Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Prajnaparamita-18K - Chapter 75 - Not complicating things by grasping at any extreme or middle - 375

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The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Eighteen Thousand Lines - 375
Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā

– Chapter 75 - Not complicating things by grasping at any extreme or middle –

Source: https://read.84000.co/translation/toh10.html

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


[Back to Résumés of chapters 42-87]

75. EXPOSITION OF NON-COMPLICATION – Bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means establish the limit of beings at the very limit of reality without complicating the very limit of reality by grasping at any opposite extreme(s) or middle. Ex. Grasping at one of the two truths (ex. emptiness), or at both together / dualism, or at a neither / oneness.

(i.e. Résumé: Bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means establish the limit of beings at the very limit of reality without complicating the very limit of reality by grasping at any opposite extreme(s) or middle. Ex. Grasping at one of the two truths (ex. emptiness), or at both together / dualism, or at a neither / oneness.
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From Chapter 74: "Lord, if bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom are aware in that way of those dharmas that are different from each other, well then, Lord, does that not complicate the dharma-constituent?"
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The dharma-constituent: the inconceivable unique all-pervading timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharma, the dharmadhatu / dharmata / suchness / genuine-emptiness / buddha-nature / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] / Ground / Basis / Source.
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All dharmas are like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams / echos / magical tricks: "There, but not there!"
Appearing in dependence & relatively functional [T1] <==> but empty of inherent existence [T2];
empty of inherent existence [T2] <==> but still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances / tools / adapted skillful means [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].
All dharmas are not really arising / caused / existent / efficient / ceasing, not completely non-arising / non-caused / non-existent / non-efficient / non-ceasing, not both together, not neither; not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth, for whatever 'this' is.
Meaning their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferation, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma.
So 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 change / improve / purify in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth [U2T].
Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts / truths / practices / methods / goals / causality / appearances / tools / adapted skillful means; on the contrary one truth supports the other.
Even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there is a way to use all dharmas without any attachment / fixations / absolutes if one uses them while being fully aware of their true nature & dynamic: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] about them.
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Bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means establish the limit of beings at the very limit of reality without complicating the very limit of reality. (i.e. Realising the true nature & dynamic of all dharmas / Ground / Basis / Source, without apprehending anything, without any attachments / fixation / absolute, without falling for any extreme or middle; ex. without grasping at the first truth / dependent origination [T1], or at the second truth / emptiness [T2], or at both truths together as if they were different / separate / in-opposition [2T], or at neither of the Two Truths as if they were identical, or an indescribable ultimate reality / oneness [1T].)
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"Bodhisattvas practice without complicating the emptiness of a basic nature
so that form… [T1] is not one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature [T2] another [2T]."
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"Therefore, having stood in the perfection that is the emptiness of a basic nature,
bodhisattva great beings do not complicate form… with 'it is empty,' or 'it is not empty';
they do not complicate feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness with 'it is empty,' or 'it is not empty';
and similarly, connect this with each, up to they do not complicate awakening with 'it is empty,' or 'it is not empty.'
Because the emptiness of form… does not make it complicated with 'this is form…,' and 'this is emptiness'.
The emptiness of a basic nature does not complicate form…,
and form… does not complicate emptiness.
Because the 'this is form…,' and 'this is emptiness,'
that might make that sort of complication have no intrinsic existence."
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Awakening is not about accepting one truth (ex. emptiness) while rejecting the other (ex. dependently arisen appearances), not about vice versa, not about accepting both truths together opposing one to the other, not about rejecting both truths for a transcendental ultimate reality / oneness.)

Then venerable Subhūti asked the Lord,

  • "Lord, if a being is absolutely not apprehended and even the designation of a being does not exist,
    for whose sake do bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of wisdom?"

Venerable Subhūti having asked this, the Lord said to him,

  • "Subhūti, having taken the very limit of reality as the measure, 815 bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of wisdom.
    Subhūti, if the very limit of reality were to be one thing and the limit of beings another, bodhisattva great beings would not practice the perfection of wisdom.
    But, Subhūti, the very limit of reality is not one thing and the limit of beings another, therefore bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of wisdom for the sake of beings.
    Subhūti, by not complicating the very limit of reality,
    bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom
    establish beings at the very limit of reality."

  • (i.e. The very limit of reality: A synonym for ultimate reality, and also a near-synonym for nirvāṇa.
    A synonym for ultimate truth and a way of describing the attainment of perfection as the culmination of the spiritual path.
    The absolute limit or extent of reality. The term is most often used as a synonym for the ultimate state.
    A synonym for ultimate reality, emptiness, dharmadhātu, and so forth‍ — as either an ontological reality or a state of being‍ — this compound is typically parsed as the "limit" or "frontier" (koṭi) of "reality" (bhūta), which is intended metaphorically, as it is consistently described, in a play on words, as "without limit" (akoṭi) or "infinite" (atyanta). This compound might also be parsed as the "final" or "true" (bhūta) "conclusion" or "goal" (koṭi), although the majority of cases and the Indian Buddhist commentarial tradition tend to support the former interpretation.
    This term has three meanings: (1) the ultimate nature, (2) the experience of the ultimate nature, and (3) the quiescent state of a worthy one (arhat) to be avoided by bodhisattvas.)

  • (i.e. The dharma-constituent: the inconceivable unique all-pervading timeless unborn unconditioned unchanging unceasing pristine true nature & dynamic as it is of all dharma, the dharmadhatu / dharmata / suchness / genuine-emptiness / buddha-nature / Union of the Two Truths [U2T] / Ground / Basis / Source.)

  • (i.e. All dharmas are like illusions / reflections / mirages / dreams / echos / magical tricks: "There, but not there!" Appearing in dependence & relatively functional [T1] <==> but empty of inherent existence [T2]; empty of inherent existence [T2] <==> but still conventionally dependently co-arisen relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances / tools / adapted skillful means [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma. One aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. They are not really arising / caused / existent / efficient / ceasing, not completely non-arising / non-caused / non-existent / non-efficient / non-ceasing, not both together, not neither; not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth, for whatever 'this' is. Meaning their true nature & dynamic as it is here & now is indescribable / inconceivable, beyond all extremes & middle, beyond all dualistic conceptual proliferation, beyond all defining limitations, beyond all conditioning / karma. So 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 change / improve / purify in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps someone to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth [U2T]. Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts / truths / practices / methods / goals / causality / appearances / tools / adapted skillful means; on the contrary one truth supports the other. Even if everything is empty of inherent existence, there is a way to use all dharmas without any attachment / fixations / absolutes if one uses them while being fully aware of their true nature & dynamic: the Union of the Two Truths [U2T] about them.)

The Lord having said this, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, if the very limit of reality is also the limit of beings,
    well then, how is a very limit of reality going to rest at the very limit of reality?
    Lord, if a very limit of reality rests at the very limit of reality,
    then in that case an intrinsic nature will rest in intrinsic nature.
    Lord, given that an intrinsic nature does not rest in intrinsic nature,
    how, Lord, are bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom going to establish the limit of beings at the very limit of reality?"

Venerable Subhūti having asked this, the Lord said to him,

  • "Subhūti, it is true that a very limit of reality does not rest at the very limit of reality
    and an intrinsic nature does not rest in intrinsic nature,
    but still, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means
    establish the limit of beings at the very limit of reality without complicating the very limit of reality.
    Therefore, Subhūti, the very limit of reality is not one thing and the limit of beings is not another.
    The very limit of reality and the limit of beings are not two, are not divided, are not broken apart, and are not cut apart."

The Lord having said this, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, what are the skillful means in possession of which bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means establish beings at the very limit of reality without complicating the very limit of reality?"

Venerable Subhūti having asked this, the Lord said to him,

  • [GENEROSITY:] "Subhūti, here, starting from the first production of the thought,
    bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom establish beings in the perfection of giving.
    Having established them in the perfection of giving, while teaching the prior limit and later limit and midpoint of that giving, they teach, 'Just as this giving's prior limit and later limit are empty, and its midpoint is empty, so too this gift is empty, the giving's result is empty, the benefactor is empty, and the recipient is empty.
    Son of a good family, since this is the case,
    do not suppose all those things exist at the very limit of reality [U2T];
    do not suppose the giving is one thing and the result of the gift another;
    do not suppose the benefactor is one thing and the recipient another.
    Do not suppose, son of a good family, when you are giving that it is one thing and the result of the giving another,
    do not suppose the benefactor is one thing and the recipient another,
    and then, son of a good family, this giving of yours will be the elixir of immortality for both, 816
    your giving will have the elixir of immortality as its result and will end up as the elixir of immortality.
    But you should not, on account of this giving, hold onto form, you should not hold onto feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness.
    And why?
    Because this giving of yours is empty of an intrinsic nature of giving,
    its result is empty of an intrinsic nature of a gift,
    the benefactor is empty of an intrinsic nature of a benefactor,
    and the recipient is empty of an intrinsic nature of a recipient,
    so in emptiness giving cannot be apprehended, and neither can the result of giving, the benefactor, or the recipient.
    And why?
    Because those dharmas [T1] are utterly empty of an intrinsic nature [T2] [U2T].'

  • [MORALITY:] "Furthermore, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means establish beings in the perfection of morality, saying, 'Come here, son of a good family. You must stop killing and must turn back from killing.
    Similarly, connect this with each, up to You must stop wrong view and must turn back from wrong view.
    That sort of intrinsic nature you have looked for in all those dharmas does not exist at all, so, son of a good family, reflect deeply on what those phenomena‍ — the living being who is being killed and that with which the living being is being killed‍ — are.
    Similarly, connect this with each, up to wrong view.'
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    Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom in possession of such skillful means bring beings to maturity and teach them the result of giving and morality ‍ — teaching them that the result of giving and morality is empty of an intrinsic nature, whereby those sons of a good family come to know that the result of giving and morality is empty of an intrinsic nature and do not settle down on it.
    In a state in which they do not settle down, they generate a state without distraction and generate wisdom;
    with that wisdom they cut off all bad proclivities and obsessions and pass into complete nirvāṇa in the element of nirvāṇa without any aggregates left behind, but as an ordinary convention, not ultimately.
    And why?
    Because in emptiness no phenomenon can be apprehended that is passing into complete nirvāṇa or that has passed into complete nirvāṇa, and yet this‍ — namely, the emptiness of what transcends limits‍ — is still their complete nirvāṇa.

  • [PATIENCE:] "Furthermore, Subhūti, when bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom see other beings and other persons who are emotionally upset and bearing malice toward each other, they give advice and instruction, saying, 'Come here, son of a good family. All those dharmas on account of which you are bearing malice are empty of a basic nature. You both should have patience. You should get used to being patient. You should become the tolerant type. Hey! Reflect deeply on the fact that the object of malice, someone bearing malice, and that on account of which someone bears malice are all empty of a basic nature, and what is empty of a basic nature is never not empty. It is not made by tathāgatas, nor is it made by pratyekabuddhas, śrāvakas, bodhisattvas, gods, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, kinnaras, mahoragas, Cāturmahā­rājika gods, up to Para­nirmita­vaśa­vartin gods, Brahmās, up to Śubhakṛtsna, up to or those in the Śuddhāvāsa and Naiva­saṃjñā­nāsaṃjñāyatana. Son of a good family, reflect deeply on the fact that the object of malice, someone who is bearing malice, and that on account of which someone bears malice are all empty of an intrinsic nature. Emptiness does not bear malice to anyone at all.' Subhūti, when bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom in possession of such skillful means connect beings to the emptiness of a basic nature, they connect them to cause and effect as well. When they are connecting them to the emptiness of a basic nature, they excite and inspire them to take up and enter into it, and establish them in it, but as an ordinary convention, not ultimately. And why? Because in the emptiness of a basic nature something to be attained, someone who attains, and something on account of which someone attains‍ — none of those phenomena can be apprehended.

  • "Subhūti, this very limit of reality where bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of wisdom for the sake of beings is the emptiness of a basic nature. A being is not apprehended there, nor is the designation of a being apprehended there. And why? Because all phenomena are isolated from beings.' 817

  • [PERSEVERANCE:] "Furthermore, Subhūti, when bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom see beings deficient in perseverance, they inspire them with skillful means to persevere physically and mentally, saying, 'Son of a good family, in the emptiness of a basic nature there is nothing at all to get depressed about, no one who gets depressed, and nothing that causes depression. None of those phenomena pass beyond the emptiness of a basic nature. Generate physical and mental effort and stop being lazy. Persevere at wholesome dharmas, namely, at giving or morality or patience or perseverance or concentration or wisdom; or at the concentrations or deliverances or meditative stabilizations or absorptions; or at the applications of mindfulness, up to the eightfold noble path; or at emptiness or signlessness or wishlessness, up to or at all the buddha-dharmas. Observe, son of a good family, that these dharmas, as emptiness, do not present any problem. When dharmas do not present a problem, there is no depression at all.'

  • "Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means thus inspire beings to take up the emptiness of a basic nature, cause them to enter into it and establish them in it. One way or the other they thus establish them in non-duality. And why? Because the emptiness of a basic nature is not two and is not divided, and in non-duality there is no depression at all.

  • "Furthermore, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom give advice and instruction to beings, saying, 'Come here, son of a good family. Persevere at giving or morality or patience or perseverance or concentration or wisdom; or at the applications of mindfulness, up to the eightfold noble path; or at the concentrations or deliverances or meditative stabilizations or absorptions; up to or the ten tathāgata powers or four fearlessnesses or four detailed and thorough knowledges or great compassion; or the eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha. Do not pay attention to those dharmas as dual and also do not pay attention to them as non-dual. And why? Because all those dharmas are empty of a basic nature, and, given that they are empty of a basic nature, they cannot be paid attention to as dual and not dual.'

  • "Subhūti, when bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom like that with skillful means have practiced the practice, they bring beings to maturity.
    Having brought them to maturity, they gradually establish them in the result of stream enterer, establish them in the result of once-returner and in the result of non-returner, establish them in the state of a worthy one, establish them in a pratyekabuddha's awakening, and establish them in unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.

  • [MENTAL STABILIZATION:] "Furthermore, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means working for the welfare of beings cause them to enter into the cultivation of meditative stabilization, saying, 'Come here, son of a good family. You should cultivate meditative stabilization without entertaining the notion of distraction and without entertaining the notion of meditative stabilization. And why? Because all those dharmas are empty of a basic nature, and in the emptiness of a basic nature a dharma that is a distraction or that becomes one-pointed cannot be apprehended at all. When, having stood in this meditative stabilization, you practice the emptiness of a basic nature, whatever wholesome dharma you do with your body or speech or mind, regardless of what it is‍ — if you give gifts, or guard morality, or make a practice of being patient, or make a vigorous effort, or become absorbed in meditative stabilization, or cultivate wisdom; or practice the applications of mindfulness, up to or meditate on the eightfold noble path; or meditate on the gateways to liberation, or meditative stabilizations, or absorptions, or ten tathāgata powers, or four fearlessnesses, or four detailed and thorough knowledges, or great love, or great compassion, or the eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha, or the thirty-two major marks of a great person, or the eighty minor signs, or the śrāvaka path, or the pratyekabuddha path, or the bodhisattva path, or the buddha path, or the result of stream enterer, or the result of once-returner, or the result of non-returner, or the state of a worthy one, or a pratyekabuddha's awakening, or the knowledge of all aspects; or if you bring beings to maturity, or purify a buddhafield‍ — whatever you do, you will accomplish those wholesome dharmas with little difficulty.'

  • "In that way, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means work for the welfare of beings. Starting from the first production of the thought, they work for the welfare of beings by never doing what should not be done. They seek for the good, constantly and always passing on from buddhafield to buddhafield in order to attend on the lord buddhas, and until they fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, they do not lose any of the doctrine they have heard from those lord buddhas, even after they have changed lives. They will have always acquired the dhāraṇīs, and their faculties‍ — whether the body faculty or speech faculty or mind faculty‍ — never become dull. And why? Because they have constantly and always cultivated the knowledge of all aspects well, and by having cultivated the knowledge of all aspects well, they have cultivated all paths well, that is, they have cultivated the śrāvaka path, or pratyekabuddha path, or bodhisattva path, or buddha path well. The bodhisattva great beings have also cultivated the clairvoyances that help them not lose what they have heard. Remaining in those clairvoyances arisen from maturation, streaming through the five forms of life in the stream of cyclic existence but without degenerating, they work for the welfare of beings. Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom like that stand in the emptiness of a basic nature and work for the welfare of beings.

  • "Furthermore, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom, having stood in the emptiness of a basic nature, work with skillful means for the welfare of beings. Having cultivated the perfection of wisdom well they give advice and instruction to beings, saying, 'Come here, son of a good family. Whatever acts you do physically or verbally or mentally, regardless of what they are, understand analytically that they are all empty of a basic nature so that those acts of yours will be the elixir of immortality, will have the elixir of immortality as their result, and will end up as the elixir of immortality. 818 In the emptiness of a basic nature, a phenomenon that settles down or degenerates cannot be apprehended. And why? Because the emptiness of a basic nature does not degenerate and there is no phenomenon that degenerates from the emptiness of a basic nature. And why?
    Because the emptiness of a basic nature is not a thing that really exists and not a thing that does not really exist either.
    Given that phenomena are the non-existence of an intrinsic nature, what will degenerate?'

  • "Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom give advice and instruction to beings like that, inspiring them to take up the emptiness of a basic nature, and while giving such advice and such instruction and causing them to enter into the emptiness of a basic nature, never do what should not be done. They personally are constantly and always inspired to take up the ten wholesome actions and they inspire others to take up the ten wholesome actions as well. Similarly, they personally pursue . . . , up to the five-point training and the eight-branched confession and restoration and inspire others to take up them up as well; they personally become absorbed in the first concentration and they inspire others to become absorbed in the first concentration as well; they personally become absorbed in . . . , up to the fourth concentration and they inspire others to become absorbed in . . . , up to the fourth concentration as well; they personally constantly and always abide in loving-kindness and they inspire others to take up the meditation on loving-kindness as well, up to they personally meditate on equanimity and they inspire others to take up the meditation on equanimity as well; they personally complete . . . , up to the station of neither perception nor non-perception absorption and they inspire others to take up completion of the station of neither perception nor non-perception absorption as well; they personally meditate on the four applications of mindfulness and they inspire others to take up meditation on the four applications of mindfulness as well, leading them to, causing them to enter, and establishing them in them; they personally meditate on . . . , up to the eightfold noble path and they inspire others to take up meditation on . . . , up to the eightfold noble path; they personally train in the ten tathāgata powers and they inspire others to take up training in the ten tathāgata powers as well, leading them to, causing them to enter, and establishing them in them; they personally train in accomplishing . . . , up to the eighty minor signs and they inspire others to train in accomplishing . . . , up to the eighty minor signs as well, leading them to, causing them to enter, and establishing them in them; they personally generate an understanding of the result of stream enterer but without themselves remaining there, and they establish others in an understanding of the result of stream enterer; they personally generate an understanding of . . . , up to the state of a worthy one but without themselves remaining there, and they establish others in an understanding of the state of a worthy one; they personally generate an understanding of a pratyekabuddha's awakening but without themselves remaining there, and they lead and cause others to enter into an understanding of a pratyekabuddha's awakening, establishing them in it; and they personally generate the path of unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening and give advice and instruction about that path to others, leading them to, causing them to enter, and establishing them in it. Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom like that with skillful means never do what should not be done."

Then venerable Subhūti asked the Lord,

  • "Lord, if all phenomena are empty of a basic nature,
    and if in the emptiness of a basic nature a being is not apprehended,
    nor are a dharma and a path apprehended,
    Lord, how will bodhisattva great beings stand in the knowledge of all aspects?"

Venerable Subhūti having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so! It is exactly as you say!

  • All phenomena are empty of a basic nature,
    and in the emptiness of a basic nature a being is not apprehended,
    nor are a dharma or a path apprehended.
    Subhūti, were all phenomena not empty of a basic nature, bodhisattva great beings would not stand in the emptiness of a basic nature and, having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, teach the emptiness of a basic nature doctrine.
    But, Subhūti, form is empty of a basic nature.
    Subhūti, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness are empty of a basic nature,
    up to the eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha are empty of a basic nature, and the eighty minor signs are empty of a basic nature.
    Similarly, connect this with each, up to the knowledge of all aspects and abandonment of all residual impression connections are empty of a basic nature.
    Subhūti, given that all phenomena are empty of a basic nature, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom therefore
    teach the doctrine that 'the five aggregates are empty of a basic nature';
    teach the doctrine that 'the twelve sense fields and eighteen constituents are empty of a basic nature'; and
    teach the doctrine that 'the four concentrations, four immeasurables, four formless absorptions, and four applications of mindfulness are empty of a basic nature.'
    Similarly, connect this with each, up to teach the doctrine that 'the eightfold noble path is empty of a basic nature';
    teach the doctrine that 'the three gateways to liberation, eight deliverances, nine serial absorptions, ten tathāgata powers, four fearlessnesses, four detailed and thorough knowledges, great love, great compassion, eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha, up to and the eighty minor signs are empty of a basic nature';
    teach the doctrine that 'the result of stream enterer, the result of once-returner, the result of non-returner, the state of a worthy one, a pratyekabuddha's awakening, and the knowledge of all aspects and abandonment of all residual impression connections are empty of a basic nature.'

  • "Subhūti, if inner emptiness were not empty of a basic nature, then bodhisattva great beings would not teach the doctrine that 'all dharmas are empty of a basic nature';
    similarly, if outer emptiness, inner and outer emptiness,
    up to the emptiness that is the non-existence of an intrinsic nature were not empty of a basic nature, bodhisattva great beings would not teach the doctrine that 'all dharmas are empty of a basic nature.'
    Therefore, the emptiness of a basic nature would have been destroyed.

  • "But the emptiness of a basic nature does not perish, is not immovable, and is not non-recurring.
    And why?
    Because it does not occupy a location, does not stand in a place, does not come from anywhere, and does not go anywhere.
    It is the establishment of dharmas.
    In it no dharma can be apprehended that increases or decreases, is accumulated or passes away, has been produced or ceased, is defiled or purified.
    It is the basic nature of dharmas.
    Having stood there, bodhisattva great beings stand in unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, but do not see any dharma at all as being destroyed. 819
    In regard to all dharmas, there is no establishment and there is no destruction.
    That is the establishment of dharmas as dharmas.
    Therefore, by seeing all dharmas as empty of a basic nature, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom do not turn back from unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
    And why?
    Because they do not see any dharma at all as obstructing. They see all dharmas as not obstructing.
    They thus do not apprehend in that emptiness of a basic nature a self,
    nor do they apprehend a designation of a self;
    nor do they apprehend a being . . . , a living being . . . , a creature . . . , one born of Manu . . . , a child of Manu . . . , one who lives . . . , a person . . . , one who does . . . , one who makes someone else do . . . , a motivator . . . , one who motivates . . . , one who feels . . . , one who knows . . . , or one who sees, nor do they apprehend a designation of one who sees; nor do they apprehend form . . . , feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , or consciousness, nor do they apprehend a designation of consciousness; similarly, they do not apprehend inner and outer dharmas, up to they do not apprehend the eighty minor signs, nor do they apprehend a designation of the eighty minor signs, so how could they ever harbor doubt about unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening?

  • "To illustrate, Subhūti, were a tathāgata's magical creation to have continuously taught the Dharma to a magically created monk or nun or layman or laywoman for as many as a hundred million eons, what do you think, Subhūti, would those magical creations have the good fortune to reach the result of stream enterer, or to reach the result of once-returner or the result of non-returner, the state of a worthy one, a pratyekabuddha's awakening, or unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening?"

"No, Lord. And why? Because they have no real basis."

"Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so!

  • When all phenomena have no real basis, what being will bodhisattva great beings cause to take up the result of stream enterer, or the result of once-returner or result of non-returner, or the state of a worthy one or a pratyekabuddha's awakening or unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening?
    On the contrary, they cause creatures snared in error to enter into the absence of error and establish them there.
    Just that error is itself not error because of having 820 thought construction as cause.
    The absence of thought construction is the absence of error.
    Where there is an absence of error there is no self, up to there is no one who knows and no one who sees. There, there is no form, there is no feeling, there is no perception, there are no volitional factors, and there is no consciousness, and similarly, connect this with each, up to, there is no awakening.
    And that in which there is no self, up to no one who knows and no one who sees; no form, no feeling, no perception, no volitional factors, and no consciousness; up to no awakening‍ — that is the emptiness of a basic nature.
    Standing there bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom free beings subject to error from the perception of a being, free them from the perception of form, up to the perception of the formless; similarly, connect this with each, up to, and free them from dharmas with outflows and without outflows.
    Those dharmas without outflows, furthermore, are these, namely, the four applications of mindfulness, four right efforts, four legs of miraculous power, five faculties, five powers, seven limbs of awakening, and eightfold noble path, and the four formless absorptions, up to the eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha.
    They, furthermore, are not exactly like the ultimate there.
    Thus, the uncompounded, unproduced, non-existent, and non-appearing‍ — that is the emptiness of a basic nature; that is the awakening of the lord buddhas.
    There, there is no self, up to no one who knows and no one who sees;
    no form, no feeling, no perception, no volitional factors, and no consciousness;
    and similarly, connect this with each, up to no eighty minor signs.

  • "Except that the comprehension of the emptiness of a basic nature functions as a path, bodhisattva great beings have not set out for unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
    That emptiness of a basic nature, furthermore, is the emptiness of a basic nature at the prior limit, and the emptiness of a basic nature at the later limit, and is the emptiness of a basic nature at the midpoint too.
    It is never not an emptiness of a basic nature.
    Therefore, bodhisattva great beings, having stood in the perfection that is the emptiness of a basic nature, practice the knowledge of path aspects in order to free beings from the perception of a being and from all perceptions.
    When they practice the knowledge of path aspects, they practice all paths‍ — namely, the śrāvaka path, pratyekabuddha path, and bodhisattva path.
    Subhūti, those bodhisattva great beings, having completed all paths, brought beings to maturity, purified a buddhafield, and employed sustaining power over the volitional factor that is life, fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, and, even having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, do not make a break in the guiding principle of the buddhas‍ — namely, the emptiness of a basic nature.
    Just this, namely, the emptiness of a basic nature, is the guiding principle of the buddhas‍ — of the lord buddhas who will appear at a future time, and the lord buddhas presently dwelling and maintaining themselves in world systems in the ten directions, those lord buddhas teaching the Dharma.
    As for this emptiness of a basic nature, apart from appearing from the lord buddhas, it does not appear in the world from anything else, so bodhisattva great beings have to practice the perfections that are the emptiness of a basic nature, practicing in such a way that there is no decline from the knowledge of all aspects."

Subhūti said,

  • "Lord, it is amazing how
    bodhisattva great beings practice without complicating the emptiness of a basic nature
    so that form is not one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another [U2T];
    or feeling one thing, perception one thing, volitional factors one thing, or consciousness one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another; and similarly, up to all the buddha-dharmas and awakening one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another.
    Form itself is the emptiness of a basic nature
    and the emptiness of a basic nature is form [U2T],
    up to awakening itself is the emptiness of a basic nature and the emptiness of a basic nature is awakening."

Venerable Subhūti having said that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Subhūti, if form were one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another;
    feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another;
    and similarly, up to awakening one thing and the emptiness of a basic nature another,
    then, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings would not fully awaken to form as a knower of all aspects;
    would not fully awaken to feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness as a knower of all aspects; and similarly, up to not fully awaken to awakening as a knower of all aspects.
    -
    But, Subhūti, it is because form itself is the emptiness of a basic nature and the emptiness of a basic nature is form;
    because feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness itself is the emptiness of a basic nature and the emptiness of a basic nature is consciousness;
    and similarly, up to awakening itself is the emptiness of a basic nature and the emptiness of a basic nature is awakening‍ —
    because of that, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings, having become aware that form is empty of a basic nature, fully awaken to form itself as the knowledge of all aspects,
    up to having become aware that awakening is empty of a basic nature, fully awaken to awakening itself as the knowledge of all aspects.

"And why?

  • Because no dharma at all has been destroyed or has remained unmoved, or will enter into anything.
    On the contrary, the world together with the gods, together with Māra, together with Brahmā, together with those leading a secluded religious life and the population of brahmins, do not know form as it really is;
    they do not know feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness as it really is.
    On account of not knowing, ordinary foolish people settle down on form, and they settle down on feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness.
    Settling down on form, and settling down on feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, they live grasping at 'I' and grasping at 'mine.'
    Having settled down on grasping at 'I' and grasping at 'mine,' they settle down on all inner and outer things.
    Having settled down, because the sense fields come with rebirth, they appropriate form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness and are not released from birth, old age, sickness, death, pain, lamentation, suffering, mental anguish, and grief; they are not liberated from the five forms of life in the stream of cycles of existence.

  • "Therefore, having stood in the perfection that is the emptiness of a basic nature,
    bodhisattva great beings do not complicate form with 'it is empty,' or 'it is not empty';
    they do not complicate feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness with 'it is empty,'
    or 'it is not empty';
    and similarly, connect this with each, up to they do not complicate awakening with 'it is empty,'
    or 'it is not empty.'

"And why?

  • Because the emptiness of form does not make it complicated with 'this is form,' and 'this is emptiness,'
    up to 'this is consciousness,' and 'this is the emptiness of consciousness';
    similarly, connect this with each, up to does not make it complicated with 'this is awakening,' and 'this is the emptiness of a basic nature.'

  • "To illustrate, Subhūti, space does not complicate space;
    inner space does not complicate outer space;
    and outer space does not complicate inner space.
    Similarly, Subhūti, the emptiness of a basic nature does not complicate form,
    and form does not complicate emptiness.
    Emptiness also does not complicate feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , or consciousness,
    and consciousness does not complicate emptiness, up to emptiness does not complicate awakening, up to awakening does not complicate emptiness.

"And why?

  • Because the 'this is form,' and 'this is emptiness,'
    up to 'this is feeling . . . ,' 'perception . . . ,' 'volitional factors . . . ,' and 'consciousness,' and 'this is emptiness';
    similarly, connect this with each, up to 'this is awakening,' and 'this is emptiness'
    that might make that sort of complication have no intrinsic existence."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti then asked him,

  • "Lord, if all phenomena are not different things, well then, Lord, for what will bodhisattva great beings, thinking, 'I will full awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening,' set out?
    Lord, awakening is not divided, and anyone who takes it as being within a duality cannot fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening."

"Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so!" replied the Lord.

  • "Subhūti, awakening is not practiced within a duality. Subhūti, awakening is not two and is not divided. Subhūti, a bodhisattva great being's awakening is not practiced within a division being made in awakening into 'this is the bodhisattva' and 'this is the bodhisattva's awakening.' A bodhisattva great being's awakening is not a practice of form; is not a practice of feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness; up to is not a practice of awakening.

"And why?

  • Because in awakening the word 'I' does not exist, so words for 'I am practicing form,' 'I am practicing feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness,' and 'I am practicing awakening' do not exist, because a bodhisattva great being's awakening is not a practice of taking anything up and not a practice of not taking anything up."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, if a bodhisattva great being's awakening is not a practice of taking anything up (accepting) and is not a practice of not taking anything up (rejecting), well then, of what is a bodhisattva great being's awakening the practice?"

The Lord asked in return,

  • "What do you think, Subhūti, is the awakening of a tathāgata's magical creation the practice of taking something up or of not taking something up?"

"No, Lord," he replied.

"What do you think, Subhūti," asked the Lord,

  • "does the dream awareness of a worthy one practice taking something up or not taking something up?"

"No, Lord," he replied.

  • "Given that worthy ones absolutely do not dream, however could their dream awareness practice taking something up or not taking something up?"

"Similarly, Subhūti," said the Lord,

  • "a bodhisattva great being's awakening does not practice taking anything up or not taking anything up."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, if a bodhisattva great being's awakening is not a practice of taking anything up or not taking anything up, is not a practice of form, up to and is not a practice of the knowledge of all aspects, well then, Lord, having practiced the six perfections, having accomplished the ten levels, the thirty-seven dharmas on the side of awakening, the fourteen emptinesses, the three gateways to liberation, the concentrations, the deliverances, the absorptions, up to the ten tathāgata powers, and eighty minor signs, and having stood in the clairvoyances, completed the ten levels, entered into the secure state of a bodhisattva, purified a buddhafield, and brought beings to maturity, how will bodhisattva great beings fully awaken to the knowledge of all aspects?
    Lord, without having practiced the six perfections, without having stood on the ten levels, up to without having stood in the clairvoyances, without having entered into the secure state of a bodhisattva, without having purified a buddhafield, and without having brought beings to maturity, they will not be able to fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening."

"Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so! It is exactly as you say!" said the Lord.

  • "Subhūti, without having stood on the ten levels, up to without having completed the six perfections and all the wholesome dharmas, they will not be able to fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, but, Subhūti, when they have completed the ten levels, and they have completed the six perfections, the four concentrations, the four immeasurables, the four formless absorptions, the four applications of mindfulness, up to the eightfold noble path, the three‍ — emptiness, signlessness, and wishlessness‍ — gateways to liberation, up to the eighty minor signs, and the natural state not robbed of mindfulness, and the constant staying in a state of equanimity, they will be able to reach the knowledge of all aspects.

  • "Moreover, Subhūti, when they stand in the basic nature of form;
    stand in the basic nature of feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness;
    up to stand in the basic nature of awakening, they will be able to reach the knowledge of all aspects.
    Subhūti, that basic nature is calmed, and it does not bring about the accumulation or diminishing, production or ceasing, defilement or purification, attainment or clear realization of any dharma at all.

  • "Moreover, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening simply based on the true nature of dharmas labeled by way of ordinary convention.
    In it there is ultimately no form or . . . , up to awakening, and no one who is practicing awakening.
    All those dharmas are simply labeled by ordinary convention, but not ultimately.

  • "Subhūti, starting from the first production of the thought, bodhisattva great beings
    do not, while practicing for awakening, apprehend that thought, beings, awakening, or a bodhisattva.
    What do you think, Subhūti, when you, Subhūti, in order to eliminate the view of the perishable collection, attained the faculties, or attained the uninterrupted meditative stabilization or the result of stream enterer, or attained the result of once-returner or the result of non-returner, or attained the state of a worthy one, did you apprehend a dream or a thought or a path or a result?

"No, Lord."

  • "Well then, Subhūti, why was there a pronouncement about your understanding, 'Subhūti has reached the state of a worthy one'?"

"Lord, the pronouncement about my understanding was based on ordinary convention."

  • "Similarly, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings are designated by ordinary convention; form is designated by ordinary convention; feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness are designated by ordinary convention; up to the knowledge of all aspects is designated by ordinary convention, so, based on the emptiness of a basic nature of dharmas, bodhisattva great beings do not apprehend any dharma in awakening that accumulates or diminishes or helps or harms any dharma.

  • "So, given that even the basic nature of dharmas has not been apprehended, why mention that a first production of the thought will not be apprehended; that the six perfections, up to the thirty-seven dharmas on the side of awakening will not be apprehended; or that the emptiness meditative stabilization, signlessness meditative stabilization, and wishlessness meditative stabilization, up to the buddha-dharmas will not be apprehended. It is impossible.

  • "Thus, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings who have practiced unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening and fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening work for the welfare of beings."

This was the seventy-fifth chapter, "Exposition of non-complication," 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.)

  1. Chapter 0 – Introduction to the Sutra

  2. Chapter 1 – Introduction / the Assembly

  3. Chapter 2 – Production of the Thought

  4. Chapter 3 – designation [U2T]

  5. Chapter 4 – Equal to the Unequal

  6. Chapter 5 – Tongue

  7. Chapter 6 – Subhūti

  8. Chapter 7 – Entry into flawlessness

  9. Chapter 8 – The Religious Mendicant Śreṇika

  10. Chapter 9 – Causal Signs

  11. Chapter 10 – Illusion-like

  12. Chapter 11 – Embarrassment

  13. Chapter 12 – Elimination of Views

  14. Chapter 13 – The Six Perfections

  15. Chapter 14 – Neither Bound nor Freed

  16. Chapter 15 – Meditative Stabilization

  17. Chapter 16 – Dhāraṇī Gateway

  18. Chapter 17 – Level Purification

  19. Chapter 18 – The Exposition of Going Forth in the Great Vehicle [cause / path]

  20. Chapter 19 – Surpassing

  21. Chapter 20 – Not Two

  22. Chapter 21 – Subhūti

  23. Chapter 22 – Śatakratu

  24. Chapter 23 – Hard to Understand

  25. Chapter 24 – Unlimited

  26. Chapter 25 – Second Śatakratu

  27. Chapter 26 – Getting Old

  28. Chapter 27 – Reliquary

  29. Chapter 28 – Declaration of the Good Qualities of the Thought of Awakening

  30. Chapter 29 – Different Tīrthika Religious Mendicants

  31. Chapter 30 – The Benefits of Taking Up and Adoration

  32. Chapter 31 – Physical Remains

  33. Chapter 32 – The Superiority of Merit

  34. Chapter 33 – Dedication

  35. Chapter 34 – Perfect Praise of the Quality of Accomplishment

  36. Chapter 35 – Hells

  37. Chapter 36 – Teaching The Purity of all Dharmas

  38. Chapter 37 – Nobody

  39. Chapter 38 – Cannot Be Apprehended

  40. Chapter 39 – The Northern Region

  41. Chapter 40 – The Work of Māra

  42. Chapter 41 – Not Complete Because of Māra

  43. Chapter 42 – Revealing the World

  44. Chapter 43 – Inconceivable

  45. Chapter 44 – Made Up

  46. Chapter 45 – A Boat

  47. Chapter 46 – Teaching the Intrinsic Nature of All Dharmas

  48. Chapter 47 – Taming Greed

  49. Chapter 48 – A Presentation of the Bodhisattvas' Training

  50. Chapter 49 – Irreversibility

  51. Chapter 50 – Teaching the Signs of Irreversibility

  52. Chapter 51 – Skillful means

  53. Chapter 52 – Completion of the Means

  54. Chapter 53 – The Prophecy about Gaṅgadevī

  55. Chapter 54 – Teaching the Cultivation of Skillful Means

  56. Chapter 55 – Teaching the Stopping of Thought Construction [in absolute terms]

  57. Chapter 56 – Equal Training

  58. Chapter 57 – Practice

  59. Chapter 58 – Exposition of the Absence of Thought Construction [in absolute terms]

  60. Chapter 59 – non-attachment

  61. Chapter 60 – Entrusting

  62. Chapter 61 – Inexhaustible

  63. Chapter 62 – Leaping Above Absorption

  64. Chapter 63 – Many Inquiries about the Two Dharmas

  65. Chapter 64 – Perfectly Displayed

  66. Chapter 65 – Worshiping, Serving, and Attending on Spiritual Friends as Skillful Means

  67. Chapter 66 – A Demonstration of Skillful Means

  68. Chapter 67 – Morality

  69. Chapter 68 – Growing and Flourishing

  70. Chapter 69 – An Explanation of Meditation on The Path

  71. Chapter 70 – An Explanation of Serial Action, Training, and Practice

  72. Chapter 71 – The True Nature of Dharmas That Cannot Be Apprehended

  73. Chapter 72 – Teaching the Absence of Marks

  74. Chapter 73 – Exposition of the Major Marks and Minor Signs and the Completion of Letters

  75. Chapter 74 – Exposition of the Sameness of Dharmas

  76. Chapter 75 – Exposition of non-complication –

  77. Chapter 76 – The Armor for Bringing Beings to Maturity

  78. Chapter 77 – Teaching the Purification of a Buddhafield

  79. Chapter 78 – Teaching the Skillful Means for the Purification of a Buddhafield

  80. Chapter 79 – Teaching the non- Existence of an Intrinsic Nature

  81. Chapter 80 – Teaching that there is No Defilement or Purification

  82. Chapter 81 – Yogic Practice of the Ultimate

  83. Chapter 82 – The Unchanging True Nature of Dharmas

  84. Chapter 83 – Categorization of a Bodhisattva's Training

  85. Chapter 84 – Collection

  86. Chapter 85 – Sadāprarudita

  87. Chapter 86 – Dharmodgata

  88. Chapter 87 – Entrusting

  89. Résumés in bullet points of all chapters.




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