Monday, March 28, 2022

Diamond Sutra - Part II - 210b

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Analysis of the Diamond Sutra - B
[Indestructible Perfect Wisdom that cuts through all illusions / conditioning / karma]
– Part II – Sections 9-17 –

(Six translations)
1st translation: https://diamond-sutra.com/
https://www.lifelonglearningcollaborative.org/silkroads/articles/diamond-sutra-translation.pdf
Recitation on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7oYc9FZDWA

"The Buddha has taught this Sutra as the highest perfection."


[See chapters 1-8 in Part I ]
[See chapters 9-17 in Part II ]
[See chapters 18-32 in Part III ]
[See Another résumé of the 32 sections in Part IV]
[See other analysis of texts on the Blog]

Short table of content of Part II

Short table of content of Part II.

Eight types of sections: A-H.

Sections of Part II:

  1. [G] No Returning and Not-ReturningCorrect utilisation of words / names / concepts without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Ex. Concepts like change, rebirths, stages of enlightenment, bondage / samsara, liberation / nirvana, subject / self, object / others, living beings / diversity / individuality, Cosmic Unity / oneness / non-individuality, etc.

  2. Purify Thoughts from All the SensesCorrect thinking without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

  3. Merits of this SutraCorrect performance of activities without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Pure acquisition of karma. Inconceivable Good-karma / Blessings / Merit without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Union of merit & wisdom.

  4. The Most Extraordinary MeritCorrect utilisation of this Sutra without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Pure acquisition of karma. Inconceivable Good-karma / Blessings / Merit without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Union of merit & wisdom.

  5. [Naming this Sutra:] The Diamond that will Cut Away all Arbitrary ConceptionsCorrect speaking / teaching / usage of words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

  6. A Mind without Attachments Correct utilisation of the mind without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

  7. The Sutra Is a Supreme VehicleCorrect utilisation of this Sutra without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

  8. Purgation of Bad KarmaThe Inconceivable true nature & dynamic of causality – ex. i. subject / cause / the Buddha-dharma / teachings of Sutras like this one, ii. relation / action / causality / production, and iii. object / result / effect / fruit / karma (good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma; individual, collective, cosmic) and liberation or enlightenment. The Inconceivable true nature & dynamic of the self-conditioning / karmic cycle, of the twelve links of dependent origination going both ways (conditioning & deconditioning).

  9. [H] All Dharmas Are Non-DharmasThe Inconceivable true nature & dynamic of all dharmas, of Reality as it is / Suchness / Tathagata / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness … free from all extremes & middle [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T].


[Goto TOC]

(Note: There are eight types of sections in this Sutra – A to H:

  1. Similar sections (3, 25) about 'Generating Bodhicitta without any attachment. There are no real sentient beings to liberate.'

  2. Similar sections (4, 14, 15, …) about 'Performing actions of the body, speech and mind without any attachment.' This applies to almost all sections.

  3. Similar sections (5, 18, 20, 26) about 'Perception without any attachment: The Union of the three spheres of action / thinking / perception / cognition / acquisition [U3S]; the karmic cycle; directly perceiving the buddha-nature.'

  4. Similar sections (6, 27, 31) about 'Adopting the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle in everything. Extremes like existence / naïve realism, non-existence / nihilism, both together / dualism / diversity, neither / monism / oneness; subject / self, object / other, beings / both together / individuality, cosmic-unity / neither / no-individuality. Etc.'

  5. Similar sections (7, 10, 16, 22) about 'Enlightenment is a direct experience transcending causality. Reality is beyond causality & acausality. Union of the three spheres of causality / production / creation.'

  6. Similar sections (8, 11, 12, 19, 24, 28) about 'Acquiring an inconceivable amount of good-karma / blessings / merit without any attachment.'

  7. Similar sections (9, 13, 21) about 'Using words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings … without any attachment.'

  8. Similar sections (17, 23, 29, 30, 32) about 'The True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U3S / Uopp / U2T-2T]; there are no real origination & duration & cessation; all dharmas are like illusions; the primordial spontaneity / equality / non-duality / purity / perfection / divinity / completeness / freedom of all dharmas.'

After generalisation & homogenisation, the comments of similar sections are usually identical.
So there are only 8 principal blocks of comments for 32 sections.
Each block is identified by the letters A to H.)




Sections of Part II

9. [G] No returning and not-returningCorrect utilisation of words / names / concepts without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Ex. Concepts like change, rebirths, stages of enlightenment, bondage / samsara, liberation / nirvana, subject / self, object / others, living beings / diversity / individuality, Cosmic Unity / oneness / non-individuality, etc.

(i.e. From section 2 – Question: What should Bodhisattvas do to get to the inconceivable highest liberating truth?
This question implicitly assumes that there are sentient beings to liberate, real things to be liberated from; that there are ultimate teachings / Buddha-dharma, and an ultimate Truth to perceive / realise, an ultimate pure state to reach / enlightenment / Buddhahood; and that there is such a thing as a sure causal process / a sure gradual path composed of virtuous actions, practices, stages, to get there – all in absolute terms. In this Sutra, the Buddha will shed light on all of those erroneous implicit assumptions by teaching via the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle, free from all dualistic conceptual proliferations, free from all defining limitations, free from all conditioning / karma -- with nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do or reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1]. It is not with better discrimination, nor without any activity / thinking / conceptualisation / discrimination ..., that we ultimately find peace of mind, but by directly perceiving / realising / experiencing the indescribable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], of the self-conditioning / karmic cycle as it is here & now, the primordial Buddha-nature of everything (the primordial spontaneity, equality, purity, perfection, divinity, completeness, freedom of all dharmas).)
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No separate person really exist and goes through change; there is no permanence / continuity or impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation of the subject from one moment to the next, from before and after any action / change, from one stage to the next, from one rebirth to the next, from samsara to nirvana. There are no real three stages of becoming – i. origination / birth / coming / before / past, ii. duration / existence / change / rest / during / present, iii. cessation / death / going / after / future –; no real individuality, collectivity, universality about anybody or anything; no real returning or non-returning; no real stages of enlightenment; no real extinction / liberation / enlightenment — nor is there complete absence of those. The subject before, during, and after any of those changes, is not different, not identical, not both together, not neither. So there is no reason to be proud or ashamed.
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[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
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[G. Sections with similar comments / topic: 9, 13, 21.] – Correct utilisation of words, names, concepts, ideas, teachings … No real stages of enlightenment.
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(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should speak / teach / use words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
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The Buddha speaks / teaches about a diversity of conventional / relative / inter-subjective things (conventional truths, methods, goals)
(ex. the five aggregates, the body, speech and mind with their components and functionalities, the 32 marks, good bad and neutral-karma, the four noble truths, the three marks of existence, the 12 links of dependent origination, the two truths, world-systems, solid-masses, atoms, right and wrong views, wholesome and unwholesome actions, grasping, attachment, obsessions, passions, subject & object & relation / action, difference & identity, separation & union, manyness & oneness, duality & non-duality, permanence & impermanence, continuity & discontinuity, eternity & annihilation, equality & inequality, purity & impurity, perfection & imperfection, freedom & bondage, samsara & nirvana, etc.),
but Bodhisattvas know that those things – ex. the three spheres of action / acquisition / ownership: subject / actor / acquirer / owner, relation / action / acquisition / ownership, object / result / acquired / possessions / 5 aggregates / body speech and mind / blessing and merit / karma; or the three spheres of thinking / perception / cognition: subject / actor / thinker / perceiver / knower, relation / action / thinking / perception / cognition, object / result / thought / perceived / known / karma; or the three spheres of causality: subject / cause, relation / action / causality, object / effect –
although conventionally appearing / perceptible and relatively functional, not completely non-existent [T1 - 1st truth], are not really existent / functional in absolute terms; they are empty of inherent existence, not really existent [T2 - 2nd truth], are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S]. They are dependently co-appearing and relatively functional, but still empty of inherent existence; empty but still appearing. One aspect implies / proves / enables the other [U2T - Inseparability / Interdependence / Harmony / Union of the Two Truths]. They are like illusions: 'there but not there'; not really existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless … [tetralemma].
Understanding / perceiving / realising this is perceiving the true Buddha / trikaya, the Buddha-nature, the inconceivable unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now.
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Answer: Bodhisattvas could use words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals like: subject / self, object / others, beings / diversity, life / oneness, relations / actions, change / evolution, rebirths, stages of realisation, and liberation / enlightenment, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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Those words / names / concepts / ideas and their referents are all empty of inherent existence <==> because dependently co-arisen, merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind. They are all like illusions: 'there but not there'; not existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless …; dependently appearing but still empty of inherent existence, empty of inherent existence but still dependently appearing & relatively functional.
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Everything is merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, but not from the mind only. No word / name / concept / idea has a definitive / fixed / independent / universal / absolute meaning / signification. Each individual interprets them according to his conditioning / karma. No word / name / concept / idea can really capture the true nature & dynamic of anything, the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now. We cannot use the conditioned to describe what is beyond the conditioned & unconditioned. But, still, we have no choice but to use them to communicate / cooperate with others. We have to be able to tolerate the uncertainty of everything.
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Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]
https://youtu.be/bZEfJOUlSeg?list=PLA759DB37621B0B68&t=1428
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fUoJRsq6AI&list=PLA759DB37621B0B68&index=20

[THE FIVE EYES]

Buddha then asked,
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)

"What do you think, Subhuti, does one who has entered the stream which flows to Enlightenment,
say 'I have entered the stream (I)'?"
(i.e. Subhuti’s own experience: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]
(i.e. Subhuti: As an arhat, Subhuti has the prajna eye [2T]; he thinks the two truths – appearances & emptiness – are different, separate, in opposition, and that emptiness [T2] is superior to appearances [T1]. In short, he is attached to emptiness, and rejects too much. In this Sutra, as he receives teachings from the Buddha, his position will gradually change.)

"No, Buddha", Subhuti replied.
"A true disciple entering the stream [T1]
would not think of themselves as a separate person that could be entering anything [T2] [2T].
Only that disciple who does not differentiate themselves from others,
who has no regard for name, shape, sound, odor, taste, touch or for any quality
can truly be called a disciple who has entered the stream."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing self and stages of enlightenment. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

Buddha continued,

"Does a disciple who is subject to only one more rebirth say to himself,
'I am entitled to the honors and rewards of a Once-to-be-reborn (II).'?"
(i.e. Subhuti’s own experience: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

"No, Blessed One.
'Once-to-be-reborn' is only a name [T1].
There is no (inherently existing) passing away (cessation / death),
or (inherently existing) coming into (origination / birth),
(inherently existing) existence (duration / change) [T2] [2T].
Only one who realizes this can really be called a disciple."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing three stages of becoming – origination / birth / coming, duration / existence / change, cessation / death / going – for anything. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]

"Subhuti, does a venerable One who will never more be reborn as a mortal say to himself,
'I am entitled to the honor and rewards of a Non-returner (III).'?"
(i.e. Subhuti’s own experience: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

"No, Perfectly Enlightened One.
A 'Non-returner' is merely a name [T1].
There is actually no one returning and no one not-returning [T2] [2T]."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing returner. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]

"Tell me, Subhuti. Does a Buddha say to himself,
'I have obtained Perfect Enlightenment (IV).'?"
(i.e. The Buddha’s own experience: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

"No, Blessed One.
There is no such thing as Perfect Enlightenment (final result / effect) to obtain.
If a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha were to say to himself, 'I am enlightened'
he would be admitting there is an individual person, a separate self and personality, and would therefore not be a Perfectly Enlightened Buddha."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing enlightenment, subject / self, relation / action, object / others, individuality or non-individuality. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

(i.e. Otherwise, if one still grasps at one extreme or another (ex. entertaining extreme views like: self / subject / subjectivism, objects / phenomena / objectivism, both together / dualism / pluralism, neither / oneness; or entertaining extreme views like: existence / functionality / causality / relativity, non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, both together, neither; or entertaining extreme views like: conventional truths / relativity / causality only [T1], emptiness only [T2], both together and in opposition [2T], neither as in being One [1T] …), then he is not worthy of being called a bodhisattva.)

(i.e. Transcending opposites: Bodhisattvas should not have any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification about any of the four extreme positions about any duality; ex. A, not-A, both-together, neither, and there is no fifth (tetralemma):
It is the same list in sections 3, 6, 9, 14, 15, 17, 23, 25, 31.
This particular list is representing the four related extreme views of the duality subject vs. object: the list varies from one translator to another; so I have 'normalised it to: i. subject / self, ii. object / others, iii. both subject & object together / beings / diversity / manyness / individuality, iv. neither subject nor object / universal self / cosmic unity / life / monism / oneness / no-individuality.
The list can be the four extremes views about any dualistic concept / duality: ex. 'this', 'non-this', both this & non-this together, neither this nor non-this; existence, non-existence, both together, neither; dharma, non-dharma, both together, neither; dependent origination / 1st truth, emptiness / 2nd truth, both truths together / difference & opposition of the two truths / dualism, neither of the two truths / identity of the two truths / monism / oneness; being bounded / samsara, being liberated / nirvana, both together, neither; superior, inferior, average, a combination of those, none of those; subject / subjectivism, relation / action / processism, object / objectivism, a combination of those, none of those; etc. It works with all dualistic concepts / dualities / triad / quads / etc.
The message is "Reality as it is is non-dual, inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle": As long as one clings to, is attached to, is fixating on, is obsessed about, is slave to … one opposite / extreme about any duality / triad / quad / etc. ==> then "that person is not an authentic disciple (3 & 17)", "he would not be able to awaken pure faith (14)", he "will be holding onto something that is non-existent", "that person would not be able to listen to, receive, recite, or explain this Sutra to others (15)", he will not understand the subtle meaning of Sutras like this one (31), he will not conceive the idea that it is the truth (14), he will not benefits from it, he will not accumulate immeasurable merit & wisdom, he will be slave to his poisons – desire, hatred, ignorance – and obsessions / passions.
Meaning Reality as it is is not A, not non-A, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; whatever 'A' is conventionally.
Meaning Reality as it is is indescribable, inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma – physical, conceptual, mental, individual, collective, cosmic –.
So it is never about accepting / affirming / seeking one side of a duality and rejecting / negating / abandoning the other side, not about vice versa, not about accepting both sides together, not about rejecting both sides. It is about understanding and then directly realising their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

Subhuti then said,

"Most Honored One! You have said that I, Subhuti, excel amongst thy disciples in knowing the bliss of Enlightenment,
in being perfectly content in seclusion, and in being free from all passions [T1].
Yet I do not say to myself that I am so [T2] [2T],
for if I ever thought of myself as such then it would not be true that I escaped ego delusion.
I know that in truth there is no Subhuti and therefore Subhuti abides nowhere,
that he neither knows nor does he not-know bliss,
and that he is neither free from (liberated / nirvana) nor enslaved by his passions (samsara) [T2] [2T]."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing Subhuti, bondage / samsara and liberation / nirvana. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

——————

(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 9a "What do you think, Subhuti?
Does it occur to a Stream-enterer (I) that he has obtained the fruit of Stream-entry?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. Why is that?
Because, Lord, he has not entered anything [T2]. That is why he is called a Stream-enterer [T1] [2T].
(i.e. It is exactly because of his progress in understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing more and more directly, with more and more stability / certainty, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths – dependent origination and emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas – that he is called Stream-enterer.)
He has not entered form, nor has he entered sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas. That is why he is called 'a Stream-enterer.'"
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9b The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti?
Would it occur to a Once-returner (II) that he has obtained the fruit of a Once-returner?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. It does not occur to a Once-returner that he has obtained the fruit of a Once-returner. What is the reason for that?
Because there is no dharma whatsoever which enters the state of being a Once-returner [T2]. That is why one is called 'a Once-returner [T1] [2T].'"
(i.e. It is exactly because of his progress in understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing more and more directly, with more and more stability / certainty, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths – dependent origination and emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas – that he is called Once-returner.)
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9c The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti?
Does it occur to a Non-returner (III) that he has obtained the fruit of a Non-returner?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. It does not occur to a Non-returner that he has obtained the fruit of a Non-returner. Why is that?
There is no dharma whatsoever which observes that it is a Non-returner [T2]. That is why one is called 'a Non-returner. [T1] [2T]'"
(i.e. It is exactly because of his progress in understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing more and more directly, with more and more stability / certainty, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths – dependent origination and emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas – that he is called Non-returner.)
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9d The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti?
Does it occur to a Worthy One (IV) that he has obtained the state of a Worthy One?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. Why is that?
Because there is no dharma whatsoever [T2], Lord, which is called a Worthy One [T1] [2T].
(i.e. It is exactly because of his direct perception / realisation / experience of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths – dependent origination and emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas – that he is called a Worthy One. He has attained total stability / certainty in his realisation.)
If, Lord, it should occur to a Worthy One that he has obtained the state of a Worthy One, then for him that would indeed constitute seizing upon a self, it would constitute seizing upon a living being, seizing upon a soul, seizing upon a person.
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9e "I am the one, Lord, who was designated by the Realized, Worthy and Perfectly Awakened One as the foremost of those who live in peace, and I am, Lord, a Worthy One free of passion [T1], but it does not occur to me, Lord, that I am a Worthy One [T2]. If it were to occur to me, Lord, that I have attained the state of a Worthy One, the Tathagata would not have declared of me 'As the foremost of those who live in peace, the gentleman Subhuti does not live anywhere. That is why he is the so called "one who lives in peace [T1] [2T]".'")
(i.e. It is exactly because of his progress in understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing more and more directly, with more and more stability / certainty, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by concepts like the Union of the Two Truths – dependent origination and emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas – that he is called Non-returner.)
From: https://hyanniszendo.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/diamondsutra_lettersize1.pdf

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(c. Translation by Red Pine - 2002: Chapter Nine: "Tell me, Subhuti.
Do those who find the river (I) think, 'I have attained the goal of finding the river'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. Those who find the river do not think, 'I have attained the goal of finding the river.' And why not? Bhagavan, they do not find any such dharma [T2]. Thus are they said to 'find the river [T1] [2T].' They do not find a sight, nor do they find a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, or a dharma. Thus are they said to 'find the river.' Bhagavan, if those who found the river should think, 'I have attained the goal of finding the river,' they would be attached to a self, they would be attached to a being, a life, and a soul."
The Buddha said, "Tell me, Subhuti.
Do those who return once more (II) think, 'I have attained the goal of returning once more'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. Those who return once more do not think, 'I have attained the goal of returning once more.' And why not? Bhagavan, they do not find any such dharma as 'returning once more [T2].' Thus are they said to 'return once more [T1] [2T].'"
The Buddha said, "Tell me, Subhuti.
Do those who return no more (III) think, 'I have attained the goal of returning no more'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. Those who return no more do not think 'I have attained the goal of returning no more.' And why not? Bhagavan, they do not find any such dharma as 'returning no more [T2].' Thus are they said to 'return no more [T1] [2T].'"
The Buddha said, "Tell me, Subhuti.
Do those who are free from rebirth (IV) think, 'I have attained freedom from rebirth'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. Those who are free from rebirth do not think, 'I have attained freedom from rebirth.' And why not? Bhagavan, there is no such dharma as 'freedom from rebirth [T2].' Thus are they said to be 'free from rebirth [T1] [2T].' If, Bhagavan, those who are free from rebirth should think, 'I have attained freedom from rebirth,' they would be attached to a self, they would be attached to a being, a life, and a soul.
"And how so? Bhagavan, the Tathagata, the Arhan, the Fully-Enlightened One has declared that I am foremost among those who dwell free of passion.
Bhagavan, although I am free from rebirth and without desires [T1], I do not think, 'I am free from rebirth and without desires [T2] [2T].' Bhagavan, if I thought, 'I have attained freedom from rebirth,' the Tathagata would not have singled me out by saying, 'Foremost among those who dwell free of passion is the noble son Subhuti [T1]. For he dwells nowhere at all [T2]. Thus is he called one who dwells free of passion who "dwells free of passion [T1] [2T]."')
From: https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Diamond-Sutra.pdf
.
(From the book: "One Form No Form.” There is no compassion in Subhuti’s path. Despite its emphasis on detachment, it is self-centered, not being-centered. The shravaka’s quest for no rebirth is not the same as the bodhisattva’s realization of no birth. The difference is profound. … Despite his interest in the bodhisattva path, Subhuti is still a shravaka … These early disciples, and their later followers, saw themselves progressing through a series of four stages to the final goal of arhanship, which they considered more or less equivalent to buddhahood. But from the Mahayana point of view, shravakas are still far from the goal, for they are held back by the selfishness of their detachment from the self. Although Subhuti has attained the final fruit of such practice, he clearly has not yet attained the goal of buddhahood.)

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(d. Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh - 2006: 9. DWELLING IN PEACE - "What do you think, Subhuti?
Does a Stream-Enterer (I) think, 'I have attained the fruit of Stream-Entry.'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why? Stream-Enterer means to enter the stream [T1], but in fact there is no stream to enter [T2]. One does not enter a stream that is form, nor a stream that is sound, smell, taste, touch, or object of mind. That is what we mean when we say entering a stream [T1] [2T]."
"What do you think, Subhuti?
Does a Once-Returner (II) think, 'I have attained the fruit of Once-Returning.'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why? Once-Returner means to go and return once more [T1], but in truth there is no going just as there is no returning [T2]. That is what we mean when we say Once-Returner [T1] [2T]."
"What do you think, Subhuti?
Does a Non-Returner (III) think like this, 'I have attained the fruit of NoReturn.'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why? No-Return means not to return to this world [T1], but in fact there cannot be any Non-Returning [T2]. That is what we mean when we say Non-Returner [T1] [2T]."
"What do you think, Subhuti?
Does an Arhat (IV) think like this, 'I have attained the fruit of Arhatship.'?"
Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why? There is no separately existing thing [T2] that can be called Arhat [T1] [2T]. If an Arhat gives rise to the thought that he has attained the fruit of Arhatship, then he is still caught up in the idea of a self, a person, a living being, and a life span.
World-Honored One, you have often said that I have attained the concentration of peaceful abiding and that in the community, I am the Arhat who has most transformed need and desire. World-Honored One, if I were to think that I had attained the fruit of Arhatship, you certainly would not have said that I love to dwell in the concentration of peaceful abiding.")
From: https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Thich%20Nhat%20Hanh%20-%20The%20Diamond%20That%20Cuts%20Through%20I.pdf

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(e. Translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society - 1974: Chapter 9 - The One Mark is No Mark:
"Subhuti, what do you think,
can a Srotaapanna (Stream-enterer) have the thought, 'I have obtained the fruit of Srotaapanna.'?"
Subhuti said, "No, World Honored One. And why? A Srotaapanna means one who has entered the flow [T1], and yet he has not entered anything [T2]. He has not entered forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, or dharmas. For that reason he is called a Srotaapanna [T1] [2T]."
"Subhuti, what do you think?
Can a Sarkrdagamin (once-returner) have the thought, 'I have obtained the Fruit of Sarkrdagamin.'?" Subhuti said, "No, World Honored One. And why? A Sarkrdagamin means one who returns once more [T1], but he actually does not have a returning [T2]. For that reason, he is called a Sarkrdagamin [T1] [2T]."
"Subhuti, what do you think?
Can an Anagamin (non-returner) have the thought, 'I have obtained the fruit of Anagamin'?" Subhuti said, "No, World Honored One. And why? Anagamin means one who does not return [T1], but he actually does not have no returning [T2]. For that reason, he is called Anagamin [T1] [2T]."
"Subhuti, what do you think?
Can an Arhat (worthy of the offerings of gods and men) have the thought, 'I have obtained Arhatship.'?"
Subhuti said, "No World Honored One. And why? Actually there is no Dharma [T2] called an Arhat [T1] [2T]. World Honored One, if an arhat had the thought, I have attained Arhatship that would be attachment to self, to others, to living beings, and to a life.
World Honored One, the Buddha says that in my attainment of the No Strife Samadhi I am the foremost among men, that I am the foremost Arhat free from desire. World Honored One, I do not have the thought, 'I am an Arhat free from desire.' If I had the thought, 'I have attained Arhatship' then the World Honored One could not say, 'Subhuti is the foremost of those who delight in practicing Arana (one who practices pure conduct).'
Since Subhuti actually has no practice [T2], he is called 'Subhuti, who delights in practicing Arana (one who practices pure conduct) [T1] [2T].'")
From: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/prajparagen2.pdf

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(f. Translation by A. Charles Muller - 2013: 9. The four lesser vehicle realizations: "Subhūti, what do you think?
Does a practitioner who has attained the level of srota-āpanna think: 'I have attained the realization of the srota-āpanna?'"
Subhūti said, "No, World-honored One. And why not?
Because the name srota-āpanna means 'stream-enterer,' and there is in fact no stream to be entered. One does not enter form, sound, odor, taste, touch, or concepts. Therefore one is called a srota-āpanna."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Does a sakṛdāgāmin think, 'I have attained the realization of sakṛdāgāmin?'"
Subhūti said: "No, World-honored One. And why not?
Although the name sakṛdāgāmin means to go and come one [more time], there is, in reality, no going or coming. Therefore he is called a sakṛdāgāmin."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Does the adept who has attained the level of anāgāmin say, 'I have achieved the realization of the anāgāmin?'"
Subhūti said, "No, World-honored One. And why not?
Anāgāmin means non-returning [to this world], but there is, in fact, no such thing as returning. Therefore this person is called an anāgāmin."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Does the arhat think, 'I have attained the realization of the arhat?'"
"No, World-honored One. And why not? There is, in reality, no such a thing called 'arhat.' World-honored One, if an arhat should give rise to the thought, 'I have attained the realization of the arhat, this would mean that he is attached to the notions of self, person, sentient being, and life span.'"
"World-honored One, you have said that I am the most proficient in terms of the attainment of the meditative absorption of no-contention, and that I am the arhat most free from the desire. But I do not give rise to the thought that I am an arhat who is free from desire. World-honored One, if I were to give rise to the thought that I have attained the level of the arhat, then you would not have said of me that I enjoy the practice of forest-dwelling, since there is in actuality nothing for me to practice. Therefore I am called 'Subhūti, the one who enjoys the practice of forest-dwelling.'"
From: http://www.acmuller.net/bud-canon/diamond_sutra.html)

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10. Purify thoughts from all the sensesCorrect thinking without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
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(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should thinkwhile being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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Gradually deprogramming / deconditioning body, speech, and mind; individual, collective, cosmic.
Answer: Bodhisattvas should develop a mind which does not rely on anything in absolute terms. They should use their minds spontaneously and naturally, without being constrained by preconceived / conditioned notions arising from the senses. This is called purifying thoughts.
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Answer: Ex. Bodhisattvas could think in terms of the three spheres of creation, space & time – ex. i. subject / creator, ii. relation / action / creation, iii. object / results / effects / Buddha-fieldbut … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.)
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[E. Sections with similar comments / topic: 7, 10, 16, 22] – Direct experience. Not existence, not non-existence … of causes, causality / production / creation, and effects.
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(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should know that "Buddhas and disciples are not enlightened (result / effect) by a set method of teachings (causes)".
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Answer: Bodhisattvas should know that enlightenment is not a real effect / product; it is not like acquiring something new, an ultimate superior truth or state. Enlightenment is just a word / concept / adapted skillful means.
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Answer: Bodhisattvas should think in terms of the three spheres of causality, universal laws & space & time – ex. i. subject / causes & conditions / teachings, ii. relation / action / causality, iii. object / result / effects / merit / enlightenment, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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There are no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing causes & conditions / teachings, causality / production, product / effects / merit / enlightenment, universal laws, space & time; just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So, there is no absolute causality / production / creation or complete non-causality / non-production / non-creation.
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The three spheres of causality – ex. i. subject / cause / the Buddha-dharma / teachings of Sutras like this one, ii. relation / action / causality / production, and iii. object / result / effect / fruit / karma (good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma; individual, collective, cosmic) and liberation or enlightenmentare empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional, never separate / independent / universal / absolute / fixed <==> because conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma (in cycle), not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].
The three spheres of causality are like illusions / dreams / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions: 'there, but not there'.
They are not inherently existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither; not individual, not collective, not cosmic, not a combination of those, not none of those; not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / free / enlightened, not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bound / not-enlightened, not both together, not neither; not this, non-this, not both together, not neither; etc.
So there are no real three stages of becoming -- i. dependent origination / beginning / birth / coming / before / past, ii. duration / middle / life / resting-change / during / present, iii. cessation / ending / death / going / after / future - or nirvana extinction of the five aggregates –.
So there is no permanence / continuity / eternity, no impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation, from one moment to the next, from before and after any action / change, from one stage to the next, from one rebirth to the next, from samsara to nirvana.
And there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. In that sense, everything is considered as primordially spontaneous, timeless, limitless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, beautiful, enlightened / trikaya – in the non-dual sense of those terms (see tetralemma).
Meaning the true nature & dynamic of the three spheres of causality, of Reality as it is, is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. It has to be spontaneously individually non-dualistically non-conceptually directly perceived / realised / experienced in the here & now.
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Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]

[PURIFICATION & CAUSALITY / PRODUCTION / CREATION]

The Buddha then continued,
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)

"What do you think, Subhuti?
When I was in a previous life, with Dipankara Buddha,
did I receive any definite teaching (cause) or attain any degree of self-control (effect),
whereby I later became a Buddha (final result / effect)?"
(i.e. The Buddha’s own experience: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]
(i.e. Subhuti: As an arhat, Subhuti has the prajna eye [2T]; he thinks the two truths – appearances & emptiness – are different, separate, in opposition, and that emptiness [T2] is superior to appearances [T1]. In short, he is attached to emptiness, and rejects too much. In this Sutra, as he receives teachings from the Buddha, his position will gradually change.)

"No, honorable one. When you were a disciple of Dipankara Buddha, in truth,
you received no definite teaching (absolute cause),
nor did you attain any definite degree of self-control (absolute effect). [T2] [2T]"
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing three spheres of causality – subject / actor / causes / teachings, relation / action / causality / production, object / result / effect / merit / enlightenment. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]
(i.e. The Buddha corrects Subhuti, trying to move him from grasping at emptiness [from having the prajna eye - 2T] to the Union of the Two Truths [to get the dharma eye - U2T]. Subhuti must realize that not only everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> exactly because conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind; but also that everything is conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional <==> exactly because everything is empty of inherent existence, not really existent / functional. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other one (<==>) [U2T]. Those two truths are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. Those two truths are not separate / different / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither. Meaning the Union of the Two truths is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual ordinary mind(s).)

"Subhuti, know also that, if any Buddha would say 'I will create a paradise (Buddha-field),' he would speak falsely [T2].
(i.e. Creation of Buddha-fields: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

Why?
Because a paradise cannot be created (i.e. 1st extreme: caused / produced / created) [T2]
nor can it not be uncreated (i.e. 2nd extreme: non-caused / non-produced / non-created) [T1] [U2T].
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

(i.e. ANSWER: Pure acting / thinking / using concepts like the three spheres of causality / production / acquisition / enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere; more in accord with the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle. The same for all types of activities of the body, speech & mind all the time.)

(i.e. The subtlety here is that 'detachment' does not mean 'to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do' as if it was inherently 'bad'. It does not mean to get separated from. It just means not being fooled by it, not grasping in absolute terms to it, not being obsessed by it, not being slave to it, being 'free from, not necessarily without'. How? Simply by understanding and then directly realising its true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. It is not about dropping concepts like the three spheres of causality / production / acquisition / enlightenment. Bodhisattvas can uses the concepts of the three spheres of causality / production – subject / actor / causes / teachings, relation / action / causality / production, object / result / effect / merit / enlightenment, or the three spheres of acquisition of merit / enlightenment – subject / actor / acquirer / owner, relation / action / acquisition / ownership, object / result / acquired / possession / karma (good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma; individual, collective, cosmic; the five aggregates) and liberation or enlightenment – … but without any attachment, without grasping at any extreme, without attachment to anything … because: although everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, although merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<=>) [U2T]. Everything is not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. Meaning the true nature of everything is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Meaning there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. That is the Middle Way Path of the Bodhisattvas. Only practices that are more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, by uniting virtuous methods with more and more wisdom, will bring someone closer and closer to the true liberation / enlightenment, creating more and more merit united with wisdom. Everything else is mere bad or neutral karma formation.)

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

"A disciple should develop a mind
which is in no way dependent upon (attached to any) sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensory sensations or any mental conceptions.
A disciple should develop a mind which does not rely on anything (in absolute terms).
(i.e. Pure acting – body, speech and mind – while being attached to nothing; not accepting not rejecting anything in absolute terms; pure acting while being fully aware of the Union of the Two truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. Don't get stuck with concepts like: emptiness / non-existence / nothingness, or oneness. Act / think / produce / create without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification to any thing / concept / idea …, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere (ex. existence, non-existence / emptiness, both together, neither), while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there are still valid useful conventional / relative teachings / adapted skillful means that can help us to get enlightened, if we do not grasp them as it independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing, do not get attached to them, do not become slaves to them.)

"Therefore, Subhuti,
the minds of all disciples should be purified of all thoughts that relate to seeing,
hearing, tasting, smelling, touching, and discriminating.
(i.e. Pure thinking: 'purified’ means with no grasping, attachment … without falling into any extreme or middle, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic … Purified does not mean to be without any thoughts, to reject them …)
They should use their minds spontaneously and naturally,
without being constrained by preconceived notions arising from the senses.

"Suppose, Subhuti, if a man had an enormous body. (i.e. a man, whose personal presence was such that it was like, say, Sumeru, the king of all mountains)
Would the sense of personal existence he had also be enormous?" (i.e. Would his personal presence be substantial?)

[Subhuti:]

"Yes, indeed, Buddha," Subhuti answered.
"His sense of personal existence would be enormous.
But the Buddha has taught that
personal existence is just a name [T1],
for it is in fact neither existence [T2] nor non-existence [T1].
So it only has the name 'personal existence' [2T or U2T?]."

(i.e. "Even an existence as majestic as that of Purusha or Mount Sumeru turns out to be no existence. And yet, once a mountain is seen to be no mountain, neither is it not a mountain.” i.e. Not existent, not non-existent … Appearing but empty, empty but still appearing. [U2T] Did Subhuti get this one? Probably not.)

——————

(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 10a The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti?
Did the Tathagata learn any dharma at all from the Realized, Worthy and Perfectly Awakened One Dipankara?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. There is no dharma at all which the Tathagata learned from the Realized, Worthy and Perfectly Awakened One Dipankara."
10b The Lord said, "Any bodhisattva, Subhuti, who says 'I will make the dispositions of a field perfect!' would be telling a lie.
Why is that? Because these so-called 'dispositions of a field,' [T1] Subhuti, have been preached by the Tathagata as dispositionless [T2]. That is why they are called 'dispositions of a field [T1] [U2T].'
(i.e. They conventionally relatively appear, but they are empty of inherent existence, so they are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, and used conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively -- with ignorance or wisdom.)
10c "For that reason, then, Subhuti, a bodhisattva should conceive an aspiration in such a way that it is unfixed.
He should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed in form, he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed in sounds, smells, tastes, objects of touch, or dharmas, he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed in anything at all.
Subhuti, it is as if, say, there were a man, whose personal presence was such that it was like, say, Sumeru, the king of all mountains. What do you think, Subhuti? Would his personal presence be substantial?"
Subhuti said, "His personal presence would be substantial, Lord, it would be substantial, Blessed One. Why is that, Lord?
The Tathagata has described it as an absence. That is why it is called 'a personal presence.'
For it is not a presence. That is why it is called 'a personal presence.'")

——————

(c. Translation by Red Pine - 2002: Chapter Ten: The Buddha said, "Subhuti, what do you think?
Did the Tathagata obtain any such dharma in the presence of Dipankara Tathagata, the Arhan, the Fully-Enlightened One?"
Subhuti replied, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. The Tathagata did not obtain any such dharma in the presence of Dipankara Tathagata, the Arhan, the Fully-Enlightened One."
The Buddha said, "Subhuti, if any bodhisattva should thus claim, 'I shall bring about the transformation of a world,' such a claim would be untrue.
And how so? The transformation of a world, Subhuti, the 'transformation of a world' is said by the Tathagata to be no transformation. Thus is it called the 'transformation of a world.'
Therefore, Subhuti, fearless bodhisattvas should thus give birth to a thought that is not attached and not give birth to a thought attached to anything.
They should not give birth to a thought attached to a sight.
Nor should they give birth to a thought attached to a sound, a smell, a taste, a touch, or a dharma.
"Subhuti, imagine a person with an immense, perfect body whose self-existence is like that of Mount Sumeru. What do you think, Subhuti? Would such self-existence be great?"
Subhuti replied, "Great, indeed, Bhagavan. Such self-existence would be great, Sugata. And why?
Because self-existence, Bhagavan, 'self-existence' is said by the Tathagata to be no existence. Thus is it called 'self-existence.'
Because, Bhagavan, it is neither existence nor no-existence. Thus is it called 'self-existence.'")
.
(From the book: "Transformation of a Pure Land.” Although arhans are free of passion, they are also free of compassion. Subhuti has realized freedom from rebirth, but he is still caught in the emptiness of the uncreated. Hence, the Buddha proceeds to examine his own career as a bodhisattva and the nature of the resulting merit in order to free Subhuti and his fellow arhans from their "freedom.” … When bodhisattvas realize the forbearance of birthlessness, the worlds in which they stand and walk are forever altered as a result of their attainment. Thus did Shakyamuni illuminate this realm within which we hear and practice the Dharma, while Amita did the same for the buddha realm to the west, and Akshobya did so for the realm to the east. As bodhisattvas and buddhas create realms suited to the beings they have vowed to liberate, they also manifest works aimed at saving those beings. Such works, however, do not necessarily transform the material environment but rather affect the spiritual environment of the realms in which they liberate beings. Still, since nothing arises, nothing can be transformed. Thus, the transformation of a world is no transformation. And thus bodhisattvas are not attached to their transformation of a world. … In the Vimalakirti Sutra, the Buddha says, "Who would purify their world first purifies their mind. As their mind becomes pure, their world becomes pure.” … Tsung-mi says: "How do we purify the mind? Externally, we remain uncontaminated by the six sensations, internally we remain free of self and being as well as unattached to nirvana. This is called purification.” … Conze says, "The thought which the bodhisattva should produce, or raise, is a completely free thought, which depends on no object or motive. It is the white heat of wisdom intent on luminous transparency of the Void.”)

——————

(d. Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh - 2006: 10. CREATING A FORMLESS PURE LAND - The Buddha asked Subhuti,
"In ancient times when the Tathagata practiced under Buddha Dipankara, did he attain anything?"
Subhuti answered, "No, World-Honored One. In ancient times when the Tathagata was practicing under Buddha Dipankara, he did not attain anything."
"What do you think, Subhuti? Does a bodhisattva create a serene and beautiful Buddha field?"
"No, World-Honored One. Why? To create a serene and beautiful Buddha field is not in fact creating a serene and beautiful Buddha field. That is why it is called creating a serene and beautiful Buddha field."
The Buddha said, "So, Subhuti, all the bodhisattva mahasattvas should give rise to a pure and clear intention in this spirit.
When they give rise to this intention, they should not rely on forms, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile objects, or objects of mind.
They should give rise to an intention with their minds not dwelling anywhere."
"Subhuti, if there were someone with a body as big as Mount Sumeru, would you say that his was a large body?"
Subhuti answered, "Yes, World-Honored One, very large. Why?
What the Tathagata says is not a large body, that is known as a large body.")

——————

(e. Translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society - 1974: Chapter 10 - The Adornment of Pure Lands: The Buddha said to Subhuti, "what do you think? Was there any Dharma which the Tathagata obtained while with Burning Lamp Buddha?"
"No, World Honored One, there was actually no Dharma which the Tathagata obtained while with Burning Lamp Buddha."
"Subhuti, what do you think, does a Bodhisattva adorn Buddhalands?"
"No, World Honored One. And why? The adornment of Buddhalands is no adornment, therefore it is called adornment."
"Therefore, Subhuti, the Bodhisattva, Mahasattva, should thus produce a pure heart.
He should produce that heart without dwelling in forms.
He should produce that heart without dwelling in sounds, smells, tastes, tangible objects, or dharmas.
He should produce that heart without dwelling anywhere."
"Subhuti, suppose a person had a body like Sumeru, King of Mountains. What do you think, would that body be big?"
Subhuti said, "Very big, World Honored One. And why?
It is said by the Buddha to be no body. Therefore it is called a big body.")

——————

(f. Translation by A. Charles Muller - 2013: 10. Arousing the Pure Aspiration without Abiding: The Buddha said to Subhūti, "What do you think? When the tathāgata studied under Dīpaṃkara Buddha, did he gain any attainment in the dharma?"
"World-honored One, when the Tathāgata studied under Dīpaṃkara Buddha, there was, in reality, nothing that he attained in the dharma."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Does the Buddha create sublime Buddha-lands?"
"No, he does not, World-honored One. And why not? Sublime Buddha-lands are not sublime. Therefore they care called sublime."
"And so, Subhūti, the bodhisattvas and mahasattvas should give rise to the pure aspiration in this way: they should not give rise to the aspiration while abiding in form. They should not give rise to the aspiration while abiding in sound, odor, taste, touch, or concepts. They should give rise to the aspiration while not abiding in anything."
"Subhūti, it is like if there were a person with a body as large as Mt. Sumeru. What do you think? Would this body not be huge?"
"Extremely huge, World-honored One. And why so? The Buddha teaches us that it is not a body. Hence it is called a huge body")

—————-----------------------------------------

11. Merits of this sutraCorrect performance of activities without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Inconceivable Good-karma / Blessings / Merit without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Union of merit & wisdom.

[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
-
[F. Sections with similar comments / topic: 8, 11, 12, 19, 24, 28.] – Merit. Gaining good-karma / blessings / merit from this Sutra.
-
(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should acquire a relatively immeasurable amount of good-karma / merit from learning, teaching, practicing the teachings in sutras like this one, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
-
Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
-
Karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic -- is also empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional, never separate / independent / universal / absolute / fixed <==> because conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma (in cycle), not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].
Karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic -- is like illusions / dreams / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions: 'there, but not there'.
Karma is not inherently existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither; not individual, not collective, not cosmic, not a combination of those, not none of those; not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / free / enlightened, not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bound / not-enlightened, not both together, not neither; not this, non-this, not both together, not neither; etc.
So there are no real three stages of becoming about karma -- i. dependent origination / beginning / birth / coming / before / past, ii. duration / middle / life / resting-change / during / present, iii. cessation / ending / death / going / after / future - or nirvana extinction of the five aggregates –.
So there is no permanence / continuity / eternity, no impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation about karma, from one moment to the next, from before and after any action / change, from one stage to the next, from one rebirth to the next, from samsara to nirvana.
And there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms about karma, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. In that sense, everything is considered as primordially spontaneous, timeless, limitless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, beautiful, enlightened / trikaya – in the non-dual sense of those terms (see tetralemma).
Meaning the true nature & dynamic of karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic --, of the karmic cycle, of Reality as it is, is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. It has to be spontaneously individually non-dualistically non-conceptually directly perceived / realised / experienced in the here & now.
-
Answer: Bodhisattvas should think in terms of the three spheres of acquisition of karma – ex. i. subject / actor / acquirer, ii. relation / action / acquiring, iii. object / result / effects / karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic --, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
-
There are no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing subject / actor / acquirer, relation / action / acquisition, object / result / effects / karma ex. merit; just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
-
Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
-
Because it is the way to reaching the Highest Perfect Wisdom, it is the way to becoming a living Buddha (4).
Because it is a prelude to pure perception, to directly perceiving the Buddha-nature in everything (5).
Because it is from teachings in this Sutra, that the supreme and perfect awakening of the Tathagatas is born, it is from this that the Buddhas and Lords are born (7).
Because this Sutra does not teach any absolute (13).
Because this Sutra is about understanding and then directly realising this inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now; and acting more and more in accord with it.
So, the more we learn about it, the more we act in accord with the teachings in this Sutra, the more we share it with others, explain it to others, the more we accumulate both merit & wisdom together, and the more we are getting closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth / liberation / enlightenment – conventionally speaking.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]

[ACQUISITION OF MERIT & WISDOM TOGETHER]

[Buddha:]

"Subhuti, if there were as many Ganges rivers as the number of grains of sand in the Ganges, would you say that the number of grains of sand in all those Ganges rivers would be very many?"
(i.e. Grains of sand: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

Subhuti answered, "Very many indeed, Most Honored One. If the number of Ganges rivers were that large, how much more so would be the number of grains of sand in all those Ganges rivers."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing grains of sand. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]

"Subhuti, I will declare a truth to you. If a good man or a good woman filled over ten thousand galaxies of worlds with the seven treasures for each grain of sand in all those Ganges rivers, and gave it all away for the purpose of compassion, charity and giving alms, would this man or woman not gain great merit and spread much happiness?"
(i.e. Acquisition of merit: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

(i.e. An antidote to the extreme of mere-emptiness: The Buddha is affirming that, even if everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], there is still the possibility of relatively getting to enlightenment through the accumulation of merit and wisdom together [T1], as long as one does not grasp at any individual, teachings, merit or enlightenment. Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts, truths, methods, goals; and vice versa. The two truths are in harmony, one supporting the other. Acting more and more in accord with it is the way to recognise the Buddha-nature in everything. Getting involved more and more with this Sutra is of great help -- because it is the embodiment of the true nature of reality as it is here & now, of the Buddha-nature in everything, of the trikaya. The proof is that although everything is empty of inherent existence, "all Buddhas and all the teachings and values of the highest, most fulfilled, most awakened minds (result / effect / enlightenment) arise from (caused by) the teachings in this Sutra (causes / teachings)”.)

(i.e. It is about accumulating merit & wisdom together – one alone is not enough –. It is not giving material gifts that brings great progress / results, but practicing virtuous methods without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, accumulating merit and wisdom together, gradually realising the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, and acting more and more in accord with it. Anything that brings someone closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] has Great Merit. Any activity of the body, speech & mind done without attachment is pure, with attachment it is impure.)

[Subhuti:]

Subhuti replied, "Very much so, Most Honored One."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing merits to be gained. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)
(i.e. The Buddha corrects Subhuti, trying to move him from grasping at emptiness [from having the prajna eye - 2T] to the Union of the Two Truths [to get the dharma eye - U2T]. Subhuti must realize that not only everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> exactly because conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind; but also that everything is conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional <==> exactly because everything is empty of inherent existence, not really existent / functional. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other one (<==>) [U2T]. Those two truths are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. Those two truths are not separate / different / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither. Meaning the Union of the Two truths is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual ordinary mind(s).)

"Subhuti, if after studying and observing even a single stanza of this Sutra, another person were to explain it to others,
the happiness and merit that would result from this virtuous act would be far greater."
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

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(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 11. The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti? If there were just as many Ganges Rivers as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, would the grains of sand in them be numerous?
"Subhuti said, "That many Ganges Rivers alone would be numerous, Lord, to say nothing of the grains of sand in them."
The Lord said, "I'll tell you, Subhuti, I'll have you know — if there were as many world-systems as there would be grains of sand in those Ganges Rivers, and some woman or man were to fill them with the seven treasures and make a gift of them to the Realized, Worthy and Perfectly Awakened Ones, what do you think, Subhuti, would that woman or man generate a lot of merit on that basis?"
Subhuti said, "A lot, Lord, a lot, Blessed One. That woman or man would generate a lot of merit on that basis."
The Lord said, "If, however, someone were to fill that many world-systems with the seven treasures and make a gift of them, Subhuti, and if someone were to do no more than learn just a four-lined verse from this round of teachings and teach it to others, the latter would generate from that a lot more merit, an immeasurable and incalculable amount.)

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(c. Translation by Red Pine - 2002: Chapter Eleven: The Buddha said, "Subhuti, what do you think? If there were as many rivers as there are grains of sand in the great river of the Ganges, would the number of grains of sand in all those rivers be great?"
Subhuti replied, "The number of rivers would be great, Bhagavan, how much more so their grains of sand."
The Buddha said, "I shall tell you, Subhuti, so you shall know. If a man or woman filled as many worlds as there are grains of sand in all those rivers with the seven jewels and gave them as a gift to the tathagatas, the arhans, the fully-enlightened ones, what do you think, Subhuti, would the body of merit produced as a result by that man or woman be great?"
Subhuti replied, "It would be great, Bhagavan, great, indeed, Sugata. The body of merit produced as a result by that man or woman would be immeasurable and infinite."
The Buddha said, "Subhuti, if, then, a man or woman filled as many worlds as that with the seven jewels and gave them as a gift to the tathagatas, the arhans, the fully-enlightened ones, and a noble son or daughter grasped but one four-line gatha of this dharma teaching and made it known and explained it to others, the body (amount) of merit produced as a result would be immeasurably, infinitely greater.")
.
(From the book: "The Superiority of Uncreated Merit.” … the Buddha is concerned that his disciples might now conclude that since nothing is attained, there is no need to cultivate the merit upon which such non-attainment is based. Throughout this sutra, the Buddha compares two kinds of merit: the merit from material offerings and the merit from the offering of liberation. The merit that comes from giving material things is like a pearl, beautiful to behold but essentially flawed and easily ground into powder, while the merit that comes from understanding and sharing this teaching with others is like a diamond, radiant, indestructible, and able to cut through all things (i.e. it is the Union of merit & wisdom). And it alone leads to buddhahood.)

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(d. Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh - 2006: 11. THE SAND IN THE GANGES - "Subhuti, if there were as many Ganges Rivers as the number of grains of sand in the Ganges, would you say that the number of grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers is very many?"
Subhuti answered, "Very many indeed, WorldHonored One. If the number of Ganges Rivers were huge, how much more so the number of grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers."
"Subhuti, now I want to ask you this: if a daughter or son of good family were to fill the 3,000 chiliocosms with as many precious jewels as the number of grains of sand in all the Ganges Rivers as an act of generosity, would that person bring much happiness by her virtuous act?"
Subhuti replied, "Very much, World-Honored One."
The Buddha said to Subhuti, "If a daughter or son of a good family knows how to accept, practice, and explain this sutra to others, even if it is a gatha of four lines, the happiness that results from this virtuous act would be far greater.")

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(e. Translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society - 1974: Chapter 11 - The Supremacy of Unconditioned: Blessings "Subhuti, if there were as many Ganges Rivers as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, what do you think, would the grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers be many?"
Subhuti said, "Very many, World Honored One. The Ganges Rivers alone would be incalculable, how much the more so the grains of sand in them."
"Subhuti I will now tell you the truth. If a good man, or good woman, used the seven precious gems to fill three thousand great thousand world systems equal in number to the grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers, and gave them as a gift, would he obtain many blessings?"
Subhuti said, "Very many, World Honored One." the Buddha told Subhuti, "If a good man, or good woman, were to receive and hold from this Sutra even so few as four lines of verse and speak them for others, his blessings and virtue would surpass the former's blessings and virtue.")

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(f. Translation by A. Charles Muller - 2013: 11. Merits of Memorizing this Sutra (#1): "Subhūti, if each of the sands in the Ganges river contained its own Ganges river, would not the number of sands contained in all those Ganges rivers be great?"
Subhūti said, "Extremely great, World-honored One. If the number of even the Ganges rivers were countless, how much more so its grains of sand?"
"Subhūti, now I am going to tell you a truth. If a good son or good daughter filled three thousand galaxies with the seven jewels equal to the number of grains of sand in all those Ganges rivers and gave them away charitably, would his or her merit not be great?"
"Extremely great, World-honored One."
The Buddha said to Subhūti: "If a good son or good daughter is able to memorize four lines of verse from this sūtra and teach them to others, his or her merit will be far greater.")

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12. The most extraordinary meritCorrect utilisation of this Sutra without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.Inconceivable Good-karma / Blessings / Merit without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Union of merit & wisdom.

[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
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[F. Sections with similar comments / topic: 8, 11, 12, 19, 24, 28.] – Merit. Gaining more good-karma / blessings / merit from this Sutra.
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(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should acquire a relatively immeasurable amount of good-karma / merit from learning, teaching, practicing the teachings in sutras like this one, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
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Karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic -- is also empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional, never separate / independent / universal / absolute / fixed <==> because conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma (in cycle), not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].
Karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic -- is like illusions / dreams / tricks of the sight / mirages / reflections / echos / Cities of Gandharvas / emanated apparitions: 'there, but not there'.
Karma is not inherently existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither; not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither; not individual, not collective, not cosmic, not a combination of those, not none of those; not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / free / enlightened, not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / bound / not-enlightened, not both together, not neither; not this, non-this, not both together, not neither; etc.
So there are no real three stages of becoming about karma -- i. dependent origination / beginning / birth / coming / before / past, ii. duration / middle / life / resting-change / during / present, iii. cessation / ending / death / going / after / future - or nirvana extinction of the five aggregates –.
So there is no permanence / continuity / eternity, no impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation about karma, from one moment to the next, from before and after any action / change, from one stage to the next, from one rebirth to the next, from samsara to nirvana.
And there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms about karma, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. In that sense, everything is considered as primordially spontaneous, timeless, limitless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, beautiful, enlightened / trikaya – in the non-dual sense of those terms (see tetralemma).
Meaning the true nature & dynamic of karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic --, of the karmic cycle, of Reality as it is, is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. It has to be spontaneously individually non-dualistically non-conceptually directly perceived / realised / experienced in the here & now.
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Answer: Bodhisattvas should think in terms of the three spheres of acquisition of karma – ex. i. subject / actor / acquirer, ii. relation / action / acquiring, iii. object / result / effects / karma -- good-karma / blessings / merit, bad-karma, neutral-karma, individual, collective, cosmic --, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
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There are no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing subject / actor / acquirer, relation / action / acquisition, object / result / effects / karma ex. merit; just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
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Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
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Because it is the way to reaching the Highest Perfect Wisdom, it is the way to becoming a living Buddha (4).
Because it is a prelude to pure perception, to directly perceiving the Buddha-nature in everything (5).
Because it is from teachings in this Sutra, that the supreme and perfect awakening of the Tathagatas is born, it is from this that the Buddhas and Lords are born (7).
Because this Sutra does not teach any absolute (13).
Because this Sutra is about understanding and then directly realising this inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now; and acting more and more in accord with it.
So, the more we learn about it, the more we act in accord with the teachings in this Sutra, the more we share it with others, explain it to others, the more we accumulate both merit & wisdom together, and the more we are getting closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth / liberation / enlightenment – conventionally speaking.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]

[ACQUISITION OF MERIT & WISDOM TOGETHER]

[Buddha:]
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)

"Furthermore, Subhuti, if any person in any place were to teach even four lines of this Sutra, the place where they taught it would become sacred ground and would be revered by all kinds of beings. How much more sacred would the place become if that person then studied and observed the whole Sutra! Subhuti, you should know that any person who does that would surely attain something rare and profound. Wherever this Sutra is honored and revered there is a sacred site enshrining the presence of the Buddha or one of the Buddha's most venerable disciples."
(i.e. Acquisition of merit: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

(i.e. An antidote to the extreme of mere-emptiness: The Buddha is affirming that, even if everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], there is still the possibility of relatively getting to enlightenment through the accumulation of merit and wisdom together [T1], as long as one does not grasp at any individual, teachings, merit or enlightenment. Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts, truths, methods, goals; and vice versa. The two truths are in harmony, one supporting the other. Acting more and more in accord with it is the way to recognise the Buddha-nature in everything. Getting involved more and more with this Sutra is of great help -- because it is the embodiment of the true nature of reality as it is here & now, of the Buddha-nature in everything, of the trikaya. The proof is that although everything is empty of inherent existence, "all Buddhas and all the teachings and values of the highest, most fulfilled, most awakened minds (result / effect / enlightenment) arise from (caused by) the teachings in this Sutra (causes / teachings)”.)

(i.e. It is about accumulating merit & wisdom together – one alone is not enough –. It is not giving material gifts that brings great progress / results, but practicing virtuous methods without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, accumulating merit and wisdom together, gradually realising the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, and acting more and more in accord with it. Anything that brings someone closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] has Great Merit. Any activity of the body, speech & mind done without attachment is pure, with attachment it is impure.)

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(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 12. "However, Subhuti, the piece of ground where one might do no more than recite or teach just a four-lined verse from this round of teachings would become a veritable shrine for the whole world with its gods, humans and anti-gods, so it goes without saying, Subhuti, that those who will memorize this round of teachings will come to be endowed with the most marvelous thing, and on that piece of ground the Teacher himself dwells, or somebody else taking the place of the master.")

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(c. Translation by Red Pine - 2002: Chapter Twelve: "Furthermore, Subhuti, wherever but one four-line gatha of this dharma teaching is spoken or explained, that place is like a stupa in the world of devas, humans, and asuras. How much more shall they be remarkably blessed, Subhuti, who memorize, recite, and master this entire teaching and explain it in detail to others. For in that place, Subhuti, dwells a teacher or one who represents the guru of wisdom.")
.
(From the book: "Venerating the True Teaching.” If the place where a single gatha of this sutra is spoken becomes a refuge, how much more so those who master this entire sutra and teach it to others. … wherever this teaching is present, the Buddha’s three bodies are present.)

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(d. Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh - 2006: 12. EVERY LAND IS A HOLY LAND - "Furthermore, Subhuti, any plot of land on which this sutra is proclaimed, even if only one gatha of four lines, will be a land where gods, men, and ashuras will come to make offerings just as they make offerings to a stupa of the Buddha. If the plot of land is regarded as that sacred, how much more so the person who practices and recites this sutra. Subhuti, you should know that that person attains something rare and profound. Wherever this sutra is kept is a sacred site enshrining the presence of the Buddha or one of the Buddha's great disciples.")

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(e. Translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society - 1974: Chapter 12 - Revering the Orthodox Teaching: "Moreover, Subhuti, you should know that all the gods, men, and asuras of the world should make offerings to any place at which even so few as four lines of verse from this Sutra are spoken and so forth, just as they would to a Buddha's shrine or temple; how much the more so to any place where people can completely receive, hold, read, and recite the Sutra. Subhuti, you should know that such people accomplish the foremost and most rare of dharmas. In any place the Sutra text is found, there is the Buddha or a reverent disciple.)

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(f. Translation by A. Charles Muller - 2013: 12. Merits of Memorizing this Sutra (#2): "Furthermore, Subhūti, if someone were to recite as much as a four line verse of this sūtra, that place would become like a shrine to the Buddha, where the celestials, humans, and titans in all the worlds would come and make offerings. How much more so in the case where one completely memorizes and recites the sūtra. Subhūti, you should know that such a person has accomplished the most subtle state of awareness. Wherever this sūtra is kept, the Buddha's most revered disciples are also present.")

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13. [Naming this Sutra:] The Diamond that cuts away all arbitrary conceptions – Correct utilisation of words / names / concepts without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.

[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
-
[G. Sections with similar comments / topic: 9, 13, 21.] – Correct utilisation of words, names, concepts, ideas, teachings … No real Buddha-dharma / teachings / concepts / names & referents.
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(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should speak / teach / use words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
-
Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.
-
The Buddha speaks / teaches about a diversity of conventional / relative / inter-subjective things (conventional truths, methods, goals)
(ex. the five aggregates, the body, speech and mind with their components and functionalities, the 32 marks, good bad and neutral-karma, the four noble truths, the three marks of existence, the 12 links of dependent origination, the two truths, world-systems, solid-masses, atoms, right and wrong views, wholesome and unwholesome actions, grasping, attachment, obsessions, passions, subject & object & relation / action, difference & identity, separation & union, manyness & oneness, duality & non-duality, permanence & impermanence, continuity & discontinuity, eternity & annihilation, equality & inequality, purity & impurity, perfection & imperfection, freedom & bondage, samsara & nirvana, etc.),
but Bodhisattvas know that those things – ex. the three spheres of action / acquisition / ownership: subject / actor / acquirer / owner, relation / action / acquisition / ownership, object / result / acquired / possessions / 5 aggregates / body speech and mind / blessing and merit / karma; or the three spheres of thinking / perception / cognition: subject / actor / thinker / perceiver / knower, relation / action / thinking / perception / cognition, object / result / thought / perceived / known / karma; or the three spheres of causality: subject / cause, relation / action / causality, object / effect –
although conventionally appearing / perceptible and relatively functional, not completely non-existent [T1 - 1st truth], are not really existent / functional in absolute terms; they are empty of inherent existence, not really existent [T2 - 2nd truth], are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S]. They are dependently co-appearing and relatively functional, but still empty of inherent existence; empty but still appearing. One aspect implies / proves / enables the other [U2T - Inseparability / Interdependence / Harmony / Union of the Two Truths]. They are like illusions: 'there but not there'; not really existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless … [tetralemma].
Understanding / perceiving / realising this is perceiving the true Buddha / trikaya, the Buddha-nature, the inconceivable unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now.
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Answer: Bodhisattvas could use words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals like: subject / self, object / others, beings / diversity, life / oneness, relations / actions, change / evolution, rebirths, stages of realisation, and liberation / enlightenment, but … while being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
-
Those words / names / concepts / ideas and their referents are all empty of inherent existence <==> because dependently co-arisen, merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind. They are all like illusions: 'there but not there'; not existent / functional, not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless …; dependently appearing but still empty of inherent existence, empty of inherent existence but still dependently appearing & relatively functional.
-
Everything is merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, but not from the mind only. No word / name / concept / idea has a definitive / fixed / independent / universal / absolute meaning / signification. Each individual interprets them according to his conditioning / karma. No word / name / concept / idea can really capture the true nature & dynamic of anything, the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now. We cannot use the conditioned to describe what is beyond the conditioned & unconditioned. But, still, we have no choice but to use them to communicate / cooperate with others. We have to be able to tolerate the uncertainty of everything.
-
Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]

[NAMING]

Subhuti said to the Buddha,
(i.e. Subhuti: As an arhat, Subhuti has the prajna eye [2T]; he thinks the two truths – appearances & emptiness – are different, separate, in opposition, and that emptiness [T2] is superior to appearances [T1]. In short, he is attached to emptiness, and rejects too much. In this Sutra, as he receives teachings from the Buddha, his position will gradually change.)
(i.e. Subhuti has apparently begun to understand this teaching and asks for a name by which to remember it.
Subhuti is not only asking the Buddha for the name of the teaching but also for a summary of the teaching itself.)

"By what name shall we know this Sutra so that it can be honored and studied?"

The Buddha replied,
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)
(i.e. The Buddha is using the naming of this Sutra as another teaching about the Union of the Two Truths.)

"This Sutra shall be known as The [Perfect] Diamond that cuts through Illusion.

"By this name it shall be revered and studied and observed.
What does this name mean?
It means that when the Buddha named it [T1],
he did not have in mind any definite or arbitrary conception [T2],
and so named it [T2] [U2T].
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

[Explanation of the name chosen:]
This Sutra is hard and sharp, like a diamond that will cut away all arbitrary conceptions
and bring one to the other shore of Enlightenment."

(i.e. ANSWER: Pure acting / naming // using words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals … without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere; more in accord with the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle. The same for all types of activities of the body, speech & mind all the time.)

(i.e. The subtlety here is that 'detachment' does not mean 'to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do' as if it was inherently 'bad'. It does not mean to get separated from. It just means not being fooled by it, not grasping in absolute terms to it, not being obsessed by it, not being slave to it, being 'free from, not necessarily without'. How? Simply by understanding and then directly realising its true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. It is not about dropping all words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals …. Bodhisattvas can uses words / names / concepts / ideas / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals … but without any attachment, without grasping at any extreme, without attachment to anything … because: although everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, although merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<=>) [U2T]. Everything is not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. Meaning the true nature of everything is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Meaning there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. That is the Middle Way Path of the Bodhisattvas. Only practices that are more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, by uniting virtuous methods with more and more wisdom, will bring someone closer and closer to the true liberation / enlightenment, creating more and more merit united with wisdom. Everything else is mere bad or neutral karma formation.)

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

[Buddha:]

"What do you think, Subhuti?
Has the Buddha taught any definite [absolute] teaching in this Sutra?"
(i.e. The teachings in this Sutra: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

"No, the Buddha has not taught any definite teaching in this Sutra."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing definite teachings in this Sutra. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Examples with the words 'dust' and 'universe':]
[Buddha:]

"What do you think, Subhuti? Are there many particles of dust in this vast universe?"
(i.e. Particle of dust in this Universe: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

Subhuti replied:

"Yes, many, Most Honored One!"
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing particles of dust in the Universe. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

[Buddha:]
(i.e. The Buddha corrects Subhuti, trying to move him from grasping at emptiness [from having the prajna eye - 2T] to the Union of the Two Truths [to get the dharma eye - U2T]. Subhuti must realize that not only everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> exactly because conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind; but also that everything is conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional <==> exactly because everything is empty of inherent existence, not really existent / functional. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other one (<==>) [U2T]. Those two truths are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. Those two truths are not separate / different / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither. Meaning the Union of the Two truths is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual ordinary mind(s).)

"Subhuti, when the Buddha speaks of particles of dust [T1],
it does not mean I am thinking of any definite or arbitrar thought [T2],
I am merely using these words as a figure of speech [U2T].
They are not real, only illusion.
It is just the same with the word universe;
these words do not assert any definite or arbitrary [absolute] idea [T2],
I am only using the words as words [T1] [U2T].
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

(Note: 'arbitrar': founded on or subject to personal whims, prejudices, etc.; capricious.)

(i.e. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind. No word / name / concept / idea has a definitive / fixed / independent / universal / absolute meaning / signification. Each individual interprets them according to his conditioning / karma. No word / name / concept / idea can really capture the true nature & dynamic of anything, the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now. We cannot use the conditioned to describe what is beyond the conditioned & unconditioned. But, still, we have no choice but to use them to communicate / cooperate with others. We have to be able to tolerate the uncertainty of everything.)

(i.e. Also, Reality as it is not many / parts / dust, not one / whole / universe, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. The universe / whole and its parts / dust are all empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> but still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. They are all not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth.

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

[Examples with the 32 physical characteristics:]
[Buddha:]

"Subhuti, what do you think?
Can the Buddha be perceived by means of his thirty-two physical characteristics (32 marks) (nirmanakaya)?"
(i.e. The Buddha’s three inseparable kayas: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)

[Subhuti:]

"No, Most Honored One. The Buddha cannot be perceived by his thirty-two physical characteristics.
Why?
Because the Buddha teaches that they are not real [T2]
but are merely called the thirty-two physical characteristics [T1] [2T]."
(i.e. Subhuti’s usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing 32 physical characteristics (dharmakayas). All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T].)

(i.e Or: How can empty causes – accumulation of merit through practice without attachment – generate meritorious effects like the Buddha's 32 physical attributes & 80 minor characteristics gained by causes / merit? Answer: Empty causes produce empty effects. And conditioned meritorious appearances [T1] are not the true buddha, the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; emptiness [T2] is not the true Buddha, both together [2T] is not the true Buddha, neither [1T] is not the true Buddha. We cannot perceive the Tathagata through grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification. Perception has to be pure, without attachment, to perceive the Tathagata. We can see the Tathagata from form but it has to be pure perception. Buddha is everywhere. Everything is the Buddha when purely seen; that is with the Buddha eye. Everything has the Buddha-nature. No need to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate forms … just be aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T]. All forms, pure or impure, are natural spontaneous displays of the inconceivable Ground, of inconceivable Reality as it is, of the inconceivable Buddha. Perceiving like this is perceiving the true Buddha.)

(i.e. ANSWER: Pure acting / perceiving / knowing / talking / teaching without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere; more in accord with the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle. The same for all types of activities of the body, speech & mind all the time.)

(i.e. The subtlety here is that 'detachment' does not mean 'to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do' as if it was inherently 'bad'. It does not mean to get separated from. It just means not being fooled by it, not grasping in absolute terms to it, not being obsessed by it, not being slave to it, being 'free from, not necessarily without'. How? Simply by understanding and then directly realising its true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. It is not about dropping all perceptions, all karma producing activities, the self and the world. Bodhisattvas can live in the same world or another world … but without any attachment, without grasping at any extreme, without attachment to anything … because: although everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, although merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<=>) [U2T]. Everything is not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. Meaning the true nature of everything is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Meaning there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. That is the Middle Way Path of the Bodhisattvas. Only practices that are more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, by uniting virtuous methods with more and more wisdom, will bring someone closer and closer to the true liberation / enlightenment, creating more and more merit united with wisdom. Everything else is mere bad or neutral karma formation.)

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

[Buddha:]
(i.e. The Buddha corrects Subhuti, trying to move him from grasping at emptiness [from having the prajna eye - 2T] to the Union of the Two Truths [to get the dharma eye - U2T]. Subhuti must realize that not only everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> exactly because conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind; but also that everything is conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional <==> exactly because everything is empty of inherent existence, not really existent / functional. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other one (<==>) [U2T]. Those two truths are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. Those two truths are not separate / different / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither. Meaning the Union of the Two truths is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual ordinary mind(s).)

"Subhuti, if a good and faithful person, whether male or female, has, for the sake of compassion and charity, been sacrificing their life for generation upon generation, for as many generations as the grains of sands in 3,000 universes; and
another follower has been studying and observing even a single section of this Sutra and explains it to others,
that person's blessings and merit would be far greater."
(i.e. Acquisition of merit: Introducing an example of causality / production that Subhuti should not be able to simply dismiss by saying either ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty’. One can feel there that there is something more than just ‘yes’ or 'no this, no that ... all is empty'. There is something inconceivable beyond existence / functionality & non-existence / non-functionality, beyond causality & non-causality, beyond production & non-production, beyond subject & object, beyond the conventional / relative & the absolute, beyond appearances [T1] & emptiness [T2] & both together [2T] & neither [1T], beyond all extremes positions about any duality / triad / quad / etc.: ex. this, non-this, both together, neither.)
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

(i.e. An antidote to the extreme of mere-emptiness: The Buddha is affirming that, even if everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], there is still the possibility of relatively getting to enlightenment through the accumulation of merit and wisdom together [T1], as long as one does not grasp at any individual, teachings, merit or enlightenment. Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts, truths, methods, goals; and vice versa. The two truths are in harmony, one supporting the other. Acting more and more in accord with it is the way to recognise the Buddha-nature in everything. Getting involved more and more with this Sutra is of great help -- because it is the embodiment of the true nature of reality as it is here & now, of the Buddha-nature in everything, of the trikaya. The proof is that although everything is empty of inherent existence, "all Buddhas and all the teachings and values of the highest, most fulfilled, most awakened minds (result / effect / enlightenment) arise from (caused by) the teachings in this Sutra (causes / teachings)”.)

(i.e. It is about accumulating merit & wisdom together – one alone is not enough –. It is not giving material gifts that brings great progress / results, but practicing virtuous methods without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, accumulating merit and wisdom together, gradually realising the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, and acting more and more in accord with it. Anything that brings someone closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] has Great Merit. Any activity of the body, speech & mind done without attachment is pure, with attachment it is impure.)

——————

(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 13a At these words, the Venerable Subhuti said this to the Lord,
"What is the name, Lord, of this round of teachings, and how should I memorize it?"
At these words, the Lord said this to the Venerable Subhuti,
"This round of teachings, Subhuti, is called the Perfection of Insight, and this is how you should memorize it. Why is that?
The very Perfection of Insight, Subhuti, which the Tathagata has preached is itself perfectionless.
13b "What do you think, Subhuti? Is there any dharma at all which the Tathagata has preached?"
Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord.
There is no dharma at all, Lord, which the Tathagata has preached."
13c Would all the dust of the earth, Subhuti, that there is in the trigalactic megagalactic world-system be a lot?"
Subhuti said, "Lord, the dust of that much earth would be a lot.
Any dust of the earth preached by the Tathagata, Lord, has been preached by the Tathagata as dustless. Thus it is called 'the dust of the earth.'
(i.e. They conventionally relatively appear, but they are empty of inherent existence, so they are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, and used conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively -- with ignorance or wisdom.)
Any world-system there is has been preached by the Tathagata as systemless. Thus it is called 'a world-system.'"
(i.e. They conventionally relatively appear, but they are empty of inherent existence, so they are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, and used conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively -- with ignorance or wisdom.)
13d The Lord said, "What do you think, Subhuti? Can a Realized, Worthy, and Perfectly Awakened One be seen by virtue of the 32 Distinctive Features of a Great Man?" Subhuti said, "No indeed, Lord. Why is that?
Whatever 32 Distinctive Features of a Great Man have been preached by the Tathagata, Lord, have been preached by the Tathagata as featureless. Therefore they are called 'the 32 Distinctive Features of a Great Man.'"
(i.e. They conventionally relatively appear, but they are empty of inherent existence, so they are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, and used conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively -- with ignorance or wisdom.)
13e The Lord said, "If, however, some woman or man were to sacrifice as many of their own bodies as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River, Subhuti, and if someone were to learn just a four-lined verse from this round of teachings and teach it to others, the latter would on that basis generate a lot more merit, an immeasurable and incalculable amount.")

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(c. Translation by Red Pine - 2002: Chapter Thirteen: This having been said, the venerable Subhuti asked, "Bhagavan, what is the name of this dharma teaching, and how should we remember it?"
The Buddha told the venerable Subhuti,
"The name of this dharma teaching, Subhuti, is the Perfection of Wisdom. Thus should you remember it. And how so?
Subhuti, what the Tathagata says is the perfection of wisdom, the Tathagata says is no perfection. Thus is it called the 'perfection of wisdom.'
"Subhuti, what do you think? Is there any such dharma spoken by the Tathagata?"
Subhuti said, "No, indeed, Bhagavan.
There is no such dharma spoken by the Tathagata."
The Buddha said, "Subhuti, what do you think? Are all the specks of dust in the billion-world-system of a universe many?"
Subhuti said, "Many, Bhagavan. The specks of dust are many, Sugata. And how so? Because, Bhagavan,
what the Tathagata says is a speck of dust, Bhagavan, the Tathagata says is no speck. Thus is it called a 'speck of dust.'
And what the Tathagata says is a world-system, the Tathagata says is no system. Thus is it called a 'world-system. '"
The Buddha said, "Subhuti, what do you think? Can the Tathagata, the Arhan, the Fully-Enlightened One be seen by means of the thirty-two attributes of a perfect person?"
Subhuti said, "No, indeed, Bhagavan. The Tathagata, the Arhan, the Fully-Enlightened One cannot be seen by means of the thirty-two attributes of a perfect person. And why not?
Because, Bhagavan, what the Tathagata says are the thirty-two attributes of a perfect person, Bhagavan, the Tathagata says are no attributes. Thus are they called the 'thirty-two attributes of a perfect person.'"
The Buddha said, "Furthermore, Subhuti, if a man or woman renounced their self-existence every day as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges and renounced their self-existence in this manner for as many kalpas as there are grains of sand in the Ganges, and someone grasped but one four-line gatha of this dharma teaching and made it known and explained it to others, the body of merit produced as a result would be immeasurably, infinitely greater.")
.
(From the book: "Holding on to the Real Teaching.” Subhuti has finally begun to understand this teaching and asks for a name by which to remember it. The Buddha not only gives us a name, he shows us how it works, as he applies this teaching first to the teaching itself, then to the world in which it is taught, and finally to those who teach it, all of which turn out to be empty of anything real. And if we would emulate such teachers, renunciation is of no help. For anything we might renounce is equally illusory. Hence, the Buddha does not suggest we renounce anything. For renunciation is also attachment. This is where arhans and bodhisattvas part company. The Buddha asks us simply to see things as they are and to share this vision with others. Buddhas do not arise from emptiness but from this teaching, which liberates us from both delusions and emptiness as well as from the renunciation of delusions and emptiness. … Subhuti asks the name of this teaching because he has finally begun to understand it. Previously, he was limited by his attachment to emptiness and served, more or less, as a foil for the Buddha’s teaching of the perfection of wisdom. Although Subhuti still has much to learn about this teaching, from this point on his understanding is praised by the Buddha. Naturally, he wants to know what to call the teaching that has revealed to him that there is more to the Buddha’s teaching than emptiness. … Subhuti is not only asking the Buddha for the name of the teaching but also for a summary of the teaching itself. … Thus, such a teaching not only transcends the world of language, it also transcends itself. No other teaching is so self-effacing and yet so sure of itself. It is self-effacing because it asserts nothing. And it is sure of itself because it asserts nothing. It frees us of all assertions and opens the door to all knowledge. This is why it is called the "perfection of wisdom.” …
[Union of whole & parts:] Regardless of what we view as the smallest and biggest entities in any given universe of discourse, the existence of each depends on the existence of the other. They either compose a larger entity or are themselves composed of smaller entities. In the material realm, the existence of specks of dust depends on the existence of the universe, and the existence of the universe depends on the existence of specks of dust. Thus, neither specks of dust nor the universe is real, for neither exists as an independent, permanent entity. And thus, all material things, however great or small they may be, are empty of any self-nature, and our view of them as real is essentially false.)

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(d. Translation by Thich Nhat Hanh - 2006: 13. THE DIAMOND THAT CUTS THROUGH ILLUSION - After that, Subhuti asked the Buddha, "What should this sutra be called and how should we act regarding its teachings?" The Buddha replied,
"This sutra should be called The [Perfect] Diamond that Cuts through Illusion because it has the capacity to cut through all illusions and afflictions and bring us to the shore of liberation. Please use this title and practice according to its deepest meaning. Why?
What the Tathagata has called the highest, transcendent understanding is not, in fact, the highest, transcendent understanding. That is why it is truly the highest, transcendent understanding."
The Buddha asked, "What do you think, Subhuti? Is there any dharma that the Tathagata teaches?"
Subhuti replied,
"The Tathagata has nothing to teach, World-Honored One."
"What do you think, Subhuti? Are there many particles of dust in the 3,000 chiliocosms?"
"Very many, World-Honored One."
"Subhuti, the Tathagata says that these particles of dust are not particles of dust. That is why they are truly particles of dust.
And what the Tathagata calls chiliocosms are not in fact chiliocosms. That is why they are called chiliocosms."
"What do you think, Subhuti? Can the Tathagata be recognized by the possession of the thirty-two marks?"
The Venerable Subhuti replied, "No, World-Honored One. Why?
Because what the Tathagata calls the thirty-two marks are not essentially marks and that is why the Tathagata calls them the thirty-two marks."
"Subhuti, if as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges a son or daughter of a good family gives up his or her life as an act of generosity and if another daughter or son of a good family knows how to accept, practice, and explain this sutra to others, even if only a gatha of four lines, the happiness resulting from explaining this sutra is far greater.")

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(e. Translation by the Buddhist Text Translation Society - 1974: Chapter 13 - Receiving & Holding: "Thus" Dharma Then Subhuti said to the Buddha, "World Honored One, what should the Sutra be named? How should we respect and hold it?"
The Buddha told Subhuti, "the name of the Sutra is Vajra Prajnaparamita. You should respect and hold it by that name. And why?
Subhuti, Prajnaparamita is spoken of by the Buddha as no Prajnaparamita, therefore it is called Prajnaparamita.
"Subhuti, what do you think? Is there any Dharma spoken by the Tathagata?"
Subhuti said to the Buddha.
"World Honored One, nothing has been spoken by the Tathagata."
"Subhuti, what do you think? Are all the motes of dust in three thousand great thousand world systems many?"
Subhuti said, "Very many, World Honored One."
"Subhuti, all motes of dust are spoken of by the Tathagata as no motes of dust, therefore they are called motes of dust.
The world systems are spoken of by the Tathagata as no world systems, therefore they are called world systems."
"Subhuti, what do you think, can the Tathagata be seen by means of the thirty-two marks?"
"No, World Honored One, one cannot see the Tathagata by means of the thirty-two marks. And why?
The thirty-two marks are spoken of by the Tathagata as no thirty-two marks, therefore they are called thirty-two marks."
"Subhuti, a good man, or good woman, might give up his life as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River; but if a person were to receive and hold even so few as four lines of verse of the sutra and explain them for others, his blessings would be greater.")

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(f. Translation by A. Charles Muller - 2013: 13. Naming of the sūtra: Then Subhūti addressed the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One, what should we call this scripture, and how should we practice it?"
The Buddha said to Subhūti: "This scripture is called the Diamond of Transcendent Wisdom. You should practice it according to this name. And why? That which the Buddha calls 'transcendent wisdom' is not transcendent wisdom. Subhūti, what does this mean? Does the tathāgata have a teaching to explain?"
Subhūti said to the Buddha, "World-honored One, the Tathāgata has no teaching to explain."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Are not the tiniest particles contained in the worlds of three thousand galaxies great in number?"
Subhūti said, "Extremely great in number, World-honored One."
"Subhūti, the Tathāgata teaches that tiny particles are not tiny particles. Therefore they are called tiny particles. The Tathāgata teaches that worlds are not worlds. Therefore they are called worlds."
"Subhūti, what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be discerned by means of his thirty-two bodily characteristics?"
"No, he cannot, World-honored One. One cannot discern a Tathāgata by means of his thirty-two bodily characteristics. And why not? Because the thirty-two bodily characteristics that are taught by the Tathāgata are in fact not characteristics. Therefore they are called the thirty-two characteristics."
"Subhūti, if a good son or good daughter dedicates lifetimes as numerous as the sands in the Ganges river to charitable acts, and there were another person who memorized as much as a four-line verse of this scripture and taught it to others, the merit received by the latter person would be by far greater.")

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14. A mind without attachments – Correct utilisation of the mind without any grasping / attachment / absolutes. Accumulating merit and wisdom together.

[B. Sections with similar comments / topic: 4, 14, 15 …] – Performing all activities of the body & speech & mind [in accord with the 1st truth - T1 - valid useful conventional truths] without any grasping / attachment / absolutes [in accord with the 2nd truth - T2 - emptiness of inherent existence of all dharmas] [ = acting more and more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths - U2T]: ex. generating the motivation of bodhicitta; living / going / causing / producing / fabricating / creating / listening / speaking / thinking / learning / practicing / teaching / perceiving / knowing / conceptualising / discriminating / differentiating / categorising / accepting / rejecting; using words / names / concepts / ideas / relations / causality / teachings / practices / views / methods / goals / adapted skillful means; acquiring realisations / blessings / merit / stages; purifying the body, speech and mind; having confidence / faith; reaching enlightenment … without any grasping / attachment / absolutes.
-
(i.e. Answer: Bodhisattvas should perform all activities of the body & speech & mind / generate Bodhicitta / practice / perceive / conceptualise / discriminate / have faith / acquired good-karma - merit / progress / think / learn / teach this Sutrawhile being more and more in accord with the teachings of this Sutrawithout any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object – … without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere, while being aware of their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / doing anything in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
Extremes like: i. existence / functionality / realism / causality, ii. non-existence / non-functionality / nihilism / acausality, iii. both together / dualism / pluralism, iv. neither / monism / oneness; or i. self / subject / subjectivism, ii. other / object / objectivism, iii. living beings / both-together / relation / opposition / variety / individuality, iv. Cosmic Unity / neither / oneness / no-individuality; etc.
-
Because it is the way to reaching the Highest Perfect Wisdom, it is the way to becoming a living Buddha (4).
Because it is a prelude to pure perception, to directly perceiving the Buddha-nature in everything (5).
Because it is from teachings in this Sutra, that the supreme and perfect awakening of the Tathagatas is born, it is from this that the Buddhas and Lords are born (7).
Because this Sutra does not teach any absolute (13).
Because this Sutra is about understanding and then directly realising this inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now; and acting more and more in accord with it.
So, the more we learn about it, the more we act in accord with the teachings in this Sutra, the more we share it with others, explain it to others, the more we accumulate both merit & wisdom together, and the more we are getting closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth / liberation / enlightenment – conventionally speaking.
-
Acting this way could generate an inconceivable amount of super-good-karma / merit & wisdom united, because it is acting more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is more and more beneficial because it is getting us closer and closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free of all extremes & middle, the Buddha-nature of everything.)

[Goto TOC]

[a. Translation by Alex Johnson:]

[REJECTING PERCEPTION OR PURIFYING IT]

[i.e. According to Tao-yuan "From Chapter Fourteen on, Subhuti displays a deeper understanding and takes the Buddha’s place in expressing the principle of the Three Truths [emptiness [T2], provisional reality [T1], simultaneous existence of both and neither [U2T - Union of both].” But is that a true understanding of the Union of the Two truths?]

At that time, after listening to this Sutra, Subhuti had understood its profound meaning and was moved to tears. He said,
(i.e. Subhuti: As an arhat, Subhuti has the prajna eye [2T]; he thinks the two truths – appearances & emptiness – are different, separate, in opposition, and that emptiness [T2] is superior to appearances [T1]. In short, he is attached to emptiness, and rejects too much. In this Sutra, as he receives teachings from the Buddha, his position will gradually change. Now he is starting to understand this teaching, but not fully yet …)

"What a rare and precious thing it is that you should deliver such a deeply profound teaching. Since the day I attained the eyes of understanding, thanks to the guidance of the Buddha, I have never before heard teachings so deep and wonderful as these.

Most Honored One, if someone hears this Sutra, and has pure and clear confidence in it they will have a profound insight into the Truth [U2T]. Having perceived that profound insight, that person will realize the rarest kind of virtue (merit) [T1].
Most Honored One, that insight into the Truth [T1] is essentially not insight into the truth [T2],
but is what the Buddha calls insight into the Truth [T1] [U2T]."
(i.e. Subhuti answer: It is the first time that Subhuti uses the form __________________. Meaning one truth implies the other [U2T]. Does that mean he is starting to understand the concept of the Union of the Two Truths, or is he just imitating Buddha’s style?)
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)

"Most Honored One, having listened to this Sutra, I am able to receive and retain it with faith and understanding. This is not difficult for me, but in ages to come - in the last five hundred years, if there is a person who hears this Sutra, who receives and retains it with faith and understanding, then that person will be a rare one, a person of most remarkable achievement.
Such a person will be able to awaken pure faith because they have ceased to cherish
any arbitrary notions of their own selfhood (subject), other selves (object), living beings (both together / diversity / individuality), or a universal self (neither / oneness / no-individuality).

Why?
Because if they continue to hold onto arbitrary conceptions as to their own selfhood (subject),
they will be holding onto something that is non-existent [T2].
It is the same with all arbitrary conceptions of other selves (object), living beings (both together / diversity / individuality), or a universal self (neither / oneness / no-individuality).

(i.e. Otherwise, if one still grasps at one extreme or another (ex. entertaining extreme views like: self / subject / subjectivism, objects / phenomena / objectivism, both together / dualism / pluralism, neither / oneness; or entertaining extreme views like: existence / functionality / causality / relativity, non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, both together, neither; or entertaining extreme views like: conventional truths / relativity / causality only [T1], emptiness only [T2], both together and in opposition [2T], neither as in being One [1T] …), then he is not worthy of being called a bodhisattva.)

(i.e. Transcending opposites: Bodhisattvas should not have any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification about any of the four extreme positions about any duality; ex. A, not-A, both-together, neither, and there is no fifth (tetralemma):
It is the same list in sections 3, 6, 9, 14, 15, 17, 23, 25, 31.
This particular list is representing the four related extreme views of the duality subject vs. object: the list varies from one translator to another; so I have 'normalised it to: i. subject / self, ii. object / others, iii. both subject & object together / beings / diversity / manyness / individuality, iv. neither subject nor object / universal self / cosmic unity / life / monism / oneness / no-individuality.
The list can be the four extremes views about any dualistic concept / duality: ex. 'this', 'non-this', both this & non-this together, neither this nor non-this; existence, non-existence, both together, neither; dharma, non-dharma, both together, neither; dependent origination / 1st truth, emptiness / 2nd truth, both truths together / difference & opposition of the two truths / dualism, neither of the two truths / identity of the two truths / monism / oneness; being bounded / samsara, being liberated / nirvana, both together, neither; superior, inferior, average, a combination of those, none of those; subject / subjectivism, relation / action / processism, object / objectivism, a combination of those, none of those; etc. It works with all dualistic concepts / dualities / triad / quads / etc.
The message is "Reality as it is is non-dual, inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle": As long as one clings to, is attached to, is fixating on, is obsessed about, is slave to … one opposite / extreme about any duality / triad / quad / etc. ==> then "that person is not an authentic disciple (3 & 17)", "he would not be able to awaken pure faith (14)", he "will be holding onto something that is non-existent (14)", "that person would not be able to listen to, receive, recite, or explain this Sutra to others (15)", he will not understand the subtle meaning of Sutras like this one (31), he will not conceive the idea that it is the truth (14), he will not benefits from it, he will not accumulate immeasurable merit & wisdom, he will be slave to his poisons – desire, hatred, ignorance – and obsessions / passions.
Meaning Reality as it is is not A, not non-A, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; whatever 'A' is conventionally.
Meaning Reality as it is is indescribable, inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma – physical, conceptual, mental, individual, collective, cosmic –.
So it is never about accepting / affirming / seeking one side of a duality and rejecting / negating / abandoning the other side, not about vice versa, not about accepting both sides together, not about rejecting both sides. It is about understanding and then directly realising their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

These are all expressions [T1] of non-existent things [T2] [2T].

Buddhas are Buddhas because they have been able to discard
all arbitrary conceptions of form and phenomena,
they have transcended all perceptions, (i.e. falling into the extreme of rejection / no-perception / idealess / mindlessness ?)
and have penetrated the illusion of all forms." [2T?]
(i.e. Subhuti's usual dualistic answer: 'Yes and/or no'. There are appearances, but ultimately there are no inherently existing three spheres of action / perception / cognition – subject / self / perceiver / knower / acquirer, relation / action / perception / cognition / acquisition, objects / phenomena / perceived / known / acquired. All falsely appearing, but ultimately truthfully empty of inherent existence. Subhuti entertains the two truths simultaneously, and in opposition, appearances being false, and emptiness being the ultimate truth [2T]. — Did Subhuti get it? For Subhuti 'transcending all perceptions’ means rejecting / negating / abandoning / not-doing perceptions. For a Bodhisattva it means purifying / transmuting / self-liberating, not by accepting this while rejecting that, but just by directly realising their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U3S]; thus not being fooled by perceptions, not getting attached to them, not becoming slave to them, being 'free from, not necessarily without perceptions’. It is not the perception that is the problem, but thinking it is perceiving something inherently existing, grasping it, getting attached to it, slave to it. The same for everything.)

The Buddha replied:
(i.e. The Buddha has the dharma eye [U2T] + the Buddha eye [omniscience]: with his dharma eye he directly perceives the inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharmas, as pointed by the concept of the inseparability / interdependence / co-dependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. And, as for a Path to Buddhahood, he knows how that one has to act more and more in accord with this [U2T]. In this Sutra, the Buddha is trying to help Subhuti realise his mistakes [2T]; and gain a dharma eye [U2T], an awareness of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. See section 18 for the 5 eyes.)
(i.e. The Buddha corrects Subhuti, trying to move him from grasping at emptiness [from having the prajna eye - 2T] to the Union of the Two Truths [to get the dharma eye - U2T]. Subhuti must realize that not only everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> exactly because conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind; but also that everything is conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], not completely non-existent / non-functional <==> exactly because everything is empty of inherent existence, not really existent / functional. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other one (<==>) [U2T]. Those two truths are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus themselves empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. Those two truths are not separate / different / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither. Meaning the Union of the Two truths is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual ordinary mind(s).)

"So it is, Subhuti. Most wonderfully blest will be those beings who, on hearing this Sutra,
will not tremble, nor be frightened, or terrified in any way.
And why?
The Buddha has taught this Sutra as the highest perfection.
And what the Buddha teaches as the highest perfection, that also the innumerable Blessed Buddhas do teach.
Therefore it is called the 'highest perfection'.

[Example:] "Subhuti, when I talk about the practice of transcendent patience [T1],
I do not hold onto any arbitrary conceptions about the phenomena of patience [T2],
I merely refer to it as the practice of transcendent patience [T1] [U2T].
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Clarification Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)
(i.e. Practicing patience with more and more wisdom … without any attachment, without falling for any extreme … thus more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. Not merely in accord with emptiness alone [T2], or in accord with conventional truths alone [T1], or both together [2T], or neither [1T].)

(i.e. ANSWER: Pure acting / practicing patience without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere; more in accord with the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle. The same for all types of Mahayana practices: Bodhicitta, the four immeasurables, the six paramitas, etc. The same for all types of activities of the body, speech & mind all the time.)

(i.e. The subtlety here is that 'detachment' does not mean 'to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do' as if it was inherently 'bad'. It does not mean to get separated from. It just means not being fooled by it, not grasping in absolute terms to it, not being obsessed by it, not being slave to it, being 'free from, not necessarily without'. How? Simply by understanding and then directly realising its true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. It is not about dropping all thoughts, all karma producing activities, the self and the world. Bodhisattvas must develop virtuous practices like cultivating the Bodhicitta motivation, the four immeasurable attitudes, the six paramitas … but without any attachment, without grasping at any extreme, without attachment to anything … because: although everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, although merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<=>) [U2T]. Everything is not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. Meaning the true nature of everything is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Meaning there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. That is the Middle Way Path of the Bodhisattvas. Only practices that are more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, by uniting virtuous methods with more and more wisdom, will bring someone closer and closer to the true liberation / enlightenment, creating more and more merit united with wisdom. Everything else is mere bad or neutral karma formation.)

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

And why is that?
Because when, thousands of lifetimes ago, the Prince of Kalinga severed the flesh from my limbs and my body
I had no perception of a self (subject), a being (object), a soul (both together / diversity / individuality), or a universal self (neither / oneness / no-individuality).
If I had cherished any of these arbitrary notions [extremes views] at the time my limbs were being torn away,
I would have fallen into anger and hatred.

(i.e. Otherwise, if one still grasps at one extreme or another (ex. entertaining extreme views like: self / subject / subjectivism, objects / phenomena / objectivism, both together / dualism / pluralism, neither / oneness; or entertaining extreme views like: existence / functionality / causality / relativity, non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, both together, neither; or entertaining extreme views like: conventional truths / relativity / causality only [T1], emptiness only [T2], both together and in opposition [2T], neither as in being One [1T] …), then he is not worthy of being called a bodhisattva.)

"I also remember Subhuti that during my five hundred previous lives I had used life after life to practice patience and to look upon my life humbly, as though I were a saint called upon to suffer humility.
Even then my mind was free of arbitrary conceptions of the phenomena of myself (subject), a being (object), a soul (both together / diversity / individuality), or a universal self (neither / oneness / no-individuality).

"Therefore, Subhuti, disciples should leave behind all distinctions of phenomena (in absolute terms) and awaken the thought of the attainment of Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhicitta). A disciple should do this by not allowing their mind to depend upon ideas evoked by the world of the senses - by not allowing their mind to depend upon ideas stirred by sounds, odors, flavors, sensory touch, or any other qualities. The disciple's mind should be kept independent of any thoughts that might arise within it (i.e. even existence & non-existence, the two truths …). If the disciple's mind depends upon anything in the sensory realm it will have no solid foundation in any reality.

This is why Buddha teaches that the mind of a disciple should not accept the appearances of things as a basis when exercising charity.

Subhuti, as disciples practice compassion and charity for the welfare of all living beings [T1]
they should do it without relying on appearances, and without attachment [T2] [U2T].
(i.e. Right answer: The Middle Way free from all extremes & middle; not yes, not no, not both together, not neither; not existence / functionality / causality, not non-existence / non-functionality / non-causality, not both together, not neither; not T1, not T2, not 2T, not 1T. An even better answer: silence! Because it is indescribable / inconceivable.)
(i.e. Clarification __________________ : Everything is appearing / dependent / ever-changing / impermanent [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S] ==> thus empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional ==> but still appearing / useful / meaningful [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional. One truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. Everything is merely labeled / imputed / perceived by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma. Everything is like illusions: 'there but not there'. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing this is directly perceiving the inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground / Basis / Source / Dharmata / Dharmadhatu / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness / True nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle / the three inseparable pure kayas (trikaya) of a Buddha, the true Buddha.)
(i.e. Practicing compassion and charity with more and more wisdom … without any attachment, without falling for any extreme … thus more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. Not merely in accord with emptiness alone [T2], or in accord with conventional truths alone [T1], or both together [2T], or neither [1T].)

(i.e. ANSWER: Pure acting / practicing compassion and charity without any grasping / attachment / obsession / fixation / reification, without falling for any extreme or middle about any notion / concept / duality / sphere; more in accord with the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, more in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] free from all extremes & middle. The same for all types of Mahayana practices: Bodhicitta, the four immeasurables, the six paramitas, etc. The same for all types of activities of the body, speech & mind all the time.)

(i.e. The subtlety here is that 'detachment' does not mean 'to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do' as if it was inherently 'bad'. It does not mean to get separated from. It just means not being fooled by it, not grasping in absolute terms to it, not being obsessed by it, not being slave to it, being 'free from, not necessarily without'. How? Simply by understanding and then directly realising its true nature & dynamic as it is here & now [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].)

(i.e. It is not about dropping all thoughts, all karma producing activities, the self and the world. Bodhisattvas must develop virtuous practices like cultivating the Bodhicitta motivation, the four immeasurable attitudes, the six paramitas … but without any attachment, without grasping at any extreme, without attachment to anything … because: although everything is empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / functional <==> everything is still conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], not completely non-existent / non-functional / useless / meaningless, although merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<=>) [U2T]. Everything is not existent / functional, not non-existent / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth. Meaning the true nature of everything is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Meaning there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. So there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth: the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. That is the Middle Way Path of the Bodhisattvas. Only practices that are more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, by uniting virtuous methods with more and more wisdom, will bring someone closer and closer to the true liberation / enlightenment, creating more and more merit united with wisdom. Everything else is mere bad or neutral karma formation.)

(i.e. Meaning the two aspects / truthsappearances / functionality and emptiness of inherent existenceare not really in opposition / separate / dual; they are two inseparable / interdependent / harmonious aspects of reality as it is here & now. Nor are they identical / one. They are not like two different things coming together. That is why we call this the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T]. So, even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there are valid / useful conventional / relative concepts, truths, methods, goals, teachings, accumulation of merit & wisdom … as long as we combine them with more and more wisdom about the inconceivable true nature of Reality as it is here & now, about the Union of the two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
Merely saying 'no this, not that … or yes …’, saying that everything is empty of inherent existence is not enough; that is nihilism.
The two truths are not really in opposition, one is not superior to the other; they are more like inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony <==> thus both empty of inherent existence [U2T-2T]. The two truths are themselves not existent, not non-existent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; etc. Emptiness is also a conventional truth; emptiness is also empty of inherent existence, not the absolute truth, not the true nature of reality as it is here & now.)

Just as the Buddha declares that form [T1] is not form [T2] [U2T],
so he also declares that all living beings [T1] are, in fact, not living beings [T2] [U2T]."

——————

(b. Translation by Paul Harrison - 2006: 14a Then the Venerable Subhuti burst into tears at the impact of the dharma. Wiping his tears away as he continued to shed them, he said this to the Lord, "It is a marvelous thing, Lord, it is a most marvellous thing, Blessed One, that this round of teachings has been preached by the Tathagata. Since knowledge arose for me, Lord, I have never heard a round of teachings of this kind before.
They will come to be endowed with a most marvelous thing, Lord, who when this discourse is being preached conceive the idea that it is the truth. But any such idea of truth, Lord, is indeed idealess. Therefore the Tathagata preaches the so called 'idea of truth.'
(i.e. They conventionally relatively appear, but they are empty of inherent existence, so they are merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind, and used conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively -- with ignorance or wisdom.)
14b "For me it is no great marvel, Lord, that I believe and have faith in the round of teachings when it is being preached.
Those, Lord, who will learn, master, and memorize this round of teachings will come to be endowed with a most marvelous thing.
14c "However, Lord, the idea of a self will not occur to them, nor will the idea of a living being, the idea of a soul, or the idea of a person occur.
Why is that?
Any such idea of a self is indeed idealess,
any idea of a living being, idea of a soul, or idea of a person is indeed idealess.
Why is that? Because the Buddhas and Lords are free of all ideas. (i.e. free from, not without)"
-
14d At these words the Lord said this to the Venerable Subhuti, "Quite so, Subhuti! Quite so, Subhuti! Those living beings will come to be endowed with a most marvelous thing who, when this discourse is being preached, do not become afraid, frightened or fearful on hearing it. Why is that?
This has been preached by the Tathagata as the supreme perfection..
And what the Tathagata preaches as the supreme perfection is preached by innumerable Buddhas and Lords.
That is why it is called 'the supreme perfection.'
14e "However, Subhuti, any perfection of acceptance the Tathagata has is indeed perfectionless. Why is that?
-
When, Subhuti, King Kalinga cut off my limbs and extremities, I did not have at that time any idea of a self or idea of a living being or idea of a soul or idea of a person. I had no idea whatsoever, nor any non-idea. Why is that? If, Subhuti, I had had the idea of a self at that time, I would also have had the idea of ill-will at that time. I have supernormal knowledge, Subhuti, of 500 rebirths in the past when I was the sage Ksantivadin, and then too I had no idea of a self, no idea of a living being, no idea of a soul, and no idea of a person.
-
"For that reason, then, Subhuti,
a bodhisattva and mahasattva should conceive the aspiration for supreme and perfect awakening
after eliminating [transcending] all ideas [and non-ideas],
he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed on forms,
he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed on sounds, smells, tastes, or objects of touch,
he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed on dharmas,
he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed on non-dharmas,
he should not conceive an aspiration which is fixed on anything.
-
What is the reason for that? Whatever is fixed is indeed unfixed. For that very reason the Tathagata preaches that a gift should be given by one without fixing on form.
14f "However, Subhuti,