DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA
THE BUDDHA HAS INSTRUCTED US
THE BUDDHA HAS INSTRUCTED US/TO SPEAK OF
THE UNSURPASSED PATH/AND
OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE IT/AS BEING ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH BUDDHAHOOD/Those
who practice the Great Vehicle will
the ultimate Buddhafruit.
RECEIVING THE BUDDHA'S
TEACHING WE/FOR THE SAKE OF THE GREAT BODHISATTVAS/USE
CAUSES AND CONDITIONS/ VARIOUS ANALOGIES/AND NUMEROUS EXPRESSIONS/TO
SPEAK THE UNSURPASSED PATH/
THIS IS THE SECRET STORE OF DHARMA/OF ALL THE BUDDHAS/the secret Dharma-jewel of all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions. ONLY FOR THE BODHISATTVAS/ARE SUCH REAL MATTERS SET FORTH/It is only for those with the potential of the Great Vehicle Bodhisattvas, that such subtle, wonderful, true matters are expounded. AND NOT FOR OUR SAKES/HAVE SUCH TRUE ESSENTIALS BEEN SPOKEN/It's not for the small vehicle people that such real Dharma has been taught. The provisional Dharma was spoken for those of the small vehicle. The real Dharma was not spoken for them.
JUST AS THE POOR SON/DREW NEAR HIS FATHER. AND/ALTHOUGH HE KNEW OF ALL HIS POSSESSIONS/ IN HIS HEART HE HELD NO HOPE OF GETTING THEM/ He knew of all his father's valuables, but it never occurred to him to call these things his own. IN JUST THE SAME WAY/EVEN THOUGH HE HAVE SPOKEN/We of the small vehicle have spoken OF THE BUDDHADHARMA'S PRECIOUS STORE/WE'VE PERSONALLY NEVER ASPIRED FOR IT/We felt there was no point in seeking the Great Vehicle Dharma of the Bodhisattvas. The poor son knew of a11 the treasures, yet he did not know that they belonged to him. He still held on to his small viewpoint and didn't expand his thinking. Now, he finally understands that we all have a share in the Buddha wealth.
HAVING ATTAINED INNER EXTINCTION,
Mahakashyapa says that, HAVING ATTAINED INNER EXTINCTION/We who cultivate the Two Vehicles have already gotten rid of the false thinking within ourselves. This absence of false thinking is what is called "inner extinction." And WE THOUGHT THIS SUFFICIENT/Because we had no false thinking, we thought that we were always in samadhi. We felt that with "one thought not produced, the entire substance manifests." The state in which not a single thought arises is called "inner extinction." WE THOUGHT THIS SUFFICIENT/We felt that this was enough. We had cultivated to the point that we had no more false thinking. FOR, HAVING COMPLETED THIS/THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE TO BE DONE/or so we thought. We have already cut off our afflictions and broken through our ignorance, so that we are always giving rise to inner wisdom. So what else is there to be done?
AND EVEN IF WE HAD HEARD/OF PURIFYING
BUDDHALANDS/of purifying and
adorning the Buddhalands, of turning from the
vehicle towards the Great Vehicle,
and of practicing the Bodhisattva path AND OF TEACHING AND
TRANSFORMING LIVING BEINGS/of
enlightening oneself and others, of benefitting
and others, and leading
to understand the
Buddhadharma, WE'D HAVE TAKEN NO
DELIGHT THERE-IN/We would have thought,
asking too much. Can't we just cultivate,
gain our own attainment and then forget it? What's with going around teaching everybody else?
just making up things to keep yourself busy!" Those of the Two Vehicles are
independent. They work for their own accomplishment
care to worry about other people. "Who cares if they fall
into the hells
Let them do what they like!
already, and they are simply none of my business! I have broken through
ignorance and seen the Dharma
nature, and I don't
care about saving living
beings." They are not the least
bit interested in purifying the Buddhalands
and teaching living beings.
Although all Dharmas are empty and still, one still must practice the Bodhisattva path and benefit others. But those of the Two Vehicles are lazy. they don't want to do this. They hold to the saying,
watch over others.
Your suffering is your business. I have some skill, and so I don't suffer. That's good enough for me. Your suffering is none of my business. Basically, all the Buddhas and a11 living beings are one. The Buddha is living beings, and living beings are the Buddha. Those of the Two Vehicles have arrived at "Transformation City," and they tike it there just fine. They were once vigorous in pursuit of the Way, but having arrived half-way, they grow lazy. "I've gotten quite enough." This is like people who are quite vigorous in their cultivation before they leave home. But, once they have left home, they think, "I have already received the precepts. It doesn't matter anymore whether or not I cultivate. I can keep my old bad habits, and if I get a little lazy, it's no problem." That's just the way those of the Two Vehicles are. They have cultivated and attained some benefits, and having rid themselves of ignorance and affliction, they think, "This is really wonderful." They end up enjoying how "wonderful" everything is for them, and they don't think to teach and transform living beings, to purify the Buddha-lands. They take no delight in such ideas. Why not? Everything is empty and still. If they felt delighted they would just be getting attached again! What they don't realize is that their passivity is also a form of attachment! Hah! Delight and non-delight are both attachments!
ALL DHARMAS ARE/COMPLETELY EMPTY AND STILL/ NEITHER PRODUCED NOR DESTROYED/NEITHER GREAT NOR SMALL/They think, "Since all dharmas aren't produced or destroyed, why should I bring about production and extinction?" WITHOUT OUTFLOWS AND UNCONDITIONED/REFLECTING IN THIS WAY/WE DID NOT GIVE RISE TO JOY/They aren't interested in practicing the Bodhisattva's path, in purifying the Buddhalands, in teaching and transforming living beings. They find the whole idea to be a pain in the neck.
WE, DURING THE LONG NIGHT/During the long night of time, HAD NO CRAVING OR ATTACHMENT/ FOR THE BUDDHA'S WISDOM/We did not covet even the wisdom of the Buddha, that bright light which illumines the dark night of time. We had no attachments. Above, we felt there was no Buddhahood for us to realize, and below there were no living beings to save. We had no hope of becoming Buddhas, and we had no wisdom to save living beings. I don't know quite what we thought we were doing! We weren't doing anything, in fact!" And you wonder why the Buddha scolded those of the Two Vehicles calling them withered sprouts and sterile seeds? They weren't reaching for Buddhahood; they weren't teaching living beings. They were exactly nowhere; they were drying up and blowing away. They did not even care about attaining the Buddha's wisdom or becoming a Buddha, NOR DID WE ASPIRE TO IT/ It didn't figure in their plans at all.
AND YET, AS TO DHARMA, WE/CLAIMED WE HAD THE ULTIMATE/We thought we had achieved inner-extinction, broken through ignorance and severed affliction, and we thought that was
about all there was to cultivation. We have no afflictions or ignorance. You can scold us or hit us, and it doesn't matter. This is the ultimate in all Dharmas. ALL THROUGH THE LONG NIGHT/WE PRACTICED AND CULTIVATED THE DHARMA OF EMPTINESS/We have cut off affliction in the Three Realms. HAVING WON RELEASE FROM THE TRIPLE WORLD/WITH ITS SUFFERING. DISTRESS, AND CALAMITIES/ WE DWELL WITHIN OUR FINAL BODIES/and we do not again have to undergo birth and death IN NIRVANA WITH RESIDUE/ACCORDING TO THE BUDDHA'S TEACHING/WE ATTAINED THE WAY WHICH IS NOT FALSE/We have attained the fruits of the Path. AND WE ASSUMED THAT WE HAD/THEREBY REPAID THE BUDDHA'S KINDNESS/ We thought that our attainment of the nirvana with residue and our certification to the Fourth Fruit of Arhatship was, in fact, repaying the Buddha's kindness." But it wasn't, really, because those of the Two Vehicles did not cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, did not adorn the Buddhalands and did not teach and transform living beings. All they cared about was #1 , and that doesn't count as repaying the Buddha's kindness.
ALTHOUGH WE, FOR THE SAKE
ALTHOUGH WE, FOR THE SAKE/OF THE BUDDHA'S DISCIPLES, SPOKE/OF THE BODHISATTVA'S DHARMA/ WITH WHICH THEY SHOULD SEEK BUDDHAHOOD/YET, IN THIS DHARMA/WE NEVER TOOK DELIGHT AT ALL/We never hoped for it ourselves; we were not the slightest bit interested in it. We didn't want to practice the Bodhisattva Path. We were satisfied with the little we had; we felt happy enough at having arrived in Transformation City. We weren't greedy for Buddhahood. Above, we felt no need to realize Buddhahood, and below we had no interest in teaching living beings.
OUR MASTER SAW THIS AND LET THINGS BE/The Buddha knew that we didn't want to cultivate the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, and so he didn't speak the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma to us, BECAUSE HE SAW INTO OUR HEARTS/He knew that we liked the small vehicle. AND SO, AT FIRST, HE DID NOT ENCOURAGE US/BY TELLING US OF THE REAL ADVANTAGE/In the beginning he just taught us about the Four Holy Truths and the Twelve Causal Conditions. He didn't encourage us to practice the Six Perfections and Ten Thousand Conducts of the Bodhisattva. He didn't tell us to practice the Bodhisattva path and become Buddhas. He merely encouraged us to attain the Four Fruits of Arhatship."
JUST AS THE WEALTHY ELDER
JUST AS THE WEALTHY ELDER/KNOWS HIS SON'S LOWLY AMBITIONS/knowing he had no lofty resolve, USED THE POWER OF EXPEDIENTS/used various expedient methods, TO BRING HIS MIND UNDER CONTROL/Bit by bit he tamed him, he drew near him, chatted with him, he put on a worn and dirty robe. This means that the Buddha manifested as an ordinary Bhikshu so that he could draw near to those of the Two Vehicles. Gradually, he subdued their minds. AND AFTERWARDS GAVE TO HIM/ALL OF HIS VALUABLES/THE BUDDHA, IN THE SAME WAY/MANIFESTS RARE THINGS/Things never seen before, dharmas never known before, BUT FOR THOSE WHO DELIGHT IN THE SMALL/those of the Two Vehicles, he speaks the small vehicle dharma. HE USES THE POWER OF EXPEDIENTS/TO BRING THEIR MINDS UNDER CONTROL/and once their minds have been subdued, ONLY THEN TEACHING THE GREATER WISDOM/only then are they receptive to the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma.
ON THIS DAY, WE
ON THIS DAY, WE/HAVE GAINED
WHAT WE NEVER HAD/THAT FOR WHICH WE
LACKED HOPE/WE NOW HAVE ATTAINED/JUST AS THE
POOR SON/GAINED LIMITLESS TREASURES/Basically,
he had no idea he would be bequeathed all of
his father's wealth.
DURING THE LONG NIGHT, WE/MAINTAINED THE BUDDHA'S PURE MORALITY/During the long night of time, we have upheld the pure, precious, precepts of the Buddha. BUT ONLY ON THIS DAY/HAVE WE GAINED THIS REWARD/IN THE DHARMA KING'S DHARMA/In the Buddhadharma LONG HAVE WE CULTIVATED BRAHMA CONDUCT/We have been practicing pure conduct for a long, long time, for over forty years, now. NOW WE'VE OBTAINED THAT NON-OUTFLOW/THE UNSURPASSED GREAT FRUITION/and there is nothing higher than this position. NOW WE ARE ALL/TRULY SOUND HEARERS/AND TAKING THE SOUND OF THE BUDDHA'S WAY/WE CAUSE ALL TO HEAR it/so that all living beings get to hear the Buddha-dharma. NOW WE ARE ALL/TRULY ARHATS/we are "Slayers of Thieves," "Ones Worthy of Offerings," "Ones Not Born." AND IN ALL THE WORLD/WITH ITS GODS, PEOPLE, MARAS, AND BRAHMAS/EVERYWHERE AMONG THEM/WE ARE WORTHY OF RECEIVING OFFERINGS/We are truly worthy of receiving their offerings within the Triple Realm.
For those who have left home,
it is not easy to accept the offerings of
those who have not left home. It is said,
"If you haven't ended the three phases
of thought, you'll find plain
water hard to
digest." The three phases of thought
refer to past thought, present thought, and
future thought. The
Diamond Sutra says,
"Past thought cannot be got at; present thought cannot
be got at; future thought cannot be got
at." But have you got at it? As to the past, it
has already gone by and cannot be
obtained. The present is just now becoming the
past, and it doesn't stand still. The future
simply hasn't come yet. One may make
verbal reference to the three phases of
thought as unobtainable, but on a more
practical level, have you ended the three phases of
thought? Do you think about the past? Have
you forgotten what happened in the past?
No? Then you have "obtained" past
thought. Is your thought at present empty? Are you
running thoughts through your head
concerning your next shopping trip? Or your next
project? There! You have
"obtained" present thought. Are you planning for your future?
You have just "obtained" future
thought! See? If you have no thought of the past, no
thoughts in the present, and no concern for the
future, then you can say, "The three
phases of thought cannot be obtained." It should
be the case that you,
But, if as a left-home person you have not ended the three phases of thought, you are going to have trouble trying to digest a cup of water, to say nothing of digesting your lunch!
Back to the saying,
If you haven't ended the three phases of thought, you'll find plain water hard to
What are the Five Contemplations, then?
1. Consider the amount of
work it took to get the food to you.
In other words, don't get greedy when you see good things to eat, and don't get disgusted when the food's not good. You should be even-minded regardless of what's on the table.
4. Remember the food is only medicine, to prevent the body from going bad.
Eating food is just like taking medicine. You shouldn't get caught up in the taste of food. It is taken merely to keep you going.
5. I only take this food in order to realize the karma of the Way.
I eat so that I may live, and I
live so that
THE WORLD HONORED ONE IN HIS GREAT
THE WORLD HONORED ONE, IN HIS
GREAT KINDNESS/USES THIS RARE
THING/employs the unsurpassed Dharma, which is
extremely rare in the world, TO PITY, TEACH/AND
BENEFIT US/In the Ten Dharma Realms he causes
all living beings to make the Four Vast Vows
HE USES THIS RARE THING/this most
rare Dharma, TO PITY, TEACH/AND
BENEFIT US/not just for a short while, but THROUGHOUT
LIMITLESS MILLIONS OF AEONS/WHO COULD REPAY
HIM? The World Honored One has been so
good to us. How can we ever repay him?
IF ONE BORE HIM ON ONE'S HEAD/OR
CARRIED HIM UPON ONE'S SHOULDERS/FOR
AEONS AS NUMEROUS AS THE GANGES' SANDS/EXHAUSTING
ONE'S MIND IN REVERENCE/Doing absolutely
everything in one's power to show reverence and
respect, OR FURTHER IF ONE USED DELICACIES/AND
LIMITLESS VALUABLE CLOTHING/AND ALL TYPES OF
BEDDING/AND VARIOUS MEDICINES/These are the four
types of offerings: food and drink, bedding, clothing, and medicines.
OX HEAD SANDALWOOD/AND
VARIOUS PRECIOUS GEMS/OR BUILT STUPAS AND
TEMPLES/COVERING THE GROUND WITH VALUABLE CLOTH/AND IF
WITH SUCH THINGS AS THESE/ONE MADE OFFERINGS/THROUGHOUT AEONS AS NUMEROUS AS THE GANGES'
SANDS/ONE STILL COULD NEVER REPAY HIM/
WITHOUT OUTFLOWS. UNCONDITIONED/THEY ARE KINGS OF ALL DHARMAS/The Buddha has attained to the state of no-outflows and certified to the wonderful doctrine of the unconditioned. Therefore, within all the Dharmas he is the King, his is the highest position, and yet FOR THE SAKE OF LESSER BEINGS/The Buddha will refrain from speaking the highest. Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, and for the sake of the Real manifest the Provisional. He will teach the expedient devices for those inferior. THEY BEAR UP UNDER THIS WORK/With patience, they undertake to educate those who are inferior by teaching them the provisional doctrine.
TO COMMON FOLKS WHO GRASP AT MARKS/THEY TEACH WHAT IS APPROPRIATE/They give the common folks what they like. If they like what is sweet, they give them something sweet. If they like what is salty, they give them something salty. If they like hot, bitter, or sour things, they give them what they like, according to their tastes. If they need to be crossed over by means of bitter dharmas, they teach them bitter dharmas. If they need to be crossed over by means of joyful dharmas, they give them joyful dharmas. If they need to be crossed over by means of kindness, they teach them the dharmas of kindness. If they need to be crossed over by means of compassionate dharmas, they teach them compassionate dharmas. The Buddha cherishes and protects all living beings as one would love and protect one's own children. He looks upon a11 living beings as if they were his own children. He looks upon them as if they were his own parents. So the Buddha said,
All men are like my father,
Since all men are like one's father, one should be filial. Seeing all women as like one's mother, one should also be filial. If one has this attitude, one will not fall into deviant knowledge and views regarding living beings. One won't be prone to desire. The practice of filiality precludes lustful thoughts toward others. That is why the Buddha treats all living beings as equals.
There is a saying,
Fishermen have to put some bait on
their hooks, something that the fish like
to eat, and then the fish will bite, and
you can reel them in. If your relatives and
friends do not believe in the Buddhadharma,
you can bring them here to have a good
lunch. If the food is good, they will remember it
and think about coming back at the next
opportunity. You can say, "That lunch
wasn't so good. I know something that's even better.
Try the Dharma! That's even better."
And then they hear the Dharma and get crossed
THEY UNDERSTAND ALL LIVING BEINGS'/VARIOUS DESIRES AND DELIGHTS/Some like to hear the Buddhadharma; others like to go to movies. Some like to dance; others like tennis. Some like to sleep! Some like to eat! Some like to go jogging. Everybody's different. But, the Buddha knows what they like best, and knows AS WELL THE STRENGTH OF THEIR RESOLVE/AND ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY CAN BEAR/according to what they will accept, USING LIMITLESS ANALOGIES/THEY TEACH THE DHARMA TO THEM/IN ACCORD WITH LIVING BEINGS'/WHOLESOME ROOTS FROM FORMER LIVES/We living beings come into this world with different predilections. This life we are friends with one person, and in the next life we are friends with another. In this life, one person is our father, and in the next life, someone else takes that role. This life one is married to one person, and in the next life to another. Father/son this life, father/son with another next life. One undergoes retribution according to karma created in former lives. We have come into this world to undergo retribution. So people shouldn't be so stupid. Basically, once one has studied the Buddhadharma and listened to the Sutras, one should not run down filthy roads again. In one's thoughts and actions one should be pure. AND KNOWING THOSE WHO HAVE MATURED/AND THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET MATURE For those who have not planted good roots, they help them to plant them. For those who have already planted good roots, they help them to grow. For those whose good roots have already grown, they help them to mature. THROUGH SUCH CALCULATIONS/THEY DISCRIMINATE AND UNDERSTAND/He knows the dispositions of living beings, AND IN THE PATHWAY OF ONE VEHICLE/THEY APPROPRIATELY SPEAK OF THREE/He speaks of the Three Vehicles.
-end of Chapter Four-