The Asura King Vemachitra obtained the liberation door of making appear limitlessly many kalpas.
So-and-so, today you can lecture first in Chinese and then in English. (The following prose section was lectured by a disciple.) Vemachitra is a Sanskrit compound made up of "vema" which means "silken thread" and "chitra" which means "various kinds." This Asura King, using a single silken thread, can create all kinds of states. The liberation door obtained by this Asura King is that of making limitlessly many kalpas and limitlessly many Buddhalands all appear within an extremely short interval of time. He can shrink infinitely many aeons into one instant of thought, and stretch out an instant of thought into infinitely many aeons. He can also make the limitlessly many Buddhalands of the ten directions appear within a particle of dust, each particle of dust also appearing within the infinitely many Buddhalands. The small can include the great, and the great can include the small, great and small being mutually non-obstructive; and one and many also being non-obstructive. This Asura King obtained this liberation door of unobstructed freedom and ease in displaying limitless and boundlessly many kalpas.
The Asura King Clever Magical Illusions obtained the liberation door of eradicating all living beings; sufferings and purifying them.
This Asura King's name is "Clever Magical Illusions" (Sanskrit: Shambara), because, being very intelligent, he can perform transformations. Since his power to transform is considerable, he has this name. He uses all kinds of methods to benefit living beings. The door of liberation which this Asura King obtained is that of eradicating all living beings' sufferings and making them pure. Of the limitless and boundlessly many states of the Buddha, what he understood was how the Buddha is able to destroy all beings' sufferings and purify them. Why does the Buddha wish to eliminate the sufferings of living beings? It's because the Buddha has no self and no duality. He knows there is no difference between all living beings and himself, so the sufferings and troubles of beings are just his own. He doesn't say he won't pay attention to the suffering of some living being—the reason being that the Buddha sees the living beings as the same as himself, with no distinction. That's why the Buddha wants to eradicate beings' sufferings. Not only does he wish to free them from suffering, he also wants to help beings achieve happiness and be pure. He enables them to reach that state of purity by eradicating their sufferings, so they reside in the state of radiance of ultimate bliss. This is the door of liberation which the Asura King Clever Magical Illusions understood.
The Asura King Great Retinue obtained the liberation door of adorning oneself through the cultivation of all ascetic practices.
There is also an Asura King named Great Retinue. Due to his great merit and virtue, he has a large entourage. Why is his merit and virtue so great? It's because on the causal ground all he practiced and understood was ascetic conduct with the result that his retinue became extremely large. He obtained the liberation door of adorning oneself through the cultivation of all ascetic practices. He realized that the Buddha while cultivating did not just maintain one or two ascetic practices, but all types of asceticism—the most ascetic of all being the practice of patience. He could bear what others cannot bear, which is asceticism to the utmost. The Buddha's ascetic practices were limitless and boundless. He could cultivate any ascetic conduct, and he used those ascetic practices to adorn his own Bodhimanda, his own state. The Asura King Retinue understood this door to liberation of how the Buddha cultivated all ascetic practices and used them as his own adornment.
The Asura King Balin obtained the liberation door of boundlessly many states of quaking of the ten directions.
This Asura King's name is a Sanskrit word, the Chinese for which can be interpreted two ways. One interpretation is that the Chinese stands for Bandhi, which means "tied up," because he was tied up by Lord God (Shakra), that is, the God Indra, who is a Dharma Protector within Buddhism. The second interpretation is that the Chinese stands for Balin (sometimes written Balika), which means "power", since this Asura King is strong. This mighty Asura King obtained the liberation door of boundlessly many states of quaking of the ten directions. Being so powerful himself, he understood how the Buddha's states can cause quaking in limitless and boundlessly many lands throughout the ten directions. Since the Buddha's states are infinite in extent, there is no way to describe them or know their magnitude. Since the Buddha's states are infinite, his power, too, extends throughout the world-systems of the ten directions. That is what the Asura King Balin understood concerning the Buddha's states.
The Asura King Pervasive Illumination obtained the liberation door of using all sorts of expedients to securely settle all living beings.
The name of this Asura King is Pervasive Illumination, because the light of his wisdom extends throughout the ten directions. The Flower Adornment state of the Buddha which he understood is how the Buddha has all kinds of expedient methods to securely settle and establish all living beings. Since the Buddha's wisdom is limitless and boundless, and his wisdom is so vast and great, he can employ an infinite variety of dharmas of skill-in-means to teach and transform living beings. From this we know the Buddha has not just a hundred or a thousand states: he is omnipotent. He can use every sort of expedient method to settle all living beings securely, enabling beings to leave suffering and attain bliss. That is the door to liberation obtained by the Asura King Pervasive Illumination.
The Asura King Wonderful Adornment with Solid Practice obtained the liberation door of universally amassing indestructible good roots and purifying all defiled attachments.
There is another Asura King, whose name is Wonderful Adornment with Solid Practice The reason for his name is that everything he does is durable and firm; he would not be turned by states. The liberation door which he understood are was that of universally amassing indestructible good roots and purifying all defiled attachments. What indestructible good roots? They are the most superior grade of good roots in which one forgets oneself and simply benefits living beings, so they cultivate the unsurpassed way to Buddhahood, the unsurpassed path of a Bodhisattva, and are sure to become Buddhas. He takes all living beings across the sea of suffering to reach the other shore. Accumulating indestructible good roots is not all he does. He furthermore has no defilements or attachment of mind. So, what is meant by defilement, and what is meant by attachment? Defilements are afflictions, and afflicted thoughts are defiled thoughts. If one gives rise to ignorance, there will be lots of afflictions, and those afflictions are defilements. The fundamentally pure self-nature of living beings becomes defiled, and so they discriminate one state as being good and another state as not good. They delight in the happiness of this world, but cannot stand this world's sufferings. Hence they run around to and fro, not knowing how to end suffering. This is the state which the Asura King Wonderful Adornment with Solid Practice understood.
The Asura King Vast Great Causal Wisdom obtained the liberation door of being a host with power of great compassion free from doubts.
What this Asura King understands is the power of causes. He knows that for whatever cause one plants, one reaps the corresponding result. He has the wisdom to comprehend cause and effect thoroughly, which is why he is called Vast Great Causal Wisdom Asura King. What state did he obtain, what door to liberation? He acquired the liberation door of being a host with power of great compassion free from doubts. The Buddha, the World Honored One, is greatly kind and greatly compassionate. He never says he won't pay attention to living beings and what they do. Rather he wishes to help all living beings leave suffering and attain bliss, and so his kindness and compassion are very great. He forgets himself, and just concentrates on helping others. He has obtained a great power which is the power of great compassion. Moreover, the Buddha has no doubts. Since he does not have thoughts, he knows and understands everything. "Being a host" refers to how the Buddha is a host of great compassion, great power of compassion--a host who has no doubts. This Asura King understood that kind of state of the Buddha.
The Asura King Displaying Supreme Virtue obtained the liberation door of causing beings everywhere to cultivate all good roots by seeing, attending upon and making offerings to Buddhas.
This Asura King is called Displaying Supreme Virtue, because his merit and virtue are supreme to the utmost, surpassing by far, which is why he can display merit and virtue of utmost supremacy. The liberation door which he understood was that of causing living beings everywhere to cultivate all good roots by seeing Buddhas, attending upon and making offerings to them. Living beings who see Buddhas are very happy, and don't have afflictions. As soon as they see a Buddha they wish to attend upon that Buddha and make offerings to him. Any being who sees a Buddha wishes to cultivate all good roots, and in the future can achieve the fruition of Bodhi. That's the liberation door which he understood.
The Asura King Good Sound obtained the liberation door of the practice of universally entering all destinies with absolute equality.
This Asura King is named Good Sound, because the sound of his voice is especially exotic and wonderful, quite good in fact. The state of the Buddha which he understood was the practice of universally entering all destinies with absolute sameness, total equality. The Buddha universally enters all destinies. He would never say, "It's no concern of mine whether that asura becomes a Buddha or not." Nor would he say, "I don't care whether that god creates merit and virtue." The Buddha goes into all paths of rebirth everywhere: those of hell-beings, hungry ghosts, asuras, animals, people and gods. This liberation door obtained is that of the practice of absolute equality. In entering all the destinies, the six paths of rebirth, the Buddha is totally the same towards living beings. It's not to say that he likes one living being and so does something for that being, but does not like another, and wants to prevent that being from obtaining advantages. The Buddha constantly practices the dharma of sameness. This is the state which the Asura King Good Sound understood.
At that time the Asura King Rahu received the Buddha's awesome might, universally contemplated all the multitudes of asuras, and spoke the following verses.
When the liberation doors obtained by the ten Asura Kings had been described, at that time the Asura King Rahu, availing himself of the great awesome strength of the Buddha, observed the great throng of asuras everywhere, and spoke verses.
to be continued
(Editor's Note: The preceding prose section was lectured by a disciple.)