The Mahāyāna Mahāparinirvāṇa Sūtra is one of the major sutras of Mahāyāna Buddhism. Its main teachings centre on the eternity of the Buddha, the reality of the True Self, and the presence of the Buddha-dhatu (Buddha Nature) in all beings. Simple name: Nirvāṇa Sūtra....
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, having practised loving-kindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy attains the stage of the best-loved only son. O good man! Why do we call this stage that of the “best-loved” and also “only son”? A father and mother, for example, greatly rejoice when they see their son in peace. The same with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva who abides in this soil [“’bhumi“’]. He sees all beings just as though they were his only son. On seeing a person practising good, he greatly rejoices. So we call this stage that of the best-loved.
"O good man! As an example: a father and mother become worried in their hearts when they see their son ill. Commiseration [anguish?] poisons their hearts; their minds cannot get away from the illness. It is thus, too, with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva who abides in this stage. When he sees beings bound up by the illness of defilement, his heart aches. He is worried, as if over his own son. Blood comes from all the pores of his skin. That is why we call this stage that of the only son.
"O good man! A person, in his childhood, will pick up earth, dirty things, tiles, stones, old bones, and bits of wood and put them into his mouth, at which his father and mother, fearful of the harm that may ensue therefrom, take hold of the child with their left hand and take these things away from him with their right. It is the same with the Bodhisattva of this stage. He sees that all beings have not grown up to the stage of the Dharma-Body and that non-good is performed with body, mouth and mind. The Bodhisattva sees this and extracts [the harmful things] with the hand of Wisdom. He does not wish any person to repeat birth and death, receiving thereby suffering and worry. Hence, this stage is also called the “’bhumi“’ of an only son.
"O good man! When, for example, a son dies and the father and mother have to part from their son whom they love, their hearts so ache that they feel that they themselves will die too. It is the same with the Bodhisattva. When he sees an icchantika [person of the most deluded, twisted views on life] falling into hell, he himself wishes to be born there, too. Why so? Because this icchantika, as he experiences pain, may gain a moment of repentance when I speak to him of Dharma in various ways and enable him to gain a thought of good. Hence, this stage is called that of an only son.
"O good man! As an example: all a father and mother have is their only son. Asleep or awake, while walking, standing, sitting or reclining, their mind is always on their son. If any sin occurs, they give kindly advice, and the boy is thus guided not to do evil again. It is the same with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva, too. When he sees beings falling into the realms of hell, hungry ghosts, and animals, his mind is ever upon them and not away from them. He may see them doing all kinds of evil, and yet he does not become angry or punish them with evil things. Hence, this stage is called the “’bhumi“’ of an only son."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What the Buddha speaks is closely guarded words. I am shallow in Wisdom. How can I arrive at the meaning? If it is the case that all Bodhisattvas abide in the stage of the only son and can do all such things, why was it that the Tathagata, when born as a king, practising the Bodhisattva Way, took the life of a Brahmin of a [certain] place? If this stage was gained, there must be some protection. If it was not yet attained, why did he not fall into hell? If all beings are viewed as an only son, like Rahula, why did you say to Devadatta: “You eat the tears and spittle of one ignorant and shameless!”? Why was he made to hear this and to entertain anger and enmity and evil thoughts, so as to cause blood to come out of the Buddha's body? When Devadatta had committed this evil, the Tathagata went on to prophesy, saying: “Devadatta will fall into hell, where punishment will persist for a kalpa.” O World-Honoured One! Subhuti has attained the “’bhumi“’ of space. Whenever he enters a castle and begs for food, he always looks at the person. If he should get any feeling of displeasure or jealousy, he ceases begging. Even if he is excessively hungry, he will not go and beg. Why not? This Subhuti thinks: “I remember that in days gone by I gained an evil thought at a place that was a field of merit, and as a result I fell into a great hell, where I suffered from various pains. I may now not gain anything to eat all day, but even so, I will not have any ill-will raised against me, so that I would have to fall into hell and suffer from various mental afflictions.” He also thinks in this way: “If people hate to see me standing, I shall sit all day long and not stand; if people do not like to see me sitting, I shall stand the whole day and not move. The same with walking and reclining.” This Subhuti thinks thus so as to protect people. How could things be otherwise with the Bodhisattva? How could a Bodhisattva who has attained the “’bhumi“’ of an only son, O Tathagata, speak thus rudely and cause people [to entertain] extremely heavy ill-will?"
The Buddha said to Kasyapa: "Now, you should not use such harsh words and say that the Buddha-Tathagata causes any kind of worry of defilement [any mental affliction due to the “’asravas“’] to arise within beings. O good man! The proboscis of a mosquito could sooner gain the bottom of the sea than that the Tathagata would ever occasion any worry of defilement to any being. O good man! The great earth could sooner turn out to be immaterial, or water become solid, fire cool, wind static, the Three Jewels, Buddha-Nature and space impermanent, than that the Tathagata would ever occasion a cause of worry to any being. O good man! Even those who have committed the four heavy transgressions, or an icchantika, or those who slander Wonderful Dharma, could sooner attain in this present life the ten powers, the four fearlessnesses, the 32 signs of perfection, and the 80 minor marks of excellence“ ’than that the Tathagata would ever occasion the worry of defilement to any being. O good man! Even sravakas and pratyekabuddhas could sooner exist eternally than that the Tathagata would ever occasion the worry of defilement to any being. O good man! All the Bodhisattvas of the ten abodes could sooner commit the four grave offences, become icchantikas and slander Wonderful Dharma than that the Tathagata would ever give occasion for defilement worry to any being. O good man! All beings could even soooner cut off the Buddha-Nature and the Tathagata enter the last of Nirvanas than that the Tathagata would ever, even once, give occasion for the worry of defilement to any being. O good man! One could sooner catch hold of the wind with a rope, or crush iron with one's teeth, or destroy Mount Sumeru with a [finger]-nail than that the Tathagata would ever occasion the worry of defilement to any being. One could sooner live with vipers, or put both hands into the mouth of a famished lion, or wash one's body with the charcoal of khadira, than ever say that the Tathagata occasions the worry of defilement to any being. O good man! The Tathagata truly extirpates the bond of worry of all beings and does not occasion the worry of defilement to any of them.
"O good man! You say that the Tathagata, in days gone by, killed a Brahmin. O good man! “’The Bodhisattva-mahasattva would not purposely kill an ant“’ [a large, winged black ant]. How could he kill a Brahmin? “’The Bodhisattva always, through various means, gives unending life to beings“’ [emph. added]. O good man! Now a person who gives food gives life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the danaparamita, he always gives beings unlimited life. O good man! By upholding the precept of non-harming, one gains a long life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the shilaparamita, he gives all beings unlimited life. O good man! If one is mindful of one's speech and does not do anything wrong, one gains a long life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the ksantiparamita [perfect patience], he always teaches beings not to give rise to any thought of enmity, to do what is straight, to refrain from what is twisted, and thus to look to one's own self and not dispute with others. And through this one is blessed with a long life. Because of this, when the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the ksantiparamita, he always gives beings long life. O good man! If one makes effort and does good, one will be blessed with long life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the viryaparamita [perfected vigour, effort], he always urges beings to do good. Having done as told, those beings are blessed with a long life. Thus, when the Bodhisattva practises the viryaparamita, he already gives beings an immeasurably long life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises dhyanaparamita [perfected meditation], he urges beings to develop the all-equal mind. Having practised this, beings will be blessed with long life. Hence, when the Bodhisattva practises the dhyanaparamita, he already gives beings an immeasurably long life. O good man! A person who is not indolent regarding Dharma gains a long life. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the prajnaparamita [perfected Wisdom], he urges all beings to practise all kinds of good dharmas [things] and is not indolent. Having thus practised, beings in consequence gain a long life. For this reason, when the Bodhisattva practises the prajnaparamita, he already bestows on beings unlimited life. O good man! Because of this, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not take the lives of any being to the end.
"O good man! You asked if one could gain this “’bhumi“’ or not when one has killed a Brahmin. O good man! I already gained it. Out of love, I took his life. It was not done with an evil mind. O good man! For example, a father and mother have an only son. They love him greatly and act against the law [?]. At that time, the father and mother, out of fear, drive one away or kill [?]. Though they drove [him] away or killed [him], they had no evil mind. In just the same way, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva acts likewise for reasons of protecting Wonderful Dharma. Should beings slander Mahayana, he applies kindly lashings, in order to cure them. Or he may take life in order that what obtained in the past could be mended, thus seeing to it that the law [Dharma?] could be accorded with [?!]. The Bodhisattva always thinks: “How might I best make beings aspire to faith? I shall always act as is best fitted to the occasion.” The Brahmin fell into Avichi Hell after his death. He gained three thoughts. The first thought was: “Where have I come from to be born here in this way?” And the realisation dawned on him to the effect that he had been born there from the world of men. His second thought was: “What is this place where I have now been born?” The realisation dawned that this was Avichi Hell. The third thought [then] arose: “Through what causal concatenations have I been born here?” He then came to realise that things had taken this turn because of his slandering of the vaipulya Mahayana sutras and by his not believing, and by his being killed by the king - thus had he been born there. Thinking in this way, respect arose towards the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. Then, after his death, he was born in the world of Tathagata Amrta-Drum. There he lived for 10 kalpas. O good man! I thus, in days gone by, gave this person a life of 10 kalpas. How could it be said that I killed him?“
’ "O good man! There is a man who digs up the ground, mows the grass, fells trees, cuts corpses into pieces, slanders and beats [people]. Would this cause him to be born in hell?" Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! From what I gather from what you said, this would be a cause of hell. Why? It is as the Buddha once said to the sravakas: “O all you Bhiksus! Do not bear any ill will towards any grass or trees. Why not? Because, due to an evil mind [bad thoughts], all beings fall into hell.”"
Then the Buddha praised Bodhisattva Kasyapa: "Well said, well said! It is as you say. Hold fast to the precepts. O good man! If a person falls into hell through an evil mind, this tells us that the Bodhisattva does not have any evil mind [?]. Why not? Because the Bodhisattva-mahasattva always pities and desires to benefit all beings, down to insects and ants. Why? Because he is versed in all causal relations and expedients. Through the power of expedients, he desires to cause beings to plant the seeds of all varieties of virtue. O good man! For this reason, I, at that time, took life as the best expedient. Yet I did not entertain any evil in my mind. O good man! According to the doctrine of the Brahmins, there is no karmic result even if one kills tens of wagons of ants. All such insects and animals that harm man, such as the mosquito, gadfly, flea, louse, cat, lion, tiger, wolf and bear may be killed in an amount as great as ten wagon-loads [according to the Brahmins]. Such beings as demons, rakshasas, kumbhandas, kataputanas and all those made and dried-up [?] devils who harm human beings may well be killed, without any evil result arising from the killing [according to the Brahmins]. But if one kills an evil person, karmic consequences ensue. If one kills and there is no repentance that follows, one gains life in the hell of hungry ghosts [according to the Brahmins]. If one repents and fasts for three days, the sin dies out and nothing remains behind. If any harm is caused to an upadhyaya [teacher of the Vedas, grammar, etc.], to one's father, mother, a woman or a cow, one will have to go to hell for innumerable thousands of years [according to the Brahmins].
"O good man! The Buddha and Bodhisattva see three categories of killing, which are those of the grades 1) low, 2) medium, and 3) high. Low applies to the class of insects and all kinds of animals, except for the transformation body of the Bodhisattva who may present himself as such. O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, through his vows and in certain circumstances, gets born as an animal. This is killing beings of the lowest class. By reason of harming life of the lowest grade, one gains life in the realms of hell, animals or hungry ghosts and suffers from the downmost “’duhkha“’ [pain, mental or physical]. Why so? Because these animals have done somewhat of good. Hence, one who harms them receives full karmic returns for his actions. This is killing of the lowest grade. The medium grade of killing concerns killing [beings] from the category of humans up to the class of anagamins. This is middle-grade killing. As a result, one gets born in the realms of hell, animals or hungry ghosts and fully recieves the karmic consequences befitting the middle grade of suffering. This is medium-grade killing. Top-rank killing relates to killing one's father or mother, an arhat, pratyekabudda, or a Bodhisattva of the last established state. This is top-rank killing. In consequence of this, one falls into the greatest Avichi Hell [the most terrible of all the hells] and endures the karmic consequences befitting the highest level of suffering. This is top-grade killing. O good man! A person who kills an icchantika does not suffer from the karmic returns due to the killings of the three kinds named above. O good man! All those Brahmins are of the class of the icchantika. For example, such actions as digging the ground, mowing the grass, felling trees, cutting up corpses, ill-speaking, and lashing do not call forth karmic returns [?]. Killing an icchantika comes within the same category. No karmic results ensue. Why not? Because no Brahmins and no five laws to begin with faith, etc. are involved here [? Maybe: no Brahmins are concerned with the "five roots" of faith, vigour, mindfulness, concentration, and Wisdom?]. For this reason, killing [of this kind] does not carry one off to hell.
"O good man! You asked why the Tathagata spoke ill of Devadatta to the effect that he was an ignorant person who gulped down spittle. You should not speak ill of this, either. Why not? It is not possible to conceive [i.e. fully understand] what the Buddha-World-Honoured One says. O good man! True words are loved in the world; or there are cases where what is contrary to the time [occasion?] and law [Buddhist teaching?] do not benefit a person. I never speak thus. O good man! There are situations in which rough, untrue, untimely, unlawful words are not loved by him who hears them, and do not bring benefit. I also do not speak such words. O good man! And there are times when, though the language be harsh, it is true and not false. At such a time, if this teaching gives benefit to all beings, I always speak, even if the listener is not pleased [to hear my words]. Why? Because the All-Buddha, the Arhat-and- Samyaksambuddha [Fully Awakened One] knows the best expedient [for any given situation].
"O good man! I once passed hours in the wild, in hamlets and forests. In the forest, there was a demon called “Wild”. He only ate human flesh and blood, and many a being was killed. And one person from the village was eaten every day. O good man! I, at that time, was speaking expansively about the essence of Dharma. But he [the demon] was rude, evil, ignorant, and had no Wisdom, and did not lend an ear to what I was saying regarding Dharma. I then transformed myself into a very powerful demon, shook his palace so mightily that there was no peace. Then that demon came out of his palace with his kindred to challenge me. On seeing me, he lost heart. Frightened, he fell to the ground, wriggled and moaned, and looked as though he were dead. Pitying him, I rubbed his body with my hand. He regained himself, sat up and said: “I am glad that I have regained my body and life. This great god possesses great virtue. Being compassionate, he pardons my hateful acts.” He gained a good [state of] mind and faith at my place [in my presence?]. I then re-assumed my body as the Tathagata and spoke to him about the various essentials of Dharma. And I made that demon receive from me the precept of non-harming.
"And that day there was a rich man in the village in the wilds, who was about to die. The villagers brought him to the demon. The demon, after receiving him, gave him to me. I got him and named this rich man “Hand-Rich-Man”. Then the demon said to me: “O World-Honoured One! My people and I feed on flesh and blood and [thus] sustain [our] life. I have now received this shila [rule of moral conduct]. How am I to live?” I replied: “From now on, I shall give orders to the sravakas. Follow them and go to where they practise the Way, and I shall make them give you things to eat.” O good man! For this reason, I instituted for the bhiksus this shila: “You shouuld henceforward give food to the field demon. If there are those who, living themselves, cannot give, such are - you should know - not my disciples, but the relatives of the heavenly Mara [the devil Mara's abode is in heaven].” O good man! The Tathagata puts forth such diverse expedients so as to teach and subdue beings. It is not particularly to cause fear. O good man! I also beat the law-protecting demon with a wooden stick. And at one time I was on top of a hill. I pushed a sheep-headed demon down the hill. Also, when in the top of a tree, I beat a monkey-protecting demon, and [another time] I caused the treasure-guarding elephant to see five lions, and made vajra-deva fear Satyakanirgrantha. And [another time] I thrust a needle into an arrow-hair demon. Though I did all these things, there were no demons that were harmed or killed. It was only to get them to rest in peace in Wonderful Dharma. Thus did I perform all such expedients.
"O good man! I did not at that time speak ill of Devadatta and did not make him feel ashamed. He, too, was not so ignorant as to gulp down another person's spittle. Nor did he fall into Avichi Hell, there to suffer punishment for a kalpa. Nor did he disrupt the peace of the Sangha or cause blood to come out of the Buddha's body. Nor did he commit the four grave offences, nor did he slander the Wonderful Dharma of the Mahayana sutras. He is no icchantika, no sravaka, and no pratyekabuddha. O good man! Devadatta does not belong to the class of the world of the sravakas or pratyekabuddhas. All this is only what all Buddhas can know. O good man! For this reason, do not reproach [me] and say: “Why should the Tathagata impeach Devadatta, speak ill of him, and make Devadatta feel ashamed?” Do not doubt things that concern the world of all Buddhas."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! As an example: when we decoct sugar cane many times, we gain various grades of taste. The case is so with me. Following as often the words of the Buddha, we gain the various kinds of dharma. These are those [dharmas] of fleeing the world, of abandoning desire, of quietude, and of Enlightenment. O World-Honoured One! Another example: if we burn, beat, smelt and temper gold, it becomes all the brighter and purer, more harmonious, soft, wonderful in its colour, and priceless. And later gods and men prize it highly as treasure. O World-Honoured One! The same is the case with the Tathagata, too. If we carefully and respectfully ask questions, we arrive at the depths of the meaning. By practising the Way profoundly, one can uphold it, and innumerable beings will aspire to unexcelled Enlightenment and [one?] is looked up to and respected by humans and gods."
Then the Buddha spoke in praise of Bodhisattva Kasyapa: "Well said, well said! O Bodhisattva-mahasattva! To benefit all beings, you put such questions of deep signification to the Tathagata. O good man! For this reason, I follow your lead and speak about the deepest depths of the Mahayana vaipulya. This is the stage of an only son of dearest love."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If all Bodhisattvas practise the Ways of loving-kindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy and attain the stage of an only son, what is the stage that one attains when one practises the mind of equanimity?" The Buddha said: "Well said, well said! You know well when to ask. You see what I desire to speak about and you ask. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the mind of equanimity, he attains the All-Void All-Equal stage, and becomes like Subhuti. O good man! When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva dwells in the All-Void All-Equal “’bhumi“’, he no longer sees parents, brothers, sisters, children, relatives, good friends of the Way, enemies, those who are hostile or friendly, those who are neither friendly nor antagonistic, down to the five skandhas, the 18 realms, the 12 spheres, beings, and life. O good man! As an illustration, it is like space, in which we see no parents, brothers, wife and children, down to beings and life. It is the same regarding all things. There can be no parents and life. Thus does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva see all things. His mind is all-equal like space. Why? Because he thoroughly practises the dharma of the Void [“’shunyata“’]."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What do you mean by the Void?" "O good man! Of the Void, there are such as the internal, external, internal-external Void, the Void of created existence, the Void of the uncreated, the Void of beginninglessness, the Void of nature, the Void of non-possession, the Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’, the Void-Void, and the Great Void.
"How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva experience the internal Void? This Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the Void of the internal elements [“’adhyatma-shunyata“’]. That is to say that the internal elements [the six sense-organs] are void. This means to say that there are no parents, no persons with ill-will or on friendly terms [with one], none who is indifferent, no beings, life, Eternal, Bliss, Self, and Purity, Tathagata, Dharma, Sangha, and all good. In these internal elements, there is the Buddha-Nature. Yet this Buddha-Nature exists neither within nor without. Why not? Because the Buddha-Nature is eternal and experiences no change. This is what we mean when we say that the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the internal elements.
"The same applies in the case of the external Void [“’bahirdha-shunyata“’: the six sense-fields]. No internal elements exist.
"It is the same with the internal-external Void [“’adhyatma-bahirdha-shunyata“’]. O good man! There are only the Tathagata, Dharma, and Sangha, and the Bddha-Nature. This has no two aspects of the Void. Why not? For the four are the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. That is why we do not say that these four are void. We call this the All-Void of both the internal and the external.
"O good man! We say “the Void of created existence [“’samskrta-shunyata“’ - the voidness of formed, conditioned, assembled phenomena]. Whatever is created is all void. Thus there can be the internal Void, the external Void, the the internal-external Void, the Void of the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure, the Void of life, of beings, of the Tathagata, Dharma, and Sangha, and of “’Paramartha-satya.“’ Of these, the Buddha-Nature is not anything created. Hence, the Buddha-Nature does not belong to the category of the Void of created existents.
"O good man! How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on the Void of the uncreated [“’asamskrta-shunyata“’]? Those things of the category of the uncreated are all void. They are so-called impermanence, suffering, the impure, the non-Self, the five skandhas, the 18 realms, the 12 spheres, life, beings, the characteristics, the created, the leakable [“’asravas“’?], the internal elements, and the external elements. Of the uncreated, the four which begin with the Buddha are not the uncreated. As the nature is good itself, it is not the uncreated; as it is eternal, it is not the created. This is how the Bodhisattva meditates on the Void of the uncreated.
"How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on the Void of the beginningless [“’anavaragra-shunyata“’]? This Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees that birth and death are beginningless. Hence, he sees that all are void and quiet. We say Void. That is to say that the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure are all void and quiet, with nothing that changes. So are life, beings, the Three Jewels, and the uncreated, in all of which the Bodhisattva sees the beginningless Void.
"How does the Bodhisattva meditate on the Void of nature [“’prakrti-shunyata“’ - Emptiness of primordial matter]? This Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees that the original nature of all elements is all void. These are the five skandhas, the 18 realms, the 12 spheres, the Eternal, the non-Eternal, suffering, Bliss, the Pure, the impure, Self, and non-Self. In all such things, he sees no nature of their own. This is how the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the Void of nature.“
’ "How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on the Void of non-possession? This is like speaking of a house being empty when there is no child inside. He sees here an uttermost void. There is no friendliness, no love. The ignorant say that in all directions what there is is peace; a poor man says that all is void. All such presumptions are either void or non-void. When the Bodhisattva meditates, it is as with the poor man who says that all is void. This is how the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the Void of non-possession.
"How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on “’Paramartha-shunyata“’ [the Void of “’Paramartha“’ - of Ultimate Reality]? O good man! When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the “’Paramartha“’, he sees that when this eye comes about, it does so from nowhere; when it dies out, it dies out to nowhere. What originally was not, now is; what was turns back to nowhere. As we look into the real nature, we see that what there is is eyelessness and masterlessness. All other things are as in the case of the eye. What is the Void of the “’Paramartha“’? It is seeing that there is action and the result thereof, but no maker. Such a doctrine of voidness is the Void of the “’Paramartha“’. This is how the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the Void of the “’Paramartha“’.
"How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on the Void-Void? This Void-Void is where the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas get lost. O good man! This is “is” and this is “not-is”. This is the Void-Void. This is this; this is not “this-is-this”. This is the Void-Void. O good man! The Bodhisattva of the ten “’bumis“’ [stages] is only able to know a little of this, which might well be likened to the size of a dust-mote. How much less must it be with others! O good man! Thus, the Void-Void is not equal to the Void-Void samadhi of the sravakas. This is the Void-Void which the Bodhisattva meditates upon.
"O good man! How does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditate on the Great Void? O good man! The Great Void is the prajnaparamita [perfection of Wisdom]. This is the Great Void. O good man! Attaining such a gate of the Void, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva abides in a “’bhumi“’ equal to space.
"O good man! As I now, here amongst the congregated, speak about all these kinds of Void, Bodhisattva-mahasattvas as numerous as the sands of ten Ganges are able to gain the “’bhumi“’ equal to space. O good man! Abiding in this “’bhumi“’, nothing hinders the Bodhisattva-mahasattva in anything; no clinging binds him and no anguish takes hold of his mind. Hence, we call it the “’bhumi“’ equal to space. O good man! As an illustration, this is as with space, which does not greedily cling to any lovable colour and does not become angry with a colour wihich is displeasing. The same with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva who abides in this “’bhumi“’. No mind of desire or anger arises towards good or bad colours. O good man! This is like space, which is vast and great, with nothing to equal it, taking in all things. It is the same with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva abiding in this “’bhumi“’. It is vast and great, so that nothing can bear comparison to it, and it can indeed take in all things. For this reason, we can truly call it the “’bhumi“’ equal to space. O good man! When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva abides in this “’bhumi“’, he can see and know all things. Be it actions, circumstantial factors, the nature and characteristics [of things], causes, by-causes, the minds of beings, the sense-roots, dhyana, vehicle, good friends of the Way, upholding of the precepts, or whatever is given - all is seen or known.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, abiding in this “’bhumi“’, knows and yet does not see. How does he know? According to the self-fasting [self-abnegation?] doctrine, one throws one's own body into deep water, into fire, jumps from a high precipice, always stands on one leg, bares one's body and exposes it to heat, always sleeps on ashes, thorns, woven rafters [mats?], harmful grass, cow dung, and wears coarse hemp clothing, dung-defiled woolen cloth left in a graveyard, kambala cloth, reindeer or deer skin, fodder clothing; [such fakirs] feed on vegetables, fruit, lotus roots, oil dregs, cow dung, and roots and fruits. When they go to beg food, it is only to one house. If the householder says that he has nothing to give them, they desist. Even if people later call them back, they do not look back. They do not eat salted flesh or the five varieties of the cow's products [i.e. fresh milk, cream, fresh butter, clarified butter, sarpirmanda]. What they consume is dreg-juice and hot water. They uphold shilas [moral prohibitions] vis-ã¡-vis cows, hens, dogs, and pheasants. They smear ashes over their bodies, wear their hair long, worship heaven by sacrificing and killing sheep, first saying a charm.
"For four months [?] they worship fire and for seven days [?] they partake of the wind, offer hundreds and thousands and billions of flowers to the devas, and all that they desire is to have their wishes fulfilled. He [the Bodhisattva] knows that all such things can never be the cause of supreme emancipation. This is knowing. What does he not see? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees that not one person attains true emancipation by such acts. This is not seeing.“
’ "Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva both sees and knows. What does he see? He sees that beings perform twisted practices and unfailingly fall into hell. This is seeing. What does he know? He knows that all beings come out of hell and gain life as a human, practise the danaparamita and become perfect in the other paramitas. He knows that these people unfailingly attain right Enlightenment. This is knowing.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva further sees and knows. What does he see? He sees the Eternal and the non-Eternal, suffering, Bliss, the Pure and the non-Pure, the Self and the non-Self. This is seeing. What does he know? He knows that all Tathagatas definitely do not enter Nirvana [i.e. do not truly die and desert the world]. The body of the Tathagata is adamantine and indestructible. It is not one of defilement. It is also not a body that emits bad smells and decays. Thus does he know. Also, he knows that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. This is knowing.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva also knows that the mind of beings achieves faith. These beings seek Mahayana. He knows that they float down, or float back, or abide rightly. He knows that beings do gain the other shore. Floating down refers to common mortals; floating back refers to the shrotapanna up to the pratyekabuddha; right-abiding refers to all Bodhisattvas, and attaining the other shore to the Tathagata, the Arhat, the Samyaksambuddha. This is knowing. What does the Bodhisattva see? He abides in the teaching of the Mahayana Great Nirvana Sutra, practises pure actions, and, with the pure heavenly [“’deva“’] eye, sees that all beings commit evil through body, mouth and mind and fall into the realms of hell, animals, and hungry ghosts. He sees that beings who do good die and are re-born in the worlds of heaven or humans. There are beings who move from gloom to gloom, from gloom to light, from light to gloom, and then from light to light. This is seeing.
"Also, next, O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva also knows and sees. He sees that all beings practise the way of the body, observe shila [morality], and practise the way of the mind, and that of Wisdom. He sees that a person who does deeds replete with evil in this present life, or through greed, ill-will and ignorance, harvests karmic returns in hell. He sees a person practising good in body, upholding shila, cultivating the mind, practising the way of Wisdom, and being recompensed in this life to some degree and not falling into hell. How can this action gain rewards in the present life? This comes about when a person confesses all the evils he has done, repents, and does not commit them any more; when he repents fully, makes offerings to the Three Treasures, and always reproaches himself. This person, due to his good deeds, does not fall into hell, but receives in this life karmic returns such as headaches, pain in the eyes, stomach and back, an untimely death, criticism, slander, lashings, prison or fetters, hunger, and poverty. He knows that light karmic returns are visited upon a person in this present life. This is knowing. What does he see? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees that a certain person does not practise the Way in body, shila, mind, and Wisdom, and that that person performs petty bad deeds. And all such actions call forth returns in the present life. This person does not confess his petty bad deeds, does not reproach himself, does not repent, and feels no fear. Such action increases, and he receives his karmic results in hell. This is seeing.
"Also, there is the case where one knows but does not see. How does one know and not see? All beings know that they have the Buddha-Nature, but, overshadowed by defilements, cannot see it. This is knowing but not seeing. Also, there is the situation where one knows and sees somewhat. The Bodhisattva-mahasattvas of the ten “’bhumis“’ know that all beings have the Buddha-Nature, but they cannot see it clearly. This is like on a dark night, where one cannot see clearly. Also, there is both seeing and knowing. This is the situation of the All-Buddha-Tathagata, where he both sees and knows.
"Also, there are cases in which one sees and knows, and, not seeing, one does not know. Seeing and knowing refers to what pertains in the world of letters, language, men and women, vehicles, pots, trays, houses, castles, clothing, eating, drinking, mountains, rivers, gardens, forests, beings, and life. This is seeing and knowing. What is not seeing and not knowing? This is all the minute words of the sages themselves, and men and women, and gardens and forests, in which these do not exist [?]. This is not seeing and not knowing.
"Also, there is a situation in which one knows but does not see. One knows where to give, where to dedicate [offerings?], one who receives, and the fact that results accrue from the things that have been done. This is knowing. How does one not see? There are cases where one does [not] see what is given, the place whereto dedication is made, one who is given, and the results of causality. This is not seeing. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows eight types of knowing. This is what is known by the five eyes of the Tathagata."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! What profit does the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gain from such kinds of knowing?" The Buddha said: "O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva gains the four unhinderednesses [“’catasrah-pratisamvidah“’ - analytical knowledges, discriminations?] from such knowings, which are unhinderedness in: 1) Dharma [“’dharma-pratisamvit“’], 2) meaning [“’artha-pratisamvit“’], 3) language [“’nirukti-pratisamvit“’], and 4) eloquence [“’pratibhana-pratisamvit “’ - ready wit].
"In the unhindered knowledge of dharmas, one knows all things and their names.
"In the unhindered knowledge of meaning, one knows all about the meaning of things [of the Dharma], arriving at the meaning by the names established for them.
"In unhindered knowledge of language, one knows the morphological, phonological, prosodical, and oratorical aspects of words.
"In unhindered knowledge of eloquence, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva has no hindrance in oratory, and is unmoved. He has no fear, and it is difficult to defeat him. O good man! If the Bodhisattva thus sees and knows, we may say that he is armed with the four-fold unhindered knowledge.
"Also, next, O good man! In unhindered knowledge of Dharma, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows the dharmas of the sravaka, pratyekabuddha, Bodhisattva, and all Buddhas.
"In unhindered knowledge of the meaning, he knows that, though there are three vehicles, these enter into one and he sees therein no distinction.
"In unhindered knowledge of language, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gives varyious names to a thing. Even in the course of innumerable kalpas, one could not fully name them all. The sravakas and pratyekabuddhas are not equal to this.
"In unhindered knowledge of eloquence, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva, in the course of innumerable kalpas, talks about all dharmas to all beings, and his speech is endless in regard to names and meanings, and all about ideas. Also, next, O good man! By unhindered knowledge of dharmas is meant that, though the Bodhisattva-mahasattva is versed in all dharmas, he has no clinging to them.
"By unhindered knowledge of the meaning is meant that though the Bodhisattva-mahasattva is versed in all meanings, he has no clinging to them.
"By unhindered knowledge of language is meant that though the Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows the meaning [relevant language?], he has no clinging to this.
"Unhindered knowledge of eloquence means that though the Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows that this eloquence is best, he has no clinging to it. Why? “’If one clings, one is not called a Bodhisattva“’." [emph. added].
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If one does not cling, one cannot come to know of Dharma. If one knows of Dharma, this is nothing but clinging. If one does not cling, there can be no knowing. How can the Tathagata say that one knows Dharma and yet does not cling?" The Buddha said: "O good man! Clinging is not unhinderedness [unobstructed knowledge?]. Where there is no clinging, there is unhinderedness. O good man! Hence, any Bodhisattva who has any clinging is not one unhindered. If not unhindered, he is no Bodhisattva. Know that such a person is a common mortal.
"Why do we say that clinging is of the common mortal? All common mortals cling to matter [“’rupa“’ - body, form] down to consciousness [“’vijnana“’; the five skandhas are here meant]. When one clings to matter, this clinging evokes a mind of greed; because of greed, one gets bound up by matter down to consciousness. Because of such bondage, one cannot escape from the great suffering of birth, ageing, illness, death, apprehension, and sorrow, nor from all the [various] kinds of defilement. Hence, due to his clinging, we call a person a common mortal. For this reason, no common mortal possesses the fourfold unhindered knowledge.
"O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva has already, over innumerable asamkhyas of kalpas past, seen through the characteristics of all things; through knowing, he knows the meaning. As he knows the characteristics of all things and the meanings, he does not cling to matter. The same with consciousness, too. With no clinging, the Bodhisattva does not have any greed for matter. Nor does he have greed for consciousness. Not having any greed, he is not bound by matter. Nor is he bound by consciousness. Because he is not bound, he can indeed become emancipated from birth, age, illness, death, the great sufferings of apprehension and sorrow, and all the defilements. For this reason, all Bodhisattvas possess the fourfold unhindered knowledge. O good man! Hence, for the sake of my disciples, I have spoken in the twelve types of scripture about clinging and spoken of it as being bound by Mara. Without clinging, one becomes emancipated from Mara's hands. For example, in worldly life, one who has committed a sin [crime] gets chained up by the king. A person without sin cannot be taken prisoner by the king. It is the same with the Bodhisattva-mahasattva. A person possessed of clinging is bound up by Mara. One with no clinging is not bound up by Mara. Thus, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva has no clinging.
"Also, next, O good man! We say “unhindered knowledge of Dharma”. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva well upholds the words [of Dharma] and does not forget [them]. Upholding is like [the actions of] the earth, mountains, eyes, clouds, man, and mother. The same is the case with all things.
"We say “unhindered knowledge of the meaning”. Now, the Bodhisattva may know the names of all things and yet not know the meaning. When one is unhindered in the meaning, one comes to know of the signification.
"How does one know of the signification? We say “upholding like the earth”. This is analogous to the way in which the earth supports all beings and non-beings. Hence, “earth” is referred to, to symbolise “support”.
"O good man! We say “support of the mountains”. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva thinks thus: “Why do we say that mountains support? The mountains well support the earth and there is no shaking. Hence, "to support".”
"Why do we say that the eye supports? The eye well supports light. Hence, “support”.
"Why do we say that clouds support? Clouds are called the “air of the nagas” [snake-beings, dragons]. The air of the nagas supports water. Hence, “support”.
"Why do we say that man supports? Man well supports Dharma and non-Dharma. Hence, “support”.
"Why do we say that a mother supports? A mother well supports her child. Hence, “support”.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows well the names and meanings of all things. It is thus.
"We say “unhindered knowledge of language”. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva may use various idioms [words] to speak about a single meaning. But there is no signification. It is as in the case of the names of man, woman, house, vehicle, beings, etc. Why is there no signification? O good man! We say “signification”. But this is of the world of Bodhisattvas and all Buddhas. Idioms [words] belong to the world of common mortals. By knowing the meaning, one gains unhinderedness in language.
"We say “unhindered knowledge of eloquence”. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva knows the language and the meaning as he goes on talking for a period of innumerable asamkhyas of kalpas. This is unhinderedness in eloquence.
"O good man! The Bodhisattva, for innumerable, boundless, asamkhyas of kalpas, practises secular dharmas. By practising, he gains unhinderedness in dharmas.
"Also, for innumerable, boundless asamkhyas of kalpas, he practises the “’Paramartha“’. Thus, he gains unhinderedness in meaning.
"Also, for innumerable, boundless asamkhyas of kalpas, he practises the vyakaranas. Hence, he gains unhinderedness in language.
"Also, for innumerable asamkhyas of kalpas, he practises secular eloquence, and he gains unhinderedness in eloquence.
"O good man! No one can say that the sravakas and pratyekabuddhas gain this fourfold unhindered knowledge. O good man! In the nine types of scripture, I say that sravakas and pratyekabuddhas do possess the fourfold unhindered knowledge. But, truth to tell, no sravakas or pratyekabuddhas can have any such knowledge. Why not? The Bodhisattva-mahasattva particularly practises such fourfold unhindered knowledge in order to save beings.
"The pratyekabuddha practises the Way of extinction and seeks a lonely place. With him, there is no saving of beings, no resorting to miracles; instead, he is silent, without talking, all day long. How can he have unhindered Wisdom? Why does he sit silently and not teach? He does not speak about Dharma and enable beings to gain the usmagata, murdana, laukikagradharma, shrotapanna, sakrdagamin, arhat, pratyekabuddha, or Bodhisattva-mahasattva [level]. He does not cause others to gain unsurpassed Bodhichitta. Why not? O good man! When the pratyekabuddha appears in the world, there are not the nine types of scripture. Hence, there can be no unhinderedness in language and eloquence with the pratyekabuddha. O good man! The pratyekabuddha knows all about Dharmas, but he is not unhindered in Dharma. Why not? Unhinderedness in Dharma is “knowing the words.” The pratyekabuddha knows the words, but is not blessed with unhinderedness in words. Why not? Because he does not know the two words, “eternal” and “abiding”. That is why the pratyekabuddha cannot gain unhinderedness in Dharma. He knows of the meaning, but he is not blessed with unhinderedness [of understanding] in the meaning. If he truly understood the meaning, he would have to know that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. The meaning of Buddha-Nature is none other than unsurpassed Enlightenment. Thus, the pratyekabuddha does not possess unhindered knowledge of meaning. So, for him there cannot be unhindered Wisdom in all things of the four categories.
"Why does the sravaka not have the fourfold unhindered knowledge? He does not have the three kinds of best expedient. What are the three? First, using soft [gentle?] words, followed by accepting Dharma; secondly, using harsh words, followed by melting into the teaching; thirdly, neither softness nor harshness, followed by the teaching. As the sravaka does not have these three, he cannot have the fourfold unhindered knowledge. Also, next, the sravaka and pratyekabuddha, after all, do not know language and meaning. With them, there is no knowing of the world of unmolested Wisdom; they do not have the ten powers and the four fearlessnesses. They, after all, cannot cross the great sea of the 12 links of interdependent arising. They do not know well the differences between beings, as to whether they are sharp-witted or born dull. They cannot yet eradicate the doubting mind regarding the two phases of truth [relative, worldly truth, and Absolute, Supramundane Truth]. They do not know the various aspects of beings' mental activities. They cannot speak well about the All-Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’ [Absolute, Supramundate Truth]. For this reason, these two vehicles [of pratyekabuddha and sravaka] do not possess the fourfold unhindered knowledge." “
’ Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! If sravakas and pratyekabuddhas do not possess the fourfold unhindered knowledge, why, O World-Honoured One, do we say that Shariputra is the foremost in Wisdom, Mahamaudgalyayana the foremost in divine powers, and Mahakausthila the foremost in the fourfold unhindered knowledge? If this is not the case, why do you say so?" Then the World-Honoured One praised Kasyapa and said: "Well said, well said! O good man! The Ganges, for example, contains an immeasurable volume of water. The great volume of water of the Indus cannot be known. The water of the Oxus, too, cannot be known; the volume of water of Lake Anavatapta is also immeasurable. The water of the great sea is immeasurable. The volume of all this water [together] is immeasurable. But actually, there can be more or less, their not all being the same. It is the same with the fourfold unhindered knowledge of sravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and Bodhisattvas. O good man! We can never say that they are the same. O good man! For the sake of common mortals, I say that Mahakausthila is the foremost in the fourfold unhindered knowledge. What you ask about stands thus. O good man! Amongst the sravakas, there may be one who has one of the four unhindered kinds of knowledge, or one who has two. But there is no case where a sravaka has the four."
Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You spoke above in this chapter on pure actions about the fourfold unhindered knowing and seeing, and you say that in the knowing and seeing of the Bodhisattva, there is nothing that is gained and his mind has nothing that is not gained. O World-Honoured One! Now, this Bodhisattva-mahasattva has, truth to tell, nothing to gain. If there is still something to be gained in his mind, he is not a Bodhisattva; he is a common mortal. How can the Tathagata say that the Bodhisattva still has something to gain?" The Buddha said: "O good man! Well said, well said! You again ask that of which I desire to speak. O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva has nothing to gain. Having nothing to gain is the fourfold unhindered knowledge. O good man! Why is having nothing to gain unhinderedness? If there is something still to be gained, this is a hindrance. A person who has a hindrance is one who has the four inversions [distorted views]. O good man! As the Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not have the four inversions, he has unhinderedness. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva is a person who has nothing more to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! This ungainedness is Wisdom. As the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gains this Wisdom, we say that he has ungainedness. Still having something to gain means ignorance. When the Bodhisattva has eternally dispelled the gloom of ignorance, he has nothing more to gain. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva is a person who has nothing more to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! Having nothing more to gain is Great Nirvana. Abiding in peace in this Great Nirvana, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees no nature, no characteristics in any thing. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"Having [the need] to possess means the 25 existences. The Bodhisattva has long segregated himself from the 25 existences and attained Great Nirvana. Thus, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain hold of.
"Also, next, O good man! Not having to possess means Mahayana. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not abide in any dharma. Hence, he gains Mahayana. So, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"The need to possess is the path of the sravaka and pratyekabudda. The Bodhisattva has segregated himself from the paths of the two vehicles. Hence, he gains the Buddha-Way. So, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! Having no need to possess anything is the vaipulya sutra. When the Bodhisattva recites such a sutra, he gains Great Nirvana. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain. The need to possess is the 11 types of scripture. The Bodhisattva does not practise [these?]; he exclusively expounds the Mahayana vaipulya sutras. So, we say that the Bodhisattva does not need to gain anything.
"Also, next, O good man! Not having to gain anything is Emptiness [“’shunyata“’]. In the world, when there is nothing there, we say empty. The Bodhisattva attains this Emptiness samadhi [meditative state]. Because there is nothing to see. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing to gain.
"The need to possess is the wheel of birth and death. As all common mortals repeat birth and death, they have things to see. The Bodhisattva has long segregated himself from all births and deaths. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! Not to possess is the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees the Buddha-Nature, he gains the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing to gain.
"Having something to gain is the non-Eternal, non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva is a person who has nothing to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! That there is nothing to gain is the All-Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’ [Ultimate Truth]. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva meditates on the All-Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’, he sees nothing. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva is a person who has nothing to gain.“
’ "That one still has something to gain equates with the five distorted views [“’panca-drstayah“’]. As the Bodhisattva has eternally segregated himself from the five distorted views, he gains the All-Void of “’Paramartha-satya“’. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"Also, next, O good man! That there is nothing more to be gained, this is unsurpassed Bodhi [Enlightenment]. When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gains unsurpassed Bodhi, there is nothing more to see. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"What still has more to be gained is the Enlightenment of the sravaka and pratyekabuddha. The Bodhisattva is eternally away from the Enlightenment of the two vehicles. Hence, we say that the Bodhisattva has nothing more to gain.
"O good man! What you ask about has nothing more to gain. What I say, also has nothing more to gain. Any person who says that there is still a thing to be gained is one of Mara's kindred and not my disciple."
Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! As you expound to me the ungainedness of Enlightenment [i.e. that it is not a separate thing that can be grasped hold of], an innumerable number of beings cut themselves away from the mind that has an image of existence. Hence, I particularly ask of you to explain to me what has nothing more to be gained, and to enable innumerable beings to segregate themselves from Mara's clan and become the Buddha's disciples."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You said before in a gatha, for Cunda's sake:
“What originally was is now no longer;
What originally was not, now is. There can be
No such thing as "is" pertaining
In the Three Times [of past, present, and future].”
"O World-Honoured One! What might this mean?" The Buddha said: "O good man! As I desire to teach all beings, I say this. I also say this for the sake of sravakas and pratyekabuddhas. Also, I say this to the Prince of Dharma, Manjushri. It is not the case that I said this to Cunda alone. At that time, Manjushri wished to put a question to me. Fathoming [reading] his mind, I spoke thus. When I spoke thus, Manjushri understood."
Bodhisattva Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! How many persons could there be of the class of Manjushri, who could thus gain the point? Please, O Tathagata, for the sake of all beings, explain expansively once again." "O good man! Listen carefully, listen carefully! I shall now explain it again in detail especially for you. I said “originally was not”. There was originally no prajnaparamita. As there was no prajnaparamita, there are now so many bonds of defilement. If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human were to say: “The Tathagata had defilement in the past, has defilement in the present or will have defilement in the future”, this is not so.
"Also, next, O good man! I said “originally was”. In days gone by I had a body gained through the union of father and mother. And in consequence, I do not now have an adamantine Dharma-Body [i.e. if the Buddha as Buddha had ever been produced by parents like an ordinary, mortal being, he would not now be able to have an adamantine Dharma-Body? Precise meaning not clear here and in the following]. "I said: “originally was not”. I did not have the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks of excellence. As I did not have the 32 signs of perfection and the 80 minor marks of excellence, I now have the 404 illnesses. If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Brahma, or human says: 'The Tathagata has had, all the way through past, present and future, the suffering of illness', this is not so."
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”. I once had the non-Eternal, non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure. As I had the non-Eternal, non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure, there is now no unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"I said: “originally was not”. I did not see the Buddha-Nature. Not seeing it, there are the non-Eternal, non-Bliss, non-Self, and the non-Pure. If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human says: “The Tathagata does not, throughout all the past, present and future, possess the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure”, such can never be [i.e. this is an utterly untrue statement].
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”. Common mortals might have the idea of practising penance and say that one [thus] arrives at unsurpassed Enlightenment. For this reason, one cannot now crush out the four Maras.
"I said: “originally was not”. That is to say that there were originally no six paramitas. Not having the six paramitas, the common mortal has the thought of practising penance and says that he can attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. A sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human might say: “The Tathagata, all through the past, future and present, did penance.” But such can never be [stated].
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”. I had in the past a body sustained by various kinds of food. As I had a body supported by various kinds of food, I cannot have a boundless body now. “Originally was not” says that there were not the 37 factors assisting towards Enlightenment. As there were not the 37 factors assisting towards Enlightenment, there is now the body supported by various kinds of food. Some sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human might say: “The Tathagata, all through the past, future, and present, has a food-supported body.” But such can never be [truly stated].
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”, meaning that I originally had a mind that clung to all things. So, there cannot now be any samadhi of the ultimate Void.
"I said: “originally was not”, meaning that I did not originally have the true meaning of the Middle Path. And as I did not have the true meaning of the Middle Path, I now have clinging to all things. If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human says: “The Tathagata, all through past, future and present, has a body that has [samsarically] existed”, this is not so.
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”. When I first attained this unsurpassed Enlightenment, there were dull-headed sravaka disciples. As I had dull-headed sravaka disciples, I could not speak about the truth of the one vehicle.
"I said: “originally was not”. There was no sharp-witted elephant king such as Bodhisattva Kasyapa. As there was none sharp-witted like Kasyapa, I resorted to the expedient of the three vehicles, which I enlarged upon. If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human says: “The Tathagata has, all through the past, future, and present, preached the Dharma of the three vehicles”, this is not so.
"Also, next, O good man! I said: “originally was”. I formerly said: “In three months' time, I shall enter Parinirvana between the sal trees.” That is why I cannot now preach the doctrine of the great vaipulya sutra, “’Mahaparinirvana“’.
"I said: “originally was not”, meaning that there were no such great Bodhisattvas as Manjushri and the others. As there were not, we now say: “The Tathagata is non-eternal.” If any sramana, Brahmin, deva, Mara, Brahma, or human says: “The Tathagata, all through the past, future and present, is non-eternal”, this is not true.
"O good man! Although the Tathagata knows all things he says that he does not know, because of all beings. He sees all things. But he says that he does not so see. Speaking about what has form, he says formless; speaking about things that have no form, he say that there are forms [there]. Speaking about what has form, he says “formless”. The same applies to the Self, Bliss, and the Pure. Speaking about the three vehicles, he say one vehicle, speaking about one vehicle, he says, as the case may be [according to the situation], three vehicles. He says that an abbreviated form is one that is full, and a full one abbreviated. He says that the four grave offences are the sthulatyayas, and the sthulatyayas are the four grave offences. He says that transgression is non-infringement, and that non-infringement is an infringement. He says that a venial sin is grave, and a grave sin venial. Why so? Because the Tathagata sees the root of beings' abilities. O good man! The Tathagata speaks thus, but nothing is wrong at bottom. Why not? Whatever is false constitutes sin. The Tathagata is totally segregated from sin. How could he say anything false? O good man! Although the Tathagata does not resort to falsehood, he will do so as an expedient and as it serves the occasion when he sees that all beings gain the benefit of Dharma. O good man! To the Tathagata, all worldly truths are “’Paramartha-satya“’. And he also enables beings to attain “’Paramartha-satya“’. If all beings did not attain “’Paramartha-satya“’, all Buddhas, to the end, would not speak of worldly truth. O good man! When the Tathagata at times speaks of worldly truth, beings say that the Tathagata is speaking about “’Paramartha-satya“’. When he at times speaks about “’Paramartha-satya, “’beings say that the Buddha is speaking about worldly truth. All of this comes from the deepest depths of the world of all Buddhas. This is not something that can be understood by sravakas and pratyekabuddhas. O good man! For this reason, do not hastily contest and say that the Bodhisattva-mahasattva possesses nothing. The Bodhisattva always abides in “’Paramartha-satya“’. How could anyone criticise him and say that he has nothing?"
Kasyapa said: "O World-Honoured One! You say that “’Paramartha-satya“’ is the Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana. If we say that the Bodhisattva possesses the Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana, this is nothing other than the non-Eternal. Why? If Dharma is eternal, one cannot gain it. It is like space. Who can gain it? O World-Honoured One! In worldly life, what originaly was not, but is now, is called the non-Eternal. The same with the Way. If the Way can be gained, this is nothing but the non-Eternal. If Dharma is the Eternal, there can be no gaining of anything, no arising, as in the case of the Buddha-Nature, which knows no gaining and no arising. O good man! Now, the Way is non-matter, not non-matter, not long, not short, not high, not low, not arising, not extinction, not red, not white, not blue, not yellow, not “is”, not “is-not”. How could the Tathagata speak of it as “what can be gained”? The same applies to Enlightenment and Nirvana."
The Buddha said: "It is thus, it is thus. O good man! There are two kinds of Way. One is eternal, and the other non-eternal. Enlightenment, too, is of two kinds. One is eternal, and the other non-eternal. The same applies to Nirvana, too. What the tirthikas say regarding the Way relates to the non-eternal; what is said within Buddhism relates to the Eternal. The Enlightenment of the sravaka and pratyekabuddha relates to the non-eternal. The Enlightenment of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas is the Eternal. The emancipation of the tirthikas is non-eternal, and that of the Buddhist is eternal. O good man! The Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana are all eternal. All beings are always overshadowed by innumerable defilements, and as they lack the eye of Wisdom, they cannot see. But in order to see, all beings practise shila [morality], samadhi [meditative absorption], and Wisdom. By practising these, they see the Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana. The nature and characteristics of the Way do not suffer from birth and death. Hence, it is hard to grasp.
"O good man! With the Way, there is no colour or form to be seen, nor any weight to be known. Yet there is its function. O good man! A being's mind is not long, not short, not coarse, not minute, not bound nor unbound, nor is it anything visible, but it still appears as though it were visible. Hence, I said to Sudatta: “O rich man! Make the mind the king of the castle. If the mind is not guarded, the body and mouth will not be guarded. If the mind is guarded, the body and mouth, too, will be guarded. When the body and mouth are not well guarded, all beings fall into the three unfortunate realms. If beings guard their body and mouth well, they can attain the Nirvana of humans and gods. "Gaining" speaks of truth. "Not gaining" speaks of non-truth.” O good man! It is the same with the Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana. There can be the “is” and the Eternal. If there were [only] the “not-is”, how could there be a cutting away of all defilements? Because of the “is”, all Bodhisattvas are able to see clearly and to know.
"O good man! There are two kinds of seeing. One is seeing by outer signs [indications], and the other by fathoming. What is seeing by outer signs? It is like seeing fire from afar, when one sees the smoke. Actually, one does not see the fire. Though one does not see it, nothing is false [here]. We see a crane in the sky, and say that we see water. Though we do not see water, this is not false. We see the flower and the leaf, and we say that we see the root. Though we do not see the root, this is not false. We see a cow's horns far off through the hedges, and we say that we can see a cow. Though we do not see the cow, this is nevertheless not false. We see a pregnant woman and say that we see carnal desire. We do not [actually] see carnal desire, but this is not false. Also, we see the fresh leaves of a tree and say that we see water. Though we do not [actually] see it, this is not false. We see a cloud, and we say that we see rain. Though the rain [itself] is not seen, this is not false. Seeing the actions of the body and mouth, we say that we see the mind. The mind is not seen, but this is not false. This is seeing by outer signs.
"What is seeing by fathoming? It is like seeing the colour of the eye. O good man! A man's eye is pure and does not get broken [damaged by looking?]. It is like seeing a mango held in one's own palm. The same is the case where the Bodhisattva clearly sees the Way, Enlightenment, and Nirvana. Though he sees thus, there are no characteristics to be seen. For this reason, in days past I said to Shariputra: “O Shariputra! The Tathagata alone knows, sees and realises all that the world, such as sramanas, Brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas, or humans, do not see and realise. It is the same with the Bodhisattvas. O Shariputra! What all the world knows, sees and realises, I and the Bodhisattvas also know, see and realise. What the world and beings do not know, see and realise, is also known, seen and realised [by the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas]. It must be thus. The world and beings know, see and realise, and they say that they know, see and realise. O Shariputra! The Tathagata knows, sees and realises all, yet he does not say that he knows, sees and realises. So do things also obtain with the Bodhisattvas. Why? If the Tathagata shows that he knows, sees and realises, he is no Buddha-World-Honoured One. He is a common mortal. It is the same with the Bodhisattva, too."