THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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N4 Ananda attaches to the mind as being divided between light and dark.
O1 Ananda takes seeing light and dark as divisions of inside and outside.


Sutra:

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I now offer this reconsideration: viscera and bowels lie inside the bodies of living beings, while the orifices are open to the exterior. There is darkness at the bowels and light at the orifices.

Commentary:

Ananda was criticized by the Buddha and so he came up with another theory to answer the Buddha’s question. Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, I now offer this reconsideration. Now I think of it this way: viscera and bowels lie inside the bodies of living beings, while the orifices are open to the exterior.” What is meant by living beings? This phrase has already appeared several times in the text but has not yet been explained. Living beings are born from the mixing of a multitude of karmic conditions which result in birth. Each of you people are not engendered from one kind of karma but from many. Just as a field of crops requires many conditions beyond the simple planting of a seed - there must be earth, sunshine, and rain - we people are also born from a variety of causes and conditions. The “viscera and bowels”: the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys are said to be the five viscera, and the six bowels are the large intestine, the small intestine, the “triple warmer,” the bladder, the gall bladder, and the stomach. The bowels can be said to be hidden because they are inside and they can also be called “filthy” because everything in them is either excrement or urine.

As to the apertures and openings, the eyes, ears, and nose are apertures, and the eye-socket, the entrance to the inner ear, and the nostrils are openings. Then, of course, there is the mouth-opening, an opening which you never manage to fill up. Today you eat your fill, but tomorrow you are hungry again. So you eat again and fill up the opening but by the following day you’re hungry once more. Everything has moved out. Inside there is a constant assimilation of the new and elimination of the old. This process causes people a lot of trouble. Eating is a lot of trouble. Just think of it: if you didn’t spend three hours a day eating three meals, we could use the extra time to lecture sutras or sit in Chan. But because you eat three times a day, you’re kept extremely busy every day just filling up that mouth-opening. But in the end, you’ll never fill it up.

There is darkness at the bowels and light at the orifices. Since the bowels and viscera are hidden in the body, they are in darkness. How is it one knows external things? Because there are apertures, so there is light. Now Ananda isn’t referring to them as eyes in his analogy, but as apertures. Ananda is really smart. He’s decidedly intelligent.

Sutra:

”Now, as I face the Buddha and open my eyes, I see light: that is to see outside. When I close my eyes and see darkness, that is to see within. How does that principle sound?.

Commentary:

Ananda is more intelligent than we are. We couldn’t think of so many ways to answer. How many methods has he come up with already? He has one opinion after another. Whatever the Buddha asks, he has an answer for it. He’s always got something to say; he’s full of theories and arguments and thoughts and considerations. He was, after all, foremost among the disciples in learning. Where there is no principle, he can expound a principle. He would have made a first-rate lawyer. Now, as I face the Buddha and open my eyes, I see light: that is to see outside. When I close my eyes and see darkness, that is to see within. When I see light, it is seeing outside; when I see darkness, it is seeing inside. How does that principle sound? What do you say to that?

O2 The Tathagata uses the fact that seeing inside is not possible as his refutation.
P1 His refutation: that which is seen is not inside.


Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “When you close your eyes and see darkness, does the darkness you experience lie before your eyes? If it does lie before your eyes, then the darkness is in front of your eyes. How can that be said to be ‘within’?

Commentary:

Instead of telling Ananda whether his latest proposition is right or wrong, the Buddha asks Ananda another question. The Buddha said to Ananda, “When you close your eyes and see darkness. You say that when you close your eyes you see darkness, and that that is to see within. But does the darkness you experience lie before your eyes? Speak up. Tell me. If it does lie before your eyes, then the darkness is in front of your eyes. How can that be said to be ‘within’? How can you say that to see darkness is to see inside?”

Sutra:

”If it were within, then when you are in a dark room without the light of sun, moon, or lamps, the darkness in the room would constitute your ‘warmers’ and viscera. If it is not before you, how can it be seen?

Commentary:

”If it were within,”
the Buddha continues, “If you reason that the darkness before you is actually your insides, then when you are in a dark room without the light of sun, moon, or lamps, the darkness in the room would constitute your ‘warmers’ and viscera. That darkness would become your ‘three warmers’ and your viscera and bowels. The whole room would turn into your organs and intestines. Why? Because it is dark, and you’ve just said that the darkness you see is inside your body.” The “three warmers” consist of the upper, the middle and the lower warmers. The function of these three is very important in the human body. If they become diseased, the resulting illness is not easy to cure.

If it is not before you, how can it be seen? If the darkness is not in front of your eyes, how can you see it? You can only see what is before your eyes. How can you see things that are behind your eyes. What about it? The Buddha is demolishing Ananda’s latest proposition from every angle, and it’s hard to say what line of reasoning Ananda might use to answer him next.

P2 His refutation: the ability to see is not actual.

Sutra:

”If you assert that there is an inward seeing that is distinct from seeing outside. In that case, when you close your eyes and see darkness, you would be seeing inside the body. Therefore, when you open your eyes and see light, why can’t you see your own face?

Commentary:

The Buddha continues his questioning: If you assert that there is an inward seeing that is distinct from seeing outside. Suppose that there are two kinds of seeing and that you are able to face inward and see. In that case, when you close your eyes and see darkness, you would be seeing inside the body. Therefore, when you open your eyes and see light, why can’t you see your own face? You argue that to see darkness is to see inside your body; then when you open your eyes to see outside, why can’t you look at your own face and tell me what it’s like? Note that Ananda doesn’t protest that he can see his own face in a mirror, which is what someone else did upon hearing this argument. Maybe they didn’t have mirrors then.

Sutra:

”If you cannot see your face, then there can be no seeing within. If you can see your face, then your mind that knows and understands and your organ of vision as well must be suspended in space. How could they be part of your body?

Commentary:

If you cannot see your face, then there can be no seeing within.
I just asked you if you can see your face, and you didn’t have anything to say. But if you can’t see your own face with your eyes open, how can you close your eyes and see inside. This is what you have argued, but your contention has no basis in principle.

If you can see your face, then your mind that knows and understands and your organ of vision as well must be suspended in space. How could they be part of your body? If you say you actually can see your own face, though, then your discriminating mind and your eyes wouldn’t be on your face; they’d be out in space. If they were on your face, then you couldn’t see your face. But if you can see your face, then how can you say your mind and your seeing are inside?

Sutra:

”If they are in space, then they are not part of your body. Otherwise the Tathagata who now sees your face should be part of your body as well.

Commentary:

If they are in space, then they are not part of your body.
Empty space is not your body, and if your mind and eyes were in space they wouldn’t have any connection with you. Otherwise - if you say that they would have a connection with you - if you say that those separate entities in space would be part of your substance - the Tathagata who now sees your face should be part of your body as well. The Buddha told him, “If you want to say that your eyes and mind are in empty space, then they are not part of your body. If you say that this mind and these eyes of yours are hanging in space and yet are still part of your body, then it should be that the Tathagata, who sees your face from the vantage-point of space, is also part of your substance. In that case, I’d be you. I have become you. Is that possible?”

Sutra:

”In that case, when your eyes perceive something, your body would remain unaware of it. If you press the point and say that the body and eyes each have an awareness, then you should have two perceptions, and your one body should eventually become two Buddhas.

Commentary:

In that case, when your eyes perceive something, your body would remain unaware of it.
Is that the way it is? If you press the point and say that the body and eyes each have an awareness, then you should have two perceptions. If you insist on this line of reasoning, then it follows that there are two kinds of awareness, that of the body and that of the mind. Each would have its own separate perception. And your one body should eventually become two Buddhas. Why? It is a single perception which realizes Buddhahood. Now that you have dual perception, you should become two Buddhas. Can you become two Buddhas?

P3 Concluding refutation.

Sutra:

”Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that to see darkness is to see within.”

Commentary:

Therefore you should know
: because of the various doctrines just discussed, you should know that you state the impossible when you say that to see darkness is to see within. Once again, your argument is incorrect.

N5 Ananda attaches to the mind as being that which exists in response.
O1 Ananda reckons the mind exists in response to whatever it joins with.


Sutra:

Ananda said to the Buddha, “I have heard the Buddha instruct the four assemblies that because the mind arises every kind of dharma arises, and that because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises.

Commentary:

Now Ananda questions the Buddha again. Ananda said to the Buddha, “I have heard the Buddha instruct the four assemblies.” Before, Ananda used his own ideas to think of places where the mind and seeing might be located, and each idea was refuted by the Buddha. So now he doesn’t speak for himself; he quotes the Buddha. He said, “I have heard the Buddha instruct the four assemblies.” The four assemblies are the bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas, and upasikas. Bhikshus and bhikshunis are men and women who have left the home-life. Upasakas and upasikas are men and women at home who have received the five precepts. Upasakas and upasikas are also called laypeople. These four groups comprise the four assemblies.

Because the mind arises every kind of dharma arises. Because you have a mind - the Buddha is speaking of the conscious mind - all kinds of dharmas arise. This refers to the manifestation, within the consciousness, of various states of being. Dharmas have no self-nature, but only come into being because of conditions. Because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises. Because causes and conditions produce dharmas, every kind of thought arises. That is what you said, Buddha; this is a doctrine which the World Honored One explained, and so no doubt it is right, Ananda says. Now, based on that doctrine of the World Honored One, I have an opinion. What is it?

Sutra:

”As I now consider it, the substance of that very consideration is truly the nature of the mind. Wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response. It does not exist in the three locations of inside, outside and in between.”

Commentary:

As I now consider it.
Ananda’s thinking again. What is he thinking? The substance of that very consideration is truly the nature of the mind. The substance of my thought is the nature of my mind. My being aware, my understanding, my knowing, these are the nature of my mind.

Wherever it comes together with things: Wherever the mind encounters causes and conditions, it joins together with those causes and conditions, and the mind comes into being in response. Whenever there is a joining together, there is the mind. If there isn’t any joining together, there isn’t any mind. It does not exist in the three locations of inside, outside and in between. It isn’t inside, it isn’t outside, and it isn’t in between; rather, anywhere that it meets with causes and conditions, the mind comes into being. If there are no conditions then probably there isn’t any mind. Once again, what Ananda says seems to be right but isn’t. He still has not recognized it clearly.

O2 The Tathagata uses the refutation that it lacks a substance or a fixed place.
P1 His refutation that it lacks a substance.


Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Now you say that because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises. Wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response. But if it has no substance, the mind cannot come together with anything. If, having no substance, it can yet come together with things, that would constitute a nineteenth realm brought about by a union with the seventh defiling object, and there is no such principle.

Commentary:

The Buddha fires Ananda’s explanation back at him. The Buddha said to Ananda, “Now you say that because dharmas arise, every kind of mind arises. Wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response. You say that the mind comes into being wherever it comes together with things. If there is no coming together, then, of course, there is no mind. That’s the way you explain it. But if it has no substance, the mind cannot come together with anything. But does this mind you speak of actually have any substance to it? If it has no substance or appearance it cannot unite with anything. If there were no form or appearance, what would join with what?”

If, having no substance, it can yet come together with things. It would be unreasonable to insist that it can unite with things even though it has no substance, but suppose you do insist. That would constitute a nineteenth realm brought about by a union with the seventh defiling object, and there is no such principle. The eighteen realms would turn into the nineteen realms: the additional realm would be the one where, as you explain it, your mind comes into being. What are the eighteen realms? Eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind are the six organs. Forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touches, and dharmas are the six defiling objects. And between the six organs and the six defiling objects are produced discriminations, called the six consciousnesses. Altogether, these make up the eighteen realms. The six organs and six defiling objects which face them are called the twelve places or twelve entrances. The six consciousnesses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and mind-consciousness are added to make eighteen realms. The Buddha points out that the logical extension of Ananda’s argument is that there is a nineteenth realm, the place in which a supposed substanceless mind comes into being when it “comes together with things.” These things the mind joins with would be a seventh defiling object. But there is no such principle. Ananda is wrong again.

P2 His refutation that a substance exists.


Sutra:

”If it does have substance, when you pinch your body with your hand, does your mind which perceives it come out from the inside or in from the outside? If it comes out from the inside, then, once again, it should see within your body. If it comes in from outside, it should see your face first.”

Commentary:

The Buddha now explains his reason for saying Ananda is wrong again. If it does have substance: the Buddha has just shown it is absurd to say the mind has no substance. But if it does have a substance, if your mind has a mind-substance, when you pinch your body with your hand, does your mind which perceives it come out from the inside or in from the outside? Does the mind come forth from within or does its substance enter in from outside? At first you maintained that your mind is inside, but now you have stated that it is not inside, outside, or in between. Where, then, does your mind come from when it comes together with things as you say it does? Now I tell you to pinch yourself, and your mind comes together with that. Does your mind which perceives the pinch come from outside or from inside? If it comes out from the inside, then, once again, it should see within your body. It’s already been proven that the mind cannot be inside, since otherwise it would see inside the body. If it comes in from outside, it should see your face first. If your mind is outside, it would be seeing your face before it perceives the pinch. Does your mind see your own face?

Ananda got irritated with the Buddha at this point.

Sutra:

Ananda said, “Seeing is done with the eyes. The mind’s perception is not that of the eyes. To say it sees doesn’t make sense.”

Commentary:

Ananda decided that the Buddha’s explanation was too illogical, so he thereupon disagreed and began to argue. Ananda said, “Seeing is done with the eyes. The mind’s perception is not that of the eyes. It is the eyes which see things. The mind just knows things. To say it sees doesn’t make sense.” You said the mind sees, but that is certainly wrong. That also lacks principle. Before, the Buddha criticized Ananda’s idea and said “there is no such principle.” And now Ananda retorts with the same criticism. “You say that if the mind comes from outside, it should see the face. But the mind merely knows things; it doesn’t see them. What sees are the eyes.” The farther he runs, the farther away he gets.

Sutra:

The Buddha said, “To suppose that the eyes can see is like supposing that the doors of a room can see. Also, when someone has died but his eyes are still intact, his eyes should see things. How can it be death if one can still see?

Commentary:

The Buddha said, “To suppose that the eyes can see is like supposing that the doors of a room can see.
Can doors of a room see things? Also, when someone has died but his eyes are still intact, his eyes should see things. How can it be death if one can still see?” In fact, of course, once you’re dead your eyes cease to see, though they may still be physically intact. If it were the case that after death the eyes can still see, how can this be death?

But these days dead people’s eyes are removed and put in eye-banks. They still can be used. What does this prove about the Buddha’s contention in the sutra that eyes can’t see after death? Although it may be that the eyes can see, they still need to borrow the efficacious quality of the self-nature in order to see. If there is just an eye all by itself, although it has the potential to see, it is devoid of awareness. So it cannot see. You must add the efficacious bright aware nature of a person in order to enable it to see. The eyes are like doors or windows. They do not see by themselves. They are transparent bodies which act as windows through which people can look at things. In the body of a dead man they have no power.

Sutra:

"Furthermore, Ananda, if your mind which is aware, understands, and knows in fact has substance, then is it a single substance or many substances? Does its substance perceive the body as it now resides in it or does it not perceive it?

Commentary:

The Buddha continues to address his disciple. Furthermore, Ananda, if your mind which is aware, understands, and knows in fact has substance: if you are determined upon saying that your mind which calculates and discerns all things has a substance, then is it a single substance or many substances? Does your mind have one substance or many? Does its substance perceive the body as it now resides in it or does it not perceive it? Where is this substance in your body? Does it spread throughout the body or not?

Sutra:

"Supposing that it were a single substance, then when you pinched one limb with your fingers, the four limbs would be aware of it. If they all were aware of it, the pinch could not be at any one place. If the pinch were confined to one place, then the single substance you propose would not be possible.

Commentary:

Supposing that it were a single substance, then when you pinched one limb with your fingers, the four limbs would be aware of it.
Let us suppose the mind is composed of a single substance which resides within the body. Then if you pinch one of your legs or arms, both legs and both arms should all have an awareness of it. Why? Because you said the mind has a single substance. But in fact if you pinch one limb, only that one limb feels pain. The other three limbs are unaware of the pinch. If they all were aware of it, the pinch could not be at any one place. If you say that when you pinch one leg, the other leg and both arms feel it, then how could you be able to locate the pinch on your body? It would feel the same as if you had pinched all four limbs. If the pinch were confined to one place, then the single substance you propose would not be possible. If you can feel the pinch in a certain single place, then you can’t contend the mind is a single substance which pervades the body.

Sutra:

"Supposing that it were many substances: then you would be many people. Which substance would be you?

Commentary:

Supposing that it were many substances.
This would explain why the three limbs don’t feel a pinch on the fourth limb. But then you would be many people. If your mind has many mind-substances, then you wouldn’t be just one person. In that case, which substance would be you? Which mind-substance is your mind-substance?

Sutra:

"Supposing it were a pervasive substance: the case would be the same as before in the instance of pinching. But supposing it were not pervasive; then when you touched your head and touched your foot simultaneously, the foot would not perceive it if the head does. But that is not how you are.

Commentary:

Supposing it were a pervasive substance: the case is the same as before in the instance of pinching.
The Buddha patiently repeats his earlier explanation. If you say that the mind is a single substance that pervades the body, then when you pinch one spot, your whole body should hurt. But supposing it were not pervasive; then when you touched your head and touched your foot simultaneously, the foot would not perceive it if the head does. But that is not how you are. But if you say the substance of the mind does not entirely pervade the body, then your foot would have no feeling when you bump your head. But, bump your head or not, your foot still feels things. So you can’t say the mind does pervade the body, and you can’t say it doesn’t, either.

P3 Concluding refutation.

Sutra:

"Therefore you should know that you state the impossible when you say that wherever it comes together with things, the mind exists in response.”

Commentary:

This was Ananda’s fifth attempt to locate his mind, and the Buddha again showed his learned disciple’s arguments are groundless.

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