July 30, 2013

Chapter 11: Result of Great Charity or of Learning This –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA (previously published February 23, 2012 at The Dog Zen Koans)

    “Subhuti! Let's suppose, that for every particle of muck in the Ganges Riverbed there was another Ganges River. Now imagine the number of particles of sand in all those new riverbeds. Would that amount to a great number of sand particles?”

   Subhuti answered, “Yes, World-Honored One. The number of the rivers would be impossible to conceive, not to mention the number of sand particles in them!”

   “Subhuti! I’m going to lay it out for you. Imagine a man or woman of integrity giving valuable charitable offerings in an amount that would fill vast trillions of universes, the number of which would be like the number of particles in all of those rivers! Wouldn’t this fine act result in an outrageously great production of goodness?”

   Subhuti replied, “Yes, World Honored One, the goodness produced by the actions of such a man or a woman would be humongous, truly impossible to conceive.”

   The Buddha said, “Subhuti! Let’s say that instead this man or this woman were to go and take a few lines from what I’m saying here, consider them, and try to discuss them with others. The consequences of doing that would be unequivocally superior to those caused by the charitable offerings.”

        "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 25, 2013

Chapter 17A: How the Buddha Didn’t and Did Become Emancipated –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    Subhuti said once again to the World-Honored One, “How is it that especially fine individuals who hold the aspiration to perfect enlightenment should conduct themselves? What should they be practicing and how are they supposed to handle their minds?”

    The Buddha responded and said, “Subhuti! Fine individuals who aspire to perfect enlightenment, who are wondering what might be the best way to handle themselves, are going to need to establish this way of thinking: 'I shall lead all beings, bringing them to perfect salvation! And as I lead them thus, I shall know that there really isn’t anyone who is being brought to perfect salvation!’

    “Now Subhuti! Tell me why each person aspiring to enlightenment would need to establish such a way of thinking? Well, they wouldn’t be bodhisattvas if they thought there were actually selves existing, beings who are being someone, or eternal personages who seem to digress or become emancipated into higher levels of being!

    “Why do I prod you again on this? Do you think that emancipation is an experience that people go through? Anybody who thinks that is no bodhisattva.

    “So think, Subhuti! It is generally held that I received teaching from the inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual, the Buddha Source of Light, and that by following his teaching I attained total and perfect enlightenment—correct?”

    “It is so believed. But according to what you have taught us, World-Honored One, that isn’t how this works. There is no teaching by which receiving or following it one can attain unsurpassed perfect enlightenment.”

    “Yes, Subhuti. That idea that spiritual realization is an actualization of special teachings, that doesn't happen.

   “Had I been holding an idea of establishing enlightenment, then Buddha Source of Light, wouldn’t have prophesied my enlightenment, saying that, ‘In the future you shall become Shakyamuni, a fully enlightened buddha.'

    “So here I am, Shakyamuni Buddha, the fully realized transcendent-yet-appearing individual—which implies I see things as they are in their actuality! People like me never bother imagining that ideas created about processes or states of realization were in themselves actualities.

    “Subhuti! Being a transcendent-yet-appearing individuality (a tathagata) means to see things as they are. Tathagatas are people who are especially acquainted with That Which Is Not Created. A tathagata knows that conceptualities about phenomena never explain what they are. Tathagatas are familiar with the Uncreated Nature behind the myriad objects appearing as our world. To know this Uncreated Nature is to know how things are."

        "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 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  

July 10, 2013

A Bodhisattva's Vow (originally published at the Dog Zen Koans on June 18th, 2006)

I'm not that concerned about environmental warming:
A cool sun hides within storms of human childishness.
The tides of seeming knowledge, reason's loss
Generate the winds and the global patterns we miss,
Next, idealism. Next, a suicide warning.

People, listen to me for once!
You can't sew without a needle's sharpness
Your defense assumes dignity, righteousness, furvor,
But to spasm against your opponent like that
The center is ever missed as you flail and punch.

Don't attack kindness in the name of goodness
Don't criticize unless you know for sure
If you don't know just leave it be
There's no vision without stillness,
No success apart from silent clarity

Sixty billion ancestors scream, ignoring the mystic Tao,
A hellish din, unheard by the dense incarnate hordes
This show ran too long, at least for my taste,
So I choose to stay in the beauty of the wildwood place.
Enjoying its splendor, I have plenty now.

Whatever happens, come what may,
I pray you join my wish today
To stay in protection of the abiding ones
As Kali's burn has just begun
We'll stay until the job is done.