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The Flower Adornment Sutra: A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua: Chapter Twenty-Six

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The Flower Adornment Sutra:
A Commentary by the Venerable Master Hsuan Hua
Chapter Twenty-Six: The Ten Grounds
Translated in the Tang Dynasty by the Tripitaka Master Srãmana Siksananda of Khotan



 Commentary:

The Flower Adornment Sutra has 81 rolls and 39 chapters, of which this is Chapter 26, the Ten Grounds. Why are these ten called “grounds?” All things that exist are born from the ground, grow because of the ground, come to maturity by means of the ground, and obtain liberation due the ground.

Within the ground are found a variety of treasuries like gold mines, diamond mines, silver mines, copper, iron, and various other kinds of mines which people excavate. The Ten Grounds contain the mines of Buddhas, the mines of Bodhisattavas, the mines of Hearers and those Enlightened to Conditions, the mines of gods and people, and the mines of animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings. In all the Ten Dharma Realms there are mines. If we knew how to excavate them, then we could obtain a variety of treasures.

The Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds contain all Dharma doors; there is an interconnection between them. If we want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Path, it will come about through cultivation of the Grounds. If we want to develop the Bodhisattva Path, we will do it through development of the Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds. If we want to bring cultivation of the Bodhisattva path to maturity, we will do it through maturation of the Ten Grounds. If we want to obtain liberation by means of the Bodhisattva Path, we even more must rely on the Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds in our cultivation in order to gain that liberation.

The Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds make up the 26 chapter in the Flower Adornment Sutra, and this is part one of the chapter.

Sutra:

At that time, the World-honored One was in the royal palace in the heaven of the comfort from others’ transformations, in the hall of treasuries of mani jewels, together with a gathering of great Bodhisattvas. All these Bodhisattvas, who were irreversible from anuttarasamyaksambohi, had assembled from the worlds of the other directions. They dwelt in the states of wisdom in which all Bodhisattvas dwell, had entered the place of wisdom which all Thus Come One enter, and diligently practiced without rest. They were well able to manifest all kinds of spiritual penetrations, and all that they did to teach, transform, tame, and subdue living beings was done at the right time. In order to accomplish all Bodhisattvas’ great vows, in all worlds, in all kalpas, in all lands, they diligently cultivated all practices, without slacking even momentarily They were replete with a Bodhisattva’s blessing and wisdom, the aids to the way, by which they universally benefited living beings without shirking. They had arrived at the ultimate shore of a Bodhisattva’s wisdom and expedients.

Commentary:

After Vajra Banner Bodhisattva had finished speaking the Ten transferences Chapter, and before he’d begun to explain the Ten Grounds Chapter, at that time, the World-honeored One, Sahkyamuni Buddha, was in the royal palace in the Heaven of the Comfort from Others’ Transformations. In this heaven, others’ bliss is easily transformed into one’s own. The Buddha was in the hall of treasuries of mini jewels, together with a gathering of great Bodhisattvas, a limitless number of them, who were Bodhisattvas of long-standing, with the Way-Virtue, wisdom, and cultivation requisite for them to be irreversible form anuttarasamyaksambodhi. These Bodhisattvas did not retreat from the Unsurpassed, Right and Equal, Proper Enlightenment in either thought, conduct, or position. They had attained these Three Kinds of Irreversibility.

The Unsurpassed, Right and Equal, Proper Enlightenment is the culmination of Three Levels of Enlightenment. Those of the Two Vehicles—the Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions—obtain Proper Enlightenment. They are enlightened themselves, but they have not obtained Right an Equal Enlightenment, and so they cannot enlighten others. The Bodhisattvasenlightenment is described as Right and Equal because they enlighten themselves, enlighten others, and cultivate Dharma-doors equal to the BuddhasDharma doors. “Surpassed Lords” is the title given to Bodhisattvas because the Buddhas are above them. Their enlightenment is not unsurpassed.

Each level of enlightenment is delineated. People cannot be something just because they claim to be. They must be recognized as such by others for it to count. The Buddhas can enlighten themselves and others and have perfected their enlightenment and practice. So they attain Unsurpassed, Right and Equal, Proper Enlightenment, that is, Anuttarasamyaksambodhi. The great Bodhisattvas spoken of here, although they are not yet totally unsurpassed, still are irreversible, and in the future they are certain to become Buddhas.

They had all assembled from the worlds of the other directions. Not all of those great Bodhisattvas come from the Saha world; they came from worlds as many as fine motes of dust. They dwelt in the states of wisdom in which all Bodhisattvas dwell. They had entered in the place of wisdom which all Bodhisattvas dwell. They had entered the place of wisdom which all Thus Come Ones enter. Not only did they have the wisdom of Bodhisattvas, they also had the wisdom of a Buddha, though not quite so profound. And they diligently practiced without rest. They were courageously vigorous and diligently cultivated the Bodhisattva Path without resting.

They were well able to manifest all kinds of spiritual penetrations. They all had various kinds of wisdom and manifested all kinds of spiritual penetrations, and all that they did to teach, transform, tame, and subdue living beings was done at the right time. The vocation of a Bodhisattva is to teach and transform living beings, tame and subdue living beings, and cause all living beings quickly to accomplish Buddhahood, all at the right time. Sometimes if one speaks inappropriately, and teaches living beings before their roots have ripened or the time is right by blasting Dharma at them, they cannot receive it. They get scared, have doubts, and they never want to listen to the Buddhadharma again. Bodhisattvas teach and transform living beings at the most appropriate moment. It is just like planting seeds: if planted at the wrong time, they will not come up, and the planting will have been done in vain. If one plants the seeds at the exact time they should be planted, they will grow. Right at the time the seeds of Bodhi should be planted, Bodhisattvas break open the mind-ground of living beings, teach them to bring forth the thought for Bodhi, and plant the seeds which gradually grow, ripen, and yield a harvest of liberation. That is the meaning of “at the right time.”

In order to accomplish all Bodhisattvas’ great vows, in all worlds, in all kalpas, in all lands, within the kshetra lands of all Buddhas, they diligently cultivated all practices. They were heroically vigorous and diligently cultivated all the doors of conduct that all Bodhisattvas cultivate, without slacking even momentarily. Not even for an instant were they lazy, but they were ever vigorous.

They were replete with a Bodhisattva’s blessing and wisdom, the aids to the way, by which they universally benefitted living beings without shirking. They not only cultivated for themselves, but for all living beings as well. They never stopped, never got tired, and were never lazy. They would never say, “I’ve had it! I’m going to guit cultivating the Bodhisattva Way and stop benefitting living beings.” They weren’t like that. They always wanted to benefit living beings. They had arrived at the ultimate shore of a Bodhisattvas’s wisdom and expedients. They had reached the ultimate shore of wisdom and skill-in-means of all Bodhisattvas—the highest position –and had obtained the purity of Nirvana that consists in permanence, bliss, true self, and purity.

Sutra:

They manifested entry into birth and death as identical with Nirvana, yet they did not renounce the cultivation of Bodhisattva practices. They were skilled at entering all Bodhisattvasdhyanas, liberations, samadhis, samapattis, spiritual penetrations, and clear knowledges. In all they did they obtained comfort. They acquired all Bodhisattvas’ comfortable spiritual powers, and in an instant, without movement or exertion, they could go to the assemblies of all Thus Come Ones’ Bodhimandas, act as leaders of the assembly, and request the Buddha to speak Dharma.

They protected and upheld the Buddhas’ proper dharma wheel. They used a vast, great mind to make offerings to and serve all Buddhas. They always diligently practiced the deeds which all Bodhisattvas practice. Their Bodies universally appeared in all worlds. Their voices reached throughout the Dharma Realms of the ten directions. Their mindswisdom was unobstructed. They universally saw the merit and virtue of all Bodhisattvas of the three periods of time. They had already cultivated and obtained perfection. In ineffably many kalpas, they could not completely be described.

Commentary:

They manifested entry into birth and death as identical with Nirvana. Bodhisattvas who cultivate the Bodhisattvas Way have freedom over birth and death and, for them, samsara is just Nirvana, and afflictions are just Bodhis. Everything about them is a manifestation. They manifest all sorts of births and manifest various kinds of deaths. They appear as various kinds of living beings from gods, humans, and asuras, to the animals, hungry ghosts, and hell-beings, within every destiny, Bodhisattvas appear to go through birth and death. They are born in various ways and influenced those around them to bring forth the thought for Bodhi. They die in various ways in order to cause living beings to understand the pain of samsara.

Therefore, they manifest entry into birth and death as identical with Nirvana: how one is born, how one dies, and how birth and death become Nirvana. Yet they did not renounce the cultivation of Bodhisattva practices. Although Bodhisattvas manifest all those births and deaths and sufferings in order to teach and transform living beings, and then cultivate ascetic practices and enter Nirvana, still they return to continue cultivating the Bodhisattva Way among living beings. Wherever they are, they do not renounce that cultivation. They cultivate the Bodhisattva Path to help living beings and cause them to resolve themselves upon Bodhi.

They were skilled at entering all Bodhisattvasdhyanas, liberations, samadhis. They were good at realizing the dhyana-samadhis, the liberations, and the proper concentration and proper receptiveness that Bodhisattvas cultivate, and samapattis,

spiritual penetrations and clear knowledges.“Samapatti” is a Sanskrit word which translates as “arrival at equanimity,” which refers to the state reached when one is free of torpor and agitation. They also had attained the wonderful functioning of various kinds of spiritual penetrations: the Three Clarities and the Six Penetrations. The Three Clarities are:

    The clarity of the heavenly eye.
    The clarity of the heavenly ear.
    The clarity concerning former lives.

Another rendering of this list is:

    The clarity of the heavenly eye.
    The clarity concerning former lives.
    The clarity of the extinction of outflows.

The Six Penetrations are:

    The penetration of the heavenly eye.
    The penetration of the heavenly ear.
    The penetration of others’ thoughts.
    The penetration of former lives.
    The penetration of the extinction of outflows.
    The penetration of spiritual fulfillments.

In all they did they obtained comfort. In all of their activities, they were independent and sovereign.

They acquired all Bodhisattvas’ comfortable spiritual powers. They could manifest birth and death, Nirvana, and the cultivation of the Bodhisattva Way in all places. At all times they were at ease with the power of wonderful functioning of their spiritual penetrations, just as all Bodhisattvas are; and in an instant, without movement or exertion, they could go to the assemblies of all Thus Come Ones’ Bodhimandas.

You see the Bodhisattva as just walking along, but he can go anywhere in the ten directions within the space of a single instant, with no need to move or act. You see him eating, but his spiritual powers have already taken him in the assemblies of the Bodhimandas of all Thus Come Ones. You see the Bodhissattva as asleep, but he has already transformed Bodies and gone to other Buddhalands. You see the Bodhisattva as doing something, or as doing nothing, but he can be transforming bodies and going to limitless and boundlessly many other worlds to teach and transform living beings. He has that kind of wonderful ability.

So the Bodhisattvas at all times and in all places go to see all Buddhas of the ten directions, draw near and pay their respects, and make offerings to them. Don’t think they’re just asleep. If it’s just an ordinary person who’s asleep, of course it’s not very interesting. They may be having nightmares about wanting to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building. In the dream they may even fall from the skyscraper and die, but when they wake up, they are still in their beds. They may dream of being the 555th person to jump from the Golden Gate Bridge only to find themselves on the couch upon awakening. That is an ordinary person’s dream-state.

The state of a Bodhisattva also resembles dreaming, but the Bodhisattva goes off to rescue living beings and to teach and transform them. Wherever he sees being experiencing disaster, he manifests a body and goes to save them. Bodhisattvas also act as leaders of the assembly and request the Buddha to speak Dharma. Someone must request the Dharma or the Buddha does not speak it. Someone circumambulates three times, bows, kneels, and requests that the Buddha speak the Dharma and turn the Dharma wheel.

They protected and upheld the Buddhas’ Proper Dharma wheel. Bodhisattvas go everywhere to protect and support the assemblies of the Bodhimandas of all Buddhas, just as here where we daily turn the Proper Dharma wheel, yet no one realizes it and this country’s disciples treat it as a very ordinary event then, in fact, it is an earth-shaking, heaven-startling matter. They used a vast, great mind to make offerings to and serve all Buddhas. They always diligently practiced the deeds which all Bodhisattvas practice. Their bodies universally appeared in all worlds. Bodies of theirs went everywhere in all worlds of the ten directions.

Their voices reached throughout the Dharma Realms of the ten directions. In all the deeds the Bodhisattvas cultivated, their bodies manifested in all worlds, and the sound of their voices also manifested in the Dharma Realms of the ten directions. Their mindswisdom was unobstructed. Their minds and their wisdom were perfectly fused without obstruction. They universally saw the merit and virtue of all Bodhisattvas of the three periods of time. They could see all the merit and virtue of all Bodhisattvas of the past, present, and future. They had already cultivated and obtained perfection. They had cultivated to perfection the merit and virtue of all Bodhisattvas. In ineffably many kalpas they could not completely be described. In kalpas so long, one still could not portray them.

Sutra:

Their names were: Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, Jeweled Treasury Bodhisattva, Lotus Treasury Bodhisattva, Virtue Treasury Bodhisattva, Treasury of Lotus Virtues Bodhisattva, Sun Treasury Bodhisattva, Treasury of Surya Bodhisattva, Treasury of Undefiled Moons Bodhisattva, Treasury of Adornments Universally Manifesting in all Countries Bodhisattva. Treasury of Vairocana Wisdom Bodhisattva, Treasury of Wonderful Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Chandana Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Flower Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Kusuma Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Utpala Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Heavenly Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Blessings and Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Unobstructed Pure Wisdom’s Virtue Bodhisattva, Treasury of Merit and Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Narayana Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Non-defilement Bodhisattva, Treasury of Freedom From Filth Bodhisattva, Treasury of Versatile Eloquence Adornments Bodhisattva, Treasury of Great Bright-Light Nets Bodhisattva, Treasury of Pure, Awesome Virtues’ Light King Bodhisattva, Treasury of Gold Adornments and The Light of Great Merit and Virtues King Bodhisattva, Treasury of Adornments of All Marks’ Pure Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Vajra Blazing Virtues and Adorning Marks Bodhisattva, Treasury of Blazing Light Bodhisattva, Treasury of Light Illumination Constellation King Bodhisattva, Treasury of Empty Space and Unobstructed Wisdom Bodhisattva, Treasury of Unobstructed Wondrous Sounds Bodhisattva, Treasury of Dharani Merit and Virtues to Maintain the Vows of Living Beings Bodhisattva, Treasury of Sea Adornments Bodhisattva, Treasury of Sumeru Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Purity of Merit and Virtues Bodhisattva, The Thus Come One’s Treasury Bodhisattva, Treasury of the BuddhasVirtues Bodhisattva, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva and all the other numberless, limitless, boundless, incomparable, uncountable, indescribable, inconceivable, illimitable, and ineffable multitudes of Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, with Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva as their leader.

Commentary:

Their names were as follows. There was one Bodhisattva called Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattvawas called Jeweled Treasury Bodhisattva.

There was another Bodhisattva called Lotus Treasury Bodhisattva. There was another Bodhisattva called Virtue Treasury Bodhisattva. There was another Bodhisattva called Treasury of Lotus Virtues Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was called Sun Treasury Bodhisattva. There was another Bodhisattva called Treasury of Surya Bodhisattva, that is to say, “Store of Suns” Bodhisattva. There was another Bodhisattva called Treasury of Undefiled Moons Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Adornments Universally Manifesting in all Countries Bodhisattva. That Bodhisattva, a store of adornments, manifested in all worlds. There was another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Vairocana Wisdom Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Wonderful Virtues Bodhisattva. There were another Bodhisattvas called Treasury of Chandana Virtues Bodhisattva,

Treasury of Flower Virtues Bodhisattva, Treasury of Kusuma Virtues Bodhisattva.

Kusuma” means “large flowers.” Another Bodhisattva was named Treasury of Utpala Virtues Bodhisattva. “Utpala” means “Azure Flowers.” Another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Heavenly Virtues Bodhisattva. There was another Bodhisattva named Treasury of Blessings and Virtues Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was named Treasury of Unobstructed Pure Wisdom’s Virtue Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva went by the name of Treasury of Merit and Virtues Bodhisattva. Yet Another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Narayana Virtues Bodhisattva. One was named Treasury of Non-defilement Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was called Treasury of Freedom From Filth Bodhisattva. There was yet another Bodhisattva who was known as Treasury of Versatile Eloquence Adornments Bodhisattva. Treasury of Great Bright-Light Nets Bodhisattva was one Bodhisattva’s name, while another one Bodhisattva’s name was Treasury of Pure, Awesome Virtues’ Light King Bodhisattva.

Furthermore, there was a Bodhisattva called Treasury of Gold Adornments and the Light of Great Merit and Virtues King Bodhisattva. Present was also Treasury of Adornments of All Marks’ Pure Virtues Bodhisattva, as well as a Bodhisattvas called Treasury of Vajra Blazing Virtues and Adorning Marks Bodhisattva. Treasury of Blazing Light Bodhisattva was there, along with Treasury of Light Illumination Constellation King Bodhisattva, Treasury of Empty Space and Unobstructed Wisdom Bodhisattva, and Treasury of Unobstructed Wondrous Sounds Bodhisattva. There was, further, a Bodhisattva who had the name Treasury of Dharani Merit and Virtues to Maintain the Vows of Living Beings Bodhisattva. Treasury of Sea Adornments Bodhisattva was in the assembly, and so, too, was a Bodhisattvas called Treasury of Sumeru Virtues Bodhisattva. There was another named Treasury of Purity of Merit and Virtues Bodhisattva. Another was called The Thus Come One’s Treasury Bodhisattva. Yet, another Bodhisattvas went by the appelation Treasury of the BuddhasVirtues Bodhisattva. Another Bodhisattva was named Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva. ThatBodhisattva and all the other numberless, limitless, boundless, incomparable, uncountable, indescribable, inconceivable, illimitable, and ineffable multitudes of Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas.

There were so many that you could not measure them, ascertain their bounds, compare them to anything, count them up, define them, or conceptualize them if you tried. The Great Bodhisattvas were there with Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva as their leader.

Sutra:

At that time Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva received the Buddhasspiritual power and entered “The BodhisattvasGreat Wisdom Light Samadhi.” After he entered that Samadhi, in each of the ten directions were worlds beyond the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands, each of which contained Buddhas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands, all bearing the same name, “Vajra Treasury.”

Commentary:

At that time Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva received the Buddhasspiritual power and entered “The BodhisattvasGreat Wisdom Light Samadhi.” Because he was receiving the awesome spiritual power of Shakyamuni Buddha and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, he entered the proper concentration and proper reception that great Bodhisattvas enter. After he entered that Samadhi, then something wonderful occurred. In each of the ten directions were worlds beyond the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands, each of which contained Buddhas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands. Each of the worlds to the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands had in it Buddhas to the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands, all bearing the same name, “Vajra Treasury.” They were all called Vajra Treasury Buddha, Vajra Treasury Thus Come One.

Sutra:

All those Buddhas appeared before him and said, “good indeed, good indeed, Vajra Treasury, that you are able to enter this BodhisattvasGreat Wisdom Light Samadhi. Good man, this is due to the combined aid of Buddhas throughout the ten directions to the number of fine motes of dust in ten million Buddhalands. It is also due to the power of the basic vows and the awesome spiritual might of Vairocana, Thus Come One, Arhat, of right and equal enlightenment. And it is due to the power of your supreme wisdom. They wish to cause u to have the light to speak all inconceivable Buddhadharmas for all Bodhisattvas, that is, to bring about entry into the ground of wisdom; the gathering in of good roots; the skillful selection of Buddhadharmas.

Commentary:

All those Buddhas appeared before him, they manifested before Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva in Samadhi, and said, “good indeed, good indeed, Vajra Treasury, that you are able to enter this BodhisattvasGreat Wisdom Light Samadhi.” They praised him, saying, “You are really good, you are really fine, Vajra Treasury, that you can gain access into this right concentration and right reception of the great Bodhisattvaslight of wisdom.” Good man, this is due to the combined aid of Buddhas throughout the ten directions to the number of fine motes of dust in ten millons in Buddhalands. They are all helping you enter this Samadhi,” they explained. “It is also due to the power u Arhat, of right and equal enlightenment. It is due to the Unsurpased One of Right and u vows and his awesome spiritual might aid you to enter this proper concentration. And it is due to the power of your supreme wisdom. The power of supreme wisdom that you obtained from cultivating Bodhisattva practices enables you to enter this right Samadhi.”

They wish to cause u to have the light to speak all inconceivable Buddhadharmas for all Bodhisattvas. Another reason you are able to enter this Great Wisdom Light Samadhi is because the Buddhas of the ten directions want you to have the light of wisdom to speak all the inconceivable Dharmas expressed by all Buddhas for the sake of all Bodhisattvas. That is, to bring about entry into the ground of wisdom. Then you will be able to cause all beings to enter the ground of wisdom. It is to bring about the gathering in of good roots. It is so you can collect together all the good roots of living beings amassed in cultivation that you are enabled to enter this Samadhi. It is to effect the skillful selection of Buddhadharmas. In order to make use of the Selective Dharma Eye so as to understand all Dharmas spoken by all Buddhas, you are able to enter this Great Wisdom Light Samadhi.”

Sutra:

Vast knowledge of all Dharmas; skillful ability to speak Dharma; purification of undiscriminating wisdom; non-defilement of all worldly Dharmas; purification o world-transcending good roots; obtaining inconceivable state of wisdom; obtaining all wisdom and entry to states of wisdom.

They also wish to bring about obtaining of Bodhisattvasten grounds from beginning to end: an accurate speaking of the distinctive characteristics of the Bodhisattvasten grounds.

Commentary:

Vast knowledge of all Dharmas means being able to, deeply enter the Sutra Store, and have wisdom like the sea.

The Buddhadharma is like the great sea. It is necessary to have vast, great wisdom in order to know all dharmas. But, just knowing is not enough, one must also have skillful ability to speak Dharma. You must be good at employing clever expedient methods to speak all dharmas, and have the purification of undiscriminating wisdom. You require the Four Wisdom:

    1. The wisdom that accomplishes what is done

    2. The wisdom of wonderful contemplation

    3. The wisdom of sameness

    4. The great, perfect mirror wisdom

Then, right within non-discrimination you will be able to understand all pure, wonderful dharmas. Non-defilement of all worldly Dharmas. Defiled worldly dharmas need only be turned around to become undefiled, world-transcending dharmas. It is also to bring about the purification o world-transcending good roots. Obtaining all world-transcending dharmas, you can cultivate world-transcending good roots, and attain to purity, as well as obtaining inconceivable state of wisdom and obtaining all wisdom and entry to states of wisdom. Upon obtaining all-wisdom, one is able to enter the states of wisdom.

They also wish to bring about obtaining of Bodhisattvasten grounds from beginning to end. This is to bring about understanding of and certification to the progressive states of the grounds of a Bodhisattva from the First to the Tenth. Those of the First Ground do not understand the state of those of the Second Ground, and those of the Tenth Ground do not understand the state of those of Equal Enlightenment. So in cultivation, each person has his or her own skill and his or her own states, which differ from those of others; and the Ten Grounds have a progression from beginning to end, from the First Ground to the Tenth Ground. An accurate speaking of the distinctive characteristics of the Bodhisattvasten grounds means accurately explaining different characteristics of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds. People who cultivate the Way should recognize states. The Buddhas wish the Bodhisattvas to thoroughly understand the states of the Ten Grounds and to accurately explain the different characteristics of the Ten Grounds.

Sutra:

Following and being mindful of all Buddhasdharmas; cultivating, studying, and discriminating non-outflowing dharmas; cleverly adorning through the light of great wisdom of skillful selection and contemplation; skillful entering the door of decisive wisdom; according to dwelling places manifesting in sequence and speaking without fear; obtaining the light of unobstructed eloquence; dwelling on the ground of great eloquence and having skillful decisiveness; being so mindful of the Bodhisattvas that one never forgets them; maturing all the realms of living beings; being able pervasively to go to all places and be sure to be enlightened.

Commentary:

Following and being mindful of all Buddhasdharmas. Following means singlemindedly adapting to, according with, and being mindful of all the Dharmas spoken by the Buddhas. Cultivating, studying, and discriminating non-outflowing dharmas, one should clearly understand what has outflows and what has no outflows, as well as to what extent there are outflowing dharmas present within non-outflowing dharmas, and to extent there are non-outflowing dharmas present within outflowing dharmas. That means on the one hand cultivating and on the other hand studying and discriminating what are dharmas with outlfows and what are dharmas without outflows. Cleverly adorning through the light of great wisdom of skillful selection and contemplation. One who is good at employing the Selective Dharma Eye can contemplate all the dharmas of great wisdom. When one has great wisdom, then one can have great wisdom light, and then one is able cleverly and expediently to adorn all Buddhalands. Skillful entering the door of decisive wisdom, one is also able to be very exact and clear about discriminating, to enter the door of all-wisdom, and to have no doubts.

According to dwelling places manifesting in sequence and speaking without fear, in accord with where Bodhisattvas are dwelling, in a clear and orderly fashion they speak the precise meaning of the Dharmas and have no fear. Obtaining the light of unobstructed eloquence, the light of wisdom reveals itself in unimpeded eloquence. Dwelling on the ground of great eloquence and having skillful decisiveness; one has great eloquence and one applies it to all Dharmas. Being so mindful of the Bodhisattvas that one never forgets them; they always remember all Bodhisattvas. Maturing all the realms of living beings; one is also able to bring all living beings to maturity, that is:

    1. To cause those who have not yet planted good roots to plant them;

    2. To cause already planted good roots to grow;

    3. To cause good roots that have already grown to come to maturity;

    4. To cause those whose roots have already matured to obtain liberation.

Being able pervasively to go to all places and be sure to be enlightened. They visit all assemblies in the Bodhimandas of all Buddhas of the three periods of time and, upon arriving there, are certain to become enlightened and to obtain great wisdom, great eloquence, long life, and happiness. They are certified as being enlightened to the real mark of all dharmas.

Sutra:

Good man, you should eloquently discuss these distinctions of dharma doors and good and clever methods, which is to say, receiving the Buddhasspiritual power, to be aided by the Thus Come Ones’ light of wisdom; to purify one’s own good roots; to universally purify the Dharma Realms; to completely gather in living beings; to deeply enter the dharma body and the wisdom body; to receive all Buddhas’ anointment of one’s crown; to obtain the tallest, largest body in all worlds; to transcend all worldly ways; to purify world-transcending good roots; to perfect the wisdom of all-wisdom.

Commentary:

When Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva entered the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, all the Buddhas of the ten directions praised him and said to him, Good man, you should eloquently discuss these distinctions of dharma doors and good and clever methods. They told him, “You should use your unobstructed eloquence to expla in the various aspects of the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, and of expedient skillful methods, which is to say, receiving the Buddhasspiritual power; you are based in great spiritual power of all Buddhaw of the ten directions, as well as that of Vairocana Buddha and Shakyamuni Buddha. To be aided by the Thus Come Ones’ light of wisdom; the light of the Buddhas will come to your assistance. To purify one’s own good roots of Bodhi; to universally purify the Dharma Realms with your light of wisdom. To completely gather in living beings; your wisdom will gather in and receive all living beings, as well as to deeply enter the dharma body and the wisdom body; to receive all Buddhas’ anointment of one’s crown; all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time will come and give you a prediction and rub your crown to aid you. To obtain the tallest, largest body in all worlds; you will gain the worlds’ greatest wisdom and the tallest Dharma Body. To transcend all worldly ways; you will be able to excel in all mundane Dharma doors and paths, to purify world-transcending good roots of Bodhi, and to perfect the wisdom of all-wisdom. You will perfect the ground of all-wisdom and then enable all living beings to obtain the wisdom among wisdoms.

Sutra:

At that time the Buddhas of the ten directions bestowed upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva a peerless body; bestowed unobstructed eloquence of delight in speech; bestowed skillfully discriminating pure wisdom; bestowed the power of good memory and non-forgetfulness; bestowed skillfully decisive wisdom of understanding; bestowed the wisdom to reach all places and become enlightened; bestowed the power of ease in accomplishing the way; bestowed the Thus Come Ones’ fearlessnesses; bestowed those of all wisdomswisdom of eloquence to contemplate and discriminate all dharma doors; bestowed all Thus Come Ones’ perfected, superior, wonderful adornments of body, speech, and mind. And why? Because, upon obtaining this Samadhi, the dharma is that way; because of the arisal from past vows; because of profound thought being well-purified; because of the wheel of wisdom being well-purified; because of aids of the way being well-accumulated; because of what one does being well-cultivated; because of mindfulness of one as a limitless dharma vessel; because of knowledge that one has pure faith and understanding; because of flawless maintaining and upholding being obtained; because of skillful application of the seal of wisdom of the Dharma Realm.

Commentary:

At that time the Buddhas of the ten directions bestowed upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva a peerless body. They aided Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva in obtaining a body whose radiance could not be obscured, and bestowed unobstructed eloquence of delight in speech, out of great compassion giving him the perfectly fused and unobstructed eloquence. They bestowed skillfully discriminating pure wisdom and bestowed the power of good memory and non-forgetfulness upon Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva. They bestowed skillfully decisive wisdom of understanding. They bestowed the wisdom to reach all places and become enlightened. They also gave Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva their aid and bestowed the power of ease in accomplishing the way, the power of free and easy success on the path; and they bestowed the Thus Come Ones’ fearlessnesses, and bestowed those of all wisdomswisdom of eloquence to contemplate and discriminate all dharma doors; and they bestowed all Thus Come Ones’, Buddhas’, perfected, superior, wonderful adornments of body, speech, and mind, the perfection of limitless adornments. And why? Why was that? Because, upon obtaining this Samadhi, when one attains to the Great Wisdom Light Samadhi, the dharma is that way.

A necessary corollary of this dharma is that it has to be that way. It is also because of the arisal from past vows, that is, this kind of dharma comes into being through the vows of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the ten directions. It is also because of profound thought being well-purified, because Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva was good at purifying deep thought; and because of the wheel of wisdom being well-purified, and because of aids of the way being well-accumulated. Furthermore, it is because of what one does being well-cultivated; bring those Dharma doors tht one should to accomplishment. It is because of mindfulness of one as a limitless dharma vessel. The Buddhas of the ten directions are aware that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva can act as a vessel for limitlessly many Dharmas. Because of knowledge that one has pure faith and understanding. They know that he is someone who has accomplished faith and understanding. It is also because of flawless maintaining and upholding being obtained, and because of skillful application of the seal of wisdom of the Dharma Realm, from being skilled at employing the Jeweled Seal of the Dharma Realm to seal and certify all Dharmas.

Sutra:

At that time, all the Buddhas of the ten directions extended their right hands and rubbed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva on the crown. After they had rubbed his crown, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva arose from Samadhi and told all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, disciples of the Buddha, all Bodhisattvasvows are well-decided. They are unadulterated, imperceptible, vast and great like the Dharma Realm, ultimately like empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future. These Bodhisattvas pervade all Buddhalands and rescue and protect all living beings. They are protected by Buddhas. They enter the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present.

Disciples of the Buddha, what are the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas? Disciples of the Buddha, the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, are of ten kinds, which all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will speak and are speaking. I also speak them thus.

Commentary:

At that time, after the Buddhas of the ten directions had praised Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, all the Buddhas of the ten directions, the Buddhas from above, belwo, east, west, south, and north - the six directions - with the addition of the four intermediate points, making ten directions, all extended their right hands. Each Buddha extended his right hand and rubbed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva on the crown. After they had rubbed his crown, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva arose from Samadhi and told all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, disciples of the Buddha, all Bodhisattvasvows are well-decided. He told them that all the great vows made by all Bodhisattvas are decisive. They are unadulterated; they have no admixture, and are imperceptible. The vows made by Bodhisattvas cannot be seen, and yet they are vast and great like the Dharma Realm, ultimately like empty space. At their ultimate point they are like emptiness: you cannot find their limits. Exhausting the boundaries of the future they pervade all Buddhalands. The Bodhisattvas go to the countries of all Buddhas and rescue and protect all living beings. They have the ability to save all beings. They are protected by Buddhas of the three periods of time. They enter the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present. The Bodhisattvas are certified as having entered the grounds of wisdom of all Buddhas of the three periods of time.

Disciples of the Buddha, what are the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas who cultivate and accumulate various kinds of good roots, and the grounds of wisdom of all Bodhisattvas and Buddhas? What are they? Disciples of the Buddha, the grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, Mahasattvas, are of ten kinds. The great Bodhisattvas who cultivate the conduct of Bodhisattvas have ten grounds of wisdom. If spoken in even further detail, there are limitless and boundlessly many kinds, which all Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will speak and are speaking. The Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present have spoken, will in the future speak, and right now are speaking them, I also speak them thus. I, too, just like the Buddhas of the past, the future, and the present, will speak the ten kinds of grounds of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas.

Sutra:

What are the ten? One, the Ground of Happiness; two, the Ground of Leaving Filth; three, the Ground of Emitting Light; four, the Ground of Blazing Wisdom; five, the Ground of Invincibility; six, the Ground of Manifestation; seven, the Ground of Traveling Far; eight, the Ground of Immovability; nine, the Ground of Good Wisdom; ten, the Ground of the Dharma Cloud.

Disciples of the Buddha, these ten grounds have been explained, will be explained, and are being explained by all Buddhas of the three periods of time. Disciples of the Buddha, I have not seen any Thus Come Ones in any Buddhalands who do not speak these Ten Grounds. And why? They are the BodhisattvasMahasattvas’ most superior path to Bodhi. They are also doors of pure dharma light, namely, the detailed explanation of all Bodhisattvas’ grounds. Disciples of the Buddha, this place is inconceivable, namely the wisdom accordingly certified to by Bodhisattvas.

At that time, after Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva had finished speaking the names of the Ten Grounds, he remained silent and did not further distinguish them. Thereupon, all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, upon hearing the names of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds, but not hearing their explanation, all looked up in thirst and had this thought, “What is the cause, and what is the reason, that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva only speaks the names of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds yet does not explain them?” Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing what was being thought by all those in the great assembly, used verses to question Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying:

“Why is it that the pure enlightened one, replete with mindfulness, wisdom, and virtue, speaks of the superior, wondrous grounds, yet with power to do so still does not explain them?”

Commentary:

What are the ten? What are the ten grounds called? Their names are as follows: One, the Ground of Happiness. Upon arriving at this ground one is very happy. Two, the Ground of Leaving Filth. At the Second Ground, all filth of false thinking is cut off; that is, all view delusions, thought delusions, and delusions like dust and sand. Three, the Ground of Emitting Light. At the Third Ground, one eliminates all the dust-fatigue of false thinking, and the light of one’s own original wisdom manifests. Four, the Ground of Blazing Wisdom. At the Fourth Ground, not only does one emit light, but one even blazes with the flaming light of wisdom. Five, the Ground of Invincibility. It is hard to cultivate to this position. It is not at all easy to attain to this ground. Six, the Ground of Manifestation. At this Ground, all wisdom manifests. Seven, the Ground of Traveling Far. At the Seventh Ground, one can fly and do transformations. Eight, the Ground of Immovability. At the Eighth Ground, without moving from the Bodhimanda, one travels pervasively throughout the ten directions. Nine, the Ground of Good Wisdom. Upon arriving at this Ground, one has the best of wisdoms. Ten, the Ground of the Dharma Cloud. The Dharma cloud universally shades all living beings.

Disciples of the Buddha--Vajra Treasury again calls out, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, these ten grounds have been explained, will be explained, and are being explained by all Buddhas of the three periods of time.” The names of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds had already been spoken by all future Buddhas, and are now being spoken by the Buddhas of the present. Disciples of the Buddha, I have not seen any Thus Come Ones in any Buddhalands who do not speak these Ten Grounds. He said, “I have never seen any Buddha in all the Buddhalands who fails to speak the doctrines of the Ten Grounds. “ And why? They are the BodhisattvasMahasattvas’ most superior path to Bodhi. The great Bodhisattvas among Bodhisattvas use these Dharma doors as the superior path for cultivating Bodhi. They are also doors of pure dharma light. The Ten Grounds are also entrances into the light of pure Dharma wisdom, namely the wisdom accordingly certified to by Bodhisattvas. All Bodhisattvas accordingly cultivate and certify to this wisdom.

At that time, after Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva had finished speaking the names of the Ten Grounds, he remained silent and did not further distinguish them. He did not open his mouth. He said nothing, withdrew to one side, and did not explain the meaning of the Ten Grounds any further. Thereupon, all the assembly of Bodhisattvas, all the great Bodhisattvas who had come there from the ten directions, upon hearing the names of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds, but not hearing their explanation, when they did not hear Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva give any deeper explanation of their principles, all looked up in thirst. Turning up their heads, they waited for Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva to explain, and had this thought, “What is the cause, and what is the reason, that Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva only speaks the names of the BodhisattvasTen Grounds yet does not explain them? Why did he only tell us the names of the Ten Grounds of a Bodhisattva, with no commentary or explanation? Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing what was being thought by all those in the great assembly, used verses to question Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying: “why is it that the pure enlightened one, you, Bodhisattva, replete with mindfulness, wisdom, and virtue, who have perfected pure mindfulness, the light of wisdom, and all meritorious qualities, speaks of the superior, wondrous grounds, you give the names of the Ten Grounds -- yet with power to do so still does not explain them?” Why is it that even though you have the power to explain them in detail, you do not do so for all of us?

Sutra:

You have decisiveness and judgment, are courageous and are not weak-willed; why do you only name the grounds, without going on then to discuss them?

The wonderful doctrines of the grounds, all those assembled wish to hear; their minds show no trace of cowardice, they wish you to speak them in detail.

The multitudes assembled are all pure, devoid of laxness, stern they are and clear, able to be solid and unmoving, with merit, virtue, wisdom, all endowed.

Mutually they look to you in reverence, all of them intent with upward gaze, like bees that are mindful of their honey, like thirsty people thinking of sweet dew.

Commentary:

Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva went on to say to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, :You have decisiveness and judgment, you have the decisive wisdom to understand right and wrong, are courageous and are not weak-willed; you cultivate the Bodhisattva Way with courageous vigor, and are not afraid of anything, so why do you only name the grounds? Why did you just speak the names of the Ten Bodhisattva Ground without going on then to discuss them? You did not expound them for everyone.

The wonderful doctrines of the grounds, each of the Grounds is sure to have very inconceivable and subtle doctrines. Those entire assembled wish to hear. Right now all of the multitudes in the Dharma Assembly wish to hear those doctrines. Their minds show no trace of cowardice, the hearts of all the Bodhisattvas have no fear whatsoever. They wish you to speak them in detail. If you would just speak this Dharma, they would all like to hear it.

The multitudes assembled are all pure, devoid of laxness, stern they are and clear. The Bodhisattvas in this Bodhimanda are all courageously vigorous, stern, strict, and pure. With their great resolve for Bodhi, they are able to be solid and unmoving, and are with merit, virtue, wisdom, all endowed.

Mutually they look to you in reverence. Their eyes are all upon you as they wait with much respect for you, oh Bodhisattva, to speak to them. All of them intent with upward gaze. All the great Bodhisattvas are looking towards you single-minded, thirsty for the explanation, like bees that are mindful of their honey, like thirsty people thinking of sweet dew. They are waiting just that sincerely in single-minded, eager anticipation.

 Sutra:

At that time, the Greatly Wise and Fearless Bodhisattva, Vajra Treasury, having heard what was said, and wishing to make the assembled multitudes happy, for all disciples of the Buddha used verses and said:

Commentary:

At that time, the Greatly Wise, if you have great wisdom, then, no matter what happens, you have no problems. People who lack wisdom, however, have problems no matter what happens. And Fearless, you should not be afraid of people, but you also must not go around bullying people. Fearing and bullying people amount to the same thing. To be fearless doest not mean to beat up on people or to argue with them. It is just that, as a result of your own great wisdom, there is nothing that you fear. Bodhisattva Vajra Treasury, who was it who was greatly wise and fearless? It was Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva who, having heard what was said by Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva in his verses, and wishing to make the assembled multitudes happy, for all disciples of the Buddha, for all the great Bodhisattvas, used verses and said:

Sutra:

The deeds of Bodhisattvas’ grounds of practice, are sources most supreme of Buddhas all; clear discussion of them in detail is foremost, rare, and hard to come upon.

Their subtleties are difficult to see, apart from thought, they go beyond the mind; the states and realms of Buddhas that appear; cause those who hear to be confused and doubt.

Commentary:

The deeds of Bodhisattvas’ grounds of practice, Bodhisattva Vajra Treasury said, “During a Bodhisattva’s cultivation on the causal ground, he experiences the events on the Ten Bodhisattva Grounds, which are sources most supreme of Buddhas all. There is nothing higher than they are, and they are the basic Dharma-doors for accomplishing Buddhahood. Clear discussion of them in detail is foremost, rare, and hard to come upon. They are rarely explained.

Their subtleties are difficult to see; practices of Bodhisattvas have fine points which are not easy to understand. Apart from thought, they go beyond the mind. These kinds of Dharma-doors are such that the path of language is cut off, and the place of the mind’s workings is extinguished. They go beyond all reflection and deliberation. The states and realms of Buddhas that appear -- all that manifest are the Buddhas’ states -- cause those who hear to be confused and doubt. It is very hard for those who hear of these Dharma-doors to understand them, and it is very easy for them to give rise to doubts and confusion.

Sutra:

If one holds the mind like Vajra, with deep faith in the Buddhas’ foremost wisdom, knowing that the mind-ground lacks a self, one can hear these dharmas most supreme.

Like pictures that are painted in the air, like traces of the wind in empty space, the wisdom of the muni is that way, its distinctions very hard for one to see.

I am mindful that the wisdom of the Buddhas is superior beyond conception; there’s no one in the world who can receive it.

Silent, then, am I and do not speak.

Commentary:

If one holds the mind like Vajra, living beings give rise to doubts and confusion, because they do not have the wisdom to understand these most superior Dharma-doors. If they can hold onto their minds with vajra-like solidity, with deep faith in the Buddhas’ foremost wisdom, knowing that the mind-ground lacks a self, one can hear these dharmas most supreme. Knowing that the entrances into the mind-ground are necessarily devoid of self, they will be able to hear these most supreme Dharmas.

Like pictures that are painted in the air, one should not become attached upon hearing of these magnificent Dharmas. They are all like paintings in space, with no shape or characteristics, and like traces of the wind in empty space, which also lack shape or characteristics. The wisdom of the muni is that way, Shakyamuni Buddha’s wisdom is also like that, its distinctions very hard for one to see. No matter how hard you try, they are not easily understood or seen.

I am mindful that the wisdom of the Buddhas, is superior beyond conception. It is excellent and not easy to conceive of. There’s no one in the world who can receive it. No one in the world can understand this Dharma or accept these principles. Silent, then, am I and do not speak. Therefore, I remain silent and do not explain them for anyone.

Sutra:

At that time, when Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva heard this said, he addressed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying, “Disciple of the Buddha, the multitudes are already gathered here. They all have well purified the depths of their minds and have well cleansed their thoughts. They have well cultivated many practices. They have well accumulated the aids to the path. They have been well able to draw near hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhas. They have accomplished limitless good roots of merit and virtue. They have cast off all stupidity and doubt. They have no defilements. They have deep faith and understanding. Within the Buddhadharmas they do not follow other teachings. All is well, disciple of the Buddha; you should receive the Buddhasspiritual power and speak. All these Bodhisattvas will be able to certify as knowing all these profound places.

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

Commentary:

At that time, when Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva finished listening to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, and having heard this said, he addressed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying, “Disciple of the Buddha, the multitudes are already gathered here. They all have well purified the depths of their minds of faith, and have well cleansed their thoughts. They have well cultivated many practices. They have well accumulated the aids to the path. They have been well able to draw near hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhas. They have accomplished limitless good roots of merit and virtue. They have cast off all stupidity and doubt. All of them have already done away with ignorance and confusion. They have no defilements, no filth. They have deep faith and understanding. They believe in and understand the Buddhadharmas, and within the Buddhadharmas, they do not follow other teachings. They always study and practice Buddhadharma and do not follow other teaching methods of side doors and outside ways.

“All is well, disciple of the Buddha,” he said. “You are really good, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, great disciple of the Buddha, you should receive the Buddhasspiritual power and speak. You should receive the Buddhas’ great, awesome spiritual might and, for this great assembly, speak the Buddhadharma. All these Bodhisattvas, in this assembly, will be able to certify as knowing all these profound places. They will certify to the profound Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds. They are all capable of realizing and understanding them.”

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying: He used verses to reiterate what he had just said.

Sutra:

We wish you to speak of the most tranquil, Bodhisattvas’ practices unsurpassed, discriminating each and every ground, wisdom pure, and accomplishment of proper enlightenment.

This assembly is free from all defilements; their determination and understanding are bright and pure. They have served limitless Buddhas. They can know the meaning of these grounds.

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva said, “disciples of the Buddha, although the assembly gathered here all have well purified their thoughts, have cast off stupidity and doubt, and in the deeply profound dharma they do not follow others’ teachings, there are still other living beings with deficient wisdom, who, upon hearing these profound and difficult-to-conceive-of matters would give rise to more doubts, and, in the long night they would suffer much distress. I take pity upon them and, therefore, remain silent.”

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

Commentary:

We wish you to speak of the most tranquil, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva said, “I wish that you, great Bodhisattva, would speak these most peaceful Dharmas, Bodhisattvas’ practices unsurpassed, the most superior Dharma-doors of cultivation, discriminating each and every ground, and analyze and explain the principles of the Ten Grounds, wisdom pure, and accomplishment of proper enlightenment, causing all living beings to obtain pure wisdom, and in the future to become Buddhas. This assembly is free from all defilements. He said, “Their determination and understanding are bright and pure. Their resolution and their comprehension are both very, very pure. They have served limitless Buddhas. They can know the meaning of these grounds.

At that time, right after that, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva said, “disciples of the Buddha, although the assembly gathered here all have well purified their thoughts, have cast off stupidity and doubt, and in the deeply profound dharma they do not follow others’ teachings, they are not turned by the externalist teachings of side doors and outside ways, there are still other living beings with deficient wisdom. Although this assembly may understand, there are other living beings besides them who do not understand. They, who, upon hearing these profound and difficult-to-conceive-of matters, unsurpassed, subtle and wonderful dharmas, are ones who would give rise to more doubts. They would easily produce doubts, and, in the long night of ignorance and stupidity, they would suffer much distress. They themselves would constantly be unable to see through it all, put it all down, and would not obtain comfort, but would undergo vexation. I take pity upon them and, therefore, remain silent. Since I pity those kinds of living beings, I am silent and do not speak.”

Sutra:

Although these multitudes have pure, vast wisdom, and their profound and sharp understanding can make decisive choices, their minds unmoving like the king of mountains, and cannot be overturned, like the great sea.

There are those who have not practiced long nor yet understood, they practice with consciousness, not with wisdom. Hearing this they will doubt and fall into bad paths. I take pity on them and, therefore, do not speak.

Commentary:

Although these multitudes have pure, vast wisdom, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva says, “Although most of the multitudes in this Dharma Assembly are pure and undefiled and have great wisdom, and their profound and sharp understanding can make decisive choices. They also have the capacity which is durable, bright, and sharp due to their profound Prajna wisdom, their minds unmoving like the king of mountains. Each one of the great Bodhisattvas has a mind which does not move, like Mount Sumeru, cannot be overturned, like the great sea. They cannot be turned over in the same way that no one is able to overturn the ocean.

However, there are those who have not practiced long nor yet understood. Within the Great Assembly there are also those who first gave rise to the thought for Bodhi perhaps ten or twenty years ago, which is a very short time. They have not yet attained to the understanding which comes from wisdom. They practice with consciousness, not with wisdom. They go along with their discriminating consciousness in what they do and do not use wisdom.” To use wisdom is to recognize all states. If one employs consciousness, one merely discriminates states and does not recognize them. Hearing this they will doubt and fall into bad paths. As soon s they hear about the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, they will have doubts and will either fall into the hells, the hungry ghosts, or the animals -- the three evil destinies. I take pity on them and, therefore, do not speak. Since I pity the living beings who are like that, therefore I don’t speak, for if I did speak, they would doubt and disbelieve, and that would be their downfall, because you cannot slander the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds without falling into the three evil destinies.

Sutra:

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva again addressed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying, “Disciple of the Buddha, I hope you will receive the Buddhasspiritual power and explain in detail these inconceivable dharmas. These people should obtain the Thus Come Ones’ protection and mindfulness and give rise to faith and receptivity. And why? When one explains the Ten Grounds, the dharma of all Bodhisattvas is that way: that they obtain the Buddhasprotection and mindfulness. Because they obtain the Buddhasprotection and mindfulness, they can be courageous about these grounds of wisdom. And why? These are the Bodhisattvas’ most initial practices for accomplishing all BuddhasDharmas.

Just as written words which say numerous things are based upon an alphabet in that alphabet is fundamental to them and none of them departs from it in the slightest, so too, disciple of the Buddha, all BuddhasDharmas are based upon the Ten Grounds in that the Ten Grounds are fundamental to them. Through successful cultivation of them, one obtains all wisdom. Therefore, disciple of the Buddha, I wish you would explain them. These people will certainly be protected by the Thus Come Ones and caused to believe and receive these Dharmas.

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying:

Commentary:

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva again addressed Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying, “Disciple of the Buddha, I hope you will receive the Buddhasspiritual power. Great Bodhisattva, I wish that you would receive the power of spiritual penetrations of the Buddhas of the ten directions and of Shakyamuni Buddha, and explain in detail these inconceivable dharmas. Analyze and describe these Dharma-doors for us. These people should obtain the Thus Come Ones’ protection and mindfulness. The people who are here in this Dharma Assembly should be protected and remembered by all Buddhas, and give rise to faith and receptivity. They will have faith. And why? When one explains the Ten Grounds, the dharma of all Bodhisattvas is that way: that they obtain the Buddhasprotection and mindfulness. When all Bodhisattvas hear the Dharma, it should be that way for them. All Buddhas should protect and remember them. Because they obtain the Buddhasprotection and mindfulness, they can be courageous about these grounds of wisdom. They can give rise to great courage. And why? These are the Bodhisattvas’ most initial practices. These are Dharma-doors which Bodhisattvas cultivate at the very beginning for accomplishing all BuddhasDharmas. The Dharmas spoken by all Buddhas are produced within the Ten Grounds and accomplished through them.

Just as written words which say numerous things are based upon an alphabet, they all need a basic alphabet, in that alphabet is fundamental to them and none of them departs from it in the slightest. In the final analysis, not even a minute portion of them is not of the alphabet. So too, disciple of the Buddha, all BuddhasDharmas are based upon the Ten Grounds in that the Ten Grounds are fundamental to them. The Dharmas spoken by all Buddhas all take the Ten Grounds as their basis. By successful cultivation of them, one obtains all wisdom. If you cultivate the Ten Grounds to the ultimate point, and accomplish the wisdom of the Ten Grounds, you give rise to all wisdoms. Therefore, disciple of the Buddha, I wish you would explain them. Due to that, Great disciple of the Buddha, we all want you to explain them for us. These people will certainly be protected by the Thus Come Ones. The people who hear these Dharmas will definitely be protected and remembered by the Buddhas, and caused to believe and receive these Dharmas, they will offer up their conduct according to them.

At that time, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoke verses, saying: He repeated in verse form what he had said before.

Sutra:

Good indeed, disciple of the Buddha, I wish you would proclaim all the grounds of practice to approach and enter Bodhi; of all the comfortable Honored Ones throughout the ten directions, none is not proactive of and mindful of the basic roots of wisdom.

Secured in them, that wisdom is also fundamental; all the BuddhasDharmas are produced from them; just as written words are comprised by alphabets, so, too, the BuddhasDharmas are based upon these grounds.

Commentary:

Good indeed, disciple of the Buddha, Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva said, “How good you are! You are the Buddhas’ great disciple. I wish you would proclaim, take pity on all living beings and speak the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds. All the grounds of practice to approach and enter Bodhi. Teach us how to tend toward, enter, go along, and cultivate the Bodhisattvaspath of Enlightenment. Of all the comfortable Honored Ones throughout the ten directions.” Comfortable Honored Ones are the Buddhas. None is not proactive of and mindful of the basic roots of wisdom. They always wish to aid and uphold, protect and remember people who hear the Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds and who cultivate the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, because the Ten Grounds are the basic root of wisdom.

Secured in them, that wisdom is also fundamental. The wisdom derived from cultivating the Ten Grounds is fundamental to them. All the BuddhasDharmas are produced from them. Why are the Ten Grounds called ’Grounds?’ It is because they are the foundation for all Dharmas spoken by the Buddhas. Just as written words are comprised by alphabets. Just as when one writes words or characters, they are all based either upon an alphabet or syllabify, like “A, B, C”; or upon radicals, as, for example, for Chinese characters the three drops of water, the simple standing person radical, or the double standing person radical, etc. “Alphabet” stands for all of those, which are the basis of written words. So, too, the BuddhasDharmas are based upon these grounds, because the BuddhasDharmas are all produced from the Ten Grounds, in the same way as all written words are based upon the alphabet.

Sutra:

At that time, all the assembly of great Bodhisattvas, simultaneously and with a single sound, spoke verses to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying: “you of superior, wondrous wisdom undefiled, of boundless, discriminating eloquence, please proclaim profound and wonderful words, interactive with the foremost meaning.

Commentary:

At that time, all the assembly of great Bodhisattvas. After Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva had finished speaking his verses, all the Great Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, limitless like fine motes of dust, simultaneously and with a single sound, said the same thing at the same time. They spoke verses to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying: “you of superior, wondrous wisdom undefiled. They said, “Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, great disciple of the Buddhas that you are, you have already certified to the attainment of the most superior, subtle and wonderful wisdom that is pure and free from defilement. You of boundless, discriminating eloquence, which enables you to speak in great detail and with a great deal of principle, please proclaim profound and wonderful words. We hope you will explain the unsurpassed, deeply profound, subtle and wonderful principles of the Ten Grounds, interactive with the foremost meaning. The Dharma doors of the Ten Grounds are interactive with the Primary Truth.

Sutra:

You who mindfully maintain pure practices, and are replete with virtues from Ten Powers, with eloquence to discriminate the meanings, please explain the most superior grounds.

With Samadhi and precepts joined to form upright thought, free from arrogance as well as deviant view, this assembly has no doubts in mind, and only wants to hear them well explained.

As one thirsty thinks of icy water, as one hungry dreams about good food, as one sick reflects on wholesome medicine, as a bee is greedy for good honey.

So, too, do we in just that way, wish to hear these Dharmas of sweet dew.

Good, indeed, one of wisdom vast and great, please tell us how to enter the Ten Grounds, accomplishing Ten Powers without obstruction, and the well-gone ones’ practices, one and all.

Commentary:

You who mindfully maintain pure practices. All of these people are mindful of and cultivate all pure practices, and are replete with virtues from Ten Powers. They all cultivate the Buddhas ten kinds of powers and amass all kinds of merit and virtue. With eloquence to discriminate the meanings, please explain the most superior grounds. We request the great Bodhisattva to speak the supreme Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds. With Samadhi and precepts joined to form upright thought. All of those listening cultivate Samadhi and hold precepts, and they all have proper knowledge and proper views. Free from arrogance as well as deviant view. They have no overbearing pride or arrogance, nor any considerations of deviant views. This assembly has no doubts in mind. Those in the Great Assembly now have no doubts about the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, and only wants to hear them well explained. They all wish the Bodhisattva would speak the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds.

As one thirsty thinks of icy water. Like someone hot and thirsty wanting to eat some ice cream, or perhaps drink a milk-shape, or some other cold, refreshing drink. As one hungry dreams about good food. They are also like famished people dreaming of finding some bread to eat, or something to cure their hunger pangs. They think of good things to eat, the finest good. As one sick reflects on wholesome medicine. They are like sick people who think about the best medicines to cure their illnesses. As a bee is greedy for good honey. They are also like honey bees which are greedy for the pollen to become honey and be ready for them to eat. But, as it turns out, when the honey is ready, people come and steal it from them.

So, too, do we in just that way. All the Bodhisattvas wish to hear these Dharmas of sweet dew. We wish to hear those Dharmas which quench thirst, satisfy hunger, cure sickness, and satisfy all one might be greedy for.

Good, indeed, one of wisdom vast and great. They said, “Good, indeed, you of vast, great wisdom, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, please tell us how to enter the Ten Grounds. We would like you to speak the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, accomplishing Ten Powers without obstruction. You have already accomplished the position of the Ten Powers without obstruction, and the well-gone ones’ practices, one and all, along with pretty much all of the practices of the Well-Gone Ones, the Buddhas. Great Bodhisattva, please very compassionately speak the Dharmas of the Ten Grounds for all of us.

Sutra:

At that time, the World-Honored One, from between his eyebrows, emitted a pure light, named “Blazing Light of BodhisattvasPowers,” with hundreds of thousands of asamkhyeyas of lights as its retinue, which universally illumined all the worlds throughout the ten directions, pervading absolutely everywhere. The sufferings of the three veil paths all ceased to be. It also illuminated the assemblies of all Thus Come Ones, manifesting all Buddhasinconceivable powers. It also illuminated the persons of all Bodhisattvas speaking dharma with the aid of all Buddhas throughout all worlds in the ten directions. When finished doing that, it formed a great platform of nets of clouds of light high in empty space and remained there.

At that time, all the Buddhas of the ten directions also in that way, from between their eyebrows emitted pure lights. Those lights’ names, retinues, and actions were all the same as that one’s. Moreover, they illumined the Buddhas and great assemblies of this Saha World and the person of Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva upon his lion’s throne, and high in empty space, they formed a large platform of nets of clouds of lights. At that time, within the platform of light, through the Buddhas’ awesome spiritual might, were spoken verses, saying:

Commentary:

At that time, right then, the World-Honored One, Shakyamuni Buddha, from between his eyebrows, emitted a pure light, named “BLight of BodhisattvasPowers,” with hundreds of thousands of asamkhyeyas of lights as its retinue, “Asamkhyeyas” means “limitless numbers of” which universally illumined all the worlds throughout the ten directions, all the Buddhas worlds in the ten directions, pervading absolutely everywhere. Nowhere was there a place upon which they did not shine. The sufferings of the three veil paths all ceased to be. The sufferings of the hell - beings, hungry ghosts, and animals all stopped. It also illuminated the assemblies of all Thus Come Ones, lighting up the assemblies in the Bodhimandas of all Buddhas, manifesting all Buddhasinconceivable powers. They used the light to reveal the inconceivable powers of the Buddhas. It also illuminated the persons of all Bodhisattvas speaking dharma with the aid of all Buddhas throughout all worlds in the ten directions. It shone upon all Bodhisattvas speaking with the aid of all Buddhas of the ten directions. When finished doing that, when that ceremony had been completed, it formed a great platform of nets of clouds of light high in empty space. In the sky above it took form as a great platform of nets of light, and remained there. It settled there in mid-air.

At that time, all the Buddhas of the ten directions also in that way, from between their eyebrows emitted pure lights called “Blazing Lights of BodhisattvasPowers.” Those lights’ names, retinues, and actions were all the same as that one’s. The names of those lights, their retinues, and what they did, were all the same as those of Shakyamuni Buddha’s.

Moreover, they illumined the Buddhas and great assemblies of this Saha World. In the countries of the other directions they emitted light, and they also illuminated Shakyamuni Buddha and the great multitudes of this Dharma Assembly in this Saha World, and the person of Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva upon his lion’s throne, along with the Lion’s seat upon which Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva was sitting; and high in empty space, in mid-air, they formed a large platform of nets of clouds of lights. At that time, within the platform of light, with the nets of cloud of light, through the Buddhas’ awesome spiritual might, due to the awesome spiritual power of the Buddhas of the ten directions, and to the awesome spiritual might of Shakyamuni Buddha, were spoken verses, saying:

 Sutra:

The Buddha, with no equal, just like empty space, of ten powers limitless, of merit and virtue supreme; among people most victorious, superior in the world: that Shakya Lion’s Dharmas are what gives them aid.

Disciple of the Buddha, receive all Buddhas’ strength, set forth this king of Dharmas’ treasury most supreme: all grounds’ extensive wisdom, practices wondrous and supreme, through Buddhas’ awesome spirit, discriminate and speak.

Those who have the aid of all the well-gone ones, should obtain these dharma jewels entering their minds; that all grounds undefiled, in order be completed, one must possess as well Thus Come Ones’ Ten-fold Power.

Though one may dwell in blazes of kalpas like the sea, if able to accept them, one doubtless hears these dharmas: but those who harbor doubts, and who have no faith, will never come to hear the meanings such as these.

Please do explain the Grounds, the way to supreme wisdom, enter, dwell within, unfold successive cultivation; from states of cultivation arises Dharma wisdom, to benefit and aid each and every living being.

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva contemplated in the ten directions, and, in order to cause those in the great assembly to increase their pure faith, spoke verses, saying:

The ways of the Thus Come Ones, great immortals, are subtle, wonderful, and hear to comprehend; not thought, they are apart from every thought: those seeking them in seeing can’t attain them.

Commentary:

The Buddha, with no equal, just like empty space. The Buddha is incomparable and like empty space, in that there is also nothing comparable to empty space. Of ten powers limitless, of merit and virtue supreme. The Buddha has ten kinds of powers, and limitless merit and virtue. Among people most victorious, superior in the world. Among people, the Buddha is foremost, and the highest in the world, too. That Shakya Lion’s Dharmas are what gives them aid. The Dharmas of the Lion of the Shakya Clan, the Buddha, are what aid those people who whish to speak the Dharma and explain it.

Disciples of the Buddha, receive all Buddhas’ strength. You, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, should receive the power of Shakyamuni Buddha and the power of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, and set forth this king of Dharmas’ treasury most supreme. Come and explain for everyone these most supreme Dharma-doors, the endowment of the King of Jewels. All grounds’ extensive wisdom, practices wondrous and supreme. The Ten Grounds have vast, great wisdoms, and most superior, wonderful practices. Through Buddhas’ awesome spirit, discriminate and speak. The Buddhas will come to aid you enabling you to discriminate and explain.

Those who have the aid of all the well-gone ones, the Buddhas’ might, should obtain these dharma jewels entering their minds and be able to speak according to intent. That all grounds undefiled, in order be completed. The Ten Grounds are all free form defilement. To be able to speak them perfectly, and in order, one must possess as well Thus Come Ones’ Ten-fold Power. By relying on the ten kinds of powers of a Buddha, one can then speak them perfectly.

Though one may dwell in blazes of kalpas like the sea. Even though one dwells in kalpa-fires, periods of coming into beings, dwelling, going bad, and disappearing on the part of kalpas, great kalpas, as many in quantity as there is water in the sea, if able to accept them, one doubtless hears these dharmas. One can hear these kinds of Dharmas for that long a time; one definitely will be able to hear them. But those who harbor doubts, and who have no faith. Maybe there are doubters, disbelievers. They will never come to hear the meanings such as these. They will never have the opportunity to hear these kinds of Dharmas.

Please do explain the Grounds, the way to supreme wisdom. Great Bodhisattva, you should now speak for everyone the BodhisattvasTen Grounds, the path of most supreme wisdom. Enter, dwell within, unfold successive cultivation. Enter into these Dharmas, and then open them up and set them forth, investigating and explaining them in orderly sequence for living beings, enabling living beings to cultivate. From states of cultivation arises Dharma wisdom. It is from cultivating and experiencing these various kinds of Dharmas that wisdom is attained and Dharma arises to benefit and aid each and every living being. I hope that you, Bodhisattva, will speak for everyone’s benefit, for the sake of all the living beings in this Dharma Assembly.

At that time, thereupon, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva contemplated in the ten directions. He contemplated the causes and conditions of living beings throughout the ten directions, and, in order to cause those in the great assembly to increase their pure faith, the faith and understanding of everyone present, spoke verses, saying:

The ways of the Thus Come Ones, great immortals. He said, “The Buddhas are like Great Immortals. Their ways are subtle, wonderful, and hear to comprehend; not thought, they are apart from every thought. When you have no-thought, you should still go on to become free of all thoughts. Those seeking them in seeing can’t attain them. If you want to see the Buddha and the Dharma by looking at forms and seeking in sounds, that is not possible. Those who do so cannot see the Buddha, nor can they understand the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds.”

Sutra:

They are not produced, and they are not destroyed; pure of nature are they, and they are always still. Of people undefiled, intelligent, and wise, they are the place of practice, of their wisdom.

Their own nature basically is empty and it’s still; non-dual it is, but it is also unending; when liberated and set free from all the destinies, one dwells within the identity that is Nirvana.

Commentary:

The Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds are just our original Buddha-nature and they are our original wisdom, as well as being the treasury of light of everyone’s own original nature. As to these Dharma-doors, they are not produced, and they are not destroyed. They are not defiled or immaculate, not increased and not decreased. Pure of nature are they, and they are always still. These Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds are always pure; thus, they are always still and unmoving. Of people undefiled, intelligent, and wise. All great of you great disciples of the Buddha, since you are free from filth, you have obtained true and actual intelligence and wisdom. For each bit of defilement that’s removed, a bit of purity appears. You decrease defilement by the same proportion as you increase purity, because defilements, that increases your stupidity. If you are pure, then day by day you fall, whereas with wisdom, day by day you rise upwards. As it is said:

    The superior person ascends;
    The inferior person descends.

That is the same principle. In cultivation one purifies the defiled mind. What is defilement? Among all worldly dharmas, the heaviest is sexual desire. That is what is most defiled and most impure, but most people can’t get out of this bind. They get caught up like a silkworm spinning a cocoon, which is binding itself up without even realizing it. Sages turn defilement into purity. Ordinary people turn purity into defilement. Whenever people abandon defiled dharmas and return to original purity, they are intelligent Sages with wisdom. They are the place of practice, of their wisdom. The Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds are what is cultivated by Bodhisattvas, by intelligent persons who have wisdom.

Their own nature basically is empty and it’s still. The self-nature of us all is basically pure and without anything at all; but we ourselves day by day turn our backs on enlightenment and unite with dust and take suffering for bliss. Therefore, to the self-nature, which basically is pure and still, there are added a great many afflictions. Non-dual it is, but it is also unending. The self-nature hasn’t even one, to say nothing of two. It has no shape or characteristics, spans, “but it is also unending. “ Although it has no mark, it is not that it doesn’t exist. Empty space has no mark, but you cannot deny that there is empty space. When liberated and set free from all the destinies. Liberated through the wisdom of the Ten Grounds, one attains to freedom regarding the four evil destinies -- those of asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals -- and one dwells within the identity that is Nirvana. If you are able to understand the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, then you can understand that birth and death are the same as Nirvana, that samsara is identical with Nirvana, and that afflictions are just Bodhi. If you do not understand the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, then, for you, birth and death are still birth and death, and Nirvana is still Nirvana, without any connection whatsoever.

Sutra:

They are not beginning, nor middle, nor end; they are not expressible in words; they transcend the three periods of time; their characteristics are like empty space.

The still extinction which the Buddhas practice cannot be described in words. The practice of the grounds is also thus: difficult to express, difficult to accept.

The Buddhas’ states that arise from wisdom are not thought and leave the path of the mind. They are not the doors of skandhas, realms, or places: the wise know intellect does not reach them.

Commentary:

They are not beginning, nor middle, nor end. The wisdom of these grounds has no beginning, middle, or end. To say ’The Dharma the Buddha spoke was good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end,’ does not apply here. Nor do the grounds belong to the View of Truth, the View of Emptiness, or the View of the Middle. They are not expressible in words. The Ten Grounds can only be known and cannot be described by words, which is why I do not wish to speak about them. They transcend the three periods of time. These Dharma-doors go beyond all dharmas of the past, the present, and the future, and their characteristics are like empty space.

The still extinction which the Buddhas practice. These Dharma-doors are characterized by still extinction. They:

    Cannot be seen by looking,
    Cannot be heard by listening,
    Cannot be perceived by smell.

They are what the Buddhas cultivate, most subtle and wonderful, and cannot be described in words. If you wish me to explain the Ten Grounds, there is no way that I can use words to explain them. The practice of the grounds is also thus. The Dharma- doors of cultivation of the Ten Grounds are just the same as in the previous analogy, difficult to express, difficult to accept. It is not easy to describe them. As it is said:

    The path of language is cut off,
    The place of the mind’s workings is extinguished.

The Buddhas’ states that arise from wisdom. All the Buddhas’ states are produced from wisdom. They are not thought and leave the path of the mind. This again is:

    The path of language is cut off,
    The place of the mind’s workings is extinguished.
    Right in thought, one is apart from thought:
    One thinks, and yet one has no thoughts.

Hence, they are not thought and leave the path of the mind. They are apart from all thoughts of the mind. They are not the doors of skandhas, realms, or places. They are also not the Five Skandhas: form, feeling, thinking, activities, and consciousness. Nor are they are Eighteen Realms, not the Six Sense Faculties -- eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind; not the Six Objects of Perception-- forms, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, and dharmas; and not the Six Consciousnesses -- eye-consciousness, ear-consciousness, nose-consciousness, tongue-consciousness, body-consciousness, and mind-consciousness. They are not the Twelve Places -- eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind plus forms, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of tough, and dharmas. The wise know intellect does not reach them. If you use wisdom, then you can understand them. If you use your thinking mind, your intellect, there is no way to understand them.

Sutra:

As the traces of a bird in empty space, are difficult to express, difficult to discern, so, too, are the Ten Grounds’ meanings incomprehensible to mind and thought.

They who from compassion, kindness, and the power of vows, appear and enter the practices of the grounds; gradually reach perfection of the mind: wisdom’s practices are not reflection’s realm.

Such states as these are difficult to perceive; they can be known but cannot be expressed; through the Buddhas’ power they are proclaimed. You should receive them with all reverence.

Wisdom such as this enters the practices; millions of aeon’s speaking does not exhaust them. I now merely speak them in a general way: the true and actual meanings are unending.

With a single mind, await in reverence, while I receive the Buddhas’ power and speak the supreme dharmassubtle, wondrous sounds, with analogies and words appropriate.

Every Buddha’s limitless spiritual powers all come to be embodied by me! These places are difficult to express; I shall now speak a small portion.

Commentary:

As the traces of a bird in empty space, are difficult to express, difficult to discern. When a bird flies through the air, what trace is there to speak of? What traces can be shown to represent it? So, too, are the Ten Grounds’ meanings. Therefore, it I not easy to express them, not easy for me to instruct you in them, since they are incomprehensible to mind and thought. If you use your ordinary mind and thoughts, you will not be able to understand the meanings such as those contained in the Ten Grounds. They who from compassion, kindness, and the power of vows. When Bodhisattvas speak the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, they all receive the compassion and vow power of the Buddhas, and they appear and enter the practices of the grounds. They appear in the world to cultivate the doors of practice of the Ten Grounds. Gradually reach perfection of the mind. Step by step, the mind of wisdom is caused to be perfected, and the Enlightenment of Bodhi is caused to be accomplished. Wisdom’s practices are not reflection’s realm. These Dharma-doors are cultivated by wisdom. They are not states, that can be understood by people’s thinking.

Such states as these are difficult to perceive; they can be known but cannot be expressed. Knowing of them is easy, but to explain them is not at all easy. Through the Buddhas’ power they are proclaimed. If they cannot be expressed, then how does one express them? It is because the Buddhas of the ten directions lend their strength, enabling one to explain the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds. You should receive them with all reverence. All of you Bodhisattvas should respectfully listen to these Dharmas. Wisdom such as this enters the practices. These doors of practice are entered through wisdom. Millions of aeon’s speaking does not exhaust them. In hundreds of thousands of then thousands of millions of kalpas, they cannot be expressed to the end. I now merely speak them in a general way. I, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, will now speak of them in general, not completely. The true and actual meanings are unending. The true and actual meanings cannot be expressed entirely.

With a single mind, await in reverence, while I receive the Buddhas’ power and speak. I receive the great, awesome strength of the Buddhas of the ten directions in order to speak these Dharma-doors, the supreme dharmassubtle, wondrous sounds, with analogies and words appropriate. The supreme dharmas are so subtle; no comparison would b suitable to them. Every Buddha’s limitless spiritual powers aid me and enable me to speak these Dharmas of the Ten Grounds. They all come to be embodied by me! These places are difficult to express. The Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds cannot be expressed to the end. I shall now speak a small portion. Therefore, I shall not be able to explain these places completely. I shall just explain them a little bit.

Sutra:

Disciple of the Buddha, suppose there are living beings who have deeply planted good roots, well cultivated all practices, well accumulated the aids to the way, well made offerings to all Buddhas, well collected white, pure dharmas, been well gathered in by good and wise advisors, have well purified deep thought, have established great resolutions, have brought forth vast, great understanding, have manifested kindness and compassion, in order to seek the wisdom of the Buddhas, in order to obtain the ten powers, in order to obtain the great fearlessnesses, in order to obtain the Buddhasdharmas of equality, in order to rescue all those in the world, in order to purify great kindness and compassion, in order to obtain the wisdom without residue of the ten powers, in order to purify all Buddhalands without obstruction; in order to know all the three periods of time in a single thought, in order to turn the great dharma wheel without fear.

Commentary:

Disciple of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again says, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, suppose there are living beings who have deeply planted good roots and well cultivated all practices. They are good at practicing the Dharma-doors of the Six Perfections and the ten thousand conducts. They have well accumulated the aids to the way. They have well assembled the Dharma-doors that aid in cultivation of the Way and have well made offerings to all Buddhas. They are skilled at making offerings to all Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, and well collected white, pure dharmas. They know very well how com accumulate pure, white Dharmas, and have been well gathered in by good and wise advisors. Great and wise teachers are well able to tame and subdue living beings. They have well purified deep thought. They themselves are well able to have pure, deep thoughts with no defiled or mixed-up thoughts, and they have established great resolutions, and have brought forth vast, great understanding. They have produced limitless and boundless powers of understanding and they have manifested kindness and compassion. We who cultivate the Way should always be compassionate, no matter towards whom it may be. Why is that? In order to seek the wisdom of the Buddhas, in order to obtain the ten powers, in order to obtain the great fearlessnesses, in order to obtain the Buddhasdharmas of equality, in order to rescue all those in the world, to save all living beings in the world. In order to purify great kindness and compassion. It is also in order to obtain the wisdom without residue of the ten powers, to obtain the Buddhas’ ten kinds of powers without residue, and in order to purify all Buddhalands without obstruction, to adorn and purify all Buddhas’ lands and cause them to be without obstruction. It is, furthermore, in order to know all the three periods of time in a single thought, to know the causes and effects of past, present, and future times, and in order to turn the great dharma wheel without fear. For those reasons they wish to listen to the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas bring forth those kinds of thoughts, they put compassion foremost. Their wisdom increases. They are drawn in by good and clever expedients. They maintain most superior deep thoughts. They contemplate and distinguish the limitless powers of the Thus Come Ones. With the power of courage and the power of wisdom their unobstructed wisdom manifests. They have compliant and spontaneous wisdom. They can accept all Buddhasdharmas. They use wisdom to teach and transform. That is vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimately like empty space, to the exhaustion of the boundaries of the future.

Disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas first bring forth those kinds of thoughts, they immediately transcend the ground of ordinary people and enter the position of a Bodhisattva. They are born in the household of the Thus Come Ones. No one can pronounce any faults in their lineage. They abandon the worldly destinies and enter the way of world-transcendence. They obtain the dharmas of Bodhisattvas. They dwell in the places of Bodhisattvas. They enter into the sameness of the three periods of time. Within the Thus Come Ones’ family, they are certain to obtain unsurpassed Bodhi.

When Bodhisattvas dwell in dharmas such as those, it is called Dwelling on the Bodhisattvas’ Ground of Happiness, because of the connection with non-moving.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again calls out “All you disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas bring forth those kinds of thoughts, then they put compassion foremost. Great compassion can relieve living beings so they separate from suffering and attain bliss. Bodhisattvas on the First Ground make the thought of great compassion their foremost work of primary importance. Their wisdom increases. If you cultivate the Dharmas of Bodhisattvas, then you will obtain the Bodhisattvaswisdom. The more you cultivate the practices of Bodhisattvas, the more your wisdom will increase. They are drawn in by good and clever expedients. You will also obtain the unimpeded eloquence of clever expedient methods in speaking Dharma. They maintain most superior deep thoughts. What they maintain are the most superior, subtle, and wonderful deep thoughts. They contemplate and distinguish the limitless powers of the Thus Come Ones. With the power of courage and the power of wisdom. The wisdom of their skill in contemplation discerns all states, and they have the power of very bravely and vigorously going forward in their cultivation. Their unobstructed wisdom manifests. It always manifests. No matter what state comes, it will not get in the way. They have compliant and spontaneous wisdom, natural wisdom and they can accept all Buddhasdharmas. They are able to receive all Dharm-doors spoken by all Buddhas. They use wisdom to teach and transform all living beings. That is vast and great as the Dharma Realm. Those states are as vast and as great as the Dharma Realm. Ultimately like empty space, to the exhaustion of the boundaries of the future. To the ends of the future time it is that way.

Disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas, great beings, first bring forth those kinds of thoughts of great compassion, they immediately transcend the ground of ordinary people and enter the position of a Bodhisattva. They are born in the household of the Thus Come Ones. No one can pronounce any faults in their lineage. There is no one who can find faults in the Bodhisattvas of the Buddha’s household. They abandon the worldly destinies. They leave behind the four evil destinies, those of asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals, and enter the way of world-transcendence. They certify to the attainment of the Way which transcends the three realms. They obtain the dharmas of Bodhisattvas. They dwell in places of Bodhisattvas. They enter into the sameness of the three periods of time. They obtain the wisdom to enter equally into the past, the present, and the future. Within the Thus Come Ones’ family, the lineage of the Buddha, they are certain to obtain unsurpassed Bodhi, the fruit of enlightenment, and there is nothing higher than that.

When Bodhisattvas dwell in dharmas such as those, it is called Dwelling on the Bodhisattvas’ Ground of Happiness. What is it called when Bodhisattvas dwell in such Dharmas as those? It is the First Ground. They attain the Bodhisattvas’ Ground of Happiness and become very happy. What is that? It is because of the connection with non-moving. Because they already have Samadhi-power, and this happiness is derived from Samadhi, they are joined with non-movement.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas dwell on the Ground of Happiness, they accomplish much happiness, much pure faith, much delight, much bliss, much elation, much enthusiasm, much courage, much freedom from contention, much absence of troubling, much absence of anger. Disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas dwell on the Ground of Happiness, they give rise to happiness because to they are mindful of all Buddhas. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Buddhasdharmas. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas’ practices. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the purity of all paramitas. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the supremacy of all Bodisattvas’ grounds. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas’ indestructibility. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the Thus Come Ones’ teaching and transforming of living beings. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the ability to benefit living beings.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, calls out Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again, saying, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas dwell on the Ground of Happiness they accomplish much happiness. They have a great deal of happiness, and much pure faith. Their thoughts of pure faith also increase, and they have much delight. They produce more fondness for the Buddhadharma than you can possibly imagine. They have much bliss. At all times they fell very happy and serene. No matter where they are, they are blissful and there are no obstacles. It does not matter what situations may present themselves, they do not feel them to be obstacles; and no matter what causes for afflictions may arise, they never become afflicted. In all situations and circumstances, they are content at heart. They have much elation. They are always elated that they can hear the Buddhadharma and practice the Bodhisattva Way. They have much enthusiasm. They are always enthusiastic, always vigorous, and never lazy. They have much courage. They are always courageously vigorous. They have much freedom from contention. They never fight or argue with anyone. They have much absence of troubling. They never cause people to become afflicted, nor do they ever deliberately trouble to others or obstruct them in their cultivation. They have much absence of anger. The Bodhisattvas who have realized the First Ground, that of Happiness, never become angry no matter how you treat them.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva calls out again saying, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, when Bodhisattvas dwell on the Ground of Happiness, they give rise to happiness because to they are mindful of all Buddhas. They constantly remember and think about all Buddhas, and for that reason they are happy. They are not like us common people who, day in and day out, are jealous and obstructive of one another singlemindedly concentrate on thinking of all Buddhas, they have no time to be jealous or obstructive. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Buddhasdharmas. They also always remember all the Dharmas spoken by all Buddhas, and they practice in accord with those Dharmas; and so they are very happy. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas. Not only are they mindful of the Buddhas and their Dharmas, they are mindful of the Sangha, too. They always recollect all the sagely Sangha members, the great Bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, and so they are very happy. If we cultivators of the Way could at all times, be mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, when could we have time to be jealous or obstructive? We would never have the time to spend looking at others’ faults. We would always be seeing out own faults, returning the light and illumining inwards.

They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas’ practices. They are also always thinking of the practices cultivated by all Great Bodhisattvas. Of all the great Bodhisattvas, the Buddhas of the future, some cultivate the doors of the practice of giving, others of holding precepts, others that of patience, others that of vigor, others dhyana-Samadhi, and others wisdom. The Bodhisattvas cultivate those various kinds of practices, the Six Paramitas and the ten thousand practices. Therefore, when Bodhisttvas certify to the Ground of Happiness, they also have the opportunity to cultivate all of those Dharma-doors, and because of that they become very happy.

They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the supremacy of all Bodisattvas’ grounds. They are always thinking of the supremacy of the positions of all Bodhisattvas, and so they become happy. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of all Bodhisattvas’ indestructibility. They think of the Bodhisattvasrealization of the Three Irreversibilities -- in thought, in position, and in conduct -- and how no heavenly demons or externalist ways can destroy them. Therefore, they become very happy. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the Thus Come Ones’ teaching and transforming of living beings. They always remember and are mindful of how the Buddhas always compassionately take care of all living beings, causing them to end suffering and attain bliss, and so they become very happy. They give rise to happiness because they are mindful of the ability to benefit living beings. They are mindful of being able to cause all living beings identically to obtain benefits of the greatest kind, causing all living beings to hear the Dharma and be saved and end birth and death -- these doors of practice which are most beneficial to living beings. Bodhisattvas, once they can cultivate those various kinds of activities, can obtain the highest kinds of causes and conditions, and for that reason they become very happy.

Sutra:

They give rise to happiness; because they are mindful of entry into all Thus Come Ones’ wisdom and expedients.

They also have this thought, ‘I give rise to happiness, because I have turned away from and left all worldly states. I give rise to happiness, because I draw near to all Buddhas. I give rise to happiness, because I have left all grounds of ordinary people far behind. I give rise to happiness, because I draw the grounds of wisdom. I give rise to happiness, because I have eternally cut off all evil destinies. I give rise to happiness, because I am a place of reliance for all living beings. I give rise to happiness, because I see all Thus Come Ones. I give rise to happiness, because I give rise to the experiences of all Buddhas. I give rise to happiness, because I enter into sameness with all Bodhisattvas. I give rise to happiness, because I have left all alarming, hair-raising, and other such experiences far behind.

And why? Once these Bodhisattvas attain the Ground of Happiness, they leave all fears behind. That is to say: fear of not staying alive, fear of a bad reputation, fear of death, fear of the evil destinies, fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. All such fears are eternally left behind.

Commentary:

They give rise to happiness; because they are mindful of entry into all Thus Come Ones’ wisdom and expedients. The Bodhisattvas who realize the Ground of Happiness have thoughts, but the thoughts are pure. We living beings also have thoughts, but they are defiled. Our every thought involves the five desires: wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. What Bodhisattvas think of are the pure states of the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Sangha, along with the Six Paramitas and the ten thousand conducts. Because they know, they have already entered into the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom and obtained all kinds of expedients, they become very happy.

They also have this thought. The Bodhisattvas who have certified to the position of the s Ground of Happiness also think in this way, saying ‘I give rise to happiness, because I have turned away from and left all worldly states.

    Turning the common into the sagely,
    Turning confusion into enlightenment,
    Turning away from defilement,
    All returning to purity.

Because I have turned all worldly states away, therefore, I have become very happy.

You are not aware of it, but those of you here in this Bodhimanda, even though you have false thinking, are far better off than those people outside. If you go outside, what your eyes see and what your ears hear are all unclean dharmas. But, inside the Bodhimanda, although you have false thoughts, nonetheless, your self-nature is still pure. That is what is known as turning away from and leaving behind all worldly states; and that is why they become very happy.

I give rise to happiness, because I draw near to all Buddhas. Bodhisattvas of the First Ground are always able to see the Buddhas and draw near them, and they are very happy. I give rise to happiness, because I have left all grounds of ordinary people far behind. The common person’s thoughts and what he or she pays attention to are not what Bodhisattvas think about or pay attention to. Conversely, what ordinary people do not think of and pay no attention to is precisely what Bodhisattvas whish to study and to think of. That is how they are able to leave the position of ordinary people far behind and turn the common into the sagely. I give rise to happiness, because I draw the grounds of wisdom. To leave the ordinary is to leave the grounds of ignorance and stupidity far behind. To draw near good, wise advisors is to draw near the grounds of wisdom. For that reason they become happy. I give rise to happiness, because I have eternally cut off all evil destinies. Bodhisattvas who certify to the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, cut off all of the bad paths and never again fall into the four evil destinies. It may happen that they make a vow to go to the four evil destinies to teach and transform living beings, but that is another matter. I give rise to happiness, because I am a place of reliance for all living beings. All living beings depend upon the Bodhisattvas, which makes the Bodhisattvas very happy.

I give rise to happiness, because I see all Thus Come Ones. They can see the Buddhas all the time, and so they are happy. I give rise to happiness, because I give rise to the experiences of all Buddhas. I give rise to happiness, because I enter into sameness with all Bodhisattvas. They are in nature the same as all Bodhisattvas who cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, and so they become happy. I give rise to happiness, because I have left all alarming, hair-raising, and other such experiences far behind. They are able to leave far behind all fearsome and terrifying experiences of the sort which make the hair on one’s head stand on end or give one goose bumps. “And other such experiences” refers to the Five Fearsome Matters, which are explained below.

And why? What are the reasons? Once these Bodhisattvas attain the Ground of Happiness, they leave all fears behind. They are not afraid of anything, because they have seen through everything and put everything down. People, however, are afraid of this and afraid of that -- afraid of everything. That is due to not having cultivated and certified to the Ground of Happiness. Once you certified to the Ground of Happiness, with nothing to fear, what is there to be afraid of? If it comes to dying, just die and be done with it. What is there to fear? What are all the fears that they have left behind? That is to say: fear of a bad reputation. If someone gives me a bad name, what do I do? I get really scared and wonder how I can get my reputation back. That is the fear of people giving you a bad name. Are you afraid of someone saying that you are bad? If someone says that you are a thief, are you in terror? What if they say you rob, kill… don’t keep the precepts? Do you feat their saying that you lie and take intoxicants? Those are all examples of bad reputations. Fear of death, then there is the fear of dying. If you are about to die, you become panic stricken. Fear of the evil destinies, there is the further fear of falling into the three evil paths. However, when Bodhisttvas certify to the Ground of Happiness, they do not die and they are unable to fall into the three evil destinies. Therefore, they are unafraid.

They also have no fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. The awesome virtue of the Great Assembly refers to several hundred or several thousand -- at any rate, a lot of people -- who invite you to lecture. When you get there, you can’t say a word. That is fear of the awesome virtue of the Great Assemble, which makes you so scared you don’t dare speak. Furthermore, you may be wondering if what you are about to say will be right or not. You keep thinking, figuring to speak when you get it clearer; but the more you think, the worse it gets. All such fears are eternally left behind. There are no such fears as those just described. All of them are completely left behind, forever. Therefore, your being afraid of this and being afraid of that is due to not cultivating. If you cultivate, what are you afraid of? You do not fear a thing. From the time I was small, I have never been afraid of anything. I used to go climbing in the mountains where there were all kinds of wild beasts: wolves, bears, panthers, leopards. I made friends with them and played with them and had no fear. I have never been afraid from the time I was born.

Sutra:

And why? It is because these Bodhisattvas are free from the thought of self. They do not even cherish their own bodies, how much the less wealth and possessions. Therefore, they have no fear of not staying alive. They do not seek offerings from others, but only give to other living beings. Therefore, they have no fear of a bad reputation. They have left the view of self far behind, and have no thought of self. Therefore, they have no fear of death. They themselves know that after death they certainly will not be apart from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Therefore, they have no fear of the evil destinies. Their intent and inclinations in all worlds are unequalled, how much the less surpassed. Therefore, they have no fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. Bodhisattvas in that way leave all alarming, hair-raising experiences far behind.

Disciples of the Buddha, these Bodhisattvas take great compassion as foremost. They have vast, great intent and inclinations which cannot be destroyed. They intensely and diligently cultivate all good-roots, which become accomplished.

Commentary:

Why do Bodhisattvas have no fear of not staying alive, no fear of a bad reputation, no fear of death, no fear of the evil destinies, and no fear of the great assembly? It is because they have left all alarming, hair-raising experiences far behind. And why? Why is it like that? It is because these Bodhisattvas who bring forth the thought for Bodhi, practice the Bodhisattva Way, and certify to the Ground of Happiness, are free from the thought of self. They have no self. Not only that, they never think about whether they have a self or not. They do not even cherish their own bodies. Their attitude towards their bodies is that they have already given them away to living beings to serve and work for them. Therefore, they are not selfish about their bodies, nor do they seek benefits for them, how much the less wealth and possessions. Since they do not even cherish their own bodies, how much the less do they cherish things external to the body? They even less cherish gold, silver, jewels, countries, cities, wives, and children. They have attained real freedom. Therefore, they have no fear of not staying alive. They do not scheme for themselves. They are not afraid of their own lives being in jeopardy. They are not afraid of starving to death. Consequently they don’t have the fear that they will not stay alive.

They do not seek offerings from others, but only give to other living beings. Bodhisattvas don’t want to benefit themselves and aren’t selfish, and so they seek nothing. As it is said:

    When you reach the point of seeking nothing,
    Then you have no worries.

The reason you have worries is that you have greed and longing for something. Bodhisattvas don’t long for anything. They don’t seek fame or fortune, sex, sleep, or food. These Bodhisattvas have already seen these five objects of desire as flavorless, and so they are not greedy for good offerings. They don’t say, ‘who will be good to me and give me some fine food, some nice clothes, some things that are useful or pleasing to look at?’ They concentrate on giving to other living beings. They specialize in the practice of giving. Whatever they have, they give away to other living beings. Therefore, they have no fear of a bad reputation. They are not greedy for anything, nor do they fear taking a loss or not getting a bargain for themselves, and so it is not important to them if they have a good name or not. Bodhisattvas are incapable to being greedy for a false name or an empty title, nor do they constantly put up a false front so that people will praise them. Because Bodhisattvas have gone beyond good and bad, if you say they’re good, they aren’t pleased, and if you call them by a bad name, they don’t get upset. That is what it means to have no fear of a bad name.

They are not afraid of people slandering them. I regularly tell you that, although I am not a Bodhisattva, still I am not afraid of people slandering me. They are afraid they won’t have anything to eat, and so they talk about what’s wrong with other people. Their taking about others’ faults is designed to show what is right about themselves. That is why I’m always telling you that if people can get food to eat by slandering me, then I am, indirectly, giving it to them. If they can get people to give them food to eat, or if they gain some other advantage by slandering me a little, then I have indirectly given it to them. As long as it is to their benefit, let them slander me all they want. I’m not afraid of it.

They have left the view of self far behind, and have no thought of self. Therefore, they have no fear of death. Bodhisattvas have no self, no ego, and so they have no view of self. Without even a view, they also have no thought of self and are not looking out for themselves, thinking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Therefore, they do not fear death. If they have no self, then who dies? That is why they do not fear death, because they themselves know that after death they certainly will not be apart from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They know they won’t fall into the hells or turn into hungry ghosts, or become animals. Because all they’ve done is practice the Bodhisattva Way, they certainly will not be separated from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Therefore, they have no fear of the evil destinies. Because they know they won’t fall into the three evil destinies, they have no fear of becoming hell-beings, hungry ghosts, or animals.

Their intent and inclinations, the vows and what the Bodhisattvas like, in all worlds are unequalled. Their wishes and their purpose are not equaled by anything in all worlds, how much the less surpassed. Therefore, they have no fear of the awesome virtue of the great assembly. They have no fear of and are not scared of the Great Assembly’s awesome virtue, because these Bodhisattvas know that they surpass the Great Assembly.

You may ask, “If they think that way, then aren’t Bodhisattvas very arrogant, thinking that no one in the world can compare with them?” The Bodhisattvas aren’t thinking this. It’s Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva speaking the Flower Adornment Sutra and explaining the kinds of states certified to by Bodhisattvas on the Ten Grounds. The Bodhisattvas don’t say it of themselves. Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva is describing the kind of resultant position held by Bodhisattvas one the Ground of Happiness. It is definitely not the case that the Bodhisattvas arrogantly consider that no one in the world can compare to them. It’s simply that when they speak Dharma and explain Sutras within the Great Assembly, they are very much at ease and unafraid.

Bodhisattvas in that way leave all alarming, hair-raising experiences far behind. That is how Bodhisattvas leave behind the five fearsome matters:

    Fear of not staying alive,
    Fear of a bad reputation,
    Fear of death,
    Fear of the four evil destinies,
    Fear of the awesome virtue of the Great Assembly.

Those are all experiences which are frightening and make one’s hair stand on end. Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva calls out again, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, these Bodhisattvas take great compassion as foremost. Compassion can pull one out of suffering. Being greatly compassionate is their most important duty. They have vast, great intent and inclinations which cannot be destroyed. No heavenly demons or those of externalist ways could destroy, obstruct, or ruin them. They intensely and diligently cultivate, working harder every day at developing all good-roots, which become accomplished. They are able to perfect and bring to accomplishment the roots of Bodhi. That is why these Bodhisattvas have none of the five types of fears.

All of you should use your own wisdom to contemplate the principles I have spoken. If they are reasonable, cultivate according to them. If they are not reasonable, you can forget them. That is:

Select the good and repeat it.

If it’s not right, then change it. Don’t follow blindly thinking that whatever I say has to be right. In that way you yourself will discover your own inherent wisdom, and the true principles that are yours to start with. Therefore, people who cultivate absolutely cannot follow blindly. If something is not right, it doesn’t matter who said it, you cannot believe it. If something is right, then no matter who said it, we should believe it.

Sutra:

That is, through increasing faith; through augmenting pure faith; through pure understanding; through decisive faith; through becoming sympathetic; through accomplishing great kindness; through having no weariness or laziness of mind; through adornment with repentance and reform; through accomplishing forbearance; through respectfully heeding the Buddhas’ instructions; through cultivating and accumulating good roots day and night without becoming tired; through drawing near good knowing advisors; through constant delight in the Dharma; through seeking learning without satiation; through properly contemplating in accord with the Dharma one has heard; through having no reliance or attachment of mind; through not hankering after profit, fame, or respect; through not seeking the necessities of life; through bringing forth the jewel-like thought without satiation; through seeking the ground of all knowledge; through seeking the Thus Come Ones’ power, fearlessnesses, and the Dharmas special to a Buddha.

Commentary:

When the Bodhisattva of the Ten Grounds has certified to the Ground of Happiness, he is happy all the time, and all of the good roots that he diligently cultivates very quickly are brought to maturity. That is, through increasing faith; he has faith which does not decrease but only increases. Through augmenting pure faith; at the beginning, although he had faith, it was still defiled, but as his faith increases it becomes purer day by day. Eventually he is pure, and has returned to the origin and gone back to the source. Through pure understanding; furthermore, he understands that the reason he has obtained that state of purity is because his faith has increased. Through decisive faith; he never doubts, but absolutely believes in the Buddhas of the ten directions, in the Dharma they have spoken, and that all of the sagely Sangha members of the ten directions are his friends.

Through becoming sympathetic; he himself is one of the Three Jewels, and so he wishes to become sympathetic towards living beings and save all of them. Through accomplishing great kindness; his thoughts are very kind and compassionate:

    Kindness can bestow happiness;
    Compassion can pull one out of suffering.

Through having no weariness or laziness of mind; his resolve to cultivate the Buddhadharma is more vigorous and more courageous every day. He is absolutely never lazy or tired.

Through adornment with repentance and reform;

    Repenting of previous offenses,
    Reforming future mistakes.

He uses all of his merit and virtue of repentance and reform to adorn the countries of the ten directions. Through accomplishing forbearance; he brings the Paramita of Patience to accomplishment. No matter what people say, he is able to endure it all. Whether things go against him or for him, he does not become intractable and fight for victory. He does not contend or argue with people. Through respectfully heeding the Buddhas’ instructions; through cultivating and accumulating good roots day and night without becoming tired.

Through drawing near good knowing advisors; he always likes to draw near great, good, and wise advisors, and is able to offer up his conduct in accord with their teachings. Through constant delight in the Dharma; through seeking learning without satiation; he always wants to increase his wisdom. He doesn’t say, ‘I’ve studied enough. I understand everything.’ Bodhisattvas don’t think that way. They at all times diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi, and wisdom, and put to rest greed, hatred, and stupidity. Through properly contemplating in accord with the Dharma one has heard; it is through properly contemplating the proper Dharma that he himself has heard in the presence of all Buddhas. He is constantly able to contemplate the true mark of all dharmas.

Through having no reliance or attachment of mind; within his mind there is nothing to which he is attached or upon which he relies. He is not attached to self or to dharmas. Through not hankering after profit, fame, or respect; he is unable to be greedy and say, ‘I have Dharma protectors. I have a lot of gains.’ Most people want to be believed in order to become wealthy and famous. Bodhisattvas don’t hanker after that, are not attached to that, and do not seek it; nor do they want people to be respectful to them. Through not seeking the necessities of life; he also does not seek out all the things that sustain life. Through bringing forth the jewel-like thought without satiation; he brings forth the jewel-like thought – similar to precious jewels and very valuable – without weariness. He could never grow tired or think he has had enough. That is, he himself cultivates and seeks jewel-like thought – the thought for Bodhi – which is as solid as vajra.

Through seeking the ground of all knowledge; he wants to attain all-knowledge and all-wisdom. Through seeking the Thus Come Ones’ power, fearlessnesses, and the Dharmas special to a Buddha. He seeks and obtains the benefits of the Ten Powers, the Four Fearlessnesses, and the Eighteen Dharmas Special to a Buddha, which are not shared by those of the Two Vehicles.

Sutra:

Through seeking all Paramitas, Dharmas that aid the way; through freedom from all flattery and deceit; through being able to practice as is spoken; through always guarding true speech; through not defiling the Thus Come Ones’ household; through not renouncing the Bodhisattva precepts; through bringing forth the thought for all knowledge, unmoving like the king of mountains; through not abandoning all worldly matters, yet accomplishing the Way of world-transcendence; through accumulating assisting Bodhi-share Dharmas without weariness; through constantly seeking the superiorly superior, especially supreme way.

Commentary:

Through seeking all Paramitas, the Bodhisattva who cultivates the practices of a Bodhisattva seeks all of the Paramitas, Dharmas that aid the way; those methods of assistance to the way. Through freedom from all flattery and deceit; he is also free of all flattery and deceptions and does not fawn upon the rich or tell lies. Through being able to practice as is spoken; he can really cultivate the Dharmas the Buddhas’ explain. Through always guarding true speech; he is watchful of his own speech to be sure it is true, not false, and he never tells any lies. Through not defiling the Thus Come Ones’ household; he himself has been born as a disciple of the Buddha. This Bodhisattva is the most pure and lofty kind of person, and so he is incapable of defiling the Bodhimanda. Through not renouncing the Bodhisattva precepts; he could not cast aside the precepts and regulations that a Bodhisattva should cultivate. Through bringing forth the thought for all knowledge, unmoving like the king of mountains; he brings forth the resolve for all-wisdom, which is like Mount Sumeru and never moves. Through not abandoning all worldly matters, yet accomplishing the Way of world-transcendence; one does not need to put down all worldly matters to be able to realize dharmas for transcending the world. Through accumulating assisting Bodhi-share Dharmas without weariness; he could not at times say, ‘I’ve already accumulated and perfected enough of these dharmas.’ He is incapable of thinking that way. Through constantly seeking the superiorly superior, especially supreme way; he always seeks and hopes to accomplish the most superior among the superior, most especially supreme Way – which is constantly to seek the Buddha Way.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva accomplishes such purification and regulation of the grounds that is called Securely Dwelling on the Bodhisattva’s Ground of Happiness. Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this Ground of Happiness is able to accomplish such great vows, such great vigor, and such great efficacy. That is, he brings forth vast, great, pure, decisive understanding and uses all kinds’ of objects as offerings to worship and make offerings to all Buddhas, omitting none – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing to receive all BuddhasDharma wheel, vowing to gathering all BuddhasBodhi, vowing to protect all Buddhas’ teachings, vowing to maintain all BuddhasDharmas – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing that in all worlds, when a Buddha appears in the world, descending from the Tushita Heaven, entering the womb, dwelling in the womb, being born, leaving home, accomplishing the Way, speaking Dharma, and manifesting Nirvana, he will go to all of them, draw near and make offerings, act as the head of the assembly, and receive and practice the Proper Dharma, in every place at one time turning – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva accomplishes such purification and regulation of the grounds, when the Bodhisattva practices the Grounds as was previously described, he purifies and cultivates all the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, and that is called Securely Dwelling on the Bodhisattva’s Ground of Happiness. That is what is meant by a Bodhisattva’s always certifying to the fruit position of the Gound of Happiness. Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this Ground of Happiness when a Bodhisattva cultivates and certifies to this Ground of Happiness, he is able to accomplish such great vows. What sorts of great vows? That is to say, such great vigor, what most people are unable to do, he can do, which is called great vigor. Such great efficacy, what most people cannot accomplish, he can accomplish, which is called great efficacy. That is, he brings forth vast, great, pure, decisive understanding and uses all kinds’ of objects as offerings to worship and make offerings to all Buddhas, omitting none. He makes offerings to all Buddhas, no matter which Buddha it is -- vast and great as the Dharma Realm. How great is the dharma of making offerings? It is as vast and great as the Dharma Realm. How ultimate is it? Ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, it is that way not just one time; to the exhaustion of the limits of future kalpas it is that way, throughout all numbers of kalpas, in all numbers of eons, without cease. He never stops and rests.

He further makes great vows, vowing to receive all BuddhasDharma wheel. He vows to receive the wheel of Dharma turned by all Buddhas and to continue to turn it. Vowing to gathering all BuddhasBodhi, he vows to constantly cultivate the Enlightenment of all Buddhas, and to gather in, maintain, and protect it. He makes a further vow, vowing to protect all Buddhas’ teachings. He further makes a vow, vowing to maintain all BuddhasDharmas. He vows to constantly receive and uphold the Dharma spoken by all Buddhas – vast and great as the Dharma Realm. This great Dharma is as vast and treat as the Dharma Realm, and this Dharma is cultivated to the ultimate, which is as ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease. In all the numbers of aeons, at no time does he rest.

He further makes great vows, vowing that in all worlds, when a Buddha appears in the world, if all the places where a Buddha is appearing in the world: descending from the Tushita Heaven to be born; and afterwards entering the womb, dwelling in the womb, being born into the world, and then leaving home are part of his vows. Then, accomplishing the Way, speaking Dharma, and manifesting Nirvana – he will manifest those Eight Marks. He will go to all of them, draw near and make offerings, and act as the head of the assembly. Although he is still in his mother’s womb, the Bodhisattva’s basic substance still goes to all Buddhas’ Way Places, draws near all Buddhas, makes offerings to all Buddhas, and universally acts as the head of the assemblies in all Buddhas’ Way Places. And receive and practice the Proper Dharma, there he constantly cultivates and practices the Proper Dharma Eye Treasury. In every place at one time turning, in all places at one and the same time he turns the great Dharma Wheel. The vast and great Dharma, again, is as great as the Dharma Realm. Again it is ultimate as empty space, and it also is exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease. There is no time of rest.

 Sutra:

He further makes great vows, vowing that the Bodhisattva practices: vast, great, limitless, unbreakable, and unmixed, including all Paramitas, purifying and regulating all Grounds, characterized by generality, characterized by particularity, characterized by identity, characterized by difference, characterized by production, and characterized by extinction – all the Bodhisattva practices – be spoken as they truly are, to teach and transform all, causing them to accept and practice, and their thought to increase and grow – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing that all the realms of living beings: those with form, without form, with thought, without thought, neither with thought nor without thought, egg-born, womb-born, moisture-born, transformational born, bound in the three realms, who have entered the six destinies, in all such places of rebirth, comprised of name and form – all such categories – I shall teach and transform, causing them to enter the Buddhadharma, causing them once and for all to cut off all worldly destinies, and causing them to dwell in the way of all wisdom – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Commentary:

He further makes great vows, the Bodhisattva vows again, vowing that the Bodhisattva practices: vast, great, limitless, unbreakable, and unmixed. It is not known how many Bodhisattva practices there are, and no heavenly demons or those of externalist paths are able to destroy them; nor is there evil mixed in with the good. This is including all Paramitas, as well as purifying and regulating all Grounds – that is, the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds. All of these are characterized by generality, characterized by particularity, characterized by identity, characterized by difference, characterized by production, and characterized by extinction, the six characteristics. The Bodhisattva vows that all the Bodhisattva practices be spoken as they truly are, to teach and transform all living beings, causing them to accept and practice them. They accept these Dharma doors and cultivate in accord with them. And their thought to increase and grow, the Bodhisattva enables living beingsthought for Bodhi to grow greater every day. These vows are vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease at no time does he rest.

He further makes great vows, vowing that all the realms of living beings, whether those beings are those with form, without form, with thought, without thought, neither with thought nor without thought, and, he also vows on behalf of being, egg-born, womb-born, moisture-born, and those transformational born. All the different categories of living beings are bound in the three realms: the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm. He also vows on behalf of those who have entered the six destinies. They have gone off to rebirth among the six paths, going in all such places of rebirth and being comprised of name and form. The Bodhisattva vows that all such categories – I shall teach and transform. I shall teach and transform them, causing them to enter the Buddhadharma, causing them once and for all to cut off all worldly destinies, and causing them to dwell in the way of all wisdom. The Way of the wisdom of the One of All Wisdom – this, too, is vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Sutra:

He further makes great vows, vowing that all worlds: vast, great, limitless; gross, subtle, disarrayed, upside-down, orderly; whether entering, moving, or going out; with distinctions like Shakra’s net; in the ten directions of limitless dissimilar varieties – his wisdom will understand them all, with direct knowledge and perception – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Commentary:

He further makes great vows; the Bodhisattva makes another great vow. He vows, vowing that all worlds, whether upwards or inverted worlds, rectangular or square worlds – all worlds -- are vast, great, limitless. One does not know how many there are. Among them are gross ones and subtle ones, and those that are disarrayed with no order to them, as well as ones that are upside-down. There are orderly ones, all well-arranged and according to the rules. Whether entering, perhaps they are entering. Moving, constantly in motion; or going out – they may be undergoing a kind of transformation -- with distinctions like Shakra’s net. Just like the net banner of Shakra, Lord of gods, some are horizontal, some perpendicular, with all kinds of differences. In the ten directions of limitless dissimilar varieties – each direction has its own shapes and appearances, all not the same. His wisdom will understand them all. The wisdom of the Bodhisattva will understand the shapes and appearances of those worlds, with direct knowledge and perception. His empirical wisdom of direct perception will understand all of those dissimilarities -- vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Sutra:

He further makes great vows, vowing that all countries enter one country, and that one country enter all countries; that limitless Buddhalands universally be purified; that light and multitudes of ornaments adorn them; that they be free from all afflictions; that they accomplish the way of purity; that limitless wise living being fill them; that they universally enter all Buddhas’ vast, great states; that they appear in accordance with the minds of living beings, causing them all to be happy – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing to be connected with all Bodhisattvas in resolution and practice, without resentment or jealousy; to accumulate all good roots; to be of one and the same condition will all Bodhisattvas; constantly to assemble together and never leave each other; to make appear at will various kinds of Buddha bodies; always to bear in his own mind the ability to know all Thus Come Ones’ states, their awesome powers, and their wisdom; to attain to irreversibility and spiritual penetrations according to intent; freely to roam to all worlds and appear in all assemblies; universally to enter all places of birth; to accomplish the inconceivable great vehicle; to cultivate the practices of Bodhisattvas – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Commentary:

He further makes great vows, the Bodhisattva makes yet another great vows, vowing that all countries enter one country and that one country enter all countries. This is mutual fusion without obstruction, mutual identity, and mutual entry. He vows that limitless Buddhalands universally be purified and that light and multitudes of ornaments adorn them. He vows that they be free from all afflictions – without the three poisons of greed, hatred, and stupidity. He vows that they accomplish the way of purity, that they all diligently cultivate precepts, samadhi, and wisdom. He vows that limitless wise living being fill them. All Bodhisattvas have limitless wisdom, and the living beings fill up the lands. He vows that they universally enter all Buddhas’ vast, great states – that they will all be able to realize the states which all Buddhas have. He further vows that they appear in accordance with the minds of living beings – that is, that they, constantly in accord with all the thoughts of living beings, will manifest all states, thereby causing them all to be happy. His vows to cause all living beings to become happy is vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundary of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows; the Bodhisattva makes another great vow, vowing to be connected with all Bodhisattvas in resolution and practice. That is, that he will always cultivate together with all Bodhisattvas, without resentment or jealousy. While cultivating, they will have mutual regard and support for one another, not mutual dislike or resentment. Nor will they have any thoughts of jealousy. He vows to accumulate all good roots and to be of one and the same condition will all Bodhisattvas – that is, to be the same and identical with all Bodhisattvas. He vows that all Bodhisattvas will constantly to assemble together and never leave each other. They will never be separated from each other. He vows to make appear at will – according to his mind’s wishes – various kinds of Buddha bodies; always to bear in his own mind the ability to know all Thus Come Ones’ states. In his own mind, he himself knows all the states of all Buddhas, the Thus Come Ones, their awesome powers, and their wisdom. He vows to attain to irreversibility in spiritual penetrations and in wisdom, and to attain spiritual penetrations according to intent. He vows to have spiritual penetrations of inexhaustibly multiple transformations in accordance with his mind’s intent. He vows freely to roam to all worlds and appear in all assemblies, to go to all the multitudes of Dharma Assemblies. He vows universally to enter all places of birth, to go to all places where there are beings, and to accomplish the inconceivable great vehicle. He intends to accomplish all the inconceivable Great Vehicle Dharma-doors. He vows to cultivate the practices of Bodhisattvas – the ten thousand practices -- vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Sutra:

He further makes great vows, vowing to mount the irreversible wheel; to cultivate the Bodhisattva practices; that the karmas of body, speech, and mind not be in vain; that anyone who briefly sees him will then certainly become fixed in the Buddhdharma; that anyone who briefly hears the sound of his voice will then obtain jewel-like wisdom; that anyone who has just brought forth pure faith will then forever cut off afflictions; to obtain a body like the great medicine king tree; to obtain a body like the as-you-will jewel; to cultivate all Bodhisattvas’ practices – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing within all worlds to achieve annuttarasamyaksambodhi, without leaving the place of the tip of a single hair; in every place of a hair-tip, to make appear being born, leaving home, going to the Way Place, accomplishing proper enlightenment, turning the Dharma Wheel, and entering Nirvana; to obtain the Buddha’s state and the power of great wisdom; in thought after thought, in accord with the minds of living beings, to display the accomplishment of Buddhahood, and cause them to obtain still extinction; with every sambodhi to know all Dharma Realms are characterized by Nirvana; with a single sound to speak Dharma and cause living beings to be delighted at heart; to display entry into great Nirvana, yet not cut off the Bodhisattva conduct; to display the ground of great wisdom, and the establishment of all Dharmas; with the penetration of Dharma wisdom, the penetration of spiritual fulfillments, the penetration of illusions, and comfortable changes and transformations, completely to fill the Dharma Realm – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Commentary:

He, the Bodhisattva, further makes great vows, vowing to mount the irreversible wheel and to cultivate the Bodhisattva practices – the Dharma doors that Bodhisattvas practice. He vows that the karmas of body, speech, and mind all be pure, and that they not be in vain. None of them can create bad karma; they have not the slightest bit of offense. He vows that anyone who briefly sees him will then certainly become fixed in the Buddhdharma. If someone sees this Bodhisattva for a short interval of time, he or she will certainly plant good roots and understand the Buddhadharma. He vows that anyone who briefly hears the sound of his voice will then obtain jewel-like wisdom. He or she attains to wisdom that is like a jewel. Again, he vows that anyone who has just brought forth pure faith will then forever cut off afflictions. Afflictions will be gone. He vows to obtain a body like the great medicine king tree which can cure all living beings’ illnesses, and to obtain a body like the as-you-will jewel. He vows to cultivate all Bodhisattvas’ practices – the Dharma-doors that Bodhisattvas cultivate -- vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

He further makes great vows, vowing within all worlds to achieve annuttarasamyaksambodhi, the unsurpassed, right and equal, proper enlightenment, without leaving the place of the tip of a single hair. Right on the tip of a hair he accomplishes right and equal, proper enlightenment. In every place of a hair-tip, in all the places of hair-tips, in every single hair-tip, he vows to make appear being born, descending from the Tushita Heaven, dwelling in the womb, and being born; leaving home, going to the Way Place, the Bodhimanda; accomplishing proper enlightenment, Right and Equal, Proper Enlightenment, that is, becoming a Buddha; turning the Dharma Wheel, and entering Nirvana, Parinirvana – the various events of the Eight Marks of Accomplishing the Way. He vows to obtain the Buddha’s state and the power of great wisdom. He vows in thought after thought, within each instant of thought, in accord with the minds of living beings, to display the accomplishment of Buddhahood, and cause them to obtain still extinction. He wants to enable all living beings also to attain to still extinction.

He vows with every sambodhi, that is, using one kind of proper enlightenment, to know all Dharma Realms, that is, to know the proper enlightenments of all Buddhas of the Dharma Realms are characterized by Nirvana. He vows with a single sound to speak Dharma and cause living beings to be delighted at heart. He vows to display entry into great Nirvana, yet not cut off the Bodhisattva conduct. He has manifested the entry into great Nirvana, but he still is in the world cultivating the Bodhisattva Way. He vows to display the ground of great wisdom. He displays it for living beings so they can know about the ground of great wisdom. And he vows to display establishment of all Dharmas of the Buddhas. He vows he will display them with the penetration of Dharma wisdom, the penetration of spiritual fulfillments, the penetration of illusions, that is, of changes and transformations, and comfortable changes and transformations, completely to fill the Dharma Realm – vast and great as the Dharma Realm, ultimate as empty space, exhausting the boundaries of the future, throughout all numbers of kalpas, without cease.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva dwelling on the Ground of Happiness brings forth such great vows, such great vigor, such great efficacy. Using those ten kinds of vow-doors as foremost, he fulfills a million asamkhyeyas of great vows.

Disciples of the Buddha, these great vows through ten propositions of finality come to accomplishment. What are the ten? They are: the end of the realm of living beings; the end of the world-realms; the end of the realm of empty space; the end of the Dharma Realm; the end of the Realm of Nirvana; the end of the realm of Buddhas’ appearing; the end of the realm of wisdom of Thus Come Ones; the end of the realm of what is thought by mind; the end of the realm of states entered by the Buddha’s wisdom; the end of the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings.

If the realm of living beings is ended, then my vows are ended. If world-realms, up to and including the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings are ended, then my vows are ended. But, the realm of living beings up to and including the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings, cannot be ended. Therefore, these great vows and good roots of mine have no end.

Commentary:

Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, afraid the Bodhisattvas might become lax and not pay attention to him speaking the Dharma of the Avatamsaka Sutra, then said again, Disciples of the Buddha, all of you great Buddhist disciples, do you know? The Bodhisattva dwelling on the Ground of Happiness certified to this Ground of Happiness from having cultivated all kinds of good roots and accomplished the position of the Paramitas for crossing to the other shore. He at all times produces great happiness and brings forth such great vows. He makes the various kinds of great vows that were previously described. He brings forth such great vigor – courageous vigor. The Dharma-doors living beings do not dare to cultivate, he goes and cultivates. He dares to do what living beings do not dare to do. He brings forth such great efficacy – great activity and great functioning such as was previously described. Using those ten kinds of vow-doors as foremost, he fulfills a million asamkhyeyas of great vows. The other great vows all come out of those great vows, and, because those great vows are fulfilled, all the limitlessly many remaining great vows are fulfilled, too.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva said again, these great vows through ten propositions of finality come to accomplishment. He said that great vows made by the Bodhisattva who certifies to the Ground of Happiness are brought to success by ten kinds of disappearances of realms.

What are the ten? What are the ten kinds of disappearances? They are: the end of the realm of living beings, all living beings disappear. The end of the world-realms, world-realms, as well, all disappear. The end of the realm of empty space, make the realm of empty space disappear, too. The end of the Dharma Realm, basically, the Dharma Realm is inexhaustible. Still, take it as non-existent: that is, no realm of living beings, no world-realm, no realm of empty space, no Dharma Realm. The end of the Realm of Nirvana, it’s also gone. The end of the realm of Buddhas’ appearing, in addition, no Buddhas appear in the world. The end of the realm of wisdom of Thus Come Ones, the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom also does not exist. The end of the realm of what is thought by mind, what is climbed upon and thought about in the mind also ceases to exist. The end of the realm of states entered by the Buddha’s wisdom; the states that the Buddha’s wisdom understands, realizes, and comprehends – all of those states – vanish, too. The end of the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings, everything worldly can turn and move. Dharma can also turn, and knowledge can turn as well. Those kinds of realms all disappear. Basically, all of those realms cannot be non-existent, but suppose we say they cease to exist.

So the Bodhisattva says, if the realm of living beings is ended, then my vows are ended. Should it come to be possible for the realm of living beings to cease to exist, then and only then can these great vows that I have made cease to exist. If the realm of living beings cannot cease to exist, then my vows will always remain. If world-realms, up to and including the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings are ended, then my vows are ended. All worlds turn, Dharma turns, and knowledge turns, as well. If all those realms become non-existent then the vows I have made will cease to exist. But, the realm of living beings cannot be ended, however, you should be aware that the realm of living beings cannot end; and, therefore, my vows cannot come to an end. World-realms can’t come to an end, so my vows can’t end. The Dharma Realm can’t end, so my vows can’t end. The realm of Nirvana can’t end, so my vows can’t end. The realm of the states of wisdom of Thus Come Ones also will not end, and so my vows will eternally remain. Were the realm of what is thought in the mind to cease to exist… however, it cannot cease to exist, and so, too, my vows will never cease to exist. Were the realm of the states entered by the Buddha’s wisdom to cease to exist… however, it can’t go out of existence. Therefore, my vows too, will exist forever. Should worldly turnings, Dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings all become non-existent…However, they cannot go out of existence. Therefore, my vows, too, will always remain. Up to and including the realm of worldly turnings, dharma turnings, and knowledge turnings, cannot be ended. Therefore, these great vows and good roots of mine have no end. Therefore, the great vows that I have made and the good roots that I have cultivated are also inexhaustible.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, after the Bodhisattva has made such great vows, he then obtains a beneficent mind, a compliant mind, an accordant mind, a quiet mind, a subdued mind, a still and extinct mind, a humble mind, a moistened mind, an unmoving mind, a non-turbid mind.

He becomes one of pure faith and has the operative use of faith. He can believe in the Thus Come One’s original practices which are entered: believing in the accomplishment of all the Paramitas; believing in the entry to all the supreme grounds; believing in the accomplishment of the powers; believing in the perfection of the fearlessnesses; believing in the growth of the indestructible uncommon Buddha Dharmas; believing in the production of the Buddha’s states which are not to either side of middle; believing in the production of the Buddha’s states which are not either side of middle; believing in the entry to the limitless states of a Thus Come One; believing in the accomplishment of the fruit. To mention the essential, it is because he believes in all Bodhisattvas’ practices up to and including the description of all powers of the Thus Come One’s wisdom ground.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again says, all of you disciples of the Buddha, do you know? After the Bodhisattva has made such great vows, he then obtains a beneficent mind. Before having made such great vows he’d wanted to benefit living beings but couldn’t manage to decide to do so. He wanted to be of some advantage to living beings, but could never find a way. But, since he has these vows to aid him, his beneficent mind comes forth, too. He also obtains a compliant mind. Before he made those vows, he was like most living beings: stubborn and not easy to tame and subdue – really obstinate. But, since he has made those vows, through those vows’ aid, his mind is compliant, and he has great patience and no afflictions.

He obtains an accordant mind. Before he had brought forth the thought for Bodhi or had the intention to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, this person was always trying to people to go along with his, to follow him. He was unwilling to obey other people’s instructions. That is, he was:

    Able neither to lead,
    Nor to take orders.

On the one hand, he was incapable of issuing orders commanding people to do something, and yet on the other hand, he wouldn’t follow the instructions of other people. He wouldn’t take orders from anyone. When someone told him to do something, he wouldn’t do it. But, since having made the vows, he had resolved to forever accord with living beings. He has no ego: ‘Who is me? I am who? You ask me? I ask who?’ He accords with living beings and has no self. Therefore, because he has made those vows, he just accords, and he doesn’t tell people to accord with him.

He obtains a quiet mind. This quietness is constantly having no afflictions and being at peace. This quiet mind is being happy. Quietness does not mean, “I like it quiet. You should all go along with me and be quiet.” It’s not that way. It means that right in the middle of a place whose atmosphere is not quiet, if you can be quiet, as the saying goes:

The middle of a noisy market place is good for cultivation.

If you can be quiet in a noisy marketplace, then that’s real gung fu. If you go off someplace where there isn’t a should, saying that you want peace and quiet, once you’ve run off to some solitary mountain forest, what ends up happening? You quarrel with yourself. You exhale one breath of air and say, “Hey, you’re not being quiet!” You inhale the next breath of air and say, “Hey, you’re not being quiet!” And you get afflicted. This quietness means that if you are someone who can apply their skill, then any place will be quiet. If you are someone who is unable to apply his or her skill, then even if you try to find a quiet place, you won’t be able to. Why not? It’s because you haven’t made vows. If you had made vows, then what was not quiet would be quiet. That’s the quiet mind.

He obtains a subdued mind. In the Saha world, all the living beings are stubborn, difficult to tame, and difficult to subdue. Not to speak of taming and subduing other people, they can’t even tame and subdue themselves. You sit there and without rhyme or reason become afflicted, get angry.

The eyes and ears don’t hit it off.

The eyes say the nose is too high, and the nose says the eyes are too low. The eyes tell the mouth, “You can only eat, you can’t see,” and the tongue tells it, “You can only eat, but you can’t taste.” The ears say, “You eyes can see, but you can’t hear. I can hear.” The nose tells the ears, “You can only hear, but you can’t smell the way I can.” Is this trouble or not? The eyes and the nose don’t get alone, and the nose tells the mouth, “You can only eat candy, but you can’t smell its odor.” You can’t get tamed and subdued; you can’t tame and subdue you mind.

He obtains a still and extinct mind. This mind is still and extinct:

    All dharmas in their origin of themselves,
    Are characterized by still extinction.

If you can calm your mind down to still extinction then that is good. He obtains a humble mind. Before he made vows, he was very haughty and arrogant. After making the vows, he obtains a humble mind.

He obtains a moistened mind. In his mind it is never dry or parched. It is always as if moistened by water. He obtains an unmoving mind. His mind also does not move.

    When thought moves,
    The thousand matters exist;
    When thought stops,
    The myriad matters vanish.

If you do not move your mind, then your basic wisdom manifests. He obtains a non-turbid mind. In his mind there are no defiled thoughts.

He becomes one of pure faith. Once he has obtained those various kinds of minds, then he becomes one who can purely believe, and has the operative use of faith. He can believe in the Thus Come One’s original practices. He can believe in the doors of practice which the Buddhas originally cultivated, which are entered. What is entered? Believing in the accomplishment of all the Paramitas, he believes and so can accomplish ten kinds of paramitas. Believing in the entry to all the supreme grounds, being able to believe, he is then able to enter the Ten Grounds, these most supreme ground-positions. Believing in the accomplishment of the powers, believing, he can accomplish the powers of spiritual penetrations. Believing in the perfection of the fearlessnesses, with this attitude of faith, he then can perfect the fearlessnesses. As it is said:

    Faith is the source of the Way,
    The mother of merit and virtue,
    That nurtures all good dharmas.

Believing in the growth of the indestructible uncommon Buddha Dharmas, believing, he can make grow the indestructible Dharmas Special to a Buddha. Believing in the production of the Buddha’s states which are not to either side of middle; believing in the production of the Buddha’s states which are not either side of middle; believing, he can produce the states of a Buddha, which are such that they have nothing to the side of middle. The Buddha’s states are all of the Middle Way, with no extremes. They do not fall to either side. What is the Middle? The Middle Way is:

    Not falling into emptiness,
    Not falling into existence.

Believing in the entry to the limitless states of a Thus Come One; believing, he can accord with and enter the limitless states of a Buddha. Believing in the accomplishment of the fruit, believing, he can accomplish all of the fruit-positions. To mention the essential, it is because he believes in all Bodhisattvas’ practices up to and including the description of all powers of the Thus Come One’s wisdom ground.

 Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva further makes the following reflections: ‘all Buddhas’ power proper Dharmas are so profound, so quiet, so still and extinct, so empty, so markless, so wishless, so undefiled, so limitless, so vast and great, while ordinary beings in their minds fall into deviant views. They are covered by the film of ignorance. They erect the banner of pride and arrogance. They enter into the net of thirsty love, and course in the dense forest of flattery and deceit, unable to extricate themselves. Their minds are conjoined with stinginess and jealousy which they never abandon. They constantly create the causal conditions for undergoing birth in the destinies. With greed, hatred, and stupidity, they accumulate all karma, which day and night increases and grows. With the wind of resentment they fan the fire of mind-consciousness, whose blaze never ceases. All of the karma they create is conjoined with inversion. In the flow of desire, the flow of existence, the flow of ignorance, and the flow of views, the seeds of mind-consciousness continually arise. Within the field of the three Realms the sprouts of suffering are repeatedly produced.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again called out, all of you disciples of the Buddha, do you know or not that this Bodhisattva who certifies to the Ground of Happiness further makes the following reflections. He also has these thoughts: ‘all Buddhas’ power proper Dharmas –all Buddhas’ Proper Dharma Eye Treasuries -- are so profound. He says they are:

    So deep the bottom can’t be seen,
    Just like the great sea.

They are so quiet. The basic substance of their Dharma is tranquil and quiet, without any movement. They are so still and extinct, without shape or characteristics, so empty. They are so markless. They also have no appearance. They are so wishless. Everything is empty. They are so undefiled. They are free of defiled attachments. The Proper Dharmas spoken by all Buddhas are so limitless. They also have no calculable measure, and they are so vast and great.

While ordinary beings in their minds fall into deviant views, all ordinary living beings are very lazy. They all have deviant knowledge and deviant views, and do not cultivate. They are covered by the film of ignorance, ignorance converse them over like clouds in the sky. They erect the banner of pride and arrogance. They always think of themselves as very great, and wear their pride, arrogance, and conceit like a banner. They enter into the net of thirsty love. They enter into the net of lovelove which is like being very hungry and thirsty and from which they never get out. And they course in the dense forest of flattery and deceit, unable to extricate themselves. They are unable to get themselves out of the net of love and desire and the dense forest of flattery and deceit. Their minds are conjoined with stinginess and jealousy which they never abandon.

They constantly create the causal conditions for undergoing birth in the destinies. They keep being born and dying, dying and being reborn, in the four evil destinies – asuras, hell-beings, hungry ghosts, and animals – and keep creating the causal conditions for being reborn there again. With greed, hatred, and stupidity, they accumulate all karma. Ignorance, that is, stupidity, is produced, and then, because they are stupid, they create all sorts of karma; and, so it says, “They accumulate all karma.” Which day and night increases and grows. With the wind of resentment they fan the fire of mind-consciousness. They blow within mind consciousness, that kind of fire, whose blaze never ceases. They feel it’s blazing hot. All of the karma they create is conjoined with inversion. Everything they do is interactive with upside-downness. In the flow of desire, the flow of existence, the flow of ignorance, and the flow of views, the seeds of mind-consciousness continually arise. Their karma is interactive with the flow of love and desire. Within the Three Realms – the Desire Realm, the Form Realm, and the Formless Realm – they undergo the flow of existence. They flow along with ignorance or else they flow along with views. The seeds of mind-consciousness continually and uninterruptedly come forth. Within the field of the three Realms the sprouts of suffering are repeatedly produced.

Sutra:

That is, name and form arise together and do not separate. Because name and form increase, the assemblage of the six places arises. Amidst their junctures, contact arises: because of contact, feeling arises. Because of feeling, love arises. Love increases, therefore grasping arises. Grasping increases, therefore existence arises. Because existence arises, birth, old age, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and vexation come to exist. Such living beings as those produce and increase the mass of suffering. Within it, all is empty: free of self and what belongs to self, devoid of knowing and awareness, with no doer and no receive, like grass and wood, like rocks and walls, and also like reflections. Still, living beings are unaware and do not know. The Bodhisattva sees all living beings within this mass of suffering, unable to get out. Therefore, he immediately brings forth wisdom of great compassion and makes the following reflections: ‘all these living beings I should rescue and save and set in the place of ultimate peace and joy.’ Therefore, he immediately brings forth bright wisdom of great kindness.

Commentary:

That is, name and form arise together. This discusses the Twelve Links of Causal Conditions, the first of which is ignorance. Because of the upside-downness of ignorance, there arise activities – the activities of love and desire. Once there are activities, the seeds of mind-consciousness are planted within the field of the Three Realms, and the sprouts of suffering are produced. These sprouts of suffering are the name and form under discussion. Once there is name and form, one says, “Perhaps this is a boy.” “Perhaps this is a girl.” Once there is a form, a name arises together with it and they do not separate. Because name and form increase, the assemblage of the six places arises. The assemblage of the six places is the arisal of the six faculties of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind. They are also called the six entrances, as well as the six places, and their assemblage means their collectivity. Amidst their junctures, contact arises. In the midst of this, the junctures of the six entrances within the mother’s womb, the dust-objects of the sense of touch is produced. Because of contact, feeling arises. Since there are objects of touch, there then arises feeling, receptivity. Because of feeling, love arises. Due to the arisal of receptivity, from that feeling there arises love; love and desire arise. Love increases, therefore grasping arises. Because grasping increases and grows, existence comes about. Because existence arises, birth, old age, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and vexation come to exist. Because existence increases, therefore there arises birth. Once there is birth, there is death; and all the rest come along with it.

Such living beings as those produce and increase the mass of suffering. Within it, all is empty. However, although these causal conditions are explained as suffering, nonetheless you should understand that it is all empty and all extinguished. Free of self and what belongs to self, devoid of knowing and awareness, within these twelve causal conditions, there basically is no knowing and no awareness. With no doer and no receive, like grass and wood, like rocks and walls, like insentient things such as grass and wood, rocks and walls, and also like reflections. That is the way things really are. If you understand, they are like reflections. Still, living beings are unaware and do not know. They have not become enlightened, and they do not know that basically all of this is empty.

The Bodhisattva sees all living beings bobbing up and down within the twelve causal conditions, within this mass of suffering, unable to get out. They never wake up; they are always bound up in the net of love, desire, and craving. Therefore, he immediately brings forth wisdom of great compassion and makes the following reflections: ‘all these living beings I should rescue and save and set in the place of ultimate peace and joy.’ I should settle them in the place where they will obtain the utmost, ultimate peace and happiness. Therefore, he immediately brings forth bright wisdom of great kindness. For that reason he then gives rise to a mind of great kindness and brings forth bright wisdom.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahatsattva accords with such great compassion and great kindness. Using deep, profound thought, at the time of dwelling on the First Ground, he gives away all objects without grudging or stinginess. Seeking the Buddha’s great wisdom, he cultivates great renunciation. Whatever he possesses, he is able to give away completely. That is, such objects as wealth and granaries, gold, silver, mani, pearls, lapis lazuli, shells, jade, and coral; jeweled ornamental articles to decorate the body; elephants, horses, chariots and conveyances; servants and citizens; cities, towns, and villages; parks, groves, pavillions with vistas; wives, concubines, sons, daughters; the inner and outer retinues, and all remaining enjoyable possessions; his head, eyes, hands, and feet; his blood, flesh, marrow and all the parts of his body, begrudging none of them, in order to seek all Buddhas’ vast, great wisdom. That is called the Bodhisattva Who Dwells Upon the First Ground’s Accomplishment of Great Renunciation.

Commentary:

Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, since he fears the Bodhisattvas are always in samadhi and not paying attention to the Dharma he is speaking, at that time decides to call out, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, do you know? Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahatsattva accords with such great compassion and great kindness. The great Bodhisattva who cultivates the Bodhisattva Way and accumulates all kinds of good roots always accords with that kind of great compassion which can pluck out living beingssufferings, and great kindness which can bestow happiness upon living beings. Using deep, profound thought, at the time of dwelling on the First Ground, he uses thought so very deep and profound that it cannot be fathomed, at the time of dwelling on the First Ground, and he gives away all objects without grudging or stinginess. Upon certifying to the attainment of this First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, there are no objects which he is unable to renounce. There is no object, however valuable, with which he is unable to part, or which he begrudges giving away to others. He would never be that way. He has no greed or stinginess, no inability to part with things. Seeking the Buddha’s great wisdom, he cultivates great renunciation. The Buddha has ultimate, great wisdom, and the Bodhisattva seeks the ultimate wisdom of a Buddha. So, he cultivates this kind of giving.

Whatever he possesses, he is able to give away completely. He can give all the inner wealth and outer wealth he may posses away to living beings. That is, such objects as wealth and granaries. He can renounce all kinds of articles, such as all his wealth, his inner and outer wealth – along with all his granaries, all of his gold, and all his silver, his mani jewels, his precious pearls, his precious lapis lazuli, his precious shells, his precious jade, his precious and coral, and all the rest. He can give jeweled ornamental articles to decorate the body. He can give all his elephants, all his horses, all his chariots and conveyances. Nowadays he could give all his cars and boats, along with his airplanes. He can renounce servants, or those who work for him, and citizens of his country. He can give up cities, towns, and villages or his parks and his groves, pavillions with vistas. He can give his pavilions, towers – all those things which afford fine views. He can renounce his wives, concubines, sons, and daughters. He can give up his inner and outer retinues, that is, both close and distant relatives, and all remaining enjoyable possessions. He can also give his head, or else his eyes, or his hands, and feet, or his blood, flesh, marrow and all the parts of his body, including all the objects inside his body and all objects external to the body, begrudging none of them. There are none of these which he is unable to give up, in order to seek all Buddhas’ vast, great wisdom. He can do this because he wants to seek all the Buddhas’ vast, great wisdom. That is called the Bodhisattva Who Dwells Upon the First Ground’s Accomplishment of Great Renunciation. This is called the kind of great renunciation, the accomplishment of the merit and virtue of all good roots, of the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this Ground of Happiness.

Sutra:

Disciple of Buddha, the Bodhisattva, using this kind of compassionate mind of great renunciation, wishing to rescue and protect all living beings, further enlarges the scope of his search for all worldly and world-transcending beneficial matters, never being tired or weary. Therefore, he immediately attains to the accomplishment of an untiring, unwearied mind. Once he has obtained an untiring, unwearied mind, concerning all sutras and shastras, his mind id not nervous or afraid. Because he is not nervous or afraid, he immediately attains to the accomplishment of the wisdom of all sutras and shastras. Once he has acquired that wisdom, he is skilled at estimating what should be done and what should not be done. Towards all superior, average, and inferior living beings, as is appropriate and according to his strength, in accord with what they like, he acts in that way.

Therefore, this Bodhisattva attains to the accomplishment of worldly wisdom. Once he has accomplished worldly wisdom, he knows the times and he knows the capacities, and using the adornments of repentance and reform, he diligently cultivates the path of benefiting self while benefiting others. Therefore, he accomplishes the adornments of repentance and reform. In the midst of these practices, he diligently cultivates escape, without retreating or deflecting, and accomplishes the power of solidity. Once he has acquired the power of solidity, he diligently makes offerings to all Buddhas. With regard to the Buddhasteaching Dharmas, he is able thus to speak and practice.

Commentary:

Disciple of Buddha, the Bodhisattva on the Ground of Happiness, using this kind of compassionate mind of great renunciation, wishing to rescue and protect all living beings, further enlarges the scope of his search. Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you Buddhist disciples, the Bodhisattva uses compassionate giving and loving protection towards all living beings. After practicing giving, he has the further intention of deepening his search for all worldly and world-transcending beneficial matters. He looks for each and every beneficial means to help living beings, as well as being concerned about how to benefit living beings on the world-transcending plane. Never being tired or weary, he constantly cultivates Bodhisattva conduct, and at no time does he retreat saying, ‘I’ve cultivated enough. I’m tired of it. I’m weary.’

Therefore, he immediately attains to the accomplishment of an untiring, unwearied mind. Right then he accomplishes an unflagging attitude, and at no time would he say he didn’t want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way. Once he has obtained an untiring, unwearied mind, concerning all sutras and shastras, his mind id not nervous or afraid. After he has perfected this attitude of never being tired or weary, he studies all the Sutras, Vinaya, and shastras which the Buddhas have spoken. He would never say, ‘Oh, this Sutra is so long, so difficult to understand!’ or ‘There’s too much to this Shastra, and it’s not easy to investigate.’ Because he is not nervous or afraid, he immediately attains to the accomplishment of the wisdom of all sutras and shastras. Because he is not afraid that the Buddhardharma, being like the great sea, is not easy to cultivate, he gains wisdom from the Sutras and Shastras. As soon as they pass by his eyes, he understands all Buddhadharmas, illumines the real mark of all dharmas. He:

    Deeply enters the Sutra store,
    And has wisdom like the sea.

Once he has acquired that wisdom, he is skilled at estimating. He is good at evaluating, and figuring out what should be done and what should not be done. He can distinguish all things that should be done from all the things that should not be done. Towards all superior, average, and inferior living beings, as is appropriate and according to his strength, in accord with what they like, he acts in that way. Towards living beings with superior good roots, living beings with average faculties and average wisdom, and towards the most stupid kinds of living beings he appears as needed.

    Whatever body is needed to cross them over,
    He manifests that kind of body and speaks Dharma for them.

In accordance with what living beings like and with what they understand, he cultivates in that way to teach and transform them. Therefore, this Bodhisattva attains to the accomplishment of worldly wisdom.

Once he has accomplished worldly wisdom, he knows the times and he knows the capacities. He knows for any time whether a given living being’s opportunities have matured or not. He knows which living beings should be saved and which living beings are not due to be saved, which is to know their capacities. And using the adornments of repentance and reform, he diligently cultivates. He uses his cultivation of repentance and reform to adorn his own blessings and virtue. He is diligent in his cultivation of blessings and wisdom, as well. He diligently cultivates the path of benefiting self while benefiting others. The path he cultivates is that of benefiting himself and benefiting others, and he is able to benefit and aid living beings. Therefore, he accomplishes the adornments of repentance and reform, and the adornments of merit and virtue.

In the midst of these practices, within these doors of cultivation, he diligently cultivates escape from the Three Realms, without retreating or deflecting. He does not retreat from Anuttarasamyaksambodhi, and accomplishes the power of solidity. In cultivation, he has a mind of non-retreat. Once he has acquired the power of solidity, he diligently makes offerings to all Buddhas. With regard to the Buddhasteaching Dharmas, he is able thus to speak and practice. As to the teaching Dharmas pronounced by the Buddhas, he can speak them thus, and thus can he practice them.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva in that way accomplishes ten kinds of Dharmas of purification of all grounds. That is: faith, compassion, kindness, renunciation, non-weariness, knowing all sutras and shastras, skill at understanding worldly dharmas, repentance and reform, the power of solidity, making offerings to all Buddhas, relying on the teachings to cultivate.

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva has come to dwell on this Ground of Happiness, by means of the power of great vows, he comes to see many Buddhas. that is: he sees many hundreds of Buddhas, many thousands of Buddhas, many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas, many millions of Buddhas, many hundreds of millions of Buddhas, many thousands of millions of Buddhas, many hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhas, many millions of nayutas of Buddhas, many hundreds of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, many thousands of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, many hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, and completely, with a great and profound mind, he worships and reveres them, attends upon and makes offerings to them, using clothing, food and drink, bedding and medicines – all of the necessities of life – completely offering them up. He makes offerings as well to all members of the sangha, and taking those good roots, he transfers them all to unsurpassed Bodhi.

Commentary:

Disciples of the Buddha, when Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva had spoken to this point, he again called out saying, “All of you Buddhist disciples, the Bodhisattva in that way accomplishes ten kinds of Dharmas of purification of all grounds. He accomplishes Dharma-doors for purifying and regulating the Grounds. That is: faith, compassion, kindness, renunciation. One must believe in all the Buddhadharmas, pluck out all the sufferings of living beings, bestow all happiness on living beings, and practice great giving. Non-weariness, he cultivates those various kinds of dharmas without becoming weary or tied. Knowing all sutras and shastras, he is able to deeply enter the Sutra Store and have wisdom like the sea. He has skill at understanding worldly dharmas and repentance and reform. He has the power of solidity of repentance and reform. The last two Dharmas of purification are making offerings to all Buddhas, relying on the teachings to cultivate.

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva has come to dwell on this Ground of Happiness, this First Ground, by means of the power of great vows, he comes to see many Buddhas. That is to say: he sees many hundreds of Buddhas, many thousands of Buddhas, as well as seeing many hundreds of thousands of Buddhas. He can also see many millions of Buddhas, and see many hundreds of millions of Buddhas. He can see many thousands of millions of Buddhas, too, in addition to seeing many hundreds of thousands of millions of Buddhas. He can also see many millions of nayutas of Buddhas, many hundreds of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, along with seeing many thousands of millions of nayutas of Buddhas.

He can also see many hundreds of thousands of millions of nayutas of Buddhas, and completely, with a great and profound mind, he worships and reveres them, attends upon and makes offerings to them, using clothing, food and drink, bedding and medicines – the Four Requisites – to make offerings of all of the necessities of life – completely offering them up. He offers them all up completely. He makes offerings as well to all members of the sangha. He makes offerings to all the Sagely Sangha members, and taking those good roots, he transfers them all to unsurpassed Bodhi, to the unsurpassed fruit position of Wonderful Enlightenment.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva, because of making offerings to all Buddhas, obtains the Dharmas for accomplishing living beings using the former two attractions, he attracts and gathers in living beings, that is, giving and kind words. As to the latter two dharmas of attraction, because he only uses the power of faith and understanding, his practice has not yet well-penetrated these. That Bodhisattva, among the ten Paramitas, emphasizes the Paramita of giving. It is not that he fails to cultivate the remaining Paramitas, but he only does so according to his strength and proportionately.

What this Bodhisattva diligently cultivates – the making of offerings to all Buddhas, the teaching and transforming of living beings, and all of the good roots from cultivating the Dharmas of purification of the Grounds – he completely transfers to the Ground of all-wisdom, becoming progressively more bright and pure, subdued, compliant and accomplished, and capable of acting in accord with his intent.

Commentary:

Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again said to all the Bodhisattva, “All of you Disciples of the Buddha, this Bodhisattva who has certified to the Ground of Happiness, because of making offerings to all Buddhas, obtains the Dharmas for accomplishing living beings. Due to his vastly cultivating the giving of offerings to all Buddhas, he obtains the meritorious virtues of the Four Dharmas of Attraction. Using the former two attractions, he attracts and gathers in living beings, that is to say: giving and kind words. The Bodhisattva vastly cultivates the practice of giving – giving all of his own wealth and treasures to living beings – and kind words, always caring about and being protective of living beings in his words and saying what they like to hear. He uses kindness and compassion to care for and protect all living beings. Even if it is the very worst sort of living beings, he still brings forth the Bodhi resolve to save that being and teach it.

As to the latter two dharmas of attraction, that is, beneficial conduct and similarity in deeds -- because he only uses the power of faith and understanding, his practice has not yet well-penetrated these. He cultivates them, but has not yet perfected that kind of Bodhisattva conduct. That Bodhisattva, among the ten Paramitas, emphasizes the Paramita of giving. The Ten Paramitas are:


The perfection of giving is most stressed. It is not that he fails to cultivate the remaining Paramitas. It’s not that he does not use the other nine Paramitas to cultivate, but he only does so according to his strength and proportionately. He does as much with them as he can, according to what his strength permits and does as much as possible in proportion to the causes and conditions.

What this Bodhisattva diligently cultivates – the making of offerings to all Buddhas in accordance with what his strength permits him to do. The teaching and transforming of living beings, and all of the good roots from cultivating the Dharmas of purification of the Grounds, the Ten Grounds -- he completely transfers to the Ground of all-wisdom, that fruit position, becoming progressively more bright and pure. He makes more progress in his cultivation every day and becomes more and more subdued, compliant and accomplished, and capable of acting in accord with his intent. He causes his mind and nature constantly to be yielding, patient, and accomplished. In accordance with his own wishes, he is capable of putting all Budhadharmas into action and using them to teach and transform living beings.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, for instance, when a goldsmith well-skilled at smelting gold repeatedly puts it through the fire, it becomes progressively more bright and pure, supple, pliant, and accomplished, and capable of being worked in accord with his intent. The Bodhisattva is also like this. He makes offerings to all Buddhas and teaches and transforms living beings, all of which is cultivation of the dharmas of purification of the Grounds. Then he takes all of those good roots and completely transfers them to the Ground of all-wisdom. Thus, he becomes progressively more bright and pure, subdued, compliant, and accomplished, and capable of acting in accord with his intent.

Disciples of Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, when dwelling upon this, the First Ground, should from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattva, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within these Grounds the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of these Grounds. He should also from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within the Second Ground the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the dharmas of that Ground. He should also in that way search out and request within the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh, the Eighth, the Ninth, and the Tenth Grounds, the marks and the fruit obtained, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of those Grounds.

This Bodhisattva is good at knowing remedies for all obstructions to the Grounds, good at knowing the accomplishment and destruction of the Grounds, good at knowing the marks and fruits of the Grounds.

Commentary:

Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again said to all the Bodhisattva, “All of you Disciples of the Buddha, for instance, I’ll give you analogy for this principle. What is it like? It is just as when a goldsmith well-skilled at smelting gold repeatedly puts it through the fire. A goldsmith uses all kinds of clever and skillful methods to smelt gold and refine it. Time after time he uses fire on it and it becomes progressively more bright and pure. When it has been through the fire once, the gold is just that much more purified. After repeated smeltings, it becomes unalloyed gold, without the least admixture, and is supple, pliant, and accomplished, and capable of being worked in accord with his intent. When the gold has been fired to the point to being very soft and pliant, so there is no way it could break, it is pliant and accomplished. You can make whatever you want out of it, in accord with your intent. One can use the gold to make all kinds of ornaments to adorn one’s person.

The Bodhisattva is also like this. He makes offerings to all Buddhas. The Bodhisattva, in cultivating all of the dharmas of regulating the Grounds, is also like that. First of all, he vastly cultivates the giving of offerings. And he teaches and transforms living beings. He uses kindness, compassion, joy, renunciation, patience, vigor –those Paramitas – to teach and transform living beings. All of which is cultivation of the dharmas of purification of the Grounds. He enables all living beings to be able to cultivate the Dharma doors of purification of the Ten Grounds. Then he takes all of those good roots and completely transfers them. The good roots that have been amassed from cultivation he completely uses to make transference to the Ground of all-wisdom, the dharmas of the Ten Grounds. Thus, he becomes progressively more bright and pure. Every day he understands the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds better, and each day he is more pure, subdued, compliant, and accomplished. That he is subdued and compliant means this Bodhisattva hasn’t the least bit of temper, and not the slightest affliction. At all times he is very kind, compassionate, joyous, and renouncing, and accomplishes the door of practice of patience; and is capable of acting in accord with his intent. Whatever Dharma-door he wants to employ he is able to employ.

Disciples of Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again said to the Bodhisattva, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva, when dwelling upon this, the First Ground, should from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattva, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within these Grounds. When the Great Bodhisattva who cultivates the Bodhisattva conduct and amasses all kinds of good roots certifies to the position of the Ground of Happiness, he should from where all Buddhas and Great Bodhisattvas and all Good-Knowing Advisors are, investigate the Dharma-doors of all the Grounds. If there are places one does not understand, one asks the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, the Good, Wise Advisors within these Ten Grounds about the marks and the fruit obtained, about the characteristics one experiences in cultivating them, along with what the fruit-positions to be obtained in the future are like. He does this without weariness or satiation. One does the seeking-out oneself, and the requesting is that of requesting all the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and all Good-knowing Advisors. It’s that way every day; it’s all the time that way, with no weariness or satiation. There’s no saying, “I’ve cultivated enough,’ and then not investigating or being lazy. He is vigorous all the time. In order to accomplish the Dharmas of these Grounds. The reason is that he wants to bring the dharmas of the Ten Grounds to accomplishment.

He should also from where all Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and good, wise advisors are, search out and request within the Second Ground the marks and the fruit obtained. The First Ground is that way, and if one wishes to cultivate the dharmas of the second of the Ten Grounds, one should again request them from where the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, and the Good-knowing Advisors are. One should seek them out and investigate them. If there are places one does not understand, one requests the characteristics of what one experiences, along with the fruit-positions one obtains, with no weariness or satiation, in order to accomplish the dharmas of that Ground. He should also in that way search out and request within the Third, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh, the Eighth, the Ninth, and the Tenth Grounds, the marks and the fruit obtained. When one intends to bring to accomplishment the dharmas of the Third Ground, the Fourth Ground, up to and including the dharmas of the Tenth Ground, one should investigate and ask all the Buddhas, all Bodhisattvas, and all Good-knowing Advisors the characteristics of what one goes through on each of these grounds and the fruit-positions one obtains. One should do this with no weariness or satiation. This, too, is without growing tired, in order to accomplish the Dharmas of those Grounds. This is also because of wanting to accomplish the dharmas of the Ten Grounds.

This Bodhisattva is good at knowing remedies for all obstructions to the Grounds. He is skilled in the knowledge of what obstacles arise on each Ground, and what methods to employ to counteract them. He is good at knowing the accomplishment and destruction of the Grounds. He is skilled in knowing how the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds are accomplished, and how they are not accomplished; and good at knowing the marks and fruits of the Grounds. He is also skilled in the knowledge of the characteristics of the Ten Grounds and how one attains to their fruit-positions.

Sutra:

Good at knowing the attainment and cultivation of the Grounds, good at knowing the purification of the Dharmas of the Ground, good at knowing the practices in turn for each Ground, good at knowing what holds and does not hold for each Ground, good at knowing the most supreme wisdom for each Ground, good at knowing the irreversibilities of each Good, good at knowing how to purify and regulate all the bodhisattvas’ Grounds, up to and including in turn entering the Ground of the Thus Come One.

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, in that way, is good at knowing the marks of the Grounds. Starting with the First Ground, he gives rise to practice which is uninterrupted. He continues in that way until he enters the Tenth Ground, without interruption. Due to the light of wisdom of all those Grounds, he accomplishes the Thus Come One’s light of wisdom.

Disciples of the Buddha, he is like a merchant leader who is skilled in expedient methods. When he is about to lead a group of merchants to visit a great city, before they have set out, he first inquires about the merits and drawbacks of the route, the halting places along it, and whether it is safe or not. Afterwards, equipped with provisions for the road, he does what needs to be done. Disciples of the Buddha, that great merchant leader, although he has not yet taken a step, is able to know all matters concerning safety on the road. He skillfully uses wisdom to plan, estimate, and consider, and prepares what is required so that they will not run short. He then leads the group of merchants until they safely reach that great city. He and the group of people completely avoid all disasters.

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, that merchant leader, is also that way. While dwelling on the First Ground, he is good at knowing remedies for obstructions to all Grounds, up to and including being good at knowing how to purify all the Bodhisattva Grounds, and in turn enter the Ground of the Thus Come One. Afterwards, equipped with the provisions of blessings and wisdom, he leads all living beings through the wilderness of birth and death with its places of dander until they sagely arrive at the city of Sarvajna. He and all the living beings do not experience disasters.

Therefore, the Bodhisattva should never be lax, and should cultivate the most supreme, pure karma of all Grounds, up to and including tending towards and entering the Ground of the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom.

Disciples of the Buddha, this is called a summary discussion of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s entry to the door of the First Bodhisattva Ground. If discussed at-length, there are limitless and boundless hundreds of thousands of Asamkhyeyas of particulars.

Commentary:

The Bodhisattva is good at knowing the attainment and cultivation of the Grounds. A Bodhisattva who has certified to the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, is good at knowing how to cultivate each Ground. He is good at knowing the purification of the Dharmas of the Ground, good at knowing the practices in turn for each Ground. He is also good at knowing for all the Ten Grounds how one goes in turn from the First Ground to the Second Ground, from the Second Ground to the Third Ground, up to and including how to cultivate the Tenth Ground. He is good at knowing what holds and does not hold for each Ground. He is skilled as well at knowing what is right and what is wrong for each Ground. He is good at knowing the most supreme wisdom for each Ground. Each Ground has its own particular wisdom, its own particular doors of practice. He is good at knowing the irreversibilities of each good, good at knowing how to purify and regulate all the bodhisattvas’ Grounds, up to and including in turn entering the Ground of the Thus Come One. He knows it all, up to and including what one goes through in order to obtain entry to certification to the fruit of the Ground of the Thus Come One.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, in that way, is good at knowing the marks of the Grounds. He is good at knowing the characteristics of each Ground. Starting with the First Ground, he gives rise to practice which is uninterrupted. He continues in that way until he enters the Tenth Ground, without interruption. Due to the light of wisdom of all those Grounds, he accomplishes the Thus Come One’s light of wisdom. He is able to obtain the light of wisdom of a Buddha.

Vajra Treasury bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, he is like a merchant leader.” He said, “Now I’ll give you an analogy. He is like a merchant leader who is skilled in expedient methods. He is skilled in knowing all expedient Dharma-doors. When he is about to lead a group of merchants to visit a great city, before they have set out, he first inquires about the merits and drawbacks of the route. When he is going to head up a party of merchants to visit a metropolis on business, in advance of their trip he finds out in which places the road is easy to traverse and in which places passage is not easy. He determines which places are dangerous and which places are safe. He learns it all. He also ascertains the halting places along it, that is, what places there are where one cans top for the night, and whether it is safe or not. He finds out which situations are safe and which are not. Afterwards, equipped with provisions for the road, he does what needs to be done. Afterwards they all prepare the provisions, that is, the money to be used, and he goes about doing his job.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury again says, that great merchant leader, although he has not yet taken a step, is able to know all matters concerning safety on the road. That great entrepreneur who does business on a large scale, even though he has not yet set out on the road, already knows all the safety factors and dangers along the route. He skillfully uses wisdom to plan, estimate, and consider, and prepares what is required. He prepares a sufficient quantity of things that they will need to use so that they will not run short. He then leads the group of merchants until they safely reach that great city. They arrive at the great metropolis to which they want to go. He and the group of people completely avoid all disasters. They safely reach the place to which they want to go.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury bodhisattva gain says, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, that merchant leader, is also that way. The bodhisattva is like a merchant leader. While dwelling on the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, he is good at knowing remedies for obstructions to all Grounds. He is good at knowing what methods to use to counteract any obstacles to cultivation that may arise on any one of the Grounds, up to and including being good at knowing how to purify all the Bodhisattva Grounds. He knows how all of the Bodhisattvas of the Ten Grounds can attain to purity, and in turn enter the Ground of the Thus Come One. Afterwards, equipped with the provisions of blessings and wisdom, he leads all living beings through the wilderness of birth and death. He guides all living beings through the wilderness of the revolving wheel of birth and death with its places of dander until they sagely arrive at the city of Sarvajna. They arrive at the City of All Wisdom. He and all the living beings do not experience disasters. The bodhisattva himself, and all the living beings with him, have no disasters.

Therefore, the Bodhisattva should never be lax. As a consequence of this, the Bodhisattva should at all times never be lax, and should cultivate the most supreme, pure karma of all Grounds. He should diligently cultivate the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds, that pure and most supreme Way karma, up to and including tending towards and entering the Ground of the Thus Come Ones’ wisdom. He should do so until he reaches the fruit-position of Buddhahood.

Disciples of the Buddha, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva gain says, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, this is called a summary discussion of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s entry to the door of the First Bodhisattva Ground. This is the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s entry to the Dharma-door of the First Ground. If discussed at-length, there are limitless and boundless hundreds of thousands of Asamkhyeyas of particulars. If expanded upon, it has a great many different aspects.

Sutra:

Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this, the First Ground, for the most part acts as king of Jambudvipa. He is powerful, honored, and sovereign, and constantly protects the Proper Dharma. He is able to use great giving to gather in living beings. He is skilled at ridding living beings of the defilement of stinginess. He constantly practices great giving without exhaustion or end. Giving, pleasing words, beneficial practices, and identity in actions – all such karma that is created is not separate from mindfulness of the Buddha, not separate from mindfulness of the Dharma, not separate from mindfulness of the Sangha, not separate form mindfulness of the Bodhisattva, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattvas of identical practice, not separate form mindfulness of the Bodhisattva practices, not separate from mindfulness of the Paramitas, not separate from mindfulness of all Grounds, not separate form mindfulness of the powers, not separate form mindfulness of the fearlessnesses, not separate from mindfulness of the uncommon Buddha Dharmas, up to and including not separate from mindfulness of endowment with the wisdom of all wisdom of all modes.

Commentary:

Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva again called out and said, “All you disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva who dwells upon this, the First Ground, for the most part acts as king of Jambudvipa. The Great Bodhisattva who cultivates the Bodhisattva conduct and amasses all kinds of good roots regularly becomes the kind of Jambudvipa when he accomplishes the First Ground, that of Happiness. He is powerful, honored, and sovereign. He either is someone with a great deal of money, or extremely sovereign and at ease, and constantly protects the Proper Dharma. He is able to use great giving to gather in living beings and cause them to bring forth the great thought of Bodhi. He is skilled at ridding living beings of the defilement of stinginess. He is able to get rid of living beings’ bad habit, the fault of stinginess. He constantly practices great giving without exhaustion or end. He is always practicing giving on a large scale, and his giving never ends.

Giving, pleasing words, beneficial practices, and identity in actions – all such karma that is created is not separate from mindfulness of the Buddha, not separate from mindfulness of the Dharma, not separate from mindfulness of the Sangha. No matter what good karma is created, it is never separate from mindfulness of the Triple Jewel: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. It is not separate form mindfulness of the Bodhisattva, not separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattvas of identical practice. Not to separate from mindfulness of the Bodhisattvas of identical practice is also mindfulness of the Sangha. It is not separate form mindfulness of the Bodhisattva practices which are cultivated. It is not separate from mindfulness of the Paramitas, the dharmas of Arrival at the Other Shore. It is not separate from mindfulness of the wisdom of all Grounds. It is not separate form mindfulness of the powers – the Buddha’s Ten Powers. It is not separate form mindfulness of the fearlessnesses – the Four Fearlessnesses. It is not separate from mindfulness of the uncommon Buddha Dharmas – the Eighteen Dharmas Special to a Buddha, up to and including it is not separate from mindfulness of endowment with the wisdom of all wisdom of all modes – all the wisdoms of a Buddha.

Sutra:

He further makes the following reflection: I should, among all living beings, be a leader, be supreme, be especially supreme, be wonderful, be subtle, and wonderful, be superior, be unsurpassed, be a guide, be a general, be a chief, up to and including being one with the wisdom of all wisdoms upon whom one may rely.

This Bodhisattva, if he wants to renounce the home life, within the Buddhadharma diligently cultivates with vigor and then can leave the home, his wife and children, and the five desires. He relies upon the Thus Come Ones’ teaching, leaves the home life, and studies the Way.

Commentary:

He further makes the following reflection: the Bodhisattva of the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, also makes the following contemplation, saying, ‘I should, among all living beings, be a leader, ‘I’ is the Bodhisattva referring to himself. I should be supreme, be especially supreme. I should be an especially outstanding and superior person. I should be wonderful. Among living beings, I should be an inconceivable person. I should be subtle, and wonderful. Among living beings, I should be an unsurpassed, deep, profound, subtle, and wonderfully inconceivable person. I should be superior. I should be a lofty and superior person. I should be unsurpassed. Among living beings, I should be an unsurpassed person. I should be a guide. I should, in the midst of all living beings, act as their guide. I should be a general. Among living beings, I should be a great general. I should be a chief. I should be a principal among living beings. Up to and including being one with the wisdom of all wisdoms upon whom one may rely, I should be someone who has the wisdom of a Buddha upon whom living beings can rely.

This Bodhisattva, if he wants to renounce the home life – if he wants to leave home -- within the Buddhadharma diligently cultivates with vigor and then he can leave the home. He can give up his family, his wife and children, and the five desireswealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep. He relies upon the Thus Come Ones’ teaching. He relies upon the teaching dharmas spoken by the Buddhas, leaves the home life, and studies the Way. He:

    Leaves the home of afflictions
    Leaves the worldly home, and
    Leaves the home of the Three Realms

Sutra:

Thereupon, after leaving home, he diligently cultivates with vigor. Within the space of a thought, he attains a hundred Samadhis. He comes to see a hundred Buddhas. He is able to know a hundred Buddhasspiritual powers. He is able to quake a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to go beyond a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to illumine a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to teach and transform the living beings of a hundred worlds. He is able to live for a hundred kalpas. He is able to know the boundaries of before and afterwards, the events of a hundred kalpas for each. He is able to enter a hundred dharma doors. He is able to manifest a hundred bodies. With every body he is able to manifest a hundred Bodhisattvas as his retinue.

If he employs especially supreme power of Bodhisattva vows to manifest at ease, he surpasses that number. In a hundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas, a hundred thousand kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas, the number could not be counted or know.

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoken verses, saying:

Commentary:

Thereupon, after leaving home, he diligently cultivates with vigor. After the Bodhisattva has brought forth the thought for Bodhi, renounced the world, and left the home life in order to seek the unsurpassed Way, he very diligently and earnestly cultivates with courageous vigor. Within the space of a thought, he attains a hundred Samadhis. Within the interval of a single thought, he obtains more than a hundred kinds of proper receptions, proper concentrations, that kind of wisdom. He comes to see a hundred Buddhas. When in a single interval of thought he is able to attain a hundred kinds of samadhis, then he is able to see a hundred Buddhas of a hundred worlds. He is able to know a hundred Buddhasspiritual powers. He is able to know all of the powers of spiritual penetrations of a hundred Buddhas of a hundred worlds. He is able to quake a hundred Buddha lands. The Bodhisattva is able to use spiritual penetrations and cause a hundred Buddha lands to tremble and quake in six ways. He is able to go beyond a hundred Buddha lands. The power of his spiritual penetrations is able to transcend a hundred Buddha lands. He is able to illumine a hundred Buddha lands. His light, too, is able to light up as many as a hundred Buddha lands.

He is able to teach and transform the living beings of a hundred worlds. Within a single interval of thought, he can teach and transform as many as a hundred Buddha landsliving beings. He is able to live for a hundred kalpas. He is able to maintain his life for a hundred great kalpas. He is able to know the boundaries of before and afterwards and the events of a hundred kalpas for each. He knows a hundred kalpas before, and he knows a hundred kalpas afterwards, knowing all of the events within them. He is able to enter a hundred dharma doors. He is able to manifest a hundred bodies. Within this very world he can make appear a hundred bodies and go to other worlds to teach and transform living beings. With every body he is able to manifest a hundred Bodhisattvas. He can use spiritual penetrations to make appear by transformation a hundred Bodhisattvas as his retinue. They act as his retainers.

If he employs especially supreme power of Bodhisattva vows to manifest at ease, he surpasses that number. In a hundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas, a hundred thousand kalpas, up to and including a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas. Should it be the case that the Bodhisattva has extraordinary and especially supreme vow-power and manifests at ease, he goes beyond that number, up to and including going beyond as many as a hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas. The number could not be counted or know. From this it can be seen that if a Bodhisattva has extraordinary vow-power, his merit and virtue exceed those of the previously described Bodhisattva to the point that they cannot be counted or know.

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, wishing to restate his meaning, spoken verses, saying: wanting to repeat those principles, he used verses to speak for everyone.

Sutra:

Should someone assemble multitudes of good,
He becomes endowed with white, pure dharmas,
He makes offerings to the honored one of gods and humans,
And follows the path of kindness and compassion.

His faith and understanding are most vast and great
His resolutions and inclinations, too, are pure
Intent upon the search for a Buddha’s wisdom
He brings forth this thought unsurpassed

Having purified all the powers of knowledge
Along with the fearlessnesses as well
And having accomplished all the Buddha Dharmas
He saves and gathers in the flocks of beings

In order to obtain great kindness and compassion
And to turn the supreme Dahrma wheel
To adorn and purify the Buddha-countries
He brings forth this thought most supreme

Commentary:

Should someone assemble multitudes of good,

He becomes endowed with white, pure dharmas. This says, “If a Bodhisattva cultivates the doors of practice cultivated by Bodhisattvas and accumulates various kinds of good roots, because of having a great deal of merit and virtue from good roots, he eliminates all defiled dharmas, so that all that remain are pure dharmas. He makes offerings to the honored one of gods and humans. He is able to make offerings to all Buddhas, and follows the path of kindness and compassion. He constantly teaches and transforms living beings, using kindness, compassion, joy, and renunciation, those Four Limitless Minds, to teach and transform living beings.

His faith and understanding are most vast and great. His faith along with the principles that he understands are both extremely vast and great. His resolutions and inclinations, too, are pure. All of his resolutions, as well as what he likes, are pure. Intent upon the search for a Buddha’s wisdom,he brings forth this thought unsurpassed. His determination is to seek wisdom which is the same as that of a Buddha, so he brings forth the thought for unsurpassed Bodhi.

Having purified all the powers of knowledge, along with the fearlessnesses as well; and having accomplished all the Buddha Dharmas, he saves and gathers in the flocks of beings. He has purified all the powers of all wisdom, in addition to the freedoms from fear. He has brought to accomplishment all of the Dharma doors spoken by the Buddha. He saves and protects all living beings.

In order to obtain great kindness and compassion, and to turn the supreme Dahrma wheel; to adorn and purify the Buddha-countries, he brings forth this thought most supreme. In order to acquire a mind of greatkindness and compassion, and also in order to turn the wheel of all the most supreme Dharmas, and so that he may adorn and purify all Buddhas’ lands, he brings forth this thought for most supreme Bodhi.

Sutra:

He in one thought knows the three periods of time,
Yet he has no discriminations;
Their various times which are not the same,
He employs to appear within the world.

To speak in summary, he seeks all Buddhas
Supreme merit and virtue, each and all;
He brings forth the thought vast and great,
Whose measure equals realms of empty space.

With compassion foremost, and wisdom principle,
And expedients along with interactives,
His mind of faith and understanding pure,
He has the Thus Come One’s limitless powers.

Unobstructed wisdom then appears,
Enlightened of himself, not due to others.
Identically endowed as the Thus Come Ones,
He brings forth this thought most supreme.

The disciple of the Buddha who first brings forth,
The wonderfully precious thought such as this,
Then transcends the commoner’s position,
Entering the Buddhas’ place of practice.

Commentary:

He in one thought knows the three periods of time, the past, the present, and the future. Yet he has no discriminations. He uses wisdom to know them, not the discriminations of consciousness. He knows their various times which are not the same. All of the times within the three periods of time are not identical. He employs them to appear within the world.

To speak in summary, he seeks all Buddhasunsurpassed Way, their supreme merit and virtue, each and all.He brings forth the thought vast and great, whose measure equals realms of empty space. He brings forth the thought for Bodhi, which is as vast as empty space.

With compassion foremost, and wisdom principle, and expedients along with interactives; his mind of faith and understanding is pure. He makes great compassion of foremost importance and relies on wisdom as his principal necessity. He practices all clever and expedient dharmas, along with all mutually interactive dharmas. He is able to have a pure mind of faith and understanding. He has the Thus Come One’s limitless powers. He obtains the limitless powers of spiritual penetrations of a Buddha.

Unobstructed wisdom then appears, he has obtained unobstructed wisdom.

Enlightened of himself, not due to others. He himself obtains the hundreds of thousands of millions of samadhis, and they are not bestowed upon him by anyone else. Identically endowed as the Thus Come Ones, those powers of spiritual penetrations – that unobstructed wisdom – are the same as those of the Buddha. He brings forth this thought most supreme, this thought for Bodhi.

The disciple of the Buddha who first brings forth the wonderfully precious thought such as this, then transcends the commoner’s position, entering the Buddhas’ place of practice. The disciple’s initial thought for Bodhi is as solid as vajra. He is no longer the same as an ordinary person. He enters upon the Way traveled by the Buddhas.

Sutra:

He is born within the Thus Come One’s household,
And his lineage has no flaws;
He is the same as the Buddha,
And is certain to accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi.

Upon producing thoughts such as those,
He immediately comes to enter the First Ground;
His resolve and inclinations are immovable,
Being like the great kind of mountains.

He has much happiness, much liking,
And much pure faith, as well;
He has courageous vigor to the utmost,
Along with much elation and rejoicing.

He is quite free from contention,
From troubling and harming, and from hatred;
He knows shame, respect, and rectitude,
And well protects and guards his faculties.

He seeks all the multitudes of wisdom,
Of the one incomparable in the world:
‘This place is one I should achieve,
Mindful, giving rise to happiness.’

Commentary:

He is born within the Thus Come One’s household. The Bodhisattva who has certified to the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, has already been born in the household of the Thus Come One, and his lineage has no flaws. His lineage, his descent, is entirely honorable and lofty. It is not despicable and has nothing reprehensible about it. It is not at all lowly or poverty stricken. He is the same as the Buddha. He is just like the Buddha, and is certain to accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi. It is for sure that he will become a Budha in the future. Upon producing thoughts such as those, he immediately comes to enter the First Ground. As soon as he has brought forth the thoughts of great kindness and compassion, and the thoughts of great joy and renunciation, he then can enter the Ground of Happiness. His resolve and inclinations are immovable. His resolutions and what he likes cannot be moved by anyone at all. That is, if you want to cultivate the Bodhisattva Way, no one will be able to break up your cultivation, being like the great kind of mountains. He is just like Mount Sumeru.

He has much happiness, much liking. When he certifies to the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, he has much happiness and much liking for all living beings, and much pure faith, as well. He also cultivates the dharma of pure faith and understanding. He has courageous vigor to the utmost. He also has ultimately great, courageous vigor, along with much elation and rejoicing. His happiness is full of enthusiastic delight and rejoicing. He is quite free from contention. The Bodhisattva who has certified to this position has no contention. He doesn’t strive or fight with anyone. He is also free from troubling and harming, and from hatred. He has not the slightest wish to trouble or harm others, and not the least bit of hate for other people.

He knows shame, respect, and rectitude. He knows how to repent and reform, has reverence and respect, and rectitude of mind. Incapable of being evasive, shifty, or devious, his mind is straight and upright, and well protects and guards his faculties. He is good at guarding and protecting all his faculties. His eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind all follow them. He seeks all the multitudes of wisdom of the one incomparable in the world. He seeks all the wisdoms of the Buddha, to whom no one can compare. ‘This place is one I should achieve,mindful, giving rise to happiness.’ I should certify to all the wisdoms of the Buddha. I am mindful of the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha – the Triple Jewel – and mindful of all living beings, and give rise to great joy.

Sutra:

Upon initially entering the First Ground,
He immediately transcends the five-fold fears:
Not staying alive, dying, bad reputation,
Evil destinies and the assembly’s awesome virtue.

He attaches neither to self,
Nor to what pertains to a self;
All of these disciples of the Buddha,
Leave all fearfulness far behind.

Always practicing great kindness and pity,
He constantly has faith as well as reverence;
He is replete with merit and virtue of repentance,
Night and day increasing wholesome Dharmas.

He delights in Dharma’s true and actual benefits,
And does not love the reception of desires;
He reflects upon the Dharmas he as heard,
Far free form the practice of grasping.

He has no greed for benefits or offerings,
And he only delights in Buddha’s Bodhi;
With one mind he seeks the Buddha’s wisdom,
Concentration undivided with no other thought.

Commentary:

Upon initially entering the First Ground, he immediately transcends the five-fold fears. When the Bodhisattva certifies to the Ground of Happiness, he then leave the Five Kinds of Fears far behind: not staying alive, dying, bad reputation, evil destinies and the assembly’s awesome virtue. In full, the list reads:

    fear of not staying alive,
    fear of a bad reputation,
    fear of death,
    fear of the evil destinies,
    Fear of the awesome virtue of the Great Assembly.

Why does he leave these five kinds of fears far behind? It is because he attaches neither to self,nor to what pertains to a self. He has no attachment to a self, and with no self what is there to fear? What belongs to a self is gone, too. You who are studying the Buddhadharm are afraid of this and afraid of that. Why are you afraid? It is because you are unable to be without a self. You are greedily attached to “me” and greedily attached to “mine.” But, if you had no self, and if what belonged to self were empty, then what could there be to fear? All of these disciples of the Buddhaleave all fearfulness far behind.

He is always practicing great kindness and pity. He always practices great kindness and great compassion and pities and remembers all living beings. He constantly has faith as well as reverence. He always has genuine, pure faith in and reverence and respect for the Triple Jewel. He is replete with merit and virtue of repentance. He is endowed with all the merit and virtue of repentance and reform, night and day increasing wholesome Dharmas. He delights in Dharma’s true and actual benefits and does not love the reception of desires. He does not love the five objects of desire. He reflects upon the Dharmas he as heard. He is always pondering and contemplating the Buddhadharmas he has heard, far free form the practice of grasping. He leaves grasping and attaching behavior far behind. He has no greed for benefits or offerings. He is not greedy for fame or profit, and he only delights in Buddha’s Bodhi. The only thing he delights in is the Buddha’s wonderful Dharma of Bodhi. With one mind he seeks the Buddha’s wisdom; he is single-minded in his quest for the wisdom of a Buddha alone, concentration undivided with no other thought. Intent and concentrated, he does not have two kinds of thoughts; he only has the thought of seeking the Buddha’s wisdom.

Sutra:

He cultivates all of the Paramitas,
Far separates from flattery and deceit;
As is spoken, so, too, does he practice,
And is secured in true and actual speech.

He does not defile the Buddha’s household,
Nor abandon Bodhisattva precepts;
Taking no delight in worldly matters,
Constantly he benefits the world.

He cultivates the good without fatigue,
His quest intensifying for the way supreme;
Such, then, is his liking for the Dharma,
That merit and virtue interact with meanings.

He constantly gives rise to a great vow-mind,
Vowing that all Buddhas he will see,
Protect and hold all BuddhasDharmas,
And gather in the great immortal’s way.

Always bringing forth such vows as these,
He cultivates the practices supreme,
Matures and ripens all the flocks of beings,
Adorns and purifies all Buddhas’ lands.

Commentary:

He cultivates all of the Paramitas. The Bodhisattva concentrates his mind and seeks the wisdom of a Buddha. If one wishes to obtain the wisdom of the Buddha, one must cultivate the Six Crossings-over, or the Ten Crossings-over – the Paramitas. One must also be far separates from flattery and deceit. One must leave flattery and obsequiousness far behind, along with all falsity and deceit. As is spoken, so, too, does he practice. One must rely upon the Dharma spoken by the Buddha to cultivate. And he is secured in true and actual speech. And at all times you should cultivate the dharmas of true speech, actual speech, never engaging in false speech.

He does not defile the Buddha’s household. It is essential to cultivate the Dharma-doors spoken by the Buddha very, very well, and protect the Dharma jewels spoken by the Buddha, never defiling the household of all Buddhas. That is, one must not make a bad impression for Buddhism by influencing people to have doubts. To start with, people may want to believe in the Buddha, but if you do not cultivate well, as soon as they see you they lose their faith. You can’t let that happen, nor abandon Bodhisattva precepts. He at all times protects the ten heavy and forty-eight light precepts cultivated by Bodhisattva, taking no delight in worldly matters. He has no greedy attachment for worldly dharmas. That means he ahs no liking for the world’s wealth, sex, fame, food, and sleep – matters concerned with the five objects of desire. Constantly he benefits the world. It is his constant wish to benefit the living beings of the world.

He cultivates the good without fatigue. In practicing giving and doing wholesome deeds, there never comes a time when he feels he’s had enough, his quest intensifying for the way supreme. He is more vigorous each day, daily becoming more courageous in his search for the unsurpassed, most supreme fruit of the Way. Such, then, is his liking for the Dharma,that merit and virtue interact with meanings.

He constantly gives rise to a great vow-mind. He is constantly bringing forth a great mind of vows and resolutions, vowing that all Buddhas he will see. He constantly makes the vow that he will see all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time, and protect and hold all BuddhasDharmas. He vows to protect and maintain all dharmas spoken by the Buddhas, and gather in the great immortal’s way, that is, the Buddha Way.

Always bringing forth such vows as these, he cultivates the practices supreme, matures and ripens all the flocks of beings. He brings all the flocks of beings to maturity, causing all living beings to become ripened and in the future to become Buddha. He adorns and purifies all Buddhas’ lands. He adorns and purifies the countries of all of the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time.

In studying the Buddhadharma and listening to Sutras, it is not the case that after one has listened to the Sutra that is all there is to it. It is necessary to base oneself upon the teachings and cultivate. If you listen and then fail to put what you have heard into actual practice, then that is equivalent to talking about food and counting other people’s money. You can talk all you want about how good this or that food is to eat, and about what a fine flavor it has, however, if you never get around to eating it, you still will not actually know what it tastes like. Day after day, in the bank you may count out money to others, counting out as much as a thousand, ten thousand, a hundred thousand, a million, or even ten million. Yet, when the bank closes, you yourself haven’t a penny – noen of it is yours. Therefore, when we hear the Buddhadharma, we must put the Dharma into practice. If the Bodhisattva cultivates the Six Paramitas and the ten thousand practices, should we be unable to cultivate so many, we should at least cultivate three Paramitas, two Paramitas, or one Paramita. We should cultivate either giving, or holding precepts, or patience, or vigor, or dhyana-samadhi, or Prajna, or expedients, or making vows, or using one’s own strength to do all kinds of good deeds, or using one’s own wisdom to perform various kinds of fine acts. For it to count, one must at all times and very actually practice. If you do not put it into practice, no mater how much you hear, it will be useless.

Sutra:

All of the Buddhaskshetra lands,
Disciples of the Buddha fully fill,
Impartial, of one single, even mind,
Nothing that they do is done in vain.

They, on the tip of every single hair,
At one time, accomplish right enlightenment.
Vows like those of theirs, which are so great,
Are limitless, and they have no bounds:

Empty space, along with living beings,
The Dharma Realm, together with Nirvana.
Appearances of Buddhas in the world,
Buddha’s wisdom and his states of mind,

What the wisdom of Thus Come Ones enters,
And the exhaustion of the turnings three
If all of those should have an end
Then all of my vows would have an end.

But, as all of those can have no end
So, too, are my vows just that way.’
Having thus made vows as great as those,
Their minds become compliant and subdued.

Commentary:

All of the Buddhaskshetra lands, disciples of the Buddha fully fill. There is not just one world; there are limitless and boundlessly many worlds. All the Buddhalands are also limitless and boundless. Disciples of the Buddha fill up all of the worlds, all of the Buddha kshetras. Impartial, of one single, even mind,

Nothing that they do is done in vain. These disciples of the Buddha are all the Bodhisattvas. Everything those Bodhisattvas cultivate is impartial and equal, and they all with one even mind benefit living beings. All of what they do and cultivate is not done in vain. It is impossible for them to do something that does not result in the slightest bit of merit and virtue. In whatever they do, there is certain to be some merit and virtue present. They, on the tip of every single hair,at one time, accomplish right enlightenment. Those Bodhisattvas make the vow that on the tip of every single hair they will cultivate and will become Buddhas at one and the same time. On a single hairtip, all Buddhas become Budhas, and on all hairtips, too, all Buddhas simultaneously become Buddhas.

Vows like those of theirs, which are so great, are limitless, and they have no bounds. The vows such as those that they make are inconceivably great vows. There is no way you could measure the extent of those kinds of vows, nor do they have any bounds. ‘Empty space, along with living beings, empty space and living beings are both infinite. The Dharma Realm, together with Nirvana. The Dharma realm and Nirvana are infinite, as well – but, suppose they could come to and end. Appearances of Buddhas in the world, Buddha’s wisdom and his states of mind,what the wisdom of Thus Come Ones enters. The kinds of states into which the wisdom of a Buddha is able to enter, and the exhaustion of the turnings three’ – should the realm of living beings come to an end, the realm of empty space come to an end, and the realm of the Dharma Realm come to an end, then the vows made by the Bodhisattva would come to an end. If the Dharma Realm, the realm of empty space, along with the Buddha’s realm – all of those --- have no time when they come to an end, then the vows of the Bodhisattva will have no exhaustion or end. That means that if all that was listed above should come to an end, then the vows made by the Bodhisattva would be over and done with. Should they have no end, then the Bodhisattva’s vows will also never end.

If all of those should have an end, then all of my vows would have an end. All the previously described – empty space, living beings, afflictions, the realm of Buddhas, and the Dharma Realm – if all of those have a time when they come to an end, then my vows will disappear. If it turns out not to be that way, but, as all of those can have no end,so, too, are my vows just that way.’ My vows too, can never come to an end. Having thus made vows as great as those,

Their minds become compliant and subdued. Having in that way made such inconceivable, vast, great, limitless, boundless, inexhaustible, and infinite kinds of vows, their minds are at all times supple and compliant, constantly tamed and subdued. Become the minds of Bodhisattvas have no greed, hatred, or stupidity within them; as a result they are always compliant and subdued.

Sutra:

They can believe the Buddha’s merit and virtue,
And contemplate regarding living beings.
Knowing they arise from causes and conditions,
They then give rise to kindly mindfulness;

Such suffering living beings such as these,
I now should liberate and save.
For the sake of those living beings,
I should cultivate the various kinds of giving

Positions as a king, all gems and jewels,
Up to elephants, horses, and conveyances.
Head, eyes, hands, as welll as feet,
Up to even body, blood, and flesh –

Each and every thing I can renounce,
Their minds have no worries or regrets.
Seeking all the various sutra books,
Their minds are never weary or fatigued.

Well can they understand their drift and meaning,
Adapting them to practices of worlds.
Repentance and reform their own adornment,
Their cultivation is progressively more solid.

Commentary:

They can believe the Buddha’s merit and virtue. We who study the Buddhadharma should first clearly recognize our tenets and convictions. We should first ask ourselves, “Do I truly believe in the Buddha? Do I believe that the Buddha has limitless merit and virtue?” Why is it that the Buddha has limitless merit and virtue? It is because the Buddha in the past practiced giving on a large scale, and he was able to give away all of his wealth. He was able to take all of his inner wealth – his head, eyes, brains, and marrow – and his outer wealth – countries, cities, wives, and children – and give it away without any attachment. They contemplate regarding living beings. Since we believe that the Buddha has limitless merit and virtue, we should constantly follow the Buddha in study and should also practice all kinds of giving. Therefore, we should contemplate all living biengs’ causes and conditions.

Knowing they arise from causes and conditions. All living beings are produced from the coming together of causes and conditions, and all have very deep relationships with us. They may have been our parents from beginningless kalpas to the present, or they may have been our elder or younger brothers, sisters, wives, or friends from beginningless kalpas to the present, so that they have relationship of an intricate network of karmas and turnings on the revolving wheel with us. Because they are aware of that relationship. They then give rise to kindly mindfulness. I should bring forth a mind of kindness and compassion and save and rescue all of htose living beings who have relationships with me, so that they leave suffeirng and attain bliss. I should cuase them toall be happy. Such suffering living beings such as these,I now should liberate and save. If I do not save and rescue them, then there is no way to know when their suffeirng can come to an end. And so, those beings are turning on the wheel of the six destinies, being born and then dying, being reborn and hten dying again; now that I know, I should save them and cause them to be liberated.

For the sake of those living beings, I should cultivate the various kinds of giving, positions as a king, all gems and jewels, up to elephants, horses, and conveyances. I can give away all of my roayl positions to other people, and all of my gems and jewels: my gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother of pearl, red pearls, and carnelian – all of those seven precious things. I can give away, as well, my most cherished great elephant, or my most beautiful horses, or my finest conveyances, whether it be my car, my train, my bus, or even the airplane I own – all of that I can give away to other living beings. Those are posessions external to the body. In addition, if somenone required my head, then I will give it to him. If someone requres my eyes, I’ll give it to him. If someone needs my hands, they are his. As well as if someone needs my feet, he may have them. Up to even body, blood, and flesh, even to the point that if someone needs my body, it, too, will be given him. Even one’s own blood, the bolld from one’s own body, is bestowed as a gift upon all living beings. Even the flesh on one’s onw body can also be given to all living beings. Right now we should all look into ourselves and ask ourselves if we can do this. If we can, then we are Bodhisattvas who have brought forth the resolve of Bodhisattvas. If we are unable to do this, should we or should we not imitate the Bodhisattva? If we want to imitate the Bodhisattva, then we should, bit by bit, go forward and act in this way.

Each and every thing I can renounce, I can give them all away. The external wealth of countries, cities, wives, and children, along with the internal wealth of head, eyes, brains, and marrow, I am completely able to give away. Their minds have no worries or regrets. After they have performed such acts of giving, they are incapable of having regrets in their minds, saying, ‘I shouldnot have given them away! such cheirshed possessions of mine – my countries, cities, wives, and children, my head, eyes, brains, and marrow – how could I have given them away to people? I should not have done that. It was too idiotic, too stupid!’ What the Bodhisattva wants to do is just what people are unable to do, the “stupid” things. He’s not just always trying to get a bargain and come out on the long end of the stick when he gives. Therefore, when a Bodhisattva gives away all external and internal wealth, he is unable to regret it.

Seeking all the various sutra books, furthermore, they find ways to study all of the books of Sutras spoken by the Buddha, and their minds are never weary or fatigued. In their minds there never comes a time when they would say, ‘I’ve looked at enough Sutras spoken by the Buddha, and I’ve recited this mantra enough; I would like to recite a new and different one.’ They could never be that way. Bodhisattvas, in reading the Sutras, never weary of a hundred recitations. Even if they have recited one hundred times, they are never tired or weary of it. In reciting mantras, too, they never weary of a hundred recitations. They never become tired of them.

We people should realize why it is we need to recite Sutras and hold mantras. It’s not just because if you recite a certain Sutra you will have a certain amount of merit and virtue. It is to cure your false thinking. If you didn’t have any false thinking, then you could get away with not reciting Sutras and holding mantras. But, if you do have false thinking, then you have to recite Sutras and hold mantras, which counteracts your false thinking and helps your mind to become pure. When we constantly strike up false thoughts in ourminds, always having unclean, defiled false thinking, so that as soon as you think, if you’re not thinking about how nice yoru girlfriend is, then you’re thinking aobut how handsome your boyfriend is – all of that is false thinking. If all you are doing is thinking, it’s still not serious.

However, if you keep on thinking like that, you’ll start to cry and will feel it’s very painful. Dur to that, when we recite Sutras and hold mantras, it’s so we can expel the false and retain the true. The mind is like a monkey. The monkey is always looking for something to do. If you haven’t any work to give it, it runs off east and west. If you do give the mind some work to do, such as reciting Sutras and holding mantras, then ti will strike up less false thinking, and the money won’t run off. “Their minds are never weary or fatigue.” In reicting Sutras and holding mantras – cultivating --- they never could become tired or weary.

Well can they understand their drift and meaning, in their recitaiton of the Sutras and their holding of mantras, they understand the doctrines and purport of the Sutras and the principles of the mantras, adapting them to practices of worlds. Once you have understood the principles, then you can apply them in the world to benefit all living beings. Repentance and reform their own adornment, one should be very repentant and reform the places where one made mistakes in past behavior, and one should, oneself, use the merit and virtue of repentance and reform to adorn one’s own resolve for Bodhi. Their cultivation is progressively more solid. If you yourself are able greatly to repent and reform, bring forth the thought for Bodhi, and cultivate the unsurpassed Way of Bodhi, then day by day you will increase in firmness and solidity.

Sutra:

They make offerings to Buddhas limitless,
Revere, do reverence, honor, and respect them.
In that way always do they practice;
Day and night, not lazy or fatigued.

Good roots brighten and become more pure,
Like gold which has been smelted in the fire.
The Bodhsiattva dwelling in this place,
Purely cultivates all of the Ten Grounds.

In what he does there is no obstruction,
His endowments cannot be cut off.
Just as when a great business leader,
To beneift the hosts of business people,
Asks and knows routes’ dangers and their ease,
Then arrives in safety at the town,
The Bodhisattva who dwells on the First Ground,
You should know just also in that way,
With courageous vigor unobstructed,
Reaches and arrives at the Tenth Ground,
While he dwells on this, the initial Ground,
He acts as king of merit and great virtue.

Commentary:

The mind of the Bodhisattva daily increases in solidity as he vastly cultivates him giving of offerings. They make offerings to Buddhas limitless, revere, do reverence, honor, and respect them. Inasmuch as he makes limitless offerings to limitless Buddhas, naturally he reveres and reverences, honors and respects them. In that way always do they practice; in practicing, one should have an enduring mind. One cannot achieve success after a single day of practice. Life after life and time after time one must practice in this way, cultivating the Bodhisattva Path, day and night, not lazy or fatigued. Whether it’s daytime or nighttime, they are constantly practicing the Bodhisattva Way, never weary or fatigued. Their good roots brighten and become more pure. As the Bodhisattvas cultivate, they day by day accumulate more good roots, their intelligence is daily greater, and they attain to their original purity, like gold which has been smelted in the fire. It is just the same as when a goldsmith uses fire to smelt true gold. Having put it through the fire once, he again puts it through the fire. When it has been through the fire a great many times, the gold becomes pure gold, without the least admixture.

The Bodhsiattva dwelling in this place, purely cultivates all of the Ten Grounds. The Bodhsiattva cultivaing the Dharma-doors of the Ten Grounds is also that way, being smelted in the same manner as gold. He purely cultivates the states of the Ten Grounds. In what he does there is no obstruction, when the Bodhisattva is cultivating the Bodhisattva Way, he cultivates all good and eradicates all evil, and so he has no onstructions. His endowments cannot be cut off. He is endowed with the light of all wisdoms, which cannot be cut off.

Just as when a great business leader, to beneift the hosts of business people, asks and knows routes’ dangers and their ease, then arrives in safety at the town. It is also like, in this day and age, a great entrepreneur, perhaps a prominent corporate executive, in those days, a caravan leader, who, in order to do business and make large profits, joins together a large number of business people. He finds out clearly in advance if the route to be traversed is dangerous or easy. Then they arrive with no incident at the place to which they wanted to go. In the same way, the Bodhisattva who is cultivating on the First Ground, should ask about the states of every single Ground, along with the fruit positions to be obtained, all the way to Buddhahood. The Bodhisattva who dwells on the First Ground,you should know just also in that way,with courageous vigor unobstructed,reaches and arrives at the Tenth Ground. He is just the same as the great business leader. He is courageously vigorous, has not obstructions whatsoever, and from the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, he arrives at the Tenth Ground, the Ground of the Dharma Cloud.

While he dwells on this, the initial Ground, he acts as king of merit and great virtue. While dwelling on the Ground of Happiness, he is a king of great merit and virtue and influences all the Bodhisattvas to go forward and cultivate.

Sutra:

He uses Dharma to transform all beings,
Compassion-hearted, with no trace of harming.
Ruling and directing Jambuvipa,
In transforming customs, none does he not reach,
Making all established in great giving,
Accomplished by the wisdom of a Buddha.

In his wish to seek the Way supreme,
Renouncing then his own royal position,
He can, within the midst of the Buddha’s teaching,
Courageous and with diligence, cultivate.

He then attains to one hundred Samadhis,
And he comes to see all hundred Buddhas:
He makes one hundred worlds tremble and quake:
His illumination’s reach is also thus,

He transforms and saves a hundred beings,
To enter in one hundred Dharma-doors;
He can know one hundred kalpas’ matters,
And appear within one hundred bodies.
There then appear one hundred Bodhisattvas,
Acting as a retinue for him.

Commentary:

When the Bodhisattva acts as a king of great merit and virtue, in Southern Jambudvipa he constantly becomes a wheel-turning king, in order to teacha nd transform living beings. He uses Dharma to transform all beings. He uses all the Buddhadharmas to save all living biengs, by being compassion-hearted, with no trace of harming. In transforming living beings, he constantly has a mind of kindness and compassion, with no thought of harming living beings. He firmly maintains the practice of giving, ruling and directing Jambuvipa. He acts as king of the region known as Southern Jambudvipa and transforms and beautifies its customs, causing the customs of each nation to become wholesome ones. All countries hold the Five Precepts:

    no killing,
    no stealing,
    no sexaul misconduct,
    no false speech,
    No intoxicants.

The citizens of all countries hold the five precepts and practice the ten goods, and so in transforming customs, none does he not reach,making all established in great giving. He causes all living beings also to practice the Dharma-door of great renunciation, to cultivate the Dharma-door of giving, and

Accomplished by the wisdom of a Buddha. All living beings attain the true and actual wisdom of a Buddha.

In his wish to seek the Way supreme, he himself seeks the most supreme Way, and he causes all living beings to seek it, too. Renouncing then his own royal position. To start with, he is king of a country, but he also gives away that kingly position to other people. He can, within the midst of the Buddha’s teaching,courageous and with diligence, cultivate. What does he do after he has renouced his royal position? He cultivates. He leaves home and cultivates the Way, with courageous vigor. In diligently cultivating precepts, samadhi, and wisdom and putting to rest, greed, hatred, and stupidity, at no time is he lazy.

He then attains to one hundred Samadhis. At that time, the Bodhisattva in the interval of a single instant of thought, attains to a hundred kinds of samadhis,

And he comes to see all hundred Buddhas. Again, within the space of a single thought, he can see all the Buddhas of a hundred lands. He makes one hundred worlds tremble and quake. The countries of one hundred worlds all experience the six types of quakes. His illumination’s reach is also thus. The pervasive illumination of his light also shines upon the living beings of a hundred worlds. He transforms and saves a hundred beings. As he shines upon the living beings of a hundred worlds, he transforms and saves all those hundred worldsbeings. To enter in one hundred Dharma-doors; the living beings of the hundred worlds all attain a hundred Dharma-doors. He can know one hundred kalpas’ matters. He is able to know all of the events of a hundred previous kalpas, of a hundred kalpas afterwards, and of a hundred present kalpas, knowing the entirety of the past, the present, and the future.

And appear within one hundred bodies, he is also able to appear and trnasform, haivng as many as a hundred Bodhisattva bodies. There then appear one hundred Bodhisattvas. Every single body further manifests as many as a hundred Bodhisattvas, acting as a retinue for him. They act as that Bodhisatva’s retinue, helping him propagate the Buddhadharma and teach and transform living beings.

Sutra:

If he uses comfort from his power of vows,
Their number, limitless, surpasses these.
I, among the meanings of this Ground,
Have in general spoken a small portion.

If one wants to analyze most broadly,
One cannot finish in a million kalpas.
The Bodhisattva’s path, the most supreme,
Of benefitting all the flocks of beings
Dharmas such as those, of the First Ground,
I have now already finished speaking.

Commentary:

If he uses comfort from his power of vows, their number, limitless, surpasses these. Should it be that the Bodhisattva has made vows of sovereign, as-you-please comfort, the merit, virtue, and wisdom far surpassthat by an unkonwn amount, surpassing it by ahundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas, a hundred thousand kalpas, kalpas so many that words cannot express these principles. I, among the meanings of this Ground, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva says, “I, within the meanings and principles of this First Ground,”

Have in general spoken a small portion, I have not completely discussed them. Were I to speak them competely if one wants to analyze most broadly. If they were discussed extensively and in full detail, one cannot finish in a million kalpas. These principles could not be discussed completely in a quadrillion aeons.

The Bodhisattva’s path, the most supreme, which is cultivated by Bodhisattvas, of benefitting all the flocks of beings. What matters most to them, their creed, is to benefit all living beings, benefitting themselves by benefitting others, crossing themselves over by crossing over others, enlightening themselves by enlightening others. Dharmas such as those, of the First Ground, the kinds of dharmas I previously discussed, those dharma-doors of the First Ground, I have now already finished speaking. Now I have already finished my very general explanation of them. All of you should thoroughly investigate them, and then you will be able to understand them.

The Second Ground

Sutra:

The Bodhisattvas, upon hearing this most supremely subtle, wonderful ground, in their minds thoroughly were pure, and were happy, each and every one. They all, arising from their seats, soared up and dwelt in empty space, everywhere scattered wondrous, flowers, and simultaneously spoke these words of praise. “Good, indeed, O Treasury of Vajra, greatly wise and who has no fear, well have you spoken of this ground’s Dharmas practiced by the Bodhisattvas!” Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing the assembly’s minds were pure, and that they wished to hear the Second Ground, all the characteristics of its conducts, right then requested Vajra Treasury, “Greatly Wise One, we wish that you would speak, disciples of the Buddha all would like to hear, about the dwelling on the Second Ground.

Commentary:

When the Bodhisattvas had heard Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva discuss the Dharma of the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness, upon hearing this most supremely subtle, wonderful ground, in their minds they thoroughly were pure. The minds of all the Bodhisattvas were pure, free of any false thoughts, and they were happy, each and every one. Their minds were totally happy. They all, arising from their seats soared up and dwelt in empty space. They all physically ascended into empty space and everywhere scattered wondrous flowers. All of them in empty space scattered flowers as offerings to Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, saying simultaneously, “Good, indeed, O Treasury of Vajra.” They said, “Good, indeed, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, greatly wise and who has no fear. You truly are a Bodhisattva of great wisdom, courageously heroic and without the least bit of fear! Well have you spoken of this ground’s Dharmas practiced by the Bodhisattvas. You have well spoken about the Dharmas on the Ground of Happiness!”

Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, knowing the assembly’s minds were pure, and that they wished to hear the Second Ground, made a request. The discussion of the First Ground was over, and everyone still wished to hear the Dharmas of the Second Ground with all the characteristics of its conducts. They wanted to know all about the Second Ground’s Dharma doors--how to cultivate them, what kinds of states one has, and what fruits one obtains; and so Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva right then requested Vajra Treasury. He immediately asked of Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, “Greatly Wise One, we wish that you would speak.” He said, “Oh one of great wisdom, you, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva, all of us would still like you to continue your discussion of the Dharmas of the Ten Grounds. Disciples of the Buddha all would like to hear. All the great Bodhisattvas wish to hear about the marks, characteristics, and states of the Second Ground- about the dwelling on the Second Ground. They would all like to continue and cultivate Dharma doors of the Second Ground.”

I want to say something here about the problem of holding precepts versus not holding precepts. To cultivate the Way is not easy. No matter how much someone tells you to cultivate well, you still refuse to go forward and make progress. Yet, when it comes to doing bad, you do not require a teacher- you yourself know how to do it. When you hear about the Way, it sounds so fine. There are so many subtle and wonderful states. However, one must practice over a long period of time, and it may happen that one encounters brambles and thorns, tigers and wolves. If one lacks a great spirit of fearlessness and patience, it is very difficult to reach the goal.

As to holding precepts, while there are many people who take the precepts, there are very few who do not break or violate the precepts. To keep the precepts very purely also is not easy. Then should one simply not keep them? If you were not going to keep them, then why did you take them in the first place? Scrupulous holding of the precepts is extremely important, especially for those who have left the home life. The Buddha at the time of his Nirvana said, “Take the precepts as your master.” There is also the phrase, “The precepts are the basis of unsurpassed Bodhi: you should with one mind purely hold the precepts.”

How does one hold precepts? First, you should not be selfish and not calculate for yourself in any way. You should not kill, not steal, not commit sexual misconduct, not engage in false speech, and not take intoxicants. You should scrupulously observe the rules which disciples of the Buddha should observe. Do what you should do, regardless of the difficulty or the suffering involved. Do not do what you should not do. Do not be greedy for fame or profit and offerings. Hold and maintain the conduct of pure precepts in your cultivation. If you fail to do what you should do, that too, is a violation of the precepts.

We who cultivate the Way should at all times return the light and reverse the illumination. We should take a good look at ourselves and alert and alarm ourselves. If we make mistakes, we should correct them and resume our solid holding of the precepts. It is like crossing the sea in a life-raft. If the life-raft springs a small hole, it must be repaired quickly. If neglected and not repaired, the small hole will become large. With a large hole, the raft will start to leak and eventually will sink- and your life will go down along with it. This is greatly to be feared. Therefore, I hope that everyone will be especially attentive to the matter of holding precepts purely, and then the precept-protecting spirits will at all times accompany you and insure that you peacefully and safely traverse the road of cultivation.

Sutra:

At that time, Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva addressed Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, saying: Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva Mahasattva who has already cultivated the First Ground and who wishes to enter the Second Ground should give rise to ten kinds of profound minds, what are they? They are: a proper and upright mind, a compliant and yielding mind, a mind able to endure, a tamed and subdued mind, a still and quiet mind, a completely good mind, an unmixed and unscattered mind, a mind with no hankering or yearning, a vast mind, a great mind. The Bodhisattva, using those ten minds, attains entry to the Second Ground of Leaving Filth.

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Bodhisattva dwells upon the Ground of Leaving filth, his nature of itself leaves all killing far behind. He does not collect knives or staves. He does not cherish resentment or hatred. He has shame and he has remorse. He is endowed with humaneness and reciprocity. Towards all living beings who have a life, he always brings forth thoughts of benefit and kindly mindfulness. This Bodhisattva would not with evil mind even trouble living beings, how much the less give rise to heavy intent and actually kill or harm any whom he realizes are living beings.

Commentary:

At that time- when the great assembly of Bodhisattvas and Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva had finished speaking the previous verses- Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva addressed Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva. Vajra Treasury Bodhisattva spoke to Moon of Liberation Bodhisattva, saying: Disciples of the Buddha, the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, the great Bodhisattva, cultivates the Bodhisattva Way and accumulates all kinds of good roots and is one who has already cultivated the First Ground- he is one who has already cultivated and certified to the position of the First Ground, the Ground of Happiness- and who wishes to enter the Second Ground. He further wishes to cultivate the Dharmas of the Second Ground. He should give rise to ten kinds of profound minds. He should bring forth ten profound minds and have true and actual recognition of Buddhadharmas.

What are the ten? What are the ten kinds of profound minds? They are: a proper and upright mind; one’s mind should be straight, not devious and crooked. As it is said:

The straight mind is the Way Place.

“Proper” means not having any deviant knowledge or deviant views. “Upright” means not having any deceitful thoughts.

A compliant and yielding mind- the mind of the Bodhisattva should be compliant and yielding; it should not be obstinate or stubborn. A mind able to endure- one is able to undergo and bear what is unendurable. The straight and upright mind represents the mind of Giving, while the compliant and yielding mind is Holding Precepts, and the mind able to endure is Patience. Being “able to endure” means the ability to be patient with the unbearable. The precepts one cannot hold on still must hold. No matter what, one cannot break the precepts.

There was a Bhikshu like that in the past. The Bhikshu, wearing red clothing, went to the home of a goldsmith. The goldsmith at the time was making a pearl necklace for the king of the country. Each pearl of the strand was extremely costly. While the Bhikshu was in the goldsmith’s home, the goldsmith lost of the pearls, and accused the Bhikshu of having stolen it. Actually, the Bhikshu did know where the pearl was, but he certainly had not stolen it. Where was the pearl? Because the Bhikshu had been wearing red-colored clothing, the pearl had reflected the red color. Right at that time a goose had come in, and when it saw the pearl reflecting the red color, it looked to the goose like a piece of meat, and so the goose seized it in its beak and gulped it down. Thereupon, the Bhikshu had reflected, “If I say the pearl has been eaten by the goose, the goldsmith will certainly kill the goose to get back the pearl. If that happens, it will be as if I indirectly had killed the goose.” Therefore, he hadn’t said where the pearl was. The goldsmith said, “Now, there are only two of us here, and since my pearl is missing, you must have stolen it. If you hadn’t stolen it, how could it be missing?” The Bhikshu said he hadn’t stolen it.

The goldsmith grabbed a cane and started beating the Bhikshu, yelling, “So you didn’t steal it? You’re just not admitting it!” He kept beating him until the Bhikshu’s body was entirely covered with welts, his skin broken and bleeding. When the Bhikshu had been beaten to the point that he bled, the goose, seeing the blood, ran up and started drinking the blood that was flowing from the Bhikshu’s body. The goldsmith hadn’t expected the goose to run and rink the blood and was still using his cane to beat the Bhikshu. One blow of his cane smashed the goose’s head, and the goose died of the blow. Once it was dead, the Bhikshu said, “You shouldn’t beat me. Now you can find your pearl.”

The goldsmith said, “I can find it, can I? You stole it, and now you’d better come up with it fast! If not, I’ll beat you to death!”

The Bhikshu said, “The pearl was eaten by the goose. Now that you have beaten the goose to death I’m telling you. The pearl is in the goose’s belly. If you don’t believe me, you can slit open the goose’s stomach, and you will find the pearl.” As it turned out, when the goldsmith cut open the goose’s belly, the pearl actually was inside the goose’s stomach.

When the goldsmith saw that, he realized, “This Bhikshu is someone who really holds the precepts! In order to protect the goose’s life, no matter how much I beat him, he wouldn’t say anything, but in fact, the goose had eaten the pearl!” He informed the king of the country of what had happened, and the king was very respectful of the Bhikshu. That is what is meant by a mind which is able to bear and endure.

There is another story, this time about a group of Bhikshus, quite a few of them, who while travelling through a stretch of wilderness, were held up by bandits. The bandits robbed the Bhikshus of their valuables and also robbed them of all their clothing, so that they had no clothes to wear. Some of the bandits suggested, “We should kill these left-home people. If they aren’t killed, they’ll probably report us to the king, and it won’t go well for us. It would be better to kill them.” Other bandits said, “Don’t kill them. The law of Bhikshus is that not only do they not harm the lives of living beings, they are not even permitted to harm the lives of plants and trees. Let’s tie these Bhikshus up in the rushes. That way they won’t be able to report us to the king, and no one will find us.” The other bandits thought it over and said, “That’s a good plan. It would be best to tie them up in the rushes and have them die on their own.” So, the bandits bound the Bhikshus in the rushes and then went on their way.

When they had gone, an elder amongst the Bhikshus said, “We should now recognize that in the past we robbed people of their valuables and took people’s live, and so this life we have met with this retribution. So, all of you bear up under this!” He talked to them like that. Then, at dusk, the ants and beetles and mosquitoes and all the rest came to bite them. They bit the Bhikshus to the point that their entire bodies were one huge blister which was both painful and itchy. The elder Bhikshu said, “Everyone bear with it. Don’t become hateful. See how the dragons, because of giving rise to hatred while cultivating the Way, fell to the bodies of dragons. Although we have now encountered this difficulty, we should have no hate, to avoid ending up like the dragons. When the dragons lose their hatred, then they will be able to abandon the bodies of dragons and resume cultivating. So, everyone be patient!” The more he spoke that way, the more trouble there was. Bees came to sting them- everything imaginable came to bite them, and their bites were extremely difficult to endure.

During the night, the howls of the wolves, bears, panthers, and leopards terrified the Bhikshus incredibly. Then, at daybreak, who should appear but the king of the country conducting a hunting expedition right through the area where the Bhikshus were! When he saw them from afar, the king thought that they were wild beasts, since the Bhikshus were not wearing clothes. As he approached and saw them better, the king thought they must be goblins. As he got even closer and was within speaking distance, upon questioning them he found out that they were Bhikshus who had been robbed of all their possessions by bandits, and in consideration of holding the precepts were enduing hunger and thirst, rather than consenting to harm the grass and bushes. When the King saw those Bhikshus were that way, he felt great respect for them and said, “In my country there are still Bhikshus who cultivate the Way like that! This is truly rare!” The king immediately released them from the rushes in which they had been tied and invited them to return with him to the palace to accept offerings from him.

All of you think it over: all people had to do was tie the Bhikshus up with rushes, yet they would not consent to break the precepts and harm the rushes. They were prepared to endure starvation and being stung to death by insects rather than break the precepts. See what kind of ability they had to bear what is difficult to bear and practice what is difficult to practice. Precepts which it was impossible to keep,