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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...)

Further, in this state of samadhi, the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. His wisdom becomes stronger than his samadhi, and he mistakenly becomes impetuous. Cherishing the supremacy of his nature, he imagines that he is a Nishyanda (Buddha) and rests content with his minor achievement.

 

Further, in this state of samadhi, the good person sees the disintegration of the form skandha and understands the feeling skandha. His wisdom becomes stronger than his samadhi. His wisdom power exceeds his samadhi power.

And he mistakenly becomes impetuous. He experiences a feeling of rash vigor. Cherishing the supremacy of his nature, he imagines that he is a Nishyanda (Buddha). In this state, he considers his nature to be supreme and extraordinary, and he is always thinking about it. Cherishing this thought of supremacy, he suspects himself to be a Nishyanda Buddha. "Nishyanda" is Sanskrit and means "Light Shining Everywhere." He thinks he is already a Nishyanda Buddha and rests content with his minor achievement. He has made a little progress, and he becomes satisfied. His samadhi-power falls way short of the Buddha's, and yet he claims he has become a Nishyanda Buddha.

 

This is called "applying the mind, but straying away from constant examination and becoming preoccupied with ideas and opinions." If he understands, then there is no error. This experience does not indicate sagehood. But if he considers himself a sage, then a lowly demon that is easily satisfied will enter his mind. As soon as he sees someone, he will announce, "I have realized the unsurpassed absolute truth." Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall.

 

This is called "applying the mind, but straying away from constant examinationhe is not skilled at constantly examining himself and becoming preoccupied with ideas and opinions." Unable to clearly distinguish what he knows and thinks, he gets caught up and stuck in his own ideas and opinions. If he understands, then there is no error. There will not be any problem. This experience does not indicate sagehood.

 

But if he considers himself a sage and thinks that he has realized some supreme state, then a lowly demon, a most vile and worthless sort of demon that is easily satisfied with any situation, will enter his mind. It will bore into his mind and take possession of him, driving out his soul. All that will be left is a false shell of a person, but he will not realize that. As soon as he sees someone, he will announce, "Hey! Do you know? I have realized the unsurpassed, the highest, absolute truth."

Now there is a character who stands on Grant Avenue in Chinatown, in the heart of the San Francisco business district, dressed in a flashy and colorful costume. He tells people, "I lived in the mountains for five years and became enlightened. Now I have such-and-such spiritual powers." Earlier he took me as his teacher and became my disciple. But he did not follow what I taught him. Before I came to America, guess what he did? He carried a big gourd on his back with a sign painted on it that proclaimed he was my disciple and that he had learned many skills from me. Further, he claimed he could solve any problem people might bring him. He used my name to swindle others before I arrived in this country. Now that I am here in America, he is still cheating people, but he no longer uses my name. This is the very kind of demon the Sutra is talking about here. He claimed to have attained the absolute truth. 

Lacking proper samadhi, he will certainly fall. He has lost the proper state of concentration, and he doesn't follow what I taught him, either. Since I arrived here, he has never come to listen to the Sutra lectures or Dharma talks, but just says he has attained the Way, is enlightened, and has spiritual powers. Ultimately what are his spiritual powers? You would never guess. They are money, money, money! He swindles people. I don't know why he wants so much money! Therefore, he will certainly fall.

 

(to be continue)

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