02 Sep Explanation of the Title: Prajna Paramita Heart Sutra, Part 45
(Last week we ended with: “The first learning of Sudhana was from Master Monk De-Yun, who taught him to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, which has revealed that all living beings are Buddha originally and inherently possess the Buddha-nature in perfection. It is due to delusional thoughts and attachments that prevent us to experience entry into the truth. Therefore, Monk De-Yun taught Sudhana to plant the right “cause” seed”.)
When you are chanting /mindfulness of Amitabha, what is mindfulness? It is at this very moment your body and mind are purified without defilement; that is called mindfulness. Practicing cultivation is precisely the very moment your body and mind are purified without defilement, no afflictions, no pressure, no attachments and no delusional thoughts; this is called “chanting/mindfulness of Amitabha”; it is not just changing using your mouth, chanting is for reminding.
“A” means infinity,
“Mita” means quantity or capacity,
“Bha” means enlightenment.
A – Mita – Bha, off the top of your head, he is infinite brightness; infinite enlightenment and infinite liberation. I am Buddha inherently; today I become this way and need to think how to amend my behaviors to accomplish this in one go. Exactly within this one thought becomes Buddha in perfection. In this split second, you become Buddha in perfection, 24 hours have so many split seconds, connecting all split seconds together are you not the Buddha?
Becoming a Buddha is so simple; but unfortunately, through the infinite existence of world-periods we have not achieved this. People have chanted Amitabha for 23 hours and broke it with only less than an hour to go. Some people chanted for 24 hours but mixed with a lot of variegated mind and deluded thought. The venerable lay practitioner Lee Bing-Nan has demonstrated to chant 24 hours without distracting thoughts. It does not mean no distracting thoughts; his distracting thoughts crushed by Amitabha’s name, then he was free from all resistance, his Prajna ability was able to came out – the Six Supernatural abilities manifested—divine vision, divine hearing, unimpeded bodily action, awareness of the minds of others, knowledge of previous lifetimes and extinction of contamination’. These Six Supernatural abilities are our inherent abilities and not given by others.
Within the quest for enlightenment with 53 teachings by Sudhana, the first learning represented “cause and effect”; then from whom did his last learning come from? It was Pu-Xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra) who we all know that he and Wen-Shu Bodhisattva (Manjusri) are the Bodhisattva assistants of Vairocana Buddha. Wen-shu Bodhisattva represents “wisdom” and Pu-Xian Bodhisattva represents the “power of vows—representing the vow power of Buddha”.
What is the vow power of Buddha? It is:
To liberate all sentient beings without limit,
To put an end to all passions and delusions, however numerous;
To study and learn all the countless Dharma without end,
To become perfect in the supreme Buddha-Law.
Therefore, these four universal vows comply with Pu-xian Bodhisattva’s (Samantabhadra) ten vows to be in perfection. So, the ten vows of Pu-xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra):
- To pay homage and respect to all Buddha
- To praise all Tathagata
- To make abundant offerings and give generously
- To repent misdeeds and evil karmas
- To rejoice in others’ merits and virtues
- To request the Buddha to continue teaching
- To request the Buddha to remain in the world
- To follow the teachings of the Buddha always
- To accommodate and benefit all living beings
- To transfer all merits and virtues to benefit all beings
The first vow: to pay homage and respect to all Buddha; the 2nd vow, to praise all Tathagata. Remember this to pay homage and respect to all Buddha, therefore, he sees all living beings is Buddha. Do not be mistaken by the meaning of all Buddha, it is not those who have already attained Buddha-hood, they are only a portion. Individuals like us, germs on the ground, and all living things, all are Buddha. Therefore, he pays homage. The second vow: to praise all Tathagata, Tathagata is the attainment, one becomes a Buddha, it is praising. We praise Tathagata’s cultivation, this kind of power of merit gained through tolerating the intolerable and doing the impossible.
Lastly, Sudhana learned from Pu-Xian Bodhisattva (Samantabhadra). Pu-Xian Bodhisattva said to Sudhana:
The fastest way for you to attain Buddhahood perfectly, where do you go to have perfect and fast attainment? You should go to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land. You go to Amitabha to recover your essence of pureness and being the master of yourself.
Sudhana had already gone through 52 learnings from teachers who led him to the Buddha way, and the 53rd learning – the last one taught him how to complete in perfection.
His first learning, one taught him to chant (mindfulness) Amitabha, the last learning was to go to the Bliss World of Amitabha Pure Land. Thus, the Flower Adornment Sutra explains：
Cause and effect occur simultaneously.
Using Sudhana as the example, he underwent 53 learning processes to bring the Great, Omni-directional and Extensive Buddha to perfection.
Remember this; when reading out this sutra title: The Sutra – of the Great – Omni-directional – Extensive – of the Buddha’s – Flower – Adornment, you must always read each word clearly and separately. What is Sutra? It is a guidebook that gives directions, overall guiding principles, and curriculum for cultivation practice.
From this perspective, the Phenomenal Characteristics of Prajna is the Sutra of the Great, Omni-directional and Extensive of the Buddha’s Flower Adornment, it is the whole Flower Adornment Sutra.
Where did Buddha explain this Flower Adornment Sutra? He explained it in the heavens. Not on earth, because no one on earth understands this.
Buddha is in the state of Samadhi radiates a light to explain to Mahasattva – great being with Dharma body. It is Long-Shu Bodhisattva (Nagarjuna) went to the Palace of the Dragon King; he was shocked after seeing the innumerable poetic verses of the Flower Adornment Sutra, the volume fills up ten times the size of the universe of 1,000,000,000 universes. Speaking of our galaxy, 100 billion galaxies counts as one world unit, multiplied by 10, that is the approximate volume. We do not have room to open it up in our Galaxy. Therefore, he memorized the table of contents and brought it back to earth. This is how the Flower Adornment Sutra began to circulate. Therefore, we are only able to see the table of contents like chapters titled Lord of the World (Brahma) Incomparable Commanding, or Ten Stages. It is okay we only have the table of contents; we see the table of contents and are able to see its overall guiding principles.
What are the overall guiding principles? It is after the Rocana Buddha became a Buddha by using wisdom to appear endless marvelous functions.
This endless marvelous function uses what as representation? The Sutra of the Lotus of the Wonderful Dharma is known in short as the Lotus Sutra. Therefore, I am going to explain next, the “functions”.
“Essence” represents by the Surangama Sutra,
“Phenomenal characteristic” represents by the Flower Adornment (Huayan) Sutra,
“Functions” represents by the Lotus of Wonderful Dharma or the Dharma Flower Sutra or Lotus Sutra.
The Lotus Sutra, the first 14 chapters talk about “the cause of becoming Buddha”, and the latter 14 chapters discuss “the effect of becoming Buddha”. It uses himself as an example to explain cause and effect occur simultaneously.
(上星期講到: 善財童子五十三參，第一參德雲比丘教他念佛，顯示一切眾生本來是佛，本來具有佛性 – 圓滿佛性，就是妄想、執著沒有辦法證。所以教他種個「因」。)
你念佛，念是什麼？是此時此刻，身心清淨，一塵不染，叫「念」。修行其實就是當下，此時此刻你身心清淨，一塵不染，沒有煩惱、沒有壓力、沒有執著、沒有妄想，就叫作「念佛」。不止是嘴念，嘴念是提醒。「阿」是無，「彌陀」是量，「佛」是覺。阿彌陀佛，一想，無量光明、無量覺悟、無量的解脫。我本來是佛，今天變成這樣，要想想修正行為，一次完成。就在這一念頭中，圓滿成佛。 這一剎那圓滿成佛，二十四小時這麼多的剎那, 連起來不就是佛？
成佛就這樣簡單，可惜無量劫都沒做到。有人念可能念了二十三個小時就斷了，還差一個鐘頭斷掉了。要不然有的人念二十四小時，雜心很多，妄念很多。李炳南老居士示現，二十四小時沒有雜念。不是雜念沒有，他那個雜念被佛號壓住，他就自在了，他的「般若」的能力就出來了 – 六種神通現前，天眼、天耳、神足、宿命、他心、漏盡，都出來了。這六神通是我們原來的能力，不是人家給你的。
所以在五十三參當中，第一參就代表因果。最後參到誰？最後參到普賢王 – 普賢菩薩，我們知道他是毘盧遮那佛的左右侍從菩薩，他們代表智慧跟願力。文殊代表「智慧」，普賢代表「願力」 – 代表佛的願力。佛是什麼願力？
所以四弘誓願以普賢菩薩為依歸，為圓滿。「普賢十大願」，一者，禮敬諸佛。二者，稱讚如來。記住「禮敬諸佛」，所以他看一切眾生都是佛。「諸佛」不要搞錯，不是成了佛的那些叫諸佛，那是一部分；我們這些沒有成的、地下的細菌、一切生靈，都是佛，所以禮敬。「稱讚如來」，如來 – 是成就，成了佛了，讚歎！讚歎如來修行，這種忍人所不能忍，成人所不能成的這種功德力。
「體」以《楞嚴》代表，「相」以《華嚴》代表。「用」是以《妙法蓮華》 – 《法華》為代表。
《法華經》講前面十四品是因 – 成佛之「因」；後面十四品講成佛之「果」。它是現身說法講「因果同時」。