THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 27: The Past Deeds of King Wonderful Adornment

Wonderful Adornment, a king who believed in the externalist teaching of Brahmanism, had no genuine wisdom to speak of, but he did have good roots.

Long ago, there were four people who made a vow to cultivate together. All four of them could not cultivate at the same time however, because they had to eat. They also needed a place to live and a Dharma protector. And so one of the people made a vow to protect the others, saying, "If we all cultivate together, it would not work, because we would not have anything to eat or a place to live. I am going to make a vow to be a Dharma protector for the three of you. After you three have been certified to the fruition, then I will cultivate. I am going to go to work and make offerings to you."

Three of them went off to cultivate and one went to work. Finally, the three of them did certify to the fruition. Meanwhile, the Dharma protector had accumulated a lot of merit through supporting the Triple Jewel, and he became a king. Because of his good roots, he was compassionate and kind. However, he believed in a deviant teaching; he did not believe in the proper teaching. The three who had been certified to the fruition were worried and wondered, "What is going to happen to him if he does not get rid of his deviant views?" And so, of the three people, one vowed to become his wife. They knew that people are influenced by others around them, and so the easiest way to save him would be to become his wife. Most men do listen to their wives! After a time, surely he could be saved that way. The other two vowed to become his sons. Eventually, they influenced him to give up his deviant views and to believe in the Triple Jewel. Then they were all certified to the fruition.

Sutra:

At that time the Buddha told the great assembly, “Long ago, in the distant past, uncountable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhyeyas of eons ago, there was a Buddha by the name of Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, Tathagata, Arhat, Samyaksambuddha. The name of his country was Adorned by Light, and the name of his eon was Delight to Behold.”

Outline:

C4. Protectors among people.
D1. The origins.


Commentary:

At that time, after Shakyamuni Buddha had finished speaking the “Dharani Chapter,” the Buddha told the entire great assembly, “Long ago, in the distant past, uncountable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhyeyas of eons ago, there was a Buddha by the name of Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom.” The Buddha's presence is like a cloud, providing shade for all. The sound of his voice is like thunder. Tathagata means Thus Come One. An Arhat is One Worthy of Offerings. The Buddha is worthy of receiving offerings from living beings in the nine Dharma realms: the Dharma realm of the Bodhisattvas, the realm of Pratyekabuddhas, the realm of Hearers, the realms of gods, people, asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals. Samyaksambuddha means "Unsurpassed, Proper, and Equal, Right Enlightenment." Those are some of the Buddha's ten titles.

The name of his country was Adorned by Light. It was always bright, even without the sun, moon, stars, or lamps. And the name of his eon was Delight to Behold.

Sutra:

“Within the Dharma of that Buddha, there was a king by the name of Wonderful Adornment. The wife of the king was called Pure Virtue. She had two sons, the first named Pure Storehouse, the second named Pure Eye. These two sons had mighty spiritual powers, blessings, virtues, and wisdom. They had long cultivated the path practiced by the Bodhisattvas--the dana paramita, shila paramita, kshanti paramita, virya paramita, dhyana paramita, and prajna paramita, the paramita of skillful means, kindness, compassion, joy and giving; as well as the Thirty-seven Dharmas Aiding the Path. They had completely understood and penetrated all of these. They had also obtained the Bodhisattva's Pure Samadhi, the Samadhi of Sun and Stars; the Samadhi of Pure Light; the Samadhi of Pure Form; the Samadhi of Bright and Pure Illumination; the Samadhi of Extensive Adornment; and the Samadhi of the Storehouse of Great Awesome Virtue. All of these samadhis they had also completely penetrated.”

Outline:

D2. The teacher and those taught.

Commentary:

Within the Dharma of that Buddha, Thunder Cloud Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, there was a king by the name of Wonderful Adornment. The wife of the king was called Pure Virtue. She had two sons, the first named Pure Storehouse, the second named Pure Eye. He had the Wisdom Eye, which is just the Dharma-selecting Eye. With the Dharma-selecting Eye, he could distinguish between right and wrong, and between deviant and proper dharmas.

These two sons had mighty spiritual powers, blessings, virtues, and wisdom. Why did they have such great blessings, virtues, and wisdom? Because they had long cultivated the path practiced by the Bodhisattvas. The Bodhisattva path consists of the Six Perfections. Here seven perfections are mentioned. Actually there are ten perfections, or paramitas.

Dana paramita is the perfection of giving. There are three kinds of giving: the giving of wealth, the giving of Dharma, and the giving of fearlessness. Actually, the giving of wealth is the giving of Dharma, the giving of Dharma is just the giving of fearlessness, and the giving of fearlessness is just the giving of wealth. If you have wealth, you can nourish the Way, you can support yourself as you cultivate. If you have no money, then you are in the same predicament as the four people who wanted to cultivate. If they just waited for a Dharma protector to come, and if one did not show up, they could have starved to death. If they starved to death, how could they cultivate? That is why one of them made a vow to go to work to support the others.

Making offerings to the Triple Jewel is practicing the giving of wealth. Once the wealth is offered, people are free to cultivate, and so that is the gift of Dharma. Having a Dharma protector, cultivators are not afraid of starving to death or freezing to death, and so they have no fear. That is the gift of fearlessness.

Food, clothing, and a place to live--these three things are very important. If you have nothing to eat, you will have false thinking and try to take advantage of conditions. If you have no clothes to wear, you will do the same; and likewise if you have no place to live, you will also not be able to cultivate with ease. However, if someone makes offerings to you, then you would not be afraid. "I am not going to starve or freeze to death. It is going to be okay. I can still do some cultivation." That is the giving of fearlessness. And so, divided, there are three kinds of giving; but taken together, there is just one.

Shila paramita is the perfection of morality. Shila means "precepts." Precepts are the basis for becoming a Buddha. You cannot break the precepts. If you break the precepts, it is as if your raft has sprung a leak and you are on your way to sinking in the sea. Once you take the precepts, you must uphold them. If you don't, you have sprung a leak, and you have outflows. "No-outflows" just means not breaking the precepts. If you break the precepts, and start leaking, then what should you do? You should establish merit and virtue. Use your time, energy, or money to establish merit before the Triple Jewel to counteract your offenses.

Kshanti paramita. This is the perfection of patience. Without patience, you cannot be perfect! If you can be patient, then you can be perfect.

"Perfection, perfection, what does all these mean?" you ask. "In Chinese, the character for perfection has the word for 'honey' in it, so is 'perfection' something sweet, like a confection?"

No. It is not sweet. It is very bitter. But after the suffering, there is sweetness. The perfection of patience means enduring what you cannot endure. Let's say you really want to get angry, you are as if armed with hand grenades, a walking atomic bomb looking for a place to go off! But you know you should not get angry, and so you just grit your teeth and remain patient. Your atom bombs do not go off. You do not blow yourself up and no one else gets blasted. That is patience. It is really fine.

After patience comes virya paramita, the perfection of vigor. This means being vigorous in body and in mind and never being lazy. Vigor means attending the lectures everyday, always investigating the Buddhadharma and bringing forth proper faith in the Triple Jewel.

Dhyana paramita.Dhyana means "the cultivation of consistent intention," and "stilling thought."

And prajna paramita. Prajna is wisdom. The word is left in Sanskrit because it has many meanings and the English word "wisdom" does not cover them all. There are:

1) Literary Prajna,
2) Contemplative Prajna,
3) Real Mark Prajna.

Literary Prajna refers to the study of the Sutras. Contemplative Prajna means using your own observing wisdom to illumine all states. Real Mark Prajna is the true appearance of all things. From Literary Prajna, there arise Contemplative Prajna. With Contemplative Prajna, one meshes with Real Mark Prajna. Since Prajna has these three meanings, it is not translated.

Paramita means "arrived at the other shore," success! For example, if you are cultivating to become a Buddha and you succeed, then there is paramita. If you want to eat something, and you do, then that is paramita! If you get up on the Dharma seat to lecture and then finish your lecture, then that is paramita. When you graduate from elementary school, high school, or college, then that is paramita as well.

The paramita of skillful means. This means observing the potentials and dispensing the teaching, and speaking the Dharma according to the person's needs. There is nothing fixed about speaking the Dharma. The Vajra Sutra says, "Dharmas must be forsaken, how much the more so what is not Dharmas." You speak the Dharma in accord with the temperament of the person you are talking to.

For example, if you meet a butcher, you might discuss the art of butchering pigs with him in such a way that he knows you really understand what you are talking about. Then once he knows you are a professional, you can speak the Dharma to him, and say, "This business is really a killer! Killing pigs actually is about as bad as killing people. They are animals, and we are people. It is against the law to kill people. It is not against the law to kill pigs. Even so, it is the same as far as cause and effect are concerned." Then you explain cause and effect to the butcher.

"Oh! There is cause and effect? You mean to tell me that if I kill the pigs, they are going to come back and kill me? I had better not kill anymore!" he says.

First, you discuss his trade with him, and then you point out some important things and make him change from the deviant and go towards the proper and quit killing. This is all part of skill-in-means.

Kindness means making living beings happy. Compassion means relieving living beings of their sufferings. Joy and giving. Kindness, compassion, joy, and giving are the Four Unlimited Minds of the Buddha.

As well as the Thirty-seven Dharmas Aiding the Path. This refers to the Seven Bodhi Shares, the Eight Sagely Way Shares, the Five Roots, the Five Powers, the Four Applications of Mindfulness, the Four Right Efforts, and the Four Bases of Psychic Power--altogether making up the Thirty-seven Dharmas Aiding the Path. In the Small Vehicle they are called "Thirty-seven Wings of the Proper Path," but in the Great Vehicle they are called "Aids to the Path." In the Perfect Teaching of the One Buddha Vehicle, they are neither "proper" nor "aids," and they are both. The Perfect Teaching is so called because it is complete. As it is said, “Perfect Bodhi returns to non-attainment.” It is interpenetrating and unobstructed.

They had completely understood and penetrated all of these, without obstruction.

They had also obtained the Bodhisattva's Pure Samadhi. The two princes, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, had purified themselves of the three kinds of filth: greed, hatred, and delusion. You could also say they had cut off their view delusions and thought delusions; delusions like dust and sand; and delusions of ignorance. Having rid themselves of these three kinds of delusions, they had gained pure concentration.

The Samadhi of Sun and Stars. The sun represents real wisdom. The stars represent provisional wisdom. The provisional and real are non-dual. The Samadhi of Pure Light, the original nature is pure and manifests infinite light. The Samadhi of Pure Form also emanates from the purity of the original nature. All forms and colors manifest from the light of the pure, basic nature. The Samadhi of Bright and Pure Illumination. The light of the intrinsic nature shines everywhere throughout uncountable universes. The Samadhi of Extensive Adornment; and the Samadhi of the Storehouse of Great Awesome Virtue. This is the awesome virtue of the Ten Powers of the Thus Come One. All of these samadhis they had also completely penetrated without obstruction.

Sutra:

At that time, the Buddha, wishing to guide King Wonderful Adornment and also to be compassionate towards and mindful of living beings, spoke the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Outline:

D3. Expedient teaching.
E1. The time arrives.


Commentary:

At that time, the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, wishing to guide King Wonderful Adornment and also to be compassionate towards and mindful of living beings, spoke the Dharma Flower Sutra.

Sutra:

The two sons, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, went before their mother, placed their palms together and said, “We entreat you, Mother, to visit the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. We should follow, draw near to, make offerings to, and worship him. Why? The Buddha is speaking the Dharma Flower Sutra for all the hosts of gods and humans. We should listen to it and receive it!”

The mother said to her sons, “Your father believes in an externalist way and is deeply attached to the dharmas of the Brahmanism. You should ask him if he wants to go along.”

With their palms together, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye said to their mother, “We are Dharma Princes and yet we have been born into this house of deviant views!”

The mother replied, “Out of concern for your father, you should manifest spiritual transformations. If he sees them, his mind will be purified, and perhaps he will permit us to go to the Buddha.”

Outline:

E2. The discussion.

Commentary:

The two sons, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, went before their mother, placed their palms together and said, "We entreat you, Mother, to visit the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. We should follow, draw near to, make offerings to, and worship him. Why? Why do we want to do this? Because the Buddha is speaking the Dharma Flower Sutra for all the hosts of gods and humans. We should listen to it and receive it!"

The mother, the Queen Pure Virtue, said to her sons, "Your father believes in an externalist way. He does not believe in the Buddha!" “An externalist way” refers to a religion other than Buddhism, such as Christianity or Brahmanism and its Chinese equivalent, Taoism. The doctrines of externalist religions are not accurate or ultimate. "And your father, the king, is deeply attached to the dharmas of the Brahmanism. You should ask him if he wants to go along with you to see the Buddha."

Now, these three people--the Queen Pure Virtue and her two sons--had gained the penetration of past lives a long time ago. Even though they came here to be people again and acted out the parts of being a wife and two children, in reality they were great Bodhisattvas, and they possessed mighty spiritual powers.

At one time, they were the four Bhikshus who went to the mountain to cultivate. When no one made offerings to them, one of them went off to work to be a Dharma protector. He would go into the "dust-filled world" to buy flour or oil or salt, to beg or take a job. Quite often he worked in close proximity to the palace. When the king appeared in all his pomp and glory, the Dharma protector would think, "Being a king looks pretty good. If I were a king and a Dharma protector, wouldn't that be great? I would really have tremendous influence!"

With that one thought, he ended up becoming the King Wonderful Adornment. After he was king for a while, he forgot all about protecting the proper Dharma. He started protecting deviant dharmas and got himself attached to the externalist teachings of Brahmanism and all the rest of the "self-development" fads current at the time, movements guaranteed to "put out your eyes."

With that one greedy thought of wanting to be a king, he became a king. And so when you cultivate, do not be greedy. Your false thinking can come true. That is speaking of negative false thinking.

Positive false thinking is not easy to accomplish, however. Take for example the leaders of the countries of the world today. They were cultivators at one time. Some were asura kings, who thought, "I would like to be a king." Since they had the desire for leadership, they are now leaders. You should not think they are so fine. Many of them are very confused, just like King Wonderful Adornment. Fortunately, King Wonderful Adornment had a fine wife and two fine children who saved him. The present leaders of the world would have a hard time finding such a fine family.

The mother probably thought she could not save her husband by herself, so she sent her sons to go ask him if he wanted to go hear the Buddha speaking the Sutra.

With their palms together, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye said to their mother, "We are Dharma Princes. We are Bodhisattvas practicing the Bodhisattva Path! And yet we have been born into this house of deviant views! Terrible! What a rotten luck!"

The mother replied. The two children were not anxious to go save their father, but the mother could not put him down, so she said, “Out of concern for your father, you should know to be filial. In the distant past, he made offerings to us so that we could accomplish the Way, obtain the penetration of the knowledge of past lives, and practice the Bodhisattva Path. Do not forget! You should go save your father. He is confused right now. You should manifest spiritual transformations. If he sees them, his mind will be purified and perhaps he will permit us to go to the Buddha.”

Sutra:

Then, out of concern for their father, the two sons rose up into space to the height of seven tala trees and manifested various spiritual transformations.

In space, they walked, stood, sat, and reclined. From the upper part of their bodies, they emitted water; and from the lower part, fire. From the lower part of their bodies, they emitted water; and from the upper part, fire. They manifested in huge bodies filling up all of space, and then they manifested as being small. From being small, they again manifested as being large. In space, they disappeared and then suddenly reappeared on the earth. They entered the earth as if it were water, and walked on the water as if it were earth.

Manifesting such spiritual transformations of all kinds, they led their father’s mind to purity, belief, and understanding.

Outline:

E3. The transformations.


Commentary:

Then, out of concern for their father and following their mother's request, the two sons rose up into space to the height of seven tala trees--fifty feet, and manifested various spiritual transformations, the eighteen transformations.

In space, they walked--they do not need a plane. They also stood, sat, and reclined. From the upper part of their bodies, they emitted water; and from the lower part, fire. From the lower part of their bodies, they emitted water; and from the upper part, fire. It was really strange. Water and fire were both emitted, and one was not afraid of the other.

They manifested in huge bodies filling up all of space, and then they manifested as being small. From being small, they again manifested as being large. In space, they disappeared and then suddenly reappeared on the earth. They entered the earth as if it were water, and walked on the water as if it were earth.

Manifesting such spiritual transformations of all kinds, they led their father's mind to purity, belief, and understanding. Seeing this, their father woke up, returned to purity, believed in the proper Path, and no longer believed in externalist ways. "My children have such great spiritual powers. This is really strange! They must have a good teacher. Who is he?" He decided to learn some spiritual penetrations himself, too.

Sutra:

Seeing his sons’ spiritual powers, the father rejoiced greatly and gained what he had never experienced before. Placing his palms together, he said to his sons, “Who is your Master? Whose disciples are you?”

The two sons said, “Your Majesty! He is the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. He now sits on the Dharma seat beneath the seven treasures Bodhi tree proclaiming the Dharma Flower Sutra for all the hosts of gods and humans. He is our teacher; we are his disciples.”

The father said to his sons, “I now also wish to meet your Master. Let us go there together!”

Outline:

D4. Those who are taught gain benefit.
E1. Belief in the children and their teacher.

Commentary:

Seeing his sons' spiritual powers and their amazing function, the father rejoiced greatly and gained what he had never experienced before. The externalist ways had nothing like this. Placing his palms together, he said to his sons, "Who is your Master? Whose disciples are you?"

The two sons said, "Your Majesty! He is the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. He now sits on the Dharma seat beneath the seven treasures Bodhi tree proclaiming the Dharma Flower Sutra for all the hosts of gods and humans. He is our teacher; we are his disciples."

The father said to his sons, "I now also wish to meet your Master.
Your Master's spiritual penetrations must surely be even more spectacular. I would like to meet him. Can you give me an introduction? If so, let us go there together!"

Sutra:

The two sons then came down from space, went to their mother, and with their palms joined, said, “Our father, the king, now believes and understands. He has been able to bring forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi. For the sake of our father, we have carried out the Buddha’s work. We pray, Mother, that you will give us permission to leave the home-life and cultivate the Way under that Buddha’s guidance.”

At that time, the two sons, wishing to restate their intention, spoke verses to their mother saying,

“We pray our mother will let us go,
Leave the home-life and become Shramanas.
The Buddhas are extremely hard to meet,
And we will follow the Buddha in study.

As rare as the udumbara flower,
And harder to meet, is the Buddha;
It’s difficult, too, to cast off difficulty.
So please let us leave the home-life!”

The mother then said, “I permit you to leave home. Why? Because the Buddhas are difficult to get to encounter.”

Outline:

E2. Asking their mother’s permission to leave home.


Commentary:

The two sons of King Wonderful Adornment had manifested the eighteen transformations in space, thus convincing their father to believe in the Buddha and make offerings to him.

They then came down from space, went to their mother, and with their palms joined, said, "Our father, the king, now believes; he has proper faith and understands. He has been able to bring forth the resolve for anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal, Right Enlightenment. For the sake of our father, we have carried out the Buddha's work. We pray, Mother, that you will give us permission to leave the home-life and cultivate the Way under that Buddha's guidance."

At that time, the two sons, Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye, wishing to restate their intention, spoke verses to their mother saying, "We pray our mother will let us go, leave the home-life and become Shramanas.”Shramana, a Sanskrit word, means "diligent and putting to rest." A Shramana diligently cultivates precepts, samadhi, and wisdom and puts to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity. The Buddhas are extremely hard to meet. It is very difficult to meet with a Buddha, with the Dharma, or with the Sangha. And we will follow the Buddha in study. As rare as the udumbara flower, and harder to meet, is the Buddha. The udumbara flower only blooms once every three thousand years, so it is hard to encounter. But it is even harder to get to meet the Buddha. It's difficult, too, to cast off difficulty. It is hard to get out of the eight difficulties. So please let us leave the home-life! Now that we have encountered the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, we want to leave home and cultivate the Way."

The mother then said, "I permit you to leave home. Why? Because the Buddhas are difficult to get to encounter."

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