When the Dharma was on the verge of becoming extinguished, there were a thousand heterodox sects adhering to a thousand ways of explaining the Dharma. Approaching the end of the kalpa, the obstacles rooted in karma and delusions became so extreme that all manner of evil bhikshus indulged extensively in quarrelsome disputation, delighted in becoming attached to objective states, did not seek to acquire the meritorious qualities, and delighted in discussions devoted to matters having to do with the King, in discussions devoted to insurgents, in discussions devoted to women, in discussions devoted to the state, in discussions devoted to the sea, as well as all manner of other sorts of worldly discussions.
Discuss and learn about the traditional Mahayana scriptures, without assuming that any one school ‘owns’ the only correct interpretation.
Long, long ago...
You should conceive of oneself as afflicted by a disease, should conceive of the good spiritual guide as the king of physicians, should conceive of the Dharma that he proclaims as fine medicine, and should conceive of the practice one cultivates as ridding one of disease.
You should also conceive of yourself as one who is traveling far, should conceive of the good spiritual guide as a guide, should conceive of the Dharma that he proclaims as the right path, and should conceive of the practice one cultivates as that which will succeed in reaching that distant goal.
You should also conceive of yourself as one who is being rescued and taken across, should conceive of the good spiritual guide as a ship captain, should conceive of the Dharma that he proclaims as a ship’s oars, and one should conceive of the practice one cultivates as the means of reaching the far shore.
Maitreya Bodhisattva is speaking to Sudhana & all of us:
Each and every one of bodhisattvas' great vows are all such as
you should have faith in and take on as your own.
Through faith and delight in the power of solidly enduring vigor,
Sudhana has succeeded in bringing these practices to realization.
Whosoever extends thoughts of respect and admiration toward this
should also pursue just such training as he exemplifies in this.
In the case of all of the other bodhisattvas, they pass through measurelessly many hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭīs of nayutas of kalpas, after which then and only then are they able to bring about the complete fulfillment of the bodhisattva’s vows and practices. Then and only then are they able to draw near to the bodhi of all buddhas.
However, in the case of this elder’s son, [Sudhana] it has been in the course of but a single lifetime that:
He has become able to purify the buddha kṣetras.
He has become able to bring about the transformative teaching of beings.
He has become able through wisdom to deeply enter the Dharma realm.
He has become able to perfect all of the pāramitās.
He has become able to increase the breadth of all of the practices.
He has become able to bring about the perfect fulfillment of all of the great vows.
He has become able to step beyond all of the works of the demons.
He has become able to serve all good spiritual guides.
He has become able to bring about the purification of all bodhisattvas’ path.
And he has become able to become entirely equipped with the practices of Samantabhadra.
In all such worlds as these, he [Sudhana] saw that there were countless congregations of great bodhisattvas, some walking along, some sitting still, that were engaged in all manner of karmic works wherein some were bringing forth the great compassion and sympathy for beings, others were creating treatises serving the world’s benefit, yet others were taking on particular teachings, others were seeing to their preservation, others were writing them out, others were reciting, others were inquiring about them, others were presenting responses to them, and yet others were engaged in repentances, dedications, and the bringing forth of vows throughout all three periods of the day.
The final few lines of the sutra wherein Samantabhadra Mahasattva says:
Whosoever hears of this sea of [Buddha's] meritorious qualities and
brings forth joyous delight and thoughts of faith and understanding
will thereby be bound to acquire them all as here proclaimed.
Take care, for, in this, one must never cherish any thoughts of doubt.
Early in chapter 39:
At that time, the Youth Good Wealth, having heard from Manjushri about the various merits and virtues of the Buddha,
single-mindedly and diligently sought anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Following Manjushri, he spoke verses, saying:
The three existences are like city ramparts,
Arrogance forms the walls,
The destinies are like doors and windows,
Love's water fills the moat.
Covered by stupidity's darkness.
The fires of greed and anger blaze.
The demon king becomes the ruler,
Like an unknowing child we follow along.
Greed and love are a strong rope,
Flattery and deception are the reins and bit.
Doubt and delusion veil one's eyes,
As one enters the deviant paths.
Stinginess, jealousy, and arrogance abound,
One enters the three evil places,
Or falls into the various destinies,
Amid the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death.
Pure sun of wondrous wisdom
Whose great compassion forms a perfect wheel
Which dries up the sea of afflictions,
Pray Buddha, grant us a little attention!
Pure moon of wonderful wisdom,
Your great kindness forms a filthless wheel,
Which bestows calmness on us all.
I wish you could shine on me.
King of the Dharma Realm,
With Dharma treasures as your foremost guide,
Who courses in emptiness without obstruction,
I wish you would teach and exhort me.
Great merchant of blessings and wisdom,
Courageous in your search for Bodhi,
Who universally benefits all beings,
I wish you would protect me!
Donning the armor of forbearance,
With wisdom sword in hand,
Masterfully you quell the demon armies,
May you bend to rescue me!
If a Bodhisattva accords with living beings, then he accords with and makes offerings to all Buddhas. If he can honor and serve living beings, then he honors and serves the Thus Come Ones. If he makes living beings happy, he is making all Thus Come Ones happy. Why is this? Because all Buddhas, Thus Come Ones, take the mind of great compassion as their substance. Because of living beings, they bring forth great compassion. From great compassion, the Bodhi mind is born; and because of the resolve for Bodhi, they accomplish Equal and Proper Enlightenment.
It is like a great king of trees growing in the rocks and sand of a barren wilderness. When the roots get water, the branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits will all flourish. The Bodhi-tree king growing in the wilderness of birth and death is the same. All living beings are its roots; all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are its flowers and fruits. By benefiting all beings with the water of great compassion, one can realize the flowers and fruits of the Buddhas’ and Bodhisattvas’ wisdom.
“Why is this? If all Bodhisattvas benefit living beings with the water of great compassion, they can attain anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Bodhi belongs to living beings. Without living beings, no Bodhisattva could perfect the Unsurpassed Proper Enlightenment.
“Good Man, you should understand these principles in this way: When the mind is impartial towards all living beings, one can accomplish full and perfect great compassion. By using the heart of great compassion to accord with living beings, one perfects the making of offerings to the Thus Come Ones. In this way the Bodhisattva constantly accords with living beings.
Further, when a person is on the verge of death, at the last instant of life, when all his faculties scatter and he departs from his relatives, when all power and status are lost and nothing survives, when his prime minister, great officials, his inner court and outer cities, his elephants, horses, carts, and treasuries of precious jewels can no longer accompany him, these kings of vows alone will stay with him. At all times, they will guide him forward, and in a single instant he will be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Arriving there, he will see Amita Buddha, Manjushri Bodhisattva, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva Who Contemplates At Ease, Maitreya Bodhisattva, and others. The appearances of these Bodhisattvas will be upright and adorned, and their merit and virtue complete. Together, they will circumambulate him.
This person will see himself born from a lotus flower and will receive a prediction from the Buddha. In this way, he will pass through numberless hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of millions of nayutas of kalpas, and with his power of wisdom, he will accord with the minds of living beings in order to benefit them everywhere throughout the ineffably ineffable worlds in the ten directions.
Before long, he will sit in a Bodhimanda, subdue the demonic armies, accomplish Equal and Proper Enlightenment and turn the wonderful Dharma Wheel. He will cause living beings in worlds as many as the fine motes of dust in Buddhalands to bring forth the Bodhi mind. According with their basic natures, he will teach, transform, and bring them to maturity. To the exhaustion of the seas of future kalpas, he will greatly benefit all living beings.
Buddha-Sons, this precious sūtra falls only into
the hands of a Dharma King’s true sons, who have been born into the Tathāgata
family and planted roots of goodness to acquire a Tathāgata’s appearance.
Buddha-Sons, without these true Buddha-sons, this Dharma Door will soon
vanish. Why? Because no rider of the Two Vehicles hears this sūtra, much less
accepts, upholds, reads and recites, copies, or expounds it. Only Bodhisattva-
Mahāsattvas can do these things. Therefore, when a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva
hears this Dharma Door, he should feel great joy and accept it with the highest
esteem and reverence. Why? Because a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva who believes
and delights in this sūtra will soon attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi.
Master Hua on using sutra to cultivate and transform:
It is essential to rely upon the Sutra's principles to cultivate and to use the Sutra as a cure for our own personal faults. Those who are greedy, after hearing the Flower Adornment Sutra, should rid themselves of greed. People who have hatred, upon hearing the Sutra, should give up their hatred; and those who are stupid should stop being stupid. The principles discussed in the Sutra are designed to correct our faults and bad habits. It is absolutely not the case that the Sutra was Dharma spoken for Bodhisattvas with no relation to us, or that it was Dharma spoken for Arhats with no relevance for us. Don't think, "All I as an ordinary person can do is listen to the Sutra. I could never aspire to the states of a Sage." To think that way is to throw yourself away, to separate yourself from the Sages.
Will wrote:Long, long ago...When the Dharma was on the verge of becoming extinguished, there were a thousand heterodox sects adhering to a thousand ways of explaining the Dharma. Approaching the end of the kalpa, the obstacles rooted in karma and delusions became so extreme that all manner of evil bhikshus indulged extensively in quarrelsome disputation, delighted in becoming attached to objective states, did not seek to acquire the meritorious qualities, and delighted in discussions devoted to matters having to do with the King, in discussions devoted to insurgents, in discussions devoted to women, in discussions devoted to the state, in discussions devoted to the sea, as well as all manner of other sorts of worldly discussions.
Sounds like he's talking about Dharma Wheel!
My posts are for entertainment purposes only. Please don't take anything I say seriously unless you verify it with a real teacher first.
Hi, I'm new on this forum and new to Buddhism, so please excuse my ignorance. But this is my favourite sutra! I simply love it, though I can rarely understand the meanings. I am looking for other forum members who follow this sutra and it's practices, any wisdom or teachings would be much appreciated. Or anybody who can suggest how I can increase my knowledge of this sutra, please do tell. I just posted a question on the forum asking about this sutra, so I hope to get some insights into it. I really feel this must be among the greatest of the Buddha's teachings, if not the best, though once again I am a newbie so perhaps I speak out of ignorance, please Dharma sisters/brothers, do help me to increase my knowledge in this regard. Thank you and blessings!
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