SELECTED QUOTATIONS FROM BUDDHISM
Stuart R . Kerr, III
Contents of this document:
I. Selections from Pali Sources
All that we are is the result of what we have thought: it is founded on our thoughts, it is made up of our thoughts.
By oneself evil is done; by oneself one suffers; by oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified. Purity and impurity belong to oneself; no one can purify another.
You yourself must make an effort; the Buddhas are only preachers. The thoughtful who enter the way are free from the bondage of sin.
He who does not rouse himself when it is time to rise, who, though young and strong, is full of sloth, whose will and thought are weak, that lazy and idle man will never find the way to enlightenment.
Strenuous is the path of immortality, sloth the path of death. Those who are strenuous do not die; those who are slothful are as if dead already.
Truth is within ourselves; it takes no rise From outward things, whate'r you may believe. There is an inmost center in us all, Where truth abides in fullness; and around, Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, This perfect clear perception which is truth. A baffling and perverting carnal mesh Binds it and makes all error: and to know Rather consists in opening out a way Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape, Then in effecting entry for a light Supposed to be without.
Amongst the nations I shall go And open the door that to the deathless leads. Let those that have ears to hear Master the noble path of salvation.
And I discovered that profound truth, so difficult to perceive, difficult to understand, tranquilizing and sublime, which is not to be gained by mere reasoning, and is visible only to the wise.
The Four Great Truths
The First Truth
(The Noble Truth of Suffering)
What now is Birth? The birth of beings belonging to this or that order of beings, their being born, their conception and springing into existence, the manipulation of the aggregates of existence, the arising of sense activity:-this is called birth.
And what is Decay? The decay of beings belonging to this or that order of beings; the getting aged, and frail, grey and wrinkled; the failing of their vital force, the wearing out of the senses:-this is called decay.
And what is Death? The parting and vanishing of beings out of this or that order of beings, their destruction, disappearance, death, the completion of their life-period, dissolution of the aggregates of existence the discarding of the body:-this is called death.
Hence, I say: the arising of consciousness is dependent upon conditions and without these conditions no consciousness arises. And upon whatsoever conditions the arising of consciousness is dependent, after these it is called.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the eye and forms, is called eye-consciousness.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the ear and sounds, is called ear-consciousness.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the olfactory organ and odors, is called olfactory-consciousness.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the tongues and taste, is called tongue-consciousness.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the body and Bodily contacts, is called body-consciousness.
Consciousness whose arising depends on the mind and ideas, is called mind-consciousness.
And it is impossible that any one can explain the passing out of one existence and entering into a new existence, or the growth, increase and development of consciousness, independent of bodily form, feeling mental perception and mental formations.
And that which is transient is subject to suffering; and that which is transient and subject to suffering and change, one cannot rightly say:-This belongs to me; this am I; this is my Ego.
Therefore, whatever their be of bodily form, of feeling, perception, mental formations or consciousness, whether one's own or external, whether gross or subtle, lofty or low, far or near, one should understand according to reality and true wisdom:-This does not belong to me; this am I not; this is not my Ego.
Whoso delights in bodily form, or feeling, or perception, or mental formations, or consciousness, he delights in suffering; and whoso delights in suffering will not be freed from suffering. This I say.
The Second Truth
(The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering)
Thus, whatever kind of Feeling one experiences.-pleasant, unpleasant or indifferent-one approves of and cherishes the feeling and clings to it; and while doing so, lust springs up; but lust for feelings means clinging to existence; and on clinging to existence depends the Process of Becoming; on the process of becoming depends Birth; and dependent-on birth are Decay and Death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. Thus arises this whole mass of suffering.
And wherever the beings spring into existence, there their deeds will ripen; and wherever their deeds ripen, there they will earn the fruits of those deeds, be it in this life, or be it in the next life, or be it - any other future life.
The Third Truth
(The Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering)
What now is the Noble Truth of the Extinction of Suffering? It is the complete fading away of this craving, its forsaking and giving up, the liberation and detachment from it.
Be it in the past, present or future; whosoever of the monks or priests regards the delightful and pleasurable things in the world as impermanent, miserable and without an Ego, as a disease and sorrow, it is he who overcomes the craving.
And released from Sensual Craving, released for the Craving for Existence, he does not return, does not enter again into existence.
Hence, the annihilation, cessation and overcoming of bodily form, feeling, perception, mental formation and consciousness, this is the extinction of suffering, the end of disease, the overcoming of old age and death.
And for a disciple thus freed, in whose heart dwells peace, there is nothing to be added to what has been done, and nought more remains for him to do, just as a rock of one solid mass remains unshaken by the wind, even so, neither forms, nor sounds, nor odors, nor tastes, nor contacts of any kind, neither the desired nor the undesired, can cause such an one to waver. Steadfast is his mind, gained is deliverance.
Verily, there is a realm, where there is neither Solid, nor the fluid, neither heat nor motion, neither this world nor any other world, neither sun nor moon.
This I call neither arising nor passing away, neither standing still, nor being born, nor dying. There is neither foothold, nor development, nor any basis. This is the end of suffering.
But since there is an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, therefore is escape possible from the world of the born, the originated, the created, the formed.
The Fourth Truth
(The Noble Truth of the Path that Leads to the Extinction of Suffering)
To give oneself up to indulence is Sensual Pleasure, give oneself up to Self-mortification, the painful, unholy, unprofitable; both these two extremes the Perfect One has avoided and found out the Middle Path which makes one both to see and to know, which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.
The Noble Eightfold Path
It is the Noble eightfold Path, the way that leads to the extinction of suffering, namely:
1. Right understanding
What now is Right Understanding?
To understand suffering; to understand the origin of suffering; to understand the extinction of suffering; to understand the path that leads to the extinction of suffering. This is called Right Understanding.
On, when the noble disciple understands, what demerit is and the root of demerit, what merit is and the root of merit then he has Right Understanding.
And what is the root of demerit? Greed is a root of demerit; Anger is a root of demerit; Delusion is a root of demerit.
If there really existed the Ego, there would also be something which belonged to the Ego. As, however, in truth and reality, neither an Ego nor anything belonging to an Ego can be found, is it therefore not really an utter fool's doctrine to: This is the world, this am I; after death I shall be permanent, persisting and eternal?
In the past only the past existence was real, but unreal the future and present existence. In the future only the future existence will be real, but unreal the past and present existence. Now only the present existence is real, but unreal the past and future existence.
In this respect one may rightly say of me, that I teach annihilation, that I propound my doctrine for the purpose of annihilation, and that I herein train my disciples. For certainly, I teach annihilation,-the annihilation namely of greed, anger and delusion, as well as of the manifold evil and demeritorious things.
2. Right Mindedness
What now is Right Mindedness? The thought free from lust; the thought free from ill-will, the thought free from cruelty. This is called right mindedness.
Now, in understanding wrong-mindedness as wrong and right-mindedness as right, one practices Right Understanding; and in making efforts to overcome evil mindedness, and to arouse right mindedness, one practices Right Effort; and in overcoming evil-mindedness with attentive mind, and dwelling with attentive mind in possesion of right mindedness, one practices Right Attentiveness. Hence, there are three things that accompany and follow upon right mindedness, namely: right understanding, right effort, and right attentiveness.
3. Right speech
Now right speech, let me tell you, is of two kinds:
Abstaining from lying, from tale-bearing, from harsh language, and from vain talk; this is called the Mundane Right Speech which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.
But the abhorrence of the practice of this fourfold wrong speech, the abstaining, withholding, refraining therefrom, the mind being holy, being turned away from the world and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued;-this is called the Ultramundane Right Speech, which is not of the world, but is ultramundane and conjoined with the paths.
4. Right Action
Now right action, let me tell you, is of two kinds:
Abstaining from killing, from stealing, from unlawful sexual intercourse:-this is called the Mundane Right Action, which yields worldly fruits and brings good results.
But the abhorrence of the practice of this three-fold wrong action, the abstaining, withholding, refraining therefrom and conjoined with the path, the holy path being pursued:-this is called the Ultramundane Right Action, which is not of the world, but is ultramundane and conjoined with the paths.
5. Right Living
What now is Right Living?
When the noble disciple avoiding a wrong living, gets his livelihood by a right way of living, this is called right living.
6. Right Effort
What now is Right Effort?
There are Four Great Efforts: the effort to avoid, the effort to overcome, the effort to develop, and the effort to maintain.
What now is the effort to avoid? There the disciple incites his mind to avoid the arising of evil, demeritorious things, that have not arisen; and he strives, puts forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
What now is the effort to overcome? There the disciple incites his mind to overcome the evil and demeritorious things that have already arisen; and he strives, puts forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
What now is the effort to maintain? There the disciple incites his will to maintain the meritorious conditions that have already arisen, and not to let them disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development; and he strives, puts forth his energy, strains his mind and struggles.
7. Right Attentiveness
a. Contemplation of the Body
With attentive mind he breathes in, with attentive mind he breathes out. When making a long inhalation, he knows: I make a long inhalation; when making a long exhalation, he knows: I make a long exhalation. When making a short inhalation, he knows: I make a short inhalation; when making a short exhalation, he knows: I make a short exhalation. Clearly perceiving the entire body, I will breathe out: thus he trains himself. Calming this bodily function, I will breathe in: thus he trains himself; calming this bodily function. I will breathe out: thus he trains himself.
Thus he dwells in contemplation, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds, how the body arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the body. A body is there-this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the body.
One endures cold and heat, hunger and thirst, wind and sun, attacks by gadflies, mosquitoes and reptiles; patiently one endures wicked and malicious speech, as well as bodily pains, that befall one, though they be piercing, sharp, bitter, unpleasant, disagreeable and dangerous to life.
With the Heavenly Ear, the purified, the super-human, one may hear both kinds of sounds, the heavenly and the earthly, the distant and the near.
With the mind one may obtain Insight into the Hearts of Other Beings, of other persons.
One may obtain Remembrance of many Previous Births.
b. Contemplation of the Feelings
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind, Either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the feelings arise; beholds how they pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the feelings. Feelings are there: this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything -in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of feelings.
c. Contemplation of the Mind
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the mind, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the mind arises; beholds how it passes away; beholds the arising and passing away of the mind. Mind is there: this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in contemplation of the mind.
d. Contemplation of Phenomena
Thus he dwells in contemplation of the phenomena, either with regard to his own person, or to other persons, or to both. He beholds how the phenomena arise; he beholds how they pass away; beholds the arising and passing away of the phenomena. Phenomena are there: this clear consciousness is present in him, because of his knowledge and mindfulness, and he lives independent, unattached to anything in the world. Thus does the disciple dwell in the contemplation of the phenomena.
Watching over In- and Out-breathing, practiced and developed, brings the Four Fundamentals of Attentiveness to perfection; the four fundamentals of attentiveness, practiced and developed, bring the Seven Elements of Enlightenment to perfection; the seven elements of enlightenment, practiced and developed, bring Wisdom and Deliverance to perfection.
- 1) Whenever the disciple is dwelling in contemplation on the body, feelings, mind and phenomena, strenuous, clearly conscious, attentive, after subduing worldly greed and grief-at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment Attentiveness; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 2) And whenever, whilst wisely investigating, examining and thinks over the Law-at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment Investigation of the Law; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 3) And whenever, whilst wisely investigating, examining and thinking over the law, his energy is firm and unshaken-at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment Energy; and thus the element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 4) And whenever in him, whilst firm in energy, arises supersensuous rapture at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of enlightenment Rapture; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 5) And whenever, whilst enraptured in mind, his body and mind becomes tranquil at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment Tranquillity; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 6) And whenever, whist tranquilized in body and happy, his mind becomes concentrated-at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of Enlightenment Concentration; and thus this element of enlightenment reaches fullest perfection.
- 7) And whenever he thoroughly looks with indifference to his mind thus concentrated-at such a time he has gained and is developing the Element of enlightenment Equanimity.
8. Right Concentration
What now is right concentration?
Fixation of the mind to a single object-this is concentration.
Develop your concentration; for who has concentration understands things according to their reality. And what are these things? The arising and passing away of bodily form, of feeling, perception mental formations and consciousness.
This is the Middle path which the Perfect One has discovered, which makes one both to see and to know, and which leads to peace, to discernment, to enlightenment, to Nibbana.
And following upon this path you will put an end to suffering.
II. Selections from Sanskrit Sources
Everything changes, everything passes, Things appearing, things disappearing. But when all is over-everything having appeared and having disappeared, Being and extinction both transcended.- Still the basic emptiness and silence abides, And that is blissful Peace.
If the ego-soul of personality was an enduring entity it could not obtain Nirvana. It is only because personality is made up of elements that pass away, that personality may obtain Nirvana. So long as a man is seeking highest perfect Wisdom, he is still abiding in the realm of consciousness.
If he is to realize Nirvana, he must pass beyond consciousness. In highest Samadhi having transcended consciousness, he has passed beyond discrimination and knowledge, beyond the reach of change or fear; he is already enjoying Nirvana. The perfect understanding of this and the patient acceptance of it is the highest perfect Wisdom that is Prajna-paramita. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future having attained highest samadhi, awake to find themselves realizing Prajna-paramita.
Listen to the Mantra, the Great, Mysterious Mantra:-Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgate, bodhi, svaha! Gone, gone, gone to that other shore; safely passed to that other shore, O Prajna-paramita!
So may it be.
The Diamond Sutra
If in future ages there should be any good and pious disciples, either man or woman, able to faithfully observe and study this Scripture, his sucess and attainment of inestimable and illimitable blessing and merit will be instantly known and appreciated by the Transcendental Eye of the Tathagata.
Subhuti, when a disciple is moved to make objective gifts of charity, he should also practice the Sila Paramita of selfless kindness, that is, he should remember that there is no arbitrary distinction between one's own self and the selfhood of others and, therefore, he should practice charity by giving, not objective gifts alone, but the selfless gifts of kindness and sympathy. If any disciple will simply practice kindness, he will soon attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
For this reason, Subhuti, the minds of all Bodhisattvas should be purified of all such conceptions as relate to seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and discriminating. They should use the mental faculties spontaneously and naturally, but unconstrained by any preconceptions arising from the senses.
Besides, Subhuti, I recall that during my five hundred previous lives, I had used life after life to practice patience and to look upon my life humbly as though it was some saintly being called upon to suffer humility. Even then my mind was free from any such arbitrary conceptions of phenomena as my own self, other selves, living beings and a universal self.
Subhuti, should there be among the faithful disciples some who have not yet matured their karma and who must first suffer the natural retribution of sins committed in some previous life by being degraded to a lower domain of existence and should they earnestly and faithfully observe and study this Scripture and because of it be despised and persecuted by the people, their karma will immediately be matured and they will at once attain Anuttara-samyak-sambodhi.
Wherever this Scripture shall be observed and studied and explained, that place will become sacred ground to which countless devas and angels will bring offerings. Such places, however humble they may be, will be reverenced as though they were famous temples and pagodas, to which countless pilgrims will come to offer worship and incense. And over them the devas and angels will hover like a cloud and will sprinkle on them an offering of celestial flower.
Subhuti, it is just the same when Boddhisattva-Mahasattvas speak of delivering numberless sentient beings. If they have in mind any arbitrary conception of sentient being or of definite numbers, they are unworthy to be called Boddhisattva-Mahasattvas. And why, Subhuti? Because the very reason why they are called Boddhisattva-Mahasattvas is because they have abandoned all such arbitrary conceptions. And what is true of one arbitrary conception is true of all conceptions. The Tathagata's teachings are entirely free from all such arbitrary conceptions as one's own self, other selves, living beings or a universal self.
Within these Innumerable Buddha-lands there are every form of sentient beings with all their various mentalities and conceptions, all of which are fully known to the Tathagata, but not one of them is held in the Tathagata's mind as an arbitrary conception of phenomena. They are merely thought of. Not one of this vast accumulation of conceptions from beginningless time, through the present and into the never-ending future, not one of them is graspable.
Subhuti, although terrestrial human beings have always grasped after the arbitrary conception of matter and great universes, the conception has no true basis-it is an illusion of mortal mind. Even when it is referred to as "cosmic unity" it is something inscrutable.
Subhuti, do not think that the Tathagata ever considers within his own mind: I ought to enunciate a system of teaching for the elucidation of the Dharma. You should never cherish such an unworthy thought. And why? Because if any disciple should harbor such a thought, he would not only be misunderstanding the teaching of the Tathagata but he would be slandering him as well. Moreover, what has just been referred to as "a system of teaching" has no meaning, as truth cannot be cut up into pieces and arranged into a system. The words can only be used as a figure of speech.
This Scripture shall be known as the Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita. By this name shall it be reverenced, studied and observed. What is meant by this name? It means that when the Lord Buddha named it Prajna Paramita, he did not have in mind any definite or arbitrary conception and so he thus named it. It is the Scripture that is hard and sharp like a diamond that will cut away all arbitrary conceptions and bring one to the other shore of enlightenment.
The Surangama Sutra
Seldom indeed had and of them ever before experienced such serenity and quietness as then pervaded this Great Dharma Assembly. Wonderful music like the songs of the Kalavinka and Jiva-jiva birds seemed to come from the Lord Buddha's perfect Samadhi and to fill the air with its heavenly music, and floating away to pervade the ten Quarters of the Universe.
The Lord as usual first sitting quietly became absorbed in Samadhi, radiating from the crown of his head rays of soft and tender brightness, like lotus petals surrounded by innumerable leaves. In the center of the Lotus petals there was a vision of the Nirmanakaya Buddha sitting with feet crossed intuiting and radiating the intrinsic Dharani.
Because when anyone becomes inflamed by sexual passion, his mind becomes disturbed and confused, he loses self-control and becomes reckless and crude. Besides, in sexual intercourse, the blood becomes inflamed and impure and adulterated with impure secretions. Naturally from such a source, there can never originate an aureole of such transcendently pure and golden brightness as I have seen emanating from the person of my lord.
You say that your mind exists within your body and that it is quite clear of all obstructions, but if this clear mind really exists within your body, then you ought to see the inside of your body first of all. But there are no sentient beings who can do this, that is, see both the inside and outside of their bodies. Though they may not see all the inside things- such as the heart, stomach, liver, kidneys, etc.-but at least they ought to see the growth of the finger-nails, the lengthening of the hair, the knotting of the sinews, the throbbing of the pulse. If the mind is within the body, why does it not see these things? But if the mind is within the body and cannot see the things within, how can it see the things without the body?
Ananda, as to what you have just said that the essence of the discerning, perceptive, conscious mind has no definite location anywhere, the meaning is clear; it is neither in this world, in the vast open spaces, neither in water, nor on land, neither flying with wings, nor walking, nor is it anywhere.
Moreover, the person of the Lord Buddha was vibrant with the six transcendental motions simultaneously manifesting and embracing all the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters of all the universes, as numerous as the finest particles of dust in the sunlight.
The First Fundamental Principle is the primary cause of the succession of deaths and rebirths from beginningless time. (It is the Principle of Ignorance, the outgoing principle of individuation, manifestation, transformation, succession and discrimination.) From the working out of this Principle there have resulted the various differentiation of minds of all sentient beings, and all the time they have been taking these limited and perturbed and contaminated minds to be their true and natural Essence of Mind.
The Second Fundamental Principle is the primary cause of the pure unity of Enlightenment and Nirvana that has existed from beginningless time. (It is the Principle of integrating compassion, the in-drawing, unifying principle of purity, harmony, likeness, rhythm, permanency and peace.)
Ananda and all my Disciples! I have always taught you that all phenomena and their developments are simply manifestations of mind. All causes and effects, from great universes to the fine dust only seen in the sunlight come into apparent existence only by means of the discriminating mind.
Ananda, if in this world disciples practiced meditation assiduously, though they attained all the nine stages of calmness in Dhyana, yet do not accomplish the attainment of Arhats free from the intoxicants arising from worldly contaminations and attachments, it is wholly due to their grasping this deceiving conception of discriminative thinking that is based on unrealities and mistaking the delusion as being a reality.
The reason why all sentient beings fail to attain enlightenment and Arhatship is because they have been led astray by false conceptions regarding phenomena and objects, which defiled their minds.
It is body which moves and changes, not Mind. Why do you so persistently look upon motion as appertaining to both body and mind? Why do you permit your thoughts to rise and fall, letting the body to rule the mind, instead of Mind ruling the body? Why do you let your senses deceive you as to the true unchanging nature of Mind and then do things in a reversed order which leads to motion and confusion and suffering? As one forgets the true nature of Mind, so he mistakes the reflection of objects as being his own mind, thus binding him to the endless movements and changes and sufferings of the recurring cycles of death and rebirths that are of his own causing. You should regard all that changes as "dust-particles" and that which is unchanging as being your own true Nature of Mind.
All of you have been accepting this confusing conception of phenomena as being your own nature of mind. As soon as you accepted it as your true mind, is it any wonder that you became bewildered and supposed it to be localized in your physical body, and that all the external things, mountains rivers, the great open spaces, and the whole world, were outside the body. Is it any wonder that you failed to realize that everything that you have so falsely conceived has its only existence within your own wonderful, enlightening Mind of True Essence.
Thus we see that those things which can be returned to their originalities do not belong to y ur own true nature; and that which we cannot return to its originality is the only thing which truly belongs to us. This shows that your mind has its own mysterious nature of brightness and purity, and when you try to refer your mind to the various classes of phenomena, you simply deceive and bewilder yourself, and, by so doing, you Live lost your own true nature and have suffered endless misfortunes, like a vagrant adrift on the ocean of death and rebirths.
In the state of Freedom from Intoxication, Anuruddha looking upon the countries of this world, sees them as clearly as he sees an almala fruit lying in the palm of his hand. In that state the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, looking beyond this world, have seen with like clearness, all the worlds, even hundreds of thousand of worlds. It is the same with the Tathagatas of be ten quarters of all the universes. Their sight reaches everywhere; they see clearly all the Buddha-lands of Purity, greater in number than the fine particles of dust. But the perception of the eyes belonging to ordinary sentient beings cannot pierce through the thickness of a tenth of an inch.
Let us consider the palaces of the Four Heavenly Kings! How great the distances. How difficult the conditions of water and earth and air. In those Heavenly Realms there may be seen similarities to light and darkness, and all other phenomena of this world. Under those Heavenly conditions, you would still have to continue making distinctions between yourself and objects.
Well, here is the point: it is the nature of space to be neither fixed nor changeable ( and the same is true of the mind's perception), as I have stated before, so it is absurd for you to repeat your question.
Since beginningless time sentient beings have been led astray by mistaking the nature of their mind to be the same as the nature of any other object. As they thus lose their true and Essential mind their minds become bewildered by outer objects and the perception of their sight becomes changeable to conform to the dimensions of its visual field and to become limited strictly according to outer conditions. But if you can learn to see things by your true and essential Mind, right away you will become equal to all the Tathagatas-both your mind and your body will become perfectly enlightened and you will be in the same state of tranquillity and stillness as though you were sitting under the Bodhi tree. So perfectly universalized will your mind have become that even at the point of a single hair all the kingdoms of the ten quarters of the universe will be seen.
The Tathagatas in the ten quarters of the universe, together with all the great Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, as they are intrinsically abiding in Samadhi, regard all the perceptions of sight, their cause and conditions, and all conceptions of phenomena, as being visionary flowers of the air, having no true nature of existence within themselves. But they regard the perceiving of sight belonging to the Essence of the Wonderful, pure, enlightening mind (Bodhi). Why should there be any ambiguity as to belonging or not belonging, between the perception of sight and the perceiving of objects?
Therefore, when one is looking upon these manifestations arising from the senses in contact with objects, he must remember that they are all illusion and then there will be no ambiguity.
Ananda, are you of all the Arahets so limited in understanding that you cannot comprehend that this Perception of Sight is pure Reality itself?
Ananda, you have not yet realized that the True Nature of all transitory perceptions of sights of objects and fleeting illusions that become manifest when they are in the presence of objects and which disappear when out of the presence of objects, IS the mysterious, enlightening, intuitive Essence. This is true of all these five sense ingredients, six kinds of perceptions, and is true from all the twelve locations of contact between consciousness and objects, into the eighteen spheres of mentation in contact with objects through the sense organs. When they are in conformity or in combinations with causes and conditions, they manifest these fleeting, illusive conceptions, and when they are disconnected from causes and conditions, the illusions disappear. As you do not realize the foregoing-that the true nature of the perceptions of the senses is the Intuitive Essence of Mind-ho can you realize that all the phenomena of death and rebirth-their appearing, going to and fro, disapp! eari ng-is simply the permanent, mysterious, enlightening, unchanging, all-perfect, Wonderful Mind-Essence of Tathagata's womb ( wherein all is in perfect purity and unity and potentiality)?
Since beginningless tine, sentient beings have been regarding the purity of Intuitive Mind-Essence and their eyes have become contaminated and they see the myriads of sense conceptions and from liking them birth after birth and grasping them by force of habit the false conceptions have seemingly become real, and have set up a connection of Ananda and that which is not Ananda, and resent the coming in of the true Ananda.
Referring to what I said to you a little while ago, that long staring at the clear bright sky was the cause of contaminations in the perception of the eyes. In that teaching, both the perception of the eyes and the contaminated state were shown to be restraints placed upon the pure Wisdom (Bodhi) nature. It is because of this restraint placed upon it by the two opposing but false notions of brightness and darkness that the perception of sight, which perceives the phenomenal object, is spoken of as having the nature of perceiving sights. But this perception of sight, apart from brightness and darkness, has no substantiality of existence.
Thus by means of this perception of two sensations at the same time, and the one being greater than the other, the conditions are set up by the phenomena of contamination, the same being manifested by the contact of two hands in different degrees of warmth and coldness. This perception of two hands and their contaminations are both to be included in the contaminated state manifested on the account of the constraint of the Wisdom nature. It by means of the conflict between these two false notions of separation and contact that there is manifested the sense of touching, which perceives the notion of contact, which provides the basis of the perception of touching.
The perception of thinking (or the consciousness of thinking), with its contaminations is to be included with the other sense perceptions and their contaminations, as being restraints placed upon our Bodhi nature.
It is because of being placed between two false notions, such as death and rebirth, that the perception of thinking becomes manifested. The mind-sense, (considered as an object) in contact with the other senses receives notions of ideas, and thoughts and recollections, which being in reversed order (i.e. moving toward diversity) are ever moving away from true Mind (which is in a state of primal and unchanging unity and purity), and thus will never reach their source in the Wisdom of True Mind. This is characteristic of all conscious and discriminative thinking.
Therefore, Ananda, you should know that these three localities where the perception of the thinking mind and of its conceptions of phenomena, develops its thinking process, the thinking process, the consciousness dependent upon it, and its sphere, are all devoid of any substantial existence. So these three phenomena, the perceptions of the thinking mind, its conceptions about them, and its sphere of thinking, are neither manifested by causes and conditions, nor spontaneously by its own nature.
Ananda, it is just as you have said, all the varieties and changes of this world are manifested by means of the conformities and combinations of the Four Great Elements (earth, water, fire, air). If the substance of these Great Elements is of the nature of non-conformity and non-combination, then they cannot mingle together in conformity, just as space cannot be in conformity with sights. Or, if the great Elements are in conformity and combination with one another, they will be like all other transformations, which are forever in process of completing one another, but from beginning to end incessantly passing from death to rebirth, and from rebirth to death, like a blazing wheel.
If we analyze this infinitesimal dust of space, we will more and more approximate the purity of space, but will not bring us its absolute vacuum.
In the Tathagata's Womb, space and sights are of perennial freshness and purity, permeating everywhere throughout the phenomenal universes, and are being forever manifested spontaneously and perfectly in accordance with the amount of karma accumulated under the conscious activity of sentient beings.
Ananda! If your conscious mind is not manifested from any source, then you should know that both discriminative consciousness and the different perceptions of seeing, hearing, understanding, and feeling, are all existing in perfection and tranquillity the nature of which is unmanifested from any outer source, and that all of them-perceptions, consciousness, together with earth, water , air, fire and space-are to be regarded as the Seven Great Elements. Their essential nature is perfect and in unity within the Womb of Tathagata and, therefore, they are free from deaths and rebirths.
Naturally, you have never known that within your Womb of Tathagata the essential nature of consciousness is enlightening and intelligent, that your enlightened intuition is your true Essence of Consciousness, and that this wonderful intuition abides in tranquillity permeating everywhere throughout the phenomenal worlds and embracing all the ten quarters of the universes.
In contrast to this wonderful, all-embracing Mind of Enlightenment, their physical bodies begotten from their parents seemed like specks of dust blowing about in the open space of the ten quarters of the universes. Who would notice their existence or their non-existence?
Oh, Blessed Lord! We beseech Thee, that in this life we may attain to the glory of Supreme Enlightenment; and grant us, we beseech Thee, that in a following rebirth we may return to this world, for the deliverance of all sentient beings.
Oh, Blessed Lord! So long as any sentient being shall fail to attain Buddhahood, we vow never to accomplish our own Nirvana.
Oh, Blessed lord! Though the purity of our minds may be disturbed by vagrant thoughts, we beseech Thee, Oh Lord, that our diamond-like Essential Mind may never again be disturbed.
The world is a medley of unreal and transitory diversities that contaminate the mind and it is out of these arbitrary conceptions of phenomena that the very conception of unity and diversity arises. But Essential Mind is wholly devoid of conceptions and therefore recognizes neither unity nor diversity.
Moreover, Purna, these two opposites-the Pure Reality of Intuitive Mind by its very self-nature ceaselessly drawing everything into its perfect Unity and Tranquillity, and the unreal and transitory medley of diverse and conflicting differences forever tending to variety and multiplicities--these two opposing conceptions arising from the discriminations of Ignorance bring into existence a vibratory motion that by reason of desire and grasping and the perpetrating influence of habit energy, accounts for the basic conceptions of the primary Elements, the solidity of Earth, the fluidity of Water, the heat of Fire and the motivity of Wind. Amid them it is the nature of Fire to move upward and the nature of Water to move downward, and from these two Elements being in reciprocal development there are the manifestations of rivers, and volcanoes and land. As Water takes precedence, oceans appear and as Fire takes precedence, continents and islands.
Thus all these false conceptions of phenomena have their reciprocal developments and successive manifestations within the mind, and by means of causes and conditions there rises the false conception of the reciprocal continuance of the world's existence.
For instance:-the perception of hearing cannot go beyond the nature of sound, the perception of seeing cannot go beyond the nature of sights, and the same as to other perceptions. And thus the function of the mind is divided into its six divisions of sensitiveness of the sense organs, sensation, perception, discrimination, consciousness and discriminative thinking. As all of these activities of the mind rise from the first activities of the sense organs, so all the activities of the mind are but the working over of material that has originated within its own nature. These thoughts of the mind later become the foundation for the recurring cycles of deaths and rebirths in the manifestations of all the different orders of sentient life. Life that comes from eggs and gives suck to its young comes into entanglement and suffering by means of Karma accumulated by different sentient beings, and the spawns and life produced by metamorphosis come into transformations by means of separat! ion and combination of their elements under the influence of causes and conditions.
After such a manner have the four orders of sentient life been ever wandering in the recurring cycles of deaths and rebirths wholly in close correspondence to the conditions of Karma accumulated by them in previous lives. The lives that come from eggs were conceived by means of mutual intercourse that had been inspired by thoughts of each other; lives that are born from wombs, conceive by means of lust and concupiscence; lives that come from spawn come by the conjunction of conformable cells; lives that come by metamorphosis come by means of transformation and separation of cells. Because of these causes and conditions there rises the false conception of a reciprocal continuance of sentient lives.
When mutual thinking and lustful desire combine the attraction is so intense that the two cannot be separated and, thus, parenthood and posterity will ever continue their reciprocal rebirths because of this lustful desire. So great is this lust and greed that it can not be restrained and thus, all these great four orders of life prey upon each other according to their relative strength-the bodies of the weak becoming the prey of the strong.
Thus all these conditional phenomena of rivers, mountains, earth, etc., and their successive and endless changes arise, and all are based upon the illusions of the thinking mind without any other interpretation.
The essential nature of your mind is the purity of perfect emptiness. though your mind has ever been under illusions, in reality it can suffer no bewilderment; it only seems to be under a cloud of fascinating sentiments and false perceptions. As soon as the mind realizes that it is being deceived, the misconceptions disappear and its right understanding will never again be disturbed.
The Mind of Intuition has universal intelligence and because of it conception of space is embraced within it but undifferentiated and thus the manifestation of emptiness responds to the perception of your sight. Because the Four Great Elements are present within the pure universal intelligence of the Intuitive Mind, the manifestation of them responds to the perception of your sight.
You will realize that Tathagata's Womb and the pure mind of Enlightenment and the Mind of Intuition (Alaya-vijnana) are of one Essence, radiant in Wisdom, integrant in Compassion, vibrant with Purpose and Life but unmanifest and in perfect balance and thus abiding in perfect and blissful Peace.
As soon as you understand the source of a delusion, the deluding conception loses its hold upon existence. If within tour mind you provide no source for these false conceptions, there will be none to be discarded. Those who have attained enlightenment are as if awakening from sleep, and their past life seems only a dream.
So if your mind is to remain tranquil and undisturbed, there must be no discriminations of the three deluding phenomena of interrelating continuity, namely, the conception of the world's existence, the conception of the ego- personality, and the conception of karma and its forth-coming fruit. If you cease all killing, robbery and lust, whose actions are the cause of karma, then the three great causes for the existence of interrelated continuity of existence will cease. Thus, within your mind, your madness will clear of itself, and when your madness clears, Enlightenment is already present.
You should forthwith realize that this magic gem of Enlightening Essence of Mind, is not to be acquired from some difficult source, but is already within your possession.
Ananda, when you look into the vast space that stretches beyond the universe, the nature of space and the nature of the perception of sight do not interfere with each other, but mingling together there is no boundary line to limit their individuality. But if there is only empty space, with no suns nor planets in it, then space loses its substantiality. And the conception of sight looking into space with nothing to see, loses its sensibility. But as there are these two arbitrary conceptions of false phenomena-suns and planets moving in space, and the false perception of sight, all interwoven together,-so there are all the uncounted false manifestations of differences in the universes. This is the first defilement of individuation which is the basis of ignorance.
When the mind becomes tranquilized and concentrated into perfect unity, then all things will be seen, not in their separateness, but in their unity wherein there is no place for evil passions to enter, and which is in full conformity with the mysterious and indescribable purity of Nirvana.
Though the nature of this world may be divided into the ten directions and their positions may be made perfectly clear, but as people are ignorant and thoughtless and careless, they only think of these locations in a very general way and fail to realize that there is another direction than east and west and north and south which is of more importance because in takes in all the rest. This is the direction toward the center. Then they fail to remember that each of these directions is mutually related to a fourth direction of time that in its turn is in three directions, past, present and future. And each of these is related to the ten realms of existence and each of these has its ten points of direction, which makes in all twelve hundred, and each of our six senses has its own twelve hundred. Then you must remember that none of these senses see everything and always, so that their single and combined report to the perceiving and discriminating mind is never perfect nor complete!
Each conception has its measure of merit and no more.
It is the same with your six serge-minds-whether they are one or six- they are pure essence of mind which in its nature is as undifferentiated and universal as space.
By means of the opposing phenomena of brightness and darkness, the natural unity and tranquillity of your rind is disturbed and deceived, and perception of sight is registered within the wonderful, perfect and Essential Mind.
The Arhats who have attained tranquillity and the Samapatti of perfect emancipation from desires and suffering, such as the great Katyayana who is present with us today, have long ago discarded the use of their thinking minds, which if clung to only serve to develop the arbitrary conception of an ego-self. They are perfectly intelligent but they apprehend knowledge, not by means of their thinking minds, but directly by intuition.
When you have cut off all dependence upon the sense-organs, your inner awareness will become as clear as crystal, manifesting its authentic brightness.
The unloosening of knots is a gradual process, one must begin with the knots of the five sense-organs, after which the knots of the sixth sense- the perceiving and discriminating mind-will loosen of themselves.
Regarding your body. It is first begun by the conception of your parents, but if your karmic mind had not been in affinity with your parents' minds it would not have found lodgment in your parents' conception.
The reason lies because all of these changing causes and conditions and reactions are but the shadows of the activities of your own mind and your own mind is but a shadow of Essential Mind as defiled by the mind's activities.
Instantly I became enlightened and since then I have realized that the dust that made up the great earth and that made up my body were the same. I also realized that it was of the nature of dust particles not to be in contact with each other, and even when a sword cut through a body that it never came in contact with the particles of dust that made up the body.
As soon as this original and perfectly limpid and all embracing Enlightening Intuition becomes reflected on objects, it becomes illusive and loses its true Nature. Then as differentiations are manifested, space fantastically appears and by means of space, whole universes come into manifestation. Arbitrary conceptions seem to corroborate the existence of the universes and finally, that which becomes perceptive-d sensible of the universe becomes regarded as a sentient being having en ego-personality.
The seeds of Tenscendental Powers are planted in previous lives, so the novice can not attain them in this life. The reason for this is because he is always making discriminations about phenomena in his consciousness dependent upon the thinking mind and as soon as he recollects any phenomena his mind becomes perturbed, so there is no chance of his attaining the essence of the nature of perfect accommodation by means of Transcendental Powers.
No matter how keen you may be mentally, no matter how much you may be able to practice dhyana, no matter to how high a degree of apparent samadhi you may attain, unless you have wholly annihilated all sexual lusts, you will ultimately fall into the lower realms of existence. In these lower Mara realms of existence there are three ranks of evil ones:-the Mara king, evil demons, and female fiends, and all of them have each his and her own double who disguise themselves as "angels of light" who have attained supreme Enlightenment.
The Lankavatara Scripture
(Self-realization of Noble Wisdom)
They do not realize that things have nothing to do with qualified and qualifying, nor with the course of birth, abiding and destruction, and instead they assert, that they are born of a creator, of Mime, of atoms, of some celestial spirit.
Mahamati, the error in these erroneous teachings that are generally held by the philosophers lies in this: they do not recognize that the objective world rises from the mind itself; they do not understand that the whole mind-system also rises from the mind itself; but depending these manifestations of the mind as being real they go on discriminating them, like the simple-minded ones that they are, cherishing the dualism of this and that, of being and non-being, ignorant of the fact that there is but one common Essence.
As long as these scholars remain on their philosophical ground their demonstration must conform to logic and their textbooks, and the memory- habit of erroneous intellection will ever cling to them.
The assertion of philosophical views concerning the elements that make up personality and its environing world that are non-existent, assume the existence of an ego, a being, a soul, a living being, a "nourisher", or a spirit. This is an example of philosophical views that are not true. It is this combination of discrimination of imaginary marks of individuality, grouping them and giving them a name and becoming attached to them as objects, by reason of habit-energy that has been accumulating since beginningless time, that one builds up erroneous views whose only basis is false-imagination.
Words, therefore, are produced by causation and are mutually conditioning and shifting and, just like things, are subject to birth and destruction.
For instance, in the Buddha-land of the Tathagata Samantabhadra, Bodhisattvas, by a dhyana transcending words and ideas, attain the recognition of all things as un-born and they, also, experience various most excellent Samadhis that transcend words. Even in this world such specialized beings as ants and bees carry on their activities very well without recourse to words.
People of this world are dependent in their thinking on one of two things: on the notion of being whereby they take pleasure in realism, or in the notion of non-being whereby they take pleasure in nihilism; in either case they imagine emancipation where there is no emancipation.
Things are not eternal because the marks of individuality appear and disappear, that is, the marks of self-nature are characterized by non- eternality. On the other hand, because things are un-born and are only mind- made, they are in a deep sense eternal. That is, things are eternal because of their very non-eternality.
The ignorant discriminate and work trying to adjust themselves to external conditions, and are constantly perturbed in mind; unrealities are -imagined and discriminated, while realities are unseen and ignored. It is not so with the wise.
The memory of these discriminations , desires, attachments and deeds is stored in Universal Mind since beginningless time, and is still being accumulated where it conditions the appearance of personality and its environment and brings about constant change and destruction from moment to moment.
Relative-knowledge belongs to the mind-world of the philosophers. it rises from the mind's ability to consider the relations which appearances bear to each other and to the mind considering them, it rises from the mind's ability to arrange, combine and analyze these relations by its powers of discursive logic and imagination, by reason of which it is able to peer into the meaning and significance of things.
These mental processes give rise to general conceptions of warmth, fluidity, motility, and solidity, as characterizing the objects of discrimination, while the tenacious holding to these general ideas gives rise to proposition, reason, definition, and illustration, all of which lead to the assertions ad relative knowledge and the establishment of confidence in birth, self-nature, and an ego-soul.
Universal Mind is like a great ocean, its surface ruffled by waves and surges but its depths remaining forever unmoved.
Between Universal Mind and the individual discriminating mind is the intuitive-mind (manes) which is dependent upon Universal Mind for its cause and support and enters into relations with both.
But the intuitive-mind enters into relations with the lower mind-system, shares its experiences and reflects upon its activities,
The discriminating-mind is a dancer and a magician with the objective world as his stage. Intuitive-mind is the wise jester who travels with the magician and reflects upon his emptiness and transiency. Universal Mind keeps the record and knows what must be and what may be.
If and when the discriminating-mind can be gotten rid of, the whole mind-system will cease to function and Universal Mind alone will remain.
With cessation of mortal-mind the entire world of maya and desire disappears. Getting rid of the discriminating mortal-mind is Nirvana.
All such notions as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements, that make up personally, personal soul, Supreme Spirit, Sovereign God, Creator, are all figments of the imagination and manifestations of mind.
Transcendental Intelligence rises when the intellectual-mind reaches its limit and, if things are to be realised in their true and essence nature, its processes of mentation, which are based on particularized ideas, discriminations and judgments, must be transcended by an appeal to some higher faculty of cognition, if there be such a higher faculty. There is such a faculty in the intuitive-mind (Manas), which as we've seen is the link between the intellectual-mind and Universal Mind. While it is not an individualized organ like the intellectual-mind, it has that which is much better,-direct dependence upon Universal Mind.
While intuition does not give information that can be analyzed and discriminated, it gives that which is far superior,-self-realization through identification.
But so long as these discriminations are cherished by the ignorant and simple-minded they go on attaching themselves to them and, like the silkworm, go on spinning their thread of discrimination had enwrapping themselves and others, and are charmed with their prison.
Mahamati, you and all the Bodhisattvas should have your abode where you can see all things from the view-point of solitude.
Realisation itself is within the inner consciousness. It is an inner experience that has no connection with the lower mind-system and its discriminations of words, ideas and philosophical speculations. It shines out with its own clear light to reveal the error and foolishness of mind- constructed teachings, to render impotent evil influences from without, and to guide one unerringly to the realm of the good non-outflowings.
Disciples may not appreciate that the mind-system, because of its accumulated habit-energy, goes on functioning, more or less unconsciously, as long as they live.
The first kind of sustaining power is the Bodhisattva's own adoration and faith in the Buddhas by reason of which the Buddhas are able to manifest themselves and render their aid and to ordain them with their own hands. The second kind of sustaining power radiating from the Tathagatas that enables the Bodhisattvas to attain and to pass through the various Samadhis and Samapattis without becoming intoxicated by their bliss.
Being sustained by the power of the Buddhas, the Bodhisattva even at the first stage will be able to attain the Samadhi known as the Light of Mahayana. In that Samadhi Bodhisattvas will become conscious of the presence of the Tathagatas coming from all their different abodes in the ten quarters to impart to the Bodhisattvas their sustaining power in various ways.
Wherever the Tathagatas enter with their sustaining power there will be music, not only music made by human lips and played by human hands on various instruments, but there will be music among the grass and shrubs and trees, and in mountains and towns and palaces and hovels; much more will here be music in the hearts of those endowed with sentiency.
This transcendental body is not a product of the elements and yet there is something in it that is analogous to what is so produced; it is furnished with all the differences appertaining to the world of form but without their limitations; possessed of this "mind-vision-body" he is able to be present in all the assemblages in all the Buddha-lands. Just as his thoughts move instantly and without hindrance over walls and rivers and trees and mountains, And just as in memory he recalls and visits the scenes of his past experiences, so, while his mind keeps functioning in the body, his thoughts may be a hundred thousand yojanas away.
In this same class of disciples are the earnest disciples of other faiths, who clinging to the notions of such things as, Supreme Atman, Personal God, seek a Nirvana that is in harmony with them.
'the transition from mortal-body to Transcendental-body has nothing to do with mortal death, for the old body continues to function and the old mind serves the needs of the old body, but now it is free from the control of mortal mind.
The first seven of the Bodhisattva stages were in the realm of mind and the eighth, while transcending mind, was still in touch with it; but in the ninth stage of Transcendental Intelligence (Sadhumati), by reason of his perfect intelligence and insight into the imagelessness of Divine 'find which he had attained by self-realization of Noble Wisdom, he is in the realm of Tathagatahood.
Thus facing the Tathagatas as the; discourse on Noble Wisdom that is far beyond the mental capacity Of disciples and masters, he will attain a Hundred thousand Samadhis, indeed, a hundred thousand nyutas of kotis of Samhadhis, and in the spirit of these Samhadhis he will instantly pass from vie Buddha-land to another, paying homage to all the Buddhas, being born into ail the celestial mansions, manifesting Buddha-bodies, and himself discoursing on the Triple Treasure to lesser Bodhisattvas that they too may partake of the fruits of self-realization of Noble Wisdom.
The tenth stage belongs to the Tathagataa. Here the Bodhisattva will find himself seated upon a lotus-like throne in a splendid jewel-adorned palace and surrounded by Bodhisattvas of equal rank. Buddhas from all the Buddha-lands will gather about him and with their pure and fragrant hands resting on his forehead will give him ordination and recognition as one of themselves. Then they will assign him a Buddha-land that he may posses and perfect as his own.
When it is said that all things are egoless, it means that all things are devoid of self-hood. Each thing may have its own individuality-the being of a horse is not of cow nature-it is such as it is of its own nature and is thus discriminated by the ignorant, but, nevertheless, its own nature is of the nature of a dream or a vision.
Awakening of Faith
(Mahayana Shraddhotpada Shastra)
ADORATION to our Great Compassionate Savior, Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent!
ADORATION to his Potentiality and unmanifested Universality!
ADORATION to Activity, perfectly balanced and accommodating!
ADORATION to the pure Essence of Mind, wide and deep as the sea!
All concepts are an undivided part of Reality; they are not artificial but are unchangeable and ineffable and unthinkable. They ale the Essence of Mind itself.
The first significance to be revealed is when by reason of removing all objects to a distance from a mirror there is no reflection, so when all disturbing mental conditions and all mental spheres in contact with objects through the sense organs are done away with there is no disturbance of the Mind's tranquillity.
The reply is that while Essence of Mind in all alike is of one pure sameness, that because of the fumigating power of Ignorance it has become differently defiled and therefore manifests its defilement in different ways and different degrees, so that their number is incalculable. So Great is the variety of their personalities, their experiences, hindrances and suffering that only Buddha can comprehend them and embrace them all in perfect compassion.
By nature sentient beings have affinity for emancipation and enlightenment, but without suitable causes and conditions they can not attain them. Even if the have a Buddha Nature but do not chance to meet a Buddha, or a good learned Master, or a Bodhisattva, they could not of themselves attain Nirvana.
According to the Sutras, Tathagatas are represented as existing in a state of emptiness and tranquillity. Common minds interpret this to mean that Tathagatas' minds are empty and tranquil, a physical analogy. They do not understand that it refers to the immaterial perceptions of the thinking mind, a metaphysical analogy, so they mistakenly consider that "emptiness" is a characteristic of Tathagatas.
The answer to this is, that a disciple is like a precious gem whose brilliance is hidden by a coating of impurities. If we are to enjoy the pure brilliance of the gem we must first resort to polishing.
First, according to the purity and earnestness of their pranadana, after the example of Buddhas, they can descend from the heavenly palaces of the Tusita Realm, they can enter into a human womb, undergo a period of gestation, be born as a human, become a Bhikshu, attain Enlightenment, turn the wheel of the Dharma, pass into Nirvana.
Some of these Bodhisattvas, it is said in the Sutras, must descend into the evil realms for a period, but this does not mean that they have retrograded, it only means that for the maturing of their remaining karma they must experience the suffering of those lower realms to cure them of any remaining shadow of indolence less they fall short of attaining true Bodhisattvahood, so that their courage and boldness may be adequate. Such Bodhisattvas by reason of this experience in the lower realms will start their devotional practices with renewed earnestness and will never again become timid or indolent, or having any fear of retrograding.
Second, the way of Keeping the Precepts. The purpose of this practice is to get rid of all selfish grasping after comforts, delights, and self- interests. It means not to kill any sentient being, not to steal, not to commit adultery, not to deceive nor slander nor to utter malicious words nor to flatter.
There may be some disciples whose root of merit is not yet matured, whose control of mind is weak and whose power of application is limited, and yet who are sincere in their purpose to seek Enlightenment, these, for a time, may be beset and bewildered by mares and evil influences who are seeking to break down their good purpose.
Or, if they should have intimations within that they have attained transcendental powers, recalling past lives, or fore-seeing future lives, or reading other's thoughts, or freedom to visit other; Buddhalands, or great powers of eloquence, all of which may tempt them to become covetous for worldly power and riches and fame.
III. Selections from Chinese Sources
The TAO that can be "tao-ed" can not be the infinite TAO (that is, the way that can be followed can not be the ultimate, pathless Way).
The source of the universe is hidden in non-existence; existence is only the mother of its evolution.
Before one can attain the supreme perfection of Taohood, he must first realize its inmost mystery, that is , he must enter the door of this mystery of mysteries.
Everything in the world is mutually opposing and revealing itself.
So existence and non-existence are mutually related; the difficult and the easy are always in combination; the long and the short always qualify each other; the high and the low are always in opposition; the loud and the soft are loud and soft only in contrast with each other; the before and the behind are contrasted but always keep company.
TAO is invisible but permeates everywhere; no matter how one uses it or how much, it is never exhausted.
As rivers have their source in some far off fountain, So the human spirit has its source. To find his fountain of spirit is to learn the secret of heaven and earth. In this fountain of mystery, spirit is eternally present in endless supply.
If in our practice of concentration our heavenly eye is suddenly opened and we gain enlightenment thenceforth we shall be freed from lust and greed. If we attain transcendental intelligence, our minds penetrating into every corner and into everything, then our minds will lose their self-consciousness.
To be favored is humiliating, so to attain it is as much to be dreaded as to lose it. That is what is meant by favor and disgrace are alike to be feared.
At the moment when one is able to concentrate his mind to the extreme of emptiness and is able to hold it there in serene tranquillity, then his spirit is unified with the spirit of the universe and it has returned to its original state from which his mind and all things in the universe have emerged as appearance.
Time will show that the humblest will attain supremacy, the dishonored will be justified, the empty will be filled, the old will be rejuvenated, those content with little will be rewarded with much, and those grasping much will fall into confusion.
Men act in conformity with the laws of earth, earth acts in conformity with the laws of Heaven; Heaven acts in conformity with the laws of TAO; TAO acts in accordance with its own self-nature.
Just as the valleys, because of their lowness, because the source of rivers, so the perfect Sage because of his characteristic humility returns to the simplicity of a little child.
By the nature of things, when the strength of anything is fully developed, it immediately begins to decay. This means that strength is not in accordance with the principle of TAO. Being not in accordance with TAO, it will soon pass away.
He who understands others is intelligent; he who understands himself is enlightened. He who is able to conquer others is powerful; he who can control himself is more powerful.
TAO is inscrutable, From TAO proceeds the one (potentiality); one produces two (the positive and negative principles); this makes three. From these three proceed all things. All things, thus bear the imprint of the negative yin behind and embrace the positive yang in front. The primal principle of potentiality, as it becomes active, brings the negative and positive together and there is manifestation.
The Way of the Great TAO is wide and straight for men to follow, but most people prefer the bypaths.
One should respond to hatred with kindness; he should treat little affairs as though they were important. All the world's difficulties arise from slight causes, and all the world's great affairs have risen from small beginnings.
(It means for everybody) that there is a better way of winning than by hostility, a better way of gaining than by resort to force.
Dhyana for Beginners
(Sui Dynasty, 581-618)
A. External Conditions
If a disciple undertakes the practice of Dhyana, and to put the lessons of this book into action, he must be in possession of five external conditions.
- 1. He must resolve to keep the Precepts (as to killing, stealing, sexual impurity, deceit, and use of intoxicants), as it is said in the Sutra that it is in obedience to the Precepts that all intelligence is developed and all suffering is brought to an end. If after conversion they are able to keep the Precepts pure, both in letter and in spirit, they are counted worthy followers of Lord Buddha and will assuredly realize the Buddha-Dharma through their faithful practice of Dhyana. It is as if their robe was perfectly white and ready for dyeing.
- 2. The second external condition that one must possess if one is to hope for success in the practice of Dhyana, relates to clothing and food. There are four ways of living. The second way is the way followed by the itinerant monks who live by begging their food and who are able to resist the temptation to live by the four wrong ways, namely, working for others for pay, living by astrology foretelling the changes and effects of the heavenly bodies in human affairs, by geomancy and fortune telling, and finally by flattery and dependence upon the rich and mighty.
- 3. The third external condition that one must possess if one is to hope for success in the practice of Dhyana, relates to shelter. A retreat for a follower must be quiet and free from annoyances and troubles of any kind.
- 4. The fourth external condition that one must possess if one is to hope for success in the practice of Dhyana, relates to freedom from entanglement in all worldly affairs. It means to withdraw from all conditional engagements and social responsibilities. It means to give up all worldly friends, relatives, and worldly interests.
- 5. The fifth external condition that one must possess if one is to hope for success in the practice of Dhyana, relates to association with people. We should keep in close relations with three kinds of noble minded people: The first kind are those outside the Brotherhood who supply us with our food and clothing, and who are competent in taking good care of us and in protecting us from annoyances and troubles. The second kind of noble minded people are the members of our Brotherhood with whom we live in intimacy and mutual forbearance and kindness. The third kind are our teachers and Masters who instruct us and guide us in the use of expedient means to meet both external and internal conditions, and to show us how to become interested and to enjoy ourselves in the practice of Dhyana.
B. Censorship Over Desires Arising from the Senses
- 1. First is the censorship over the desires arising from the use of the eyes, among which we mention as of first importance, sexual desires that arise from seeing crystal eyes, slender brows, crimson lips, snow- white teeth, worldly adornments, garments of beautiful colors--green, yellow, red, white, purple, violet, and so on,--all of which will attract a fool's attention and awaken desires that are evil.
- 2. Second is the censorship over the desires arising from the use of the ears, among which we mention, musical sounds from harp, twelve-stringed lute, and instruments using silk, bamboo metal, stone, etc., and from the voices of dancing and singing girls, reciting, praising, etc. No sooner do we, disciples of Buddha, hear these sweet sounds than our hearts are stained and our minds entangled and we are led into evil acts.
- 3. Third is the censorship over the desires arising from the use of sense of smell. By this is meant the scent from sexually excited bodies, from beverages, from delicious foods, and from the fragrance from all kinds of shouldering perfumes.
- 4. The fourth is the censorship over desires arising from the sense of taste in eating and drinking, such as, bitterness, sourness, sweetness, spiciness, saltines and freshness.
- 5. Fifth is the censorship over the desires arising from the sense of touch. Our body is very sensitive to softness, warmth in winter, coolness in summer, etc.
C. Inner Hindrances to be Abolished
- 1. The first kind are the hindrances of sensual desires that have their origin within the mind itself, because of memory or imagination.
- 2. The second inner hindrance is the hindrance of hatred. This is a most fundamental factor in preventing one from attaining enlightenment. It is both the cause and condition for our fall into the evil existences.
- 3. The third hindrance is the hindrance of laziness and sleepiness. Laziness means that our mind gets dull and inert; while sleepiness means that our five senses become relaxed, our body becomes immobile, and then we fall asleep.
- 4. The fourth inner hindrance is recklessness and remorse.
- 5. The fifth inner hindrance is the hindrance of doubt. If the mind is clouded with doubt, how can it have any faith in the teaching?
Eating is necessary for the support of the body and mind in its search for enlightenment, but too much eating would clog the system and cause sickness that would be a distress and hindrance to our practice. On the other hand, if we take too little food there will be an emaciated body, the distress of hunger, a feeble and unstable mind, a weak and uncertain purpose.
This then is the lesson concerning breathing that we are to learn at the beginning of our practice of Dhyana. Wear loose clothes, let the wind blow over and refresh the body; imagine that every pore of the body is participating in the breathing, Let the breathing be neither forceful nor hasty, let it be gentle and natural and deliberate. By doing so the mind will be clear, sickness will be avoided, and there will be enjoyment in the practice and a successful issue from it.
For the regulating of these three, body, breathing and mind, there is no fixed order, we should simply regulate and adjust whichever and whenever we notice any one of them to be in an improper state. As long as we sit in practice we should keep body, breathing and mind in perfect control and harmonious adjustment.
As we are sitting up and practicing Dhyana, especially by the means of insight, it is possible that all of a sudden we will be enveloped in a wave of intuition and intelligence, but as our power of concentration is still weak, our mind will be weak and fluctuating like a candle flame in the wind, so this measure of transcendental intelligence will not be lasting, Under this condition we must again go back to the method of stopping all thought. Then by the patient practice of stopping all thought, the mind will come to be like a candle in a closed room that burns steadily and brightly.
If we become attached to any of these false developments, we will soon pass under the influence of ninety-five devils who will; elude us into madness. When the gods or devils or evil spirits notice our susceptibility to these evil developments, they will sometimes give us, increased meditating power so as to lead us on into deeper development of these evil manifestations.
Under these conditions foolish people think he has attained enlightenment and they give him their faith and obedience, but his deluded mind is in a disturbed condition and is really in the service of evil spirits in their efforts to lead the world into turmoil.
These reactions are similar to the reactions we feel when we are with people-- if we are with bad people, we feel irritated and annoyed, but if we are with good people, we are mutually benefited and feel at ease. Stopping and observing at the time of our practice helps us to discern between the wrongness and the rightness of the developments that take place during the practice.
Our Lord Buddha accumulates all his store of merit and wisdom by delivering all sentient beings into Nirvana, while evil influences are always destroying the good qualities of sentient beings and keeping them in the dreary round of life and death.
Anything which serves to transform the five objects of sense and the thoughts of the mind is the work of Mara's army of demons and goblins.
In our practice of right mindfulness we realize that the conception of Mara as the embodiment of evil and the conception of Buddha as the embodiment ad goodness and truth is really one conception--the conception of manifestation-- but that in ultimate reality they balance each other and there remains only the conception of Dharmakaya, the ultimate Essence that abides in emptiness and silence.
If our body, mind and breathing are well regulated and our circumstances are in harmony with the teaching of Buddha, we should be able to throw off most sicknesses and heal most wounds.
In either case we should notice the beginning of sickness and try to prevent its becoming serious by remedying the conditions both external and internal as early as possible.
Medicines made up of either minerals or herbs or both may be used if they have some correspondence with the sickness.
From the very beginning the Mahasattva-Bodhisattva, beside his practice of insight into the emptiness of all phenomena, should also practice insight into the potentiality that abides in emptiness. If he does this he will realize with clearness that although the nature of mind is emptiness, as it comes into relations with suitable causes and conditions, it is potential of all phenomena though they are not real nor permanent, and though they manifest through different organs of seeing, hearing, perceiving, thinking, etc.
What does it mean to practice insight by the Middle Way? It. means to look at the nature of our minds in a more comprehensive way. If we do that we will see that the mind is neither true nor false, and from that viewpoint we restrain our dependent thoughts.
Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Patriarch
In Buddhist thought, sin is considered not in a legal sense as something to be punished, or forgiven, or atoned for by sacrifice, but in its cause-and effect aspect of Karma and its maturing.
Maha Prajna-paramita! The Great Transcendental-Wisdom Ideal, supreme, most exalted, foremost. It neither stays, nor goes, nor comes. By it Buddhas of the present, the past and future generations attain Buddhahood.
When the followers of the highest school of Mahayana study the Diamond Sutra, their minds become enlightened as they realize that Prajna is immanent in their own Mind-essence. Since they have their own access t o highest wisdom through the constant practice of concentration and contemplation (dhyana and samadhi) they realize that they no longer need to rely on scriptural authority.
This does not mean that without enlightenment a man is in a class with human beings different from Buddhahood. The opposite is the truth, he has always been in the same class with Buddhas from the beginning. Ignorance does not separate him from Buddhahood, it only obscures his realization of his true Buddha nature.
Samadhi and Prajna are fundamental. But you must not be under the wrong impression that they are independent of each other, for they are not two entities, they are inseparably united. Samadhi is the quintessence of Prajna, while Prajna is the activity of Samadhi.
In the thinking faculty, let the past be dead. If we allow our thoughts past, present and future, to become linked up into a series, we put ourselves under restraint.
What is the difference between Dhyana and Samadhi? Dhyana is the effort to be mentally free from any attachment to outer objects. Samadhi is the realization of that freedom in inward peace.
By letting our minds dwell on evil things, hell arises. By letting our minds dwell upon good acts, paradise is manifested. Dragons and snakes are the transformations of venomous hatred; while Bodhisattvas are compassionate thoughts made manifest. The various heavens are the projection of Prajna; while underworlds are the transformations of ignorance and infatuation. Un-numbered, indeed, are the transformations of Mind-essence.
Contemporaneous with the Patriarch when he was living at Po-lam Monastery was Grand Master Shin-shau who was preaching in Yuk-chuen Monastery of King-nam. At that time the two schools of Hui-neng in the South and of Shin-shau in the North were both flourishing. As the two schools were distinguished from each other by the names' Sudden and Gradual, some Buddhist scholars were troubled as to which school to follow.
So far as the Dharma is concerned, there can be only one school.
If I should tell you that I had a system of Dhyana to transmit to others, I would be deceiving you. What I try to do my disciples, is to liberate them from their own bondage, by such device as each case requires.
He who has realized Mind-essence, himself, may dispense with such doctrines as Bodhi, Nirvana, Knowledge of Emancipation. It is only those who do not possess a single system of Dhyana, who can formulate all systems of Dhyana; these who understand what this means, may rightly use such terms as Buddhakaya, Bodhi, Nirvana, Knowledge of Emancipation.
With those who are sympathetic You may have discussion about Buddhism. As to those whose point of view differs from ours, Treat them politely and try to make them happy. Disputes are alien to our school, They are incompatible with its spirit. To be bigoted and to argue with others in disregard of this rule Is to subject one's Mind-essence to the bitterness of this mundane existence.
IV. Selections from Tibetan Sources
The Life and Hymns of Milarepa
I have understood that one who aimeth at his individual peace and happiness adopteth the Lower Path (the Hinayana). But he, who from the very start, devoteth the merit of his love and compassion to the cause of others, I understand belongeth to the Higher Path (the Mahayana).
I realize that even though I should possess the whole world, at my death I should have to give up everything; and so it will confer happiness in this and the next life if I give up everything now. I am thus pursuing a life which is quite opposite to that followed by the people of the world. Give up thinking of me as a living person.
To what particular doctrine of the Mahayana Sect cost thou belong? I told her that it was the highest creed of the Mahayana; that it was called the Path of Total Self-Abnegation, for the purpose of attaining Buddhahood in one lifetime; and that to attain Buddhahood thus we must scatter this life's aims and objects to the wind.
My body was emaciated by the privations and hardships; mine eyes were deeply sunken into the sockets; my bones showed prominently; my color was of a bluish green; my muscles were all shrunken and shriveled; a growth of bluish-green hair covered my skeleton-like form; the hairs of my head were stiff, and formed a formidable wig; and my limbs appeared as if they were about to break.
My belief in the methods of the Mantrayanic doctrines, which teach that a real transcendent knowledge can be attained by proper care of the body and without giving up nourishing food and comfortable clothing, was thus firmly established.
The Supreme Path, the Rosary of Precious Gems
Attach thyself to a religious preceptor endowed with spiritual power and complete knowledge.
Seek a delightful solitude endowed with psychic influences as a heritage. Keeping in mind the evils of gluttony, use just enough food to keep thee fit during the period of thy retreat.
Study the teachings of the Great Sages of all sects impartially.
Study the beneficent sciences of medicine and astrology, and the profound art of omens.
Adopt such regimen and manner of living as will keep thee in good health.
To dwell with a sage and remain in ignorance is to be like a man dying of thirst on the shore of a lake; and this is a grievous failure.
To know the moral precepts and not to apply them to the cure of obscuring passions is to be like a diseased man carrying a bag of medicine which he never useth; and this is a grievous failure.
For one of little intellect, the best thing is to have faith in the law of cause and effect.
For one of ordinary intellect, the best thing is to recognize, both within and without oneself, the workings of the law of opposites.
For the superior intellect, the best thing is to have thorough comprehension of the inseparableness of the knower, the object of knowledge, and the act of knowing.
The fact that there have been made known amongst men the Ten Pious Acts, the Six Paramita, the various teachings concerning Reality and Perfection, the Four Noble Truths, the Four States of Dhyana, the Four States of Formless Existence, and the Two Mystic Paths of spiritual unfoldment and emancipation, showeth the virtue of the Holy Dharma.
Selections from Modern Sources
Practicing the Seventh Stage of Buddha's Noble Path
Sitting quietly realizing the mind's pure essence. Realizing its all-embracing wholeness, its inconceivable purity and unity, its boundless potentiality for radiation and integration; radiation going forth in rays and vibrations of cosmic energy; manifesting itself in particles, electrons and atoms; and by the phenomena of light, heat and electricity. Integration "ranging everything inward being so perfectly balanced that all abides in the original emptiness and silence.
Realizing its all-embracing wholeness, its inconceivable purity and sanity, its boundless potentiality for radiation and integration; radiation going forth in chemical reactions among the atoms, manifesting themselves as molecules and physical substances, and by the phenomena of dynamics, gravitation and inertia; integration drawing everything inward to unity and purity; the going forth and the drawing in so perfectly balanced that all abides in the original emptiness and silence.
Sitting quietly realizing the mind's pure essence; realizing its all-embracing wholeness, its inconceivable purity and unity, its boundless potentiality for radiation and integration; radiation going forth into -ore and more complex forms of life--protoplasm, bacteria, cellular life and organic--manifesting itself in the phenomena of birth, growth, reproduction, decay and death. Integration drawing everything into unity and purity; the going forth and the drawing in being so perfectly balanced that all abides in the original emptiness and silence.
Realizing its all-embracing wholeness, its inconceivable purity and unity, its boundless potentiality for radiation and integration; radiation going forth in instinctive will-to-live, to-enjoy, to propagate; being manifest in instinctive acts of greed, lust and self-assertion; and in the phenomena of natural selection, variation, conflict, suffering and survival. Integration drawing everything inward to unity and purity; the going forth and the drawing in being so perfectly balanced that all abides in the original emptiness and silence. Sitting quietly realizing the universal emptiness and eternal silence. Realizing its unbornness, its imagelessness, its egolessness; realizing it, but yielding its radiating potency continually being reborn in this Saha-world of suffering.
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