Outline: This is D. The parable of the children getting the carts and rejoining.
Meanwhile, that is, when the Elder gave away the great carts. If he had limitless wealth, but they were not his children, he would not have given the great carts away. If they were his children but he didn't have any wealth, he wouldn't have given them away. But now, the Elder has the wealth, limitless wealth and treasuries, and they are overflowing. The children are true disciples of the Buddha and so the Buddha gives all of them a Great Cart. Every child gets a cart. This is because the children originally had no hopes of getting a great cart. They were hoping for deer carts or sheep carts and that alone would have satisfied them. They would have felt very happy and played in them happily. But now the Elder, because he is so wealthy, gives each of them a great cart this is using the Great Vehicle Dharma to save living beings. All of the children originally had not such great hopes, but now they have all obtained the great carts, the beautiful and expensive great white ox carts. So, all of the children are riding around on the great carts, having got what they never expected to have, beyond their original hopes. They had never before seen anything so fine, never had such a fine toy. This is beyond their wildest dreams, for they had just wanted a small cart to begin with. Now they have got the great cart. This represents those of the Two Vehicles who originally cultivated Small Vehicle dharmas and have ended share-section birth and death. But now they don't need to work on anything more, no extra trouble to them, and the obtain the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma. On the basis of their original cultivation, their original practice, they accomplish the karma of the Way. This means their original study, that is, of the Small Vehicle states. Now they take another step forward and obtain the Great Vehicle Dharma. Quite naturally they also bring change birth and death to an end and this goes beyond their original hopes. It's not what they were originally after, but now they have got it and this goes way beyond their original plans. It surpasses their former aspirations.
SARIPUTRA, WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHEN THAT ELDER GIVES EQUALLY GIVES TO ALL HIS CHILDREN GREAT JEWELED CARRIAGES, IS HE GUILTY OF FALSEHOOD OR NOT?"
Outline: This is 4. The parable of no falseness. It divides into three parts of which this is the first i.e. a) the question.
Was the Elder lying? Sariputra, what do you think? When that Elder gives equally to all his children great jeweled carriages, is he guilty of falsehood? Did he lie? Did he do wrong?
SARIPUTRA REPLIED, "NO, WORLD HONORED ONE. THE ELDER IS NOT GUILTY OF FALSEHOOD FOR HE HAS ONLY ENABLED HIS CHILDREN TO AVOID THE CALAMITY OF FIRE, AND HAS THEREBY SAVED THEIR LIVES. WHY IS THIS? IN SAVING THEIR LIVES HE HAS ALREADY GIVEN THEM A FINE PLAYTHING, HOW MUCH THE MORE SO HIS SETTING UP EXPEDIENTS TO SAVE THEM FROM THE BURNING HOUSE.
Outline: This is b. the answer.
The Buddha asked Sariputra what he thought about this situation. The Elder gave them the great cart. Was he lying? Now in this passable of text he is answering the Buddha's question by saying the Buddha was not lying. Someone may ask here, "Why didn't the Buddha explain this himself? Why did he ask Sariputra? He could have just made the question rhetorical and answered it himself."
He asked Sariputra because the Elder is an analogy for the Buddha and if he had explained that he himself had not lied, most people would not have believed him. So he had the Greatly Wise Sariputra answer the question so that everyone could understand that the Buddha does not lie.
Sariputra answered saying, "No, he does not lie. The Buddha does not lie. Why? The Elder is not guilty of falsehood, the Elder is the Buddha and he has only enabled his children to avoid the calamity of fire, he has led all the children to get out of the fire, to escape that disaster. And has thereby saved their lives. They didn't burn to death. This is enough to prove he was not speaking falsely. How is that? Why is this? In saving their lives they have already got a fine plaything. You could say that getting out with their lives was getting out with fine playthings. This is because the most important thing to people, after all, is their life. Since they got out with their lives, you could say they got the toys they wanted and so the Buddha did not lie. How much the more so his setting up expedients to save them from the burning house, the Buddha set up many expedients, of various kinds, in the Triple Realm, to save all living beings from the burning house.
WORLD HONORED ONE, IF THAT ELDER HAD NOT GIVEN THEM EVEN SO MUCH AS A SINGLE SMALL CART, HE STILL WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SPEAKING FALSELY. WHY? BECAUSE THE ELDER HAD FIRST HAD THIS THOUGHT, "I SHALL USE EXPEDIENTS TO LEAD MY CHILDREN OUT." FOR THIS REASON HE IS NOT GUILTY OF FALSEHOOD. AND FAR THE LESS IS HE, SINCE, KNOWING HIS OWN WEALTH TO BE LIMITLESS, AND WISHING TO BENEFIT ALL HIS CHILDREN, HE GIVES THEM EQUALLY A GREAT CART.
Even if that Elder had not given them so much as a single small cart, a little sheep cart, he still would not have been speaking falsely. Why? Because the Elder had first had this thought, before he had saved all the children he had already thought like this, "I shall use expedients to lead my children out." I will use a clever expedient device to cause all the kids to get out of the burning house. For this reason he is not guilty of falsehood. Why not? He had formed the intention of using expedient devices, and they are only provisional for the purpose of saving them. By saving them alone he was not guilty of falsehood, of lying.
And far the less is he, since, knowing his wealth to be limitless, and wishing to benefit his children he wanted to benefit all the children. He gives to them equally a great cart. This passage of text points out that the Buddha, in order to save living beings, doesn't use the Small Vehicle Dharma. Thus he has already lived up to his word, to say nothing of his now giving all living beings the Great Vehicle Dharma. Since he saves all living beings with the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma, he can't be considered a liar.
THE BUDDHA TOLD SARIPUTRA, "GOOD INDEED, GOOD INDEED. IT IS AS YOU SAY."
Outline: This is c. the narration of praise.
The Buddha heard Sariputra's answer and then he told him, "You are exactly right. Right on, Sariputra it's just like you say."
SARIPUTRA, THE THUS COME ONE IS ALSO LIKE THIS. HE IS A FATHER TO ALL THE WORLDS. HE HAS FOREVER ENDED ALL FEAR, DEBILITATION, DISTRESS, WORRY AND CARE, IGNORANCE, AND OBSCURITY. HE HAS COMPLETELY REALIZED THE LIMITLESS KNOWLEDGE AND VIEWS, POWERS, AND FEARLESSNESSES; HE POSSESSES GREAT SPIRITUAL MIGHT, AND THE POWER OF WISDOM, HAS PERFECTED THE PARAMITAS OF EXPEDIENTS AND WISDOM. HE IS GREATLY KIND AND GREATLY COMPASSIONATE; NEVER TIRING, HE EVER SEEKS THE GOOD, BENEFITTING ALL. AND SO HE IS BORN IN THE DECAYING FLAMING HOUSE OF THE TRIPLE WORLD.
Outline: Here we begin a new section. 2. The combining of the Dharmas (with the analogy). It has two major parts the first of which is a) fitting the general analogy together. A) also divides into two parts, the first of which is 1. Fitting the analogy of the Elder.
Sariputra, the Thus Come One is also like this. The Buddha teaches and transforms living beings in the same way as the Elder saves his children. He is a father to all the worlds. Of all living beings in the worlds he is a compassionate father. He has forever ended all fear, debilitation, that is decay, distress is affliction, worry and care, things they fret about, their problems ignorance and obscurity. All living beings have ignorance, and that ignorance covers them up, envelops them in darkness. But Sakyamuni Buddha has no fear. He is not affected by debilitation. He has no distress. He has no worries and no cares, no ignorance and no obscurity. They are gone forever. No more afflictions or false thinking. They are gone forever--not a trace remains. And has completely realized the limitless knowledge and views...Since ignorance and obscurity are gone forever in their place there is limitless wisdom and limitless knowledge and views of the Buddha.
Each has his own space from which he accomplishes the karma of the Way. Take Sariputra, for example, he opened the knowledge and vision of the Buddha through the door of wisdom. It was through the door of wisdom that Sariputra opened up, witnessed, awakened to, and entered into the Buddha's knowledge and vision. Mahamaudgalyayana did so through the door of spiritual powers. Sariputra used wisdom, that was his original practice, what he had cultivated all along. Mahamaudgalyayana had cultivated spiritual power. Each one had his original practice and work and by taking one more step forward in that direction they were able to open up to the Buddha's knowledge and vision. Now, the Buddha has gotten rid of all ignorance and obscurity forever and what is more he has completely realized the limitless wisdom, the limitless power of the Heavenly Eye. He has accomplished as well the ten powers, and the four fearlessnesses.
1. The fearlessness of all wisdom. With all-wisdom one is not afraid of anything. Why? Because one has wisdom.
2. The fearlessness of speaking Dharma. One speaks the Dharma like the lion's roar, and fears nothing.
3. The fearlessness of speaking of that which obstructs the Way. They have methods of smashing through obstructions to the Way.
4. The fearlessness of speaking the Dharmas which lead to the exhaustion of the path of suffering.
He possesses great spiritual might. The Buddha has great powers of the spirit with which to save all living beings to take them from suffering to bliss. And the power of wisdom, this is great, not small, wisdom. The Buddha's great wisdom is of four kinds:
1. The wonderful observing wisdom. Why does the Buddha know everything? Because he has the wonderful observing wisdom.
2. The perfecting wisdom. He succeeds in whatever he does because he has the perfecting, wisdom.
3. The great perfect mirror wisdom. The Buddha's wisdom is like a big mirror. When something comes along, it reflects it; when it goes, the image is gone. It illumines all dharmas as empty marks; it is perfectly fused without obstruction.
4. The equality wisdom. The Buddha is equal towards all living beings. He makes no distinctions among them.
He has perfected the paramitas of expedients..."Perfected" means they are perfect. What are? The expedients. What are expedients? They use whatever method is necessary in order to save any living beings. So it is said, "There are no fixed dharmas." The Vajra Sutra says, "This Dharma is level and equal with nothing above or below it." He also has the paramita of wisdom, which goes all the way to the other shore. He is greatly kind. Kindness bestows happiness. Living beings like to be happy. So the Buddha gives them their wish and makes them happy. And greatly compassionate. With compassion, he relieved living beings of their sufferings. All of their suffering is removed. Never tiring means he never grows weary, lax, tired, or lazy. He never gets sick of working and takes a break because he's tired. No matter how tough the job is, the Buddha doesn't rest. He's not lazy. He doesn't get tired. What kind of work does the Buddha do? He teaches and transforms living beings, leading them all to become Buddhas. So Ananda made this vow, "If a single living being hasn't become a Buddha, I will not at death enter Nirvana." If one single living being is left-who hasn't become a Buddha, he won't either. That's a great vow. Why doesn't the Buddha ever rest? Because he sees living beings in this world are too miserable, upside-down, "downside-up," running east, running west in pursuit of the false they forget the true and they have no thought to escape the burning house. So the Buddha is very busy. He has to think of a way to pluck his sons and daughters out of the sea of suffering. He uses the power of his great compassion and his great wisdom and his great spiritual powers. Using various provisional expedients, he saves living beings. If one single living being hasn't been saved, his heart is uneasy. Saving living beings is his job. So he has no time to rest, no time to look for happiness for himself. The Buddha ever seeks the good, he's always looking to teach and transform living beings, benefiting all. He benefits all living beings. He doesn't benefit himself. He docs not need to. He's already become a Buddha and he's perfectly satisfied. He just wants to benefit all living beings.
And so he is born in the decaying, flaming house of the Triple World. It's falling apart. It is rotten and it's very dangerous. Why does the Buddha enter the burning house? To save all the little children because they are playing oblivious to everything, to their home, their family--everything--and so the Buddha comes to the Triple World to teach and transform all living beings so that they can quickly wake up.
...IN ORDER TO SAVE LIVING BEINGS FROM THE FIRES OF BIRTH, OLD AGE, SICKNESS, DEATH, GRIEF, MISERY, STUPIDITY AND DULLNESS, AND THE THREE POISONS, HE TEACHES AND TRANSFORMS THEM, LEADING THEM TO THE ATTAINMENT OF ANUTTARASAMKAYSAMBODHI.
Outline: This is 2. Fitting the analogy of the thirty children.
Why did the Buddha come into the flaming house of the Triple World? He came to liberate all living beings. This is because the living beings in the burning house don't know enough to be afraid and they don't think to wake up and find out that there is no peace in the Triple World.
The Buddha came in order to save living beings from the fires of birth. When we are born, it is great suffering. It is as painful as ripping the shell from a live tortoise. Old age is even more painful. You are not free in any respect. Your four limbs, your internal organs, your eyes and ears all refuse to help you out. It's really rough. While you are young, you feel strong and healthy. But when you get old, you aren't in control. When you get old, if you then get sick, it's even worse. You have to lay in bed all day and as the sickness wears on, it grows more and more painful. Then there is death and that is as painful as flaying the skin from a live cow. There is all this grief, misery, stupidity and dullness, and the three poisons, greed, hatred, and stupidity. He teaches and transforms them, leading them to the attainment of Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. He leads living beings to the attainment of the utmost right and perfect enlightenment, the position of Buddhahood. That's why the Buddha came into the Triple World. The Buddha exhausts himself waiting, waiting for us, and getting nervous on top of it all. We should strike up our spirits and hurry and get out of the Triple World. Don't hang around in the burning house.
HE SEES ALL LIVING BEINGS SCORCHED BY BIRTH, OLD AGE, SICKNESS, DEATH, GRIEF AND MISERY, AND UNDERGOING VARIOUS SUFFERINGS BECAUSE OF THE FIVE DESIRES, WEALTH, AND PROFIT. BECAUSE OF THEIR GREED, THEIR CLINGING, AND THEIR GRASPING, THEY PRESENTLY UNDERGO A MASS OF SUFFERING AND IN THE FUTURE HILL UNDERGO SUFFERING IN THE HELLS, AMONG THE ANIMALS OR HUNGRY GHOSTS. IF BORN IN THE HEAVENS OR AMONG HUMAN BEINGS THEY WILL SUFFER POVERTY AND DISTRESS, THE SUFFERING OF BEING SEPARATED FROM WHAT THEY LOVE, THE SUFFERING OF BEING JOINED TOGETHER WITH WHAT THEY HATE, AND VARIOUS SUFFERINGS SUCH AS THESE. HOWEVER, LIVING BEINGS SUNK IN THIS MORASS, JOYFULLY SPORT, UNAWARE, UNKNOWING, UNALARMED, AND UNAFRAID. THEY DO NOT GROW SATIATED NOR DO THEY SEEK LIBERATION. IN THE BURNING HOUSE OF THE TRIPLE WORLD THEY RUN ABOUT FROM EAST TO WEST AND ALTHOUGH THEY ENCOUNTER TREMENDOUS SUFFERING, THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED.
SARIPUTRA, HAVING SEEN THIS, THE BUDDHA FURTHER REFLECTS, "I AM THE FATHER OF LIVING BEINGS; I SHOULD RESCUE THEM FROM THIS SUFFERING AND DIFFICULTY, AND GIVE THEM THE LIMITLESS, BOUNDLESS JOY OF THE BUDDHA-WISDOM FOR THEM TO PLAY WITH.
Outline: This is the second part of the fitting the analogy together b) specific fitting of the analogy. It has four parts, this being the first 1. Fitting together the seeing of the fire.
He sees all living beings/The Buddha sees all living beings scorched by birth, the suffering of birth, old age, the suffering of old age, sickness, old age, and death, those sufferings and grief and misery worry and care. These sufferings are like a great fire and living beings are being burned in it. They are like hot water in which living beings are being boiled.
And undergoing various sufferings because of the five desires, wealth, and profit. There are five kinds of desires: wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. The five desires are also explained as forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and tangible objects. They turn people upside-down. Why do people do evil deeds? Because they are turned by the five desires. Why do people do good deeds? It's also because of the five desires. They look upon the five desire very cooly. They have seen them for what they are and broken through their attachment to them. "So that's what they are all about," they think. No matter how much money I get, I can't take it with me. No matter how lovely the partner, when I die, it's all love. No matter how good the food, once it's in my stomach it changes and, once it has turned into excrement, no matter how fine it was to begin with, no one would want to eat it then. If you put even the tiniest speck of shit in a plate of exquisite food, no one would go near it. Once it goes through the "machine" it's completely different. Thus, food can't be all that important. Now sleep, the more you sleep the more you want to sleep, and all day long you're in a daze. If you have a good reputation, when it's time to die, it evaporates! So wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep should be seen through and then you can do good deeds and foster merit and virtue. Thus as the Surangama Sutra says, "If you become a Buddha, it's through the use of your six senses; if you commit offenses and fall into the hells, turn on the wheel of birth and death it's also because of your six senses." The five desires also work in this way. If you don't understand, you are attached to the five desires, you lust after them and can't put them aside. People with understanding put them down and they use the strength they have to do good deeds, and merit and virtue. The five desires work that way. Wealth means money and valuables. Profit means self-benefit. Because of their greedy pursuit of the five desires they use many tricks to get them and when they don't get them they suffer in many ways.
Furthermore, because of their greed, their clinging, and their grasping, they presently undergo a mass of suffering. Because they are attached to and seek after the five desires in this life, they suffer a lot. They suffer from frustration of their ambitions. In this life, because they create much offense-karma lusting after the five desires, then when they die: and in the future will undergo suffering in the hells, among animals, or hungry ghosts. If born in the heavens or among human beings, they will suffer poverty and distress. They will be poor and utterly wretched. Poor folk find it hard to give because they have no money. Even if they want to do merit and virtue, they don't get a chance and they just keep getting poorer and poorer. Pretty soon they have no home, no land, nothing at all. Cultivators, who practice giving, keep increasing their wealth. Why? Because they give it away! The more they give the more good roots they have and so the more wealth they get. Because of this, while we have the strength, we must nourish and strengthen our good roots. If you wait until the last minute, you won't be able to, even if you want to.
The suffering of being separated from what they love...the thing people like the most are love-objects. But sometimes they can't be with them and they must part. This separation is hard to bear. It's most painful indeed. The suffering of being joined with what they hate. Hatred means there is no affinity between people and so if you have affinity with someone, you won't mind it even if they scold you or even beat you. You'll still feel good about them. If you have no affinity with a person, no matter how you praise them, and respect them, there's still no good feelings between you. You may praise them, but they will claim that you are ridiculing them. You may be speaking well of them but they will say you're being sarcastic. Lots of misunderstandings. No matter how good you are to them, they will continue to despise you and there's not a darn thing you can do about it. That's the suffering of being joined with what they hate. If you hate them, you may even move somewhere else to get away from them, but as soon as you get there you run into someone exactly like them! They bring you much grief. This is because you did not create an affinity with them in former lives; you set up antipathy instead.
And various sufferings such as these--sufferings as just listed, so many kinds of them. However, living beings sunk in this morass, joyfully sport. Sunk in this suffering they don't realize they are suffering. They play happily there thinking it great fun and games in the burning house of the Triple World. Like the thirty children in the burning house, they are unaware, unknowing, unalarmed, and unafraid. They aren't afraid of dying and they aren't scared in the least.
They do not grow satiated nor do they seek liberation. Because they don't know suffering and origination and the afflictions they bring, they do not grow satiated. Because they don't seek the Way to certify to extinction, they do not seek liberation. In the burning house of the Triple World they run about from east to west, hither and yon, here and there. And though they encounter tremendous sufferings, everything in the world is a form of suffering, they are not concerned. They don't think it's anything worth worrying about because they take this suffering as bliss.
Sariputra, says the Buddha, having seen this, the Buddha further reflects. Here where it says, "The Buddha," is like before when it said, "The Elder." This is what he thinks. "I am the father of living beings." I am the guide of the Triple Realm, the compassionate father of all beings in the four classes of birth and I should rescue them from this suffering and difficulty, help them to escape it. And give them the limitless, boundless joy of the Buddha-wisdom for them to play with. I should save them from their troubles, that’s the Buddha’s great compassionate heart. Giving them the joy of the Buddha’s wisdom—that’s the Buddha’s heart of great kindness. In this way all living beings can play safely and happily in the great kindness and compassion of the Great Vehicle Buddhadharma.
We were just talking about the suffering of poverty. You may wonder, "What about people who are rich?" That's also a form of suffering. This is the suffering of happiness.
"But how can happiness be suffering?"
When happiness reaches its extreme, it turns into sadness. Although it is said that it is hard to give when one is poor, it is also true that it is hard to cultivate the Way when one is wealthy. Was Sakyamuni Buddha wealthy? He was extremely wealthy, but he was able to cultivate the Way.
When the Buddha was in the world, the following incident took place. At that time, they used to burn oil lamps before the Buddhas' images as a kind of offering. During the day they put them out, but at night they lit them. One day a very poor person came to the temple with an offering of about a gallon of oil to be used in the lamps before the Buddha. The person in charge of the lamps put them out during the day and lit them at night. But the lamp that this person lit, no one could blow out! All the bhiksus came and tried to blow it out, like candles on a birthday cake, but they just couldn't do it. So someone told Mahamaudgalyayana and Mahamaudgalyayana said, "I don't believe it." He tried, and couldn't blow it out either. Then he used his spiritual penetrations to create a wind, but that didn't work. Then he rounded up the biggest wind around, one that's behind Mt. Sumerus called a p'i lan wind which is bigger than any other wind, and even that didn't work. So he went and asked the Buddha, "How come the lamp is playing such tricks today and no one can blow it out?"
The Buddha said, "You don't know but that person who came today with oil is a poor beggar. The oil he bought took his entire life savings. His lamp will never go out. And it never did. That’s because he was poor and gave everything he had and the light just never went out, no matter what spiritual powers were used. If you are poor but can still give, then that’s genuine merit and virtue. The less you have, the more you should give—then it’s true giving.
"If you have a lot and give, then does that not count?"
Yes, it’s giving, but those who are wealthy find it hard to cultivate. Those who are poor, if they can give, that’s real giving. When wealthy people give, it’s not that special. That’s what happened once when the Buddha was in the world.