THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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M4 The seven places which are attached to are all non-existent.
N1 Ananda attaches to the mind as being in the body.
O1 Ananda brings up the ten kinds of beings as all alike reckoning the mind as inside.


Sutra:

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.

Commentary:

In this section of the text Ananda has not answered with a straightforward mind. He’s being evasive. When Ananda was asked by the Buddha, “Where is your mind? Where are your eyes?” he was at a loss and didn’t know what the best answer was. Still, he had to speak, so he sized up the situation and said: World Honored One. I believe at this point Ananda was speaking in a very soft voice. Why? Because he wasn’t sure of himself. He didn’t know if he was right or not. He just guessed based on what he knew; he was hesitant, on the verge of speaking and yet not daring to do so.

He brought up all the ten kinds of living beings. These will be discussed later so we will not explain them here. They include those born from wombs, those born from eggs, those born from moisture, those born by transformation, those with thought, and so forth as listed in the Vajra Sutra. Basically, there are twelve kinds of living beings, but here the kind without form and the kind without thought are omitted.

So Ananda said in a soft voice, “All of the ten kinds of living beings in the world alike maintain that the conscious mind dwells within the body.” The “conscious mind” is the mind subject to birth and death, the discriminating, calculating mind. Ananda doesn’t mention himself. He talks about the ten kinds of living beings. He didn’t talk about himself for fear he might somehow be different from other living beings. So he says, “All the ten kinds of living beings are like that, it’s not just I, Ananda, alone, who am that way.” There was a bit of condescension in his tone, implying, “After all, everyone knows that the mind is inside.”

And as I regard the Tathagata’s blue lotus-flower eyes, they too are on the Buddha’s face. As I lean forward and scrutinize the Thus Come One’s eyes, so bright and wide that they resemble lotus flowers, they are on the Buddha’s face,” Ananda says. His remark was also subtly implying: “Plain as can be, your eyes are on your face; why do you still have to ask me?” But he didn’t dare actually come out and say that.

Sutra:

”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.”

Commentary:

Ananda said, “World Honored One, your blue lotus-flower eyes are on your face. I now observe that these prominent organs, four kinds of defiling objects, are on my face.” The “prominent organs” refer to the eyes, ears, nose, and tongue, all of which are located on the face. They are quite distinct and visible. “And so, too, my conscious mind actually is within my body. As I now think about it further, my discriminating conscious mind which can know pleasant and unpleasant, good and bad, is actually in my body.” That is how Ananda answered the Buddha’s question.

O2 The Tathagata uses not seeing inside the body to refute this.
P1 The Tathagata brings up an example.


Sutra:

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.”

Commentary:

Having heard Ananda’s answer that his mind was in his body and his eyes were on his face, the Buddha initially did not make any direct reply. Instead, the Buddha asked Ananda another question.

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You are now sitting in the Tathagata’s lecture hall looking at the Jeta Grove. As you gaze at Prince War Victor’s grove, where is it at present?” The Buddha didn’t give any indication whether the mind is indeed inside or outside. He just fired another question back at Ananda in order to combat Ananda’s thought process.

Ananda answered the Buddha, “World Honored One, this great many-storied pure lecture hall is in the Garden of the Benefactor of the Solitary. The Buddha’s large, pure and clean lecture hall is in the garden of the elder Anathapindaka. At present the Jeta Grove is in fact outside the hall. The pure lecture hall, the place where we all are, is in the garden. Prince Jeta’s grove is actually outside the hall.”

The Buddha then said to him:

Sutra:

”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.”

Commentary:

Shakyamuni Buddha heard Ananda say his external organs, his eyes, ears, nose, and tongue, the four defiling objects, forms, sounds, smells, and tastes are outside of him, while his conscious mind is in his body. The Buddha then asked him where the Jeta Grove was. Now the Buddha asked: Ananda, as you are now in the hall, what do you see first? Ananda has said his mind was in his body, and so the Buddha asked him what he saw first when he was in the hall.

Ananda answered, “World Honored One, here in the hall I first see the Tathagata. The first thing I see when I’m in the lecture hall is the Buddha,” he replied, “You, World Honored One.”

Next I see the great assembly. After that I see the great Bodhisattvas, great Arhats, and the sound-hearers. And from there, as I gaze outward, I see the grove and garden. I see the Jeta Grove and the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary.

Sutra:

”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.”

Commentary:

The Buddha continued: Ananda, why it is you are able to see the grove and the garden as you look at them? How can you see them? What’s the reason you are able to see them?

”Each time the Buddha seems to speak with less and less principle,” you say.

But within what he says is deep meaning. As we investigate more deeply, you will come to realize it.

Ananda answered: 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. From inside I can see the Jeta Grove and the Garden of the Benefactor of Orphans and the Solitary.

P2 The place where the text originally was.
P3 The Tathagata questions him about the example.


Sutra:

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.


Commentary:

In this section of text the Buddha sets up a question to come back on Ananda. 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. You are absolutely right. You are inside now and yet you can see the Jeta Grove and the Garden of Anathapindaka. Could there be someone in the hall who does not see the Tathagata and yet sees outside the hall? Could there be a living being who doesn’t see the Thus Come One, but sees only the grove and garden outside the hall? Is this possible?” the Buddha asked.

Ananda answered, “World Honored One, to be in the hall and not see the Tathagata, and yet see the grove and fountains is impossible. If someone were inside,Ananda says, “he certainly would be able to see the Buddha. There’s no way he could see what’s outside the hall and not see the Buddha, who’s inside the hall.”

Ananda’s answer was very decisive.

Ananda, you are like that too,” the Buddha replied. Ananda said it was impossible to be inside and not see the Buddha inside, and the Buddha proceeds to tell Ananda that Ananda himself is just like someone inside the hall who can’t see the Buddha, but can only see outside the hall.

P4 From that example comes the refutation.


Sutra:

”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?

Commentary:

It is said that people are the most capable among the myriad things, and that of all their attributes their minds are the most capable. However, your mind which is capable of understanding everything thoroughly refers only to the conscious mind. 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. The Buddha argues that if Ananda’s mind is really inside his body, as Ananda says, then he ought to be able to know first of all what the inside of his body is like, in the same way that someone inside the lecture hall is able to see the people inside. “But can there be living beings who first see inside their bodies before they observe things outside?” the Buddha asks. The Buddha knew that Ananda had not yet understood, and that he still did not know what the basic substance of the true mind is like. He was still adroitly making use of his false-thinking mind, his conscious mind. So the Buddha continues his explanation:

Sutra:

”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?

Commentary:

”You say your mind is in your body, and your power of seeing is in your eyes,” the Buddha tells Ananda. But if your mind, with its power to know, is inside, you should know what your heart, liver, spleen, and stomach are like. Even if you cannot see them, you should be able to perceive things that are happening on the surface like the growing of your nails and hair. You should be able to know how many fractions of an inch they grow each second. In fact, the twist of your sinews, and the throb of your pulse should be clearly understood. You should know all about them. Why don’t you perceive these things? Why don’t you know?

If you cannot perceive what is inside at all, how can you perceive what is outside? Your mind is inside and you don’t know what’s going on inside you. So how could you know what is going on outside?

P5 The concluding refutation.

Sutra:

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

Commentary:

”Your argument won’t stand,” the Buddha tells Ananda. “Since you can’t perceive what is inside you, therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that the aware and knowing mind is in the body.” After using various analogies and arguments, the Buddha tells Ananda directly that it is wrong to place the considering, thinking, knowing mind inside the body.

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