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14 妙慧童女會

Su m ati’s Questions

T hus have I heard. O ncc the B uddha was dwelling on M o u n t Grdhrakuta near
Rajagrha, accom panicd by twelve hundred fifty great m onks and ten thousand
Bodhisattva-M ahasattvas.
A t that time, an cider's daughter named Sumati, w h o was only eight years
old, was living in the city o f Rajagrha. She had graceful features and was ex­
quisitely beautiful. Bccausc o f her beauty and gracc, she was adored by everyone
w h o saw her. In her past lives, she had associated closcly w ith innumerable Bud­
dhas, had m ade offerings to them , and had planted good roots o f every kind.
O n e day this yo u n g girl w e n t to visit the Tathagata. W hen she arrived, she
paid hom age to the Buddha by bow ing d o w n w ith her head at his feet and
circum am bulating him three times to the right. Then, kneeling w ith her palms
joined, she spoke to the B uddha in verse:

"Uncxccllcd, Pcrfcctly Enlightened One,


Great, brillant light o f the world,
Please listen to m y questions
A b ou t the practiccs o f a Bodhisattva.”

T he Buddha told Sumati, "A sk w hatever questions you wish. I will explain
the answers to you and resolve y our d o u b ts.”
T h en Sumati asked the B uddha in verse:

“H o w docs one obtain graceful features,


O r great wealth and nobility?

Sutra 30, Taisho 310, pp. 547-549; translated into Chinese by Bodhiruci.
Su m a t i's Q u e st io n s 257

What causes one s rebirth


A m o n g harm onious relatives and friends?
By w hat means m ay one be b o m ethereally,
Seated upon a thousand-petaled lotus,
T o w orship the B uddhas face to facc?
H o w can one obtain a free co m m an d
O f superb, miraculous powers,
A nd thus jo u rn e y to countless Buddha-lands
T o pay hom age to m yriad Buddhas?
H o w can one be free from enm ity
A nd cause others to believe o n e’s words?
H o w m ay all hindrances to D harm a be rem oved
A nd evil deeds forever cast away?
A t the end o f one's life,
H o w m ay one sec m an y Buddhas,
A nd th en ,^ree o f pain,
H ear th em prcach the pure D harm a?
M ost C om passionate, Suprem ely H o n o red One,
Please tell me all this.”
The Buddha said to the young girl Sumati, “Excellent ,excellent! It is good
that you raise such profound questions. N ow , listen carefully and think well about
this. I will tell y o u .”
Sumati said, “ Yes, W orld-H onored One, I will listen with pleasure.”
T he B uddha said, “Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves four things, he will be
endow ed with a graceful appearancc. W hat arc the four?
N o t to be an g ry [even] w ith a bad friend;
to have great kindness;
to rcjoicc in the true D harm a; and
to m ake images o f B u d d h as.”
T he W o rld-H onored O n e repeated this in verse:
“H arbo r no hatred, w hich destroys good roots.
Rcjoice in the D harm a, be kind,
A nd m ake images o f Buddhas.
T hese will give you a well-form ed body,
An ever-delightful sight to all.”
T he B uddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves
four things, he will be endow ed w ith wealth and nobility. W hat are the four?
258 O n V ir t u e a n d D isc ip lin e

(1) T o give tim ely gifts;


(2) to give w ith o u t contem pt or arrogance;
(3) to give cheerfully; and
(4) to expect no rew ard .”
T he W orld -H o n o red O ne repeated this in verse:

“T o give tim ely gifts w ith o u t contem pt or arrogance,


T o give gladly w ithout expecting a rew ard—
O n e w h o diligently practiccs these
Will be reborn w ith wealth and nobility.”

T he B uddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, i f a Bodhisattva achieves


four things, he will have harm onious friends and kinsmen. W hat are the four?
(1) T o avoid using w ords that causc disagreement;
(2) to help those w ith w ro n g views to have right view;
(3) to protect the 蠢true Dharm a from extinction, causing it to endure; and
(4) to teach sentient beings to pursue the B u d d h a’s enlightenm ent.”
T he W o rld-H onored O n e repeated this in verse:

“ Sow no discord, help upro o t w ro n g views,


Protcct the true D harm a from extinction,
A nd bring all beings within the secure embrace o f bodhi.
For this you will have harm onious friends and k i n s m e n . . . .

T he B uddha continued, “Furthermore, Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves


four things, he will be able to live am ong people w ithout enmity. W hat are the
four?
(1) T o be close to virtuous friends w ith o u t using flattery;
(2) n o t to envy others’ superiority;
(3) to rcjoicc w hen som eone wins a good reputation; and
(4) n o t to slight or defame the practices o f a Bodhisattva.”
T he W orld-H onored O n e repeated this in verse:

“If one does n o t win friends by flattery,


Is not jealous o f others' superiority,
Always rejoices w hen others gain fame,
A nd never slanders a Bodhisattva,
H e will be free o f en m ity .”

T he B uddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, a B odhisattva’s w ords will


be trusted if he practiccs four things. W hat are the four?
S u m a t i ’s Q u e s t io n s 259

(1) T o be consistent in word and deed;


(2) n o t to conceal o n e ’s evil from friends;
(3) never to find fault w ith the D harm a one hears; and
(4) n o t to foster malicc against a teacher o f the D h a rm a .”
T he W orld-H onored O n e repeated this in verse:

“O n e w h o is consistent in w ord and deed.


A nd never hides misdeeds from friends,
N o r finds faull w ith a sutra or its preachcr
Will have his w ords believed.”

T he B uddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves


four things, he will m eet no obstacles to [his practicc of] the D harm a and will
quickly gain purity. W hat are the four?
(1) T o em brace the three rules o f conduct1 w ith deep joy;
(2) n o t to disparage profound sutras w h e n hearing them ; 一
⑶ to treat a new ly avow ed Bodhisattva as an A ll-K now ing O ne; and
(4) to be equally kind tow ard all beings•” .
T he W orld -H o n o red O n e repeated this in verse:

“If one, w ith deep jo y, embraces rules o f conduct;


U nderstands w ith faith the profound discourses;
H onors a novicc as a Buddha;
A nd is equally kind tow ard all—
T hen such a person’s hindrances will vanish.”

T h e B uddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves


four things, he will be protected from demons. W hat are the four?
1

T o understand th at all dharmas are equal in nature;


to strive vigorously for progress;
F
T"

to rccollect the Buddha continually; and


4
) to dedicate all good roots [to the universal attainment o f enlightenment].
T he W o rld -H o n o red O ne repeated this in verse:

“If one know s that all dharm as arc equal in nature.


C onstantly makes energetic progress, ,
Is ever m indful o f the Buddha,
A n d dedicates all roots o f virtue
[To the attainm ent o f B uddhahood by all],
N o d e m o n can devise a w ay to attack h im .”
26 " O n V ir t u e a n d D isc ip lin e

The Buddha continued, “Furtherm ore, Sumati, if a Bodhisattva achieves


tour things. Buddhas will appear to him at the tim e o f his death. W hat are the
tour*
1

T o satisfy those in need of charity;


2

to understand and deeply believe in virtuous practiccs;


to provide Bodhisattvas w ith adornments; and
3

to m ake frequent offerings to the T h ree Jew els.”


4

T he W o rld-H onored O n e repeated this in verse:

“O n e w h o fulfills the needs o f a seeker,


U nderstands and believes in the profound D harm a,
Furnishes Bodhisattvas w ith adornm ents,
A nd makes frequent offerings
T o the T hree Jewels, the fields o f blessing,
Will see Buddhas w h en he dies.” . . .

T hen Manjusri, the D harm a Princc, asked Sumati, “In w hat D h arm a do you
abide, that you are able to m ake such a sinccrc vow ?”
Sumati replied, 4tManjusri, this is n o t a proper question. W hy? Because there
is no abiding in the dharm adhatu.
“W hat is bodhi?”
“N ondiscrim ination is b o d h i.”2
“W ho is a Bodhisattva?”
“O ne w h o know s that all dharm as have the same nature as em p ty space is a
Bodhisattva. ”
“W hat arc the enlightened deeds [of a Bodhisattva|?”
“Deeds that are like mirages and cchocs are the enlightened d e e d s ,
“ U p o n w h at esoteric teaching d o you base y o u r statem ent?”
“I do n o t see anything in this that is csotcric or otherw ise.”
“ If that is the case, every ordinary person should be an Enlightened O n e .”3
“D o you think an ordinary person is different from an Enlightened O ne?4 Do
not take such a view! W hy? Becausc they both share the same nature, that of the
dharm adhatu; there is nothing in either to grasp or abandon, to accomplish or
destroy. ”
“H o w m an y people can understand this?”
“T h e illusory beings w h o understand this arc equal in n u m b er to the illusory
m inds and mental functions.’’5
M anjusrl said, 44Illusions do not exist; h o w can there be m inds and m ental
functions?”
“T h ey are like the dharm adhatu, w hich neither exists n o r does not exist. The
same is true o f the T a t h a g a t a . . . .
S u m a t i ’s Q u e s t i o n s 261

NOTES

1. T h e th re e rules o f c o n d u c t m a y refer to the th re e rules for p ro te c tin g o n e f ro m evil,


n am e ly , discipline, m ed ita tio n , and tran scen d en tal w is d o m . T h e y m a y also refer to the
B o d h isa ttv a s’ precepts, w h ic h includc th re e branches: th e discipline o f p u re c o n d u c t (P ra ti-
m oksa), th e discipline o f altruistic deeds, a n d th e discipline o f e m b ra c in g all v irtu o u s deeds.
2. Literally, “T h e D h a r m a o f n o n d isc rim in a tio n is b o d h i .”
3. Literally, “e v e ry o rd in a ry p e rso n s h o u ld be b o d h i .”
4 . A n E n lig h te n e d O n e : literally, “b o d h i .”
5. T h e C h in e se te r m 心 所 is here ren d e re d as ‘m e n ta l fun ction s', b u t it can also m e a n
th e q ualities a n d con d itio n s o f m in d .