Beneath that tree, the Buddha transcends all defilement.
The Way-place is huge, a result of blessings.
The branches rain down an inexhaustible supply of jewels.
Within each jewel appear Bodhisattvas,
Who serve and make offerings to Buddhas in ten directions.
The realm of all Buddhas is inconceivable.
Bodhi trees everywhere emit musical sounds.
Their past practices on the Bodhi Path
Become visible to the multitudes as they hear those sounds.
Beneath that tree, the Buddha transcends all defilement. This text ought to be changed. It says that the Buddha transcends all defilement beneath the tree. Of course the Buddha is apart from defilement. Otherwise, how could he be a Buddha? How should it be altered? It should say: “Beneath that tree,
living beings transcend all defilement.” When living beings go to the base of the Bodhi tree, they depart from all filth. Although I say this, the sutra was spoken by the Buddha and cannot be altered. However, you should understand the Buddha is free from defilement. We living beings are the ones who are impure. The Buddha is originally pure. You cannot say that the Buddha transcended all defilement only after he sat beneath the Bodhi tree. Even before he went to the Bodhi tree, the Buddha was already apart from all defilement. If we living beings were to sit beneath the Bodhi tree, bring forth the resolve for Bodhi, practice the Bodhisattva Path, and realize the Bodhi fruit, then we would also transcend all defilement.
Therefore we should not think that this line is talking about the Buddha transcending all defilement. The Buddha did that long ago. He didn’t have to wait until he was sitting under the Bodhi tree to transcend defilement. What we need is for living beings to leave all defilement behind. Defilement belongs to living beings. The Buddha doesn’t have any. Since he was never defiled, what is there for him to transcend?
The Buddha’s Way-place is incredibly
huge. How did it come about? It was a result of the cultivation of
blessings and wisdom. The full realization and adornment of blessings and wisdom brought that great Bodhimanda into being.
The branches, twigs, and leaves of the Bodhi tree
rain down an inexhaustible supply of jewels. There is no end to the shower of precious gems.
Within each jewel appear transformation
Bodhisattvas, / Who serve and make offerings to all
Buddhas in ten directions.
The realm of all Buddhas is inconceivable. You cannot conceptualize it using an ordinary frame of mind or use ordinary language to describe it. The Buddhas’ realm is beyond mental conceptualization and verbal expression. They cause
Bodhi trees everywhere to emit
musical sounds. Upon hearing those sounds, living beings produce the aspiration for Bodhi.
Their past practices on the Bodhi Path/ Become visible to the multitudes as they hear those sounds. When those in the great ocean-like Flower Adornment assembly hear such sounds, they are able to see such states.
Does anyone have questions? If so, quickly ask so we can look into them.
Q: What is “samadhi water”?
A: Samadhi water is water that has been blessed by reciting a mantra over it. For example, if you recite the Great Compassion Mantra over a cup of water, that can also be considered samadhi water. Water over which the Shurangama Mantra has been recited is also samadhi water. Such water has been aided by the power of samadhi. “Samadhi” means concentration, so we’re talking about “concentration water.” Why is the water characterized by “concentration” or “samadhi” after a mantra has been recited over it? It’s because when one recites a mantra, one becomes single-minded and no longer engages in false thinking. The absence of false thinking is samadhi, hence the name “samadhi water.”
At that time, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Hundred Eyes and Lotus Flower Topknot received the Buddha’s awesome might, contemplated the sea of all the multitudes in the Way-place, and spoke the following verses.
All the mani gems emit marvelous sounds
Praising the titles of the Buddhas of the three times.
Those Buddhas’ feats of spiritual power
Can all be viewed within this Way-place.
The flowers compete in beauty, suspended like tassels.
Clouds of light spread through the ten directions.
At that time, when the assembly was listening to the Buddha speak the Dharma,
the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Hundred Eyes and Lotus Flower Topknot came forth. This Bodhisattva was introduced earlier, so we need not say anything now. He
received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual
might—that of Shakyamuni Buddha and all Buddhas of the ten directions. This Bodhisattva was not like ordinary people, who are attached and say, “I did this. I did that.” Such people cannot forget their own importance. They think that nothing can be accomplished without their help. This Bodhisattva very modestly said, “I myself cannot speak verses. I am able to pronounce these verses only by virtue of the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power. Without such power to back me up, I couldn’t do it.” The Bodhisattva gave all the credit to the Buddha. He
contemplated the sea of all the multitudes in the Way-place—the assembly was so prolific it was like an ocean,
and spoke the following verses to elaborate further upon the principles he had been discussing, so that living beings—such as you and me—would find them easier to understand. From his attitude, we can perceive the compassion and understanding that Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have for us living beings. They take care of everything for us down to the very last detail. There is nothing they have neglected to remember.
All the mani gems emit marvelous, inconceivable
sounds. How are these sounds marvelous? When stupid beings hear them, they become wise. Isn’t that marvelous. Originally stupid, they hear the Dharma and develop great wisdom. They “deeply enter the Sutra Treasury and have wisdom like the sea.” Isn’t that wonderful? Think about it. That’s the first effect.
When angry living beings hear these wonderful sounds, they unconsciously forget their anger. They don’t know where their anger has gone, but they can’t get it back. Wouldn’t you say that’s wonderful? What is more, when greedy beings hear these sounds, they stop being greedy. Before, they were insatiably greedy; now they are satisfied, content, and happy. Instead of craving things, they start giving. Aren’t those wonderful sounds? They convert people’s greed, anger, and stupidity into morality, concentration, and wisdom. Wouldn’t you say it’s wonderful? They are that powerful, but that still can’t be considered wonderful. What other wonderful effects are there? When living beings on the verge of death hear these wondrous sounds, they are pulled back from death. When sick beings hear these marvelous sounds, their sicknesses vanish. Those who were chronically ridden with disease instantly become well upon hearing those sounds.
“Dharma Master, this is totally illogical. How could such a thing happen?” you ask. If it weren’t that marvelous, how could these be marvelous sounds? Marvelous sounds bring about effects that you never imagined. The most important effect concerns our interminable afflictions. When we hear these marvelous sounds, we can finally end our afflictions.
What is more, these sounds are constantly praising the titles of the Buddhas of the three times. Why do these sounds cause fools to become wise, greedy beings to renounce their greed, and angry beings to stop being angry? Why are these sounds able to heal the sick and bring the dead back to life? It’s because these marvelous sounds praise the names of the Buddhas of the three periods of time. That’s why all afflictions turn into Bodhi, all greed into generosity, all anger into compassion, and all foolishness into wisdom. While these sounds are merely praising the Buddhas’ names, they have an inconceivable power.
“What proof is there that there are such inconceivable, marvelous sounds with such inconceivable powers?” The next lines of verse says clearly:
Those Buddhas’ feats of spiritual power / Can all be viewed within this Way-place. The Buddhas’ limitlessly many spiritual penetrations and wonderful functions are revealed at the Way-place beneath the Bodhi tree. What I have explained of these inconceivable states is equivalent to one drop in the huge ocean or to a single mote of dust. I have brought up one to hint at the limitless. Once you understand this one aspect, you will understand infinitely many aspects.
The responses from his spiritual powers and wonderful functionings are not limited to causing fools to become wise. If you have not ended birth and death, you will be able to do so upon hearing those marvelous sounds. In fact, you will eventually realize Buddhahood, so getting rid of stupidity is a trivial matter in comparison.
The flowers compete in beauty, suspended like tassels. Bodhi flowers bloom on the Bodhi tree. These Bodhi flowers are infinite in variety; they are not all the same kind. These myriads of flowers compete with each other: “You look quite lovely, but I am even lovelier.” These blossoms resemble tassels fluttering in the air. Beholding this exquisite sight, people are inspired to bring forth the unsurpassed Bodhi resolve.
Clouds of light spread through the ten directions. These flowers have a radiance that resembles clouds drifting about in the ten directions.
To be continued