Pearls of Universe
Pearls of Universe
Selected Quotes of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra – Volume I
Original Translation to English by Kosho Yamamoto Edited and Revised by Dr. Tony Page Translation to Brazilian Portuguese by Marcos Ubirajara de Carvalho e Camargo
Marcos Ubirajara de Carvalho e Camargo 1 Page Cristal Perfeito 20/01/2012
Pearls of Universe
Copyright © 2009 by Marcos Ubirajara de Carvalho e Camargo
Pearls of Universe
Scene of Buddha's Parinirvana
Also, early in the morning when the sun had just risen, in order to provide the cremation the Tathagata’s body, the people carried in their hands tens of thousands of bundles of fragrant woods such as sandalwood, aloe, goirsa sandalwood, and heavenly wood, which with their core and annual rings, shone out in the wonderful hues of the seven treasures. In firing, the various hues were like painted colors, all these true wonders having arisen of the power of the Buddha, which were blue, yellow, red and white. These were pleasing to the eyes of all beings. All the wood was carefully smeared with various kinds of incense as saffron, aloe, sarjarasa, and others. Flowers such as utpala (Blue Lotus), kumuda (night blooming in the moonlight), padma (lotus red) and pundarika (white lotus) were strewn as adornments. Above all the fragrant woods were hung banners of five colors. They were soft and delicate, like heavenly veils weaved in kauseya, ksuma and silk. The fragrant woods were laden onto adorned carriages, which glowed in colors such as blue, yellow, red and white. Its poles and spokes were all inlaid with the seven treasures. Each of these carriages was pulled by a joint of four horses, which ran like the wind. In front of each carriage stood 57 banners of ornamental plants, over which were spread thin veils of true gold. Each carriage had 50 wonderful canopies finely decorated with garlands of utpala, kumuda, padma and pundarika. The petals of these flowers were of pure gold, and his calyxes made of diamond. There were many black bees in the flowers, which gathered there, played and amused themselves, sending forth a wonderful music. That song spoke of non-eternal, sorrow, All-Void (absence) non-Self. Volume I Page 3
Pearls of Universe That song also spoke about what the Bodhisattva originally does (Buddha's transit in the world). Dances, singings, masks dances went on, played by musical instruments such as "cheng", flute, harp, "hsiao" and "shã". From the music, arose a voice, which said: "Oh, woe is the day, woe the day! The world is empty!" In front of each carriage, upasakas stood holding decorated trays with various flowers such as utpala, kumuda, padma, pundarika, and various kinds of incense such as kunkuma and others, and steamy incense, all wonderful. They carried various utensils to prepare meals for the Buddha and the Sangha. Read More on the Nirvana Sutra - Chapter 1 – Introductory.
The Parable of the Fertile Land
"At that time, was present among the congregation, an upasaka who was the son of an artisan of the fortress town of Kushinagar. Cunda was his name. He was there with his comrades, fifteen in all. In the sense that the world would generate good fruit, he abandoned all bodily adornments, stood up, bared his right shoulder, placed his right knee on the ground, joined his hands and stared at the Buddha. Sad and tearfully, he touched the feet of the Buddha with his head and said: 'Oh World Honored One! Please have pity, accept our latest offerings and succor innumerable beings. Oh World Honored One! From now on, we no longer have a master, no parents, no salvation, no protection, no place wherein to take refuge, nor a place to go; we will become poor and hungry. Following the Tathagata, we desire to gain food for days to come. Please have pity and accept our humble offerings, and then enter Volume I Page 4
Pearls of Universe Nirvana. Oh World Honored One! It's like in the case of a Kshatriya, Brahmin, Vaishya or Sudra, who being poor, travels to a far-off country. He works at farming and gains a tamed cow. The land is good, flat and wide. There is no poverty or sandy soil, no harmful weeds, no barrenness and no defilements. What is needful is to wait by the rain from heaven. We say 'tamed cow': This may be understood as the seven actions of body and mouth; and good, flat and wide land, can be understood as Wisdom. Ending the poor soil, harmful weeds, barrenness and defilements refers to illusion, which we must do away with. Oh World Honored One! Now we have the tamed cow and good soil, we have cultivated the land and done away with all weeds. Now, We are just waiting for the sweet rain of the Tathagata's Dharma visit us. The four castes of poverty are nothing more than the carnal body that I possess. I am poor because I do not possess the superb treasure of Dharma. I pray, have pity and cut away our poverty, misery, and deliver us, as well all the innumerable beings, of our sorrows and worries. The offerings that I make are paltry. But, I think they will satisfy the Tathagata and the Sangha. Now, I have no master, no parents, and no refuge. Please have pity on us, as you have on Rahula '." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
Offerings of Meals
Then the World Honored One, the All-Knowledge [‘sarvajnana’], the Unsurpassed Trainer, said to Cunda: "This is good, good indeed! I shall now cut off the roots of your poverty and let fall on your field of carnal Volume I Page 5
Pearls of Universe life the unsurpassed rain of Dharma, and call forth the bud of Dharma. Now, your desire is to get from me the life, body, power, peace, and unhindered speech (eloquence). And I'll give you immortality, body, power, peace, and unhindered speech. Why? Oh Cunda! In offerings of meals there are two fruits that we know have no distinction. What are the two? Firstly, one attains ‘anuttarasamyaksambodhi’ when one receives them; secondly, one enters Nirvana after receiving them. I will now receive your last offerings and let you accomplish the danaparamita." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
It's hard to be born as human; it's harder still encounter the Buddha when he appears in the world. It's like in the case of a blind turtle who, in the midst of the ocean, can hit the hole in a piece of floating wood. I now offer food and pray that I will attain the unsurpassed reward, that I will destroy the bonds of illusion, and that it (the illusion) no more will be strong. I do not seek here to gain a heavenly body. Even if I had gained it, my mind would not be satisfied. The Tathagata accepts this offering of mine. Nothing could ever please me more. It is like in the case of a stinking weed, but which exudes a fragrance of sandalwood. Volume I Page 6
Pearls of Universe I am the weed. Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
The Buddha's Sun and the Clouds of Samsara
"The Tathagata, among the priests, speaks of the superb Dharma. This can be well compared to Mount Sumeru, that remains unmolested amidst the great ocean. The Wisdom of the Buddha thoroughly dispels the gloom of humans. It's like when the sun rises, all the clouds disperse, and his light shines on everything. The Tathagata thoroughly does away with all illusions. This (the worldly life) is like the coolness that reigns when the clouds appear in the sky. All beings love and wail. All are floundering on the bitter waters of birth and death. For this reason, I pray, Oh World Honored One! Stay alive for longer and increase the faith of all beings, freeing them from the suffering of birth and death!" Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
Pearls of Universe
The Eyes of Common Mortals
"Oh Manjushri! The garuda flies countless yojanas in the sky. He looks down on the great ocean and sees such things of water as fish, sea turtles, snapping turtles, crocodiles, tortoises, nagas, as well as his own shadow reflected in the water. He sees all these things just as one sees all the visible forms in a mirror. The petty wisdom of the common mortals cannot even consider well what comes to his eyes. The same is the case with me and you too. We cannot consider the Wisdom of the Tathagata." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
The Magnificent Field of Weal
The Buddha praised Cunda and said, "Well said, well said! You well know that the Tathagata, following the way of all beings, enters Nirvana for the sake of expediency. Listen to me well! It's like the case in which all birds sarasa [a kind of medium-sized goose found in northern Europe and Asia] gather at Lake Anavatapta [Manasarwar] in the spring months. The same is the case with all Buddhas. Everyone gathers here. Oh Cunda! Think, neither much nor little, regarding the life of all Buddhas. All things are like ghosts. The Tathagata lives in the midst of them. What he has is expedient, he does not cling. Why not? It is thus with the Dharma of all Buddhas. Oh Cunda! I now receive what you offer. This is to allow you to cross the river of birth and death. Human or heavenly (beings) who make offerings [to the Buddha] for the last time, Volume I Page 8
Pearls of Universe all gain a unshakable reward and will be blessed with happiness. Why? Because I am the best field of weal for all beings. If you desire to become a field of weal for all beings, accept whatever is given you. Do not tarry long." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 2 - On Cunda.
The Manna of Dharma and the Castle of Treasures
Then the World Honored One spoke in a gatha for all congregation: "All of you! Open your mind, do not grieve deeply. The teachings of all Buddhas are thus. So, keep silence. Try not to be indolent, protect your mind, abide in right thought, segregate yourselves from the unlawful acts; console yourselves and be happy. Furthermore, Oh bhiksus! If you have any doubts, ask now. If you have doubt about Void versus non-Void, Eternal versus non-Eternal, Suffering versus non- Suffering, dependent versus non-dependent, gone versus not-gone, refuge versus non-refuge, always versus not-always, impermanence versus the Eternal, beings versus non-beings, 'is' versus 'not-is', the Real versus the not-Real, the True versus the not-True, extinction versus non-extinction, esoteric versus non-esoteric, and the dual versus the non-dual; I shall speak to you accordingly. For your sake, too, I shall speak first of the manna and then enter Nirvana. Volume I Page 9
Pearls of Universe
Oh bhiksus! It is hard to witness the appearance of the Buddha in the World. It's hard to be born as human. It is hard, too, to encounter the Buddha and gain faith. It is also hard to hear the inaudible. It is also hard to uphold and be perfect in the prohibitive injunctions and attain the arhatship. This is like trying to find gold in the sand. It's like in the case of the udumbara. Oh Bhiksus! It's hard to be born as a human by the self-isolation from the eight inopportune situations [vices that bar the way to meeting the Buddha and hearing his teachings]. Oh you! Having now met me, do not go away empty-handed. I have suffered hardships in the past, and now I gain all such unsurpassed expedients. For your sake, countless kalpas ago, I cast away my body, hands, feet, head, eyes, marrow, and brain. In view of this, do not subject yourselves to indolence. Oh Bhiksus! How can we adorn the Castle of Treasures of Wonderful Dharma? By adorning ourselves with various virtues and rare gems, and being protected by the ramparts and ditches of the precepts [sila], meditation [dhyana] and wisdom [prajna]. Now, you have met with this castle of Buddhist teachings. Do not take by false. For example, a merchant may encounter a castle of true treasures, and yet gather up rubbish such as shingles and gravels, and go home. The same is true with you. You have came across a castle of treasures, and yet take it as false. Oh all you Bhiksus! Do not be satisfied with a low mind. You are now ordained, but you do not love the Mahayana that is superior. Oh you Bhiksus! You wear on your bodies the kasaya (robes of Buddhist Bhiksus) and dyed robes of a priest, but your mind is still not dyed by the pure Dharma of Mahayana. Oh you Bhiksus! You go to many places and beg alms, but you do not seek the dishes of the Dharma of Mahayana. Oh Bhiksus! You shave your hair, Volume I Page 10
Pearls of Universe but you do not shave the bonds of illusion. Oh you Bhiksus! I now teach you truly. Now I see that all is in harmony and the Dharma nature of the Tathagata is true and unshakable. So, make effort, all of you! Stand up yourselves, be brave and untie all the bonds of illusion! If the sun of Wisdom of the ten powers sinks, darkness will reign over you. Oh you Bhiksus! It's like when the great earth, mountains and all medicinal herbs become useful to beings. The same is the case with the Dharma of which I speak. It proclaims wonderfully the good and sweet dishes of Dharma and provides the best cure for the illnesses of illusion of beings. Now, I shall make all beings my disciples and the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha abide in the undisclosed teachings of Dharma. I, too, abide in this and enter Nirvana." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 3 - On Grief.
The Undisclosed Storehouse
"What is the Undisclosed Storehouse? It's like the three dots of the letter 'i' [in Sanskrit]. If they are in a crosswise line, they form no 'i'. Placed vertically, they also have no purpose. But when one puts the three dots on the brow of the Mahesvara (Great Lord), this is 'i'. If the three dots are written separately, this again has no purpose. So, too, it is with me. The Dharma of emancipation is also [by itself] not-Nirvana. The body of the Tathagata is also not-Nirvana. The Great Wisdom is also not-Nirvana. The three things may exist separately, but this does not constitute Nirvana. Now, I peacefully abide in the three and say that, for the sake of all beings, I enter Nirvana. This is as in the case of the letter 'i'." Volume I Page 11
Pearls of Universe
Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 3 - On Grief.
The Four Inversions of Dharma
Then all bhiksus said to the Buddha: "We not only practice selflessness meditation, but even other meditations, to wit: all those relating to suffering, impermanence, and selflessness. Oh World Honored One! A person, when intoxicated, the mind spins, and all the mountains, rivers, castles, palaces, the sun, moon and stars appear to spin too. Oh World Honored One! Anyone who does not practice the meditation on impermanence and selflessness, cannot be called wise. Due to indolence, one recycles between birth and death. Oh World Honored One! For this reason, we practice such meditations." Then the Buddha said to all the bhiksus: "Hear me well, hear me well! Now, you mention the case of an intoxicated person. This refers to knowledge, but not the meaning. What do I mean by meaning? The intoxicated person sees the sun and moon, which do not moving, but it thinks they do. The same is the case with beings. As the weight of all illusions and ignorance falls on [the mind], the mind turns upside down and takes Self for non-Self, Eternal for non-Eternal, Purity as non-Purity, and Bliss as suffering. (With mind) overwhelmed by illusions, these thoughts arise. Though these thoughts arise, the meaning is not understood. This is as in the case of the intoxicated person who sees what does not move as if it were moving. The ‘Self’ means Buddha, 'Eternal' means Dharmakaya, 'Bliss' means Nirvana, and 'Pure' means Volume I Page 12
Pearls of Universe Dharma. Bhiksus, why is it said that one who has the idea of a Self is an arrogant and proud, turning in Samsara? Bhiksus, although you say 'we also meditate on the impermanence, suffering, and not-Self’, these three kinds of cultivation have no real value or meaning. Now, I will explain the three excellent ways to cultivate the Dharma. Think of suffering as Bliss and think of Bliss as suffering, is a perversion of the Dharma; think of the impermanent as Eternal and think of the Eternal as impermanent, is a perversion of the Dharma; think of non-Self [anatman] as the Self [atman] and think of the Self as non-Self, is a perversion of the Dharma; think of the impure as the Pure and think of the Pure as impure, is a perversion of the Dharma. Whoever has these four kinds of perversions, are people who do not know the correct cultivation of dharmas. Bhiksus, you give rise to the idea of Bliss with regard to the phenomena associated with the suffering; the idea of Eternity with regard to the phenomena associated with impermanence; the idea of the Self with regard to the phenomena devoid of Self; and the idea of Purity with regard to the phenomena that are impure. Both the mundane and also the supramundane have the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and Purity. Worldly teachings [dharmas] have letters and are without meaning; the Supramundane teachings have letters and meaning. Why? Because worldly people have these four perversions, they are unfit to understand the true meaning. Why? Having these perverse ideas, their thoughts and visions are distorted. Through these four perversions, worldly people see suffering in Bliss, impermanence in the Eternal, non-Self in the Self, and impurity in the Pure. These are called perversions / inversions. Due to these perversions / inversions, worldly people know the letters, but not the meaning / referent. What is the meaning / referent? Non-Self is Samsara, the Self is the Tathagata; impermanence are Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas, the Volume I Page 13
Pearls of Universe Eternal is the Dharmakaya of the Tathagata; suffering is all Tirthikas [deluded beings, non-Buddhists], Bliss is Nirvana; the impure are all compounded dharmas [Samskrta], the Pure is the true Dharma that the Buddha and Bodhisattvas have. This is called non-perversion / noninversion. By not being inverted, one will know both the letter and the meaning. If one desires to be freed from the four perversions / inversions, one should know the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure in this manner (described above)." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 3 - On Grief.
The Parable of the Aquamarine
“I know that everything you have learnt up to now about the noneternal and suffering is not true. In the spring, for example, people go bathe in a big pond. They are enjoying themselves, sailing in a boat, when they drop a gem of aquamarine into the depths of water, after which it can no longer be seen. Then they all jumped into the water in search of this gem. They, competitively, scoop up all sorts of rubbish such as tiles, stones, pieces of wood, gravel, and thought that had the aquamarine. They were happy and, taking all these things out (of water), saw that what they held in their hands was not true. The gem was still in the water. Through the power of the gem itself the water became clear and transparent. As a result, the people saw that the gem was still in the water, as clearly as when they look up and see the shape of the moon in the sky. At that time, there was a wise man who, exercising a power, slowly entered the water and obtained the gem. Oh Volume I Page 14
Pearls of Universe you Bhiksus! Do not abide in the thought about the non-Eternal, Suffering, non-Self, and the non-Pure; getting in the situation of those people who picked up stones, pieces of wood and gravel as true gem. You must deeply study the Way, how to act, wherever you go, and 'meditate on the Self, the Eternal, Bliss, and the Pure’. I know that the aspects of the four items which you have learnt up to now are inversions and that anyone who wishes to practice the Way should act like the wise man who cleverly got the gem.” Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 3 - On Grief.
The Buddha’s Self
“What is this Self? Any phenomenon [dharma] that is true [satya], real [tattva], eternal [nitya], sovereign / autonomous / self-governing [aisvarya], and whose base / foundation is unchanging [asrayaaviparinama], is termed 'the Self' [ atman]. This is as in the case of the great Doctor who well understood the Milk medicine. The same is the case with the Tathagata. For the sake of all beings, he says 'there is the Self in all things'. Oh you of the four classes! Learn the Dharma thus!" Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 3 - On Grief.
Pearls of Universe
The Secret of Long Life
Then the Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Oh good man! Listen clearly, listen clearly! I shall now tell you the cause of the Tathagata’s longevity of life. The Bodhisattva, through this action, gains long life. For this reason, listen to it with your best attention. Having heard it, speak about it to others. Oh good man! Having practiced thus, I attained unsurpassed Bodhi. I, for the sake of all beings, now speak about it. Oh good man! As an example: a prince transgresses against the state laws and is chained up in prison. The king took pity on him and, riding on a palanquin, condemns himself to prison because he loves the prince. The same with the Bodhisattva. If he wants to have a long life, he should guard and protect beings, seeing them as if they were his only son, and abide in the great lovingkindness, great compassion, great joy, and great equanimity. Also, he should impart them to the precept of non-harming and teach them to practice all good things. Also, he should let all beings abide peacefully in the five moral precepts and the ten good deeds. Furthermore, he should enter the realms of hell, hungry preta, animality, and asura, and free all these beings from wherever they are suffering, emancipate those not yet emancipated, cross over those who have not yet reached the other shore, give Nirvana to those who have not yet attained it, and comfort all those who live in fear. Acting thus, the Bodhisattva gains longevity of life and unmolested freedom in knowledge. And when the end comes, he will gain life in the high heavens." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 4 - On Long Life.
Pearls of Universe
The True Disciple
“When I have entered Nirvana, a bhiksu who is perfect in the deportment of a bhiksu, and who remains in compliance with the Wonderful Dharma, may come across one who transgresses. If this bhiksu departs, rebukes, censures, or corrects such evil-doer, he will be blessed with a weal which one cannot measure or conceive. Oh good man! To illustrate: there is a tyrant king who does evil deeds, and happens to suffer very seriously from an illness. The king of a neighboring country, hearing this, mobilizes the army to conquer your country. At this time, the king, having no power to resist attack, repents, tries to do good, and thus the weal of the king of this neighboring country becomes incalculable. The same goes with the bhiksu who is observer of the precepts. If he moves away or rebukes those who act against the Dharma, and makes them do good, an incalculable wealth will be his. Oh good man! As an illustration: in the fields and around the house where a rich man dwells, grow many weeds and poisonous tree. Seeing this, he fells all of them, leaving no one. Or when white hairs appear on the head of a young person, it feels ashamed of them, cuts them off and does not allow his hair grows long. The same is the case with a bhiksu who is observer of the precepts. If he sees any persons who breaks the precepts and transgresses against the Wonderful Dharma, he should move away, rebuke or censure such persons. If a good bhiksu, seeing those who transgress against Dharma, does not move away, rebuke or censure such persons, know that this bhiksu is an enemy of the Buddhist teachings. If he moves away, rebuke or censure such persons, he is my disciple, a true disciple."
Pearls of Universe
Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 4 - On Long Life.
The Parable of the Strict Father
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "An illustration, oh good man! The king, the minister and the prime minister may wish to promote their sons who are perfect in countenance and sharped in intellect. One of those fathers takes one, two, three, four sons and forwards them to a strict teacher and tells him: 'Please, teach my sons deportment, good behavior, arts, writing and reckoning. These my four sons will study under your guidance. Even if three of my sons die under the rigor of the teaching, teach the last through whatever means that you may think fit. I may lose the three, but I shall not be ashamed’. Oh Kasyapa! Are the father and the teacher responsible for the deaths?" "No, oh World Honored One! Why not? Because a love feeling was at the bottom [of their actions]. What exist is accomplishment desire, but not an evil thought. Such teachings will be well administered, and its extension will be limitless." "Oh good man! The same is the case with the Tathagata. He looks at those who transgress the Dharma as he looks at his only son. Now, the Tathagata entrusts the unsurpassed Wonderful Dharma to the hands of kings, ministers, prime ministers, bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas and upasikas. All of these kings, ministers, and the four classes of Buddhist Sangha will encourage those who practice the Buddhist teachings and Volume I Page 18
Pearls of Universe enable them gradually to comply the moral precepts, practice meditation and wisdom. If there are someone who fails in these three phases of Dharma and if there are those who are indolent and who break the moral precepts; the kings, ministers, and the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha will work hard and recover such people. Oh good man! Could all these kings, ministers, and the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha be blamed or not? " "No, indeed, oh World Honored One!" "Oh good man! These kings, ministers and the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha cannot be blamed. How could the Tathagata be guilty? Oh good man! The Tathagata well observes everything with such impartiality, looking upon all people as were his only son. Is called practitioner of the Way, one who practises the all-equal mind of a Bodhisattva and one who possesses a mind that loves an only son. Oh good man! The Bodhisattva, practicing thus, will get a long life and will be able to see what took place in the past." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra - Chapter 4 – On Long Life.
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "Oh World Honored One! How did you, the Tathagata, obtained eternal life?" The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Kasyapa: "Oh good man! There are Volume I Page 19
Pearls of Universe eight great rivers, which are: 1) Ganges, 2) Yamuna, 3) Sarabhu, 4) Ajitavati, 5) Mahi, 6) Indus, 7) Pasu, and 8) Sita. All of these eight great rivers, and other smaller rivers, drain into the great ocean. Oh Kasyapa! All the great rivers of life of all people, heavenly beings, from earth and sky drain into the life's ocean of the Tathagata. Hence, the longevity of life of the Tathagata is incalculable. Furthermore, next, oh Kasyapa! As an illustration: it is like the case of Lake Anavatapta, which comprise (the water of) four rivers. The same applies to the Tathagata. It embraces all lifes. Oh Kasyapa! As an example: of all eternal things, that (eternity) of space is the foremost. The same is the case with the Tathagata. He is the foremost of all eternal things. Oh Kasyapa! This is as in the case of sarpirmanda [the most delicious and effective medicine], the first of all medicines. The same is the case with the Tathagata. He is endowed with the longest life." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the life of the Tathagata is like this, you should live for one kalpa, or less than one kalpa, and be delivering sermons like the great rain falls." "Oh Kasyapa! Do not distort the idea of extinction regarding the Tathagata. Oh Kasyapa! There may be amongst the bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, upasikas, or even among Tirthikas [deluded beings, nonBuddhists], a person who holds the five divine powers or the unlimited power of a Rishi (Great Sage). This person may live one kalpa or less than one kalpa; it may be able to fly through the air, and be unconstrained whether it is sitting or reclining. It may emit fire from the left side of his body and water from his right side. His body may release smoke and flames like a fireball. If it desires to live long, it can do as wish. It can lengthen or shorten his life freely. With such divine powers, Volume I Page 20
Pearls of Universe it has freedom of power. How this could not possible with the Tathagata, who possess unlimited power over all things? How could not be possible that it can live for half kalpa, one kalpa, 100 kalpas, 100 000 kalpas, or countless kalpas? For this reason, know that 'the Tathagata is an eternal and unchanging existence’. The body of the Tathagata is a transformed body (not born) and is not nourished by the various kinds of food. In order to pass beings to the other side, it manifests itself amidst poisonous trees. Thus, it manifests itself discarding his carnal body and entering Nirvana. Know, oh Kasyapa, that the Buddha is an eternal and unchanging existence. Oh all of you! Practice the Way in this Paramartha-satya [Truth of the Transcendent Reality], make effort, and practice the Way with a single mind, having practiced the Way, expound it widely to others." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 4 - On Long Life.
The All-Wonderful of the Three Jewels
"Also, next, oh good man! Practice the teachings of the Buddha, Dharma and the life of the Sangha (which are the Three Jewels), and abide in the thought of the Eternal. These three things do not contradict one another. There is no form of the non-eternal, nor change. Any person practicing these three (things) as things which differ (among themselves), it fails in the Three Refuges which are pure. This we should know. This means that such person lacks a place to abide in. (If) the precept is not fully learned, no fruit can come about of Sravakas or Pratyekabuddhas. Anyone who abides in the thought of the Eternal in Volume I Page 21
Pearls of Universe this All-Wonderful has a place to take refuge in. Oh good man! It's like the shadow accompanying a tree. The same is the case with the Tathagata. As there is the Eternal, there is a refuge that can be taken. It is not non-eternal. Once one says that the Tathagata is non-eternal (impermanent), it cannot be a refuge for all the heavenly beings and people of the world." The Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "Oh World Honored One! For example, it is like in the case of a tree in the darkness, where there is no shadow." "Oh Kasyapa! Do not say that there is a tree and that it has no shadow. This is merely because the fleshly eye cannot see it. The same occurs with the Tathagata. His nature is eternal, immutable. One cannot see it without the eye of Wisdom. This is as in the case where no tree-shadow appears in the darkness. Common mortals, after the death of the Buddha, well may say: ‘The Tathagata is non-eternal’. Same is the case. If one says that the Tathagata is other than Dharma and Sangha, there cannot be the Three Refuges. This is as in the case in which, as your parents are different from each other, there is the non-eternal." Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "Oh World Honored One! Henceforth, I will, for the first time, with eternity of the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, enlighten parents for ages, down to seventh generation. It's really wonderful! Oh World Honored One! Now, I will learn the All-Wonderful of the Tathagata, Dharma and Sangha. Having been satisfied, I will expound it widely to all others. If they have not faith in the teachings, I will know that they have extensively practiced the non-Eternal. To such people, I will be like frost and hail." Volume I Page 22
Pearls of Universe
Then the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kasyapa and said: "Well said, well said! You now indeed protect and uphold the Wonderful Dharma. Such protection of Dharma is no cheating people. By the good deed of not cheating others, one obtains a long life and becomes well able to read our past lives." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 4 - On Long Life.
A King called Virtuous
“Oh Kasyapa! Any person who breaks the precepts and who does not protect Wonderful Dharma should be called a bogus priest. One who keeps strictly the observance of the rules (monastic) does not gain such a designation (bogus). Oh good man! In the past - there are innumerable, boundless, asamkhyas of kalpas ago – there appeared in this town of Kushinagar a Buddha who was the Alms-deserving, the AllEnlightened, the All-accomplished One, the Well-gone who Knows the World, the Unsurpassed Best Trainer, Master of Heaven and Earth, Buddha, World Honored One, and whose name was 'Tathagata of Joyand-Benefit-Augmentation'. At that time, the world was wide and gloriously pure, rich and peaceful. People were at the height of prosperity and no hunger was felt. They seemed Bodhisattvas of the Land of Peace and Happiness. That Buddha, World Honored One, stayed in the world for an innumerable length of time. Having taught the people, he entered Parinirvana between the twin sal trees.
Pearls of Universe After Buddha having entered Nirvana, his teaching remained in the world for countless billions of years, and in the latter part of the last forty years the Buddhist teachings had not yet disappeared. At that time, there was a bhiksu called ‘Enlightened-Virtuous’, who upheld the precepts well and was surrounded by many of his relatives. He raised the lion's roar and preached all the nine types of sutras. He taught, saying: 'Do not keep menials, whether men or women, cows, sheep or whatever might go against the precepts’. At that time there were many bhiksus who were acting contrary to the precepts. On hearing this, they conspired and came upon this bhiksu brandishing swords and sticks. At that time, there was a King called 'Virtuous'. He heard about this. To protect the Dharma, he came to where the bhiksu was delivering his sermons and fought against the evil doers so that the bhiksu did not suffer. The king, however, received wounds in his entire body. Then the bhiksu Enlightened-Virtuous praised the king, saying: 'Well done, well done, oh King! You are a person who protects the Wonderful Dharma. In the days to come, you will become an unsurpassed utensil of Dharma'. The king heard his sermon and rejoiced. Then he died and was born in the land of Buddha Akshobhya and became his foremost disciple. The underlings of the king, his relatives and soldiers were all glad and did not retrogress in their Bodhicitta. When came the day of their departure from the world, they were born in the land of Buddha Akshobhya. At the time when the Wonderful Dharma was about to die out, they could act and protect a Dharma like this one. Oh Kasyapa! The king at that time was I; the bhiksu who delivered the sermons was Buddha Kasyapa. Oh Kasyapa! One who protects the Wonderful Dharma is rewarded with such incalculable fruition. This is why I today adorn my body in various ways and have perfectly achieved the indestructible Dharma-body." Volume I Page 24
Pearls of Universe
Bodhisattva Kasyapa further said to the Buddha: "Oh World Honored One! The eternal body of the Tathagata is the one carved in stone, as it was." The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Oh good man! For that reason, bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, upasikas should all try harder and protect Wonderful Dharma. The reward for the protection of the Wonderful Dharma is extremely great and priceless. Oh good man! Because of this, those upasakas who protect the Dharma should take the swords and sticks and protect a bhiksu who guards Dharma. Even though a person upholds the precepts, we cannot call that person one who upholds Mahayana. Even though a person has not yet received the five precepts, if it protects the Wonderful Dharma, such a person can well be called one of (who protects the) Mahayana. A person who upholds the Wonderful Dharma should take the swords and sticks, and guard the bhiksus." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 5 - On the Adamantine Body.
The Virtue of the Name
The Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "Oh World Honored One! How must this sutra be called? How should the BodhisattvasMahasattvas protect and uphold this sutra?" The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "The name of this sutra should be Volume I Page 25
Pearls of Universe 'Mahaparinirvana'. The preceding word (maha) betokens 'good', the middle word (pari) also 'good', and the final word (Nirvana) 'good' too. The meaning [of this sutra] is extremely deep, and what is written [in it] is good. The pureness of its organization is perfect, its action is pure, and it is all-satisfactory as Adamantine Treasury-House. Listen well, listen well! I shall now speak. Oh good man! The word 'maha' betokens 'eternal'. This is like all the great rivers draining into the great ocean. The same happens with this sutra. It crushes out all the bonds of illusions, all the powers of Mara, and then body and life drain into 'Mahaparinirvana'. Hence we say 'Mahaparinirvana'. Oh good man! This is like the case of a doctor who has a secret treatment embracing all the medical treatments for illnesses. Oh good man! It is the same with the Tathagata. All the various wonderful doctrines taught and all its deep meanings hidden find their way into this 'Mahaparinirvana'. That is why we say Mahaparinirvana. Oh good man! It's like a farmer who sows seeds in spring. He entertains a rare wish. When he has finished the harvesting, all his anxiety will end. Oh good man! The same is the case with all beings. If we study other sutras, we always wait for beautiful tastes. When one hears this Mahaparinirvana, [however], ceases the desire to enjoy the beautiful tastes mentioned in other sutras. This Great Nirvana well enables all beings to cross the sea of all existences. Oh good man! Of all footprints, that of the elephant is the best. The same happens with this sutra. Of all the samadhis of the sutras, the (samadhi) of this sutra is the best. Oh good man! Of all the preparations of the field, that done in autumn is the best. The same happens with this sutra. It is the best of all sutras. It is like sarpirmanda, which is the best of all medicines. It heals thoroughly the feverish worries and the frantic thoughts of beings. This Great Nirvana is the foremost of all. Oh good man! It is like the sweet butter which contains the eight tastes. Volume I Page 26
Pearls of Universe The same also applies to this sutra. It contains the eight tastes. What are the eight? They are: 1) it is eternal, 2) it always is, 3) it is peaceful, 4) it is pure and cool, 5) it does not become old, 6) it does not die, 7) it is taintless, and 8) it is pleasing and happy. These are the eight tastes. It possesses these eight tastes. This is why we say 'Mahaparinirvana'. Now, all Bodhisattvas-Mahasattvas peacefully abide in this and manifest Nirvana in all places. This is why we say 'Mahaparinirvana'. Oh Kasyapa! All good men and women who wish to enter Nirvana through this 'Mahaparinirvana' must study well the fact that the Tathagata is eternal and that the Dharma and Sangha are eternal." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 6 - On the Virtue of the Name.
The Six Tastes
“What are the six tastes? Suffering is the taste of vinegar, the nonEternal is the salty, non-Self is the bitterness, Bliss has the taste of sweetness, Self is of pungent taste, and the Eternal is light (mild) in taste. In secular life there are three tastes, which are: 1) non-Eternal, 2) non-Self, and 3) Suffering. The illusion is the fuel, and Wisdom is the fire. Through these means, we gain the meal of Nirvana. This is the Eternal, Bliss, and Self. All of my disciples taste them as sweet." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 7 - On the Four Aspects.
Pearls of Universe
Understanding the Eternity of the Tathagata
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Or there may be good men and women who can say: 'The Tathagata is non-Eternal. How can we know that it is non-eternal? The Buddha says that when the fire of illusion is extinguished, there is Nirvana. This is like when there is nothing to be seen when the fire is extinguished. The same is the case when all illusions are annihilated. This, he says, is Nirvana. How the Tathagata can claim that he is the Dharma Eternal and Unchanging? The Buddha says that when we part from existence, there is Nirvana. In this Nirvana, there cannot be anything that has existence. How then can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? When a piece of clothing is torn, no longer call it clothing. The same goes for Nirvana. When all illusions are extinguished, nothing else there can be. How can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? The Buddha says that the separation from desires and arrival at quietude are Nirvana. If a person's head is cut off, there is no head anymore. The same goes with separation from desires and arrival at quietude. What there is is Voidness. There's nothing there. Hence, Nirvana. How can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging'? The Buddha says: [This is like in the case of heated iron. When beaten by a hammer, sparks shoot out. They sparkle and die out, nothing remains. The same applies to attainment of emancipation. Once the muddle of carnal desire was overcome, Volume I Page 28
Pearls of Universe one gains the immovable state. There is no longer a place to go]. How can the Tathagata be eternal and unchanging? Oh Kasyapa! One who thus reproaches me, commits a slander that is severe. Oh Kasyapa! You should not entertain such a notion and say that the nature of the Tathagata perishes. Oh Kasyapa! We do not put the annihilation of illusion in the category of matter [rupa]. Why not? Due to the fact of the ultimacy of Eternity. Hence, we say Eternal. Quietude [Nirvanic] has nothing to succeed it. All phenomenal existences are cut off, nothing remaining. This points to what is fresh, clean, eternal and irreversible. That is why we say that Nirvana is eternal. The same applies to the Tathagata. He is eternal, unchangeable. ‘Start sweep'. This refers to the illusion. Once swept (illusion), all disappears, no trace remains of any existence. This indicates that all Tathagatas are those who done away with the illusions and are no longer in the five realms. This means that the Tathagata is one who is eternal and unchanging. Moreover, oh Kasyapa! This is the Dharma that is the Master of all Buddhas. Hence, the Tathagata respectfully makes offerings. As the Dharma is eternal, so all the Buddhas are eternal." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 7 - On the Four Aspects.
Pearls of Universe
The Fire of Wisdom
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said again to the Buddha: "If the flame of illusion dies, the Tathagata must also die. This indicates that there can be no a land where the Tathagata is eternal. This is similar to the situation in which the scum of the cast iron cannot be seen when the red color disappears. The same applies to the Tathagata and illusion. Gone, there is no other pace to go to. And it's like in the case of iron. When the heat and the red color are gone, nothing remains to be seen there. The same applies to the Tathagata. Once extinguished, what remains is noneternal. With the end of the fire of illusion, he enters Nirvana. This tells us that the Tathagata is non-eternal." "Oh good man! The iron about which you speak refers to common mortals. When the illusion ends, the common mortal comes about again (the cycle of birth and death). That is why we say non-eternal. This is not the case with the Tathagata. Having gone, there is no resurgence. Hence, eternal." Kasyapa further said to the Buddha: "If we place the colorless iron back into the fire, the red color will return. If so with the Tathagata, the illusion will take form again. If the illusion takes form again, this is nothing more that the non-eternal." The Buddha said: "Oh Kasyapa! Do not say that the Tathagata is nonEternal. Why not? Because the Tathagata is the Eternal. Oh good man! When wood is burnt, the extinction comes, and there remain behind the ashes. When the illusion ends, what remains is Nirvana. All such Volume I Page 30
Pearls of Universe parables as of the torn clothing, beheading, and broken crockery enunciate the same truth. All these things have such names as torn clothing, beheading, and broken crockery. Oh Kasyapa! The iron that has become cold can be heated again. But this is not the case with the Tathagata. Once the illusion is gone, what remains is utmost purity and coolness. The blazing flame never comes back again. Oh Kasyapa! Know that the situation of innumerable beings is like that of iron. With the blazing fire of Wisdom free from 'asvaras' [defilements], I now burn off the bonds of illusion of all beings." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 7 - On the Four Aspects.
The Physical Universe and that of the Bodhisattva
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Do not say that if the Tathagata has long since crossed the great sea of illusion, there would be no reason for him take Yashodara [as his wife], bring forth Rahula and that, consequently, the Tathagata would not have yet severed himself from the bonds of illusion and crossed the great sea of illusion. Oh, good man! This Great Nirvana evokes a thing of great significance. Hear me with your best attention. I will speak for all the world. Do not become surprised or entertain doubts. If the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva reaches the Great Nirvana, such high and wide things as Mount Sumeru could indeed be placed inside a mustard seed. If [at that time] beings are standing on Mount Sumeru, they will not feel narrowed down nor oppressed. There will be no sensation of coming or going to anywhere. Everything will be just as before, without any difference. Only one who has crossed the Volume I Page 31
Pearls of Universe ocean [of illusion] will be able to see that this Bodhisattva has put the three thousand great-thousand worlds system into a mustard seed and is back to his own abode again. Oh, good man! Also, the BodhisattvaMahasattva may enter into Great Nirvana and put the three thousand great-thousand worlds system into a pore of his skin, and yet the original place remain as always was [unchanged]. Oh, good man! Also, the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva may enter into Nirvana, cut off the Buddha-lands of the three thousand great-thousand worlds system, puts them on the tip of a needle and push them through other Buddhalands as though passing them through a jujube leaf, and even thus, the living beings therein would not entertain any feeling of coming or going. Only one who is emancipated could see it and also the original place. Such is the case.” Read More on the Nirvana Sutra - Chapter 7 – On the Four Aspects.
Steps to Peace and Happiness of Beings
“This body of mine is the Dharma-Body. Following the ways of the world, I manifest myself in a motherly womb. Oh, good man! In this Jambudvipa, in the gardens of Lumbini, I manifested as born from the womb of Mother Maya. After birth, I took seven steps to the east and proclaimed: 'I am the most Honored and Supreme among all humans, devas and asuras’. My parents, humans and devas, witnessing this, were joyful beyond words and wonderstruck. All those people said that I was a child. But, there are innumerable kalpas past, I had segregated myself from any such things. A body such as this is the Dharma-Body, Volume I Page 32
Pearls of Universe and not one born of flesh, blood, sinews, bones and marrow. Following the ways of the world, I appeared as a child. I took seven steps to the south and proclaimed that I would become the Supreme Field of Weal for the sake of countless beings. Taking seven steps to the west, I indicated that life was now ended (extinct), that I would part from old age and death, and that this was the last of my bodies. Taking seven steps to the north, I manifested that I would cross all the seas of birth and death of all existences. Taking seven steps to the east, I revealed that I would become the guide for all beings. Taking seven steps to the four corners, I revealed that I would cut off the roots of various illusions and natures of the four Maras (evil), becoming the Tathagata, the Almsdeserving, the All-Enlightened One. Taking seven steps to heaven, I proclaimed that I would never be tainted by impurities. Taking seven steps downward, I proclaimed that the rain of Dharma would extinguish the fires of hell, such that the beings born there would be blessed with peace and happiness.” Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 7 - On the Four Aspects.
The Real and Deep Intention of the Buddha
"Shariputra, everyone should understand that what the Buddha says in his words, is not at all vain or false. Shariputra, all the Buddhas preach the Dharma in accordance with what is appropriate, but its intention is difficult to understand." - Lotus Sutra, Chapter 02: Expedient Devices. "I also manifested myself in Jambudvipa as a great rich man. This was to Volume I Page 33
Pearls of Universe cause countless people to be blessed with peace and abide in the Wonderful Dharma. Furthermore, I became a king, minister, prince or prime minister. Amidst such positions, I became the first in all cases. In order to practice the Wonderful Dharma, I became a king. Also, there was a time in Jambudvipa when many epidemics arose and many people suffered. First, I gave them the medicine and later spoke them about the Wonderful Dharma, and made them attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. So, all said that time was an era of illness. Also, there was a time in Jambudvipa when a famine broke out. I gave to the people the food they needed, I spoke about All-Wonderful Dharma and led them to the unsurpassed Enlightenment. Also, for people with thoughts inclined to 'is', I spoke about the non-eternal; for those with thoughts inclined to pleasure, I spoke about the suffering. For those who cling to self, selflessness is exposed. For those who cling to the purity, the impurity is exposed. For those who cling to the three worlds, the Dharma is exposed, to make them renounce the world. To pass beings to the other shore, the Wonderful medicine of Dharma is prescribed. In order to fell the trees of illusion, those (trees) of unsurpassed medicine of Dharma are planted. To save all Tirthikas [deluded beings, non-Buddhists], the Wonderful Dharma is exposed. Although I act as a teacher to beings, no thought of (being) a teacher to all beings lies in me. Since I intend rescue all those of lower social strata, I gain life amongst them and talk about the Dharma. And no evil act will react (in the form of evil karma) in me." Read More on the Nirvana Sutra, Chapter 7 - On the Four Aspects.
Pearls of Universe
CONTENTS SCENE OF BUDDHA'S PARINIRVANA ......................................... 3 THE PARABLE OF THE FERTILE LAND ......................................... 4 OFFERINGS OF MEALS .......................................................... 5 THE WEED ........................................................................ 6 THE BUDDHA'S SUN AND THE CLOUDS OF SAMSARA.................... 7 THE EYES OF COMMON MORTALS .......................................... 8 THE MAGNIFICENT FIELD OF WEAL ......................................... 8 THE MANNA OF DHARMA AND THE CASTLE OF TREASURES ........... 9 THE UNDISCLOSED STOREHOUSE .......................................... 11 THE FOUR INVERSIONS OF DHARMA ...................................... 12 THE PARABLE OF THE AQUAMARINE ...................................... 14 THE BUDDHA’S SELF .......................................................... 15 THE SECRET OF LONG LIFE................................................... 16 THE TRUE DISCIPLE............................................................ 17 THE PARABLE OF THE STRICT FATHER ..................................... 18 PARAMARTHA-SATYA ......................................................... 19
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THE ALL-WONDERFUL OF THE THREE JEWELS .......................... 21 A KING CALLED VIRTUOUS ................................................... 23 THE VIRTUE OF THE NAME .................................................. 25 THE SIX TASTES ................................................................ 27 UNDERSTANDING THE ETERNITY OF THE TATHAGATA ................. 28 THE FIRE OF WISDOM ........................................................ 30 THE PHYSICAL UNIVERSE AND THAT OF THE BODHISATTVA .......... 31 STEPS TO PEACE AND HAPPINESS OF BEINGS............................ 32 THE REAL AND DEEP INTENTION OF THE BUDDHA ..................... 33