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 6 2021-08-14

Two—Subhuti's Request

At that time, the venerable elder Subhuti was present at the assembly. He rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and with palms joined, respectfully bowed and addressed the Buddha saying, “World-honored One, the Tathagata's sublime mindfulness and entrustment to the bodhisattvas is indeed extraordinary. 

“World-honored One, when good men and good women give rise to the mind of anuttara samyaksambodhi and strive for perfect enlightenment, how should they dwell in their minds and how should they master their minds?”

The Buddha said, “Excellent, Subhuti. As you said, the Tathagata is mindful of the bodhisattvas and entrusts the bodhisattvas. Now listen carefully while I tell you how the mind of good men and women should abide when they strive for the perfect enlightenment of anuttara samyaksambodhi and how they should master their minds.”

“Wonderful indeed is your teaching, World-honored One. I will pay heed to what you say.”

At this time, Sakyamuni Buddha just attained Buddhahood; he knew this was happening. He manifested himself as a monk sitting halfway up the mountain meditating. The garuda carrying the snake passed by the monk. The snake cried out for help and nodded his head to the monk, to pay homage. He gestured to the monk, “monk, please save me.” He was about to become food. But the monk, who was actually Sakyamuni Buddha, did not save him, and he ended up being eaten by the garuda.

Although the snake cried for help from Sakyamuni Buddha and nodded his head respectfully, Sakyamuni Buddha did not save him. That was one of his lifetimes that was recorded in the Avadanasataka Sutra. 

In a later lifetime, he was reincarnated as a child in a Brahman family. This Brahman family was very wealthy and had many houses filled with gold, silver and precious items. However, when he was born, everything was gone. That's why his family named him Kongsheng, meaning born empty. His family said, “as soon as you were born, all our treasures disappeared, we became empty.” So they named him Born-Empty. They went to see a mystic who told them that it was an auspicious sign. The mystic said that he is a good child, and he's a symbol of auspiciousness; therefore, his second name is Shanji which means good and auspicious. Seven days later, all the treasures and luxurious manors reappeared. That's why his family gave him a third name, Shanxian which means good manifestation. Therefore, Subhuti's names are Born Empty, Good and Auspicious and Good Manifestation. 

That's why the title of Chapter Two is Shanxian's Request. Shanxian is Subhuti. It is the same as Subhuti requesting Sakyamuni Buddha to give dharma teaching. That is the meaning of the title of Chapter Two—Subhuti's Request.

That's how the name Shanxian came about. Now do you understand? Master Lianwang's wild guess was like trying to catch a fish in a dark pond, and he caught it! Shanxian is Subhuti's name. He was originally given named Kongsheng, then Shanji. His third name is Shanxian.

At that time, the venerable elder Subhuti was present at the assembly. He rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and with palms joined, respectfully bowed and addressed the Buddha.

Why did he bare his right shoulder and knelt on his right knee? I'm asking all of you. Tibetan lamas always bare their right shoulders. We asked them, “why do you bare your right shoulder?” They said, “because it's sexy.” [Grandmaster laughed heartily.] One geshe told me that. I will not mention his name. He said, “because it's sexier this way.”

Also, the right knee is a tradition in the Indian kingdom. You bared the right shoulder and knelt on your right knee primarily to show that everything moves clockwise. Clockwise represents the correct path or the proper way. When we do the proper thing, we use the right shoulder and the right knee. Whenever we circumambulate around a pagoda, mountain, lake or temple, it's always done clockwise, never counterclockwise. It's the same when you turn the dharma mantra wheel; it's always clockwise, never counterclockwise. You want it to be clockwise, which represents the right dharma.

If it's counterclockwise, it symbolizes the deviant or the wrong path. If you show your right shoulder or right arm, that means you're on the right path. It's not to show off your sexiness, like what the geshe said. “Geshe” is like a doctorate degree in buddhism. There are several different levels of geshe, like high level or low level geshe. We asked him, “why did you just show your right shoulder and not your left shoulder?” He said, “to be sexy.” Right or left shoulder should be the same [in case of being sexy]. 

That's all for today. Om mani padme hum.

Discourse 7 2021-08-15

Now, we will discuss further regarding the venerable elder Subhuti, as in the excerpt:

At that time, the venerable elder Subhuti was present at the assembly. He rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and with palms joined, respectfully bowed and addressed the Buddha saying, “World-honored One, the Tathagata's sublime mindfulness and entrustment to the bodhisattvas is indeed extraordinary. 

“World-honored One, when good men and good women give rise to the mind of anuttara samyaksambodhi and strive for perfect enlightenment, how should they dwell in their minds and how should they master their minds?”

The Buddha said, “Excellent, Subhuti. As you said, the Tathagata is mindful of the bodhisattvas and entrusts the bodhisattvas. Now listen carefully while I tell you how the mind of good men and women should abide when they strive for the perfect enlightenment of anuttara samyaksambodhi and how they should master their minds.”

“Wonderful indeed is your teaching, World-honored One. I will pay heed to what you say.”

You should understand this excerpt readily, it is about the questions asked by Subhuti. This is quite clear, right? I do not need to explain further. Let me elaborate briefly on Subhuti instead.

Subhuti was born with high intelligence, but he still carried the seed of hatred and anger from his past lives. Therefore, Sakyamuni Buddha first taught Subhuti the paramita or perfection of endurance. The meditative concentration that Subhuti attained is the samadhi of non-contention, then he attained the samadhi of emptiness.

In his dharma propagation, the Buddha visited the village where Subhuti resided. Subhuti had heard that the Buddha was a very wise person, though Subhuti also considered himself possessing a high level of wisdom. When the Buddha discoursed the dharma, Subhuti was standing at a far distance, listening.

The Buddha explained that all sentient beings are equal; there is no difference between self and others. The Buddha spoke on the ultimate dharma, the highest level of dharma. He also said, “Sentient beings are I, and I am sentient beings. There is no difference between self and others. All beings are equal.”

Subhuti heard this from far away and joined his palms with reverence. What Sakyamuni Buddha said about no differences between self and others really resonated with Subhuti's heart. When the Buddha returned to his residence, Subhuti paced back and forth right outside the Buddha's door. Sakyamuni Buddha knew about it and invited Subhuti to come in. They had a dialogue and connected right away; they had great affinity. Where did the affinity come from? 

The affinity originated from the time when Subhuti was a poisonous snake and captured by the bird garuda. While they were flying in the sky, they passed by Sakyamuni Buddha who was sitting halfway up the mountain. The snake asked for the Buddha's help and nodded his head to the Buddha. By asking for help or praying to the Buddha, he created an affinity. This is where the affinity originated. That is why affinity—causes and conditions—is extremely important.

If there is no affinity, it is impossible for Grandmaster [to help] as well. That is why the Buddha says it is impossible for him to deliver anyone without affinities. One of the three things a buddha is incapable of is to deliver beings that has no affinity with him. 

There are many people coming from faraway places pleading me to solve their sicknesses. If I feel there is no dharma power flowing when I extend my hand, then I know this person does not have affinity with me and it is impossible for me to cure their illness. No matter what I do, I would not be able to help them as the affinity is too shallow. 

But for those with affinity, miracles occurred. Elizabeth [one of the visiting disciples] is here now and she has affinity with Grandmaster. When she visited Seattle [in 2014], she had a tumor inside her brain as shown in the MRI and X-ray results. The night after meeting Grandmaster, she had a dream of Grandmaster becoming a surgeon, wheeling her into an operating room, opening up her brain and taking the tumor out, leaving just a little bit of skin residue behind. In the dream, I told her that I took out her tumor and there was only a little bit of skin left.

She dreamed of Grandmaster operating on her brain, inside her skull. Did you feel pain? [Grandmaster asked Elizabeth.] “No,” [Elizabeth answered]. Surgery in dreams is not painful, but in real life, do you want to try? [laughter] With anesthesia you might not feel the pain and in dreams too, you don't feel anything. The night passed; Elizabeth saw the surgeon was Grandmaster [referring to himself], but I am not a surgeon, I never studied medicine. [laughter] I do not even dare to kill chickens, but my mom did. She beheaded them while chanting, ”chicken, chicken, your life is endless suffering; Let me help you get a new life.” Cut! [spoken in Taiwanese with laughter].

 

2022年功德主方案 
點此入內 線上刷卡
(單位:美金)

  下載迴向報名專用表 

迴向報名表填完之後請傳送E-mail: Email住址會使用灌水程式保護機制。你需要啟動Javascript才能觀看它

燃燈paypal註冊的信箱是Email住址會使用灌水程式保護機制。你需要啟動Javascript才能觀看它 敬請同門善信大德注意,以免無法收款!謝謝!

 

「隨喜贊助」、廣告刊登等,請參考下方。


點選「隨喜贊助」進入PayPal 線上信用卡贊助網頁,填寫數量即是您的贊助金額!

 

   

◆其他贊助方法:劃撥、匯票、支票及國外匯款

聯絡我們:

投稿專用E-mail:Email住址會使用灌水程式保護機制。你需要啟動Javascript才能觀看它

電話:886-49-2312992 分機 362

傳真:886-49-2350140
迴向報名表傳送E-mail:Email住址會使用灌水程式保護機制。你需要啟動Javascript才能觀看它

 

贊助索閱一年24期紙本雜誌、變更郵寄地址、或 參加「功德主方案

請洽分機 367

 ◆刊登全彩廣告/賀詞/請佛住世詞,下載廣告確認單。

請洽分機 368