From last issue: The Transference of Saving and Protecting Living Beings While Apart from the Appearance of Living Beings;
the Transference of Indestructibility.
Fundamental enlightenment is profound indeed, an enlightenment equal to the Buddhas' enlightenment. This is called the Transference of Sameness with All Buddhas.
Fundamental enlightenment refers to our very own Tathagata Treasury (Tathagatagarbha). This is our original, inherent enlightenment. Our Tathagata Treasury is profound indeed, and pure. It is an enlightenment equal to the Buddhas' enlightenment. Our minds of enlightenment are the same as the Buddhas' enlightenment. This is called the Transference of Sameness with All Buddhas. The name of this is "Transference of Sameness with All Buddhas." Our enlightenment is the same as that of all Buddhas.
When absolute truth is discovered, one's level is the same as the level of all Buddhas. This is called the Transference of Reaching All Places.
In the previous transference, when absolute truth is discovered, one's level is the same as the level of all Buddhas. One realizes that one is about to reach the Buddha's position. This is called the Transference of Reaching All Places. That's the name of this transference.
Worlds and Tathagatas include one another without any obstruction. This is called the Transference of a Treasury of Inexhaustible Merit and Virtue.
Worlds and Tathagatas include one another without any obstruction. Worlds are the very body of the Tathagata, and the very body of the Tathagata is itself the worlds. The wonderful functioning of spiritual penetrations enables them to contain one another. There isn't the slightest hindrance or impediment, nor anything contrived about it. This is called the Transference of a Treasury of Inexhaustible Merit and Virtue. That's the name of this transference. Inexhaustible means it cannot be exhausted. What cannot be exhausted? The treasury of merit and virtue.
Just now I talked about Patriarch Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu of Liang. Patriarch Bodhidharma was intent on saving the Emperor. But because the Emperor's karmic obstructions were so heavy, he missed his chance even though he was face to face with the first patriarch to come from India [to China]. The Chinese have a saying, "Guanshiyin Bodhisattva was right before him, and he didn't even recognize him." The "Mind from the West" was right before Emperor Wu of Liang, and he failed to recognize him. He didn't recognize the Patriarch from the West.
Why did Patriarch Bodhidharma wish to save him? Because the Patriarch knew that Emperor Wu was about to suffer a disaster. He was hoping to wake him up so he would either leave the home-life and cultivate or at least yield the throne to someone else, thereby avoiding having to starve to death. Basically the Emperor was a devout believer in Buddhism. During his reign Buddhism flourished in China because he used his imperial position to spread the Buddhadharma, building temples all about the land. During his time, the majority of the population was Buddhist.
However, he had created some heavy karma in past lives. What kind of person was the Emperor in a former life? He was once a left-home person, a Bhikshu, who cultivated in the mountains. As he was cultivating, there was a monkey who came to steal and eat the things he planted, all the fruits on his trees, such as peaches, apples, and the like. There was hardly anything left of what he had planted, because the monkey had stolen it all and then eaten it. So he trapped the monkey in a mountain cave and sealed the opening with a boulder. He had originally intended to keep the monkey there for a few days and then let it go, not ever allowing it to steal things to eat again. Who would have known that after he had trapped the monkey in the cave, he forgot about it, and the monkey starved to death in the cave.
Therefore, when he became an emperor in that life, the monkey was reborn as a person named Hou Jing [Hou in his name is pronounced the same as the word for monkey in Chinese]. Hou Jing led an army and attacked Nanjing. After conquering Nanjing, he locked Emperor Wu in a tower and didn't give him anything to eat. He took all the food away, and the Emperor starved to death in that place. He had starved a monkey to death, and so in this life the monkey starved him to death. This was the kind of retribution he received.
Patriarch Bodhidharma saw that the Emperor had amassed so much merit and virtue that this merit might serve to lessen his offenses. However, in order for that to happen, there had to be certain causes and conditions present. That's why Patriarch Bodhidharma was so impolite to him. But the Emperor thought, "I'm the Emperor, a mighty monarch, and you're a penniless monk who has come to my country, yet you still talk to me in such an impolite way." And so he shunned the Patriarch. Although Patriarch Bodhidharma wanted to save him, since the Emperor didn't seek the Patriarch's help himself, there was nothing the Patriarch could do but leave. He didn't pay any more attention to the Emperor. In the end, Hou Jing--who had been the monkey in a previous life--led some troops and had the Emperor imprisoned in the tower, where he starved to death. Such were the causes and conditions of this incident.
To be continued