|PROLOGUE BY T'ANG
MASTER CH'ING LIANG
with the commentary of
Translated into English by Bhikshuni Heng Hsien
Reviewed by Bhikshunis Heng Yin and
THE SEVENTH, DEPENDING ON THE PERSONS LISTENING. WEN HE WAS TOLD TZU CH'I HAD DIED, PAI YA CEASED PLACING THE LUTE. IF THERE ARE NO LISTENERS, THERE WILL NEVER BE A SPEAKING.
THE SEVENTH is DEPENDING ON THE PERSONS LISTENING. There also have to be people who listen to the Sutra. If no one had been listening when the Buddha spoke The Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, there would have been no use in the Buddha's speaking it. Listeners are essential. WHEN HE WAS TOLD TZU CH’I HAD DIED, PAI YA CEASED PLAYING THE LUTE. As the saying goes.
When people know each other,
They are said to know each others' sounds.
When two people are good friends, they don't necessarily have to talk but can know what's going on with the other person just from a sound. That's called someone who "knows your sound." For example, if you cry, then I'm sure something sad has happened to you, so I "know your sound." Of course, sometimes people burst into tears from joy, for
Joy to the extreme produces sorrow.
It’s not fixed. Or, if you laugh, then it's certain you're happy. Yet sometimes people go crazy, and laugh when they're angry, since they're insane. You have to have wisdom to recognize people's sounds.
"Tzu Ch'i," Chung Tzu Ch'i, was a wood gatherer in the hills, and he had a special talent for listening to music. He could recognize whatever kind of melody you were playing. "Pai Ya," Yu Pai Ya was an official in the imperial government who was devoted to music. Wherever he went he took his lute probably a valuable antique. He always had it on him even when traveling or on his official rounds. Once he took his lute up to Mt. T'ai where he ran into a rainstorm. He sat down and started strumming on the lute playing his "high mountain song." Chung Tzu Ch'i happened by just then and said:
"Lofty indeed, like Mt. Tai!"
Yd Pai Ya didn't say anything, but just strummed some more on the lute, playing his "flowing water song." When he stopped playing, Chung Tzu Ch'i spoke again and said:
"Swirling indeed, like swift streams!"
Yu Pai Ya thought to himself, "Ah! Here is someone who knows my sound!" Thereupon he again played, this time a sorrowful lament. Chung Tzu Ch'i's reaction was:
"Sad indeed, like grievous tears!"
When the playing turned to laughing sounds he said:
"Merry indeed, like bursts of laughter!"
He recognized whatever sound was played.
Yu Pai Ya was beside himself with joy, and said, "You are really and truly someone who knows my sound." Then the two of them bowed to each other as brothers, and agreed to meet in the same place at the same time the next year. For that year's calendar was too full, but Yd Pai Ya planned to take some more time off the next year to spend in the mountains investigating the principles of lute playing with Chung Tzu Ch'i.
As it happened, the following year when Yu Pai Ya returned Aid started playing, Chung Tzu Ch'i failed to appear. He kept on playing, but still no Chung Tzu Ch'i. He kept at if, calling to Chung Tzu Ch'i to come with the sound of his lute, and then Chung Tzu Ch'i's mother approached. She said, "You who are playing the lute, are you by chance called Yu Pai Ya?"
"Yes," he said.
She sighed and said, "My son, Chung Tzu Ch'i, has died. You bowed to each other as brothers so before he died he told me that a certain Yd Pai Ya, whom he'd bowed to as his elder brother, was going to come here looking for him, and asked me to tell you not to wait for him. He is dead. His grave is right over there. The new grave is his."
As soon as Yu Pai Ya heard that he cried and cried, and afterwards he took his antique lute, which was so valuable, and smashed it to bits. And after that he never played the lute again. Why not? Because there was no one left who was able to listen to his playing, so there was no use playing anymore. There was no use to it, for no one knew his sound, and so he broke his cherished lute to pieces. The way the ancient texts put it is"
Yu Pai Ya smashed his lute from grief for one who knew His sound.
That's the reference in "When told Tzu Ch'i had died, Pai Ya ceased playing the lute." His lute was the one thing he was most unable to part with, but he smashed it to pieces and never played the lute again when he heard that Chung Tzu Ch'i was dead. At it's said in the Pao Jen Hsiao Ch’ing Shu:
When he realized Tzu Ch'i was dead, Pai Ya for the rest of his life never played the lute again. Why not? Scholars work for the sake of those who know their sound.
The erudite will do something for those who appreciate and understand them. If no one knows their sound, they don't do anything at all, but just lie down and go to sleep.
Women make themselves pretty for those who like them.
Here Pai Ya stops playing the lute. In other situations people might cease studying, drop out of school, or stop planting the fields.
IF THERE ARE NO LISTENERS, THERE WILL NEVER BE A SPEAKING. If nobody listens, no one will speak Dharma. So, for the Buddha to speak Dharma there also have to be people to listen.
"If no one knows their sound, they don’t do anything at all."
ALL OF THE ASSEMBLIES BLOW IN GENERAL ARE OF TEN KINDS. WHEN THE TEXTS ARE REACHED THEY WILL BE EXPLAINED. EXCEPT FOR THE ASSEMBLIES OF CURRENT POTENTIALS, ALL THE REST ARE CONDITIONS.
ALL OF THE ASSEMBLIES BELOW, the assemblies of those listening to the Sutra, which occur later on, IN GENERAL ARE OF TEN KINDS. If discussed in very general terms, they fall into ten categories. WHEN THE TEXTS ARE REACHED THEY WILL BE EXPLAINED. When we come to them in the Sutra text they will be made clear. EXCEPT FOR THE ASSEMBLIES OF CURRENT POTENTIALS, one category, those for whom the Sutra was directly spoken at the time, ALL THE REST ARE CONDITIONS, contributing factors, auxiliary causes and conditions.
THE EIGHTH, DEPENDING ON THE BASIS OF VIRTUE. STREAMS THAT HAVE PEARLS ARE NOT DRY. MOUNTAINS THAT HAVE JADE ARE INCREASINGLY FERTILE. IF ONE LACKS A BASIS IN VIRTUE INSIDE, HOW CAN ONE TALK OUTSIDE? THIS APPLIES AT LEAST IN TERMS OF THE SPEAKERS, BECAUSE OF THIS DHARMA'S PREVIOUS PERSONS.
THE EIGHTH is DEPENDING ON THE BASIS OF VIRTUE. One has to have virtuous conduct, virtue in the Way. Way virtue is basic. Without it, no one will want to listen to the Dharma you speak. If you do have virtue in the Way, everyone will want to listen to what you say, whether they understand it or not. The possession of Way virtue is internal. No one can see it. And it represents the merit and virtue from regular cultivation. If ordinarily you don't cultivate, you won't have merit and virtue, and when you speak Dharma no one will want to hear it. That is why people who cultivate the Way should at all times follow the rules and should always keep an eye on what they are thinking, being careful not to have a lot of false thinking. As soon as you strike up false thinking, you don't have any merit and virtue; and when you lack merit and virtue, people won't believe the Dharma you speak for them. So Way virtue is essential.
STREAMS THAT HAVE PEARLS ARE NOT DRY. What is Way virtue like? It's like a stream of flowing water. Some places in ^the water have pearls, and in that case the two banks of the stream won't be dried up, and the area is known to have a superior atmosphere about it. MOUNTAINS THAT HAVE JADE ARE INCREASINGLY FERTILE. When a mountain has deposits of jade, the plant: and trees will appear very fresh and beautiful. That comes from the precious treasures, the precious jade, in the mountain, which has a kind of efficacious energy that makes all sentient and insentient things have a glossy, well moistened appearance to them. IF ONE LACKS A BASIS IN VIRTUE, if you, the person speaking Dharma don't have any merit and virtue yourself, HOW CAN ONE TALK OUTSIDE? How can you hope to teach and transform living beings outside, speak the Dharma and lecture Sutras? So the most important thing for people who cultivate the Way is merit and virtue.
If you are someone who has merit and virtue, if you scold people, beat them or even kill them, they won't hate you for it. I'm telling you this, but don't actually go out and kill people. If you say, "I have virtue, I can Kill people," then you're just nuts, crazy. If you had merit and virtue, how could you kill people? This is just a manner of speaking. If you figure, "My teacher, the Dharma Master, said that if one has virtue one can scold people, beat, or kill them," and really go and do it, then you've gone insane. This is just a way of expressing it, it's not to be taken literally.
You have to have virtuous conduct, and then when you lecture Sutras and speak Dharma, everyone will like to listen. Why? Because you will: have affinities with people and with the Dharma.
THIS APPLIES AT LEAST IN TERMS OF THE SPEAKERS, BECAUSE OF THIS DHARMA*S PREVIOUS PERSONS. If one discusses this only in terms of the people who speak the Dharma, the people who went before also spoke this Dharma that is, previous Buddhas spoke this Dharma too and so if you now want to speak this Dharma which was spoken by the Buddhas, you need to have merit and virtue.
IN GENERAL THERE ARE TWO KINDS: ONE, WISDOM, SINCE IT IS FOREMOST. THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED VAJRA BANNER SAYING, "AND IT IS ALSO DUE TO YOUR WISDOM AND PURITY." THEY ADDRESSED VAJRA TREASURE SAVING, "AND IT IS ALSO BECAUSE OF THE SUPREME POWER OF YOUR WISDOM." TWO, THE POWER OF ABUNDANT CONDUCT AND VOWS.
THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED UNIVERSAL WORTH SWING, "IT IS ALSO BECAUSE OF THE POWER FROM YOUR CULTIVATION OF ALL CONDUCTS AND VOWS." THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED DHARMA WISDOM SAYING, "AND IT IS ALSO DUE TO THE POWER OF YOUR CULTIVATION OF ALL GOOD ROOTS, THAT YOU ARE CAUSED TO ENTER THIS SAMADHI AND ARE ABLE TO SPEAK DHARMA." WHETHER IT IS THE GOOD ROOTS OF THE PERSONS INFLUENCED, OR THE CONDUCT AND VOWS OF THE TRANSFORMING HOST, BOTH BELONG TO CAUSES FOR THE SPEAKING.
IN GENERAL THERE ARE TWO KINDS, if discussed in a very summary fashion. ONE, the first kind, is WISDOM. Why is wisdom listed first? SINCE IT IS FOREMOST. If you don't have wisdom, you'll do all kinds of upside down things, and ignorance, greed, hatred, and stupidity will appear. If you have wisdom, you won't do things that are upside down, and even if you do run into such things, you'll be able to change them so they are not upside down. How can that happen? It's from having wisdom, not being stupid. If you are stupid, you won't know what's the best way to act, what is right and what isn't. You'll clearly know something is right, yet figure it isn't right; or clearly know something is not right, and yet figure it is. That's stupidity, and if you're stupid, you'll do mixed up things.
THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED VAJRA BANNER SAYING, They said to Vajra Banner Bodhisattva, "AND IT IS ALSO DUE TO YOUR WISDOM AND PURITY." It is because of your wisdom and purity from not doing defiled things. THEY ADDRESSED VAJRA TREASURE SAYING, "AND IT IS ALSO BECAUSE OF THE SUPREME POWER OF YOUR WISDOM." It's also due to the most supreme wisdom power you have, that you haven't done upside down things, and have brought your work in the May to success. That's the first kind.
TWO, the second kind, is THE POWER OF ABUNDANT CONDUCT AND VOWS. "Abundant conduct and vows" just means all practices and all vows. But don't make vows saying, "I want 'to cultivate, leave home life after life," and then five minutes later forget all about them. Or vow, "I want to be filial to my parents and to my teachers and elders," and not remember a minute afterwards, Or vow, "I want to leave home and propagate the Buddhadharma" and then before even a minute has passed say, "Really? Who said that?" Then it doesn't count.
THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED UNIVERSAL WORTHY SAVING, to Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, "IT IS ALSO BECAUSE OF THE POWER FROM YOUR CULTIVATION OF ALL CONDUCTS AND VOWS." THE BUDDHAS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS ADDRESSED DHARMA WISDOM Bodhisattva SAYING, "AND IT IS ALSO DUE TO THE POWER OF YOUR CULTIVATION OF ALL GOOD. ROOTS, all good, the Five Roots, the Five Powers, and the power from those good roots, THAT YOU ARE CAUSED TO ENTER THIS SAMADHI. That's what lets you obtain this speaking Dharma samadhi, the samadhi of cultivation and all different kinds of samadhis. AND ARE ABLE TO SPEAK DHARMA." That's what causes you to enter into this samadhi in which you can proclaim limitless, infinite wonderful Dharma. WHETHER IT IS THE GOOD ROOTS OF THE PERSONS INFLUENCED... "The person influenced" means those with opportune potentials for being influenced, the assembly of current potentials. If you have good roots, then you can listen to the Dharma. For example, all of you have good roots, and so you are able to come here and listen to the Dharma. Take a look: there are so many people in this country, but how many are able to listen to the Buddhadharma every day? You among so many people are like gold and diamonds: very scarce. So whether it's the good roots of the person being influenced, OR THE CONDUCT AND VOWS OF THE TRANSFORMING HOST, the Dharma speaking host. A host who teaches and transforms living beings has got to have cultivated. No matter what practice, what Dharma door you cultivate, you have to keep at it. If you don't, then you won't have that practice. You should also make vows, but they won't be accomplished in just a day or two, a year or two, a decade or so. You've got to cultivate life after life, over and over, right up until the opportunities are ripe and your work is accomplished. So you say, "Oh, I've left home for three years, five years, ten years, and I still haven't become enlightened." If you haven't even graduated from elementary school, how can you expect to be getting a Ph.D.? It's not possible. BOTH BELONG TO CAUSES FOR THE SPEAKING. In either case, that of the persons influenced and that of the Dharma speaking host, each belongs to causes for there being a speaking. What's really important is for diamonds not to turn into glass.
to be continued