THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 2

Seeing is Not Lost

N4 He shows that the seeing is not lost.
O1 Because Ananda has awakened he has a doubt about something said previously.


Sutra:

Ananda then arose from his seat, made obeisance to the Buddha, put his palms together, knelt on both knees, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if seeing and hearing are indeed neither produced nor extinguished, why did the World Honored One refer to us as people who have lost their true natures and who go about things in an upside-down way? I hope the World Honored One will give rise to great compassion and wash my dust and defilement away.”

Commentary:

At that time Ananda had another question. So he then arose from his seat, stood up, made obeisance to the Buddha, put his palms together, knelt on both knees, and said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, if seeing and hearing are indeed neither produced nor extinguished, why did the World Honored One refer to us as people who have lost their true natures and who go about things in an upside-down way? You said we had ‘lost’ our basic natures and that we are upside-down. We do really perverted things. I hope the World Honored One will give rise to great compassion and wash my dust and defilement away. Wash away the defilement of my doubts.”

O2 The Thus Come One explains it is because of upside-downness that he said it was lost
P1 Then he uses an analogy of his arm being upside-down but not lost.
Q1 First he determines the appearance of an upside-down arm.


Sutra:

Then the Thus Come One let his golden arm fall so that his wheeled fingers pointed downward, and, showing Ananda, he said, “You see my mudra-hand: is it right-side up or upside down?”

Ananda said, “Living beings in the world take it to be upside down. I do not know what is right-side up and what is upside down.”

Commentary:

The Buddha heard Ananda say that and then the Thus Come One let his golden arm fall so that his wheeled fingers pointed downward, and, showing Ananda, he said, “You see my mudra-hand: is it right-side up or upside down? When I do this, is my hand right-side up or upside down?”

Ananda said, “Living beings in the world take it to be upside down, all beings in the world, all people would say it is upside down. I do not know what is right-side up and what is upside down. I, Ananda, don’t know what to call right-side up and what to call upside-down.” He won’t decide himself, he’s really slippery. This way, if he’s wrong, it won’t have been his own opinion in the first place, it will have been that of “living beings.”

Q2 He then determines the appearance of a right-side up arm.

Sutra:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “If people of the world take this as upside down, what do people of the world take to be right-side up?”

Ananda said, “They call it right-side up when the Thus Come One raises his arm, with the fingers of his tula-cotton hand pointing upward in the air.”

Commentary:

The Buddha said to Ananda, “If people of the world,
you say the living beings of the world take this as upside down, what do people of the world, all the living beings, take to be right-side up, I ask you?”

Ananda said, “They call it right-side up when the Thus Come One raises his arm, with the fingers of his tula-cotton hand pointing upward in the air. When you hold your arm over your head, Buddha, that’s called right-side up.”

Q3 He makes clear it is upside-down, not lost.

Sutra:

The Buddha then held up his hand and said: “Worldly people are doubly deluded when they discriminate between an upright and inverted hand.

Commentary:

It’s really deluded to call one right-side up and the other upside-down just because the position changes.

P2 He fits the analogy to the fact that the mind is upside-down but not lost.
Q1 He names the parts of the analogy.


Sutra:

“In the same way they will differentiate between your body and the Thus Come One’s pure dharma body and will say that the Thus Come One’s body is one of right and universal knowledge, while your body is upside down.

Commentary:

Once there is confusion within confusion, they will think that your body and the Thus Come One’s pure dharma body, the spiritual body, are different. In the same way they will differentiate between your body and the Thus Come One’s pure dharma body. They are adding confusion to confusion and don’t understand the principle.

They will say that the Thus Come One’s body is one of right and universal knowledge, while your body is upside down. They will say that the Thus Come One’s body is proper and all-knowing because it is enlightened in the true sense. And they will say your bodies are upside down because of your delusion and ignorance. They will say your self-nature is inverted.

Q2 The body is devoid of upside-down and right-side up.

Sutra:

"But examine your bodies and the Buddha’s closely for this upside-downess: what exactly does the term ‘upside down’ refer to?”

Thereupon Ananda and the entire great assembly were dazed, and they stared unblinking at the Buddha. They did not know in what way their bodies and minds were upside down.

Commentary:

"But examine your bodies and the Buddha’s closely for this upside-downess.
Look into it well, look at it carefully,” the Buddha said, “for this upside-downness. What exactly does the term ‘upside down’ refer to?”

Thereupon Ananda and the entire great assembly were dazed
like blind people who can’t see anything and they stared unblinking at the Buddha. They didn’t take their eyes off the Thus Come One. They did not know in what way their bodies and minds were upside down. They couldn’t find the point at which their bodies were upside down. They were confused again.

Q3 Upside-down and right-side up come from the mind.
R1 First the Thus Come One displays compassion and informs the assembly.


Sutra:

The Buddha’s compassion arose and he took pity on Ananda and on all in the great assembly and he spoke to the great assembly in a voice that swept over them like the ocean-tide.

Commentary:

The Buddha’s compassion arose and he took pity on Ananda and on all in the great assembly.
When the Buddha saw that Ananda and the members of the great assembly were confused and did not know in what way they were upside down, the Buddha displayed compassion and he spoke to the great assembly in a voice that swept over them like the ocean-tide. Gathering them in with the tremendous power of his voice, he captured their total attention and then explained for them.

R2 He uses former teaching to make clear the appearance of right-side up.

Sutra:

"All of you good people, I have often said that form and mind and all conditions, as well as dharmas pertaining to the mind - all the conditioned dharmas - are manifestations of the mind only. Your bodies and your minds all appear within the wonder of the bright, true, essential, wonderful mind.

Commentary:

Having given rise to great compassion, the Buddha said: All of you good people, referring to the large number of good men and women who were there. I have often said that form and mind and all conditions, as well as dharmas pertaining to the mind - all the conditioned dharmas. He said, “In the past I have said this again and again.” “Form” refers to the form-dharmas, and “mind” to the mind-dharmas. According to the Shastra of the Door to Understanding the Hundred Dharmas, there are eleven form-dharmas and eight mind-dharmas. The mind-dharmas belong to the eighth consciousnesses of the “mind king.” There are fifty-one dharmas belonging to the mind, here referred to as the servants of the mind, and there are twenty-four dharmas which do not interact; that is, they do not interact with form-dharmas, with mind-dharmas, or with unconditioned dharmas. Finally, six unconditioned dharmas make 100 dharmas. “All the conditions” refer to four kinds of conditions:

  1. conditions based on immediate causes;
  2. augmenting conditions;
  3. sequential conditions, which are also called equal unintermittent conditions; and
  4. conditioned conditions.
Are manifestations of the mind only. All dharmas are produced from conditions and do not extend beyond the manifestation of a single thought of the true mind. From where do all dharmas - the mountains, the rivers, the great earth, the vegetation, and all the myriad appearances - come into being? They come forth from minds; all the myriad things are contained within the mind. It is not that these things contain the mind; but rather the opposite: absolutely everything in the environment, both natural and manmade, is contained in a single thought of the mind; and all are produced from the mind. If you recognize your original true mind, all these things cease to exist.

Your bodies and your minds all appear within the wonder of the bright, true, essential, wonderful mind. “Your body” refers to the body you now have, and “your mind” refers to your conscious mind. Both are manifested in the wonderful mind.

Is it the case that above and beyond the conscious mind there is yet another wonderful mind?

No. It is just in the basic substance of the conscious mind that there is the wonderful mind, but because people don’t know how to use the wonderful mind, they think their conscious mind is their mind. Actually they are mistaking a thief for their son, and for that reason they become confused.

R3 He scolds them for losing recognition of the appearance of right-side up.
S1 He scolds them for losing the true and recognizing the false.


Sutra:

"Why do I say that you have lost track of what is fundamentally wonderful in you, the perfect, wonderful bright mind, and that in the midst of your bright and enlightened nature, you mistake the false for the real because of ignorance and delusion?

Commentary:

Why do I say that you
, all of you people, have lost track of what is fundamentally wonderful in you, the perfect, wonderful bright mind, the fundamentally wonderful permanently dwelling true mind which is fundamentally subtle and wonderful, the perfect subtle wonderful mind which possesses an extremely valuable light, and that in the midst of your bright and enlightened nature, you mistake the false for the real because of ignorance and delusion? You think you understand clearly about the pure nature and bright substance of your permanently dwelling true mind, but actually you do not understand. You have not perceived that you have a perfect wonderful bright mind, the precious light of your wonderful nature. You think the conscious mind that you perceive is your mind. You think that it is the mind which you are clear about, which you have understood and become enlightened to. But actually that is only confusion within confusion, and you have not understood. It is your upside-downness, it is the problem of your mistaking a thief for your son.

S2 He explains the dharma of the characteristics of recognizing it as lost.


Sutra:

"Mental dimness turns into dull emptiness. This emptiness, in the dimness, unites with darkness to become form.


Commentary:

Mental dimness turns into dull emptiness.
Originally the wonderful bright mind is devoid of awakening or confusion, so why do we suddenly “lose” the essence of our self-nature? It is due to the initial thought of ignorance, here referred to as “mental dimness,” which obscures true emptiness and changes it into dull emptiness. This dull emptiness is like the empty space appearing in a dream-world. This is the appearance of karma, the first of the three subtle appearances.

This emptiness, in the dimness, unites with darkness to become form - the form of darkness. This is also the beginning of the doctrine of the twelve links of conditioned causation: ignorance conditions activity. The dull emptiness, the deluded mind, based as it is in ignorance now, turns the inherent light of wisdom into the falseness of subjective perception. This is the appearance of turning, the second of the three subtle appearances.

Out of longing for objects of perception, since in the beginning the appearance of karma is not visible, the subjective seeing stares long and hard until the deluded mind gives rise to form as its projection and manifestation. Just as in the dream-world, the dull-minded dreamer often experiences the existence of a dream-body, a dream-mind, and the illusory environment in which they find themselves, including mirage-like mountains, waters, and the like. This is the appearance of manifestation, the third of the three subtle appearances.

Sutra:

"Stimulated by false thinking, the form takes the shape of a body.

Commentary:

Within the emptiness and ignorance, the darkness binds together to become form - the kind as though existent in a dream. Form is mixed with false thinking. Ignorance conditions activity, activity conditions consciousness, and consciousness conditions name and form. False thinking is the consciousness, and when it takes shape as the body, that is the name and form. We have bodies because our false thinking creates them.

Sutra:

"As causal conditions come together there are perpetual internal disturbances which tend to gallop outside. Such inner disturbances are often mistaken for the nature of mind.

Commentary:

As causal conditions come together there are perpetual internal disturbances which tend to gallop outside.
Many kinds of conditions are brought together to form the body and mind. At the time of this external movement you can say that the six entrances, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, come into being. Name and form condition the six entrances, and the six entrances condition contact. The tendency to gallop outside is a kind of rudimentary awareness of contact, such as a small child has. In this instance it refers to the sense organs being drawn outside by the sense data. The contact and the false-thinking mind go outside and race back and forth at a gallop at random all over the place, because one has no genuine wisdom. One doesn’t know where to run to; one can’t tell north, south, east, and west from one another. This is disorder and disturbance, and such inner disturbances are often mistaken for the nature of mind. You think this kind of lack of clarity is the nature of your mind. Since you lack clarity it is as if you had lost it - lost your own genuine perfect wonderful bright mind, the precious light of your wonderful nature. But it is not a true loss; your true nature only seems to be lost, because you take the mark of disorder and disturbance to be the nature of your mind, the mind which has perfect transparency and bright comprehension, and thus you are disordered and disturbed.

Sutra:

"The primary misconception about the mind and body is the false view that the mind dwells in the physical body.


Commentary:

You have the confusion of attachment and you lack enlightenment. The primary misconception about the mind and body is the false view that the mind dwells in the physical body. You think that your true mind is inside the physical body. This is the first confusion.

Sutra:

"You do not know that the physical body, as well as the mountains, the rivers, empty space, and the great earth are all within the wonderful bright true mind.

Commentary:

Most people think the mind is within the body. This is an extremely great mistake. It is outside our body? It is not outside either. But as I say, it is also not the case that our mind is in our body. It is that we people are within the true mind. So the sutra says: You do not know that the physical body, as well as the mountains, the rivers, empty space, and the great earth are all within the wonderful bright true mind. All these various kinds of things are within your fundamental wonderful bright true mind. They are not outside. So you should know that our mind encompasses empty space and the ten thousand things. It is not that empty space and the ten thousand things contain us. If you understand this doctrine you have not lost your true nature and your true mind.

S3 An analogy explains the characteristic of losing one’s recognition.

Sutra:

"It is like ignoring hundreds of thousands of clear pure seas and taking notice of only a single bubble, seeing it as the entire ocean, as the whole expanse of great and small seas.

Commentary:

What is it like? I’ll give you an analogy. It is like ignoring hundreds of thousands of clear pure seas and taking notice of only a single bubble. You only recognize one bubble of water on the surface of all those great seas. You say, “This bubble is the great sea.” Isn’t this a grave mistake? The situation is the same with the mind in our body that Ananda is speaking of. That mind within our body is as small as a bubble on the sea. The mind beyond the body, our true mind, is as vast as hundreds of thousands of great seas. You reject the hundreds of thousands of great seas; you don’t recognize them; you don’t know they are seas. You take an infinitesimal bubble to be the sea. In the same way, the pure nature and bright substance of your permanently dwelling true mind, the substance of the dharma nature, pervades the dharma-realm. It is everywhere, and it is our true mind. But you don’t realize it is your true mind; you think that what is in your body is your mind. That is like seeing one miniscule bubble as the entire ocean, as the whole expanse of great and small seas. This is the same mistake as to take that small mind in your body to be your true mind. Your true mind is not inside, and it is not outside. All of you are complete with it, but you don’t recognize it. You don’t recognize your own true mind.

O3 Concludes by severely scolding them for their confusion and upside downness and ties it to the former analogy.

Sutra:

"You people are doubly deluded among the deluded. Such inversion does not differ from that caused by my lowered hand. The Thus Come One says you are most pitiable.”

Commentary:

You people are doubly deluded among the deluded.
You people who have not accomplished the fruition or obtained the state of no outflows are confused within confusion. Such inversion does not differ from that caused by my lowered hand. When I lowered my hand, you said that it was upside-down. When I raised it, you said it was right-side-up. In fact there was no upside-down or right-side-up to the hand. There is no upside-down or right-side-up, but you set up names and call it “upside-down” or “right-side-up.” This is confusion within confusion. Originally there was no problem, and you created a problem. Originally there wasn’t all this trouble, and you have gone looking for trouble. That is what is meant by someone being doubly deluded among the deluded. It is the same confusion which mistakes a single bubble for the great seas; there’s no difference.

The Thus Come One says you are most pitiable. The Buddha looks upon such doubly confused people with sympathy and pity. People who pile confusion upon confusion are sad indeed.

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