On the Three Aggregate Precepts

Huaigu Wang
Huaigu Wang
Since 1995 till now, I have been following the kind mentor of BPI to start the journey on Buddhism....Read More

  Essay Writing of Buddhas’ Practice Incorporated
  (Issue 8)

  On the Three Aggregate Precepts

  Instructor: Shi Woguang

  Author: Wang Huaigu

  February 8, 2022

  Abstract
  The specific contents of the three aggregate precepts are: the precept to benefit all sentient beings, the precept to cultivate and absorb all good deeds, and the precept to cultivate all commandments and awe-inspiring deportment. The the three aggregate precepts are the most fundamental of all the precepts and are an important foundation for the Bodhisattva to achieve the supreme Buddhahood. With the three aggregate precepts, the Bodhisattvas are the everlasting kings of the six paths and can attain the fruits of the world, out-of-the world, and inaction nirvana and even the fruit of Buddhahood.
  Therefore, it is necessary and very important in Buddhism to take and uphold the Bodhisattva’s three aggregate precepts. Since the three aggregate precepts are so necessary and important to the Bodhisattvas, the Bodhisattva must prepare and lay the groundwork before taking the three aggregate precepts: repent and purify all obstructions of offenses, otherwise they cannot obtain the precepts and their subsequent observance.
  After that, a more specific and detailed discussion is given on the order and specific methods for Bodhisattvas to take and uphold the three aggregate precepts well, and to ultimately accomplish the great cause of taking in and benefiting all sentient beings through kindness, compassion, joy and giving.

  Key Words: the three aggregate precepts, important foundation, everlasting kinghood, fruit of Buddhahood, kindness, compassion, joy and giving

Table of Contents

  Chapter 1 Introduction

  
  Bodhisattvas study Buddhism and practice in order to benefit all sentient beings and achieve the supreme Buddha Way. If they want to attain the Buddha Way upwards and transform sentient beings downwards, they must take and keep the three precepts. Since the three aggregate precepts are so necessary and important to the Bodhisattvas, then what are the three aggregate precepts? What preparations must be made before taking and keeping the three aggregate precepts?
  Why should Bodhisattvas take and keep the three aggregate precepts? How can Bodhisattvas accept and observe the three aggregate precepts in a pure manner? What is the wisdom, orders and methods of taking and holding the three aggregate precepts? The research motivation of this essay is to clarify the above questions.
  The purpose of this essay is to apply wisdom and methodology to practice the three aggregate precepts in sequence through a comprehensive understanding of the three aggregate precepts in order to attain the goal of taking in and accepting all sentient beings, taking across all sentient beings, and causing all sentient beings to leave suffering and achieve happiness and to attain Buddhahood ultimately.

  Chapter 2: The Necessity and Importance of the Three Aggregate Precepts

  Bodhisattvas vow to take across limitless sentient beings, vow to eliminate endless afflictions, vow to learn the boundless doors of the Buddhadhamma, and vow to achieve the unsurpassed paths to Buddha. These are the four noble vows of the Bodhisattvas that are well known in Buddhism. This is the well-known Four Noble Vows of the Bodhisattva. In fact, herein lies the three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattva.The three aggregate precepts are the most fundamental of all precepts, the fundamental of the Buddha’s teachings, and the important foundation for the Bodhisattva to achieve the supreme Buddha Path. The Bodhisattvas with the three aggregate precepts are the everlasting kings of the six paths. The three aggregate precepts are the cause that leads to the fruits of the world, the out-of-world, and inaction nirvana, and even achieving Buddhahood.
  Therefore, it is sufficient to see that taking and keeping the Bodhisattva’s three aggregate precepts is very necessary and important in Buddhism. As the the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation Generating From Heartland Originally says: “Because of the superiority of the precepts, one becomes a king …… To be the king of all human beings wherever they are born …… Achieving the fruit of supreme bodhi …… Leading to the fruit of the worldly and out-of-worldly and inaction”. In addition, Volume 2 of the Brahma Net Sutra says, “When a sentient being receives the precepts of the Buddha, he or she is admitted to the status of all Buddhas. Having become the same status as the Great Enlightenment, he or she is the son of all Buddhas. “
  Since the three aggregate aggregate precepts are so necessary and important for Bodhisattvas, what are the three aggregate precepts for Bodhisattvas? Why do Bodhisattvas need to take and uphold the three aggregate precepts? How can Bodhisattvas purely accept and observe the three aggregate precepts? In this article, the author will try to discuss these aspects of the Bodhisattva’s three aggregate precepts.
  Before understanding why a Bodhisattva should take the three aggregate precepts, it is necessary to understand what the three aggregate precepts are, or the definition and specific content of the three aggregate precepts. The Explanation of the meanings on the Bodhisattva Precepts says: “The three kinds of precepts are able to encompass all the precepts of the Mahayana, so they are called the three aggregate precepts.” Moreover, according to the recordation of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally, the specific contents of the three aggregate precepts are: “The precept to benefit all sentient beings, the precept to cultivate and absorb all good deeds, and the precept to cultivate and absorb all discipline and awe-inspiring deportment.” In other words: to take across all sentient beings, to practice all goodness, and to get rid of all evil.
  Also, in Volume 1 of the Sutra on the Examination of Retributions of Good and Bad Karmas, it is said, “If a sentient being wishes to practice the Mahayana path—namely the path of Great Vehicle, to beg take the fundamental and important precepts of the Bodhisattva, and take all the precepts at home and out of home, that is, the precept to absorb all commandments and awe-inspiring deportment, the precept to absorb all good deeds, the precept to absorb and transfer all sentient beings.” The precepts mentioned therein are also consistent with the contents of the three aggregate precepts in the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation Generating From Heartland Originally above.
  In addition, the Sutra on the Dharani of Earth Store Bodhisattva Preached by the Buddha also mentions:
  The Buddha told Ananda: If any sentient beings are in the danger of being killed, being possessed by stocks ,chains, sickness, hardship and ghosts and goblins, they should pay homage to the name of Earth Store Bodhisattva, recite this mantra with all their hearts, repent of their fundamental serious offenses and resolve to achieve the Bodhi. From now on to the endless future, you will take and accept the three aggregate precepts. What are these three? The precept to absorb all good deeds, the precept to absorb all sentient beings, the precept to absorb all commandments and awe-inspiring deportment.
  It also mentions the three aggregate precepts here, which are all consistent with the above mentioned scriptures.
  Then ,what are the differences and connections between the three aggregate precepts, the Bodhisattva precepts, and the ten good precepts? The three aggregate precepts is called the three pure aggregate precepts, and is the general outline of the Bodhisattva precepts, and is three summaries of the Bodhisattva precepts, namely, to benefit all sentient beings, to practice and absorb all good deeds, and to practice and absorb all discipline and awe-inspiring deportment. There are many kinds of Bodhisattva precepts, usually including those in the Brahma Net Sutra, the Sutra of the Upasaka Precepts, the Sutra of the Bodhisattva’s Original Karma Like Necklace of Precious Stones and On the State of the Yogi Master. These Bodhisattva precepts in the Brahma Net Sutra and other scriptures are the items and articles of the Bodhisattva precepts, which are specific details, and the Ten Good Precepts are also one of the points in the precept to absorb all commandments and awe-inspiring deportment of the Three aggregate Precepts.
  Therefore, the precept articles of the Bodhisattva precepts and the ten good precepts are included in the three aggregate precepts and are specific details of the three aggregate precepts.
  We have already understood what the three aggregate precepts are, so why should a Bodhisattva accept and uphold the three aggregate precepts? Is it really necessary to accept and uphold the three aggregate precepts? What is the major significance of these precepts? The following is a specific analysis and study.

  Section 1: Accepting and upholding the Three aggregate Precepts is the most wonderful way for Bodhisattvas to achieve Buddha Path quickly

  The three aggregate precepts are the most supreme for a Bodhisattva to achieve the supreme Buddha Path quickly. As it is written in the Bodhisattva Precepts Book, “I am speaking of the three aggregate precepts, and Bodhisattvas will listen to them together; they are like a great bright lamp that can dispel the darkness of the long night; they are like a truly precious mirror that can illuminate all the dharmas without the rest; the precepts are like muni pearls, which rain down objects to relieve the poor. This dharma is the only best way to leave the world and become a Buddha quickly! Therefore, all Bodhisattvas should be diligent in protecting and upholding it.”
  From the above quotation, it is clear that the three aggregate precepts can remove the darkness of the long night of ignorance, illuminate all myriad dharmas, and save and relieve all the poor, and they are the most wonderful way for Bodhisattvas to achieve Buddha Path swiftly. Therefore, all Bodhisattvas should take ,protect and uphold the Three aggregate Precepts.

  The Second Section Accepting and upholding the Three aggregate Precepts will lead to the attainment of the king of human beings, the king of all sentient beings, and the supreme king of Dharma

  Accepting and upholding the Three Aggregate Precepts can also lead to the attainment of the king of human beings, the king of all sentient beings, and the supreme king of Dharma.
  Accepting and upholding the Three Aggregate Precepts also enables Bodhisattvas to attain the status of king of men, king of all sentient beings, and even the supreme Dharma King, namely Buddha. As the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally says:

  All the blessings the king receives today are the result of having held the three pure aggregate precepts in the past, and the incurring of what they have permeated and cultivated virtues of the precepts, and the wonderful attainment of human beings, gods and kings. If one has resolved to achieve the Bodhi, he will attain the supreme fruit nourished by the powers of vows, and if he adheres to the top grade of pure precepts, he will be the Dharma King…The middle class, who holds the Bodhisattva precepts, is blessed with the freedom to become the wheel-turning king , and to do whatever he wishes, and to be obeyed by countless humans and heaven… The lower class who holds the Bodhisattva precepts is always at ease in hell …… In this sense, all sentient beings should take the Bodhisattva’s pure precepts, and be able to protect and uphold them without fail and disobeying , and become kings of human beings wherever they are born.
  From this it is clear that the three aggregate precepts can lead to the achievement of all kingship and even the supreme Dharma kingship, namely the Buddhahood. Therefore, all bodhisattvas should take ,protect and keep the three aggregate precepts, and it is also necessary to take and keep the three aggregate precepts.

  Section 3: Taking and keeping the Three Aggregate Precepts is a good condition for attaining the fruit of supreme Bodhi, the fruit of the worldly and out-of-worldly and nirvana

  The three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattva are the raft that transcends the deep sea of life and death, the sharp sword that cuts the bonds of greed ,hatred and ignorance, the house of all the fears of the birth and death domain, the jewel that stops and eradicates all the causes of poverty and suffering, the medicine for all the diseases possessed by ghosts and goblins, and the good conditions for the attainment of the world, the out-of-worldly rewards and nirvana. As the Volume 3 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally testifies:

  Beyond the deep sea of life and death, the Bodhisattva pure precepts are the rafts; forever for breaking the bondage of greed, hatred and ignorance, the Bodhisattva pure precepts are the swords; for all fears of the dangerous ways of life and death, the Bodhisattva pure precepts are the house; to put an end to all causes of the poverty and lower, the pure precepts can be the treasure of being as one wishes; for all the diseases possessed by ghosts and goblins, the Bodhisattvas’ pure precepts are good medicine. The three pure precepts of the Bodhisattvas are the good conditions for the freedom of the kings of human beings and gods, and the pure precepts of the Bodhisattvas are the conditions of the kings of all the other four destinies and gaining wonderful fruits… Therefore, taking and keeping the Bodhisattvas’ precepts incurs the inaction fruits of the worldly and the out-of-worldly.
  Therefore, all Bodhisattvas should take and protect and keep the three aggregate precepts, and it is also very necessary to take and keep the three aggregate precepts.

  Section 4: Accepting and keeping the Three Aggregate Precepts will enable the Bodhisattvas to enter the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Buddha Realm, surpass three eons of sufferings of birth and death, see a thousand Buddhas, and not fall into the eight difficulties of the evil paths

  Accepting and keeping the Three Aggregate Precepts will enable the Bodhisattvas to enter the number of the Bodhisattvas of the Buddha Realm, surpass three eons of sufferings of birth and death. The one who violates the precepts is better than the one who does not violate the precepts. The one who violates the precepts is a Bodhisattva, and the one who does not violate the precepts is externalism . As it is said in the Sutra of the Bodhisattva’s Original Karma Like Necklace of Precious Stones:

  A preacher who is able to teach one person to accept the Bodhisattva precepts in all lands is more blessed than building 84,000 pagodas, not to mention two, three, or even a hundred and a thousand persons, which the fruit of blessing is inestimable … He who has taken the precepts has entered the number of Bodhisattvas in all the Buddhas’ realms, and has exceeded the sufferings of three eons of life and death ,therefore he should accept the precepts. The one who violates the precepts is better than the one who does not violate the precepts. The one who violates the precepts is a Bodhisattva, and the one who does not violate the precepts is externalism.
  These are enough to illustrate how great the merits and virtues of the three aggregate precepts are. In fact, only Buddhas are perfect in observing the three aggregate precepts, and Bodhisattvas have committed some of them accordingly. Therefore, those who have taken and kept the three aggregate precepts need not worry or fear that they will not take the three aggregate precepts with violating some of the precepts, and delay their own great future, because the ones who has committed some of the precepts are better than those who have not committed them without the precepts, and even there is always a time when they do not commit it.
  And the Brahma Net Sutra says:
  If all of the assembly, or you are a king, a prince, officials of all ranks and descriptions, or a bhikkhu, a bhikshuni, male and female believers who accept and keep the Bodhisattva precepts, you should accept ,keep, read, recite, interpret, and write the precepts of the Buddha’s nature abiding in the world, and let it be circulated to all sentient beings in the three periods, and transferring sentient beings over and over is unending.
  He shall see a thousand Buddhas and be given the hands by the Buddhas, not fall into the eight difficulties and the evil paths, and shall always be born in the realm of human beings and gods.
  Therefore, as a learner of Buddhism and as a Bodhisattva, it is necessary and important to take the three aggregate precepts in order to see a thousand Buddhas and to be free from suffering and attain happiness.

  Section 5: To take and keep the Three Aggregate Precepts for one is to have entered the status of all Buddhahood and to be true Buddhas’ disciples

  The Buddha does not dare to leave the three aggregate precepts. If he leaves the three aggregate precepts, he is no longer a Buddha, because the Buddha is the one who has taken the pure precepts of the upper class,not to mention that the bodhisattva who is determined to attain Buddhahood must take the three aggregate precepts. And Volume 2 of the Brahma Net Sutra says
  You are the one who will become a Buddha, and I am the one who has already become a Buddha, and if you always have such faith, the quality of your precepts is complete. All those who have the mind to attain Buddhahood should take and absorb the precepts of the Buddhas, and all sentient beings who have taken the precepts of the Buddha should be admitted to the Buddhahood. Having become the same status with the Great Enlightenment, you are the son of all Buddhas.
  Also:
  The Bodhisattva precepts is the source of all Buddhas, the root of practicing the Bodhisattva paths; it is the root of the disciples of all Buddhas; therefore, the disciples of all Buddhas in the assembly should accept it, keep it ,should recite it, and should skill in learning it.
  It is clear from this that the three aggregate precepts are the foundation of practicing the Bodhisattva paths and the source of all Buddhas’ attainment of Buddhahood; and that by taking and upholding the three aggregate precepts, one enters the Buddhahood and becomes a true disciple of Buddhas. Therefore, all Bodhisattvas should take and uphold the three aggregate precepts, and it is very necessary and important to do so.
  In conclusion, the three aggregate precepts are the foundation of the Bodhisattva’s practice of Mahayana Buddhism, and they are the norm of precepts that Bodhisattvas must follow in the process of seeking the path of Buddhahood upwards and transforming sentient beings downwards, they are a fundamental and important part of the Bodhisattva’s achievement of the supreme Buddha Path, so it is very necessary and important for all Bodhisattvas to take and keep the three aggregate precepts.

  Chapter 3: How to Take and Keep the Three aggregate Precepts and How to Take and Keep Them Better

  We have already learned about the necessity and importance and their great benefits of taking and keeping the three aggregate precepts earlier, then, as Buddhist disciples, how should we take and keep the three aggregate precepts and how can we take them better?

  Section 1 The need to confess the obstructions of offenses to be purified before taking and keeping the three aggregate precepts

  1. Why does one need to confess purely?

  If one wants to take and keep the three aggregate precepts , he must first confess the obstructions of offenses to be purified, most mainly the offenses, evils, and sufferings that will lead him to hell. If one does not repent of the obstructions of offenses to be purified, he will not be able to obtain the precepts, let alone take and keep them normally and smoothly. As emphasized in Volume 3 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally:
  If you wish to take the precepts as prescribed by the Dharma, you should confess your offenses so that they will be eliminated. There are ten conditions of creating the offenses at first: three in body, four in mouth, and three in mind. There is no end of offenses in life and death, no bottom of the sea of afflictions, the obstructions of Karma are as serious as the Sumeru,and creating karma is caused by two kinds of causes. They are the so-called existing acting and seeds, the harboring consciousness holds the conditions and all the seeds, like a shadow that never leaves the body, which obstruct the holy path in all time. Nearly, it hinders the fruit of the wonderful happiness of human beings and gods; remotely, it hinders the fruit of supreme Bodhi; If one lives a lay life, it incurs the causes of afflictions; If one leave the home-life, it breaks the pure precepts.
  From the above quotation, it is clear that one should confess offenses to make them disappear, because whether one is a monk or a lay person , one’s own sins create obstacles everywhere. Here it is important to pay special attention to the fact that it is not necessary to repent of all the obstacles to be purified before one can take the three aggregate precepts. Therefore, if a Bodhisattva wishes to take the three aggregate precepts in accordance with the law, he or she should first confess the obstacles of offenses and sins to be purified so that all of them are eliminated.
  Of course, even though the obstacles of offenses sins have been confessed to be purified, but the vexations and bad karmas are more serious, and the affliction, karma, and retribution hindrances have not been confessed to be purified, it is still possible to take and uphold the three aggregate precepts. Then the only way to practice all the precepts is with the three great wisdoms. The author will specifically discuss this point in latter Section 2: how to take and uphold all the precepts and awe-inspiring deportment.

  2. The Role and Benefits of Repentance

  The reason why confession can remove offense obstacles and enable the Bodhisattvas to be pure is that it has the special effect of clearing these obstacles in itself, which is also recognized by the Buddha. As stated in Volume 3 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally:

  If one can repent in accordance with the dharma, all afflictions will be removed, just as a fire of the end of an eon destroys the world, burning up the Sumeru and the great sea. Repentance burns the fuel wood of afflictions, repentance leads to the path to heaven, repentance leads to the happiness of the Fourth Zen, repentance rains precious muni pearls, repentance prolongs the life span of the Vajra, repentance can let one enter the Palace of Everlasting Bliss, repentance can let one leave the Hell of the Three Realms, repentance can open the Flower of Bodhisattva, repentance sees the Wisdom of the Buddha’s great mirror, and repentance can lead one to the location of Treasure.
  It is precisely because of these extraordinary effects and benefits of confession that Bodhisattvas should confess vigorously and courageously before they take and hold the three aggregate precepts, until they have confessed all their obstructions of offenses to be purified, so that they can prepare themselves to attain, receive and hold the three aggregate precepts later.

  3. How to confess specifically?

  Since repentance has the above-mentioned extraordinary effects and benefits, how should a Bodhisattva repent in order to achieve the goal of repenting and purifying all obstructions of offenses? What are the methods of confession? There are two methods of confession, Confession of Deeds and Confession of Self-nature, both of which can achieve the goal of confessing all obstacles of offenses.
  For example, in Volume 3 of the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally, it says
  If one is able to confess in accordance with the dharma, one should practice by following two kinds of doors of viewing: one is the door of viewing the deeds to eliminate offenses, and the other is the door of viewing the Self-nature to eliminate sins. There are three grades to observe the deeds and eliminate offenses: the upper, middle and lower roots are the three grades. If there is one who is an upper root that seeks pure precepts, he resolves to practice vigorously without retreat in mind, and he is always sincere with tears of sorrow and bloods of weep , and the feeling of sorrow is all over the body with bloods appearing…one reveals and washes away his heart and seeks repentance. “I vow that the Buddhas of the ten directions and the three periods of time will pity me with great kindness and compassion . I am in the cycle of life and death and have no one to take refuge with, and I am always unaware in the long night of life and death. I am an ordinary person with all bonds and fetters, and the crazy mind is perverted and is grabbing everything and everybody generally . I am in the house on fire in the three realms, with no relief under infecting the six dusts of delusion. I was born in a poor and lowly family, and I was not free to suffer constantly. I was born into the family with evil parents, and I created offense relying on evil dependents. May all Buddhas, greatly kind honored, be merciful and protect and remind me as one son. I will not create the offenses any more as soon as I confess, the Buddhas in the three periods of time will testify it.” If one is brave enough to confess, he is called the superior class to seek the pure precepts.
  Here is a specific description of the operation of the superior class for seeking pure precepts in the confession of deeds. This kind of confessor is a brave and diligent confessor, and he will naturally “not repeat all offenses after confession” and will be free from all obstacles of offenses because of confession.
  Also:
  If there is a person with the middle root who seeks precepts , who is brave enough to confess all offenses, who is unaware of shedding tears, and who sweats all over the body and begs the Buddha, “then I will be able to reveal the karma of beginningless life and death. I wish for the water of great compassion to cleanse the afflictions, to wash away the obstructions of offenses and purify the six roots of sin, and to bestow me the three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattvas. I wish to persevere and not to retreat, and to be refined in my practice of liberating suffering beings. Though I have not yet attained the liberation, I will take across other beings first, without ceasing until the endless future.”
  Such a diligent and courageous person who seeks Bodhi at the cost of life and limb is able to incur the spiritual appearance of the Triple Jewel, which is called the middle class of the Great Repentance .
  Here is a specific description of the operation of the middle-grade for seeking pure precepts in the confession of deeds. Such a confessor is a diligent and courageous confessor, and naturally, he or she will be able to “incur the appearance of the Triple Jewel ” and confess all the offenses obstacles to be purified.
  Also:
  If there is a person who is with the lower root and seeks the precepts of purity, who has developed the mind of the supreme Bodhi, who weeps and mourns with the hair of the body upright, and who is deeply ashamed of the sins he has committed. To the Triple Jewel in the ten directions, and to all sentient beings in the six paths, he sincerely reveals the offenses that he has been afflicted and confused all the sentient beings since the beginningless time. Arising from the heart of great compassion without obstructions to myself, I repent of the three karmas at the cost of my body and life. I am deeply ashamed to reveal all the sins I have committed and to refrain from committing any sins I have not yet committed.These are the three grades of repentance for all sins and offenses, and they are all called the first precepts of purity. Washing away the afflictions with the water of repentance and shame, their bodies and minds are all vessels that have been purified.You should know, all good men, that I have said the pure view of all confessions, and that there is no difference between the deeds and the Self-nature of all confessions, but there is a difference according to the roots , and causes and conditions of all sentient beings.
  Here is a specific description of the operation of the lower root of seeking the precepts of purity in deed confession, and it also informs that both deed confession and Self-nature confession will enable the Bodhisattvas to ultimately confess and purify all obstructions of sins and be able to take and hold the three aggregate precepts well.
  Also.
  If one wishes to practice observing the Self-nature of observation, he must be free from all disorder and confusion, to sit cross-legged in new and pure clothes, to be mindful and keep mindfulness and free from all conditions, to always view the wonderful Dharma body of all Buddhas, which is as empty and unattainable. The nature of all offenses are like the Thusness, all offenses are arising from perverted causes and conditions and the delusional mind, such appearances of offenses are the emptiness originally, and cannot be gained in the three periods of time …I only pray that all Buddhas will protect me compassionately and enable to destroy all perverted minds of mine, and I vow that I will early realize the source of everything–the true Self-Nature and quickly achieve the supreme path of all Buddhas. If a man with pure faith can observe the emptiness of the Self-nature day and night, all obstructions of offenses will be eliminated naturally, and this is called the supreme preceptor of holding pure precepts. If one observes to know the emptiness of reality, he can eliminate all serious offenses … If a wise person has faith and understanding about this, and observes in every thought to enlighten the Thusness, all the Buddhas in the ten directions will appear before him, and the wonderful fruit of the Bodhi will be realized naturally.
  The above describes the extremely powerful effects of the specific operations of the repentance of dwelling in the Self-nature. Therefore, it is clear that this kind of confession of dwelling in the Self-nature also enables the Bodhisattvas to confess and purify all obstructions of offenses and then attain the precepts and take and keep the three aggregate precepts.

  Section Two How to take and uphold all the precepts of disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment

  Since the Bodhisattva has used either deed confession or confession of dwelling in the Self-nature to achieve confession of all obstructions of offenses to purification, he can then smoothly take and keep the three aggregate precepts. However, one must also know that one’s afflictions, bad karmas, and evil habits are still present and not yet eradicated.
  The Three Aggregate Precepts are a general one that contains many kinds of Bodhisattva precepts, and also contains three major parts: the precept to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, the precept to absorb all good deeds, the precept to absorb and transfer all sentient beings .The first part of the precepts is the precept to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, which is about breaking away from evil, and the second part is the precept to absorb all good deeds, which is about doing goodness. As long as it is goodness, the Bodhisattvas must do it.The third part of the precept is the precept of to absorb and convert sentient beings, As long as they are sentient beings, they are all objects that the Bodhisattvas should absorb, convert and rescue.
  Then, there is a question of order here. That is to say, before the Bodhisattva’s afflictions, bad karmas and bad habits are eliminated, the Bodhisattva’s main focus is to eliminate the bad. If all of their afflictions and karmic habits have been eliminated, the Bodhisattvas’ main focus is practicing pure goodness. If the Bodhisattvas have mastered all the good karma, then the Bodhisattvas’ main focus is taking across sentient beings.
  Therefore, it is important to take the three aggregate precepts in order. In other words, if a Bodhisattva does not master the precise order of the three aggregate precepts, he will not be able to enter into each specific section smoothly and successfully.
  First of all, the Bodhisattva takes and keeps the precept to cultivate and absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, that is ,to vow to cut off all endless afflictions, mainly to prevent afflictions, bad karmas and habits, because his afflictions, bad karmas and habits have not been eliminated.
  Then, if a Bodhisattva wants to take and keep all the precepts to cultivate and absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, can he do so simply by strictly guarding against them? The answer is no. If a Bodhisattva wants to take and keep all the precepts to cultivate and absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, he should not only know clearly that to take and keep all the precepts to cultivate and absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment is to preserve liberation, to prevent wrongdoing and stop evil, and to center on the benefit of all sentient beings, but also have the following three wisdoms: the wisdom of cause and effect, the wisdom of understanding and realizing the various hazards of afflictions, and the wisdom of knowing that the mind is the root of good and bad laws. Without these three basic wisdoms, it is very difficult to keep the precepts by strict precautions.
  First, the wisdom of cause and effect. Without the wisdom of cause and effect, one will not know good and evil, will not know how to keep the precepts, will not believe in keeping the precepts, and will not be willing to keep them. Even if one keeps the precepts, they will not last long. Therefore, if a Bodhisattva wants to keep the precepts for a long time, he must keep in mind and master the three laws of cause and effect:
  the seed and the fruit are identical, such the cause will cause such the effect; if you plant one seed, you will reap many seeds or and countless seeds; if you plant seeds now, you will reap in the future. With this wisdom of cause and effect, you will naturally be able to keep the precepts, and keep them for a long time.

  2. The wisdom to understand and realize the characteristics and their various hazards of afflictions. First of all, we should recognize the characteristics of troubles: the nature of falsehood, deception, corruption, confusion, expansion, concealment, coverage and erosion, and resolutely not follow them and subdue them as soon as possible . There are five trunk afflictions and twenty branch afflictions, each of which is extremely harmful, and the Bodhisattvas must understand and know them one by one in minute detail, the more thorough the understanding of them, the better. When the afflictions come, kind mentors, Buddhas and Dharmas all stand aside. According to the Sutra of the Precepts of the Upasakas, “All afflictions are my great grievances. What is the reason? Because it is the afflictions that can break the self and others.”
  Therefore, we can know that all afflictions are our own great grievances, the great grievances of all sentient beings and practitioners, which can destroy all good things, good roots and virtues of self and others, and can even bring about the disaster of extinction, and can bring the appearances of corruption, self-harm and future misfortune to sentient beings.
  And, all sufferings arise from greed. Greed is a sure way to bring forth the eight sufferings to all sentient beings. In the Sutra on Buddhist Medicine Preached by the Buddha, the Buddha is teaching us that greed alone will bring about five major sufferings and obstacles: more sleep, more sickness, lust, clinging to the world more, and inability to recite the sutras ; hatred can only deny good to sentient beings, and ignorance can only allow sentient beings to be greedy of eating and drinking, and the only result of desire for eating and drinking is to harm oneself and others!
  Therefore, the more thoroughly a Bodhisattva understands the characteristics of afflictions and their various hazards, the more he knows the benefits of keeping precepts, and the more willing he is to keep them, and the better and more determined he will be to keep them for a long time. For he does not want to suffer these unjust sufferings that come with the branch afflictions, but only wants the peace and happiness of keeping the precepts.

  2. Third, the wisdom that the mind is the fundamental of good and bad dharma. The Sutra of the Precepts for Upasakas says:
  There are two kinds of offenses committed by sentient beings: the first is the evil precepts, and the second is the absence of precepts. A person who has taken the evil precepts, though he kills a sheep, and when he does not kill, he is always guilty of killing. What is the reason for this? Because of his vow in the past. A person who has no precepts, though he kills a thousand sheep, is guilty of killing when he kills them, but is not guilty of killing when he doesn’t kill them. What is the reason? Because he does not make the vow. Therefore, the mind is the root of all good and bad dharmas.
  And also Volume 7 of the Sutra of the Precepts for Upasakas says: “Things are one kind, and the power of the mind is the reason for the light and heavy fruits. Volume 14 of the Flower Adornment Sutra also mentions, “If a Bodhisattva makes good use of his mind, he will obtain all the wonderful and subtle merits and virtues. From this, we can see that whether one creates good karmas or bad karmas, and how much karma one creates, is closely related to the direction of the mind, the attitude of the mind, and the power of the mind, and it is necessary to make good use of one’s mind, and this is the principle of karma creation. The more a Bodhisattva knows this principle of karma creation, the better he can grasp the direction, attitude, and power of his mind in the keeping of precepts, and the more he will be able to make a greater effort of the mind to keep precepts.
  With the wisdom of cause and effect, the wisdom of understanding the various hazards of afflictions, and the wisdom that the mind is the fundamental of good and bad dharmas, the Bodhisattva can better and more joyfully and firmly accept and keep the precepts.
  Righteousness in action is the Path, and the precepts are the most righteous, the ones that guarantee liberation, and any departure from the precepts is crooked. Therefore, by insisting on keeping the precepts to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, one can suppress all one’s afflictions, evil vapors, and evil deeds. As Volume 2 of the Net of Brahma Sutra says:
  If a Buddhist disciple praises himself or slander others or teach others to praises himself or slander others, creating the causes of slandering others, the conditions of slandering others, the dharmas of slandering others, and the karma of slandering others. But the Bodhisattva should be humiliated on behalf of all sentient beings. Evil things are undertaken by oneself, but good things are given to others. If a Bodhisattva praises his own virtues and hides good deeds from others, and causes them to be slandered, this is a Bodhisattva’s heavy offense.
  If a Bodhisattva does not follow his own mind of arrogance and has only a humble mind, he will not praise himself and slander others, nor will he praise his own virtue and hide the good deeds of others, thus causing them to suffer damage to their reputation and interests, and he will be able to take and keep the Bodhisattva precept.
  Another example is that the Flower Adornment Sutra lists the ten pure precepts of the Bodhisattvas:
  The Bodhisattva Mahasattva has ten kinds of pure precepts. What are the ten? The so-called: the clean precept of the body, because of the protections of three evils of the body ; the clean precept of the speech, because of being free from the four faults of the speech ; the clean precept of the mind, because of being free from greed, hatred and evil views; the clean precept of not breaking all learning, because of being the honored Lord among human beings and gods; the pure precept of guarding the mind of Bodhi , because of not being happy with the small vehicle; guarding and protecting the pure precept formulated by tathagata, because even his small crime can generate great fear and horror; the pure precept of secretly protecting and maintaining, because of being good at pull out the sentient beings of breaking the precept; the pure precept of not doing all evil, because of vowing to practice all good dharmas ; the pure precept of staying away from all the views of existence, because of no attachment for precepts; the pure precept of guarding and protecting all sentient beings ,because of developing the mind of great compassions, namely the mind of plucking out the sufferings greatly.
  It is mentioned therein that the precepts of purity in all areas are to be observed by forbidding evil views, afflictions and bad karmas. if they can add to this the wisdom of cause and effect, the wisdom of understanding the various dangers of vexations, and the wisdom that the mind is the root of the good and bad dharmas for the prevention of evil views, vexations, and bad karmas, they will be able to observe and keep these precepts better, for when vexations are not yet broken, as long as they are not careful, they will create bad karmas with them and naturally break the precepts.
  In addition, in the Flower Adornment Sutra, it says:
  What is the treasure of the Bodhisattva Mahasattva’s precepts? This Bodhisattva has achieved the precepts of universal benefit, non-acceptance, not dwelling, non-repentance and non-hatred, non-disobeying and non-argument , non-damage and not-anger, non-defilement, non-covetousness, non-fault, and non-violation …
  When the Bodhisattvas take and hold these precepts, if they can add to this the wisdom of cause and effect, the wisdom of understanding the various dangers of vexations, and the wisdom that the mind is the root of the good and bad dharmas for the prevention of evil views, vexations, and bad karmas, they will be able to observe and keep these precepts better, for when vexations are not yet broken, as long as they are not careful, they will create bad karmas with them and naturally break the precepts.
  It is also mentioned in Volume 7 of the Number of the Dharma of the Three Treasures, Solemn Theory: “The precept to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, that is, all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment are all absorbed. Precept, means the law of the Dharma, which is the meaning of prohibition. Yi means the rituals, namely criterion. In addition, the Sanzang Dharma Numbers – Dharma Garden Zhu Lin also mentions: “There are only four important points in the precept to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment. The first is that one should not praise oneself and slander others for the sake of benefit and profit. The second, one must not be deliberately stingy and not give it to those before him. The third, one must not be angry and beat and scold sentient beings. The fourth is not to slander the Mahayana scriptures. These four precepts are called the precept to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, because they are held in such a way that no evil is left behind. The key to the observance and holding of these precepts and rituals is to use the wisdom of cause and effect, the wisdom of understanding the various hazards of annoyance, and the wisdom that the mind is the root of the good and bad dharmas to prevent annoyance, bad karmas, and habits as the foundation, because when annoyance is not yet eradicated, as long as one is not careful, one will create bad karma with annoyance, and even create extremely bad karma of slandering the Mahayana sutras .
  When a Bodhisattva dwells in the Second Ground, namely the Ground of Leaving Defilement, the main thing is to observe the precepts of to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment. Just as it is said in Volume 39 of the Flower Adornment Sutra: “Like the king of the incense mountain, in which all the incense is collected and inexhaustibly taken, so is the Bodhisattva’s dwelling in the ground or state of being free from dirt, which all Bodhisattvas’ precepts, actions and awe-inspiring deportment are inexhaustible to say.” From this it can be seen that all Bodhisattvas’ precepts actions and awe-inspiring deportment of the Bodhisattvas of the Second Ground are contained therein.
  Also:
  The Bodhisattva who dwells in the state of being free from dirt of consciousnesses and emotions is naturally free from all killing, forsaking sword and battle, is free from hatred and anger , and has shame and guilt, and give rise to the mind of kindness and compassion for all sentient beings, always seeking happiness and not being evil-minded enough to annoy sentient beings, let alone harm them. He is free from all robbery and theft of the objects of nourishing the life, and he is always content with what he has, and if it belongs to others, he does not take what is not given by others; He is free from sex misconducts, and is content with my wife, and he does not think about other women singly… He does not covet the things belong others, and if they belong to others and are taken by them, he does not think, ‘I shall take them.’ He is free from harm of hatred , always seeks the mind of love ,moistening and kindness and compassion for all sentient beings; and he is free from the accounting for the flapping , practices right views, and resolve to be convinced of the causes and conditions of sins and blessings; He is free from flattery, believes in the Triple Jewel sincerely, and generates a determined mind.
  Moreover,why does the Bodhisattva uphold the Ten Good Paths so well and not uphold the Ten Bad Paths? It is because he has superior right thinking, wise thinking:
  The Bodhisattva always protects the good paths and thinks, “All sentient beings fall into the evil paths because of the ten bad paths; I will abide in the good paths myself, and I will preach the good paths to others and show them the right practice. What is the reason? If a man does not practice goodness himself, there is no possibility for him to preach dharmas to others to cause them to abide in goodness.”
  He also has more remarkable deep and wise thoughts:
  And he thought deeply: “If one practice the ten bad paths, he will fall into hells, animals, and hungry ghosts; if one practices the ten good paths, one will be born in the human beings, and even in the heavens with a top. And the ten good paths and wisdom are practiced in harmony by one…one hears the Dharma from others to go to the vehicle of sound hearers… and one is able to penetrate deeply into all dharmas of causes and conditions up to the Vehicle of Pratyekabuddha; If one practices the ten good paths with purity and fullness, with a vast and boundless mind, with great kindness and compassion among all sentient beings, with powers of skillful ways, with firmness of will and vows, without forsaking all sentient beings, seeking the great wisdom of the Buddhas, purifying the grounds of the Bodhisattvas, and purifying all paramitas into deep and vast practices, then one can attain the ten powers of the Buddhas, the four fearlessnesses , the four unhindered wisdoms, great kindness and compassion, and even the fullness of all kinds of wisdoms, and the collection of all Buddhadharmas . Therefore, I should practice the ten good paths and seek all wisdoms.
  Why does the Bodhisattva protect and uphold the ten good paths and not practice the ten good paths? Because he has further right thinking, wisdom thinking. For example, in Volume 24 of the Flower Adornment Sutra, it says:
  The Bodhisattva also thought, “These ten unwholesome paths are the causes and conditions of hells upwards, the causes and conditions of animals mediumly, and the causes and conditions of hungry ghosts downwards. Among them, the sins of killing can cause sentient beings to fall into hells, animals, and hungry ghosts; if they are born in human beings, they will have two kinds of consequences and retributions: one, short life; two, many diseases …The sins of evil views also cause sentient beings to fall into the three evil paths; if one is born in human beings, he or she receives two kinds of consequences and retributions: one is born in a family of evil opinions; the other is to have the minds of flattering. All disciples of Buddhas! Such ten bad paths are the causes and conditions of the great aggregation of sufferings.”
  In summary, when the Bodhisattva first takes and upholds the precepts to absorb all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, he repents and purifies all the obstructions of the sins, fully realizes all the sins, evils, and sufferings, and has to be careful, often uses the wisdoms of cause and effect, the wisdom of knowing the harm of afflictions, the wisdom that the mind is the root of the good and bad dharmas, and all kinds of right thinking and right wisdom to protect against these afflictions and evil karmas , without the slightest relaxation, slackness, or laziness. Only in this way can the Bodhisattva be able to observe and keep the precepts of absorbing all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment well to the greatest extent.

  Section 3: How to take the precepts to cultivate and absorb all good deeds

  If the Bodhisattva’s bad karma has been eradicated , this section has passed, he can further take the precepts of taking and absorbing all good dharmas, the so-called 84,000 Dharma doors, that is: one vows to learn the limitless Dharma doors. The precept of taking the good Dharma is based on diligence and courage, that is, to practice all good Dharma is to need great courage and diligence.
  The Bodhisattva of the first ground is mainly to make vows and give alms, the Bodhisattva of the second ground is mainly to cut off evil, then, the Bodhisattva from the third ground to the Bodhisattva of the seventh is mainly in the practice of all good dharma, especially to the seventh ground, the Bodhisattva of the seventh ground is practicing all the wisdom, knowledge and skills in the world, and is good at all, since he is good at all, even the apparently evil dharma will be done well, because the Bodhisattva must find ways to take cross and transform all beings, including those with bad karmas, not just those with good karmas.
  What are the specifics of the precepts of absorbing the good Dharmas? The Volume 7 of the Sanzang Dharma Numbers – Dharma Garden Zhu Lin, says
  The precept of absorbing the good dharmas is that the practice done can absorb all the good dharmas, namely the good dharmas created by the body, the mouth and the mind, and the three wisdoms of hearing, thinking and practicing, and the giving and so on to the six perfections, which are all absorbed without exception, therefore it is called the precept of absorbing the good dharmas.
  In addition, the Bodhisattva’s good conduct is centered on the Six Perfections and the Four Absorbing Ways. On the Ground of the master of Yogi · Absorbing the Part of Choice says:
  What is the Bodhisattva possessing good conduct? What are the appearance of these actions? The Bodhisattva is maturing all Buddhadharma internally and all sentient beings externally ,and practices good conduct. This is why they are called possessing good conduct.
  If a Bodhisattva wants to take and keep the precepts to cultivate and absorb all good deeds, in addition to his own efforts, it is best to make full use of the Buddhas’ supreme power of vows, such as the supreme power of vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata . Because he has this kind of power of vows, he can give sentient beings the ability to practice . This kind of ability and power seems especially important because it takes a long time and a lot of hard work to obtain this kind of ability and power to practice by oneself. But relying on Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata is much easier and much more relaxing, just like riding on a hitch ride. In the Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, it is mentioned:“The Ninth Great Vow: ‘I vow that in a future life when I attain Bodhi, I shall liberate sentient beings from the nets of demons and the bonds of external sects. If they have fallen into the dense forests of evil views, I shall lead them to have proper views and to gradually cultivate the practices of Bodhisattvas so they will quickly realize unsurpassed, proper and equal Bodhi.’ ”It is also mentioned that:

  “By the awesome power of the past vows of that Tathagata, he will get to hear his name for only a moment, then after they pass out of that existence, they will be reborn again as human beings. They will attain proper views and will be ever vigorous. They are the most skillful at regulating the peace and happiness of their minds and moods, enabling them to renounce the bondage of their families and tend to leave the home-life or learn the Buddhadharma. They will take up and maintain the various doors of Tathagata’s Dharma without any violation; they will have proper views and erudition; they will understand profound meanings and yet be free from overweening pride. They will not slander the Proper Dharma and will never join the ranks of demons. They will progressively cultivate the practices of Bodhisattvas and will soon bring them to perfection.”
  因此,借助藥師琉璃光如來的殊勝願力,就可以確保菩薩修習包含戒律、精進等六度在內的諸菩薩行,而且還最善於調節自己的心態和意境的安樂,就相當於坐上了佛的快速順風車,自然就能快速成就無上佛道。
  Therefore, with the supreme strength of vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, one can ensure that the Bodhisattva is able to cultivate and practice the Bodhisattva practices including precepts, vigor and other six perfections , and is also good at regulating the peace and happiness of their own minds and moods, which is equivalent to riding on the Buddha’s fast hitch ride, and can naturally and quickly achieve the supreme Buddha Path.
  And also: “ They will not delight in worldly pleasures or the happiness of desires, but will rejoice in giving and praise others who give. They will not begrudge giving whatever they have. Gradually, to those who come to beg, they will be able to give away their own head, eyes, hands, feet, flesh and blood and even their entire body, to say nothing of their other money and property!” From this, it is clear that with the supreme strength of vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, it is possible to ensure that the Bodhisattva cultivates and practices all the Bodhisattva practices including the perfections of giving, and achieves great giving.
  From the above, in addition to the Bodhisattva’s own efforts to practice all the good dharmas and Bodhisattva practices, the Bodhisattva is able to rely on the supreme strength of vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata to ensure that the Bodhisattva is able to receive and keep the precepts to cultivate and absorb all good dharmas and various Bodhisattva practices.

  Section 4: How to take and keep the precepts for the benefit of all sentient beings

  If the Bodhisattva has passed this part of the precept of cultivating and absorbing all good dharmas, then he can consider the next link, and further accept and keep the precept of benefiting all sentient beings, that is, use kindness ,compassion, joy, and giving to convert all beings to receive peace and happiness, namely vow to rescue limitless beings. The precept of absorbing sentient beings is also based on diligence and courage, that is, the Bodhisattva must be courageous and diligent in benefiting all sentient beings.
  For example, in the Sanzang Dharma Numbers- Dharma Garden Zhu Lin, it is said that
  The precept of taking in all sentient beings means to be able to take in all sentient beings, and the act of being able to take in all sentient beings is kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. Kindness is called the thought of love, because it is able to give happiness to all sentient beings; compassion is called pity, because it is able to remove the suffering of all sentient beings; joy is called celebration, because it celebrates all sentient beings to be free from suffering and attain happiness; giving is called no hatred and no love, because it always thinks of all sentient beings as being free from hatred and love. The Boddhisattva applies the methods to take in all sentient beings.
  Therefore, it is clear that the Bodhisattva has to bring into play kindness, compassion, joy, and giving in order to absorb and convert all sentient beings, so that they can all attain peace and happiness.
  In addition, the Flower Adornment Sutra lists the ten kinds of pure precepts for the Bodhisattva: There are ten kinds of pure precepts for Bodhisattva Mahasattva. What are the ten? …To guard and protect the pure precepts of the mind of Bodhi ,because he doesn’t enjoy the Hinayana or Little Vehicle…To protect and keep the pure precepts in secret, because he is skillful at removing the sufferings of sentient beings who violate the precepts…The Bodhisattva must obey the precepts of guarding and protecting all beings , because he gives rise to the great compassion , namely plucking the suffering of all beings. The main point of these articles is that the Bodhisattva must take the acceptance and benefit of all sentient beings as the foundation, and must guard and protect the mind of Bodhi attaining the Buddha Path upwards and transforming sentient beings downwards, and cannot like to be a self-realized person of Hinayana.
  Then, why must the Bodhisattva benefit all sentient beings with compassion, joy and recklessness? Because sentient beings are past parents and future Buddhas. Only by benefiting all sentient beings with the water of great compassion can a Bodhisattva achieve the flowering of the wisdom of all Buddhas. In other words, all the wisdom flowers and fruits of the Bodhisattva must come from the sentient beings, and only in the sentient beings can great compassion be exercised. Therefore, great compassion is the root of the Bodhisattva’s achievement of the supreme Bodhi path. If a bodhisattva leaves all sentient beings, he will not be able to achieve supreme enlightenment after all. As it is said in the Dhammapada Vajrayana Sutra:
  If you make sentient beings get joyful, then you will make all the Buddhas get joyful… For example, there is a great tree king in the wilderness and sand tills, if the roots receive water, the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits all flourish. So is the king of the Bodhi trees in the wilderness of life and death. All sentient beings are the roots of the tree, and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are the flowers and the fruits of the tree. If the Bodhisattvas benefit all sentient beings with the water of great compassion, they can achieve the flowers and fruits of the wisdom of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. What is the reason for this? If all Bodhisattvas benefit sentient beings with the water of great compassion, then they can attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Therefore, the Bodhi belongs to all sentient beings .If there were no sentient beings, all Bodhisattvas would not be able to attain the Supreme Correct Enlightenment.
  Since this is the case, if the Bodhisattva wants to give play to great compassion, to pluck up suffering for all sentient beings, and even to do a good job of kindness, compassion, joy and giving, what kind of wisdom and order should a bodhisattva have ? First of all, he should know that joy is the beginning of kindness, compassion, giving, and the beginning of the doors of all dharmas. Without joy or with insufficient joy, it is difficult to establish kindness, compassion and giving. Joy is the same as interest, destiny, joy, and motivation. Joy comes first in kindness, compassion, joy and happiness . Only with joy can we have the motivation to do well in kindness, compassion and giving, to absorb and accept, benefit , rescue and protect all sentient beings, and to achieve all Dharma. Therefore, kindness, compassion, giving and even the details of any Buddhadharma need the accomplishment of joy to be able to enter.
  If the Bodhisattva also possesses the joyful, patient, and active state to practice kindness, compassion, and giving, it is even more extraordinary. This is because a Bodhisattva with these three minds exercise kindness, compassion, and giving, it is permanent, otherwise it is temporary. The three connotations of joyfulness, advance with vigor and active mind are extremely important. Joyfulness is the driving force, and advance with vigor is the right cause and the key to achieving the six degrees including giving .As stated in Volume 7 of the Sutra of the Precepts for Upasakas : “All these are called the right advance with vigor, and it is the right cause of the six perfections … Therefore, I say that the six perfections are to be achieved due to advance with vigor.” On the other hand, in the process of exercising kindness, compassion, joy and giving and benefiting sentient beings, bodhisattvas must pay special attention to avoiding aversion, irritability and negative emotions and states as much as possible, because these are all evil arising of conditions, plus the characteristic of sentient beings is that they are obstinate and hard to transform.
  According to the the Flower Adornment Sutra, which ground does a Bodhisattva have to go to before he or she has truly entered the state of absorbing and regulating sentient beings? When the Bodhisattva reaches the seventh ground, all the bad dharmas have been cut off completely and all the good dharmas have been cultivated perfectly, then he enters the eighth ground. As it is written in Volume 37 of the the Flower Adornment Sutra:
  ”The Bodhisattva dwells in this seventh ground, and with a profoundly pure mind, accomplishes body karma, accomplishes speech karma, and accomplishes mind karma. All bad karmas and paths, which are reproached by the Buddha, have been abandoned, and all good karmas, which are praised by the Buddha, have been practiced skillfully. All the sutras and techniques in the world, as described in the Fifth Ground, are practiced naturally, without the help of any function and usefulness.
  After the Bodhisattva has entered the eighth ground, he has truly entered the state of absorbing, regulating and transforming sentient beings. Before the eighth ground, it is a bit difficult to say that one Bodhisattva can absorb, regulate and transform sentient beings because his own evil dharma has not been eradicated completely and his own good dharma has not been perfected , then what kind of merit and virtue does he use to rescue and transform sentient beings? In other words , for absorbing and transforming sentient beings, the Bodhisattva of the eighth ground is ready to start, because basically he has no more obstacles, but that is just the beginning. When the Bodhisattva reaches the tenth ground, that is, the Dharma Cloud Ground, the Bodhisattva is much more at ease with the task of taking across sentient beings. As it says in Volume 39 of the the Flower Adornment Sutra:
  (The Tenth Ground) The Bodhisattva Mahasattva, with the wisdom of such superior awareness, knows in truth that sentient beings are transformed by karma, by vexation, by all kinds of views…by all discrimination and indiscrimination , the Bodhisattva knows all these things as they are. And he knows in truth the upholding of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha …the wisdom , and he knows all these things as they are. And he knows in truth the subtle wisdom of the Buddhas’ entry, namely the subtle wisdom of practice, the subtle wisdom of the end of life …the subtle wisdom of dwelling in the Dharma of being taught, and so on, which are all known as they are .
  And: “The wisdom of the Bodhisattva of the tenth ground is also like this, which can make all sentient beings get cool, and even abide in the wisdom of all wisdoms, and the wisdom and light of all sound-hearers , Pratyekabuddha and even the Bodhisattvas on the ninth ground are beyond their reach. In addition, it is also said : “Like the king of Mount Sumeru, made of pure jewels, in which all the heavenly beings with great awesome virtue dwell, there is no end to it. So is the Ground of Dharma Clouds that the Bodhisattva dwells in, where the Buddha’s power, fearlessness, uncommon dharmas, and all the Buddha’s deeds are all within, and the questions and answers are infinitely explained.” According to this, when a Bodhisattva reaches the Dharma Cloud Ground, he is able to rescue sentient beings so freely.
  In addition, in the Flower Adornment Sutra, the Bodhisattvas’ wisdom and skillful ways are clearly described in terms of what kind of illnesses of afflictions that the sentient beings are suffering from. Because each kind of sentient beings is unique and has unique karma ,habits and afflictions. What is his karma? What are his habits? What are his afflictions? What is the manifestation of relying on his karma? What is the sum of the karma and the habits? What is the sum of the karma ,the habits and the vexation? The Bodhisattva will calculate it clearly, and then the result will appear. Then the Bodhisattva will find the points that correspond to these results, to resolve his suffering and to let him generate happiness, so that he can achieve the goal of freeing sentient beings from suffering and achieving happiness. For example, in Volume 31 of the Flower Adornment Sutra, it says:
  With the mind of unattached and unfettered liberation, the Bodhisattvas abide in Bodhisattvas’ wisdom, practice the practices of Universal Worthy without slackening and tiring, they can know the extraordinary subtleties of the tendency of all sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the death of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the birth of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the dwelling of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the places of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the categories of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the categories of the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the actions of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the taking of sentient beings, the extraordinary subtleties of the climbing and clinging of sentient beings – such and such extraordinary subtleties can be known in one thought.
  Also:
  With the mind of unattached and unfettered liberation, the Bodhisattvas practice the practices of Universal Worthy, they attain the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of the realms of all sentient beings, namely, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of distinctions in the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of speech in the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of clinging in the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of different kinds of the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of the same kind of the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of infinite tendencies of the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of the practices of all kinds of unimaginable distinctions in the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of infinite varied contaminations in the realms of sentient beings, the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of infinite purity in the realms of sentient beings, — they are all known the extraordinarily subtle wisdom of the realms of all sentient beings with wisdom in truth in a single thought, and they widely take in sentient beings and propagate dharma for them, and open and reveal all kinds of doors of pure teachings , to cause sentient beings to cultivate the wide and great wisdom of Bodhisattvas.
  With these extraordinarily subtle wisdoms and skillful methods, the Bodhisattvas can receive and keep the precepts for the absorbing and accepting of all sentient beings very well and achieve the ultimate goal of freeing sentient beings from suffering and achieving happiness.
  So how does a Bodhisattva practice joy and then exert kindness , compassion and giving to benefit all sentient beings according to joy? The Sutra of the Precious Rain Spoken by the Buddha says:
  The Bodhisattva achieves ten kinds of dharmas and performs joy. What are these ten? First, I must be free from all prisons of all existences and burning fierce fires, so I give rise to joy; Second, I am able to be free from the bond of long-continued birth and death , so I give rise to joy… Tenth, I am able to go to the city of all wisdom, so I give rise to joy. Good man! The Bodhisattva who has achieved these ten dharmas is known as practicing joy.
  This is how the Bodhisattva cultivates joy. After succeeding in practicing joy, he then practices kindness, compassion and giving in accordance with joy. The Sutra of the Precious Rain Spoken by the Buddha says:
  The Bodhisattva achieves ten kinds of dharmas and practices kindness. What are these ten? First, the kindness of no place; second; second, the kindness of no difference… tenth, the kindness of out-of-the world. Good man! The Bodhisattva who has achieved these ten dharmas is known as practicing kindness truly.
  Also:
  The Bodhisattva achieves ten kinds of dharmas to practice compassion. What are these ten? First, when he sees all sentient beings who have no refuge, no protection, and are suffering from afflictions, he generate sorrow and pity and give rise to the mind to Bodhi; second, after developing bodhicitta, he is courageous and vigorous, and quickly enter the self nature of the myriad Dharmas … Good man! The Bodhisattva who has achieved these ten dharmas is known as practicing compassion truly.
  Also, the Buddha’s Sutra on the Precious Rain, Volume 7.
  The Bodhisattva has achieved ten kinds of dharmas and is able to practice giving. What are these ten? First, in the sight of the eyes, the Bodhisattva is able to give up; in the sound of the ears, the Bodhisattva is able to give up…Good man! The Bodhisattva who has accomplished these ten kinds of dharmas is known as practicing giving.
  In summary, the Bodhisattva accepts and holds the precepts of benefiting all sentient beings very well by exerting joy, kindness, compassion, and giving to absorb, accept, teach and transform all sentient beings to gain peace and happiness .

  Section 5: Make Use of the Medicine Master Buddha’s Exceptional Powers of Vows for Better Practice ,Keeping and Fulfillment of the Three Precepts

  We have already discussed how a Bodhisattva should take and keep the three aggregate precepts, but the next section will focus on how to take and keep the three aggregate precepts more easily, better, and more firmly with the help of Medicine Master Buddha’s supreme powers of vows, and to fully fulfill the three aggregate precepts.
  The three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattvas are the fundamentals of the Buddha’s teachings and the root of all precepts. If one relies on the power of Medicine Master Buddha’s vows, even if he accidentally violates the three aggregate precepts, it is as if one has not violated them at all, and it makes sure that the three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattva are fully fulfilled. In the Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, it is mentioned that “ The Fifth Great Vow: I vow that in a future life when I attain Bodhi, I shall enable limitless and boundless numbers of sentient beings who cultivate Brahma conduct within my Dharma to perfectly uphold the three clusters of precepts without exception. Should there be any violation, upon hearing my name, they will regain their purity and not fall into the evil destinies.” From the above quotation, it is clear that Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata is accomplishing the three aggregate precepts of the Bodhisattvas by virtue of his power of vows and merit and virtue, and can guarantee that all sentient beings have the three aggregate precepts, that is, can guarantee that they have accomplished the three aggregate precepts. In other words, he is the Buddha who protects the precepts. In fact, this great vow is to protect the precepts and to ensure that the Bodhisattva’s three aggregate precepts are fully accomplished.
  Special mention should be made of the specific meaning of “my dharma” in this context. In addition to the meaning and principle of One Vehicle preached by all Buddhas, there is also the power of the past vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Buddha. That is to say, in addition to the Dharma that all Buddhas share, we must also rely on Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Buddha. This is because he had this vow to protect the precepts when he initially resolved to do it, and not other Buddhas have this vow to protect the precepts.
  In short, as a Bodhisattva practitioner, one should do one’s best to accept and observe the three aggregate precepts. When the three aggregate precepts are pure and complete, one will naturally be able to invoke the fruits of worldly and out-of-worldly existence ,inaction and nirvana, and will be able to achieve the supreme Buddhas’ path and attain the fruit of supreme Bodhi ultimately.

  Chapter 4 Conclusion

  Section I Research Findings

  Through the above research, on the one hand, the author has trained our skills in writing essays; on the other hand, the author has further deepened our knowledge and understanding of the three aggregate precepts, the Bodhisattva precepts, the afflictions ,karma and habits, and kindness, compassion, joy, and giving. In this way, we find the direction of our practice, and we be determined to have the interest, confidence, and motivation to follow the wisdom, method, and order to take and keep the three aggregate precepts. With regard to the theme of “On the Three Aggregate Precepts”, the following findings are as follows:

  1. Definition and specific contents of the three aggregate precepts. They are the precepts for the benefiting of all sentient beings, the precepts for the cultivation and absorption of all good deeds, and the precepts for the cultivation and absorption of all disciplines and awe-inspiring deportment, namely to take across all sentient beings, to practice all goodness, and to get rid of all evil.

  2. The supreme benefits of taking and keeping the three aggregate precepts. The three aggregate precepts are the foundation of the Bodhisattvas’ practice of Mahayana Buddhism. and they are the norm of precepts that Bodhisattvas must follow in the process of seeking the path of Buddhahood upwards and transforming sentient beings downwards, and they are a fundamental and important part of the Bodhisattvas’ achievement of the supreme Buddha Path, so it is very necessary and important for all Bodhisattvas to take and keep the three aggregate precepts.

  3. How can one take and keep the three aggregate precepts and how can one take and keep them better? Before taking the three aggregate precepts, one needs to confess and purify the obstructions caused by his sins and offenses; how to take and keep the three aggregate precepts: the order of taking and keeping the three aggregate precepts: before the Bodhisattvas’ afflictions, bad karmas and bad habits are finished, the Bodhisattva focus on the part of cutting off bad karmas; if the afflictions , bad karmas and habits are finished, the Bodhisattva takes the part of pure goodness; if the Bodhisattva has mastered the part of good karmas, the Bodhisattva takes the part of rescuing sentient beings.

  Section 2: Research Limitations and Future Prospects

  In the process of exploring the theme of this essay, the author encountered some bottlenecks, mainly the following two points: (1) Due to the limitations of personal wisdom, the author has not been able to conduct a more comprehensive, profound, extensive and subtle investigation on the theme, and the arguments of the theme are not yet sufficient and rich, and the demonstrations are not close and strong enough. (2) The author’s discussion is not precise, natural, coherent, and to the point in terms of how to benefit sentient beings according to their different roots, causes and conditions, and intentions.
  Through this inquiry, the author hopes to further improve the above-mentioned research limitations in the future direction of study, and to think and practice in accordance with the Buddha dharma, so as to take and keep the pure and perfect three aggregate precepts in sequence in order to benefit all sentient beings to tally with time, places, persons, and dharmas.

  Appendix Reference Materials

  Ancient texts (in chronological order of dynasties)

  1. [Wu] Translated by Zhu Luyan and Zhi Yue: Sutra on Buddhist Medicine Spoken by the Buddha, vol. 17, Dazheng Store.
  2. [Eastern Jin] Translated by Buddhabhadra: the Flower Adornment Sutra, vol. 9,Dazheng Store,.
  3. [Later Qin] Translated by Kumarajiva: The Brahma-net Sutra, vol. 24,Dazheng Store,.
  4. [Yaoqin] Translated by Zhu Fonian: The Sutra of the Bodhisattva’s Original Karma Like Necklace of Precious Stones , Dazheng Store, vol. 24.
  5. [Northern Liang] Translated by Dharmaraksa : the Sutra of the Precepts for Upasakas, vol. 24, Dazheng Store .
  6. [Northern Liang] Translated by Dharmaraksa: The Book of Bodhisattva Precepts, vol. 24, Dazheng Store,.
  7. 〔Sui〕Translated by Bodhi Lamp: the Sutra on the Examination of Retributions of Good and Bad Karmas, vol. 17, Dazheng Store.
  8. 〔Tang〕Translated by Shikonanda: the Flower Adornment Sutra, vol. 10, Dazheng Store.
  9. 〔Tang〕Translated by Xuan Zang: On the State of the Yogi Master, vol. 30 , Dazheng Store.
  10. 〔Tang〕Translated by Xuan Zang: Sutra of the Merit and Virtue of the Past Vows of Medicine Master Vaidurya Light Tathagata, vol. 14, Dazheng Store.
  11. 〔Tang〕Translated by Prajna: the Sutra on Mahayana Contemplation of Generating From Heartland Originally, vol. 3, Dazheng Store.
  12. 〔Tang〕Translated by Prajna, the Flower Adornment Sutra, vol. 10, Dazheng Store.
  13. 〔Tang〕Translated by Dharma Liuzhi: the Sutra of the Precious Rain Spoken by the Buddha, vol. 16, Dazheng Store.
  14. [Song] Translated by Zong Xiao: the Category of Lebang Literature, vol. 47, Dazheng Store.
  15. [Ming] Compiled by Yiru and so on: the Sanzang Dharma Numbers, vol. 22, Supplement of Da Zang Sutra.
  16. Lost Age: the Sutra on the Dharani of Earth Store Bodhisattva Preached by the Buddha, vol. 20, Dazheng Store.

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