This chapter is called
Happily-Dwelling Conduct. [The Sanskrit title of the chapter is Sukha-vihara.
Sukha means "happy," and vihara means "dwelling." The Chinese translation is
an le heng, literally "dwelling-happyconduct."] Happily-dwelling conduct is the Bodhisattva conduct, and the Bodhisattva conduct is itself the happily-dwelling conduct. One happily dwells in the doors of practice cultivated by Bodhisattvas. Both one's body and one's mind reside in the states of cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way, and do so happily, since that is what one likes to do. The "Masters of the Dharma Chapter," the "Devadatta Chapter," and the "Exhortation to Maintain Chapter," which came previously, were very important sections of the
Dharma Flower Sutra. This chapter is even more important. The reason one dwells happily is that one sits on the Tathagata's throne, puts on the Tathagata's robe, and enters the Tathagata's room. One cultivates those kinds of happily-dwelling conduct.
Happily-dwelling conduct is the road on which one must travel in cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, hence the name of this chapter, "Happily-Dwelling Conduct," chapter fourteen.
At that time Dharma Prince Manjushri Bodhisattva Mahasattva said to the Buddha,
At that time is when the Buddha had finished speaking the "Exhortation to Maintain Chapter" and was ready to speak the "Happily-Dwelling Conduct Chapter."
Manjushri Bodhisattva's name is a Sanskrit word. Some translate it as "Wonderful Virtue," and some as "Wonderfully Auspicious." But Wonderful Virtue is Wonderfully Auspicious, and they mean the same. In general, this Bodhisattva's state is inconceivable. As explained in the commentary to the
Earth Store Sutra, ten auspicious signs occurred when Manjushri Bodhisattva was born. Guo Xiu probably remembers what the ten signs are, since her older sister remembered them. If the older sister remembers, the younger sister won't forget. To save time, we'll have Guo Xiu explain the ten signs later. Guo Xiu, do you remember the ten auspicious signs that marked the birth of Manjushri Bodhisattva, setting him apart from other Bodhisattvas?
While Manjushri Bodhisattva was cultivating the Bodhisattva conduct, he never lied, killed, or stole. He kept the precepts very carefully. There is proof that he never stole. One time he said to the other Bodhisattvas, "From the time I first brought forth my resolve to cultivate, I have always maintained the precept against stealing. That's why no one ever steals from me. Why, I could set my most valuable possession down on the ground, and no one would steal it." Some of the Bodhisattvas did not believe him and said, "We should test this out. Bring your most valuable possession, and we'll put it in front of the city gate." They chose that spot because it was where the most people came and went. "We'll leave it there for three days, and if no one has taken it by the end of that time, that will prove what you say is true."
Manjushri Bodhisattva said, "Fine, let's try it out." He took his most valuable gem—Bodhisattvas have many treasures—and put it in front of the city gate. People came in and out of the city through the gate for three days, but no one took the jewel. The Bodhisattvas then knew that Manjushri Bodhisattva had truly maintained the precept against stealing.
This Bodhisattva has the greatest wisdom. Why? Because he cultivated Prajna practices. From the time he began to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, he cultivated Prajna. He cultivated Literary Prajna, Contemplative Prajna, and Real Mark Prajna—the three kinds of Prajna. As a result, his wisdom is the greatest.
Before Shakyamuni Buddha realized Buddhahood, he studied the Buddhadharma under this Bodhisattva, who appeared earlier in the
Wonderful Dharma Flower Sutra as the Bodhisattva Wondrous Light. Manjushri Bodhisattva is also the Dharma Master Wondrous Light. So, you who are cultivating the Way and have taken precepts must truly keep the precepts. If we don't truly keep the precepts now, later when it's time for us to realize the Way, our realization won't be true either. For that reason, we should learn to be like Manjushri Bodhisattva: We should not kill, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, or take intoxicants.
Dharma Prince is Manjushri Bodhisattva's title. The Buddha is the Dharma King. He is the king within the Dharma, The god among gods, and the sage among sages. Bodhisattvas are Dharma Princes; they are the sons of the Dharma King. Hence, Manjushri Bodhisattva is called the Prince of Dharma.
Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word. "Bodhi" means "enlightenment," and "sattva" means "being(s)," so the whole word means "one who enlightens beings." A Bodhisattva can help other living beings to become enlightened. A Bodhisattva is also a living being who is enlightened. He is a living being just as we are, but he is an enlightened living being among sentient beings. That's the meaning of Bodhisattva.
Mahasattva is also a Sanskrit word. "Maha" means "great," and "sattva" is the Bodhisattva. Mahasattvas are the great Bodhisattvas among Bodhisattvas, which means they are senior, not junior Bodhisattvas. Junior Bodhisattvas are those who have just decided they want to be Bodhisattvas. It's not certain that Bodhisattvas who are newly resolved will necessarily become Bodhisattvas. Why not? Because some make the resolve for one, two, or three days and then run away. For example, Shariputra wanted to practice the Bodhisattva Way, but then retreated. The ancients had a verse that describes this very well:
Fish eggs, amalakas,
And newly resolved Bodhisattvas:
All three are many on the causal ground,
But few at the level of fruition.
Fish lay many eggs, but a large number of them never hatch into fish. The
amalaka is a fruit found almost exclusively in India. The tree blossoms profusely, without necessarily bearing even one fruit. Also, many people bring forth the beginning resolve to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way; they hear how good it is to practice the Bodhisattva Way, so they bring forth the Bodhi mind. But after a while they realize it's not at all easy, and they prefer not to practice it. Thus, there are many newly-resolved Bodhisattvas, but few actually become old Bodhisattvas. And so there are many of these three—fish eggs, amalaka blossoms, and newly-resolved Bodhisattvas—at the level of planting causes; but few of them actually come to fruition.
Senior Bodhisattvas have been thoroughly smelted; they've passed through the fire. That's not to say that Bodhisattvas are actually burned. It means that they have been through experiences as painful as being burned by fire and as difficult to endure as being drowned by water. By passing through so many demonic tests, the Bodhisattvas have been successfully smelted and forged. That's how they become senior Bodhisattvas. Manjushri Bodhisattva is not only a senior Bodhisattva, he is a great and inconceivable Bodhisattva, which is why he is called a Mahasattva. And so this Mahasattva said to the Buddha. What did he say?
To be continued