The Prajna Paramita Sutra on the Buddha-Mother's Producing the Three Dharma Treasures, Spoken by the Buddha
CHAPTER 5: THE REVOLUTION OF MERIT
1. THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM A SOURCE OF GREAT MERIT, AND A DIFFERENT MERIT
Sakra: Let us again consider two people. The one truly believes perfection of wisdom, trustingly confides in such, studies, copies, repeats and discourses regarding such, since their guide does not fail. And as this one hears this exposition, this one also unhesitatingly resolves to not abandon this perfection of wisdom, -surely so greatly profitable, so great an advantage, so great a fruit, so great a reward, endowed of such and great qualities (!) - this one guards and preserves such as this is, for such is exceedingly hard to develop, and by oneself, one honors, reveres and adores this.
Now, the other person first venerates this, and now gives a copy to another son or daughter of a good family who, having aspirations towards this and eager, asks for such. Which one of these two persons begets greater merit...on this one hand the one who intends to give this all away, or on this other hand, the one who does not?
The Lord: I question you on this point, and you may answer to the best of your abilities. If this one person by oneself is to honor the relics of Tathagata after one's Paranirvana, minister, revere, and preserve these relics; and now, if this other not only oneself honors these relics of the Tathagata, ministers, reveres and preserves these, but in addition reveals these to others, gives these away, and shares them knowing hereby the reverence of these relics will become even more widespread, and from compassion and true sympathy for beings; so answer now Kausika, which one of these two persons begets great merit, and which a different kind of merit: The one who, while worshipping them oneself, reveals, gives and shares these with others...or the one who by oneself, singularly worships these?
Sakra: Surely Lord, the one who shares these with others.
The Lord: So it is, Kausika. Any person revealing perfection of wisdom for others to behold and develop as regards inclinations, always seeking to help others, purely intent on revealing such completely, ...anyone on the strength of this begets greater merit, and indeed not merely greater merit, but a different merit all together. For such merit has no limit, and as such is beyond any determinations of lesser and greater, and indeed other than any determinations whatsoever, which might be even recognized as merit. If in addition this one goes to persons who are fit vessels for this perfection of wisdom, and shares this with these, one begets still different merit. And so too, Kausika, is great indeed any merit of someone who instigates all beings in Jambudvipa to observe ten ways of wholesome action, and establishes these in these ways?
Sakra: To be sure Lord, great this seems to be.
The Lord: Different even still is any merit of someone who makes a copy of this perfection of wisdom, believes in and has faith in such, faith serene and firm; who constantly reveals one's thoughts toward enlightenment, and with earnest intention gives this perfection of wisdom to another Bodhisattva who steadily reveals one's thoughts to enlightenment; who does first of all perfect oneself by tireless writing and reciting; and after much zealous labor, one persuades the other Bodhisattva, explaining this perfection of wisdom, instigating to such, filling one with enthusiasm for this, making such a one rejoice in this, and does by one's words, lead one to this, educate one in this, illuminate these benefits to such a one, cleanse one's thought and remove one's doubt; and who addresses such a one as follows: "Come here, you of good family, do train yourself in just this Path of Bodhisattvas, for as a result of this training, this coursing, this struggling you surely and quickly awake to full enlightenment. After this you go on to educate an infinite number of beings in the complete extinction of the substratum begotten of beginningless rebirths, in other words, in the revelation of the reality-limit." As this one intends to reveal this completely, this one's merit is infinite and different still from any worldly merits. And this is true even if it is compared with the merit of someone who establishes in the observation of the ten wholesome ways of acting all the beings in world systems of any size, even in all the world systems in existence or not in existence, numerous as the sands of Ganges River. Or if it is compared with that of someone establishing others in the four trances, the four Unlimited, the four formless attainments, the five superknowledges, in any number of world systems. In each case any person not only writing this perfection of wisdom and reciting it by oneself, but writing such for others and revealing such completely to these, easily begets a different type of merit than merit itself. Moreover, Kausika, one also begets a different merit still as one may be conversant with the meaning while reciting this perfection of wisdom; and having written such for others, still reveals such completely, expounds and lights this up, both in it's meaning and letter.
2. THE COUNTERFEIT PERFECTION OF WISDOM
Sakra: Can any one now expound this perfection of wisdom?
The Lord: Yes, anyone thus conversant with this meaning can expound such to someone not understanding it. For in any time a counterfeit of perfection of wisdom may arise. As one hears this counterfeit, a person not understanding it as such needs be wary of making obeisance to it, as this one, though not understanding, may want to realize full enlightenment.
Sakra: How might one recognize in any time if and when the counterfeit perfection of wisdom is expounded?
The Lord: In any time here be monks and nuns whose bodies are undeveloped, whose moral conduct, thought and wisdom are undeveloped, who are stupid, dumb like sheep, without wisdom. As these announce to expound perfection of wisdom, these actually expound its counterfeit. These expound the counterfeit perfection of wisdom by teaching impermanence of form, feeling, perception, impulse and consciousness is to be interpreted as destruction of these just mentioned skandhas. To strive for such insight, according to them, is coursing in perfection of wisdom. But on the contrary, do not view impermanence of these skandhas as destruction of such. For to view things in such a way means to course in the counterfeit perfection of wisdom. For this reason, Kausika, does one with understanding expound effortlessly and correctly the meaning of truth and in perfection of wisdom. By so expounding this, one realizes different and limitless merit.
3. THE PERFECTION OF WISDOM UNLIMITED AND DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER
And any such merit is quite different than if one even thought of oneself as, or even attempted to accept responsibility for, any ability whatsoever to establish any beings in, say, any number of world systems, even in the fruit of a Streamwinner. And such holds good also for the fruit of any Once-Returner, of any Never-Returner, and of any Arhat. Any Bodhisattva of true and right intention merely recognizes this goaless goal, indicates such, and puts before themselves this path for the beneficence of any and all limitless beings. For it is perfection of wisdom which brings about any fruit of any Once-Returner, of any Never-Returner, and of any Arhat. And any Bodhisattva increases one's endurance by reflecting this way, for, as by training oneself in perfection of wisdom, one comes to obtain dharmas which sooner or later constitute a Buddha, and one comes ever nearer to revealing for the benefit of any and all beings, full enlightenment. For one knows by training oneself in this training, coursing in and struggling in such, one brings forth any and all fruits of holy life, from fruits of a Streamwinner to Buddhahood. Any merit of any person sharing perfection of wisdom also is vastly different from any one establishing in Pratyekabuddhahood any number of beings in any number of world systems. Moreover, Kausika, as someone reveals any such thing as is for full enlightenment to the hearts of as many beings as are in Jambudvipa; and someone else not only indicated how it is possible for these to reveal their very hearts to full enlightenment, but also in addition gives these a copy of this perfection of wisdom; or, as one such as this presents a copy of this perfection of wisdom to an irreversible Bodhisattva, in consideration of any possibility that this Bodhisattva may allow oneself to be trained in such, make endeavours about and develop such, and as a result of any growth, increase or abundance of the perfection of wisdom, fulfill the Buddha-dharmas; now, compared with the former person, one begets a vastly different type of merit, for certainly once one is awakened to full enlightenment, one cannot help but to indicate the end to the sufferings of countless beings. Thus, one's merit is vastly different, even as the other person thinks to raise to full enlightenment the hearts of any number of beings in any number of world systems. Or, let us again compare two persons: The first presents a copy of this perfection of wisdom to any number of beings in any number of world systems, beings which are irreversible from full enlightenment, who definitely set out for such; yet, the second person, in addition expounds this to these ones according to the meaning and according to the letter. Does this one not on the strength of this beget much great merit?
Sakra: One's merit is indeed great. One can neither easily calculate this heap of merit, nor count it, nor find anything even similar to, or resembling, or with which it can be compared.
The Lord: Still, Kausika, vastly different is any merit of someone who in addition instructs and admonishes in this perfection of wisdom these irreversible Bodhisattvas aspiring to quickly realize full enlightenment. And further, still another Bodhisattva may arise, saying one may realize full enlightenment even more quickly than they. As someone instructs and admonishes in the perfection of wisdom this Bodhisattva of even quicker understanding, one begets a still vast and different type of merit.
Sakra: To the extent any Bodhisattva comes nearer to full enlightenment, to such an extent one is instructed and admonished in the perfection of wisdom, for such brings one nearer and nearer Suchness. As one comes nearer Suchness, one confers many fruits and advantages on any having done services for one, i.e., on the ones through whom one enjoys one's robes, alms-bowl, lodging, and medicinal appliances for sickness. One's merit now becomes still larger, in consequence of the fact one comes nearer to full enlightenment.
Subhuti: Well said, Kausika. You fortify these belonging to the Bodhisattva-vehicle, help these, and stand by these. Even so do you act. Any holy disciple wanting to give help to all beings, as such, fortifies Bodhisattvas in their attitude to full enlightenment, helps these, and stands by these. In this same way does one in diligence act. For begotten of perfection of wisdom is full enlightenment of Bodhisattvas. Just so, as Bodhisattvas do not produce any thought of enlightenment, such do not train themselves in full enlightenment, nor in any six perfections, and as a consequence these do not awaken to full enlightenment. But as the Bodhisattvas do train themselves in the Bodhisattva-training, in these six perfections, so now do these produce this thought of enlightenment, so even now do these awaken to full enlightenment.
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