLOURISHING. The Buddhadharma has no production and no extinction, no decline and no prospering. Why not? Because the Dharma Nature is eternally still and quiet. It is always still and unmoving, yet it accords by way of response. For that according response to occur, some person needs to speak the Dharma, and so ITS PROPAGATION IS DUE TO PEOPLE. The propagation of the Buddhadharma depends on people. In the Analects, of Confucius it says:
It is people, who propagate the Way,
Not the Way that propagates people.
Here it is people, who propagate the Dharma, not the Dharma that propagates people. People spread the Sagely Way, not vice versa, and the same holds true for the Buddhadharma. The Buddhadharma doesn't say, "Such and such a person is terrifically great. The crown, of his head is in the heavens, while his feet touch the earth. When he stretches out his arm, it reaches to the sun, and he can block out the light of the moon." It's not that way. People are needed to propagate the Buddhadharma. ^The Buddhadharma doesn't propagate people. People can control all things, and it's not the case that all things control people. On the other hand, you could say that all things do control people, in that case people are deadbeats, not fully a1ive and active. They are controlled by environment and circumstances, and turn into dead objects instead of living creatures. All of you think it over: if you are unable to change your environment, you are a dead person though alive. If you are able to change the circumstances in which you find yourself, you are a living dead person. On the surface, dead living people and living dead people seem the same, but if you really look into this, they are quite different. So, people have to propagate the Dharma.
*A11 of you studying the Buddhadharma should propagate the Buddhadharma and not just consume it. After studying it, you have to reiterate it. You shouldn't simply eat your fill of Buddhadharma to the point that your stomach is totally stuffed and bursts open. That's useless, and all you can do then is die. You have to study the Buddhadharma and then reiterate it. Eat it and regurgitate it. That regurgitation is just propagation. Now you all understand, don't you? You aren't supposed to keep gulping down the Buddhadharma until it's time to die, without even having propagated the least bit of it. What use is that? So don't be a dumb Sanghan. I'm teaching you to speak the Buddhadharma so once you've eaten it, you can disgorge it in all its transformations and variations. If you stuff yourself on the Dharma and get diarrhea, that's useless. You should be able to bring it back up whole like Patriarch Chih Kung did pigeons. After he ate them, he could spit them out again whole.
*So when we have Liberating Life Ceremonies and release pigeons, you can eat them if you want to, but only if you can spit them out again alive. If you can't do that, don't eat them in the first place. I'll tell you something wonderful about the pigeons we are liberating today. They are your ancestors from limitless kalpas past who have turned into pigeons. Today they are really happy that you are practicing this Dharma of Liberating Life, as you are simultaneously practicing the way of filial piety. You should all be very repentant during the ceremony and enable these animals to attain rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss in the future. You have all come together because you have affinities with one another.
*"I don't believe a word of this," you say.
*You'11 believe it when you yourself turn into a pigeon. Then you'll say, "Now my grandchildren are studying the Buddhadharma to rescue me. Oh! I'm so happy!"
LATER IN THE TEXT IT SAYS, "IF NO PERSON SPEAKS THE BUDDHADHARMA, ALTHOUGH THERE IS WISDOM, NO ONE CAN UNDERSTAND IT." Someone has to speak the Buddhadharma. Regardless of whether they speak it well or not, if they speak, all is well. If you can speak well but don't speak, then all is not well. If you don't speak well but speak anyway, it's well. You see: the wonderful is right at that point. You don't speak well? If you do speak, it's well. If you do speak well, but don't speak, it's not well. So it says, if no person speaks the Dharma, even if you have great wisdom, you won't understand it. Why not? There can be wonders without end within it, multilayered and infinite particularly the Flower Adornment Sutra, which has level upon level of principles without exhaustion-- but if nobody speaks it, it is certain you will not understand it.
The two lines of verse preceding the ones quoted here read:
It is like a jewel in the dark:
Without a lamp, it cannot be seen.
If you speak the Buddhadharma, you are a Dharma lamp. Anyone who speaks the Buddha dharma is a Dharma lamp. The Dharma lamps light up the dark room so you can find your treasure. Your mind is like the room, the darkness is ignorance, and the priceless treasure is wisdom. If the lamplight breaks up the ignorance, you attain your inherent wisdom.
NOW THESE SPEAKERS PENETRATE THE THREE WORLD REALMS. OPENED UP, THEY MAKE FIVE. THAT IS, BUDDHAS, BODHISATTVAS, SOUND HEARERS, LIVING BEINGS, AND THINGS. FURTHER OPENED UP, THEY MAKE TEN. THAT IS, ADD THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME, DUST MOTES, AND HAIR PORES, THINGS AND LIVING BEINGS FOR EACH HAS A DIVIDED AND A COMPLETE ASPECT, AND SO HAIR PORES AND DUST MOTES ARE DIVIDED SPEAKINGS: AND ALL OF THE SPEAKINGS MENTIONED PENETRATE THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME. THEREFORE IN THE CHAPTER OF THE CONDUCT OF UNIVERSAL WORTHY IT SAYS: "BUDDHAS SPEAK AND SO DO LIVING BEINGS, THE COUNTRIES ALSO SPEAK AS WELL. THERE ARE SUCH SPEAKINGS IN THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME," AND SO FORTH.
NOW THESE SPEAKERS PENETRATE THE THREE WORLD REALMS. The "speakers" are those who speak the Flower Adornment Sutra. The person who speaks the Flower Adornment Sutra is Shakyamuni Buddha, but the method of speaking differs from that of other sutras, because it penetrates the three worlds.
The Three Worlds
1. The world of wisdom and proper enlightenment.
2. The world of sentient beings.
3. The world of things.
The first refers to the Buddhas, the second refers to living beings, and the third refers to the world, which is our dependent retribution.
UP, THEY MAKE FIVE. Opening them up means dividing them up, so that the
world of wisdom and proper enlightenment is divided up into Three Vehicles
and so there turn out to be five worlds: THAT IS, BUDDHAS, BODHISATTVAS,
SOUND HEARERS, LIVING BEINGS, AND THINGS. Cross referenced, they are:
3. Sound hearers.
The world of wisdom and proper enlightenment
|4. Living beings.||
The world of sentient beings
The world of things.
Only the first world is opened up. The other two remain as they were. That's how the three open up to make five.
FURTHER OPENER UP, THEY MAKE TEN. Divide those five up even further, and they become ten. What are they? THAT IS, ADD THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME, DUST MOTES, AND HAIR PORES THINGS AND SENTIENT BEINGS FOR EACH HAS A DIVIDED AND A COMPLETE ASPECT. Each of those two worlds (those of sentient beings and things) has a divided aspect and a complete aspect. Dust motes are the divided aspect of the world of things, while things are the undivided aspect of the world of dust motes. Hair pores are the divided aspect of the world of sentient beings, while the living beings are the undivided aspect. So each has a divided and a complete aspect, AND SO HAIR PORES AND DUST MOTES ARE DIVIDED SPEAKINGS. The speaking is divided up when it is hair pores and dust motes; AND ALL OF THE SPEAKINGS MENTIONED in the list just given PENETRATE THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME. They penetrate through to the past the speakings of the Buddhas of the past. They penetrate through the present time the speakings by the Buddhas of the present; and they penetrate through to the future time the speakings of the Buddhas of the future.
THEREFORE, IN THE CHAPTER OF THE CONDUCT OF UNIVERSAL WORTHY IT SAYS: "BUDDHAS SPEAK, AND SO DO LIVING BEINGS." AND THE COUNTRIES ALSO SPEAK AS WELL." Buddhas speak the Dharma. Living beings speak dharma too, as do countries. THERE ARE SUCH SPEAKINGS IN THE THREE PERIODS OF TIME," AND SO FORTH. The Buddhas of the past speak that way, the Buddhas of the present speak that way, and the Buddhas of the future speak that way too.
IF EXPANDED, THEY ARE LIMITLESS, AND SO WITHIN THE DHARMA REALM CHAPTER THERE IS NOT JUST ONE KIND.
Before, it talked about three worlds, which opened up to make five worlds, which further opened up to make ten. IF EXPANDED, if divided up more, THE/ ARE LIMITLESS, infinite speakers of Dharma. AND SO WITHIN THE DHARMA REALM CHAPTER it says THERE IS NOT JUST ONE KIND. There is, not just one kind. How many are there? There are five.
The Five Kinds of
1. The Dharma Realm of Dharmas.
2. The Dharma Realm of People.
3. The Dharma Realm of People, and Dharmas
4. The Dharma Realm of Neither People nor Dharmas.
5. The Dharma Realm of Non-Obstruction.
The Dharma Realm of Dharmas opens up into Ten Doors.
Ten Doors of the
1. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Specifics.
2. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Principle.
3. The Door of the Dharma Realm of States.
4. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Conducts.
5. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Substance.
6. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Function.
7. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Compliance.
8. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Opposition.
9. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Teaching.
10.The Door of the Dhanna Realm of Meaning.
The Second kind of Dharma Realm, the Dharma Realm of People, also has Ten Doors.
The Ten Doors of the
Dharma Realm of People.
1. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Humans.
2. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Gods.
3. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Men.
4. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Women.
5. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Those At Home.
6. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Those Who Have Left Home.
7. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Those of Outside Ways.
8. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Spirits.
9. The Door of the Dharma Realm of Bodhisattvas.
10.The Door of the Dharma Realm of Buddhas.
Furthermore, there is not just one kind of specific, but many; not just one heaven but many kinds, and lots of different types of spirits too. So in the Flower Adornment Sutra there are said to be a hundred and one towns or locations and three thousand Good Knowing Advisors, and so forth. There is not just one kind. Divided up there are infinitely many.
THE MINOR CHARACTERISTICS AND THE ASAMKHYEYA, WHICH ARE SPOKEN BY THE
BUDDHA. IN THE REST OF THE ASSEMBLIES, FOR THE MOST PART BODHISATTVAS
SPEAK. THE DHARMA REALM CHAPTER IS THE FIRST TO HAVE SOUND HEARERS SPEAK.
ALL THE GOOD KNOWING ADVISORS AND SO FORTH FOR THE MOST PART ARE
BODHISATTVAS WHO SPEAK, WHICH IS ALSO CALLED LIVING BEINGS SPEAKING. THE
BODHI TREE AND SO FORTH ARE THE REALM OF THINGS SPEAKING. WHEN THE TEXTS
ARE REACHED THIS WILL BE KNOWN.
The previous text of the Prologue end with "If expanded, they are limitless, and so within the Dharma Realm Chapter there is not just one kind." That is, in the Dharma Realm Chapter the speakers are of five kinds, not only one, LIKE THE MINOR CHARACTERISTICS AND THE ASAMKHYEYA, WHICH ARE SPOKEN BY THE BUDDHA. This is like the Asamkhyeya Chapter and the Thirty-two Marks and Eighty Minor Characteristics, which the Buddha discusses himself. IN THE REST OF THE ASSEMBLIES, the other chapters and assemblies, FOR THE MOST PART BODHISATTVAS SPEAK the Dharma. THE DHARMA REALM CHAPTER IS THE FIRST TO HAVE SOUND HEARERS SPEAK. ALL THE GOOD KNOWING ADVISORS AND SO FORTH FOR THE MOST PART ARE BODHISATTVAS WHO SPEAK, WHICH IS ALSO CALLED LIVING BEINGS SPEAKING. In that chapter, living beings speak the Dharma. THE BODHI TREE AND SO FORTH ARE THE REALM OF THINGS SPEAKING. It has already been mentioned that the Bodhi Tree speaks Dharma too. WHEN THE TEXTS ARE REACHED THIS WILL BE KNOWN. You'll know about this when we come to that part of the Sutra.
Countries also speak the Dharma, as right now the entire country we are in is speaking Dharma. Everything is telling people to understand, and that's just speaking Dharma. So there are two lines of poetry by Su Tung P'o that go:
Of the colors of the mountains,
None is not the vast long tongue.
This refers to the line In the Sutra which tells how all the Buddhas bring forth
...the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds.
The second line of the poem goes:
Of the sounds of the streams,
A11 are the clear, pure sound.
The sounds of the streams are the clear, pure sound of Dharma. Su Tung P'o studied Buddhadharma to the point that he probably figured he had opened enlightenment, so he kept writing these kinds of matched couplets, odes, and sonnets which bear some resemblance to the Buddhadharma.
In the Yuan Dynasty, the Layman Chan Jan, known as Yuen Lu Ch'u Ts'ai, the Prime Minister, was also always writing poetry. Old Man Wan Sung was his teacher. One of his matched couplets goes:
Western Paradise is just
Eastern Sea is just
Hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhalands away to the West and he gets there in three steps. Doesn't he walk fast? The Eastern Sea is enormous but he said it was only a cup deep. Those are examples of distance not obstructing nearness and of largeness not interfering with small ness. So being near does not rule out being far and being small does not stop something’s from being large as well. Yuen Lu Ch'u Ts'ai was describing this kind of state. He was quite erudite. They called him "Layman Chan Jan." He wrote a book called the Wen Ch'au of Layman Chan Jan.
So the Bodhi Tree and Countries speaking Dharma are speakings on the part of the World Realm of Things. When it's the Buddha, it's the World of wisdom and Proper Enlightenment speaking Dharma. Bodhisattvas, Sound Hearers, and Good Knowing Advisors Good Friends are living beings speaking Dharma. Previously it talked about how the speakers penetrated the three worlds. It meant throughout the World of Wisdom and Proper Enlightenment, the World of Living Beings, and the World of Things. In the Flower Adornment Sutra Buddhas, living beings, and also countries speak the Dharma, so the speaking penetrates the three worlds. You will know about all this when we get to those parts of the Sutra text
THOSE PERSONS WHO SPEAK USE METHODS THAT DIFFER. THEY MAY USE SOUNDS, THEY MAY USE WONDROUS FORMS AND COLORS AND SO FORTH, AS IS EXPLAINED IN THE SUBSTANCE OF THE TEACHING..
THOSE PERSONS WHO SPEAK USE METHODS THAT DIFFER. The speakers may be Buddhas, living beings, or countries the latter being speaking by the world of inanimate objects. THEY MAY USE SOUNDS to speak the Dharma either vocal sounds alone, or exclusively non vocal, or both; and there may be a combination of sentient and insentient beings speaking the Dharma. In any case, all the Dharma spoken is inconceivable Dharma. THEY MAY USE WONDROUS FORMS AND COLORS, making inconceivably splendid colors appear to speak the Dharma, or else inconceivable shapes and forms. If you understand this principle, then to the exhaustion of empty space and the ends of the earth there is no place where all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time are not speaking Dharma. Nor is there any spot where all the Bodhisattvas, Sound Hearers, Good Knowing Advisors Good Friends are not speaking Dharma. No place lacks Bodhi Trees and countries speaking Dharma either. If you understand this principle, then you will understand how it is true, actual, and not false that the Buddha pervades all places. So wondrous forms and colors may be used to speak the Dharma, AND SO FORTH. Later there will be lots of other ways of speaking Dharma, AS IS EXPLAINED IN THE SUBSTANCE OF THE TEACHING. When we come to the section of the prologue concerning the Substance of the Teaching, this will be made clear.
Since both sentient and insentient beings can speak the Dharma, what can speak can speak Dharma, and what can't speak can speak Dharma tool. You could put it like this:
The mute can speak Sutras,
The deaf can listen to Sutras,
The blind can read Sutras.
So the world is full of thousands of changes and myriad transformations of ineffable wonder wonderfully affable!
-Continued next issue