THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS

TEXT:

HAVE YOU NOT SEEN PEOPLE WHOSE STUDY HAS ENDED, WHO DO NOTHING, WHO ABIDE IN THE WAY AT EASE?
THEY DO NOT BANISH FALSE THOUGHTS, THEY DO NOT SEEK THE TRUTH, THE TRUE NATURE OF IGNORANCE IS THE BUDDHA-NATURE; THIS EMPTY BODY, AN ILLUSORY TRANSFORMATION, IS THE DHARMA-BODY.
IN THE DHARMA-BODY'S ENLIGHTENMENT, THERE IS NOT A SINGLE THING; AT ITS SOURCE THE INHERENT NATURE IS THE BUDDHA OF KIVINE INNOCENCE, THE FIVE SKANDHAS, LIKE FLOATING CLOUDS, EMPTILY COME AND GO;
THE THREE POISONS, LIKE BUBBLES OF WATER, RISE AND SINK,UNREAL.


COMMENTARY:

HAVE YOU NOT SEEN.... The meaning is twofold: first, have you not seen these people of the Way? And second, they are very difficult to see.

PEOPLE WHOSE STUDY HAS ENDED, WHO DO NOTHING, WHO ABIDE IN THE WAY AT EASE? People of the way at ease are those who have attained Enlightenment and in pure leisure, area undefiled by desire. They have already completed their studies and there is no more to learn. There is nothing that they do not do, but there is nothing to do. In other words. they have done whaat there was to be done.

THEY DO NOT BANISH FALSE THOUGHTS, THEY DO NOT SEEK THE TRUTH. Their false thoughts are already edned, and so they have no further need to eliminate them. Because they have already been certified as having attained the truth, they have no further need to seek it.

THE TRUE NATURE OF IGNORANCE IS THE BUDDHA-NATURE. Right within the real nature of the ignorance (of living beings), is the complete Buddha-nature. It is not that the buddha-nature exists apart form ignorance.

THIS EMPTY BODY, AN ILLUSORY TRANSFORMATION, IS THE DHARMA-BODY. Right within this illusory, empty body, completely within it, is the Dharma-body. The Dharma-body cannot be sought outside the empty-body. What is the Dharma-body? It has no shape or form, and so it is said:

IN THE DHARMA-BODY'S ENLIGHTENMENT,
THERE IS NOT A SINGLE THING;
AT ITS SOURCE THE INHERENT NATURE IS THE BUDDHA OF DIVINE INNOCENCE.
THE FIVE SKANDHAS, LIKE FLOATING CLOUDS, EMPTYLY COME AND GO.

None of the five heaps, or skandhas--form, feeling, thought, activity, and consciousness--have any inherent nature. Fundamentally, their substance is emptiness, like that of floating clouds drifting naturelly in the sky. They were never created, and so no one controls them and no one has authority over them.

THE THREE POISONS, LIKE BUBBLES OF WATER, RISE AND SINK, UNREAL. The three poisons of greed, hatred, and stupidity are as strong as putrid meat, as poisoned wine, as opium, and everyother poison; yet they too, have no inherent nature. In general, they come from defiled habits; they are like bubbles, produced of themselves and extinguished of themselves. Suddenly they are there; suddenly they are gone. Empty and false, they rise and sink--they are unreal.:

TEXT:

WHEN ONE IS CERTIFIED TO THE CHARACTERISTIC OF REALITY,
THERE ARE NO PEOPLE OR DHARMAS, THE KARMA OF THE AVICHI IS CANCELLED IN A KSHANA.
IF I WERE DECEIVING LIVING BEINGS WITH UNTRUE WORDS, I'D INVITE UPON MYSELF THE RIPPING OUT OF TONGUES FOR AEONS AS MANY AS DUST AND SAND.


COMMENTARY :


WHEN ONE IS CERTIFIED TO THE CHARACTERISTIC OF REALITY. That is, when one has been certified as having attained the fruition of Enlightenment, which has no characteristics, THERE ARE NO PEOPLE OR DHARMAS. Both people and dharmas vanish, and one miraculously tallies with TrueEmptiness.

THE KARMA OF THE AVICHI IS CANCELLED IN KSHANA. In an instant, the offense karma deserving the uninterrupted Hell, is wiped out. How can this be? The Superior One cuts out the consciousness-seeds of beginningless karma with the Royal Vajra Jewelled Sword. If I WERE DECEIVING LIVING BEINGS WITH UNTRUE WORDS.

What I, Master Yung Chia, now say is the true and genuine testimony of Englightenment. If I were cheating living beings with lies, I'd certainly cause myself to fall into a hell where my tongue would be ripped out for as many ages as there are particles of dust and sand, and I would undergo unlimited suffering in retribution.

These lines express the Master's kindheartedness and concern. He was afraid that people would be skeptical and disbelieve what he said, so he make this vow to strengthen the faith of living beings and enable them to be certified to Unconditional Enlightenment. The Great Master's compassion for living beings was extremely deep.

TEXT:

WITH SUDDEN ENLIGHTENED UNDERSTANDING OF THE HYANA
OF THE THUS COME ONES,
THE SIX CROSSINGS-OVER AND TEN THOUSAND PRACTICES ARE COMPLETE IN SUBSTANCE.
IN A DREAM, VERY CLEARLY, THERE ARE SIX DESTINIES; AFTER ENLIGHTENMENT, COMPLETELY EMPTY, THERE IS NO
UNIVERSE.

COMMENTARY:

WITH SUDDEN ENLIGHTENED UNDERSTANDING OF THE DHYANA OF THE THUS COME ONES. Suddenly there is a great opening uo of complete understanding: then there are no gradual steps to Enlightenment to this Dharma-door of the Mind-ground.

THE SIX CROSSINGS-OVER AND TEN THOUSAND PRACTICES ARE COMPLETE IN SUBSTANCE. We should know from the beginning that the merit and virtue of the six crossings-over--giving, holding Precepts, patience, vigor, Dhyana samadhi, and wisdom--and the ten thousand practices, are all in our inherent nature, fundamentally complete and perfect. They are not lacking, nor are they in excess.

IN A DREAM, VERY CLEARLY, THERE ARE SIX DESTINIES. While people are in a confused dream, the six paths of gods, humans, asuras, hells, hungry ghosts, and animals, are distinctly evident. Yet AFTER ENLIGHTENMENT, COMPLETELY EMPTY, THERE IS NO UNIVERSE. After one becomes Enlightened and is roused from the confused dream, emptiness is pulverized, home is broken, and people vanish. Then how could the Three Thousand Great Thousand World system exist?

TEXT:

NO OFFENSES OR BLESSINGS, NO BENEFIT OR LOSS,
IN THE STILL, EXTINCT NATURE NO QUESTIONS OR SEEKING, RECENTLY THE DUSTY MIRROR HAS NOT BEEN POLISHED, TODAY WE MUST ANALYZE AND MAKE CLEAR DISTINCTIONS.

COMMENTARY:

NO OFFENSES OR BLESSINGS, NO BENEFIT OR LOSS. In the principle and substance of the inherent nature, the creation and destrustion of offenses and blessings and the increase or decrease of benefit and loss, are fundamentally intangible characteristics.

IN THE STILL, EXTINCT NATURE NO QUESTIONS OR SEEKING. The still, extinct nature of all dharmas cannot be explained with words, so the verse says that there are "no questions or seeking."

RECENTLY THE DUSTY MIRROR HAS NOT BEEN POLISHED. Fundamentally, everyone is replete with the still, extinct nature. No one lacks it. However, it is like a mirror covered with dust; it is hard for its light to appear. One must polish it by the power of cultivating Dhyana samadhi and pour over it the efficacious Dharma-water of sweet dew. Having polished it, having rubbed and burnished it, one will be able to go back to the origin and return to the source.

TODAY WE MUST ANALYZE AND MAKE CLEAR DISTINCTIONS. In past lives we were born drunk and died dreaming. We did not consider secaping from the burning house of the three realms. We mistook suffering for bliss, and we did not meet a good Knowing One to guide and transform us. But now we must make distinctions very clearly. How can we just let things slide again, letting the months and years slip by, numb to the piercing needle's pain? We should analyze ourselves without delay and proceed to stop this vicious cycle.

TEXT:

WHO IS WITHOUT THOUGHT? WHO IS WITHOUT BIRTH?
IF THERE IS REALLY NO PRODUCTION, THERE IS NOTHING NOT PRODUCED.
SUMMON A WODDEN STATUE AND INQUIRE OF IT.
APPLY YOURSELF TO SEEKING BUDDHAHOOD; SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH IT.

COMMENTARY:

WHO IS WITHOUT THOUGHT? WHO IS WITHOUT BIRTH? Who can be without false thinking, wearisome sense impressions, and not turn in the revolving wheel of birth and death?

IF THERE IS REALLY NO PRODUCTION, THERE IS NOTHING NOT PRODUCED. If there is indeed no production, there is both no destruction and nothing that isn't produced.

SUMMON A WOODEN STATUE AND INQUIRE OF IT. If you want to understand this principle, you can ask a wooden statue. He will give you a most wondrous answer.

APPLY YOURSELF TO SEEKING BUDDHAHOOD; SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH IT. One should not incline to either extreme of knowing only to seek the Buddha or only seeking hte self, or one will be unable to reach the ultimate meaning of the Middle Way. The result will be perverse arisal of inverted views. In seeking the Buddha, one becomes attached to the characteristic of "otherness" and gives rise to an attitude of dependence. If one does not make reckonings of "Sooner" or "later," there can be accomplishment. But if one seeks the self, one will become attached to the characteristic of self and give rise to an obstinate grasping.

How can confusion and Enlightenment be spoken of as slow or quick? People who incline to extremes keep working at the gates of the six sense-organs, which is like stirring water to stop it from boiling instead of using the sensible method of putting out the fire under the pot.

The verse also says that if you apply yourself single-mindedly to seeking Buddhahood, you will be successful sooner or later.

TEXT:

LET THE FOUR ELEMENTS GO, DO NOT GRASP AT THEM.
THE NATURE OF STILL QUIESCENCE ACCORDS WITH DRINKING AND EATING.
ALL ACTIVITIES ARE IMPERMANENT; EVERYTHING IS EMPTY. THAT IS THE GREAT AND PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE THUS COME ONE.

COMMENTARY:

LET THE FOUR ELEMENTS GO. DO NOT GRASP AT THEM. We people are made from the combining of the solidity of earth, the moisture of water, the wormth of fire, and the breath of wind. We should not grasp and become attached to these characteristics or to the complications which arise from having a self.

THE NATURE OF STILL QUIESCENCE ACCORDS WITH DRINKING AND EATING. The nature of still quiescence accords with conditions, yet does not change. Unperturbed, it is always Thus. Wearing clothes, eating a meal, drinking tea--none are not the Middle way. Right in your native surroundings is your inherent family treasure.
ALL ACTIVITIES ARE IMPERMANENT; EVERYTHING IS EMPTY. Every kind of activity belongs fundamentally to impermanence, so the verse says that everything is empty.

THAT IS THE GREAT AND PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE THUS COME ONE. The merit and virtue of wonderful Existence are entirely complete within True Emptiness, and just that is the Thus Come One's perfect, great Enlightenment of the Buddha-nature. When there is the perfection of the Threefold Enlightenment and repleteness with the ten thousand virtues, then one is called the Buddha. The Threefold Enlightenment is Enlightenment of self, Enlightenment of others, and the Perfection of Enlightened Practice.

TEXT:

IT IS CERTAIN THAT THESE WORDS EXPRESS THE TRUE VEHICLE,
WHOEVER DOES NOT ACCEPT THEM MAY INQUIRE AS THEY WISH.
IT CUTS DIRECTLY THROUGH TO THE SOURCE;
IT IS SEALED BY ALL BUDDHA.
I CANNOT PLUCK LEAVES AND SEEK OUT BRANCHES.

COMMENTARY:

IT IS CERTAIN THAT THESE WORDS EXPRESS THE TRUE VEHICLE. These words definitely do express the most supreme True Vehicle. However, WHOEVER DOES NOT ACCEPT THEM MAY INQUIRE AS THEY WISH. That is, if there are people who still harbor doubts and do not believe these principles, they may raise questions as they wish in order to air their misgivings.

IT CUTS DIRECTLY THROUGH TO THE SOURCE; IT IS SEALED BY ALL BUDDHAS. This is the Dharma that cuts through most directly, that penetrates completely to the very bottom, that goes directly through to the treasure's source. It is sealed and certified by all Buddhas. It does not arise out of some selfish individual's contrivances to gain fame and fortune.

I CANNOT PLUCK LEAVES AND SEEK OUT BRANCHES. As for the purport of the Small Vehicle--those twigs and branches, those distorted principles--on that I will not waste time and words. The Buddhas of the ten directions elucidated the one Supreme Dharma; and in speaking of the Way with a single voice, the Great Masters left nothing out. Now, unless I wish to reiterate those many; words, there is no call for me to open my mouth.

TEXT:

PEOPLE DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE MANI-PEARL,
THEY MAY RECEIVE IT IN PERSON IN THE TREASURY OF THE THUS COME ONE.
THE SIX KINDS OF SPIRITUAL FUNCTIONINGS ARE EMPTY, YET NOT EMPTY.
THIS PEARL OF PERFECT BRIGHTNESS HAS FORM, YET HAS NO FORM.

COMMENTARY:

PEOPLE DO NOT RECOGNIZE THE MANI-PEARL. This precious wish-granting Mani-pearl is spiritual,miraculous, and hard to conceive of, and the result is that people do not recognize it.

THIS SIX KINDS OF SPIRITUAL FUNCTIONINGS ARE EMPTY, YET NOT EMPTY. The heavenly eye, the heavenly ear, the ability to know others' thoughts, the ability to know past lives, the exhaustion of out-flows, and spiritual completeness are all perfect spiritual functionings of this Mani-pearl. Though empty, they are yet not empty.

THIS PEARL OF PERFECT BRIGHTNESS HAS FORM, YET HAS NO FORM. The Mani-jewel belongs with the form dharmas, and yet this pearl of perfect brilliance is actrally for which is apart from form; an appearancer which has no appearance. The Vajra Sutra says,

One who sees me in form, or seeks me in sound,
Practices a deviant way and cannot see the Thus Come One.
The same is true of the Mani-pearl; since it cannot be sought in emptiness, it even less can be seen in form. Ultimatelt, then, what is it like? You simply go in person yo retrieve this precious pearl in the Treasury of the Thus Come Ones. After that, you will be able to comprehend it clearly for yourself.

TEXT:

PURIFY THE FIVE EYES; ATTAIN THE FIVE POWER,
SIMPLY ACCOMPLISH THEM AND KNOW WHAT'S HARD TO FATHOM,
SHAPES IN A MIRROR ARE NOT HARD TO SEE,
BUT THE MOON IN THE WATER--HOW CAN ONE PLUCK IT OUT?

COMMENTARY:

PURIFY THE FIVE EYES; ATTAIN THE FIVE POWERS. Having attained the six kinds spiritual functionings, then purify the five eyes: the Buddha-eye, the Dharma-eye, the Wisdom-eyes, the Heavenly-Eye, and the Flesh-Eye; and then to aid them, bring forth the five powers: faith, vigor, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom.

SIMPLY ACCOMPLISH THEM AND WHAT'S KNOW WHAT'S HARD TO FATHOM. To be able to understand these states, one simply needs to accomplish them oneself. They cannot be fathomed by thinking or by making distinctions.

SHAPES IN A MIRROR ARE NOT HARD TO SEE. Every-one can see shapes which are reflected in a mirror; there is nothing difficult in that. The meaning here is that when one sees a Sage, one should aspire to be like him; and when one sees someone who is not a Sage, one should reflect the lilght inward and examine oneself.

BUT THE MOON IN THE WATER--HOW CAN ONE PLUCK IT OUT?
One shouldn't be like a dolt who mistakes the moon in the water for the real moon. Even if he were to give up his life trying to grab it, how could he succeed? Therefore it says, "How can one pluck it our?" This is an analogy for cultivating blindly and smelting recklessly; for taking side doors and externalist paths, for practicing austerities which are not beneficial, and for being attached to characteristics or attached to emptiness. Such are the foolish people who try to pull the moon out of the water; how could they possibly pluck it out?

TEXT:

EVER PRACTICING IN SOLITUDE, EVER WALKING ALONE
THOSE WHO HAVE PENETRATED, ROAM NIRVANA'S ROAD TOGETHER.
THEIR TUNE IS ANCIENT, THEIR EXPRESSION PURE,
THEIR BEARING NATURALLY LOFTY.
THEIR APPEARANCE IS HAGGARD, THEIR INTEGRITY UNSHAKEABLE.
PEOPLE IGNORE THEM.

COMMENTARY:

EVER PRACTICING IN SOLITUDE, EVER WALKING ALONE. To cultivate the Way, one must choose a still and quiet place to practice concentration and regulary cultivate. When one tallies with enlightenment through Dhyana Samadhi, one certifiably attains the mutually responding wisdom.

THOSE WHO HAVE PENETRATED, ROAM NIRVANA'S ROAD TOGETHER. If those who have understanding , who are of like resolve, and whose paths are the same should meet, they do not hinder one another in roaming the proper path of pure Nirvana.

THEIR TUNE IS ANCIENT, THEIR EXPRESSION PURE, THEIR BEARING NATURALLY LOFTY. Although their song is ancient, their expression is ppure, and those who can harmonize with this song have always been rare. How can their bearing not be lofty of itself? So it is said,

There are very few who are in tune with the highest songs.

THEIR APPEARANCE HAGGARD, THEIR INGEGRITY UYNSHAKEABLE. PEOPLE IGNORE THEM. The external appearance of these cultivators of the way is haggard and emaciated, but their principles and moral integrity are as solid as Vajra and diamond. Common, ordinary people cannot recognize them, and when they seem them they turn their backs on them.

TEXT:

THE SHAKYAN DISCIPLES SAY THAT THEY ARE POOR,
THEY ARE INDEED POOR IN BODY, BUT NOT POOR IN THE WAY. AS TO POVERTY, THEIR BODIES ARE EVER WRAPPED INCOARSE RAGS.
AS TO THE WAY, A PRICELESS JEWEL IS STORED IN THEIR HEARS.
A PRICELESS JEWEL. ITS USES INEXHAUSTIBLE,
FOR BENEFITTING BEINGS, RESPONDING TO POTENTIALS ALWAYS GENEROUSLY, THREE BODIES, FOUR WISDOMS ARE COMPLETE IN THE SUBSTANCE.
EIGHT LIBERATIONS, SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS ARE IN THE MIND-
GROUND SEAL.

COMMENTARY:

THE SHAKYAN DISCIPLES SAY THAT THEY ARE POOR.

Cultivators of the way call themselves "poor robes."
THEY ARE INDEED POOR IN BODY, BUT NOT POOR IN THE WAY. Actually, although they seem to be poor, they are rich in the way. Why is this said?

AS TO POVERTY, THEIR BODIES ARE EVER WRAPPED IN COARSE RAGS. They are poor in that they always wear tattered rags from the garbage heap, with hundreds of patches and thousands of stitches.

AS TO THE WAY, A PRICELESS JEWEL IS STORED IN THEIR HEARTS. But in terms of virtue in the Way, and of being at ease in the inherent nature, there is a priceless jewel stored in the immeasurable, boundless Dharma door of the mind-ground.

What is poverty? Poverty is an attitude of greed. What are riches? They are a mind without greed. What is the Way? It is cultivation. What is the jewel? It is to be without selfishness or self-seeking. Therefor I say,

To stop the mind and cut off thought is true wealth and honor;
to put a complete end to selfish lust is the true field of blessings.
APRICELESS JEWEL, ITS USES INEXHAUSTIBLE. It is the Dharma wealth of merit and virtue. Taking from it does not use it up. Using it does not exhaust it.

FOR BENEFITTING BEINGS, RESPONDING TO POTENTIALS ALWAYS GENEROUSLY. With it, they universally rescue beings everywhere in response to myriad opportunities; they are never stingy.
THREE BODIES, FOUR WISDOMS ARE COMPLETE IN THE SUBSTANCE. The three bodies are the Dharma-body, the Retribution-body, and the Transformation-body. The Four Wisdoms are these:

1. Turning the five consciousnesses around, which is the Wisdom of Accomplishing what is to be Done.
2. Turning the sixth or mind-consciousness around, which is Wisdom th wonderful Contemplation and investigation.
3. Turning the seventh or manas consciousness around, which is the Wisdom of Equality.
4. Turning the eighth or alaya consciousness around, which is the Wisdom of the Great Perfect Mirror.
The substance of this original nature is perfect and full, and lacks nothing.

EIGHT LIBERATIONS, SIX SPIRITUAL POWERS ARE IN THE MIND-GROUND SEAL. The Eight Liberations are these:

1. The contemplation of external form when there are internal thoughts of form.
2. The contemplation of external form when there are no internal thoughts of form.
3. The complete state of personally accomplishing pure liberation.
4. The placae of boundless emptiness.
5. The place of boundless consciousness.
6. The place where nothing exists.
7. The place where there is neither thought nor lack of thought.
8. The complete state of personally accomplishing the samadhi of the extinction of feeling and thought.

The Six Spiritual Powers are these:

1. The heavenly eye.
2. The heavenly ear.
3. The knowledge of others' minds.
4. The knowledge of past lives.
5. The attainment of spiritual states.
6. The exhaustion of outflows.
All of them are inherently complete in the Dharma-seal of the mind-ground.

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