Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Prajnaparamita-18K - Chapter 79 - Not grasping at any ultimate reality either - 379

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The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Eighteen Thousand Lines - 379
Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā

– Chapter 79 - Not grasping at any ultimate reality either –

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]

79. TEACHING THE NON-EXISTENCE OF AN INTRINSIC NATURE – Not grasping-at / getting-attached-to any ultimate / absolute reality either.

(i.e. Résumé: Not grasping at any ultimate / absolute reality either – ex. at Suchness / Ground / Basis / Source / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / Union of the Two Truths.
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'Things as they really are' / the Ground / Basis / Source / Suchness / Buddha-nature / Genuine emptiness free from all extremes & middle: All appearing dharmas [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T]. All dharmas – ex. the three spheres of any relation / action, the apparent opposites of any duality / triad / quad / etc, even the two truths themselves, even the Union of the Two Truths or Ground / Basis / Source – are empty of inherent existence [T2] <==> because dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances / tools / adapted skillful means [T1], merely labeled / imputed by the mind in dependence of its conditioning / karma [U3S]. And vice versa; one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T]. These dharmas are like illusions, reflections, mirages, dreams, echos, magical tricks: 'There, but not there.' These dharmas are not really existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither; not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither – for whatever 'this' is.
So, Bodhisattvas can use those dharmas but without apprehending anything, without settling down on anything, without any attachment / fixation / absolutes, without falling into any extreme or middle, without accepting or rejecting anything in absolute terms. That is called 'using without using' those dharmas.
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Ex. Bodhisattvas use concepts like the four noble truths / the two truths / the three Jewels / the three kayas / 'suchness' / 'intrinsic nature' / 'things as they really are' / 'dharma-constituent' / 'the very limit of reality' / Ground / Basis / Source / Buddha-nature / Genuine-emptiness / the Union of the Two Truths / the Union of the three spheres / the Union of opposites / the Middle Way … but never in absolute terms, never grasping them, never getting attached to them, never becoming slave to them. These are mere pointers to the inconceivable; they are also empty of inherent existence <==> because dependently co-arisen, merely labeled / imputed by the mind, and vice versa. They are also not really existent, not completely non-existent, not both together.
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"Bodhisattvas see like this‍ — that all dharmas [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T].
But even though they see with such an insight that 'all dharmas [T1] are empty [T2] [U2T],'
they still do not see an intrinsic nature [U2T] on which they might stand and fully awaken to awakening;
they see no such intrinsic nature [T1, T2, 2T, 1T, or U2T] at all.")

Then venerable Subhūti asked the Lord,

  • "Lord, if those dharmas are the bodhisattva dharmas,
    well then, Lord, what are the buddha-dharmas?"

The Lord replied,

  • "Again, Subhūti, in regard to what you have asked‍ — 'If those dharmas are the bodhisattva dharmas what, then, are the buddha-dharmas?'‍ —
    Subhūti, just those bodhisattva dharmas are the buddha-dharmas as well.
    When bodhisattva great beings have completely awakened to those dharmas in all aspects and have reached the knowledge of all aspects, they eliminate all the residual impression connections.
    They will fully awaken to those, but tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas have fully awakened to all dharmas through the wisdom of the unique single instant.
    That, Subhūti, is the difference between bodhisattva great beings and the tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas.

  • "To illustrate, Subhūti, even though a candidate is one thing and a result-recipient another, still both are not not the highest person.
    Similarly, Subhūti, bodhisattva great beings stand on the unobstructed path, but tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas have reached a knowledge of all dharmas without obscurations.
    That, Subhūti, is the difference between bodhisattva great beings and tathāgatas, worthy ones, perfectly complete buddhas."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti inquired further of him,

  • "Lord, if all dharmas [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T],
    how can you apprehend specific features
    in all dharmas that are empty of their own marks and make the distinctions,
    'This is a being in hell, this is one in the animal world, this is one in the world of Yama, this is a god, this is a human, this one is on the Gotra level, this one is an Aṣṭamaka, this is a stream enterer, this is a once-returner, this is a non-returner, this is a worthy one, this is a pratyekabuddha, this is a bodhisattva, and this is a tathāgata, worthy one, perfect complete buddha'?

  • Lord, just as those persons [T1] cannot be apprehended [T2] [U2T],
    so too karma [T1] cannot be apprehended, and just as karma cannot be apprehended [T2] [U2T],
    so too the maturation [T1] cannot be apprehended either [T2] [U2T]."

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

  • "Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so!
    It is exactly as you say!
    Karma and the maturation of karma [T1] cannot be apprehended [T2] [U2T]
    in all dharmas [T1] that are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T].
    Those who do not understand that all dharmas are empty of their own marks
    behave badly or behave well, or accumulate karma with outflows or without outflows.
    Through the karma from behaving badly they fall into the three terrible forms of life;
    through the karma from behaving well they are born among gods and humans;
    through wholesome karma without flaws they are born in the form realm and the formless realm.
    There the bodhisattva great beings practice the perfection of giving, up to practice the eighteen distinct attributes of a buddha [T1], producing those bodhisattva dharmas in a practice without flaws [T2] [U2T].
    Having produced them, they become absorbed in the vajropama meditative stabilization endowed with the surrounding limbs of awakening, and fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
    Having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, they work for the welfare of beings. Because they have worked for their welfare they are not lost, and because they are not lost, they do not from then on take birth in the five forms of life in saṃsāra."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,
"Lord, does the Lord, having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening,
apprehend the five forms of life in saṃsāra?"

  • "No, Subhūti."

"Lord, does a tathāgata apprehend bright, or dark, or bright and dark, or neither bright nor dark dharmas?"

  • "No, Subhūti."

"Lord, if they have not apprehended them,
how have they designated hell, the animal world, and the world of Yama; how have they designated gods and humans; how have they designated stream enterer;
how have they designated once-returner, non-returner, worthy one, and pratyekabuddha;
how have they designated bodhisattva; and
how have they designated tathāgata, worthy one, perfect complete buddha?"

  • "Subhūti, do these beings know that phenomena [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T]?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Subhūti, if these beings were thus to know 'phenomena [T1] are empty of their own marks, [T2] [U2T]' bodhisattva great beings would not set out to fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, and would not, when they have entered into unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, free beings from the three terrible forms of life, up to the five forms of life in saṃsāra.
    But, Subhūti, these beings do not thus know that phenomena [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T],
    and because they do not know, they are not freed from the three terrible forms of life, and the five forms of life in saṃsāra.
    Therefore, bodhisattva great beings, having heard from those lord buddhas that 'phenomena [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T],' set out to fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening for the sake of beings.

  • "These phenomena do not exist [T2] in the way that foolish ordinary people have settled down on them [T1].
    These beings, having themselves constructed unreal phenomena and apprehended them, have the perception of a being where there is no being, the perception of form where there is no form, the perception of feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness where there is no consciousness, up to the perception of compounded and uncompounded dharmas where there are no compounded and uncompounded dharmas. With their minds distorted because of the error of constructing the unreal, they accumulate physical, verbal, and mental karma and are not freed from the five forms of life in saṃsāra.
    Therefore, bodhisattva great beings, having included all wholesome dharmas in the practice of the perfection of wisdom, pursue the bodhisattva practice, and pursuing that fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening. Having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, they free beings from the five forms of life in saṃsāra."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, if all phenomena [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T],
    well then, how do bodhisattva great beings fully awaken to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening
    and free beings from the five forms of life in saṃsāra?"

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

  • "Subhūti, here bodhisattva great beings, having fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, expound, explain, set forth, and establish the four noble truths‍ — suffering, the origination of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path leading to the cessation of suffering.
    Included in these four noble truths are all the wholesome dharmas on the side of awakening, as many as there are, and through those dharmas on the side of awakening there is a presentation of the Three Jewels (which three?‍ — these, namely, the Buddha Jewel, Dharma Jewel, and Saṅgha Jewel), and when the Three Jewels have appeared, beings are freed from the five forms of life in saṃsāra."

Then venerable Subhūti asked the Lord,

  • "Lord, will beings pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing suffering
    or will they pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of suffering?
    Will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing the origination of suffering
    or will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of the origination of suffering?
    Will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing the cessation of suffering
    or will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of the cessation of suffering?
    Will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing the path leading to the cessation of suffering
    or will they come to be in complete nirvāṇa on account of the path leading to the cessation of suffering?"

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

  • "Subhūti, they will not pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing suffering, nor on account of suffering;
    not on account of knowing the origination of suffering, nor on account of the origination of suffering;
    not on account of knowing the cessation of suffering, nor on account of the cessation of suffering;
    and they will not pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing the path leading to the cessation of suffering nor on account of the path leading to the cessation of suffering.
    Subhūti, I have said that they will pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of the sameness of the noble truths [U2T-4T]
    — they will not pass into complete nirvāṇa on account of knowing suffering, nor on account of suffering;
    not on account of knowing the origination of suffering, nor on account of the origination of suffering;
    not on account of knowing the cessation of suffering, nor on account of the cessation of suffering;
    and not on account of knowing the path leading to the cessation of suffering nor on account of the path leading to the cessation of suffering."

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, what is the sameness of the four noble truths? [U2T-4T]"

"Subhūti," he replied,

  • "it is where there is no knowledge of suffering and no suffering;
    where there is no knowledge of the origination of suffering and no origination of suffering;
    where there is no knowledge of the cessation of suffering and no cessation of suffering; and
    where there is no knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of suffering and no path leading to the cessation of suffering.

  • "Furthermore, Subhūti, whether the tathāgatas arise or whether the tathāgatas do not arise,
    the suchness of the four noble truths [U2T-4T],
    their unmistaken suchness and unaltered suchness,
    the true nature of dharmas,
    the certification of dharmas,
    and the establishment of dharmas remain as just the dharma-constituent.
    Such a dharma-constituent is a natural state not robbed of mindfulness,
    the true nature of dharmas that is never ruined.
    Bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom practice the truths in order to awaken, one way or the other, to the truths." 829

The Lord having said that, venerable Subhūti asked him,

  • "Lord, how do bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom practice in order to awaken to the truths?
    How, while practicing, do they awaken to the truths?
    How, having awakened, do they practice for suchness?
    And how, having practiced, do they not fall to the śrāvaka level, not fall to the pratyekabuddha level, but rather enter into the secure state of a bodhisattva?"

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

  • "Subhūti, there is no dharma the limit of which bodhisattva great beings do not see.
    When they do not see any dharma, they then do not apprehend it. 830
    Not apprehending anything they see that all dharmas are empty;
    they see that all those dharmas [T1] included in the truths or not included in the truths 831 are empty [T2] [U2T].
    Seeing like that, they enter into the secure state of a bodhisattva and stand at the Gotra level [U2T].
    Those bodhisattvas standing at the Gotra level [T1] do not fall onto a peak [T2] [U2T] 832‍ — a peak that, when fallen on, would be a fall to the śrāvaka level or the pratyekabuddha level.

  • "Standing at the Gotra level, those bodhisattva great beings generate the four concentrations, and generate the four immeasurables and the four formless absorptions.
    Standing at that calm abiding 833 level they make a detailed examination of all dharmas and also realize the four noble truths.
    Even though they comprehend suffering [T1], they do not produce any thought with suffering as its objective support [T2] [U2T];
    they abandon the origination of suffering [T1], but they do not produce any thought with origination as its objective support [T2] [U2T];
    they actualize the cessation of suffering [T1], but they do not produce any thought with cessation as its objective support [T2] [U2T];
    they cultivate the path to the cessation of suffering [T1], but they do not produce any thought with the path as its objective support [T2] [U2T].
    On the contrary, with a thought inclined to awakening, they see all dharmas for what they really are [U2T]."

"Lord, what are 'all dharmas as they really are'?"

  • "Subhūti, it is seeing all dharmas [T1] as emptiness [T2] [U2T]."

"Lord, how do they see all dharmas as empty?"

  • "Subhūti, they see like this‍ — that all dharmas [T1] are empty of their own marks [T2] [U2T].
    But even though they see with such an insight that 'all dharmas [T1] are empty [T2] [U2T],'
    they still do not see an intrinsic nature [U2T] on which they might stand and fully awaken to awakening;
    they see no such intrinsic nature [T1, T2, 2T, 1T, or U2T] at all."

"In that case, Lord, is awakening [U2T] a non-existent thing?"

  • "Exactly so, Subhūti, exactly so!
    It is exactly as you say!
    Awakening is a non-existent thing.
    It has not been made by buddhas, it has not been made by pratyekabuddhas, it has not been made by worthy ones, and it has not been made by those bodhisattva great beings who are practicing for it.
    On the contrary, it is because beings do not know and do not see things as they really are that bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom with skillful means teach the doctrine to beings."

This was the seventy-ninth chapter, "Teaching the non-existence of an Intrinsic Nature," 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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