Today after the Sutra lecture there will be a Chinese class on the essay I wrote entitled "A General Explanation of the Secret School." Most people consider the Secret School fantastic---truly wonderful because it's
secret Dharma! Almost everyone who studies the Secret School is selfish, due to that attitude of wanting to keep the Dharma hidden and not let others know it. You should know this principle, that the majority of Secret School adherents are selfish and only a handful are public-spirited. First of all, most followers of the Secret School eat meat and drink liquor. They think, "This is not bad; one can get married and also become a Buddha"---have one's cake and it is too, as it were. But as the quote from Mencius goes, one cannot have both fish and bear's claws. It's frequent for those who mispractice the Secret School to fall into the path of asuras. You should all realize how very dangerous this is!
Before the Sutra lecture we have been chanting the Bell Song. When you chant it, the notes should be protracted as long as possible, and it's best to chant it with a loud, full sound. Don't pronounce the Request for Dharma too fast either. Actually it should be chanted rather than simply stated, and slowly, not like the firing of a machine gun, as if you wanted to get it over with. The rhythm and phrasing should calm people's minds, like hearing music which chants people's false thinking away. Then afterwards they listen to the Sutra. That's how it should be.
Next week (Tuesday and Thursday), Dharma Master Hui Seng will come and teach you the ceremonial chants and recitations for formal Sutra lectures. However, the ceremony is not all that fixed. He will tell you how it was done in China, but now we are in America, and American style doesn't have to be the same as in China. But since he's coming to teach it, you can study it, so you can see how to adapt the Chinese ceremony to the United States. He also plans to teach you the Flower Adornment Syllabary, which is something you should study carefully. Very few left-home people in China can perform that ceremony. It's a very esoteric and wonderful chant within Buddhism. There is enormous merit and virtue from reciting the Flower Adornment (Avatamsaka) Syllabary. If you recite it well, the Youth Good Wealth will come and jump for joy like a little child.
The Youth Good Wealth has come to our Way-Place many, many times. People who have opened their eyes have seen him here singing and dancing and very pleased. Others haven't seen him and don't know. Sometimes he has come during the Sutra lectures when he was happy with what he heard. Ours is a Flower Adornment Way Place with a Flower Adornment Assembly in progress, and the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions continually protect it. The reason I regularly tell you that there won't be a major earthquake in San Francisco is that we have a Flower Adornment Bodhimanda and the Great Dharma of the Flower Adornment is being spoken, and so San Francisco is sure to be peaceful. Most Bay Area residents have no idea that their peaceful and secure life is due to our lecture series on the Flower Adornment Sutra here, but it doesn't matter. There's no need to tell them and try to get them to be grateful to us.
Starting in 1968 (this lecture was delivered September 16, 1973), the seismologists and other scientists spread rumours that there would be a major earthquake in San Francisco. It's true there were supposed to be quakes, but they moved elsewhere each year, and didn't occur in San Francisco. That's proof the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are protecting our pioneer Buddhist Way Place in America. Nevertheless the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas would never take you by the ear and say, "Don't be afraid---we're protecting your place." They wouldn't tell you, but this is a sure indication that they are keeping our Bodhimanda safe. Right before lecture (7:15 p.m.) there was a slight tremor of the earth, so I spoke about this.
The Buddha's power of spiritual penetrations are unobstructed.
He sits under the Tree of Enlightenment throughout the ten directions,
Proclaiming Dharma just like clouds filling every place.
When Jewelled Crest heard about this, his mind did not resist.
The Buddha's powers of spiritual penetrations are unobstructed. Nothing blocks or hinders the wonderful powers of spiritual penetrations of all Buddhas of the ten directions.
He sits under the Tree of Enlightenment throughout the ten directions. The Tree of Enlightenment is the Bodhi Tree. In all Buddha-lands of the ten directions, the Buddha is seated beneath the Bodhi Tree, awakening to the Way. The Bodhi Tree is the tree of the Buddha's Enlightenment, and it's called the King of Trees. The Buddha is the King of Dharma, who has awakened to all dharmas and achieved the fruition of Buddhahood. Under the Tree of Enlightenment the Buddha is
proclaiming wonderful Dharma just like clouds in empty space, filling every place throughout the Dharma Realm, enabling all living beings to obtain the universal shade from the cloud of Dharma. The Dharma is like a cloud above the head of each living being, bringing cool refreshment, happiness and comfort. Also, each being obtains just that Dharma which he or she should obtain, just as when there is rain from clouds in the sky and all living things absorb the amount of rain suited to them.
When the Garuda King Jewelled Crest heard about this kind of state and Dharma-door,
his mind did not resist. He had no doubts in his mind. He clearly understood this Dharma-door.
The Buddha in the past cultivated all practices,
Universally purifying the vast, great Paramitas,
And making offerings to all of the Thus Come Ones.
The King Swiftness deeply believes and understands this.
The Buddha in the past cultivated the various doors of
all the practices. He was able to do what is hard to do, endure what is hard to endure, take what is hard to take, eat what is hard to eat, and be patient with what it is hard to be patient with. He cultivated all the Dharma-doors which are most difficult to practice---much like the Living Buddha of Gold Mountain of whom I spoke before.
"Living Buddha" is a made-up name. He wasn't really a Buddha, but he did practice the doors of conduct most people can't cultivate. Seeing his small amount of spiritual penetrations, people began to call him the "Living Buddha" but it was only a nickname, not the reality. However, he was able to practice great kindness towards those with whom one lacks affinities, and great compassion of identity in substance.
How did he cultivate such great kindness towards beings with whom he had no conditions? In Burma, due to the hot climate, any food left over from a meal had to be discarded and could not be saved, for it would spoil. Sometimes in the temple where he was living there was a lot of left-over food. He would personally collect the rice and vegetables and feed them to the cows, at the same time speaking Dharma for the cows--not just one or two, but a great many cows. The cows welcomed him as soon as they saw him coming, and he would feed them, day after day, tying up affinities with cows. Furthermore, when people made offerings of food to him, he didn't eat it himself. What he ate were discarded peelings and rinds, such as melon rind, peanut shells, banana skins, apple parings--newspapers. In general, he would eat all such things which were remotely edible. He fed the good food offered to him to the crows. All he had to do was say, "Na Mwo A Mi Two Fwo," and the crows would come flying to him and he would feed them. He also fed the good food to the dogs along with the crows, and ate the bad food. That's known as practicing great compassion of identity in substance. He was one with living beings.
Who among us can eat newspapers and peanut shells and give the good food to animals? No one. That's an example of practicing what is hard to practice, and illustrates his cultivation of great kindness towards those with whom one lacks affinities, and great compassion of identity in substance. To start with he had no particular ties with cows, but he fed them and created affinities. When affinities are lacking, one should have some, and he was kind and compassionate where he lacked conditions with living beings.
He also liked to liberate life, always lots of living creatures each time. He would go to the fish market and purchase all the fish that were alive, all the live turtles, and anything else that was living---no matter how many there were. Then he would liberate life and set them free in the lake. That's what he liked to do. Such things are not easy to accomplish. He didn't have any money, but he wanted to purchase those creatures to liberate life. However, the merchants all knew him, and could rest assured that his disciples would pay for whatever he bought, and so they sold to him. That's practicing all kinds of ascetic practices which most people can't do. And he didn't seek fame or benefits.
That's also a way of universally purifying the vast, great paramitas. "Purifying" here means completing, fulfilling all the Paramitas. It can also mean cleaning them up so they are over perfecting the Paramitas to the ultimate point, so all have reached the other shore.