THE SORROWLESS FLOWERS
321. Bodhisattvas and Ordinary People
322. Moderation in Cultivation
323. It Is Easy to See the Faults of Others
324. The Path to the Removal of Sufferings
325. Ten Non-Seeking Practices
326. Monastic Bodhisattvas
327. Bodhisattva Path
328. Bodhisattva Ruler of the World
329. Practices of Bodhisattvas
330. Vows of Bodhisattvas
331. Powers of Bodhisattvas
332. Necessary Elements and Powers for Attaining Enlightenment
333. Eight Chief Characteristics of Enlightenment
334. Woman in the Buddhist Point of View
335. “Eyes” In Buddhist Points of View
321. Bodhisattvas and Ordinary People
The key word which occurs on almost each page of the Mahayana writings is the word “Bodhisattva”. What then is the first of all a Bodhisattva? A Buddha is one who is enlightened. A Bodhisattva is literally an Enlightening being. He is a Buddha-to-be, one who wishes to become a Buddha, that is to say, an Enlightened One. So far for the literal meaning. It would be a mistake to assume that the conception of a Bodhisattva was a creation of the Mahayana. For all Buddhists each Buddha had been, for a long period before his enlightenment, a Bodhisattva. The Sarvastivadins, in particular, had given much thought to the career of a Bodhisattva. The Abhidharmakosa gives a fine description of the mentality of a Bodhisattva: “But why do the Bodhisattvas, once they had taken the vow to obtain the supreme enlightenment, take such a long time to obtain it? Because the supreme enlightenment is very difficult to obtain: one needs a vast accumulation of knowledge and merit, innumerable heroic deeds in the course of three immeasurable kalpas. One could understand that the Bodhisattva seeks for this enlightenment, which is so difficult to obtain, if this enlightenment were his only means of arriving at deliverance. But this is not the case. Why then do they undertake such infinite labor? For the good of others, because they want to become capable of pulling others out of this great flood of suffering. But what personal benefit do they find in the benefit of others? The benefit of others is their own benefit, because they desire it. Who could believe that? It is true that men devoid of pity and who think only of themselves, find it hard to believe in the altruism of the Bodhisattva. But compassionate men do so easily. Do we not see that certain people, confirmed in the absence of pity, find pleasure in the suffering of others, even when it is not useful to them? As well one must admit that the Bodhisattvas, confirmed in pity, find pleasure in doing good to others without any egoistic preoccupation. Do we not see that certain people, ignorant of the true nature of the conditioned Dharmas which constitute their so-called ‘Self,’ attach themselves to these Dharmas by force of habit, however, completely these Dharmas may be devoid of personality, and suffer a thousand pains because of this attachment? Likewise, one must admit that the Bodhisattvas, by the force of habit, detach themselves from the Dharmas which constitute their so-called ‘Self,’ do no longer consider these Dharmas as ‘I’ or ‘mine,’ growing in pitying solicitude for others, and are ready to suffer a thousand pains for this solicitude.”
Regarding the law of cause and effect, there is no difference between Bodhisattvas and ordinary people. It is not only ordinary people cannot escape cause and effect, even the Bodhisattvas cannot avoid them. However, Bodhisattvas are enlightening beings who have far-ranging vision. They know bad causes will surely end up in bad results. Thus, Bodhisattvas are afraid of bad consequences in the future, not only they avoid planting evil-causes or evil karma in the present, but they also diligently cultivate to gradually diminish their karmic obstructions; at the same time to accumulate their virtues and merits, and ultimately to attain Buddhahood. However, sentient beings complete constantly to gather evil-causes; therefore, they must suffer evil effect. When ending the effect of their actions, they are not remorseful or willing to repent. Not only do they blame Heaven and other people, but they continue to create more evil karma in opposition and retaliation. Therefore, enemies and vengeance will continue to exist forever in this vicious cycle. Sincere Buddhists should always remember that by planting more good causes, we will surely reap good consequences in the future. In the contrary, if we only see the present, and engage in immoral practices by not planting good roots and accumulating merits and virtues, we will surely bear bad consequences, without any exception.
322. Moderation in Cultivation
According to Zen Master Achan Chah in “A Still Forest Pool,” there are three basic points of practice to work with are sense restraint, which means taking care not to indulge and attach to sensations; moderation in eating; and wakefulness. The first moderation is the sense restraint. We can easily recognize physical irregularities, such as blindness, deafness, deformed limbs, but irregularities of mind are another matter. When you begin to meditate, you see things differently. You can see the mental distortions that formerly seemed normal, and you can see danger where you did not see it before. This brings sense restraint. You become sensitive, like one who enters a forest or jungle and becomes aware of danger from poisonous creatures, thorns, and so forth. One with a raw wound is likewise more aware of danger from flies. For one who meditates, the danger is from sense objects. Sense restraint is thus necessary; in fact, it is the highest kind of virtue. The second Moderation is moderation in Eating. It is difficult to eat little or in moderation. Let learn to eat with mindfulness and sensitivity to our needs, learn to distinguish needs from desires. Training the body is not in itself self-torment. Going without sleep or without food may seem extreme at times. We must be willing to resist laziness and defilement, to stir them up and watch them. Once these are understood, such practices are no longer necessary. This is why we should eat, sleep, and talk little, for the purpose of opposing our desires and making them reveal themselves. According to the Sekha Sutta in the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, the Buddha confirmed his noble disciples on moderating in eating includes reflecting wisely when taking food, not for amusement, not for intoxication, not for the sake of physical beauty and attractivenes, only for the endurance and continuance of this body, for enduring discomfort, and for assisting the holy life. Considering: “Thus I shall terminate old feelings without arousing new feelings and I shall be healthy and blameless and shall live in comfort.” According to the Dharmapada Sutra, verse 325, the Buddha taught: “The stupid one, who is torpid, gluttonous, sleepy and rolls about lying like a hog nourished on pig-wash, that fool finds rebirth again and again.” The third moderation is the wakefulness. To establish wakefulness, effort is required constantly, not just when we feel diligent. Even if we meditate all night at times, it is not correct practice if at other times we still follow our laziness. You should constantly watch over the mind as a parent watches over a child, protects it from its own foolishness, teaches it what is right. It is incorrect to think that at certain times we do not have the opportunity to meditate. We must constantly make the effort to know ourselves; it is as necessary as our breathing, which continues in all situations. If we do not like certain activities, such as chanting or working, and give up on them as meditation, we will never learn wakefulness.
323. It Is Easy to See the Faults of Others
For the majority of us, it is easy seen are others’ faults, but hard indeed to see one’s own faults. The Buddha taught that we should not evade self-responsibility for our own actions by blaming them on circumstances or unluckiness. Usually when a man is forced to see his own weakness, he avoids it and instead gives it to self-deceit. He will search his brain for an excuse, even the lamest one will do, to justify his actions. He may succeed in doing this. Sometimes he succeeds so well in trying to fool others, he even manages to fool himself with the very ghost created by his mind. However, you may fool some of the people for some of the time, but not all the people all the time. According to the Buddha, the fool who does not admit he is a fool is a real fool. And the fool who admits he is a fool is wise to that extent. If you have made a mistake, then admit it. You need courage, of course admission of your own mistake is not pleasant. You also need wisdom to see your own faults. Sincere Buddhists should not think that you have been unlucky, or you have been a victim of fate. Face your shortcomings. You must realize that your mind has created the conditions which gave rise to the miseries and difficulties you are experiencing. This is the only way that can help lead you to a happy life. In the Dhammapada Sutta, the Buddha taught very clearly on “Easy to see the faults of others, but it is difficult to perceive our own faults”. It is easy to see the faults of others, but it is difficult to perceive our own faults. A man winnows his neighbor’s faults like chaff, but hides his own, as a dishonest gambler conceals a losing dice (Dharmapada 252). He who sees others’ faults, is easy to get irritable and increases afflictions. If we abandon such a habit, afflictions will also be gone (Dharmapda 253). Those who perceive wrong as wrong and what is right as right, such men, embracing right views and go to the blissful state (Dharmapada 319).
324. The Path to the Removal of Sufferings
The essential steps of the path to the removal of suffering to Nibbana are pointed out by the Buddha. It is the way of careful cultivation of the mind so as to produce unalloyed happiness and supreme rest from the turmoil of life. The path is indeed very difficult, but if we, with constant heedfulness, and complete awareness, walk it watching our steps, we will one day reach our destination. The way of walking or the way of cultivation. People often walk without seeing the way. Religions generally lay importance on practice, that is, how to walk, but neglect teaching the intellectuall activity with which to determine the right way, that is, how to see. In Mahayana Buddhism, this is the path on which one has directly realized emptiness. This also coincides with the first Bodhisattva level (bhumi). On this path meditators completely remove the artificial conceptions of a permanent self. The Buddha stressed in His Teachings the experimental process in Buddhist cultivation is a chain of objective observations before any practices because through objective observations we realize the real face of sufferings and afflictions. it’s is objective observation that gives us an opportunity to cultivate to totally destroy sufferings and afflictions. Thus, at any time, objective observation plays a key role in the experimental process in Buddhist cultivation. The first path is the path of overcoming anger. According to the Buddhist theory, in order to overcome anger, one must contemplate that a person or an animal which causes us to be angry today may have been our friend, relative or even our father or mother in a certain previous life. The second path is the path of overcoming attachment. We should meditate or contemplate that a friend today may become an enemy tomorrow and therefore, there is nothing for us to attach to. The third path is the path of overcoming attachment overcoming demons. To overcome demons, e.g. as the Buddha did at his enlightenment. The fourth path is the path of overcoming doubts. To study scriptures, to read stories of enlightened ones, as well as to contemplate will help us perceive the truth and overcome doubts. The fifth path is the path of renouncing wealth and sex. According to the Sutra In Forty-Two Sections, Chapter 22, the Buddha said: “People who cannot renounce wealth and sex are like small children who, not satisfied with one delicious helping, lick the honey off the blade of the knife and in doing so, cut their tongues.” The sixth path is the path of getting rid of deluded thoughts. One of the best methods to get rid of deluded thoughts is either meditation to obtain concentration or just keep one method such as reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha. The seventh path is the path of not to slander any enlightening teachings. Should not slander any enlightening teachings. This is one of the ten kinds of rules of behavior of great enlightening beings. Enlightening beings who abide by these can attain the supreme discipline of great knowledge. The eighth path is the path of not to look for faults in others. In daily life, always look above , look below, look to the east or to the west, to the north or to the south and so on to try to find faults in others. Buddha taught that we should look into ourselves, we should reflect the light of awareness inwardly to become enlightened. The Buddha taught: “When we do not see others’ mistakes or see only our own rightness, we are naturally respected by seniors and admired by juniors.” According to the Dharmapada, sentence 50, the Buddha taught: “Let not one look on the faults of others, nor things left done and undone by others; but one’s own deeds done and undone.” The ninth path is the path of examining ourselves. We, devoted Buddhists, must examine ourselves so that we are able to know who we are. Know our body and mind by simply watching. In sitting, in sleeing, in eating, know our limits. Use wisdom. The practice is not to try to achieve anything. Just be mindful of what is. Our whole meditation is to look directly at the mind. We will be able to see suffering, its cause, and its end. The tenth path is the path of controlling emotions. In Buddhism, controlling emotions does not mean a repression or supression of emotions, but to recognize that they are destructive and harmful. If we let emotions simply come and go without checking them, we will have a tendency to prone to emtional outbursts. In the contrary, if we have a clear recognition of their destructive potential, we can get rid of them easily. The eleventh path is the path of getting rid of desires. A Buddhist practitioner should be keenly anxious to get rid of desires, and wants to persist in this. The twelfth path is the path of eliminating of suffering. Suffering can be eliminated because suffering itself isn’t the intrinsic nature of our minds. Since suffering arises from ignorance or misconception, once we realize emptiness, or the nature of things as they are, ignorance or misconception no longer influences us. It’s like turning a light on in a dark room, once the light is on, the darkness vanishes. Similarly, wisdom can help us cleanse ignorance and disturbing attitudes from our minds forever. In addition, wisdom cleanses the karmic imprints currently on our minds, so they won’t bring results. After perceiving the true picture of life, the Buddha said to himself: “I must get rid of the oppression of disease, old age and death.” The thirteenth path is the path of eliminating perversions (eliminating deluded and confused). This means eliminating deceived in regard to reality. Delusion also implies a belief in something that is contrary to reality. Illusion, on the other hand, suggests that what is seen has objective reality but is misinterpreted or seen falsely. In Buddhism, delusion is ignorance, an unawareness of the true nature of things or of the real meaning of existence. We are deluded or led astray by our senses (which include the intellect and its discriminating thoughts) insofar as they cause us to accept the phenomenal world as the whole of reality when in fact it is but a limited and ephemeral aspect of reality, and to act as though the world is external to us when in truth it is but a reflection of ourselves. This does not say all phenomena are illusory, they mean that compared with Mind itself the world apprehended by the senses is such a partial and limited aspect of truth that it is dreamlike. When we fail to see the true nature of things our views always become clouded. Because of our likes and dislikes, we fail to see the sense organs and sense objects objectively and in their proper perspective and go after mirages, illusions and deceptions. The sense organs delude and mislead us and then we fail to see things in their true light as a result of which our way of seeing things becomes perverted. The delusion of mind mistakes the unreal for the real, the passing shadows for permanence, and the result is confusion, conflict, disharmony and perpetual sorrow. When we are caugh up in these illusions, we perceive, think and view things incorrectly. We perceive permanence in the impermanence; pleasure in pain; self in what is not self; beauty in repulsive. We think and view in the same erroneous manner. We are perverted for four reasons: our own senses, unwise reflection, unsystematic attention, failure to see true nature of this world. The Buddha recommended us to utilize right understanding or insight to remove these illusions and help us recognize the real nature of all things. Once we really understand that all thing is subject to change in this world without any exception, we will surely want to rely on nothing. The fourteenth path is the path of eliminating of all hindrances and afflictions. By realizing for oneself with direct knowledge, one here and now enters upon and abides in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. The fifteenth path is the path of getting rid of covetousness. Getting rid of covetousness, anger, delusion, and fear, by taming their own minds, one of the ten kinds of action of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can achieve the action of Buddhas that has no coming or going. The sixteenth path is the path of getting rid of deluded thoughts. One of the best methods to get rid of deluded thoughts is either meditation to obtain concentration or just keep one method such as reciting the name of Amitabha Buddha. The seventeenth path is the path of letting go. A basic teaching of the Buddha on how to calm and rein in the “monkey” mind. When we feel asleep, just lie down in a quiet place, put the lights out and let go our minds and bodies. In Buddhism, we have always been hearing about letting go and not clinging to anything. What does the Buddha mean on letting go? He means in daily activities, no way we can let go everything. We have to hold on things; however, try not to cling to them. For example, we try to make money for our living expenses, but not try to cling on making a lot of money to accumulate regardless of the means of making the money. Practioners do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward. If we let go a little, we will have a little peace. If we let go a lot, we will have a lot of peace. If we let go completely, we will know complete peace and freedom.
325. Ten Non-Seeking Practices
The Buddha always reminds His disciples about ten things that should be always memorized. First, we should not wish (yearn) that our bodies be always free of diseases, because a disease-free body is prone to desire and lust (because with a disease-free body, one tends to be tempted with desire and lust). This will lead to precept-breaking and retrogression. We should not wish that our lives be free of all misfortune, adversity, or accident because without them, we will be easily prone to pride and arrogance. This will lead us to be disdainful and overbearing towards everyone else. If people’s lives are perfect, everything is just as they always dreamed, without encountering heartaches, worries, afflictions, or any pains and sufferings, then this can easily give way to conceit, arrogance, etc.; thus, becoming the breeding ground for countless transgressions and offenses. Sincere Buddhists should always use misfortunes as the opportunity to awaken from being mesmerized by success, fame, fortune, wealth, etc. and realize the Buddha’s teachings are true and accurate, and then use this realization to develop a cultivated mind seeking enlightenment. Third, we should not wish that our mind cultivation be free of all obstacles because without obstacles, we would not have opportunities to excell our mind. This will lead to the transgression of thinking that we have awakened, when in fact we have not. Fourth, we should not wish that our cultivation be free of demonic obstacles, because our vows would not be then firm and enduring. This leads to the transgression of thinking that we have attained, when in fact we have not. Fifth, we should not wish that our plans and activities meet with easy success, for we will then be inclined to thoughts of contempt and disrespect. This leads to the transgression of pride and conceit, thinking ourselves to be filled with virtues and talent. Sixth, we should not wish for gain in our social relations. This will lead us to violate moral principles and see only mistakes of others. Seventh, we should not wish that everyone, at all times, be on good terms and in harmony with us. This leads to pride and conceit and seeing only our own side of every issue. Eighth, we should not wish to be repaid for our good deeds, lest we develop a calculating mind. This leads to greed for fame and fortune. Ninth, we should not wish to share in opportunities for profit, lest the mind of illusion arise. This leads us to lose our good name and reputation for the sake of unwholesome gain. Tenth, when subject to injustice and wrong, we should not necessarily seek the ability to refute and rebut, as doing so indicates that the mind of self-and-others has not been severed. This will certainly lead to more resentment and hatred. Thus, the Buddha advised all of us to consider: “Turn suffering and disease into good medicine (consider diseases and sufferings as miraculous medicine). Turn misfortune and calamity into liberation (take misfortune and adversity as means of liberation). Turn obstacles or high stakes into freedom and ease (take obstacles as enjoyable ways to cultivate ourselves). Turn demons or haunting spirits into Dharma friends (take demonic obstacles as our good spiritual advisors). Turn trying events into peace and joy (consider difficulties as our joy of gaining experiences or life enjoyments). Turn bad friends into helpful associates (treat ungrateful people as our helpful aids). Turn opponents into “fields of flowers” (consider opponents as our good relationships). Treat ingratitude as worn-out shoes to be discarded (consider merits or services to others as ragged slippers). Turn frugality into power and wealth (take frugality as our honour). Turn injustice and wrong into conditions for progress along the Way (consider injustice or false accusations as our virtuous gate to enlightenment).”
326. Monastic Bodhisattvas
Great Compassion is the life calling of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Thus, those who have developed the Bodhi Mind, wishing to rescue and ferry other sentient beings across, should simply vow to be reborn in the Triple Realm, among the five turbidities and the three evil paths. If we abandon sentient beings to lead a selfish life of tranquility, we lack compassion. A preoccupation with egoistic needs contrary to the path of enlightenment. According to Masters Chih-I and T’ien-Ju in The Pure Land Buddhism, there are two types of Bodhisattvas. First, those who have followed the Bodhisattva path for a long time and attained the Tolerance of Non-Birth or insight into the non-origination of phenomena. These Bodhisattvas can vow to be reborn in this evil realm to rescue sentient beings without fear of being drown in the sea of Birth and Death with sentient beings. The Perfection of Wisdom Treatise states: “Take the case of the person who watches a relative drowning in the river, a person, more intelligent and resourceful, hurries off to fetch a boat and sails to rescue his relative. Thus both persons escape drowning. This is similar to the case of a Bodhisattva who has attained Tolerance of Non-Birth, has adequate skills and means to save sentient beings.”
Second, Bodhisattvas who have not attained the Tolerance of Non-Birth, as well as ordinary people who have just developed the Bodhi Mind. If these Bodhisattvas aspire to perfect that Tolerance and enter the evil life of the Triple Realm to save sentient beings, they should always remain close to the Buddhas and Good Advisors. The Perfection of Wisdom Treatise states: “It is unwise for human beings who are still bound by all kinds of afflictions, even if they possess a great compassionate Mind, to seek a premature rebirth in this evil realm to rescue sentient beings. Why is this so? It is because this evil, defiled world, afflictions are powerful and widespread. Those who lack the power of Tolerance of Non-Birth are bound to be swayed by external circumstances. They then become slaves to form and sound, fame and fortune, with the resulting karma of greed, anger and delusion. Once this occurs, they cannot even save themselves, how can they save others?” If, for example, they are born in the human realm, in this evil environment full of non-believers and externalists, it is difficult to encounter genuine sages. Therefore, it is not easy to hear the Buddha Dharma nor achieve the goals of the sages. Of those who planted the seeds of generosity, morality and blessings in previous lives and are thus now enjoying power and fame, how many are not infatuated with a life of wealth and honor, allowing in endless greed and lust? Therefore, even when they are counselled by enlightened teachers, they do not believe them nor act accordingly. Moreover, to satisfy their passions, they take advantage of their existing power and influence, creating a great deal of bad karma. Thus, when their present life comes to an end, they descend upon the three evil paths for countless eons. After that, they are reborn as humans of low social and economic status. If they do not then meet good spiritual advisors, they will continue to be deluded , creating more bad karma and descending once again into the lower more realms. From time immemorial, sentient beings caught in the cycles of Birth and Death have been in this predicament. The Vimalakirti Sutra also states: “If you cannot even cure your own illness, how can you cure the illnesses of others?” The Perfection of Wisdom Treatise further states: “Take the case of two persons, each of whom watches a relative drowning in the river. The first person, acting on impulse, hastily jumps into the water. However, because he lacks capabilities and the necessary means, in the end, both of them drown.” Thus newly aspiring Bodhisattvas are like the first individual, who still lacks the power of Tolerance of Non-Birth and cannot save sentient beings. The Perfection of Wisdom Treatise further teaches: “This is not unlike a young child he should not leave his mother, lest he fall into a well, drown in the river or die of starvation; or a young bird whose wings are not fully developed. It must bide its time, hopping from branch to branch, until it can fly afar, leisurely and unimpeded. In the same manner, ordinary people who lack the Tolerance of Non-Birth should limit themselves to Buddha Recitation, to achieve one-pointedness of Mind. Once that goal is reached, at the time of death, they will certainly be reborn in the Pure Land. Having seen Amitabha Buddha and reached the Tolerance of Non-Birth, they can steer the boat of that Tolerance into the sea of Birth and Death, to ferry sentient beings across and accomplish countless Buddha deeds at will.”
All monastic Bodhisattva have four fearlessnesses. First, Bodhisattva-fearlessness arises from powers of memory and ability to preach without fear. Second, Bodhisattva-fearlessness arises from powers of moral diagnosis and application of the remedy. Third, Bodhisattva-fearlessness arises from powers of ratiocination. Fourth, Bodhisattva-fearlessness arises from powers of solving doubts. Besides, there are five advantages for those who attain the Bodhisattvahood. “Bodhisattva” means an enlightened being (bodhi-being), or a Buddha-to-be, or a being who desires to attain enlightenment, or a being who seeks enlightenment, including Buddhas, Pratyeka-buddhas, or any disciples of the Buddhas. According to Sarvastivadis, there are five advantages for those who attain the Bodhisattvahood. First, they are not born in woeful states, but only among gods and men. Second, they are no more reborn in a poor or a low class family. Third, they are, by virtue, a man and not a woman. Fourth, they are born in perfection free from physical defects. Fifth, they can remember the previous lives of their own and never forget them.
327. Bodhisattva Path
Bodhisattva way is one of the five ways which teaches the observance of the six paramitas the perfecting of the self and the benefits of others. The objective is the salvation of all beings and attaining of Buddhahood. The aim of Bodhisattvas is the attainment of Supreme Buddhahood. Therefore, Bodhsattva Way is also called the Buddha-Way or Tathagata-Way. This is the way in which practitioners seek “to benefit self and benefit others, leading to Buddhahood,” or “Above to seek bodhi, below to transform all beings”. According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of path of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these ten paths can attain the path of unexcelled skill in means of all Buddhas. One Path is the path of Enlightening Beings because they do not give up the sole determination for enlightenment. Two paths are a Path of Enlightening Beings because they develop wisdom and skill in means. Three paths are a Path of Enlightening Beings because they practice the following dharmas so they are not attached to the three worlds: emptiness, signlessness, and wishlessness. Four practices are a Path of Enlightening Beings: ceaselessly removing the barriers of wrongdoing by repentance; ceaselessly rejoicing in virtue; ceaselessly honoring the enlightened and request them to teach; and skillfully practicing dedication ceaselessly. The five faculties are a Path of Enlightening Beings: they rest on pure faith, steadfast and imperturbable; they generate great energy, finishing their tasks; they are single-minded in right collection, without wandering attention; they know the techniques for entering and emerging from concentration; and they are able to distinguish spheres of knowledge. The six psychic powers are a Path of Enlightening Beings for with celestial eye they see all forms in all worlds and know where sentient beings die and are born; with the celestial ear they hear all Buddhas teaching, absorb and remember their teachings, and expound them widely to sentient beings according to their faculties; with telepathic knowledge they are able to know the minds of others freely, without interference; with recollection of past life they are able to remember all ages of the past and increase roots of goodness; with the power of psychic travel they are able to appear variously to beings capable of being enlightened, to induce them to delight in truth; with knowledge of extinction of contamination they actually realize the ultimate truth, while carrying out the deeds of enlightening beings without ceases.
Seven remembrances are a Path of Enlightening Beings for they remember Buddhas because they see infinite Buddhas in a single pore opening the minds of all sentient beings; they remember the Teaching because they do not leave the assemblies of all Buddhas; they personally receive the sublime Teachings in the asemblies of all Buddhas and expounded to sentient beings according to their faculties, temperaments and inclinations, to enlighten them; they remember the harmonious Community because they continually see enlightening beings in all worlds; they remember relinquishment because they know all enlightening beings’ practices of relinquishment increase magnanimous generosity; they remember precepts because they do not give up the aspiration for enlightenment, and dedicate all roots of goodness to sentient beings; they remember heaven because they always keep in mind the enlightening beings in the heaven of happiness who are to become Buddhas in the next lifetime; and they remember sentient beings because they teach and tame them with wisdom and skill in means, reaching them all, without interruption. Following the Holy Eightfold Path to Enlightenment is a Path of Enlightening Beings for they travel the path of right insight, getting rid of all false views; they exercise right thought, abandoning arbitrary conceptions, their minds always follow universal knowledge; they always practice right speech, getting rid of faults of speech and following the words of sages; they always cultivate right action, teaching sentient beings to make them peaceful and harmonious; they abide by right livelihood, being frugal and content, careful and correct in behavior, eating, dressing, sleeping, eliminating evil, and practicing good, all in accord with enlightenment, forever getting rid of all faults; they arouse right energy, diligently cultivating all difficult practices of enlightening beings, entering the ten powers of Buddhas without hindrances; their minds always recollect correctly, able to remember all messages, eliminating all mundane distraction; and their minds are always correctly concentrated, they enter the door of inconceivable liberation of enlightening beings, and in one concentration they produce all concentrations.
Entering the nine successive concentrations is a Path of Enlightening Beings for they detach from craving and ill-will, and expound the truth without inhibition in all they say; they extinguish thought and reflection, yet teach sentient beings with the thought and reflection of omniscience; they extinguish reflection, yet teach sentient beings with the reflection of omniscience; they give up joy and emotion, yet they are most joyful when they see all Buddhas; they give up worldly enjoyments and follow the transcendent enjoyment of the Path of enlightening beings; they enter concentration in the realm of form, yet without abandoning life in the realm of desire; they are unshakable and enter formless concentration, yet without abandoning life in the realms of desire and form; though they abide in concentration in which all perceptions are extinguished, they do not stop the activity of enlightening beings; and though they abide in concentration in which all sensations are extinguished, they do not stop the activity of enlightening beings. Learning the ten powers is a Path of Enlightening Beings because they possess the knowledge of what is so and what is not so, the knowledge of the causes and effects, deeds and consequences, past, future, and present, of all sentient beings, the knowledge of the differences in faculties of all sentient beings and explaining the truth to them as is appropriate, the knowledge of infinite different natures of sentient beings, the knowledge of differences in weak, middling, and superior understanding of all sentient beings, and means of introducing them to truth, the knowledge of manifesting the appearance and conduct of Buddha throughout all worlds, all lands, all times, all ages, without abandoning the pactics of enlightening beings, the knowledge of all meditations, liberations, and concentrations, whether defiled or pure, timely or not, expediently producing door of liberation for enlightening beings, the knowledge of distinctions in all sentient beings’s death in one place and birth in another in the various states of existence, the instantaneous knowledge of all ages in past, present and future, and the knowledge of extinction of all sentient beings’ deisres, compulsions, delusions, and habits, without abandoning the practices of Enlightening Beings.
328. Bodhisattva Ruler of the World
According to the Vimalakirti Sutra, once Upasaka Vimalakirti was sick, the Buddha asked Bodhisattva Ruler of the World to call on Vimalakirti to enquire his health. The Buddha then said to the Bodhisattva Ruler of the World: “You call on Vimalakirti to enquire after his health on my behalf.” Ruler of the Word replied: “World Honoured One, I am not qualified to call on him and enquire after his health. I still remember that once as I was staying in a vihara, a demon like Indra appeared followed by twelve thousand goddesses (devakanya) playing music and singing songs. After bowing their heads at my feet they brought their palms together and stood at my side. I mistook the demon for Sakra and said to him: ‘Welcome, Sakra, although you have won merits, you should guard against passion (arising from music, song and sex). You should look into the five desires (for the objects of the five senses) in your practice of morality. You should look into the impermanence of body, life and wealth in your quest of indestructible Dharma (i.e. boundless body, endless life and inexhaustible spiritual wealth.’ He said: ‘Bodhisattva, please take these twelve thousand goddesses who will serve you.’ I replied: ’Sakra, please do not make to a monk this unclean offering which does not suit me.’ “Even before I had finished speaking, Vimalakirti came and said: ‘He is not Sakra; he is a demon who comes to disturb you.’ He then said to the demon: ‘You can give me these girls and I will keep them.’ The demon was frightened, and being afraid that Vimalakirti might give him trouble, he tried to make himself invisible but failed, and in spite of his use of supernatural powers he could not go away. Suddenly a voice was heard in the air, saying: ‘Demon, give him the girls and then you can go.’ Being scared, he gave the girls.’ To Vimalakirti who said to them: ‘The demon has given you to me. You can now develop a mind set on the quest of supreme enlightenment.’ “Vimalakirti then expounded the Dharma to them urging them to seek the truth. He declared: ‘You have now set your minds on the quest for the truth and can experience joy in the Dharma instead of in the five worldly pleasures (arising from the objects of the five senses).’ “They asked him: ‘What is this joy in the Dharma?’ “He replied: ‘Joy in having faith in the Buddha, joy in listening to the Dharma, joy in making offerings to the Sangha, and joy in forsaking the five worldly pleasures; joy in finding out that the five aggregates are like deadly enemies, that the four elements (that make the body) are like poisonous snakes, and that the sense organs and their objects are empty like space; joy in following and upholding the truth; joy in being beneficial to living beings; joy in revering and making offerings to your masters; joy in spreading the practice of charity (dana); joy in firmly keeping the rules of discipline (sila); joy in forbearance (ksanti); joy in unflinching zeal (virya) to sow all excellent roots; joy in unperturbed serenity (dhyana); joy in wiping out all defilement that screens clear wisdom (prajna); joy in expanding the enlightened (bodhi) mind; joy in overcoming all demons; joy in eradicating all troubles (klesa); joy in purifying the Buddha land; joy in winning merits from excellent physical marks; joy in embellishing the bodhimandala (the holy site); joy in fearlessness to hear (and understand ) the profound Dharma; joy in the three perfect doors to nirvana (i.e. voidness, formlessness and inactivity) as contrasted with their incomplete counterparts (which still cling to the notion of objective realization); joy of being with those studying the same Dharma and joy in the freedom from hindrance when amongst those who do not study it; joy to guide and convert evil men and to be with men of good counsel; joy in thestat of purity and cleanness; joy in the practice of countless conditions contributory to enlightenment. All this is the Bodhisattva joy in the Dharma.’ At that time, the demon said to the girls: ‘I want you all to return with me to our palace.’ The girls replied: ‘While we are here with the venerable upasaka, we delight in the joy of the Dharma; we no longer want the five kinds of worldly pleasures.’ The demon then said to Vimalakirti: ‘Will the upasaka give away all these girls, as he who gives away everything to others is a Bodhisattva?’ Vimalakirti said: ‘I now give up all of them and you can take them away so that all living beings can fulfill their vows to realize the Dharma.’ The girls then asked Vimalakirti: ‘What should we do while staying at the demon’s palace?’ Vimalakirti replied: ‘Sisters, there is a Dharma called the Inexhaustible Lamp which you should study and practice. For instance, a lamp can (be used to) light up hundreds and thousands of other lamps; darkness will thus be bright and this brightness will be inexhaustible. So, sisters, a Bodhisattva should guide and convert hundreds and thousands of living beings so that they all develop the mind set on supreme enlightenment; thus his deep thought (of enlightening others) is, likewise, inexhaustible. His expounding of the Dharma will then increase in all excellent Dharmas; this is called the Inexhaustible Lamp. Although you will be staying at the demon’s palace you should use this Inexhaustible Lamp to guide countless sons and daughters of devas to develop their minds set on supreme enlightenment, in order to repay your debt of gratitude to the Buddha, and also for the benefit of all living beings.’ The devas’ daughters bowed their heads at Vimalakirti’s feet and followed the demon to return to his palace; and all of a sudden they vanished.” World Honoured One, since Vimalakirti possesses such supernatural power, wisdom and eloquence, I am not qualified to call on him to enquire after his health.”
329. Practices of Bodhisattvas
Bodhisattva practice (Bodhisattva’s practising) according to the tradition of Northern Buddhism. A Bodhisattva must achieve the following Bodhisattva’s practices: to vow to devote the mind to bodhi (bodhicita), to practise the four immeasurables, to practise the six Paramitas, and to practise the four all-embracing virtues. According to the Vimalakirti Sutra, Bodhisattvas are those who were well known for having achieved all the perfections that lead to the great wisdom. They had received instructions from many Buddhas and formed a Dharma-protecting citadel. By upholding the right Dharma, they could fearlessly give the lion’s roar to teach sentient beings; so their names were heard in the ten directions. They were not invited but came to the assemble to spread the teaching on the Three Treasures to transmit it in perpetuity. They had overcome all demons and defeated heresies; and their six faculties, karmas of deeds, words and thoughts were pure and clean; being free from the (five) hindrances and the (ten) bonds. They had realized serenity of mind and had achieved unimpeded liberation. They had achieved right concentration and mental stability, thereby acquiring the uninterrupted power of speech. They had achieved all the (six) paramitas: charity (dana), discipline (sila), patience (ksanti), devotion (virya), serenity (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna), as well as the expedient method (upaya) of teaching which completely benefit self and others. However, to them these realizations did not mean any gain whatsoever for themselves, so that they were in line with the patient endurance of the uncreate (anutpattika-dharma-ksanti). They were able to turn the wheel of the Law that never turns back. Being able to interpret the (underlying nature of) phenomena, they knew very well the roots (propensities) of all living beings; they surpassed them all and realized fearlessness. They had cultivated their minds by means of merits and wisdom with which they embellished their physical features which were unsurpassable, thus giving up all earthly adornments. Their towering reputation exceeded the height of Mount Sumeru. Their profound faith (in the uncreate) was unbreakable like a diamond. Their treasures of the Dharma illuminated all lands and rained down nectar. Their speeches were profound and unsurpassable. They entered deep into all (worldly) causes, but cut off all heretical views for they were already free from all dualities and had rooted out all (previous) habits. They were fearless and gave the lion’s roar to proclaim the Dharma, their voices being like thunder. They could not be gauged for they were beyond all measures. They had amassed all treasures of the Dharma and acted like (skillful) seafaring pilots. They were well versed in the profound meanings of all Dharmas. They knew very well the mental states of all living beings and their comings and goings (within the realms of existence). They had reached the state near the unsurpassed sovereign wisdom of all Buddhas, having acquired the ten fearless powers (dasabala) giving complete knowledge and the eighteen different characteristics (of a Buddha as compared with Bodhisattvas (avenikadharma). Although they were free from (rebirth in ) evil existences, they appeared in five mortal realms as royal physicians to cure all ailments, prescribing the right medicine in each individual case, thereby winning countless merits to embellish countless Buddha lands. Each living being derived great benefit from seeing and hearing them, for their deeds were not in vain. Thus they had achieved all excellent merits.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 21 (Ten Practices), there are ten kinds of practices, which are expounded by the Buddhas of past, present and future: the practice of giving joy, beneficial practice, practice of nonopposition, practice of indomitability, practice of nonconfusion, practice of good manifestation, practice of nonattachment, practice of that which is difficult to attain, practice of good teachings, and practice of truth. According to the Lotus Sutra, there are ten practices of respects of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. First, worship and respect all Buddhas. Second, praise the Thus Come Ones. Third, make abundant offerings. Fourth, repent misdeeds and hindrances. Fifth, rejoyce at others’ merits and virtues. Sixth, request the Buddha to turn the Dharma Wheel. Seventh, request the Buddha to remain in the world. Eighth, follow the teachings of the Buddha at all times. Ninth, accommodate and benefit all sentient beings. Tenth, transfer merits and virtues universally. According to the Buddha in The Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, Great Enlightening Beings have ten kinds of practice which help them attain the practice of the unexcelled knowledge and wisdom of Buddhas. The first practice is the practice dealing with all sentient beings, to develop them all to maturity. The second practice is the practice seeking all truths, to learn them all. The third practice is the practice of all roots of goodness, to cause them all to grow. The fourth practice is the practice of all concentration, to be single-minded, without distraction. The fifth practice is the practice of all knowledge, to know everything. The sixth practice is the practice of all cultivations, to be able to cultivate them all. The seventh practice is the practice dealing with all Buddha-lands, to adorn them all. The eighth practice is the practice dealing with all good companions, respecting and supporting them. The ninth practice is the practice dealing with all Buddhas, honoring and serving them. The tenth practice is the practice of all supernatural powers, to be able to transform anywhere, anytime to help sentient beings.
In the Surangama Sutra, the Buddha reminded Ananda about the ten necessary activities, or practices of a Bodhisattva. The first practice is the conduct of happiness. The practice of joyful service, or giving joy. The Buddha told Ananda: “Ananda! After these good men have become sons of the Buddha, they are replete with the limitlessly many wonderful virtues of the Thus Come Ones, and they comply and accord with beings throughout the ten directions. This is called the conduct of happiness.” The second practice is the conduct of benefitting. The practice of beneficial service, or beneficial practice. The Buddha told Ananda: “Being well able to accommodate all living beings is called the conduct of benefitting.” The third practice is the conduct of non-opposition. The practice of never resenting, or non-opposition. The Buddha told Ananda: “Enlightening oneself and enlightening others without putting forth any resistence is called the conduct of non-opposition.” The fourth practice is the conduct of endlessness. The practice of indomitability, or without limit in helping others. The Buddha told Ananda: “To undergo birth in various forms continuously to the bounds of the future, equally throughout the three periods of time and pervading the ten directions is called the conduct of endlessness.” The fifth practice is the conduct of freedom from deluded confusion. The practice of nonconfusion. The Buddha told Ananda: “When everything is equally in accord, one never makes mistakes among the various dharma doors. This is called the conduct of freedom from deluded confusion.” The sixth practice is the conduct of wholesome manifestation. The practice of good manifestation, or appearing in any form at will to save sentient beings. The Buddha told Ananda: “Then within what is identical, myriad differences appear; the characteristics of every difference are seen, one and all, in identity. This is called the conduct of wholesome manifestation.” The seventh practice is the conduct of non-attachment. The practice of nonattachment, or unimpeded practice. The Buddha told Ananda: “This continues until it includes all the dust motes that fill up empty space throughout the ten directions. In each and every mote of dust there appear the worlds of the ten directions. And yet the appearance of worlds do not interfere with one another. This is called the conduct of non-attachment.” The eighth practice is the conduct of veneration. The practice of exalting the paramitas amongst all beings, or the practice of that which is difficult to attain. The Buddha told Ananda: “Everything that appears before one is the foremost paramita. This is called the conduct of veneration.” The ninth practice is the conduct of wholesome Dharma. The practice of good teaching, or perfecting the Buddha-law by complete virtue. The Buddha told Ananda: “With such perfect fusion, one can model oneself after all the Buddhas of the ten directions. This is called the conduct of wholesome dharma.” The tenth practice is the conduct of true actuality. The practice of truth, or manifest in all things the pure, final and true reality. The Buddha told Ananda: “To then be pure and without outflows in each and every way is the primary truth, which is unconditioned, the essence of the nature. This is called the conduct of true actuality.”
330. Vows of Bodhisattvas
According to The Studies in The Lankavatara Sutra, written by Zen Master D.T. Suzuki, according to his transcendental insight into the truth of things, the Bodhisattva knows that it is beyond all eradicates and not at all subject to any form of description, but his heart full of compassion and love for all beings who are unable to step out of the dualistic whirlpools of “becoming” or not becoming,” he directs his vows towards their salvation and emancipation. His own heart is free from such attachments as are ordinarily cherished by the unemancipated, but that which feels persists, for his insight has not destroyed this, and hence his Purvapranidhana, his Upayakausalya, his Nirmanakaya. Yet all that he does for the maturity of all beings in response to their needs, is like the moon reflection in water, showing himself in all forms and appearances he preaches to them on the Dharma. His activity is what is in Mahayana phraseology called “Anabhogacarya,” deeds that are effortless, effectless, and purposeless. When the Bodhisattva enters upon the first stage called Joy or Pramudita, in the career of his spiritual discipline, he makes the following solemn vows, ten in number, which, flowing out of his most earnest determined will, are as all-inclusive as the whole universe, extending to the extremity of space itself, reaching the end of time, exhausting all the number of kalpas or ages, and functioning uninterruptedly as long as there is the appearance of a Buddha.
The first vow is to honour and serve all the Buddhas, one and all without a single exception. The second vow is to work for the preservation and perpetuation of the teaching of all the Buddhas. The third vow is to be present at the appearance of each Buddha, wherever and whenever it may be. The fourth vow is to practice the proper conduct of Bodhisattvahood which is wide and measureless, imperishable and free from impurities, and to extend the Virtues of Perfection (paramitas) towards all beings. The fifth vow is to induce all beings in the most comprehensive sense of the term to turn to the teaching of the Buddhas so that they may find their final abode of peace in the wisdom of the all-wise ones. The sixth vow is to have an inner perception of the universe, wide and inexhaustible, in all its possible multitudinousness. The seventh vow is to realize the most closely interpenetrating relationship of each and all, of all and each, and to make everyland of beings immaculate as a Buddha-land. The eighth vow is to be united with all the Bodhisattvas in oneness of intention, to become intimately acquainted with the dignity, understanding, and psychic condition of the Tathagatas, so that the Bodhisattva can enter any society of beings and accomplish the Mahayana which is beyond thought. The ninth vow is to evolve the never-receding wheel whereby to carry out his work of universal salvation, by making himself like unto the great lord of medicine or wish-fulfilling gem. The tenth vow is to realize the great supreme enlightenment in all the worlds, by going through the stages of Buddhahood, and fulfilling the wishes of all beings with one voice, and while showing himself to be in Nirvana, not to cease from practicing the objects of Bodhisattvahood.
331. Powers of Bodhisattvas
In Mahayana Buddhism, it is the eighth “perfection” (paramita) of the tenfold list of perfections that a Bodhisattva cultivates on the path to Buddhahood. It is developed on the eighth Bodhisattva level (bhumi). Besides, there is also a tenfold list of qualities that in both Theravada Buddhism and Mahayana are said to be unique to fully awakened Buddhas (Samyak-Sambuddha): 1) power of knowledge of what is possible and what is impossible or the power to distinguish right from wrong (sthanasthana-jnana-bala); power of knowledge of retributions of actions or the power of knowing karmic retributions throughout the three periods of time (karma-vipaka-jnana-bala); 3) power of knowledge of the concentrations, eight stages of liberations, meditative absorptions, and attainments (dhyana-vimoksa-samadhi-samapatti-jnana-bala); 4) power of knowledge of the relative qualities of beings or the power of complete knowledge of the powers and faculties of all beings (indrya-parapara-jnana-bala); 5) power of knowledge of the various intentions of beings or the power of complete knowledge of the desires or moral direction of every being (nanadhimukti-jnana-bala); 6) power of knowledge of the various states of beings or the power of knowing the states of others (nanadhatu-jnana-bala); 7) power of knowledge of the ways in which beings go everywhere within cyclic existence and nirvana (sarvatragamini-pratipajjnana-bala); 8) power of knowledge of former abodes (purva-nivasa-jnana-bala); 9) power of knowledge of death and rebirth (cyutyu-papada-jnana-bala); 10) power of knowledge that the defilements have been extinguished (asrava-jnana-bala). According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 27, Bodhisattvas have ten kinds of power. First, the power of courageous strength, because they tame worldlings. Second, the power of energy because they never backslide. Third, the power of nonattachment, because they get rid of defiling obsessions. Fourth, the power of silent calm, because they have no disputes about anything. Fifth, the power to oppose or conform, because they are free in the midst of all things. Sixth, the power of the nature of things, because they attain mastery of all truths. Seventh, the power of nonobstruction, because their knowledge and wisdom is immensely vast. Eighth, the power of fearlessness, because they can explain all truths. Ninth, the power of intellect, because they can hold all truths. Tenth, the power of revelation, because their knowledge and wisdom is boundless.
332. Necessary Elements and Powers for Attaining Enlightenment
According to Zen Master Hakuin, there are three essential elements for enlighenment to the realization of practice or to any endeavor: great belief, great doubt, and great determination. It was not through books and sermons that one learned about these three elements, one must learn them in day-to-day life. If one is not forced to live out of these essential components, one could never have perserved through anything like Zen training. In Zen Sects, great belief is belief in your own master and the truth for which he stands. It is the final analysis, belief in the limitless power of Buddha-nature, which is by nature within yourself. Great doubt may appear to be the exact opposite of belief, it actually signifies the constant awareness of our own unripeness and the consciousness of a problem that we hold always within ourselves. The innate force of humankind, Buddha-nature, has given birth to a marvelous tradition of wisdom, and we believe firmly in this wisdom. But reflecting upon our own immaturity and being unable to accept it creates a contradiction that stays with us constantly, as a problem. We then must proceed with great determination, which means sticking to practice with true courage. Besides, there are four powers for attaining Enlightenment: independent personal power, power derived from others, power of good past karma, and power arising from environment.
According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, there are ten preliminary conditions that lead to the cherishing of the desire for supreme enlightenment: the stock of merit is well-filled, deeds of goodness are well practiced, the necessary moral provisions are well stored up, the Buddhas have respectfully served, works of purity are well accomplished, there are good friends kindly disposed, the heart is thoroughly cleansed, broad-mindedness is firmly secured, a deep sincere faith is established, and there is the presence of a compassionate heart. According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, the desire for supreme enlightenment is so necessary for practitioners, and there are ten reasons related to our daily life which lead practitioners desire for enlightenment: for the realization of Buddha-knowledge, for the attainment of the ten powers, for the attainment of great fearlessness, for the attainment of the truth of sameness which constitutes Buddhahood, for protecting and securing the whole world, for the purification of a pitying and compassionate heart, for the attainment of a knowledge which leaves nothing unknown in the ten directions of the world, for the purification of all the Buddha-lands so that a state of non-attachment will prevail, for the perception of the past, present, and future in one moment, and for the revolving of the great wheel of the Dharma in the spirit of fearlessness.
Besides, according to The Avatamsaka Sutra, there are elven minds that lead to enlightenment (desire for enlightenment is really arouse from these minds). The first mind is the Maha-karuna-citta. According to The Avatamsaka Sutra, this is one of the eleven minds that lead to enlightenment. A great loving heart which is desirous of protecting all beings. The second mind is the Maha-maitri-citta. A great compassionate heart which ever wishes for the welfare of all beings. The third mind is the Sukha-citta. The desire to make others happy, which comes from seeing them suffer all forms of pain. The fourth mind is the Hita-citta. The desire to benefit others, and to deliver them from evils and wrong deeds. The fifth mind is the Daya-citta. A sympathetic heart which desires to protect all beings from tormenting thoughts. The sixth mind is the Asamga-citta. An unimpeded heart which wishes to see all the impediments removed for others. The seventh mind is the Vaipulya-citta. A large heart which fills the whole universe. The eighth mind is the Ananta-citta. An endless heart which is like space. The ninth mind is the Vimala-citta. A spotless heart which sees all the Buddhas. The tenth mind is the Visuddha-citta. A mind free from all impurity. The eleventh mind is the Jnana-citta. A wisdom-heart by which one can enter the great ocean of all-knowledge.
According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, there are thirteen elements of supreme enlightenment. The first element is a great compassionate heart which is the chief factor of the desire. The second element is the knowledge born of transcendental wisdom which is the ruling element. The third element is the skilful means which works as a protecting agent. The fourth element is the deepest heart which gives it a support. The fifth element is the Bodhicitta of the same measure with the Tathagata-power. The sixth element is the Bodhicitta endowed with the power to discern the power and intelligence of all beings. The seventh element is the Bodhicitta directed towards the knowledge of non-obstruction. The eighth element is the Bodhicitta in conformity with spontaneous knowledge. The ninth element is the Bodhicitta which is capable of instructing all beings in the truths of Buddhism according to knowledge born of transcendental wisdom. The tenth element is the Bodhicitta which is extending to the limits of the Dharmadhatu which is as wide as space itself. The eleventh element is the knowledge which belongs to Buddhahood, and which see into everything that is in space and time, the knowledge which goes beyond the realm of relativity and individuation because it penetrates into every corner of the universe and surveys eternity at one glance. The twelfth element is the will-power that knocks down every possible obstruction lying athwart its way when it wishes to reach its ultimate end, which is the deliverance of the whole world from the bondage of birth-and-death. The thirteenth element is the all-embracing love or compassion which, in combination with knowledge and will-power, never ceases from devising all means to promote the spiritual welfare of every sentient being.
333. Eight Chief Characteristics of Enlightenment
According to Zen master D.T. Suzuki in the Essays in Zen Buddhism, Zen master Ta-Hui in the eleventh century mentioned eight chief characteristics of ‘satori’ In Zen. The first characteristic is the Irrationality. Satori is not a conclusion to be reached by reasoning, and defies all intellectual determination. Those who have experienced it are always at a loss to explain it coherently or logically. When it is explained at all, either in words or gestures, its content more or less undergoes a mutilation. The uninitiated are thus unable to grasp it by what is outwardly visible, while those who have had the experience discern what is genuine from what is not. The satori experience is thus always characterized by irrationality, inexplicability, and incommunicability. Listen to Ta-Hui once more: “This matter or Zen is like a great mass of fire; when you approach it your face is sure to be scorched. It is again like a sword about to be drawn; when it is once out of the scrabbard, someone is sure to lose his life. But if you neither fling away the scabbard nor approach the fire, you are no better than a piece of rock or of wood. Coming to this pass, one has to be quite a resolute character full of spirit. There is nothing here suggestive of cool reasoning and quiet metaphysical or epistemological analysis, but of a certain desperate will to break through an insurmountable barrier, of the will impelled by some irrational or unconscious power behind it. Therefore, the outcome also defies intellection or conceptualization.
The second characteristic is the Intuitive insight. In Zen. There is a quality in mystic experience has been pointed out by James in his Varieties of Religious Experience, and this applies also to the Zen experience known as satori. Another name for satori is ‘to see the essence or nature,’ which apparently proves that there is ‘seeing’ or ‘perceiving’ in satori. That this seeing is of quite a different quality from what is ordinarily designated as knowledge need not be specifically noticed. Hui-K’o is reported to have made this statement concerning his satori which was confirmed by Bodhidharma himself: “As to my satori, it is not a total annihilation; it is knowledge of the most adequate kind; only it cannot be expressed in words.” In this respect, Shen-Hui was more explicit, for he says that “The one character of knowledge is the source of all mysteries.” Without this noetic quality satori will lose all its pungency, for it is really the reason of satori itself. It is noteworthy that the knowledge contained in satori is concerned with something universal and at the same time with the individual aspect of existence. When a finger is lifted, the lifting means, from the viewpoint od satori, far more than the act of lifting. Some may call it symbolic, but satori does not point to anything beyond itself, being final as it is. Satori is the knowledge of an individual object and also that of Reality which is, if we may say so, at the back of it.
The third characteristic is the Authoritativeness. The knowledge realized by satori is final, that no amount of logical argument can refute it. Being direct and personal it is sufficient unto itself. All that logic can do here is to explain it, to interpret it in connection with other kinds of knowledge with which our minds are filled. Satori is thus a form of perception, an inner perception, which takes place in the most interior part of consciousness. Hence the sense of authoritativeness, which means finality. So, it is generally said that Zen is like drinking water, for it is by one’s self that one knows whether it is warm or cold. The Zen perception being the last term of experience, it cannot be denied by outsiders who have no such experience.
The fourth characteristic is the Affirmation. What is authoritativeness and final can never be negative. For negation has no value for our life, it leads us nowhere; it is not a power that urges, nor does it give one a place to rest. Though the satori experience is sometimes expressed in negative terms, it is essentially an affirmative attitude towards all things that exist; it accept them as they come along regardless of their moral values. Buddhists call this patience (kshanti), or more properly ‘acceptance,’ that is, acceptance of things in their supra-relative or transcendental aspect where no dualism of whatever sort avails. Some may say that this is pantheistic. The term, however, has a definite philosophic meaning and we would not see it used in this cennection. When so interpreted the Zen experience exposes itself to endless misunderstandings and ‘‘defilements.’’Ta-Hui says in his letter to Miao-Tsung: “An ancient sage says that the Tao itself does not require special disciplining, only let it not be defiled. We would say to talk about mind or nature is defiling; to talk about the unfathomable or the mysterious is defiling; to direct one’s attention to it, to think about it, is defiling; to be writing about it thus on paper with a brush is especially defiling. What then shall we have to do in order to get ourselves oriented, and properly apply ourselves to it? The precious vajra sword is right here and its purpose is to cut off the head. Do not be concerned with human questions of right and wrong. All is Zen just as it is, and right here you are to apply yourself. Zen is Suchness, a grand affirmation.
The fifth characteristic is the Sense of the Beyond. Terminology may differ in different religions, and in satori there is always what we may call a sense of the Beyond; the experience indeed is my own but I feel it to be rooted elsewhere. The individual shell in which my personality is so solidly encased explodes at the moment of ‘satori’. Not necessarily that I get unified with a being greater than myself or absorbed in it, but that my individuality, which I found rigidly held together and definitely kept separate from other individual existences, becomes loosened somehow from its tightening grip and melts away into something indescribable, something which is of quite a different order from what I am accustomed to. The feeling that follows is that of a complete release or a complete rest, the feeling that one has arrived finally at the destination. ‘Coming home and quietly resting’ is the expression generally used by Zen followers. The story of the prodigal son in the Saddharma-pundarika in the Vajra-samadhi points to the same feeling one has at the moment of a satori experience. As far as the psychology of satori is considered, a sense of the Beyond is all we can say about it; to call this the Beyond, the Absolute, or a Person is to go further than the experience itself and to plunge into a theology or metaphysics. Even the ‘Beyond’ is saying a little too much. When a Zen master says: “There is not a fragment of a tile above my head, there is not an inch of earth beneath my feet, the expression seems to be an appropriate once. I have called it elsewhere the Unconscious, though this has a psychological taint.
The sixth characteristic is the Impersonal Tone. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Zen experience is that it has no personal note in it as is observable in Christian mystic experiences. There is no reference whatever in Buddhist satori to such personal feelings. We may say that all the terms are interpretations based on a definite system of thought and really have nothing to do with the experience itself. In anywhere satori has remained thoroughly impersonal, or rather highly intellectual. Not only satori itself is such a prosaic and non-glorious event, but the occasion that inspires it also seems to be unromantic and altogether lacking in super-sensuality. Satori is experienced in connection with any ordinary occurrence in one’s daily life. It does not appear to be an extraordinary phenomenon as is recorded in Christian books of mysticism. Sometimes takes hold of you, or slaps you, or brings you a cup of tea, or makes some most commonplace remark, or recites some passage from a sutra or from a book of poetry, and when your mind is ripe for its outburst, you come at once to satori. There is no voice of the Holy Ghost, no plentitude of Divine Grace, no glorification of any sort. Here is nothing painted in high colors, all is grey and extremely unobstrusive and unattractive.
The seventh characteristic is the Feeling of exaltation. The feeling of exaltation inevitably accompanies enlightenment is due to the fact that it is the breaking-up of the restriction imposed on one as an individual being, and this breaking-up is not a mere negative incident but quite a positive one fraught (full of) with signification because it means an infinite expansion of the individual. The general feeling, though we are not always conscious of it, which charaterizes all our functions of consciousness, is that of restriction and dependence, because consciousness itself is the outcome of two forces conditioning or restricting each other. Enlightenment, on the contrary, essentially consists in doing away with the opposition of two terms in whatsoever sense, and this opposition is the principle of consciousness, while enlightenment is to realize the Unconscious which goes beyond the opposition. To be released of this, must make one feel above all things intensely exalted. A wandering outcast maltreated everywhere not only by others but by himself finds that he is the possessor of all the wealth and power that is ever attainable in this world by a mortal being, if it does not give him a high feeling of self-glorification, what could? Says a Zen Master, “When you have enlightenment you are able to reveal a palatial mansion made of precious stones on a single blade of grass; but when you have no enlightenment, a palatial mansion itself is concealed behind a simple blade of grass.””Another Zen master alluding to the Avatamsaka, declares: “O monks, look and behold! A most auspicious light is shining with the utmost brilliancy all over the great chiliocosm, simultaneously revealing all the countries, all the oceans, all the Sumerus, all the suns and moons, all the heavens, all the lands, each of which number as many as hundreds of thousands of kotis. O monks, do you not see the light? But the Zen feeling of exaltation is rather a quiet feeling of self-contentment; it is not at all demonstrative, when the first glow of it passes away. The Unconscious does not proclaim itself so boisterously in the Zen consciousness.
The eighth characteristic is the momentariness or momentary experience. Enlightenment comes upon one abruptly and is a momentary experience. In fact, if it is not abrupt and momentary, it is not enlightenment. This abruptness is what characterizes the Hui-Neng school of Zen ever since its proclamation late in the seventh century. His opponent Shen-Hsiu was insistent on a gradual unfoldment of Zen consciousness. Hui-Neng’s followers were thus distinguished as strong upholders of the doctrine of abruptness. This abrupt experience of enlightenment, then, opens up in one moment (ekamuhurtena) an altogehter new vista, and the whole existence appraised from quite a new angle of observation.
334. Woman in the Buddhist Point of View
According to the Buddhist Views, to be born into a woman’s body was considered a cause of special suffering on account of menstruation, childbirth and menopause, etc. Besides, according to Buddhist point of view, woman is considered as a lock or a chain, the binding power of sex. According to the Nirvana Sutra, the Buddha described Woman as the “abode of all evil”. According to the Sastra on the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, woman as a robber, the cause of sexual passion, stealing away the riches of religion. Also according to the sastra on the Prajna-Paramita-Sutra, it is better to burn out the eyes with a red-hot iron than behold woman with unsteady heart. The Buddha always taught: “Woman beauty is a chain of serious delusion, a grievous calamity. There is no impediment in women to enable them to practice religion as men do and attain the highest state in life, which is Arahanthood or Sainthood, the highest level of mental purity. However, it has been almost 26 centuries since the time the Buddha liberated the women in Indian society, women are still struggling to gain equality with men in all fields.” According to the Sutra In Forty-Two Sections, Chapter 29, the Buddha said: “Be careful not to look at women and do not talk with them. If you must speak with them, be properly mindful and think: ‘I am a Sramana living in a turbid world. I should be like the lotus flower and not be defiled by the mud.’ Regard old women the way you regard your mother. Regard those who are older than you the way you regard your elder sisters. Regard those who are younger as your younger sisters and regard children as their own. Bring forth thoughts to rescue them and put an end to negative (bad) thoughts.” On various occasions, the Buddha mentioned to Visakha the eight qualities that make a woman seek birth in happy states; or she will be born again where lovely devas dwell. First, always active, and alert to cherish her husband. Second, even though he is not the man who brings her every joy. Third, she offers slight, nor will a good wife, move to wrath her husband by some spiteful word. Fourth, she reveres all whom her husband honour. Fifth, for she is wise, deft, nimble, up bedtimes. Sixth, she mind his wealth amid his folk at work. Seventh, sweetly orders all. Eighth, who complies with her husband’s wish and will. In Gradual Sayings, the Buddha commented to Visakha the eight qualities in a woman that tend to wealth and happiness in this world and in the next world: “Herein, Visakha, a woman is capable at her work; a woman is capable to manage the servants; in her ways she is lovely to her husband; she guards his wealth. Herein, Visakha, a woman is accomplished in trustful confidence; accomplished in virtue; accomplished in charity; and accomplished in wisdom.”
335. “Eyes” In Buddhist Points of View
According to Buddhism, “Eye” is considered as one of the six cauras or robbers, such as the six senses, the six sense organs are the match-makers, or medial agents of the six robbers. The six robbers are also likened to the six pleasures of the six sense organs. The only way to prevent them is by not acting with them. Sincere Buddhists should always remember: “The eye should always avoid beauty; the ear should always avoid melodious sound; the nose should always avoid fragrant scent; the tongue should always avoid tasty flavour; the body should always avoid seductions; and the mind should always control thoughts.” According to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, “Eye” is one of the six groups of contacts (Eye-contact, Ear-contact, Nose-contact, Tongue-contact, Body-contact, and Mind-contact). Also according to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, “Eye” is one of the twelve entrances (Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, Body, Mind, forms, sounds, scents, tastes, textures, and mental objects).
In the Lankavatara Sutra, the Buddha reminded Mahamati about the four causes that cause the eye-sense to be awakened. First, being attached to the visible world, not knowing it is mind-made. Second, the tenaciously clinging to forms due to the habit-energy of unwarranted speculations and erroneous views from beginningless time. Third, the self-nature of the Vijnana itself. Fourth, an eager desire for the multitudinousness of forms and appearances. The Buddha reminded Mahamati: “Oh, Mahamati! Owing to the four causes, the waves of the evolving Vijnanas are set in motion in the Alaya which flows like the water in the midst of the ocean. Oh Mahamati, as with the eye-sense, so with the other senses, the perception of the objective world takes place simultaneously and regularly in all the sense-organs, atoms, and pores; it is like the mirror reflecting images, and oh Mahamati, like the wind-tossed ocean, the ocean of mind is disturbed by the wind of objectivity and the Vijnana-waves rage without ceasing. The cause and the manifestation of its action are not separated the one from the other; and on account of the karma-aspect of the Vijnana being closely united with the original-aspect, the self-nature of form or an objective world is not accurately ascertained, and, o Mahamati, thus evolves the system of the five Vijnanas. When together, oh Mahamati, with these five Vijnanas, the objective world is regarded as the reason of the differentiation and appearances are definitely prescribed, we have the Manovijnana. Caused by this is the birth of the body or the system of the Vijnanas. They do not, however, reflect thus: ‘we, mutually dependent, come to get attached to the visible world which grows out od one’s own mind and is discriminated by it.’ The Vijnanas and Manovijnana rise simultaneously, mutually conditioning, and not broken up, but each taking in its own field of representations.
According to the Buddhist tradition, there are five kinds of eyes or vision. The first kind of eyes is the human eye (physical eye), the flesh eye, or eye of the body. This kind of eyes has limited vision. The second kind of eyes is the celestial (god or deva) eye or heavenly eye. This kind of eyes has unlimited vision, usually attainable by men in dhyana. The third kind of eyes is the eye of wisdom or Hinayana wisdom. This kind of eyes sees all things as unreal. The fourth kind of eyes is the objective eye or the eyes of Bodhisattva that can see truth. This is the Dharma Eye that penetrates all things, to see the truth that releases men from reincarnation. The fifth kind of eyes is the Buddha eye or Buddha vision. This is the Eye of the Enlightened One who see all and are omniscient. According to the Lotus Sutra, there are five kinds of eyes. The first kind of eyes is the eye of a material body. This means the way of viewing things of an ordinary person, who can perceive only material shapes and forms. Such a person often has a wrong or partial view of things. He mistakes oil for water and a whale for a fish. The second kind of eyes is the eye of celestial beings. This means the viewpoint from which we investigate matters theoretically and discern their essential qualities. This is the scientific way of looking at things. When we take this view, we realize that water is formed by the combination of oxygen and hydrogen. From such a point of view, we can foretell when there will be a conjunction of light between two stars down to the year, month, day, hour, minute, and second. At the same time, we can estimate exactly how many millions of tons of petroleum are buried underground. Such a person, who has the ability of seeing things that an ordinary man cannot see, was called a clairvoyant in ancient times. The third kind of eyes is the eye of wisdom. This means to discern the entity of things and their real state. This, in a sense, a philosophical way of looking at things. A person with the eye of wisdom can observe things that are invisible to the average person and can perceive matters that are beyond imagination. He realizes that all things in this world are always changing and there is nothing existing in a fixed form. That is to say all things are impermanent, nothing in the universe is an isolated existence, having no relation to other things; everything exists in relationship with everything else like the meshes of a net, nothing has an ego. The fourth kind of eyes is the eye of the Law. This means the artistic way of looking at things. To the average man, a mountain is just a mountain and a cloud is merely a cloud. But a poet feels that the mountain speaks to him and the cloud teaches him something. He feels that a beautiful flower, a dignified tree, and a little stream talk to him, each in its own special language. Unlike the average person, an outstanding artist can directly touch the lives of such natural phenomena. In the case of man himself and his human life, such an artist can also perceive truths that the ordinary person cannot. The fifth kind of eyes is the eye of the Buddha. This means the highest of all viewpoints. A person with this kind of insight not only can perceive the real state of all things but can also observe it with compassion. He penetrates the real state of all things with the desire to make all of them develop to the full extent of their potential, each according to its own original nature. In other words, he is endowed with the divine eye of celestial beings, the eye of wisdom, the eye of the Law while also possessing the mind of great compassion; it is he who takes a religious view of things in the true sense. If we view all living beings with the eye of the Buddha, we can naturally discern the means most suitable to guide each one. The Buddha can do this perfectly. Granted that we as ordinary people cannot possibly attain such mental state, we can approach it step by step through our accumulation of practice in the way to Buddhahood. As true Buddhists, we must always try to view everything with a mental attitude based on the compassionate mind of the Buddha.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, there are ten kinds of eye of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these attain the eye of supreme knowledge of Buddhas. First, the flesh eye, seeing all forms. This is the physical eye or eye of flesh (human eye), one of the five kinds of eye. Second, the celestial eye, seeing the minds of all sentient beings. This is the unlimited vision, attainable by men in dhyana. Third, the wisdom-eye, seeing the ranges of the faculties of all sentient beings. This is the eye of Hinayana wisdom, which sees all things as unreal. Fourth, the reality-eye, seeing the true characters of all things. The Dharma-eye, the eye of truth that perceives reality. The perception of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. To see clearly or purely the truth: The (Bodhisattva) Dharma-eye which is able to penetrate all things. Fifth, the Buddha-eye, seeing the ten powers of the enlightened. The Buddha eye or the eye of the enlightened one who sees all and is omniscient. Sixth, the eye of knowledge, knowing and seeing all things. The eye of wisdom, or the eye of knowledge, knowing and seeing all things, not the flesh eye. Wisdom as an eye to attain the truth. Eye that sees all things as unreal. Seventh, the eye of light, seeing the light of Buddha. Eighth, the eye of leaving birth-and-death, seeing nirvana. Ninth, the unobstructed eye, its vision without hindrance. Tenth, the eye of omniscience, seeing the realm of reality in its universal aspect.