Sutra text from last issue:The Buddha in a hairpore proclaims with wondrous sound.His sound extends throught the world, going everywhere,Bringing fear and suffering of all types to an end.The Spirit Pervasive Howling has this understanding.
The Buddha can speak the Dharma in every hairpore and teach and transform living beings. Moreover, in every hairpore there are infinitely many living beings listening to the Dharma. It would be useless if the Buddha was just speaking Dharma and no one was listening to it. But in every one of the Buddha's hairpores there are limitless and boundlessly many living beings. Some people are saying, “That's just empty talk.” Of course, from the point of view of an ordinary being you don't believe there is such a state. And even if you certified to the fruition of an Arhat, you still wouldn't understand the state of the Buddha's Flower Adornment Assembly. You need to be a Bodhisattva to comprehend it. So now it not strange you fail to believe. When you have reached the level of a Bodhisattva, you will believe it.
Every hairpore has been proclaiming with wondrous sound. What is wondrous sound? It means Dharma spoken in accord with potentials, wonderful sound exactly suited to your situation. If it does not suit the potentials, it is not wondrous sound. Hence this is known as contemplating the potentials to bestow the teachings, speaking Dharma according to the person. That is wondrous sound.
His sound extends throughout the world, going everywhere. This kind of wondrous sound fills up all places, so each location has this wondrous sound. That's the meaning of his sound extending throughout the world, going everywhere.“The world” refers to the world of sentient creatures, which means the world of living beings. Consequently, this kind of wonderful sound on the part of the Buddha enables each and every living being to hear the Dharma and become enlightened, to turn back from confusion and return to awakening, bringing fear and suffering of all types to an end. All agony experienced by living beings is totally extinguished, along with all their fears. They are brought to an end, made to stop, so there is no more suffering and there are no more fears-no terror or anxiety. That's to cross over all suffering and difficulty. The Heart Sutra states, “He leaves upside-down dream thinking far behind.” When one has no fear, then one can leave upside-down dream thinking far behind.Once you are free from inverted dream-like thoughts, you can achieve ultimate Nirvana. And once you achieve ultimate Nirvana, you certify to the Four Virtues of Nirvana: permanence, bliss, true self, and purity. That's implied when it says,“bringing fear and suffering of all types to an end,” so they are extinguished and eradicated.
The Spirit Pervasive Howling has this understanding. This is what the Spirit named Pervasive Howling understands, the state which he attains, the kind of door to liberation which he enters.
Venerable Master: “What is everyone's opinion concerning the four lines of verse which were lectured today? Now is the time to express yourselves. Use your inherent wisdom to elicit the meaning of this stanza. If you have a unique outlook and a real point to make, you may advance it for the assembly's consideration. If there's a word or phrase which you didn't understand, you may ask for it to be brought up for investigation. On the other hand, if you understood everything and don't have any opinions, we can go on to the next passage.
“Our method of lecturing the Sutras is democratic. Everyone has the right to speak, and each person has a chance to lecture the Sutra. It not the case that one person makes baseless autocratic pronouncements which everyone else just as baselessly accepts.
From within ignorance, further ignorance is transmitted,
So with one transmission,two don't understand.
The teacher falls into the hells, The disciples burrow in after him.
Don't any of you follow a teacher who's falling into the hells, and burrow in after him. Now that I've explained it you all understand, don't you? But you can't get out of explaining this. You definitely must explain it. And so now you disciples can explain the four-line verse. Let's see, who should explain it?
All of you Good and Wise Advisors should strike up your spirits. Don't fall asleep. Now we're going to investigate these eight lines together to see which line was explained correctly and which line was lectured wrong. We need to find this out. Don't be a tongue-tied Sanghan, a closed-mouthed monk or nun. We are going to look into these eight lines of verse as a group. I'll be able to tell by who wants to talk or not which ones of you were asleep just now-do you believe that or not?
Disciple: “I believe it!”
Speak up, all of you. Everybody talk at once. I'll be able to distinguish what each person says. [No one says anything.]
Since no one is talking, I'll draw lots. [The Master then calls out a disciple's name]. Come forth! Come forth! You can't hide! Just say whatever you can say. What is your viewpoint on the eight lines of verse? Bring up your opinions. Any parts which were not fully explained are left for you to finish. If everything was covered, you can elaborate a bit. Don't think, just speak up quickly. Once you start thinking, it's secondary truth; it's no longer truth in the primary sense. I can't believe you were happy with everything they said, or that they explained every line completely. Nor do I believe they fully brough out the meaning of every phrase. That's also true of what I said. All of us should examine this together so true principle comes forth. We don't want to follow the beaurocratic custom of Chinese Buddhism in the old days, the tyrranical insistance on,“What I say goes, and anything you say is wrong.” As your teacher, I will definitely accept your pointing out my faults. In this democratic country, I am determined to practice democratic Buddhism. I'm not afraid of opposition. Any disciple who opposes me is a good disciple of mine. Those who don't oppose me are my bad disciples.
[The Venerable Master asks a visiting Dharma Master if he has ever heard anyone talk that way before, to which the Dharma Master replies he never has.]
I'm not afraid of people opposing me, undermining me, scolding or slandering me. I'm not afraid. I most welcome any of you having the talent to scold your teacher.
Speak in Chinese first, then in English. I can't tell you to speak in English first, because the Sutra text is in Chinese.
[Several disciples explain the verses.]
Venerable Master: The more you look the more muddled you become. Not being muddled is not understanding.Not understanding, you won't be muddled. How can that be?. Who else has an opinion? Wasn't that what you wanted to say just now, that if you don't understand you won't be muddled, and that if you aren't muddled you won't understand? Didn't you mean to say, “The more you think, the more muddled you get. The more you study, the more confused you become.”? Didn'r you want to say that?
[Another disciple talks about crying and about emptiness.]
Venerable Master: Crying is not crying. Thusness is emptiness; so what? No problem! So don't cry again. Don't laugh any more either. Just that is “not thinking of good and not thinking of evil.”“Not thinking of good” is not laughing, and “not thinking of evil” is not crying. That is the Middle Way.
The Buddha, in the seas of all kshetras,
Constantlyproclaims for inconceivably many kalpas.
This wondrous eloquence of the ground of the Tathagata
Is what Tree-Top Trailing Cowl awakens to and understands.
The Buddha, in the seas of all kshetras, constantly proclaims for tinconceivably many kalpas. The Buddha throughout the seas of all the infinitely many kshetra-lands extending over inconceivable numbers of great eons, so many they defy conceptualization and verbal expression, is always proclaiming unsurpassed, deep, profound, subtle and wonderful Dharma.This wondrous eloquence of the ground of the Tathagata Is what Tree-Top Trailing Cowl awakens to and understands. The Buddha has wondrous eloquence in speaking Dharma. No matter what Dharma he proclaims, the principles he speaks are inexhaustible and unending. He is profoundly steeped in them, but expresses them simply, enabling the listeners to understand clearly. That's because the Buddha has entered the samadhi of eloquence in speaking Dharma. This kind of state is what the spirit named Tree-Top Trailing Cowl can understand.
Into all doors of expedients the Buddha
Wisdom enters without any hindrances.
His states are boundlessly many and incomparable.
This is the Spirit Travelling Everywhere's liberation.
Into all doors are expedients the Buddha directly enters without any hindrances. This is the verse which the Wind-Ruling Spirit named Travelling Everywhere Without Obstruction speaks in praise of the Buddha. He says that the Buddha possesses all the requisite wisdoms to directly enter into the midst of all the various types of doors of skill-in-means, and to do so without any hindrance. These doors of expedients are Dharma-doors of unobstructed interpenetration. His states are boundlessly many and incomparable. The Buddha's states are limitless, boundless, inconceivable and incomparable. No Bodhisattva or Arhat has states which could compare to those of the Buddha--hence the Buddha's states are incomparable. This is the Spirit Travelling Everywhere's liberation. This is the kind of door to liberation which the Wind-Ruling Spirit named Travelling Everywhere obtained.
To be continued