Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

A major Buddhist center and pilgrimage site, located in Talmage, California.

The Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas was established in 1976 as the new center for world Buddhism in America. The City was born from the strength, the moral practice, and the mindÄ cultivation of the monks and nuns of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association, which since 1959 has been bringing the genuine teachings of the Buddha to the West.

In the beautiful Ukiah valley, 115 miles north of San Francisco, California, sixty-one major buildings are set among orchards, groves, meadows, and farmland on approximately 500 acres. The City includes Dharma Realm Buddhist University, Tathagata Monastery, Joyous Giving House (convent), the International Institute for the Translation of Buddhist Texts, Instilling Virtue Elementary School and Developing Goodness Secondary School, and the Center for East-West Medicine.

In every undertaking at the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the intent is to teach the Buddhadharma and to benefit society. All are welcome to come and study, live, work, and practice the Buddha's teachings in harmony.


1) Ch. wan fwo sheng cheng .

See also: Six Principles of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.


Chief of the gods of the Triastrimsha Heaven, one of the Six Desire Heavens.


1) Ch. tyan di , shr jya bwo , i.e., yin two la

(Indra), 2) Skt. sakra, 3) Pali sakka.

See also: Six Desire Heavens, gods.


When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi, they must first of all sever the mind of lust.

Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of dhyana-samadhi do not eliminate lust, they will be like someone who cooks sand in the hope of getting rice. After hundreds of thousands of aeons it will still just be hot sand. Why? It wasn't rice to begin with; it was only sand.

(SS VI 13-14)

Once your nature is in samadhi and
the demons are subdued,
You'll be happy every day.
If false thoughts do not arise,
Everywhere you are at peace.
(FAS Ch11 132)

Samadhi is "a concentrated, self-collected, intent state of mind and meditation, which, concomitant with right living, is a necessary condition to the attainment of higher wisdom and emancipation." (PTSD)

"'What is the meaning of proper concentration and proper reception,'(i.e., samadhi)?

"Proper concentration is a state of absorption where the mind is brought into focus which is proper and true and right, not biased or deviant. Proper reception means all that 'comes in'--what you receive at that point--is right and appropriate. But you have to do the cultivation yourself. You can't rely on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and expect them to give it to you. If you do the work, then the results are naturally yours." (EDR VII 60)

There are three distinct senses in which the word samadhi is used: 1) proper concentration, which is a necessary preliminary to the meditative states proper; 2) a general characteristic of the formal levels of meditational development (see Four Dhyanas, Four Formless Realms), which are entered through one- pointedness of mind; and 3) enlightened meditational states.

For someone who has the power of samadhi:

Even when Mount Tai topples over I'm not scared.
Why am I not scared? Its toppling over is the same
as if it hadn't toppled over.
When a pretty girl appears before me I'm not moved.
Because face to face with her it's as if I wasn't."
(EDR I 12)


1) Ch. san mei , san mwo di , ding , 2) Skt. samadhi, 3) Pali samadhi, 4) Alternate Translations: concentration, enstasis, meditative stabilization.

See also: Eight-fold Path, Six Paramitas--samadhi, meditation, lotus posture, Three Aspects of Learning To Be Without Outflows, Four Dhyanas, Four Formless Realms.

BTTS References: TT 127-8; EDR I 12; EDR VII 60; FAS Ch11 131-133; SS II 121-122; SS VI 13-14.

Samantabhadra (Bodhisattva)

See Universal Worthy (Bodhisattva).


A Sanskrit word meaning 'going or wandering through', 'undergoing transformation.' It refers to the continuous flowing through the suffering of repeated lives and deaths. It is contrasted with nirvana (see entry).


1) Ch. lyou jwan , 2) Skt. samsara, 3) Pali samsara.


Full of hindrances is a household life; it is a path for the grime of passion. Free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult is it for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection. Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and let me go forth from the household life into the homeless state. (Digha-Nikaya II, 41; v. 1, p. 62)

Worthy of honour are they [the Sangha], worthy of reverences, worthy of offerings, worthy of salutations with clasped hands,--a field of merit unsurpassed for the world. (Woodward, F.L. tr. "Itivuttaka: As It Was Said", p. 179)

Sangha is a Sanskrit word meaning 'community' and in Buddhism refers to the monastic community of monks (bhiksu) and nuns (bhiksuni). They are the transmitters of the tradition and the teachers of the lay community. Fully ordained members of the Sangha adhere to a large number of moral precepts, including celibacy, as a guide for their behavior. The Sangha is the third of the Three Jewels (see entry).

A distinction can be made dividing Sangha into three types: the Sangha of the Buddhas, the Sangha of the Sages, and the Sangha which is a Field of Blessings.

1) The Sangha of the Buddhas is comprised of all the infinite Buddhas in all world-systems.

2) The Sangha of the Sages is comprised of fully enlightened beings, who have been certified as having reached one of the Four Stages of Arhatship, Pratyekabuddhahood, or one of the Bodhisattva stages.

3) Of the Sangha which is a Field of Blessings the Six Paramitas Sutra says:

The Sangha is a field of blessings. They are the Bhikshus and Bhikshunis who receive and uphold the moral prohibitions, are learned and wise, and, like trees created by the gods, are able to protect living beings. It is as when thirsty, in need of water in a barren desert, one meets with a heavenly sweet rain in a vast downpour, which is both timely and satisfying. Moreover, it is like the great ocean from which comes all the multitudes of treasures. The Sangha Jewel, as a field of blessings is also like this. It is able to bestow peace and bliss upon all sentient beings. Moreover, this Sangha Jewel is pure and undefiled. It is able to dispel the darkness of living beings' greed, hatred, and stupidity, as the bright light on the evening of the full moon, which all sentient beings gaze upon with awe. It is also like a precious mani pearl, that can fulfill all the good wishes of sentient beings. (BTTS ms.)

In the Dharma-Ending Age the Buddha predicted that demonic forces would destroy the Buddhadharma by infiltrating the Sangha and undermining it from within. (See The Buddha Speaks the Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra under the entry Dharma-Ending Age.)


1) Ch. seng chye ; 2) Skt. sangha; 3) Pali sangha; 4)Alternate translations: community (monastic), Order.

See also: Three Jewels, Bhikshu, Bhikshuni, moral precepts.

BTTS References: DFS IV 666-667; PDS "The So-Called Lay Sangha in America."


The classical language of ancient India. In India it functioned as a lingua franca in much the same way as Latin in medieval Europe. In India Buddhist texts were written either in Sanskrit or in closely related 'dialects', which were natural spoken languages, such as Pali or Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit.


1) Ch. fan wen/yu , 2) Skt. samskrta.

See also: Pali.

Shakyamuni (Buddha)

The present Buddha of the historical era. According to most, he lived around the sixth century BC. Some traditions place him considerably earlier. His personal name was Siddhartha, his family name was Gautama. Upon becoming a Buddha he took the name Shakyamuni.

"Shakya [was] the name of the Buddha's clan. . . . Muni was the Buddha's personal name. It means 'still and quiet' (ji mwo). 'Still and unmoving, he is silent.' No words from the mouth, no thoughts from the mind--that is an inconceivable state. The Buddha speaks Dharma without speaking; he speaks and yet does not speak, does not speak and yet he speaks. This is still and silent, still, still, silent and unmoving, yet responding in accord; responding in accord and yet always, always silent and still. This is the meaning of the Buddha's personal name, Muni. All Buddhas have the title Buddha in common, but only this Buddha has the special name Shakyamuni." (AS 8)

"Why did Shakyamuni Buddha come into the world? Because he saw that all living beings are covered with too much selfishness. He wanted to make it clear to all of us that we shouldn't be so egocentric and only know of ourselves and not know that other people also exist. From selfishness people give rise to strife and kill and mutilate one another. Shakyamuni Buddha saw this situation as something very pathetic; therefore, he came into the world. . . ." (EDR VII Ch XLVII 1)


The only Buddha to appear in the world in the so-called historical period is the Buddha Shakyamuni. He was born the eldest son of the ruler of a small city state on the border of what is now northern India and Nepal. As a young adult he was struck by the meaninglessness of his life and was moved to give up the kingdom to which he was heir, his parents, wife and young son, and the wealth, pleasures and prerogatives of his position.

As a wandering mendicant he went out into the great forests of northern India in search of a sage to teach him the transcendent path to Reality. In succession he studied with the two greatest meditation teachers of his time and reached those states of cosmic consciousness which they considered true Liberation. After rejecting their ultimacy, he went off to seek his own Path.

First he went to the Himalayas where he meditated for six years while practicing the extreme asceticism of eating only a single grain of rice and a single sesame seed each day.

Because I ate so little, all my limbs became like the knotted joints of withered creepers; because I ate so little, my buttocks became like a bullock's hoof; because I ate so little, my protruding backbone became like a string of balls; because I ate so little, my gaunt ribs became like the crazy rafters of a tumble-down shed; because I ate so little, the pupils of my eyes appeared lying low and deep in their sockets as sparkles of water in a deep well appear lying low and deep. . . . But I, even by this procedure, by this course, by this mortification, did not reach the states of further-men or the excellent knowledge and insight befitting the Aryans (i.e., those who are truly noble and holy). . . . (Further Dialogues of the Buddha I, p. 56)

Rejecting such extreme asceticism, the Buddha-to-be made his way down from the mountains, slowly nursed himself back to health, and found an auspicious spot to continue his meditational quest inward. He vowed not to leave that spot, located under a large tree later known as the Bodhi Tree, until he reached his goal. FortyÄ nine days later, during the second half of the night, he saw a star in the night sky and his last thin strand of attachment was rent asunder. At that moment he became a Buddha, a fully and perfectly enlightened one.

After remaining seated meditating under the tree for a period of time, he decided to follow that path of those Buddhas who had gone before him and go forth into the world to teach living beings the way to Buddhahood. For forty-nine years he travelled widely in India, together with a great gathering of disciples, teaching all those who sincerely requested instruction. At the end of that period his body died and he was said to have entered nirvana, but for the Buddha at that moment nothing at all really changed.

That is a very brief summary of the important events of the life of the Buddha Shakyamuni. Yet his quest for Buddhahood did not begin with a young prince named Siddhartha Gautama. The life in which he realized Buddhahood was the culmination of a decision (see Bodhi-resolve) and vows that he made countless lifetimes previously and of intense personal cultivation in each and every lifetime all the way up to that final one over two millennia ago.


1) Ch. shr jya mou ni fwo , 2) Skt. sakyamuni, 3) Pali -----.

See also: Buddha.

BTTS References: SM VI in press; DFS Ch7 ; DFS Ch20 ; DFS Ch2 319; EDR VII 111; AS 8;

Shariputra (Venerable)

One of the ten great Arhat disciples of the Buddha who was known for his great wisdom.

"Shariputra's name is Sanskrit. It means 'son of Shari.' [Shari is from sari or sarika, a bird with large and beautiful eyes, probably an Indian pelican.] His mother was named Shari because her eyes were as keen and beautiful as those of the sarika bird. Putra means 'son'. Another explanation of Shariputra's name is 'body-son', after the Sanskrit word for body, sarira, because his mother was physically very beautiful. Shariputra also means 'pearl-son' because his eyes were like pearls and sarira is also the term for the pearl-like relics left after the cremation of a sage (see relics).

"Shariputra was the foremost of the sravaka disciples in wisdom. He wasn't exactly number two when it came to spiritual powers either. His spiritual powers were also great. One time Mahamaudgalyayana decided to compare his spiritual powers with Shariputra's. Shakyamuni Buddha had gone elsewhere to speak the Dharma. When he did this, his disciples always went along to hear the Dharma too because they didn't have any tape recorders in those days , and if they missed a lecture they couldn't make it up. That time Shariputra had entered samadhi. Mahamaudgalyayana called to him, but he wouldn't come out of samadhi. 'All right,' said Mahamaudgalyayana, 'I'll use my spiritual powers to snap you out of it, ' and he applied every ounce of spiritual power he had to get Shariputra to come out of samadhi, but he couldn't budge even so much as the corner of Shariputra's robe. How great would you say Shariputra's spiritual powers were? Mahamaudgalyayana was generally considered foremost in spiritual pwoers, but he lost to Shariputra. . . .

"When [Shariputra] was eight years old, he began studying with the Buddha, and in seven days he had penetrated the actual mark of all Dharmas, mastered all the Buddha's teachings, and could defeat all the philosophers of India [in debate]." (DFS II 108-109)

This is the way Shariputra first heard of the Buddha and his teaching:

Sariputta [i.e., Shariputra] said to the venerable Assagi: 'Your countenance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? What doctrine do you profess?'

(Assagi replied): 'there is, friend, the great Samana Sakyaputta [i.e., Shakyamuni Buddha], an ascetic of the Sakya tribe; in His, the Blessed One's, name have I retired from the world; He, the Blessed One, is my teacher; and His, the Blessed One's, doctrine do I profess.'

'And what is the doctrine, Sir, which your teacher holds, and preaches to you?'

'I am only a young disciple, friend; I have but recently received the ordination; and I have newly adopted this doctrine and discipline. I cannot explain to you the doctrine in detail; but I will tell you in short what it means.'

Then the paribbagaka [i.e., wandering monk] Sariputta said to the venerable Assagi: 'Well, friend, tell me much or little as you like but be sure to tell me the spirit of the doctrine); I want but the spirit; why do you make so much of the letter?'

Then the venerable Assagi pronounced to the paribbagaka Sariputta the following text of the Dhamma: 'Of all objects which proceed from cause, the Tathagata has explained the cause, and He has explained their cessation also; this is the doctrine of the great Samana.'

'And the paribbagaka Sariputta after having heard this text obtained the pure and spotless Eye of the Truth (that is, the following knowledge): 'Whatsoever is subject to the condition of origination is subject also to the condition of cessation.' (And he said): 'If this alone be the Doctrine the Dhamma), now you have reached up to the state where all sorrow ceases (i.e. Nirvana), (the state) which has remained unseen through many myriads of Kappas {Skt. kalpa, i.e.,world-ages] of the past.' (Vinaya Texts I 145-147)

Shariputra then went to his close friend of many lifetimes, Maudgalyayana (see Mahamaudgalyayana), who also awakened to the teaching. The two then went to leave the home-life under Shakyamuni Buddha.

In the Shurangama Sutra Shariputra explains the method he used to attain enlightenment:

From distant kalpas until the present, my mind and views have been pure. In this way I have undergone as many births as there are grains of sand in the Ganges. As to the various transformations and changes of both the mundance and the transcendental, I am able to understand them at one glance and obtain non-obstruction. . . .

I followed the Buddha and left the home-life. My seeing-awareness became bright and perfect. I obtained fearlessness and became an Arhat. As one of the Buddha's elder disciples, I am born from the Buddha's mouth, transformationally born from the Dharma.

The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, for the mind and the seeing to emit light and for the light to reach throughout knowing and seeing is the foremost method. (SS V 62-65)

The Heart Sutra and many of the other teachings of the prajnaÄ paramita sutras are addressed to Shariputra in order to get him to turn from the Hinayana to the Mahayana. See also under the entry Bodhisattva for the story of Shariputra trying to practice the path of the Bodhisttva: "The Venerable Shariputra Tries to Cultivate the Path of the Bodhisattva".


1) Ch. she li fu , she li dz ; 2) Skt. sariputra; 3) Pali sariputta.

See also: Arhat, Mahamaudgalyayana (Venerable).

BTTS References: AS 69-71; HS 33-34, 120-121; DFS Ch2 107-109; EDR I 219; SS V 62-64;


See relics.


Shastra is a Sanskrit term which can refer either to a commentary on one of the sutras or to an independent treatise on some aspect or aspects of the Buddhadharma.

"Shastras are discussions. First of all, they tell what is right and what is wrong. Right is right and wrong is definitely wrong. One must not take what is right as wrong, nor should one take what is wrong as right. And so we should discuss things and in this way come to understand them clearly. For people who leave the home-life, cultivation is right and failing to cultivate is wrong.

"The second thing which Shastras discuss is what is deviant and what is proper. What is deviant is definitely deviant and what is proper is decidedly proper. You must not take what is deviant and consider it to be proper, nor take what is proper and consider it deviant. That's another reason why there must be discussions.

"The third reason for discussion is to distinguish good nd evil. Good is good and evil is evil. You cannot regard what is good as being evil, nor regard what is evil as being good.

"The fourth function of Shastras is to discuss cause and effect. A cause is decidedly a cause and an effect is definitely an effect. You can't call a cause an effect, nor an effect a cause. You must make your discriminations clearly.

"The fifth aspect of Shastras is to clarify defilement and purity. Defilement is defilement and purity is purity. You must not take defilement to be purity or purity to be defilement. You must not be upside down. And so what Shastras do is discriminate these clearly." (HD 7)


1) Ch. lun ; 2) Skt. sastra; 3) Pali ; 4) Alternate translations: discourse; commentary; treatise, discussion.

See also: tripitaka, abhidharma.

BTTS References: HD 6-8.


Those who take leave of their families and go forth from the home-life, who recognize their minds and penetrate to their origin, and who understand the unconditioned Dharma, are called sramanas. Constantly observing the 250 precepts, they enter into and abide in purity. By practicing the four true paths (i.e., Four Holy Truths) they become Arhats. (S42 1)

"Sramana is a Sanskrit word which means 'diligently putting to rest.' The sramana diligently cultivates precepts, samadhi, and wisdom, and he puts to rest and extinguishes greed, hatred, and stupidity." (S42 2-3)

Sramana and Bhikshu are synonyms, both appellations for fully ordained Buddhist monks. The Buddha was also called 'the great sramana.'


1) Ch. sha men ; 2) Skt. sramana; 3) Pali samana; 4) Alternate translations: monkhood, religious wanderer or recluse.

See also: Bhikshu, Sangha.

BTTS References: SV 44; DS 9; S42 1, 3, 10; EDR I 159.


The sravaka Sangha,
Both men and women,
Contemplate and practice the Four Holy Truths,
Concealing the real and displaying the provisional.
(TD 33)

Sravaka is Sanskrit and literally means "one who hears or listens." It is traditionally explained as referring to those who "hear the sound of the Buddha's teaching and awaken to the Way."

"They become enlightened as soon as they hear the Buddha speak the Dharma of the Four Holy Truths. They are one of the Two Vehicles. They feel that everything in this world is suffering, empty, without a self, and impermanent, and so are determined to end birth and death. They have the outlook that:

The Three Realms are like a prison.
Birth and death are like hateful enemies.

To them the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm seem like a penitentiary, and they detest birth and death. Their attitude is, 'I absolutely must end birth and death, and until I do, I won't rest for even a day.' Therefore, they cultivate all kinds of ascetic practices to cast offf birth and death--which is the attachment of Sound-Hearers (sravaka). . . .

Sound-Hearers are basically Arhats who have certified to the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Fruits. Yet they too fail to recognize the Thus Come One's Treasury, for they only know the emptiness of people, unlike commoners who are attached in every respect to views of self and what belongs to a self saying, 'This is mine; this belongs to me.' Those of the two Vehicles are not attached to self, but they are attached to dharmas. They don't understand that:

Even dharmas must be renounced,
Much more non-dharmas.

One has to put down all dharmas, how much more what is not in accord with Dharma. But for them dharmas are not yet empty, and so they still have attachments and are of the Small Vehicle." (FASÄ PII(2) 57)

The first sravakas were the five former companions of the Buddha who became enlighted after hearing the Buddha explain the Four Holy Truths (see entry) in the Deer Park at Varanasi.

Sravaka is often used synonymously with Arhat.


"1) Fixed Sound Hearers.

2) Sound Hearers of Overweening Pride.

3) Sound Hearers Who Have Retreated From the Bodhi Mind.

4) Transformationally Responding Sound Hearers.

'Because the roots of those in the two categories of the fixed and those of overweening pride have not yet ripened,' they cannot become Buddhas.

"Fixed Sound Hearers are simply withered sprouts and sterile seeds and are self-ending Arhats who only know about themselves and do not know about teaching and transforming living beings. Sound Hearers of Overweening Pride always feel they are higher than anyone else. For example, the five thousand Bhikshus who withdrew when the Buddha spoke the Dharma Flower Sutra were all Sound Hearers of Overweening Pride. There are also Sound Hearers who once resolved their minds on Bodhi and practiced the Bodhisattva Way--for awhile. But then they stopped and turned back, like Shariputra, who decided to walk the Bodhiattva Path but met someone who wanted his eyes. He concluded it was too hard, and so he gave up his resolve for Bodhi. He brought forth the Bodhi mind 20,000 Buddhas ago, yet to this day he is still a Sound Hearer--one who has retreated from the Bodhi Mind. . . . And so cultivation is not easy.

"There are several well-known examples of Transformationally Respondng Sound Hearers:

Inside concealing their Bodhisattva conduct,
Outside manifesting Sound Hearer bodies.

One such is Purnmaitrayaniputra, who, although a Sound Hearer on the outside, inside is walking the Bodhisattva Way. Another is the Venerable Ananda, who has vowed to go and be the attendant of any of the countless Buddhas who appear in the world. The vow made by Rahula is that he will be the eldest son for anyone who becomes a Buddha throughout the ten directions and the three periods of time. The roots of the first two categories--Fixed Sound Hearers and Those of Overweening Pride--are not yet mature." (FAS-PII(2) 134-135)


1) Ch. sheng wen ; 2) Skt. sravaka; 3) Pali savaka; 4) Alternate translations: Sound-Hearer, Hearer, auditor, listener, disciple.

See also: Arhat.

BTTS References: DFS II 299; TD 33; S42 1, 3-9; FAS-PII(1) 115-116; FAS-PII(2) 57, 134-135.

Shr-De (Chan Master)

See entry for Han-Shan and Shr-De (Bodhisattvas).

Shurangama Mantra

The Shurangama Mantra is the most powerful mantra in the world. It is contained in the text of the Shurangama Sutra (see entry).

"The Shurangama Mantra has a force that upholds heaven and earth and keeps them from becoming extinct. It is that spiritual force which prevents the world from coming to an end. . . . As long as one person can recite the Shurangama Mantra, the world won't be destroyed and the Dharma won't become extinct. When there is not a single person left who can recite the Shurangama Mantra, the Buddhadharma will die out.

"Heavenly demons and those of outside ways are now spreading rumors that the Shurangama Sutra and Mantra are inauthentic. They are simply demons' sons and grandsons sent by heavenly demons and those of outside ways to spread such rumors so as to destroy people's faith in the Shurangama Mantra. If no one believes in the Mantra, then no one will recite it. When no one recites it, the world will quickly be destroyed. Therefore, if you don't want the world to be destroyed, then study and practice the Shurangama Mantra; read and recite the Shurangama Mantra. If you can recite it every day, then in this threatening nuclear age the dangers of nuclear power will not affect you. Therefore, we should singlemindedly read and recite the Shurangama Mantra." (TT


In the Shurangama Sutra the Buddha says of the Shurangama Mantra:

Ananda, let any living being of any country in the world copy out this mantra in writing on materials native to his region, such as birch bark, pattra, plain paper, or white cotton cloth, and store it in a pouch containing incense. If that person wears the pouch on his body, or if he keeps a copy in his home, then you should know that even if he understands so little that he cannot recite it from memory, he will not be harmed by any poison during his entire life. (SS VI 113)


1) Ch. leng yan jou , 2) Skt. surangama mantra.

See also: Shurangama Sutra, mantra.

BTTS References: SS VI 89-91; 91-103 (text); 113; TT 124-126; SM I (intro), 32-33, 97-101; SM III 34;

Shurangama Sutra

Full title: Sutra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha's Summit Concerning the Tathagata's Secret Cause of Cultivation, His Certification to the Complete Meaning and All Bodhisattvas' Myriad Practices.

"People who study the Buddhadharma should certainly investigate the Shurangama Sutra and gain a thorough understanding of it. The Shurangama Sutra is for bringing forth great wisdom. If you want to have right knowledge and right views and open great wisdom, you should certainly understand the Shurangama Sutra. The Shurangama Sutra breaks up the deviant and reveals the proper. It smashes all the heavenly demons and those of externalist sects and reveals the innate human capacity for right knowledge and right views. But when the Buddhadharma is just about to become extinct, the very first Sutra to vanish will be the Shurangama Sutra. If we wish to protect and maintain the proper Dharma, we should investigate the Shurangama Sutra, come to understand the Shurangama Sutra, and protect the Shurangama Sutra. When the Buddhadharma is about to become extinct, weird demons and strange ghosts will come into the world, people with deviant knowledge and deviant views. They will be wise to the ways of the world and will be endowed with powers of debate and keen intelligence. They will argue that the Shurangama Sutra is spurious--inauthentic--and will tell people not to believe it.

"Why will they say the Shurangama Sutra is spurious?

"It is because the Shurangama Sutra tells about all their faults. It discusses their kinds of deviant knowledge and deviant views. If the Shurangama Sutra remains in the world, no one will believe their deviant views. If there is no Shurangama Sutra, then their deviant knowledge and deviant views will succeed in confusing people. Therefore, they argue that the Shurangama Sutra is spurious. This is the appearance of demon-

kings. Those who study the Buddhadharma should be particularly attentive to this point. They should be particularly careful not to be influenced by the deviant knowledge and deviant views of those demon-kings." (SS II 161-162)

"In this (the Dharma Ending) age, the Dharma will disappear. The first Sutra to disappear will be the Shurangama Sutra. That is why those who study the Buddhadharma should first investigate the Shurangama Sutra. As long as someone understands this Sutra, the Buddhadharma will not become extinct. As long as there is someone who can recite the Shurangama mantra (which is part of the Sutra), the demon-kings, the heavenly demons and folowers of externalist teachings will not dare to come into the world to play their tricks and to make trouble. The Shurangama Mantra is the most miraculous mantra for helping the world. The Shurangama Sutra is the primary Sutra which protects and supports the Orthodox Dharma." (BRF 18)


Chinese: Da-fwo-ding Shou-leng-yen Ching , 10 rolls (T. 845). Translated into Chinese by Paramiti and others in A.D.


English: Shurangama Sutra, 8 vols. Buddhist Text Translation Society.

See also: Shurangama Mantra.

BTTS References: SS I-VIII; BRF 18-19.

Six Desire Heavens

1) Heaven of the Four Kings, 2) Heaven of the Thirty-three, 3) Suyama Heaven, 4) Heaven of Contentment, 5) Transformation of Bliss Heaven, 6) Heaven of Comfort Gained through the Transformation of Others' Bliss.

In the Heaven of Four Kings and the Trayastrimsha,
Desire is carried out through embracing.
In the Suyama Heaven they hold hands;
In the Tushita they smile;
In the Bliss by Transformation they gaze;
In the Comfort from Others a glance will do.
(SS VII 206, SPV 54)

I. Heaven of the Four Kings

'Ananda, there are many people in the world who do not seek what is eternal and who cannot yet renounce the kindness and love they feel for their wives. But they have no interest in deviant sexual activity and so develop a purity and produce light. When their lives end, they draw near the sun and moon and are among those born in the Heaven of the Four Kings.` (SS VII 198)

'The Heaven of the Four Kings is located halfway up Mount Sumeru. It is the heaven closest to our human realm. The gods in this heaven have a lifespan of five hundred [celestial] years. One day and night in that heaven is equivalent to fifty years in the human realm, and so their lifespan is nine million years if calulated according to our time.' (SS VII 199)

'In the east is a king named He Who Maintains Countries; in the south is a king named Increase and Growth; in the west is king named Many Languages; and in the north is a king named Much Learning, who is also known as Wide Eyes. The gods in this heaven are half a yojana [see entry] tall... Because this heaven is extremely close to us, its inhabitants watch over the affairs of human beings.' (SPV 53)

II. Heaven of the Thirty-three

Those whose sexual love for their wives is slight,but who have not yet obtained the entire flavor of dwelling in purity, transcend the light of sun and moon at the end of their lives and reside at the summit of the human realm. They are among those born in the Trayastrimsa Heaven. (SS VII 199)

'Trayastrimsa is Sanksrit and means "Heaven of the Thirty-three'. The Lord of the Heaven of the Thirty-three resides above our heads. There are eight heavens in the east, eight in the west, eight in the north, and eight in the south, making thirty-two; the thirty-third is located in the center of the others and is at the peak of Mount Sumeru.' (SS VII 201)

'Trayastrimsa, "Heaven of the Thirty-Three", is not thirty-third in a vertical arrangment of heavens. Vertically it occupies the second position among eighteen heavens. Its name is taken from the fact that it is the central one among a group of heavens located on the same plane, with eight heavens on each of its four sides. The lord of the central heaven, the thirty-third, is named Sakra or Indra, and in Buddhism he is a protector of the Buddha's Dharma who does not merit a seat but must stand at all Dharma meetings. In the Shurangama Mantra (see listing) he is referred to in the phrase, "Namo Yin Two La Ye."'

'The lord of this heaven is the one taken by most people as being God Almighty, ruler of heaven and earth. Although he is extremely powerful and attends to divine matters as well as earthly ones, he is not really different from ordinary people, since he still has sexual desires, and eats, drinks, and sleeps. Although he still has desires, they are far lighter than those of humans, who usually become famished after several days without food, exhausted after a few hours without sleep, and frustrated after a short time without sexual activity. Sakra can go for one, two, or even three hundred days without eating and can pass a year or so without sleep or sex. Although his desires are light, he has still not eliminated them.

'The Heaven of the Thirty-Three is eighty thousand yojanas high, and its city, the City of Good View, is made of the seven precious materials and is sixty thousand yojanas high. In the center of that city is Sakra's palace, which is made of the most exquisite and valuable gems. Since he is constantly surrounded by such splendor, Sakra has no desire toleave. In fact, he wants all beings to join him in this world, where the lifespan is a thousand [celestial] years and where one century in the human world is but a day and a night. He extends his hospitality but doesn't know that because of his greed for heavenly delights, even he is doomed.' (SPV 25-26)

In the past 'at the time of Kashyapa Buddha, Sakra was a very ordinary and poor woman who saw a temple in ruins and vowed to restore it. Soliciting friends and relatives, she gradually gathered a group of thirty-two women. She herself was the thirty-third. Each of the thirty-three gave as much support as she could muster and with their collective effort they repaired the ruined temple. When each one died she ascended to the heavens and became ruler of her own heaven. The heaven in which Sakra, the former leader of the women, lives, is called the Trayastrimsa Heaven....

'The thirty-three heavens are merely responses evoked from the karma of those thirty-three persons. If it were not for them, there would be no such heavens. Heaven, you see, is merely a spontaneous manifestation of karma and exists only as such. In fact, the heavens are ephemeral, not permanent places of abode, and they should not be considered one's ultimate goal.' (SPV 26)

III. Suyama Heaven

Those who become temporarily involved when they meet with desire but who forget about it when it is finished, and who, while in the human realm, are active less and quiet more, abide at the end of their lives in light and emptiness where the illumination of the sun and moon does not reach. These beings have their own light, and they are among those born in the Suyama Heaven. (SS VII 201)

'The Suyama, "well-divided time", Heaven is a heaven located so high above Mount Sumeru that the light of the sun and moon cannot reach it. It is light there, however, because the gods all emit light. Because there is no light from the sun or moon, time is measured by the opening and closing of lotus flowers; when the lotuses are open, it is day, and when they are closed, night has arrived. The inhabitants of this heaven are two yojanas tall and live for two thousand [celestial] years. Throughout all these heavens, height and lifespan double in each successive heaven.' (SPV 53-54)

IV. Heaven of Contentment

Those who are quiet all the time, but who are not yet able to resist when stimulated by contact, ascend at the end of their lives to a subtle and ethereal place; they will not be drawn into the lower realms. The destruction of the realms of humans and gods and the obliteration of kalpas by the three disasters will not reach them, for they are among those born in the Tushita Heaven. (SS VII 202)

'The Tushita, or "contentment', Heaven is divided into an inner or an outer court. The outer courtyard is subject to destruction by the three disasters, fire, water, and wind, which occur at the end of kalpas, but the inner courtyard is not.' (SPV 54)

V. Transformation of Bliss Heaven

Those who are devoid of desire, but who will engage in it for the sake of their partner, even though the flavor of doing so is like the flavor of chewing on wax, are born at the end of their lives in a place of transcending transformations. They are among those born in the Heaven of Bliss by Transformation. (SS VII 204)

VI. Heaven of Comfort Gained from Transformation of Others' Bliss

Those who have no kind of worldly thoughts while doing what worldly people do, who are lucid and beyond such activity while involved in it, are capable at the end of their lives of entirely transcending states where transformations may be present and may be lacking. they are among those born in the Heaven of the Comfort from Others' Transformations. (SS VII 205)

'The gods of the Heaven of Comfort Gained through Transformation of Others' Bliss obtain their bliss through transforming it away from other heavens. [Many of] those who live in this heaven are neither genuine spirits nor immortals but heavenly demons.' (SPV 54)


1) Ch. lyou yu tyan , 2) Skt. , 3) Pali .

See also: gods, Six Paths of Rebirth.

BTTS References: SS VII 198-207; SPV 25-26, 53-55.

Six Paramitas

1) giving, 2) moral precepts, 3) patience, 4) vigor, 5) meditational concentration, 6) wisdom.

Good man, the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, takes prajna-paramita as his mother, clever expedients as his father, dana-paramita as his wet-nurse, sila-paramita as his foster mother, the paramita of patience as his adornments, the paramita of vigor as his nourishment, and dhyana- paramita as the one who cleanses him. (EDR VIII 132)

The Buddha knows the hearts of living beings,
And each of their different natures,
According with what they ought to receive,
In that way he speaks the Dharma.

For those who are stingy, he lauds giving.

For those who break the prohibitions, he praises the precepts.

For those with much anger, he praises patience.

For the lazy, he lauds vigor.

For those with scattered minds, he praises dhyana-concentration.

For the stupid, he praises wisdom. . . .

(FAS Ch10 )


The Buddha said:

Wishing to perfect the Six Paramitas, I diligently practiced giving, my mind not begrudging elephants, horses, the seven precious things, countries, cities, wives, children, slaves, servants, even my head, eyes, marrow, brains, body, flesh, hands, and feet--not sparing even life itself. (DFS X 4)

"Giving transforms those who are stingy. Greedy people who can't give should practice giving, for if they do not learn to give, they will never get rid of their stinginess." (AS 4)

There are three major categories of giving: a) the giving of wealth, b) the giving of Dharma, and c) the giving of fearlessness.

There is giving of both "inner and outer wealth. Outer wealth includes one's country, wife, and children. The Sutras abound with stories of people giving up their wives and children. A few years ago, a laywoman also resolved to give up her husband, but nobody wanted him! From this you can see that a husband is not that easy to give away. Inner wealth refers to one's own head, brain, eyes, marrow--parts of one's own body." (EDR V 212)

"What is meant by the giving of Dharma. It is to speak the Dharma to benefit living beings, to teach and transform all living beings by explaining the Buddhadharma for them. Of all offerings, the Dharma-offering is supreme. . . ." (DFS II 132)

Good man, amongst all offerings, the Offering of Dharma is most supreme. This is the offering of cultivating according to the teachings, the offering of benefitting living beings, the offering of gathering in living beings, the offering of standing in for living beings who are undergoing suffering, the offering of diligently cultivating good roots, the offering of not renouncing the karma of the Bodhisattva and the offering of never forsaking the Bodhi mind. (UW 59)

"If someone encounters a frightening experience and you comfort them and deliver them from distress and terror, you have made a gift of fearlessness." (EDR V 215)


"The precepts are guides to perfect conduct and eliminate offenses, transgressions, and evil deeds." (AS 4)

"The Perfection of Morality means guarding against offenses in seven departments. The seven divisions are: three of the body and four of the mouth--killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct with the body, and loose speech, lying, harsh speech, and backbiting with the mouth..." (DFS X 5)

For more information on the paramita of moral precepts see the listings for morality and five precepts.


"Patience is a priceless gem,

Which few know how to mine;

But if you can master it,

Everything works out fine."

(DFS II 135)

"Patience transforms those who are hateful. If you have an unreasonable temper, cultivate being patient and bearing with things. Don't be an asura, a fighter who gets angry all day and is not on speaking terms with anyone unless it's to speak while glaring with fierce, angry eyes. Be patient instead." (AS 4)

"Patience means to bear insult. It means to take what you can't take. For example, if someone hits you or scolds and you don't retaliate in any way, you are being patient. If someone hits you and you kick them right back, you can't call that patience; but if someone hits you on the face and you turn the other cheek, you are practicing patience. Besides, if they just slap one cheek and not the other, the other cheek will get jealous! Not striking back is having patience." (DFS X 5)

The Bodhisattva Maitreya, who will be the next to become a Buddha, excels in the paramita of patience. For his song on patience, see under the entry Maitreya.


"There are two types of vigor: physical and mental." (DFS II 135)

"Vigor transforms those who are lazy." (AS 4)

"This means that you finish everything that you start. If you start things with great excitement, but then get tired and quit, you do not have vigor. Completing the job indicates vigor." (DFS X 5)


"Dhyana-meditation transforms those who are scattered and

confused." (AS 4)

Meditational concentration includes the Four Dhyanas and the Four Stations of Emptiness (see those listings).


"Prajna-wisdom transforms those who are stupid; the bright light of wisdom disperses the darkness of stupidity." (AS 4)

"With this perfection, one no longer contends or fights. People fight because they lack genuine wisdom, genuine prajna. If one has true wisdom, one won't fight or struggle." (DFS X 6)

For more information on the prajna-paramita, see the

entries for prajna and emptiness.

In some Sutras a list of ten paramitas is also found. The first six are the same as listed above. They are followed by the paramitas of expedient means, vows, powers, and knowledge.


1) Ch. lyou bwo lwo mi , lyou du , 2) Skt. sat paramita, 3) Pali: paramita, parami, 4) Translations: paramita, perfections, mastery, supremacy, supreme virtues, completeness, highest state, crossing to the other shore.

See also: paramita, Bodhisattva.

BTTS References: LY II 2-3; HS 90-1; DFS II 131 ff, 242-254, 350Ä 353; *DFS X 5-32, 41-43; EDR V 72-79; 212-220; EDR VIII 132-133, 140-141 (patience); FAS-PII(1) 112-115; FAS-PII(2)36-40; VS 94ff, 102 (photo) (patience--King of Kalinga); S42 38-39 (patience); TT 143-144 (patience); SS I 6-17; AS 4; FAS Ch15 31-33; FAS Ch11 16-27, 31-39, 75-78, 81-83; FAS Ch22 53-96 (Treasury of Giving).

Six Paths of Rebirth

1) Gods, 2) Humans, 3) Asuras, 4) Animals, 5) Ghosts, 6) Hell-dwellers.

The Six Paths of Rebirth, also called the Six Destinies, refer to the six categories of living beings who are not enlightened. The particular category that one finds oneself reborn in depends upon one's karma at the time of rebirth (see karma and rebirth).

The Six Paths of Rebirth are part of the Ten Dharma Realms. They are also discussed under that listing.


1) Ch. lyou chyu , lyou dau lwun hwei , 2) Skt. gati, sad-gatyah, 3) Pali gati, 4) Alternate Translations: six destinies, six courses of existence.

See also: Ten Dharma Realms, the listings under the individual destinies.

BTTS References: SS V 135; HD 83; TD 39-54; VBS #206, p. 7.

Six Principles of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas

1) no contention; 2) no greed; 3) no seeking; 4) not being selfish; 5) no seeking personal advantage; 6) no lying.

"If each of you can stop all contention, and curb your greed; if you can stop seeking, stop being selfish and wanting selfÄ benefit, and cease being dishonest, then the Proper Dharma will remain long in the world. Why? Because these Six Guiding Principles of the City of The thousand Buddhas are the Proper Dharma. They are simply the Buddha's precepts.

"For example, the first principle, no contention, is the precept against taking life. Why would somebody take another's life? Because of a thought of contention. A verse says:

Contention breeds an attitude of victory and defeat,

Contrary to the teaching of the Way.

With a mind full of self and others, and

Beings who pass away, what hope do you have

Of accomplishing samadhi.

"If you must be a winner, then someone else must lose. As soon as you contend, you chase away your proper concentrationÄ power.

"The second principle, no greed, is the precept against theft. No greed means subduing all thoughts of craving possessions or experiences that do not rightly belong to you. Instead of craving things, people should think, 'If it is not mine, I do not want it.'

"The third principle, no seeking, can counteract promiscuous behavior. The reason why people lose control and want to break the rules is simply because they are seeking something. This impulse to seek and possess is the underlying cause of reckless behavior between men and women.

"The fourth principle is not being selfish. An unselfish individual is incapable of lying. Unselfish people do not even think of cheating others. Why would someone deceive society? Because he wants to siphon off benefits that ought to go to others. This is selfishness in a nutshell: stealing advantages from others.

"Wanting personal advantage seems almost identical with selfishness, but there is a difference: selfishness is an inner disposition, whereas personal advantage is expressed outside. Personal advantage is visible; selfishness is invisible.

"And so the fourth principle, no selfishness, is the precept against telling lies, and the fifth, not wanting personal advantage, is the precept against using intoxicants. Refraining from intoxicants includes not smoking tobacco and not using illegal drugs, as well as not gambling. In general, doing things that exclusively benefit oneself, regardless of their impact on others, is called self-benefit.

"Our job as Buddhist disciples is to look after the interests of all living beings, and to keep the entire world in our purview. Instead of thinking only of our own narrow, tiny sphere we should reach out to benefit all mankind. Thus, not wanting personal advantage is simply the precept against intoxicants.

"How did the sixth principle come about? For a long time we propagated Five Principles, until we convened the first Board of Directors meeting at Gold Buddha Monastery in Canada. One of the directors exclusively cheated people, and habitually told lies. His tactic was to intimidate people, much the same way a terrorist acts. He would approach people and say, 'How did you catch that ghost!' Or, 'I see you have got a lot of spirits following you!' Or, 'I see you are about to run into some bad trouble.' If asked, he denied accepting or soliciting money. 'I am not interested in making money,' he'd assert. But, all the same, for him to read 'the wind and water' of someone's house or land cost at least $500 for the first look. To cure illnesses cost even more. Thus, the sixth principle, no lying came about.

"I announced at that meeting, 'Anyone who tells lies or cheats people and is discovered by others will be thrown out and never be allowed back in.'

"He spoke right up, 'Oh, I'm afraid I'll be the first one out the door.' I answered, 'Now that you know the rules, following them is all that is necessary. After this, stop being dishonest and there's no problem.' And that's how the sixth principle came about.

"If you do not fight and contend, then you will not harm your compassionate nature. When you learn to curb your greed, your righteous and noble qualities shine forth. If you can rest content and not need to seek outside, then you will not violate propriety. By refraining from sexual misconduct, you preserve your very life. Lust harms your life. Being unselfish increases and protects your samadhi. If you are selfish, your concentration-power will scatter and fail. If you have no thought of scheming for self-benefit, you will be replete with wisdom. Wanting personal advantages harms your wisdom. And, if you tell lies, you will undermine your very foundation as a person. Dishonesty will leave you bankrupt--you'll have nothing at all.'

"By casting out these six black clouds that cover over your nature, the inherent and bright virtues of your true nature shine forth. The Six Principles of the Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas are just the Five Moral Precepts in another guise. They are also the heart of the Proper Dharma." (BTTS ms.)


1) Ch. lyou da dzung jr , 4) Alternate Translations: I. no strife, non-contention; II. no greed/craving/desire, generosity; III. no grasping/actions based on greed, contentment; IV. unselfishness; V. incorruptibility, no pursuit of personal advantage; VI. truthfulness, no deceitful speech, no dishonesty, honesty.

See also: Five Moral Precepts, moral precepts, Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

BTTS References: Hsuan Hua Shang-ren Kai-shr Lu, v. 5, 94-98; "Chan Talks #1, VBS, #205, June, 1987, p. 15, 19; "Chan Talks #IX", VBS #211, Dec 1987, pp. 13-14.

Six Spiritual Powers

1) spiritual power of the heavenly eye, 2) spiritual power of the heavenly ear, 3) spiritual power of knowledge of past lives, 4) spiritual power of knowledge of the minds of others, 5) powers derived from a spiritual basis, 6) spiritual power of the elimination of outflows.


All the gods of the Three Worlds have the first five spiritual powers to some degree. Ghosts and spirits also have some small degree of spiritual power. Those of non-Buddhist religions who cultivate can at the very most only attain the first five. Only one whose enlightenment is certified achieves the sixth, the extinction of outflows.

On the level of the Arhat, the powers are still small. If an Arhat wishes to use one of them, he must first make a point of making himself still, sitting quietly for a while. Only then can he find out what he wishes to know. Bodhisattvas, however, without wishing, without acting, naturally and at every instant have great spiritual power without measure or limit. This is the inconceivably wonderful fruit of the Mahayana.


1) spiritual power of the heavenly eye

"With the heavenly eye one can see the gods and observe all their activities." (AS 5)

"A power that enables one to see an entire world system of a billion worlds as clearly as an apple held in the palm. The Buddha's disciple, the Venerable Aniruddha, was foremost in this power." (SPV 26)

"With it you can see what is inside your own body, all the living beings within you that you must vow to save. Although scientists cannot count the number of living beings inside the human body, if you have the heavenly eye you can see them, count them, and take them across... You can even count up the grains of rice you eat. You can see how your meal is being digested in your stomach..." (DFS IV 808-809)

2) spiritual power of the heavenly ear

"With the heavenly ear one can hear the speech and sound of the gods." (AS 5)

"A power by means of which one can hear all the sounds in a world system of a billion worlds, not merely the sounds in the heavens." (SPV 27)

"With the heavenly ear, not only can you hear what the gods are saying, but you can hear all of the little 'bugs' inside of you calling out. You can hear the germs talking, the flowers talking, and the trees talking. Some people say that when you go pick a flower it is afraid and lets out a scream? That's right. 'Oh no! This is it! It's all over. I'm going to die!!!' When you start hearing all these sounds, though, you shouldn't dislike it. You can choose not to listen to them, too. It's up to you. The heavenly eye sees more clearly than an x-ray machine, and the heavenly ear hears more clearly than sonar equipment." (DFS IV 809)

3) spiritual power of the knowledge of past lives

"A power that enables one to know past events, both good and bad." (SPV 27)

A Shramana asked: "What are the causes and conditions by which one comes to know past lives and by which one's understanding enables one to attain the Way?"

The Buddha said: "By purifying the mind and guarding the will, your understanding can enable you to attain the Way. Just as when you polish a mirror, the dust vanishes and brightness remains, so too, if you eliminate desire and do not seek (for anything), you can then know past lives." (S42 35)

4) spiritual power of the knowledge of the minds of others

"A power through which others' thoughts are known before they are even spoken." (SPV 27)

5) The powers derived from a spiritual basis

This "refers to all kinds of powers of magical transformation. You can be sitting in one place and at the same time go off to New York to play. You can go take a look at things in L.A. It won't take you one second to make your return trip either..." (DFS VII 1296)

A Bodhisattva who has this power:

can move the great earth. He can make one body into

many bodies, and many bodies into one body. He can

either disappear or appear. He goes through stone

walls and solid mountains as if they were space. In

empty space he travels in full lotus, just like a bird

in flight. He enters earth as if into water, and

treads upon water as if it were earth. His body puts

forth smoke and flames like an immense heap of fire.

He further sends down rain just like a mighty cloud. The sun and moon in space have tremendous, awesome

might, yet he can touch and rub them with his hand. His body is free and at ease, even up to the world of

Brahma. . . . (FAS Ch26(2) 116)

6) The spiritual power from the elimination of outflows

Outflows refer to all our faults, especially ignorance and desire, which cause us to expend energy outward as we seek pleasure in external sense-objects.

"To be without outflows is to have no thoughts of greed, hate, stupidity, or sexual desire. In general, once one gets rid of all one's bad habits and faults, one has no outflows. Outflows are like water running out of a leaky bottle; at the stage of no outflows the leaks have been stopped up." (AS 6)

Consider a "teacup. Does it have any holes in it,

any outflows? It has no outflows, of course, and so it can hold the tea... Would you say that our bodies have outflows or not? Hah! Our bodies are bottomless pits. You fill your body up today and tomorrow it all runs out... Obviously one's excrement and urine are outflows. They flow out, and we have practically no control over it. Our bodies have nine orifices which constantly secrete impure substances... But, these are very common, ordinary outflows and aren't that important. The greatest outflows are the ones you aren't even aware of: greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt... In general, outflows are none other than our afflictions..." (DFS VII 1281-1285)

"What are outflows? Do you like to eat? That is an outflow. Do you like to drink coffee? That is an outflow. Women like men; that is an outflow. Men like women; that is an outflow.

"'What can you do that isn't an outflow?' you ask.

"Cultivate! That's simply all there is to it. First and foremost, you have to cultivate. If you cultivate, you can be without outflows. If you do not cultivate, you cannot be without outflows. There's simply no way around it.

"'I'd rather have outflows than cultivate,' you say.

"If that's what you'd like, if it suits you to have outflows, then go ahead and 'flow out'. Let's see where you 'flow out' to. You could flow out and turn into a pig, or a horse, or an ox, or flow out into the hells, into the path of animals, or hungry ghosts. You pick your own path..." (DFS IV 808)


1) Ch. liu shen tung , 2) Skt. abhijna, sad-abhijnah, 3) Pali abhinna, chalabhinna, 4) Alternate Translations: spiritual penetrations, psychic powers, superknowledges; higher or supernatural knowledge, intuition; apperceptions, clarities.

See also: enlightenment, five eyes, no outflows.

BTTS References: SPV 26-27; DFS IV 808-815; DFS VII 1292-1297; (outflows) DFS VII 1283-86; S42 35-36 (knowledge of past lives); HS 18; AS 5-6; FAS Ch26(2) 116-118.

Sixth Patriarch's Dharma Jewel Platform Sutra

One of the foremost scriptures of Chan Buddhism, this text describes the life and teachings of the remarkable Patriarch of the Tang Dynasty, Great Master Hwei-Neng (see entry), who, though unable to read or write, was enlightened to the true nature of all things.


1) Ch. lyou dzu fa bau tan jing .

See also: Hwei-Neng (Sixth Patriarch).

BTTS References: PS.

Small Vehicle

See Mahayana and Hinayana Compared.


See Shravaka.

Southern Buddhism

See Theravada Buddhism.


Suffering is the first of the Four Holy Truths (see listing). Shouldering the burden of existence on our 'self' is suffering in a comprehensive and all-inclusive way that goes beyond our ordinary ideas about pain. The Sanskrit word duhkha originally meant the friction caused by turning a wheel on its axle. And so it is that there is a basic friction underlying all the activities of our lives. The lists explained below are an aid to understanding some of the important aspects of suffering as it is understood in the light of the Buddha's teachings.

'In this world everything is suffering, and even happiness is not real happiness, but is the cause of suffering. All the dharmas in this world are defiled and without purity; the world is all bitter suffering.' (UW 87)


"1) The Suffering of Birth. The experience of birth is like the experience of a turtle when its shell is ripped off. If you had a live turtle and ripped its shell right off, now what do you think, wouldn't the turtle experience a lot of suffering? That's what being born is like. At the moment of birth when one's skin comes in contact with the air for the first time, it is as painful as if being cut by a sharp knife. That's why babies cry.

2) The Suffering of Old Age. What's the suffering of being old? One's eyes get blurry, one's ears become deaf, one's teeth fall out, and one's hands and feet can't function properly anymore. And so there is a saying:

Don't wait until you are old to cultivate the Way.

The lonely graves are those of young people.

"When you get old, the things you eat don't seem to have any flavor. When you try to walk, your legs don't want to cooperate. You try to pick up things and your hands don't listen to you. You are tottering and in the decline of old age. The ancients had a poem about old age:

Your skin is wrinkled up like a chicken's,

and your hair has turned crane-white.

See how you limp and hobble along?

Gold and jade fill your entire house,

And yet you can't put off the ailments of old age which make you decrepit.

Despite thousands upon thousands of pleasures,

Impermanence finally arrives.

Therefore, the only path of cultivation

Is to recite 'Amitabha Buddha!' all the time! . . .

3) The Suffering of Sickness. Being sick is even more suffering! There are many kinds of sickness, but no matter what kind of sickness it is, it is difficult to endure. Even heaven and earth get sick. For instance, when there is a very heavy rainstorm, or lightning and thunder, that's heaven and earth getting angry. Heaven and earth get angry too, and sometimes as a result, humankind is destroyed in the process.

"Sometimes there are earthquakes, which means that the planet is sick. Sometimes there are huge typhoon and tornadoes, which indicate that there is too much hatred around. The ancients said that hurricanes are the result of too much anger and hatred. Now scientists have their own explanation for the existence of hurricanes. But if you have your eyes open, you can see that in the center of a hurricane there are ghosts or spirits or demons who are whipping up the wind. They are whipping up the wind to such velocities that it kills people and in the process destroys trees, homes, and buildings. And all the while, these ghosts are having a grand old time. 'Wow, is this a riot! This is a fantastic amusement!' They kill people as casually as people would kill a mosquito or a fly. For those malevolent beings it seems there's no problem at all, nothing wrong about it. That's because these strange demons and weird ghosts like to harm people and tear them apart. But up to the present, people haven't believed these kinds of principles. They have said it isn't true that malevolent beings instigate storms. Instead they say that hurricanes are precipitated due to a special kind of atmospheric inversion. How often does this sudden atmospheric inversion happen? Out of nowhere, all of a sudden there are clouds and stormy weather. And although science has its own explanation, it is not complete or fully substantiated.

"Suffering in sickness is still not the utmost suffering. The most extreme suffering is the suffering of death.

4) The Suffering of Death. When it comes time to die, you'll feel like a calf whose skin is being ripped off. Think about it, if there's a cow and you flay it while it is still alive, how much would it hurt? And so it is very difficult to die. If you don't believe it, you can try it out yourself. You can die and see what it is like. But if you believe it, then don't try it out. It isn't like science where they run experiments on everything. You won't want to experiment with dying. To this day, nobody has yet come up with a method that delivers us from sickness and death and ensures us eternal life.

"Even the Buddha did not invent such a method, but out of great compassion he left us with eighty-four thousand Dharma-doors to teach us how to cultivate. But if you don't cultivate, even the Buddha will have no way to help you.

5) The Suffering of Being Apart from Those You Love. Love is the feeling you have toward someone or something you like. When you love someone or something, you want to be together with that person or object all the time. You never want to part from them. However, sometimes circumstances arise in which people must be parted from those that they love and this brings on an acute kind of suffering.

6) The Suffering of Being Together with Those You Hate. For example, there is a person whom you absolutely can't stand; you find it so hard to be around such a person that you want to leave him. However, when you deliberately go to another place to be away from him, you run into another person who is exactly like the person whom you couldn't stand. And so that's the suffering of being together with those you hate.

7) The Suffering of Not Obtaining What You Seek. Suppose there is something you really want, but circumstances prevent you from getting it for your own. You want it, but you don't get it. No matter what you do, there is no way to fulfill you own wishes. That is the suffering of not obtaining what you seek.

8) The Suffering of the Scorching Blaze of the Five Skandhas. The skandhas are form, feeling, cognition, formations, and consciousness. They tie you up so you have no freedom. The Five Skandhas are as severe as a huge blaze. They consume you to the point that you burn to death. And so this is also suffering.

"Now everyone should 'know suffering'. If you know suffering, you can bring forth the resolve for Bodhi, and end birth and death." (FAS Ch8 11-13)

The Yogacarabhumi-sastra also lists 110 kinds of suffering. They are explained briefly in the commentary to the "Four Holy Truths" Chapter of the Flower Adornment Sutra (see FAS Ch8 3-5).


1) Ch. ku ; 2) Skt. duhkha; 3) Pali dukkha, 4) Alternate Translations: ill, pain, misery.

See also: impermanence, karma, causation, Four Holy Truths.

BTTS References: UW 87-88; FAS-PII(1) 99-101; FAS Ch8 3-13; FAS Ch15 36-37; VBS #206, p. 6.


The Buddha said: 'One who studies the Buddha's Way should believe in and accord with all that the Buddha says. When you eat honey, it is sweet on the surface and sweet in the center; it is the same with my sutras.' (S42 #39)

The sutras are records of the conversations of the Buddhas and/or the Bodhisattvas or other enlightened disciples of the Buddha.

'The Buddha spoke the Sutras to cause all of us living beings

To go back to the origin and return to the source,

To turn away from confusion and take refuge with enlightenment.

That is also:

To turn our backs on the mundane dust and unite with enlightenment.

Otherwise, if no living beings listened to the Sutras the Buddha spoke, the Sutras would be useless. Therefore, if there were no living beings, there would be no Sutras; and without Sutras, there would be no way to teach living beings to become Buddhas.' (FAS-PII(1) 23)

'Sutras provide a road to travel in cultivation. Going from the road of birth and death to the road of no birth and death, the common person penetrates to sagehood--to Buddhahood. One who wishes to walk that road must rely on the Dharma to cultivate. The Dharma is in the Sutras.' (VS 8)


1) Ch. jing , jing dyan ; 2) Skt. sutra; 3) Pali sutta, 4) Alternate Translation: scripture.

See also: Tripitaka, Dharma, and names of individual sutras.

BTTS References: SPV 21; HS 11-12; VS 8; S42 80; FAS-VP 37-38; FAS-PII(1) 7-26; AS 12-14.

Sutra in Forty-Two Sections

In this Sutra, which was the first to be transported from India to China and translated into Chinese, the Buddha gives the most essential instructions for cultivating the Dharma, emphasizing the cardinal virtues of renunciation, contentment, and patience.


1) Ch. sz shr er jang jing .

BTTS References: S42.

Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva

This Sutra tells how Earth Store Bodhisattva attained his position among the greatest Bodhisattvas as the Foremost in Vows. It also explains the workings of karma, how beings undergo rebirth, and the various kinds of heavens and hells.


1) Ch. di dzang pu sa ben ywan jing , 2) Skt. ksitigarbha-bodhisattva-pranidana-sutra (no longer extant), 3) Pali-----.

See also: Earth Store (Bodhisattva).

Syu-Yun (Chan Master)

Almost universally acknowledged as the greatest enlightened master of modern times, Chan Master Syu-Yun ("Empty Cloud") (1840-1959) revitalized the Chan School in China and retransmitted all five of the authentic Chan lineages.

In the winter of his fifty-sixth year, 'on the third evening of the eighth week of the (meditation) session, after six hours of sitting in meditation, the attendant made his rounds, filling up the tea cups. The Master's hand was burned by spilled boiling water, and his cup fell to the floor. At the sound of the crash, the root of his doubt was instantly severed. He was joyous beyond words at having fulfilled his lifelong ambition. It was as if he had just awakened from a dream, and he observed the conditions of the past unravel. If he had not fallen into the river and become gravely ill, if he had not met good advisors who plied him with both adversity and felicity, how would this present experience have been possible? the Master's verse of explanation says:

A cup fell down and struck the floor;

The sound of the crash was distinctly heard.

Emptiness was pulverized,

And the mad mind stopped on the spot.'

(PB I #104)

In the final year of his life the Venerable Master composed the following verse:

This crazed fellow--where does he come from?

For no reason he sticks out his neck during the Dharma- Ending Age.

Lamenting that the Sagely Path hangs by a precarious thread,

He cares not for his own affairs--for whom does he worry?

On a lonely mountain peak

He sends down bait and tackle to catch a carp.

Plummeting down to the great ocean bed,

He stokes the flames to fry a sea bubble.

Not finding one who "knows his sound",

He sighs in sorrow.

Yet his laughter pierces the void!

Scold him, he doesn't gripe.

Ask him: why don't you put it down?

"When will the masses' suffering come to an end?

That's when I will rest!"

(PB II, preface)


1) Ch. syu-yun .

See also: Chan School.

BTTS References: PB I and II; VBS #17 (Aug., 1971), pp. 1-2.

Sywan-Dzang (Tripitaka Master) (596-664)

Great enlightened master, translator, and founder of the Consciousness-Only School in China.

"This Bhikshu's contributions to Buddhism have been exceptionally great. It can be said that from ancient times to the present, there has never been anyone who can compare to this Dharma Master in his achievements. His worldly name was Ch'a. His father was an official, but a poor one. Why did he end up a poor official? It was because he didn't take bribes. He wasn't after the citizens' money nor that of the government. He wasn't like people today who hold office and always feel they are earning too little money so that on top of their government salary they force the citizens to give them their hard-earned money as well. Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang's father didn't want money. He remained a poor official all his life. Even though he was poor, he had a virtuous nature and because of that he had two sons who left the home-life, lectured Sutras, and were adept cultivators of the Way.

"Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang left the home-life at the age of thirteen and commenced his study of the Buddhadharma. During those early years of study, if there was a Dharma Master lecturing a Buddhist text, no matter who the Dharma Master was or how far away the lecture was being held, he was sure to go to listen, whether it was a Sutra lecture, a Shastra lecture or a Vinaya lecture. He went to listen to them all. Wind and rain couldn't keep him away from lectures on the Tripitaka, to the point that he even forgot to be hungry. He just ate the Dharma, taking the Buddhadharma as his food and drink. He did this for five years and then took the Complete Precepts.

"However, the principles lectured by the Dharma Masters he heard were all different. They all explained the same Sutras in very different ways--each with his own interpretation. And there was a big difference between the lectures of those with wisdom and those without wisdom. But Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang had not yet really become enlightened, and he didn't have the Selective Dharma Eye, and so how could he know whose lectures to rely on? At that time he vowed to go to India, saying,

The Buddhadharma has been transmitted from India, and so there is certainly true and genuine Buddhadharma to be found in India.

Thereupon, he wrote a request for permission to go to India to seek the Dharma and presented it to the emperor. Emperor Tai Dzung of the Tang Dynasty did not grant his wish, but Dharma Master SywanÄ Dzang, who had already vowed to go, said, 'I would prefer to disobey the son of Heaven and have my head cut off than not to go and seek the Dharma.' And so he returned to the monastery and began to practice mountain-climbing. He piled chairs, tables, and benches together to simulate a mountain and practiced jumping from one piece of furniture to the next. This was his method of practicing mountain-climbing. From morning till night he leaped from table to chair. Probably there weren't any big mountains -Ä where he lived, and so he had to practice in the temple. All the young, old, and older novices wondered what he was up to, jumping on furniture all day long instead of reciting Sutras or cultivating. He didn't tell anyone that he was training to climb the Himalayas, and so most people thought he was goofing off. Eventually he trained his body so that it was very strong, and then when he was physically able, he started his trip through Siberia.

"On the day of his departure, when Emperor Tai-Dzung learned he intended to go even without imperial consent, the emperor asked him, 'I haven't given you permission and you still insist on going. When will you be back?'

"Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang replied, 'Look at this pine tree. ---------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------Ä Tripitaka Master Sywan-Dzang

The needles are pointing toward the west. Wait until those needles turn around and face east. That is the time when I will return.' He didn't say how many years that would be. And so he set out. At that time there were no airplanes, steamboats, buses, or trains. There were boats, but they were made of wood and not too sturdy. Besides, since he didn't have imperial permission, he probably could not have gotten the use of a boat anyway. And so he travelled by land through many countries, from the Siberian area of the Russian border to India. He was gone for more than a decade. When he reached India, he didn't know the language at all. But bit-by-bit he studied Sanskrit and listened to many Dharma Masters lecture the Buddhadharma. Some people say this took him fourteen years. Others say it took nineteen. In general he went through a great deal of suffering and difficulty to study the Buddhadharma and then when he'd completed his studies, he returned to China.

"When his return was imminent, the needles on the pine tree turned to the east. As soon as the emperor saw that the pine needles were indeed pointing east, he knew that Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang was coming back and he sent out a party of officials to the western gate to welcome him and escort him back. When they reached the gate, there indeed, was Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang returning.

"Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang then concentrated on translating the Sutras and other works that he had brought back with him. He translated from Sanskrit into Chinese. At the time when he was translating the Mahaprajnaparamita-sutra, within one single year, the peach trees blossomed six times. That was a sign of the auspiciousness of the Mahaprajnaparamita-sutra and its importance to all of us. The fact that it was being translated moved even the wood and plants to display their delight.

"Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang translated a great many sutras. While in India, he bowed to the Buddha's sarira and bones. He saw where the Buddha in a previous life had given up his eyes, and went to the place where the Buddha in a previous life had practiced the conduct of patience, and went to the place where the Buddha in a previous life had given up his life for the sake of a tiger. He also went to see the Bodhi tree under which the Buddha realized the Way. He went to all of those places celebrated in Buddhism. These pilgrimages are another indication of the extent of his true sincerity. While in India, whenever he met Dharma Masters, he never looked down on them, no matter how little they may have cultivated. He was extremely respectful. He wasn't the least bit arrogant or haughty. When he finished his studies, many Small vehicle Dharma Masters and masters of externalist ways came to debate with him, but none was able to defeat him.

Dharma Master Sywan-Dzang is known as a Tripitaka Master (Tripitaka='Three Treasuries', 'Three Baskets'). The Tripitaka includes the Sutra Treasury, the Shastra Treasury, and the Vinaya Treasury. He was honored with this title because he understood all three Treasuries without obstruction. . . .

"As to his name, Sywan means 'esoteric and wonderful.' He was esoteric in the sense that none could really understand him. Dzang means 'awe-inspiring.' He was awe-inspiring in that he could do what others could not do. He was an outstanding person among his peers. . . ." (HD 15-17)


----------------------------------------------------------------Ä Woodcut of Tripitaka Master Sywan-Dzang returning to Junggwo

The Master's name has also been transliterated as follows: Hsuan-tsang, Yuan Chwang, etc.


1) Ch. sywan dzang .

See also: Consciousness-Only School.

BTTS References: HS 13-14; HD 15-19; FAS-PII(2) 80, 82; VBS .