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

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



Sutra

At that time, Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further addressed the great assembly saying, “Disciples of the Buddha, going back to the remote past, passing through kalpas as many as fine motes of dust in world systems, and further doubling that number, there was a sea of world systems called ‘Light of Purity of the Universal Door.’ Within that sea of world systems was a world named ‘Supreme Sound,’ which was supported by a sea of nets of mani flowers. It had worlds as many as fine motes of dust in Mount Sumeru as its retinue.

Commentary

Vairochana, the title of this chapter, refers to the clear, pure Dharma-body Buddha who pervades all places. “To pervade all places” means not to be located anywhere and yet to be omni-present. It is a clearness and purity which extends to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm. This, the sixth chapter in the eleventh roll of the Avatamsaka Sutra, discusses the causes and conditions of Vairochana Buddha.

At that time, right after the previous verses, had been spoken, this present chapter, “Vairochana,” began when Universal Worthy Bodhisattva further addressed the great assembly. “Universal Worthy” is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva of Great Conduct and Great Vows. He addresses the great multitude in the Dharma Assembly, Saying,” All of you Disciples of the Buddha, now I will tell you about the causes and conditions of Vairochana Buddha.” Then he goes on to say, “It all started long, long ago. From the point of view of the present time, going back to the remote past, we must imagine a time span passing through kalpas as many as fine motes of dust in a sea of world systems. That is, so many of those kalpas they can’t be counted. Then we must go on, further doubling that number. To that number of fine motes of dust in a sea of world systems, add that much again. There was a sea of world systems called ‘light of purity of the universal door,” within that sea of world systems was a world named ‘Supreme Sound,’ which was supported by a sea of nets of precious mani flowers. It had worlds as many as fine motes of dust in Mount Sumeru as its retinue.”

And so you see, our Saha World system is not the only existing world system. Beyond our Saha World are yet many more world systems, as many as fine motes of dust, far more than anyone could ever count. Being here in this world we aren’t aware that those other worlds exist; we suppose our world is the only one.

Sutra

“It took the shape of a perfect circle. Its earth was composed throughout of limitless adornments. A myriad jeweled trees—three hundred rows deep—together with a ring of mountains, entirely encircled it. Jeweled clouds hovered over it. It was pure, without defilement, and illuminated by light. Its cities, towns, and palaces were likened to Mount Sumeru. Clothing, food, and drink arrived according to one’s thoughts. Its kalpa was named ‘Variously Adorned.’

Disciples of the Buddha, within that world Supreme Sound was a sea of fragrant waters, called ‘Pure Light,’ and from within that sea an immense mount sumeru shaped liked a lotus flower arose, called ‘Banner of Universal Adornments of Blazing Flowers,’ encompassed by ten jewelled railings.

Commentary

“It took the shape of a perfect circle. At that time, which was kalpas ago as many as fine motes of dust, there was a sea of worlds called, ‘Light of Purity of the Universal Door,’ and in that sea of world systems was the world called ‘Supreme Sound.” A perfectly symmetrical globe, Its earth was essentially composed throughout of limitless adornments, and it had a myriad jeweled trees, three hundred rows deep, together with a ring of mountains, which entirely encircled it.

“Jeweled clouds constantly hovered over it, sheltering it from above. It was pure, without defilement. This world was without any filth of dirt, and was illuminated by many colorful and brilliant lights. Its cities, towns, and even the palaces were all so magnificent, vast, and lofty that they were likened to mount sumeru.” Sumeru is a Sanskrit word which means “wonderfully high.”

“Clothing, food, and drink arrived according to one’s thoughts.” Immediately following upon a thought for a particular style of dress, that style of clothing appears. That’s not how it is in this world, where we either must make our clothes ourselves or go out and buy them. In that world one need only think about whatever kind of fine clothing one wants to wear and it will appear. And if one has an appetite for a particular kind of food or drink, one doesn’t have to go to the kitchen to prepare it or go out to buy it, all one has to do is think about something to eat, and it will appear directly following upon one’s thought. This is because the living beings of that world have the reward of blessings, and so things are very convenient for them.

“Its kalpa was named ‘variously adorned,’ because it was adorned with many different kinds of precious objects.

Disciples of the Buddha, within that world Supreme Sound was a sea of fragrant waters, called ‘Pure Light,’ and from within that sea an immense mount sumeru shaped like a lotus flower arose, called ‘Banner of universal adornments of Blazing Flowers.” That huge lotus flower was itself composed of flowers, each of which emitted spectacular lights, and it was encompassed by ten jeweled railings. Those railings were made up of all the various kinds of jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearls, and carnelian, and they surrounded the mountain on all four sides.

Sutra

“On top of that mountain was a great forest called ‘Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches.’ Innumerable floral pavilions and jeweled parapets entwined it in order. There were numberless banners, wonderfully fragrant, and jeweled mountain banners, most sublime and magnificent. There were numberless jeweled pundarika flowers blooming profusely. Numberless nets of fragrant mani lotus flowers surrounded it and trailed down. There was the sound of harmonious music and there were boundless fragrant clouds shimmering with brilliant light. Millions of kotis of nayutas of cities completely surrounded it, and the living beings inhabiting them were of many different kinds.

Commentary

“On top of that mountain was a great forest, which was called ‘wheels of blossoming mani branches.” Within that forest there were innumerable floral pavilions and jeweled parapets which entwined it in order. That circled it on all four sides in orderly fashion. There were numberless banners, wonderfully frgrant, as well, and numberless jeweled mountain banners, most sublime and magnificent. There were numberless jeweled pundarika—white lotus—flowers blooming profusely, which were extremely pleasing to look at. Numberless nets of fragrant mani lotus flowers, more than one could possibly count, surrounded it and trailed down. There was the sound of refined and harmonious music pervading all places, and there were boundless fragrant clouds shimmering with brilliant light, which shone upon that world keeping it perpetually bright—one could never span their extent.

“Millions of kotis of nayutas of cities completely surrounded it on all four sides, and the living beings inhabiting them were of many different kinds.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, east of that forest was a great metropolis, called ‘Blazing Light.’ It was governed by a human king. Millions of kotis of nayutas of cities completely surrounded it. The inner city, which extended seven thousand yojanas, vertically and seven thousand yojanas horizontally, was composed of pure and wonderful jewels. Its outer walls were composed of the seven precious stones. Its towers and parapets, for repelling enemies, were all lofty and beautiful. The city moat, inlaid with the seven jewels, was filled to its brim with fragrant waters.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva again addresses all the Bodhisattvas, “Disciples of the Buddha, East of that forest was a great metropolis.” On the side of Mount Sumeru there was a vast forest. That forest contained limitlessly many floral pavilions. To the east of that forest, called “Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches,” there was a big city, “called ‘Blazing Light.’ It was governed by a human king, a wheel-turning king among people. There are four kinds of wheel-turning kings: gold wheel-turning kings, silver wheel-turning kings, copper wheel-turning kings, and iron wheel-turning kings. A gold wheel-turning king governs as entire world system, which includes all of the four great continents. A silver wheel-turning king governs three great continents; a copper wheel-turning king governs two, and an iron wheel-turning king governs one great continent.

“Millions of kotis of nayutas of cities completely surrounded it. There were so many other cities fully encircling the City of Blazing Light that one could never discern their exact number. And, The inner city, which extended seven thousand yojanas vertically and seven thousand yojanas horizontally, was composed of pure and wonderful jewels. This city was entirely constructed of very precious, rare, and valuable gems. Viewed at vertically, that city rose seven thousand yojanas in height, and observed horizontally, it’s expanse was seen to be seven thousand hojanas across. A yojana is a unit of measure. There are small, middle-sized, and large yojanas. The ones being discussed here were no doubt large yojana. One small yojana is equal to twelve miles, a middle-sized yojana is equal to twenty miles, and a large yojana to twenty-four miles. Since the seven thousand yojanas referred to here are certainly big ones, you can imagine how large that city must have been!

“Its outer walls were composed of the seven precious stones. There was the inner city and its outer cities, or suburbs, all of which were constructed of the seven precious things. Its towers and parapets, for repelling enemies, were all lofty and beautiful. On top of the city walls were turrets and parapets, military guardhouses where the sentries kept watch to prevent enemy invasions, and those were all very high and imposing.

“The protective city moat, inlaid with the seven precious jewels, was filled to its brim with fragrant waters.”

Sutra

Utpala flowers, padma flowers, kumuda flowers, and pundarika flowers, wrought from a multitude of gems, were spread out everywhere as ornaments, and seven rings of precious tala trees encompassed it. The palaces and towers were adorned with many jewels; a variety of wonderful nets were draped over them. Rubbing incense and fragrant, lustrous flowers were scattered throughout.

Commentary

“There was utpala flowers, which are blue lotuses, padma flowers, or red lotuses, kumuda flowers, an edible variety of white lotus, and pundarika flowers, another variety of white lotus, wrought from a multitude of gems. They were spread out everywhere as ornaments. All those precious lotus flowers were scattered about, and seven rings of precious tala trees encompassed it.” Tara is a Sanskrit word which is translated as “shoreline’ tree, because these trees grow on the banks of rivers. They are also great, tall trees which grow to be somewhere in the area of seventy feet high. These trees stood in seven rings surrounding the moat where the lotus flowers grew.

“The palaces and towers were very tall and adorned with many gems. A variety of wonderful nets were draped over the tops of them, rubbing incense and fragant, lustrous flowers were scattered throughout.” Rubbing incense is a kind of sachet incense which is applied to the body for the purpose of hygiene. A small amount is applied to the hands to cleanse them, as a gesture of respect for the Buddha. Having clean hands is one way of showing respect for the Buddha. This was originally an Indian custom. In the Eighty-eight Buddhas Repentance Ceremony there is a phrase, “Mwo syang tu syang, syau syang.” “Mwo suang” is a powder for burning, and the “tu syang” is a paste incense which is applied to the body. According to the Indian custom, anyone who wanted to participate in a Buddhist ceremony would first wash his hands and then rub some paste incense on them. That’s how it came to be a Buddhist practice. This custom is no longer widely practiced in India, but it was brought to Japan, where there are still some laypeople--particularly those who study the Secret School—who practice it.

Sutra

“There were millions of kotis of nayutas of entrance ways entirely embellished with jewels. In front of each one of those gates hung forty-nine precious shila banners in orderly array.

“Moreover, there were millions of kotis of parks and groves encircling it all around, within which were various kinds of blended incense mani trees whose fragrance were pervasive, a multitude of birds sang in harmony, delighting those who heard them.

Commentary

In this city, Blazing Light, “There were millions of kotis of nayutas of entrance ways entirely embellished with jewels. In front of each one of those gates hung forty-nine precious shila banners in orderly array.” Those forty-nine Precious Shila Banners were “auspicious” banners, or “clear and cool” banners, since “shila” is Sanskrit for both “auspicious” and “clear and cool.” Each banner was set beside the next in a very orderly arrangement of rows and crossrows, like a net, and none of the rows were the least bit askew.

“Moreover, there were millions of kotis of parks and groves encircling the city of Blazing Light all around, within which were various kinds of blended incense mani trees, whose fragrances were pervasive. The fragrances from the mani trees permeated the atmosphere, drifting in a continuous stream all about the forest, and then sailing on to all the outlying areas surrounding the great city.

“A multitude of birds sang in harmony, delighting those who heard them.” All the various kinds of songbirds were there blending their voice together—this one chirping his tune, and that one warbling his. Those who heard the birds’ melodies became quite blissful.

Sutra

“Of those people who dwelled in that great city, none had not accomplished the karmic reward of the complete spirit. They ascended space in their coming and going, and their activities were identical to those of the gods. Whatever they wished for appeared in response to their thoughts.

“To the south of that metropolis was a deva city, called ‘Tree Adorned with Flowers. ‘To the right of that city was a big city of dragons, called ‘Ultimate.’ And next to that was a city of yakshas, called ‘Banner of Supremely Wonderful Vajra.’ Next in succession was a city of gandharvas, called ‘Marvelous Palace,’ and next to that was a city of asuras, called ‘Jeweled Wheel.’

Commentary

“Of those people who dwelled there in that great city, Blazing Light, there were none who had accomplished the karmic reward of the complete spirit. The result of their collective past karma was to receive the reward of the Penetration of the Complete Spirit—every one of them had accomplished it. They ascended space in their coming and going. They were able to travel through the air without using an airplane; they could float in space. They could go anywhere they wished for a vacation and could return when every they wanted, and they didn’t have to buy an airplane ticket. And so, those of you who enjoy traveling should quickly develop your spiritual penetrations so that you, too, can be reborn in such a great city and receive the karmic reward of the complete spirit. Then you’ll be able to rise in space and come and go as you please.

“Their activities were identical to those of the gods. All of the activities and affairs of those dwelling in that city were just the same as those of the gods. Whatever they wished for appeared in response to their thoughts. Whatever they wanted—their hearts’ delight—appeared in response to thee movement of a single thought; all their wishes were fulfilled. If they thought about clothes, clothing would come. If they thought about food, food would arrive. Whatever they wished for would manifest. That kind of reward of heavenly blessings is quite inconceivable. It is truly a case of ‘the response and the way intertwining.’

“To the south of that metropolis Blazing Light was a deva city, a city inhabited by gods. And that city was called ‘tree adorned with flowers.’ To the right of that city was a big city of dragons, called ‘ultimate,’ where the dragons lived, and next to that was a city of yakshas, called ‘Banner of Supremely Wonderful vajra.’” Here the test has been discussing the cities where the gods, dragons, and others of the eight-fold division lived, starting with the gods, then the dragons, and now the yakshas. Yakshas have an extremely ugly appearance. There are yakshas who travel on the surface of the earth and those who travel through space. Yakshas are also known as ‘speedy ghosts,” because they move very swiftly. They lived in Banner of Supremely Wonderful Vajra City.

“Next in succession was a city of Gandharvas, called ‘Marvelous Palace.’ Gandharvas are the music spirits of the God Shakra, Chief among gods. Gandharvas are also called ‘incense sniffers,’ because when Shakra wishes to hear them play music, he burns a special kind of incense, and its fragrance draws them to the spot. Then they all come and dance and entertain Shakra with their music.

“And next to that was a city of asuras, where the asuras—‘ those of non-upright appearance,’ and ‘non-gods’—lived. It was called ‘Jeweled wheel’ City.

Sutra

“Next in order was a city of garudas, called ‘Wonderful Jeweled Adornments,’ and next to that was a city of kinnaras called ‘Rambling in Playful Sport.’ Next was a city of mahoragas, called ‘Vajra Curtain’, and next to that was a city of Brahma heaven kings, called ‘Various Wonderful Adornments.’ And there were others such as those, millions of kotis of nayutas in all. Each one of those cities had millions of kotis of nayutas of pavilions completely encircling it, all limitlessly adorned.

Commentary

“Next in order was a city of Garudas. Garudas are golden-winged birds. The city inhabited by them was called ‘Wonderful Jeweled Adornments,’ and next to that was a city of kinnaras. Kinnaras are also music spirits of the Jade Emperor’s court. Because they were always happily dancing and playing about, their were always happily dancing and playing about, their city was called ‘Rambling in Playful Sport.’ Next was a city of mahoragas. Mahoragas are hug python snakes. The city they inhabited was called ‘Vajra curtain,’ and next to that was a city of brahma heaven kings, called ‘Various Wonderful Adornments.’

“And there were others such as those cities just mentioned above, millions of kotis of nayutas in all. Each one of those cities had millions of kotis of nayutas of pavilions completely encircling it, all limitlessly adorned. All those cities, and all the pavilions encircling those cities, were graced with boundless, limitlessly many extraordinary and exquisite adornments.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, within the forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, there was a Way-place called ‘Jeweled Flowers Universally Illuminating.’ It was bedecked with an array of magnificent jewels and a profusion of wreaths of mani flowers in full bloom. The fragrant oils used to burn in its lamps glowed with a complete spectrum of jeweled colors, forming resplendent, blazing clouds and nets of universally illuminating light. From its full array of ornaments there continually welled forth exquisite gems. The strains of its music were consistently elegant and refined. From regal mani jewels emerged images of Bodhisattvas. An assortment of wondrous flowers were scattered everywhere throughout the ten directions.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva is about to expound the next section of text, and so he calls out, “Disciples of the Buddha, within the forest wheels of blossoming mani branches, that great, adorned forest, there was a way-place, a Bodhimanda where the Dharma was spoken, called ‘jeweled flowers universally illuminating,’ because it was graced with an assortment of precious flowers which emitted light that illumined the ten directions. That Way-place was bedecked with an array of magnificent flowers and jewels and a profusion of wreaths fashioned from all sorts of precious mani flowers in full bloom. The fragrant oils which were used to burn in its lamps glowed with a complete spectrum of jeweled colors. Each variety of fragrant oil, when burned, gave off a different hue of light, forming resplendent, blazing clouds. The sky above that way-place was filled with billowing, spectacular, radiant clouds, and there were also various nets of universally illuminating light. From its full array of ornaments there continually welled forth exquisite gems. A variety of extraordinary jewel constantly bubbled forth from within those ornaments. The strains of its music were consistently elegant and refined and harmonious.

“From regal mani jewels— as –you-will pearls, the King of gems—emerged images of bodhisattvas. An assortment of wondrous flowers were scattered everywhere throughout the directions.”

Sutra

“In front of that way-place was a great sea, called ‘Fragrant Mani Vajra.’ From it emerged a huge lotus flower called ‘Flaming wheels of flower buds.’ Its blossom was vast and magnificent, hundreds of kotis of yojanas in size. Its stem, leaves, filaments and calyx were all of wondrous jewels. Ten clusters of ineffable, hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of lotus flowers encircled it. It perpetually emitted light and wondrous sounds which universally pervaded the ten directions.

Commentary

“In front of that way-place, which was called ‘Universal Illumination of Jeweled Flowers,’ was a great sea. That sea also had its own name. It was called ‘Fragrant mani vajra sea,’ and from that sea emerged a huge lotus flower. That lotus flower also had its own name: ‘Flaming wheels of flower buds.’ Its blossom was vast and magnificent.” It wasn’t like the lotus flowers any of us have seen. It was “ Hundreds of kotis of yojanas in size. Its stem, leaves, filaments and thecalyx at the base of the flower where the Buddha sits were all composed of all kinds of wondrous jewels. Ten clusters of ineffable, hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of all other kinds of lotus flowers encircled it on all four sides.”

That great lotus, called Flaming Wheels of Flower Buds, perpetually emitted a great light and, not only that, it spoke the Dharma and continually emitted wondrous sounds, as well. From within that light there came forth subtle and wonderful sounds,which proclaimed all Dharmas and universally pervaded the ten directions.” Both the light and the sounds of Dharma universally pervaded the ten directions, continuously without interruption, to the exhaustion of empty space and the Dharma Realm.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, during the very first kalpa of that world called Supreme Sound, Thus Come Ones as many as the fine motes of dust in ten Mount Sumerus appeared in the world. The first of those Buddhas was called ‘Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue.’

Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that one hundred years before that Buddha was about to appear in the world, the forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches was everywhere adorned and purified.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you Disciples of the Buddha, during the very first kalpa of that world called Supreme Sound, Thus Come Ones as many as the fine motes of dust in ten mount sumerus appeared in the world. The very first kalpa, of course, begins the cycle of coming into being, stasis, decay, and emptiness. Those four terms are explained as follows. A thousand small kalpas together make up a middle-sized kalpa. One middle-sized kalpa covers a period of coming into being. A period of stasis also spans twenty small kalpas, a period of decay is twenty small kalpas long, and a period of emptiness is also twenty small kalpas.

“But,” you say, “I can’t possibly conceive of that long a period of time. “Well, if you can’t grasp this concept, then I’ll shrink the kalpa down a bit for you to enable you to understand. Let’s discuss the lifespan of a person. A person’s lifespan extends for several decades, and those years span the time of being born, the time of growing old, the time of sickness, and the time of death. Those four different periods of time are synonymous with the coming into being, stasis decay, and emptiness of a world system.

Then you say, “Well, I still don’t understand—I still can’t comprehend this idea.” Well, we’ll shrink it some more and talk about a single year’s time. A year has four seasons: spring, summer, fall, and winter. Spring is the period of coming into being; summer is the period of stasis; fall is the period of decay; and winter is the period of emptiness. Do you see? In the springtime we prepare the fields for planting. The fields are planted with the intention that the plants will come into being. Seeds are planted in the earth, and the sumemrtime, after the seeds have sprouted and the plants are flourishing, is the period of stasis. In the fall the plants reach maturity, and their harvest takes place in autumn, just as the period of decay sets in. Then, with the coming of winter, after everything that grew from the earth has been harvested, there is a period of emptiness. The principle applies in the same way.

When you listen to the Buddhadharma, you don’t need to be so attached, saying that you don’t understand. If you can understand the small, then you will understand the great. If you know the few, then you will be able to know the many. If you can understand what is near, then you will be able to understand what is far away. If you can listen to the Sutras without having any false thinking, then you will remember very clearly what has been spoken. But if you have a lot of false thinking while you listen to the Sutra lectures, then you will not remember clearly. And this same principle applies to every single thing you do.

At that time, all those Buddhas appeared in the world—Thus Come Ones as many as the motes of dust that make up ten Mount Sumerus. The first of those Buddhas was called ‘Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue.’ Disciples of the Buddha, you should know that one hundred years before that Buddha—Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue—was about to appear in the world, that great forest Wheels of Blossoming, mani branches was everywhere adorned and purified”. It was different from the way it usually was—it became pervasively pure and adorned.

Sutra

“That is to say, inconceivable flaming jeweled clouds came forth which emitted sounds praising the Buddhasmerit and virtue and proclaiming their numberless tongues. And the clouds emitted light, forming nets which extended over the ten directions. The palaces and pavilions mutually illuminated one another. Bright lights from jeweled flowers ascended and gathered together to form clouds, which further emitted more wondrous sounds proclaiming the vast and great good roots cultivated by all living beings in days gone by, proclaiming the names of all the Buddhas of the three periods of time, proclaiming the conduct and vows which all Bodhisattvas practice as they cultivate the ultimate Way, and proclaiming the various words spoken by the Thus Come One as they turn the wonderful Dharma wheel.

“In that way, there manifested all such marks of adornment, auguring the Buddha’s imminent appearance in the world.

Commentary

“That is to say,” says Universal Worthy, “Inconceivable Flaming Jeweled Clouds came forth.” Among the many different kinds of adornments which were universally purified, there also appeared inconceivable flaming jeweled clouds, “Which emitted wonderful Dharma sounds praising the Buddhasmerit and virtue and also proclaiming those Buddhas’ numberless tongues. The clouds also emitted a light which vastly radiated forming nets, and the appearance of those wonderful adornment extended over the ten directions. All the palaces thereby mutually illuminated one another.” The light from one palace or pavilion shone upon the others until they were all mutually illuminated.

“Bright lights from jeweled flowers ascende into empty space, and all those different lights gathered together to form clouds, and from those jeweled clouds there further emitted more wondrous sounds proclaiming all of the vast and great good roots cultivated by all living beings in days gone by.”

The sounds revealed how such and such a living being, in a previous life, planted good roots and was now reaping the good retribution as a result. The sounds proclaimed all the different kinds of causes and effects. And the sounds were proclaiming all the names of all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions and the three periods of time and praising them. And also from the clouds there came forth sounds proclaiming all the conduct and vows which all Bodhisattvas practice as they cultivate the ultimate way,” identifying, proclaiming, and praising all the Bdhisattva conduct—perhaps uttering the name of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva, or that of Manjurshri Bodhisattva, whicle proclaiming the Dharma which each of them practiced; or, perhaps proclaiming the Dharmas practiced by Gwan Shr Yin Bodhisattva or Earth Store Boduisattva. The clouds spoke of all those Dharma which all Bodhisattvas who are on the Unsurpassed Path cultivate.

‘And the clouds were also proclaiming all the various words and languages which were spoken by all the Buddha, The Thus Come Ones, as they turn the wonderful Dharma wheel.

“In that way, there manifested the many previously mentioned marks and characteristics of adornment, at that time auguring the Buddha’s imminent appearance in the world.” ‘Auguring” means revealing—very clearly indicating—that the Thus Come One was about to appear in the world.

Sutra

“When the kings of that world saw those omens, their good roots became mature. All of them, wishing to see the Buddha, came to the Way-place.

“At that time, the Buddha Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue suddenly emerged from within his Way-place inside the great jeweled lotus and appeared.

Commentary

“When all the kings of that world saw those omens, their good roots became mature.” Because all the different monarchs saw those various, most auspicious portents, their good roots ripened. The good roots which they had planted in former lives have now become mature, and “ all of them, wishing to see the Buddha, came to the way-place.” Because their good roots had reached maturity, they all wanted to go to the Bodhimanda to meet the Buddha, and so they went there, to the field of the way.

“At that time, the Buddha Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue suddenly emerged from within his way-place inside the great jeweled lotus and appeared.”

That Buddha’s appearance took place at the end of the century previously mentioned, which was the period of preparation. It’s analogous to when we first place flowers, incense, lamps, candles, and so forth, before the Buddha in preparation for a holiday.

Sutra

“His universally-pervasive body merged with the true Dharma realm as he manifested taking birth in all the Buddhalands. All the other way places appeared within his way-place. His boundless, wondrous form was impeccably pure, and nothing in the world could obscure its brilliance. It was replete with a multitude of precious marks. Each one of them distinct and clear. His image appeared in every palace so that all living beings were able to see him before their own eyes. From his body emanated limitless transformation Buddhas and varicolored lights which completely filled the world.

Commentary

“His universally-pervasive body merged with the true dharma realm.” All throughout the Dharma Realm, there was not a single place where his Dharma-body failed to appear. Right before this passage it says that he suddenly appeared inside the great jeweled lotus. Remember that his Way-place was situated inside the Great Lotus. That lotus was hundreds of kotis of yojanas in circcumference, and when the Buddha manifested there, the lotus and the Buddha together filled all of empty space and the Dharma Realm.

“His body merged with the True Dharma Realm,” it was identical to the Dharma Realm of True Such-ness, as “He manifested taking birth in all the buddhalands.”

“All the other way-places appeared within his way-place.” All the Way-places of the other Buddhas shone upon this Buddha’s Way-place. The Way-place of one was within the Way-place of another, and the Way-place of that other Buddha was within the Way-place of the first one, and so on until they were mutually contained. You could also explain this by saying that the Buddhas of the Ten Directions came to this Way-place, and this Buddha’s light also reached the other Buddhas’ Way-places.

“His boundless, wondrous form was impeccably pure. His wonderful form body—his physical body—was boundless, limitless, and perfectly clear and pure, and nothing in the world could obscure its brilliance.” Among all worlds, none was more clear and pure than this one; and none could outshine its clear pure light in any way.

“It, his form body, was replete with a multitude of all kinds of precious marks, and not only that, each one of those marks was distinct and clear. His image, the Buddha’s Dharma body, appeared in every palace, so that all living beings were able to see this Buddha before their very own eyes.

“From his body emanated limitless transformation Buddhas and varicolored lights which completely filled the world.”

Sutra

“Just as the Buddha manifested a body and sat upon a throne within the great forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, on the summit of Mount Sumeru Banner of Universal Adornments of Blazing Flowers, in the sea of fragrant waters of Pure Light, so, too, the Buddha appeared in a body and sat upon a throne on each one of the sixty-eight thousand kotis of Sumeru mountain peaks of the world Supreme Sound.

Commentary

“Just as the Buddha manifested a body and sat upon a throne within the great forest called wheels of blossoming mani branches, on the summit of mount sumeru banner of blazing flowers, in the sea of fragrant waters of pure light in this world, not only did a single Buddha appear, but Buddha from the ten directions also manifested, each one sitting down upon his respective throne. Therefore the text reads, “ So, too, the Buddha appeared in a body and sat upon a throne on each one of the sixty-eight thousand kotis of sumeru mountain peaks of the world supreme sound. A Buddha sat on his throne inside his Bodhimanda upon each one of those many Mount Sumeru Summits, proclaiming the Dharma.

Sutra

“Then that Buddha emitted a great light from between his eyebrows. The light was called, ‘The Sound of Initiating All Good Roots,’ and it had rays of lights as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands as its retinue which completely filled all the lands of the ten directions.

“The light reached all places where there were living beings ready for being tempered, and upon being touched by the light, they themselves were immediately enlightened. All their delusions and heated afflictions were put to rest. The nets of coverings were rent, the mountains of obstacles were smashed, and the turbid impurities were purged. They gave rise to great belief and understanding. They grew victorious good roots. They came to be eternally apart from all difficulties, fears, and worries. All the suffering and anguish of their bodies and minds were eradicated, and they gave rise to the wish to see the Buddha and the inclination toward all-wisdom.

Commentary

“Then” is when this Buddha and the other Buddhas were sitting in each other’s Way-places. The concept of television can help you to understand this kind of state. On the one hand, you could say television isn’t real, yet it projects the images of people; on the other hand, you could say it’s real, yet doesn’t project actual people, even though one can see their images and hear their voices. So T.V. is a mundane kind of “spiritual powers and miraculous functioning of the Buddhas, of course, exceed this by a hundred times ten thousand, and they are indescribably wonderful.

At that time, that Buddha, whose name was Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue, emitted a great light from the space between his eyebrows. The light which he emitted also had a name; it was called ‘the sound of initiating all good roots,’ and it had rays of light as many as fine motes of dust in ten Buddhalands as its retinue which completely filled all the lands of the ten directions.

“The light reached all places where there were living beings ready for being tempered—that is, those living beings who were disposed to the taming of their passions, and upon being touched by the light, they themselves were immediately enlightened.

“All their delusions, confusion, and heated afflictions were put to rest and disappeared. The nets of the five coverings of wealth, form, fame, food, and sleep were rent. They were all seen through and put down. The mountains of obstacles were smashed and toppled. There were no longer the marks of self and others. And the turbid impurities—all their greed, hatred, and stupidity—were purged, completely done away with. They gave rise to great belief and understanding, to the great resolve for Bodhi. They grew victorious good roots, and they came to be eternally apart from all difficulties, fears, and worries; they were all swept away. All the suffering and anguish of their bodies and minds—their greed, hatred, and stupidity and all their miseries—were eradicated. They gave rise to the wish to see the Buddha, to meet him, and the inclination toward all-wisdom.

Sutra

“At that time, the world rulers and their retinues of limitless hundreds of thousands were bathed in the Buddha’s light, causing them all to become enlightened. Then they all went to where the Buddha was and made obeisance at his feet.

Disciples of the Buddha, in that great metropolis Blazing Light lived the kingHappy Views Wholesome Wisdom’ who governed hundreds of myriads of kotis of nayutas of cities.

Commentary

“At that time, the world rulers—all the kings and emperors throughout that entire world, the feudal princes, and so forth—and their retinues of limitless hundreds of thousands were bathed in the Buddha’s light, causing them all to become enlightened so that they were able to understand the Buddhadharma. And then they all went to where the Buddha was.” Because they’d had this enlightenment, they all delighted in the Buddhadharma, and together they went to where the Buddha was, “ And made obeisance at his feet.” They made full prostration with their five extremities—legs, arms, and head—touching the ground, and they cradled the Buddha’s feet in the palms of their hands. This is a special kind of obeisance.

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you Disciples of the Buddha, in that great metropolis Blazing Light, lived the kingHappy Views Wholesome Wisdom.’ He governed hundreds of myriads of kotis of nayutas of cities,’ which means he also governed that many lesser kings and feudal princes. A feudal price is like a present-day mayor: every city has a mayor. At that time such people weren’t called mayors but feudal princes, and this king governed hundreds of myriads of kotis of them.

Sutra

“The queens and concubines of his palace altogether numbered thirty-seven thousand; ‘Blessed Auspiciousness’ was their leader. And he had five hundred princes; ‘Great Awesome Light’ was their leader. The prince great awesome light had ten thousand royal princesses, and ‘Wonderful Views’ was their leader.

“At that time, upon seeing the Buddha’s light, the prince Great Awesome Light, relying on the strength of his good roots from past cultivation, immediately certified to ten kinds of Dharma-doors.

Commentary

The King Happy Views Good Wiisdom ruled over hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of great cities, and “ the Queens and Concubines of his palace altogether numbered thirty-seven thousand.” The women of the “back palace”—the women of his court—numbered thirty-seven thousand in all. “ Blessed Auspiciousness’ was their leader.” His queen, Blessed Auspiciousness, was the First Lady–the Empress—among the other women in his court. “And he had five hundred princes.” Quite probably this king was not a gold wheel-turning king, because gold wheel-turning kings have a thousand sons—a retribution of great blessings. But this king had only five hundred princes. Among his sons one was called” ‘Prince Great Awesome Light,’ who was their leader. The Prince Great Awesome Light himself had ten thousand royal princesses in his court, and ‘Wonderful Views’ was their leader.

“At that time, upon seeing the Buddha’s light, the Prince Great Awesome Light, relying on the strength of his good roots from past cultivation—for limitless kalpas, lifetime after lifetime—immediately certified to ten kinds of dharma-doors.” Right at that moment he himself certified to, that is he understood, became enlightened to, ten kings of Dharma-doors.

Sutra

“What were the ten? Specifically, he certified to and attained the samadhi of all Buddhaswheel of merit and virtue; he certified to and attained the universal door Dharani of all Buddhadharmas; he certified to and attained the prajna-paramita of the vast, great store of expedients; he certified to and attained the great adornment of using generous kindness to subdue all living beings; he certified to and attained the universal cloud of sounds of great compassion; he certified to and attained the sublime joy of producing a most exalted mind of boundless merit and virtue; he certified to and attained the vast renunciation of enlightening to all Dharmas as they truly are; he certified to and attained the mighty spiritual penetration of the vast, great impartial store of expedients; he certified to and attained the mighty vows of increasing strength of faith and understanding; he certified to and attained the door of eloquence of universally entering into the light of all-wisdom.

“At that time, after having attained such lights of Dharmas, the Prince Great Awesome Light, relying on the Buddha’s awesome strength, universally regarded the great assembly and spoke verses, saying:

Commentary

“What were the ten kinds of dharma-doors which he certified to and attained? Specifically, he certified to and attained the samadhi of all Buddhas’ dwheel of merit and virtue.” “All Buddhas” refers to the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time. They all share the Wheel of Merit and Virtue—a proper samadhi, a proper concentration. The Prince Great Awesome Light certified to and attained that Dharma. This means that he had the samadhi which all Buddha cultivate, and the strength of wisdom which all Buddhas have. This indicates his certification to the Realm of the Buddha Jewel.

“He certified to and attained the universal door dharani of all Buddhadhrmas.” He attained the Buddhadharmas of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time. This was his certification and attainment of the realm of the Dharma Jewel, the Universal Door Dharani. “The Universal Door” pervades all places. “Dharani” is a Sanskrit word which is translated as “giver of all-encompassing support.” It encompasses all Dharmas and upholds limitless meanings.

“He certified to and attained the prajna paramita of the vast, great store of expedients.” “The vast, great store of expedients” refers to the various provisional dharmas. “Prajna-paramita” is wisdom which has arrived at the other shore. This means that he certified to and attained the expedient Dharma-doors possessed by all within the assembly of the Holy Sangha.

“He certified to and attained the great adornment of using generous kindness to subdue all living beings” – he had the ability to subdue all living beings. No matter how obstinate they were, when they saw him, their stubbornness was subdued. That was because he was so majestic and so greatly kind.

“He certified to and attained the universal cloud of sounds of great compassion”— a cloud of sounds which pervasively manifested. From within the cloud came forth sounds which caused all living beings to resolve their minds on Bodhi. He certified to and achieved that greatly compassionate heart.

“He also certified to and attained the sublime joy of producing a most exalted mind of boundless merit and virtue.” He quite spontaneously realized a mind of boundless merit and virtue, one which was most supreme. “He also certified to and attained the vast renunciation of enlightening to all dharmas as they truly are.” He was genuinely enlightened; he was “Thus” enlightened to all dharmas. Not only did he become enlightened, but he had no attachment to dharmas. He was able to renounce them. This means he certified to Kindness, Compassion, Joy, and Renunciation, the Four Unlimited Minds of the Buddha.

“He also certified to and attained the mightly spiritual penetration of the vast, great impartial store of expedients,” he gained spiritual penetrations. Further, “He certified to and attained the mighty vows of increasing strength of faith and understanding,” great vow power, which can increase faith and understanding. “He certified to and attained the door of eloquence of universally entering into the light of all-wisdom.” He certified to and attained Universal entry to All-Wisdom. He had wisdom-light and eloquence.

“At that time, after having attained such lights of dharmas—after he’d awakened and been certified to the ten kinds of dharmas of light spoken of above—the prince great awesome light, relying on the Buddha’s awesome strength, universally regarded the great assembly and spoke verses, saying:

Sutra

In this way-place is seated the World Honored One
His splendorous, pure light
Like a thousand suns dawning
Illumines the realm of space universally.

Limitless kotis of millennia have passed,
And now a guiding master appears.
The Buddha now has come into the world.
Let us all gaze upon him in reverence.

Commentary

In his way-place is seated the world honored one. The “World Honored one” is the One honored in and beyond the world. This is one of the Ten Titles of a Buddha. When a Buddha appears in the world, he sits in his Way-place as he teaches and transforms living beings. His splendorous, pure light is like a thousand suns dawning—when a Buddha appears in the world, the world is everywhere purified and filled with magnificent light, which causes all those living beings who see it to become enlightened, cut off doubt, and be certified to the Truth. Nothing can compare to the light of the Buddha. The light of the sun is only an analogy to the Buddha’s light, which, like the appearance of a thousand suns, illumines the realm of empty space universally. The great earth obtains all its illumination from a single sun; thousands of suns can illumine all of empty space.

Limitless kotis of millennia have passed—it is not known how many—and now a guiding master appears. It isn’t every day that a Buddha appears in the world. Only after a very long period of time—limitless and boundless great kalpas—has elapsed does a Buddha appear. “A Guiding Master” is also one of the Ten Titles of a Buddha.

The Buddha now has come into the world, let us all gaze upon him in reverence. Now the Prince Great Awesome Light is saying, “We have affinities with the Buddha, and so the Buddha has now come into this world. All of us living beings should gaze upon the Buddha in adoration.”

Sutra

You should contemplate the Buddha’s light:
Transformation Buddhas—inconceivable
Within their palaces abiding,
Quiescent, in proper samadhi.

Contemplate the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations:
From every pore he emits glowing clouds,
Whose radiance reaches all world realms with inexhaustible light.

Contemplate the Buddha’s body:
His net of light is ultimately pure.
He manifests forms equal to all,
Which pervade the ten directions.
His wondrous sound pervades all worlds,
And those who hear it are all delighted.

According with living beings, in their tongues
He praises the Buddha’s merit and virtue.
Illumined by the light of the World Honored One,
All living beings are blissfully at peace.
Their sufferings all cease to exist,
And their hearts bring forth great joy.

Commentary

The Prince Great Awesome Light continues, saying: All of you should carefully contemplate and examine the Buddha’s light: his transformation Buddhas are inconceivable. Within the Buddha’s light are limitless and boundlessly many transformation Buddhas, within their palaces abiding. All the Buddha throughout the worlds of the ten directions are seated in their palaces, quiescent, in proper samadhi. They enter actual samadhi, composed and still.

Contemplate the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations: all of you disciples of the Buddha should examine the arisal of the Buddha’s great spiritual power. From his every pore he emits glowing clouds, limitless and boundless numbers of them. The radiance from those clouds reaches all world realms with inexhaustible light. There is never a time when this light becomes extinguished. The more light is emitted, the greater it becomes—vast, inexhaustible, and endless.

Contemplate the Buddha’s body: his net of light is ultimately pure. The Buddha emits a network of clear light which universally illumines the ten directions. He manifests forms equal to all. The transformation bodies which the Buddha manifests are equal in number to all Buddhas, and they pervade the worlds of the ten directions.

His wondrous sound pervades all worlds. The wonderful sound of the Buddha’s speaking the Dharma also pervades the worlds of the ten directions, and those living beings who hear his wonderful Dharma are all delighted. According with living beings, in their tongues he praises the Buddha’s merit and virtue. The Buddha accords with people by speaking in their native dialects so that they can understand. For example, to English-speaking people, he speaks the wonderful Dharma in English. In whatever country he happens to be, he speaks the wonderful Dharma in the language native to that country. He uses those various languages to praise the merit and virtue cultivated by all Buddhas.

Illumined by the light of the World Honored One, all living beings are blissfully at peace. Their sufferings all cease to exist. The living beings dwelling in those places illuminated by the light of the World Honored One all leave suffering and attain happiness. Everything becomes perfect for them; any suffering they might have been undergoing is now completely eradicated. And within their hearts, all those living beings bring forth great joy.

Sutra

Regard the myriad Bodhisattvas
Assembled here from the ten directions:
They all emit clouds of mani,
Which manifest praising the Buddha.
From inside the Way-place amazing sounds come.
Most profound and far-reaching
And able to end all the sufferings of beings.

Thus is the Buddha’s spiritual might.
All are reverent, all respectful,
While in their hearts comes forth great joy.
Assembled before the World Honored One,
They all gaze up at the Dharma King.

Commentary

Regard the myriad Bodhisattvas. You should take a look at the numberless transformation Buddhas within the Buddha’s light—countlessly many. There have also come forth Bodhisattvas, who have assembled here from the ten directions: The Bodhisattvas of the ten directions have all congregated at this place, in order to draw near to the Buddha. They all eemit clouds of mani. Each and every Bodhisattva emits clouds of mani-jewels which form a ceiling in empty space. Those clouds manifest praising the Buddha. Light shines forth from within the clouds of mani jewels and the light itself emits subtle and wonderful sounds of praise for the Buddha.

From inside the Way-place amazing sounds come. Within the Way-place, a subtle and wonderful Dharma sound is also produced. That sound of Dharma is due to the power of the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations. It is most profound and far-reaching. All living beings everywhere, to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm, are able to hear the sound. And it is able to end all the sufferings of beings. Any living being who hears this Dharma sound is able to leave suffering and attain happiness. Thus is the Buddha’s great spiritual might—the power of the great spiritual penetrations that he is now manifesting.

All living beings are reverent and respectful toward the Buddha, while in their hearts comes forth great joy. Assembled before the World Honored One—the Buddha—at that Way-place, they all gaze up at the dharma king. They all look up in contemplation of the Dharma King’s kindness, compassion, joy, and giving and of his thirty-two marks and eighty subtle characteristics.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, when that prince Great Awesome Light spoke those verses, relying upon the Buddha’s spiritual power, his voice universally pervaded the world Supreme Sound.

“At that time, the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom, having heard those verses, was filled with great joy. He gazed upon all in his retinue and spoke verses, saying:

Commentary

Samantabhadra Bodhisattva again calls out, “All of you Disciples of the Buddha.” He says, “Did you know? When that prince great awesome light spoke those verses, those gathas, he was relying upon the Buddha’s spiritual power. He borrowed strength from the Buddha’s great, awesome spiritual penetrations. And his voice universally pervaded the world supreme sound. The sound of his voice penetrated every corner of the world Supreme Sound. The text states very clearly here that his voice was able to gain such magnitude by the power of the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations.

“At that time, the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom, the father of the Prince Great Awesome Light, having heard those verses, was filled with great joy.” The son’s good roots were deeper than his father’s, and so he was first to attain the ten kinds of Dharma-doors. He was also first to speak verses. After the King had heard his son speak those verses, his own good roots were brought to maturity, too, and therefore he was extremely happy at heart.

“He gazed upon all in his retinue and spoke verses, saying.” He contemplated all of the multitude surrounding him, including all thirty-seven thousand royal queens and ladies in waiting. He also regarded his five hundred sons and their retinues. Together they comprised “all in his retinue.” And he spoke verses saying:

Sutra

Quickly, now, summon and call together
The heads of state, such as Kings and Princes,
The great ministers and local officials
Of all the cities and rural towns.

Spread the news to the public in all those townships;
Beat on the great drum at once and assemble.
Each and everyone gather together,
And form a procession to go see the Buddha.

Commentary

The King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom used verses to inform the great multitudes: You should quickly, now, summon and call together—he was addressing his five hundred princes: You should go everywhere and rouse the citizens to assemble without delay. Tell the heads of state, such as all the kings and princes, and the great ministers who live in the cities, as well as the governing local officials of all the cities and rural towns. Tell them to quickly spread the news to the public in all those townships; beat on the great drum at once and assemble. Each and everyone of those citizens should gather together, and form a procession to go see the Buddha. Everyone should together go and pay their respects to the Buddha.

Sutra

At all the places where roads intersect
Ring out the jeweled bell, its sound reaching
Wives and children and retinues all,
So they gather to see the Thus Come One.

The major cities and outlying districts
Should all be made clean and tidy.
Everywhere set up most wondrous banners
Ornamented with mani gems.

Spread out jeweled curtains, bountiful nets,
And musical instruments; arrange them like clouds
In empty space—a magnificent display.
Let every place be filled with them.

Commentary

At all the places where roads intersect—up and down all the streets and courts, the avenues and lanes on which people reside, you should ring out the jeweled bell, so its sound will be reaching every family—the wives and children and retinues all, so they gather to see the Thus Come One. Every member of each and every family should go to make obeisance to the Buddha. The major cities and outlying districts—the metropolises, small cities, large towns, and villages, should all be made clean and tidy, completely adorned and purified. Everywhere set up most wondrous banners and streamers ornamented with mani gems. The banners should be embellished with mani jewels and other such ornaments.

Spread out jeweled curtains and bountiful nets, which should all be finely fashioned, and musical instruments, arrange them like clouds in empty space—A magnificent display. Let every place be filled with them. Prepare and arrange them all in space so that there is no place that is not filled with them. Lamps and flowers should be scattered about absolutely everywhere, so that every nook and cranny is perfectly adorned.

Sutra

Cleanse and bedeck every highway and road;
Everywhere rain down exquisite garments;
Polish and drive your jeweled coaches:
Let us form a procession and go see the Buddha.

Each in accord with his means, everyone,
Everywhere rain down adorning objects;
Arrange them all; display them like clouds,
And densely fill empty space with them.
Incense for burning and lotus-bud canopies,
Crescentric necklaces made of jewels

And countlessly many wonderful garments:
All such things you should shower down.
Sweet, fragrant waters from Mount Sumeru’s sea,
And supremely splendid wheels of mani,
As well as pure incense made of chandana:
Showered them down and fill up empty space.
A myriad finely-wrought flower necklaces,
Pellucid adornments without any blemish,
And also lamps embellished with mani:
All those should be made to float in empty space.
We should hold them up to present to the Buddha
As in our hearts we bring forth great happiness.
Wives and sons and retinues all, let us
Go and behold the World Honored One.

Commentary

Cleanse and bedeck every highway and road. Earlier the Sutra mentions the four crossroads and the by-ways. Now it mentions the great highways—all the roads along which pedestrians and vehicles travel. “You should be especially sure to sweep them all completely clean. Everywhere rain down exquisite garments. You should cause wonderful and subtle garments and flowers to ceaselessly rain down from the sky.

Polish and drive your jeweled coaches: be sure to clean and shine your jeweled carriages—tidy them up real well, and then let us form a procession and go see the Buddha. Let’s go together to see the Buddha and bow to him.

Each in accord with his means, everyone— whether rich or poor—should do all he or she can and prepare all kinds of articles of adornment. Everywhere rain down adorning objects: universally manifest adornments as offerings and arrange them all; display them like a bank of jeweled clouds, and densely fill empty space with them. Cause empty space to be completely filled. This represents the sincerity of our hearts in making offerings to the Buddha.

Incense for burning and precious lotus-bud canopies, crescentric necklaces made of jewels, and countlessly many wonderful garments: all such things you should shower down. Each person should bring forth the resolve to exhaust his or her strength in making offerings to the Buddha.

Sweet, fragrant waters from mount sumeru ’s sea, and supremely splendid wheels of mani, as well as pure incense made of chandana: shower them down and fill up empty space.

Use a myriad finely—wrought flower necklaces, and pellucid adornments without any blemish to adorn and purify the atmosphere and the planet so that they become immaculate, without any dust or defilement. Those objects, and also lamps embellished with mani gems: all those should be made to float in empty space.

We should hold them up to present to the Buddha, whatever the articles of adornment we have to offer; they should be presented with both hands as gifts to the Buddha, as in our hearts we bring forth great happiness. We should greatly rejoice and be especially delighted. We should regard this as an opportunity that is particularly difficult to encounter.

Wives, sons, and retinues all, let us go together to where the Buddha is and behold the World Honored One! We’ll go to see the Buddha, who is most revered both in and beyond the world.

Sutra

“At that time, the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom and his thirty-seven thousand royal wives and ladies-in-waiting, with Blessed Auspiciousness as their leader; his five hundred prices, with Great Awesome Light as their leader, his sixty thousand great ministers, with Wisdom Strength as their leader, and so forth—a multitude of seventy-seven thousand thousand kotis of nayutas—circumambulated from front to back as the streamed out of that great metropolis Blazing Light. And by the power of the king, that great multitude ascended into empty space. All of them, replete with offerings which entirely filled empty space, went to where the Buddha was. They made obeisance at the Buddha’s feet. Then they withdrew to one side and sat down.

Commentary

“At that time, after the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom had spoken those verses, he, together with his thirty-seven thousand royal wives and ladies-in-waiting, proceeded to where the Buddha was. Among the thirty-seven thousand wives and ladies in waiting was the Queen blessed auspiciousness, who was their leader. Along with them went his five hundred princes, with great awesome light as their leader. His sixty thousand great ministers also went along. At their head was a minister called wisdom strength, who acted as their leader.

“Altogether there was a multitude of seventy-seven hundred thousand kotis of nayutas, who circumambulated—proceeding in a circle around the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom, from in front of him to in back of him, as they streamed out of that great metropolis blazing light. And by the power of the king—by the might of his spiritual penetrations and powers—that imposing great multitude ascended into empty space. They didn’t have to board a plane—they could travel by riding the clouds. All of them, replete with offerings which entirely filled empty space, went out where the Buddha was. They made obeisance at the Buddha’s feet. Their purpose in going there was to bow to the Buddha. Then they withdrew to one side and sat down. Rather than sit right in front of the Buddha, they all respectfully took seats to his side.

Sutra

“Moreover, from the city called ‘Wonderful Flower’ came the Heavenly King Banner of Wholesome Transformations, together with his retinue of ten kotis of nayutas.

“From the great city called ‘Ultimate’ came the Dragon King Clear Light, together with his retinue of twenty-five kotis.

“From the city ‘Supreme Vajra Curtain’ came the yaksha king Courageous and Vigorous, accompanied by his retinue of seventy-seven kotis.

“From the city ‘Immaculate’ came the Gandharva King Joyous Vision, accompanied by his retinue of ninety-seven kotis.

“From the city ‘Wonderful Wheel’ came the Asura King Pure Thoughts, accompanied by his retinue of fifty-eight kotis.

“Moreover, from the city ‘Wonderful Adornments’ came the Garuda King Ten Powers and Practices, together with his retinue of ninety-nine thousand.

“From the city ‘Playful Joy and Delight’ came the Kinnara King Vajra Virtue, together with his retinue of eighteen kotis.

“From the city ‘Vajra Curtain’ came the Mahoraga King Jeweled Appelation Banner, along with his retinue of three kotis of hundreds of thousands of nayutas.

“And from the city ‘Wonderfully Pure Adornments’ came the Brahma King Most Victorious, together with his retinue of eighteen kotis.

Commentary

“Moreover, from the city called ‘wonderful flower’ came the Heavenly King Banner of Wholesome Transformations, together with his retinue of ten kotis of nayutas. From the great city called ‘ultimate’ came the Dragon King Clear light, together with his retinue of twenty-five kotis. Also, from the city ‘supreme vajra curtain’ came the Yaksha King Courageous and Vigorous, accompanied by his retinue of seventy-seven kotis. They flocked together and went to bow to the Buddha. And also, From the great city ‘immaculate’ came the Gandharva King Joyous Vision, accompanied by his retinue of ninety-seven kotis. Furthermore, from the city ‘wonderful wheel’ came the Asura King Pure Thoughts, and he also was accompanied by his retinue of fifty-eight kotis. All together they went to bow to the Buddha.

“Moreover, from the city ‘wonderful adornments’ came the Garuda King Ten Powers and Practices, together with his retinue of ninety-nine thousand. They all went together to pay homage to the Buddha. Also, from the city ‘playful joy and delight’ came the Kinnara King Vajra Virtue, together with his retinue of eighteen kotis. En masse they went to see the Buddha.

“Also, from the city ‘Vajra Curtain’ came the Mahoraga King Jeweled Appelation Banner, along with his retinue of three kotis of hundreds of thousands of nayutas.

“And from the city ‘wonderfully pure adornments’ came the Brahma King Most Victorious, together with his retinue of eighteen kotis. He and his court went to bow to the Buddha.

Sutra

“And so it went regarding all the kings and their retinues throughout hundreds of myriads of kotis of nayutas of cities. They all amassed together and proceeded to the place of the Thus Come One Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue. They reverently bowed at the Buddha’s feet, then they withdrew to one side and sat down.

Commentary

“And so it went regarding all the kings just mentioned and on up to the kings and their retinues theroughout hundreds of myriads of kotis of nayutas of great cities. A “nayuta” is a huge number. Each of those cities had its king and the king’s company who joined him. They all amassed together and proceeded to the place of the Thus Come One so they could see the Buddha Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue.

“They reverently bowed at the Buddha’s feet. They went before the Buddha to make obeisance, to bow their heads, show their respect, and make offerings to him. And then they withdrew to one side and sat down. After bowing to the Buddha, their gazes not wandering from him, they stepped back, moved to one side, and sat down. Then they waited to hear the Buddha speak the Dharma.

Sutra

“Then that Thus Come One, wishing to temper the multitude of living beings. In that oceanic assembly in his Way-place, spoke the Sutra of Universally Gathering in the Dharmas of Self-Mastery of All the Buddhas of the Three Periods of Time, with Sutras as many as fine motes of dust in a world system as its retinue. According with the hearts of living beings, he caused them all to obtain benefit.

“As soon as Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva heard this Dharma, he at once obtained the light from the sea of Dharmas accumulated by Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha throughout past lives.

Commentary

Then, at that time, that Thus Come One, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha, wishing to temper the multitude of living beings in that oceanic assembly in his Way-place. All the living beings who came from the ten directions to congregrate at that Way-place could be likened to a great ocean. For that multitude, he spoke the sutra of universally gathering in the dharmas of self-mastery of all the Buddhas of the three periods of time. He drew together the complete Storehouse of Dharmas spoken by all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future.

That Sutra had sutras as many as fine motes of dust in a world system as its retinue—it was accompanied by that many other sutras. By speaking that Sutra, the Buddha was according with the hearts of living beings. Thus he caused them all to obtain benefit. The Buddha spoke Dharma which accorded with the thoughts in the minds of all those living beings, so as to assure that all of them would obtain benefit and a sense of well being.

As soon as great awesome light Bodhisattva heard this dharma, he became immersed in the light of the Buddha. Among all the living beings in that great assembly, the Prince Great Awesome Light received the most benefit. Since he had previously been certified to ten kinds of Dharma-doors, now he’s become Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva.

When Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva heard the Dharma spoken by Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha—that is, the sutra of Universally Gathering in the Dharmas of self-mastery of all the Buddhas of the three periods of time, he at once obtained supremely great benefit: the light from the sea of Dharmas accumulated by sumeru supreme cloud of a mountain of merit and virtue Buddha throughout past lives. He immediately obtained all the merit and virtue which Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha had gained from all the doors of practice he cultivated during his former lives. All that Buddhadharma had accumulated to form the light of that sea of Dharmas, that is, the light from the attainment of Prajna wisdom.

This passage teaches us that each and every living being should bring forth the great resolve for Bodhi. Following the Bodhisattva Path and holding the Bodhisattva Precepts is what’s meant by bringing forth the initial resolve for Bodhi.

Sutra

“He obtained: the light of wisdom from the samadhi of the multitude of Dharmas as being level and equal; the light of wisdom from all the Dharmas of dwelling in the initial resolve for Bodhi; the light of wisdom from the pure eye of universal light treasury, which pervades the the directions of the dharma realm; the light of wisdom from contemplating the sea of all BuddhasDharmas and vast vows; the light of wisdom from entering the boundless sea of the merit and virtue of pure practices; the light of wisdom from the storehouse of the great strength and agility to remain propelled toward non-retreat; the light of wisdom from having limitless powers of change and transformation to escape the wheel within the Dharma realm; the light of wisdom from decisively entering the sea of the perfection of limitless merit and virtue; the light of wisdom from fully fathoming the sea of decisive discernments and splendid accomplishments; the light of wisdom from completely comprehending the sea of the Buddhasspiritual penetrations which enable them to appear before all living beings boundlessly throughout the dharma realm; the light of wisdom from thoroughly understanding the dharmas of all Buddhaspowers and fearlessnesses.

“At that time, Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva obtained limitless lights of wisdom such as those, and relying on the Buddha’s awesome strength, he spoke verses saying:

Commentary

Many of the Dharma referred to here are regularly expounded upon by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. He obtained: The light of wisdom from the samadhi of the multitude of Dharmas as being level and equal. All Dharmas are gathered together, they are interpenetrating and mutually unobstructing. That is what’s meant by their being ‘level and equal.”

Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva obtained the benefit of the light of many kinds of wisdom: “The light of wisdom from all the Dharmas of dwelling in the initial resolve for bodhi. Right at the time of the initial resolve, one attains proper and equal enlightenment. To have the initial resolve, that single thought, is extremely important. That first thought for Bodhi is the source of all Bodhisattvas. It’s also the origin of the attainment of Buddhahood, and the prelude ot becoming a Buddha. Therefore, at the time of the initial resolve, all Dharmas are understood, and one obtains this kind of light of wisdom.

“The light of wisdom from the pure eye of universal light treasury, which pervades the ten directions of the Dharma Realm. One is able to see clearly even to the bounds of empty space and the Dharma Realm. “The Universal Light Treasury which pervades the ten directions of the Dharma Realm” is the great storehouse of wisdom, which pervades all places. One attains that kind of clear understanding, that fundamental wisdom.

“The light of wisdom from entering—from attaining the wisdom of–the boundless sea of the merit and virtue of pure practices. The light of wisdom from the storehouse of the great strength and agility to remain propelled toward non-retreat.” “Agility” refers to having the ability to escape this realm of existence. “Non-retreat” from the Bodhi Mind, means to attain unrelenting vigor, without ever slacking off—to attain the Three Irreversibilities: irreversibility in position, irreversibility in thought, and irreversibility in practice. This is the storehouse of the strength and ability to be greatly vigorous, strong, and persevering in one’s cultivation.

The light of wisdom from having limitless powers of change and transformation to escape the wheel within the dharma realm. That is, to have the light of wisdom to escape the wheel of suffering.

The light of wisdom from decisively entering the sea of the perfection of limitless merit and virtue. When one’s mind is decisive and free of doubt, then one can perfect a sea of limitless merit and virtue. Every Buddha has attained the light of wisdom from fully fathoming the sea of decisive discernments and splendid accomplishments. They definitively understand all Dharmas of the Way, and have reached that understanding with resolute minds. “Splendid accomplishments” refer to that wisdom-light, also obtained by Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva.

He also attained the light of wisdom from completely comprehending the sea of the Buddhasspiritual penetrations which enable them to appear before all living beings boundlessly throughout the Dharma Realm. Every single Buddha has the use of spiritual penetrations which enables him to appear directly before all living beings, in order to subdue, teach, and transform them. And Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva obtained that kind of wisdom-light. And he obtained the light of wisdom from thoroughly understanding all the dharmas of all Buddhasspiritual powers and fearlessnesses.

At that time, Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva obtained limitless lights of wisdom such as those just spoken about, and then relying on all the Buddhas’ great awesome spiritual strength to fortify his own, He spoke verses, saying…The Buddhas bestowed wisdom upon him, causing him to speak these verses in accord with the Buddhadharma.

Sutra

Hearing the Buddha’s wonderful Dharma
I have obtained lights of wisdom,
Thereby seeing the World Honored Ones’
Endeavors from ancient times past.

Every place where they took birth,
Their various names and characteristics,
To their making of offerings to all Buddhas
Such things I witnessed entirely.

How from time now ancient, in those Buddhasdwellings,
They served and attended them, each and all,
Cultivated and practiced through limitless kalpas,
To adorn and make pure all kshetra seas;

How they renounced their own physical bodies
Extensively, and without exhaustion,
While cultivating most supreme conduct,
To adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

Commentary

Before the time Great Awesome Light became a Bodhisattva, and while still a prince, he was quite brilliant. Because he had cultivated in the past, his memory was strong and precise, and his good roots were thick and deep. Thus, when he heard the Buddha speak the Dharma, he became greatly enlightened. He also obtained the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations, and because of that, he was able to comprehend the Buddhas’ doors of cultivation which they had practiced throughout all their former lives. He was able to personally witness it all.

Therefore, he says here: from hearing the Buddha’s speaking of this inconceivably wonderful dharma/ I have obtained lights of wisdom. Instantaneously, he obtained the light of wisdom and the five eyes and six spiritual penetrations, thereby seeing the World Honored Ones’/ endeavors from ancient times past, as well as all the BodhisattvasDharma-doors of cultivation and practice. He was able to see all the Buddhas’ long-term cultivation of giving ,precepts, patience, vigor, samadhi, and wisdom.

Therefore, the Bodhisattva goes on to describe how he could see all the Buddha in every place where they took birth. He witnessed them being born throughout their successive past lives, and he knew what places they were born in, what their surnames were, what their given names were, and all the doors of practice that they cultivated during those lives.

He knew what their various names were and what their physical characteristics were like—their heights and figures and facial features—throughout successive lives, each of which was different.

He continued to witness such things, extending to the Buddhas’ making of offerings to all Buddhas. Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva knew how all Buddhas throughout all their past lives had brought forth the resolve to make offerings to all Buddhas before they themselves had become Buddhas, and specifically how Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha had done so.

Such things I witnessed entirely:

    I could see all those Buddhas’ various doors of practice.
    What is dufficult to practice, they could practice;
    What is difficult to endure, they could endure.

Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva also saw how from time now ancient, in those Buddhas’ dwellings—all the way-places where they lived throughout the past—they served and attended them, each and all. All those Buddhas themselves had drawn near to, served, and made offerings to those other Buddhas who had become Buddhas before them, and they cultivated and practiced like that through limitless kalpas,to adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

Great Awesome Light saw how they renounced their own physical bodies. In their cultivation of those doors of practice, not only did the Buddhas renounce their external wealth, but they gave away the inner wealth of their own bodies, as well. For the sake of living beings, they gave up their very lives one knows not how many times, extensively and without exhaustion. They cultivated on an extremely vast scale all such difficult-to-practice Dharma-doors, while cultivating most supreme conduct,/ to adorn and make pure all kshetra seas, the seas of all Buddhalands. That’s why, in our own cultivation, we want to be constantly transferring the merit in this way:

    I vow that this merit and virtue
    Will adorn the Buddha’s Pure Land,
    Repaying four kinds of kindness above,
    And aiding those below in three paths of suffering.

    May those who see and hear,
    Soon bring forth the Bodhi heart,
    And when this retribution body is done,
    Be born together in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

With this transference, all the seas of Buddhalands are adorned. And now we, too, are cultivating that door of practice—we are also adorning all Buddhalands. Don’t fail to recognize what doors of practice you are cultivating. Don’t have any doubt about what use there is in “singing songs every day.” Don’t have that kind of deviant knowledge and deviant views.

Sutra

Ears, noses, heads, hands, and feet,
As well as all their palaces
They gave up without exhaustion,
To adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

In each and every world they were able—
Throughout inconceivable, millions of aeons
To practice and cultivate Bodhi conduct,
And adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

Commentary

The Bodhisattva Great Awesome Light said, “Throughout long ages past, the Buddhas gave up their ears, noses, and heads, along with their hands and feet. When the causes and conditions were right, they were able to renounce even those, as well as all their palaces. Ears, noses, heads hands, and feet are all examples of inner wealth. Then there’s outer wealth—one’s countries, cities, wives, children, and palaces. Giving up all those is exactly what is meant by:

    Giving up what is difficult to renounce;
    Being patient with what is difficult to endure.

What is difficult to cultivate, they were able to cultivate. Therefore, the Bodhisattva says, they gave them up without exhaustion. They gave up the various kinds of inner and outer wealth to such an extent it could never be measured, so as to adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

In each and every world they were able—throughout all the seas of Buddhalands, for inconceivable, millions of aeons—to practice and cultivate bodhi conduct. In every world, from time immemorial, they have cultivated the doors of practice of the Bodhisattva Way, to adorn and make pure all kshetra seas. With the purity gained from all those various kinds of merit and virtue, they adorned all the seas of Buddhalands.

Sutra

By the strength of Universal Worthy’s vows,
Amid the ocean of all Buddhas,
They cultivated limitless conduct,
To adorn and make pure all kshetra seas.

Just as it is by the sun’s brilliant light
One is able to see the solar disc,
So too I, by the light of the Buddha’s wisdom,
See the Way practiced by all the Buddhas.

I regard the oceans of all Buddhalands
Pure and brilliant, vast in scope.
In still quiescence I’m certified to Bodhi,
And completely pervade the entire Dharma Realm.

Commentary

Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva says, by the strength of universal worthy’s vows – when all those Buddhas cultivated the many various doors of practice, they based themselves on the great power of the conduct and vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. Amid the ocean of all Buddhas, they cultivated limitless conduct, to adorn and make pure all kshetra seas. The Bodhisattva indicates here how in past times those Buddhas cultivated under the guidance of many other Buddhas. They used the purity gained from the cultivation of all kinds of merit and virtue to adorn the seas of all Buddhalands.

Just as it is by the sun’s brilliant light one is able to see the solar disc, so too I, by the light of the Buddha’s wisdom, see the way practiced by all the Buddhas. When the sun’s bright light shines upon the great earth, illumining the atmosphere, people are able to see the basic substance of the sun. “Now I have awakened to the light of the Buddha’s wisdom, and therefore I am able to see all the doors of practice and the Way cultivated by all the Buddhas throughout ages past,” says Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva.

I regard the oceans of Buddhalands. I contemplate as I view all those seas of kshetras—pure and brilliant, vast in scope—they all shine with a clear and splendid light. In still quiescence I’m certified to Bodhi, and completely pervade the entire dharma realm. To the bounds of empty space and the Dharma Realm, I pervade the Dharma-body of the Buddhas.

Sutra

I should emulate the World Honored One and vastly make pure the seas of all worlds. By the power of the Buddha’s awesome spirit, I should cultivate the Bodhi conduct.

Disciples of the Buddha! At that time, Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, from having seen, served, and made offerings to Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha, then in the presence of that Thus Come One, obtained an enlightened mind. And, for the sake of all living beings, he manifested the sea of the Thus Come One’s practices from remote times past; he manifested the clever expedients practiced by bodhisattvas from remote times past; he manifested the sea of merit and virtue of all Buddhas; he manifested the pure wisdom of universally entering all Dharma realms; he manifested within all Way-places the power of self-mastery in accomplishing Buddhahood; he manifested the Buddhas non-differentiating wisdom, powers, and fearlessnesses; he manifested the universally-appearing body of the Thus Come Ones; he manifested the Buddhasinconceivable spiritual transformation; he manifested the purification and adornment of limitless Buddhalands; he manifested all the practices and vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.

“Thus he caused as many living beings as there are dust motes in Mount Sumeru to bring forth the Bodhi mind. He enabled as many living beings as there are dust motes in Buddhalands to perfect the pure lands of the Thus Come Ones.

“Thereupon, for the sake of Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha spoke verses, saying:

Commentary

I should emulate the World Honored One, says Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva: I should cultivate so that I can be just like him, and vastly make pure the seas of all worlds. By the power of the Buddha’s awesome spirit, I should cultivate the Bodhi conduct. Relying on the Buddha’s spiritual powerd, I too should cultivate the doors of practice of a Bodhisattva.

Disciples of the Buddha! At that time, Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, from having seen, served, and made offerings to Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtuee Buddha, then in the presence of that Thus Come One, obtained an enlightened mind. He gained clear and lucid understanding. And, for the sake of all living beings and his own retinues, he manifested the sea of the Thus Come One’s practices from remote times past. He manifested the same cultivation-doors of practice and the ocean of vows which the Buddha himself had manifested throughout lifetime after lifetime, throughout limitless ages past.

“He manifested the clever expedients practiced by Bodhisattvas from remote times past. Bodhisattva Great Awesome Light manifested the way in which the Buddha, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue, had used all sorts of expedient means in his practice of the Bodhisattva Way. Again and again he manifested the pure wisdom of universally entering all Dharma Realms. He used wisdom which was pure and speech which was pure to pervade all Dharma Realms.

“He manifested within all the Buddhas’ way-places as he displayed the power of self-mastery in accomplishing buddhahood. He manifested the Buddhas’ non-differentiating wisdom of dequality, which goes beyond discriminative thinking, as well as the ten powers and four fearlessnesses, which all Buddhas also have. He manifested the universally-appearing body of the Thus Come Ones. He manifested the Buddhasinconceivable spiritual penetrations and a myriad transformations identical to theirs.

“He manifested the purification and adornment of limitless Buddhalands. He used limitless adornments to purify the Buddhalands. He manifested and practiced all the practices and vows of Univcersal Worthy Bodhisattva.

“Thus he caused as many living beings as there are dust motes in Mount Sumeru to bring forth the bodhi mind, and to practice the Bodhisattva Way. Also, he enabled as many living beings as there are dust motes in Buddhalands to perfect the pure lands of the Thus Come Ones.

“Thereupon, for the sake of disciple Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue Buddha spoke verses, saying a little more.

Sutra

Good indeed, Great Awesome Light,
O treasury of blessing, of vast renown!
In order to benefit living beings,
You have excelled in the Bodhi way.

You have obtained wisdomlight
Completely pervading the Dharma Realm,
As well as vast blessings and lofty virtue.
Your wisdom will soon be as deep as the sea.

In a single land you have cultivated,
Through kalpas equal to dust motes in kshetras.
Now that you have seen me,
You should obtain wisdom which is thus.

Commentary

This Buddha, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue, spoke verses in praise of Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, saying good indeed! Excellent, great awesome light, O you treasury of blessings. In the past you cultivated a tremendous amount of blessings, so that now they are inexhaustible and limitless. You are also one of vast renown! Many people know of you, honor, and respect you. In order to benefit living beings—because you wanted to help them—you have excelled in the bodhi way. You resolved to personally cultivate and then, without the slightest hesitation, practiced the Way to Bodhi.

You have obtained wisdomlight. Now that you’ve seen the Buddha, you’ve obtained lights of wisdoms, completely pervading the Dharma Realm. You can see everything to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm, and you understand the principles which govern it all. You have accomplished all that, as well as extraordinary, vast blessings and exceptionally lofty virtue. Your wisdom will soon be as deep as the sea. You should, before long, obtain profound, oceanic wisdom, become enlightened, and be certified to Buddhahood.

In a single land you have cultivated and practiced, through kalpas equal to dust motes in kshetras—in Buddhalands. Now that you have seen me, you should obtain wisdom which is thus. Just like me, you cultivated and practiced through aeons of time, and now the opportunities have ripened for you to obtain wisdom like this.

Sutra

By never being of lowly conduct,
One can understand clever expedients
And obtain the power of great vigor,
With which to purify kshetra seas.

Within each and every mote of dust,
Cultivating through infinite time
Such a person as this is able
To adorn all the Buddhalands.

For each and every living beings,
You turn on the wheel, throughout oceans of time,
Your mind never growing lax or weary.
The worlds’ guiding master you soon should become.

Commentary

By never being of lowly conduct, one can understand clever expedients. On the other hand, if one doesn’t do a good job of cultivating, if one’s practices are inferior, then one won’t be able to understand the Dharma-doors of skill-in-means and obtain the power of great vigor, with which to purify kshetra seas. By conducting oneself in a noble manner, one is able to purify and adorn all the seas of Buddhalands.

Within each and every mote of dust, of each and every world realm, you’ve been cultivating the Bodhi Way through infinite time—such a person as this is able to adorn all the Buddhalands. With the blessings and wisdom and many various kinds of merit and virtue you have gained from your extensive cultivation, you are able to adorn all the Buddhalands.

For each and every living being, you turn on the wheel, throughout oceans of time. In order to benefit all living beings, you came and went countlessly many times, revolving within the six paths of rebirth, for as many lifetimes as there are motes of dust in an aeon, enough to fill vast ocean, and yet with your mind never growing lax or weary. Because you were so concerned over living beings and wished to bring them benefit and to teach and transform them, you never once gave way to fatigue or negligence. Therefore, the worlds’ guiding master you soon should become. Because you are that way, you should soon attain Buddhahood.

Sutra

You make offerings to all Buddhas,
Even to the bounds of the future,
Your mind never fatigued or satisfied.
You shall soon attain the unsurpassed Way.

All Buddhas of the three periods of time
Will help you quickly fulfill your vows,
And within the assemblies of all Buddhas,
You will, in person, peacefully abide.

Commentary

In cultivating the Way, one should draw near to and make offerings to the Buddhas. You make offerings to all Buddhas, even to the bounds of the future. The Prince Great Awesome Light brought forth the resolve to make offerings to all Buddhas, even to the ends of all time, in order to pay homage to them. He was replete with a mind that never became fatigued or satisfied. He completely dedicated his life to his quest of the Dharma, to the point that he forgot everything else entirely. And so there was never a time when he got upset. You shall soon attain the unsurpassed way. Because you are so sincere, it’s certain that in the future you will reach the Unsurpassed Way.

There are people who work during the day, and then attend sutra lectures every night. That is an example of what is meant in this sutra passage. For the sake of the Dharma, such people are not afraid to forget physical comfort. However, different people have different levels of sincerity.

The assembly of all Buddhas of the three periods of time—past, present, and future–will help you to quickly fulfill your vows. They have brought forth the mind of kindness and compassion toward you, and they will help you to fulfill all the vows that you have made. And within the assemblies of all Buddhas, you will, in person, peacefully abide. You’ll be able to participate in the Assemblies of the Buddhas, draw near to the Buddhas, and make offerings to them. You will harmoniously dwell in their Way-places.

Sutra

All Thus Come Ones’ vows
And resolutions have no end.
One whose wisdom vastly penetrates
Can understand such expedients.

Great light made offerings to me:
Thus he obtains great awesome power
To enable beings in number like dust motes
To mature in their inclination to Bodhi.

All who practice like Universal Worthy,
Become renown Bodhisattvas.
They adorn seas of Buddhalands,
As they entirely pervade the Dharma Realm

Commentary

All Thus Come One’s vows/and resolutions have no end. One whose wisdom vastly penetrates/can understand such expedients. All the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time bring forth vows that are boundless—limitless. Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva made offerings to me, Sumeru Supreme Clouds of a mountain of Merit and Virtue, extensively, over a vast expanse of time. He also made offerings to all other Buddhas in the same way, and because of that he now obtains great awesome power/ to enable beings in number like dust motes/to mature in their inclination toward bodhi, so they continue to tend on the Path toward Bodhi.

All who practice like universal Worthy, become renown Bodhisattvas—great Bodhisattvas of high repute. They adorn seas of Buddhalands, as they entirely pervade the dharma realm with the awesome power of the light of wisdom.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, you ought to know, within that great, adorned kalpa, there were small kalpas as many as grains of sand in the Ganges River. The average lifespan of its people was two small kalpas.

Disciples of the Buddha, that Buddha, Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue, lived for fifty kotis of years. After his extinction, another Buddha entered the world by the name of ‘Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna,’ who, within that great forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, like wise attained proper enlightenment.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva proclaims with a single sound, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, you ought to know, within that great, adorned kalpa, there were small kalpas as many as grains of sand in the ganges river. The average lifespan of its people was two small kalpas Nearly everyone who lived in that world at that time was endowed with such a long lifespan.

Disciples of the Buddha, that Buddha, sumeru supreme cloud of a mountain of merit and virtue, lived for fifty kotis of years. During the Great Adorned Kalpa, very many Buddhas entered the world. Then the Buddha sumeeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue entered Nirvana. After his extinction, another Buddha entered the world, by the name of ‘good king adorned with eyes of prajna wisdom’, the ‘wisdom that reaches the other shore.’He also appeared in that great forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, and like the Buddha sumereu Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue, he attained proper enlightenment; while seated beneath a great flowering tree in the forest, he attained Buddhahood and taught and transformed living beings.

Sutra

“At that time, as soon as the pure youth Great Awesome Light saw that Thus Come One attain Equal and Proper Enlightenment, he manifested the power of spiritual penetrations and immediately attained the samadhi of mindfulness of the Buddha, called ‘door to the boundless sea treasury’; he immediately attained the great kindness called ‘rescuing and liberating, tempering and taming by universally according with living beings’; he immediately attained the great compassion called ‘cosmic cloud covering all states’; he immediately attained the great joy called ‘the treasury of the awesome power of all Buddhas’ sea of merit and virtue’; he immediately attained the great renunciation called ‘the dharma nature’s purity, which is equal to the void’; he immediately attained the prajna paramita called ‘the Dharma Realm’s pure body of the self nature which is apart from filth’; he immediately attained the spiritual penetration called ‘unobstructed brilliance that universally adapts and manifest’; he immediately attained the skill in debate called ‘skillful deep entry to the origin apart from filth’; he immediately attained the light of wisdom called ‘the pure treasury of all Buddhadharmas, and of ten thousand Dharma-doors such as those he attained complete penetration.

“Then the pure youth Great Awesome Light, relying on the Buddha’s awesome spiritual strength, and for the sake of all of his retinue, spoke verses saying:

Commentary

“At that time, that pure youth Great Awesome Light, who is also referred to in this chapter as Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva and the Prince Great Awesome Light, saw that Thus Come One, Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna, attained unsurpassed, equal and proper enlightenment. And at that very moment, he manifested the power of great spiritual penetrations, and he also immediately attained concentration from being mindful of the Buddha. The samadhi of mindfulness of the Buddha is referred to as the ‘door to the boundless sea treasury.’ Since this samadhi of mindfulness of the Buddha is the door to all other samadhis, it is the King of all samadhis. He immediately attained the samdhi of dharani, that which unites all dharmas and holds limitless meanings. This Dharani is the ‘profound source of the dharma’s power of great wisdom.’ The prince gained the strength of great wisdom, which he deeply entered.

And then, “He immediately attained the samadhi of great compassion called ‘cosmic cloud covering all states.’ This samadhi of great compassion is likened to a huge cloud encompassing every possible kind of state. He immediately attained the great joy called ‘the treasury of the awesome power of all Buddhas’ sea of merit and virtue’; he immediately attained the great renunciation called ‘the dharma nature’s purity, which is equal to the void.’ He also attained that samadhi of great giving and then was able to “renounce what is impossible to renounce.” The samadhis of Kindness, Compassion, and Joy, together with this samadhi of Renunciation, make up the Four Unlimited Minds of a Buddha.

Moreover, “He immediately attained the prajna paramita, the wisdom which reaches the other shores, called ‘the dharma realm’s pure body of the self-nature which is apart from filth,’ in which the self-nature is separated form all defilement and the Dharma Realm is pure. “Filth” refers to vulgarity and corruption, foulness and meanness. Here, “apart from filth” refers to a separating which is beyond even the concept of separation. This is because if one is aware that one is apart from filth, that means there is still filth remaining.

In this case, however, the self-nature of one’s own Dharma-body is completely clear and clean.

He immediately attained the samadhi of spiritual penetration called ‘unobstructed brilliance that universally adapts and manifests; he immediately attained the samadhi of skill in debate called ‘skillful deep entry to the origin apart from filth’; he immediately attained the samadhi of the light of wisdom called ‘the pure treasury of all Buddhadharmas,’ and of ten thousand dharma-doors such as those he attained complete penetration. There were as many as ten thousand Dharma-doors similar to all the samadhis just mentioned which Pure Youth Great Awesome Light was able to directly and thoroughly penetrate without obstruction.

“Then the pure youth Great Awesome Light, relying on the Buddha’s awesome spiritual strength, and for the sake of all of his retinue, spoke verses saying his praises of the Buddha and to briefly describe the Buddha’s states.

Question: What is the self-nature?

Answer: The self-nature is identical to the Buddha-nature. The Buddha-nature is what is true and real. A person does not become enlightened by employing the five skandhas: form, feeling, perception, impulses, and consciousness. We have to come to the realization of the emptiness of the five skandhas; we have to turn around and go back to the source—to understand our own minds and see our own natures.

Sutra

Even once in inconceivable kotis of kalpas,
An enlightened master, a guide for all worlds, is hard to meet.
Fortunate are the living beings of this land,
For now they get to see a second Buddha.

Universally emitting great light, the Buddha’s body
Its form and marks limitless, most pure
Extensively covers all lands like a cloud,
Everywhere praising the Buddhasmerit and virtue.

The light brings joy to all where it shines,
Completely ridding those beings of suffering,
And causing them all to be reverent and kind:
Thus does the Thus Come One’s self-mastery function.

Commentary

Even once in inconceivable kotis of dkalpas, an enlightened master, a guide for all worlds, is hard to meet. This first line of verse refers to an extremely long period of time—millions of aeons. During that long a period of time, it is very difficult to encounter even a single Buddha. As it’s said,

    The Supremely Revered Lord,
    The Thus Come One,
    Honored in the World,
    Is not easy to meet
    In a million kalpas.

It’s difficult to meet “an enlightened Master, a guide for all worlds,” and all the living beings born in the World Universal Sound get to meet this Good and Wise Advisor, this Enlightened Master, this Supreme Teacher.

Fortunate are the living beings of this land. The living beings of this world of the Buddha Sumeru Supreme Cloud of a Mountain of Merit and Virtue are all fortunate indeed, for now they get to see a second Buddha. Because of good roots nurtured in the past and because of their virtuous conduct, they now get to see a second Buddha come into their world. Thus they should give rise to great joy.

Universally emitting great light, the Buddha’s body—his form and his thirty-two marks and eighty fine and subtle characteristics—are limitless, infinite, and each one is distinctively adorned and most pure. The light he emits pervades the Dharma Realm and extensively covers all lands like a cloud. The Buddha has reached a state of purity in which he is everywhere praising the Buddhasmerit and virtue. Within the brilliant light he emits transformation Buddhas, who further emit wonderful sounds from inside the cloud—sounds praising and lauding the merit and virtue of all the Buddhas of the ten directions and three periods of time.

The light brings joy to all where it shines, completely ridding those beings of suffering. All those living beings who receive the Buddha’s light bring forth great happiness and are totally relieved of all their sufferings and difficulties. The light is also able to cause them all to be reverent and kind. With these verses, the Pure Youth Great Awesome Light is exhorting: “All of you within my retinue should now produce minds of reverence, great compassion, great giving, great joy, and great renunciation. Thus does the Thus Come One’s self-mastery function; now you will be able to bring forth the great resolve for Bodhi and diligently cultivate the Unsurpassed Way to ascend to the other shore. The Buddha’s light bestows such blessings. That is how the Thus Come One’s self-mastery functions.

Sutra

Clouds of inconceivable transformations come forth,
Forming a limitless net of bright hues
That spreads over all lands in the ten directions:
Thus do the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations manifest.
Fromhis every pore, he emits clouds of light,
Which put forth sublime sounds that pervade empty space,
And even illumine the gloom of the hells,

Completely extinguishing hell beingssufferings.
The Thus Come One’s voice—wondrous
Pervades ten directions,
Completely extending to every language,
It accords with all beingswholesome strength from the past:
Thus do the great master’s spiritual transformations function.

Commentary

Clouds of inconceivable transformations come forth. From within the light that the Buddha emits come forth inconceivable images and sounds, forming a limitless net of bright hues. The cloud releases boundless lights of brilliant, vivid colors, which form into a net of light that spreads over all lands in the ten directions. There is not a single Buddhaland throughout the ten directions where the light does not extend. Thus do the Buddhad’s spiritual penetrations manifest—they have that kind of wonderful function.

From his every pore, he emits clouds of light, which put forth sublime sounds that pervade empty space. The clouds that form from the Buddha’s light universally pervade the cosmos; from inside those clouds come glorious Dharma sounds, as awesome as thunder. And the clouds of light even illumine the gloom of the hells. They illumine all the dark places, without exception, in the three evil destinies where light ordinarily does not penetrate, so that all beings in the three evil realms—the hells, the hungry ghosts, and the animals—are relieved of their sufferings.

The Thus Come One’s voice—wondrous—pervades ten directions. From inside that vast cloud of light, the thundercloud sound and the great thundercloud sound manifest—that is, the wonderful sounds of the Thus Come One—which permeate the Dharma Realm throughout the ten directions, completely extending to every language. The Buddha’s sound can be understood by the native of all those lands. His words do not need to be translated; they simply adapt to the language of the living beings in any given country. Therefore, it is said:

    The Buddha proclaims the dharma with a single sound;
    Living beings, each according to its kind, obtain liberation.

It accords with all beingswholesome strength from the past. The Buddha speaks in whatever language accords with the living beings in any given country. He comtemplates those living being to see what good roots they had planted in past lives which would make its possible for them to now be illuminated by the Buddha’s light. Thus do the great master’s spiritual transformations function. The Great Master’s the Thus Come One’s, spiritual changes and transformations can accomplish all those things—that is their wonderful function.

Sutra

The vast sea of multitudes is limitless and boundless;
The Buddha manifests among them all, as he turns- universally, without exhaustion
The wonderful Dharma Wheel,
Taming and tempering the masses of beings.
The might of the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations is boundless.
As he enters and appears in all kshetras.
The Well Gone One, with wisdom unobstructed,
Achieves proper enlightenment to benefit beings.

Commentary;

The vast sea of multitudes is limitless and boundless; the Buddha manifests among them all. Right after the Buddha accomplished Buddhahood, he proceeded to teach living beings. “The vast sea of multitudes” which “is limitless and boundless” refers to all those living beings of every country in every Buddhaland. The Buddha appears before each and every one of them. His purpose in coming is to teach and transform all living beings. As he turns—universally, without exhaustion—the wonderful dharma wheel. He pervasively and continuously travels to all Buddhalands to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm, turning without exhaustion the wonderful Dharma Wheel, taming and tempering” here does not mean that the Buddha uses oppressive force to subdue living beings—he doesn’t beat them into submission. “Then how does he tame and temper them?” you may ask. He simply contemplates the causes and conditions of each living being in order to determine what method of teaching would inspire them. He considers what Dharma-doors should be used to teach them, and then he employs the Dharma-doors suitable to them.

    According to the causes and conditions,
    He speaks the Dharma.

For each living being, he speaks the Dharma that is specifically appropriate to that living being. Since the root natures of living beings are all different, he must speak the Dharma in different ways. He does so in much the same way one would combine the five flavors—bitter, hot, sour, sweet, and salty—to serve a meal to everyone’s liking.

For example, if a living being likes sour food, the Buddha gives him a little taste of something sour. Having eaten it, he is delighted, and once he happy, the Buddha in his kindness comes to teach him, to tame and temper him. Does a living being like to eat sweet things? Does another one like to drink fruit juice? Is sugar the favorite food of another? Suppose the Buddha gives that one a little sugar to eat? Having his sweet-tooth satisfied, that living being becomes well-disposed toward his teacher. If another being likes to eat bitter things, the Buddha gives him a little something bitter to eat. If another living being likes hot things, he gives him a little something hot to eat. If another likes salty things, he gives him a little something salty to eat. He uses that method to tame and temper living beings so that he can teach them.

He causes living beings who are stubborn to stop being so stubborn, the greedy and stingy ones to stop being greedy and stingy, the hateful ones to stop being hateful, those who are lustful to stop being lustful, those who seek benefit to stop seeking benefit, and those who like to get afflicted to stop getting afflicted. In that way he is able to “tame and temper the masses of beings.”

The might of the Buddha’s spiritual penetrations is boundless. He is free of outflows and discriminations, as he enters and appears in all kshetras. Throughout all the Buddhalands of the ten directions to the ends of empty space and the Dharma Realm, he constantly manifests. The well gone one, with wisdom unobstructed: “ Well Gone One” is one of the ten titles shared by all Buddhas. The Buddha achieves proper enlightenment to benefit beings. Because of his wish to benefit all living beings, he accomplishes Buddhahood.

Sutra

All should be greatly happy at heart
Jump for joy in adoration—yet display
Deepest reverence, for
Now we will go to the Buddha’s abode,
And upon seeing the Buddha, your many
Sufferings will cease.

Bring forth the mind of transference
And aspire toward Bodhi;
Hold kind thoughts toward all living creatures.
Fully dwelling in Universal Worthy’s vows,
We’ll attain the self-mastery of the Dharma King.

Commentary

All should be greatly happy at heart – jump for joy in adoration – yet display deepest reverence. When you go to see the Buddha, you should all be ecstatic. Worship, cherish, and protect the Buddha, and in your hearts you should give rise to great joy. At the same time you should be well behaved and respectful toward the Buddha, for now we will go to the Buddha’s abode. The Prince Great Awesome Light is now admonishing his retinue: You should all accompany me to see the Buddha. But when we get there, you can’t be casual and unruly. How should one act when visiting a Buddha? One should be orderly, attentive, and reverent. And upon seeing the Buddha, your many sufferings will cease. When we awaken and are able to see all the Buddha’s transformations, all our karmic obstructions will melt away, and our afflictions and suffering will also be gone without a trace. All the myriad sufferings will vanish.

Bring forth the mind of transference and aspire toward bodhi, when we get to see the merit and virtue of the Buddha, we should wake up and go down the straight road. We should hold kind thoughts toward all living creatures— maintain an attitude of kindness and compassion for all living beings. We should always regard them all with impartiality and sympathy. Fully dwelling in universal worthy’s vows— we will all bring forth the resolve to emulate the great conduct and vows of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva and tread the Bodhisattva Path, and then— we’ll attain the self-mastery of the Dharma King. We all ought to attain great comfort and ease, just like the Buddha.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, when the Pure Youth Great Awesome Light spoke those verses, relying on the Buddhasspiritual might, the sound of his voice was unobstructed and could be heard absolutely everywhere throughout all worlds. Limitless living beings brought forth the Bodhi resolve.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva again calls out with a single sound, “All of you disciples of the Buddha, when the Pure Youth Great Awesome Light, the Dharma Prince, spoke those verses, he was reldying on all the Buddhas’ great, awesome spiritual might; the sound of his voice was unobstructed, and could be heard absolutely everywhere throughout all worlds, even reaching to lands as many as dust motes. Limitless living beings brought forth the Bodhi resolve. At that time, all those living beings who were able to hear those verses gave rise to a resolve for great enlightenment, the great Bodhi mind.

Sutra

“Then the Prince Great Awesome Light, together with his father and mother and his entire retinue, as well as limitless hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of other living beings, circumambulated the Buddha in a continuous procession. Above the Buddha, jeweled clouds massed together, forming a canopy which extended throughout empty space. Together, the prince and his retinue gathered around the Buddha Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna.

“Then, that Buddha, for their sakes, spoke the Sutra of the Pure Adornment of the Subtance-Nature of the Dharma Realm, together with Sutras as many as dust motes in seas of worlds as its retinue.

Commentary

“Then, at that time, that Prince, Great Awesome Light, also known as Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, together with his father and mother, his brothers and sisters and all those in his entire retinue, as well as limitless hundreds of thousands of kotis of nayutas of other living beings, circumambulated the “Buddha in a continuous procession, from left to right, front to back, in a clockwise direction. Above the Buddha, jeweled clouds massed together, forming a canopy which extended throughout empty space. Different kinds of jeweled canopies and adornments were spread out in the shape of a canopy. Together, the prince and his retinue gathered around the Buddha good king adorned with eyes of prajna. That whole throng of people, en masse, bowed to that Buddha.

“Then, that Buddha, Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna, for their sakes, spoke an especially wonderful and meaningful sutra. It was called the sutra of the pure adornment of the substance-nature of the Dharma Realm, which is another name for the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra. “Dharma Realm” is synonymous with “Great Means Expansive”, “Substance-nature” is synonymous with the “Buddha”, the “Purity” referred to is exactly that of the “Flower Adornment”, and the “Sutra” is the very sutra we are listening to now. The Buddha Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna—Thus Come One—specifically for the sake of Great Awesome Light, spoke the /great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra—he spoke for him The Sutra of the Pure Adornment of the Substance-nature of the Dharma Realm, together with sutras as many as dust motes in seas of worlds as its retinue.

Sutra

“Upon hearing that Sutra, all in that great assembly accomplished the lucid wisdom known as ‘entry into all pure expedients’, they accomplished the ground known as ‘the light of leaving filth’; they accomplished the wheel of paramita known as ‘manifesting the adornments in which all worlds delight’; they accomplished the increasing and expanding wheel of practice known as ‘universally entering all Buddhalands with limitless light from pure views’; they accomplished the motivating wheel of conduct known as ‘the bright curtain cloud of blessings and virtue from leaving filth’; they accomplished the wheel of certification from compliant entry known as ‘the vast, great light of the deepening inclination toward practice, known as ‘the adornment of great wisdom’; they accomplished the wisdom sea of anointing the crown known as effortless cultivation of ultimately wonderful views’; they accomplished the manifestation of vast brilliance known as ‘reflections on the sea of the merit’; they accomplished the power of pure wisdom from bringing forth vows known as ‘the treasury of faith and understanding from the strength of limitless vows.’

“Then, that Buddha, for the sake of Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, further spoke verses, saying:

Commentary

“Upon hearing that sutra, the Great Means Expansive Buddha Flower Adornment Sutra, all in that great assembly accomplished the lucid wisdom known as ‘entry into all pure expedients’; they accomplished the ground known as ‘the light of leaving filth.’ Each one of those in the great assembly accompanying Great Awesome Light accomplished positions among the Ten Grounds. “The Grounds” refers to the Ten Grounds among the Bodhisattvas’ stages of practice. There are ten individual grounds. The Ground of Leaving Filth is the second one. At this point, some in the assembly attained that ground.

This can also be interpreted as referring to how each of the Grounds brings attainment of the Light of Leaving Filth, because of their increasing levels of purity. Therefore, some in that assembly were also reaching others of the Grounds, all the way up to the Tenth Ground. The accomplishment of any of the Grounds can be known as ‘the light of leaving filth.’ Although it is called “leaving filth,” it means that one has already left it, and so one emits that kind of light.

“They accomplished the wheel of paramita, which is a Sanskrit word that is translated as “reaching the other shore,” that is, going from the shore of birth and death, crossing the torrent of afflictions, and ascending the other shore of Nirvana. That’s what is meant by turning the Wheel of Paramita, known as ‘manifesting the adornments in which all worlds delight’ – appearing in all worlds with a cheerful and kind disposition toward all living beings, and thereby adorning those worlds.’

“They accomplished the increasing and expanding wheel of practice. This refers to a kind of benefit from the Dharma—practice that progressively accelerates like a spiral, and it’s known as ‘universally entering all Buddhalands with limitless light from pure views.’ Universally they enter every dust mote in all Buddhalands. There are none that they do not enter.’

“They also accomplished the motivating wheel of conduct, the wheel of being inclined toward Bodhi conduct, known as ‘the bright curtain cloud of blessings and virtue from leaving filth.’; they accomplished the wheel of certification from compliant entry.’ Through compliance one enters and attains the wheel of having been certified to Wonderful Enlightenment. That wheel is “known as ‘the vast, great light of the seas of all Dharmas’; they also accomplished the ever-deepening inclination toward practice.’ Step-by-step one goes deeper into and more exhaustively increases and expands one’s Bodhi practices. This is known as ‘the adornment of great wisdom.’

“They also accomplished the wisdom sea of anointing the crown. This refers to the state of the Bodhisattva of Equal Enlightenment. Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas are like princes who will one day be anointed as Kings. They serve as the Dharma Princes; the Buddha is the Dharma King. Accomplishing the wisdom sea of Anointing the Crown refers to attaining the fruition of an Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattva. It is known as effortless cultivation of ultimately wonderful views.’ Effortless cultivation is cultivating without cultivating, which means one does what has to be done but is not attached to the doing of it. Effortless cultivation brings certification without certification. This does not mean one can certify oneself or that certification by a Bright-eyed Advisor is not necessary. Rather, it means that although the necessary certification is sought and given, there is no attachment to having been certified. This describes cultivation of the great, ultimate, effortless Way, from having attained the vision of wonderful wisdom.

“They also accomplished the manifestation of vast brilliance known as ‘reflections on the sea of the Thus Come Ones’ merit and virtue universally shimmering.’ They also accomplished the power of pure wisdom from bringing forth vows known as ‘the treasury of faith and understanding from the strength of limitless vows.’

“Then, that Buddha, Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna Thus Come One, for the sake of great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, further spoke verses, saying:

Sutra

Good indeed, you ocean of wisdom, merit, and virtue!
Having brought forth the mind to tend toward great Bodhi,
You should like all Buddhas become inconceivable
A universal place of reliance for all beings.

You have already brought forth vast, sea-like wisdom;
Pervasively you comprehend every Dharma.
Marvelous skill-in-means you should use, to enter
The infinite state of the Buddhas’ conduct.

Having seen the cloud of all Buddhasmerit and virtue
And ascended the ground of inexhaustible wisdom,
Having entered the sea of paramitas of expedients
you, O one of great renown, will perfect them.

Expedient doors of gathering in and upholding you’ve obtained,
As well as the doors of inexhaustible eloquence.
You have cultivated every kind of practice and vow.
Now you should accomplish incomparable, vast wisdom.

Commentary

With those verses, the Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna Buddha gave the Dharma Prince Great Awesome Light a prediction. Once again, the Prince is being praised in verse, when the Buddha says, Godde indeed, you ocean of wisdom. Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, you’re really good! Your merit and virtue are complete and full, and your wisdom and blessings are also complete and full. From having brought forth the mind to tend toward great bodhi, you should like all Buddhas become inconceivable. In the near future you will directly attain Buddhahood and the inconceivable states of the Buddhas. And after you have accomplished Buddhahood, you will become a universal place of reliance for all living beings. They will rely on you and cultivate.

You have already brought forth vast, sea-like wisdom—as deep as the sea—and pervastively you can comprehend each and every dharma. You can deeply enter the Sutra Treasury and pervasively realize the True Mark of all dharmas. Marvelous skill-in-means you should use, to enter the infinite state of the Buddhas’ conduct. You will enter the Buddhaslimitless and boundless states of cultivation and practices.’

Having seen the cloud of all Buddhasmerit and virtue—you have already drawn near to and made offerings to all Buddhas. You have perceived the vastness of the cloud of all Buddhasmerit and virtue and ascended the ground of inexhaustible wisdom, and having entered the sea of paramitas of expedients—skill-in-means—you, O one of great renown, will perfect them. You will have lived up to your reputation and will become a Buddha; as an eminent personage, you will attain the fruit position.’

Expedient doors of gathering in and upholding you’ve obtained. You abide in the Dharani-door of the many various expedients, as well as the doors of inexhaustible eloquence. You also obtained the wisdom of limitless, boundless, unobstructed eloquence. You have cultivated every kind of practice and vow, and so now you should accomplish incomparable, vast wisdom. You shall accomplish the wisdom of Unsurpassed, Proper, Equal, and Right Enlightenment.

Question by Disciple

Last night and again tonight we heard about how Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva first brought forth the Bodhi resolve. The Venerable Master has often said that the time of the initial resolve is especially important. Now we have just heard about how Great Awesom Light receives a prediction. My question is, how and at what time does one bring forth the Bodhi resolve? Does this occur at some time during the course of one’s cultivation? Or is this something that happens just as a person first begins to cultivate?

Answer by the Venerable Master Hua

The Bodhi resolve arises when, during the course of one’s cultivation, one is most single-minded. Buddhahood is accomplished while one is right here in the World, and it may occur any time throughout several hundreds of thousands of myriads of aeons. Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated for three great asamkhyeya kalpas. And how long is a single limitless length of time—that is how it is translated from the Sanskrit. That means Shakyamuni Buddha cultivated for three limitlessly vast expanses of time.

Therefore, in the Avatamsake Sutra we are told how at the time of first bringing forth the resolve, one accomplishes Proper and Equal Enlightenment. When one is singleminded to the utmost, the Bodhi resolve suddenly comes forth, and one attains Buddhahood. It can also happen in one’s mind during the course of one’s walking the Bodhi Path. In cultivating the Six perfections and the Myriad Practices, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi mind. When one is non-retreating to the point that one would neover turn back, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi mind. By being vigorous day and night, one is also bringing forth the Bodhi mind. For example, those who live at the Way-place here do Morning Recitation, work all day long, and then when evening comes, they forget about sleep—even after working so hard all day. That’s all part of bringing forth the Bodhi resolve. Therefore, you should all be attentive and don’t reject these aspects of bringing forth the Bodhi resolve—don’t neglect them. Use whatever skill you have in your cultivation, and consider the Bodhi resolve to be your personal responsibility and your responsibility toward others. In that way, you will be vigorous in your work. That is how one can be a superior and lofty person.

Sutra

You have already brought forth an ocean of vows,
And have already entered the sea of samadhis.
You’ll perfect every kind of spiritual penetration,
As well as the inconceivable Dharmas of all Buddhas.

Encompassing the Dharma Realm—beyond imagining
Your vast, expansive, profound mind has been made pure;
You are able to see all Buddhas throughout the ten directions.
Now separate from filth, you adorn the infinite seas of kshetras.

Commentary

You have already brought forth an ocean of vows. Because you have continually brought forth all sorts of vows, in each and every world and in life after life these vows abound, until they have become an ocean of vows. And you have already entered the sea of all the various samadhis.

You’ll perfect each and every kind of the mighty, awesome spiritual penetrations, as well as the inconceivable dharma- doors of all Buddhas.

Encompassing the dharma realm—beyond imagining – your vast, expansive, profound Bodhi mind has been made pure, your wisdom is profound, and you are graced with purity. You are able to see all Buddhas throughout the ten directions, and now already spearae from filth, you adorn the infinite seas of kshetras. Your have reached that state where each and every one of all Buddhalands is free of filth and adorned.

Sutra

You have embarked upon my practices of Bodhi
And the sea of fundamental expedient deeds from days of old.
Like me, you cultivate all pure disciplines.
Wonderful conduct such as that you have fully realized.

I have, through all the limitless kshetras,
Made manifold offerings to the oceans of Buddhas.
I’ve attained the fruition from identical practice,
And you can comprehensively see such adornments.

Throughout the vast, expansive, boundless sea of time and
within all worlds, cultivating pure conduct and persevering in resolute, inconceivable vows,
you will attain the spiritual power of a Thus Come One.
Exhaustively making offerings to Buddhas, without exception,
adorning their lands and making them completely pure,
and cultivating through kalpas of time extraordinary practices,
you shall accomplish the Buddhas’ supreme merit and virtue.

Commentary

You, Great Awesome Light, already have embarked upon the sea of my practices of Bodhi conduct and the sea of fundamental expedient deeds—the skill-in-means that I cultivated—from day of old. Like me, you cultivate all pure disciplines. You cultivate the same Dharma-doors of pure discipline that I cultivated in past lives. Wonderful conduct such as that you have fully realized. You can understand and cultivate those inconceivable practices the same as I.

I have, through all the limitless kshetras, made manifold offerings to the oceans of Buddhas, continues Good King Adorned With Eyes of Prajna Thus Come One. He says of himself: In the past, throughout limitless kshetra seas, I made all kinds of offerings, adorning the seas of all Buddhas. There was not a single Buddha whom I did not make offerings to. I drew near them with utmost reverence. I’ve attained the fruition that all Buddhas attain from identical practice, cultivating in the same way as those Buddhas did before me. And you can comprehensively see all such adornments. Right at this moment you are able to see all the various causes and conditions revealed within all of those states.

Throughout the vast, expansive, boundless sea of time and within all worlds, cultivating pure conduct and persevering in resolute, inconceivable vows, you will attain the spiritual power of a Thus Come One. The realm of that sea of time cannot be fathomed; it is somply too vast. In the very presence of all Buddhas, the Dharma Prince Great Awesome Light cultivated all those doors of pure practice. He has been resolute and constant in holding to his vows.

We need to be firm and solid in the vows we make. You shouldn’t bring forth the Bodhi resolve today and tomorrow think about turning back. That’s to retreat from the Bodhi resolve. The kind of vow-power referred to here is substantial, unalterable, and inconceivable. Because Prince Great Awesome Light was resolute in that way, the Buddha now assures him that he will accomplish the Thus Come Ones’ spiritual powers.

Exhaustively making offerings to Buddhas, without exception, adorning their lands and making them completely pure, and cultivating through kalpas of time extraordinary practices, you shall accomplish the Buddhas’ supreme merit and virtue. In the past, Prince Great Awesome Light also made offerings to all Buddhas, with none remaining. He used extraordinary adornments and completely purified Buddhalands. Since he has perfected his merit and virtue, he will certainly accomplish Buddhahood.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, after the Thus Come One Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna entered nirvana, the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom Departed from that World, and the pure Youth Great Awesome Light succeeded to the position of wheel-turning king. And then, within that great forest, Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, a third Thus Come One appeared in that world. His name was, Ocean of Most Victorious Merit and Virtue.

“At that time, Great Awesome Light Wheel-turning sage king witnessed the Thus Come One accomplish the marks of a Buddha, and together with his retinue, four massive throngs in all, and all the populace from the cities, towns, and villages, carrying with them the seven jewels, went en masse to where that Buddha was. Using all manner of grand pavilions, which were adorned with fragrant mani, they respectfully made offerings to the Buddha.

Commentary

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva once more calls out with a single sound, “Disciples of the Buddha, after the Thus Come One Good King Adorned with Eyes of Prajna entered nirvana, the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom departed from that world. When the first Buddha was in the world, he lived for fifty kotis of years. The text does not mention how long this second Buddha remained in the world, but his lifespan must have been equal to that of the first Buddha. The King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom was also endowed with a long lifespan; we can assume it was also fifty kotis of years, since he and the second Buddha were contemporaries. And thus the King also passed away from that world.

Now among the King Happy Views Wholesome Wisdom’s five hundred sons, the Pure Youth Great Awesome Light was the leader. By this time, he too, had become quite advanced in age, but he is still referred to here as a “pure youth.” Since he was the Crown Prince, the heir apparent, he succeeded to the position of wheel-turning king.

Great Awesome Light Wheel-Turning King had the seven jewels all wheel-turning kings possess: the gold wheel jewel, the white elephant jewel, the steed jewel, the jewel of the divine pearl, the jewel of able ministers, the jewel of the jade maiden, and the jewel of generals.

“At that time, Great Awesome Light Wheel-Turning Sage King witnessed the Thus Come One accomplish the marks of a Buddha, and he went together with his retinue of which there were four massive throngs in all—one legion at the front of the entourage, one legion at the rear, one legion to the left, and one to the right. With him was also all the populace from the cities, towns, and villages, and everyone was carrying with them the seven jewels: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, mother-of-pearl, red pearl, and carnelian. Bearing all those elegant, luminescent gems, they went en masse to where that Buddha was. As a single party they traveled to the Way-place of Ocean of Most Victorious Merit and Virtue Buddha, and using all manner of grand pavilions, which were adorned with fragrant mani, they respectfully made offerings to the Buddha.”

Sutra

“Then, in the midst of that forest, the Thus Come One spoke the Sutra of the Light of Conduct of the Bodhisattva’s Universal Eye, along with Sutras as many as there are dust motes in worlds, which serve as its retinue.

“As soon as Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva heard that Dharma, he obtained the samadhi called ‘Universal Light of Abundant Blessings and Virtue.’ Because he attained that samadhi, he was able to completely know and understand all Bodhisattvas, all living beings, and the sea of their blessings and ill fortunes of the past, present, and future.

“Then, for the sake of Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, that Buddha spoke verses saying:

Good indeed, blessed and virtuous Great Awesome Light!
You have now come here to where I am.
And from a thought of sympathy for the sea of beings,
You have given rise to the great resolve for Bodhi.

For the sake of suffering beings, you have brought forth
The great, compassionate thought to effect their liberation.
One who the confused masses can draw near to and rely on,
is known as a Bodhisattva who practices expedients.

Commentary

“Then, in the midst of that forest, wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, the Thus Come One, ocean of Most Victorious Merit and Virtue, spoke a lecture on the Sutra of the Light of Conduct of the Bodhisattva’s Universal Eye, and also lectured on the sutras as many as there are dust motes in worlds, which serve as its retinue.

As soon as Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva heard that dharma-door, The sutra of the Light of Conduct of the Bodhisattva’s Universal Eye, He immediately obtained the samadhi, a kind of proper concentration, called ‘Universal Light of ‘Abundant Blessings and Virtue.’ Because he attained that samadhi, he was able to completely know and understand, reflect upon and be mindful of all Bodhisattvas of the past, present, and future, and the various doors of practice that they cultivated; he could also know the thoughts in the minds of all living beings—past, present, and future—and the sea of their blessings and ill fortune of the past, present and future. He reached the state where he fully comprehended all the various causes and conditions of the blessings that those people created and the fruits of retribution they reaped.

“Then, for the sake of Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, that Buddha, ocean of Most Victorious Merit and Virtue, spoke verses saying:

Good Indeed, blessed and virtuous Great Awesome Light! He said: Really good! Excellent! You, Great Awesome Light, have blessings and virtue which are exceedingly abundant—as deep and vast as the sea. You have now come here to where I am. You have arrived here at my Way-place with your retinue, your close and extended damily and all the citizens of your country. And from a thought of sympathy in reflecting on the causes and conditions of the sea of beings, you have given rise to the extraordinarily supreme and great resolve for bodhi.

For the sake of suffering beings—you wish to come to their aid, and so—you have brought forth the great, compassionate thought to effect their liberation. Now you have become one who the confused masses can draw near to and rely on. You should regard them all just as you do your mother and father, and be the kind of person that all living beings can depend on. Such a person is known as a Bodhisattva who practices expedients.

Sutra

Bodhisattvas who cultivate superior practices,
Decisively, dauntlessly, and are never weary or lax,
A most supreme and most victorious, unobstructed liberation
Such wondrous wisdom as that—they surely will attain.

The light from your blessings and virtueis that of an auspicious banner.
The domain of your blessings and virtue is that of an auspicious sea.
All Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s vows
You, Great Awesome Light, can aspire to and enter.

You are already able to use the vast, great vows
To enter the inconceivable sea of all Buddhas.
The sea of the Buddhasblessings has no bounds
Through wonderful liberation, you can entirely view it.
You, throughout all worlds in the ten directions,
Can totally perceive the limitless, boundless Buddhas
And the extensive sea of all their former practices:

All such things as those, you can see entirely.
One who abides on that sea of expedients will certainly enter the grounds of wisdom.
Thus is accord with all Buddhas in study,
One certainly will accomplish all-wisdom.

Commentary

Bodhisattvas who cultivate superior practices, decisively, dauntlessly, and are never weary or lax. If they can bring forth the Bodhi resolve and reliably practice those doors of conduct and that strength of vows, they’ll never get tired or be lazy and remiss. And then a most supreme and most victorious, unobstructed liberation—such unsurpassed, wondrous wisdom as that—you surely will attain.

The light from your blessings and virtue is that of an auspicious banner. You meritorious conduct has endowed you with an aureole which resembles a resplendent curtain of blessings and virtue. The domain of your blessings and virtue is that of an auspicious sea. All the places where people abide within that great sea of blessings and virtue are adorned, and those people, too, are replete with merit and virtue.’

All Universal Worthy Bodhisattva’s vows are what you model yourself after. It was by cultivating those doors of practice of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva and by bringing forth his great vows that you and all those people have accomplished such blessings and virtue. You, Great Awesome Light, can aspire to and enter all that conduct and those vows. You have now become a Bodhisattva and are able to reach the level of fruition accomplished by Universal Worthy Bodhisattva himself.

You are already able to use the vast, Great Vows to enter the inconceivable sea of the states of all Buddhas. The sea of the Budhas’ blessings has no bounds; through wonderful liberation, you can entirely view it. You havegained the liberation of wonderful wisdom and wonderful enlightenment, and by means of that you are able to thoroughly see and understand it.

You, throughout all worlds in the ten directions, can totally perceive the limitless, boundless Buddhas. You are able to see each one face-to-face. The extensive sea of all their former door of practice. All such things as those just mentioned, you can see entirely.

One who abides on that sea of expedients will certainly enter and attain all the grounds of wisdom. Thus in accord with all Buddhas’ door of cultivation in study, one certainly will accomplish all-wisdom.

Sutra

You have, amidst the seas of all worlds,
and through oceans of kalpas as many as dust motes,
studied the Thus Come Ones’ sea of practices.
You shall certainly accomplish Buddhahood.

The oceans of worlds which you see throughout the ten directions
are ultimately adorned and purified;
So, too, is your own land adorned and pure:
Limitless vows you will certainly fulfill.

Commentary

You, Great Awesome Light Bodhisattva, have, amidst the seas of all worlds—the Buddhalands throughout the Dharma Realm of the ten directions—and through oceans of kalpas as many as dust motes, studied each and every one of the Thus Come Ones’ sea of practices and their doors of conduct; you have extensively cultivated the Buddhadharma.

You shall certainly accomplish Buddhahood. You have already perfected your study and practice of the Bodhi Way, and you should of continue to do so for limitless kalpas to come. Your blessings and wisdom are full and complete; you shall certainly accomplish Buddhahood.

The oceans of worlds which you see throughout the ten directions, are ultimately adorned, beautiful, and purified; so, too, is your own land adorned and pure. In the past you cultivated the Six Paramitas and Ten Thousand Conducts to perfection; thus you have attained your own land, which is as adorned and pure as the Buddhalands of the ten directions. Limitless vows you will certainly fulfill. It is because you have consistently brought forth limitless and boundless vows for Bodhi throughout all your past lives, that you are now able to obtain a land as adorned and pure as the Buddhalands. That is your reward.

Sutra

The sea-wide assembly now at this way-place
Delights in hearing of the vows you have made.
They all climb aboard Universal Worthy’s vast, great vehicle,
And bring forth the mind of transference to Bodhi.

Commentary

The sea-wide assembly, which has congregated now at this Buddha’s way-place in the Great Forest Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, consists of people who have come from among the living beings throughout the ten directions, their number so vast that it can only be likened to a sea. Delights in hearing of the vast vows for Bodhi, which you have made during your past lives. They are all overjoyed, ecstatic and they climb aboard Universal Worthy’s vast, great vehicle. They’ve also attained his great doors of practice and the principles of the Great Vehicle, and bring forth the mind of transference to Bodhi. They, too, have brought forth the mind of transference to Bodhi, transferring from the small to the Great, from self to others, from the cause to the fruition, from specifics to principle, making transference to the unsurpassed Bodhi Way.

Sutra

Within every one of the limitless lands, and
through oceans of kalpas, you’ve penetrated all practices.
Now, by the power of your vows,
You perfect the conduct of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva.

Commentary

Within each and every one of the limitless lands, all the worlds, and through oceans of kalpas – as many as there are motes of dust—you’ve penetrated all practices. Now, by using the power of your vows, you perfect the Bodhi conduct of Universal Worthy Bodhisattva. All the practices and vows of Universal Worthy which are brought forth can be fulfilled.

Sutra

Disciples of the Buddha, within that forest, Wheels of Blossoming Mani Branches, yet another Buddha entered the world. His name was Lotus Eyes Banner. His renown is universal. That was the time when Great Awesome Light passed from that life to be reborn as a great heavenly king in the still, quiet, jeweled palace of the heavenly city situated on top of Mount Sumeru. His name was Banner of Blessings and Virtue Apart from Filth. And together with all the heavenly citizens, he arrived at that Buddha’s place, where they rained down precious flowers as offerings.

“Then the Thus Come One spoke for him the Vast, Great, Expedient Universal Door Pervasively Shining Sutra, along with Sutras as many as there are motes of dust in seas of worlds, which serve as its retinue.” When that heavenly king and his devas heard that Sutra, they attained the samadhi called, ‘The Treasury of the Universal Door of Happiness,’ and by the strength from that samadhi, they were able to enter the sea of the true mark of all Dharmas.

“Once having obtained such benefit, they departed from that Way-place and returned to their place of origin.”

Commentary

Universal Worthy again calls out, “Disciples of the Buddha, within that forest, wheels of blossoming mani branches, yet another Buddha entered and manifested in the world. His name was Lotus Eyes Banner Buddha. His renown is universal. His fame is spread far and wide, reaching to all worlds. That was the time when great awesome light passed from that life to be reborn as a great heavenly king in the especially still, quiet, jeweled palace of the heavenly city situated on top of mount sumeru. At that time, when this fourth Buddha entered his world, the life of Bodhisattva Great Awesome Light Wheel-turning King reached its end, and he was reborn as a Great Heavenly King. His name was Banner of Blessings and Virtue apart from filth. And together with his entire retinue and all the heavenly citizens, he arrived at that Buddha’s Lotus Eyes Banner’s, Wayplace, where they rained down precious flowers as offerings. All the jeweled flowers that those gods scattered resembled a billowing tapestry of variegated, bright colors. They used that kind of adornment to make offerings to Lotus Eyes Banner Buddha.

Then, the Thus Come One spoke a lecture for him, the Heavenly King Banner of Blessings and Virtue Apart from Filth, on the vast, great, expedient universal door pervasively shining sutra, along with sutras as many as there are motes of dust in seas of worlds, which serve as its retinue. Those works together make a Sutra Canon. When that heavenly king and his devas, all those heavenly beings, heard that sutra, they attained the samadhi – a kind of proper concentration—called, ‘The Treasury of the Universal Door of Happiness,’ and by the strength from that samadhi, they were able to enter, to penetrate and understand, the sea of the true mark of all dharmas.

“Once having obtained such wholesome benefit, they departed from that Way-place and escorted their Heavenly King as they returned to their place of origin, the Heavenly Jeweled palace.”


Source

cttbusa.org