The Buddha cultivated the
wisdom of the universal door.
The nature of all wisdom
resembles the void.
Thus he achieved unobstructed power
And released light that shines upon lands in the ten
The Buddha was able to cultivate all Ten Paramitas, and in
particular, the paramita of wisdom. The Buddha cultivated
the wisdom of manifestation through the universal door.
Universal door wisdom is simply level and equal wisdom.
The nature of all wisdom resembles the void. The
fundamental substance of wisdom is devoid of form, like
empty space. Thus he achieved unobstructed power. Nothing
obstructs him. This state of nonobstruction encompasses the
Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, the Wisdom of Wonderful
Contemplation, and the Wisdom of Accomplishment. And then
the Buddha released light that shines upon all lands in
darkness in the ten directions, in order to teach and
transform living beings in the six paths so that they will
quickly develop great wisdom and realize Buddhahood.
At that time, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Cloud Sound
and Pure Moon received the Buddha’s awesome might,
contemplated the sea of all the multitudes in the Way-place,
and spoke the following verses.
The realm of his spiritual
penetrations equals the void.
No living being in the ten
directions fails to see them.
The grounds he achieved in
Are fully explained within the fruits of
At that time refers to the time after the completion of the
discussion of the Ten Paramitas and prior to the discussion
of the Ten Grounds in the Flower Adornment Sutra. The next
set of eleven verses on the Ten Grounds are spoken by one
Bodhisattva, just as the previous set of verses on the Ten
Paramitas were spoken by a single Bodhisattva, not by ten
different Bodhisattvas. This can be inferred since only one
Bodhisattva is mentioned by name.
In a section of text lectured earlier, there were ten
Bodhisattvas listed, so you could not say that one
Bodhisattva represented all the others in speaking the
verses. That happened to be when the Elder Bai (White) and
the Elder Black were visiting. Guo Ning took up Elder
Black’s time to look up Elder Bai’s Sutra and finally
figured out that the verses were spoken by ten Bodhisattvas.
Guo Pu was the one who originally asked the question. She
probably thought that since only one Bodhisattva speaks in
this later section, it was also the case in the earlier
section. However, the Sutra is not talking about the same
thing in the earlier and later sections. We cannot interpret
them the same way.
Here, one Bodhisattva speaks eleven verses. Who is he? He
is the great Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Cloud Sound and
Pure Moon. Is he speaking these verses based on his own
wisdom and spiritual powers? No, he received the Buddha’s
awesome spiritual might. As a Bodhisattva, he is a true
disciple of the Buddha, and thus he relies on the Buddha for
everything. The Buddha bestowed this kind of wisdom upon
him. He wouldn’t say, “I’m doing this all by myself. I’m
going to speak my own verses. See what great wisdom I have!
My wisdom is even greater than the Buddha’s!” That’s being
arrogant, like the person in Seattle who said that his mind
and mine were the same, and that I would agree with any idea
he had. When he said that, his own son told him he was being
arrogant. And the son was right. How could he, a layman,
compare himself to a left-home person? What is more, in the
car he made the statement that leaving home and being a lay
person are the same. I asked him, “If that were the case,
then why would anyone bother to leave home? If what you say
is true, then Shakyamuni Buddha should not have accepted any
disciples into the Sangha.” At that point he realized he was
wrong. People often say things that are not the case because
they hope to elevate their own status. This is a common
Another person, Chou Milei also went to Stanford University
and announced, “So-and-so is enlightened, and I am the same
as him.” Although he didn’t say it right out, he was
implying that he himself was enlightened. No wonder people
commented that they two were alike.
This Bodhisattva, however, did not pretend to be more
qualified than he was, unlike people who say, “Everyone is a
Buddha!” Those who claim to be Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, or
Arhats are telling major lies.
This Bodhisattva was very prudent and cautious. He did not
recklessly blurt out verses without thinking, hoping to show
off his wisdom. Instead, he first contemplated the sea of
all the multitudes in the Way-place to see who was in the
assembly and what Dharma they hoped to hear. He first made
sure the verses he was about to speak would fit the
potentials of the listeners, and then spoke the following
This verse is a good one. It goes: The realm of his
spiritual penetrations equals the void. The state of the
Buddhas’ spiritual powers is as vast and boundless as empty
space. No living being in the ten directions fails to see
them. Everyone can see the Buddhas’ spiritual powers. The
grounds of fruition he achieved in past cultivation / Are
fully explained within the fruits of mani. The fruit of mani
is just the Buddha fruit. Upon realizing the Buddha fruit,
the Buddha can completely proclaim the realm of his
spiritual powers and their wonderful functions.
[To the translator] Just translate whatever you understand
[of what the visitor said]. Don’t translate the parts you
don’t understand, and he won’t know either. If you ask about
it, it makes it seem as if you don’t know much about
translation. Once you ask, he will think, “Oh, they don’t
know how to translate.” If you just don’t translate a part
and don’t ask about it, he won’t know, because he doesn’t
know that much English. Even if a Chinese person knows some
English, he won’t necessarily understand the English you
speak. When that person with a Master’s degree from Taiwan
came here, he would hear someone speak in English and ask
someone else, “What did he say?” Therefore, he won’t even
know whether or not you translated that part. If he himself
knows English, then he can translate it himself. For
example, when Zhou Mou De came, he would say OK, yes, and
no, etc. Therefore, in the future you all should know that
when people come here to speak, you can just translate what
you understand and leave out the parts you don’t understand.
It suffices to give a translation that captures the basic
meaning. Then people will be able to figure it out from the
context. There’s no need to translate or ask about the part
you don’t understand.
Through countless eons of
pure and diligent practice,
He entered the First Ground
of utmost happiness.
He brought forth wisdom vast as the
And saw countless Buddhas in the ten
This verse describes the state of the First Ground
Bodhisattva. The First Ground is the Ground of Happiness.
Why is the Bodhisattva happy? He has been benefited and
nourished by the Dharma.
Through countless eons of pure and diligent practice. To be
pure is to be free from defiled dharmas. Defiled dharmas may
be visible or invisible. Visible defiled dharmas are
external states. Invisible defiled dharmas are internal
mental states. In terms of what is visible, you engage in
impure conduct and create an infinite amount of karma that
is impure. As for the invisible, you entertain impure
thoughts and are therefore impure inside.
When the Buddha was cultivating on the causal ground, since
he always observed the precepts, he was always pure. Being
pure, one must also diligently practice and not be lax or
lazy. Laxness entails breaking the rules, and laziness is
the opposite of vigor. A diligent cultivator is not just
vigorous for one or two days, one or two months, one or two
years, or one or two lives. He maintains his diligent
practice for limitlessly many great eons.
Since the Buddha was pure and vigorous for limitless eons,
he entered the First Ground of utmost happiness. The First
Ground of a Bodhisattva is the Ground of Happiness. On this
ground, one is filled with the joy of Dharma.
He brought forth wisdom vast as the Dharma Realm. The First
Ground Bodhisattva has tremendous wisdom—wisdom commensurate
with the Dharma Realm. And with such wisdom, he saw
countless Buddhas in the ten directions and paid respects,
made offerings, and drew near to them.
To be continued