Chapter XV — Gods (RiBa)

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Chapter XV


The Beginner's Task

Subhuti: How does a Bodhisattva which is just beginning stand in perfect wisdom... how train oneself?

The Lord: Such a Bodhisattva tends to, loves and honors good friends. Any good friends are such as instruct and admonish this Bodhisattva in perfection of wisdom, and such as expound its meaning. These expound this perfection as follows: "Come here, you born of good family, make endeavours in these six perfections. Achieve generosity, guard morality, perfect patience and exert with vigour, enter into concentration [293] or mastery of perfection in wisdom, - all this turn over for no reason. Such is nature as Suchness...unthinkable, intangible, full enlightenment. Do not misconstrue full enlightenment as form, or any skandhas. Intangible also is all-knowledge. Neither long for nor settle in any levels, as for instance, of Sravaka as Disciple or Pratyekabuddha."

It is thus Subhuti, a Bodhisattva beginning gradually through these good friends enters into the perfecting of wisdom, by, through, and from her unlimited and all permeating perfectness.

How a Bodhisattva Helps Beings

Subhuti: Doers of what is difficult are these Bodhisattvas which set out to realize fully benevolent enlightenment. Due to this practice of these six perfections as herein described, these do not wish to realize some private Nirvana of some own-being. Bodhisattvas survey these highly painful worlds of beings. These aspire to realize full enlightenment, and still these do not tremble at birth-and-death.

The Lord: So it is. Doers of what is difficult are these Bodhisattvas which set out for the benefit and happiness of worlds, out of compassion. - "We are a shelter for worlds, a refuge, a place of rest, a complete relief, islands, lights, and leaders of worlds. We equanimously reveal full enlightenment and resort to these worlds," - with these words these ones make diligent efforts to realize such full enlightenment. [294]

1. How is any Bodhisattva awakened to full enlightenment and come to be the shelter of worlds?

These bring to light the nature of suffering and even by doing this, so offer protection from sufferings which belong to these deep skandhas of birth-and-death. Also these struggle and make efforts to rid the worlds of any and all sufferings, whether a hurt by some slight of heart, a bruised knee or deep and severe as causing the pains of both birth and death.

2. How are these the worlds refuge?

These reveal as free from birth, decay, illness, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness and despair any beings who are doomed to undergo these by bringing understanding of the true and complete nature of these conditions, to any beings who desire to know and are willing to listen.

3. How are these the worlds resting place?

Tathagatas demonstrate Dharma to beings so they may learn to not embrace anything whatsoever.

Subhuti: How does this non-embracing come about?

The Lord: Non-embracing comes about, or more accurately, is realized regarding form, feeling, perception, impulse, and consciousness, and is the same as in any skandhas (dharmas or phenomena). What comes to be revealed is an inherent non-arising and uniform non-sustainability, from which is non-production, and so non-stopping. [295] As no thing whatsoever CAN BE revealed in, or, of any beginning, how could any such thing stop? This is revealed and eventually realized as true of any and all skandhas -which would have been- seen, or thought of, or experienced as either thoughts, words and writings, or even actions, as these merely indicate notions only of form, feeling, perception, impulse, or consciousness of anything whatsoever as already being non-embraced. What does not exist, in truth cannot BE embraced. One thus learns not to even think to embrace anything as a result of this cognition and vision. Non-embracing is "already established" as of itself and timelessly self-existent. Once revealed, what comes about is our realization of Such. All dharmas are non-embracing for such cannot be embraced, and these are also non-arising as lacking attributes such as, coming into being (to begin with!), and consequently dwelling in time, duration and place, and ceasing to exist.

4. How are these the complete relief of worlds?

Any state of form is not form, but formless; and so beyond form, and this same fact applies to any state of feeling, perception, impulse and consciousness, and all dharmas.

Subhuti: If form, etc., and all dharmas (as any phenomena) are beyond mere appearance, as such these Bodhisattvas fully know and realize all dharmas, as here is no discrimination between them. [the gradual dawning of the realization of all-knowledge.]

The Lord: So it is. Beyond these mere appearances, here is no discrimination. Through this non-discrimination are all dharmas fully known to Bodhisattvas. This also is most difficult yet effortless, as Bodhisattvas meditate on all dharmas (at once), and neither realize [296], nor are cowed, and these meditate thus: "In this way are all dharmas fully known...and thus awakened as full enlightenment, we demonstrate and reveal these dharmas."

5. How are these the islands of worlds?

'Islands' are pieces of land limited by water, as rivers or great lakes. Just so form, etc., is only limited at its perceived beginning and end, and so are all dharmas. This limitation of all dharmas is the same as this Calm Quiet, this Sublime, as Nirvana, as this which is Really Existing, the Unperverted or Undifferentiated.

6. How are these the lights of worlds?

Here these Bodhisattvas, once having come to realize full enlightenment, cannot help but to reveal it's light and susequent knowledge to help dispell this dark obscurity and defiled gloom of non-cognizance from beings who for long are enveloped as the membrane of this eggshell of ignorance, and overcome by darkness, so these illuminate these beings through wisdom. [297]

7. How are these leaders of worlds?

As these are enlightened, Bodhisattvas demonstrate Dharma in order to reveal this absence of production and stopping as but one attribute of infinite quintessential nature of skandhas, and also as these very same dharmas which constitute and distinguish ordinary people, Sravakas as Disciples, Pratyekabuddhas, Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, indeed all dharmas which are no dharma, yet uniform in essence and no thing in general.

8. How are these the resort of worlds?

As these are enlightened, Bodhisattvas demonstrate Dharma by teaching these skandhas are situated as one and the same as this space of worlds. All dharmas exist in equal balance and exchange, as and with space. This does not come, this does not go, this is the same as space. Space neither comes nor goes, is neither made nor unmade, nor affected; space neither stands up to, nor as such does space last, nor endure; such is neither produced nor stopped. The same is true of all dharmas which are, as this fashion of space, indiscriminate. [298] Only within mind's less refined activity as consciousness is thought lent of itself to discriminate...and such fathers this great delusion, mothers this great illusion, and begets this great suffering.

Only within mind's exceedingly refined activity toward cognizance of pure spacelike awareness is thought lent of itself to reveal it's nature from beyond even uniform stillness and emptiness. As such is realized as naught, and devoid of any possible notion evolved of subjective states or objective perusal, is begotten of nothing and purely spontaneous. To even say borne of the stuff of stars, does Suchness no justice, yet provides a general directive. As this emptiness of skandhas neither comes nor goes, neither does this emptiness of dharmas, for dharmas are situated as emptiness, and situated as such these dharmas do not depart. These are situated as signless, wishless, ineffective; as non-production, no-birth, non-arising as absence of relativity and polarity, as dream and self, as this boundless, as this calm quiet, as Nirvana, as this Unrecoverable; these neither come, nor go, and are situated as immobility; these are situated as form, etc., [299] and also as full enlightenment of Arhats and Pratyekabuddhas.

Description of Perfect Wisdom

Subhuti: Who can understand this perfection of wisdom?

The Lord: Bodhisattvas which course under Tathagatas, and which mature these wholesome roots.

Subhuti: What is own-being to such as these?

The Lord: To these, own-being is isolated from any need for discipline.

Subhuti: Bodhisattvas so situated as these fully know this resort, these demonstrate and show this as available to all beings? Is it in this sense these resort to all beings? [300]

The Lord: So it is, Subhuti. It is in this sense a Bodhisattva, as one knowing full enlightenment, resorts to countless beings.

Subhuti: A doer of what is difficult is any Bodhisattva which arms oneself with this armor: "To immeasurable and incalculable beings I indicate Nirvana."

The Lord: This armor of such a Bodhisattva is, however, not connected with skandhas, nor is it put on for any sake of form, feeling, perceptions, impulses, or consciousness. It is not connected with any level of Sravakas as Disciples, or Pratyekabuddhas, or any Buddha, nor put on for any own-self nature. Truly unconnected with any and all dharma is this armor of any Bodhisattva which is armed with this great armour.

Subhuti: Three standpoints one does not aspire to as a Bodhisattva which is armed with this great armor and which courses thus in unfathomable wisdom. Which three? The level of a Sravaka, or, Disciple, or of a Pratyekabuddha, or of a Buddha. [301]

The Lord: For what reason do you say this? This is, of course, impossible, here cannot be any Bodhisattva belonging to either vehicle of the Sravakas as Disciples or Pratyekabuddhas. But, since ones such as these put on this armor to benefit all beings, these truly aspire to become Buddhas.

Subhuti: Fathomless, O Lord, is perfect wisdom as such is perfection. This cannot be developed by anything, nor by anyone, nor is anything or anyone to be developed. As perfect wisdom nothing whatsoever has been brought to perfection. The development of perfect wisdom is like development of space, or all dharmas, or non-attachment, the infinite, what is non-arising, or has no-taking-hold-of.

The Lord: So it is as you say, any Bodhisattva making adjustments toward unfathomable and perfect wisdom is regarded as irreversible unto realization. Now, as such a Bodhisattva does not and can not settle down within unfathomable and perfect wisdom, nor in the declarations or counsels of others; one does not merely go by 'someone else' whom one puts one's trust in. As fathomless perfection of wisdom is taught, one is not cowed, or stolid, nor does one turn one's back; one does not tremble, nor manifest fright or terror; one does not hesitate nor doubt, nor get stupefied, but one is immersed in and fully saturated, is resolutely intent, and delights in being totally permeated in and by this vision and hearing. One knows in a former life already one explores perfection of wisdom. As now, as unfathomable perfect wisdom is taught as her perfection, one does not tremble, is not frightened, nor terrified.

Subhuti: By means of what mode does any Bodhisattva which does not tremble as this unfathomable perfection of wisdom is taught apperceive perfect wisdom?

The Lord: A Bodhisattva apperceives perfect wisdom through a series [of thoughts] which are inclined toward all-knowledge. Such is this process of perfection of wisdom.

Subhuti: How does one apperceive such a series of thoughts? [303]

The Lord: As a series of thoughts which indicate space, are prone to space, steadily yield non-substance as space. This apperception is realized as a series of thoughts which indicate full awareness. And why? Full awareness is immeasurable and unlimited. What is immeasurable and unlimited...this is not form, nor any skandha. This is not attainment, nor reunion, nor getting anywhere; not any path nor its fruit; not cognition, nor consciousness; no genesis, nor destruction, nor production, or passing away, or stopping, neither development, nor annihilation. Such is not made by anything, nor does this come from anywhere, such does not go to anywhere, as such does not stand in any place or spot. On the contrary, such can merely be indicated as "immeasurable, unlimited." As immeasurable infinite space is immeasurable full, or infinite awareness. This is immeasurableness as such does not, nay cannot lend itself to being fully known by anything, be it form, or any skandha, or any of these six perfections. Form is all-knowledge, and so are the skandhas, and even these six perfections.

Here now, Sakra approached [304] and said: Unfathomable, O Lord, is perfect wisdom. It is impossible to fully fathom, impossible to fully see, impossible to fully cognize or understand. This thought of Tathagatas which considers this depth of dharma, and who, seated on this terrace of enlightenment, has just realized full enlightenment, is inclined to carefree non-action, and not to demonstration of dharma.

The Lord: So it is. Deep certainly is this dharma I fully know. Nothing has been, or will be, or is fully known, and such is this unfathomable depth of this dharma. This dharma which I fully know is unfathomable as the depth of space, beyond the depth of the self, the depth not-coming of all dharmas, and of their not going. [305]

Sakra: It is wonderful, O Lord, it is astonishing, O Well-Gone! As contrary to the ways of the whole world is this dharma demonstrated, - it teaches one not to seize upon dharmas, yet this world is wont to grasp at anything.

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