THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 2

S2 He refutes uniting.

Sutra:

"Moreover, Ananda, as you are right now, once again, does the wonderful pure seeing-essence unite with light, does it unite with darkness, does it unite with emptiness, or does it unite with solid objects?

Commentary:

Uniting is different from mixing. Mixing is when two kinds of things are blended together. Uniting is like when a lid is placed on a round pot. They unite and become one. So he says: Moreover, I will explain yet another doctrine for you. Ananda, as you are right now, once again, does the wonderful pure seeing-essence unite with light? The substance of your seeing-essence is subtle, wonderful, clear, and pure: does it unite with light? Does it unite with darkness? Does it unite with emptiness? Or does it unite with solid objects?

Sutra:

"If it unites with light, then when darkness comes the characteristic of light is extinguished, how will you be able to see darkness, since the seeing does not unite with darkness? If you do see darkness and yet at that time there is no union with darkness, but rather a union with light, then you would not have seen light. Since you would not have seen light, why is it that, when there is union with light, you are able to know clearly that it is light and not darkness?


Commentary:

If it unites with light -
if you say the seeing and the characteristic of light are united, then when darkness comes the characteristic of light is extinguished, how will you be able to see darkness, since the seeing does not unite with darkness? When it gets dark, the characteristic of light disappears. Since the seeing is not united with darkness, why can it see darkness? If you do see darkness and yet at that time there is no union with darkness: if you say that when you see darkness, the seeing does not unite with darkness - although it does see darkness it is not united with it - but rather a union with light, then you would not have seen light. If you say the seeing is united with light, then it should not see light. That is, it you say it can see what it is not united with - in this case darkness - then it should not see what it is united with - that is, light. Since you would not have seen light, why is it that, when there is union with light, you are able to know clearly that it is light and not darkness? You can see light and understand perfectly well that it is not darkness. According to your argument, then, you should not see light, but that is actually not the case, since you are able to distinguish the difference between brightness and darkness. In the last analysis, then, would you say that the seeing is united with light or united with darkness?

Sutra:

"The same is true of its union with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects.”

Commentary:

The very same principle applies to the possibility of the seeing uniting with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects. You cannot say that the seeing unites with any characteristic at all. But you also cannot say that it does not unite with any characteristic. The fact is that light and darkness are subject to production and extinction, while the seeing-essence is neither produced nor destroyed. What is neither produced nor destroyed cannot be united with what is produced and destroyed. Ananda didn’t understand this doctrine, and so the Thus Come One used the greatly compassionate expedient device of speaking all kinds of examples to instruct him.

Q2 He refutes that it is not mixed and united.
R1 Based on the teaching, Ananda gives rise to a doubt.


Sutra:

Ananda said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, as I consider it, the source of this wonderful enlightenment does not mix or unite with any conditioned mundane object or with the mind’s speculation. Is that the case?”

Commentary:

Having heard the Buddha’s explanation, Ananda had another doubt. He once again thought about it and considered it. Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, as I consider it, the source of this wonderful enlightenment - this refers to the seeing-nature - does not mix or unite with any conditioned mundane object. It does not unite with the wearisome dust, which is based on causes and conditions, or with the mind’s speculation. Is that the case?” He asks, “Are all these various things in fact not united?” His asking shows that he is not speaking decidedly. Before this, what he said was very decisive. He said that the seeing is spontaneity, that it is causes and conditions, and he mentioned various other doctrines. He spoke with absolute confidence then, but his theories did not stand up; all of his ideas were smashed by Shakyamuni Buddha. So now he’s learned how to be slippery. When he says things, he doesn’t speak with any finality. “Is it that they do not mix and unite?” He takes a questioning tone. “I think the doctrine works this way, but maybe it’s not this way?”

R2 The specific refutation.
S1 He refutes not mixing.


Sutra:

The Buddha said, “Now you say further that the enlightened nature is neither mixed nor united. So now I ask you further: as to this wonderful seeing-essence’s neither mixing nor uniting, does it not mix with light? Does it not mix with darkness? Does it not mix with emptiness? Does it not mix with solid objects?

Commentary:

The seeing-nature is neither produced nor extinguished. Ananda is trying to compare what is neither produced nor extinguished with what is produced and extinguished. He wants to compare it to light and darkness, to emptiness and solid objects, to the causal mundane conditions, and to the mind’s thoughts. He keeps trying to combine it with them. Now he’s thought some more, and he says, “Is it the case that it does not mix and unite?” In reply, the Buddha said, “Now you say further that the enlightened nature is neither mixed nor united. You said before that the enlightened seeing is mixed and united. So now I ask you further – I’ll ask you something else now. As to this wonderful seeing-essence’s neither mixing nor uniting: you say that the subtle, wonderful seeing-essence which is not produced and not extinguished neither mixes nor unites. But does it not mix with light? Does it not mix with darkness? Does it not mix with emptiness? Does it not mix with solid objects? Speak up.”

Sutra:

"If it does not mix with light, then between seeing and light there must be a boundary.

Commentary:

If you want to say that it does not mix with light, then your seeing-essence and the characteristic of light must certainly have boundaries. What is the boundary of your seeing? What is the boundary of the characteristic of light? If you say it does not mix with light, then find the boundary between them. What indication is there of a division between them?

Sutra:

"Examine it further: what place is light? What place is seeing? Where are the boundaries of the seeing and the light?


Commentary:

Examine it further:
look into it. What place is light? Where does the light end? What place is seeing? Where does the seeing end? Where are the boundaries of the seeing and the light? Tell me, where is the boundary-line which divides them?

Sutra:

"Ananda, if there is no seeing within the boundaries of light, then there is no contact between them, and clearly one would not know where the characteristic of light is. Then how could its boundaries be realized?

Commentary:

Ananda, if there is no seeing within the boundaries of light -
if within the characteristic of light there is indeed no seeing-essence, then there is no contact between them. Light and seeing could not bump into one another. The two would never meet. And clearly one would not know where the characteristic of light is. Since the two cannot come in contact, it’s quite evident that one could not know where the characteristic of light is. How could its boundaries be realized? If you don’t even know where its characteristic is, how can any boundary be drawn?

Sutra:

"As to its not mixing with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects, the principle is the same.

Commentary:

The doctrine is the same for darkness, for emptiness, and for solid objects. Now you divide them for me. You say they do not mix; where is the boundary of their not mixing. Speak up.

S2 He refutes not uniting.

Sutra:

"Moreover, as to the wonderful seeing essence’s neither mixing nor uniting, does it not unite with light? Does it not unite with darkness? Does it not unite with emptiness? Does it not unite with solid objects?

Commentary:

Above, mixing was discussed. Now, uniting will be discussed: Moreover, as to the wonderful seeing essence’s neither mixing nor uniting: you say that the subtle wonderful seeing-essence does not mix or unite. But does it not unite with light? Does it not unite with darkness? Does it not unite with emptiness? Does it not unite with solid objects?

Sutra:

"If it does not unite with light, then the seeing and the light are at odds with each other by nature, as are the ear and the light, which do not come in contact.

Commentary:

If it does not unite with light, then the seeing and the light are at odds with each other by nature.
If the seeing is not united with the characteristic of light, then they are opposed to one another. Since they do not unite, they go so far as to be in discord and mutual opposition. As are the ear and the light, which do not come in contact. It would be like the ear. If you look, you can see light, but if you cover your eyes, your ears don’t know if it is light or dark. The ear does not distinguish brightness and darkness. Light and the hearing-nature of the ear do not come in contact.

Sutra:

"Since the seeing does not know where the characteristic of light is, how can it determine clearly whether there is union?

Commentary:

It can’t see the characteristic of light because it can’t unite with it, so how can it distinguish, how can it discern the presence or absence of light?

Sutra:

"As to its not uniting with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects, the principle is the same.

Commentary:

The doctrine of whether the seeing unites with darkness, with emptiness, or with solid objects is the same.

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