At that time, someone came to look for the Abbot and he turned to me and told me to find a way. I said, "What can I do?" He said, "When we were at Daba, you saved the life of a dying child. Why don't you take a look at this child?"
"Tell your boy to come here," I told the father. The father called the son, and both of them knelt before me. I saw at once that the boy looked just like a monk. "If you want him to get well, send him to the temple to leave home. He will certainly get well."
"If he gets well, I will certainly send him to leave home," said the father.
"Fine," I said. "He will get well in less than half a month." The father was very happy. Basically he was very poor, but he gave an offering of ten dollars. We took our leave. Later, the son did get well. I kept my eye out for the boy, hoping he would leave the home-life. After a month, I passed through his village again and made a special visit to his home. When I asked his father, the father said the boy was well, and I said-, "You'd better send him to the temple to leave home."
"In a few days," said the father. I left. After another month passed, I went to see them again. "Is the boy well?" I asked. "He is," said the father.
"Then you'd better send him to the monastery to leave home right away. Otherwise, he will get sick again. This is the second time I have come to see you. If he gets sick again, I will not pay any attention." The father thought I was trying to scare him and didn't take me seriously. Once his son was well, he could not bear to give him up.
The third time I passed by their village, I heard that the boy had fallen ill again more than ten days earlier. That time, I did not visit their home. However, the boy knew—he saw—when I passed by his home and said to his father, "This time I'm not going to get well. Today the monk from Three Conditions Temple passed our house but didn't come to see us. I probably won't get well."
"Don't worry," said the father. "Tomorrow I'll go find him at the temple and take you to leave the home-life." The father walked three or four miles to the temple. The boy stayed home, but strangely enough, his spirit followed the father to the temple. He saw which room his father was sitting in, the people he met, and everything that was in the temple. He saw it all very clearly. I was out that day, and so the father did not find me. When the father returned, the boy told him, "I followed you to the temple today."
"I didn't see you," said the father.
"But I saw you," said the boy. "You talked to the Abbot, then you went to the Merit and Virtue Hall where there were a lot of plaques." And he described the people who had been at the temple.
"Strange!" said the father. "You didn't go, and yet you know exactly what I said and who I met, and all the people who were there."
On my way back to the temple, I passed by their village again, and again the boy was aware of it. He told his father, "So-and-so from Three Conditions Temple has passed by our house again without coming to call on us. It probably means I can't leave home." That evening, the boy called out, "Father, light the lamp and see if I'm sitting properly." The father lit the lamp and saw the boy sitting there in full lotus posture. He was sitting very erect, but he had already died. He was supposed to leave the home-life and someone told him to leave home, but after he got well his father could not bear to give him up. In the end, he died. This goes to show that whether or not a person leaves home is not fixed. Basically he was supposed to leave home; I saw that he had the appearance of a monk. However, his parents could not bear to let him go. Consequently, he didn't get to leave home. This child, even after his death, still follows me all the time. Although he did not leave home when he was alive, after death he understood that he should cultivate the Way. The problem of birth and death is not easy to resolve.
In order to benefit them, living beings, the Buddha appears in the world. The City-Ruling Spirit Body of Pure Radiance entered this door to liberation.
The self-mastery of the Thus Come One is without bounds.
Like clouds it spreads pervasively through all worlds. He even appears in dreams to tame and subdue beings.
This is what Fragrant Banner has observed.
Dark and deluded living beings are like the blind,
Entangled in all sorts of obstacles and coverings.
The Buddha's light shines through, opening their wisdom.
This is what Jeweled Peak has entered.
The self-mastery of the Thus Come One's wonderful functioning of spiritual penetrations, by which he teaches and transforms all sentient beings, pervades the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. Therefore, it is without bounds or limits. An analogy is given. It is like clouds in the sky, in that it spreads pervasively through all worlds. The Buddha teaches and transforms living beings when they are awake and conscious. What is more, he even appears in dreams to teach, transform, tame and subdue beings who have affinities with him, leading them to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi. This state of the Buddha is what the City-Ruling Spirit Fragrant Banner has observed. He has attained this liberation door.
Dark and deluded living beings are like the blind and sightless. In their ignorance, they are entangled in all sorts of obstacles and coverings. They are like monkeys, who are always getting into mischief. Have you noticed how monkeys are always carrying something in each hand? They are never idle, but they never accomplish anything either. Living beings are the same way. They cannot relinquish their desires. For example, money-grubbers have the desire for wealth. If they realize that money is not such a good thing, they can relinquish it. But once they put down their desire for money, they get attached to beautiful forms or give rise to some other desire. "All sorts of obstacles and coverings" includes the desires for wealth, lust, fame, food, and sleep. These are all obstacles and coverings which bind them up so they cannot get free and cover them over.
The Buddha's light shines through, opening their wisdom. The Buddha emits the light of great wisdom, which penetrates through and destroys living beings' stupidity and darkness. This light is like the light of the sun shining in a clear blue sky, causing the wisdom of foolish beings to unfold. This state is what the City-Ruling Spirit Jeweled Peak has entered and understood.
Moreover, the Way-place Spirit named Banner of Pure Adornment obtained the liberation door of manifesting great power of vows to make offerings of vast, great adornments to Buddhas.
The Flower Adornment Sutra is endlessly multi-layered and inexhaustible. The word "moreover" signifies that the text will continue discussing principles of the Sutra which have not yet been fully explained.
The Way-place Spirit named Banner of Pure Adornment is pure and adorned, like a precious banner. Since this spirit protects Way-places, those Way-places have precious banners. There are numerous kinds of Way-places. There are Chan Way-places, where people investigate Chan meditation. There are also Way-places where people study and explain the teachings. There are Way-places where one specializes in observing the Vinaya or moral precepts, Way-places where one cultivates secret practices, and Way-places where Pure Land practices are cultivated. There are infinitely many kinds of Way-places. Cultivators need to have a place where they can cultivate the Way. They also need Dharma protectors, spirits that protect the Way-place.
This Way-place Spirit obtained the liberation door of manifesting great power of vows to make offerings of vast, great adornments to Buddhas. He attained a state in which he saw the Bodhi practices cultivated by the Buddha in former lifetimes. He witnessed the Buddha cultivating the paramitas of vigor, dhyana concentration, patience, holding precepts, giving, and Prajna. The Buddha cultivated the Six Paramitas and the myriad practices. And he saw that what the Buddha liked best was to make offerings to Buddhas. He made offerings not just to one Buddha, but to all Buddhas of the ten directions throughout the three periods of time, to the ends of empty space throughout the Dharma Realm.
He brought forth a vast, great resolve to make offerings to the Buddhas and adorn the Buddhas' Way-places, thereby perfecting his merit and virtue. Such was the great power of his vows—his Bodhi resolve—to extensively save living beings and guide them all to Buddhahood. That was the liberation door that the Way-place Spirit named Banner of Pure Adornment attained.
The Way-place Spirit named Sumeru Jeweled Brilliance obtained the liberation door of appearing before all living beings and accomplishing vast practices of Bodhi.
"Sumeru" is a Sanskrit word meaning "wonderfully tall." The next Way-place Spirit is named Sumeru Jeweled Brilliance, Wonderfully Tall Jeweled Brilliance. He obtained a state of the Buddha, the liberation door of appearing before all living beings and accomplishing vast practices of Bodhi. The Buddha does not forsake any living being. While on the causal ground, the Buddha cultivated the Six Paramitas and myriad practices, vowing to help living beings cultivate and accomplish the Buddha Path.
"Vast practices of Bodhi" refer to lengthy practices that ordinary living beings must cultivate in order to accomplish Buddhahood. This spirit obtained this door to liberation.
Nobody has had a question for many days. If anyone has a question today, you can ask it now. If there are no questions, you should look for one to ask.
Venerable Master: It depends on the dream. Some dreams are muddled; some are clear; some are foolish; some are wise. It depends on the kind of dream. If it ought to be remembered, you ought to remember it. If it shouldn't be remembered and you can forget it, that's pretty good too.
To be continued