The Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra
Translated by the Tripitaka Master Kumarajiva of Yao Ch’in
A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

 

Chapter 8: Five Hundred Disciples Receive Predictions

Originally there were 1,250 disciples who received predictions, here it only says five hundred. Actually these five hundred include the 1,250 disciples. This chapter describes predictions of Buddhahood for 1,250 disciples. The Dharma Flower Sutrais the Dharma that unveils the provisional and manifests the real: all beings can become Buddhas. Earlier, the Sutra said, although you realize Buddhahood, but there is a difference in time. Shakyamuni predicts Buddhahood for his disciples who are Hearers or Bodhisattvas now. That is why this eighth chapter is the chapter on Five Hundred Disciples Receiving Predictions.

Sutra:

At that time Purnamaitreyaniputra, having heard about wisdom and the expedients from the Buddha who speaks of Dharma in accord with what is appropriate, having heard all the great disciples receive predictions of anuttarasamyaksambodhi; and in addition having heard of the matters of causes and conditions of former lives, and furthermore, having heard of the Buddha’s great comfort and the power of his spiritual penetrations, obtained what he had never had, his mind was purified and he rejoiced.

Commentary: 

At that time, Purnamaitreyaniputra, whose name means “son of fullness and compassion,” having heard about wisdom and expedients from the Buddha–in the presence of the Buddha, he heard the Dharma-doors of wisdom and expedients–who speaks of Dharma in accord with what is appropriate. In accord with the potentials of living beings, speaking all the provisional dharmas. Having heard all the great disciples received predictions of anuttarasamyaksambodhi, the utmost right and perfect enlightenment. And in addition having heard of the matters of causes and conditions of former lives, concerning the Buddha Great Penetration Wisdom Victory in former lives in the distant past. And furthermore, having heard of the Buddha’sgreat comfort and the power of his spiritual penetrations, power of greatly freeing spiritual penetrations. All the Buddhas have the inconceivable, wonderful function of spiritual penetrations. 

Sutra:

Obtained what he had never had, his mind was purified and he rejoiced. 

Commentary: 

Obtained what he had never had. He had never heard such a wonderful Dharma. His mind was purified and he rejoiced. His mind became pure and he was so happy he jumped for joy. He wanted to sit still, but he just could not contain himself and started jumping for joy. He jumped up and ran before the Buddha.

Sutra:

Thereupon, he rose from his seat, bowed with his head at the Buddha’s feet, and withdrew to one side, gazing unblinkingly at the honored one’s countenance.

Outline:

F2. Predictions for those of lesser roots.
G1. Twelve hundred predictions.
H1. Prediction for Purnamaitreyaniputra.
I1. Preface.
J1. Happiness at gaining understanding. 

Commentary: 

Thereupon, he rose from his seat, bowed with his head at the Buddha’s feet. He was pure and rejoicing and filled with excitement. His awesome deportment failed him, in fact, and he ran to the Buddha and bowed to him. Then he calmed himself down and withdrew to one side, to be more respectful. Gazing unblinkingly at the honored one’s countenance–he looked up at the Buddha, the World Honored One, and he did not turn his gaze away. It was as if he had entered samadhi. Although he certainly had not taken any drugs, he was definitely “stoned.”

Sutra:

He then thought, “the World Honored One is most unique. His deeds are rare. He accords with all the various dispositions of beings in the world, employing expedient devices with knowledge and vision. He speaks the Dharma for them, releasing them from various types of greed and attachment. We could never fully express in words the merit and virtue of the Buddha. Only the Buddha, the World Honored One can know our deepest thoughts and past vows.” 

Outline:

J2. Narrating his silent thoughts leading to understanding. 

Commentary: 

His eyes may not have been moving, but his mind was striking up some false thinking. He then thought, the World Honored One is most unique. The Buddha is really too great, too special. His deeds are rare. He does things no one else can do. He is the number one in everything he does. He accords with all the various dispositions of beings in the world, all their different temperaments, employing expedient devices with knowledge and vision. He speaks the Dharma for them, releasing them from various types of greed and attachment. All their attachments, regardless of where they are attached be it to wealth, sex, fame, food, or sleep, forms, sounds, smells, tastes, or objects of touch–the five dusts.

We could never fully express in words the merit and virtue of the Buddha.When it comes to the Buddha, we cannot describe his virtue and wisdom in words. Only the Buddha, the World Honored One, can know. We cannot know the Buddha, but the Buddha can know us, know our deepest thoughts and past vows.The Buddha knows all the thoughts in our minds. He knows the vows we made in the past under all their different circumstances. The Buddha knows about the vows we made. We do not know ourselves, but the Buddha knows these things about us. The Buddha knows all the causes and conditions from past and present lifetimes.

Sutra:

At that time, the Buddha told the Bhikshus, “Do you see this Purnamaitreyaniputra? I constantly praise him as being foremost of those who speak the Dharma, and I extol his various meritorious qualities, his vigorous and diligent support in helping to proclaim my Dharma. In the midst of the fourfold assembly, he can demonstrate the teaching to the delight and advantage of all. He perfectly interprets the Proper Dharma of the Buddha, greatly benefiting his fellow practitioners of Brahman conduct. Except for the Thus Come One, no one can fully appreciate his eloquence in discussion.”

Outline:

I1. The Thus Come One gives predictions.
J1. Prose.
K1. Narrating the roots and traces.
L1. Traces of Shakyamuni Buddha’s practice in the world. 

Commentary: 

At that time, the Buddha told the Bhikshus: Do you see this Purnamaitreyaniputra? Do you see him, or not? Do you see this Hearer Disciple? In former lives, he made great vows to help the Buddha propagate the Buddhadharma. Do you see him? I constantly praise him as being foremost of those who speak the Dharma. I always praise him in the great assembly as being the best at speaking Dharma. So the Buddha also had his disciples take turns speaking the Dharma. Doesn’t the Shurangama Sutra speak of the Four Great Disciples turning the Dharma-wheel? That just means taking turns speaking the Dharma.

The Buddha did not necessarily speak the Dharma every day. He had his disciples take turns, and when they had all had a turn, he asked, “Who do you think was the best speaker?” For sure, no one said anything. They did not know who was the best. The Buddha said, “Purnamaitreyaniputra is the very best. His eloquence is unlimited.” The Buddha brought this up many times. Sometimes he would say, “Which disciple do you think is the poorest speaker?” Again, nobody said anything!

It is just like you now. Whenever I ask you anything, you go into samadhi. When I did not ask you anything, you have plenty to say. Your tongues practically run outside of your mouths to talk. Inside, they cannot say anything. So they run outside of your mouths and “everywhere cover the three thousand great thousand worlds.” However, when I ask who lectures well or poorly among you, “Huh?” you say, but nobody says a word, not even the most talkative of you. You all call your tongues back into your heads, and they no longer “everywhere cover the three thousand great thousand worlds.”

The Buddha’s intention in asking these questions was to encourage his disciples to be more vigorous. None of them wanted to be the worst speaker. The best speaker would work even harder. By the time the Buddha went to Nirvana, all of his disciples could speak the Dharma and turn the Great Dharma Wheel. Now, I am no Buddha, but I want to copy this Dharma-door of the Buddha’s. And so frankly, I tell you what I know, but I could never tell you all I know. There is no end to that, and there is not enough time. So, when you lecture, you do not have to think, “Well, the Master did not explain that.” There are a lot of things I do not explain! It is up to you to investigate these things in more detail and expand your knowledge. Take care to keep within the scope of the Sutra’s principles, however.

Anyway, Shakyamuni Buddha always praised Purnamaitreyaniputra as being number one in lecturing all Dharmas. He spoke the Dharma most miraculously. The gods liked to hear him speak the Dharma. The hungry ghosts liked to hear it too. Animals enjoyed his discourses, and the asuras, hearing him, would immediately quit fighting. They would strike up a truce and go hear the Dharma. The Arhats and the Bodhisattvas also liked to hear him. So, among those who spoke the Dharma, Purnamaitreyaniputra was foremost. Tops.

And I extol his various meritorious qualities. I always extol his deeds in former lives when he made offering to all the Buddhas and the Triple Jewel, thereby nurturing various meritorious qualities.

His vigorous and diligent support in helping to proclaim my Dharma. He was energetic in helping me to spread the Buddhadharma.

In the midst of the fourfold assembly, he can demonstrate the teaching to the delight and advantage of all. Amidst the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, and Upasikas, he can demonstrate the methodologies of the Buddhadharma. He delights his listeners who gain great benefit. He perfectly interprets the Proper Dharma of the Buddha. His knowledge and views are the same as the Buddha’s. That is why he can interpret the Buddha’s proper Dharma. Greatly benefiting his fellow practitioners of Brahman conduct. He greatly benefits all those who cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, pure Brahma conduct. Except for the Thus Come One, the Buddha, no one can fully appreciate his eloquence in discussion. The Bodhisattvas, Hearers, and Conditioned Enlightened Ones cannot out-debate the eloquent Purnamaitreyaniputra.

Sutra:

“You should not say that Purnamaitreyaniputra is only able to protect, support, and help propagate my Dharma alone. He has also, in the presence of ninety million Buddhas of the past, protected, supported, and helped to propagate those Buddhas’ Proper Dharma, being foremost among the speakers of Dharma.

Further, he has thoroughly understood the Dharma of emptiness taught by those Buddhas, and gained the four unobstructed wisdoms. He is always able to speak the Dharma, purely and precisely, without doubts. He has perfected the power of the Bodhisattva’s spiritual penetrations. Throughout his entire life, he has cultivated Brahman conduct. The Buddhas’ contemporaries all spoke of him as actually a Hearer, but this was just an expedient device he used in order to benefit limitless hundreds of thousands of living beings. He further transformed limitless asamkhyeyas of people, causing them to stand in anuttarasamyaksambodhi. In order to purify the Buddhalands, he constantly performs the Buddha’s work in teaching and transforming living beings.”

Outline:

L2. Narrating deeds of the past to reveal present roots. 

Commentary: 

Shakyamuni Buddha, fearing that his listeners might think that Purnamaitreyaniputra had only recently assumed the position of Foremost Speaker of Dharma, says, you should not say that Purnamaitreyputra is only able to protect, support, and help propagate my Dharma alone. He has also, in the presence of ninety million Buddhas of the past, protected, supported, and helped to propagate those Buddhas’ Proper Dharma. He made vows to help proclaim the Buddhadharma. Actually, it was not only ninety million. Ninety million just represents a large number. It could have been ninety million or ninety nine million; there is nothing fixed about it. Being foremost among the speakers of Dharma.

Further, he has thoroughly understood the Dharma of emptiness taught by those Buddhas. The Dharma of emptiness refers to the Prajna Dharma. And gained the four unobstructed wisdoms. “Four unobstructed wisdoms” refers to the four unobstructed eloquences.

1) Unobstructed eloquence in phrasing;

2) Unobstructed eloquence in meaning; this means that out of one principle he can derive limitless principles, and the limitless principles can all be traced back to the one principle. The one is many, and the many are the one. They perfectly interpenetrate.

3) Unobstructed eloquence in Dharma; from one Dharma, he understands the hundred Dharmas, and the hundred Dharmas revert to the one Dharma.

4) Unobstructed eloquence in delight in speech: if he merely had eloquence in phrasing, meaning, and Dharma, but took no delight in speech, no one would benefit. But, with the eloquence of delight in speech, one takes pleasure in speaking the Dharma in all situations. If a pig walks by, he says, “Hey, do not keep on being a pig. It is a miserable existence. All you do is eat and sleep. What meaning is there in that?” If he sees a dog, he says, “Quit being so stingy. Your greed has turned you into a dog, and it is really a dog’s life. You held on to your money so tightly it has turned into water, and then you wondered where it went! Now as a consequence you have turned into a dog.” Accordingly, you should speak the dharma for dogs when you see dogs.

When you see pigs, you should say, “Do not be so stupid and lazy! Being so useless, you will be killed and eaten in the future. People will say, ‘You fat pig, you are so fat that your meat is not too tasty!’ People who do not enjoy lean meat will say, ‘You pig, you do not even know how to eat. You are so skinny that your meat taste like wood.’ They will chew you out.” You speak dharma for pigs and dogs. You speak dharma in accord with the type of being. If you see hippies you speak the hippie-dharma. If you see non-hippies, you speak the dharma of non-hippies. Thus, the Dharma is spoken with delight to accord with living beings. Do not forget it. Without the fourth eloquence the first three are of no use.

He is always able to speak the Dharma, purely and precisely, without doubts.He speaks with great precision; he would never speak an impure dharma. Because he himself never has doubts about the Dharma, he never says anything to cause others to have doubts. If you yourself have doubts when you speak the Dharma, your listeners will certainly not believe you. “Let us not listen to him. He does not know what he is taking about,” they will say.

He has perfected the power of the Bodhisattvas’ spiritual penetrations. He may look like a Hearer, but he is really practicing the Bodhisattva Path.

Throughout his entire life, he has cultivated Brahman conduct, pure conduct.

The Buddhas’ contemporaries all spoke of him as actually a Hearer, but this was just an expedient device he used in order to benefit limitless hundreds of thousands of living beings. Everyone thought he was a Hearer, but he was really a Bodhisattva. Outwardly he appeared to be a Hearer, but inside, he practiced the Bodhisattva Path. He hid the great and manifested the small.

He further transformed limitless asamkhyeyas of people, causing them to stand in anuttarasamyaksambodhi to bring forth the mind for the utmost right and perfect enlightenment. In order to purify the Buddhalands, he constantly performs the Buddha’s work in teaching and transforming living beings.Because he wants to adorn and purify the Buddhalands, he is always doing the Buddha’s work; he never fails to benefit living beings. He is always busy teaching hundreds of thousands of millions of living beings.

Purnamaitreyaniputra used the four kinds of unobstructed eloquence to teach living beings, to lead them to bring forth the Bodhi mind and cultivate the supreme Path. We should learn these four types of eloquence, too. But, do not just learn the eloquence of delight in speech and then be turned by living beings. How is one turned by living beings? Originally, you want to save a pig, let us say, and so you speak Dharma to the pig. But you get confused by the pig and turn into a pig yourself! Say a left-home person wants to save a lay person. He ends up failing to save them and taking drugs himself! Or, say you try to save a dog and get real impressed by the dog. In the end, you turn into a dog yourself. Thus, the dog ends up “saving” you!

When I was in Manchuria, a friend of mine, a playwright, had a dog that he loved above all else. Eventually, the dog died and became a person. The person grew up and became the man’s wife. However, the wife nagged and picked at her husband constantly, sort of like a puppy barking and yelping. The man wanted to cultivate, but his wife would not let him. It was a difficult situation. If he accused her of fighting with him, she would say that she was just joking with him. If he tried to think of it like a joke, well, it sure seemed real enough. So he did not know what to do. Finally, he said to me, “My wife just gives me trouble all day long. I want to cultivate, but she would not let me.” I said, “You just do not have enough samadhi power. If you had samadhi power, she would stay away from you. If you just ignore her, she will eventually go away. When the conditions are over with, they disperse.”

He said, “Really?”

I said, “Try it out.”

So he practiced at home. He cultivated patience for three years; his wife scolded him for three years. Finally, she died. She was gone–no more dog bite.

Sutra:

“O Bhikshus, Purnamaitreyaniputra has been the foremost speaker of the Dharma for the past seven Buddhas, and he is also foremost speaker of Dharma under me. He will also be the foremost speaker of Dharma under all the Buddhas to come in the Worthy Kalpa, for whom he will protect, uphold and help in propagating the Buddhadharma. He shall also protect, uphold and help the Dharma of limitless, boundless numbers of future Buddhas, teaching, transforming and benefiting limitless living beings, causing them to stand in anuttarasamyaksambodhi. In order to purify the Buddhalands, he will be ever vigorous and diligent in teaching and transforming living beings.” 

Outline:

L3. Telling of the Buddhas of the three periods of time (causes cultivated with). 

Commentary: 

Shakyamuni Buddha tells the Bhikshus, O Bhikshus, Purnamaitreyaniputra has been the foremost speaker of the Dharma for the past seven Buddhas. This Hearer who “hides the great and manifests the small” has been the foremost speaker of the Dharma for the past seven Buddhas. The past seven Buddhas were:

1. Vipashin Buddha,
2. Shikin Buddha
3. Vishvabhu Buddha
4. Krakucchanda Buddha,
5. Kanakamuni Buddha,
6. Kashyapa Buddha,
7. Shakyamuni Buddha

Why was Purnamaitreyaniputra foremost speaker of Dharma under the first seven Buddhas? The phrase “seven Buddhas” actually includes Shakyamuni Buddha, but the Buddha mentions himself specifically. “Now, at present,” he says, “he is the foremost speaker of Dharma.”

How did he get to be the number one? I will tell you about the causes and conditions behind this. Long ago, limitless, limitless, limitless eons ago, he was a person who could not express himself verbally, and he could not speak the Dharma. This is not to say that he was a mute, he just could not talk very well. Every time someone was lecturing on the Sutras or Dharma, he made a point of going to listen. Not only that, when he listened to Sutras, he would not have to eat to get full or drink to satisfy his thirst. He did not even need to sleep! He took the Dharma as his food, drink, and sleep. That is no big deal.

At first he insisted on standing during the lecture to show his respect. Everyone else would be sitting down, but he would stand. Later, he got to feel that standing was not respectful enough, so he knelt whenever anyone lectured on the Sutras. If someone spoke the Dharma, he would kneel there with his palms together, very respectfully, listening. At that time, he could not talk very well. He had had a lot of experience listening to Dharma speakers, good ones and not-so-good ones, and so he made a vow: “In the future, I will certainly leave the home-life to become a Dharma Master, and I am going to be the best speaker of Dharma. I will sit beneath the Dharma Throne of every single Buddha and be foremost speaker of the Dharma. I will not be number two!” In every life he made that vow.

It was like planting a seed. Eventually, the seed of unobstructed eloquence sprouted, and he fulfilled his vow. He was born in the presence of a Buddha, and he had limitless wisdom and unobstructed eloquence. He opened great wisdom, attained great eloquence, and was the number one in speaking the Dharma. Now you know. If you want to be the number one, you have to have some real skill. If you do not have real skill, you cannot get that position. This is a general explanation of why Purnamaitreyaniputra is the number one at speaking the Dharma. It would not be possible to explain all the causes and conditions in detail. He received various benefits listening to Dharma from various Dharma Masters and gained various small awakenings leading to his final awakening. But, we cannot go into all that here.

And he is also foremost speaker of Dharma under me. It is not easy to be the number one. It is no simple thing. He will also be the foremost speaker of Dharma under all the Buddhas to come in the Worthy Kalpa. What is a Worthy Kalpa? It is the kalpa we are presently in, a kalpa that will see the emergence of many worthy sages. Shakyamuni Buddha is the fourth Buddha to appear in the Worthy Kalpa. Krakucchanda Buddha was the first. Kanakamuni Buddha was the second. Kashyapa Buddha was the third.

There will be a thousand Buddhas appearing in the Worthy Kalpa, and Purnamaitreyaniputra will be foremost speaker of Dharma in every Buddha’s assembly. So, you see that the number one position is not something you can take by force. He used his cultivated skill. If someone is a little better than you, be careful not to get jealous of him or her. “Hey, I cannot let him be number one!” That is a terrible attitude. If you want to be the number one, you have to work for it. You cannot steal it. You cannot try to take it by force. If everyone agrees that you are the number one, then that is different. You cannot force the issue. That is like stealing someone else’s money and putting it in your pocket. There is no glory in such riches.

In Buddhism you cannot fight to be number one, and you cannot be jealous or obstructive just because someone has a little talent. How should you be? You should praise them: “The more cultivation anyone has, the happier I am. Whoever is intelligent and wise, I will study with them.” Do not be jealous. If you get jealous, you will not have any great accomplishment because your mind is too petty. Purnamaitreyaniputra got the number one position through hard work. When he listened to the Sutras, he did not need to eat, drink, or sleep. What is more, when he heard the Dharma, he forgot absolutely everything else. He had no other hopes or false thoughts as he knelt to listen to the Dharma.

In the past there was a cultivator called the Living Buddha of Gold Mountain. Where did he get his name? It was very easy. He just wrote the two words “living Buddha” on his head like a billboard. He told everyone to call him by that name, and they did. He jumped off a many-storied pagoda and did not even get hurt! If anyone was sick, all he had to do was touch that person or blow a breath of air on that person, and they would get well. Or he might have the sick person drink some of his saliva or the water he had washed his feet with, and they would get well. He called this water “Prajna soup!”

Living Buddha he may have been, but whenever anyone lectured on the Sutras, no matter who they were, or whether they lectured well or not, he would kneel right on the ground to listen, without a pad or pillow. If you lectured for two hours, he would kneel there for two hours. If a Living Buddha knelt to listen to the Sutras, how much the more so should we “dead” Buddhas kneel! Ha! As a result of such bitter practices, he gained magical responses. When the monastery ran out of rice, the Abbot of Gold Mountain would send for the Living Buddha. “Hey! Go get us some rice!” he would say, and Living Buddha would come back with a lot of rice. How did he get it? He recited a mantra, saying, “Come on rice, come on rice…” and the rice showed up! That is how strange it was.

For whom he will protect, uphold, and help in propagating the Buddhadharma.He was first in speaking Dharma, but it was not because he declared himself number one. The Buddha pronounced him number one. You should all be very clear about this. I hope that none of you will fight over the number-one position. If you do, you will just become a thief.

He shall also protect, uphold, and help to propagate the Dharma of limitless, boundless numbers of future Buddhas, teaching, transforming, and benefiting limitless living beings, causing them to stand in anuttarasamyaksambodhi.Following the Worthy Kalpa, he will continue to be foremost speaker of Dharma in the Dharma Assemblies of countless Buddhas. He will teach and transform limitless living beings. He will benefit limitless living beings. He will cause living beings to stand firm in the utmost right and perfect enlightenment, the realization of Buddhahood.

In order to purify the Buddhalands, to adorn and purify all the Buddhalands, he will be ever vigorous and diligent in teaching and transforming living beings.Whoever can be vigorous can purify and adorn the Buddhalands. Whoever can remain unafraid in the face of so much work, can purify the Buddhalands. So we are now translating the Sutras and that is purifying the Buddhalands. We are not afraid of toiling for the future of Buddhism, and that is purifying the Buddhalands.

For example, the person who works might think, “He is just saying that so it sounds good. He is just going to give us more work!” That is not it at all. I would say the same thing whether you work or not. That is because I have not become a Buddha, and I do not want my land purified anyway. Whether you are lazy or vigorous is entirely up to you. If you are diligent, you are purifying the Buddhalands. If you are not, you are not purifying them. There is something else you should be clear about. If you purify the lands of other Buddhas, then in the future, when you become a Buddha, your land will be adorned and pure. This is to take the Buddha’s adornments as your own adornments. To purify other Buddhalands is to purify the Buddhaland of your own nature.

Since you are studying the Buddhadharma, in the future you are certainly going to become Buddhas. Therefore, if you are lazy now, in the future your land might be a land of ten evil turbidities! You will have twice as many turbidities in the future land as the land we are now in! I am not joking! It is true. If you do not cultivate now and purify the Buddhalands, your own land will be very unclean. I am not kidding you. All of you good knowing advisors should deeply understand the Buddhadharma, teach and transform living beings.

The Venerable Purnamaitreyaniputra taught and transformed living beings. The reason I can lecture Sutras now is because I was taught by the Venerable Purnamaitreyaniputra in the past. I basically cannot talk very well. I am pretty dense, denser than all of you. Although you do not dare to lecture the Sutras, you can say a few sentences. When I was young, I did not even talk. Now, I am speaking Dharma to you because I have been taught and transformed by Purnamaitreyaniputra. All of you should resolve to purify your Buddhalands. One of my disciples said, “Oh, now that we are putting out this magazine, we will have even more work to do!”

I said, “All the Buddhas of the past had more work to do than you, and they were not afraid!”

“Right,” he said, and I believe now he is not afraid of having too much to do.

Sutra:

He will gradually perfect the Bodhisattva Path, and after limitless asamkhyeyaeons he will in this land attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. His name will be Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, One Worthy of Offering, One of Proper and Universal Knowledge, One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct, Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, Supreme Lord, A Hero Who Subdues and Tames, A Teacher of Gods and Humans, The Buddha, The World Honored One.

Outline:

K2. Bestowing the prediction.
L1. Showing the perfection of cause and result. 

Commentary:

He will gradually perfect the Bodhisattva Path. Purnamaitreyaniputra will practice the Bodhisattva Way to perfection and become a Buddha. And after limitless asamkhyeya eons he will in this land, in the Saha World, attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. He will realize Buddhahood. His Buddha name will be Dharma Brightness Thus Come One. You should all remember that this will be his Buddha name.

One Worthy of Offerings from humans and gods, one of Proper and Universal Knowledge. He will know that the ten thousand dharmas are the mind, and the mind gives birth to the ten thousand dharmas–that is right and universal knowledge. One of Perfect Clarity and Conduct, his intelligence and wisdom are complete. Well-Gone One Who Understands the World, he understands what most did not understand. Supreme Lord means there is no one higher than the Buddha is. A Hero Who Subdues and Tames, he regulates all in the three realms. A Teacher of gods and Humans, he is a guide for those in the human realm and also for the gods. The Buddha, The World Honored One-honored by those in and beyond the world. All Buddhas have these Ten Titles.

Sutra:

This Buddha shall take great trichiliocosms as many as the sands in the Ganges River as his Buddhaland, with the seven jewels for earth. The land will be as level as the palm of one’s hand. It shall have no mountains or hills, gorges, gullies or ditches. It will be filled with pavilions and palaces of the seven jewels. The palaces of the gods will be located in space nearby so the humans and gods may consort and see one another.

Outline:

L2. Showing the vast adornments in that land.
M1. Vast adornments of the country.

Commentary: 

This Buddha, named Dharma Brightness, shall take great trichiliocosms as many as the sands in the Ganges River as his Buddhaland with the seven jewels for Earth: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls and carnelian. The land will be as level as the palm of one’s hand. There are two ways to explain this. The first is that the land will be level, like the palm of one’s hands.

“Well, the palm of my hand is not flat,” you might say. This does not mean our hands. It means the Buddha’s palm. The Buddha’s palm is perfectly flat. The other way to explain it is that in the ocean there is a kind of stone that is absolutely flat, without the slightest bump. The tone is called “palm” stone. It shall have no mountains or hills, gorges, gullies or ditches–no mountains, hills, valleys, or other uneven spots.

It will be filled with pavilions and palaces of the seven jewels. It will be filled with any beautiful buildings and scenic spots. The palaces of the Gods will be located in space nearby so the humans and gods may consort and see one another.The gods will be able to see the people, and the people will be able to see the gods. In this world, we can only see other people; we cannot see the gods. You say, “I have seen the gods.”

Well, maybe you have seen them. I have not. If everyone could see them as a matter of course, then you could say that we “see one another.” Just because a few people have the Heavenly Eye and have seen them does not mean people in general can see them. Those without the Heavenly Eye cannot see them.

Sutra:

There will be no evil paths and no women. All the living beings will be born by transformation and have no sexual desire. 

Outline:

M2. Only good destinies.

Commentary: 

There will be no evil paths. In the Buddhaland of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, the gods and humans will be able to see one another. Why is this? Because the people in that land will all have spiritual powers. They will all be able to fly and transform. Because of this, they can see each other. Also, there will be no hell-beings, animals, hungry ghosts, or asuras. Because there will be no hells, when people die, they will not suffer. Because there will be no hungry ghosts, when people are dead, they will not be hungry. Because there will be no animals, after they die, people will not be reborn as animals. So, there will be no evil paths and no women. Strange! No women in this land! “If there are no women,” you may wonder, “then where do the people come from?”

All the living beings will be born by transformation from lotus flowers. They will not have to be born from women. In the Land of Ultimate Bliss there are no women, either. In the Eastern Land of Akshobya Buddha, there are women. But although there are women, there is no sexual desire, and the women are also born from lotuses by transformation.

Purnamaitreyaniputra, who will be the Buddha Dharma Brightness, will have a land in which the living beings will be born from transformation, not from wombs. What is meant by “birth by transformation?” It means that originally there was nothing there and then all of a sudden, it appeared. The person just appears out of nowhere as it were. Some are born from trees by transformation. Trees can grow people! Some are born from the ocean by transformation. Everyone in Purnamaitreyaniputra’s land will have an inconceivable state.

And have no sexual desire. Sexual desire is impure. People who cultivate should not harbor thoughts of sexual desire; they should not have this kind of greed. If you are not even supposed to have such thought, how much the less should one actually indulge in sexual misconduct! Because they have no sexual desire, they attain great spiritual powers. They all have great spiritual powers, the spiritual powers of the Bodhisattvas.

Sutra:

They will obtain great spiritual penetrations. Their bodies will emit light, and they will be able to fly at will. Their resolve will be solid. They will be vigorous and wise. They will be golden colored, and adorned with the thirty-two marks. The living beings in that land will always take two kinds of food: The first, the food of Dharma joy and the second, the food of Dhyana happiness.

Outline:

M3. The perfect blessings and wisdom of the humans and gods. 

Commentary: 

Because they will have no sexual desire, they will obtain great spiritual penetrations. Their bodies will emit light. Because they are not born of sexual desire, rather by transformation, they will have great wisdom. Because they will have great wisdom, their bodies will give off light. They will be able to fly at will.Wherever they want to go, they just have to think, and–zip! They are there. Their resolve to cultivate the Buddhadharma will be solid, extremely solid. They will only go forward. They will never retreat. They will make progress everyday. Everyday they will be more vigorous. They will be vigorous and so they will be greatly wise. They all will be golden colored. The bodies of these living beings will be golden and adorned with the thirty-two marks. Their marks will be perfect. Even if they have not completed all the thirty-two marks, they will still adorn themselves towards that perfection.

The living beings in that land will always take two kinds of food. These two kinds of food are very unusual. The first kind is the food of Dharma joy. Yesterday I told you that when Purnamaitreyaniputra listened to the Dharma, he did not need to eat or sleep. How could he go without eating? It is because he gained the food of Dharma joy. It is like you students of the Buddhadharma now all eat one meal a day. This is something that is basically impossible. It is very difficult not to eat, because people’s most basic instincts are food and sex. People like to eat, and they have desire; these two instincts come with them at birth. Now you can listen to the Buddhadharma and forget about eating. Listening to the Dharma makes you so elated that you forget everything. You forget about eating, you forget about sleeping. If you nod out during the lectures, though, that does not count as being filled with Dharma joy!

The second kind is the food of Dhyana happiness. You meditate everyday. You sit in chan everyday. The more you sit, the more you enjoy it, and the happier you are. You cannot bear to get up from meditation. The flavor of Dhyana happiness is really extremely wonderful. Once you attain the happiness of Dhyana, wild horses cannot keep you from meditating. Why? It is because you have tasted this flavor, and you must sit in meditation and cultivate the flavor of Dhyana happiness.

There are many kinds of food. We living beings eat “portion food.” That is, we eat regular food. The gods eat by means of thought. The ghosts and spirits eat by “contact.”

“Portion” food means that everyone eats their share of food and gets full. That is how ordinary people eat. The gods eat by thought. They just think of food and they get full. This indicates they have gained a certain amount of Dhyana happiness. Ghosts and spirits eat by “contact.” They do not need to put the food in their mouths. They just take a good whiff of it and are full. If you have gained the Heavenly Eye, you will be able to see that a change takes place in the food you offer to the Buddha.

Let us take oranges and apples for example. Before you offer them to the Buddha, each orange, say, has two parts. There is the orange, and the orange-essence. If you have opened your Heavenly Eye, you will see the orange as “two” oranges, not one. Your ordinary eyes cannot see this. When you offer the orange to the Buddha, the Buddha accepts the orange-essence. After you have offered the orange, its essence is gone. The ghosts also eat this essence of the object. When you give something to the ghosts to eat, that is the part of it they eat. This is a very subtle process and is not something most people are aware of. In the land of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, the living beings will eat the foods of Dharma joy and Dhyana happiness.

Sutra:

The host of Bodhisattva will number in the limitless asamkhyeyas, of thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas. They will attain great spiritual penetrations and the Four types of Unobstructed Wisdom, they will be skilled at teaching and transforming all kinds of living beings. The host of Hearers will be uncountable and unreckonable in number. All will perfect the Six Penetrations, the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations.

Outline:

M4. The vast number of Bodhisattvas and Hearers. 

Commentary: 

The host of Bodhisattvas will number in the limitless asamkhyeyas of thousands of myriads of millions of nayutas. They will attain great spiritual penetrations and the Four types of Unobstructed Wisdom. Each Bodhisattva will have the four types of unobstructed eloquence, that kind of wisdom. They will be skilled at teaching and transforming all kinds of living beings. They will have perfected skill-in-means so that they can bestow the teaching in accord with the potential of living beings that receive it. They will speak the Dharma most appropriate to the individual.

There will be countless Bodhisattvas there, but what about the Hearers? Will there be Hearers in that land?

The host of Hearers will be uncountable and unreckonable in number. No matter how you try to count them, you will not be able to do so. All will perfect the Six Penetrations:

1. The penetration of the heavenly eye,
2. The penetration of the heavenly ear,
3. The penetration of others’ thoughts,
4. The penetration of past lives,
5. The penetration of the extinction of outflows,
6. The penetration of the complete spirit.

The Three Clarities:

1. The clarity of past lives,
2. The clarity of the heavenly eye, and
3. The clarity of the extinction of outflows.

And the Eight Liberations:

1. The liberation in which inwardly there is the mark of form, and outwardly form is contemplated.

2. The liberation in which inwardly there is no mark of form, and outwardly form is contemplated.

3. The liberation in which the pure body of wisdom certifies to the complete dwelling.

4. The liberation of the station of boundless emptiness.

5. The liberation of the station of boundless consciousness.

6. The liberation of the station of nothing whatsoever.

7. The liberation of the station of neither perception nor non-perception.

8. The liberation of the extinction of the skandhas of feeling and thought.

Sutra:

The realization of this Buddhaland will be thus adorned with limitless meritorious virtues.

Outline:

M5. General conclusion regarding the adornments. 

Commentary: 

The realization of this Buddhaland will be thus adorned with limitless meritorious virtues. It will be created by and adorned with merit and virtue.

Sutra:


The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness.” The country will be named “Well Purified.” 

Outline:

L3. Name of the eon and the country. 

Commentary: 

The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness.” The country will be named “Well Purified.” The Buddhaland of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One will be called “Well Purified.”

Sutra:

The life span of that Buddha will be limitless asamkhyeyaeons and his Dharma will abide for a very long time.

Outline:

L4. Life span as a Buddha and the Dharma’s dwelling. 

Commentary: 

The life span of that Buddha will be limitless asamkhyeya eons and his Dharma will abide for a very long time.

Sutra:

After that Buddha’s extinction, stupas of the seven jewels will be built everywhere in that land. 

Outline:

L5. Offerings to that Buddha’s sharira after his extinction. 

Commentary: 

After that Buddha’s extinction,stupas of the seven jewels will be built by his disciples to contain his relics. Everywhere in that land there will be sharira-stupas.

Sutra:

At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses saying,

“All of you Bhikshus listen well,
The path walked by the Buddha’s sons,
Because they thoroughly studied the expedient devices,
Was inconceivable.

Knowing that the multitudes delight in lesser dharmas,
And also that they fear great wisdom,
Therefore the Bodhisattvas
Become Hearers and Conditioned Enlightened Ones.

Employing countless expedient devices,
They transform all the varieties of living beings.
They speak of themselves as being Hearers,
Very far from the Path of the Buddha.

They cross over limitless multitudes,
Bringing them all to accomplishment.
Even those of little zeal and who are remiss
Are gradually caused to become Buddhas.

Inwardly they practice as Bodhisattvas,
While outwardly they manifest as Hearers
Of few desires, who despise birth and death,
While in reality they are purifying their Buddhalands.

Displaying to the multitudes the three poisons,
Appearing to have deviant views
In this way my disciples,
Expediently save living beings.

Were I to speak fully,
Of their various deeds of transformation
Living beings, hearing it,
Would harbor doubts within their minds.

Outline:

J2. Verse.
K1. Relating the past.
L1. General disclosure of past as a Hearer. 

Commentary: 

At that time, the World Honored One, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses saying, Shakyamuni Buddha wanted to repeat the principles he had just spoken to elaborate upon them.

All of you Bhikshus listen well, pay close attention. Do not be sloppy. The path walked by the Buddha’s sons, the Bodhisattva Path as walked by disciple Purnamaitreyaniputra. Because they thoroughly studied the expedient devices,studying the Buddhadharma well, mastering expedient devices was inconceivable.His state was not something that common people could understand. He cultivated the Bodhisattva Path.

Knowing that the multitudes delight in lesser dharmas. He knew that all living beings like petty, Small Vehicle Dharmas and do not like the Great Vehicle Dharma. And also that they fear great wisdom. They are afraid of the Buddha’s wisdom. Therefore the Bodhisattvas become Hearers and Conditioned Enlightened Ones. For this reason, the Bodhisattvas hide the great and manifest the small. They hide away their Bodhisattvaship and manifest in bodies of Hearers or Conditioned Enlightened Ones. Employing countless expedient devices, limitless, countless expedient devices, they transform all the varieties of living beings. They use all different kinds of Dharma-doors to teach and transform all kinds of living beings.

They speak of themselves as being Hearers. They say that they are Two Vehicle People, very far from the path of the Buddha. They cross over limitless multitudes, bringing them all to accomplishment. They teach, transform, and rescue limitless living beings; all of those living beings obtain the Way of the Buddha.

Even those of little zeal and who are remiss, are gradually caused to become Buddhas. “Little zeal” means that their resolve is for the lesser vehicle. “Remiss” means that they do not seek the Great Vehicle. Even though those of the Small Vehicle want to relax, to stop half way, the Bodhisattvas gradually teach them so that they can become Buddhas.

Inwardly they practice as Bodhisattvas while outwardly they manifest as Hearers. On the outside they look like your typical Hearer-type, but inside they are practicing the Bodhisattva Path. They are really great Bodhisattvas already. Of few desires, who despise birth and death. They have some desire, but not very much–very, very little. Hearers despise birth and death and want to escape from it. That is their focus on cultivation. Bodhisattvas on the other hand are not afraid of birth and death. They enter birth and death to save living beings. While in reality they are purifying their Buddhalands. They are practicing Bodhisattva practices.

Displaying to the multitudes the three poisons: greed, hatred and stupidity. They just do this for show, however. They do not really have the three poisons. Appearing to have deviant views, they would seem to have deviant views. This is like the Buddha’s disciple, Kalodayin, who pretends to be very fond of women. He did not like women really, though; he just pretended to. He put on a show, and no one could tell if it was for real or not. People with genuine wisdom knew that he was not really that way, he was just manifesting as having deviant views.

In this way, my disciples expediently save living beings. Shariputra would sometimes manifest anger. A disciple would manifest greed. Another disciple would manifest stupidity. People with wisdom knew that they were just putting on a show. My disciples contemplate the causes and conditions of living beings and manifest a style, when in reality they are just using this method to save living beings. Were I to speak fully, if I told the whole story of their various deeds of transformation; how they taught the Dharma to the living beings, hearing it, hearing about these states, would harbor doubts within their minds. They would have doubts. So, I am not going to go into detail about it.

Yesterday was the anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha’s leaving home. We should know the date of the anniversary of Shakyamuni Buddha’s leaving home. We should also not forget the date of the anniversary of our own leaving home. We should also remember what day we took refuge. The day we took refuge is like our new birthday. So do not forget what day you took refuge and what day you left home. You also should not forget how it was that you came to study the Buddhadharma.

The students of the Dharma in this hall were mainly introduced by Guo Rong. Guo Rong was studying (at the University of Washington) with Dr. Conze. Guo Rong influenced a lot of people to study the Buddhadharma. The old professor has, however, taken slightly ill. It is basically a small problem, and he does not need our help to get well. However, we should show our good feeling for him by reciting the Buddha’s name for him while contemplating the Buddhas of the ten directions coming to aid the old professor so that he can get well. That is what I hope you will do. I hope that my disciples will not take what I say as the wind passing by their ears and ignore it.

Sutra:

Now, this Purnamaitreyaniputra,
In the past under thousands of millions of Buddhas,
Has cultivated diligently his practice of the Path.
Proclaiming and protecting the Dharma of all Buddhas.

Seeking supreme wisdom,
In the presence of the Buddhas,
He appeared as the head of the disciples.
With much learning and with wisdom
He spoke without fear,
Leading the assembly to rejoice,
And never did he grow weary,
Participating in the Buddha’s work.

Having already crossed over into great spiritual penetrations,
And having perfected the four unobstructed wisdoms,
He knew the faculties of beings, sharp or dull,
And always spoke pure Dharma.

Proclaiming principles such as this,
He taught thousands of millions of multitudes,
To dwell in the Dharma of the Great Vehicle,
While he purified his own Buddhaland.

In the future, too, he will make offerings,
To limitless, countless Buddhas.
Helping to proclaim the Proper Dharma,
And also purifying his own Buddhaland.

Always using expedient devices,
He will speak the Dharma without fear,
Saving incalculable multitudes,
So that they accomplish All-Wisdom.

Outline:

L2. Purnamaitreyaniputra’s past.

Commentary: 

Now, this Purnamaitreyaniputra–The first twenty lines discuss Purnamaitreyaniputra’s past roots. The last eight lines generally discuss his future practices. In the past under thousands of millions of Buddhas, has cultivated diligently his practice of the Path, the pure path of the Great Vehicle Bodhisattva. Proclaiming and protecting the Dharma of all the Buddhas, teaching and maintaining the Dharma.

Seeking supreme wisdom, the supreme wisdom of the Thus Come One. In the presence of the Buddhas, he appeared as the head of the disciples. In the assembly of all those Buddhas, he was foremost in speaking the Dharma. He appeared as the head of the Disciples.

With much learning and with wisdom, he spoke without fear. He had attained the Four Fearlessnesses and spoke the Dharma fearlessly. Leading the assembly to rejoice, causing those who were listening to be delighted. And never did he grow weary. He never appeared to be tired of speaking and teaching the Buddhadharma. Participating in the Buddha’s work, he helped the Buddhas proclaim the Dharma.

Having already crossed over into great spiritual penetrations. He had already crossed over the sea of birth and death and attained great spiritual penetrations. And having perfected the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms, he knew the faculties of beings, sharp or dull. And always spoke pure Dharma. He knew the root-natures of all the living beings, if they were intelligent or dull. Proclaiming principles such as this, he taught thousands of millions of multitudes to dwell in the Dharma of the Great Vehicle, while he purified his own Buddhaland. He always spoke the supreme, pure, wonderful Dharma, propagating and proclaiming its principles. Although he manifested as a Hearer, his mind was always purifying his Buddhaland as a Bodhisattva.

In the future, too, he will make offerings to limitless, countless Buddhas,thereby cultivating his blessings. Helping to proclaim the Proper Dharma and also purifying his own Buddhaland. Outwardly, he will appear to be a lowly Hearer who helps lecture on the Dharma. Inwardly, in his true mind, he will be a Bodhisattva at work purifying his Buddhaland. Always using expedient devices, he will speak the Dharma without fear. He will employ clever expedient devices, speaking the wonderful Dharma without fear. Saving incalculable multitudes, so that they accomplish All-Wisdom. So they all realize the Buddha’s wisdom.

Sutra:

Having made offerings to Thus Come Ones
And protected and upheld the precious storehouse of Dharma,
He will then become a Buddha
By the name Dharma Brightness.

Outline:

K2 . The prediction.
L1. The perfection of cause and completion of fruit. 

Commentary: 

Having made offerings to Thus Come Ones, Purnamaitreyaniputra will make offerings to limitless Buddhas, as well as to save and rescue living beings, so that they realize All-Wisdom. And protected and upheld the precious storehouse of Dharma, the Buddhadharma. By making offerings, he will cultivate his blessings. By speaking the Dharma, he will cultivate his wisdom. He will then become a Buddha by the name of Dharma Brightness. His individual Buddha name will be Dharma Brightness.

Sutra:

His country will be named “Well Purified”
made of the seven jewels.
The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness”

Outline:

L2. Name of the country and eon.

Commentary: 

His country will be named “Well Purified” made of the seven jewels. The country referred to here is a trichiliocosm, that is one country that the Buddha teaches and transforms. His land will spread over universes as many as the motes of dust in the Ganges River for its territory. The ground in this country will not be just plain dirt. It will be made of the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls, and carnelian. The eon will be named “Jeweled Brightness.”

Sutra:

The host of Bodhisattvas, very great,
Will entirely fill that land,
Numbering in the limitless millions,
All with great spiritual penetrations,
And the perfect power of awesome virtue
The Hearers also will be countless.

Having the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations
And the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms,
They will constitute the Sangha there.
The living beings in that land,
Will all have severed sexual desire,
Born purely from transformation,
Their bodies adorned with perfect marks.

Taking Dharma-joy and Dharma-happiness as food,
They will have no thoughts of other kinds of food.
There will be no women there,
Nor any of the evil paths.

The Bhikshu Purna
Having perfected his virtue
Will gain such a pure land,
With a host of very many worthy sages.
Such are the limitless things, of which
I have now but spoken in a general way.”

Outline:

L3. The vast purity of that land. 

Commentary: 

The host of Bodhisattvas, very great, will entirely fill that land. The land will be filled with limitless, boundless, great Bodhisattvas. Numbering in the limitless millions, all with great spiritual penetrations and the perfect power of awesome virtue. Most of the Bodhisattvas in that land will be of this caliber.

The Hearers also will be countless, having the Three Clarities and the Eight Liberations, and the Four Unobstructed Wisdoms, the four kinds of unobstructed eloquence. They will constitute the Sangha there. They will make up the religious community in that land.

The living beings in that land will all have severed sexual desire. They might look like ordinary people, but they have no sexual desire. People in the Saha World can cultivate and cut off sexual desire too. There is a way to test this. If you have no sexual desire towards anyone, then if someone has sexual desire towards you, you will not be moved by it. In other words, it is not that you would not know that someone has desire for you. If you did not know, that would mean that you were like a piece of wood or a rock or something. But, even though you know someone has desire for you, you will not react with desire in yourself. That is what is meant by the phrase in The Vajra Sutra: “You should not produce that thought which does not dwell anywhere.” Not producing sexual desire means that you have severed sexual desire.

If you cultivate and have no sexual desire, then others will not have desire towards you. If you have sexual desire, others will have desire towards you. If you have no sexual desire, others will not, or if they do, and you are unmoved, there will be no problem. That is what it meant by having severed sexual desire.

Born purely from transformation, these people will all be born from lotuses through transformation–now you see them, now you don’t! Their bodies adorned with perfect marks, with the thirty-two marks and the eighty minor characteristics. Taking Dharma-joy and Dharma-happiness as food, they will have no thoughts of other kinds of food. These people will take the Dharma lectures as food and drink. They take hearing the Dharma as nourishment. As soon as they hear the Dharma, they are happy, they forget about their hunger. If you do not believe it, try it out. If you give rise to happiness, thinking, “I have never heard anything as wonderful as the Dharma! It is better than eating any wonderful dish!” Then in your happiness your hunger pangs will abate, because you would have been filled with the joy of Dharma.

As to the happiness of Dhyana, when people meditate, sometimes they would rather sit than eat. It is not because they are sick and had lost their appetite. It is rather that they are full already. They have taken meditation as their food and drink. In the land of Dharma Brightness Thus Come One, people will eat these two kinds of food: Dharma-joy and Dhyana-happiness. They will not think about any other kinds of food.

There will be no women there, nor any of the evil paths. The four evil destinies of hell-beings, hungry ghosts, animals, and asuras do not exist there. You say, “I do not understand this at all. If there are no women, how can there be people? I mean, er… How will people get born!” Didn’t I say before that they would be born by transformation from lotuses? Their parents will be the nine grades of lotuses. So I said before that the Land of Ultimate Bliss is populated by lotus-born beings. People in the Land of Dharma Brightness, “Well-Purified,” will also be born by lotuses, so there will not be any women.

The Bhikshu Purna having perfected his virtue, he will have perfected the three kinds of enlightenment: self-enlightenment, the enlightenment of others, and the perfection of enlightenment and practice. He will gain such a pure land with a host of very many worthy sages. Such are the limitless things, of which I have now but spoken in a general way. All these limitless doctrines, I have now just told you a little bit about.

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