The Buddha Speaks of
was the Buddha's cousin. His name means "rejoicing"1 and was chosen
because he was born on the day the Buddha awoke to the unsurpassed
enlightenment. Both his birth and the Buddha's realization were causes for
all the great disciples, the Venerable Ananda was foremost in learning. He
edited and compiled all the Buddha's Sutras, and remembered clearly, without
ever forgetting, all the Dharma the Buddha spoke. Ananda's memory was extremely
accurate and his samadhi was firm. In fact, Ananda had eight inconceivable
1) He never
accepted special invitations. In the Surangama Sutra we read that, because he
accepted a special lunch invitation, Ananda became involved in an unfortunate
encounter with Matangi's daughter. Matangi used a Brahma Heaven mantra to lure
Ananda into her house of prostitution. When the Buddha saw this he spoke the
Surangama mantra and ordered Manjusri Bodhisattva to take the mantra to rescue
the helpless Ananda. Ananda never accepted another special invitation. They were
a member of the Sangha to go out alone to receive offerings from Dharma
protecting laymen is called "accepting a special invitation," and is
against the Buddha's rules. If there are ten Bhiksus but a layman favors only
one with an Invitation, he may not go: all ten must go. The Venerable Ananda
realized his mistake and never made it again.
2) He never wore
the Buddha's old clothes. The Bhiksus liked to wear the Buddha's old clothing.
Some even fought over them, feeling that wearing the Buddha's clothes would
increase their wisdom and wipe away their offenses. Actually they were just
greedy. Luanda never wore them.
3) He did not
look at what he should not look at. What he was supposed to see, he looked at;
what he was not supposed to see, he avoided. He did not look at what violated
the code of morality, but looked only at what was in accord with it.
4) He did not
give rise to defiled thoughts. Ananda followed the Buddha to the heavens, to the
dragon palace, and to the palace of the asuras. He saw heavenly women, asura
women, and dragon women, the roost beautiful women in all of creation, but felt
no sexual desire.
He knew which samadhi the Buddha had entered. The other Bhiksus didn’t know.
He knew the benefits received by the beings who were taught and transformed by
the Buddha in samadhi.
He understood completely all the Dharma the Buddha spoke.
He never had to ask to have a Dharma repeated. He remembered them all and never
needed to hear them twice. No one but Ananda had these eight inconceivable
not accepting special invitations, Sramaneras cannot eat or drink when they
please, but must eat with the group and yet eat separately. Even a cup of tea
should be taken with the group without assuming a special style. If everyone
doesn’t receive an apple, an orange, or even a piece of candy, the novice
2 T.945, p.
The Buddha’s father, King Suddhodana, was afraid that his son, the
prince, would leave the home life. Thus when he was still quite young his father
told him to marry, and he wed Yasodhara. When the prince was nineteen he left
home. As he was about to go, his wife told him that she would like a son. The
prince thereupon pointed at her, and she became pregnant. Then he left for the
Himalayas to meditate for six years, and for six years Rahula, his son, lay in
his mother’s womb.
means "obstacle."1 He had plugged up a mouse-hole for six days in a past
life, and so received six years of retribution, suffering in the womb. When he
was finally born he brought a lot of trouble to his mother. King Suddhodana was
enraged and the whole family was upset. "Well, I never!" they were heard to
say, "Without a husband, she gives birth to a child. Yasodhara obviously has
been running around. She must have a boyfriend. How else could she have a child
with her husband already left home for six years?"
a bad woman," pronounced the entire clan of King Suddhodana. One servant spoke
in her defense. "You’re wrong," she said, "she is pure. She stays home
all day long and doesn’t flirt with men. The child really is the
one believed the servant, and they wished to kill Yasodhara, to beat her to
death. Finally they dug a pit, built a fire in it, and prepared to throw
Yasodhara and her baby in. Yasodhara stepped forward and made a vow, "Heaven
spirits! Earth spirits! Bear witness! If this child belongs to the Prince, my
son and I will not burn." Then she jumped into the pit. What do you think
happened? The pit of fire turned into a pool of water, and a golden lotus grew
out of it to catch them. Everyone then knew that the child was not illegitimate
but was truly the son of the Buddha.
the Buddha returned to the palace, Yasodhara took Rahula to meet him. If the
child had been illegitimate, she certainly would have feared the Buddha. But she
sent the child out to meet him and the
Buddha hugged the child.
sought the true Way and worked hard. Among the great disciples he was foremost
in secret practices. He worked everywhere all the time, but no one knew he was
working because he never advertised his cultivation. His work was so secret he
could enter samadhi any place at all, even on the toilet, and no one knew.
Rahula was the Buddha's son, the Buddha doesn't-have only one son, he has Three
Kinds of Sons:
True Sons. One often reads in Sutras, "...headed by sons' of the Dharma
King..." Sons of the Dharma King are the Bodhisattvas, the Buddha's genuine
Initiate Sons. These are the Arhats who, out of ignorance, hold to the principle
of one-sided emptiness and have not attained the principle of the Middle Way.
Uninitiated Sons. Common men do not know to cultivate and are upside down, but
they are still the Buddha's sons, for the Buddha is the great compassionate
father of all living beings. The Dharma Blossom sutra speaks of us as poor, lost
sons. We should quickly return to our great compassionate father. We all have a
share in the Buddha's family.
Venerable One has a strange name, which means, "cow cud."1 Far in the
distant past, he had insulted an old Bhiksu who couldn't eat hard things and had
to slurp his food because his teeth were no good. "You eat like a
cow!" said Gavampati. The old Bhiksu happened to be a Pratyeka Buddha, and
because of Gavampati's careless slander, he was reborn for five hundred
lifetimes as a cow and came to know the real bitterness that it entailed.
he met Sakyamuni Buddha, learned to cultivate, and attained Arhatship. Although
he had certified to the fruit, his habits from so many lives remained unchanged,
and all day he snorted like a cow chewing its cud. Sakyamuni
Buddha was afraid that someone might slander him and reap the same reward, and
so he sent the Venerable Gavampati to heaven to live, there he became the
foremost of those who receive the offerings of the gods.
should take care not to speak rashly or to scold others. If you berate others,
others will berate you.
Bharadvaja means "unmoving sharp roots."2 To the present day', he has
not entered Nirvana, and is the foremost field of blessedness for living beings.
He has not entered Nirvana because he broke a rule:
the Arhats around the Buddha had spiritual powers, they were not allowed to
display them casually. Once an elder called Jyotiska carved a bowl out of
sandalwood put it on top of a high pole, and said, "Whoever can use his
spiritual powers to get this bowl down, can have it." Pindola Bharadvaja
succumbed to the temptation and used his spiritual powers to get the bowl down.
-niu ho 2
-pu tung li ken.
you're so greedy for sandalwood bowls that you display your spiritual
powers," said the Buddha, "you will not be allowed to enter Nirvana.
Instead, you must stay here and be a field of blessedness so that living beings
can sow seeds to reap future blessings by making offerings."
Bharadvaja is still in the world, but no one knows where. Whenever people make offerings to the Triple Jewel, however, he comes to
receive them, acting as a field of blessedness for beings in the Dharma-ending
means "black light."1 His skin was black but his body glowed, and his
eyes emitted light. One night as he was out walking, a pregnant woman was so
startled to see his two bright eyes and black-lit body that she had a
miscarriage. The child was born early and died. Because of this the Buddha set
up a precept forbidding Sramanas to take walks at night.
Light served the Buddha as an attendant, and a Dharma Protector. He was the foremost teacher who taught and transformed the greatest
number of people creating over one thousand certified sages.
means great and Kapphina means "constellation."2 His father and mother
prayed to one of the twenty-eight constellations in order to have their son. He
was foremost in knowledge of astrology.
means "good bearing"3. He was extremely handsome. Far in the past,
during the time of Vipasyin Buddha, he made offerings of Indian haritaki4 fruit
to a Pratyeka Buddha, a sage enlightened to conditions. Because of this, he received the retribution of long life in every life
for ninety-one kalpas. Foremost of the disciples in age, he lived to be a
hundred and sixty.
past lives Vakkula kept the precept against killing so conscientiously that he
never killed a single creature, not even grass or trees. Thus he obtained Five
Kinds of Death-Free Retribution.
the yellow Myrobalan, a medicinal fruit which grows only in India.
was a strange child. He was not born crying like most children, but entered the
world smiling. Not only was he smiling, he was sitting upright in full lotus.
Seeing this, his mother exclaimed, "He's a monster!" and threw him on
the brazier. After three or four hours, he hadn't burned; he just sat there in
full lotus, laughing. Fully convinced that he was a monster, she then tried to
boil him alive. When she took the cover off the pot several hours later, he just
smiled back at her. "Oh, no!" she cried, and threw him into the ocean.
He did not drown, however, because a big fish swam up and swallowed him whole
without harming him. The fire didn't burn him, the water didn't boil him, the
ocean didn't drown him, and the fish didn't chomp him to death. Then a man
netted the fish, cut it open, and Vakkula stepped out, unharmed by the knife.
Because he kept the precept against killing in every life, he obtained these
Five Kinds of Death-Free Retribution and was foremost in length of life.
means "not poor."1 Long ago, during the time of Pusya Buddha,2 a famine
starved the people and reduced them to eating grass, roots, and leaves. It was
the practice of a Pratyeka Buddha who lived at that time to go out begging only
once every two weeks; if he received no offerings, he simply didn't eat. One day
he went down the mountain to beg, and, having received no offerings, was
returning with his empty bowl when he was seen by a poor farmer--Aniruddha. The
poor farmer addressed the Pratyeka Buddha most respectfully. "Holy
Master," he said, "you received no offerings. Won't you please accept
my lunch? As I am very poor, I can only offer you this cheap grade of rice, but
if you want to eat, you may have it." Seeing his sincerity, the Pratyeka
Buddha accepted. After eating he ascended into empty space, manifested eighteen
miraculous changes and left.
then the poor farmer saw a rabbit running toward him. The rabbit jumped up on
his back and no matter how the farmer tried to knock, brush, or shake it off, it
wouldn't budge. All alone in the field and terrified, he ran home. When he got
there, the rabbit had turned into a corpse. By the time he and his wife had
pried it off his back it had turned into a gold statue. If they broke off a leg,
another would grow in its place. In this way, the statue was never exhausted,
and for ninety-one kalpas Aniruddha was "not poor."
the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, he was born as the son of the Buddha's father's
brother, the Red Rice King. He was the Buddha's first cousin.
he wasn't poor, Aniruddha liked to sleep when the Buddha lectured on the Sutras.
One day the Buddha scolded him:
Hey! How can you sleep,
an oyster or a clam?
sleep for a thousand years
you'll never hear the Buddha's name!"
1 -wu p'in.
-fu sha, or
Tisya -ti sha.
this, Aniruddha became extremely vigorous and didn't sleep for seven days. As a
consequence, he went blind. The Buddha took pity on him and taught him how to
cultivate the "vajra illuminating bright samadhi." He immediately
obtained the penetration of the heavenly eye, he could see the great
trichiliocosm as clearly as seeing an apple held in his hand, and was foremost
of the disciples in possessing the heavenly eye.
others each as these, all great Disciples; together with all the Bodhisattvas,
Mahasattvas; Dharma Prince Manjusri...
as these refers to those disciples from Sariputra to Aniruddha. It also includes many other
great Disciples whose names are not listed,
but who were present in the assembly. Those listed were the leaders of the
Buddha's disciples. Not only were these sixteen Venerable Ones present, but
there were also all the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, Great Bodhisattvas. What is a
Sanskrit word means
those with feeling," and
living beings to wake up.
among beings" for
is confusion's opposite,
enlightened thought and you're a Buddha;
confused thought and you're a living being.
every thought enlightened, in every thought you are a Buddha;
every thought confused, in every thought you're a living being.
CAN WAKE THEMSELVES UP!
they're more enlightened,
is what is meant by "Bodhisattva."
is a Sanskrit word, which translates as "wonderfully lucky"1, or
"wonderful virtue."2 of the Bodhisattvas, he is foremost in wisdom and is
also known as "The Great Wise Manjusri."
are "enlightened ones with feeling." Living beings are "confused
ones with feeling." Enlightened One." With feeling are those who are
enlightened among all the confused living beings. Enlightened ones are aware in
you see affairs and are awake,
can transcend the world.
you see affairs and are confused,
fall beneath the wheel.
transcend the world; living beings fall beneath the wheel. The difference between Bodhisattvas and living beings is that of
enlightenment and confusion. We say, "enlightened, you're a Buddha. "Enlightened, too, you're a Bodhisattva; confused, you're a living
being. When Manjusri was born, ten auspicious signs manifested to indicate that
his merit and virtue were complete and his wisdom foremost!
The room was filled with bright light. When Manjusri was born a bright light
filled the room. It was not the light of the sun, stars, or lamps. It
represented Manjusri great Prajna wisdom and great intelligence, which disperses
Sweet dew filled the vessels. Sweet dew (Skt. amrta) is the heavenly medicine of
immortality, which nourishes you and satisfies, purifies, and refreshes. Hungry
ghosts who have sweet dew poured over their heads immediately get rid of their
offense karma and obtain a good rebirth. Sweet dew filling the vessels
represents Manjusri use of the sweet Dharma dew to rescue living beings. This is
called "opening the sweet dew door." When it opens, the hungry ghosts
run in and obtain their fill.
The seven jewels came forth from the earth. When Manjusri was born, gold,
silver, lapiz lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls, and carnelian came
forth from the earth.
Why are they
called "jewels?" Because they are rare. Whatever is scarce is
precious. Earth, for example, is really very precious. Without it we couldn't
sustain our lives, and yet no one thinks it is special because there is a lot of
it. If you tried to give someone a handful of dirt, they wouldn't want it;
they'd just throw it away. Water, too, is essential for life, but no one prizes
it because it's everywhere. All living beings depend upon water for survival.
Therefore Lao Tzu said,
goodness, like water, benefits all things and yet does not contend. It goes to
places men despise and so is close to the Way."3
-miao chi hsiang.
Lao lzu's Tao Te Ching, "Classic of the way and its virtue. "sec.B
benefits all things, but doesn't struggle. It would never say, "Hey,
flowers! Fortunately for you there is me, water, and so you have grown so big
and bloomed so beautifully. Without me, would this day have come for you? You
really should be grateful." It doesn’t think this way, and it doesn't
wrangle. Travelers will notice that water gathers in the muddy lowlands, in
places where men do not like to go. It lives where no one else wants to live and
so it is close in its nature to the Way.
fire, metal, wood, and earth benefit all things but because of their abundance,
no one considers them precious. Trees are everywhere and so no one values them,
but gold is a treasure because it is rare. In the Land of Ultimate Bliss,
however, where the ground is made up of gold, dirt would be valuable. If you
gave a clod of dirt to someone in the Land of Ultimate Bliss...Ah! It would be
as precious as those rocks' they are now bringing back from the moon. They are
Just rocks, but because they came from the moon they are very valuable. If you
sent some worthless Saha dirt to the Land of Ultimate Bliss they'd say,
"Rare indeed!" And so, the seven gems are called "jewels"
because they are hard to obtain.
Bodhisattva has limitless jewel treasuries. When he was born, the seven jewels
welled up from the earth—endless for the taking and inexhaustible in their
is this place?" you ask.
where Manjusri was born.
I go there?"
be so greedy! The travel expenses would cost more than the jewels you'd bring
back. So don't have this false thought.
Gods opened the treasuries. The Wheel-turning Sage King (Skt. Cakravarti-raja)
has seven treasures: a golden disc, white elephants, jade women, horses, pearls,
ministers of the army, and gods to guard his treasuries. The treasure was buried
in the earth long ago and then forgotten, but when Manjusri was born, the
guardian gods opened the treasuries so that the jewels could be attained.
Chickens gave birth to phoenixes. Chickens usually give birth to chickens, but
these chickens hatched phoenixes. Phoenixes are auspicious birds, and seeing one
is a very lucky sign.
said, "The phoenix hasn't come and the river sends forth no map; I am
finished."1 The phoenix appears when a wise man rules and things are right in
the world, as in the time of Emperor Shun (2356-2255 BC) when these birds were
commonly seen. During the time of Fu Hsi (
2852 BC) a turtle rose out of the
river with a chart on it's back giving Fu Hsi the idea for the 8 trigrams.2
"But now," said Confucius, "one no longer sees such auspicious
signs. Thus I know that it's all over. To expound the Way and its virtues is of
no use. There's nothing left for me to do."
Confucian Analects, Book IX, Chpt. 8. See James Legge, The Four Books, p. 219.
Which combine to make the 64 hexagrams of the
I Ching. See Richard Wilhelm's translation The I Ching or Book of Changes,
Bolingen Foundation, N.Y., 1951.
Pigs gave birth to dragons. Dragons ordinarily give birth to dragons, phoenixes
to phoenixes. It's not too strange for chickens to hatch phoenixes, but then
pigs gave birth to dragons!--dragon pigs, with scales.
Horses gave birth to unicorns. Horses usually beget horses, but then they had
unicorns. Unicorns, lions, and tigers are all called the "king of
unicorn is an auspicious animal. In China, in the time of T'ang Yao,1 there were
many phoenixes and unicorns, and they were often seen. Later, when people's
karmic retribution grew too heavy, these auspicious creatures no longer
the time of Emperor T'ang Yao the unicorn and phoenix abounded.
time, however, is not the present, so what have you come to seek?
Unicorn! How my heart grieves..."
the time of Emperor T'ang Yao, unicorns and phoenixes often came into the world
to roam around; everyone saw them. But that time is not now, so what have you
come to seek? "he said.
Confucius the sage was born, a unicorn appeared. When his mother saw it, she
tied a string around its neck. Near the end of Confucius' life, hunters killed a
unicorn. When Confucius saw it, he noticed that it had the string around its
neck; it was the same unicorn. Seeing this sign, he sighed deeply, for he knew
that he had not long before he would die.
Unicorn! how my heart grieves..." he said. So, when Manjusri was born,
horses gave birth to unicorns.
Cows gave birth to white centaurs. The white centaur is art extremely rare and
auspicious animal. It's not like an ox and it's not like a horse; it's not like
a deer or a mule. It's not like anything at all. It looks like a horse, but has
an ox's hooves.
The grain in the granaries turned to gold. What use is golden grain? Can you eat it?
say, "you can exchange it for money and buy a lot of grain."
agree. A grain of gold is very valuable.
Elephants with six tusks appeared. Elephants usually have only two tusks, but
when Manjusri was born they had six.
are the ten auspicious signs, which appeared at Manjusri's birth. They represent the ten paramitas,2 and show that Manjusri is not like
you would like to meet Manjusri Bodhisattva, you must first remember these ten
signs. Then when you see him you'll know, "This is my old friend and
closest good knowing advisor."
Manjusri will be
very pleased, "Yes! You are my old friend, my very good friend."
Although he doesn't discriminate, if you don't know him, he won't approach you.
The better you know him, the closer he comes. Therefore we should know the
states of the Bodhisattvas so that we can be their brothers and friends. All the
Bodhisattvas are our good knowing advisors, and in the future we will be
Bodhisattvas, too. Don't take yourselves lightly.
1 2356 BC. T'ang
Ti Yao was a
2 The ten
paramitas are: giving, morality, patience, vigor, concentration, wisdom,
skill-in means, vows, determination, and knowledge.
is Sanskrit for "invincible."1 Ajita Bodhisattva is none other than Maitreya,
"compassionate clan", Bodhisattva. He specializes in cultivating the
compassionate heart samadhi and is kind to all beings. Scolded, beaten, cheated, insulted--no matter how badly treated—he is
compassionate in return. No matter how obnoxious living beings are, he protects
them all, even more lovingly than he would his own sons or daughters. His
compassion and loving care are limitless and boundless.
order to cultivate the compassionate heart samadhi, you must first practice
patience and so Ajita wrote this verse:
Old Fool wrapped in ragged clothes,
belly filled with gruel,
mends old sacks to keep him warm
lives on chance, old fool.
scolding makes the Fool smile sweetly,
a beating makes him sleepy;
on his face, he lets it dry
saves his strength and energy.
calm, a peace past ridicule
him the Jewel in the Wonderful;
that you've heard his song today
worry of not perfecting the Way?"
stupid old man wears a patched rag robe and eats his food plain, without soy
sauce, hot sauce, or sesame oil. It doesn't taste like much, but it fills his
stomach. He mends his robes to stay warm and whatever happens, Just happens:
happens, he reflects on it.
it passes, he is still.
according with conditions as the years and months go by.
your own business as the time passes.
it happens, it happens, when it's over, it's gone. He accords with conditions
and does not change; does not change and yet accords with conditions. For him,
movement, there is stillness;
moving and still,
still and moving.
-wu neng sheng.
we won't speak about it too deeply. If we did no one would understand.
the Old Pool says, "Really good, really good!" If someone hits him he
goes to sleep. Now isn't that stupid? If you hit someone, they glare at you and
shout, "Why did you hit me!" But the Old Fool just falls asleep.
Isn't this wonderful? If you can master this, you're doing all right, you
have truly gained some genuine cultivation.
in my face," says the stupid old man, "and I just let it dry. "If you spit in anyone else's face, the fire of ignorance would blaze
thirty thousand feet into the air. "How can you insult me like that?"
he'd say. But the old man doesn't even wipe it off. He just lets it dry.
Although it's not much effort to wipe it away, he still saves his strength and
give others no affliction.
spit in his face," you say, "and it's as if nothing happened. I’ll
leave him alone from now on." Thus, you save your afflictions.
is Paramita. What? If you can sleep when people hit you, and let their spit dry
on your face, this is ksanti-paramita, the perfection of patience. If you don't
recognize it, what Buddhadharma do you study? You study day in and day out, but
when it happens, you don't know what dharma it is. If someone hits you to test
your skill you'd end up saying, "I've studied the Buddhadharma for so long,
why can't I use it when the time comes?"
kind of Paramita is the wonderful within the wonderful, the jewel within the
jewel. If you've heard this news, how can you worry about not perfecting the
Way? With the power of patience your Way karma will certainly be perfected. The
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would never deceive you. This, then, is what Ajita
Bodhisattva had to say about the perfection of patience, and if we practice
accordingly we shall certainly realize our Way karma.
Bodhisattva, Nityodyukta Bodhisattva, and of here such as these, all great
Bodhisattvas, and together with Sakra, chief among gods, and the numberless
great multitudes from all the heavens.
is Sanskrit and it means "never resting."1 Nityodyukta, also Sanskrit,
means "ever-vigorous."2 Ever vigorous and never resting, Nityodyukta and
Gandhahastin Bodhisattvas, competed with one another. One was vigorous, the
other never rested; one never rested and the other was vigorous. They watched
each other: "If you don't rest," said one, "then I'll be
you're ever-vigorous," replied the other, "then I won't rest." In
the six periods of the day and night they practiced the Way, each acting as the
other's Dharma protector. They raced every step of the way, and neither would
let himself fall behind. Thus Gandhahastin is just Nityodyukta; Ever vigorous is
Just Never Resting.
-pu hsiu hsi.
two have cultivated together as Dhyana friends for limitless kalpas, "If
you work hard, I'll work harder! If you increase your efforts I'll double
mine!" These two were genuine cultivators, ever vigorous and never
resting—Nityodyukta and Gandhahastin.
or Sakro-devanamindra, is the ruler of the Trayastrimsa Heaven, the Heaven of
the Thirty-Three. He is referred to in the Surangama Mantra as "Yin T'o La
Ye."1 Those who understand the Buddhadharma know that all gods, ghosts, and
spirit kings, as well as all the great Bodhisattvas are contained within the
Surangama Mantra. Those who do not understand the Buddhadharma say,
"Buddhism doesn't include the heavens, the twenty-eight
constellations..." but this is just because they fail to understand. The
twenty-eight constellations, the heavens, everything is within the Surangama
Mantra. Sakra is Sanskrit and translates as "the able heavenly ruler."2
great multitudes from all the heavens. Numberless, these heavens cannot be
counted. In general there are thirty-three, but if you wanted to speak in
detail, there are limitless limitless worlds, this country, that country,
limitless countries. Thus, many heavenly beings were gathered in the assembly.
Surangama Sutra, T. 945, p. 139a:23.
-neng thien chu.