THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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The Wondrous Adornments of the Rulers of the Worlds

Chapter One, Part Four & Five
A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua_

Translated in the Tang Dynasty by the Tripitaka Master Srãmana Siksananda of Khotan

Sutra:

Moreover, Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames gained a passage into liberation of totally dispelling all darkness in the world. Fire-ruling Spirit Banner of Universally Assembled Light gained a passage into liberation of eradicating all sentient beings’ delusions and their sufferings of aimless drifting and scorching torment. Fire-ruling Spirit Great Light Universally Shining gained a passage into liberation of a treasury of great compassion and steadfast power of blessings.  

Commentary:

Moreover indicates that what was said before was not all, and more is to be said, namely that there was also Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames. Her light shines everywhere; its blazing brilliance is multi-layered and unending, and so is called a treasury. This Fire-ruling Spirit gained a passage into liberation of totally dispelling all darkness in the world. With her treasury of universally blazing light, she is able to get rid of all the darkness in the world. She attained that passage into liberation.

The next Fire-ruling Spirit isnamed Banner of Universally Assembled Light because the lights from her fires merge together and resemble a jeweled banner. She gained a passage into liberation of eradicating all sentient beings’ delusions and their sufferings of aimless drifting and scorching torment. She can eradicate all sentient beings’ delusions--all types of confusion, ignorance, and dim-witted stupidity, as well as “their sufferings of aimless drifting and scorching torment.” This means the burning agony of revolving in the six paths of existence--at times, being a person, then a ghost, becoming an animal, then turning into an asura, suddenly being in the heavens, and suddenly returning to earth. That’s the reference in “aimless drifting and scorching torment.” The scorching torment is worst in the hells, where the sufferings are ceaseless. She attained that passage into liberation.

The subsequent Fire-ruling Spirit is named Great Light Universally Shining. Her fires’ lights shine throughout all worlds. She gained the passage into liberation of a treasury of great compassion and steadfast power of blessings. What is steadfast power of blessings? The force of such blessings is everlasting, steadfast and unmoving. She cultivated such power of blessings and attained a treasury of great compassion, by means of which she earnestly and compassionately teaches and transforms sentient beings. She uses her own power of blessings to sustain and help all sentient beings, enabling them all to attain the steadfast power of blessings and a treasury of great compassion. She gained that passage into liberation.  

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders gained a passage into liberation of contemplating the Tathagata’s powers of spiritual penetrations and infinite manifestations.

Commentary:

The next Fire-ruling Spirit is named Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders because she adorns her palaces with all sorts of wondrous gems. She gained a passage into liberation of contemplating the Tathagata’s powers of spiritual penetrations. She contemplates the Buddha’s strength of spiritual penetrations and infinite manifestations. She observeshow the Buddha, by means of his inconceivable might of great self-mastery and spiritual penetrations, appears in infinite manifestations in countless lands in order to teach and transform all sentient beings. She attained that passage to liberation.  

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Cowl of Infinite Light gained a passage into liberation of discovering light that shines throughout boundless realms of space.

Commentary:

The previous section of sutra text spoke of how the Buddha teaches and transforms sentient beings in countless lands and oceans of eons. The present Fire-ruling Spirit, named Cowl of Infinite Light, gained a passage into liberation of discovering light that shines throughout boundless realms of space. This Fire-ruling Spirit’s light is infinite and shines endlessly. It illumines innumerable lands and limitless worlds, shining through infinitely many oceans of eons. Her light radiates to the ends of space and throughout the Dharma Realm, shining upon limitless and boundlessly many lands of sentient beings and oceans of eons. To the ends of space and the Dharma Realm, she inspires sentient beings to bring forth the resolve for bodhi. She attained that passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit All Kinds of Blazing Eyes gained a passage into liberation of perceiving a serene radiance derived from adornment with all kinds of blessings.  

Commentary:

The next Fire-ruling Spirit is named All Kinds of Blazing Eyes. Her eyes emit various colors of light, such as green, yellow, red, white or black; and her eyes also send forth flames--hence her name. This overseer of fire gained a passage into liberation of perceiving a serene radiance derived from adornment with all kinds of blessings. She understands that the Buddha’s Dharma body is adorned with ten thousand blessings and ten thousand virtues. He has a kind of serene radiance that is the light of samadhi. That radiance is constantly emitted from within samadhi. She attained that passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Palaces Resembling Mount Sumeru in the Ten Directions gained a passage into liberation of extinguishing the blazing sufferings of all beings in all destinies in the worlds.

Commentary:

The following Fire-ruling Spirit isnamed Palaces Resembling Mount Sumeru in the Ten Directions, suggesting being as lofty and adorned as all palaces throughout the ten directions, which resemble Mount Sumeru. She gained a passage into liberation, a state of the Buddha, of being able to extinguish all the blazing sufferings of all beings in all destinies in the worlds. “All beings…in the worlds” refers to the world of sentient beings. “All destinies” refers to the six paths in the cycle of rebirth, and more specifically to the four evil destinies of asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals--within which are all the blazing torments. “Blazing” indicates the sufferings are as intense as a raging bonfire that consumes all living things. Beings in the four evil destinies undergo torment comparable to being burned in a blazing fire. That was her passage to liberation.  

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Awesome Light of Self-Mastery gained a passage into liberation of enlightening all beings in all worlds with ease.  

Commentary:

The next Fire-ruling Spirit is named Awesome Light of Self-Mastery, for she has awesome virtue and emits a kind of light. She is also very free and at ease--very happy. This Fire-ruling Spirit gained a passage into liberation of enlightening all beings in all worlds with ease. “With ease” indicates there is nothing forced about this, the process being very natural and comfortable. She enables sentient beings in many worlds to become enlightened and to complete their work in the Way successfully. She attained that passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Light Illumining the Ten Directions gained a passage into liberation of refuting forever all foolish, attached views.  

Commentary:

Thenext Fire-ruling Spirit is named Light Illumining the Ten Directions. As you can see, most of these Fire-ruling Spirits have light from fire. This particular Fire-ruling Spirit was named for having light that shines throughout the ten directions. She gained a passage into liberation of refuting forever all foolish, attached views. People who lack of wisdom, clarity, and light are foolish. Yet fools do not consider themselves foolish. Not knowing that they themselves are fools, they insist on the exact opposite and say that intelligent people are fools. This is similar to the situation of a black crow landing on the back of a black pig and noticing the blackness of the pig, but not seeing its own blackness. Fools are the same way. They are fools precisely because they deny their own foolishness. Due to their foolishness, they have attachments that obstruct their understanding. Failing to understand situations, they become caught up in those situations. Rather than managing affairs, they are tied up by those affairs. With such attachments, they cannot achieve liberation, especially when they stubbornly cling to their own views. They insist that their own viewpoint is correct. An example of such intractable views can be found in our Way-place, where there are adults as well as children. When the children come here, they want to play. If the adults have a rigid outlook, they may claim that, because the children make so much noise here, their only recourse is not to attend the sutra lectures. They are so intransigent that they use the children as an excuse for not attending. Not only do they themselves not attend, they dissuade other people from attending. These are all instances of attachments to views. So long as people cling to such attached viewpoints, they cannot become enlightened. They cannot attain this passage to liberation. This Fire-ruling Spirit, however, could refute these types of foolish, attached views, and thus she did reach this passage into liberation.

Sutra:

Fire-ruling Spirit Thunder Sound and Lightning Flash gained a passage into liberation of loosing a great boom of thunder resulting from fulfilling all vows. At that time Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power, universally contemplated the multitudes of Fire-ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse.

Commentary:

The next Fire-ruling Spirit is named Thunder Sound and Lightning Flash because she has a voice of booming thunder that sends out great lightning flashes. She gained a passage into liberation of loosing a great boom of thunder resulting from fulfilling all vows. She helps all sentient beings carry out their vows. Whatever vows you make, she will assist you, affording protection and support so you can fulfill them. The great rumbling boom of her thunder can be heard and felt throughout the Dharma Realm. She attained that passage to liberation.

At that time, just at that moment, Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power. She availed herself of the greatly majestic spiritual power of the Buddha, universally contemplated all the multitudes of Fire-ruling Spirits, and spoke the following verse. She used verse to describe the passages into liberation again.

Sutra:

Contemplate the Tathagata’s power of vigor:
For inconceivable, vast, great kotis of eons,
He appears in the world to benefit beings,
Dispelling all obstructions of darkness.

Commentary:

In the present stanza of four lines, when it says, “Contemplate,” ultimately who is speaking? And who should contemplate? When it says, “the Tathagata’s,” which Tathagata is meant? The line is addressed to all sentient beings. The speaker is Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames, who was previously discussed. She says, “You should take a look. Everyone, look! All you sentient beings should see this.” What should you look at? At the Tathagata. Which Tathagata? Shakyamuni Buddha, who is also known as Shakyamuni Tathagata. What about him should you look at? At his Thirty-two Hallmarks and Eighty Characteristics? No. You ought to observe his power of vigor. The Tathagata’s was far more vigorous and energetic in cultivating the Way throughout infinitely many past eons than even the most vigorous of you are now. He could renounce his body, mind, and life. He sacrificed everything; gave up everything. He forgot about everything else and only practiced with vigor. He pushed out all thoughts of desire, sleep, and laziness, and drove away the Ten Great Demonic Hordes . He was able to be that vigorous.

The Buddha was vigorous in the daytime and throughout the night–constantly vigorous in the six periods of the day and night. He was able to cultivate without resting or slacking off; he applied effort and energetically pushed forward. He could do things others could not do, such as sacrificing his own body to feed a tiger. If you think about it, a tiger is an especially noxious beast, so why feed it? For the tiger to starve to death would mean one less tiger in the world, and one less menace for human beings. Why rescue one? But the Buddha was able to give up his own body to save a starving tiger. He was also able to cut off his flesh to feed a hawk. The hawk is also an evil predator, which preys upon other creatures. It’s a bandit among birds, the worst kind of bird. But he could slice of his own flesh to feed the hawk. See what powerful vigor he had! Which one of us could compare with him? Most of us just know how to selfishly pursue personal advantage; most of us do little to benefit others. Most of us only know how to be selfish and cannot be public-spirited and altruistic—indications that we lack vigor.

Observe the Buddha’s power of vigor. Truly, for inconceivably vast, great kotis of eons, / He appears in the world to benefit beings. The practices that he cultivated during vast, great kotis of eons, infinitely many eons, are all inconceivable. Why does the Buddha appear in the world? He does so in order to bring benefit to sentient beings. Why do we appear in the world? It’s to be feared that many of us end up bringing harm sentient beings. Many are intent upon usurping other beings’ benefits for themselves. Most of us are selfish and don’t realize we ought to benefit others. We only think of ourselves and don’t consider other people. The Buddha appears in the world to benefit sentient beings. We, on the other hand, often end up harming them. There are those whose attitude towards other beings is, “The sooner you die, the better! The things I should be using are all being used by you. If you were dead, I could enjoy a lot more of the material possessions of this world. More would fall to my share.” This even goes so far that a son may think, “Father, you have so much money. I wish you would die earlier so the money would be mine. Why haven’t you died yet?” This is truly a case of old people who haven’t died being regarded as thieves! There are sons who want their fathers to die. Think it over. Isn’t it the case that many of us come to the world and end up harming sentient beings?

The Buddha appears in the world for the sake of sentient beings, dispelling all obstructions of darkness. He can demolish all the impediments caused by the dull delusion of sentient beings, their obstacles of afflictions and obstacles of knowledge. When all their obstructions and impediments of dullness are gone, sentient beings become clear-headed and wise. Fire-ruling Spirit Treasury of Universal Flames achieved that passage into liberation.  

Sutra:

Sentient beings are obtuse and opinionated,
Their afflictions like a torrent and a blaze;
With skillful means, the Guiding Master quells them.
Banner of Universally Assembled Light awakens thus.  

His blessings and virtues, like space, are never ending.
One seeks their limits and boundaries in vain.
Such is the Buddha’s unmoving power of great compassion.
Light Shining awakens to this and is delighted.

Commentary:

Sentient beings are obtuse and opinionated. Obtuse sentient beings are in the majority, and intelligent beings are in the minority. There’s only one intelligent being in ten thousand. The intelligent being has proper knowledge and proper views, whereas the obtuse beings hold various wrong opinions. “Opinionated” means subscribing to any of the various wrong views. Beings with wrong views get afflicted, whereas those with proper knowledge and views have no afflictions. Afflictions arise from misguided knowledge and views. Their afflictions are like a torrent or a blaze. What are those afflictions like? They resemble rushing flood waters that uproot trees in their path and destroy houses and buildings. They are also similar to a huge blazing torch that burns things up. Obtuseness and wrong views resemble a raging flood and a blazing fire.

With skillful means, the Guiding Master quells them. The Guiding Master is the Buddha. The Buddha is a Guiding Master who gathers in sentient beings and expediently extinguishes their afflictions completely. The Buddha employs various expedient Dharma-doors to quell those afflictions that are like a raging flood and a blazing fire. Banner of Universally Assembled Light awakens thus. Fire-ruling Spirit Banner of Universally Assembled Light enters deeply into this passage to liberation.

His blessings and virtues, like space, are never ending. The Buddha’s blessings and virtues resemble the void in that they never come to an end. Even though space has nothing to it, you can’t say there is no space. The Buddha’s blessings and virtues resemble space in that they could never run out, never be used up. One seeks their limits and boundaries in vain. If you tried to discover just what ultimate perimeters there are to the Buddha’s blessings and virtues, they could not be found. You could never calculate them or understand them through numerical reckoning or analogy. Such is the Buddha’s unmoving power of great compassion. The still and unmoving strength derives from the Buddha’s greatly compassionate mind, which is a treasury of great compassion. Light Shining awakens to this and is delighted. Fire-ruling Spirit (Great) Light (Universally) Shining understands this state and is joyful at heart.

The verses in the Sutra text were contributed by Ananda when the Sutra Treasury was being compiled. It wasn’t that a particular individual presented them in that way at the time described in the Sutra. The verses reiterate what was expressed in the preceding prose section. It’s not at all certain that the particular spirit spoke in just that way. She might not have used exactly that line to praise the Buddha, but another line instead, and when the Sutra Treasury was being compiled, Ananda summarized the meanings. When the introduction says that such and such a spirit “received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power and spoke the following verse(s),” it definitely doesn’t say that spirit represented all ten spirits and spoke the ten stanzas which follow. She just received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power to speak her own four lines of verse, and afterwards each spirit spoke her own four-line verse.

This point is very important! You can’t use a literal interpretation as the basis for understanding the Sutra. That would be a mistake. That’s what’s known as relying on words to understanding the meaning. Being attached to the text of the Sutra basically does not accord with the Buddhadharma. Before the Nirvana Sutra arrived in China in its entirety, people read the first half of the Sutra, which said, “Icchantikas do not have the Buddha-nature.” Dharma Master Daosheng, however, maintained that icchantikas do have the Buddha-nature. While the second half of the Sutra was not yet available, no one could accept his statement. When the rest of the sutra finally arrived, part two did indeed say that icchantikas do have the Buddha-nature.

Sutra:

I contemplate the Tathagata’s cultivations:
Boundless, they stretch through oceans of eons.
Such displays of powers and spiritual penetrations
Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders spirit understands.

Commentary:

The Venerable Ananda, during the compilation of the Sutra Treasury, used reiterative verses to restate the ideas conveyed in prose. The verses also represent what the Fire-ruling Spirits had said. Since the prose section had already named the first Fire-ruling Spirit, her name does not appear in the four-line stanza. That’s why some of you thought the subsequent stanzas were also spoken by that Fire-ruling Spirit, but this interpretation does not accord with the meaning of the sutra. The sutra means that each Fire-ruling Spirit elucidates the state of the Buddha that she herself has achieved, the passage into liberation that she herself has entered. These verses are spoken by the Venerable Ananda, who uses verses to express the principles once again. Fearing that people might not have completely understood the previous meanings, he restates them in verse form.

Now the text says: I contemplate the Tathagata’s cultivations. Who is saying, “I contemplate”? Fire-ruling Spirit Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders is saying “I” of herself, and it was Ananda who represented her in saying that when Ananda wrote the line, “I contemplate the Tathagata’s cultivations,” referring to observing the practices cultivated by the Tathagata. Boundless, they stretch through oceans of eons. Those practices were cultivated throughout oceans of eons. And so we need to look at the repeating verses along with their corresponding prose section in order to understand them. The prior section of prose said, “Fire-ruling Spirit Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders gained a passage into liberation of contemplating the Tathagata’s powers of spiritual penetrations and infinite manifestions.” The powers of spiritual penetrations that the Tathagata attained were the practices he cultivated throughout oceans of eons. “Oceans of eons” isn’t just referring to one great eon, or two or three, or even hundreds of thousands of great eons. Rather, the eons are so many they are like a great ocean–infinitely many eons. That inconceivable and boundless amount is termed oceans of eons. This extended throughout such oceans of eons, that you could never find their boundaries or state ultimately how many great eons there are. There are no bounds to them. They could not be known through calculation or analogy; hence they are said to be boundless.

The text continues: Such displays of powers and spiritual penetrations. Over such a vast periods of time, the Buddha displayed all kinds of spiritual penetrations to teach and transform sentient beings, inspiring all beings to bring forth the resolve for bodhi. This is what the Spirit Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders understands. You don’t have to use any other words to explain this, just the words “Palaces of Multitudes of Wonders spirit understands. ” That line of verse indicates that the verse was spoken by the compiler of the Treasury of Sutras. Therefore, when the previous prose section mentioned a certain Fire-ruling Spirit by name and said he “received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power and spoke the following verse(s),” if that Fire-ruling Spirit received the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power and spoke the following verse(s), why couldn’t the other Fire-ruling Spirits also receive the Buddha’s awesome spiritual power and speak the following verse(s)? All of you should reflect upon this principle. You ought to be able to figure it out without my having to explain it in detail. I didn’t go into the details before, because I thought all of you, being so much more intelligent that I am and so learned, would understand this principle. It never occurred to me that you would go so far as to consult a commentary about this principle. And is the commentary necessarily correct? Commentaries represent individual points of view. You have your commentary, I have mine, and other people have theirs. But it’s not for certain that any particular commentary can stand the test. Then why are the commentaries included in the Tripitaka? It’s not for certain that everything included in the Tripitaka is totally right! For that reason Mencius said: “It would be better not to have books than to have total faith in books. In the Wucheng Chapter I select only two or three passages.”

“Wucheng” is the name of a section in The Book of History. The Book of History says: “When King Wu attacked the tyrant Zhou, iron pestles floated in the blood that was shed in the slaughter.” Those pestles weighed a few hundred catties. The iron pestles wielded by warriors of those times weighed a minimum of two hundred catties, about three hundred pounds. You make the calculation: How many people would have to be killed for that to happen? King Wu was the best of kings, and the tyrant Zhou was the worst. King Wu’s army was a humane and righteous army. Using such an army, when the most humane person, the most virtuous king, was attacking the least humane of people, how could the number of people killed been so great that their blood made iron pestles float? Yet that’s what The Book of History says. If you believe this, well, is such a thing possible? Could this actually happen? How much blood would be needed to float iron pestles? For that reason, Mencius said it would be better not to have books at all than to believe the principles set forth in books entirely. We could do without books that only tend to make people confused.

We are studying the Buddhadharma, and all the principles in the Buddha’s Sutras tell people to break their attachments. As long as we have attachments, we will never achieve genuine wisdom. Those attachments will hinder us. Hence there is the saying: “When confused, one is a sentient being. When enlightened, one is a Buddha.” Buddhahood is a state of freedom from attachments. If we are attached, then we are still sentient being. But when we become enlightened, we are Buddhas. That’s why, after the Buddha achieved Buddhahood, he exclaimed, “Strange indeed! Strange indeed! Strange indeed! All sentient beings have the wisdom and virtuous characteristics of a Tathagata. It is only due to confused thinking and attachments that they fail to realize them.” Why do we lack wisdom? It’s due to attachments. If we’re attached to fame, we will die from fame. If we’re attached to profit, we will die from profit. Consequently, fame and profit are two major killers of people.

Sutra:

Unthinkable, his achievements in cultivation for kotis of eons;
The quest for their boundaries ends in mystery.
He proclaims the truth of all dharmas, delighting all.
Infinite Light spirit contemplates thus and sees.
 

Commentary:

While compiling the Sutra Treasury, Ananda spoke this four-line stanza to represent the passage into liberation of Fire-ruling Spirit Cowl of Infinite Light. He said that Cowl of Infinite Light had attained a passage to liberation. What was it? Unthinkable, his achievements in cultivation for kotis of eons. She knew how the Buddha had cultivated inconceivably many practices, inconceivably many spiritual penetrations, inconceivably many wondrous functionings for innumerable kotis of eons. In general, everything about this was inconceivable. The quest for their boundaries ends in mystery. Any search for the limits of the wonderful functionings of the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations, and of his adornments with merit and virtue, “ends in mystery.” Their limits are unfathomable. He proclaims the truth of all dharmas, delighting all. The Buddha speaks the wonderful Dharma of Truth, the wondrous Dharma of the True Mark, the wonderful Dharma which has no characteristics yet characterizes everything. Upon hearing such Dharma, all beings rejoice immensely, believe and accept it, and put it into practice. Infinite Light spirit contemplates thus and sees. This is the passage to liberation, the state contemplated and viewed by Fire-ruling Spirit Cowl of Infinite Light.  

Sutra:

The vast, great multitudes in all the ten directions
Behold the Buddha manifest before them.
His peaceful, quiescent light illuminates the world.
Wondrous Flames spirit understands thus.  

Commentary:

The ten directions are the zenith, the nadir, north, south, east, west, and the four intermediate points, which are the northeast, the northwest, the southeast, and the southwest. The vast, great multitudes in all the ten directions, so many sentient beings, all behold the Buddha manifest before them. Those vast, great multitudes of sentient beings are all before the Buddha, gazing up at him. His peaceful, quiescent light illuminates the world. The Buddha radiates a tranquil light from within samadhi. That light shines upon all sentient beings in the worlds. Wondrous Flames spirit understands thus. This state is the passage to liberation that Fire-ruling Spirit Wondrous Flames comprehends.

Sutra:

In all the worlds the Muni appears.
Seated within each palace, he sends
A rain of infinitely vast great Dharma everywhere.
This is the spiritual state of Ten Directions spirit.

Commentary:

In all the worlds the Muni appears. The Muni is Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakya means “able to be humane,” and Muni means “still and silent.” This refers to the Buddha, who can be patient and who is also still and silent. He appears in every single world-system, seated within all palaces. The Buddha appears in the world, manifesting in a royal family. Kings dwell in palaces, and the Buddha appears in the world sitting in a palace. Also, when the Buddha is seated underneath the Bodhi tree, a palace made of the seven precious things appears, and the Buddha sits within that. He sends arain of infinitely vast great Dharma everywhere. The Buddha speaks Dharma for sentient beings everywhere, the way auspicious clouds appear in the sky. He teaches Dharma that fulfills sentient beings’ wishes, thereby liberating them. That’s why the text describes the Buddha as “sending a rain of infinitely vast great Dharma everywhere,” infinitely many great Dharma-doors. This is the spiritual state of Ten Directions spirit. According to Ananda, this is the state that Fire-ruling Spirit (Palaces Resembling Mount Sumeru in the) Ten Directions attained.

Sutra:

Most profound is the wisdom of the Buddhas.
Sovereign over dharmas, they appear in the world.
They completely clarify that which is true.
Awesome Light rejoices in this insight.

Commentary:

Most profound is the wisdom of the Buddhas. We could say “the Buddhas” refers to all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the periods of time; or we could say this is Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddhas’ wisdom of prajna is most profound. No sentient being has higher or more profound wisdom than the Buddha. The Buddha appears in the world as a Great Guiding Master. He uncovers the wisdom inherent in all sentient beings, enabling them to return to the origin and see their own original face. The Buddha uses various analogies to speak the Dharma for sentient beings, helping them to understand the Buddhadharma. That’s why the text says: Sovereign over dharmas, they appear in the world. “Sovereign over dharmas” refers to the Buddha’s realization of perfect enlightenment. He totally understands both worldly and world-transcending dharmas, and so he is at ease with all dharmas. That means nothing he does is forced or contrived. He appears in the world very naturally and with great ease. He manifests in the world to help sentient beings open the knowledge and vision of a Buddha, disclose the knowledge and vision of a Buddha, awaken to the knowledge and vision of a Buddha, and enter the knowledge and vision of a Buddha. He causes all sentient beings to open, disclose, awaken to and enter the knowledge and vision of a Buddha. They completely clarify that which is true. The Buddha’s speaking of Dharma gives expression to true principle. Truth never changes. True principle has been followed from ancient times until the present , in all lands. Awesome Light rejoices in this insight. Fire-ruling Spirit Awesome Light of Self-Mastery understands this passage into liberation, and enters this state. For that reason, he is extremely delighted and rejoices exceptionally–and so the text says: Awesome Light rejoices in this insight.

Sutra:

The delusion of views casts a darkness that confuses
Sentient beings, so they drift and revolve without cease.
In order to teach them, the Buddha opens wondrous Dharma doors.
Illumining Directions spirit enters and awakens thus.
 

Commentary:

The delusion of views casts a darkness that confuses. “Views” indicates all sorts of wrong views. Wrong views are due to wrong knowledge. If our outlook and understanding are wrong, we will be ignorant. If our outlook and understanding are proper, we will have wisdom. With wrong views, we will be stupid and deluded, hence in the dark. Delusion is a kind of covering. It covers over the light of our wisdom. Deluded sentient beings drift and revolve without cease. Since we sentient beings have wrong knowledge and views, from limitless eons up to now we have still not escaped from the revolving wheel of the six paths. All that is due to wrong knowledge and views. Such misguided views confuse and delude people. Confused and deluded, they are unable to end birth and death, to get out of the wheel of rebirth in the six paths. Instead, beings flow and turn in the cycle of rebirths in those paths: suddenly in the heavens, suddenly on earth, suddenly among hungry ghosts, suddenly becoming animals, suddenly being people, suddenly turning into asuras. Such lack of clarity, such obscure ignorance, prevents beings from transcending the six-path wheel where they turn round and round. In order to teach them, the Buddha opens wondrous Dharma doors: The Buddha, for the sake of deluded sentient beings, reveals the doors of most subtle, wonderful and inconceivable Dharma. He tells people to recite the Buddha's name and be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. He instructs them on holding mantras and realizing Buddhahood in this very life. He encourages sentient beings to cultivate all kinds of practices, and so the text says: “In order to teach them, the Buddha opens wondrous Dharma doors.” Wondrous Dharma doors enable beings to end birth and death and transcend the cycle of rebirth. Illumining Directions enters and awakens thus. Fire-ruling Spirit Light Illumining the Ten Directions understands this state and enters this passage to liberation.  

Sutra:

Vast, great, inconceivable is his approach to vows.
The Powers and Paramitas have been cultivated to purity.
Everything now manifests according to his previous vows.
Rumbling Sound spirit understands thus.

Commentary:

Vast, great, inconceivable is his approach to vows. There are approaches to vows, approaches to faith and approaches to practice. Faith, vows and practice are the Three Requisites. If you wish to become a Buddha, to cultivate and end birth and death, you must start by having faith. However, it’s not sufficient simply to believe; you also need to make vows. For example, if you want to be reborn in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, you must make the vow to attain rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Should you wish to be reborn in the Eastern Pure Vaidurya Land, you must vow to be reborn in the Eastern Pure Vaidurya Land. Therefore, the approach to vows is vast, great, and inconceivable.

The Powers and Paramitas have been cultivated to purity. The Powers are the Ten Powers, and Paramitas refers to the Ten Paramitas. The Buddha has cultivated the Ten Powers and Ten Paramitas to perfection, that is, to the point of purity. He has attained the fundamental pure substance. Everything now manifests according to his previous vows. Purity has already been achieved. In accordance with his past vows, and his cultivation in life after life and time after time for limitlessly many eons, “everything now manifests.” It’s somewhat like watching a film; frame after frame flashes on the screen; or like listening to an audio tape, where phrase after phrase is heard. Everything is now revealed. Rumbling Sound spirit understands thus. Fire-ruling Spirit Thunder Sound understands this and enters this passage to liberation.

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