During the early years of the Republic of China (1911-), the saintly monk, Zen Master Miao Kong, transmitted the secret spiritual paths to the Samsara. Because of the Great Causes he founded the Mahayana Zengong to provide systematic and progressive teachings. One of the teachings that had never been disseminated in the history of Chinese Buddhism is the practical meditation of the Unity of Ten Greatnesses. It will be taught in the Fourth Level of Mahayana Zengong teachings. The Ten Greatnesses provide the ten paths leading to the attainment of Buddhahood. All sentient beings have primordially fulfilled and perfected the virtues and merits of these Ten Greatnesses. We could not recognize and utilize these noble qualities because we are obscured by the cloud of ignorance and delusions. Once we attain the fruit of Buddhahood, we shall perfectly and fully actualize these Ten Greatnesses. The meanings of the Ten Greatnesses are briefly described follow.
1. The Greatness of Essence
The Greatness of Essence is the essence of sugatagarbha, the True Reality, and the Buddha nature. It is the dharmakaya of Buddhas which is omnipresent. It pervades Dharmadhatu (the entire dharma realm). It unifies mind and matter, emptiness and existence. The primordial nature of all sentient beings is identical to the Buddha nature. Practicing the systematic teachings of Mahayana Zengong will allow one to progressively actualize the Greatness of Essence and enable one’s own dharmakaya to become omnipresent and to pervade the dharma realms. Many students told me that they had seen me manifested in a large golden body that blessed them when they most needed me to help resolving their suffering. They would ask me if I knew about that. I would simply smile. They would also ask me if I had really blessed them. I would reply “The Dharmakaya exists everywhere.” One of my Australian students John Vagar suffered a broken left collar bone in a car accident. He told me that he had seen my golden body blessing him in person three times. As a result, he felt almost no pain. The doctor at the hospital was amazed at his speedy recovery. There are too many cases like this to mention. The profound Mahayana Zengong teaching is inconceivable.
2. The Greatness of Appearance
This is the unification of all appearances in the dharmadhatu, that is, the appearance of oneness. When Buddha lives in this world, His majestic body (nirmanakaya) displays thirty two Major Marks and eighty Major Signs. When Buddha is not dwelling on this world, His pure dharmakaya is displayed in the form of light which can be either golden or white light. Thus, the Greatness of Appearance is also known as the Greatness of Light. Modern science tells us that there is visible and invisible light depending upon their frequencies. The wavelength of electromagnetic wave in the 3700 – 6300 ?region is designated as visible light. Outside of this wavelength range, i.e., longward of 6300 ?and shortward of 3700 ?is categorized as invisible light. When a practitioner is in a deep meditative state whereby his/her mind and body are totally pure, golden or white light can emanate from the practitioner and completely covers his/her body. This radiant aura can be captured with Kirlian photography. In the presence of the compassionate blessings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas the radiant light images can be recorded even by a common camera. We have more than one hundred such photographs. If the meditator is in a state of raging anger his/her aura will show as a grayish black color in a Kirlian photograph. It is said that “Appearances are reflection of the mind”. There is also a saying that “Appearances are continually shaped by the mind.” Whether it is one’s physical appearance or the appearances manifested from the mind (the Buddha nature, the sugatagarbha), the outcome is the same. All sentient beings innately possess the Buddha nature, which is primordially pure. Through the practical training of Mahayana Zengong one can awaken to realize the True Reality. Hence, the limitless light emanated from the Self-nature, one’s own Buddha nature, will also shine forth and throughout the countless universes.
THE SELF-NATURE IS PRIMORDIALLY PURE
3. The Greatness of Primordial Wisdom
Having achieved complete liberation and resolved all mental defilements, the practitioner becomes omniscient and is able to know events of the past, present and future without hinderance. The Self-nature, the true nature of the mind, is primordially pure. Let the mind continuously abide in this state. One will then attain the fruit of Buddhahood. Thus, as long as any sentient being takes up spiritual practices he/she will realize the Self-nature, be fully liberated and completely fulfill the primordial wisdom. It is known that the Sixth Patriarch of the Zen school, Hui-Neng, was illiterate and yet he comprehended the true meanings of the tripitaka. This is the reason behind the phrase “all the marvelous Buddha teachings and doctrines are beyond mere language, words and expression.” Once a monk asked a Zen master: “Do I possess the Buddha nature?” To this the master replied: “No, you do not.” Then the monk asked: “Does a dog have the Buddha nature?” Now the master replied: “Yes, a dog does have the Buddha nature.” The monk was puzzled and then asked: “Why does a dog have Buddha nature and I do not?” Master answered: “Because you are reluctant to believe that you have the Buddha nature.” Upon hearing this the monk suddenly became enlightened. The marvelous display and application of the essence of sugatagarbha is truly inconceivable, truly beyond imagination. All events of the past, present and future can spontaneously appear in an instant. That “eternity is held within an instant” is absolutely true.
4. The Greatness of Virtue
All myriad phenomena are generated by our mind. Wholehearted compassion and unconditional loving kindness is the heartfelt desire to liberate suffering of and to provide peace and joy for all sentient beings. The combination of unconditional compassion and loving kindness forms the universal principle of True Merit. Merit can also be called virtue, in the purest and highest meaning of the word. It took many lifetimes of diligent practices for Buddhas to attain supreme enlightenment. Time after time they tirelessly took the Bodhichitta vow and constantly practiced the Way of Bodhisattvas to egolessly benefit all beings. They not only actualized enlightenment themselves but also helped others to achieve the same goal. This is precisely why sentient beings pay homage and devotion to Buddhas. All sentient beings innately possess the identical Buddha nature. If one follows the Way the Buddhas did, then one can accumulate the identical perfect virtues and merits and attain the identical supreme enlightenment like Buddhas. The Dharmakaya of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas pervades the dharmadhatu and encompasses sentient beings as oneness. At all times the Buddha light shines upon the countless, limitless beings to purify their negative karma and increase their wisdom even though sentient beings remain completely unaware of this. This is called Unconditional Loving Kindness. Bodhisattvas remain on earth for the purpose of benefitting sentient beings. They guide sentient beings to take up spiritual practices. They lead them free from suffering and eventually attain the ultimate happiness and joy. As such, sentient beings offer their possessions and dedicate themselves to the Bodhisattvas to repay their gratitude. This is called Unconditional Compassion which destroys self-cherishing and develops altruism. Human compassion is engendered by the loving kindness between parents and children, loving couples and friendship. No matter how great this human compassion is, its results last only for the current lifetime in bestowing happiness and eliminating suffering. The results never last forever and are not ultimate. In human compassion, the receivers are aware of their benefactors and are extremely grateful. It is the Unconditional Compassion of Buddhas bestowed upon us at all times and all places that leads us towards liberation and nirvana. This goes on without the knowledge of the recipients. How great indeed are the virtues and merits of Buddhas and bodhisattvas!
GENERATE SUCH A MIND WHILE DWELLING IN A STATE WITHOUT ANY ATTACHMENT
5. The Greatness of the Ultimate Truth The ultimate truth governs the countless numbers of teaching and practice. The Ultimate Truth can give rise to innumerable teachings and practices, while the innumerable teachings and practices can be traced back to the one Truth. The Sixth Patriarch of the Zen School was personally receiving teachings on the Diamond Sutra from the Fifth Patriarch in the middle of the night. When he came to the verse, “generate such a mind while dwelling in a state without any attachment”, Hui-Neng experienced a spontaneous mind awakening. He realized that the myriad phenomena and appearances are all manifested from the Self-nature. Hui-Neng reverently presented the Fifth Patriarch with the well known stanza of the Self-nature mentioned in the previous chapter. All the myriad teachings and practices, the Canons of Dharma, all originate from the essence of sugatagarbha, that is, the Buddha nature, the Self-nature, the True Reality of things. Thus, we should seek the Truth from within. There is no need to pursue it from outside since all teachings are innately fulfilled within our own Self-nature. By actualizing the Ultimate Truth one can naturally see the Truth with pure vision without deviating from pure paths. This is the difference between “the philosophy of Buddhism” and “learning to become a Buddha.” This is why the intellectual knowledge has been regarded as one of the eight obscurations in realizing enlightenment. This is also why most students cannot fully appreciate the teachings of previous Zen masters.
6. The Greatness of Performance
The meaning of Performance in the scope of practicing the six paramitas is Turning the Wheel of Dharma. It is the activities leading to the liberation of sentient beings over the unlimited expanses of time and space. A practitioner who has realized the Ultimate Truth knows that truth and performance are one indivisible entity. The full understanding of this is called “mind awakening”. The state of understanding is more or less on the intellectual level. If he/she has personally “realized the true Self-nature,” then it is called actual realization or enlightenment. Those Bodhisattvas whose practices only limited to the intellectual and theoretical understanding of Buddha teachings can lead beings to the admiration and reverence of Buddhas and inspire beings to take up spiritual practices. However, those Bodhisattvas who transmit the actual practices can teach the systematic stages of realization to sentient beings. Their progressive teachings allow beings to become enlightened, to see the nature of True Reality, to realize the “empty nature of all phenomena”, and to comprehend the primordial wisdom. In such cases, it is said that the Bodhisattvas achieve the greatness of performance. Bodhisattvas who can teach meditators to comprehend the “inconceivable” nature of the universe and appreciate the marvelous application for benefitting sentient beings are said to achieve an intellectual enlightenment. In contrast to this, Bodhisattvas, who systematically guide meditators to not only realize their true nature of mind but also perform miraculous activities to actually liberate beings from suffering, are those who have attained and taught true enlightenment. The systematic Mahayana Zengong teachings which were transmitted by the First Patriarch Miao Kong, are truly miraculous!
7. The Greatness of Energy
When the energies of mind, body and the universe dissolve into a perfect unity, the energy and hence its power is unlimited and inexhaustible. Matter and energy transform mutually and are able to pervade dharmadhatu, the entire universe. The essence of sugatagarbha has intrinsic energy with unimaginable power. The energy is omnipresent and inexhaustible. It permeates the universe. Once a practitioner has entered the empty stage of body and mind, his/her physical and mental energies can unify and become indivisible with that of the universe. Under such circumstances the meditator enjoys extraordinary psychic powers which can benefit beings by resolving their obstacles and alleviating their suffering. The Buddha nature is the wish-fulfilling jewel, the Great Medicine Doctor. The Mahayana Zengong teachings can enable beings to realize their primordial Buddha nature and to merge their energies with that of the universe. Thus, they have immense and limitless energy at their disposal. In November 1989 I attended the International Qi Gong (Chi Kung) Medical Conference in Beijing, China. I was able to empower and bless the more than two-thousand strong audience after I entered into the radiant Da Zi Zai samadhi. More than thirty of the participants asked for healing and I did so in a little more than one hour. I healed the various sicknesses, some were serious illnesses, of those thirty people much to the amazement and wonder of the news media and a large audience. This is an example of the application of the Greatness of Performance.
8. The Greatness of Application
The application of unconditional compassion and loving kindness can be in aspects of activity and quiet; the imperceivable and that which is open. The dharmadhatu is endless while the number of sentient beings are immeasurable and unimaginable. It is necessary to turn the Wheel of Dharma since the true nature of mind pervades the Ten Directions and Three Times. The sugatagarbha intrinsically possesses the Three Knowledges, the Four Types of Tathagata Wisdom, the Five Visions, the Six Supernatural Powers, and the Ten Wisdom Forces of the Buddhas. These qualities are readily available in turning the Wheel of Dharma. All phenomena and appearances are manifested by the mind. It is the non-dualistic mind in which there is no differentiation between motion and stillness. There are numerous Great Applications in Mahayana Zengong. For example, the Great Wish-Fulfilling Palm and the Great Wish-Fulfilling Mudra can be used to heal physical and mental illness. The other Applications include relieving mental shock, exorcising evil spirits, “cleansing the house”, calming mental disturbances, liberating living beings, delivering deceased beings, gaining wealth, and dispelling negative karma. Furthermore, the method of Da Zi Zai water-cleansing can be used to purify and bless water for healing sickness. The Vajra Finger Method can be applied for remote accupressure to relieve aches and pains. The Empowerment Method can be utilized to increase an individual’s wisdom, authority, longevity, and to diminish suffering. The remote healing method can be used to cure illness beyond physical distance and time, e.g., tens of thousands of kilometers away. The masters of Mahayana Zengong have thoroughly completed mastery of these applications and are able to perform them freely. As of August 1992 we have about one thousand disciples that can apply remote and three thousand can perform short distance healing. While there is variation in terms of abilities and effectiveness of the disciples, much depends upon the state of concentration at the time of performance. Nonetheless, the rate of healing effectiveness is more than ninety percent.
THE UNIFICATION OF TIME AND SPACE IN THE REALM OF TRUE REALITY
9. The Greatness of Time
To the enlightened beings there is no such concept as past, present and future time. The enlightened ones are always at ease even when the time changes from a short kalpa into great aeons, and vice versa. However, for ordinarily people they have the concept of time because they differentiate changes, measures and durations. Albert Einstein divided the universe into two parts – the Relative world and the Absolute world. In the former there exists different appearances of time and space. Our perception on the relative judgements of small and large as well as past, present and future are based on these appearances. In the Absolute world time and space are an unified entity. To the enlightened mind the sugatagarbha and the tunnel of time and light are one inseparable, indivisible entity. The events of the past and future can spontaneously be displayed in the blink of an eye without any obstruction or hindrance. According to Buddhist sutras ordinary beings need three Great Aeons to attain Buddhahood. This amount of time represents an astronomical figure to us. However, it is known that the Zen school proclaims the doctrine of “pointing out the true nature of mind, realizing the Self-nature and attaining Buddhahood”. The Tantric school also practices “attaining enlightenment in this body”. Our Mahayana Zengong school claims “becoming a Buddha in this incarnation”. All these schools declare that the path to full enlightenment can occur in a very short time. Through practices, the meditator can awaken his/her Mind, realize his/her innate Buddha nature, actualize the Dharmakaya, be able to perform the marvelous powers freely in a much shorter period of time. There are two reasons why ordinary people develop the concept of time. First of all, it takes time to travel a distance. Secondly, there is the natural phenomena involving formation, stabilization, decay and disappearing. In this way we establish the deceptive differentiation of time. The essence of sugatagarbha pervades the Dharmadhatu and is thus in unity with it. There is no coming or going. Further, the Buddha nature (the sugatagarbha) is beyond birth- and-death. It is forever fresh, eternal without change. There is no obstruction knowing the true reality of the past and the future. The concept of time is thus meaningless and is called the Greatness of Time.
10. The Greatness of Space
To the enlightened beings there is no difference between singular and plural, big and small, or emptiness and existence since they are all inseparable. For ordinarily people they have the solidified concept of shape, size, color, change, and appearance so that they have the idea of emptiness and space. All material objects have volume and size and hence the appearance of spatial dimension and distance arises. The true nature of mind pervades all Dharma Realms, so does its dharmakaya. All phenomena and appearances are encompassed within the Dharmakaya. Thus, one and many are unified. There is no difference between large and small. As a result, the idea of spatial differentiation is no longer valid. Let me use an example to illustrate the unification of time and space that there is no conflict whatsoever. Suppose a star situated in a distant galaxy radiated a beam of light some one million years ago. One million years later, after having traveled a distance of one million light years, the light reaches our Center at Taipei at nine o’clock tonight. From our point of view, this light originated one million years ago and traveled a distance of one million light years which is equal to 300,000 km/seconds * 60 seconds/minute * 24 hours/day * 365 days/year * 1,000,000 years = 1.6×1017 km. From the point of view of Buddha our Center at Taipei and the distant star are both in the palm of the Buddha’s hand and is, of course, within the dharmakaya of Buddha, so how can there be any different appearance of time and space. To Buddha, time and space are completely meaningless. This is the true meaning of the unification of time and space. Mahayana Zengong is a scientific form of Buddhism and provides a systematic path leading to enlightenment. It teaches how to unify body and mind, integrate essence and application. It is the practical meditation of the unity of the Ten Greatnesses. Zen Master Miao Kong, the First Patriarch, is the emanation of Da Zi Zai Wang Fo, the Liberation Buddha King. During this degenerate time Zen master Miao Kong handed down the Buddhayana Order Mahayana Zengong teachings to this world for a great cause. As a result, we now have a pure teaching, a systematic path for devoted practitioners to follow to eventually realize enlightenment. The teachings of the unity of Ten Greatnesses are indeed a welcome blessing to all the sons and daughters of Buddha and to Buddhism.
(Translator’s note: This article was first appeared in the issue of Buddhist Newsweek, no. 138, October 22, 1992.)
(c) USMZAS 1998