The English translation of the Akshayamatinirdesha: an ancient Mahayana Sutra devoted to the Bodhisattva Akshayamati, recognized as one of the sixteen bodhisattvas of the Bhadrakalpa (fortunate aeon). The text expounds the practices and ethics of the Bodhisatva way of life. Original titles: Akṣayamatinirdeśa (अक्षयमतिनिर्देश), Akṣayamatinirdeśasūt...
a) [Qualities of the teaching (nirdeśasaṃpad):] Then the Lord, the discourse on religion called The Unobstructed Gate of Penetration into and Going Forth in the Practice of a Bodhisattva [being the body (kāya) of this sūtra], which [has the following properties (guṇa):] has the arrangement of the bodhisattva’s way as its object, is the source of the wisdom that accomplishes all the profound teachings of a Buddha [on selflessness in the person and the moments of existence], the ten powers and his intrepidities, is the entering of the gate which is the seal of retaining in memory, the method for mastering all moments of existence, is the entering of the gate leading to the well determined special kinds of knowledge, is the entering of the gate leading to knowledge of the great supernormal knowledges, is the wheel of religion never turning back [from the incomparable awakening (anuttarabodhi) ], is teaching the religion of not turning back, the religion of non-origination, is uniting to the way to be traversed alone, is uniting all ways in the sameness of the one way, is the entrance into the unadulterated totality of all moments of existence which is of one single principle, is the teaching of how to understand intentions and abilities in all beings, is determining the religion that conforms to the essential [which is not destroyed by the Evil One and the heretics], is the destruction of all regions of the Evil One, is the entering of the gate leading to the basic moments of existence, is subduing all vices and views, is in accordance with unhindered insight and knowledge, is teaching the knowledge of expedient means which is skill in transforming [into awakening] in an infinite and incomparable way, is in accordance with knowledge of the fact that all qualities of a Buddha are the same [and of one taste in being empty (śūnyataikarasa) ], is the entering of the gate into mastering the unhindered knowledge [in seeing all things without effort (anābhoga) ], is the teaching of all moments of existence such as they really are, is the entering into the sameness which is beyond thought-constructions and fictions, is the understanding of the deep dependent origination, is the gathering of the complete accumulation of great merit and knowledge, is in accordance with the sameness of the Buddha’s ornaments of body, speech and mind, is realization of imperishable recollection, intelligence, understanding, devotion and insight, is the entrance into the teaching of the noble truths for the sake of those to be educated by means of the disciples’ way, is knowledge of physical and mental isolation [like the rhinoceros (khaḍgaviṣāṇakalpa) ] for the sake of those to be educated by means of the isolated buddha’s way, is attainment of the consecration for the stage of omniscience [or buddhahood] for the sake of those to be educated by means of the great way, and is the entrance into the method for mastery [by knowledge] of all moments of existence for the sake of proclaiming the virtues of the Tathāgatas, he taught, pointed out, made clear, declared, made accepted, caused to be recited, made known, announced, explained, displayed, revealed, defined, proclaimed, and expounded.
b) [Qualities of the radiance accompanying the teaching (nirdeśānugataraśmisaṃpad):] Then, as the Lord was explaining that discourse on religion, a section of “The Great Collection” with its well determined meanings, a great golden light appeared in the east. That golden light illumined the whole citadel adorned with jewels, as well as this system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds. And except for the light of the Tathāgatas and the consecrated bodhisattvas, all other lights in this system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds, the light of the sun and the moon, the light of Indra, Brahma or the protectors of the world, the light of gods, snake-gods, demons, celestial musicians, giants, divine birds, man-horses and great serpents, the radiance of fire, gems, jewels, lightning and the stars were all eclipsed, obscured and darkened. And even the forms heaped up in the spaces between the worlds of this system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds, in utter darkness, where even the sun and the moon - having such great power, such great strength - do not shine, illuminate or shed beams, even they were illumined by that light. Grasses, bushes, herbs and trees did not obstruct that radiance, even black mountains, snow-mountains, Mt. Sumeru, Mt. Cakravāḍa, Mt. Mucilinda, Mt. Mahāmucilinda, and all the great kings of mountains did not obstruct it. And when it had penetrated everywhere, right down to the great Avīci hell, the whole of this system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds was filled with light. And all the beings who were inhabitants of hell, animals or inhabitants of Yāma’s kingdom, whose bodies were touched by that light, thought: “I am in possession of every pleasure”, having no painful sensations, and being pleased in body and mind.
c) [Qualities of the occasion for the teaching (nirdeśanidānasaṃpad):] All around the perimeter of the assembly in the presence of the Lord in the citadel adorned with jewels, sixty times ten millions of seven-jewel lotuses appeared, rising up out of the bowels of the earth, the size of a wagon wheel across, with several hundred thousand times ten millions of petals, sweet-smelling, of variegated colours, beautiful to behold, colourful, pleasing, covered with a net of jewel-parasols, soft and pleasant to touch like kācilinda tissue. The fragrance of each of those jewel-lotuses filled a system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds, and whatever fragrance is found among gods and men in this system of threefold thousand great thousands of worlds was overcome by the fragrance of that lotus. As the sense of smell of gods, men, snakes, demons, celestial musicians, giants, divine birds, man-horses and great serpents was struck by that fragrance, they all thought “I am without vices”, and were happy with religion. The venerable Ānanda saw that golden radiance and that marvellous array of lotuses. Seeing them, he was greatly astonished and amazed, and getting up from his seat he put his cloak over his shoulder, and placing his right knee on the ground he bowed in the direction of the Lord with the palms of his hands joined, saying: - Lord, such a radiance, beautiful to behold, is seen; this array of lotuses, never seen before, never heard of before, has appeared. Of whom is this a presage? To Ānanda, having spoken thus, the Lord spoke these words: - This, Ānanda, is the presage of the coming of the bodhisattva Akshayamati, who is coming from the eastern quarter, together with sixty times ten millions of bodhisattvas who accompany him and attend upon him. It is the presage of their coming.
d) [Praising the greatness of the teacher (śāstṛmahātmyakīrtisaṃpad):] Not long after the Lord had spoken thus, the bodhisattva Akshayamati, shaking the earth, and emitting rays of light by the bodhisattva’s power, by the bodhisattva’s might, by the bodhisattva’s magic letting fall a great rain of flowers, and sounding a hundred thousand times ten million of hundred billions of cymbals as well as songs, arrived with sixty times ten millions of bodhisattvas who accompanied him and attended upon him where the citadel adorned with jewels was, where the Lord was staying. Having arrived he sat down in the air before the Lord, seven tāla-heights above the ground. Joining the palms of his hands he filled this system of threefold thousand great thousand worlds with sound and praised the Lord with these suitable verses:
1) Pure, without impurities, the hero whose covetousness is gone, your three eyes are purified and there is no obscuration in your wisdom; you have given up hate, rejecting the three kinds of moral filth and harshness, to the awakened without impurities I bow.
2) Without fear, doing away with delusion, you of the ten powers are hard to subdue for loquacious opponents. You frighten those who walk faulty ways; you walk the earth like a fearless lion.
3) In the celestial worlds your body, faultless and pure, is shining; having done away with ignorance dark and blinding you shine like the sun, freed from the net of the clouds.
4) The worlds are suffering, being without refuge and protection, tormented by old age and death, without any firm standing. But you, the greatest of beings, come here out of compasssion like a physician to free us.
5) Out of the sea of existence, of ignorance and vices, hard to cross, out of the many billows of vice and fictions of all kinds you emerge by yourself, not having heard from others, you come here undefiled like a lotus.
6) All these moments of existence are essentially without a self, they arise under certain conditions, just like the sound of an echo. Lord of the world, for the good of living beings you teach that they are not made, there is no maker, no entity to experience them either.
7) The ways of the world are changeable like a mountain brook in this world, still the ignorant cling to that which has no core. When knowing, however, that all moments of existence are like autumn clouds, they pass beyond existence, they despise existence.
8) Your eyes are like blooming lotus-flowers shining more than a hundred suns and moons; worthy of praise you are praised and extolled by the whole world, freed from the illness which is lack of discipline, to you I bow.
9) Mighty one, you have reached unlimited perfection, your qualities have been perfected in the most distinguished way, the qualities of the one who has left happily cannot be measured; I bow my head to the awakened one, the field of merit.
Having praised the Lord with these suitable verses, the bodhisattva Akshayamati together with the sixty times ten millions of bodhisattvas, came down from the sky above, greeting the Lord by bowing to his feet with his head and circumambulating him seven times [to purify the seven kinds of actions by body and speech]. And with the Lord’s permission they sat down in the calyxes of the lotuses with their legs crossed.
e) [Conversation to determine (niścayakathā):] Then, by the power of the Buddha, the venerable Śāradvatīputra got up from his seat, and having put his cloak over one shoulder he placed his right knee on the ground, and bowed in the direction of the Lord with the palms of his hands joined, saying:
- Lord, from where does this bodhisattva Akshayamati come? What is the name of the Tathāgata there, and what is the name of that world-sphere? And how far away from here is that world-sphere?
The Lord said: Śāradvatīputra, you should ask this bodhisattva Akshayamati, and he will instruct you.
Then the venerable Śāradvatīputra spoke these words to the bodhisattva Akshayamati: Son of good family, where do you come from? What is the name of the Tathāgata there, and what is the name of that world-sphere? And how far away from here is that world-sphere?
Akshayamati said: Do concepts of coming and going occur even to the elder Śāradvatīputra?
Śāradvatīputra said: Son of good family, I know concepts thoroughly.
Akshayamati said: One knowing concepts thoroughly, Śāradvatīputra, does not indulge in duality of thought, so why do you think thus: Who are you, where do you come from?
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is a word for uniting, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is a word for separation. Where there is no word for uniting and no word for separation, there is no coming nor going [as there is no individuality (puruṣa) which is the subject of going (gantṛ) ]1
: not coming nor going is the way2
of the saints. 1. The subject matter of Mk II, in which Akṣ is quoted as scriptural authority in Pras. Cf. list of quotations from Akṣ in the introduction. 2. Or "understanding" (sarvagatyarthā jñānârthāḥ).
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of action-nature, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of action-nature. Where there is no essential character of action-nature, and no essential character of the end of action-nature, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of wishing, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of wishing. Where there is no essential character of wishing, and no essential character of the end of wishing, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of arising, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of cessation. Where there is no essential character of arising, and no essential character of cessation, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the way into information, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of the way into information. Where there is no essential character of the way into information, and no essential character of the end of the way into information, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, belongs to the sphere of coming, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, belongs to the sphere of going. Where there is no sphere of coming and no sphere of going, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of a condition, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of a condition. Where there is no essential character of condition, and no essential character of the end of a condition, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of dependent origination, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of dependent origination. Where there is no essential character of dependent origination, and no essential character of the end of dependent origination, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of having a cause, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the essential character of the end of having a cause. Where there is no essential character of having a cause, and no essential character of the end of having a cause, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
Coming, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is an expression, a word, a syllable, a conventional sign, while going, reverend Śāradvatīputra, is the thorough knowledge of an expression, a word, a syllable, a conventional sign. Where there is no expression, no word, no syllable, no conventional sign, and no thorough knowledge of an expression, a word, a syllable, a conventional sign, there is no coming nor going: not coming nor going is the way of the saints.
f) [The Tathāgata staying here praises the qualities of the other Tathāgata in answer to the question:] Then the venerable Śāradvatīputra spoke these words to the bodhisattva Akshayamati: Son of good family, I did not ask you for the sake of your eloquence, but to hear of such places I never heard of before.
Son of good family, just like a man who is a collector of village fees or taxes, who asks a man with or without a load as he goes along the road: Hello there, my good man, what are you carrying? and then: Give me village fee and taxes [for the king]! in the same way, son of good family, we disciples, who following the words of others and having confidence in what we hear from others, are concerned only with what is to be seen in the course of our own thoughts [not like the bodhisattvas who strive to purify the thoughts of others], should always ask true persons like you so as to grasp [some of the goods, meaning or advantage (artha) of] this great way [which is the expedient (upāya) ], from which many disciples and isolated buddhas are likely to arise. Therefore, you should, son of good family, demonstrate as it is where you come from, what is the name of the Tathāgata there and the name of that world-sphere.
Akshayamati said: — Śāradvatīputra, as this Tathāgata is sitting just before you, ask him and he will answer you so that the whole assembly will be without doubt.
Then again the venerable Śāradvatīputra spoke these words to the Lord: Lord, where does this bodhisattva Akshayamati come from? What is the name of the Tathāgata there, and what is the name of that world-sphere? And how far away from here is that world-sphere? So that living beings whose number is without end, who cannot be counted, will put on the armour for the sake of awakening when they have heard the name of that Tathāgata, and the name of that Buddha-field, may the Tathāgata please teach us, may the Lord, the happy one please teach us!
The Lord said: Because of that, Śāradvatīputra, listen well and intently, keep it in mind, and I will tell you. And having heard the elucidation of the qualities of that world-sphere, the names of those bodhisattvas and that Tathāgata, one should, with faith and confidence, have no fear and no doubts as to the unattached and unhindered wisdom of the Tathāgata.
Then the venerable Śāradvatīputra applauded the Lord, gave his ear to the Lord, and the Lord spoke: There is, Śāradvatīputra, a world-sphere called Unblinking, which lies east of this Buddha-field, past as many Buddha-fields from here as there are dustlike grains of sand in ten Gaṅgā-rivers. There a Tathāgata, worthy of offerings, fully awakened, Samantabhadra by name stays [in accordance with the four ways of behaviour], remains [in the world, not entering extinction], and lives on [doing the good of living beings], teaching religion. Thence the bodhisattva Akshayamati comes. There, Śāradvatīputra, in the Buddha-field Unblinking, there is not even the concept of disciples and isolated buddhas, and so the congregation of that Tathāgata consists of bodhisattvas only. who have prepared themselves in the past; are firmly rooted in self-control, discipline, self-mastery, gentleness, morality, learning, care, and the qualities of purity and restriction; are without aversion by their power of tolerance; have piled up masses of good with firm vigour for the sake of awakening; play with the [four] meditations, [eight] liberations, concentrations, attainments of meditation and supernormal knowledge; are proficient in understanding the words of all the teachings of the Buddha and the knowledge of teaching them by the great shining light of insight; have friendly thoughts like the expanse of heaven; know the way to bring all living beings to maturity through their firm intention of compassion; have a joyful relation to religion through joy; are beyond conflicts through equanimity having completely done away with aversion and conceit connected with anger and affection; are firmly rooted in the way of [that is, the concentration on] moments of existence as empty, beyond distinguishing marks and wishes; rid themselves of the hook of the Evil One, and of the impurities of vices and quarrelsomeness; know the ways of intentions and abilities in all living beings, if they are good or feeble; give them religion, goods or knowledge accordingly; whose thoughts are similar to earth, water, fire or wind [in the same way as the elements nourish all living beings equally, the thoughts of the bodhisattvas nourish living beings equally in producing roots for the good in them]; destroy the assemblies of quarreling opponents with their false entourage; are heroes never turning back, with raised banners and flags in the victory of the battle; are free from any fear or anxiety in any assembly through the profound qualities of a buddha, the ten powers and intrepidities; have entered upon the middle way, having given up the two extreme views of being and non-being in understanding dependent origination; are freed from all appearances of views [of grasping for] a self, [something] self-related, an animated being [that is a self in the thoughts, in the unbroken continuity of thoughts (cittasaṃtāna) ], a life-principle [dependent on the body], a [transmigrant] soul, a life-sustaining principle, a spirit, a personality [grasping again and again for existence], a man or human [as created by prajāpati], a creator [a permanent self by whom all, good and bad and so on, is made], a self experiencing [fruits of past deeds (kṛtakarmaphala) ], permanence [of the self], disappearance [of the self], existence and non-existence; are sealed with the seal of the Tathāgata, the formula for retaining in memory, the king of sacred texts; whose eloquence is unbroken because of unattached wisdom’s power, even when speaking for a hundred thousand times ten million times a hundred billion world-ages; are proficient in approaching and departing from Buddha-fields endless in number, in coming and going, because of a buddha’s demonstration of magic, wonders and supernormal powers; have cut off fear, anger, conceit, infatuation and haughtiness; utter a lion’s roar; are reliable friends of all beings, superior, average or inferior, establishing them in extinction; send down the thunder from the cloud of religion [teaching the perfections, giving and so on], the lightning of [the three kinds of] reasoning and liberation [from vices (kleśa) ], pouring down the rain of ambrosia [the thirty seven moments of existence being wings of awakening (bodhipakṣikadharma) ]; do not break the continuity of the three jewels, sprinkling the jewels of religion [like the moments of existence being wings of awakening (bodhipakṣikadharma) and so on]; whose intentions are pure like gems and whose reason is purified as to both inner and outer things; are adorned with ornaments shining with their own brilliance, to wit, the excellent characteristics of a great being and the marks of beauty, [caused by] a hundred thousand potentialities for the good; are consecrated with all the qualities of a Buddha and are crown-princes bound to incarnate only once more; discern the confidence and the kind of liberation of each living being, and the way to train those to be trained; know the way not to have fear but to be courageous in approaching the stage which consists in staying in the place which is the seat of awakening; display all the acts as well as the body of a Buddha being heroes of thought having the power to attract and control, and turn the jewel of the wheel of incomparable religion. The whole congregation of that Tathāgata, Śāradvatīputra, consists of bodhisattvas of that kind.
Then the whole assembly was satisfied and content, happy in mind and rejoicing, and joy and good temper were born in them as they heard such a demonstration of praise and eulogy of good qualities of those bodhisattvas. They sprinkled the Lord, the bodhisattva Akṣayamati and those bodhisattvas with celestial flowers, with blue lotuses, red lotuses, white lotuses, mandāra-flowers and great mandāra-flowers saying: “What we have attained in seeing, paying homage to and honouring these good men is really propitious!” And those beings who had produced the thought of incomparable perfect awakening as they heard that eulogy of bodhisattva-qualities said: “A propitious attainment!” And thirty six times a hundred thousand beings produced the thought of awakening.
Then the Lord spoke to the elder Śāradvatīputra [to display the purity of the place]: – Further, Śāradvatīputra, there in that world-sphere Animiṣā there are not even words for lower worlds, unfavorable conditions or suffering [to say nothing of the thing itself (kiṃ punar vādo vastu)]; [and thus] nor the word for the bewilderment of sin, for vices; nor the word for wrong attainments or neglect of discipline; nor the word for being born with female sex; nor the word for envy, corrupted morality, malice, inattention or corrupted insight [the adversaries of the six perfections (pāramitāvipakṣa) ]; nor the word for obstructions and interruptions, either manifest or as potentialities; nor the word for superior, average or inferior; nor the word for difference among beings, religious ways or Buddha-fields, nor the word for difference among Buddhas, nor the word for difference in religion, nor the word for difference among congregations; nor the word for food and drink, hunger and thirst, nor the word for me, mine or property; or nor the word for the Evil One [namely, being careless with bad things (akuśalapramāda) ] and related views [like pretending life is without end], manifest or potential;
That world is broad and wide, having sixty times ten million times a hundred billion times a hundred thousand continents, and because of the vows of the bodhisattvas it is illumined all over by the light of one sun and moon. Further, in that world-sphere the ground is level like the surface of water and made of blue lapis lazuli, set with all kinds of jewels, pleasant to touch like soft cloth, patterned like a chess-board, adorned with jewel-trees, beautified with flowers always blooming, without rocks, stones, gravel, pebbles and black mountains, adorned with Sumeru-mountains. There is no difference in the enjoyments of gods and men, and the food of those beings is joy in religion and the food of meditation. There in that world-sphere there is no other king apart from the peerless king of religion, the Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the perfectly awakened one Samantabhadra.
And that Lord does not teach religion to those bodhisattvas through differentiation by syllables, words and conventional phrases [like the Lord Śākyamuni], but the bodhisattvas go to that Lord, and looking at him with eyes unblinking they attain concentration which consists in recollection of the Buddha, and he gives them the prophecy which is connected with the attainment of the tolerance that all moments of existence are unborn. That is why that world-sphere is called “Unblinking”.
What then is recollection of the Buddha? [Not the recollection which is applying the mind to the qualities of the Buddha (na guṇamanasikārānusmṛtiḥ):]
It is not brought about through [recollection of the Buddha’s] corporeal marks [that belong to the body of joy (saṃbhogakāya) but recollection of his absolute body (dharmakāya) that has no characteristics]; not brought about through [recollection of his] lineage, family or social standing [that belong to his body of appearance (nirmāṇakāya) ]; not brought about through [recollection of] past good practice [as the perfections, being the cause (hetu) of buddhahood]; not brought forth through reflecting on knowledge [namely, the fruit (phala) of that good practice which is omniscience (sarvajñajñāna) to be attained] in the future; not brought about through [reflecting on] those [Tathāgatas] who exist in the present; [Doing away with the objects of thought that are errors in the recollection of the Buddha, having distinguishing marks (buddhānusmṛtisanimittadoṣālambanaprahāṇa): beyond the forms of distinguishing marks of anything that can be be known (jñeyanimittākārātikrānta), and thus] it is not brought about through [recollection concerned with] parts of the personality, spheres and fields of the senses; not brought about through [recollection of] what has been seen, heard, imagined or comprehended; not brought about through thought, mind or consciousness; not brought about through discursive thought and mental activity; not brought about through [recollection of] origination, existence and destruction; not brought about through grasping, disaccord or rejection; not brought about through recollection and mental effort; not brought about through thought-constructions, imaginings and fictions; not brought about through [recollection on] the [general] character (sāmanyalakṣaṇa) of moments of existence [impermanence and so on], nor the special character [like the element earth, hardness, etc.]; not brought about through [recollection of] homogeneousness, difference and separation; not brought about through counting objects of thought [in meditation, like breathing (śvāsa) going in and out]; not brought about with inner [when tasting the states of concentration (samādhyāsvāda) ] or outer [when meeting the objects with thoughts] movement; not brought about through grasping or rejecting the differentiating marks in imagining; not brought about through [recollection of] qualities of colour and form; not brought about through the practice of deportment and behaviour; not brought about through [recollection of] morality, concentration, insight, deliverance or knowledge of deliverance; not brought about through imputing the powers, intrepidities or special qualities of a Buddha;
[Praising that recollection (anusmṛtyanuśaṃsā):] In this way the recollection of the Buddha is beyond thought [and thus like space (ākāśasama) ], beyond [mental] activity, having the character of being beyond information; beyond what belongs to the ego, beyond mental effort [pertaining to the objects (grāhya) and grasping (grāha) them], not a state of origination and destruction in the parts of personality, spheres or fields of perception; unhindered [and thus penetrating into any time and place in realizing the sphere of all moments of existence (dharmadhātu) which is like empty space]; without weak spots; unfixed [as constructed by the insight of attaining and applying (prāptaprayogaprajñā) it after it has been produced], but not non-fixed [since realized through creative insight (bhāvanāprajñā) ], not leaning on [thus not constructing subject and object (grāhyagrāhakanirvikalpa) ], not fixed upon [and thus not apprehending qualities like impermanence, suffering, emptiness or egolessness in the body of the Tathāgata]; no objective basis for consciousness of form; no objective basis to be known by feeling, perception, formative factors or consciousness; no objective basis for the consciousness characterized by the element of earth; nor the element water, nor the element fire, nor the element wind, no objective basis for the element consciousness; no objective basis for the element consciousness of eye and form; thus not for hearing nor sound, not for nose nor smell, not for tongue nor taste, not for body nor tangibles, not for mind, nor an objective basis for the consciousness related to moments of existence;
Further [to teach its rejection of errors (viparyāsaprahāṇanirdeśa)], this recollection of the Buddha is not dependent on any object, is the non-appearance of all distinguishing marks; is beyond activity consisting in action [of speech], mental activity and movements [of body]; is not originating from what has been seen, heard, imagined or comprehended; is not following from that which is characterized by all the the abilities [of the disciples, faith (śraddhā) and so on, by means of which deliverance is attained] and deliverance [the extinction (nirvāṇa) of the disciples, which one does not fall into if one has emptiness (śūnyatā) in mind]; is not born again from one moment to another; is appeasement of all thought-constructions and imaginations; is having done away with the mistakes of attachment and aversion; is getting rid of that which is characterized as the cause [of vices (kleśa), namely the view of a self (ātmadṛṣṭi) ]; is having cut off [constructing, and thus not] holding on to any extremes, past, future or present; is brilliant as it is not imputed [with thought-constructed concepts of the existence of objects and a subject grasping the objects (grāhyagrākabhāvanirvikalpa) ]; is beyond enjoyment since it is undifferentiated [in mind], is beyond pleasure [in body] through not enjoying the taste [of meditation (dhyāna) ]; is without burning desire as it is originally in peace; is characterized as deliverance since all its effort has disappeared; [that absolute reality (dharmadhātu) ] is without body since it is without [obstructive (sapratigha) ] form, is not felt being beyond feelings, is without knots being not tied [to grasping the distinguishing marks of objects], is not composite since it is beyond composing powers, is characterized as beyond information as it is beyond consciousness, is beyond clinging since it is without grasping [that is, no mental effort concerned with distinguishing marks (nimittamanasikāra), an error of concentration (samādhidoṣa) ], [but, nevertheless,] it is beyond abandonment since it does not do away with anything [but cultivating the thing itself (tattvabhāvanā) ]; is not dependent since it is without basis; is not fixed [and thus attached to anything] as it is beyond feeling; it is unchanging as it is unborn; it is not included among the moments of existence connected with any recollection or mental effort, thought or things thought-related; unaffected [that is, beyond rivalry (parasparaspardhā), since there is no competition in absolute reality (viśuddhadharmadhātuspardhāpratidvaṃdvābhāvatvāt) ]; beyond grasping; not on fire [with vices (kleśa) ]; completely appeased; originally unborn and distinguished through unbornness; united to total reality [in the way that the recollection of the Buddha and total reality have the same character (ekalakṣaṇa) ], being the same with no difference similar to the homogeneity of open space; transcending the ways of eye and form, and likewise transcending the ways of hearing and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste, mind and moments of existence.
[Attainment of the fruit of that concentration (tatsamādhiphalaprāpti):] Those bodhisattvas attain that kind of recollection of the Buddha. As soon as they have attained it they attain unhindered knowledge of all moments of existence [that is the knowledge of omniscience (sarvajñajñāna) ], and they preserve what the awakened Lord has spoken [by conventional truth (saṃvṛtitas) ], they do not forget it, but do not remember it either [in the highest meaning (paramārthatas) those moments of existence perish as only informative concepts (prajñaptimātra) as they are empty (śūnya) and because they have no real existence (abhāvatvāt) ], they find the well decided meaning of all words;
Śāradvatīputra, the Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra does not, as here, teach right view in such a way that listening to others is a [necessary] condition, or that thorough mental effort concerning oneself is a [necessary] cause; those bodhisattvas, Śāradvatīputra, as soon as they see that Tathāgata, fulfil the six perfections according to their well decided meanings.
Why? Giving up attachment to distinguishing marks of form is the perfection of giving; Putting an end to distinguishing marks of form [and thus not adopting bad behaviour] is the perfection of morality; The state of things when all distinguishing marks of form have perished is the perfection of tolerance [that is the tolerance that all things are unborn (anutpattikadharmakṣānti) ]; Seeing things as apart from distinguishing marks of form is the perfection of vigour [being eagerness to see the essential emptiness of form]; Not letting thought disperse itself among the distinguishing marks of form is the perfection of meditation. And no activity of discursive thought among distinguishing marks of form is the perfection of insight.
Thus those bodhisattvas fulfil the six perfections as soon as they see that Lord, the Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra, and they get the prophecy connected with tolerating that all moments of existence are unborn;
The Buddha-fields like the one of that Lord, the Tathāgata Samantabhadra, the world-sphere “Unblinking”, where such bodhisattvas stay, are exceedingly rare;
g) [Quality of demonstrating great powers (mahānubhāvasaṃdarśanasaṃpad):] Then the venerable Śāradvatīputra addressed himself to the bodhisattva Akṣayamati and the other bodhisattvas: – Sons of good family, it is really a great attainment that you may see the Lord Tathāgata Samantabhadra, those bodhisattvas and that world-sphere Unblinking.Akṣayamati said: – Reverend Śāradvatīputra, do you also wish to see the world-sphere Unblinking, the Lord Tathāgata Samantabhadra, those arrays of flowers and those bodhisattvas?Śāradvatīputra said: – Son of good family, I will see it for the sake of increasing the potentialities for the good in the entire assembly here.
Then, at that moment, the bodhisattva Akṣayamati entered the concentration called “The Display of all Buddha-fields”. And then, as soon as he had entered it, the entire assembly and the elder Śāradvatīputra saw the world-sphere Unblinking, (p. 18) the Lord Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra, those arrays of flower and those bodhisattvas. Seeing them they all got up from their respective seats, and joining the palms of their hands they paid homage to the Lord Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra and those bodhisattvas.
Then, by the power of the Buddha [Śākyamuni] and the magic of the bodhisattva Akṣayamati, there appeared in their right hands flower-buds, never seen before, never heard of before, fragrant, multicoloured, beautiful to behold, colourful and pleasing. They threw them towards the east, where the Lord Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra stayed. Those flower-buds cast by them appeared in that Buddha-field, and having been sprinkled on that Tathāgata worthy of offerings, they filled the whole world-sphere with flowers. And the bodhisattvas living in that world-sphere asked the Lord Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Samantabhadra: – Lord, where does the rain of such beautiful flowers fall from?
That Lord said: – This, sons of good family, is because the bodhisattva Akṣayamati has arrived in the world-sphere Enduring, the Buddha-field of the Lord Śākyamuni, to see that Lord Tathāgata Śākyamuni, to honour him, give him offerings, pay him respect and listen to his religion, whereupon the bodhisattvas who have gathered in that world-sphere from the ten directions have scattered those flowers. And that Lord Tathāgata Śākyamuni is explaining the exposition of religion called “A chapter of the Great Collection”, and living beings whose numbers are beyond measure are about to comprehend religion;
They said: – Lord, how far from here is that world-sphere where the Tathāgata Śākyamuni stays?That Lord said: – There is a world-sphere called “Enduring”, which lies west of this Buddha-field, past as many Buddha-fields from here as there are dustlike grains of sand in ten Gaṅgā-rivers. There a Tathāgata, worthy of offerings, fully awakened, Śākyamuni by name stays, remains, and lives on, teaching religion.They said: – Let us have a look, Lord, at that world-sphere Enduring, that Lord Tathāgata worthy of offerings, the fully awakened Śākyamuni and those bodhisattvas.
Then, at that moment, the Tathāgata Samantabhadra, worthy of offerings, the fully awakened emitted such a light from his body, that by that light, once it had penetrated all those Buddha-fields, this world-sphere Enduring, the Lord Tathāgata Śākyamuni and these bodhisattvas were seen by his own bodhisattvas. When they saw them, they all got up from their respective seats and joined the palms of their hands, and bowing to the Lord Tathāgata Śākyamuni and these bodhisattvas they said: – Lord, whence have so many bodhisattvas gathered, crowding this world-sphere to the point where one could not even insert a tip of hair between them?
That Lord said: – These bodhisattvas, sons of good family, have gathered from immeasurable Buddha-fields in the ten directions to hear about religion.