Dharma Flower Sutra

with commentary of
Tripitaka Master hua

Translated into English by
Bhikshuni Heng Yin

Reviewed by Bhikshuni Heng Ch’ih


And why is this? That great elder has limitless wealth and all manner of storehouses full to overflowing.


      Having explained that the cart was so high and broad, with little bells hanging from the four sides and covered with canopies and rare treasures, the question is raised. And why is this? That great elder/ the Buddha has limitless wealth and all manner of storehouses full to overflowing/ The wealth refers to Dharma treasures, Dharma-doors taught by the Buddha.

      The storehouses refer to all kinds of jewel treasuries filled with precious things. These treasuries are all the Dharmas. This is an analogy for all the Dharmas. In general, you
could say there are Six Perfections and Ten Thousand Conducts. The Six Perfections are giving, morality, patience, vigor, Dhyana samadhi, and wisdom. These six are not just to be recited in order to perfect them. We can't just learn to rattle off the names and think we understand them. You have to practice them. You have to give. You can give wealth, Dharma, or fearlessness but you have to do it. "Morality" means to do no evil and to practice all good. Patience...well, that's the hardest. Giving is pretty easy. Morality is not too hard. But patience is the hardest of all. Why? In order to be patient you have to empty yourself of your concept of "self." Otherwise, you can not be patient. Patience means taking the hard things easy. If people are not good to you, you must act as if they were being good to you.

"But that's just being stupid!" you may object.

Students of the Buddhadharma should not act too smart. If you are too smart, you've gone overboard. If you have no mark of self, no attachment to self, no view of self, then you
can be patient. If you think, "Before I was born, who was I? Now that I have been born, who am I? Where did this 'me' come from? It's just an empty name. When I blink my eyes and the dream ends, then who will I be? When I die, where will I go? Who will I be then?" then you can bear what is hard to bear. If you always look on the "self" as empty, then you can easily
bear up. Although people are bad to you, you won't feel that it is any problem. If you study the Buddhadharma, you can't just listen to it. In order to understand it, you must actually practice it. If you just eat candy all day long, and it's really sweet, thinking you are being patient with your eating of candy, you are fooling yourself. It takes something you don't like, some vexing situation, and then you act as if nothing were the matter. It's no problem. It doesn't phase you because you really understand and you have control over it. That's what patience is all about. But it's not easy to be that way. If you can do it, you have grasped the essential message of The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. Don't look upon your "self" as so important. That "self" in the future is going to die. Why scramble to get the best for it? Why compete for fame and profit? You should look on the mark of self as empty. There is no self.

      "What if someone slugs me?" you ask. "What do I do then?"

      Think of it this way: "In the past I must have hit that person, and so he is hitting me now. If I didn't hit him in this life, I must have hit him or scolded him in a previous life. Last year during the Summer Session, I aid that if in this life you scold people, in a future life, they will pester you. Former cause and latter effect are very severe.

You say, "I don't believe it."

You don't? Do you have troubles? If you do, that's where they came from. You can't be patient. You can't put everything down. Whether you believe it or not, that's the way it is!

"But why is it so severe?" you ask.

The greater elder has limitless wealth...

      If you put money in a bank, over a period of time it will collect interest. If you scold people and give them a lot of trouble, they are going to collect a little interest, too. If, in a former life, you scolded people, they may beat you in this life. If you beat them, they may kill you. If you kill someone, they may end up killing your entire household. The retribution is very severe. That is why cultivators should always refrain from giving others trouble. Watch over yourself. Don't be aggressive and make trouble for no reason.

If someone beats or scolds you, you may try to act as if there were no self, but you feel: "Well...here I am, I mean...I'm in my body right here. I have feelings, you know. How can I have no self? How can I put it down?"

There's a wonderful Dharma here and I'll tell you what it is: If someone hits you, you can just think, "Oh gees, I ran into the wall. I wasn't looking where I was walking..." or "Something fell on me." If a brick fell on you, you wouldn't want to hit the brick. If you did that, your hand as well as your foot would hurt. If you fight it, it's going to hurt more. If you don't, if you pretend nothing happened, that you ran into the door or whatever, then it's all over. It's hard to listen to someone scold you, but you can just pretend you don't understand them. "Oh, he's speaking Japanese or Spanish or something. I have no idea what he's talking about." Or else you can think, "He's praising me! His scolding is just a song. He's making music!" Think of ways to cope with it, and then you will have no anger of affliction. If you get afflicted that means you have a karmic obstacle. People without karmic obstacles do not get afflicted. Those with afflictions have karmic obstacles. Since  you have karmic obstacles, you should find ways to eradicate them. In this world there's  nothing that is unbearable if you really know how to practice patience. I have often told  you about Maitreya Bodhisattva's verse, which, no doubt, all of you have rejected, thinking  it too silly; but since you don't want it, I'll just give it to you again:

The Old Fool wears ragged robes,
            And fills himself with tasteless food,
            And mends his clothes to keep out the cold,
            Just letting things take their course.

Should someone scold the Old Fool,
            The Old Fool just says, "Fine."
            Should someone hit the Old Fool,
            He just lays down to sleep.

Spit right in his face,
            He just lets it dry,
            Saving his energy,
            And giving you no affliction.

This kind of paramita
            Is the jewel in the wonderful.
            Having heard this news,
            Why worry about not realizing the Way?

      If you can't perfect patience, it's because you can't put down your "self." Your "self" is bigger than Mount Sumeru, and there is no place to put it because it won't fit anywhere! Wherever you put it, that place is filled up. You must put your "self" down. Then you can understand the Buddhadharma. Those who understand the Buddhadharma cultivate patience. We who study the Buddhadharma must take care to cultivate it. Otherwise when something happens you won't be on top of it, and the fire of ignorance will blaze thirty thousand feet in the air, burning off all your merit and virtue.

Firewood gathered in a thousand days,

Burns up in a single spark's blaze.

One match can burn it all up. Cultivating patience is very important.

Not to speak of other people, you might think I have no problems in this line, but actually a lot of people berate me. But if you want to scold me or hit me, go right ahead. There was a person who came and bullied me until there was nothing I could do but bow to him!
And he was one of my disciples! Now that's a first in the history of Buddhism, but I won't mention his name or else you will all start bowing to him and that wouldn't be too good.


So he reflects thus: "My possessions are boundless. I should not give my children small or inferior carts. All of these youngsters are my children whom I love without partiality.  Having such great carts made of the seven jewels, infinite in number, I should give them to  each one equally. Why? If I gave them to an entire country, they would not run short; how  much the less if I gave them to my children!"


So he reflects thus the Elder thinks like this, "My possessions are boundless nothing  is higher or more valuable than my Dharmas. I should not give my children small or inferior carts I should not use Small Vehicle Dharmas to cross over all living beings, all the thirty children, the Sound Hearers, Conditionally Enlightened Ones and the Bodhisattvas. Now all of these youngsters the children represent those of the Three Vehicles who have not been cultivating the Way for very long. They are just beginners, like children without much experience. Even though they don't have a lot of common sense, still They are my children whom I love without partiality I love all my children. The Buddha has no partiality towards any living being one way or the other. His compassion is impartial. Having such great carts made of the seven jewels, infinite in number The Seven Limbs of Enlightenment, the Eightfold Path, the Five Roots, Five Powers, Four Bases of Psychic Power, Four Right Efforts, Four Applications of Mindfulness, the Thirty-seven Wings of Enlightenment adorn the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. I shall give them to each one equally Every child should get a cart. There should be no discrimination. Why? If I gave them to an entire country they would not run short The country represents the Land of Eternal Still Light and Purity. "Not run short", means that the Buddhadharma never runs out. How much the less if I gave them to my children! If I gave them to everyone in the country, there would still be carts left over. How much the
less would they run short if I gave them to my children with whom I have such a great affinity. So now, I certainly will give each one a Great White Ox Cart.

Everyone should take a look at himself. See whether or not you have afflictions. If you
have no afflictions, then you have obtained the Buddhadharma. If you still have afflictions, you have to go forward and cultivate reliably. If you keep getting angry all the time, that means you have to look more deeply into the Buddhadharma. At whatever time you cease to have afflictions that will be the time you have obtained the good points of the Buddhadharma. This
is very important.


Meanwhile, all of the children are riding around on the great carts, having gotten what they never expected to have, beyond their original hopes.


      Meanwhile that is, when the Elder gave away the great carts. If he had limitless wealth, but they were not his children, he would not have given the great carts away. If they were his children, but he didn't have any wealth, he also wouldn't have given them away. But now, the Elder has the wealth, limitless treasuries, and they are overflowing. The children are true disciples of the Buddha and so the Buddha gives them all a great cart. This  is because the children originally had no hopes of getting a great cart. They were hoping for deer carts or sheep carts and that alone would have satisfied them. They would have played in them happily.  But now the Elder, because he is so wealthy, gives each of them a great cart. This is using  the Great Vehicle Dharma to save living beings. All of the children had not had such great hopes. Now they have all obtained the great carts, the beautiful and expensive white ox carts, so all of the children are riding around on the great carts, having gotten what they never expected to have, beyond their original hopes They had never before seen anything so fine. They had never had such fine toys. This is beyond their wildest dreams. They had just wanted small carts to begin with. Now they have the great carts. This represents those of the Two Vehicles who originally cultivated Small Vehicle Dharmas and have ended share section birth and death. But now they don't need to work on anything more, no extra trouble for them and they obtain the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. On the basis of their original cultivation and practice, they accomplish the karma of the Great Vehicle. Quite naturally they also bring change birth and death to an end, and this takes them beyond their original hopes. It's not what they were originally after, but now they've got it, and it surpasses their former aspirations.


      Shariputra, what do you think? When that Elder gives equally to all of his children the
great jeweled carriages, is he guilty of falsehood or not?"


Was the Elder lying? Shariputra, what do you think? When that Elder gives equally to all of his children the great jeweled carriages, is he guilty of falsehood or not? Did he lie to them? Did he do wrong?


      Shariputra replied, "No, World Honored One. The Elder is not guilty of falsehood, for he has only enabled his children to avoid the calamity of fire, and has thereby saved their lives. Why is this? In saving their lives he has already given them a fine plaything. How much the more so his setting up of expedients to save them from the burning house."


The Buddha asked Shariputra what he thought about the situation. The Elder gave them the great cart. Was he lying? Now, in this passage of text he is answering the Buddha's question by saying that the Elder was not lying. Someone may ask, "Why didn't the Buddha explain this himself? Why did he ask Shariputra? He could have just stated a rhetorical question and answered it himself."

He asked Shariputra because the Elder is an analogy for the Buddha. If he had explained
that he himself had not lied, most people would not have believed him. He had the greatly wise Shariputra answer the question so that everyone could understand that the Buddha does not lie.

Shariputra answered saying, "No, he does not lie. The Buddha doesn't lie." Shariputra replied, "No, World Honored One, the Elder is not guilty of, falsehood, for he has only enabled his children to avoid the calamity of fire, and has thereby saved their lives They didn't burn to death. This alone is enough to prove that he was not speaking falsely. Why is this? In saving their lives he has already given them a fine plaything You could say that getting out with their lives was getting out with fine playthings. This is because the most important thing to people, after all, is their life. Since thy got out with their lives, you could say they got the toys they wanted and so the Buddha did not lie. How much the more so his setting up of  expedients to save them from the burning house. They Buddha set up many expedients to save living beings from the burning house of the Three Realms.