Posted by: ADMIN | September 17, 2010

SHURANGAMA SUTRA – chapter 06

Chapter Six

(Avalokitesvara’s Dharma-Gate — Enlightened through the gateway of ear:)

Then Avalokitesvara(Contemplator of the World’s Sounds) Bodhisattva arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and said to the Buddha:

“Bhagavan, I remember when, as many eons ago as there are sand grains in the Ganges, there was a Buddha in the world named Contemplator of the World’s Sounds. I aroused the Bodhi-Heart while with that Buddha, who taught me to enter Samadhi through a process of hearing and reflecting.”

“Initially, I entered into the flow of hearing and forgot the place of entry. Since both that place and the entry were quiet, the two attributes of motion and stillness cancelled each other out and did not arise. After that, gradually advancing, the hearing and what was heard both disappeared. Once the hearing was ended, there was nothing to rely on, and both awareness and its objects became empty. When the emptiness of awareness was ultimately perfected, emptiness and what was being emptied then also ceased to be. With arising and ceasing gone, tranquility was revealed.”

“Suddenly I transcended the worldly and transcendental, and a perfect brightness prevailed throughout the ten directions. I obtained two supreme states. First, I united above with the fundamental wonderfully enlightened mind of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, and gained a strength of compassion equal to that of all Buddhas, Tathagatas. Second, I united below with all beings in the six paths, and gained a kind regard for all living beings.”

“Bhagavan, because I served and made offerings to the Tathagata Contemplator of Sounds, I received from that Tathagata a transmission of the Vajra Samadhi of All Being like an Illusion as One becomes Permeated with Hearing and Cultivates Hearing. Because I gained a strength of compassion equal to that of all Buddhas, the Tathagatas, I attained thirty-two response-bodies and entered all lands.”

“Bhagavan, if Bodhisattvas enter Samadhi and progress in their cultivation until they end outflows and display the perfection of superior understanding, I will appear in the body of a Buddha and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.”

“If those who are studying are tranquil and have wonderful clarity and display the perfection of superior magnificence, I will appear before them in the body of a Solitarily Enlightened One and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.”

“If those who are studying have severed the twelve causal conditions, and, having severed those conditions, reveal a supreme nature, and display the perfection of magnificence, I will appear before them in the body of One Enlightened to Conditions and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.”

“If those who are studying have attained the emptiness of the Four Truths, and, through cultivation of the Way, can enter tranquility and display the perfection of the magnificent nature, I will appear before them in the body of a Hearer and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.”

“If beings wish to have clear and awakened minds and so do not indulge mundane desires, wishing to purify their bodies, I will appear before them in the body of a Brahma King and speak Dharma for them, causing them to attain liberation.”

“If beings wish to be the heavenly rulers and lead heavenly beings, I will appear before them in the body of Shakra and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings wish to attain physical self mastery and to roam throughout the ten directions, I will appear before them in the body of a god from the Heaven of Self-mastery and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings wish to attain physical self-mastery and fly through space, I will appear before them in the body of a god from the Heaven of Great Self-mastery and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings are fond of ruling over ghosts and spirits in order to rescue and protect their nations, I will appear before them in the body of a great heavenly general and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings like to govern the world in order to protect beings, I will appear before them in the body of one of the Four Heavenly Kings and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings enjoy being born in the heavenly palaces and commanding ghosts and spirits, I will appear before them in the body of a prince from the kingdoms of the Four Heavenly Kings and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings would like to be kings of people, I will appear before them in the body of a human king and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings enjoy being heads of clans whom those of the world respect and yield to, I will appear before them in the body of an elder and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings delight in discussing the classics and keeping themselves lofty and pure, I will appear before them in the body of an upasaka and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings enjoy governing the country and handling matters of state, I will appear before them in the body of an official and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If beings like divination and incantations and wish to guard and protect themselves, I will appear before them in the body of a Brahman and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If men who are fond of study and want to leave the home life and uphold the precepts and rules, I will appear before them in the body of a Bhikshu and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If women who are fond of study and would like to leave the home life and hold the pure precepts, I will appear before them in the body of a Bhikshuni and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If men delight in upholding the five precepts, I will appear before them in the body of an upasaka and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish. If women wish to hold the five precepts, I will appear before them in the body of an upasika and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If women want to govern internal affairs of household or country, I will appear before them in the body of a queen, noblewoman, or a tutor of court ladies and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If young men wish to remain pure, I will appear before them in the body of a virgin youth and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If maidens want to remain virgins and do not wish to marry, I will appear before them in the body of a virgin maiden and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If heavenly beings wish to escape their heavenly destiny, I will appear before them in the body of a god and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If dragons want to quit their lot of being dragons, I will appear before them in the body of a dragon and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If yakshas want to get out of their present fate, I will appear before them in the body of a yaksha and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If gandharvas wish to be freed from their destiny, I will appear before them in the body of a gandharva and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If asuras wish to be liberated from their destiny, I will appear before them in the body of an asura and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If kinnaras wish to transcend their fate, I will appear before them in the body of a kinnara and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If mahoragas wish to be freed from their destiny, I will appear before them in the body of a mahoraga and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If human beings like being people and cultivating, I will appear before them in a human body and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“If non-humans, whether with form or without form, whether with thought or without thought, long to be freed from their destiny, I will appear before them in the body like theirs and speak Dharma for them, enabling them to accomplish their wish.”

“These are called the wonderfully pure thirty-two response-bodies that enter into all lands. They come into being through the effortless wonderful strength and self-mastery of the Samadhi of Becoming Permeated with Hearing and Cultivating Hearing.”

“Bhagavan, also due to the effortless wonderful strength of this Vajra Samadhi of Becoming Permeated with Hearing and Cultivating Hearing, I have a kind empathy for all beings in the six paths throughout the ten directions and the three periods of time. Based on my physical and mental accomplishments, I can cause beings who encounter bodies of mine to receive the meritorious virtues of fourteen kinds of fearlessness.”

First: because I do not contemplate sounds themselves, but rather the contemplator, I can enable beings throughout the ten directions who are suffering and in distress to attain liberation by ccontemplating their sounds ofreciting my name.

“Second: since I am able to turn my knowledge and views inward, I can keep beings who are caught in a raging fire from being burned.”

“Third: since I am able to turn my contemplation and listening inward, I can keep beings who are floundering in deep water from being drowned.”

“Fourth, since my false thinking is cut off and my mind is without thoughts of killing or harming, I can keep beings who enter the territory of ghosts from being harmed.”

“Fifth: since I am permeated with hearing and have realized what hearing is, so that the six sense-organs have dissolved and returned to become identical with hearing, I can keep beings from being wounded, by causing the knives to break into pieces. I can cause swords to have no more effect than if they were to slice into water, or if one were to blow upon light.”

“Sixth: since my hearing has become permeating and my essential energy bright, light pervades the Dharma Realm so that absolutely no darkness remains. Then I can keep beings safe from yakshas, rakshasas, kumbhandas, pishachas, and putanas by causing the ghosts to be unable to see them even if they come close to them.”

“Seventh: since the nature of sound has completely melted away and through contemplation my hearing has returned to itself, leaving involvement with false and defiling sense-objects, I can free beings from the locks of cangues and fetters.”

“Eighth: when sound is gone and the hearing is perfected, an all-pervasive power of compassion arises, and I keep beings who are travelling a dangerous road from being robbed by robbers.”

“Ninth: when hearing permeates, a separation from defiling objects occurs so that forms no longer act as thieves. Then I can enable with lust to leave greed and desire far behind.”

“Tenth: when sound is so pure that there is no defiling object, the sense-organ and the external state are perfectly fused, and nothing is matched to anything else. Then I can enable beings who are full of rage and hate to stop being hateful.”

“Eleventh: when the defiling objects have gone, a light spirals, and the Dharma Realm and the body and mind are like crystal, transparent and unobstructed. Then I can enableall dark and dull-witted beings whose natures are obstructed¡ªall atyantikas¡ªto forever be free from stupidity and darkness.”

“Twelfth: when form dissipates and returns to the hearing, then unmoving within the unmoving Bodhimanda I can travel among beings without disturbing anything in their worlds. I can go through the ten directions making offerings to as many Buddhas, Tathagatas, as there are atoms of universe. Beside each Buddha I become a Dharma Prince, and I can enable childless beings throughout the Dharma Realm who wish to have sons to be blessed with meritorious, virtuous, and wise sons.”

“Thirteenth: with perfect penetration of the six sense-organs, the light and what is illumined are not two. Encompassing the ten directions, a great perfect mirror stands in the Empty Treasury of the Tathagata. I inherit the secret Dharma-doors of as many Tathagatas as there are atoms of universe throughout the ten directions, receiving them without loss. I can enable childless beings throughout the Dharma Realm who seek daughters to be blessed with lovely daughters who are upright, virtuous, and compliant and whom everyone cherishes and respects.”

“Fourteenth: In this three-thousand-great-thousand world system with its billions of suns and moons, as many Dharma princes as there are grains of sands in sixty-two Ganges Rivers appear in the world, cultivate the Dharma, and act as models in order to teach and transform beings. They comply with beings by means of expedients and wisdom, in different ways for each.”

“However, because I have obtained the perfect penetration of the sense-organ and have discovered the wonder of the ear-entrance, after which my body and mind subtly and miraculously included all of the Dharma Realm, I can enable beings who uphold my name to obtain as much merit and virtue as would be obtained by a person who upheld the names of all those Dharma princes as many as the grains of sand in sixty-two Ganges Rivers. Bhagavan, the merit of my one name is the same as those many other names, because from my cultivation I have obtained true and perfect penetration. These are called the fourteen powers of bestowing fearlessness; with them I bless living beings.”

“Moreover, Bhagavan, because I obtained perfect penetration and cultivated the unsurpassed path to certification, I also became endowed with four inconceivable and effortless wonderful virtues.”

“First: due to my attaining the miraculous wonder of hearing the mind, the essence of mind was liberated from the organ and states of hearing. Therefore, there was no distinction among seeing, hearing, sensation, knowing, and so forth. The enlightenment became a single, perfect fusion, pure and precious enlightenment. For that reason, I am able to manifest many wonderful appearances and can proclaim boundless secret holy mantras. Among those, I may appear with one head, three heads, five heads, seven heads, nine heads, eleven heads, and so forth, including a hundred and eight heads, a thousand heads, ten thousand heads, or eighty-four thousand vajra heads; two arms, four arms, six arms, eight arms, ten arms, twelve arms, fourteen, sixteen, eighteen arms, or twenty arms, twenty-four arms, and so forth until there may be a hundred and eight arms, a thousand arms, ten thousand arms, or eighty-four thousand mudra arms; two eyes, three eyes, four eyes, nine eyes, and so forth including a hundred and eight eyes, a thousand eyes, ten thousand eyes, or eighty-four thousand pure and precious eyes, sometimes compassionate, sometimes awesome, sometimes in Samadhi, sometimes displaying wisdom to rescue and protect living beings so that they may attain great self-mastery.”

“Second: Due to my hearing and consideration having escaped the six defiling objects, just as a sound passes over a wall, they could no longer be hindered. For that reason I have the wonderful ability to manifest shape after shape and to recite mantra upon mantra. These shapes and these mantras dispel the fears of living beings. Therefore, throughout the ten directions, in lands as many as atoms of universe, I am known as one who bestows fearlessly.”

“Third: due to my cultivation of fundamental, wonderful, perfect penetration and purification of the sense-organ, anywhere I go in any world I can inspire beings to offer up their lives and valuables to seek my sympathy.”

“Fourth: Due to my obtaining the Buddhas’ mind and being certified as having attained the ultimate end, I can make offerings of rare treasures to the Tathagatas of the ten directions and to beings in the six paths throughout the Dharma Realm. If beings seek a spouse, they can obtain a spouse. If they seek children, they can have children. Seeking Samadhi, they obtain Samadhi; seeking long life, they obtain long life, and so forth to the extent that if they seek the great Nirvana, they obtain great Nirvana.”

“The Buddha asks about perfect penetration. From the gateway of the ear, I obtained a perfect and illumining Samadhi that allowed me to respond at ease to beings’ minds. By entering the flow back to the nature and obtaining Samadhi, I accomplished Bodhi. That is the foremost means.”

“Bhagavan, that Buddha, the Tathagata, praised me as having obtained well the Dharma-door of perfect penetration. In the great assembly he bestowed a prediction upon me and the name Contemplator of the World’s Sounds. Due to my contemplation and listening being perfectly clear throughout the ten directions, the name Contemplator of the World’s Sounds pervades all the realms of the ten directions.”

Then the Bhagavan upon his Lion’s Throne emitted simultaneously from his five extremities a radiant light which shone far throughout the ten directions to anoint the crowns of as many Tathagatas and Dharma Prince Bodhisattvas as there are motes of dust. All those Tathagatas also emitted from their five extremities radiant lights which were as numerous as atoms of universe and which came from the various directions to anoint the crown of the Buddha as well as the crowns of all the great Bodhisattvas and Arhats in the assembly. Groves, trees, pools, and ponds all proclaimed the sound of Dharma. The lights blended and criss-crossed like a jeweled silken net. Everyone in the great assembly experienced this unprecedented event and attained the Vajra Samadhi. Then the heavens rained down hundreds of precious lotus flowers of variegated combinations of blue, yellow, red, and white. All the space in the ten directions turned the colors of the seven gems. This Saha world, the great earth itself along with the mountains and rivers disappeared totally, and all that could be seen were lands as numerous as atoms of universe coming together as one realm. Pure praises in song and chant were spontaneously heard everywhere in celebration.

Then the Tathagata said to Dharma Prince Manjushri, “You should now contemplate these twenty-five great Bodhisattvvas and Arhats who are beyond study. Each has explained the initial expedient in his accomplishment of the Way. All say they have cultivated to true and actual perfect penetration. Their cultivation is equal without distinctions of superior and inferior or earlier and later. I now wish to cause Ananda to become enlightened, and so I ask which of these twenty-five practices is appropriate to his faculties, and which will be, after my extinction, the easiest expedient door for beings of this realm to enter in order to accomplish the Bodhisattva vehicle and seek the unsurpassed Way.”

Dharma Prince, Manjushri, receiving the Buddha’s compassionate instruction, arose from his seat, bowed at the Buddha’s feet, and, basing himself on the Buddha’s stateliness and sacrosanctity, spoke verses to the Buddha:

“The sea of enlightenment in its nature is perfect and clear.

Complete, distinct Bodhi is its miraculous source.

But when basic brightness shone so that objects appeared,

With objects’ existence, the nature’s brilliance faded.

Confusion about falseness brings about emptiness.

Relying on emptiness, worlds coming into being.

Thoughts settle, forming countries.

Consciousness becomes beings.

The emptiness created within great enlightenment,

Is like a single bubble in all the sea.

Beings subject to outflows and lands like fine dust motes,

All emerge out of empty space.

Just as the bubble bursts, so too, space never existed.

How much the less the three states of being!

Returning to the source, the nature is not two.

Many are the entrances through expedients;

The sagely nature permeates them all.

Whether compliant or adverse, all situations are expedient.

Those who initially resolve to enter Samadhi,

Progress slow or fast according to the method selected.

Forms are defiled objects created from thought.

They cannot be discerned by the essence of mind.

How can something not clearly discernible

Be used to gain perfect penetration?

In sounds, language is intermingled.

But the meaning in a word, a name, a phrase,

In such that no single one can included them all.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Awareness of smells comes through contact with them.

Apart from them, one does not know that they exist.

Since sensation of them is not constant,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Flavors are not to us fundamental by nature.

They only exist when there is something to taste.

Since this sensation is not perpetual,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Touch becomes clear only when something is touched.

Without an object there can be no contact.

Since contact and separation fluctuate,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Dharmas are know as internal defiling dust.

Reckoned as defiling dust, they are certainly sense objects.

Involvement of subject and object cannot be pervasive;

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Although seeing itself is lucid and penetrating,

Clearly discerning in front, it cannot discern behind.

Ever reaching only half the four directions,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

The nose’s breath penetrates in and out.

But in the rests between there is no air.

These interruptions render it inconsistent.

How can that be used perfect penetration?

The tongue is not an organ without a function;

Flavors form the source of its sensation.

When flavors cease, it knows nothing at all.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

It is the same for the body as for objects of touch.

Neither can be regarded as a perfect awareness.

With defined and limited invisible divisions,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Mental knowledge is a mass of deliberating.

What it perceives is never profound insight.

Unable to get beyond reflection and thought,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

The seeing-consciousness combines three aspects.

Probe its origin: it has no appearance.

Since its very substance is variable,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

The essence of hearing penetrates the ten directions,

For those who have already developed great causes,

Those of initial resolve cannot enter this way.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Reflecting on the nose is a provisional method.

It only serves to gather in and settle the mind.

Once settled, the mind is simply still.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Those of former accomplishment enlightened by

Speaking Dharma through the medium of language,

But since words and phrases are not free of outflows,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Refraining from transgressions only controls the body.

For one lacking a body, there is nothing to restrain.

Since its source is not all-pervasive,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

Spiritual penetrations are based on past causes.

What connection have they with distinguishing dharmas?

Conditioned thought is not apart from things.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of earth,

But it is firm and solid, not penetrable.

Whatever is conditioned is not the sagely nature.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of water,

But such mental reflection is not the true and real.

This state of suchness is not an enlightened view.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of fire,

But admitting dislike is not true renunciation.

This expedient cannot be one for beginners.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of wind,

But movement and stillness are not non-dual.

Duality cannot bring highest enlightenment.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of emptiness .

But its aspect is murky and dull, lacking awareness.

Whatever is unaware is different from Bodhi.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

One may contemplate the nature of consciousness;

Yet one is regarding a consciousness that is not eternal.

Even the thought of it is empty and false.

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

All activities are impermanent;

So, too, mindfulness has its origin in arising and ceasing.

Since at any given time the factors propelling cause and effect differ,

How can that be used to reach perfect penetration?

I now inform the Bhagavan,

The Buddha appearing in the Saha world:

In this land the true substance of teaching

Resides in hearing the sounds purely.

If one wants to attain Samadhi,

Hearing is the best way to enter.

Apart from suffering, liberation is found.

How excellent is he who contemplates the world’s sounds!

Throughout eons as numerous as Ganges’ sands.

He enters Buddhalands as many as fine dust motes.

Obtaining great power of self-mastery,

He bestows fearlessness on living beings.

Wonderful is the sound of Contemplator of the World’s Sounds,

A pure sound, like the ocean’s roar.

He saves the world and brings peace to all within it.

He has transcended the world, and his attainment is eternal.

I now evaluate, Tathagata,

What the Contemplator of Sounds has just explained:

Consider someone in a quiet place, who,

When drums are rolled throughout the ten directions,

Can hear at once the sounds from all ten locations.

That is actual true perfection.

The eyes cannot see through solid forms.

The mouth and the nose are much the same.

The body registers awareness only through contact.

The mind, tangled in thoughts, lacks clear connections.

Sounds can be heard even through solid walls.

The ears can listen to things both near and far.

None of the other five organs can match this.

It, then, is penetrating true and real.

The nature of sounds is based in motion and stillness.

One hears according to whether there is sound.

With no sound, there is said to be no hearing.

But this does not mean that the hearing-nature is gone.

In the absence of sound, the nature is not ended;

Nor does it arise in the presence of sound.

Entirely beyond arising and ceasing.

It is, then, truly eternal.

Ever-present, even in dream-thinking,

It does not disappear when conditions and thought are gone.

Enlightened, this contemplation transcends cognition,

Reaching beyond both the body and the mind.

Now, in the Saha world, the theory of sounds

Has been proclaimed and understood.

Yet beings are confused about the source of hearing.

They follow sounds and so turn and flow.

Ananda’s power to remember was exceptional;

Yet he fell prey to a deviant plot.

Was it not from heeding sounds that he was nearly lost?

By turning back the flow, one will be above falseness.

Ananda, listen attentively:

I rely upon the Buddha’s mighty power,

In describing to you the Vajra King,

A Samadhi inconceivable that is like an illusion.

It is the true mother of all Buddhas.

You may hear the secret Dharma-doors

Of Buddhas as numerous as atoms of universe,

But without first renouncing desire and outflows,

You may amass learning, and still make mistakes.

You exploit learning to uphold the Buddhahood of the Buddhas.

Why don’t you try to hear your own hearing?

Hearing does not arise spontaneously;

It gets its name due to sounds.

But when hearing returns and is free of sound,

What does one call that which is set free?

As soon as one sense-organ returns to the source,

All the six are liberated.

Sight and hearing are like an illusory covering.

The triple realm, a vision of flowers in space.

When hearing reverts, the covering of the sense-organs is gone.

The defiling dust gives way to pure and perfect insight.

With ultimate purity, the light is penetrating.

A stillness shines and includes within it all of emptiness .

Looking at the world from this point of view,

Everything that happens is just like a dream.

Matangi’s daughter, too, is part of the dream.

Who was able, then, to physically detain you?

Consider a shadow puppeteer at work,

Making the dolls seem as real as people.

Although one sees them move about freely,

They are really governed by a set of strings.

Cease operating the controls and they become still.

The entire illusion was never really there.

The six sense-organs are also thus.

At first there was one essential brightness.

Which split into a six-fold combination.

If but one part ceases and returns,

All six functions will stop as well.

Responding to a thought, defiling objects vanish,

Becoming pure and wonderful perfect brightness .

If there is residual defilement, one must still study.

When the brightness is ultimate, one becomes a Tathagata.

Ananda, and everyone in the great assembly,

Turn around your mechanism for hearing.

Return the hearing to hear your own nature

The nature will become the supreme Way.

That is what perfect penetration really means.

That is the gateway entered by Buddhas as many as dust motes.

That is the one path leading to Nirvana.

Tathagatas of the past perfected this method.

Bodhisattvas now merge with this total brightness.

People of the future who study and practice

Will also rely on this Dharma.

Through this method I, too, have been certified.

Contemplator of the World’s Sounds Bodhisattva was not the only one.

The Buddha, the Bhagavan,

Inquired of me which expedient,

Would save those in the final eon

Who seek to escape the mundane world,

And perfect the mind of Nirvana:

The best way is to contemplate the sounds of the world.

All the other kinds of expedients

Require the stateliness and sacrosanctity of the Buddha.

In some cases they bring immediate transcendence,

But they are not the customary means of practice,

Spoken for those of shallow and deep roots alike.

I bow to the Tathagatas and the Tripitaka

And to those inconceivable Ones with no outflows,

Trusting they will aid those in the future,

So that no one will doubt this method.

It is an expedient easy to master; an appropriate teaching for Ananda

And for those floundering in the final age.

They should use the ear organ to cultivate

A perfect penetration surpassing all others

That is the way to the true mind.”

Thereupon, Ananda and all in the great assembly experienced a clarity of body and mind upon receiving such profound instruction. They contemplated the Buddha’s Bodhi and Parinirvana like someone who, having travelled far on business, knows that he is on the road home, although he has not yet returned completely. Throughout the entire assembly, the gods, dragons, and all the eightfold division, those of the two vehicles who were not yet beyond study, as well as all the Bodhisattvas of initial resolve, as numerous as the sands in ten Ganges Rivers, found their fundamental mind and, far removed from dust and defilement, attained the purity of the Dharma eye. The Bhikshuni Nature attained Arhatship after hearing this verse, and limitless beings aroused the matchless, unequaled heart of Anuttara-Samyak-Sambodhi.

(The four clear and decisive instructions on purity:)

Ananda straightened his robes and then, in the midst of the assembly, placed his palms together and bowed. His mind was perfectly clear, and he felt a mixture of joy and sorrow. His intent was to benefit beings of the future as he made obeisance and said to the Buddha, “Greatly Compassionate Bhagavan. I have already awakened and attained this Dharma-door for becoming a Buddha, and I can cultivate it without the slightest doubt. I have often heard the Tathagata say, ‘Save others first; then save yourself. That is the aspiration of a Bodhisattva. Once your own enlightenment is perfected, then you can enlighten others. That is the way the Tathagatas respond to the world.’ Although I am not yet saved, I vow to save all beings of the Dharma-ending Age.

“Bhagavan, those beings are from the Buddha’s time, and there will be as many deviant teachers propounding their teachings as there are sand grains in the Ganges. I want to enable those beings to collect their thoughts and enter Samadhi. How can I cause them to reside peacefully in a Way-place, far away from exploits of demons, and be irreversible in their resolve for Bodhi?”

At that time, the Bhagavan praised Ananda in front of the whole assembly, saying, “Good indeed! How good it is that you have asked how to establish a Way-place and to rescue and protect beings who are sunk in the morass of the final age. Listen well, now, and I will tell you.”

Ananda and the great assembly agreed to uphold the teaching.

The Buddha told Ananda, “You constantly hear me explain in the Vinaya that there are three decisive aspects to cultivation. That is, collecting one’s thoughts constitutes the precepts; from the precepts comes Samadhi; and from Samadhi arises wisdom. These are called the Three Non-Outflow Studies. ”

“Ananda, why do I call collecting one’s thoughts the precepts? If beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no sexual desire, they would not have to undergo a continual succession of births and deaths. Your basic purpose in cultivating Samadhi is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you do not renounce sexual desire, you will not be able to get out of the dust. Even though people may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Dhyana Samadhi, if they do not exterminate sexual desire, they are certain to enter demonic paths. At best, they will become demon kings; on the average, they will become members of the retinue of demons; at the lowest level, they will become female demons. These demons all have their groups of disciples. Each claims that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way. After my Nirvana, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of demons will abound, spreading like wildfire as they openly practice greed and lust, while claiming to be Good Knowing Advisors. They will cause beings to fall into the pit of love and views and lose the way to Bodhi.”

“When you teach people of the world to cultivate Samadhi, they must first of all cut off the mind of sexual desire. This is the first clear and decisive instruction on purity given by the Tathagatas, the Buddhas of the past, the Bhagavans. Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Dhyana Samadhi do not exterminate sexual desire, they are like someone who cooks sand hoping to get rice. After hundreds of thousands of eons, it will still just be hot sand. Why? It wasn’t rice to begin with; it was only sand. If you seek the Buddha’s wonderful fruition with a body of sexual desire, then even if you attain a wonderful awakening, it is still based on sexual desire. With sexual desire at the source, you will revolve in the three paths and not be able to get out. Which road will you take to cultivate and be certified to the Tathagata’s Nirvana? You must exterminate the sexual desire which is intrinsic to both body and mind, then get rid of even the aspect of extermination. At that point you have some hope of attaining the Buddha’s Bodhi. What I have said here is the Buddhas’ teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan(demon king).”

“Further, Ananda, if beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of killing, they would not have to a undergo a continual succession of births and deaths. Your basic purpose in cultivating Samadhi is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you do not renounce your thoughts of killing, you will not be able to get out of the dust. Even though people may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Dhyana Samadhi, they are certain to enter the path of spirits if they do not cease killing. At best, they will become ghosts of great strength; on the average, they will become flying yakshas, ghost leaders, or the like; at the lowest level, they will become earth-bound rakshasas. These ghosts and spirits all have their followers. Each claims that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way. After my Nirvana, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of ghosts and spirits will abound, spreading like wildfire as they argue that eating meat will bring one to the Bodhi Way. Ananda, I permit the Bhikshus to eat five kinds of pure meat. This meat is actually a transformation brought into being by my spiritual powers. It basically has no life-force. You Brahmans live in a climate so hot and humid, and on such sandy and rocky land, that vegetables will not grow; therefore, I have had to assist you with spiritual powers and compassion. Because of this magnanimous kindness and compassion, this so-called meat suits your taste. After my extinction, how can those who eat the flesh of beings be called the disciples of Shakya? You should know that, even if these meat-eaters may enter the heart-open state similar to Samadhi, they are all great Rakshas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people transcend the Triple Realm? ”

“When you teach people of the world to cultivate Samadhi, they must also cease killing. This is the second clear and decisive instruction on purity given by the Tathagatas, the Buddhas of the Past, the Bhagavans. Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Dhyana Samadhi do not stop killing, they are like one who stops up his ears and calls out in a loud voice, thinking that no one hears him.. He tries to cover up the sound, but only makes it greater. Pure Bhikshus and Bodhisattvas who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less would they pull it up with their hands. How could anyone with great compassion consume the flesh and blood of beings? Bhikshus who do not wear silk, leather boots, furs, or down, whether imported or found locally, and who do not consume milk, cream, or butter, can truly transcend this world. When they have paid back their past debts, they will not have to re-enter the Triple Realm. Why not? When someone wears anything taken from a living creature, he creates relationships with the creature, just as when people ate the hundred grains, their feet could not leave the earth. Both physically and mentally one must avoid the bodies and the by-products of beings, by neither wearing them nor eating them. I say that such people have true liberation. What I have said here is the Buddhas’ teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan(demon king).”

“Further, Ananda, if beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of stealing, they would not have to undergo a continuous succession of births and deaths. Your basic purpose in cultivating Samadhi is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you do not renounce your thoughts of stealing, you will not be able to get out of the dust. Even though people may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Dhyana Samadhi, they are certain to enter a deviant path if they do not cease stealing. At best, they will become spirits; on the average, they will become evil ghosts; at the lowest level, they will become deviant people who are possessed by various sprites. These deviant hordes all have their followers. Each claims that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way. After my Nirvana, in the Dharma-ending Age, these evil and deviant entities will abound, spreading like wildfire as they surreptitiously cheat others. Calling themselves good knowing advisors, they will each claim that they have attained the Unsurpassed Dharma. Enticing and deceiving the ignorant, or frightening people out of their wits, they disrupt and lay waste to households wherever they go.”

“I teach the Bhikshus to beg for their food according to where they are, in order to help them renounce greed and accomplish the Bodhi Way. The Bhikshus do not prepare their own food, so that, at the end of this life of transitory existence in the Triple Realm, they can show themselves to be Once-returners who go and do not return. How could thieves put on my robes and sell the Tathagata, saying that all manner of karma one creates is just the Buddha-Dharma? They slander Bhikshus who have left the home life and taken the complete precepts, saying that they belong to the path of Hinayana(Small Vehicle). In this way, they confuse innumerous beings, causing them to go astray, until they fall into the Unintermittent Hell.”

“After my Nirvana, I affirm that Bhikshus who have a decisive resolve to cultivate Samadhi, and who before the images of Tathagatas can light an oil lamp in their bodies or burn off a finger, or burn even one incense stick on their bodies, will, in that moment repay their debts from beginningless time past. They can depart from the world and be forever free of outflows. Though they may not have instantly understood the Unsurpassed Enlightenment, they will already have firmly set their minds on the Dharma. If one does not practice any of these token renunciations of the body on the causal level, then even if one realizes the unconditioned, one will still have to come back as a person to repay one’s past debts, exactly as I had to undergo the retribution of having to eat the grain meant for horses.”

“When you teach people of the world to cultivate Samadhi, they must also cease stealing. This is the third clear and decisive instruction on purity given by the Tathagatas, the Buddhas of the past, the Bhagavans. Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Dhyana Samadhi do not cease stealing, they are like someone who pours water into a leaking cup hoping to fill it. He may continue for as many eons as there are atoms of universe, but, in the end, the cup still will not be full. If Bhikshus do not store away anything else than their robes and bowls; if they give what is left over from their food-offerings to hungry beings; if they put their palms together and make obeisance to the entire great assembly; if when people scold them they can treat it as praise; if they can sacrifice their very bodies and minds, giving their flesh, bones, and blood to living creatures; and if they do not repeat the non-ultimate teachings of the Tathagata as though they were their own explanations, misleading those who have just begun to study; then Buddhas certify that they will attain true Samadhi. What I have said here is the Buddhas’ teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan(demon king).”

“Ananda, although beings in the six paths of any mundane world may not kill, steal, or lust either physically or mentally, these three aspects of their conduct thus being perfect, if they tell various major lies, then the Samadhi they attain will not be pure. They will become demons of love and views and will lose the seed of the Tathagata. They claim that they have attained what they have not attained, and that they have been certified when they have not been certified. Perhaps they seek to be foremost in the world, most venerated and superior people. They announce to their audiences that they have attained the fruition of a Shrotaapanna, of a Sakridagamin, of an Anagamin, of Arhatship, of the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle, or the various levels of Bodhisattvahood up to and including the Ten Bhumi(stage)s, in order to cause others to revere and repent in front of them and because they are greedy for offerings. These icchantikas destroy the seeds of Buddhahood just as surely as a tala-tree is destroyed if it is chopped down. The Buddha predicts that such people cut off their good roots forever and lose their knowledge and vision. Immersed in the sea of the Three Sufferings, they cannot attain Samadhi.”

“I command that after my Nirvana, Bodhisattvas and Arhats appear in response-bodies in the Dharma-ending Age, and take various forms in order to rescue those in the cycle of rebirth. They should either become Shramanas, white-robed laypeople, kings, ministers or officials, virgin youths or maidens, and so forth, even prostitutes, widows, profligates, thieves, butchers, or dealers in contraband, be confreres of these kinds of people, praise the Buddha Vehicle and cause them to enter Samadhi in body and mind. But they should never say of themselves, ‘I am truly a Bodhisattva’; or ‘I am truly an Arhat,’ or let the Buddhas’ secret cause leak out by speaking casually to those who have not yet studied, other than at the end of their lives and then only to those who inherit the teaching. Otherwise, aren’t such people deluding and confusing beings and indulging in gross false claims?”

“When you teach people in the world to cultivate Samadhi, they must also cease all lying. This is the fourth clear and decisive instruction on purity given by the Tathagatas and the Buddhas of the past, the Bhagavans. Therefore, Ananda, one who does not cut off lying is like a person who carves a piece of human excrement to look like chandana, hoping to make it fragrant. He is attempting the impossible. I teach the Bhikshus that the straight mind is the Way-place and that in all aspects of their practice of the Four Majestic Deportments they should avoid falseness. How could they claim to have themselves attained the Dharmas of a superior person? That would be like a poor person falsely calling himself an emperor and thereby bringing about his own execution. Much less should one attempt to usurp the title of the Dharma King. When the cause-ground is not true, the effects will be distorted. One who seeks the Buddha’s Bodhi in that way is like a person who tries to bite his own navel. Who could possibly succeed in that?”

“If the Bhikshus’ minds are as straight as bow-strings, and they are true and real in everything they do, then they can enter Samadhi and never be involved in the deeds of demons. I certify that such people will accomplish the Bodhisattvas’ Unsurpassed Knowledge and Enlightenment. What I have said here is the Buddhas’ teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan(demon king).”


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