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Nirvana Sutra: Chapter Forty-Six: On Kaundinya (b)

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Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra
Translated by KOSHO YAMAMOTO
FROM Dharmakshema's Chinese version
The World's genuinely first-ever web edition of this complete scripture
(This "Yamamoto/page edition" is Copyright of Dr. Tony Page, 2004 )
The Complete Kosho Yamamoto English Translation of the "Nirvana Sutra", edited and revised by Dr. Tony Page, typographically improved by Jay and Gabriele Mazo


Chapter Forty-Six: On Kaundinya (b)

Also, there was a Brahmacarin by the name of "Pure", who said: "O Gautama! What do all beings not know as a result of which they do not see the eternal and non-eternal of the world, and also the eternal-non-eternal, not eternal and not non-eternal, down to not-gone and not not-gone?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! Not knowing material form down to not knowing consciousness (i.e. the five skandhas), a person does not see the eternal, down to the not-gone and not not-gone of the world."

The Brahmacarin said: "O Gautama! What do beings know, so that they do not see the eternal of the world, down to the not-gone and not not-gone?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! They know material form down to consciousness, so that they do not see the eternal, down to the not-gone and the not not-gone."

The Brahmacarin said: "O World-Honoured One! Please condescend to expound to me the eternal and the non-eternal of the world."

The Buddha said: "O good man! If one casts away the old, and does not create new karma, one truly knows the eternal and the non-eternal."

The Brahmacarin said: "O World-Honoured One! I now know."

The Buddha said: "O good man! In what way do you see and know?"

"O World-Honoured One! What is old is ignorance and craving, and the new is cleaving and (phenomenal, samsaric) existence. If one segregates one's self from the eternal and the non-eternal and has no more cleaving and existence, one will know the true nature of the eternal and the non-eternal. I have now acquired the pure eye of Wonderful Dharma, and I take refuge in the Three Treasures. O Tathagata! Admit me into the Order!"

The Buddha said to Kaundinya: "Admit this Brahmacarin into the Order and let him receive sila."

At these words of the Buddha's, Kaundinya took the man and went to the gathering of monks, and through the ritualistic procedure of karman, the man was admitted into the Order. After 15 days, all his defilements having been eternally extirpated, the man attained arhatship.

Also, the Brahmacarin, Vatsiputriya, said: "O Gautama! I now wish to put some questions to you. Will you indeed allow me to do so?"

The Tathagata sat silently. At the second and third time, he said nothing.

Vatisiputriya said again: "O Gautama! I have long been on friendly terms with you. We could not be two (i.e. divergent) in our acceptations (understanding) in any way. I desire to ask. Why are you silent?"

The World-Honoured One thought: "It is thus, O Brahmacarin! Your nature is gentle and graceful, pure, good, and innocent. You always seek to know. This is not to cause worry to others. I shall answer, to accord with your wish."

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O Vatsiputriya! I shall answer what you desire to know."

Vatsiputriya said: "O Gautama! Is there in the world what may be termed "good"?

"It is thus, O Vatsiputriya!"

"Is there "non-good?"

"Yes, that is so."

"O Gautama! Please expound the good and the non-good to me."

The Buddha said: "O good man! I shall speak extensively about it. I shall now analyse and explain (matters) to you in a concise way. Desire is non-good; getting emancipated is that which is good. So are anger and ignorance (non-good). Killing is what is not good; non-killing is what is good. So does it proceed down to the twisted views of life. O good man! I now, for your sake, expound to you the three kinds of what is good and non-good; also the ten kinds of what is good and non-good. If any of my disciples can see the difference between the three kinds of good and non-good, down to the ten kinds of good and non-good, such will indeed do away with all such defilements as desire, anger, and ignorance, and will cut off what is "is" (i.e. samsarically driven, imperfect, ever-changing, phenomenal existence)."

The Brahmacarin said: "O Gautama! Is there any single bhiksu among those of the Buddhist Sangha who does away with all such defilements as desire, anger, and ignorance?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! There are not only one, two, three or five hundred, but innumerable bhiksus who do away with all such defilements and things of the "is", such as desire, anger, ignorance and all such defilements."

"O Gautama! If we exclude the bhiksus, is there any bhiksuni among those of the Buddhist Sangha who has done away with all such defilements and things of the "is", such as desire, anger, and ignorance?"

The Buddha said: "There are not only one, two, three, or five hundred such bhiksunis, but innumerable bhiksunis who have done away with all these defilements and things of the "is", such as greed, anger, and ignorance."

Vatsiputriya said: "O Gautama! Let us leave aside the cases of individual bhiksus or bhiksunis. Is there among those of the Buddhist Sangha any upasaka who has been true to sila and made effort, and has been pure in his deeds, has crossed over the waters of doubt, and having cut away the web of doubt, has attained the other shore?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! There is not just one, two, three or five hundred, but countless upasakas who have been true to sila, who have made effort, whose deeds have been pure, and who, having rent asunder the web of doubt, have destroyed the five bonds of defilement (i.e. greed (or desire), ill-will, ignorance, jealousy, and stinginess, which cause one to get reborn into the three unfortunate realms of hell, ghosts, and animals), attaining thereby the fruition of the anagamin, and who have gained the other shore beyond doubt, doing away with the web of doubt."

Vatsiputriya said: "Let us leave aside the cases of bhiksus, bhiksunis, and upasakas. Is there any upasika among those of the Buddhist Sangha who has been true to sila, who has made effort, who has been pure in her deeds, and who has reached the other shore of doubt, having cut away the web of doubt?"

The Buddha said: "Of such there is not only one, two, three or five hundred, but there are countless upasikas who have been true to sila, who have made effort, who have destroyed the five fetters of defilement, who have attained the fruition of the anagamin, and who are now on the yonder shore of doubt, having cut away the web of doubt."

Vatsiputriya said: "O Gautama! Let us now leave aside the case of bhiksus or bhiksunis who have eliminated all defilements, and the case of upasakas and upasikas who have observed sila, made effort, and whose deeds have been pure, and who have cut away the web of doubt. Is there any upasaka among those of the Buddhist Sangha who enjoys the pleasures of the five (sensual) desires and who has no doubt in his mind?"

"O good man! Of such there is not only one, two, three or five hundred. There are countless people who have destroyed the three bonds, attaining thereby the fruition of the srotapanna and growing less in desire, ill-will, and ignorance, and thus gaining the fruition of the sakrdagamin. It is the same with the upasaka and upasika."

"O World-Honoured One! I would like now to draw an analogy."

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said! Speak out what you desire to say."

"O World-Honoured One! The naga kings, Nanda and Upananda, both provide us with great rains. So does it obtain with the Tathagata's rain of Dharma. All-equally do you let the rain fall upon the upasakas and upasikas. O World-Honoured One! If any tirthikas were to come (here) and desire (to train under you), I wonder how many months you would keep them on probation?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! We test for four months. It is not necessarily to be of one kind (i.e. whatever the type of person who applies)."

"O World-Honoured One! If it is not of one kind, please admit me into the Order."

Then, the World-Honoured One said to Kaundinya: "See that this Vatsiputriya is admitted into the Order and that he receives sila."

At these words of the Buddha, Kaundinya stood up amidst the congregation and carried out the ritual of karman. Fifteen days later, the man attained the fruition of srotapanna. Having attained this fruition, he thought to himself: "If I am to practise the Way with Wisdom, I have now already gained it, and I shall indeed be able to see the Buddha."

Then, he went to where the Buddha was, prostrated himself on the ground, and having paid his homage, drew back and seated himself on one side. And he said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Whatever is to be attained by knowing, I have now attained. Please condescend again to expound (things) to me, so that I might gain the learninglessness knowledge."

The Buddha said: "O good man! Make effort and practise two things, namely: 1) samatha (calmness meditation) and 2) vipasyana (insight meditation). O good man! If any bhiksu wishes to attain the fruition of the srotapanna, such a person should practise these two things. If anyone desires to attain the fruitions of the sakrdagamin, anagamin, and arhatship, such a person too should practise the same.

"O good man! Any bhiksus who desire to attain the four dhyanas, the four boundless minds, the six divine powers, the eight emancipations, the eight superior places, the non-disputing knowledge, the top knowledge, the ultimate knowledge, the four unhindered knowledges, the Adamantine Samadhi, the all-extinguished knowledge, and the birthlessness knowledge must all practise these two ways.

"O good man! If there is anyone who wishes to attain the ten-abode soil, the birthlessness cognition, the all-wonderfulness cognition, holy actions, pure actions, heavenly actions, Bodhisattva practice, the All-Void samadhi, the jnana-mudra-samadhi, the samadhi of All-Void, formlessness and non-action, the bhumi-samadhi, the non-retrogression samadhi, the Suramgama Samadhi, the Adamantine Samadhi, and the Buddhist action of unsurpassed Bodhi, such a one must practise these two ways."

Vatsiputriya, having heard this, paid homage and left. He practised these two ways in the sal forest, and before long he had attained the fruition of arhatship.

At that time, there were innumerable bhiksus who were on the way to where the Buddha was. Vatsiputriya, on seeing them, asked: "O great ones! Where are you intending to go?"

All the bhiksus said: "We intend to go to the Buddha."

"O great ones! If you go to the Buddha, please tell him: "The Brahmacarin, Vatsiputriya, having practised the two ways, has now attained the learninglessness knowledge. Now, feeling grateful to the Buddha, he enters Nirvana."

Then all the bhiksus, on going to the Buddha, said: "O World-Honoured One! The bhiksu, Vatsiputriya, wanted us to report to you that, having now practised the two ways, he has attained the learninglessness knowledge and that, feeling grateful, he will now enter Nirvana."

The Buddha said: "The Brahmacarin, Vatsiputriya, has now attained the fruition of arhatship. Go now and make offerings to his remains."

Then the bhiksus, at these words of the Buddha, went to where the corpse lay and made great offerings.

The Brahmacarin, Kasaya, then said: "O Gautama! You Gautama say that a person does what is good and not good innumerable times, and in the future gains bodies again that are good or not good. This is not so, because, just as you Gautama say, a person gains a body through defilement. If a person gains his body, does the body come first or the defilement come first? If defilement comes about first, who creates it and where does it stay? If the body comes about first, how can we say that the person gains it through defilement? Because of this, if it is said that defilement comes about first, this does not fit well. It is also not good to say that the body comes about first. If it is said that both come about at the same time, this also will not be right. Any such speaking as of "before" and "after", or of "at the same time", is not acceptable. So I say: "Everything has its own nature, not depending on causal relations."

"Also, next, O Gautama! Hardness is the nature of the earth; moisture is the nature of water; heat is that of fire; movement is that of the wind; and not being obstructed is that of space. These five natures are existences which do not depend on causal relations. If there is in the world but one thing that does not depend on causal relations, it must be thus with all other things, too. What is is the existence that is not grounded on causal relations. If it is said that all depend on the single law of causal relations, why is it that the nature of the five elements does not depend on the law of causal relations?

"O Gautama! Beings gain emancipation from this body of good and non-good based on their own nature, and not on causal relations. So I say: "Everything exists based on its own nature and not on causal relations."

"Also, next, O Gautama! Things of the world have their own places of use. For example one says: "Such and such kinds of wood are for making wheels, and such and such are for making doors and benches."

"Also, it is as with the goldsmith, who calls what is worn above the brow a hair adornment, what one puts around one's neck a necklace, what is worn on the arm a bracelet, and what is worn on the finger a ring. As the place of use is fixed, we say that the nature is fixed. So go things with beings, too. There are the natures of the five realms. So we have hell, hungry pretas, animals, humans, and heaven. If things are thus, how can we say that they depend on causal relations?

"Also, next, O Gautama! Each being has a nature different from that of others. That is why we say that all things have their own natures. The tortoise is born on land but can easily go into the water; the calf, soon after its birth, easily drinks milk; the fish sees the bait on the hook and spontaneously and greedily bites at it; the viper, as soon as it is born, feeds on the earth. Whoever teaches such things? When a thorn appears, its point is always sharp; the colours of flying birds differ from each other. So is it with the beings of the world. There are those who are sharp-witted and those who are dull, those who are rich and those who are poor; there are those who are good-looking and those who are ugly; there are those who attain emancipation and those who get born into a lowly status. From this we can know that there is a nature to each existence.

"Also, next, O Gautama! If you say that desire, ill-will, and ignorance arise out of causal relations and that these three poisons are based on causal relations and the five sense-fields, the situation is not so. Why not? When one sleeps, one is away from the five sense-fields. And yet there come about desire, ill-will, and ignorance. Even in the womb, the same is the case. When one first emerges from it, one cannot feel the good or non-good of the five sense-fields. And yet, there appear desire, ill-will, and ignorance. All rishis and sages live in quiet and silent places, and there exist no five sense-fields. But still there are desire, ill-will, and ignorance.

"Also, a person, through the five sense-fields, gains non-desire, non-anger, and non-ignorance. Hence, all things do not necessarily come about due to causal relations, but because of the nature of each thing.

"Also, next, O Gautama! We see people in the world who possess great wealth and much freedom, being yet imperfect in the five sense-organs, and those who are poor, mean, and not free, who serve other people, they themselves having perfect sense-organs. If things arise from causal relations, how could matters come about thus? So we say that all things have natures of their own and are not based on causal relations.

"Also, next, O Gautama! Children also are not clear as regards the five sense-organs, but they laugh and weep. When laughing, they feel joy, and when weeping sorrow. Because of this, we can know that all things have their own nature.

"Also, next, O Gautama! There are two kinds of thing in the world, which are: 1) the "is" and 2) the "is-not". The "is" is the Void and the "is-not" is the hairs of a tortoise. Of these, the one does not depend on the causal relations because of "is", and the other does not depend on causal relations because of "is-not". So, all things depend on their own nature and not on causal relations."

The Buddha said: "O good man! You say that it is with all things as it is with the natures of the five great elements. But this is not so. Why not? O good man! You say that the five great elements are eternal. Why? All things are not eternal. If what exists in the world is non-eternal, how can these five great elements not be non-eternal? If the five great elements are eternal, all that exists in the world must also be eternal. Therefore, when you say that the five great elements have their own natures, that they do not depend on causal relations, and that the case of all things is like that of the five great elements, this has no basis (of truth) to stand upon. O good man! You say that as there are places where things can be of use, things must have natures of their own. But this is not so. Why not? Because they gain their denominations through causal relations. If a name comes about from a cause, the meaning must come about from a cause. Why do we say that the name comes about through a cause? What is worn on the brow is called a head ornament, what is on the neck a necklace, what is on the arm a bracelet, and what a cart has is wheels. If fire burns grass and plants, we speak of a grass and plant fire. O good man! A tree, when born, does not possess the nature of the arrow or halberd. Through causal relations, the artisan takes it and makes arrows; through causal relations he makes a halberd out of it. So, we cannot say that things possess natures of their own.

"O good man! You say that the tortoise is born on land and that by its own nature it goes into the water; that the calf, when born, drinks milk by its own nature, and that things proceed thus. But this is not so. Why not? If it is not through causal relations that it gets into the water, there is nothing in the world that is based on causal relations. So why is it that it does not go into fire? The calf drinks milk soon after birth. If this is not through causal relations, there cannot be any causal relations to talk about. Why does it not suck on the horn?

"O good man! You say that everything has its own-born nature, that there is no need for learning, and that there is no development. But this is not so. Why not? Now, there is teaching, and through this teaching there is growing up (development). Hence, you must know that there is no nature of its own.

"O good man! If everything possessed its own original nature, no Brahmin would need to kill sheep to pray and arrive at a pure body. If a person prays for the sake of his own self, this tells us that he has no original nature of his own.

"O good man! There are three ways of speaking, which are: 1) the desire to do something, 2) the time of the doing, and 3) the completed doing. If it is the case that there is a nature of its own, how can there be in the world these three ways of speaking? The fact that there are these three ways of speaking tells us that there is no nature of its own in a thing.

"O good man! If you say that everything has its own nature, know that all things must have a fixed nature. If there is a fixed nature, how is it that the single thing, the sugar cane, can become juice, honey, rock candy, liquor, and vinegar? If there is a single nature, how could such things come about? If such things come about from a single thing, know that this indicates that everything cannot be fixedly one and of one nature.

"O good man! If everything has a fixed nature, why do the holy ones not take the juice of the sugar cane, the rock candy, and the molasses at the time of taking the liquor, and later take it when it has been made into vinegar? For this reason, we can know that there is no fixed nature. If there is no fixed nature, how could it be other than by causal relations?

"O good man! If everything has a fixed nature, how can there be any ground for analogies? If there are analogies, this tells us: know that there is no fixed nature in any thing. If there were a fixed nature, there could be - you should know - no analogies. All the wise persons of the world employ analogies. Know that there can be no nature of a thing and there is no single nature.

"O good man! You ask: "Does the body exist first or defilement?" This cannot obtain. Why not? If I say that the body comes first, you too will reprove me and say that with you too, as with me, the body cannot precede. Why do you reprove thus?

"O good man! There can be no before and after in the body of beings. Things happen at the same time. Though of the same time-relations, the body comes about due to defilement; it is not that there is defilement because of the existence of the body. What you make it is that a person gains two eyes at the same time and one is not the cause of the other, that the eye on the left-hand side does not stand on (depend on) the right-hand eye, and that of the right not on that of the left-hand side. Should you say that the situation is the same with defilement and the body, I would have to say that this is not so. Why not? What obtains in the world is that the eye sees that the wick and the light exist in the same time-relations. But the light always depends on the wick, but the wick does not depend on the light.

"O good man! You may say that the body does not exist before; that, therefore, there is no cause to speak of. But this is not so. Why not? If you mean that there is no cause to speak of because of the fact that the body came about first and that there are no causal relations, you cannot say that all things depend on causality. You may say that as you do not see, there is no cause to speak of. But now we see a pot that comes about from causal relations. Why cannot we say that the body comes about as in the case of the earthen pot?

"O good man! Whether we see or not, all things depend on causal relations and there cannot be any talk of something having its own nature.

"O good man! If you say that everything has its own nature and that there are no causal relations, how can you explain the five great elements? These five great elements are nothing but the result of causal relations.

"O good man! The five great causal relations are also thus. But one cannot say that all things are like the five great causal relations. We might say that all world-fleeing people make effort and uphold sila. But candalas also make effort and uphold sila.

"O good man! You say that the five great elements definitely have a concrete nature. But this nature changes. So I see that it is not static.

"O good man! Butter, wax, and glue must be soil according to your way of thinking. Soil is indefinite. It is like water, or is equal to soil. So, we cannot call them anything concrete.

"O good man! Solder, lead, zinc, copper, iron, gold, and silver would have to be fire, according to your way of thinking. Fire has four qualities. When it flows, it has the nature of water; when moving, the nature of wind; when hot, it has the nature of fire; and when hard, it has the nature of earth. How can one state it definitely possesses the nature of fire (alone)?

"O good man! The nature of water is that of flowing. Even when water gets frozen, we do not call it earth. If it is called water, why do we not call it the wind when it is moving? If it is still to be called water, why do we not call it wind when moving? If a thing, when moving, is not called wind, we may well call water not water when it is in a frozen state? If these two cases are grounded on causal relations, how can you say that all things are not based on causal relations?

"O good man! The five sense-organs by nature see, hear, sense, know, and touch. We may say that these all depend on their nature and not on causal relations. But this is not so. Why not? O good man! What something has by nature cannot be changed. If we say that the sense-organ of the eye can truly see, it must always be able to see. There cannot be any case where it sees and where it does not see. Hence, we can know that it truly sees through causal relations and that this is not through non-causal relations.

"O good man! You say that you gain greed from the five dusts (i.e. the five sense-fields) and that a person does not get emancipated. This is not so. Why not? O good man! A person gains desire and gets emancipated. Though this may not arise out of the causal relations of the five dusts, the person gains desire due to the evil sensing of the world, and he gains emancipation through the good sensing of the world. O good man! Through internal causal relations, the person gains desire and emancipation; through external causal relations comes about augmentation (growth). So, it goes against reason to say that all things have natures of their own and that a person does not gain desire from the five dusts and that the person gains emancipation.

"O good man! You say that though perfect in all the sense-organs, a person has little wealth and is not free; and that lacking in all sense-organs, another person has abundant wealth and great freedom. This indicates that to say that a thing has its own nature and that there is no such thing as causal relations to speak of, is not right. Why not? O good man! A person reaps results through karma. There are three kinds of karma result, namely: 1) fruition that comes about in this life, 2) fruition which one reaps in the next life, and 3) fruition that one harvests in later lives. Poverty, great wealth, perfect sense-organs and imperfection of the sense-organs arise from different karmas. If there were any (single) nature of its own, those perfect in the sense-organs would have to be rich, and one who is rich would have to be perfect in all his sense-organs. But things do not obtain thus. So, one can definitely know that there can never be any fixed nature of its own and that all arises out of causal relations.

"O good man! You say that a child cannot discriminate the causal relations of the five dusts and yet it weeps and laughs, and that this indicates, you say, that everything has its own nature. But this is not so. Why not? If laughing goes by nature (i.e. if laughing exists based on a fixed nature), one would always have to be laughing; if weeping were based on a nature, one would always have to be weeping. There cannot be laughing at one time and weeping at another. If one laughs at one time and weeps at another, this tells us - we can know - that all is based on causal relations. Hence, you should not say that all things have their own nature and that causal relations have nothing to do with it."

The Brahmacarin said: "O World-Honoured One! If all things exist due to causal relations, how can such a body come into being?"

The Buddha said: "The causal relations of this carnal body are grounded on defilement and karma."

The Brahmacarin said: "If this carnal body is based on defilement and karma, can we extirpate the defilement and karma?"

The Buddha said: "It is thus, it is thus!"

The Brahmacarin further said: "O World-Honoured One! Please be good enough to analyse and expound to me, so that I can truly hear and immediately cut away the bond."

The Buddha said: "O good man! If a person comes to know that the two sides and the in-between are unhindered (unobstructed), such a person indeed segregates (himself from) defilement and karma."

"O World-Honoured One! I now know and have gained the right Dharma-Eye."

The Buddha said: "In what manner do you know?"

"O World-Honoured One! The two sides are "material form" and "emancipation from material form", and the "in-between" is the Eightfold Right Path. So does it also obtain with feeling, perception, volition, and consciousness."

The Buddha said: "Well said, well said, O good man! You have now come to know of the two sides and have cut away defilement and karma."

"O World-Honoured One! Please admit me into the Order and let me receive sila!"

The Buddha said: "Welcome, O bhiksu!"

Immediately he extirpated the defilements of the three worlds and arrived at the fruition of arhatship.

Then there was a Brahmin, named "Wide-Wide", who said: "O Gautama! Do you know what I have in my mind?"

The Buddha said: "O good man! Nirvana is Eternal and what is created is non-eternal. What is twisted is twisted views, and what is straight is the Noble Path."

The Brahmin said: "O Gautama! Why do you say so?"

"O good man! What you think is that to beg alms is eternal and singly-to-be-invited is non-eternal. What is twisted is to shut one's self in and what is straight is the imperial hanging-ensign. That is why I say: "Nirvana is Eternal; what is twisted is twisted views, and what is straight is the Eightfold Path." It is not as you think."

The Brahmin said: "O Gautama! You see well what is in my mind. Does this Noble Eightfold Path enable beings to attain extinction or not?"

Then, the World-Honoured One remained silent and did not answer.

The Brahmin said: "O Gautama! You see my mind well. Why do you remain silent and not answer me?"

Then Kaundinya said: "O great Brahmin! If any person asks about the limitedness or non-limitedness of the world, the Tathagata is silent and does not reply. The Noble Eightfold Path is what is straight, and Nirvana is what is Eternal. When the Noble Eightfold Path is practised, one attains extinction; if not, no such thing results.

"O great Brahmin! For example, a great castle has four walls, where there are no apertures, except for a gate. The gate-keeper is wise. He knows whom to let pass and whom to shut out. He may not know the number of those who come and go, but he knows that anyone who enters has to come through the gate. The situation is thus. O good man! It is the same with the Tathagata. The castle is Nirvana, the gate is the Noble Eightfold Path, and the gate-keeper is the Tathagata. O good man! Though the Tathagata does not reply (to questions) about (the world's being) finite or infinite, what ends must needs practise the Noble Eightfold Path."

The Brahmin said: "Well said, well said, O greatly virtuous Kaundinya! The Tathagata truly expounds All-Wonderful Dharma. I now know the castle, and the Way to it, and I desire to be the gate-keeper."

Kaundinya said: "Well said, well said! You now well aspire to the Great Mind."

The Buddha said: "Say not thus, say not thus, O Kaundinya! It is not the case that this Brahmin now aspires for the first time to this Mind. A long, long time ago, far back in the days of countless Buddhas, there was a Buddha called "Tathagata All-Shining", the Alms-Deserving, the All-Enlightened One, the All-Accomplished One, the Well-Gone, the All-Knower, the Unsurpassed One, the Best Trainer, the Teacher of Gods and Humans, the Buddha-World-Honoured One. This person (i.e. the Brahmin) had already aspired to unsurpassed Bodhichitta at the place of this Buddha. He will now attain Buddhahood in this Bhadrakalpa. He has long been versed in Dharma. For the sake of beings, he lives as a tirthika and presents himself as one not versed in Dharma. For this reason, Kaundinya, you should not say: "Well said, well said! You now aspire to the Great Mind."


Then, seeing all, the World-Honoured One said to Kaundinya: "Is Ananda present?"

Kaundinya said: "O World-Honoured One! Ananda is away from the sal forest, 12 yojanas from this congregation, and is surrounded by 64,000 billion Maras. All these Maras are transforming themselves into the Tathagata. They say that all things arise from causal relations, or that all things do not arise from causal relations; or they say that all causal relations are eternal or that all that arises from causal relations is non-eternal. Or they say that the five skandhas are real, or that they are false. So also with the 18 realms and the 12 spheres. Or they say that there are the 12 links of interdependence or that there are rightly the four causal relations, or that all things are like phantoms or visions, or like mirages in the hot season; or they say that Dharma comes to one through hearing, or that one gains it through thinking; or they speak about the usmagata, murdhana, laukikagradharma, the stages of learning and learninglessness, or about the Bodhisattva's ten stages, from the first up to the tenth; or they speak about the All-Void, formlessness and non-action; or they speak about sutra, geya, vyakarana, gatha, udana, nidana, avadana, itivrttaka, jataka, vaipulya, adbhutadharma, and upadesa; or there are those who speak about the four remembrances, four right efforts, four at-willnesses, five roots, five powers, seven Bodhi elements, Noble Eightfold Path; or they may speak about the internal Void, the external Void, the internal-external Void, the Void of the created, the Void of the non-created, the Void of beginninglessness, the Void of nature, the Void of segregation, the Void of dispersion, the Void of the characteristics of self, the Void of formlessness, the Void of the skandhas, the Void of the (12) spheres, the Void of the (18) realms, the Void of good, the Void of non-good, the Void of indefinables, the Void of Bodhi, the Void of the Path, the Void of Nirvana, the Void of action, the Void of what one has gained, the Void of Ultimate Truth, Void-Void, and Great Void. Or they may display miracles and transformations. Their body emits water and fire; or water comes out from the upper body and fire from down below; or from down below water comes out and from the upper body fire. Or the left armpit is down and the right armpit gives out water; or the right armpit is down and the left armpit gives out water. On (from) one armpit thunder rolls and shakes, and on (from) the other armpit rain falls. Or there may be one who shows the worlds of all Buddhas; or the scene of the Bodhisattva as he first appears in the world and takes seven steps, lives in the depths of the palace, wherein he pursues a life of the five desires, or the scene in which he leaves the palace and performs austerities, or in which he advances towards the Bodhi Tree, sitting thereunder in samadhi, or the scene in which he defeats the army of Maras, or the scene in which he delivers the (first) sermon, or the scene in which he performs great miracles, or where he enters Nirvana.

"O World-Honoured One! Ananda, on seeing this, thinks to himself: "I have not seen such miracles. Who is working all of these? Or are these all of Sakyamuni Buddha?" He wishes to stand up, speak out, but the action will not follow his will. This is due to the fact that Ananda has been caught in Mara's traps. He also thinks: "All that these Buddhas say is not the same. Whose words should I now give ear to?" O World-Honoured One! Ananda is now suffering greatly. Although he thinks of the Tathagata, none comes to save him. That is why he is not here amongst the congregated."

Then, the Bodhisattva-mahasattva Manjusri said to the Buddha: "O World-Honoured One! Among this great mass of people congregated here, there are many Bodhisattvas who have aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment in one life or who have aspired to Bodhichitta over the course of innumerable lives. They truly make offerings to innumerable Buddhas. Their mind is firm-set and they practise danaparamita up to prajnaparamita. They have long come to innumerable Buddhas, practised pure actions, and are unretrogressive in their Bodhichitta. They have attained the unretrogressive state of cognition and have arrived at the avinivartaniya and are perfect in right cognition and are in the Suramgama Samadhi. Such people listen to the Mahayana sutras and do not doubt (them). They understand well and speak about the oneness of the Three Treasures and that their nature and characteristics are Eternal and Unchanging. They hear of miraculous things, but their minds do not become surprised and do not shake. They hear about many kinds of Voidness and their minds are (not) in fear. They clearly grasp all kinds of Dharma-Nature. They uphold well all the 12 types of sutra and they understand their meaning extensively. Also, they uphold the 12 types of sutra of all the innumerable Buddhas. How could one be apprehensive as to their not being able to uphold the Great Nirvana Sutra? Why is it that you ask Kaundinya where Ananda is?"

Then, the World-Honoured One said to Manjusri: "Listen carefully, listen carefully! O good man! Since the day when I attained Buddhahood, I have lived for over 30 years in Rajagriha. At that time, I said to all the bhiksus: "Who of all those who are gathered here can uphold the 12 types of sutra of the Tathagata and attend to what one (i.e. the Buddha) may need to have and yet not lose his own profit?"

"At that time, Kaundinya was one of those in the congregation, and he came to me and said: "I can well uphold the 12 types of sutra, attend to all that there should be, and yet not lose what I may gain."

"I said: "O Kaundinya! You are already far advanced in age. You must use somebody else. How could you expect to serve me?"

"Then, Sariputra said: "I can certainly uphold all the words that the Buddha speaks, attend to what he needs to have, and I shall not lose whatever profit I may gain."

"I then said: "O Sariputra! You are already too old. Use somebody else. How can you wish to serve me?"

"Things proceeded thus with all 500 arhats. I did not accept (any of them). Then, Maudgalyayana, being amongst their number, thought: "The Tathagata does not accept the attendance of the 500 arhats. Who might it be that the Buddha desires to have?" Thinking thus, he entered into dhyana and saw that the Tathagata's mind was set upon Ananda, just as when the sun first rises and shines upon a western wall. Having seen this, he got up from his dhyana seat (from his meditation posture) and said to Kaundinya: "O greatly virtuous one! I now see that the Tathagata desires to have Ananda attend him."

"Then Kaundinya, along with the 500 arhats, went to Ananda and said: "O Ananda! You should go and serve the Tathagata. Accept this!"

"Ananda said: "O all you virtuous ones! I cannot well serve the Tathagata. Why not? The Tathagata is austere, like the king of lions; he is like the dragon and fire. I am as yet defiled and weak. How can I truly serve him?" All the bhiksus said: "You must take our word and serve the Tathagata. You will be blessed with great benefit." This went on for a second and third time.

"Ananda said: "All you greatly virtuous ones! I also do not seek any great benefit. Truth to tell, I am not able to serve him."

"Then Maudgalyayana said again: "O Ananda! Do you not yet know?"

"Ananda said: "O great one! Please tell me of it."

"Maudgalyayana said: "The Tathagata desired to have one from among us priests. All the 500 arhats wanted to meet his wish. But the Tathagata would not have it. I then sat in dhyana and saw that the Tathagata wishes you to be the one. Why do you not desire to accept the post?"

"On hearing this, Ananda folded his hands, prostrated himself on the ground and said: "O greatly virtuous one! If this actually took place, I shall act as you wish and serve him, as long as the Tathagata will permit me three things."

"Maudgalyayana said: "What are the three things?"

"Ananda said: "First, that the Tathagata will allow me not to accept - should he wish to give it me - any used clothing; secondly, that the Tathagata will permit me not to follow him when he receives private invitations; and thirdly, that the Tathagata will allow me freedom of movement. If the Tathagata permits me these three things, I am ready to concede to the words of all you priests."

"Then Kaundinya and the 500 bhiksus came back to me and said: "We have persuaded Ananda to accept, but in connection with this he desires three things to be permitted. If you will allow them, he will follow the words of the priests (i.e. he will do as they have asked him)."

"O Manjusri! I then applauded Ananda and said: "Well said, well said, O bhiksu Ananda! You have Wisdom and seek to foreguard (i.e. guard against future contingencies). Why so? For people might say that you serve the Tathagata on account of the clothing and food that you might gain. That is why he does not wish to receive the used clothing and why he does not wish to accompany me on the occasion of any private invitations which I may have to accept. O Kaundinya! Ananda has Wisdom. If he should be restrained by time (i.e. if he has a rigid and constricting timetable to follow), he would not have time to give benefit to the four classes of the Buddhist Sangha. That is why he desires that there should be no fixed time for his service.

"O Kaundinya! I accede to these three requests for the sake of Ananda."

"Then Maudgalyayana went back to Ananda and said: "I entreated the Buddha for the three things you wished to have, and the Tathagata, out of his great pity, has consented." Ananda said: "O greatly virtuous one! If the Buddha has agreed, I shall go and serve him."

"O Manjusri! Ananda has served me for over 20 years and possesses eight wonders. What are the eight? These are: 1) for 20 years since he began to serve me, he has never eaten a meal (on the occasion) of any private invitation; 2) he has never once accepted used clothing; 3) since he began serving me, he has never come to me at the wrong hour; 4) since the time when he began serving me, he has had occasion to associate with all (kinds of) kings, Kshatriyas, nobles, and men of great clans, and he has met all (kinds) of females and naga females, and although he has defilements, he has never once yet given himself up to lustful thoughts; 5) since he began serving me, he has upheld the 12 types of sutra, and after having heard something once, he never asks me of it (i.e. to repeat it) a second time (i.e. he remembers whatever teachings the Buddha utters). It is like shifting the water of (several) pots into one pot, except for one single question. O good man! Prince Vidudabha killed the people of the Sakya clan (i.e. the Buddha's own clan) and demolished the castle (citadel) of Kapilavastu. Ananda, at that time, was of sorrowful mind and wept. Coming to me, he said: "I was born together with you in this castle, and I am of the Sakya tribe. How is it that the Tathagata looks radiant as on ordinary days, and I feel so awearied?" I then replied: "O Ananda! I practise the samadhi of the Void. So I am not like you." Three years passed by, and he came to me and asked: "O World-Honoured One! In days gone by, I heard at the castle of Kapilavastu that the Tathagata practised the samadhi of the Void. Is this true or not?" I said: "O Ananda! It is thus, it is thus! It is just as you say"; 6) since the day he began to serve me, he has not yet gained the ability to read others' minds, but he always knew the dhyanas I was in; 7) since the day he began serving me, he has not as yet gained the knowledge (which would enable him) to know whatever he wishes to know, (yet) he well knew and would say: "Such and such people came to the Tathagata and such and such people have now gained the four fruitions of sramana and such and such have gained these later, such and such have gained human life, and such and such have gained a heavenly body"; 8) since his (first) day of serving me, he has understood all the unspoken words of the Tathagata.

"O good man! Bhiksu Ananda possesses these eight wonders. That is why I call Ananda the storehouse of rich hearing.

"O good man! Bhiksu Ananda is perfect in eight things and thus upholds in perfect ways the 12 types of sutra.

"What are the eight? They are: 1) his faith is strong, 2) his mind is straight, 3) his body is without illness or pain, 4) he makes effort unremittingly, 5) (he is) perfect in the praying mind, 6) his mind has no arrogance, 7) (he is) perfect in the settled mind, and 8) through hearing (Dharma), knowledge comes about.

"O Manjusri! The disciple and attendant of Buddha Vipasyin was called Asoka. He was also perfect in these eight things. The disciple and attendant of Tathagata Sikhin was called Samakara, the disciple and attendant of Buddha Visvabuk was called Upasanta, the disciple and attendant of the great Buddha Krakucchanda was called Bhadrika, the disciple and attendant of Buddha Kanakamuni was called Sotei , and the disciple and attendant of Buddha Kasyapa was called Yobamitta. They all posssessed these virtues. That is why I say that Ananda is a storehouse of rich hearing.

"O good man! Just as you say, there are amongst those gathered here innumerable Bodhisattvas. But as these Bodhisattvas have heavy tasks to perform, such as the works of Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion, they inevitably have busy hours to work, to train the retinues and to adorn their own bodies. So, after my entering Nirvana, they will not be able to propound the 12 types of sutra. Or there may be Bodhisattvas who may propound them, but people will not believe what they say. O Manjusri! Bhiksu Ananda is my younger brother (Ananda is actually the Buddha's cousin, but is here called his brother to convey a sense of familiarity - K. Yamamoto). Since the day when he began to serve me, 20 years have now passed. But he remembers what he has heard, like water stored in a pot. Because of this, I look back to (i.e. think of) Ananda and seek to know where he might be. And I desire to entrust this Nirvana Sutra to him.

"O good man! When I am gone, what Ananda did not hear will be propounded by "Bodhisattva Wide-Wide"; what Ananda did hear will be promulgated by Ananda himself.

"O Manjusri! Ananda is now 12 yojanas distant from this congregation and is surrounded by 64,000 billion Maras. Make haste, go now, and say aloud: "O all you Maras! Listen closely, listen closely! The Tathagata now speaks a great dharani (spell). All devas, nagas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, humans, non-humans, mountain-gods, tree-gods, river-gods, sea-gods, and house-gods! Hear this dharani! There is none who does not respect and uphold this. This dharani is what all Buddhas, as many in number as the sands of ten Ganges, propound. This will indeed change the female form and enable one to read one's own fortune. If any person receives (i.e. practises) well the five things, namely: 1) pure actions, and abstention from: 2) meat, 3) alcohol, 4) spices, and 5) happily abides in quietude, and after becoming perfect in these five things, believes in this dharani, recites it, and writes it, know that such a person can indeed discard the 77 billion ill-omened (i.e. inauspicious) bodies." Then, the World-Honoured One spoke thus: "Amarei bimarei nemarei bakyarei keimaranyakappi sanmanabaddai shabatashadanni baramatashadanni manashi asettai hiragi anraraitei baranmi baranmasharei fumi funamanuraitei" (meaning unknown - ed.).

Then, Manjusri, having been entrusted with this dharani, went to where Ananda was and, amidst the Maras, said: "O you Maras and retinues! Hear well the dharani which I have received from the Buddha and which I am now going to pronounce." The Mara King, on hearing this, aspired to unsurpassed Enlightenment and, casting aside evil actions, released Ananda. Manjusri, accompanying Ananda, returned to the Buddha. Ananda, on seeing the Buddha, paid the sincerest homage, stepped back and took his seat on one side.

The Buddha said to Ananda: "In this forest of sal trees, there is a Brahmacarin named Subhadra, who is 120 years old. He possesses the five miraculous powers. But he is not away from (i.e. has not yet overcome) arrogance. He has attained the stage of thoughtlessness-non-thoughtlessness dhyana. He has arrived at All-Knowledge and has a mental image of Nirvana. Go to him and say: "The Buddha's appearance in the world is like that of the udumbara. He will, this (very) midnight, attain Parinirvana. If you wish to act, act immediately. Do not have regret in the days to come!" O Ananda! He will believe what you say. Why? Because, in the course of 500 years, you were once Subhadra's son. The taint of the loving mind has not yet left him. For this reason, he will believe what you say."

Then, at these words of the Buddha, Ananda went to Subhadra and said: "Know that the Tathagata appears in the world as rarely as the (blossoming of the) udumbara. This night he will enter Parinirvana. If you wish to act, act meet to the occasion. Do not have any regrets for later days."

Subhadra said: "Well said, O Ananda! I shall now go to the place of the Tathagata."

Then Ananda went back to the place of the Buddha, accompanied by Subhadra.

Then, on arriving, Subhadra spoke thus: "O Gautama! I now wish to ask a question. Answer me as (i.e. in the spirit of how) I mean to ask."

The Buddha said: "O Subhadra! It is now time. I shall answer you. I shall employ the means and answer you."

"O Gautama! All sramanas and Brahmins say: "Everybody encounters karmic results; they are sad or happy; and all arise out of what they did before. Hence, if one upholds the moral precepts, makes effort, and undergoes bodily and mental pain, this will crush out the original karma. When the primary karma ends, all suffering ends. Suffering ending, Nirvana results." What do you think of this?"

"O good man! If there are any such sramanas or Brahmins, I shall feel pity and go to them. On arriving, I shall ask: "Do you speak thus?" If they say: "We do speak this. Why? O Gautama! We see all the people who do all kinds of evil and who (yet) are rich, and act as they will. And people who are very poor, although doing good. Or people who do not seek, and who (yet) somehow gain things. Or there are people who have compasion and do not kill, and yet they die at an untimely hour. Or people who enjoy killing, who gain a long life. Or there are those who perform pure actions, who make effort and uphold sila, and who gain - or do not gain - Emancipation. That is why we say that all people suffer from sorrow or are blessed with happiness due to the primary karma which they have engendered in the past."

"O Subhadra! I shall now ask: "Do you see or not the karma of the past? If there is this karma, is it many or few? Does the penance that one undergoes not crush out the suffering in any way? Do we know or not whether this karma has died our or not? Does all end when this karma ends?" Should the person say: "I really do not know", I shall take up a parable. "Suppose, for example, that a man is struck by a poisoned arrow. The people of the house call for a doctor, so as to have the poisoned arrow extracted. Once the arrow has been removed, the (man's) body is at peace. Ten years on, the person still recalls the event very clearly. "This doctor extracted the poisoned arrow for me, treated me with medicine, and I now enjoy peace." You do not know the past karma. How can you know whether the penance you now perform crushes out the karma done in the past?" Or he may well say: "O Gautama! Now, you yourself have karmic results from the past. Why should you reprove me in regard to my past karma? In Gautama's own sutras, this thing is spoken of. You say: "If one sees a rich and noble person, and a person who enjoys freedom, one can indeed know that such a person has made good offerings in past lives). Do you not say that they are the karmas of the past?" I shall reply: "Any such knowing is a comparative knowing and is not one that is true. In the Buddhist teaching of my house, there is the case of knowing the result from the cause or the cause from the result. In our Buddhist teaching, we speak of the karma of a past life and of this present life. With you it is not like that. What there is (with you) is past karma, but not karma of the present. Your (doctrine) does not handle karma by expediency. With us it is not like that. We see karma through the eyes of expedient means. With you, if you reach the end of karma, suffering comes to an end. But with us, that is not so. When defilement goes, the suffering of karma ends. That is why I criticise the karma of the past about which you speak." If the person says: "O Gautama! Truth to tell, I do not know about this - I got this from my teacher. My teacher says so; I am not to be reproved." Then I shall say: "Who is your teacher?" If he says: "He is Purana", I shall then say: "Why did you not ask each of your teachers whether they know the karma of the past? If your teacher says that he does not know, why should you take his word (i.e. believe what he teaches regarding karma)? If he says that he knows, you should ask whether the causal relations of the lowest grade of suffering call forth the causal relations of the top grade of suffering, or whether or not the causal relations of suffering of the middle grade harvest the suffering of the lowest or top-grade suffering. Or ask if the causal relations of the top grade gain one the suffering of the middle and low grades. If no, you may well ask: "How can you, the teacher, say that the result of bliss or suffering only rests in the past and not in the present? Also you could well ask whether or not the suffering of the present exists in the past? If it is in the past, it must be the case that the karma of the past is now ended. If it is ended, how is it possible for a person to harvest it in this present life? If it is the case that there is no past, but what there is is merely the present, how can one say that the being's suffering and bliss arise from past karma? If you know that penance in the present life can truly crush out the karma of the past life, how can one crush out the penance (suffering) of the present life? If it is not crushed out, suffering must be eternal. If suffering is eternal, how can one say that one attains Emancipation from suffering? If what one does crushes out suffering, then the past is already gone. How can there be any suffering? O you! Does penance cause the karma of bliss to harvest the fruit of suffering? Also, can the karma of suffering cause one to harvest the fruit of bliss? Does the karma of non-suffering and non-bliss become the fruition of non-receiving? Is it possible that whatever result one has to harvest now, becomes one to be harvested in the life to come or not? Is it possible or not that what one is to harvest in the next life can be harvested in this life? Is it possible or not to cause these two karmic returns to be of no-return? Is it possible or not? Is it possible or not to make a karmic return that is definite into one that is indefinite? Is it possible to make an indefinite return one that is definite? "If he says: "O Gautama! It is not possible", I shall again say: "O you! If it is not possible, why should you suffer penance? You should well know that there are cases where past karma forms the causal relations of the present. That is why I say that karma arises out of defilement and that by karma one meets with the recompense. O you! Know that all beings have karma of the past and the cause of the present. Though beings have the past karma of life, they have to depend upon the causal relations of food in the present life. O you! One may say that beings suffer from sorrow and are blessed with bliss, all definitely grounded in the primary karmic causes from the past life. But the situation is not thus. Why not? O you! For example, it is as when a person does away with the enemy of the King, as a result of which he gains treasure and is blessed with bliss in the present life. Such a person generates the cause of bliss in this present life and reaps the recompense of bliss in this present life. For example, this is analogous to the man who kills the King's son and through this loses his life. Such a person engenders the cause of suffering now and harvests the karmic return in this present life. O you! All beings, now in this present life, encounter suffering and bliss from the four great elements, the seasons, the land, and people. That is why I say that all beings do not necessarily harvest suffering and bliss primarily from their past karma. O you! If a person can arrive at Emancipation through the power of the causal relations of cutting off karma, we could say that all sages cannot attain it. Why not? Because the primary karma of beings has no beginning and no end. That is why I say that when one practises the Holy Way, this Way truly makes away with the karma that has no head or tail. O you! If one gained the Path through penance (austerities), all animals would have to attain it. That is why one first subdues the mind and not the body. Hence I say in my sutra that one must cut down the forest but not the tree. Why? From the forest, one gains fear, but not from the tree. If one wishes to adjust the body, one must first adjust the mind. The mind is the forest, and the body is the tree. So may we compare things."

The Bhagavat (Blessed One = the Buddha) said, "Noble son, how have you previously trained/ disciplined your mind?"

Subhadra replied, "Bhagavat, I reflected intensely upon the fact that the (Realm of ) Desire is impermanent, unpleasant, and utterly impure, and realised that the (Realm of) Form is permanent, pleasant, and utterly pure. Having realised thus, I severed the kleshas of the Realm of Desire and attained the sphere (ayatana) of Form. In that way, I previously trained / disciplined my mind.

"Then, when I investigated the (Realm of) Form, I realised that form is impermanent and is like a sore, an ulcer, poison, or a thorn. I saw that the (Realm of) Formlessness is permanent, pure and peaceful. Having realised this, I severed the kleshas of the Realm of Form and attained the sphere of Formlessness. In that way, I previously trained / disciplined my mind.

"Then, when I investigated ideation (samjna = the making of thoughts and ideas in the mind), I realised that it is impermanent and is like a sore, an ulcer, poison, or a thorn, and I attained the samadhi of the sphere of neither-ideation-nor-non-ideation (naivasa-njaanasa-njaa). (I realised that) the sphere of neither-ideation-nor-non-ideation is all-knowing awareness (sarvajna-jnana), peaceful, pure, irreversible and unchanging. In that way, I previously trained / disciplined my mind."

The Bhagavat said, "Noble son, how have you trained / disciplined your mind? What you have attained is the samadhi of the sphere of neither-ideation-nor-non-ideation, but that is still ideation. If Nirvana is devoid of ideation, why do you term this 'Nirvana'? Noble son, if you previously disdained coarse ideation, why are you attached to subtle ideation, not knowing that it is inferior? Even that sphere of neither-ideation-nor-non-ideation may be termed 'ideation'. It too is like a sore, an ulcer, poison, or a thorn. Noble son, though your teacher, Udraka-Ramaputra, has acute faculties and is prudent, he worships the sphere of neither-ideation-nor-non-ideation. If he still is embodied in a low-grade body, what need is there to say anything further!"

Subhadra asked, "How does one sever all (samsaric) existence?"

The Bhagavat replied, "Noble son, if any individual engages in the true / real ideation, all (samsaric) existence will be severed."

Subhadra asked, "Bhagavat, how should one know true / real ideation?"

"Noble son, the ideation of non-ideation should be known as the true / real ideation."

"Bhagavat, how is the ideation of non-ideation to be known?"

"Noble son, all phenomena (dharmas) are devoid of their own defining (external, distinguishing) attributes / characteristics (lakshanas), devoid of the defining attributes (lakshanas)of what is another, devoid of both their own and other defining attributes. They are devoid of the defining attribute of being without cause, devoid of the defining attribute of result, devoid of the defining attribute of being experienced, devoid of the defining attribute of being an agent, devoid of the defining attribute of being an experiencer; devoid of the defining attribute of being an entity/ thing (dharma) and devoid of the defining attribute of not being an entity / thing. They are devoid of the defining attributes of male or female, devoid of the defining attribute of a human being; they are devoid of the defining attribute of an atom, devoid of the defining attribute of time and season. They are devoid of the defining attribute of having been done for oneself, devoid of the defining attribute of being done for another, devoid of the defining attribute of being done for both oneself and another. They are devoid of the defining attribute of existence and they are devoid of the defining attribute of non-existence; they are devoid of the defining attribute of being a producer and devoid of the defining attribute of being a product. They are devoid of the defining attribute of cause and devoid of the defining attribute of being a secondary cause; they are devoid of the defining attribute of result and devoid of the defining attribute of being a secondary result. They are devoid of the defining attribute of day and night, devoid of the defining attribute of light and darkness. They are devoid of the defining attribute of what is seen and devoid of the defining attribute of being a seer; they are devoid of the defining attribute of what is heard and devoid of the defining attribute of being a hearer; they are devoid of the defining attribute of what is felt and known and devoid of the defining attribute of being a feeler and a knower. They are devoid of the defining attribute of awakening (bodhi) and devoid of the defining attribute of being one who attains awakening. They are devoid of the defining attribute of karma and devoid of the defining attribute of being one responsible for karma; they are devoid of the defining attribute of klesha (negative mental or behavioural mode) and devoid of the defining attribute of being one who is responsible for kleshas. Noble son, wherever lakshanas (defining attributes) are extinguished is termed the true / real lakshana.

"Noble son, all dharmas are not veridical. Wherever they are extinguished is termed the True / the Real, the true ideation, the Dharmadhatu (all-encompassing realm of Ultimate Reality), the Culmination of Knowing (nistha-jnana), Ultimate Truth (paramartha-satya), Ultimate Emptiness (paramartha-sunyata = complete Openness and Non-Obstruction by any limitations or limits).

"Noble son, if one engages in the lakshana (or "ideation"?), the Dharmadhatu, the Culmination of Knowing (nistha-jnana), Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Emptiness with inferior insight (prajna), one will attain the awakening of the sravakas; if with middle-grade insight, (one will attain the awakening of the) pratyekabuddha, and if with Top-Grade Insight, one will attain Unsurpassed Awakening."

When this Dharma had been delivered, 10,000 Bodhisattvas attained the real mental image of one life, one-million-five-hundred Bodhisattvas attained the two-life Dharmadhatu, two-million-five-hundred Bodhisattvas attained to Ultimate Knowing, and 3,500 Bodhisattvas awoke to Ultimate Truth. This Ultimate Truth is also Paramartha-Sunyata, and also the Suramgama Samadhi. Forty-five thousand Bodhisattvas attained the All-Emptiness Samadhi. This all-Emptiness Samadhi is also called the Vast and Great Samadhi, and the Knowledge-Impression Samadhi. Fifty-five thousand Bodhisattvas attained non-retrogression cognition. This non-retrogression Samadhi is Dharma-accorded cognition, and also the Dharma-accorded world. Sixty-five thousand Bodhisattvas attained the dharani. This dharani is also the Great-Praying Mind, and is also Unobstructed Knowledge. And seventy-five thousand Bodhisattvas attained the Lion's Roar Samadhi. This Lion's Roar is also called the Adamantine Samadhi, and also the Samadhi of Five-Knowledge Impression. Eighty-five thousand Bodhisattvas attained the All-Equal Samadhi. This All-Equal Samadhi is also called Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion. Beings as numerous as the grains of sand of countless Ganges aspired to unsurpassed Bodhichitta (Awakened Mind); beings as numerous as the grains of sand of countless Ganges aspired to the pratyeka mind, and beings as numerous as the grains of sand of innumerable Ganges aspired to the sravaka mind. Two-million-billion females of the worlds of the humans and the gods discarded their female forms and became males. Subhadra attained arhatship.

The End
of the
Noble Mahayana
Mahaparinirvana Sutra

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