THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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"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? 3:60

Ananda, look again at the trees in the Jeta Grove and the fountains and pools. 3:61

”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? 3:61

”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. 3:61

”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? 3:62

”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. 3:63

”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. 3:63

”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? 3:65

”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. 3:66

”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. 3:68

”If there is no coming or going, there will be no hearing, either. 3:69

”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. 3:69

”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. 3:70

”What do you think? Is this fragrance produced from the chandana wood? Is it produced in your nose, or does it arise within emptiness? 3:71

”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. 3:71

”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? 3:72

”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? 3:73

”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. 3:74

”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. 3:74

”What do you think? Are these flavors produced from emptiness, do they come forth from the tongue, or are they produced from the food? 3:77

”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. 3:77

”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? 3:78

”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? 3:79

”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? 3:79

”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. 3:80

”Ananda, early every morning you rub your head with your hand. 3:81

”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? 3:82

”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? 3:82

”If each had it, then you, Ananda, would have two bodies. 3:87

”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. 3:87

”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. 3:87

”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. 3:88

”Ananda, your mind is always conditioned by three qualities - good, bad, and indeterminate - which produce patterns of dharmas. 3:89

”Are these dharmas produced by the mind, or do they have a special place apart from the mind? 3:90

”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? 3:91

”Suppose they were to have a special place apart from the mind: then would the dharmas themselves be able to know? 3:91

”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? 3:92

”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? 3:92

”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? 3:93

”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. 3:93

”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? 3:95

”Ananda, as you understand it, the eyes and form create the conditions that produce the eye consciousness. 3:97

”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? 3:97

”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? 3:97

”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? 3:98

”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? 3:98

”Suppose a form changes. You are also conscious of the changing appearance; but your eye consciousness does not change. Where is the boundary established? 3:99

”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. 3:100

”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? 3:100

”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. 3:101

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the ear and sound create the conditions that produce the ear consciousness. 3:102

”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? 3:102

”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? 3:103

”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? 3:104

”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. 3:104

”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. 3:105

”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. 3:105

”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? 3:106

”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. 3:107

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the nose and smells create the conditions that produce the nose-consciousness. 3:108

”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? 3:108

”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? 3:109

”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 name ‘nose,’ how could a realm be established for it? 3:109

”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. 3:110

”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. 3:111

”If it is the smell that perceives, perception itself would lie with the smell. What would that have to do with you? 3:111

”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. 3:112

”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? 3:113

”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? 3:114

”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. 3:114

”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. 3:115

”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. 3:116

”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. 3:116

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the tongue and flavors create the conditions that produce the tongue-consciousness. 3:119

”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? 3:119

”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? 3:120

”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? 3:120

”If the nature of the tongue were not bitter, there would be no flavor engendered by it. Thus, how could a realm be established? 3:121

”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? 3:121

”Moreover, flavors do not all come from one thing. Since flavors are produced from many things, the consciousness would have many substances. 3:122

”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. 3:122

”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? 3:123

”Nor can it be that empty space produces your conscious awareness. 3:123

”The tongue and flavors could not combine without each losing its basic nature. How could a realm be produced? 3:124

”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. 3:124

”Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the body and objects of touch create the conditions that produce the body consciousness. 3:125

”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? 3:125

”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? 3:126

”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? 3:126

”Ananda, things do not perceive objects of touch. It is the body that perceives objects of touch. 3:127
”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. 3:127

”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. 3:128

”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? 3:129

”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. 3:129

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