FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA
Tang Dynasty National
TWO, T'IEN T'AI'S WISE ONE OF THE TWO PERIODS CH'EN AND SUI, WHO CARRIED ON THE TRANSMISSION FROM GREAT MASTER SSE OF NAN YAO. HE ESTABLISHED FOUR TEACHINGS WHICH ARE: ONE, THE THREE STORES TEACHING. THIS TEACHING EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PRODUCTION AND EXTINCTION FROM CAUSES AND CONDITIONS OF THE FOUR TRUTHS.
the second Dharma
Master who established
four Teachings, is T'IEN T'AI Mountain's
Great Master WISE ONE ( Chih Che).
The Master was of the time OF THE TWO PERIODS CH'EN AND SUI. The Ch'en Dynasty's final monarch took refuge with him, and so did one ruler of the Sui Dynasty, which had two monarchs. Wen and Yang. Both of them believed in Buddhism, but Yang of Sui was a terrible Emperor. Before taking the throne, he was King of Chin, and at that time received the Bodhisattva precepts transmitted to him by Great Master Wise One. After receiving the precepts, however, the Emperor didn't hold them, and even killed his own father. He did many other terrible things. For example, he was extremely fond of women and was a voyeur. In Chung Kuo, he made a canal with human labor, and when it was done, used to have 1000 naked men and 1000 naked women pull his barge along the canal with ropes as they stood on either shore. Just when they were pulling with all their might, he would take a knife and cut the ropes so they all fell in heaps on both banks. Seeing them in disarray like that, he would laugh and laugh. Yang was a cruel king and lacked the Way. He was the worst kind of Emperor, yet he bowed to Great Master Wise One as his Teacher. Nevertheless, he failed to offer up his conduct in accord with his teachings, and so eventually Yang was assassinated by Emperor T'ai Tsung who overthrew him and set up a new dynasty, the T'ang.
Great Master Wise One was one WHO CARRIED ON THE TRANSMISSION of the Dharma FROM GREAT MASTER SSE of the NAN YAO region, not T'ien T'ai. A "Great Master" is one who acts as a Teacher of humans and gods. His full name was Hui Sse (), and Nan Yao is the name of a mountain range in the Hu Nan area of Chung Kuo. Again, he is called by the one character "sse" and said to be "of Nan Yao," the place name, out of respect.
When Great Master Wise One went to pay his respects to him. Great Master Sse said to him, "Oh, so you have come. We listened to the Dharma Flower Sutra together on Vulture Peak at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha."
As soon as Great Master Wise One heard that, he realized "Yes, that's right. We did investigate the Dharma Flower Sutra together at the time of Shakyamuni Buddha."
Afterwards, Great Master Wise One had a state. He was reading the Dharma Flower Sutra and reached the section in which Medicine King Bodhisattva burns his body as an offering to the Buddhas, the passage where it says:
"This is true vigor. This is called a true offering of Dharma."
Do you think he failed to understand that state when he saw it? Not necessarily. But he still went and asked his Teacher about it. Wearing his robe and sash and putting down his bowing cloth, he prostrated himself on the ground with the utmost true respect, and then described his state.
Great Master Sse said, "Really good. Really good. If it were not you, it would not be certified to, and if it were not me, it would not be recognized." He meant, "You've already understood and obtained the deep, profound, wonderful meaning of the Dharma Flower, the dharani of a single revo1ution--the one-turning 'uniting and holding.' However, if it hadn't been you, that state would not have been certified to. And if you hadn't asked me about it, but had gone to someone else, no one would have understood it, and they would have said you'd caught a demon."
After being sealed and certified by Great Master Sse, Great Master Wise One went back and worked even harder at reading and reciting the Dharma Flower Sutra. He used it as a basis for establishing the T'ien T'ai School, which is now known of in America. That is how he continued the flow of the Dharma pulse which he received from Great Master Hui Sse of Nan Yao.
Hearing how he told Great Master Wise One that they had been together listening to The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra in the Assembly of Shakyamuni Buddha, we should all pay attention. All of us, not just one, listened not only to the Dharma Flower Sutra, but to the Shurangama Sutra and the Flower Adornment Sutra together on Vulture Peak, and so in this area where there is no Buddhism, we again have the opportunity to investigate the Buddhadharma together. Don't look upon these as slight causes and conditions--they aren't. Every single day we experience inconceivable states here, but you aren't paying attention and so you don't realize it. All of you have lived at Nan Yao, but you've forgotten. The mountains are very high and afford a good view. So all of you should get enlightened fast--slowly won't do--and realize what you're supposed to be doing. That's why left-home people rub their heads three times at the start of each day, to ask themselves, "Why is it I don't have any hair? Where did it go? Why didn't I want to have any? Oh, it's since I'm a left-home person, and so I shouldn't have false thoughts all the time and not follow the rules--or why would I have left home?" It's the Dharma Ending Age in Asia right now, and the Proper Dharma should appear in America, so all of you left-home people should recognize yourselves and why you are here.
HE, Great Master Wise One, in establishing the T'ien T'ai School, also called the T'ien T'ai Teachings, ESTABLISHED FOUR TEACHINGS WHICH ARE:
1. The Stores ("Tripitaka")
ONE, the first of those, is what he called THE THREE STORES TEACHING, which discusses the Small Vehicle and crosses over Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions. The Agama Sutras form the substance of that Teaching, for they present the Small Vehicle. THIS TEACHING EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE PRODUCTION AND EXTINCTION FROM CAUSES AND CONDITIONS OF THE FOUR TRUTHS. There are four aspects to the Four Truths:
1. The Production and Extinction
of the Four Truths.
In each case it's the Four Truths of:
But there are those four distinctions in their relation to dharmas produced from causes and conditions. The Four Truths of production followed by extinction, then further production and so forth, concern production and extinction dependent on causes and conditions. There are therefore:
1. Production and extinction
from causes and conditions of the Four Truths.
In the Small Vehicle of Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions, the first of those is discussed.
IT DIRECTLY TEACHES THE SMALL VEHICLE AND INCIDENTALLY INSTRUCTS THE BODHISATTVAS.
IT, the Three Stores Teaching, set up by Great Master Wise One, DIRECTLY TEACHES the Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions of THE SMALL VEHICLE, AND that's not all it does. It also INCIDENTALLY INSTRUCTS THE BODHISATTVAS. That's why in the Agama Sutras, Shakyamuni Buddha gives Maitreya Bodhisattva his prediction, yet without saying what is meant by the Bodhisattva Way, how to cultivate it, or how many aspects there are to the Bodhisattva Way. Since that wasn't discussed, it was incidental, not direct instruction for Bodhisattvas. The meaning was implicit, but the Bodhisattva Way was not talked of straight out.
TWO, THE CONNECTIVE ("COMMON") TEACHING. "CONNECTIVE" MEANS "IDENTICAL," BECAUSE THE THREE VEHICLES IDENTICALLY RECEIVE IT.
TWO, the second kind of Teaching, is THE CONNECTIVE ("COMMON") TEACHING. "CONNECTIVE" MEANS "IDENTICAL," so why not call it that? It's because it's connective with what came before as well as what comes after, being in part, identical with each and BECAUSE THE THREE VEHICLES IDENTICALLY RECEIVE IT. The Sound Hearers, Those Enlightened to Conditions, and the Bodhisattvas can all study this Dharma of the connective period which belongs to the Vaipulya category. The Connective Teaching connects with the previous Stores, "Tripitaka," Teaching, as well as with the subsequent Prajna Period, which is the Separate Teaching. The Connective Teaching is the initial door to the Great Vehicle, the beginning of the presentation of Great Vehicle Dhanna, which makes it, the Vaipulya category, acceptable to all three Vehicles.
We who study the Buddhadharma, shouldn't just study "Headmouth Zen," and think being able to speak a few sentences of Buddhadharma is what it means to be a Buddhist disciple. You have to use what you've studied, go put it into practice. If you're not going to apply it, you shouldn't study it. If you know the Way, you should cultivate it; otherwise, what's the point of knowing it or studying it? There may be many aspects to the Bodhisattva Way, but I don't believe not doing morning and evening recitation is one of them. The only Bodhisattva Way that's walking is the lazy one. When you leave home to cultivate the Way, not only when you're a novice should you try to keep ahead and at least not fall behind in your practice, but also as a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni, you must be diligent. If you live in the temple and don't work outside, you should do morning and evening recitation. If you don't, you should be very repentant and reform. You can't rationalize and say, "It doesn't matter if I miss it today. I'll start doing it again tomorrow." In all you do, you should progress. If you start out being lazy as a novice, you'll be even less vigorous as a Bhikshu or Bhikshuni, and you'll never bring your work in the Way to accomplishment--for it takes the cultivation of a11 kinds of Dharma doors to have success.
THIS TEACHING EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE NON-PRODUCTION OF THE FOUR TRUTHS, INASMUCH AS CAUSES AND CONDITIONS ARE JUST EMPTINESS. IT IS THE INITIAL DOOR TO THE MAHAYANA.
THIS, the Connective or "Common" TEACHING, EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE NON-PRODUCTION OF THE FOUR TRUTHS, INASMUCH AS CAUSES AND CONDITIONS ARE JUST EMPTINESS. All four Teachings are illustrated in a verse spoken by Shakyamuni Buddha:
Dharmas produced from causes
The previous Stores Teaching is equivalent
to the line
that says dharmas
are produced from causes and conditions. The Connective Teaching is equivalent
to the line
that proclaims they are just emptiness. The Separate Teaching is expressed by their being
on the one hand called
false names. The Perfect Teaching is their
on the other hand being called
Meaning of the Middle
Way. The second principle,
that of the Connective or "Common" Teaching, is that of the non-production from
causes and conditions of the Four Truths,
are just emptiness.
IT DIRECTLY TEACHES BODHISATTVAS, AND INCIDENTALLY CONNECTS WITH THE TWO VEHICLES. THE GREAT CATEGORY ALSO SAYS, "IF ONE WISHES TO OBTAIN THE SOUND HEARER VEHICLE, ONE SHOULD STUDY PRAJNA PARAMITA" AND SO FORTH.
IT DIRECTLY TEACHES BODHISATTVAS. The previous Store Teaching directly taught those of the Small Vehicle, and only indirectly the Bodhisattvas. The Connective Teaching, though, is aimed right at the Bodhisattvas AND INCIDENTALLY CONNECTS WITH THE TWO VEHICLES, the Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions. In THE GREAT category Prajna Sutra, it ALSO SAYS, "IF ONE WISHES TO OBTAIN THE SOUND HEARER VEHICLE, ONE SHOULD STUDY PRAJNA PARAMITA." It tells you that if you want to obtain the result position of a Sound Hearer, you should study wisdom, and then you'll reach the other shore, AND SO FORTH. That is, there are also the rest of the Six Paramitas:
Giving crosses over stinginess.
"And so forth," also means that from Prajna Paramita, you can obtain the position to which you aspire; not just that of a Sound Hearer, but also of One Enlightened to Conditions, or a Bodhisattva.
MOREOVER, THE TEACHING, THE PRINCIPLE, THE WISDOM, THE SEVERANCE, THE CONDUCT, THE POSITIONS, THE CAUSES, AND THE FRUITIONS ALL CONNECT THE SHALLOW AND THE PROFOUND. THEY ARE NOT IDENTICAL WITH PRAJNA HELD IN COMMON, WHICH IS ONLY HELD IN COMMON BY THE SHALLOW.
It has just talked of how one should study Prajna, which is going to be discussed in detail now, so the text says, MOREOVER, THE TEACHING, THE PRINCIPLE, THE WISDOM. THE SEVERANCE, THE CONDUCT, THE POSITIONS, THE CAUSES, AND THE FRUITIONS ALL CONNECT WITH THE SHALLOW AND THE PROFOUND. The Teaching connects with both the shallow and the deep. The same holds true for the principle, the wisdom, the severance, the conduct, the position, the cause, and the fruition. THEY ARE NOT IDENTICAL WITH PRAJNA HELD IN COMMON, WHICH IS ONLY HELD IN COMMON BY THE SHALLOW, that is, it's only common to the Small Vehicle, and not common to the Great Vehicle.
1. The Teaching is connective, for, Sound Hearers, Those Enlightened to Conditions, and Bodhisattvas all cultivate the Dharma doors of the Connective Teaching, which teaches that causes and conditions are just emptiness.
2. The principle is connective, for all Three Vehicles (Sound Hearers, Those Enlightened to Conditions, and the Bodhisattvas) see principle which is to one side of the truth. They don't yet perceive the principle of the Middle Way.
3. The wisdom is connective: they a11 obtain wisdom of clever and expedient skill-in-means to teach and transform living beings.
4. The severance is connective. The Bodhisattvas have only cut off delusions within the three realms, and have both the virtue of wisdom and the virtue of severance. Because all three Vehicles identically cultivate the virtue of severance, it is connective.
5. The conduct is connective, for they a11 identically see and cultivate the Dharma doors of non-outflowing practices.
6. The positions are connective, for,
there is identical
obtaining of the Dharma positions from that of Dry Wisdom, and The Ten Grounds,
up until the position of Pratyekabuddha.
8. The fruitions are connective, for
there are nine kinds of liberation and two kinds of Nirvana, fruitions which are identically
To prepare for receiving the complete precepts, whenever you have time, you should bow to the Buddhas seeking the vajra, bright jewelled precepts. In this country Buddhism is just beginning, and you must be models for others--not just their leaders with nothing to back that up. You should show people a good way to be by how you are, and then later on, people will imitate you. Set your thoughts aside and seek the aid of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas so that you can receive the vajra jewelled precepts. It would best if you bowed in the temple every chance you get, and seek repentance. If you are lax all the time instead, when you go to take the precepts, you will have demonic obstac1es--maybe go insane or have an accident and be unable to take the precepts. If that happens, it's because you aren't seeking the precepts according to the Dharma, and even if you seek them, you won't receive them. So you should earnestly seek repentance and reform, and bring forth the great resolve for Bodhi, thus eradicating your offenses.
THREE, THE SEPARATE TEACHING. "SEPARATE" MEANS NOT HELD IN COMMON, FOR IT EXPRESSES WHAT IS NOT IN COMMON WITH THOSE OF THE TWO VEHICLES. THIS TEACHING DIRECTLY EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LIMITLESSNESS OF THE FOUR TRUTHS. INASMUCH AS CAUSES AND CONDITIONS ARE FALSE NAMES. IT ACTUALLY TEACHES BODHISATTVAS, AND DOES NOT INVOLVE THE TWO VEHICLES. THEREFORE, THE SOUND HEARERS BY HIS SEAT WERE AS IF DEAF AND BLIND.
THREE, the third, THE SEPARATE, or "Special," TEACHING, is not the same as other Teachings, either the Connective Teaching which comes before it, or the Perfect Teaching which follows it. "SEPARATE" MEANS NOT HELD IN COMMON . The Separate, Special Teaching, speaks of wisdom not held in common, FOR IT EXPRESSES WHAT IS NOT IN COMMON WITH THOSE OF THE TWO VEHICLES. It's Dharma for teaching Bodhisattvas, and so the Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions (the Two Vehicles), are unable to hear this kind of Dharma. THIS TEACHING DIRECTLY EXPLAINS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LIMITLESSNESS OF THE FOUR TRUTHS. The Separate Teaching--prajna--ta1ks of the emptiness of both people and dharmas, INASMUCH AS CAUSES AND CONDITIONS, since empty, ARE FALSE NAMES. It discusses how there is limitless suffering, limitless accumulation, and that Extinction and the Way are principles which are also limitless. This principle, however, is not one that Sound Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions are able to know, and so IT ACTUALLY TEACHES BODHISATTVAS, AND DOES NOT INVOLVE THE TWO VEHICLES. This Dharma is directly and fundamentally for Bodhisattvas. The Two Vehicles don't have a share in it. THEREFORE, THE SOUND HEARERS BY HIS SEAT WERE AS IF DEAF AND BLIND. When the Buddha spoke Prajna, they were like people who couldn't see or hear anything. That is, they couldn't understand when the Buddha spoke Prajna--princip1es which are similar to those of the Flower Adornment Sutra.
THE REASON IT IS NOT CALLED THE UNCOMMON BUT IS CALLED THE SEPARATE IS EQUALLY TO SORT IT OUT AS NOT THE PERFECT. THAT IS BECAUSE THE INDIVIDUAL CAUSES REMAIN QUITE DIVERSE, AND THE INDIVIDUAL FRUITS DO NOT INTERFUSE. THEY ARE CULTIVATED BY PASSING THROUGH SOMETHING SEPARATE, SO ONE DOES NOT REACH PERFECT INTERPENETRATION OF CAUSES AND THE FRUIT.
The Separate Teaching is the Prajna Period, so couldn't it be called the Uncommon Teaching instead? No. THE REASON IT IS NOT CALLED THE UNCOMMON BUT IS CALLED THE SEPARATE is that "uncommon" means not in common with the Two Vehicles, while "separate" IS EQUALLY TO SORT IT OUT AS NOT THE PERFECT. You might think that if it's not common to the Two Vehicles, it was in common with the Great Vehicle--but that's not the case. If you simply called it the Uncommon Teaching, that wouldn't indicate it as distinct from the Great Vehicle. You couldn't distinguish from the name that it was not common to the Perfect Teaching, but would only know that it was not in common with the Stores Teaching and the Connective Teaching. So, calling it the Separate Teaching shows it's not connected or identical with what came before it or what comes after it. It's special, and to call it that is to equally sort it out as not the Perfect Teaching. Why is that? It's because the previous Connective Teaching could be cultivated by all three Vehicles, whereas this, the Prajna, is just cultivated by Bodhisattvas, which also makes it different from the Three Stores (Tripitaka) Teaching. THAT IS BECAUSE THE INDIVIDUAL CAUSES REMAIN QUITE DIVERSE,
AND THE INDIVIDUAL FRUITS DO NOT INTERFUSE. The fruitions of the Separate Teaching do not interpenetrate with the fruitions of the Perfect Teaching. THEY ARE CULTIVATED BY PASSING THROUGH SOMETHING SEPARATE One goes through something very separate and special when one cultivates Praina. SO ONE DOES NOT REACH PERFECT INTERPENETRATION OF CAUSES AND THE FRUIT. Through this teaching one cannot reach the point where the cause is just the fruit and the fruit is just the cause, cause and fruition being non-dual. It has that difference from the principles of the Perfect Teaching in which upon the cause one knows the fruition, and at the time of the fruit, one knows the cause. Without that unobstructed interpenetration, there is no way that:
The cause includes
the sea of the fruits,
Since that kind of principle of unobstructed interpenetration and perfect fusion cannot operate within it, it's called the Separate Teaching.
FOUR, THE PERFECT TEACHING, "PERFECT" BECAUSE ITS MEANING IS THAT OF NOT INCLINING TO EITHER EXTREME. THIS TEACHING DIRECTLY EXPLAINS INCONCEIVABLE CAUSES AND CONDITIONS, THE TWO TRUTHS AND THE MIDDLE WAY, THE TOTALITY OF SPECIFICS AND PRINCIPLE, WHICH IS NOT TO EITHER SIDE AND IS NOT SEPARATE. IT ONLY TEACHES PEOPLE WHOSE FACULTIES ARE OF THE SHARPEST, HIGHEST CALIBRE, AND SO IT IS CALLED THE PERFECT.
FOUR, the fourth Teaching established
by Great Master Wise
One is THE PERFECT TEACHING. which is the unobstructed, interpenetrating
perfection of Bodhi.
It is called
"PERFECT" BECAUSE ITS MEANING IS THAT OF NOT INCLINING TO EITHER EXTREME. It is the ultimate
meaning of the Middle Way. THIS TEACHING DIRECTLY EXPLAINS INCONCEIVABLE CAUSES AND CONDITIONS,
THE TWO TRUTHS. HERE IT IS THE Non-acting of
the Four Truths, which is very perfect, interpenetrating
and unobstructed. It presents the Two Truths--Truth
in the Primary Sense and Relative
Truth--AND it presents THE MIDDLE WAY, the Truth of the Middle
among the Three Truths of Absolute,
The Three Truths interfuse so that what is true in the primary sense is just the relative,
and is also
just the Middle
Way between them.
If perfect people cultivate
Whatever dharma is cultivated by those with wisdom whose disposition is that of the Great Vehicle is perfect dharma, while for those whose disposition is that of the Two Vehicles, even the perfect is not perfect. Here it's called the Perfect Teaching, because it's perfect even if it's not, since it's cultivated by those of perfected faculties. But if you spoke about its Dharma doors to those of the Two Vehicles, they wouldn't understand them. In that case. Perfect Dharma would then become imperfect Dharma.
THE FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA SAYS, "TO DISPLAY THE POWER OF SOVEREIGN MASTERY HE SPEAKS FOR THEM THE PERFECT, TOTAL SUTRA. ALL THE LIMITLESS LIVING BEINGS COMPLETELY RECEIVE PREDICTIONS OF BODHI," AND SO FORTH.
In THE FLOWER ADORNMENT SUTRA there are a few lines of text in which it SAYS, "TO DISPLAY THE POWER OF SOVEREIGN MASTERY." In order to make appear the power of calculated, uncontrived, perfect, interpenetrating, unobstructed, comfortable self-mastery, "HE SPEAKS FOR THEM THE PERFECT, TOTAL SUTRA." For all living beings the Buddha speaks the perfect Sutra teaching, so called because there is nothing it fails to include and comprise. "ALL THE LIMITLESS LIVING BEINGS COMPLETELY RECEIVE PREDICTIONS OF BODHI," AND SO FORTH. The Buddha tells every one of them that they, along with a11 sentient beings, in the future are certain to become Buddhas. That's why when the Buddha accomplished Buddhahood, he sighed three times and said:
Strange indeed, strange indeed, strange indeed: all living
beings have the Thus
All of them have the same kind of virtue, characteristics, and wisdom that a Thus Come One has, and it's just their false thoughts and attachments that prevent them from opening enlightenment and being Buddhas too. In the Shurangama Sutra it says:
When the mad mind stops, that very stopping is Bodhi.
Why aren't we able to display our power of comfortable self-mastery or speak the perfect, total Sutra? Why can't we bestow predictions of Bodhi upon living beings? It's because our mad mind is too huge and hasn't stopped. If you stop it, you certify to the virtue, characteristics, and wisdom of a Thus Come One and perfect the wonderful fruit of Bodhi of your own self-nature.
IN THE SEPARATE, THE TEACHING, PRINCIPLE, AND SO FORTH ARE ALL SEPARATE, IN THE PERFECT, THE TEACHING, PRINCIPLE, AND SO FORTH ARE ALL PERFECT.
IN THE SEPARATE Teaching, THE TEACHING, the PRINCIPLE, AND SO FORTH, that is, the wisdom, the severance, the conduct, the positions, the causes, and the fruitions ARE ALL such that they belong to the SEPARATE Teaching. IN THE PERFECT Teaching, THE TEACHING, the PRINCIPLES, AND SO FORTH, that is, the rest of the eight, gain--the wisdom, the severance, the conduct, the positions, the causes, and the fruitions--ARE ALL of the PERFECT Teaching. That explanation is according to the teaching principles.
-to be continued