from Issue 33
Neither great nor small, neither come nor gone;
In numberless world systems
Are inter illumining lotus thrones.
great nor small, neither come nor gone;
when I first heard the Sanskrit word "Buddha," I heard it as
pu ta,() "not big." The Buddha does not speak of "me, my, or mine" until everything in the ten directions turns
into a panoramic view of "self." The Buddha, being selfless, is "not big." Nor is he little. If he were little he wouldn't be a Buddha.
The Buddha, the Thus Come One, has come and yet not come, gone and yet not gone. Since the Buddha's Dharma-body extends to the end of empty space and pervades the Dharma-realm, it is neither present nor absent. You may speak of him as "going," but where does he go? You might say he "comes," but from where does he come? Nor does his Dharma-body merely pervade our world; the Dharma-realm includes as many worlds as there are fine dust motes, all of which are the Buddha's Dharma-body.
In numberless world systems are interillumining lotus thrones. Buddhas emitting light in all Dharma-realms interillumine one another; sitting on lotus thrones they simultaneously move the earth and emit light from their ears, eyes, noses, tongues, and teeth Not only do the six organs put forth light, every pore emits light and moves the earth, and in every one there can manifest worlds as numerous as fine dust motes, each containing incalculable Buddhas who emit light in the same way. Yet all these lights, like those of many lamps, do not clash, but fuse together. Just as lights do not conflict with one another, so too should people not clash; they should allow their lights to shine on one another like the interillumining lights which interpenetrate the interstices of the circular net canopy of the Great Brahma King.
Enlightened beings leap out of the dust,
Their six perfections and myriad practices
Continually nurtured and strengthened.
Enlightened beings leap out of the dust.
The Sanskrit word Bodhisattva translates as "enlightened being" and has two meanings:
1. He causes beings to become enlightened; and
2. He is an enlightened one among beings.
We are included in both meanings because we are beings, and because we can become enlightened ones among beings. Not only do we have a share in Bodhisattvahood, we also have a share in Buddhahood. If you find this hard to accept, consider a small child who grows, becomes an adult, and eventually gets old. We are like children within the Buddhadharma, and the Buddha is an adult. Our future maturation represents Buddhahood. Like youngsters need milk, we need the constant nourishment of hearing Dharma everyday. Listening to the Dharma is an especially good way to increase your good roots and open your wisdom. An opportunity to listen to Dharma is more valuable than any amount of money you could earn.
Their six perfections and myriad practices continually nurtured and strengthened. A Bodhisattva is an enlightened one among beings; an understanding one among the enlightened; a cultivator among those with understanding; and a true cultivator among cultivators. If a Bodhisattva did not have understanding he could not leap out of the dust. If you understand the dust, then no matter how thick it is, you can leap through it as if it didn't exist.
"After a Bodhisattva leaps out of the dust what does he do, sleep and eat?"
Yes, he still eats, sleeps, and wears clothes, but he is no longer a slave to his body, working from morning to night to provide it with food, clothing, and a place to live. When you get out of the dust, you cease to be concerned with these three problems, and instead you concentrate on the six perfections, giving, holding precepts, patience, vigor, meditation, and wisdom.
"I know what the perfection of giving is, it's teaching others to give to me!" some of you are thinking.
Wrong. It is learning to give to other people. We don't need a lot of things. Money, for instance is an extremely filthy item and too much involvement with it is what is meant by "dust." Refraining from holding money leads to purity. However it won't work to cultivate today and not tomorrow, to cultivate this month and rest -the next, to cultivate this life and not the next, or to cultivate part-time and sleep part-time. Cultivation must be constant and nourishing. If you can cultivate the six perfections and myriad practices life after life, you are a Bodhisattva.
"That's not easy," you say.
Did you think being a Bodhisattva was going to be easy! Not only is, it not easy to be a Bodhisattva, it's not easy to be a Sravaka or Pratyekabuddha either.
"Then what is it easy to be?"
It is easy to be a ghost, or to go to hell, or become an animal.
Bodhisattva must be able to do what others can't do. Whatever is considered
difficult by mankind, a Bodhisattva should proceed to do with ease. If you don't
dare do what is hard, you're not a Bodhisattva. Go forthwith vigor because
that's what it's all about. There is no other esoteric or wonderful secret. If
you can do the things other people can't do, you are a Bodhisattva.
Composed by the Venerable Tripitaka Master Hua
Translated by Disciple Bhiksuni Heng Ch'ih
to be continued
CLIMB GOLD MOUNTAIN
During the 1973 summer, the Sino-American Buddhist Association, Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery, and Vajra Bodhi Sea Publications will jointly sponsor three five week Sutra Study and Meditation Sessions. During these sessions daily explanations of important Buddhist Sutras will be made, complemented by approximately five hours of meditation in addition to chanting sutras and mantras. The dates for the sessions follow:
Sunday, June 3rd through Saturday, July 7th;
Sunday, July 8th through Saturday, August 11th;
Sunday, August 12th through Saturday, September 15th.
The final week of each session will be given over solely to practice of a single dharma, either Ch'an meditation or recitation of a mantra or the Buddha's name (periods of walking and chanting alternating with periods of seated silent meditation on the mantra or Buddha's name.)
Either one, two, or all three sessions may be attended. For further information contact the Sino-American Buddhist Association, Gold Mountain Dhyana Monastery, 1731 15th Street, San Francisco, 94103. Telephone: (415) 621-5202.