Chapter XXIII — Sakra (RiBa)

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Chapter XXIII

~SAKRA~

The View of Bodhisattvas

At this time Sakra, Chief of Gods, is seated amid this assembly, and says: To be sure, deep is this perfection of wisdom, hard to see, difficult to understand!

The Lord: So it is, Kausika. As infinite as space is perfect wisdom infinite. As isolated none can come close to see, as empty is perfect wisdom beyond thought and understanding.

Sakra: These beings which hear this perfection of wisdom, take it up, study, spread, and write it, are endowed with more than a puny wholesome root!

The Lord: So it is. Imagine all the beings in Jambudvipa are endowed [411] with [the ability to observe] the ten ways of wholesome action, do these on the strength of this endowment beget much merit?

Sakra: These do, O Lord.

The Lord: A person who hears, studies, spreads and writes this perfection of wisdom begets merit other than these, as merit beyond any reach of greatness, and indeed beyond even merit itself. The just mentioned heap of merit, due to the morality of all beings in Jambudvipa, is not compared with any so called merit which is due to the wholesome root of one who hears, studies, spreads and writes this deep perfection of wisdom.

Here and now, a monk said to Sakra, Chief of Gods: You are conceived of and recognized in essence, Kausika, by a person who hears, studies, spreads and writes this deep perfection of wisdom!

Sakra: I am even conceived of in essence and recognized by these sons or daughters of good family who raise but one single thought to enlightenment: [412] how much more so, as, in addition, these train to Thusness, progress to thus, make endeavours regarding thus; thus on their journey these conceive in essence and cognize the whole world with its Gods, beings and Asuras. On their journey these not only conceive and cognize in essence the world with its Gods, beings and Asuras, but also all the Streamwinners, Once-Returners, Never-Returners, Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas.

These conceive and cognize also in essence Bodhisattvas which are great almsgivers but lack as yet in perfect wisdom and skill in means; and equally these with morality as perfectly pure, which possess a vast quantity of morality, with observation of the moral rules as unbroken, flawless, unstained, complete, perfectly pure and unspotted, but also as yet lack in perfect wisdom and skill in means; and equally any which reveal from within themselves patience and peaceful calm, [413] with thoughts free from hostility, which think no thought, nor harbor any feelings of malice even while burned at the stake, but who lack in perfect wisdom and skill in means; and equally any which exert perseverance, which persist in trying, are free from sloth, and remain uncowed in all these do with body, voice and mind, but which as yet lack perfect wisdom and skill in means; and equally these who are fond of the trances and delight in these, which are strong and powerful in the trances, which are established in the trances, which are masters of trances, but which as yet lack in perfect wisdom and skill in means.

For, as one courses in perfection of wisdom as this is expounded, a Bodhisattva conceives of and recognizes in essence the worlds with their Gods, beings and Asuras, conceives of and recognizes in essence any and all which belong to the vehicle of Sravaka Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, also the Bodhisattvas which are not skilled in means. And all these mentioned cannot surpass one such as this, for such is this nature and profound balance struck by total equanimity.

For a Bodhisattva which courses in perfection of wisdom as this is expounded, which complies with this...takes up such a position so the lineage of all-knowing is not interrupted, and does not keep aloof from Tathagatas. This one's journey, as one progresses in this way, shortly reveals to one such as this the terrace of enlightenment; [414] one training oneself in this way, rescues beings which are sunken into the mud of defilement. Training oneself this way, one trains in this training of a Bodhisattva, and not in the training of Sravaka Disciple or Pratyekabuddha.

Rewards of Perfect Wisdom

And the four Great Kings, the World Guardians, come to any Bodhisattva who trains this way in the perfection of wisdom, and these say to this one: "Train yourself quickly in this course of a Bodhisattva, O you born of good family! Nimbly train yourself! Here are the four begging bowls which you receive as you are seated on the terrace of enlightenment, as one which has revealed full enlightenment." Not only the four World Guardians come to a Bodhisattva which trains in perfect wisdom as is being expounded, but I also come, not to mention other Gods. Constantly as well, Tathagatas bring one to mind. All the worldly ills which might befall the Bodhisattva which courses in perfect wisdom, such as attacks from others, etc., are prevented from affecting this one in any way. This also, O Lord, is a quality which a Bodhisattva which courses in perfect wisdom gains in this very life.

Ananda just now thinks: Is this speech of Sakra, Chief of Gods, due to his own insight, or to the Buddha's might?

Sakra, through the Buddha's might, read his thoughts, and said: To the Buddha's might, Ananda, to the Buddha's sustaining power is this attributed. For I myself [415] am quite incapable of uttering anything relevant on the subject of Bodhisattvas.

The Lord: So it is, Ananda. What Sakra, Chief of Gods, is saying is due to Tathagatas might, to this sustaining power.


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