July 14, 2013

Chapter 14: How It Is That Bodhisattvas Come to Understand (or, Subhuti Wept) –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    Overcome in the deepening of his realization, Subhuti wept. Wiping back the tears, he exclaimed, “How profound, how wondrous is your teaching, World-Honored One! And to think, with all my training...and I never really understood!

    “If anyone whosoever hears this teaching and intuition arises in him, he shall awaken to ultimate truth and become a source of immense glory and goodness. But no comprehension arises in actuality, since ultimate truth is not a conceivability. Here, I am suggesting the manner in which you, World-Honored One, make implications to us, that we might realize this inconceivability.

    “Having had the fortune to be taught by you, World-Honored One, it’s no wonder that I’m finally catching on. It is suddenly clear to me that, in the latter days, there will be bodhisattvas—people like me—intelligent people who will be fully capable of understanding the meaning of the meta-genius disclosures—like this one you are giving us right now!

     “Further, I testify that these people won’t be clinging to an idea of a self, to a thought of being a being or even to an idea of the existence of eternal personages! These folks are going to become buddhas!—the kind of individuals that aren’t going to hold on to thoughts they might have about...anything!”

    The Buddha responded, “Subhuti, you are correct. You now see that a certain breed of people aren’t going to become perturbed upon being introduced to the meta-genius information. And when I start in to talking about the people who become perturbed, you can be sure I’m not implying that there are people who are going to become perturbed!

    “Long, long ago King Kali amputated my arms, legs, ears, and nose, but it didn’t upset me since I didn’t believe in a real me, nor did I think of myself as a temporary or eternal being. Had I held any of those ideas when my appendages were cut off, I would have become perturbed.

    “There was another period covering five hundred lifetimes during which I was the renunciate yogi, Virtuoso of Forbearance. During that entire period I never thought of having a real self, of being a being—not even a transmigrating, ethereal one.

     “And that, Subhuti, is how bona fide bodhisattvas are inspired to an enlightenment unbound by concepts! Fearlessly, they use their mind without any tendency to glom onto whatever formulations may arise in it, whether arising from that which is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt or from something else. The thoughts they have about beings being beings or of beings being alive or even eternal souls are not serious.

     "Bodhisattvas-to-be, instead of getting mentally caught up, create ways of thinking that never glom onto anything at all! These trainees are well aware that when someone gloms onto his own thoughts (as a result of them seeming to be real) they’re going to become stuck!

     “Therefore all bodhisattvas, knowing that their helping-phenomena are not ultimately true, benefit all beings by giving the greatest of gifts: they act without the slightest sense of giving! And these venerable beings of great compassion that we speak so highly of? They aren’t beings!

     “You should see that the Buddha’s teaching is perfectly accurate and free of fallacy, the consummation of which is to understand the way things are in their actuality. This entails the comprehension of the lack of existence of either truth or falsity. A manner of thinking in which things are thought to be real or unreal is delusional.

    “A bodhisattva poseur is like a person who goes into a dark room, unable to see a thing. An authentic bodhisattvasomebody who provides for beings without grasping in the slightest onto his acts of benefit and unfoldmentsees things clearly, as they are, as in the effulgent light of day.

     “In the future, some very fine folks will appear who are going to be learning, catching on to and presenting this very message to othersjust as now, awakened individuals, through intuition, spiritual vision and meta-knowing, notice the great work that future people are going to be doing!”

        "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