Like most of the spiritual benefactors we have encountered in this series, King Mahaprabha lives in a celestial-city magnificent to behold. However, the point of these settings is not to become wholly immersed and enamored of them, but to eventually remain centered-in-mind and not to be distracted by them:
Then Sudhana, not drawn by the jewel moats, not amazed by the jewel
walls, not attracted by the jewel trees, not relishing the sound of the jewel
bells, unattached to the sweet sounds of celestial songs, not paying any
attention to the various precious furnishings of the apartments and towers,
while in the midst of the joyful crowds of people enjoying the pleasure of
the way of enlightenment, detached from pleasures of the senses, intent on
contemplation of the truth, constantly asking everyone he met about spiritual
benefactors, made his way to a crossroads in the city. Looking around at
the crossroads, he saw King Mahaprabha there, not far from his venerable
abode, seated on a magnificent throne.
Sudhana is here for the teachings to be conveyed, not for the surrounding ambiance. The kalyānamitra Mahaprabha fine-tunes this realization:
Based on this enlightening practice of great benevolence, I command kingship justly, I treat the world justly, I pass through the world justly, I lead the people justly, I bring justice to people and turn them to the sphere of right, I give them right guidance, I saturate them with justice, I direct them to attainment of what is right, I get them to contemplate the nature of things. I establish people in kindness, in the command of great kindness, in the power of kindness, in altruism, in goodwill, in sympathy, in friendliness, in hospitality, in determination to get rid of all suffering, in conduct conducive to ultimate happiness. I cool their minds and remove their mental tangles by producing the bliss of cessation. I divert their continuity of mind attached to delight in mundane routines and purify it in enjoyment of the pleasures of truth. I purify them of all unwholesome qualities and turn them away from what is not good. I turn back the flow of the mundane whirl. I destroy their ignorance in the ocean of principles of the reality realm, to cut off rebirth in all states of being. I inspire them to attain omniscience. I calm the ocean of their minds, to generate the indestructible power of faith. Thus do I govern righteously based on this enlightening practice of great benevolence.
Thus, Right Guidance is truly a benevolent enterprise; diverting one from all extraneous concerns and bestowing the empowerment of an indestructible faith that is not based on any adverse carnal conditions, but rather on an imageless certitude that is wrought with Right Continuity of Mind in the spectrum of the Real Nature of Reality, the Dharmadhātu. Mahaprabha’s great benevolence extends far beyond the confines of mortal-shores, for it encompasses all creatures great and small, turning them away from and repudiating any semblance of a vexatious spirit:
Also, countless hundreds of thousands of sea and land goblins, malevolent beings who feed on flesh and blood and consume the vitality of fish, birds, animals, and humans, all became benevolent, placid, intent on not harming any creatures, and sympathetic to other beings; they joined their hands in respect and most joyfully bowed to the king, experiencing mental and physical bliss. Hundreds of thousands of other kinds of fiends and malevolent spirits, also becoming benevolent, placid, intent on not harming any creature, and sympathetic to other beings, joined their hands in respect and most joyfully bowed to the king, experiencing physical and mental bliss. In this way all the fears, misfortunes, animosities, quarrels, agitations, and hostilities of all creatures on earth ceased. And as this happened on earth, so did it also happen throughout the galaxy, in as many as ten duodccillion worlds. This was by the achievement of the nature of the enlightening concentration adapting to the faculties of the world, which is guided by great benevolence.
In such fashion did Mahaprabha construct a Universe of Serenity.
On his next quest of oceanic-gnosis, we find Sudhana once again musing on the benevolent nature of spiritual benefactors:
Weeping as he thought of his memories of spiritual benefactors, he thought, “Meeting spiritual benefactors is a mine of jewels of all virtues; it brings about the purification and fulfillment of all enlightening practices; it purifies the mindfulness of all enlightening beings; it purifies all enlightening beings’ sphere of mental command; it generates the light of concentration of all enlightening beings; it fosters accomplishments of the vision of all buddhas; it causes the clouds of teachings of all buddhas to rain; it reveals the principles of the vows of all enlightening beings; it generates the inconceivable light of wisdom and knowledge; it strengthens and develops the sprouting faculties of enlightening beings. Spiritual benefactors save me from falling into evil ways; they guide me according to the principle of equality of things; they show me which paths are safe and which dangerous; they elucidate the way of universal enlightenment; they explain to me universally good enlightening conduct; they tell me the way to the citadel of omniscience; they lead me into the stronghold of omniscience; they plunge me into the ocean of principles of the cosmos; they illumine for me the way into the ocean of what can be known in past, present, and future; they show me the multitude of spheres of all goals; they cause me to develop all good qualities.”
We find Sudhana so thoroughly moved in spirit that he begins to weep as he recollects upon his meritorious association with such benevolent-beings. Celestial beings appear to bring him comfort and reassurance that one on the journey towards Bodhisattvahood who never doubts the word and actions of spiritual benefactors will continue to draw close to them in spirit; one who continually pays attention to their supernal insights is within sight of all goals. Sudhana, continually graced by the anointment of spiritual self-realization, enters into a trance-like state when he encounters Achala:
Then Sudhana emerged from the light of concentration knowledge and
made his way to the kingdom of Sthira, looking for the devotee Achala. People
told him, “The devotee Achala is a girl living at home with her parents
and relatives; she gives spiritual teaching to a large group of people.” Filled
with joy, Sudhana went to Achala’s house. Standing in the door, he saw the
whole house lit up with a soothing golden light. The moment Sudhana was
touched by the light, five hundred subtle trances descended upon him,
beginning with a trance characterized by power over all sensations, trance
absorption in the realm of tranquillity, absorption in the welfare of all
beings, absorption in the equanimity of the universal eye, and absorption in
the matrix of realization of Thusness. The feeling of those trances was as
subtle as the consciousness of a half-day old embryo.
This “subtle-consciousness” is non-other than the growth of his own bodhichild. Achala relates how she is the gateway to a form of invincible Buddha-gnosis:
I have an enlightening liberation containing invincible knowledge, and I cultivate enlightening beings’ way of practice of firm resolve. I have also attained mental command of the stage of equanimity in all things, and I am imbued with the light of knowledge to clarify the true state of all phenomena. I have also attained concentration of tireless search for truth.”
Sudhana urges her to reveal how she attained such equanimeous acumen. Achala then relays the following marvelous tale concerning a Buddha:
“A long time ago, in a past eon called Undefiled Light, a buddha named Arms Extended Downward appeared in the world. I was the daughter of a king named Vidyuddatta. One quiet night, as my parents slept in the inner apartments of the palace, and the men and women of the court were fast asleep, and the sounds of music had all stopped, and my five hundred girl companions were all in bed, as I gazed up at the starry night sky I saw up there the Buddha, like the polar mountain, surrounded by many celestial beings, spirits, preternatural creatures, and countless enlightening beings, his body pervading everywhere with an aura of unobstructed light. From his pores came a fragrance that soothed my body and mind and made me happy…
“Reading my mind, that Buddha said to me, ‘Daughter, you should produce an invincible mind to destroy afflictions, an indomitable mind to get rid of all clinging, an intrepid mind to enter into the profound truth, an unshakable-mind while descending into the whirlpool of the ocean of sentient beings who arc attached to objects, a mind undeluded in the midst of all states of being, a mind tireless in seeking vision of all buddhas, a mind receiving the multitudes of teachings of all buddhas without complacence, a contemplative mind to attain the light of wisdom of all buddha-teachings, a retentive mind remembering the cycles of teaching of all buddhas, a mind free from forget-fulness even in regard to conventional terms, to say nothing of knowledge arising from the word of buddhas; and you should develop a mind of sharing, to distribute the jewels of the Teaching to all sentient beings according to their mentalities.’
Achala informs Sudhana that after this first inspiration there has not been “a single enlightening practice from the ocean of past enlightening practices of the oceans of buddhas that I have not undertaken to purify my own practice.” So astute is she with the resolve of seeking equanimity in all things that she suddenly passed-through “ten hundred thousand doors of concentration”:
As soon as Achala had reach these concentrations, Sudhana saw as many worlds as atoms in ten inexpressible numbers of buddha-lands quaking, and appearing made of clear lapis lazuli. He also saw in each world a billion sets of four continents and a billion buddhas. He saw some of the buddhas in the heaven of satisfaction, some descending to be horn on earth, some in the womb, some first-born, some leaving home for ascetic practice, some sitting under the tree of enlightenment, some defeating the demons, some realizing enlighten-ment, some teaching, some entering final extinction—this was because there was no obstruction to vision in the worlds made of clear lapis lazuli. He also saw the aura of light of each buddha pervading all universes, and he saw the orderly congregations of each buddha. He also heard the voice of the individual buddha communicating all the cycles of the Teaching to all sentient beings.
Achala asks Sudhana if he clearly understood the miraculous vision that had just unfolded before him. He answers in the affirmative, “I saw, I heard, I understood.” Since he understood in this three-fold fashion, Achala describes this as “invincible gnosis”, one that is born from enlightened-liberation. It’s as if the primal-consciousness of all Buddhas, at whatever stage in their own liberation, is made AS ONE in a Mind as clear as lapis lazuli—bringing to life the Principle of Equanimity—in one who is attuned through those Self-Same eyes and ears.