Buddha, with perfect sound,
Clearly sets forth the principle of Truth.
Yet for beings with different understandings,
He reveals infinite dharma doors.
The Buddha, with perfect sound, with his perfect,
wondrous voice, clearly sets forth the principle of Truth. / Yet for
beings with different understandings, / He reveals infinite dharma
in the midst of every land,
One can see a Buddha seated in a bodhimanda.
Like a reflection, the Buddha’s body
Is beyond all birth and death.
Somewhere, in the midst of every Buddha’s land, /
One can see a Buddha seated in a bodhimanda. / Like a reflection of
moonlight in water, the Buddha’s body appears. The Buddha is like the
moon, and beings’ minds are like water. When their minds are pure, the
moon is reflected in the water. The Buddha’s body is beyond all birth
and death. It is unborn and undying, neither pure nor defiled, neither
increasing nor decreasing.
in the assembly’s midst, another Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Wisdom
Universally Illumining the Dharma Realm received the Buddha’s awesome
spiritual power, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke a verse.
The Thus Come One’s wondrous body
And his inconceivable physical form—
Bring joy to all who perceive them.
Faithful and reverent, those beings enjoy the Dharma.
Then, after the previous Bodhisattva finished
speaking his verse, in the sea-vast assembly’s midst, another
Bodhisattva Mahasattva named Wisdom Universally Illumining the Dharma
Realm received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, contemplated the
ten directions, and spoke a verse. Bodhisattvas are associated with the
Great Vehicle [Mahayana], while Arhats belong to the Theravada. The
first stage of Arhatship is called the Position of Seeing the Way. One
must eradicate eighty-eight categories of view delusions before one can
realize the first stage of Arhatship. The second and third stages are
the Position of Cultivating the Way. The fourth stage of Arhatship is
the Position of Realizing the Way, and also the Stage beyond Study.
Originally no division existed between Great Vehicle and Theravada
Buddhism. The Dharma spoken by the Buddha is the One Vehicle, that is,
the Buddha Vehicle. When the Buddha spoke the Flower Adornment Sutra,
Bodhisattvas came flocking in from the ten directions to hear the
Dharma. But the state of the Hearers and Those Enlightened to
Conditions (the Two Vehicles) was not as high as that of the
They had eyes, but could not see Nishyanda. They had ears, but did not
hear the perfect, sudden teaching.
Since they neither saw nor heard, they failed to realize the existence
of the teaching. Those of the Theravada school work to better
themselves, to enlighten themselves. They do not involve themselves in
trying to better and enlighten others. Those of the Great Vehicle
practice the dharmas of Bodhisattvas, benefiting, enlightening, and
liberating themselves as well as others. Bodhisattvas make the resolve
to benefit beings, while Arhats only resolve to better themselves.
There is basically no boundary between the Great and Theravada; it all
depends on how you think. If you think about benefiting others, then
that is the Great Vehicle. If you are only concerned with bettering
yourself and becoming an Arhat, then that’s the Theravada. The Flower
Adornment Sutra talks about Bodhisattvas of the Great Vehicle, who
benefit others. This Bodhisattva’s name is Wisdom Universally
Illumining the Dharma Realm. Relying on Shakyamuni Buddha’s awesome
spiritual power, he observed the causes and conditions of beings in the
ten directions of the Dharma Realm, and then spoke the following verse.
The Thus Come One’s wondrous body / And his
inconceivable physical form. The first line is praising the Buddha’s
Dharma body. Not only is his Dharma body wondrous and inconceivable,
but his physical body is also wondrous and inconceivable. Beings see
them and rejoice. Any being, no matter what kind, is happy to see the
Buddha, because the Buddha’s luminous virtue shines everywhere.
Faithful and reverent, those beings enjoy the Dharma. In their
happiness, beings venerate and make offerings to the Buddha. They have
faith in the Buddha, and they delight in the Buddhadharma. Bearing
reverence, offerings, and faith, they come to hear the Buddha speak the
Dharma, and then they respectfully practice it.
hallmark of the Buddha’s body
Reveals limitless Buddhas,
Who pervade the realms of the ten directions,
Entering every mote of dust.
Every hallmark of the Buddha’s body, every one of
the Thirty-two Hallmarks of a great person and the Eighty Subsidiary
Characteristics that adorn the Buddha’s body, reveals limitless
Buddhas. Not only are there innumerable Buddhas in every hallmark, but
there are limitlessly many lands in every pore. These innumerable
Buddhas, who pervade the Dharma realms of the ten directions, /
Entering every mote of dust, propagate the Buddhadharma and teach
the ten directions’ oceans of lands,
Buddhas beyond count and measure
Display their spiritual powers
In thought after thought.
In the ten directions’ oceans of lands are Buddhas
beyond count and measure. There is a Buddha in every land, teaching and
transforming beings, and displaying spiritual powers / In thought after
thought, teaching beings in every Buddhaland.
of great wisdom
Plumb the depths of the Dharma ocean.
Assisted by the Buddhas’ power,
They apprehend these expedients.
Bodhisattvas of great wisdom / Plumb the depths of
the Dharma ocean. They can deeply enter the Sutra Treasury, and have
wisdom like the sea. Assisted by the Buddhas’ power, / They apprehend
already well established
In Universal Worthy’s conduct and vows,
Will see all lands and countries
And all Buddhas’ spiritual powers.
Those beings who have made the resolve for bodhi,
and who are already well established / In Universal Worthy’s conduct
and vows, in the great vows cultivated by that Bodhisattva, will see
all lands and countries / And all Buddhas’ spiritual powers.
of faith and understanding,
Who have made great vows
And whose wisdom is profound
Will thoroughly know all dharmas.
People of faith and understanding, / Who have made
great vows. In cultivation, the most important thing is to have faith.
Once you have faith, you also need to develop your understanding and
practice. With faith, you will be able to make vows, and then carry out
those vows. And if they are people whose wisdom, great prajna-wisdom,
is profound, they will thoroughly know all dharmas.
they observe the Buddhas’ body,
Contemplating each and every aspect,
Undistracted by form and sound,
They will understand all states of mind.
If they observe the Buddhas’ Dharma body, /
Contemplating each and every aspect, they can discover how and why the
Buddhas became Buddhas. If they are undistracted by form and sound, /
They will understand all Buddhas’ states of mind.
To be continued