The Tathagata, for limitlessly many kalpas,
Extensively discussed the Way of all sages,
To totally eradicate all living beings' obstructions.
Universal Light awakens to this door.
At Gold Mountain Monastery and the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, we hold daily Sutra lectures, the way water in a river flows day after day. In this Dharma-ending Age, we must do the deeds of the Proper Dharma. That is the vow I made in the past. I resolved to preserve the Proper Dharma during the time of the Dharma's end, vowing that wherever I go there must be the Proper Dharma, and not the ending of the Dharma. I made that vow in the past, I am making that same vow now, and I shall make that vow in the future. My vow is to prevent the ending of the Dharma and to retain the Proper Dharma. Why do I make such a vow? We should realize:
The Tathagata, for limitlessly many kalpas, extensively discussed the Way of all sages. "Tathagata" is one of the ten titles of a Buddha. "Limitlessly many kalpas” refers to how, for immeasurably immeasurable eons from the past until now, the Buddha has been universally and continually discussing the Path cultivated by the sages. That means speaking Proper Dharma on a vast scale, to totally eradicate all living beings' obstructions. He everywhere helps to dispel living beings' karmic obstacles so they are gone. Once living beings' obstructions are eradicated, their wisdom arises. When their wisdom arises, they can enter the Buddha's door to liberation. When their karmic obstacles are gone, their rewards of blessings can increase, along with their wisdom. Universal Light awakens to this door. This particular state is the Dharma-door to which the Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Universal Light awakens.
I contemplate how the practices for Bodhi
Accumulated by the Buddha in the past
Were entirely to stabilize the world.
Wondrous Cowl practices this state.
The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Wondrous Cowl says: I contemplate how the practices for Bodhi, accumulated by the Buddha in the past, were entirely to stabilize the world. He observes this having taken place life after life and time after time, which is the temporal reference of "in the past." He contemplates the doors of practices for Bodhi which were amassed by the Buddha over many kalpas up to now. No one could equal those doors of practice which he cultivated. Why did the Buddha accumulate those doors of Bodhi conduct? They were entirely to bring peace and happiness to the world, so that the world of sentient creatures could achieve stability and joy. Wondrous Cowl practices this state. The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Wondrous Cowl understands this state and enters this kind of door to liberation.
On all the realms of living beings
Who flow and turn in samsara's sea
The Buddha emits light to end their suffering,
Which the Spirit named Unobstructed can see.
On all the realms of living beings includes both sentient and insentient beings. Sentient beings exist by contrast with insentient beings, in the same way as sentient beings exist by contrast with sentient ones. Together they enable people to understand the principles of the Buddha Dharma.
All dharmas form their origin
Are constantly characterized by still quiescence.
Due to the existence of living beings, within the Dharma of nothing which can be said, verbal expression is forced out. Thus it says: On all the realms of living beings who flow and turn in samsara's sea. We people turn round and round on this wheel. We are constantly in the wheel of the six paths, and it never occurs to us to try to get out. Samsara, birth and death, is like a great ocean in its extent. It's not easy to end birth and death. That being the case, we bob and sink in that revolving cycle, flowing and turning in samsara. We drift through the path of gods, the path of humans, the path of asuras, the path of hell-beings, the path of hungry ghosts, and the path of animals--in that wheel of the six paths. That is why this is termed flowing and turning in samsara's sea.
The Buddha emits light to end their suffering. Living beings are too stupid and suffer too much. They can't distinguish clearly what is right and what is wrong, what is incorrect and what is correct. You can clearly be in the right, but they say you are wrong. Or you may be obviously mistaken, yet they maintain you are correct. They keep spinning in that kind of state of falseness and unreality, which is why they suffer. But the Buddha emits light to end their suffering. The Buddha sends forth a kind of radiance which helps people wake up and formulate the wish to leave suffering and attain bliss. That's what's meant by the Buddha emitting light to end their suffering, which the Spirit named Unobstructed can see. The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Unobstructed Dwelling can understand this type of state and enter this door to liberation.
The treasury of pure merit and virtue
Acts as a field of blessings for the world,
Suitably using wisdom to lead to enlightenment,
To which the Spirit named Strength awakens.
It says: The treasury of pure merit and virtue. The definition of purity is freedom from defilement. Something free from filth is pure. As to the treasury of merit and virtue, merit need to be established, and virtue must be enacted. How does one establish merit? It's by doing things beyond what one is required to do. Virtue is acting in ways that benefit others. Wholesome merit and virtue is contrasted with offenses and transgressions which entail recompense. To be wholesome is to do one's best to perform good deeds. To have merit is to do things beyond the call of duty. Then if you can bring benefit to living beings on a vast scale, you will have virtue. That's wholesome merit and virtue. But what if you create offenses and transgressions entailing recompense? If you do what you shouldn't do, you have offenses. The creation of offenses is a transgression entailing recompense, and so you have offenses and transgressions for which you must make restitution. For example, you shouldn't kill people, but you kill someone. Then you have an offense. You shouldn't steal or engage in deviant lust, but you do so. Then you have made a transgression entailing retribution, and the retribution comes along with the transgression. A transgression is a misdeed. Any act of wrong-doing on your part is a transgression.
Now this treasury of pure merit and virtue is one of purity, hence freedom from defilement. The merit established is limitless and boundless, and so it is termed a treasury of pure merit and virtue. The treasury of pure merit and virtue is the Sangha, which is the pure field of blessings. And it is the Sangha of the pure Buddha Dharma, which acts as a field of blessings for the world. That is, the Triple Jewel the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, can act as a good field of blessings for the beings in the world, the world's finest field of blessings. Any of you who would like to seek blessings should draw near the Triple jewel, make offerings to the Triple Jewel, and revere the Triple Jewel. In that way you can plant blessings. Suitably using wisdom to lead to enlightenment. As circumstances require, it employs the door of Prajna wisdom to guide all livings to reach enlightenment, to which the Spirit named Strength awakens. The Spirit named Supreme Strength understands this kind of door to liberation.
Living beings are covered by stupidity.
They flow and turn in dangerous paths.
The Buddha emits light for their sake.
The Spirit Freedom from Filth witnesses this.
Living beings are covered by stupidity. Living beings are obscured by ignorance and denseness, and so they are said to be covered over by stupidity. That stupidity shrouds the light of their wisdom, amounting to a covering of stupidity. They flow and turn in dangerous paths. They revolve in the six paths of rebirth, sometimes becoming animals, at times turning into hungry ghosts, occasionally falling into the hells--all of which is extremely precarious. Hence they are described as flowing an turning in dangerous paths. The Buddha emits light for their sake. The Buddha sends forth great light of wisdom for the sake of living beings, in order to pull them out, so they can leave those dangerous roads far behind. The Spirit Freedom from Filth witnesses this. The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit Purity of Freedom from Filth has no defilement and so she is pure, and this is the kind of door to liberation which she understands.
His wisdom is totally unbounded.
It appears everywhere in all lands.
Its light illumines the worlds.
Wondrous Sound sees the Buddha in this way.
His wisdom is totally unbounded. The light of the Buddha's wisdom has no bounds. There aren't any boundaries to it. In other words, it is inexhaustible and unending. It appears everywhere in all lands. The radiance of the Buddha's wisdom universally shines on all Buddha-lands throughout the ten directions, which is why it is described as appearing everywhere in all lands. Its light illumines the worlds. The light is that of the Buddha's wisdom which radiates throughout the Great Trichiliocosm. Wondrous Sound sees the Buddha in this way. The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Wondrous Sound understands this kind of door to liberation, knows about this state of the Buddha, and enters this door to liberation.
The Buddha, to rescue living beings,
Cultivates pervading the ten directions.
This type of mind of great vows
Is what Universally Manifesting can contemplate.
It says: The Buddha, to rescue living beings: The Buddha comes into the world in order to rescue and save all living beings, enabling every one of them to leave suffering, attain bliss and put an end to birth and death. For that reason, he cultivates pervading the ten directions. This type of mind of great vows, such an attitude as described before of wishing to rescue living beings, of wanting to cultivate, and of hoping that one's cultivation will pervade the ten directions to cross over all living beings everywhere in the ten directions--that type of mind of great vows which he brings forth is what Universally Manifesting can contemplate. The Emptiness-Ruling Spirit named Universally Manifesting can understand this kind of principle.
To be continued