Universal Worthy Bodhisattva of Great Conduct
Universal Worthy Bodhisattva has the greatest conduct while Manjushri Bodhisattva has the greatest wisdom, Guanshiyin (Avalokiteshvara) Bodhisattva has the greatest kindness and compassion, and Earth Treasury Bodhisattva has the greatest vows. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva's ten great vows surpass all other Bodhisattvas'. He came to this Saha world from a world which is as limitlessly many kalpas away to
the east as there are dustmotes. There is not only one world in the universe. The world that we live in is not the only world there is. There are limitlessly and boundlessly many worlds. So we should expand our minds. Our knowledge should not be limited to this small world that we live in. Worlds are boundless and endless, and so are Buddhas, living beings, afflictions, and empty space. Then what about the vow power of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva? It is also boundless and endless. Even if empty space were to come to an end, his vow power would never be exhausted. Therefore, all the states of this Bodhisattva are inconceivable; there is no way we can fathom them with our minds or express them in words. Let me briefly introduce this Bodhisattva's ten great kings of vows
He came to the Saha world from the east. Since he knew that Shakyamuni Buddha was going to accomplish Buddhahood in the Saha world, he came to help the Buddha propagate the Dharma and transform living beings by being the influential assembly. What is meant by being influential? It means he can influence those living beings who have not brought forth the Bodhi mind to bring forth the Bodhi mind. He has already brought forth the Bodhi mind himself. He has heard quite a lot of Dharma spoken by the Buddhas. Although he has heard limitless Buddhas speaking the Dharma, he still comes to serve as the influential assembly when a Buddha speaks the Dharma. He wouldn't be lazy and say, "I live in the eastern world, which is very far from the Saha world. I don't care if a Buddha comes to that world." He is not like that. He goes to be the influential assembly at all the assemblies where a Buddha speaks the Dharma. He can influence those who have not brought forth the Bodhi mind to bring forth the Bodhi mind, and those who have brought forth the Bodhi mind to increase their resolves. His coming to the Saha world is described as a "Manifestation of great provisional dharma." That is to say, when he does not have to come, he comes anyway; and when he does not need to listen to Sutra lectures, he still comes to listen to the Dharma. This is known as the influential assembly. His conduct surpasses that of other Bodhisattvas. Thus he is a leader among Bodhisattvas. He made ten great kings of vows, and he goes to Dharma assemblies to be the influential assembly and to rejoice in and follow along with the merit and virtue of those Dharma assemblies. We students of Buddhism should deeply study, experience, and understand these ten great kings of vows.
The first of the Ten Great Kings of Vows is "To respect all Buddhas." Ordinary people would say: "Buddha images are made of wood or clay; what use is it to bow to them?" When we bow to the Buddhas, what counts is the mind of respect. Regardless whether the images are made of wood, clay, or any other kind of material, we should bow with a respectful mind. We are not only bowing to one Buddha, we are bowing to all Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time. It can also be said that we are respectfully bowing to limitless Buddhas of the ten directions and three period of times throughout the Dharma Realm and empty space.
The second vow is "To make praises to the Tathagatas." After we respectfully bow to the Buddhas, we shall make praises to the Tathagatas. What do we praise the Tathagatas for? Is it because the Buddhas like to be praised? That is not the case. The merit and virtue derived from praising Buddhas is boundless. It is to enhance our own Dharma body and wisdom life, and to increase our own wisdom, that we make praises to Buddhas. On the part of the Buddha, he remains a Buddha whether we praise him or not. He does not need that. However, on the part of us ordinary people, we should make praises to the Tathagatas. "Tathagata" [Thus Come One] is one of the ten titles of the Buddha. Then, is it enough to make praises to the Buddhas? No, that is still not enough.
The third vow is "To practice profoundly the giving of offerings." Profound does not refer to small offerings. It means that one must bring forth a great Bodhi mind to make offerings to the boundless, eternally abiding Triple Jewel of the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Sangha of the ten directions and three periods of time throughout the Dharma Realm and empty space.
The fourth vow is "To repent and reform all karmic hindrance." When we make offerings, we should repent of our karmic obstacles in front of the Buddha. Why should we make offerings? It is because we feel that our merit and virtue are not sufficient and that our karmic obstacles are heavy. Therefore, we should repent of our karmic hindrance in front of the Buddha after we make offerings.
Once we truly understand,
we will know that karmic obstacles are originally empty.
However, before we come to the understanding,
we still must repay all the debts created in the past.
→To be continued