The Thus Come One’s state has no bounds or measure.
All the countries in the ten directions see the Tathagatha seated on his throne
The Thus Come One’s state has no bounds or measure.
There are no living beings who can fathom it.
His wondrous sound proclaims throughout the
This is the Spirit Whirlpools of Skills’ place of practice.
The Thus Come One’s state has no bounds or measure. This describes how the state of the Buddha is inconceivable. Due to its inconceivability, it is beyond bounds and measures, limitless and boundless. There are no living beings who can fathom it. From the vantage point of living beings who have not yet opened the Buddha's knowledge and vision, not yet entered the Buddha's knowledge and vision, so long as they have not yet opened, disclosed, awakened to, and entered the knowledge and vision of a Buddha, they are unable to understand the Buddha's state. As to the Buddha, his wondrous sound proclaims throughout the ten directions. The Buddha sends forth a single kind of subtle and wondrous sound, and that single wondrous sound is not just in this world-system; rather, it extends throughout the world-systems of the ten directions. This is the Spirit Whirlpools of Skills’ place of practice. This kind of state is a principle and the door to liberation which is cultivated be the Water-ruling Spirit named Whirlpools of Skillful Expedients.
The World Honored One’s radiance is unending.
It fills the Dharma Realm and is inconceivable.
He speaks Dharma to instruct and rescue living beings.
This is what the Spirit Immaculate Fragrance contemplates.
The World Honored One’s radiance is unending. The World Honored One is the Buddha, and the light emitted by the Buddha is multilayered and inexhaustible. That being the case, there is no time when it comes to an end. It fills the Dharma Realm and is inconceivable. A single kind of light of the Buddha’s can extend throughout empty space and pervade the Dharma Realm, filling it all. It cannot be conceptualized by thought or expressed in words. He speaks Dharma to instruct and rescue living beings. The Buddha proclaims all kinds of wonderful Dharmas to teach, transform, rescue, and liberate all beings, enabling them to leave suffering and attain bliss. This is what the Water-ruling Spirit named Immaculate Fragrance contemplates. This type of state is what the Water-ruling Spirit named Immaculate Accumulation of Fragrance observes himself; what he himself understands—the kind of state to which he himself certifies.
The Tathagata is pure, just like empty space,
Without marks and without shape, he pervades the ten directions,
Yet causes multitudes without exception all to see him.
The Spirit Light to Blessings contemplates this well.
The Tathagata is pure, just like empty space. The Tathagata’s Dharma-body is immaculate, the same as emptiness. It is not located anywhere, but there is no place where it is not present—which is why it is said to resemble empty space. Without marks and without space, he pervades the ten directions. Even though he extends throughout the Dharma Realms of the ten directions, nonetheless he has no characteristics and no form. And even though he is markless and formless, he is able to fill all the ten directions' Dharma Realms. The Buddha’s state is just that wonderful and inconceivable. Yet he causes the multitudes without exception all to see him. In spite of the fact that the Buddha has no characteristics and no appearance, he still can make himself visible to all living beings in the assemblies in the Way-places “without exception.” No one fails to see the Buddha. The Spirit Light to Blessings contemplates this well. The Water-ruling Spirit named Light-Sound Bridge to Blessings understands this kind of state.
In the past the Buddha practiced the door of great compassion,
His mind vast and pervasive, equal to living beings.
Therefore, like a cloud, he appears within the world.
This door to liberation is what Contentment understands.
In the past the Buddha practiced the door of great compassion. Previously, the Buddha cultivated the door of practice of great compassion, both pulling out living beings’ suffering and bestowing happiness upon them. That was the kind of gate to great compassion which he practiced, his mind vast and pervasive, equal to living beings. When the Buddha was cultivating the door of great compassion, his mind was especially vast and extensive, all-pervasive, equal in its amount to the number of living beings. That’s the meaning of being “equal to living beings.” For as many living beings as there are, the Buddha cultivated that many doors of great compassion, so there was an equal matching with living beings. Therefore, like a cloud, he appears in the world. For that reason, the Buddha is comparable to a cloud in the sky, appearing above the world, bringing refreshing coolness to over-heated living beings. This is something we who believe in the Buddha should know about. The Buddha resembles a cloud over our world, everywhere affording shade to living beings, so living beings can have coolness and refreshment. This kind of door to liberation is what the Water-ruling Spirit named Contentment understands.
All the countries in the ten directions
See the Tathagatha seated on his throne,
Radiant and enlightened to great Bodhi.
What is entered by Sound of Joy is that way.
All the countries in the ten directions / See the Tathagata seated on his throne. You all know what the directions are, you have been to all countries, and you have seen all this, radiant and enlightened to great Bodhi. You have all awakened. What is entered by Sound of Joy is that way. You have all been joyous—isn’t that the case? You have been to all the lands of the ten directions, and have come back from them. You have all seen the Tathagata seated on his throne, but then forgotten with the passage of time. You have all been enlightened, but have grown confused over time. Isn’t that the way it is? It is that way. The Water-ruling Spirit named Sound of Joy understands this state and declares it to all of you now in the great assembly.
[Historical note: What follows is a discussion of the first meeting with members of the California Dreamers at Gold Mountain Monastery, San Francisco, on November 23, 1973.]
Venerable Master: Yesterday we had a meeting, and now we will continue and investigate the meeting. All of you should bring up your opinions.
Guo Sui: I don’t think one person should be allowed to monopolize a meeting.
Venerable Master: Everyone has the right to speak, but what one says should be principled. For example, when she [Guo Jie, one of the California Dreamers] said she wanted to raise a question, any one of you could have answered her. Any other people could answer questions any of you might raise. This is mutual exchange of wisdom. If I don’t understand something, I ask someone else who does. If someone else doesn’t understand something, but I do, then I can tell the other person. That’s the intent of the meetings. Are there any other opinions? [People raise a translation question, and there is a discussion.]
As to the question of whether or not to “cut off” desire, the text in question was discussing the Dharma door of the Sudden Teaching. In the Sudden Teaching’s approach to Dharma, it must be cut off—otherwise one is fundamentally not in accord with the Sudden Teaching. What most people are afraid of is not the words “cutting off”. They fear the Sudden Teaching, because they don’t want to become enlightened and accomplish Buddhahood that fast, but would rather take their time. It’s a matter of speaking a certain kind of Dharma for a person with that kind of potential. If it’s not suited to the person’s potential, then no matter how well it’s phrased, the person won’t accept it. On the other hand, if it matches the person’s potential, then even if poorly stated, the person will still become enlightened. The problem lies with matching or not matching potentials.
Yesterday I was aware from the start that if I spoke too forcibly... I knew I had explained it that way, and that Guo Yi had translated it that way too. When Guo Jie took exception to it, I was aware that in most instances it shouldn’t be put like that, and so I said it could be changed. But afterwards, when I heard that it was talking about the Dharma door of the Sudden Teaching, then it shouldn’t be changed. As to her objection that it would make most people afraid, there are too many things which most people fear, and there’s no way we can alleviate their fears entirely.The meeting we held yesterday went very well. I hope that we will hold these kinds of meetings regularly, and that all of you will bring up your opinions. This gives you all the opportunity to investigate and debate topics together. Debates don’t have to be angry debates, debates over who is right or wrong. They should be the investigation of true principle. You look into what your principle is like, and afterwards I see what mine is like. We exchange opinions with each other. Debate doesn’t have to be heated argument, where your face gets red, your eyes blaze red, your ears become red, and you have a red neck, so you turn into a red-faced monster. That’s not the idea. Instead we need to use our own wisdom to present our point to the other person. We should be agreeable and persuasive, and try not to make people angry. That is how we should investigate.
To be continued