The Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master Tu Lun on
The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra
TRANSLATED BY DISCIPLE BHIKSU HENG CH’IEN
The first word to be discussed in the explanation of this Sutra's name is "Wonderful". The "wonderful" is vastly expansive: horizontally, it is "wonderful"; vertically, it is "wonderful"; minutely, it is "wonderful"; broadly, it is "wonderful". Have I not said that all the Dharma spoken by Sakyamuni Buddha is "Wonderful Dharma"? The "Wonderful Dharma" includes all other dharmas; the Three Storehouses and Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text are all included within "Wonderful Dharma”.
What are the Three Storehouses? People who have heard sutra explanations know, but others don't know of them, and so, the Three Storehouses are:
the sutra storehouse;
The sutra storehouse explains the study of concentration; the vinaya storehouse, the study of morality; and the sastra storehouse, the study of wisdom. The principles included in the sutras, vinaya, and sastras are immeasurable, unlimited, and inexhaustible; the sutras, vinaya, and sastras, therefore, are all "Wonderful Dharma".
Morality, concentration, and wisdom are also "Wonderful Dharma". Although we hear a great deal about these, we must ask ourselves, "How much morality, concentration, and wisdom is there in my actions?"
Hearing the Buddhadharma explained cannot be acknowledged as understanding the Buddhadharma. It is essential that you renounce your very body and at all times cultivate in accord with Dharma. This is to have genuine attainment. Knowing the principles and not practicing them is the same as not knowing. Why is that? If you know, why don't you practice? Why do you refuse to do what has to be done? It is the same as knowing something is good to eat; only after you have eaten it can you truly know it is good and obtain gratification. If you do not eat it, and only know of its tastiness, you remain unsatisfied. Buddhadharma is also like this. If you understand, you certainly must practice. Practicing what you know is true cultivation, real cultivation. If you understand but don’t practice, you are of no help to either the Buddhadharma or yourself, like stone men who are only able to preach and unable to practice. Why can’t they practice? Their bodies are extremely heavy, so they can talk but can’t cultivate. Students of the Buddhadharma must be able both to preach and practice. The Dharma is spoken, the Way is practiced.
One must at all times do the work.
Within "Wonderful Dharma" are mind dharma "wonderful", living being dharma "wonderful", and Buddha dharma "wonderful". The mind dharma, the living being dharma, and the Buddhadharma...divided they are three, united they are one. Divided they are "Wonderful Dharma", united they are also "Wonderful Dharma". Three is "Wonderful Dharma", one is "Wonderful Dharma".
Earlier I spoke of the Three Storehouses and the Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text. The Three Storehouses are the sutras, vinaya, and sastras, which embrace the three no-outflow studies of morality, concentration, and wisdom. The Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text were explained during last summer's lecture and cultivation session. I believe that Kuo Ch'ien remembers their names and meanings and can explain them for everybody else.
(Translator's note: The Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text are:
Just now Kuo Ch'ien recited the Chinese names of the Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text, and translated them into English. This is an inconceivable state, a wonderful state. It is “wonderful”. Why? Kuo Ch’ien had not studied Chinese before coming here. Just last summer he began to practice reading and writing Chinese, and now he continues his studies.
The names of the Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text are short, but their meanings are profound; although Kuo Ch’ien spoke only a little, I believe that after he has investigated them more deeply, he will be able to explain them in great detail for others. Why does he now speak so little? He has fear in his heart, fear that not only lose face before the great assembly, but also be a detracting influence on his teacher. So his fear causes him to forget the finer meanings of the Twelve Classifications of Sutra Text.
In China there is a saying, "Having that which is feared, the proper is not attained." Because he is frightened, his ability to explain changes to an inability. This type of fright is called "fear of the awesomeness of the great assembly". Because everyone here has studied the Buddhadharma, he fears that he might speak incorrectly, and so his explanation is incomplete. This, however, is "wonderful". It is "Wonderful Dharma".
Previously I heard of someone else who had not gone to college, and in fact, had never finished high school. In the Buddhadharma, emphasis is not decidedly placed on either study or non-study. What is emphasized is whether or not there is actual practice, whether or not there is genuine spiritual skill. In China, the Sixth Patriarch not only did not go to high school, he never even entered elementary school, and was incapable of signing his own name. He was able, however, to explain sutras and speak dharma. Being an illiterate, how did he explain sutras? Someone else would read a sutra to him, sentence by sentence, character by character, and, as a sentence was read he would explain it. The meaning he spoke was always in perfect accord with the Buddha's intended moaning. How was he able to do this? He had obtained the Buddhist Patriarch Mind Seal, which uses the mind to seal the mind, the Wonderful Dharma Mind Seal. Therefore the Dharma which he spoke was all "Wonderful Dharma".
The Great Master, the Sixth Patriarch, after receiving the transmission of the robe and bowl and obtaining the Mind Dharma of the Fifth Patriarch, went to live with hunters for sixteen years. What did he do all this time? He applied effort in his cultivation, working hard for many years, and thus opened great wisdom. I believe that if you can genuinely apply effort in your cultivation you will be able to open your wisdom. Now you have many questions, but in the future, when you open your wisdom, there will be no more questions, no more problems in anything that you do. One must, however, toil bitterly, genuinely apply effort, and then this ability is attained.
In cultivating the Way, don’t be nervous—don’t get excited. Don’t forget that. In China there is a proverb, “Don’t crave speed”. Don’t be so fast. “Speed doesn’t penetrate.” If you go too fast you won’t reach your goal. Why? With regard to the work of cultivation it is said, “Extreme strain is shattering; extreme laxness is sloppy.” Like a bowstring, which, if pulled back too tightly, breaks, and is useless for shooting arrows, “extreme strain is shattering”. “Extreme laxness is sloppy” is when the string is not pulled back tightly enough, and because it is too loose, the arrow does not fly. With neither strain nor laxness, there is success; you can reach your goal.
There is another phrase, "A valiant surge forward; a hasty retreat." It you go forward with great speed and vigor, your retreat will be equally fast. It is like the May Fly, which is born and immediately dies. It is born fast and dies fast: "a morning birth: an evening death."
In our cultivation we should honestly apply effort and not take short-cuts. Don't walk a small path, walk a great path, and at all times cultivate on that path. The great path is the six perfections and the 10,000 practices. Those who walk "side-door" paths consider short-cuts as being extremely fast, but in actuality they do not enable them to reach the goal. We must cultivate according to the Way of cultivation. This is also "Wonderful Dharma". The middle way is "Wonderful Dharma". Is there "Wonderful Dharma" apart from the middle way? Yes, it is also "Wonderful Dharma", but it is not the middle way,
I have now thought of a story, one which I have told before. During the Han Dynasty there was an official named Yuan Ang, who jealously plotted and murdered another official named Ch'ao Ts'o. Later, because he constantly day and night saw the ghost of Ch'ao Ts'o coming to kill him, he realized that he had erred, and so left home to become a bhiksu. After leaving home he had no more trouble with ghosts.
With a determined heart he worked hard at cultivation and investigation of dhyana. He practiced the Way, and because he did not encounter the ghost again during his life, made a vow saying, “Ahhh, what have I done? Murdered a person! I vow that in my coming life I will again be a bhiksu and not an official.” And indeed, in his next life he was a bhiksu.
He was not just an ordinary bhiksu, but a great Dharma Master who went everywhere lecturing sutras and speaking dharma, neither greedy for fame nor seeking for profit. He diligently foiled in his practice of the Way. He passed through ten lives like this, and during that time met no ghosts. He cultivated and had some Way-virtue, and his position was higher life after life, until, in his tenth life, he became a national master, the Emperor's teacher. Because he was the Emperor's master, the Emperor made him a gift of a "red sandalwood" jeweled chair. This chair was made of red sandalwood, a most valuable and precious wood, and only Emperors could sit in it. Common people were not allowed to sit in this chair, nor officials, no matter how high their rank,
Ahhh. This chair was most skillfully carved, most wonderfully tooled, so that when he sat in it...supernatural of the supernatural! He thought, "How many Dharma masters of my caliber are there in this world?
Very few such as I, so high and honorable a Dharma master. The Emperor has given me his own chair to sit in, Ahhh, wonderful, so wonderful." He brought forth this one thought of arrogance, a thought like that of the Buddha when he said, "In the heavens and on earth, only I am honored". But, the Buddha was the only honored one.
When he brought forth this thought, the revengeful ghost of Ch'ao Ts'o from his past life came to get him. What do you think happened? Instantly one of the Dharma Master's legs began to swell, forming a "human face tumor". This tumor had a mouth, a nose, eyes and ears, and it could talk. You've never seen such a bizarre disease. A human head swelled up on his leg, with human features and the ability to speak. It was constantly talking to him. What did it say? It would say, "You want to get away from me, but there is no way. I am going to accompany you and certainly will get your life."
This life the Dharma Master was named Wu Ta, "Enlightened Penetration", National Master Wu Ta. From morning until night the tumor wanted his life, and though he was a national master, he had no way to get rid of it. He recited the Surangama Mantra, or the Great Compassion Mantra, but there was no response because his karmic obstacles were too heavy. Although the recitation of mantras is efficacious, his one thought of arrogance had caused the Dharma protectors to abandon him, and thus the revengeful ghost was able to come and get him. After the revengeful ghost found him, it accompanied him and would not leave, and the Dharma protectors, because he had this thought of arrogance, paid no attention to him. So all the mantras he recited had no response.
Fortunately National Master Wu Ta had taken care of the Venerable Kanaka*, when his entire body had given rise to filthy, putrid, pus-flowing boils, Wu Ta had waited on him, serving him warm broth and prepared medicines, and cured his disease. Did the Venerable Kanaka really have an illness? No. He deliberately manifested such an appearance to save National Master Wu Ta. Because Wu Ta had been so good to him, the Venerable Kanaka told him, "In the future, no matter what great difficulty besets you, no matter what insolvable problem you encounter, come to Szechuan, to such and such a place, and contact me. I will find a way to help you."
So National Master Wu Ta, when his body produced this "human face tumor", and he had no other recourse, went to Szechuan to find Kanaka, who used "samadhi water" to cleanse Wu Ta's body and the "human face tumor" disappeared. There was no affair.
We who cultivate the Way, no matter what, cannot be arrogant.
*The Venerable Kanaka had certified to the fourth stage of Arhatship.
The World Fellowship of Buddhists wishes to announce its Tenth General Conference, to be held in Colombo, Ceylon, from May 10th to 12th, 1971. The theme is “The Role of Buddhism in Promoting World Peace”. This conference will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the World Fellowship of Buddhists.
Delegates are requested to arrive on or about May 8th. Observation of the Wesak Celebration and sightseeing will take place on May 9th. The Opening Ceremony will be on May 10th and the Conference will end on May 12th. We hope that Buddhists from all over the world will be able to attend this important occasion.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF THE HONORABLE BHIKSU HENG TING
Dharma Master Heng Ting's family name was Wang and his Dharma name is Kuo I. He was born in 1923. After graduating from middle school, he became an exceptional student at a Teacher's College in Northeast China, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree.
|Dharma Master Heng Ting|
Dharma Master Heng Ting took the last flight from Feng T’ien to T’ien Chin before Feng T’ien was taken by the Communist forces and all flights out were stopped. He then boarded a ship to sail to Shang-hai, after which T’ien Chin and the surrounding areas were also taken by Communists, and there was no more ship service to other ports. He then caught the last train out of Shanghai to Hang-chou in Canton, about 30 miles from Nan Hua Temple, after which Shanghai was besieged as well.
He went to Nan Hua Temple to see the Venerable Master who made him an assistant professor of Classical Chinese in the Nan Hua Vinaya School; he taught one semester. The following year he received the complete bhiksu precepts from the Venerable Master Hsu Yun at Nan Hua Temple in the last precept platform conducted by the Old Master.
After his ordination he cultivated the bitter practice of constantly sitting, and did not lie down to sleep at night. He also cultivated the recitation of the Surangama Mantra, and began to study the SURANGAMA SUTRA—a year later he could recite the entire ten rolls of the Sutra from memory. Then he began to study the WONDERFUL DHARMA LOTUS FLOWER SUTRA.
In 1949 he left Canton for Thailand where he lived in Dragon Lotus Temple, for half a year, before moving on to Hong Kong, where he lived in the Temple of Western Bliss, His Le Yuan and continued his study of the DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA. After two years of study he was able to recite the entire seven rolls of the DHARMA FLOWER SUTRA by heart.
His cultivation also includes the practice of eating only once a
day before noon, investigating dhyana meditation, single-mindedly
recollecting the Buddha, propagating the Dharma, and benefiting living
beings. His vigorous cultivation serves as an accurate model for
influencing others to work hard. He takes the welfare of Buddhism as his
own responsibility. In the present age, there are few in the Sangha as
lofty as he.
Nan Hua Temple, just before Dharma Master Heng Ting arrived, had
been invaded by thieves. One bhiksu there feared the thieves would
return and wished to leave but had no money. Dharma Master Heng Ting
gave his entire savings of about $3,000 (U.S.) to this bhiksu, and did
not keep a single dollar for himself. His lack of greed exemplifies the
virtue which distinguishes him from ordinary people.
THE EMINENT UPASAKA KUO TI GRANT
Upasaka Kuo Ti, Orne Grant, was born in Bend, Oregon in 1928. Early in life he developed an interest in religion, and began studying works on Hinduism, Yoga, and other spiritual practices. His interests leaned toward the Eastern religions, and found the Christian doctrines unappealing.
In 1965, however, he met a
Christian teacher with Rosecrucian background who impressed him, and led
him to a decision to study toward ordination as a Christian minister.
The teacher, however, failed to explain and clarify the principles and
methods to the practices he taught, and Upasaka Kuo Ti, with no one to
illuminate the Way for him, fell into deep despair meaningfully tested
the abilities of his teacher to help him along the Way. His teacher
proved to be of no help, his problems remained unsolved, and so he left
to look elsewhere for guidance.
He met the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua in early 1968 and thought that finally he had found a good teacher, but was hesitant to commit himself because of the many unrewarding experiences he had had with other religious masters. He attended the SURANGAMA SUTRA Lecture and Cultivation Session at The Buddhist Lecture Hall in 1968. During the Session the Master’s lucid explanations of the Sutra text meshed so well with his own experiences in meditation that his initial thought solidified into a decision to take refuge in the Triple Jewel and bow to the Master as his teacher. Many of his old friends had tried to lure him back into their confusion, but were unsuccessful, and he became a disciple in the summer of 1968.
After the Lecture and Cultivation Session, he continued his studies at The Buddhist Lecture Hall, and listened to lectures on. THE WONDERFUL DHARMA LOTUS FLOWER SUTRA, THE DIAMOND SUTRA, THE VOWS OF EARTH TREASURY KING BODHISATTVA SUTRA, THE HEART SUTRA, THE GREAT COMPASSIONATE HEART DHARANI SUTRA, THE SIXTH PATRIARCH'S DHARMA JEWEL PLATFORM SUTRA, THE AMITABHA SUTRA, and many other Buddhist sutras and sastras.
Upasaka Kuo Ti was of great assistance in sending the three Bhiksus, and two Bhiksunis to Taiwan to receive ordination in 1969, and thus has been very helpful in establishing the proper Buddhadharma in the West. He has been a leader in many of the activities at the Sino-American Buddhist Association and Buddhist Lecture Hall, serving as a model for those who followed. He was one of the first Westerners to realize the importance of respecting the Triple Jewel, and his deep respect and sincerity has had great influence on other Westerners in their study of the Buddhadharma.
Through his study of the sutras, practice of meditation, recollection of the Buddha, and cultivation of other Dharma-doors, he has acquired a solid foundation in Buddhist studies which has enabled him to deliver lectures at the Buddhist Lecture Hall on THE DIAMOND SUTRA, and THE SUTRA OF FORTY-TWO SECTIONS, among others. His special wisdom and diligence are rare, and he is always looking for ways to benefit the establishment of Buddhism in the West. He voluntarily offers his services at all times to expedite work being done for the Sino-American Buddhist Association, The Buddhist Lecture Hall, or Vajra Bodhi Sea, and thus has earned the respect of all his peers. He presently serves in the Dharma Propagation Department of the Sino-American Buddhist Association, in the Certification and Dharma Protector Committees of the Buddhist Text Translation Society, and as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Vajra Bodhi Sea.