THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Chapters: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * 9 * 10 * 11 * 12 * 13 * 14 * 15 * 16 * 17 * 18 * 19 * 20

The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra

Chapter 3: A Parable
With Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

Sutra:

Thereupon, Shariputra, with joyful enthusiasm, rose, placed his palms together, gazed reverently at the World Honored One’s face…

Outline:

F2. Shariputra is led to understanding.

Commentary:

This, the third chapter of The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, is called "A Parable." This corresponds to the metaphorical, one of the three styles of writing used in the Book of Odes, which are inspirational, narrative, and metaphorical. A parable is used because the doctrine is so profound that if it were spoken outright, no one would understand it. An analogy must be drawn to something else so that people can understand the principle involved

Thereupon, right after the second chapter, "Expedient Devices" had been spoken and the entire assembly had received predictions of Buddhahood, Shariputra, the disciple foremost in wisdom, with joyful enthusiasm, rose from his seat in the midst of the great assembly, placed his palms together, and gazed reverently at the Honored One's face. Pure and filled with delight in body, mouth, and mind, Shariputra spoke to the Buddha.

Sutra:

A
nd said to the Buddha, “Now, having heard this sound of Dharma from the World Honored One, my heart rejoices and I have obtained what I never had before.”

Outline:

G2. Shariputra explains himself.
H1. Prose.
I1. Telling of the three kinds of rejoicing.


Commentary:

And said to the Buddha, Now having heard this sound of Dharma from the World Honored One, having heard The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, my heart rejoices and I have obtained what I never had before. Previously, in the Vaipulya and Prajna Assemblies, I never heard a wonderful Dharma as subtle and miraculous as this.”

Sutra:

“What is the reason? In the past, I heard a Dharma such as this from the Buddha, and saw the Bodhisattvas receive predictions of Buddhahood, but we had no part in this matter. I was deeply hurt that I had lost the limitless knowledge and vision of the Thus Come One.”

“World Honored One, when I used to dwell alone in mountain forests, at the foot of trees, whether sitting or walking, I continually had this thought, “We all identically enter into the Dharma-nature, why has the Thus Come One shown us deliverance by means of the Small Vehicle Dharma? We are at fault, not the World Honored One.”

Outline:

I2. Explanation


Commentary:

What is the reason? In the past, I heard a Dharma such as this from the Buddha, and saw the great Bodhisattvas receive predictions of Buddhahood. The Buddha conferred upon them predictions of their future Buddhahood. But we had no part in this matter. Although the Bodhisattvas had received predictions, we of the Small Vehicle did not have the status to take part in this supreme affair. We did not obtain a prediction from the Buddha, because we did not have the standing. I was deeply hurt that I had lost the limitless knowledge and vision of the Thus Come One. I was extremely pained, because I had not obtained a prediction from the Thus Come One. I had not been favored with the Buddha's compassion, and I thought I had lost out on the limitless wisdom and the limitless good roots.

World Honored One, when I used to dwell alone in mountain forests, at the foot of trees, whether sitting or walking, I continually had this thought: ‘We all identically enter into the Dharma nature.’ I used to live alone in the mountains, beneath the trees, because such places are very serene and quiet. They are appropriate for cultivation. I may have been sitting in meditation for several days at a stretch without moving. Then, when I got tired, I would get up and take exercise by walking around the tree or just walking through the glen. In any case, I always thought that we of the Small Vehicle and the Bodhisattvas identically possess the Dharma nature. Together we attain the Dharma spoken by the Buddha, and are nourished by the Dharma nature. Why has the Thus Come One shown us deliverance by means of the Small Vehicle Dharma? Why not use the Great Vehicle Dharma? Why did he use the Small Vehicle Dharma to save us? Was the Thus Come One prejudiced? Did the Buddha not care for the Small Vehicle people? Was he being uncompassionate?”

Those were Shariputra's musings.

We are at fault, not the World Honored One. Shariputra pondered back and forth, around and around, until he finally reflected upon himself. “ It is our fault. We of the Small Vehicle have dispositions which are shallow and thin. Our wisdom is non-existent; we are quite stupid, actually. If the Buddha had spoken the Great Vehicle Dharma to us, we would have been unable to accept it. It is our own fault. It has nothing to do with the World Honored One. It is not a question of his being prejudiced or not being compassionate. It is not that he does not care for us. Our own base, lowly dispositions, our own bad natures were such that, although the Buddha may have wished to speak the Great Vehicle Dharma, we could not have accepted it.”

Sutra:

“What is the reason? If we had waited for the lecture on the cause of realizing anuttarasamyaksambodhi, we would certainly have been delivered by means of the Great Vehicle Dharma. But we did not understand that expedient devices are spoken in accord with what is appropriate. Therefore, when we first heard the Buddhadharma, upon encountering it, we immediately believed, accepted, and considered it, and attained realization.”

Commentary:


What is the reason? Why is it our fault and not a case of the World Honored One being unfair? If we had waited for the lecture on the cause of realizing anuttarasamyaksambodhi, we would certainly have been delivered by means of the Great Vehicle Dharma. If we had waited a bit, thought it over, and then realized the Unsurpassed, Proper, and Equal, Right Enlightenment, we would certainly have been saved by means of the Great Vehicle. We would have relied on the Great Vehicle in our cultivation and in that way been rescued.

Anuttarasamyaksambodhi is the highest enlightenment of a Buddha. It is said to be“ right” enlightenment to differentiate it from the state of common people. Common people are not enlightened. The things that common people do are crazy and mixed-up, because they are not awake. Right enlightenment does not signify the state of enlightening others. Those of the Two Vehicles have obtained Right Enlightenment, but they have not attained Proper and Equal Enlightenment. The Buddha’s Proper, and Equal Enlightenment distinguishes him from those of the Two Vehicles. Proper and Equal Enlightenment is the enlightenment of the Great Vehicle Bodhisattvas, the Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas who enlighten themselves and enlighten others. They are properly equal with the Buddha, but are still off by just a little bit. Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas still have one share of production-mark ignorance which they have not destroyed. When they destroy it, they realize Wonderful Enlightenment, the enlightenment which is unsurpassed. This is the Unsurpassed, Proper, and Equal, Right Enlightenment, the position of Buddhahood.

At the level of Wonderful Enlightenment, one is called an "Unsurpassed Hero". Before reaching that level, the Bodhisattvas are called "Surpassed Heroes," because the Buddha is still above them. The Buddha is the Unsurpassed Hero, having realized the fruit of Buddhahood, the Unsurpassed, Proper and Equal, Right Enlightenment.

If you wish to certify to the fruit of Buddhahood, you must rely upon the Dharma of the Great Vehicle Bodhisattva.

But we did not understand that expedient devices are spoken in accord with what is appropriate. We did not understand that when the Buddha spoke the Dharma, he was using expedient devices to teach and transform us. He regards the potentials of beings and dispenses the teaching appropriate to the person. He prescribes the medicine according to the illness. He bestows the teaching according to the needs of the person being taught. Thus, he speaks in accord with what is appropriate.

Therefore, when we first heard the Buddhadharma, upon encountering it, we immediately believed and accepted it. When we heard the Buddha speak the Dharmas of the Four Truths, the Twelve Causes and Conditions, we believed them and considered it, diligently cultivated, and attained realization to the fruit of Arhatship.

Sutra:

“World Honored One, from of old, I have, day and night, continually reproached myself. Now, from the Buddha, I have heard what I never heard before, this Dharma which has never been before, and all my doubts have been severed. My body and mind are blissful, and I am at peace.”

Outline:

I3. Conclusion
J1. Conclusion proper.


Commentary:

World Honored One, from of old, I have, day and night, continually reproached myself. From the time of the Vaipulya Teachings until the present, from morning until night, from night until dawn, I have scolded myself. What is meant by “day and night”? Before one is enlightened, it is as if it were night. After enlightenment, it is as if the sun had risen. Those of the Two Vehicles who had realized the fruit of Arhatship, could be spoken of as being in the daylight. But if you compare them to the Bodhisattvas, they are still in the dark, and the Bodhisattvas are in the daylight.

“Reproach” means to restrain oneself. In Confucianism, they speak of it as “restraining oneself and returning to propriety.” Yan Yuan asked Confucius, “ How does one obtain humaneness?” Confucianism teaches humaneness, righteousness, and morality, and its followers look into the meaning of humaneness. Yan Yuan wanted to know how a person could dwell in humaneness. Confucius replied, “ Restrain yourself and return to propriety. That is humaneness.”

“But what is meant by ‘restrain yourself and return to propriety’?” Yan Yuan continued.



Confucius said, “If it is not in accord with propriety, do not look at it. If it is not in accord with propriety, do not listen to it. If it is not in accord with propriety, do not say it. If it is not in accord with propriety, do not do it.”

He said, “If it is not in accord with propriety, do not look at it. Not only should you not look at it, you should not even listen to it. For example, if people are gossiping, do not listen to them. If it is not in accord with principle, you should not say it. If it is not in accord with principle, you should not do it. In looking, listening, speaking, and acting, you must restrain yourself and return to propriety.”

Shariputra constantly restrained and reproached himself. He watched over himself. He followed the rules. He always kept track of himself and did not relax. For example, if you like to eat, but avoid indulging in good food, you are restraining yourself. If you like to be lazy and sleep, but restrain yourself from doing so, saying, "Hey, do not sleep so much. Do a little more work," that is just restraining yourself. If you do not like to study the Buddhadharma, but think, "I will certainly be vigorous in my studies of the Dharma," you are restraining yourself. Do not fear difficulty. People who succeed are, for the greater part, those who have skill at self-restraint. Without it, they would not have succeeded.

For example, I know a Dharma Master in Hong Kong named Shou Ye, who used to live at Guangji Temple at Five Peaks Mountain in China. It was extremely cold there, and he locked himself into seclusion in a room and did not come out. What did he do in there? He wrote out the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra. That in itself is not such a remarkable feat; anyone could do that. But he did not write it with regular ink, he wrote it with his own blood. Each character was about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide. If the character had a lot of strokes, of course it took more blood to write. The Flower Adornment Sutra has eighty-some rolls, and several hundred thousand characters. It is one of the longest Sutras in Buddhism, and he was able to write it out with his own blood in his seclusion room. This shows that he had the skill of self-restraint.

Originally he did not know that many characters because he had received very little schooling. After he left the home life, he started to read the Sutras and then made a vow to practice writing them out. Now his characters are excellent.

Over a decade ago, this Dharma Master went to Vietnam and built a temple, and the Vietnamese officials all took refuge with him. Since those officials belonged to several different parties, he was afraid of getting too involved, so now he has gone to Hong Kong.

This Dharma Master is a contemporary monk of great virtue and ascetic cultivation. In this day and age, such people who have the skill of self-restraint are rare indeed.

Now from the Buddha, I have heard what I never heard before, this Dharma which has never been before, and all my doubts are severed. Shariputra says, "I have studied the Buddhadharma and heard the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, and I have gotten rid of all my doubts." My body and mind are blissful, and I am at peace. What is meant by "blissful"? It means extremely pure, serene, happy, and comfortable. Shariputra is happy in body and in mind. He has attained a state of peace which is quite inconceivable.

Sutra:

“Today, indeed, I know that I am a true disciple of the Buddha, born from the Buddha’s mouth, transformed from the Dharma; I have obtained a share of the Buddhadharma”

Outline:

J2. Realization


Commentary:

Today, indeed, I know that I am a true disciple of the Buddha. I know that I am really the Buddha's disciple, that I am bound to become a Buddha in the future. Born from the Buddha's mouth, transformed from the Dharma. I have been born by transformation from out of the Buddhadharma. I have obtained a share of the Buddhadharma. I have obtained the spirit of the Buddha's Dharma body. I have obtained the Buddha's Dharma nature in its entirety. You might say that I have entered the stream of the Dharma nature.

Sutra:

At that time, Shariputra, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying:

Hearing this Dharma sound,
I gain what I never had;
My heart is filled with great joy,
The net of doubts has been cast aside.

Outline:

H2. Verses
I1. Announcing the verses.


Commentary:

At that time, Shariputra, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses. He wanted to express himself even more clearly so he used verses to speak to the Buddha, saying: Hearing this Dharma sound, the miraculous sound of the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, I gain what I never had. I have never before heard such a wonderful Dharma. My heart is filled with great joy. Within my heart, happiness arises. My body, mouth, and mind are all happy. The net of doubts has been cast aside. The net of doubts and misgivings that had covered my heart has been cast aside.

Sutra:

From of old, favored with the Buddha’s teaching,
I had never lost the Greater Vehicle.
The Buddha’s sound is extremely rare,
And can rid beings of their woes.
I have already attained to the end of outflows,
Yet hearing it my woes also are dispelled.

Outline:

I2. Setting for the verses.
J1. The wisdom was not lost.


Commentary:

From of old, favored with the Buddha’s teaching. In life after life, from the distant past up until now, I have received the Buddha’s teachings. I had never lost the Greater Vehicle. In this way, my Great Vehicle seeds were tended and nourished. In this present life, they have ripened.

The Buddhas sound is extremely rare. The clear, pure, profound, far-reaching sound of the Buddha’s voice is the most rare sound in all the world. And can rid beings of their woes. If they hear the Buddha’s clear, pure voice, living beings can be freed of all their afflictions.

I have already attained to the end of outflows. I have already realized the Fourth Stage of Arhatship and attained the Penetration of No Outflows. Yet hearing it my woes also are dispelled. I had no worries to begin with, but my state was that of the Small Vehicle. Therefore, I had no genuine understanding of the doctrine of Bodhisattvahood. Hearing the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra, however, all my worries have been cleared away.

Sutra:

As I dwelt in the mountain valleys,
Sometimes at the foot of trees,
Whether sitting or walking,
I constantly thought upon this topic:
“Ah,” I cried in bitter self-reproach,
“Why have I deceived myself?
We, too, are the Buddha’s disciples,
And equally enter the non-outflow Dharma;

Yet, in the future, we shall not be able
To proclaim the Unsurpassed Path.
The Golden Color, the Thirty-two,
The Ten Powers and all the Liberations
Are together in a single Dharma,
But I have not attained these things.
The Eighty Wondrous Hallmarks,
The Eighteen Unshared Dharmas--
Such qualities of virtue--
I have missed them, every one.”
When I used to walk alone,
I would see the Buddha in the Great Assembly,
His fame filling the ten directions,
Vastly benefiting all beings.
I felt I had lost this benefit,
And had but cheated myself.
Constantly, both day and night,
I thought upon this matter,
And wished to ask the World Honored One
Whether or not I had lost it.
I often saw the World Honored One
Praising all the Bodhisattvas,
And so it was, by day and night,
I pondered on matters such as these.
Now I hear the Buddha's sound,
Opportunely speaking that Dharma
Which is without outflows--hard to conceive off--
And leads living beings to the Bodhimanda.
Once
, I was attached to deviant views,
And was a teacher of the Brahmins.
The World Honored One knew my heart,
Pulled out the deviant, and taught me Nirvana.
I rid myself of deviant views,
And realized the Dharma of emptiness.
Then, I said to myself
That I had arrived at Quiescence.

Outline:
J2. Wisdom formerly lost.


Commentary:

As I dwelt in the mountain valleys. Mountain valleys are clean and pure places for cultivation. When I lived there sometimes at the foot of trees. Sometimes I stayed in the groves, but whether sitting or walking. I may have been sitting there in meditation or I may have been practicing walking meditation, pacing around and around. I constantly thought upon this topic. What topic? Ah,” I cried in bitter self-reproach. I sighed in regret. Why have I deceived myself? How could I have cheated myself? We, too, are the Buddha’s disciples and equally enter the non-outflow Dharma. We all have attained to the Dharma of no outflows, that is, the position of Fourth Stage Arhatship, the attainment of the Penetration of No Outflows. The attainment of no outflows means the complete absence of sexual desire. If you have sexual desire, you have not attained to the state of no outflows. This is not to say that when there are no external stimuli you have no sexual desire, but that even when you see it, you have no thoughts of desire regarding that state. When such a state appears before you, you have no thoughts of desire. That is the no outflow Dharma.

Yet in the future, we shall not be able to proclaim the Unsurpassed Path, to teach the supreme, most wonderful Buddhadharma. That was what Shariputra was thinking to himself.

The Golden Color, the Thirty-two. The Buddha’s body is the color of gold and is endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man. If you want to know what the thirty-two marks are, you can find them in a dictionary of Buddhism. The Ten Powers and all the Liberations. The Ten Powers have been discussed. The Liberations refer to the Eight Liberations, also called the Eight Renunciations and the Eight Victorious Places. Together with emptiness and consciousness, they make the Ten All-Places. Cultivators of Dhyana should be familiar with these. Are together in single Dharma. They are all within the Dharma nature, but I have not attained these things. Being of the Small Vehicle, I lacked the merit and virtue necessary to receive a prediction of Buddhahood from the Buddha.

The Eighty Wondrous Hallmarks. The Buddha’s body also is adorned with Eighty Minor Characteristics. These can also be found in a Buddhist dictionary. The Eighteen Unshared Dharmas. What is meant by “ unshared”? It means that these eighteen Dharmas are not shared by those of the Two Vehicles: the Hearers and the Conditioned Enlightened Ones. They are not shared by the Three Vehicles: the Hearers, the Conditioned Enlightened Ones, and the Bodhisattvas. They are not shared by them on the path of cultivation, because these are Dharmas possessed only by the Buddha. Thus, they are unshared by others. The Eighteen Unshared Dharmas--and you should know them--are:

The Thus Come One is:
1. Faultless in body.
2. Faultless in speech.
3. Faultless in mindfulness.
4. Has no perception of difference.
5. Has no unconcentrated thoughts.
6. There is nothing he does not know that has not already been cast aside.
7. His zeal never decreases.
8. His vigor never decreases.
9. His concentration never decreases.
10. His wisdom never decreases.
11. His liberation never decreases.
12. His knowledge and vision of liberation never decreases.
13. All his bodily karma accords with the practice of wisdom.
14. All his karma of speech accords with the practice of wisdom.
15. All his karma of mind accords with the practice of wisdom.
16. With his wisdom, he has unhindered knowledge of the past.
17. With his wisdom, he has unhindered knowledge of the future.
18. With his wisdom, he has unhindered knowledge of the present.

These are the Eighteen Unshared Dharmas, because they are unshared by those of the Two Vehicles and by Bodhisattvas. Only the Buddha has these eighteen.

Such qualities of virtue as previously mentioned, the Thirty-two Marks, the Eighty Minor Characteristics, the Ten Powers, the Eight Liberations, and all the rest, all this merit and virtue, I have missed them, every one. I Shariputra, one of the Small Vehicle, have lost out on this merit and virtue.

When I used to walk alone. When I was by myself, meditating or perhaps walking around, I would see the Buddha in the Great Assembly, His fame filling the ten directions. The Buddha’s name is known to all living beings in the ten directions. Vastly benefiting all beings. The Buddha broadly benefits all living beings and forsakes none. I felt I had lost this benefit, and had but cheated myself. Really, I never did lose the benefit, but I was cheating myself. Constantly, both day and night, in the six periods of the day and night, I thought upon this matter and wished to ask the World Honored One, whether or not I had lost it. Have I lost the benefit or not?

I often saw the World Honored One, the Buddha, praising all the Bodhisattvas. The Buddha continually extolled the virtues of the great Bodhisattvas. And so it was, by day and night, I pondered on matters such as these. I thought about it over and over.

Now I hear the Buddha’s sound, opportunely speaking that Dharma. He proclaims the wonderful Dharma in accord with the potentials of the living beings to be taught. Which is without outflows--hard to conceive of--and leads living beings to the Bodhimanda. It leads all creatures to the field of enlightenment.

Once I was attached to deviant views. Once, I had an attachment. I held to deviant knowledge and views. And was a teacher of the Brahmins, an outside way teacher. The World Honored One knew my heart. The Buddha knew what was in my heart, he knew my nature; he understood my causes and effects; he knew me quite thoroughly. He pulled out the deviant, and taught me Nirvana. He plucked out my deviant views, and replaced them with the Dharma of Nirvana, enabling me to realize the fruit of sagehood.

I rid myself of deviant views and realized the Dharma of Emptiness, the Dharma of True Emptiness, the wonderful fruit of Nirvana.

Then, I said to myself that I had arrived at Quiescence. I thought that certifying to the First, Second, Third, or Fourth Fruit of Arhatship was arriving at the level of Quiescence. I was wrong.

Sutra:

But now, at last, I realize
It is not real Quiescence.
For when I become a Buddha,
Complete with the Thirty-two Marks,
Revered by gods, humans, and
yaksha hordes,
Dragons, spirits, and others,
Only then will I be able to say,
“This is eternal Quiescence without residue.”
The Buddha, in the Great Assembly,
Has said, I shall become a Buddha.
Hearing such a Dharma sound,
All my doubts have been dispelled.

Outline:

I3. Conclusion.
J1. Conclusion itself.
K1. Conclusion proper.


Commentary:

But now, at last, I realize, it is not real Quiescence. Shariputra says, “Before, I thought I had attained Quiescence. Who would have guessed that it was nothing but Transformation City! It was not the treasure trove! Now, I have awakened. For when I become a Buddha. The position I previously attained was merely certification to the principle of one-sided emptiness. It was not the true, real quiescence. It was not the true attainment of Nirvana. In the future, when I become a Buddha complete with the Thirty-two Marks of a great man, revered by gods, humans, and yaksha hordes, honored by the gods in the heavens, the human beings, and all the ghosts, the entire Eight-fold Division, dragons, spirits, and others, only then will I be able to say, This is eternal Quiescence, without Residue.” At that time, I will be able to say, “ I have truly attained Quiescence and entered Nirvana without Residue.”

The Buddha, in the Great Assembly has said, I shall become a Buddha. Presently, the Buddha, from amidst the Great Assembly has conferred a prediction upon me saying that I shall, in fact, become a Buddha. Hearing such a Dharma sound, all my doubts have been dispelled. All my doubts have disappeared.

Sutra:

When I first heard the Buddha speak,
My heart was filled with great fear and doubt:
“Is this not Mara disguised as the Buddha,
Come to disturb and confuse my heart?”

Outline:

K2. Narrating the doubts.

Commentary:

When I first heard the Buddha speak the Dharma, my heart was filled with great fear and doubt. I thought, Is this not Mara disguised as the Buddha, come to disturb and confuse my heart? Has the demon come and turned himself into the Buddha? How else could he be speaking such strange things? Has he come to ruin my cultivation of samadhi?” Shariputra admits that when he first heard the Buddha speak this wonderful Dharma, he had some doubts.

Sutra:

The Buddha, by means of various conditions,
Analogies, and ingenious speech,
Makes one's heart as calm as the sea.
Hearing him, the net of my doubts was rent.
The Buddha says that in the past,
The limitless Buddhas, now extinct
,
Dwelling in the use of expedients,
Also spoke this Dharma--each of them.
The Buddhas of the present and future,
Their numbers without limit,
Also used expedients
To expound Dharma such as this.
Just as now, the World Honored One,
From birth until his leaving home,
His attaining the Way and turning the Dharma wheel,
Also speaks by means of expedients.
The World Honored One speaks of the real Path.
The evil one does no such thing;
Hence, I know for certain
This is not the demon posing as the Buddha.
Because I had fallen into a net of doubts,
I said it was the doings of the demon.
Hearing the Buddha's compliant voice,
Profound, far-reaching, subtle and fine
Proclaiming wide the clear, pure Dharma,
Great is the joy within my heart.
My doubts are forever ended,
As in Real Wisdom I stand firm.

Outline:

K3. Narrating his presently being led to understanding.


Commentary:

Shariputra says, “When I first heard the Buddha speak the Dharma, I thought a demon had come disguised as the Buddha to disturb my cultivation of samadhi. But the Buddha, by means of various conditions, analogies, and ingenious speech, expediently spoke the Dharma to me with his unobstructed eloquence. He makes one's heart as calm as the sea. The Buddha’s heart was as calm as the sea, and he caused my heart to become as calm as the sea. Hearing him, the net of my doubts was rent. Hearing the Buddha’s analogies and clever speech, my doubts vanished.

The Buddha says that in the past, the limitless Buddhas, now extinct, dwelling in the use of expedients. They all were established in the application of expedient Dharma-doors in order to teach the Dharma to living beings. Also spoke this Dharma--each of them. They all spoke the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra.

The Buddhas of the present and the future, their numbers without limit, also used expedients to expound wonderful Dharma such as this.

Just as now, the World Honored One,
Shakyamuni Buddha, from birth until his leaving home, His attaining the Way and turning the Dharma wheel, also spoke by means of expedients. The Buddha manifested Eight Signs of Accomplishing the Way:

1. The Buddha descended from the Tushita Heaven. The Buddha descended from the Tushita Heaven to be born in India, in Kapilavastu, in the palace of King Shuddodana.

2. He entered the womb.

3. He dwelt in the womb. When the Buddha entered the womb, day and night, he spoke the Dharma for the gods, dragons, ghosts and spirits.

4. He left the womb. He was born in the world. When the Buddha Shakyamuni was born, he pointed one forefinger to the sky and one to the ground and said, “ In the heavens, and below, I alone am honored.”

5. He left home.

6. He accomplished the Way. While sitting beneath the Bodhi Tree one night, he saw a bright star and awakened to the Way.

7. He turned the Dharma wheel. He spoke Dharma for all living beings.

8. He entered Nirvana.

In the Tiantai Teachings, they omit the third, “dwelling in the womb,” and substitute “he defeated Mara” as the fifth, “he accomplished the Way,” as the sixth, and so forth. Actually, it amounts to the same thing, because in the Great Vehicle, the defeating of Mara is included within the “accomplishing of the Way.”

The Buddha manifested these eight signs which are referred to in the lines of the text: “From birth until his leaving home, His attaining the Way and turning the Dharma wheel...” Turning the Dharma wheel refers to expounding the Sutras and speaking Dharma.

The World Honored One speak of the real Path. The Buddha speaks the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra. The evil one does no such thing. This is the true, real wisdom, the doctrine of the Real Mark. The demon king, Papiyan, does not talk about such things. Hence, I know for certain, this is not the demon posing as the Buddha. Why did I think it was the demon acting as the Buddha? It was because I had fallen into a net of doubts. So I did not believe even the Buddha! I doubted him. I said it was the doings of the demon. I said, “The Buddha speaking the Dharma is actually a demon king speaking wildly!” Hearing the Buddha’s compliant voice, the wonderful sound which is compassionate, kind, joyous, and generous, profound, far-reaching, subtle and fine. The profound resonance of the Buddha’s voice is one of the Eighty Minor Characteristics. Hearing the Buddha proclaiming wide the clear, pure Dharma, great is the joy within my heart. I am very happy. My doubts are forever ended as in Real Wisdom I stand firm. I now abide securely in Real Wisdom.

Sutra:

I am certain to become a Buddha,
Revered by gods and humans.
I shall turn the Unsurpassed Wheel of Dharma,
To teach and transform Bodhisattvas.

Outline:

J2. Final statement.


Commentary:

I am certain to become a Buddha. In the future, it is for sure that I will become a Buddha, revered by gods and humans, dragons, spirits, and so on. I shall turn the Unsurpassed Wheel of Dharma. In the future, I, too, shall turn the supreme Dharma-wheel to teach and transform all the great Bodhisattvas.

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