THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
Volumes: 1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 * 6 * 7 * 8 * previous * next * Exhortation * Contents

Volume 3

P6 The realm of mind, dharmas, and consciousness.
Q1 Sets the scene to discuss the organ, and object, and consciousness.

Sutra:

“Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it, the mind and dharmas create the conditions that produce the mind consciousness.

Q2 Asks which gives rise to which.

“Is this consciousness produced because of the mind, such that the mind is its realm, or is it produced because of dharmas, such that dharmas are its realm?

Q3 Discusses them separately and together and refutes all possibilities.
R1 Refutes that it is produced from the mind.


“Suppose, Ananda, that it were produced because of the mind. In your mind there certainly must be thoughts; these give expression to your mind. If there are no dharmas before you, the mind does not give rise to anything. Apart from conditions, it has no shape; thus, what use would the consciousness be?

Commentary:

Moreover, Ananda, as you understand it
- you heard this dharma in the past - the mind and dharmas create the conditions - the organ of your mind and the dusts of dharmas together produce conditions - that produce the mind consciousness. In the midst of these conditions, the mind consciousness arises. Is this consciousness produced because of the mind? Is it because of the mind that the mind consciousness arises, such that the mind is its realm? Or is it produced because of dharmas - or is it dharmas that produce the mind consciousness - such that dharmas are its realm?

Suppose, Ananda, that it were produced because of the mind.
Suppose you say that the mind consciousness is produced because of the mind. In your mind there certainly must be thoughts. In the organ of your mind you certainly will have some kind of thinking. And, it is these thoughts of yours which give expression to your mind. They bring forth the mind consciousness of the organ of the mind. If there are no dharmas before you – “dharmas before you” means your present thoughts. If you are not thinking, if you haven’t any thoughts, the mind does not give rise to anything. In the organ of your mind there are no defiling objects of dharmas - no thoughts. No dharma can arise. Apart from conditions, it has no shape. Apart from these causes and conditions - the mind and the defiling objects - the mind consciousness has no shape. There basically is no form or shape, because the mind is conditioned by dharmas. So then, what is its appearance? It has none. Apart from the mind that seizes on conditions, there is no form or shape. Thus, what use would the consciousness be? When there is no form or shape, where is the consciousness? What ability does it have to create its own function as a consciousness?

Sutra:

“Moreover, is your conscious awareness the same as your mind organ, with its capacity to understand and make distinctions, or is it different? If it were the same as the mind, it would be the mind; how could it be something else that arises? If it were different from the mind, it should thereby be devoid of consciousness. If there were no consciousness, how would it arise from the mind? If there were consciousness, how would it differ from the mind? Since it is by nature neither the same nor different, how can a realm be established?

Commentary:

The Buddha said to Ananda: Moreover, is your conscious awareness the same as your mind organ, with its capacity to understand and make distinctions, or is it different? That is, are the natures of your conscious mind and the organ of your mind the same? If it were the same as the mind, it would be the mind. You may say that the conscious mind is the same as the organ of the mind, but what is the same as the organ of the mind is the organ of the mind and cannot be called the consciousness. How could it be something else that arises? If the mind consciousness is the organ of the mind, how can you say the consciousness arises within the organ of the mind? If it were different from the mind, it should thereby be devoid of consciousness. “Different from the mind” means the same as defiling objects of dharmas. Defiling objects of dharmas have no ability to make distinctions. The organ of your mind has the ability to make distinctions. The consciousness also has the ability to make distinctions. If it is different from the mind, if it were produced from the mind, it would not be the same as the mind. If it were not the same, it would have no consciousness.

If there were consciousness - if you say there is consciousness - how would it differ from the mind? How can your mind know your own mind? Since it is by nature neither the same nor different - neither nature is possible - how can a realm be established? You say that your consciousness and the organ of the mind are the same, but that doesn’t work; you say they are different, but that doesn’t work, either. Neither case is possible. And, since they are impossible, how can you set up a realm in the midst of them and say there is a mind consciousness realm?

R2 Refutes that it is produced from dharmas.

Sutra:

“Suppose it were produced because of dharmas. None of the dharmas of the world exists apart from the five defiling objects. Consider the dharmas of form, the dharmas of sound, the dharmas of smell, the dharmas of taste, and the dharmas of touch: each has a clearly distinguishable appearance and is matched with one of the five organs. They are not what the mind takes in.

Commentary:

Suppose it were produced because of dharmas.
You may want to say that the mind consciousness is produced because of dharmas, since the mind is conditioned by dharmas. But, none of the dharmas of the world exists apart from the five defiling objects. “The world” here refers to the sentient world and the material world. None of the dharmas in these worlds is apart from the realms of forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and objects of touch. Consider the dharmas of form, the dharmas of sound, the dharmas of smell, the dharmas of taste, and the dharmas of touch. You should take a look at them. Each has a clearly distinguishable appearance - forms, sounds, smells, tastes, and objects of touch all have their own appearances which are very clear - and is matched with one of the five organs. They are opposite the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body. The five organs are matched with the five defiling objects. They are not what the mind takes in. They do not belong to the organ of your mind.

Sutra:

“Suppose your consciousness were indeed produced through a reliance on dharmas. Take a close look at them now: what does each and every dharma look like?

Commentary:

Your mind consciousness has no connection with the first five defiling objects. Now, suppose your consciousness were indeed produced through a reliance on dharmas. Perhaps you believe that the defiling objects of dharmas produce the mind consciousness. As you now take a close look at them now - you should contemplate then carefully and in detail; take a good, close look. What does each and every dharma look like? What are the dharmas which can produce the mind consciousness like? Are they apparent, or are they non apparent?

Sutra:

“Underlying the characteristics of form and emptiness, movement and stillness, penetration and obstruction, unity and separation, and production and extinction there is nothing at all.

Commentary:

If you depart from the defiling objects of form and emptiness, movement and stillness, penetration and obstruction, unity and separation, and production and extinction - these various dharmas - there is nothing at all. “Underlying” means to have no connection with the dharmas just mentioned; if you depart from these characteristics and break all connections with them, “there is nothing at all.” No matter how you look at it, it is to be feared you won’t come up with anything. The defiling objects of dharmas are invisible. So, you may look for their appearance, but you cannot find it.

Sutra:

"When there is production, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are produced. When there is extinction, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are extinguished. Since what is causal does not exist, if those causes produce the consciousness, what appearance does the consciousness assume? If there is nothing discernable about the consciousness, how can a realm be established for it?

Commentary:

When there is production, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are produced.
If the dharmas of form, emptiness, and the like mentioned above are produced, they are produced simultaneously. When there is extinction, then form, emptiness, and all dharmas are extinguished. When there is extinction, forms, sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, and dharmas are all extinguished at the same time. Since what is causal does not exist, if those causes produce the consciousness, what appearance does the consciousness assume? “What is causal” refers to the defiling objects of dharmas. They are gone; you cannot find them. Since the defiling objects of dharmas are gone, how can there be consciousness? Basically, it does not exist. Basically, the defiling objects of dharmas which are produced haven’t any substance or nature of their own. Thus, where will you go to find a consciousness? The consciousness, basically, cannot exist, either. Suppose the consciousness did exist; what would its appearance be? What is the consciousness like? Does it have an appearance, or not? If there is nothing discernable about the consciousness - since it has no appearance that can be found - how can a realm be established for it? The consciousness doesn’t even have any characteristics; how can you set up a realm for it? Therefore, the realm of the mind consciousness does not exist, either.

Q4 Concludes by returning the false to the true.

Sutra:

“Therefore, you should know that, as to the mind and dharmas being the conditions that produce the realm of the mind consciousness, none of the three places exists. Thus, the three aspects of the mind, dharmas, and the realm of the mind do not have their origin in causes and conditions, nor do their natures arise spontaneously.”

Commentary:

Therefore, you should know
- because of this, Ananda, you should understand this principle - that, as to the mind and dharmas being the conditions that produce the realm of the mind-consciousness, none of the three places exists. You, basically, cannot find a mind realm, and you cannot find a mind consciousness realm, nor can you find a realm of dharmas. These three places, among the eighteen realms, are all non existent. Thus, the three aspects of the mind, dharmas, and the realm of the mind - the organ of the mind, the defiling objects of dharmas, and the mind consciousness realm - these three - do not have their origin in causes and conditions - basically, they do not belong to what is included among dharmas of cause and condition - nor do their natures arise spontaneously. Nor do they belong to what is said to be spontaneous by adherents to externalist sects.

What are they then? The mind, the defiling object of dharmas, and the mind consciousness produced in their midst are all one part of the nature of wonderful true suchness of the treasury of the Thus Come One.

previous * next * contents

return to top