The Great Hero's skillful expedients are hard to
Nothing that he does is ever in vain.
determined to rid living beings of all suffering.
Chandana Forest has awakened to this.
The Great Hero's skillful expedients are hard to
fathom. [See last issue for commentary of this line.]
Nothing that he does is ever in vain. The Buddha never
engages in futile or useless endeavors. Everything the
Buddha does and says brings benefit to living beings. We
living beings, however, lack such understanding, and so we
often do things wrong without realizing it. He is determined
to rid living beings of all suffering. The Buddha's sole
purpose, his only wish, is to completely eradicate the
misery of living beings. The previous verse said,
The Thus Come One's wisdom is inconceivable.
understands the hearts of all living beings.
He can employ
all sorts of expedient powers
To extinguish the immeasurable
suffering of the confused multitudes.
Extinguishing their immeasurable suffering is easy to talk
about, but not easy to do. In his every thought, the Buddha
wishes to extinguish living beings' suffering. He has been
doing this all the way to the present moment, and what
happens is, each time he eradicates one living being's
suffering, another living being's suffering begins. When he
has put an end to that living being's suffering, yet another
living being starts to suffer. Their sufferings are like
waves in the ocean, one wave following another, wave after
wave coming on in ceaseless succession. These waves, like
the sufferings of living beings, are hard to stop.
Nonetheless, the Buddha "is determined to rid living beings
of all suffering." So it's impossible to extinguish their
suffering? Well, he's determined to do it. Knowing full well
that it cannot be done, he still insists on doing it against
all odds. Aware of the difficulty of eradicating living
beings' suffering, the Buddha is nonetheless willing to take
on the tough work of teaching and transforming living
This can be compared to when people make a resolve to save
the world. How can the world be saved? One person alone
cannot do it. It takes the effort of many people to save the
world. However, if everyone just looks at one another and
does nothing, the world will soon come to an end. You ought
to bring forth the Bodhi resolve to save living beings, not
caring whether other people are doing this work. You should
think, "I see that this is a job I ought to do, and so I'm
just going to go ahead and do it." The work of saving the
world is everyone's responsibility. Since it's everyone's
responsibility, I ought to do my share and not wait for
others. That way, there's a real opportunity for the world
to be saved. The Spirit Chandana Forest has awakened to
this. The Spirit Chandana Forest understands the various
principles and states discussed and can enter this
[In answer to a question about Venerable Master Hsu Yun] If
he were comfortable and at ease, then you wouldn't do what
he does. If he were totally at ease and free of sickness,
you would be even more inclined to think, "He's an eighth
ground Bodhisattva, whereas I'm a sixth ground Bodhisattva,
so I can't do the things he does." Wouldn't you reason in
that way, thinking, "Since he's an eighth ground
Bodhisattva, the things he does are beyond my ability."
According to your view, he is an eighth ground Bodhisattva
who is totally at ease in the wonder- ful functioning of
spiritual powers, so he ought not to get sick, right?
In my opinion, as an eighth ground Bodhisattva, he shouldn't
even come to such a defiled world. He shouldn't come into
this evil world of the five turbidities. Since he came, it
means that he was looking for something to do when there was
nothing to do. Being idle and unoccupied, he wanted to come
and be in the play. Having joined the play—this is your
samadhi—he wanted to try everything out. Having come to the
world, he acted the same as other living beings—eating,
sleeping, wearing clothes, getting sick, and dying. He
wasn't any different from others. People have to come to
realization on their own. His every move was speaking the
Dharma for living beings. He manifested the conduct of being
sick and in pain and suffering. Basically, what was his
Three Steps One Bow pilgrimage for? Ostensibly, it was a
pilgrimage to Wutai Mountain to pay respect to Manjushri
Bodhisattva. Was Manjushri Bodhisattva really at Wutai
Mountain? If Manjushri Bodhisattva were only at Wutai
Mountain, then the living beings in the United States could
never hope to see him. Therefore, all of this is speaking
Dharma for us.
Even our two Bhikshus, who are doing a Three Steps One Bow
Pilgrimage—what are they bowing for? They say they are
bowing to all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three
periods of time, to the Avatamsaka Assembly of Buddhas and
Bodhisattvas as Vast as the Sea. Why do they need to do
"three steps one bow" to pay homage to the Avatamsaka
Assembly? The Avatamsaka Assembly's Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
are right here. The monks are just manifesting this practice
as a way of speaking Dharma for living beings. There are
many different ways of speaking Dharma. Even getting sick
and dying are ways of speaking Dharma.
If you understand, then the person is speaking Dharma for
you. If you don't understand, then he is just doing
something to keep from being idle. His work is superfluous
and unnecessary. He thinks this world is a lot of fun, so he
has come to play. The Bodhisattvas of the eighth, ninth, and
tenth grounds have all come here to play. That's called the
playful samadhi. Therefore, why get attached to the matter
of whether or not he gets sick? If you want to think along
those lines, you ought to ask why an eighth ground
Bodhisattva is not free from death. Why did he die? That's
the biggest question. Sickness is a minor matter in
The two "Three Steps One Bow" monks could be said to be
great heroes. If they weren't great heroes, they wouldn't be
able to do what they're doing. In the future, all of you
should become great heroes. We'll become a hundred billion
great heroes—heirs of Shakyamuni Buddha endowed with great
might and great compassion.
Contemplate how the Dharma of all Buddhas is this
Having cultivated diligently in measureless eons past,
They are without attachment toward all of existence.
the door entered by Radiance of Leaving Dust.
All living beings should
contemplate how the
Dharma of all Buddhas throughout the ten directions and the
three periods of time—the past, present, and future—is this
way. That's just the way the Dharma is. What way? We could
go into great detail talking about this, but for now we will
only speak in general. There are the Three Bodies, the Four
Wisdoms, the Five Eyes, and the Six Spiritual Powers. There
are all the spiritual transformations, and the 84,000 Dharma
doors. They are all like this. Like what?
The path of language is cut off.
The place of the mind's
activity is gone.
The mouth wants to speak, but words are
The mind wants to think, but there are no thoughts.
There is nothing to say. That's just how it is. The Dharma
of all Buddhas is that way. How can one attain this Dharma?
How can one attain unmoving thusness and constant, clear
understanding? The next line says very clearly:
Having cultivated diligently in measureless eons past.
did he attain this Dharma? He attained it because limitless
eons ago, he diligently cultivated precepts, samadhi, and
wisdom, and extinguished greed, anger, and delusion.
Throughout these limitless eons until now, he has diligently
cultivated all dharmas. Having cultivated the Dharma and the
Way which is thus, he now accomplishes the Buddha fruition
which is thus. Diligent cultivation is the primary cause of
the accomplishment of Buddhahood. When the Buddha cultivated
the Way, he was vigorous in the six periods of the day and
night. For the sake of seeking the Buddhadharma and
attaining the Buddha Way, the Buddha renounced both internal
and external wealth. External wealth refers to one's
country, cities, wife, and children. Internal wealth refers
to one's body, mind, life, and parts of the body, such as
the head, eyes, brains, and marrow. The Buddha was able to
give all of those away. He truly practiced the teachings and
honestly applied himself to cultivation.
They are without attachment toward all of existence.
existence encompasses all that exists within the Three
Realms—the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless
Realm. What is it that exists in these Three Realms?
Outflows, birth and death, ignorance, afflictions, and bad
habits. Yet the Buddha was not attached to existence. He
destroyed all attachments. Only when you have no attachments
can you attain liberation. If you are still attached, you
cannot be liberated. If you have the attachment to self and
the attachment to dharmas, you cannot attain liberation. You
have to get rid of all attachments whatsoever. This is the
door entered by Radiance of Leaving Dust. The
Medicine-Ruling Spirit named Radiance of Leaving Dust has
entered and understood this liberation door.
The Buddha is hard to encounter in a hundred thousand
If there are those who get to see him or hear his
It is not in vain, and they will certainly attain
The Spirit named Universal Renown understands this.
The Buddha is hard to encounter in a hundred
thousand eons. It is hard to get to hear the Buddhadharma.
It is hard to obtain a human body. It is hard to get to be
born in the United States. It is difficult to encounter a
good advisor. As the verse goes,
The unsurpassed, profound, subtle and wonderful Dharma
difficult to encounter in a hundred million eons.
I now see
and hear it, receive and maintain it,
And I vow to
understand the Thus Come One's true meaning.
Just as it is hard to encounter the Dharma in a hundred
million eons, it is also not easy to meet up with the Buddha
in a hundred million eons. Sometimes you meet him without
recognizing him. Most people don't realize they have met the
Buddha until after the event. Zhu-ge Liang was able to know
about things before they happened, but most people are
confused when things happen and only figure out what's going
on later on.
If there are those who get to see him or hear his name.
is a hypothetical statement, "if..." Basically, this
situation neither exists nor does not exist. But suppose
there are people who see the Buddha or hear his name.
not in vain, and they will certainly attain benefit. They
will gain advantages, and the situation will not have been
totally worthless. The Medicine-Ruling Spirit named
Universal Renown, who has a great reputation, understands
this liberation door.
To be continued