(continued from previous issue) For example, the Great Master Zhi Zhe of Tiantai spent ninety days explaining the word miao "wonderful." You might say that he went into too much detail in his explanation. Actually, not to speak of ninety days, even nine months, nine years, or ninety years would not be enough time to fully explain the meaning of "wonderful," simply because it is wonderful. One can only give people a general idea of what it means.
It is not a question of whether the meaning is good or not. People who want to know more have to spend time investigating in greater depth on their own.
Moreover, to continue the discussion of the meanings mentioned previously, the Vajra-wielding Spirit named Wondrous Color Narayana... "Narayana" means "strong and solid." How do I know? Because the text says that he is a vajra-wielding spirit. If he were not strong and solid, how could he wield a vajra jeweled pestle? If his arms were as weak as a baby chick's, how could he hold a vajra jeweled pestle? Vajra jeweled pestles and vajra jeweled swords are weapons wielded by Dharma protectors. Vajra-wielding spirits are Dharma protectors. This particular spirit obtained the liberation door of seeing the Thus Come One manifest bodies of boundless forms. He sees the Buddha manifest these bodies. The word "manifest" indicates that these bodies are not real. They appear out of nothing. Originally they did not exist. The Buddha manifests boundlessly many such bodies. This spirit obtained that door to liberation.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Banner as Swift as the Sun obtained the liberation door of every hair on the Buddha's body displaying all kinds of clouds of light, just like the sun's orb.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Banner as Swift as the Sun is very speedy. He obtained the state of the Buddha, the liberation door of every hair on the Buddha's body displaying all kinds of clouds of light, just like the sun's orb. Every hair on the Buddha's body sends forth a ray of light, just like the sun. This ray of light is not of a single color. It is actually a cloud of light of rainbow colors, like a five-colored auspicious cloud floating in the sky. That is this spirit's door to liberation.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Sumeru Flower Light obtained the liberation door of making appear measureless bodies and great spiritual transformations.
The next Vajra-wielding Spirit is named Sumeru Flower Light. Sumeru means "wonderfully tall." The light he emits has flowers in it, and the flowers in turn give off light. This spirit obtained the liberation door and understood the Buddha's state of making appear measureless bodies and great spiritual powers and transformations.
Demons have the appearance of demons, and Buddhas have the appearance of Buddhas. Sometimes, in order to subdue a demon, the Buddha himself may manifest the appearance of a demon. However, he manifests in a form that is larger than the demon. For example, if the demon is five thousand feet tall, the Buddha might manifest as a demon that is ten thousand feet tall, five thousand feet taller than the demon. When the demon sees how small he is in comparison to the Buddha, he submits and pays obeisance, promising to follow the Buddha's instructions. After the demon is subdued, the Buddha reappears in his own body. When the demon sees how great the Buddha's spiritual powers of transformation are, he dares not disobey the Buddha's teaching.
The Buddhadharma, if you know how to apply it, is infinitely wonderful and mysterious. If you don't know how to use it, it is like having a bright pearl sewn in your clothing and not knowing about it. Once you discover the bright pearl, you can use it. The bright pearl can give you all kinds of treasures. You can use it forever, and it will never wear out. If you find the pearl in your clothing, you will be the richest person. If you wish for money, the pearl produces money. If you want gold, it produces gold. If you prefer silver, it gives you silver. You can have whatever you want. That is an analogy for the liberation door of great spiritual transformations.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Pure Cloud Sound obtained the liberation door of boundless sounds that accord with the categories of beings.
The next Vajra-wielding Spirit is named Pure Cloud Sound. He obtained the liberation door of boundless sounds that accord with the categories of beings. He understood the Buddha's state where the Buddha is able to appear in the appropriate form for different kinds of living beings, speak in a way that they can understand, and proclaim the wonderful Dharma for them. You shouldn't have the idea that the Buddha always appears as a Buddha. The Buddha can take on any form at all. For example, if he wants to save fish, he appears in a fish's body and goes into the water to teach and transform fish, speaking to them in fish language. If he wants to save dragons, he manifests as a dragon. If he wants to save other animals, he appears in their forms. Not only does he take on the same form as them, he communicates with them in their own language. This spirit obtained the Buddha's liberation door of sounds that accord with the categories of beings.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Heavenly Lord with Splendid Arms obtained the liberation door of manifesting as all worldly leaders and enlightening living beings.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Heavenly Lord with Splendid Arms obtained the liberation door of manifesting as all worldly leaders and enlightening living beings. The wonderful thing about this spirit is that he can rub oil on his head using his hand. After rubbing, he turns into a slippery- head. When one hand is done rubbing, the other hand rubs some more. What is more, one hand can turn into countlessly many hands, and those countlessly many hands can turn back into one hand. One hand can become ten million hands, and ten million hands can become one hand, so he is said to have "splendid arms." Splendid means inconceivable. With his hands, he can pick up as many things as he wishes.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Delightful Brightness obtained the liberation door of expounding upon all the different doors of the Buddhadharma, completely covering them without remainder.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Delightful Brightness understood the Buddha's state and obtained the liberation door of expounding upon all the different doors of the Buddhadharma, completely covering them without remainder. He makes all living beings understand all the doors of the different meanings within the Buddhadharma. They completely understand all the principles of Buddhadharma without exception. That was this spirit's liberation door.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Great Tree Thunder Sound obtained the liberation door of using delightful adornments to gather in all tree spirits.
The Vajra-wielding Spirit named Great Tree Thunder Sound obtained the Buddha's state and the liberation door of using delightful adornments, including toys, to gather in all tree spirits. He uses toys and adornments to keep the tree spirits under control. Tree spirits are probably fond of playing and having fun. That was this spirit's door to liberation.
Everyone should make vows together. If you want to make vows, come forward and bow three times to the Buddhas, then make your vows. Be sure to say your name first.
The left-home people and lay people at Gold Mountain Monastery have all resolved to seek unsurpassed Bodhi and have made great vows. In the recent past, this was rarely done in Buddhism anywhere in the world. If we are talking about limitless eons in the past, there were many Buddhists who made vows. In this century, however, there are very few. That's why we have entered the Dharma-ending Age, where everyone has forgotten about cultivation.
Now some people have made their individual vows. You should constantly review your vows and become very familiar with them. Keep them securely in mind. Don't just forget your vows after you've made them. That is not allowed. At all times, you should remember the vows you've made.
For example, those two monks who are bowing every three steps made vows in the past to practice what others could not practice. These two vowed that no matter where they went, they would be Vajra Power Knights, enduring what others cannot endure and practicing what others cannot practice. They wanted to engage in such ascetic practice. Regardless of whether or not they succeeded at it, they were determined to undertake ascetic practice.
In cultivation, making vows is very important. Patience is also of the utmost importance. Anyone who can be patient will surely succeed in accomplishing the Way. Patience is the ability to endure adversity as if it were as pleasant as eating honey, without getting the least bit upset or angry. That's what's required to accomplish the practice of patience and perfect one's work in the Way.
Today when people made their vows, I listened carefully and noticed that no one made a vow to be patient. However, before you made your vows, I couldn't very well tell you what vows to make. Your vows have to be made of your own initiative; people cannot tell you what kind of vows to make. If people tell you what vows to make, those are their vows, not yours. In the future, I hope everyone can cultivate patience. This is very important.
To be continued