FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA
Prologue by Tang Dynasty
with commentary of
OR PERHAPS THEY MAKE A DIVISION INTO FOUR, AS DID DHARMA MASTER CHI OF THE SUNG DYNASTY. THAT IS, TO THE PREVIOUS THREE TIMES, AFTER THAT OF MARKLESSNESS AND BEFORE THAT OF THE PERMANENTLY DWELLING, HE PLACED THE DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA AS THE TEACHING OF IDENTICAL RETURN, BECAUSE IT GATHERS THE THREE TO RETURN THEM TO THE ONE, AND TRANSFERS THE MYRIAD GOODS COMPLETELY TO BODHI.
OR PERHAPS THEY MAKE A
DIVISION INTO FOUR.
Here perhaps they make a division
into four. During the Northern Dynasties
period there was a Liu Sung Dynasty,
during which Venerable Dharma Master Chi further
divided the three teachings into four
teachings. He said, "Based upon the Dharma
Flower Sutra is established the Teaching of Identical
Return. Why call it that? BECAUSE IT GATHERS
THE THREE TO RETURN THEM TO THE ONE. It
assembles the previous three -- The Sound
Hearer Vehicle, the Conditionally Enlightened
Vehicle, and the Bodhisattva Vehicle -- to return and
take refuge in the one Buddha Vehicle. AND
TRANSFERS THE MYRIAD GOODS COMPLETELY TO
BODHI." He said, "All the myriad goods
should go towards and assemble in Bodhi."
The four teachings here are called the teaching of the existence of marks, the teaching of marklessness, the teaching of identical return, and the teaching of the permanently dwelling.
Why does he call the Dharma Flower Sutra the teaching of identical return? It's because the Agama Sutras, the Vaipulya Sutras, and the Prajna Sutras all return and take refuge in the principles of the Dharma Flower Sutra. The Dharma Flower Sutra includes those Sutras, which however, do not contain it. The Dharma Flower Sutra gathers the three to return them to the one. The Sound Hearer Teaching, the Conditionally Enlightened Teaching, and the Bodhisattva Teaching identically return to the Buddha Vehicle. The myriad goods are completely transferred to Bodhi. Bodhi stands for the Dharma Flower Sutra, while the Agamas, Vaipulya, and Prajna, are representative of the myriad goods. They all have principle to them and are all very proper and correct doctrines, to which side doors and outside ways cannot compare -- but they haven't yet reached the completely perfect and solitarily wonderful principle of the Buddha Vehicle. That is why they have to return and take refuge with that principle, the way the myriad streams take refuge with the great sea. The Dharma Flower Sutra stands for the great sea, and the small Vehicle Sutras stand for lesser streams -- lakes, ponds, pools, creeks.
You may say, "A little while ago we were hearing how the Flower Adornment Sutra was like the great sea, how did the Dharma Flower Sutra get to be the great sea here?" There isn't just one sea, there are lots of them. Would you only allow the Flower Adornment Sutra to be the great sea, and not let the Dharma Flower Sutra be one? And anyway, these are all just analogies. Don't get so attached!
OR PERHAPS THEY MAKE A DIVISION INTO FIVE, WHICH MOREOVER HAS TWO REPRESENTATIVES. ONE, HUI KUAN AND THE OTHERS OF TAO CH'ANG, WHO AFTER THE MARKLESS AND BEFORE THE IDENTICAL RETURN PLACED THE VIMALAKIRTI, THE VISHESHACINTA, AND SO FORTH AS THE TEACHING OF REPROACH AND ACCLAIM. TWO, THE PREVIOUS VENERABLE CH'IU, WHO DID NOT OPEN A REPROACH AND ACCLAIM, BUT AT THE START OF THE TEACHING OF EXISTENCE SINGLED OUT THE TRAPHUSHA SUTRA AS THE TEACHING OF HUMANS AND GODS.
Previously it talked about opening four teachings, and now it says OR PERHAPS THEY MAKE A DIVISION INTO FIVE. There were even people who divided it up into five teachings, WHICH MOREOVER HAS TWO REPRESENTATIVES, two Dharma Masters who did just that. ONE, HUI KUAN AND THE OTHERS OF TAO CH'ANG Monastery. Dharma Master Hui Kuan's teacher was the Indian Dharma Master (Chiao Hsien) Buddhabhadra, who, when in China, said there were several boats coming from India and was severely criticized at the time by the Chinese Dharma Masters for talking of eerie events, and expelled. He then went to live at Tao Ch'ang Monastery, and Dharma Master Hui Kuan was his disciple. There were other Dharma Masters too WHO as did he, AFTER THE MARKLESS, after the Teachings of Existence of Marks and Marklessness, AND BEFORE THE IDENTICAL RETURN, ahead of the Teaching of Permanently Dwelling, PLACED THE VIMALAKIRTI, THE VISHESHACINTA, AND SO FORTH AS THE TEACHING OF REPROACH AND ACCLAIM. He based this fifth kind of teaching on such Sutras as the Vimalakirtinirdesha Sutra and the Visesha-cinta-brahma-pariprccha Sutra, He called it the Teaching of Reproach in that it chides the Sound Hearers, the Arhats, for being withered sprouts and sterile seeds for not bringing forth the least bit of great- heartedness, but just being out for themselves and therefore useless.
He also called it the Teaching of Acclaim in that it extolled the Bodhisattvas for truly bringing forth the great resolve for Bodhi, cultivating the Six Paramitas and the ten thousand practices along with all sorts of Dharma doors for benefitting humans and gods, and saying things like, "The Bodhisattvas' resolve for Bodhi is truly the most great." What held the Bodhisattvas up for praise while putting down the Sound Hearers was called the Teaching of Reproach and Acclaim by Dharma Master Hui Kuan and his followers. They added it to the previous four, making five teachings.
TWO, the second representative, is THE PREVIOUS VENERABLE CH'IU, the Hermit Scholar Liu Ch'iu talked about before, WHO DID NOT OPEN A REPROACH AND ACCLAIM. He didn't add a Teaching of Reproach and Acclaim after the Teaching of Marklessness and before the Teaching of Identical Return the way Dharma Master Hui Kuan and the others did. BUT what did he add instead AT THE START OF THE TEACHING OF EXISTENCE, at the beginning of the Teaching of the Existence of Marks, the Venerable Liu Ch'iu SINGLED OUT THE TRAPUSHA SUTRA AS THE TEACHING OF HUMANS AND GODS. He said that the TRAPUSHA SUTRA, in discussing the Five Precepts and the Ten Wholesome Acts, and the like, was presenting Dharma doors for people and gods, and so was called the Teaching of Humans and Gods. That made the following five teachings:
1. The Teaching of Humans and
So you see how there's nothing fixed about the teachings. If you are sufficiently learned and have read the entire Tripitaka, you can set up as many teachings as you like, even a thousand doors and a myriad teachings. But just don't confuse people when you do it. How could that happen? If you divide the Buddha's teaching up into ten thousand teachings with ten thousand names, they won't be able to remember them. So I'd like to suggest we just leave it at the five teachings they came up with, and not go on to set up six, seven, eight nine, or ten teachings.
ALL THE PRECEDING MASTERS WITHIN THE GRADUAL OPENED UP DIFFERENCES IN TERMS OF PERIODS OF TIME. IF THEY HAD NOT ADDED AN UNFIXED TEACHING, THEY WOULD HAVE PROVOKED EVEN MORE DIFFICULTIES, BECAUSE AT THE START THERE IS ALSO THE GREAT. ALTHOUGH THEY DID ADD AN UNFIXED, STILL THERE WERE OBJECTIONS. THE DIFFICULTIES WITH THE FIVE PERIODS WILL BE SHOWN IN GENERAL FROM WHICH THE REST MAY BE DEDUCED.
section of text talks about
how when you set up teachings, people will
come and raise objections, bring up
difficulties for you to reply to. This is not like
holding oral examinations and afterwards
awarding you a PH.D. Here it's deliberately making
up incredibly difficult questions that
you're supposed to answer. ALL THE PRECEDING
MASTERS, the various Dharma Masters we
discussed before, WITHIN THE GRADUAL Teaching,
OPENED UP DIFFERENCES IN TERMS OF PERIODS OF
TIME, on the basis of time intervals. IF THEY
HAD NOT ADDED AN UNFIXED TEACHING, THEY WOULD
HAVE PROVOKED EVEN MORE DIFFICULTIES. It
would have incited people to disrespect
them and confront them with problem questions.
These Masters would have had a lot more problems than they did, but fortunately there was the Unfixed Teaching to resolve difficulties. No one could say, "You're wrong here," for it's unfixed. "You say that? Well, it's that way... or some other way. It's not fixed." Then they can't get you. If it's not fixed, then you don't know whether it's yes or no, for there's nothing absolute about it. Why would they have had a lot more objections hurled at them without it? It's BECAUSE AT THE START THERE IS ALSO THE GREAT. There was also Great Vehicle Dharma from the start. ALTHOUGH THEY DID ADD AN UNFIXED, STILL THERE WERE OBJECTIONS. There were still hindrances, difficult questions. THE DIFFICULTIES WITH THE FIVE PERIODS WILL BE SHOWN right now, FROM WHICH THE REST MAY BE DEDUCED. The rest of the objections can be known by comparison with these.
AT THE START, DESCRIBING THE TWELVE YEARS PRIOR AS THE EXISTENCE OF MARKS CONTRADICTS THE SATYASIDDHI SHASTRA WHICH SAYS, "I NOW PROPERLY EXPLAIN THE ACTUAL MEANING WITHIN THE THREE STORES. THE ACTUAL MEANING IS JUST EMPTINESS."
In the first Period, AT THE START DESCRIBING THE TWELVE YEARS PRIOR AS being the period of the teaching of THE EXISTENCE OF MARKS, not of emptiness but of there being characteristics, that CONTRADICTS THE SATYASIDDHI SHASTRA. If you say there was no teaching of emptiness during that time, then that is in direct opposition to a certain Satyasiddhi Shastra. In THE SATYASIDDHI SHASTRA it SAYS, "I NOW PROPERLY EXPLAIN THE ACTUAL MEANING WITHIN THE THREE STORES." A line in that Shastra claims it is correctly clarifying the real meaning in the Tripitaka Teaching--the Three Stores Teaching--for the Small Vehicle "THE ACTUAL MEANING IS JUST EMPTINESS." The true and actual principle is just that of emptiness, real mark. So if you accept that it teaches real mark which is emptiness, then how can you say it's the teaching of existence of marks? Basically that won't stand up.
MOREOVER, IN THE AGAMAS IT SAYS, "THERE IS NO OLD AGE AND DEATH" WHICH IS JUST THE EMPTINESS OF DHARMAS, "AND THERE IS NO ONE WHO AGES AND DIES," WHICH IS JUST THE EMPTINESS OF BEINGS.
MOREOVER, IN THE AGAMAS, the "Incomparable Dharma" Sutras, IT SAYS, "THERE IS NO OLD AGE AND DEATH." Old age and death form one of the 12 links of Conditioned Co-production, so why should those dharmas be said to exist and then called non-existent? It's because after having enlightened to the 12 causal conditions you are supposed to discard those dharmas, and not become attached to them. Otherwise, you will have an attachment to dharmas, and not be able to achieve liberation. That's why you need to "empty" the dharma of old age and death so it doesn't exist, WHICH IS JUST THE EMPTINESS OF DHARMAS. It's when you reach the state where dharmas are empty that you say there is no aging and death. If, without having reached that state, you say, "For me there is no getting old and dying, no such dharma, will you yourself get old and die or not? If you age and die all the same, then that dharma is not empty. You have to have ended birth and death, and when you've done that, then how could there be any old age or death? Short of that, dharmas can't be said to be emptied. But since here dharmas are empty, it goes on to say, "AND THERE IS NO ONE WHO AGES AND DIES," WHICH IS JUST THE EMPTINESS OF BEINGS. Since you've enlightened to the emptiness of dharmas and have no attachment to them, then you also should sever attachment to self. For attachment to self to be cut off, you must ask, "Who?" It's like investigating, "Who's reciting the Buddha's name," only here it's "Who gets old and dies?" There being no one who ages and dies is just "Who gets old and dies?" Since dharmas are emptied, people should be emptied too, and when people are emptied, there is no "Who." There's no one who ages and dies. That being the case, it's called the emptiness of beings. When you reach that state --that position -- you awaken to the emptiness of people and dharmas, and everything is empty. So, the Agamas were categorized as the teaching of the existence of marks, but here they are talking about emptiness...of both people and dharmas.
People empty = no attachment to self
Dharmas empty = no attachment to dharmas
When both attachments to self and to dharmas are empty, well, if it's the teaching of the existence of marks, then how can it have emptiness to it? If people and dharmas are both empty, it can hardly be said to have marks, right? So if you insist that it absolutely postulates the existence of marks, I feel that's incorrect. That's a difficulty which could be raised in objection to the classification "teaching of the existence of marks."
MOREOVER, THE WISDOM SHASTRA SAYS, "WITHIN THE THREE STORES IT EXPLAINS THE EMPTINESS OF DHARMAS AS GREAT EMPTINESS, WHILE IN THE MAHAYANA IT EXPLAINS THE EMPTINESS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS AS GREAT EMPTINESS."
MOREOVER, in THE Great Perfection of WISDOM SHASTRA (the Mahaprajnaparamita-shastra), there are some lines in which it SAYS, "WITHIN THE THREE STORES, the Tripitaka Teaching, IT EXPLAINS THE EMPTINESS OF DHARMAS AS GREAT EMPTINESS." When people and dharmas are both empty that is called great emptiness. "WHILE IN THE MAHAYANA --the Sanskrit for 'Great Vehicle' -- IT EXPLAINS THE EMPTINESS OF THE TEN DIRECTIONS, empty space of the ten directions in which even emptiness is emptied, AS GREAT EMPTINESS." There are those two kinds of emptiness, and a great emptiness in both the Small Vehicle and the Great Vehicle. Therefore, if you say the Tripitaka --'Three Stores' --teaching is the teaching of the existence of marks, it's not too reasonable.
ALL OF THIS SHOWS THAT THE SMALL VEHICLE ALREADY HAS THE TWO KINDS OF EMPTINESS.
ALL OF THIS, the principles just gone through, SHOWS THAT it's very evident and clear THE SMALL VEHICLE ALREADY HAS THE TWO KINDS OF EMPTINESS talked about before: that of people and of dharmas.
AND IF ONE SAYS THAT THE SECOND PERIOD SPEAKS OF EMPTINESS, AFTER THE TWELVE YEARS ARE THEN LAID DOWN THE VAST PRECEPTS, SO HOW CAN IT MERELY TALK OF EMPTINESS?
AND IF ONE SAYS THAT THE SECOND PERIOD SPEAKS OF EMPTINESS, that it is the teaching of marklessness in which there are no characteristics or appearances, nevertheless, AFTER THE TWELVE YEARS ARE THEN LAID DOWN THE VAST PRECEPTS. The Buddha established a great many precepts after those twelve years, and precepts are concerned with the existence of marks, SO HOW CAN IT MERELY TALK OF EMPTINESS? It would be wrong to say he only spoke of emptiness during that time. After all, he spoke the precepts then, didn't he? And that is to discuss the precept mark, the precept dharma, and the precept substance, all of which have marks. So if you try to say the second period teaching was only talk of emptiness and marklessness, it wasn't necessarily that way.
FURTHERMORE, THE WISDOM SHASTRA SAYS, "FROM THE NIGHT HE ATTAINED THE WAY, UP UNTIL NIRVANA, HE CONSTANTLY SPOKE PRAJNA, SO HOW COULD HE NOT HAVE DISCUSSED EMPTINESS AT FIRST?"
FURTHERMORE, something else is said in THE Great Perfection of WISDOM SHASTRA. What it SAYS is "FROM THE NIGHT HE, the Buddha, ATTAINED THE WAY, UP UNTIL the day on which he entered NIRVANA, during that whole time HE CONSTANTLY SPOKE PRAJNA." Now Prajna is emptiness, and SO HOW COULD HE NOT HAVE DISCUSSED EMPTINESS AT FIRST?" Even in the beginning there was the principle of marklessness. That's the objection the Mahaprajna-paramita-shastra raises to the First Period being called the teaching of the existence of marks.
AND IF ONE SAYS THAT IN THE SECOND PERIOD THE PERMANENTLY DWELLING HAD NOT YET BEEN REVEALED, HOW COULD REAL MARK PRAJNA NOT BE THE PERMANENT?
AND IF ONE SAYS THAT IN THE SECOND PERIOD there was not yet any mention of THE PERMANENTLY DWELLING Buddhanature, that the Nirvana Period was the teaching of the permanently dwelling, while the Prajna Period was the teaching of marklessness and a time when the teaching of the permanently dwelling HAD NOT YET BEEN REVEALED, well what about the fact that there are three types of Prajna:
1. Literary Prajna.
And HOW COULD REAL MARK PRAJNA, the wisdom of actual characteristics, NOT BE THE PERMANENT? Are you trying to say that marklessness is not the teaching of the permanently dwelling? That's not right.
In general, if there's a "right," there will be a "wrong." If there's a "correct," there will also be an "incorrect." If there's a person, there will also be a ghost... not only that, but there can also be a Buddha. If you make a mess of being a person, you're a ghost. But if you do a good job of being a person, you're a Buddha. Yet your ghost is of the future, as is your Buddha, not of the present. So, National Master Ch'ing Liang went back and forth with the previous four and five teachings pointing out that if you insist it's one way, it's not that way, and if you insist it's not that way, then it is that way after all. The Buddhadharma is just like that. If you feel it's not right, it's right. If you feel it's right, it's not right. That's because what you feel is your own view of self, "My own opinion," not the knowledge and vision of a Buddha. If you had the knowledge and vision of a Buddha, there wouldn't be any rights and wrongs. So, when you set up teachings, you feel they are right, but when other people take a look at them, they find problems.
THE NIRVANA ALSO SAYS, "THE BUDDHANATURE IS ALSO CALLED PRAJNA. FROM THIS, ONE KNOWS THAT REAL MARK PRAJNA IS THE PROPER CAUSE OF THE BUDDHANATURE, WHILE CONTEMPLATIVE PRAJNA IS THE FINAL CAUSE.
Before it was talking about Real Mark Prajna being the permanently dwelling Buddha- nature, and THE NIRVANA Sutra ALSO SAYS just that in a phrase that goes, "THE BUDDHANATURE IS ALSO CALLED PRAJNA." FROM THIS passage of Sutra text as testimony ONE KNOWS THAT Prajna is the Buddhanature, and the Buddhanature is just Prajna. Prajna translates as "Wisdom," and it's the wisdom of Great Enlightenment. It's when you can become greatly enlightened that you have wisdom. Without it you won't have wisdom. And great Enlightenment is just the great Buddhanature. Buddha is a Sanskrit word, which means "Enlightened," which refers to:
1. Enlightenment to Self.
That's why it identifies the Buddhanature with Prajna. And then there's more than one kind of Prajna, three types in fact:
1. Literary Prajna.
Literary Prajna doesn't mean worldly literature, not what you learn from studying in school. This literary Prajna is world-transcending wisdom, which causes you to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi, cultivate the path of Bodhi, and obtain the fruit of Bodhi. Due to literary Prajna, you bring forth a kind of Contemplative Wisdom. For example, you may read in the Sutras, "Thus I have heard," and wonder, "What is meant by 'thus'? What is meant by 'I have heard?' What is 'thus' and what has been heard?" That's contemplation arising. As soon as you read, "Thus I have heard," you ponder it any try to figure out its meaning--that's Contemplative Prajna.
Then, after the arisal of Contemplative Prajna you realize, "Ah, 'thus' is describing dharmas. The basic substance of dharmas is just that way--thus. And 'I have heard means I've heard about the principle of the basic substance of dharmas." Then you contemplate until you reach Real Mark, when the substance of dharmas is just thus, dharmas being basically empty in substance. And basic emptiness is just Real Mark Prajna, which returns to there being nothing attained. You reach Real Mark Prajna. And when you understand the three types of Prajna, you also understand the Three Causes of the Buddha-nature:
1. The Conditioning Cause of
When you understand those three Causes of the Buddhanature, the Buddhanature is just Prajna, and Prajna is the Buddhanature.
For that reason one knows that REAL MARK PRAJNA IS THE PROPER CAUSE OF THE BUDDHA- NATURE. And it is the Buddhanature of emptiness of truth in the primary sense, WHILE CONTEMPLATIVE PRAJNA IS THE FINAL CAUSE. Contemplative Prajna is like having a lamp which lets you know what's in a room. You understand objects because of the lamp, so the lamp is like the Cause for Understanding the Buddhanature. Because of Contemplative Prajna, you understand the Buddhanature, and so it's called the Final Cause for Understanding the Buddhanature. So, the Final Cause for Understanding the Buddhanature is Contemplative Prajna, and since that is the case, all people should use it to contemplate.
Using Contemplative Prajna, you understand all the events and objects in the room--everything whatsoever. Yet that's the external house. You need to understand your own room. Where is it? It's within your own mind. Inside your mind there is the Buddha, but without the Final Cause for Understanding the Buddhanature, you don't know that. You have Contemplative Prajna, without realizing it. There are Bodhisattvas inside your mind, teaching and transforming living beings. But without the power of Contemplative Prajna, you don't understand the Final Cause for Understanding the Buddha-nature, and don't know that either--that there are Bodhisattvas in your mind. But if you do have contemplative Prajna, you understand that inside the room of your mind there are also Conditionally Enlightened Ones cultivating the dharmas of the 12 links of conditioned co-production. And you can also understand that inside your mind's room there are Sound Hearers cultivating the dharmas of the Four Noble Truths--suffering, accumulation, extinction, and the Way. All that can be understood if you have the Final Cause of Understanding the Buddhanature. Using Contemplative Prajna, you also understand that in your mind there are limitless gods enjoying supreme bliss. Without that contemplative Prajna you would never know it, nor would you know how in your mind there are all the infinite Buddhalands, along with an infinite number of upside-down living beings. Lacking contemplative Prajna you also would have no way to understand that in your self nature, the nature of your mind, there are a limitless number of asuras all day long strong in fighting. Without Contemplative Prajna, you won't know about all the boundlessly many animals being born and dying over and over again in your mind. Deficient in contemplative Prajna you wouldn't know about all the incalculable numbers of hungry ghosts in your mind always thinking about going all over the place stealing things to eat. If you don't have the power of contemplative Prajna, the ability of the Final Cause for Understanding the Buddhanature, then you also don't understand how in your mind there are the 18 major hells, the 500 lesser hells, and 5,000 more hells, none separate from your mind but all connected with your mind.
Any time you want to go to those hells you can go right there, without making application in advance or having to present a passport. If you have Contemplative Prajna, you understand the causes and conditions underlying the Ten Dharma Realms, and having understood you should of course weep with remorse and reform, and select the good, discarding all that's bad. But the important thing is you need the power of Contemplative Prajna to understand all those questions. Without it, you can't resolve any of those problems. You can go ask any Professor you like, he won't be able to solve your problems. If you have Contemplative Prajna, you don't have to ask anyone else--just ask yourself and you can resolve your own insoluble problems.
Today there's someone else having a false thought. What is it? The person is thinking, "This doesn't make sense at all. I've lived so many years, from my teens, through my 20's, 30's, 40's and reached my 50's without ever seeing a Buddha in my mind or catching sight of any Bodhisattvas in there, not to mention any Sound Hearers, Conditionally Enlightened Ones, humans, gods, asuras, hell beings, animals, or hungry ghosts. Not a trace. Today you say this kind of thing, but I don't believe it at all, especially since I can't understand this principle."
This person's false thought is a very honest and straightforward one. He's at a point where he can be taught, so I won't hesitate to repeat for you what you do not know. After you come to have Contemplative Prajna you will believe this Dharma, but while you still don't have it, when I tell you shout this, you don't know if it's right or not. If you use worldly knowledge and argumentative intelligence to try to conceptualize and fathom world- transcending Contemplative Prajna, you won't have any way to know.
I'll tell you more about the Buddha in your mind. What is Buddha? Buddha is being enlightened. It's enlightenment. Being enlightened is being a Buddha, while being confused is a living being. For every confused thought you are a living being, and if all your thoughts are confused, you are in all thoughts a living being. For each enlightened thought you are a Buddha for the space of a thought, and if your every thought is enlightened, then in every thought you are a Buddha. If you're enlightened at all times, then at all times you're a Buddha, and if at no time are you enlightened, then at all times you're a living being. It's right there. If you open enlightenment, you wonder, "how could I have done so many upside-down things?" Then you're a Buddha; you've become enlightened to how you were upside-down, and so can stop being upside-down. It's like a certain very intelligent person who realized he was confused. To realize you are confused is to become enlightened. It's just to be feared while you're confused you don't even know it and think, "I'm not bad right now. I'm really fine," not knowing you're confused, then there's no hope. But if you realize you're confused, you have a tiny bit of enlightenment -- not a whole lot, just a thought's worth. But in that split second of enlightenment, you are the same as the Buddha. Now do you understand?
And you haven't met your Bodhisattvas? I'll introduce them to you so you'll know who they are. If you are always thinking of benefitting living beings, then you are a Bodhisattva. If you constantly think of benefitting yourself, you are a demonic ghost. Demonic ghosts only know about themselves and don't know there are other people, while Bodhisattvas only know about others and don't know about themselves--the exact opposite. Bodhisattvas only know there are living beings to be saved, but have not yet reached the level of there not being any beings to save. When you reach the Buddha's state, then basically there are no living beings that can be saved, the reason being they have already all been crossed over. When beings have all been saved there are no beings to save. And they have no thought of living beings, having no attachments to marks. That's what's known as having swept away all dharmas and being free of all marks. You as it were take a broom and sweep all the dust of dharmas away. And you don't have any marks: "Shariputra, all dharmas are empty of characteristics." If you don't empty all dharmas of characteristics, then you have no "solid seeds," but if you do have "solid seeds," then you understand that all dharmas are empty of characteristics. Those are the Bodhisattvas.
Your Ones Enlightened to Conditions? You contemplate the Twelve Links of Conditioned Co-production: "Ignorance conditions activity...Where does ignorance come from? How did it come about? And then once there's ignorance then there's activity...and with activity there comes to be consciousness...Ah! It's really strange!" You break through the root of ignorance--and it turns into wisdom. Once ignorance is smashed, the Dharma body appears, Then your Sound Hearers: they certify to the First Fruit, the Second Fruit, the Third Fruit, and finally the Fourth Fruit of Arhatship. Now do you understand? It's the same way with your gods. If you are constantly intent upon holding the five precepts:
1. No killing
and practice the ten wholesome acts:
Your body not violating the three
1. Not killing (1)
Your mind not violating the three
1. Not being greedy (4)
Your mouth not violating the four
1. No loose speech (7)
Then you are reborn in the heavens -- and so the gods are in your mind. If you, after receiving the five precepts, don't do any evil but offer up all good conduct, then while in the path of human beings you won't lose your human body. If you can manage not to have a belligerent attitude, you'll have pacified your asuras. If you're not stupid, you cut off relations with the path of animals. If you're not hateful, you cut off connections with the path of hungry ghosts. If you're not greedy, you sever your link with the path of hell-beings. So the Ten Dharma Realms are ten paths -- and it's up to you which one you'll walk. It all depends on what you do. Whatever cause you plant, you reap the corresponding result. It all hinges on whether or not you have Prajna wisdom. If you have the wisdom of Prajna, you'll create all kinds of good karma, and lessen all your evil karma, but without Prajna wisdom, you'll create all kinds of bad karma, and decrease all your good karma. The important thing is Prajna, so you should find out where your Contemplative Prajna has run off to.
There is someone saying, "Prajna is really wonderful, but why don't I know about it?" Just your not knowing is Prajna. If you know, then is it Prajna? In that case it's even more so Prajna. Since you still have "not knowing," you're not yet confused to such an extent that you can't be saved. Prajna is just wisdom. Every person has it--no one lacks it. It's just that you can't use it. If you could, then the light of your Prajna wisdom would illumine the heavens and light up the earth, and shine throughout the Dharma Realm. But since you can't use it, even though the Ten Dharma Realms are right inside your mind, you don't know it and don't understand. You can't even get any light into your own mind. If you want to understand how to employ Literary Prajna, Contemplative Prajna, and Real Mark Prajna, right now you're very interested, so come every day to our Prajna Hall--this Buddhahall is called the Prajna Hall--and drink Prajna soup, drink Prajna tea, sit on the Prajna seat, and certify to the fruit of Prajna!
MOREOVER, PRAJNA IS APART from THE FOUR PREDICATIONS, SO HOW COULD EMPTINESS POSSIBLY REMAIN? AND PRAJNA DOES NOT VIOLATE THE FOUR PREDICATIONS, SO HOW COULD IT NOT HAVE WONDERFUL EXISTENCE?
MOREOVER, PRAJNA IS APART FROM THE FOUR PREDICATIONS, SO HOW COULD EMPTINESS POSSIBLY REMAIN? Since Prajna is free of any statements made in terms of the predications, when not even those four predications apply, how could there still remain some kind of emptiness? Emptiness itself is not retained. The Four Predication as they don't apply to Prajna are first that Prajna has no marks. Then if it doesn't have marks is it unmarked? No. Prajna doesn't have marks, but it also is not without marks. Then you wonder, if you can't predicate either the existence of marks or the lack of marks of Prajna, then could you say it was both marked and unmarked, both with and without marks? No, it's not both of the above either. Then, you ask, since it's not both marked and unmarked, then is Prajna neither marked nor unmarked? Doesn't it both not have marks and not not have marks? That it's neither is not right either. That's how it's free from the four predications. And being free from them, there isn't even an emptiness -- not even an emptiness of emptiness remains. That's in terms of its being apart from the Four Predications. But then it goes on to say AND PRAJNA DOES NOT VIOLATE THE FOUR PREDICATIONS, SO HOW COULD IT NOT HAVE WONDERFUL EXISTENCE? It's saying that Prajna could not be apart from the Four Predications--that it doesn't violate them means it's not apart from them. Those self-same four predications are just Prajna. But then if it's not apart from them, isn't that existence? It is: wonderful existence. That's why it asks how could there not be wonderful existence within Prajna. The emptiness of before is true emptiness:
True emptiness is not empty.
And so Prajna:
Is free from the four predications and severed from the hundred negations.
--to be continue
1981 Special Sessions
MEDICINE MASTER BUDDHA RECITATION SESSION
April 7-14, 1981
EARTH STORE BODHISATTVA RECITATION
KUAN YIN BODHISATTVA RECITATION
AMITABHA BUDDHA RECITATION SESSION
CH'AN MEDITATION SESSION