THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
previous * next * contents * Chapters: 1 I 2 I 3 I 4 I 5 I 6 I 7 I 8

"Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the mind and dharmas create the conditions that produce the mind consciousness. 3:131

”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? 3:131

”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? 3:131

”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? 3:132

”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. 3:134

”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? 3:134

”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. 3:135

”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? 3:135

”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.” 3:136

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. 3:138

”Why does the Thus Come One reject causes and conditions and spontaneity as well? I do not know how to understand your meaning now. 3:140

”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.” 3:140

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. 3:141

”Why do you still bind yourself up in the idle theories and false thoughts current among people of the world? 3:142

”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. 3:143

”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.” 3:143

Ananda was silent and awaited the Buddha’s holy instruction. 3:143

”Ananda, according to what you said, the mixing and uniting of the four elements create the myriad transformations of everything in the world. 3:144

”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. 3:145

”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. 3:145

”Ananda, the process is like water becoming ice and ice becoming water again. 3:146

”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. 3:150

”If one divides those fine motes of dust, their appearance is at the boundaries of form. Then divide those into seven parts. 3:151

”Ananda, if this mote of dust bordering upon emptiness is divided and becomes emptiness, it should be that emptiness can give rise to form. 3:151

”Just now you asked if mixing and uniting doesn’t bring about the transformations of everything in the world. 3:152

”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. 3:152

”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? 3:153

”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? 3:153

”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 beings’ minds, in response to their capacity to know. 3:154

”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. 3:155

”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. 3:156

”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. 3:157

”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? 3:159

”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. 3:160

”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? 3:160

”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? 3:161

”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? 3:161

”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. 3:161

”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 beings’ minds, in response to their capacity to know. 3:162

”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? 3:163

”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. 3:163

”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. 3:163

”Does the water come out of the crystal ball? Does it exist of itself in space? Or, does it come from the moon? 3:165

”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. 3:165

”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? 3:166

”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? 3:166

”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? 3:167

”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. 3:168

”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 beings’ minds, in response to their capacity to know. 3:168

”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? 3:169

”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. 3:170

”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. 3:170

”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? 3:171

”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. 3:171

”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? 3:172

”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? 3:174

”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? 3:174

”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. 3:175

”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. 3:175

”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? 3:176

”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. 3:176

”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. 3:177

”Does this emptiness come out of the dirt, does it exist because of the digging, or does it arise of itself without a cause? 3:179

”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. 3:179

”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? 3:180

”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? 3:180

”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? 3:181

”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? 3:181

”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. 3:182

”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. 3:182

”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? 3:183

”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. 3:184

”It accords with living beings’ minds, in response to their capacity to know. 3:184

”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? 3:184

”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. 3:185

previous * next * contents

return to top