They speak various Wonderful Dharmas. They speak
all kinds of Wonderful Dharma for living beings, with no fear in their
minds. They have no fear. In speaking the Dharma, they always send
forth the lion’s roar, and they have no fear.
the City of Gaya,
Sitting beneath the Bodhi Tree,
I realized the most proper enlightenment
And turned the supreme Dharma-wheel.
Only then did I teach and transform them,
Causing them first to bring forth their resolve for the Way.
Now they all dwell in irreversibility,
And all shall become Buddhas.
I now speak the truth,
You should believe it with a single mind.
From remote time past to now,
I have taught and transformed these multitudes.
“In the City of Gaya…” Shakyamuni Buddha says,
“When I was in the City of Gaya…” “Gaya” is Sanskrit. It translates as
“Mountain City.” “In a place five miles outside of the city of Gaya, I
was sitting beneath the Bodhi Tree in meditation.”
When he first sat down to meditate, Shakyamuni
Buddha made a vow. What was his vow? He said, “Once I sit down beneath
this Bodhi Tree, if I do not become enlightened, I will sit here
forever. I will not get up.” He meant he would not go anywhere else. He
would remain seated in meditation under the Bodhi Tree.
I realized the most proper enlightenment. Beneath
the Bodhi Tree, I sat seven times seven—forty nine days. And on the
night of the forty-ninth day, he saw a bright star in the sky and
awakened to the Way. At night he saw a bright star, awakened to the
Way, and at that moment, he became a Buddha. What does it mean to
become a Buddha? When one becomes a Buddha, one is still the same as
living beings. Buddhas are living beings; living beings are Buddhas.
But Buddhas have already become Buddhas, and living beings have not yet
become Buddhas. Buddhas are living beings who have already become
Buddhas, and living beings are living beings who have not yet become
Buddhas. When Shakyamuni Buddha saw that bright star and became
enlightened, he sighed. Why? He said, “Strange, indeed! Strange,
indeed! Strange, indeed!” He said it three times. It’s said he sighed
three times, saying, “Strange, indeed!” His meaning was: “It’s very
strange! Extremely strange! Really strange!” What was strange?
He said, “All living beings have the virtuous
characteristics of the Thus Come Ones.” He said that the wisdom and
virtuous characteristics that Buddhas have, all beings have, too. They
all have the seed of Buddhahood. They have the wisdom of a Buddha, the
virtuous conduct of a Buddha, and the opportunity to become a Buddha.
And so why haven’t they become Buddhas? There’s a problem. It’s only
because of false thinking and attachments that they have not yet been
able to certify to and attain it.
Why haven’t we become Buddhas? Because we have
false thinking. Why haven’t we people become Buddhas? Because we have
attachments. It is because of false thinking and attachments that
living beings who should become Buddhas are obstructed. What obstructs
them? False thinking and attachments. These obstructions hinder them,
just when a person walking on a road comes upon a blockade, he cannot
go forward. An example would be the wall between East and West Germany,
which kept the East Germans from being able to go to West Germany and
the West Germans from being able to go to East Germany. So, too, we
people who have not become Buddhas have a blockade hindering us. What
is the blockade? False thinking and attachments. If you have false
thinking and attachments, you cannot open the wisdom of the Buddhas.
You have to let go of false thinking and attachments, and then you can
become a Buddha.
How did Shakyamuni Buddha become a Buddha? He put
down his false thinking and attachments. In the beginning, he was in
the Royal Palace with many pleasures. In the future he would have been
the Emperor. He would have been a wheel-turning sage king. But he put
all that down. He didn’t want to be an emperor. He didn’t want to be a
wheel-turning king. He renounced his lovely wife. He looked upon birth,
old age, sickness and death as too much trouble, and so he resolved to
leave the home-life, to cultivate the Way, and to end birth and death.
Because he had cast out his attachments and false thinking, when he sat
under the Bodhi Tree for forty-nine days, he became enlightened. We
people don’t have that much endurance and patience. We aren’t that
constant in our practice.
To be continued