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Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra 

Vajra Sutra (Diamond Sutra) 

Detailed Exposition by Living Buddha Lian-Sheng, Grandmaster Sheng-Yen Lu

Translated into English by True Buddha School Vajra Sutra Translation Team


Discourse 29, 31 October 2021 - Chapter Ten—Magnificent Pureland (continued)


Ten—Magnificent[1] Pureland

 

The Buddha asked Subhuti, “What do you think? Did the Tathagata obtain anything from the dharma at Dipamkara Buddha’s place?”

 

Subhuti replied, “No, World-honored One. When the Tathagata was with Dipamkara Buddha, he did not obtain anything from the dharma.”

 

"Subhuti, what do you think? Do the bodhisattvas adorn the buddhaland?”

 

Subhuti replied, “No, World-honored One. Why? Because adorning is not adorning; it is [merely] called adorning.[2]

 

“That is so, Subhuti. All bodhisattvas and mahasattvas should generate this pure mind, they should not give rise to the mind which dwells on forms, nor on sound, smell, taste, touch, nor anything at all. They should instead give rise to the mind which does not dwell on anything.

 

“Subhuti, if someone has a body as big as Mount Meru, is his body big? What do you think?”

 

Subhuti replied, “Very big indeed, World-honored One. Why? Because the Buddha says that [only a] non-body is called a big body.”

 

 

Okay, let us now expound theVajra Sutra, [this time] on Chapter Ten—Magnificent Pureland. At this time, Sakyamuni Buddhaasked again, “Subhuti, what do you think? Do the bodhisattvas adorn the buddhaland?” Subhuti replied, “No, World-honored One. Why? Because adorning is not adorning; it is [merely] called adorning.

 

Here is the question again, and it is astounding. “Do the bodhisattvas adorn the buddhaland?” No, the bodhisattvas do not adorn the buddhaland. And there is no adorning in the buddhaland. Why are the ones adorning the buddhaland not magnificent, yet called magnificent? Why? Magnificence is [merely] a name.

 

You must understand its meaning, and not just read it.

 

“Subhuti, what do you think? Do the bodhisattvas adorn the buddhaland?” Subhuti replied, “No, World-honoredOne. Why? Because adorning is not adorning; it is [merely] called adorning.”

Bodhisattvas are inherently magnificent, the buddhas are likewise inherently magnificent. How magnificent the appearance of a buddha is? It shows thirty-two marks of perfection or major characteristics of a great man[3] and eighty minor exemplary characteristics. We all know what the thirty-two major marks and eighty minor marks are.

 

Long earlobes that touch the shoulders are one of the marks. You see, Grandmaster’s ears can touch the shoulders. [Grandmaster jokingly raises his right shoulder to touch his right ear. Laughter.] The eyebrows are like the moon, the eyes are full of wisdom, the nose like Mount Meru, the mouth neither big nor small—particularly, not this big [Grandmaster points to his cheeks to show the mouth cannot be thatwide], the tongue so long and wide that it can cover the whole face when it sticks out. When standing upright, the hands can reach below the knees. Also, the mark of a thousand-spoked wheel on the soles of the feet. These are [some of the] thirty-two major and eighty minor characteristics of a great man.

 

There is a type of magnificence called the “six magnificence.” They are external adornments such as earrings, three strings of mala beads and necklaces hanging on the chest, bracelets and anklets. These are the six or seven external magnificence, which sometimes are worn when one appears [in public]. They are external adornments.

 

The bodhisattvas and buddhas are magnificent by nature. The buddhaland is also magnificent. When the bodhisattvas arrive in the buddhaland, as magnificent as they are, they do not add to the magnificence of the buddhaland. They are all naturally magnificent, that is to say that they are all inherently magnificent.

 

As you know, the Western Paradise[Sukhavati] has trees, lakes, as well as beautiful palaces. There is no freezing winter or scorching summer. It is neither too hot nor too cold—the temperature is just right. There, you will find seven-treasure trees and eight-meritorious water which form lakes. There are beautiful pavilions and terraces. The ground is covered with gold. Celestial garments hang on the trees, and you can wear any of them. Whatever food you desire will appear in front of you. You live in golden or silver dwellings, travel on clouds that appear instantaneously upon the thought.

 

Naturally, everything is wondrously magnificent; it is not adorned, and it is not deliberately made magnificent. The magnificence is there all along, nothing has been done to it. Magnificent yet not [made] magnificent, and because it is not [made] magnificent, it is magnificent.

 

The bodhisattvas do not deliberately create magnificence as they are already magnificent to begin with. The buddhas also do not deliberately make themselves look magnificent as they are already inherently magnificent. They are all magnificent, so what is there to adorn? Because it is not [made] magnificent, it is magnificent. This statement is now clear to you, right?

 

[Perhaps] you just read the sutra without understanding it. “Subhuti, what do you think? Do the bodhisattvas adorn the buddhaland?” Subhuti replied, “No, World-honored One.”

 

Of course, the bodhisattvas do not adorn the buddhaland. Why? Such a magnificent buddhaland is not and cannot be deliberately adorned; it is already magnificent as is. Only then is it called magnificent.

 

This is a short statement, yet if it is not explained clearly, you will not understand it. Bodhisattvas are inherently magnificent, buddhas are inherently magnificent, and the purelands are inherently magnificent. Hence, no one needs to make them magnificent as they are all magnificent already.

 

So the phrase “not magnificent is magnificent” means that only when it is not [made] magnificent that it is magnificent. If I had not explained this clearly today, no one would understand its real meaning. That is all for today. It was still a very good discourse even if we only talked about this paragraph.

 

Om mani padme hum.




[1] Vyuha was translated to Chinese as 莊嚴, which has been translated to English as dignified. Vyuha means magnificence, splendor, adornment as well as supernatural qualities.

[2] Translator’s Note: This phrase means that the buddhaland is magnificent as is, the bodhisattvas are magnificent as they are and the buddhas too are magnificent as they are. It does not matter if they are adorning or not, they are all magnificent. Magnificent is just a term or name, and all names are created for a convenience, but even then, it may not be so fixated. Once the purpose is served, there is no longer any meaning to the name. In other words, there is no adorning in the buddhaland [as everything is magnificent as is]. Adorning is [merely] a name.

[3] Mahapurusa laksana  

 

Version 17 Feb 2022



Next discourse on the Vajra Sutra: Discourse 30, 6 November 2021 - Chapter Ten—Magnificent Pureland (continued)  


Previous discourse on the Vajra Sutra:
 Discourse 28, 30 October 2021 - Chapter Ten—Magnificent Pureland


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