C H A P T E R    T W E N T Y - S I X

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The Ten Grounds

The Third Ground

Buddha’s disciples who heard the conducts of that Ground, the Bodhisattva states difficult to conceive, all were most respectful and in their heart rejoiced, and scattered flowers in empty space by way of offerings.

They praised him saying: “Good indeed, Great Mountain King! With kindly mind and pity, you remember living beings, and well speak about the wise one’s precepts and comportments, the marks of practice that exist upon the Second Ground.”

“Those are all Bodhisattvas’ subtle and wonderful conducts, true and actual, with no other, without discrimination. From the wish to benefit all the flocks of beings, you have thus proclaimed their utmost purity.”

“You to whom both gods and humans all make offerings, we hope that you, for us, will proclaim the Third Ground. All the deeds of wisdom, interactive with the Dharma, what their states are like in detail, please totally explain.”

“All the Dharmas of giving and precepts of the Great Immortal, his patience and his vigor, his dhyana and his wisdom, along with his expedients, the way of kindness and compassion - The Buddha’s purified conduct, we wish you would proclaim.”

At that time Liberation Moon again requests saying:

“Great Knight of Fearlessness, oh Treasury of Vajra, Won’t you tell us of tending towards and entering the Third Ground? You whose heart is so compliant, Who have all merit and virtue.”

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva addressed Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva saying: “Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who has already purified the Second Ground, and who wishes to enter the Third Ground, should bring forth ten kinds of profound minds. What are the ten? They are: a purified mind, a peacefully dwelling mind, a mind of disgust and renunciation, a mind free of greed, an unretreating mind, a solid mind, a mind of flourishing brightness, a courageous mind, a vast mind, a great mind. The Bodhisattva using those Ten Kinds of Minds attains entry to the Third Ground.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, once he dwells upon the Third Ground, contemplates the marks of conditioned dharmas as they really are. That is, as impermanent, as suffering, as impure, as having no peace, as subject to destruction, as not lasting long, as produced and extinguished in a kshana, as not produced from the boundary of before, as not tending towards the boundary of afterwards, and as not dwelling in the present.”

“He also contemplates those dharmas as not being able to rescue and as having no reliance, as bestowing worries and bestowing grief, as being conjoined with suffering and troubles, as being bound up by love and hate, as multiplying anxiety and sorrows, their accumulation never stopping, as ceaselessly blazing with the fire of greed, hatred and stupidity, as enmeshed in the multitudes of calamities, which day and night increase and grow, like illusions without actuality.”

“Having seen them in that way, he doubly increases his disgust for and freedom from all that is conditioned and tends towards the wisdom of a Buddha. He sees that the Buddha’s wisdom is inconceivable, incomparable, limitless, difficult to obtain, without admixtures; that it has no troubles, no worries, and has arrived at the city of fearlessness; that is not longer retreats; that it is able to rescue living beings from limitless sufferings and difficulties.”

“The Bodhisattva in that way, sees how there are such limitless benefits to the Thus Come One’s wisdom. He sees that there are limitless disasters to all that is conditioned. Then towards all living beings he brings forth ten kinds of minds of sympathy and pity. What are the ten? They are: He sees that all living beings are alone and forlorn with nothing to rely on, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings are poor and destitute, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity.”

“He sees that all living beings are being scorched by the fire of the three poisons, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings are shut up in the prison of the existences and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings are constantly covered and hemmed in by the dense forest of afflictions, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings are not good at contemplating, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings do not desire wholesome d Dharmas, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings lose all Buddhadharmas, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings follow along with the flow of birth and death, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. He sees that all living beings lose liberation and expedients, and brings forth a mind of sympathy and pity. Those are the ten.”

“The Bodhisattva in that way, sees that the realm of living beings has limitless sufferings and troubles. He rouses up great vigor and makes the following reflection: ‘I should rescue all these living beings. I should liberate them. I should purify them. I should cross them over. I should establish them in a wholesome place.’ ”

“I should cause them to be secured. I should cause them to be happy. I should cause them to know and see. I should cause them to be tamed and subdued. I should cause them to attain Nirvana.”

The Bodhisattva in that way, becomes disgusted with and leaves behind all that is conditioned. He, in that way, is sympathetically mindful of all living beings. He knows the supreme benefits of the wisdom of all wisdom. He wishes to use the Thus Come One’s wisdom to rescue and cross over living beings. He makes the following reflection: ‘All these living beings have fallen into the midst of the great sufferings of afflictions. What expedients can be used to pull them out and save them, so they attain the bliss of ultimate Nirvana?’

“Then he makes the following reflection: ‘One wishing to cross over living beings, so they dwell within Nirvana, does not separate from unobstructed wisdom of liberation. Unobstructed wisdom of liberation is not separate from awakening to the reality of all dharmas. Awakening to the reality of all dharmas is not separate from the light of wisdom of non-doing and non-production. The light of wisdom of non-doing and non-production is not separate from investigation th rough the wisdom of clever, decisive contemplation. Investigation through the wisdom of clever, decisive contemplation is not separate from skilled learning.’ ”

“After the Bodhisattva in that way contemplates and thoroughly understands, he doubles his diligent search for and practice of p Proper d Dharmas. Day and night he only wishes to hear the Dharma, delights in the Dharma, relies upon the Dharma, follows the Dharma, reaches the Dharma, dwells in the Dharma, and cultivates the Dharma. The Bodhisattva in that way diligently seeks the Buddhadharma. He does not begrudge any of his gems or wealth. He does not see that there is any object difficult to obtain or estimable, but has the thought that only someone who is able to speak the Buddhadharma is difficult to meet. Therefore, the Bodhisattva in his search for the Buddhadharma is completely able to give up all inner and outer wealth. There is no reverence he is unable to practice. There is no pride he is unable to renounce. There is no service he is unable to perform. There is no suffering he is unable to undergo, if he hears a single phrase of Dharma that he has not heard before, he becomes more delighted than if he obtained precious jewels that fill a three thousand great thousand world-system.”

“If he hears one verse of Proper Dharma he has never heard before, he becomes more delighted than if he obtained the position of Wheel-Turning Sage King. If he obtains one verse of Dharma he has never heard before which can purify the Bodhisattva conduct, it surpasses obtaining the royal positions of Shakra and Brahma and remaining in them for limitless hundreds of thousands of kalpas. If a person were to say to him, ‘I have a phrase of Dharma spoken by the Buddha that can purify the Bodhisattva conduct. If you can now enter a great pit of fire and undergo ultimately great suffering, I shall bestow it upon you,’ the Bodhisattva at that time makes the following reflection: ‘Since with a single phrase of Dharma spoken by the Buddha I can purify the Bodhisattva conduct, if the three thousand great thousand world-system were filled with massive fire, I would even be willing to hurl my body down from the top of the Brahma Heaven and endure it, so how much less is there question of whether I can enter a small pit of fire. For now, to seek the Buddhadharma, I should undergo all the sufferings of the hells, much less the small vexations in the realm of humans.’”

“The Bodhisattva in that way rouses up diligence and vigor in his search for the Buddhadharma, in accord with what he hears, he contemplates and cultivates. Once this Bodhisattva comes to hear the Dharma, he collects his mind and dwells secured. In a quiet and tranquil place, he makes the following reflection: ‘It is by practicing as is spoken that one obtains the Buddhadharma. Merely talking cannot make one pure.’ ”

“Disciples of the Buddha, when that Bodhisattva dwells upon this Ground of Emitting Light, he dwells in the First Dhyana, having become free from desires and from evil and unwholesome dharmas, possessing reflection and possessing consideration, in the Joy of Separation from Production.”

“He dwells in the Second Dhyana, having extinguished reflection and consideration, with inner purity and singleness of mind, devoid of reflection and consideration, in the Joy of Production of Samadhi.”

“He dwells in the Third Dhyana, having separated from joy, dwelling in renunciation while still possessing thought and proper knowledge, so that his experience of personal bliss is as described by all sages: the Bliss of Renunciation while still Possessing Thought.”

“He dwells in the Fourth Dhyana, having severed bliss, by first expelling suffering, and then extinguishing joy and sorrow, Feeling Neither Suffering nor Bliss in the Purity of Renunciation of Thought.”

“He transcends all thought and form, destroys all relative thoughts, and does not have various thoughts. He enters boundless emptiness, and dwells in the Station of Boundless Empty Space.”

“He transcends the e Station of All Boundless Empty Space, enters boundless consciousness, and dwells in the Station of Boundless Consciousness.”

“He transcends the Station of All Boundless Consciousness, enters there being not the slightest things whatsoever, and dwells in the Station of Nothing Whatsoever. ”

“He transcends the Station of All Being Nothing Whatsoever, and dwells in the Station of There Being Neither Thought nor Non-thought.”

“He only cultivates by according with the Dharma, and has no liking or attachment. ”

“Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva’s mind accords with kindness. It is vast, great, and limitless. It is non-dual. It has no resentment, no antagonism, no obstruction, and no affliction. It pervasively reaches all locations, to the exhaustion of empty space and the Dharma Realm. It pervades all worlds. His dwelling in compassion, joy, and giving are the same way, too.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva obtains limitless powers of spiritual penetrations. He can move the great earth. He can make one body into many bodies, and many bodies into one body. He can either disappear or appear. He goes through stone walls and obstructive mountains as if they were space. In the midst of empty space he travels in full lotus, just like a bird in flight. He enters earth as if into water, and treads upon water as if it were earth. His body puts forth smoke and flames like an immense heap of fire. He further sends down rain just like a mighty cloud. The sun and moon in space have tremendous, awesome might, yet he can touch and rub them with his hand. His body is free and at ease, even up to the World of Brahma.”

“This Bodhisattva’s Heavenly Ear is purified, surpassing human hearing. He can hear all the sounds of humans and gods, whether near or far away. Even sounds of mosquitoes, gnats, and so forth are completely audible to him.”

“This Bodhisattva, using the knowledge of others’ minds, knows the minds of other living beings as they actually are. That is, if they have minds of greed, he knows their minds of greed as they actually are. If they are free from minds of greed, he knows their freedom from minds of greed as it actually is. Whether they have minds of anger or are free from minds of anger, have minds of stupidity or are free from minds of stupidity, have afflicted minds or unafflicted minds, have meticulous minds or negligent minds, great minds or limitless minds, uncomplicated minds or complicated minds, scattered minds or unscattered minds, concentrated minds or unconcentrated minds, liberated minds or unliberated minds, surpassed minds or unsurpassed minds, defiled minds or undefiled minds, expansive minds or non-expansive minds, all of these he knows as they actually are. The Bodhisattva in that way, with the knowledge of other’s minds, knows the minds of living beings.”

“This Bodhisattva remembers and knows the particulars of limitless past lives. That is, he remembers and knows for one life, remembers and knows for two lives, three lives, four lives, up to ten lives, twenty, thirty, and so on, including a hundred lives, limitless hundreds of lives, limitless thousands of lives, limitless hundreds of thousands of lives, for the coming into being of a kalpa, the decaying of a kalpa, for limitless coming into being and decaying of kalpas how, ‘I was born in such and such a clan, and such and such a race, with such and such food and drink, having such and such a life span, dwelling such and such a length of time, with such and such suffering and happiness. Having died there, I was reborn in such and such a place. Having died in such and such a place, I was reborn in this place, with such and such a form, with such and such characteristics and appearance, and such and such a mode of speech.’ In that way, he can remember and call to mind the limitless particulars of the past.”

“This Bodhisattva’s heavenly eye is purified, surpassing human sight. He sees all living beings when they are born and when they die, with good forms or bad forms, in accordance with their karma going to good or evil destinies. He sees how, if those living beings have performed evil actions of the body, performed evil actions of speech, or performed evil actions of mind, how if they slandered worthies and sages, held deviant views, and had the causes and conditions for karma of deviant view, when their bodies decline and their lives come to an end, they certainly fall into the evil destinies and are reborn in the hells. He sees how if those living beings have performed wholesome actions with the body, wholesome actions of speech, and wholesome actions of mind, and have not slandered worthies and sages, but have held proper views and had the causes and conditions for karma of wholesome views, when their bodies decline and their lives come to an end, they certainly are reborn in the good destinies within the heavens. The Bodhisattva knows that all accurately with his heavenly eye.”

“This Bodhisattva is able to enter and come out of all dhyanas, samadhis, and samapattis, and yet does not undergo birth through their power. It is just according to his ability to fulfill the stations of three Bodhi shares, through the power of his intent and his vows, that he is born within them.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, when this Bodhisattva dwells upon this Ground of Emitting Light, because of the power of his vows he comes to see many Buddhas. That is, he sees many hundreds of Buddhas, sees many thousands of Buddhas, sees many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas, sees many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas, up to and including seeing many hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of Buddhas. He reveres and honors them completely with a vast and great mind and a profound mind, attends upon and makes offerings to them. He offers up all the necessities of life - clothing, food and drink, bedding and medicines. He also makes offerings to all the multitudes of the Sangha, and he transfers those good roots to Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. ”

“In the presence of those Buddhas, he reverently listens to the Dharma. Having heard it, he accepts and holds it and cultivates it according to his power. This Bodhisattva contemplates all Dharmas as not produced and not destroyed, as existing due to causes and conditions. He first eradicates the bonds of views, then all the bonds of desire, the bonds of form, the bonds of existence, and the bonds of ignorance, which decrease to threads. Throughout limitless hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of kalpas, because of non-accumulation, his deviant greed, deviant hatred, and deviant stupidity all become extinguished, and all of his good roots become brighter and more pure.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, it is just like real gold, which, when expertly refined, does not decrease in weight, and becomes brighter and more pure. For the Bodhisattva, it is also that way, while dwelling upon this Ground of Emitting Light, because of non-accumulation, his deviant greed, deviant hatred, and deviant stupidity all become extinguished, and all of his good roots become brighter and more pure.”

“This Bodhisattva’s patient mind, compliant mind, harmonious mind, cheerful mind, non-hating mind, unmoving mind, non-turbid mind, mind of no high or low, mind not seeking reward, mind of repaying kindness, non-flattering mind, non-deceitful mind, and non-treacherous mind all increase in purity.”

“This Bodhisattva, among the four Dharmas of attraction, emphasizes beneficial conduct. Among the Ten Paramitas, he emphasizes the Paramita of Patience. He does not fail to cultivate the others, but only does so according to his power and proportionately.”

“Disciples of the Buddha, this is called the Bodhisattva’s Third Ground, that of Emitting Light. The Bodhisattva who dwells upon this ground for the most part becomes ruler of the Heaven of the Thirty-Three, able to employ expedients to cause living beings to abandon greed and desire, using giving, kind words, beneficial conduct, and similar work. All such karmic actions which he performs are not separate from mindfulness of the Buddha, mindfulness of the Dharma, and mindfulness of the Sangha, up to and including not being separate from mindfulness of endowment with the wisdom of the 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, up to and including being one of wisdom of All Wisdom on whom one can rely.’”

“If he diligently cultivates with vigor, in a single instant of thought he obtains a hundred thousand samadhis. He comes to see a hundred thousand Buddhas, knows the spiritual powers of a hundred thousand Buddhas, can move a hundred thousand Buddhas’ worlds, up to and including making to appear a hundred thousand bodies, each and every body having a hundred thousand Bodhisattvas as its retinue. If he employs the most supreme power of vows of a Bodhisattva to appear at will, the number is far greater. In a hundred kalpas, at in thousand kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas, it could not be reckoned or known.”

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, wishing to repeat his meaning, used verses, saying:

“Minds which are pure, secured, and flourishing in brightness,
Of f disgust, non-greed, and non-harming minds,
Solid, valiant minds, minds which are both vast and great-
The wise one uses such to enter the Third Ground.

The Bodhisattva dwelling on this Ground of Emitting Light,
Contemplates all activity dharmas as suffering and impermanent,
Impure, defeated, quickly headed for extinction,
Non-solid and non-dwelling, not coming and not going.

He contemplates the conditioned all as serious illness,
Fettered by anxiety, depression, suffering and delusion,
Always blazing with ferocious flames of the poisons three,
From beginningless time to now, never finding rest.

Disgusted with the three existences, not greedy or attached,
He intently seeks the Buddha’s wisdom, with no other thought,
Hard to fathom, hard to think of, and incomparable,
Limitless and boundless, by troubles unoppressed.

Having seen the Buddha’s wisdom, he pities living beings ,
As forlorn, without support, and not being saved,
With three poisons’ blazes always vexing them,
Dwelling in existences’ jails, ever suffering.

By afflictions bound, obscured, blind and lacking eyes,
Their inclinations low and vile, they lose the Dharma jewel.
They follow after birth and death, frightened of Nirvana.
“I should, for their rescue, be diligent with vigor.”

He sets out seeking wisdom to benefit all beings,
Considers what expedients will bring them liberation,
Not apart from the Thus Come One’s unobstructed knowledge,
Which in turn arises from non-production wisdom.

He is mindful that that wisdom is obtained from hearing.
Making such reflections, he urges himself on,
Day and night to hear and practice with no interruption,
Only taking proper Dharma as worthy and important.

Countries, cities, wealth, as well as every precious jewel,
Wives and children, retinues, and royal positions,
The Bodhisattva, for the Dharma bringing forth respect,
All such things as those and more is able to renounce.

Head, eyes, ears, and nose, tongue, as well as teeth,
Hands and feet, his marrow, his heart and blood and flesh-
All such things as those, renouncing he does not find hard.
Only a chance to hear the Dharma, he counts as most hard.

Should a person come and tell the Bodhisattva,
‘If you can hurl your body into a huge mass of fire,
I shall bestow upon you the jewel of Buddhadharma,’
Having heard this, he throws himself, without trepidation.

Should fire even fill the three thousand realms,
He would cast his body from the Brahma World and enter it.
In order to seek Dharma, he would not find it hard,
Much the less all minor sufferings in the human realm.

From his first resolution, up to Buddhahood,
All Avichi sufferings in that interval,
In order to hear Dharma, he can undergo,
Much the less all sufferings in the human realm.

He reflects upon the principles after he has heard,
Acquires the four dhyanas and formless samapattis,
Four others, five penetrations, in sequence then arise.
Not following their power does he undergo rebirths.

The Bodhisattva dwelling here can see many Buddhas,
Make offerings to and hears them with certitude of mind.
He severs deviant delusions and becomes more pure,
Just as true gold when smelted does not decrease in weight.

Dwelling here, most become Trayastrimsha rulers,
Acting as guiding teachers to limitless hosts of gods,
Causing them to forsake greed and dwell in wholesome ways,
Singly intent upon the search for Buddha’s virtues.

Buddhist disciples, dwelling here on is diligent in vigor,
And with hundreds of thousands of samadhis on then becomes endowed.
He sees hundreds of thousands of Buddhas’ bodies adorned with marks.
If he uses power of vows, it surpasses even that.

Universally benefitting every living being,
That Bodhisattva’s conducts which are most supreme,
All of which like that exist upon the Third Ground,
Based upon those doctrines I have already explained.

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