THE SAGELY CITY OF TEN THOUSAND BUDDHAS
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Volume 4

O4 He states that the knot of the organs is because of the defiling objects.

Sutra:

Seeing occurs because the two appearances of darkness and light, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of seeing reflects form and combines with form to become an organ. In its pure state the organ of the eye is the four elements. And yet it takes the name "eye-organ" and is shaped like a grape. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one races out after form.

Commentary:


Seeing occurs because the two appearances of darkness and light, these two kinds of form, and their like, including all other kinds of visible forms, influence one another. They firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. These forms stick to the tranquil nature. When this situation arises, the essence of seeing comes into being. The essence of seeing reflects form and combines with form to become an organ. "Combines" here echoes "adhere to" above. The essence of seeing and forms adhere to each other and turn into an organ. In its pure state the organ of the eye is the four elements. What is meant by "its pure state?" It means that the four elements are here very subtle, not something which the flesh eye can see. One needs the Buddha eye, the dharma eye, and the wisdom eye to be able to see them. The "form elements" still refer to earth, water, fire, and wind. And yet it takes the name 'eye-organ" and is shaped like a grape. And yet, because the elements are related in this way, the substance is an eye shaped like a grape. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects. The eye is distinguished in three ways:

It has a seeing-essence;
It is a superior organ;
It is a superficial defiled organ.

If you cultivate successfully, the eye is called a superior organ. If you do not cultivate, it is called a superficial defiled organ. The four defiling objects referred to here are form, sound, smells, and tastes. This one races out after form. The Chinese word for "races" ( liu yi) combines the character liu, which means "flowing" like a swift river returning to the deep, or like the undertow of waves on the ocean, and the character yi, which means "unrestrained," like a fire raging out of control in the mountains, spreading in all directions at once. Together they mean "to race," like a thoroughbred horse. That is the way one races out to become attached to forms.

Sutra:

Hearing occurs because the two reverberations of movement and stillness, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of hearing reflects sound and resounds with sound to become the organ of the ear. In its pure state, the organ of the ear is the four elements. It takes the name "ear organ" and is shaped like a fresh, curled leaf. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is loosed upon sound.

Commentary:


Hearing occurs because the two reverberations of movement and stillness, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. Because there is movement and stillness, a function is created in their midst, when this function occurs in the perfect quietude, the process of hearing comes into being. The essence of hearing reflects sound and resounds with sound to become the organ of the ear. It unites with the defiling object of sound. It becomes an organ in the same way the eye became one, as described above. In its pure state, the organ of the ear is the four elements. It is a certain process which results from the combination of the four elements. It takes the name "ear organ" and is shaped like a fresh, curled leaf. It is shaped like a fresh lotus-flower leaf, which has not yet uncurled. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is loosed upon sound. Discussing the sense organs in terms of their being superficial and defiled, this organ races out and unites with sound.

Sutra:

Smelling occurs because the two appearances of penetration and obstruction, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of smelling reflects scents and takes in scents to become the organ of the nose. In its pure state, the organ of the nose is the four elements. It takes the name "nose-organ" and is shaped like a double hanging claw. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one probes out after scents.

Commentary:


Smelling occurs because the two appearances of penetration and obstruction, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. With the existence of the two substantive appearances of penetration and obstruction, a function occurs in the wonderful perfection of the mind. The appearances adhere to produce smelling. The essence of smelling reflects scents and takes in scents to become the organ of the nose. The essence of smelling and the defiling objects of scents mirror one another, and the process of smelling, of taking in the scents, becomes the function of this organ. In its pure state, the organ of the nose is the four elements. But it is given a name "nose-organ" and is shaped like a double hanging claw. The nose looks like two inverted claws. Of the superficial sense organs, seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing, and the four defiling objects, forms, sounds, scents, and flavors, this one probes out after scents. This one gets involved with the defiling objects of scents. The nose smells and is greedy for scents.

Sutra:

Tasting occurs because the two blends of blandness and variety, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of tasting reflects flavors and becomes entwined with flavors to become the organ of the tongue. In its pure state the organ of the tongue is the four elements. It takes the name "tongue-organ" and is shaped like the crescent moon. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one pursues flavors.

Commentary:

Tasting occurs because the two blends of blandness and variety, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. Blandness refers to the ordinary tastelessness we experience. And from this normal state of blandness, one can perceive the flavor of something when one encounters it. Because of the involvement of blandness and the change to perception of a flavor and their blending together, there is an adherence to the quietude of the wonderful, perfect mind. The function is the awareness of taste. The essence of tasting reflects flavors and becomes entwined with flavors to become the organ of the tongue. The sense of taste becomes twisted together with flavors, just as strands of a rope are bound together. They become
inseparable, and thus another organ comes into being. In its pure state the organ of the tongue is the four elements. It takes the name "tongue-organ" and is shaped like the crescent moon. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one pursues flavors. It is attracted to flavors.

Sutra:

Sensation occurs because the two frictions of separation and union, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of sensation reflects contact and seizes upon contact to become the organ of the body. In its pure state, the organ of the body is the four elements. It takes the name "body-organ" and is shaped like a tabla. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is compelled by contact.

Commentary:


Sensation occurs because the two frictions of separation and union, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The rubbing back and forth of separation and union creates an awareness in the wonderful perfection. The essence of sensation reflects contact and seizes upon contact to become the organ of the body. The awareness unites with the contact to make the organ of the body. In its pure state, the organ of the body is the four elements. It takes the name "body-organ" and is shaped like a tabla. The body is likened in shape to that particular kind of drum. Of the superficial sense-organs and the four defiling objects, this one is compelled by contact. This superficial sense-organ gravitates to the defiling object of contact.

Sutra:

Knowing occurs because the two continuities of production and extinction, and their like, firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. The essence of knowing reflects dharmas and grasps dharmas to become the organ of the mind. In its pure state, the organ of the mind is the four elements. It takes the name "mental cognition" and resembles seeing in a dark room. Of the superficial sense-organs and their four defiling objects, this one chases after dharmas.

Commentary:


Knowing occurs because the two continuities of production and extinction, and their like. Here the text discusses the organ of the mind, the sixth mind-consciousness, which is subject to production and extinction. As the former thought ceases, the next thought arises. The one races after the other, and they firmly adhere to quietude in what originally was wonderful perfection. They stick to the quietude and create the essence of knowing. The essence of knowing reflects dharmas and grasps dharmas to become the organ of the mind. The capacity of knowing seizes upon dharmas, which are defiling objects. In its pure state, the organ of the mind is the four elements. It takes the name "mental cognition" rather than mental "substance," because the mind is not a substantive thing, and resembles seeing in a dark room. Since the mind organ is an "internal" organ, whereas the five previous sense organs are "external" organs, it is likened to seeing in a dark room. Of the superficial sense-organs and their four defiling objects, this one chases after dharmas. The mind gravitates to the defiling objects of dharmas.

Sutra:

Ananda, in this way the six organs occur, because that bright enlightenment has a brightness added to it. Thus they lose their essence and adhere to falseness and create light.

Commentary:

Ananda, in this way the six organs, the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind discussed above, occur, because that bright enlightenment. "That" refers to the wonderful perfection of the true mind, the treasury of the Thus Come One. Originally the six organs are the treasury of the Thus Come One, but they come into being because the treasury of the Thus Come One has a brightness added to it. Basically the fundamental substance of enlightenment is brightness itself; there is no need to add brightness to it. It is like the wish-fulfilling pearl, the light of which is inherent in it; there is no need to add light to it. When light is added to enlightenment, it creates a false brightness, a false enlightenment. The brightness is not ultimately real, nor is the enlightenment that results from the addition of brightness. Thus they lose their essence and adhere to falseness and create light. Their original essence, the essence of seeing, the essence of hearing, the essence of smelling, of tasting, and of touching, and the knowledge of dharmas, loses its original characteristic and capability, and thereby it becomes mixed up with false brightness and false enlightenment. From this mutual adhesion, a false light comes forth. This light it not really a light; it simply designates their individual functions.

O5 He states that when the defiling objects disappear, the organ is gone.
P1 He explains that untying the knot is the answer to the question.
Q1 He surmises that apart from the defiling objects there is no knot.


Sutra:

Therefore, apart from darkness and light there is no substance to seeing for you now; apart from movement and stillness, there, basically, is no disposition of hearing; without penetration and obstruction, the nature of smelling does not arise; in the absence of variety and blandness, tasting does not occur, lacking separation and union, the sensation of contact is fundamentally non-existent; without extinction and production, knowing is put to rest.

Commentary:


Therefore, because of the doctrine explained above, which is that one need not add brightness to enlightenment; it is only through the arisal of a false thought of adding brightness to enlightenment that it turns into false brightness and false enlightenment, as a result, the original essence is lost, and by an adhesion to falseness, the light of the category of seeing comes into being. This creates the separate functions of seeing, hearing, and their like. It belongs to the light of the eighth consciousness. Therefore, apart from darkness and light there is no substance to seeing for you now. The reason you can see is because the conditions of light and darkness aid you. Without darkness and light, the substance of seeing would cease to be. Apart from movement and stillness, there, basically, is no disposition of hearing. "Disposition" here also means substance. Without penetration and obstruction, the nature of smelling does not arise. Without these conditions you have no awareness of scents; you wouldn't know if something was fragrant or stinking. In the absence of variety and blandness, tasting does not occur. In an interval between experiencing variety and blandness, the awareness of tasting would be gone. Lacking separation and union, the sensation of contact is fundamentally non-existent. If there is no impulse to separate or to unite, the awareness of contact disappears. Without extinction and production, knowing is put to rest. If there isn't any production and there isn't any extinction, where does your knowing-nature abide? It is gone as well.

Q2 He teaches him to enter one and liberate six.

Sutra:

You need only not follow the twelve conditioned appearances of movement and stillness, union and separation, blandness and variety, penetration and obstruction, production and extinction, and brightness and darkness.

Commentary:


You need only not follow. This section of the sutra text is very important. Why haven't people become enlightened? Because they follow the course of birth and death. They cannot go against this current. They follow false, defiling objects and are turned around by them. They cannot gain control over the false defiling objects. Thus, the sutra says, "You need only not follow" them, you need to not accord with the realm of the six defiling objects and to not be turned around by them. You don't have to follow conditioned appearances and be turned around by them. Then you can go against the current. Don't follow the twelve conditioned appearances of movement and stillness, union and separation, blandness and variety, penetration and obstruction, production and extinction, and brightness and darkness. Don't be turned around by these twelve conditioned dharmas.

Sutra:

Accordingly, extract one organ from adhesion, free it, and subdue it at its inner core. Once subdued, it will return to inherent truth and radiate its innate brilliance. When that brilliance shines forth, the remaining five adhesions will be freed to accomplish total liberation.

Commentary:

Accordingly, extract one organ from adhesion, free it. Of the six sense-organs of the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, you should accordingly liberate one, freeing it from the circumstance of its adhesion, and subdue it at its inner core. Overcome the ignorance in yourself. Subdue this false thought. Once subdued, it will return to inherent truth. With the false thought and ignorance subdued, you will return to the source, to the wonderful perfection, the quietude of the true mind, and it will radiate its innate brilliance. Then the inherent brightness of enlightenment will reveal itself. When that brilliance shines forth, when the brilliant essence reveals this brightness, the remaining five adhesions will be freed to accomplish total liberation. When one sense-organ is freed, the others which are stuck will be pulled loose and liberated, as well. They will simultaneously obtain liberation. And the function of adhering to create seeing, adhering to create sensation, will cease. You will be free.

P2 His accomplishment of the two wonders is testified to and looked into.
Q1 In the sentient realm, liberation from the bond brings the wonder of mutual functioning.
R1 First he reveals the wonder.


Sutra:

Do not follow the knowing and seeing that arise in response to the objects before you. True brightness does not comply with the sense-organs. Yet, lodged at the organs is the revelation of the brightness that permits the mutual functioning of the six organs.

Commentary:


I have discussed the mutual functioning of the six organs before. Do not follow the knowing and seeing that arise in response to the objects before you. This is the advice that the Buddha gave above: "You need only not follow." Don't follow the six defiling objects that pair themselves with your seeing, knowing, and their like. If you don't follow along, you will see as if not seeing, and hear as if not hearing, because you are not obsessed by the realm of the six defiling objects. True brightness does not comply with the sense-organs. It does not make an encounter with a defiling object and thus bring brightness into existence. Awareness doesn't exist in that way. Your own enlightened brightness does not follow the organs and race out. And yet, lodged at the organs is the revelation of the brightness that permits the mutual functioning of the six organs. Our inherent enlightened brightness is nevertheless found at the gate of the six organs. When that inherent brightness reveals itself, it "permits the mutual functioning of the six organs." This doesn't happen if you use false brightness and false enlightenment; it only happens when you use the true brightness of true enlightenment. And then the six organs: the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and mind, function in mutual accord. They can be used interchangeably. The eyes can speak and the ears can see.

Today is the Buddha's "Happy Day." Now, of course, the Buddha is happy every day, but today he is happiest. Why? This is the last day of the summer retreat for people who have left the home-life. From the 15th of the fourth lunar month to the 15th of the seventh lunar month left-home people do not travel. Today is also the anniversary of the day Mahamaudgalyayana obtained the spiritual penetration of the heavenly eye. Upon obtaining it, the first thing he did was to look where his mother was. He saw she was in the hells undergoing suffering. How did his mother get into the hells? When she was alive she did not believe in the Buddha, didn't bow to the Buddha. She didn't believe in the dharma, she didn't study the Buddhadharma. She did not respect the Sangha; she even slandered members of the Sangha and talked about their transgressions.

She also like to eat meat and fish. She especially liked fish eggs. Just think of how many lives are taken in one helping of caviar. Because she did not believe in or revere the Triple Jewel, and because she ate so many fish eggs, she went to the hells after she died. In the hells there was nothing to eat. So when Maudgalyayana obtained his spiritual penetrations, he went to give a bowl of rice to his mother. His mother took the bowl of rice when she saw it, and because she was so greedy, she held the bowl in her left hand and covered it with her right sleeve, so that none of the other hungry ghosts would see it and try to steal it from her. She hid it under her sleeve and ran to where she could be alone to eat. But her karmic obstructions were such that she could not have things to eat, and so when she put a bite of food in her mouth, the food turned to burning coals. Although Maudgalyayana had been certified to the fruition and had spiritual penetrations, he was unable to help her. Nothing he did worked. So he went to the Buddha to seek help. "What can be done?" he pleaded. His mother was in the hells and he asked the Buddha to help him save her.

The Buddha told him, "Your mother's karmic offenses are too heavy. You cannot save her by yourself. You must ask the assembled Sangha of the ten directions to save her, and then she can leave suffering and obtain bliss." And, so from that time on, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar, offerings are made not only to help your mothers of this life to leave suffering and obtain bliss, but to take across your fathers and mothers from seven lives past and all your close relatives as well. The dharma assembly which commemorates the way in which the assembled Sangha helped save Maudgalyayana's mother is called Ullumbana.

R2 He cites certification to not following the sense organs.

Sutra:

Ananda, don't you know that now in this assembly there is Aniruddha, who is blind and yet can see; the dragon, Upananda, who is deaf and yet can hear; the spirit of the Ganges River, who has no nose and yet smells fragrance; Gavampati, who has an unusual tongue and yet senses flavor; and the spirit, Shunyata, who has no body and yet is aware of contact? In the light of the Thus Come One, this spirit is illumined temporarily as an ethereal essence without any substance. In the same way, there is also Mahakashyapa in this assembly, dwelling in the samadhi of extinction, having obtained the stillness of a sound-hearer. He has long since extinguished the mind-organ, and yet he has a perfectly clear knowledge which is not due to the mental process of thinking.

Commentary:


Ananda, don't you know that now in this assembly, in the Shurangama dharma assembly, there are people who possess the mutual functioning of the six organs? One is Aniruddha. You remember him; he was the one who went blind trying to stay awake. Aniruddha was the Buddha's cousin, the son of the White Rice King. He liked to sleep, and he fell asleep every time the Buddha lectured the sutras. The Buddha scolded him for this habit, saying:

Hey! Hey! How can you sleep,
Like an oyster or a clam?
Sleep, sleep for a thousand years,
But, you'll never hear the Buddha's name.

After that scolding, in a burst of zeal, Aniruddha didn't sleep for seven days and nights. He finally went blind from lack of sleep. The Buddha took pity on him and taught him the vajra samadhi of delight in seeing the illuminating brightness. Upon cultivating this dharma he obtained the penetration of the heavenly eye. His ordinary eyes were useless, but he became foremost in the heavenly eye. His heavenly eye was perfect; he could see everything very clearly. You shouldn't think that "opening one's eyes" is the same in all cases. Some people see things clearly, and some not so clearly. Aniruddha saw the most clearly of all. Here in the text, the Buddha reminds Ananda of Aniruddha, who is blind and yet can see.

Aniruddha's name means "free of poverty" (wu pin). I have told you before how he obtained a golden rabbit. When he cut off one of its legs to buy food with, he found that another golden leg grew back in its place. Every time he removed a section of the golden rabbit, the section grew back, and so he was never poor again.

The Buddha also mentions: The dragon, Upananda, who is deaf and yet can hear. This dragon-spirit protects the city of Magadha, watching so that the winds and rains are in accord with the season. He was well liked by the people of that city, and that's why he has the name Upananda, "well liked" (shan huan xi). Although deaf, this dragon could listen with his whiskers instead of his ears. So Aniruddha didn't use his eyes and yet could see, and Upananda didn't have the use of his ears and yet could hear. This is the mutual functioning of the six organs that I've been discussing.

There is also the spirit of the Ganges River, who has no nose and yet smells fragrance. The Ganges, the Sindhu, the Vakshu, and the Sutlej Rivers all rise in the Himalayas. This river spirit of the Ganges has no nose, but she can still smell things. She uses her eyes to smell with.

There is Gavampati, who has an unusual tongue and yet senses flavor. Gavampati's name means "cow cud" (niu xi). Even when he wasn't eating, he kept chewing his cud and breathing coarsely like a cow. Why would someone who had been certified to the fruition of arhatship have such a habit? It's a result of something that happened to him when he was on the cause-ground as a novice.

At that time he cultivated with an old monk who was certified as an arhat, but who in his old age had lost his teeth and, as a consequence, ate very slowly. He chewed so slowly that one day Gavampati, the novice, said to him, "You eat like a cow." It was because of that one sentence that he had to undergo the retribution of chewing his cud like a cow for life after life. But now he had been certified to the fruition of arhatship, so the Buddha instructed him to reside in the heavens, rather than in the human realm, for fear that someone would slander him in turn and say, "You eat like a cow," with the result that another person would end up having to be a cow for life after life. This should show you how careful you must be when you talk. You can't just say whatever pops into your head. If you say one wrong thing, you'll fall in accordance with the laws of cause and effect.

There once was an elder bhikshu whom someone asked, "Do great cultivators fall in accordance with cause and effect?" The elder cultivator replied, "Great cultivators do not fall in accordance with cause and effect." Because that one sentence was incorrect, he had to undergo rebirth as a fox for five hundred lives. When Chan Master Bai Jiang was at Jiang Xi lecturing the sutras, there was an old man with a long beard who came to listen every day. No one knew who he was. He always left as soon as the lecture was over. The lectures were open to the public, of course, so no one asked him who he was; he was free to come and go with everyone else. In lecturing sutras, the rule is for the dharma master to return to his room immediately after he finishes lecturing. He should engage in conversation very rarely, lest he end up seeking advantage from conditions. He should not linger after the lecture in order to invite people to come back again, or the like. One day, then, when Chan Master Bai Jiang was returning to his quarters after the lecture, the old man with a long beard followed him and asked for instruction. His question was, "Does a great cultivator fall in accordance with cause and effect?"

Chan Master Bai Jiang answered, "Great cultivators are not unclear about cause and effect." The old man immediately became enlightened.

"Oh, so that's the way it is!" he exclaimed. Then he explained, "I am a fox who lives on the mountain behind here. Everyday I come to listen to the sutras, but I've never understood this principle." Then he explained that in the past he had been a high monk who had also lectured the sutras, but when someone had asked him that question, he had answered incorrectly, and as a result had to undergo five hundred lives as a fox. "Now that today I have finally understood, tomorrow I will go be reborn. You could come back to my cave and bury my corpse in order to establish affinities."

The next day, Chan Master Bai Jiang, taking all the monks from the monastery with him, went back on the mountain to have a look. Sure enough, they found the corpse of an old fox. Chan Master Bai Jiang buried it with the ceremony used for monks and crossed him over. This is another example of how careful one must be in what one says. People who don't understand the principles of Buddhadharma

tend to say whatever they feel like, but people who study the Buddhadharma know better than to do that. If someone asks you a question and you know the answer in terms of Buddhadharma, you can reply. But if you don't know, I exhort you not to think you know when you don't. If you say something wrong, the effect will be severe.

Because of one careless remark to an arhat, Gavampati had to bear the retribution of chewing his cud like a cow for life after life. His tongue was like a cow's, too; nevertheless, he sensed flavor. There is the spirit, Shunyata, who has no body and yet is aware of contact. "Shunyata" means emptiness. This emptinessspirit has no physical body and yet senses touch. How does that happen? In the light of the Thus Come One, this spirit is illumined temporarily as an ethereal essence without any substance. The light of the Buddha enables this spirit to appear temporarily, even though she is as empty as the wind and has no body at all. But when she is able to appear through the Buddha's power, she, too, can experience the sensation of contact. That makes the spirit Shunyata very happy, "I really don't have a body, but now I've got one!" Beings are afraid of being without a body, and so when this spirit is allowed to manifest, she is delighted. In the same way, there is also Mahakashyapa in this assembly, dwelling in the samadhi of extinction. This is the ninth successive stage of samadhi, the extinction of the skandhas of thought and feeling. He had obtained the stillness of a soundhearer. Some members of the assembly had put an end to the skandhas of feeling and thought and some had been certified as having attained the fruition of arhatship. Who in the assembly has obtained the samadhi of extinction?

"Maha" means "great," and refers to the elder Kashyapa, who had used to be a fire worshipper. In Buddhism he is known as the "Golden Ascetic" (jin se xian). He is now in samadhi in China at Ji Zi mountain in Yunnan province. He hasn't died and gone off to rebirth. He is in the samadhi of extinction, and in the future, when Maitreya Bodhisattva appears in the world, Mahakashyapa will present him with the robe and bowl of Shakyamuni Buddha. He's been in samadhi now for some three thousand years, but one can sit for thousands, or even tens of thousands of years in that samadhi without any problem.

He has long since extinguished the mind-organ, and yet he has a perfectly clear knowledge which is not due to the mental process of thinking. His discriminating mind, which is subject to the production and extinction of thoughts, was long ago put to an end. Yet, his knowledge is complete and sharp; it does not result from thoughts in the mind, but springs from his fundamental wisdom.

Q2 In the material realm, transcendence of it brings the wonder of sudden enlightenment
R1 First he reveals the wonder.

Sutra:

Then, Ananda, after all your organs are completely freed, you will glow with an inner light. All the ephemeral, defiling objects and the material world will thereupon change their appearance like ice which is melted by hot liquid. In response to your mind, they will transform and become the knowledge and awareness which is unsurpassed enlightenment.

Commentary:


Then, Ananda, after all your organs are completely freed, if you can enter one, the other five will also cease to be. The six organs will be purified simultaneously. If you can perfect one organ completely, then the six organs will be freed from their particular habits, and you will glow with an inner light. Your self-nature will glow like a lustrous and flawless piece of jade. All the ephemeral, defiling objects and the material world, the mountains, rivers, great earth, dwellings, buildings, and so forth, will thereupon change their appearance like ice which is melted by hot liquid. They will disappear, just as ice does when boiling water is poured on it. In response to your mind, in a very short period of time, they will transform and become the knowledge and awareness which is unsurpassed enlightenment. When the false ceases to be, the true is pure. The "knowledge and awareness" referred to here is the true and actual knowledge and awareness, not the false knowing and awareness spoken of above. When the false is gone, the true appears; "in response to your mind" it reveals itself.

R2 He verified that they do not rely on conditions.

Sutra:

Ananda, it is like an ordinary person who has confined seeing to his eyes. Ask him to close his eyes and he will immediately see darkness before him. The six organs and his head and feet will be enveloped in total darkness. If the person traces the shape of external things with his hands, then even though he cannot see, he will recognize someone's head and feet if he feels them. This knowledge and awareness are the same way.

Commentary:


Ananda, it is like an ordinary person. Let me give you an example. Consider a worldly person who has confined seeing to his eyes. He has gathered the seeing-essence into his eyes. Ask him to close his eyes and he will immediately see darkness before him. You say to him, "Shut your eyes immediately!" Suddenly he is plunged into darkness. The six organs and his head and feet will be enveloped in total darkness. If the person traces the shape of external things with his hands, then even though he cannot see, he will recognize someone's head and feet if he feels them. If this worldly person who has his eyes closed and can't see
anything should pass his hand over the body of someone near him, he will know the person's head as a head when he runs his hands over it, and when he follows the shape of the person's feet, he will realize they are feet. This knowledge and awareness are the same way. Awareness and knowing still function. When your six organs have been is extinguished, the capacity to know and be aware is not in the least depleted. The illustration here confirms that even with your eyes closed, your awareness and knowing do not disappear. They remain the same.

Sutra:

If light is the condition requisite for seeing, then darkness brings the absence of seeing. But to perceive without light means that no dark manifestation can obscure the seeing.

Commentary:


If light is the condition requisite for seeing, if the reason we see is because of light, then darkness brings the absence of seeing. When it gets dark, you cannot see. But to perceive without light means that no dark manifestation can obscure the seeing.

If you don't need to rely on external light, but put forth light from your self-nature, then there is no kind of darkness that can obscure your seeing. It can't obstruct you and prevent you from seeing. If you are genuinely enlightened, if you have been certified as having obtained the fruit of arhatship, then day and night are the same. Light and darkness are the same. You can see equally well in either. An ordinary person cannot see in a dark room, but an arhat can. So it is said:

Enlightenment is like a lamp in the night,
or a sudden light in a windowless room.

However, that is just an analogy. Don't get attached to it being exactly like that. What is expressed in words is not necessarily true. That which cannot be expressed is truth. What we are talking about here is just a certain state. You may see the room as dark, while someone else may perceive light in it. This is due to the differences in people's karmic responses. If you are enlightened, then night is the same as day; sleeping and dreams are the same as your waking state. You won't even be confused or upside down in your dreams. In fact, when you are enlightened you very rarely dream at all. Why is it necessary to cultivate? Because you don't have control of yourself. Perhaps you are in control and clear-headed when you are awake, but you lose control when you get confused. When you are healthy you are in control, but when you get sick you lose control. You are ineffectual. Perhaps you can remain in control when you are sick and not get confused or do upside-down things, but you are still not in control when you are asleep. You may say you can remain in control when you are asleep, but when you have dreams you lose control. You become upside-down. If you can remain in control when you are dreaming, you may lose control when you are about to die. At that time the four elements separate, and though you might like to say, "I'd rather not die right now," no politeness is extended to you. You're certainly not going to get out of it.

We people cultivate the Way in order to be able to remain in control when we are healthy, when we are awake and clear-headed, when we are sick, when we are asleep, when we are dreaming, even more when we die. We want to be such that we can die if we want to, and such that if we don't want to die, we can go on living without it being any problem. We want to be free of those restrictions. Then we can be said to be free of birth and death. If we want to live, we can; and if we want to die, we can do that, too. For instance, if you want to live, you can live for several thousand years, like Patriarch Mahakashyapa. If you want to die, you can do so standing up, sitting down, or lying down. You can do it any way you want.

Sutra:

Once the organs and objects are eradicated, how can the enlightened brightness not become perfect and wonderful?

Commentary:


Ananda, once the organs and objects are eradicated, once the six sense-organs and six sense-objects are done away with, then "no dark manifestation can obscure the seeing." When the darkness obscures them, the organs cannot exhibit their strength and function. How can the enlightened brightness not become perfect and wonderful? How can you say that the fundamental enlightened brightness will not become perfect and wonderful? How can you say that it will not return to the source and become perfect and wonderful once again?

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