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...

29th Imperishable, Reliance on Knowledge

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

What then is consciousness and what is knowledge?

Consciousness is the consciousness [involved with] four places. What four? The places of consciousness are the places where it is involved with form, involved with feeling, involved with perception, involved with formative factors, this is consciousness. What then is knowledge? Knowledge is the thorough knowledge of the part of personality which is consciousness as placed among the four other parts of personality.

Further concerning consciousness [that is, knowledge of the character of the four elements (caturmahābhūtalakṣaṇa), hard, wet, etc.], the consciousness of the element earth, the consciousness of the element water, the consciousness of the element fire, the consciousness of the element wind, this is consciousness; while knowledge that the consciousness resting on [having as the object (ālambana) ] the four kinds of elements is undifferentiated from the sphere of all moments of existence, is knowledge [since it is of one taste (ekarasa) in being essentially characterized by emptiness (śūnyatālakṣaṇa) in the highest meaning (paramārthatas) ].

Further concerning consciousness, the information in forms known by the eye [namely eye-consciousness (cakṣurvijñāna) ], and thus in sounds known by the ear, smells known by the nose, tastes known by the tongue, tangibles known by the body, the information in the moments of existence known by the mind, this is consciousness; while inner peace and no roaming about among outer objects, having no thought-construction [of inner things] nor any imagination [grasping for distinguishing marks (nimittagraha) ] concerning any moments of existence through reliance on knowledge, this is knowledge.

Further, the origination of consciousness from an object [from the object-condition (ālambanapratyaya) ], the origination of consciousness from mental activity, the origination of consciousness from fancies, this is consciousness; while no grasping [at a self], (p. 117) no clinging [to anything of mine], no apprehension [of any own-being (svabhāva) in any form (rūpa) ], no information [that there is consciousness and a subject apprehending it], no thought-construction [concerned with self or moments of existence], this is knowledge.

Further, consciousness arises within the range of the conditioned, there is no activity of consciousness in the unconditioned; knowledge of the unconditioned is knowledge.

Further [to summarize], consciousness depends on origination and destruction; knowledge depends on no origination and no cessation.

This is reliance on knowledge and not reliance on consciousness.

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