Fifth Practice of Virtue
Freedom From Confusion and Disturbance
5. The Practice of Freedom from Confusion or Disturbance (Meditation)
The Flower Garland (Avatamsaka) Sutra says:
Children of the Buddha: What is the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s practice of freedom from disorder and confusion?
These Bodhisattvas realize Proper Mindfulness (Presence of Mind). They are not distracted or disturbed. They are strong, firm and steadfast, pure of heart, broadminded, generous, and without confusion or delusion. By means of Proper Mindfulness they skillfully understand all the words and language of the world and are able to embrace the words and teachings about the spirituality that is beyond the world. This is being able to embrace the teachings about form and formlessness, about the physical form that establishes one’s own self-nature, and about the sensory feelings, conceptualizing thoughts, acts of will and consciousness that establish one’s own self-nature. The mind is without confusion or disorder in these things.
These Bodhisattvas realize limitless kinds of Proper Mindfulness like this, having spent countless eons enquiring into listening to the true spirituality of the Dharma from the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas and good spiritual acquaintances. This is the spirituality of the Dharma that is very deep and broad, that is adorned with various kinds of adornments, that is taught and explained with various kinds of words and verse, that is adorned with the Bodhisattvas, that has the supreme brilliance of the Buddha’s spiritual power, that is properly sought out with pure and resolute understanding, that is free from all that is of this world, that distinguishes all that is of this world, that is very broad and great in scope, that is free from the blinds of stupidity and illuminates all living beings, that distinguishes what it has in common with the world and what it does not, that has the supreme wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, and that grants the mastery that is the wisdom of all. With the Bodhisattvas having enquired into and listened to the Dharma for countless eons like this without forgetting it or losing it, they will always keep it in their hearts and be unceasingly mindful of it. Why is this? When Bodhisattva Mahasattvas have cultivated these practices like this for limitless eons, they will not distress or disturb a single living being or make them lose proper mindfulness. They will not destroy the True Dharma and they will not cut off their good spiritual roots. Their minds will ever be progressing in the broad and great wisdom.
And further these Bodhisattvas cannot be confused or disturbed by the various kinds of sounds and voices. These are voices that are very loud, coarse, frightening, pleasant, unpleasant, shouting, disturbing to the ear, and destructive to the six senses. These Bodhisattvas hear the sound of limitless, countless good and evil voices like this, and even though they fill up the countless worlds they do not yet have a single thought of distraction or disturbance. This is the non-disturbance of Proper Mindfulness, the sphere of the spiritual realm, Samadhi, entering into the very deep spirituality, practicing the Bodhi practice, inspiring the Bodhi mind, remembering and being mindful of the Buddhas, observing the absolute reality of the Dharma, the wisdom that influences living beings, the pure wisdom of living beings and the resolute understanding of the very deep significance.
Children of the Buddha: Even if each of the voices described above filled countless worlds endlessly for a limitless and countless number of eons and were able to disturb and damage the minds, bodies and sense faculties of all living beings, they would not be able to damage these Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas enter into Samadhi and abide in the noble spirituality of the Dharma. Upon reflecting on and observing the sounds of all the voices, they skillfully recognize the aspects and nature of their origination, their continuity and their extinction. Having heard the voices like this, they do not give rise to greed or anger. Without losing mindfulness, they skillfully understand its aspects but they do not become attached to them. They recognize that all the voices do not exist anywhere and that they are in reality impossible to grasp. Not being created, they are without an origin, they are consistent with the spiritual realm and they cannot be divided up and distinguished. Like this, the Bodhisattvas realize that the actions of the body, the speech and the thinking mind are serene and still and they attain the wisdom of all, never turning and retreating.
At this time the Bodhisattvas attain countless hundreds of thousands of Samadhis in a single thought. Hearing all the voices like this, their minds are without any disturbance or confusion and their Samadhi gradually increases in scope. They think like this:
“I must make all living beings peacefully abide in the supreme pure mindfulness and never turn and retreat from it so that they may attain the wisdom of all and completely realize Nirvana without a trace.”
This is called the fifth practice of the Bodhisattva Mahasattvas, the practice Without Confusion or Disturbance.
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