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