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The Shurangama Sutra

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The Shurangama Sutra
The Sutra of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha’s Summit Concerning the Tathagata’s Secret Cause of Cultivation, His Certification to the Complete Meaning and all Bodhisattvas' Myriad Practices

Translated during the Tang Dynasty by Shramana Paramiti from Central India.
Reviewed by Shramana Meghashikara from Uddiyana.
Certified by Shramana Huai Di from Nan Luo Monastery on Luo Fu Mountain.
Edited by Bodhisattva-precepts Disciple Fang Yong of Qing He, former Censor of State,
and concurrently Attendant and Minister, and Court Regulator.

Introduction I: The Fundamental Importance of the Shurangama Sutra

Within Buddhism, there are very many important sutras. However, the most important sutra is the Shurangama Sutra. If there are places which have the Shurangama Sutra, then the Proper Dharma dwells in the world. If there is no Shurangama Sutra, then the Dharma-ending Age appears. Therefore, we Buddhist disciples, each and every one, must use our strength and our blood, sweat, and toil to protect the Shurangama Sutra. In the Sutra of the Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma, it says very, very clearly that in the Dharma-ending Age, the Shurangama Sutra will be the first to disappear. The rest of the sutras will follow. As long as Shurangama Sutra does not disappear, then the Proper Dharma Age is present. Because of that, we Buddhist disciples must use our lives to protect the Shurangama Sutra, must use vows and resolution to protect the Shurangama Sutra, and must cause the Shurangama Sutra to be known far and wide, reaching every nook and cranny, reaching into each and every dust-mote, reaching out to the exhaustion of empty space and of the Dharma Realm. If we can do that, then the Proper Dharma will continue radiating great light for a long time to come.

Why would the Shurangama Sutra be destroyed? It is too true. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha’s true body. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha’s sharira. The Shurangama Sutra is the Buddha’s true and actual stupa and shrine. Therefore, because the Shurangama Sutra is so true, all the demon kings use all kinds of methods to destroy the Shurangama Sutra. They begin by starting rumors, saying that the Shurangama Sutra is phony. Why do they say the Shurangama Sutra is phony? Since the Shurangama Sutra speaks too truly, especially in the sections on the Four Decisive Deeds, the Twenty-five Sages Describing Perfect Penetration, and the States of the Fifty Skandha Demons. Those of off-center persuasions and externally-oriented ways, weird demons and strange freaks, are unable to stand it. Consequently there are a good many senseless people who claim that the Shurangama Sutra is a forgery.

Now, the principles set forth in the Shurangama Sutra are on the one hand proper, and on the other in accord with principle, and the weird demons and strange freaks, those in various cults and sects, are thus exposed. Even so, many people, in particular unwise scholars and garbage-collecting professors “Tread upon the holy writ.” With their extremely scant and partial understanding, they are confused and unclear, lacking real erudition and true and actual wisdom. That is why they resort to baseless criticism. We who study the Buddhadharma should be acutely aware of these circumstances. Therefore, wherever we go, we should mention the Shurangama Sutra. Wherever we go, we should propagate the Shurangama Sutra. Wherever we go, we should introduce the Shurangama Sutra to people. Why is that? It is to help the Proper Dharma long to dwell in the world.

If the Shurangama Sutra is regarded as true, then there is no problem. To verify its truth, let me say that if the Shurangama Sutra were phony, then I would willingly fall into the hells forever through all eternity . for being unable to recognize the Buddhadharma . for mistaking the false for true. If the Shurangama Sutra is true, then life after life in every time I make the vow to propagate the Great Dharma of the Shurangama, that I shall in every time and every place expound upon the true principles of the Shurangama.

Everyone should pay attention to the following point. How could the Shurangama Sutra not have been spoken by the Buddha? No one else could have spoken the Shurangama Sutra. And so I hope that all those people who make senseless accusations will wake up fast and stop creating the causes for suffering in the Hell of Pulling Out Tongues. No matter who the scholar is, no matter what country students of the Buddhadharma are from, all should quickly mend their ways, admit their mistakes, and bring about a change. There is no greater good than that. I can then say that all who look at the Shurangama Sutra, all who listen to the Shurangama Sutra, and all who investigate the Shurangama Sutra, will very quickly accomplish Buddhahood.

Composed by, Gold Mountain Shramana Tripitaka Master Hua.

Introduction II: The Buddha Speaks the Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra

Thus I have heard. At one time the Buddha was in the state of Kushinagara. The Tathagata was to enter nirvana within three months and the bhikshus and Bodhisattvas as well as the great multitude of beings had come to pay homage to the Buddha and to bow in reverence. The World Honored One was tranquil and silent. He spoke not a word and his light did not appear. Worthy Ananda bowed and asked the Buddha,

”0 Bhagavan, heretofore whenever you spoke the Dharma, awesome light would naturally appear. Yet today among this great assembly there is no such radiance. There must be a good cause for this and we wish to hear the Bhagavan’s explanation.”

The Buddha remained silent and did not answer until the request had been repeated three times. He then told Ananda,

”After I enter nirvana, when the Dharma is about to perish, during the evil age of the five turbidities, the way of demons will flourish. Demonic beings will become shramanas; they will pervert and destroy my teachings. Monastics will wear the garb of laypersons and will prefer handsome clothes. Their precept sashes will be made of multi-colored cloth. They will use intoxicants, eat meat, kill other beings and they will indulge in their desire for flavorful food. They will lack compassion and they will bear hatred and exhibit jealousy even among themselves.

”Even then Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats will reverently and diligently cultivate immaculate virtue. They will be respected by all people and their teachings will be fair and egalitarian. These cultivators of the Way will take pity on the poor, they will be mindful of the aged, and they will save and give counsel to those people they find in difficult circumstances. They will at all times exhort others to worship and to protect sutras and images of the Buddha. They will do meritorious deeds, be resolute and kind, and never harm others. They will make physical sacrifices for others’ benefit. They will hold no great regard for themselves but will be patient, yielding, humane, and peaceful.

”As long as such people exist, the hordes of demonic bhikshus will be jealous of them. The demons will harass them, slander and defame them, expel them from their midst and degrade them. They will ostracize the good monks from the monastic community. Thereafter these demons derive no virtue from their practice. Their monastic buildings will be vacant and overgrown with weeds. For want of care and maintenance their Way-places will drift into ruin and oblivion. The demonic bhikshus will increase their greed for wealth and will amass great heaps of goods. They will refuse to distribute any of it or to use it to gain blessings and virtue.

”At this time, the evil monks will buy and sell slaves to till their fields and to slash and burn the mountain forests. They will do harm to living creatures and they will feel not the least bit of compassion. These slaves will themselves become bhikshus and maidservants will become bhikshunis. Totally lacking in Way-virtue, these people will run amok, indulging in licentious behavior. In their turbid confusion they will fail to separate the men from the women in the monastic communities. From this generation on, the Way will be weakened. Fugitives from the law will seek refuge in my Way, wishing to be shramanas but failing to observe the moral regulations. Monastics will continue to recite the precepts twice a month, but in name alone. Being lazy and lax, no one will want to listen any longer. These evil shramanas will be unwilling to recite the sutras in their entirety and they will make abbreviations at the beginning and at the end of the texts as they please. Soon the practice of reciting sutras will stop altogether. Even if there are people who recite texts, they will be unlettered, unqualified people who will insist, nonetheless, that they are correct. Bumptious, arrogant, and vain, these people will seek fame and glory. They will put on airs in the hope of attracting offerings from other people.

”When the lives of these demonic bhikshus come to an end their essential spirits will fall into the Avichi Hell. Having committed the five evil deeds, they will suffer successive rebirths as hungry ghosts and as animals. They will know all such states of woe as they pass on through eons as numerous as sands on the banks of the Ganges River. When their offenses are accounted for they will be reborn in a border land where the Triple Jewel is unknown.

”When the Dharma is about to disappear, women will become vigorous and will at all times do deeds of virtue. Men will grow lax and will no longer speak the Dharma. Those who are genuine shramanas will be looked upon as dung and no one will have faith in them. When the Dharma is about to perish, all the gods will begin to weep. Rivers will dry up and the five grains will not ripen. Pestilences will frequently take millions of lives. The masses will toil and suffer while the local officials will plot and scheme. No one will adhere to principles. Instead, the human race will multiply, becoming like the sands of the ocean-bed. Good persons will be hard to find; at most there will be one or two. As the eon comes to a close, the revolutions of the sun and the moon will grow short and the lifespan of people will decrease. Their hair will turn white by the time they are forty. Because of excessive licentious behavior they will quickly exhaust their seminal fluids and will die at a young age, usually before sixty years. As the lifespan of males decreases, that of females will increase to seventy, eighty, ninety, or one hundred years.

”The mighty rivers will flood and lose harmony with their natural cycles, yet people will not take notice or feel concern. Extremes of climate will soon be taken for granted. Beings of all races will mix together at random, without regard for the noble and the mean. Their births and rebirths will cause them to sink and float, like feeding aquatic creatures.

”Even then Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas, and Arhats will gather together in an unprecedented assembly because they will all have been harried and pursued by the hordes of demons. They will no longer dwell in the assemblies but the Three Vehicles will retreat to the wilderness. In a tranquil place they will find shelter, happiness, and long life. Gods will protect them and the moon will shine down upon them. The Three Vehicles will have an opportunity to meet together and the Way will flourish. However, within fifty-two years the Shurangama Sutra and the Pratyutpanna [[[Standing]] Buddha) Samadhi, will be the first to change and then to disappear. The twelve divisions of the canon will gradually follow until they vanish completely, never to appear again. Its words and texts will be totally unknown ever after. The precept sashes of shramanas will turn white of themselves. When my Dharma disappears it will be just like an oil lamp that flares brightly for an instant just before it goes out. So too, will the Dharma flare and die. After this time it is difficult to speak with certainty of what will follow.

”A period of ten million years will follow before the time when Maitreya is about to appear in the world to become the next Buddha. At that time the planet will be entirely peaceful. Evil vapors will have dissipated, rain will be ample and regular, and crops will grow abundantly. Trees will grow to a great height and people will grow to be eighty feet tall. The average lifespan will extend to 84,000 years. It will be impossible to count all the beings who will be taken across to liberation.”

Worthy Ananda addressed the Buddha, “What should we call this Sutra and how shall we uphold it?”

The Buddha said, “Ananda, this sutra is called The Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma. Tell everyone to propagate it widely; the merit of your actions will be measureless, beyond reckoning.”

When the four-fold assembly of disciples heard this sutra they grieved and wept. Each of them resolved to attain the true path of the Supreme Sage. Then bowing to the Buddha, they withdrew.

End of The Buddha Speaks the Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra.

From the Seng You Records, translator anonymous.
Appended to the Song Annals.

Sutra

Thus I have heard.

At one time the Buddha dwelt at the city of Shravasti in the sublime abode of the Jeta Grove.

With a gathering of great bhikshus, twelve hundred fifty in all.

All were great Arhats without outflows, disciples of the Buddha, dwellers and maintainers. They had fully transcended all existence, and were able to travel everywhere, and to accomplish the awesome deportment.

They followed the Buddha in turning the wheel and were wonderfully worthy of the bequest. Stern and pure in the Vinaya, they were great exemplars in the three realms. Their limitless response-bodies took living beings across and liberated them, pulling out and rescuing those of the future so they could transcend all the bonds of dust.

The names of the leaders were: the greatly wise Shariputra, Mahamaudgalyayana, Mahakaushthila, Purnamaitreyaniputra, Subhuti, Upanishad, and others.

Moreover limitless Pratyekas who were beyond learning and those with initial resolve came to where the Buddha was to join the bhikshusPravarana at the close of the summer retreat.

Bodhisattvas from the ten directions who desired counsel in order to resolve the doubts in their minds were respectful and obedient to the Awesome but Compassionate One as they prepared to seek the Secret Meaning.

Then the Tathagata arranged his seat, sat quietly and peacefully, and for the sake of everyone in the assembly proclaimed the profound and mysterious. Those in the pure assembly at the banquet of Dharma obtained what they had never obtained before.

The Immortal’s kalavinka-sound pervaded the ten directions and Bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges gathered at the Bodhimanda with Manjushri as their leader.

Then King Prasenajit, for the sake of his father, the late king, arranged on the day of mourning a vegetarian feast and invited the Buddha to the side rooms of the palace. He welcomed the Tathagata in person with a vast array of superb delicacies of unsurpassed wonderful flavors and himself invited the great Bodhisattvas.

In the city were also elders and laypeople who were also prepared to feed the Sangha at the same time, and they stood waiting for the Buddha to come and receive offerings.

The Buddha commanded Manjushri to assign the Bodhisattvas and Arhats to receive offerings from the various vegetarian hosts.

Only Ananda, who, having accepted a special invitation earlier, had traveled far and had not yet returned, was late for the apportioning of the Sangha. No senior-seated one or Acharya was with him, so he was returning alone on the road.

On that day he had received no offerings, and so at the appropriate time Ananda took up his begging bowl and, as he traveled through the city, begged in successive order.

As he first began to beg, he thought to himself that down to the very last danapati who would be his vegetarian host he would not question whether they were clean or unclean; whether they were ksatriyas of honorable name or chandalas. While practicing equality and compassion he would not merely select the lowly but was determined to perfect all living beings. limitless merit and virtue.

Ananda already knew that the Tathagata, the World Honored One, had admonished Subhuti and great Kashyapa for being Arhats whose hearts were not fair and equal, and he regarded with respect the Tathagata’s instructions on impartiality, to save everyone from doubt and slander.

Having crossed the city moat, he walked slowly through the outer gates, his manner stern and proper as he honored with propriety the method of obtaining food.

At that time, because Ananda was begging in sequential order, he passed by a house of prostitution and was waylaid by a powerful artifice. By means of a mantra of the Kapila religion, formerly of the Brahma Heaven, the daughter of Matangi drew him onto an impure mat.

With her licentious body she stroked and rubbed him until he was on the verge of destroying the precept-substance.

The Tathagata, knowing Ananda was being taken advantage of by the indecent artifice, finished the meal and immediately began his return journey. The king, great officials, elders, and laypeople followed along after the Buddha, desiring to hear the essentials of Dharma.

Then the World Honored One emitted a hundred rays of jeweled and fearless light from his crown. Within the light appeared a thousand-petalled precious lotus, upon which was seated a transformation-body Buddha in full-lotus posture, proclaiming a spiritual mantra.

He commanded Manjushri to take the mantra and go provide protection, and, when the evil mantra was extinguished, to lend support, and to encourage Ananda and Matangi’s daughter to return to where the Buddha was.

Ananda saw the Buddha, bowed, and wept sorrowfully, regretting that from time without beginning he had been preoccupied with erudition and had not yet perfected his strength in the Way. He respectfully and repeatedly requested an explanation of the very first expedients of the wonderful shamatha, samapatti, and dhyana, by means of which the Tathagatas of the ten directions had realized Bodhi.

At that time Bodhisattvas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, great Arhats, pratyekas, and others from the ten directions, were also present. Pleased at the opportunity to listen, they withdrew silently to their seats to receive the sagely instruction.

In the midst of the great assembly, the World Honored One then extended his golden arm, rubbed Ananda’s crown, and said to Ananda and the great assembly, “There is a samadhi called the King of the Foremost Shurangama at the Great Buddha’s Summit Replete with the Myriad Practices; it is a path wonderfully adorned and the single door through which the Tathagatas of the ten directions gained transcendence. You should now listen attentively.” Ananda bowed down to receive the compassionate instruction humbly.

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You and I are of the same family and share the affection of a natural relationship. At the time of your initial resolve, what were the outstanding characteristics which you saw in my Dharma that caused you to suddenly cast aside the deep kindness and love found in the world?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “I saw the Tathagata’s thirty-two characteristics, which were so supremely wonderful, so incomparable, that his entire body had a shimmering transparence just like that of crystal.

”I often thought to myself that these characteristics cannot be born of desire and love. Why? The vapors of desire are coarse and murky. From foul and putrid intercourse comes a turbid mixture of pus and blood which cannot give off such a magnificent, pure, and brilliant concentration of purple-golden light. And so I thirstily gazed upward, followed the Buddha, and let the hair fall from my head.”

The Buddha said, “Very good, Ananda. You should all know that all living beings are continually born and continually die, simply because they do not know the everlasting true mind, the bright substance of the pure nature. Instead they engage in false thinking. It has been so since time without beginning. Their thoughts are not true, and so the wheel keeps turning.

”Now you wish to investigate the unsurpassed Bodhi and actually discover your nature. You should answer my questions with a straightforward mind, because that is exactly the way the Tathagatas of the ten directions escaped birth and death. Their minds were all straightforward, and since their minds and words were consistently that way, from the beginning, through the intermediate stages to the end, they were never in the least evasive.

Ananda, I now ask you: at the time of your initial resolve, which arose in response to the Tathagata’s thirty-two characteristics, what was it that saw those characteristics and who delighted in them?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, this is the way I experienced the delight: I used my mind and eyes. Because my eyes saw the Tathagata’s outstanding characteristics, my mind gave rise to delight. That is why I became resolved and wished to removed myself from birth and death.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “It is as you say, that experience of delight actually occurs because of your mind and eyes. If you do not know where your mind and eyes are, you will not be able to conquer the wearisome dust.

For example, when a king’s country is invaded by thieves and he sends out his troops to suppress and banish them, the troops must know where the thieves are.

”It is the fault of your mind and eyes that you flow and turn. I am now asking you specifically about your mind and eyes: where are they now?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, all the ten kinds of living beings in the world alike maintain that the conscious mind dwells within the body; and as I regard the Tathagata’s blue lotus-flower eyes, they too are on the Buddha’s face.

”I now observe that these prominent organs, four kinds of defiling objects, are on my face, and so, too, my conscious mind actually is within my body.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You are now sitting in the Tathagata’s lecture hall looking at the Jeta Grove. Where is it at present?”

World Honored One, this great many-storied pure lecture hall is in the Garden of the Benefactor of the Solitary. At present the Jeta Grove is in fact outside the hall.”

Ananda, as you are now in the hall, what do you see first?”

World Honored One, here in the hall I first see the Tathagata, next I see the great assembly, and from there, as I gaze outward, I see the grove and garden.”

Ananda, why it is you are able to see the grove and the garden as you look at them?”

World Honored One, since the doors and windows of this great lecture hall have been thrown open wide, I can be in the hall and see into the distance.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “It is as you say. When one is in the lecture hall and the doors and windows are open wide, one can see far into the garden and grove. Could there be someone in the hall who does not see the Tathagata and yet sees outside the hall?”

Ananda answered: “World Honored One, to be in the hall and not see the Tathagata, and yet see the grove and fountains is impossible.”

Ananda, you are like that too.

“Your mind is capable of understanding everything thoroughly. Now if your present mind, which thoroughly understands everything, were in your body, then you should be aware first of what is inside your body. Can there be living beings who first see inside their bodies before they observe things outside?

”Even if you cannot see your heart, liver, spleen, and stomach, still, the growing of your nails and hair, the twist of your sinews, and the throb of your pulse should be clearly understood. Why don’t you perceive these things? If you cannot perceive what is inside at all, how can you perceive what is outside?

”Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that the aware and knowing mind is in the body.”

Ananda bowed his head and said to the Buddha, “Upon hearing such a Dharma-sound as the Tathagata has proclaimed, I realize that my mind is actually outside my body.

”Why? For example, a lamp alight in a room will certainly illumine the inside of the room first, and only then will it pour through the doorway to reach the recesses of the hall. For all living beings who do not see within their bodies but only see outside them, it is as if the lighted lamp were placed outside the room, so that it cannot illumine the room.

”This principle is certainly clear: it is absolutely beyond all doubt and exactly the Buddha’s entire meaning, and so it isn’t wrong is it?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “All these bhikshus who just followed me to the city of Shravasti to beg in sequence for food have returned to the Jeta Grove and are rolling their food into balls as they eat. I have already finished eating, but consider the bhikshus: when one person eats, does everyone get full?”

Ananda answered, “No, World Honored One. Why? These bhikshus are Arhats, but their individual lives differ. How could one person’s eating cause everyone to be full?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “If your mind which understands, knows, sees and is aware were actually outside your body, your body and mind would be mutually exclusive and would have no relationship to one another. The body would be unaware of what the mind perceives, and the mind would not perceive the awareness within the body.

”Now as I show you my tula-cotton hand, does your mind distinguish it when your eyes see it?”

Ananda answered, “So it is, World Honored One.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “If the mind and eyes create a common perception, how then can the mind be outside?

”Therefore you should know you state the impossible when you say that the mind which knows, understands, and is aware is outside the body.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is as the Buddha has said, since I cannot see inside, my mind does not reside in the body. Since my body and mind have a common awareness, they are not separate and so my mind does not dwell outside my body. As I now consider it, I know it is in a certain place.”

The Buddha said, “Now where is it?”

Ananda said, “Since the mind which knows and understands does not perceive what is inside but can see outside, upon reflection I believe it is concealed in the organ of vision.

”For example, when someone places crystal bowls over his eyes, the bowls cover his eyes but do not obstruct his vision. The organ of vision is thus able to see, and discriminations are made accordingly.

”And so my mind which knows, understands, and is aware does not see within because it resides in the organ. It can gaze outside clearly, without obstruction for the same reason: it is concealed in the organ.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Assuming that it is concealed in the organ, as you assert in your analogy of the crystals: if someone were to cover his eyes with the crystals and look at the mountains and rivers, would he see the crystals as well?”

”Yes, World Honored One, if a person were to cover his eyes with the crystals, he would in fact see the crystals.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “If your mind is analogous to the eyes covered with crystals, then when you see the mountains and rivers, why dont you see your eyes?

”If you could see your eyes, your eyes would be part of the external environment. If you cannot see them, why did you say that the mind which understands, knows, and is aware is concealed in the organ of vision as eyes are covered by crystals?

“Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that the mind which knows, understands, and is aware is concealed in the organ of vision in the way that the eyes are covered by crystals.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I now offer this reconsideration: viscera and bowels lie inside the bodies of living beings, while the orifices are open to the exterior. There is darkness at the bowels and light at the orifices.

”Now, as I face the Buddha and open my eyes, I see light: that is to see outside. When I close my eyes and see darkness, that is to see within. How does that principle sound?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “When you close your eyes and see darkness, does the darkness you experience lie before your eyes? If it does lie before your eyes, then the darkness is in front of your eyes. How can that be said to be ‘within’?

”If it were within, then when you are in a dark room without the light of sun, moon, or lamps, the darkness in the room would constitute your .warmers. and viscera. If it is not before you, how can it be seen?

”If you assert that there is an inward seeing that is distinct from seeing outside. In that case, when you close your eyes and see darkness, you would be seeing inside the body. Therefore, when you open your eyes and see light, why can’t you see your own face?

”If you cannot see your face, then there can be no seeing within. If you can see your face, then your mind that knows and understands and your organ of vision as well must be suspended in space. How could they be part of your body?

”If they are in space, then they are not part of your body. Otherwise the Tathagata who now sees your face should be part of your body as well.

”In that case, when your eyes perceive something, your body would remain unaware of it. If you press the point and say that the body and eyes each have an awareness, then you should have two perceptions, and your one body should eventually become two Buddhas.

”Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that to see darkness is to see within.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “I have heard the Buddha instruct the four assemblies that because the mind arises every kind of dharma arises, and that because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises.

”As I now consider it, the substance of that very consideration is truly the nature of the mind. Wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response. It does not exist in the three locations of inside, outside and in between.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Now you say that because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises. Wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response. But if it has no substance, the mind cannot come together with anything. If, having no substance, it can yet come together with things, that would constitute a nineteenth realm brought about by a union with the seventh defiling object, and there is no such principle.

”If it does have substance, when you pinch your body with your hand, does your mind which perceives it come out from the inside or in from the outside? If it comes out from the inside, then, once again, it should see within your body. If it comes in from outside, it should see your face first.”

Ananda said, “Seeing is done with the eyes. The mind’s perception is not that of the eyes. To say it sees doesn’t make sense.”

The Buddha said, “To suppose that the eyes can see is like supposing that the doors of a room can see. Also, when someone has died but his eyes are still intact, his eyes should see things. How can it be death if one can still see?

”Furthermore, Ananda, if your mind which is aware, understands, and knows in fact has substance, then is it a single substance or many substances? Does its substance perceive the body as it now resides in it or does it not perceive it?

”Supposing that it were a single substance, then when you pinched one limb with your fingers, the four limbs would be aware of it. If they all were aware of it, the pinch could not be at any one place. If the pinch were confined to one place, then the single substance you propose would not be possible.

”Supposing that it were many substances: then you would be many people. Which substance would be you?

”Supposing it were a pervasive substance: the case would be the same as before in the instance of pinching. But supposing it were not pervasive; then when you touched your head and touched your foot simultaneously, the foot would not perceive it if the head does. But that is not how you are.

”Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I also have heard the Buddha discuss true appearance with Manjushri and the other disciples of the Dharma king. The World Honored One also said, ‘The mind is not inside and it is not outside.’

”As I now consider it, if it were within, it would see things it does not see; if it were outside, there would be no common perception. Since it cannot see inside, it cannot be inside; and since the body and mind have common perception, it does not make sense to say it is outside. Therefore, since there is a common perception and since there is no seeing within, it must be in the middle.”

The Buddha said, “You say it is in the middle. That middle must not be haphazard or without a fixed location. Where is this middle that you propose? Is it in an external place, or is it in the body?

”If it were in the body, it could not be on the surface of the body since that is not the middle. But to be in the middle is no different than being inside. If it were in an external place, would there be some evidence of it, or not? If there were no evidence of it, that would be the same as if it did not exist. If there were evidence of it, then it would have no fixed location.

”Why? Suppose that someone were to indicate the middle by a marker. When regarded from the east, it would be to the west, and when regarded from the south, it would be to the north. The marker is unclear, and the mind would be equally chaotic.”

Ananda said, “The middle I speak of is neither of those. As the World Honored One has said, the eyes and forms are the conditions which create the eye-consciousness. The eyes make discriminations; forms have no perception, but a consciousness is created between them. That is where my mind is.”

The Buddha said, “If your mind were between the eye and an object, does the mind’s substance combine with the two or does it not?

”If it did combine with the two, then objects and the mind-substance would form a chaotic mixture. Since objects have no perception, while the substance has perception, the two would stand in opposition. Which is the middle?

”If it did not combine with the two, it would then be neither perceiver nor perceived and would have no substance or nature. Where would the characteristic of ‘middle’ be?

”Therefore you should know that for the mind to be in the middle is impossible.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, when I have seen the Buddha turn the Dharma wheel in the past with great Maudgalyayana, Subhuti, Purna, and Shariputra, four of the great disciples, he often said that the nature of the mind which perceives, makes discriminations, and is aware is located neither within nor outside nor in the middle; it is not located anywhere at all. That very non-attachment to anything is what is called the mind. Therefore, is my non-attachment my mind?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You say that the nature of the mind which perceives, makes discriminations, and is aware is not located anywhere at all. The entirety of things existing in the world consists of space, the waters, the land, the creatures that fly and walk, and all external objects. Does your non-attachment also exist?

”If it does not exist, it is the same as hairs on a tortoise or horns on a rabbit. How can you speak of non-attachment?

”If non-attachment existed, it could not be said to be non-existent. To be non-existent is to be without attributes. To be existent is to have attributes. Whatever has attributes has a location; how then can it be said to be unattached?

”Therefore you should know, to call the aware, knowing mind non-attachment to anything is impossible.”

Then Ananda arose from his seat in the midst of the great assembly, uncovered his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground, respectfully put his palms together, and said to the Buddha:

”I am the Tathagata’s youngest cousin. I have received the Buddha’s compassionate love and have left the home-life, but I have been dependent on his affection, and as a consequence have pursued erudition and am not yet without outflows.

”I could not overcome the Kapila mantra. I was spun around by it and sank in the house of prostitution, all because I did not know the location of the realm of reality.

”I only hope that the World Honored One, out of great kindness and pity, will instruct us in the path of shamata to guide the icchantikas and overthrow the mlecchas.”

After he had finished speaking, he placed his five limbs on the ground along with the entire great assembly. Then they stood on tiptoe waiting attentively and thirstily to respectfully hear the instructions.

Then the World Honored One radiated forth from his face various kinds of light, dazzling light as brilliant as hundreds of thousands of suns.

The six kinds of quaking pervaded the Buddharealms, and thus lands as many as fine motes of dust throughout the ten directions appeared simultaneously.

The Buddha’s awesome spirit caused all the realms to unite into a single realm.

And in these realms all the great Bodhisattvas, each remaining in his own country, put their palms together and listened.

“The reason those who cultivate cannot accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi, but instead reach the level of a Sound-Hearer or of one enlightened to conditions, or become accomplished in outside ways as heaven-dwellers or as demon-kings or as members of the retinue of demons is that they do not know the two fundamental roots and are mistaken and confused in their cultivation. They are like one who cooks sand in the hope of creating savory delicacies. They may pass through as many aeons as there are motes of dust, but in the end they will not obtain what they want.

”What are the two? Ananda, the first is the root of beginningless birth and death, which is the mind that seizes upon conditions and that you and all living beings now make use of, taking it to be the self-nature.

”The second is the primal pure substance of the beginningless Bodhi Nirvana. It is the primal bright essence of consciousness that can bring forth all conditions. Because of conditions, you consider it to be lost.

Living beings lose sight of the original brightness: therefore, though they use it to the end of their days, they are unaware of it, and without intending to they enter the various destinies.

Ananda, since you now wish to know about the path of shamatha with the hope of getting out of birth and death, I will question you further.”

Then the Tathagata raised his golden arm and bent his five wheeled fingers as he asked Ananda, “Do you see?”

Ananda said, “I see.”

The Buddha said, “What do you see?”

Ananda said, “I see the Tathagata raise his arm and bend his fingers into a fist of light which dazzles my mind and my eyes.”

The Buddha said, “What do you see it with?”

Ananda said, “The members of the great assembly and I each see it with our eyes.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You have answered me by saying that the Tathagata bends his fingers into a fist of light which dazzles your mind and eyes. Your eyes are able to see, but what is the mind that is dazzled by my fist?”

Ananda said, “The Tathagata is asking where the mind is located. Now that I use my mind to search for it thoroughly, I propose that precisely what is able to investigate is my mind.”

The Buddha said, “Hey! Ananda, that is not your mind.”

Startled, Ananda leapt from his seat, stood and put his palms together, and said to the Buddha, “If it’s not my mind, what is it?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “It is your perception of false appearances based on external objects which deludes your true nature and has caused you from beginningless time to your present life to recognize a thief as your son, to lose your eternal source, and to undergo the wheel’s turning.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I am the Buddha’s favorite cousin. It is because my mind loved the Buddha that I was led to leave the home-life. It is my mind that not only makes offerings to the Tathagata, but also, in passing through lands as many as the grains of sand in the Ganges River to serve all Buddhas and good, wise advisors, and in martialing great courage to practice every difficult aspect of the dharma, I always use this mind. Even if I am slandering the dharma and eternally withdrawing my good roots, it would also be because of this mind. If this is not my mind, then I have no mind, and I am the same as a clod of earth or a piece of wood. Without this awareness and knowing, nothing would exist.

”Why does the Tathagata say this is not my mind? I am startled and frightened and not one member of the great assembly is without doubt. I only hope that the World Honored One will regard us with great compassion and instruct those who have not yet awakened.”

Then the World Honored One gave instruction to Ananda and the great assembly, wishing to cause their minds to enter the state of patience with the non-production of dharmas.

From the lion’s seat he rubbed Ananda’s crown and said to him, “The Tathagata has often said that all dharmas that arise are only manifestations of the mind. All causes and effects, the worlds as many as fine motes of dust, come into being because of the mind.

Ananda, when all the things in the world, including blades of grass and strands of silk thread, are examined at their fundamental source, each is seen to have substance and a nature, even empty space has a name and an appearance.

”How much the less could the clear, wonderful, pure bright mind, the essence of all thoughts, itself be without a substance?

”If you insist that the nature which knows and observes and is aware of distinctions is the mind, then apart from all forms, smells, tastes, and touches . apart from the workings of all the defiling objects . that mind should have its own complete nature.

”And yet now, as you listen to my Dharma, it is because of sound that you are able to make distinctions.

”Even if you could extinguish all seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing, and maintain an inner composure, the shadows of your discrimination of dharmas would remain.

”I do not insist that you grant that it is not the mind. But examine your mind in minute detail to see whether there is a discriminating nature apart from the objects of sense. That would truly be your mind.

”If this discriminating nature has no substance apart from objects, then it is shadows of discriminations of objects of mind.

”The objects are not permanent, and when they pass out of existence, such a mind would be like hair on a tortoise or horns on a rabbit. In that case your Dharma-body would be extinguished along with it. Then who cultivates and attains patience with the non-production of dharmas?”

At that point Ananda and everyone in the great assembly was speechless and at a total loss.

The Buddha said to Ananda, “There are cultivators in the world who, although they realize the nine successive stages of samadhi, do not achieve the extinction of outflows or become Arhats, all because they are attached to birth-and-death false thinking and mistake it for what is truly real. That is why now, although you are greatly learned, you have not realized the accomplishment of sagehood.”

When Ananda heard that, he again wept sorrowfully, placed his five limbs on the ground, knelt on both knees, put his palms together, and said to the Buddha, “Since I followed the Buddha and left home, what I have done is to rely on the Buddha’s awesome spirit. I have often thought, ‘There is no reason for me to toil at cultivation’ expecting that the Tathagata would bestow samadhi upon me. I never realized that he could not stand in for me in body and mind. Thus, I lost my original mind and although my body has left the home-life, my mind has not entered the Way. I am like the poor son who renounced his father and roamed around.

”Therefore, today I realize that although I am greatly learned, if I do not cultivate, it is the same as if I had not learned anything; just as someone who only speaks of food will never get full.

World Honored One, now we all are bound by two obstructions and as a consequence do not perceive the still, eternal nature of the mind. I only hope the Tathagata will take pity on us poor and destitute ones and disclose the wonderful bright mind, and open my Way-eye.”

Then from the character wan [signifying “myriad virtues”] on his chest, the Tathagata poured forth precious light. Radiant with hundreds of thousands of colors, the brilliant light simultaneously pervaded everywhere throughout the ten directions to Buddharealms as many as fine motes of dust, anointing the crowns of every Tathagata in all the jeweled Buddhalands of the ten directions. Then it swept back to Ananda and all in the great assembly.

And said to Ananda, “I will now erect the great Dharma banner for you, to cause all living beings in the ten directions to obtain the wondrous subtle secret, the pure nature, the bright mind, and to attain the pure eye.

"Ananda, you have told me that you saw my fist of bright light. How did it take the form of a fist? How did the fist become bright? By what means could you see it?”

Ananda replied, “The body of the Buddha is born of purity and cleanness, and, therefore, it assumes the color of Jambu River gold with deep red hues. Hence, it shone as brilliant and dazzling as a precious mountain. It was actually my eyes that saw the Buddha bend his five-wheeled fingers to form a fist which was shown to all of us.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “Today the Tathagata will tell you truly that all those with wisdom are able to achieve enlightenment through the use of examples.

Ananda, take, for example, my fist: if I didn’t have a hand, I couldn’t make a fist. If you didn’t have eyes, you couldn’t see. If you apply the example of my fist to the case of your eyes, is the idea the same?”

Ananda said, “Yes, World Honored One. Since I can’t see without my eyes, if one applies the example of the Buddha’s fist to the case of your eyes, the idea is the same.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You say it is the same, but that is not right. Why? If a person has no hand, his fist is gone forever. But one who is without eyes is not entirely devoid of sight.

”For what reason? Try consulting a blind man on the street: ‘What do you see?’

”Any blind man will certainly answer, ‘Now I see only black in front of my eyes. Nothing else meets my gaze.’

”The meaning is apparent: if he sees blackness in front of him, how could his seeing be considered ‘lost’?”

Ananda said, “The only thing blind people see in front of their eyes is blackness. How can that be seeing?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Is there any difference between the blackness seen by blind people, who do not have the use of their eyes, and the blackness seen by someone who has the use of his eyes when he is in a dark room?”

”So it is, World Honored One. Between the two kinds of blackness, that seen by the person in a dark room and that seen by the blind, there is no difference.”

Ananda, if the person without the use of his eyes who sees only blackness were suddenly to regain his sight and see all kinds of forms, and you say it is his eyes which see, then when the person in a dark room who sees only blackness suddenly sees all kinds of forms because a lamp is lit, you should say it is the lamp which sees.

”If it is a case of the lamp seeing, it would be a lamp endowed with sight - which couldn’t be called a lamp. And if the lamp were to do the seeing, how would you be involved?

”Therefore you should know that while the lamp can reveal the forms, it is the eyes, not the lamp, that do the seeing. And while the eyes can reveal the forms, the seeing-nature comes from the mind, not the eyes.”

Although Ananda and everyone in the great assembly had heard what was said, their minds had not yet understood, and so they remained silent. Hoping to hear more of the gentle sounds of the Tathagata’s teaching, they put their palms together, purified their minds, and stood waiting for the Tathagata’s compassionate instruction.

Then the World Honored One extended his tula-cotton webbed bright hand, opened his five-wheeled fingers, and told Ananda and the great assembly, “When I first accomplished the Way I went to the Deer Park, and for the sake of Ajnatakaundinya and all five of the bhikshus, as well as for you of the four-fold assembly, I said, ‘It is because living beings are impeded by guest-dust and affliction that they do not realize Bodhi or become arhats.’ At that time, what caused you who have now realized the holy fruit to become enlightened?”

Then Ajnatakaundinya arose and said to the Buddha, “Of the elders now present in the great assembly, only I received the nameunderstanding’ because I was enlightened to the meaning of the word ‘guest-dust’ and realized the fruition.

World Honored One, it is like a traveler who stops as a guest at a roadside inn, perhaps for the night or perhaps for a meal. When he has finished lodging there or when the meal is finished, he packs his baggage and sets out again. He does not remain there at leisure. The host himself, however, does not go far away.

”Considering it this way, the one who does not remain is called the guest, and the one who does remain is called the host. The word ‘guest,’ then, means ‘one who does not remain.’

”Again, when the sky clears up, the morning sun rises with all resplendence, and its golden rays stream into a house through a crevice to reveal particles of dust in the air. The dust dances in the rays of light, but the empty space is motionless.

”Considering it this way, what is clear and still is called space, and what moves is called dust. The word ‘dust,’ then, means ‘that which moves.’”

The Buddha said, “So it is.”

Then in the midst of the great assembly the Thus Come One bent his five-wheeled fingers. After bending them, he opened them again. After he opened them, he bent them again, and he asked Ananda, “What do you see now?”

Ananda said, “I see the Thus Come One’s hundred-jeweled wheeled palms opening and closing in the midst of the assembly.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You see my hand open and close in the assembly. Is it my hand that opens and closes, or is it your seeing that opens and closes?”

Ananda said, “The World Honored One’s jeweled hand opened and closed in the assembly. I saw the Thus Come One’s hand itself open and close; it was not my seeing-nature that opened and closed.”

The Buddha said, “What moves and what is still?”

Ananda said, “The Buddha’s hand does not remain at rest. And since my seeing-nature is beyond even stillness, how could it not be at rest?”

The Buddha said, “So it is.”

Then from his wheeled palm the Thus Come One sent a precious ray of light flying to Ananda’s right. Ananda immediately turned his head and glanced to the right. He then sent another ray of light to Ananda’s left. Ananda again turned his head and glanced to the left. The Buddha said to Ananda, “Why did your head move just now?”

Ananda said, “I saw the Thus Come One emit a wonderful precious light which came by my left and right, and so I looked to the left and right. My head moved of itself.”

Ananda, when you glanced at the Buddha’s light and moved your head to the left and right, was it your head that moved or your seeing that moved?”

World Honored One, my head moved of itself. Since my seeing-nature is beyond even cessation, how could it move?”

The Buddha said, “So it is.”

Then the Thus Come One told everyone in the great assembly, “Suppose other living beings called what moves ‘the dust’ and what does not dwell ‘the guest’?

”You noticed that it was Ananda’s head that moved; the seeing did not move. You also noticed that it was my hand which opened and closed; the seeing did not stretch or bend.

”Why do you continue to take something moving like your body and its environment to be in substantial existence, so that from the beginning to the end, your every thought is subject to production and extinction?

”You have lost your true nature and conduct yourselves in upside-down ways. Having lost your true nature and mind, you recognize objects as yourself, and it is you who cling to the flowing and turning of the revolving wheel.”

When Ananda and the great assembly heard the Buddha’s instructions, they became peaceful and composed both in body and mind. They recollected that since time without beginning, they had strayed from their fundamental true mind by mistaking the shadows of their causally conditioned differentiating minds as something real and substantial. Now on this day they had awakened to such illusions and misconceptions. Like a lost infant who rejoins its beloved mother after a long separation, they put their palms together to make obeisance to the Buddha.

They wished to hear such words from the Thus Come One as to enlighten them to the dual nature of body and mind - what is false and what is real, what is empty and what is substantial, what is subject to production and extinction and what transcends production and extinction.

Then King Prasenajit rose and said to the Buddha, “In the past, when I had not yet received the teachings of the Buddha, I met Katyayana and Vairatiputra, both of whom said that this body is annihilated after death, and that this is Nirvana. Now, although I have met the Buddha, I still have doubts about their words. How much I wish to be enlightened to the ways and means to perceive and realize the true mind, thereby proving that it transcends production and extinction! All those who have outflows also wish to be instructed on this subject.”

The Buddha said to the great king, “Now I ask you, as it is now is your physical body like vajra, indestructible and living forever? Or does it change and go bad?”

World Honored One, this body of mine will keep changing until it eventually becomes extinct.”

The Buddha said, “Great King, you have not yet become extinct. How do you know you will become extinct?”

World Honored One, although my impermanent, changing, and decaying body has not yet become extinct, I observe it now, and every passing thought fades away. Each new one fails to remain, but gradually perishes like fire turning to ashes. This perishing without cease convinces me that this body will eventually become completely extinct.”

The Buddha said, “So it is.

”Great King, at your present age you are already old and declining. How do your appearance and complexion compare to when you were a youth?”

World Honored One, in the past when I was young my skin was moist and shining. When I reached the prime of life, my blood and breath were full. But now in my declining years, as I race into old age, my form is withered and wizened and my spirit dull. My hair is white and my face is in wrinkles and I haven’t much time remaining. How can I be compared to how I was when I was full of life?”

The Buddha said, “Great King, your appearance should not decline so suddenly.”

The king said, .World Honored One, the change has been a hidden transformation of which I honestly have not been aware. I have come to this gradually through the passing of winters and summers.

”How did it happen? In my twenties, I was still young, but my features had aged since the time I was ten. My thirties were a further decline from my twenties, and now at sixty-two I look back on my fifties as hale and hearty.

World Honored One, I am contemplating these hidden transformations. Although the changes wrought by this process of dying are evident through the decades, I might consider them further in finer detail: these changes do not occur just in periods of twelve years; there are actually changes year by year. Not only are there yearly changes, there are also monthly transformations. Nor does it stop at monthly transformations; there are also differences day by day. Examining them closely, I find that kshana by kshana, thought after thought, they never stop.

”And so I know my body will keep changing until it is extinct.”

The Buddha told the great king, “By watching the ceaseless changes of these transformations, you awaken and know of your extinction, but do you also know that at the time of extinction there is something in your body which does not become extinct?”

King Prasenajit put his palms together and exclaimed, “I really do not know.”

The Buddha said, “I will now show you the nature which is not produced and not extinguished.

”Great King, how old were you when you saw the waters of the Ganges?”

The king said, “When I was three years old my compassionate mother led me to visit the Goddess Jiva. We passed a river, and at the time I knew it was the waters of the Ganges.”

The Buddha said, “Great King, you have said that when you were twenty you had deteriorated from when you were ten. Day by day, month by month, year by year until you have reached sixty, in thought after thought there has been change. Yet when you saw the Ganges River at the age of three, how was it different from when you were thirteen?”

The king said, “It was no different from when I was three, and even now when I am sixty-two it is still no different.”

The Buddha said, “Now you are mournful that your hair is white and your face is wrinkled. In the same way that your face is definitely more wrinkled than it was in your youth, has the seeing with which you look at the Ganges aged, so that it is old now but was young when you looked at the river as a child in the past?”

The king said, “No, World Honored One.”

The Buddha said, “Great King, your face is in wrinkles, but the essential nature of your seeing has not yet wrinkled. What wrinkles is subject to change. What does not wrinkle does not change.

”What changes will become extinct, but what does not change is fundamentally free of production and extinction. How can it be subject to your birth and death? Furthermore, why bring up what Maskari Goshaliputra and the others say: that after the death of this body there is total extinction?”

The King heard these words, believed them, and realized that when the life of this body is finished, there will be rebirth. He and the entire great assembly were greatly delighted at having obtained what they had never had before.

Ananda then arose from his seat, made obeisance to the Buddha, put his palms together, knelt on both knees, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if seeing and hearing are indeed neither produced nor extinguished, why did the World Honored One refer to us as people who have lost their true natures and who go about things in an upside-down way? I hope the World Honored One will give rise to great compassion and wash my dust and defilement away.”

Then the Thus Come One let his golden arm fall so that his wheeled fingers pointed downward, and, showing Ananda, he said, .”You see my mudra-hand: is it right-side up or upside down?”

Ananda said, “Living beings in the world take it to be upside down. I do not know what is right-side up and what is upside down.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “If people of the world take this as upside down, what do people of the world take to be right-side up?”

Ananda said, “They call it right-side up when the Thus Come One raises his arm, with the fingers of his tula-cotton hand pointing upward in the air.”

The Buddha then held up his hand and said: “Worldly people are doubly deluded when they discriminate between an upright and inverted hand.

”In the same way they will differentiate between your body and the Thus Come One’s pure Dharmabody and will say that the Thus Come One’s body is one of right and universal knowledge, while your body is upside down.

”But examine your bodies and the Buddha’s closely for this upside-downess: what exactly does the term ‘upside down’ refer to?”

Thereupon Ananda and the entire great assembly were dazed, and they stared unblinking at the Buddha. They did not know in what way their bodies and minds were upside down.

The Buddha’s compassion arose and he took pity on Ananda and on all in the great assembly and he spoke to the great assembly in a voice that swept over them like the ocean-tide.

"All of you good people, I have often said that form and mind and all conditions, as well as dharmas pertaining to the mind - all the conditioned dharmas - are manifestations of the mind only. Your bodies and your minds all appear within the wonder of the bright, true, essential, wonderful mind.

”Why do I say that you have lost track of what is fundamentally wonderful in you, the perfect, wonderful bright mind, and that in the midst of your bright and enlightened nature, you mistake the false for the real because of ignorance and delusion?

Mental dimness turns into dull emptiness. This emptiness, in the dimness, unites with darkness to become form.

”Stimulated by false thinking, the form takes the shape of a body.

”As causal conditions come together there are perpetual internal disturbances which tend to gallop outside. Such inner disturbances are often mistaken for the nature of mind.

”The primary misconception about the mind and body is the false view that the mind dwells in the physical body.

”You do not know that the physical body, as well as the mountains, the rivers, empty space, and the great earth are all within the wonderful bright true mind.

”It is like ignoring hundreds of thousands of clear pure seas and taking notice of only a single bubble, seeing it as the entire ocean, as the whole expanse of great and small seas.

”You people are doubly deluded among the deluded. Such inversion does not differ from that caused by my lowered hand. The Thus Come One says you are most pitiable.”

Having received the Buddha’s compassionate rescue and profound instruction, Ananda’s tears fell, and he folded his hands and said to the Buddha, “I have heard these wonderful sounds of the Buddha and have realized that the wonderful bright mind is fundamentally perfect; it is the eternally dwelling mind-ground.

”But now in awakening to the Dharma-sounds that the Buddha is speaking, it is my conditioned mind which I use to contemplate them reverently. Having just obtained the mind, I do not acknowledge that it is the fundamental mind-ground.

”I pray that the Buddha will take pity on me and proclaim the perfect sound to pull out my doubts by the roots and enable me to return to the unsurpassed Way.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “You still listen to the Dharma with the conditioned mind, and so the Dharma becomes conditioned as well, and you do not obtain the Dharma-nature. It is like when someone points his finger at the moon to show it to someone else. Guided by the finger, that person should see the moon. If he looks at the finger instead and mistakes it for the moon, he loses not only the moon but the finger also. Why? He mistakes the pointing finger for the bright moon.

”Not only does he lose the finger, but he also fails to recognize light and darkness. Why? He mistakes the substance of the finger for the bright nature of the moon, and so he does not understand the two natures of light and darkness. The same is true of you.

”If you take what distinguishes the sound of my speaking Dharma to be your mind, then that mind itself, apart from the sound which is distinguished, should have a nature which makes distinctions. It is like the guest who lodges overnight at an inn; he stops temporarily and then goes on. He does not dwell there permanently, whereas the innkeeper does not go anywhere: he is the host of the inn.

”Likewise, if it is truly your mind, it does not go anywhere. However, in the absence of sound it has no discriminating nature of its own. Can you tell the reason why?

”This, then, applies not only to the distinguishing of sound; in distinguishing my appearance, there is no distinction-making nature apart from the mark of form.

”Thus even when the making of distinctions is totally absent, when there is no form and no emptiness - the obscurity which Goshali and the others take to be the ‘profound truth’ - in the absence of causal conditions, the distinction-making nature ceases to exist.

”How can we say that the nature of your mind plays the part of host since everything perceived by it returns to something else?”

Ananda said, “If every state of our mind returns to something else as its cause, then why does the wonderful bright original mind mentioned by the Buddha return nowhere? I hold out the hope that the Buddha will shower us with such compassion as to enlighten us on this point.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “As you now see me, the essence of your seeing is fundamentally bright. If the profound bright original mind is compared to the moon, the essence of your seeing is the second moon rather than its reflection.

”You should listen attentively, for I am now going to show you the place of no returning.

Ananda, this great lecture hall is open to the east. It is flooded with light when the sun rises in the sky. It is dark at midnight during a new moon or when obscured by clouds or fog. Looking out through open doors and windows your vision is unimpeded; facing walls or houses your vision is hindered. Your vision is causally conditioned in such places where there are forms of distinctive features; in dull void, you can see only emptiness. Your vision will be distorted when the objects of seeing are shrouded in dust and vapor; you will perceive clearly when the air is fresh.

Ananda, observe all these transitory characteristics as I now return each to its place of origin. What are the basic origins? Ananda, among all these transitions, the ‘light’ returns to the sun. Why? Without the sun there is no light; therefore the reason for light belongs with the sun, and so it can be returned to the sun.

”’Darkness’ returns to the new moon. ‘Penetration’ returns to the doors and windows while ‘obstruction’ returns to the walls and eaves. ‘Conditions’ return to distinctions. ‘Emptiness’ returns to dull emptiness. ‘Darkness’ and ‘distortion’ return to the mist and haze. Bright ‘purity’ returns to freshness, and nothing that exists in this world goes beyond these kinds.

”To which of the eight states of perception will the essence of your seeing return? Why do I ask? The answer lies in the fact that if it is returned to brightness, you will not see darkness when there is no light. Although such states of perception as light, darkness, and the like differ from one another, your seeing remains unchanged.

”That which can be returned to other sources is clearly not you; that which can be returned nowhere is none other than you.

”Therefore I know that your mind is fundamentally wonderful, bright, and pure. You yourself are confused and deluded. You miss what is fundamental, and you are caught in the turning wheel of the six paths, tossing and floating on the stormy sea of birth and death all the time. No wonder the Thus Come One says that you are the most pitiable of creatures.”

Ananda said, “I recognize that the seeing-nature does not return to anything, but how can I come to know that it is my true nature?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “Now I have a question for you. At this point you have not yet attained the purity of no outflows. Blessed by the Buddha’s spiritual strength, you are able to see into the first dhyana heavens without any obstruction, just as Aniruddha looks at Jambudvipa with such clarity as he might an amala fruit in the palm of his hand.

Bodhisattvas can see hundreds of thousands of realms. The Thus Come Ones of the ten directions see everything throughout the pure lands as numerous as fine motes of dust. Living beingssight does not extend beyond a fraction of an inch.

Ananda, as you and I now look at the palace where the four heavenly kings reside, and inspect all that moves in the water, on dry land, and in the air, some are dark and some are bright, varying in shape and appearance, yet all are nothing but dust before us - distinctions and obstructions.

”Among them you should distinguish which is self and which is other. I ask you now to select from within your seeing which is the substance of the self and which is the appearance of things.

Ananda, if you take a good look at everything everywhere within the range of your vision extending from the palaces of the sun and moon to the seven gold mountain ranges, all that you see is not you, but are things of different features and lights. At closer range you will gradually see clouds floating, birds flying, wind blowing, dust rising, trees, plants, rivers, mountains, grasses, animals, people, all of which are not you, but things.

Ananda, all things, near and far, have the nature of things. Although each is distinctly different, they are seen with the same pure essence of seeing. Thus all the categories of things have their individual distinctions, but the seeing-nature has no differences. This essential wonderful brightness is most certainly your seeing-nature.

”If seeing were a thing, then you should also be able to see my seeing.

”If you say you see my seeing, when we both look at the same thing, then when I am not seeing, why don’t you see my not-seeing?

”If you do see my not-seeing, it is clearly not the thing that I am not seeing. If you do not see my not-seeing, then it is clearly not a thing, and how can you say it is not you?

”What is more, if your seeing is a thing, things should also see you when you see things. With substance and nature mixed up together, you and I and everyone in the world are no longer in order.

Ananda, if, when you see, it is you and not I who see, then the seeing-nature pervades everywhere. Therefore whose is it if it is not yours?

”Why do you have doubts about your own true nature and come to me seeking verification, thinking your nature is not true?.

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, given that this seeing-nature is certainly mine and does not belong to anything else, when the Thus Come One and I regard the palace of the Four Heavenly Kings with its supreme store of jewels and stay at the palace of the sun and moon, this seeing completely pervades the lands of the Saha world. Upon returning to the sublime abode, I only see the monastic grounds and in the pure central hall I only see the eaves and corridors.

World Honored One, that is how the seeing is. At first its substance pervaded everywhere throughout the one realm, but now in the midst of this room it fills one room only. Does the seeing shrink from great to small, or do the walls and eaves press in and cut it off? Now I do not know where the meaning in this lies and hope the Buddha will let fall his vast compassion and proclaim it for me thoroughly.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “All the aspects of everything in the world, such as big and small, inside and outside, are classed as the dust before you. You should not say the seeing stretches and shrinks.

”Consider the example of a square container in which a square of emptiness is seen. I ask you further: is the square emptiness that is seen in the square container a fixed square shape, or is it not fixed as a square shape?

”If it is a fixed square shape, when it is switched to a round container the emptiness would not be round. If it is not a fixed shape, then when it is in the square container it should not be a square-shaped emptiness.

”You say you do not know where the meaning lies. The nature of the meaning is thus; how can you speak of its location?

Ananda, if you now wished there to be neither squareness nor roundness, you would only need to take the container away. The substance of emptiness has no shape, and so you should not say that you would also have to take the shape away from the emptiness.

”If, as you ask, your seeing shrinks and becomes small when you enter a room, then when you look up at the sun is your seeing pulled out until it reaches the sun’s surface? If you build walls and eaves which can press in and cut off your seeing why then is there no evidence of a joining when you drill a small hole? Therefore, that idea is incorrect.

”From beginningless time until now, all living beings have mistaken themselves for things and, having lost the original mind, are turned around by things. That is why they contemplate bigness and smallness in the midst of all this.

”If you can turn things around, then you are the same as the Thus Come One.

”With body and mind perfect and bright, you are an unmoving place of the Way.

”The tip of a single fine hair can completely contain the lands of the ten directions..

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if this seeing-essence is indeed my wonderful nature, my wonderful nature is now in front of me. If the seeing is truly me, what, then, are my present body and mind? Yet it is my body and mind which make distinctions whereas the seeing does not make distinctions and does not discern my body.

”If it is really my mind which causes me to see now, then the seeing-nature is actually me, and the body is not me.

”How is this different from the question the Thus Come One asked about things being able to see me? I only hope the Buddha will let fall his great compassion and explain for those who have not yet awakened.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “What you have now said - that the seeing is in front of you - is actually not the case.

”If it were actually in front of you, it would be something you would actually see, and then the seeing-essence would have a location. It wouldn’t be that there is no evidence of it.

”Now as you sit in the Jeta Grove you look about everywhere at the grove, the ponds, the halls, as far as the sun and moon, with the Ganges River before you. Now, before my lion’s seat, point out these various appearances: what is dark is the groves, what is bright is the sun, what is obstructing is the walls, what is clear is emptiness, and so on from the grasses and trees to the finest particle of hair. Their sizes vary, and since they all have appearances, none cannot be located.

”If it is certain that your seeing is in front of you, then with your hand you should with certainty point out what the seeing is. Ananda, if emptiness is the seeing, then how can it remain empty since it has already become your seeing? If a thing is the seeing, how can it be external to you as an object, since it has already become your seeing?

”You can cut through and peel away the myriad appearances to the finest degree in order to distinguish and bring forth the essential brightness and pure wonder of the source of seeing, pointing it out and showing it to me from among all these things, so that it is perfectly clear beyond any doubt.”

Ananda said, “From where I am now in this many-storied lecture hall, as far as the distant Ganges River and the sun and moon overhead, all that I might raise my hand to point to, all that I indulge my eyes in seeing, are all things; they are not the seeing. World Honored One, it is as the Buddha has said. Not merely myself, who am a shravaka of the first stage who still has outflows, but even Bodhisattvas cannot break open and reveal, among the myriad appearances which are before them, an essence of seeing which has a special self-nature apart from all things.”

The Buddha said, “So it is, so it is.”

The Buddha said further to Ananda, “It is as you have said. There is no seeing-essence to be found existing separately among all the things. Therefore, all the things you point to are things, and none is the seeing.

”Now I will tell you: you and the Thus Come One sit in the Jeta Grove and look again at the groves and gardens, as far as the sun and moon, and at all the various different appearances, and it is certain that the seeing-essence is not among whatever you point to. You can go ahead and reveal what, among these things, is not your seeing.”

Ananda said, “I see clearly all over this Jeta Grove, and I do not know what in the midst of it is not my seeing.

”Why? If trees are not the seeing, why do I see trees? If trees are the seeing, then what becomes of trees? The same is true of everything up to and including emptiness: if emptiness is not the seeing, why do I see emptiness? If emptiness is the seeing, then what becomes of emptiness?

”As I consider it again and reveal the subtlest aspects of the myriad appearances, none is not my seeing.”

The Buddha said, “So it is, so it is.”

Then all in the great assembly who had not reached the stage beyond learning were stunned upon hearing these words of the Buddha, and could not perceive where the meaning began or ended. They were agitated and taken aback at the same time, having lost what they had adhered to.

The Thus Come One, knowing they were anxious and uneasy in spirit, let pity rise in his heart as he consoled Ananda and everyone in the great assembly. “Good people, what the unsurpassed Dharma King says is true and real. He speaks things as they are. He does not deceive. He does not lie. He is not Maskari Goshaliputra with his four kinds of non-dying theories that are deceptive and confusing. You should consider this attentively. It is no disgrace to pity or to implore.”

Then Manjushri, son of the Dharma King, took pity on the four assemblies, rose from his seat in the midst of the great assembly, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, placed his palms together respectfully, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the great assembly has not awakened to the principle of the Thus Come One’s two-fold disclosure of the essence of seeing as being both form and emptiness and as being neither of them.

World Honored One, if the causal form, emptiness and other phenomena mentioned above were the seeing, there should be an indication of its distance; and if they were not the seeing, there should be nothing visible to be seen. Now we do not know what is meant, and this is why we are alarmed and concerned.

”It is not that our good roots from former lives are deficient. We only hope the Thus Come One will have the great compassion to reveal exactly what all the things are and what the seeing-essence is. Is it that there is no question of ‘is’ or ‘is not’ in all of this?”

The Buddha told Manjushri and the great assembly, “To the Thus Come Ones and the great Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, who dwell in this samadhi, seeing and the conditions of seeing, as well as the characteristics of thought, are like flowers in space - fundamentally non-existent.

”This seeing and its conditions are originally the wonderful pure bright substance of Bodhi. How can one speak of ‘is’ and ‘is not’?

Manjushri, I now ask you: take yourself as an example, Manjushri. Is there still another Manjushri? Is there a Manjushri who is and a Manjushri who is not?”

”So it is, World Honored One: I am truly Manjushri. There is no Manjushri who ‘is.’ Why? If there were still another Manjushri who ‘is’ Manjushri, there would be two Manjushris. But it is not that now I am not Manjushri. In fact, neither of the two characteristics ‘is’ and ‘is not’ exist.”

The Buddha said, “This is not only the case with the seeing, the basic substance of wonderful Bodhi, but also with emptiness and mundane objects.

”They are basically the projections or manifestations of the wonderful brightness of unsurpassed Bodhi, the pure, perfect, true mind. They are falsely taken to be form and emptiness, as well as hearing and seeing.

”Just as with the second moon: which one ‘is’ the moon and which ‘is not’ the moon? Manjushri, there is only one true moon, and within it there is not a moon that ‘is’ or a moon that ‘is not.’

”Therefore, now as you contemplate the seeing and the mundane things together, all the things you disclose are called false thoughts. You cannot transcend ‘is’ and ‘is not’ from within them.

”With the true essence, the wonderful enlightened bright nature, you can get beyond trying to point out or not point out.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is truly as the Dharma King has said: the condition of enlightenment pervades the ten directions: clear, everlasting, and by nature neither produced nor extinguished. How does it differ, then, from the first brahma Kapila’s teaching of the ‘profound truth’ or from the teaching of the ascetics who throw ashes on themselves or from the other externalist sects that say there is a ‘real self’ which pervades the ten directions?

”Also, in the past, the World Honored One gave a lecture on Mount Lanka explaining the principle thoroughly for the sake of Great Wisdom Bodhisattva and others: ‘Externalist sects always speak of spontaneity. I speak of causes and conditions which is an entirely different principle.’

”Now as I contemplate the nature of enlightenment as spontaneous, as neither produced nor extinguished, and as apart from all empty falseness and inversion, it seems to have nothing to do with your causes and conditions or the spontaneity advocated by others. Would you please enlighten us on this point lest we should fall into deviant paths, thus enabling us to obtain the true mind, the bright nature of wonderful enlightenment?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “Now I have instructed you with such expedients in order to tell you the truth, yet you do not awaken to it but mistake it for spontaneity.

Ananda, if it definitely were spontaneous, you should be able to distinguish the substance of the spontaneity.

”Now you look into the wonderful bright seeing. What is its self? Does the seeing take bright light as its self? Does it take darkness as its self? Does it take emptiness as its self? Does it take solid objects as its self?

Ananda, if its self consists in light, you should not see darkness. Moreover, if it takes emptiness as the substance of its self, you should not see solid objects. Continuing in the same way, if it takes all dark appearances as its self, then when it is light, the seeing-nature is cut off and extinguished, and how can you see light?”

Ananda said, “I am certain that the nature of this wonderful seeing is not spontaneous. Now I discern that it is produced from causes and conditions. But I do not yet have it clear in my mind. I now ask the Thus Come One how this idea is consonant with the nature of causes and conditions.”

The Buddha said, “You say it is causes and conditions. I ask you again: because you are now seeing, the seeing-nature manifests. Is it because of light that the seeing exists? Is it because of darkness that the seeing exists? Is it because of emptiness that the seeing exists? Is it because of solid objects that the seeing exists?

Ananda, if light brings it into existence, you should not see darkness, and if it exists because of darkness, you should not see light. It is the same with emptiness and solid objects.

”Moreover, Ananda, does the seeing derive from the condition of light? Does the seeing derive from the condition of darkness? Does the seeing derive from the condition of emptiness? Does the seeing derive from the condition of solid objects?

Ananda, if it exists because of the condition of emptiness, you should not see solid objects. If it exists because of the condition of solid objects, you should not see emptiness: it is the same with light and darkness.

”Thus you should know that the essential, enlightened wonderful brightness is due to neither causes nor conditions and it does not arise spontaneously.

”It is not that which is not spontaneous. It is not that it is not; nor is it that it is not not. It is not that which ‘is’ or 'is not.’

”Any dharma is that which is apart from all characteristics.

”Now in the midst of dharmas, how can you use your mind to make distinctions that are based on worldly sophistries, terms, and characteristics? That is like grasping at empty space with your hand: you only succeed in tiring yourself out. How could empty space possibly yield to your grasp?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “If the nature of the wonderful enlightenment has neither causes nor conditions, then why does the World Honored One always tell the bhikshus that the nature of seeing derives from the four conditions of emptiness, brightness, the mind, and the eyes? What does that mean?”

The Buddha said, “Ananda, what I have said about all the worldly causes and conditions has nothing to do with the primary meaning.

Ananda, I ask you again: people in the world say, ‘I can see.’ What is meant by seeing? What is not seeing?”

Ananda said, “Due to the light of the sun, the moon, and lamps, people in the world can see all kinds of appearances: that is called seeing. If it were not for these three kinds of light, they would not be able to see.”

Ananda, if it is called ‘not seeing’ when there is no light, you should not see darkness. If in fact you do see darkness, which is none other than the lack of light, how can you say there is an absence of seeing?

Ananda, if, when it is dark, you call it ‘not seeing’ because you do not see light, then since it is now light and you do not see the characteristic of darkness, it should also be called ‘not seeing.’ Thus, the two characteristics would both be called ‘not seeing.’

”Although these two characteristics replace one another, your seeing-nature does not lapse for an instant. Thus you can know that there is seeing in both cases. How, then, can you say there is no seeing?

”Therefore, Ananda, you should know that when you see light, the seeing is not the light. When you see darkness, the seeing is not the darkness. When you see emptiness, the seeing is not the emptiness. When you see solid objects, the seeing is not the solid objects.

”Having realized these four meanings, you should also know that when you see your seeing, the seeing is not the seeing to be seen. Since the former seeing is beyond the latter, the latter cannot reach it. That being the case, how can you say that your absolute intuitive perception has something to do with causes and conditions or spontaneity or that it has something to do with mixing and uniting?

”You narrow-minded Sound Hearers are so inferior and ignorant that you are unable to penetrate through to the purity of the characteristic of reality. Now I will teach you. You should consider it well, and do not become weary or negligent on the wonderful road to Bodhi.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, it is still not clear in my mind what the Buddha, the World Honored One, has explained for me and for others like me about causes and conditions, spontaneity, the characteristic of mixing and uniting, and the absence of mixing and uniting. And now to hear further that to see seeing is not seeing adds yet another layer of confusion.

”Humbly, I hope that with your vast compassion you will bestow upon us the great wisdom-eye so as to show us the bright pure enlightened mind.” After saying this he wept, made obeisance, and waited to receive the holy instruction.

Then the World Honored One, out of pity for Ananda and the great assembly, began to explain extensively the wonderful path of cultivation of all samadhis of the Great Dharani.

He said to Ananda, “Although you have a strong memory, it only benefits your wide learning. But your mind has not yet understood the subtle secret contemplation and illumination of shamatha. Listen attentively now as I explain it for you in detail.

”And may this explanation cause all those of the future who have outflows to obtain the fruition of Bodhi.

Ananda, all living beings turn on the wheel of rebirth in this world because of two upside-down discriminating false views. Wherever these views arise, revolution through the cycle of appropriate karma occurs.

”What are the two views? The first consists of the false view based on living beingsindividual karma. The second consists of the false view based on living beings’ collective share.

”What is meant by false views based on individual karma? Ananda, it is like a person in the world who has red cataracts on his eyes so that at night he alone sees around the lamp a circular reflection composed of layers of five colors.

”What do you think? Is the circle of light that appears around the lamp at night the lamp’s colors, or is it the seeing’s colors?

Ananda, if it is the lamp’s colors, why is it that someone without the disease does not see the same thing, and only the one who is diseased sees the circular reflection? If it is the seeing’s colors, then the seeing has already become colored; what, then, is the circular reflection the diseased person sees to be called?

”Moreover, Ananda, if the circular reflection is in itself a thing apart from the lamp, then it would be seen around the folding screen, the curtain, the table, and the mats. If it has nothing to do with the seeing, it should not be seen by the eyes. Why is it that the person with cataracts sees the circular reflections with his eyes?

”Therefore, you should know that in fact the colors come from the lamp, and the diseased seeing brings about the reflection. Both the circular reflection and the faulty seeing are the result of the cataract. But that which sees the diseased film is not sick. Thus you should not say that it is the lamp or the seeing or that it is neither the lamp nor the seeing.

”It is like a second moon often seen when one presses on one’s eye while looking up into the sky. It is neither substantial nor a reflection because it is an illusory vision caused by the pressure exerted on one’s eye. Hence, a wise person should not say that the second moon is a form or not a form. Nor is it correct to say that the illusory second moon is apart from the seeing or not apart from the seeing.

”It is the same with the illusion created by the diseased eyes. You cannot say it is from the lamp or from the seeing: even less can it be said not to be from the lamp or the seeing.

”What is meant by the false view of the collective share? Ananda, in Jambudvipa, besides the waters of the great seas, there is level land that forms some three thousand continents. East and west, throughout the entire expanse of the great continent, there are twenty-three hundred large countries. In the other, smaller continents in the seas there may be two or three hundred countries, or perhaps one or two, or perhaps thirty, forty, or fifty.

Ananda, suppose that among them there is one small continent where there are only two countries. The people of just one of the countries together experience evil conditions. On that small continent, all the people of that country see all kinds of inauspicious things: perhaps they see two suns, perhaps they see two moons with circles, or a dark haze, or girdle-ornaments around them; or comets, shooting stars, ‘ears’ on the sun or moon, rainbows, secondary rainbows, and various other evil signs.

”Only the people in that country see them. The living beings in the other country from the first do not see or hear anything unusual.

Ananda, I will now go back and forth comparing these two matters for you, to make both of them clear.

Ananda, in the case of the living being’s false view of individual karma by which he sees the appearance of a circular reflection around the lamp, the appearance seems to be real, but in the end, what is seen comes into being because of the cataracts on the eyes.

”The cataracts are the result of the weariness of the seeing rather than the products of form. However, the essence of seeing which perceives the cataracts is free from all diseases and defects. For example, you now use your eyes to look at the mountains, the rivers, the countries, and all the living beings. They are all brought about by the disease of your seeing contracted since time without beginning.

Seeing and the conditions of seeing seem to manifest what is before you. Originally my enlightenment is bright. The seeing and conditions arise from the cataracts. Realize that the seeing arises from the cataracts: the enlightened condition of the basically enlightened bright mind has no cataracts.

”That which is aware of the faulty awareness is not diseased. It is the true perception of seeing. How can you continue to speak of feeling, hearing, knowing, and seeing?

”Therefore, you now see me and yourself and the world and all the ten kinds of living beings because of a disease in the seeing. What is aware of the disease is not diseased.

”The true essential seeing by nature has no disease. Therefore it is not what we normally call seeing.

Ananda, let us compare the false views of those living beings’ collective share with the false views of the individual karma of one person.

”The individual person with the diseased eyes is the same as the people of that one country. He sees circular reflections erroneously brought about by a disease of the seeing. The beings with a collective share see inauspicious things. In the midst of their karma of identical views arise pestilence and evils.

”Both are produced from a beginningless falsity in the seeing. It is the same in the three thousand continents of Jambudvipa, throughout the four great seas and in the Saha World and throughout the ten directions. All countries that have outflows and all living beings are the enlightened bright wonderful mind without outflows. Because of the false, diseased conditions that are seen, heard, felt, and known, they mix and unite in false birth, mix and unite in false death.

”If you can leave far behind all conditions which mix and unite and those which do not mix and unite, then you can also extinguish and cast out the causes of birth and death, and obtain perfect Bodhi, the nature which is neither produced nor extinguished. It is the pure clear basic mind, the everlasting fundamental enlightenment.

Ananda, although you have already realized that the wonderfully bright basic enlightenment does not by nature come from causes and conditions and is not by nature spontaneous, you have not yet understood that the enlightened source is produced neither from mixing and uniting nor from a lack of mixing and uniting.

Ananda, now I will once again make use of the mundane objects before you to question you. You now hold that false thoughts mix and unite with the causes and conditions of everything in the world, and you wonder whether certification to Bodhi might arise from mixing and uniting.

”Accordingly, right now, does the wonderful pure seeingessence mix with light, does it mix with darkness, does it mix with emptiness or does it mix with solid objects? If it mixes with light, look further at the light: what place there in the light before you is combined with the seeing? If you can distinguish the characteristic of seeing, what does it look like in combination?

”If it is not the seeing, how can you see the light? If it is the seeing, how can the seeing see itself?

”If it is certain that the seeing is complete, what room will there be for it to mix with the light? If the light is complete, it cannot unite and mix with the seeing.

”If seeing is different from light, then both the nature and the light lose their identity when they combine. Since the combination results in the loss of the light and the nature, it is meaningless to say it mixes with light. The same principle applies to its mixing with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects.

”Moreover, Ananda, as you are right now, once again, does the wonderful pure seeing-essence unite with light, does it unite with darkness, does it unite with emptiness, or does it unite with solid objects?

”If it unites with light, then when darkness comes the characteristic of light is extinguished, how will you be able to see darkness, since the seeing does not unite with darkness? If you do see darkness and yet at that time there is no union with darkness, but rather a union with light, then you would not have seen light. Since you would not have seen light, why is it that, when there is union with light, you are able to know clearly that it is light and not darkness?

”The same is true of its union with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, as I consider it, the source of this wonderful enlightenment does not mix or unite with any conditioned mundane object or with the mind’s speculation. Is that the case?”

The Buddha said, “Now you say further that the enlightened nature is neither mixed nor united. So now I ask you further: as to this wonderful seeing-essence’s neither mixing nor uniting, does it not mix with light? Does it not mix with darkness? Does it not mix with emptiness? Does it not mix with solid objects?

”If it does not mix with light, then between seeing and light there must be a boundary.

”Examine it further: what place is light? What place is seeing? Where are the boundaries of the seeing and the light?

Ananda, if there is no seeing within the boundaries of light, then there is no contact between them, and clearly one would not know where the characteristic of light is. Then how could its boundaries be realized?

”As to its not mixing with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects, the principle is the same.

”Moreover, as to the wonderful seeing essence’s neither mixing nor uniting, does it not unite with light? Does it not unite with darkness? Does it not unite with emptiness? Does it not unite with solid objects?

”If it does not unite with light, then the seeing and the light are at odds with each other by nature, as are the ear and the light, which do not come in contact.

”Since the seeing does not know where the characteristic of light is, how can it determine clearly whether there is union?

”As to its not uniting with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects, the principle is the same.

"Ananda, you have not yet understood that all the defiling objects that appear, all the illusory, ephemeral characteristics, spring up in the very spot where they also come to an end. They are what is called ‘illusory falseness.’ But their nature is in truth the bright substance of wonderful enlightenment.

”Thus it is throughout, up to the five skandhas and the six entrances, to the twelve places and the eighteen realms; the union and mixture of various causes and conditions account for their illusory and false existence, and the separation and dispersion of the causes and conditions result in their illusory and false extinction.

”Who would have thought that production, extinction, coming, and going are fundamentally the everlasting, wonderful light of the Treasury of the Thus Come One, the unmoving, all pervading perfection, the wonderful nature of true suchness! If within the true and eternal nature one seeks coming and going, confusion and enlightenment, or birth and death, there is nothing that can be obtained.

Ananda, why do I say that the five skandhas are basically the wonderful nature of true suchness, the Treasury of the Thus Come One?

Ananda, consider this example: when a person who has pure clear eyes looks at clear, bright emptiness, he sees nothing but clear emptiness, and he is quite certain that nothing exists within it.

”If, for no apparent reason, the person does not move his eyes, the staring will cause fatigue, and then of his own accord, he will see strange flowers in space and other unreal appearances that are wild and disordered.

”You should know that it is the same with the skandha of form.

Ananda, the strange flowers come neither from emptiness nor from the eyes.

”The reason for this, Ananda, is that if the flowers were to come from emptiness, they would return to emptiness. If there is a coming out and a going in, the space would not be empty. If emptiness were not empty, then it could not contain the appearance of the arisal and extinction of the flowers, just as Ananda’s body cannot contain another Ananda.

”If the flowers were to come from the eyes, they would return to the eyes.

”If the nature of the flowers were to come from the eyes, it would be endowed with the faculty of seeing. If it could see, then when it left the eyes it would become flowers in space, and when it returned it should see the eyes. If it did not see, then when it left the eyes it would obscure emptiness, and when it returned, it would obscure the eyes.

”Moreover, when you see the flowers, your eyes should not be obscured. So why is it that the eyes are said to be ‘pure and bright’ when they see clear emptiness?

”Therefore, you should know that the skandha of form is empty and false, because it neither depends on causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider the example of a person whose hands and feet are relaxed and at ease and whose entire body is in balance and harmony. He is unaware of his life processes, because there is nothing agreeable or disagreeable in his nature. However, for some unknown reason, the person rubs his two hands together in emptiness, and sensations of roughness, smoothness, cold, and warmth seem to arise from nowhere between his palms.

”You should know that it is the same with the skandha of feeling.

Ananda, all this illusory contact does not come from emptiness, nor does it come from the hands.

”The reason for this, Ananda, is that if it came from emptiness, then since it could make contact with the palms, why wouldn’t it make contact with the body? It should not be that emptiness chooses what it comes in contact with.

”If it came from the palms, it could be readily felt without waiting for the two palms to be joined.

”What is more, if it were to come from the palms, then the palms would know when they were joined. When they separated, the contact would return into the arms, the wrists, the bones, and the marrow, and you also should be aware of the course of its entry.

”It should also be perceived by the mind because it would behave like something coming in and going out of the body. In that case, what need would there be to put the two palms together to experience what is called ‘contact’?

”Therefore, you should know that the skandha of feeling is empty and false, because it neither depends on causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider the example of a person whose mouth waters at the mention of sour plums, or the soles of whose feet tingle when he thinks about walking along a precipice.

”You should know that it is the same with the skandha of thinking.

Ananda, you should know that the watering of the mouth caused by the mention of the plums does not come from the plums, nor does it come from the mouth.

”The reason for this, Ananda, is that if it were produced from the plums, the plums should speak for themselves, why wait for someone to mention them? If it came from the mouth, the mouth itself should hear, and what need would there be to wait for the ear? If the ear alone heard, then why doesn’t the water come out of the ear?

Thinking about walking along a precipice is explained in the same way.

”Therefore, you should know that the skandha of thinking is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence, nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a swift rapids whose waves follow upon one another in orderly succession, the ones behind never overtaking the ones in front.

”You should know that it is the same with the skandha of activity.

Ananda, thus the nature of the flow does not arise because of emptiness, nor does it come into existence because of the water. It is not the nature of water, and yet it is not separate from either emptiness or water.

”The reason for this, Ananda, is that if it arose because of emptiness, then the inexhaustible emptiness throughout the ten directions would become an inexhaustible flow, and all the worlds would inevitably be drowned.

”If the swift rapids existed because of water, then their nature would differ from that of water and the location and characteristics of its existence would be apparent.

”If their nature were simply that of water, then when they became still and clear they would no longer be made up of water.

”Suppose it were to separate from emptiness and water: there isn’t anything outside of emptiness, and outside of water there isn’t any flow.

”Therefore, you should know that the skandha of activity is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a man who picks up a kalavinka pitcher and stops up its two holes. He lifts up the pitcher filled with emptiness and, walking some thousand li away, presents it to another country. You should know that the skandha of consciousness is the same way.

”Thus, Ananda, the space does not come from one place, nor does it go to another.

”The reason for this, Ananda, is that if it were to come from another place, then when the stored up emptiness in the pitcher went elsewhere there would be less emptiness in the place where the pitcher was originally.

”If it were to enter this region: when the holes were unplugged and the pitcher was turned over, one would see emptiness come out.

”Therefore, you should know that the skandha of consciousness is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

”Moreover, Ananda, why do I say that the six entrances have their origin in the wonderful nature of true suchness, the Treasury of the Thus Come One?

Ananda, although the eye’s staring causes fatigue, the eye and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Staring gives rise to the characteristic of fatigue.

”Because a sense of seeing is stimulated in the midst of the two false, defiling objects of light and dark, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the nature of seeing. Apart from the two defiling objects of light and dark, this seeing is ultimately without substance.

”Thus, Ananda, you should know that seeing does not come from light or dark, nor does it come forth from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”Why? If it came from light, then it would be extinguished when it is dark, and you would not see darkness. If it came from darkness, then it would be extinguished when it is light, and you would not see light.

”Suppose it came from the sense organ, which is obviously devoid of light and dark: a nature of seeing such as this would have no self-nature.

”Suppose it came forth from emptiness. When it looks in front of you, it sees the shapes of the defiling dust; turning around, it would see your sense organ. Moreover, if it were emptiness itself which sees, what connection would that have with your entrance?

”Therefore, you should know that the eye entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who suddenly stops up his ears with two fingers. Because the sense organ of hearing has become fatigued, a sound is heard in his head. However, both the ears and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Monotony will produce the characteristic of fatigue.

”Because a sense of hearing is stimulated in the midst of the two false, defiling objects of movement and stillness, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the nature of hearing. Apart from the two defiling objects of movement and stillness, this hearing is ultimately without substance.

”Thus, Ananda, you should know that hearing does not come from movement and stillness; nor does it come from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”Why? If it came from stillness, it would be extinguished when there is movement, and you would not hear movement. If it came from movement, then it would be extinguished when there is stillness, and you would not be aware of the stillness.

”Suppose it came from the sense organ, which is obviously devoid of movement and stillness: a nature of hearing such as this would have no self nature.

”Suppose it came from emptiness: emptiness would then become hearing and would no longer be emptiness. Moreover, if it were emptiness itself which hears, what connection would it have with your entrance?

”Therefore, you should know that the ear entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence, nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who inhales deeply through his nose. After he has inhaled for a long time it becomes fatigued, and then there is a sensation of cold in the nose. Because of that sensation, there are the distinctions of penetration and obstruction, of emptiness and actuality, and so forth, including all fragrant and stinking vapors. However, both the nose and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Overexertion will produce the characteristic of fatigue.

”Because a sense of smelling is stimulated in the midst of the two false, defiling objects of penetration and obstruction, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the nature of smelling. Apart from the two defiling objects of penetration and obstruction, this smelling is ultimately without substance.

”You should know that smelling does not come from penetration and obstruction, nor does it come forth from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”Why? If it came from penetration, the smelling would be extinguished when there is obstruction, and then how could it experience obstruction? If it existed because of obstruction, then where there is penetration there would be no smelling; in that case, how would the awareness of fragrance, stench, and other such sensations come into being?

”Suppose it came from the sense organ, which is obviously devoid of penetration and obstruction. A nature of smelling such as this would have no self nature.

”Suppose it came from emptiness: smelling itself would turn around and smell your own nose. Moreover, if it were emptiness itself which smelled, what connection would it have with your entrance?

”Therefore, you should know that the nose entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who licks his lips with his tongue. His excessive licking causes fatigue. If the person is sick, there will be a bitter flavor; a person who is not sick will have a subtle sweet sensation. Sweetness and bitterness demonstrate the tongue’s sense of taste. When the organ is inactive, a sense of tastelessness prevails. However, both the tongue and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Stress produces the characteristic of fatigue.

Because the two defiling objects of sweetness and bitterness, as well as tastelessness, stimulate a recognition of taste which in turn draws in these defiling sensations, it becomes what is known as a sense of taste. Apart from the two defiling objects of sweetness and bitterness and apart from tastelessness, the sense of taste is originally without a substance.

”Thus, Ananda, you should know that the perception of sweetness, bitterness, and tastelessness does not come from sweetness or bitterness, nor does it exist because of tastelessness, nor does it arise from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”For what reason? If it came from sweetness and bitterness, it would cease to exist when tastelessness was experienced, so how could it recognize tastelessness? If it arose from tastelessness, it would vanish when the flavor of sweetness was tasted, so how could it perceive the two flavors, sweet and bitter?

”Suppose it came from the tongue which is obviously devoid of the defiling objects of sweetness and bitterness and of tastelessness. An essence of tasting such as this would have no self nature.

”Suppose it came from emptiness: the sense of taste would be experienced by emptiness instead of by the mouth. Suppose, moreover, that it was emptiness itself which tasted; what connection would that have with your entrance?

”Therefore, you should know that the tongue entrance is empty and false since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is it spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who touches his warm hand with his cold hand. If the cold is in excess of the warmth, the warm hand will become cold; if the warmth is in excess of the cold, his cold hand will become warm. So the sensation of warmth and cold is felt through the contact and separation of the two hands. Fatiguing contact results in the interpenetration of warmth and cold. However, both the body and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Protraction produces the characteristic of fatigue.

”Because a physical sensation is stimulated in the midst of the two defiling objects of separation and union, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the awareness of sensation. Apart from the two sets of defiling objects of separation and union, and pleasantness and unpleasantness, the awareness of sensation is originally without a substance.

”Thus, Ananda, you should know that this sensation does not come from separation and union, nor does it exist because of pleasantness and unpleasantness, nor does it arise from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”For what reason? If it arose when there was union, it would disappear when there was separation, so how could it sense the separation? The two characteristics of pleasantness and unpleasantness are the same way.

”Suppose it came from the sense organ, which is obviously devoid of the four characteristics of union, separation, pleasantness, and unpleasantness; an awareness of physical sensation such as this would have no self nature.

”Suppose it came from emptiness; the awareness of sensations would be experienced by emptiness itself, what connection would that have with your entrance?

”Therefore you should know that the body entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence, nor is spontaneous in nature.

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who becomes so fatigued that he goes to sleep. Having slept soundly, he awakens and tries to recollect what he experienced while asleep. He recalls some things and forgets others. Thus, his upside-downness goes through production, dwelling, change, and extinction, which are taken in and returned to a center habitually, each following the next without ever being overtaken. This is known as the mind organ or intellect. The mind and the fatigue are both Bodhi. Persistence produces the characteristic of fatigue.

”The two defiling objects of production and extinction stimulate a sense of knowing which in turn grasps these inner sense data, reversing the flow of seeing and hearing. Before the flow reaches the ground it is known as the faculty of intellect.

”Apart from the two sets of defiling objects of waking and sleeping and of production and extinction, the faculty of intellect is originally without substance.

”Thus, Ananda, you should know that the faculty of intellect does not come from waking, sleeping, production, or extinction, nor does it arise from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

”For what reason? If it came from waking, it would disappear at the time of sleeping, so how could it experience sleep? If it came from production, it would cease to exist at the time of extinction, so how could it undergo extinction? If it came from extinction it would disappear at the time of production, so how could it know about production?

”Suppose it came from the sense organ; waking and sleeping cause only a physical opening and closing respectively. Apart from these two movements, the faculty of intellect is as unsubstantial as flowers in space, because it is fundamentally without a self nature.

”Suppose it came from emptiness; the sense of intellect would be experienced by emptiness instead of by the mind. Then what connection would that have with your entrance?

”Therefore, you should know that the mind entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence nor is spontaneous in nature.

"Moreover, Ananda, why do I say that the twelve places are basically the wonderful nature of true suchness, the Treasury of the Thus Come One?

Ananda, look again at the trees in the Jeta Grove and the fountains and pools.

”What do you think? Do these things come into being because the forms are produced and thus the eyes see, or because the eyes produce the characteristics of form?

Ananda, if the organ of sight were to produce the characteristics of form, then the nature of form would be obliterated when you see emptiness, which is not form. Once it was obliterated, everything that is manifest would disappear. Since the characteristics of form would then be absent, who would be able to understand the nature of emptiness? The same is true of emptiness.

”If, moreover, the defiling objects of form were to produce the eye’s seeing, then seeing would perish upon looking at emptiness, which is not form, and once it perished, everything would disappear. Then who would be able to understand emptiness and form?

”Therefore, you should know that neither seeing nor form nor emptiness has a location, and thus the two places of form and seeing are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

Ananda, listen again to the drum being beaten in the Jeta Garden when the food is ready. The Assembly gathers as the bell is struck. The sounds of the bell and the drum follow one another in succession.

”What do you think? Do these things come into existence because the sound comes to the region of the ear, or because the ear goes to the place of the sound?

”Again, Ananda, suppose that the sound comes to the region of the ear. Similarly, when I go to beg for food in the city of Shravasti, I am no longer in the Jeta Grove. If the sound definitely goes to the region of Ananda’s ear, then neither Maudgalyayana nor Kashyapa would hear it, and even less the twelve hundred and fifty Shramanas who, upon hearing the sound of the bell, come to the dining hall at the same time.

”Again, suppose that the ear goes to the region of the sound. Similarly, when I return to the Jeta Grove, I am no longer in the city of Shravasti. When you hear the sound of the drum, your ear will already have gone to the place where the drum is being beaten. Thus, when the bell peals, you will not hear the sound . even the less that of the elephants, horses, cows, sheep, and all the other various sounds around you.

”If there is no coming or going, there will be no hearing, either.

”Therefore, you should know that neither hearing nor sound has a location, and thus the two places of hearing and sound are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, you smell the chandana in this censer. When one particle of this incense is lit, it can be smelled simultaneously through forty li around the city of Shravasti.

”What do you think? Is this fragrance produced from the chandana wood? Is it produced in your nose, or does it arise within emptiness?

”Again, Ananda, suppose this fragrance is produced from your nose. What is said to be produced from the nose should come forth from the nose. Your nose is not chandana, so how can the nose have the fragrance of chandana? When you say you smell fragrance, it should enter your nose. For the nose to emit fragrance is not the meaning of smelling.

”Suppose it is produced from within emptiness. The nature of emptiness is everlasting and unchanging, and so the fragrance should be eternally present. What need should there be to rely on burning the dry wood in the censer?

”Suppose it is produced from the wood. Now, the nature of this incense is such that it gives off smoke when it is burned. If the nose smells it, it should be filled with smoke. The smoke rises into the air, and before it has reached the distance, how is it that the fragrance is already being smelled at a distance of forty li?

”Therefore, you should know that neither the fragrance, nor the nose’s smelling has a location, and so the two places of smelling and fragrance are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

Ananda, twice every day you take up your bowl along with the rest of the assembly, and among what you receive may be things of supreme flavor, such as curds, buttermilk, and clarified butter.

”What do you think? Are these flavors produced from emptiness, do they come forth from the tongue, or are they produced from the food?

”Again, Ananda, suppose that the flavors came from your tongue; now there is only one tongue in your mouth. When that tongue had already become the flavor of curds, then it would not change if it encountered some dark rock candy.

”Suppose it did not change: that would not be what is called knowing tastes. Suppose it did change: the tongue is not many substances, and how could one tongue know so many tastes?

”Suppose it were produced from the food. The food does not have consciousness; how could it know tastes? Moreover, if the food itself were to recognize them, that would be the same as someone else eating. Then what connection would that have with what is called your recognition of tastes?

”Suppose it were produced in emptiness. When you eat emptiness, what flavor does it have? Suppose that emptiness had the flavor of salt. Then since your tongue was salty, your face would also be salty, and likewise everyone in the world would be like fish in the sea. Since you would be constantly influenced by salt, you would never know tastelessness. If you did not recognize tastelessness, you would not be aware of the saltiness, either. You would not know anything at all. How could that be what is called taste?

”Therefore, you should know that neither flavors nor the tongue’s tasting has a location; and, so the two places of tasting and flavor are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

Ananda, early every morning you rub your head with your hand.

”What do you think? When there is a sensation of the rubbing, where does the ability to make contact lie? Is the ability in the hands or is it in the head?

”If it were in the hands, then the head would have no knowledge of it, and how could that be what is called touch? If it were in the head, then the hands would be useless, and how could that be what is called touch?

”If each had it, then you, Ananda, would have two bodies.

”If there were only one touch in the head and the hand, then the hand and the head would be of one substance. If they were one substance, then no touch would be possible.

”If they were two substances, to which would the touch belong? The one which was capable of touch would not be the one that was touched. The one that was touched would not be the one that was capable of touch. Nor should it be that the touch came into being between you and emptiness.

”Therefore, you should know that neither the sensation of touch nor the body has a location. And so the two places of the body and touch are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

Ananda, your mind is always conditioned by three qualities - good, bad, and indeterminate - which produce patterns of dharmas.

”Are these dharmas produced by the mind, or do they have a special place apart from the mind?

Ananda, if they were the mind, the dharmas would not be its defiling objects. Since they would not be conditions of the mind, how could you say that they had a location?

”Suppose they were to have a special place apart from the mind: then would the dharmas themselves be able to know?

”If they were to have a sense of knowing, they would be called a mind. If they were something other than you, they would be someone else’s mind, since they are not defiling objects. If they were the same as you, they would be your own mind. But, how could your mind stand apart from you?

”Suppose they were to have no sense of knowing; yet these defiling objects are not forms, sounds, smells, or tastes; they are neither cold nor warmth, nor the characteristic of emptiness. Where would they be located?

”We have established that they are represented in neither form nor emptiness; nor is it likely that they exist somewhere in the human realm beyond emptiness, for if they did, the mind could not be aware of them. Whence, then, would they arise?

”Therefore, you should know that neither dharmas nor the mind has a location. And, so the two places of mind and dharmas are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, why do I say that the eighteen realms are basically the wonderful nature of true suchness, the Treasury of the Thus Come One?

Ananda, as you understand it, the eyes and form create the conditions that produce the eye consciousness.

”Is the consciousness produced because of the eyes, such that the eyes are its realm? Or is it produced because of form, such that form is its realm?

Ananda, if it were produced because of the eyes, then in the absence of emptiness and form it would not be able to make distinctions; and, so even if you had a consciousness, what use would it be?

”Moreover, your seeing is neither green, yellow, red, nor white. There is virtually nothing in which it is represented, therefore, what is the realm established from?

”Suppose it were produced because of form. In emptiness, when there was no form, your consciousness would be extinguished. Then, why is it that the consciousness knows the nature of emptiness?

”Suppose a form changes. You are also conscious of the changing appearance; but your eye consciousness does not change. Where is the boundary established?

”If the eye consciousness were to change when form changed, then there would be no appearance of a realm. If it were not to change, it would be constant, and given that it was produced from form, it should have no conscious knowledge of where there was emptiness.

”Suppose the eye consciousness arose both from the eyes and from form. If they were united, there would still be a point of separation. If they were separate, there would still be a point of contact. Hence, the substance and nature would be chaotic and disorderly; how could a realm be set up?

”Therefore, you should know that as to the eyes and form being the conditions that produce the realm of eye-consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the eyes, form, and the form realm do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the ear and sound create the conditions that produce the ear consciousness.

”Is this consciousness produced because of the ear such that the ear is its realm, or is it produced because of sound, such that sound is its realm?

Ananda, suppose the ear consciousness were produced because of the ear. The organ of hearing would have no awareness in the absence of both movement and stillness. Thus, nothing would be known by it. Since the organ would lack awareness, what would characterize the consciousness?

”You may hold that the ears hear, but when there is no movement and stillness, hearing cannot occur. How, then, could the ears, which are but physical forms, unite with external objects to be called the realm of consciousness? Once again, therefore, how would the realm of consciousness be established?

”Suppose it was produced from sound. If the consciousness existed because of sound, then it would have no connection with hearing. Without hearing, then the characteristic of sound would have no location.

”Suppose consciousness existed because of sound. Given that sound exists because of hearing, which causes the characteristic of sound to manifest, then you should also hear the hearing consciousness.

”If the hearing consciousness is not heard, there is no realm. If it is heard, then it is the same as sound. If the consciousness itself is heard, who is it that perceives and hears the consciousness? If there is no perceiver, then in the end you would be like grass or wood.

”Nor is it likely that the sound and hearing mix together to form a realm in between. Since a realm in between could not be established, how could the internal and external characteristics be delineated?

”Therefore, you should know that as to the ear and sound creating the conditions which produce the realm of the ear consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the ear, sound, and sound consciousness do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the nose and smells create the conditions that produce the nose-consciousness.

”Is this consciousness produced because of the nose, such that the nose is its realm? Or, is it produced because of smells, such that smells are its realm?

”Suppose, Ananda, that the nose consciousness were produced because of the nose, then in your mind, what do you take to be the nose? Do you hold that it takes the form of two fleshy claws, or do you hold it is an inherent ability of the nature which perceives smells as a result of movement?

”Suppose you hold that it is fleshy claws which form an integral part of your body. Since the body’s perception is touch, the sense organ of smelling would be named ‘body’ instead of ‘nose,’ and the objects of smelling would be objects of touch. Since it would not even have the namenose,’ how could a realm be established for it?

”Suppose you held that the nose was the perceiver of smells. Then, in your mind, what is it that perceives? Suppose it were the flesh that perceived. Basically, what the flesh perceives is objects of touch, which have nothing to do with the nose.

”Suppose it were emptiness that perceived. Then emptiness would itself be the perceiver, and the flesh would have no awareness. Thus, empty space would be you, and since your body would be without perception, Ananda would not exist.

”If it is the smell that perceives, perception itself would lie with the smell. What would that have to do with you?

”If it is certain that vapors of fragrance and stench are produced from your nose, then the two flowing vapors of fragrance and stench would not arise from the wood of airavana or chandana. Given that the smell does not come from these two things, when you smell your own nose, is it fragrant, or does it stink? What stinks does not give off fragrance; what is fragrant does not stink.

”Suppose you say you can smell both the fragrance and the stench; then you, one person, would have two noses, and I would now be addressing questions to two Anandas. Which one is you?

”Suppose there is one nose; then fragrance and stench would not be two. Since stench would be fragrance and fragrance would become stench, there would not be two natures, thus what would make up the realm?

”If the nose consciousness were produced because of smells, it follows that it is in existence just because of smells. Just as the eyes can see but are unable to see themselves, so, too, if it exists because of smells, it would not be aware of smells.

”If it is aware of smells, then it is not produced from smells. If it had no awareness, the realm of smelling would not come into being. If the consciousness were not aware of smells, then the realm would not be established from smells.

”Since there is no intermediate realm of consciousness, there is no basis for establishing anything internal or external, either. Therefore, the nature of smelling is ultimately empty and false.

”Therefore, you should know that, as to the nose and smells being the conditions which produce the realm of the nose consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the nose, smells, and the realm of smelling do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the tongue and flavors create the conditions that produce the tongue-consciousness.

”Is the consciousness produced because of the tongue, such that the tongue is its realm, or is it produced because of the flavors, such that the flavors are its realm?

”Suppose, Ananda, that it were produced because of the tongue. Then all the sugar cane, black plums, huang lien, salt, wild ginger, ginger, and cassia in the world would be entirely without flavor. Also, when you taste your own tongue, is it sweet or bitter?

”Suppose the nature of your tongue were bitter. Then, what would it be that tasted the tongue? Since the tongue cannot taste itself, who would have the sense of taste?

”If the nature of the tongue were not bitter, there would be no flavor engendered by it. Thus, how could a realm be established?

”If it were produced because of flavor, the consciousness itself would be a flavor. The case would be the same as with the tongue organ being unable to taste itself. How could the consciousness know whether it had flavor or not?

”Moreover, flavors do not all come from one thing. Since flavors are produced from many things, the consciousness would have many substances.

”Suppose that the consciousness were of a single substance and that the substance was definitely produced from flavor. Then, when salt, bland, sweet, and pungent were combined, their various differences would change into a single flavor and there would be no distinctions among them.

”If there were no distinctions, it could not be called consciousness. So, how could it further be called the realm of tongue, flavor, and consciousness?

”Nor can it be that empty space produces your conscious awareness.

”The tongue and flavors could not combine without each losing its basic nature. How could a realm be produced?

”Therefore, you should know that, as to the tongue and flavors being the conditions that produce the realm of tongue consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the tongue, flavors, and the realm of the tongue do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the body and objects of touch create the conditions that produce the body consciousness.

”Is this consciousness produced because of the body, such that the body is its realm, or is it produced because of objects of touch, such that objects of touch are its realm?

”Suppose, Ananda, that it were produced because of the body. When there was no awareness of the two conditions of contact with and separation from objects of touch, what would the body be conscious of?

”Suppose it were produced because of objects of touch. Then you would not need your body. Without a body, what could perceive contact with and separation from objects of touch?

Ananda, things do not perceive objects of touch. It is the body that perceives objects of touch. ”What the body knows is objects of touch, and what is aware of objects of touch is the body. What is objects of touch is not the body, and what is the body is not objects of touch.

”The two characteristics of body and objects of touch are basically without a location. If it united with the body, it would be the body’s own substance and nature. If it were apart from the body, it would have the same appearance as empty space.

”Since the inside and the outside don’t stand up, how can one set up a middle? The middle cannot be set up, either. The inside and the outside are by nature empty. From what realm, then, is your consciousness born?

”Therefore, you should know that, as to the body and objects of touch being the conditions that produce the realm of body consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the body, objects of touch, and the realm of the body do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

"Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the mind and dharmas create the conditions that produce the mind consciousness.

”Is this consciousness produced because of the mind, such that the mind is its realm, or is it produced because of dharmas, such that dharmas are its realm?

”Suppose, Ananda, that it were produced because of the mind. In your mind there certainly must be thoughts; these give expression to your mind. If there are no dharmas before you, the mind does not give rise to anything. Apart from conditions, it has no shape; thus, what use would the consciousness be?

”Moreover, is your conscious awareness the same as your mind organ, with its capacity to understand and make distinctions, or is it different? If it were the same as the mind, it would be the mind; how could it be something else that arises? If it were different from the mind, it should thereby be devoid of consciousness. If there were no consciousness, how would it arise from the mind? If there were consciousness, how would it differ from the mind? Since it is by nature neither the same nor different, how can a realm be established?

”Suppose it were produced because of dharmas. None of the dharmas of the world exists apart from the five defiling objects. Consider the dharmas of form, the dharmas of sound, the dharmas of smell, the dharmas of taste, and the dharmas of touch: each has a clearly distinguishable appearance and is matched with one of the five organs. They are not what the mind takes in.

”Suppose your consciousness were indeed produced through a reliance on dharmas. Take a close look at them now: what does each and every dharma look like?

”Underlying the characteristics of form and emptiness, movement and stillness, penetration and obstruction, unity and separation, and production and extinction there is nothing at all.

”When there is production, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are produced. When there is extinction, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are extinguished. Since what is causal does not exist, if those causes produce the consciousness, what appearance does the consciousness assume? If there is nothing discernable about the consciousness, how can a realm be established for it?

”Therefore, you should know that, as to the mind and dharmas being the conditions that produce the realm of the mind consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the mind, dharmas, and the realm of the mind do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, ”World Honored One, the Thus Come One has often spoken of the mixture and union of causes and conditions, saying that the transformations of everything in the world are created from the mixing and uniting of the four elements.

”Why does the Thus Come One reject causes and conditions and spontaneity as well? I do not know how to understand your meaning now.

”Please be so compassionate as to instruct us living beings in the final meaning of the Middle Way: in the dharmas which are not idle theories.”

The World Honored One then told Ananda, “You have renounced the Small Vehicle dharmas of the Sound Hearers and those enlightened to conditions and have resolved to diligently seek unsurpassed Bodhi. Because of that, I will now explain the foremost truth to you.

”Why do you still bind yourself up in the idle theories and false thoughts current among people of the world?

”Although you are very learned, you are like someone who can discuss medicines but cannot distinguish a real medicine when it is placed before you. The Thus Come One says that you are truly pitiful.

”Listen attentively now as I explain this point in detail for you and also for those of the future who cultivate the Great Vehicle, so that you all can penetrate to the real appearance.”

Ananda was silent and awaited the Buddha’s holy instruction.

Ananda, according to what you said, the mixing and uniting of the four elements create the myriad transformations of everything in the world.

Ananda, if the nature of those elements does not mix and unite in substance, then they cannot combine with other elements, just as empty space cannot combine with forms.

”Assuming that they do mix and unite, they are then only in a process of transformation in which they depend on one another for existence from beginning to end. In the course of transformation they are produced and extinguished, being born and then dying, dying and then being born, in birth after birth, in death after death, the way a torch spun in a circle forms an unbroken wheel of flame.

Ananda, the process is like water becoming ice and ice becoming water again.

”Consider the nature of earth: its coarse particles make up the great earth. Its fine particles make up motes of dust, down to and including motes of dust bordering upon emptiness.

”If one divides those fine motes of dust, their appearance is at the boundaries of form. Then divide those into seven parts.

Ananda, if this mote of dust bordering upon emptiness is divided and becomes emptiness, it should be that emptiness can give rise to form.

”Just now you asked if mixing and uniting doesn’t bring about the transformations of everything in the world.

”You should carefully consider how much emptiness mixes and unites to make a single mote of dust bordering upon emptiness, since it makes no sense to say that dust bordering on emptiness is composed of dust bordering on emptiness.

”Moreover, since motes of dust bordering upon emptiness can be reduced to emptiness, of how many motes of such form as this must emptiness be composed?

”When these motes of form mass together, a mass of form does not make emptiness; when emptiness is massed together, a mass of emptiness does not make form. Besides, although form can be divided, how can emptiness be massed together?

”You simply do not know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of form is true emptiness, and the nature of emptiness is true form. Pure at its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm. It accords with living beingsminds, in response to their capacity to know.

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign its origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which have no real meaning.

Ananda, fire, which has no nature of its own, depends upon various causes and conditions for its existence. Consider a family in the city that has not yet eaten. When they wish to prepare food, they hold up a speculum to the sun, seeking fire.

Ananda, let us look into your suggestion that the fire comes forth from mixing and uniting. By way of example, you and I and the twelve hundred and fifty bhikshus unite together to form a community. However, a careful analysis of the community reveals that every member composing it has his own body, birthplace, clan, and name. For instance, Shariputra is a Brahman, Uruvilva is of the Kashyapa clan, and you, Ananda, come from the Gautama family.

Ananda, suppose fire existed because of mixing and uniting. When the hand holds up the speculum to the sun to seek fire, does the fire come out of the speculum? Does it come out of the moxa tinder? Or does it come from the sun?

”Suppose, Ananda, that it came from the sun. Not only would it burn the moxa tinder in your hand, but as it came across the groves of trees, it should burn them up as well.

”Suppose that it came from the speculum. Since it came out from within the speculum to ignite the moxa tinder, why doesn’t the speculum melt? Yet your hand that holds it feels no heat; how, then, could the speculum melt?

”Suppose that the fire came from the moxa tinder. Then why is fire generated only when the bright mirror comes into contact with the dazzling light?

”Furthermore, on closer examination you will find the speculum held in hands, the sun high up in the sky, and moxa grown from the ground. Where does the fire come from? How can it travel some distance to reach here?

”The sun and the speculum cannot mix and unite, since they are far apart from each other. Nor can it be that the fire exists spontaneously, without an origin.

”You simply do not know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of fire is true emptiness, and the nature of emptiness is true fire. Pure at its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm. It accords with living beingsminds, in response to their capacity to know.

Ananda, you should know that fire is generated in the place where a speculum is held up to the sunlight, and fire will be generated everywhere if specula are held up to the sunlight throughout the Dharma Realm. Since fire can come forth throughout the whole world, can there be any fixed place to which it is confined?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign its origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which have no real meaning.

Ananda, water is by nature unstable. It may keep on flowing or come to a stop. Kapila, Chakra, Padma, and Hasta, and other great magicians of Shravasti often hold up instruments to the light of the full moon at midnight to extract from the moon the essence of water to mix with their drugs.

”Does the water come out of the crystal ball? Does it exist of itself in space? Or, does it come from the moon?

Ananda, suppose the water came from the distant moon. Water then should also flow from all the grass and trees when the moonlight passes over them on its way to the crystal ball. If it does flow from them, why wait for it to come out of the crystal ball? If it does not flow from the trees, then it is clear that the water does not descend from the moon.

”If it came from the crystal balls, then it should flow from the crystal all the time. Why would they have to wait for midnight and the light of the full moon to receive it?

”If it came from space, which is by nature boundless, it would flow everywhere, until everything between earth and sky was submerged. How, then, could there still be travel by water, land, and space?

”Furthermore, upon closer examination you will find that the moon moves through the sky, the crystal ball is held in the hand, and the pan for receiving the water is put there by someone; but, where does the water that flows into the pan come from?

”The moon and the crystal balls cannot mix or unite, since they are far apart. Nor can it be that the essence of water exists spontaneously without an origin.

”You still do not know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of water is true emptiness, and the nature of emptiness is true water. Pure in its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm. It accords with living beingsminds, in response to their capacity to know.

”A crystal ball is held up at a certain place, and there water comes forth. If crystal balls were held up throughout the Dharma Realm, then throughout the Dharma Realm water would come forth. Since water can come forth throughout the entire world, can there be any fixed place to which it is confined?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign their origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which have no real meaning.

Ananda, by nature, the wind has no substance, and its movements and stillness are erratic. You always adjust your robe as you enter the great assembly. When the corner of your samghati brushes the person next to you, there is a slight breeze which stirs against that person’s face.

”Does this wind come from the corner of the kashaya, does it arise from emptiness, or is it produced from the face of the person brushed by the wind?

Ananda, if the wind comes from the corner of the kashaya, you are then clad in the wind, and your kashaya should fly about and leave your body. I am now speaking dharma in the midst of the assembly, and my robe remains motionless and hangs straight down. You should look closely at my robe to see whether there is any wind in it. It cannot be that the wind is stored somewhere in the robe, either.

”If it arose from emptiness, why wouldn’t the wind brush against the man even when your robe did not move? Emptiness is constant in nature; thus, the wind should constantly arise. When there was no wind, the emptiness should disappear. You can perceive the disappearance of the wind; but, what would the disappearance of emptiness look like? If it did arise and disappear, it could not be what is called emptiness. Since it is what is called emptiness, how can it generate wind?

”If the wind came from the face of the person by your side, it would blow upon you while you set your robe in order. Why would it blow backwards upon the person from whom it was generated?

”Upon closer examination, you will find that the robe is set in order by yourself, the face blown by the wind belongs to the person by your side, and the emptiness is tranquil and not involved in movement. Where, then, does the wind come from that blows in this place?

”The wind and emptiness cannot mix and unite, since they are different from each other. Nor should it be that the wind spontaneously exists without an origin.

”You still do not know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of wind is true emptiness, and the nature of emptiness is true wind. Pure at its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm. It accords with living beings. minds, in response to their capacity to know.

Ananda, in the same way that you, as one person, move your robe slightly, and a small wind arises, so a wind arises in all countries if there is a similar movement throughout the Dharma Realm. Since it can be produced throughout the world, how can there be any fixed place to which it is confined?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign their origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which bear no real meaning.

Ananda, the nature of emptiness has no shape; it is only apparent because of form. For instance, Shravasti is far from the river, so when the Kshatriyas, Brahmans, Vaishyas, Shudras, Bharadvajas, Chandalas, and so forth, build their homes there, they dig wells seeking water. Where a foot of earth is removed, there is a foot of emptiness; where as many as ten feet of earth are removed, there are ten feet of emptiness. The depth of the emptiness corresponds to the amount of earth removed.

”Does this emptiness come out of the dirt, does it exist because of the digging, or does it arise of itself without a cause?

”Moreover, Ananda, suppose this emptiness arose of itself without any cause. Why wasn’t it unobstructed before the earth was dug? Quite the contrary, one saw only the great earth; there was no emptiness evident in it.

”If emptiness came about because of the removal of the earth, we should have seen it entering the well as the earth was removed. If emptiness was not seen entering the well when the earth was first removed, how can we say that emptiness came about because of the removal of the earth?

”If there is no going in or coming out, then there is no difference between the earth and emptiness. Why, then, doesn’t emptiness come out of the well along with the earth in the process of digging?

”If emptiness appeared because of the digging, then the digging would bring out emptiness instead of the earth. If emptiness does not come out because of the digging, then the digging yields only earth. Why, then, do we see emptiness appear as the well is dug?

”You should consider this even more carefully. Look into it deeply, and you will find that the digging comes from the person’s hand as its means of conveyance, and the earth exists because of a change in the ground. But what causes the emptiness to appear?

”The digging and the emptiness, one being substantial and the other insubstantial, do not function on the same plane. They do not mix and unite. Nor can it be that emptiness exists spontaneously without an origin.

”Although the nature of emptiness is completely pervasive, it is basically unmoving. You should know that it and earth, water, fire, and wind are together called the five elements. Their natures are true and perfectly fused, and all are the Treasury of the Thus Come One, fundamentally devoid of production and extinction.

Ananda, your mind is murky and confused, and you do not awaken to the fact that the source of the four elements is none other than the Treasury of the Thus Come One. Why do you not take a look at emptiness to see whether it is subject to such relativities as coming and going?

”You do not know at all that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of enlightenment is true emptiness, and the nature of emptiness is true enlightenment. Pure at its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm.

”It accords with living beingsminds, in response to their capacity to know.

Ananda, if in one place there is a well empty of earth, there will be emptiness filling up that one place. If there are wells empty of earth in the ten directions, there will be emptiness filling them up in the ten directions. Since it fills up the ten directions, is there any fixed location in which emptiness is found?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign their origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which bear no real meaning.

"Ananda, the seeing awareness does not perceive by itself. It depends upon form and emptiness for its existence. You are now in the Jeta Grove where you see brightness in the morning and darkness in the evening. Deep in the night you will see brightness when the moon arises and darkness when no moon is visible. The brightness and darkness are discerned by the seeing.

”Is the seeing identical in substance with brightness, darkness, and emptiness, or are they not the same substance? Are they the same and yet different, or are they not the same and yet not different?

Ananda, suppose seeing were one with brightness, darkness, and emptiness. It so happens that where there is darkness there is no brightness, and where there is brightness there is no darkness, because the two cancel each other out. If it were one with darkness, it would cease to exist in brightness; if it were one with brightness, it would cease to exist in darkness. Such being the case, how could it perceive both brightness and darkness? If brightness and darkness differ from each other, how can they form a unity with seeing, which transcends production and destruction?

”Suppose that the essence of seeing were not of one substance with brightness and darkness, and that you were separate from light, darkness, and emptiness. Then what shape and appearance would the source of the seeing have, as you distinguish it?

”In the absence of darkness, brightness, and emptiness, the seeing would be the same as hair on a tortoise or horns on a hare. How could we establish the seeing perception without the presence of the three qualities of brightness, darkness, and emptiness?

How could we say that the seeing was one with darkness and brightness, since brightness and darkness are opposites? Yet, how can we say that it was different from the three qualities mentioned, since in their absence the seeing perception can never be established?

”How could we say that the seeing was not one with emptiness, since no boundary is established between them when they are separated from each other? How could we say that they were not different, since the seeing always remains unchanged, regardless of whether it is perceiving brightness or perceiving darkness?

”You should examine this in even greater detail, investigate it minutely, consider and contemplate it carefully. The light comes from the sun and darkness from the absence of the moon; penetration belongs to emptiness, and solidity returns to the earth. From what does the essence of seeing arise?

Seeing has awareness, and emptiness is inanimate: they do not mix and unite. Nor can it be that the essence of seeing arises spontaneously without an origin.

”If the faculties of seeing, hearing, and knowing are by nature all pervasive and unmoving, you should know that the stable, boundless emptiness, together with the unstable elements such as earth, water, fire, and wind, are together known as the six elements. They are, in nature, true and perfectly fused and thus are the Treasury of the Thus Come One, fundamentally devoid of production and destruction.

Ananda, your nature is so submerged that you have not realized that your seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing are basically the Treasury of the Thus Come One. You should contemplate seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing to see whether they are subject to production and extinction; whether they are identical or different; whether they are not subject to production and extinction; and whether they are not identical and not different.

”You still don’t know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of seeing is enlightened brightness; the essence of enlightenment is bright seeing. Pure at its origin, it pervades the Dharma Realm.

”It accords with living beingsminds in response to their capacity to know. Consider, for example, the sense organ of seeing. Its seeing pervades the Dharma Realm. The same is true of the luster of the wonderful virtue of hearing, smelling, tasting, contact, and knowing. Since they fill emptiness in the ten directions throughout the Dharma Realm, how could there be any fixed location in which they are found?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign its origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which have no real meaning.

Ananda, the nature of consciousness has no source, but is a false manifestation based on the six organs and objects. Now, take a look at the entire holy assembly gathered here. As you glance at each one in turn, everything you see is like what is seen in a mirror, where nothing has any special distinction.

”However, your consciousness will identify them one by one: for example, Manjushri, Purna, Maudgalyayana, Subhuti, and Shariputra.

”Does the discerning faculty of the conscious mind come from seeing, from forms, or from emptiness, or does it arise suddenly without a cause?

Ananda, suppose your consciousness came from seeing. If there were no brightness, darkness, form, and emptiness - if these four did not exist you could not see. With seeing non existent, what would be the origin of your consciousness?

”If your consciousness arose from form rather than from seeing, it would not see either in brightness or in darkness. In the absence of brightness and darkness, it would not see form or emptiness, either. In the absence of form, where would your consciousness come from?

”If it came from emptiness, it is neither an appearance nor the seeing. Since it does not see, it is unable by itself to discern brightness, darkness, form, or emptiness. Since it is not an appearance, it is in itself devoid of external conditions. Therefore, there is no place for seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing to be established.

”Since its location is devoid of these two, the consciousness that arises from emptiness would be the same as non existent. Even if it did exist, it would not be the same as a thing. Even if your consciousness came forth from it, how would it discern anything?

”If it suddenly comes forth without a cause, why can’t you discern the moonlight within the sunlight?

”You should investigate this even more carefully, discriminate it in detail, and look into it. The seeing belongs to your eyes; the appearances are considered to be the environment; what has an appearance is existent; what is without any appearance is non existent. What, then, are the conditions that cause the consciousness to come into being?

”The consciousness moves and the seeing is quiet; they do not mix and unite. Smelling, hearing, awareness, and knowing are the same way. Nor should it be that the condition of consciousness exists spontaneously without an origin.

”If this conscious mind does not come from anywhere, you should know that the same is true of the mind, which makes distinctions, and the seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing, which are all complete and tranquil. Their nature is without an origin. They and emptiness, earth, water, fire, and wind are together called the seven elements. Their true natures are perfectly fused, and all are the Treasury of the Thus Come One, fundamentally devoid of production and extinction.

Ananda, your mind is coarse and shallow, and so you do not realize that the seeing and hearing are the Treasury of the Thus Come One, and you do not discover that knowing is the same way. You should contemplate these six locations of consciousness: are they the same or different? Are they empty or existent? Are they neither the same nor different? Are they neither empty nor existent?

”You basically do not know that in the Treasury of the Thus Come One the nature of consciousness is bright and knowing. Enlightened brightness is the true consciousness. The wonderful enlightenment is tranquil and pervades the Dharma Realm.

”It encompasses the emptiness of the ten directions and issues forth in it. How can it have a location?

”It is experienced to whatever extent is dictated by the law of karma. Ignorant of this fact, people in the world are so deluded as to assign its origin to causes and conditions or to spontaneity. These mistakes, which arise from the discriminations and reasoning processes of the conscious mind, are nothing but the play of empty words which have no real meaning.”

At that time, Ananda and the Great Assembly, filled with the subtle, wonderful instruction of the Buddha, the Thus Come One, were peaceful in body and mind and were without obstructions. Everyone in the Great Assembly became aware that his or her mind pervaded the ten directions, beholding emptiness in the ten directions as one might look at a leaf or at an object held in one’s hands.

All the things that exist in the world were the wonderfully bright inherent mind of Bodhi.

The essence of the mind was completely pervading and contained the ten directions.

Then they looked back upon their bodies born of their parents as a fine mote of dust blown about in the emptiness of the ten directions; sometimes visible, sometimes not, as a single bubble floating on the clear, vast sea, appearing from nowhere and disappearing into oblivion. They comprehended and knew for themselves, and obtained their fundamental wonderful mind, which is everlasting and cannot be extinguished.

They bowed to the Buddha and placed their palms together, having obtained what they had never had before. Then, facing the Thus Come One, Ananda spoke verses in praise of the Buddha.

”The wonderfully deep Dharani,
the unmoving Honored One,
The Foremost Shurangama King
is seldom found in the world.

“It melts away my upside down thoughts
gathered in a million kalpas.
So I needn’t endure asamkhyeya aeons
to obtain the dharma body.

“I wish now to achieve the result
and become an honored king,
Who then returns to save as many beings
as there are sand grains in the Ganges.
I offer this deep thought to those who are as countless
as the motes of dust of the Buddhalands,
To repay the kindness shown me by the Buddha.

“In obeisance I ask the World Honored One to certify
my vow to first enter the five turbid evil realms.
If there is even one being who hasn’t become a
Buddha, at death I will not reach for Nirvana.

“May the exalted hero’s awesome strength,
his kindness and compassion,
Search out and dispel even the most subtle
of my doubts.

“Causing me to quickly attain the
supreme enlightenment,
And sit in the Bodhimanda of the
worlds of the ten directions.

“Should even the shunyata nature entirely melt away,
This vajra mind will never waver.”

Then Purnamaitreyaniputra arose from his seat in the midst of the Great Assembly, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, put his palms together respectfully, and said to the Buddha, “The most virtuous and awe-inspiring World Honored One has for the sake of living beings expounded the primary truth of the Thus Come One with remarkable eloquence.

”The World Honored One often singles me out as the foremost among speakers of dharma. But now when I hear the wonderful and subtle expression of the dharma, I am like a deaf person who at a distance of more than a hundred paces tries to hear a mosquito, which in fact cannot be seen, let alone heard.

World Honored One, although Ananda and those like him have become enlightened, they have not yet cast out their habits and outflows.

”We in the assembly have reached the level of no outflows. Yet, although we have no outflows, we still have doubts about the dharma we have now heard the Thus Come One speak.

World Honored One, if all the sense organs, sense objects, skandhas, places, and realms in all the world are the Treasury of the Thus Come One, originally pure, why do all conditioned appearances such as the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth suddenly arise?

”Moreover, the Thus Come One said that earth, water, fire, and wind are by nature perfectly fused, are all-pervasive in the Dharma Realm, and are all tranquil and everlasting.

World Honored One, if the nature of earth is pervasive, how can it contain water? If the nature of water is pervasive, then fire does not arise. Further, how do you explain that the natures of fire and water can each pervade empty space with out displacing one another? World Honored One, the nature of earth is solid; the nature of emptiness is penetrating. How can they both pervade the Dharma Realm? I don’t know where this doctrine is leading.

”I only hope the Thus Come One will compassionately explain in order to rend the clouds of confusion in me and among the Great Assembly.” After saying this, he made a full prostration and respectfully and expectantly awaited the Thus Come One’s unsurpassed compassionate instruction.

The World Honored One then told Purna and all the Arhats in the assembly who had extinguished their outflows and had reached the level of no study, “Today the Thus Come One will explain in depth the true, supreme meaning within the supreme meaning in order to cause all of you in the assembly who are fixed-nature Sound-Hearers and those arhats who have not realized the two kinds of emptiness, but are dedicated to the superior vehicle, as well as the others, to obtain the place of still extinction, the one vehicle, the true aranya, the proper place of cultivation. Listen attentively and I will explain it for you.”

Purna and the others, revering the Buddha’s expression of Dharma, listened silently.

The Buddha said, “Purna, you have asked why in fundamental purity the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth suddenly arise.

”Have you not often heard the Thus Come One expound upon the wonderful light of the enlightened nature and the bright wonder of the fundamental enlightenment.”

Purna said, “Yes, World Honored One, I have often heard the Buddha expound upon this subject.”

The Buddha said, “You speak of the light of enlightenment; is it that the natural light is called enlightenment? Or are you saying that enlightenment is initially without light and that then there is a socalled brightening of the enlightenment?”

Purna said, “If the absence of light is called enlightenment, then there is no light whatever.”

The Buddha said, “If there is no bright enlightenment without light added to it, then it is not enlightenment with it; and it is not light without it. The absence of light is not the still, bright nature of enlightenment, either.

”The nature of enlightenment is essentially bright. It is false for you to make it bright enlightenment.

Enlightenment is not something that needs to be made bright, for once that is done, an object is established because of this light. Once an object is falsely set up, you as a false subject come into being.

”In the midst of what is neither the same nor different, difference blazes forth. And what is different from that difference becomes sameness, because of the difference. Once sameness and difference are created then due to them what is neither the same nor different is further established.

”This turmoil eventually brings about weariness. Prolonged weariness produces defilement. The combination of these in a murky turbidity creates affliction with respect to wearisome defilement.

”Arisal is the world; stillness is emptiness. Emptiness is sameness; the world is difference. What is neither sameness nor difference is the actual conditioned dharmas.

”The interaction of bright enlightenment and dark emptiness sets them in a perpetual rotation; thus there is the pervasiveness of wind which supports the world.

”Because emptiness produces movement, hardened light sets up a solidity which is the store of metal. Bright enlightenment makes this hardness; thus there is the pervasiveness of metal which secures the lands.

”Obstinate attachment to unenlightened awareness results in the formation of metals, while the vibration of illusory awareness causes wind to rise up. The wind and metal rub together; thus there is the light of fire which is changeable by nature.

”The brightness of the metal produces moisture, and from the light of fire steam arises; thus there is the pervasiveness of water which encompasses realms in the ten directions.

Fire rises and water falls, and the combination sets up a solidity. What is wet becomes the oceans and seas; what is dry becomes the continents and islands.

”Because of this, fire often rises up in the oceans, and on the continents the streams and rivers ever flow.

”When the power of water is less than that of fire, high mountains result. So it is that mountain rocks give off sparks when struck, and become liquid when melted.

”When the power of earth is less than that of water, the outcome is grasses and trees. So it is that groves and meadows turn to ashes when burned and ooze water when twisted.

”A falseness is produced with interaction as the seeds, and from these causes and conditions comes the continuity of the world.

”Moreover, Purna, the false brightness is none other than the mistake of adding light to enlightenment.

”After the falseness of an object is established, the faculty of understanding cannot transcend it. Due to this cause and condition, hearing does not go beyond sound, and seeing does not surpass form.

Forms, smells, tastes, and objects of touch . six falsenesses are realized. Because of them there is division into seeing, sensation, hearing, and knowing.

”Similar karma binds together: union and separation bring about transformation.

”One sees that a bright spot is generated. At the sight of the bright spot conception comes into being. Differing views produce hatred; similar views create love. The flow of love becomes a seed, and the conception is drawn into the womb. Intercourse happens with a mutual attraction of similar karma. And so there are the causes and conditions that create the kalala, the arbuda, and the rest.

”The womb-born, egg-born, moisture-born, and transformation- born come about in response: the egg-born come from thought, the womb-born are due to emotion, the moisture-born arise from union, and transformations occur through separation.

Emotion, thought, union, and separation go through further changes, and from all the karma received one either rises or sinks. From these causes and conditions comes the continuity of living beings.

Purna, thought and love become bound together so that people love each other and cannot bear to be apart. As a result, the world has seen an endless succession of births of parents, children, and grandchildren. And the basis for all of this is desire and greed.

Greed and love feed on one another until greed becomes insatiable. As a result, in the world all the sentient beings born of eggs, wombs, moisture, and by transformation tend to devour one another for the nourishment of their bodies to the extent that their strength permits. And the basis for all of this is killing and greed.

A person eats a sheep. The sheep dies and becomes a person. The person dies and becomes a sheep, and it goes on that way through ten births and more. Through death after death and birth after birth, they come back to eat one another. The evil karma becomes innate and exhausts the bounds of the future. And the basis for all of this is stealing and greed.

”’You owe me a life; I have to repay my debt to you.’ From these causes and conditions we pass through hundreds of thousands of aeons, in a sustained cycle of birth and death.

”’You love my mind; I adore your form.’ From these causes and conditions we pass through hundreds of thousands of aeons, in a sustained mutual entanglement.

”Killing, stealing, and lust are themselves the basic roots. From these causes and conditions comes the continuity of karmic retribution.

”Therefore, Purna, the three kinds of upside down continuity come from the light which is added to enlightenment. With this false enlightening of the knowing-nature, subjective awareness gives rise to objective appearances. Both are born of false views, and from this falseness the mountains, the rivers, the great earth, and all conditioned appearances unfold themselves in a succession that recurs in endless cycles.”

Purna said, “If this wonderful enlightenment, this basic miraculous enlightened brightness which is neither greater than nor less than the mind of the Thus Come One, abruptly brings forth the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth, and all conditioned appearances, then now that the Thus Come One has attained the wonderful empty bright enlightenment, will the mountains, the rivers, the great earth, and all conditioned habitual outflows arise again?”

The Buddha said to Purna, “Consider for example a person who has become confused in a village, mistaking south for north. Is this confusion the result of confusion or of awareness?”

Purna said, “This person’s confusion is the result neither of confusion nor of awareness. Why? Confusion is fundamentally baseless, so how could it arise because of confusion? Awareness does not produce confusion, so how could it arise because of awareness?”

The Buddha said, “If a person who is aware points out the way to the person who is in the midst of confusion, and makes him aware, then do you suppose, Purna, that once the person is over his confusion he could lose his sense of direction again in that village?”

”No, World Honored One.”

Purna, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions are the same way. Confusion is groundless and ultimately empty in nature. There had basically been no confusion: it merely seemed as if there were confusion and enlightenment. When the delusion about confusion and enlightenment is ended, enlightenment does not give rise to confusion.

”It is also like a person with an eye-ailment who sees flowers in space. If he gets rid of his eye-ailment, the flowers in space will disappear. If he were so stupid as to quickly return to the spot where the flowers disappeared and wait for them to reappear, would you consider that person to be stupid or smart?”

Purna said, “Originally there weren’t any flowers in space. It was through a falseness in the seeing that they were produced and extinguished. To see the disappearance of the flowers in space is already upside down. To wait for them to reappear is sheer madness. Why bother to determine further if such a person is stupid or smart?”

The Buddha said, “Since you explain it that way, why do you ask if the wonderful enlightened bright emptiness can once again give rise to the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth?

”It is like a piece of ore containing gold and a mixture of other metals. Once the pure gold is extracted, it will not become an ore again. It is like wood that has been burned to ashes; it will not become wood again.

”The Bodhi and Nirvana of all Buddhas, the Thus Come Ones, are the same way.

"Purna, you also asked whether the natures of water and fire would not destroy each other if the natures of earth, water, fire, and wind were all perfectly fused and pervaded the Dharma Realm, and whether subtle emptiness and the great earth would not be incompatible if both pervaded the Dharma Realm.

”For example, Purna, the substance of emptiness is not the myriad things, and yet it does not prevent the inclusion of all appearances within it.

”Do you know the reason why? Purna, the empty space is bright on a sunny day, and dark when the sky is cloudy. It moves when the wind rises up, it is fresh when the sky clears. It is turbid and hazy when the weather is foul, it is obscure when a dust-storm breaks out. It casts a bright reflection on a pool of clear water.

”What do you think of these conditions which come into existence at different places? Are they created from these conditions themselves or do they find their origin in emptiness? If they arise from those conditions, Purna, then on a sunny day since the sun is bright, all the worlds of the ten directions should take the form of the sun. Then how does it happen that on a sunny day one still sees the round sun in the sky? If emptiness is bright, emptiness itself should shine. How does it happen that when there is a covering of clouds and fog there is no light in evidence?

”You should know that brightness is not the sun, is not emptiness, and is not other than the emptiness and the sun.

”The truly wonderful enlightened brightness is the same way. If your karma finds expression in emptiness, then emptiness will appear. If your karma finds expression in one or another of earth, water, fire, or wind, that one will appear. If your karma finds expression in them all, they will all appear.

”How can they all appear? Suppose, Purna, the sun’s reflection appears in a single body of water, and two people gaze at it, both at the same time. Then one person walks east and the other walks west. Each person, still looking in the water, will see a sun go along with him, one to the east, one to the west, seemingly without there being any fixed direction for the movement of the sun’s reflection.

”You shouldn’t belabor the question and say, ‘If there is one sun, how can it follow both people? Since the sun is double, why does only one appear in the sky?’ This is just to revolve in falseness, because it cannot be proved.

Contemplate the fundamental falseness of appearances. They are just like flowers that are conjured up in space and produce empty fruit. Why, then, investigate the meaning of their formation and disappearance?

Contemplate the fundamental truth of the nature. It is solely the wonderful enlightened brightness, the wonderful enlightened bright mind. Originally, it is neither water nor fire. Why, then, ask about incompatibility?

Purna, you think that form and emptiness overcome and destroy one another in the Treasury of the Thus Come One. Thus the Treasury of the Thus Come One accordingly appears to you as form and emptiness throughout the Dharma Realm.

”And so, within it the wind moves, emptiness is still, the sun is bright, and the clouds are dark. The reason for this lies in the delusion of living beings who have turned their backs on enlightenment and joined with the ‘dust.’ Thus, the wearisome defilements come into being and mundane appearances exist.

”With the wonderful brightness that is not extinguished and not produced, I unite with the Treasury of the Thus Come One. Thus the Treasury of the Thus Come One is the unique and wonderful enlightened brightness which completely illumines the Dharma Realm.

”That is why, within it, the one is limitless; the limitless is one. In the small appears the great; in the great appears the small.

”Unmoving in the Bodhimanda, yet pervading the ten directions, my body contains the ten directions and endless emptiness. On the tip of a single hair appear the lands of the Jeweled Kings. Sitting in a mote of dust, I turn the great Dharma wheel, destroy the defilements, and unite with enlightenment, so, true suchness, the wonderful enlightened bright nature, comes into being.

”The Treasury of the Thus Come One is the fundamental, wonderful, perfect mind.

”It is not the mind, nor emptiness, nor earth, nor water, nor wind, nor fire; it is not the eyes, nor the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, or the mind. It is not form, nor sound, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas. It is not the realm of eye-consciousness, nor any other, up to and including the realm of mind-consciousness.

”It is not understanding, nor ignorance, nor the ending of understanding or ignorance, nor any other, up to and including old age and death and the ending of old age and death.

”It is not suffering, nor accumulation, nor extinction, nor the way. It is neither knowing nor attaining.

”It is not dana, nor shila, nor virya, nor kshanti, nor dhyana, nor prajna, nor paramita.

Nor any other: it is not the Tathagata, nor the arhats, nor samyaksambodhi, nor parinirvana, nor eternity, nor bliss, nor true self, nor purity.

”Therefore, it is neither mundane nor transcendental, since the Treasury of the Thus Come One is the fundamental brightness of the wonderful mind.

”It is the mind, it is emptiness, it is earth, it is water, it is wind, it is fire, it is the eyes, it is the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body, and the mind. It is form, it is sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, and dharmas. It is the realm of eye-consciousness, and so forth up, to and including the realm of mind-consciousness.

It is understanding and ignorance and the ending of understanding and ignorance, and so forth up to and including old age and death and the ending of old age and death. It is suffering, it is accumulation, it is extinction, and it is the way. It is knowing and attaining. It is dana, it is shila, it is virya, it is kshanti, it is dhyana, it is prajna, and it is paramita, and so forth, up to and including the Tathagata, the arhats, samyaksambodhi, parinirvana, eternity, bliss, true self, and purity.

”It is both mundane and transcendental, since the Treasury of the Thus Come One is the wonderful brightness of the fundamental mind.

”It is apart from ‘is’ and ‘is not.’ It is identical with ‘is’ and ‘is not.’

”How can living beings in the three realms of existence on the level of worldliness and the Sound-Hearers and Those Enlightened to Conditions on the level of transcendence make suppositions about the supreme Bodhi of the Thus Come One with the minds that they know of, or enter the knowledge and vision of the Buddha through the medium of worldly language and expressions?

”For example, lutes, flutes, and guitars can make wonderful sounds, but if there are no skilled fingers to play them, their music will never come forth.

”You and all living beings are the same way. The precious, enlightened mind is perfect in everyone. Thus, I press my finger upon it and the ocean-impression emits light; you move your mind, and the wearisome defilements spring up.

”It is all because you do not diligently seek the unsurpassed enlightened Way, but are fond of the lesser vehicle and are satisfied with little attainment.”

Purna said, “I am non-dual and complete with the Thus Come One’s perfect brightness of the precious enlightenment, the true wonder of the pure mind. But long ago I was victimized by false thoughts that have no beginning and I have long endured the turning wheel of rebirth. Now I have attained the sagely vehicle, but it is not yet ultimate. The World Honored One has completely extinguished all falseness and obtained wonderful true eternity.

”I venture to ask the Thus Come One why all living beings exist in falseness and conceal their own wonderful brightness, so that they keep drowning in this deluge?”

The Buddha said to Purna, “Although you have cast off doubts, you still have not ended residual delusions. I will now employ a worldly event in questioning you.

”Have you not heard of Yajnadatta in Shravasti who on impulse one morning held a mirror to his face and fell in love with the head in the mirror? He gazed at the eyes and eyebrows but got angry because he could not see his own face. He decided he must be a li mei ghost. Having lost all his bearings, he ran madly out. What do you think? Why did this person set out on a mad chase for no reason?.

Purna said, “That person was insane. There’s no other reason.”

The Buddha said, “What reason can you give for calling false the wonderful enlightened bright perfection, the fundamentally perfect bright wonder? If there is a reason, then how can you say it is false?

”All your own false thinking becomes in turn the cause for more. From confusion you accumulate confusion through kalpa after kalpa; although the Buddha is aware of it, he cannot counteract it.

”From such confused causes, the cause of confusion perpetuates itself. When one realizes that confusion has no cause, the falseness becomes baseless. Since it never arose, why would you hope for its extinction? One who obtains Bodhi is like a person who awakens to realize the events of a dream; even though his mind is awake and clear, he cannot get hold of the things in the dream and physically display them.

”How much the more is that the case with some thing which is without a cause and basically non-existent, such as Yajnadatta’s situation that day in the city? Was there any reason why he became fearful for his head and went running about? If his madness were suddenly to cease, it would not be that he had obtained his head from someplace outside; and so before his madness ceases, how can his head have been lost?

Purna, falseness is the same way. How can it exist?

”All you need do is not follow discriminations, because none of the three causes arises when the three conditions of the three continuities of the world, living beings, and karmic retribution are cut off.

”Then the madness of the Yajnadatta in your mind will cease of itself, and just that ceasing is Bodhi. The supreme, pure, bright mind originally pervades the Dharma Realm. It is not something obtained from anyone else. Why, then, labor and toil with marrow and joint to cultivate and be certified?

”This is to be like the person who has a wish fulfilling pearl sewn in his clothing without-realizing it. Thus he roams abroad in a state of poverty, begging for food and always on the move. Although he is indeed destitute, the pearl is never lost.

”Suddenly, a wise person shows him the pearl: all his wishes are fulfilled, he obtains great wealth, and he realizes that the pearl did not come from somewhere outside.”

Ananda then bowed at the Buddha’s feet, arose in the Great Assembly, and said to the Buddha, “The World Honored One now explains that when the three conditions of the karma of killing, stealing, and lust are cut off, the three causes for them do not arise. Then the madness of Yajnadatta in the mind ceases of itself, and just that ceasing is Bodhi. It is not something obtained from anyone else. These clearly are causes and conditions; why, then, does the Thus Come One abruptly reject causes and conditions?

”It was through causes and conditions that my mind became enlightened, World Honored One, and that is not only true of us who are young in years, of us Sound-Hearers who still have to study. Mahamaudgalyayana, Shariputra, and Subhuti, who are now in this assembly and who followed the elder Brahmans, became enlightened and obtained the state of no outflows upon hearing the Buddha expound upon causes and conditions.

”Now you say that Bodhi does not come from causes and conditions. So the spontaneity that Maskari Goshaliputra and others advocated in Rajagriha then becomes the primary meaning! I only hope you will let fall great compassion and break through my confusion.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Let us take the case of Yajnadatta in the city: if the causes and conditions of his madness cease, the nature that is not mad will spontaneously come forth. The entire principle of spontaneity and causes and conditions is nothing more than that.

Ananda, Yajnadatta’s head was spontaneously there, it was a spontaneous part of him. There was never a time when it was not. Why, then, did he suddenly fear that he had no head and start running about madly?

”If he naturally had a head and went mad due to causes and conditions, would it not be just as natural for him to lose his head due to causes and conditions?

”Basically his head was not lost. The madness and fear arose from falseness. There was never any change that took place. Why, then, labor the point about causes and conditions?

”If the madness were spontaneous, the madness and fear would be fundamental. Before he went mad, then, where was his madness hidden?

”If the madness were not spontaneous, and his head were in fact not lost, why did he run about in a state of madness?

”If you realize that you have a head and recognize the madness of your pursuit, then both spontaneity and causes and conditions become idle theories. That is why I say that the three conditions’ ceasing to be is itself the Bodhi mind.

”The Bodhi mind’s being produced and the mind subject to production and extinction’s being extinguished is simply production and extinction.

”The ending of both production and extinction is the effortless Way. If there is spontaneity, then clearly it must be that the thought of spontaneity arises and the mind subject to production and extinction ceases: that, then, is still production and extinction.

”To call the lack of production and extinction spontaneity is the same as to say that the single substance formed by the combination of all mundane appearances is a mixed and united essence, and that whatever is not mixed and united is basically spontaneous in nature.

”When spontaneity is devoid of spontaneity, and mixing and uniting are devoid of their unifying quality, so that spontaneity and unity alike are abandoned, and both the abandonment of them and their existence cease to be - that is no idle theory.

Bodhi and Nirvana are still so far away that you must undoubtedly pass through kalpas of bitterness and diligence before you cultivate them and are certified.

”You can hold in memory the twelve divisions of the sutras spoken by the Buddhas of the ten directions and their pure, wonderful principles as many as the sands of the River Ganges, but it only aids your idle theorizing.

You can discuss causes and conditions and spontaneity and understand them perfectly clearly, and people in the world refer to you as the one foremost in learning. You have spent aeons upon aeons saturating yourself with learning, yet you could not avoid the difficulty of Matangi.

”Why did you have to wait for me to use the spiritual mantra of the Buddha’s summit? The fire of lust in Matangi’s daughter’s heart died instantly, and she attained the position of an Anagamin. Now she is one of a vigorous group in my dharma assembly. The river of love dried up in her, and she was able to set you free.

”Therefore, Ananda, your ability to keep in mind the Thus Come One’s wonderful secret teachings of aeon after aeon is not as good as a single day of no-outflow cultivation that is intent upon getting far away from the two worldly sufferings of love and hate.

”In Matangi’s daughter, a former prostitute, love and desire were dispelled by the spiritual power of the mantra. Now her name in dharma is BhikshuniNature.’

”She and Rahula’s mother, Yashodhara both became aware of their past causes and knew that for many kalpas they had endured the suffering of greed and love. Because they single-mindedly became permeated with the cultivation of the goodness of no outflows, they were both freed from their bonds and received predictions. Why, then, do you cheat yourself and still remain caught up in looking and listening?”

When Ananda and the Great Assembly heard the Buddha’s instruction, their doubts and delusion were dispelled. Their minds awakened to the actual appearance, they experienced “light ease” both physically and mentally, and they obtained what they had never had before.

Once again he wept, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, knelt on both knees, placed his palms together, and said to the Buddha, “The Unsurpassed, Great, Compassionate, Pure, and Precious King has instructed me well, so that, by means of these various causes and conditions, expedients, and encouragements, all of us who were immersed in the sea of suffering have escaped it.

World Honored One, having heard the sound of dharma like this, I know that the Treasury of the Thus Come One, the wonderful, enlightened, bright mind, pervades the ten directions and includes the Thus Come One, the lands of the ten directions, and the pure, precious adornments of the land of the Wonderfully Enlightened King. Yet, the Thus Come One once again admonishes that erudition is of no merit and is not as good as cultivation.

”So now I am like a wanderer who suddenly encounters a reigning king who bestows upon him an elegant house. He has obtained a mansion, but there needs to be a door in order for him to enter it.

”I only hope the Thus Come One will not withhold his great compassion in instructing those of us in the assembly who are covered over by darkness, so that we may renounce the small vehicle and attain at last the Thus Come One’s Nirvana without residue, the fundamental path of resolve, and that he will enable those who still must study to know now how to subdue the age-old seeking of advantage from conditions, to obtain Dharani, and to enter into the knowledge and vision of the Buddha.” Having said this, he made a full prostration, and together with the members of the assembly, he single-mindedly awaited the Buddha’s compassionate instruction.

The World Honored One then took pity on the Sound-Hearers and the Condition-Enlightened Ones in the assembly - all those who were not yet at ease with the Bodhi mind - and on all living beings to come after the Buddha’s extinction during the Dharma-ending Age. He revealed the wonderful path of cultivation of the unsurpassed vehicle.

He proclaimed to Ananda and to the Great Assembly, “If you want to have decisive resolve for Bodhi and not grow weary of the Wonderful Samadhi of the Buddha, the Thus Come One, you must first understand the two resolutions regarding initial resolve for enlightenment. What are the two resolutions regarding initial resolve for enlightenment?

Ananda, the first resolution is this: if you wish to renounce the position of Sound-Hearer and cultivate the Bodhisattva Vehicle, and to enter the knowledge and vision of the Buddha, you must carefully consider whether the resolve on the cause ground and the enlightenment on the ground of fruition are the same or different.

Ananda, it is impossible while on the cause-ground to use the mind subject to production and extinction as the basis for cultivating in quest of the Buddha vehicle, which is neither produced nor extinguished.

For this reason, you should realize that all existing dharmas in the material world will decay and disappear. Ananda, contemplate the world: what thing is there that will not waste away?

”But, has anyone ever heard of the disintegration of the void? Why not? It is because the void does not exist, and so it can never be destroyed.

”While you are in your body, what is solid is of earth, what is moist is of water, what is warm is of fire, and what moves is of wind. Because of these four bonds, your tranquil and perfect, wonderfully enlightened bright mind divides into seeing, hearing, sensation, and cognition. From beginning to end there are the five layers of turbidity.

”What is meant by ‘turbidity?’ Ananda, pure water, for instance, is fundamentally clear and clean, whereas dust, dirt, ashes, silt, and the like, are basically solid substances. Such are the properties of the two; their natures are not compatible. Suppose, then, that an ordinary person takes some dirt and tosses it into the pure water. The dirt loses its solid quality and the water is deprived of its transparency. The cloudiness which results is called ‘turbidity.’ Your five layers of turbidity are similar to it.

Ananda, you see that emptiness pervades the ten directions. There is no division between emptiness and seeing. However, although emptiness has no substance and your seeing has no awareness, the two become entangled in a falseness. This is the first layer, called the turbidity of time.

”Your body appears in full, with the four elements composing its substance, and from this, seeing, hearing, sensation, and cognition become firmly defined. Water, fire, wind, and earth fluctuate between sensation and cognition and become entangled in a falseness. This is the second layer, called the turbidity of views.

”Further, the functions of memory, discrimination, and verbal comprehension in your mind bring into being knowledge and views. From out of them appear the six defiling objects. Apart from the defiling objects there are no appearances. Apart from cognition they have no nature. But they become entangled in a falseness. This is the third layer, called the turbidity of afflictions.

”And then day and night there is endless production and extinction as your knowledge and views continually wish to remain in the world, while your karmic patterns constantly move you to various places. This entanglement becomes a falseness, which is the fourth layer, called the turbidity of living beings.

”Originally, your seeing and hearing were not different natures, but a multitude of defiling objects has divided them until suddenly they became different. Their natures have a mutual awareness, but their functions are in opposition. Sameness and difference arise and they lose their identity. This entanglement becomes a falseness, which is the fifth layer, called the turbidity of a lifespan.

Ananda, you now want to cause your seeing, hearing, sensation, and cognition to return to and tally with the permanence, bliss, true self, and purity of the Thus Come One.

You should first decide what the basis of birth and death is by relying on the perfect, tranquil nature which is neither produced nor extinguished.

By means of this tranquility, turn the empty and false production and extinction so that they are subdued and return to the source of enlightenment. The attainment of this source of bright enlightenment, which is neither produced nor extinguished, is the mind on the cause-ground.

”Then you can completely accomplish the cultivation of and certification to the ground of fruition.

”It is like purifying muddy water by placing it in a quiet vessel which is kept completely still and unmoving. The sand and silt settle, and the pure water appears. This is called the initial subduing of the guest-dust affliction.

”The complete removal of the mud from the water is called the eternal severance of fundamental ignorance.

”When clarity is pure to its essence, then no matter what happens there is no affliction. Everything is in accord with the pure and wonderful virtues of Nirvana.

”The second resolution is this: if you definitely wish to bring forth the resolve for Bodhi and to be especially courageous and dedicated in your cultivation of the Bodhisattva Vehicle, you must decisively renounce all conditioned appearances.

You should carefully consider the origin of affliction and the beginningless creation of karma and perpetuation of rebirth - who creates it and who endures it?

Ananda, if in your cultivation of Bodhi you do not carefully consider the origin of affliction, you cannot realize the empty falseness of the sense-organs and sense-objects or the location of delusion. If you don’t even know its location, how can you subdue it and reach the level of the Thus Come One?

Ananda, consider the ordinary person who wants to untie a knot. If he can’t see where the knot is, how can he untie it?

But I have never heard that one can obliterate empty space. Why? It is because emptiness has no form or appearance; therefore there are no knots to untie.

”But now your visible eyes, ears, nose and tongue, as well as your body and mind, are like six thieving matchmakers who plunder the jewels of your household.

”And, thus, from beginningless time living beings and the world have been bound up together, so that the material world cannot be transcended.

Ananda, what is meant by the time and space of living beings? ‘Time’ refers to change and flow; .space. refers to location.

”You should know by now that north, east, south, west, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, above and below are space. Past, present, and future are periods of time. There are ten directions in space and three periods of time.

”All living beings come into being because of false interaction. Their bodies go through changes and they are caught up in time and space.

”However, although there are ten directions in space, those known in the world as north, south, east, and west are the only ones that can be clearly fixed. Above and below have no position; the intermediates have no definite direction. Determined clearly to be four in number, they are then combined with the three periods of time. Three times four, or, alternately, four times three, make twelve.

”Increase it three times: itself multiplied by ten and again by ten, to reach the thousands: one thousand two hundred is the greatest possible efficacy of the six organs.

Ananda, you can thereby establish their value. For example, the eyes see darkness behind and light in front. The front is totally light; the back is totally dark. With your peripheral vision included, you can see two thirds around at most. Therefore, its capacity can be expressed as an efficacy which is not complete. One third of its efficacy is without virtue. Know, then, that the eyes have an efficacy of only eight hundred.

”For example, the ears hear everywhere in the ten directions, without loss. They hear movements, whether far or near, and stillness without bounds. Know, then, that the organ of hearing is complete with an efficacy of twelve hundred.

”For example, the nose smells odors with each inhalation and exhalation of the breath. It is deficient at the point between the inhalation and exhalation. The organ of smell can be considered to be deficient by one third. Know, then, that the nose has an efficacy of only eight hundred.

”For example, the tongue can proclaim the entirety of worldly and transcendental wisdom. Although language varies according to locality, the principles go beyond boundaries of any kind. Know, then, that the organ of the tongue is complete with an efficacy of twelve hundred.

”For example, the body is aware of touch, registering it as pain or pleasure. When it makes contact, it is aware of the thing touched; when in isolation, it has no tactile knowledge of other things. Isolation has a single and contact has a dual aspect. The organ of the body can be considered as deficient by one third. Know, then, that the body has an efficacy of only eight hundred.

”For example, the mind silently includes all worldly and transcendental dharmas of the ten directions and the three periods of time. Regardless of whether it be sagely or ordinary, everything is included in its boundlessness. Know, then, that the organ of the mind is complete with an efficacy of twelve hundred.

Ananda, now you wish to oppose the flow of desire that leads to birth and death. You should turn back the flow of the organs to reach a state of neither production nor extinction.

”You should investigate all of these six functioning organs to see which are uniting, which are isolated, which are deep, which are shallow, which will penetrate perfectly, and which are not perfect.

”Once you have awakened to the organ which penetrates perfectly, you should thereupon reverse the flow of its beginningless involvement in false karma. Then you will know the difference between one that penetrates perfectly and one that does not. Then a day and an aeon will be one and the same.

”I have now revealed to you the fundamental efficacy of the tranquil perfect brightness of these six. This is what the numbers are; it is up to you to select which one to enter. I will explain more to aid your progress in it.

”The Thus Come Ones of the ten directions cultivated by means of all of the eighteen realms and obtained perfect, unsurpassed Bodhi. All of them were generally adequate.

”But you are at an inferior level and are not yet able to perfect comfortable wisdom among them. Therefore, I shall give you an explanation, so that you will be able to enter deeply into one door.

”Enter one without falseness, and the six sense organs will be simultaneously pure.”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, how do we oppose the flow, enter deeply into one door, and cause the six organs to simultaneously become pure?”

The Buddha told Ananda, ”You have already obtained the fruition of a Shrotaapanna. You have already extinguished the view-delusions of living beings in the three realms, but you do not yet know that your organs have accumulated habits that are without beginning. It is through cultivation that one severs not simply these habits, but also their numerous subtleties as they pass through arisal, dwelling, change, and extinction.

”You should now contemplate the six organs further: are they one or six? If you say they are one, Ananda, why can’t the ears see? Why can’t the eyes hear? Why can’t the head walk? Why can’t the feet talk?

”If the six organs are definitely six, then as I now explain this subtle, wonderful dharma-door for you in this assembly, which of your six organs is receiving it?”

Ananda said, ”I hear it with my ears.”

The Buddha said, “Your ears hear by themselves; what, then, does it have to do with your body and mouth? And yet you ask about the principles with your mouth, and your body displays veneration.

”Therefore, you should know that if they are not one, then they must be six. And if they are not six, they must be one. But you can’t say that your organs are basically one and six.

Ananda, you should know that these organs are neither one nor six. It is from being upside-down and sinking into involvements throughout time without beginning that the theory of one and six has become established. As a Shrotaapanna, you have dissolved the six, but you still have not done away with the one.

”It is like emptiness fitting into differently shaped vessels. The emptiness is said to be whatever shape the vessel is. But if you get rid of the vessel and look at the emptiness, you will say it is one and the same.

”But how can that emptiness become alike and different at your convenience? Even less can it be one or not one. Therefore, you should understand that the six receptive functioning organs should be the same way.

Seeing occurs because the two appearances of darkness and light, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of seeing reflects form and combines with form to become an organ. In its pure state the organ of the eye is the four elements. And yet it takes the nameeye-organ’ and is shaped like a grape. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one races out after form.

”Hearing occurs because the two reverberations of movement and stillness, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of hearing reflects sound and resounds with sound to become the organ of the ear. In its pure state, the organ of the ear is the four elements. It takes the nameear organ’ and is shaped like a fresh, curled leaf. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is loosed upon sound.

Smelling occurs because the two appearances of penetration and obstruction, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of smelling reflects scents and takes in scents to become the organ of the nose. In its pure state, the organ of the nose is the four elements. It takes the name ‘nose-organ’ and is shaped like a double hanging claw. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one probes out after scents.

Tasting occurs because the two blends of blandness and variety, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of tasting reflects flavors and becomes entwined with flavors to become the organ of the tongue. In its pure state the organ of the tongue is the four elements. It takes the name ‘tongue-organ’ and is shaped like the crescent moon. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one pursues flavors.

Sensation occurs because the two frictions of separation and union, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of sensation reflects contact and seizes upon contact to become the organ of the body. In its pure state, the organ of the body is the four elements. It takes the name ‘body-organ’ and is shaped like a tabla. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is compelled by contact.

Knowing occurs because the two continuities of production and extinction, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of knowing reflects dharmas and grasps dharmas to become the organ of the mind. In its pure state, the organ of the mind is the four elements. It takes the namemental cognition’ and resembles seeing in a dark room. Of the superficial sense-organs and their four defiling objects, this one chases after dharmas.

Ananda, in this way the six organs occur, because that bright enlightenment has a brightness added to it. Thus they lose their essence and adhere to falseness and create light.

”Therefore, apart from darkness and light there is no substance to seeing for you now; apart from movement and stillness, there, basically, is no disposition of hearing; without penetration and obstruction, the nature of smelling does not arise; in the absence of variety and blandness, tasting does not occur, lacking separation and union, the sensation of contact is fundamentally non-existent; without extinction and production, knowing is put to rest.

”You need only not follow the twelve conditioned appearances of movement and stillness, union and separation, blandness and variety, penetration and obstruction, production and extinction, and brightness and darkness.

”Accordingly, extract one organ from adhesion, free it, and subdue it at its inner core. Once subdued, it will return to inherent truth and radiate its innate brilliance. When that brilliance shines forth, the remaining five adhesions will be freed to accomplish total liberation.

”Do not follow the knowing and seeing that arise from the objects before you. True brightness does not comply with the sense-organs. Yet, lodged at the organs is the revelation of the brightness that permits the mutual functioning of the six organs.

Ananda, don’t you know that now in this assembly there is Aniruddha, who is blind and yet can see; the dragon, Upananda, who is deaf and yet can hear; the spirit of the Ganges River, who has no nose and yet smells fragrance; Gavampati, who has an unusual tongue and yet senses flavor; and the spirit, Shunyata, who has no body and yet is aware of contact? In the light of the Thus Come One, this spirit is illumined temporarily as an ethereal essence without any substance. In the same way, there is also Mahakashyapa in this assembly, dwelling in the samadhi of extinction, having obtained the stillness of a Sound-Hearer. He has long since extinguished the mind-organ, and yet he has a perfectly clear knowledge which is not due to the mental process of thinking.

”Then, Ananda, after all your organs are completely freed, you will glow with an inner light. All the ephemeral, defiling objects and the material world will thereupon change their appearance like ice which is melted by hot liquid. In response to your mind, they will transform and become the knowledge and awareness which is unsurpassed enlightenment.

Ananda, it is like an ordinary person who has confined seeing to his eyes. If you suddenly have him close his eyes, he will see darkness before him. The six organs and his head and feet will be enveloped in total darkness. If the person traces the shape of external things with his hands, then even though he cannot see, he will recognize someone’s head and feet if he feels them. This knowledge and awareness are the same way.

If light is the condition requisite for seeing, then darkness brings the absence of seeing. But to perceive without light means that no dark manifestation can obscure the seeing.

”Once the organs and objects are eradicated, how can the enlightened brightness not become perfect and wonderful?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, as the Buddha has said, ‘The resolve for enlightenment on the cause-ground which seeks the eternal must be in mutual accord with the ground of fruition.’

World Honored One, the ground of fruition is Bodhi; Nirvana; true suchness; the Buddha-nature; the Amala-Consciousness; the Empty Treasury of the Thus Come One; the great, Perfect Mirror-Wisdom. But although it is called by these seven names, it is pure and perfect, its substance is durable, like royal vajra, everlasting and indestructible.

If the seeing and hearing are apart from light and darkness, movement and stillness, and penetration and obstruction and are ultimately devoid of substance, they are then like thoughts apart from sense-objects: they do not exist at all.

”How can what is ultimately destroyed be a cause by which one cultivates in the hope of obtaining the fruition of the Thus Come One’s sevenfold permanent abode?

World Honored One, when it is apart from light and darkness, the seeing is ultimately empty, just as when there is no sense-object, the essence of thought is extinguished.

”I go back and forth in circles, minutely searching, and basically there is no such thing as my mind or its objects. Just what should be used to seek the Unsurpassed Enlightenment?

”The Thus Come One previously said it was a tranquil essence, perfect and eternal. His present contradiction defies belief and is a resort to idle theorizing. How can the Thus Come One’s words be true and actual?

”I only hope the Buddha will let fall his great compassion and will instruct us who do not understand and who are holding on tightly.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “You study and learn much, but you have not yet extinguished outflows. In your mind you know only the causes of being upside down. But when the true inversion manifests, you really cannot recognize it yet.

”Lest your sincerity and faith remain insufficient, I will try to make use of an ordinary happening to dispel your doubts.”

Then the Thus Come One instructed Rahula to strike the bell once, and he asked Ananda, “Did you hear that?”

Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “We heard it.”

The bell ceased to sound, and the Buddha again asked, “Do you hear it now?”

Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “We do not hear it.”

Then Rahula struck the bell once again. The Buddha again asked, “Do you hear it now?”

Ananda and the Great Assembly again said, “We hear it.”

The Buddha asked Ananda, “What do you hear and what do you not hear?”

Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said to the Buddha, “When the bell is rung, we hear it. Once the sound of the bell ceases, so that even its echo fades away, we do not hear it.”

The Thus Come One again instructed Rahula to strike the bell, and he asked Ananda, “Is there sound now?”

Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “There is a sound.”

After a short time the sound ceased, and the Buddha again asked, “Is there a sound now?”

Ananda and the Great Assembly answered, “There is no sound.”

After a moment, Rahula again struck the bell, and the Buddha again asked, “Is there sound now?”

Ananda and the Great Assembly said together, “There is sound.”

The Buddha asked Ananda, “What is meant by ‘sound,’ and what is meant by ‘no sound?’”

Ananda and the Great Assembly told the Buddha, “When the bell is struck there is sound. Once the sound ceases and even the echo fades away, there is said to be no sound.”

The Buddha said to Ananda and the Great Assembly, “Why are you inconsistent in what you say?”

The Great Assembly and Ananda then asked the Buddha, “In what way have we been inconsistent?”

The Buddha said, “When I asked you if it was your hearing, you said it was your hearing. Then, when I asked you if it was sound, you said it was sound. I cannot ascertain from your answers if it is hearing or if it is sound. How can you not say this is inconsistent?

Ananda, when the sound is gone without an echo, you say there is no hearing. If there were really no hearing, the hearing-nature would be extinguished. It would be just like dead wood. If then the bell were sounded again, how would you know?

”What you know to be there or not there is the defiling object of sound. But could the hearing nature be there or not be there depending on your perception of its being there or not? If the hearing could really not be there, what would perceive that it was not?

”And so, Ananda, the sounds that you hear are what are subject to production and extinction, not your hearing. The arising and cessation of sounds cause your hearing-nature to be as if there or not there.

”You are so upside-down that you mistake sound for hearing. No wonder you are so confused that you take what is everlasting for what is annihilated. Ultimately, you cannot say that there is no hearing nature apart from movement and stillness and from obstruction and penetration.

”Consider a person who falls into a deep sleep while napping on his bed. While he is asleep, someone in his household starts beating clothes or pounding rice. In his dream, the person hears the sound of beating and pounding and takes it for something else, perhaps for the striking of a drum or the ringing of a bell. In the dream he wonders why the bell sounds like stone or wood.

”Suddenly he awakens and immediately recognizes the sound of pounding. He tells the members of his household, ‘I was just having a dream in which I mistook the sound of pounding for the sound of a drum.’

Ananda, how can this person in the dream-state remember stillness and motion, opening and closing, and penetrability and obstruction? Yet, although he is physically asleep, his hearing-nature is not drowsy.

”Even when your body is gone and your light and life move on, how could this nature leave you?

”But because living beings, from time without beginning, have pursued forms and sounds and have followed their thoughts as they turn and flow, they still are not enlightened to the purity, wonder, and permanence of their nature.

”They do not accord with what is eternal, but chase after things which are subject to production and extinction. Because of this they are born again and again and become mixed with defilement as they flow and turn.

”But if they reject production and extinction and uphold true permanence, an everlasting light will appear, and with that, the sense-organs, defiling objects, and consciousnesses will disappear.

”The appearance of thought becomes defilement; the emotions of the consciousness become filth. If you stay far away from these two, then your dharma eye will accordingly become pure and bright. How could you fail to accomplish unsurpassed knowledge and enlightenment?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, the Thus Come One has explained the two meanings, yet, as I now contemplate people in the world, I believe that if they try to untie a knot and cannot find its center, they will never get the knot undone.

World Honored One, I and all the other Sound Hearers in the Great Assembly who are not beyond learning are the same way. From time without beginning we have been accompanied in birth and death by ignorance. We have obtained these good roots of erudition and are said to have left the home life, yet in fact we act like someone with a recurrent fever.

”I only hope that you, the Greatly Compassionate One, will take pity on us. We are sinking and drowning so that to this very day we do not know how our bodies and minds are in knots or how to go about untying them. Your explanation will also enable future living beings who are in suffering and difficulty to avoid the turning wheel and not fall into the three realms of existence.”

After saying this, he and the entire Great Assembly made full prostrations. He wept profusely, and with sincere anticipation awaited the unsurpassed instruction of the Buddha, the Thus Come One.

Then the World Honored One took pity on Ananda and on those in the assembly with something left to study, as well as on living beings of the future, in order to help them transcend the world and become eyes for the future.

He rubbed the crown of Ananda’s head with his Jambunada purple-golden bright hand. Instantaneously all the Buddhalands in the ten directions quaked in six ways.

Thus Come Ones as numerous as fine motes of dust, each dwelling in his respective world, emitted a precious light from the crown of his head.

At one and the same time their light went from their own countries to the Jeta Grove and anointed the crown of the Thus Come One’s head. All in that Great Assembly obtained what they had never had before.

Then Ananda and everyone in the Great Assembly heard the Thus Come Ones as numerous as fine motes of dust throughout the ten directions speak to Ananda with different mouths but in a single voice.

”Good indeed, Ananda! You wish to recognize your innate ignorance that causes you to turn on the wheel. The origin of the knot of birth and death is simply your six sense-organs and nothing else.

”You also want to understand unsurpassed Bodhi, so that you can quickly realize bliss, liberation, tranquility, and wonderful permanence. It, too, is your six sense-organs and nothing else.”

Ananda heard these sounds of Dharma, but he did not yet understand in his mind. Bowing his head, he said to the Buddha, “How can what causes me to revolve in the cycle of birth and death and what enables me to gain bliss and wonderful permanence be the six sense-organs in both cases and nothing else?”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “The sense-organs and the objects are of the same source. The bonds and the release are not two. The nature of the consciousnesses is empty and false; it is like strange flowers in space.

Ananda, sense-awareness arises because of the sense objects: the appearance of objects exists because of the sense-organs. The appearance and the perception, both devoid of a nature, support each other like intertwining reeds.

”Therefore, you now base your knowledge on awareness and perception; but that is fundamental ignorance. The absence of a view regarding awareness and perception is Nirvana - the true purity of no outflows. How could there be anything else in the midst of it?”

Then the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying:

“In the true nature, conditioned things are empty.
They spring from causes, as illusions do.
Things unconditioned neither rise nor cease.
Unreal they are, like flowers in space.

”To speak of the false is to reveal the true.
But both the false and the true are false themselves.
If there is neither truth nor untruth,
How can there be perceiver and perceived?

“Between them the two in fact have no nature.
Thus they are likened to entwining reeds.
The knots and their release have a common cause.
The sages. and ordinary people’s paths are not two.

”Regard the nature of the intertwined.
Emptiness, existence both are naught.
Dark confusion is simply ignorance;
Bringing it to light is liberation.

”The knots must be untied successively.
When the six are released, even the one ceases to be.
Select an organ preferred for perfect penetration;
Enter the flow and realize proper enlightenment.

”Extremely subtle, the Adana consciousness
Makes patterns of habit that flow on in torrents.
Fearing you will confuse the truth with what is not,
I rarely tell you of all this.

”With your own mind, you grasp at your own mind.
What is not illusory turns into illusion.
If you don’t grasp, there is no non-illusion.
If even non-illusion does not arise,
How can illusory dharmas be established?
This is called the Wonderful Lotus Flower,
The Regal Vajra Gem of Enlightenment.

”n this Samapatti that is likened to illusion,
Transcend all study instantly.

”This Abhidharma, incomparable
Is the single pathway through Nirvana’s gate,
Taken by Bhagavans in all the ten directions.”

When Ananda and the Great Assembly heard the unsurpassed, compassionate instruction of the Buddha, the Thus Come One, this harmonious and brilliant Geya verse with its clear and penetrating wonderful principles, their hearts and eyes were opened, and they exclaimed that Dharma such as this had never been before.

Ananda put his palms together, bowed, and said to the Buddha, “Having heard the Buddha’s unbounded, greatly compassionate, pure, everlasting, true and actual expression of dharma, I still have not understood the sequence for releasing the knots such that when the six are untied, the one is gone also. I only hope you will be compassionate, and once again take pity on this assembly and on those of the future, by bestowing the sounds of Dharma on us and wash and rinse away our heavy defilements.”

Then, upon the lion’s throne, the Thus Come One straightened his “Nirvana robes,” arranged his samghati, took hold of the table made of the seven gems, reached out onto the table with his hand and picked up a flowered cloth given him by the Suyama God.

Then, as the assembly watched, he tied it into a knot and showed it to Ananda, asking, “What is this called?”

Ananda and the great assembly answered together, “It’s called a knot.”

Then the Thus Come One tied another knot in the cloth of layered flowers and asked Ananda again, “What is this called?”

Ananda and the great assembly once again answered together, “It, too, is called a knot.”

He continued in this pattern until he had tied six knots in the cloth of layered flowers. As he made each knot, he held it up to Ananda and asked, “What is this called?”

And each time Ananda and the great assembly answered the Buddha in the same way:”.It is called a knot.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “When I first tied the cloth, you called it a knot. Since the cloth of layered flowers is basically a single strip, how can you call the second and third ties knots as well?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, this cloth of woven layered flowers is just one piece, but as I consider it, when the Thus Come One makes one tie, it is called a knot. If he were to make a hundred ties, they would be called a hundred knots, how much the more so with this cloth, which has exactly six knots, not seven or five. Why does the Thus Come One allow me to call only the first tie a knot and not the second or third ties?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “You know that this precious cloth of flowers is basically one strip, but when I made six ties in it, you said it had six knots. As you carefully consider this, you will see that the substance of the cloth is the same; it is the knots that make the difference.

”What do you think? The first knot I tied was called number one. Continuing until I come to the sixth knot, and as I now tie it, is it also number one?”

”No, World Honored One. If there are six knots, the sixth knot can never be called number one. In all my lives of learning, with all my understanding, how could I now confuse the names of six knots?”

The Buddha said, “So it is. The six knots are not the same. Consider their origin. They are created from the one cloth. To confuse their order will not do.

”Your six sense organs are also like this. In the midst or ultimate sameness, conclusive differences arise.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You certainly dislike these six knots and would like there to be just one cloth. But how can that be done?”

Ananda said, “As long as these knots remain, there will be grounds for argument about what is and what is not. Their very existence will lead to such distinctions as this knot not being that knot and that knot not being this one. But if on this day, the Thus Come One unties them all, so that no knots remain, then there will be no ‘this’ and no ‘that.’ There will not even be something called ‘one.’ How much the less can there be six?”

The Buddha said, ”’When the six are untied, the one is gone’ is the same meaning.

”Because from beginningless time your mind and nature have been made wild and rebellious, you have produced false knowledge and views. This falseness continues to arise without respite, and the wearisomeness of these views brings about objective ‘dust.’

”It is just like strange flowers appearing when your eyes grow weary of staring. They arise at random without any cause within the tranquil, essential brightness.

”Everything in the world - the mountains, the rivers, and the great earth, as well as birth, death, and Nirvana - is all just a strange weariness: the upside-down appearance of flowers.”

Ananda said, “This weariness is the same as the knots. How do we untie them?”

The Thus Come One took hold of the knotted cloth and pulled on its left end and asked Ananda, “Is this the way to untie it?”

”No, World Honored One.”

Then with his hand he pulled on the right end and again asked Ananda, “Is this the way to untie it?”

”No, World Honored One.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Now I have pulled it to the left and right with my hand and still have not been able to undo them. What method do you propose for untying them?”

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, you must untie the knots from their center. Then they will come undone.”

The Buddha said to Ananda, “So it is, so it is, if you want to get them undone, you have to untie them from the center.

Ananda, the Buddhadharma I explain arises from causes and conditions. But that is not to grasp at the mixing and uniting of coarse appearances in the world. The Thus Come One understands all worldly and world-transcending dharmas and knows their fundamental causes and what conditions bring them into being.

”This is so to the extent that I know how many drops of rain fall in as many worlds away from here as there are dust motes in the Ganges. The same is true for all the things you can see: why the pine is straight, why the brambles are twisted, why the goose is white, why the crow is black - I understand the reasons.

”Therefore, Ananda, you can select whichever one of the six sense-organs you wish. If the knots of the sense-organs are removed, then the defiling appearances disappear of themselves. All falseness ceases to be. If that is not the true, what do you expect in addition to it?

Ananda, I now ask you, can the six knots in the cloth of layered flowers be untied simultaneously and released all at once?”

”No, World Honored One. The knots were originally made one at a time, now they must be untied one at a time. The substance of the six knots is the same, but they were not made simultaneously, and so now when it is time to release them, how can they be untied simultaneously?”

The Buddha said, “Releasing the six sense-organs is the same way. When the sense-organ begins to be released, one realizes the emptiness of people first. When the nature of that emptiness is fully understood, then one is released from dharmas. Once one is freed from dharmas, neither kind of emptiness will arise.

”This is called the Patience with Non-Production attained by the Bodhisattvas by means of samadhi.”

Upon receiving the Buddha’s instruction, Ananda and the great assembly gained wisdom and awareness that was perfectly penetrating and free of doubt and delusion.

All at the same time, they placed their palms together, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and he said to the Buddha, “Today our bodies and minds are illumined, and we are happily free from obstruction.

”We have understood the meaning of the ending of the six and the one. Still, we have not yet gone through to fundamental, perfect penetration.

World Honored One, we who have floated and floundered our way through aeon after aeon, homeless and orphaned, had no idea, we never imagined that we could meet with the Buddha in such a close relationship. We are like lost infants who have suddenly found their compassionate mother.

”Because of this, we accomplished the way in this assembly. Yet, the secret words which we received are the same as our basic enlightenment, and so it is the same as if we hadn’t even heard them.

”We only wish the greatly compassionate one will bestow upon us the profound secret as the Thus Come One’s final instruction.” After saying this he prostrated himself, withdrew, and held himself ready for the secret opportunity as he awaited the Buddha’s hidden transmission.

Then the World Honored One told all those in the assembly who were great Bodhisattvas and great Arhats, their outflows extinguished – “All of you Bodhisattvas and Arhats who are born from within my dharma and have attained the stage beyond learning, I now ask you: When you first brought forth your resolve and became enlightened to the eighteen realms, which one of these brought perfect penetration? Through which expedient did you enter samadhi?.

Kaundinya, with the others of the five Bhikshus, arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “When I was in the Deer Park and the Pheasant Garden, I observed the Thus Come One immediately after his accomplishment of the Way. Upon hearing the Buddha’s voice, I understood the Four Truths.

”The Buddha asks us Bhikshus to speak. I was the first to understand, and the Thus Come One certified me and named me Ajnata. His wonderful sound was both secret and all-pervasive. It was through sound that I became an Arhat.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, sound is the superior means.”

Upanishad arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I also saw the Buddha when he first accomplished the way. I learned to contemplate the appearance of impurity until I grew to loathe it and came to understand that the nature of all form is unclean. Bare bones and subtle dust all return to emptiness, and so both emptiness and form are done away with. With this realization, I accomplished the Path Beyond Learning.

”The Thus Come One certified me and named me Upanishad. The object of form came to an end, and wonderful form was both secret and all-pervasive. Thus, it was through the appearance of form that I became an Arhat. The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, form is the superior means.”

The Pure Youth, Adorned with Fragrance, arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I heard the Thus Come One teach me to contemplate attentively all conditioned appearances.

”After I heard the Buddha’s instruction, I sat in repose in the quiet of a pure dwelling. When I saw the bhikshus light sinking incense, the fragrant scent quietly entered my nostrils. I contemplated this fragrance: it did not come from the wood; it did not come from emptiness; it did not come from the smoke, and it did not come from the fire. There was no place it came from and no place it went to. Because of this, my discriminating mind was dispelled, and I attained the absence of outflows.

”The Thus Come One certified me and called me ‘Adorned with Fragrance.’ Defiling scent suddenly vanished, and wonderful fragrance was both secret and all pervasive. It was through the adornment of fragrance that I became an Arhat.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, the adornment of fragrance is the superior means.”

The two Dharma-Princes, Physician King and Superior Physician, and five hundred Brahma gods in the assembly arose from their seats, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “From beginningless kalpas until now, we have been good doctors for the world. In our mouths we have tasted many herbs, wood, metals, and stones of the Saha world, a hundred and eight thousand flavors. We know in detail the bitter, sour, salty, bland, sweet, and pungent flavors, and the like, in all their combinations and inherent changes. We have a thorough knowledge of whether they be cooling or warming, poisonous or non-poisonous.

”While serving the Thus Come One we came to know that the nature of flavors is not empty and is not existent, nor is it the body or mind, nor is it apart from body and mind. We became enlightened by discriminating among flavors.

””The Thus Come One sealed and certified us brothers and named us as Bodhisattvas Physician King and Superior Physician. Now in the assembly we are Dharma Princes who have ascended to the Bodhisattva level because we became enlightened by means of flavors.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As we have been certified to it, the cause of flavors is the superior means.”

Bhadrapala and sixteen awakened lords who were his companions, arose from their seats and bowed at the Buddha’s feet. He said to the Buddha:

”We first heard the dharma and left the home-life under King of Awesome Sound Buddha. Once, when it was time for the Sangha to bathe, I followed the custom and entered the bathhouse. Suddenly I awakened to the fact that water does not wash away the dust, nor does it cleanse the body. At that point, between the two, I became peaceful, and I attained the state of there being nothing at all.

”To this day, I have never forgotten that past experience. Having left home with the Buddha, I have gone beyond learning. That Buddha named me Bhadrapala. Wonderful touch was revealed, and I accomplished the position of the Buddha’s disciple.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, touch is the superior means.”

Mahakashyapa, Purple-golden Light Bhikshuni, and others arose from their seats, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha:

”In a past kalpa in this region, I drew near to the Buddha named Sun-Moon-Lamp, who was then in the world. I heard dharma from him and cultivated and studied with him. After that Buddha’s extinction, I made offerings to his sharira and lit lamps to continue his light. Purple-Golden Light gilded the Buddha’s image. From that time on, in life after life, my body has always been perfect and has shone with a purple-golden light. The Bhikshuni, Purple- Golden Light, and others make up my retinue, and we all brought forth the resolve for Bodhi at the same time.

”I contemplated that the world’s six sense-objects change and decay; they are but empty stillness. Based on this, I cultivated extinction. Now my body and mind can pass through hundreds of thousands of kalpas as though they were a finger-snap.

”Based on the emptiness of Dharmas, I accomplished Arhatship. The World Honored One says that I am foremost in Dhuta practices. Wonderful dharma brought me awakening and understanding, and I extinguished all outflows. The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, dharmas are the superior means.”

Aniruddha arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “When I first left home, I was fond of sleeping all the time. The Thus Come One scolded me and said I was no better than an animal. When I heard the Buddha’s scolding, I wept and upbraided myself. For seven days I did not sleep, and I lost the sight in both my eyes.

”The World Honored One taught me the Vajra Samadhi of the Delightful Seeing, which illumines and is bright. Although I had no eyes, I could contemplate the ten directions with true and penetrating clarity, just as if I were looking at a piece of fruit in the palm of my hand. The Thus Come One certified me as having attained Arhatship.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, returning the seeing back to its source is the foremost method.”

Kshudrapanthaka arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha:

”I am deficient in the ability to memorize and do not have much innate intelligence. When I first met the Buddha, I heard the dharma and left the home-life. But, when I tried to remember one line of a verse by the Thus Come One, I went through a hundred days remembering the first part and forgetting the last, or remembering the last and forgetting the first.

”The Buddha took pity on my stupidity and taught me to relax and regulate my breath. I contemplated my breath thoroughly to the subtle point in which arising, dwelling, change, and extinction happen in every kshana.

”My mind suddenly attained vast non-obstruction, until my outflows were extinguished and I accomplished Arhatship. Beneath the Buddha’s seat I was sealed and certified as being beyond learning.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, turning the breath back to emptiness is the foremost method.”

Gavampati arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I have mouth-karma created from a past offense. I slighted a Shramana, and in life after life I’ve had this cow-cud sickness. ”The Thus Come One taught me the mind-ground dharma-door of the purity of a single flavor. My thought was extinguished, I entered samadhi, and contemplated the awareness of flavor as not having a substance and not being a thing. As a result, my mind transcended all worldly outflows.

”Internally I was freed of body and mind, and externally I abandoned the world. I left the three existences far behind, just like a bird released from its cage. I separated from filth and wiped out defilements, and so my Dharma Eye became pure, and I accomplished Arhatship. The Thus Come One certified me in person as having ascended to the Path Beyond Learning.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, returning flavor and turning awareness around is the superior method.”

Pilindavatsa arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha:

”When I first left home to follow the Buddha and enter the way, I often heard the Thus Come One explain that there is nothing in this world that brings happiness. Once, when I was begging in the city, I was reflecting on this Dharma-door and did not notice a poisonous thorn on the road until it had pricked my foot. My entire body experienced physical pain, but my mind also had an awareness: though it was aware of strong pain and recognized the feeling of pain, I knew that in my pure heart, there was neither pain nor awareness of pain.

”I also thought, ‘Is it possible for one body to have two awarenesses?’ Having reflected on this for a while, my body and mind were suddenly empty. After twenty-one days, my outflows disappeared. I accomplished Arhatship and received certification in person and a confirmation that I had realized the level beyond learning.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, purifying the awareness and forgetting the body is the superior method.”

Subhuti arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “From distant kalpas until now, my mind has been unobstructed. I remember as many of my past lives as there are sands in the Ganges River. From the beginning, in my mother’s womb, I knew emptiness and tranquility, to the extent that the ten directions became empty and I caused living beings to be certified to the nature of emptiness.

”Having received the Thus Come One’s revelation that the enlightened nature is true emptiness - that the nature of emptiness is perfect and bright - I attained Arhatship and suddenly entered into the Thus Come One’s sea of magnificent, bright emptiness. With knowledge and views identical with the Buddha, I was certified as being beyond learning. In the liberation of the nature of emptiness, I am unsurpassed.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, all appearances enter into nothingness; nothingness and what becomes nothingness both disappear. Turning dharmas back to the void is the foremost method.”

Shariputra arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “From distant kalpas until the present, my mind and views have been pure. In this way I have undergone as many births as there are grains of sand in the Ganges. As to the various transformations and changes of both the mundane and the transcendental, I am able to understand them at one glance and obtain non-obstruction.

”Once I met the Kashyapas on the road, and I walked along with the brothers. They spoke about causes and conditions, and I awakened to the boundlessness of my mind.

”I followed the Buddha and left the home life. My seeing-awareness became bright and perfect, I obtained fearlessness and became an Arhat. As one of the Buddha’s elder disciples, I am born from the Buddha’s mouth, transformationally born from the Dharma.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. As I have been certified to it, for the mind and the seeing to emit light and for the light to reach throughout knowing and seeing is the foremost method.”

Universal Worthy Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I have been a Dharma Prince with as many Thus Come Ones as there are sands in the Ganges. The Thus Come Ones of the ten directions tell their disciples who have the roots of a Bodhisattva to cultivate the Universal Worthy conduct, which is named after me.

World Honored One, I use my mind to listen and distinguish the knowledge and views of living beings. In other regions as many realms away as there are sands in the Ganges, if there is any living being who discovers the conduct of Universal Worthy, I immediately mount my six-tusked elephant and create hundreds of thousands of reduplicated bodies which go to those places. Although their obstacles may be so heavy that they do not see me, I secretly rub their crowns, protect and comfort them, and help them be successful.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. The basic cause I speak of in my case is listening with the mind to discover and distinguish at ease. This is the foremost method.”

Sundarananda arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “When I first left home and followed the Buddha to enter the Way, I received the complete precepts, but my mind was always too scattered for samadhi, and I could not attain the state of having no outflows. The World Honored One taught Kaushthila and me to contemplate the white spot at the tip of our noses.

”From the first, I contemplated intently. After three weeks, I saw that the breath in my nostrils looked like smoke when I inhaled and exhaled. My body and mind became bright inside, and I perfectly understood the external world, to the point that everything became empty and pure, like crystal. The smoky appearance gradually disappeared, and the breath in my nostrils became white.

”My mind opened and my outflows were extinguished. Every inhalation and exhalation of breath was transformed into light which illumined the ten directions, and I attained Arhatship. The World Honored One predicted that in the future I would obtain Bodhi.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I did it by means of the disappearance of the breath, until eventually the breath emitted light and the light completely extinguished my outflows. This is the foremost method.”

Purnamaitreyaniputra arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “For vast kalpas I have possessed unobstructed eloquence. When I discuss suffering and emptiness I penetrate deeply into the actual appearance, and in the same way, I give subtle, wonderful instruction to the assembly concerning the secret Dharma doors of as many Thus Come Ones as there are sands in the Ganges. I have also obtained fearlessness.

”The World Honored One knew that I had great eloquence, and so he made use of my voice in turning the wheel of the Dharma. He taught me how to disseminate it. I joined the Buddha to help him turn the wheel. I accomplished Arhatship through the lion’s roar. The World Honored One certified me as being foremost in speaking Dharma.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I used the sound of Dharma to subdue demons and adversaries and melt away my outflows. This is the foremost method.”

Upali arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I followed the Buddha in person when he fled the city and left the home-life. I observed the Thus Come One endure six years of diligent asceticism. I watched the Thus Come One subdue all the demons, control adherents of external paths and become liberated from all outflows which were based on worldly desire and greed.

”I based myself on the Buddha’s teaching of precepts, encompassing the three thousand awesome deportments and the eighty thousand subtle aspects. Both my direct karma and my contributing karma became pure. My body and mind became tranquil, and I accomplished Arhatship.

”In the Thus Come One’s assembly, I am a governor of the law. The Buddha himself certified my mind’s upholding of the precepts and my genuine cultivation of them. I am considered a leader of the assembly.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I disciplined the body until the body attained ease and comfort. Then I disciplined the mind until the mind attained penetrating clarity. After that, the body and mind experienced keen and thorough absorption. This is the foremost method.”

Great Maudgalyayana arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “Once when I was out on the road begging for food, I met the three Kashyapa brothers - Uruvilva, Gaya, and Nadi - who proclaimed for me the Thus Come One’s profound principle of causes and conditions. I immediately brought forth resolve and obtained a great understanding.

”The Thus Come One accepted me, and the kashaya was on my body and my hair fell out by itself. I roamed in the ten directions, having no impeding obstructions. I discovered my spiritual penetrations, which are esteemed as unsurpassed, and I accomplished Arhatship.

”Not only the World Honored One, but the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions praise my spiritual powers as perfectly clear and pure, masterful, and fearless.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. By means of a spiral-like attention to the profound, the light of my mind was revealed, just as muddy water clears. Eventually it became pure and dazzling. This is the foremost method.”

Ucchushma came before the Buddha, put his palms together, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I can still remember how many kalpas ago I was filled with excessive greed and desire. There was a Buddha in the world named King of Emptiness. He said that people with too much desire turn into a raging mass of fire. He taught me to contemplate the coolness and warmth throughout my entire body.

”A spiritual light coalesced inside and transformed my thoughts of excessive lust into the fire of wisdom. After that, when any of the Buddhas summoned me, they used the name ‘fire-head.’

”From the strength of the fire-light samadhi, I accomplished Arhatship. I made a great vow that when each of the Buddhas accomplishes the way, I will be a powerful knight and in person subdue the demonshatred.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I used attentive contemplation of the effects of heat in my body and mind, until it became unobstructed and penetrating and all my outflows were consumed. I produced a blazing brilliance and ascended to enlightenment. This is the foremost method.”

The Bodhisattva, “Maintaining the Ground,” arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I remember when Universal Light Thus Come One appeared in the world in the past. I was a Bhikshu who continually worked on making level the major roads, ferry-landings, and the dangerous spots in the ground, where the disrepair might hinder or harm carriages or horses. I did everything from building bridges to hauling sand.

”I was diligent in this hard labor throughout the appearance of limitless Buddhas in the world. If there were beings at the walls and gates of the cities who needed someone to carry their goods, I would carry them all the way to their destination, set the things down, and leave without taking any recompense.

”When the Buddha Vipashyin appeared in the world, there was a world-wide famine. I would carry people on my back, and no matter how far the distance, I would only accept one small coin. If there was an ox-cart stuck in the mud, I would use my spiritual strength to push the wheels and get it out of difficulty.

”Once a king asked the Buddha to accept a vegetarian feast. At that time, I served the Buddha by leveling the road as he went. Vipashyin Thus Come One rubbed my crown and said, .You should level your mind-ground, then everything else in the world would be level.”

”Immediately my mind opened up and I saw that the particles of earth composing my own body were no different from all the particles of earth that made up the world. The nature of those particles of dust was such that they did not connect with one another nor could they be touched by the blade of a sword.

”Within the dharma-nature I awakened to the patience with the non-production of dharmas and accomplished Arhatship. I brought my mind back, to the extent that I have now entered the ranks of the Bodhisattvas. Hearing the Thus Come One proclaim the Wonderful Lotus Flower, the level of the Buddha’s knowledge and vision, I have already been certified as having understood and am a leader in the assembly.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. Upon attentive contemplation of the body and the environment, I saw that these two dusts are exactly the same - that, fundamentally, everything is the Treasury of the Thus Come One, but that an empty falseness arises and creates the dust. When the dust is eliminated, wisdom is perfected, and one accomplishes the unsurpassed Way. This is the foremost method.”

The Pure Youth Moonlight arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I remember that long ago, beyond kalpas as many as there are sands in the Ganges, there was a Buddha in the world named Water-God, who taught all the Bodhisattvas to cultivate the contemplation of water and enter samadhi.

”I reflected upon how throughout the body the essence of water is not in discord. I started with mucus and saliva and went on through digestive juices, phlegm, semen, blood, to urine and excrement. As it revolved through my body, the nature of water was identical. I saw that the water in my body was not at all different from that in the world outside - even that in royal lands of floating banners with all their seas of fragrant waters.

”At that time, when I first succeeded in the contemplation of water, I could see only water. I still had not gotten beyond my physical body.

”I was a Bhikshu then, and once when I was in dhyana repose in my room, a disciple of mine peeked in the window and saw only pure water there, which filled the entire room. He saw nothing else.

”The lad was young, and not knowing any better, he picked up a tile and tossed it into the water. It hit the water with a ‘plunk.’ He gazed around and then left. When I came out of concentration, I was suddenly aware of a pain in my heart, and I felt like Shariputra must have felt when he met that cruel ghost.

”I thought to myself, ‘I am already an Arhat and have long since abandoned conditions that bring on illness. Why is it that today I suddenly have a pain in my heart? Am I about to lose the position of non-retreat?’

”Just then, the young lad came promptly to me and related what had happened. I quickly said to him, ‘When you see the water again, you may open the door, wade into the water, and remove the tile.’ The child was obedient, so that when I re-entered samadhi, he again saw the water and the tile as well. He opened the door and took it out. When I came out of concentration, my body was as it had been before.

”I encountered limitless Buddhas and cultivated in this way until the coming of the Thus Come One, King of Masterful Penetrations of Mountains and Seas. Then I finally had no body. My nature and the seas of fragrant waters throughout the ten directions were identical with True Emptiness, without any duality or difference. Now I am with the Thus Come One and am known as a Pure Youth, and I have joined the assembly of Bodhisattvas.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. By means of the nature of water, I penetrated through to the flow of a single flavor, and I obtained patience with the non-production of dharmas and the perfection of Bodhi. This is the foremost method.”

The Dharma Prince Vaidurya Light arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I can still remember back through aeons as many as the sands in the Ganges to the time of a Buddha named .Limitless Sound,. who instructed the Bodhisattvas that fundamental enlightenment is wonderful and bright. He taught them to contemplate this world and all the beings in it as false conditions propelled by the power of wind.

”At that time, I contemplated the position of the world, and I regarded the passage of time in the world. I reflected on the movement and stillness in my body. I considered the arising of thoughts in the mind. All these kinds of movement were non-dual; they were equal and the same.

”I then understood that the nature of movement does not come from anywhere and does not go anywhere. Every single material particle throughout the ten directions and every upside-down living being in it is of the same empty falseness.

”And so, throughout the three-thousand-great-thousand worlds, the living beings in each of the worlds were like so many mosquitoes confined in a trap and droning monotonously. Caught in those few square inches, their hum built to a maddening crescendo. Not long after I encountered the Buddha, I attained patience with the non-production of dharmas.

”My mind then opened, and I could see the country of the Buddha, .Unmoving,. in the east. I became a Dharma Prince and served the Buddhas of the ten directions. My body and mind emit a light that make them completely clear and translucent.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I contemplated the power of wind as lacking anything to rely on, and I awakened to the Bodhi-mind. I entered samadhi and meshed with the single, wonderful mind transmitted by all the Buddhas of the ten directions. This is the foremost method.”

Treasury of Emptiness Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bowed to the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “The Thus Come One and I attained boundless bodies at the place of the Buddha, .Samadhi-Light.”

”At that time, I held in my hands four huge precious pearls, which shone on Buddhalands as many as the motes of dust in the ten directions and transformed them into emptiness.

”In my mind there appeared a great, perfect mirror, which emitted from within ten kinds of subtle, wonderful precious light that poured out into the ten directions to the farthest bounds of emptiness.

”All the royal lands of banners came into the mirror and passed into my body. There was no hindrance to this interaction, because my body was like emptiness.

”My body could enter with ease as many countries as there are fine motes of dust and could do the Buddha’s work on a wide scale, because it had become completely compliant.

”I achieved this great spiritual power from contemplating in detail how the four elements lack anything to return to; how the production and extinction of false thoughts is no different from emptiness; how all the Buddhalands are basically the same. Once I realized this identity, I obtained patience with the non-production of Dharmas.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I used the contemplation of the boundlessness of emptiness to enter samadhi and attain wonderful power and perfect clarity. This is the foremost method.”

Maitreya Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha, “I remember when, as many kalpas ago as there are fine motes of dust, a Buddha named Light of Sun, Moon, and Lamp appeared in the world. Under that Buddha I left the home life; yet I was deeply committed to worldly fame and liked to fraternize with people of good family.

”Then the World Honored One taught me to cultivate consciousness-only concentration, and I entered that samadhi. For many aeons I have made use of that samadhi as I performed deeds for as many Buddhas as there are sands in the Ganges. My seeking for worldly name and fame ceased completely and never recurred.

”When Burning Lamp Buddha appeared in the world, I finally accomplished the unsurpassed, wonderfully perfect Samadhi of Consciousness.

”I went on until, to the ends of emptiness, all the lands of the Thus Come One, whether pure or defiled, existent or non-existent, were transformations appearing from within my own mind.

World Honored One, because I understand consciousness only thus, the nature of consciousness reveals limitless Thus Come Ones. Now I have received the prediction that I will be the next to take the Buddha’s place.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I was intent upon the contemplation that the ten directions come only from consciousness. When the conscious mind is perfect and bright, one enters the perfection of the real. One leaves behind reliance on others and attachment to incessant calculating and attains the patience with the non-production of dharmas. This is the foremost method.”

Dharma Prince, Great Strength, together with fifty-two Bodhisattvas of similar rank, arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha:

”I remember when, as many aeons ago as there are sands in the Ganges, a Buddha called Limitless Light appeared in the world. In that same aeon there were twelve successive Thus Come Ones; the last was called Light Surpassing the Sun and Moon. That Buddha taught me the Buddha-recitation Samadhi.

”Suppose there were a person who always remembers someone else, but the someone else he remembers has entirely forgotten about him. If two such people were to meet, even if they were to see each other, they would not take notice. They would not recognize each other.

”If two people remember each other until the memory of each is deep, then in life after life they will be together like a form and its shadow, and they will never be at odds.

”Out of pity for living beings, the Thus Come Ones of the ten directions are mindful of them as a mother remembers her child. If the child runs away, of what use is the mother’s regard? But if the child remembers his mother in the same way that the mother remembers the child, then in life after life the mother and child will not be far apart.

”If living beings remember the Buddha and are mindful of the Buddha, certainly they will see the Buddha now or in the future.

”They will never be far from the Buddha, and their minds will awaken by themselves, without the aid of expedients.

”A person who has been near incense will carry a fragrance on his person; it is the same in this case. It is called an adornment of fragrant light.

”On the causal ground I used mindfulness of the Buddha to enter into patience with the non-production of dharmas. Now in this world I gather in all those who are mindful of the Buddha and bring them back to the Pure Land.

”The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. I would select none other than gathering in the six organs through continuous pure mindfulness to obtain samadhi. This is the foremost method.”

Then Guan Shi Yin Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet and said to the Buddha:

World Honored One, I remember when, as many kalpas ago as there are sands in the Ganges, there was a Buddha in the world named Contemplating the World’s Sounds. It was under that Buddha that I brought forth the Bodhi-resolve. That Buddha taught me to enter samadhi through a process of hearing and reflecting.

”Initially, I entered the flow through hearing and forgot objective states. Since the sense-objects and sense-organs were quiet, the two characteristics of movement and stillness crystallized and did not arise. After that, gradually advancing, the hearing and what was heard both disappeared. Once the hearing was ended, there was nothing to rely on, and awareness and the objects of awareness became empty. When the emptiness of awareness reached an ultimate perfection, emptiness and what was being emptied then also ceased to be. Since production and extinction were gone, still extinction was revealed.

”Suddenly I transcended the mundane and transcendental worlds, and throughout the ten directions a perfect brightness prevailed. I obtained two supreme states.

”First, I was united above with the fundamental, wonderfully enlightened mind of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, and I gained a strength of compassion equal to that of all the Buddhas, the Thus Come Ones.

”Second, I was united below with all living beings in the six paths, and I gained a kind regard for all living beings equally.

World Honored One, because I served and made offerings to the Thus Come One, Guan Yin, I received from that Thus Come One a transmission of the Vajra Samadhi of all being like an illusion, as one becomes permeated with hearing and cultivates hearing. Because I gained a power of compassion identical with that of all Buddhas, the Thus Come Ones, I became accomplished in thirty-two response-bodies and entered all lands.

World Honored One, if there are Bodhisattvas who enter samadhi and vigorously cultivate the extinction of outflows, who have superior understanding and manifest perfected penetration, I will appear in the body of a Buddha and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

”If there are those who are studying, who are tranquil and have wonderful clarity, who are superior and miraculous and manifest perfection, I will appear before them in the body of a Solitarily Enlightened One and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

”If there are those who are studying, who have severed the twelve links of conditioned causation, and, having severed the conditions, reveal a supreme nature, and who are superior and wonderful and manifest perfection, I will appear before them in the body of one enlightened to conditions and speak dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.

”If there are those who are studying, who have attained the emptiness of the Four Truths, and cultivating the Way, have entered extinction, and have a superior nature and manifest</