December 11, 2014

Shen-hsiu's and Hui-neng's Poem (From the Platform Sutra)


Shen-hsiu's Poem 

Our bodies function as mind-holding frames,
Securing our mind-mirrors: edificial stands
Keep your mind-mirrors clean, ever wiping them down,
So the muck won’t build as it constantly lands


Hui-neng's Responding Poem

Noting originalness, that's all you'll need,
This mirror of mind has no bodily stand
If our pristine divinity is ineffable, beyond structure,
Then where would it be that this filth would land?


From the Sixth Patriarch Platform Sutra
tr. by Sol Ta Triane

October 31, 2014

Chapter 7: The Ineffable Source of All Buddhas –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA


    “Do you think I became the Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individual by virtue of my realization of unexcelled perfect enlightenment? Don’t I implore others to achieve the same?”

     Subhuti answered, “No and no, World-Honored One! You have told us that you didn’t attain any realization of unexcelled perfect enlightenment, much less show others how to proceed. You have said that the nature of your teaching is that it is beyond mental analysis; it's not bestowable! Hence, all buddhas must arise out of That Which Is Beyond Being Analyzed.”




        "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  

August 1, 2014

Chapter 17B: How the Way You Perceive Things Always Matters –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA




     “People claim I went through a spiritual learning experience that resulted in buddhahood, and thereby misrepresent my teaching. Here’s where they went wrong: Transcendent-yet-appearing individuals never believe in processes or spontaneous peak experiences that result in an unsurpassed perfect enlightenment.

     “The things that actually make a buddha a buddha are not contained in a style of thought, nor in a sense of reality or truth versus an unreality or untruth. Along these lines, all buddhas teach that phenomena are in essence unexplainable manifestations, an arising of the inconceivable Itself, the domain of which is known only by those familiarized.

     “Subhuti! All phenomena, no matter what they are, can’t be phenomena as we conceive them. What they are, are transcendently-sourced-yet-appearing Buddha-things.

     “Now try this, Subhuti! Imagine a beautiful, great, godlike character in the sky—glorious like the majestic Mount Sumeru!”

     “I did it!” said Subhuti. “The beautific goddess I made is fantastic! On the other hand, there’s no one actually there at all!” 

     “Just so, Subhuti! This is how bodhisattvas perceive every single thing!”



        "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  

March 26, 2014

Chapter 8: Making a Connection With the Source of All Buddhas –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA


   “Subhuti! Do you think that if someone gave gifts of tremendous value, the volume of which filled a trillion universes, to those awakened individuals who indelibly help all beings, that it would create an outrageous accumulation of goodness?”

   “Yes, World-Honored One. There would be an outrageous amount of good created in doing that, which you would say is not really any good.”

   “If, Subhuti, anyone learned only a few lines of what I’m trying to tell you, thought about them and shared them with others, the goodness created would be vastly greater.

   “And the reason it would be so much greater is this: To even begin to familiarize yourself with this information is tantamount to making a connection with the Source out of which arises every awakened individual! In fact, this teaching, pointing out the Source of all awakened individuals, is not really a teaching, nor are there awakened individuals! 

    "Go now and do this, so that you too may be acquainted with the Source out of which arises all enlightened beings!”


        "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  

February 17, 2014

Chapter 29: On Inconceivably Dynamic, Transcendent-Yet-Appearing Individuals, (skt. tathāgata) –– THE DIAMOND SUTRA


    “Subhuti! Could an inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual be identified by the bodily positionings they take—perhaps their manner of standing, sitting or reclining? The observation of physical positionings simply won't help in the identification of such beings. 

    “An inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individual is inconceivably dynamic—though transcendent, they posture within the world of men. That’s why they're called ‘inconceivably dynamic, transcendent-yet-appearing individuals.’” 



        "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  

January 3, 2014

Chapter 13: The Lowdown on Perfection of Wisdom Teachings Like The Diamond Teaching ––THE DIAMOND SUTRA

    “World-Honored One! What would you like us to call this teaching you’re giving us? And do you have any suggestions as to how best we can expound it?”

    “Sure, Subhuti! This is in a category of the highest type of teaching, a perfection of wisdom teaching—a final word on how things be. The best way to try to comprehend this kind of teaching is to study it with a goal of trying to uncover just why teachings like these are called 'perfection of wisdom teachings.'

    “Now, regarding this particular perfection of wisdom teaching, why don’t you call it The Diamond Teaching! Because in order to understand a perfection of wisdom teaching like this you're going to need to be able to cut through all ideas, including any that resemble perfect wisdom!

    “So Subhuti! Does the Awakened One have a teaching that he tries to impart?”

    Subhuti responded, “No, World-Honored One, you aren't trying to impart a teaching.”

    “Subhuti! Would you say there are an enormous number of particles in a quadrillion-world universe?”

    Subhuti answered, “Yes, World-Honored One, there certainly are a humongous number of particles in a quadrillion-world universe, though you would say that what seems to be going on, in the sense that there are particles, isn't really happening. You would also say a quadrillion-world universe, although known to be a quadrillion-world universe, isn't one."

    The Buddha then spoke, “Can you identify someone to be an awakened individual by noting that they are distinguished by thirty-two buddha-characteristics?”

    “No, World-Honored One. You can’t be certain someone is an awakened individual just because you see that they have the thirty-two buddha-characteristics. That would be a false conclusion to make, because when it comes to those thirty-two characteristics that identify an awakened individual—those aren’t characteristics. They are, however, known as the characteristics of awakened individuals.”

    “Subhuti! Let’s say that a fine person gave up all he had so to benefit beings, repeating this in lifetime after lifetime for as many eons as there are particles in the mud of the Ganges riverbed. If there was someone who, on the other hand, was able to begin to understand this teaching and then tried to help someone else to ascertain the meaning of a few lines of it, the results for this person would be outrageously, immeasurably better!"


        "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  


(this chapter was originally published at the Dog Zen Koans, 4-19-2012)