Dharma Flower Sutra

With commentary of Tripitaka Master Hua

Translated into English by Bhiksuni Heng Yin

Reviewed by Bhiksuni Heng Ch’ih

      We are all living beings. When we think about the compassionate protection afforded us by the Bodhisattvas, we should hurry and thank them, and tearfully repent of our past stupidity. "The Bodhisattvas are so good to me, and I still don't even realize it." Thus, in the Sutra text, the phrase, "hung with flowered tassels" is an analogy for the Four Methods of Conversion.

The cart was heaped with beautiful mats. There are beautiful mats spread out in the cart, layer upon layer. This is an analogy for the cultivation of skill in the Dhyanas. Everyday you steep yourself in the cultivation of contemplative Prajna. Eventually you will have an accomplishment. "Heaped up" means that they are piled up and soft. This represents sitting in Dhyana and attaining the state of "light peace." This makes you feel especially happy. You feel extremely blissful. In this state you sit again and again and the feeling keeps returning, without interruption. When you walk you feel that it is like the wind, not that you are walking fast, but, before you have even taken a step, you arrive at where you are going. It's like a light breeze, and you don't even feel that you are walking.

The gentle breeze passes by,

But there are no waves on the water.

You are sitting there, but you don't feel like you are sitting. Standing, you don't know you are standing. Reclining, you don't know you are reclining. But this state must be cultivated in order to be obtained. It's a state in which there are no others and no self. You must work hard in order to understand its wonderful advantages. If you don't work hard, you won't be able to know them. I have explained a bit of it, but to taste the true flavor, you will have to discover it for yourself.

      Set about with rosy cushions: This is an analogy for the dharma of non discrimination. There are inner cushions and outer cushions on the cart. The inner cushions are used inside the cart. The outer cushions are used when the cart is stopped. They are used to prop up the front of the cart so that it won't sit right on the ground. This represents the time in cultivation when one applies effort. At this time movement does not obstruct stillness, and stillness does not obstruct movement. Movement is just stillness, and stillness is just movement. Movement and stillness are one substance. When the cart is moving, it moves; when it stops, it is still. But whether it is still or moving, it's the same cart. When we cultivate the Way, in movement and in stillness we are still people. That's what the outer cushions represent.

The inner cushions are used to support the body when it sits or lies down to rest. The resting of the body and mind represents the single conduct samadhi. In the single conduct samadhi, one can give rise to genuine Prajna wisdom. That's the inner cushions.

Yoked to an ox, plump and white; The ox is tied to the cart. This represents people when they have no outflows. Haven't I spoken before about the non outflow Prajna wisdom? "Yoked to an ox" just means "no outflows." But this is no easy matter. Every habit and fault we have is called an outflow and all our thoughts of desire are outflows. Why don't we become Buddhas? It's because we have outflows. Why haven't we become enlightened? It's because we have outflows. Why is our habitual energy so heavy? It's because we have outflows. Why do we have desires? It's because we have outflows. If one has no outflows, then one is liberated. When one has obtained the non outflow wisdom, if one cultivates the Four Truths, one succeeds in that cultivation. If you hold on to your non outflow wisdom, you don't do things, which reflect deviant knowledge and deviant views. If you cultivate the Twelve Causal Conditions, you realize them and become enlightened. If you cultivate the Six Perfections, you arrive at the other shore. In general, if you can look after your own household, that is what is meant by non outflows.

What are "no outflows?" In China there's a saying:

Everyday, guard against fire;

Every month, guard against thieves.

You have to watch over your own house. Guard against the fire of ignorance. When ignorance arises, one fears neither heaven nor earth nor spirits nor ghosts. "If a monster comes, I'll take him on!" Why does one act like that? Because the fire of ignorance has been lit. So we must guard against such fires of ignorance every day.

      Every month one must guard against the thieves within one, not those on the outside. It is said, "It's hard to defend yourself from the thieves in your own house." If a thief comes from the outside, he won't know where you have put your treasures. If you've got a thief inside your house, however, he will know right where to go to steal your valuables. You must guard yourself from your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind the six thieves. These six can turn your mind upside down, and you get all afflicted. Isn't this pitiful? The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind steal the Dharma treasures from your self nature. You let your house get out of control, and you have outflows. Once the outflows start, they keep on flowing, and you end up just like everyone else. If you can maintain the non outflow state, you will certainly realize Buddhahood. Outflows, however, are very quick to start.

If you have no outflows, then you are yoked to a white ox cart. If you have outflows, then you haven't been yoked up to it. When I lectured on The Heart Sutra, one of the verses had a line, which said:

The great white ox cart's rapidly turning sound;

The yellow faced child jumping and thumping.

Your mind may jump and thump and race, but since it is yoked to the white ox cart, it doesn't get very far.

White is the base of all colors, the absence of any stain or defilement. It represents the basic substance of the Dharma, which is pure and undefiled. It hasn't the least spot of dust on it, so it is white. It is interactive with the non outflow wisdom. If there are defilements, there is no attainment. The great white ox cart represents the Four Applications of Mindfulness having been cultivated to the point of perfect accomplishment, to enlightenment.

The white ox also represents the Four Right Efforts:

1. Those good roots, which have not come forth, are caused to come forth.

2. Those good roots, which have come forth, are caused to grow.

3. Evil, which has not come forth, is caused not to come forth.

4. Evil, which has already come forth, is eradicated.

      Plump and white: The two aspects of the good in the Four Right Efforts are represented by "plump." "White" represents the eradication of evil in the Four Right Efforts.

The Four Bases of Psychic Power are:

      1. Zeal,

2. Vigor,

3. Mindfulness, and

4. Consideration.

      Zeal refers to the accomplishment of whatever you wish, that is, when it concerns the cultivation of the Buddhadharma. For example, if you wish to succeed in your cultivation, you will. Vigor: For example, one disciple wishes to bow to The Dharma Flower Sutra every day. If he continues to keep his vow by bowing, he will perfect the psychic power of vigor. Thus, he will blaze a trail in Western Buddhism by doing things no one has every done before.

With the psychic power of mindfulness, things go just as your heart wishes them to go. Consideration means that you just think about them and you get your aim. But, the Four Bases of Psychic Power must be based on the non outflow wisdom. If you have outflows, you won't be able to succeed. You have to have no outflows, and this means no sexual desire. Sexual desire is the root of all outflows. If you have no sexual desire, that is the non outflow wisdom. If you have sexual desire, you have not obtained the non outflow wisdom.

And of fine appearance: This represents the bringing forth of the Great Vehicle Mind. All dharmas are complete in the mind, and the mind indicates the total all inclusive functioning of the Great Vehicle. The one word, "mind," includes all dharmas.

Of great muscular strength: The great white ox is powerful. Its muscles are large and strong. The muscles represent the Five Roots, and the strength represents the Five Powers. The Five Roots are five kinds of good roots. Why are they called roots?

When the roots are deep, the trunk is solid;

When the roots are solid, the branches are luxuriant.

If the roots are deep, the branches are lush. When the roots are solid, the branches and leaves are very beautiful. The Five Roots are:

1. Faith,

2. Vigor,

3. Mindfulness,

4. Concentration, and

5. Wisdom.

As to faith, the Buddhadharma is as vast as the sea and only by faith can one enter it. Therefore, faith is the root for studying Buddhism. You must have the root of faith. If you have faith, you can send down deep roots. Although I lecture on the Buddhadharma for you everyday, you still must believe it and send down your own roots.

Vigor: You can't just believe, you have to be vigorous and make progress. If you are not vigorous and just believe without practicing it's useless. You must go forward and practice.

Mindfulness: You must have presence of mind and never forget to practice. If you have the root of mindfulness, then you must not be moved.

Samadhi: You may think, "The Buddhadharma's not bad. I'll go save a few living beings and get them to believe in Buddhism." But, as soon as you get near some living being, he says, "Christianity is the very best religion. Catholicism is the very best. Come and study with us." Since you have no samadhi, you become one of their converts! They transform you. You don't transform them. This happens because you have no samadhi. If you had samadhi, you would save those you wished to save and wouldn't be "saved" by them.

Wisdom: Out of the root of samadhi, comes wisdom. When the root of wisdom is sent down, then you are even less easily moved.

The Five Powers are just the Five Roots, which have grown. The roots grow into the powers. Thus, the Five Powers are the Powers of Faith, Vigor, Mindfulness, Samadhi, and Wisdom.

With the Five Powers, by means of the non outflow wisdom, you can accomplish all kinds of good roots, and all kinds of Bodhi seeds can grow to fulfillment.

Who walks with even tread: Because the ox has great muscular strength, his walk is steady. He never takes a wrong step. This represents the equality of samadhi and wisdom. If one has wisdom, one also has samadhi, and if one has samadhi, one also has wisdom. Samadhi and wisdom are evenly balanced. As one's wisdom increases, so does one's samadhi. They are balanced. If you have samadhi and no wisdom, you will be a stupid cultivator. If you have wisdom but no samadhi, you will become a frenzied cultivator. You must let wisdom aid samadhi and samadhi aid wisdom. They should support each other.

The even tread also represents the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment, also called the Seven Bodhi Shares, or seven Dharma doors for enlightening to the Way. They are among the Thirty-seven Wings of Enlightenment, which the Buddha taught those of the Two Vehicles. However, the Great Vehicle includes them as well.

The Thirty-seven Wings of Enlightenment are composed of:

1. The Four Applications of Mindfulness,

2. The Four Right Efforts,

3. The Four Bases of Psychic Power,

4. The Five Roots,

5. The Five Powers,

6. The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment,

7. The Eight Sagely Way Shares (the Eight fold Path)

The first of the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment is that of:

1. Selecting a Dharma. In selecting a dharma, one chooses between the right and wrong dharmas, the proper and improper dharmas, true and false dharmas, real and illusory dharmas. How do you select them? You use the non out flow wisdom and the Selective Dharma Eye to pick the dharma. We must pick out true, proper, real, and good dharmas to cultivate. Improper, false, and deviant dharmas should be avoided.

2. Vigor. Having selected a dharma, one must vigorously cultivate it. You must be vigorous in your cultivation of genuine dharmas, not in cultivation of false dharmas. If you are vigorous in cultivating false dharmas, that is just false vigor. You must have the Enlightenment Share of Vigor, which just means that you need to understand what road it is you need to walk down in your cultivation.

3. Happiness. There is both proper and improper happiness. If you cultivate correctly, you will gain proper happiness. Some people obtain a kind of insane happiness. When this happens, you follow your insane desires and do insane things; you feel very happy, but you are actually just upside down. You should take joy in both Dhyana and Dharma, take the joy of Dhyana as your food and be filled with the delight of Dharma. You should be happy to have obtained the Buddhadharma. You should think, "Before, I didn't understand the Buddhadharma at all. Now I understand all these principles, and they are so lofty and profound; I am truly happy!"

Those are the first three of the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment. There are four more:

4. Casting out. You must determine what is true and what is false. Keep the true, but get rid of the false. What is false? Afflictions. Cut off afflictions.

5. Renunciation. You must renounce those things, which you should not hold on to. For example, when sitting in Dhyana, you can't get attached to the advantages gained thereby. Some people sit in Dhyana and get a bit of a state and promptly become attached to if. They can't put it down and constantly hanker after that happy state. When you have cast it aside, you need...

6. Samadhi. Samadhi refers to Dhyana samadhi. In cultivation, when one is not attached to anything, then one gains accomplishment in the skill of Dhyana samadhi. Once you have this accomplishment, you have got the Enlightenment Share of Samadhi.

In other, non Buddhist, religions, they "hold to a quiet darkness." This means that they suppress the thoughts of the mind consciousness so that they do not arise. This is a type of samadhi cultivated by external religions and you should avoid it. You must cultivate proper samadhi. And what is proper samadhi? It means not being attached to anything. If you have proper knowledge and proper views, you will then have proper samadhi.

The first three of the Limbs of Enlightenment are to be used when you feel depressed or drowsy. The second three are to be used when you are nervous or upset. The ability to use the first six to counteract these mental states is called the Enlightenment Limb of... 7. Mindfulness. Cultivators should know about the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment. Those who have brought forth the Bodhi heart should cultivate according to them. By means of these seven, one regulates the body and mind so that they are free of all danger. That is what is meant by "who walks with even tread." It is a manifestation of his spiritual skill.

As fleet as the wind: The great white ox is pulling the cart as fast as the wind. There are many different kinds of winds. Hurricanes blow people and things right away. Everyone likes light breezes, however. This wind is not a light wind or a hurricane. On the other hand, you could say that it is both a light wind and a hurricane. Why? It's a light wind because it makes you feel refreshed and comfortable. It's a hurricane because it blows away the deviant knowledge and views of demons and externalists. The light breeze is also an analogy for the Eight Sagely Way Shares (the Eight fold Path). One should cultivate according to these eight:

1. Right views. If you have deviant knowledge and deviant views, you can't accept the Buddhadharma. You must have right knowledge and right views. Using the non outflow wisdom, you break through all deviant knowledge and views to cultivate right knowledge and views. Right views means, "If it's not in accord with propriety, don't look at it."

2. Right thought. This means, "If it is not in accord with propriety, don't listen to it." Why would you think about it? Because you have listened to it.

3. Right speech means, "If it is not in accord with propriety, don't talk about it." Don't gossip.

Even if you know very clearly that someone is at fault, forgive them. People are just people, after all. If people didn't make mistakes, they would all have become Buddhas long ago. People have heavy habits and no one can avoid doing a few things wrong. So don't talk about people's faults. That's right speech. Don't get together with your friends and sit in judgment on other people. People in this world come together because of affinities. We have met here to study the Buddha dharma together, so we should look at people's good points, not at their mistakes.

"But, if they are wrong and refuse to change, then what will we do?"

Don't worry about whether or not they will change. Just have faith that they will. If you confront them head on with, "You're wrong!" they will resist. "Who are you to tell me what to do?" they will fire back. "I'll just boss you around instead, because I can see a few places where you are off..." and then the fight is on! Each one says the other is wrong when actually they are both in the wrong. They both get upset and then retreat from the Bodhi mind. "To heck with it. I'm not going to cultivate the Way. I'm leaving. I'm not going to leave home. I'm going back to lay life!" How much offense karma have you created here? So, speak properly, and don't just talk about others' faults.

4. Right action. This means that you do proper things. "If it is not in accord with propriety, don't do it." Don't do deviant things like going into the gambling business and developing spiritual powers in the numbers' racket. That's deviant action.

What is right action? Sitting in Dhyana meditation without any false thinking. Studying the Buddhadharma that is the most proper form of action.

"But," you ask, "if I study the Buddha dharma, where will I get food to eat?"

You shouldn't worry about that. If you study well, you will naturally have food to eat.

5. Right Livelihood. During your life, you should do things properly, out in the open. As to deviant forms of earning a living, there are five types:

A. Manifesting a strange style. This means to act eccentrically. For example, a man wearing flowers in his hair walking around on the streets would attract attention. Or, perhaps one wears some outlandish costume to attract a lot of attention to oneself.

B. Speaking of one's own merit and virtue. "I built a temple here. I built a bridge over there. I gave to this and that cause..." No one knows how great their merit and virtue is.

C. Telling fortunes. Perhaps you consult the I-Clung for someone and say, "Oh no; If you don't give me several hundred or several thousand dollars, you are going to lose your life." The person hears this and thinks, "What use will my money be to me if I am dead? Might as well give it to him and live a little longer." Thus he has been cheated out of his life savings. Or you say, "In the future you are going to be the President, but right now you have to do some merit and virtue. Give me five thousand dollars and do something good for me and I will guarantee your future success." The fellow thinks, "Gee, that is really cheap to be President," and he gives him the five thousand and waits to become President. By the time he realizes he will be waiting forever, the person he gave the money to has disappeared. He's gone somewhere else, or perhaps he's died. He could predict the other person's death, but he was unable to predict his own. This is just cheating people.

D. Speaking loudly and acting in an over bearing manner. The person speaks in booming tones so that those who hear him think he is very unusual. They respect him and make offerings to him.

E. Speaking of one's own offerings. "Oh, so and so gave me five hundred thousand dollars, and so and so gave me a million. They really believe in me." But you just talk that way to get someone else to make offerings to you. "They made offerings, you should, too." This is climbing on conditions, trying to get offerings. All of you should listen carefully. When did I ever say, "So and so made offerings to me..." When I do, you will know that I am guilty of using a method of deviant livelihood, and you shouldn't make offerings to me.

6. Right vigor. Some people are vigorous in proper ways and others in deviant ways. What is proper vigor? What is deviant vigor? Deviant dharmas harm other people. Those who cultivate deviant dharmas work very hard in the six periods of the day and night, cultivating all kinds of ascetic practices. These ascetic practices, however, are unbeneficial. They may imitate the behavior of cows or of dogs, and practice being like chickens. They imitate cows and eat grass and say they are being vigorous because cows eat grass all day long. This happens because they saw that a cow was born in the heavens. They didn't realize it was because of the merit and virtue, which the cow had done, in previous lives. They thought the cow was born in heaven because it ate grass! So they take a cow for their teacher. The cow has no understanding of dharma whatsoever, and if you study with a cow, that is called improper vigor. As to studying with a dog...Hah! They say that dogs watch over the door for people and that brings merit. Dogs eat excrement and that is a form of ascetic practice. So they imitate dogs. They also imitate chickens. Chickens go looking for food, pecking on the ground, and so they do this, too. They pretend that their hands are chicken legs, and they peck at the ground. They think this is an ascetic practice, that they can do something no one else can do. Actually, this is just as unbeneficial type of ascetic practice. Although it is unbeneficial, they won't admit it as such. They think it's cultivation. They are not properly vigorous and they have no genuine wisdom. That is why they observe the morality of cows, dogs, and chickens.

Right vigor means to cultivate according to the Buddha's Four Applications of Mindfulness, Four Right Efforts, Four Bases of Psychic Power, Five Roots, Five Powers, the Seven Limbs of Enlightenment, the Eight fold Path, the Four Holy Truths, and the Twelve Causal Conditions. Cultivating according to the Six Perfections is also right vigor. Right vigor means to cultivate according to the Buddhadharma. One does not cultivate dharmas, which the Buddha did not teach. This is called offering up your conduct in accord with the Buddha's instructions. Right vigor means vigor with the body and vigor with the mind. Mental vigor means recollecting the Triple Jewel, not neglecting it for a second. Vigor with the body means putting the teachings into actual practice. For example, bowing to the Buddha, reading the Sutras, bowing to Sutras, and bowing repentance ceremonies and reciting the Buddha's name are all manifestations of bodily vigor, actual upholding of the Buddha dharma.

7. Right mindfulness. This means mindfulness of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Deviant mindfulness means mindfulness of deviant views, prejudiced views, love and emotion. Deviant mindfulness means always thinking about yourself first. Right mindfulness means that whenever we have time, we should recollect the Buddha, reciting, "Namo Amitabha Buddha," or "Namo Medicine Master Buddha," or "Namo Sakyamuni Buddha." We should recite the Great Com­passion Mantra, the Great Vehicle Sutras all these dharmas. There are several laywomen here who go to work all day and then skip dinner to come here at night and recite Sutras. That's right mindfulness.

Mindfulness of the Sangha. What Sangha? The worthy sages of the Sangha of the ten directions. Who are they? The great Bodhisattvas, Arhats, and Bhiksus. Now, in the world, all who have left the home life are members of the Sangha. If you are mindful of the Sangha, you will make offerings to them. If you are mindful of the Dharma, you make offerings to the Dharma. If you are mindful of the Buddha, you make offerings to the Buddha. If you don't want to forget the Triple Jewel, you must make offerings to the Triple Jewel. By respectfully making offerings to the Triple Jewel, you plant blessings. If you want to have fields of blessings, you must plant them by making offerings to the Triple Jewel. There is a saying that goes:

Although one can't plant blessings with the common Sangha,

If you want blessings, you must seek them from the common Sangha. Although a clay dragon can't bring rain,

If you want rain, you must seek it from a clay dragon.

The "common Sangha" refers to ordinary left home people, those who have not certified to the fruit. Although they can't bring you blessings, when you seek blessings, you must seek them from the common Sangha. If you seek blessings from them with a sincere heart, then the sagely Sangha of the ten directions will naturally send you blessings. If you don't seek blessings from the common Sangha and go looking for the sagely Sangha, you can look to the ends of the horizon, to the end of the ocean, and you won't find one. If you seek blessings, you must start by seeking them from the common Sangha.

      The "clay dragon" can't make rain. However, if you want rain, you have to seek for rain at the temple of a clay dragon. Westerners probably aren't familiar with this method, but in China, when people want rain, they seek it by going to a dragon-king temple. In the temple there is a clay dragon. If you seek rain there, you will gain a response. It will rain. Now, in the scientific age, they say that people don't have control over the rain. They say rain comes from condensation in the atmosphere. That is correct, but the condensation has no life of its own. It's like a computer. Unless someone operates the computer, it can't compute. The same principle applies. The rain comes from condensation, but still, imperceptibly, in a way people can­not see, the spirits and dragons are controlling it. But this is not something we common folk with our science can understand through research. Really, the rain is caused by the dragons.'

"I've never seen any dragons," you say. "How can they make it rain?"

Well, if you haven't seen any dragons, we will just have to wait until you do, and then I'll explain to you how it works. Now you haven't seen any, so I won't tell you about them. However, I remember when I was in Manchuria, a very strange thing happened. I had a disciple there named Kuo-Hsun. He worked hard at his cultivation and was even more sincere than I am; He was my favorite disciple. One day, he built himself a small hut. Beside it there was the Dragon King Temple. When he had finished building the hut, he asked me to perform the opening ceremonies. On opening day, ten dragons came over from the temple next door and asked to take refuge with the Triple Jewel. Would you say this was strange, or not? I had four disciples with me at the time, and two of them had the Buddha Eye and the Heavenly Eye. When they meditated, they could observe all kinds of things. After the ten dragons asked to take refuge, I said to them, "It's been several months since there's been any rain. You're dragons. Why don't you make it rain? Why are you so lazy?"

They wanted to take refuge, and so when I scolded them they didn't get angry. They said, "The Jade Emperor, Sakra, gives us orders to make it rain. If he tells us to make it rain, then we can do it."

I said to the dragons, "Tell him that in the world here there is a left-home person by the name of so and so who is now asking for rain within a radius of forty miles from where he is. If it rains tomorrow, I will let you take refuge the day after tomorrow. If it doesn't rain tomorrow, you can't take refuge, you can't be my disciples, and you can't take refuge with the Triple Jewel."

They went right up into the heavens with my message, which turned out to be very efficacious. The next day, in fact, it rained, and what is more strange, it rained right within a forty mile radius of where I was. There was no rain outside of forty miles. The day after, I let them take refuge. That's my experience with dragons and rain. But this is something that, although I personally experienced it, those who don't believe it who outnumber those who do. Ultimately, why is this? I don't know either; I don't pay any attention to whether or not people believe it. I just bring it up for your information. In the future, when you come to believe in it, you will know that what I told you today was really true.

There was another similar experience I had while in Hong Kong. One year Hong Kong had no rain during the spring and summer. All the temples, Buddha halls, and places of cultivation were praying for rain. They sought for four or five months and didn't get any. I originally didn't pay attention to such matters, because I have never liked to get involved in things like that. Besides, there were so many people seeking for rain, surely their power would be greater than mine. So I ignored the whole thing. But after five or six months, I couldn't ignore it any longer, because I was living at Hsi Le-Yuan, where the water was almost dried up. I said to one of my disciples, "You have three days in which to recite 'Namo Amitabha Buddha,' and seek for rain. If it doesn't rain in three days, you need not come back and see me ever again." She very obediently recited, and after two days it rained. Then what do you think happened? All the Buddha halls in Hong Kong advertised that the rain was a result of their having prayed for it. They all took out ads. Not a single person knew that the rain had come as a result of the recitation of my disciple. She never advertised it. Why did I give her three days to get rain? Because I knew I had ten dragon disciples, and if they were not lazy, any one of them could make it rain. I told them to make it rain, and sure enough, it rained inside of two days. Things like this have happened often. One time we were making offerings to the heavens, and the rain clouds gathered. Everyone said, "Call off the ceremony. It's going to rain." It takes four hours to do the ceremony, and right after we were done and had just moved everything inside, it started pouring down rain; Whether you believe or not, if you have experienced these things, you know. In Hong Kong my disciples really believe in me. They know that when I say something, it is efficacious.

Tomorrow is the first day of the fifth month, and the fourth month (April) has already passed. I said there wouldn't be an earthquake in the fourth month, and sure enough, my words were efficacious. There are a lot of causes and conditions involved in this, but there's not time to go into them now,

Once you have right mindfulness, you need...

8. Right concentration. Right concentration is the opposite of deviant concentration. What is deviant concentration? It's attached. You can't put it down. For example, some people like to drink and although you tell them not to, they continue to drink with great concentration because they have this deviant concentration. Or they like to take drugs. The more they take the stupider they get. When you tell them not to, they say, "I can get enlightened taking this stuff. When I take this, things really start happening. I go through changes. I see and hear differently. The world becomes adorned with the seven jewels. Isn't that a state?" It's deviant concentration, that's what it is! For example, one person came here to listen to the lecture, but not a word could get in because he had his deviant concentration going and he was very attached "I'm right! I can't listen to you!" That's deviant knowledge, deviant views, and deviant concentration.

Then what is right concentration? Right concentration is the cultivation of the Four Dhyanas and the Eight Samadhis. Don't have a self at all. Cultivate these Dharmas, but forget your "self." If you have forgotten your "self" how could you still keep on drinking, taking drugs, and indulging yourself? Everyone looks for advantages for themselves, but people who cultivate the Ch'an School forget about advantages. That's right concentration.

Having also many servants who follow and guard it. The servants represent expedient Dharma doors, the paramita of expedients. By means of expedient Dharmas, one arrives at the other shore. What are expedients? What are servants? Expedient Dharmas are those which are indirect and which accord with people's wishes. How do they do this? Say people do a certain kind of work, and you go help them out. That's being expedient. The heavenly demons and outside religions and those of the Two Vehicles cannot get away from expedients but follow the wisdom of expedients in their cultivation of the Way.

The servants can also be said to represent the spiritual powers gained on the result ground by the Bodhisattvas. The result ground Bodhisattvas have already certified to the fruit and attained to the position of the ten grounds. That is what is meant by "result" ground. These Bodhisattvas all have spiritual powers and their spiritual powers accord with the wishes in their minds. They can do whatever they think to do. This spiritual power is as their minds wish it to be and so the text says, "Having many servants who follow and guard it." This means that the Great Vehicle Dharma requires many expedients to bring it to accomplishment. With these spiritual powers, one can do anything at all. It's like having a lot of servants.

Looked at from the point of "contemplation of the mind," in this passage of text we observe each thought in the mind: Vertically speaking, the thoughts which come from our minds have no former or latter aspect and no beginning or end. Horizontally speaking, our minds have no boundary. The thoughts present in our minds reveal the truth of emptiness, the truth of the false, and the truth of the Middle Way. Because they contain all three truths, the cart is said to be broad and high.

The thoughts present in our minds also contain the Ten Dharma Realms. None of the Ten Dharma Realms go beyond the thoughts present in the mind. The cart is said to be broad, as are the Ten Dharma Realms. The virtuous qualities within our self nature are more numerous than the grains of sand in the Ganges River. So the cart is adorned with a multitude of intertwining jewels. The many virtuous qualities of the nature are the "multitude." The basic substance of those virtuous qualities is jewel like, and so they are like a multitude of intertwining jewels.

As to the mind: Outside of the mind, there are no dharmas. Outside of the dharmas there is no mind:

The Buddha spoke all dharmas, for the minds of living beings;

If there were no minds, what use would dharmas be?

The mind is just the dharma and the dharmas are just the mind. What are "outside ways?" They are the ways in which the dharma is sought for outside the mind. Since there are no dharmas outside the mind, the mind includes both worldly and transcendental dharmas. That is what is represented in the text by Surrounded by railings.

Hang with bells on its four sides represents that the mind can universally influence all things. It proclaims the sounds of the teaching. None of them go beyond one thought of the mind.

Further it is covered with canopies. This represents the thoughts present in the mind. The mind is the most wonderful thing among all the dharmas. It includes all dharmas within it. There are no dharmas, which are not inside the mind. The mind "covers" all dharmas, and so is represented by the canopies.

As to the mind, there are mind king dharmas, and subsidiary mind dharmas. The eighth consciousness, also called the mind king, sometimes performs an observation. When it does this, the subsidiary mind dharmas all respond to it and follow its orders. This is what is meant by Adorned with various rare and precious jewels. This is lecturing according to the contemplation of the mind.

As to subsidiary mind dharmas, when the wholesome subsidiary mind dharmas react favorably with the remaining subsidiary mind dharmas in an uninterrupted fashion, this is represented by the phrase Strung with jeweled cords.

From out of the wholesome subsidiary mind dharmas, limitless wisdom arises and limitless blessings and virtues are realized; this is represented by the phrase. Hang with flowered tassels.

Further that thought present in the mind is complete with pliant and light dharmas, not only is it complete with pliant and light dharmas, it is complete with all dharmas. It is complete with all dharmas multi layered and without end. Layer after layer, you could never speak of them all. It's just that thought present in the mind which has such a versatile functioning. This is represented by the phrase, heaped with beautiful mats.

Take another look at the mind. It itself is movement; it is also stillness. It can move and it can be still. Movement does not obstruct stillness and stillness does not obstruct movement. Movement and stillness are one suchness, non dual. The singularity of the suchness and their non duality is represented by the phrase, Sit about with rosy cushions.

"Yoked to an ox." If you observe it at a deeper level, the doctrine of the mind is manifest through the wonderful observing wisdom, and this is represented by the phrase Yoked to a white, ox.

Plump and white. The merit and virtue of the nature is subtle and inconceivable; this is represented by the word "plump." If in the mind there is no affliction, then it is "white." Its color is pure. Why? Because in your mind there is no admixture of ignorance or affliction.

The mind is complete with perfect penetration and comfort; this is represented by the phrase. Of fine appearance.

Of great muscular strength. The wisdom of perfect contemplation can produce all good roots. The perfect contemplation can eradicate love and views within the Three Realms. Because love and views are upside down, it takes great strength to eradicate them.

The perfect contemplation is the non duality of samadhi and wisdom. Wisdom and samadhi perfectly interpenetrate; this is represented by the phrase, who walks with even tread.

The perfect contemplation easily arrives at the other shore; this is represented by the phrase, As fleet as the wind. This perfect contemplation leads all the subsidiary mind dharmas, controls them all; this is represented by the phrase, Having also many servants who follow and guard it.

FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA PREFACE. The brilliant poetic preface of National Master Ch'ing Liang introduces the Prologue to the Avatamsaka Sutra. This volume appears bilingually in Chinese and English and contains Master Hua's interlineary commentary, which thoroughly explains this profound work. Paperbound, 136 pages of English, 74 pages of Chinese. NOW AVAILABLE.