The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Eighteen Thousand Lines - 353
– Chapter 53 - The prophecy about sister Gaṅgadevī –
More Analysis of Mahayana Sutras : https://www.gilehtblog.com/2022/07/toc-400.html
[Note: The two truths are:
T1: conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances / tools / adapted skillful means, 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 / causality / functionality, non-existence / non-dharma / non-causality / non-functionality, both together, neither; difference / manyness / diversity / duality, identity / oneness / sameness / non-duality, both together, neither; permanence / continuity / eternity, impermanence / discontinuity / annihilation, both together, neither; individuality, collectivity, universality, a combination of those, none of those; subjectivity, relation / action / process, objectivity, a combination of those, none of those; the 1st truth alone / dependent origination [T1], the 2nd truth alone / mere-emptiness [T2], both two truths together as if different and in opposition [2T], neither of the two truths as if identical and one [1T,]; 'this', 'non-this', both together, neither – for whatever 'this' is.
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.
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 evident.
Note: All comments within (i.e. …) or [...] are from the commentator (me), not the translators.)
[Back to Résumés of chapters 42-87]
53. THE PROPHECY ABOUT GAṄGADEVĪ
(i.e. Résumé: The prophecy about sister Gaṅgadevī.
"This sister has laid the groundwork for unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.")
Then the sister Gaṅgadevī, who had joined the assembly and was seated in that very retinue, got up from her seat, adjusted her upper robe so it hung down from one shoulder, knelt down with her right knee on the ground, cupped her palms together in a gesture of supplication specifically to the Lord, bowed forward to him, and said to the Lord,
"I too, Lord, I too, Sugata, will practice the six perfections well,
and just like the tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas
will look after such buddhafields as those taught in this perfection of wisdom."
Then that woman took golden flowers; took silver flowers, flowers that grow on dry land, and flowers that grow in the water; took all the adornments; and took twinned muslin scarfs with a gold-like color569 and strewed them specifically over the Lord.
Through the power of the Lord, the moment after she had strewed all those twinned muslin scarfs and so on, they stayed there, a second story in the space right above the Lord's head, square with four corners and four pillars, equidimensional, extremely excellent, perfectly proportioned and delightful. 570
That woman then made that second story into something shared in common with all beings and dedicated it to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
Then at that time the Lord, knowing the intention of that woman, smiled.
And it is in the very nature of a lord buddha that when they smile, from the opening of the lord's mouth issue forth light rays of many colors, of a variety of colors — namely, blue, yellow, red, white, reddish brown, crystalline, and silvery. Having dispersed through limitless and boundless world systems and retracted back they circle around the lord three times and disappear into the lord from the top of his head.
Venerable Ānanda then got up from his seat, adjusted his upper robe so it hung down from one shoulder, knelt down with his right knee on the ground, cupped his palms together in a gesture of supplication specifically to the Lord, bowed forward to him, and said to the Lord,
"Lord, the tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas
do not give a smile without a cause, without a condition.
So why did you smile? What is the cause, what is the condition?"
Venerable Ānanda having asked this, the Lord said to him,
"Ānanda, in the future during the eon called Tārakopama this sister Gaṅgadevī will become the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha called Suvarṇapuṣpa, the one with the golden flowers, and appear in the world. This, Ānanda, is this woman's last female body.
Ānanda, this sister Gaṅgadevī, having forsaken a woman's body and acquired a man's body, will be born in the buddhafield of the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Akṣobhya, the world system called Abhirati.
She will live a celibate life there.
Ānanda, that bodhisattva great being's name will also be Suvarṇapuṣpa.
Ānanda, that bodhisattva great being Suvarṇapuṣpa, having died there, will pass on from buddhafield to buddhafield and will never be separated from the lord buddhas.
Just as, Ānanda, a wheel-turning emperor goes walking from palace to palace for as long as he lives but until the time of his death the soles of his feet never press upon the ground, similarly, Ānanda, the bodhisattva great being called Suvarṇapuṣpa will pass on from buddhafield to buddhafield until fully awakening to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, never separated from the lord buddhas."
Then it occurred to venerable Ānanda to think,
"One should be aware that howsoever many bodhisattva great beings there are assembled in that buddhafield, they will be a tathāgata assembly." 571
Then the Lord, understanding in his mind the thoughts occurring to venerable Ānanda, said to venerable Ānanda,
"Ānanda, it is exactly as you are thinking! It is exactly so!
One should be aware that those bodhisattva great beings will be a tathāgata assembly.
Ānanda, in the buddhafield of the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Suvarṇapuṣpa his community of monks will be infinite.
The measure of his community of monks cannot be taken by saying that there are this many śrāvakas, or there are up to a hundred śrāvakas, or there are up to a thousand śrāvakas, or there are up to a hundred thousand śrāvakas, or there are up to one hundred million śrāvakas, or there are up to a hundred one hundred million śrāvakas, or there are up to a thousand one hundred million śrāvakas, or there are up to a hundred thousand one hundred million śrāvakas, or there are up to a hundred thousand billion one hundred million śrāvakas; rather, there will be an ananta of an asaṃkhyeya of a hundred thousand billion one hundred million śrāvakas.
Ānanda, in that buddhafield where the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Suvarṇapuṣpa will have fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, those faults described in this perfection of wisdom will not exist and will not appear as anything at all, in any way at all."
The Lord having said this, venerable Ānanda asked him,
"Lord, in relation to whom did this sister plant such a wholesome root?"
"Ānanda," replied the Lord,
"this sister planted such a wholesome root in relation to the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Dīpaṃkara,
and having dedicated that wholesome root to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening,
because she wanted unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening
she strewed golden flowers on the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Dīpaṃkara as well.
Ānanda, when I strewed blue lotus flowers on the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Dīpaṃkara because I wanted unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, the lord, the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Dīpaṃkara, knowing I had the wholesome root, prophesied my full awakening to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
At that time this sister heard the prophecy about me and produced the thought, 'Yes! Just as a full awakening to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening has been prophesied of this brahmin student, similarly in the future may there also be a prophecy that I too will fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.'
Thus, Ānanda, did this sister first produce the thought of unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening in the presence of the tathāgata, worthy one, perfectly complete buddha Dīpaṃkara."
The Lord having said this, venerable Ānanda said to him,
"Lord, this sister has laid the groundwork for unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening."
Venerable Ānanda having said this, the Lord replied to him,
"Exactly so! Ānanda, it is exactly as you say!
This sister has laid the groundwork for unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening."
This was the fifty-third chapter, "The Prophecy about Gaṅgadevī," of "The Perfection of Wisdom in Eighteen Thousand Lines."
Access to other chapters on the Blog:
(Work in progress. Empty files means they are not done yet.)
Chapter 0 – Introduction to the Sutra
Chapter 1 – Introduction / the Assembly
Chapter 2 – Production of the Thought
Chapter 3 – designation [U2T]
Chapter 4 – Equal to the Unequal
Chapter 5 – Tongue
Chapter 6 – Subhūti
Chapter 7 – Entry into flawlessness
Chapter 8 – The Religious Mendicant Śreṇika
Chapter 9 – Causal Signs
Chapter 10 – Illusion-like
Chapter 11 – Embarrassment
Chapter 12 – Elimination of Views
Chapter 13 – The Six Perfections
Chapter 14 – Neither Bound nor Freed
Chapter 15 – Meditative Stabilization
Chapter 16 – Dhāraṇī Gateway
Chapter 17 – Level Purification
Chapter 18 – The Exposition of Going Forth in the Great Vehicle [cause / path]
Chapter 19 – Surpassing
Chapter 20 – Not Two
Chapter 21 – Subhūti
Chapter 22 – Śatakratu
Chapter 23 – Hard to Understand
Chapter 24 – Unlimited
Chapter 25 – Second Śatakratu
Chapter 26 – Getting Old
Chapter 27 – Reliquary
Chapter 28 – Declaration of the Good Qualities of the Thought of Awakening
Chapter 29 – Different Tīrthika Religious Mendicants
Chapter 30 – The Benefits of Taking Up and Adoration
Chapter 31 – Physical Remains
Chapter 32 – The Superiority of Merit
Chapter 33 – Dedication
Chapter 34 – Perfect Praise of the Quality of Accomplishment
Chapter 35 – Hells
Chapter 36 – Teaching The Purity of all Dharmas
Chapter 37 – Nobody
Chapter 38 – Cannot Be Apprehended
Chapter 39 – The Northern Region
Chapter 40 – The Work of Māra
Chapter 41 – Not Complete Because of Māra
Chapter 42 – Revealing the World
Chapter 43 – Inconceivable
Chapter 44 – Made Up
Chapter 45 – A Boat
Chapter 46 – Teaching the Intrinsic Nature of All Dharmas
Chapter 47 – Taming Greed
Chapter 48 – A Presentation of the Bodhisattvas' Training
Chapter 49 – Irreversibility
Chapter 50 – Teaching the Signs of Irreversibility
Chapter 51 – Skillful means
Chapter 52 – Completion of the Means
Chapter 53 – The Prophecy about Gaṅgadevī
Chapter 54 – Teaching the Cultivation of Skillful Means
Chapter 55 – Teaching the Stopping of Thought Construction [in absolute terms]
Chapter 56 – Equal Training
Chapter 57 – Practice
Chapter 58 – Exposition of the Absence of Thought Construction [in absolute terms]
Chapter 59 – non-attachment
Chapter 60 – Entrusting
Chapter 61 – Inexhaustible
Chapter 62 – Leaping Above Absorption
Chapter 63 – Many Inquiries about the Two Dharmas
Chapter 64 – Perfectly Displayed
Chapter 65 – Worshiping, Serving, and Attending on Spiritual Friends as Skillful Means
Chapter 66 – A Demonstration of Skillful Means
Chapter 67 – Morality
Chapter 68 – Growing and Flourishing
Chapter 69 – An Explanation of Meditation on The Path
Chapter 70 – An Explanation of Serial Action, Training, and Practice
Chapter 71 – The True Nature of Dharmas That Cannot Be Apprehended
Chapter 72 – Teaching the Absence of Marks
Chapter 73 – Exposition of the Major Marks and Minor Signs and the Completion of Letters
Chapter 74 – Exposition of the Sameness of Dharmas
Chapter 75 – Exposition of non-complication –
Chapter 76 – The Armor for Bringing Beings to Maturity
Chapter 77 – Teaching the Purification of a Buddhafield
Chapter 78 – Teaching the Skillful Means for the Purification of a Buddhafield
Chapter 79 – Teaching the non- Existence of an Intrinsic Nature
Chapter 80 – Teaching that there is No Defilement or Purification
Chapter 81 – Yogic Practice of the Ultimate
Chapter 82 – The Unchanging True Nature of Dharmas
Chapter 83 – Categorization of a Bodhisattva's Training
Chapter 84 – Collection
Chapter 85 – Sadāprarudita
Chapter 86 – Dharmodgata
Chapter 87 – Entrusting