Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Prajnaparamita-18K - Chapter 83 - The true nature of Name & Referent - 383

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The Transcendent Perfection of Wisdom
in Eighteen Thousand Lines - 383
Daśa­sāhasrikā­prajñā­pāramitā

– Chapter 83 - The true nature of Name & Referent –

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]

83. CATEGORIZATION OF A BODHISATTVA'S TRAINING – The inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of name / label and referent / basis.

(i.e. Résumé: The inconceivable true nature & dynamic as it is of name / label and referent / basis.
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Any dharma (physical, conceptual, mental …) exists as an ordinary term and convention [T1], but not ultimately [T2] [U2T].
Including all characteristics / properties / attributes / qualities / relations / oppositions / processes / activities / marks / names / labels for this dharma.
Everything is not existent, not completely non-existent, not both together, not neither.
Meaning indescribable / inconceivable.
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Liberation / completion / purification / omniscience / enlightenment is not gained by rejecting / abandoning samsara / appearances and accepting / seeking nirvana / emptiness. It is gained by training and directly perceiving / realising / experiencing the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now beyond all extremes & middle [U2T].
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So, Bodhisattvas should train in perceiving / realising / experiencing without perceiving / realising / experiencing the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths about any & all dharmas: that all dharmas are like an inconceivable Union of being empty of inherent existence [T2], not really existent / caused / functional <==> because of being conventionally dependently co-arisen (interdependent) relatively functional ever-changing impermanent appearances / tools / adapted skillful means [T1], merely labeled / imputed / designated by the mind [U3S] in dependence of its conditioning / karma, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional / useless / meaningless.
And vice versa; one aspect / truth implies / proves / enables the other (<==>) [U2T].
Note: Something could be co-dependent with its parts and wholes (when applicable), with its causes & conditions and effects (when applicable), with its conceptual opposite(s) (always), and especially co-dependent with the subject / mind merely labeling / imputing it (always).
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That all dharmas are like illusions, reflections, mirages, dreams, echos, magical tricks: 'There, but not there.' [U2T].
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That all dharmas are not existent / caused / functional, not completely non-existent / non-caused / non-functional, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not different / separate / multiple / dual, not identical / united / one / non-dual, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not permanent / continuous / eternal, not impermanent / discontinuous / annihilated, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not dependent, not independent, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not empty, not non-empty, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not dependently arisen, not empty of inherent existence, not both truths together, not neither of the two truths, and there is no fifth; not equal / pure / perfect / divine / complete / free / enlightened, not unequal / impure / imperfect / ordinary / incomplete / non-enlightened, not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth; not 'this', not 'non-this', not both together, not neither, and there is no fifth – for whatever 'this' is.
Meaning the true nature & dynamic as it is of any / all dharmas is indescribable / inconceivable for our flawed dualistic conceptual conditioned ordinary mind(s);
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That all dharmas have no real three stages of becoming: origination, duration / change, cessation, or complete absence of those.
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That there is no independent / universal / absolute / inherently existing basis to discriminate / differentiate them in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
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That there is nothing to accept / affirm / seek / add / do in absolute terms, nothing to reject / nagate / abandon / eliminate / subtract / not-do in absolute terms, just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively.
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That we may as well perceive everything as primordially equal, pure, perfect, divine, complete, free, enlightened, the inseparable three pure kayas, the true Buddha – in the non-dual sense of those terms: not this, not non-this …
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All this applies to all dharmas: ex. the three vajras – physical / body, conceptual / speech, mental / mind –; the three spheres – subject, relation / action / process, object –; apparent opposites in any duality / triad / quad / etc.; name / label & referent / basis; the three stages of becoming – origination, duration / change, cessation –, the three times & space; all Buddha-dharmas, all words / concepts / ideas / teachings / views / methods / practices / milestones / levels / goals; samsara & nirvana; even the two truths themselves, and their 'Union', even the Ground and its manifestations.
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This way one can still use valid useful dharmas / tools / adapted skillful means … conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively, but never in absolute terms.
That is 'acting without acting', without any grasping / attachment / apprehension / obsession / fixation / reification / reference points / absolutes about anything involved – ex. subject, relation / action, object; or apparent opposites –;
without falling into any extreme or middle in relation to any group of opposites;
without accepting / affirming / seeking / adding / improving / doing anything in absolute terms,
without rejecting / negating / abandoning / eliminating / subtracting / not-doing anything in absolute terms,
without changing / defiling / improving / purifying anything in absolute terms,
just conventionally / relatively / inter-subjectively if it helps somebody to get closer to the inconceivable liberating Truth;
without any di-vision between the three spheres – subject, relation / action, object –;
thus more and more in accord with the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now,
more and more in accord with the inconceivable Union of the Two Truths free from all extremes & middle.
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The important point is that in Reality as it is, in awakening / enlightenment, there are still valid useful conventional tools / adapted skillful means / qualities / virtues / words / symbols / images / concepts / thoughts / feelings / ideas / truths / views / methods / practices / goals / three spheres – subject / beings / relations / activities, objects / phenomena – / body, speech & mind … that can be used without being used to help all sentient beings still stuck in samsara because of their ignorance of the inconceivable true nature & dynamic of Reality as it is here & now [U2T / U3S / Uopp / U2T-2T / Middle Way free from all extremes & middle]. Emptiness does not deny conventional concepts, truths & activities; on the contrary the two truths are primordially inseparable / interdependent / in harmony. The same for samsara & nirvana.)

(i.e. From i.11: "It (the 18k) also includes as its eighty-third chapter the Categorization of a Bodhisattva's Training, one of the important eleven minor Perfection of Wisdom texts that circulates separately under the name The Maitreya Chapter or The Questions of Maitreya."
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From the Introduction: Summary of the chapters: i.­186
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In this chapter there is a vocabulary not utilized in the rest of the Eighteen Thousand (18k). Maitreya and the Lord investigate the relationship between a name and what it refers to (name & referent). Names are plucked out of thin air. Any name can be given to anything. From that perspective all things, including the names, are nothing beyond imagination and unconnected with reality. But the things to which names are given are only known through those names, not from their own sides. When looked for, these things arise from causes and conditions, from ignorance and thought projections that motivate actions [T1]. These things are all the same in that they cannot be apprehended. In true reality they are all without any difference [T2] [U2T].
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Therefore, all phenomena from form up to the knowledge of all aspects should be viewed from the perspective of three natures: imaginary [T2], conceptual [T1] (the term "other-powered" is not used in this chapter), and the dharma's ultimate nature [U2T] (again, "thoroughly established" is not used).
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Understanding this, a bodhisattva does not enter into nirvāṇa but willingly takes a body and reenters the world for the benefit of others.)

[Question:] Then the bodhisattva great being Maitreya 846 asked the Lord,

  • "Lord, how do bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom who want to train in a bodhisattva's training train in form, and
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    how do they train in feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness;
    how do they train in the eye sense field, ear sense field, nose sense field, tongue sense field, body sense field, and thinking mind sense field;
    how do they train in the form sense field, sound sense field, smell sense field, taste sense field, feeling sense field, and dharma sense field;
    how do they train in the eye constituent, form constituent, and eye consciousness constituent, ear constituent, sound constituent, and ear consciousness constituent, nose constituent, smell constituent, and nose consciousness constituent, tongue constituent, taste constituent, and tongue consciousness constituent, body constituent, feeling constituent, and body consciousness constituent, and thinking mind constituent, dharma constituent, and thinking-mind consciousness constituent;
    how do they train in the eye contact sense field, and the ear, nose, tongue, body, and thinking-mind contact sense field;
    how do they train in ignorance, and
    how do they train in volitional factors, consciousness, name and form, the six sense fields, contact, feeling, craving, appropriation, existence, birth, and old age and death;
    how do they train in the truth of suffering, and
    how do they train in the truth of origination, truth of cessation, and truth of the path;
    how do they train in dharmas that have form, and
    how do they train in those that are formless, show themselves and do not show themselves, and are obstructed and not obstructed, compounded and uncompounded, with outflows and without outflows, a basic immorality and not a basic immorality, to be resorted to and not resorted to, vile and sublime, inner and outer, seen, heard, thought about, and known, past, present, and future, wholesome, unwholesome, and neutral, connected with the desire realm, connected with the form realm, connected with the formless realm, and not connected, in the dharmas of those in training and of those for whom there is no more training, in the dharmas of greed, rage, conceit, ignorance, view, and doubt;
    how do they train in miserliness and giving, immorality and morality, malice and patience, laziness and perseverance, distraction and concentration, and intellectual confusion and wisdom;
    how do they train in conceptualization and emptiness, a causal sign and signlessness, an improper wish and wishlessness, unpleasant dharmas, impermanence, suffering, and selflessness; and
    how do they train in affliction and the elimination of affliction, defilement and purification, saṃsāra and nirvāṇa, awakening and the buddha-dharmas?"

[Answer:] The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, bodhisattva great beings practicing the perfection of wisdom
    who want to train in a bodhisattva's training
    should train in 'form is a mere name';
    should train in 'feeling . . . ,' 'perception . . . ,' 'volitional factors . . . ,' and 'consciousness is a mere name';
    up to 'buddha-dharmas are a mere name.' "

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya said to him,

  • "Lord, when this‍ — namely, the designation form,‍ — is apprehended together with a basis;
    the designations feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness are apprehended together with a basis;
    up to the designation buddha-dharmas is apprehended together with a basis,
    having taken it as the causal sign of the volitional factors,
    how could bodhisattvas train in 'form that is just a mere name';
    how could they train in 'feeling . . . ,' 'perception . . . ,' 'volitional factors . . . ,' and 'consciousness that is just a mere name';
    up to 'buddha-dharmas that are just mere names'?

  • And if a basis were not to exist, that name for it would also not be suitable to be just a mere name‍ —
    that is, it would not be suitable that 'form is just a mere name';
    that is . . . , 'feeling . . . ,' 'perception . . . ,' 'volitional factors . . .' and 'consciousness is just a mere name';
    it would not be suitable that . . . ,
    up to 'buddha-dharmas is just a mere name.' "

The bodhisattva Maitreya having said that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, this‍ — namely, form‍ — is a name plucked out of thin air;
    these‍ — namely, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness‍ — are names plucked out of thin air;
    up to this‍ — namely, buddha-dharmas‍ — is a name plucked out of thin air
    for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon." 847

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, is it not the case that in the absence of the name form, there is no being aware of, realizing, or knowing the name form through a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, but through that name form there is awareness of, realizing, and knowing a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon?

  • So how could this be‍ — namely, form is a name plucked out of thin air for the basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon'?

  • Lord, is it not the case that there is no being aware of, realizing, or knowing the name feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness through that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon; up to Lord, is it not the case that there is no being aware of the name buddha-dharmas through that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, but through that feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness; up to through that buddha-dharmas, there is awareness of, realizing, and knowing just that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon?

  • So how could this be‍ — namely, 'form . . .'; namely, feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness . . .'; up to namely, 'buddha-dharmas is a name plucked out of thin air for the basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon'?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "So then, Maitreya, I will ask you a question, and you, as much as you can bear it, must find an answer.
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    Maitreya, what do you think‍ — without resorting to, without standing on, without having to stand on the designation form for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, do you think this‍ — namely, 'this is form'‍ — about this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Maitreya, what do you think‍ — without resorting to, without standing on, without having to stand on the designation feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness,
    up to on this‍ — namely, the designation buddha-dharmas ‍ — for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, do you think this‍ — namely, 'feeling,' 848 'perception,' 'volitional factors,' and 'consciousness'; up to 'buddha-dharmas'‍ — about this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon?"

"No, Lord."

  • "From this one of many explanations, Maitreya, you should thus know that these
    — namely, form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness‍ —
    are names plucked out of thin air for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon;
    up to also this‍ — namely buddha-dharmas‍ — is a name plucked out of thin air for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon.

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, do a variety of kinds of words, conventional terms, conventional labels, and designations designate, or conventionally refer to, or label, or apply to this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon?"

"It is so, Lord."

  • "From this one of many explanations, Maitreya, you should thus know that this
    — namely, form; that these‍ — namely feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness;
    up to that this‍ — namely, buddha-dharmas‍ —
    is a name plucked out of thin air for that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon.

  • "Maitreya, what do you think‍ — here, does someone designate, or name, or give a subsequent conventional designation to, or apply to just that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon a name for a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon different from it?"

"It is so, Lord."

  • "From this one of many explanations too, Maitreya, you should thus know that this
    — namely, form; that these‍ — namely, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness; up to that this‍ — namely, buddha-dharmas‍ — is a name plucked out of thin air."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "In that case, Lord, would it not then be just that basis that is the causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that is apprehended as the form entity, based on which this‍ — form;
    these‍ — feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness;
    up to buddha-dharmas‍ — is a designation, name, label, and subsequent conventional designation?" 849

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord asked him in return,

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is the basis that is the causal sign of a compounded phenomenon when form is designating, conventionally referring to, naming, or working as a subsequent conventional designation for form, the form entity, 850 or is it simply merely designated?"

"Lord, it is simply merely designated."

  • "Well then, Maitreya, how could you think, Maitreya, that it is just that basis that is the causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that is apprehended as the form entity, based on which these‍ — namely, feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness; up to buddha-dharmas‍ — is a designation, name, label, and subsequent conventional designation?
    Maitreya, what do you think, is the feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas entity simply merely designated?"

"Lord, it is simply merely designated."

  • "Well then, how could you think, Maitreya, that it is just that feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas entity that is apprehended?"

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "In that case, Lord, if form is simply just a designation, name, conventional term, label, and conventional designation,
    and if feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness,
    up to buddha-dharmas is simply just a designation, name, conventional term, label, and conventional designation, would it not just be the form entity . . . ;
    and then, would it not just be the feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness,
    up to buddha-dharmas entity that is apprehended as designation, name, conventional term, label, and conventional designation?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord asked him in return,

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is that form that is simply just a designation, name, conventional term, label, and conventional designation produced or stopped, or defiled or purified?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Well then, Maitreya," he asked, "how could you have thought 'would it not just be the form entity that is apprehended'?

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is that feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , consciousness . . . , up to buddha-dharmas that is simply just a designation, name, conventional term, label, and conventional designation produced or stopped, or defiled or purified?"

"No, Lord."

"Well then, Maitreya," he asked,

  • "how could you have thought 'would it not just be the feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , consciousness . . . , up to buddha-dharmas entity that is apprehended'?"

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, does form just not exist at all?
    Is it without any mark at all?
    Lord, does feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , consciousness . . . , up to do buddha-dharmas not exist at all?
    Are they without any marks at all?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, I do not say 'form just does not exist at all without any mark at all.'
    Maitreya, I do not say 'feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas just do not exist at all without any marks at all.' "

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "How then, Lord, does form exist?
    How then, Lord, does feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , consciousness . . . ,
    up to how do buddha-dharmas exist?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, form exists as an ordinary term and convention [T1], but not ultimately [T2] [U2T].
    Maitreya, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness,
    up to buddha-dharmas exist as ordinary terms and conventions [T1], but not ultimately [T2] [U2T]."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya said to him,

  • "Lord, the way I understand what you have said, Lord, is that this element 851 is ultimately inexpressible.
    Lord, if that inexpressible element ultimately exists, then how can it be a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon designated by the name form plucked out of thin air;
    if it ultimately exists, then how can it be a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon designated by the name feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air?
    And if ultimately it does not exist, then how could it be an inexpressible element, because it is not suitable to call a basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon an 'inexpressible element.' " 852

The bodhisattva Maitreya having said that, the Lord said to him,

  • "So then, Maitreya, I will ask you a question, and you, as much as you can bear it, must find an answer. Maitreya, what do you think‍ — when abiding in the correct practice of wisdom connected with the inexpressible element, do you apprehend this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that has been designated by the name form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas, plucked out of thin air?"

"Lord, I do not apprehend it," he replied.

  • "From this one of many explanations, Maitreya," he continued,
    "you should know that this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon is not the inexpressible element and the inexpressible element is not other than this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon.
    This basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon designated by these‍ — namely, the names form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air‍ — if they are taken to be the inexpressible element, well then, all foolish ordinary people would be in nirvāṇa, and would even have fully awakened to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening.
    Maitreya, if the inexpressible element is taken to be other than this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, well then, given that even the causal sign would not be apprehended, in this case would there be a realization of that inexpressible element?

  • "From this one of many explanations, Maitreya, you should know that the inexpressible element is not other than this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that has been designated by these‍ — namely, the names form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air‍ — and that the inexpressible element is not not other than those either."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, if, when bodhisattvas are abiding in the correct practice of wisdom connected with the inexpressible element, this basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that has been designated by the names form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air is not apprehended, is existence not apprehended, or is nonexistence not apprehended?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon has no independence or existence at all. 853 And why? Maitreya, when you conceive of that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon is that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon gotten hold of through the conceptualizations, or, when you are abiding in the correct practice of wisdom connected with the inexpressible element and do not conceive of it, is it gotten hold of through the absence of conceptualization?"

"It is, Lord."

  • "If that is so, Maitreya, that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon that has been thus designated by these‍ — namely, the names form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air‍ — is simply just conceptualization or just a conceptual state. When they are thus abiding in the nonconceptual element free from conceptualizations, what existence does it, designated by these‍ — namely, the names form, feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas plucked out of thin air‍ — have? What existence can be apprehended?"

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, how many designations for the separate aspects of form should bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom, involved in skillfully making a differentiation of a dharma, know?
    How many designations for the separate aspects of feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas should they know?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom, involved in skillfully making a differentiation of a dharma, should know three designations for the separate modes of form, and should know three designations for the separate modes of feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas, namely, 'this is imaginary form,' 'this is conceptualized form,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of form';
    'this is imaginary feeling,' 'this is conceptualized feeling,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of feeling';
    'this is imaginary perception,' 'this is conceptualized perception,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of perception';
    'these are imaginary volitional factors,' 'these are conceptualized volitional factors,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of the volitional factors';
    'this is imaginary consciousness,' 'this is conceptualized consciousness,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of consciousness';
    up to 'these are imaginary buddha-dharmas,' 'these are conceptualized buddha-dharmas,' and 'this is the true dharmic nature of buddha-dharmas.' "

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, what is imaginary form, what is conceptualized form, and what is the true dharmic nature of form;
    what is imaginary feeling . . . , . . . perception, . . . volitional factors, . . . consciousness;
    up to . . . buddha-dharmas, what are conceptualized buddha-dharmas, and what is the true dharmic nature of buddha-dharmas?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, based on the designation, name, label, and conventional designation form for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, this imagining that it is the intrinsic nature of form is imaginary form.
    Maitreya, based on the designations, names, labels, and conventional designations feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas for this or that basis that is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, this imagining that it is the intrinsic nature of feeling, or it is the intrinsic nature of perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas, is imaginary feeling; is imaginary perception, volitional factors, and consciousness; up to are imaginary buddha-dharmas.

  • "That basis which is a causal sign of a compounded phenomenon, an expression dependent on conceptualization established in the true dharmic nature of mere conceptualization for which the designations, names, labels, and conventional designations 'this is form,' 'this is feeling,' 'this is perception,' 'this is a volitional factor,' 'this is consciousness,' up to 'these are buddha-dharmas' are used‍ — this is conceptualized form, 854 this is conceptualized feeling, this is conceptualized perception, this is a conceptualized volitional factor, this is conceptualized consciousness, up to these are conceptualized buddha-dharmas.

  • "This true nature of dharmas that simply remains whether the tathāgatas arise or whether the tathāgatas do not arise, the element of the establishment of dharmas that is just the nonexistence of an intrinsic nature‍ — falsely imagined form as that conceptualized form‍ — for a time that is eternally eternal and constantly constant, 855 the nonexistence of a self in dharmas, suchness, and the very limit of reality, is the true dharmic nature of form; this is also the true dharmic nature of feeling, this is the true dharmic nature of perception, this is the true dharmic nature of volitional factors, this is the true dharmic nature of consciousness, up to and this is the true dharmic nature of the buddha-dharmas."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, among these three forms, which form is viewed as a nonmaterial reality and which as a material reality, and which as neither a nonmaterial reality nor a material reality and in the category of the ultimate?
    Among these three feelings, and among these three perceptions, these three volitional factors, and these three consciousnesses, up to and these three buddha-dharmas, which are viewed as a nonmaterial reality and which as a material reality, and which as neither a nonmaterial reality nor a material reality and in the category of the ultimate?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, view the form that is imaginary as not a material reality.
    View conceptualized form as a material reality based on the material reality of a conceptualization, but not because it is there under its own power.
    And view the true dharmic nature of form as neither a nonmaterial reality nor a material reality and in the category of the ultimate.
    -
    View the feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness that is imaginary . . . , up to the buddha-dharmas that are imaginary as not a material reality. View the feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness that is conceptualized . . . , up to the buddha-dharmas that are conceptualized as a material reality based on the material reality of a conceptualization, but not because they are there under their own power. Maitreya, view the true dharmic nature of feeling . . . , perception . . . , volitional factors . . . , and consciousness . . . , up to Maitreya, view the true dharmic nature of the buddha-dharmas as neither a nonmaterial reality nor a material reality and in the category of the ultimate."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, given that there is 856 such a designation for differentiated form,
    and given there is such a designation for differentiated feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas, this that the Lord has said‍
    — namely, 'anything called form is counted as not two'‍ —
    and this‍ — namely, 'anything called feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas is counted as not two'‍ —
    in regard to that, what did the Lord have in mind when the Lord said this‍ — namely, 'anything called form is counted as not two'
    — and this‍ — namely, 'anything called feeling, perception, volitional factors, or consciousness up to buddha-dharmas‍ — is counted as not two'?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord asked him in return,

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is the absence of material reality in imaginary form, form, or is it not?"

"It is not, Lord."

  • "Is then form just the mere designation, name, label, and conventional designation form for it?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Maitreya, through this one of many explanations, you should know that imaginary form is not form and is not not form either, and that which is not form and is not not form is counted as nondual. That was what I had in mind when I said this‍ — namely, 'anything called form is counted as not two.'

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is conceptualized form, the material reality, dependent on which this name, designation, and convention is used, not form?"

"No, Lord." 857

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is that imaginary form of just that conceptualized form‍ — that which is not its intrinsic nature, not its defining mark‍ — form?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Maitreya, also through this one of many explanations, you should know that conceptualized form is not form and is not not form either, and that which is not form and is not not form is counted as nondual. That was what I had in mind when I said this‍ — namely, 'anything called form" is counted as not two.'

  • "Maitreya, what do you think, is that true dharmic nature of form, form in the category of selflessness, form?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Is that true dharmic nature of form that is just that true dharmic nature of form, form?"

"No, Lord."

  • "Maitreya, also through this one of many explanations, you should know that the true dharmic nature of form is not form and is not not form either, and that which is not form and is not not form is counted as nondual. That was what I had in mind when I said this‍ — namely, 'anything called form is counted as not two.' Similarly, connect this with feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, up to the buddha-dharmas."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, how should they view the mark of comprehension, how the mark of abandonment, how the mark of actualization, and how the mark of cultivation of bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom who, having avoided the two extremes and set forth on the middle way, have such a skill in the nondual mark of form, and such a skill in the absence of marks 858 in feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to buddha-dharmas?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom who,
    avoiding the two extremes, have set forth on the middle way,
    neither comprehend nor do not comprehend form, and just that is their comprehension;
    they neither comprehend nor do not comprehend feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas, and just that is their comprehension.
    They neither abandon nor do not abandon form and just that is their abandonment;
    they neither abandon nor do not abandon feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to or buddha-dharmas, and just that is their abandonment.
    They neither actualize nor do not actualize an abandonment of form and just that is their actualization;
    they neither cultivate the path nor do not cultivate the path in order to abandon form, and just that is their cultivation.
    -
    Similarly, connect this with feeling, perception, volitional factors, consciousness, up to and the buddha-dharmas."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, what is the nirvāṇa of bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom endowed with such comprehension, abandonment, actualization, and cultivation?"

The bodhisattva Maitreya having asked that, the Lord said to him,

  • "Maitreya, the nirvāṇa of bodhisattvas is deep, extremely deep."

"Lord, why is the nirvāṇa of bodhisattvas so deep, so extremely deep?"

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "it is because the nirvāṇa of bodhisattvas is neither nirvāṇa nor not nirvāṇa; that is why it is called 'deep, extremely deep.' "

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, how is the nirvāṇa of bodhisattvas neither nirvāṇa nor not nirvāṇa?"

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "taking the welfare of others as the point of departure, it is not nirvāṇa because they do not totally reject saṃsāra; taking their own welfare as the point of departure, it is not not nirvāṇa because they do not totally reject nirvāṇa."

"Lord, if, taking the welfare of others as the point of departure, bodhisattvas do not totally reject saṃsāra, by not totally rejecting saṃsāra how do they not totally reject nirvāṇa?
Lord, if, taking their own welfare as the point of departure, bodhisattvas do not totally reject nirvāṇa, how do they not totally reject saṃsāra?"

The Lord said,

  • "Here bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom do not even conceive of saṃsāra as actually saṃsāra, and do not even conceive of nirvāṇa as actually nirvāṇa. So, because they thus do not conceptualize those two‍ — namely, saṃsāra and nirvāṇa‍ — they are the same and equal.

And why?

  • Because they do not conceive of saṃsāra as actually saṃsāra, so they do not become repulsed by saṃsāra. Similarly, because they do not conceive of nirvāṇa as actually nirvāṇa, their nirvāṇa does not degenerate; and similarly, even in saṃsāra, it does not degenerate. 859 Thus, you should know that for this reason they are located in a realm without thought construction and neither totally reject saṃsāra nor totally reject nirvāṇa."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Well then, Lord, will it not be the case that just as bodhisattvas standing in the realm without thought construction practicing the perfection of wisdom have not totally rejected a life in saṃsāra they will similarly not have appropriated it, and just as they have not totally rejected nirvāṇa they will similarly not have appropriated that, either?
    And Lord, if there is no appropriation, how can there be no rejection?"

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "I do not say they 'appropriate' or 'do not appropriate' a life in saṃsāra like this. Rather, Maitreya, because bodhisattvas practicing the perfection of wisdom exhibit a life in saṃsāra through skillful means when they have gained control over their minds through the knowledge that has the realm without thought construction as its objective support, I say about bodhisattvas 860 in world systems as many as there are sand particles in the Gaṅgā River in world systems in the ten directions who have passed into nirvāṇa that 'they do not reject a life in saṃsāra.' And because they remain in emptiness, in the realm that gives no basis for apprehending anything, I say 'they do not reject nirvāṇa' "

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, how in the absence of conceptualization should the collection of marks be viewed?"

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "that which is form, and that which is feeling, perception, volitional factors, and consciousness, up to that which is the buddha-dharmas, and that which is the emptiness of up to the buddha-dharmas‍ — that which is the non-duality and non-elaboration of an existent thing and a nonexistent thing in those dharmas and those emptinesses‍ — that, Maitreya, should be viewed as the collection of marks in the absence of conceptualization."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, are all śrāvakas absolutely with certainty located in nirvāṇa?"

"No, Maitreya," replied the Lord.

"And why?

  • Because this world has various elements, it has multiple elements, so in this world that has various elements and multiple elements, many families and dispositions of beings can be found. Maitreya, there is one sort of family of beings, those who from the start strive for a superior qualification, who gain just the superior qualification; there is one sort of family of beings, those who from the start strive for an inferior qualification, who are satisfied by gaining just the inferior; and there is one sort of family of beings who from the start strive for an inferior qualification, gain the inferior, understand that it is lacking, are not satisfied just by that, and then strive for the superior qualification and gain the superior."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya asked him,

  • "Lord, someone in the third family of beings, having reached the state of a worthy one, strives for unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening but does not take rebirth, so how do they reach it?
    The Lord has not said the practice itself is their rebirth." 861

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "I do not say that their rebirth is dictated by karma and afflictive emotion;
    I say that theirs is an inconceivable rebirth, magically created and dedicated." 862

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya said to him,

  • "Lord, how incredible the vast aspiration, the great surpassing aspiration of bodhisattva great beings who thus from the start strive to be truly exceptional and become truly exceptional must be. Lord, what is the vast aspiration, what is the great surpassing aspiration of bodhisattva great beings?"

"Maitreya," replied the Lord,

  • "that those bodhisattvas do not strive to be a Śatakratu, to be a Brahmā, to be a world protector, to be a wheel-turning emperor, or to have any ordinary success at all‍ — that those bodhisattvas have no attachment to those and are free from grasping at them is their vast aspiration. And that bodhisattvas want all beings to share in common the happiness of nonattachment, the happiness free from grasping, and the happiness of nirvāṇa, and that they make a dedication to unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening, which is to say, they do not give up volitional factors, 863 is to be seen as their truly great surpassing aspiration."

The Lord having said that, the bodhisattva Maitreya said to him,

  • "Lord, the bodhisattva dharmas are amazing and marvelous;
    the bodhisattva training is amazing and marvelous.
    Lord, a son of a good family or daughter of a good family who wants to train in the amazingly marvelous bodhisattva dharmas should produce the thought of unsurpassed, perfect, complete awakening."

This was the eighty-third chapter, "Categorization of a Bodhisattva's Training," 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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