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....
Then the ’six masters became jealous and all gathered at the place of King Prasenajit and said: “O great King! Your land is clean and quiet all around and is really the place where renunciate people can live well. Because of this, we have all come here. O great King! Do away, with right law, what is not conducive to the good of the people. Sramana Gautama is still young and unripe [immature]. Having not yet learned much, he has nothing to give. Now, in this country live many elders and virtuous persons, who, boasting of the Kshatriya caste, do not know how to pay homage. The king must govern the land through law; the world-fleeing [i.e. religious seekers, menicants] must look up to virtue. Listen well, O great King! Sramana Gautama is not one truly of a Kshatriya family. If Sramana Gautama has any parents, why does he have to take away others' parents? O great King! It is stated in our sutras that in 1,000 years there will appear a phantom or apparition. The so-called sramana Gautama is this. On this account, know well that the sramana is none other than this Gautama. Because of this, know that Sramana Gautama has no father and no mother. If he has, how can he say: [All things are non-eternal, suffering, void; and all have no self, no doing, no feeling]? Through occult powers, he leads beings astray. The ignorant believe, and the wise reject. O great King! The king is the parent to the land. He is, as it were, like the earth, wind, fire, way, river, bridge, lamp, sun, and moon. Through law, he dispenses justice. There cannot be any enemy or friend. Sramana Gautama permits no life. Where we go, he follows, and does not leave us. O great King! Allow us to compete in our powers of attainment. Should he win, we will become his disciples. If we win, he shall come under us.” The king said: “O great ones! You each have your own way of practice, and you live in different places. I definitely know that the Tathagata-World-Honoured One does not cause you any hindrance.” The six masters replied: “How is he not a hindrance to us? Sramana Gautama works miracles, leading all the people and Brahmins astray. He now has no more to subdue. If you, King, allow us to compete in miracles, the King's good reputation will spread to all quarters. If not, evil fame will circulate abroad.” The king said: “O great ones! You do not realise how superior the power of the Way of the Tathagata is. So, you seek to compete [with him]. I am sure that you will fail.” “O great King! Have you already been spellbound by Gautama? Pray, O King, think well and do not belittle us. The best thing is actually to put the matter to the test.” The king said: “Well said, well said!” The six masters were pleased and went on their way.
"Then, King Prasenajit came to me, touched the ground, walked around me three times, drew back, sat to one side, and said to me: “O World-Honoured One! The six masters came to me to seek permission to compete with you in the power of the Way. I carelessly gave permission.” I said: “It is well, it is well! Only, erect many viharas in the land. Why? If I compete with them, there will be so many of them who will have to come over to our side that there will not be any place to accommodate them, as this place is rather too small and confined to hold them all.” O good man! I, at that time, displayed a great many miracles, for the good of the six masters, from the first to the fifteenth day. Then, an innumerable number of beings gained faith in the Three Treasures and had no doubt. The number of followers of the six masters who did away with distorted minds and took refuge in Wonderful Dharma was countless. An innumerable number of people gained the unretrogressive Bodhi Mind. An innumerable number of people gained dharanis and samadhi. An innumerable number of beings attained the fruition of arhatship, rising up from [the level of] srotapanna.
"Then, the six masters repented [felt downcast?] and together they went to Saketa and made people believe in twisted ways of life. They said: “Sramana Gautama teaches what is empty.” O good man! I, at that time, was in Trayastrimsa Heaven and was living the life of varsika under the shade of the Parijata Tree, delivering a sermon to my mother. Then, the six masters were greatly pleased and said: “Oh good! The miracles of Gautama have ceased!” Also, [due to their] teaching an innumerable number of beings, wrong views on life increased and spread. Then, Bimbisara, Prasenajit, and the four classes of the Sangha said to Maudgalyayana: “O virtuous one! Twisted views fill this Jambudvipa. The people are miserable who must be wending their way towards great gloom. Please, O you virtuous one! Go to Heaven, fall upon the ground, pay homage and convey our words to the World-Honoured One: [Just as the newly-born calf will surely die if milk is not given, so do things stand with us beings. Have pity on us beings, O Tathagata, and come back down to us].” Then, Maudgalyayana answered their prayer and as swiftly as a strong man can bend and stretch out his arm, he came up to Heaven and said to me, the Buddha: “All the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha look up to the Tathagata and desire to hear directly from you a sermon on Dharma. Bimbisara, Prasenajit, and the four classes of the Sangha are all falling to the ground, paying homage, and saying: [The beings of this Jambudvipa are twisted in their views, and this is increasing all the more. They are walking in great gloom. This is a great pity. This is similar to a new-born calf who is sure to die if no milk is given [him]. It is the same with us. For the sake of all us beings, condescend, O Tathagata, to come down to Jambudvipa and live].” I, the Buddha, said to Maudgalyayana: “Hurry to Jambudvipa and tell all the kings and the four classes of people of the Buddhist Sangha that in seven days I shall be back. For the good of the six masters, I shall come to Saketa.”
"Seven days later, I, the Buddha, surrounded by Sakrodevendra, Brahma, Mara, and an innumerable number of heavenly beings and all the heavenly ones who were gathered together in Suddhavasa Heaven, came to the castle of Saketa and let out a lion's roar, declaring: “Only in my Doctrine can there be sramanas and Brahmins. All things are non-eternal and with no self. Nirvana is quiet and is removed from wrongs and worries. In other teachings, people may say that they have sramanas and Brahmins and that these are the Eternal, the Self, and Nirvana. But such can never be.” Then, innnumerable, boundless numbers of people aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment. Then, the six masters said to one another: “If there are no sramanas and Brahmins in other teachings, how can we expect dana from the world at large?” Then the six masters met and went to Vaisali. O good man! I, at that time, was staying in a mango grove. Then, Amrapali, seeing that I was there, wished to come and see me. I then spoke to all the bhiksus: “Meditate on what there is to think about [? “’smrtyupasthana“’, mindfulness?] and cultivate Wisdom. As you cultivate this, do not lose yourselves in indolence.” What do we mean by meditating on what is to think about? A bhiksu meditates on his own body and does not see there the Self or what the Self possesses; also, he meditates on the bodies of others and also his own and others, and he does not see the Self or what the Self possesses; this can even extend to what obtains with the mental functions. This is the application of mindfulness, of awareness.
"What do we mean by cultivating Wisdom? A bhiksu truly sees suffering, the cause of suffering, [its] extinction, and the Way to [its] extinction. This is cultivating Wisdom.
"What is not being indolent? A bhiksu meditates on the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, the moral precepts, equanimity, and heaven. This is where we say that a bhiksu is not indolent in his mind.
"Amrapali came to me, fell to the ground, walked around me three times from right to left, paid homage, stepped back, and sat down to one side. O good man! To her I spoke of Dharma. Having heard [this], she aspired to unsurpassed Bodhi.
"At that time, there were in that castle 500 sons of the Licchavis. They came to me, fell to the ground, and walked around me from right to left. Having paid homage, they stepped back and seated themselves to one side. I then, for the sake of the Licchavis, spoke about Dharma: “O all of you good men! Those who are indolent contract the five karmic fruitions. What are the five? 1) one is unable freely to gain wealth; 2) evil reputation runs apace [spreads around]; 3) one does not desire to give to the poverty-stricken people; 4) one does not desire to see the four classes of people of the Sangha, and 5) one cannot gain the body of a deva. O all you good men! By non-indolence there comes about the worldly and the supramundane law. One who desires to gain unsurpassed Bodhi must practise non-indolence. Now, there are 13 things that come about as a result [of indolence]. What are the 13? They are: 1) one takes pleasure in doing what is worldly, 2) one takes pleasure in speaking useless words, 3) one takes pleasure in sleeping for a long time, 4) one takes pleasure in speaking about secular things, 5) one always takes pleasure in making friends with evil persons, 6) one is indolent and lazy, 7) one is always belittled by others, 8) one hears, but soon forgets, 9) one takes pleasure in living in far-off [provincial?] places, 10), one is unable to subdue all one's sense-organs, 11) one cannot get enough food, 12) one does not desire quietude, 13) one's view is not correct. These are the 13.” O good man! A person may well come near to the Buddha and his disciples. Yet there is [still] a great distance. All the Licchavis said: “We know that we are indolent. Why? If we were not indolent, the Tathagata, the King of Dharma, would have to appear among us.”
"Then, among the congregated, there was the son of a Brahmin called Unsurpassed, who said to all the Licchavis: “Well said, well said! All is as you say. King Bimbisara once gained a great victory. The Tathagata-World-Honoured-One appears in his land. This is like the case of a great pond in which wonderful lotuses grow. Although born in the water, the water cannot defile them, O you Licchavis! It is the same with the Buddha. Although born in that land, he is not hindered by what obtains in the secular world. With the All-Buddha-World-Honoured One, there is no appearing and disappearing. For the good of all beings, he appears in the world, and is not molested by what obtains in the world. You have lost your way, have got lost in the five desires, you have befriended these, but you do not know how to befriend the Tathagata and come to where he is. So we say indolent. When the Buddha appears in Magadha, there is no indolence to speak of. Why not? The Tathagata-World-Honoured One is like the sun and moon. He does not appear in the world just for one or two people.” When the Licchavis had heard this, they aspired to unsurpassed Bodhi. Also, they said: “Well said, well said, O you young, unsurpassed boy! You truly say something wonderful.” Then, each of the Licchavis took off his clothing and gave it to the Unsurpassed one. Receiving these, he gave them all to me and said: “O World-Honoured One! I have all these from the Licchavis. I pray that you, the Tathagata, will take pity on all beings and accept what I now desire to offer up to you.” Taking pity, I then accepted them. All the Licchavis folded their hands and said: “Please summon the varsika here once and accept what we offer.” I then accepted the invitation of the Licchavis.
"Then the six masters, on hearing this, all went to Varanasi. Then I, too, went to Varanasi and stayed on the banks of the river Varana. At that time, there was a rich man in Varanasi called Treasure-Praising who had abandoned himself to the five desires and was unaware of impermanence. As I was going there, he spontaneously gained the “white-bone meditation” and saw all such as the palatial buildings, male and female servants, turn into white bones. He shook with fear. This was as sharp as a sword, a viper, a robber, or fire. He came out of his house and came to me. As he walked, he said: “O Sramana Gautama! I feel as if I am being pursued by robbers; I am greatly frightened. Please help me!”
"I said: “O good man! Peaceful are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and there is nothing to fear.” The son of the rich man said: “If there is nothing to fear in the Three Treasures, I too shall gain fearlessness.” I allowed him to renounce domestic life and to get ordained, so that he could well attain the Way. At that time, the son of the rich man had 50 friends. On hearing that Treasure-Praising had forsaken the domestic life and become ordained, they obediently entered the Path together.
"The six masters heard of this and moved on to Campa. At that time, the people of Campa were all followers of the six masters and had not yet heard of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. And there were many of them who did evil. I then, for their sake, went to Campa. At that time, a rich man, who had no son to succeed him, lived in the castle. Following the six masters, he sought a son. Not long after that, his wife became pregnant. The rich man, on being told of this fact, went to the six masters and spoke of it, greatly pleased: “My wife will bear a child. Is it a boy or girl?” The six masters answered: “It will surely be a girl.” On hearing this, the man was sad. Then a wise man came to him and said: “Why are you worried?” The rich man said: “My wife will bear a child. I did not know if the child to be born would be a boy or girl. So I asked the six masters, who said: [If what I see is true, the child must be a girl]. Hearing this, I thought to myself: [I am old and am unspeakably rich. If the child is not a boy, I will have no one to give my wealth to]. That is why I am worried.” The wise man said: “You are dull-witted. Do you not know whose disciples the brothers Uruvilvakasyapas are? Are they the disciples of the Buddha or of the six masters? If the six masters are omniscient, why should the Kasyapas abandon them and become the disciples of the Buddha? Also, are not Sariputra, Maudgalyayana, all the kings, Bimbisara, and all the royal consorts and Mallika, and all the rich men of all states like Sudatta, the disciples of the Buddha? Were not all the demons of the wildernesses, the intoxicated elephant, whose duty it was to guard the property of Ajatasatru, and Angulimalya, who - gripped by an evil [state of] mind - meant to harm his own mother, not all subdued by the Tathagata? O rich man! The Tathagata-World-Honoured One is unimpeded in Wisdom. That is why we say "Buddha". There is no double-tongue in what he says. Hence, Tathagata. As he is cut off from defilement, he is called "arhat". The World-Honoured One does not speak in two ways. It is otherwise with the six masters. How can we believe them? The Tathagata is staying close by here. If you desire to know, go and see the Buddha.” Then, the rich man came to me with this man. He prostrated himself before me, circumambulated me three times from right to left, folded his hands, and said: “O World-Honoured One! To all beings you are all-equal and are not two. Enemy and friend are one in your eyes. I am chained by desire, and enemy and friend cannot be one to me. I now wish to ask the Tathagata about something worldly. Shame takes hold of me, and I cannot speak out. O World-Honoured One! My wife will bear a child. The six masters say: [The child is a female]. What will it be?” I, the Buddha, said: “O rich man! You wife will bear a child. It will be a son. There is no doubt about this. When he is born, he will be fully blessed with virtue.” The rich man, on hearing this, was very happy and went back home. Then, the six masters, hearing the prophesy that the child would be male and would be full of virtue, became jealous. They made up a poison mixed in with mango and took it to the rich man, saying: “It is well and good that Gautama saw things well. Give this to your wife in the month of her parturition. If she takes this, her child will be fair and right-set [well formed?], and your wife will have no trouble.” The rich man received the poisoned medicine and was pleased and gave it to his wife. On taking this, his wife died. The six masters were glad and went round the castle, saying aloud: “Sramana Gautama said that the woman would give birth to a boy and that the child would be superb in virtue. The child is not yet born, but the mother is dead.” Then, the rich man came to me and mistrusted me. Following the way of the people, the man put the corpse in a coffin and carried it out of the castle and covered it with dry fuel. Then it was set fire to and cremated. I saw this with the eye of the Way and looked back to Ananda and said: “Bring my robe! I will go there and destroy the twisted views.” Then, Deva Vaisravana said to the general, Manibhadra: “Now, the Tathagata intends to go to the graveyard. Go quickly, sweep the place, position the lion's-seat [“’simhasana“’], fetch wonderful flowers and adorn the place.” Then, the six masters, seeing me from afar, went to the graveyard and said: “Does Gautama desire to devour the flesh?” At that time, there were many upasakas [lay Buddhists] who had no Dharma-Eye. Frightened, they said to me: “The woman is already dead. Please do not go!” Then, Ananda said to them: “Wait a while. Before long, the Tathagata will manifest the world of all Buddhas.” I then went and seated myself upon the lion's-seat. The rich man reproached me: “What is said must not be two. Such a person is the World-Honoured One. The mother has already died. How can there be any child?” I said: “O rich man! At the time, you made no matter of the life-span of your wife. Your concern was whether the child to come would be male or female. The All-Buddha-Tathagata is not double-tongued. Know, therefore, that you will surely get your child.” Then, the mother's belly broken open by the fire and a child emerged, and sat amid the fire. It was as when the mandarin duck sits on the lotus seat. The six masters saw this and said: “This is miraculous, O Gautama! You surely perform magic.” The rich man saw and was glad. He reproached the six masters: “If magic, why do you not do it yourself?” I then said to Jivaka: “Enter the fire and fetch the child out!” Jivaka wanted to go, [but] the six masters came forward and said to Jivaka: “What miracles Sramana Gautama performs cannot always be so successful. There will be successes and failures. When it does not succeed, you will have to [suffer] harm yourself. How can you believe in his word?” Jivaka answered: “The Tathagata enables me to enter Avichi Hell. The fire cannot burn me. How could it [burn me] when it merely concerns the fire of the world?” Then Jivaka stepped forward into the fire. It was as if he were entering the cool water of a great river. Holding the child, he came back and handed it over to me. I then took the child and said to the rich man: “The life-span of all beings is not fixed. It is like water-foam. If beings are to harvest serious karmic fruition, fire cannot burn nor poison kill them. It is the karma of this child, not mine.” Then the rich man said: “Well said, O World-Honoured One! If this child can live, please, O Tathagata, give the child a name!” The Buddha said: “This child of the rich man is born of fire. Fire is "judai" [?]. So this child is to be called Judai.” Thus, those who were congregated there saw this miracle, and innumerable were those who aspired to unsurpassed Bodhi.
"Then, the six masters went round the six castle-towns and yet could not win the minds of the people of those places. Ashamed and with lowered heads, they came here to Kusinagara. Arriving here, they said: “Know, O all you people! Sramana Gautama is a great magician. He cheats the world,, going here and there all over the six castles. For example, he is like a magician who conjures up the four military units of charioteers, horsemen, elephant-riders, and infantrymen. Also, he calls forth such things as various necklaces, castles, palaces, rivers, ponds and trees. That is how things are with Sramana Gautama. He presents himself as a king. For the purpose of sermons, he becomes a sramana, a Brahmin, a male, a female, a small body, a big body, or an animal, or demon. Or, at one time he speaks of impermanence, and at another of Permanence. At one time he speaks of suffering, at another of Bliss. At one time he speaks of the Self, and at another of selflessness. Or he speaks of Purity, and at another time of impurity. At one time, he speaks of "is", and at another, he speaks of "not-is". As whatever is done is false, we say "phantom". For example, by the son and following the son, a person gains fruition. So do things obtain with Sramana Gautama. He has come from Maya, who is a phantom. He cannot be other than such a son. Gautama has no true knowledge. All Brahmins practise penance and uphold the precepts year after year. And yet they say they have no true knowledge. And Gautama is young and is less in learning and has not yet practised penance. How can it be that there is true knowing [here]? Even seven years of penance are not enough to call forth much results. As against this, it is even less than six years. The ignorant with no wisdom believe in his teaching. This is like the case of a great magician who greatly cheats the ignorant. It is the same with Sramana Gautama.” O good man! Thus the six masters spread many false words amongst the people of this castle-town. O good man! Seeing this, I took pity, and with my miraculous powers I called in all the Bodhisattvas of the ten directions into this forest, who filled the place and surrounded me in an area 50 yojanas in extent, and I here gave forth a lion's roar. O good man! When speaking in a place where there is no one to hear, we do not say “lion's roar”. When speaking in a congregation of the learned, we truly can say “lion's roar”. That is to say that all things are non-eternal, suffering, non-Self, and non-Pure, and that only the Tathagata is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. Then the six masters again said: “If Gautama has his Self, we too have it. The Self alluded to is none other than "seeing". O Gautama! One sees a thing that confronts one. The case of the Self is the same. What confronts one is the eye and the seeing is the Self.”
"The Buddha said to the six masters: “If seeing is the Self, you are wrong. Why? You take up the analogy of an object and say that we see by it [?]. Now, man uses together the six sense-organs to one object. If there surely is the Self and we see unfailingly by [means of] the eye, why is it that we do not cognise all objects with that one sense-organ? If one does not meet with the six sense-fields, know that there is no Self to talk of. If things are thus with the sense-organ of sight, there will be no change even if years pass and the sense-organs become ripened. As "man" and "object" are different, one sees one's own self and the other. If it is thus with the sense-organ of sight, there must be the seeing of one's own self and the other at [one and the same] time. If not seen, how can we say that there is the Self?”
"The six masters said: “O Gautama! If there is no Self, who sees?” The Buddha said: “There are the thing, brightness [light], the mind, and the eye. Thus, the four conjoin and we see. In these, truth to tell, there is none that sees and none that feels. Beings are upside-down and say that there is one who sees and feels. Thus all beings are upside-down in their seeing, and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are true in seeing things. O you six masters! You may say that matter is Self. But this is not so. Why not? Matter is not the Self. If matter were the Self, there could not be any ugly or weakened form. Why not? And why is it that there are the differences of the four castes? Why is it that there is none but one kind of Brahmin? Why is it that people belong to the other castes and do not have unrestrictedness? Why is it that there are deficiencies in the sense-organs and that life is not perfect? Why is it that people do not all gain the body of all the devas, but gain life in hell, as an animal, preta [ghost] and all the various forms of life? If one cannot do as one wills, know that this indicates that assuredly no Self is there. As there is no Self, we speak of the non-eternal. As it is non-eternal, we have suffering. Because of suffering, it is empty. As it is empty, it is upside down. Being upside down, all beings repeat birth and death. The same applies to feeling, sensation, volition, and consciousness. O you six masters! The Tathagata-World-Honoured One is segregated from the bondage of matter down to the bondage of consciousness. Hence, we say the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure.
"“Also, next. Matter is based on causal relations. What is based on causal relations has no Self. Non-Self is suffering and empty. The body of the Tathagata is not based on causal relations. Because there are no causal relations, we say that there is the Self. The Self is the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and the Pure.”
"The six masters said: “O Gautama! Matter is non-Self. And down to consciousness, there is no Self. The Self fills everywhere. It is like space.”
"The Buddha said: “If it fills everywhere, we cannot say that we do not see it from the very beginning. If it is not seen from the very start, we may know that this seeing is what originally was not is now. If it is what originally was not but is now, this is the non-eternal. If it is non-eternal, how can one say that it fills [everywhere]? If it fills [everywhere] and exists, there must be one body in the five realms. If there is one body that can be represented, there must be that which comes about as one result. If one result comes about, how can we say that people gain life as humans or as gods?
"“You say that it fills [everywhere]. Is it one or many? If the Self is one, there cannot be any father and son, any enemy and friend, or a neutral person. If the Self is many, all the five sense-organs man possesses must be all-equal. The same applies to karma and Wisdom. If things obtain thus, how can we say that there can be those whose sense-organs are perfect or imperfect, that there are actions that are good and evil, and that there is the difference of dullness and intellectuality?”
"“O Gautama! The Self of all beings knows no boundary line. Dharma and non-Dharma each has its part to play. If beings act according to Dharma, they will gain good forms; if not, evil forms will come about. For this reason, it cannot be other than that the karmic results vary.”
"The Buddha said: “O you six masters! If Dharma and non-Dharma must obtain thus, there cannot be any universality of the Self; if there is universality of the Self, it will extend all over. If it is so, then even those who practise good must also have parts that are evil and those who do evil must also have what is good. If not, how can we speak of universality?”"
"“O Gautama! For example, we have in a room 100 thousand lamps placed there, and each lamp is bright, not obstructing the others. It is the same with all beings. The practising of good and the performing of evil do not get mixed up.”"
"“You say that the Self is like a lamp. But this is not so. Why not? The brightness of a lamp arises from causal relations. If the lamp is large, the brightness, too, becomes great. It is not like this with the self of the being. The brightness of the lamp arises out of the lamp and stays in other places. The self of the being arises out of the body, but cannot stay in other places. The light of the lamp dwells with the gloom. Why? When one puts a lamp into a dark room, the brightness is not much to talk of. When there are many lamps, we have brightness. If the first lamp dispels the gloom, we do not need any further lamps to dispel the gloom. If, later, lamps are used to dispel the gloom, this means that the first brightness dwells with the gloom.”"
"“O Gautama! If there is no Self, who is it that does good and evil?”"
"The Buddha said: “If the Self does [i.e. performs actions], how can we say [it is] Eternal? If it is Eternal, how can a person do good at one time and evil at another? If a person does good or evil at [different] times, how can we say that the Self is boundless? If the Self does, why would one practise evil things? If the Self is the doer and if it is the wise, how can one doubt about the selflessness of the being? So, we can say that there can definitely be no Self in the doctrine of the tirthikas. The Self is none other than the Tathagata. Why? Because his body is boundless and there exists no doubt. On account of non-doing and non-receiving [of karmic consequences], we say Eternal. On account of birthlessness and deathlessness, we say Bliss. As there exists no defilement of illusion, we say Pure. As he does not have the ten aspects of existence, we say Void [i.e. void of all that causes suffering]. Hence, the Tathagata is none other than the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure, and the Void, and there is no other aspect to speak of.”"
"All the tirthikas said: “If the Tathagata is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure and Void, due to formlessness, what Gautama says cannot be void. Because of this, we now accept [his words].”"
"At that time, the number of tirthikas was innumerable. They renounced the world and had faith in the Buddha's teaching. O good man! For this reason, I now, here in this forest of twin sal trees, give a lion's roar. The lion's roar is Great Nirvana. O good man! The twin trees of the east destroy the non-eternal, and through this one gains the Eternal. The twin trees of the north destroy the impure and give one the Pure. O good man! The beings that are here, because of the twin trees, protect the sal trees and will not allow people to take and cut the twigs and leaves and break [them]. It is the same with me. For the [sake of the] four laws [i.e. Eternity, Bliss, Self, and Purity], I make people protect and uphold Buddha-Dharma. What are the four? These are the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure. These four twin trees are protected by the four guardians of the earth. As the four guardians guard this Dharma of mine, I here enter Parinirvana. O good man! The twin sal trees always bear fruit and give benefit to countless beings. It is the same with me. I always give benefit to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas. The flower is comparable to the Self, and the fruit is comparable to Bliss. Because of this, I here enter into the Great Silence amidst the twin sal trees. The Great Silence is Great Nirvana."
Lion's Roar said: "Why does the Tathagata enter Nirvana in the second month?"
"O good man! The second month is spring. In the month of spring, all things grow. We sow seeds and plant roots. Flowers and fruits grow and prosper. The rivers large and small are full, and hundreds of animals raise their young and give [them] milk. At this time, many a being entertains the thought of the Eternal. To destroy such a thought of the Eternal [regarding what is samsaric], I say that all things are non-eternal and that the Tathagata is the Eternal and Immutable. O good man! Of the six seasons, the stringent [severe] winter and the withering season are not loved by the people. What is greedily loved is the bright spring, when it is peaceful. To destroy the [samsaric notion of] bliss of the people of the world, I speak of the Eternal and Bliss [of Nirvana]. It is the same with the Self and Purity. “’To crush out the worldly notion of the Self and Purity, the Tathagata speaks of the Self and Purity of true sense“’ [emphasis added]. With reference to the second month, the Tathagata intends to compare it to the two kinds of Dharma Body. To say that one does not have bliss in winter is compared to the fact that the wise do not desire to have the Tathagata be non-eternal and enter Nirvana. To say that a person feels bliss is compared to the fact that the wise are pleased over the Eternal, Bliss, Self, and Purity of the Tathagata. The sowing of seeds can be compared to beings' giving ear to sermons on Dharma and their feeling pleased, aspiring to unsurpassed Bodhi, and to their planting, thereby, the seeds of good. The rivers can be compared to the coming of all great Bodhisattvas to my place and receiving the Great Nirvana Sutra. The hundreds of animals giving milk is comparable to all those of my disciples who perform good deeds. “Flower” is likened to the seven Bodhi elements; “fruit” can be compared to the four fruitions. For this reason, I enter Nirvana on this second month."
Lion's Roar said: "The Tathagata's birth, his renouncing of home life, his attainment of Bodhi, and his first turning of [the Wheel of] Dharma all took place on the eighth day. Why does this Nirvana take place on the fifteenth?"
The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! The fifteenth is the day on which the moon has no waxing or waning. It is the same with the All-Buddha-Tathagata. Entering Great Nirvana, there is no more waxing and waning. That is why I enter Nirvana on the fifteenth day. O good man! On the fifteenth, when the moon is full, there are 11 things. What are the 11? They are: 1) it truly dispels the gloom, 2) it indeed enables beings to see the way and what is not the way, 3) it enables [one to follow] the wrong or right way, 4) it enables beings to make away with suppressed dampness and blesses them with purity and coolness, 5) it indeed destroys the arrogance of the fire-worm [firefly?], 6) it truly dispels the thought of any robbers, 7) it indeed dispels beings' fear of evil beasts, 8) it opens the bloom of the utpala, 9) it thoroughly closes the petals of the lotus, 10), it calls forth within the traveller the thought of proceeding along the way, 11) it enables beings to enjoy accepting the five pleasures and to gain joy in many ways.
"O good man! It is the same with the full moon of the Tathagata, to wit: 1) it truly dispels the gloom of ignorance, 2) it propounds the right and wrong ways, 3) it clearly shows the wrong and steep path of birth and death and the level and right [path] of Nirvana, 4) it enables beings to segregate themselves from greed, ill-will, and ignorance, 5) it destroys the ignorance of the tirthikas [non-Buddhists], 6) it destroys the bondage of the robbers of defilement, 7) it kills the mind that fears the five shadowings [“’panca-avaranani“’], 8) it enables the beings' minds to unfold the root of good of all beings, 9) it indeed puts a lid on the mind of the five desires, 10), it promotes the mind of beings [which desires] to go forwards to Great Nirvana, 11), it enables all beings to be pleased at [the thought of] Emancipation. For these reasons, I enter Nirvana on the fifteenth. But, truth to tell, I do not enter Nirvana. The ignorant and the evil among my disciples say that I definitely enter Nirvana. For example, a mother has many sons. She abandons them and goes abroad. While she is not yet back, the sons say: “Mother is dead.” But the mother is not dead. That is how matters stand."
Bodhisattva Lioon's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! What bhiksu can truly adorn these sal trees?"
"O good man! There is a bhiksu who upholds and recites the 12 types of sutra, reads the words correctly, gains the depths of meaning and, for the sake of all other people, explains [it], in which there can be the grades of beginning, middle and the ultimate good. To benefit innumerable people, he speaks about pure actions. Such a bhiksu truly adorns the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! If I rightly guess what you, the Buddha, mean - Ananda is that bhiksu. Why? Ananda upholds and recites the 12 types of sutra, and speaks correctly to others and expounds the meaning. This is like pouring water and filling other vessels. So do things pertain with Ananda. What he hears from the Buddha, he speaks as he has heard it."
"O good man! There is a bhiksu who has gained an unsurpassed heavenly eye and sees all things of the ten directions and the 3,000 great-thousand worlds in the same way as one sees a mango that is [resting] in one's palm. Any such bhiksu can indeed adorn the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "Such a person is Aniruddha. Why? Aniruddha sees the things of the 3,000 great-thousand worlds with his heavenly eye. Even the in-between existences are seen clearly, without any obstruction."
"O good man! A bhiksu who has little desire and who feels satsfied with what he has, who cares for silence and quietude, and who makes effort, and whose mind is settled, and whose Wisdom sees - [he] well adorns the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Such a person is Bhiksu Kasyapa. Why? Kasyapa has little desire to possess and feels satisfied with what he has and practises Dharma."
"O good man! A bhiksu who desires to benefit beings does not act for profit, abides in samadhi, and does not quarrel, and is perfect in holy works and in the practice of the All-Void. Such a bhiksu adorns the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Such is Bhiksu Subhuti. Why? Subhuti does not quarrel and is holy in his actions, and practises the Way of the Void."
"O good man! Any bhiksu who really practises the miraculous powers and, in the flash of a moment, can transform himself and is one-minded, and in one meditation attains two fruitions, which are of fire and water, such a bhiksu truly adorns the twin sal trees."
"O World-Honoured One! Maudgalyayana is one who answers to this description. How? Because Maugalyayana can indeed perform innumerable miraculous transformations."
"O good man! Any bhiksu who truly practises great Wisdom, clear knowledge, quick knowledge, Emancipation knowledge, extremely deep knowledge, expansive knowledge, boundless knowledge, unsurpassed knowledge, and real knowledge, and is perfect and accomplished in the root of Wisdom, who does not have a whit of discrimination between enemy, friend or neutral person, who hears that the Tathagata will enter Nirvana and does not have a whit of apprehension and is not gladdened even when hearing that the Tathagata is Eternal and does not enter Nirvana - such a bhiksu is a good adornment for the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Sariputra is the one who answers to that description. Why so? Because Sariputra is accomplished and perfect in such Wisdom."
"O good man! “’Any bhiksu who truly says that the being possesses the Buddha-Nature, that the being obtains the invincible body, which is boundless and is the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure, and that the body-and-mind are unhindered and are armed with eight unmolestednesses - such a bhiksu adorns well the twin sal trees."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! Such a person is the Tathagata himself. Why so? The body of the Tathagata is invincible, unbounded, Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure; his body and mind are unhindered and do “’[indeed]“’ possess the eight unhinderednesses. O World-Honoured One! It is only the Tathagata who can well adorn the twin sal trees“’ [emphasis added]. One who does not possess anything such as this does not possess serene brightness. I only pray that you will, out of great Loving-Kindness and for adornment's sake, remain here in this sal forest."
The Buddha said: "O good man! All things are by nature non-abiding [non-enduring]. How can you say that the Tathagata should remain? O good man! Abidance falls under the category of “matter”. Causal relations evoke birth. Hence, to abide [several meanings here: to cease, to stop, to cause to stop, to abide, to dwell; various shades of meanining, involving a sense of permanence, continuance, or stability - note by Rev. Yamamoto]. Where there are causal relations, we have “non-abiding abiding”. The Tathagata is already segregated from all the bondages of “matter”. How can you say: “Pray stay, O Tathagata!”? The same applies to feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness. O good man! To stay is arrogance. Because of arrogance, there can be no Emancipation. When there is no Emancipation, we speak of staying. Who is arrogant and where does he come from? Hence, “non-abiding abiding”. The Tathagata is eternally segregated from all arrogance. How can one say: “Pray, stay, O Tathagata!”? “To stay” falls under the category of what is created. The Tathagata is already segregated from the world of what is created. Because of this, it [he?] is non-abiding.
"“’To abide is the law “’[dharma?]“’ of the Void. The Tathagata is already segregated from the law of the Void. Hence, one “’[he?]“’ gains the Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure“’ [emphasis added]. How can you say: “Pray, stay, O Tathagata”? To stay is the 25 existences. How can you say: “Pray, stay, O Tathagata!”?
"To stay is none but all beings. All holy ones are non-going and non-coming. The Tathagata is already segregated from the phases of going, coming, and staying. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"Non-abiding is the Boundless Body. In view of the fact that the Body knows no bounds, how can you say: “I pray that the Tathagata will stay in the sal forest”? If I stay in this forest, this body of mine is none but a body that is in bondage. If a body knows any boundary line, it is the non-eternal. The Tathagata is the Eternal. How can you say: “Stay!”?
"Non-abiding is the the Void. The nature of the Tathagata is equal to the Void. How can one say: “Stay!”?
"Non-abiding is the adamantine samadhi. The adamantine samadhi destroys all abidings. The adamantine samadhi is the Tathagata. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"Also, non-abiding is a phantom. The Tathagata is equal to a phantom. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"Also, non-abiding is non-beginning and non-ending. How can we say “abiding”? And non-abiding is the unbounded world of consciousness [“’muhenhokkai“’ (Jap.): "muhen" means "boundless", "hokkai" means "what is the object of consciousness"]. “’The unbounded world of consciousness is the Tathagata“’ [emphasis added]. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"And non-abiding is the Suramgama Samadhi. “’The Suramgama Samadhi knows all things and yet does not cling. Because of non-clinging, we say Suramgama. The Tathagata is perfect in the Suramgama Samadhi“’ [emphasis added]. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"Non-abiding is called the “power of place and non-place”. The Tathagata is accomplished in the power of place and non-place. How can we say: “Stay!”?
"Also, non-abiding is called danaparamita [perfected giving]. If there is abiding [solely] in danaparamita, there can be no arriving at silaparamita [perfected morality] and prajnaparamita [perfected Wisdom]. For this reason, we say that danaparamita is the non-abiding. The Tathagata does not abide, down to prajnaparamita. How can one pray that the Tathagata will always kindly remain in the sal forest?
"Also, non-abiding is the practise of the four thinkings. If the Tathagata abides in the four thinkings [solely], we cannot say that the Tathagata gains unsurpassed Bodhi and that there is non-abiding abiding.
"Also, non-abiding is called the boundless world of all beings, and yet he does not stay there.
"Also, non-abiding is called the “houseless”. Houseless means that there is nothing that exists.
"Not-is means that nothing arises.
"Birthlessness means non-death.
"Non-death means formlessness.
"Formlessness means non-binding.
"Non-binding means non-clinging.
"Non-clinging means non-defiled.
"Non-defiled is the good.
“’"The good is the non-created.
"The non-created is the Eternal of Great Nirvana.“’
“’"The Eternal of Great Nirvana is the Self.
"The Self is the Pure.
"The Pure is Bliss.
"The Eternal, Bliss, the Self, and the Pure are the Tathagata.
“’ [Emphasis added]
"O good man! For example, space is not the east, nor is it the south, nor the west, nor the north, nor the four directions, nor up or down. It is the same with the Tathagata. He does not exist in the east, the south, the west, or the north, nor in the four directions, nor up or down. O good man! People might say that he gains a body, a mouth and a mind, and good or bad karmic results. But this is not so. Saying that he gains a body, mouth or mind, and good or bad karmic results is not true. If a person says that the common mortal sees the Buddha-Nature and that the Bodhisattva of the ten abodes [stages] does not, this is not so. A person might say that the icchantika, those of the five deadly sins, slanderers of the vaipulya [extensive scriptures], those committing the four grave offences gain unsurpassed Bodhi. But this is not so. To say that the Bodhisattva of the six stages gains birth in the three unfortunate realms due to the causal relations of defilement is not so. Saying that the Bodhisattva-mahasattva gains unsurpassed Bodhi in the female form is not true. Saying that the icchantika is eternal and that the Three Jewels are non-eternal is not true. Saying that the Tathagata stays at Kusinagara is not true. O good man! The Tathagata enters, here at Kusinagara, the cave of the great samadhi of deepest dhyana [meditation]. Beings cannot see [this], and it is called “Great Nirvana”."
Lion's Roar said: "Why is it that the Tathagata enters the cave of dhyana?"
"O good man! This is to enable beings to attain Emancipation. This is to make them sow the seeds of good, since they have not yet sown them; to enable the seeds of good now sown to grow; to enable the unripe seed of good to ripen; to enable the ripened seed to gain unsurpassed Bodhi; to enable those who belittle Wonderful Dharma to attain to nobleness; to enable all the indolent to forsake indolence; to enable people to exchange words with such great gandhahastins as Manjushri; to teach those who take pleasure in reading and reciting deeply to enjoy dhyana; to teach beings through holy, pure, and heavenly actions; to enable people to meditate on the unequalled storehouse of deep Dharma; to reproach indolent disciples. The Tathagata is quietude itself. So, he still cares for dhyana. How is it that you have not yet done away with defilement and that indolence gains ground? I desire to reproach all evil bhiksus who keep stores of the eight kinds of impure things, those who are not satisfied with little desire, and who are not satisfied with what they have, and to make beings respect the dharma of dhyana. On account of these causal relations, I now enter the cave of dhyana."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! The formlessness samadhi is Great Nirvana. Because of this, we say that Nirvana is formless. Why do we say formless?"
"O good man! This derives from the fact that there are not the ten representational phases. What are these? They are the phases of: 1) colour, 2) sound, 3) smell, 4) taste, 5) touch, 6) being born, 7) existing [samsarically], 8) breaking up, 9) being born male, and 10) being born female. It [Nirvana] does not possess these representational forms. Hence, formless.
"O good man! Whatever represents a form is subject to ignorance. Ignorance evokes craving; craving evokes bondage; from bondage arises birth; from birth comes about death. When there is death, there is no eternity. If [one is] not attached to form, there is no ignorance. When there is no ignorance, there is no craving. When there is no craving, there is no bondage. When there is no bondage, there arises no birth. When there is no birth, there is no death. When there is no death, there is the Eternal. Due to this, we say that Nirvana is Eternal."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! What bhiksu truly cuts himself free from the ten phases?"
The Buddha said: "O good man! When a bhiksu, time after time, practises well the three kinds of form, he truly cuts himself free from the ten forms. He practises, time after time, the settled form of samadhi, time after time the phase of Wisdom, and time after time the phase of equanimity. These are the three."
Lion's Roar said: "O World-Honoured One! What are samadhi, Wisdom, and equanimity? If a settled state is samadhi, all beings have samadhi. Why do we particularly need to practise samadhi? When the mind stays in a single sense-field, we say samadhi; when other mental associations come in between, this is not samadhi. If there is no settlement in one state, this is not all-knowledge. If not all-knowledge, how can we speak of being “settled”? If a single action is called samadhi, all other actions are not samadhi. If not samadhi, this is not all-knowledge. If not all-knowledge, how can we speak of samadhi? The same applies to Wisdom and equanimity."
The Buddha said: "O good man! You say that if the mind abides in a single sense-field, this is samadhi, and that any other causal relations are not samadhi. But this is not so. Why not? Because all the other sense-fields, too, are a single sense-field. It is the same with action. Also, you say that if beings already have samadhi, there cannot be any need to practise any further. This, too, is not so. Why not? Samadhi is called “good samadhi”. All beings, truth to tell, do not exist. How can we say that we do not need to practise? When one practises samadhi on all things abiding in a good samadhi, there is the form of good Wisdom. One sees no distinction between samadhi and Wisdom. This is equanimity. Also, next, O good man! If one takes up a form of matter, one cannot meditate on the Eternal and the non-Eternal. This is samadhi. If one well sees the Eternal and the non-Eternal of matter, this is Wisdom. Samadhi and Wisdom equally see all things. This is equanimity.
"O good man! A good charioteer can drive a four-horse carriage and run it quickly or slowly as the occasion requires. As the quickness or slowness matches well with the occasion, we say equanimity. It is the same with the Bodhisattva. One who has much samadhi also practises Wisdom; one who has much Wisdom practises samadhi. As samadhi and Wisdom are equal, we have equanimity. O good man! The Bodhisattva of the ten stages has much power of Wisdom, but little power of samadhi. Hence, he cannot clearly see the Buddha-Nature. Sravakas and pratyekabuddhas have much power of samadhi, but little Wisdom. Because of this, they cannot see the Buddha-Nature. The All-Buddha-World-Honoured One has samadhi and Wisdom in equal parts and sees well the Buddha-Nature. All is clear and transparent, as when one sees a mango that is in one's own palm. One who sees the Buddha-Nature is [of] the phase of equanimity.
"Samatha means “thoroughly extinguishing”, because it thoroughly does away with the bondage of defilement.
"Also, samatha is called “that which well adjusts”, because it well adjusts the evil and non-good of all the sense-organs.
"Also, samatha is called quietude, as it indeed makes the three actions [of body, mouth and mind] quiet [calm].
"Also, samatha is called segregation, as it enables beings to part well from the five desires.
"Also, samatha is called “purifying well”, because it purifies well the three contaminations of greed, ill-will, and ignorance. Because of this, we say “settledness”.
"Vipasyana is called right seeing. Also, it is called seeing clearly. Also, it is called seeing well. Also, it is called all-seeing. Also, it is called gradual seeing. Also, it is called seeing individually. This is called Wisdom.
"Equanimity is called all-equal. Also, it is called non-disputation. Also, it is called non-seeing. Also, it is called non-acting. This is equanimity.
"O good man! There are two kinds of samatha. One is mundane, and the other supramundane. And there are two [further] kinds. One is accomplished, and the other non-accomplished. [Those of] the accomplished are all the so-called Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. And the non-accomplished are the so-called sravakas and pratyekabuddhas.
"Also, there are three kinds, namely: low, middle, and top. The low relates to common mortals; middle to sravakas and pratyekabuddhas; and top to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Also there are four kinds, namely: 1) retrogressing, 2) abiding, 3) progressing, and 4) greatly benefiting. Also, there are five kinds, which are the so-called five-knowledge samadhis. These are: 1) samadhi of non-eating, 2) faultless samadhi, 3) samadhi in which the body and mind are pure and the mind is one, 4) samadhi in which one feels pleased with both cause and effect, and 5) samadhi in which one always prays in one's heart.
"Furthermore, there are six kinds, which are: 1) samadhi in which one meditates on white bones, 2) samadhi of compassion, 3) samadhi on the twelve links of interdependent arising, 4) samadhi on anapana [breathing], 5) samadhi on the discriminatory mind of beings, and 6) samadhi on birth and death. Also, there are seven kinds, namely the so-called seven Bodhi elements. These are: 1) mindfulness, 2) discernment of Dharma, 3) effort, 4) joy, 5) repose, 6) concentration, and 7) equanimity.
"Also, there are seven [further] kinds, which are: 1) srotapanna-samadhi, 2) sakrdagami-samadhi, 3) anagami-samadhi, 4) arhat-samadhi, 5) pratyekabuddha-samadhi, 6) Bodhisattva-samadhi, 7) the Tathagata's All-Awakened Samadhi.
"Also, there are eight kinds, which are none other than the eight Emancipation samadhis. These are: 1) samadhi in which one gets Emancipated from the notion of matter by meditating on matter, 2) samadhi in which one seeks Emancipation by meditating further on the external phase of matter, though internally the matter notion has already been done away with, 3) samadhi in which one seeks Emancipation and its actualisation in one's own body through the meditation on purity, 4) boundlessness-of-space Emancipation samadhi, 5) boundlessness-of-consciousness Emancipation samadhi, 6) existencelessness Emancipation samadhi, 7) thoughtlessness-non-thoughtlessness Emancipation samadhi, and 8) cessation Emancipation samadhi.
"Also, there are nine kinds, namely the so-called nine gradual samadhis. These are the four dhyanas, the four Voids, and the cessation samadhi.
"Also, there are ten kinds, which are the so-called ten all-place samadhis. What are the ten? They are the all-place samadhis on: 1) earth, 2) water, 3) wind, 4) blue, 5) yellow, 6) red, 7) white, 8) space, 9) consciousness, and 10) non-possession.
"Also, there are innumerable kinds, which are: all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
"O good man! These are the representations of the samadhis.
"O good man! There are two kinds of Wisdom, which are: 1) mundane and 2) supramundane.
"Also, there are three kinds: 1) prajna, 2) vipasyana, and 3) jnana. Prajna is all beings; vipasyana is all sages; and jnana relates to all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.
"Also, prajna is the individual phase of representation, and vipasyana is the general phase of representation.
"Jnana is the breaking [dissolution] phase of representation.
"Also, there are four kinds, which are none other than the meditation on the Four Truths.
"O good man! One practises samatha for three purposes. What are these three: They are: 1) non-indolence, 2) adornment for [with?] great Wisdom, and 3) unmolestedness [i.e. unrestrictedness, freedom].
"Also, next, one practises vipasyana for three purposes. What are these three? They are: 1) to meditate on the evil karmic consequences of birth and death, 2) to increase the seeds of good, and 3) to crush out all the defilements.