空須菩提 實般若智 善見善現 無處不是
離形離相 降心定致 深感佛恩 涕淚悲泣
Venerable Subhuti is also someone great who manifested provisionally, someone who turned the ship of compassion around and came back here to help us. In the past, Venerable Subhuti already realized Buddhahood; he is Green Dragon Buddha. In his life as Subhuti, he hid away the Great and appeared as the Small. He appeared in the body of a Bhikshu to help the Buddha propagate the teachings and transform beings. His is an inconceivable state. He can appear and disappear at will; and so his name is Subhuti, which translates as Empty at Birth.
Why was he called “Empty at Birth”? Well, when he was born all the wealth and treasures in all the family vaults disappeared. They were all empty. Thus he was given the name “Empty at Birth.” After seven days, all the food in the family pantries turned into golden vessels and all the jewels and treasures reappeared. Because of that, he was given another name Good Appearance. If you know that all is empty, “if you perceive all appearances as no appearances, then you see the Thus Come One,” then you will see the Dharma body of the Thus Come One. He was also named "Wholesome Views.”
While still in his mother's womb he understood in principle that the four elements are basically empty and the five skandhas non-existent. That is why later he became Foremost in Understanding Emptiness. The four elements are earth, water, fire, and air; the five skandhas are forms, feelings, thinking, formations, and consciousness. Our bodies are composed of a combination of the four elements and are covered by the five skandhas, which obscure the light of our own nature. However, all those things are empty.
After Subhuti left home under the Buddha, he kept his Bodhisattva practices well-hidden inside and manifested the external appearance of a Hearer.” What does keeping his Bodhisattva practices well-hidden inside mean? Although his heart was that of a Bodhisattva, and he benefited others, he appeared on the outside to be a Bhikshu at the level of Hearer. Hearers are those who take care of themselves. Bodhisattvas are those who rescue themselves and rescue others. Hearers can only rescue themselves; they cannot rescue others. They are only aware of themselves; they are not aware of others. They only want to get enlightened themselves; they cannot enlighten others. Thus, in his mind he awakened himself and awakened others, even though he appeared to be a Bhikshu at the level of Hearer.
He certified to the Samadhi of Non-Contention. He didn't fight with anyone. He said: "If beings get jealous of my sitting here, then I will forever stand; if beings do not want me to stand, then I will eternally sit unmoving." He always complied with living beings. He basically would not fight with beings. He would do whatever beings asked of him, always according with them until he attained the Samadhi of Non-Contention. After he left the home-life that is the kind of patience he practiced. But he left no tracks in his practice of patience; it was imperceptible and invisible. The Buddha said; "The Paramita of Patience that is not a Paramita of Patience is truly the Paramita of Patience." Thus he came to fathom Patience with the Non-production of Dharmas, he awakened to that kind of patience. He could bear what others could not bear; yield what others could not yield.
Subhuti was the interlocutor when the Buddha spoke the Vajra Sutra. Later, the Buddha went to the Trayastrimsha Heaven to speak the Earth Store Sutra for his mother. It took him three months to finish speaking. Upon his return, all the senior disciples who had not accompanied the Buddha were anxious to see him. Knowing that the Buddha was returning, they went to greet him; they struggled to see who would be the first to greet the Buddha. Look at that! The senior disciples were still subject to mental greed and fought to be first to see the Buddha. But Subhuti had certified to the Samadhi of Non-Contention and so he did not contend with anyone. He used his mind to greet the Buddha. He remained in his room. But although he was in his room, he adjusted his robes and mentally went to greet the Buddha. That is why the Buddha said, "The one who greeted me first was Subhuti!" You all came to welcome me, but do you know who was the first to greet me? Subhuti was the very first to come.
A line of the Vajra Sutra says, "All that has appearance is empty and false." Everything with shape and form is empty and unreal. Awakening to there being no appearances, you will know that everything is empty. "If you can perceive all appearances as no appearances, then you see the Thus Come One." At that point you will perceive the Dharma body of the Thus Come One.
The Vajra Sutra has another four-line verse that says: There is another verse in the Vajra Sutra that says, Those who see me in form. Suppose you try to see me as colors and shapes. Those who seek me in sounds. Suppose you think that the Buddha is the sound of Dharma that he speaks. Well, those who search for the Buddha in that way, are practicing a deviant path. Those people do not fathom the genuine principle at all. They are involved in a deviant path. They are unable to perceive the Thus Come One. They cannot perceive the Dharma body of the Thus Come One. That is another meaning of "Good Appearance."
A verse says:
Empty was Subhuti
Actual was his Prajna wisdom.
He maintained his Good Appearance
And Wholesome Views no matter where he was.
Apart from shapes, devoid of forms
He subdued his mind with exceptional samadhi.
Deeply grateful for the Buddha's kindness
He was moved to tears and wept.
Empty was Subhuti. Empty means non-existent; Subhuti was empty at birth, non-existent. Actual was his Prajna wisdom. What was real about him? It was his Prajna wisdom. He maintained his Good Appearance/And Wholesome Views no matter where he was. Every place he went was a place where Subhuti, empty at birth, practiced the Way. Apart from shapes, devoid of forms. He had left visible appearances far behind. He subdued his mind with exceptional samadhi. Deeply grateful for the Buddha's kindness/He was moved to tears and wept. What this means goes without saying.
Another verse in praise of him says:
Great 'Bhuti; foremost in understanding emptiness.
The very appearances are not appearances; his doubts were severed.
The vaults were empty;"How rare!" people exclaimed.
The treasures showed up again;another miracle!
He practiced profound Prajna Paramita;
smashing the gourd, everything came to a stop.
Beyond the function of words and language,
was the Samadhi he attained.
In his movements and stillness, whether awake or resting
the efficacy of his divine mandate was evident!
Great 'Bhuti; foremost in understanding emptiness. Great Subhuti was one of the Buddhas senior disciples. Subhuti's name means Empty at Birth. The very appearances are not appearances;/his doubts were severed. He had no more doubts. The vaults were empty; "How rare!" people exclaimed. Everything was gone from the treasuries. What a strange thing to have happen! Everyone was astonished at such an extraordinary event. The treasures showed up again; another miracle! It seemed entirely impossible that such a thing could happen.
He practiced profound Prajna Paramita. Subhuti practiced the profound Prajna Paramita; he reached the state of deep wisdom. Smashing the gourd, everything came to a stop. Everything came to a stop means there wasn't anything at all. The gourd was crushed. Beyond the function of words and language, was the Samadhi he attained. There was no way to communicate by means of language and words. "The mouth wants to speak but the words don't come out; the mind wants to consider but thought processes don't function." In his movements and stillness, whether awake or resting the efficacy of his divine mandate was evident. In all he did, whether walking, standing, sitting, and lying down, he exhibited his destiny; all of it was Buddha Dharma. The Buddha Dharma was naturally made evident.