From last issue: “The Bhagavan” is another name for the Buddha. This word fulfills the Realization of a Host, one of the Six Realizations found at the beginning of every Sutra.
Ven. Master: Do you remember the six meanings of "Bhagavan"?
Disciple: I remember four of them.
Ven. Master: Tell everyone what they are. Someone else can say the last two.
Disciple: There is "Comfortable," which means that the Buddha is always comfortable and free of afflictions wherever he is.
Ven. Master: Is that like you?
Disciple: Completely the opposite.
Ven. Master: Oh, so what's the matter? Why aren't you comfortable? Where do you run off to?
Disciple: I'm always seeking outside.
Ven. Master: Okay, what's the second meaning?
Disciple: There is "Renowned," because everyone has heard of the Buddha's name, his merit and virtue, his pure conduct and vows, and his kindness and compassion.
The third meaning is “handsome”, which means he isn't the least bit improper, and he doesn't have any false thinking. He's very adorned and proper. The fourth is "Resplendent," for his merit and virtue are very adorned and perfect that he appears to give off light, like a fire. It's a fine and beautiful sight, and everyone likes to see the fiery light.
Ven. Master: Does anyone know whether his answer is right or not? Does the word “Bhagavan” have these four meanings? If someone knows that his answer is wrong, quickly speak up. If you know his answer is right, speak up right away as well. As for the two remaining meanings, don’t wait for me to call your names. Quickly say what they are. If no one says anything, it must mean you have all forgotten. Are the four meanings he said right? Does Guo Hui know? [Guo Hui: Auspicious.] What else? Does Guo Ya know? [Guo Ya: Honored.] What about the four meanings he gave? Are they correct? [Guo Ya: It should be Adorned, but he said “Handsome.”]
"Auspicious:" Chinese people like auspiciousness, especially the Cantonese. At New Year's, they always say, "Good luck! May your wishes come true!" Although they like to have good luck, they spend their time playing mahjong and dancing. If you want things to be lucky and according to your wishes, you have to recite the Buddha's name. You also have to be good and follow the rules. If you play mahjong, you might even lose the shirt off your back! Now, would you call that lucky?
"Honored:" The Buddha is the most honored one. If we wish to be honored, we should learn from the Buddha, the most venerable and perfect being, who is free of bad habits, faults, delusion, and scattered thoughts. The Buddha's state is much higher than that of an Arhat. The Dharma Flower Sutra begins, "Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha dwelt on Mount Gridhrakuta, near the city of the House of Kings [Rajagriha], together with a gathering of great Bhikshus, twelve thousand in all. All were Arhats..." Why were they Arhats? They "had exhausted all outflows." One who attains the state of an Arhat no longer has any faults, bad habits, or idle thoughts. He has put an end to birth and death. They "had done what they had to do." They had done everything they were supposed to do. When the One is attained, all things are finished. They had attained the One, so they didn't seek outside anymore. Since they didn't seek outside, they had no more outflows.
If you like to talk, that's an outflow, as is liking to look at things or listen to sounds."But I can't keep my eyes from seeing and my ears from hearing," you say.That's why you haven't become a Buddha yet. You're always running outside and forgetting to return. You aren't able to turn the light around and shine it within.
Exhausting all outflows means having no faults whatsoever--you aren't greedy, you don't contend, you don't seek anything, you aren't selfish, and you don't pursue personal advantages. Affection and love are also faults, and thoughts of desire are the worst faults of all. To have exhausted all outflows means to have no thoughts of desire, thoughts of lust, or wild and deluded thoughts.
"And had no further afflictions": The Arhats no longer had any afflictions. "Having attained self-benefit": They had truly regained their inherent wisdom and gained the advantages of the Buddha's teaching. As I have said to you, "Who is the Buddha? The Buddha is a person of great wisdom. Whoever has true wisdom and is not deluded can become a Buddha." If you are still deluded and insatiably greedy, always seeking for more, fighting with everyone, being selfish and pursuing personal gain, then you haven't gained any benefit from the Dharma. Those who have attained genuine benefit do not crave external things. Gold, silver, and riches mean nothing to them. They do not know what forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and objects of touch are. Nothing can distract them. That is what is meant by "having attained self-benefit."
"They had exhausted the bonds of all existence." They had eradicated all residual habits and had escaped from all the entanglements that used to bind them. They were truly free. "And their hearts had attained self-mastery." Their hearts were carefree and at ease. However, the Buddha's state is much more advanced. That's why the Buddha is considered the most honored and venerable.
If we want to be like the Buddha, first we should learn not to contend, not to be greedy, not to seek, not to be selfish, and not to pursue personal advantage. But that doesn't mean saying you won't do these things, while at the same time planning to commit a robbery. Then you're only cheating yourself and others! Genuine noncontention means letting things follow their natural course. If you are not greedy, you will also let things happen naturally. As for seeking nothing, it is said, "When one reaches the state of seeking nothing, one has no worries." Worries come from seeking things. You should also be unselfish. All the troubles in the world come from selfishness and desire. Being unselfish means seeking nothing and having no emotional attachments. Not pursuing personal advantage means not thinking about your own benefit, pleasure, or comfort. Cast out all these faults, and then you can become a Buddha!
To be continued