The Shastra on the Door

 to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas

Composed by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva  

Explanation by the Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua


...[Bodhisattva] Vasubandhu [Heavenly Relative] decided he should go visit his brother Asanga [Unattached]. When he got there he asked what it was his elder brother wished him to do so that Asanga would be able to close his eyes when he died....

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...This Monk was of the Tang Dynasty. His contributions to Buddhism were exceptionally great. It can be said that from ancient times to the present, there has never been anyone who can compare to this Dharma Master in his achievements. His secular surname was Chen. His father was an official, but a poor one. Why did he end up poor? It was because he did not take bribes.... 


Even though he was poor, he had a virtuous nature. And because of that, among his several children he had two sons who became monks. Dharma Master Xuan Zang’s elder brother was a monk who lectured on sutras and was an adept cultivator of his time.  Dharma Master Xuan Zang became a monk and commenced his study of the Buddhadharma at the age of 13....

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The mind consciousness, the sixth or “intellectual” consciousness, is not actually the substance of the mind. The sixth consciousness is the function of the mind, whose substance is seven, the manas consciousness, also called the “transmitting” consciousness, or the “defiling” consciousness. The seventh consciousness is the substance of the mind. It continually takes the functions of the sixth consciousness and transmits them to the eighth, the alaya consciousness


The eighth consciousness is called the alaya, which means “store,” because it stores all information transmitted to it by the seventh. If it is turned around, it becomes the Nature of the Treasury of the Thus Come One.  When the eight consciousnesses are turned around, they become four kinds of wisdom: 


1. The great perfect mirror wisdom.

2. The wisdom of equality.

3. The wisdom of wonderful contemplation.

4. The wisdom that accomplishes what is done.


...Absolutely everything we do, every thought we have, be it good or bad, is stored in the eighth consciousness. All dharmas whatsoever are manifestations from the eighth consciousness. The things that we see comprise the marks division of the eighth consciousness. Our ability to see them makes up the seeing division of the eighth consciousness. That is why it is said that the myriad dharmas are consciousness only; they arise from consciousness alone.


Consciousness is just True Thusness when it is bound. Consciousness is also what we refer to as the Buddha-nature. It is also the source of all good and evil. And it is the original home, the ancestral village, of all ordinary people and sages.

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...If one could put a stop to the five kinds of universally interactive dharmas—which one could do whenever one wanted—then one would not create evil karma. But if you do not stop them, they continue to exist. Actually, with the coming into being of the five universally interactive dharmas, one still has not created any good or evil karma. It is when the five particular states arise that there is no stopping the creation of good and evil karma.


....But the five particular states are not the same as each other and are, in fact, quite distinct and individual, not pervasive, making them just the opposite of the previous group of five universally interactive. Each one of these is individually produced from “climbing upon” a certain state, separate from the other four, hence the name “particular state”. These five come into being when the “climbing mind” climbs upon an associated state.


As has already been discussed, at the level of the five universally pervasive dharmas, thoughts of good and evil have not yet formed. At that point, one could suppress the mind processes and thereby keep such thoughts from being produced. If one works hard at cultivating, one can keep from producing thoughts of good and evil. If one can manage not to produce thoughts of good and evil, then there will not be any creation of good or evil karma. However, if one gives rise to these dharmas of five particular states, among the Dharmas Belonging to the Mind, then one can no longer stop thoughts of good and evil from arising. Therefore, the actual “doing” of good and evil begins with these five particular states....

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Text: The Shastra on the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas Composed by Vasubandhu Bodhisattva  


Explanation: Explanation by the Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua