They used four analogies for fear that he might not understand. The person said, "If you say milk is like a shell, is it as hard as a shell? If you compare milk to rice flour, is it as soft as rice flour? If you say rice flour is the color of snow, is it as cold as snow? And what is snow like? If it is white like a white crane, does it move around like a crane?" Even with four analogies, the person still had no idea what people were talking about. Foolish people who did not understand the four virtues of the Buddha's Nirvana—permanence, bliss, true self, and purity—were like the blind person who did not know what color milk was even after being given four analogies. In the overall analogy, the shell represented the virtue of permanence, rice flour represented the virtue of bliss, snow represented the virtue of purity, and the crane represented the virtue of true self. Ordinary, ignorant people do not understand what the Buddhadharma is all about. If you explain the transcendental Dharma to them, they say, "Transcendental Dharma is included within the worldly dharma." What they say has some truth to it. As the
Sixth Patriarch Sutra says,
The Buddhadharma is here in the world.
Enlightenment is not apart from the world.
To search for Bodhi apart from the world.
Is like looking for a hare with horns.
When people who do not understand the Buddhadharma see this verse, they think it means there is no transcendental Dharma. They have no idea what transcendental Dharma could be. They are only familiar with worldly dharmas. The meaning behind the Sixth Patriarch's words is that the transcendental Dharma can be found right within worldly dharmas. He was not stating that there was no such thing as transcendental Dharma. Worldly dharmas, when turn around, become transcendental Dharma. But if you turn transcendental Dharma back into worldly dharmas, you will never find the transcendental Dharma. The transcendental Dharma can be found within worldly dharmas, provides you understand it. If you lack understanding, then there is neither worldly nor transcendental Dharma. Once you understand, then the worldly is itself transcendental. Right within the mundane, you can cultivate the transcendental Dharma. This is a fundamental principle of the Buddhadharma, which the Sixth Patriarch expressed in his verse, "The Buddhadharma is here in the world. Enlightenment is not apart from the world." You have to attain enlightenment in the world. If you are not enlightened in the world, there is no Buddhadharma to speak of. If you are enlightened, then the Buddhadharma—the transcendental Dharma— exists. Don't seek to find some other enlightenment apart from this world. "To search for Bodhi apart from the world / Is like looking for a hare with horns." To seek Bodhi outside of worldly dharmas is like looking for horns on a rabbit.
The City-Ruling Spirit Body of Pure Radiance is able to enlighten all foolish and dim-witted living beings. He obtained this liberation door of wisdom and light.
The City-Ruling Spirit named Fragrant Cowl Adornment obtained the liberation door of contemplating the Thus Come One's sovereign power which pervasively tames living beings in all worlds.
The City-Ruling Spirit named Fragrant Cowl Adornment is also known as Fragrant Banner Adornment. He rules over a city.
He obtained the state of the Buddha,
liberation door of contemplating the Thus Come One's sovereign and awesome
power of spiritual penetrations
which pervasively tames living beings in all worlds throughout the ten directions. That's the door of liberation of this city-ruling spirit.
The City-Ruling Spirit named Jeweled Peak Bright Eyes obtained the liberation door of using brilliant light to smash the mountain of all living beings' obstructions.
At that time, the City-Ruling Spirit named Jeweled Peak Illumination received the Buddha's awesome might, contemplated all the multitudes of city-ruling spirits, and spoke the following verse.
The City-Ruling Spirit Jeweled Peak Bright Eyes and the City-Ruling Spirit Jeweled Peak Illumination are probably brothers, for their names' differences by only one word.
He obtained the liberation door of using brilliant light to smash the mountain of all living beings' obstructions. What is the mountain of obstructions? It is formed of greed, anger, stupidity, and darkness. When the mountain of obstruction is smashed, the light of wisdom appears.
At that time, the City-Ruling Spirit named Jeweled Peak Illumination received the Buddha's awesome spiritual might, contemplated all the multitudes of city-ruling spirits, and spoke the following verse.
The Guiding Master is thus inconceivable.
His light pervasively illumines the ten directions.
Every living being sees the Buddha appear before him.
Innumerable beings are taught, transformed and brought to maturity.
The Guiding Master is one who guides living beings to the attainment of Buddhahood. As one who first became enlightened himself, he leads the way for living beings. The Buddha has already gone through the experience. Based on the practices he cultivated, he realized Buddhahood and then set about to teach living beings to attain Buddhahood as well. Hence, he is called "Guiding Master." He is thus inconceivable. The word "thus" contains many principles. It refers to the method of cultivation—namely, the Middle Way. Those who understand the Middle Way are "thus," while those who do not understand arc not "thus." The Middle Way is that basis for the achievement of Buddhahood. It is inconceivable. The Middle Way gives birth to innumerable Buddhas, innumerable Bodhisattvas, innumerable Arhats, and innumerable Patriarchs.
All the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and Sages were born from the Middle Way. And so it is said to be inconceivable. You can never finish describing the wonders of the Middle Way, nor can you ever fully understand them. You cannot attain Buddhahood without cultivating the Middle Way. The Middle Way is just true emptiness and wonderful existence. True emptiness is not empty, which is why it can produce wonderful existence. Wonderful existence does not exist, which is why it is called true emptiness. The changing transformations of the Middle Way are infinite, its esoteric mystery is incomparable. All Buddhas cultivate the Middle Way, and because of that, they have great samadhi power and great wisdom power. Because of his great wisdom power and his successful cultivation of the Middle Way, his light pervasively illumines the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. Every living being in the ten directions sees the Buddha appear before him and feels that the Buddha is speaking Dharma directly to him. Innumerable beings are taught, transformed and brought to maturity. The Buddha has taught and transformed living beings beyond number, leading them to attain Buddhahood. "Innumerable" means their number cannot be known; it is unspeakably, unspeakably many.
Every living being's disposition is unique.
The Buddha understands them all without exception.
The City-Ruling Spirit Wondrously Adorning Palaces
Entered this Dharma door and rejoiced in his heart.
The Thus Come One cultivated through measureless eons,
Protecting and upholding the Dharma of past Buddhas.
Constantly focusing on reverent practice brought him joy.
The City Spirit Wondrous Jewels awakened to this door.
Every living being's disposition is unique. Every living being has his own individual karma. Each one plants his own causes and reaps his own results. Consider human beings, for example. No two people have identical faces. Just as their faces are different, so are their karmic retri- butions and causes and effects. There are living beings with deep good roots, and those with shallow good roots. Some have already cultivated for a very long time, whereas others have just started. Therefore, living beings each have distinct dispositions. This makes it difficult to know all their dispositions. Nevertheless,
the Buddha understands them all very, very clearly
without exception. Knowing their temperaments, he can speak the appropriate Dharma for them.
The City-Ruling Spirit Wondrously Adorning
Palaces attained this state of the Buddha. He
entered this Dharma door and rejoiced in his heart. He was very happy.
The Thus Come One cultivated through measureless eons in the past. How did he cultivate? He acted as a Dharma protector,
protecting and upholding the Dharma of past Buddhas. He did his best to protect the Buddhadharma. Dharma protectors are of various kinds. In protecting the Dharma, the Buddha was constantly
focusing on reverent practice which
brought him joy. He revered the Dharma and cultivated in accord with it, and this made him very happy. Those who protect the Dharma use all sorts of expedient means to teach and transform living beings. One of the Buddha's disciples, the Venerable Mahakatyayana, often taught and transformed living beings by appearing in their dreams to cause them to become enlightened and bring forth the Bodhi resolve. What proof is there that he taught through dreams? He once accepted a disciple who was a king named Xila. After King Xila left the home-life, he went to the mountains and engaged in dhuta or ascetic practices, eating one meal a day and not sleeping under the same tree two nights in a row. Not bothering to cut his hair or shave, he assumed a very "natural" appearance comparable to that of modern- day hippies. As he was cultivating there, another king went to the moun- tains to hunt, accompanied by a large entourage of lovely concubines. Tired out from hunting, that king fell asleep. Meanwhile, his beautiful women grew restless and decided to take a walk. They happened upon the ascetic King Xila, who looked like a freak. The ascetic explained the Buddhadharma for them. When the other king woke up and found his women gone, he searched around and found them chatting with a freak.
To be continued