The Collected Lectures of Tripitaka Master Tun Lun on
The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra
TRANSLATED BY DISCIPLE BHIKSU HENG CH’IEN
The dharma of the heart is wonderful; the dharma of living beings is wonderful; and the dharma of the Buddha is wonderful. The dharma of the heart is just the dharma of living beings; the dharma of living beings is just the dharma of the Buddha, and the dharma of the Buddha is just the dharma of the heart. These three dharmas are just one, and this one dharma is three. Why do I say this? Because it is wonderful. Therefore, you can say that it is three or one. The wonder of the dharma of the heart has already been generally discussed, so now I will speak of the wonder of the dharma of living beings.
What are living beings? The many kinds of life, spoken of collectively, are called the multitude of living beings. There are twelve classifications of living beings:
Egg-born living beings;
12) Living beings whose bodies were originally thoughtless matter but who come to exist within that matter due to the longing of the parent, and consequently become possessed of extremely bizarre thoughts, such as some types of owl which are born from a ball of dirt and thereupon eat their parents because of former karmic relationships characterized by hate, injury, and killing.
Many distinctions can be made within each of these classifications. For example, of those born from eggs there are some living beings which can fly and some which cannot. Further, of those which can fly there are hundreds of millions of species, so many that no one can clearly distinguish them all. Isn't that wonderful? If the inability to distinguish them is wonderful, is not the ability to distinguish them also wonderful? The species and subspecies within each of the other classifications of living beings are also inconceivably numerous. For example, within the classification of those born from a womb, people are included as are most species of animals.
How do those born from an egg come into existence? Those born from an egg arise from thought. It is due to thought that there are living beings born from eggs. Those born from a womb come from love. Everyone assumes that love is the most blissful activity in the world, but, in fact, during this euphoria there occurs the most painful of all events. One who is careless and carefree in loving will die much sooner because his body is more rapidly destroyed. What happens when a person has ruined his body? Death comes quickly.
What is the source of emotions? They arise from deeply ingrained habits and delusions formed immeasurable kalpas ago. While one is a person, the weight of his emotional desires may cause him to descend into the realm of animals, where he still fails to awaken and his heart is heavy with emotions. All of the classifications of living beings are born due to the emotion of sexual desire. When karma is exhausted and emotions are emptied, that is a true Buddha. One with heavy karmic obstacles and emotional confusion is a common person. If one is able to see all emotions as empty, he is a holy person.
Within, each of the classifications of living beings there are thousands upon thousands of species. There are millions of kinds of people, and trillions of species of animals. But, although each of the classifications contains immeasurable sub-classifications, they do not
transcend the wonderful Dharma, but are all included within it. Thus, the dharma of living beings is also wonderful. If you don't investigate it, it doesn't occur to you, but once you examine the dharma of living beings you see that each classification has its own principles. How does one become a person? How does one become a dog or pig? Why do some living beings become horses or cows? Wonderful Dharma is within all of this.
Why is there wonderful Dharma? The principle contained within all of this is hard to understand, and what is difficult to understand is just wonderful Dharma. You may say, "I understand." Your understanding is also
wonderful Dharma. Therefore, the wonderful Dharma is an inconceivable state, and among living beings this inconceivable state is also wonderful.
Now I will speak of the wonder of the dharma of the Buddha. What is the Buddhadharma?
What is not the Buddhadharma? All dharmas are the Buddhadharma. How many Buddhadharmas are there? To speak in expansive terms there are eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors. Which is the most wonderful of the eighty-four thousand? Pick one out, look at them, delve into them a little deeper. Tell me, which Dharma-door is the most wonderful? You can't tell me, so I will tell you. All of the Dharma-doors are the most wonderful.
Someone once asked me, "Of the eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors, which is first? Which is the highest?" I replied, "Whichever Dharma-door you feel is best for you, it is just that one which is highest. Whichever Dharma-door is of no use to you, it is just that one which is lowest." It depends upon your disposition. The Buddha established eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors as antidotes for the eighty-four thousand illnesses of living beings. If you have no illness, then none of the Dharma-doors are of any use. However, if you are still ill, the foremost door is the one which will cure your disease. Therefore, each of the eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors is foremost, they are all the most supreme, they are all the highest. Among the wonderful dharmas of the Buddha, all eighty-four thousand are the most wonderful. Why do I say this? “These dharmas are equal; they are neither superior nor inferior.” All dharmas are medicines; if you have an illness, simply take the appropriate medicine. If good medicine is used incorrectly, it may become poisonous.
Today a guest asked, "Can you eat meat and still become enlightened?" I replied that it is possible to become enlightened if your mouth is large enough to swallow a pig, a sheep, or a cow in a single gulp. If you are compelled to eat them slowly, bite by bite, nobody will certify your enlightenment, but, if you can swallow a pig, sheep, or cow in one gulp I will guarantee that you have opened enlightenment.
For more than ten years, while the Sixth Patriarch lived with a group of hunters, he ate meat. That is to say, he ate meat-side vegetables. What are meat-side vegetables? The hunters always ate meat but never ate vegetables. If he didn’t eat meat he would have gone hungry, so he planted and raised some vegetables, which he cooked in the hunters’ pot of meat. When they were cooked, he ate them. This is what is meant by meat-side vegetables. Although the Sixth Patriarch ate meat-side vegetables, he was an enlightened person. He had already realized Buddhahood and become the Patriarch, and could eat meat or anything else. If we haven't gained the wisdom of the Sixth Patriarch, and have not opened enlightenment, we should not be greedy for delicious food. No matter how delicious the food may be, it begins to stink once it has entered the stomach, hence its flavor becomes meaningless.
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