The River-Ruling Spirit named Universally Bringing Forth Joy obtained the liberation door of cultivating giving to perfection, thereby causing all living beings to eternally separate from stinginess and attachment. The River-Ruling Spirit named Supreme Banner of Vast Virtue obtained the liberation of being a field of blessings of pervasive happiness.
The next River-Ruling Spirit is named Universally Bringing Forth Joy. He causes all living beings everywhere to give rise to happiness. Once they are happy, they leave behind stinginess and attachment. If you are stingy and attached, you are not happy. Without thoughts of stinginess and attachment, you are always happy. Hence his name is the "River-Ruling Spirit Universally Bringing Forth Joy." What was the state of the Buddha that he obtained? He obtained the liberation door of cultivating giving to perfection. He obtained the Dharma door of cultivating giving. The Dharma of giving includes giving wealth, giving Dharma, and giving fearlessness. Wealth can be divided into inner wealth and outer wealth. Outer wealth: One can give away one's country, city, spouse, and children. Inner wealth: One can renounce one's body, mind, and life. Giving Dharma includes the giving of conditioned dharmas and unconditioned Dharma. Conditioned dharmas have form and appearance; the unconditioned Dharma is unconditioned, yet there is nothing not conditioned by it. The giving of fearlessness is practiced when someone is in a frightening situation and you comfort him and allay his fears. In giving fearlessness, you eliminate the fear in the person's heart as well as any sources of fear in the environment.
Sometimes when people are frightened, they may panic and not know what to do. At that time, you can console them, saying, "Don't be afraid. It's not serious. There's no real danger." That's the giving of fearlessness. Suppose someone comes down with an illness and another person doesn't know what the illness is and says, "This is serious. You're probably going to die from this illness. It's worse than cancer." Hearing that, the sick person doesn't have to wait for the illness to kill him; he will be scared to death. A person who understands the Buddhadharma would say to him, "Don't be scared. Your illness isn't a major one. You might have to suffer a little bit, but you'll soon get well. Just see the doctor and take some medicine." Such words relieve the person's fears. That's what the giving of fearlessness is all about. One cultivates giving to perfection, thereby causing all living beings to eternally separate from stinginess and attachment. Once stinginess and attachment are left behind, one attains happiness. That's "Universally Bringing Forth Joy."
The next River-Ruling Spirit, who is named Supreme Banner of Vast Virtue, has vast, great virtuous conduct. His merit and virtue resemble a precious banner that is extremely adorned. He obtained the liberation of being a field of blessings of pervasive happiness. He obtained the Buddha's ability to be a field of blessings of happiness for living beings, and of enabling living beings to plant blessings and plant wholesome roots of Bodhi. That's the door to liberation that this River-Ruling Spirit obtained.
The River-Ruling Spirit named Light Universally Illumining the World obtained the liberation door of causing all living beings who are tainted with defilement to become pure and those who are poisoned by anger to become happy. The River-Ruling Spirit named Light of an Ocean of Virtue obtained the liberation door of enabling all living beings to enter the ocean of liberation and constantly experience complete happiness.
At that time the River-Ruling Spirit named Universally Issuing Swift Currents received the Buddha's awesome might, contemplated the multitudes of River-Ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verses.
The next River-Ruling Spirit is named Light Universally Illumining the World. He obtained the liberation door of causing all living beings who are tainted with defilement to become pure. "Tainted with defilement" means impure, having both wholesome and evil, good and bad. It means one has both proper thoughts and deviant thoughts. The good and the bad are mixed together. Within the good, there is a bit of evil. Within the evil, there is also some good. Those who are "tainted with defilement" are purified and made clean, so that the defilement is gone, and those who are poisoned by anger are caused to become happy. Anger refers to the fire of ignorance and to hatred, which is like a venemous snake. People who are given to anger are seldom happy. This River-Ruling Spirit causes people with big tempers to become happy. He obtained that kind of liberation door.
The River-Ruling Spirit named Light of an Ocean of Virtue obtained the liberation door of enabling all living beings to enter the great ocean of liberation and constantly experience complete happiness. The doors to liberation are so numerous that they are like an ocean. Complete happiness is a full, perfect, and supreme happiness; a joy beyond compare. He obtained that kind of door to liberation.
At that time the first River-Ruling Spirit, named Universally Issuing Swift Currents, received the Buddha's awesome spiritual might, contemplated the multitudes of River-Ruling Spirits, observing their potentials and causal conditions, and spoke the following verses to elaborate upon the previous lines of prose.
The Thus Come One in the past, for the sake of living beings,
Cultivated boundless practices within the sea of Dharma.
Just as a torrential rain cools the summer heat,
He universally extinguished living beings' heat of afflictions.
The Buddha, throughout inexpressibly limitless eons in the past,
By the light of his vows purified the world,
Causing those of mature dispositions to awaken to the Way.
The Spirit Universally Purifying awakened to this.
The Thus Come One, in the past, for the sake of living beings... When the Buddha was cultivating during limitless eons in the past, he was not doing it for himself, but for living beings. The Buddha saw living beings suffering, not knowing how to leave suffering and find happiness. He thereupon vowed to cultivate, and vowed that when he became enlightened and realized Buddhahood, he would rescue all living beings.
He cultivated boundless practices within the sea of Dharma. The doors of practice cultivated by the Buddha were limitless and boundless, like a great ocean. Primarily, the Buddha cultivated selflessness, giving, holding precepts, patience, vigor, Dhyana samadhi, and wisdom. He cultivated the Six Perfections and the myriad practices. Among the Six Perfections, giving refers to giving to others, not demanding that others give to you. Holding precepts: You yourself must honestly hold them, not just tell others to do so without doing so yourself. Patience: When you have samadhi, then you will not be moved by the Eight Winds discussed earlier, and that means you have patience. Patience is being able to bear what others cannot bear. You have to be able to bear what ordinary, worldly people cannot bear. You also have to be able to bear what people who cultivate transcendental Dharma cannot bear. Patience is a kind of test. If you have skill, you pass. Otherwise, you fail. The practices cultivated by the Buddha were like this. He was able to bear what ordinary people could not. He could endure what most people found unendurable. Why? He first cultivated selflessness. Without a self, who is being patient?
Who is doing the enduring? There is neither a person who endures, nor anything that is endured—no receiver and nothing received. While the Buddha was cultivating boundless practices in the sea of Dharma, it's not known how much abuse he took. People beat him and scolded him, but he remained unmoved; his mind didn't react. Cultivating boundless practices, he attained the wonderful functioning of boundless spiritual powers with which to teach living beings. There is an analogy for this.
Just as a torrential rain, a huge downpour that nothing can block, cools the summer heat...The Book of Mencius has these lines: "Ominous dark clouds suddenly appear in the sky, and the rain falls in torrents." It was a timely rain. The rain pame at just the right time, exactly when it was needed. It was neither too much nor too little, but just the right amount. "The crops suddenly sprang up." This analogy compares the Buddha's teaching of living beings to the torrential rain that cools the summer heat. In the extremely hot weather of summertime, a rain brings refreshing coolness that dispels the summer heat.
He universally extinguished living beings' heat of afflictions.The Buddha uses the cool and refreshing Buddhadharma to completely dispel the heat of living beings' afflictions. Once the heat of afflictions is gone, beings attain coolness.
The Buddha, throughout inexpressibly limitless eons in the past, /By the light of hisgreat wisdom and great vows, taught those in the world and purified the world,enabling all living beings to depart from suffering and find happiness.
Causing those of mature dispositions to awaken to the Way.Living beings whose good roots had matured, he caused to awaken to the Way. The Spirit Universally Purifying awakened to this.This is the liberation door and the state that the Spirit named Universally Purifying Springs and Torrents understood.
To be continued