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The Manifestations of the Thus Come One

Chapter Two

 


Sutra:

In every thought, by using the method of adorning and purifying all Buddhas’ lands and displaying the sea of all great vows, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of universally gathering the words spoken by beings and the sounds made by all Buddhas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of raining down clouds of all Buddhadharmas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of shining light everywhere across the lands of the ten directions, pervading the Dharma Realm and displaying spiritual transformations, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of manifesting bodies of Buddhas everywhere throughout the Dharma Realm using the Thus Come Ones’ power of liberation, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.

Commentary:

Bodhisattvas who practice the Bodhisattva Way are mindful of beings in every thought; they never forget about beings.  

In every thought, by using the method of adorning and purifying all Buddhas’ lands and displaying the sea of all their great vows, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using and proclaiming the method of universally gathering the words and languages spoken by beings and the sounds made by all Buddhas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of raining down clouds of all Buddhadharmas, the Dharma clouds of the Buddhas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of shining light everywhere across lands in the ten directions, pervading the Dharma Realm and displaying all kinds of spiritual transformations, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

In every thought, by using the method of manifesting bodies of Buddhas everywhere throughout the Dharma Realm using the Thus Come Ones’ power of liberation, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.

Sutra:

In every thought, by using Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s method of establishing the oceans of all assemblies and bodhimandas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

Practicing thus throughout all dharma realms, they accorded with the minds of all beings and led them all to enlightenment.  

In every thought and in every land, they each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru who had fallen into evil paths to forever leave their sufferings; they each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru who were abiding in improper samadhis to enter proper samadhis.  

Commentary:

In every thought of the past, present, and future, by using Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s method—his ten great kings of vows—ofestablishing the oceans of all assemblies and bodhimandas, they enlightened beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a sea of worlds.  

Practicing thus throughout all dharma realms with the Dharma-doors they proclaimed, they accorded with the thoughts in the minds of all beings and led them all to enlightenment.  

In every thought and in every land, they each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru who had fallen into evil paths to forever leave their sufferings and attain happiness; they each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru who were abiding in improper samadhis to enter proper samadhis. They led beings with wrong views and wrong understanding to attain right concentration and right perception. 

Sutra:

They each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to be born in the heavens according to their wishes. They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to dwell in the positions of Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas. They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to serve good teachers and to amass blessings. They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to make the resolve for supreme bodhi.  

Commentary:

All those Bodhisattvas never forgot to benefit others. And so the text says: They each enabled beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to be born in the heavens according to their wishes. Beings all have their own individual dispositions. Some like to study the Buddhadharma. Others like to study teachings that seek outside. No matter what they like, Bodhisattvas use all kinds of expedient teachings in accord with their inclinations to enable those who lack good roots to plant them, those who have planted them to develop them, and those who have developed them to bring them to maturity and attain liberation. Basically, birth in the heavens is not ultimate, because when one’s heavenly blessings come to an end, one falls from the heavens. However, it is one step upward in the gradual sequence of cultivation.

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to dwell in the positions of Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas. After enabling them to be born in the heavens, the Bodhisattvas lead beings to abide in the fruition of Hearers, those who awaken to the Way upon hearing the Buddha’s sound. Pratyekabuddhas are Those Enlightened to Conditions. If born when there is no Buddha in the world, they are known as Solitarily Enlightened Ones.

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to serve good teachers and to amass blessings. It is essential for cultivators to associate with good teachers and to stay away from unwholesome teachers. Good teachers help you to advance in your cultivation and to destroy your karmic hindrances. Inept teachers ruin your cultivation and increase your karmic hindrances. Therefore a good teacher is essential for cultivation. Externally speaking, one must amass blessings. Internally, one should cultivate wisdom. One cultivates blessings by benefitting beings, and cultivates wisdom by diligently studying prajna. With diligent study of prajna, one’s wisdom increases day by day. And one’s blessings also increase daily as one benefits beings.

One respectfully serves a good teacher in order to seek the Unsurpassed Way. One must be willing to offer up to one’s teacher all of one’s inner and outer wealth. Only in this way can one amass blessings and be replete with blessings.

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to make the great resolve for supreme bodhi.

Sutra:

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to advance toward the Bodhisattvas’ position of nonretreat.  

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to attain the eye of pure knowledge and to perceive the equality of all dharmas as perceived by the Thus Come Ones.  

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to abide in the ocean of all powers and vows and, with expedients of infinite wisdom, to purify all Buddhalands.  

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to reside in the Vairochana’s ocean of vast vows and to be born in the family of the Thus Come One.  

Commentary:

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to advance toward the Bodhisattvas’ position of nonretreat. Since they themselves had realized the fruition of a Bodhisattva and were practicing the Bodhisattva Way, they wanted to help all beings attain the same benefit and practice the Bodhisattva Way together with them. At the Bodhisattvas’ position, one cannot retreat from anuttarasamyaksambodhi. There are three kinds of nonretreat: nonretreat in thought, nonretreat in practice, and nonretreat in position.

Nonretreat in position means they don’t retreat to the Two Vehicles of Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions. They cultivate the Six Perfections and myriad practices of the Great Vehicle.

Nonretreat in thought means they never retreat from the resolve for bodhi. They maintain their aspiration for bodhi at all times. In bringing forth the bodhi resolve, they practice what is difficult to practice, endure what is difficult to endure, and are able to do what they don’t like to do. For example, although many people do not like to make prostrations, all of you enjoy doing it. You are outstanding among your peers. After you leave the home-life, you do the morning and evening ceremonies even when you don’t feel like it. That’s also a case of being able to do what others don’t want to do. Bodhisattvas do what other people don’t like to do. If you want to practice the Bodhisattva Way, you have to be different from others. Don’t be a lazy bug who sleeps the day away, thinking it’s a way of entering samadhi. If you never do any work all day long, you’ll never come to anything. Such people are always thinking of retreating, always acting superficially.

Nonretreat means making progress in cultivation day after day. If we are bowing to a sutra, for example, we don’t bow for one day and then rest for two. We can’t take one step forward and three steps back.  

They, these Bodhisattvas, each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to attain the eye of pure knowledge, the Buddha eye, and to perceive the equality of all dharmas as perceived by the Thus Come Ones. The Buddhas impartially regard all beings as Buddhas. If one becomes a Buddha, one sees other beings as Buddhas. If one becomes a demon, one sees other beings as demons.  

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to abide in the ocean of all powers , namely the Ten Powers of the Buddha, and the vows made by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and, with expedient teachings of infinite wisdom, which are adapted to the needs of beings, to adorn and purify all Buddhalands.  

They each led beings as numerous as the dustmotes in a Mount Sumeru to reside in the Vairochana Buddha’s ocean of vast vows and to be born in the family of the Thus Come One, that is, to become a Dharma Prince. 

III. Those summoned gather like clouds
C. Speaking from amidst the light

Sutra:

Then all the Bodhisattvas, from amid st the light, simultaneously spoke the following verse.  

From amidst the lights came wondrous sounds,
Reaching all lands throughout the ten directions.
These sounds proclaimed all merit and virtue,
So the Buddha’s disciples could enter the wondrous bodhi path.  

Commentary:

Then, at that time, all the limitless multitudes of Bodhisattvas, from amid st the light that they emitted, simultaneously spoke the following verse of Dharma.  

From amidst the lights emitted by countless Bodhisattvas came wondrous,inconceivable Dharma sounds, / Reaching alllands throughout the ten directions. / These sounds of Dharma could be heard in all Buddhalands throughout the Dharma Realm. They proclaimed all merit and virtue, / So the Buddha’s disciples could enter the wondrous bodhi path. Those sounds proclaimed all kinds of Dharma for the disciples of the Buddha, showing them how to cultivate merit and virtue. Hearing such Dharma sounds, all beings realized the path to enlightenment.

Sutra:

Cultivating for oceans of eons without fatigue,
They led suffering beings to liberation.
With minds neither inferior nor wearied,
The Buddha’s disciples skillfully entered such expedients.

They cultivated expedients for oceans of eons—
Measureless and boundless—never slacking off.
There was no dharma door they failed to enter.
Constantly, they expounded the nature of quiescence.  

All the vows of Buddhas of the three periods of time
They cultivated and practiced to perfection,
Thereby benefiting all beings
And creating pure karma for themselves.  

They traveled throughout the ten directions,
Attending the assemblies of all Buddhas.
With deeply profound, ocean-like wisdom,
They entered the Thus Come One’s Dharma of quiescence.  

Commentary:

Cultivating for oceans of eons without fatigue. “ Oceans of eons” means a great length of time. Every Buddha takes a very long time to achieve Buddhahood. For example, Shakyamuni Buddha,

Cultivated blessings and wisdom for three asamkhyeyas
And planted the causes for the hallmarks and characteristics for a hundred kalpas.

Three asamkhyeyas refers to three great asamkhyeya kalpas. Asamkhyeya means uncountable. For a hundred kalpas, he cultivated the causes for the Thirty-two Hallmarks and Eighty Subsidiary Characteristics of a Buddha.

Although it was such a long period of time, they cultivated without fatigue, unlike ordinary people, who cultivate for a few days and then get tired and want to quit. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas cultivate for oceans of kalpas without retreating. They only know how to advance. They don’t say, “I’ve cultivated for many years,” perhaps three or five years, “but I haven’t achieved anything.” Well, what achievement would you have if you didn’t cultivate? Ask yourself. Some people say, “I’ve been at Gold Mountain Monastery for three or five years, but I still haven’t become a Buddha. All my effort has been in vain.” What did you expect to get? These are foolish thoughts. This shows that you are not as patient and tireless as the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

They led suffering beings to liberation. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas don’t cultivate for their own sakes, and we shouldn’t cultivate for our own sakes either. We shouldn’t be selfish and think about ourselves all the time. We should vow to liberate all suffering beings. Suffering beings refers to beings that are confused and afflicted. To liberate them means to help them leave suffering and attain happiness.  

With minds neither inferior nor wearied. Don’t have an inferiority complex and think of yourself as being worse than others. Don’t regard yourself as being lowly, vulgar, and worthless. A mind that is not inferior is one without thoughts of selfish desire. With a mind that is not wearied, one does not cultivate for a while and then think one has done enough. One doesn’t recite the Buddha’s name and then think, “I’ve recited a lot already, so I’m going to quit.” Nor does one recite a sutra for a while and then think, “That’s enough. I’m really tired.” One doesn’t grow weary of cultivating.  

The Buddha’s disciples skillfully entered such expedients , such expedient dharma doors.

They cultivated expedients for oceans of eons— / Measureless and boundless—they never slacked off. They cultivated for oceans of kalpas, not fearing that the time was too long. They cultivated until the longest time was used up and gone. Although the time was long, they didn’t feel it was long. Their cultivation took measureless and boundless eons, during which there was no time when they were not cultivating.  

There was no dharma door failed to enter. They cultivated every single one of the Buddha’s 84,000 dharma doors. Constantly, they expounded and proclaimed the nature of quiescence.

All dharmas, at their source,
Are characterized by eternal quiescence.

All dharmas, all phenomena, are basically quiescent and do not have any form or appearance.  

All the vows of the Buddhas of the three periods of time / They cultivated and practiced to perfection. They wanted to make the same vows that the Buddhas of the past, present, and future make, and cultivate them to perfection. Thereby benefiting all beings / And cultivating pure karma for themselves. Through the power of those vows, they benefited beings and cultivated pure and wholesome karma. 

They traveled throughout the ten directions, / Attending the assemblies of all Buddhas. They attended the Dharma assemblies of all Buddhas everywhere. In those Dharma assemblies, with deeply profound, ocean-like wisdom, / They entered the Thus Come One’s Dharma of quiescence. They attained the wondrous Dharma of quiescence spoken by the Buddha.

Sutra:

With no bounds whatsoever, each and every light
Enters inconceivable numbers of lands.
The eye of pure knowledge perceives it all.
This is the realm of the Bodhisattvas’ practice.  

Commentary:

With no bounds whatsoever, each and every light / Enters inconceivable numbers of lands. Each Bodhisattva emitted boundless light, which pervasively entered inconceivable numbers of Buddhalands. The eye of pure knowledge discerns it all. This is the Buddha eye of wisdom that can see all beings as they are illuminated by the light. This is the realm of the Bodhisattvas’ practice.  

Sutra:

The Bodhisattva can dwell on the tip of a hair
And make the lands of the ten directions quake,
Without frightening any of the beings there.
They have that level of pure expedients.  

With limitless bodies in every mote of dust,
They display countless exquis ite lands.
They can die or take birth in a single thought, seen by all.
They have realized unimpeded wisdom and adornments.  

In a single instant, they manifest
All eons of the three periods of time,
To help all beings realize how ephemeral the body is,
As proven by the nonobstruction of the Dharma nature.  

All may enter Universal Worthy’s supreme practices,
Which cause all beings to delight in beholding him.
Disciples of the Buddha can dwell in this dharma door.
A great roar issues forth from the lights.  

Commentary:

The Bodhisattva can dwell on the tip of a hair. Each Bodhisattva can appear on the tip of a hair, and each hair tip can manifest a Bodhisattva. The great appears within the small; the small appears within the great. Small and great are mutually unobstructed. Although the Bodhisattva dwells on the tip of a hair, he can make all the Buddhalands of the ten directions quake, / Without frightening any of the beings there. Although they make all the lands quake, they make sure not to alarm any of the beings. They have that level of pure expedients.  

With limitless bodies in every mote of dust, / They display countless exquisite lands. A Bodhisattva has infinite numbers of bodies hidden in every dustmote. Inside a mote of dust, they manifest adorned Buddhalands. They can die or take birth in a single thought, seen by all. / They have realized unimpeded wisdom and adornments. They obtain bodies adorned with the fine marks and characteristics, which all beings can see. 

In a single instant, they manifest / All eons of the three periods of time —the eons of the past, present, and future. In a brief instant, they can display the past, present, and future, to help all beings realize how ephemeral the body is, that it is false and has no real substance, as proven by the nonobstruction of the Dharma nature.  

All may enter Universal Worthy’s supreme practices. All beings can enter Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s special practices, which cause all beings to delight in beholding him. / Disciples of the Buddha can dwell in this dharma door. / A great roar issues from the lights.

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