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The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra With Commentary

【卷四 提婆達多品第十二 】

Roll 4, Chapter 12, Devadatta

宣化上人講 Commentary by the Venerable Master Hua
國際譯經學院記錄 Translated by the International Translation Institute
修訂版 Revised version











Sutra text from last issue:  After the Parinirvana of the Buddha King of Gods, the Proper Dharma will dwell in the world for twenty middle-sized eons. A stupa sixty yojanas high and forty yojanas wide, made of the seven jewels will be built to hold the sharira of his complete body. All the gods and humans shall make offerings to and worship the wonderful stupa of seven jewels, using various flowers, powdered incense, burning incense, paste incense, clothing, beads, banners, jeweled canopies, instrumental and vocal music.

Limitless living beings shall attain the fruit of Arhatship. While the Buddha named King of Gods is in the world, limitless living beings will attain the fruit of Arhatship, and after he has entered Nirvana, limitless living beings will also attain the fruit of Arhatship. Limitless living beings will awaken to and be certified as having attained Pratyekabuddhahood. An inconceivable number of living beings will bring forth the resolve for Bodhi and reach the position of irreversibility.

The Buddha told the Bhikshus, “In the future if a good man or good woman hears the Devadatta Chapter of The Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra and with a pure mind believes and reveres it, having no doubts, he will not fall into the hells, into the realm of hungry ghosts, or into the animal realm. He will be born in the presence of the Buddhas of the ten directions, always hearing this Sutra wherever he may be born. Should he be reborn among humans and gods, he will receive supreme and subtle bliss. If born in the presence of a Buddha, he will be born by transformation from a lotus flower.”

The Buddha Shakyamuni told the Bhikshus, “In the future if a good man or good woman hears the Devadatta Chapter of The Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra and with a pure mind believes and reveres it, having no doubts, he will not fall into the hells. The future here refers to the future from the time of the Buddha, which is just the present for us. A good man or good woman is one who cultivates the Five Precepts and the Ten Good Deeds. A pure mind is a mind without defilement. Being without defilement means that one doesn’t make discriminations about things being good or evil. One does not think in terms of good or evil. One has transcended such dualistic concepts. If you constantly discriminate, thinking, “This is good and that is evil; this is right, that is wrong; this is rotten, that is wholesome; this is black and that is white,” then with so many discriminations going on, you can’t be said to have gained purity of mind. If you can refrain from making discriminations in terms of good, bad, right and wrong, and so on, then you have a pure mind.

“But isn’t that like a dead enlightenment?” you ask.

That’s just what it’s supposed to be like! If, in your living enlightenment you can be as if dead, then you will have obtained the subtle point of having pure faith. The sad point is, you can’t do it. Why shouldn’t you discriminate between good and evil? Well, Devadatta was a very rotten person indeed. But, you should understand that Devadatta was really a great Bodhisattva. He just chose to save people in reverse. This is what a pure mind means.

What does it mean to have faith? It means you must have faith that in every lifetime, those people who oppose you or give you a hard time are all helping you to become a Buddha. You are as if being smelted in a big furnace. You are smelted and refined until you are free of all habits and faults. You become as soft and yielding as cotton. To be like that is to have true, deep faith. You should know that those people who make trouble for you are really helping you to realize Buddhahood. If you didn’t have any problems, how could you perfect the power of patience? Only in the presence of problems can you prove that your mind no longer moves, that you aren’t affected at all by what happens.

Look at Maitreya Bodhisattva’s verse about patience! I lectured it the other day. You will note that the word “patience” doesn’t occur in that verse even once. He doesn’t say, “I am perfecting patience.” He has gone beyond the concept of patience altogether, and so he doesn’t even have to bring it up as such.

To believe in this context means that those who oppose you are helping you to become a Buddha. “Reveres” also has meaning here. Those people you encounter who hate you, trouble you, and subject you to great trials, you should think of them, “They are truly my good advisors. They are helping me. If they were not my good advisors, why would they bother to manifest such an entirely evil appearance?” When you meet people who give you a hard time, you must think of them as your good advisors. If you can really regard them as your good advisors, you will certainly revere them.

to be continued


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