Chapters: 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23
24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   Contents   previous   next

The Coming into Being of Worlds

Chapter Four


II.D. Praise of the excellence and exhortation to listen

Sutra:

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further wished to lead the oceanic assemblies in the limitless bodhimandas to become joyful and happy; to produce even greater delight toward the Dharma; to evince genuine belief and understanding as vast as an ocean; to purely cultivate the treasury body of the Dharma Realm through its universal gate; to become firmly established in the ocean of Universal Worthy’s vows; to purely cultivate the wisdom eye that impartially enters the three periods of time; to expand the great sea of wisdom that universally illuminates the treasury of all worlds; to produce the power of Dharani that supports all Dharma wheels; to exhaustively reveal the states of the Buddhas in all bodhimandas; to expound the dharma doors of all Tathagatas; and to expand the deeply profound nature of All-Wisdom to be as vast as the Dharma Realm. Thereupon he spoke verses.

Commentary:

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further wished to lead the oceanic assemblies in the limitless bodhimandas to become joyful and happy. He spoke the Dharma out of a wish that the innumerable, sea-vast assemblies of Buddhas throughout the lands of the ten directions would rejoice. He also wished that beings would produce even greater delight toward the Dharma.

When people get angry, their tempers can be tremendous. If some people were as dauntless in studying the Buddhadharma as they are when angry, they would definitely become Buddhas. If some people’s resolve to cultivate were as intense as their thoughts of desire, they would certainly succeed in their cultivation. If some people were as interest ed in studying the Buddhadharma as they are in pursuing the opposite sex, they would very quickly become Buddhas.

Unfortunately, however, people emphasize worldly dharmas and look lightly upon world-transcending dharmas. Therefore, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva wishesto inspire them to thirst for the Buddha; to evince genuine belief and understanding as vast as an ocean, and also to purely cultivate the treasury body of the Dharma Realm through its universal gate. In cultivating the Dharma of the Dharma Realm, entered through the universal door, one obtains a “seed body” that pervades space to the ends of the Dharma Realm. For this reason, also, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva speaks the Dharma.

He wants beings to become firmly established and settled in the ocean of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s vows; to purely cultivate the wisdom eye that impartially enters the three periods of time. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva wishes to enable beings to cultivate the wisdom eye that enters the past, present, and future with complete equanimity.

He also wants beings to expand the great sea of wisdom that universally illuminates the treasury of all worlds, so that all worlds everywhere are illumined by the deep sea of wisdom. He wishes beings to produce the power of Dharani that supports all Dharma wheels. One produces the power of Dharani, so that one can maintain the wheels of the Buddhadharma. He also wishes beings to exhaustively reveal the states of the Buddhas in all bodhimandas. In all Way-places, the states of the Buddhas are revealed in order to instruct beings.Universal Worthy Bodhisattva also wishes beings to expound the dharma doors of all Tathagatas, so that all beings obtain the Buddhadharma and are able to expand the deeply profound nature of All-Wisdom to be as vast as the Dharma Realm so that their wisdom-nature becomes as vast as the Dharma Realm. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva spoke Dharma for all these reasons, and wishing to reiterate his meaning, he thereupon spoke verses.

It is not Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s position that is great, but his vow-power and the power of his practice. Due to his Ten Kings of Vows, he is called Universal Worthy of Great Conduct and Great Vows. He is the highest among the Bodhisattvas, the eldest among all disciples of all Buddhas. The four Bodhisattvas, Samantabhadra, Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri, and Kçitigarbha, (Universal Worthy, Contemplator of the World’s Sounds, Wonderfully Auspicious, and Earth Store), are the loftiest leaders among the Bodhisattvas, and their states are inconceivable.

Although Universal Worthy Bodhisattva has received strength from the Buddhas, he also has gained power from his own cultivation. He works hard and makes vows that most Bodhisattvas do not make. None has made vows as vast as his; they exhaust space and the Dharma Realm. “Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s Conduct and Vows,” chapter forty of the Flower Adornment Sutra, describes his vows and practices. If you read it, you’ll understand that no other Bodhisattva can compare to him . Thus h e is the Dharma host of the Flower Adornment Sutra and the eldest disciple of all Buddhas.

Sutra:

With deep wisdom and merit like a sea,
Buddhas manifest throughout the ten directions’ limitless lands,
Responding in accord with what beings ought to see.
Universally radiant, they turn the Dharma wheel.

Inconceivable, the ten directions’ seas of lands:
Through countless eons, the Buddhas purified them all.
In order to transform beings and bring them to maturity,
The Buddhas appear in each and every land.  

Commentary:

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva clearly explains why the Dharma is spoken. He says, “The Buddhas’ wisdom is profound, and their meritorious virtues resemble the sea. Their wisdom and meritorious virtues are inconceivable. With deep wisdom and merit like a sea, / Buddhas manifest throughout the ten directions’ limitless lands, / Responding in accord with what beings ought to see.” Buddhas respond according to beings’ causes and conditions and manifest whatever they ought to see. Universally radiant, with wisdom light that pervasively illumines the Dharma Realm, they turn the Dharma wheel.  

Inconceivable, the ten directions’ seas of lands: They are too numerous to be grasped by the mind. Throughout countless eons in the past, the Buddhas adorned and purified them all. / In order to transform beings and bring them to maturity, so that their bodhi fruit ripens, the Buddhas appear in each and every land. Undaunted by trouble or suffering, the Buddhas travel to all those seas of lands.

Sutra:

Deep beyond conception: the realm of Buddhas.
They show all beings the way to enter.
Beings inclined to the small, who cling to existence
Fail to fathom the Buddhas’ awakening.  

Those of pure faith and resolute minds
Always draw near to good mentors.
All Buddhas grant them the strength
To enter into the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom.  

Those pure in mind, free from flattery and deceit,
Are joyful in nature, always delighting in compassion;
Those of broad outlook and deep faith
R ejoice to hear this Dharma.  

Commentary:

Deep beyond conception: the realm of Buddhas. The state of a Buddha is wonderful and ineffable; there is nothing more profound. It cannot be apprehended by the use of reasoning, thinking, or considering. They show all beings the way to enter. Although it’s difficult for beings to understand, the Buddhas instruct them and make them understand this principle.  

Beings inclined to the small refers to those fond of the dharmas of the lesser vehicle. If they delight in small matters, then they cannot fathom great matters. Beings who cling to existence remain caught up in the Three Realms—the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm—which further divide into the Twenty-five Planes of Existence. Attached to the characteristics of existence, they are unable to let go, and so they fail to fathom the Buddhas’ awakening. They cannot understand the Dharma spoken by the Buddhas.  

Those of pure faith and resolute minds , however, always draw near to good mentors. “Pure faith” means they have no doubts. “Resolute” here means extremely firm and determined. Such people always draw near to good advisors and never leave them. Cultivators definitely need a good advisor. A good advisor is your Dharma body and wisdom-life. He is able to help you grow in wisdom, so you should draw near to him and not to evil advisors. Evil advisors will confuse your thinking and make you muddled. A good advisor helps you to stop being confused and teaches you right knowledge and views. An evil advisor teaches you wrong views.

What teaching methods does a good advisor use? He teaches you to be patient, yielding, and peaceful. Someone who teaches you to contend with others, to pursue fame and benefit, and to be impatient; who doesn’t consistently cultivate but is full of idle talk, and whose comportment isn’t proper, is an evil advisor. You should know the difference between these two kinds of advisors. A good advisor is unselfish, esteems and respects people, and is always polite. An evil advisor is selfish and jealous, always afraid others will surpass him. A good advisor is never jealous or obstructive of others. That is how you can tell the difference between good and evil advisors.

As for those of pure faith and resolute minds, all Buddhas grant them the strength to escape from the wheel of rebirth and to enter the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom.

Cultivators should be those pure in mind, free from flattery and deceit. Cultivators of the Way should avoid flattery. In Chinese, the expression “patting the horse’s behind” is used to describe flattery. Flatterers are really undignified. They confuse people by saying things like, “You’re really great!” They use an obsequious tone of voice and expression to charm people into wanting to listen to them. Most people will succumb to flattery. Those who aren’t adept at flattery find that they are unpopular and not welcomed by others. That is why wherever I go everyone criticizes me. Actually, what they say is true. I already know these things are true, and there’s no need for anyone to tell me. Why do they say I’m no good? It’s because I don’t fawn on others.

“Deceit” means lying, false speech. Being pure in mind means avoiding flattery and deceit. Being a person who “pats the horse’s behind” means being a person who butters up wealthy people. Seeing a rich person, a flatterer will go up and bow to him. In fact, there are even some left-home people who will stop whatever they’re doing when they see a wealthy layperson. Such behavior indicates that one’s heart is not yet pure.

People who are not obsequious or deceitful by nature are always happy because they don’t become dissatisfied. They are never greedy and are always content. Since they are always content, they are joyful by nature. They never get angry. Although they may sometimes appear to become angry, they actually have no anger. They are joyful in nature, always delighting in compassion.  

Those of broad outlook and deep faith, / R ejoice to hear this Dharma. People of profound faith and vast vows will be delighted when they hear this Dharma of not engaging in flattery. 

Sutra:

Abiding in the vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva,
One cultivates the pure path of Bodhisattvas.
Contemplating how the Dharma Realm resembles space,
One understands the practice of the Buddhas.  

All these Bodhisattvas gain wholesome benefit
From seeing the Buddhas’ spiritual penetrations.
Cultivators of other paths fail to understand;
Only those who practice like Universal Worthy can awaken.  

Commentary:

By abiding in the great vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, / O necultivates the pure path of Bodhisattvas. /Contemplating how the Dharma Realm resembles space, / One understands the practice of the Buddhas. If one is able to practice in this way, one will know the dharma doors that the Buddhas have practiced, and the position they obtained as a result. 

All these Bodhisattvas gain wholesome benefit / From seeing the Buddhas’ spiritual penetrations. All of the Bodhisattvas in the Dharma assembly gain these benefits. Cultivators of other paths fail to understand ; / Only those who practice like Universal Worthy can awaken. One who cultivates other dharma doors will not find it easy to fathom this state, but those who cultivate the vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva will be able to understand it and will attain enlightenment. 

Sutra:

Vast multitudes of beings, beyond any bounds,
Receive the mindful protection of the Thus Come Ones.
The turning of the Proper Dharma wheel reaches all.
Such is the power of Vairocana ’s realm.  

My body encompasses each and every land,
As well as the Buddhas dwelling therein.
Contemplate my every pore:
I’ll now show you the Buddhas’ realm.  

Samantabhadra’s boundless conduct and vows,
I have already cultivated to perfection.
The vast, great body with its universal view of states
Is cultivated by all Buddhas, so listen well!  

Commentary:

Vast multitudes of beings, beyond any bounds. Although there are infinite numbers of beings, all of them receive the mindful protection of the Thus Come Ones. / The turning of the Proper Dharma wheel reaches all. The Buddhas turn the wheel of Proper Dharma, and no place fails to receive the Dharma. Buddhas turn the Dharma wheel throughout space and the Dharma Realm. Such is the power of Vairocana’s realm and vows. 

My body encompasses each and every land, / As well as the Buddhas dwelling therein. All you Bodhisattvas should contemplate my every pore: / I’ll now show you the Buddhas’ realm. Within my pores, the Buddhas of the ten directions are turning the Dharma wheel to teach and transform beings. 

Samantabhadra’s boundless conduct and vows, / I have already cultivated to perfection. These practices and the power of these vows are limitless. Universal Worthy Bodhisattva has already accomplished them. The vast, great body with its universal view of states, the ability to contemplate all states whatsoever, is cultivated by all Buddhas, so you should listen well! Each of you should pay close attention as I explain these practices for you.

II.E. Universal Worthy speaks in revelation

Listing of the aspects

Sutra:

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva told the entire great assembly, “Disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds have ten aspects , which all Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about. What are the ten? They are, namely, the causes and conditions under which the seas of worlds originate and develop; the basis for the existence of the seas of worlds; the forms and appearances of the seas of worlds; the substances of which the seas of worlds are composed; the adornments of the seas of worlds; the purities of the seas of worlds; the manifestations of Buddhas in the seas of worlds; the durations of the seas of worlds; the distinct evolutionary stages of the seas of worlds; and the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated.

Commentary:

At that time Universal Worthy Bodhisattva Mahasattva, a great Bodhisattva among Bodhisattvas, told the entire great assembly, “All of you disciples of the Buddha! The seas of worlds have, generally speaking, ten aspects, which all Buddhas of the past, present, and future, have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about. What are the ten? They are the causes and conditions under which the seas of worlds originate and develop. This aspect refers to the causes and conditions of how worlds originate, and how they develop to maturity.

The next aspect is the basis for the existence of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to what worlds depend on to exist. The next aspect is the forms and appearances of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to how each of these worlds looks. The next aspect is the substances of which the seas of worlds are composed. This aspect refers to what the seas of worlds are made of. The next aspect is the adornments of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to the ways in which the worlds are adorned. The next aspect is the purities of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to the ways in which the worlds are purified.

The next aspect is the manifestations of Buddhas in the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to the causes and conditions for Buddhas to appear in each world. The next aspect is the durations of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to how many kalpas it takes for worlds to come into being, to dwell, and to decay, and how long they become extinct. The next aspect is the distinct evolutionary stages of the seas of worlds. This aspect refers to the kinds of cyclical changes worlds go through, and how they can be distinguished. And the last aspect is the ways in which the seas of worlds are undifferentiated . This aspect refers to the ways in which the seas of worlds are the same.

Sutra:

“Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, the seas of worlds have these ten aspects, which, if explained extensively, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds. All Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about them.  

Commentary:

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva continues, “All of you disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, the seas of worlds have these ten aspects. They are characterized by ten sets of conditions and characteristics, which, if explained extensively, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds. If we go into detail about these conditions, they have as many facets as the particles of dust throughout these seas of worlds.

All Buddhas of the past, present, and future have spoken, are speaking, and will speak about them. All Buddhas of the three periods of time explain these causes and conditions.

II.E.2. Explanation of each aspect

The causes and conditions under which seas of worlds originate and develop

Sutra:

“Disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, there are ten causes and conditions under which all seas of worlds have come into being, are coming into being, or will come into being. What are the ten? They come into being because of the spiritual power of the Thus Come Ones; because the Dharma is thus; because of the karmic activity of all beings; because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of All-Wisdom; because of the good roots collectively amassed by all beings and Bodhisattvas; because of the power of all Bodhisattvas’ vows to adorn and purify lands; because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of nonretreating conduct and vows; because of the pure, superior understanding and self-mastery of all Bodhisattvas; because of the flowing forth of all Thus Come Ones’ good roots, and all Buddhas’ power of self-mastery upon realizing the Way; and because of the self-mastery of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s power of vows.  

Commentary:

All of you disciples of the Buddha! Generally speaking, there are ten causes and conditions under which all seas of worlds in the past have already come into being, are at present coming into being, or will in the future come into being. What are the ten causes and conditions by which the seas of worlds come into being? They come into being because of the spiritual power of the Thus Come Ones. Most people say that the seas of worlds are produced by the spiritual penetrations of the Buddhas.

Worlds come into being because the Dharma is thus. The Dharma is essentially that way. The Dharma Realm is supposed to be that way, and so it is inevitable that the seas of worlds come into being. Worlds come into being because of the karmic activity of all beings. The karma generated by their actions brings into being the seas of worlds. Worlds come into being because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of All-Wisdom. This also brings about the coming into being of worlds. Worlds come into being because of the good roots collectively amassed by all beings and Bodhisattvas. All Bodhisattvas and beings collectively amass the good roots that allow different worlds to come into existence. Worlds come into being because of all Bodhisattvas’ vows to adorn and purify lands. This cause and its conditions consist of the vows that the Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the three periods of time make to adorn and purify their lands.

Worlds come into being because of all Bodhisattvas’ realization of nonretreating conduct and vows. All such Bodhisattvas have perfected the three types of nonretreat. In thought, in position, and in practice, they never retreat from their conduct and vows. This irreversibility is also a cause for the coming into being of worlds. Worlds come into being because of the pure, superior understanding and self-mastery of all Bodhisattvas. The complete freedom and independence of Bodhisattvas can bring worlds into being.  

Worlds come into being because of the flowing forth of all Thus Come Ones’ good roots, and all Buddhas’ power of self-mastery upon realizing the Way. The awesome spiritual strength and freedom that Buddhas gain upon realizing the Way also brings seas of worlds into existence. Worlds come into being because of the self-mastery of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s power of vows. This is another cause leading to the origination of worlds.

Sutra:

“Disciples of the Buddha! This has been a general explanation of the ten causes and conditions, which, if extensively explained, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds.”  

Commentary:

“Disciples of the Buddha! This has been a general explanation of the ten kinds of causes and conditions. This is just an overview. These ten, if extensively explained, have facets as numerous as dust motes in seas of worlds. If one attempted to explain these causes and conditions in detail, they would be too numerous to ever completely describe.” 

Sutra:

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses.  

Vairocana Buddha adorns and purifies
All the boundless seas of lands mentioned above.
The realm of the World Honored One defies conception;
So do his wisdom, spiritual penetrations, and powers.  

Bodhisattvas cultivate an ocean of vows,
Fulfilling the wishes of all beings.
Beings’ thoughts and activities are vast beyond bounds.
Thus, the Bodhisattvas’ lands pervade the ten directions.  

Bodhisattvas advance towards All-Wisdom,
Diligently cultivating various powers of self-mastery.
Their ocean of measureless vows swells forth everywhere,
Bringing vast lands into being.  

They cultivate a boundless ocean of practices,
Entering the infinite realm of Buddhas.
Wishing to purify the ten directions’ lands,
They spend countless eons in every land.  

Commentary:

Then Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, received the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas, carefully contemplated the ten directions, and spoke verses. Vairocana Buddha adorns and purifies / All the boundless seas of lands mentioned above. All the infinite numbers of Buddhalands are adorned and purified by Vairocana Buddha. The realm of the World Honored One defies conception ; / So do his wisdom, spiritual penetrations and transformations, and his ten wisdom powers. They are also inconceivable.  

Bodhisattvas cultivate an ocean of vows, / Fulfilling the wishes of all beings. Bodhisattvas must cultivate every possible vow; these vows are so numerous that they resemble an ocean. Bodhisattvas respond to beings and fulfill their hearts’ desires. Beings’ thoughts and activities are vast beyond bounds. / Thus, the Bodhisattvas’ lands pervade the ten directions. Although the mental activity and behavior of beings are extensive, the lands of the Bodhisattvas are just as extensive. Therefore, beings do not exist outside of these lands. 

Bodhisattvas advance towards All-Wisdom, / Diligently cultivating various powers of self-mastery. / Their ocean of measureless vows swells forth everywhere. They perfect all the different kinds of wisdom, and zealously cultivate various powers of self-mastery without the slightest trace of laziness. These Bodhisattvas’ transformations and spiritual penetrations come forth from their ocean of measureless vows , bringing vast lands into being. Lands throughout the ten directions come into being through the vow-power of all Bodhisattvas.  

They cultivate a boundless ocean of practices, / Entering the infinite realm of Buddhas. Since their practices and vows are unlimited, the state of Buddhahood that they attain is also unlimited. Wishing to purify the ten directions’ lands, / They spend countless eons in every land. They wish to purify and adorn all lands, and so they spend innumerable eons doing so.

previous   next   Contents

Chapter 4 pages:  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    11

return to top