The Buddha is able to cause all those in the world
To leave behind their worries and experience great joy.
He can purify those of all dispositions and desires.
The Spirit Inspiring Love and Delight awakened to this.
The Thus Come One appears in the world
And universally contemplates to see what delights beings' hearts.
Then he brings them to maturity with various expedients.
This is the liberation door of the Spirit Pure Radiance.
The Spirit named Inspiring Love and Delight used a verse to praise the Buddha, saying:
The Buddha is able to cause all those in the world... The Buddha doesn't appear only in our Saha world. He ap- pears in all worlds throughout the ten directions. What for? In order to cause all beings
to leave behind their worries and experience great joy. The Buddha pities living beings, seeing them undergoing endless births and deaths in the dangerous paths of transmigration-- suddenly born in the heavens, suddenly among people, suddenly in the hells, suddenly among hungry ghosts and animals, revolving endlessly in the six paths of rebirth. Being greatly concerned, the Buddha toils untiringly to save beings, trying to find ways to free all living beings from grief, suffering, and affliction so that they can experience tremendous happiness.
He can purify those of all dispositions and desires.
Some living beings have good roots; others lack them. For those who have good roots, the Buddha uses all kinds of expedient means to help them increase their good roots. For those who lack them, the Buddha leads them to plant good roots. Desires refers to what living beings are fond of. Some are fond of wealth; some like beautiful women. Others enjoy drinking wine or liquor. Some like to eat meat; others like to take drugs. Beings have many different kinds of dispositions and desires, but the Buddha is aware of them all and he can regulate and purify their habits accumulated from numerous lives and eons. He can transform their defilement into purity. As a saying goes:
Defiled thoughts are easy to bring about.
Pure virtue is difficult to accomplish.
With his awesome spiritual might, the Buddha transforms defiled thoughts into pure ones. Thus the text says: "He can purify those of all dispositions and desires." This is also as when an ordinary person who does not know anything about cultivation or following rules hears the Buddhadharma, and then starts to follow the rules, gets rid of his bad habits, and cultivates. He casts aside his defiled thoughts, and pure thoughts come forth.
The Crop-Ruling Spirit named
Inspiring Love and Delight awakened to this state and entered this liberation door.
The Thus Come One appears in the world / And universally contemplates to see what delights beings' hearts. He observes to see what living beings delight in and wish for. The Buddha expediently uses what they like to teach and transform them.
Then he brings them to maturity with various expedients. It can be seen that saving living beings is not an easy thing to do. If it were easy, the Buddha would not need to use various kinds of expedients. One kind would be enough. That the Buddha must use all manner of expedients goes to show how difficult it is to take living beings across. If he tries one expedient method and doesn't manage to convert the living being, he must try another one and see if he can get that being to believe in, understand, practice, and realize the Dharma. Thus all kinds of expedient Dharma doors are used to bring beings to maturity, to realization of Buddhahood. That's one way to explain this.
Another explanation is that all kinds of expedients are used to teach all kinds of beings. Since beings' basic dispositions are all different, many different expedient methods must be employed to teach them. Each kind of living being requires its own kind of Dharma door.
This second explanation is a little more reasonable, I feel. If the Buddha has to use all kinds of expedients to teach one living being, as per the first explanation, it seems to imply that the Buddha doesn't understand that being's disposition and inclinations. Since the Buddha does know living beings' dispositions and inclinations, he can convert a living being by using just one expedient teaching. He doesn't need to use all sorts of Dharma doors to teach one being. Various Dharma doors are for teaching various beings and bringing them to maturity. Once one begins to teach and transform a living being, one must constantly help that being in his cultivation until he becomes mature and accomplishes the Way.
This is the liberation door of the Spirit Pure Radiance. This is the state and liberation door attained by the Crop-Ruling Spirit named Radiance of Leaving Filth.
Furthermore, the Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Auspicious obtained the liberation door of universally contemplating all living beings' minds and diligently gathering them in.
Furthermore, the Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Auspicious prepared to elaborate further on the principles discussed previously. Auspicious has the meaning that when sick people take this kind of medicine, they will be cured. When those who are dying take this medicine, they will not die. When healthy people take this medicine, they will never get sick. That's what's meant by "auspicious." What kind of medicine is this? Happiness. If you can be happy, then if you are not ill now, you will never get ill. If you are ill and you can be happy, your illness will be cured. If you are dying and you give rise to happiness, your life will be prolonged. The "medicine" of happiness is auspicious. There's a saying:
Since ancient times, the immortals have had no other method:
They are simply happy all the time, and never indulge in grief or worry.
Immortals are those who do not die. How is it that they can avoid death? They are happy every day, and never sad. The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Auspicious wants people to be happy, for happiness itself is auspicious luck. To have good luck, you must be happy. If you aren't happy, things won't be lucky. And if things aren't lucky, you won't be happy. If everyone can feel immense happiness, everything will be lucky and as they wish.
Medicine is for curing illnesses. For each illness, there is a certain kind of medicine that must be taken. If you have a cold, you can take some
yin chiao tablets. If you are coughing, you can buy a bottle of loquat syrup to take. These are all medicines.
This Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Auspicious obtained the liberation door of universally contemplating all living beings' minds to see what diseases afflict their minds. Do they suffer from the disease of greed? Do they have the disease of hatred, or that of stupidity? The disease of greed is not easy to cure. The disease of hatred is also difficult to cure, and the disease of stupidity is even harder to cure.
What is meant by the disease of stupidity? For example, someone who has never studied hopes to come out first in the imperial examination. Perhaps he will win first place in illiteracy! Another example is a person who does not plant the fields and yet wants to reap a harvest. Perhaps someone who has never studied the Buddhadharma wants to lecture a Sutra. Wouldn't you say that's being stupid?
I've often spoken of these kinds of foolish fantasies. Some people think:
Beautiful flowers should stay abloom every day and
The moon full night after night!
"How nice it would be if pretty flowers could bloom forever," they think. Or perhaps they think, "Moon, you really don't know how to be a moon. Why don't you stay full every night? Why must you wane? That's so annoying!"
Let all the springs on this great earth turn into wine and
Money grow on every tree in all the forests!
People who are fond of drinking think, "Instead of having to spend money on wine, how nice it'd be if a pool of water turned into wine!" People who covet wealth have even more incredible fantasies: "In order to have money to spend, I have to go out and make it. If money grew on every tree and all I had to do was pluck it when I needed it, wouldn't that be wonderful?" Such people are foolish, and their foolishness is not easy to cure.
This Medicine-Ruling Spirit diagnoses living beings' illnesses and gives them the appropriate medicine.
And in curing their illnesses he is diligently gathering them in to the Bodhi Way.
Yesterday we mentioned Great Master Shaokang, and the verse in praise of Elder Master Hsu Yun, which has the line,
"Leveling the Bodhi path." I don't know if you remember the verse. Maybe I can recite it for you:
In past lives, he made pure vows
To diligently be mindful of the Buddha.
With Prajna he transformed the multitudes,
Leveling the Bodhi path.
He saved countless people
Through skillful guidance and remonstration.
His radiance is Buddhahood.
The Buddha is just radiance.
The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Auspicious obtained this kind of liberation door.
To be continued