A reminder of the sutra text:
The Tathagata, with comfortable ease, appears in the world.
To teach and transform the multitudes of beings,
Everywhere revealing Dharma-doors for beings to enlighten to and enter,s
So they all will accomplish unsurpassed wisdom.
The Buddha came into the world for the sake of you and me and others--all living beings, which is why you are being taught and transformed, and so am I and other beings. If we practice in accord with the teachings and rely upon the Buddha's teachings to cultivate, we can leave suffering, attain bliss, and escape the cycle of birth and death. However, if you do not practice in accord with the teaching--for example, if when told to eliminate greed you not only don't eliminate it, but increase it; or when instructed not to get angry you get twice as angry; or when admonished not to be stupid you augment your stupidity by one hundred percent so that the amount of these keeps doubling--then you will not be able to end birth and death, turn back from confusion and return to enlightenment, leave suffering and attain bliss. The Buddha appears in the world so beings can leave suffering and attain bliss, turn back from confusion and return to enlightenment, and achieve unsurpassed wisdom.
The Buddha brings living beings to enlightenment, everywhere revealing Dharma-doors for beings to enlighten to and enter. Like a magnet, everywhere he draws in living beings, who are like iron filings, attracting them all. And so he gathers in all living beings, gathering them in and revealing expedient Dharma-doors for them. "Everywhere revealing Dharma-doors" means telling beings about them, so beings can wake up, enlighten to them and attain to inherent wisdom--become enlightened. That is why he universally shows beings the Dharma-doors. These approaches to Dharma are suited to the living beings' potentials. Each individual being hears the Dharma-door suited to that being's fundamental disposition and the causes and conditions for crossing that being over. Therefore the "Universal Door Chapter" (of the Dharma Flower Sutra) describes how Guanshiyin Bodhisattva bestows fourteen kinds of fearlessness, has thirty-two types of transformation bodies, saves beings from the eight types of difficulties, neutralizes the three kinds of poisons, and responds to the two types of seeking. Guanshiyin Bodhisattva speaks the type of Dharma suited to each individual's potential, enabling beings to understand, then go on to cultivate, become enlightened and have accomplishment. This section of the Flower Adornment Sutra also speaks of opening up, revealing, and causing beings to enlighten to and enter the knowledge and vision of a Buddha.
So they all will accomplish unsurpassed wisdom. "All" means entirely, indicating that all beings whatsoever have conditions for becoming Buddhas, and that all living beings will become enlightened and achieve Buddhahood. Hence the text says, "so they all," meaning all living beings, "will accomplish unsurpassed wisdom." This is in the future tense. Right now they are still living beings and have not yet done this, but he makes it happen that they will accomplish the very highest wisdom and fruition, which is that of the Buddha. This means causing all living beings to accomplish the Buddha Way together.
[Editor's note: Right after this section was translated into English, the electricity came on again, and the rest of the lecture was recorded on tape.]
With limitless spiritual penetrations, as many as living beings,
According to what beings like, he reveals all characteristics.
Those who see him are enabled to escape from suffering.
Such is the Spirit Manifesting Light's power of liberation.
With limitless spiritual penetrations, as many as living beings. As to spiritual penetrations, Buddhas have the spiritual penetrations of Buddhas; Bodhisattvas have the spiritual penetrations appropriate to Bodhisattvas; Arhats possess Arhat-style spiritual penetrations; gods have god-like spiritual penetrations; ghosts are endowed with ghostly spiritual penetrations; and people have human spiritual penetrations. Even though they are all called spiritual penetrations, some are ultimate, whereas others are non-ultimate. The Buddha has limitless and boundlessly many great spiritual penetrations which are ultimate. Why does he have such great spiritual penetrations? It's because he wishes to rescue all living beings. For as many living beings as there are, the Buddha has that many spiritual penetrations. If the Buddha didn't have that many spiritual penetrations, some living beings could not be rescued. Therefore the Buddha's spiritual penetrations are infinitely many, and there are also infinitely many living beings. The Buddha uses those infinitely many spiritual penetrations to teach and transform those infinitely many beings. For that reason the text says: "With limitless spiritual penetrations, as many as living beings." There are as many of them as there are living beings. For each additional living being the Buddha has an additional spiritual penetration.
I'll give you an example. It's a very simple example; but if you understand on the shallow level, you can go on to more profound understanding. Right now all of you know how radar works, and how if there is a plane approaching, the plane shows up on the radar screen. If a submarine is coming, the radar screen reflects the outline of a submarine. In the case of a person's approach, the image of the person appears on the radar equipment. Suppose, for instance, that the military had this equipment, and so could know all the things that existed within a fifty-mile radius. That is an example of spiritual penetrations, albeit ordinary ones which are scientifically developed.
Didn't I say before that people have human spiritual penetrations? Those are man-made, human spiritual penetrations. The spiritual penetrations of a Buddha are somewhat like that, yet somewhat different. The difference is that people must use strength and make such equipment in order to have that kind of knowledge, whereas the spiritual penetrations of a Buddha occur naturally. The Buddha has them inherently. He doesn't have to press any buttons to know things. The knowledge is naturally his. Hence the text says: "With limitless spiritual penetrations, as many as living beings." The Buddha has as many spiritual penetrations as the total number of living beings. The Buddha's spiritual penetrations are intended to be used to save living beings. Otherwise, how could it be said that as many thoughts as there are in the minds of living beings are completely known and completely seen by the Tathagata? There is a radar connection between the Buddha and living beings--a telegraphic hook-up--and the electrical circuits are a function of spiritual penetrations.
According to what beings like, he reveals all characteristics. Take a look at the mundane level of truth in the world, with all its indications in society. All of that is Dharma being spoken for living beings by the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time. They display appearances that are adapted to what living beings like, and by so doing they encourage people to understand all appearances. That is why I always tell you that if when you see things you can recognize them, then you can transcend the world. That means that whenever you encounter a situation, you can understand that situation and realize, "Oh! That's the way it was all along. So it is, so it is! That's the way it is! It's that way! Oh!" If you have clarity of understanding, then nothing is a problem. Everything's okay!
If when you see things, you can recognize them,
then you transcend the world
But if when you see things, you are confused by them,
you will sink and fall.
Perhaps whenever you encounter a situation, you are turned around by the situation. In that case, rather than the person being able to turn the state around, the state turns the person around. The state turns your samadhi power around. Instead of the strength of your concentration succeeding in altering the state, it is altered by the state--in that case you will fall.
The eyes see forms outside, but inside there is nothing.
The ears hear defiling matters, but the mind does not know.
Every instant of purity in your mind is an instant on Vulture Peak. If at all times you are pure, then you are at all times on Vulture Peak. Shakyamuni Buddha's Dharma assembly on Vulture Peak has never dispersed--that is what Great Master Zhi Zhe ("Wise One") saw. If you, upon seeing things, can recognize them, then you can have that kind of experience. Shakyamuni Buddha is still speaking Dharma in the assembly on Vulture Peak, and that Dharma assembly has never disbanded. Therefore, "according to what they like, he reveals all characteristics." He displays all appearances, and the displaying of all appearances itself is all dharmas. If you understand all appearances, just that is all dharmas.
Those who see him are enabled to escape from suffering. If you see the Buddha and hear the Dharma, and open wisdom, then you leave suffering and attain bliss. But if you are stupid, you are in a dark hell, the way we had no lights just now. [Editor's note: The electricity had gone out for the first part of the lecture, but had just come back on for the lecturing of this section. People had used candles up to then.] If you light a candle, the candle is a tiny amount of Prajna wisdom. That minute quantity of wisdom of Prajna enables you to see words. You should turn on the light in your mind. With your mind's light turned on, you won't need candles or electricity for there to be light. You will have attained the unsurpassed wisdom discussed before. When you attain unsurpassed wisdom and your mind's light is turned on, then even in the dark world you still have the great treasury of brightness. Hence, those who see him are enabled to achieve escape from suffering. They leave suffering and attain bliss; such is the Spirit Manifesting Light's power of liberation. The Direction-Ruling Spirit named Universally Manifesting Light understands this kind of state and door to liberation.
→To be continued