In Buddhism, the lotus posture is called the Vajra Jeweled Sitting Posture. If you can sit in lotus, all the gods will protect you, saying, "This person is sitting in lotus and isn't afraid of the pain. He has made it through the pain barrier. He must have his mind set on the Way. We should protect him." Wherever you go, just sit in lotus and close your eyes, and---at least if you are a monk in China---people will make offerings to you. But don't sit in lotus just because you crave offerings! The reason you sit in lotus is because that's the way cultivators should sit. You shouldn't sit there in lotus with your eyes closed, putting on the airs of being a seasoned cultivator. That's not the point. If you are going to sit in lotus just to get offerings, you would be better off forgetting the whole thing. Go get a job. You'll make more money that way. Offerings are just to keep you from starving. They won't benefit you, and they won't make you rich either. Therefore, if you are only greedy for the offerings, don't bother learning to sit in lotus. But if you really want to get enlightened and become a Buddha, then you should definitely learn to sit that way. So I have taken this time to explain to you what sitting in lotus means.
Just now, I said that some people investigate the meditation topic of "nothing," and I told you to investigate the topic of "something." But you should investigate neither "nothing" nor "something."
"Then what should I do?" you ask.
Don't worry, there is something you can do. Non-Buddhist texts begin either with the word E, "something" or the word O, "nothing." In other religions, they figure that everything is either existent or non-existent and nothing goes beyond these two. That's why their texts begin with either E or O. We shouldn't investigate either one. We should investigate that which is neither "something" nor "nothing." What is neither existent nor non-existent? What is neither form nor emptiness? What is neither right nor wrong, neither defiled nor pure? What neither comes nor goes? You should apply your effort here: "Nothing" is true emptiness. "Something" is wonderful existence. True emptiness is not empty, and wonderful existence is non-existent. Since true emptiness is not empty, it is wonderful existence. Since wonderful existence is non-existent, it is also true emptiness. True emptiness and wonderful existence are "two and yet not two." True emptiness and wonderful existence, however, still have an appearance. You must find that which has no appearance. The
Vajra Sutra says, "All appearances are false." That which can be spoken is false. The Sixth Patriarch said, "The secret is within you. What has been spoken to you is not secret." What I am telling you now is not secret. It is the principle of the Manifest Teaching. You must find the secret within yourselves.
Then Shakyamuni Buddha, in order to accomodate all the division-body Buddhas, transformed in each of the eight directions, two hundred myriads of kotis of nayutas of lands, purifying them all. They were without hells, hungry ghosts, animals or asuras. The gods and humans were all moved to other lands. The transformed lands all had lapis lazuli for soil and were adorned with jeweled trees five hundred yojanas tall. The trees were adorned in season by their branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Beneath each tree was a jeweled lion throne, five yojanas tall and decorated with various gems.
Shakyamuni Buddha transformed the three thousand great thousand worlds so that the ground was made of lapis lazuli, and the roads were bordered with golden cords. He invited the Buddhas which were transformations of himself in the eastern direction to come to his Bodhimanda. However, there was not nearly enough room for them all. Seeing this,
Shakyamuni Buddha, in order to accomodate all the division-body Buddhas from the other directions and provide them each with a lion throne to sit on,
transformed in each of the eight directions, two hundred myriads of kotis of nayutas of lands, purifying them all. He used the power of his spiritual penetrations to make these lands pure.
They were without hells. There are many types of hells. In general, they are where offenders are punished.
Hungry ghosts have stomachs as big as bass drums and throats the size of needles. They pass through several great aeons without getting so much as a drop of water to drink. Even if there is water, they are unable to drink it.
Animals refer to horses, cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and so forth. The hells, the realm of the hungry ghosts, and the animal realm are called the Three Evil Paths. Beings fall into the Three Evil Paths because of greed, hatred, and stupidity.
Asuras are fighters. They like to make war, and have a strong tendency for fighting. The Three Evil Paths did not exist in the lands that Shakyamuni Buddha transformed.
The gods and humans were all moved to other lands. The beings in the heavens and in the human realm were all relocated in other worlds.
The transformed lands all had lapis lazuli for soil and were adorned with jeweled trees five hundred yojanas tall. These were Bodhi trees, the Kings of Trees, and their height was five hundred yojanas.
The trees were adorned in season with their branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Decorated by the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits they produced, they were extremely beautiful.
Beneath each tree was a jeweled lion throne, five yojanas tall and decorated with various gems. Each lion throne was made of the seven gems. The most precious and most valuable gems were used to decorate these lion thrones.
to be continued