If living beings who have blessings and virtue can be saved,
what about living beings who lack blessings and virtue? Can they be saved or not?
They are saved, too, but somewhat later. They aren't rescued at the same time.
A reminder of the sutra text:
The Night-Ruling Spirit named All Faculties Always Happy
obtained the liberation door of great compassion,
displaying adornments everywhere.
The Night-Ruling Spirit named Making Pure Blessings Appear obtained the liberation door of universally enabling living beings to be replete with what they like.
"Making appear" can be interpreted as pointing out and as manifesting, either as one idea or as two. To point out is as, for example, when you point with your finger and say, "Do you see? It's over there." That's making appear in the sense of indicating and pointing out. Making appear in the sense of manifesting means that something which didn't exist before comes into existence. To start with, it wasn't there, but now it is. This is the idea of manifesting in making things appear. Here, what is made to appear? It is pure blessings: clear, pure blessings and virtue. Clear, pure lands are made to appear, along with living beings who have blessings and virtue. Living beings who have blessings and virtue can be saved, and clear, pure lands can manifest.
If living beings who have blessings and virtue can be saved, what about living beings who lack blessings and virtue? Can they be saved or not? They are saved, too, but somewhat later. They aren't rescued at the same time. The Night-Ruling Spirit named Making Pure Blessings Appear first rescues living beings who have virtuous natures, and once they have been rescued, she goes on to rescue living beings who are average. After saving the average beings, she then rescues the inferior ones. The superior grade is rescued first, and afterwards the average. The inferior ones come last. The manifesting works that way, too. First she makes appear pure lands, then lands which are half defiled and half pure, and finally she makes appear the evil worlds of the five turbidities. Our world now is an evil world of five turbidities. It has the kalpa turbidity, the turbidity of views, the turbidity of afflictions, the turbidity of living beings, and the turbidity of lifespans. Our world is particularly defiled and turbid. It is exceptionally dirty with those five kinds of filth. Those five kinds of uncleanliness influence people to be unclean.
But now this Night-Ruling Spirit displays great spiritual penetrations. She has obtained the liberation door of universally enabling living beings. On a universal scale, whenever she sees any living beings whose faculties are ripe, she goes to save those living beings. And when any living beings' faculties are not yet mature, she waits for them. She waits a minute. She waits until the very end to rescue the living beings whose dispositions are most base. That's known as universally enabling living beings to be replete with what they like. It's only to be feared that nothing makes you happy. If you like something, she will endow you with it. Perhaps you would like a dog, so this Night-Ruling Spirit finds a way to present a dog to you. You take walks all over with the dog on a leash. After many strolls, you reach the door of a Way-place, and the dog wants to go in. You can't hold the dog back, and so you go in, too. Once you hear what is said inside, you become enlightened! So you see, because you liked a dog, the dog could lead you to enlightenment.
When I went to Los Angeles, one person who saw me didn't bow, but when his little dog saw me, it bowed and bowed. Everyone thought that it was very amusing. I said, "This dog understands the Buddhadharma. People don't know how to be respectful to the Triple Jewel, since they haven't seen the Triple Jewel before." This too is becoming replete with what one likes. Or maybe you like to raise cats, so she gives you a cat. You may ask, "What kind of Dharma is this Dharma Master speaking?" I'm speaking the Dharma of dogs and cats. If you can't rescue people, it's pretty good to be able to cross over a dog and a cat. Don't look down on cats and dogs. Shakyamuni Buddha in his previous lives was a cat and a dog, and he was a deer. That's why there is the Deer Wilds Park in India. There are reasons for all of this. Don't look down on any living beings. All living beings have the Buddha-nature. They are all capable of becoming Buddhas.
Since they can be replete with what they like, they are delighted. I'm not joking. In the world, when people get what they want, they are happy. But if they don't get what they want, they are unhappy. So say a particular person likes money, or gold, or silver, or diamonds; as he goes out the door, he trips, and as he stretches out his hand, he touches an enormous diamond, of more than 120 carats. Would you say that was strange or not? He brings it in and becomes rich. That's another example of becoming endowed with what one likes. The diamond had been lying there for one doesn't know how many great kalpas, but no one had caught sight of it. But as soon as he tripped and stretched out his hand, he touched it. Is that strange or not? You may say, "That kind of thing never happens." Of course, it hasn't happened to you, and so you say it can't be. But if it happened to you, it would be something that had happened.
Don't pay attention to whether this sort of thing exists or not. Just try it out. Try tripping as you go out, and see what the result is. But I take that back. If, after hearing me talk about it, you trip on purpose, it won't happen to you. It has to be unintentional. If you are not trying to make it happen, it can happen. But if you're trying to make it happen, it won't happen. That's just how strange things in the world are. A girl would like to have a boyfriend, but for all her thinking, she doesn't get one. And a boy would like to have a girlfriend, but for all his thinking, he doesn't get one either. This is all false thinking. No reality will issue forth from it. But now this Night-Ruling Spirit endows living beings with what they like. If you like to have certain false thoughts, and your false thoughts are not becoming reality, go ask this Night-Ruling Spirit named All Faculties Always Happy, "You are supposed to be endowing all beings with what they like, so why haven't you endowed me with what I like?" The Night-Ruling Spirit will ask, "Aren't you counted among living beings?" She obtained this door to liberation, and it's a pretty fine liberation door, don't you think?
At that time the Night-Ruling Spirit named Universal-Virtue Pure-Light received the Buddha's awesome spiritual might, universally contemplated all the multitudes of Night-Ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verses.
When the Night-Ruling Spirit named Making Pure Blessings Appear had finished speaking the previous section of prose, right at that time the Night-Ruling Spirit named Universal-Virtue Pure-Light received the Buddha's awesome spiritual might, universally contemplated all the assembled multitudes of Night-Ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verses. Adapting to the potentials of that assembly of Night-Ruling Spirits, she composed verses in praise of the Buddha.
You should contemplate what is practiced by the Buddha.
It is vast like empty space, characterized by stillness.
He has completely regulated and purified the boundless sea of desires.
Immaculate and adorned, he illumines the ten directions.
The Night-Ruling Spirit named Universal-Virtue Pure-Light is one of the Youth Good Wealth's kalyana-mitrani, "good friends," the Good Friend upon the Ground of Leaving Filth. She addresses all the multitudes of Night-Ruling Spirits saying, "You should contemplate what is practiced by the Buddha." That is, "All of you Night-Ruling Spirits ought to carefully observe the Dharma-doors practiced by the Buddha, and the Way travelled by the Buddha." The Dharma-doors cultivated by the Buddha involve practicing what is virtually impossible to practice, enduring the unendurable. He could stand the sufferings which most people cannot stand, and cultivate methods of cultivation which others cannot cultivate. For that reason, you should contemplate the incredibly difficult ascetic practices which the Buddha cultivated. But it's not enough just to observe them. You must cultivate in accord with those Dharmas. Ask yourself, "The Buddha could practice such rigorous asceticism--can I practice it or not?" You're not finished after having made the contemplation--you need to emulate the Dharma-doors practiced by the Buddha. If you can't cultivate in accord with the Dharma, you should be very repentant.
It is vast like empty space, characterized by stillness. The doors of practice cultivated by the Buddha are most vast and extensive, comparable to empty space which is still and quiet. Is there any sound which comes from empty space? Empty space is empty. Empty space is characterized by stillness. Empty space has vastness and stillness as its characteristics, and so do the Dharma-doors cultivated by the Buddha. He practices as if he weren't doing anything, without any attachments. He cultivates without there being any cultivation, and is certified without there being any certification. For him there is no cultivation and no certification, because he has no attachments. For that reason, it is like empty space. Empty space has no characteristics, yet it is not apart from all characteristics. Another way of describing this is that right within marks one is free of all marks.
He has completely regulated and purified the boundless sea of desires. People's desires have no bounds. They are never satisfied. Thoughts of desire never cease. Desires are like an immense, shoreless ocean. Nonetheless, even though the sea of desires has no shores, the Buddha uses the previously mentioned Dharma-doors to regulate the sea of desires so they are purified. That is, he returns to the original source, and enlightens to everything. That's what's meant by completely regulating and purifying.
Immaculate and adorned, he illumines the ten directions. The Buddha is the pure and immaculate Dharma Body. The thirty-two marks and eighty lesser characteristics adorn his body. That kind of wisdom light shines everywhere throughout the ten directions' Dharma Realms. Right now as we lecture Sutras and speak Dharma here, that too can be called the light of the Buddha's wisdom universally illumining the ten directions.
To be continued