Chapter X — Proclamation of the Qualities of Bearing in Mind (RiBa)

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Chapter X


Past Deeds, and the Present Attitude to Perfect Wisdom

So now this thought is occurring to Sakra, Chief of Gods: These who come to hear of perfection of wisdom act in consideration and view of what is quite mundanely considered 'former' Jinas. These herein continue endlessly planting wholesome roots in view of countless Buddhas, take hold of, and are well taken hold of by good friends. Possessed of siddhis which are eventually realized as already in place beyond any common worldly determination as to why or how any dharma whatsoever comes to be, these who, taking up this perfection of wisdom bear in mind, study, spread and explain this, even now perform such acts.

In addition and also beyond any conscious or discursive efforts as such, these beings simultaneously train in Thusness and progress in Thusness, yet make no efforts whatsoever about Thusness. As thought, word, or concept, such is not inherent to anything from beyond any beginning yet effortlessly cognized as such, for as propensity and intent do come to allow, eventually is thus understood. These beings are endowed with more than trifling wholesome roots. These are beings honoring many Buddhas, and who again and again question these. It is just perfection of wisdom which these have heard in any past and yet still hear in this presence of manifest/unmanifest Tathagatas. These beings plant wholesome roots in view of all Buddhas. So, this is simply the way which these sons and daughters of good family are. As just this perfection of wisdom is being taught, these explain, understand and repeat this, do not become cowed nor stolid, do not become cast down nor depressed, do not turn their minds away from this nor have their backs broken, and as well, do not tremble, neither be frightened nor terrified.

Sariputra, now reading Sakra's thoughts says: As an irreversible Bodhisattva any person becomes and is so regarded who, when just this deep perfection of wisdom is being taught and explained, has faith in it, and, trusting, firmly believing, this one's heart full of serene faith, reveals to all sentient beings bodhicitta, a thought directed towards enlightenment, takes up, expounds, reveals, writes down, repeats, and/or develops this perfection of wisdom, trains in Thusness, progresses toward Thusness, and yet makes no effort about Thusness as basis or object. For this perfection of wisdom is exceedingly profound and herein someone with diminutive wholesome roots, who is unwilling to ask questions, learns nothing when face to face with any Buddhas and Lords in any time and who does not practice as yet in any time, cannot just here believe in this very profound perfection of wisdom. As to any who neither believe in this nor understand this, and who decide to reject this within these three times, these reject this deep perfection of wisdom as this is being taught, and this in consequence of inadequacy as regards their development of wholesome roots. For any who have not practiced do not now practice, and will not practice, such as these cannot believe in this perfection of wisdom. As these reject this now, these reject this equally in any past, for what's present is equally past as is likewise and at once this future. To see now, Sakra, is ever present in any mere thought of three times. For what seems passed only seems passed as any present thought could perceive, as well as any future which ever was to be. This is the reason why as this deep perfection of wisdom is being taught, in any time whatsoever these have no faith, or patience, or pleasure, or desire-to-do, no vigour, no vigilance or resolve. In any past as well, these presently, then, question neither Buddhas, the Lords, nor their disciples.

Sakra: Deep, indeed exceedingly profound, O holy Sariputra, is perfection of wisdom. So this is not at all astonishing, even as this is being taught that a Bodhisattva might not believe in this, if one did not practice in this past.

Sakra now said to the Lord: I pay homage, O Lord, to perfection of wisdom! One pays homage to cognition of all-knowing as one pays homage to perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: So it is. For from this comes forth all-knowledge of Buddhas, the Lords, and, conversely, perfection of wisdom is brought about as such which comes forth from cognition of all-knowing. This is why one aspires to course, stand, progress, and make efforts in perfection of wisdom.

Sakra: How does a Bodhisattva coursing in perfection of wisdom, become one who stands in perfect wisdom? How does one make efforts in regards to perfection of wisdom?

The Lord: Well said, well said, Kausika. Well said, again, well said, Kausika, since you have decided to question Tathagata about this matter, for in this questioning you have been inspired by Buddha's might. Here, Kausika, a Bodhisattva coursing in, or as perfect wisdom does not make any stand in form, feeling, perception, impulse or consciousness, does not develop as any basis any notion such as 'this is form, this is feeling, this is perception, this is impulse', or 'this is consciousness'...for this means one makes efforts about any or all of these as form, feeling, perception, impulse, or consciousness. One does not apply oneself to any notion such as this is form, this is feeling, etc. Insofar as one does not apply oneself to any notion such as 'this is form, this is feeling, etc.', one does not stand in any notion such as 'this is form, this is feeling, etc.' Thus, one is known as one standing in perfect wisdom, thusly one makes efforts in or as perfect wisdom.

Subhuti: Here a simile from a song of old presents to mind: A certain devata, in the far extreme of the night, her extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta's Grove, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to him, she stood to one side. As she was standing there, she said to him, "Tell me, dear sir, how you crossed over the flood."

"I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place."

"But how, dear sir, did you cross over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place?"

"When I pushed forward, I was whirled about. When I stayed in place, I sank. And so I crossed over the flood without pushing forward, without staying in place."

The devata: "At long last I see a brahman totally unbound, who without pushing forward, without staying in place, has crossed over the entanglements of the world." That is what the devata said.

The Teacher approved. Realizing that "The Teacher has approved of me," she bowed down to him, circumambulated him -- keeping him to her right -- and then vanished right there.

Sariputra: Deep, O Lord, is perfection of wisdom. Hard to fathom is perfection of wisdom. Hard to grasp is perfection of wisdom. Unlimited is perfection of wisdom.

The Lord: So it is, Sariputra. One does not stand in any notion such as "form, feeling, perception, impulse, or consciousness, is deep." Insofar as one does not stand in any such notion as, 'one makes efforts about form, etc.' one does not make efforts about any such notion as "form , etc., is deep." In so far as one makes no efforts about any such notion, one does not stand in any notion as "form, etc., is deep."

Qualifications of a Bodhisattva Who Obtains Perfect Wisdom

Sariputra: Only when presented to an irreversible Bodhisattva, to any Bodhisattva predestined to enlightenment, is deep perfection of wisdom understood, and only so may this herein be taught. For such do not hesitate, do not doubt, do not get stupefied, and not dispute this.

Sakra: What is the fault in teaching this perfection of wisdom in front of an unpredestined Bodhisattva?

Sariputra: If Kausika, unpredestined, a Bodhisattva obtains this perfection of wisdom, for vision, praise, worship and hearing, and if one remains unafraid as one hears this, one can be sure this one comes from afar, is set out for long in this vehicle, and this one's wholesome roots are well matured. It is not long from now onwards until this one receives the prediction to supreme enlightenment. One can be sure this prediction is near, and comes to one before one passes by one, two or three Tathagatas. And, of course, one pleases the Tathagatas whom one passes by, pleases these permanently, and so one sees to it the vision of these Tathagatas bears the fruit of the prediction, so it leads one to the prediction to supreme enlightenment [itself]. Once come from afar, O Lord, set out for long in this great vehicle, with wholesome roots well matured is this Bodhisattva obtaining this perfection of wisdom for vision, praise, worship, hearing and understanding. How much more so if one not only hears this, but also takes this up, bears this in mind, preaches, studies, spreads, explains and repeats such as this.

The Lord: So it is, Sariputra, as you have said.

Five Similes to Illustrate Nearness to Full Enlightenment

Sariputra: A simile or example flashes into my mind, O Lord. Just as we are sure a person belonging to this vehicle of Bodhisattvas, when one dreams that one sits on the terrace of enlightenment, is actually near to supreme enlightenment...just so, we can be sure a person who fulfils these conditions just outlined has come from afar, and is set out for long in the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas, and is near this prediction to enlightenment. We can be sure Buddhas, the Lords, will predict this Bodhisattva to win full enlightenment. For a Bodhisattva is set out for long in this vehicle, and one's wholesome roots are mature, if one gets to this deep perfection of wisdom, even if one gets no further than hearing this. How much more so if one would also bear it in mind, etc., to: repeat it. For the thoughts of beings not without an abundance of accumulations of karma conducive to the ruin of dharma become adverse to this deep perfection of wisdom, do sway away from this. Through the abundance of such karma, beings who do not collect wholesome roots find neither satisfaction nor faith in this reality-limit. But any such beings who do find satisfaction and faith in this are people who collected wholesome roots, well collected these.

A person coming out of a huge wild forest, one hundred miles big, up to a thousand miles big, might see certain signs which indicate a town, or other inhabited place, -such as cowherds, or cattle keepers, or boundary lines, or gardens, or groves. From these signs one infers the nearness of an inhabited place. One feels happier, and robbers no longer worry this one. Just so a Bodhisattva for whom this deep perfection turns up can know one is quite near to supreme enlightenment, and before long one will receive the prediction to such. One also no longer need be afraid of the level of the Disciples and Pratyekabuddhas. For this sign has appeared to this one, i.e., one has received this deep perfection of wisdom for vision, praise, worship, hearing, and/or understanding.

The Lord: So it is, Sariputra. May you make clear also this section. For what you say, and what you will say, is due to the Buddha's might.

Sariputra: A person, desirous of seeing the great ocean, might travel to it. As long as on one's travels one sees a tree, or the sign of a tree, a mountain, or the sign of a mountain, one knows the great ocean is still far away. But when one no longer sees either tree or mountain, one knows the great ocean is quite near to here. For this great ocean gradually slopes away, and within it there is neither tree nor mountain. So, although one may not yet see the great ocean directly before one's eyes, one nevertheless can be quite certain the ocean is quite near, not much farther away from here. Similar is the case of any Bodhisattva hearing this deep perfection of wisdom. One can know this...even although perhaps one has not yet been face to face with these Tathagatas, and predicted to supreme enlightenment, nevertheless one is quite near this prediction. For one has received this deep perfection of wisdom for vision, praise, worship, hearing, and/or understanding.

Likewise, in this spring, O Lord, as last year's leaves are withered away, one can see sproutings on many trees. The people of Jambudvipa are glad, because as these see these symptoms in the woods, these ones know soon also flowers and fruits come out. For they see such signs in the trees. Just so, O Lord, one can be sure that a Bodhisattva, when one receives this deep perfection of wisdom, as this even turns up for one, such a one has become matured in one's wholesome roots for a long time. It is just because of the existence of these wholesome roots in such a one, this deep perfection of wisdom has bent over to whoever this is. Then any divinities who see the Buddhas of any past are delighted, overjoyed and enchanted, as these feel surely it is not long until this Bodhisattva receives this prediction to full enlightenment, since also with any Bodhisattvas of any past these are the symptoms of their coming prediction to full enlightenment.

Likewise O Lord, a woman pregnant with a heavy womb, is twisted and all weary, she does not walk about a great deal, takes little food, finds little rest, speaks little, has little strength but many pains, often cries out aloud and abstains from habitual cohabitation. She realizes she experiences all these unpleasant feelings in her body as a result of indulging in unwise attention in the past, practicing it, developing it, making much of it. As these symptoms are being seen in her, one can be sure before long she will give birth to a child. Just so, when for a Bodhisattva this deep perfection of wisdom turns up for the sake of vision, praise, worship, hearing, and/or understanding, and if, as one hears this, one's thought delights in this, and one develops aspirations toward this, so one can be sure before long one will receive prediction to full enlightenment.

Why Bodhisattvas are Well-Favored by the Buddhas

Subhuti: It is wonderful to see this extent to which the Tathagata well takes hold of Bodhisattvas, well encompasses and favors such as these.

The Lord: This is because these Bodhisattvas practice for the weal and happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world. Out of compassion for Gods and men, for the benefit, the weal and happiness of a great mass of people do these want to win supreme enlightenment, and hereafter to demonstrate supreme Dharma.

The Right Attitude to Perfect Wisdom

Subhuti: How does a Bodhisattva which courses toward perfect wisdom, become increasingly perfect?

The Lord: A Bodhisattva courses toward perfect wisdom as this coursing itself being neither any growth nor any diminution of form, feeling, perception, impulse, and/or consciousness, and is reviewed as one reviews neither dharma nor no-dharma. This is how, and thus one's coursing toward perfect wisdom is realized as increasingly perfect.

Subhuti: This is surely unthinkable.

The Lord: Ultimately, form is as unthinkable as any skandhas, or, things being thought of as going together to make-up other things. As ultimately one perceives neither any nor all of form, feeling, perception, impulse, and/or consciousness as unthinkable, one courses in perfect wisdom.

Sariputra: Who or what with zeal, complete dedication, and earnest devotion is merely aware, even unto emptiness?

The Lord: Any Bodhisattva practicing with zeal, complete dedication, and earnest devotion, in verity even unto emptiness as perfect wisdom, is merely aware, even unto emptiness.

Sariputra: What is Bodhisattva practice, and what is the meaning of the word 'practice'?

The Lord: A Bodhisattva neither constructs power nor ground such as self-confidence nor Buddha-dharmas, nor even all-knowledge...for power or ground as self-confidence, Buddha-dharmas, or even all-knowledge is as unthinkable as any and all dharmas. Thus as practice, a Bodhisattva courses neither within nor without perfect wisdom. For no true reason is one called Bodhisattva, as such is the meaning of the word 'practice'.

Obsatcles to Perfect Wisdom

Subhuti: Deep, O Lord, is one's learning, realizing and understanding as perfection of wisdom is indicated as such. Such is a heap of treasure. Such is a pure heap, as pure as space. It is not surprising many obstacles arise to any reciting, reading, writing, studying, contemplating and/or understanding perfection of wisdom as such.

The Lord: Many obstacles to one's reciting, reading, etc., this perfection of wisdom are always present. For Mara, the Evil One, is seen as making many difficulties, as even here for one of these, one hurries with one's task of copying this out. If one has one month to do it in, or two months, or three months, one need merely carry on with this writing. If one has a year or more, even so one need just carry on with writing perfection of wisdom [since after, or even during this time, one may be slowed or even prevented by any kind of interruptions]. It is a fact, such as in respect of precious things, difficulties are wont to arise.

Subhuti: Here, O Lord, when perfection of wisdom is being studied, Mara, the Evil One, is seen in ways to show zeal, and exert himself to cause difficulties.

The Lord: In spite of this he is powerless to cause really effective obstacles to any Bodhisattva which gives undivided attention to any task.

The Bodhisattva Sustained by the Buddhas

Sariputra: O Mara the Evil One is seen as any presenting preventative obstacles to this studying perfection of wisdom, how can any beings actually study this, and through whose might can these progress?

The Lord: Through might of Buddhas, Lords, and Tathagatas these study, these progress and train in or as Thusness. This same nature of Buddhas and Lords which stands, holds and maintains immeasurable and incalculable world-systems, brings to mind and upholds anyone learning and studying perfection of wisdom. Buddhas bring to mind and assist any such as these. It is impossible to cause any obstacle to any beings brought to mind and upheld by Buddhas.

Sariputra: Is this Buddha's might, sustaining power and grace which Bodhisattvas deeply study as perfection of wisdom, and progressively train in or as Thusness?

The Lord: So it is, Sariputra. As such, these are known to Tathagatas, these are sustained and seen by Tathagatas, and the Tathagatas behold these with this Buddha eye. And these Bodhisattvas which study perfection of wisdom progressively train in or as Thusness, stand as such with no true ground in any decision to enlightenment. Just to study perfection of wisdom without progressively training in or as Thusness, these do not stand poised in Suchness but nevertheless are known to Tathagatas, sustained and seen by Tathagatas, and the Tathagatas behold these with this Buddha eye. With continual study of perfection of wisdom, the mental excitation is greatly profitable to these, a great advantage, fruit and reward. For, as aiming at ultimate reality, perfection of wisdom is set up for penetration by all beings into this nature of what dharmas truly are.

Prediction about the Spread of Perfect Wisdom

Moreover, these Sutras in accord with six perfections continue as such after the parinirvana of Tathagata, appearing in this South. As in this South these spread to this East, and as well this North and West -- at any time this Dharma Vinaya is as freshly made cream, and as good law, dissolves as Dharma-Body (dharmakaya). In equal taste with, as, and by these which put forth right effort, and study, devote, dedicate, and preserve perfection of wisdom, are with, as, and by Tathagatas. Tathagatas accord with, sustain and see such as these, and behold these with this Buddha eye.

Sariputra: Will perfection of wisdom at the last of time, in the last period, be deeply widespread in this northern direction, in this northern part of the world?

The Lord: Even in this North, any which make right efforts deep in perfection of wisdom, even as these simply hear this, make this widespread. As set out for long in this vehicle the Bodhisattvas who know study this perfection of wisdom and beyond even this.

Description of Bodhisattvas Who Will Study Perfect Wisdom

Sariputra: Bodhisattvas in this North which deeply study perfection of wisdom, are these many or few?

The Lord: These are many, a good many Bodhisattvas in this North. But only a few are among these which deeply study perfection of wisdom, and which as this is being taught, are not demoralized by it. As set out for long in this vehicle are known already beings such as these which pursue, question, and worship Tathagatas - one's thus gone as one's thus come. These are as perfect, enhancing as well as benefiting all beings. As such these are, as is all. Mere awareness and bare realization are these as spontaneously self-existent, primordial and beyond even purity itself. As, for, and to these do Tathagatas speak as, for, and to all-knowledge. Even as these pass beyond present births, any thoughts, even unto all-knowledge and perfection of wisdom, persist by force of habit [karma]. And this very discoursing these both discuss and are contented within concerning the ultimate enlightenment. Such as these are perfection of wisdom and all-knowledge as related to this. These are neither obstructed nor diverted even by Mara, much less other beings, whether such use will, power, or mantras. As diamond resolve (avidriya samadana) and irresistibly these approach full enlightenment. From hearing perfection of wisdom these daughters and sons of good family gain an uncommon degree of zest, confidence and unshakable faith. For all beings these plant wholesome roots. Face to face with Tathagatas, these utter a vow: "Coursing in practice of Bodhisattvas, we are this we indicate, the way to full enlightenment of many hundreds of living beings, yea, many niyutas of kotis of living beings. We indicate perfect enlightenment to these, instigate and empower, help such to come forth, help these to establish such, help these to irreversible right effort and action." And as these are thought as my thought, these daughters and sons of good family belong to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas who make this vow. As these are confirmed in their faith these attain to rebirth yet in many Buddha-fields, and even here come face to face with Tathagatas, which indicate Dharma and as such these hear in deep detail perfection of wisdom. In many Buddha-fields these indicate this view for all beings as dissolving obstacles to full realization, and help these beings as this quest for full enlightenment of all.

Sariputra: It is wonderful to think this past and future, as present dharma is no-thing. Tathagatas do not experience such as dharma is not cognized, yet beyond even purity...aware as space. Neither is conduct as anything, anywhere, nor anybeing unaware. Such as these cognize even conduct of Bodhisattvas who are zealous for enlightenment, yet even of the slightest earnest intent, for these too exert vigour, if even of slight. And yet O Lord, among these born of good family who at any time deeply study this perfection of wisdom, and exert themselves on behalf of these six perfections and of the benefit of all beings, and seek, search and strive deeply to obtain perfection of wisdom, some still do not obtain this, while others obtain this without striving to get this. What, O Lord, is the reason for this?

The Lord: So it is, Sariputra. In this past and future, or as present, dharma is nothing. Tathagatas do not see, hear and feel such as unaware. It is further true at these times in these periods, some Bodhisattva who hunt and search for perfection of wisdom do not get this. Others do get this without hunting and searching. These are Bodhisattvas which in this past persistently hunted and searched for this perfection of wisdom. It is of such impetus of this former wholesome root these realize perfection of wisdom, in spite of the fact these do not now hunt and search for this. And also Sutras different from this, which welcome perfection of wisdom, of their own accord come to these. It is a principle Sariputra, a Bodhisattva which persistently hunts and searches for perfection of wisdom, after one or two births, realize this, also the other Sutras in accord with perfect wisdom come to one on their own.

Sariputra: Will only these Sutras in accord with six perfections come to this one, and no others?

The Lord: Here also other profound Sutras come to this son or daughter of good family of their own accord. It is as a rule Sariputra, that, Bodhisattvas which indicate this teaching for others on their way to full enlightenment, helping these in their quest for such, help them to irreversibility, and these who also train in this, after these pass through this present birth, on their own these deep Sutras come to these, Sutras which are in accord with non-apprehension of a basis, and which accord with emptiness, and also accord with the six perfections.

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