|Sutra Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Contents previous next|
|Introduction: Importance of the Sutra * Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma|
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?” 4:180
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. 4:180
”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? 4:181
”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?” 4:184
Ananda said, ”I hear it with my ears.” 4:184
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. 4:184
”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. 4:185
”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. 4:185
”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. 4:188
”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. 4:189
”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 name ‘eye-organ’ and is shaped like a grape. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one races out after form. 4:191
”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 name ‘ear 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. 4:192
”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. 4:193
”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. 4:194
”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. 4:194
”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 name ‘mental cognition’ and resembles seeing in a dark room. Of the superficial sense-organs and their four defiling objects, this one chases after dharmas. 4:195
”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. 4:196
”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. 4:197
”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. 4:198
”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. 4:198
”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. 4:199
”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. 4:201
”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. 4:206
”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. 4:207
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. 4:208
”Once the organs and objects are eradicated, how can the enlightened brightness not become perfect and wonderful?” 4:209
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.’ 4:211
”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. 4:212
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. 4:213
”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? 4:213
”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. 4:213
”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? 4:214
”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? 4:214
”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.” 4:215
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. 4:215
”Lest your sincerity and faith remain insufficient, I will try to make use of an ordinary happening to dispel your doubts.” 4:216
Then the Thus Come One instructed Rahula to strike the bell once, and he asked Ananda, “Did you hear that?” 4:216
Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “We heard it.” 4:216
The bell ceased to sound, and the Buddha again asked, “Do you hear it now?” 4:217
Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “We do not hear it.” 4:217
Then Rahula struck the bell once again. The Buddha again asked, “Do you hear it now?” 4:217
Ananda and the Great Assembly again said, “We hear it.” 4:217
The Buddha asked Ananda, “What do you hear and what do you not hear?” 4:218
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.” 4:218
The Thus Come One again instructed Rahula to strike the bell, and he asked Ananda, “Is there sound now?” 4:219
Ananda and the members of the Great Assembly all said, “There is a sound.” 4:219
After a short time the sound ceased, and the Buddha again asked, “Is there a sound now?” 4:219
Ananda and the Great Assembly answered, “There is no sound.” 4:219
After a moment, Rahula again struck the bell, and the Buddha again asked, “Is there sound now?” 4:220
Ananda and the Great Assembly said together, “There is sound.” 4:220
The Buddha asked Ananda, “What is meant by ‘sound,’ and what is meant by ‘no sound?’” 4:220
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.” 4:220
The Buddha said to Ananda and the Great Assembly, “Why are you inconsistent in what you say?” 4:220
The Great Assembly and Ananda then asked the Buddha, “In what way have we been inconsistent?” 4:221
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? 4:221
”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? 4:221
”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? 4:222
”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. 4:223
”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. 4:223
”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. 4:224
”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.’ 4:228
”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. 4:229
”Even when your body is gone and your light and life move on, how could this nature leave you? 4:230
”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. 4:231
”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. 4:232
”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. 4:234
”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?” 4:234
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. 4:237
”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. 4:238
”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.” 4:240
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. 4:241
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. 4:242
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. 4:243
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. 4:245
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. 4:245
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. 4:247
”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. 4:248
”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.” 4:251
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?” 4:253
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. 4:254
”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. 4:255
”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?” 4:256
Then the World Honored One, wishing to restate this meaning, spoke verses, saying: 4:257
“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. 4:257
”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? 4:258
“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. 4:259
”Regard the nature of the intertwined.
Emptiness, existence both are naught.
Dark confusion is simply ignorance;
Bringing it to light is liberation. 4:260
”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. 4:263
”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. 4:266
”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. 4:267 .
”n this Samapatti that is likened to illusion,
Transcend all study instantly. 4:269
”This Abhidharma, incomparable
Is the single pathway through Nirvana’s gate,
Taken by Bhagavans in all the ten directions.” 4:270
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. 4:272