Posted by: ADMIN | September 17, 2010

SHURANGAMA SUTRA – chapter 10 – end

Chapter Ten

“Ananda, when the good person who is cultivating Samadhi has put an end to the thinking skandha, he is ordinarily free of dreaming and idle thinking, so he stays the same whether in wakefulness or in sleep. His mind is aware, clear, empty and still, like a cloudless sky, devoid of any coarse sense-impressions. He contemplates everything in the world¡ªall the mountains, the rivers, and the vast land¡ªas reflections in a bright mirror, appearing without attachment and vanishing without any trace; they are simply received and reflected. He does away with all his old habits, and only the essential truth remains. From this point on, as the origin of production and destruction is exposed, he will completely see all the twelve categories of living beings in the ten directions. Although he has not fathomed the source of their individual lives, he will see that they share a common basis of life, which appears as a mirage¡ªshimmering and fluctuating¡ªand is the ultimate, pivotal point of the illusory sense faculties and sense objects. This is the region of the formations skandha.

“Once the basic nature of this shimmering fluctuation returns to its original clarity, his habits will cease, like waves subsiding to become clear, calm water. This is the end of the formations skandha. This person will then be able to transcend the turbidity of living beings. Contemplating the cause of the formations skandha, one sees that subtle and hidden false thoughts are its source.

“Ananda, you should know that when such a good person has obtained proper knowledge in his practice of Shamatha, his mind is unmoving, clear, and proper, and it cannot be disturbed by the ten kinds of demons from the heavens. He is now able to intently and thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings. As the origin of each category becomes apparent, he can contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and pervasive fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on that pervasive source, he could fall into error with two theories postulating the absence of cause.

“(1) First, perhaps this person sees no cause for the origin of life. Why? Since he has completely destroyed the mechanism of production, he can, by means of the eight hundred merits of the eye organ, see all living beings in the swirling flow of karma during eighty thousand eons, dying in one place and being reborn in another as they undergo transmigration. But he cannot see beyond eighty thousand eons. Therefore, he concludes that for the last eighty thousand eons living beings in the ten directions of this and other worlds have come into being without any cause. Because of this speculation, he will lose proper and pervasive knowledge, fall into externalism, and become confused about the Bodhi nature.

“(2) Second, perhaps this person sees no cause for the end of life. And why? Since he perceives the origin of life, he believes that people are always born as people and birds are always born as birds; that crows have always been black and swans have always been white; that humans and gods have always stood upright and animals have always walked on four legs; that whiteness does not come from being washed and blackness does not come from being dyed; and that there have never been nor will there be any changes for eighty thousand eons. He says: “As I now examine to the end of this life, I find the same holds true. In fact, I have never seen Bodhi, so how can there be such a thing as the attainment of Bodhi? You should now realize that there is no cause for the existence of any phenomena.” Because of this speculation, he will lose proper and pervasive knowledge, fall into externalism, and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the first externalist teaching, in which one postulates the absence of cause.

“Ananda, in his practice of Samadhi, such a good person’s mind is unmoving, clear, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on its pervasive constancy, he could fall into error with four theories of pervasive permanence.

“(1) First, as this person thoroughly investigates the mind and its states, he may conclude that both are causeless. Through his cultivation, he knows that in twenty thousand eons, as living beings in the ten directions undergo endless rounds of production and destruction, they are never annihilated. Therefore, he speculates that the mind and its states are permanent.

“(2) Second, as this person thoroughly investigates the source of the four elements, he may conclude that they are permanent in nature. Through his cultivation, he knows that in forty thousand eons, as living beings in the ten directions undergo production and destruction, their substances exist permanently and are never annihilated. Therefore, he speculates that this situation is permanent.

“(3) Third, as this person thoroughly investigates the sixth sense faculty, the manas, and the consciousness that grasps and receives, he concludes that the origin of mind, intellect, and consciousness is permanent. Through his cultivation, he knows that in eighty thousand eons, as all living beings in the ten directions revolve in transmigration, this origin is never destroyed and exists permanently. Investigating this undestroyed origin, he speculates that it is permanent.

“(4) Fourth, since this person has ended the source of thoughts, there is no more reason for them to arise. In the state of flowing, halting, and turning, the thinking mind¡ªwhich was the cause of production and destruction¡ªhas now ceased forever, and so he naturally thinks that this is a state of non-production and non-destruction. As a result of such reasoning, he speculates that this state is permanent.

“Because of these speculations of permanence, he will lose proper and pervasive knowledge, fall into externalism, and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the second externalist teaching, in which one postulates the pervasiveness of permanence.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, such a good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate about self and others, he could fall into error with theories of partial impermanence and partial permanence based on four distorted views.

“(1) First, as this person contemplates the wonderfully bright mind pervading the ten directions, he concludes that this state of profound stillness is the ultimate spiritual self. Then he speculates, “My spiritual self, which is settled, bright, and unmoving, pervades the ten directions. All living beings are within my mind, and there they are born and die by themselves. Therefore, my mind is permanent, while those who undergo birth and death there are truly impermanent.”

“(2) Second, instead of contemplating his own mind, this person contemplates in the ten directions worlds as many as the Ganges’ sands. He regards as ultimately impermanent those worlds that are in eons of decay, and as ultimately permanent those that are not in eons of decay.

“(3) Third, this person closely examines his own mind and finds it to be subtle and mysterious, like fine motes of dust swirling in the ten directions, unchanging in nature. And yet it can cause his body to be produced and then to be destroyed. He regards that indestructible nature as his permanent intrinsic nature, and that which undergoes birth and death and flows forth from him as impermanent.

“(4) Fourth, knowing that the skandha of thinking has ended and seeing the flowing of the skandha of formations, this person speculates that the continuous flow of the skandha of formations is permanent, and that the skandhas of form, feeling, and thinking which have already ended are impermanent.

“Because of these speculations of impermanence and permanence, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the third externalist teaching, in which one postulates partial permanence.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, such a good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate about the making of certain distinctions, he could fall into error with four theories of finiteness.

“(1) First, this person speculates that the origin of life flows and functions ceaselessly. He judges that the past and the future are finite and that the continuity of the mind is infinite.

“(2) Second, as this person contemplates an interval of eighty thousand eons, he can see living beings; but earlier than eighty thousand eons is a time of stillness in which he cannot hear or see anything. He regards as infinite that time in which nothing is heard or seen, and as finite that interval in which living beings are seen to exist.

“(3) Third, this person speculates that his own pervasive knowledge is infinite and that all other people appear within his awareness. And yet, since he himself has never perceived the nature of their awareness, he says they have not obtained an infinite mind, but have only a finite one.

“(4) Fourth, this person thoroughly investigates the formations skandha to the point that it becomes empty. Based on what he sees, in his mind he speculates that each and every living being, in its given body, is half living and half dead. From this he concludes that everything in the world is half finite and half infinite.

“Because of these speculations about the finite and the infinite, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the fourth externalist teaching, in which one postulates finiteness.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, such a good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on what he knows and sees, he could fall into error with four distorted, false theories, which are total speculation based on the sophistry of immortality.

” (1) First, this person contemplates the source of transformations. Seeing the movement and flow, he says there is change. Seeing the continuity, he says there is constancy. Where he can perceive something, he says there is production. Where he cannot perceive anything, he says there is destruction. He says that the unbroken continuity of causes is increasing and that the pauses within the continuity are decreasing. He says that the arising of all things is existence and that the perishing of all things is non-existence. The light of reason shows that his application of mind has led to inconsistent views. If someone comes to seek the Dharma, asking about its meaning, he replies, “I am both alive and dead, both existent and non-existent, both increasing and decreasing.” He always speaks in a confusing way, causing that person to forget what he was going to say.

“(2) Second, this person attentively contemplates his mind and finds that everything is non-existent. He has a realization based on non-existence. When anyone comes to ask him questions, he replies with only one word. He only says “no.” Aside from saying “no,” he does not speak.

“(3) Third, this person attentively contemplates his mind and finds that everything is existent. He has a realization based on existence. When anyone comes to ask him questions, he replies with only one word. He only says “yes.” Aside from saying “yes,” he does not speak.

“(4) Fourth, this person perceives both existence and non-existence. Experiencing this branching, his mind becomes confused. When anyone comes to ask questions, he tells them, “Existence is also non-existence. But within non-existence there is no existence.” It is all sophistry and does not stand up under scrutiny.

“Because of these speculations, which are empty sophistries, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the fifth externalist teaching, in which one postulates four distorted, false theories that are total speculation based on the sophistry of immortality.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, the good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on the endless flow, he could fall into error with the confused idea that forms exist after death. He may strongly identify with his body and say that form is himself; or he may see himself as perfectly encompassing all worlds and say that he contains form; or he may perceive all external conditions as contingent upon himself and say that form belongs to him; or he may decide that he relies on the continuity of the formations skandha and say that he is within form. In all of these speculations, he says that form exists after death. Considering back and forth in this way, he comes up with sixteen cases of the existence of forms. Then he may speculate that afflictions are always afflictions, and Bodhi is always Bodhi, and the two exist side by side without contradicting each other.

“Because of these speculations about what exists after death, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the sixth externalist teaching, which postulates confused theories of the existence of forms after death in the realm of the five skandhas.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, such a good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper, and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on the skandhas of form, feeling, and thinking, which have already ended, he could fall into error with the confused idea that form do not exist after death.

“Seeing that his form is gone, his physical shape seems to lack a cause. As he contemplates the absence of thought, there is nothing to which his mind can become attached. Knowing that his feelings are gone, he has no further involvements. Those skandhas have vanished. Although there is still some coming into being, there is no feeling or thought, and he concludes that he is like grass or wood. Since those qualities do not exist at present, how can there be any existence of forms after death? Because of his examinations and comparisons, he decides that after death there is no existence. Expanding the idea, he comes up with eight cases of the non-existence of forms. From that, he may speculate that Nirvana and cause and effect are all empty, that they are mere names which ultimately do not exist. Because of those speculations that forms does not exist after death, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the seventh externalist teaching, which postulates confused theories of the nonexistence of forms after death in the realm of the five skandhas.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, the good person’s mind is f irm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. In this state where the skandha of formations remains, but the skandhas of feeling and thinking are gone, if he begins to speculate that there is both existence and non-existence, thus contradicting himself, he could fall into error with confused theories that deny both existence and non-existence after death. Regarding form, feeling, and thinking, he sees that existence is not really existence. Within the flow of the formations skandha, he sees that non-existence is not really non-existence. Considering back and forth in this way, he thoroughly investigates the realms of these skandhas and derives an eightfold negation of form. No matter which skandha is mentioned, he says that after death, it neither exists nor does not exist. Further, because he speculates that all formations are changing in nature, an “insight” flashes through his mind, leading him to derive a negation of both existence and non-existence. He cannot determine what is unreal and what is real. Because of these speculations that deny both existence and non-existence after death, the future is murky to him and he cannot say anything about it. Therefore, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the eighth externalist teaching, which postulates confused theories that deny both existence and non-existence after death in the realm of the five skandhas.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, the good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate that there is no existence after death, he could fall into error with seven theories of the cessation of existence. He may speculate that the body will cease to exist; or that when desire has ended, there is cessation of existence; or that after suffering has ended, there is cessation of existence; or that when bliss reaches an ultimate point, there is cessation of existence; or that when renunciation reaches an ultimate point, there is cessation of existence. Considering back and forth in this way, he exhaustively investigates the limits of the seven places and sees that they have already ceased to be and will not exist again. Because of these speculations that existence ceases after death, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the ninth externalist teaching, which postulates confused theories of the cessation of existence after death in the realm of the five skandhas.

“Further, in his practice of Samadhi, the good person’s mind is firm, unmoving, and proper and can no longer be disturbed by demons. He can thoroughly investigate the origin of all categories of beings and contemplate the source of the subtle, fleeting, and constant fluctuation. But if he begins to speculate on existence after death, he could fall into error with five theories of Nirvana. He may consider the heavens of the Desire Realm a true refuge, because he contemplates their extensive brightness and longs for it; or he may take refuge in the First Dhyana, because there his nature is free from worry; or he may take refuge in the Second Dhyana, because there his mind is free from suffering; or he may take refuge in the Third Dhyana, because he delights in its extreme joy; or he may take refuge in the Fourth Dhyana, reasoning that suffering and bliss are both ended there and that he will no longer undergo transmigration. These heavens are subject to outflows, but in his confusion he thinks that they are unconditioned; and he takes these five states of tranquility to be refuges of supreme purity. Considering back and forth in this way, he decides that these five states are ultimate. Because of these speculations about five kinds of immediate Nirvana, he will fall into externalism and become confused about the Bodhi nature. This is the tenth externalist teaching, which postulates confused theories of five kinds of immediate Nirvana in the realm of the five skandhas.

“Ananda, all ten of these crazy explanations may occur in Dhyana as one’s mental effort interacts with the formations skandha. That is why these “insights” appear. Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Encountering such situations, they mistake their confusion for understanding and say that they have become Sages, thereby uttering a great lie. They will fall into the Relentless Hells. After my Nirvana, all of you should pass on the Tathagata’s teachings, transmitting and revealing them to those in the Dharma-ending Age, so that living beings everywhere can awaken to these truths. Do not let demons arise in their minds and cause them to commit grave offenses. Offer protection so that deviant views will be eradicated. Teach them to awaken to true principles in body and mind, so that they do not stray off the Unsurpassed Path. Do not let them aspire to and be content with small attainments. You should become kings of great enlightenment and serve as guides of purity.

“Ananda, when that good person, in cultivating Samadhi, has put an end to the formations skandha, the subtle, fleeting fluctuations¡ªthe deep, imperceptible, pivotal source and the common foundation from which all life in the world springs¡ªare suddenly obliterated. In the submerged network of retributive karma of the Pudgala, the karmic resonances are interrupted. There is about to be a great illumination in the sky of Nirvana. It is like gazing east at the cock’s last crow to see the bright glow of dawn already appearing. The six sense faculties are empty and still; there is no further racing about. Inside and outside there is a profound brightness. He enters without entering. Fathoming the original life-source of the twelve categories of beings throughout the ten directions, he can contemplate that source without being drawn into any of the categories. He has already become identical with the realms of the ten directions. The bright glow does not fade, and what was obscure and hidden is revealed. This is the region of the consciousness skandha.

“If he has already become identical with the beckoning masses, he may obliterate the individuality of the six gates and succeed in uniting and opening them. Seeing and hearing become linked so that they function interchangeably and purely. The worlds of the ten directions and his own body and mind are as bright and transparent as vaidurya. This is the end of the consciousness skandha. This person can then transcend the turbidity of life spans. Contemplating the cause of the consciousness skandha, one sees that the negation of existence and the negation of non-existence are both unreal, and that upside-down false thoughts are its source.

“Ananda, you should know that the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty, and he must return consciousness to the source. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He can cause the individual sense faculties of his body to unite and open. He also has a pervasive awareness of all the categories of beings in the ten directions. Since his awareness is pervasive, he can enter the perfect source. But if he regards what he is returning to as the cause of true permanence and interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of holding to that cause. Kapila the Sankhyan, with his theory of returning to the Truth of the Unmanifest, will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the first state, in which he creates a place to which to return, based on the idea that there is something to attain. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of externalism.

“Further, Ananda, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He may regard that to which he is returning as his own body and see all living beings in the twelve categories throughout space as flowing forth from his body. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of maintaining that he has an ability which he does not really have. Maheshvara, who manifests his boundless body, will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the second state, in which he creates a specific ability based on the idea that he has such an ability. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for being born in the Heaven of Great Pride where the self is considered all-pervading and perfect.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. If he regards what he is returning to as a refuge, he will suspect that his body and mind come forth from there, and that all things in the ten directions of space arise from there as well. He will explain that that place from which all things issue forth is the truly permanent body, which is not subject to production and destruction. While still within production and destruction, he prematurely reckons that he abides in permanence. Since he is deluded about non-production, he is also confused about production and destruction. He is sunk in confusion. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not permanent to be permanent. He will speculate that the God of Sovereignty (Ishvaradeva) is his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the third state, in which he makes a false speculation based on the idea that there is a refuge. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of an distorted view of perfection.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. Based on his idea that there is universal awareness, he formulates a theory that all the plants and trees in the ten directions are sentient, not different from human beings. He claims that plants and trees can become people, and that when people die they again become plants and trees in the ten directions. If he considers this idea of unrestricted, universal awareness to be supreme, he will fall into the error of maintaining that what is not aware has awareness. Vasishtha and Sainika, who maintained the idea of comprehensive awareness, will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the fourth state, in which he creates an erroneous interpretation based on the idea that there is a universal awareness. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted view of awareness.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. If he has attained versatility in the perfect fusion and interchangeable functioning of the sense faculties, he may speculate that all things arise from these perfect transformations. He then seeks the light of fire, delights in the purity of water, loves the wind’s circuitous flow, and contemplates the accomplishments of the earth. He reveres and serves them all. He takes these mundane elements to be a fundamental cause and considers them to be everlasting. He will then fall into the error of taking what is not production to be production. Kashyapa and the Brahmans who seek to transcend birth and death by diligently serving fire and worshipping water will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the fifth state, in which he confusedly pursues the elements, creating a false cause that leads to false aspirations based on speculations about his attachment to worship. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of a distorted view of transformation.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. He may speculate that there is an emptiness within the perfect brightness, and based on that he denies the myriad transformations, taking their eternal cessation as his refuge. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not a refuge to be a refuge. Those abiding in Shunyata in the Heaven of [Neither Thought nor] Non-Thought will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the sixth state, in which he realizes a state of voidness based on the idea of emptiness within the perfect brightness. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds of annihilationism.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. In the state of perfect permanence, he may bolster his body, hoping to live for a long time in that subtle and perfect condition without dying. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of being greedy for something unattainable. Asita and those who seek long life will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the seventh state, in which he creates the false cause of bolstering and aspires to permanent worldly existence, based on his attachment to the life-source. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for false thoughts of lengthening life.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. As he contemplates the interconnection of all lives, he wants to hang on to worldly enjoyments and is afraid they will come to an end. Caught up in this thought, he will, by the power of transformation, seat himself in a lotus flower palace, conjure up an abundance of the seven precious things, increase his retinue of beautiful women, and indulge his mind. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall into the error of taking what is not the truth to be the truth. Vignakara will become his companion. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the eighth state, in which he sets up the result of indulging in worldly enjoyments, based on the cause of his deviant thinking. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for becoming a demon of the heavens.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. In his understanding of life, he distinguishes the subtle and the coarse and determines the true and the false. But he only seeks a response in the mutual repayment of cause and effect, and he turns his back on the Way of Purity. In the practice of seeing suffering, eliminating accumulation, realizing cessation, and cultivating the Way, he dwells in cessation and stops there, making no further progress. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall and become a fixed-nature Hearer. Unlearned Sanghans and those of overweening pride will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the ninth state, in which he aspires toward the fruition of cessation, based on perfecting the mind that seeks responses. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for becoming enmeshed in emptiness.

“Further, the good person has thoroughly seen the formations skandha as empty. He has already ended production and destruction, but he has not yet perfected the subtle wonder of ultimate serenity. In that perfectly fused, pure, bright enlightenment, as he investigates the profound wonder, he may take it to be Nirvana and fail to make further progress. If he interprets this as a supreme state, he will fall and become a fixed-nature Pratyeka. Those Enlightened by Conditions and Solitarily Enlightened Ones who do not turn their minds to the Mahayana will become his companions. Confused about the Bodhi of the Buddhas, he will lose his knowledge and understanding.

“This is the tenth state, in which he realizes the fruition of profound brightness based on fusing the mind with perfect enlightenment. He strays far from perfect penetration and turns his back on the City of Nirvana, thus sowing the seeds for being unable to surpass his attachment to the brightness of perfect enlightenment.

“Ananda, these ten states of Dhyana are due to crazy explanations along the way. Relying on them, the cultivator becomes confused and claims to have attained complete realization before actually having done so. All these states are the result of interactions between the consciousness skandha and his mental efforts. Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Encountering such situations, their minds are confused by their individual likings and past habits, so they stop to rest in what they take to be the ultimate refuge. They claim to have fully realized unsurpassed Bodhi, thus uttering a great lie. After their karmic retribution as externalists and deviant demons comes to an end, they will fall into the Relentless Hells. The Hearers and Those Enlightened by Conditions cannot make further progress.”

“All of you should cherish the resolve to sustain the Way of the Tathagata. After my Nirvana, transmit this Dharma-door to those in the Dharma-ending Age, universally causing living beings to awaken to its meaning. Do not let the demons of views cause them to create their own grave offenses and fall. Protect, comfort, and compassionately rescue them and dispel evil conditions. Enable them to enter the Buddhas’ knowledge and understanding with body and mind so that from the beginning to the final accomplishment they never go astray. It is by relying on this Dharma-door that the Tathagatas of the past, as many as atoms of universe in eons as many as the Ganges’ sands, have had their hearts open and attained the Unsurpassed Way.”

“When the consciousness skandha ends, your present sense faculties will function interchangeably. Within that interchangeable functioning, you will be able to enter the Bodhisattvas’ Vajra Dry Wisdom. In your perfect, bright, pure mind, there will be a transformation. It will be like pure vaidurya that contains a precious moon, and in that way you will transcend the Ten Faiths, the Ten Dwellings the Ten Practices, the Ten Transferences, the Four Additional Practices, the Vajra-like Ten Grounds of a Bodhisattva’s practice, and the perfect brightness of Equal Enlightenment. You will enter the Tathagata’s sea of wondrous adornments, perfect the cultivation of Bodhi, and return to the state of non-attainment.”

“These are subtle demonic states that all Buddhas, Bhagavans, of the past, discerned with their enlightened clarity while in the state of Shamatha-Vipashyana. If you can recognize a demonic state when it appears and wash away the filth in your mind, you will not fall into error with deviant views. The demons of the skandhas will melt away, and the demons of the heavens will be obliterated. The mighty ghosts and spirits will lose their wits and flee. And the li, mei, and wang liang will not dare to show themselves again. You will directly arrive at Bodhi without the slightest weariness, progressing from lower positions to Great Nirvana without becoming confused or discouraged.”

“If there are living beings in the Dharma-ending Age who delight in cultivating Samadhi, but who are stupid and dull, who fail to recognize the importance of Dhyana, or who have not heard the Dharma spoken, you should be concerned lest they get caught up in deviant ways. You should single-mindedly exhort them to uphold the Dharani Mantra of the Buddha’s Summit. If they cannot recite it from memory, they should have it written out and placed it in the Dhyana Meditation Hall or wear on their person. Then none of the demons will be able to disturb them.”

“You should revere this final paradigm of the ultimate cultivation and progress by the Tathagatas of the ten directions.”

Ananda then arose from his seat. Having heard the Buddha’s instruction, he bowed and respectfully upheld it, remembering every word and forgetting none. Then once more in the great assembly he spoke to the Buddha, “The Buddha has told us that in the manifestation of the five skandhas, there are five kinds of falseness that come from our own thinking minds. We have never before been blessed with such subtle and wonderful instructions as the Tathagata has now given. Further, are these five skandhas obliterated all at the same time, or are they extinguished in sequence? What are the boundaries of these five layers? We only hope the Tathagata, out of great compassion, will explain this in order to purify the eyes and illuminate the minds of those in the great assembly, and in order to serve as eyes for living beings of the future.”

The Buddha told Ananda, “The essential, true, wonderful brightness and perfect purity of basic enlightenment does not admit birth and death, nor any mundane defilements, nor even empty space itself. All these are brought forth because of false thinking. The source of basic enlightenment, which is wonderfully bright, true, and pure, falsely gives rise to the material world, just as Yajnadatta became confused about his head when he saw his own reflection. The falseness basically has no cause, but in your false thinking, you set up causes and conditions. But those who are confused about the principle of causes and conditions call it spontaneity. Even empty space is an illusory creation. How much the more so are causes and conditions and spontaneity, which are mere speculations made by the false minds of living beings.”

“Ananda, if you perceive the arising of falseness, you can speak of the causes and conditions of that falseness. But if the falseness has no source, you will have to say that the causes and conditions of that falseness basically have no source. How much the more is this the case for those who fail to understand this and advocate spontaneity. Therefore, the Tathagata has explained to you that the fundamental cause of all five skandhas is false thinking.”

“Your body’s initial cause was a thought on the part of your parents. But if you had not entertained any thought in your own mind, you would not have been born. It is by means of thought that life is perpetuated. As I have said before, when you call to mind the taste of vinegar, your mouth waters. When you think of walking along a precipice, the soles of your feet tingle. Since the precipice doesn’t exist and there isn’t any vinegar, how could your mouth be watering at the mere mention of vinegar, if it were not the case that your body came from falseness? Therefore, you should know that your present physical body is brought about by the first kind of false thinking, which is characterized by solidity.”

“As described earlier, merely thinking about a high place can actually cause your body to tingle and ache. Due to that cause, feelings arise and affect your physical body, so that at present you pursue favorable feelings and are repelled by adverse feelings. These two kinds of feelings that compel you are brought about by the second kind of false thinking, which is characterized by illusory clarity.”

“Once your thoughts arise, they can control your body. Since your body is not the same as your thoughts, and yet, why is it that your body follows your thoughts and engage in every sort of grasping at objects? A thought arises and the body grasps in response to the thought. When you are awake, your mind thinks. When you are asleep, you dream. Thus your thinking is stirred to perceive false situations. This is the third kind of false thinking, which is characterized by interconnectedness.”

“The metabolic processes never stop; they progress through subtle changes: your nails become long, your hair grows, your energy wanes, and your skin becomes wrinkled. By day and by night the processes continue, and yet you never wake up to them. If these things aren’t part of you, Ananda, then why does your body keep changing? And if they are really part of you, then why aren’t you aware of them? Your formations skandha continues in thought after thought without cease. It is the fourth kind of false thinking, which is characterized as subtle and hidden.”

“Finally, if your pure, bright, clear, and unmoving state is permanent, then there should be no seeing, hearing, awareness or knowing in your body. If it is genuinely pure and true, it should not contain habits and falseness. How does it happen, then, that having seen some unusual thing in the past, you eventually forget it over time, until neither memory nor forgetfulness of it remain; but then later, upon suddenly seeing that unusual thing again, you remember it clearly from before without one detail omitted? How can you reckon the permeation which goes on in thought after thought in this pure, clear, and unmoving consciousness? Ananda, you should know that this state of clarity is not real. It is like rapidly flowing water that appears to be still on the surface. Because of its rapid speed, you cannot perceive the flow, but that does not mean it is not flowing. If this were not the source of thinking, then how could one be subject to false habits? If you do not open and unite your six sense faculties so that they function interchangeably, this false thinking will never cease. That’s why your seeing, hearing, awareness, and knowing are presently strung together by subtle habits, such that within the profound clarity, existence and non-existence are both illusory. This is the fifth kind of upside-down, minutely subtle thinking.”

“Ananda, these five skandhas of reception develop with five kinds of false thinking. You also wanted to know the depth and scope of each realm. Form and emptiness are the boundaries of form. Contact and separation are the boundaries of feeling. Remembering and forgetting are the boundaries of thinking. Destruction and production are the boundaries of formations. Deep purity entering to unite with deep purity belongs to the boundaries of consciousness.”

“At their source, these five skandhas arise in layers. Their arising is due to consciousness. Their cessation begins with the elimination of form. You may have a sudden awakening to the principle, at which point they all simultaneously vanish. But in terms of the specifics, they are eliminated not all at once, but in sequence. I have already shown you the knots tied in the Karpasa cloth. What is it that you do not understand, that causes you to ask about it again?”

“You should gain a thorough understanding of the origin of this false thinking and then transmit your understanding to cultivators in the future Dharma-ending Age. Let them recognize this falseness and naturally give rise to deep disdain for it. Let them know of Nirvana so that they will not linger in the Triple Realm.”

“Ananda, suppose someone were to present a quantity of the seven precious things that filled the space in the ten directions to Buddhas as many as atoms of universe, attentively serving and making offerings to them without letting a moment go by in vain. Do you think this person would reap many blessings from making such an offering to the Buddhas?”

Ananda answered, “Since space is limitless, the precious things would be boundless. In the past, someone gave the Buddha seven coins and consequently was reborn as a Wheel-turning King in his next life. As to this person who now fills up all of space and all the Buddhalands with an offering of precious things that could not be reckoned through endless eons, how could there be a limit to his blessings?”

The Buddha told Ananda, “All Buddhas, Tathagatas, speak words which are not false. There might be another person who had personally committed the Four Major Offenses and the Ten Parajikas so that, in an instant, he would have to pass through the Avichi Hells in this world and other worlds, until he had passed through all the Relentless Hells in the ten directions without exception. And yet, if he could explain this Dharma-door for even just the space of a thought to those in the Dharma-ending Age who have not yet studied it, his obstacles from offenses would be eradicated in response to that thought, and all the hells where he was to undergo suffering would become lands of peace and bliss. The blessings he would obtain would surpass those of the person previously mentioned by hundreds of thousands of millions of billions of times, indeed by so many times that no calculations or analogies could express it. Ananda, if living beings are able to recite this Sutra and uphold this mantra, I could not describe in endless kalpas how great the advantages will be. Rely on the teaching I have spoken. Cultivate in accord with it, and you will directly realize Bodhi without encountering demonic karma.”

When the Buddha finished speaking this Sutra, the Bhikshus, Bhikshunis, Upasakas, Upasikas, and all the gods, humans, and asuras in this world, as well as all the Bodhisattvas, those of the Two Vehicles, Sages, immortals, and pure youths in other directions, and the mighty ghosts and spirits of initial resolve all felt elated, made obeisance, and withdrew.


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