Complete Enlightenment

1,000-year-old Arhat statues

This is A Thousand Buddhas Hall (千佛殿) in Lingyan Temple (灵岩寺) in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province in China’s east coast by the Yellow Sea. The hall houses 40 life size statues of Arhats.

The building was erected in the early 7th century during Tang Dynasty, with the latest renovation carried out in the 16th century during Ming Dynasty.

Of the 40 statues, 32 were created in 1066 during Song Dynasty and remaining 8 added into the hall 500 years later during the Ming era.

A maintenance work in 1982 discovered that each statue contains an abdominal cavity completed with internal organs made of silk. Ancient coins, mirrors and documents were also inserted in the statues’ bodies.

Q & A on Complete Enlightenment

The Sutra of Complete Enlightenment recordes a Buddhist seminar and is viewed, particularly by Chinese school Buddhism, as the jewel on the crown of Buddhist classics, or the PhD course in the Buddhist teachings.

The seminar between Buddha and his 12 major disciples was taken place in a pure consciousness level and the minutes of the seminar is complied in a form of Q & A.

It is believed that the sutra was a Sanskrit origin and introduced to China in the 7th century during Tang Dynasty, but there is also argument that the sutra was in fact Chinese origin as the earliest version found in the world today is written in Chinese.

Question by Manjusri Bodhisattva

Dear Sikamoni Buddha, if someone wants to learn to liberate from illusive existence, how should he start to practice the complete enlightenment and how can he steer clear of bogus training programs?

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

The complete enlightenment comes from unstained consciousness, which is the state of ultimate reality (真) and thusness (如).

In the ultimate reality (bodhi) no thought pops up from mind (nirvana), therefore no stain needs to be cleaned away from consciousness (谛闲法师:一念不生无有可遣曰真);

With thusness, you have no obsession over any identity or ideology, so you are not attached to any certain point and are free to move around (谛闲法师:万法自如亦无可立曰如).

All Buddhas started their practice by carefully monitoring thoughts in their mind and eventually stopped all deliberations which allows their consciousness to fully wake up and illuminate around without obstruction.

When you are thoroughly aware while not thinking or visualising, you have found your true self. (谛闲法师: 所谓无相之相,既性是也).

Question by Manjusri Bodhisattva:

If someone wants to learn to liberate from illusive existence, how should he start to practice the complete enlightenment and how can he steer clear of bogus training programs?

1,000-year-old Arhat statues with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

Since time no-beginning, all sentient beings are lost in the illusive world created by their own imaginations. It is like a person who sees a flower in the air while in fact there is no flower in the air at all. The image of flower is caused by a flower-shaped pterygium on his own eye. It is his diseased eye that produced a flower.

But the patient does not know. He not only believes the solid existence of the flower, but tries to find out from where the flower came, thus a chain of illusive events in the illusive environment occur.

All existence is our imagination, so is the cycle of life and death experienced by our perceived physical body.

It is like a man who is dreaming. In the dream everything is real to him, but when he awakens he realises there is nothing for him to hold on to.

Illusions (like dreams) come and go. Yet you cannot say they are something, because they do not exist; yet you cannot say they are nothing, because you do have experienced them.

Buddhas are those who are fully aware everything happening in his universe yet have acutely realised the empty nature of all things in existence. They have no obsession over something, nor they have attachment to nothing, therefore they are totally free.

So the reason for sentient beings to be trapped in the cycle of beginning and ending and life and death is not of their experience in illusions but their passionate attachment to some certain illusions and believe they are real. (谛闲法师:无执,即无惑;无惑,即不造业;不造业,即无轮回之相。故病根在一执字)

It is not a problem to experience illusions, as long as you do not have attachment to your illusive self identity in the illusive drama and do not obsessed over particular perspectives generated from your certain position, you are in the Ultimate Reality and Thusness (谛闲法师:只要对境不起分别妄见,我法二执即空,当体既是真如)

Question by Samantabhadra Bodhisattva:

Dear Shakyamuni Buddha, since the mind is part of illusion, how can people realise they are in the illusive world and free themselves from the illusive trap?

1,000-year-old Arhat statue

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

All illusions are born from illusive mind. When consciousness is fully awakening, all illusion will vanish including illusive mind.

How to free yourself from illusion using illusive mind?

Firstly you make yourself aware all thoughts coming into your mind, then you aware all thoughts in your mind are illusion. When you no longer need to remind yourself the illusive nature of all thoughts, you have separated your consciousness from the illusion of separation. As you further separate from the separation from the illusion of separation, you will reach the stage where nothing to be separated from, which is the removal of all illusion.

When you have removed all illusion, you are instantly free from all confinement.

Yet even though all illusion is extinguished, you do not enter into nothingness. Your consciousness is fully aware.

Notes by Chinese Monk Dixian (谛闲)

The real awareness is without thought; and the true reality is without illusion (觉相是无相之相,即是真境;真境是无境之境,即是真性).

If you fully realise life and death are illusion, you will experience no suffering when you go through incarnation; if you truly aware cessation of illusion is also illusion, you will not be afraid of returning to the world of illusion. (了得生死如幻,故入生死海,不受生死苦;了得涅槃入幻,故能不住涅槃而度众生)

Question by Universal Vision Bodhisattva:

Dear Shakyamuni Buddha, can you please elaborate on the steps of awakening practice.

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

The first step is to live in virtue and find same virtuous people to work on awareness practice, then setup a sitting meditation routine. During each session, try not to think anything but be mindful of your environment.

Each time when you are not using your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind to sense the world yet still keep full awareness, you are momentary with your consciousness and land in the true reality. By then you can detect no world outside of your body, no world inside of your body and no existence of your body. Keep prolonging and expanding this state until one day your awareness extends to all worlds and includes all times – the past, present and future. It is a state where all are present and nothing changes. (谛闲法师:于静室中,试参此境界:外无身,内无心,一念不起,心与境合,当体即真,直至圆裹三世,一切平等不动).

We experience change, because we only focus on a portion of our consciousness and the focus keeps shifting, thus changes manifest. When we are with our whole consciousness, there will be no beginning and ending, no birth and death, but eternity. (谛闲法师:觉性平等不动,真空而显不空。众生以生灭心观之,故有动相。并非法动,实是心动).

Question by Vajragarbha Bodhisattva:

Dear Shakyamuni Buddha, if all sentient beings possess fully enlightened Buddha nature, how can they be so ignorant? If sentient beings are so stained, how can you say they are by essence perfectly pure?

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

Think about smelting gold ore. The gold does not come into being because of process of melting. But before refinement, the gold has been stained by all sorts of minerals. Yet even its perfect golden nature is hidden, it’s always there and never disappears. It just needs to be uncovered and purified.

All sentient beings live in worlds with beginning and ending, being born and die, having prior and after, keeping gathering and scattering, continually arising and ceasing. While you are on this circular motion of going and returning without a moment’s lapse, you found that all things keep changing. Which is like when you are in a travelling boat, the shore appears moving.

Using a cyclic mind, you will only produce cyclic views.

Once you have freed yourself from this self-generated cyclic existence, your perfectly enlightened consciousness will emerge.

Notes by Monk Dixian (谛闲法师)

A partial view is a biased view, which favours a particular potion but disregards the whole, thus generates a vision of motion that causes beginning and ending, the birth and death. (偏计是生死之根。偏计不空,轮回不能出)

Comments from Google Plus

Phillip Johnson:

Mass enlightenment means abandoning the attachment to personal karma and the illusion of separateness. The Bodhisattva does not reincarnate, we all collectively be.

All Things Chinese:

Bodhisattva can incarnate and from time to time they do.

After you wake up from dream, you can return to dream in a lucid state.

But by rule, they cannot disclose they are beings of a celestial realm or beyond, or they would have to leave this world.

So if you meet anybody who claims to be the reincarnated Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva or Living Buddha or other historical Buddhist figures, and tells you he can lift you to a Buddha land in Heaven if you submit your will and your wealth to him, and intimidates you that he could send you to hell if you try to break away from his control, you should know he must come from a cult.

Question by Maitreya Bodhisattva:

Dear Shakyamuni Buddha, could you please advise how Bodhisattvas and sentient beings can sever the root of cyclic existence? How many types of cyclic existence are there? How to identify the levels of enlightenment? And when returning to the world after enlightenment, how to awake the sentient beings who are still lost in illusive dream?

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

All types of beings, regardless born from eggs, wombs, moisture or by transformation, enter a life form through a desire to reproduce, which is driven by an obsession with attached love.

Attached love gives rise to desire while desire gives rise to life force. Thus to sever the root of cyclic existence and free yourself from birth and death, you must get rid your love and desire.

The reason for bodhisattvas to return to the world is not due to attached love but unconditioned compassionation covering all sentient beings, so they will not be stuck and lost in the illusive dream.

In the process of severing the root of cyclic existence, all sentient beings have to overcome two obstacles. The first is not being able to realise they are in a dream and comprehend the full awakening state (理障); and the second is not being able to fully awake in practice due to negative karmic effects (事障).

For those who have permanently discarded love and desire, the condition to awake is met; but if they are yet to recognise the difference between the illusive world and true reality, they will not be able to actually awake. (If you have an ability to travel to a particular destination but you don’t even know the existence of the destination, you will never get there).

This highlights the importance of encountering a genuine teacher who can point the right direction to the destination.

NOTE: Love is a state that someone has a strong emotional attachment to particular things or sentient beings while compassion is an approach that tries to understand (not endorse) problems experienced by anybody and is willing to help fix when requested.

Question by Pure Wisdom Bodhisattva:

Dear Sakyamuni Buddha, could you further elaborate on the different stages of cultivation and different results through different cultivation methods.

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue

A 1,000-year-old Arhat statue with internal organs made of silk in its body in Lingyan Temple

Answer by Shakyamuni Buddha:

Bodhisattvas and sentient beings are in fact all illusory existence, so are aspects of their difference, because by essence, all consciousnesses are completely translucent therefore no variation between each other.

However, during the process of erasing all stains in the lucent true nature, there are landmarks on each stage of the progress.

All sentient beings keep going through moment-to-moment arising and cessation of self identities, therefore experience feelings of likes and dislikes and become addict to certain subjects, based on how “self” is treated and how the viewpoints of “self” are responded.

For those who have realised the illusive nature of “self” thus try to sever the attachment to this false identity yet are not perfectly free, they are the sentient beings having stepped on the straight path towards the complete enlightenment.

For those who have eliminated their obsession for “self” but yet to be perfectly free due to their attachment to the concept of “enlightenment”, they are the bodhisattvas halfway through their journey to the destination of complete enlightenment.

For those who have successfully eliminated their attachment to both illusive “self” and concept of “enlightenment”, therefore their consciousness become totally translucent thus are free from self-generated confinement, they are the bodhisattvas having arrived in the land of complete enlightenment.

For those who are not only totally translucent but make no differentiation between this land and other shore, between path and destination, between illusive world and true reality, between life and nirvana, hence are free to get in and come out of heaven, hell and earth, they are the Buddhas, the masters of their fate and their world.

COMMENTS FROM GOOGLE PLUS

Jose Moron:

Different ways of teaching peace.

All Things Chinese: 

It’s not about peace but a total freedom that dose not come at the expense of causing others to lose a potion of their freedom, which is the case in human world.

Anyone who talks about peace without mentioning justice in a land ruled by jungle laws, and anyone who promotes freedom without mentioning responsibility in a human community relying on each other’s cooperation to survive and to progress, is fooling himself or, worse, deliberately misleading others.

Jose Moron: 

If we can’t learn from each other then we will never understand anyone nor understand anything else.

All Things Chinese: 

Learning from each other is a way to broaden one’s single perspective generated from an isolated “self” thus to expand one’s narrow scope of “self”. Once your “self” includes entire universe, you are the master of your world.

TO BE CONTINUED

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