Chapter XXVII — The Core (RiBa)

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Chapter XXVII


The Bodhisattvas Courage in Difficulties

Sariputra: this core and substance of things course these Bodhisattvas coursing in perfect wisdom!

Subhuti: Translucently as well, Sariputra...devoid of any center or boundary, in dharmas devoid even of substantiality course theseBodhisattvas coursing in perfect wisdom.

Here and now, these thoughts occur at once to many thousands of Gods of the realm of sense-desire: Homage is due to these beings which raise thoughts to, and are consummating these thoughts in full enlightenment, these coursing in this most profound perfection of wisdom, and as these are coursing thus, do not realize any boundary to reality, be this on the level of a Sravaka, Disciple, or even of a Pratyekabuddha. In this way also are Bodhisattvas known as doers of what is hard, as these course in this true nature of dharma, but do not realize this as such, for of this truth is herein no thing to be revealed, and indeed, nothing to realize. This is, again...Suchness. We, as any and all dharmas, are this already, prior to and beyond even any thought to seek for it...and once we begin to seek, are no longer that which we seek, for we think of this, then, as some thing other than what this is.

Subhuti read their thoughts, and said to them: This is not hard for these Bodhisattvas that these do not realize any reality-limit. This, however, is hard for these, this is most hard for these, [445] as these put on this armor of this resolution to lead countless beings to Nirvana, but now absolutely such beings do not exist. And since these do not exist, these cannot be got at.

Owing to isolatedness of beings, these who are disciplined thus absolutely do not exist. It is in this spirit the Bodhisattva set out toward revealing full enlightenment, and decides to discipline beings. For isolatedness of beings is known only as is the design of isolatedness of space [as dharmakaya]. In this way also Bodhisattvas are doers of what is hard, as these put on this armor for the sake of beings who do not exist, who cannot be got at.

One decides to put on space exactly the same as one decides to put on this armor for the sake of beings. And yet this armor, as non-extinguishable space IS put on by Bodhisattvas for the sake of beings. But this non-apprehension of beings, in [ultimate and] absolute reality, is taught by Tathagatas. And this non-apprehension of beings is inferred from this very isolatedness, and from the isolatedness of any who are so disciplined is the isolatedness of a Bodhi-being inferred. As a Bodhisattva, while this is being taught, does not lose heart, one can know this one courses in this perfection of wisdom. For from the isolatedness of a being is known the isolatedness of form, feeling, perception, impulse, and consciousness...and this the same of all dharmas. [446] Thus is the isolatedness of all dharmas viewed. As this isolatedness of all dharmas is thus taught, a Bodhisattva does not lose heart, and due to this, one courses in this perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: For what reason does a Bodhisattva not lose heart as the isolatedness of all dharmas is thus taught?

Subhuti: Due to isolatedness no dharma can ever lose heart. For one cannot get at any dharma as loses heart, nor at any dharma which makes a dharma lose heart.

The Lord: So it is, Subhuti. It is quite certain a Bodhisattva courses in perfect and natural wisdom as this is being taught, demonstrated, expounded and pointed does not lose heart, is neither cast down nor depressed, is not cowed or stolid, does not turn one's mind away from this, does not have one's back broken, and remains unafraid.

The Bodhisattva Protected by the Gods, and Against Mara

Subhuti: So it is. As a Bodhisattva courses thus, one courses in perfect wisdom. And the Gods round Indra, around Brahman, round Prajapati, round Ishana, and the crowds of men and women round the Rishis, from a distance pay homage with hands together to a Bodhisattva coursing thus. [447]

The Lord: And not only these, but also all the other Gods, up to the Akanistha Gods, pay homage to such a one. And with the Buddha-eye, Tathagatas within any present moment residing in countless world systems behold these Bodhisattvas thus coursing in perfect wisdom, and these help such a one, and bring one to mind. This is quite certain, Subhuti, these Bodhisattvas coursing in perfect wisdom, and being helped and brought to mind by Tathagatas, are borne in mind as irreversible from full enlightenment being revealed and realized as such. No obstacle seen or thought of as being put up by Mara or anyone else can stop these.

Even as all beings in the great trichiliocosm are seen as being evil Maras, and each one of these conjure up just as many diabolic armies, [448] even these all together have not the strength to obstruct on one's way to full enlightenment any Bodhisattva brought to mind by the Buddhas and coursing in perfect wisdom. And this remains true even as all the beings in all the countless trichiliocosms are seen as evil Maras, and as each one of these conjures up just as many diabolic armies. The endowment with these two dharmas safeguards a Bodhisattva against all attacks which are seen and thought of as coming from the Maras, or their hosts: 1) One can not abandon any being, and 2) One surveys all dharmas as reflected from emptiness. Two other dharmas have this same effect: 1) As one speaks so one acts, and 2) One is brought to mind by the Buddhas, the Lords.

As a Bodhisattva courses thus, the Gods also decide to go up to one such as this. These decide to ask questions and counter-questions, [449] to honor, and to strengthen one's determination by saying: "Soon, child of good family, shall you know full enlightenment! Here now, go on dwelling in this dwelling of perfect wisdom! Thus you offer safety to the helpless, defense of the defenseless, a refuge to these without refuge, a place of rest to these without resting place, the final relief of these who are without this, an island to any without one, a light to the blind, a guide to the guideless, a resort to any without one, and you guide to the path any who have lost this, herein you become a support to one's who are without support."

The Buddha's Praise the Bodhisattva

The Buddhas, Lords who reside in countless world-systems, and who demonstrate dharma surrounded by a congregation of monks and attended by a multitude of Bodhisattvas, proclaim the name, clan, power, appearance and form of a Bodhisattva which courses and dwells in perfect wisdom, and is endowed with the virtues of roaming in perfect wisdom, perfecting wisdom. And these demonstrate Dharma, and exult over this Bodhisattva, proclaiming name, clan, power, color and form. Just here and now I demonstrate dharma, and I proclaim the name, etc., of the Bodhisattva Ratnaketu, and of the Bodhisattva Sikhin. [450] I exult over these, and also over the other Bodhisattvas which just now lead the holy life with Tathagata Akshobhya. In a similar way, the Buddhas in other Buddha-fields proclaim the name, etc., of Bodhisattvas just now leading the holy life here in this Buddha-field, and which dwell in the dwelling of perfect wisdom. And these exult over such as these.

Subhuti: Do the Buddhas honor all Bodhisattvas in such a manner?

The Lord: No, Subhuti. But only one's which are irreversible and free from all attachment.

Subhuti: Apart from the irreversible Bodhisattvas, do the Buddhas in such a manner honor any other Bodhisattvas?

The Lord: Yes, here are others. These are persons belonging to the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas, who are strong in assimilating what may be seen as an enemy. These are [451] just now engaged in learning this course of a Bodhisattva under Tathagata Akshobhya, and the Bodhisattva Ratnaketu, courses here on the pilgrimage of a Bodhisattva, and dwells, engaged in learning it. In addition, these Bodhisattvas which course in perfect wisdom, and resolutely believe "all dharmas fail to be produced" without, however, so far acquiring definitely the patient acceptance of dharmas which fail to be produced; as well as these which resolutely believe "all dharmas are calmly quiet," without, however, having entered into accord with the irreversible domain over all dharmas; any Bodhisattvas which dwell in this dwelling are honored by the Buddhas in the above manner. [452] Bodhisattvas of whom the Buddhas proclaim the name, etc., and over whom these exult, have forsaken the level of the Sravakas, Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas, and one can well see these come to be on the level of the Buddha. And these are predicted to full enlightenment. For Bodhisattvas of whom the Buddhas proclaim the name, etc., and over whom these exult, also stand in irreversibility.

Enlightenment and Suchness

In addition to this, Subhuti, Bodhisattvas stand in irreversibility as, upon hearing this deep perfection of wisdom being taught, these resolutely believe in this, are not stupefied, do not hesitate or doubt; as in this resolute belief "so it is, as Tathagata teaches" these go on listening to this in greater detail; and as these make up their minds to listen in still greater detail to this perfection of wisdom in the presence of Tathagata Akshobhya; and as these resolutely believe from just hearing this perfection of wisdom in the presence of persons avowed to this vehicle of the Bodhisattvas which in this Buddha-field lead the holy life. [453] Thus I teach merely to hear perfection of wisdom achieves much. How much more is achieved by any who resolutely believe in this, who, upon this, take up a position in relation to Thusness and progress toward Thusness, and who, upon this, stand firmly in Suchness and who, standing firmly in Suchness and in all-knowledge, demonstrate dharma.

Subhuti: As, O Lord, one cannot get at any different dharma, distinct from Suchness, what is this dharma which stands firmly in Suchness, or which knows full enlightenment, or which even can demonstrate this dharma?

The Lord: One cannot get at any different dharma, distinct from Suchness, which stands firmly in Suchness. This very Suchness, to begin with, is not apprehended, how much less one which stands firmly in Suchness. Suchness does not know full enlightenment, and no dharma is got at which knows full enlightenment, can do so, or does do so. Suchness does not demonstrate dharma, and this dharma cannot be got at which is demonstrated. [454]

Emptiness and Dwelling in Perfect Wisdom

Sakra: Deep, O Lord, is perfecting of wisdom. Doers of what is hard are these Bodhisattvas which aspire to full enlightenment. Indeed, no dharma stands in Suchness, no dharma knows full enlightenment, no one demonstrates dharma. And yet this does not cow these, nor do these hesitate, nor are these stupefied.

Subhuti: You say, Kausika,"doers of what is hard are Bodhisattvas which, as dharmas as deep as these are being taught, feel neither hesitation nor stupefaction." But, as all dharmas are empty who can herein feel hesitation or stupefaction? Who herein, can even begin to raise a question of hesitation or stupefaction?

Sakra: Whatever the holy Subhuti is expounding, this he expounds with reference to emptiness, and he does not get stuck anywhere. The holy Subhuti's demonstration of dharma does not get stuck anywhere, no more than an arrow shot into the air. Now perhaps, O Lord, I, as I take into consideration Subhuti the Elder, and teach as he thus teaches and expounds, may be one who correctly preaches Tathagata-truth, a preacher of Dharma, and one who declares also the logical sequence of dharma.

The Lord: So it is, Kausika. As you come to teach and expound as he does, you come to be one who correctly preaches Tathagata-truth, a preacher of dharma, and one who declares also the dharma's logical sequence. For whatever [455] the Elder Subhuti makes clear, this he makes clear with reference to emptiness. As the Elder Subhuti does not, to begin with, even review or apprehend perfection of wisdom, how much less one coursing in perfection of wisdom. Enlightenment, even to begin with he does not get at, how much less at one who knows full enlightenment.

Even all knowledge, he does not get at, how much less at one who reaches unto all-knowledge. Even Suchness he does not get at, how much less at one who becomes a Tathagata. Even non-production he does not get at, how much less at one who fully has awoken to enlightenment. Even the powers Subhuti does not get at, how much less at one who possesses the powers. Even the grounds of self-confidence he does not review, how much less at one who is self-confident.

Even the dharma he does not get at, how much less at one who demonstrates dharma. For Subhuti the Elder dwells in this dwelling of the isolatedness of all dharmas, in this dwelling of the baselessness of all dharmas. And this is quite certain this dwelling in isolatedness and baselessness of all dharmas, on the part of Subhuti the Elder, is of infinitesimal value compared with the dwelling of a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom, perfecting herein and dwelling in this.

You see Kausika, except for the dwelling of Tathagata this dwelling of a Bodhisattva coursing in perfect wisdom, which dwells in it, surpasses all other dwellings. [456] This dwelling is described as the foremost of all dwellings, as the best, the choicest, the most excellent, the most sublime, the highest, the supreme, the unequalled, the incomparable. It surpasses the dwellings of all Sravakas, Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas. So here now, Kausika, a son or daughter of a good family who have this aspiration to arrive at the highest possible degree of perfection of all beings, to arrive at the best state, the choicest state, the most excellent state, the most sublime state, the incomparable state, -these do with diligence aspire to dwell in this dwelling of Bodhisattvas which course in perfect wisdom, which dwell in this.

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