C H A P T E R    T W E N T Y - S I X

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The Ten Grounds

Disciples of Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, when dwelling upon this, the First Ground, should from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within these Grounds the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of these Grounds. He should also from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within the Second Ground the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of that Ground. He should also in that way search out and request within the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh, the Eighth, the Ninth, and the Tenth Grounds, the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of those Grounds.”

“This Bodhisattva is good at knowing remedies for all obstructions to the Grounds, good at knowing the accomplishment and destruction of the Grounds, good at knowing the marks and fruits of the Grounds.”

“Good at knowing the attainment and cultivation of the Grounds, good at knowing the purification of the Dharmas of the Ground, good at knowing the practices in turn for each Ground, good at knowing what holds and does not hold for each Ground, good at knowing the most supreme wisdom for each Ground, good at knowing the irreversibilities of each Ground, good at knowing how to purify and regulate all the Bodhisattvas’ Grounds, up to and including in turn entering the Ground of the Thus Come One.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, in that way, is good at knowing the marks of the Grounds. Starting with the First Ground, he gives rise to practice which is uninterrupted. He continues in that way until he enters the Tenth Ground, without interruption. Due to the light of wisdom of all those Grounds, he accomplishes the Thus Come One’s light of wisdom.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, he is like a merchant leader who is skilled in expedient methods. When he is about to lead a group of merchants to visit a great city, before they have set out, he first inquires about the merits and drawbacks of the route, the halting places along it, and whether it is safe or not. Afterwards, equipped with provisions for the road, he does what needs to be done. Disciples of the Buddha, that great merchant leader, although he has not yet taken a step, is able to know all matters concerning safety on the road. He skillfully uses wisdom to plan, estimate, and consider, and prepares what is required so that they will not run short. He then leads the group of merchants until they safely reach that great city. He and the group of people completely avoid all disasters.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, that merchant leader, is also that way. While dwelling on the First Ground, he is good at knowing remedies for obstructions to all Grounds, up to and including being good at knowing how to purify all the Bodhisattva Grounds, and in turn enter the Ground of the Thus Come One. Afterwards, equipped with the provisions of blessings and wisdom, he leads all living beings through the wilderness of birth and death with its places of danger until they sagely arrive at the city of Sarvajna. He and all the living beings do not experience disasters.”

“Therefore, the Bodhisattva should never be lax, and should cultivate the most supreme, pure karma of all Grounds, up to and including tending towards and entering the Ground of the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, this is called a summary discussion of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s entry to the door of the First Bodhisattva Ground. If discussed at-length, there are limitless and boundless hundreds of thousands of Asamkhyeyas of particulars. ”

“Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this, the First Ground, for the most part acts as king of Jambudvipa. He is powerful, honored, and sovereign, and constantly protects the Proper Dharma. He is able to use great giving to gather in living beings. He is skilled at ridding living beings of the defilement of stinginess. He constantly practices great giving without exhaustion or end. Giving, pleasing words, beneficial practices, and identity in actions – all such karma that is created is not separate from mindfulness of the Buddha, not separate from mindfulness of the Dharma, not separate from mindfulness of the Sangha, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattva, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattvas of identical practice, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattva practices, not separate from mindfulness of the Paramitas, not separate from mindfulness of all Grounds, not separate from mindfulness of the powers, not separate from mindfulness of the fearlessnesses, not separate from mindfulness of the uncommon Buddha Dharmas, up to and including not separate from mindfulness of endowment with the wisdom of all wisdom of all modes.”

“He further makes the following reflection: ‘I should, among all living beings, be a leader, be supreme, be especially supreme, be wonderful, be subtle, and wonderful, be superior, be unsurpassed, be a guide, be a general, be a chief, up to and including being one with the wisdom of all wisdoms upon whom one may rely.”

“This Bodhisattva, if he wants to renounce the home life, within the Buddhadharma diligently cultivates with vigor and then can leave the home, his wife and children, and the five desires. He relies upon the Thus Come Ones’ teaching, leaves the home life, and studies the Way.”

“Thereupon, after leaving home, he diligently cultivates with vigor. Within the space of a thought, he attains a hundred Samadhis. He comes to see a hundred Buddhas. He is able to know a hundred Buddhas’ spiritual powers. He is able to quake a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to go beyond a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to illumine a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to teach and transform the living beings of a hundred worlds. He is able to live for a hundred kalpas. He is able to know the boundaries of before and afterwards, the events of a hundred kalpas for each. He is able to enter a hundred d Dharma doors. He is able to manifest a hundred bodies. With every body he is able to manifest a hundred Bodhisattvas as his retinue.”

“If he employs especially supreme power of Bodhisattva vows to manifest at ease, he surpasses that number. In a hundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas, a hundred thousand kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas, the number could not be counted or know.”

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke n verses, saying:

“Should someone assemble multitudes of good,
He becomes endowed with white, pure d Dharmas,
He makes offerings to the h Honored o One of gods and humans,
And follows the path of kindness and compassion.

His faith and understanding are most vast and great,
His resolutions and inclinations, too, are pure.
Intent upon the search for a Buddha’s wisdom,
He brings forth this thought unsurpassed.

Having purified all the powers of knowledge,
Along with the fearlessnesses as well,
And having accomplished all the Buddha Dharmas,
He saves and gathers in the flocks of beings.

In order to obtain great kindness and compassion,
And to turn the supreme Dharma wheel,
To adorn and purify the Buddha-countries,
He brings forth this thought most supreme.

He in one thought knows the three periods of time,
Yet he has no discriminations;
Their various times which are not the same,
He employs to appear within the world.

To speak in summary, he seeks all Buddhas’
Supreme merit and virtue, each and all;
He brings forth the thought vast and great,
Whose measure equals realms of empty space.

With compassion foremost, and wisdom principle,
And expedients along with interactives,
His mind of faith and understanding pure,
He has the Thus Come One’s limitless powers.

Unobstructed wisdom then appears,
Enlightened of himself, not due to others.
Identically endowed as the Thus Come Ones,
He brings forth this thought most supreme.

The disciple of the Buddha who first brings forth,
The wonderfully precious thought such as this,
Then transcends the commoner’s position,
Entering the Buddhas’ place of practice.

He is born within the Thus Come One’s household,
And his lineage has no flaws;
He is the same as the Buddha,
And is certain to accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi.

Upon producing thoughts such as those,
He immediately comes to enter the First Ground;
His resolve and inclinations are immovable,
Being like the great kind of mountains.

He has much happiness, much liking,
And much pure faith, as well;
He has courageous vigor to the utmost,
Along with much elation and rejoicing.

He is quite free from contention,
From troubling and harming, and from hatred;
He knows shame, respect, and rectitude,
And well protects and guards his faculties.

He seeks all the multitudes of wisdom,
Of the one incomparable in the world:
‘This place is one I should achieve,
Mindful, giving rise to happiness.’

Upon initially entering the First Ground,
He immediately transcends the five-fold fears:
Not staying alive, dying, bad reputation,
Evil destinies and the assembly’s awesome virtue.

He attaches neither to self,
Nor to what pertains to a self;
All of these disciples of the Buddha,
Leave all fearfulness far behind.

Always practicing great kindness and pity,
He constantly has faith as well as reverence;
He is replete with merit and virtue of repentance,
Night and day increasing wholesome Dharmas.

He delights in Dharma’s true and actual benefits,
And does not love the reception of desires;
He reflects upon the Dharmas he has heard,
Far free from the practice of grasping.

He has no greed for benefits or offerings,
And he only delights in Buddha’s Bodhi;
With one mind he seeks the Buddha’s wisdom,
Concentration undivided with no other thought.

He cultivates all of the Paramitas,
Far separates from flattery and deceit;
As is spoken, so, too, does he practice,
And is secured in true and actual speech.

He does not defile the Buddha’s household,
Nor abandon Bodhisattva precepts;
Taking no delight in worldly matters,
Constantly he benefits the world.

He cultivates the good without fatigue,
His quest intensifying for the way supreme;
Such, then, is his liking for the Dharma,
That merit and virtue interact with meanings.

He constantly gives rise to a great vow-mind,
Vowing that all Buddhas he will see,
Protect and hold all Buddhas’ Dharmas,
And gather in the great immortal’s way.

Always bringing forth such vows as these,
He cultivates the practices supreme,
Matures and ripens all the flocks of beings,
Adorns and purifies all Buddhas’ lands.

All of the Buddhas’ kshetra lands,
Disciples of the Buddha fully fill,
Impartial, of one single, even mind,
Nothing that they do is done in vain.

They, on the tip of every single hair,
At one time, accomplish right enlightenment.
Vows like those of theirs, which are so great,
Are limitless, and they have no bounds:

‘Empty space, along with living beings,
The Dharma Realm, together with Nirvana.
Appearances of Buddhas in the world,
Buddha’s wisdom and his states of mind,
What the wisdom of Thus Come Ones enters,
And the exhaustion of the turnings three
If all of those should have an end
Then all of my vows would have an end.
But, as all of those can have no end ,
So, too, are my vows just that way.’

Having thus made vows as great as those,
Their minds become compliant and subdued.

They can believe the Buddha’s merit and virtue,
And contemplate regarding living beings.
Knowing they arise from causes and conditions,
They then give rise to kindly mindfulness.

Such suffering, living beings such as these,
I now should liberate and save.
For the sake of those living beings,
I should cultivate the various kinds of giving .

Positions as a king, all gems and jewels,
Up to elephants, horses, and conveyances.
Head, eyes, hands, as well l as feet,
Up to even body, blood, and flesh –

Each and every thing I can renounce,
Their minds have no worries or regrets.
Seeking all the various Sutra books,
Their minds are never weary or fatigued.

Well can they understand their drift and meaning,
Adapting them to practices of worlds.
Repentance and reform their own adornment,
Their cultivation is progressively more solid.

They make offerings to Buddhas limitless,
Revere, do reverence, honor, and respect them.
In that way always do they practice;
Day and night, not lazy or fatigued.

Good roots brighten and become more pure,
Like gold which has been smelted in the fire.
The Bodh is iattva dwelling in this place,
Purely cultivates all of the Ten Grounds.

In what he does there is no obstruction,
His endowments cannot be cut off. 
Just as when a great business leader,
To benefit the hosts of business people,
Asks and knows routes’ dangers and their ease,
Then arrives in safety at the town,
The Bodhisattva who dwells on the First Ground,
You should know just also in that way,
With courageous vigor unobstructed,
Reaches and arrives at the Tenth Ground,
While he dwells on this, the initial Ground,
He acts as king of merit and great virtue.

He uses Dharma to transform all beings,
Compassion-hearted, with no trace of harming.
Ruling and directing Jambuvipa,
In transforming customs, none does he not reach,
Making all established in great giving,
Accomplished by the wisdom of a Buddha.

In his wish to seek the Way supreme,
Renouncing then his own royal position,
He can, within the midst of the Buddha’s teaching,
Courageous and with diligence, cultivate.

He then attains to one hundred Samadhis,
And he comes to see all hundred Buddhas:
He makes one hundred worlds tremble and quake:
His illumination’s reach is also thus.

He transforms and saves a hundred beings,
To enter in one hundred Dharma-doors;
He can know one hundred kalpas’ matters,
And appear within one hundred bodies.
There then appear one hundred Bodhisattvas,
Acting as a retinue for him.

If he uses comfort from his power of vows,
Their number, limitless, surpasses these.
I, among the meanings of this Ground,
Have in general spoken a small portion.

If one wants to analyze most broadly,
One cannot finish in a million kalpas.
The Bodhisattva’s path, the most supreme,
Of benefitting all the flocks of beings –
Dharmas such as those, of the First Ground,
I have now already finished speaking.

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