THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 2

CHAPTER 1

The Seeing Nature

K2 He displays the true nature.
L1 He divides the nature of the organ and points straight to the true mind.
M1 He uses the false to reveal the true.
N1 He shows that the seeing is the mind.
O1 He exhibits a dharma analogy.


Sutra:

"Ananda, you have told me that you saw my fist of bright light. How did it take the form of a fist? How did the fist become bright? By what means could you see it?”

Ananda replied, “The body of the Buddha is born of purity and cleanness, and, therefore, it assumes the color of Jambu
River gold with deep red hues. Hence, it shone as brilliant and dazzling as a precious mountain. It was actually my eyes that saw the Buddha bend his five-wheeled fingers to form a fist which was shown to all of us.”

Commentary:

The Buddha called again to Ananda: Ananda, you have told me that you saw my fist of bright light. How did it take the form of a fist? How did the fist become bright? Tell me why my fist had light. By what means could you see it? What did you use to see it?

Ananda replied: The body of the Buddha is born of purity and cleanness, and, therefore, it assumes the color of Jambu River gold with deep red hues. Hence, it shone as brilliant and dazzling as a precious mountain. The Buddha’s entire body is the color of Jambu River gold. The Jambu River is located in southern Jambudvipa. The gold found in this river has a slightly reddish cast to it. In southern Jambudvipa there is a species of tree called the Jambu, and it is perhaps the stems of its leaves which turn to gold when they fall into the water. This kind of gold is much heavier than ordinary gold, and the Buddha’s body is likened to it; like the color of Jambu River gold, the color of the Buddha’s body is a combination of gold and red.

A body with that kind of appearance is produced from purity and therefore has light. The light exists because of that purity.

It was actually my eyes that saw,” Ananda says. “I really used my eyes to see it. The five-wheeled fingers were clenched as they were shown to people, and that is what made the appearance of a fist.”

O2 He states the dharma-analogy and investigates it.

Sutra:

The Buddha told Ananda, “Today the Tathagata will tell you truly that all those with wisdom are able to achieve enlightenment through the use of examples.

Commentary:

The Buddha told Ananda, “Today the Tathagata will tell you truly.
Now I am going to tell you the absolute truth. Are you listening? All those with wisdom are able to achieve enlightenment through the use of examples. People who are wise like to use examples in order to attain enlightenment, because if you really have wisdom, you will understand ten things when you are told one thing. I say something one way and you deduce perhaps ten or a hundred things from it. That is to have genuine wisdom.” Here “those with wisdom” does not mean people with genuine wisdom, though, but people with ordinary wisdom which is neither superior nor inferior. Such people can become enlightened through the use of analogies. But if stupid people who lack wisdom are given an analogy, they don’t understand, and they say, “What does that mean?”

Seeing Is the Mind

Sutra:

“Ananda, take, for example, my fist: if I didn’t have a hand, I couldn’t make a fist. If you didn’t have eyes, you couldn’t see. If you apply the example of my fist to the case of your eyes, is the idea the same?”

Commentary:

"Ananda, take, for example, my fist: if I didn’t have a hand, I couldn’t make a fist.
By the same token, if you didn’t have eyes, you couldn’t see. If you apply the example of my fist to the case of your eyes, is the idea the same? Are we talking about the same thing or not?” the Buddha asks Ananda.

Sutra:

Ananda said, “Yes, World Honored One. Since I can’t see without my eyes, if one applies the example of the Buddha’s fist to the case of your eyes, the idea is the same.”

Commentary:

Ananda didn’t take time to cogitate over it. He isn’t thinking now. Ananda said, “Yes, World Honored One. Since I can’t see without my eyes, if one applies the example of the Buddha’s fist to the case of your eyes, the idea is the same. Yes, Buddha, if you compare these two cases, the idea is the same.”

O3 He makes clear that without eyes there is still seeing.

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “You say it is the same, but that is not right. Why? If a person has no hand, his fist is gone forever. But one who is without eyes is not entirely devoid of sight.

Commentary:

Here the Buddha criticizes Ananda, telling him his idea is incorrect. The Buddha said to Ananda, “You say it is the same, but that is not right. You say the example is the same in both cases. No. Why? If a person has no hand, his fist is gone forever. If someone doesn’t have a hand, he doesn’t have a fist either. But one who is without eyes is not entirely devoid of sight. But with someone else who has no eyes it is not the case that he cannot see anything. He can see.” People without eyes can see. Do you believe that?

Sutra:

"For what reason? Try consulting a blind man on the street: ‘What do you see?’

"Any blind man will certainly answer, ‘Now I see only black in front of my eyes. Nothing else meets my gaze.’

Commentary:

For what reason?
Why do I say that? Try consulting a blind man on the street: “What do you see?” Go out to the market and ask a blind man what he sees. Any blind man will certainly answer, “Now I see only black in front of my eyes. Nothing else meets my gaze.” He’ll say that he doesn’t see anything but blackness.

Sutra:

"The meaning is apparent: if he sees blackness in front of him, how would his seeing be considered ‘lost’?”

Commentary:

The meaning is apparent:
if you get the idea, if you take a look at what it means, if he sees blackness in front of him, how could his seeing be considered “lost”? If you see blackness before you, your ability to see is not lost; it neither increases nor decreases.

O4 He makes clear that seeing darkness is seeing.

Sutra:

Ananda said, “The only thing blind people see in front of their eyes is blackness. How can that be seeing?”

Commentary:

Ananda reiterates the Buddha’s example: a blind person has no use of his eyes and so sees only darkness. But according to Ananda, this seeing of darkness is not really seeing. Ananda is saying that someone without the use of his eyes cannot see. “Why do you say the blind man sees?” he asks the Buddha.

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “Is there any difference between the blackness seen by blind people, who do not have the use of their eyes, and the blackness seen by someone who has the use of his eyes when he is in a dark room?”

Commentary:

Is the darkness that sighted people see when they are in a dark house that is without the light of sun, moon, or lamps any different from the darkness seen by blind people? If a blind person and a person who has sight are together in a dark room, are the two blacks they see distinguishable?

Sutra:

"So it is, World Honored One. Between the two kinds of blackness, that seen by the person in a dark room and that seen by the blind, there is no difference.”

Commentary:

Ananda answers the World Honored One’s question, “So it is. Yes, Buddha. Between the two kinds of blackness, that seen by the person in a dark room - by the sighted person - and that seen by the blind, there is no difference. The two kinds of blackness are the same.”

"Fine,” said the Buddha. “Yes.”

O5 He states that the eye’s seeing is the mind.
P1 He points out the fault in the eye’s seeing.


Sutra:

"Ananda, if the person without the use of his eyes who sees only blackness were suddenly to regain his sight and see all kinds of forms, and you say it is his eyes which see, then when the person in a dark room who sees only blackness suddenly sees all kinds of forms because a lamp is lit, you should say it is the lamp which sees.

Commentary:

The Buddha said to Ananda: Ananda, if the person without the use of his eyes who sees only blackness were suddenly to regain his sight and see all kinds of forms… you say that there is no difference between the two kinds of blackness. But what if the blind person in our example were suddenly to regain his sight so that his eyes could see everything in every direction? You say it is his eyes which see. This is your argument. But what about the case when the person in a dark room who sees only blackness suddenly sees all kinds of forms because a lamp is lit? The sighted person in a dark room also sees blackness, but once a lamp is lit, he too can see everything. Given your argument, you should say it is the lamp which sees.

Why does the Buddha say that? People in a dark room cannot see, but when a lamp is lit, they can see. People who don’t have the use of their eyes cannot see, but if they regain their sight then they can see again. If when that person who cannot see suddenly sees because he regains his sight, then when the person in the dark room sees because of the lamp, that should be called the lamp’s seeing. “Is that right?” the Buddha asks.

Sutra:

“If it is a case of the lamp seeing, it would be a lamp endowed with sight - which couldn’t be called a lamp. And if the lamp were to do the seeing, how would you be involved?

Commentary:

If it really were the case that the lamp could see and do the looking, then it wouldn’t have anything to do with you.

P2 He concludes that in actual fact it is the mind that sees.

Sutra:

“Therefore you should know that while the lamp can reveal the forms, it is the eyes, not the lamp, that do the seeing. And while the eyes can reveal the forms, the seeing-nature comes from the mind, not the eyes.”

Commentary:

Therefore you should know that while the lamp can reveal the forms, it is the eyes, not the lamp, that do the seeing.
The lamp allows the shapes to appear, but it is the eyes that see the shapes. By the same token, while the eyes can reveal the forms, the seeing-nature comes from the mind, not the eyes. We are now looking into the first or the ten manifestations of seeing. The first of the ten shows the seeing of the mind, not of the eyes.

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