The Prajna Paramita Sutra on the Buddha-Mother's Producing the Three Dharma Treasures, Spoken by the Buddha
Chapter 6: DEDICATION AND JUBILATION
The Supreme Merit of Dedication and Jubilation
Maitreya: On the one side we have on the part of a Bodhisattva, meritorious work which is founded on this Bodhisattva's rejoicing at the merit of others, and on one's dedication of merit to the utmost enlightenment of all beings; on the other side is, on the part of all beings, the meritorious work founded on giving, on morality, on meditational development. Among these the meritorious work of a Bodhisattva founded on jubilation and dedication is declared to be vastly different, excellent, sublime, unequalled, and equaling the unequalled.
The Range of Jubilation
Subhuti: A Bodhisattva, a great being, considers the world with its ten directions, in every direction, extending everywhere. One such as this considers the world systems quite immeasurable, quite beyond reckoning, quite measureless, quite inconceivable, infinite and boundless.
Such ones consider in each of three time periods, in each single direction, in each single world system, the Tathagatas - as quite immeasurable, quite beyond reckoning, quite measureless, quite inconceivable, infinite and boundless, fully revealing final Nirvana in the realm of Nirvana and leaving nothing behind, - their tracks cut off, their course cut off, their obstacles annulled and dissolved, guides through the world of becoming, their tears dried up, with all their impediments crushed, their own burdens laid down, with their own weal reached, in whom any fetters of becoming are extinguished, whose thoughts are well freed by right understanding, and who have attained and maintain completely equanimous perfection in control of their entire hearts.
One considers these from right here, beginning with an appearance of this thought of enlightenment, proceeding throughout and beyond any time and any realization of full enlightenment through finally entering, or a revelation of Nirvana, as Suchness and a totality of Nirvana which leaves nothing behind, and a dissolution of any spans of time beyond even any thought in considerations of some vanishing of good Dharma as exposited by each of these Tathagatas.
One considers this mass of morality, this mass of concentration, this mass of wisdom, this mass of emancipation, this mass of vision and cognition of emancipation of such Buddhas and Lords.
In addition, one considers any store of merit associated with six perfections, with achievement of qualities of Buddha and nature, and with perfections of self-confidence and of powers; and also anyone associated with any perfection of superknowledges, of comprehension, of vows; and any store of merit associated with the accomplishment of cognition of all-knowingness, with solicitude for beings, any great friendliness and great compassion, and immeasurable and incalculable Buddha-qualities.
And one also considers the full enlightenment and its all encompassing residual happiness borne of contentment from right actions and contemplation, and perfection of sovereignty over all dharmas, and such an accomplishment of immeasurable and unconquered supreme wonderworking power which finally conquers all, and this power of the Tathagata's cognition of what is truly real, which is without a slightest of defiled covering, attachment or obstruction, unequalled, equal to unequalled, incomparable, without measure, and such power of Buddha-nature and cognition preeminent among these powers, the obtainment of such supreme ease which results from four grounds of self-confidence, and the obtainment of Dharma through realization of this ultimate reality of all dharmas.
One also considers the turning of the wheel of Dharma, the carrying of the torch of Dharma, the beating of the drum of Dharma, the filling up the conch shell of Dharma, the wielding of the sword of Dharma, the pouring down of the rain of Dharma, and the refreshment of all beings through the gift of Dharma, through its presentation to them. One further considers any store of merit of any and all who are educated and trained by demonstrations of Dharma, - whether these concern any dharmas of Buddhas, or any of Pratyekabuddhas, or of Disciples, - who believe in these, who are fixed on these, who are bound to end up in full enlightenment.
One also considers the store of merit, associated with these six perfections, of all Bodhisattvas of whom Buddhas and Lords have predicted full enlightenment. A Bodhisattva considers any store of merit of all persons who belong to the Pratyekabuddha vehicle, and of whom the enlightenment of said Pratyekabuddha is predicted. One considers the meritorious work founded on giving, morality and meditational development of the four assemblies of Buddhas and Lords, (i.e. of the monks and nuns, the laymen and laywomen). One considers the roots of good planted during all this time by Gods, Nagas, Yakshas, Gandharvas, Asuras, Garudas, Kinnaras and Mahoragas, by beings and ghosts, and also by animals, at any such time as Buddhas and Lords demonstrate Dharma, and as these enter Parinirvana, and as these had entered Parinirvana - due to Buddhas and Lords, due to Dharma, due to Sangha, and due to persons of right mind-culture. In one's meditation the Bodhisattva piles up the roots of good of all these, all this quantity of merit without exception or remainder, rolls this into one lump, weighs this, and rejoices over this with the most excellent and sublime jubilation, the highest and utmost jubilation, with none above it and unequalled, equaling the unequalled. Having thus rejoiced, one utters the remark: "I turn over into full enlightenment this meritorious work founded on jubilation. May this feed full enlightenment of myself and of all beings!"
A Metaphysical Problem
Now, as concerns these foundations through which any person belonging to the Bodhisattva-vehicle rejoices, concerning these objective supports and points of view...does one apprehend in such a way as these objective supports and views are treated as signs?
Maitreya: No, these have not.
Subhuti: As one treats as an objective support or as a sign any foundation which does not in truth exist, or any objective support which does not in truth exist, does one at this point not have a perverted perception, perverted thought, perverted views? For in a greedy person also, as one discriminates a nonexisting entity [or foundation] and ponders on such - thinking permanence in impermanence, ease in suffering, any self in what is truly not any self, loveliness or not in what is thought either repulsive or not - here arises a perverted perception, perverted thought, perverted view. And as the foundation [or entity], the objective support, the point of view are non-existent, so is enlightenment, so is the thought of enlightenment and so all dharmas or points of view...what thought does one turn over into full enlightenment, or what meritorious work founded on jubilation does one turn over into what utmost, right and perfect enlightenment?
Maitreya: This is neither rightly intended nor understood to be taught or expounded in front of a Bodhisattva who has newly set out in the vehicle. For one may lose whatever little faith one may have gleaned, whatever little affection, serenity and respect which one may have gathered. Only in front of an irreversible Bodhisattva is this rightly intended, understood, taught and expounded. Alternatively, a Bodhisattva propped up by a good friend is hereby not cowed, nor becomes stolid, nor cast down, nor depressed, does not turn the mind away from this, nor has one's back broken, nor tremble, be frightened, be terrified. Thus does such a Bodhisattva turn over into all-knowledge the meritorious work founded on jubilation.
Subhuti: Thusly any thought by which one has rejoiced and turned over, or dedicated any wholesome root connected with jubilation, - any such thought of rejoicing is at the time of turning over extinct, stopped, departed, reversed. So here now, and in any time and way, what is any thought by which one turns over to full enlightenment? Or, what is any thought which turns over into full enlightenment (any) meritorious work founded on jubilation? Or, as no two thoughts can ever meet, how can anyone by one thought turn over, or dedicate, another thought? Neither is it possible to turn over nor overturn, nor transform any thought as far as its own being is concerned.
Sakra: The Bodhisattvas newly set out in the vehicle need to beware of being afraid upon hearing this exposition. How does a Bodhisattva turn any meritorious work founded on jubilation over into full enlightenment? And how does someone who takes hold of the meritorious work founded on jubilation succeed in taking hold of any thought connected with jubilation, and how does one who turns over this thought connected with jubilation succeed in turning it over?
Herein the Venerable Subhuti turned his mind to the Bodhisattva Maitreya, concentrated his mind on him, and spoke thus: Here the Bodhisattva considers any merit connected with these timeless Buddhas and Lords, in the way we described before. One piles up wholesome roots of all these, all of any quantity whatsoever of wholesome roots without exception and remainder, rolls such into one lump, weighs this, and rejoices over this. One thus thinks to turn this meritorious work founded on jubilation over to full enlightenment. How can the Bodhisattva when one thus turns over, be without perverted perception, perverted thought, perverted view?
How Perverted Views Can be Avoided
Maitreya: The Bodhisattva must not, as a result of any thought by which one is turning this over, become one perceiving any thought. It is thus meritorious work founded on jubilation becomes such as is turned into, or rather perhaps, revealed as full enlightenment.
Subhuti: If one does not perceive any thought, identifying it as 'this is that thought,' as such a Bodhisattva has no perverted perception, thought or view. But if one perceives the thought by which one turns this over, identifying it as 'this is that thought,' as such one becomes one who perceives thought. As a result one has perverted perception, thought and view.
But any Bodhisattva turns over rightly, not wrongly, as one perceives and brings to mind any thought which turns over in such a way as one regards it as 'just extinct,' extinct as 'stopped, departed, reversed'; and as one reflects thusly, as what is extinct cannot be turned over; and as this extinctness as 'stopped, departed, reversed,' is the very dharmic nature also of any thought by which one turns over, and also of the dharmas through which one turns over, as well as of the dharmas to which one turns over, it is thus any Bodhisattva turn this over.
One considers any future Buddhas, present Buddhas, or past, future and present Buddhas in this same way in which one considers any past Buddhas.
So now, under which circumstances is one without perverted perception, thought or views? If, while one turns over, one brings to mind any dharmas as extinct, stopped, departed, reversed, and any dharma into which it is turned over as inextinguishable, this, [the wholesome root] becomes something which is turned over into full enlightenment. For one does not settle down in any process of dedication.
If further one considers no dharma can be turned over into a dharma, it becomes something which is turned over into full enlightenment. It is thus by which any Bodhisattva who turns over is without perverted perception, thought or view, for one does not settle down in any process of dedication. If further, one perceives any thought cannot cognize any thought, neither of itself nor another, nor can dharma cognize dharma, now too, this has become something which is turned over into full enlightenment. This is the supreme maturity of any Bodhisattva.
But if, on the other hand, a Bodhisattva perceives any accumulation of merit, one cannot turn it over into full enlightenment due to one settling down in some process of dedication.
If further one reflects this (any) accumulation of merit is isolated and quietly calm, and also any meritorious work founded on jubilation is isolated and quietly calm...one turns over into full enlightenment.
But, if in addition one does not even perceive any conditioned events are calmly quiet and isolated, such is perfection of wisdom of such a Bodhisattva. But one does not turn over into full enlightenment if one perceives this to be any wholesome root of Buddhas, the Lords having gone to Parinirvana; or as this wholesome root by which it is turned over is just as illusory and is of the same kind, has the same mark, belongs to the same class, has the same own-being. For Buddhas and Lords do not allow a dedication to take place through a sign.
One neither brings to mind nor turns over any wholesome root to full enlightenment if one brings about a sign by reflecting anything which is past is extinct, stopped, departed, reversed; what is future has not yet arrived; and of any present no stability is got at, and that this which is not got at has no sign or range.
On the other hand one also does not turn over to full enlightenment if one fails to bring about a sign or to bring to mind anything whatsoever as a result of sheer inattentiveness, or if one fails to attend as a result of lack of mindfulness, or of lack of understanding. But such and said wholesome root becomes something which is turned over into full enlightenment on condition of one bringing to mind such and said sign, but does not treat it as any sign. It is thus the Bodhisattva trains oneself herein. This is known as one's skill in means. When, through skill in means, one turns over any wholesome root, one is near to all-knowledge. The Bodhisattva wanting to train oneself in this skill in means, however, constantly commits to hearing just this perfection of wisdom, studying it and asking questions derived from it. For without the help of perfection of wisdom one untaught cannot enter on the work of dedication by means of perfection of wisdom. But one does not make a statement to any effect such as thanks to perfection of wisdom it is possible to transform any meritorious work into full enlightenment. For stopped are any such personal lives, stopped are any such karma-formations, calmly quiet, isolated, lacking in basis.
Moreover, as this person has brought about a sign, and made a discrimination, one perceives what is truly real in what is not truly real as it were truly real, and one would transform a basis into what is without basis. Buddhas, the Lords do not allow one's wholesome roots to become something which is in this way transformed into full enlightenment, for even these become to one so inclined a great basis. Even the Parinirvana of Buddhas and Lords, one so inclined treats as a sign and discriminates, thusly one believes oneself to get at Nirvana from a viewpoint, and this is not the dedication carried out by one who perceives any basis which the Tathagatas have called a source of great welfare. For this process of dedication is not without poison, not without torn.
It is just as with foods seeming excellent, but is really poisonous. Its color, smell, taste and touch seem desirable, but nevertheless, as poisonous it is best shunned and not eaten by circumspect people. Although food, stupid people might think it best to be eaten. The color, smell, taste and touch of this food promise happiness, but its transformation in any person eating it surely leads to a painful conclusion. As a result one incurrs death, or deadly pain.
Just so some perceivers of a basis who seize badly the meaning of what is well taught, badly distinguish it, badly master it, and misunderstand it, not understanding the meaning as it really is, these instruct and admonish others to consider the mass of merit of the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords, in the way described before, to rejoice at it, and to turn over into full enlightenment the meritorious work founded on jubilation. Thus this turning over, since it is being carried out by means of a sign, is turned into poisonousness. It is just like the poisonous food mentioned before. Here can be no turning over for someone who perceives a basis. For a basis is poisonous and has a range. Herein a person who belongs to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas does not train oneself thus. How now does one train oneself? How does one take hold of the wholesome root of the past, future and present Buddhas and Lords? And how does anything which is taken hold of become something which is successfully taken hold of? How does one turn over? And how does it become something which is successfully turned over into the supreme enlightenment?
Here the son or daughter of a good family who belongs to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas, and who does not want to calumniate Tathagatas, thus rejoices over all and any wholesome root, and turns it over thus: "I rejoice in this wholesome root which is considered in the way in which Tathagatas with their Buddha-cognition and their Buddha-eye know and see it, -its kind such as it is, its class such as it is, its quality such as it is, its own-being such as it is, its mark such as it is, and its mode of existence such as it is. And I thus turn this over in such a way as these Tathagatas can allow this wholesome root to be turned over into full enlightenment."
As one thus rejoices, thus turns over, a Bodhisattva becomes free from guilt. The righteousness of Buddhas, the Lords, is rejoiced in. This wholesome root becomes something which is turned over into full enlightenment. And one does not calumniate any Tathagatas. In this way one's turning over becomes a non-poisonous turning over, a great turning over, a turning over into the dharma-element; it becomes perfect, quite perfect, through this earnest intention and resolve of one thus turning over. Moreover, someone who belongs to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas turns this over with understanding all morality, concentration, wisdom, emancipation, vision and cognition of emancipation, are unincluded in any world of sense-desire, the world of form, the formless world, and as such these are neither past, future, nor present.
For everything that is in any three periods of time or in any triple world is unincluded in ultimate reality. In consequence the turning over is also unincluded, and so is the dharma [i.e. Buddhahood] into which this process of transformation is being turned, - if only one firmly believes this. As a Bodhisattva turns over in such a way, such ones as this one is can never again lose the turning over, and it becomes unincluded, non-poisonous, a great turning over, a turning over of the dharma-element, perfect, quite perfect. But, on the other hand, as one settles down in what one may turn over, and treats it as a sign, one now turns it over wrongly. A Bodhisattva, however, turns over with the idea such as it is through this turning over into the dharma-element, as the Buddhas, the Lords know and permit it, this wholesome root becomes something which has been turned over into full enlightenment, successfully turned over. This is the right method of turning it over. And in this way it becomes something that has been turned over into supreme enlightenment, successfully turned over.
The Lord: Well said, Subhuti, well said. You perform the office of the Teacher as you demonstrate Dharma to the Bodhisattvas. For it is this turning over, which is the turning over of the dharma-element, which is the turning over of a Bodhisattva. He thinks: "As the Buddhas and Lords know and see this wholesome root in this dharmahood, -its kind such as it is, its class such as it is, its quality such as it is, its own-being such as it is, its mark such as it is, its mode of existence such as it is, -so I rejoice in it as these. And as these grant permission, so I turn it over."
Considerations of Merit
This heap of merit of a Bodhisattva, which is born from this turning over of any Dharma-element, is declared to be superior to the accumulation of merit on the part of someone instigating to, and establishing in the ten wholesome ways of action all beings in the great trichiliocosms which are countless as the sands of the Ganges. It remains superior also if these beings would gain the four trances, or the four Unlimited, or the four formless attainments, or the five superknowledges; or equally if these become Streamwinners, etc., to: Pratyekabuddhas. And yet this is not all. If all beings in all world systems set out for supreme enlightenment, and if, Subhuti, each single Bodhisattva were to furnish for aeons as countless as the sands of the Ganges all these beings in the various great trichiliocosms, countless as the sands of the Ganges, with all which may be needed...but give this gift while perceiving a basis...and now, proceeding in this manner, we imagine all these beings are a single one, and if each single Bodhisattva for aeons countless as the sands of Ganges did furnish all these Bodhisattvas with all these may ever need, and treat these with respect; if thus each single one of all these Bodhisattvas all together would give this gift, do not these Bodhisattvas on the strength of this beget a great deal of merit?
Subhuti: A great deal indeed, O Lord. This heap of merit defies calculation. Surely if it were a material thing, it could not find room in even the great trichiliocosms countless as the sands of the Ganges.
The Lord: So it is, Subhuti. And yet, this accumulation of merit, due to giving on the part of any Bodhisattvas perceiving a basis, is infinitesimal and even different, as concerns merit, when attempts are made to compare any such merit with anything whatsoever which may or even may not be begotten by someone belonging to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas, and who, as taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and by skill in means, affects this or any wholesome root so as to indicate to such it's turning over into full enlightenment by means of this turning over of the dharma-element. For although the basis-perceiving Bodhisattvas give a good many gifts, these also reckon these gifts up as 'good' and 'many.'
Now, upon this, twenty thousand Gods of the Four Great Kings, with folded hands paid homage to Lord, and said: "This transformation into all-knowledge of wholesome roots by any having been taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and by skill in means, is a great transformation of Bodhisattvas...for it surpasses any and all accumulation of merit, derived from giving, of any Bodhisattvas basing such giving on something, however great it may be."
So now, again upon this one hundred thousand Gods of the Thirty-three rain down on Lord heavenly flowers, incense, perfumes, wreaths, ointments, aromatic powders, jewels and garments. These worship the Lord with heavenly parasols, banners, bells, flags, and with rows of lamps all around, and with manifold kinds of worship. Playing on heavenly musical instruments [in honor of the Lord] these now say: "This transformation of dharma-element is surely a great transformation of any Bodhisattva, as it is in deed and view different than any and all heaps of accumulated merit resulting from gifts of Bodhisattvas having a basis in anything whatsoever, for this great transformation is taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and skill in means."
All the other classes of Gods appear on this scene, worshipping Lord, and now raise their voices saying: "It is wonderful, O Lord, to any such extent as this transformation of a wholesome root by these Bodhisattvas which, being taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and by skill in means, is different or other than any heap of merit of Bodhisattvas having a basis in something, even though it has accumulated for such a long time, and is procured by such manifold exertions."
Now the Lord speaks to these Gods, from the gods belonging to the Pure Abode downwards: "Let us leave the case of the accumulation of merit of all beings in countless world systems who are definitely set out for full enlightenment, and any giving gifts for the sake of gaining full enlightenment. Let us also, in the same manner, consider the case of all beings in countless world systems which, having made a vow to gain full enlightenment, and having raised thoughts to enlightenment, give gifts on the extensive scale described before. In this other hand we consider a Bodhisattva, taken hold of by perfection of wisdom and by skill in means, who takes hold of the wholesome roots of all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Pratyekabuddhas and Disciples, and of all other beings also the wholesome roots which have been planted, will be planted, and are being planted, and who rejoices over these all in the way described above. Then infinitesimal and different is any accumulation of merit on the part of the former Bodhisattvas who give gifts while perceiving a basis - just because of this perceiving of any basis.
Subhuti: The Lord describes the jubilation over the wholesome roots of all beings as a most excellent jubilation. For what reason is this jubilation a most excellent one?
The Lord: If any person belonging to the vehicle of Bodhisattvas does not seize on this past, this future and present dharmas, does not mind these, does not get at these, does not construct, nor discriminate these, does not see nor review these, if one considers these with this conviction...'all dharmas are fabricated by thought construction, unborn, not come forth, not come, not gone,' and this, 'no dharma is ever produced or stopped in this past, this future or present'; if one considers any dharmas in such a way, herein one's jubilation is in accordance with the true nature of such dharmas, and so is one's transformation [of any merit] into full enlightenment. This is the first reason why the jubilation of the Bodhisattva is a most excellent one. The meritorious work founded on giving on the part of Bodhisattvas who perceive a basis, who have a basis in view, is infinitesimal and quite different when compared with the transformation of the wholesome root by any Bodhisattvas. Moreover, Subhuti, someone who belongs to the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas, wanting to rejoice in the wholesome roots of all Buddhas and Lords, rejoices in such a way: "As emancipation is unoriginated, [since the obstacles from defilements and from the recognizable have ceased], so the gift; so the morality, etc.; so the jubilation, so the meritorious work founded on jubilation; as emancipation, so transformation, so Buddhas and Lords, Pratyekabuddhas and Disciples who have entered Parinirvana; as emancipation, so transformation, so are any dharmas which are seen as past, or stopped; and likewise the dharmas which are seen as future, or not yet produced; and the dharmas which are seen as present, or proceeding just now; as emancipation so all seen as past, future and present Buddhas and Lords. Thus, I rejoice with the most excellent jubilation in the true nature of any dharmas, which are unbound, unfreed, unattached. So, now I turn this meritorious work founded on jubilation over into full enlightenment; but really no turning over takes place, as nothing is passed on, nothing destroyed. This is the second reason why the jubilation of the Bodhisattva is a most excellent one.
But to return to the question of merit. Let us now consider this case here as all these beings in countless world systems are definitely set out for full enlightenment, and so, in order to advance to full enlightenment, these, for countless aeons undertake the obligation of observing morality, i.e. good conduct of body, speech and mind, - but while perceiving a basis. Nevertheless their accumulation of merit is infinitesimal compared with this of a Bodhisattva's limitless equanimity derived from jubilation, - merely due to this simple fact in which these beings in countless world systems perceive a basis. And the same is true, if all these beings for countless aeons practice patience, although these were ever so much abused, struck and reviled; or if these practice vigour, and under no circumstances would be cast down, or conquered by sloth and torpor; or, finally, if these enter the trances. As long as any such as these carry out such practices while perceiving a basis, any merit is infinitesimal compared with this of any Bodhisattva who rejoices over the wholesome roots of all beings with the most excellent yet equanimous jubilation, and transforms this wholesome root into supreme enlightenment.
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