From last issue:
Xu Moti was Shakyamuni Buddha’s former incarnation. And who was Xiu Piye? He was Devadatta’s former incarnation.
At that time the Buddha told the Bodhisattvas, gods, humans, and the four assemblies, In the past, throughout limitless eons, I sought the Dharma Flower Sutra without laxness or weariness. For many eons, I was always a king and vowed to seek supreme Bodhi with an unretreating mind. Wishing to perfect the Six Paramitas, I diligently practiced giving, my mind not begrudging elephants, horses, the seven precious things, countries, cities, wives, children, slaves, ervants, even my head, eyes, marrow, brains, body, flesh, hands, and feet-- not sparing even life itself.
This passage describes how, in his quest for supreme Bodhi, Shakyamuni Buddha in his past lives renounced all of his outer and inner wealth. He practiced giving in order to seek the Dharma.
At that time, having finished speaking the Chapter on the Jeweled Stupa, the Buddha Shakyamuni spoke again without waiting to be requested, and told all the Bodhisattvas, gods in the heavens, humans, and the four assemblies of Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, “In the past, throughout limitless eons, I sought theDharma Flower Sutra without laxness or weariness. A long, long time ago, limitless kalpas ago, in seeking to understand the doctrines of the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, I never grew weary. I never took a break or was lazy for a moment. Whenever the Dharma Flower Sutra was being lectured, I went to listen. I never missed an opportunity.
For many eons, I was always a king and vowed to seek supreme Bodhi with an unretreating mind. In that long period spanning many eons, I remember I was once the emperor of a country. I made the Great Vehicle vow to seek Unsurpassed Enlightenment without ever turning back. Wishing to perfect the Six Paramitas, I diligently practiced giving. No matter what I was giving away, I was never stingy. I only wanted to give to all living beings, my mind not begrudging the most valuable elephants and horses, the seven precious things—gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls, and carnelian. Sometimes I gave away countries, cities—my entire kingdom. But these are just material possessions. I also gave up my own wives, children, slaves, and servants. I gave away the servants and workers who attended upon me and worked for me. As long as someone wanted them, I would give them away. The above are all considered outer wealth—possessions external to the body. I was able to give all these things away.
I also gave away inner wealth: even my head, eyes, marrow, brains, body, flesh, hands, and feet—not sparing even life itself. I was able to give away my very own head and eyes, and if someone needed a transfusion of marrow, I would also donate my own bone marrow. I could even give up my brains and all the flesh on my body, as well as my own hands and feet. I had no regard for my own body and life. As long as someone needed them, I would give all these things away. The passage: “even my head, eyes, marrow, brains, body, flesh, hands, and feet—not sparing even life itself” refers to inner wealth. Thus, I gave away both inner and outer wealth to anyone who needed them.
All of the above describes the practice of giving. In his desire to perfect his practice of the Six Paramitas, Shakyamuni Buddha was able to give up both his proper retribution and his dependent retribution, that is, give up both himself and everything he owned. He gave away both kinds of retribution. This is true giving. In giving up both the proper and the dependent retributions, he gave himself away entirely. Giving to the point of renouncing the self is true giving. To be able to do this is the true Paramita (Perfection) of Giving, one of the Six Paramitas.
→To be continued