The Buddha said, it is difficult for one to leave the evil destinies and become a human being.
ven if one does become a human
being, it is still difficult to become a man rather than a woman.
ven if one does become a man, it is still difficult to have the six sense organs complete and perfect.
ven if the six sense organs are complete and perfect, it is still difficult for one to be born in a central country.
ven if one is born in a central country, it is still difficult to be born at a time when there is a Buddha in the world.
ven if one is born at a time when there is a Buddha in the world, it is still difficult to encounter the Way.
ven if one does encounter the Way, it is still difficult to bring forth faith.
ven if one brings forth faith, it is still difficult to resolve one mind on Bodhi.
ven if one does resolve one mind on Bodhi, it is still difficult to be beyond cultivation and attainment."
The thirty-sixth section discusses the difficulties of ob taining a human body, being born in a central country, meeting a Good and Wise Advisor, encountering a Buddha in the world, and various other difficulties.
The Buddha said, t is difficult for one to leave the evil destinies and become a human being. "The three evil destinies are the hells, the realm of hungry ghosts, and the realm of animals. It's very difficult to leave the three evil destinies and be reborn as a human being. When the Buddha was in the world, he once brought up a question for all the disciples to consider. The Buddha scooped up a handful of dirt and asked, ll of you tell me, is there more dirt in my hand or on the whole earth? "
The Buddha disciples all answered,
f course the dirt in the Buddha hand is less than the dirt on the whole
earth! " Was there
any need to ask about something as obvious as that?
The Buddha said, iving beings who can leave the three evil destinieshe hells, the realm of hungry ghosts, and the realm of animalsnd become humans are like the dirt in my hand. Those who remain in the three evil destinies and cannot obtain human bodies are like the dirt on the whole earth. " This shows that for beings to leave behind the evil destinies and become human is not easy. Thus it is said that becoming a human being is difficult.
Even if one does become a human being, it is still difficult to become a man rather than a woman. It difficult enough to become human; to become a man rather than a woman is even more difficult. Now wee discussing the point of view of someone who would like to be a man; you may want to become a man, but you can do it.But it also difficult to become a woman. Even if you'd like to be a woman, it would be very difficult to ensure it, because you don't have any control over it. You haven the authority to select the gender you become; you can just be whatever you wish to be. So, that is also not at all easy.
Even if one does become a man, it is still difficult to have the six sense organs complete and perfect. Suppose you have become a man, or you have become a woman. Let not talk just about becoming a man, because there are also people who would like to become women. Suppose you have obtained a human body and you are of the gender you wish to be, so that not a matter of difficulty. However, it still not easy for a person to possess all six sense organs in perfect condition. The six sense organs are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. Some people, although they have become human, don have any eyes, or they are born blind. Some people become human, but are deaf. Or their noses won let air pass, so even though they have noses, it the same as if they didn. Or they can taste or speak their tongues don function. Sometimes the body itself is disabled: for instance, half the body may be paralyzed. Or the mind may be defective: you can think and you don understand anything. In these cases, the six sense organs are not in perfect condition. This is very common. It is difficult for a person to have all six sense organs perfect and complete.
Even if the six sense organs are complete and perfect, it is still difficult for one to be born in a central country. Suppose that the six sense organs are complete and perfect, so the eyes look like eyes and the ears look like ears. It is not the case that the ears look like eyes, or the eyes like ears; or that the lips resemble eyes, or the eyes resemble lips, with everything mixed up. One is not grossly deformed, with his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth all growing together so that they cannot be distinguished from one another, as if they wanted to form a corporation. Wouldn that be ugly? And yet there would be no way to do anything about it.
Even after one has his six sense organs complete, it is difficult to be born in a central country, or the central part of a country. People from the four border regions of China, for example, were known by their tribal names as the southern Man tribe, the northern Mo tribe, the eastern Yi tribe, and the western Di tribe. Those were distinctive areas of China, and inhabitants of the border regions were disadvantaged. It easy to be born on the frontiers, but not easy to be born in the central territory.
Even if one is born in a central country, it is still difficult to be born at a time when there is a Buddha in the world. It is not easy at all to be born during a time when a Buddha is living in the world.
Even if one is born at a time when there is a Buddha in the world, it is still difficult to encounter the Way. It difficult to be born when a Buddha is in the world, but even if you manage to do so, it is still difficult to encounter the Way. ncountering the Way " refers to meeting a Good and Wise Advisor. If you meet a Good and Wise Advisor, a person who has the Way and who cultivates the Way, then you will also be able to cultivate the Way. But to encounter such a person is difficult.
Even if one does encounter the Way, it is still difficult to bring forth faith. Even if you come to understand the Buddhadharma, if you come to understand the methods of cultivating the Way, it still not easy to bring forth faith. You may encounter the Way, but you fail to cultivate and bring forth faith. And if you don believe in the Way, although you have encountered it, it the same as if you hadn.
Even if one brings forth faith, it is still difficult to resolve one mind on Bodhi. Suppose that you do bring forth faith: it is still not easy to cultivate according to the Dharma. Having faith is one thing. There are many people who have faith in the Buddhadharma, but when you tell them to cultivate, they don do it. Not to mention anything else, merely ask them to quit smoking, and they can bear to give it up. So, they can put it down. It difficult to have faith, but to resolve your mind on Bodhi (to aspire to the attainment of enlightenment) is even more difficultou aren able to cultivate according to the Dharma.
Even if one does resolve one mind on Bodhi, it is still difficult to be beyond cultivation and attainment. Suppose you have already resolved your mind on enlightenment. Making the Bodhi resolve is hard to do, but you have already done so. It is still more difficult to reach the level where there is nothing to be cultivated and nothing to be attained, where you have one what had to be done, and you undergo no further rebirth. " At that point, you have already finished your cultivation, you have already attained enlightenment, and you need not cultivate anymore. It is as when you have eaten your fill, you don have to eat anymore. When you have slept enough, you do not need to sleep anymore. When you have cultivated the Way, so that you are beyond cultivation and attainment, then you have reached the position Beyond Study and have achieved the fourth fruition of Arhatship. That is how it is explained in Theravada terms.
In Mahayana terms, the position Beyond Study is the position of Buddhahood. At that point,
Below, there are no more living beings to be saved.
The Buddha said, y disciples may be several thousand miles away from me, but if they remember my moral precepts, they will certainly attain the fruition of the Way.
f those who are by my side do not follow my moral precepts, they may see me constantly, but in the end they will not attain the Way. "
The thirty-seventh section says that if you believe in the Buddha precepts, then no matter how far away you are from the Buddha, it is as if you were right next to him. But if you don believe in and hold the Buddha precepts, then you may always be by the Buddha side, but you won see him and you won hear the Dharma. This is what the Sixth Patriarch meant when he said, f you believe in me, you may be 108,000 miles away from me, but it amounts to being right by my side. But if you don believe in me, although you may be right by my side, it will be the same as if you were 108,000 miles away. " That is also the meaning of this section of the Sutra.
The Buddha said, y disciples may be several thousand miles away from me, but if they remember my moral precepts, they will certainly attain the fruition of the Way. "The Buddha said, ven if my disciples are very distant from me, if they can constantly recollect my precepts and never forget them, and if they can rely on them and maintain them in their cultivation, such disciples will surely attain the fruition of the Way. "
If those who are by my side do
not follow my moral precepts, they may see me constantly, but in the end
they will not attain the Way. Someone who is to my left or right may
always see me, but if he doesn cultivate in accord with my precepts, then
no matter how he tries, it won be easy for him to attain the Way.
This section of text makes it clear that if you do what the teachings say, if you rely on the Buddhadharma in your cultivation, then you are a true disciple of the Buddha; you will constantly be in the presence of the Buddha; you will always be studying under the Buddha. If you don hold the precepts, however, youl miss the opportunity that is right in front of you.
Once there were two Bhikshus in Varanasi who wanted to make the long journey to Shravasti to see the Buddha. As they walked, they grew more and more thirsty, until they could barely walk any further. They were about to die of thirst. In front of them, they found a little water that had collected in a human skull.
One of the Bhikshus took up the skull, drank some of the water, and then turned to give some to the other Bhikshu. The other Bhikshu, seeing that the water was in a skull, and that, moreover, there were many bugs in it, didn drink it.
The first Bhikshu said, hy aren you drinking the water? We are nearly dead of thirst. "
The other one answered, ecause the Buddha precepts say that we can drink water if there are bugs in it. Although I may die of thirst, I not going to drink water with bugs in it. I want to stick to the Buddha precepts in my cultivation. "
The first Bhikshu said, h, youe really stupid. If you drink some of the water, youl be able to go and see the Buddha. If you don drink it, youl die of thirst. Don be so inflexible. " Even after such a rebuke, the other Bhikshu still wouldn take a drink. The first Bhikshu drank all of the water, and as he walked on he felt very strong. But the second Bhikshu, who hadn drunk any water, died of thirst along the way.
Because the second Bhikshu had single-mindedly held the precepts, he was reborn in the Trayastrimsa Heaven and was endowed with the blessed appearance of a god. From there he went to see the Buddha, and upon hearing the Buddha speak Dharma for him, he attained the pure Dharma-eye and realized the fruition of Arhatship. Meanwhile, the Bhikshu who had drunk the water from the skull arrived at Shravasti after three more days of travelling. The Bhikshu who had died of thirst saw the Buddha on the night of his death and then realized the fruition. Three days later, the other Bhikshu arrived and saw the Buddha.
The Buddha asked him, here did you come from? How many people came with you? Was the trip uneventful? " The Bhikshu told his story to the Buddha in detail: e came from Varanasi, and the road was long. At one point on the way we were without water, but even tually we found some water that had collected in a skull. I drank some, but my fellow cultivator wouldn drink it when he saw that there were bugs in it, so he died of thirst. The fact is that he didn have affinities with the Buddha, and so he died instead of seeing the Buddha. His attachments were too strong. "
After the Buddha heard the story, he told the Bhikshu who had died of thirst to come forward. The Buddha said, hat very day he was reborn in the heavens and was endowed with the life span of a god, which is quite long. Then he came to my Dharma assembly, and I spoke Dharma for him. He has already realized the fruition of the Way. You say that he was stupid, but in truth you are the stupid one. You didn keep the Buddha precepts, and although you have come to see me, you might as well not have seen me, because your mind isn true. You aren sincere enough; you didn hold the precepts. "
So from this episode you can see that, whether or not you are beside the Buddha, what matters is holding to the Buddha precepts as you cultivate. Then you actually get to see the Buddha. If you don cultivate according to the precepts, although you may be at the Buddha side, it as if you never saw him in the first place.
The Buddha asked a Shramana, ow long is the human life span? "He replied, few days. "The Buddha said, ou have not yet understood the Way."
He asked another Shramana, ow
long is the human life span? "The
reply was, he space of a meal. "The
Buddha said, ou have not yet understood the Way."
He asked another Shramana, ow long is the human life span? "He replied, he length of a single breath. "The Buddha said, xcellent. You have understood the Way."
The Buddha asked a Shramana, ow long is the human life span? "The Buddha asked this question deliberately. It wasn that the Buddha didn know the answer himself and had to ask the Shramana to find out. The Buddha asked because he knew that people don know the length of the human life span. So he asked a Shramana, ow long is a human being life? How much time does a human life last? " He replied, few days. "The first Shramana said, robably after a few days we will die. Life is not very long. " The Buddha said, ou have not yet understood the Way. You still don understand. "
He asked another Shramana, ow long is the human life span? "The reply was, he space of a meal. "The Shra mana answered, n the time it takes to eat a single meal, a person life is over. " The Buddha said, ou have not yet understood the Way. "He, too, didn understand.
He asked another Shramana, ow long is the human life span? "He replied, he length of a single breath. The life span of a human being lasts for one breath. "The Buddha said, xcellent. You have understood the Way." The Shramana who gave this answer understood the Way.
In India there was once a king who believed in adherents of non-Buddhist religions that cultivated many kinds of ascetic practices. Some followed the precepts of cows and some the precepts of dogs; some smeared ashes on their bodies; and some slept on beds of nails. They cultivated all sorts of ascetic practices, such as those undertaken by yogis. Meanwhile, the Bhikshus who cultivated the Buddhadharma had it comparatively easy, because they didn cultivate those kinds of ascetic practices. Now, the king of that country said to the Buddha disciples, believe that although these non-Buddhists cultivate all kinds of ascetic practices, they still cannot stop their thoughts of sexual desire. How much less are you Bhikshus, who are so casual, able to stop your afflictions and your thoughts of sexual desire. You surely cannot put a stop to them. "
One of the Dharma Masters answered
the king this way, ake a man from jail who has been sentenced to execution
and say to him, ake this bowl of oil and carry it in your hands as you
walk down the street. If you spill a single drop of the oil, Il have you
executed. If you don spill a single drop, Il release you when you return.
send some beautiful women musicians out on the street to sing and play
their instruments where the sentenced man is walking with his bowl of oil.
If he should spill any oil, of course youl execute him. If he comes back
without spilling a single drop, ask him what he seen on the road, and see
what he says!
The king of the country did just that: He took a man who was sentenced to be executed and said to him, oday you should be executed, but I going to give you an opportunity to save your life. Il give you a bowl of oil to carry in your hands as you take a walk on the street. If you can carry it without spilling a single drop, when you return you won be killed. But if you spill one drop, Il execute you on schedule. Go try it out. "
The sentenced man did as he was told. He went out on the street with the oil, and when he returned he hadn spilled one drop. Then the king asked him, hat did you see out on the street? " The sentenced man said, didn see a single thing. All I did was watch the oil to keep it from spilling. I didn see or hear anything else at all. "
The king asked the Dharma Master, ell, what is the principle involved here? " The monk answered, he Shramana who has left the home-life is in the same situation. He sees the problem of birth and death as too important, so he has no time for thoughts of sexual desire. Like the sentenced man, the Shramana wants to end birth and death. If the sentenced man were to spill one drop of oil or to become the least bit afflicted, he would die. The Shramana who has left the home-life is also like this. Why is he able to end his sexual desire? It because he sees the matter of birth and death as very important. Why can the non-Buddhists end their sexual desire? They don understand birth and death. They don realize how important this matter is. Thus, they cannot end their sexual desire. " Why don people who cultivate put a stop to their sexual desire? They haven truly recognized the immediacy of the impermanence of birth and death. If you realized the immediacy of impermance, you wouldn have time to give rise to false thoughts of lust. You wouldn have time for the affliction of sexual desire.
The Buddha said, tudents of the Buddha Way should believe in and accord with everything that the Buddha teaches. When you eat honey, it is sweet on the surface and sweet in the center; it is the same with my sutras. "
Section thirty-nine says that you should believe and accept all the Buddha sutras. You shouldn discriminate between the Maha-yana and the Theravada, the sudden and the gradual, deciding which sutras are important and which sutras are not important. Why make so many distinctions? All of the Buddha teachings, as a whole, do not go beyond two kinds: the provisional and the actual teachings. The provisional teaching is spoken for the sake of the actual teaching; and if you speak the provisional teaching in detail, it leads to the actual. Provisional and actual are non-dual. Students of Buddhism should not discriminate between the Mahayana and the Theravada. When I was in Los Angeles, I said to the Bhikshus from Thailand, n the Buddhadharma there were originally no discriminations between Mahayana and Theravada. It just that certain disciples who were attached and who didn genuinely want to study the Buddhadharma strayed from it, made distinctions between great and small, and became unfilial disciples of the Buddha. " That is the principle discussed in this section.
The Buddha said, tudents of the Buddha Way should believe in and accord with everything that the Buddha teaches. " Those of you who study the Way of the Buddha should believe in all the Buddha sutras and teachings. You shouldn make any discriminations among them.
When you eat honey, it is sweet
on the surface and sweet in the center; it is the same with my sutras.
like eating honey. Honey is sweet on the surface and also in the center,
and the sutras spoken by the Buddha are also like that. All of them establish
the provi-sional for the sake of the actual and open the provisional to
reveal the actual, in order to teach and transform living beings so that
all alike can realize the Buddha Way. They all follow this principle.
in the Mind
The Buddha said, Shramana who practices the Way should not be like an ox turning a millstone. Such a one walks the Way with his body, but his mind is not on the Way. If the mind is concentrated on the Way, what further need is there to practice?"
The fortieth section explains that cultivation of the Way is actually done in our mind, not in external forms. If the mind isn absorbed in the Way and we merely pay attention to externals, then we are like an ox turning a millstone. The ox just goes around and around pulling the grinder all day and never getting away from it.
The Buddha said, Shramana who practices the Way should not be like an ox turning a millstone. "When a Bhikshu cultivates the unsurpassed Way, he shouldn be like an ox turning a millstoneust going back and forth and round and round in the mill, and never getting free to go outside the mill. Such a one walks the Way with his body, but his mind is not on the Way. Although you physically appear to be cultivating the Wayowing to the Buddha, reciting sutras, and holding mantrasour mind isn attentive to the work. Our thoughts are not on cultivating the Way.
If the mind is concentrated on
the Way, what further need is there to practice? If your mind can truly
cultivate the Way, if you can cultivate single-mindedly without any false
thinking, and if you can constantly be in samadhi, then what need is there
to practice? Under those circumstances, it is all right for you not to
That is to say, you have subdued your mind. If you have no more thoughts of sexual desire, then your mind is subdued. If you are continually having false thoughts of sexual desire, then you may put on an impressive front, as if you were an honest person, but inside you will be unreliable, because all that goes on in your mind is false-thinking about sexual matters. No matter how good you look on the outside, it's of no use.
In cultivating, then, you must pay attention to the mind. If you can tame your mind, youl be able to attain the fruition very quickly. If you don tame your mind, if you continually think about sex, then you are just like the ox who grinds and grinds on its millstone. The work is very bitter, but the ox cannot escape and get out of the mill.
The Buddha said, ne who practices the Way is like an ox pulling a heavy load through deep mud. The ox is so extremely exhausted that it dares not glance to the left or right. Only when it gets out of the mud can it rest. The Shramana should regard emotion and desire as being worse than deep mud; and with an undeviating mind, he should be mindful of the Way. Then he can avoid suffering. "
In the forty-first section, the Buddha tells us to use a straight-forward mind as we cultivate and contemplate the Way. In every thought, we should make it our goal to get out of the mud of emotion and desire. Emotion and desire are mud, and we need to pull ourselves out of it.
The Buddha said, ne who practices the Way is like an ox pulling a heavy load through deep mud. "A cultivator of the Way is like an ox pulling a very heavy load as it walks through very deep mud. It has trouble pulling its legs out of the mud. When one leg gets free, the other leg sinks; and when that leg is free, the first one sinks again. The ox is so extremely exhausted that it dares not glance to the left or right. The ox is terribly exhausted. It is so weary that it doesn even dare glance to the right or left. Only when it gets out of the mud can it rest. Only then can it relax a bit.
Likewise the Shramana should
regard emotion and desire as being worse than deep mud; and with an undeviating
mind, he should be mindful of the Way. The Shramanas who have left
the home-life, the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis, should contemplate that thoughts
of sexual desire are even more formidable than the deep mud. They should
single-mindedly contemplate and cultivate the Way with a straightforward
mind. Then he can avoid suffering. Then they can escape the
distress and suffering of sinking in the deep mud of emotional involvement.
I told my disciples in Los Angeles to hold the precepts really well. I told them to stop their thoughts of sexual desire, to stop smoking, to stop drinking, and to never take drugs. That was all I said; the talk was brief. Do you have the energy to write out your lecture notes for them to read?
Later on, they burned incense on their heads to make precept marks, and the suffering was more intense than in the volcanoes of hell. What more, they didn know how to do it. They rolled up the incense powder in paper, like cigarettes, and then placed the rolls on top of their heads and lit them up. When a roll caught fire, it would burn a bit and then quickly go out, so they had to relight it again and again after it went out each time. Each person wanted no more than two or three burns, but they used up at least three hundred matches in the process. They struck a match, lit the incense, and it went out. They then struck another match, and relit the incense. Making those incense burns took about an hour and a half, and when it was over they still hadn burned more than a few burns. I counted them up and there were no more than two, three, five, six, seven burns in over ninety minutes. They made a total of only seven burns, didn they?
Here we burn the incense into charcoal firstefore we light it. What you tried to use was already unsuitable. You tried to use fresh incense, instead of charcoal. If you try to burn fresh incense, you make the experience extremely painful. One of the people who received the burns is a lawyer who gritted his teeth and yelled, uch! Ouch! Ouch! " He couldn even say Amitabha. When one young woman was receiving her burns, tears started rolling down her cheeks. She was just the same as one of my disciples. That day my disciple had done her burns poorly because the incense was prepared incorrectly. If the incense is prepared correctly, then it burns right down and is gone in no time. Then it doesn hurt so much. If you make the incense incorrectly, then it hurts like blazes.
I saw this situation myself, and I saw that the people who set it up were really inept. Then Tien En said that they used paper rolls like that everywhere in Vietnam, which I don believe. Probably the Vietnamese monks didn make burns in the past, and when they saw the Chinese monks ' precept burns, they tried to imitate them. They didn know the method, so they probably guessed that the Chinese monks rolled up the fresh incense and burned that. Actually, that was totally wrong.
The Buddha said, look upon royalty and high positions as upon the dust that floats through a crack. I look upon treasures of gold and jade as upon broken tiles. I look upon fine silk clothing as upon cheap cotton. I look upon a great thousand-world universe as upon a small nut kernel. I look upon the waters of the Anavatapta Lake as upon oil used to anoint the feet. "
The forty-second section, the final section, explains that the Buddha regards all dharmas equally, and he breaks through all the attachments of living beings. A hundred years in the human realm is just a day and a night in the Trayastrimsa Heaven. One great eon of this Saha World is just a day and a night in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. So there isn anything, ultimately, that is real. Everything is empty and false. That why the Buddha said, look upon royalty and high positions as upon the dust that floats through a crack. "Royal positions can be likened to the presidency, and high positions to the governorship. These are positions of honor and high social status. Yet the Buddha regards these royal and governmental positions as no more than the dust that floats through a crack. They are worthless, nothing to be attached to, just like dust.
I look upon treasures of gold and jade as upon broken tiles. I look upon precious things, like gold and jade, as upon broken tiles up on the rooftop; theye just like rubble from broken roof tiles. I look upon fine silk clothing as upon cheap cotton. The most beautiful clothing is just like shabby cottonothing to be attached to. I look upon a great thousand-world universe as upon a small nut kernel. The Buddha looks upon the great threefold thousand world universe as no larger than a small nut kernel. (This refers to a small nut, so the kernel would be no bigger than an apricot seed or an olive pit.)
I look upon the waters of the Anavatapta Lake as upon oil used to anoint the feet. The water in the Anavatapta Lake, which is abundant, is seen by the Buddha as being no more than the amount of oil used to anoint the feetot very much at all. The principle here is to get rid of your attachments to things; you shouldn't take things so seriously and become so attached to them. To be attached to something is to be unable to put it down; and if you can put it down, you won be able to accomplish your work in cultivation.
look upon the door of expedient means as upon a cluster of jewels created by transformation. I look upon the Unsurpassed Vehicle as upon a dream of gold and riches. I look upon the Buddha Way as upon flowers before my eyes. I look upon Dhyana samadhi as upon the pillar of Mount Sumeru. I look upon Nirvana as upon being awake day and night. I look upon inversion and uprightness as upon six dancing dragons. I look upon impartiality as upon the one true ground. I look upon the flourishing of the teaching as upon a tree blooming during four seasons."
I look upon the door of expedient means as upon a cluster of jewels created by transformation. All the utensils and implements in the heavens are made of the seven precious gems: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls, and carnelian. In the Land of Ultimate Bliss, the ground is made of yellow gold. When Maitreya Bodhisattva becomes a Buddha, our ground will turn into lapis lazuli. Our ground right now is made of rubble, so it is very coarse. If you regard the myriad events and things as good, then they are good; and if you regard them as bad, then they will be just as you think of them. Everything is just a manifestation of your mind. Things come forth as a revelation of your true mind. So you shouldn be deluded by what is false and illusory. All outer appearances are false and illusory. Only your fundamental nature is true. Don be attached to the false and forget about the true.
xpedient means " refers to the Three Vehicles that all Buddhas establish: the Vehicle of Sound-hearers, the Vehicle of Those Enlightened by Conditions, and the Vehicle of the Bodhisattvas. If living beings rely on these dharmas to cultivate, they can certify to the fruition and become Buddhas. These are expedient Dharma-doors; they are provisional and were designed by the Buddha to reveal the actual truth. The Buddha said that they are like a cluster of jewels created by transformation.
The Unsurpassed Vehicle is basically
true and actual; and it is also a principle inherent in the self-nature
of living beings. It is not outside of living beings '
but is found only within their minds. Thus it is said that perfect Bodhi
returns to nothing what-soever; when enlightenment is perfected, there
isn anything at all. Thus, the Buddha sees the Unsurpassed Vehicle as being
like gold and riches in a dream. The gold and riches in the dream are actually
All that is said about the Buddha Way is spoken for ordinary people, and if there weren any ordinary people, then the Buddha Way wouldn be of any use. Thus it is called unconditioned. Unconditioned dharmas neither arise nor are extinguished. They neither come into being nor disappear. They aren real and actual; they are unreal, like a vision of flowers in space. Thus the Buddha sees the Buddha Way as being like flowers in space.
Mount Sumeru towers above the great sea, and no storm can topple it. When people cultivate, their Chan samadhi should be as im-movable as Mount Sumeru. Fundamentally, Mount Sumeru isn an actual dharma either, but it is being used here as an analogy. When you really accomplish the fruition, you see everything as empty.
Then the Buddha says, regard the door of expedient means as a cluster of jewels created by transformation. " The Buddha sees the expedient means of bestowing the provisional for the sake of the actual, and then opening the provisional to reveal the actual, as an array of jewels created by transformation. I look upon the Unsurpassed Vehicle as upon a dream of gold and riches. The unsurpassed Great Vehicle Dharma looks to him like no more than a dream of gold, silver, and treasures. I look upon the Buddha Way as upon flowers before my eyes. The Buddha contemplates how the Buddha Way is just like the illusory flowers he sees before his eyes. There is nothing real in it at all.
I look upon Dhyana samadhi as upon the pillar of Mount Sumeru. He sees Dhyana samadhi as the great pillar of Mount Sumeru, which rises out of the ocean and never shakes in the slightest. I look upon Nirvana as upon being awake day and night.The Buddha sees Nirvana as being in a waking state both day and night, and never sleeping. I look upon inversion and upright-ness as upon six dancing dragons. The states of inversion and uprightness are like six dragons dancing wildly. As soon as you are inverted, your six sense organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind react to the six defiling objects, and you are turned by states. Then these six sense organs are just like six dancing dragons.
I look upon impartiality as upon the one true ground. The Buddha sees the Dharma-door of impartiality as the one single true ground, the ground of reality. I look upon the flourishing of the teaching as upon a tree blooming during four seasons. The Buddha sees the flourishing of the Buddhadharma, the propagation of the Dharma, as a tree which goes through the four seasons. In the spring it blooms; in the summer it grows; in the autumn the leaves fall; and in the winter its branches are bare. The flourishing of the Buddhadharma also has its time and its cycle.
The Buddha speaks in this way in order to teach people not to be attached to anything. If you have attachments, then you cannot realize the emptiness of people and the emptiness of dharmas. When people are seen as empty, they disappear; and when dharmas are seen as empty, dharmas disappear. Ordinary people don consider people and dharmas to be empty; they assume that they exist. If you want to realize the fruition and become a sage, then it is necessary to see that people and dharmas are empty. At that point, you have no attachment to people or to dharmas; and when these two attach-ments are gone, you break all attachments. You realize the principle of the emptiness of everything. If you do not see people as empty, then you cannot realize sagehood. And if you do not see dharmas as empty, you will not be able to attain the wisdom of sages.
The Buddha spoke this section of
text to teach people to get rid of all their false thinking and attachments.
If you can get rid of them all, then you can obtain genuine ease, and that
is to obtain genuine freedom. Then if you want to live, you can live; and
if you want to die, you can die. You are free to come and go. In absolutely
everything, you are free to do as you please. This is not superficial freedom,
it is genuine freedom.