December 14, 2011

Chapter 6: How To Recognize a Bodhisattva By Noting What They Believe –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    Then the venerable Subhuti asked the Buddha, “World-Honored One! Will there be any people in the future, at the time of spiritual collapse, who will connect with some transcription of this teaching and be able to understand it?”

    The Buddha replied, “Subhuti! Don’t ask me if any people of the future will be capable of understanding a transcription of a teaching, like the one I’m giving you here today! Without any doubt, there will be people, bodhisattvas most courageous and capable, who will understand the meaning of a teaching like the one I‘m giving here today!

    “So, don’t be afraid! These future bodhisattvas are going to do fine! Although they obviously aren’t going to be taught by me, personally, they will nonetheless be well-equipped, through the preparation that was accomplished under a vast network of enlightened beings. Being predisposed, they’re going to become bodhisattvas upon the hearing of this teaching, a transcription of what I’m telling you here today!

    “Subhuti! An inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing type of individual knows about these bodhisattvas-to-be, through his intuition. An inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing type of individual can envision what is going to happen with them, by means of his visionary capacity. Thus, an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing type of individual is able to know what will happen with these people.

    “Therefore, I know about these future bodhisattvas, that they will be a source of unfathomably great goodness!

   “But does a mere summarization of these people’s past and future auspicious activities in itself add up to mean that they are going to become bodhisattvas? No. We could only know about the bodhisattvas’ unfoldment to come, if we could know that they won’t be clinging to an idea of a self, to thoughts of being a being, or to thoughts that make claim of an existence of an eternal personality.

    “Subhuti! You should know that these bodhisattvas won’t even be holding on to thoughts about spiritual teachings, much less to ones about no spiritual teachings. By taking note of their non-grasping, we can know for certain that these future people will be bodhisattvas! We can know that they are going to be the kind of people who aren’t going to be grasping on to ideas about ultimate truth, much less ones about no ultimate truth!

    “Then again, Subhuti, think about how we could know for certain that these people won’t be grasping on to their ideas about spiritual teachings. If it turned out that these people were going to be grasping on to ideas about spiritual teachings, that would mean they would also be attached to an idea of a self, an idea of being a being, or to some sort of an eternal personality—they couldn’t be bodhisattvas. If they held beliefs that there was no meaning or no spiritual teaching then that would similarly go to show a believe in a set self; that thinking you are a being is the same as really being one; or that personal characteristics somehow remain fixed.

     “But the question may remain: Are these people of the future going to be grasping on to an idea of a spiritual teaching? Subhuti! I can see that these unstoppable folks will become bodhisattvas—the kind of folks who don’t cling either to spiritual ideas or to the idea that there is no spirituality!

     “And it is in this context that I have described the true spiritual teaching as a raft—a means to get to the other shore.”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

December 8, 2011

Chapter 5. How to Recognize an Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual (a Tathagata) –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

     “Subhuti! Do you think you could identify someone to be an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual (a tathagata) by their unique personal characteristics?”

     Subhuti replied, “No, I couldn’t, World-Honored One, because it’s not possible to recognize someone as an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual by merely noting their unique personal characteristics. I know that because you, O World-Honored One, say that characteristics are in actuality not really characteristics.”

       The Buddha replied, “Subhuti! It is self-deception to take phenomenal characteristics as bona fide reality. If you can see that characteristics neither exist, nor do they lack existence, that would imply that you understood. If you understand there aren’t any characteristics existing, much less not existing, by noting the illusory appearance of a buddha’s characteristics you’ll be able to recognize an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

December 1, 2011

Chapter 4: The Result of Giving Without Attachment –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

“When a person who aspires to be a bodhisattva helps others, they should do so without clinging to anything about the act. They should help others without clinging to ideas or expectations. In giving they shouldn’t hold on to how things seem to appear, smell, sound, feel or taste—for that matter they shouldn’t hold on to anything at all.
 “And why do you think they need to give in that peculiar manner, Subhuti? By helping others without grasping, bodhisattvas cause inconceivable amounts of goodness!
 “Now, Subhuti! Think! Can you fathom the entire span of space to the eastward direction?”
 “No, World-Honored One, that's inconceivable.”
 “How about the space that goes southward, westward, northward, or up or down? Can you fathom those vast spans of space?”
 “No, World-Honored One, I can't fathom those either.”
 “Subhuti! The amount of goodness produced by a bodhisattva unattached to his charity would likewise be inconceivable. Those who want to become bodhisattvas need to act and follow these instructions.”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

November 27, 2011

Chapter 3: What to Think If Aspiring to Be a Bodhisattava –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

Then the Buddha spoke, saying, “O Subhuti! Anyone who aspires to bodhisattvahood should use their minds and think in this way:

    I shall liberate every single being (whether born from an egg or a womb, whether born in water or in the atmosphere, whether distinct in shape or amorphous, whether the kind that thinks or the kind that doesn't) taking each and every one of them to the state of absolute and perfect nirvana! But even though I say I bring everyone to absolute perfect nirvana, the beings being brought aren’t really beings—which means no one is being brought into a state of absolute perfect nirvana!

“Now, Subhuti! You may be wondering why potential bodhisattvas would need to think in this way. They’d need to because, if they still held to ideas that selves exist—that beings are beings, that lives are lived, or in the actuality of  ongoing individual personages—they wouldn’t be able to be bodhisattvas!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

Chapter 4:  The Great Result of Giving Without Attachment

November 25, 2011

Chapter 2: Subhuti Requests the Method Towards Bodhisattvahood and Enlightenment –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    The very venerable monk named Subhuti was in attendance. Subhuti stood up out of the group and uncovered his right shoulder. Kneeling upon his right knee and joining his palms together he implored,

    “How amazing, World-Honored One, this meta-genius method whereby you work with bodhisattvas—confiding in them this information most profound! Now please tell it to us: How is it that a man or a woman of integrity may take steps towards becoming a bodhisattva, using this information to attain perfect enlightenment? How should they be conducting themselves? What should they practice? How should they be applying their minds?”

    “Good for asking, Subhuti! And you’re right, I do confide in bodhisattvas with meta-genius method, sharing with them the very greatest of profundities. Listen, for I now shall explain how a man or woman of integrity may come to enter into this confidential wisdom, and the manner in which they should conduct themselves and apply their minds.”

    The venerable Subhuti responded, “This is truly excellent, World-Honored One! Please go on and tell us!”

        "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

November 23, 2011

The Sameness of Jesus and Buddha's Teachings, by James Hanson

 Was Jesus a Buddhist? Certainly he was many things--Jew, prophet, healer, moralist, revolutionary, by his own admission the Messiah, and for most Christians the Son of God and redeemer of their sins. And there is convincing evidence that he was also a Buddhist. The evidence follows two independent lines--the first is historical, and the second is textual. Historical evidence indicates that Jesus was well acquainted with Buddhism. If Jesus did not go to India, then at least India went to Judea and Jesus. The real historical question is not if he studied Buddhism, but where and how much he studied Buddhism, especially during his so-called "lost years."

Historical accounts aside, many textual analyses indicate striking similarities between what was said by Jesus and by Buddha and between the prophetic legend of Jesus and ancient Buddhist texts. The conclusion is that, although not identifying himself as a Buddhist for good reasons, Jesus spoke like a Buddhist. The similarities are so striking that, even if no historical evidence existed, we can suspect that Jesus studied Buddhist teachings and that the prophecy and legend of Jesus was derived from Buddhist stories.

To continue reading go here

November 4, 2011

Chapter 1: The Gathering (Opening Scene of The Diamond Teaching) THE DIAMOND SUTRA


    This is what happened when the Buddha, a group of 1,250 monks and a large number of heroic bodhisattvas gathered in a Jeta Forest grove not far from the town of Shravasti. As was usual, the World-Honored One put on His robe, took His food bowl and went to town, going from home to home begging for sustenance. After consuming His meal He returned into the forest. Putting away His bowl and robe, He washed his feet, arranged His mat and seated Himself.

   Certain of the monks approached the World-Honored One. After bowing and circling Him, they sat down to His side.

        The Diamond Teaching  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                tr. by Sol Ta Triane
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                Recorded by the disciple, Ananda  

July 10, 2011

The Consummation of Wisdom, Diamond Sutra Poementary, Chapter 16

When I said what it said
When they spit in my face
Didn’t mind it at all
I accept the disgrace

But a pause to consider
The mystical answer
Beats an eon of service
To our own holy master?

A million served lives,
Lived in straight purity…
But some, said the Son,
Will do greater than me?

Since believing a thought
Can’t be right perception
Bodhisattvas will serve up
No-concept perfection

June 16, 2011

Deformation of Conceptual Thoughts, spoken by Eric Voeglein

A plant is a plant. You see it. You don't see its physical-chemical processes, and nothing about the plant changes if you know that physical-chemical processes are going on inside. How these processes will result in what you experience immediately as a plant (a rose or an oak tree), you don't know anyway. So if you know these substructures in the lower levels of the ontic hierarchy (beyond the plant which is organism) and go into the physical, chemical, molecular and atomic structures, ever farther down, the greater becomes the miracle how all that thing is a plant. Nothing is explained. If you try to explain it in terms of some mechanism, you have committed the fallacy of reduction.

If you deform your experience by trying to explain what you experience by the things which you don't experience but which you know only by science, you get a perverted imagination of reality—if you see a rose as a physical or atomic process.

 Eric Voegelin, CW VOL 33

The Drama of Humanity
Conversations, II,
Myth as Environment
p 275.

March 24, 2011

Essence Road

If you're feeling like you're in the flow
Feeling confident in what you know
Then you've still got a long way to go
To the junction at, Essence Road

Just ignore it when folks say you're saved
It's the spirit, I know, that you crave
'Cause you still got a long ways to go
To the turn-off that joins Essence Road

     Do some jogging, go lift a few weights
     Don't get stuck if you go on some dates
     Raise your thoughts to self-critical glee
     And your family with integrity

Take your boots off, it's end of show
Where you're sure that you know you don't know
'Cause you've always been, free to go
Take the turnpike to, Essence Road

You've put on this act for so long
You should write it all down in a song
But it'll change everything that you've knowed
When you're driving down, Essence Road