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Diamond Sutra

Diamond Sutra

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Published by Scott Platton
Public domain translation of the Diamond Sutra.
Public domain translation of the Diamond Sutra.

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Published by: Scott Platton on Jul 25, 2013
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Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra

Translated from Taishō Tripiṭaka volume 8, number 235

1. The cause of the Dharma assembly
Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was in Śrāvastī, residing in the Jeta Grove of Anāthapiṇḍada’s park, along with a great saṃgha of bhikṣus, twelve hundred and fifty in all. At mealtime, the Bhagavān put on his robe, picked up his bowl, and made his way into the great city of Śrāvastī to beg for food within the city walls. After he had finished begging sequentially from door to door, he returned and ate his meal. Then he put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged his seat, and sat down.

2. Elder Subhūti opens the question
From the midst of the great multitude, Elder Subhūti arose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, and knelt with his right knee to the ground. With his hands joined together in respect, he addressed the Buddha, saying, “It is extraordinary, Bhagavān, how the Tathāgata is skillfully mindful of the bodhisattvas, and skillfully instructs and cares for the bodhisattvas! Bhagavān, when good men and good women wish to develop the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, how should their minds dwell? How should they pacify their minds?” The Buddha replied, “Excellent, excellent Subhūti! It is just as you have said. The Tathāgata is skillfully mindful of the bodhisattvas, and skillfully instructs and cares for the bodhisattvas. Now listen carefully, because your question will be answered. Good men and good women who wish to develop the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi should dwell thusly, and pacify their minds thusly.” “Just so, Bhagavān. We joyfully wish to hear it.”

3. The true method of the Great Vehicle
The Buddha told Subhūti, “Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should pacify their minds thusly: ‘All different types of sentient beings, whether born from eggs, born from wombs, born from moisture, or born from transformation; having form or no form; having thought, no thought, or neither thought nor no thought—I will cause them all to become liberated and enter Nirvāṇa Without Remainder.’ Thusly sentient beings are liberated without measure, without number, and to no end; however, truly no sentient beings gain liberation. Why? Subhūti, if a bodhisattva has a notion of a self, a notion of a person, a notion of a being, or a notion of a life, he is not a bodhisattva.

a being. nor should you grasp what is . Subhūti. and a life. tastes. that is certainly attachment to a self. 5. a person. north. what do you think? Is the space to the east conceivable or measurable?” “Certainly not. Why? The bodily marks that the Tathāgata speaks of are not bodily marks. Subhūti. a being. Bhagavān. Why? This is because these beings are holding no further notions of a self. After the extinction of the Tathāgata. two. their merits are also such as this: inconceivable and immeasurable. that is immediate attachment to a self. or the zenith or nadir. The principle for true perception “Subhūti. Therefore. in order to hear these words and give rise to even a single thought of clean. They are holding no notions of dharmas and no notions of the non-existence of dharmas. three. and a life. Bhagavān. giving rise to true belief?” The Buddha told to Subhūti. in the next five hundred years. a person. and these sentient beings thus attain measureless merit. not abiding in characteristics. bodhisattvas in accordance with the Dharma should not abide anywhere in their practice of giving. will there be sentient beings who are able to hear these words thusly.” “Subhūti. If they grasp after notions of the Dharma. Subhūti. Subhūti.” 6. or five buddhas. for bodhisattvas who do not abide when practicing giving. If all marks are not seen as marks. west. Why? When one grasps what is not the Dharma. The rarity of true belief Subhūti addressed the Buddha. “Everything that has marks is deceptive and false. and a life. “Bhagavān. bodhisattvas should only dwell in what is taught thusly. there will be those who maintain the precepts and cultivate merit. bodhisattvas should practice giving thusly. but have truly planted good roots with measureless millions of buddhas.” The Buddha told Subhūti. what do you think? Is the space to the south. a person. scents. a being. Bhagavān. then this is attachment to a self. or dharmas. Why? If bodhisattvas do not abide in characteristics in their practice of giving. then this is seeing the Tathāgata. or notions of a life. If the minds of sentient beings grasp after characteristics.” “Subhūti. what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by means of bodily marks?” “Certainly not. sensations. Subhūti. The subtle practice of non-abiding “Moreover. who will be able to hear these words and give rise to a mind of belief. conceivable or measurable?” “Certainly not. four. saying. you should neither grasp the Dharma. clear belief. the Tathāgata in each case knows this. “Do not speak that way. notions of a person. and in each case perceives this. then the merits of this are inconceivable and immeasurable. the four intermediary directions. Such beings have not just planted good roots with one.4. This is called ‘giving without abiding in form. notions of a being.’ This giving does not abide in sounds. The Tathāgata cannot be seen by means of bodily marks.

then? All the noble ones are distinguished by the unconditioned Dharma. There is no entry into forms. sounds. yet there is nothing that is entered into. what do you think? Is a sakṛdāgāmin mindful. “Very many. “No. tastes. Why? The Tathāgata’s exposition of the Dharma can never be obtained and can never be spoken.” 8. Even the Dharma should be relinquished. the Tathāgata frequently says. Why? Subhūti. Bhagavān. emerge from this sūtra. no expounding “Subhūti. Bhagavān. nor is there a fixed Dharma the Tathāgata can speak.” “Subhūti. ‘I have obtained the fruit of a srotaāpanna?’” Subhūti replied. scents. would such a person obtain many merits?” Subhūti replied. a being.not the Dharma. being neither dharma nor non-dharma. Bhagavān. what do you think? Is an anāgāmin mindful. yet there is nothing which is non-returning. if an arhat is mindful. the Buddha says that among . speaking it to others. “No.’ then this is a person attached to a self. Why? ‘Sakṛdāgāmin’ refers to one who will return once more. what do you think? Is a srotaāpanna mindful. sensations. Thus is one called a srotaāpanna.” “Subhūti. what do you think? Is an arhat mindful. Subhūti. Bhagavān. ‘You bhikṣus should know that the Dharma I speak is like a raft. Why? There is truly no dharma which may be called an arhat. Bhagavān. so how much more so the non-Dharma?’ 7. yet there is nothing which leaves or returns.” “Subhūti.” “If a person accepts and maintains even as little as a four-line gāthā from within this sūtra. in order to reach the Buddha Dharma of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Thus is one called an anāgāmin. What is it. what do you think? Has the Tathāgata obtained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi? Has the Tathāgata spoken any Dharma?” Subhūti replied. Bhagavān! Why? Such merit does not have the nature of merit. ‘I have attained the Arhat Path. Emerging from the Dharma “Subhūti. what do you think? If someone filled the three thousand great thousand -worlds with the Seven Precious Jewels in the practice of giving. The appearance without appearance “Subhūti. 9. Why? ‘Srotaāpanna’ refers to one who has entered the stream. Regarding this principle. Thus is one called a sakṛdāgāmin. Why? ‘Anāgāmin’ refers to one who will not return. “No. “No. No obtaining. this is because all buddhas. or dharmas. and for this reason the Tathāgata speaks of many merits. Bhagavān. and a life. a person. “Thus do I explain the true meaning of the Buddha’s teachings: there is no fixed Dharma of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. ‘I have obtained the fruit of a sakṛdāgāmin?’” Subhūti replied. ‘I have attained the fruit of an arhat?’” Subhūti replied. ‘I have obtained the fruit of an anāgāmin?’” Subhūti replied. what is called the Buddha Dharma is not the Buddha Dharma. then his or her merits will be even greater.

King of Mountains. The adornment of pure lands The Buddha addressed Subhūti.arhats. bodhisattva-mahāsattvas should give rise to a clear and pure mind thusly. I am not mindful of being an arhat free of desire. Bhagavān.” “Therefore. Why? The Buddha teaches that no body is the Great Body.” The Buddha told Subhūti. When the Tathāgata was with Dīpaṃkara Buddha there was truly no dharma obtained. If a good man or good woman filled such a number of three thousand great thousand-worlds with the Seven Precious Jewels in the practice of giving. Subhūti. Unconditioned merits surpass all “Subhūti. tastes. if good men and good women accept and maintain even a four-line gāthā from within this sūtra. Bhagavān. and am the foremost free of desire. scents. Bhagavān. the one who dwells in peace. speaking it to others.’ It is because there is truly no dwelling that he speaks of ‘Subhūti. let alone their grains of sand. the devas. not abiding in life. In every world.” “Subhūti. “What do you think? In the past when the Tathāgata was with Dīpaṃkara Buddha. what do you think? Do bodhisattvas adorn buddha -lands?” “No. I will now tell you a truth. would there be many grains of sand in the Ganges River?” Subhūti said. Bhagavān. How much more so for those capable of accepting and maintaining the entire sūtra? Subhūti. then the merits of this surpass the former merits. “It would be extremely great. “There would be extremely many. If I were mindful in this way.’” 10. Subhūti. not associated with abiding in form. would he or she obtain many merits?” Subhūti said. sensations. saying. you should know that this is a person with the highest and most exceptional Dharma. The number of Ganges Rivers alone would be countless. or dharmas. Why? The adornments of buddha-lands are not adornments. Would this body be great?” Subhūti replied. and are thus called adornments. the one who dwells in peace.” 11. I am the foremost in my practice of the Samādhi of Non-contention. What do you think. if one speaks even a four-line gāthā from within this sūtra. However. Bhagavān. suppose a person has a body like Mount Sumeru. Wherever this sūtra dwells is the Buddha or his most honored disciple. Venerating the true teachings “Moreover. “Extremely many. 12. humans.” . Bhagavān. and asuras should provide offerings to it. then the Bhagavān would not speak of ‘Subhūti. you should understand that this place is like the shrine of a buddha.” “Subhūti. was there any dharma that was obtained?” “No. contained its own Ganges River. “Just so. Subhūti. not associated with abiding in sounds. suppose each grain of sand in the Ganges river.

Those who depart from all characteristics are called buddhas. accepting and maintaining its true meaning. and is thus called the foremost pāramitā. Why? The Thirty-two Marks that the Tathāgata speaks of are not marks. and are thus called worlds. a being. know that the existence of such a person is extremely rare.” 14. producing awareness of the true equality of characteristics. Why? Subhūti. gave his or her body away as many times as there are sands in the Ganges River. the atoms spoken of by the Tathāgata are not atoms. Subhūti. in the next era. in the practice of giving. Bhagavān. is the Buddha who thus speaks this profound sūtra! Since attaining the Eye of Wisdom. Bhagavān. this foremost pāramitā that the Tathāgata speaks of is not a foremost pāramitā. He then said to the Buddha. The worlds spoken of by the Tathāgata are not worlds. Why is it called this? Subhūti. suppose there were a good man or good woman who. Bhagavān. and for this reason the Tathāgata speaks of a true appearance. characteristics of a person. having been able to hear this sūtra thusly.” “Subhūti. I do not find it difficult to accept and maintain its true meaning. having heard the profound explanation about t he meaning of this sūtra. and by this name you should revere and maintain it. Why? This is because such a person has no notions of a self. Subhūti. or fearful. and are thus called the Thirty-two Marks. and are thus called atoms. the true appearance is not an appearance. “This sūtra is called the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā. “How exceptional.13. by what name should we revere and maintain this sūtra?” The Buddha told Subhūti. Bhagavān. or notions of a life. . wept with joy. “Bhagavān. Leaving appearances: Nirvāṇa At that time. Subhūti. “Bhagavān. “There are extremely many. Why? The characteristic of a self is not a true characteristic.” “Subhūti. and a life. with a mind of clean and clear belief. However. thusly! If there are aga in people who are able to hear this sūtra. Receiving and maintaining the Dharma Subhūti asked the Buddha.” “Subhūti. then the merits of this are far greater. and are not startled. this Prajñāpāramitā spoken by the Buddha is not Prajñāpāramitā. notions of a person. If there are people who accept and maintain even a four-line gāthā from within this sūtra. then they will be most extraordinary. what do you think? Has the Tathāgata actually spoken any Dharma?” Subhūti replied. the Tathāgata cannot be seen by means of the Thirty two Marks. “Thusly. the Tathāgata has not spoken. terrified. five hundred years from now.” The Buddha told Subhūti. are also not true characteristics. what do you think? Are there very many atoms contained in three thousand great thousand-worlds?” Subhūti replied. then this is a person with the most extraordinary merits. Bhagavān. I have never heard such a sūtra! Bhagavān. notions of a being. if there are sentient beings who are able to hear this sūtra. if there are again people who are able to hear this sūtra thusly. what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by means of the Thirty-two Marks?” “No.

Subhūti. Subhūti. study. the Pāramitā of Forbearance that the Tathāgata speaks of is not a Pāramitā of Forbearance. All characteristics spoken of by the Tathāgata are not characteristics. or dharmas. If there are people again who hear this sūtra with a mind of belief. notions of a person. bodhisattvas should depart from all characteristics in order to develop the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. and not a deceiver or one who speaks to the contrary. Over so many lifetimes there were no notions of a self. notions of a person. However. or notions of a life. notions of a being. if the mind of a bodhisattva dwells in dharmas when practicing giving. or notions of a life. then I would have responded with hatred and anger. and for whom the sun clearly illuminates the perception of various forms. then this is like a person who enters darkness and cannot see anything. The . and reciting this sūtra. How much more so for those who write. In the middle of the day. notions of a being. limitless merit. 15. in the next era. then the Tathāgata by means of his Buddha Wisdom is always aware of them and always sees them. in the morning. notions of a person. maintaining. to summarize. In anything that dwells in the mind. The merits of maintaining this sūtra “Subhūti. and for this reason the Buddha says that the minds of bodhisattvas should not dwell in form when practicing giving. sensations. studying. or notions of a life. Then in the evening. Remember also that I was the Ṛṣi of Forbearance for five hundred lifetimes in the past. and explain it? Subhūti. the Tathāgata is genuine and honest. without doubt. then the merits of these people surpass the former merits. “Subhūti. the Dharma attained by the Tathāgata is neither substantial nor void. They should produce a mind that does not dwell in form. this person would also give his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. In the past when my body was cut apart. They should produce a mind that does not dwell in any place. maintain.“Subhūti. Subhūti. Subhūti. bodhisattvas should give thusly because it benefits all sentient beings. if there were notions of a self. gave his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. if the mind of a bodhisattva does not dwell in dharmas when practicing giving. These people all obtain immeasurable. this sūtra has inconceivable. scents. Suppose this giving continued for incalculable billions of eons. Why? Subhūti. tastes. if there are good men or good women capable of accepting. notions of a being. and all sentient beings are not sentient beings. They should produce a mind that does not dwell in sounds. it is like in the past when my body was cut apart by the King of Kaliṅga: there were no notions of a self. accept. limitless merit. immeasurable. suppose there were a good man or a good woman who. this person would also give his or her body away as many times as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. one should not dwell. the one who speaks thusly. then this is like a person who is able to see. recite. Subhūti.

a bodhisattva who has a notion of a self. I remember in the past. and recite this sūtra. study. Subhūti. recite. incalculable eons before Dīpaṃkara Buddha. then from this treatment by others their karma from previous lives will be eliminated in this lifetime. Yet when all sentient beings are liberated. in every place where this sūtra exists. its rewards of karma are also inconceivable. Suppose someone in the next era is able to accept. and explain this sūtra to others. maintain. If they are treated badly due to karma from a previous life that would make them fall onto evil paths. maintain. Subhūti. maintain. a notion of a being. saying. Subhūti addressed the Buddha. and I were to fully explain all the merits attained. Subhūti. there is actually no dharma of the development of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. What do you think? When the Tathāgata was with Dīpaṃkara Buddha. did there exist any . and recite this sūtra. those who are happy with lesser teachings are attached to views of a self. adorning its resting place with flowers and incense. is not a bodhisattva. “Good men and good women develop Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi by giving rise to a mind thusly: ‘I must liberate all sentient beings. suppose good men and good women accept. recite. being able to meet 84. then truly not even one sentient being has been liberated. or a notion of a life. and explain it to others. Subhūti. when good men and good women develop the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. views of a being.000 countless myriads of buddhas. innumerable. and views of a life. They cannot hear. humans. If there are people able to accept. not even one hundredth as good. views of a person. study. 16. and recite this sūtra. understand that just as the meaning of this sūtra is inconceivable. Thusly. maintain. The ability to purify obstructions “Moreover.Tathāgata speaks it to send forth those in the Great Vehicle. Why? Subhūti. The merit of my offerings to all those buddhas are. maintain.’ Why? Subhūti. in comparison to the merits of this person. They are so vastly inferior that a comparison cannot be made. these people are carrying the Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi of the Tathāgata. study. then the Tathāgata is always aware of them and always sees them. Ultimately without self At that time. the minds of those listening could go mad with confusion. full of doubt and disbelief. and they will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. a notion of a person.” 17. how should their minds dwell? How should they pacify their minds?” The Buddha told Subhūti. Why is this so? Subhūti. “Bhagavān. and providing offerings to honor them all without exception. study. study. This place is a shrine to which everyone should respectfully make obeisance and circumambulate. the devas. and asuras from every world should provide offerings. if there are good men and good women in the next era who accept. Subhūti. accept. to send forth those in the Supreme Vehicle.

‘All dharmas are not a self. a being. if someone says. the Tathāgata has the Buddha Eye. all dharmas spoken of are actually not all dharmas. that Dīpaṃkara Buddha gave me this prediction by saying. Subhūti! There was no dharma of the Tathāgata’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Subhūti. a person. thusly. Bhagavān. the Tathāgata says that it is . is not a great body.’ Subhūti. what do you think? Does the Tathāgata have the Buddha Eye?” “Thusly. ‘I am adorning buddha-lands. then Dīpaṃkara Buddha would not have given me the prediction. there was truly no dharma of the attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. or a life. the Tathāgata has the Prajñā Eye. and are thus called adornments. Why? Subhūti. “Bhagavān.” “Subhūti. Subhūti. A single unified perception “Subhūti. “Subhūti.dharma of the attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?” “No. ‘In the next era you will become a buddha named Śākyamuni. what do you think? Does the Tathāgata have the Prajñā Eye?” “Thusly. the Tathāgata has the Physical Eye. Bhagavān. Subhūti. ‘All dharmas are the Buddha Dharma. if there were a dharma the Tathāgata’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. what do you think? Does the Tathāgata have the Divine Eye?” “Thusly. and for this reason the Tathāgata says. it is like a human body that is tall and great. Bhagavān. Bhagavān.” “Subhūti. Subhūti. the Tathāgata says that such a human body.” “Subhūti. and are thus called all dharmas. and thus do I explain the actual meaning of the Buddha’s teachings: when the Buddha was with Dīpaṃkara Buddha.” Subhūti said. tall and great.” “Subhūti. if a bodhisattva says. “Thusly.’ then this is not one to be called a bodhisattva. the true attainment by the Tathāgata of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi is neither substantial nor void. ‘In the next era you will become a buddha named Śākyamuni. Bhagavān. and for this reason the Buddha says. If someone says ‘I will liberate and cross over innumerable sentient beings. truly there is no dharma of a bodhisattva. Bhagavān.’ there is no dharma of a buddha’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. what do you think? Of the sand in the Ganges River. Why? The adornments of buddha-lands spoken of by the Tathāgata are not adornments.’ Why? The Tathāgata has the meaning of the suchness of dharmas. Bhagavān.’ Subhūti.’ It is because there was no dharma of the attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.” “Subhūti. what do you think? Does the Tathāgata have the Dharma Eye?” “Thusly. if a bodhisattva penetrates the Dharma of Anātman.” “Subhūti. then this is one whom the Tathāgata truly calls a bodhisattva. the Tathāgata has the Dharma Eye. bodhisattvas are also such as this. ‘The Tathāgata has attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. the Tathāgata has the Divine Eye. does the Buddha say that it is sand?” “Thusly. and is thus called the Great Body. what do you think? Does the Tathāgata have the Physical Eye?” “Thusly.” The Buddha said. 18.’ then this is not one to be called a bodhisattva.

then the Tathāgata would not say that many merits that are obtained. and it is thus called speaking the Dharma. 20. the Tathāgata cannot be seen by means of the perfected body of form. and is thus called the perfection of all characteristics. would their number be very many?” “It would be extremely many. Why? Subhūti. that the Tathāgata speaks of obtaining many merits. Why? If someone says that the Tathāgata has any spoken Dharma. do not say that the Tathāgata is mindful of the thought. from such causes and conditions.” “If there were as many Ganges Rivers as there are sand grains in the Ganges River. that which is not sentient beings. Bhagavān. past mind cannot be grasped. ‘I have a spoken Dharma. Transforming the Dharma Realm “Subhūti. Leaving form. Bhagavān. present mind cannot be grasped. Bhagavān. “Bhagavān. no dharma to speak “Subhūti. if such merits truly existed.” At that time Living Wisdom Subhūti addressed the Buddha. would this person obtain many merits from such causes and conditions?” “Thusly. what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by the perfection of all characteristics?” “No. and gave them away in the practice of giving. Why? The perfection of all characteristics that the Tathāgata speaks of is itself not a perfection of all characteristics. “Such a number of lands possess a multitude of sentient beings.’ Do not be mindful of this.” The Buddha told Subhūti. what do you think? If someone filled three thousand great thousand-worlds with the Seven Precious Jewels.sand. “Subhūti. and are thus called minds. and is thus called the perfected body of form. what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be seen by means of the perfected body of form?” “No. leaving appearance “Subhūti. Bhagavān. this is to be regarded as slandering the Buddha. No speaking. the merits of this person would be extremely many. Why is this so? Subhūti. 19. is not the absence of sentient beings. the Tathāgata cannot be seen by the perfection of all characteristics. will there be sentient beings in the next era who will hear this spoken Dharma and give rise to a mind of belief?” The Buddha replied. saying. Why? The various minds that the Tathāgata speaks of are not minds. Why? The perfected body of form that the Tathāgata speaks of is itself not a perfected body of form. and their various minds are fully known by the Tathāgata. and future mind cannot be grasped. each and every . and there were thusly as many buddha world realms as grains of sand in all those Ganges Rivers. one who speaks the Dharma is unable to speak any Dharma. because my explanations are inconceivable. It is from the merits that are unconditioned.” 21.” “Subhūti. Subhūti.” “Subhūti.

Subhūti. “Thusly. The virtuous practice of a pure mind “Moreover. the equality of dharmas that has nothing that is better or worse. 24. With regard to my Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. and accepts. ‘I cross over sentient beings. They are so vastly inferior that the two are incomparable. no being. “Bhagavān. and by means of no self. The merits of prajñā are incomparable “Subhūti. these pure dharmas that the Tathāgata speaks of are not pure dharmas. there is not even the slightest dharma of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi which may be obtained. Subhūti. with the Thirty-two Marks the Tathāgata is to be . thusly. no person. If a person has only a four-line gāthā from this Prajñāpāramitā sūtra. an ordinary person that the Tathāgata speaks of is not an ordinary person. maintains. 25. and are thus called pure dharmas. is not a sentient being.” 22. is the Buddha’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi actually without attainment?” “Thusly. and speaks it for others. Subhūti. If there were sentient beings crossed over by the Tathāgata. then the merits the other person are not even one hundredth as good. do not foster such mindfulness. Transformations are not transformations “Subhūti. but ordinary people believe it is a self. all pure dharmas are cultivated and Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi is attained. and a life. Subhūti. is called Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.sentient being that the Tathāgata has spoken of. suppose three thousand great thousand-worlds all contained Sumeru. Why? Truly there are no sentient beings crossed over by the Tathāgata. and no life.’ Subhūti. a person. No dharmas may be grasped Subhūti asked the Buddha. 23. King of Mountains. what do you think? Can the Tathāgata be observed by means of the Thirty -two Marks?” Subhūti replied. thusly. 26. a being. The Dharmakāya is without appearance “Subhūti. and is thus called a sentient being. then there would be a self. given away by someone in the practice of giving. The existence of a self as spoken of by the Tathāgata is not the existence of a self. and there were mountains such as this of the Seven Precious Jewels. recites. what do you think? You should not say that the Tathāgata is mindful. studies.

observed. 27. for bodhisattvas to truly cultivate merit. sits. saying: If one perceives me in forms. being mindful in this way. then a cakravartin king would be a tathāgata. the reason for this is that bodhisattvas do not receive merit. filled as many world realms with the Seven Precious Jewels. goes. they should not desire to receive it. and for this reason is called the Tathāgata. If there is a person with the awareness that all dharmas are not the self. This person practices a deviant path And cannot see the Tathāgata. if someone says that the Tathāgata comes. ‘The Tathāgata has not. saying. ‘The Tathāgata has not. attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. No severing. not desiring “Subhūti. why do you say that bodhisattvas do not receive merit?” “Subhūti. no annihilation “Subhūti. saying. the Bhagavān spoke a gāthā. and the merits attained by this bodhisattva surpass those of the previous bodhisattva. thus do I explain the meaning of what the Buddha has said. from the perfection of characteristics. suppose you are mindful.” Subhūti addressed the Buddha. and therefore it is said that there is no merit received. as there are grains of sand in the Ganges River. The principle of the unity of appearances . suppose a bodhisattva. “Bhagavān. “Subhūti.’ Subhūti.” The Buddha said. Do not foster this mindfulness.” At that time. One should not observe the Tathāgata by means of the Thirty-two Marks. you should not foster the mindfulness.” Subhūti addressed the Buddha.’ Subhūti. or lies down. Not receiving. in the practice of giving. Why? The Tathāgata does not truly come or go anywhere. 30. 28. Why? One who is developing the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi in accordance with the Dharma does not speak of a characteristic of annihilation. Subhūti. if the Tathāgata could be observed by means of the Thirty-two Marks. If one listens for me in sounds. Power and position destroyed in silence “Subhūti. from the perfection of characteristics. “Bhagavān. attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. this person does not understand the true meaning of my teachings. then this is superior. 29. the one who develops the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi is then is speaking of the characteristic of the annihilation of dharmas.

and gave them away in the practice of giving. recites. suppose someone filled immeasurable. 31. the true characteristic of dharmas is not a characteristic of dharmas. the one unified appearance cannot be spoken. and therefore the multitude of atoms spoken of by the Buddha is not a multitude of atoms. characteristic of a person. characteristic of a being. the Buddha does speak of a multitude of atoms. and characteristic of a life that the Bhagavān speaks of.” “Subhūti. If a good man or good woman develops the mind of a bodhisattva and maintains this sūtra. a characteristic of a being. or flashes of lightning. and are thus called worlds. illusions. maintains. studies. Like drops of dew. and thusly believe. the characteristic of a being. if a good man or good woman disintegrated three thousand great thousand -worlds into atoms. Bhagavān. Subhūti. ‘The Buddha speaks of the characteristic of a self. How should one explain it? Without grasping at characteristics. and is thus called the unified appearance. the three thousand great thousand-worlds spoken of by the Tathāgata are not worlds. this person does not understand the true meaning of the Tathāgata’s teachings. Transforming the unreal “Subhūti.” “Subhūti.“Subhūti. not giving rise to notions of dharmas. the characteristic of a person. and a characteristic of a life. what do you think? Does this person understand the true meaning of my teachings?” “No. Why? The existence of these worlds is like one unified appearance. one who develops the mind of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi should thusly know. and the characteristic of a life. and is thus called the characteristic of dharmas. even with as little as a four-line gāthā. Why? If this multitude of atoms truly existed. would these atoms be very many in number?” “They would be extremely many. Bhagavān. Bhagavān. and they are thus called the characteristic of a self. and is thus called a multitude of atoms. 32.’ Subhūti. in unmoving suchness. but ordinary people wish to acquire it. the characteristic of a person. and the characteristic of a life. the characteristic of a being. suppose a person says. then the merits of this surpass the others. or shadows. Yet. and accepts. Why? The characteristic of a self. a characteristic of a person. thusly see. Thusly should they be contemplated. are not a characteristic of a self. Why? The unified appearance spoken of by the Tathāgata is not a unified appearance. Unborn knowing and perceiving “Subhūti. and explains it to others. . then the Buddha would not speak of a multitude of atoms. For what reason? All conditioned dharmas Are like dreams. innumerable worlds with the Seven Precious Jewels. bubbles.

upāsakas. and practiced in accordance. and the devas. heard what the Buddha had said. With great bliss. and asuras from every world.After the Buddha had spoken this sūtra. they believed. upāsikās. Appendix: Mantra for the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā namo bhagavatīprajñāpāramitāyai oṃ īriti īṣiri śruta viṣaya viṣaya svāhā . accepted. bhikṣuṇīs. then Elder Subhūti along with all the bhikṣus. humans.

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