The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Eighteen Thousand Lines - 366
– Chapter 66 - A Demonstration of Skillful Means –
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]
66. A DEMONSTRATION OF SKILLFUL MEANS– All bodhisattva practices should be done while being aware of the Union of the Two Truths about the three spheres – ex. subject / actor / giver / cause, relation / action / generosity / causality, object result / gift / recipient / effect – [U2T-3S]; otherwise they turn into poisons. All practices should be done with a bodhicitta motivation.
Then venerable Subhūti inquired of the Lord,
"Lord, bodhisattva great beings who do not attend on the lord buddhas, do not plant wholesome roots, and are not looked after by spiritual friends — those bodhisattva great beings would not gain the knowledge of all aspects, would they?"
"Subhūti," replied the Lord,
"bodhisattva great beings who have not attended on the lord buddhas, have not planted wholesome roots, and have not been looked after by spiritual friends would not gain the knowledge of all aspects.
Even bodhisattva great beings who have attended on the lord buddhas, have planted wholesome roots,
and have been looked after by spiritual friends will not be able to gain the knowledge of all aspects,
never mind bodhisattva great beings who have not attended on the lord buddhas, have not planted wholesome roots, and have not been looked after by spiritual friends. It is impossible that they will gain the knowledge of all aspects.
Therefore, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings should attend on the lord buddhas,
plant wholesome roots, and rely on spiritual friends."
"Lord, why would even bodhisattva great beings who attend on the lord buddhas, plant wholesome roots, and rely on spiritual friends not gain the knowledge of all aspects?"
"It is because of being separated from skillful means.
It is because they have not heard that method from those lord buddhas and have not planted wholesome roots and not relied on those spiritual friends who are the spiritual friends that would teach them that method."
"Lord, what are those skillful means, in possession of which bodhisattva great beings gain the knowledge of all aspects?"
Venerable Subhūti having asked that, the Lord said to him,
"Subhūti, here, starting from the production of the first thought, when bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of giving they give gifts to the lord buddhas, the pratyekabuddhas and śrāvakas, and to those in human form and nonhuman form, with attention connected to the knowledge of all aspects.
But, endowed with attention connected to the knowledge of all aspects [T1],
they do not entertain the notion that giving is giving (relation / action) ,
do not entertain the notion that the recipient is a recipient (object-2),
and do not entertain the notion that the giver is a giver (subject) [T2] [U2T-3S].
Because they see all dharmas [T1] as empty of their own mark,
as not thoroughly established, and as not having come into being [T2] [U2T].
They enter into the mark that marks all dharmas as dharmas, entering into all dharmas marked as being without the capacity to function and not occasioning anything.
Endowed with those skillful means they grow and flourish on wholesome roots;
growing and flourishing on wholesome roots, they practice the perfection of giving;
and practicing the perfection of giving they bring beings to maturity and purify a buddhafield,
but without hoping for a result from giving — a result from giving that they would enjoy in saṃsāra.
On the contrary, they practice the perfection of giving in order to protect beings and in order to liberate beings."
This was the sixty-sixth chapter, "A Demonstration of Skillful Means," 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