Chapter XXVIII — Avakirnakusuma (RiBa)

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Chapter XXVIII

~AVAKURNAKUSUNA~

The Prediction of Avakirnakusuma

So, at this time, one of the Gods of the Thirty-three seized Mandarava flowers, magnificent Mandarava flowers, and comes here to the Lord. And just at this time, six thousand monks are assembled and seated in this assembly. They rise from their seats, put their upper robes over one shoulder, place their right knees on the earth, and salute the Lord with their hands together. Through the Buddha's might their hands are now filled Mandarava flowers, with magnificent Mandarava flowers. They scatter these flowers over the Lord, and speak: "We, O Lord, course in this perfection of wisdom!" Here and now, as this occasion progresses, the Lord is smiling. Such is the nature of the Buddhas and Lords that, when a smile is made to manifest [in an assembly of Bodhisattva], multiple colors of rays issue from the Lord's mouth, -rays of blue, yellow, red, white, crimson, crystal, silverfish and golden. These rays illuminate endless and boundless world systems with their luster, rising right up even to this world of Brahma, again returning from this world to the Lord, circulate thrice round the Lord, and now vanish again into the head of the Lord. [458] Here and now the venerable Ananda rises from his seat, put his upper robe over one shoulder, placed his right knee on the earth, placed his hands together and offered them and his entire being to the Lord, and said: It is not without reason the Tathagata manifests a smile. What is the reason for your smile, O Lord?

The Lord now speaks and says: These six thousand monks, Ananda, in a future period, in the Starlike aeon, do finally come to know full enlightenment, and within this demonstrate dharma to beings. These all bear the same name. With Avakirnakusuma for their name these Tathagatas are teachers in the world. These all have an equal congregation of disciples. These all live the same length of time, i.e., twenty thousand aeons. Each one of these have an extensive holy writ, which spreads widely among Gods and beings. In each case their good law abides for the same length of time, for twenty thousand aeons. And showers of flowers, of all the five colors, descends upon all of these - wherever they may leave a home which they had in a village, town or marketplace, or wherever they may turn once again the wheel of dharmas, wherever they may dwell, wherever they may appear [among people]. [459] [NOTE: the name 'Avakirnakusuma', literally means, 'covered with flowers', said in this prediction to be a group of future Buddhas.]

Praise of Perfect Wisdom

So here, Ananda, in any of these three times, Bodhisattvas aspiring to dwell in this highest dwelling, beyond limit, aspiring to dwell in this dwelling of Tathagata, dwell in this dwelling of perfect wisdom. With any Bodhisattvas coursing in perfecting this wisdom within, and actually becoming this and adapting this as oneself, ones such as these can be quite certain of having, before one is reborn here among people, deceased among people or among the heavenly hosts of the Tushitas. For it is among people and Tushita Gods this perfection of wisdom circulates to this full extent. One can be certain Tathagatas behold such Bodhisattvas as course in this perfection of wisdom, learn this, bear this in mind, study, speak of, repeat, or merely write this, and also instruct any other Bodhisattvas, admonish, instigate and encourage these.

You can know that ones such as these have planted and continue planting wholesome roots within and beyond any known limits, or any limits yet to be established...and these do this within this view and thought of Tathagatas. These do, not only in the presence of Sravakas, Disciples, and Pratyekabuddhas plant wholesome roots so as to train self and others in perfect wisdom, but, without any doubt these Bodhisattvas training in this perfection of wisdom and remaining unafraid, plant wholesome roots with Tathagatas. [460]

Any taking up this perfection of wisdom, bear this in mind, study, speak of, repeat and write this, which pursue this, - in its meaning, contents and method - one can be quite certain these have been face to face with Tathagatas. As Bodhisattvas do not revile this perfection of wisdom, neither oppose, deny nor reject this, one can know these fulfill their inclinations indicated under Jinas, these Buddhas of this past.

As a Bodhisattva does not go back on one's vow to reveal and have revealed, to realize and bring to realization full enlightenment, this one does not give the wholesome root which one plants in the all-presence of Tathagatas, over to Discipleship or Pratyekabuddhahood as one's reward. As a rule, as a matter of imperishable principle struck by the complete interdependence of any and all dharmas, such Bodhisattvas are grateful and practice this perfection of wisdom with no stopping whatsoever, even beyond these forms, feelings, perceptions, impulses or any consciousness of such dharmas. One can know this, to be sure. The spontaniety of Suchness reveals this thoughtless, timeless cognition borne of pure awareness...identical to space.

Transmission of the Sutra to Ananda

So, here now, Ananda, again and again I entrust and transmit to you this perfection of wisdom, laid out in letters, so this is available for learning, bearing in mind, discoursing, studying and spreading wide, so this lasts long, so this does not disappear. As, Ananda, you forget all the demonstrations of dharma which you learn directly from me - the perfection of wisdom being this lone exception - as you cast these away, and allow these to be forgotten, this is but a slight offence against Tathagatas.

But consider as you forget, cast away and allow to be forgotten only one verse of this perfection of wisdom, or merely a part of a verse, this is a serious [461] offence against Tathagatas, and this displeases me. And as you learn this perfection of wisdom, and you forget this, cast this away, allow this to be forgotten, you fail in the respect, reverence and worship afforded Tathagatas, past, future and present, all together. Here and now, Ananda, remember it is a serious offence against Tathagatas, whereas you learn this perfection of wisdom, you forget this, cast this away, and allow this to be forgotten, this displeases me. For Tathagatas say "this perfection of wisdom is mother, this sourceless source, the generatrix of past, future and present Tathagatas, the nurse in all-knowledge." Here and now, Ananda, do I entrust and transmit to you this perfection of wisdom, so it does not disappear.

This perfection of wisdom is learned, borne in mind, studied, repeated, written and developed. Attend this well, and spread this well. And as one learns this, one carefully analyzes this grammatically, letter by letter, syllable by syllable, word by word. [462] As the dharma-body of past, future and present Tathagatas is this dharma-text authoritative. In this same way in which Ananda behaves towards me, at present residing as a Tathagata - with solitude, affection and respect - in this same virtuous spirit, do you learn this perfection of wisdom, bear this in mind, study, repeat, write and develop this, respect, revere and worship this. This is a way for you or any to worship, this is a way to show affection, serene faith and respect for the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords.

As I, a Tathagata, am dear and pleasant to you Ananda, and you do not abandon me, here and now may this perfection of wisdom be dear and pleasant to you, and may you not abandon this, may you not forget even one single word of this, so this does not disappear. For long I speak to you about this bestowal of perfection of wisdom, for one kalpa, or for the remainder of a kalpa, for one hundred kalpas, for up to hundreds of thousands of kotis of kalpas, and more. But to cut this short, in this same way in which I am your teacher, so is this perfection of wisdom. In this same way in which the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords are teachers of the world with its Gods, beings and Asuras, just so is this perfection of wisdom.

Here and now, Ananda, [463] with a measureless bestowal I entrust and transmit to you this perfection of wisdom, which is beyond any measure whatsoever, for the benefit and happiness of the world with its Gods, beings and Asuras. As one does not want to abandon these Jewels of Tathagata, Dharma, or noble Sangha, as one does not want to abandon enlightenment of past, future and present Buddhas and Lords, - does one not abandon this perfection of wisdom! And here is this further admonition - as these who learn this perfection of wisdom, bear this in mind, study, repeat, write and develop this, these assist in enlightenment of the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords. For, whoever assists this perfection of wisdom as it is either thought to be, or seeming to crumble away, such a one assists in enlightenment of the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords. From this perfection of wisdom does enlightenment of Buddhas and Lords come forth. And this holds good of all Tathagatas, whether past, future or present.

Here and now, a Bodhisattva which has aspiration to know full enlightenment and to train in the six perfections listens to this perfection of wisdom, studys, repeats and writes this, [464] and one trains in this very perfection of wisdom, and makes endeavours around, about, and within this. This perfection of wisdom is mother, this sourceless source and generatrix of Bodhisattvas. It is due to this perfection of wisdom any Bodhisattvas ever train in the six perfections, and at any time progress to full enlightenment. It is due to just this perfection of wisdom Bodhisattvas progress in the six perfections, as all these perfections come to nourish this which provides dissolution of defilements and revelations toward supreme enlightenment as these are indicated and revealed from this perfection of wisdom.

Here and now, Ananda, again and again, for a second time, for a third time, do I entrust and transmit this perfection of wisdom to you, so it does not disappear. For this perfection of wisdom is the inexhaustible storehouse of the dharma of Tathagatas. The dharma which Buddhas and Lords demonstrate to beings in this past period, in these worlds of birth-and-death with no beginning or end, all this is indicated and revealed from just this storehouse of dharma, from this perfection of wisdom. As well, this dharma which the Buddhas and Lords demonstrate to beings, reveals also full enlightenment in any future period, for any such as have a view which leads beyond these measureless worlds of birth-and-death, also as is indicated and revealed from just this storehouse of dharma, this perfection of wisdom. And also the Buddhas and Lords just now residing in countless world systems, and demonstrating dharma, these also derive revelation from just this storehouse of dharma, this perfection of wisdom. As inexhaustible, here and now is this storehouse of dharma, this perfection of wisdom, still and after all. [464a]

As, Ananda, you demonstrate dharma on the Disciple-level to persons who take vows to the vehicle of the Disciples, and as a result of your demonstration of dharma all the beings in the great trichiliocosm realize Arhatship, you do not do your duty as my disciple as in this way you keep moving as I the wheel of dharma, and demonstrate dharma. But as, on this other hand, you demonstrate and reveal but one single verse of dharma associated with this perfection of wisdom to a Bodhisattva, I am pleased with you, who as my disciple turns as I the wheel of dharma, and demonstrate dharma. As you consider this demonstration of dharma of yours through which the beings in this great trichiliocosm all are induced to attain Arhatship, and of these Arhats the meritorious work founded on giving, on morality, and on meditational development continues, does all this constitute a great heap of merit?

Ananda: It would, O Lord.

The Lord: A person who has taken vows to the vehicle of the Disciple begets a different and immeasurable merit as this one demonstrates to Bodhisattvas the dharma associated with the perfection of wisdom. This merit is different as it is a Bodhisattva who demonstrates to another Bodhisattva [a verse of] dharma associated with this perfection of wisdom, -for even one single day only, for a morning, for an hour, for half an hour, for a minute, nay for a second, for a moment, or for an incidence of a single moment. For this gift of dharma on the part of any Bodhisattva is different from all the wholesome roots of all who avow to the vehicle of the Sravakas, Disciples, or Pratyekabuddhas. It is quite impossible for a Bodhisattva who is thus endowed as a Bodhisattva with wholesome roots, who thus brings to mind this wholesome root, to turn away from full enlightenment. This cannot be.

Akshobhya's Buddha-Field

Now on this occasion, the Lord exercises his wonderworking power. The entire assembly - monks, nuns, laymen and lay women, Gods, Nagas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras, Mahoragas, humans and ghosts - these all, through the Buddha's might, [465] see this Tathagata Akshobhya surrounded by the congregation of monks, accompanied by a retinue of Bodhisattvas demonstrating dharma, in an assembly vast like the ocean, deep and imperturbable, surrounded and accompanied by Bodhisattvas which are endowed with unthinkable qualities, all of these Arhats, -with outflows exhausted, undefiled, fully controlled, quite freed in their hearts, well freed and wise, thoroughbreds, great Serpents, their work done, their task accomplished, their burden laid down, their own weal accomplished, with the fetters which bound these to become, extinguished, their hearts well freed by right understanding, in perfect control of their entire hearts.

Here and now the Lord again withdrew his wonderworking power. The Lord Akshobhya, a Tathagata, no longer appeared, and all the Bodhisattvas and great Disciples, and the Buddha-field no longer comes within the range of vision of the members of the Lord's assembly. For the Tathagata drew in his wonderworking power. The Lord said to Ananda: In this same way, Ananda, all dharmas do not come within the range of vision. Dharmas do not come within the range of vision of dharmas, dharmas do not see dharmas, dharmas do not know dharmas. All dharmas are of such a nature as these can be neither known nor seen, and are incapable of doing anything. All dharmas are inactive, these cannot be grasped, as these are as inactive as space. All dharmas are unthinkable, similar to illusory men. All dharmas are unfindable, as these in a state of non-existence. As one courses thus a Bodhisattva courses in perfect wisdom and does not settle down in any dharma. [466] As one trains thus, a Bodhisattva trains in perfect wisdom. As a Bodhisattva aspires to reveal, to realize great enlightenment, which is perfection of all training, one thus trains in and as perfecting wisdom.

As the training in perfect wisdom is described as the foremost of all trainings, as the best, the choicest, the most excellent, the most sublime, the highest, the utmost, the unequalled, the incomparable, this is said to bring benefit and happiness to all the worlds, this is described as a protector of the helpless, it is ordained and extolled by the Buddha. The Tathagatas, as a result of training in this perfection of wisdom, of having stood in this training, can lift up this great trichiliocosm with one big toe, and just let it drop again. It does not occur to Buddhas and Lords that "this great trichiliocosm has been lifted up, has been dropped again," for the perfect wisdom is endowed with immeasurable and incalculable qualities. As a result of training in this training of perfect wisdom, the Buddhas and Lords reach a state of non-attachment to past, future and present dharmas. Of all the possible trainings in the past, future and present period, this training in perfect wisdom is foremost, the best, the choicest, the most excellent, the most sublime, the highest, the utmost, the unequalled, the incomparable.

Extinction, Non-Extinction, and Perfect Wisdom

Perfect wisdom is unlimited, inexhaustible and boundless, [467] for limits, exhaustion, and bounds are absent in perfect wisdom. To attribute limits, exhaustion and bounds to perfect wisdom is like attributing these dharmas to space. As this perfection of wisdom is unlimited, inexhaustible and boundless, I do not teach anything such as this perfection of wisdom has any limits, can be exhausted, or that this has any bounds. As well, the sum total of these words contained in this Sutra is not identical with perfection of, perfecting of, or even perfect, wisdom. Perfect wisdom, although called such as this is, is nonetheless not subject to any physical, verbal or mental limitations, it is without any limits whatsoever.

Ananda: For what reason does the Lord not teach any limits to perfect wisdom?

The Lord: It is due to the fact this is inexhaustible and isolated. As one cannot apprehend any isolatedness of any isolated dharma, how much less can one here apprehend any definite circumference to any, or all of this? Thus, beyond any and all measurement this perfection of wisdom is unlimited, without any limits whatsoever. The Tathagatas throughout and beyond all time draw strength from just this perfection of wisdom, [468] and yet this is neither exhausted, nor does this become extinct. This also means Tathagatas of any future also draw strength from just this perfection of wisdom, and yet this is neither exhausted, nor does this become extinct. These Tathagatas also just now residing in countless world systems, these also draw strength from just this perfection of wisdom, and yet it neither becomes exhausted nor extinct. I also, as a Tathagata just now, also draw my strength from just this perfection of wisdom, and yet this neither becomes exhausted, nor extinct. One can exhaust this perfection of wisdom no more than one can exhaust space. So, this perfection of wisdom is quite inexhaustible.

Here now it occurs to Venerable Subhuti: Beyond fathoming is this station which the Tathagata teaches. Let me now question the Tathagata about this station. And Subhuti said to the Lord: How inexhaustible, O Lord, is perfect wisdom?

The Lord: This cannot become extinct, since, like space, this cannot be extinguished, just as all dharmas are not produced, can this not be exhausted.

Subhuti: How does a Bodhisattva consummate this perfection of wisdom?

The Lord: Through non-extinction of form, feeling, perceptions, impulses, and consciousness. [469] Through non-extinction of ignorance, of karma-formations, of name and form, of the six sense-fields, of contact, of craving, of grasping and attachments, of becoming, of birth, of decay and death, of grief, lamentation, pain, sadness and despair. In this manner the Bodhisattva surveys conditioned coproduction in such a way as one avoids any duality of the extremes. One surveys it without seeing any beginning, end or middle. To survey conditioned coproduction, one acquires cognition of all-knowing. Here is non-acceptance and so, non-rejection, non-attachment and so, non-detachment.

For a Bodhisattva which, while coursing in perfect wisdom through this consummation of non-extinction, and surveying conditioned coproduction, cannot stand on the level of Sravaka, Disciple, or Pratyekabuddha, but must stand in all-knowledge. Some Bodhisattvas turn away from supreme enlightenment, as, due to not having resorted to these mental activities [which aspire to and result in consummation of non-extinction] and to skill in means, these do not know how a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom consummates perfect wisdom through the consummation of non-extinction, [470] nor how conditioned coproduction is surveyed in this perfection of wisdom through consummation of non-extinction.

Any Bodhisattvas at any time turning away from full enlightenment do so as these do not resort to skill in means. Any Bodhisattvas at any time not turning away from full enlightenment, do so due to this perfection of wisdom. In this way a Bodhisattva which courses in perfection of wisdom consummates perfect wisdom through consummation of non-extinction. A Bodhisattva which thus surveys conditioned coproduction, does certainly not review any dharma as is being produced without a cause nor does one review any dharmas as permanent, stable, eternal, not liable to reversal, nor does one review any dharmas as a doer or a feeler.

This is the surveying of conditioned coproduction on the part of a Bodhisattva which consummates this perfection of wisdom through the consummation of non-extinction, and which courses in this perfection of wisdom. At the time a Bodhisattva, consummating the perfection of wisdom through the consummation of non-extinction, surveys conditioned coproduction, at this time one does not review form as a real separate entity, nor feelings, perceptions, impulses or consciousness; nor ignorance, karma-formations, etc., to decay and death, [471] sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and despair; nor does one review any fact "this is my Buddha-field" as real, nor the fact "that is another Buddha-field," nor does one review as real any dharma by which one distinguishes between this and other Buddha-fields. This, Subhuti, is the perfection of wisdom of the Bodhisattvas, the great beings.

Advantages Derived from Perfect Wisdom

As a Bodhisattva courses in perfect wisdom, what is thought of as, and therefore seen as Mara the Evil One feels struck with the dart of great sorrow, just as a person does when one's mother or father have died.

Subhuti: Is this affliction confined to one Mara, or does it affect many Maras, or does it extend to all the Maras in the great trichiliocosm?

The Lord: At any time as Bodhisattvas dwell in the dwelling of perfect wisdom all the Maras in the great trichiliocosm are thought of as feeling struck with the dart of great sorrow, and these cannot sit still on their respective thrones. [472] For all these worlds, with these Gods, beings and Asuras, cannot gain entry to a Bodhisattva which dwells within this dwelling of perfect wisdom, so can these not gain a foothold which would allow this taking possession of, this hurting, or this turning one away from full enlightenment. So now, Subhuti, a Bodhisattva which aspires to reveal and realize full enlightenment of self and others as already in place, courses in perfect wisdom.

In a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom the perfection of giving arrives at its most perfect development, and so do perfections of morality, patience, vigour, and concentration. In such a one all six perfections arrive at the most perfect development, and also all varieties of skill in means. Whatever is thought of as, or seen as deeds of Mara arising in a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom, such a one naturally knows these as these are taking place, and one gets rid of these again.

A Bodhisattva aspiring to acquire all the varieties of skill in means courses in perfect wisdom, and develops this. At any time in which a Bodhisattva courses in perfect wisdom, and continuously aspires for this, one brings to mind not only the Buddhas and Lords residing in countless world systems, but also all-knowledge which comes forth from perfection of wisdom.

One now produces the thought, "I also aspire to reach dharmas which these Buddhas and Lords reach!" [473] For a day, or even down to the time taken up by a finger snap, a Bodhisattva which courses in perfect wisdom raises such thoughts and aspires to these. But a Bodhisattva which even for one day, or even for the duration of a fingersnap, aspires for this perfection of wisdom begets different merit, indeed receives winds other than a Bodhisattva which leans on a basis, and for countless aeons gives gifts. Such a Bodhisattva stands in irreversibility as one's winds carry one through to revelations of non-extinction and nothing as such to become extinct, timelessness, and this realization which is borne through any and all reality-limits, even unto this dharmakaya as pure and undifferentiated awareness, the same as space.

One such as this speaks of this as if it were indeed such a finger snap, for this has no beginning and in no-time is beyond even any duration. A Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom and which, even for a day, or even for the duration of a finger snap, raises such thoughts, is, we know, brought to mind by Tathagatas. How much more so one who daily pursues such thoughts. What future destiny can one expect a Bodhisattva to have which Tathagatas have brought to mind? No other destiny except full enlightenment can one expect of these. One such as this cannot possibly be reborn in the states of woe. One can expect such a one to be reborn in these heavens, and even here one is not without the Tathagatas, and here one comes to mature beings. These are the qualities and advantages of a Bodhisattva coursing in perfection of wisdom, and aspiring for perfect wisdom, and raising such thoughts, [474] even for the length of a finger snap. How much greater is the advantage of one who pursues such thoughts daily, as for instance Bodhisattva Gandhahastin who just now leads this holy life in the presence of Tathagata Akshobhya.


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