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Praises at the Summit of Mount Sumeru

Chapter Fourteen




Toward the Dharma, be unattached,
Free of thought and undefiled.
Dwelling nowhere, having no location,
The Dharma nature is unimpeded.


All dharmas are for the sake of saving sentient beings. If there were no sentient beings, all dharmas would be empty. The Dharma has no use for itself. It is spoken for the sake of sentient beings. The Buddha’s sutras are sentient beings’ sutras. They are sutras of the mind. Therefore, in everything, you must consider your mind. If your mind is sincere, then things will be real. If your mind is true, then even false Dharma and false sutras are true. That is due to your lack of discriminations. If your mind has too many discriminations, then even true sutras become false; true Dharma becomes false and is no longer efficacious. The same is true of mantras. If you recite mantras without discriminating false thoughts, then even if you don’t pronounce the mantras exactly right, you’ll receive a response. If you recite with a mind full of discriminations and false thoughts, then even an efficacious mantra will lose its efficacy.

If a proper person practices deviant dharma,
the deviant dharma becomes proper.
If a deviant person practices proper Dharma,
the proper Dharma becomes deviant.

If a true person recites a false sutra,
the false sutra becomes true.
If a false person recites a true sutra,
the true sutra becomes false.

It’s not that the sutra itself is true or false. Rather, these are discriminations made by people. If you discriminate, “this is true and that is false,” you simply don’t understand the Buddhadharma. If you had any understanding of the Buddhadharma, you wouldn’t be preoccupied with such things.

Toward the Dharma, be unattached. Do not spend all your time making such discriminations. “If I don’t make discriminations, won’t I be a foolish idiot?” you ask. Ah, but you aren’t able to do it. You can’t really be free of discriminations. If you’re not discriminating this, then you’re discriminating that. Thus, you have attachments.

Free of thought and undefiled. You have neither pure thoughts nor defiled thoughts.

When neither purity nor defilement exists,
One always drives the white ox cart.

Dwelling nowhere, having no location. The Dharma nature doesn’t dwell anywhere, yet there is no place it fails to dwell; it pervades space throughout the Dharma Realm. Why does it need to be limited to a narrow space? All of space throughout the Dharma Realm is contained within our own nature. The Dharma nature is unimpeded. The Dharma nature is just that way, pervading space and the Dharma Realm. It’s not that “this little place is mine; that big place is not mine” or “that big place is mine; this little place is not mine.” There is no “mine” or “not mine.” Nothing goes beyond the Dharma Realm. Everything is included within the Dharma nature.

[A question was asked about whether kai zhihui 開智慧 should be translated as “become wise” or “open wisdom”.] “Become wise” is the meaning. Is “open wisdom” [the literal translation] Chinglish [an amalgam of Chinese and English]? No matter what language it is, the majority rules. If a phrase is used and understood by many people, then it becomes popular. If only a few people understand it, then it isn’t popular. You have to see what is appropriate, and use that. You shouldn’t think, “You translate your way, and I’ll translate my way.” Basically, it’s not yours or mine. All of you are translating into English. It’s not this person’s language or that person’s language. You aren’t at the level where you can create languages yet. Everyone should see which translation is the best, and then use it. It’s not fixed. What do you think of my judgment?

You can do this: make a list of the possible translations, such as “become wise,” “open wisdom,” and so on, the more the better. Then tell people they can use whatever they want when they translate sutras. That’ll really make them confused! What do you think? In China there was a category of terms that were not translated because they carried multiple meanings. For example, the Sanskrit term “Bhikshu” was kept untranslated, because it has three meanings. That’s called “not translated because of multiple meanings.” Now, we can “translate multiple meanings.” For example, we can use “open wisdom,” “become wise,” and “get smart.” What do you think of my method?


In all that is, there is no duality,
Nor is there a single thing.
The greatly wise of keen discernment
Abide at ease within this truth.


In all that is, there is no duality. This is the nondual dharma door. There is no duality in the nature. If there are not two, there must only be one. Nor is there a single thing. Not even one dharma exists. All dharmas are empty. There is neither one nor two. But their nonexistence is still a thought. Now, even the thought of the nonexistence of one and two is gone. This is the state in which

True emptiness is devoid of self and others.
The Great Path has no shape or form.

The greatly wise of keen discernment, who clearly perceive all principles, abide at ease within this ultimate truth. Their dwelling and yet not dwelling is wonderful and inconceivable. 


Within nonexistence there is no duality,
Nor is there the absence of duality.
The Three Realms are entirely empty:
This is the Buddhas’ understanding.  


Within nonexistence there is no duality. We talk about the nonexistence of one and two, but we can’t even have the thought of nonexistence. If you still have the thought that there are not two, then emptiness has not been achieved. Nor is there the absence of duality. Even the thought of the nonexistence of two cannot exist. When not a single thought arises, you unite with the essence of the Dharma Realm.

The Three Realms—the desire realm, form realm, and formless realm are entirely empty. Even truth in the primary sense is empty. At this point, one becomes one with the Dharma Realm. The Dharma Realm is just our own nature, and our nature is just the Dharma Realm. This is the Buddhas’ common view and state of understanding.  


Ordinary people, confused and unenlightened,
By the Buddha’s guidance, come to dwell in Proper Dharma.
Yet, the Dharma itself dwells nowhere.
One who thus awakens thereby sees oneself.


Ordinary people are confused and unenlightened. Ordinary people are always hung up and attached to things. They don’t have genuine wisdom, so they don’t understand anything. Sentient beings have such strong attachments, yet by the Buddha’s guidance, they come to dwell in Proper Dharma and get rid of their erroneous views. Sentient beings dwell in the Proper Dharma, but where does the Dharma dwell? Yet, the Dharma itself is fundamentally empty and thus dwells nowhere. / One who thus awakens thereby sees oneself. If you understand this principle and destroy all attachments, you will recognize your original face.  

* * * *

Disciple: May I study the Classic of the Path and Virtue?

Venerable Master: The Daodejing (Classic of the Path and Virtue) discusses many of the principles of cultivation. It’s okay to study it, but its principles are not for transcending the Three Realms. If you understand the Buddhadharma, you can read any text you want. If you haven’t understood, then the more you read other texts, the more confused you become.

If there are no more big questions, I have a small question. We’ve been renovating Gold Mountain Monastery for eight or nine months, and we’re nearly finished. At this point, we should work even harder. We shouldn’t think we’re almost done and slack off. The closer we are to finishing, the more diligent we should be. We should quickly finish the work we set out to do. Then our wish will be achieved and our merit will be perfected. Basically when we establish monasteries, we don’t necessarily do it for the merit and virtue; we just do our best. This is a kind of giving; we give our strength and energy.

We’re almost done reciting this “Sutra of Renovation,” so we shouldn’t quit when we have only a few more lines to go. On the Buddha’s birthday, one disciple said we were reciting the “Sheetrock Sutra.” We’ve been reciting it page by page and we’re on the last couple of pages.” All of these jobs are nearing completion, and we should make sure we achieve final victory. We have to bring forth true sincerity in doing this work and not drag our heels. Everyone should be especially diligent until the renovation is completed.

Some people seem to be worried that when the work is done they will be out of work. Don’t have such fears. When this job is done, there will be another bodhimanda to build. As long as you have the strength, there will be work for you. When we do this kind of work, we are just cultivating; we are building and supporting the monastery. So none of you should slack off at the end. If you slack off right when we’re about to gain victory, we won’t succeed. Then all our efforts will go to waste and we’ll have to start all over again.

In a few days there will be the mayoral election. It’s all in the newspapers. We should pay close attention to the people who come to the temple and what they bring with them. We shouldn’t be careless. Otherwise, even though we have good intentions, there may be trouble. Everyone here should be extremely cautious so no accidents will happen. 


There is no body, yet a body is spoken of.
There is no arising, yet arising is manifested.
The absence of a body and of seeing
Is the Buddhas’ unsurpassed body.


The Vajra Sutra says, “The Buddha speaks of no body, which is the great body.” If there is a body, then it is not the great body—the Dharma body. The Dharma body is said to be a body, but actually it has no substance. It is so great there is nothing outside of it; so small there is nothing within it. Thus, the Buddha spoke of the nonbody as being a great body. There is no body, yet a body is spoken of. There is no body, yet one speaks of the body; that is the Dharma body.

There is no arising, yet arising is manifested. The Buddha is thus and unmoving, with clear and constant understanding. He is nowhere and yet everywhere. He is unknowing and yet knows everything. He illumines nothing, yet everything is illumined. He has no manifestation, yet manifests everywhere. He manifests arising when there is no arising. He is not like sentient beings, who discriminate between what arises and what does not, what moves and what does not. For the Buddha, stillness does not obstruct movement and movement does not hinder stillness. Movement and stillness are the same.

The absence of a body and of seeing. Since there is no body, how can there be seeing? This, the absence of a body and seeing, is the Buddhas’ unsurpassed body and unsurpassed seeing. The Buddha’s unsurpassed Dharma body has no shape or form, just like empty space.

If people want to understand the Buddha’s state,
They should make their minds as clear as space.

They should purify their minds until neither defiled nor pure dharmas arise, and everything reverts to its original perfection. That is the Buddha’s unsurpassed body. 


True Wisdom has described
The Buddhas’ wonderful Dharma nature.
One who hears this Dharma
Will attain the pure, clear eye.


Unsurpassed Wisdom Bodhisattva of the lower direction says: I first heard these principles from True Wisdom Bodhisattva. This is how he spoke. True Wisdom has described / The Buddhas’ wonderful Dharma nature, the Dharma nature of the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time. One who hears of this wonderful Dharma nature will attain the pure, clear eye. He will be very wise and will attain the pure Dharma eye of the Buddha.

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