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....
"O good man! If any good man or woman desires to see the Tathagata, he or she must study the 12 types of sutra, uphold, recite, copy and expound them".
Bodhisattva-mahasattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! All beings do not know the state of mind of the Tathagata. How do we meditate and come to know [this]?" "O good man! All beings, in truth, do not come to know of the mental state of the Tathagata. If they desire to meditate and know, there are two ways. One is to see with the eye and the other through hearing. If one sees the bodily actions of the Tathagata, know that this is the Tathagata. This is seeing with the eye. If one comes across the oral actions of the Tathagata, know that this is the Tathagata. This is to hear him, and see.
"One may come across a visage which is beyond that of man - know that this is the Tathagata. This is to see with the eye.
"One may hear a voice which is all so wonderful and superb and which is not of the human kind - know that this is that of the Tathagata. This is to see him through hearing.
"One may happen to see the Tathagata's miraculous power manifested before one. How could it be other than for the sake of beings, rather than for profit? If it is for the sake of beings and not for profit, know that this is the Tathagata. This is seeing with the eye.
"One meditates upon the Tathagata, who sees humankind with mind-reading knowledge. Does he speak of Dharma for profit and not for beings' sake? If it is for the sake of beings and not for profit, know that this is the Tathagata. This is seeing through hearing.
"How does the Tathagata gain the carnal body? Why does he gain it? For whom does he gain it? This is seeing with the eye.
"How does the Tathagata speak about Dharma? Why does he speak about Dharma? To whom does he speak about Dharma? Thus do we meditate. This is seeing him by hearing.
"Evil bodily actions are directed [at him], and there arises no anger. Know that this is the Tathagata. This is seeing with the eye.
"Evil oral actions are directed [at him]. But there is no anger. Know that this is the Tathagata. This is seeing by hearing.
"When the Bodhisattva is first born into the world, he takes seven steps in the ten directions, and the demon generals, Manibhadra and Purnabhadra, carry banners, at which innumerable boundless worlds shake and a golden light brightly fills the sky. The naga kings, Nanda and Upananda, with their divine powers, bathe the Bodhisattva's body. All the gods show their bodies. They come and pay homage. Rishi Asita folds his hands and pays homage. In the prime of manhood, he [Siddhartha] abandons desires as if they were like tears and spittle. He is not bothered by worldly pleasures. He abandons his home, practises the Way, and seeks quietude. In order to crush twisted views, he undergoes austerities for six years. He sees all beings with an all-equal eye, not with two minds. His mind is always in samadhi and there is no moment in which his mind breaks. He looks serene and splendid; thus is his body adorned. Wherever he goes, the land is flat. His clothing parts from his body but by four inches and it does not drop down. When walking, he looks straight ahead, not looking to right or left. What he does is done with aptitude and nothing [is done which] goes beyond what is necessary. Where he sits and stands up, the grass does not move. To teach beings, he moves about and dwells upon Dharma. He displays no arrogance. This is seeing with the eye.
"The Bodhisattva, as he takes his seven steps, says: “The body that I now have is the last of all that I will have.” Asita folds his hands and says: “Know, O great King! Prince Siddhartha is certain to gain unsurpassed Enlightenment. He will not remain at home and become a Chakravartin. Why not? Because his visage is clear and bright. The Chakravartin does not look clear and bright. The bodily form of Prince Siddhartha is bright and outstanding. For this reason, he will unfailingly attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. He will see old age, illness, death, and will say: "I pity seeing all beings living thus. Birth, old age, illness and death follow one upon the other. And they cannot see; they always suffer. I shall now cut off the bond."” Under Aradakalama, who is perfect in the five divine powers, he practises thoughtlessness samadhi [“’asamjna-samapatti“’]. Having attained it, he says that this is not the Way to Nirvana, but that of birth and death. For six years he practises this austerity, and gains nothing. If true, I must be able to gain it. Being false, I gain nothing. This is a twisted way, and not the right one. Having attained Enlightenment, Brahma comes and asks: “O Tathagata! Please open the gates of amrta [the deathless] and teach unsurpassed Dharma.” The Buddha says: “O Brahma! All beings are always in the shadow of defilement. They are unable to give ear to my Wonderful Dharma.” Brahma further says: “O World-Honoured One! There are three kinds of being, namely: 1) sharp-witted, 2) middle-witted, 3) slow-witted. The sharp-witted will be receptive. Please condescend to preach.” The Buddha says: “O Brahma! Listen carefully, listen carefully! I shall now, for beings' sake, open the gates of immortality.” And at Varanasi, he turns the Wheel of Dharma and proclaims the Middle Path. All beings do not destroy the bond of defilement. It is not that they cannot destroy it. It is not that it is destroyed, nor is it that it is not destroyed. Hence, the Middle Path. It does not pass beings to the other shore, nor is it that it cannot pass beings to the other shore. Hence, the Middle Path. Whatever is taught, there is no saying that one is a teacher, nor is one the disciple. Hence, the Middle Path. Whatever is taught is not for profit, nor is it that fruition should come about there. This is the Middle Path. It is right speech, real words, timely words and true words. No word is spoken in a false way. It is all-wonderful and supreme. To hear such words is to see by hearing. "O good man! The state of the Tathagata's mind truly cannot be seen. Should any good man or good woman desire to see [it], he or she must depend upon these two kinds of causal relations."
Then Bodhisattva LIon's Roar said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! You employed just now the simile of the amra fruit and compared it to the four beings, whose: 1) actions are minute, but their mind is not right, 2) their mind is minute, but their action is not right, 3) their mind is minute and their action is also minute, 4) their mind is not minute and their action is also not right. How might we know of the first two? You, the Buddha, say that you are grounded on these two. This is hard to know."
The Buddha said: "Well said, well said! I compare the two kinds of man to the amra. This is indeed difficult to know. As it is difficult to know, I say in the sutra: “Live together. Should a person not be able to come to know by living together, give time and live long. If not gained by living long, work out Wisdom. If Wisdom cannot cleave a way to knowing, meditate deeply. Through meditation a person can see well what is pure in sila [moral behaviour] and what violates sila.”
"O good man! By these four items of: living together, living long, Wisdom, and meditation, one can come to know of true and the not-true sila. O good man! There are two kinds of sila and two kinds of person who uphold sila. One is absolute and the other non-absolute. If a person only upholds sila through causal relations, the wise should ask themselves whether this person's upholding of sila is for the sake of profit or the absolute upholding of sila. O good man! The sila of the Tathagata has nothing to do with causal relations. That is why we say “absolute sila”. On account of this, even when attacked by any evil one, the Bodhisattva does not get molested by anger. For this reason, we can say that the Tathagata's unchanging sila is absolute sila.
"O good man! I once lived in Magadha, in the great castle of Campa, together with Sariputra and his disciples. There was then a hunter who was after a dove. Frightened, this dove came to hide under the robe of Sariputra and shook like a plantain tree. It then came within the shadow-length of me, and his body and mind found peace, with fear all gone. Know, therefore, that the Tathagata is one who eternally upholds sila, so that his shadow possesses this power.
"O good man! Non-absolute sila cannot even gain one the stage of a sravaka or pratyekabuddha. And how can such ever hope to attain unsurpassed Enlightenment?
"Again, there are two kinds. One is for profit and the other for Wonderful Dharma. One upholds sila for profit. Know that with this sila one cannot see the Tathagata and the Buddha-Nature. One may hear the names of the Buddha-Nature and the Tathagata, but this cannot be called seeing through hearing. If one upholds sila for Wonderful Dharma, know that one, through this, will see the Buddha-Nature and the Tathagata. This is seeing with the eye and also seeing by hearing.
"Again, there are two kinds. One is deep-rooted, which is hard to uproot; and the other shallow-rooted, which is easy to move. If one practises the samadhis of birthlessness, deathlessness, and desirelessness, it is hard to uproot. One may practise these three samadhis, but if it is for the sake of the 25 existences, this is what is shallow-rooted and easy to move.
"Again, there are two kinds. One person performs [sila] for his own sake, and the other for the sake of other beings. If performed for other beings, one will see the Buddha-Nature and the Tathagata.
"There are two kinds amongst those who uphold sila. One is the person who by nature thoroughly upholds [sila] and the other is the person who acts under the injunctions given by others. When one receives sila, one, for innumerable ages, does not lose it. One may be born in an evil country, or one may encounter an evil friend, an evil time, evil age, or evil teaching, or one may sit together with those abiding in evil views on life. There may be, at that time, no law [dharma?] of receiving sila. Yet, the person practises the Way just as before and does not transgress. This is the case of how one upholds [sila]. Or one may be given sila to observe by a teacher-priest or by jnapti-caturtha [ritual of receiving sila]. Even when one has received this sila, one always decides upon consulting the words of the teacher, good comrades and friends. One is perfect in the way of listening and in delivering sermons. Such is the case called acting under guidance of others.
"O good man! One who by nature thoroughly upholds sila sees, with his own eyes, the Buddha-Nature and the Tathgata. Also, this is seeing through hearing. There are two kinds. One is the sravaka's sila and the other that of the Bodhisattva. One such attains the first aspiration and up to unsurpassed Enlightenment. This is the sila of the Bodhisattva. If one meditates on white bones, one attains arhatship. This is the case of the sravaka sila. One who upholds sravaka sila does not, one should know, see the Buddha-Nature and the Tathagata. Any person who upholds the sila of the Bodhisattvas, we may know, attains unsurpassed Enlightenment and sees well the Buddha-Nature, the Tathagata, and Nirvana."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Why do we uphold the prohibitive sila?" The Buddha said: "O good man! “’This is so the mind does not repent. Why does one not repent? Because one gains bliss. How does one gain bliss? This comes from segregation. Why do we need to seek segregation? To gain peace. How does one gain peace? Through meditation. Why do we meditate? To gain true knowing and seeing. In what way do we have true knowing and seeing? By seeing the many wrongs and worries of birth and death. This is for our mind not to cling greedily. Why do we need to have our mind not cling greedily? Because we gain Emancipation. How “’[i.e. in what sense; by what means]“’ do we gain Emancipation? By gaining unsurpassed Great Nirvana. How do we gain unsurpassed Great Nirvana? By gaining the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. Why do we say that we gain the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure? Because of gaining birthlessness and deathlessness. How do we gain birthlessness and deathlessness? By seeing the Buddha-Nature. Thus, the Bodhisattva, by nature, upholds the absolute purity of sila “’[morality]“’.“’
“’"O good man! The bhiksu who upholds sila may not take a vow to gain the unregretting mind, but the unregretting mind will come about of itself. Why? Because the law nature “’[Dharma nature?]“’ spontaneously effects things to be “’[thus]“’. Though he may not particularly seek to arrive at segregation, peace, samadhi, knowing and seeing, seeing the wrongs of birth and death, the mind which does not greedily settle upon “’[things]“’, arriving at emancipation, Nirvana, the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure, birthlessness and deathlessness, and the Buddha-Nature, yet all of these will spontaneously come about. Why? Because of the all-naturalness of the law nature."“’ [Emphasis added].
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If one gains the unregretting fruition of upholding sila and the fruition of Nirvana by Emancipation, sila has no cause to tell of and Nirvana no fruition to tell of. If sila has not cause to tell of, this is the Eternal, and if Nirvana has some cause to tell of, it must be non-eternal. If so, Nirvana is what originally was not, but is now, and if it is what originally was not, but is now, it must be non-eternal. This is like the light of a lamp. If Nirvana were anything like that, how could we say that it is the Self, Bliss, and the Pure?"
The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! You have already sown good seeds in the past at the places of innumerable Buddhas and you now are able to put questions of deep meaning to the Tathagata. O good man! You do not make away with the original thought that you had, and you thus ask. I call to mind that in days gone by, innumerable kalpas ago, there appeared a Buddha at Varanasi who was called “Well-Gained”. At the time, this Buddha delivered a sermon on the Great Nirvana Sutra in the course of 3 billion years. I, along with you, was among those congregated there. I then asked the Buddha this question. Then, the Tathagata, for the sake of beings, was in right samadhi and did not reply. O great one! You retain this old story of olden days well in mind. Listen carefully, listen carefully! I shall now tell you.
"This sila also has a cause. Because it arises out of listening to Wonderful Dharma. The fact that one listens to Wonderful Dharma is also a cause. This arises from making friends with a good friend. One's associating with a good friend is the cause. This arises out of faith. Having faith is also a cause.
"There are two kinds of cause. One is listening to a sermon, and the other is thinking over its meaning.
"O good man! Faith arises out of listening to Dharma, and this listening is grounded in faith. These two are cause and cause of cause. Also, they are result and result of result. O good man! The Nirgranthas protest and put forward the case of a pot and say that each serves as the cause and effect and each cannot part from the other. The case stands thus.
"“Ignorance” [“’avidya“’] has causal relations with [i.e. ignorance causes] “volitional impulses” [“’samskara“’], and volitional impulses with ignorance. Now, this case of ignorance and volitional impulses is cause, and cause of cause, and also effect, and effect of effect. And birth is causally related to age-and-death, and age-and-death to birth. And birth and age-and-death are cause and cause of cause, and are effect and also the effect of effect. The case is thus.
"O good man! Birth indeed calls forth things. There can be no birth by itself. It cannot come about by itself. Birth comes about dependent on birth. Birth-birth cannot so come about by itself. It is dependent upon a birth. Thus, the two births too are cause, and also cause of cause; and the effect is effect of effect.
"O good man! The case of faith and listening to Dharma is thus. O good man! This is effect and is not cause; it is Great Nirvana.
"Why do we say effect? Because this is the best fruit, the fruition of a sramana, that of a Brahmin, because it uproots birth-and-death. Because the person excises defilement. Because of this, we say result. It gets reproached by all kinds of defilement. Hence, we say that Nirvana is the result. We call defilement the wrong of the wrong.
"O good man! Nirvana has no cause. It is the result. Why so? Because there is no birth-and-death. Because there is no action performed and because it is uncreated. It is a Non-Create. It is Eternal and Unchanging. It has no place where it exists [i.e. it is not limited to a particular place, it cannnot be pinned down to a specific location]. There is no beginning and no end.
"O good man! If Nirvana has any cause that can be named, this is not Nirvana. “Han” ["Vana" of "Nir-vana"] means cause; the Nirvana of causal relations means “not”. As there is no cause that can be named, we say Nirvana."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "The Buddha says that Nirvana has no cause that can be named. But this is not so. If it is said that there is none, this answers to [corresponds to?] the six significations. Firstly, we have the “ultimate not-is”. This is as in the case in which all things have no ultimate entity called “self” and no ultimate thing belonging to it. Second, it is non-existing when it can exist. Hence, “none”. This is as when people say: “There is no water in the river or pond; or there are no sun and moon”. Third, as the amount is small - hence, “none”. The people of the world say, when there is little salt, “saltless”; when sweetness is insignificant, we say “not sweet”. Fourth, when one receives nothing, one says “none”. The candala cannot uphold the teaching of the Brahmin. So we say: “There is no Brahmin [here]”. Fifth, when one accepts an evil thing, we say “none”. People say: “A person who accepts an evil thing is no sramana or Brahmin, because people do not call such a sramana or Brahmin”. Sixth, because it cannot be compared. For example, if there is no white, we say black; when there is no brightness, we say ignorant.
"O World-Honoured One! The case with Nirvana is thus. If said when there is no cause when there is [?]. That is why we say Nirvana."
The Buddha said: "O good man! You now speak of the six significations. You do not take up the case of ultimate nothingness and compare it with Nirvana. But you take up the case of nothingness in relation to reality.
"O good man! The body of Nirvana has utterly no cause that can be named. It is as in the case where there is no self and nothing that could be named as belonging to one.
"O good man! What obtains in the world and in Nirvana cannot bear comparison at all. So the six items cannot serve as comparison.
"O good man! “’All things do not have the “Self”. But this Nirvana truly has the Self“’ [emphasis added]. For this reason, we say that Nirvana has no cause and yet the body is the result. This is the cause, and not the result. We call this the Buddha-Nature. As it is no result come about from a cause, it is the cause, but not the result. It is no result of a sramana. So, we say “non-result”.
"Why do we say “cause”? Because it is the revealed cause.
"O good man! There are two kinds of cause. One is the cause of birth and the second the revealed cause.
"Also, there is a cause of birth, which is the six paramitas and unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, there are the revealed causes, which are the six paramitas and the Buddha-Nature.
"Also, there are the causes of birth, which are the Suramgama Samadhi and unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, there is the revealed cause, which is the Noble Eightfold Path and unsurpassed Enlightenment.
"Also, there are the causes of birth, which are faith and the six paramitas." “
’ Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! What do we mean when we say that we see the Tathagata and the Buddha-Nature about which you, the Buddha, speak? O World-Honoured One! The Tathagata has no carnal visage. He is not tall, not short, not white, not black; there is no direction to tell of. He is not the three worlds. He is not a created existence. He is not one that can be seen with the eye. How can one see [him]? The situation is the same with the Buddha-Nature."
The Buddha siad: "O good man! There are two kinds of Buddha-body. One is Eternal, and the other is impermanent. The latter is one manifested through expediency for saving beings. This is to see with the eye. The Eternal refers to the emancipated body of the Tathagata-World-Honoured One! It is called one seen by the eye. It is also one seen by hearing. The Buddha-Nature, too, has two kinds, namely: 1) visible, 2) invisible. The visible is the case of the Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten abodes and the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One; unable to be seen refers to the case of beings. Seeing with the eye refers to beings' Buddha-Nature seen by the Bodhisattvas of the stage of the ten abodes and the All-Buddha-Tathagata. Seeing by hearing refers to all beings, who hear that the Bodhisattva of the ninth abode has the Buddha-Nature.
"The body of the Tathagata also has two kinds. One is the carnal and the other the non-carnal. The carnal is so called when the Tathagata gets emancipated. The non-carnal concerns the Tathagata who is segregated eternally from all kinds of carnal existence.
"The Buddha-Nature also has two kinds: 1) rupa [form], 2) non-rupa. Rupa concerns unsurpassed Enlightenment, and non-rupa refers to all beings and the Bodhisattvas of the ten abodes. The Bodhisattvas of the ten abodes cannot see the Buddha-Nature very clearly. It is because of this that we class [this] as non-rupa.
"O good man! The Buddha-Nature further has two kinds, which are: 1) rupa, and 2) non-rupa. Rupa concerns the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas and non-rupa all beings. Rupa refers to seeing with the eye, and non-rupa to seeing through hearing. The Buddha-Nature does not exist in and out; nor is it within or without. And yet it does not get lost or destroyed. That is why we say that all beings have the Buddha-Nature."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! The Buddha says that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature. There is butter in milk. It is as in the case of the vajra-guardsman [one of the gods, who holds a diamond in his hand and protects the Buddhist teaching]. The Buddha-Nature of all Buddhas is pure sarpirmanda [ghee, or the most delicious, efficacious medicine]. Why does the Tathagata say that the Buddha-Nature exists neither inside nor out?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! I too do not say that butter exists in milk. What I say is that butter comes out of milk. And so we say that there is butter."
"O World-Honoured One! In all births, there is a season."
"O good man! In the milk stage, there is no butter. So there is no fresh butter, no clarified butter, and no sarpirmanda. All beings too call this milk. Hence, I say that there is no butter in milk. If there were, why do we not have two names and speak, for example, as we do of “two able smiths of gold and iron”? At the butter stage, there is no milk and it is not fresh butter, not clarified butter, and not sarpirmanda. Beings too say that it is butter and not milk, not fresh butter, not clarified butter, and not sarpirmanda. The same with sarpirmanda too.
"O good man! Of causes, there are two kinds. One is the right cause, and the other the condition. We say right cause. We may compare this to milk which calls forth butter; and through the condition, we may call forth the quality of the sourish content and warmth. As it comes from milk, we say there is the quality of butter in milk."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If there is no nature of butter in milk, this will lead to our saying that it cannot be in the horn. Why is it that it does not come out of the horn?"
"O good man! The horn also calls forth butter. Why? I also say that there are two kinds of condition. One has the content of “’ro“’ [vinegar, or the soursih content, or what may lead to the calling forth of a thing like curds], and the other that of “’nan“’ [warmth]. As the nature of the horn is warmth, I say: “It indeed calls forth butter”."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If the horn can indeed call forth [butter], why is it that one who seeks butter takes the milk and not the horn?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! That is why I speak about the right cause and condition."
Lion's Roar said: "If there is originally no nature of butter in milk, and now there is, and if if there is originally no amra in milk, why is it that it does not shoot forth a bud? This is because both did not have these from the very beginning."
"O good man! Even here, the milk calls forth amra. If one sprinkles milk on amra, it grows five feet in a night. That is why I say that there are two causes [i.e. the cause and "by-cause", or condition]. O good man! If all things come about from one cause, how can you criticise and ask why amra does not come about in milk? O good man! The four great elements and all concrete things can be the elements of causal relations. Yet, each is different from the other and cannot be the same. For this reason, there does not come about amra in milk."
"O World-Honoured One! You the Buddha say that there are two kinds of cause, which are: 1) right cause and 2) condition. What cause does the Buddha-Nature of beings serve?"
"O good man! The Buddha-Nature of beings also has two causes. One is the right cause and the other the condition. The right cause corresponds to all beings; the condition is the six paramitas."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! I now definitely know that milk contains in itself the nature of butter. Why? I see people of the world who seek butter take only milk and never water. From this we know that there is the nature of butter in milk."
"O good man! What you say is not right. Why not? All beings who seek to see their face and features take only the sword."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! For this reason, there is the nature of butter in milk. If there were no face and nothing of one's form in the sword, why should one take up the sword [to look into]?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! If there definitely is the face and bodily form, why is it that there is the upside-down [image]? Vertically one sees the length, and crosswise one sees the width. If this is one's own face, how could it be long? If this face is that of some other person, how can one say that this is one's own? If it is the case that one sees by [means of] one's own face the face of someone else, why does one not see the face and form of a donkey?"
"O World-Honoured One! The light of the eye reaches him, so that we see that the face is long."
"O good man! And yet this light of the eye does not reach him. Why not? Because one sees the near and far at the same time. What stands in between is not seen. O good man! If the light reaches him and one can see, why is it that all beings do not get burnt by seeing fire? Do not gain doubt as when one sees a white thing far off and wonders whether it is a crane, a banner, a man, or a tree? How can it be that one sees a thing in the crystal and the fish and stones in deep water only if light comes in? If one sees without the light coming in, why is it that one sees a thing in the crystal and that one cannot see what is beyond the wall? Because of this, we cannot say that the light of the eye reaches the object and that we can see. O good man! You say that there is butter in milk. But why is it that a vendor takes only the price of the milk and not that of butter? Why is it that one who sells a horse from the pasture sells it at the price of the horse from the pasture, but not at the price of the horse itself? O good man! There is a man with no son. So he takes in a woman. The woman gets impregnated [gets pregnant]. We cannot say that this is a woman because she gets impregnated. One may say: “Take this woman, because she has the quality of bearing a child.” But this does not work out well. Why not? If there is the quality of having a child, there must come about a grandson. If there is to be a quality, this will mean that all are brothers [?]. Why? Because all are born of the same person. That is why I say that a woman does not have any quality of a child [?]. If there is the quality of butter in milk, why is it that one does not have the five tastes? If the seed of a tree has the quality of the 50-foot length of nyagrodha, why is it that one does not have the different forms and colours all at once from the time of the bud, stem, branch, leaf, flower and fruit? O good man! The colour of milk differs by the difference of time. So is it with the taste and fruit. The same with sarpirmanda. How can we say that milk has the quality of butter in it? O good man! For example, a man who must take butter on the morrow may have a sense of its smell today. The case where we say that milk definitely possesses the quality of butter also amounts to the same.
"O good man! For example, it is as when we arrive at a letter, the conjoint result of pen, paper and ink. And yet, in this paper there is nothing that represents the letter itself. Originally, there is nothing of the letter [there]. Through causal relations, the letter first comes about. If there were anything of a letter, why did we need to depend upon so many causal relations? For example, it is like the colour green, which is the mixing together of blue and yellow. Know that these two did not originally have the quality of green. If there was that [quality] originally, why do we need to mix the two together and [thus] gain the colour?
"O good man! It is just as beings gain life from food. But in this food, there is nothing of life, truth to tell. If there were originally life, there would have to be a thing called life when not yet partaken of.
"O good man! There is no self of its own in all things. For this reason, I speak thus in a gatha:
“What originally was not is now;
What originally was is now not. There cannot be
Anything such as "is" that obtains
In the Three Times.”
"O good man! All existences come about through causal relations and die out through causal relations. O good man! If it is true that all beings have the Buddha-Nature within, it will be as in my own case, where I have the Buddha-Body now. The Buddha-Nature of all beings is unbreakable, indestructible, cannot be drawn, cannot be grabbed hold of, cannot be tied or bound up. It is like space, which is also in all beings. All beings possess it. As there is nothing that hinders, one does not see this void. If beings did not have this void, there could not be any going, coming, walking, standing, sitting or reclining; and there could be no being born and growing up. That is why I say in this sutra that beings have the void. The world of void corresponds to voidness. The same with the Buddha-Nature of beings, too. The Bodhisattva of the ten abodes can see this somewhat. It is as in the case of the vajra-aksa.
"O good man! The Buddha-Nature of beings is what all Buddhas can see; it is not what sravakas and pratyekabuddhas can know. All beings do not see the Buddha-Nature. That is why they are all bound up by defilement and repeat birth and death. When one sees the Buddha-Nature, no bonds of defilement can tie one up. Emancipation comes and one attains Great Nirvana."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! All beings possess the Buddha-Nature as in the case of the nature of butter which is in milk. If not, how could the Buddha say that there are two causes, i.e. 1) right cause and 2) condition? The condition has qualities: 1) sourness and 2) warmth. Space has no nature. Hence, no cause and no condition."
The Buddha said: "O good man! If there is any nature of butter in milk, what condition and cause can there be?"
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "Because there is a nature. Because of this, there can be a condition and cause. Why? Because one desires to see clearly. The condtion or cause is none but the revealed cause. O World-Honoured One! In the dark, there already exist many things. When one desires to see, one makes use of a lamp. If nothing existed from the beginning, what would the light shine upon? In mud [i.e. clay] there is the pot. Because of this, a man with a water wheel, rope, or staff makes this the revealed cause. Or the seed of nyagrodha makes the earth, water and dung the revealed cause. The same with the sourish content or the warmth of milk. It can become a revealed cause. So, there can be a quality that precedes. By the help of the revealed cause, one can indeed see later. Because of this, one definitely knows of butter that exists beforehand in milk."
"O good man! If milk definitely contains the nature of butter, this is the revealed cause. If this is a revealed cause, why does one need to have a thing revealed? O good man! If the nature of the revealed cause is revealed, it must always have [such] revealing. If there is no revealing of one's own self, how can one hope to reveal others [?]? There are two kinds of revealed cause, which are: 1) to reveal for oneself and 2) to reveal others. If this is what is said, this is not so. Why not? The revealed cause can only be one. How can there be two? If it is two, we must know that milk too must have two. If there cannot be two in milk, how can there be two in the revealed cause?"[?].
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! The people of the world may say: I was together with eight persons. The same is the case with the revealed cause. It reveals itself and reveals others."
The Buddha said: "O good man! If the revealed cause must be that, it is not a revealed cause. Why not? One who conts his own self can also count the self of others. That is why one can say eight. And in this nature of matter, there is no phase of revealing. As there is no phase of revealing, only by the help of Wisdom can one count one's own self and that of others. Because of this, the revealed cause cannot reveal itself, and it does not reveal others.
"O good man! If all beings have the Buddha-Nature, why does one need to practise innumerable virtues? If one says that to practise the Way is the revealed cause, this negates the claim that it is the same as butter. If one says that in the cause there is definitely the fruit, there can be no increase in sila [morality], samadhi [meditative absorption] and Wisdom. I see that worldly people originally do not possess sila, samadhi and Wisdom. These increase as one follows the words of the teacher and receives these, and by degrees these increase. One says that what the teacher teaches is the revealed cause, but at the time the teacher is teaching, the one who receives does not as yet have sila, samadhi and Wisdom. If this were [supposed] to be the revealing, this indicates that there was no revealing. How can one practise sila, samadhi and Wisdom and make these increase?"
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "If there is no revealed cause, how can one say that there is milk or butter?"
"O good man! There are three ways to answer the blames [criticisms?] of the world, which are: 1) reverberating answer, as is resorted to as in the following: “Why do we uphold sila? Because of the fact that one does not regret or one cares for Great Nirvana”; 2) silent answer, as when a Brahmacarin came to me and asked: “Is the self eternal?”, when I maintained my silence; 3) doubting answer, as in: “If there are two revealed causes, why cannot there be two milks?”
"O good man! I now resort to the reverberating answer: “Because the people of the world say that there are milk and butter and that one decidedly gains these. Because of this, we can say that there are milk and butter. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature, which one can actually see”".
Lion's Roar said: "What the Buddha says does not work out well. The past is already gone and the future has not yet come. How can we say that these exist? If this means what is to come about, this does not accord with reason. This is as when the people of the world say “sonless”, when they see a person without a son. How can we say that all beings have the Buddha-Nature when they do not have it?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! The past is an existence. For example, we plant a mandarin orange. It shoots out a bud and the seed dies. The bud is sweet; the fruit, too, is sweet. When ripe, it becomes sour. O good man! This taste of sourness does not exist in the seed or in the bud; nor is it in the raw fruit. When ripe in accordance with the quality it originally possesses, there come about the form, colour, the external appearances and the sour taste. And this sourness is what originally was not, but what now is. Even though not existing but now existing, this is not to say that there was not originally the quality as such. Thus, though the fruit derives from the past, we nevertheless can say that it is what exists. Because of this, we say that the past is what “is”.
"How can we call the future “is”? For example, a person sows sesame. People ask: “Why are you sowing this?”. The person answers: “We [want to] have oil.” Although the oil does not exist, we gain it when the sesame ripens, when we harvest the seeds, roast or pass them through steam, and pound or press them and we gain the oil. Know that we are not telling any lies. For this reason, we can say that there is a future “is”.
"How, again, can we say that the past has an “is”? O good man! A person speaks ill of the King in the former's quarters. Years later, the King comes to hear of this. On hearing of this, he asks: “Why did you speak ill of me?” “O great King! I did not speak ill of you. The person who spoke ill of you is now dead.” The King says: “Both the person who spoke ill of me and my own body exist. How can you say he is dead?” On account of this, the man loses his life.
"O good man! These two actually do not exist, and yet the karmic result remains and is not dead. This is the past “is”. How do we speak about the future “is”? For example, a person goes to a potter's and asks: “Have you a pot?” The answer comes back: “We have a pot.” And yet, actually there is no pot. As the potter has the mud, he says that he has it. The case is analogous to this. Know that the person is not telling lies. There is butter in milk. It is the same with the Buddha-Nature of beings. If one wishes to see the Buddha-Nature, one must think of time, form and colour. For this reason, I say that all beings possess Buddha-Nature. There is nothing in this that is false."
Lion's Roar said: "If beings do not have the Buddha-Nature, how can they attain unsurpassed Enlightenment? Because of the right cause. Through this, beings attain unsurpassed Enlightenment. What is the right cause. It is none other than the Buddha-Nature, O World-Honoured One! Even when the seed of nyagrodha contains within it the nyagrodha tree, we call it the nyagrodha seed. And why is it that we do not call it a khadira seed? O World-Honoured One! The family name of Gautama cannot be made to pass for Atreya, and Atreya cannot be made to stand for Gautama. So do things obtain with the nyagrodha seed. It cannot be made to stand for a khadira seed or the khadira seed to stand for the nyagrodha seed. And as you cannot make away with the family name of Gautama, the Buddha-Nature of beings cannot be made away with. Know, because of this, that beings possess the Buddha-Nature."
The Buddha said: "O good man! If you say that there is the nyagrodha in the seed, I have to say that this is not so. If there were, why do we not see it? O good man! If is as with things of the world which cannot be seen because of causal relations. What are [such] causal relations? They are, for instance, like the case where distance is too great, so that one cannot see. Or like the trace of a bird's flight across the sky. Or as when the distance is too short, as in that of a blink of the eye. Or as in the case of breaking up, as a result of which one cannot see. Or because of the rotting of the root. Or it is like the dispersion of thought, as when one's mind is not set all-exclusively upon a single point. Or it is as when something is too tiny, as with a mote. Or it is as when an obstacle exists, as when clouds obscure the sight of the stars by coming in between. Or when there are too many, so that it is not possible to see, as in the case of hemp amid the rice plants. Or because of similarity, as a result of which one cannot see, as in the case of a bean amidst beans. But the nyagrodha is not anything like these eight causal relations. If such, why is it that we cannot see such? You may say that we do not see because of small obstacles. But this is not so. Why not? Because the external characteristics are rough and coarse. If you say that the nature is minute, how can it truly grow? If one says one cannot because of an obstacle, we would not ever be able to see. If it is said that there was originally no such coarseness, but one now sees this coarseness, know that this coarseness has no nature of its own. Originally, there was no nature, and one now sees. Know that the nature of this seeing originally has no nature of its own. It is the same with the seed. There was no tree itself. Now, we see it. What harm is there?"
Lion's Roar said: "There are two causes of which the Buddha speaks. One is the right cause and the other the revealed cause. Because the nyagrodha seed is grounded on the revealed cause of earth, water and dung, this enables what is minute to gain coarseness [bulk, size?]."
The Buddha said: "O good man! If there is the ground to start from, why do we need to seek the revealed cause? If there is no nature to talk of, what is there to reveal? If there is not originally any element of coarseness, and because of the revealed cause there comes about coarseness, why is it that khadira does not come about? The fact is that both do not originally exist. O good man! If minuteness cannot be seen, one can see well that which is coarse. For example, one may not be able to see a single mote, and yet when many motes foregather, one can. Of such seeds, one can see what is coarse. Why? Because in this there is already the bud, stem, flower, and fruit. In each fruit, there are already innumerable seeds. Each seed contains within it innumerable trees. Hence, we say coarse. As there is this coarseness, one can indeed see it. O good man! If this nyagrodha seed has the nature of nyagrodha and if it calls forth a tree, we see that the seed is being burnt in fire. Thus the nature of being burnt will also be an “is”. If it is an “is”, there cannot be any coming about of the tree. If all things are originally of the nature of birth and death, why is it that birth precedes and death follows, and that everything does not happen at the same time? For this reason, know that there is no nature."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If the nyagrodha seed originally has no nature of the tree and yet calls forth the tree, why is it that this seed does not give out oil? This derives from the fact that neither of these has such a nature."
"O good man! Even such a seed does indeed give out oil. Though there is no nature, it is “is” because of causal relations."
Lion's Roar said: "Why do we not call it sesame oil?"
"O good man! Because it is not sesame oil. O good man! The causal relation of fire calls forth fire; that of water calls forth water. Both follow the causal relations, but to exist [at one and the same time] as one is not possible. It is the same with nyagrodha and sesame seeds. Both follow causal relations, but do not exist at once as one. The nature of the nyagrodha seed easily cures a cold and sesame cures a fever. O good man! Through the difference in causal relations, sugar cane calls forth rock candy and kokumitsu [a certain sugar product - possibly molasses]. Both depend on one causal relation, but their colour and external appearance differ. Rock candy cures fever and kokumitsu a cold."
Bodhisattva Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If there is not any nature of butter in milk, nor the nature of oil in hemp, and no nature of a tree in the nyagrodha seed, no nature of a pot in mud, no Buddha-Nature in all beings, all this contradicts what the Buddha said above [to the effect] that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature and will therefore attain unsurpassed Bodhi [Enlightenment]. Why? Because there is no nature of a human or deva [god]. This means to say that without any nature, a human becomes a deva and a deva a human. It is because karma so contrives it that it comes about thus, but not by any nature. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva attains unsurpassed Bodhi only through the causal relations of karma. If it is said that all beings have the Buddha-Nature, why does the icchantika segregate [himself from] the root of goodness and fall into hell? If the Bodhi Mind is the Buddha-Nature, the icchantika cannot be cut off [from it]. If he is cut off, how can we say that the Buddha-Nature is eternal? If it is not eternal, we cannot call it the Buddha-Nature. If all beings possess the Buddha-Nature, why do we speak of such as the “first aspiration to Bodhi”? And why do we speak of “’vaivarti“’ ["drawing back"] and “’avaivarti“’ ["non-retarding"]. If vaivarti, the person could not have the Buddha-Nature. O World-Honoured One! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva looks single-mindedly towards unsurpassed Bodhi, sees Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion, and the ills of birth, old age, death and defilement, and Great Nirvana; and he meditates on the non-existence of birth, age, death and defilement, and believes in the Three Jewels, and the results of karma, and upholds sila. Such is the Buddha-Nature. If there could be any Buddha-Nature, how could one use this law and make it a causal relation? O World-Honoured One! Milk can surely become butter without the help of causal relations. But fresh butter [“’navanita“’] cannot proceed thus. It needs to depend on causal relations, such as a man's skill, a water pot, and a churning rope. The situation is the same with beings. If they have the Buddha-Nature, they can do without causal relations and attain unsurpassed Bodhi. If it is definitely an “is”, why does the Way-seeker see the suffering of the three unfortunate realms, and birth, age, illness and death, and gain the retarding mind [i.e. slip back, not make progress]? Also, without practising the six paramitas, one attains unsurpassed Bodhi. This is as when one wishes to gain butter without depending on the causal relations of milk. But it is not the case that one attains unsurpassed Bodhi without depending on the six paramitas. For this reason, we must know that all beings do not possess the Buddha-Nature. This is as above, where the Buddha said that the Jewel of the Sangha is eternal. If it is eternal, this means that it is not non-eternal. If it is not non-eternal, how can one attain unsurpassed Bodhi? If the Sangha is eternal, how can one say that all beings possess the Buddha-Nature? O World-Honoured One! If all beings do not originally possess Bodhichitta [Enlightenment Mind] and do not have the aspiration to unsurpassed Bodhi and later gain it, then the Buddha-Nature and beings are what originally was not but now are. Because of this, it must be the case that all beings do not possess the Buddha-Nature."
The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! You have long known the meaning of the Buddha-Nature. For the sake of beings, you pose such questions and say: “All beings truly possess the Buddha-Nature.” You say that if all beings possess the Buddha-Nature, there cannot be any first aspiration. O good man! The mind is not the Buddha-Nature. Why not? The mind is non-eternal, and the Buddha-Nature is Eternal. Why do you say that there is retrogression [or: regression]? Truth to tell, there is no retrogressing. If there were any retrogressing, there could not be any attainment of unsurpassed Bodhi. As it comes late, we call this retrogressive. This Bodhi Mind is not the Buddha-Nature. Why not? Because the icchantika lacks the root of good and falls into hell. If the Bodhi Mind is the Buddha-Nature, the icchantika cannot be called an icchantika. Also, the Bodhi Mind cannot be called non-eternal. For this reason, we can definitely know that the Bodhi Mind is not the Buddha-Nature.
"O good man! You say that if beings possess the Buddha-Nature, there is no need for causal relations, since the case is analogous to that of milk to butter. But this is not so. Why not? This is like saying that five causal relations call forth fresh butter. Know that the same is the case with the Buddha-Nature. For example, in several stones we find gold, silver, copper, and iron. All are of the four great elements. Each has one name and one thing. And the place where it comes from is not the same. Birth [i.e. the open appearance of these metals] always depends on the sum total of various causal relations and beings' virtue, metallurgy, and human skill. The matter stands thus. Because of this, we have to know that originally there is no nature of gold. The Buddha-Nature of beings is no Buddha. By the conjoint workings of all virtues and causal relations, one sees the Buddha-Nature and one becomes the Buddha. It is not correct to say: “All you beings have the Buddha-Nature. Why do you not see it?” Why not? Because all the causal relations are not yet in conjunction. O good man! For this reason, I said that of the two causes of right cause and condition, the right cause is the Buddha-Nature, and that the condition is the mind that aspires to Bodhi; that by two causes one attains unsurpassed Bodhi, as in the case of a stone from which gold comes forth.
"O good man! You priests always say that all beings do not possess the Buddha-Nature. O good man! “Sangha” means “harmony”. Of harmony there are two kinds. One is of the worldly type and the other of “’Paramartha-satya“’ [Ultimate Truth]. Worldly harmony is the sravaka Sangha, and “’Paramartha-satya“’ harmony is the Bodhisattva Sangha. The worldly Sangha is non-eternal, but the Buddha-Nature is Eternal. As the Buddha-Nature is Eternal, so is the Sangha of “’Paramartha-satya“’.
"Also, next, there is a Sangha which is the harmony of law [harmony of Dharma?]. The harmony of law refers to the 12 types of sutra. The 12 types of sutra are Eternal. That is why I say that the Sangha is Eternal.
"O good man! Sangha means harmony. The harmony is the 12 types of sutra. In the 12 links of interdependence, there is the Buddha-Nature. If the 12 links of interdependence are Eternal, the Buddha-Nature too is Eternal. That is why I say that there is the Buddha-Nature in the Sangha.
"Also, next, the Sangha is the harmony of all Buddhas. That is why I say that there is the Buddha-Nature in the Sangha.
"O good man! You say that if all beings possess the Buddha-Nature, how can there be any retrogression and non-retrogression? Listen carefully, listen carefully! I shall now explain [matters] to you in minute detail.
"O good man! If a Bodhisattva-mahasattva has 13 things, there is retrogression. What are these 13? They are: 1) the mind does not believe, 2) the mind will no do [?], 3) the doubting mind, 4) being niggardly in bodily actions and with wealth, 5) entertaining great fear towards Nirvana, doubting whether one could eternally part from worldly existence, 6) having no mental forbearance [patience, endurance], 7) the mind will not adjust and soften itself, 8) apprehension and worry, 9) lack of bliss, 10) indolence, 11) belittling one's own self, 12) deeming that there is no means to excise defilement, and 13) not desiring Enlightenment. O good man! These 13 are the things that cause the Bodhisattva to retrogress from Enlightenment.
"Further, there are six things which destroy the Bodhi Mind. What are they? They are: 1) parsimony, 2) entertaining an evil mind towards all beings, 3) making friends with evil people, 4) non-effort, 5) arrogance, and 6) carrying on worldly business. These six things destroy the Bodhi Mind.
"O good man! A man hears that the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One is the teacher of humans and gods, that he is the best, incomparable, and superior to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas, that his Dharma-Eye is clear, that he is unhindered, that he passes all beings over the great sea of suffering. Having heard this, the man takes a great vow: “If there is any such person, I too shall be like him.” Through this causal relation, he aspires to unsurpassed Enlightenment. Or taught by some others, a person may aspire to unsurpassed Enlightenment. Or a person might hear that the Bodhisattva underwent stringent penances for asamkhyas of kalpas and later attained unsurpassed Enlightenment. Having heard this, he thinks: “I cannot endure such penance, so how will I be able to gain it?” Thus, he retrogresses.
"O good man! There are also five things that distance one from the Bodhi Mind. What are the five? They are: 1) desiring to get ordained under a tirthika [non-Buddhist], 2) not practising the Great Mind of Loving-Kindness, 3) especially seeking to find fault with a priest, 4) always seeking to live in between birth and death, 5) not holding a good feeling towards upholding, reciting, copying and expounding the 12 types of sutra. These are the five things that pull one away from the Bodhi Mind.
"Also, there are two things that pull one away from the Bodhi Mind. What are the two? They are: 1) to be greedy for the five desires, 2) not respecting and honouring the Three Treasures.
"All such various causal relations carry one away from the Bodhi Mind [i.e. are causes of retrogression]
"What is the unretrogressive mind? Again, a man hears that the Buddha truly passes beings over the sea of birth, old age, illness and death. He does not ask of a teacher to be taught and gains unsurpassed Bodhi by spontaneously practising the Way. “If Bodhi is something we can indeed gain, I shall assuredly practise the Way and unfailingly attain it.” Thinking thus, he aspires to Bodhi and transfers all [the merit] that he has amassed, be it great or small, to unsurpassed Bodhi. He takes this vow: “I pray that I shall draw near to all Buddhas and Buddhist disciples, listen to sermons, so that the five sense-organs are all perfect, and this mind will not get lost even if I encounter hardships. Also, I pray, O all Buddhas and disciples, that I shall always have a gladdened mind and be perfect in the five good deeds. If all beings slash my body, hands and feet, head and eyes, and other parts, I shall gain a heart of Great Loving-Kindness towards all and feel happy. All such persons will serve me in the augmentation of my own Bodhi. If not, how can I accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi? Also I vow: Let me not gain a body that has no genital organs, that has dual sex organs, or the form of a female; [I pray] that I shall not be tied up by officials, that I shall not encounter a bad king, that I shall not be the subject of a bad king, that I shall not gain birth in an evil state. If I gain a beautiful body, my caste will be right. I may be blessed with wealth, but I shall not acquire an arrogant mind. I shall always listen to the 12 types of sutras, uphold, recite, copy and expound [them]. If I am able to address beings, [I pray that] those who listen to me will respect me and entertain no doubt, that they will not bear any ill-will towards me, or that they hear little, but gain more understanding, that they will not desire to hear much but not be clear as to the meaning. I pray that I shall become the teacher of the mind, but not make the mind the teacher, that all my bodily, oral and mental actions will not befriend evil, that I shall be able to bestow peace and bliss upon all beings, that I shall not be moved like a mountain in the bodily precepts and in the wiseness of the mind, that I shall not be parsimonious with body, life or wealth, that I shall not do impure things and regard such as being meritorious, that I shall carry on a right way of living, live by myself, that I shall not do evil or flatter in mind, that when receiving any favour I shall pray in my mind to repay in a manifold way, even when only favoured a little, that I shall be well versed in all worldly acts and skills, that I shall be able to know all dialectical idioms [terms], that I shall recite and copy the 12 types of sutra, that I shall not be indolent and lazy in my mind, that if all beings do not desire to listen, I shall bring forth means so that they will be pleased to give ear to me, that my words will always be soft, that my mouth will not speak evil things, that I shall truly make those who entertain evil thoughts towards each other melt into harmony. If there should be anyone who has fear, he shall be freed from it; when there is a famine, there will be harvest and satisfaction; when epidemics prevail, I shall be a great doctor and there will be medicine and treasure, so that those who suffer from illnesses will all gain ease and health. In the days of long wars, the sufferings from smouldering fires will be done away with. I shall cut away all such fears as [regards] death, imprisonment, beatings, water and fire, kings, robbers, poverty, violating the moral precepts, evil names and ways of life. I shall gain deep respect for fathers and mothers, teachers and elders, and gain a heart of Great Loving-Kindness in the midst of enmity. I shall always practise the six thinkings, the three samadhis of the All-Void, thoughtlessness and desirelessness, the 12 links of interdependent origination, meditation upon birth and death, exhalation and inhalation of the breath, heavenly and pure actions, holy actions, the vajra-samadhi, the Suramgama Samadhi, and I shall gain a mind of quietude [even] where there are no Three Treasures. When I have to suffer from great sorrow, let me not lose the mind of unsurpassed Bodhi, let me not feel self-satisfied with the mind of the sravaka or pratyekabuddha. I shall renounce the world amidst the ways of the tirthikas and where there are no Three Treasures, so that I shall be able to crush the twisted views of life, and I shall not fall there into their ways of life. I shall gain unmolestedness in all things, be free in my mind, and be able clearly to see through all the wrongs of the created world. I shall fear the ways and fruitions of the two vehicles as I would fear losing my own fleshly body and life. For the sake of beings, I shall find pleasure in sitting amidst the three unfortunate realms like those who greatly like to look up to life in Trayastrimsa Heaven. For the sake of each person, I shall, for innumerable kalpas, suffers the pains of hell, and I shall feel no regret. I shall not burn in jealousy when I see others gaining profit. I shall always be as happy as when I myself gain bliss. Facing the Three Treasures, I shall offer clothing, food and drink, bedding, accommodation, medical attendance and cures, lights, flowers and incense, music, banners and parasols, and the seven treasures. If I receive injunctions from the Buddha, I shall zealously guard them and never break or transgress them. If I come to hear of the hardships of practice of the Bodhisattva, I shall feel pleased and have no regrets. I shall be empowered to read into my own past lives, and I shall not be a servant of greed, anger and ignorance. For the sake of results that are to come, I shall be no slave to causal relations. I shall not be addicted to the greed of pleasure that one has.”
"O good man! If any person has such prayers, this is where we say that the Bodhisattva definitely will not draw back from the Bodhi Mind. He is also called a “danapati” [one who gives]. He will truly see the Tathagata, is one who is clear as to the Buddha-Nature, and one who well adjusts beings and enables them to pass over the sea of birth and death. He protects unsurpassed Wonderful Dharma well and is perfect in the six paramitas. O good man! For this reason, the unretrogressive mind is not called the Buddha-Nature.
"O good man! Do not say that beings do not have the Buddha-Nature just because of the retrogressive mind. For example, two persons hear: “In another land, there is a mountain made of the seven treasures. In the mountain, there is a clear spring, whose water tastes sweet. Should any person reach this spring, he will make away with poverty, anyone who drinks its water will gain a long life. But the way to it is long and steep. Then, both men desire to go there.
One of the men goes equipped with various travelling outfits, whereas the other goes unprepared, not even keeping to the rules of food. They are walking together, when along the way they meet a man who has plenty of treasures, perfect in the seven rarities. The two go up to this person and ask: ‘Is there any mountain of the seven treasures in that land?’ The man replies: ‘There truly is such a land, and it is not false. I have already gained the treasures. I have tasted the water. The only thing to worry one is that the way is steep, and there are robbers, gravel, and thorns; watery [succulent?] plants are lacking. Thousands and millions go [set out], but few reach the end.’ On hearing this, one of the men feels regret and says: “The way is long and there is more than one trouble. Innumerable is the number of those who go and few gain the end. And how can I expect to reach this place? At present, I have what I need to have. If I stick to this, I will not lose my life.“ ’If life is at stake, where can I look for longevity?” The other man also says: “People indeed go; I too shall go. If I truly gain that place, I shall have rarities and taste the sweet water. If I cannot, let my life end there.” Now, the one regrets having started out and draws back, whereas the other goes on, gaining the mountain and rarities, and tastes the water that he desired to taste. Carrying all that he has gained, he comes back to where he lives, serves his parents and his ancestors.“
’ "Then, the one who regretted having started out on the journey and who turned back, sees this and goes down with a fever. “He went and is now back. How can I remain here?”. And equipping himself, he starts out on the journey again.
"The seven treasures can be compared to Great Nirvana, the sweet water to the Buddha-Nature, the two persons to two Bodhisattvas who first aspire to Bodhi, the steep path to birth and death, the man whom they meet on the way to the Buddha-World-Honoured One, the robbers to the four Maras, the gravel and thorns to defilements, the lack of watery plants to the non-practising of the Way of Bodhi, the one who turns back to the retrogressing Bodhisattva, and the one who goes on alone to the non-retrogressing Bodhisattva.
"O good man! The Buddha-Nature of beings is Eternal and Unchanging. And we say, referring to the steep path: “When the person regrets and turns back, this makes the way non-eternal.” But this cannot be so said. The same is the case with the Buddha-Nature. O good man! On the Path of Bodhi, there is not one who turns back. O good man! The one who regretted having started out now sees him who went before and who has gained the treasures, has come back unmolested, who makes offerings to his parents, gives to his relatives, thus enjoying much peace. Seeing this, a fire again burns in his mind, he adorns his body, starts out on the way again, spares no effort, endures all manner of hardships, and goes to the mountain of the seven treasures. So do things obtain with the retrogressing Bodhisattva.
"O good man! All beings definitely will attain unsurpassed Bodhi. Because of this, I say in the sutra: “All beings, down to those who have committed the five deadly sins, those who have sinned by performing the four grave offences, and the icchantikas all have the Buddha-Nature.”"
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Why are there the retrogressing and the non-retrogressing Bodhisattvas?"
"O good man! If any Bodhisattva comes to know of the causal relations of the 32 signs of perfection of the Tathagata, we say non-retrogressive. He is the Bodhisattva-mahasattva, the non-upside-down, and one who pities all beings. He is one superior to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas and one called “avaivartaniya”. O good man! The Bodhisattva-mahasattva is immovable in his upholding of the precepts, in his mind of giving, and is like Mount Sumeru in abiding in the true word. Because of this, he gains the “flat sole” [one of the 80 minor marks of excellence].
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva fittingly offers things to his parents, the honoured ones, elders, and animals. Because of this, he gains on his sole the mark of excellence of a thousand spokes [one of the 80 minor marks of excellence]. The Bodhisattva-mahasattva takes joy in non-harming and non-stealing and is pleased regarding his parents, honoured ones and teachers. Because of this, he is accomplished in the three bodily marks, which are: 1) long fingers, 2) long heels, and 3) a square and upright body. All these three forms arise out of the same karma.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises the four ways of guiding in [i.e. to guide beings in by: 1) giving, 2) friendliness, 3) good actions, 4) transforming himself and co-existing with them as the beings themselves, and takes in beings. Due to this, he gains the toe-membrane [one of the 80 minor marks of excellence] like that of a great royal swan.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, when his parents, teachers and elders are ill, himself washes and wipes, holds and rubs their limbs. Because of this, his hands and feet are soft.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva upholds the precepts, listens to the sermons, and knows no end of giving. Due to this, his joints and ankles are fully fleshed and the hair on his skin flows in one direction.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva single-mindedly gives ear to Dharma and expounds the right teaching. Because of this, he gains the ankles of a deer-king.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva acquires no harming mind, is satisfied with his food and drink, and with giving, and attends to illness, and dispenses medicine. Because of this, his body is rounded and perfect and is like the nyagrodha tree. When his hand is stretched dwon, his fingers reach his knee, and his head has the usnisa [Buddhic protuberance], the characteristic of which is that the top of it cannot be seen.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva, when he sees a person in fear, extends help [to that person], and when he sees a person without any footgear, gives him clothing. Due to this, he gains a characteristic of his in which his genital organ lies hidden.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva readily befriends wise men, segregating himself from the ignorant; he takes pleasure in exchanging views and sweeps the path along which he walks. On this account, his skin is delicately soft and his bodily hair turns to the right-hand side.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva always gives men clothing, food and drink, medicine, incense and flowers, and lights. Because of this, his body shines brightly in a golden colour and light.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva gives, does not grudge at [hang on to?] whatever is rare, and easily parts with such; he makes no distinction whatever between a field of weal or a non-field-of-weal [i.e. the recipient of dana - charity - is likened to a field, by cultivating which one's blessings and virtues increase]. Because of this, he is full and right-set [firm?] in the seven places of his body.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva seeks wealth lawfully and gives this away [to others]. Because of this, the boneless parts [of his body] are full, the upper part is like that of a lion, and his elbows are well-balanced and delicate.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva segregates himself from double-tongue [two-facedness?], from ill-speaking and an angry mind. On account of this, his 40 teeth are white and pure, well-balanced and delicate.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises Great Loving-Kindness towards beings. Due to this, he gains the two-fanged face [?].
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva takes this vow: “Any may come and ask, and I shall give as they desire to have.” Because of this, he gains the lion's cheeks.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva gives whatever kind of food beings desire to have. Because of this, he gains the taste that is the mid-upper [?].
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva exerts himself in the 10 good deeds and thereby teaches others. Because of this, he gains a large and long tongue [i.e. a symbolic expression referring to his great prowess in oratory].
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not speak ill of the shortcomings of others and does not slander Wonderful Dharma. Because of this, he acquires the Buddha-Voice.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva sees all enmities and gains a pleasant [i.e. happy] mind. Because of this, he gains the blue tone of his eyes.
"The Bodhisattva-mahasattva does not conceal the virtues of others, but praises the good which they have. Due to this, he gains a face with a white [tuft of] hair on his brow.
"O good man! When the Bodhisattva-mahasattva practises such 32 kinds of causal relations, he gains a mind that will not retrogress from the mind that seeks Bodhi.
"O good man! All beings are beyond knowing; also inconceivable are the worlds of Buddhas, and the workings of karma, and the Buddha-Nature. Why? Because these four things are all Eternal. Being Eternal, they cannot be conceived of. With all beings, defilement overspreads [them]. And we say Eternal. The defilements of disruption and permanence go. Hence, non-eternal. If it is the case that all beings are the Eternal, why do we need to practise the Eightfold Path, so as to extirpate all sorrows? When disruption comes to all sorrows, we say non-eternal. Whatever we have of bliss, we call it Eternal. For this reason, I say: “All beings are overspread by defilement and cannot see the Buddha-Nature. Not seeing the Buddha-Nature, no Nirvana comes about.”