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Bodhisattvas Ask for Clarification

At that time, Manjushri Bodhisattva asked Enlightenment Leader Bodhisattva, “Disciple of the Buddha, given that the nature and the mind are one, why then are there various distinctions perceived, such as rebirth in wholesome paths and rebirth in evil paths; perfect faculties and deficient faculties; different modes of birth; handsomeness and ugliness; and, differing experiences of suffering and happiness? 

“Why is karma unaware of the mind and the mind unaware of karma? Why is the experience (of karma) unaware of retribution and the retribution unaware of the experience; why is the mind unaware of the experience (of karma) and the experience unaware of the mind? Why are causes unaware of conditions and conditions unaware of causes? Why is wisdom unaware of states of being and why are states of being unaware of wisdom?”

Then Enlightenment Leader Bodhisattva answered in verse.

The Humane One asks about these principles,
In order to awaken the dull multitudes.
I will now answer according to their nature;
Would that the Humane One attentively listen.

All dharmas have no function,
Nor do they have any substance.
Thus every one of them
Knows not all the others.

As with the water in a river
Which forms torrents and rapids
That are mutually unaware,
So, too, is it with all dharmas.

Or, as when a tremendous blaze
Flares into raging flames all at once,
Each flame is unaware of the others.
So, too, is it with all dharmas.

And as with continuous gusts of wind
That buffet every object they encounter,
While each gust unaware of all the others:
So, too, is it with all dharmas.

It is also like the planets of a solar system,
Sustained by their mutual gravitational forces,
Yet each unaware of the others:
So, too, is it with all dharmas.

The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, the body,
And the thinking mind—the sensory organs all—
Constantly turn and flow in samsara,
Yet there is no one making them turn.

The Dharma nature, basically unproduced,
Still manifests coming into being.
Yet there is nothing making it manifest,
Nor anything that is manifested.

The eyes, ears, nose, tongue, the body,
And the thinking mind—the sensory organs all—
Are empty and without a nature.
But the false mind discerns them as existent.

Thus, in accord with principle, observe
That absolutely everything is without a nature.
The Dharma eye is inconceivable,
Its seeing without distortion.

Whether we name it real or unreal,
False or not false,
Mundane or world transcending,
These are merely false words.

At that time, Manjushri Bodhisattva asked Wealthy Leader Bodhisattva, “Disciple of the Buddha, all sentient beings are nonentities. And so, why does the Thus Come One accord with their opportunities; why does he accord with their lives; why does he accord with their bodies?”

“Why does he accord with their practices; why does he accord with their understandings; why does he accord with their languages; why does he accord with their fondnesses; why does he accord with their expediencies; why does he accord with their thoughts; and why does he accord with their considerations, appearing among them in bodies like theirs, in order to teach and transform, tame and subdue them?”

Then Wealthy Leader Bodhisattva answered in verse.

The bliss of still quiescence,
The state of One of Much Learning,
I, for the Humane One, will now expound.
Would that the Humane One be attentively receptive.

Observe the body in detail throughout.
What of it is actually “me”?
One who understands in this way
Comprehends there is no self to be found.

This body is falsely established,
Without a place to which it belongs.
By closely examining the body, one fathoms,
That nothing about it can be held on to.

Skillfully observe the body,
Clearly viewing each part.
Realize all dharmas are empty illusions,
And you will not give rise to mental distinctions.

Who causes this life to arise?
And what causes its decline and demise?
Like a whirling wheel of fire,
Its beginning and end cannot be known.

Wise ones are able to observe
The impermanence of all that exists,
And how all dharmas are empty, devoid of a self,
Forever detached from all characteristics.

Karma produced, the myriad retributions follow.
Like a dream, none of it is true or real.
Thought after thought, constant decay brings cessation.
As with the previous and subsequent pattern.

The dharmas perceived in this world,
Solely rely on the mind, their host, which
Following its notions, grasps at marks:
This is inversion and not True Suchness.

Worldly theories and languages
Are all based on discriminations.
Not a single phenomenon among them
Gains entry to the Dharma nature.

The force of conditions and that which pursues them
Brings myriad phenomena into being.
Ephemeral, they soon vanish without pausing for an instant.
This continues in thought after thought.

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