Chapter IV — The Proclamation of Qualities (RiBa)
THE PROCLAMATION OF QUALITIES
1. RELATIVE VALUE OF TATHAGATA-RELICS AND OF PERFECT WISDOM
The Lord: If, Kausika, on this one hand you are given this Jambudvipa filled up to the top with relics of the Tathagatas; and if, on this other hand, you could share in a written copy of this perfection of wisdom; ...and if now you have to choose between the two, which one do you take?
Sakra: Just this perfection of wisdom, Lord. For I see such as, within my esteem for this Guide of Tathagatas, in true understanding this also is the body of Tathagatas. As the Lord says: "The Dharma-bodies are Buddhas, these are Lords. But of this, noble Sangha, do not think this individual body is my body. Rather, noble Sangha, see me as this accomplishment of Dharma-body." But this Tathagata-body needs be seen as brought about by the reality-limit, i.e. by perfection of wisdom. It is not, O Lord, that I lack in respect for these relics of Tathagata. On the contrary, I have a real respect for them. As come forth from perfection of wisdom are these relics of Tathagatas revered, and herein as one reveres just this perfection of wisdom, now also the reverence of these relics of the Tathagata is brought to fulfillment, as the relics of Tathagata come forth from perfection of wisdom. It is as with my own godly seat in Sudharma, the hall of Gods. As I am seated on it, the Gods come to wait on me. But as I am not, the Gods, out of respect for me, pay their respect to this seat, circumambulate it, and go away again. For these recall as seated on this seat, Sakra, the Chief of Gods, demonstrates Dharma to Gods of the Thirty-three. In this same way, perfection of wisdom is the real eminent cause and condition which feeds and reveals all-knowledge of Tathagatas. The relics of Tathagatas, on this other hand, are true deposits of all-knowledge, but these are neither true conditions, nor reasons for production of such cognition. As the cause of cognition of all-knowingness perfection of wisdom is also revered and concentrated upon through relics of Tathagata. For this reason, of the two lots now mentioned, I choose just this perfection of wisdom. But it is not because I lack in respect for the relics of Tathagata. Even choosing thusly I have real respect for these, for these relics are worshipped as these are pervaded by this perfection of wisdom. And, if I had to choose between a copy of perfection of wisdom on this one side, and even a great trichiliocosm filled to the top with relics of the Tathagata on this other, I still choose just this perfection of wisdom, for the same reasons. For the relics of Tathagata are true deposits of cognition of all-knowingness, but such cognition itself is come forth from perfection of wisdom. So just here, of these two lots I choose just this perfection of wisdom. But it is not due to any lacking in respect for the relics of Tathagata. In choosing thus I have real respect for these. These, however, are worshipped as having come forth from perfection of wisdom, and as such are pervaded by it.
2. SIMILE OF THE WISHING JEWEL
It is like a priceless jewel with the property of preventing beings and ghosts from entering the place it is put. If someone were possessed by a ghost, one only needs to introduce this jewel, and any ghost departs. If someone oppressed by the wind applies this jewel as one's body is inflated, one holds back that wind, and prevents it from getting worse, appeasing it. It has similar effects applied to a body burning with bile, choked with phlegm, or painful as a result of a disease arising from a disorder of the humors. It illuminates the blackest darkness of night. In the heat it cools the spot of earth it is placed. In the cold it warms it. Its presence drives vipers and other noxious animals from districts which are infested with these. If any woman or man is bitten by a viper, one need only show these this jewel; and its sight counteracts that poison, and makes it depart. Such are the qualities of this jewel. If one has a boil in the eye, or clouded eyesight, or a disease in the eye, or a cataract, one need only place this jewel on the eyes, and its mere presence removes and appeases these afflictions. Such are its qualities. Placed in water, it dyes the water all through with its own color. Wrapped in a white cloth, and thrown into water, it makes the water white. Equally, as wrapped or bound in a black-blue, or yellow, or red, or crimson cloth, or into cloth of any other color, it dyes the water into which it is thrown the color of the cloth. It also clears up any turbidity which may have arisen in the water. Endowed with such qualities is this jewel.
Ananda: Do these jewels, Kausika, belong to the world of the Gods, or to the people of Jambudvipa?
Sakra: These are found among the Gods. The jewels found among the people of Jambudvipa, on the other hand, are rather coarse and small, and not endowed with such qualities. As such these are infinitely inferior to these heavenly jewels. But the ones among the Gods are fine and full of all possible qualities. As this jewel is now put in a basket, or even placed upon it, this basket still is desirable after the jewel had again been taken out. The basket, through the qualities of the jewel, becomes an object of supreme longing. In the same way, O Lord, the qualities of cognition of all-knowing are derived from just this perfection of wisdom. On this account the relics of Tathagatas thus gone to Parinirvana are reverently concentrated upon. For these are true repositories of the cognition of all-knowingness. And as any demonstration of Dharma by Buddhas and Lords in all world systems is venerated and held in reverence as it comes forth from perfection of wisdom, so also the Dharma-discourser's demonstration of Dharma. As a king is revered, as his royal might gives courage to a great body of people, so also the speaker of Dharma, because, through this might of this Dharma-body, one such as this gives courage to a great body of people. But the relics of Tathagatas are revered for this same reason one reveres demonstrations of Dharma, and expositors of Dharma.
3. SUPREME VALUE OF THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM
So now, O Lord, as here are two lots; and as not only this great trichiliocosm, but as all world systems, countless as the sands of the Ganges, filled with relics of Tathagatas, is established as this first lot; and a copy of perfection of wisdom as this second lot and I am invited to choose either, and to take such, I take just this perfection of wisdom. It is not, O Lord, for any lack of respect for relics of Tathagatas. My respect for these is a real one. But it is perfection of wisdom pervading all-knowledge such as these relics of Tathagatas are revered, as these come forth from all-knowledge. In consequence any reverence for and concentration upon perfection of wisdom is in effect a worship of Buddhas, these Lords past, future and present. Moreover O Lord, anyone who aspires to see, in accordance with Dharma, the Buddha, these Lords who just now exist in immeasurable and incalculable world systems, needs course now in perfection of wisdom, make endeavours in, and develop such as this is.
The Lord: So it is, Kausika. All Tathagatas owe their enlightenment to just this perfection of wisdom, - whether these live in this past, future or present. I also, Kausika, am just now a Tathagata due to perfection of wisdom.
Sakra: A great perfection is this perfection of wisdom. For it allows Tathagatas to rightly know and behold thoughts and doings of all beings.
The Lord: So it is, Kausika. It is due to a Bodhisattva coursing for a long time in perfection of wisdom by which one rightly knows and beholds thoughts and doings of all beings.
Sakra: Does a Bodhisattva course only in the perfection of wisdom, and not in the other perfections?
The Lord: One such as this courses in all these six perfections. But it is just this perfection of wisdom which controls the Bodhisattva as one gives a gift, or guards morality, or perfects oneself in patience, or exerts vigour, or enters into meditative trance, or has insight into Dharmas. One cannot attain to any distinction or difference between these six perfections, all being upheld by skill in means and dedicated to perfection of wisdom, dedicated to all-knowledge. Just as no distinction or difference is conceived between shadows cast by different trees in Jambudvipa, -though their colors may differ, and their shapes, and their leaves, flowers and fruits, and their height and circumference, but these are all just called-shadows - even so one can neither attain nor ascribe to any distinction or difference between these six perfections, - neither can all of these Bodhisattvas upheld by skill in means, dedicated to perfection of wisdom, dedicated to all-knowledge.
Sakra: Endowed with great qualities is this perfection of wisdom, with immeasurable qualities, with boundless qualities!
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