The following Ocean-Ruling Spirit is named Wondrous Floral Dragon Cowl. He obtained the liberation door of eradicating all destinies’ sufferings, meaning the sufferings in the destinies of hungry ghosts, hell-beings, animals, and asuras. The agonies and troubles in those four evil destinies are enormous, but he can dispel them. And bestowing happiness refers to his further ability to enable the living beings of those four evil destinies to achieve happiness, to leave suffering and attain bliss.
The next Ocean-Ruling Spirit is named Universally Maintaining Flavor and Light. He obtained the liberation door of purifying and regulating the nature of all living beings’ stupidity of views. “Purifying” means cleaning up, and “regulating” means keeping in order, in this case regulating the nature of all living beings’ stupidity of views. He adjusts and balances that stupid nature by adding some wisdom to it, so the stupidity is lessened. He purifies and regulates living beings’ views, “views” here meaning deviant knowledge and deviant views—the sixty-two views. He can adjust all those types of deviant ways of knowing and deviant outlooks, changing that nature of stupidity. He doesn’t “cut it off,” he transforms it. What does he change it into? The nature of wisdom. Wisdom counteracts stupidity. This Ocean-Ruling Spirit obtained that kind of door to liberation.
The Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Jeweled Blaze of Floral Light obtained the liberation door of the Bodhi resolve, the seed nature which produces all gems. The Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Wondrous Vajra Cowl obtained the liberation door of the sea of merit and virtue of an unmoving mind. The Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Ocean-Tide Thunder Sound obtained the liberation door of the samadhi door for universal entry to Dharma Realms.
At that time, the Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Manifesting Jeweled Lights received the Buddha’s awesome might, universally contemplated all the multitudes of Ocean-Ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse.
The next Ocean-Ruling Spirit is named Jeweled Blaze of Floral Light. He obtained the liberation door of the Bodhi resolve, the seed nature which produces all gems. The seed nature of gems is the solid resolve, the firm resolve for Bodhi. How firm is it? It’s as solid as vajra. Furthermore, this seed nature of gems is the fundamental substance of all precepts. When we left-home people receive the precepts, we receive the precepts of the seed nature of jewels. Once we attain the seed nature which produces all jewels, then day by day that seed nature of gems increases, that resolve for Bodhi augments. He obtained that kind of door to liberation.
The following Ocean-Ruling Spirit is named Wondrous Vajra Cowl. He obtained the liberation door of the sea of merit and virtue of an unmoving mind. He achieved a state of the Buddha and came to know about the sea of merit and virtue of an unmoving mind. This mind is constantly still and quiet—the mind maintaining stillness—and so it is called the sea of merit and virtue of an unmoving mind. This merit and virtue is so enormous, these meritorious qualities so many, that they resemble an ocean. He obtained that type of door to liberation.
The next Ocean-ruling Spirit is named Ocean-Tide Thunder Sound. He obtained the liberation door of the samadhi door for universal entry to Dharma Realms, the kind of concentration for entering everywhere into Dharma Realms. All Dharma Realms are entered, and so this is termed “universal entry,” and this is the samadhi of universal entry into all Dharma Realms. He achieved that kind of concentration, and entered that sort of door to liberation.
At that time, the Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Manifesting Jeweled Lights received the Buddha’s great awesome spiritual might, universally contemplated all the multitudes of Ocean-Ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse. He used verse form to repeat what had been said in the prose, stating it in more detail.
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Venerable Master: Are there any questions?
Guo Yi (果逸): I would like to know more about the samadhi of the Dharma Realms, and where to find out more about it.
Venerable Master: The samadhi of Dharma Realms is in a single particle of dust. That’s where you can find it. Who else has a question?
Guo Sui (果遂): Do Ocean-Ruling spirits cause tidal waves and other catastrophes such as floods, inundations, torrents, and so forth?
Venerable Master: Not at all. If it weren’t for them, the oceans would long ago have drowned everyone. It’s because they are watching over the oceans that the water doesn’t flow outside and drown people. They all help people, guarding and protecting them. They don’t harm people. Without these Ocean-ruling Spirits, it’s to be feared the waters would have reached the heavens by now.
Earlier on I discussed the Ocean-ruling Spirit named either “Ever-Dwelling in Waves” or “Ever Making Waves Dwell.” All of you should decide which interpretation is correct. Since it was already lectured, we don’t need to repeat the explanation. If you remember it, you remember; if you don’t, you don’t. There’s no need to relecture it. Just use one of the names. You don’t have to repeat the two meanings I gave before. If there is time left, they can use it to translate. If they don’t understand or they forgot because they weren’t paying attention, that’s their business. I explained to you all very clearly, and yet you still don’t know which meaning is correct. If you don’t even have the judgment or wisdom to know that, how can you think of opposing your teacher? What abilities do you have to oppose your teacher with? You talk about it, but you don’t actually oppose your teacher. Most of the time, all of you think you’re quite extraordinary. You think that in the heavens and below, you alone are honored. When a test comes, however, you hardly dare to call yourself honored.
Which of the meanings is more accurate, more forceful and more complete? It’s right at this point that it can be determined whether you have Dharma-Selecting Vision or not. Whichever interpretation expresses the principle more fully is the one to use. As to interpretations of this, there could be not only two but millions upon millions of them. If you kept on explaining, there would be many, many meanings. And if you were to go into detailed and subtle analysis, then the meanings would be infinite and unending. However, just interpreting in a general way, which of the two meanings should be used? Do you know?
Venerable Master: Explain to the rest of them.
During seas of inconceivably many great kalpas,
He made offerings to all of the Thus Come Ones.
Then he universally bestowed the merit and virtue on all beings,
Thus he is most upright and adorned beyond compare.
He appears in each and every world-system,
Knowing the dispositions and propensities of beings without exception.
For their sakes he universally proclaims seas of great Dharma.
This is what Solid Banner joyfully awakens to.
Earlier, the prose section described how the Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Manifesting Jeweled Lights received the Buddha’s great awesome spiritual might, universally contemplated all the multitudes of Ocean-Ruling Spirits and spoke a four-line stanza. That gatha of four lines was a restatement, by the compilers of the Sutra Treasury, of the previous prose, filling in meanings not completely presented there. Hence the verse says: During seas of inconceivably many great kalpas. The Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Manifesting Jeweled Lights speaks this verse, describing how for seas of more great kalpas than could be conceptualized by thought or expressed in words—one knows not how many since they are limitless and boundless like the ocean—he made offerings to all of the Thus Come Ones. This refers to how the Buddha, when on the causal ground, for such a long period of time made offerings to all Buddhas. Sometimes he used wealth as the offering, sometimes he offered Dharma, and sometimes he made offerings of his body, mind, nature, and life to the Buddhas. He gave his body, mind, nature, and life to the Buddhas, employing that kind of sincerity in his quest for Buddhahood. An example of this can be seen here now at Gold Mountain Monastery. All the left-home people and laypeople take time out from their busy schedules to study and practice the Buddhadharma, apply and maintain it. That too is making offerings to all Thus Come Ones. We too are using body, mind, nature, and life, wealth and Dharma as offerings to the Triple Jewel. Then he universally bestowed the merit and virtue on all beings. The Buddha cultivated all types of merit and virtue through making offerings to all Thus Come Ones. Then he universally used all his merit and virtue and made transference of it to living beings. He gave it away to them saying: “I now make transference of all the merit and virtue which I have to all living beings throughout the Dharma Realm. I don’t hope to obtain the reward of that merit and virtue myself. I only hope all living beings will leave suffering and attain bliss—that the merit and virtue which I have cultivated will enable their karmic obstructions to be eradicated and their good roots to increase and grow, so they will diligently cultivate the proper path, and soon ascend the ground of Buddhahood.” He made that kind of transference to all living beings, and so it says: “Then, he universally bestowed the merit and virtue on all living beings.” Thus he is most upright and adorned beyond compare. Because he transferred all his merit and virtue to all living beings of the Dharma Realm, as a result the Buddha’s body is most upright and adorned, especially subtle and wonderful, far beyond compare.
No living being in the heavens above or on the earth below could equal the radiance of the Buddha’s hallmarks and characteristics, the subtle wonder of his adornments, his thirty-two hallmarks and eighty lesser characteristics. Hence it says that, as a result, he is upright and adorned, most subtle and wonderful.
He appears in each and every world-system. The Buddha manifests in all worlds, knowing the dispositions and propensities of beings without exception. The Buddha knows whether living beings have good roots or not, and he is aware of what living beings wish. That is why it says he knows beings’ dispositions and propensities without exception. For their sakes he universally proclaims seas of great Dharma. For all living beings everywhere he propagates the great Dharma which is like the immense ocean. This is what Solid Banner joyfully awakens to. The Ocean-Ruling Spirit named Solid Banner delights in, awakens to, and enters this kind of door to liberation.
To be continued