THE SORROWLESS FLOWERS
401. Buddhas’ Lands
402. Four Forms of Birth
403.Sumeru Mountain and Four Saha Continents
404. Dwelling Places of Devout Buddhists
405. The First Absolute Truth
406. Ultimate and Conventional Truths
407. Bodhisattvas’Conducts and Living beings’ Conducts
408. The Self-Living Beings-Others-and Life Span
409. Bodhisattvas’ Purity
411. The Buddha’s Advise
412. Ten Paths Of Emancipation
413. Ten Peerless States
414. The Ceremony of Anointment (Abhiseka)
415. Different Kinds of Knowledge
417. The Holy Assemblies
418. The Inconceivables
419. The Difficulties
420. Twenty Other Difficulties People Always Encounter
401. Buddhas’ Lands
According to Buddhist traditions, there are many different Buddhas’ lands in this universe. The first Buddha Land is the Eastern Paradise which is presided by Maitreya, the Coming Buddha. The Eastern Paradise is also the name of the Tusita heaven, the fourth devaloka in the six passion-realms (dục giới), or desire realms, the Delightful Realm, the abode of Bodhisattvas in their last existence before attaining Buddhahood. This heaven is between the Yama and Nirmanarati heavens. This heaven consists of an inner and an outer court. Its inner department is the Pure Land of Maitreya who, like Sakyamuni and all Buddhas, is reborn there before descending to earth as the next Buddha; his life there is 4,000 Tusita years, or (each day there is equal to 400 earth-years) 584 million such years. The second Buddha land is the Sukhavati or the Western Paradise. Sukhavati means the Western Land of Amitabha Buddha, the highest joy, name of the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha in the west. The Western Paradise which is outside the triple realm and beyond samsara and retrogression. The Western Paradise is one of the most important of the Buddha-fields to appear in the Mahayana. Amitabha Buddha created the Pure Land by his karmic merit. The Pure Land sect believes that through faithful devotion to Amitabha and through recitation of his name, one an be reborn there and lead a blissful life until entering Nirvana.
402. Four Forms of Birth
According to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, there are four forms of birth by which the beings of the six modes of existence can be reborn (all births take place in four forms and in each case causing a sentient being to enter one of the six gati or paths of transmigration). The first form of birth is the womb-born or Birth from the womb. Viviparous, as is the case with mammals, people, cows, tigers, etc. The second form of birth is the Egg-born, or birth from eggs. Oviparious, as is the case with chicken, goose, birds, etc. The third form of birth is the Moist and Wet Conditions Born or, spawn-born, or birth from moisture (wetness). Moisture or water-born, as is the case with worms, fishes, shrimps, etc. The fourth form of birth is the born (birth) by transformation, or spontaneous rebirth. Metamorphosis, as is the case with maggot transforms into fly, moths from the chrysalis, caterpillar becomes butterfly, or deities and superior beings of the Pure Land. It is said that such beings, after the end of their previous lifetime, suddenly appear in this fashion due to their karma, without the help of parents or any other intermediary agency.
403. Sumeru Mountain and Four Saha Continents
According to the Avatamsaka Sutra, Polar Mountain, or Mount Sumeru, or Sumeru Mountain, the central mountain of every world, wonderful height, wonderful brilliancy. It is a mountain formed from gold, silver, gems and crystal. It is 505,000 miles high. Only heavenly beings live there, human beings cannot see or get there. According to Buddhist theory, Mount Sumeru contained in a Mustard Seed, and a Mustard Seed contained in Mount Sumeru. In the world of relativity, it is impossible for Mount Sumeru to be contained in a mustard seed; only the reverse hypothesis is possible. However, in the world of the absolute, the realm of those who have experienced full enlightenment, both hypotheses can be defended as there is no differentiation with regard to time and space. It is at the top of Indra’s heaven, or heavens, below them are the four devalokas; around are eight circles of mountains and between them are the eight seas, the whole forming nine mountains and eight seas.
According to ancient Buddhist cosmology, there are four inhabited continens of every universe. They are land areas and situated in the four directions around Mount Sumeru. First, the Uttarakuru or the Northern of the four continents of a world. The northern continent of the four continents around Meru. Second, the Jambudvipa or the Southern continent of the four continents around Meru. Third, the Godana, Aparagodana, or Avaragodanuyah or West Continent, where oxen are used as money; the western of the four continents of every world, circular in shape and with circular-faced people. Fourth, the Purva-Videha or the Eastern continent. The eastern of the four great continents of a world, east of Mount Meru, semicircular in shape. The continent conquering spirits, semi-lunar in shape; its people having faces of similar shape.
404. Dwelling Places of Devout Buddhists
According to the Buddhism, abiding means abiding in the Truth, i.e. the acquirement by faith of a self believing in the dharma and producing its fruits. Abiding place, one of the ten stages, resting and developing places or abodes of the Bodhisattva, which is entered after the stage of belief has been passed. Abiding in the fruit, i.e. sravakas and pratyeka-buddhas who rest satisfied in their attainments and do not strive for Buddhahood. Abiding place can be the place of Pratyeka-buddhas who rest satisfied in their attainments and do not strive for Buddhahood. Abiding place can be the place of Arahants who rest satisfied in their arahanthood and do not strive for Buddhahood. Abiding place can be the place of Sravakas who rest satisfied in their attainments and do not strive for Buddhahood.
There are only two migrations for rebirth, the upper and the lower realms. Truly speaking, sometimes we wonder ourselves that it is difficult for us to imagine that we might be going to the lower realms, or we are currently staying in the lower realms. We probably think that we more or less keep our precepts, perform most of our daily recitations, and have not committed any serious wrong doings, such as killing or stealing. However, sometimes we are motivated by strong hostility and, as for the deed, we use the harshest words that will really hurt people, so we already created karmas for a lower realm. According to Buddhism, rebirth or not rebirth in lower realms is determined by karma powers, and not by the yellow robe one is wearing or the temple one is residing. Devout Buddhists should always remember that from unwholesome deeds arise all kinds of sufferings in lower realms; and from virtues arise all kinds of happiness in higher rebirths. We cannot be certain of where we will go in our future rebirths. But we can be certain of one thing that we would not want to continue to create any more karmas for rebirths in lower realms. As a matter of fact, even rebirths in the human realm or the realm of gods are not excluded form sufferings. The human rebirth has the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death; it has the suffering of being separated from the things one holds dear, meeting with unpleasantness, and not finding the things one wants. The demi-gods also have sufferings, for they do not have any opportunity to encounter and to cultivate the Buddha-dharma. In the end they will fall, so they have not transcended suffering. In short, as long as we are not free from samsara for good, we have not transcended the nature of suffering. Devout Buddhists do not want to say that we want to cultivate this life to set aside the merits for the next life, but if we do not want to fall into the lower realms, we have cultivate right now in this very life. We have gained the optimum human rebirth, and this is the most advatangeous physical form to have for the practice of Dharma. We have met with the right conditions, we have met the Buddha’s teachings, and so on, but if we do not take this opportunity to cultivate to liberate ourselves now, when shall we ever achieve it?
In the three realms of mortality, there are four abidings. First, the delusions arising from seeing things as they seem, not as they are. Second, the desires in the desire realm. Third, the desires in the form-realm. Fourth, the desires in the formless realm. There are also five fundamental conditions. These are five fundamental conditions of the passions and delusions. These are also five states or conditions found in mortality; wherein are the delusions of misleading views and desires. These five states condition all error, and are the ground in which spring the roots of the countless passions and delusions of all mortal beings. First, delusions arising from seeing things as they seem, not as they really are; or wrong views which are common to the trailokya. Second, the desires in the desire realm; or clinging or attachment in the desire-realm. Third, the desires in the form realm; or clinging or attachment in the form-realm. Fourth, the desires (clinging or attachment) in the formless realm which is still mortal. Fifth, the state of ignorance, or the state of unenlightenment or ignorance in the trailokya which is the root-cause of all distressful delusion. This is the ground in which spring the roots of the countless passions and delusions of all mortal beings. According to the Sangiti Sutta, there are five impossible things. First, an Arahant is incapable of deliberately taking the life of a living being. Second, an Arahant is incapable of taking what is not given so as to constitute theft. Third, an Arahant is incapable of committing sexual intercourse. Fourth, an Arahant is incapable of telling a deliberate lie. Fifth, an Arahant is incapable of storing up goods for sensual indulgence as he did formerly in the household life.
According to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, there are six stable states. Here a monk , on seeing an object with the eye, is neither pleased (sumano) nor displeased (dummano), but remains equable (upekhako), mindful and clearly aware. Here a monk, on hearing a sound with the ear, is neither pleased nor displeased, but remains equable, mindful and clearly aware. Here a monk, on smelling a smell with the nose, is neither pleased nor displeased, but remains equable, mindful and clearly aware. Here a monk, on tasting a flavour with the tongue, is neither pleased nor displeased, but remains equable, mindful and clearly aware. Here a monk, on touching a tangible object with the body, is neither pleased not displeased, but remains equable, mindful and clearly aware. Here a monk, on cognising a mental object with the mind, is neither pleased nor displeased, but remains equable, mindful and clearly aware.
A Bodhisattva firmly fixed, or abiding in certainty. After a Bodhisattva has completed three great asamkhyeya kalpas he has still one hundred great kalpas to complete. This period is called abiding in fixity or firmness, divided into sixth kinds. First, certainty of being born in a good gati such as in the deva realms or in the realms of human beings. Second, certainty of being born in a noble family. Third, certainty of being born with a good body. Fourth, certainty of being born as a man. Fifth, certainty of being born knowing the abiding places of his transmigrations. Sixth, certainty of being born knowing the abiding character of his good work.
Besides, according to the Sangiti Sutta, there are nine abodes of beings. First, beings different in body and different in perception such as human beings, some devas and hells. Second, beings different in body and alike in perception such as new-rebirth Brahma. Third, beings are alike in body and different in perception such as Light-sound heavens (Abhasvara). Fourth, beings alike in body and alike in perception such as Heavens of pure dwelling. Fifth, the realm of unconscious beings such as heavens of no-thought. Sixth, beings who have attained the Sphere of Infinite Space. Seventh, beings who have attained to the Sphere of Infinite Consciousness. Eighth, beings who have attained to the Sphere of No-Thingness. Ninth, beings who have attained to the Sphere of Neither-Perception-Nor-Non-Perception.
According to The Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 33, there are ten kinds of abode, abiding therein in all things of all Buddhas. First, all Buddhas abide in awareness of all realms of reality. Second, all Buddhas abide in compassion speech. Third, all Buddhas abide in the fundamental great vow. Fourth, all Buddhas abide in persistence in civilizing sentient beings. Fifth, all Buddhas abide in the principle of absence of selfhood. Sixth, all Buddhas abide in impartial salvation. Seventh, all Buddhas abide in recollection of truth. Eighth, all Buddhas abide in the unobstructed minds. Ninth, all Buddhas abide in the constantly rightly concentrated minds. Tenth, all Buddhas abide in equal comprehension of all things without violating the character of ultimate reality. Also according to The Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of abiding of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can reach the Buddhas’ supreme abiding in omniscience. First, abiding in the will for enlightenment, never forgetting it. Second, abiding in the transcendent ways, not tiring for fostering enlightenment. Third, abiding in the teaching of truth, increasing wisdom. Fourth, abiding in dispassion, realizing great meditational concentration. Fifth, abiding in conformity to universal knowledge, austerity, contentment, moderation in food, clothing, and dwelling, getting rid of evil, and few desires mean few concerns. Sixth, abiding in deep faith, bearing the true Teaching. Seventh, abiding in the company of the enlightened, to learn the conduct of Buddhas. Eighth, abiding in generation of spiritual powers, to fulfill great knowledge. Ninth, abiding in attainment of acceptance, fulfilling the forcast of enlightenment. Tenth, abiding in the site of enlightenment, fulfilling powers, fearlessness, and all aspects of Buddhahood.
In the Surangama Sutra, book Eight, the Buddha reminded Ananda about the Ten Grounds or the ten stages (periods) in Bodhisattva-wisdom. The first period is the period of purposive stage (the mind set upon Buddhahood or the mind that dwells of bringing forth the resolve). Ananda, these good people use honest expedients to bring forth those ten minds of faith. When the essence of these minds becomes dazzling, and the ten functions interconnect, then a single mind is perfectly accomplished. This is called the dwelling of bringing forth the resolve. The second period is the period of clear understanding and mental control or the dwelling of the ground of regulation. From within this mind light comes forth like pure crystal, which reveals pure gold inside. Treading upon the previous wonderful mind as a ground is called the dwelling of the ground of regulation. The third period is the period of unhampered liberty in every direction or dwelling of cultivation. When the mind-ground connects with wisdom, both become bright and comprehensive. Traversing the ten directions then without obstruction. This is called the dwelling of cultivation. The fourth period is the period of acquiring the Tathagata nature or seed or dwelling of noble birth. When their conduct is the same as the Buddhas’ and they take on the demeanor of a Buddha, then, like the intermediate skandha body searching for a father and mother, they penetrate the darkness with a hidden trust and enter the lineage of the Thus Come One. This is called the dwelling of noble birth. The fifth period is the period of perfect adaptability and resemblance in self-development and development of others or dwelling with endowment with skill-in-means. Since they ride in the womb of the way and will themselves become enlightened heirs, their human features are in no way deficient. This is called the dwelling of endownment with skill-in-means. The sixth period is the period of the whole mind becoming Buddha-like or dwelling of the rectification of the mind. With a physical appearance like that of a Buddha and a mind that is the same as well, they are said to be dwelling in the rectification of the mind. The seventh period is the period of Non-retrogression, or perfect unity and constant progress or dwelling of irreversibility. United in body and mind, they easily grow and mature day by day. In this stage, Bodhisattvas realize serenity of mind and also achieve unimpeded liberation. This is called the dwelling of irreversibility. The eighth period is the period of as a Buddha-son now, or the stage of youth in Buddhahood or dwelling of pure youth. With the efficacious appearance of ten bodies, which are simultaneously perfected, they are said to be at the dwelling of a pure youth. The ninth period is the period of as prince of the law or dwelling of a Dharma Prince. Completely developed, they leave the womb and become sons of the Buddha. This is called the dwelling of a Dharma Prince. The tenth period is the period of baptism as the summit of attainment of the conception of Buddhahood or dwelling anointing the crown of the head. Reaching the fullness of adulthood, they are like the chosen prince to whom the great king of a country turns over the affairs of state. When this Kshatriya King’s eldest is ceremoniously anointed on the crown of the head, he has reached what is called the dwelling of anointing the crown of the head.
405. The First Absolute Truth
The truth is the true principle, or the principle of truth, or the absolute apart from phenomena. The truth is the destructive cause of pain. In Buddhism, the truth is the asseveration or categories of reality. Truth in reality, opposite of ordinary or worldly truth (Thế đế) or ordinary categories; they are those of the sage, or man of insight, in contrast with those of the common man, who knows only appearance and not reality. Besides, in Buddhism, the Four Truths, or four Noble Truths, or four Philosophies are a critical example of “Truth”. A fundamental doctrine of Buddhism which clarifies the cause of suffering and the way to emancipation. Sakyamuni Buddha is said to have expounded the Four Noble Truths in the Deer Park in Sarnath during his first sermon after attaining Buddhahood. The Buddha organized these ideas into the Fourfold Truth as follows: “Life consists entirely of suffering; suffering has causes; the causes of suffering can be extinguished; and there exists a way to extinguish the cause.” According to Buddhism, the truth is the PATH that leads to the cessation of suffering (the way of cure)—The truth of the right way—The way of such extinction—To practice the Eight-fold Noble Truths—Buddha taught: “Whoever accepts the four dogmas, and practises the Eighfold Noble Path will put an end to births and deaths.” In the Dhammapada Sutta, the Buddha taught: “In the untruth the foolish see the truth, while the truth is seen as the untruth. Those who harbor such wrong thoughts never realize the truth (Dharmapada 11). What is truth regarded as truth, what is untruth regarded as untruth. Those who harbor such right thoughts realize the truth (Dharmapada 12).”
There are two kinds of truth (Twofold Truth). They are Changeless essence and Ever-changing forms. First, the changeless essence or substance. Second, ever-changing forms of truth. Its conditioned or ever-changing forms, as in the phenomenal world. Besides, there are also Inexpressible and Expressed in words. First, the inexpressible absolute, only mentally conceivable. Second, expressible absolute. These are aspects expressed in words. There are also Void and Absolute. First, the absolute as the void (space, the sky, the clear mirror). Second, the absolute in manifestation or phenomenal (images in the mirror)—The womb of the universe in which are all potentialities. There are also Nature in Bonds and Nature set free. First, the Buddha nature in bonds. Second, the Buddha nature set free by the manifestation of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. There are also the Defiled and the Purified. First, the Buddha-nature defiled, as unenlightened man (water lily with its roots in the mud). Second, the pure Buddha-nature, purified or bright as the full moon.
Besides, in this world, there are four more truths. First, all living beings rise from ignorance. Second, all objects of desire are impermanent, uncertain and suffering. Third, all existing things are also impermanent, uncertain and suffering. Fourth, nothing that can be called an “ego,” and there is no such thing as “mine” in the world. There are also eight truths. First, common postulates on reality, considering the nominal as real. Second, common doctrinal postulates (the five skandhas). Third, abstract postulates (the four Noble Truths). Fourth, temporal postulates in regard to the spiritual in the material. Fifth, postulates on constitution and function of the five skandhas. Sixth, postulates on cause and effect. Seventh, postulates o the void or the immaterial. Eighth, postulates on the pure inexpressible ultimate or absolute. According to the Mahayana Buddhist traditions, there are also nine truths or postulates: truth on impermanence, truth on suffering, truth on the void (voidness or unreality of things), truth on no permanent ego or soul, love of existence or possession resulting in suffering, fear of being without existence or possession also resulting in suffering, truth on cutting of suffering and its cause, truth on Nirvana with remainder still to be worked out, and complete Nirvana.
406. Ultimate and Conventional Truths
There are two truths, conventional or relative truth, and ultimate truth. By coming to know our everyday world of lived experience, we realize what is known as the world of conventional reality, where the causal principle operates, this is what we call conventional truth (samvaharasatya). If we accept the reality of this world as conventional, then we can accept the empty nature of this world which, according to Buddhism, is the ultimate truth (paramaithasatya). According to Prof. Junjiro Takakusu in The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy, this is one of the three truths of the T’ien-T’ai School, the other two are the truth of void and the truth of temporariness. According to this school the three truths are three in one, one in three. The principle is one but the method of explanation is threefold. Each one of the three has the value of all. Things are only mean or middle. The same will be the case when we argue by means of the middle truth. The middle does not mean that it is between the non-existence and temporary existence. In fact, it is over and above the two; nor it is identical with the two, because the true state means that the middle is the very state of being void and temporary. Absolute truth or the Highest truth. This is one of the four types of siddhanta, the highest Siddhanta or Truth, the highest universal gift of Buddha, his teaching which awakens the highest capacity in all beings to attain salvation. This is also one of the two truths, the highest truth, the supreme truth or reality, the ultimate meaning, the paramount truth in contrast with the seeming; also called Veritable truth, sage-truth, surpassing truth, nirvana, bhutatathata, madhya, sunyata, etc (the other siddhantas include Mundane or ordinary modes of expression, Individual treatment, adapting his teaching to the capacity of his hearers, and Diagnostic treatment of their moral diseases). Absolute reality is also the true nature of all things. The pure ideation can purify the tainted portion of the ideation-store (Alaya-vijnana) and further develop its power of understanding. The world of imagination and the world of interdependence will be brought to the real truth (Parinispanna).
Ultimate Truth means the correct dogma or averment of the enlightened. The ultimate truth is the realization that worldly things are non-existent like an illusion or an echo. However, transcendental truth cannot be attained without resorting to conventional truth. Conventional truth is only a mean, while transcendental truth is the end. It was by the higher truth that the Buddha preached that all elements are of universal relativity or void (sarva-sunyata). For those who are attached to Realism, the doctrine of non-existence is proclaimed in the way of the higher truth in order to teach them the nameless and characterless state. According to the Madhyamika Sastra, the Buddhas in the past proclaimed their teachings to the people by means of the twofold truth, in order to lead people to a right way. Though we may speak of existence, it is temporary and not fixed. Even non-existence or void is temporary and not fixed. So there is neither a real existence nor a real void. Being or non-being is only an outcome of causal relation and, therefore, unreal. Thus the ideal of the two extremes of being and non-being is removed. Therefore, when we deal with the worldly truth, the phenomenal world can be assumed without disturbing the noumenal state. Likewise, when we deal with the higher truth, the noumenal state can be attained without stirring the world of mere name. Non-existence is at the same time existence, and existence in turn is non-existence. Form or matter is the same time the void, and the void is at the same time form or matter.
According to relative truth all things exist, but in absolute truth nothing is; in absolute truth one sees that all things are devoid of self-nature; however, in relative truth, a perception where there is no self-nature. The relative truth is also called the truth of the unreal, which is subject to change, manifests ‘stillness but is always illuminating,’ which means that it is immanent in everything. Pure Land thinkers accepted the legitimacy of conventional truth as an expression of ultimate truth and as a vehicle to reach Ultimate Truth. This method of basing on form helps cultivators reach the Buddhahood, which is formless. The absolute truth or the ultimate Truth or the supreme truth. Ultimate truth means the final nature of reality, which is unconditioned (asamskrta) and which neither is produced nor ceases. It is equated with emptiness (sunyata) and truth body (dharma-kaya) and is contrasted with conventional truths (samvrti-satya), which are produced and ceased by causes and conditions and impermanence (anitya). The Ultimate Truth or the absolute Truth (Bhutatathata or Tathata), transcending dichotomies, as taught by the Buddhas. The absolute truth, or the truth of the void, manifest’s illumination but is always still,’ and this is absolutely inexplicable. The absolute truth is also called the Ultimate Truth according to the Madhyamika Sastra. Ultimate Truth means the correct dogma or averment of the enlightened. According to the Madhyamika Sastra, the Buddhas in the past proclaimed their teachings to the people by means of the twofold truth, in order to lead people to a right way. The ultimate truth is the realization that worldly things are non-existent like an illusion or an echo. However, transcendental truth cannot be attained without resorting to conventional truth. Conventional truth is only a mean, while transcendental truth is the end. It was by the higher truth that the Buddha preached that all elements are of universal relativity or void (sarva-sunyata). For those who are attached to Realism, the doctrine of non-existence is proclaimed in the way of the higher truth in order to teach them the nameless and characterless state.
Relative truth is also called the Conventional Truth, superficial truth, or ordinary ideas of things. Relative or conventional truth of the mundane world subject to delusion. Relative or conventional truth of the mundane world subject to delusion. Common or ordinary statement, as if phenomena were real. According to the Madhyamika Sastra, the Buddhas in the past proclaimed their teachings to the people by means of the twofold truth, in order to lead people to a right way. Conventional truth refers to ignorance or delusion which envelops reality and gives a false impression. It was by the worldly truth that the Buddha preached that all elements have come into being through causation. For those who are attached to Nihilism, the theory of existence is taught in the way of the worldly truth. According to the Madhyamaka philosophy, Nagarjuna says phenomena have reality of a sort. They are samvrti-satya, they are the appearance of Reality. Appearance points to that which appears. Samvrti is appearance, cover or veil, which covers the absolute reality. In short, that which covers all round is samvrti, samvrti is primal ignorance (ajnana) which covers the real nature of all things. Samvrti or pragmatic reality is the means (upaya) for reaching Absolute Reality (paramartha). Without a recourse to pragmatic reality, the absolute truth cannot be taught. Without knowing the absolute truth, nirvana cannot be attained. Thus, in the Madhyamika-karika, Nagarjuna confirmed: “From the relative standpoint, the theory of Dependent Origination (Pratitya-samutpada) explains worldly phenomena, but from the absolute standpoint, it means non-origination at all times and is equated with nirvana or sunyata.”
According to Prof. Junjiro Takakusu in The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy, if you suppose noumenon to be such an abiding substance, you will be misled altogether; therefore, the T’ien-T’ai School sets forth the threefold truth. According to this school the three truths are three in one, one in three. The principle is one but the method of explanation is threefold. Each one of the three has the value of all. The truth of void in which all things have no reality and, therefore, are void. Therefore, when our argument is based on the void, we deny the existence of both the temporary and the middle, since we consider the void as transcending all. Thus, the three will all be void. And, when one is void, all will be void (When one is void, all will be void; when one is temporary, all is temporary; when one is middle, all will be middle). They are also called the identical void, identical temporary and identical middle. It is also said to be the perfectly harmonious triple truth or the absolute triple truth. We should not consider the three truths as separate because the three penetrate one another and are found perfectly harmonized and united together. A thing is void but is also temporarily existent. It is temporary because it is void, and the fact that everything is void and at the same time temporary is the middle truth. The truth of temporariness in which although things are present at the moment, they have temporary existence. The same will be the case when we argue by means of the temporary truth. The truth of mean in which only mean or middle is recognized. The same will be the case when we argue by means of the middle truth. The middle does not mean that it is between the non-existence and temporary existence. In fact, it is over and above the two; nor it is identical with the two, because the true state means that the middle is the very state of being void and temporary.
According to Nagarjuna Bodhisattva in the Madhyamika Sastra, the Middle Path of the Twofold Truth is expounded by the “five terms”. They are the one-sided worldly truth, the one-sided higher truth, the middle path of worldly truth, the middle path of the higher truth, and the union of both popular and higher truths. First, the one-sided worldly truth which maintains the theory of the real production and the real extinction of the phenomenal world. Second, the one-sided higher truth which adheres to the theory of the non-production and non-extinction of the phenomenal world. Third, the middle path of worldly truth which sees that there is a temporary production and temporary extinction of phenomenon. Fourth, the middle path of the higher truth which sees there is neither contemporary production nor contemporary extinction. Fifth, the union of both popular and higher truths which considers that there is neither production-and-extinction nor non-production-and non-extinction, it is the middle path elucidated by the union of both popular and higher truths.
Devout Buddhists should always remember that we must verify the Truth by means of recourse to personal experience. According to the Kesaputtiya Sutra, the Buddha advised the Kalamas on how to verify the Truth as follows: “Do not accept anything merely on the basis of purported authority, nor to accept anything simply because it is written in sacred books, nor to accept anything on the basis of common opinion, nor because it seems reasonable, nor yet again because of reverence for a teacher. Do not accept even my teachings without verification of its truth through your personal experience. I recommend all of you to test whatever you hear in the light of your own experience. Only when you yourselves know that such and such things are harmful, then you should abandon them. Contrarily, when you yourselves see that certain things are beneficial and peaceful, then you should seek to cultivate them.”
407. Bodhisattvas’Conducts and Living beings’ Conducts
The two words of “Cause and Effect”, not only living beings who cannot escape them (cause and effect); even the Buddhas (before becoming enlightened) and Bodhisattvas cannot avoid them either. However, because Bodhisattvas have far-ranging vision, they avoid creating bad causes and only receive joyful rewards. Living beings, on the other hand, are very short-sighted. Seeing only what is in front of them, they often plant evil causes, and so they must often suffer the bitter retribution. Because the 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.
408. The Self-Living Beings-Others-and Life Span
The cultivation of no mark of the self, no mark of others, no mark of living beings, and no mark of a life span are the most important cultivations of a devout Buddhist. The Vajra Sutra teachs: “Be free of the mark of the self, the mark of others, the mark of living beings, and the mark of a life span.” Not having the mark of self does not mean that when it is time to cultivate, you make someone else cultivate for you. To have no mark of self means not to be arrogant, and not to scheme for our own benefits. To have no mark of others means not to impede or obstruct other people. If something does not benefit others, do no do it. To have no mark of living beings means to regard all creatures as being of the same substance. To have no mark of a life span means everyone has the right to live. Do not take the lives of other people or other beings. So in cultivation, we should never seek anything for ourselves or scheme for ouw own benefit. We should always try to think on behalf of others. The Vajra Sutra also teachs: “All conditioned dharmas are like dreams, illusions, bubbles and shadows. Like dews and like lightning. You should contemplate them thus.” Thus the Buddha taught: “If one sees me in forms. If one sees me in sounds. He practices a deviant way, can never see the Tathagata.” Therefore, sincere Buddhists should always remember that when we cultivate, we should not be distracted by sights and sounds. If not, no matter how long we have been cultivating, we will get attached to the states that we may experience. Sincere Buddhists should always listen without hearing, and look without seeing. Once we are trully able to listen without hearing, and to look without seeing, we are trully not being distracted and turned by external states.
409. Bodhisattvas’ Purity
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, chapter 36, there are ten kinds of purity. When Great Enlightening Beings are living by ten principles, they are able to embody ten kinds of purity. First, purity of comprehension of the most profound truth. Second, purity of association with good associates. Third, purity of preserving the Buddha teachings. Fourth, purity of comprehension of the realm of space. Fifth, purity of profound penetration of the realm of reality. Sixth, purity of observation of infinite minds. Seventh, purity of having the same roots of goodness as all Enlightening Beings. Eighth, purity of observation of past, present and future. Ninth, purity of nonattachment to the various ages. Tenth, purity of practice of all Buddha Dharmas of all Enlightening Beings. Also according to the Flower Adornment Sutra, chapter 38, there are ten kinds of purity attained by great Enlightening Beings who arouse ten kinds of spirit. First, purity of profound determination, reaching the ultimate end without corruption. Second, purity of physical embodiment, appearing according to need. Third, purity of voice, comprehending all speech. Fourth, purity of intellectual powers, skillfully explaining boundless Buddha teachings. Fifth, purity of wisdom, getting rid of the darkness of all delusion. Sixth, purity of taking on birth, being imbued with the power of freedom of Enlightening Beings. Seventh, purity of company, having fully developed the roots of goodness of sentient beings they worked with the past. Eighth, purity of rewards, having removed all obstructions caused by past actions. Ninth, purity of great vows, being one in essence with all Enlightening Beings. Tenth, purity of practices, riding the vehicle of Universal Good to emancipation. There are also other ten kinds of purity attained by great Enlightening Beings: purity of determination, purity of cutting through doubts, purity of detachment from views, purity of perspective, purity of the quest for omniscience, purity of intellectual powers, purity of fearlessness, purity of living by the knowledge of all Enlightening Beings, purity of accepting all the guidelines of behavior of Enlightening Beings, purity of full development of the felicitous characteristics, pure qualities, and all fundamental virtues of unexcelled enlightenment.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, there are ten kinds of pure benevolence of great enlightening beings. Enlightening beings who abide by these can atain the supreme, vast, pure benevolence of Buddhas. First, impartial pure benevolence, caring for all sentient beings without discrimination. Second, helpful pure benevolence, bringing happiness by whatever they do. Third, pure benevolence taking care of people in the same way as oneself, ultimately bringing about emancipation from birth and death. Fourth, pure benevolence not abandoning the world, the mind always focused on accumulating roots of goodness. Fifth, pure benevolence able to bring liberation, causing all sentient beings to annihilate all afflictions. Sixth, pure benevolence generating enlightenment, inspiring all sentient beings to seek omniscience. Seventh, pure benevolence unobstructed by the world, radiating great light illuminating everywhere equally. Eighth, pure benevolence filling space, reaching everywhere to save sentient beings. Ninth, pure benevolence focused on truth, realizing the truth of Thusness. Tenth, pure benevolence without object, entering enlightening beings’s detachment from life.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure compassion of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these attain the supremely great compassion of Buddhas. First, pure compassion without companion, as they make their determination indepedently. Second, tireless pure compassion, not considering it troublesome to endure pain on behalf of all sentient beings. Third, pure compassion taking on birth in difficult situations, for the purpose of liberating sentient beings. Fourth, pure compassion taking on birth on pleasant conditions, to show impermanence. Fifth, pure compassion for the sake of wrongly fixated sentient beings, never give up their vow of universal liberation. Sixth, pure compassion not clinging to personal pleasure, giving happiness to all sentient beings. Seventh, pure compassion not seeking reward, purifying their mind. Eighth, pure compassion able to remove delusion by explaining the truth. The ninth pure compassion. All Bodhisattvas conceive great compassion for sentient beings because they know all things are in essence pure and have no clinging or irritation; and suffering is experienced because of afflictions of adventitious defilements. This is called essential purity , as they explain to them the principle of undefiled pure light. The tenth pure compassion. All Bodhisattvas know that all phenomena are like the tracks of birds in the sky. They also know that sentient beings’ eyes are clouded by delusion and they cannot clearly realize this. Observing this, Enlightening Beings conceive great compassion, called true knowledge, which teaches sentient beings nirvana.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure joy of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the supremely great pure joy of Buddhas. First, the pure joy of aspiring to enlightenment. Second, the pure joy of relinquishing all possessions. Third, the pure joy of not rejecting undisciplined sentient beings but teaching them and maturing them. Fourth, the pure joy of being able to tolerate evil-doing sentient beings and vowing to save and liberate them. Fifth, the pure joy of giving one’s life in search of truth, without regret. Sixth, the pure joy of giving up sensual pleasures and always taking pleasure in truth. Seventh, the pure joy of including sentient beings to give up material pleasures and always take pleasure in truth. Eighth, the pure joy of cosmic equanimity tirelessly honoring and serving all Buddhas they see. Ninth, the pure joy of teaching all sentient beings to enjoy meditations, liberations and concentrations, and freely enter and emerge from them. The tenth pure joy includes gladly carrying out all austere practices that accord with the way of Enlightening Beings and realizing the tranquil, imperturbable supreme calmness and wisdom of the sages.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure equanimity of enlightening beings. Enlightening beings who abide by these can attain the supremely pure equanimity of Buddhas. First, not becoming emotionally attached to sentient beings who honor and support them. Second, not being angered at sentient beings who slight and revile them. Third, always being in the world, but not being affected by the vicissitudes (greed, hatred, anger, pride, wrong views, killing, stealing, adultery, etc) of worldly things. Fourth, instructing sentient beings who are fit for the Teaching at the appropriate times, while not conceiving aversion for sentient beings who are not fit for the Teaching. Fifth, not seeking the states of learning or nonlearning of the two lesser vehicles. Sixth, always being aloof from all desires that are conducive to afflictions. Seventh, not praising the two lesser vehicles’ aversion to birth and death. The eighth pure joy includes avoiding worldly talks, talk that is not nirvana, talk that is not dispassionate, talk that is not according to truth, talk that disturbs others, talk of individual salvation, and talks that obstruct the Path of enlightening beings. The ninth pure joy includes waiting for the appropriate times to teach sentient beings whose faculties are mature and have developed mindfulness and precise awareness, but do not yet know the supreme truth and waiting for the appropriate times to teach sentient beings whom the enlightening being has already instructed in the past, but who cannot be tamed until the enlightening being reaches Buddhahood. The tenth pure joy includes not considering people as higher or lower, being free from grasping and rejection, being aloof from all kinds of discriminatory notions, always being rightly concentrated by penetrating truth and attaining tolerance.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure giving of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these ten principles can accomplish the supreme, pure, magnanimous giving of Buddhas. Pure charity in which the giver expects no return, nor fame, nor blessing in this world, but only desire to sow Nirvana-seed, one of the two kinds of charity. First, impartial giving, not discriminating among sentient beings. Second, giving according to wishes, satisfying others. Third, unconfused giving, causing benefit to be gained. Fourth, giving appropriately, knowing superior, mediocre, and inferior. Fifth, giving without dwelling, not seeking reward. Sixth, open giving, without clinging attachment. Seventh, total giving, being ultimately pure. Eighth, giving dedicated to enlightenment, transcended the created and the uncreated. Ninth, giving teach to sentient beings, never abandoning them, even to the site of enlightenment. Tenth, giving with its three spheres pure, observing the giver, receiver, and gift with right awareness, as being like space.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure discipline of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the supreme flawless pure discipline of Buddhas. First, pure discipline of the body, guarding themselves from evil deeds. Second, pure discipline of speech, getting rid of faults of speech. Third, pure discipline of mind, forever getting rid of greed, hatred, and false views. Fourth, pure discipline of not destroying any subjects of study, being honorable leaders among people. Fifth, pure discipline of preserving the aspiration for enlightenment, not liking the lesser vehicles of individual salvation. Sixth, pure discipline of preserving the regulations of the Buddha, greatly fearing even minor offenses. Seventh, pure discipline of secret protection, skillfully drawing out undisciplined sentient beings. Eighth, pure discipline of not doing any evil, vowing to practice all virtuous principles. Ninth, pure discipline of detachment all views of existence, having no attachment to precepts. Tenth, pure discipline of protecting all sentient beings, activating great compassion.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure tolerance of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain all Buddhas’ supreme tolerance of truth, understanding without depending on another. First, pure tolerance calmly enduring slander and vilification, to protect sentient beings. Second, pure tolerance calmly enduring weapons, to protect self and others. Third, pure tolerance not arousing anger and viciousness, the mind being unshakable. Fourth, pure tolerance not attacking the low, being magnanimous when above. Fifth, pure tolerance saving all who come for refuge, giving up one’s own life. Sixth, pure tolerance free from conceit, not slighting the uncultivated. Seventh, pure tolerance not becoming angered at injury, because of observation of illusoriness. Eighth, pure tolerance not revenging offenses, because of not seeing self and other. Ninth, pure tolerance not following afflictions, being detached from all objects. Tenth, pure tolerance knowing all things have no origin, in accord with the true knowledge of Enlightening Beings, entering the realm of universal knowledge without depending on the instruction of another.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure energy of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the supreme great energy of Buddhas. First, the physical energy, which includes attending Buddhas, enlightening beings, teachers, and elders, honoring fields of blessings, and never retreating. The second pure energy is the pure verbal energy, which inlcudes extensively explaining to others whatever teachings they learn without wearying, and praising the virtues of Buddhahood without wearying. Third, pure mental energy, able to enter and exit the following without cease: kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, meditation, liberations and concentrations. The fourth pure energy is the pure energy of honesty, which includes being free from deceptiveness, flattery, deviousness, and dishonesty and not regressing in any efforts. The fifth pure energy is the pure energy of determination on increasing progress which includes always intent on seeking higher and higher knowledge and aspiring to embody all good and pure qualities. The sixth pure energy is the unwasteful pure energy, which includes embodying charity, morality, tolerance, learning, and diligence and continuing to practice these unceasingly until enlightenment. Seventh, pure energy conquering all demons, able to exterpate greed, hatred, delusion, false views, and all other bonds and veils of afflictions. The eighth pure energy is the pure energy of fully developing the light of knowledge, which includes being carefully observant in all actions, consummating them all, preventing later regret, and attaining all the uniques qualities of Buddhahood. The ninth pure energy is the pure energy without coming or going, which includes attaining true knowledge, entering the door of the realm of reality, body, speech and mind all impartial, understanding forms are formless and having no attachments. The tenth pure energy is the pure energy developing the light of Teaching which includes transcending all stages, attaining the coronation of Buddhas, with uncontaminated body manifesting the appearances of death and birth, leaving home and attaining enlightenment, teaching and passing away, fulfilling such tasks of Universal Good.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure meditation of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the supreme pure meditation of Buddhas. First, pure meditation always gladly leaving home, giving up all possessions. Second, pure meditation finding genuine good companions, to teach the right way. Third, pure meditation living in the forest enduring wind and rain and so on, being detached from self and possessions. Fourth, pure meditation leaving clamorous sentient beings, always enjoying tranquil silence. Fifth, pure meditation with harmonious mental activity, guarding the senses. Sixth, pure meditation with wind and cognition silent, impervious to all sounds and nettles of meditational concentration. The seventh pure meditation includes being aware of the methods of the Path of enlightenment and contemplating them all and actually realizing them. The eighth pure meditation inclues pure meditation detached from clinging to its experiences, and neither grasping nor rejecting the realm of desire. The ninth pure meditation includes being awakening psychic knowledge and knowing the faculties and natures of all sentient beings. The tenth Pure meditation includes freedom of action, entering into the concentration of Buddhas, and knowing there is no self.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 33, there are ten kinds of ultimate purity of all Buddhas. First, all Buddhas’ past great vows are ultimately pure. Second, the religious conduct maintained by all Buddhas is ultimately pure. Third, all Buddhas’ separation from the confusion of worldly beings is ultimately pure. Fourth, all Buddhas’ adorned lands are ultimately pure. Fifth, all Buddhas’ followings are ultimately pure. Sixth, all Buddhas’ families are ultimately pure. Seventh, all Buddhas physical characteristics and refinements are ultimately pure. Eighth, the nondefilement of the reality-body of all Buddhas is ultimately pure. Ninth, all Buddhas’ omniscient knowledge, without obstruction, is ultimately pure. Tenth, all Buddhas’ liberation, freedom, accomplishment of their tasks, and arrival at completion are ultimately pure.
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, chapter 18, there are ten kinds of purity Enlightening Beings attain when they persist in nonindulgence. First, acting in accord with what they say. Second, consummation of attention and discernment. Third, abiding in deep concentration without torpor or agitation. Fourth, gladly seeking Buddha-teachings without flagging. Fifth, contemplating the teaching heard according to reason, fully developing skillfully flexible knowledge. Sixth, entering deep meditation and attaining psychic powers of Buddhas. Seventh, their minds are equanimous, without sense of high or low status. Eighth, in regard to superior, middling, and inferior types of beings, their minds are unobstructed and like the earth, they benefit all equally. Ninth, if they see any beings who have even once made the determination for enlightenment, they honor and serve them as teachers. Tenth, they always respect, serve, and support their preceptors and tutors, and all Enlightening Beings, wise friends and teachers. Also according to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten kinds of pure wisdom of great enlightening beings. Enlightening beings who abide by these can attain the unobstructed great wisdom of Buddhas. First, pure wisdom knowing all causes, not denying consequences. Second, pure wisdom knowing all conditions, not ignoring combination. Third, pure wisdom knowing nonannihilation and nonpermanence, comprehending interdependent origination truly. Fourth, pure wisdom extracting all views, neither grasping nor rejecting characteristics of sentient beings. Fifth, pure wisdom observing the mental activities of all sentient beings, knowing they are illusory. Pure wisdom with vast intellectual power, distinguishing all truths and being unhindered in dialogue. Seventh, pure wisdom unknowable to demons, false teachers, or followers of the vehicles of individual salvation, deeply penetrating the knowledge of all Buddha. The eighth pure wisdom includes seeing the subtle reality body of all Buddhas, seeing the essential purity of all sentient beings, seeing that all phenomena are quiescent, seeing that all lands are the same as space, and knowing all characteristics without impediment. The ninth Pure wisdom includes all powers of mental command, analytic abilities, liberative means are ways of transcendence; fostering the attainment of all supreme knowledge. The tenth Pure wisdom includes instantly uniting with adamantine knowledge, comprehending the equality of all things, and attaining the most honorable knowledge of all things.
The worldly way is outgoing exuberant; the way of the devoted Buddhist’s life is restrained and controlled. Constantly work against the grain, against the old habits; eat, speak, and sleep little. If we are lazy, raise energy. If we feel we can not endure, raise patience. If we like the body and feel attached to it, learn to see it as unclean. Virtue or following precepts, and concentration or meditation are aids to the practice. They make the mind calm and restrained. But outward restraint is only a convention, a tool to help gain inner coolness. We may keep our eyes cast down, but still our mind may be distracted by whatever enters our field of vision. Perhaps we feel that this life is too difficult, that we just can not do it. But the more clearly we understand the truth of things, the more incentive we will have. Keep our mindfulness sharp. In daily activity, the important point is intention. ; know what we are doing and know how we feel about it. Learn to know the mind that clings to ideas of purity and bad karma, burdens itself with doubt and excessive fear of wrongdoing. This, too, is attachment. We must know moderation in our daily needs. Robes need not be of fine material, they are merely to protect the body. Food is merely to sustain us. The Path constantly opposes defilements and habitual desires.
The Buddha taught about “Restraining oneself” in the Dharmapada Sutra. “He who strictly adorned, lived in peace, subdued all passions, controlled all senses, ceased to injure other beings, is indeed a holy Brahmin, an ascetic, a bhikshu (Dharmapada 142). Rarely found in this world anyone who restrained by modesty, avoids reproach, as a well-trained horse avoids the whip (Dharmapada 143). Like a well-trained horse, touch by the whip, even so be strenuous and zealous. By faith, by virtue, by effort, by concentration, by investigation of the Truth, by being endowed with knowledge and conduct, and being mindful, get rid of this great suffering (Dharmapada 144). Irregators guide the water to their fields; fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend the wood, the virtuous people control themselves (Dharmapada 145). What should have been done is left undone; what should not have been done is done. This is the way the arrogant and wicked people increase their grief (Dharmapada 292). Those who always earnestly practice controlling of the body, follow not what should not be done, and constantly do what should be done. This is the way the mindful and wise people end all their sufferings and impurities (Dharmapada 293). As an elephant in the battlefield endures the arrows shot from a bow, I shall withstand abuse in the same manner. Truly, most common people are undisciplined (who are jealous of the disciplined) (Dharmapada 320). To lead a tamed elephant in battle is good. To tame an elephant for the king to ride it better. He who tames himself to endure harsh words patiently is the best among men (Dharmapada 321). Tamed mules are excellent; Sindhu horses of good breeding are excellent too. But far better is he who has trained himself (Dharmapada 322). Never by those vehicles, nor by horses would one go to Nirvana. Only self-tamers who can reach Nirvana (Dharmapada 323). It is good to have control of the eye; it is good to have control of the ear; it is good to have control of the nose; it is good to have control of the tongue (Dharmapada 360). It is good to have control of the body; it is good to have control of speech; it is good to have control of everything. A monk who is able to control everything, is free from all suffering (Dharmapada 362). He who controls his hands and legs; he who controls his speech; and in the highest, he who delights in meditation; he who is alone, serene and contented with himself. He is truly called a Bhikhshu (Dharmapada 362). Censure or control yourself. Examine yourself. Be self-guarded and mindful. You will live happily (Dharmapada 379). You are your own protector. You are your own refuge. Try to control yourself as a merchant controls a noble steed (Dharmapada 380). One who conquers himself is greater than one who is able to conquer a thousand men in the battlefield (Dharmapada 103). Self-conquest is, indeed, better than the conquest of all other people. To conquer onself, one must be always self-controlled and disciplined one’s action (Dharmapada 104). Neither the god, nor demigod, nor Mara, nor Brahma can win back the victory of a man who is self-subdued and ever lives in restraint (Dharmapada 105).”
411. The Buddha’s Advise
The Buddha advised the four assemblies to turn suffering and disease into good medicine (consider diseases and sufferings as miraculous medicine); to turn misfortune and calamity into liberation (take misfortune and adversity as means of liberation); to turn obstacles or high stakes into freedom and ease (take obstacles as enjoyable ways to cultivate ourselves); to turn demons or haunting spirits into Dharma friends (take demonic obstacles as our good spiritual advisors); to turn trying events into peace and joy (consider difficulties as our joy of gaining experiences or life enjoyments); to turn bad friends into helpful associates (treat ungrateful people as our helpful aids); to turn apponents into “fields of flowers” (consider opponents as our good relationships); to treat ingratitude as worn-out shoes to be discarded (consider merits or services to others as ragged slippers); to turn frugality into power and wealth (take frugality as our honour); and to turn injustice and wrong into conditions for progress along the Way (consider injustice or false accusations as our virtuous gate to enlightenment).
412. Ten Paths Of Emancipation
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten Paths Of Emancipation Of Great Enlightening Beings. Enlightening Beings who abide by these will attain qualities of certainty of Enlightening Beings. First, evoking transcendent wisdom, yet always observing all sentient beings. Second, detaching from all views, yet liberating all sentient beings bound by views. Third, not minding any appearances, yet not abandoning sentient beings attached to appearances. Fourth, transcending the triple world, yet always being in all worlds. Fifth, forever leaving afflictions, yet living together with all sentient beings. Sixth, attaining desirelessness, yet always most compassionately pitying all sentient beings attached to desires. Seventh, always enjoying tranquility and serenity, yet always appearing to be in company. Eighth, being free from birth in the world, yet dying in one place and being reborn in another, carrying on the activities of enlightening beings. Ninth, not being affected by any worldly things, yet not stopping work in the world: Chẳng nhiễm tất cả pháp thế gian, mà chẳng dứt tất cả việc làm của thế gian. Tenth, actually realizing full enlightenment, yet not abandoning the vows and practices of Enlightening Beings.
413. Ten Peerless States
According to the Flower Adornment Sutra, Chapter 38, there are ten peerless states (of Great Enlightening Beings) which no listeners or individual illuminates can equal. Enlightening Beings who abide by these can attain the peerless state of supremely great knowledge and all qualities of Buddhahood. First, though see absolute truth, they do not grasp it as their realization because all their vows are not yet fulfilled. Second, plant all good roots of goodness, equal to all realities, yet do not have the slightest attachment to them. Third, cultivating the practices of Enlightening Beings, know they are like phantoms because all things are still and void, yet they have no doubt about the way of Buddhahood. Fourth, though free from the false ideas of the world, still are able to focus their attention and carry out the deeds of Enlightening Beings for innumerable eons, fulfill their great undertakings, and never give rise a feeling of weariness therein. Fifth, do not grasp anything because the essence of all things is void, yet they do not experience nirvana because the path of omniscience is not yet fulfilled. Sixth, know that all periods of time are not periods of time, yet they innumerate periods of time. Seventh, know nothing creates anything, yet they do not give up making the way in search of Buddhahood. Eighth, know that the realms of desire, form, and formless are only mind, and the past, present and future are only mind, yet they know perfectly well that mind has no measure and no bounds. Ninth, carry out enlightening actions for untold eons for sentient beings one and all, wishing to settle them in the state of omniscience, and yet they never tire or get fed up. Tenth, though their cultivation of practice is completely fulfilled, still do not realize Enlightenment, because they reflect, ‘What I do is basically for sentient beings, so I should remain in birh-and-death and help them by expedient means, to settle them on the supreme path of enlightenment?
414. The Ceremony of Anointment (Abhiseka)
Initiation of Baptism or anointment, or sprinkling, or initiation of transmission of power, the process used by Vajrayana (Mật Tông), in which the disciple is empowered by the master to carry out specific meditation practices. According to the Vajrayana, annoinment is an official ceremony in which a student is ritually entered into a mandala of a particular tantric deity by his vajra master. Buddhism stresses on those who come to the ceremony voluntarily, but externalists want to baptize anyone, including those who are dying and have lost their consciousness. Abhiseka means “Initiation.” A ceremony that marks a person’s entry into a Buddhist group. In esoteric Buddhism, initiation is generally considered to be essential for anyone wishing to engage in ritual or meditation practice. In tantric practice, initiation often symbolically creates a direct karmic link between the practitioner and the focal deity (vị thần tiêu điểm). This is the process used by Vajrayana, in which the disciple is empowered by the master to carry out specific meditation practices. Abhisekana means baptism or initiation or empowerment. Inauguration or consecration by placing the hand on or sprinkling or pouring water on the head. Every Buddha baptizes a disciple by laying a hand on his head. An Indian custom on the investiture of a king, whose head was baptized with water from the four seas and from the rivers in his domain. In China, it is administered as a Buddhist rite chiefly to high personages and for ordination purpose. Among the esoterics it is a rite especially administered to their disciples; and they have several categories of baptism, e.g. that of ordinary disciples, of teacher or preacher, of leader, of office-bearer; also for special causes such as relief from calamity, preparation for the next life, etc.
According to Prof. Junjiro Takakusu in The Essentials of Buddhist Philosophy, the Shingon School has the ritual of anointment (Abhikesa) as well as the ordination ceremony. The area of anointment must be decided with the Circles of the two realms; all ritual requirements must be fulfilled. Sometimes the Circles are spread out and thereby the ritual area is formed. So the area is called “Circle.” Only the adequate performance of the ritual can make the evoking of any enfolding power of Buddha effective. According to tradition, Subhakarasimha and his pupil, I-Hsing, transmitted the Matrix doctrine, while Vajrabodhi and his pupil, Amoghavajra, taught the Diamond doctrine. Thus we must presume that there were two traditions of transmission, both being only partial or one-sided. However, the recent discovery of the Tattva-sangraha in Tibet by Professor Tucci and the Vajra-sekhara in Japan by Professor Ono makes the old traditions entirely untenable, because the Vajra-sekhara represented in the Five Assemblies was kept in secret in the Mii Monastery in Ômi and Shorenin in Kyoto. The Five Assemblies are Buddha, Padma, Ratna, Vajra and Karma. These being originally the divisions of the Diamond Realm, it is clear that we had from the beginning the text of the ‘Diamond’ doctrine brought by Subhakarasimha. They were actually the transmission by Subhakarasimha. From this it will be seen that at the time of Subhakarasimha both the ‘Diamond’ and ‘Matrix’ doctrines were existing in China. Tucci’s text is Sanskrit and Ono’s is pictorial explanation without which a perusal of Sanskrit original often becomes impossible. Students of mysticism may expect a real contribution from the study of these texts. Baptism (anointment, consecration or initiation) is the process used by Vajrayana (Mật Tông), in which the disciple is empowered by the master to carry out specific meditation practices (initiation of transmission of power). There are four different sucessive stages of initiation: vase initiation, secret initiation, wisdom initiation, and the last or fourth initiation. When a Bodhisattva reaches his last stage of self-discipline, he is anointed by the Buddhas with their own hands and formally inaugurated as one of them.
The Initiation of Empowerment is conferred by a qualified spiritual master. In some Vajrayana sects in Tibet, this is a specific ceremony, the teacher describes how to meditate and the disciple meditates at that time to receive the empowerment. Merely being present in the room or drinking consecrated water is not considered an initiation of empowerment. One most important thing in the initiation of empowerment is that one must follow the direct instructions of the master and meditate right in front of that master. Some empowerments involve taking only the Bodhisattva vows, while others require the tantric vows as well. Some Buddhists believe that the ceremony of initiation of empowerments is given as blessing. They think that the ceremony is some sort of magical blessing and at the same time they really wish to drink the consecrated water or to be tapped on the head by sacred objects. This is not the correct understanding to the initiation of the empowerment in Vajrayana. As a matter of fact, sometimes, some masters give the initiation of the empowerment in the form of a blessing so that people can form a karmic connection with the Vajrayana, for the purpose of the initiation of the empowerment is to plant the seeds for future enlightenment and to introduce one to the meditation practice of a specific manifestation of the Buddha. In the ceremony, the spiritual master will explain the philosophy of the Vajrayana and how to do the meditation of that Buddha or Bodhisattva figure or deity. By practicing according to the master’s instructions one receives unsurpassed benefits.
According to Buddhist traditions, every Buddha baptizes a disciple by either one of the below three kinds. According to Mahayana Tradition, first, every Buddha baptizes a disciple by laying a hand on his head; second, Buddhas baptizes a disciple by predicting Buddhahood to him; and third, Buddhas baptizes a disciple by revealing his glory to him to his profit. According to the Tantric Tradition, first, to sprinkle the head with water; second, Buddhas baptizes a disciple by predicting Buddhahood to him; and third, Buddhas baptizes a disciple by revealing his glory to him to his profit. Baptize a disciple by revealing a glory to him to his profit. There are also five abhisecani baptism of the esoteric school. First, abhisecani baptism for ordaining acaryas, teachers or preachers of the Law. Second, abhisecani baptism for admitting disciples. Third, abhisecani baptism for putting an end to calamities or suffering for sins. Fourth, abhisecani baptism for advancement or success. Fifth, abhisecani baptism for controlling evil spirits or getting rid of difficulties. However, the abhisecani baptism does not wash away all evil spirits or getting rid of difficulties. Externalists believe that no matter what they do, their sins will be completely washed by a so-called Baptism (Lễ Rửa Tội). According to the Flower Sutra, Chapter 27, there are ten kinds of inconceivable anointment which Enlightening Beings received from the Enlightened. Once Enlightening Beings enter the concentration called the pure treasury of the past, they receive ten kinds of inconceivable anointment from the Enlightened; they also attain, purify, consummate, enter, realize, fulfil and hold them, comprehend them equally, the three spheres pure: explanation without violating meaning, inexhaustibility of teaching, impeccable expression, endless eloquence, freedom from hesitation, truthfulness of speech, the trust of the community, liberating those in the triple world, supreme excellence of roots of goodness, and command of the Wondrous Teaching.
415. Different Kinds of Knowledge
According to Buddhist traditions, there are many different kinds of knowledge; however, here are some major knowledges ackowledged by most traditions. The first kind of knowledge is the Pratishthapika. This is one of the two kinds of knowledge mentioned in the Lankavatara Sutra. The intelligence sets up all kinds of distinction over a world of appearances, attaching the mind to them as real. Thus it may establish rules of reasoning whereby to give judgments to a world of particulars. It is logical knowledge, it is what regulates our ordinary life. But as soon as something is established in order to prove it, that is, as soon as a proposition is made, it sets up something else at the same time and goes on to prove itself against that something else. There is nothing absolute here. This setting or establishing is elsewhere designated as Samaropa. All where there are none such in reality. Owing to these propositions definitely held up as true, opposite ones will surely rise and there will take place a wrangling or controversy between the opposing parties. The Buddha advised Bodhisattvas to avoid these one-sided views I order to atain a state of enlightenment which is beyond the positive as well as beyond the negative way of viewing the world. There are four establishments: characteristic marks (lakshana), definite views (drista), a cause (hetu), and a substance (bhava). The second kind of knowledge is the knowledge of past lives and attainment of the Way. According to the Sutra In Forty-Two Sections, Chapter 13, a Sramana asked the Buddha: ‘What are the causes and conditions by which one come to know past lives and also by which one’s understanding enables one to attain the Way?’ The Buddha said: ‘By purifying the mind and guarding the will, your understanding can achieve (attain) the Way. Just as when you polish a mirror, the dust vanishes and brightness remains; so, too, if you cut off and do not seek desires, you can then know past lives.” The third kind of knowledge is the knowledge of regarding reality as it is. The Buddha’s doctrine rests on the idea of “Knowing and Regarding Reality As It Is.” This means one should know the true facts about this earthly life and look at it without making excuses, and regulate one’s daily conduct of life according to this knowledge and standpoint. The fourth kind of knowledge is the knowledge derived from phenomena. Knowledge derived from phenomena, associated with afflictions. Knowledge of like and dislike arising from mental conditions. Consciousness of like and dislike arising from mental conditions. The fifth kind of knowledge is the mundane wisdom, or the ordinary wisdom (worldly knowledge). Ordinary knowledge or earthly knowledge or common knowledge. Mundane wisdom is quite naturally present in anyone. It is the ability to think clearly and to understand comprehensively. There are two categories of mundane wisdom: hearing wisdom and thinking wisdom. Hearing wisdom is the accumulation of raw facts through learning while thinking wisdom is the connection of these facts together to form new knowledge. The sixth kind of knowledge is the Supernatural Knowledge, or knowledge of the saint or clear vision in future mortal conditions (deaths and rebirths). The supernatural insight into the ending of the stream of transmigration, one of the six supernatural powers (abhijnanas). The seventh kind of knowledge is the ordinary wisdom (ordinary wisdom or worldly knowledge). Ordinary knowledge or earthly knowledge or common knowledge. Common or worldly wisdom, which by its illusion blurs or colours the mind, blinding it to reality. The eighth kind of knowledge is the knowledge of relativity which does not have a nature of its own, but constituted of elements. Dependent on another that which arises, not having an independent nature. This is only an empirical knowledge.
In Buddhism, when we speak about “Assemblies” we should use the term “Sangha”. This is a sanskrit term for “community.” The community of Buddhists. In a narrow sense, the term can be used just to refer to monks (Bhiksu) and nuns (Bhiksuni); however, in a wider sense, Sangha means four classes of disciples (monks, nuns, upasaka and upasika). Lay men (Upasaka) and lay women (Upasika) who have taken the five vows of the Panca-sila (fivefold ethics). All four groups are required formally to adopt a set of rules and regulations. Monastics are bound to two hundred-fifty and three hundred forty-eight vows, however, the actual number varies between different Vinaya traditions. An important prerequisite for entry into any of the four catergories is an initial commitment to practice of the Dharma, which is generally expressed by “taking refuge” in the “three jewels”: Buddha, Dharma, Samgha. The fourfold Assembly in the order includes Monks, Nuns, laymen or male devotees (upasaka), lay women or female devotees (upasika). According to the T’ien-T’ai sect, the fourfold assembly include the assembly which, Sariputra stirred the Buddha to begin his Lotus Sutra sermons. The pivotal assembly, those who were responsive to him. Those hearers of the Lotus who were adaptable to its teaching, and received it. The reflection assembly, those like Manjusri, who reflected on or drew out the Buddha’s teaching. Those who only profited in having seen and heard a Buddha, and therefore whose enlightenment is delayed to a future life. While the fourfold assembly of a monastery includes Monks, Nuns, novie monks and novice nuns. “Tỳ” (Bhi) means destroy and “Kheo” (ksu) means passions and delusions. Bhiksu means one who destroys the passions and delusions. A religious mendicant who has left home and renounced—Bhikkhu who left home and renounced all possessions in order to follow the way of Buddha and who has become a fully ordained monk. A male member of the Buddhist Sangha who has entered homeless and received full ordination. A Bhiksu’s life is governed by 250 precepts under the most monastic code. All Bhiksus must depend on alms for living and cultivation, without any exception. All Bhiksus are Sakya-seeds, offspring of Buddha. Bhiksu still has three meanings: mendicants, frightener of mara and destroyer of evil. First, beggar for food or mendicant, someone who has just a single bowl to his name, accumulates nothing (no worldly money and properties), and relies exclusively on asking for alms to supply the necessities of life. There are two kinds of mendicant: internal and external mendicants. Internal mendicants are those who are able to self-control his or her internal mental or spiritual methods. external mendicants are those who are able to self-control his or her externals such as strict diet. Second, frightener of mara (delusion), someone who has accepted the full set of 250 disciplinary precepts. His karma has reached the level of development that he immediately fears delusion. Third, destroyer of evil, someone who has broken through evil, someone who observes everything with correct wisdom, someone who has smashed the evil of sensory afflictions, and does not fall into perceptions molded by desires. In the Dharmapada Sutra, the Buddha taught: “The worst taint is ignorance, the greatest taint. Oh! Bhikshu! Cast aside this taint and become taintless (Dharmapada 243). He who strictly adorned, lived in peace, subdued all passions, controlled all senses, ceased to injure other beings, is indeed a holy Brahmin, an ascetic, a bhikshu (Dharmapada 142). A man who only asks others for alms is not a mendicant! Not even if he has professed the whole Law (Dharmapada 266). A man who has transcended both good and evil; who follows the whole code of morality; who lives with understanding in this world, is indeed called a bhikshu (Dharmapada 267).” Bhiksuni is a nun, a female observer of all the commandments, or a female mendicant who has entered into the order of the Buddha and observes the 348 or 364 precepts for nuns. In addition, a bhiksuni must always observe the eight commanding respect for the monks (Bát Kính Giáo). In order to establish the first Order of Nuns, Ananda insisted the Buddha to accept his mother, Mahaprajapati, she was also the Buddha’s aunt and step-mother, to be the first nun to be ordained. In the fourteenth years after his enlightenment, the Buddha yielded to persuation and admitted his aunt and women to his order of religious mendicants, but said that the admission of women would shorten the period of Buddhism by 500 years. Besides, there are Siksamanas A female novice, observer of the six commandments. One of the five classess of ascetics, a female neophyte who is from 18 to 20 years of age, studying six rules (aldutery, stealing, killing, lying, alcoholic liquor, eating at unregulated hours) to prepare to receive a full ordaination.
There are also two classes of laypeople, those who still remain at home: upasak and upasika. Upasaka is a Buddhist male worshipper (lay person), a lay disciple, in both forms of Buddhism, Theravada and Mahayana, is a person who vows to join the religion by striving to take refuge in the Triratna and to keep the five Precepts at all times, and the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days, and who tries to follow the Eightfold Path whilst living in the world. They are Buddhist supporters by offering material supplies, food, clothes, and so on. Countries with Buddhist tradition, Formal ordination of lay followers is extremely important for this is the central ceremony of faith for them to lead a virtuous life. Upasika is a female devotee.
According to the Sangiti Sutta in the Long Discourses of the Buddha, there are eight assemblies. First, the assembly of Khattiyas. This is one of the four Indian castes. In India, it is the second or warrior and ruling caste in India during Sakyamuni’s time. Chinese render it as landowners and royal caste, the caste from which the Buddha came forth. Second, the assembly of Brahmains. This is an age-old religion in India, dated 4,000 years ago, and founded by Krishna. According to the Vedas, Brahma has the power to create all sentient beings and things. There are four castes in Hindu society system. In Brahmanist concept, the present life is temporary while death is the return to Brahma to live an eternal happy life if one obeys Brahma’s tenets. Brahmins belong to the highest class in Indian society during the time of the Buddha. The third kind of assembly is the assembly of Householders. The fourth kind of assembly is the assembly of ascetics. The fifth kind of assembly is the assembly of devas of the Realm of the Four Great Kings. The sixth kind of assembly is the assembly of the Thirty-Three Gods. The seventh kind of assembly is the assembly of maras (celestial demons or demons in heavens). This is one of the four maras who dwells in the sixth heaven (Paranirmita-vasavartin), at the top of the Kamadhatu, with his innumerable host, whence he constantly obstructs the Buddha-truth and followers. This symbolizes idealistic people who disturb Buddhism. There are three different kinds of celestial maras. The first one is the slayer, who does things to hurt oneself. The second one is the mara who is sinful of love or desire, as he sends his daughters to seduce the saints. The third one is the Papiyan, a kind of evil who is the special Mara of the Sakyamuni period. The eighth assembly is the assembly of Brahmas. A Brahma is a chief of Hindu gods often described as the creator of world system. Brahma is also the Lord of the heavens of form. The father of all living beings; the first person of the Brahmanical Trimurti, Brahma, Visnu, and Siva, recognized by Buddhism as devas but as inferior to a Buddha, or enlightened man. Devas in the realm of form. There are three kinds: the assembly of brahmadevas, i.e. Brahmakayika, Brahmapurohitas, or retinue of Brahma, and Mahabrahman, or Brahman himself.
Besides, there are also many different kinds of assembly. First, great sea congregation or the assembly of the saints. The great congregation, as all waters flowing into the sea become salty, as all ranks flowing into the sangha become of one flavour and lose old differentiations. The assembly of the saints, who have great virtues. Second, forming-connection assembly or the multitude of Buddhists. Those who only profited in having seen and heard a Buddha, and therefore whose enlightenment is delayed to a future life. The company of those who now become Budhists in the hope of improved karma in the future, one of the four groups of disciples. Third, assembly of spirits. The assembly for offerings of the spirits below and above, pretas, etc. Fourth, constant companions of the Buddha. The twelve hundred and fifty Arhats who constantly accompanied the Buddha after He turned the Wheel of Dharma. They were Bodhisattvas belonging to the Dharmakaya, who just manifested themsleves as monastic disciples of the Buddha to help the Buddha to spread His Teachings.
417. The Holy Assemblies
The holy multitude means the assembly of all the saints, or the sacred. The Bodhisattva saints who have overcome illusion, from the first stage upwards. To all the saints, or the wise, what is to be ordinarily regarded as an error, that is, this world of particulars, appears neither perverted nor unperverted. The special community established by the Buddha was called “The Assembly of the Noble” (Arya-sangha), intended to be the cradle of noble persons. Since the Brahmanical tradition had been firmly established, the race distinction was strictly felt. On that account the Buddha often asserted that in his own community there would be no distinction between Brahmans (priests) and warriors or between masters and slaves. Anyone who joined the Brotherhood would have an equal opportunity for leading and training. The Buddha often argued that the word Arya meant ‘noble’ and we ought not call a race noble or ignoble for there will be some ignoble persons among the so-called Aray and at the same time there will be some noble persons among the so-called Anarya. When we say noble or ignoble we should be speaking of an individual and not of a race as a whole. It is a question of knowledge or wisdom but not of birth or caste. Thus the object of the Buddha was to create a noble personage (arya-pudgala) in the sense of a noble life. The noble community (Arya-sangha) was founded for that very purpose. The noble ideal (Arya-dharma) and the noble discipline (Arya-vinaya) were set forth for the aspiring candidates. The path to be pursued by the noble aspirant is the Noble Eightfold Path (Arya-astangika-marga) and the truth to be believed by the noble is the Noble Fourfold Truth (Catvariarya-satyani). The perfections attained by the noble were the four noble fruitions (Arya-phala) and the wealth to be possessed by the noble was the noble sevenfold wealth (sapta-arya-dhana), all being spiritual qualifications. The careful application of the word Arya to each of the important points of his institution must not be overlooked by a student of Buddhism. The Buddha thus seemed to have endeavored to revive the original meaning of Arya in personality and the daily life of his religious community. The holy monk who has achieved higher merit, in contrasted with the ordinary monk (phàm tăng). In Mahayana Buddhism, Manjusri is considered as a holy monk, his image is placed in the center of the monks’ assembly room. In Hinayana Budhism, Kasyapa and Subhuti are considered holy monks, their images are usually placed in he centre of the monks’ assembly room. There are four sagely Dharma Realms (four kinds of holy men). First, Hearers or Sound Hearers, a direct disciple of the Buddha. Second, Pratyeka buddhas, individual illuminates, or independently awakened, those enlightened to conditions; a Buddha for himself, not teaching others. Third, Bodhisattvas, enlightened Beings. A person who has the state of bodhi, or a would-be-Buddha. Fourth, Buddha, one who has attained the supreme right and balanced state of bodhi. One who turns the wonderful Dharma-wheel. A Buddha is not inside the circle of ten realms, but as he advents among men to preach his doctrine he is now partially included in the “Four Saints.”
418. The Inconceivables
In Buddhism, beyond thought is equivalent to inconceivable. The inconceivables (acintya) are things that go beyond thought, description, or discussion, or beyond the power of mentation. There are many different categories of the “Inconceivables”. The first kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable anointment. According to the Flower Sutra, Chapter 27, there are ten kinds of inconceivable anointment which Enlightening Beings received from the Enlightened. Once Enlightening Beings enter the concentration called the pure treasury of the past, they receive ten kinds of inconceivable anointment from the Enlightened; they also attain, purify, consummate, enter, realize, fulfil and hold them, comprehend them equally, the three spheres pure. These ten kinds of inconceivable anointment include explanation without violating meaning, inexhaustibility of teaching, impeccable expression, endless eloquence, freedom from hesitation, truthfulness of speech, the trust of the community, liberating those in the triple world, supreme excellence of roots of goodness, and command of the Wondrous Teaching. Second, inconceivable, beneficial functions and uses from the pure wisdom. Third, inconceivable Buddha-lands. The size of the Buddha-lands or the bound of the Buddha realm is beyond human conception. The fourth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable Dharmakaya. According to Zen Master D.T. Suzuki in the “Studies In The Lankavatara Sutra,” the idea of Dharmakaya is not wanting in the Lankavatara Sutra, and that it is used not in the same of the Dharmakaya of the Triple Body dogma. The Lankavatara Sutra speaks of the Tathagata’s Dharmakaya of the Inconceivable Dharmakaya, and of Dharmakaya as will-body. Fifth, inconceivable nagas. Dragons or Nagas are beyond human conception. The sixth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable permeation. The permeation of the pure self-essence of the mind of true thusness by ignorance or wisdom which then appears in the manifest world. According to the Awakening of Faith, the indescribable vasana or the influence of primal ignorance on the bhutatathata, producing all illusions. The seventh kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable sentient beings. The Buddha’s teaching about living beings’ circumstances is beyond human conception. The eighth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable transformation life and the inconceivable transformation of the death. Ineffable changes and transmigrations to the higher stages of mortality above the traidhatuka or trailokya. The inconceivable transformation life in the Pure Land, the transformation of the arhats and other saints. The death of mysterious transformation or inconceivable transformation-death. This has nothing to do with corporeal existence. It happens only to such spiritual beings as Bodhisattvas. A mysterious transformation that takes place within the mind, making it comprehend an external world of particular objects. The ninth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable wisdom (acintya-jnana). The indescribable Buddha’s wisdom, or intuitive knowledge. The tenth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable world. The Buddha’s world is beyond human conception.
According to Buddhist traditions, there are four things of a Buddha which are beyond human conception. In the Ekottaragama, there are four indescribables. The four things of a Buddha which are beyond human conception. The first kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable world. In fact, the Buddha’s world is beyond human conception. The second kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable living beings. In fact, the Buddha’s teaching about living beings’ circumstances is beyond human conception. The third kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable dragons or nagas. The Buddha’s teachings of nagas are beyond human conception. The fourth kind of inconceivables is the inconceivable size of the Buddha-lands. The Buddha’s teaching on the Buddha realms is beyond human conception. In the Surangama Sutra, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva reported to the Buddha about the four inconceivables: “World Honored One! Because I obtained perfect penetration and cultivated to certification of the unsurpassed path, I also became endowed with four inconceivable and and effortless wonderful virtues.” First, as soon as I obtained the miraculous wonder of hearing the mind, the mind became essential and the hearing was forgotten; therefore, there was no distinction between seeing, hearing, sensation, and knowing. I achieved a single, perfect fusion, pure precious enlightenment. For this reason, I am able to manifest many wonderful appearances and can proclaim boundless secret spiritual mantras. For example, I may take appear one head, three heads, five heads, seven heads, nine heads, eleven heads, and so forth, until there may be a hundred and eight heads, a thousand heads, ten thousand heads, or eighty-four thousand vajra heads; two arms, four arms, six arms, eight arms, ten arms, twelve arms, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen arms, or twenty arms, twenty-four arms, and so forth until there may be a hundred and eight arms, a thousand arms, ten thousand arms, or eighty-four thousand mudra arms; two eyes, three eyes, four eyes, nine eyes, and so forth until there may be a hundred and eight eyes, a thousand eyes, ten thousand eyes, or eighty-four thousand pure and precious eyes, sometimes compassionate, sometimes awesome, sometimes in samadhi, sometimes displaying wisdom to rescue and protect living beings so that they may attain great self-mastery. Second, because of hearing and consideration, I escape the six defiling objects, just as a sound leaps over a wall without hindrance. And so I have the wonderful ability to manifest shape after shape and to recite mantra upon mantra. These shapes and these mantras dispel the fears of living beings. Therefore, throughout the ten directions, in as many lands as there are fine motes of dust, I am known as one who bestows fearlessness. Third, because I cultivated fundamental, wonderful, perfect penetration and purified the sense-organ, everywhere I go in any world I can make it so that living beings renounce their physical and material valuables and seek my sympathy. Fourth, I obtained the Buddhas’ mind and was certified as having attained the ultimate end, and so I can make offerings of rare treasures to the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions and to living beings in the six paths throughout the dharma realm. If they seek a spouse, they obtain a spouse. If they seek children, they can have children. Seeking samadhi, they obtain samadhi; seeking long life, they obtain long life, and so forth to the extent that if they seek the great Nirvana, they obtain great Nirvana. According to the Sastra on the Prajna-Paramita Sutra, there are five inconceivable or thought-surpassing or beyond mentation things. First, the number of living beings. Innumerable number of sentient beings is inconceivable. Second, all the consequences of karma are inconceivable. Third, the powers of a state of dhyana, or the concentration power of a zen practitioner is inconceivable. Fourth, the powers of nagas or dragons is inconceivable. Fifth, the powers of the Buddhas, or the Buddha Law is inconceivable.
419. The Difficulties
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.”
According to the Buddha, there are six difficult things. First, to be born in human form is difficult. Second, to be born in the Buddha-age is difficult. Third, to hear the true Buddha-law is difficult. Fourth, to beget a good heart is difficult. Fifth, to be born in the central kingdom is difficult. Sixth, to be perfect is difficult. There are also six other difficulties. First, to be born in the Buddha-age is difficult. Second, to hear the true Buddha-law is difficult. Third, to beget a good heart is difficult. Fourth, to be born in the central kingdom is difficult. Fifth, to be in human form is difficult. Sixth, to be perfect is difficult.
There are eight conditions or circumstances in which it is difficult to see a Buddha or hear his dharma; or eight special types of adversities that prevent the practice of the Dharma. First, rebirth in hells where beings undergo sufferings at all times. Second, rebirth as a hungry ghost, or the ghost-world, where beings never feel comfortable with non-stop greed. Third, rebirth in an animal realm where beings has no ability and knowledge to practice dharma. Fourth, rebirth in Uttarakuru (Northern continent) where life is always pleasant and desires that beings have no motivation to practice the dharma. Fifth, rebirth in any long-life gods or heavens where life is long and easy so that beings have no motivation to seek the Buddha dharma. Sixth, rebirth as worldly philosophers (intelligent and well educated in mundane sense) who think that they know everything and don’t want to study or practise anymore, especially practicing dharmas. Seventh, rebirth with impaired, or deficient faculties such as the blind, the deaf, the dumb and the cripple. Eighth, life in a realm wherein there is no Tathagata, or in the intermediate period between a Buddha and his successor. During this period of time, people spent all the time to gossip or to argue for or their own views on what they heard about Buddha dharma, but not practicing.
According to the Sutra in Forty-Two Sections, chapter 36, there are nine difficulties. First, it is difficult for one to leave the evil paths and become a human being. Second, it is still difficult to become a male human being (a man rather than a woman). Third, once one becomes a man, it is difficult to have the six organs complete and perfect. Fourth, once the six organs are complete and perfect, it is still difficult for one to be born in the central county. Fifth, if one is born in the central country, it is still difficult to be born at the time of a Buddha. Sixth, if one is born at the time of a Buddha, it is still difficult for one to encounter the Way. Seventh, if one does encounter the Way, it is still difficult for one to bring forth faith. Eighth, if one does have sufficient faith, it is still difficult for one to resolve one’s mind on Bodhi. Ninth, if one does resolve one’s mind on Bodhi, it is still difficult to be without cultivation and without attainment.
420. Twenty Other Difficulties People Always Encounter
In the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections, there are twenty difficulties people always encounter. the Buddha taught: “First, it is difficult to give when one is poor (it is hard for a poor man to be generous). It is difficult to practice charity when we are poor and destitute because under such conditions, even if we have the will, we lack the means. To force ourselves to practice charity must entail sacrifices. Second, it is difficult to study the Way when one has power and wealth (it is hard for a rich and powerful man to learn the way). It is difficult to study the Dharma when we are wealthy and eminent, because under such favorable circumstances, we may have the means, but we are pulled away by opportunities for enjoyment and self-gratification. Third, it is difficult to abandon life and face the certainty of death (it is hard to seek Enlightenment at the cost of self-sacrifice). Fourth, it is difficult to encounter the Buddha sutras (it is hard to hear the teaching of Buddha). Fifth, it is difficult to be born at the time of a Buddha (while the Buddha is in the world). The difficulty of being born during the lifetime of a Buddha is mentioned in the Perfection of Wisdom Treatise as follows: “In the town of Sravasti, north of India, out of a total population of nine hundred thousand, only one-third had actually seen and met Sakyamuni Buddha, another one-third had heard His Name and believed in Him but had not actually seen or met Him, while the remaining one-third had not seen, heard or even learned of His existence. Sakyamuni Buddha taught in Sravasti for some twenty-five years, yet a full one-third of the town’s population were completely unaware of His existence. Is it any wonder, then, that those who were born during Sakyamuni Buddha’s time but did not reside in Sravasti, or those who happened to be born before or after His time, would find it difficult to learn of Him or hear the Dharma. However, even though we may not be able to meet Sakyamuni Buddha, cultivating according to the Dharma is tantamount to meeting Him. On the other hand, if we do not follow His teaching, even while near Him, we are still far away. Thus, Devadatta, Sakyamuni Buddha’s very own cousin, as well as Bhikshu Sunaksatra who attended the Buddha personally for twenty years, both descended into the hells because they strayed from the Path. There is also the case of an old woman in the eastern quarter of Sravasti who was born at exactly the same moment as Sakyamuni Buddha, yet, because she lacked causes and conditions, wished neither to see nor to meet Him. Thus, not everyone can see the Buddhas and listen to the Dharma. Extensive good roots, merits, virtues and favorable conditions are required. Sixth, it is difficult to resist lust and desire. Seventh, it is difficult to see good things and not seek them. Eighth, it is difficult to be insulted and not become angry (It is hard not to get angry when one is insulte). Ninth, it is difficult to have power and not abuse it. Tenth, it is difficult to come in contact with things and have no attachment to them or no thoughts of them (It is hard not to be disturbed by external conditions and circumstances). Eleventh, it is difficult to be greatly learned in the Dharma (It is hard to apply onself to study widely and thoroughly). Twelfth, it is difficult to get rid of self-satisfaction and pride (It is hard to keep onself humble). Thirteenth, it is difficult not to slight those who have not yet studied the Dharma. Fourteenth, it is difficult to practice equanimity of mind (It is hard to keep the mind pure against instincts of the body). Fifteenth, it is difficult not to gossip. Sixteenth, it is difficult to meet good knowing advisor (It is hard to find good friends). Although Sakyamuni Buddha has now entered Nirvana, good spiritual advisors are taking turns preaching the Way in His stead. If we draw near to them and practice according to their teachings, we can still achieve liberation. Nevertheless, those who possess only scant and shallow roots must find it difficult to meet good spiritual advisors. Even when they do so and hear the Dharma, if they do not understand its meaning, or merely grasp at appearances and forms, refusing to follow it, no benefit can possibly result. According to the Brahma Net and Avatamsaka Sutras, we should ignore appearances and external forms when seeking a good spiritual advisors. For example, we should disregard such traits as youth, poverty, low status or lack of education, unattractive appearance or incomplete features, but should simply seek someone conversant with the Dharma, who can be of benefit to us. Nor should we find fault with good spiritual advisors for acting in certain ways, as it may be due to a number of reasons, such as pursuing a secret cultivation practice or following an expedient teaching. Or else, they may act the way they do because while their achievements may be high, their residual bad habits have not been extinguished. If we grasp at forms and look for faults, we will forfeit benefits on the path of cultivation. Seventeenth, it is difficult to see one’s own Nature and study the Way. Eighteenth, it is difficult to save sentient beings with means appropriate to their situations. Nineteenth, it is difficult to see a state and not be moved by it (It is hard not to argue about right and wrong). Twentieth, it is difficult to have a good understanding of skill-in-means and apply to it well (It is hard to find and learn a good method).”