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The Vajra (Diamond) Sutra

April 1 lecture©
as outlined by a Buddhist monk
(Listen ‘live’ or recorded audio explanations at
www.wondrousdharma.org)

Q&A Recognizing the true mind is to abide in
Reality – continuation
S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

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Verse for opening a sutra
• Homage to the Vajra Prajna Paramita Sutra and the
Vajra assembly of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas (3x)

• The unsurpassed, deep, profound, subtle, wonderful
Dharma,
• In a hundred thousand million eons, is difficult to
encounter,
• Now that I’ve come to receive and hold it, within my
sight and hearing,
• I vow to fathom the Thus Come One’s true and
actual meaning.

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Q&A
Question: What can we learn from the teachings on the Reality of
dharmas?

Continution of Answer from previous lecture:
The entire Vajra Sutra answers the question and we will show it in the ensuing
tables.
Here is a just an example using Section 28, the section we are presently at.
• We, common people, greed and attached to things because we
fail to see Reality as the truth of the matter is…
1. All dharmas are devoid of self. The fallacy is to treat this world
as real and create the causes for continuation in this ‘not
empty world’ by false thinking and attachments;
2. And therefore, “Subhuti, Bodhisattvas should neither be
greedy for, nor be attached to the blessings and virtues
which they foster. Therefore I say they do not acquire 3
blessings and virtues.”
Reality Blessings and virtues Practice

Empty Practice as if not Sages and worthies
practicing

Not empty ‘I practice blessings and Common people
virtue’

Empty and yet not There is no such thing as Impartial to Sages
empty blessings and virtues and and worthies and
its practice as nothing is common people;
attained. The Budddha every living being has
nature is perfect and the Buddha nature. It
complete. is just a matter of time
every living being
unite with Reality.
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Verses on Reality Principles on Reality All 3 is One Vehicle
S 3 If a Bttva Because of From amidst equality
has an discriminating comes the notion of self
appearance of thoughts come and others; the cause of
self, others… conditioned dharmas suffering is attachment.
S 5 All Conditioned dharmas Because of suffering, the
appearances are fundamentally Buddha first taught the
are false and Empty Two Vehicles.
empty…
S 26 One who Conditioned dharmas The Buddha then
looks for me in are ‘not empty’ introduces B’ttva Vehicle
forms, or seeks having compassion for
me in sounds… others still suffering.
S 32 All Therefore When B’ttva Vehicle is
conditioned conditioned dharma perfected there is no
dharmas are is ‘empty and yet not distinction between
like a dream, an empty’ ‘empty and not empty’5
illusion merging with Reality.
© Summary brief of Vajra Sutra Category
S1 The Buddha illustrates Reality Reality in everyday life
S2 Bodhi resolve and quiet the mind Intent
S3 Ignorance is discrimination Cause of confusion
S 4 to Prajna is not grasping at appearances 1) Thoughts of Attachment
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S 14 Stillness or unmoving nature 2) False thinking
to 25
S 25 Because everything true and false
to 31 inherently don’t exist but are appearances
from false discrimination, cease the mad
mind

S 32 Conclusion -not grasping at appearances Awakening is to
and be unmoving by contemplating Reality contemplate and recognize
that ‘all conditioned dharmas are like a Reality and see the wise
dream, an illusion, a bubble or a shadow.’ and unmoving nature 6
© Reality Summary brief of Vajra Sutra Categorize
S1 The Buddha illustrates Reality Reality in everyday life
S2 Empty Bodhi resolve and quiet the mind Intent
S3 Ignorance is discrimination Cause of confusion
S4 Prajna is not grasping at appearances 1) Thoughts of
-13 Attachment
S14 Stillness or unmoving nature 2) False thinking
- 25
S26 Not Because everything true and false
to s empty inherently don’t exist but are
28 appearances from false discrimination,
S29 one cease the mad mind
-s appea-
31 rance -
Empty
S Conclusion -not grasping at Awakening is to
and
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yet not appearances and be unmoving by contemplate and
empty contemplating Reality that ‘all recognize the true mind
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conditioned dharmas are like a dream, and see the wise and
an illusion, a bubble or a shadow.’ unmoving nature
1 Initial Compassion Equality
wisdom supplements
wisdom
Reality Empty Not empty Empty and
yet not empty
2 First Then
Empty People Dharma Patience
(thought)
Leaving appearance Form Mind activity

3 50% 50% Equal
practice of
wisdom and
stillness
Abiding in Reality Not Unmoving Contemplate8
attaching (stillness) and
illuminate
Reality Precepts Practice Principles
Empty No upholding Sages and No thought of
worthies upholding

Not empty Not violating Common Having thought
of upholding

Empty and yet No upholding No distinction Both are equal
not empty and not between sages because they
violating and common – never existed
because to be one with in the first
nothing was all living beings place.
attained is truly great
compassion

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired
Sutra: Subhuti, a Bodhisattva might fill up world systems equal
in number to the grains of sand in the Ganges River with
the seven precious gems and give them as a gift. But if
another person were to realize that all dharmas are devoid
of self and attain patience, that Bodhisattva’s merit and
virtues would surpass the merit and virtues of the previous
Bodhisattva.
Comments:

• Why is everything devoid of self? It is without identity; it was all
one true appearance; being appearances from or projections of
the mind and inherently don’t exist.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• One true appearance is without appearance (our inherent true
mind) yet within nothing everything manifest. (this world of
existence)

• All dharmas are devoid of self” would then mean everything is
originally empty; everything is fundamentally non existent but
appearances of the mind.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired
From the Lankavatara Sutra:
• “When it is clearly understood that there is nothing in the
world but what is seen of the mind itself, discrimination no
more rises, and the wise are established in their true home
which is the realm of quietude.

• The ignorant discriminate and work trying to adjust
themselves to external conditions, and are constantly
perturbed in mind; unrealities are imagined and
discriminated, while realities are not seen and ignored. It is
not so with the wise.”

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

Observation to the passage from the Lankavatara Sutra:
• When you see that everything is made from the mind, it
is to recognize that everything is empty and false made
by the false discriminating mind.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired
• Because we see through everything as devoid of self, we see
through its true character that everything is inherently non
existent and empty.

• Therefore it is not surprising that the sutra says:
• “all dharmas are devoid of self and attain patience”- devoid
of self is the true character of Reality.

• Because everything or Reality is seen as empty and not real
but projections of the mind, one attains patience.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• Extract of s 28: ‘But if another person were to realize
that all dharmas are devoid of self and attain
patience’

1. He sees every living being as empty and not real; being
appearances of the false mind as a result of interplay of
causes and conditions.

2. He sees every phenomena including thoughts as not real
or empty; being appearances of the false mind.

3. Therefore he attains patience with not producing of
dharmas or phenomena; nothing was produced nor 15
destroyed because originally there was nothing at all.
S 28 No greed and nothing acquired
Sutra: Why Subhuti? Because Bodhisattvas do not
acquire blessings and virtues.
Comments:
• “Bodhisattvas do not acquire blessings and virtues”
would mean blessings and virtues originally don’t exist
because every living being is replete with blessings and
virtuous conduct of a Buddha except that it is presently
covered by confusion.

• They are expedients to negate the false and reveal the
truth. As such they are a product of projection of the
mind. This accords with Reality.

• Therefore nothing was acquired. This is prajna paramita
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to see Reality in its true form. What is Reality?
S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• What is Reality?

• “The Appearance of Reality is without Appearances.”
(s 14) Basically there was nothing at all.

• From absolute nothingness comes this world of
existence which fundamentally doesn’t exist.

• When seen in this way, no blessings or virtues are
acquired in this world of existence which fundamentally
don’t exist.
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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

Sutra: Subhuti addressed the Buddha, “World Honored
One, how is it that Bodhisattvas do not acquire
blessings and virtues?”
“Subhuti, Bodhisattvas should neither be greedy for,
nor be attached to the blessings and virtues which
they foster. Therefore I say they do not acquire
blessings and virtues.”
Comments:
• Because we now see the Reality of Appearance of
blessings and virtues, we see it as fundamentally empty
and thus we do not greed for nor attached to them.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• We greed and attached to things which we like because we fail
to see Reality…
• That inherently there was nothing at all.

• And so we don’t even greed for blessings and virtues we foster.
• Then how should we conduct ourselves when we foster
blessings and virtues?

• That it is Reality to do so. That the way it is. That’s all.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• What do you mean by it is Reality to foster blessings and
virtues?

• Foster blessings and virtues is just fostering blessings
and virtues without any present nor lingering thoughts of
anything special or different.

• It means we are neither happy in having done blessings
and virtues nor are we sad that we have not done
enough.

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S 28 No greed and nothing acquired
The following illustrates how the Buddha conducted in accord with
Reality in section 2 of the Vajra Sutra:
• At meal time, the World Honored One put on his robe, took
up his bowl and entered the great city of Shravasti to
collect alms.

• After he finished his sequential alms-round, he returned to
his dwelling.

• When his meal was completed, he put his robe and bowl
away.

• After he washed his feet, he arranged his seat and sat
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down.
S 28 No greed and nothing acquired

• Did the Buddha entertained any wandering thoughts
whilst doing all the above?

• No because the Buddha is one who has no random
thoughts.

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Q&A pertaining to s 28
Question: If all dharmas are devoid of self, what about the hells?
Answer:
Great Master Yung Chia,
• “When one is certified to the characteristic of Reality,
• There are no people or dharmas
• The karma of the avichi is cancelled in a kshana,
• If I were deceiving living beings with untrue words,
• I’d invite upon myself the Ripping Out of Tongues for eons as
many as dust and sands.”

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Q&A on section 28
Great Master Yung Chia,
• “In a dream, very clearly, there are six destinies;
• After enlightenment, completely empty, there is no
universe.”

Explained by Venerable Master Hsuan Hua:
• While people are confused in a dream, the six paths of
gods, humans, asuras, hells, hungry ghosts and animals
are distinctly evident.
• After one becomes Enlightened and is roused from the
confused dream, emptiness is pulverized, home is
broken and people vanish. Then how could there the
Three Thousand Great Thousand World system exist? 24
Q&A on section 28
Question: Why is greed mentioned here in section 28 and
not elsewhere in the Vajra Sutra?

• It is because greed is the problem in this not empty
world.

• Section 28 is in the section which pertains to the ‘not
empty world of common people’ which is from sections
26 to 28.
• From sections 3 to 25, the Buddha was explaining the
principle in ‘empty’ world of Sages; and attachment is an
issue whilst greed was not the main issue in the ‘empty
world’ of Sages. 25
Dedication of merit
• May every living beings,
• Our minds as one and radiant with light
• Share the fruits of peace, with heart of goodness
luminous and bright.
• If people hear and see, how hands and hearts can find in
giving unity
• May their minds awake, to great compassion, wisdom
and to joy.
• May kindness find reward; may all who sorrow leave their
grief and pain;
• May this boundless light break the darkness of their
endless night.
• Because our hearts are one, this world of pain turns into
paradise;
• May all become compassionate and wise (2x) 26