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THE SHURANGAMA SUTRA

The Fifty Skandha-Demon States

Explained by the Venerable Master Hua in 1968
at the Buddhist Lecture Hall; San Francisco, California, U.S.A.

(Continue...)

Sutra:

Further, as the person uses his mind to intently investigate that wondrous light, he will contemplate without pause, restraining and subduing his mind so that it does not go to extremes.  Suddenly the space in the ten directions may take on the colors of the seven precious things or the colors of a hundred precious things, which simultaneously pervade everywhere without hindering one another.  The blues, yellows, reds, and whites will each be clearly apparent. This state is called "excessively subduing the mind."  It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood.  If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good sate.  But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence. 

Explanation:

Further, as the person uses his mind to intently investigate that wondrous light, he will contemplate without pause, restraining and subduing his mind so that it does not go to extremes. He tries to curb his mind so that it does not become overzealous.

Suddenly the space in the ten directions may take on the colors of the seven precious things, or the colors of a hundred precious things, which will simultaneously pervade everywhere throughout space without hindering one another.  They will be mutually unobstructing.

The blues, yellows, reds, and whites, the various colors, will each be clearly apparent.  Each will display its own color.  This state is called "excessively subduing the mind."  You are cultivating to restrain your mind, not letting it engage in false thinking, not allowing it to have random thoughts.  After the restrain occurs for a long time, it becomes excessive.  You go  beyond the proper measure.

It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. You will only temporarily be able to see the colors of the seven precious things in space, so this state does not mean you have attained sagehood.

If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state.  It will be all right; it will not be a bad state.  But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence. You will be surrounded be deviant influences, and you will fall.

Sutra:

Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate with clear discernment until the pure light no longer disperses, he will suddenly be able to see various things appear in a dark room at night, just as if it were daytime, while the objects that were already in the room do not disappear.  This state is called "refining the mind and purifying the vision until one is able to see in the dark."  It is a temporary state does not indicate sagehood.  If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state.  But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence.

Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate with clear discernment until the pure light no longer disperses... Again, this person uses his mind in samadhi to observe states, until the pure light of his discerning mind becomes very focused and he is endowed with samadhi power. He will suddenly be able to see various things appear in a dark room in a house which is not lighted at night, just as if it were daytime, while the objects that were already in the room do not disappear.  Not only will he see what is already in the house, he will also see, with great clarity, the things that come into the house from outside.

This state is called "refining the mind and purifying the vision until one is able to see in the dark."  Your mind is refined to the utmost extent, and your vision is purified to the extreme point.  With such pure vision, you will be able to see even in dark places.  But it is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood.  You shouldn't think that this is the fruition of sagehood, because it certainly isn't!

If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state.  But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons' influence.  If you become conceited and think that you have achieved great skill in cultivation, you will attract demonic obstructions.

When some cultivators reach the state of ultimate purity and all pervading light, they will suddenly see all kinds of things.  That is because they have opened the Buddha Eye.  However, not every person is able to open his Buddha Eye, and even if one does, it may not  stay open forever.  In the state described here, the Buddha Eye opens temporarily, enabling one to see the objects in a dark house as if there were light.  I also mentioned that you would be able to see things coming to the house from outside.  What sort of things might these be?  For example, you might be a spirit, a ghost, a Bodhisattva, or a Buddha coming into the dark house from outside.  It's not for certain that you will experience these states.  Not everyone experiences such states, but some people might.  These are states that may occur at some point in your cultivation.  But don't think that all cultivators go through the same experiences, because that's not the case.

Some people open the Buddha Eye permanently.  That is known as "a spiritual power that comes as a reward."  Such people industriously cultivated the Dharma of the Thousand Hands and Thousands Eyes in previous lives, and as a result, they can open the Buddha Eye in life after life.  Other people may only be able to open the Buddha Eye temporarily, because their minds are not  in a perpetual state of purity.  If their minds were constantly pure, and they had cultivated the Dharma of Great Compassion in their previous lives, they would be able to open the Buddha Eye permanently.  There are a variety of differing circumstances in cultivation.

(to be continue)

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