[Disciple: It must be because of this.] "Because of this" simply means "therefore." I'm asking you to see how you look at each matter, to see whether you recognize the principle, whether you understand a little bit of true principle. Although this matter is rather insignificant, there's a principle to it. That's why I want you to bring up your opinions.
What did I ask him on the phone that day?
Tell everyone what I said to them.
How were you feeling then? Did you have samadhi? Have you heard him tell this story before?
"Guo Ning," I said, "have you run into that kind of situation before? The most important thing is to stay away from women. Have you been in that situation before?"
He thought for a moment and said, "Yes."
"Well, what happened? Were you turned by the situation?"
"Uh, yeah, my mind was turned a little." He said he'd been turned a little bit in his mind, but not in his body.
I said, "That's good. Be more careful in the future." The following day, he caught a ghost and telephoned. [Disciple: Actually, it was that very night.] That very night. Then what did I say to him? You've forgotten. I told him not to be afraid, that I would help him through whatever state he experienced. So when he encountered that state, he wanted someone to help him out.
But they have to behave. What you said is true. They didn't have any samadhi. When they encountered that kind of state, they forgot about doing "three steps, one bow." When they forgot, the Dharma-protecting gods, dragons, and the rest of the eightfold division all rested, thinking it was pretty meaningless to protect a person who indulged in false-thinking. Once the Dharma-protecting spirits took a rest, the kumbhanda ghost came. It couldn't disturb the two monks directly, so the ghost sought out one monk's grandmother to lead the way. That's how the ghost was able to bother them. This was just to warn the two to be more careful. On the phone I told them to be extra careful no matter what.
Today we are investigating this matter: Every cultivator should avoid indulging in false thinking. Don't let your samadhi power disperse. Once your samadhi scatters, you incorporate with the ghosts. If you have samadhi, you open a company with Bodhisattvas. It's an unlimited corporation, not a limited one. It's not a fixed company. It depends on how you act. These are important issues, so I wanted to discuss them before today's Sutra lecture.
The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Universally Roaring obtained the liberation door of proclaiming the Buddha's sound and expounding the different meanings of all dharmas.
The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Universally Roaring makes a sound that pervades the Dharma Realm, causing beings throughout the Dharma Realm to wake up from their muddled dreams. He shouts, "Wake up now! Don't sleep anymore! Those who work should go to work. Those who cultivate should cultivate. Those who eat should eat. Those who sleep should wait until nighttime to sleep." Hearing his shout, people rub their eyes, chase away the bed bugs, and go to Morning Recitation. Ding-ding-dong! The wooden fish goes Bo-bo-bo! After that, they sit in meditation, then recite the Buddha's name. How can they do this? It's because the Medicine-Ruling Spirit Universally Roaring woke all of us up. When we hit the boards in the morning, they are speaking on behalf of that Medicine-Ruling Spirit. I'm not joking with you. That's just how insentient objects speak the Dharma.
He obtained the liberation door of proclaiming the Buddha's sound. The true teaching in this region lies in the purity of sound. What is the Buddha's sound? What would you say is not the Buddha's sound? Every sound in the world is the Buddha's sound, is the appearance of the Buddha's vast and long tongue. If you say a sound is not the Buddha's sound, what sound would you call it?
"Well, people have the sound of people; horses have the sound of horses; oxen have the sound of oxen."
True, each being has its own sound; but these are all transformations created from the wondrous functioning of the Thus Come Ones' spiritual penetrations.
In the Land of Ultimate Bliss, there are:
...white cranes, peacocks, parrots and egrets, kalavinkas, and two-headed birds. In the six periods of the day and night, the flocks of birds sing forth harmonious and elegant sounds. Their clear and joyful sounds proclaim the five roots, the five powers, the seven Bodhi shares, the eight sagely Way shares...
The Land of Ultimate Bliss is like that, and so is our Saha World, if you know how to listen. If you know how to listen, then all sounds are Buddha's sounds. If you don't know how, then all sounds are ghostly sounds. If you understand, it's the Buddha mind. If you don't, it's still the Buddha mind.
...and expounding the different meanings of all dharmas.
What is meant by "all dharmas"?
"I know," you say, "there are eleven form dharmas, eight mind dharmas, fifty-one dharmas that interact with the mind, twenty-four dharmas that do not interact with the mind, and six unconditioned dharmas, making a total of hundred dharmas."
Yes, the hundred dharmas are among "all dharmas." "All dharmas" actually refers to just one dharma, not many dharmas. However, the "one dharma" has a different meaning here.
A single source divides into a myriad things.
The myriad things all return to the single source.
One can become limitless; limitless can become one. The characters 差别 for "different" should be pronounced
chi bie. Some people say that my pronunciation is wrong, that
chi should be cha. [When pronounced cha, the word means "to err, to mistake."] It's not known who is mistaken here. Am I mistaken? Or are you? Since I don't want to be mistaken, I read it as
chi. Chi bie means distinction or difference. When one becomes limitless, all dharmas refer to many dharmas. When the limitless becomes one, it refers to one dharma.
The one does not obstruct the many; the many do not obstruct the one. A single dharma is simply all dharmas. All dharmas are but a single dharma. Speaking from the point of view of the Buddhadharma, there are 84,000 Dharma doors, which are also "all dharmas." Eighty-four thousand Dharma doors do not go beyond a single thought. Being inseparable from a single thought, they are a single dharma. The 84,000 Dharma doors represent "all dharmas." If we were to differentiate all those dharmas, we could take eons of time and still not finish. At present, we don't want to put forth so much mental effort and engage in so much false-thinking. As the
Song of Enlightenment of Great Master Yongjia says:
Distinguishing among names and terms,
not knowing how to stop,
Is like counting the grains of sand in the ocean,
exhausting oneself in vain.
Don't bind yourself up. Instead, set yourself free. It's better to cultivate the Dharma door of stilling thoughts. Once you succeed at the practice of stilling your thoughts, you will understand all dharmas. As another line of the
Song of Enlightenment says:
Capture the root; never mind the branchtips.
Once you attain the root, you won't worry about the branchtips. What is the root? It is the "one" dharma.
When the one is attained, all things are done.
If you attain the one, then you have completed everything. What does it mean to attain the one? Actually, attaining the one is not sufficent. "How is it insufficient?" you ask. "It is said, 'When Heaven attains the one, it becomes clear. When Earth attains the one, it becomes peaceful. When people attain the one, they become Sages.' If you attain the one, you become a Sage. How is that insufficient?"
Attaining the one is not enough. You must turn the one into zero. If you can understand the zero, you will have attained the root.
The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Banner that Outshines the Sunlight obtained the liberation door of acting as a good advisor for all living beings, causing all those who see him to develop good roots.
The next Medicine-Ruling Spirit is named Banner that Outshines the Sunlight. To "outshine" can also mean to "cover" or "block." There are two interpretations to this spirit's name. First, it can mean that he can cover up the sun, the way clouds do, so that its light cannot be seen. Secondly, it can mean that his banner is more brilliant than the sun, thus causing the sun and moon to appear dim. Hence, his name is "Medicine-Ruling Spirit Banner that Outshines the Sunlight." The principles of this Sutra are profuse, and each individual has his or her own understanding. Wise people perceive with wisdom; humane people see what is humane. Those of profound understanding see what is profound; those of shallow understanding grasp only what is superficial. Now, since my understanding is shallow, I cannot see the profundities of the Sutra. I am just an ordinary person, not necessarily humane, and so my views are like those of average people. Even less could I make a claim to wisdom. I am not just being modest or polite; people should know their strengths and weaknesses, and I am no exception.
This Medicine-Ruling Spirit is able to understand a part of the Buddha's state. What is it? He has
obtained the liberation door of acting as a good advisor for all living beings. This is the state of a great Bodhisattva. If one is not a great Bodhisattva, one would not be a good advisor for all living beings. All living beings include beings that fly, those that swim, those that move on land, plants, and beings born from wombs, eggs, moisture, and transformation. He is able to assume different forms in accord with different kinds of living beings and serve as their good advisor. There are great good advisors, average good advisors, and small good advisors. Great good advisors adjust their teaching according to the situation and speak Dharma that is geared to each person's needs. Average good advisors speak Dharma according to living beings' desires, enabling them to change their defiled thoughts. Small good advisors are only capable of getting living beings to get rid of their minor bad habits and faults.
To be continued