THE SORROWLESS FLOWERS
221.Four Means of Attaining to a Happy Contentment
222. Four Disciplinary Processes
223. Four Kinds of Wonderfully Perfect Additional Practices
226. Buddhist Cosmology
227. Buddhist Outlook on Life
228. The Theory of Causation
229. Phenomenalism in Buddhism
230. The Three Accumulations of Pure Precepts
221. Four Means of Attaining to a Happy Contentment
According to The Lotus Sutra, there are four means of attaining to a happy contentment. In that sutra, the Buddha teaches us how to behave, to to speak, what kind of mental attitude to maintain, and how to endeavor to realize our ideal. Pleasant practice of the body, or to attain a happy contentment by proper direction of the deeds of the body. The Buddha taught the pleasant practice of the body by dividing it into two parts, a Bodhisattva’s spheres of action and of intimacy. A Bodhisattva’s sphere of action means his fundamental attitude as the basis of his personal behavior. A Bodhisattva is patient, gentle, and agreeable, and is neither hasty nor overbearing, his mind is always unperturbed. Unlike ordinary people, he is not conceited or boastful about his own good works. He must see all things in their reality. He never take a partial view of things. He acts toward all people with the same compassion and never making show of it. A Bodhisattva’s sphere of intimacy. The Buddha teaches a Bodhisattva’s sphere of intimacy by dividing it into ten areas: a Bodhisattva is not intimate with men of high position and influence in order to gain some benefit, nor does he compromise his preaching of the Law to them through excessive familiarity with them; a Bodhisattva is not intimate with heretics, composers of worldly literature or poetry, nor with those who chase for worldly life, nor with those who don’t care about life. Thus, a Bodhisattva must always be on the “Middle Way,” not adversely affected by the impurity of the above mentioned people; a Bodhisattva does not resort to brutal sports, such as boxing and wrestling, nor the various juggling performances of dancers and others; a Bodhisattva does not consort personally with those who kill creatures to make a living, such as butchers, fishermen, and hunters, and does not develop a callous attitude toward engaging in cruel conduct; a Bodhisattva does not consort with monks and nuns who seek peace and happiness for themselves and don’t care about other people, and who satisfy with their own personal isolation from earthly existence. Moreover, he does not become infected by their selfish ideas, nor develop a tendency to compromise with them in listening to the laws preached by them. If they come to him to hear the Law, he takes the opportunity to preach it, expect nothing in return; when he preaches the Law to women, he does not display an appearance capable of arousing passionate thoughts, and he maintains a correct mental attitude with great strictness; he does not become friendly with any hermaphrodite. This means that he needs to take a very prudent attitude when he teaches such a deformed person; he does not enter the homes of others alone. If for some reason he must do so, then he thinks single-mindedly of the Buddha. This is the Buddha’s admonition to the Bodhisattva to go everywhere together with the Buddha; if he preaches teh Law to lay women, he does not display his teeth in smile nor let his breast be seen; he takes no pleasure in keeping young pupils and children by his side. On the contrary, the Buddha admonishes the Bodhisattva ever to prefer meditation and seclusion and also to cultivate and control his mind. Pleasant practice of the mouth, or to attain a happy contentment by the words of the mouth: a Bodhisattva takes no pleasure in telling of the errors of other people or of the sutras; a Bodhisattva does not despise other preachers; he does not speak of the good and evil, the merits and demerits of other people, nor does he single out Sravakas by name and broadcast their errors and sins; he does not praise virtues and does not beget a jealous mind; he always maintains a cheerful and open mind. If someone asks difficult questions, he does not answer if he does not know the answer. Pleasant practice of the mind, or to attain a happy contentment by the thoughts of the mind: he does not harbor an envious or deceitful mind; he does not slight or abuse other learners of the Buddha’s teachings, even if they are beginners, nor does he seek out their excesses and shortcomings; if there are people who seek the Bodhisattva-way, he does not distress them, causing them to feel doubt and regret, nor does he say discouraging things to them; he should not indulge in discussions about the laws or engage in dispute but should devote himself to discussion of the practice to save all living beings; he should think of saving all living beings from their sufferings through his great compassion; he should think of the Buddhas as benevolent fathers; he should think of the Bodhisattvas as his great teachers; he should preach the Law equally to all living beings. Pleasant practice of the vow, or to attain a happy contentment by the will to preach all sutras. In the Dharma ending age, Bodhisattvas should beget a spirit of great charity toward both laypeople and monks who are not yet Bodhisattvas with a spirit of great compassion.
222. Four Disciplinary Processes
According to the first patriarch Bodhidharma, there are four disciplinary processes for Zen practitioners. First, the Requite Hatred. What is meant by ‘How to requite hatred?’ Those who discipline themselves in the Path should think thus when they have to struggle with adverse conditions: “During the innumerable past eons I have wandered through multiplicity of existences, never thought of cultivation, and thus creating infinite occasions for hate, ill-will, and wrong-doing. Even though in this life I have committed no violations, the fruits of evil deeds in the past are to be gathered now. Neither gods nor men can fortell what is coming upon me. I will submit myself willingly and patiently to all the ills that befall me, and I will never bemoan or complain. In the sutra it is said not to worry over ills that may happen to you, because I thoroughly understand the law of cause and effect. This is called the conduct of making the best use of hatred and turned it into the service in one’s advance towards the Path. Second, the Obedient to Karma. Being obedient to karma, there is not ‘self’ (atman) in whatever beings that are produced by the interplay of karmic conditions; pain and pleasure we suffer are also the results of our previous action. If I am rewarded with fortune, honor, etc., this is the outcome of my past deeds which, by reason of causation, affect my present life. When the force of karma is exhausted, the result I am enjoying now will disappear; what is then the use of being joyful over it? Gain or loss, let us accept karma as it brings us the one or the other; the spirit itself knows neither increase nor decrease. The wind of gladness does not move it, as it is silently in harmony with the Path. Therefore, his is called ‘being obedient to karma.’ Third, Not to Seek After Anything. By ‘not seeking after anything’ is meant this: “Men of the world, in eternal confusion, are attached everywhere to one thing or another, which is called seeking. The wise, however, understand the truth and are not like the vulgar. Their minds abide serenely in the uncreated while the body turns about in accordance with the laws of causation. All things are empty and there is nothing desirable and to be sought after. Wherever there is nothing merit of brightness there follows the demerit of darkness. The triple world there one stays too long is like a house on fire; all that has a body suffers, and who would ever know what is rest? Because the wise are thoroughly acquainted with this truth, they get neer attached to anything that becomes, their thoughts are quieted, they never seek. Says the sutra: ‘Wherever there is seeking, there you have sufferings; when seeking ceases you are blessed. Thus we know that not to seek is verily the way to the truth. Therefore, one should not seek after anything.” Fourth, Being in Accord with the Dharma. By ‘being in accord with the Dharma; is meant that the reason in its essence is pure which we call the Dharma, and that this reason is the principle of emptines in all that is manifested, as it is above defilements and attachments, and as there is no ‘self’ or ‘other’ in it. Says the sutra: ‘In the Dharma there are no sentient beings, because it is free from the stains of being; in the Dharma there is no Self because it is free from the stain of selfhood. When the wise understand this truth and believe in it, their conduct will be in accordance with the Dharma. As the Dharma in essence has no desire to possess, the wise are ever ready to practise charity with their body, life, property, and they never begrudge, they never know what in ill grace means. As they have a perfect understanding of the threefold nature of emptiness they are above partiality and attachment. Only because of their will to cleanse all beings of their stains, they come among them as of them, but they are not attached to the form. This is known as the inner aspect of their life. They , however, know also how to benefit others, and again how to clarify the path of enlightenment. As with the virtue of charity, so with the other five virtues in the Prajnaparamita. That the wise practise the six virtues of perfection is to get rid of confused thoughts, and yet they are not conscious of their doings. This is called ‘being in accord with the Dharma. The practice being in accord with the Dharma. This practice is applied in both the Pure Land and the Zen sects. True Thusness Dharma for the Pure Land When Pure Land Practitioners’ mind should always focus on the words “Amitabha Buddha.” True Thusness Dharma for the Zen when Zen cultivators’ mind should always be in accord with the Thusness, whether they are walking, standing, reclining, or sitting, without leaving the “Mindfulness.”
223. Four Kinds of Wonderfully Perfect Additional Practices
According to the Surangama Sutra, book Eight, the Buddha reminded Ananda as follows: “Ananda! When these good men have completely purified these forty-one minds, they further accomplish four kinds of wonderfully perfect additional practices.” First, Level of Heat. When the enlightenment of a Buddha is just about to become a function of his own mind, it is on the verge of emerging but has not yet emerged, and so it can be compared to the point just before wood ignites when it is drilled to produce fire. Therefore, it is called ‘the level of heat.’ Second, Level of the Summit. He continues on with his mind, treading where the Buddhas tread, as if relying and yet not. It is as if he were climbing a lofty mountain, to the point where his body is in space but there remains a slight obstruction beneath him. Therefore it is called ‘the level of the summit.’ Third, Level of Patience. When the mind and the Buddha are two and yet the same, he has well obtained the middle way. He is like someone who endures something when it seems impossible to either hold it in or let it out. Therefore it is called ‘‘he level of patience.’’ Fourth, Level of Being First in the World. When numbers are destroyed, there are no such designations as the middle way or as confusion and enlightenment; this is called the ‘level of being first in the world.’
Faith plays an extremely important role in Buddhism. It is one of the Five Roots (Positive Agents) that give rise to other wholesome Dharmas (Faith, Energy, Mindfulness, Concentration, Wisdom). Faith regarded as the faculty of the mind which sees, appropriates, and trusts the things of religion; it joyfully trusts in the Buddha, in the pure virtue of the Triratna and earthly and transcendental goodness; it is the cause of the pure life, and the solvent of doubt. In Buddhism, doubt means having no faith that is directed towards the Four Truths, the Three Jewels, cause and effect, and so on. When we are in doubt in the Three Jewel, we cannot advance in our path of cultivation. When we doubt the law of cause and effect, we will not hesitate to create karmas. When we are in doubt in the four truths, it is extremely difficult for us to attain liberation. According to The Pureland Buddhism, faith is believing in the Ultimate Bliss World truly exists just as the Saha World on which we are currently living. Faith means to have faith that Amitabha Buddha is always protecting and will readily rescue and deliver any sentient being who knows to respect and recite sincerely His name. While practice means to take action or make application of the teaching. And vow means to wish to attain Buddhahood or to gain rebirth in the Ultimate Bliss World. According to Most Venerable Thích Thiền Tâm in The Thirteen Patriarchs of Pureland Buddhism, with point of view from the Pureland, practice means to take action or make application of the teaching. This means to recite often the virtuous name “Namo Amitabha Buddha” without distraction and without chaos throughout one’s life. The Pure Land followers believe that “Vow” is with each thought that arises, there is a “love and yearning” to gain rebirth in the Ultimate Bliss World, and with each thought, there is a “wish and prayer” To achieve a place in the nine-levels of Golden Lotus. In these three components of faith, practice, and vow, it is absolutely essential for the Pureland cultivator to have all three; however, vow is the most important. The Great Master Ou-I, the Ninth Patriarch of Pureland Buddhism taught: “If Faith and Vow are solidified, when nearing death, it is possible to gain rebirth by reciting the Buddha’s name in ten recitations. In contrast, no matter how much one recites Buddha, if Faith and Vow are weak and deficient, then this will result only in reaping the merits and blessings in the Heavenly or Human realms.” However, this teaching only applies to beings with higher faculties. As for us, beings with low faculties, thin blessings and heavy karmas; if we wish to gain rebirth to the Ultimate Bliss World, we must have Faith, Practices and Vow. In other words, we must carry out both parts of Theory and Practice.
According to Buddhism, “Faith” regarded as the faculty of the mind which sees, appropriates, and trusts the things of religion; it joyfully trusts in the Buddha, in the pure virtue of the Triratna and earthly and transcendental goodness; it is the cause of the pure life, and the solvent of doubt. The question is to what place, faith is placed in Buddhism? Faith in Buddhism is totally different from faith in other religions. While other religions confirm that to believe means to be saved. Faith in Buddhism, in the contrary, faith means acceptance in the believe and knowledge, and there is nothing to do with “to believe means to be saved” in Buddhism. In Buddhism, faith means acceptance in the believe and knowledge that taking the three refuges and cultivating in accordance with the Buddha’s Teachings. Sincere Buddhists do not only believe in the Buddha as the noblest of Teachers, in the Buddhist Doctrines preached by Him, and in His Sangha Order, but practice His precepts in daily life. In Buddhism, there exists no “blind faith.” In no circumstances the term “believe or be damned” survives in Buddhism. In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha taught: “Nothing should be accepted merely on the grounds of tradition or the authority of the teacher, or because it is the view of a large number of people, distinguished or otherwise. We must not believe in a thing said merely because it is said; nor in traditions because they have been handed down from antiquity; nor rumors; nor writings by sages, merely because sages wrote them; nor fancies that we may suspect to have been inspired in us by a Deva; nor from inferences drawn from some haphazard assumption we may have made; nor because of what seems analogical necessity; nor on the mere authority of our own teachers or masters. We are to believe when the writing doctrine or saying is corroborated by our own reason and consciousness. In other words, everything should be carefully weighed, examined and judged according to whether it is true or false in the light of one convictions. If considered wrong, they should not be rejected immediately, but left for further consideration.” However, according to The Pureland Buddhism, faith is believing in the Ultimate Bliss World truly exists just as the Saha World on which we are currently living. Faith means to have faith that Amitabha Buddha is always protecting and will readily rescue and deliver any sentient being who knows to respect and recite sincerely His name. The religious life which is evolved from faith in the teaching of others. It is that of the unintellectual type, in contrast with those whose intelligence is sharp, their religious life is evolved from practice on the teaching of others.
According to Most Venerable Thích Thiền Tâm in The Thirteen Patriarchs of Pureland Buddhism, he emphasized that to have Faith is to believe in the following six elements: 1) What is self-faith or faith in one’s self ? This is to have faith that everything is created within one’s mind; therefore, if a practitioner recites Buddha, then, absolutely, Buddha will receive him or her. 2) What is faith in others? This is to have faith that Sakyamuni Buddha would never speak falsely and Amitabha Buddha did not make empty vows. Therefore, if cultivators practice according to Pureland teachings, then Amitabha Buddha will deliver them to the Ultimate World. 3) What is it to have faith in causation? This is to believe that reciting Buddha is the action or cause for gaining rebirth and enlightenment. 4) What is it to believe in effect? To believe in effect means to believe that in the matter of gaining rebirth and attaining Buddhahood as the end result, or the consequence of reciting Buddha. 5) What is it to have faith in practice? To faith faith in practice means to believe in the existence of the Western Pureland and that the forms and characteristics in the Ultimate Bliss World that the Buddha spoke of it in the sutras are all true. It exists just as this Saha World really exists. 6) What is it to have faith in theory? This is to believe that “all theories are within the mind;” thus, the mind encompasses all the infinite Buddha Lands in the ten directions.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of indestructible faith of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the supreme indestructible faith of great knowledge of Buddhas: have indestructible faith in all Buddhas, in all Buddhas’ teachings, in all wise and holy mendicants, in all enlightening beings, in all genuine teachers, in all sentient beings, in all great vows of enlightening beings, in all practices of enlightening beings, in honoring and serving all Buddhas, and in the skillful mystic techniques of enlightening beings. In the Surangama Sutra, book Eight, the Buddha reminded Ananda about the ten grades of Bodhisattva faith: 1) The mind that resides in faith and faith which destroys illusions. With the mind centered in the middle, they enter the flow where wonderful perfection reveals itself. From the truth of that wonderful perfection there repeatedly arise wonders of truth. They always dwell in the wonder of faith, until all false thinking is completely eliminated and the middle way is totally true. 2) True faith, unforgetfulness or the mind that resides in mindfulness. When true faith is clearly understood, then perfect penetration is total, and the three aspects of skandhas, places, and realms are no longer obstructions. Then all their habits throughout innumerable kalpas of past and future, during which they abandon bodies and receive bodies, appear to them now in the present moment. These good people can remember everything and forget nothing. This is called “The mind that resides in mindfulness.” 3) Zealous progress or the mind that resides in vigor. When the wonderful perfection is completely true, that essential truth brings about a transformation. They go beyond the beginningless habits to reach the one essential brightness. Relying solely on this essential brightness, they progress toward true purity. This is called the mind of vigor. 4) Wisdom or the mind resides in wisdom. The essence of the mind reveals itself as total wisdom; this is called the mind that resides in wisdom. 5) Settled firmness on concentration, or settled firmness on concentration or the mind that resides in samadhi. As the wisdom and brightness are held steadfast, a profound stillness pervades. The stage at which the majesty of this stillness becomes constant and solid. This is called the mind that resides in samadhi. 6) Non-retrogression or the mind that resides in irreversibility. The light of samadhi emits brightness. When the essence of the brightness enters deeply within, they only advance and never retreat. This is called the mind of irreversibility. 7) Protection of the Truth or the mind that resides in protecting the Dharma. When the progress of their minds is secure, and they hold their minds and protect them without loss, they connect with the life-breath of the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions. This is called the mind that protects the Dharma. 8) Reflexive powers or the mind that resides in Making Transferences. Protecting their light of enlightenment, they can use this wonderful force to return to the Buddha’s light of compassion and come back to stand firm with the Buddha. It is like two mirrors that are set facing one another, so that between them the exquisite images interreflect and enter into one another layer upon layer. This is called the mind of transferencẹ. 9) The nirvana mind in effortlessness or the mind that resides in precepts. With this secret interplay of light, they obtain the Buddha’s eternal solidity and unsurpassed wonderful purity. Dwelling in the unconditioned, they know no loss or dissipation. This is called the mind that resides in precepts. 10) Abiding in the precepts, or action at will in anything in anywhere or the mind that resides in vows. Abiding in the precepts with self-mastery, they can roam throughout the ten directions, going anywhere they wish. This is called the mind that resides in vows.
In the Kalama Sutra, the Buddha taught: “Do not have Faith (believe) in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe in anything because it is spoken or rumoured by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found in religious books. Do not believe in anything only because it is taught by your teachers or elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that everything agrees with reason and is for the benefit of all beings, then accept it and live accordingly.”
“Prani (Praniddhana)” is a Sanskrit term for “Aspiration”. In general, this term refers to the fulfillment of religious vows and developing a correct attitude toward religious practice. A bodhisattva vow, which is the first step on the way to enlightenment A vow to onself as self-dedication, usually bodhisattva vows above to seek Bodhi and below to save beings or to save all beings before benefiting from his own enlightenment or entering into nirvana. In Mahayana Buddhism, “Praniddhana” is the seventh in the tenfold list of Paramitas that a Bodhisattva cultivates during the path to Buddhahood. Vow is something that comes from the heart and soul, a deep rooted promise, swearing to be unrelenting in seeking to attain a goal. This is having a certain mind-set or something one wishes to achieve and never give up until the objective is realized. Thus, there there should be absolutely no reason whatsoever that should cause one to regress or give up that vow or promise. Sincere Buddhists should vow to follow the teachings to sultivate to become Buddhas, then to use the magnificent Dharma of enlightenment of the Buddhas and vow to give them to all sentient beings to abandon their ignorance to cross over to enlightenment, to abandon delusion to follow truths. According to the Pureland Buddhism, Vow is to wish sincerely, praying to find liberation from the sufferings of this saha World, to gain rebirth to the peaceful Ultimate Bliss World. According to the Pure Land Sect, devout Buddhists should make vow to benefit self and others, and to fulfil the vow so as to be born in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. This is the third of the five doors or ways of entering the Pure Land. Devoted Buddhists should always vow: “Awaken mind with a longing for Bodhicitta, deeply believe in the law of Cause and Effect, recite Mahayana sutras, encourage other cultivators and save other sentient beings.”
The power of vows eradicates heavy karma, wipes away all illnesses of mind and body at their karmic source, subdues demons and can move gods and humans to respect. Thus, devoted Buddhists should be issued from the realm of the Buddha-teaching, always accomplish the preservation of the Buddha-teaching, vow to sustain the lineage of Buddhas, be oriented toward rebirth in the family of Buddhas, and seek omniscient knowledge. All Buddhists want to cross the sea of sufferings and afflictions while vows are like a boat which can carry them across the sea of birth and death to the other shore of Nirvana. Some Buddhists learn to practice special vows from Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Medicine Buddha or Amitabha Buddha, etc. This is good, but these vows are still their special vows. We must make our own vows. When set up our own vows that means we have our own aim to reach in cultivation. Besides, once we have made our vows, even if we want to slack off in our cultivation, we won’t dare, because the vows were already sealed in our mind.
According to the Pure Land Sect, there are two main aspects to making the joyous vows of “rescuing oneself and others.” The first is that the practitioner should clearly realize the goal of rebirth; and the second is that the practitioner wants to ensure of rebirth in the Pure Land. The goal of our cultivation is to seek escape from suffering for him/herself and all sentient beings. He/She should think thus: ‘My own strength is limited, I am still bound by karma; moreover, in this evil, defiled life, the circumstances and conditions leading to afflictions are overpowering. That is why other sentient beings and myself are drowning in the river of delusion, wandering along the evil paths from time immemorial. The wheel of birth and death is spinning without end; how can I find a way to rescue myself and others in a safe, sure manner? There is but one solution, it is to seek rebirh in the Pure Land, draw close to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, and relying on the supremely auspicious environment of that realm, engaging in cultivation and attain the Tolerance of Non-Birth. Only then can I enter the evil world to rescue sentient beings. The Treatise on Rebirth states: “To develop the Bodhi-Mind is precisely to seek Buddhahood; to seek Buddhahood is to develop the Mind of rescuing sentient beings; and the Mind of rescuing sentient beings is none other than the Mind that gathers all beings and helps them achieve rebirth in the Pure Land. Moreover, to ensure rebirth, we should perfect two practices; first is abandoning the three things that hinder enlightenment, second is abiding by the three things that foster enlightenment. How can we abandon the things that hinder enlightenment and abide by the things that foster enlightenment? It is precisely by seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land, remaining constantly near the Buddhas and cultivating the Dharmas until Tolerance of Non-Birth is reached. At that point, we may sail the boat of great vows at will, enter the sea of Birth and Death and rescue sentient beings with wisdom and compassion ‘adapting to conditions but fundamentally unchanging,’ free and unimpeded. The practitioner must abandon the three things that hinder enlightenment: the mind of seeking our own peace and happiness, ego-grasping and attachment to our own bodies. The practitioner should follow the path of wisdom and leave all such thoughts far behind; the mind of abandoning and failing to rescue sentient beings from suffering. The practitioner should follow the path of compassion and leave all such thoughts far behind; the mind of exclusively seeking respect and offerings, without seeking ways to benefit sentient beings and bring them peace and happiness. The practitioner should follow the path of expendients and leave all such thoughts far behind. The practitioner must obtain the three things that foster enlightenment: 1) Undefiled Pure Mind of not seeking personal happiness, that is enlightenment is the state of undefiled purity. If we seek after personal pleasure, body and Mind are defiled and obstruct the path of enlightenment. Therefore, the undefiled Pure Mind is called consonant with enlightenment. 2) Pure Mind at Peace, or the mind that seeks to rescue all sentient beings from suffering. This is because Bodhi is the undefiled Pure Mind which gives peace and happiness to sentient beings. If we are not rescuing sentient beings and helping them escape the sufferings of Birth and death, we are going to counter to Bodhi path. Therefore, a Mind focussed on saving others, bringing them peace and happiness, is call consonant with enlightenment. 3) A ‘Blissful Pure Mind,’ or the mind that seeks to help sentient beings achieve Great Nirvana. Because Great Nirvana is the ultimate, eternally blissful realm. If we do not help sentient beings achieve it, we obstruct the Bodhi path. Hence the Mind which seeks to help sentient beings attain eternal bliss is called consonant with enlightenment. The cultivator should contemplate the wholesome characteristics of the Pure Land and auspicious features of Amitabha Buddha: The cultivator should contemplate the auspicious features of Amitabha Buddha. Amitabha Buddha possesses a resplendent, golden Reward Body, replete with 84,000 major characteristics, each characteristic having 84,000 minor auspicious signs, each sign beaming 84,000 rays of light which illuminate the entire Dharma Realm and gather in those sentient beings who recite the Buddha’s name. The Western Pure Land is adorned with seven treasures, as explained in the Pure Land sutras. In addition, when practicing charity, keeping the precepts and performing all kinds of good deeds, Pure Land practitioners should always dedicate the merits toward rebirth in the Pure Land for themselves and all other sentient beings.
Besides, practitioners should also vow to attain bodhi, and save all beings to the other shore. The Bodhisattva pranidhana was inspired by his recognition of the terrible suffering of the world. There are four magnanimous Vows or four all-encompassing vows, while Amitabha Buddha has forty-eight vows. According to Mahayana tradition, there are three great Bodhisattvas: Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, and Samantabhadra who represent respectively the great compassion, wisdom and vows of all Buddhas. In the vows of Bodhisattvas, the compassionate zeal of the ideal Bodhisattva whose only concern in life is to relieve the pains and burdens of all sentient beings, and to bestow upon them true happiness through the achievement of Buddhahood. A Bodhisattva is aspirant of the achievement of perfect wisdom in a ruesome world of beings that know no solution because of the frame of their unrestive mind. The Bodhisattva has perfect insight into the conditioned world. It is because of the luminosity which he bears toward all out of his boundless openness. The “Sundry Practices” is the method in which the cultivator engages in many practices seeking rebirth in the Pure Land. Thus, in the Avatamsaka Sutra, the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra advises and urges the youth Sudhana (Good Wealth) and the Ocean-Wide Great Assembly to seek rebirth throught the Ten Great Vows. Each Vow contains the clause: “When the realm of empty space is exhausted, my Vows will be exhausted. But because the realm of empty space is inexhaustible, my Vows will never end. In the same way, when the realm of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings are exhausted, my Vows will be exhausted. But the realms of living beings, the karma of living beings, and the afflictions of living beings are inexhaustible. Therefore, my Vows are inexhaustible. They continue in thought after thought without cease. My body, mouth and mind never tire of doing these deeds. At the time of death, when all family and possessions are left behind and all faculties disintegrate, only these great vows will follow close behind, and in an instant, the practitioner will be reborn in the Pure Land. Besides, practitioners should be filial toward their parents and support them; serve and respect their teachers and elders; be of compassionate heart and abstain from doing harm; and cultivate the ten virtuous actions. They should accept and hold on to their refuge in the Three Jewels; perfectly observe all moral precepts and not lower their dignity nor neglect ceremonial observances. They should awaken in their Minds a longing for Bodhi, deeply believe in the principle of cause and effect, recite Mahayana sutras, persuade and encourage other practitioners. Furthermore, those who perform good deeds, carrying them out to perfection and transferring the merits with a Mind of faith and vows, can all achieve rebirth as well. These meritorious acts include erecting temples, stupas and statues of the Buddhas, worshipping the Buddhas, burning incense, offering flowers, donating pennants and other decorations to Buddhist temples, making offerings of food to the clergy, practicing charity, etc.
226. Buddhist Cosmology
According to the Buddhist view on the universe, the universe is infinite. However, if we speak about the formation of our world system, we can speak about the formation process as follows: “In terms of elements that form the universe, wind is the first one. Its basis is space. Then the wind moves, and in dependence on the moving of the wind, heat occurs; then moisture, then solidity or earth.” Buddhist cosmology not only takes into account the existence of innumerable systems of worlds grouped into what we should call galaxies, but has equally vast conceptions of cosmic time. The Buddha proclaimed that on the highest level of understanding the entire cosmos is the original pure mind. However, on the ordinary level of understanding he painted a picture of a cosmos filled with countless worls systems where countless of living beings of every short reside. Thus, our world system is not the only unique or the only one world system in the universe. Other world systems also have their Buddhas who also teach the path of enlightenment. The most ancient Buddhist texts speak of the various phases in the evolution and devolution over enormous time-periods of these galaxies, how they gradually formed and how after a period or relative stability during which life may be found on their worlds, how, inevitably having come into existence, they must in due course decline and go to destruction. All this is the working of processes, one vent leading quite naturally to another. As you know that although the Buddha discovered the presence of numerous Gods throughout the universe, he never tried to diminish the importance of the God worshipped by the people of his time. He simply preached the truth and that truth does not affect the importance of any Gods. Similarly, the fact that there are numerous suns in the universe does not diminish the importance of the sun of our solar system, for our sun continues to provide us with light every day. To some other religions, Gods can be very powerful compared to human beings, but to Buddhism, they are still not free from sufferings and afflictions, and can be very angry. The life of Gods may be very long, but not eternal as many other religions believe.
Outlook on life and universe has been discussed by a lot of famous scholars in the world. Examination of the origin or nature of life and universe is the task of the metaphysic experts. This problem has a very important position in philosophy. It was examined from the beginning of the Egyptian, Indian and Chinese civilizations. This book is designed to give you only an overview of the Buddhist cosmology. Buddhist cosmology not only takes into account the existence of innumerable systems of worlds grouped into what we should call galaxies, but has equally vast conceptions of cosmic time. According to Buddhist cosmology, the earth goes through periodic cycles. In some of the cycles it improves, in others it degenerates. The average age of a man is an index of the quality of the period in which the person lives. It may vary between 10 years and many hundreds of thousands of years. At the time of Sakyamuni Buddha, the average life-span was 100 years. After him, the world becomes more depraved, and the life of man shortens. The peak of sin and misery will be reached when the average life has fallen to 10 years. The Dharma of Sakyamuni Buddha will then be completely forgotten. But after that the upward swing begins again. When the life of man reaches 80,000 years, Maitreya Buddha from the Tusita Heaven will appear on the earth. Besides, the most ancient Buddhist texts speak of the various phases in the evolution and devolution over enormous time-periods of these galaxies, how they gradually formed and how after a period or relative stability during which life may be found on their worlds, how, inevitably having come into existence, they must in due course decline and go to destruction. All this is the working of processes, one vent leading quite naturally to another. The Buddha was the Teacher who discovered the real nature of the universal cosmic law and advised us to live in accordance with this law. The Buddha confirmed that it is impossible for anyone to escape from such cosmic laws by praying to an almighty god, because this universal law is unbiased. However, the Buddha has taught us how to stop bad practices by increasing good deeds, and training the mind to eradicate evil thoughts. According to the Buddha, a man can even become a god if he leads a decent and righteous way of life regardless of his religious belief. It is to say a man someday can obtain peace, mindfulness, wisdom and liberation if he is willing to cultivate to perfect himself. The Buddha Sakyamuni himself realized the Noble Truths, considered all metaphysical questions are empty. He often kept silent and gave no answers to such metaphysical questions, because for Him, those questions do not realistically relate to the purpose of Buddhists, the purpose of all Buddhists is the final freedom. According to the Buddha, how can a man know what the universe really is when he cannot understand who he really is? Therefore, the Buddha taught: “The practical way for a man is turning back to himself and seeing where and who he is and what he is doing so that he can overcome the destruction of all hindrances to the truth of all things. That is to say, he has to cultivate to purify his body and mind.” For the universe, the Buddha declared that the material world is formed by the Four Great Elements as many Indian thinkers before Him did. These are Earth element, Water element, Fire element and Air element. These elements are dynamic and impermanent, therefore, all existing things compounded by them must be impermanent too. The problem about the origin of the four elements becomes senseless and is unacceptable to the truth of Dependent Origination which was discovered and taught by the Buddha.
227. Buddhist Outlook on Life
It is wrong to imagine that the Buddhist outlook on life and the world is a gloomy one, and that the Buddhist is in low spirit. Far from it, a Buddhist smiles as he walks through life. He who understands the true nature of life is the happiest individual, for he is not upset by the evanescent (extremely small) nature of things. He tries to see things as they are, and not as they seem to be. Conflicts arise in man when he is confronted with the facts of life such as aging, illness, death and so forth, but frustration and disappointment do not vex him when he is ready to face them with a brave heart. This view of life is neither pessimistic nor optimistic, but the realistic view. The man who ignores the principle of unrest in things, the intrinsic nature of suffering, is upset when confronted with the vicissitudes of life. Man’s recognition of pleasures as lasting, leads to much vexation, when things occur quite contrary to his expectations. It is therefore necessary to cultivate a detached outlook towards life and things pertaining to life. Detachment can not bring about frustration, disappointment and mental torment, because there is no clinging to one thing and another, but letting go. This indeed is not easy, but it is the sure remedy for controlling, if not eradicating, unsatisfactoriness. The Buddha sees suffering as suffering, and happiness as happiness, and explains that all cosmic pleasure, like all other conditioned attachings, is evanescent, is a passing show. He warns man against attaching too much importance to fleeing pleasures, for they sooner or later beget discontent. Equanimity is the best antidote for both pessimism and optimism. Equanimity is evenness of mind and not sullen indifference. It is the result of a calm, concentrated mind. It is hard, indeed, to be undisturbed when touched by the realities of life, but the man who cultivates truth is not upset. Absolute happiness can not be derived from things conditioned and compounded. What we hug in great glee this moment, turns into a source of dissatisfaction the next moment. Pleasures are short-lived, and never lasting. The mere gratification of the sense faculties we call pleasure and enjoyment, but in the absolute sense of the world such gratification is not happy. Joy too is suffering, unsatisfactory; for it is transient. If we with our inner eye try to see things in their proper perspective, in their true light, we will be able to realize that the world is but an illusion that leads astray the beings who cling to it. All the so-called mundane pleasures are fleeting, and only an introduction to pain. They give temporary relief from life’s miserable ulcers. This is what is known as suffering produced by change. Thus, we see that suffering never ceases to work, it functions in some form or other and is always at work.
Regarding all beings in general, Buddhism considers all the living, which includes the vegetable kingdom; however, the term “sattva” limits the meaning to those endowed with reason, consciousness, and feeling. Those who are sentient, sensible, animate, and rational (sentient beings which possess magical and spiritual powers). According to Buddhism, what we call the self is simply the collection of mental facts, experiences, ideas and so forth which would normally be said to belong to self but there is no self over and above the experiences. So mentioned does not mean that people are not important. In fact, Buddhism which preached by the Buddha is totally built on human wisdom. The Buddha taught: “Be your own torch, your own refuge. Do not seek refuge in any other person.” The Buddha added: “I am the Buddha fully realized, sentient beings will become Buddha.” To Buddhism, all realizations come from effort and intelligence that derive from one’s own experience. The Buddha asked his disciples to be the master of their destiny, since they can make their lives better or worse. They can even become Buddha if they study and practice his teachings.
Regarding the point of view on Human Beings and deva Vehicle, according to the Mahayana Rebirth among men conveyed by observing the five commandments (Panca-veramani). However, there are many differences on human destinies in the world. For example, one is inferior and another superior, one perishes in infancy and another lives much longer, one is sick and infirm and another strong and healthy, one is brought up in luxury and another in misery, one is born a millionaire and another in poverty, one is a genius and another an idiot, etc. According to the Buddhist point of view on human life, all of the above mentioned results are not the results of a “chance.” Science nowadays is indeed against the theory of “chance.” All scientists agree on the Law of Cause and Effect, so do Buddhists. Sincere and devoted Buddhists never believe that the unevenness of the world is due to a so-called Creator and/or God. Buddhists never believe that happiness or pain or neutral feeling the person experiences are due to the creation of a Supreme Creator. According to the Buddhist point of view on human life, the above mentioned unevenness that exists in the world are due to the heridity and environment, and to a greater extent, to a cause or causes which are not only present but proximate or remotely past. Man himself is responsible for his own happiness and misery. He creates his own heaven and hell. He is the master of his own destiny. He is his own child of his past and his own parents of his future. Regarding the point of view on Deva, this is only one of the five vehicles, the deva vehicle or Divine Vehicle. It transports observers of the ten good qualities (thập thiện) to one of the six deva realms of desire, and those who observe dhyana meditation to the higher heavens of form and non-form. Sentient beings are to be reborn among the devas by observing the ten forms of good actions or ten commandments (Dasa-kusala).
Regarding the point of view on the Kaya and Citta, Buddhism talks about the theory of impermanence of the body and mind. Some people wonder why Buddhism always emphasizes the theory of impermanence? Does it want to spread in the human mind the seed of disheartenment, and discourage? In their view, if things are changeable, we do not need to do anything, because if we attain a great achievement, we cannot keep it. This type of reasoning, a first, appears partly logical, but in reality, it is not at all. When the Buddha preached about impermanence, He did not want to discourage anyone, but warning his disciples about the truth. A true Buddhist has to work hard for his own well being and also for the society’s. Although he knows that he is facing the changing reality, he always keeps himself calm. He must refrain from harming others, in contrast, strive to perform good deeds for the benefit and happiness of others. All things have changed and will never cease to change. The human body is changeable, thus governed by the law of impermanence. Our body is different from the minute before to that of the minute after. Biological researches have proved that the cells in our body are in constant change, and in every seven years all the old cells have been totally renewed. These changes help us quickly grow up, age and die. The longer we want to live, the more we fear death. From childhood to aging, human life is exactly like a dream, but there are many people who do not realize; therefore, they continue to launch into the noose of desire; as a result, they suffer from greed and will suffer more if they become attached to their possessions. Sometimes at time of death they still don’t want to let go anything. There are some who know that they will die soon, but they still strive desperately to keep what they cherish most. Not only our body is changeable, but also our mind. It changes more rapidly than the body, it changes every second, every minute according to the environment. We are cheerful a few minutes before and sad a few minutes later, laughing then crying, happiness then sorrow.
According to the Vimalakirti Sutra, Manjusri Bodhisattva obeyed the Buddha’s command to call on Upasaka Vimalakirti to enquire after his health, there was a converssation about the “body”. Manjusri asked Vimalakirti: “What should a Bodhisattva say when comforting another Bodhisattva who falls ill?” Vimalakirti replied: “He should speak of the impermanence of the body but never of the abhorrence and relinquishment of the body. He should speak of the suffering body but never of the joy in nirvana. He should speak of egolessness in the body while teaching and guiding all living beings (in spite of the fact that they are fundamentally non-existent in the absolute state). He should speak of the voidness of the body but should never cling to the ultimate nirvana. He should speak of repentance of past sins but should avoid slipping into the past. Because of his own illness he should take pity on all those who are sick. Knowing that he has suffered during countless past aeons he should think of the welfare of all living beings. He should think of his past practice of good virtues to uphold (his determination for) right livelihood. Instead of worrying about troubles (klesa) he should give rise to zeal and devotion (in his practice of the Dharma). He should act like a king physician to cure others’ illnesses. Thus a Bodhisattva should comfort another sick Bodhisattva to make him happy.” Manjusri, a sick Bodhisattva should look into all things in this way. He should further meditate on his body which is impermanent, is subject to suffering and is non-existent and egoless; this is called wisdom. Although his body is sick he remains in (the realm of) birth and death for the benefit of all (living beings) without complaint; this is called expedient method (upaya). Manjusri! He should further meditate on the body which is inseparable from illness and on illness which is inherent in the body because sickness and the body are neither new nor old; this is called wisdom. The body, though ill, is not to be annihilated; this is the expedient method (for remaining in the world to work for salvation).
Regardong the point of view on the impurity of the Kaya and the Citta. Impurity is the nature of our bodies and minds. Impurity means the absence of an immaculate state of being, one that is neither holy nor beautiful. From the psychological and physiological standpoint, human beings are impure. This is not negative or pessimistic, but an objective perspective on human beings. If we examine the constituents of our bodies from the hair on our head to the blood, pus, phlegm, excrement, urine, the many bacteria dwelling in the intestines, and the many diseases present waiting for the opportunity to develop, we can see clearly that our bodies are quite impure and subject to decay. Our bodies also create the motivation to pursue the satisfaction of our desires and passions. That is why the sutra regards the body as the place where misleads gather. Let us now consider our psychological state. Since we are unable to see the truth of impermanence, suffering, and the selfless nature of all things, our minds often become the victims of greed and hatred, and we act wrongly. So the sutra says, “The mind is the source of all confusion.”
Here is another point of view of the Buddhism on the Kaya is “It is difficult to be reborn as a human being”. Of all precious jewels, life is the greatest; if there is life, it is the priceless jewel. Thus, if you are able to maintain your livelihood, someday you will be able to rebuild your life. However, everything in life, if it has form characteristics, then, inevitably, one day it will be destroyed. A human life is the same way, if there is life, there must be death. Even though we say a hundred years, it passes by in a flash, like lightening streaking across the sky, like a flower’s blossom, like the image of the moon at the bottom of a lake, like a short breath, what is really eternal? Sincere Buddhists should always remember when a person is born, not a single dime is brought along; therefore, when death arrives, not a word will be taken either. A lifetime of work, putting the body through pain and torture in order to accumulate wealth and possessions, in the end everything is worthless and futile in the midst of birth, old age, sickness, and death. After death, all possessions are given to others in a most senseless and pitiful manner. At such time, there are not even a few good merits for the soul to rely and lean on for the next life. Therefore, such an individual will be condemned into the three evil paths immediately. Ancient sages taught: “A steel tree of a thousand years once again blossom, such a thing is still not bewildering; but once a human body has been lost, ten thousand reincarnations may not return.” Sincere Buddhists should always remember what the Buddha taught: “It is difficult to be reborn as a human being, it is difficult to encounter (meet or learn) the Buddha-dharma; now we have been reborn as a human being and encountered the Buddha-dharma, if we let the time passes by in vain we waste our scarce lifespan.”
228. The Theory of Causation
According to Prof. Junjiro Takakusu in The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy, causation means conditioned arising, or arising from the secondary causes, in contrast with arising from the primal nature or bhutatatha (Tánh giác); or everything arises from conditions and not being spontaneous and self-contained has no separate and independent nature. Buddhism does not give importance to the idea of the Root-Principle or the First Cause as other systems of philosophy often do; nor does it discuss the idea of cosmology . Naturally such a branch of philosophy as theology did not have grounds to develop in Buddhism. One should not expect any discussion of theology from a Buddhist philosopher. As for the problem of creation, Budhism is ready to accept any theory that science may advance, for Buddhism does not recognize any conflict between religion and science. According to Buddhism, human beings and all living things are self-created or self-creating. The universe is not homocentric; it is a co-creation of all beings. Buddhism does not believe that all things came from one cause, but holds that everything is inevitably created out of more than two causes. The creations or becomings of the antecedent causes continue in time-series, past, present and future, like a chain. This chain is divided into twelve divisions and is called the Twelve Divisioned Cycle of Causation and Becomings. Since these divisions are interdependent, the process is called Dependent Production or Chain of causation. The formula of this theory is as follows: From the existence of this, that becomes; from the happening of this, that happens. From the non-existence of this, that does not become; from the non-happening of this, that does not happen.
According to the Madhyamaka philosophy, the doctrine of causal law (Pratityasamutpada) is exceedingly important in Buddhism. It is the causal law both of the universe and the lives of individuals. It is important from two points of view. Firstly, it gives a very clear idea of the impermanent and conditioned nature of all phenomena. Secondly, it shows how birth, old age, death and all the miseries of phenomenal existence arise in dependence upon conditions, and how all the miseries cease in the absence of these conditions. The rise and subsidence of the elements of existence is not the correct interpretation of the causal law. According to the Madhyamaka philosophy, the causal law (pratityasamutpada) does not mean the principle of temporal sequence, but the principle of essential dependence of things on each other. In one word, it is the principle of relativity. Relativity is the most important discovery of modern science. What science has discovered today, the Buddha had discovered more than two thousand five hundred years before. In interpreting the causal law as essential dependence of things on each other or relativity of things, the Madhyamaka means to controvert another doctrine of the Hinayanists. The Hinayanists had analyzed all phenomena into elements (dharmas) and believed that these elements had a separate reality of their own. The Madhyamika says that the very doctrine of the causal law declares that all the dharmas are relative, they have no separate reality of their own. Without a separate reality is synonymous with devoid of real (sunyata), or independent existence. Phenomena are devoid of independent reality. The most importance of the causal law lies in its teaching that all phenomenal existence, all entities in the world are conditioned, are devoid of real (sunya), independent existence (svabhava). There is no real, dependent existence of entities. All the concrete content belongs to the interplay of countless conditions. Nagarjuna sums up his teaching about the causal law in the following words: “Since there is no elements of existence (dharma) which comes into manifestation without conditions, therefore there is no dharma which is not ‘sunya,’ or devoid of real independent existence.”
There are many different kinds of Categories of Causation. The first category is the “Causation by Action-influence”. Causation by action-influence is depicted in the Wheel of Life. There is law and order in the progress of cause and effect. This is the theory of causal Sequence. In the Twelve Divisioned Cycle of Causations and Becomings, it is impossible to point out which one is the first cause, because the twelve make a continuous circle which is called the Wheel of Life. People are accustomed to regard time as progressing in a straight line from the infinite past through present to infinite future. Buddhism, however, regards time as a circle with no beginning or end. Time is relative. The death of a living being is not the end; at once another life begins to go through a similar process of birth and death, and thus repeats the round of life over and over again. In this way a living being, when considered in relation to time, forms an endless continuum. It is impossible to define what a living being is, for it is always changing and progressing through the Divisions or Stages of Life. The whole series of stages must be taken in their entirety as representing the one individual being. Thus, a living being, when regarded in relation to space, forms a complex of five elements. The Wheel of Life is a clever representation of the Buddhis conception of a living being in relation to both space and time. The Wheel of Life is a circle with no beginning, but it is customary to begin its exposition at Blindness (unconscious state). Blindness is only a continuation of Death. At death the body is abandoned, but Blindness remains as the crystalization of the effects of the actions performed during life. This Blidness is often termed Ignorance; but this ignorance should not be thought of as the antonym of knowing; it must include in its meaning both knowing and not knowing, blindness or blind mind, unconsciousness. Blindness leads to blind activity. The energy or the effect of this blind activity is the next stage, Motive or Will to Live. This Will to Live is not the kind of will which is used in the term “free will;” it is rather a blind motive toward life or the blind desire to live. Blindness and Will to Live are called the Two Causes of the pst. They are causes when regarded subjectively from the present; but objectively regarded, the life in the past is a whole life just as much as is the life of the present.
The second category is the “Causation by the Ideation-Store”. Causation by the Ideation-store is used to explain the origin of action. Actions or karma are divided into three groups, i.e., those by the body, those by speech and those by volition. When one makes up one’s mind to do something, one is responsible for it and is liable to retribution, because volition is a mind-action even if it is not expressed in speech or manifested in physical action. But the mind being the inmost recess of all actions, the causation ought to be attributed to the mind-store or Ideation-store. The Buddhist ideation theory divides the mind into eight faculties, i.e., the eye-sense, the ear-sense, the nose-sense, the tongue-sense, the body-sense, the co-ordinating sense-center or the sixth mano-vijnana, the individualizing thought-center of egotism or the seventh manas-vijnana, and the storing-center of ideation or the eighth alaya-vjnana, or Ideation-store. Of these eight faculties, the seventh and the eighth require explanation. The seventh, the Individualizing Center of Egotism is the center where all the selfish ideas, egotistic, opinions, arrogance, self-love, illusions, and delusions arise. The eighth, the Storing Center of Ideation, is where the ‘seeds’ of all manifestations are deposited and later expressed in manifestations. Buddhism holds that the origin of all things and events is the effect of ideation. Every seed lies in the Storing Center and when it sprouts out into the object-world a reflection returns as a new seed. That is, the mind reahces out into the outer world and, perceiving objects, puts new ideas into the mind-store. Again, this new seed sprouts out to reflect back a still newer seed. Thus the seeds accumulate and all are stored there together. When they are latent, we call them seeds, but when active we call them manifestations. The old seeds, the manifestations and the new seeds are mutually dependent upon each other, forming a cycle which forever repeats the same process. This is called the Chain of Causation by Ideation. That which makes the seed or subconscious thought sprout out into actual manifestation, that is, the motive force which makes the chain of causation move, is nothing but ideation. It is easy to see from this theory of Causation by Ideation that Delusion, Action and Suffering originate from mind-action, or ideation. The Storing Center of Ideation is carried across rebirth to determine what the next form of life will be. This Storing Center might be regarded as similar to the soul in other forms of religion. According to the Buddhist doctrine, however, what is reborn is not the soul, but is the result of the actions performed in the preceding life. In Buddhism the existence of the soul is denied.
The third category is the “Causation By Thusness”. Causation by Thusness is used to explain the origin of the ideation-store. The ideation-store of a human being is determined by his nature as a human being and this nature is a particular dynamic form of Thusness. One should not ask where Thusness or Matrix of Thus-come originates, because it is the noumenon, the ultimate indescribable Thusness. Thusness or suchness, is the only term which can be used to express the ultimate indefinable reality. It is otherwise called the Matrix of Thus-come. Thus-come is Buddha-nature hidden in ordinary human nature. “Thus-come” is a designation of the Buddha employed by himself instead of “I”or “we,” but not without special meaning. After he had attained Enlightenment, he met the five ascetics with whom he had formerly shared his forest life. These five ascetics addressed him saying “Friend Gotama.” The Buddha admonished them, sayingthat they ought not treat the Thus-come (thus enlightened I come) as their friend and their equal, because he was now the Enlightened One, the Victorious, All-wise One. When he had ‘thus come’ in his present position as the instructor of all men and even of devas, they should treat him as the Blesed One and not as an old friend. Again, when the Buddha went back to Kapilavastu, his former home, he did not go to the palace of his father, but lived in the banyan grove outside the town, and as usual went out to beg daily. Suddhodana, his king-father, could not bear the idea of his own son, the prince, begging on the streets of Kapilavastu. At once, the king visited the Buddha in the grove and entreated him to return to the palace. The Buddha answered him in the following words: “If I were still your heir, I should return to the palace to share the comfort with you, but my lineage has changed. I am now a successor to the Buddhas of the past, all of whom have ‘thus gone’ (Tathagata) as I am doing at present, living in the woods and begging. So your Majesty must excuse me.” The king understood the words perfectly and became a pupil of the Buddha at once. Thus come and thus gone have practically the same meaning. The Buddha used them both and usually in their plural forms. Sometimes the words were used for a sentient being who thus come, i.e., comes in the contrary way. Thus-come and Thus-gone can therefore be used in two senses: ‘The one who is enlightened but comes in an ordinary way’ or ‘The one who comes in an ordinary way simply.’ Now, Thusness or the Matrix of Thus-come or Thus-gone means the true state of all things in the universe, the source of an Enlightened One, the basis of enlightenment. When static, it is Enlightenment itself, with no relation to time or space; but, when dynamic, it is in human form assuming an ordinary way and feature of life. Thusness and the Matrix of Thus-come are practically one and the same, the ultimate truth. In Mahayana the ultimate truth is called Suchness or Thusness. We are now in a position to explain the Theory of Causation by Thusness. Thusness in its static sense is spaceless, timeless, all-equal, without beginning or end, formless, colorless, because the thing itself without its manifestation cannot be sensed or described. Thusness in its dynamic sense can assume any form ; when driven by a pure cause it takes a lofty form; when driven by a tainted cause it takes a depraved form. Thusness, therefore, is of two states. The one is the Thusness itself; the other is its manifestation, its state of life and death.
The fourth category is the “Causation by the Universal Principle”. Dharmadhatu means the elements of the principle and has two aspects: the state of Thusness or noumenon and the world of phenomenal manifestation. In this causation theory it is usually used in the latter sense, but in speaking of the odeal world as realized, the former sense is to be applied. Buddhism holds that nothing was created singly or individually. All things in the universe, matter and mind, arose simultaneously, all things in it depending upon one another, the influence of each mutually permeating and thereby making a universal symphony of harmonious totality. If one item were lacking, the universe would not be complete; without the rest, one item cannot be. When the whole cosmos arrives at a harmony of perfection, it is called the ‘Universe One and True,’ or the ‘Lotus Store.’ In this ideal universe all beings will be in perfect harmony, each finding no obstruction in the existence and activity of another. Although the idea of the interdependence and simultaneous rise of all things is called the Theory of Universal Causation, the nature of the rise being universal, it is rather a philosophy of the totality of all existence than a philosophy of origination.
229. Phenomenalism in Buddhism
The concept that the world is immanent in one moment of thought is the philosophy of immanence, phenomena being identical with conscious action. It may be called ‘phenomenology,’ each phenomenon, matter or mind, expressing its own principle or nature. According to Most Venerable U. Thittila in the Gems of Buddhism Wisdom, although Buddhism teaches that karma is the chief cause of the unevenesses in the world, yet it does not support fatalism or the doctrine of predestination, nor does it stubbornly hold the view that everything is due to past actions. The Law of Cause and Effect described in Buddhist philosohy is one of the five orders which are laws in themselves and operate in the universe. First, the law of physical inorganic order or seasonal phenomena of winds and rains. The unerring order of seasons, characteristic seasonal changes and events, causes of winds and rains, nature of heat, etc., belong to this group. Second, the law of physical organic order or germs and seeds. The scientific theory of cells and genes and physical similarity of twins, i.e., rice produced from rice seed, sugar from sugar cane or honey, and peculiar characteristics of certain fruits, etc. Third, the law of order of act and result. Desirable and undesirable acts produce corresponding good and bad results. As surely as water seeks its own level so does kamma, given opportunity, produce its inevitable result, not in the form of a reward or punishment but as an innate sequence. The sequence of deed and effect is as natural and necessary as the way of the moon and stars. Fourth, the law of gravitation and other similar laws of nature, or the order of the norm. Fifth, the law of the mind or the psychic law. The process of consciousness, arising and perishing of consciousness, constituents of consciousness, power of mind, or all psychic phenomena which are inexplicable to modern science, etc.
230. The Three Accumulations of Pure Precepts
Three collections of pure precepts, or three accumulations of pure precepts of the Bodhisattvas. Those cultivating Hinayana’s Sravaka Way do not have these three accumulations of purity precepts. Only Mahayana Bodhisattvas practice them. Bodhisattvas always maintain the Buddha’s pure precepts, and their thoughts, words, and deeds are faultless, but because they want to edify immoral sentient beings, they appear to perform the acts of ordinary ignorant people; though they are already filled with pure virtues and abide in the course of Enlightening Beings, yet they appear to live in such realms as hells, animality, ghosthood, and in difficulty and poverty, in order to enable the beings therein to gain liberation; really the Enlightening Beings are not born in those states. These three accumulations of pure precepts encompass the “Four Propagation Vows”: 1) Pure precepts which include all rules and observances, or to avoid evil by keeping the discipline. Which means to gather all precepts such as five precepts, eight precepts, ten precepts of Sramanera, 250 precepts of Bhiksus, 348 precepts of Bhiksunis, 10 major and 48 minor precepts of Bodhisattvas, and maintain them purely without violating a single precept. 2) Pure precepts which include all wholesome dharmas. Accumulating wholesome precepts means Bodhisattvas who must learn all the wholesome dharmas that the Buddha taught in various sutras, so they will know all the clear paths and means necessary to “lead and guide sentient beings” to liberation and enlightenment. Thus, no matter how insignificant a dharma teaching may seem, they are not to abandon any dharma door. This vow is made by all Mahayana practicing Buddhists that “Innumerable Dharma Door, I vow to master.” 3) Pure precepts which include all living beings. This means to develop the compassionate nature to want to benefit and aid all sentient beings , and this is the vow “Infinite sentient beings, I vow to take across.”