Flower Adornment Sutra
by T’ang Dynasty National
into English by
Note: This issue begins the second major division of the FLOWER ADORNMENTS SUTRA PROLOGUE, the Second Door of the Hsien Shou Method of Sutra analysis. The First Door, the Causes and Conditions for the Arisal of the Teaching, appeared in issues #100-117.
THE SECOND, THE STORES AND TEACHINGS IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED, WITHIN WHICH ARE TWO: FIRST, THE STORES IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED; AFTERWARDS, THE TEACHINGS IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED. IN THE FORMER THERE ARE ALSO TWO: FIRST THE STORES; AFTERWARDS THE CONTAINING. NOW THE FIRST. STORES MEANS THE THREE STORES AND THE TWO STORES, WHICH ARE BOTH CALLED "STORES," SINCE THEY STORE AND CONTAIN. VASUBANDHU'S SAMPARIGRAHA SAMPARIGRAHA, PART ONE, AND THE ALAMKARA, PART FOUR, BOTH SAY OF THE THREE AND THE TWO, "WHY ARE THEY CALLED 'STORES?'" THE ANSWER SAYS, "BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN, THAT IS. THEY CONTAIN ALL THE MEANINGS, WHICH NEED TO BE KNOWN. TO CONTAIN MEANS TO INCLUDE."
The First Door, the Causes and Conditions for the Arisal of the Teaching, has already been discussed, and now this is THE SECOND, THE STORES AND TEACHINGS IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED, WITHIN WHICH THERE ARE TWO sections: FIRST, THE STORES IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED; AFTERWARDS, THE TEACHINGS IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED. The Three Stores in which it is contained in will be explained. IN THE FORMER THERE ARE ALSO TWO. The discussion of the Stores in which it is contained is further divided into two parts: FIRST, THE STORE; AFTERWARDS, THE CONTAINING. The Stores are discussed first, then the containing.
NOW THE FIRST, the first part of the discussion. STORES MEANS THE THREE STORES AND THE TWO STORES—they will be explained shortly--WHICH ARE BOTH CALLED 'STORES.' The Three Stores and the Two Stores are both called by the same name 'Store,' SINCE THEY STORE AND CONTAIN. The meaning is they store things and contain them. VASUBANDHU'S MAHAYANA-SAMPARIGRAHA SHASTRA, PART ONE. "Vasubandhu" is "Heavenly Relative" Bodhisattva, the brother of Asanga, "Unattached," Bodhisattva, who wrote the Mahayana-Samparigraha Shastra--the reference here is to Part One of that, AND THE ALAMKARA, PART FOUR, the fourth section of the Mahayana-Sutra-Alamkara Shastra. BOTH of these Shastras SAY OF THE THREE Stores AND THE TWO Stores, "WHY ARE THEY CALLED 'STORES?' Why are the Three and the Two called by that name? THE ANSWER given to their own rhetorical question SAYS, "BECAUSE THEY CONTAIN. The reason they are called 'Stores' is because they store and contain. THAT IS, THEY CONTAIN ALL THE MEANINGS, WHICH NEED TO BE KNOWN. It's because all principles, which should be known, are contained within them that they are called 'Stores.' What does 'contain' mean? TO CONTAIN MEANS TO INCLUDE. It means to be included in, comprised and gathered in." We talked about magnets before. Any iron substance is attracted to and drawn in by a magnet, which includes-- contains--it.
The text mentions the Mahayana-Samparigraha Shastra, which was written by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva. Some people ascribe it to him, while others say it was written by Asanga Bodhisattva, his brother. Probably, as brothers, they wrote it together, perhaps half each. Later, in the T'ang Dynasty, the Shastra was translated into Chinese by Dharma Master Hsuan Chuang in ten rolls. Prior to that, in the Liang Dynasty, Dharma Master Paramartha had made a translation of the same Shastra in fifteen rolls.
STATEMENT OF THE THREE STORES; ONE, THE SUTRA (HSIU TO LO) STORE; TWO, THE VINAYA STORE; THREE, THE ABHIDHARMA STORE.
STATEMENT OF THE THREE STORES. What is meant by the Three Stores? ONE, the first is THE SUTRA STORE, the Treasury of Sutra texts. TWO, the second, is THE VINAYA STORE, precepts and regulations. THREE is THE ABHIDHARMA STORE, the Treasury of Shastras. Those are the Three Stores.
WITHIN THE FIRST, TO START WITH, THE NAMES WILL BE EXPLAINED, AND AFTERWARDS THE CHARACTERISTICS WILL BE DESCRIBED.
NOW THE FIRST, ALSO CALLED SUTRA() HSUI TU LU AND CALLED SUTRA( SU TA LANG), WHICH ARE SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN VARIATIONS OF THE SANSKRIT SOUNDS.
WITHIN THE FIRST, the Sutra Store, transliterated from Sanskrit into Chinese as hsiu to lo, which is also called hsiu tu lu, and su ta lang--ultimately what is it? Ultimately it is "Sutra." And so, within the First, TO START WITH, THE NAME WILL BE EXPLAINED. The meaning of the term will be defined first, AND AFTERWARDS THE CHARACTERISTICS WILL BE PRESCRIBED. Next what it is like will be revealed. NOW THE FIRST, the explanation of the name, ALSO CALLED SUTRA (SU TA LANG), which is just the same as hsui to lo, "Sutra." AND CALLED SUTRA (SU TA LANG), which is the same thing, too. It's the same term, but in some areas people speak with lighter accents, while in other areas the accent is heavier. Where accents are heavier, people have larger tongues. Where accents are lighter, people's tongues are smaller, like those of birds, whose calls are pleasant to hear; but, since their tongues are small, the sounds of their voices are very attenuated.
WHICH ARE SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN VARIATIONS OF THE SANSKRIT SOUNDS. The Chinese here says literally Ch'u(), which means the modern Hunan region, and Hsia(), the Ch'ang An area, known in full as Hua Hsia(), contrasted with Central China which is known as Hua Chung() and the Southern area, known as Ch'u Hsia(). It's referring to the difference between the Northern and Southern accents.
THE ANCIENTS TRANSLATED IT AS "TALLYING TEXT." IN THE WISDOM SHASTRA IT IS CALLED "THE TEXT STORE."
"TALLYING" MEANS TALLYING WITH PRINCIPLES AND TALLYING WITH POTENTIALS. "TEXT" MEANS STRINGING TOGETHER, THREADING THROUGH, ATTRACTING, AND TEACHING.
THE ANCIENTS, ancient worthies, TRANSLATED IT AS "TALLYING TEXT ()," which in the standard dialect is pronounced ch’i ching, but in Cantonese k’ei king. "Tallying" means:
Above, tallying with the principles of all Buddhas;
Below, tallying with the potentials of living beings.
IN THE WISDOM SHASTRA, the Maha-prajna-paramita Shastra, IT IS CALLED "THE TEXT STORE."
"TALLYING" MEANS TALLYING WITH PRINCIPLES AND TALLYING WITH POTENTIALS, uniting with the principles of all Buddhas and with the potentials of living beings. "TEXT" MEANS four things:
1. STRINGING TOGETHER (kuan);
2. THREADING THROUGH (ch'uan);
3. ATTRACTING (she); AND
4. TEACHING (hua).
They are also listed as:
1. Stringing together (kuan);
2. Attracting (she);
3. Permanent (ch’ang); AND
4. Method (fa).
"Stringing together" means:
Stringing together the meanings that are spoken.
Attracting and holding those of potential who are taught.
IT IS A TEXT THAT TALLIES WITH PRINCIPLES AND UNITES WITH POTENTIALS, RECEIVING ITS NAME FROM ITS PRINCIPAL ACTION. A TALLYING TEXT IS A STORE, BEING SO EXPLAINED FROM ITS CONTAINING FUNCTION.
IS A TEXT THAT TALLIES WITH PRINCIPLES AND TALLIES WITH POTENTIALS. To
tally with principles means it is in accord with the Buddhadharma, while
to tally with potentials means it adapts itself to the situations of
living beings. That is what is meant by text. RECEIVING ITS NAME FROM ITS
PRINCIPAL ACTION. A TALLYING TEXT, if you talk about it being a
"tallying text," it IS A STORE, it takes its name from storing,
BEING SO EXPLAINED FROM ITS CONTAINING FUNCTION. "Store" was
previously described as meaning what stores and contains, so a kind of
functioning is involved, and that explanation is derived from that
FURTHERMORE, IT IS SAID THAT ITS PROPER TRANSLATION IS "STRING," SINCE A STRING STRINGS FLOWERS TOGETHER. TEXT IN THE SENSE OF "WARP" IS WHAT HOLDS THE WOOF. IN THIS AREA THE TERM "STRING" IS NOT ESTEEMED, AND SO THE WORD TEXT IS RETAINED.
Continuing to discuss the meaning of the character for text which was used to translate the Sanskrit word Sutra, FURTHERMORE, IT IS SAID, there's another way of discussing it, namely THAT ITS PROPER TRANSLATION, if you really want to translate the literal meaning of Sutra, IS "STRING," a thread or cord.
Why? SINCE A STRING STRINGS FLOWERS TOGETHER. Strings can string flowers together, and Sutras arrange words together in the same way. TEXT IN THE SENSE OF "WARP" IS WHAT HOLDS THE WOOF. The threads of the warp, too, are arranged row after row, and they hold the threads of the woof. The crosswise threads are the text, the warp, while the lengthwise threads form the woof. Whichever way you look at the warp—the text—and the woof, the arrangement is row by row, so the loom is used for comparison. The warp is the part that contains and holds the woof. IN THIS AREA, THE TERM "STRING" IS NOT ESTEEMED. In China, strings were very ordinary, so if you called Sutras "strings," it would be disrespectful, like saying they were common, ordinary things. If "Sutra" had been translated that way, people would have held Sutras in low regard, since strings are everyday objects with low value. AND SO THE WORD TEXT IS RETAINED. That's why it was translated as text instead of "string."
IT IS ALSO SAID, "AS THE FIVE PARTS OF INDIA CALL IT 'STRING,' 'MAT,' 'WELL-ROPE,' AND 'SAGELY TEACHING,' ALL REFERRING TO SUTRA, THEN 'TEXT' IS ACTUALLY IN CONFLICT." TO TAKE ISSUE WITH THE ANCIENT WORTHIES, 'TEXT' IS NOT IN CONFLICT.
There are a lot of rhetorical questions and answers in the text of the Prologue and so it says, IT IS ALSO SAID. Some people say, "AS THE FIVE PARTS OF INDIA, Northern India, Southern India, Eastern India, Western India, and Central India, CALL IT 'STRING.' Some call it 'string,' while others call it 'MAT,' or 'WELL-ROPE.' AND still others call it 'SAGELY TEACHING'—ALL those various meanings REFERRING TO SUTRA. They all mean 'Sutra.' THEN, according to those explanations, 'text' IS ACTUALLY IN CONFLICT." The word 'text' they say is somewhat in conflict with those meanings. It is not totally opposed to them, but there is a discrepancy between them. TO TAKE ISSUE WITH THE ANCIENT WORTHIES, reprimanding them for their line of argument, 'TEXT' IS NOT IN CONFLICT. There is no conflict between 'text' and those meanings. Those terms are not irreconcilable with 'text.' "To take issue with," means the principles advanced by the ancient worthies were not necessarily right, and so it says, "'text' is not in conflict. "To translate 'sutra' as 'text' fits in with the meaning of 'string' and so forth.
Why does it talk of conflict here? It's because there are some people with nothing to do finding something to do, people with no work to do fearing they'll be out of a job, who find something to do by saying, "This isn't right," and "That isn't correct," and "That's no good." Archaeologists are like that. They tell you, "You're all wrong in that. There's no support for it. My version is right. There is such and such supporting evidence." Actually, what support do they have? Theirs can just as easily be disclaimed. So, sometimes what the ancients said was not necessarily right. Because of that, when you lecture Sutras, it's enough to explain the principles appropriately. Once you start saying something is absolutely correct or incorrect, that's dealing in rights and wrongs—simply gossip.
Once you open your mouth, you've made a mistake.
If you give rise to thought, you've committed an error.
can be said. To talk is to stir something up when there was nothing going
NOW TO EXAMINE THIS W FURTHER DETAIL, IF THE ONE TERM FOR FOUR THINGS IS ACTUALLY IN CONFLICT WITH THEM ALL, THEN THE ANCIENTS' OBJECTIONS WILL STAND.
IF ONE CONNECTS IT WITH THE REQUIRED MEANING, CHING ITSELF PERTAINS TO "MAT." THE CONFLICT SHOULD BE WITH "SAGELY TEACHING." THEREFORE, THE LIANG PARISAMGRAHA SHASTRA TRANSLATES IT AS "SAGELY TEACHING." THAT SHASTRA SAYS, "THERE IS THE ABHIDHARMA, WHICH IS NOT THE SAGELY TEACHING; YET, IT ACCOMPLISHES THE SAGELY TEACHING. SO THE NAME HSIU TO LO IS ADDED."
Previously it was talking about how the meaning of the character for text(ching ) was in conflict with the meanings of the Sanskrit word Sutra, how that term was not in accord with the principles of the Dharma. NOW, TO EXAMINE THIS IN FURTHER DETAIL. We're going to go into this matter more deeply. IF THE ONE TERM FOR FOUR THINGS, if you use one name which has four kinds of meanings, and it IS REALLY IN CONFLICT WITH THEM ALL, if they basically are not in accord with each other—if you chose one term to stand for one of those meanings, and 11 does not fit the other three meanings, there is a conflict, and THEN THE ANCIENTS' OBJECTIONS WILL STAND. This first considers the pro's and afterwards the con's. This part is discussing the arguments in favor of it.
IF ONE CONNECTS IT WITH THE REQUIRED MEANING, to discuss the meaning that is in accord with that line of argument, CHING text PERTAINS TO "MAT." The term ching coincides with "mat," and not with "string," or "well-cord," or "sagely teaching." The term "mat" would fit it, but not the other three meanings THE CONFLICT SHOULD BE WITH "SAGELY TEACHING." Ching and the name "sagely teaching" would not match. THEREFORE, in THE LIANG Dynasty translation of the PARISAMGRAHA SHASTRA, it TRANSLATES IT AS "SAGELY TEACHING." THAT SHASTRA, the Mahayana-parisamgraha Shastra, SAYS, "THERE IS THE ABHIDHARMA, WHICH IS NOT THE SAGELY TEACHING." "Abidharma" means Shastras, and they are not the teaching of the Sage; YET, IT ACCOMPLISHES THE SAGELY TEACHING, it can, nevertheless, bring the principles of the sagely teaching to accomplishment and assist it, SO THE NAME HSIU TO LO IS ADDED." For that reason it is given the additional name of "Sutra."
If one term has four meanings, of course each will not fit with the other three. That is like the single Indian word saindhava, which had four meanings: salt, horse, drinking water and urinal. The one term stood for four things. If the king called out for one of those things by that name, how could you tell which he wanted? The great ministers who had wisdom would know. For example, if the king was eating and called for saindhava, you could bring him some salt to add to his food. If you brought him the urinal while he was having his meal, it would be wrong. If he were going traveling am said, "Bring my saindhava," officials with wisdom would bring his horse. If at that point you were to bring some salt when he was just about to go out, it would be useless. It depended upon the wisdom of the people of the time. The officials would realize, "Oh, the king is going out on a trip and wants to ride his horse." If you brought in the urinal right then, it wouldn't be right either. But, when the king did want to urinate, and called for a saindhava, you would bring the urinal, not some water. For, if he had to urinate, how could he drink water? You couldn't bring salt or a horse, either. Those who were wise understood what he wanted. If the king was thirsty and wanted to drink some water and said, "Now I want saindhava," and you brought the urinal, that wouldn't work. For the king couldn't drink urine. Salt wouldn't do either. The king is already thirsty, and salt would just make him even thirstier. You couldn't bring his horse either, when he wanted a drink. That's one word that had four meanings, and the word ching is the same. It stands for four meanings. It is a "tallying text," and "tallying," means to fit with. So, that one term has four meanings.
To be continued