Akshayamatinirdesha [english]

65,220 words

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...

24th Imperishable, Knowledge of The Meaning

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

What then is knowledge of the meaning [or the individual essential characteristics (pṛthaglakṣaṇa) ]?

Knowledge of the real meaning in all moments of existence, i. e., knowledge of the moments of existence [knowledge that the conditioned (saṃskṛta) things in the sphere of passion (kāmadhātu) have the essential characteristic (lakṣaṇa) and nature (dharmatā) of suffering (duḥkha) and impermanence (anityatā) ]; reflective knowledge [knowing the essential characteristic of the causes (hetu) and conditions (pratyaya) in the origin (hetusamudaya) from which the suffering in the same sphere (dhātu) stems]; successive knowledge [namely that of the above-mentioned characteristics in the spheres of form (rūpadhātu) and no form (ārūpyadhātu) also]; knowledge of [the meaning and essential characteristics of the six kinds of] causes; knowledge of conditions; knowledge of the combinations [of causes and conditions as they bring about fruit]; knowledge of non-duality [of no extremes like eternity or cessation (śāśvatoccheda), or, that causes and conditions are non-existent in the highest meaning (paramârthatas) ]; knowledge of not going to any extreme; knowledge of not remaining in the middle; [but still] knowledge of understanding the conditions [involved in dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) ]; knowledge of the homogeneity of the sphere of all moments of existence; knowledge in accordance with things as they are [namely in accordance with universal emptiness (śūnyatā) ]; knowledge of being on [the noble way (āryamārga) to] the limit of existence [which is emptiness (śūnyatā) ]; knowledge of understanding emptiness; knowledge of behaviour with no distinguishing marks; knowledge of not longing for anything, there being nothing to long for; knowledge of the absence of conditioning when confronted with the unconditioned; knowledge of penetrating the one principle [or the one essential characteristic (ekalakṣaṇa) of all moments of existence]; knowledge understanding selflessness, knowledge understanding no being, knowledge understanding no life-principle, knowledge of the highest truth of no personality; knowledge not attached to the past; knowledge of the future as unsettled [having no end, being imperishable (akṣaya), or, unhindered knowledge of future events]; knowledge of the present as wholly unblamable [since no aversion or attraction arises understanding the present things as without essence (niḥsvabhāva) ]; knowledge of illusion when concerned with the parts of personality [as created by a magician (māyākāra) ]; knowledge seeing the spheres of sense-perception as snake-poison [killing fast the roots of good (kuśalamūla) ]; knowledge of introspection concerned with the fields of sense-perception as empty villages [without any beings (sattva), like the fields of sense-perception are without self or anything realated to a self (ātmātmīya) ]; knowledge of inner peace; knowledge of no activity concerned with outer things; knowledge of the objects of perception as non-different from an illusion; knowledge of practising recollection; knowledge in accordance with tolerance [of both pain (duḥkhādhivāsanākṣānti) and the unborn state of things (anutpattikadharmakṣānti) ]; knowledge reflecting with intelligence [the essence of insight (prajñāsvabhāva) ]; knowledge of seeing [the essence (svabhāva) of] the self; knowledge of seeing when it concerns the truths; knowledge of non-origination when it concerns suffering; knowledge of the unconditioned when it concerns the origin [of suffering]; knowledge of no distinguishing marks when it concerns cessation [of suffering]; knowledge of liberating [from the ocean of existence (saṃsārasamudra) ] when it concerns the way [to cessation of suffering]; knowledge of the divisions of words concerning the moments of existence [knowing how to explain their meaning (artha) ]; knowledge of no recollection and no mental effort when it concerns the practice of recollection; knowledge understanding both the good and the bad [so as to increase the good and get rid of the bad] when it concerns correct exertions; knowledge of the swiftness of body and mind when concerned with the bases of magic [making body and thought useful (kāyacittakarmaṇyatā) ]; knowledge attaining the abilities; knowledge of the uncrushable when concerned with the powers; knowledge seeing all moments of existence as they are when concerned with the limbs of awakening; knowledge of no going and no coming when concerned with the way; knowledge of remaining when concerned with peaceful meditation; knowledge of manifestation when concerned with expanded vision; knowledge of [deceptive] creations [of, e.g., elephants and men created by means of incantations (mantra) or drugs (auṣadha) ] when confronted with illusions; the knowledge of misunderstanding [air for water] when confronted with a mirage; knowledge of seeing irreality [of the moments of existence appearing] in a dream; knowledge of apprehending the condition [namely that it arises from another sound] for the echo; knowledge of the unchanging [on which the images are projected] when concerned with images; knowledge [as explained in the section on truth] of the one characteristic in what has different characteristics; knowledge of disintegration in combinations [that all composite things in the end disintegrate]; knowledge of no connection [from the moments of existence in one birth to those in another birth, when viewed from the standpoint of the highest meaning (paramārtha) ] in connections; knowledge of understanding in accordance with the words of others [of teachers and preceptors (ācārôpādhyāya) ] when concerned with the way of disciples; knowledge understanding dependence [of phenomena on each other], knowledge of staying apart [in body] and one-pointedness [of thought] when concerned with the way of the isolated buddhas; (p. 110) knowledge of begetting accumulations of the roots of good when concerned with the great way. This is knowledge of the meaning.

Further about knowledge of the meaning: knowledge of the meaning is that by which one relies on all moments of existence through reliance on the meaning. Why?

All moments of existence are absolutely empty, and the meaning which is emptiness is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely without distinguishing marks, and the meaning which is being without distinguishing marks is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely beyond longing, and the meaning which is being beyond longing is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely unconditioned, and the meaning which is being unconditioned is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely beyond origination [in the future], and the meaning which is complete non-origination is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely unborn [in the past], and the meaning which is complete unbornness is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely inexistent [having no own nature (svabhāva) in the present], and the meaning which is complete inexistence is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely separate [since essentially being what they are (tathatāsvabhāvatvāt) ], and the meaning which is complete separatedness is the meaning concerned; all moments of existence are completely without self, being, life-principle, personality, and the meaning which is no self, being, life-principle or personality is the meaning concerned.

Understanding moments of existence this way is knowledge of the meaning.

[To summarize:] The teaching concerning this is an unhindered teaching, unattached teaching, imperishable teaching, a teaching of attaining all moments of existence; that teaching of meaning is knowledge of the meaning. That knowledge of the meaning is imperishable in displaying all meaning, even the Lord Buddhas teach it and are pleased [when others teach it]. [That is because] it is true, essentially no lie and no other than itself, it is the wholly unblamable understanding through insight and knowledge.

This is knowledge of the meaning.

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