Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Prajnaparamita-10K - Chapter 00 - Introduction - 250

.

Analysis of “The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Ten Thousand Lines (10k)” - 250
Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā

– Introduction –
[Not complete – Work in Progress]

https://read.84000.co/translation/UT22084-031-002.html

More Analysis of Mahayana Sutras : https://www.gilehtblog.com/2021/03/table-of-content.html

[Note: The two truths are:
T1: conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances, merely labeled / imputed / imagined / created by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma (in cycle), not completely non-existence;
T2: emptiness of inherent existence, not real existence;
U2T: those two truths, like any other pair of apparent opposites, are inseparable, interdependent, co-defined, co-relative, co-dependent, co-emergent, co-evolving, co-ceasing / co-transcended, in harmony, in 'Union' <==> thus empty of inherent existence.
They are tools to help us to get to the 'inconceivable' by refuting what 'Reality as it is' is not, all extreme views like: existence / dharma, non-existence / non-dharma, both together, neither; difference / manyness / diversity, identity / oneness / sameness, both together, neither; permanence / continuity, impermanence / discontinuity, both together, neither; individual, collective, cosmic, a combination of those, none of those; subject, relation / action / process, object, a combination of those, none of those; etc.

The three spheres: ex.
i. The subject / actor / goer / perceiver / knower / acquirer / owner,
ii. The relation / action / going / perceiving / knowing / acquiring / having
iii. The object / result / destination / perceived / known / acquired / possessions / karma / 5 aggregates / body & speech & mind.

Generalisations:
Whenever it is possible the comments of each section are expressed into a more global context. So they always cover more than just what is said in the various translations. The goal is to make the Big Picture more visible.

Note: All comments within (i.e. …) or [...] are from the commentator (me), not the translators.)


SUMMARY

While dwelling at Vulture Peak near Rāja­gṛha, the Buddha sets in motion the sūtras that are the most extensive of all ‍— the sūtras on the Prajñā­pāramitā, or "Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom." Committed to writing around the start of the first millennium, these sūtras were expanded and contracted in the centuries that followed, eventually amounting to twenty-three volumes in the Tibetan Kangyur.

Among them, The transcendent perfection of wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (10k) is a compact and coherent restatement of the longer versions, uniquely extant in Tibetan translation, without specific commentaries, and rarely studied.

While the structure generally follows that of the longer versions,
chapters 1–2 conveniently summarize all three hundred and sixty-seven categories of phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes [T1] which the sūtra examines in the light of wisdom or discriminative awareness [T2] [U2T].

Chapter 31 and the final chapter 33 conclude with an appraisal of irreversible bodhisattvas, the pitfalls of rejecting this teaching, and the blessings that accrue from committing it to writing.


INTRODUCTION

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition classifies the discourses delivered by Buddha Śākyamuni in terms of the three turnings of the doctrinal wheel, promulgated at different places and times in the course of his life. Among them,

  1. the sūtras of the first turning expound the four noble truths, (i.e. Insisting on the first truth / dependent origination / causality / karma / T1; but still presenting the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths.)

  2. those of the second turning explain emptiness and the essenceless nature of all phenomena (i.e. Insisting on the second truth / emptiness / T2; but still presenting the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths.),

  3. while those of the third turning elaborate further distinctions between the three essenceless natures (i.e. Insisting on the Buddha-nature; but still presenting the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths.). 1

The sūtras of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom (prajñāpāramitā), 2 to which the text translated here belongs, are firmly placed by their own assertion 3 within the second turning (i.e. Insisting on the second truth / emptiness / T2; but still presenting the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths.), promulgated at Vulture Peak near Rāja­gṛha.

It is in these sūtras that the role of the compassionate bodhisattva with a mind set upon enlightenment [T1] achieves preeminence over the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas of lesser attainment. 4 (i.e. It goes beyond ‘mere-emptiness’ or ‘the opposition of the two truths’ to a realisation of the inseparability / interdependence / harmony / Union of the Two Truths [U2T]. Meaning it is not about rejecting the world / samsara for a better nirvana; it is not just an individual liberation [Uopp].)

—————————————————————————————————————— 
The central message subtly integrates relative truth [T1] and ultimate truth [T2] [U2T],
——————————————————————————————————————  

reiterating that great bodhisattva beings should strive to attain manifestly perfect buddhahood in order to eliminate the sufferings of all sentient beings rather than merely terminate cyclic existence for their own sake [T1], even though, from an ultimate perspective, there are no phenomena, no sentient beings, and no attainment of manifestly perfect buddhahood [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Here ‘no’ means ‘not inherently existent’; it doesn’t mean complete non-existence / non-causality / non-functionality / nothingness / nihilism. It means the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle: ex. not existence, not complete non-existence, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not difference / separation / multiplicity / duality, not identity / unicity / oneness / non-duality, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not permanence / continuity / eternity, not impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not ‘this’, not ‘non-this’, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth – for whatever ‘this’ is. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual conditioned mind(s).)

The relentless deconstruction [T2] of all conceptual elaborations with respect to phenomena, meditative experiences, and even the causal and fruitional attributes characteristic of the bodhisattva path [T1] [U2T],

which is explicitly emphasized throughout these sūtras, may have been controversial, 5 but it has given rise to both Madhyamaka dialectics and to the non-analytical meditative pursuits of the Chan (Zen) tradition. In Tibet, on the other hand, the sūtras are generally approached through study of The Ornament of Clear Realization and its extensive commentaries, which constitute the Parchin (phar phyin) literature ‍— one of the principal subjects of the monastic college curriculum. These treatises elaborate on the eightfold structural progression of the bodhisattvas' goals, paths, and fruit which are implied, though understated, in all but the recast manuscript of the Sūtra in Twenty-five Thousand Lines (25k).

Traditional Tibetan accounts hold that, following their promulgation by Śākyamuni, the sūtras were concealed in non-human abodes ‍— the longest Sūtra in One Billion Lines (1B) among the gandharvas, the Sūtra in Ten Million Lines (10M) among the devas, and the Sūtra in One Hundred Thousand Lines (100k) among the nāgas ‍— the last of these being retrieved and revealed by Nāgārjuna from the ocean depths and initially propagated in South India.

The extant texts forming this cycle of sūtras are replete with abbreviations, modulations, and other mnemonic features, indicative of an early oral transmission ‍— even today they are read aloud as an act of merit in monastic halls and public gatherings. At the same time, the medium length and longer sūtras explicitly extoll the merits of committing the sūtras to writing, in the form of a book, as an offering for the benefit of posterity. 6

The earliest written version appears to have taken shape around the start of the first millennium, in the age when birch-bark and palm-leaf manuscripts first began to appear in the Indian subcontinent. Contemporary research (Falk 2011, Falk and Karashima 2012) has brought to our attention extant segments and fragments of a birch-bark scroll containing a portion of a generic manuscript of the Sūtra of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in the Gāndhārī language, written in Kharoṣṭhī script, which was, by all accounts, retrieved from a stone case in the Bajaur region of the Afghan-Pakistan border. The manuscript has been carbon dated within the range of 25–74 ᴄᴇ.

Philological evidence suggests that this manuscript was the forerunner of a later Gāndhārī manuscript translated by Lokakṣema into Chinese, while certain peculiarities of transcription and the presence of conventional mnemonic abbreviations also presuppose an earlier manuscript, which may no longer be extant. 7 These Kharoṣṭhī scrolls are among the oldest surviving exemplars of all Indic texts, with the exception of the Aśokan rock inscriptions and pillar edicts, and it has been speculated that their source manuscript may even predate the original redaction of the Pāli Canon. 8

Conze (1960: 1–2) outlines the case for the sūtras' South Indian origin among the Pūrvaśaila and Aparaśaila schools of the Mahāsaṅghika order, where the monasteries of Amarāvati and Dhānyakataka each seems to have preserved a version in Prakrit. Other evidence, not least the survival of the Kharoṣṭhī manuscript segments from Bajaur, suggests, on the contrary, that the sūtras were first committed to writing in the northwest. The epigraphic research of Richard Salomon at the University of Washington tends toward the latter view. The Arapacana alphabet found in some of the longer sūtras as a dhāraṇī follows the order of letters and peculiarities of the Kharoṣṭhī script. 9 Furthermore, the earliest Chinese translation of the Eight Thousand Lines (Taisho 224), dated 179–180 ᴄᴇ, was prepared at Luoyang by Lokakṣema, a Kuṣāṇa monk from the northwest. 10

The fact that the sūtras were copied, expanded and translated rapidly into other languages suggests that the admonishment to commit them to writing as an act of merit was taken seriously by early proponents of the Great Vehicle. Scholarly opinion differs as to which of the sūtras appeared first. Conze (1960) considers that the first two chapters of the Verse Summation and the Eight Thousand Lines (8k) are the oldest, while Japanese scholars tend to give precedence to the Adamantine Cutter (in Three Hundred Lines). The latter text was highly influential in the development of Huineng's Platform Sūtra (Liùzǔ Tánjīng), and a copy of it is also the world's oldest extant printed book, dated 868, retrieved by Sir Aurel Stein from Dunhuang and preserved in The British Museum. Schopen (2005: 31–32, 55) puts forward the idea that there was a shift from the oral transmission exemplified in the Adamantine Cutter to the written transmission of the Eight Thousand Lines (8k).

The historical evolution of the sūtras within the Indian subcontinent is examined preeminently in Conze (1960: 1–18), who outlines the following four historical phases

  1. (1) the appearance of the medium length Sūtra in Eight Thousand Lines (8k), dated 100 ʙᴄᴇ–100 ᴄᴇ; 

  2. (2) the expansion of the longer versions, dated 100–300 ᴄᴇ; 

  3. (3) the contraction of the shorter versions, dated 300–500 ᴄᴇ; and 

  4. (4) the appearance of various means for attainment (sādhana, sgrub thabs) associated with the female deity Prajñā­pāramitā, dated 600–1200 ᴄᴇ. 

This structure may still hold in general, although the reservations of Japanese scholarship concerning the antiquity of the short Adamantine Cutter (in Three Hundred Lines) should be noted.

The titles of the various sūtras within the genre are differentiated on the basis of the number of thirty-two syllable "lines" (śloka) contained in their original Sanskrit manuscripts. There is also internal numbering, which assists navigation. This takes two forms: the tally of fascicles (kalāpa, bam po) into which the original bark or palm leaf manuscripts were bundled is indicated at the start of each tome, and the tally of chapters (parivarta, le'u) which distinguish the content is indicated at the conclusion of each chapter. The present translation emphasizes the divisions of the chapter titles, while encoding the residual tally of fascicles. For example the final fascicle heading of the sūtra, which would read "Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (10k). The thirty-fourth fascicle is as follows," appears encoded as [B34].

In Tibetan translation, the sūtras of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom comprise approximately one fifth of the entire Kangyur, taking up twenty-one volumes of the Lhasa and Urga Kangyurs, twenty-two of the Cone Kangyur, twenty-three of the Degé and Narthang Kangyurs, and up to twenty-seven of some of the manuscript Kangyurs. In most Kangyurs, this section, known as Prajñā­pāramitā (shes phyin), precedes all the other sūtra divisions ‍— the Ava­taṃsaka (phal chen), Ratna­kūṭa (dkon brtsegs) and General Sūtra (mdo sde) sections ‍— reflecting the high prestige of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom within Mahāyāna Buddhism as a whole

In most Kangyurs, including the Degé, the section includes twenty-three distinct texts, foremost among them being the "six mothers" (yum drug) and the "eleven children" (bu bcu gcig). In some Kangyurs, including those of the Peking family, the section contains only seventeen (the "mothers" and "children"), and the seven other texts usually classed in this genre are found in other divisions.

  • The six mothers are the "longer" and "medium" length sūtras, which are said to be distinguished by their structural presentation of all eight aspects of the bodhisattvas' path, as elucidated in The Ornament of Clear Realization. 

  • The shorter texts, being terser, do not fully elaborate this structure. 11 

The six mothers are outlined as follows:

  1. The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in One Hundred Thousand Lines (100k) (Śata­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā, Toh. 8) comprises twelve volumes, twenty-five fascicles, and seventy-two chapters.

  2. The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Twenty-five Thousand Lines (25k) (Pañca­viṃśati­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā, Toh. 9) comprises three volumes, seventy-eight fascicles, and seventy-six chapters.

  3. The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines (18k) (Aṣṭā­daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā, Toh. 10) comprises two and a half volumes, sixty fascicles, and eighty-seven chapters.

  4. The transcendent perfection of wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (10k) (Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā, Toh. 11) comprises one and a half volumes, thirty-four fascicles, and thirty-three chapters.

  5. The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in Eight Thousand Lines (8k) (Aṣṭa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā, Toh. 12) comprises one volume, twenty-four fascicles, and thirty-two chapters.

  6. The Verse Summation of the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñā­pāramitā­ratna­guṇa­sañ­caya­gāthā, Toh. 13) comprises nineteen folios.

In addition to these Tibetan translations, there are extant Sanskrit manuscripts from Gilgit and Nepal, complete in some cases, partial in others, and Chinese translations representing all of the longer and medium length versions of the sūtra, with the exception of The transcendent perfection of wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (10k). A bibliographic appraisal of all texts within the cycle can be found in Conze (1960: 31–91), and listings of the corresponding translations into Western languages in Pfandt (1983).


The Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā

The transcendent perfection of wisdom in Ten Thousand Lines (10k), which is translated here, uniquely has no extant Sanskrit manuscripts or Chinese translations ‍— the Tibetan version alone is extant ‍— nor are there any extant commentaries of Indo-Tibetan or Sino-Japanese origin. For these reasons, Conze (1960: 46) has even expressed doubt as to its authenticity, suggesting that the sūtra may have been composed in Tibet. This, however, is highly unlikely ‍— in style and content the sūtra is compatible with the three longer versions, and quite dissimilar to the indigenous Tibetan compositions of the ninth century, when it was listed in the Denkarma (ldan dkar ma) catalogue. 12 Situ Paṇchen's catalogue to the Degé Kangyur includes the colophon of this sūtra, indicating that it was translated into Tibetan by Jinamitra, Prajñāvarman, and the translator Yeshé Dé. 13

Hikata (1958: ix–lxxxiii) claims that the text is a somewhat erratic version of the three longer sūtras, and yet this is not borne out by a detailed analysis of the sūtra itself, which, as we shall see, may justifiably be regarded as a compact and coherent restatement of the longer versions, having much more in common with them than with The Eight Thousand Lines (8k).

The pioneering Norwegian Indologist Sten Konow is the only academic to have given serious consideration to our text in his 1941 monograph, which includes a Sanskrit reconstruction and translation of the first two chapters. These particular chapters are of great interest because they conveniently draw together the enumerations of the three hundred and sixty-seven aspects of phenomena, meditative experiences, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments that form the critique of the sūtras. Konow (1941: 70) compares the list of these phenomena and attributes to those found in other sūtras within the cycle and in other Mahāyāna texts. In particular, with regard to the unusual listing of only seventy-eight minor marks, rather than eighty, he speculates that The Ten Thousand Lines (10k) "may represent an earlier attempt," predating the enumerations found in the Mahā­vastu, Lalita­vistara, and Mahā­vyutpatti, which all appear to have a common source.

In the course of translating the present text, we have sought to identify parallel passages in the Dutt (1934) and Kimura (1971–2009) editions of the recast Sanskrit manuscript (which also facilitated the preparation of the trilingual glossary). Other secondary sources have also proved to be essential research tools, including Conze's Materials for a Dictionary of the Prajñā­pāramitā Literature (1973), along with his composite translation from the longer sūtras (1975), and the translations of the renowned Indian treatises of Hari­bhadra and Vi­mukti­sena contained in Sparham (2006–2012). For appraisals of the transcendent perfection literature in general, readers may also wish to consult Dayal (1932), Conze (1960), Williams (1989), Jamieson (2000), and Brunnholzl (2010), the last of whom, in his introduction, offers important insights from the Tibetan commentarial tradition.


STRUCTURE OF THE TEXT (??)

While
the deconstruction [T2 - emptiness] of all aspects of conceptual elaboration [T1 - appearances] [U2T]
is explicitly stated throughout the sūtra, 

the structural progression of the bodhisattva path (??) is largely understood by implication and it is unraveled chiefly with reference to the commentary found in Maitreya's Ornament of Clear Realization. The recast Sanskrit manuscript of later provenance, edited in Dutt (1934) and Kimura (1971–2009) presents the entire Twenty-five Thousand Lines [25k] in that context, and it is on that basis that we can also, by analogy, understand the implied meaning of The Ten Thousand Lines [10k].

The eight aspects of the bodhisattvas' progression include:

  1. (I-III) three which present the theoretical understandings [A] of the goals to be realized,

  1. (IV-VII) four which present the practical application of training [B] through which they will be realized, and

  1. (VIII) one which presents the fruit [C] arising from conclusive realization.

Together these form the graduated approach of the bodhisattva path that is revered and maintained in all Tibetan traditions, and most exemplary in the lives and teachings of the great Kadampa masters, such as Ngok Loden Sherab.

The eight aspects with their seventy topics may be outlined as follows:

[A. THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE GOALS TO BE REALIZED]

– A.I. Theoretical Understanding of all phenomena [View = Union of the Two Truths].

Its ten topics include

  1. (i) setting of the mind on enlightenment,

  2. (ii) the instructions concerning its application within the Great Vehicle,

  3. (iii) the four aspects of ascertainment on the path of preparation, comprising warmth, peak, acceptance, and supremacy,

  4. (iv) the naturally abiding buddha nature which is the basis for attaining the Great Vehicle,

  5. (v) the referents through which the Great Vehicle is attained,

  6. (vi) the goals attained through the Great Vehicle,

  7. (vii) the armor-like attainment,

  8. (viii) attainment through engagement,

  9. (ix) attainment through the provisions of merit and gnosis, and

  10. (x) definitive attainment.

– A.II. Theoretical Understanding of the aspects of the path [Path = Union of virtuous methods & wisdom].

Its eleven topics include

  1. (i) essential aspects for understanding the path,

  2. (ii) the understanding of the path which is that of the śrāvakas,

  3. (iii) the understanding of the path which is that of the pratyekabuddhas,

  4. (iv) the beneficial path of insight, which accords with the Great Vehicle,

  5. (v) the functions of the path of cultivation,

  6. (vi) the aspirational path of cultivation,

  7. (vii) the path of cultivation resulting in eulogy, exhortation, and praise,

  8. (viii) the path of cultivation resulting in dedication,

  9. (ix) the path of cultivation resulting in sympathetic rejoicing,

  10. (x) the path of cultivation resulting in attainment, and

  11. (xi) the path of meditation resulting in purity.

– A.III. Theoretical Understanding of omniscience [Fruition = Union of compassion / interdependence & wisdom / emptiness].

Its nine topics include

  1. (i) the basic understanding that discernment leads to non-abiding in phenomenal existence,

  2. (ii) the basic understanding that compassion leads to non-abiding in quiescence,

  3. (iii) the basic understanding that lack of skillful means leads to distance from the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T],

  4. (iv) the basic understanding that skillful means leads to its proximity,

  5. (v) the basic understanding of the discordant factors associated with the fixation of śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas,

  6. (vi) the remedial factors countering those fixations,

  7. (vii) training in the aforementioned basic understandings,

  8. (viii) training in the sameness of those basic understandings, and

  9. (ix) the path of insight which integrates these basic understandings.

[B. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING THROUGH WHICH THEY WILL BE REALIZED]

– B.IV. Clear realization of all phenomena.

Its eleven topics include

  1. (i) the aspects of the aforementioned three theoretical understandings;

  2. (ii) training in those aspects;

  3. (iii) the qualities acquired through those trainings,

  4. (iv) the defects to be eliminated during training,

  5. (v) the defining characteristics of training,

  6. (vii) the path of provisions in accord with liberation,

  7. (vii) the path of preparation in accord with the aforementioned four degrees of penetration,

  8. (viii) the signs of the irreversible bodhisattva trainees,

  9. (ix) training in the sameness of phenomenal existence and quiescence,

  10. (x) the training associated with the pure realms, and

  11. (xi) training in skillful means for the sake of others.

– B.V. Culminating clear realization.

Its eight topics include

  1. (i) the culminating training of warmth on the path of preparation,

  2. (ii) the culminating training in the peak on the path of preparation,

  3. (iii) the culminating training in acceptance on the path of preparation,

  4. (iv) the culminating training in supremacy on the path of preparation,

  5. (v) the culminating training on the path of insight,

  6. (vi) the culminating training on the path of cultivation,

  7. (vii) the culminating uninterrupted training on the path of cultivation, comprising the adamantine meditative stability, and

  8. (viii) the mistaken notions that are to be eliminated.

– B.VI. Serial clear realization.

Its thirteen topics include

  1. (i–vi) the serial trainings in the six transcendent perfections of generosity, ethical discipline, tolerance, perseverance, meditative concentration and wisdom;

  1. (vii–xii) the serial training in the six recollections of the spiritual teacher, the buddha, the sacred doctrine, the monastic community, ethical discipline, and generosity; and

  1. (xiii) the serial training in the realization that phenomena are without essential nature.

– B.VII. Instantaneous clear realization.

Its four topics include

  1. (i) instantaneous training in terms of maturation,

  2. (ii) instantaneous training in terms of non-maturation,

  3. (iii) instantaneous training in terms of the lack of defining characteristics, and

  4. (iv) instantaneous training in terms of non-duality.

[C. FRUITION ARISING FROM CONCLUSIVE REALIZATION]

– C.VIII. Fruitional attributes of the buddha body of reality. [The true Buddha is Reality as it is]

Its four topics include

  1. (i) the buddha body of essentiality,

  2. (ii) the buddha body of gnosis and reality,

  3. (ii) the buddha body of perfect resource, and

  4. (iv) the buddha body of emanation.

In terms of The Ten Thousand Lines (10k), we can see that the parallel passages of the Sanskrit edition of the recast manuscript, following Dutt and Kimura, suggest that

  • [THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF ALL PHENOMENA [View = Union of the Two Truths]:]
    chapters 1–14 pertain to the understanding of all phenomena,

  • [THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE ASPECTS OF THE PATH [Path = Union of virtuous methods & wisdom]:]
    chapters 15–18a pertain to the understanding of the aspects of the path, and

  • THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OMNISCIENCE [Fruition = Union of compassion / interdependence & wisdom / emptiness]:]
    chapters 18b–19 pertain to the understanding of omniscience.

  • [PATH:]
    Chapters 20–25a pertain to training in the clear realization of all phenomena,

  • chapters 25b–28a pertain to the training in culminating clear realization and serial clear realization, and

  • chapters 28b–30 pertain to the training in instantaneous clear realization.

  • [FRUITION:]
    Chapter 31 explores the indications of irreversible bodhisattvas,

  • chapter 32 pertains to the fruitional attainment of the buddha attributes, and

  • chapter 33 concludes the sūtra with the admonishments that it should be respected, maintained, and entrusted for the sake of posterity.




SUMMARY OF THE TEXT

In the following summary, the eight aspects appear as subtitles with the same Roman numerals as in the list above. The thirty-three chapters are unevenly distributed among them.

[A. THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE GOALS TO BE REALIZED]

– A.I. THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF ALL PHENOMENA [View = Union of the Two Truths]

The first fourteen chapters of the text concern the theoretical understanding of all phenomena, which is the first goal to be realized. Śāradvatī­putra acts as Lord Buddha's interlocutor in the first nine chapters, with Su­bhūti making his initial appearance in chapter 10.

Chapter 1 [Introduction] & Chapter 2 [All Phenomena] – 

(i.e. Chapter 1: The Context: "That which is called the transcendent perfection of wisdom is the absence of fixation / attachment with respect to all dharmas in both samsara & nirvana – physical, conceptual, mental –." Multiple examples are given in this chapter.
-

Acting more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].)

-

(i.e. Valid conventional / relative actions of the body, speech and mind [T1] … but without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T] …)

-

(i.e. Acting / perceiving without acting / perceiving everything, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Acting / perceiving conventionally / relatively [T1] but not really / ultimately [T2]; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].)

In response to a question about what is the Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom which bodhisattvas are to perfect, Lord Buddha replies that it is the absence of fixation with respect to all phenomena, all meditative experiences, all causal attributes acquired by bodhisattvas, all fruitional attributes manifested by buddhas, and all attainments up to and including omniscience. Along with unconditioned phenomena, such as the abiding nature of all things and the finality of existence,
these are all attributes with respect to which a great bodhisattva being should cultivate detachment.
Bodhisattvas do perceive such phenomena distinctly, but only on the relative level [T1];
in an ultimate sense they consider them to be illusory, in the manner of a dream and so forth [T2] [U2T].

Chapter 3 [Non-fixation] – Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T-all]. There are no real dharmas and relations between them  [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: All dharmas – ex. the three spheres, apparent opposites, even the two truths themselves – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing without understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T-all], but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

Fixation may ensue when those phenomena and attributes are considered as permanent or impermanent, as conducive to happiness or suffering, with self or without self, empty or not empty, with signs or signless, having or lacking aspirations, calm or not calm, void or not void, afflicted or purified, arising or not arising, ceasing or not ceasing, and as entities or non-entities. Deluded minds would view these phenomena and attributes as absolutely existent
whereas bodhisattvas should train [T1] so as to understand that they are all non-apprehensible [T2]
‍— mere designations and conceptualizations [T1] [U2T].

Chapter 4 [Union] and Chapter 5 [Designation of a Bodhisattva] – Union of the three spheres [U3S] or Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres [U2T-3S]. There are no real three spheres [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The three spheres – subject, relation / action, object / phenomena – for any type of relation / action – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing without understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing the Union of the three spheres [U3S] or the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres [U2T-3S], but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

Bodhisattvas do not consider whether or not they are engaged in union with all those phenomena and attributes. Owing to the emptiness of intrinsic defining characteristics [T2], they neither associate anything with nor disassociate anything from anything else (in absolute terms) (i.e. No inherently existing relations / oppositions). They do not consider whether certain things are connected with other things (in absolute terms) because nothing is connected with any other thing (in absolute terms). Indeed, the nature of phenomena is emptiness ‍— non-arising, non-ceasing, neither afflicted nor purified [T2].

Bodhisattvas will approach omniscience, attaining complete purity of body, speech, and mind, as well as freedom from afflicted mental states, and then they will bring sentient beings to maturation until they attain manifestly perfect buddhahood. Bodhisattvas who practice the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] in this manner [T2] will perfect all the other transcendent perfections [T1] [U2T], whereby they will attain genuinely perfect enlightenment. Since phenomena are invariably non-apprehensible and notions about them are also non-apprehensible [T2], how could the designations of phenomena constitute a bodhisattva?

Chapter 6 [Training] – Union of the Two Truths about all the two truths themselves [U2T-2T]. There are no real two truths and relation between them – dependent origination / causality / karma and emptiness and their relationship – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The two truths themselves are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Bodhisattvas still perform valid conventional / relative actions of the body, speech and mind [T1] (ex. perceiving, feeling, thinking, conceptualising, differentiating, training, practicing, teaching, living …) even if all dharmas – ex. the three spheres, apparent opposites, the two truths themselves – are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T]. Emptiness does not invalidate conventional truths / methods / practices / goals; the two truths are more like in harmony. Emptiness is also empty of inherent existence because interdependent, merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U2T-2T].)

-

(i.e. Acting / perceiving without acting / perceiving everything, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Acting / perceiving conventionally / relatively [T1] but not really / ultimately [T2]; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].

The term "great bodhisattva being" is meaningless, non-existent like a dream or like the tracks of a bird in the sky. Just as the notions of a buddha's degenerate morality, mental distraction, stupidity, non-liberation, and misperception are all without foundation, the notion of a great bodhisattva being abiding in the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is also non-existent, because all phenomena and attributes are without foundation, neither conjoined nor disjoined, and they are immaterial, unrevealed, and unobstructed [T2]. Their only defining characteristic is that they lack defining characteristics. Yet, it is only when bodhisattvas have trained in the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] without apprehending anything that they will attain omniscience [T2].

Unskilled bodhisattvas without an authentic teacher will be afraid when they hear this, but, with skill in means, they will discern that all things are impermanent and so on [T1], and will not apprehend them [T2] [U2T]. Attentive without apprehending anything, without dogmatic assumptions [T2], they will discern that all phenomena and attributes are even empty of their own emptiness [T1] [U2T] [U2T-2T]. So it is that those seeking to perfect the transcendent perfections, to comprehend all phenomena, and to abandon afflicted mental states, as well as all fetters, latent impulses, and obsessions should train in this transcendent perfection of wisdom.

Chapter 7 [Non-apprehension] – Teaching the Union of the Two Truths [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Teaching the Union of the Two Truths, and the Middle way free from all extremes & middle, [T1] … but without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. Ex. not grasping at causality / karma / 1st truth [T1], or emptiness / 2nd truth [T2], or both together [2T], or neither [1T].)

-

(i.e. Acting / teaching without acting / teaching the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] and the Middle Way, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Extremes like: existence / eternalism / naïve realism, non-existence / nihilism, both together / dualism, neither / monism / oneness; or the 1st truth only / dependent origination / causality / karma, the 2nd truth only / emptiness, the two truths together as if different and in opposition, neither of the two truths as if identical and one; or subject / mind only / subjectivism, objects / phenomena only / objectivism, relations / actions / processes only / relationism / processism, a combination of those / pluralism, none of those / monism / oneness.)

Authentic spiritual mentors are those who teach [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [u2T], that all phenomena are impermanent, and so forth, dedicating their roots of virtue exclusively to omniscience. Encouraging bodhisattvas to cultivate the causal and fruitional attributes, they teach [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T], that all [appearing] things [T1] are void [T2] [U2T].

However, if bodhisattvas cultivate the transcendent perfections and apprehend them, attentive to the causal and fruitional attributes, they will make assumptions and fall into the hands of others who would dissuade them from their course on the grounds that the transcendent perfections are the non-canonical fabrications of poets and of malign forces. Māra could even appear in the guise of a buddha to discourage them from practicing the transcendent perfections, or persuade them that they cannot become irreversible bodhisattvas, or even that the attainment of manifestly perfect buddhahood is itself impossible.

On the other hand, when bodhisattvas teach [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T], in order that sentient beings might abandon their nihilist and eternalist views, or their notions concerning phenomena or causal and fruitional attributes ‍— all this indicates that they will have been accepted by an authentic teacher.

Chapter 8 [Maturity] – Nothing really arises, exists, changes and ceases [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. There are no real three stages of becoming – origination / birth / coming, duration, cessation / death / going – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. Because the true nature & dynamic of all dharmas is the Union of the Two Truths [U2T], then everything is more like unarisen, non-existent, unconditioned, unchanging, unceasing – in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither –; beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. Extremes like: existence & non-existence, permanence & impermanence, difference & identity, manyness & oneness, duality & non-duality, the two truths, etc.)

-

(i.e. Discerning without discerning the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres [U2T-3S] – subject / mind, relation / action, object / phenomena –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything – physical, conceptual, mental – is not really impermanent; but more like timeless, unarisen, non-existent, unconditioned, unchanging / unmoving / unacting, unceasing – in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither.
-

The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of everything is this inconceivable unique all-pervasive timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing Union of the Two Truths. Ex. the true mind is primordially luminous / cognizant / functional / aware and empty of inherent existence; that is the Union of the Two Truths about the mind. Objects / phenomena and relations / actions are the same.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

The immaturity of a bodhisattva manifests when those who have previously regressed fail to enter into the maturity of the bodhisattvas. Unskilled in the transcendent perfections, they instead actualize lesser attainments, craving for the teachings because they become fixated on the notions that all phenomena, and causal and fruitional attributes, are impermanent, and so forth.

On the other hand, skillful bodhisattvas do not make assumptions about anything, even the enlightened mind, because the intrinsic nature of this mind is luminosity [T1 – functional], without afflicted mental states, obsessions, fetters, or latent impulses.

Just as this natural luminosity of the mind is unchanging and without conceptual notions,
so are all phenomena, or causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments unchanging and without conceptual notions.

The transcendent perfections are skillfully cultivated by discerning [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T], that thoughts of miserliness, degenerate morality, agitation, indolence, distraction, and stupidity [T1] are all non-entities [T2]. All this characterizes the maturity of great bodhisattva beings who proceed on the path to enlightenment. They cannot be overcome by anyone and will never regress or become impoverished. They will perceive numerous buddhas and listen to their sacred teachings, but without conceptual notions.

Chapter 9 [Teaching] – Practicing the six paramitas [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. There are no real three spheres – ex. giver, giving, gift – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The three spheres of any action / practice – ex. subject / giver, relation / action / generosity, object / gift & recipient – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Practicing the six paramitas [T1] … but without apprehending anything arising, existing, conditioned, changing, ceasing, afflicted, or purified; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. Ex. Practicing generosity [T1] … but without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T] about any subject / giver, relation / action / giving, object / gift / recipient; or about any cause, causality and effect.)

-

(i.e. Acting / practicing without acting / practicing the six perfections, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

Whenever bodhisattvas practice any of the six transcendent perfections (ex. wisdom [T2])
and don the great armor for the sake of all sentient beings [T1],
they also engage with all the other five transcendent perfections [T1] [U2T].
(i.e. Always combining virtuous methods and wisdom, in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].)

  1. Their generosity is characterized by the giver, [giving,] gift, and recipient [T1] being non-apprehensible [T2] [U2T];

  2. their ethical discipline by a lack of fascination with lower attainments;

  3. their tolerance by endurance and confidence;

  4. their perseverance by indefatigability, relentlessness, and tenacity;

  5. their meditative concentration by disinterest in lesser goals; and

  6. their wisdom by understanding the illusory nature of all phenomena. (i.e. Like illusions: 'There, but not there.' [U2T].)

When bodhisattvas practice these six transcendent perfections, they achieve and maintain the various meditative states, replete with the appropriate signs of successful practice, and then, attaining omniscience, they arise from these meditative states and communicate them successfully to others.

When they understand the aspects of emptiness and practice the transcendent perfections [T1] without apprehending anything, they do not apprehend the transcendent perfections, or their cultivators [T2] [U2T].
Instead they cultivate all the causal and fruitional attributes in order to put an end to cultivation [T1], and they do so without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T].
Because beings are non-apprehensible, the term "bodhisattva" is understood to be a mere conventional expression, as are all phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments.
Despite their achievements [T1], they are without any notion whatsoever [T2] [U2T].

Chapter 10 [Extrasensory Powers] – Using valid conventional / relative adapted skillful means / truths / methods / goals [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Bodhisattvas use valid conventional / relative adapted skillful means / truths / methods / goals [T1] … but without apprehending anything arising, existing, conditioned, changing, ceasing, afflicted, or purified; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T] …

-
Everything – ex. the three spheres, apparent opposites – is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there'. There is nothing to accept, nothing to reject, nothing to purify / change, in absolute terms. Enlightenment is beyond causality / production / change / purification / effort and non-causality / non-production / non-change / non-purification / non-effort; beyond movement and rest.)

-

(i.e. Acting / teaching / helping without acting / teaching / helping, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres of causality / production of omniscience. Omniscience is not really caused / produced; but more like timeless, unarisen, non-existent, unconditioned, unchanging / unmoving / unacting, unceasing – in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this, not both together, not neither. It is beyond causality and non-causality,)

Bodhisattvas should don the armor of the transcendent perfections, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments and send forth emanations and resources to benefit sentient beings [T1]. In the manner of an illusionist, they offer resources to the needy, they appear to establish others in virtuous actions, they exhibit tolerance when attacked by imaginary assailants, they encourage others to pursue virtuous paths with perseverance, they establish others in meditative concentration, and they do not apprehend anything arising, ceasing, afflicted, or purified [T2] [U2T].

The reality of illusion is the reality of all things. [U2T]

Maintaining the transcendent perfections, they establish sentient beings therein until they too have attained manifestly perfect buddhahood [T1]. And yet, bodhisattvas should know that they are seeking a non-existent armor because all phenomena, attributes, bodhisattvas and even the great armor itself are all inherently empty [T2] [U2T].
Omniscience is uncreated and unconditioned, as are the beings for whom bodhisattvas don the great armor.
Resembling dreams, all things are unfettered and unliberated.

Chapter 11 [Non-abiding] – There is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently-existing / objective referent [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. Because everything is empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] and merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], then there is no objective / independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. There are no objective / independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing frames of reference. In that sense, there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, nothing to differentiate / change / improve / purify in absolute terms; just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.)

-

(i.e. Acting / training without acting / training, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

Even though bodhisattvas may refine the five eyes until the fruits of arhatship, individual enlightenment, or manifestly perfect buddhahood are attained, they should not dwell upon notions [T1] which are all non-apprehensible [T2] [U2T].
Unskilled bodhisattvas who resort to notions of "I" and "mine" will not attain omniscience.
The TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] cannot be appropriated, owing to the emptiness of inherent existence.
Therefore, bodhisattvas should determine that all [appearing] things [T1] are empty of inherent existence [T2] [U2T], without mental wandering.

This spacious and indefinable method of the bodhisattvas, known as the maṇḍala of the meditative stability of non-appropriation, is unknown to others.
Owing to the non-appropriation of all things, and the non-existence of transmigration at the time of death, bodhisattvas do not make assumptions.
Instead, they determine that, owing to emptiness, the absence of objective referents denotes the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].
If bodhisattvas are not disheartened when they make this determination, they will never be separated from the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].
Undertaking this training, they will attain omniscience.

Chapter 12 [Meditative Stabilisation] – Meditation [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Acting / meditating without acting / meditating, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

Unskilled bodhisattvas who engage with phenomena, attributes, notions of permanence, and so forth, will merely engage with mental images and dualistic concepts, and will not be released from cyclic existence.

On the other hand, when bodhisattvas skillfully practice the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], owing to emptiness they do not engage with anything at all. Since everything has the essential nature of non-entity, they have not appropriated anything.

There are one hundred and eleven non-acquisitive meditative stabilities of the bodhisattvas through which they will swiftly attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.
Without considering or making dualistic assumptions about any of those meditative stabilities, bodhisattvas are naturally absorbed in meditation, and inseparable from them, without conceptual imaginations.
So it is that they train in the transcendent perfections, causal and fruitional attributes [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T].

Owing to the utter purity of all things, they do not apprehend anything at all [T2];
since nothing arises or ceases, nothing is afflicted or purified.
Through adherence to the two extremes of eternalism and nihilism, ordinary people imagine phenomena and attributes that are non-existent, and become fixated on them. They will not attain emancipation from cyclic existence, failing to understand that all things are emptiness, and lacking stability in the transcendent perfections.

Chapter 13 [Like Space] – Union of the three spheres of causality [U3S-causality] or Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres of causality [U2T-3S-causality]. There are no real three spheres of causality – causes & condition / teachings / practices, causality / production, effect / final attainment / goal / state / rest – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The three spheres of causality / production – subject / cause / producer, relation / action / causality / production, object / effect / product – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Acting / causing without acting / causing, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

The Great Vehicle will not come to rest anywhere because resting is non-apprehensible [T2] [U2T]. No one will attain emancipation by means of this vehicle because all attributes and attainments associated with this vehicle [T1] are non-existent and non-apprehensible [T2] [U2T], owing to their utter purity. When bodhisattvas practice the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] in that manner, owing to the fact that all [appearing] things [T1] are non-apprehensible [T2] [U2T], they will attain emancipation by means of the Great Vehicle in the state of omniscience.

This Great Vehicle overpowers and attains emancipation from cyclic existence which is merely imagined, fabricated, and verbally constructed [T1]. The Great Vehicle comprises all meditative experiences and causal and fruitional attributes, and it is analogous to space, in that therein motion, rest, direction, shape, color, time, flux, arising, cessation, virtue, non-virtue, sense objects, and so forth, are not discernible [T2] [U2T].

The Great Vehicle accommodates innumerable sentient beings, in the manner of space.

Chapter 14 [Neither coming nor going] Union of apparent opposites [Uopp] or Union of the Two Truths about apparent opposites [U2T-opp]. There are no real opposites and opposition [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: Apparent opposites – ex. existence & non-existence, dependence & independence, difference & identity, separation & union, many & one, duality & non-duality, permanence & impermanence, continuity & discontinuity, coming & going, self & non-self, purity & impurity, samsara & nirvana, cause & effect, subject & object, the two truths, etc. – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing without understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing the Union of apparent opposites [Uopp] or the Union of the Two Truths about apparent opposites [U2T-opp], but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

 

This Great Vehicle does not apprehend afflicted mental states or their absence, nor does it apprehend notions of permanence and impermanence, self and non-self, and so forth. The term "bodhisattva" designates one who is intent on enlightenment, on the basis of which the indications and signs of the causal and fruitional attributes are known without fixation, but the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is far removed from all phenomena, afflicted mental states and opinions, and from the causal and fruitional attributes and attainments.

Bodhisattvas do not investigate the notions that these are imbued with happiness and suffering because all things are inherently empty ‍— non-arising, non-ceasing, without duality, neither conjoined nor disjoined ‍— and they share a single defining characteristic in that they are all immaterial, unrevealed, unimpeded, and without defining characteristics.

Once bodhisattvas have developed, without apprehending anything, the notion of sentient beings as their father, mother, or child, with their minds set on genuinely perfect enlightenment, they see that all notions of self and the like are entirely non-existent and non-apprehensible.
Relatively speaking, there are attainments and clear realizations, [T1]
but, ultimately, there are no attainment, no clear realization, no realized beings and no ordinary beings. [T2] [U2T]
It is because all phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes and attainments, are empty of inherent existence [T2]
that bodhisattvas will refine them [T1] [U2T].


– A.II. THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE ASPECTS OF THE PATH [Path = Union of virtuous methods & wisdom]

The theoretical understanding of the aspects of the bodhisattva path is the focus of the next section of the sūtra, commencing with chapter 15 and continuing through the first part of chapter 18. Here, Śakra and various divine princes in his entourage participate in the dialogue ‍— both telepathically and verbally ‍— alongside Lord Buddha, Su­bhūti and Śāradvati­putra.

Chapter 15 [The Transcendent Perfection of Tolerance] – Studying / practicing / cultivating / discerning / progressing on the path [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. There are no real three stages of becoming – origination / birth / coming, duration, cessation / death / going – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: All dharmas – ex. the three spheres, apparent opposites, even the two truths themselves – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-
(i.e. Acting / perceiving / discerning / studying / cultivating / practicing without acting / perceiving / discerning / studying / cultivating / practicing, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

Bodhisattvas who have cultivated omniscience

  • should be attentive [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T],
    to the notions that all things are impermanent, imbued with suffering, calm, void, and so forth.

  • They should be attentive [T1], without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T],
    to the origination of suffering and to the cessation of suffering.

  • They should cultivate the causal and fruitional attributes and practice the transcendent perfections [T1],
    without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T].

  • They discern that the concepts of "I" and "mine" and even thoughts of dedication [T1]
    are utterly non-existent and non-apprehensible in the enlightened mind [T2] [U2T].

  • This is the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T],
    which is non-referential in all respects.

  • Bodhisattvas should not dwell on anything or on any notion that they should perfect the transcendent perfections and establish countless beings in genuinely perfect enlightenment.

Just as when, in a dream, a buddha is seen teaching, nothing at all is said or heard by anyone, so all things are like dreams ‍— the enlightenment of the buddhas is inexpressible (i.e. inconceivable). No one who seeks to actualize the fruits of attainment can do so without accepting that phenomena are non-arising [T2] [U2T].

Chapter 16 [Conceptual Notions] – Everything in the three vehicles is empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen, merely labeled / imputed by the mind, adapted skillful means [T1] [U2T]. Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma, Sangha –, and all elements of the path – physical / body, conceptual / speech, mental / mind; subject, relation / action, object; cause, causality, effects; truths, methods, goals; pure, impure –, all apparent opposites including the two truths themselves, are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

The sacred doctrine, those who teach it, and sentient beings who receive it all resemble a magical display, a dream, and so on. This transcendent perfection of wisdom, which is so profound, so hard to discern, and so hard to realize will be received by irreversible bodhisattvas who do not construe the notion that things are empty, signless, aspirationless, non-arising, unceasing, void, and calm. There is no one to receive this transcendent perfection of wisdom because nothing at all is expressed and there are no beings who will receive it.
The three vehicles, the nature of all phenomena, and attributes and attainments have been taught [T1],
but exclusively without apprehending anything, owing to the aspects of emptiness [T2] [U2T].

When bodhisattvas have heard this transcendent perfection of wisdom, there are malign forces which will seek to harm them, but to no avail, because all things are without inherent existence.
Since they cultivate thoughts of loving kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity toward all sentient beings [T1], without apprehending anything [T2], they will not die in unfavorable circumstances because they furnish all sentient beings with genuine happiness and gain their respect. In dependence on such bodhisattvas the ten virtuous actions, meditative experiences, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments become manifest [T1].

Chapter 17 [Advantages] – Praise to this Sutra: Attaining without attaining omniscience through a path that is not a path; by using teachings like this Sutra,  but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. To be efficient, the path must necessarily be more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now, with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free from all extremes & middle [U2T]; thus be composed of more and more subtle virtuous adapted skillful means – words, concepts, teachings, truths, methods, practices, goals – combined with more and more wisdom / emptiness. This is the 'acting without acting' of the Bodhisattvas on the path, acting [T1] without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

The TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] sheds light and dispels the blindness of afflicted mental states and all false views owing to its utter purity.
It secures happiness, demonstrating the path to those who go astray.
It is omniscience, the mother of bodhisattvas, because it generates all buddha attributes.
Just as the blind cannot get around without a guide, the five other transcendent perfections have no scope to attain omniscience unguided by the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T].
Yet, this transcendent perfection of wisdom is actualized [T1]
owing to the non-actualization of all things [T2] [U2T]
because they are non-arising, non-apprehensible, and do not disintegrate.
Nothing at all will be attained because the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] does not establish anything at all in an apprehending manner, not even omniscience [T2].
Despite that, bodhisattvas do not undervalue the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] [T1].

[MERIT:]
Those who retain it will never be separated from omniscience.
Those who commit it to writing in the form of a book and make offerings to it will accrue advantages in this life and the next.
They will always be protected, everyone will rejoice in them, and they will be capable of warding off all refutations.

Chapter 18a [Purity] – Enlightenment / omniscience is not caused / produced by the path, by the Bodhisattva's efforts, but is spontaneously non-dualistically non-conceptually directly realised, by directly perceiving / realising / experiencing the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T]. It is directly realizing that everything is more like primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha. That there is nothing to accept, nothing to reject, nothing to purify – in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.

(i.e. Buddhahood / omniscience is not caused / produced by the Bodhisattva's efforts, by any causes & conditions, by any path; it is beyond causality / production, non-causality / non-production, both together, neither. It is beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma (physical, conceptual, mental; individual, collective, cosmic). Buddhahood is said to be an inconceivable personal timeless / spontaneous non-dualistic non-conceptual direct perception / realisation / experience of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now as pointed by the concept of the Union of the Two Truths; and then acting without acting in perfect accord with it – as if performing miracles or magic tricks. It is realising without realising the ultimate liberating Truth [U2T]. Meanwhile Bodhisattvas use adapted skillful means / antidotes to decondition / purify / calm their body, speech and mind, and clear the way for a possible direct realisation.

-

(i.e. Acting / realising without acting / realising, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

Since bodhisattvas have come into this world, having made offerings to innumerable buddhas, when they see or hear the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] they will realize it in a signless, non-dual, and non-focusing manner. All phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments are neither fettered nor liberated, since their natural expression remains unchanged. All things are pure owing to the indivisible purity of sentient beings and afflicted mental states. This purity is not subject to affliction due to the natural luminosity of all phenomena, attributes, and attainments. It is neither attained nor manifestly realized, and it has not been actualized. Nor is this purity cognizant of anything, due to the emptiness of inherent existence. The TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] neither helps nor hinders omniscience and it does not appropriate anything at all. 14


– A.III. THEORETICAL UNDERSTANDING OF OMNISCIENCE [Fruition = Union of compassion / interdependence & wisdom / emptiness]

The theoretical understanding of omniscience is the focus of the next section of the sūtra, commencing with the second part of chapter 18 and continuing through chapter 19.

Chapter 18b [Purity] – Emptiness <==> non-duality [Uopp] & non-conceptuality [inconceivability]

(i.e. Because everything is empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] and merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S], then there is no objective / independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis for any discrimination / differentiation in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively. There are no objective / independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing frames of reference. In that sense, there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / negate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, nothing to differentiate / change / improve / purify in absolute terms; just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.)

Skillful bodhisattvas, on account of emptiness, are without dualistic perceptions and conceptual notions.
If they were to cognize their own minds, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments, and dedicate these to genuinely perfect enlightenment in a self-conscious manner, they would be incapable of practicing the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] without attachment.
Rather, they delight others, discerning the sameness of all things, inattentive to conceptual notions, and forsaking all limits of attachment.
Since the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is unfabricated and unconditioned, there is no one at all who can attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.
When bodhisattvas know this, they will abandon all the limits of attachment.

Chapter 19 [Agents and Non-agents] – Everything –ex. the view, path and fruition – is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. So there is nothing to apprehend / to grasp / to get attached to / to fixate / to entertain notions about / to differentiate / to accept or reject or purify in absolute terms [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: All dharmas – ex. the three spheres, apparent opposites, even the two truths themselves – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing without understanding / perceiving / realising / experiencing the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas [U2T-all], but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.

-
Everything is appearing but empty, empty but still dependently appearing & relatively functional, merely labeled / imputed by the mind; thus in accord with the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma; beyond all description / conceptualisation, discrimination / differentiation / relation / opposition, causality / production, form / matter-energy, space & time. In a sense, primordially timeless, equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kayas, the true Buddha.)

The TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is an agent that has no actions because it is non-apprehensible. Bodhisattvas who are not disheartened and who do not turn away from genuinely perfect enlightenment will achieve that which is difficult because this cultivation of the transcendent perfections [T1] is like cultivating space [T2] [U2T]. In space, no phenomena, attributes, or attainments are discerned. Those bodhisattvas who would don protective armor, seeking to liberate beings from cyclic existence, are actually seeking to buttress the sky and they acquire great perseverance.
Whenever they practice [T1] without making assumptions [T2] [U2T], they discern that phenomena are like a dream, and so on.

This transcendent perfection of wisdom is absolutely pure. Through it bodhisattvas attain manifestly perfect buddhahood, and turn the wheel of the sacred doctrine, even though nothing at all is set in motion or reversed because, in emptiness, there is nothing apprehensible, nothing that arises or ceases, nothing that is afflicted or purified, and nothing that is to be retained or forsaken. All things are invariably unactualized because emptiness, signlessness, and aspirationlessness do not set in motion or reverse anything at all.


[B. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING THROUGH WHICH THEY WILL BE REALIZED]

– B.IV. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING - CLEAR REALIZATION OF ALL PHENOMENA

After the three theoretical sections of the sūtra, the next four concern their practical implementation through training. Among them, the fourth section, entitled "Clear Realization of all Phenomena," commences from chapter 20 and continues through the first part of chapter 25. It integrates all the aforementioned categories of phenomena, meditative experiences, and the causal and fruitional attributes from the perspective of training.

Chapter 20 [Enlightened Attributes] – Using without using adapted skillful means, words, concepts, teachings, views / truths, methods, practices, paths, goals, … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

The TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is infinite, void, beyond limitations, non-existent, inexpressible, dreamlike, empty, without defining characteristics, and so forth ‍— all owing to its non-apprehension [T2].
For the sake of the world, the buddhas have expressed it in conventional terms [T1],
but that is not the case in ultimate reality [T2] [U2T].

  • For instance, the defining characteristics of the five aggregates are respectively their materiality, emotional experience, comprehensibility, conditioning, and particularizing intrinsic awareness [T1].

  • The defining characteristic of the six transcendent perfections are respectively renunciation, non-involvement, imperturbability, uncrushability, undistractedness, and non-fixation [T1].

  • The defining characteristic of the meditative experiences is non-disturbance, and so on [T1].

  • However, the tathāgatas attain manifestly perfect buddhahood in the absence of all these defining characteristics [T2] [U2T]. 

Chapter 21 [Early Indications] – Practicing the six paramitas [T1] … but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. There are no real three spheres – ex. giver, giving, gift – [T2], just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively [T1] [U2T].

(i.e. The inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now: The three spheres of any action / practice – ex. subject / giver, relation / action / generosity, object / gift & recipient – are like a Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless. And vice versa; one aspect implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].

-

Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither. Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.)

-

(i.e. Practicing the six paramitas [T1] … but without apprehending anything arising, existing, conditioned, changing, ceasing, afflicted, or purified; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T]. Ex. Practicing generosity [T1] … but without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T] about any subject / giver, relation / action / giving, object / gift / recipient; or about any cause, causality and effect.)

-

(i.e. Acting / practicing without acting / practicing the six perfections, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.)

This transcendent perfection of wisdom is established by means of great deeds, unappraisable deeds, innumerable deeds, and deeds that are equal to the unequaled. Just as a king may delegate all his royal duties to senior ministers, relinquishing responsibility so that he has few concerns, in the same way all things are subsumed within the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], and implemented by it. This is profound, hard to discern, and hard to realize! Bodhisattvas who have come to accept that phenomena are non-arising have this superior understanding. Anyone who has committed this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom to writing will swiftly attain genuinely perfect buddhahood.

  • Just as shipwrecked people without a life raft will die without reaching the ocean shore and those who have one will safely reach dry land, bodhisattvas who do not commit it to writing will regress, without reaching the maturity of the bodhisattvas.

  • However, if they relentlessly persevere until genuinely perfect enlightenment is attained, and commit this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom to writing and train earnestly in it, they will not regress. Having brought sentient beings to maturity, they will attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.

  • Briefly stated, unskilled bodhisattvas think in a dualistic manner, making assumptions about the six transcendent perfections although there are no such concepts. 

  • Skilled bodhisattvas who practice the six transcendent perfections [T1] without resorting to notions of "I" and "mine" [T2] [U2T] do not make assumptions about the transcendent perfections. Without regression, they will attain genuinely perfect enlightenment.

Chapter 22 [Cultivation] The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in 10k Lines
[Not complete – Work in Progress]

Those bodhisattvas who strive toward genuinely perfect enlightenment are engaged in a difficult task, inasmuch as all things are empty of their own defining characteristics. Even so, having understood that all things are like an illusion and dreamlike, they set out toward genuinely perfect enlightenment for the benefit, well-being, and happiness of all worlds as a sanctuary, a protector, a refuge, an ally, an island, a torch-bearer, a lamp, a helmsman, a guide, and a support. This cultivation of the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] is the non-cultivation of phenomena, attributes, and attainments.

Bodhisattvas of irreversible realization should investigate everything wihtout fixation. They will not be swayed by the pointless words of others or captivated by afflicted mental states. They will not be separated from the other transcendent perfections and will not be afraid when they hear this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom. Their minds will not be averted from genuinely perfect enlightenment. They will delight in hearing this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom and retain it in the appropriate manner. When these bodhisattvas are successful in their practice, their realization will be irreversible.

Chapter 23 [Non-acceptance and Non-rejection] 

This profound transcendent perfection of wisdom is hard to realize, for which reason the mind of the buddhas is inclined toward carefree inaction and not toward teaching. Manifestly perfect buddhahood has not been attained by anyone, anywhere. This is the profundity of all things, in which habitual ideas of duality do not at all exist. Just as the real nature of the buddhas is unobstructed, undifferentiated, non-particular, and without duality, so is the real nature of all things.

Just as a wingless bird will be mortally injured on its descent, it is inevitable that unskilled bodhisattvas who lack the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] will regress. On the other hand, skillful bodhisattvas whose minds are imbued with great compassion, and who cultivate emptiness, signlessness, and aspirationlessness, enter into the maturity of the bodhisattvas, without conceptualizing or apprehending anything, and attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.

It may seem that genuinely perfect enlightenment is easy to manifest because all things are empty of their own essential nature. However, this is exactly why it is hard to bring forth genuinely perfect enlightenment. Once bodhisattvas accept that all things resemble space, they will attain manifestly perfect buddhahood, but if it were easy for them to do so, bodhisattvas who don the protective armor would not regress.

Chapter 24 [Initial Engagement] 

Bodhisattvas who wish to attain genuinely perfect enlightenment should cultivate equanimity with respect to all sentient beings, addressing them with gentle words. They should cultivate an attitude free from enmity, regarding all sentient beings as their close relatives or peers. They should abstain from non-virtuous actions and encourage others to do so. They should engage in meditative experiences, and rejoice in others who do so. They should cultivate the causal and fruitional attributes, and rejoice in others who do so ‍— all without apprehending anything.

Moreover, bodhisattvas should comprehend suffering, abandon the origin of suffering, actualize the cessation of suffering, and cultivate the path that leads to the cessation of suffering, and they should rejoice in others who do so. They should bring sentient beings to maturation, refine the buddhafields,15 and rejoice in others who do likewise.

Chapter 25a [Skill in Means] 

Bodhisattvas should determine that phenomena and cyclic existence are empty, but they should do so with an unwavering mind. Just as a heroic man can escort relatives safely home through a terrifying wilderness by the power of discernment, bodhisattvas who have achieved and maintain a state of mind imbued with the four immeasurable aspirations and the six transcendent perfections will continue to search for omniscience, and even though they are established in emptiness, signlessness, and aspirationlessness, they will not be swayed into regression without perfecting the attainment of omniscience.

Bodhisattvas analyze the causal and fruitional attributes, resolving to attain manifestly perfect buddhahood for the sake of sentient beings who mistakenly continue to apprehend phenomena, but they will not actualize the finality of existence, through which they would regress to lesser attainments. Even though there are many bodhisattvas engaged in the pursuit of enlightenment, few of them have precisely investigated the six transcendent perfections on the irreversible level and avoided regression.


– B.V. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING - CULMINATING CLEAR REALIZATION

The fifth section of the sūtra, "Culminating Clear Realization," includes the four trainings on the path of preparation (warmth, peak, acceptance and supremacy), as well as the training on the paths of insight and cultivation, ending with the adamantine meditative stability and the elimination of mistaken notions. It extends from the second part of chapter 25 through to the end of chapter 27.

Chapter 25b [Skill in Means] 

When bodhisattvas train in the real nature of all things, they do train in the causal and fruitional attributes, and they will swiftly attain the level of an irreversible bodhisattva. Only bodhisattvas who wish to liberate all sentient beings from cyclic existence can undertake this training, and when they have done so, they will never be disadvantaged or separated from the sacred doctrine. They become absorbed in meditative experiences, but on arising from these, they will not linger in blissful states. Instead, they will refine all the fruitional attributes, without regression.

Bodhisattvas who wish to become a protector and refuge to all those sentient beings who are unprotected and without a refuge, who wish to become an ally of those who are without allies, who wish to become an eye to the blind, who wish to become a lamp for sentient beings who are immersed in the darkness of fundamental ignorance, who wish to attain genuinely perfect buddhahood, who wish to roar the lion's roar of the completely perfect buddhas, and so forth, should all train in this profound transcendent perfection of wisdom, and swiftly attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.

Chapter 26 [Rejoicing] 

Those bodhisattvas will never regress from genuinely perfect enlightenment, but, seeing the sufferings of cyclic existence, they will resolve to benefit the whole world and alleviate its sufferings. Abandoning all thoughts, concepts, and imaginations, in one sense they do not in the slightest achieve anything difficult because they do not apprehend anything that could be actualized.

However, the astonishing singular difficulty is not that they do not regress to lower attainments, but that they don the armor that resolves to establish innumerable sentient beings in buddhahood, while those beings whom they would guide are utterly non-apprehensible. Bodhisattvas who, for the sake of sentient beings, think they should don the armor of great compassion would as well think they should seek to do battle with space. If, when this is explained they are not discouraged, then they are practicing the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T], and, free from doubt, they will gradually come to rest on the irreversible levels, and attain omniscience.

Chapter 27 [Full Attainment] 

Bodhisattvas who practice each one of the transcendent perfections acquire each of the other transcendent perfections through physical, verbal, and mental acts of loving kindness, and through abstinence, courage, persistence, lack of enmity, and an attitude that regards gifts and recipients in a non-dualistic, non-focusing, and illusion-like manner. They may enter into and arise from their meditative experiences sequentially, or they may enter into the meditative stability known as the yawning lion, in which the formless absorptions and meditative concentrations are reversed. Abiding in this meditative stability, they attain the sameness of all things.


– B.VI. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING - SERIAL CLEAR REALIZATION – Gradual Path

The sixth section of the sūtra, "Serial Clear Realization," includes

  • the serial trainings in the six transcendent perfections, (i.e. Generosity, discipline, tolerance, perseverance, concentration, wisdom)

  • the serial trainings in the six recollections (i.e. Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, generosity, discipline, devas / guru), and

  • the serial training in the realization that phenomena are without essential nature. (i.e. Genuine-emptiness free from all extremes & middle = Union of the Two Truths free from all extremes & middle [U2T].)

This section is omitted from this version of the sūtra, which continues instead with section seven, "Instantaneous Clear Realization."


– B.VII. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF TRAINING - INSTANTANEOUS CLEAR REALIZATION – Sudden realisation

This has four topics: maturation, non-maturation, lack of defining characteristics, and non-duality.

Chapter 28a [Dissimilar Defining Characteristics] – Understanding, and then acting in accord with, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is [U2T]

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / practice / realise without acting / practicing / realising the true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

Bodhisattvas practice the transcendent perfections for the sake of all sentient beings, assuming the five aggregates [T1] which are dreamlike, without essential nature, and without defining characteristics [T2] [U2T].
They perfect all meditative experiences and all causal and fruitional attributes, and then, participating in cyclic existence for the sake of all sentient beings, they are untainted by the defects of cyclic existence.
Understanding that all things are without defining characteristics, they go on to attain omniscience.
Owing to the emptiness of essential nature and the emptiness of ultimate reality, they do not conceptualize and they come to accept that phenomena are non-arising.
Having brought sentient beings to maturation, they will attain manifestly perfect buddhahood by means of instantaneous wisdom. Well trained in emptiness, they do not apprehend anything at all apart from emptiness.
All apprehension of phenomena, causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments constitutes the immaturity of the bodhisattvas.
The absence of all apprehension constitutes the maturity of the bodhisattvas.
The bodhisattvas who practice the TRANSCENDENT PERFECTION OF WISDOM [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] perceive that all things are gathered within it [T1], but do not apprehend anything [T2] [U2T], owing to non-duality [Uopp].
All things are undifferentiated, without defining characteristics, and subject neither to arising nor cessation.


[C. FRUITION ARISING FROM CONCLUSIVE REALIZATION]

– C.VIII. FRUITIONAL BUDDHA BODY OF REALITY

(i.e. The true Buddha – the three inseparable kayas – is the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now / Ground / Basis / Source / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Suchness, as pointed by concepts like: the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T], the Union of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], the Union of opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], the Middle Way free from all extremes & middle, … The ultimate fruition is spontaneously non-dualistically non-conceptually directly perceiving / realising / experiencing that we are, or everything is, inseparable manifestations of the inconceivable unique all-encompassing timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine Ground: not many, not one, not both together, not neither. It is realizing that everything is primordially equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three kaysas, the true Buddha. Everything is the true Buddha trying to teach us, out of immeasurable interdependence / compassion, the inconceivable liberating Truths, the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T].)

The last section of the sūtra, concerning the fruitional buddha body of reality, comprises the buddha body of essentiality, the buddha body of gnosis and reality, the buddha body of perfect resource, and the buddha body of emanation. It extends from the second part of chapter 28 through to the end of chapter 30.

(C.VIII. Fruitional attributes of the buddha body of reality.

Its four topics include

  1. (i) the buddha body of essentiality,

  2. (ii) the buddha body of gnosis and reality,

  3. (ii) the buddha body of perfect resource, and

  4. (iv) the buddha body of emanation.)

Chapter 28b [Dissimilar Defining Characteristics] – The true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T]: Everything – ex. the three spheres: subject, relation / action, object – is empty of inherent existence [T2] <==> exactly because dependently co-arisen [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S]. And vice versa, one aspect / truth implies the other (<==>). Everything is like an illusion : 'There, but not there".

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / teach without acting / teaching – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

Investigating conditioned phenomena [T1] through emptiness [T2] [U2T], (i.e. The true nature & dynamic of everything – ex. the three spheres: subject / mind, relation / action, objects / phenomena – is the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free from all extremes & middle [U2T].)
bodhisattvas teach ordinary people who grasp dreams as reality that (i.e. Everything is like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams: 'There, but not there' [U2T]. Not really existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless, not both together, not neither.)
all phenomena are empty of notions of "I" and "mine." (i.e. Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres [U2T-3S] – subject / me, relation / action, object / mine / 5 aggregates. The three spheres are empty of inherent existence because interdependent, co-emergent, co-evolving … and vice versa.)

Since all phenomena arise from dependent origination [T1],
and are grasped erroneously through the maturation of past actions, (i.e. The karmic cycle is the Union of the three spheres, their co-evolution. One sphere is conditioned-by, and conditioning, the other two spheres in a limitless and centerless cycle.)
what other cause can there be for their perception of non-entities [T2] as [appearing] entities [T1] [U2T]?

Skillful bodhisattvas cause sentient beings to engage successively with each of the six transcendent perfections and then to turn away from states of indulgence to enter into the expanse of final nirvāṇa, or at least to become established in the causal and fruitional attributes.
Although all things are dreamlike non-entities [T2],
abiding in the six transcendent perfections,
bodhisattvas attract sentient beings by their practice of the six transcendent perfections [T1] [U2T].

Chapter 29 [The Gift of the Sacred Doctrine] – The true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is, the Union of the Two Truths [U2T], is 'indescribable / inconceivable' for our flawed dualistic conceptual conditioned ordinary mind(s). We can use it [T1], but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / train without acting / training – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

Bodhisattvas attract sentient beings with the mundane and supramundane gifts of the sacred doctrine.

  • The former concerns mundane phenomena and meditative experiences.

  • The latter establishes sentient beings through skill in means in the causal and fruitional attributes, and attainments, so that they renounce afflicted mental states, and all propensities for rebirth.

  • Once bodhisattvas have attained omniscience, they will be called buddhas.

When bodhisattvas practice the six transcendent perfections, they attract sentient beings and establish them on the bodhisattva levels, releasing them from erroneous views.
When the relative truth is taken as the standard, they systematically present the various fruits [T1],
but not so in ultimate truth because all things are without arising, without cessation, without affliction and without purification [T2].
This reality of [Genuine-]emptiness [free from all extremes & middle] is non-conceptual and indescribable.
(i.e. Genuine-emptiness is the Union of the Two Truths [U2T].)

Owing to emptiness [T2], they do not become fixated on anything at all, and they do not train in anything except emptiness, signlessness and aspirationlessness. In this way they undertake training [T1] ‍— realizing the four noble truths, comprehending the twelve links of dependent origination, and refining the causal and fruitional attributes. [U2T]

Chapter 30 [Inherent Existence] – Teaching without teaching the Union of the Two Truths about all dharmas, the Middle Way in everything [T1], but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / perceive / know / practice / help without acting / perceiving / knowing / practicing / helping – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

Bodhisattvas correctly perceive the real properties of all phenomena: For example, physical forms resemble a mass of insubstantial foam, feelings are like a fleeting bubble of water, perceptions resemble a mirage, formative predispositions resemble a hollow plantain tree, and consciousness resembles an army conjured up by an illusionist.

  1. The defining characteristic of suffering is harm,

  2. the defining characteristic of the origin of suffering is production,

  3. the defining characteristic of cessation is quiescence, and

  4. the defining characteristic of the path is emancipation.

Bodhisattvas do not apprehend anything outside the expanse of reality [T2];
and yet, owing to their skill in means, they continue to practice the transcendent perfections and encourage others to do so [T1] [U2T].

If all things were not empty of inherent existence, the bodhisattvas would not demonstrate to sentient beings that
all [appearing] things [T1] are empty of inherent existence [T2] [U2T].

The emptiness of inherent existence [T2] is the natural expression of all things [T1] [U2T].
Abiding therein, they strive toward genuinely perfect enlightenment, training in order to liberate sentient beings [T1] [U2T].
Having perfected those paths and brought sentient beings to maturity, they will attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.

Chapter 31 [Irreversibility] – Following conventional truths / methods / goals [T1], but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / train / practice / discriminate / differentiate without acting / training / practicing / discriminating / differentiating – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

At this point the text returns to the discussion found in the aforementioned fourth section on the training in the clear realization of all phenomena (see chapter 7).
Irreversible bodhisattvas have turned away from all mundane phenomena and lesser attainments but not from the causal and fruitional attributes. They do not cause others to doubt the discipline of the sacred doctrine, nor do they maintain a sense of supremacy. They will not be disadvantaged and they will always practice the transcendent perfections, cultivating them for the sake of sentient beings and dedicating their merits [T1]
without apprehending anything [T2] [U2T].
Their physical, verbal, and mental actions are gentle, without hostility toward any sentient being, and imbued with loving kindness. Entering into the maturity of the bodhisattvas, they never cultivate thoughts of miserliness, degenerate morality, indolence, distraction, or delusion. If Māra seeks to deceive and dissuade them by conjuring up negative images of bodhisattvas suffering in the hells, or by denouncing the bodhisattva path as a poetic fabrication, their minds will not be alienated and they will not turn back from genuinely perfect enlightenment.

Having accepted that phenomena are non-arising, they understand that all things are indeed equal to space and empty of intrinsic defining characteristics [T2],
but nonetheless they don the armor which is equal to space and empty of intrinsic defining characteristics, and attain manifestly perfect buddhahood in order to emancipate sentient beings from cyclic existence [T1] [U2T].
Irreversible bodhisattvas would even relinquish their own lives for the sake of acquiring the sacred doctrine,
but they would not relinquish the doctrine that all phenomena are empty [T2] [U2T].

Chapter 32 [The Attainment of Manifest Enlightenment] – Adopting the Middle Way in everything: not accepting, not rejecting anything in absolute terms. Using valid useful adapted skillful means / truths / methods / goals [T1], but without thinking anything is inherently existing, without apprehending anything; without any attachment / fixation / notion / absolute [T2] [U2T].

(i.e. Bodhisattvas act / train / generate bodhicitta / gain enlightenment / help others without acting / training / generating / attaining / helping – even if all dharmas are empty of inherent existence [T2] because dependently co-arisen [T1] [U2T] –, but without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes; without falling into any extreme or middle; more and more in accord with the Middle Way: not accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing in absolute terms, not rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively; thus more and more in accord with the transcendent perfection of wisdom; more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is; more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths [U2T / U2T-3S / U2T-opp / U2T-2T] beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferations, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
Bodhisattvas act – actions of the body, speech and mind – in accord with valid conventional / relative truths / methods / goals [T1], but without apprehending anybody / anything / any-relation/action in absolute terms [T2] – as if they were inherently existing with inherently existing characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions –; with awareness of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T], of the three spheres [U3S / U2T-3S], of apparent opposites [Uopp / U2T-opp], of the two truths [U2T-2T].)

The penultimate chapter comes back to the final section on the fruitional attributes and buddha bodies. Among the transcendent perfections and the causal and fruitional attributes, there is nothing at all in which bodhisattvas should not train because without training, they cannot attain omniscience. (i.e. the Middle Way: nothing to accept, nothing to reject in absolute terms.)

  • If sentient beings already knew that all things are empty of inherent existence,
    bodhisattvas would not undertake training and attain omniscience.

  • It is because they do not know
    that bodhisattvas do indeed undertake training and attain manifestly perfect buddhahood.

Thinking that, fixation besides, there is nothing at all which can be apprehended [T2],
they see sentient beings grasping that which does not exist,
and, through skill in means, release them, [T1] [U2T]
encouraging them to practice the transcendent perfections
and abide in the fruits of attainment.

After perfecting the six transcendent perfections, along with the causal and fruitional attributes, bodhisattvas will themselves attain manifestly perfect buddhahood by means of wisdom that is instantaneously endowed with adamantine meditative stability (i.e. Union os samatha & vipashyana). They purify the negativity of body, speech, and mind. Seized by great compassion, they may even take birth in lower realms for the sake of sentient beings, but remain untainted by any defects.
Without apprehending anything at all [T2],
they abide in the emptiness of non-apprehension and attain manifestly perfect buddhahood [T1] [U2T].
This is the second promulgation of the doctrinal wheel by the buddhas in the world, which was comprehended by innumerable sentient beings.

Chapter 33 [The Conclusion] – Merit

(i.e. Immeasurable merit to be gained from this Sutra.)

The conclusion of the whole sūtra comes in the form of a dialogue between Lord Buddha and Ānanda, the compiler of the sūtras. The corresponding passages are found in the third section of the recast Sanskrit manuscript.

  • Those who dismiss or spurn this transcendent perfection of wisdom on the grounds that it is not the Vinaya, but unorthodox and non-canonical, will endure the great sufferings of the hells and other inferior realms.

  • By contrast, the merits of those who retain this transcendent perfection of wisdom, commit it to writing, and communicate it to others are extolled above all else.

As long as this transcendent perfection of wisdom is active in the world, so long will the buddhas reside in the world, and so long will sentient beings behold the buddhas, listen to this transcendent perfection of wisdom, and commit it to writing.


Notes on this publication

Although 84000's general preference is to avoid the use of square brackets to indicate words or phrases added in the translation as an aid to understanding and readability, an exception has been made in the case of this text. The most frequent reason for their use here is to provide, in passages dealing with a series of previously enumerated elements under discussion, a reference to what those elements are that is missing in the taut phrasing of the Tibetan (and, we may assume, the original Sanskrit). Although these added phrases are arguably included in the text's meaning, if not its actual words, they have been left in square brackets to avoid confusing readers who might wish to read the translation along with the original, as well as to facilitate close comparison of the different Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom sūtras.

References to the parallel passages in the recast Sanskrit manuscript, mentioned above, have been left embedded throughout the underlying database file of this translation, e.g. [cf. Dutt: 142] or [cf. Kimura II-III: 18], but have been rendered invisible in this display. The database file is available on request to scholars and researchers.


Access to other chapters: 

The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom in 10k Lines
[Not complete – Work in Progress]


.

.
.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.