The Buddha cultivated a sea of all blessings
As numerous as the motes of dust in all lands.
His spiritual powers and vows made this possible.
The Way-place is adorned and pure, free from filth.
The wish-fulfilling king of jewels forms the root of the tree.
mani serve as its body.
Jeweled nets cover it from high above.
A mist of sublime fragrance circulates around it.
Myriads of jewels adorn the branches of the tree.
Its trunk of mani vigorously stretches upward.
The dense covering of branches resembles layered clouds.
The Buddha sits in the Way-place underneath it.
In the past when the Buddha was cultivating the Way, he
cultivated blessings and wisdom. He cultivated all kinds of blessings, so many that they are said to be
a sea of all blessings, / As numerous as the motes of dust in all lands. That’s how abundant his blessings were.
His spiritual powers and vows made this possible. Such abundant blessings were produced from the Buddha’s spiritual powers and vows. They were transformations wrought by the Buddha’s spiritual powers and the vows he made while cultivating.
The Way-place is adorned and pure, free from filth. Each Way-place is immaculate and beautiful, untainted by filth.
The wish-fulfilling king of jewels forms the root of the tree. The roots of the Bodhi tree are made of wish-fulfilling jewels.
Vajra and mani jewels
serve as its body. / Jeweled nets cover it from high above. / A mist of sublime fragrance circulates around it. The tree is constantly surrounded by a rare fragrance.
Myriads of jewels adorn the branches of the tree. The tree’s branches are elegant and decorated with all kinds of gems.
Its trunk of mani vigorously stretches upward. The trunk of mani jewels grows ever higher.
The dense covering of branches resembles layered clouds. The branches and twigs are closely interwoven like layers of clouds in the sky.
The Buddha sits in the Way-place underneath it, teaching and transforming living beings. The Bodhi tree serves as the Buddha’s Way-place for propagating the Dharma.
The Way-place is vast beyond conception.
Its tree entirely covers the surrounding area.
Luxuriant leaves and flowers shelter and reflect each other.
Within each blossom there is a mani fruit.
Between the branches shines a wondrous light.
This light pervasively illumines the Way-place.
It is pure, blazing, and inexhaustible,
And appears by the power of the Buddha’s vows.
A treasury of mani jewels forms the flowers.
The shadows and radiance are like exquisite clouds
Enshrouding the tree with all-pervasive fragrance
And decorating every part of the Way-place.
The Way-place formed by the Bodhi tree is vast and great
beyond conception. / Its tree entirely covers the surrounding area. The Bodhi tree has a huge circumference and covers an immense area.
Luxuriant leaves and prolific jeweled
flowers provide shelter and reflect each other. The leaves reflect the flowers, and the flowers shine upon the leaves.
Within each blossom there is a mani fruit. Each flower will bear a fruit of
Between the branches of the tree shines a wondrous light. / This light pervasively illumines the Way-place. / It is pure, blazing, and inexhaustible. This light has no heat to it. It is cool, clean, and undefiled, yet has the appearance of a blazing fire.
And this light appears by the power of the Buddha’s vows. The Bodhi tree manifests this kind of state as a result of the vows the Buddha made in the past.
A treasury of mani jewels forms the flowers. / The shadows and radiance are like exquisite, five-colored
clouds in the sky—extremely beautiful.
Enshrouding the tree with all-pervasive fragrance / And decorating every part of the Way-place. The entire Bodhimanda is beautifully adorned and filled with a fine fragrance.
Look inside the Way-place of the Well Gone One.
The precious nets of lotuses are completely pure.
From them emerge flames of light in the form of wheels.
Bells tinkling and tolling are heard in the clouds.
Throughout all lands in the ten directions,
Grow elegant trees of wonderful colors.
The Bodhi Tree reveals them all without exception.
Look inside the Way-place of the Well Gone One. This line is telling you, me, and the living beings of the present to take a look. When the Buddha spoke this line, he was telling those living beings who were in the Dharma assembly at the time to take a look. Now we are far from the time of the Buddha, so when we explain this sutra, we interpret this line as telling all of us to take a look. If we don’t look, the sutra is useless to us. The Buddha spoke the Dharma to liberate living beings. You and I are all living beings. We are among the living beings taught and transformed by the Buddha. Thus, you should not think that this line of the sutra has nothing to do with you. You should connect it to your own body and mind. It is completely your own business, nobody else’s. If you think like that, then the sutra will mean something to you.
What should you look at? Look at the Well Gone One. “Well Gone One” is one of the ten titles of a Buddha. Literally, it means one who has gone to a good place, but in the sutra it refers to the Buddha. You are to look inside the Way-place where the Buddha dwells.
Due to the Buddha’s presence in the Way-place, the precious nets woven
of lotuses are completely pure. / From them emerge flames of light in the form of wheels. The lotuses radiate many kinds of light of various colors, resembling flames. The flames naturally assume a circular shape, like wheels. Not only are there wheels in the light, there are sounds of bells.
Bells tinkling and tolling are heard in the clouds. [Note: In Chinese there are two words,
ling and duo, for bells. Ling are small round bells, and
duo are bells with clappers, usually wooden.] In China, a disciple of Confucius once said, “Heaven is about to use the Master [Confucius] as a bell with a wooden clapper [to arouse the age].” In other words, Heaven would employ Confucius to make a great sound like the tolling of a bell. Within the clouds various lights and forms appear, and various sounds of bells are heard.
Throughout all Buddhas’ lands in the ten directions—the four cardinal directions, the four intermediate directions, and above and below—grow elegant trees of wonderful colors. This refers to all types of trees, not just a single type. Bodhi trees also come in many shapes and colors, but they are always exceptionally handsome and magnificent. The mere sight of a Bodhi tree causes people to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi. Having made that resolve, they will eventually bear the Bodhi fruit and attain Buddhahood.
The Bodhi Tree reveals them all without exception. In all the years that the
Flower Adornment Sutra has been lectured, we have seldom discussed the Bodhi tree. It just so happens that the editor and distributor of the Taiwanese journal
Bodhi Tree are here today, and we are also talking about the Bodhi tree in the Sutra. As mentioned earlier, people who see the Bodhi tree are bound to bring forth the aspiration for Bodhi. Similarly, when people who have no understanding of Buddhism read the
Bodhi Tree magazine, they gain a little taste of Buddhism and want to study in greater depth. The wish to study in greater depth amounts to bringing forth the aspiration for Bodhi. They want to investigate the principles discussed in
Bodhi Tree magazine. That is what is meant by this line: “The Bodhi Tree reveals them all without exception.” There is nothing it fails to reveal. The Five Roots, the Five Powers, the Seven Bodhi Shares, the Eightfold Proper Path, the Four Applications of Mindfulness, the Four Right Efforts, and the Four Psychic Bases are all manifested there.
The Bodhi tree expounds Small Vehicle doctrines, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Twelve Links of Conditioned Causation. It also expounds Great Vehicle doctrines—the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Practices—and speaks of how by practicing the Bodhisattva Way, one eventually realizes the perfect fruition of Buddhahood, attains the three types of enlightenment and the ten thousand virtues, and is replete with both blessings and wisdom. Thus, nothing fails to be revealed by the Bodhi tree. The Bodhi tree encompasses all phenomena. All 84,000 Dharma doors appear in the Bodhi tree. What’s the purpose of revealing so many Dharma doors? They counteract an equal number of living beings’ illnesses and problems. Living beings afflicted by illnesses need these dharmas to save themselves. If living beings ceased being ill, these dharmas would be rendered useless.
Every conceivable thing appears in the Bodhi tree—all kinds of images, sounds, and Dharma doors.
To be continued