THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 3

P6 The place of the mind and dharmas.
Q1 Sets the scene to discuss the organ and object.

Sutra:

“Ananda, your mind is always conditioned by three qualities - good, bad, and indeterminate - which produce patterns of dharmas.

Commentary:

Now I will explain the doctrine of how the mind creates conditions for the defiling objects of dharmas. Ananda, your mind is always conditioned by three qualities. There are conditions continually in your mind. What is meant here is seizing upon conditions. The most important thing that those who cultivate the Way must avoid is to seize upon conditions. Once the mind begins to seize upon conditions, obstructions are created. The sixth consciousness, the mind consciousness, goes haywire and its whole outlook becomes caught up in seizing upon conditions. Then it is not at all easy to cultivate the Way. No matter how many good deeds you accomplish, they are all phony if you accomplish them with an attitude of seizing upon conditions. It is also phony if you take living beings across - no matter how many - with a mind that seizes upon conditions.

Ananda, in your mind there are always conditions, good, bad, and indeterminate. The “good” refers to all wholesome dharmas. The “evil” refers to unwholesome dharmas. “Indeterminate” refers to that which is neither good nor bad. There exist these three natures which produce patterns of dharmas. This refers to the ordinary reaction to the defiling objects of dharmas, not to Buddhadharma. “Patterns” means that fixed patterns emerge among the defiling objects, dharmas.

Q2 Asks which gives rise to which.

Sutra:

“Are these dharmas produced by the mind, or do they have a special place apart from the mind?

Commentary:

Would you say that the dharmas that the mind creates conditions for are produced right there in the mind? Are these dharmas produced by the mind, or do they have a special place apart from the mind? The “mind” here is the sixth mind consciousness. “Do they have a place apart from the sixth mind consciousness? Express your views on this. Speak up, Ananda.”

Now, Ananda does not chart the heights and fathom the depths. Ananda doesn’t dare to guess at the state of the Buddha. He doesn’t answer the Buddha’s question, so the Buddha calls to him again to make sure that he is paying attention. If Ananda were dozing off, the Buddha would be speaking in vain. So, he calls out to jar Ananda out of his dreams.

Q3 Cites dharmas to debate their falseness.
R1 Refutes that they are produced because of the mind.


Sutra:

“Ananda, if they were the mind, the dharmas would not be its defiling objects. Since they would not be conditions of the mind, how could you say that they had a location?

Commentary:

Ananda, if they were the mind -
if you propose that dharmas are simply produced from the mind, that they are the sixth mind consciousness - then the dharmas would not be its defiling objects. Then the dharmas your mind gives rise to would not be the defiling objects of the mind.

Since they would not be conditions of the mind - what your mind seizes upon are the states of defiling objects. However, according to your argument these dharmas are not defiling objects; in that case, your mind would not be able to seize upon them. Then, how could you say that they had a location? Since there would be no conditions for them in the mind, how could they have a location? So, the dharmas the mind seizes upon have no location.

R2 Refutes that they exist apart from the mind.

Sutra:

"Suppose they were to have a special place apart from the mind: then would the dharmas themselves be able to know?

Commentary:

Suppose they were to have a special place apart from the mind.
They would be in another place. But, if they were in another place, then would the dharmas themselves be able to know? Is the nature of the dharmas such that they know they are dharmas? Speak up!

Sutra:

“If they were to have a sense of knowing, they would be called a mind. If they were something other than you, they would be someone else’s mind, since they are not defiling objects. If they were the same as you, they would be your own mind. But, how could your mind stand apart from you?

Commentary:

If they were to have a sense of knowing, they would be called a mind.
Suppose you say that dharmas know - that they have knowing awareness; but what has knowing awareness is called the mind. If they were something other than you, they would be someone else’s mind, since they are not defiling objects. “Something other than you” means that they would be separate from you. They would be apart from you. But, according to your argument, they are not defiling objects, either, because they have knowing awareness. If they were apart from you and had knowing awareness, they would be someone else’s mind. If they were the same as you, they would be your own mind - perhaps you insist that what is apart from you and yet has knowing awareness is actually your mind. But, how could your mind stand apart from you? If you explain it by saying that they are not someone else’s mind but are actually your own, why aren’t they one with you? If they have knowledge, then they are the mind; but, how can your mind and you be two different things?

Sutra:

“Suppose they were to have no sense of knowing; yet these defiling objects are not forms, sounds, smells, or tastes; they are neither cold nor warmth, nor the characteristic of emptiness. Where would they be located?

Commentary:

Suppose they were to have no sense of knowing.
If you agree with the principle I have just explained, you will say they do not know. Yet these defiling objects are not forms, sounds, smells, or tastes. They differ from the realms of the five defiling objects discussed above - form, sounds, smells, tastes, and objects of touch. What the Buddha is discussing now are the dharmas - defiling objects which haven’t any form, nor any sound, nor any smell, nor any taste. They are neither cold nor warmth. Nor do they have the awareness of touch which knows separation, unity, cold and warmth. Nor the characteristic of emptiness. Nor do they have the characteristic of emptiness. Where would they be located? Then, where would you say the dharmas reside? This is what the Buddha asks Ananda, but now Ananda does not dare answer.

Sutra:

“We have established that they are represented in neither form nor emptiness; nor is it likely that they exist somewhere in the human realm beyond emptiness, for if they did, the mind could not be aware of them. Whence, then, would they arise?

Commentary:

We have established that they are represented in neither form nor emptiness.
In the two kinds of defiling objects of form and emptiness, there is no representation of them. Nor is it likely that they exist somewhere in the human realm beyond emptiness. It cannot be that the dharmas exist somewhere beyond emptiness. For if they did, the mind could not be aware of them. Since the mind is not the dharmas which it creates conditions for, whence, then, would they arise? Where are dharmas established? Who establishes them?

Q4 Concludes by returning the false to the true.

Sutra:

“Therefore, you should know that neither dharmas nor the mind has a location. And, so the two places of mind and dharmas are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.

Commentary:

Therefore
because of this, Ananda - you should know that neither dharmas nor the mind has a location. These two have no place that can be found, either. And, so the two places of mind and dharmas are empty and false. In the doctrine of the mind conditioning dharmas, both places are empty and false. Their origin is not in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously. They are an illusory falseness which arises from within the nature of the treasury of the Thus Come One.

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