Excerpt from the Venerable Master Hua's
lectures on the Asamkhyeya Chapter of the

Avatamsaka Sutra delivered in November, 1977, 
at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

Translated by Upasika Kuo Ts'an Epstein
Reviewed by Bhikshuni Heng Yin

      Before we spoke of an indescribable number of Buddhas, and on each of the bodies of those indescribable number of Buddhas is an inexpressible number of hair pores. On the Buddhas’ reward body an ineffable number of hairpores appears; and within each hairpore a multitude, an inexpressible number of colors manifests. And within those hairpores, in number so great that you cannot use words to describe it, is emitted an inexpressible amount of light. Within each ray of light an indescribable number of lotus flowers  appear. Blue lotus flowers, red lotus flowers—all different colors. Within each lotus flower is a limitless and boundless number of petals. There are so many of them that you can’t use words to describe the number. Inside each flower appears an indescribable number of colors. Within those various ineffable numbers of colors there again appears an inexpressible number of petals. Many, many lotus petals. The light within the lotus petals is also ineffable in amount. The light also manifests in ineffable quantities from within the petals, and the different colors within this light are also inexpressible. Each and every one of those colors also emits an indescribable amount of light. It is ineffable and indescribable—you could never finish speaking about it. The moons, which appear within the light, are ineffable in number. Boundless, numberless moons appear within the light, and within the moonlight an inexpressible number of moons again appear. The light is multi-layered and inexhaustible. The moonlight and the moons within the light are both ineffably many. This is the state of all Buddhas.

But living beings also manifest things. What do living beings manifest? Within each hair pore of living beings' bodies appear boundless and limitless organisms. Those organisms are even dirtier than the dung beetles in toilets. On the bodies of each of those organisms one can also find even more organisms--a boundless number of them. Large organisms have smaller organisms within them, and the small organisms have minutely microscopic organisms within them. Those microscopic organisms cannot be seen with our ordinary flesh eyes, but if you have the penetration of the heavenly eye, you can see them. Those kinds of organisms are incredibly filthy, extremely gross. However, people don't realize that, and still see their "Big Worm" bodies as really precious. They look upon them as extraordinarily important: "I'm afraid of being hungry. I'm afraid of being cold," they say. "I'm afraid of freezing, and I'm afraid of being thirsty." They're afraid of everything, and are always protecting this "Big Worm."

Now how is it that there are so many little worms inside this big worm? They are just the greedy worm, which is born from our gluttony, the hateful worm, which is born from our anger, and the stupid worm, which is born from our lack of wisdom. So within the big worm are little worms and within the little worms are tinier worms. And so it goes, inexhaustibly.

Then there is our thinking which is even more filthy than all the organisms. Take a look--ordinary people have only twisted thoughts and perverted viewpoints and lack even the slightest bit of proper knowledge and views. But the filthier the thoughts are, the more we want to think them. All of these filthy thoughts create a filthy world, a defiled world which then turns into the world of the five turbidities: the kalpa turbidity, the view turbidity, the affliction turbidity, the living beings turbidity, and the life turbidity. You ought to know that the world of the five turbidities is created by the false thoughts of human beings. The world itself isn't turbid or polluted. Not only does it lack the five turbidities, it doesn't have a single one of them. People themselves have caused it to be turbid. If you take a look at it, the five turbidities are really horrible. Yet, people's hearts are filled with jealousy and obstructiveness and they still refuse to admit that they have deviant knowledge and views. They try to cover them up so that others won't know, but the ugliness in these thoughts is even more hideous than weird demons or strange ghosts. Not only that, but they give off a hideous odor which permeates even to the Heaven of the Thirty-three.

Now is this heavy or not? The human realm has stunk up the heavens to the point that the Jade Emperor and the gods have to hold their noses because this stench is so unbearable! It's that horrible, and yet people don't even notice it. They still think they are really beautiful people. They've polluted all of the air in the entire world and won't even admit it. We blame the pollution on the fumes from cars and so forth, but these are not the primary causes. The defiled stench that people give off with their thinking has polluted everything. And so our world has become a world of the five turbidities.

However with a single proper thought, the air and the heavens can become pure and clean. With a single deviant thought people stink up everything with a stench that even heaven and earth are unable to contain. This isn't a joke. I'm not just kidding around. It's truly this way. Why is it that there's a drought? It's because the stench has caused even the dragons to run away.