August 24, 2012

Chapter 20: Buddhas Aren't Identifiable by Their Perfectness or By Reducing –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “Subhuti! What do you think: Can it be observed that I am an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual by the fact that I’ve got a buddha’s highly perfected physical form-body (rūpa-kāya)?”

    Subhuti replied, “No, World-Honored One, we can’t presume that you are a transcendent-yet-appearing individual because you have a buddha’s highly perfected physical form-body. A buddha's highly perfected physical form-body, you would say, is neither perfect nor imperfect. If this we understood, we would know what it means to say that buddhas have highly perfected form-bodies!”

    “Certainly Subhuti! But how about if someone was observed exhibiting the known associated characteristics of a buddha?”

    “The answer is still no, World-Honored One. You wouldn’t know they were a buddha by noticing that they have special buddha characteristics. You’ve taught it is not a good idea to draw conclusions about buddhahood from observations of normally associated buddha characteristics; and of those normally associated buddha characteristics—the normalities, associations and characteristics—they can’t denote what a buddha is.”

       "The Diamond Teaching"  (Vajracchedika Prajna Paramita Sutra)
                On the Essence of Wisdom
                The Lotus Version (TLV) ©, by permission
                Featuring the Buddha in a discussion with his disciple, Subhuti
                And recorded by his disciple, Ananda