THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 3

P5 The body entrance.
Q1 Brings up an example to reveal the false.

Sutra:

“Ananda, consider, for example, a person who touches his warm hand with his cold hand. If the cold is in excess of the warmth, the warm hand will become cold; if the warmth is in excess of the cold, his cold hand will become warm. So the sensation of warmth and cold is felt through the contact and separation of the two hands. Fatiguing contact results in the interpenetration of warmth and cold. However, both the body and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. Protraction produces the characteristic of fatigue.

Commentary:

Ananda, consider, for example, a person who touches his warm hand with his cold hand. If the cold is in excess of the warmth
- the cold is more powerful - his the warm hand will become cold. The warm hand will be cold, too. If the warmth is in excess of the cold, his cold hand will become warm. The cold hand will turn warm. So the sensation of warmth and cold is felt through the contact and separation of the two hands. The contact of the cold and warm hands involves an awareness of union. The knowledge of contact and the separation which is called lack of contact are manifested. Fatiguing contact results in the interpenetration of warmth and cold. If the characteristics of cold and warmth are brought about, it is because of fatigue which results from the contact of the two hands. The body and the fatigue originate in Bodhi. The body and the awareness of touch are both Bodhi. Protraction produces the characteristic of fatigue. This is a case of protraction within the true nature of Bodhi giving rise to the characteristic of fatigue.

Q2 Explains that the false has no substance.

Sutra:

“Because a physical sensation is stimulated in the midst of the two defiling objects of separation and union, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the awareness of sensation. Apart from the two sets of defiling objects of separation and union, and pleasantness and unpleasantness, the awareness of sensation is originally without a substance.

Commentary:

Because a physical sensation is stimulated in the midst of the two defiling objects of separation and union, defiling appearances are taken in; this is called the awareness of sensation.
Because there is separation and union - these two kinds of sensations of contact, these two kinds of false, defiling objects - a feeling arises within them, and the body’s two hands draw in the feeling of these defiling appearances, the separation and the union. Apart from the two sets of defiling objects of separation and union, and pleasantness and unpleasantness, the awareness of sensation is originally without a substance. “Unpleasant” refers to a state of suffering; “pleasant” refers to a state of bliss. That which one likes is a state of bliss. That which one dislikes is a state of suffering. So apart from the two defiling objects of separation and union, the sensation of contact hasn’t any fundamental substance, either. It hasn’t a substance of its own.

Q3 It has no source.

Sutra:

“Thus, Ananda, you should know that this sensation does not come from separation and union, nor does it exist because of pleasantness and unpleasantness, nor does it arise from the sense organ, nor is it produced from emptiness.

Commentary:

Thus, Ananda,
from this you should know that this kind of nature of sensation does not come from separation and union. Although it is said that it senses the existence of the defiling objects of separation and union, the nature that is aware of sensation itself does not come from separation and union. Nor does it exist because of pleasantness and unpleasantness, nor does it arise from the sense organ - nor is it produced from the body, nor is it produced from emptiness - nor is it brought forth from emptiness.

Sutra:

“For what reason? If it arose when there was union, it would disappear when there was separation, so how could it sense the separation? The two characteristics of pleasantness and unpleasantness are the same way.

Commentary:

For what reason?
What is the principle? If it arose when there was union - if it were because of union that one had the nature that is aware of sensation - it would disappear when there was separation. When the palms separated, there would no longer be a nature that was aware of sensation; yet the nature is still there. So how could it sense the separation? If it were extinguished when there was separation, how could you still sense the separation? The two characteristics of pleasantness and unpleasantness are the same way. States of suffering and states of bliss follow the same principle.

Sutra:

“Suppose it came from the sense organ, which is obviously devoid of the four characteristics of union, separation, pleasantness, and unpleasantness; an awareness of physical sensation such as this would have no self nature.

Commentary:

Suppose it came from the sense organ
- if you want to say that the awareness of contact comes from the body - which is obviously devoid of the four characteristics of union, separation, pleasantness, and unpleasantness. How is it shown that sensation is not produced from the body? If it were, the body would have no way to be aware of union, of separation, of what is disagreeable, or of what is agreeable. An awareness of physical sensation such as this - your awareness of yourself - would have no self nature. The nature that is aware of sensation would not have a self-nature, either.

Sutra:

“Suppose it came from emptiness; the awareness of sensations would be experienced by emptiness itself, what connection would that have with your entrance?

Commentary:

Suppose it came from emptiness
- if you then say that this nature that is aware of sensation is produced from within emptiness; the awareness of sensations would be experienced by emptiness itself, what connection would that have with your entrance? It would have no connection with your body entrance. Since all these various propositions are not possible, what conclusion is to be drawn?

Q4 Concludes by returning the false to the true.

Sutra:

“Therefore you should know that the body entrance is empty and false, since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence, nor is spontaneous in nature.

Commentary:

Therefore you should know that the body entrance is empty and false -
because of that, you, Ananda, should know that the realm of the body entrance is also an empty falseness. Since it neither depends upon causes and conditions for existence, nor is spontaneous in nature. It is also produced from within the wonderful true nature of Bodhi.

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