Saddharma-lankavatara-sutra in Sanskrit means "Sutra of the Appearance of the Good Doctrine in Lanka", in short Lankavatara SutraThe Lankavatara Sutra is a prominent discourse in Mahayana Buddhism, and especially in Chinese and Japanese Zen. These abstracts are based on A Buddhist Bible (1932), edited by Paul Goddard. The sutra has been translated into English by others too, such as D T. Suzuki.
This influential philosophical discourse in Mahayana Buddhist tradition is said to have been preached by the Buddha in the mythical city Lanka. Parts of it may be earlier than the 300s AD. The text exposes the so-called "Doctrine of Consciousness", namely, that the hidden Essence is Deep Mind that may be realized in well focused meditation.
The thought of this text is also found in the Yogacara school of Buddhism, and provides some of the philosophical background of Zen. There are two more main thrusts in Mahayana (1) the "Perfection of Wisdom" emphasis, and (2) worship of the Buddha of Infinite Light, Amitabha. (Encyclopedia Britannica, "Lankvatara Sutra")
The English translation is very difficult reading. Professor D. T. Suzuki felt, if the Sutra was ever to be read by many general readers, that an editing of it in the interest of easier reading was almost a necessity. For that reason he encouraged Dwight Goddard to undertake the task.
Goddard left out the long introductory chapter, the "meat-eating" chapter, and the chapter on Dharani, as being later accretions and not related to the theme of the Sutra. The long chapter of verses was also omitted as being obscure and repetitious. The essence of the verses is given in prose sections too, for the sake of easier reading. In addition, certain small sections are omitted because of their obscurity, or because they do not appear to add anything to the elucidation of the main thesis.
Also, the Sutra was cut up into more or less small sections and rearranged into something like an orderly sequence. These small sections were interwoven and condensed by omitting repetitions, matter that was obscure or tiresomely argumentative.
Only a minimum of interpretation was introduced. Goddard writes he was scrupulously careful not to do any more than was necessary to bring out the full meaning of the text.
No other sutras have been more influential in fixing the general doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism and in bringing about the general adoption of Buddhism in China, Korea and Japan than the Lankavatara Sutra. Yet, nothing is known of the writer of the discourse, when it was composed, and how its original form might have been. It is thought it was originally a collection of verses covering all the main teachings of Mahayana Buddhism. The present text has every appearance of being something in the way of a disciple's notebook.
It is generally felt that the present text must have been compiled early in the first century, and greatly resembles the work The Awakening of Faith by Ashvagosha. The earliest date connected with it is the date of the first Chinese translation from about 420 CE and which was lost before 700. Three other Chinese translations have been made: one by Gunabhadra in 443; one by Bodhiruci in 513; and one by Shikshananda about 700. There is also one Tibetan version.
The Sutra has always been a favourite with the Ch'an Sect (Zen, in Japan) and may account for much of that sect's origin and development. In the early days of the Ch'an Sect the Sutra was very much studied. Since then it has been widely neglected for the past thousand years. But commentaries have been written on it.
The Lankavatara Sutra was written to elucidate the profoundest experience that comes to the human spirit. Its words and doctrines deprecates dependence on words and doctrines . . . and urges upon all how wise and proper it is to make a determined effort to attain this highest experience. Again and again it repeats with variations the refrain: "Mahamati, you and all the Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas should avoid the erroneous reasonings of the philosophers and seek this self-realisation of Noble Wisdom."
In China it combined easily with the accepted belief of the Chinese in Laotsu's ideas of Tao and its ethical idealism to make the Buddhism of China and Japan practical rather than abstruse.
Chapter 1. Discrimination
Buddha, knowing of the mental agitations going on in the minds of those assembled (like the surface of the ocean stirred into waves by the passing winds), and his great heart moved by compassion, smiled and said [effortlessly? without action: without saying anything at all?]:
All that is seen in the world is devoid of effort and action because all things in the world are like a dream, or like an image miraculously projected. This is not comprehended by the philosophers and the ignorant.
Comment: Smell a rat. Many teachings are invented to some degree, products of old imagination only. Focus on the best teachings; they do not necessarily contain heaps of self-contradicitons. Some say the world and self are unreal because they figure it - in the world, in or by themselves. Get a good point now and save you future trouble, uh? F: (Further): People go on forever discriminating and thus never attain tranquillity. By tranquillity is meant Oneness, which is gained by entering into the realm of Noble Wisdom of subtle, inside consciousness.
You are free and clear from the hindrances of learningThose who see you thus, serene and beyond conception, will be emancipated from [assiduity of learning teachings etc.].Q: (Query): Those who have nothing to do with generality, nor false-imagination, will be enabled deep inside."
A: (Answer): Well done, well done, [but by whom?]! And again, well done. Therefore, listen and reflect carefully on what I instruct you.
FS: Natta gave devout attention to the teaching of the Blessed One as it appeared in the world, not knowing that the world and what is in it - teachings and so on - are only something . . .
Comment: And most persons have a self-nature of their own, and also the possibility of imagining up a lot of things, including teachings, which according to some sakis must be false and full of errors.).
FS: (Further still): It is all like a mirage in which springs of water are seen as if they were real. They are thus imagined - In the same way there are people today being brought up under the influence of erroneous views of oneness and otherness and the more excellent things. But the "Basic Thing" is like a wheel of fire realisable within yourselves.
Q: Why is it that the wise are not given up to discrimination a lot?
A: As the accumulation of karma goes on they become imprisoned -- Because of folly they do not understand what exists and Deep Mind itself. But it is not so with the Sai-wise.
Chapter 2. False-Imagination and Knowledge of Appearances
Q: You speak of the erroneous views of the philosophers, will you please tell us of them, that we may be on our guard against them?
DA: (Deep Answer): Erroneous teachings do not recognise that the world-mind-system also includes the mind itself. Deep Mind is as real as anything and anyone. The simple-minded cherish dualist thinking of this and that, not aware of one common Essence.
Many a view otherwise is based on erroneous discrimination; not on true perception and a suitable, corollary conception.
P (Profession, assertion): Their demonstration must conform to logic and their textbooks, but the way of instruction presented by the Tathagatas is not based on assertions and refutations by means of words and logic.
Comment. Go beyond logic.
A: Try deep meditation.
F:(Further): The assertion about objects that are non-existent is an assertion that rises from attachment to ideas. Ideas may be false and wrong, like notions. What pays is to penetrate into the truth of Deep Mind itself and Its echoes throughout universes since beginningless time.
Yet I say that if words are not different, they could not carry significant new meanings, which rise from discriminating forms and signs. We do have the words. And specialised beings make a living by specialised words and approaches, by the way.
Yet, basically, the validity of things is independent of the validity of words.
Man and woman should be on their guard against the seductions of words and illusive meanings, for dull-witted ones become entangled and helpless as an elephant floundering about in the deep mud.
Words and sentences cannot express highest Reality - Highest Reality is an exalted state of bliss. The Tathagatas have a better way, namely, self-realisation.
Q: Is there gradual or simultaneous appearance of all things?
A: There are external and internal factors, desire, purpose, external world, and asserting oneself. The Existence is asserted, likewise the mind itself.
Get rid of notions of gradation and simultaneity in the combination of causal activities.
Q: To what kind of discrimination and to what kind of thoughts should the term false-imagination be applied?
A: A deep-set mind-system goes on functioning, in part producing false-imaginations.
The true nature of mind is stage self-realisation. Thoroughly understand the meaning of Reality as that as well.
False-imagination teaches as follows: Ties a knot and loosens one by the charm of the inner magician. You and all the Bodhisattvas should discipline yourselves. Seek for this inner self-realisation, and be not captivated by word-teaching.
Chapter 3. Right Knowledge or Knowledge of Relations
Q: Blessed One, tell us about the being and the non-being of all things.
A: Those who are dependent on the notion of being, regard the world as rising from a causation that is really existent, and that is the realistic view. Those who have ceased to believe in being, cherish such a foolish notion instead, heading for ruin.
Q: May we be awakened and quickly realise highest enlightenment?
A: To be taken for something or understood as anything at all, emptiness would have to have something surrounding it or within itself - or both - at least a crust, so to speak. And to experience inner emptiness there has to be someone to experience it, a core consciousness. Do not overlook the obvious any longer.
Some speak up seven kinds of emptiness. Why should they? Why bother? Low forms of so-called emptiness have individuality and generality.
Emptiness of all things - what an erroneous conception - is arrogant, preposterous – for if the premise of emptiness holds good, every saying about things is empty too, and there would be no hold of anything. If empty words and statements are taken seriously, it is due to foolish ignorance, which amounts to deep-set arrogance.
Individuality goes deep into nature. No one should meddle with it. Besides, some aspects of life are eternal. This much can be said, relatively speaking, that if things have no becoming, the world stands still, which it does not.
Those who believe in the birth of something that has never been in existence and, coming into existence, vanishes away, find no foothold in a life.
The two sets of positions on being and so-called non-being, are mutually exclusive. Yet, what is not yet, may come to pass. The full flower is not there in winter, but appears in spring from a seed in its soil,, and blossoms later. Both seeds, sprouts, flowers, fruits and seeds again manifest the whole plant through cycles of time. From a certain point in time, what follows of plant development is then of not-yet-being, that is, a facet of becoming.
My teaching transcends no-reality. Children can be shown streets and houses, then.
When objects are not seen, they may still exist. For example a blind man and a seeking man may both lie basking in the sun. The blind one does not see it, but can bathe in sunlight anyhow. It is just like that. What is more, when the blind guy dies of sunstroke, the world around him does not come to an end. Ergo, the outer world seems real enough, and quite independent of being called a projection. This position raises a question about the worldly doctrine of no-birth – worldly because appearing in the world, that is, in this entire universe.
Chapter 4. Perfect Knowledge, or Knowledge of Reality
E: (Expounding): The five Dharmas are: appearance, name, discrimination, right-knowledge and Reality.
By appearance is meant that which reveals itself to the senses and to the discriminating-mind and is perceived as form, sound, odour, taste, and touch.
Out of these appearances ideas are formed, such as clay, water, jar, etc., by which one says: this is such and such a thing and is no other,this is name. When appearances are contrasted and names compared, as when we say: this is an elephant, this is a horse, a cart, a pedestrian, a man, a woman, or, this is mind and what belongs to it,the things thus named are said to be discriminated.
Such discriminations come to be seen as mutually conditioning, as manifestations of the mind itself,this is right-knowledge.
When appearances and names are put away and all discrimination ceases, that which remains is the true and essential What-It-Is. Not much needs to be said about the nature of essence, it is called the "Suchness" of Reality and is universal, undifferentiated, inscrutable. The only Reality is variously called Truth, Mind-essence, Transcendental Intelligence, Noble Wisdom, etc.
This teaching of the imagelessness of the Essence-nature of Ultimate Reality is the Dharma which has been proclaimed by all the Buddhas. When all things are understood in full agreement with it, one is in possession of Perfect Knowledge, and is on his way to attaining the Transcendental Intelligence of the Tathagatas.
The self-nature of Universal Mind and Reality corresponds to the Dharmas of right-knowledge and "Suchness."
What is called maya does not contain ahamkara, the ego-substance, not necessarily ignorance either. Maya is to be developed properly too, and many deeds are fit for it.
Advance as a water-lifterer ('water' is a symbol for inner deep mind) not unlike a lamp. It should be done from moment to moment. Quite egoless persons need to develop better maya in these respects.
There are four kinds of Knowledge: Appearance-knowledge, relative-knowledge, perfect-knowledge, and Transcendental Intelligence.
1. Knowledge that pertain to appearances can be attained and accumulated by the simple too. Assertions, discriminative activity and so on go into plots based on it.
2. Relative-knowledge belongs to thinkers. They consider relations which appearances bear to each other and to the mind considering them. To develop this, arrange, combine and analyse notions, ideas and their relations by imagination and logic. Through this some peer into meanings and significances attending things or phenomena.
3. Perfect-knowledge belongs to all who recognise that all perceived things are at least in part manifestations of mind; and attained to this wisdom from a basis of imagelessness (deep mind itself). Perfect-knowledge is a pathway and entrance into self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.
Perfect-knowledge (jnana) belongs to anyone who is liberated inside from non-being assertions and negations, and so on. By reason of self-realisation he or she has insight into truths of imagelessness. The wise who cherish Perfect-knowledge, may be divided into three classes: disciples, masters and Further. Common disciples cherish generality; masters rise from that flock when that generality-error drops off. The wise turn into Truth by virtue of the "turning-about", also called emancipation, that takes place within the deepest consciousness.
4. Mind, thus enters into perfect self-realisation, also called Noble Wisdom. You cannot tell a lot of truths about it, as it is beyond the world that people normally perceive and have words for. The statement "All things are empty," is not tenable. For in Perfect-knowledge not even emptiness is a thing to be perceived. Assertions that pertain to Pure, Deep and Universal Mind and Noble Wisdom and Ultimate Reality are not in themselves that Centre of things. Words are approximations; they are what we call It, in a nutshell.
Chapter 5. The Mind System
E: (Expounding): Discern well between subtle out-flowings of assets and keeping them intact. What serves out-flowing of the subtle, deeper assets makes barren inside. What stops or arrests it seems good in this perspective.
What is called grasping is turned outward. If mental grasping rises in the mind, mental cognition often results. Discerment makes skilled and unskilled use of cognitions. Further mental habits 'cement' some ways of thinking and discerning, and thus influence how the world, others, and oneself is perceived on some levels.
It is all related to deep out-flowings unless there is attunement with the Source inside.
The mind-system is capable of a long range of flowing sense-concepts, filtering them, discriminating and thinking on top of some of them, and passing judgement on them as to how good or bad this and that might be. The whole mind-system moves on continuously and fails to realise that its ordinary, habit-served activities are to its long-range loss unless gyrated in thoughts that serve the soul.
By normal functioning the mind-and-senses (organism) grasps appropriate elements by adhering to sensations and perceptions and administering the body through deep mind and surface parts of the mind that are under conscous control, more or less.
The "eyeness" in the eye predisposes the mind's ability to see to make a cognitive grasp and in turn become attached to multiple forms and appearances. Habits then binds some levels of mind to conform ways and others.
The subtler discriminating-mind and Universal Mind are able to see through this, and ascertain – at least in part – that the mind-body functions as a unit, not just as mutually related.
Conditioned persons may not come to hovering insights, they adhere to habits of life and perceptions and thought, and hardly follows essential reason, a product of the intellect-mind. A variety of false judgements are thus arrived at. Alas for that.
There are three divisions of its mental activity:
A variety of inaccurate judgements relate to multiplicity and so on by inward and outward grasping and habit-formations that are linked to relative knowledge and the ego or soul.
Examining by intellectual acts brings conclusions as to validity, relevance, significance, and truthfulness. Linking this way assists understanding, right-knowledge and points the way to self-realisation. F: (Further): Five grasping aggregates are: form, sensation, perception, discrimination, consciousness. Of these, form belongs to what is made of the so-called primary elements, whatever they may be. The four remaining aggregates merge quite imperceptibly into one another, although each is a vortex of its own.
Things are endowed with appearances of being, characteristic-marks, perceivableness, abode, work, possible causes, but the four intangible aggregates that make up personality are beyond outward-focused calculability; and they constitute what is known as mortal-mind- an outlet of Deep (Transcendental) Self, the source of Self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. A soul harbours self-interests as part of it.
Q: Universal Mind and its relation to the lower mind-system -
A: Universal Mind is thoroughly pure in its essential nature, unruffled by distinctions. Universal Mind is like a great ocean, its surface ruffled by waves and surges, thus plays with a variety of parts goes on, though a mutual functioning that involve mind-body systems around. Mind functions take on individuation. The sevenfold gradation of mind appears: namely, intuitive self-realisation, thinking-desiring-discriminating, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and all their interactions and reactions take their rise.
The discriminating-mind is the cause of the sense-minds and it defiles as it were the surface of Universal Mind. Between Universal Mind and the individual discriminating-mind is the intuitive-mind (manas) which is dependent on Universal Mind for its cause and support and enters into relations with both.
Manas, the intuitive mind, partakes of the universality of Universal Mind, shares its purity, and is above form and momentariness like Deep Mind. It is through the intuitive-mind that the good non out-flowings emerge and are realised (including manifested). Intuition is not momentary. If what is called quite intuitive Enlightenment were momentary, the wise would lose their wiseness (sagacity). Now the intuitive-mind enters into relations with the lower mind-system, shares its experiences and reflects on its activities.
Intuitive-mind is one with Universal Mind by reason of participating in Transcendental Intelligence (Arya-jnana), and is one with the mind-system by comprehending differentiated knowledge (vijnana). Intuitive-mind has no body of its own nor any marks by which it can be differentiated. Universal Mind is its cause and support; it is evolved along with the notion of an ego and what belongs to it and that it reflects on. Through intuitive-mind, by the faculty of intuition which is a mingling of both identity and perceiving, Deep Mind is revealed and made realisable.
The discriminating-mind is a dancer and a magician with the objective world as his stage. Intuitive-mind is the wise jester along with it.
Q: What is meant by the cessation of the mind-system?
A: The five sense-functions: the will-to-live is the mother, ignorance of inward Unity is the father. In the end the mind gets conditioned by what takes place. Pleasure and pain are the reactions of mortal-mind as it grasps a so-called empty world – empty if ignoring the Source by infirm grasping and contacts.
As for what continues, when interactions of form, contact and grasping abate, the discriminations, graspings and attachments of the discriminating-mind are lessened too; and habitutation lessens on the surface of Universal Mind. There is no cessation of Universal Mind in its pure and essence-nature. Universal Mind in its essence-nature stops defilements on its surface. There is no cessation of Divine Mind which, in itself, is the abode of Reality and the Womb of Truth.
Cessation of discriminating and naming activities, which are centralised in the discriminating mortal-mind, is had by diving within. Discriminative mind-activity abates or stops The mind-system as a whole may then succeed in dealing with or clearing away various attachments, defilements, erroneous reasonings, faults, mistakes, and unwelcome habit-formations on the face of Universal Mind.
The mind-system abates and rests well during deep meditation, and the discriminating mortal-mind ceases to operate of its own accord from time to time, and then world-perceptions (mayic) may disappear or change. Transcending the discriminating mortal-mind is Nirvana.
Transcending the discriminating-mind can not be accomplished until there has been a "turning-about" in the deepest seat of consciousness. It helps to form a new habit if realising Truth intuitively (by the intuitive-mind) by becoming one with Truth. This intuitive self-realisation attained, the evolving mind-system is still set to go on.
Thus, intellectual understanding of the self and related objects pave the way for better insights: The way is then open for an inner "turning-about" to take place. By transcending a lot of tumbling ideas one may attain a state of tranquillisation in which truths of emancipation are plain, and there will be no evil outward-flowings for as long as it lasts.
Chapter 6. Transcendental Intelligence
Q: What constitutes Transcendental Intelligence?
A: Transcendental Intelligence is the inner state of self-realisation. It is realised suddenly. It neither enters nor subsides. Transcendental Intelligence is not subject to birth and destruction; it is devoid of attachment and accumulation; it transcends all dualistic conceptions.
When Transcendental Intelligence is considered, four things must be kept in mind: words, meanings, teachings and Noble Wisdom (Arya-prajna).
1. Words are used to express meanings but they depend on discriminations and memory as cause, and on the uses of sounds or letters to make meanings come across. Words are suggestive symbols aimed at expressing one or more meanings. Words and statements may be understood differently from person to person, and from what was intended by a speaker.
2. Essential meanings can be illumined by words (concepts) as things are by one or more lamps. By means of words and speech originating in discrimination, the noble man can dive into the meaning of the teachings of the Tathagatas and through the essential meaning he can enter into the exalted state of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. That state is free from word use and mental discernments, so one should avoid getting attached to words between birth and death. Someone who gets attached to words and categories and their meanings, hae not yet realised that Nirvana is unborn and undying, and not to be distingushed very much, because it is beyond the senses and the categories of the outward-turned mind. Who fail to understand the Old Source of Meaning inside - that helps against cares that entangle one in stupid refutations, do not get evolved fitly by that.
3. Teachings: The ignorant may think that since meaning has no body as itself, meaning stems wholly from words. Meanings derive only partially from words and the network of mental associations that are "drawn" to relate to the meanings. The same goes for words.
4. Noble Wisdom. The State of Truth is beyond letters and words and books, and is into meanings when we glimpse them. However, Deep, Essential Meaning is un-born. Tathagatas carry on a glorious teaching that is not solely dependent on letters. Who teaches a doctrine that depends only on letters and words is just a prattler. Our understanding of words and books depend on discriminations, and further, are subject to the interpretation of individual minds. Great Meaning and Truth are not.
No one must become attached to the words of the scriptures because even the canonical texts sometimes deviate from their straightforward course owing to the imperfect functioning of sentient minds. Religious discourses are not given to take the place of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. Nor is conformity, whether it is called holy or necessary or not.
The ignorant and simple-minded may hardly understand the discourse by words about the truth of self-realisation, much less are they able to understand the Truth itself. Some cling to the study of books and rituals which are a means only, and do not know properly how to ascertain the truth of self-realisation, which is Truth unspoiled. Self-realisation is an exalted state of inner attainment which transcends. In that state the mind-system with its logic, reasoning, theorising, and illustrations does not serve.
The Tathagatas discourse to the ignorant, and likewise sustain a nobler fare for all who seek self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. Therefore, let every disciple take good heed not to put all their faith in words and boasts. When a man with his finger-tip points to something to somebody, the finger-tip may be mistaken for the thing pointed at. Ignorant people cannot realise Ultimate Reality from intent clinging to words and ceremonies that make the like dolls and puppets. Outward-turning through words and the like binds, whereas deep meanings often conform to the Way itself. Meaning is attained by much learning. Therefore, let seekers for truth reverently approach those who are wise and Awake.
There are priests and popular preachers who are given to ritual and ceremony and who are skilled in various incantations and in the art of eloquence; they should not be honored nor reverently attended on. Such preachers, by a blur of slogans and other words and phrases and various reasonings and incantations, serve outward-turning rather than inward-turning and effective living. Their childish, whimsical prattle incite sentiment and emotion, and largely. Not understanding themselves, such priests and popular preachers who are clever in various incantations and skilled in the art of eloquence, but not emancipated all right themselves, lead the ignorant into bewilderment, even by conclusions.
No respect nor service is to be shown the materialistic philosophers as long as their teachings do not go beyond the concerns of this world. Thereby they lead to suffering in the long run.
But there is that which is not reached by the knowledge of the philosophers who cling to false-discriminations and erroneous reasonings - Reality. This does not belong to the materialistic philosophers, but the Tathagatas.
Things to be sensed, handled and tasted, and the things that attract one, that bind one, they lie along the path of the philosophers, which is not the path of the Dharma. To utter seemingly godly vows is not a good path of Dharma either, for the more difficult a vow is, the more difficult it may be to keep it, and the worse in case it is broken. Vows are better dropped in favour of handy, elegant approaches tinged with resolves; that is all that should be needed, as demonstrated by Buddha himself. It was not any vow which enlightened him, but the steady, persistent effort, the approach that stemmed from the resolve. The quite gentle Noble Path he later taught equals the handy approach. The interior resolve that is called for, is just a soft-going practice. Dharma itself is Transcendental Intelligence as it manifests.
Teach Buddhahood in Essence and Ultimate Oneness. Skillful means of evolving a Deep Intelligence inside, can be got from Noble Wisdom in the form of various terms, expressions, and symbols. They may further good living too. One should preach to awaken great thinkers and stay away from unproductive figments of imagination and other useless manifestations of mind. Sublime and Transcendental Intelligence is a Gem that forms (breaks the Light) into many colors. Nevertheless, Transcendental Intelligence (Arya-jnana) itself is an expression of Noble Wisdom, that is, the Womb of "Suchness" and All-conserving Deep Mind (Alaya-vijnana) which in its pure Essence abides in tranquility forever.
Chapter 7. Self-Realisation
Q: How is the self-realisation that leads to attaining Transcendental Intelligence?
A: Transcendental Intelligence rises when the intellectual-mind reaches its limit Irrelevant ideas must be transcended the link between the intellectual-mind and Universal Mind, a link which is called cognition. Such high cognition is not an individualised organ like the intellectual-mind. It can be trained – trained to read into Universal Mind. Intuitive cognition of this kind also brings about self-realisation through identification.
Q: What clear understandings should we have if we succeed in the discipline that leads to self-realisation?
A: Discard unsuitable notions while meditating deeply or alone. Have a true conception of what has to be recognises and accepted. Pay less attention to false-imagination (whirling ideas during a sitting. Lessen the severe attachments to what is without substance too. Accept the fact that his own mind and personality is fit for entering imagelessness. Further, Noble Wisdom is not comparable to perceptions had by the sense-mind or to what is mentally grasped by unaided discriminating and intellectual-mind.
Self-realisation is based on identity and oneness. To enter into it you must be free from major presuppositions and attachments and "glide and hover into It", so to speak.
Q: How we may get reasonably detached to succeed in this?
A: The notion of being backs up and subsists in procreative life; and life's attachments. When the external world ceases to be perceived or noted through diving inward, it aligns you with a state of imagelessness and having no ideas or notions whatever – not of emancipation, and not of non-being. It Is, and in Its own right, so to speak.
But the ignorant go on attaching themselves, even charmed with their prison. But the wise should possess enough skillful means to avoid becoming attached to words and the grasping of meanings. Next establish yourselves where there will be a "turning about" in the deepest seat of consciousness by means of which you will attain self-realisation of Noble Wisdom and be able to enter into all the Buddha-lands and assemblies. There you may attain to see in your heart how things in the world of beings may be perfectly one with yourself.
The great teachings are designed to keep one away from all irrelevant notions, for the Realisation called for is an inner experience within the inner consciousness. It shines out with its own clear light. To the earnest disciple this is the way, a way that is open to increasing attainments in deep dhyana (meditation) and self-realisation of Existential Proficiency. One should even enjoy fruits from this.
Q: Tell about the One Vehicle which characterises the attainment of Great Wisdom?
A: Retire to a quiet, secluded place and reflect within yourself. Make proper efforts at advancing along the stages of the way, and do it on your own. I call this the One Vehicle, but I do not speak much about the One Vehicle because there is no way by which earnest disciples and masters can realise Nirvana, unaided. Earnest disciples should receive training in such meditation and dhyana. They may also be aided by devices and expedients to realise and transform and take to non-outflowings. However, disciples can hardly realise Nirvana unaided.
Q: What are the steps that will lead an awakened disciple toward the self-realisation of Existential Proficiency?
A: Get into the habit of looking at things truthfully, and understand that mind in its essence-nature has nothing to do with discrimination nor thoughts of causation. Rather, Universal Mind in its pure essence is a state of imagelessness, its own pure nature is greatly unattached, and the conscious mind has to tune into it and also stay attuned by how it goes on living, how it makes a living, and so on. Therefore, desist from low takes in the discipline of dhyana that leads to the realisation of Noble Wisdom.
As for the kind of focused meditation (dhyana) to train yourself in, adhere to he dhyana of the Tathagatas. it is far from the "still-sitting" of vacant minds, or of despising and undermining the body, or just trying not to think. Good dhyana is not that.
Those who spend priceless time in dhyana to examine differentiations of this and that, could do better as well.
The dhyana with Oneness, or a Divine Name (mantra), for its object is practised by those who cling to the notion of an ultimate Tathata, or "Suchness." Mind that the dhyana of those who Arrive, Tathagatas, is the dhyana of those who are entering on the stage of Tathagatahood (Unity within) , who enter into pure dhyana, where lesser things and ideas are transcended and forgotten for a spell or a long time, and there remains "Tathagata and Tathata merged into One". Hence, welcome a new Tathagata.
Chapter 8. Gaining Deep Self-Realisation
Q: Tell us more as to what makes up the state of self-realisation?
A: Inside the disciple there is the exalted state of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. He should abandon irrelevant thoughts and hold himself firmly to the continuously ascending journey of the stages into It.
The exalted state of self-realisation is deep in a state of mental concentration. In the continuous effort to arrive at that state he must seek to annihilate vagrant thoughts and notions belonging to the externality of things, and the noblest ideas of imagelessness and so on. By that the table is set for getting inward and for realising Truth in the state that yogis call Samadhi. It is blissful, and inherent in it lies dormant powers that can aid in transforming a life.
Having attained this exalted and blissful state of realisation, the good meditator must not give himself up solely to the enjoyment of its bliss, but exert himself in the bliss too, in appropriate ways. That is how hidden powers are developed.
The mind-system goes on functioning after the great attainment. Otherwise, how could Buddhas have preached? The mind-system still goes on functioning, though the Deep Dweller is not very much attached after great inward tranquillity has been attained.
Birth-and-death and Nirvana are not separate, and Nirvana is Universal Mind purely.
The true functioning of the mind is subtle and difficult to be understood for some. Tathagatas and others who are firmly established in Deep Mind can bring out understanding of Its workings from inside and outward. One should ever seek to see things truly (yathabhutam), and firmly plant roots of goodness. Deep Mind Within knows no limits made by differentiations; there is where to plant the deepest merits too.
To get time for such eternity-labour, avoid and eliminate turmoil and sleepiness, keep away from philosophy treatises, and the ritual and ceremonies of professional priestcraft. Rather, withdraw to a secluded place and practise congenial spiritual disciplines. By so doing so, true insight gets the best chance to emerge. Adhere to the workings of Universal Mind in its Essence, and stay attuned (assonance helps) or in deep conformity to its tall assets. In such ways Tathagatas live Essence in their way, although ways may vary with individuals.
Further advance along the stages of deep meditation includes repeatedly, recurrent abandoning of the understanding of mind that is gained by right-knowledge. It is done by going deep within through contemplation. For in comparison with Noble Wisdom that understanding is like a lame donkey. Entering deeper still inside, he should develop a flair for imagelessness, willingness to rightfully share; and detachment from foolish notions of final self-realisation so far as it has only been gained in some measure. So detach yourself enough so as to attain the Tathagata stage of Noble Wisdom itself.
Q: Is the purification of the evil outflowings of the clinging and noting mind gradual or instantaneous?
A: There are evil outflowings that rise from thirst (and hunger), grasping and attachment; and others that arise from illusions. Good behavior often requires suitable control and effort. Parts of such essential elements of living are gained laboriously. Clearing insight helps toward the Attainments.
Barren-making evil out-flowings can be purified by excellent conformity, study and meditation, in part gradually, in rarer cases in a thrice. Study fit and helpful teachings and meditate on gradually to win what is appropriate from it. Do not try to be free from aid and encouragement, though. Some Tathagatas may discreetly and mysteriously aid a person, often unknown to him or her. Deep understanding is a fruit of the contemplative life.
Good non-outflowings that come with self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, involve purification deep inside, and a waking up from notions that are not of avail in the real world, that may come by the grace of the Tathagatas too. Tathagatas lead earnest disciples to a state of imagelessness; till ideas of time itself (kala) are cleared away, revealing instantaneously the realm of Transcendental Buddahood and the unity of here-and-now. It includes vital elements of the past and so-called future.
Hence, the route into Universal Mind may be gradually cleared by purification that make unwelcome out-flowings less, and by good conformity that employs such as study and meditation. Gradual or instantaneous self-realisation – a "ray" of pure Self-nature, shines forth. By it the inward person is matured at once, as it were, and from then on spontaneously radiates what is to be radiated from on high, also mistakes of of some who had better luff thereby, rather than fall into deeper and graver errors.
Chapter 9. The Fruit of Self-Realisation
Q: What is the fruitage that comes with self-realisation of Noble Wisdom?
A: First, there will come a clearing insight into the meaning and significance of things and following that will come an unfolding insight into the significance of the spiritual ideals (Paramitas). By reason of such insight one "sides" deeply into the abode of imagelessness and is better able to experience the higher Samadhis and gradually to pass through the higher stages.
After experiencing a "turning-about" in the deepest seat of consciousness, such meditators will experience other Samadhis even to the highest, the One that belongs to the Tathagatas and their transformations. They will be able to enter into the realm of consciousness that lies beyond the consciousness of the mind-system, even the consciousness of Tathagatahood. They will become endowed with powers, loving compassion, and ability to enter into a lot, Buddha-lands included. After they attain self-realisation they will find themselves reacting thought-lessly out of a compassionate heart, their own heart.
Q: Do tell us about the sustaining power of the Tathagatas that help or assist climbers (meditators) to attain self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.
A: There are two kinds of sustaining power, which issue from the Tathagatas and are at the service of some. The first kind of sustaining power is the climber's own heart-felt respect and faith in the Buddhas. The second kind of sustaining power is the power radiating from the Tathagatas that enables these climbers to attain and to pass through various inner states (Samadhis and Samapattis) without becoming completely intoxicated by their bliss.
The climber may be helped or sustained by the power of the Buddhas. Earnest disciples and masters and still others may experience this sustaining power of the Buddhas in their Samadhis and Samapattis. Samadhis, psychic faculties and teachings are in part realised by the sustaining power of the Buddhas. Where the Tathagatas enter there will be unheard music, music among the grass and shrubs and trees, and in mountains and towns and palaces and hovels; and much more music in the hearts of those endowed with sentiency.
By bestowal of this sustaining power, the inner risers are enabled to avoid of ugly karma; they are enabled to transcend the dhyana of the beginners and to advance beyond the experience and truth already attained; to attain the stage of Tathagatahood. But for this sustaining power they would relapse into the ways and thoughts of the philosophers, easygoing disciples and the evil-minded, and miss the attainment.
Q: It has been said by Buddha that by fulfilling the six Paramitas, Buddhahood is realised. Do tell us what the Paramitas are, and how they are to be fulfilled, please.
A: The Paramitas are ideals of spiritual perfection that are to be guides on the path to self-realisation. There are six of them but they are to be considered in three different ways according to the progress of the Bodhisattva on the stages. At first they are to be considered as ideals for the worldly life; next as ideals for the mental life; and, lastly, as ideals of the spiritual and unitive life.
In the worldly life one should cherish ideals of charity, thoughtfulness and wisdom. Even in the worldly life the practice of these virtues will bring rewards of happiness and success.
In the mind-world of earnest ones their practice will bring joys of emancipation, enlightenment and peace of mind, as the Paramitas are grounded on fit knowledge and may attune one to the Other Shore. Paramitas become ideal and more sympathetic and understanding; good behavior will call for something more than outward conformity – one should practise simplicity at least. Patience will now call for patience with one's self. Zeal will be addressed to a certain self-control in following the Noble Path and in manifestating the Dharma in one's own life. Thoughtfulness will give way to mindfulness with intuitions of significance and spirit. The Paramita of Wisdom (Prajna) will no longer be concerned with pragmatic wisdom and erudition, but All-inclusive Truth.
The third aspect of the Paramitas as seen in the ideal perfections of the Tathagatas can only be fully understood by a Tathagata. Free from ordinary attachments their minds are free to soar or consider sentient beings. The ideal of charity is shown in the enjoyments of disciples, their seemingly spontaneous and effortless actualizing of fine behavior. To exert oneself with energy in going within is fine Zeal. To keep the mind riveted in Nirvana,that is the Paramita of Mindfulness. The Prajna-Paramita, which is Noble Wisdom, in the end is love-filled imagelessness. After an inscrutable "turning-about" happens in the inmost consciousness one has got self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, the highest Prajna-Paramita.
Q: What is meant by a transcendental body?
A: I will talk of three kinds of transcendental bodies: First, the one in which bodhisattvas attains enjoyment of the Samadhis and Samapattis (elevated dhyana attainments). Second, there is the one which is assumed by the Tathagatas with no attachment. Third, there is the one in which the Tathagatas receive their intuition of Dharmakaya.
The transcendental personality that enters into the enjoyment of the Samadhis comes with the third, fourth and fifth stages as the mentations of the mind-system become quieted and waves of consciousness are no more stirred on the face of Universal Mind. In this state, the conscious mind is still aware, in a measure, of the bliss being experienced by this cessation of the mind's activities.
The second kind of transcendental personality is the kind assumed by the bodhisattvas (advancing meditators) and Arrivers (Tathagatas) as bodies of transformation by which they demonstrate their original vows in the work of achieving and perfecting. When the bodhisattva has a thorough-going penetration into the maya-like nature of things and understands the dharma of imagelessness, his deepest consciousness "revolves" and he becomes able to experience the higher Samadhis even to the highest. By entering into these exalted Samadhis he attains a personality that transcends the conscious-mind, by reason of which he obtains supernatural powers. And then he is able to move as he wishes, as quickly as a dream changes, as quickly as an image changes in a mirror. Through this transcendental body, this "mind-vision-body", he is able to be in all the assemblages in all the Buddha-lands. While his mind keeps functioning in the body, his thoughts may be a hundred thousand yojanas away. In the same fashion the transcendental personality that experiences the Samadhi Vajravimbopama will be endowed with supernatural powers and psychic faculties and self-mastery by reason of which he will be able to follow the noble paths that lead to the assemblages of the Buddhas, moving about as freely as he may wish. This transcendental personality is not his old body, but is the transcendental embodiment of his original vows of self-yielding.
The third kind of transcendental personality is so ineffable that it is able to attain intuitions of the Dharmakaya, that is, it attains intuitions of the boundless and inscrutable cognition of Universal Mind. As climbers attain the highest of the stages and become conversant with all the treasures to be realised in Noble Wisdom, they will attain this inconceivable transformation-body which is the true nature of all the Tathagatas past, present and future, and will participate in the blissful peace which pervades the Dharma of all the Buddhas.
Chapter 10. Discipleship: Lineage of the Arhats
Q: Tell how many kinds of disciples there are, please.
A: There are as many kinds of disciples as there are individuals, but for convenience they may be divided into two groups: disciples of the lineage of the Arhats ("worthy ones"), and disciples known as bodhisattvas ("those whose essence is bodhi [enlightenment]"). Disciples called Arhats may be considered under two aspects: First, according to the number of times they will return to this life of birth-and-death; and second, according to their spiritual progress. Under the first aspect, they may be subdivided into three groups: The "Stream-entered," the "Once-returning," and the "Never-returning."
The Stream-entered are those disciples, who having freed themselves from the attachments to the lower discriminations and who have cleansed themselves from the twofold hindrances and who clearly understand the meaning of the twofold egolessness, yet who still cling to the notions of individuality and generality and to their own egoness. They will advance along the stages to the sixth only to succumb to the entrancing bliss of the Samadhis. They will be reborn several times, before they will be able to pass the sixth stage. The Once-returning are the Arhats, and the Never-returning are the bodhisattvas who have reached the seventh stage.
When the main hindrances are overcome, the Stream-entered will be able to attain the higher stages. As to moral practices: the ordinary disciples obey the rules of morality, piety and penance because they desire to gain worldly advancement and happiness in such ways, with the added hope of being reborn in more favorable conditions. The Stream-entered ones do not cling to moral practices for any hope of reward, for their minds are set on the exalted state of self-realisation; the reason they devote themselves to the details of morality is that they wish to master undefiled out-flowings better. It is a sign of grace. A more thorough understanding lessens some attachments, and so on. By breaking up and clearing away hindrances the Stream-entered ones will be able to fare better.
As for the Once-returning Arhats, they gradually learned by acquainting themselves thoroughly with what marks the attainment of the practice of dhyana, and reached a stage of enlightenment where in one more rebirth they will be able to put an end to the clinging to their erroneous attachments.
Under the second aspect disciples may be grouped according to the spiritual progress they have attained, into four classes, namely, disciples (sravaka), masters (pratyekabuddha), Arhats and bodhisattvas together, and Arrivers (Tathagathas) [There is much to be thankful to Buddha for, but not any bodhisattva concept, which is a later addition].
The first class of disciples mean well but they find it difficult to understand unfamiliar ideas. They can become confused by notions, and very fearful at times too. They are able to advance to the fifth or sixth stage where they may limit flows of passions, but cling a lot to this and that extraneously, including pet notions of some Personal God. Earnest though they be, they lack insight, and are of limited spiritual progress accordingly. They could have great self-confidence but without deep enough experience of Nirvana.
Teachers have gained a high degree of intellectual understanding, but are filled with fear of these truths as to the rigorous demands which their learning makes on them. They may fear keeping away from the entanglements of social relations. They hanker after miraculous powers such as dividing the personality and appearing in different places at the same time, or manifesting bodies of transformation. To gain these powers they even resort to the solitary life, but this class of masters never get beyond the seductions of their learning and egoism, and their discourses are always in conformity with that characteristic and limitation. Among them are many who show a degree of spiritual insight that is characterised by sincerity and undismayed willingness to meet all the demands that the stages make on them. They are undismayed at realizing the costs involved as they seek to adjust their lives to the full demands of the truths that dawn on them from inside. They are also called Stream-enterers.
The group that is made up of worthy ones and still more worthy ones, belong to the once-returners (to human life). They have gained an exalted insight. Attaining an inner perception of the true nature of Universal Mind they are steadily purifying their habit-energy. The worthy or noble one has attained emancipation, enlightenment, the Dhyanas (deep stages of dhyana, the absorptions called Samadhis, but his attention suffers from some wrong idea of Nirvana in that he discriminates about Nirvana. He has attained some of the fruits of self-realisation, but says, "But I am disengaged from them." One may say he still clings to subtle fetters. So long as he continues to discern between dhyana, dhyana practice, subjects for dhyana, right-knowledge and truth, there is a bewildered state of mind,he has not attained perfect emancipation. Emancipation goes along with no-images in Deep Mind.
To reach the higher stages one must pass beyond. Samapattis lead to the cessation of thought itself. The "worthy one" who masters elementary dhyana but is as yet unsupported by the Arrivers, yields to bliss of the absorptions (Samadhis) and passes to his Nirvana. This is fairly typical of the Once-returner.
The three first groups - of disciples, teachers, and worthy and still more worthy ones - may ascend the stages, and thereby attain a measure of tranquillisation. But their tranquillisation is not perfect, and they still have out-flowings [outward-going currents, some of which are deep and subtle to get at]. Perfect tranquillisation is possible with a higher, more interior stage where one experiences perfect oneness. However, the mental confusion of "worthies" in diving hinders their full entrance into higher stages. However, they are able to attain Deep Bliss. Engrossed in it they cherish the thought of Nirvanaland and similar. They do pass into their Nirvana, but not the Nirvana of the Buddhas.
Chapter 11. Elevated Bodhisattvahood Stages
Q: Will you tell us now about the disciples who are worthier than the rest, the noblest bodhisattvas?
A: The noble disciples are earnest, and enlightened by reason of their efforts to attain self-realisation of Noble Wisdom and enlighten others. They have gained a clear understanding, they have attained a definite realisation of imagelessness; and abide in self-realisation too, some of them.
"Stamped by the seal of Suchness" they entered the stage of joy (Pramudita). Entering this stage the noble bodhisattva feels within himself the awakening of a great heart of compassion and naturally practices dharma elements; practises the six paramitas; in order to attain perfect self-realisation of the oneness of all the Buddhas and Tathagatas, ascending the stages and entering Tathagatahood [such Arrival]
The Arrivers from inside encourage and strengthen followers to press on from great joy in contemplation to further advancement. They re-examine the nature of the mind-system, the value of pompous logical analysis, and in the long run enter on the seventh stage called Far-going (Duramgama). At this stage they enter into the bliss of the Samadhi of perfect tranquillisation. Because of Transcendental Intelligence one conception lingers on - that of promoting realisation of Noble Wisdom, done with spontaneity and radiancy because it is of the self-nature of Noble Wisdom. This is Going Far, in essence.
The eighth stage: With the worthy bodhisattva's attainment of the eighth stage there comes the "turning-about" within his deepest consciousness of perfect self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. There is an instant cessation of mind waves of habit-energy in the Oneness of Tathagatahood.
Henceforth no more grasping. Thus establishing himself one enters into the bliss of the ten absorptions (Samadhis), he is free to enter on the higher fares of Tathagatahood. He passes through the bliss to assume the transformation body of a Tathagata. While walking in the path of self-realisation do not quit working hard for the emancipation of all, as the fruit of inner, intuitive experience, as that is what Buddha did.
Strain and effort subsides in time. Being awake, he thinks: "Is this real or unreal?" When the worthy bodhisattva arrives at the eighth stage, he is able to see things truthfully. Ever. To the worthy bodhisattva of the eighth stage, the normally made life is past.
Notions of things passes away. Nirvana is perfect tranquillisation, but it is not extinction. There is the freedom and spontaneity of potentiality that has come with acceptance of basic truths and imagelessness. Here is undisturbed quiet, self-nature, which is the self-nature of Noble Wisdom, blissfully peaceful, and Love.
Entering on the eighth stage, with the turning-about at the deepest seat of consciousness, the noble one will become conscious that he has received the second kind of Transcendental-body (Manomayakaya). During the transition from mortal-body to Transcendental-body 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. There has been an inconceivable transformation (acintya-parinama-cyuti) - transcended by a realisation of his oneness with the universalised mind. With that realisation all the Tathagata's powers appear, psychic faculties, and so the Tathagatas establishes themselves in the Transcendental Realm where no forms are visible.
The first seven of the subtle "skydiving" stages were in the realm of ordinary mind and the eighth was still in touch with it; but in the ninth stage of Transcendental Intelligence (Sadhumati), by reason of intelligence and insight into the imagelessness of Divine Mind, the "subtility-bodhisattva" attained by self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, he is in the realm of Tathagatahood. Gradually the bodhisattva will realise his Tathagata-nature and the possession of all its powers and psychic faculties, and skillful means. By means of them he will enter into all the Buddha-lands. Making use of the available powers at his disposal, the subtility-bodhisattva is able to assume various transformation-bodies and personalities for the sake of benefitting those chosen. Just as in the former mental life, imagination had risen from relative-knowledge, so now skillful-means rise spontaneously from Transcendental Intelligence. It is like the magical gem that reflects instantaneously appropriate responses to one's wishes. The bodhisattva passes over to assemblages of Buddhas and listens. And in these Samadhis he will instantly pass from one Buddha-land to another and partake of the fruits of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.
Thus passing beyond the last stage of plumbing, he becomes an Arriver (Tathagata) himself, endowed with all the freedom of the Dharmakaya. The tenth stage belongs to the Tathagatas. Here the bodhisattva will find himself seated on a lotus-like throne in a jewel-adorned castle and surrounded by subtility-bodhisattvas of the same rank. Buddhas from all the Buddha-lands will gather about him and rest their hands on his forehead and thereby ordain him and recognise him as one of themselves.
The tenth stage is called the Great Truth Cloud, inconceivable, inscrutable, of perfect Imagelessness and Oneness and Solitude. It is the Radiant Land, the Pure Land, the Land of Far-distances, that the subtility-bodhisattva will find himself at-one with. Its rays of Noble Wisdom is the self-nature of the Tathagatas, many-colored, entrancing, auspicious: they help in transforming the triple world. But in the Perfect Oneness of Noble Wisdom there is no gradation nor succession, nor effort. The tenth stage is the first, the first is the eighth, the eighth is the fifth, the fifth is the seventh: what gradation can there be where perfect Imagelessness and Oneness prevail? Noble Wisdom is the ineffable potency of the Dharmakaya; it has no bounds nor limits; It surpasses all the Buddha-lands, and pervades the Akanistha and the heavenly mansions of the Tushita.
Chapter 12. Tathagatahood Which Is Noble Wisdom
Q: It has been taught that the Buddhas are subject to neither birth nor destruction, and you have said that "the Unborn" is one of the names of the Tathagatas. What does it mean?
A: The Tathagata is not to be conceived as other things are, nor is he without significance; yet the Tathagata suggests "The Mind-appearing One" (Manomayakaya) which his Essence-body assumes above normal birthing. This is beyond the understanding of common disciples and masters and even beyond the full comprehension of those bodhisattvas who remain in the seventh stage.
Q: If unborn, is there anything to take hold of?
A: I may be known by uncounted names, each one referring to one or more of my aspects and hues. Some address me by different names not realising that they are all names of the one Tathagata, the Self-existent One, some as Buddha. Then there are others who recognise me as Brahma, who see me as Sun, as Moon; some as Varuna. Still there are others who speak of me as the Suchness, as Truth, as Reality, as Ultimate Principle. Still others see me as Dharmakaya, as Nirvana, as the Eternal; some speak of me as Divine Mind and Noble Wisdom.
By these and many other names people see me as the moon is seen in water, and do not fully understand the meaning and significance of the words they use; not having their own self-realisation of Truth. Therefore they cling to the words of what has been told them in order to gain the true meaning, instead of having confidence in self-confirming Truth as revealed inside. One should have confidence in the self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.
Q: How is the self-nature of the Tathagatas?
A: If the Tathagata is to be described as un-made or un-born, we would be guilty of dualistic discrimination. If the Tathagata is something made, he would be impermanent.
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. But, nevertheless, its own nature is of the nature of a dream or a vision. The idea that all things are essentially un-born can be appreciated.
Yet, bear in mind that all these words and indications as applied to the Tathagatas apply to something removed from measurement, which is beyond reasoning, – and that is the Tathagata. The self-nature of Tathagatahood is far removed from all predicates and measurements; the self-nature of Tathagatahood is also called Noble Wisdom.
Q: Are the Tathagatas permanent or impermanent?
A: The Tathagatas are neither permanent nor impermanent, is a fit answer. The Tathagatas are not connected with the so-called creating agencies and in that sense they are impermanent. The Tathagatas come forth after they got rid of unrealism when Noble Wisdom gets established: they do not rise from the discrimination of unrealities.
Intelligence rising with the attainment of enlightenment is of a permanent nature. This Truth-essence which is discoverable in the enlightenment of all who are enlightened, is realisable as the regulative and sustaining principle of Reality, which forever abides. This Great Intelligence attained intuitively by the Tathagatas by their self-realisation of Noble Wisdom, is a realisation of their own self-nature, – in this sense the Tathagatas are permanent. Noble Wisdom is realised within themselves. It is both eternal and beyond thought. It conforms to the idea of a cause and yet is beyond existence. It has its own character. It is the cause of highest Reality, it is its own causation. It is eternal, perennial, and revealed in the exalted state of Noble Wisdom.
That is the self-nature of the Tathagatas. When the teachings of the Dharma are fully understood and are perfectly realised, that which is realised in one's deepest consciousness is one's own Buddha-nature revealed as Tathagata.
There is no distinction among Buddhas except as they manifest various transformations according to the different dispositions of beings that are to be disciplined and emancipated. In the Ultimate Essence, Dharmakaya, all the Buddhas of the past, present and future are of one sameness.
F: The self-realisation of Noble Wisdom by all the Tathagatas is the same as my own self-realisation of Noble Wisdom; and all the Tathagatas bear witness that the state of self-realisation is free from words and discriminations and has nothing to do with the dualistic way of speaking. Through self-realisation one receives the inner teachings of the Tathagatas, not through words of discrimination.
The eternally-abiding Reality, also called the "substance" of Truth (dharmadhatu) abides forever whether a Tathagata appears in the world or not. So does the Reason of all things (dharmata) eternally abide; so does Reality (paramartha) abide and keep its order. What has been realised by myself and all other Tathagatas is this Reality (Dharmakaya), the eternally-abiding self-orderliness of Reality; the "suchness" (tathata) of things; the realness of things (bhutata); Noble Wisdom which is Truth itself.
The sun radiates its splendor spontaneously; in like manner do the Tathagatas radiate the Truth of Noble Wisdom without recourse to words.
Q: Blessed One, you have spoken of Dharmata-Buddha, Nishyanda-Buddha and Nirmana-Buddha as though they were different; how can they be the same and yet different?
Dharmata-Buddha is Buddhahood in Oneness of tranquillity. As Subtle Wisdom, Dharmata-Buddha transcends things, and is the goal of intuitive self-realisation, and is the self-nature of the Tathagatas. As Subtle Wisdom, Dharmata-Buddha is quite inscrutable, ineffable, unconditioned. Dharmata-Buddha is the Ultimate Principle of Reality from which all things derive their being and truthfulness, but which in itself transcends all predicates. Dharmata-Buddha is the central sun which holds all, illumines all. Its inconceivable Essence is made manifest in the "out-flowing" glory of Nishyanda-Buddha and in the transformations of Nirmana-Buddha.
Q: Tell more about the Dharmakaya?
A: We have been speaking of it in terms of Buddhahood, but may just as well speak of it as the Truth-body, or the Truth-principle of Ultimate Reality (Paramartha). This Ultimate Principle of Reality may be considered as it is manifested under seven aspects:
These are the seven aspects of the Ultimate Principle of Dharmakaya and its quite inscrutable Oneness. We speak of it as Dharmakaya, as Nirvanaland; what does it matters?
One had better go for self-realisation of Noble Wisdom.
Q: Tell about Nirvana, please.
A: The term, Nirvana, is used with many different meanings by different people, but these people may be divided into four groups:
1. Those who are suffering or who fear suffering, think of Nirvana as an escape and a recompense. They are not aware that Universal Mind and Nirvana are One, and that this life-and-death world and Nirvana are not to be separated. Instead of meditating on the imagelessness of Nirvana, the ignorant ones talk of different ways of emancipation, and cling to the notion of Nirvana that is outside what is seen of the mind and thus go on rolling themselves along with the wheel of life and death.
2. As to the Nirvanas discriminated by the philosophers, some conceive Nirvana to be a state where there is no recollection of the past or present, just as when a lamp is extinguished. This and many other views advanced by philosophers with their various reasonings are not truly acceptable, as they all conceive Nirvana dualistically and in some causal connection. But in Nirvanaland there is no speculating discrimination and similar plots. Nirvanaland as Truth is not where the philosopher imagines it to be. Nirvana is not to be found by mental searching, but by quieting the mind appropriately.
3. The notion of Nirvana as an eternity of bliss is OK, as it stages inner progress of Samadhis (absorptions) toward a "turning-about" at the deepest seat of consciousness. In the great bliss of various Samadhis persons pass to Nirvana, and later return to this world of life and death.
4. A deep assurance and conviction comes with the unfolding insight. The mortal-mind ceases to discriminate, there is no more thirst for learning, no more thirst for eternal life; there is no more accumulation of habit-energy; and attainment of self-realisation of Noble Wisdom. That is the heart's assurance of Nirvana.
The Transformation-Buddhas teach a doctrine of Nirvana to meet conditions as they find them, and to give encouragement to the timid and great alike. To encourage them to better living, proficient living.
In the perfect self-realisation of Subtle Wisdom the life that he lives thereafter is the Tathagata's universalised life in its transformations. Where there is no more attachment to external things. There is insight into the abode of Reality. Nirvana is found by the attainment of the "turning-about" in the deepest seat of consciousness, self-realisation of Noble Wisdom is fully entered into, – that is the Nirvana of the Tathagatas.
Nirvana is the realm of Dharmata-Buddha.
Be influenced by the wisdom and love of the Tathagatas of Transformation to lay up a stock of merit and ascend the stages. But they are already in the Tathagata's Nirvana, for in Divine Wisdom all things are in Nirvana from the beginning also.
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Suzuki, Daisetz Teitaro, tr. 1932. The Lankavatara Sutra: A Mahayana Text Translated for the First Time from the Original Sanskrit. London: Routledge and Sons.
Harvesting the hay
Symbols, brackets, signs and text icons explained: (1) Text markers — (2) Digesting.
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