A reminder of the sutra text:
In the past the Buddha cultivated and regulated
a sea of happiness
Which was vast, great, boundless and infathomable.
Therefore those who see him are all happy.
That is what Still Sound understands.
The Buddha in the past cultivated and regulated a sea of happiness which was vast, great, boundless and infathomable. That kind of sea of happiness was so enormous that it had no borders, and could not be sounded to its depths. There's no way to say how big it was. Therefore those who see him are all happy. The result is that all living beings who see the Buddha become joyful and happy. That is what Still Sound understands. The Night-Ruling Spirit named Still Sea Sound understands this state and door to liberation. This stanza represents the Youth Good Wealth's Good Friend on the Fifth Ground, the Ground of Difficult Conquest. The four Grounds prior to it are not as outstanding, which is why the Fifth Ground is said to be hard to surpass.
The Tathagata's state cannot be measured.
Though silent, he can speak throughout the ten directions.
Universally causing beings' minds to be purified,
The Night Spirit Shri heard this and rejoiced.
The Tathagata, the "Thus Come One," does not come from anywhere, nor does he go anywhere, and so he is called the One Come Thus. The Thus Come One seems to come, yet doesn't come. Then does he go somewhere? No. Since he neither comes nor goes, he is said to be Thus Come. "Thus Come One" is one of the ten titles of the Buddha. That being the case, it means the Buddha. The Tathagata is the Buddha, and the Buddha is the Tathagata.
People who don't understand the Buddhadharma say, "Tathagata Buddha," but that's just saying, "Buddha Buddha." The Way of all Buddhas is the same. All Buddhas are alike. All Buddhas are one, like the identity of lights. All lights are the same in that they are bright. There are no lights which lack brightness. However, there are black lights, and red, yellow, white and purple ones. Even though there are so many kinds of light, all lights merge into one. In the same way, there are no distinctions between Buddhas. That's why it's said that the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time have one and the same Dharma Body. Their Dharma Body is one, which is one light. Since the Buddhas are a single light, why don't we people want to be a single light? Even though people aren't one light, people's tempers are one and the same. You, I, and others all have tempers. But if we can turn those tempers into light, everything will be fine. That's known as smelting down spears and making them into ploughshares. If you can get rid of your temper, that is light, and it's wisdom.
Why are you stupid? It's because you have a temper. Temper results from accumulated ignorance and afflictions. It's truly pitiable. As soon as you have a temper, anger arises. And when anger arises, so does the wish to kill. Killing, stealing, lustful misconduct, lying, and the taking of intoxicants are the outcomes of ignorance, afflictions and temper. That's why I said that what's identical about people is their temper.
In particular, I am a left-home person with tremendous greed. What am I greedy for? I'm greedy for people's tempers. I want everyone to give their tempers to me. However, you people can't part with your tempers. You hang onto them as if they were more precious than pearls or diamonds. You can't give your tempers away. Even so, you have to part with them. It will never do not to renounce them. Unless you give them up, you can't become a Buddha. But you can become a Buddha if you part with them. All living beings have the Buddha-nature, yet all living beings have the nature of a demon too. The demonic nature is their temper. If you don't believe it, think it over. If you have a temper you can become a demon. But without a temper, you go back to the origin and return to the source, and manifest a great treasury of light. Your Prajna wisdom appears.
As I talk, I forget the time and the topic, but I haven't strayed too far. Now I can come back. Where do I return to? To the Buddha's state. You may ask, "Do you understand the Buddha's state?" I understand it a little bit, not a lot. Why do I say I just understand a little? It's because the Buddha's state cannot be measured. It is infinite, beyond numerical measure. And it is boundless. It has no boundaries. It's also ineffably ineffable. Since it has that ineffableness, I understand it is indescribable. The state of its being indescribable is what I understand. You ask me, "What is it like?" Well, it's indescribable, so why do you want me to describe it? I can't describe it, and you shouldn't ask about it either. Just what you shouldn't ask about either is the Buddha's state. And what I cannot describe is the Buddha's state as well.
If you know that little bit, then you've just about got it. you shouldn't know too much. It's too much trouble to know too much. If you just know that little bit, then what? You break through ignorance, and the Dharma Nature manifests. When you smash through ignorance, then the Dharma Nature will appear. That's a little bit about the Buddha's state, but even that little bit does not exist. And since it does not exist, it cannot be measured. Do you say it exists? Then pick it up and show it to me. Everything whatsoever is the Buddha's state. If you understand, then everything is the Buddha's state. If you don't understand, it's still the Buddha's state--only you don't know and haven't understood yet. That's how the Buddha's state cannot be measured and has no numerical limits.
Though still, he can speak throughout the ten directions. The Buddha's state is still, silent and unmoving. Even so, his responses accordingly penetrate. He is still, silent and unmoving, and yet responses go through by way of response. He is still and quiescent without the mark of being still and quiescent. He accords in response without any characteristic of moving. That's what's described when it says, "Though still, he can speak throughout the ten directions." Without moving from the Way Place, he extends throughout the Dharma Realm. He extends throughout the ten directions, and yet he does not move from the Way Place. Why is that? It's because through still, he can speak. Right within the state of silence and stillness he can speak wonderful Dharma for all the living beings of the Dharma Realms of the ten directions.
Even though he proclaims wonderful Dharma, it's not like us people. When we are in this place, then we are not in that place. And when we are in that other place, we are no longer in this place. Why is that? It's because we are not able to divide our bodies. We don't have hundreds of thousands of kotis of myriads of transformation bodies, so we can't be still and yet speak. We have to move to speak. We might move by taking an airplane to New York, or a boat to London. Those are examples of moving. But if you can be still and yet speak, you don't need to purchase an airplane ticket or buy a ticket for a boat. You will pervade the Dharma Realm. You may say, "That's too mysterious. We're in the Scientific Age, and you're still spouting such vacuous talk. None of that is factual." Well, if you claim this is obscure and not factual, then look for something which is factual. I don't believe you will find any such thing.
Your own nature has that kind of wonderful functioning; it's just that you don't understand it. This is comparable to having a precious wish-fulfilling pearl right within your clothing. Because you don't know how to use it, it's as if you didn't have it. But if you can use it, you conjure up all kinds of transformations at will. The essential thing is that you know how to employ the pearl. If you can't use it, although it could fulfill your wishes, it doesn't. If you do know how to use it, then what originally went against your wishes will end up fulfilling your wishes.
So, even though he is still, he can speak throughout the ten directions. He reaches everywhere in the ten directions' Dharma Realms--doing what? The next line explains that he is universally causing beings' minds to be purified. Why is it that we have tempers, afflictions and ignorance? It is because our minds are not yet purified. If your mind is pure, your afflictions would be cut off, and your ignorance would be demolished. And yet, afflictions cannot be cut off; they can only be transformed. Into what? Turn afflictions into Bodhi, and smash ignorance into wisdom. If you insist on cutting off afflictions, once severed, how can they become Bodhi? Therefore, you shouldn't cut them off, but instead retain a tiny amount of them to change into Bodhi. People produce afflictions because they don't understand, whereas Bodhi arises from understanding. That's why I was wrong just now when I said to cut off afflictions. If afflictions are severed and ignorance demolished, how can you turn them into Bodhi?
Here's an analogy. Ice is equivalent to afflictions, and Bodhi equals water. The meaning of cutting off afflictions, is not that the ice is supposed to be heated to the drying point, so it evaporates and leaves no water. Rather, you should melt the ice so it changes into water. Ice is water, and water is ice. Afflictions are Bodhi, and Bodhi is afflictions. If you understand, then it's Bodhi; but when you are muddled, it's afflictions. Afflictions and Bodhi are not two different things. That being the case, you should not add a head on top of the head you already have by looking for Bodhi apart from afflictions.
Now, there is pervasion of the ten directions. Afflictions extend throughout the ten directions, and so does Bodhi. The light of the Buddha's wisdom also shines everywhere in the ten directions. These are all linked. You may ask, "Why do you say afflictions, ignorance and temper all pervade the ten directions?" It's very simple. You tell me: are there or are there not living beings in the ten directions? "There are," you reply. Well, if there are living beings, then there must be tempers, afflictions and ignorance, right? So how could they not pervade the ten directions? Bodhi is like that too; it also extends throughout the ten directions. Where there are living beings, there is Bodhi--the nature of Bodhi, the Buddha-nature.
"If someone wishes to understand the Buddha's state, he should purify his mind so it is like empty space." Those are lines of verse from the Flower Adornment Sutra. If you want to understand what the Buddha's state is like, you have to make your mind pure, just as pure as empty space. "But," you may protest, "These days the atmosphere is polluted with smog." Although it's temporarily polluted, it will slowly become pure. Don't get nervous. Air pollution can clear up with time. It doesn't matter.
The Night Spirit Shri heard this and rejoiced. "Shri" means "auspiciousness." As soon as the Night-Ruling Spirit named Universally Manifesting Auspiciousness heard about this kind of state, this wonderful and inconceivable principle, she was so delighted she jumped for joy. See how the Night-Ruling Spirit, upon hearing the Dharma, started dancing! That Night-Ruling Spirit was not alone. You may recall how the Patriarch Maha-Kashyapa, long-term cultivator and ascetic that he was, also got up and danced when he heard music chanted well. That indicates how the wonderful Dharma makes people so happy they forget themselves and others. They forget themselves and don't know where they are. That's being filled with the bliss of Dharma.
→To be continued