Chapter VIII — Purity (RiBa)

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Chapter VIII

PURITY

Depth and Purity of Perfect Wisdom

Subhuti: It is hard to gain confidence in perfection of wisdom if one is unpracticed, lacks in wholesome roots and is in the hands of any friend who may be other than good, this friend being any one possessed of less than right intent, speech, action, and concentration toward countless beings.

The Lord: So it is, Subhuti. It is hard to gain confidence in perfection of wisdom if one is unpracticed, has only diminutive wholesome roots, is dull-witted, does not care, learns little, displays inferior understanding of wisdom, relies on any friends who may be other than good, is not eager to learn, and who is unwilling to ask questions and who remains unpracticed in wholesome dharmas.

Subhuti: How deep indeed Lord, how profound is perfection of wisdom, as being so hard to gain confidence in?

The Lord: Form is neither bound nor freed, because form has no own-being as innate, inherent, or individualized in any true or absolute sense. Any material process is wont to be assumed if, or as any do not exist. Any starting point of any material process [or an equivalent to form] is neither bound nor freed within or beyond any perceptibility, because any starting point of any material process is without own-being. Any end of material process is likewise without own-being, because in this same way, any truly profound explicitness of being, be-ness, or presence, cannot exist as any part of a nonexistent own-being of some present form. Discursive facts within and of themselves are ephemeron, illusive, and transitory. And this same applies for any remaining skandhas, i.e., feeling, perception, impulse, and consciousness. In short...any 'thing' whatsoever.

Subhuti: It is hard, it is exceedingly hard Lord, to gain confidence in perfection of wisdom if one is unpracticed, has planted no wholesome roots, is in the hands of any friend who may be other than good, has come to be or is under what is descried to be the sway of Mara, is lazy or of small vigour, or is not attentive to mindfulness.

The Lord: So it is, Subhuti. Because purity of form is identical with purity of fruit, and purity of fruit is identical with purity of form. It is thus this purity of form and this purity of fruit can neither be multiplied nor counted as two, nor are these one divided. And Subhuti, not even can these be counted as one, as these have no basis, no ground from which to determine any singleness. Neither can these be broken, nor cut apart. It is thus, as this purity of form comes from purity of fruit, and purity of this fruit from this purity of form. And the same relevance exists between purity of form and purity of all-knowledge. The same applies to any other skandhas whatsoever.

Sariputra: Fathomless, O Lord, is perfection of wisdom!

The Lord: From purity is revealed dissolution of defilement and obscurity.

Sariputra: A source of illumination beyond any source is perfection of wisdom

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: A light is perfect wisdom.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Not subject to rebirth is perfect wisdom.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Free from defilement is perfect wisdom.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Here is neither attainment nor reunion as perfect wisdom.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Perfect wisdom does not reproduce anyself.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Here is absolutely no rebirth of perfect wisdom, whether in any world of sense-desire, or in any world of form, or in any formless world.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Perfect wisdom neither knows or perceives.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: What does perfect wisdom neither know nor perceive?

The Lord: Form, and the other skandhas. And why? From purity.

Sariputra: Perfect wisdom neither helps nor hinders all-knowledge.

The Lord: From purity.

Sariputra: Perfect wisdom neither gains nor abandons any dharma.

The Lord: From purity.

Subhuti: The purity of form, etc., is due to purity of self.

The Lord: Because such is absolutely pure.

Subhuti: The purity of fruit, and purity of all-knowledge, are due to purity of self.

The Lord: Because of such absolute purity.

Subhuti: The absence of attainment and reunion is due to purity of self.

The Lord: Because of such absolute purity.

Subhuti: The boundlessness of form, etc., is due to boundlessness of self.

The Lord: Because of such absolute purity.

Subhuti: Any Bodhisattva who understands such thus, is perfect wisdom.

The Lord: Because of such absolute purity.

Subhuti: Moreover, perfection of wisdom does not stand on any shore on this side, nor on any shore beyond, nor athwart the two.

The Lord: Because of such absolute purity.

Subhuti: A Bodhisattva treating even insight as any object of perception, hereby parts from perfection of wisdom, and gets far away from such.

Attachments

The Lord: Well said, Subhuti. For also names, as any things whatsoever are called and assumingly adjudicated as such, and signs, as any one thing or group of things owing or lending any more or less or even equal substantialness or reality to another, are sources of attachment.

Subhuti: It is wonderful, O Lord, to see any extent to which perfection of wisdom is well learned, well explained, well rounded off. The Lord even announces these sources of attachment.

Sariputra: Which, Subhuti, are these attachments?

Subhuti: It is an attachment if one perceives any skandhas are empty, or past dharmas are past dharmas, future dharmas are future dharmas, and present dharmas are present dharmas. Such are merely names. It is an attachment if one forms any notion such as "someone who belongs to the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas begets a great a heap of merit through one's first production of any thought of enlightenment." Such are merely signs.

Sakra: In which manner, Subhuti, is any thought of enlightenment a source of attachment?

Subhuti: One is attached as one perceives of any thought of enlightenment as "this is a [any] first thought of enlightenment," and one now thinks to convert such to full enlightenment while conscious one is doing so. For it is quite impossible to turn over essential original nature of thought, by thought. Any thought or thing neither is nor is not as truth and reality, as one is merely aware as such, and merely indicates in some way or fashion, such to such ('others') within Suchness.

To reveal or have such revealed in this way, one does not waste any self or thing away, and the manner which one rouses others to Suchness is the sanction of Buddhas. As such, one succeeds in abandoning any and all points of attachment.

The Lord: Well said, Subhuti, you make Bodhisattvas aware of these points of attachment. I now announce other, more subtle attachments. Listen to these well, and pay good attention as I teach these to you.

Say on, O Lord, and the Venerable Subhuti listened in silence.

The Lord: Here Subhuti, any son or daughter of good family, full of faith, attends to Tathagata through some sign. But, so many signs, so many attachments! Such as this is also, Subhuti, from signs comes attachment. It is in this way of being, as this one is conscious, that one rejoices in all dharmas with no outflows of Buddhas and Lords thought of as either past, or of some future or even this present. After such rejoicing one simply turns over into full enlightenment any wholesome root which is associated with one's act of jubilation. As a matter of difference however, this true nature of even these dharmas is neither past, nor future, nor present; for such lie quite outside any of these three periods called time. For this reason such cannot be converted, for as Suchness this quite simple truth is such as any dharmas whatsoever cannot be treated as any sign, nor as any objective support, and in absolute truth can neither be seen, nor heard, nor felt, nor known, for any and all of these involve one's illusive self in this much more complicated process of be-ing as, perhaps, over and against this simple nature as such. (?)

Non-Attachment

Subhuti: Beyond any depth, beyond any presence, O Lord, is essential original nature of dharmas.

The Lord: Because such is isolated.

Subhuti: Unfathomable is essential nature of perfect wisdom.

The Lord: As any and all essential nature is pure and isolated, here is revealed perfection of wisdom as deepening toward essential nature, yet not as perfect wisdom.

Subhuti: Isolated is essential nature as perfect wisdom. I pay homage to perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: Also all dharmas are isolated as essential nature. And the isolatedness of essential nature to all dharmas is identical with perfection of wisdom. For Tathagatas fully know all dharmas as not made.

Subhuti: Here do all dharmas have the character of not being fully known by the Tathagatas?

The Lord: It is just through essential nature these dharmas are not some'thing'. Nature for such as these is no-nature, and no-nature are these as nature. All dharmas have one mark only, i.e. no mark. It is for such a reason all dharmas have a character of not being fully known by Tathagatas. Here are no two natures of dharma, but just one single one is nature of all dharmas. And nature of all dharmas is not nature, and no-nature is their nature. It is thus all these points of attachment are abandoned.

Subhuti: Deepening still, O Lord, is perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: Through depth such as this is like unto space.

Subhuti: Hard to understand, O Lord, is perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: Nothing is fully known by the enlightened.

Subhuti: Unthinkable, O Lord, is perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: Perfection of wisdom is neither some'thing' thought can know, nor which thought may even have any access to.

Subhuti: As such, not some'thing' made is perfection of wisdom, O Lord.

The Lord: As such, neither can maker be apprehended nor any'thing' be made.

Subhuti: How under these or any circumstances, does any Bodhisattva course as perfect wisdom?

The Lord: A Bodhisattva courses as perfect wisdom if, while coursing one does not course in skandhas; or if one does not course in any conviction such as skandhas are impermanent or are empty, or these are neither defective nor entire. And if one does not even course in any conviction such as form is neither any defectiveness nor entirety of itself as form, and the same for any 'other' skandhas, one courses as perfect wisdom, but only inasmuch as any perceptible manifestation to any of us may allow, or to such a greater or lesser degree as one may for one's self make perceptible. Whatsoever degree this may or may not come to be, to be sure perfect wisdom is beyond even such.

Subhuti: It is wonderful, O Lord, how well such reasons for attachment and non-attachment of Bodhisattvas is explained.

The Lord: One courses in perfect wisdom if one does not course in any idea such as form is with attachment, or without attachment. And as for form, so for any other skandhas, the sight organ, etc., to even such as feeling born from eye contact; so for any physical elements, the six perfections, the thirty-seven wings of enlightenment, the powers, any grounds of self-confidence, any analytical knowledge, the eighteen special Buddha-dharmas and fruits of holy life, from the fruit of a Streamwinner to all-knowledge. When one courses thus, a Bodhisattva does not generate attachment to anything, from form to all-knowledge. For all-knowledge is unattached, it is neither bound nor freed, and here is no-thing whatsoever which can rise above or beyond this, such as this is, even unto any self. It is thus, Subhuti, Bodhisattvas course in perfect wisdom through rising completely above any and all attachments. [196]

Like Space or an Echo

Subhuti: It is wonderful, O Lord, how deep is this Dharma, I mean perfection of wisdom. Demonstration neither diminishes nor increases this. Non-demonstration also neither diminishes nor increases this.

The Lord: Well said, Subhuti. It is just as if any Tathagatas, during one's entire life, speak in praise of space, without hereby increasing the volume of space; and space does not diminish either, while one is not speaking in praise for it. Or, it is as with an illusory man. Praise neither penetrates him nor wins him over. When here is no praise he is neither affected, nor frustrated. So, true nature of any or all dharmas is just so, whether such gets demonstrated or not.

Subhuti: A doer of what is hard is any Bodhisattva who, while coursing in perfection of wisdom, neither loses heart nor gets elated; who persists in making endeavours about this and does not turn back. Any development toward revealing perfect wisdom through dissolution of, or as any and all obscuration, is like some sort of development toward space. Homage is paid to any Bodhisattvas who are armed with this armor. For with space these want to be armed when, for the sake of beings these put on the armor. Armed with great armor is a Bodhisattva, a liberator is any Bodhisattva when one wants to be armed with an armor, and win full enlightenment for the sake of beings who are like space, who are like the realm of dharma. Such is one who wants to liberate like unto space, one who aspires even to get rid of space, one who has won this armor of this great perfection of vigor, this Bodhisattva who is armed with this armor for the sake of beings who are like unto space, who are like unto this realm of Dharma.

Hereupon a certain monk saluted the Lord with folded hands and said to the Lord: I pay homage, O Lord, to perfection of wisdom! For such neither produces nor stops any dharma whatsoever.

Sakra: If someone, holy Subhuti, makes efforts about this perfection of wisdom, what are these efforts about...or toward?

Subhuti: One makes efforts about or toward space. And one makes one's efforts about or toward a mere vacuity if one decides to train as perfect wisdom or to work toward such as perfection of wisdom.

Sakra: Please, O Lord, command me to shelter, defend and protect any son or daughter of good family who bears in mind this perfection of wisdom!

Subhuti: Sakra, can you see any dharma which you intend to shelter, defend and protect?

Sakra: Not so, holy Subhuti.

Subhuti: So when a Bodhisattva stands in perfection of wisdom as this is being expounded, just this is one's shelter, defense and protection. On the other hand, if and when one is lacking in view of perfect wisdom, beings and ghosts looking for entry will gain entrance into one such as this. One does, however, want to arrange shelter, defense and protection for a Bodhisattva coursing in view of perfect wisdom. What do you think, Kausika, are you able to arrange shelter, defense and protection for an echo?

Sakra: Not so, holy Subhuti.

Subhuti: Just so, any Bodhisattva coursing and dwelling in view of perfect wisdom, comprehends all dharmas are like an echo. One does not think about such, does not review, identify, or perceive such, and knows such dharmas do not exist, their reality does not appear, cannot be found, cannot be got at. If one dwells thus, one courses in view of perfect wisdom.

Conclusion

Hereupon and through the Buddha's might the four Great Kings in this great trichiliocosm, and all these Sakras, Chiefs of Gods, and all these great Brahma Gods, and Sahapati, the great Brahma -all came to this place the Lord is. Reverently these are saluting the Lord's feet with their heads and are walking three times round the Lord, and are now standing on one side. Through the Buddha's might and through his miraculous power their minds were impressed by sight of a thousand Buddhas.

In these very words, by these monks called Subhuti, etc., is this very perfection of wisdom being expounded, just this very chapter of perfection of wisdom. With reference to just this these Sakras, Chiefs of Gods, ask questions and counter-questions. At this very spot of earth is just this perfection of wisdom being taught. Maitreya also, the Bodhisattva, the great being will, as he wins the supreme enlightenment at this very spot of earth, teach this very same perfection of wisdom.

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